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.

Return to Plaza - entry one

GAMBLING


Well, I left off yesterday thinking I'd make it to the
WiFi and I never did. That changed the events of the day and because of those changes, I made money.


I went out to mail Lucky Pete the coupons because he is going soon to Vegas. I was anxious to get them out on Friday because I did not know the hours of the post office. I had a rough idea of where it was, but the bellman here at the Plaza seemed to send me in a different direction, so that what I thought was a short walk took me well up to the El Cortez, and in the heat I decided not to eat on my points at Main Street Station, but to buy a nice meal at Mamacita's Mexican Cuban place near the El Cortez and then get in the poker game there.


The game was tough at all tables. I switched tables once and landed in a seat right next to Jackie Gaughn. This is a fine seat in which to play because the old fellow plays very loose and calls right to the river, paying off good cards. He might even call with a busted straight that he does not read right. The rest of the players were all difficult to beat, especially one who manages his seat right next to me. So it is difficult poker. And I am losing.

Particularly I am losing to Jackie who catches the river when I have the winning hand. One particular pot was huge with my pocket kings flopping trips and looking very good against my opponent to my left who held A=K and had two pair. Jackie chases these high cards with his 5-8 of diamonds and catches on the river. The entire table erupted in laughter, including me. But the hand cost me over $100.

When Jackie leaves, I ask for a seat change and manage to get to a third table that has opened with some young tourists who are no limit players. They play fine poker, but I can beat them at this game, and I almost get even when most leave and the rest of us are put back on the first table. Here the poker is hard and gradually the tourists are eliminated, so I am thinking of leaving when I have a ten and the flop comes with two more. I slow play and the turn gives me quads which are big enough to be the second highest hand of the day. However, I have to get ten dollars in the pot to qualify and I don't have that amount. Also I have to go to the river. There are four in the hand and I check again. No one bets. Finally the river comes. I count chips and bet two, get only one caller, and luckily he raises two and that is just enough. I can't reraise and chance pushing him out, so I call and get on the board.

Now these high hand awards are for the entire day and the contest goes until two A.M. Generally, on a weekend, straight flushes win. Players only need to have one card in their hand so it is pretty easy to qualify. I expect to lose, but when I call the room after two A.M. I find out my hand has held up, so I get $225. Their awards are simply the raked money for that day divided between two high hands.

I leave and head back. I am tired, but mostly I know I can't beat these players. I play jack-eight as my last hand just on a lark, and it catches the jack for a pair and the eight on the river to beat my jack-nine opponent. So I win a few dollars and leave down fifty three dollars.

I am tired, but I decide to try the Plaza 2-4. Playing that will be mostly luck. I'll play tight and hope the best cards hold up. Then I'll get paid. Otherwise I'll give up money to trash hands. The players are terrible, but not too loose, but I don't catch too much. I loose sixty almost immediately and then stay down from twenty to forty for the rest of the night. The table gets down to five and in this game that is a great thing because I have a better chance of winning with fewer people. They will pay me, but there won't be so many calling all sorts of things. Two of the players will pay A-K to the river and act surprised when it does not win. Someone taught them it is a great hand so they keep calling with it. They don't need a pair. Once they pay my pocket threes that flop trips. Often I win when I think I must be beat, but they are playing fourth best hands.

Then I get confused. My pocket jacks flops quads on the turn. There is a guy betting into me (without a full house by the way) but I think that I have to take these quads to the river, so I just call. At the Plaza high hands do not need to go to the river. This cost me eight dollars or maybe sixteen. My pocket jacks are one the top high hand awards and get me $250 and the money in the pot.

So before collecting the El Cortez payout I am $131 ahead in a day of bad poker results. The bonus hands have paid me. Luck, no skill. On a trip that has been one loss after another, this is very easy to take.

And once again I am amazed at the turns of causal relationships in life that make poker so fascinating. Had I not mailed the coupons to Lucky Pete may day would have changed and none of this would have happened. So many results in life hinge on small decisions. We struggle to do the best we can with what we know, to play the hands we are dealt, but randomness withholds or delivers benefits even against the odds.

I did not expect to get back much of my losses this weekend because I am playing such low stakes games with swings of perhaps a hundred dollars in a day. I thought myself pretty unlucky to be at the bottom of that curve in the poker itself and then the high hands took me back.


PLAZA


I got a fine room here at the Plaza again on the eleventh floor. I did hear some trains this time. Still it does not seem to bother me as it once did. Perhaps the white noise of my apnea machine while I am sleeping takes care of the train or it just is a different sound here at the Plaza than at Main Street Station.


The pool was very, very cold today. This does not discourage me because I swim in cold water at home, but it did seem odd. They must have just changed the water.


In the tennis courts are these odd horse shoe pits. Wooden three sided barriers enclose a pit with some sort of stone and rubber mats. I asked about horse shoes and it seems that they had some aluminum horse shoes last year, but they got lost. They have reordered, but the reorder has not arrived. So no horse shoes this trip. Normal iron horse shoes would not be good for this pit as on missed throws they would chew up the cement. So this was a good idea, but they did not follow through and get the equipment.


EL CORTEZ CABANA AND GOLD SPIKE


I could have had Gold Spike rooms this trip for $9 a night, so I wanted to see what it would be like to walk from the El Cortez to the Spike after playing poker. With the new Cabana rooms also not far from there, the area seemed lighted and safe. I stopped in to the Cabana rooms and talked with the security guard and he said other than pan handlers and the regular sort of downtown characters, they had not had any problems in that one short block. He said that he was there watching as was the security at the Spike. So I have put it on my list of frugal possibilities. I walked past it at midnight and then walked to Freemont. There were folks in the streets walking, and it did not seem to be a problem. The security guy said that between the El Cortez and the Western, and in that direction, things were still a bit risky.

So I did not see the Cabana rooms, but I did see the foyer. Wow! Very nifty. They keep little red candies and a plate of fruit available for guests also. This is a small thing, but it makes a difference to me as I would make a meal of an apple or two just as down here at the Plaza I make a meal of the shrimp at the Golden Gate.


As I readjust my focus to making my Vegas trips truly frugal again, these two casinos are in my sights again.


MAMACITA's


I had a fine meal as always, but there was for a while one strange character. He was one of these fellows who talks loud and engages everyone. He wants to be the center of attention. So he came in loud and talking about coming to the casino with $20 and leaving with $900. This might be true or not. Then he insisted that the staff was going to pick what he ate, bothered some family eating soup to get their opinions, finally decided on something. They gave him takeout and he said he wanted to eat there. I think they wanted their money up front. He ate the soup, was quiet, and suddenly he was gone. I wondered if he had paid.

PS I was to see him over the next couple days acting out on Freemont. Is he a street person?

The videos were great as always. Spanish music videos with sexy girls and some soft tones. I wish I had brought my pad as one song in particular I would have liked to find later.

I tried the Havana plate this time. Sorry not to have the names of the foods, but it was very good and very much off my diet. Two deep fried concoctions with corn and meat, black beans, rice, crispy toast. The horchata is never ending there. They just keep filling it. And the meal starts with Mexican chips (the good kind) and some fine salsas. It was delightful for about $16 plus tip.



Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tuscany in Vegas Wednesday

GAMBLING


Well, the downward spiral of poker continues in spite of finding good games and playing extremely tight. I played more at the O'Shea's but the game was very different with almost all experienced players this time. I lost a bit there. There were still some loose players and had I caught cards, my kickers would have reaped some benefits, but flops matched nothing and I threw away junk until I just gave it up.

I tried no limit at Oshea's and at Bill's. Bill's was the best game, but again I lost. My losing hands were:


  1. Limped in pocket sixes flop a set, and beat by a set of jacks that draws two spades for a flush. (first and last hand played at Oshea's )

  1. Pocket aces bet strong enough to only keep two opponents, each all in. Both the pocket sevens and the queen seven draw straights.

  2. Ace queen lost to pocket kings that flopped a set. I'd have folded early, but again my opponent had very little money left.

  3. I can't remember the little ones that may have cost me a bet preflop. The rest of the losses were small folded hands. Few of my cards made anything on the flop.


My wins were small as well. One was good. Ace eight caught two pair and a weak opponent stayed with me with queen eight. An eight came on the river and my opponent paid me my solid value bet. I did not go all in as I thought I'd scare him. I think he was tempted to come over the top, but he played it safe.


I liked the games and I liked my play. No regrets. At the low limit game I did try two $5 push out river bets against good players, and then gave that up as I was called out.


Bill's at night was easy to play with $100 replenished as the small bets drained it to $80. That put me well within reach of almost all the bets even from those who were stacked heavier. Bill's this morning was as Slink described it. A bunch of regulars get together to hit the busted aces and kings bonus hands. They buy in small so when they lose, they don't lose much. They rarely bet and hands are very small so I could not get paid. I also made some mistake judging because the pockets that pay bonuses are basically invisible. Also, the guys stay so that pocket kings stayed while I bet my jacks full and caught a king on the river to beat me. In any other game he would have been pressured by my large bets to fold.

So I won cracked aces and cracked kings, but still did not win money. I left just nine dollars up.

I also chose this scenario to play some borderline hands. That is a mistake. If the pots can't get very big, then what good is calling the dollar blind and hoping to connect? I should do as the others do and just buy in for $20 at a time, hoping to get aces or kings cracked without spending much on the hand.

So, I am confused about all the poker in Vegas and ready to play downtown where I know the games.


I expect I'll just play that really small game at the El Cortez for the rest of my trip. No matter what now this will have been the worst trip for losses of my life and the stats are huge, approaching $3000. I have generally held a lifetime loss of about $5000 so this is incredibly volatile with just nothing winning anything much at all.


FOOD


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. 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 masalachick 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.


LAST TUSCANY DAY


I don't know if I will get on line again. This is my last full day here. Tomorrow I will go to the Plaza taking the 202 Flamingo bus to Swenson and then the 108 to downtown.

I have enjoyed the quiet and the comfort of these large Tuscany rooms and will come here again if I can get a good price. They were a good substitute for Eastside Cannery rooms as the trip to and from the strip takes just minutes. My thinking for future trips is to continue to concentrate on staying on Flamingo and collecting possibilities along this route. Even with all the construction and the one lane of traffic, the ride on the bus was not long either way.


RELATIVES


The Tuscany also gave my relatives fairly easy access to me with a room for chat as well as poolside. I'll see Chris tonight for supper and hear all his stories. Gayle is still thinking of when it might be comfortable for her. She has not been feeling well again.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tuscany Tuesday

Yesterday was fun. I ate way too much because I had three meals. I walked up to Terribles for a free breakfast. I was going to use my points, but they just gave me a lunch voucher, so I saved my points. Then I took two of my relatives to a little Chinese place that is a favorite of my grandniece Jan and her boy George. And finally I had late night breakfast with my nephew Mike at the Denny's that has replaced the little diner attached to the Wild Wild West.

I had been hoping to hit some graveyard special in the old cafeteria I remember that served such good hamburgers.

It worked out well for a bit more time to talk and a bite to eat before Mike went home to his dogs. Mike is vegetarian but eats eggs. So the Denny's build your own Grand Slam was a good idea. I had the $3.99 special.

I expected the WWW might be a little raw, but I did not expect to be in the company of almost a dozen prostitutes who were laughing and joking and having their late night breakfast.

Few were very attractive. Some, you wondered how desperate some fellows could get. They were down right scary.

I would pay them not to have sex with me.

It was entertaining. We were not approached.

As we left, two police cars had a car pulled over in the parking lot.


The Rehac realtives, my sister's children and their children seem to be doing pretty well and that is good. They struggle in this economy and in life as all young people do, but they seem to be in a better place than when I last saw them. Health issues haunt some of the older ones.


The little guy George is a delight. His speech impediment is improving, so he is easier to understand. He is a happy, friendly, easy going little boy looking forward to first grade. He came swimming here at the Tuscany, made friends immediately, and behaved himself. His mom makes sure he does. He also had a good time picking his favorite Chinese restaurant eating pot stickers and chow mein.


Jan's choice I think was a Mexican place with a mariachi band, and I am a bit sorry to have missed that, but perhaps I'll see them again and we can go there.


GAMBLING


Current losses for the trip $2147


I played a wheel of fortune quarter slot in the morning at Tuscany and lost money, but perhaps that will be a catalyst for offers. Sometimes it happens even with small amounts played for just one day. Tuscany poker room seemed short of players, and I won't play the short tables anymore. They have a tournament at ten that is $25 but has rebuys. I won't want to play if those are unlimited.


I played some no limit at the Hard Rock and did not feel very comfortable. In less than half an hour there were three sets of quads, and the last one took out my king high spade flush, but it was my own fault because for complicated reasons I gave a free card.

They do have an interesting promotion. They pay for all high hands as long as one card in your hand plays (not counting the kicker on a flopped board quad)

Once it confused play. A fellow with trip aces slow played just a bit too long I thought hoping for a river ace. With two aces on board, this meant he was giving free cards toward full houses rather than taking the pot with his trips.

So in the evening, feeling defeated and very low bankrolled, I played that 1-5 spread limit game at O'Shea's. It was just fine. Most of the players were more used to no limit, so there were not many manics. One maniac kept talking about being in Vegas where we need to “gambol” and betting his bets to drive people out. He was to my right which I liked except I needed to surrender most of my dollar blinds.

One maniac, one drunk. That was enough. It is three maniacs capping every preflop that make for an impossible game.

For a long, long while I played nothing. I just got very poor cards and threw everything away.

It is important to throw away in this game because everyone will draw to the river.

I managed one pot early on that kept me in dollars for blinds. And then the cards changed.

Of course, I had a tight table image, but I was not totally ignored. I did not get in any monster pots, but I was called by players who had not woken up to the fact that I had not been in many pots because I only played when I had good hands.

The largest I was in I lost, having capped my pocket kings preflop to another's pocket aces only to see an ace come on the river. I layed down the kings and saved a little money.

Along with the maniac there was a drunk. Once on the blind I had 3-4 of spades and decided to add the raised dollar just for fun. The flop came 6-2-4-3 and I decided to test my table image. A three dollar bet got all but a couple callers out. My next three dollar bet took out all but the resident drunk. I checked the river as my hand had not improved, and won with the deuces to this fellow's A-J. I laughed and laughed and said, “I thought I could bet all of you out” and that changed my table image as after then none wanted to be showed up again.

So pocket queens called my pocket aces, so confidently that I checked the turn. An ace came on the river for my trips and she called me then as well.

Finally, here is a game I feel in charge of that requires a low bankroll to play.

I had flirted with trying to get a flight home early. I had just had enough of getting beat up. Playing this game with some sense of control and with my nephew as fun company restored my spirit of adventure.

O'shea's is fun too because the cash tables are just a few feet from the open access to the strip and when not playing, I can entertain myself with watching the crowds full of pretty girls and characters. Folks at the table were friendly too once they got over the idea that I was not going to show my cards when I folded.


I had fun, won over a hundred, and enjoyed a game with my nephew who could play with a small bankroll. Mike played very well and lost $8, three of them were tips for drinks.


I had some time to talk to the dealer about my dilemma as we waited for a table to fill. I told him my disappointment at the end of the machines at Excalibur, my not knowing where to find a small no limit game, and he suggested Bill's, so I may try that place again. It is a fifty cent/ dollar blind and there my hundred buy in would sometimes put me in a top chip position. Certainly I'll go back to O'Shea's, and more importantly I think I'll try to arrange my future stays on Flamingo for access to everywhere I want to go by bus without the Deuce.

I don't think I would be so far down if I had played poker at O'Shea's and skipped the video poker and the Laughlin 2-6.

I don't think O'Shea's gave comps before, but now you can give them a Harrah's card and they put $1 an hour on it. I like Harrah's poker comps because whereever I am I can use them. My last were used for the Paula Deene buffet in Tunica and had been earned in the Horseshoe in Indiana. You have to come with a card or go to the Imperial Palace or Flamingo to have one cut. You give the dealer the card and he holds it. When you leave, you take it to the back where they run the touranments and swipe out. It is an awkward process.




POOL


I swam here and I liked the pool. I thought it would be smaller, but it is just fine with nice jacuzzi's around it. In the evening it was very pleasant to sit out there and chat.


WIFI


I had no trouble finding a nice table to get on the internet at the little cafe and the two times I went there, I was the only one. I saw a fellow on his computer in the pool area as well, so that would be a good option. It is good to see some of these places offer central locations for free internet. It was easy enough to connect. “Conventions” was the name of the service.

Today I am here at almost noon and the place is almost filled.


BUS STOP


I was a bit worried about early morning returns to the Tuscany if the bus stop was far from the casino. It is right in front of the hotel. My room is in B near the elevator, so it is a really short walk from bus to room. I did not need that bus access last night as Mike drove me, but it excites me as it makes this a great location. Lots of construction just now on Flamingo and some traffic hold ups, but by the time I come back again they will be cleared.


BEER


I have been an opponent of Bud for years and wished they did not so dominate the market. In many spots in Florida, Bud and Bud lite and its clones is all that is available. Then they decided to brew American Ale. Well, it was about freaking time!

O'Shea's serves it on tap in a cup. It is not St Pauli Girl of the Edgewater, and it is not the distinctive and wonderfully rich taste of Saranac India Pale Ale, but at least it does not remind me of watered down urine.

They also serve Guiness. One single dollar blind and they serve Guiness. That is a cheap way to drink.

Monday, August 10, 2009

laughlin edgewater part two

BACK AT THE EDGEWATER


GAMBLING


I checked into the Edgewater for my second weekend of comps and proceeded to immediately lose $300 in video poker I would not have played had I not had a host. I followed it up with $200 more. It all drained in the volatility of this game without a single quad. I was on a bit of a video poker tilt hoping that I could get some of my earlier losses back. Hoping for the elusive royal, then for the elusive aces, and finally just for any quad at all.

So if you are reading this Edgewater, keep hosting.

I did discover that I don't enjoy the video poker when I am losing and that changes my game plan there. I'll play much less, quitting after small losses. It also means that I may by chance catch some free nights here or there, but I won't try to keep the offers.

The live poker went well, but I still was down a few chips when I left. I expected to see some tourists, but for the most part I just saw the regulars. A couple were poor players, but most were super cautious and because I was playing very tight, they knew when I had cards. I played four hours and just stayed about even. However, I can enjoy the poker when I am losing too and I can't imagine losing $500 at live low limit poker in one day.


PS After coming home I discovered that a regular poster on the LVA board was playing against me at the Edgewater and sort of recognized me but did not say anything. Too bad.

So I am learning this trip again, but it is very costly.

I will skip the Laughlin segment next time. It is just too hard to find a game with tourists and then they don't last very long. This is the exact problem I had playing up the Mississippi River. In Vegas I can move from game to game as I size up the players. Here, having eliminated the 2-6 as beatable, there is just this 2-4-6 at the Edgewater and to find that filled with locals on a Friday night is just too discouraging. Tourists came to play, but not enough to start a second table.

Saturday I won the $25 tournament in the morning. It is a nice event with no rebuys. I almost did not get in as I was an alternate and not signed up early enough. Players were good enough to be fooled. I played tight until the loose folks left, then got aggressive and came from way behind to be top chipped. The best player lost when he went all in with an ace sometime and I called with suited connectors and caught the flush. The last opponent lost when he kept trying to get caught up to my chip lead by going all in to steal my blind. He did it finally when I had pocket aces and they held up. Since he was doing this I just called my small blind, showing no strength, and he bit hard.


VIDEO POKER TOURNAMENT


I was only in two tournaments. I paid for a $25 tournament and won that one. I also earned a $100 freeroll. They started with 12 tables and I managed to get down to 12 players before I was eliminated. They paid 10 and the lowest pay was $187 so that would have been a fine no risk win.

I would have won more than that had I simply gone all in on one hand.

Three players were in the hand at a time when we had to try to get some chips before another blind raise. One guy went all in. A second guy called. I held pocket tens and had to either go all in myself or fold. I folded. One guy had pocket nines. Another caught his ace for a pair on the flop. The turn was a ten. The river was a ten. I'd have had quads and enough chips to put me in the running for more than just the tenth position.


ROOM


I did not get a safe this time. I did not need one at all as I don't need even one day of room service. I leave for the Tuscany on Sunday. Otherwise my room is the same and just down the hall from my old room: riverview, coffee maker, everything ship shape. Janella took good care of me again.


COMPS


My last visit I got a free VP tournament ( top pay $10,000), a free comedy ticket, and a free buffet in addition to my rooms. This weekend I won't need anything as my poker comps will take care of my food. There I can use comps I know I have rather than charge meals and then have to pay. Our first trip all our food was comped so easily, we thought that would happen again. But this time the Boileroom did not count. It is all very confusing.

Generally I want to use up my comps because I doubt I'll make the trip again for a while. The 2-6 games, especially on weekdays, are just much tougher to beat than I expected. The players are good and the pots are small and the tables are not filled often enough. So it becomes a repeat of my experience playing poker up the Mississippi. Even at the Edgewater, where there is a game I can beat, I should not try to start the day there but wait for other visitors and tourists and full tables. Then I am not the fish.

It has cost me a bit to learn that this trip.

Also, I do want to find some no limit niche where I can feel comfortable. This trip it will be hard when I get back to Vegas to play no limit as I will be down bankroll, but I'll try somewhere. I just wish I knew where that should be.

So I am using up my comps and feeling a bit sad to be leaving this river strip of casinos perhaps for the last time. There EW things I like here very much.

Friday night I hoped to play some tourists, but it was the usual players. After ten Amber and her husband joined the table. She deals at the Belle and I remembered her as a player at the Edgewater as well. She was ruthless. Unlike the others Amber was aggressive so that I'd not be able to get free cards or know what was up when she acted. She also would keep up a banter that would distract. So I was smart and headed back to the room.


FOOD


I used my poker comps to buy a fine pecan pie to take to my room. I added two dollars to the ten in comps and it made a fine late night snack. I'll have it for my extra meal until I leave on Sunday.


RIVER PALMS


My last morning I took a walk along the river and I walked far enough to reach the River Palms where I went in to find the poker games in full swing, so I played for an hour waiting for Granny's to feed my that fine gourmet buffet.

At the table was Grif from the Laughlin Trip Advisor board only I did not know it until I left. I asked when I arrived, but no one seemed to know he posted on a board (or what a board was) They were all grieving the end of the room coming this August. It was sad. Some had played there regularly for many years.

I played poorly, much too loose, chasing all sorts of things. One hand with Grif, however, I slow played a flopped fullhouse until he caught his flush and raised me. I reraised. It would have been a better play in a structured game where the bet was higher on higher hands, but I never sensed any strength. I might also have give Grif time to catch a larger full house that my sixes full of aces, but that seemed unlikely to happen. More likely was that a six dollar bet in the beginning would just grab a small pot.

Sitting next to me was a woman with the most interesting voice. She was beach blonde and while she did not sound like Betty Boop, her voice approached that sort of tone. I kept thinking she would be perfect playing along side Dick Tracy.

I left after my bad play up $8.


GRANNY'S


A second fine meal at Granny's. I wanted to eat there before I left in case I don't get to Laughlin for a while. Lamb chops and snails sure beat the medicre food at the other buffets I tried in Laughlin. Everyone raves about Harrah's, but everyone has a car. In August heat I was happy to make the walk to the River Palms in the morning. Harrah's is just too damn far.


Well, so long Laughlin. I'll miss you, but I just don't play well enough to do the weekdays and it is too expensive to come just for the weekends unless I happen to be here with a car.