Friday, July 24, 2020

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Monday, June 29, 2015

September is now fully booked

The more I think about getting this settled, the better I feel.  My trip starts with a 40th birthday party for my son and so a meetup of 5 sons and assorted friends.   That will go just three days with everyone and then my wife, who rarely joins me, will stay out the week.  We cash booked the Gold Coast for all that time. The heated pool is a draw.  Inexpensive food as well.  We may have a car for some of it as the boys are planning a family trip out to Red Rock Canyon.  I often book the Gold Coast for the days of the trip I won't gamble.  Prices are good.  And in spite of not gambling there, they often toss me a couple free nights in an outreach mailer.  And at least one buffet there is free, the ACG coupon with 250 points earned.
I got the mailer today, and it reduced my weekend room expenses by $150.
I then have two freebies at the Orleans, over a Young at Heart Day, so I'll eat there for free and get a good taste of my favorite Nite Kings in the lounge.  The Young at Heart promos are now extended into the evening, and that will give more flexibility to my day, especially if I get a good multiplier on the swipe promo or win so I can keep playing.  There I just play the triple nickel progressives.  Good fun and not very expensive,  just 75 cents a pull.  9/7 DB is enhanced by the Royal progressives for each line and a huge one were I to get a dealt royal.
Then I do the Excalibur for one day and use up MyVegas points at the Aria buffet, so those meals will be free.

Then I stay at a  B and B on a small street just off Maryland near Flamingo. This will give me a chance to do laundry, relax if I want with no casinos.  Walk down to a local inexpensive show at the Onyx Theater.  Relax in a Jacuzzi.  I get a room with a private bath for $50 a night and so cover the expense of a weekend with no gambling.  This is a new experience for me.

I'll probably head up to Sam's Town for the afternoon free show and then over to Eastside Cannery for a free buffet and wine.  I may play poker in either place.   I probably will give the full pay nickel Deuces a run if there is a seat.  I understand they reduced them to just two machines.
Then Palace Station where I can do a buffet a day on MyVegas points and seed my play in dimes to see if that will generate any mailings or not.
Then Two nights at the D on a 2 for 1 rates, but higher than in the past because of the Life is Beautiful and the new policy of charging resort fee on the one paid night.  Coupons usually come with the rooms there and they get me a light free breakfast.  8/5 progressive Bonus will be the draw there with Golden Nugget live poker after 2 AM when the high hand awards double.
Poker vouchers with 4 hours of play  get me a cheap Golden Nugget buffet.
And finally 4 nights at the 4 Queens at casino rate, but with one night already paid by comp dollars from the last trip and a second probably can be reached by a mailer, in spite of the weekend being that Life is Beautiful festival.
This was not expected to be a frugal trip, and it may not be, because that first week will be a cash week in probably upscale strip places.  But given that extravagant beginning, the planning does seem to have generated a very affordable trip.
Now if I can just win when I gamble.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Colson Whitehead's book The Noble Hustle

I just finished this book.  I liked it.  Not everyone would, but perhaps more than liked other poker books.  It is nonfiction.


The Noble Hustle:  Poker, beef jerky, and Death


The tone of the book is set by the country the author imagines he comes from

Anhedonia   -  The inability to experience pleasure

This gives him one advantage.  He has a perfectly natural dead expression, a true poker face.

"We anhedonians have adapted to long periods between good news.  Out national animal is the hope camel.  We have no national bird.  All the birds are dead."p.47

"For the citizens of the Republic of Anhedonia, luck is merely the temporary state of outrunning your impending disasters."p.96

Here is background information
http://www.colsonwhitehead.com/Home/Home.html

Colson is not writing a novel this time, although it reads like one.
Instead he is telling the story of being in the 2011 WSOP, not because he was a polished poker player, but because he was offered a free buy-in if he would write an article about his experiences.

This is not your typical poker book.  It is linquistically wild and fast moving with bizarre metaphor, allusion, and commentary.  He laughs at all of it, including himself.
At the same time, it is easy to identify with the poker stories. 
I don't much like the WSOP, where I experience  the game as a cross between a ProBass fishing tournament blended into a rather bad Hollywood flick, so for this book to keep my attention until the end is saying a lot.
But then I'm a frugal guy.
So is Colson in real life.
So I get him.

Ironically, I get him in spite of the fact that his style is one of a modern generation and not what usually appeals to me at all.   I don't ready too many book that flow......or should I say spurt like this one. 
I suppose partly I liked it because my son Frank liked it, read it, sent it for a Father's day gift. 

I also liked it because it was not an egomaniac book of directive instruction.  Here was a fellow like me, although much younger, caught in an adventure of poker playing.

It got a great kick out of his naming of stereotypical players:

Big Mitch is a potbellied endomorph in fabric-softened Khaki sorts and polo shirt, a middle aged white guy here with his wife, who was off dropping chips on the roulette felt according to her patented system."p.10

Methy Mike is a harrowed man who  had been tested in untold skirmishes....  If Methy Mike had been hitched, the lady had packed her bags long ago and if they had spawned, their parenting goals probably ended with making sure their kid didn't get a tattoo on her face, and they did not always succeed....Methy Mikes are on a first name basis with the bosses and dealers and cocktail waitresses, and you can count on a bit of catching up.....They are weathered by the sun, by their lifestyles, which you can only guess at, the underlying narrative of their decay, and resemble unfortunates who have been dragged on chains from the back of a beat-up van and left to desiccate in the desert....

And then there was Robotron, lean and wiry and hunkered down, a young man with sunlasses and earbuds, his hoodie cinched tight around his face like a school shooter or a bathroom loiterer...  Robotron is only here tonight because the Feds shut down all the US online poker sites.

He did not name old guys like me, but here is one he encounters:

"an elderly white man who bent over his chips, squinting through a magnifying attachment that barnacled on his thick specs like a jeweler's loupe.  Her pondered before acting, as if reviewing a lifetime of hands and confrontations, or fighting off a nap."

This fellow is really not much like me, but I've met him at the tables.

Here are some other bits I found worth noting:

"Gamblers and the lovesick want to bend reality.  But it's never going to happen.  If you woke the hell up, you'd understand that and stop chasing."

Like all poker books, some of the places he writes about have closed.  Showboat at Atlantic City, for example.  There is never much history in casinos.  They just don't last.

There is quite a bit about his reading to prepare for the game.  I have never found strategy books of much value.  I can't seem to absorb, remember and apply anything.  He seems to respect the Dan Harrington writings of which I'm not familiar.

Of course, I rarely play tournaments and not for big bucks but just for amusement or as freerolls earned by accumulated hours. 
So, his term for the blinds, Wave of Mutilation, does not affect my games.  In NL I like 1-1 games because the blinds really don't matter very much.  Often 1-1 is a post flop game.  I like that.  It is very different from the higher stakes games and from tournaments.

"I pity people who've never been to Vegas.  Who dismissthe city without setting foot on its carpeted sidewalks,  I'll forgive the sanctimony in the question, "But what do you do there?  The obnoxious self-regard are as American as smallpox blankets and supersize meals. "p.101

Since this is nonfiction, the people mentioned are not characters, but real folks.  Matt Matros plays a role in his adventure.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Matros

as do other unnamed players, like the woman who becomes his coach.

Here is a bit for the weekly poker game
"Everyone tilts, but he who tilts less, tilts best."

"SitnGoes were not, as I mistakenly thought, adult diapers for poker players, so they don't have to leave the table."  p.149

I enjoyed the reference to the Butterfly Affect which I think I first experienced with a Ray Bradbury story, but which does permeate the culture and certainly apply to our experience of poker.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect_in_popular_culture

Wild Bill once gave a seat up in the Flamingo to a pretty young girl who was just behind him on the list.  Within a few hands, she hit a royal flush for a Bonus payout of $1400.  It could have been Bill.

Or not, since randomness is more like a RNG than destiny.

I also like the idea that Colson knows his limitation.

"I would never understand the game the way they did, no matter how much I studied or hit the tables.  The part of the brain these guys used for cards, I used to keep meticulous account of my regrets."

This is exactly why I stay away from high priced tournaments and use table selection as my major source of advantage at the lower stakes and limit games.

"Our country disdains a risk reward game that millions of Americans play, then bails out Wall Street sharks who bet unfathomable sums.  I can only conclude that this contradictory status has little to do with the skills required for each pursuit.  No, for some reason, lawmakers just don't like poker." p.  163


 I suggest that the reason poker takes a back seat is the same reason it takes a back seat in casinos.  It is a lost leader.  Government now is like the mob.  They get their 'taste' by setting up negative expectation games and luring in folks to fleece.  It is the same reason that any video poker that pays over 100% is illegal in NY State.  It is not about disliking poker;  it is about liking taxation more than providing services.

One new concept for me was the concept of M and I thought it would help my tournament play, but I doubt I'll remember it.  I barely remember how to figure outs and I only do the math for chasing flushes and straights in a general way.

" To calculate M, you add the Big Blind, the Small Blind, and all the antes you have to pay into the pot each round, and the sum is how much it costs to play one orbit"

"Establishing table image is like when you stab the leader of the Aryan Assholes in the neck with a fork after your first day in prison: tellin' em how you do it back home." p.186

on the Fremont Experience:

"Tourists foolish enough to be ensnared by the promos for this crummy light show look up for a few minutes, and then it's over.  They drift away.  The night is young, the city endless, and there are so many more disappointments to savor before dawn."  p.  206

Talks about his poker knowledge slipping away Flowers for Algernon style.

Well, I don't know if I ever knew anything that matched the top of that curve, but I sure do feel the slipping of knowledge in every category. 
In two years I will have forgotten reading this book.  So, I'm happy to have these notes.




 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Thinking again about Boulder in an answer to questions on Sam's Town

I like Sam's Town. They have some of the cheapest live poker tournaments in town.
http://www.samstownlv.com/play/poker-room

These can really stretch out gambling dollars. The early morning tournament has about an hour of limit poker before the tough game even starts.

Sam's Town also spreads a 2-6 spread limit game, but it is pretty local dominated and can be tight or tough. Good players will feel comfortable enough. They have great bonuses. Playing early in the morning if the game is still going can be a great deal. I once woke up at 3 AM and went down to play. There were five of us and four of us just passed around the fifth loose and very bad player. Three people that morning hit cracked Aces and got paid on that.

Check the entertainment. Sometimes the Nite Kings are playing.
http://www.nitekings.com/nitekings/Welcome.html

If you like older music and harmony, these are a class act. Wednesday's they are at the Orleans.

On Sunday's there is a free variety show in the afternoon at Sam's called Toast of the Town. It is different every week and again reflects older music, but is very much like an old Vegas review with music, perhaps a comic, perhaps an animal act.

Sam's Town has a bank of full pay Deuces, rare now in Vegas. There are some machines in quarters and some in nickels. Other full pay games are scattered around and some of those that are almost full pay have progressives that will get to full pay when they are high.
http://www.vpfree2.com/casino/sams-town-casino

I have not been in the Sam's Town pool in a while but it was one of my favorites back a few years because it opened early in the morning, had a pleasant ambiance and music that was older and not the modern nasal whine stuff.



Walmarts is close so it is very easy to stock up cheaply with room snacks.

You can easily walk to the Eastside Cannery to see yet another casino, and while the Longhorn across the street from EC is a bit of a dive, there are matchplays in the American Casino Guide and the food there is basic diner type food and gets good reviews. A walk back to Sam's from EC is perhaps not a good walk in the early hours of the morning, but I do it without incident. Across from the Eastside Cannery is a Bank of America drive up. I walk up to replenish my gambling money.

The Eastside has yet another inexpensive buffet. Or it can be free if you join their site and play games or do puzzles so as to earn points toward food, free play, free drinks. I find I can grab two free wines and carry them into a free buffet almost every trip. There too are some full pay VP and good music in the lounge.

Eastside Cannery has an interesting poker room as well.
http://www.pokeratlas.com/poker-room...nery-las-vegas

I think the 2-4 game has 6 bet on the river although I can't seem to confirm that on line.
http://www.eastsidecannery.com/gaming

Again it will be local dominated, but they are not all skilled players. If you like baseball, start a conversation at this table and they will talk forever.

Buses will work for getting to Boulder Highway casinos. Some require you to take two buses, but Boulder Station, Henderson Fiesta, Sunset Station are others are all accessible. If you are going to ride buses, start a thread with bus questions. City buses complement the shuttle so that you have good flexibility, even getting to the strip (although that is a 45 min, city bus ride) The Sam's shuttle gets you to Harrah's, but the city bus from the Eastside Cannery gets you to any destination along Flamingo, to Ellis Island for the steak special, to the Gold Coast and so to that free Boyd shuttle. Sometimes Sam's shuttle ( which is faster) is quicker because it just goes to Harrah's. Sometimes a city bus is the better deal. Check the schedule. Taking the 202 down Flamingo, even late night, to either Sam's Town or Eastside Cannery has never felt sketchy (like the BHX) to me.

The BHX gets you downtown. It rides through a pretty poor area and will put you on the bus with pretty poor folks, so for some the fellow riders may make it uncomfortable

Remember that all these bus rides are "residential" bus rides and cost $2 one way or $5 for 24 hours, or if you are over 60 and have ID, half that cost. Getting a bus ID downtown at the BTC is good once folks turn 60. But if you have a Medicare Card that will work as well.

More information on this thread:

http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?121522-Sam-s-Town-Some-Questions

other related links on food specials:



http://www.samstownlv.com/whats-new/...eekly-specials

http://www.samstownlv.com/whats-new/.../table-for-two

http://www.samstownlv.com/whats-new/... ak-and-lobster

http://www.samstownlv.com/whats-new/...y-bird-special

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Air B and B rooms for frugal weekend booked for September

POST SCRIPT UPDATE   I BOOKED IT
Below this part of the post were my earlier thoughts on this place.

I decided to book the B and B tonight. Eastside won't have any mailings out until the middle of August for September. That is really nuts. Once again they lose me with inept management procedures.

The Eastside Player's Club would not check on the phone that they had my correct mailing information, some BS about having to see me in person. No other casino needs to do that just to let me know whether I will get an offer or not. I miss mailed offers all the time at the D and Four Queens, and they talk to me on the phone, tell me what I offers I have, and book my stay.
I stay at 4Q at the end of my September trip and the host person arranged for me to get casino rate and would even automatically apply the mailing to my stay if I wanted.
Such a difference.
By August those Air B and B rooms will be booked, so I just decided to book now.

Strange kind of booking at the B and B.
I was asked to send a photo for verification of what I look like.
Then I had to verify my phone number by having them phone call a code to me that I put in the booking application. Wild stuff.

I lose if I can't go for some reason. At least half the cost.  Generally, I never book unless I get totally free cancelation, but I understand that a small operation like this can't be so flexible.

And if my phone breaks, I will have issues checking in. 
But I am intrigued by this new adventure. I want to try it. If it goes badly, I know how to chuckle.

Also, I leave from a My Vegas night at Excalibur, go to the B and B for the weekend and then leave for a MyVegas Palace Station 3 night stay.
So that 109 bus is an easy way to get from casino to casino.
From Excalibur I'll take the WAX to the airport and the 109 right to the B and B at East Katie where I walk 5 minutes down the block to the address.

After I check out of the B and B, I'll take the 109 to the airport and then arrange for the free Palace Station shuttle.

This should be a relaxed journey with no difficult luggage issues and no standing at a bus stop at some strange bus stop with luggage.
I like the Ground Zero bus stop.

It certainly is easier than sandwiching in an Eastside Cannery stay between those two places. From Excalibur I would have had to take Tropicana and then the BHX.  Then to get to Palace Station it would be BHX to Sahara and the Sahara Express from there.    Not going all the way out to Boulder and back probably saves me about 2 hours total of bus riding.
It is good for bankroll. I'll take the money I don't gamble that weekend at the Eastside and pump up what I seed at Palace Station. I'm not seeding the Eastside if I can't get decent service on booking rooms with mailings.

The price for the B and B did go up to $103 for the weekend at the B and B. By hesitating I lost $10.

The Onyx Theater is very easy and nearby the B and B. I've been wanting to see one of their inexpensive plays, but from downtown it is a bit of a ride. Because their schedule is not figured past September 4th, I don't know what will be up (if anything) but it did attract me to this booking.
**************************************************************
Hipmonk on a search now offers up Air B and B rooms.
Here is an alternative I never considered to cover an expensive Vegas weekend with no comps.

My September 18-19 nights with fees would be $90 total for both Friday and Saturday.

This was for a private bedroom/bathroom  in a complex just off Maryland and near Flamingo. The host recommended a car but the 109 bus was not very far away.
In the complex was a basketball court, tennis court, a Jacuzzi, pool and a sauna and a laundry. The renting included a private bath and shared a kitchen, living room, dining room. Free wifi with a printer.
There were plenty of stores nearby.

 I can see this would be very good for me going solo and not being in the room much anyway or it might be a good break midtrip.
checkout was a bit early, 10 AM. However I am always up early.

Booking it will depend on whether Eastside Cannery sends me a deal or not. I've been getting 2 for 1 at casino rate from them, and if I get that mailing for September18-19 I'll be set with the weekend at a cheaper price.
Actually, I'm booked at EC now for 18-19, but at booking.com for twice the cost of this Air B and B and since I am getting some mailings from them, I won't want to just stay there and not gamble.

And if I get caught in the squeeze between no Eastside Cannery deal and it is also too late for this Air B and B because it is booked up, I'll probably just go to Eastside anyway.

Otherwise, this is the best alternative I have found.   Pricewise,
it compares with those lowest of low prices, Hostel prices. I'm beyond the age when a hostel is attractive.
A $45 weekend night with no obligation to gamble is hard to beat.

It certainly beats rooms at the same price level like  El Cortez Pavillion rooms. There would be less privacy there with every other guest right outside the window and the maids also there in the morning, shouting and running their carts along the cement to create a sound like a small train.
 I'm in Vegas for 21 days. So I don't have that frantic need to fill every minute with some astounding sensual experience. I could use a break in the middle to do laundry, unwind, print up another free buffet at Eastside Cannery, etc.   And by the time I get there, I might be ready to sleep a day away, or perhaps even watch a bit of television. I'd be betting that the television will have Turner Classic movies or at least something without commercials. Vegas hotel television is the worst I have ever seen.   However, the bus will get me to places I like for gambling if I want to do that.

 I do like the frugal choices if I get what I want. This place will probably be quiet. There will be other people in other rooms, but I expect they will be perhaps even more respectful than the other people in the other rooms of the casino/ hotels I visit. This place I would expect to draw a visitor who even speaks in a quiet voice, and hopefully one who does not roll in drunk, yell in the hallway, steal my "do not disturb sign", and then slam the door. At least there will be no Fremont Experience noise, no block behind the 4 Queens with a Heavy Metal Festival starting practice at 5 PM on Saturday.

 And although shared,  access to a kitchen, living room, dining room might be a nice change.

The biggest down side is I can't stumble down in the middle of the night to play poker. But I can do that on the other 19 days of my trip.

By the 10th day of my trip, it would be fine to know I can do my laundry, a full load, in a machine and so get really ready for the second 10 days.
I like meeting strangers. I go to Vegas in part to do that.
I am generally solo. I like that too.
From strangers I can hear new stories. And there is so subsequent social obligation.

In Vegas I meet people on the bus, at the poker table, and I've met some great folks in places just like this in Costa Rica and in other bed and breakfasts around this country
I'm not certain if my search will work here as a link.
But I'll try
https://www.hipmunk.com/hotels#w=Las...8;o=2015-09-20

To see more than one review you have to go to Air B and B.  16 people reviewed the place and all gave it 5 stars and added good detail.
All were pleased with the host and the state of the room.

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4048487...y=USD&guests=2

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Comparing Boulder Highway casinos


I've stayed at Sam's Town and at Eastside Cannery.  The rooms at Eastside Cannery were nicer.  I like the floor to ceiling glass.  I especially liked a corner room, but they charge more for that now and I usually go for the cheap.  Having two walls of floor to ceiling glass was really amazing, however.
Eastside Cannery has no resort fee and will discount for seniors $10 off the posted rates.  Booking.com will also book that casino if you don't expect to play enough to have rooms comped on the way out.  I get the better prices at booking.com and can book much earlier than on the Eastside Cannery website.
Eastside Cannery's 2-4 game is fine, but pretty local dominated. Sam's Town 2-6 spread is also full of regulars. 
 Monday night at 10 PM Claudine Castro has one of the best Latin lounge acts I have ever seen; it is well attended by local Latinos.  Almost completely in Spanish.  I always meet friendly people when I go.  I get there early and save a seat at a table, and there is always some folks who want to share my table as the place fills up.  So I usually get to dance.  I took a board friend from the Netherlands out one year and that was great fun.  She felt that she was getting an interesting piece of American Latino culture.
Here are some reports on my last experience at the lounge: 
http://vegasbirthdaybash.blogspot.com/2014/11/tr-snippet-claudine-castro-at-eastside.html
Sam's Town has a resort fee.  I was getting some room offers on B Connected, but I don't anymore. 
Sam's town offers a bit more variety in gambling and shows.  They have the full pay nickel Deuces.  Eastside Cannery has some full pay quarter machines.  Sam's Town poker room is better attended with more variety.  Very good and inexpensive tournaments every day and an interesting 2-6 spread game. 
The 202 RTC bus as well as going across the street from Sam's Town, goes directly to the Eastside Cannery parking lot and the driver takes a ten minute break.  So coming home late at night, you can actually wait and see the bus from the circle in front of the casino and have time to walk across the parking lot to catch it.  So that makes it one of the safest stops late night.  I usually just walk over and wait and have never felt uncomfortable.  However, the 202 does not stop there all night long.  It changes route around 1 AM, so be careful or you have to walk to Nellis or take the BHX there.  The BHX does stop right in front of Eastside Cannery and I like that stop better than the one at Nellis as there are always sketchy characters at Nellis.  However, taking that BHX downtown late at night means seeing some rather sketchy characters.  And going out on it is a long ride.  The HDX used to stop at Sam's Town in just 16 minutes, but it altered its route.  That free Sam's Town shuttle is the best ride out, but not useful if you stay out too late.
If I am staying downtown, I often go out to Sam's Town in the morning for the 10 AM tournament (something like $25) poker around for the day there.  Walk down to the Eastside Cannery,  perhaps get a free meal at Eastside Cannery and take the 202 to the strip late night, walk around a bit to see the strip lights, or stop at Ellis Island for a late night steak special (no lines) and then I take the Deuce back downtown. I find that more comfortable than the BHX.
If I am at the Goldcoast, I take the 202 to Sam's of to Eastside for the Latin show.  It is a long ride out (45 minutes or so)  but it is a short ride back late at night because it stops less and there is less traffic.  It also drops right at the Goldcoast so there are no issues of safety getting on at Eastside Cannery or off at Gold Coast.
Across the street from the Eastside Cannery is a Bank of America ATM that I find convenient (no fee for B of A customers) for refunding my bankroll.  Also, the Longhorn is there.  From what I have read in reviews this is not a good place to stay, but the food is good and sometimes there are good matchplays.  Also, nearby is a Walmarts.  For both Sam's Town and Eastside the Walmarts offers a great place to stock up on room snacks. 


I did not stay there, but will in September.  I played very, very little, but have gotten some 2 for 1 offers.  When comparing prices, note that Eastside has no resort fee.  It also has free wifi.  If you go on the Eastside Cannery site, you can sign up and play some interesting puzzles and games that earn points for free food and drinks, matchplays, iced cream deals and some freeplay that is tied to a certain amount of play.  However, you have to bring in a printed voucher and redeem it within seven days. 
http://www.eastsidecannery.com/webpass
Their buffet is basic, but it feeds me.  I like it better than Sam's Town on most days, but it has less options.  It does have some very interesting moon cookies, but I can't eat them anymore.  When I can manage a trip out there early in my visit I get a couple glasses of red wine with free vouchers from the webPass puzzles and carry them into a free buffet.
Sam's Town buffet can be had for free with minimal play and an American Casino Guide coupon, but only once a year.
Sam's Town on Sunday hosts a great old fashioned Vegas review show called Toast of the Town.  It is often called the best free show in Vegas.  There you will see different talent every week, some of it perhaps drawn from strip shows.  I've seen some amazing acts.  However, the focus is on a senior crowd.
I have not yet stayed at Arizona Charlie's but I expect one of these trips I will because prices keep rising everywhere else.  They are the cheapest in Vegas and have a great deal on two room "suites" for just a few dollars more than the basic rooms.  I expect the rooms are worn and a bit scruffy, but for the frugal traveler a great bargain.  I've only talked to a few people who have stayed there, all of them not at all fussy and all satisfied.
Once on Boulder there are plenty of places to visit.  The cheapest craps in Vegas is at jokers wild.  This is hard to access by bus, but easy with a car. 
Skyline
http://skylinehenderson.com/Home.html
has good food options, full pay VP at less than a quarter, and on some Sundays, it  hosts  that very funny German band, The Dummkopfs:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Dummkopfs/253962001444951
Other entertainment  http://skylinehenderson.com/Entertaiment.html
*******************************************************************
Boulder Highway is more like what Vegas used to be before it went upscale. 
 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

El Cortez thoughts

There is more going on at the El Cortez.  They are closing the cafe and blending it into the Seigel upscale restaurant.  I think it will mean a return to the good upscale food, but an end to the good downscale prices.
http://lasvegasweekly.com/as-we-see-it/2015/may/27/el-cortez-restaurant-revamp-downtown-evolution/
The biggest personal loss for me was the closing of the poker room.  It was an interesting and very cheap spread limit game like no other and over the years I came to know the dealers well and some of the regulars. 
Although many of the regulars I enjoyed years ago were banned.
Action Jackson was one.
And some died.
Jackie came down every day and splashed the pot with his strange, loose play.  It was sad to see him go down hill over the years, but fun to be at a table with him.  I don't suppose that will come back. The room really was a playroom for old Jackie, a place for him to enjoy a game with folks who loved and respected him.
The last renovation of the café, a few years ago,  also took out a favorite of mine.  Since I go solo, I loved the old bar stools where I might end up eating with one of the fellows I had just played against at the poker game.  The renovation created islands where solos eat alone.  Now I guess it will be just tables of some sort and perhaps upscale.
I don't usually eat upscale, but I did like the Flame and often there were good deals.  So I'm looking forward to seeing what the new restaurant is like and how they blend that into the café menu.  I wonder if there will be any good restaurant.com deals.  I doubt it will be the cheap café prime rib that was served.
Every one of these Vegas renovations of late takes out the inexpensive deals and replaces them with good food at a higher price.  But for me personally, since the onset of diabetes, I tend to eat more at the Golden Nugget buffet because I can get foods that fit the diet.  Playing poker there, I get ten dollars off.
I am pretty easy on frugal rooms, but I've given the Pavillion rooms up.  It is hard to find room for the computer.  The noise from the wrap around walkways can wake me up, especially if napping in the morning when the maids shout at one another and run their carts along the concrete sounding  like little trains right outside my window.
Vintage rooms are cheaper than Pavillion, but are an acquired taste.  There is no elevator (although there is a way to take the elevator up to a certain Pavillion floor level and then go in an unmarked door and have just a few stairs down to the Vintage hallway. It is much easier than luggage carried up the huge staircase. Sorry, I can't remember the floor.    I was annoyed with dueling televisions on my last attempt to stay there and thin walls.  I'd call these rooms a taste of old Vegas.  
[url]http://vegasbirthdaybash.blogspot.com/2010/11/el-cortez-vintage-rooms.html[/url]
There are some large Vintage suites tucked in up there somewhere.  They are not offered in booking, but you can get them, sometimes for no money for upgrade.  Many have written liking these. Sorry I can't find details and I haven't stayed in one.  
I love the Cabana rooms, but not on the first floor street level where street noise from walking and talking people is right outside the window.  I guess sometimes there is noise from some bars nearby, but I have never been bothered.  I love the classy feel of these rooms, the wild green color, the refrigerator, the choices on the television, the free fruit in the lobby.  I don't see the walk outside as worrisome (there is always a guard) or long.  However, there are three levels of these rooms and many have found the cheaper levels very tiny for their needs.  Again, I am solo, so I don't care. There are some great deals on the smallest of the Cabana rooms every so often.
Now, some of my information may be dated, but here are some photos of the Cabana rooms from an old TRhttp://vegasbirthdaybash.blogspot.com/2011/05/tr-snippet-hotels-compared.html

Here is a more recent review
http://www.vegaschatter.com/story/2014/6/12/2120/92359/vegas-travel/You'll+Never+Believe+What+An+Extra+$10+Gets+You+At+El+Cortez

The Tower is quiet, comfortable, perhaps a bit dull.  The rooms are very much like Orleans rooms.  The bed mattresses are just great, huge and thick.  Also these are right in the casino.  Years back they still had small screen televisions.  If that matters to you, ask and see if that has changed.
Sometimes Tower does not cost more than Pavillion.  I booked three nights over upcoming Halloween weekend and the Tower offer was the same as the Pavillion offer.  I'm printing that out, however, as it was from a new discounter and I'm wondering if I will have difficulty on check in.  I read some negative reviews.
There is a daily resort fee of  $9 plustax.  There is also a fee if you book more than 7 nights in a row.  It is a strange unique fee.
The casino itself has some advantages.  I don't much like gambling there solo, but a group can have a great time.  Craps is some of the best in Vegas, often three dollars with ten times odds.   I just read they have fifty cent chips for paying off those 6/8 place bets,  Roulette was cheap.  There is not as much full pay video poker as there used to be when JOB 9/6 was everywhere.  Just before Dancer did a VP workshop there, they installed some full pay JOB at his insistence.  Just after he left, they pulled them out.
There are still some 10/7 DB and some other good plays.  There were still some coin droppers. 
I think there are decent Deuces, but they have in some cases odd pay tables.  Scroll down and see Mike actually write that he is not sure of what to call some of the El Cortez games.
[url]http://wizardofodds.com/games/video-poker/tables/loose-deuces/[/url]
There were also some penny slots that actually  took a bet of a penny.  When they pulled back on good booze at the poker game a few years ago, I played off ten dollars in freeplay at 3 cents a pull and drank four Myers rums for a profit of $6 at cashout.  I guess the American Casino Guide coupons from the El Cortez are no longer part of the book, but that $10 freeplay was one of the better deals.
Right next to the elevator going to Pavillion rooms is one of the most unique old fashioned slot experiences perhaps in the world. 
There are a few slots that actually work with slots inside, antiques.  They pay pretty well.  They take a coin like a silver dollar available at the cashier.  I play every trip just for the feel of olden days before even my time.  They do measure points and start the turning of the reels with electricity, but the results are based on actual slots catching the grooves inside as they spin. 
The Sinatra impersonator I saw last time in the upscale bar was just great.  If you like fancy drinks, I'm told these are done by a good mixologist and at reasonable prices compared to other fancy drink places.  I miss the old lounge where I could meet people and walk in with a comped drink from the poker room and find plenty of room to sit.  But I see how it is an upscale improvement.
The El Cortez would like to join that Freemont East revolution, but frankly I don't see too many young folks there.  I went once to a young folks gathering in the outside courtyard and it was packed with upscale youth.  I was perhaps the oldest guy there.  But in the casino were my peers.
They did have plans to have a pool, but I don't see those developing. 
There is more and more thematic reflection of the mob.  I'm not too nostalgic about the mob.  Today their tactics would be called terrorism.  But folks love them like they love pirates and wild west bandits. 
My poker buddy had a "talk like a pirate" poker game.  I came with a Somalian dictionary for some modern pirate talk.  However, if you are nostalgic about old Bugsy... this is the place to go.  In the really upscale, one of a kind, suites there is even one surrounded by desert scenes where you can sleep in safe luxury and imagine where the bodies are buried.
When I first started gambling, the El Cortez was one of my favorites with good comps and frugal deals.    It is not a place I invest in or seed for future trips.  I do that at the D and at the Four Queens.  There have been folks noting the loss of long time established comp patterns.  Some of my friends went there exclusively with a host, and that all backfired.  They don't go there now.
I do use them for cheap nights that I pay money for in between my comped nights downtown. 
It is a great place to park a rental car. 
And while it is not in the heart of the Fremont Experience, it is in right there for Fremont East, so especially for the young who like that scene, it now has good location.  I never minded the walk.  Now that is upscale as well.
[COLOR="silver"][SIZE=1]- - - Updated - - -[/SIZE][/COLOR]
The biggest personal loss for me was the closing of the poker room.  It was an interesting and very cheap spread limit game like no other and over the years I came to know the dealers well and some of the regulars. 
Although many of the regulars I enjoyed years ago were banned.
Action Jackson was one.
And some died.
Jackie came down every day and splashed the pot with his strange, loose play.  It was sad to see him go down hill over the years, but fun to be at a table with him.  I don't suppose that will come back. The room really was a playroom for old Jackie, a place for him to enjoy a game with folks who loved and respected him.
The last renovation of the café, a few years ago,  also took out a favorite of mine.  Since I go solo, I loved the old bar stools where I might end up eating with one of the fellows I had just played against at the poker game.  The renovation created islands where solos eat alone.  Now I guess it will be just tables of some sort and perhaps upscale.
I don't usually eat upscale, but I did like the Flame and often there were good deals.  So I'm looking forward to seeing what the new restaurant is like and how they blend that into the café menu.  I wonder if there will be any good restaurant.com deals.  I doubt it will be the cheap café prime rib that was served.
Every one of these Vegas renovations of late takes out the inexpensive deals and replaces them with good food at a higher price.  But for me personally, since the onset of diabetes, I tend to eat more at the Golden Nugget buffet because I can get foods that fit the diet.  Playing poker there, I get ten dollars off.
I am pretty easy on frugal rooms, but I've given the Pavillion rooms up.  It is hard to find room for the computer.  The noise from the wrap around walkways can wake me up, especially if napping in the morning when the maids shout at one another and run their carts along the concrete sounding  like little trains right outside my window.
Vintage rooms are cheaper than Pavillion, but are an acquired taste.  There is no elevator (although there is a way to take the elevator up to a certain Pavillion floor level and then go in an unmarked door and have just a few stairs down to the Vintage hallway. It is much easier than luggage carried up the huge staircase. Sorry, I can't remember the floor.    I was annoyed with dueling televisions on my last attempt to stay there and thin walls.  I'd call these rooms a taste of old Vegas.  
http://vegasbirthdaybash.blogspot.com/2010/11/el-cortez-vintage-rooms.html
There are some large Vintage suites tucked in up there somewhere.  They are not offered in booking, but you can get them, sometimes for no money for upgrade.  Many have written liking these. Sorry I can't find details and I haven't stayed in one.  
I love the Cabana rooms, but not on the first floor street level where street noise from walking and talking people is right outside the window.  I guess sometimes there is noise from some bars nearby, but I have never been bothered.  I love the classy feel of these rooms, the wild green color, the refrigerator, the choices on the television, the free fruit in the lobby.  I don't see the walk outside as worrisome (there is always a guard) or long.  However, there are three levels of these rooms and many have found the cheaper levels very tiny for their needs.  Again, I am solo, so I don't care. There are some great deals on the smallest of the Cabana rooms every so often.
Now, some of my information may be dated, but here are some photos of the Cabana rooms from an old TRhttp://vegasbirthdaybash.blogspot.com/2011/05/tr-snippet-hotels-compared.html

The Tower is quiet, comfortable, perhaps a bit dull.  The rooms are very much like Orleans rooms.  The bed mattresses are just great, huge and thick.  Also these are right in the casino.  Years back they still had small screen televisions.  If that matters to you, ask and see if that has changed.
Sometimes Tower does not cost more than Pavillion.  I booked three nights over upcoming Halloween weekend and the Tower offer was the same as the Pavillion offer.  I'm printing that out, however, as it was from a new discounter and I'm wondering if I will have difficulty on check in.  I read some negative reviews.
There is a daily resort fee of  $9 plustax.  There is also a fee if you book more than 7 nights in a row.  It is a strange unique fee.
The casino itself has some advantages.  I don't much like gambling there solo, but a group can have a great time.  Craps is some of the best in Vegas, often three dollars with ten times odds.   I just read they have fifty cent chips for paying off those 6/8 place bets,  Roulette was cheap.  There is not as much full pay video poker as there used to be when JOB 9/6 was everywhere.  Just before Dancer did a VP workshop there, they installed some full pay JOB at his insistence.  Just after he left, they pulled them out.
There are still some 10/7 DB and some other good plays.  There were still some coin droppers. 
I think there are decent Deuces, but they have in some cases odd pay tables.  Scroll down and see Mike actually write that he is not sure of what to call some of the El Cortez games.
http://wizardofodds.com/games/video-poker/tables/loose-deuces/
There were also some penny slots that actually  took a bet of a penny.  When they pulled back on good booze at the poker game a few years ago, I played off ten dollars in freeplay at 3 cents a pull and drank four Myers rums for a profit of $6 at cashout.  I guess the American Casino Guide coupons from the El Cortez are no longer part of the book, but that $10 freeplay was one of the better deals.
Right next to the elevator going to Pavillion rooms is one of the most unique old fashioned slot experiences perhaps in the world. 
There are a few slots that actually work with slots inside, antiques.  They pay pretty well.  They take a coin like a silver dollar available at the cashier.  I play every trip just for the feel of olden days before even my time.  They do measure points and start the turning of the reels with electricity, but the results are based on actual slots catching the grooves inside as they spin. 
The Sinatra impersonator I saw last time in the upscale bar was just great.  If you like fancy drinks, I'm told these are done by a good mixologist and at reasonable prices compared to other fancy drink places.  I miss the old lounge where I could meet people and walk in with a comped drink from the poker room and find plenty of room to sit.  But I see how it is an upscale improvement.
The El Cortez would like to join that Freemont East revolution, but frankly I don't see too many young folks there.  I went once to a young folks gathering in the outside courtyard and it was packed with upscale youth.  I was perhaps the oldest guy there.  But in the casino were my peers.
They did have plans to have a pool, but I don't see those developing. 
There is more and more thematic reflection of the mob.  I'm not too nostalgic about the mob.  Today their tactics would be called terrorism.  But folks love them like they love pirates and wild west bandits. 
My poker buddy had a "talk like a pirate" poker game.  I came with a Somalian dictionary for some modern pirate talk.  However, if you are nostalgic about old Bugsy... this is the place to go.  In the really upscale, one of a kind, suites there is even one surrounded by desert scenes where you can sleep in safe luxury and imagine where the bodies are buried.
When I first started gambling, the El Cortez was one of my favorites with good comps and frugal deals.    It is not a place I invest in or seed for future trips.  I do that at the D and at the Four Queens.  There have been folks noting the loss of long time established comp patterns.  Some of my friends went there exclusively with a host, and that all backfired.  They don't go there now.
I do use them for cheap nights that I pay money for in between my comped nights downtown. 
It is a great place to park a rental car. 
And while it is not in the heart of the Fremont Experience, it is in right there for Fremont East, so especially for the young who like that scene, it now has good location.  I never minded the walk.  Now that is upscale as well.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Playing poker on a low bankroll in Vegas

The social advantages of limit in Vegas are huge. People talk about more things than "outs" and folks are from all around the world. I have been in some of the most amazing discussions.
The rake is really hard to beat in 2-4 however. I find paying attention to table selection is key. I especially like to move to a just opened table. Most places will let me do that.
The odds of getting more of a mix of people are better.
I also like playing 3-6 when I can find it. If I had a car I'd try the 3-6-9 I game I see advertised at Green Valley Ranch. Palace Station had a 2-4-6 game and I liked that too.
In Florida and Mohegan Sun I've been playing a 1-1 NL with buy ins of $20 to $60. It often has some of the aspects of limit, especially moving the game to a flop game with few people raising preflop. And it eliminates some of the bluffing because the stakes are low. At times this game is spread in places in Vegas. Perhaps someone knows where now.
The hardest part about drinking and playing NL is losing the edge on people reading. Limit is easy to play drunk. I generally do better because my own table image screams "on tilt" and I'll get paid. But in NL there is just too much work to socialize and drink.
And if we give up drinking, we lose a huge part of the EV of poker.
Another way to overcome rake is to play those 2-6 spread limit games at Monte Carlo, Excalibur, Laughlin, Palace Station, Sam's Town. However, you will find some very good players at these, local rocks. I avoid the really good promotions at Monte Carlo and play late night when it is mostly tourists.
One way to make it cheap poker with booze and pretty women is to play the automated game at the Plaza. I played tournaments there where the total buy in was $15 or less. Across the open floor in came a three piece jazz group and they served drinks. My son and I sat and played and joked and drank for two and a half hours. We did not end up in the money, but we could fill our trip with poker and have it cost less than it would to drink at the bar, with entertainment.
I also play the Sam's Town tournaments. http://www.samstownlv.com/play/poker-room unless there are unlimited buy-ins. The 10 AM tournament starts with an hour of limit poker and then goes to NL. I won money twice there.
Finally, for 2-4 I like the Golden Nugget after 2 AM. If I'm staying downtown I will often go to bed at 5PM and wake up to play the tired and the drunk. There is no bad beat, but the high hand awards are progressive and the house doubles them from 2 AM until 2 PM. A quad might bring $600. The morning is too often local rocks, I like to get out for my breakfast buffet before they show. (4 hours of play gets a $10 voucher which almost pays the buffet on weekdays) But late at night after a refreshing sleep, it is a grand game.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Booking Stations Casinos

http://blonde4ever.yuku.com/topic/32185/master/1/?page=1

I wrote this up on blonde's thread.
I'll copy some of what I wrote here just in case that gets closed and gone.

TO PLUTO:

First call this number and check their availability calendar with one of the operators. It is not visible on line.  They have it and deal with your requests verbally.   You can check the other Stations as well if Red Rock seems not practical.  I have 3 nights at Palace Station.  Those were much cheaper than Red Rock.
Here is the number 844-266-0048
Then go back to MyVegas and  buy the reward and call back to book.  You go to the main page and in the upper right hand corner it says "info" and just skim to Red Rock and you can see if the reward is available and buy that on line.  You get a confirmation number and then you call back  the clerk for booking.
Technically, you need your boarding pass number, but once my player's card was not handy and they really had that information in front of them.  However, a call to the Player's Club will give you your number over the phone.
They take a credit card just to secure the room for "incidentals."  Rooms are free midweek.  No resort fee.  At Palace Station they did say that for the 50% off weekends the resort fee was required as well.  Palace Station was just not a good deal for the weekend.  I could go to Eastside Cannery for the same money and not waste LP points.
Now, perhaps that calling is a bit of a hassle for you over on the other side of the pond.  If you want, you can give me a sense of when you might like to book, and I'll make the first call from here and check the dates for you.  Give me a few ifs and whatevers because your first choice might not work.
I am reading on many boards that offerings are fast tightening up because the pressure is now on Stations as it is the only way to get a few nights in a row using MyVegas and for some calendars the only way to get a room, period.  Theoretically, you can get 3 nights in a row midweek at all Stations, but actually that is pretty hard to do.  In my case it did not matter at Red Rock because Nov 1-2 were all that was available until sometime around November 15, and I had booked that up already.  The good thing is that a short easy phone call can get all questions answered as to availability.
Unlike booking with MLife these calls do not require a huge waiting time.  I was on hold looking for one Excalibur available room for 4 and a half hours and when I reached a person, half way through the booking, she disconnected. 
I called back and picked from the menu the Aria booking agent(number 1) who has little to no work.  She answered right away and was willing to book the Excalibur for me.  At Stations a few rings and a very helpful person can figure out a strategy, but you will want to book soon after calling and not wait to decide because the calendar will change as other folks book.
The prediction in my first conversation was that the rooms would be released into the fall in June, maybe by the end of May.  So the release of offers this week  is an early release and not everyone will know to try calling now for September/October/November.  I suspect that rooms will just go away.
The cool thing about these midweek nights is that they are free.  No resort fee.  That fee alone at Red Rock is $28 a night.  Oh, they also have a pool that is heated in winter to 70 plus degrees so folks swim in November.
I loved the buffet last year.  It was absolutely the best for not spiking my blood sugar (I control all on diet) and most helpful and tasty was four kinds of roasted veggies and four sugar free desserts. 
There is an airport shuttle for hotel guests.  I suspect that you could get it even if you arrived at the airport by WAX and not by air.  It picks up in Terminal 1 at ground zero. 


http://www.lasvegasadvisor.com/siteimages/citymaps/redrock.pdf
I decided to rent a car for  a week.  They are sure more expensive than when I used to rent years ago.  What that did was insure that I could go to Red Rock Canyon from the casino.  I expect I'll spend time there most of my stay. I love it there. Renting a car  for  a few days is comparatively expensive, so I decided to make a road trip of it.  I have not been in Laughlin in quite a few years and now there is not even a one day free bus.  I booked 3 nights at the Pioneer in Laughlin for under $90 total and after 2 nights in Red Rock I'll nip (nice use of that word, don't you think?) out for 3 days and then settle back downtown and return the car the next day.  I rented at the Golden Nugget Budget so it is convenient as I am booked 3 nights at the El Cortez just before the road trip, so I just nip down to the Golden Nugget, drive to Red Rock for 2 days, drive to Laughlin for 3 days and probably see Oatman, Kingman and the newly remodeled stuff at the Hoover Dam. And then I come home after dark, check in hopefully at the Four Queens on comp and return the car the next morning.
I'm taking two 20 plus day trips this year, one in September for my son's birthday, and one in November just before I fly to Denver for a family Thanksgiving there.  So, I'm planning on reducing my gambling quite a bit and just focusing my bankroll on the places where I get free rooms mailed based on my play.  I am going to seed Palace Station a bit, but I don't really think they will satisfy me as a low roller.  The Four Queens is very good to me and I was confused by the new comp policies, but I called for September 25-26-27-28 when the weekend rack rate is $169 and they gave me casino rate, some of it to be adjusted by my mailing when it comes.  The Four Queens covers my weekends in a way I don't think Palace Station will.
Let me know if I can help in any way and tell us how it all turns out.

******************************

RE:  "How do get around booking for September and November when it says you have to purchase your reward no more than 90 days before you redeem it? "




The 90 day period for rooms (and I think for shows as well) refers to the time you have from purchasing the reward to booking the date.  You have 90 days to book the time you wills stay in the hotel, but the time may be much later.
The available times are determined by a calendar.  Mlife prints the calendars.  Go to any room offer, click on it, look in the bottom right, click on "click for available dates" and you will see what you can book today.  In fact, the menu you get after clicking will let you see all the available dates for all the room awards for that property.
Some suggest that these calendars are updated with nights added, but I have not seen that happen.  What I see is that Bonus dates are added as a separate reward with their own calendars.  So, if you are playing along and thinking that a reward does not get sold out very often and you are hopeful, check the dates.  Mirage weekend rewards, for example, have just 2 nights on the calendar and those are in November.  So the reward does not get sold out, but it is not really there for most people.  It just looks like it is there. 
Booking can be a bit of work.  I booked two Mlife nights, one in September and one in November, both at Excalibur.  For the first I was on hold for one and a half hours.  For the second I was on hold for four and a half hours with three disconnects.  On the last one, I finally got smart and picked from the operator menu number 1, the operators that book Aria, where there are no room offers so they don't have much work.  I don't suppose the operator was supposed to book me at Excalibur, but I knew she could at least return my points to me. She booked me.
Ironically, the bait and switch aspect of Mlife is coming just at the time when they had softened me.  Their marketing had worked.  I actually am staying a week at Excalibur in November and never stay on the strip.  But I can see how the program could just get too expensive for all of us to hop on the freebies just by playing a game.


So don't think about Mlife as a place to earn room rewards. Think of it as a way to bet a lottery ticket for room rewards where once you have earned enough points, you get to elbow in with the millions of other players and compete to see who can buy a reward the fastest, who can book it the earliest, who can find an operator the quickest.
Station is much easier.  You get an operator right away who will help you plan.  At Palace Station that same operator gave me a few dollars off any rooms I'd like to buy to extend my stay just because I had a Boarding Pass card.  Then offering midweek nights with no resort fee means that the nights are actually free.  Mlife started that way with some properties then they saw the error of their give a ways.
Of course, the Catch 22 is that you have to have booked a room with Mlife to use ANY of their rewards.  No more nipping in for a quick free lunch at Aria while staying at the El Cortez.  That being said, in the future my strategy will be to book one night and capture two Aria buffets and some other reward with my paid night at perhaps Circus Circus, or at Excalibur when the rates are the low $22 plus $22RF.  $44 for a room, two buffets, and a show is a good frugal deal.  And then the rest of my points I'll use up at Stations.

Monday, May 04, 2015

The Thursday-night “Grand Laughs Comedy Show” at the Downtown Grand makes its first appearance in the Top Ten this month. Admission is free and there’s no drink minimum. Tickets are passed out at the casino entrance prior to the 8 pm show, but you don’t need them; just show up at the door and you’re in.

Station Casinos’ buffets (#6) are $5.99 for breakfast, $6.99-$7.99 for lunch, and $7.99-$9.99 for dinner and Sunday brunch at Palace, Boulder, Texas, Sunset, and Santa Fe Stations (except $10.99 for dinner and $13.99 on Saturdays at Santa Fe), and $1-$5 more for most meals at Green Valley Ranch and Red Rock; must show a Boarding Pass card.

Booking Excalibur on MyVegas

I have had two experiences booking Excalibur using MyVegas rewards and won't do that again.  The first is for a trip in September and the second for one in November.  Here are notes on the first and towards the bottom is a discussion board link on booking the November trip as well as a copy of my experiences.



Well, I booked the Excalibur for September 17th after seeing the Monte Carlo sold out over the past two days and being advised here that they just put in one a day and let everyone scramble. I was getting nervous that I'd lose the date on the calendar, and I wanted to stop being obsessive about checking the latest possibilities.
It was very inexpensive, a Bonus date for 15,000 LP's.
But the booking was just surreal agony.
I had trouble sleeping, so I decided to buy and book late last night I actually was on the phone, on hold, for an hour and a half before I got an answer. And then the woman took forever. She missed both the confirmation number and my Mlife number the first two times. She asked me three times for my name, for my zip code and for other information that should have been collected once. It got so I wondered if I had slept after all and this was a dream.
When I did book, all I got was a confirmation number. They don't email. I could call back and confirm if I wanted, she said. and I thought that was unlikely if it took an hour and half to get a response.
And of course, she had to tell me all the rules, twice, and ask about booking shows and food in a long speech that took forever. I can see why the phones are so backed up.
I played the lucky birds while I waited and read all my Facebook posts and most of the NT Times and all emails. I usually play off the chips at 40 grand a pop, but I lost and went down to 1 grand a spin just to keep myself amused. At that level I hit quite a few shared pots in a row, so some of my facebook friends should have had some action to redeem. That is unusual for me. By the time I had booked, I won back 3000 of the 15 grand I had payed.
I know I can't have any LP chips returned, but I wondered if between now and September I did manage to hit a refreshed Monte Carlo offer, and redeemed that, if I could use it in lieu of the Excalibur booking. I can only use one in a 30 day period, but perhaps they don't care how many I have bought. Anyone done that?
I will say that I think this makes the game poor marketing. I know that Mlife folks are treated well enough from reports on boards and such, but were I actually a newbie, I'd be hesitant to want to become a customer for cash after being kept waiting, asked over and over for the same information, and not give an emailed confirmation for my records. Mlife has not warmed my heart with this poor customer service.
The Station operators are a grand contrast. They don't have the calendar out as far as Mlife, but they answer the phone and are alert and efficient
************

NOVEMBER BOOKING.  Here is the thread that offered some suggestions. 

http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?120048-Canceling-and-changing-booking&p=1128587#post1128587

Here is my actual booking experience

Well, after 4 and a half hours on the three phones I finally got a clerk.
She took my dates and my numbers and my name.
She went away and let me listen to more music.
She was gone a long while.

And then she disconnected!!!

So, I decided to call the upscale bookers and just see if they could at least refund my points.
I hit 1 instead of 4 and in less than two minutes a lovely woman answered.

I explained my four and a half hour wait.
She said she thought she could book me.
And she did.
And she confirmed the September booking as well.

Then I went here.
https://reservations.mgmmirage.com/b...TOKEN=18221102

This was the best prices I could find for the other 6 days. Saturday was especially cheaper, $70 rather than $89.
I did not get a $20 food voucher tossed in, but it still was a better deal. I'd rather eat at Aria anyway.
I booked on line. If we book by phone they charge us a fee of $10.

I got all that done and hit the final button and
UP came a message that there was an error in my booking, and I should call the reservations desk.

Just what I needed after a long day. Another phone snafu.
So, I did.

As it turned out there was no error, and I was actually booked.
The woman at the counter was delightful. She listened to my story, and she made sure that the MyVegas Friday night was back to back with the Booked 6 nights so I would not have to change rooms.

She was just great.

I was worried that were I to need to cancel the MyVegas for sickness I would have to call and wait 4 and a half hours to cancel and still not get points back, but save getting billed as a no show.

No. If I have trouble and have to cancel, I'll just call the Excalibur reservations desk. They already had my booking from MyVegas, and they can cancel it if something happens in my life thwart my going .

Thanks to all of you for thinking through all the angles with me. I hope my experience gives you some insight into your next MyVegas redemption.


So............... this old frugal guy is going upscale for a week. I know for most of you the Excalibur is not upscale at all. For most MLife folks it is hardly acceptable. But I will enjoy it as variety in my trip, and I've covered one of those expensive weekends with a decent rate. I just have or two more weekends to consider depending on whether I fly in before or after Halloween. One I'll probably cover at Palace Station and perhaps the other at the Four Queens. Poker buddy Wild Bill usually goes for Halloween. He loves to use his camera on the costumes or lack there of.

I also expect the Orleans to give me a couple mailed free weekday nights. I can place those just before the Excalibur week, catch the Young at heart promotion on Wednesday with its two free buffets, and the Nite Kings in the lounge, and I will have an easy bus ride between the Orleans and the Excalibur.
Palace Station would be a good bet on MyVegas for the 13-14 weekend and 3 weekdays. I'll have to see how available their dates are once their MyVegas calendar comes out. I think we have to expect that they will be getting more pressure from the frugal end travelers who have all these MyVegas points to use up.

Also, there is no pressure for me to gamble at Excalibur, and that week is right at the end of my trip. Depending on how much bankroll is left, I'll play a bit of poker at Excalibur, at Mandalay Bay, at Monte Carlo. My last trip was one in which my rooms averaged over 23 days just $9.13 total, but it was a losing trip so the gambling took most of that profit. This won't be such a cheap trip.

If I must, I'll pay Monte Carlo to let me use the lazy river first thing in the morning with no tube. That is the absolute best workout for me.

I don't think I'll book an MLife room using MyVegas again. I'll buy three nights and then buy a $50 freeplay with the saved reward, and get the same value.
I did get plenty done while the phone ran the music on hold, but it was frustrating, especially when I got cut off.
Thanks again.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Orleans

This post updates the Orleans offerings.

http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?119457-Heading-to-Orleans&p=1127721#post1127721

In case this link gets old, Here is my post


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  1. #11
    Join Date
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    Love staying at Orleans too. You have to gauge if your newbies are the kind of folks that can deal with large crowds and waiting, July 4 on Strip with have plenty of both. If not Orleans is a good choice. The shuttle can get backed up from time to time in the afternoons and it will be a warm wait. You could probably cab it and split it 4 ways, total should be around $20. If you cab from the west side of the Strip, it will take 5 minutes or so, east side add another 5 minutes and $5.

    The only knock I have at Orleans is when you let your room door close on it's own, everyone in your wing knows it. They need to go to Palazzo and find out why theirs don't slam so hard.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    Midwest
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    Just got done staying at the Orleans for 2 nights. There are 3 wings to the Orleans rooms. North wing, rooms face east towards the strip and are even numbered. West facing rooms are odd numbered and face towards pool and the mountains. West wing, even numbered rooms face north, odd numbered face south with some obstructed view on the lower levels. East wing, even numbered face south and may have obstructed view, north facing rooms are odd numbered and have an excellent view of the parking area, downtown in the distance along with mountain views and some of the strip. All higher numbered rooms are closest to the elevators with the lower numbers at the end of the hallways. Rooms are large!
    We encountered a lot of families in the two days we were there. I am guessing that over the 4th it will be the same. This could affect your pool experience!
    BTW, we love the Orleans and have stayed there many times. Gotta go! Flight about to board back to ORD!

  3. #13

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    I stay there every trip for a few days on comps. The bonuses are as mentioned lower table limits on busy weekends, decent pool that isn't too packed, gym, cheap eats and the shuttle to/from the strip.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
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    averill park (near albany) ny
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    I like the triple play nickel VP, 9/7 Double Bonus with progressive Royals. It is about all I play. There are two banks, but I play the one between the buffet and the door on the side opposite to where the buffet is. There are about 10 machines and they sometimes fill up as the locals play them regularly.

    If you are there on a Wednesday, check out the Nitekings in the Lounge. They are just wonderful for old sounds. However, arrive a bit early if you want a seat in the first set. The place packs up.

    http://www.nitekings.com/nitekings/Welcome.html

    Be careful in the live poker room. It can be very tough, dominated by locals who all know each other, and once I suspected collusion.

    Check for promotions. Twice I've been there when just standing in line for a few minutes and showing a card got $5 free with some folks getting a good bit more than that.

    Outside and across the street is McMullan's Irish Pub. Great food and interesting ambiance.
    http://www.mcmullansirishpub.com/index.shtml
    “Never marry a casino; just have affairs until the love is gone.” -Jean Scott-

    http://vegasonthebus.blogspot.com/ - BUS INFORMATION

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    south padre island texas
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    1,068
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    Click or hover your mouse to enlarge image Originally Posted by dewey089 Click or hover your mouse to enlarge image
    I like the triple play nickel VP, 9/7 Double Bonus with progressive Royals. It is about all I play. There are two banks, but I play the one between the buffet and the door on the side opposite to where the buffet is. There are about 10 machines and they sometimes fill up as the locals play them regularly.

    If you are there on a Wednesday, check out the Nitekings in the Lounge. They are just wonderful for old sounds. However, arrive a bit early if you want a seat in the first set. The place packs up.

    http://www.nitekings.com/nitekings/Welcome.html

    Be careful in the live poker room. It can be very tough, dominated by locals who all know each other, and once I suspected collusion.

    Check for promotions. Twice I've been there when just standing in line for a few minutes and showing a card got $5 free with some folks getting a good bit more than that.

    Outside and across the street is McMullan's Irish Pub. Great food and interesting ambiance.
    http://www.mcmullansirishpub.com/index.shtml
    i play the aces bonus there. I hit the bonus once after going 3 nearly 4 hour without a 4oak, I had lost nearly $350 before I hit it and it was the first night and morning of my trip!

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    Midwest
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    The Mardi Gras bar now has brand new VP machines. actually, they are multi-game machines. Played 9/6 DDB there. A couple other bars have new machines and better pay tables on some games. Dewey, you are right about McMullan's. We went there for the first time this trip. We left asking ourselves why haven't we been there before.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
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    averill park (near albany) ny
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    Here is relevant bus information:

    Many of us start our trips at the Orleans because we can take the WAX, get off at the NYNY stop, get the 201 and be at the Orleans. This route is also a way for bus riders to go from the Orleans to downtown without taking luggage on strip buses.
    Next trip I'll go from the Orleans to the Excalibur for a MyVegas free night. After that I will go downtown or I'll take the WAX to the airport and then the free Palace Station shuttle (for hotel guests) to that casino for a few days.
    The city buses have the advantage of a full 24 hour schedule. The free shuttles when I was last there did not start until 9:30 AM. So if you wanted to start with breakfast at Aria, you needed the bus.
    Or a cab. A cab from the Orleans to the back entrance of Aria was just $10.

    Keno (who just posted) tipped us off about getting the senior discounted 5 day pass at Walgreen's
    I did that last trip on his advice. I would always call ahead, but they said that they never run out. Here are my notes from my last trip:

    On one board Keno 60 posted about using the Walgreen's on Decatur and Tropicana, just a short walk from the Orleans to buy bus passes. This worked just great. The Walgreen's is 24 hours so I could go up very early at 5 AM when I could not sleep and had nothing much else to do.


    I thought the walk was very safe and easy.


    There were some pretty girls working the street, but they are not aggressive or much of a bother.


    Walgreen's said that they don't run out of the 15 and 30 day passes with senior discount there, so we can count on them.


    While I was there I picked up some snacks and a large gallon of water that cost just 99 cents as opposed to the small bottles for $2.25 for sale at the Orleans.


    Along the way I noticed a Bank of America that would be a handy place for me to get more gambling money were I to run short.


    Also, if I wanted some food outside the casino that great Irish Pub McMullen's is open 24 hours and there is a Jack in the Box not far from the Walgreen's.


    The 201 is great for getting to the strip and for getting out to the Pinball Hall of Fame
    http://www.pinballhall.org/

    Also, the free shuttles will take luggage and load it on the bus, Even my large bag was welcomed. So next trip I'll be at the Gold Coast and then go to the Orleans by shuttle with luggage.

    _______________________
    I almost tried this painting adventure one trip, but I did not make reservations and the class was cancelled when I got there. The woman leading it said to be sure to call. I'd have had my own private class had I called. Generally, however, it is seen as a fun group experience. And then there is getting the painting home on plane.
    http://buzznbrushes.com/

    ____________________
    There are often specials at the movie theater. On senior day I get the $4 special. Young at Heart Day is grand because it is very easy to squeeze out a brunch and a supper buffet for free without points. Then too, you might meet someone interesting in line as I did last trip
    http://vegasbirthdaybash.blogspot.co...t-orleans.html

    The lounge is a grand place to go dancing. No drink pressure but good service and as I remember the wine was only about $4.