Sunday, December 30, 2012

Comparing Plaza gambling

I posted this on the Vegas Message board in answer to a question on Plaza gambling.  So I thought it worth saving here as boilerplate on that issue

I can't rate the blackjack games. To do that accurately requires a complete analysis of each of the rules and figuring the mathematics of EV that each rule variation adds or subtracts. Most players comment on the payout on blackjacks as that makes a huge difference. However, the number of decks, the rules on doubling, when you can split, surrender options all play a mathematical role in defining the best blackjack and then there are other considerations for card counters including how much spread they can get away with, how deep in the deck the dealer will go before reshuffling, and how much heat they get from the casino.
Most blackjack players also consider valuable the friendliness of dealers and the ease of the game as well as the collection of other players at the table. What I've read does not give the Plaza good points for customer service or having many people at the tables or in the casino.
Generally, nothing much competes mathematically with the El Cortez single deck five dollar blackjack. Once the best game was the Las Vegas Club liberal game with odd and unusual rules, but those days are long gone and that game is old history.

There are conflicting reports about what VP is offered. I can comment on only the quarter offerings. If the 10/6 DDB is there as one poster reported, that is a good play. Even when offering full pay in other sorts of VP, the Plaza can't compete with competitors downtown.

For example, the full pay JOB a MSS offers an added bonus scratch off card for every quad. That increases the EV. Also, it is one of the few places in Vegas where full pay JOB can be found at a bar. That adds to the pleasure of many. And to top things off the Board Head bar comps microbrews like the delicious black chip porter. And if it is your first visit in a while, running a bit of money through the machine can get you a free buffet at the Player's club booth with no point reduction. And the buffet is a great one.Tough to beat that offering for JOB.

I have conflicting reports on whether 10/7 DB is offered at the Plaza. Again, the scatch off bonus applies to MSS games but the absolute best of this sort of VP in the world is located in the back of the Four Queens. That full pay has a progressive royal. Also we can earn cash back on our play, it will generate weekend mailed comps of three nights in a row along with generous freeplay, and using the American Casino Guide coupon 500 points can be doubled once a year which in cashback is $12.50 just for handing in a piece of paper on the day of play. The freeplay can also be used on the DB machines. Tough to find a better play anywhere in Vegas.

There is not a full pay deuces game, but I don't think that there is one in downtown other than that nickle coin dropper at the D.

The 8/5 Bonus in the Veu Bar at the D (if that has not been renovated away) is still the best in downtown or anywhere in Vegas of that variety of game, having three progressive lines in the full pay table. I generally play if the quad bonus line is up high until it is hit, but last trip I was just trying to get enough play for five dollars in cashback before I moved on to other places when I hit both the royal and the straight flush bonus and each time was paid more than I would be paid had I hit the same cards at the Plaza.

In the old Plaza there used to be a live poker room that was good fun for limit players with good bonuses and fewer local regulars with a generous food comp. That is gone. Golden Nugget has a live poker room and with the ACG coupon offered by them, we can get ten extra dollars on our buy in. Playing live poker at Binions can get a poker rate for rooms at the Four Queens. Playing live poker at CET places on the strip can get free and reduced rate offers at CET casinos. No poker room at the plaza limits all those opportunities. So the Plaza really sucks as a live poker alternative.

The American Casino Guide does have a coupon at the Plaza for a matchplay bet, but the value of that is used up after one bet.

Most craps games are evaluated by how much free odds are allowed, table minimums, the field bet payouts, and what it costs in vigorish to buy certain numbers. It has been a while since I've paid much attention to the craps details, but it looks to me like the Plaza has decent rules, including downtown odds, except that there are not times when table minimums are below $5. For mathematical players it is to their advantage to make a $3 minimum bet and be free to put up more in free odds. Again El Cortez is mentioned as a good frugal spot to play craps as long as you watch the dealers who in many cases are learning. Main Street Station is hard to beat for ambiance. Some seem to like the loud and vibrant tables at the Four Queens and others here hate those tables. But if the Plaza is dead it will hardly be a place to play craps because much of the attraction of the game for most people is the rush that comes from a fast and furious community game. Here is a good review of craps tables, but again I don't know how current this information is

For the full thread discussion, a pretty lively one, check the full thread

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Some Orleans boilerplate

I wrote this up on the Orleans on a post recently and thought it worth saving so I could use it next time without rewriting.  Farther along there is a post comparing the Orleans to the Rio.  Linking to these two should actually cover just about everything I know about the Orleans.

Remember to add the $6 resort fee to each night in estimating, comparing and reporting hotel rates at the Orleans.
I like to stay around $30 a night so the offers of 3 nights and a slot tournament for $99 appealed to me. However, what looks like $33 a night is actually after fees and taxes $43 a night.
To add to the confusion, each time I've booked Orleans, Gold Coast, or Sam's Town on the B Connected site, I've been warned in fine print of the added resort fee, but in the end it was not charged and not due to any excessive play, just not on the bill.
I've asked where it was, but no one can give me an answer.

While most resort fees are a deal breaker, the Boyd fees have stayed relatively low and I consider them more on the side of places that have none, since so many casinos are now up to the whopping level of $28 a night.
However, "doing the math" as the resort fee apologists suggest is difficult at Boyd.
I find myself constantly in a brain glitch.
Lately all the Boyd casinos have had these $29 deals, but what that advertised special means at the Orleans compared to what it means at the California is a difference of over 20% on rooms advertised at the same price in the same sort of advertisement.

I can't comment much on the gambling, expecially slots. I had not read it had changed.
The 10/7 Double Bonus signature VP is gone and replaced with 9/6 DB. Don't play it!
How they manage to keep players at those machines is beyond me when 9/6 DDB is offered and generally just a couple machines away. Most of those I know who play VP there have moved to the 8/5 bonus offered now as the typical bar VP.
It is just too low pay for my bankroll.
The one I play and like is the nickle three play. 75 cents a pull for three hands. 9/7 DB with three royal progressives. Not bad.
I don't earn many comps with my low level play, but I get a couple nights free each trip which this next time includes weekend nights. I'm always conflicted whether to book the weekend or book the senior Tuesday.
I read that senior drawing money that is not claimed during the month all rolls into the final drawing on the last Tuesday of the month when they keep drawing until they give it away, so that is a great day to go for added senior value.
My buddy WildBill hit that drawing once for a few hundred dollars.
I also read the the live poker player's card is now the B connected card and integrated with all of it. Perhaps that will count a bit for some mailings.
And you will notice a huge improvement in the hottub. It is one of my favorites in Vegas. I am not sure about the winter months, but in the cold Aprils and Novembers it is a heated way to get some water experience. The pool is icy. Gold Coast is usually heated.

I agree that Boulder puts us out of the main action of the strip. However, I'm leaning more toward Eastside Cannery lately because with no resort fee and a great senior discount of $10 off rack rate just for asking, I get wifi in the room and a laundry for mid trip washing and directly across the street a Bank of America ATM with no fees. I don't play much there except live poker. For VP I go next door to Sam's Town. But for strip action, it is a 40 minute bus ride. I like that fine because for me
Flamingo is becoming my new strip. I stop along there more than I do along Las Vegas Blvd and the bus is uncrowded and the easiest bus to catch as it stops for a driver break right there at the Eastside Cannery parking lot.
I like the lounge music at Eastside Cannery too. Free or cheap and if I have to buy a drink to sit, I can get a dollar and a half Eastside Cannery brewed beer.
I was not impressed with Sam's Town rooms. I'm not fussy, but they were not anything special. I'll stay for free if they send me a few nights. I"d like it if they sent some weekend nights that I could then tag on to weekdays at Eastside Cannery for a long stay in the same location, just as I do downtown with the Four Queens and the D or Gold Spike.
I do like the Orleans for location. There is the free shuttle and there is also a direct RTC bus, the 201 for easily getting to the
Tropicana section of the strip.

If you like comedy, you may enjoy Big Al's club which has opened since you were at the Orleans

The rooms are just as you remember them. Larger and cleaner than anything in that price range in Vegas. Even when I move out furniture for bed bug inspections or to set up plug systems that include my sleep apnea machine I find the hidden places, behind the side tables, perfectly clean on a consistent basis.
It is also quiet. No rock bands, no train or car noises, no nearby motel parties, nothing. Sleeping is easy day or night.
The food is debated often here on the boards, but I find it fairly consistent.
I especially like the $24 full day buffet deal that comes with a bracelet for skipping the buffet line. With that I can just pop in and out for a bite of fruit, salad, coffee at anytime during the day as a break from playing live poker. I don't have to overeat once but can do a more healthy grazing.
And Al's oyster place does not have chowder on the menu, but they will make oyster chowder if we ask them.

Competition in live poker games is tough, but if I am staying there, I can sleep from 5 until midnight and play the late night and early hour games when the old local regulars are home and just tourists are playing.

That calling with your card seemed to work well for one poster, but try also joining the B connected site. Is is much easier to navigate than Total Rewards and both rates and offers are posted there. It is also a fine way to start the gambling at the time of the booking. You could win $6 a night if for some obscure and unknown reason booking on that site eliminates the resort fee.

Finally, although the Orleans is isolated from most things and walking very far from there at night is not advised, this pub is a great break from casinos with good beer, good food, and very comfortable old wooden nooks and crannies for sitting.

Potato chips are just decadently wonderful there

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Going to Vegas solo

This thread seemed to sum up the reasons for going to Vegas solo and I outlined some ways to create community that seemed to strike a good chord, so I"ll link to it here.