Friday, December 01, 2000

For a really low volatility pattern of play that keeps house advantage at a minimum and heightens entertainment, try this slow hedge system.

One of you (in our case, husband) places a don't pass bet until he establishes a point and then lays full odds. He makes no other bets. The other ( in our case the wife) skips the come out roll, and then places a Come Bet or two or three with full odds.

Then, generally, (unless you decide at some point to bet that the shooter is on a long roll) you both wait for ALL bets to win or lose and then start the pattern over again.

Unlike the do-don't pattern, you are not actually betting against one another, only to be worn down by the boxcar double loss. But you are making the seven do different things to your bets, so it is less likely to have huge losses or huge wins and a smaller bank roll will give you just as much fun and the same good house advantage, plenty of time to drink the free drinks and more opportunity to quit a little ahead when it is time for the buffet.

However, if the right numbers come in the right patterns, you can have a big win, or on a long roll without sevens, deciding to replace come bets can let you win with the table, or if the table is choppy with point, seven, point, seven, you will also clean up because you win the don't and the initial come bet. If you like to roll, the choppy table is the best scenario because it will clear the table of players while it doubles your bankroll and give you plenty of turns at rolling the dice.

What is also fun is you can pretend to have this great fight where the wife says, You are sooooo stupid for betting on the dark side against the shooter, What is the matter with you?"

And he answers, "Just wait until you see how the dice fall out, then you can talk out the other side of yo face."

And she retorts, "Yeah, well we'll see how the dice' fall out' mister BIG ROLLER, and you better hope they fall out on the good guys side or you'll see what doesn't fall IN when we go back upstairs. "

It is so much fun to play with the table superstitions. We have had a blast doing it. The fake argument also gets rid of those stares the old guys give you for betting the dark side if you try this pattern by yourself. One time it even inspired an old guy to make an extra bet, "for the little lady" just to give her support in the fight of the good against the evil. Almost like coming to her rescue in a domestic dispute.

And of course, since you are working with the same bankroll, you both have plenty of action because whatever you might pretend to say, you are hoping, in your heart, that both bets will win.

Since you have two people watching the payouts, you reduce the chance for dealer error, not that the dealers will get very bored with you during play fighting, or lose their sense of how you are betting. Often they will get involved in the banter and the drama too which is a good thing because it keeps their concentration on the outcome of the game.

We usually decide where to stop the pattern of betting and wait for reconciliation of the bets by the volatility of the number that becomes the don't pass point. If a don't ten is thrown, and then a do six, we will be more likely to take a couple more come numbers than if a six is the don't and then a ten is the come. In fact, if we want to play conservatively when a don't six or eight show, we will wait for that to win or lose. leaving it bare without any come numbers following it. Or if we have a good bankroll for liberal betting and a ten don't is followed with a six come and then an eight come, we just keep putting up come bets until another number shows, hoping that lots of sixes and eights pop up in a row before the seven hits. That is a great money maker too.

An of course, when you don't play together, one person can manage all of this quite well except for the play fight.

Generally, after the first don't bet I take come numbers depending on the number that was thrown for the don't. Again, this does not change House Advantage, but it wager more money when the house has the least chance.
If the Don't is 6-8, I simply wait for it to win or lose.
If the Don't is 5-9 I make at least two come bets.
If the Don't is 2-10 I make at least three come bets.

If I have not lost money in a session, and any of the 6-8 come bets pay, I make one more come bet and continue after every 6-8 pay until there are no 6-8 come bets waiting for decisions.

Finally, while I may get a few negative stares playing solo when I make the first "don't" bet, I just dismiss any negativity with " That is just a hedge" and lots of cheering for the Come Numbers with no complaints or whinning when the Don't loses and the same verbal kudos to the good roller. Generally, I am not excluded from the general good spirits of the table. The exception is when the rolls follow a pattern of immediately establishing a point and then bringing the devil seven on the next roll. The table loses, but I win both bets and it makes people mad. However, those sorts of choppy tables mean that generally craps players will leave soon.

Wednesday, August 16, 2000

car rental issues

note:Ignore the date of posting on this post. It is current as of 2008. I just wanted to bury it here for easy access by one link and yet not have it in the sequential way of my blog.

I was leaning in the direction of renting a car for my next trip. But after hours of researching how insurance works and doesn't, I am not very comfortable renting without the full waivers and that puts the price up pretty high.

Before you dismiss these issues, be sure you read a bit and talk to more than one insurance agent. My State Farm agent did a 360 degree turn around after telling me for years that I was covered.

And using the Visa may not do it either.

Here is what happens.

You get in an accident. Your insurance covers you minus your deductable up to the amount you carry on the car you drive at home. So I drive a 99 Saturn. Odds are I would still have quite a bit to pay if I totaled a brand new rental expecially after one of those free upgrades that come along.


You get in an accident. Your insurance does not cover loss of use, but the Visa does. Read the fine print. The Visa demands the car rental company send them a a fleet utilization log that shows that while the car was out of service, they did not have other rentals. Guess what? The Rental Car company just ain't gonna send no log So who is responsible for the loss of use fees? Well, You are.


You have an accident and the car is damaged. The rental company decides not to fix it but just to sell it off as salvage. You are stuck with the difference in the full value of the car and what they get. Does the insurance company cover that cost? Well, not all the time. So a $35,000 sold off at $7,000 leaves $28,000 for you to pay. And the rental company is conservative about what they will fix and put back out there because if a rental has a damage history, it leaves them open for lawsuits in a future accident. They like to get rid of the cars and start over. Especially since someone else pays.

And even if things go smoothly, you are responsible for the damage until you get your insurance company to pay for it. Any accident may raise your premiums so you pay for it over time for the rest of your life. And you better not have a drink. Drinking, speeding, reckless behavior, having your car impounded by police all void insurance policies as does letting someone else drive for a while who not on the rental contract. I have a family fight every time we rent a car about that one. it is so easy to get tired and just let the kid drive for a while.

Basically, I am back to deciding that car rental is sort of like playing video poker. The Royal never comes and never comes and never comes..............and then when you least expect it........there it is. Only the Royal is a good thing in Video poker . The casino pays off. The accident is a not good. You pay.

From what I gather from my son who as a financial advisor and talks to insurance agents every day, the entire issue is being debated around the agents' coffee meets. My own State Farm Agent is doing some research. Perhaps she will come up with some definitive angle. My son recommends getting the waiver.

I did find that renting from some companies using AARP will give you a cap on anything you are liable for.; the cap is 3 grand some places and 5 grand others.
I also found this site that sells a cheaper policy than the car rental places offer.
This one at $9 a day is nice but not for me as I am a NY resident

This one has no deductable for $13 a day and you don't have to rent on this site to add the insurance:


Travel guard offers the same type of coverage and seems to have pretty good press.


However, this is still an insurance where you must do the work of collecting. If anything does not work the way you hope it will, you are still responsible.

I also found out that Visa does an easier job of negotiating with the car companies than Mastercard and that American Express promises much more than they deliver. They require a log.

But all insurance leaves you responsible to have a claim approved and doing the paperwork. What the rental car places give you is not insurance but a waiver of their right to recover money in case of accident, theft, damage. That is why they can ask such a huge fee for the waiver. It is not covered by insurance regulation, so they can ask whatever the market will bear.

I will keep asking questions. If I find out anything, I'll add it to this post. In the mean time, I know this adds anxiety to those of you who rent everytime you go to Vegas and are proud of the $9 a day you manage with codes and specials. I am one of you. Frugal to the bone. Just don't dismiss the issue of liability because someone once told you that you were covered. I asked my agent if State Farm would send me something in writing, and she just laughed. Take the time to review the issues and make the agent focus on Nevada which has different rental laws and sketch out the loss of use and the selling off the car as salvage senarios for the agent. Some states do not allow the company to charge loss of use, for example.

Here are some articles to read around this issue.


This seemed the most comprehensive article. Don't neglect the comment section as that has more information.



This one discusses the AARP cap at $3,000. He mentions that Alamo is a participant but the AARP did not include that company, just National so Alamo may have dropped the AARP cap. Alamo also has some cheaper waiver deal that covers the first $3000 of damage which would be the large majority of accidents. Less risk on the smaller amounts.

Here is an older article, but I like the questions it raises:



Happy motoring.

Sunday, May 21, 2000

Sunday, March 19, 2000

Tropicana Pinball boilerplate

Just hop the bus and go to Pecos.

The Hall of Fame is located in the plaza on Pecos and Tropicana. There is a sign to tell you the correct corner. You need to walk back to the end of the plaza and you'll see it. Eventually, it will be up by the Liberace Museum but they are having some political troubles with the move and it won't be for a while. Good, however to call to see if they have moved before you go. The number is in that site above. The Liberace Museum is also on Tropicana and can be reached by the same bus.
Generally, the bus has a recorded caller who tells you the stops, but if that is not happening, just ask the driver to tell you when you get to Pecos. Leave yourself a half hour for the ride. As I remember the stop was on Tropicana along the side of the Tropicana Casino. You will see it.

For $4 you buy a 24 hours pass from the driver unless you are sure you are only going to make a trip out and back and then it is $1.75 each way. You can use the 24 hour pass to ride the Deuce for another dollar each ride.

Either way HAVE THE CORRECT CHANGE. The driver does not make change.

If you want to go for breakfast ( the Pinball museum does not open until eleven) and get a taste of El Salvadore, this place is in the plaza directly across Pecos from the plaza with the museum


Located in the plaza across Pecos from the plaza where the Pinball Museum is located, this little spot served me one of the nicest breakfasts of my trip. I was the only gringo. There was a large table of men sitting more than eating and I wondered if they were looking for day work. My waitress was a pretty young girl. Passing through was a heavy older woman with smiles. She had a cane and wore a loud colorful dress.
This is not an expensive restaurant interpreting Salvadoran food for gingos. It is the kind of place I often ate in costa Rica or Mexico. Small, with diner tables, maps of Central American countries on the wall and two televisions going in Spanish. One was a heavy romance complete with some good sex scenes and an overly dramatic attempt at suicide. The other television presented the news.
I loved it all, but the food was the best and I do not even know the names of all the tastes. No one asked me how I wanted the eggs. Next time I will say, but they were fine. The rest was great. There were at least four tastes: a serving of gallo pinto which was blander than the Costa Rican variety with that special sauce, but still so good I did not know if I wanted any Tapatio hot sauce or not. One chorizo. Not the Mexican variety of ground up meat but a fat link that tasted more like Spanish chorizo. I loved it. One mixture of potato and vegetable wrapped in corn silk, like an empanada with no pastry. Something I can't remember. With all this came two of the most wonderful, hot circles of bread. I drank horchata, listened to the Spanish banter, watched the overly dramatic soap opera and just had a pleasant morning emersed in Central America. I'll be back there again. Pupusas are on sale for 99 cents on Wednesday. There were many foods including the soup of seven seas. Much of the menu was in Spanish but most was translated and there were pictures of some of the foods on wall.

Need a Haircut??
If you want get a great haircut and see some cool
Western stuff, drop in at Cliff's and tell him Dewey sent you.

Cliff's barbershop and Western museum

The swinging doors to Cliff's

I finally bought a haircut at Cliff's barbershop, located just a few doors down from the Pinball Hall of Fame, Pecos and Tropicana.
Cliff was a fine, gentle fellow. He fussed with the cutting, gave me a fine beard trim, and was deft with the razor.
Packed in the room is a wild assortment of odd antiques and curios reflecting the American West.
When I asked to take his picture, he deftly twirled that foot long pair of scissors as if they were his sixgun and when they clicked to a close he was in his pose by the barber chair. It was great fun!
Cliff used to cut the hair of the stars in Hollywood.
If you decide to say hello or have your haircut, tell him Dewey says Howdy

Friday, February 04, 2000

Golden Gate

I am not sure if renovating the rooms has changed the noise that carries from the hallway in the morning. Also both the closet and the bathroom is small. Otherwise this is a great bargain. IN May this is going for $19 on even OVER THE WEEKEND. Damn, I have not seen a deal like that in years.


before we start, lets take a peak back at the old rooms at the golden gate. i had this one about two years ago:

this year i booked three comped nights, knowing full well what i would be getting and being absolutely fine with it. i check in and get into the elevator that smells like a ho dog and off to floor three i go.

as i am walking down the hallway, this is what the room doors look like. note, they all come all the way out to the hallway:

then i get to MY room and look at how the door is sunken in, meaning my room is going to be smaller than all the other rooms.

i open the door expecting the worst and OH MAN LOOK LOOK LOOK LOOK LOOK AT WHAT I SAW!!!!

how freaking adorable is this room???

now before you go screaming "I WANT TO STAY THERE!!!" remember, this is the golden gate. it is the oldest hotel in vegas.

look at the size of the closet compared to the size of my suitcase:

here is the bathroom. that tiny entrance looking thing on the back left? thats the shower. you take a step down into it. it has no shower curtain or glass door, its just open. and SMALL.

i made the mistake of leaning on the bathroom counter and thats when i discovered the counter is no longer really attached to the wall/sink and i almost ripped the damn thing out of the wall. i was scared to breathe around it afterwards.

my view was of the could hear traffic all night long, not to mention the fremont street experience.

my room also had no heat. i dont mean that cold air came out of the heater, i mean that it would not turn on at all, not the heat, not the air conditioner, nothing. nada.

i didnt call and complain because i didnt discover it until late at night when i was all exhausted and in my pajamas. i figured i could make it until morning and it turns out i was absolutely fine without it so i never called.

the flat screen television is nice and large but it doesnt get many channels and no in-room movies (WHY ARE YOU WATCHING MOVIES IN VEGAS ANYWAAAAAAYYYYYYYYY?)

(ps - i watched movies in vegas on this trip).

the last time i made a post about a hotel that included the problems of the room, i clearly stated "i wasnt expecting a suite at the bellagio and i didnt call and complain because i dont care" i got a response one of lva's most-in-need-of-medication posters flipping out on me for "what were you expecting? a suite at the bellagio?" and a very lengthy bashing for being so much of an idiot i didnt call to complain about the room.

so again i reiterate, i didnt call and complain because I DONT FREAKING CAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

im just stating the facts.

and i was actually MORE excited about this room than my penthouse suite at the bellagio. so take THAT!

i would absolutely definitely without a doubt stay here again. hell id even pay for it. HELL i am considering modeling my living room after this room. no joke.

i got a phone call at around 11:00 am on my last day asking me if i was checking out or if i wanted to extend my stay. i let them know id be checking out. when i went down about half an hour later, i said "checking out" and got asked what room, i said '348" and got the immediate response "jennifer, right?". no looking at a computer, eyes never came off me, he just knew 348 belonged to jennifer. so either this man has a brain like a computer or maybe i was the only guest in the entire hotel this weekend.

just kidding about that last part. i know there was at least one other guest because i passed a door with a note on it that said "please come to the front desk, we need to move you to a different room".

wish i were still here





I knew what to expect, but I wanted to see the old rooms before they get renovated by the new owner. I liked my stay because it reminded me of visiting my grandmother's house when I was quite small.
It would be good to be small in a Golden Gate room. There is not much space to be large.
I had three 99 cent shrimps before they doubled the price. I guess for a while I can still get that price with a player's card. Sorry to see it go as it is a fine meal for me now that I have begun some mild dieting. A free lunch buffet and the shrimp make enough for a day.
I enjoyed the old feel of the place, like being in a cheap hotel in the 1930's. I slept well and then in the morning I awoke to the sounds of housekeeping chattering in Spanish. The walls are very, very thin and the Spanish maids had never learned about quiet voices.
My window faced an inner courtyard and the entire experience reminded me of waking up decades ago in our apartment in Alcala de Henares, Spain to the sounds of the Spanish women talking full volume over the laundry on their back terrazas. These faced a similar inner courtyard that was stung with lines and pulleys to let them hang out wash.
It was a wonderful emotional flashback.
Here at the Golden Gate there was a fine old table and chairs and a coffee maker. The paper was delivered under the door. So I could brew my Earl Gray tea and sip from a fine ceramic cup (Walgreens 99 cents) and write up notes for my coming trip report.
I loved my two mornings there.

I hated the parking. Free valet was mandatory.
I parked twice for only 5 minutes, tipped once, and stiffed the other time. It was crowded there in that small lot and there was no going to your own car. The valet was also the protector against theft.
One time there were just two cars and we waited over ten minutes to get service. That was the time I did not tip.
I would hate to do that in August.
I was happy to be returning the rental car after only one day. I am much happier when I am free of a car in Vegas.
I was sorry that the Golden Gate stopped giving free decks of cards out for ACG coupons. You can get one free deck with a Freemont Experience Coupon when you sign up for a Player's Card.

The piano player late at night when I was returning tired was just wonderful in a Casablanca sort of way. I hope the renovation will preserve that old style Vegas flavor. The old lamps and the wooden doors are wonderfully rich and make up for the tiny bathrooms and the electrical wiring in exterior tubes along the walls. (To plug in my sleep apnea machine I had to give up charging my phone.)
The television was terrible. There were few stations and some were snowy. I'd hate to be stuck in that room with an illness. What a contrast to the flat screen TV at 4 Queens!
But in 1930 no one had television.
And without it, the paper and the Earl Grey and the sounds of Spanish seemed even a greater luxury.


These photos from another person's trip report aer so like my room that I thought I'd post them here. These rooms are all gone now, all "upgraded" and new. No need to go back really: