Wednesday, December 28, 2011

TR snippet Lucky club

I am sorry to have lost some of my Vegas notes from last trip, so I have to depend on my memory.

I thought I'd be taking a couple buses to use the free food voucher I had won here in the contest to review casinos.  But I met an old buddy from a long abandoned board who was playing in the Imperial Palace freeroll, and he offered to drive me out for a free meal.  It gave us time to catch up and seemed fun.
At the casino I just unraveled.  The ACG coupons are for new sign ups.  I was one.  He was one.  But I could not manage to keep them in my hand.  So I did not play the matchplay.  
I did go for the two free drinks, and since they were out of draft beer, they let me pick for a huge selection of bottled Mexican beer.  I had Modelo.  
I liked the Latino flavor of this casino.  I had thought it would be more like Longhorn, which is fine, or Bighorn which is pretty basic, but I liked this place.  Even though I could not seem to keep my mind working, I had a fine time.

They would not let me take inside photos, even though I explained I was doing a review.  At first, they said my voucher had expired, but I showed the book, explained the contest, told them I was writing it all up, and then the chef came out and was as acomodating as he could be.  As a result I am not quite sure if the food was the standard or a special for the guy with the notebook.

We asked if the free meals included appetizers and deserts.  Oh, yes they did, but we could not eat all the food that would have brought.  We shared some wonderful chicken wings, very well prepared and served as I asked, without being covered so the crisp was still there.  I was born and raised in Buffalo.
I had the mixed fajitas and was served enough to feed about four people.  
I have lost my notes and have forgotten what Bart had, perhaps a salad with grilled chicken. 
The food was great!
The chef said that there is a merger in the works where Opera and Lucky Club will have the same cards.

Bart played an assortment of things.  I played a slot that I really liked (also forgotten) with king kong or some large monkey in it.  I don't play slots.  This one I'd go back to play.  I can't really say why.

Everyone treated us kindly and we had a great day there at the Lucky Club.  
I'm going back when my mind is not dysfunctional.

Photos are here:

Here is a sense of the Latino flavor 

They have rooms.  I'd be tempted to stay a couple days if I had a car, but the deals are no better than downtown.

 Here is where we ate the fine food.

Afterward my buddy gave me a tour of North Vegas, taking me through some sketchy areas and showing me the sad neighborhoods, some dominated by gangs.
There had been some cool places in those neighborhoods including this place, now long gone

check these images:
Now it was a tough place.
In one section the highway had chopped the old neighborhood in half and protest was not productive.

There has been a good bit in the news of North Las Vegas perhaps being swallowed up by Las Vegas politically.

Nevada State Museum

This is on my Vegas list for my next visit.

Friday, December 16, 2011

TR Snippet: UNLV Campus walk, the desert, museum artifacts, art, and bull riding

I knew that it could not face intense and lengthy gambling if my small bankroll was to sustain me for 23 days.  I also knew that I hated leaving Vegas with so many interesting trips still on a list of things to do because all I seemed to do was play poker and drink.  And I noted that in my earlier trips I often lose when I play the first couple days, so I wondered if I needed time to adjust before playing and time to settle down.
Low limit live poker is about unconscious rhythm.  You can feel it, but not create it.
Wild Bill was not coming until a few days after I arrived.
So, I planned a good solo outing to see parts of Vegas I usually miss and that would not be interesting to Bill.

Leaving from downtown I started out in the morning on the Centennial Express, a bus that weaves about, crosses the strip at The Fashion Show Mall and then makes its way to the UNLV campus.  Part of its purpose is to provide students an easy bus route to class, so it runs more often on weekdays.  It was a weekday, but the bus was almost empty when I caught it.

To go South I caught it at Casino Center and Fremont, next to Binions.
I was dropped at the campus on Maryland.

Just two steps on campus and I was in a small desert garden and along my day's walk I saw others.  These are scattered all around the campus and planted with various desert flowers, trees, and cactus.  Even in October there was some color, and I found this a fine way to see a bit of the desert without a car.

The UNLV campus is huge.  It runs along Maryland from Flamingo to Tropicana. It makes for good walking, but it can be hard finding the right route.  Almost right away I bumped into a box office and they had maps of the campus.
I always find great pleasure in  any campus visit.  When I started college at SUNY Buffalo, I found the campus such a luxury compared to my home neighborhood, on the East Side of Buffalo.  In those days there was little danger on campuses and I thought of being on campus, even in the dark of night, as being on a wonderful island of peaceful calm compared to my neighborhood streets where certain guys hung on certain corners just looking for a brawl and an evening walk meant picking a path around trouble.
The whole university  experience pulled me out of my narrow neighborhood, and emersed me in centuries of new ideas.   And the joy of that opportunity to learn and know stays with me even in this older age.

So to be on campus here in Nevada, on a warm sunny day, in the midst of young people walking, biking and on skateboards felt just fine, and the icing on the cake was the pretty girls.
In my college years I did not have money for a modern skateboard, and it would have been useless most of the time at SUNY Buffalo, but they were just becoming popular and there was one long easy stretch of walkway to ride.
I took a drawer front from some old dresser and mounted the wheels from the skates I used as a kid and I rode it along that long pathway for a few Autumn weeks until one hard fall on my tailbone discouraged me.
In Nevada the skateboard is a common means of transportation.  I have a nephew who used his daily to commute to his job at Pizza Hut.
It is much faster than walking, fun, and easier to secure than a bike.

I headed toward the Barrick Museum.  I knew I wanted to see the museum both for the regular exhibits and also for a short run exhibit of banned comic books called Seduction of the Innocent.

The museum was less full than it usually is.  One whole section was being reworked with temporary paintings that reflected themes that fit into the Halloween season.
I think this mask collection is a permanent display, but it too fit well into Halloween.

I enjoyed the comic display.   It was interesting to see how far these books were from what I read as a kid and to wonder who was reading these.

They did not photograph very well, but here is a site with photos of the Omaha Cat comic.  Pretty wild and racy stuff.  

I don't want to take a chance on violating copyright, but click on any interesting cover and it will enlarge for a better view.  Included in the display  was some of the history of the banning 

I always like the old ceramics of a culture.  This display includes interesting pieces from various cultures in Central America.

 I love everything decorated with fish.  Fishing is such an old occupation and I feel connected to the centuries when I'm  out being an angler.
I loved this one.  


I had picked my day also to coincide with the Professional Bull Riders competition held in the Thomas Mack Center right on that campus.
Tickets were advertised for as little as $20, but I bought a bit better seat for $36, still a cheap price for such an event.  
I had a long wait, so I decided to go up to the Pinball Hall of Fame.  I walked out to Tropicana and took the bus.  On the way I saw the Crowne and Anchor English Pub
and remembered their great offer of  free lunch for video poker play.  

I was hungry, so in I went.

I recommend this spot, even though I went a bit on tilt and lost $100 in the short pay machines.  It surprises me that I want to go back, but I do.
The ambiance was just great.  Soft blues mixed with other music played.  The bar was populated but not crowded. The ambiance was delightful.
A very pretty and personable waitress explained the rules of the free lunch.  I was required to play 15 hits of max play quarters, thus putting at risk my $20 at least once.  For that I got lunch and a fine beer. I could not decide which beer to have and she actually gave me three tastes from the many tapped beers. I can't remember which I chose.  But I was amazed that she was so easy and friendly to a guy getting a free meal.  
Of course, that is the way to be, isn't it?  Jackie Gaughn knew that and he was right. Some of the newer "experts" don't know how to lure and keep a customer.  
If a frugal and disciplined gambler like me can be lulled into losing $100 on short pay Deuces, well the place is doing something right.  I ate lamb in a bread bowl and it was all delightful.  It is the best bread bowl I can remember having anywhere.  However, if I go again I won't keep chasing lost money.

I walked down to the Pinball Hall of Fame and soothed myself with games where I could only loose at most 75 cents a play.

 I did not do this, but I remember being so fascinated with these coins when I was a kid.

This is my favorite game.  I play it every time I visit.  I remember seeing these cartoons, even in high school when there was an evening show featuring Daffy Duck.

After busing back to the campus, I was still early for the bull riding, so I parked myself on a busy campus walkway where some students were selling baked goods, and a blood mobile collected blood donations and passing in front of me was a cross section of the students going from class to class.  It was fine to sit at a table in the warm sun and watch the parade of young folks, dressed in the most casual and in suits as well, walking, biking, riding skateboards, quiet and determined or in intellectual conversation.  
And did I mention the pretty girls?
From a vending machine I had a drink that cost half what the prices were in the tents and trucks of food set up for the Bull Riding event.  
One fine thing for me in touring a campus is there is always cold water from a fountain and always a nearby bathroom, even in the "desert" areas.  These things become increasingly important for me as I age.

I sat near the soon to open doors of the Mack Center and watched the audience stream in, many dressed in cowboy gear with hats and shirts and interesting belt buckles.

All around this event were huge Ford Trucks with Ford Built Tough plastered around.  It seems ironic since I remember FORD meaning "Found On the Road Dead" or "Fix Or Repair Daily."  I wonder if they are built better now.  It is a good way to change the image to attack the old stereotype.  
I also wonder if bull riders are loyal Ford guys.  My dairy farm raised buddy Dick and his family always bought and defended Ford vehicles.  My family was a Chevy family, so the banter was on often, and certainly always came up whenever we had nothing else to talk about, when the cows were in and milked, and we walked the couple miles of highway back to Lime Lake for roller skating.

When I got in to the Mack Center, I saw what looked like a very small area and huge screens.  I have not been to a bull riding event, so for a while I worried that I had come just to a televised bull riding with the actual bull riding to occur somewhere else.  The area did not look ready for bull riding.
And it wasn't ready just yet.

It was opening night, so there was a bit of ceremony.  Since I don't actually follow the celebrities of bull riding, this would mean nothing to me, and I'll probably skip it next time; however, I was amused and delighted that as well as putting the spotlight on old star riders of the bullring, they put it on old star bulls as well. Funny to see these bulls placidly standing in the spotlight and honored with applause from a crowd who remembered them.

Then there was an opening ceremony.  It included a military induction of new recruits and some returning Veterans  and some honorary speeches.  Generally, I don't much like these ceremonies.  I'd rather support the troops with additional resources so that returning Veterans don't have to wait a year to discuss issues of post traumatic stress at a VA hospital.  Or perhaps a jobs fair for returning Vets.  Or some added resources for rehabilitation of the wounded.  It is not such a feel good kind of Rah! Rah! exprience, but war is not football and these guys come back after all the hoopla with real physical and mental issues.
But this one I liked, I suppose because it was all Air Force and reminded me again of my youth.  Also, it was a real experience and not all oversentimentalized pathos .  
Young recruits took the oath right there on the bullring floor.

All through these activities was a fellow doing a clown act to make up for time to rearrange things in the arena.  It was the worst clown act I have ever seen.  He just winged it.  Even his jokes were stale.

And then the riding started. 

The arena was quickly transformed and two bull riding were areas set up across from one another so that there could be a few rides on one side followed by a few on the other.  
I am not much in favor of sports that hurt the players, but I really got into this bull riding.  
It was amazing!  
And the screens were helpful because at any time I could glance up for some detail.  Each ride goes very quickly.  We get a brief summary of the guys prior rides, current hopes  and past injuries as he wraps the rope just the way he wants it.  
Then the gate is opened and the rough ride is on.  I don't understand any of the techniques, but I can count the seconds the rider stays on. 
Riders came from the States but also from Canada, South America, Australia.  Each ride was very important.  This was the National Championships.   
I'll go again if I am in town on the days they ride, but I'll skip the first night and go on the nights when there is no ceremony and only riding.

In the dark coming out, I got twisted up and was unsure where to go, so I just followed some other audience members and when I emerged from the campus I was closest to the 108 bus.  I decided to take that to the BTC and switch to get downtown.  It was a bad decision because the scheduled bus had broken down, and I waited my longest wait of the Vegas trip, 40 minutes.  When I got on the bus, everyone was grumbling and complaining.  Some had been on the broke down bus and had to wait for this one and reboard.

I did not make it as far as the BTC.  At the Stratosphere there is a shared stop with the SDX and I decided to switch buses there.  It is a fine stop at night because Denny's is right there and so while I waited people could see my from the glass and were my street sense hackles to rise for any reason, the door to Denny's was steps away.  Very unlikely to have any difficulties there.  With me were folks from Denmark trying to understand the ticket machine.  
I waited a while.
But Denny's looked inviting and I really had not eaten much that day.
So I went in and had a fine late night breakfast.  The waiter was just great!  It did seem odd to eat in Denny's in Vegas, but there I was, so why not?  The meal was inexpensive as always, but over my $7 a day average for food expenses for the trip.

It was a fine day of travel.  It cost very little.  I had wanted to try this place, but I just can't do everything.  

Rincon Catracho  (my pick)  good food cheap
Latin american
4110 S Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Neighborhoods: University, Eastside
(702) 699-9579

chorizo and eggs

However, it would have been cheaper than that meal at Crowne and Anchor. In my statistics I let $20 be the cost of the meal and the rest count as gambling losses. That seemed to reflect the accuracy of the lunch.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Boulder Highway Casino Crawl

A Boulder Highway crawl might start on the BHX,
off the bus at Arizona Charlie's, back on to stop at Boulder Station, back on to stop at Nellis Street for Sam's Town and a walk over to Eastside Cannery, back on to ride within a minute walk to Sunset Station. The BHX turns on Sunset and goes down to Sunset Station Casino.

After Sunset Station take the 212 which goes out Sunset and around in a large loop catching Joker's Wild just as it catches Boulder Highway again.

After Joker's Wild cross the street for the 402 and take it to Lake Mead Pkwy which is a shared stop with the HDX.  That HDX will then take you into Henderson for the casinos there.  

I have not done this yet but here are my notes.

Club Fortune Casino
725 South Racetrack Road
Henderson, NV 89015-8540
New HDX - to Boulder and Horizon.  Walk 7 minutes.
South Racetrack is the same as Horizon only on the left. Just walk up that street.  The poker room has a $3 RAKE but $2 more for promotions.
Evening may be the best as they give some snacks and there are specials.
Tournament where you beat the boss looks pretty cool.  It has bounties.

Club Fortune also has a deal that you buy a meal for $10 and get $10 in slot play.

As long as the crawl is done early enough (before about 11 pm) before the Boulder bus schedules change, you then have an easy and quick ride on the HDX back to downtown.
Later, it still is possible, but I have not done it and have not studied out the clear details of getting back from Henderson late at night.

Anyone with corrections or additional information or anecdotes on riding buses along Boulder, feel free to comment.