Sunday, August 28, 2011

room numbers and notes

Seems like a good idea to collect room numbers of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Just starting.  Comment if you have one to share.


I recommend Rm 3427 - the beds are decent, not a long walk from the elevator, very quiet, and everyone will think you're staying in the penthouse suite since it's the top floor!!!(Pokernutt)

Super 8

I like 3045. However it is the only room I have tried there. When I first booked there. (dewey)


Sailor likes rooms on 20-21 floor. Rarely used. Nicer. However, these are all king beds. If you want one when you reserve a room have it be a king. Then they might put your there.

865 reported serious plumbing problems in sink and shower on 8/19/11

Sam's Town

The check in clerk listened when I said, "the quieter, the better" and gave me a room at the end of the hall, ROOM 463 which also meant I was free to play my television during sleepless late hours because it was on an outside wall.

At first I found it annoying to run my extension cord behind the television, and later I saw that this was unnecessary because the lamp on the table has a hard to see plug in its base. A handy plug along the wall near the bed made my sleep apnea machine plug in easy. In the other places I have had to put in an adapter to make more room on the light and clock outlet. I am constantly unplugging the lamp to plug it into my adapter and not having enough light to see to do it. Oh well, small annoyances. Here it was easy.
I had read some complaints about the cooling system. I seem comfortable, but it is a mild time of year. I could change the settings on the thermostat and turn off the fan at least for a short while.  I did not actually get the hang of it, but none of this seemed bothersome.

The curtains here were thick and the best of my trip for keeping out nap time sunlight.
But as well as being a bit dusty in those obscure places that I look for bedbugs, or behind things I move to plug in my sleep apnea machine, this room was just boringly dull.  The art was the most tacky.  This country photo in the lobby would make sense and add  enjoyment to the ambiance, but there was nothing like this.  What I had was photos of fall leaves.  This was May.
Bed bug inspection was helped by places being poorly vacuumed because it was clear that were they there, I'd see them. It was hurt, however, because these mattresses are so wrapped up in layers of this and that and covers and such that I could not really see the mattress itself.  I have not seen anything like this sort of mattress wrapping.
The poor vacuuming left the black chair distastefully covered with lint or something.  I did not want to sit there.


#1519. Facing FSE and Rio, Stratosphere, etc.  
kept one poster out of the noise.
He suggested odd numbered room on high floor.
Another agreed after staying in odd number on the 18th


Saturday, August 20, 2011

noncomputerized electromagnetic slots

From this site:

bucket notes

As for the machines at El Cortez, they are a dying breed. To recap a bit of our conversation at Bighorn, there has been an evolution of slot machines over the years. The early machines were purely mechanical devices (until recently there were playable examples at Pioneer in Laughlin). Today these are not to be found in commercial operation, but can be seen in display cases in the lobby of Main Street Station, and outside of cases at New Life Games in Laughlin. These machines had no 'spin' button... The energy to run the mechanism (from reel spin to payout) was provided by the player's pull of the handle to charge an internal spring.

The next generation of slot machine was the electro-mechanical slot. These had lights inside, and a motor that provided the energy to work the machine. The handle was still there, but technically unnecessary to provide the motive power to run the machine. These machines, compared to modern slots, were very low-variance devices, since the win/loss function of the game was dictated by pins falling into slots (thereby the name slot machine) which would correspond to symbols as the reels stopped.

In the modern era, nearly every machine is nothing more than a computer which notes your buy-in for the spin, spits out a bunch of random numbers, and compares the resulting number to a bunch of virtual-reel-strips to determine the outcome. This allowed for much higher variance (and much bigger jackpots) to bring the players in, but the upshot is that a slot machine could eat your bankroll faster than anything else in the casino unless you had a statistically-unlikely big hit or abnormally high ratio of medium hits. This technology has enabled things like Wide-Area-Progressives (i.e. MegaBucks) offering top prizes that would be casino-killers in the days of mechanical and electro-mechanical slots.

All that said, the mechanical machines, as far as I know, are now completely out of commercial operation since the Pioneer took theirs out of service (Doc Holiday, the slot manager there, is an old-school-machine wizard, and it must have been truly nearly impossible to continue to maintain them for him to drop them from active inventory).

That said, there still exists the opportunity to play a non-computerized slot in Las Vegas, where your luck depends on a pin dropping into a slot rather than some bizarre coincidence of numbers in a computer chip. There are two electro-mechanical slots in operation (2-coin, $1 denom) at El Cortez downtown. You can recognize them by their old-school appearance (faceplates may remind one of 1970s era transistor radios), and the total absence of bill acceptors (just use a nearby coin-dropping IGT dollar slot as a bill changer - throw in a bill and cash it out for $1 coins to feed 'em with). They are on the wall next to the parking garage elevators at El Cortez, and are the last of the non-computerized electromechanical slots I know of in operation today. One of these days, I'd like to meet the back-of-house guy(s) (and/or ladie(s)) who keep 'em going. From what I have read, keeping a pair of those machines alive may involve literally manufacturing long-discontinued replacement parts, similar in may ways to what it takes to keep a Hudson on the road today.

"To learn how slot machines work first we review the old school slot machines. Slot machines from twenty to thirty years ago were called “electro-mechanical”. Players pulled a lever and the reels positioned inside the machine spun until a mechanism stopped the reels at a random symbol. The central piece inside the machine was a metal shaft that the reels spun on. Once the wheels were in motion, then a brake system would stop the reels. Sensors inside the machine determined the payout according to the position of the reels. Eventually the electro-mechanical slots gave way to electric slots where the reels were spun by a motor. These old slot machines didn’t have the high jackpots that today’s machines have but they were apparently just as random."

These machines, according to board friend The Bucket are still operating at El Cortez on the wall next to the Pavilion elevators.  Dollar machines.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Questions about the new El Cortez personalized promo site?

I had some.

 call directly at 702.385.5200 and ask for Jack. 

I would be more than willing to look into it further, or you can e-mail me at

Gold Coast

I'll do mostly pros:

*  American Casino Guide - as well as a small matchplay, free buffet with 200 points, no points lost. Buffet in general is one of the best low priced buffets going.  Eggs cooked to order
* While they took the full pay JOB 9/6 from the bartops, they still have it scattered about in the casino.
* Lounge music in the afternoon is free and just great. Play a bit of poker, get a beer, buy a cheap hotdog at the sports book, carry it in for the music and there you have lunch with entertainment for a bit over 2 bucks. including tips. I often combine VP with lounge music, playing on the breaks. Makes great diversion.
* Location for folks with a car is fine. Flamingo is easier to navigate than the strip.
* Location is ideal for bus/shuttle riders. The stop in front of the Palms lets us ride the 202 to the strip, to Ellis Island, to Terribles, to Sam's Town, to Eastside Cannery. The free Gold Coast shuttle to Orleans puts now only Orleans close, but then the 201 Tropicana bus which hits the strip at theNYNY corner, or can be used to go to the Pinball Hall of Fame.
* A short walk to the Rio lets you play there or take one of those free shuttles to Harrah's on the strip. So you basically have the center strip, from Harrah's to NYNY covered. A free tram goes from Excalibur toMandalay Bay and the Deuce is a lot less crowded from Harrah's north.
* wifi is not free unless you take your computer to the coffee place at the Orleans. Then it is. You can plug in too.
* The pool is heated and adjacent to the workout room. It is small, but there is a jacuzzi. Also there are free semi shaded seats, a great place to read and dry off. Rarely crowded. This is not a party pool so that has to make the water fresher. Cold water in the workout room is a fine drink even if you don't work out.
*If you don't mind a walk to do laundry, take your dirty clothes in a rolling suitcase and head up Arville to a laundromat. About 20 minutes walk. All safe and easy. In fact, I've taken all my stuff and rolled it from the Orleans to the Gold Coast along Arville, but there is a bus on that road as well that runs about once an hour and planning makes check out at the Orleans and check in at the Gold Coast easy even with no car.
* Play a little and there may be free rooms although lately the Orleans seems better on comps. However, go on the B Connected site and room prices are often below $30. Booking there will suggest a $3 resort fee, but I've never paid a resort fee on any B Connected booking.


* TGIF is a terrible excuse for a casino diner. Breakfast with coffee is more than the entire breakfast buffet. Hopefully, that will soon be pulled out.
* No poker room. That closed. However, the Palms is right across the street with one of the lower rakes in Vegas $3 plus high hand rake. Cracked Aces is usually paid as well as high hands

Sunday, August 14, 2011

On playing advantage games

My last play was in Atlantis in the Bahamas. I was really there to spend some time with a 14 month old grandson and his parents. But the casino was there. The best VP I found was 9/6 DB, but I played just three short sessions. I ended $54 ahead. What is interesting in VP is we can see just how long the "long" run is.
In my last session I counted the number of times I hit a full house. Each time, compared to the Four Queens experience, I was short payed $2.50 (10 max quarter game) and when I quit it added up to $15 they had taken just because of the way they established house advantage. I did not count the flush underpayment.
I don't mind losing the gamble. However, I just can't gamble very long for fun knowing ultimately I'll be ground down no matter what.
Live poker helps. No house edge. Just luck and a constant reevaluation of strategy to see where the leaks are. There we pay the casino a tip out of our winnings. At a good table, some fish will toss enough in our pot to cover even that expense.
Comps help. If I'm playing a 9/6 JOB with so much cashback, free rooms, free food that it becomes positive, well then the fun comes back.
Playing for small comps works too. John Growchowski discusses that in his recent article.
Say I just want to have a couple pints of Black chip porter and I go to Boars Head and put in a $20 and play slow and concentrate on the beer as well as the poker. After two I quit. Since the beer is figured in the EV, I hope at least to quit even with the beer free.
Matchplay hit and run works well too. There we have the advantage and we don't need a "long" run to realize it because it is so huge.
And this may seem like a rationalization, but I think of my bankroll as the difference between what a normal vacation would cost me and what I actually pay for Vegas. So my 22 nights coming in Oct /Nov at now $26 on average, give me $60-$80 a day for gambling just on saved accomodation charges. Figuring in the food adds more to the bankroll. I've been keeping track and comparing my trips to my wife's trips. She thought it was terrible on my worst trip when I lost about 2 grand. I try to tell her that I could have won 2 grand, but the best argument was simply to figure what her last trip to Greece cost. It was twice what my trip cost, and she shared a room with a friend while I had gambled solo. Why the cost of one night's room at Atlantis even with my son's Edward Jones deal is about what I pay for 10 days in Vegas. And you don't want to know the restaurant bill. Outrageous even with our foodplan deal.

A good way to get a handle on this is to keep track of what the hobby costs over time. I have a lifetime gambling score and every bet I make is figured in it. I want to know if the hobby is costing me money, how much, and then decide whether it is worth it.
In Atlantis the bad pay tables just turned me off.

So I sat and watched my wife play a fish slot at 20 cents a pull. She won a few dollars. But she was playing the "short comp game" as well. At home she drinks a cognac before bed. In Atlantis the bar price was $13 a drink. Her playing and me watching this cheap slot game meant we both were served. Once served it was time to quit. I combined my cognac with hers, and off we went to the room, her $26 nightcap part of her winnings.
She could play that game every night until she was served and then quit and she clearly would be playing a game of positive expectation. And it was fun to watch the fish turn and come up with little bonus cartoons and such. It did not have to be for a lot of money to be fun to watch.
I remember years ago I used to walk from casino to casino and "wong" the firecrackers off that slot that featured the honeymooners and shots to the moon (I forget the name) It was in an advantaged position if it had a lot of firecrackers, and I played just one nickle. I played all week in Vegas and I won $12 on this wonging, got a good bit of walking exercise, saw a lot of Vegas. Seem like nothing. But I kept track of all my other gambling and at the end of the week I was ahead exactly $12 total.
Once there used to be a lot of lobbying to try to get folks to just play the advantaged games. I think 6:5 blackjack killed any expectation that mathematics would make a difference. And as local casinos developed we all got the picture. Folks who would drive 5 miles to save two cents on gas prices would stand in line at Foxwoods to play 6/5 JOB.
I thought increased competition would make gambling better and it made it worse.
VP in New York Racinos is not even VP. It is a lottery game disguised as VP and should be illegal. It is akin to an old carnival game rigged in ways that can't be seen against the player. I'm ashamed to have it in my state. It would be illegal if it were a food offering as it has no honesty in labeling. Instead, the Gov is talking about expanding even more casinos. China has made it so we can't make anything to sell anymore, so I guess redistributing the wealth with the State getting its Soprano taste is the best we know here. Sad.
Okay, sorry. Too much ranting.
As Old Gherig on the Hack Attack board a couple decades ago used to say, "Somebody has to pay the light bill."

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

resort fee joke

While checking out of a Las Vegas hotel, a couple receives a bill with charges they didn’t expect.

The husband says to the front desk clerk, “That’s ridiculous. We were quoted a much lower rate. I want to speak to a manager.” The desk clerk calls the manager over, and the couple pleads their case.

“I’m sorry,” says the manager. “The additional amount is resort fees. Our hotel has an an Olympic-sized pool and a huge conference center available for guests to use.”
“We didn’t use them!” says the wife.
Well, they’re here,” says the front desk manager, “And you could have.”

Before the couple can speak, the manager continues, “We also have a spa.”
“We didn’t go to the spa,” the couple protests.

“Well, we have one, and you could have,” the manager replies. “We also have Internet access. And an in-room safe.”
“We didn’t use those!” the husband states.

“We delivered a newspaper to your room,” says the manager.
“We didn’t use it!” the wife states.
“Well, you could have,” says the manager.

The husband, anxious to get on the road, says, “Fine. Nevermind. Honey, write the man a check.”

When the manager gets the check, he says to the couple, “Excuse me, but that check is for only $20.”

The woman replies, “Exactly. I charged you $500 for sleeping with me.”
The shocked manager says, “But I didn’t!”
“Well, too bad. I was here, and you could have,” the wife replies.