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Another Vegas Trip without the Family

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by JFO, Jun 15, 2019.

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  1. JFO

    JFO Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    My Trip Report

    Just finished another solo trip to Vegas. A couple months ago we had a family Spring Break family trip to Reno and Lake Tahoe where I posted that TR here:

    https://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/index.php?threads/family-spring-break-to-lake-tahoe-trip-report-plus-reno-and-seattle.161772/

    And coming up very shortly we will be taking a family trip to the Atlantis in the Bahamas on the CET promo, where I created an info thread here:

    https://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/index.php?threads/cet-atlantis-paradise-island-2019.158527/

    So with the Atlantis trip coming up soon, if I do not get this TR out now, I probably never will. This trip was planned around the annual Red Chip Poker meetup, a social gathering of members of the Red Chip Poker forum as well as poker authors and poker coaches, a gathering that I always enjoy, but would drive my family nuts if they came along. I was also able to make a VMB meetup on this trip.

    I am writing this TR in a different format than previous TRs, no chronological order, just trying to hit highlights of interest so I can get it all out in one post this time. Here goes:

    American Airlines Arrival: Because I would be staying 5 nights this trip, I decided I would use my free checked luggage benefit from my AA Citicard with my free award ticket and actually check a suitcase this time. However, after we landed and I turned my cell phone back on, I immediately had an alert that my bag would be on the next flight, and would be delivered to me free of charge. Later that night I checked the website and found it that it would actually be delivered in the following morning. The following morning I checked again, and found out the estimated delivery time would be 2:00 in the afternoon. Good thing I had a rental car, as I just returned to the airport in the morning to grab my suitcase from the AA baggage office when they opened at 8:00 AM. They had numerous dolly’s loaded with fresh delayed baggage from the previous day that seemed pretty concerning. I was able to locate mine right away (and finally had a change of clothes.) When I was coming out I saw people coming in looking for the baggage office from the same flight. And they wonder why the overhead bins are always full...

    Hertz Rental Car: I was able to get 5 days on an intermediate car for $160 on Autoslash, which was only a tad more expensive than the 2nd shuttle stop places, and until this trip I always had good experiences with Hertz. This was probably the most I ever paid for a Vegas Rental car, I think it was a busy time, but at least all my rooms would be free, and I do like to get around when I am here. When I got to the counter, they offered me a free upgrade to a mid-sized SUV, and I accepted. However, when I got to my spot, the mid-sized SUV they promised me was a Hyundai Kona, (a compact SUV with no back seat leg room.) This was unacceptable because I needed that back seat space for my poker buddies I would be taking around. Back in the day when I could rent a car for $30/week, the companies would always try to push their “freak cars” on me, I wouldn’t accept them then, and I certainly wasn’t going to accept one from Hertz for the price I paid. They still insisted I got an upgrade, but it took them about 30 minutes to get the car changed back to a normal intermediate car, and I let them know on their survey I really expect better from them.

    CET: I had to weave through a lot of convention center construction to get to Harrahs. When I arrived at Harrahs, all of the parking gates were open, and I thought to myself, is it possible CET could be following Wynn’s recent move of giving up on paid parking? Well, I got my answer after I found a parking spot on the 5th floor, because the parking garage elevators were also out. Harrahs, LINQ, and Flamingo were all running on generator power, and had the lights and air conditioners off in their casinos. Of course they had enough power for all those bright 4D slot machines with the fancy seats, but they only had one elevator running in each tower, with very long lines stretching down the hallways behind each of them. These center strip Las Vegas casinos had the feeling of a third world country. Fortunately they were able to restore power overnight.

    The previous month, CET downgraded all of their 8/5 BP at the Rio to 7/5 like they have on the strip. They also downgraded the DSTP games on the strip to $25 coin-in / TC. I understand CET is trying to sell the Rio and move the WSOP to the new convention center where all the construction is behind Harrahs/LINQ/Flamingo is. I sure hope they fix their power glitch before they start running WSOP games.

    Red Chip Meetup: The meetup was held at Ricardo’s Mexican Restaurant on Flamingo Road off strip. I gave a few members staying near me on the strip rides. Usually it is held at one of the casinos with a poker room, but this year they took it off strip, perhaps to keep people around longer, but probably because they could feed us cheaper. As always it was a great opportunity to meet authors, coaches, and other students of the game who are members of their poker forum.

    Red Chip Game: I always described this game as a knife fight with the lights out, and this year was no exception. We would meet at the MGM poker room to play $1-$2 NL. We had to all start separated because the poker desk told us they had rules they had to follow before they could combine us on our own table. I decided to just buy in for the minimum ($100), with the intent to top up to full ($300) after we all combined.

    For a short while at my initial table, I was up, and then a professional poker coach transferred to our table with about $800 to $1000 in chips, covering everyone at the table. MGM has a $300 limit for buying chips at a $1-$2 table, but if you are changing tables from another game at the same stakes, they allow you to bring your entire stack. The coach immediately asserted himself as table captain raising almost every hand and putting pressure on everyone. After a couple hands, there was a hand where the coach raised early and I decided to flat him in position with AhTh. As wide as he was playing I could have 3-bet shoved him here (as I was only about $150 deep), but I was in position and wanted to see the flop. The flop came Ace high with 1 heart and 2 clubs, giving me top pair weak kicker with a back door flush draw, and the coach says to me “should we do this now or later?” I don’t think he was looking for a tell, I think he was just having fun, but as wide as he was playing I knew I was getting it in here, so I just looked back at him, he shoved as I expected he would do, and of course I called. He was actually on a club flush draw (QcJc, no pair), and while this was a much stronger hand than I thought he had, I still got it in good. But then he caught a club on the runout, so I lost my first stack despite getting it in as a favorite. I immediately re-bought (short again) as I was not going to leave this game.

    Later they combined us all to a single table, and the battle for table captain was in full swing. I was card dead, but I wanted to play hands so much I played several hands I shouldn’t have which caused me to bleed. My best starting hand of the session, TsTc, I got all in pre-flop against a different professional coach. I tabled my hand after he called my 4-bet shove, but he kept his hand concealed. The board came with a king and 4 spades giving me a weak flush. He then takes his time before turning over AsKh for the nut flush (meaning I got it all-in on a coin flip) and acted surprised that he also had a spade. Normally turning over a winning hand slowly is called "slow rolling" and is considered bad poker etiquette, but these stakes were so much lower than what he was used to, he may indeed have forgotten the suits of the hand he was playing, which isn’t terrible when he was all in pre-flop with AKo. Or maybe he did want to have some fun with a slow roll, I will never know.

    I ended up down $450 for this session, but didn’t feel terrible about it. For a normal $1-$2 game, after a couple hours a typical winner might be up several hundred, and a typical loser might be down several hundred. But in this aggro-fest, the winners were up several thousand, and losers were down several thousand.

    Other Poker: I played more $1-$2 and $1-$3 at Caesars Palace, Golden Nugget, and Aria, and made enough at the Aria to cover my Red Chip losses. Here is a photo of the table with some Aria watermelon juice:

    01_Aria_Watermelon.jpg

    And here is what my stack looked like shortly before I left:

    02_Aria_Win.jpg

    Silverton: At the beginning of this year, the Silverton degraded there players club cutting video poker benefits in half, and removed several of their good games. But LVA and ACG still had several 50% off coupons in both books, and I invited a bunch of the poker group to the Champagne Sunday Brunch here (normally $18 each, or $9 each after the coupon,) although only a few accepted. At the cash register, they now request photo ID with the coupon and players card, and they are running the players card number against their computer, probably to make sure we are only using 1 coupon per book per year. A few of the poker players who didn't come didn’t understand Champagne and Mimosas with breakfast, so I took this photo for them.

    03_Silverton_Brunch.jpg

    We agreed that the breakfast items here were excellent, while the lunch items were just OK. I ate too much which I was hoping I wouldn’t. We walked the casino afterwards, and this time we finally did see the mermaid, she was outside the aquarium with toddlers all lined up to get their pictures with her. I still find it very creepy that this poor girl who is so special to all those toddlers is also one of the casino’s player’s club rewards to go swimming with.

    Ellis Island: In just the past month, they downgraded all of their VP machines in the casino, leaving just 1 machine with NSUD and 9/6 Jacks. But still a very good place to visit with ACG and LVA books.

    Boyd: While the ACG and LVA both have separate $10 match play coupons for most of their casinos, their wonderful new players club will only allow 1 match play coupon per day per casino. What a pain. I didn’t visit all the casino’s twice, as it just wasn’t worth it for me to have to wait in those player’s club lines, as the lines are so slow with the BConned agents still trying to explain the almost year old system to customers. When I visited Main Street Station, I used the bathroom behind hotel registration window, and there was a homeless person sleeping on the mahogany double bench outside registration. It appears this once great downtown casino is now happy to have anyone visit.

    Plaza: I didn’t see any more downgrades here since they started charging for valet service the previous year. One interesting item was the tables now refuse to take chips from MSS or CAL, telling me it was in response to those casinos refusing to take their chips. Their cage would still cash their chips, but it had always been that every downtown casino table would take chips from each other’s casinos. I guess that’s another one for the history books. Plaza had no problems taking coupons from both books on a single trip, and I still played well beyond the coupons here, as they retain employees who have been here a long time and I actually enjoy playing here.

    The D / Golden Gate / Circa: The Circa is now a concrete slab over the old Las Vegas Club. The D has taken down their Vue Bar in preparation for a new sports book, and the whole area is closed for construction. I was told all the machines would be modernized. I sure hope that does not include the VP pay tables... At the Golden Gate, the blackjack tables in the high roller pit were turned around facing the back wall. This could be considered a downgrade for those who enjoyed the view when they were facing the main pit.

    The D and Golden Gate are the only downtown casinos to enact a new backpack policy for the first Friday and Saturday of each month. During these days, each casino takes one of their multiple entrances on the Fremont Street side, and has security guards standing at that entrance not letting anyone with backpacks enter through that entrance. They won’t even allow them to have their backpack inspected; they just apologize and thank them for their understanding of the situation. I absolutely support security measures, and certainly don’t want to help any potential terrorist with any ideas how to get a backpack into a casino with multiple entrances with just one entrance turning back visitors with backpacks, but this certainly falls under the category of you can’t make this stuff up. I wouldn’t be bothered if the casinos had a line for checking backpacks; we are getting used to this more and more. It is also unusual that this is starting at the D and Golden Gate, do they really think they are primary targets for anything?

    El Cortez: Late last year they downgraded all their decent VP. When I visited, all of their good rules 3:2 single deck blackjack tables were bumped up to $10 minimums.

    Downtown Grand: DTG downgraded pay tables on several of their better machines, but there are still several left with 9/6 jacks. One night I was hungry late, and decided to hit them at 2:00 AM for their $8.50 Prime Rib

    04_DT_Grand_PrimeRib.jpg

    VMB Meetup: I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make this or not, but I was able to attend for about an hour. We met at the Byrd Bar at the Flamingo, and then went to play some craps as a group. There was a pretty good showing of about 20 people, I couldn’t remember the handles of everyone I met, but the meetup was set up by @EastCoastVegasFan! and I also remember meeting @flysrb . Whoever bought all the beers at the bar thank you very much. At the craps table, we had a few ladies from the group who never played before, but it worked very well for everyone letting them shoot, as they were hitting points after points. I knew I wouldn’t be able to play long, so instead of giving them my players card and getting dinged for a day with little play, I just placed my bets in the stacks of other members, increasing their average bet size, and they paid me my portion for all the wins. One memorable moment was when a shooter from the opposite end of the table overshot the table, and one of the dice landed in @EastCoastVegasFan! ‘s full drink cup. He decided he needed to finish the drink before taking the dirty thing out and tossing it back to the pit crew to inspect. I really don’t think the 5-second rule applies here… But thanks VMB for the meetup, I enjoyed it even though I couldn’t stay long.

    Four Queens: While downtown, this place had some good promotions going, and I actually spent a lot more time here than I initially expected. I had a couple meals at the Chicago Brew Pub playing 10/6 DDB, including this Chicago Deep Dish:

    05_4Q_Pizza.jpg

    Another meal same place, Burger, Rings, and their Homemade Root Beer:

    06_4Q_Burger.jpg

    Also, this would be my second consecutive trip to Vegas where I hit a straight flush on a gutshot:

    07_4Q_Gutshot.jpg


    American Airlines Return Flight: While I had an evening flight, I received a call in the morning of the flight telling me they over-sold the flight, and offered me $400 in AA vouchers to take a flight the following day. I declined not just because I had work the next day, but because the wife would not be happy at all if I stayed longer. It was a full flight with a long waiting list, was delayed, and I got to see security come on the flight to remove a couple passengers who weren’t playing well with the flight attendants.

    END OF TRIP REPORT

    So that’s it, everything worth reporting (I think) in just one post this time!

    Please feel free to post feedback, any questions, or feel free to PM me with anything. Thanks very much for reading.
     
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  2. booker

    booker VIP Whale

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    Well done, sir! I appreciate your reports.
     
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  3. jimboguy

    jimboguy My sloppy joe is all sloppy and no joe.

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    Thanks for the report. Concise without missing any important details. Too funny about drinking the beverage with the die in it. That's a great craps story.
    Too bad about the Ellis Island VP downgrade. Did the downgrade occur at the center bar too?
     
    Ho Ho Ho
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  4. kathiemc23

    kathiemc23 Low-Roller

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    Thank you so much for your trip report. Are you able to get watermelon juice comped at Aria while playing? I think I have only seen it on buffets, but would love to be able to order it on the floor!
     
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  5. kkinwi

    kkinwi VIP Whale

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    Ugh....the missing bag was crazy! Sounds like a good trip otherwise!
     
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  6. CheeseHog

    CheeseHog Low-Roller

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    Great report----thanks for posting

    Jeff
     
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  7. EastCoastVegasFan!

    EastCoastVegasFan! VIP Whale

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    This is true, but, my drink was only half way full. I was SHOCKED when the pit didn't stop me from doing that! Also, that's the first time I've ever seen a dice fall in a cup, and it happened to be mine!
     
    May 27th - May 31st
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  8. JFO

    JFO Low-Roller

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    I don't recall any good games at the center bar. I would say that everyone there was really friendly including the players club agents. But yeah, real shame about the VP.
     
  9. JFO

    JFO Low-Roller

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    The general rule is anything you can get comped at a poker table you should be able to get comped better on the floor!

    I remember in Mexico ordering watermelon juice, they would grab a chilled fresh watermelon, cut it, scoop it into the blender, and then poor it into the cup immediately after it was blended and it was awesome. I did ask the CW how it was done here, and they told me it was all blended the "same day", but they chilled it after blending it so they only needed to pour it when it was ordered. It was a tad more liquidy this way, but still made a very nice drink.
     
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  10. JFO

    JFO Low-Roller

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    The pit needs to keep their eyes on the table and all the bets. And they have probably seen a lot worse anyway! (I know I have...)
    If I recall, after the pit dried off the die and inspected it, the shooter wanted that same die back to continue shooting, and the pit didn't try to talk him out of it either... That's craps players for ya!
     
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  11. NittyOne

    NittyOne High-Roller

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    Thanks for the update always enjoy your reports.
     
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  12. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Nice report!

    Now the security issue on the plane, was that because not enough people were volunteering to take a different flight? Or some other issue?

    Bummer to hear about the various downgrades. Been reading a lot lately on VpFree2.
     
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  13. jimboguy

    jimboguy My sloppy joe is all sloppy and no joe.

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    Thanks for the reply. Last I played VP there was November 2018 and they had 8/5 BP at the 25 cent level.
     
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  14. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    It was still there as of this month @Not at the table Carlos played it (Finish your report!) :p. Also I played that game plus 98.8% Bonus Deuces in April. I was pleasantly surprised, but it's possible it just recently changed.
     
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  15. kathiemc23

    kathiemc23 Low-Roller

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    :wiggle:
    Good to know! My favorite cocktail in the summer is fresh watermelon juice, Milagro tequila, muddled mint, a little lime juice, couple of drops of agave syrup and dash of salt. Enjoy!:wiggle:
     
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  16. K-9treatbaker

    K-9treatbaker VIP Whale

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    Great trip report, entertaining and informative.
     
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  17. JFO

    JFO Low-Roller

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    This is what I understand happened. Two passengers who had seats towards the back of the plane left their luggage in bins towards the front of the plane, so that they could grab it on their way out. They were somehow discovered and were asked to check their bags. They refused. Things didn't go well between them and the flight attendants, and they airline decided to kick them off the plane. I was flying on their super-economy, where they pick the seat for me, and they put me on a center seat at the back of the plane "32E". But at the gate, when they asked people to please check their excess carry on, I volunteered to check my extra bag (it would really be unlikely for them to delay a bag checked at the gate, but I didn't care I was coming home so they could deliver it anytime if they did) and when I volunteered to have the bag check and told the gate attendant my seat assignment, she moved me to a window seat in the middle of the plane (I would sleep through the whole flight regardless.) So the incident happened behind me, but I saw them come up in front of me and remove their bags with security on the plane.

    Yeah, downgrades have been going on slow and steady for the last 20 years, but I refuse to give up!
     
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  18. JFO

    JFO Low-Roller

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    Wow, that sounds pretty good. Is there a name for that, or do you have to describe it to the CW every time? (My experience has always been that as long as a drink sounds good, the CWs aren't upset about them being difficult.)... (Actually make that as long as you tip well the CWs don't care how difficult a drink is to describe...)
     
  19. kathiemc23

    kathiemc23 Low-Roller

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    One of my favorite restaurants here in Tucson makes it and they call is Milagro Melon. I loved it so much that we figured out how to make it at home. I've never had it anywhere else. I would probably just order straight watermelon juice from the CW though, I don't drink too much when I'm gambling.
     
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  20. Vegasworm

    Vegasworm Finger Clicker Extraordinaire

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    Nice recap, thanks for sharing! Those mimosas look amazing! Yum!

    Vegasworm
     
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