Thursday, December 31, 2009

PLEASE LEAVE COMMENTS

SO, YOU FOUND THE BLOG.
WELL, GLAD TO HAVE YOU.
I'D LIKE TO KNOW YOU WERE HERE, SO I ENCOURAGE YOU TO LEAVE COMMENTS ON THIS BLOG.
TO LEAVE A COMMENT AFTER ANY POST JUST GO TO THE BOTTOM OF THAT POST, CLICK ON "COMMENTS" AND WRITE YOUR REMARKS.
NOW THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. MANY WHO WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT SEEM TO GET CAUGHT AT THIS POINT.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE COMMENT BOX ARE SOME CIRCLES TO TICK
UNLESS YOU HAVE A BLOG AS WELL, CHOOSE THE ANONYMOUS OPTION IN THE CHECKLIST, BUT BE SURE TO INCLUDE SOME INDICATION OF WHO YOU ARE IN THE TEXT OF THE COMMENT.
THAT HELPS ME CONTROL SPAM.
I ALSO HAVE NEEDED LATELY TO HAVE THOSE NERVE WRACKING WORDS TO TYPE AND COMMENTS NEED TO BE LOOKED AT BEFORE THEY ARE POSTED. ALL DUE TO THE DUMB PANAMA INVESTMENT AMERITRUST SPAMMER THAT WON'T LET ME ALONE. SORRY. POST ANYWAY.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Technology and Gambling

Neighbor Ron shared a fine article in the January edition of Popular Mechanics on the security systems in Vegas. Much of it I had read before, but some of the observations I had not thought much about:

1. "There is no underwriter's Laboratory for security technology."
A good bit of the security used at airports and other industries is tested first in las Vegas because they invest and use the cutting edge technologies. And so become "a pioneer in surveillance tech and data mining."

2. Government benefits as well. "Slot machines all operate using a complex algorithm knows as a random-number generator. And the same technology that determines jackpots is also useful for high-tech cryptology, which protects government secrets via encryption.

3. New sensors can detect the presence of chips "whether they are in your pocket or your stomach"
So stealing chips will soon be almost impossible.

4. Secret files on personal data are becoming increasingly more sophisticated. There is a danger here. " Digital data has a long memory, and effective surveillance technology spreads fast. The software that measures your gambling skills at the blackjack tabel today could be the gathering data for your performance review tomorrow."

5. And here is the slot player's biggest nightmare:
"To make adjustments on standard slots, attendants have to stop play, open the housing and swap out the chips, a time-consuming process that reduces profits for the casino. The Mirage's soon-to-open sister property, Aria Casino and Resort, however will be the first casino in las Vegas outfitted with server based slot machines. That means Aria's one-armed bandits will run off a single computer, allowing supervisors to alter machines simply by pushing backroom buttons that can change games, odds and limits to suit the player or the situation."

http://casinogambling.about.com/od/slots/a/server.htm

http://www.slots.cd/server-based-slots.html

http://grochowski.casinocitytimes.com/article/server-based-games-26734

Well, there is lots more in the article.
A good article with some good and some bad news.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Resort Fee

NOTE: THIS POST IS NOW OUT OF DATE.  IT HAS BEEN UPDATED AND TURNED INTO ITS OWN SEPARATE BLOG FOR EASIER NAVIGATION.

http://vegasresortfees.blogspot.com/


BREAKING RESORT FEE NEWS!!!!!!!!
This answers the issue at Circus Circus.
And here too is exactly the squeeze that I've been writing about.
December 20 Circus Circus will have a Resort Fee of $3.95.
I called to book Circus Circus for April 23-24. After getting a quote on the room rate, I then asked about Resort Fees.
"Oh, no," says Rhonda. "No resort fees here. Just the dollar for unlimited local calls."

Yet they know those fees are coming for any booking I make in April.
Or January for that matter.
Nobody is talking. They talk to Vegas.com, but not to you and me.
BAIT AND SWITCH!
BAIT AND SWITCH!

I wrote Vegas.com because they show a Resort Fee, and here is their reply:
Hello,

Thank your for contacting us. We checked with management at Circus Circus and confirmed that they will be charging a resort fee of $3.95 beginning Dec. 20.

Kind regards,
Vegas.com

Meanwhile Circus-Circus in Reno is advertising with the slogan NO RESORT FEES. You go Reno. Hope this is the next trend.

http://www.circusreno.com/hotel/noresortfees.aspx

At Circus Circus Reno we add no hidden Resort Fees!

When we say we offer a free shuttle to and from the airport, we mean FREE!

We offer the most free covered valet and self parking in downtown Reno with over 3,000 spaces!

As a registered guest you have full access to our fitness center FREE of charge!

Many other Reno hotels say they offer these services free, but then charge you a "Resort Fee", per day, plus tax!

Don't get us wrong, some of our amenities do require a small fee like:

* Same day dry cleaning
* Wireless Internet Access
* Full-service Business Center
* Rollaway Beds (based on availability)
* Mini Refrigerators (based on availability)

But you, as our guest, make the decision to add these charges!

Circus Circus Reno strives to be the best value to our best asset, YOU, our Guest!


--------------------
December 20 - I wanted to check to see if the fee was up and working just to test Vegas.com on accurate information. I also wanted to test a theory from a poster on the LVA board that claimed anyone booking before the fee was in place for a time after the fee was imposed would be "grandfathered" in to paying no fee

I called Circus Circus again and so far the resort fee has not been implemented, but

"That doesn't mean it won't be next week"
said my operator whose name I won't give since I don't want her to be bothered.

Then I asked her about this grandfather theory. She said if I booked yesterday and the fee was in place in January (her guess as to when it might hit the computer) that I would not be grandfathered in when I arrived in April, but I would have to pay the fee.

I asked three times in three different ways and she said definitely, "No!" to the grandfather theory and added that she wished it would work like that because the way it works now she gets plenty of people yelling at her. She did say I could do what the guy in the last post did, call a manager, because he has the discretion to waive it. But that is no guarantee, is it?

Futhermore, she said that when they first imposed the dollar fee for unlimited calls no one was grandfathered.

So there it is. I do have to trust Vegas.com's connection that they really know about the coming imposition of the fee, but Vegas.com has no reason to make that fee up. It hurts their business.

And I don't care about this one casino. It is the practice. It seems to be tricking everyone into thinking that it is not a hidden fee likely to rise up and bite them at check in or check out.
The operator said she thought that resort fees don't work with any grandfathered protection in other casinos also.

I'd like to hear of one person who has been surprised with the resort fee and been grandfathered by the check in clerk as if that were the standard procedure. Who has had that experience?

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


CHECK HERE TO FIND OUT WHAT THE RESORT FEE CURRENTLY IS:

1. This is a Vegas discussion board and the information will be updated quarterly. It will not agree with some other lists of resort fees, because some casinos tax the resort fee as well, and Viva Las Vegas who maintains this post has been nice enough to do the math and include the full amount that you have to pay.
http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?t=50749&highlight=resort+fees
2. Here is another interesting list.
http://www.vegashotelspecial.com/index.php/2009/10/07/hidden-fees-at-las-vegas-hotels-dont-be-a-victim/

3. This site even may predict Resort Fees that have not been noted yet on other lists:
However, some casinos will not be listed at all because they can't be booked here. Like Gold Spike.
http://www.vegas.com/incl/resortfees.html

4. These are more general articles on added fees:
http://hotels.about.com/od/hotelsecrets/a/avoid_charges.htm

http://www.smartertravel.com/blogs/today-in-travel/watch-out-for-these-hotel-fees.html?id=3439912

5. An interesting collage of resort fee reports:
http://maps.google.com/maps?oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&rlz=1R1GGGL_en___US354&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=hidden+resort+fees+vegas&fb=1&gl=us&hq=hidden+resort+fees&hnear=vegas&view=text&ei=-ZgpS5mSOIvDlAfVxZyiBw&sa=X&oi=local_group&ct=more-results&resnum=4&ved=0CC8QtQMwAw
******************************************************
A discussion of resort fees from September 2009:

http://www.lasvegasadvisor.com/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=52&threadid=298169&FTVAR_MSGDBTABLE=

This has got to be the funniest thread of December.  I post the Circus Circus news and keep getting the same off the cuff responses.  I try over and over to turn the generalizations with facts and wonder what is exactly going on and finally someone outs one of the main poster as a casino employee and it dawns on me why I am beating my head against a brick wall:  hidden fees combined with hidden agenda. 

More discussion is happening here in December 2009:

http://blonde4ever.yuku.com/topic/12968
and here
http://www.lasvegasadvisor.com/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=17&threadid=299964&FTVAR_MSGDBTABLE=
and here
http://www.lasvegasadvisor.com/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=5&threadid=299287&STARTPAGE=1&CFID=28914273&CFTOKEN=16527034
real argument here. I can't figure why people want to defend this practice or claim it is not a problem with "let the buyer beware" attitudes.
http://www.lasvegasadvisor.com/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=17&threadid=300075&FTVAR_MSGDBTABLE=&STARTPAGE=1


**********************************************************************************
Here are the issues as I see them:

The resort fee insults us, tries to trick us, and changes often, usually by going up.

By shouting some have had some success in getting the fees dropped, but as it becomes more and more common practice, the shouting is of no value.

COMPED ROOMS?

According to board posts, people with comped rooms are often not charged the fees, or are charged them and can argue their way out of them, but lately I have heard too reports of people with comped rooms being charged:
1.
"MGM/Mirage has started to do it with some you can book directly online via the Player's Club."
2. "I confirmed it yesterday via NYNY. 2 comped nites, $25 free play AND a $10 per day resort fee."
this from
http://blonde4ever.yuku.com/topic/12968
3. "NYNY resort fee is 10.07/night. Even comped rooms have that fee. The only way to get them waived is by "play." this from http://www.vegasmessageboard.com
4."I checked into the Fiesta in Henderson a few days ago, it was comped, but the loser clerk tried to charge me a $11.89 per day resort fee upon checkout.For that dump? It took me an extra 15 minutes to get a suit to eliminate it. " This from LVA board.

Posters on the Trip Advisor Laughlin board report that the Venetian has a way to opt out of the fees for comped players.

Also, one poster who was going to Station casinos and getting comped rooms, said that the fees were waived but the benefits were not, including free internet. This poster liked the fees as it meant other people were funding his free internet.
"So, for free, I get the wireless internet, free drinks, paper and water which I use."

Purists are boycotting casinos that charge fees; I am just putting the price into my hotel searches and complaining. I admire purists.

If the fee is just a dollar, like Circus Circus could it be that the casino hopes to get good advertisement from such a low fee when it is compared against the high fee casinos?

Flamingo for April 2010 charged me a processing fee of $10 for my phone reservation. I am there five nights, so it is not much for the use of the pool and for my first stay on the strip, so I paid it. I have since found out that this is only charged if I use the phone to book.
When I booked another week in April at Imperial Palace, I could not manage it on the computer which kept saying I already had a reservation.
So I called to book. The girl told me that the computer reads bookings per month so that if we try to book two Harrah's properties in the same month, we will get rejected by the computer. So I called.
They booked me over the phone and when I asked, "So is this going to cost me the $10 processing fee..because the computer can't separate dates in the same month?"
"No," she said, since it was clearly a problem with the computer.
If you call and simply indicate you are unable to book on line, will they will waive the fee?I don't think they checked my other booking, but perhaps they did.
Anyway in the list Viva Las Vegas makes a good distinction between these processing fees that can be avoided and resort fees that cannot.

Some casinos tax the resort fee as well adding to the cost and making comparison shopping even more a comedy of errors.

Discounters don't reveal this practice of resort fees, so it is a surprise when you check out. Using the Kayak search engine used to result in a fine list of casinos arranged by price, but they now quote the room price and also underneath give a total figure that says it represents the charde with taxes and fees, but resort fees are not included in the mathematics.(see complaint to kayak below)
I generally use the discounters and arrange the casinos by price, low to high in a fine clear list. That is now impossible. One casino will look like a better deal than another, but it will actually be quite a bit more expensive because resort fees do now show up in the computer ranking of price low to high. This explains some of the reason the casino likes the hidden fee. They look better at the discounters than they really are.

Las Vegas Advisor monthly newsletter too was commenting on the low price of hotel rooms and offering examples without adding in the cost of the resort fees.

We may have buy a room early from the discounter and find it double in price by the front desk. What will happen if we book early with a discounter and the fee goes into effect or is raised while we wait for our dates to roll around? Do we pay the old fee? Do we pay the new fee?
It seemed to me in searching for information that Hooters may have raised their resort fee at least twice.

From now on when dealing with the hotels directly, I'll ask them to quote the entire price to me with taxes and fees included for easier comparison and then when I confirm, I'll check that total price as a way of insuring what I will pay. I'll also ask for a confirming email that includes total price. Some places will send that.

HOW TO COMPLAIN

What methods are there of protest?
Complain at the front desk. (While this is the weakest form of protest, this seems to still be working for people who find this added to their comped rooms or were not told when they booked.)
Complain in writing to someone who must answer.
Complain on public discussion boards.
Whenever you cancel a reservation, say it was because of the resort fee and say that in writing.
Put the entire hotel bill into dispute with your credit card company and let them wait for their money.
If you are trying to get it dropped, tell the casino you will dispute the entire bill with your credit card. It is more bother for them to go through that process than to waive the fee.

If you still get caught, then this might be a good thing to say and of course to put in writing.
"Fine, I'll pay this damn tricky resort fee, but I'll not wager a dime here. I'll go next door or down the street. When I'm here, I'll go on the internet in my room or to the fitness center. I'll enjoy the pool, and use up my points on free food, but I won't gamble here this trip. That will save me the resort fee. "

Vegas is hurting and I guess this is what they feel they must do to pull themselves out, but it is a mean thing they are doing, and they know it.
Generally, casinos try to mask their meanness. They don't display it in their advertisement. Until we start gambling, the casino generally fawns over us. Feeling like we are being treated kindly and with care is one reason we are willing to gamble at a place.
Check the comment on this board for November 2009 at NYNY. Do you think this customer is likely to go back to NYNY again?
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g45963-d91904-r49184607-New_York_New_York_Hotel_and_Casino-Las_Vegas_Nevada.html

Glance through the comments on stays collected in the link in number 5 above. Are those folks likely to head back to the resort fee pirates?
One solution for most casinos might be to simply make the resort fee an option and include pool, spa, internet in that package. They could then perhaps often get the extra money, and the folks who choose not to pay it may be those who just want to gamble all day and will more than pay for their rooms that way.

I can't see paying $20 extra a night for anything. That is what I generally set as my total hotel bill for a night. I have seen posts where customers thought it was fine to pay it, however, even to pay that $25 fee charged by Red Rock.

The funniest Resort Fee has to be the Gold Spike. They just charge; they have absolutely nothing to list as a benefit.
The Gold Spike offers a $7.77 promotional coupon for a single weekday night in the 2010 American Casino Guide. Nothing on the coupon says anything about the $2 resort fee which adds 26% to that night's stay. They kept that information back from the American Casino Guide and you just know it is going to be something that folks will get angry about. This kind of bait and switch promotion also works to reduce the credibility of the American Casino Guide. It is a small amount, but it set folks to wonder. Promotional coupons to really work need to be redeemed smoothly so that the user are amazed they can get such a deal and so drawn to return to buy that coupon book and return to the promoted casino.
My last trip I found Gold Spike rooms advertised with discounters at $9 a night making the resort fee a 22% add on.
Now here is a new casino trying to win new customers and setting up a system for discouraging them from returning at the same time.(my letter included below)

Perhaps this will offer up a completely new form of coupon in the American Casino Guide. Why not have coupons that waive the resort fee? Room discounts have rather drained away in this publication. This might be a room discount coupon of value. On the other hand I suppose the casinos do not want to do anything to draw attention to the fact they charge these hidden fees.



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

*********************************************************************
WRITTEN COMPLAINTS and POSTS OF INTEREST:

If you write letter in protest, paste it in the comment section of this post. Each one models what to say. I am starting by seeing if another Vegas reporting regular will add this information to their fine and funny casino reviews.


http://www.cheapovegas.com/index.php

12/13/10
open e-mail to cheapo las vegas
casinoboy@cheapovegas.com:

I have always loved your site since way back in the days of the old Gold Spike and your celebration of the little guy gambler.
Now a new ugly thing raises its head. Resort Fees. Consider adding that information to your casino reviews. It does require some updating, but there seem to be some folks doing that. I tried to collect them here

http://vegasbirthdaybash.blogspot.com/2009/12/all-i-know-about-insidious-resort-fees.html

Even your old favorite Gold Spike has a "resort fee". No resort amenities, just a hidden fee. Not like the old days of syrofoam plated egg breakfasts.Also, I'll link you in the favorites on my site if you like. Mine is just a blog. I sell nothing and no one advertises there nor will that happen.Have a good one. Watch out for hidden fees.

****************************************************************************************************************************
Letter to Gold Spike:



Open letter concerning Resort Fees‏

From:
dewey hill (deweyfhill@hotmail.com)
Sent:
Sun 12/13/09 8:43 AM
To:
generalmanager@goldspike.com



Well, I have been hearing such great reports on all the new renovations at your resort and had decided to give it a try when I come up in April.

Now I am rethinking my decision.

Why have you gone on the resort fee bandwagon?
It is not really the $2, but the idea that it is such a tricky tactic.
While the new renovation attracts, this resort fee repels.

And what exactly resort like do we get for the hidden $2? Pool? internet? laundry? business office use? gym?
I read that we get.........well...........nothing.
Guess I'll keep my El Cortez reservations. A bit more money perhaps, but I can count on few surprises except perhaps Jackie's unpredictable play at the poker table.

Sincerely
Dewey Hill

************************************************************************************
FEEDBACK FOR KAYAK SEARCH SITE

I used to recommend you all the time, but you are failing to figure in RESORT FEES when quoting in fine print the price with taxes and fees. It makes a huge difference and completely makes the list by price function of your site useless and deceiving.


From:
Gayle Evans, Kayak QA Engineer (225622.ee0@feedback.kayak.com)

Medium risk
Sent:
Fri 12/18/09 4:32 PM
To:
deweyfhill@hotmail.com
Hello, Thanks for taking the time to send us feedback about resort fees.  We are aware of this issue and are working with our providers to get this information.  I hope you will still use Kayak.  We not only read and respond to every feedback, but use this feedback to improve our products.



Thanks again,


************************************************************************************
FEEDBACK TO THE VEGAS.COM SITE

I'd like to thank you on behalf of many of my blog readers and myself for being so informative on RESORT FEES. Other sites allow these hidden fees to remain hidden, even claiming prices with taxes and fees but including the resort fees that can be as much as 25% of the booking.
It would be great if searches would arrange casinos by total price as that would make comparison shopping more easy, but you have done the next best thing with pop up warnings and a clear statement for each casino chosen.
Your site it already getting good marks on Vegas discussion boards for addressing this frustrating issue, and I'm certain you will find more customers booking through you because of your response to resort fees, many of them mad that their computer searches on other sites did not reveal actual cost.

*******************************************************************************
MY ANSWER TO A BOARD MEMBER ASKING WHEN DID ALL THIS HAPPEN AT HIS FAVORITE CASINO.
IT WASN'T THERE TWO MONTHS AGO, HE SAYS.

The "when" of the resort fee farce can be any day of any week for any casino. That is why Viva Las Vegas took on the task of updating the list here on this board(click), why some of the more savy discounters are getting the message that this is going to continue to be a frustrating hidden fee and they better get it communicated to their customers, and why I am trying to chase this thing into the ground on a daily basis.

RESORT FEE BLOG THREAD

For many, many customers the important "when" is the time in the room booking process when they learn that each of their nights might cost them another $25 and that all their comparison shopping did not mean much because quite simply they were quoted one price and will pay another.
Perhaps it is as they check in.
For some it won't be until check out.
And we will have to imagine that for many it won't be until they pay the Visa a month after they are home.

So at least here, where we talk to one another, we can stop this virus from infecting the pleasure of a Vegas trip, but even here we are always working behind the "when" of the decision.

Unlike casino implosions, the imposition of resort fees will not be televised.

The entire purpose of this practice is to get their hotel to look cheaper than the competition when someone does a search and pops them up ranked by price low to high as well as trick the customer into paying more.
Of course, the entire business of the casino is to trick the customer into paying more but generally they have kept the tricks confined to the slots, extra zeros on roulette, and dealers reminding us to bet the hard ways. They have not tried to trick us in the booking process itself.
But they are hurting for cash. So, like many financially strapped folks, mugging sounded like a good solution.
Hey, if the bankers can do it on house mortgages, why not do it on rented rooms?

Ask for total prices when you book.
Confirm those total prices when you confirm your room before heading out to Vegas.( I am not sure what happens if the hotel you booked starts a resort fee between the time you book and the time you arrive, but I suspect that folks are already being squeezed by this bait and switch con.)
Post what information you find so we can spread it around to your brothers and sisters on this board.


The better "when" is the day we see these fees go away or evolve into something optional.
Or the day when some casino begins to advertise that they have no resort fees as a way to promote their rooms the way Southwest promotes their airline travel with no baggage fees.
This too can be any day for any casino.
__________________
*****************
"Taking calculated risks is, well, risky; not taking them is pointless."
John Blowers from his novel Life on Tilt: confessions of a Poker Dad

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Every so often I compose a post I particularly like, and then I save it here.
This is one.
Ironically enough, the American Casino Guide discussion board moderator just wrote and asked me to no longer post links to this board or the Foxwoods board with my trip reports, but to cut and paste the trip reports on his site.
Yeah. Like that's gonna happen the next time I compose a dozen snippets of focused information with interior photos and links.
Get real ACG.
They said they wanted to get people to their site, not direct them to other sites.
This is short sighted (excuse the pun) thinking.
Free sharing of information is better for them as long and I see no down side since my site holds no advertisement.
I also have been doing it there and at a number of other discussion board sites for years without complaint. Anyone taking the time to look over my blogs know that they have no advertisement, sell nothing, and so are not spam.
Even the board with the demented disquieted and perpetually perturbed moderator who wrote after I mentioned on another board that he was so tough he stooped to insult a deceased board member (on a thread mourning the fellow's loss) to tell me I was "know nothing dickhead"....even on that site they let me link to my blogged trip reports.
But somehow writing for American Casino Guide this week I fell in the groove, writing on a post I started about the new resort fee and the Tuscany, and it flowed nicely, so the American Casino Guide got a long bit of work from me, cut and pasted as requested.
I especially liked linking the resort fee idea to playing short pay VP. That seems a way to explain what happens that might make sense to people, especially those reading about resort fees. I had not thought of the analogy before.

To see the entire thread, click American Casino Guide and scroll up to the top.
re: Resort Fee at Tuscany is now $10 for each night.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GotAces View Post
What do you think about their casino? I signed up for their players club and did pretty good. I was playing very l..o..w stakes on nickel machines. I hit quad aces with kicker on one machine and then quad 4s with kicker on the next machine. Then the next machine gave me a RF1. I switched to quarters and got handed my head! So I went back to nickels and hit a RF2. So back to quarters (dumb!) and still got handed my head. Quarters ate up 2/3 of my winnings but I still made a good percentage return on my meager stake. (But the next day I signed up at Terrible's player club and cound not even get a quad.)
This may not be the way you think about gambling, but for what it's worth here is my philosophy:
When we play video poker, unless we are playing full pay games, whether we win or lose in a particular session, we do more poorly than you would at a full pay game. If every time we hit a full house or a flush the casino short pays us a dollar and a quarter, then we are losing money on what we have been lucky enough to hit.
Our score at the end of a session or two or twenty doesn't mean anything. What is meaningful is whether the mathematics gives us full pay or not.
Tuscany does not offer full pay, so why play when we can hop a bus and in a few minutes be at the Gold Coast or Palms?

Another way to look at it is that the Tuscany, if they offer say 8/5 JOB has on a dollar machine a $5 resort fee on all full houses and flushes. Whenever those are hit, they take the fee. It is charged just for the fun of playing on their machine rather than the one at the Gold Coast that pays 9/6 JOB. Both machines work the same way by law.
Add it up while you play sometime. It is much more costly than any resort fee on the hotel room.

I play live poker and have heard good things about the Tuscany, but there have never been enough players there when I went for there to be a limit cash game with a full table. If we don't play full tables in live games then we get forced to put up blinds for cards we would never pay and that costs money in the long run. We also have less chance of being at a table with a fish or two who are passed around from good player to good player. So I don't like games that are short players unless by some wonderful luck, I am at a table with five players and two of them are idiots.

I did not gamble much at Tuscany. Here is why I stayed there last August:

In August I sought the comfort and location at an affordable price as well as important amenities. They charged me $19 a night and a one time ten dollar resort fee.
I got a good bit out of the resort. For one thing I planned my stay there to coincide with the point at which I would have two large loads of dirty clothes and nothing much clean left.
They have a laundromat.
(Try to find one at a casino in Vegas. Maybe at the Plaza.)
Their common areas have free wifi, and I used that benefit to catch up on my email and these boards.
Their pool area and the large comfortable living room furniture in the rooms were great places to sit and talk with some of my relatives who live in Vegas.
One of them is dieting and decided that he did not want me to buy supper as I ususally do, so it was fine to have a spot just to catch up and visit that was comfortable. Not buying him supper saved me the price of the room that day.
Their access to buses was just incredible. I could hit the strip or just beyond hit Gold Coast and Palms. Moving from the Tuscany to downtown for the last leg of my stay was very simple and quick even with my huge suitcase. Just a hop on the Flamingo, a hop off, and a nice ride on the 108.
My Terribles, Hard Rock and Ellis Island matchplay coupon runs were easy even in August weather because the walk from Terribles to the Tuscany was easy and broke up the walk to Ellis. I bought two books last year and so I made two runs.
I always have lots of coupons for Terribles for breakfast. This time I did not use any of them. They just gave me free breakfasts based on a bit of past play and did not take my points. I don't know why. Terribles can be like that. By the way there is at least one JOB 9/6 game there.
The walk back to the Tuscany from Ellis Island after a 3 AM graveyard snack of the famous steak special (no waiting at 3 AM) was also very easy. The workmen and lighting in the street being renovated helped make it safer. Had I not felt safe, the bus drops right at the Tuscany, just a short scamper to the B rooms where I stayed.

And this upscale place I wanted to treat myself to this trip with my restaurant.com $10 coupon was just down the street.

Here is my review of that spot, easy to reach from the Tuscany.

I went to Himalayan Cuisine where I had a ten dollar restaurant.com coupon that cost me 80 cents. Most restaurant.com coupons require two people, but they agreed to honor it for my solo meal. It is just down the street across from the atomic museum. To get there you get off the bus one stop beyond Terrible's and walk away from the stip a block and cross the street into a small strip mall. Getting back is walking a half block away from the strip to the nearest bus stop.

It was a great treat and a change from buffets. I ordered half portions liberally in order to get a few tastes. That made the meal a bit more expensive, but I was treating myself. I did not drink any of the wonderful assortment of Belgian beer but had mandarin iced tea and it was very good. I had two. No free refills and $4 each.
I did try to note the names of the beers, all unknown to me ( I can't read my own handwriting) and perhaps I'll try one on my next trip after I have to time look at them on line:
Piraat Flemis IPA

Gulden Draak
Urthel Vloam se Bock
St Bernadus Abtis
Du chessede de Brugogan
Bornem Double Abben Ale
Nostradamus Brown Ale
Cherish CherryLambic
Cherish Rosberry Lambic
Troubadour Obscura

I ate:
vertical vindaloo with lamb – spicy chuncks of lamb in a gravy. Very good with bites of Naan.

Organic Tantric chicken Tandoori – I suppose I should have tried dishes new to me, but this favorite was very, very good.

Chana masala – chick peas in garlic and other spices.

All was a great treat. This is more pricey than my usual Indian food at home, but I'm happy I went. The atmosphere is quiet. Other customers were for the most part native to the food. That is always a good sign.

The menu is very well written. Here is one bit I collected on a dessert I did not have room to try.
Himalayan Snowball: Mango and passion fruit sorbet with raspberry sorbet core covered in white chocolate and drizzled with milk chocolate stripes. Looks like a snowball on the outside but when cut open it blooms like a bright Himalayan spring flower.

One traditional dish I passed on was called Lamb Saag Dhindo and the menu joked that it was LSD but not mind altering. Lamb, spinach, corn meal.

As well as individual dishes, an assortment of sampler platters that cost about $30 were available. These seemed a good value, especially when using a $10 coupon. One was a vegetarian sampler. Much of the food was organic and vegetarian.

Spice level could be chosen. I chose hot and found the vertical vindaloo well spiced and very good.

A take out menu was also available.

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

So I loved the Tuscany for location, and I'll go again if the price meets my needs. I did not make it to the Atomic museum or take the bus to Eastside Cannery and Sam's, but I might next time.
I know I just need to figure in the resort fee, put there to confuse the uninitiated, and decide based on actually what it will cost me.
Not much different than my advice on the video poker. Figure the mathematics and make a decision.

While I fully appreciate Ben Jamin's desire to start a movement to boycott, and I respect his personal lobby to organize a boycott of all places that have resort fees, I am just too old for revolution. The best I can do is post so the folks looking for information see the disingenuous acts, and then they can decide to boycott or book.
I would suggest that were one to really want revolution, the tactic would have to be more organized than simply railing here on the boards (although that helps) If a hundred people decided to book a week of rooms for their holiday, and then decided to cancel a week later and follow up with an e-mail to marketing explaining how disappointed they were not to be able to stay in the lovely Tuscany because they so love the gambling there, but that with the resort fee so high they just decided to go on down to Bill's where for not much more they could gamble right on the strip. That might send a message.
Or if you could organize regular customers of the Tuscany who would, when the credit card bill came, fill out the paperwork and put the entire charge in dispute until the credit card company had asked the Tuscany about their "hidden" fees, that also might send a message.
Perhaps the fine print would require them to pay in the long run, but it is the amount of organized quiet resistance that makes these practices more a burden than a builder of revenue for the casino.
They pay more than ten dollars to the person who talks to you by phone or answers your complaints.

The annecdotal history of resort fees on discussion boards is filled with folks who on check out refused to pay the fee, but were willing to talk about it for a long, long time and the fee was often dropped just as were fees to have telephone or a locked safe a few years ago.

I only advocated myself for a mass protest from online friends once. It was when the Orleans first started to insist on a room key for a seat on the shuttle. I offered to help people compose letters, posted the ones I and others had sent, kept track of the responses and posted the names of people to contact directly with a polite explanation of why the recent shuttle decision decision was not a good choice.
I don't think I got a hundred people to write and call, but I got enough action off this board and others that I found out it frustrated the person who had to handle and answer all that mail. They soon moved to priority seating for those with keys and open seating for the rest just to get the letters needing answers off their desk. Perhaps that pressure helped.
Of course, in those days the Orleans had great VP and was the discussion board hotel of choice, so many of those writing had good gambling records and had stayed there over the years. I am not sure that kind of customer exists at the Tuscany. Few reading these boards would go to the Tuscany for advantage gambling.

I would point out, however, that with the ACG 2010 coupon Tuscany will pay you ten dollars to play $40 at the live poker table.

I'm now too old, too tired for revolution.
All I really want now is to get the semiconscious folks (those who won't read enough to know they are to pay a resort fee to the Tuscany) to play live poker at the live poker table where I am playing there and hope their mathematical skills at poker are equivalent to those they use when they fail to add up or recheck their hotel bills.

Monday, August 31, 2009

NOTICE TO READERS LOOKING FOR MY TRIP REPORT

THE NEXT ELEVEN OR SO POSTS ARE MY 2009 TRIP REPORT OF 23 DAYS IN NEVADA.

IF YOU ARE COMING FROM A DISCUSSION BOARD, THE ORIGINAL TRIP NOTES START ABOUT four POSTS DOWN AND ARE IN REVERSE ORDER AND RAMBLE ON ABOUT MY VEGAS TRIP THIS AUGUST.
WHILE THEY ARE NOT POLISHED, THEY ARE ORGANIZED WITH TOPIC HEADINGS LIKE FOOD, HOTEL, POOL, ETC. SO YOU CAN SKIM HEADINGS FOR INFORMATION OF INTEREST.
BASICALLY, I WILL USE THESE DAILY BLOG ENTRIES AS NOTES FOR SOME FOCUSED POSTS ON THE DISCUSSION BOARDS. I HAVE ALREADY STARTED THAT PROCESS IN DEVELOPING THE POOL AND BUS SUMMARIES.
SINCE I WILL EVENTUALLY POST THESE ON A NUMBER OF VEGAS BOARDS, I FIND THAT HAVING THEM HERE, IN ONE SPOT, AND PUTTING A LINK ON THE BOARDS TO THAT PARTICULAR POST IS MORE EFFICIENT THAN TRYING TO POST ON BOARDS BECAUSE I CAN EDIT IN JUST THIS ONE PLACE AND COVER ALL THE BOARDS WHERE THE POST MIGHT APPEAR. ALSO, WHEN COPYING LINKS ONTO A DISCUSSION BOARD, EACH BOARD IS DIFFERENT AND GENERALLY IT TAKES A LONG WHILE TO POLISH THE POST SO THAT THE LINKS WORK.

I'LL CALL POSTS POLISHED SNIPPETS TO DISTINGUISH THEM FROM THE LONG AND RAMBLING TRIP REPORT NOTES THAT FOLLOW THEM.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Search for Crispy Bacon - snippet

The Results of the search:

Remember that generally you must ask for the crispy bacon.
1. El Cortez Cafe
2. Peppermill - Five people reported this place
3. Harrah's the Cafe - also reported to give abundant portions by the author of this fine Vegas blog: http://hayleysmomonvegas.blogspot.com/2009/06/introductory-post.html
another poster says crispinesss at the Harrah's buffet is sporatic
4. This one from a post by an author of this where to eat in Vegas book
http://www.amazon.com/Las-Vegas-Eat-Wherever-Guides/dp/0762747552/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1219093080&sr=1-1
Hash House a go go
6800 West Sahara Ave, Las Vegas NV 89146 (702) 804-4646
their web: http://www.hashhouseagogo.com/
Quite a few confirming this, with one saying it was the best crispy bacon.
5. South Point Buffet -the crisp part may have been unintentional
6. Bouchon at the Venetian (expensive)
7. Golden Gate diner
8. Fitzgerald's Coffee Shop
9. Gold Coast buffet - If this is consistent, it might be the cheapest with coupons accepted for 50% for solo and a free senior buffet on Wednesday after earning 200 points. I did eat there last trip and oddly have no memory of crisp bacon while I can still taste the red eye gravy.
10. bellagio buffet (not inexpensive)
11. Pancake House out at Green Valley Ranch
http://www.greenvalleyranchresort.com/dining/the-original-pancake-house.php
12. Orleans Buffet
13. Bill's Victorian Room - reported to be very crisp and cheap
http://www.billslasvegas.com/pdf/menu_victorian.pdf
14. Ellis Island cafe - Three reports
http://www.ellisislandcasino.com/EIMENU1101.htm
15. Other spots to check
scroll down for the breakfast section
http://www.vegas.com/restaurant/specials.html
16. Denny's at Casino Royale
17. Silverton Cafe
from Pat Swenson on
http://www.midwestgamingandtravel.com/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=2&sid=865ce30ccbd8b0cb767d954ddf6f5890
I don't know if you tried the Silverton Coffee Shop for bacon, or even if
their bacon is still worthy of high crispy praise, as I haven't there in a couple of years. But in 2007 their coffee shop served the thickest, crispist
hickory smoked bacon that has ever passed my lips.

Since I always keep to Central time when I'm in NV, I'm usually playing in the quiet, mostly smoke free casino by 6:00am. By 9:30 I'm ready for lunch. I almost always ordered a BLT for that meal. It was loaded with 5 or 6 slices of that heavenly bacon, lots of sliced red, ripe tomatos and fresh green leaves of lettuce. Served on thick slices of white bread, with good mayo, this sandwich was um, umm GOOD! Very Happy

I was dining with a friend one day, when I ordered this sandwich. She asked why I was having that for "breakfast". I explained that bacon and
toast were breakfast staples, tomatos are fruit, replacing an orange, and that I included lettuce because I was trying to "go green" and save the planet. Obviously, she could not refute the logic of that statement
18. Golden Nugget Buffet
19. Green Valley Ranch buffet - poster here:
http://www.whatbrianthinksaboutlasvegas.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=189040#189040
argues that this is the cheapest:
"
For breakfasts in Vegas I usually go to buffets, and the best one so far has been Green Valley Ranch for the fall apart crispiness of the buffet bacon. With the card there its only around 8 bucks, by far the best cheaply priced bacon recommendation I can give. "




THE DETAILS OF THE SEARCH

The Original Call:
Okay, we've collected lists and details on mundane issues like where to sleep, eat, use coupons,gamble, get free wifi, bus.......
let's get to down to some important issues.

Where in Vegas can you find crispy bacon as part of an inexpensive breakfast?

We are not talking about those pieces of bacon that limply bend when retrieved from the buffet mounds and chew with a texture somewhere between venison jerky and cheap penny candy bacon.

"Plastic Bacon Oh, baby now You're such a drag!"

No..... we are talking about bacon that, when touched by tooth, snaps and crumbles in oral orgasms of crunchy bits of pork fat. Bacon that delivers the onomatopoeic Truth in "CRISP."
Bacon worth the bother.

In my last trip of 23 days I had but one successful hit.
Using my $5 poker comp breakfast at the El Cortez Cafe cost 58 cents. I asked for crisp bacon and the cook, Careless Kitty, must have heard me because I received a generous portion, all brown and barely able to withstand the movement from kitchen to table without cracking and crumbling.
********************************
SELECTED BITS OF DISCUSSION AND BANTER

It seems that the problem is places that do bacon in volume prepare it ahead of time and then keep it hot on steam tables. It cannot stay crisp.

One poster suggested the superiority of meat called "bacon" that is cut from the back of the pig, especially the Danish variety popular in England and other spots is Europe. He went so far as to suggest that the "bookmark garnish" I was craving was not really "bacon" at all and that I should move on to real bacon.

My joking response:
Now, how does one "move on" with back bacon? Seems that would be a move back. Look, back bacon is just bacon trying to "ham" it up. Furthermore, it is probably brined in saltpeter, and we all know what that does to any chance for true orgasmic pleasure. And these pieces in the photo don't even have a bit of pea meal packed along fatty edges, so at least there is some hint of decadent fat, something that tastes like a party. NO!! BACK BACON JUST WON'T DO!!
The hunt for bacon here is for good ole American
"streaky" bacon, son.
Bacon at it's best is Bacon from the belly.
Folks don't go to Vegas to eat back bacon, drink tea, and talk about the weather in the shipping channel.

They go to Vegas to live wild and free and crisp!!! Next you'll be telling me that for real eggs you need to go to Granny's in Laughlin where for breakfast they serve the only true eggs, small black bits from the sturgeon, swiped on tiny crackers in the hope of giving them some flavor other than salt, and in achieving what every palate secretly yearns to savor: Crisp.

His response:

Belly bacon has its place Dewey – but back bacon is always better. Better texture – especially when compared to the belly bookmarks that you are looking for.

Cleary such an erudite man as yourself can make clear what he wants from life and you have done that but don’t let that scholarly prose and thought eliminate the possibility of opening yourself up to new pleasures. Back bacon is a wondrous thing – lightly cooked being the best way to eat it (in my opinion) which retains most of the flavor and a fantastic texture.

Anyway I have no doubt you’ll remain unswayed by my opinion. So – as the Danes know bacon better than most, being one of their main exports, I shall leave this with a few words and quotes.

Response to being told that belly bacon is better: “there is something Rotten in the State of Denmark” and “More matter with less art”

And remember this when dismissing Back Bacon as inferior.

"Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world: now could I drink hot blood,
And do such bitter business, as the day
Would quake to look on."

This is not a subject to be trifled with Sir.. make acquaintance with Danish back Bacon and understand what you have been missing and dismissing.
Anonymousfrom mikenhe or Mike in real life.

Well, you get the idea of the banter.

So it was a fun search. Now I'll have to try out some of the places mentioned or at least get some other reports.
Hash a go go seems to be served by restaurant.com coupons.
I am most leery of the Orleans and Gold Coast reports, so if anyone reading this goes there, check the crisp of the bacon and report back.
Thanks to all contributing.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Plaza Pool SNIPPET

I am just back a week or so and stayed at the Plaza for four days at the end of July and another four mid August. I used the pool every morning and generally it was quite nice. My last morning it was very, very cold. Perhaps they changed the water recently. It felt like the California pool always feels.

I found the cold water to be an advantage as there were fewer adults to negotiate around in my continual move from pool to pool. A few children were brave enough to crack the icy cold and play a bit, but few adults lasted very long.

I found it generally uncrowded and very adequate. I particulary like having that Binions clock keeping me updated on how long I have been swimming as well as the temperature. Also entertaining on my first visit was a huge crane moving things in a next door building. I was happy to have booked at the Plaza for the pool rather than at the El Cortez.

I liked having a water fountain and bathroom close and easy to use.

All beer was $2 including Corona and the beer tenders were very friendly.

Adjacent are these tennis courts and in one was set up a horse shoe pitching pit. However, no horse shoes were available. They lost them over the winter and while they had been reordered, they had not arrived. Apparently they wre of some aluminum that would not damage the cement of the court. The pits were surrounded with wooden ties, had a dense black material around the stake and rubber mats spread out for short shots. I could imagine some fun playing horse shoes and then going for a dip to cool off. I could imagine that better than playing tennis in that sun, but that was available as well.

Some of the days the pool seemed to collect some feathers which were annoying, but I think the skimmer is available for use and a couple minutes with that might have saved me pushing them to the edge and splasing them up on the cement although that seemed to entertain me a bit as well.

I don't seem to have the hours in my trip report. A call to the Plaza would confirm those. I remember it was open into the evening.

Towels go quickly. Take one as you enter the pool area so you have one. If you need one and none are on the counter, they are packaged behind the counter in bundles in a large rolling cart. Just reach over and grab a bundle and open it yourself.

It does seem to me that shade was a premium, but I did not look for shade. I just did my hour (or almost hour) of breast stroke swimming without touching bottom, and then went off to find breakfast.
I generally swim with my head above water in a shirt, cap and sunglasses and recommend it for comfort in all that sunlight as well as for some protection as long as you don't mind the strange looks of sunbathers.

Actually, a woman there showed me why she was moving more quickly when swimming on her back than I was and now I have a new swimming stretch to try. She swam with a cap and goggles. I am thinking of trying that.

The advantage of the large sun glasses is I can be entertained by the antics of others and yet not seem to be rudely staring.

If you expect to sneak in from another hotel, that is more difficult than in past years. The gate is key operated, so unless you wait for someone or have a very long, thin hand and arm that can reach in the small hole in mesh of the gate and reach down far enough to open the gate, you will need to be a hotel guest to swim. I assume that if you are a guest at the Vegas Club, you can arrange for pool privileges at the main desk. That is the way it works if you stay at Main Street Station and want to use the California pool or stay at the Four Queens and want to use Binions.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

origin of vegas, baby

There has been much speculation about the origin of the expression:

"Vegas, baby, Vegas"

Here are two of the most popular answers to how that expression came about.


"The expression came from an old TV commercial for an now defunct discount organization called "Players Club". In the commercial, a popular TV personality, Telly Savalis (he played a tough detective named "Kojak" on a TV show by the same name) and part of his pitch was to explain where the Players Club card could be used. He said, "Its Vegas, Baby". It was a play on an expression he always used as detective Kojak. He would often say, "Who loves ya, Baby?"

So, a lot of people started saying it then and still say it today but few remember the origin of it."


From Answers site.




Swingers


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlCprJPwBSI

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Final statistics on Vegas trip

So here are my statistics for the trip.

I lost $1877, huge for my trips. It will change the way I gamble. I am not going to play VP with a bankroll big enough for comped rooms again. It just gets me overbetting. Also I am not going back to the weekday games in Laughlin as that is too tough competition.


11.20 per day food

$12 per day rooms

$81.61 per day gambling losses

$5 per day TRANSPORTATION

Bus to Laughlin $109

Bus to and from Plaza $1.50

two day passes $4

total $114.50 or $5 per day


Total daily cost of trip $110 per day.

I expect that in a regular tourist trip I can get by on $80 a day, so I gambled away more than the difference this trip. Also, going in ahead $1500 from home game wins made this loss a bit of a downer. All that is gone, and a bit more as well.

However, the rest of it was fine. I saw two free shows and had lots of good food and I learned a good bit as well. And while it was hot, it was not like this humidity here which leaves me so sticky and uncomfortable.

Return to Plaza - entry three

GAMBLING – EL CORTEZ=PLAZA

I went up to El Cortez to pick up my high hand award. It was amazing that those four tens held up and it paid $225. On the way I stopped for a couple orders of Vue potato chips at the Fitz. I did not play. Draft beer is a dollar so two orders with tip were $5.

Albert was not to be working until evening so I could not give him his tip on that hand.

I stayed to play and except for my nemisis, John, I broke even, but as soon as that old Asian fellow joined the table, I was losing. It is like playing against Greg on a good day. It does not matter how I cut it, he wins.

He plays very low cards too; he as likely to come out on the river with a low straight. It is impossible to figure out why he bets. I lost $63 and then I just left. I was too frustrated. On the way back I used my coupon at the Golden Nugget in a 2-4 but quickly realized that it was not the game I wanted to play and left ahead a few dollars of my extra $10.

I was tired. I hated going to sleep at 6 on a Saturday, but I did.

I woke up at 2 AM and went back to the El Cortez figuring that that old fellow would not be there that late and I was right.

I had a good time playing until about 8 when Ram It Ron showed up and just bet or raised every hand no matter what he had. When I saw him win with a 2-9, after plenty of betting, I knew this was not the game for me.

Generally, folks play real poker at the El Cortez. This kind of maniac destroys the game. He can do it because there are quite a few rocks who sit and only play a few kinds of hands. But even blind stealing here makes little sense. He gets a dollar if everyone folds.

So the last hand I am going to play is 4-6 suited and I am on the button. Only Ram It Ron raises, so I call and catch an open ended straight which by the turn is a straight in a pot full of money because Ram It has bet on who knows what, any ace is staying with him.

There is one Ace on the board and by the river nothing pairs, so my little straight is the nut hand. Jimmy calls my six dollars. What else can he do? There is too much money in the pot not to.

So I collect my chips and head to breakfast. I am up $19 and I have a free breakfast. Or nearly free. It costs me 55 cents.


I had a good bit of fun at this late Saturday night table. I drank three cognacs and joked with the players who were awake. A couple rocks slept between hands and often had to be woken up at the deal. Jimmy is fine to play. I pretended he was the guy who could take all my money, but actually he is too loose, so I like having good cards against him.


Also, I am in with another high hand. I got four eights. I don't think it will hold up. Yesterday even the little straight flush a woman at our table caught was topped by higher straight flushes. But it is fun to wait and see.


Melanie and Gayle both decided that they could not make a meet up. Of course, they decided at the last minute after numerous phone attempts. It is so frustrating. Then Gayle started here, “If you only gave us some warning ahead of time....".speech and I just wasn't having it. I told her that she had had eight days to work with. I don't know what she is thinking, but it is not clear. Is it ever?

ALBERT THE DEALER


I found Albert playing a bit when I got to the game at 2 AM. I tipped him the twenty dollars which he said was not necessary as he always says.

We talked a bit of our Laughlin experience and this time we have e-mail contact, so I can send him the story I wrote with him in it. I gave him mine, and it came through fine.


Action Jackson is up in Chicago visiting his new grandchild. That is a fine thing for him. He was so in the dumps the last I saw him and not at all his legendary self. Still I missed him at the games and did not get to buy him supper and listen to his stories.


I don't see as many of the colorful characters at the El Cortez as I once did. Many have been 86'd. I did see young Joe and found out he was raised in Cheektowaga. I played a fellow from Pasadena, another from Houston, and one young fellow named Derrick who got smacked so hard he will probably not return to this game.

I took him out one time when he kept raising his three queens into my nut house, queen full of tens. He came back again, but was surprised when his single pair of kings did not win. He left and so he saved himself some money as he could not play.


I made another regular fellow mad when on a whim I stayed in preflop with 4-8 offsuit. Derrick was raising this one too. The other fellow was calling with pocket aces. The flop gave me two pair and those held up.

I told him I rarely play such hands, but he said he had seen me play them and he was angry like some of our group at home when they lose to trash cards.


Then two hands later I limped in with 5-9 of hearts and they flopped a pair of fives, and on the river a heart flush so they came to win against the same fellow again.

I don't really play these cards often, but I was glad it looked like I did. It was a fluke that they came so soon together and I just gave them a dollar bet and then got sucked in with some hope and caught to win. But I sure like the others seeing me play them.

The rocks could not get callers, so they may have won the few hands they bet, but they did not win much. It was funny to see them fall asleep between their playable hands. After that regular guy had lost to two of my trash hands, he picked up his chips and steamed off.


PLAZA POKER


I left the El Cortez the following afternoon tired and down a hundred. I pushed it too long. The opponents were skilled and difficult. Against my common sense I took a seat at the Plaza 2-4 game, thinking that there was not much thinking required in this soft and loose game.

Well, the cards came my way in a wave like I have never seen. I was unbeatable, and I left after my $60 buy in with over $300, making the day positive.


BUS INFO


There are machines along the Freemont Experience near the Deuce bus stop and Neonopolis that will let me insert my bus senior citizen card and give me the rates and choices for passes, even for a three day all inclusive. This is great news as I will not have to go to the DTC to buy my passes next trip.


FOOD


The El Cortez cafe's simple $5.50 breakfast is very good. Eggs anyway with a bit of potato, two slices of toast and a good portion of bacon. I asked for the bacon to be crisp, and it was the best I have had in Vegas and a good portion too. I asked for Cholua, and they had it as well as the Tabasco, so the potato was good too. I skipped coffee, hoping to sleep. That costs extra anyway.


I still had an unused food comp for the Plaza so I used it for the steak night supper which let me down. I have never seen such small pieces of steak, thin and fairly tough. The fish was tasty, but I can't see paying the price they get. It was only good because I had a comp for most of the price, and I was too tired to want to go anywhere else.


I had breakfast at Main Street Station. I really wanted another taste of kalua pork, but I decided not to wait for lunch. I probably could have. Good tasty food, however. I had some over easy eggs to order and right along side the ordering station was hot mushroom and onions to put on top. With a Frosty shake at Wendy's at the airport this held me until I was home.


ELVIS


I just lost energy and yet I am not ready to sleep. So my last day I watched Elvis movies on TCM. Funny, corny, but fun.


I stayed too long this trip. I am aging and I just get tired out so I can't do the all night poker anymore.


OTHER ENTERTAINMENT


I enjoyed the Summer of 69 Theme on Freemont. At times it really took me emotionally back to my youth. The simple flower collage, blending in and out of colorful flowers to Blood, Sweat, and Tears music reminded me of being young and of how wonderfully optimistic I was in those years.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rjMB0JotHM&NR=1


I enjoyed the hippie bus music as well and the pretty girls in these rubber like suits that hugged their fine bodies very tightly, trying to represent the body painting of the 60's. They were lifted above out heads and did acrobatics on large rings to the music of the 60's.

I marveled at all the dealer's in tye dyed shirts. Early in the morning in the near deserted Plaza, it looked like a small Grateful Dead Concert.

I liked it that Freemont joined together in representing this common theme. That made good sense. I encountered 60's music in a number of venues. I began to see that the 60's was the new Rat Pack and maybe the new Elvis. As the population ages, the nostalgic focus ages as well.

Some of the dealers told me they hated the tye dyes and I suppose in one sense the worst way to celebrate the individual, creative feedom of the 60's is to regiment a uniform dress code. But Vegas is not real anyway, all illusion, so I'm willing to pretend, just as I am more than willing, even if only for a few minutes, to pretend to be twenty three again.


POOL


The Plaza pool was very cold for some reason. I guess they had just filled it. It is a contrast with our lake water here at home. As soon as I got home I jumped in for a swim, and the lake water was warm as bath water.

Return to Plaza - entry two

GAMBLING


I have not written in a couple days.

I spent the last of my Tuscany time playing at the cheap O'Shea's game more for the Guinness than the winnings. I had a good bit of fun, and I realize that I am still much more of a limit player than a no limit player. I'm more comfortable and can drink a Guinness and joke around.

I don't win much more than a few dollars at these games, but I don't add to my losses either. It is not as volatile as either VP or no limit games.


Yesterday I would have won more at OShea's if I had not started off so aggressively. I lost $100 in the first hour and spent the rest of the night grinding it back in spite of long sessions with unplayable cards.


There were two players from Florida who were the most aggressive and I finally figured out that they did not bet premium hands. I got a seat with one of them to my right. It was perfect as after an hour the other gave me lots of respect. So preflop I could reraise the aggressive guy and usually get down to just him and I.

The guy was in love with middle cards. He raised three on every pair of middles. I think he hoped to push out other middle cards and then bet if the flop had not high cards.

So if I reraised with high cards, rather than see $10 more to see the flop, the rest of the table would fold. It worked for quite a few hands before middle card guy tightened up. Then I could again see the flop for just a dollar. That is the way I like to play this single dollar blind game. I like to see the flop cheaply. At the flop I would generally let others bet into me because they would.

His system cost him a good bit of money, but it did make some sense were I not there often to mess up his pattern. His $3 bet would get all the folks holding his middle cards out, and then the high card folks would either catch the flop and he would fold, or they would miss and his cards would look good for straights. This was an easy game to draw to straights because the betting was the same for every round. Chasing was not so bad as long as solid high cards did not come.


I did not have too many good hands, but letting others bet into me worked. It is risky to give them cards, but if they had good enough cards to bet, they would not fold in this game anyway, at least until the river when it was clear they did not catch. So I flopped the nut diamond flush and just let the pocket kings bet into me, which she did even on the river when the board paired. And I did the same with pocket threes that flopped a set. Others could be out and get called more easily, but if I bet after the flop, folks got scared out. Also, in both cases I had high hand draws so it gave me a chance for a bonus pay as well.


The rest of the time I just threw cards away and watched the entertaining people walking the strip. Lots of fun folks at the table as well, including pretty girls. So I need to stop getting so serious about gambling and get back to just enjoying the party that is Vegas as that will give me a cushion even if I lose money.


I did the VP frugal betting pattern too at Ellis Island and Main Street Station and came out even or ahead a few dollars while maintaining my points and having a free black chip porter. Main Street Station is now part of Boyd Gaming and that may explain why my free room offers dried up.


My score is still terrible, but basically in my budget. I usually think of losing now more than $1000. This trip I came with that and with the $1500 I won at home over the last month. I was disappointed to leave it here, but it teaches me things.


COUPONS


Going through my coupon books this morning, I also realize that I have not used very many. I won't go chasing these last few days, but I'll get back to having more coupon runs next trip. This weekend I'm just staying downtown and playing here and relaxing until my flight. I may be moving away from coupons. I get more free food than I can use in general just from the poker. And I have points built up over the years that I need to use up. I lost or had lifted from my back pocket in a Freemont Experience crowd my POV coupon book.


BUS


I was smart not to get the month pass as I have not been riding the bus much this trip. When I did, I got good value. My nephews left me at Bill's two nights in a row and each meant I did not have to start my 24 hour pass on the way to the games. One night I walked back to the Tuscany. So when I changed hotels, I bought a 24 hour pass that also gave me a free trip for my last night playing at O'Shea's and back.


News is that perhaps by January the new DTC will be build. I saw the site. I am not very pleased. I won't be walking to it while staying downtown. Also, all the routes will change. There will be a new as yet unestablished route called the ACE bus. I guess it could make bus riding better, but I don't trust that it will. I expect that the 108 will still loop downtown. I hope the 116 will too. Certainly there will be places to catch those routes, but will they be in areas where I feel safe walking? Will I have to go the the new DTC by bus in order to pick a route from there? I'm pretty depressed about it. It took me a long time to get a good sense of these routes, and on my next trip I will have to start all over again.


Moving from the Tuscany to the Plaza was very easy. I had to run for the bus with my large rolling suitcase, but I made it and then I had only a short wait at Swenson for the 108 to downtown. That stop confused me because I remembered the stop at Swenson and Tropicana. I liked this Swenson and Flamingo better. This is making me more and more sure that I want to plan my future stays with plenty of time on Flamingo and the rest downtown as long as I can get out again if I want. Poker playing is much better on the strip as there are more tourists, even people who have never played before at least in these cheap limit games.

Of course, it will be a long while before I go to Vegas again, probably a year. We are booked now all the way through March. And by then I suppose, like the bus, everything will have changed again. I guess it gives me something to do on the discussion boards, but I am tired of change and thankful for the recession slowing things down so at least everything is not imploded and rebuilt every month.


I sure like catching the Deuce at Venetian. There is all that architecture, water, and lights. Soft classical music is pumped out to the bus stop. I think I'll walk to there in the future when I want the Deuce to take me back downtown.


I don't quite understand it, but the 24 hour access pass I got for $2 on my senior citizen card worked on the Deuce with no extra money required. So for $2 I rode from the Tuscany to the Plaza, then later to Ellis Island and finally back downtown.


PLAZA


I got the North Tower again and a fine room. 1121 near the elevator. The bathrooom sink sings to me a bit when I turn on the water unless I give it a good twist. Everything else is fine. I was not able to check in at ten o'clock, but was in by one. I was pretty tired as I had played until almost three AM, then grabbed the Ellis Island steak special before walking back to the Tuscany.


FLAMINGO CONSTRUCTION


The work along Flamingo may be very annoying, but I have to say it did not hold me up in traffic at all. And it changed the nature of the walk from the strip back to the Tuscany. Now in the center of the road were plenty of hard hat workmen (this is at 3 AM) so I did not have to be so street savy as there would be help right there for any trouble. On the way from Ellis Island two young and cute girls with flowers in their hair tried to ask me for bus fare, but otherwise it was an uneventful walk. Prostitutes are all over town, winking, smiling. I guess the economy has affected them as well. I am solicited at every hour of the day wherever I go. Of course, I have to say that I probably invite it as I always like watching women. Just a smile and a shake of my head is enough to lose the eye contact.


One fine new improvement is a place for crossing Flamingo midway between Koval and the strip. It will be very convenient for walkers.


FOOD


I was happy to renew my points at Main Street Station with a bit of video poker play and a fine Black Chip Porter. I had enough points from other trips for three buffets as long as I stay with the lunch hours. The buffet is just as good as always. I thought the batch of Kalua pork was not as spiced as I like, but it still was good. Some poster complained about the cabbage. I realize that I never eat the cabbage because I mix the pork with the wonderful collard greens in another section, and top it with Chinese crunchy noodles.

They also had a tasty pulled pork barbecue, the fine sweet potatoes, nice brocolli, and tasty corn bread. I finished with a bit of ice cream, and they have my favorite butterfinger toppings. Delicious.

The only downside was there was a child who liked to bark like a dog and parents who did not or could not discourage this. It annoyed me.

It probably annoyed me because I was overtired from little sleep and the bus ride. I was hoping for a bit of time just sitting in that nice spot and waiting for my room to be available. I did spend some time in the lobby sitting with my favorite wooden statue holding a clock. As I age I really seem to connect more and more with this piece, having the sense that time is passing quickly and already has passed well beyond my youthful years. It is interesting, however, that some cute young girls flirt with me. At the poker table two nights ago I sat between two Grand Rapids sisters, Sarah and Melissa, and they were so sweet to me. They knew poker but not what to watch for on this game. I helped them with some strategy and in return got hugged and back rubbed and enjoyed. I had a good time with them, as did everyone on that table except one old, serious, fellow who did not like the frivolity and probably resented me teaching them how to keep their money a bit longer. This guy was way too serious for a 1-5 spread game.

In the MSS lobby I also spent some time looking at the old slot machines and just enjoying the ornate wood and d├ęcor. I sat looking at the wooden Tempus Fugit statue and so I had some time with the painting Monte Carlo by Louis Collisz which I have always enjoyed but seldom studied. The slow moving ceiling fans added some patterns of light to the woodwork and the music was fine too.

I wished I had brought my computer as there are a few tables set up now in the Player's Club area to accommodate those seeking free WI Fi. If this is posted before I get home, I'm managed to include those in my journey.


RELATIVES


My nephew Chris spent a fine few hours visiting with me at the Tuscany. We did not go to dinner as he is dieting. I had hoped to take him to the Spice Market buffet using the Destination coupons, so I did not get there this trip. I'm happy to have enjoyed Granny's in Laughlin for one of my fancy feeds.


Chris has some struggles in his life, but he meets them with energy and a good sense of humor. Since my last visit he has managed to find a job at a Plumbing Supply house and feels it will be very secure. He left school early, but he is smart and very hard working. He moves fast and multitasks. He does not miss much. I am happy to see him working again after the Plumbing firm went bankrupt and happy too that in a couple months he will have health care again.


So, it was a good time with the young grand nieces and grand nephews, each getting a bit of time with me alone. I think that is a good system as they talk better to me without their siblings listening.


ENTERTAINMENT


I have not taken time for another show. I did catch Big Elvis twice. It was great as always. I also watched the Dueling Pianos at Harrah's. I may catch some music at the Golden Nugget and I hope to see the Filipino band again here at the Plaza over the weekend. I did not make my usual Gold Coast Jazz Band afternoon. Laughlin really took out a good block of time away from my Vegas favorites as well as pressuring me to play VP on hosted nights and putting me in those 2-6 games with good, regular, rocks.