Thursday, February 05, 2004



As we mover ever closer to big party, the numbers increase and the prices go down. The late December party goers have 4 nights starting on Dec 24 reduced from $59 to $47. Again the discounter i4Vegas offers the low rates and Orleans matches.

The most astounding first time gambler promotion I have ever seen is still active. 100 dollars to be gambled at absolutely no risk of losing.


Show news was a bit more limiting, with some of the favorites dark for December hiatus, but Ka and Mystere are still open most days. Other choices will probably be available even at the last minute, perhaps using half priced tickets.

Video poker news is a bit dim. The Double Bonus 10/7 is drying up at the Orleans, but the latest news is that the quarter versions are still operating. All the bar versions have been downgraded, however, so there goes the fantasy of having a free Beamish at the Irish bar while playing.


I scored three different mailings of people wanting to give away unused 2006 Orleans free drink and 2 for 1 buffet coupons. In November, the new 2007 American Casino Guide comes out, so there will be a couple in there. Let me know if you would like to buy this book, and when I order, I’ll get you one. I will order in a week or so.

Although it says 2007, the coupons are good as soon as the book is published and through Dec of 2007. It is full of good articles on all the games and a nice bunch of coupons, but I don’t really recommend buying one for just a few days in Vegas, especially if you are strip focused. However, if you are going to Vegas again before the end of 2007, it is well worth the price. List price is about $17. I never pay that. I will get an offer soon for $11 plus $3.50 shipping, and have the book in early November. Just using the $10 in free play coupon at the Palms (again a first timer’s promotion) will get you most of the price of the book back.

You can see the coupons in the 2007 at this link:

I have increased the pace of planning information added to the Blog. To check to see what I’ve posted in the last month, go to the right and click on “September” under “Archives.” That will skip the Calendar post and give you all the little posts for that month. And of course, as I add more, all but the very newest posts will then fall into the October Archives.


Some reported difficulty using Bulletin Board links on the Blog. These require you to register if you are going to post, but should be free and easy for you to read. If you want information in link form and the link does not work, please let me know. I can probably find a way to get you in. If not I can go in and retrieve the information you want. And knowing that I am posting bad links helps me correct the Board. I test every link on my computer, but then I have been there before so it may be different on your computer.


The bus that goes along the strip and downtown can be a long ride during rush hour times, but it can be a cheap tour of the strip and the neon after dark. Unfortunately, on some buses they started adding a black mesh and advertisement which you can barely see thru. Still, if you manage to get an upper deck front seat, the view is clear. And as of today anyway not all buses have been fitted with that mess (according to locals posting from Vegas.)


While there will not be anything to match those Orleans prices, there will be some strip deals emerging as the time towards December draws near. I am unaware of anyone looking for a strip booking, so let me know if you have something in mind and I’ll research your dates and see what the lowest price is. At some point it will even be a good deal to book casinos that will not match discounter prices or allow money back for cancelations. It is hard to know when to lock that in. Also, I expect any day to get two free rooms for three days in the Dec 4-9 week when everything is so outrageous. Slink and I will use one, but I’ll have the second one open so those of you watching that week, keep your eyes glued to these newsletters.


Remember that I enjoy finding the answers to any Vegas questions?

Janice sent me a 1964 post card of her Mom in Vegas at Diamond Jim’s Nevada Club and asked if the casino was still there and did I know what it was.

Here is that postcard and how I found out the answer:

Jan’s mom has outlasted Diamond Jim and his casino and will be in Vegas again, but she has moved up from the Nevada Club to the Bellagio.

Lots of changes since 1964.


''Paciencia y barajar''
( Patience and shuffle the cards)
Miguel de Cervantes

Perfect for a poker player.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004


I have been hoping that Southwest would open booking by this time, but so far it is just through Dec 10th. I’ll let you know as soon as that happens as I expect the flights may fill up fast. It would be nice if at the same time they ran a Vegas sale.

However, some of the hotels are beginning to do some early promotions. Here is a deal from the Gold Coast for those of you going from December 10th - 14th or 17th - 21st.

Buy one night at $40 and get the second night free.

December 10-14 mention promo code BUY 1119
DECEMBER 17-21 mention promo code BUY 1210

call 1-888-402-6278

Oddly, the fine print says that you don’t get the free room rebated until checkout.

The Gold Coast is one of those casinos that matches prices of any discounters, so you can book this deal and still adjust later if the price goes down.

Not much other Vegas news. It looks like Slink and I will book El Cortez for the Dec 4-10 days, room together, and split the cost. I cannot recommend this spot to those of you who are newbies as it is a couple blocks off the beaten downtown track, a 20 minute bus ride to the glitz of the strip and quite a bit downscale, but the price is right. Also, I expect to get some free night offers at the el Cortez so I can book using coupons now and then change to free later. If you are coming in during that time, getting anxious to book somewhere, and money is a deciding factor, give me a call and we can talk about whether the El Cortez is acceptable for you too. The cowboys have raised the prices most places for that time (dec 4-9) so far. However, I did see rates that approach reason at the Stratosphere and at Sahara, so those might be more reasonable alternatives getting you a bit closer to the strip. It is a hard call to make, but a good time to be thinking about it.

More people are talking to me about coming and most will be in Vegas for the first time. It should be fun. Some of the conversation was around how the trip would go relative to time with me, so let me just outline again how I envision this Birthday Bash.

I don’t see myself as an on-the-scene tour guide. Most of my guiding should be helping you to plan BEFORE you go. I can give you advice and help you figure out how you might get to where you would like to go, but I won’t be going everywhere with you.

My vision is not that we hang out 24/7, but that we meet up at a certain time in a place of your choice and do some things together. You can determine how much or how little. The easiest thing to do together is to enjoy a meal, but I might be up for many other things too.

Those of you who are newbies will probably want to walk the strip a lot and see all the sights and I can recommend pretty cheap shows that I have enjoyed, but which I have seen perhaps too many times to want to go again.

The idea is to make this a very flexible holiday, hassle free, and with no obligations on either of our parts. Often our meetings will be intimate, but sometimes I might mix some of you together. You can let me know if you want to do that or not. It will be relatively easy for me to get around, as I will have a bus pass, so I can find you pretty much anywhere and if time needs to be flexible, I can meet you at the nearest poker room at your convenience. Having a cell phone is a great aid in coordinating too.

I expect now that the December promotional offers will begin to trickle in, so if you want to be frugal, block out your times and think about booking things that can be canceled or changed without penalties. IT IS STILL TOO EARLY TO BOOK AT DISCOUNTERS BECAUSE THERE YOU PAY A PENALTY WHEN YOU CHANGE PLANS, but not too early to use those discounter rates to get a sense of pricing.

If you can think of any questions not covered on the Blog, write me and let me know. I love looking for answers. Also let me know if you make some decisions. Tell me where and when you book, or let me know if you just won't make it after all or if you are going to decide at the last minute.

Looking forward to seeing you.


Tuesday, February 03, 2004


Well, it is pouring raining again. Where are we, Seattle OR London??? Anyway, I can’t finish the dock. I put in stairs into the water yesterday. My stiff sore muscles and the rain tell me that today is a rest day.

So let’s do a Vegas update.

Each day a couple more people sign on for the Vegas Birthday Bash in December. And deals are starting to come too. It is very exciting!

Here is where my planning is:


I locked in a good price for a compact car(Dodge Neon size) at Dollar. Dollar $98 plus all the obnoxious taxes, but minus 5% by using a Promo code FF05. For details on car rental see the post below.

It is always cost effective to rent by the week. If you are there for three or four days, see if the weekly rental is just as cheap. Sometimes you can get a few extra hours that way.

Remember that it is never too early to put in a car reservation. They do not take a charge card. If prices go down, you can always reserve again. If you decide just to use the buses and taxis and free shuttles, you can always cancel. In fact, I made three reservations today to keep my options open.


I had locked in the Orleans 15-27 and I added the Gold Coast 14-19. (rates listed on the Blog) Where I stay will depend on what Elizabeth does. She may not come now until the 20th. So I’ll be double booked on hotels too. Probably soon to triple booked if my past experience is any judge. I like to keep my options open. Still, it will be hard to beat the Gold Coast prices.

For now the after DEC 10th i4Vegas prices FOR BARBARY COAST, ORLEANS, GOLD COAST (BUT DON’T BOOK WITH THEM BOOK WITH THE HOTEL DIRECTLY) are still good, but they may be gone any day, so I suggest you book for insurance. They take the money for the first night, but as long as you remember to call and cancel up until 72 hours of arrival, you get it back if you change your mind.

BAD NEWS on hotels is that things seem to be booking tight during the cowboy time. My usual upscale and nice places (Orleans and Gold Coast) are generally booked, but even the nice tower rooms at Downtown’s frugally downscale (and a lot less nice) El Cortez have sold out. Very odd. Given those prices, for people coming before Dec 10th, especially just for the weekend, it may be just as cheap to go to a strip casino. Someone will be trying to offload rooms. We’ll have to look around and see. I keep thinking that Terrible’s will have a huge special since they have expanded and have these newly opened hotel rooms. That is a frugal choice, but you really need to have a car as it is maybe a fifteen minute walk from the strip. On the up side terrible’s is near the Hard Rock Casino and that huge collection of guitars and outfits worn by rockers of all eras. And on the way to the strip is Ellis Island where you can get a nice steak dinner for $5 and a $5 matchplay coupon for blackjack. (This is considered the best deal in all of Vegas) Once Terrible’s offered $9 rooms for all of December. If you hit those prices, you could afford to add a rental car at $20 a night and be good to go.

let Casino Boy tell you about the place:

Well, I will keep looking. Perhaps after the cowboys are all booked, the prices will lighten up a bit. It is December after all!! Get real Vegas!!


I did some research on going to the rodeo. It is pretty expensive. Actually, all the tickets are already sold, but then they are resold by numerous sites. They actually have one deal where you buy a seat that has been already sold and go there, hoping no one will take the seat. Weird. Anyway, if anyone is going early and wants that adventure, let me know. You will see the cowboys anyway as they will be all over town and lots of free country music too. There are some sites on the Blog.


Talking to an agent gave me an estimated release of December bookings sometime in July. So if you are waiting for one of those direct flights, keep checking. I am waiting to book early because they now limit the seating for those with free tickets so the 28th may be especially hard to get.



I realize that just as there are people who are firming up dates and plans, there are some who know they won’t go and don’t want to be reminded, and others who just don’t want this crazy e-mailed newsletter cluttering their boxes. Don’t be shy. If you would like to be removed, just send me a nice crisp $100 bill....or you can just ask too.....That works.

Monday, February 02, 2004


With summer just around the corner, it seems to me that we should begin planning for:


But then, that’s just me.

There are not many room deals in Vegas just yet. But there are some ways you might want to begin planning if you think you still might like going to the Moveable Feast Birthday Bash.

Some of you have already decided on an area where you’d like to stay, but others might like looking at various areas and making that decision.

It may also be a time to decide when you are going. I am there from about December 4th until December 27th. For some of that time I will want to wander over to the Colorado River to Laughlin, but I’ll want to decide that late in the planning and go when you are not in Vegas. Otherwise I will be at the Orleans or probably staying downtown simply because that will be where I get the best room deals. I expect that by the time all the five boys arrive, closer to Christmas, we will all be at the Orleans, a comfortable midsized casino just off the strip.

Wherever I stay, I can easily meet you anywhere, so you can stay anywhere. If you are new to Vegas, staying somewhere near the strip is probably the best choice.

What I’d like to do is start a calendar of the dates people plan on coming and post that on the Blog so those of you who would like to meet up with other people can see what they are thinking. I only use first names on the Blog, so if you don't know who someone is, e-mail me and I'll tell you.

The only real event in December is the National Rodeo Finals. The NRF is to rodeo what the World Series is to baseball. It runs in from late November and ends December 9th. During this time, cowboys from all over the country take over Vegas. There is country music everywhere and the lounges are filled with what looks like a Western costume party, but is the authentic thing. On big screens you can go and watch bull riding, packed in with the cowboys and hear all the whooping and the comments on techniques and details. Some places are starting to advertise some rodeo specials where you get rooms and rodeo tickets for a set price. If you are interested in seeing that, let me know.

Otherwise the town gets quiet. That may discourage some people, but most folks our age enjoy less traffic and fewer people and no lines at the best buffets. Some shows go dark, but others have more tickets available, so it is a tradeoff.

One thing not to plan is pool time. Vegas is not a winter escape into warmth. It is cool enough that the outdoor pools, even if heated, are a bit uncomfortable and while the pansies will still be blooming, you will need a light jacket in the evening. There are a few hotels with heated pools, so if that is crucial I can steer you in that direction, but generally it is not time to sunbathe with lots of bikinis.

I think it is a bit too early yet to lock in airfare. Southwest has not yet begun to book for December and when I did a search, I thought fares a bit high.

But I have included a good airfare search engine in the links section of the birthday blog. It is the ITA software engine used by Expedia and has more options, listing everything flying except the small carriers like Southwest and Jetblue.

Deciding which dates you would like to travel will prepare you for grabbing some of those fine Southwest direct flights as soon as they become available. The advantage of that direct route is not just that it is shorter and less of a hassle, but it has no layovers in wintersnow cities, so as long as you can get out of Albany and back in again, you don’t have to worry about getting stuck or delayed in places like Chicago.

I once went out on time in a January snowstorm, when almost everyone else was stranded (even Washington airport was closed. Southwest was crippled ; it is their hub) but not the flight directly to Vegas. I also like it because it gives me time to pack the day I leave and the time change still gives me a full evening in Las Vegas. It then leaves in the afternoon in Vegas and arrives near midnight here, making the time transition a bit easier for work the next day. I also like to pick my seat and pack my bags once and know my luggage is riding with me. I have never had lost luggage on this flight, only on those where I had to change aircraft at the layover.

It is never too early to lock in a rental car. Sometimes I lock in three or four until the last week and then cancel the ones I do not need to use. Most do not take a credit card, so making a reservation really means locking in a price for yourself. Whether or not to have a car in Vegas is a decision to make also. It is a huge place, so hopping from one spot to another is advantageous. It will not be difficult to drive there in December, and parking is a dream. You can Free Valet park at most casinos for a dollar tip.

On the other hand rental cars may not be what you want. Click here to see just why.

So buses are pretty good if a bit slow at times. A 24 hour (from time of purchase) day pass can be bought right from the driver. It lets you get on and off the double decker “Deuce” bus along the strip and is good on any Vegas bus too, so if you wanted to ride off the strip, you could. Buses along the strip come about every 20 minutes.

A number of you have let me know you are serious about coming. If you have a set time, or know you are definitely coming, let me know. And, serious or not, I’ll be glad to plan any part of even an imaginary trip or answer any questions you have. Each of these newsletters, as well as going by e-mail is also posted in the Blog along with some pretty good permanent links there to explore.

Hope to hear from you soon. Enjoy this summer weather.


Sunday, February 01, 2004


NUMBER ONE 2-25-2006


At the present time I have 30 e-mail addresses. If half of those addresses result in a visit, I’ll celebrate my birthday with 30 people in about 15 fine intimate gatherings through the month of December.

And I get the pleasure of writing about Vegas in anticipation of the trip.

It just don’t get no better than that!

Between now and December, in this newsletter, I’ll organize and send specials and deals, list resources, answer questions, report on researched information, make suggestions.

I won’t offer to personally guide you around the city. I’ve done that so many times that I just don’t want to go up in the Stratosphere tower again for a long while. 15 times was enough for me. Besides, on the 14th visit, I finally got Elizabeth up there at romantic sunset time and got kissed. So anything after that would just be anticlimactic (so to speak)

And I don’t mean to suggest I know everything about Vegas. I don’t know as much about renting in the fancy strip hotels like Bellagio; I always go on the cheap. But I’m on every casino’s mailing list, so I see the e-mail specials from the big boys too and on the blog there is a link just for strip hotel specials that updates daily.

In addition, I subscribe to a large number of regular Vegas newsletters and talk to a national bulletin board network of Vegas travelers as well as Vegas locals, so I hear the ins and outs of car rentals, shopping, music, spas, shows, good food, promotional deals, coupons, traveling around the desert, etc. What I don’t know, I can find out by posting questions and getting answers from others like me who make Vegas travel a hobby.

I also know how to organize the huge space and opportunities of Vegas, for gamblers and nongamblers alike, so they can easily get around to see what they want to see, and so they know what is available in each area, enabling them to use their short time efficiently. I have done that now for many people. Vegas is huge and can only be tasted, so it is useful if you know just how to get the best bite in the time you have.

Finally, I have opened a new Blog dedicated to the Birthday Bash. On it I will put most of the general information that is in these newsletters. I always keep personal details off blogs, so notes on who is coming and when and last names will not be posted there . Featured will be past newsletters, pictures that illustrate newsletter content, other resource web links, and summaries of sections like the FAQ’s at the bottom of this page.

Also, on the Birthday Blog there is room for you and other readers to comment after each posted piece and share information, opinions, anecdotes, concerns with all the other readers. Finally, there is an entire section of recommended links so if you want, you can read about how to best play every casino game, look at the best maps, follow my last 4 years of Vegas exploits, get an overview of every casino hotel, get the picture.


The majority of NEWSLETTER readers are Vegas virgins; they have never before visited Las Vegas. So those of you who are Vegas veterans will have to be patient with details that aren’t news to you. I will try to arrange the newsletter with headlines like a newspaper.


It is premature to book air or rooms yet, but perhaps not too early to block out dates on the calendar for your visit.

I plan to be in Vegas from approximately December 6th until December 27th. I will probably stay in the less pricey downtown area for Dec 6-12 when Vegas fills up with cowboys and cowgirls for the National Rodeo Finals (biggest rodeo event in the nation). Then I will try to book at the Orleans for most of the rest of the time, unless something unpredicted drives up their prices also or some free offer lures me away for a couple days. Most years the Orleans have offered very cheap rooms in December.



For example, if you can get out of work a little early on Thursday or Friday and get to the airport in time to catch the 2:30PM Southwest direct flight, you will arrive in Vegas at supper time.

The Southwest nonstop return gives you most of a day in Vegas and you are home in time to get a goodnight’s sleep for the next day of work.

And there are lots of other air options.

(I recommend the nonstop because it shortens the trip, allows uninterrupted sleeping, lessens a chance of getting stuck in a snowstorm in some stopover city, and virtually eliminates any chance of misplaced baggage.)

some sample Southwest schedules:
Albany to Vegas
768 2:30pm 5:00pm Nonstop
1023/2201 4:00pm 9:05pm BWI/1
128/1578 5:45pm 11:25pm MDW/1

Vegas to Albany
2877 3:50pm 11:30pm Nonstop
532/1138 12:00pm 9:35pm MDW/1
312/1497 1:10pm 10:20pm MDW/1

So, by taking just one weekday off of work, you can have 3 full days and one night in Vegas. Going to Vegas by air is about like driving to Buffalo, only you don’t have to bring your boots or worry about getting snowed in.

Three days is not enough time to see everything. It is just enough time to get a taste. But with good planning, it will be a memorable snack.


I have taken two of my nongambling good friends (Jill from Albany, and Frank from London, England) around Vegas for an entire week on a whirlwind schedule and they had a blast. In fact, I recommend it for nongamblers because they can still get great deals on hotels, cheap car rentals, cheap or the best gourmet food, free or inexpensive shows and entertainment and don’t have to worry about risking money. Gamblers pay for your vacation.
I can even tell you where as a Vegas virgin you can gamble $10 absolutely for free. Kid Peter and his girl Jen did a lot of that on their last visit. $10 goes a long way if you play a penny at a time so you can have a frugal slot experience and be guaranteed no losses. Jill took her 10 free dollars and recklessly gambled on penny slots for a couple hours at the famous Palms before she cashed out and took $6 home. Another Vegas winner!


My 60th is a Moveable Feast

Here is how I’m planning to celebrate turning 60 this year.

Vegas ********* Vegas ******* Vegas****
*** Vegas****** Vegas*****
***** Vegas*****

No surprise there I suppose.

Only not in my birthday month, when Vegas is expensive and my kids can’t all arrange to come anyway.

I’m going to do it in December, when Vegas is dirt cheap and we can go and stay through Christmas.

Want to come?

Here is the way my MOVEABLE FEAST BIRTHDAY PARTY works.

I have not booked my rooms yet, but I plan to be in Vegas from approximately December 6th until a day or two after Christmas. I will probably stay in the less pricy downtown area for Dec 6-12 when Vegas fills up with cowboys and cowgirls for the National Rodeo Finals. Then I will try to book at the Orleans for most of the rest of the time, unless something unpredicted drives up their prices also. Most years they have very cheap rooms in December.

I’m inviting everyone I know to come and meet me for a meal, an hour of gambling, a show, a beer, some dancing in a lounge, a game at the same poker table, a walk down the strip, or whatever you might like to do.

No set time for a party; the party is for most of the month, everyday, 24/7.

No presents; Just your presence.

No particular time obligation; just a little fun time together at your convenience.

But if it works right I’ll be able to have a number of nice, small, intimate gatherings and celebrate all through December. And after sharing an event with me and wishing me a Happy 60th, you can take the rest of your trip to do those things in Vegas or California, in Utah, Arizona or the Grand Canyon that you always wanted to do.

And here is my present to you:

I can help you preplan those trips a little, I will have experienced all of them and talked and planned with others who also have done them, so I will have some ideas, or at least some internet resources, that will help you find what you want.

I won’t offer to personally guide you around the city. I’ve done that so many times that I just don’t want to go up in the Stratosphere tower again for a while. 15 times was enough for me. Besides on the 14th I finally got Elizabeth up there at romantic sunset time and got kissed. So anything after that would just be anticlimatic (so to speak)

But between now and December I will establish an email list of anyone even mildly interested in a trip West in December. To the people who ask to be on that list, I’ll send all the specials and deals and resources for planning that I discover in my daily surfing of Vegas boards and I’ll answer questions and be a resource to help plan your trip for you.

I’ll also keep you aware of how the details of my own plans modify as the planning continues and of the dates other people are considering traveling in case you want to hook up with them also. Right now, for example, all my kids (except Cory who will most likely be in Africa) are hoping to manage to be in Vegas together with me, probably sometime between December 19th and Christmas Day. I’ve stressed to all of them too that there is no obligation to attend. This is a no obligation invitation. If no one attends, I’ll be stuck by myself playing poker. Not bad for Plan B.

And I don’t mean to suggest I know everything about Vegas. I don’t know as much about renting fancy strip hotels like Bellagio or rooms in the most luxurious of places; I always go on the cheap. Besides I really don’t think there are too many deals at the high end. But I do know some very nice places, like the Orleans, which sometimes rent at dirt cheap prices. I got kid Peter four nights there this January at $18 a night because I caught an internet sale and he acted in time. And I know how to organize the huge space of Vegas, for gamblers and nongamblers alike, so they can easily get around to see what they want to see and so they know what is available in each area enabling them to use their short time their efficiently. I have done that now for many people.

I also subscribe to a large number of regular Vegas newsletters and talk to a national network of Vegas travelers and locals on bulletin boards, so I hear the ins and outs of car rentals, shopping, music, shows, good food, promotional deals, coupons etc and I can find out almost anything by posting questions on these boards and getting answers from others like me who make Vegas travel a hobby.

Think about it and let me know.
For my last trip reports:
Poker Bluegill: Vegas Busts my Bankroll (1 of 3)
Poker Bluegill: Vegas Trip Report in Miniscule condensed gambling detail

Thursday, January 01, 2004

trip reports 2004

I am certain I must have gone at least twice this year, but only this one was posted

Date of Trip: December 07, 2004 to November 30, 1999

Hotel Stayed At: El Cortez/ Orleans

Report by: dewey
From: Averill Park NY

Dewey’s Trip report

This won’t be a consecutively narrated trip report. I enjoyed Las Vegas from
December 7th until December 26th and if I started out by describing in detail
my exact seat on Southwest airlines direct flight Albany to Vegas and the
weather, I’d have to write so long that I’d miss the flight for my next trip in
I’ll just try to touch on the highlights.
But it will still be long.
In Vegas there are just sooooo many highlights.

My first six nights I stayed for free at the El Cortez based on one day of play
last year. One offer came last summer and another just before I left. Included
in the second was a free steak dinner for two.

Oh, I know you would not stay there. But guess what? The rooms in the
newly renovated tower are as big and rich and comfortable as those in the
Orleans. Hard to believe? Try one. The mattress is so thick you have to jump
up to get on the bed.

Of course, I’ll never stay free again because I did not play there enough. Too
much smoke. Too many old people like me. At 58 I want to see across the
poker table beautiful young women who still have their own teeth. At the El
Cortez poker room (not a room at all but just a table flopped in the middle of
the casino) all I could see was the wrinkled skin of too many years of cigarette
smoke. I did win some money with a nice straight flush that a wrinkled old
woman bet into. And I won another hand when on a lark I played a seven-two
suited and hit a flush that held up. But generally it was too smoky to see my

Also, the 10/7 video poker is shrinking at El Cortez. The remaining machines
all deal the cards with one second delays, so a hand goes: This is a lot of fun in the early
morning when I am half awake and having my hot chocolate. The suspense
of each hand is delightful. But anytime after ten am the pace puts me back to

I played at the 4 Queens. They did not send me free rooms this year except at
times I could not go. Perhaps they will next year. Their 10/7DB was fast and
had an added advantage, a progressive royal that was $1,987. No.. I did not
hit it. Someone else did while I was there and then all the players cashed out
and went home.

I cashed out went over to the Golden Nugget to nurse my wounds on nice
new nickel 10/7 DB where the quads flowed like manna and I made back the
$200 I lost at the Queens.

Meanwhile Kid Pete, my 24 year old son, who had brought just $200 to
gamble for 4 days was hitting the Blackjack like it was butter. He played
progressively and won multiple hands, multiple times in a row. He was
starting to get rich, but I was worried. I invite him in December because it is
time to use up all those accumulated matchplay and coupons and that is a
great way for him to gamble on a low bankroll and with a huge advantage. I
taught him to hit and run like he did at the Hard Rock last year where a $10
free play netted him $82 at no risk. This year he would not run. If he won the
matchplay, and I think he did every time, he would stay and progress it.

He did fine at the Four Queens, but his real victory was at the Sahara where
we had gone for the $50 in chips for $40 promotion and $10 freeplay for new
signups. It got so I could not watch anymore; each time I visited his table he
was in some crazy hand.

First I visited and he had a $15 bet out. Way too much for his bankroll in my
opinion. Two eights came. He split. a third eight came. Split again and then
again on the fourth eight. They would not let him split his fifth eight, but he
doubled down against the dealers 6 and won all of it when another eight and
an over card busted the dealer.

The next time I visited he had kept his progression going and had nine $5
chips stacked for the upcoming hand. My stomach turned over. He was dealt
two aces. Without hesitation he reached for another stack of 9 chips to split
them, placing half his entire initial bankroll on one hand. And he won.

His table did not want him to leave as he was very entertaining, and they
believed he had somehow magically put the dealer into a busting mood.
Perhaps that is why they tolerated the last hand I saw him play.

He had just one chip and up came two queens. Laughingly he announced, “I
want to play with this one a little. I’ll split them.”

Oh, Pete, I thought. Not since John Scarne has this been good play.

“I want to get four queens,” he joked, “My favorite casino.”

Great, I thought. Now you have insulted the Sahara casino and made a play
bound to get you hated by every other player at your table.

But damn if the four queens did not show up all in a row and all hit with picture
cards and an ace. He won all four. and the dealer busted, so the table was
happy. In fact, they held on to his arm to keep him there as I dragged him
away with his profit.

Whether the kid was ready to go or not, I was. I had played my $10 freeplay
off one nickel at a time on Reel Em In and then kept my $7 profit after having
the fun of two videos. My only slot play of the trip except a limited number of
Megabucks pulls using the money I save all year by not buying lottery tickets.

Blackjack was like that for Peter the entire trip. When he did have a losing
streak, it was on a $1 at Nevada Palace so it hardly put a dent in his bankroll.
On the last day he was up $595 and planned to use the money for a
computer. We stopped at Terrible’s on the way to the airport to play off some
matchplays and grab a free T-shirt. He got caught again. I was exhausted.
He had run me into early morning gambling a couple times and we old guys
get up at 6 am no matter what. So I took a nap in the car.
When it was time to go, he woke me up and said with a laugh, “Well, I’m
up $75.” My stomach churned. I just knew he would do this, risk it all and
lose it just before the plane.
“You look mad,” he remarked.
“Hey, It’s your money.” I responded, not wanting to play the lecturing parent.
“I’m $75 up, “ he said again, and I guessed he was trying to tell me that being
up and going home was a good thing, regardless of how much was won or
“And that makes me $670 for the trip,” he added.
it was a good thing that we were going to the airport. Otherwise I’d have
killed him.

It was more work to get the rooms for the rest of the trip. I had made and
canceled reservations and finally had four overlapping reservations at the
Orleans, most of them for $20, four for free, Christmas eve and Christmas day
were more. I actually had mace one in the spring when for some reason their
HOT HOT HOT advertisement included a call for two free nights in December.
A few things need to be said here about booking. Book early with the hotel
and keep looking for deals. I got some rates directly off the internet. One I
needed to book using my mastercard. Some I got at discounters and then
called the Orleans so they would match my price. When you book with the
hotel, you can cancel when you get a better deal. Also, forget trying to sign up
for every card in Vegas. I did that and it was a mistake, especially since I did it
before I was retired and could go when the rooms were offered. As a newbie,
even with just a little play, you will get free room offers and never get them
again. So scatter your new cards. After five years going to Vegas, once five
times in one year, by last December I still had not got an El Cortez card. One
day of play on my new card got me six free nights for the next December. I
was glad to have saved that card because the week I took free was the
National Rodeo week and so many of my other places were not offering any
And don’t take a card unless they give you something. Now the come on is
$10 freeplay. That ain’t bad. Better than just a funbook which you can get
usually anyway.
The Orleans is a great place to stay. The rooms are large and comfortable.
The service is always perfect. People will go out of their way to please you. It
is even more wonderful when you draw together your friends and family to
join you. I managed to talk my wife into coming for a while this year and that
motivated her brother from California. I also drew my son and his love from
Chicago, and another son from Rochester. And there were lots of people from
the bulletin boards meeting too. When an old friend and colleague visited my
house and I told him about $20 rooms, he came with his fiancé. So it was one
big overlapped party, and I was often the tour guide.
I know many of you from this board were there and meeting, but I could not
make it. I did meet DoriFrankel and her husband Mel. What great folks! It
turns our they are relatives of a friend of my oldest son who I’ve known for
years. The kids were laughing like crazy. they though they were introducing
us, but we had bumped into one another at one time or another on this board.
And we bumped into one another often in that nice, cozy orleans
Even when we did not plan to meet up, we bumped into one another
because the Orleans is small and uncrowded.
In the morning we often met at breakfast. I never thought oatmeal cold taste
so good, but you try that Orleans oatmeal with fresh strawberries, brown
sugar, raisins, pecans all in little cups so you mix your own hot and sweet.
I decided since I was there for a long stretch I’d aggressively play DB 10/7
and see if a slot host would give me anything on my food or rooms. Well, that
was a mistake. Maybe because i just play quarters or I hit the royal and they
thought I had won enough. Anyway, they did not give me much. I may get a
little off the Christmas prices, but next trip they only promised me one comped
day and the rest at casino rate. That casino rate business is a laugh. If you
can’t beat that on the internet, your fingers must be lazy. so I learned that to
really get comped I need to play at a higher level and perhaps have a spouse
who plays with me.
Still it is a wonderful place to play quarter 10/7 DB. You can sit at any bar
and have a drink and play and listen to the conversation. I met other VP
players there and had good talks about the game. I sdaw the Royal that Mel
Frankel had dealt to him. he kept it up so we could see the hold buttons. I hit
a royal in hearts, saving 10-J-Q and throwing another heart away.
At the Irish Pub you can get comped a pint of imported Beemish stout and
listen to live music as you play. It does not get better than that.
Music in general is great at the Orleans. There was a fine band with two
Filipino dancers who were wonderful. One could be my daughter-in-laws
twin. Nick Conte came with that sexy Asia Kim flipping her long hair through
some fine jazzy numbers. You can go there with those free drink coupons in
the funbooks. I even took the coupons for two free beers at Brendan's and
carried the beers to the lounge. The Gold Coast has coupons for the Orleans
in their book too. And save the Gold Coast coupons. It is a great musical treat
to go over the the Gold Coast in the early afternoon and listen to the “Dixie
land Jazz Band” which does not play dixieland but everything from the swing
era and as well as I have ever heard it played anywhere. All the old folks
gather there to listen and dance. With a couple of free coronas and a couple
75 cent hot dogs from the sports area you have a fine lunch treat.

In my book it beats the new Haufbrau across from the hard Rock. The music
there was not very good and the food and beer while good enough were
overpriced. $10 a pint for beer when it is free is pretty hard to swallow. But
my wife liked it. I got a kick out of the long horn they set on a table and then
played twenty feet back on top of another table. Otherwise, I’ll take the Gold

I played two live poker tournaments, one at Luxor and one at Cannery. They
were fun but I did not get beyond the half way mark . I drove out to the
Cannery to use matchplays and a coupon for a Bonus for 4-K and take
advantage of the Bonus they have every day, but this year they do not have
the Bonus for any full pay poker like 10/7 DB. i did not notice that and hit the
four Aces almost right away. the guy paid me anyway just one time. so i took
my winnings and left.

I also went to Fiesta Rancho and loved it. They have 10/7 in Nickels and in
DIMES. They also have a great new skating rink, but my feet were bad and I
was afraid to try. They actually have on Wednesday’s a Senior Skate for $5
with skates included. Incredible! I’d love to stay our there but I don’t suppose
that will happen.

I would recommend planning a matchplay trip to Arizona Charlie’s, then
Fiesta and Texas Station in conjunction with a ride to Red Rock. I did not
make the Texas buffet which is a chili lovers dream. I did get a taste of both
Boulder Station and Sunset Station and loved both.

We spent a couple all nighters at the Nevada Palace playing dollar craps
where after an all night session of of dollar craps and blackjack, they will
comp breakfast. There I met my local relatives. They jeer at me constantly
about my gambling. It seems I don’t know that real craps players place all the
numbers and all the hard ways and maybe the eleven and the craps too. All I
do is pass and come bets sometimes combined with one dark side bet to
hedge the volatility. And you can imagine how much superstitious crap I take
when I make that one hedge dark side bet. I mention it is not really a “dark
side” bet but just a way to control the volatility. My relatives think that
“volatility” is what you have when you raise your voice in rage against dark
side bettors. In fact, they don’ t have any respect for my Tomski color coded
VP strategy sheets or my keeping track of wins and losses or my conservative
craps betting. One of them knows just when to gamble because her machine
( a short pay 7/5 Bonus) “calls” to her and tells her the Royal is due.

And she always wins.

Well, she does ask me for a stake every once in a while and is happy I don’t
ask her to pay it back, but if you ask her, she always wins.

The other local relative plays video poker in a progressive manner, betting
first maybe one quarter and then maybe three and then two. Even hitting a
royal with one quarter did not change her style. But at least she does not say
she always wins. What she says is that using matchplays and freemoney is
not “gambling.” I want to say, “not ‘donating,’ you mean” but I get tired of the

I work out my frustration with the dysfunctional and perpetually stupid by trying
to find those kind of gamblers at a live Hold em poker table. After a few years,
and hours and hours on the internet, my game has improved enough so I can
at least not lose, even if I don’t yet know all the tricks for winning. I do know
that you have to pay attention to the rake. If you are playing with a bunch of
tight old men and the pots are small and there is some other rake for some
special jackpot gee gaw or wheel spin, then find another casino. And be
careful if you find the Luxor. There the dealer who watches you play for a
couple hours can take a break from dealing and play against you while s/he is

We had two at the loose table I found.

Somehow playing against people who deal and study this game every day is
not my idea of fair competition. I got stuck at the Luxor because I liked a
promotion. Six hours of play over two days qualified me to play another three
hours in a “tournament” where in regular play any pot over $30 won a ticket
and the top ticket holders could get as much as $500 Just winning one pot
got you $60. And all the while we played the whole group was loose and
aggressive, trying to win more tickets than the others. It was a great
tournament. And I guess I would do it again, but I won’t play against those
dealers to get my time in.

Aladdin was a great new poker room. I played for ten hours and lost $3. Or I
won about $7 if you compute the fact that I tipped for free Hennesy with chips.
In 2 and a half hours I played only two hands other than my blinds. Those
were bad cards. In one of those hands I had a king high diamond flush which
might have lost to a full house if a local woman had not been betting 4 threes.
Whew! tough poker. But I did tease and joke and cajole
enough to pass the time and cheer up the group of poker faces. Then the
next night at the Luxor I sat next to the four threes woman from the Aladdin
and I got pocket threes and took the pot.

I played harder poker at the Orleans. That is a tough bunch. In addition I tried
to go up a notch there to a 4-8 game with a half kill. This means that
whenever someone wins two pots the price of poker goes up and the bets
become 6 and 12. Those kills killed me, and I lost $165.

My favorite poker games were at the Excalibur. They were little spread limit
games, one to three dollars. And people did really bet and raise a dollar.
Many of the players were new and had not played much Hold em. Perhaps
they had seen it on TV. I met lots of friendly people. The stereotypical table of
grumpy old men who look like they play poker as a way or relieving terminal
constipation is replaced at these low limit games by pleasant folks from all
over the world who are out for a good time. My last night I played seven hours
and was the only person at my table for whom English was a first language.
Across from me was this long haired knock out young girl who somehow
always seemed to have better cards than mine. I lost $6 if you don’t count the
free drink tips.
So what highlights have I missed?

Well, what I really missed was the first joint meeting of members from two
bulletin boards at the Orleans. My wife dragged me out for a massage at the
Palms right at that time. I have to keep her happy or she won’t go with me.
And no other woman will go with me either so......I went for the massage.
I just got a foot massage. I am not much for massages. Still it was a fine
experience. Some young sweet thing caressed my neck and head until I was
relaxed. Well, most of me relaxed anyway. And then she did my feet. The
only thing I did not like was when she started to tell me my circulation was bad
and I ought to get more massages. I go to Vegas in between doctor
appointments. At every doctor visit they tell me another part of my body is
bad. I don’t need another of those worries mixing up my fantasies during a
foot massage.

But it was fine.

Afterward, I hung out in the outside jacuzzi with my wife’s brother and told
poker stories.

My wife got a later massage at the Orleans and she said it was the best
massage she had experienced in her life. Maybe I should have skipped the

Well, my wife, who does not like gambling, took me to Mystere and La
Femme. Luckily i remembered my binoculars for la Femme. I need them to
see the faces clearly.

I loved both shows. That baby character in Mystere is a stitch! I thought
including the audience in the humor was well done. La Femme reminded me
of being young and watching those Laugh In Go Go dancers dance in the
patterns of lights. It was cool to see the roots of that tradition of body and light.

Too bad a massage does not come with a La Femme ticket. Then I wouldn’t
need binoculars.

Ain’t art grand!

I had the binoculars because my wife had also taken me birding for the winter
Audubon bird count on the edge of Death Valley. We did not see too many
birds. Perhaps “winter” might have been a clue or perhaps “Death Valley.”
But we did have fun getting up to the alarm at 4:30 AM and driving in the dark
past shadows of road construction and then on unpaved gravel roads out into
the middle of no where to walk in the desert. And actually we did see 100
migrating American Coots and the home of the almost extinct pupfish. My
buddy writes that I could have stayed home and seen a migrating American
old coot just by looking in the mirror.

I also saw two comedy acts. The act at Palace Station was fine, but i was glad
i did not pay money. They gave us free tickets the night before at the
Promotions Booth just for asking. The Vinnie Favorito downtown at Binion’s
was good. My kid and I sat right in front and he was great. He went after
members of the audience and joked off the cuff. Very talented. I had a
coupon from LVA that made the price $10.

Another of my five sons showed up the last few days and we played craps
together at the Sahara where he actually managed to use two LVA coupons
that get $50 chips for $40 cash. He had a small bankroll, so he played the
blue promotional chips on the pass line and I took some odds with my real
money. We had some fun. He rolled me into a profit and we left.

My wife and that son and I celebrated with a fine meal up in the Voo Doo
Cafe. It was not cheap, but the food was exquisite. We ate a special of
mackerel. We cook it at home all the time, but never have I had it taste as
good as that. We all shared a Witch Doctor table drink with the three straws
and then a chocolate desert where for $7 they covered a plate with three
chocolate orgasmic tastes. Eating fine food and looking out over the lights of
Vegas and the strip was very sensual.

Of course, the prices were better at Ellis Island. Twice we went and enjoyed
that great steak on a 2-1 coupon and then got a $5 matchplay besides. What
an incredible deal! They dealt dollar BJ too in the afternoon and I played a 9/
6 VP game there and won a little money.

They comp players with their microbrewed beer. Yummy! I asked about the
different kinds and the waitress brought me a generous taste of each one.

We ate there Christmas eve and had the nicest young Spanish speaking
waiter who was anxious to get off work and go see the fireworks. They kept
him working longer than he expected. Perhaps it was our dinner that held
him up. So I gave him a ten dollar tip. He must have thought I was strange
because I first wanted to use two coupons and split one in half and I wanted
my matchplays and then I gave away ten dollars.

But I am weird. I generally tip the housekeepers $2 each day I am in any
hotel. They are hard working and certainly deserve and can use that little
money. I usually bring the dimes that build up in my change and use those.
This year I found out that the Orleans has one coin sorter that will sort any
change you want. Even pennies. I brought $13 worth of unrolled pennies to
use at the Gold Spike, but instead I just took them down and exchanged them
for paper.

The last day I grabbed my cashback at the Orleans and the 4 Queens. My
wife picked up some more jewelry at the downtown Indian Store that has run
a half price sale now for at least five years. I bought a few cheap $2 Vegas
shirts and took my coupon to Spinettis chip warehouse to pick up a free
Dealer button for my home games. (They had some fine prices on chips by
the way - We caught the direct flight home to Albany,
New York. On the way my wife started reading the Lee Jones book, got out a
deck of cards and had me help her read the board for the nut hand. Hey,
there is hope for her yet.

In all my days in Vegas this December I was never down. With that nice heart
Royal padding my subsequent poor gambling, I did manage to squeak home
with a profit of $312 which I could double if I counted the pints of Beemish.
But I never count my comps in my gambling score.

My next trip will be in August with my Silver Strike collecting buddy in Florida.
He’ll do the SS convention and wheel and deal the week away. I’ll share his
free rooms, bring the 2-1 food coupons and play poker. No wives that trip.
Maybe I’ll see you there