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.

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 $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 coupon that cost me 80 cents. Most 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.