Oct 24
by Don

It still amazes me how Vegas can affect people in so many ways.  Our friend LL is a prime example of this.  In a previous post, we had talked about how she only gambled the one time on her first trip out and wouldn’t you know it, a winner.


She actually sent me a picture that we had taken that I didn’t even know about.  Look at that grin.  You can actually see the “Vegas” come over her.  Now she has the bug like the rest of us.  It’s a beautiful thing.


I think that the allure of what Vegas “is” and what it “isn’t” has always been a very powerful thing.  This is something that everyone defines for themselves, which is why that catchy slogan about what happens and what not still resonates with so many people.


It’s a great town with endless possibilities.  Your Vegas is most certainly showing!

Oct 16
by Don

Well I need to apologize for calling out my bud for not providing a guest post as promised.  Well good  ol’ Thunder Nips came through.  Thanks and Enjoy:


So myself and Kanuck recently took a quick two-nighter out to the motherland.  Vegas calls my  name hardcore about every 4-5 months these days and the only way to quiet the nagging voice in my  head is to just bite the bullet and go.  I’ve been going 2-3 times a year since mid 2005, so plenty of trips over the past 3 years.


This was a landmark trip for me in that it was my first one where I had gotten completely comped at Harrah’s.  Fun factoid: comped rooms don’t even include tax and other service fees therefore making them completely free.  Most people don’t realize this.  See, I’m already saving you money.


As I try to do with every trip, I make a point to do/try new things that I haven’t done on previous trips.  This is sometimes hard for me as I’m a creature of habit and like to stick to the places I love to hang out in during time in Vegas.  With this just being a 2 night trip, I had to maximize my time!


Kanuck had a last minute work change with his schedule so he did not arrive in town until about 4 hours after me so I had plenty of alone-time to start doing my thing.  I don’t mind spending a day alone in Vegas by the way.  Try it sometime; it’s empowering to know you can do exactly what you want to do with zero people to worry about satisfying or anything like that. 


So, I landed, caught a cab to Harrah’s (traffic is getting worse and worse in Vegas btw), checked in, threw my crap down in the room, and headed out.  I first visited the sports book and laid down a few baseball parlays for me and a friend and then highballed it to Bellagio.  Now, I only went to Bellagio for one reason only….the drinks!


Let me preface this next section by pointing out the fact that I am indeed a straight male.  However, ON OCCASION, I enjoy a fruity alcohol-filled beverage.  Fine beers will always be #1 in this Polish heart of mine, but hey…I’m a man of variety.  Through time spent on the message boards at openvegas.com, I’ve learned that many find the drinks at Wynn and Bellagio to be the best in town.  So I went over there for a little slot action for the main reason being to enjoy these drinks for free as I played. 


I first tried the infamous Bellagio cocktail.  I’ve heard many good things.  It was…….ok.  I imagine it’s a big hit with the ladies but it was simply too weak for me.  It’s apparently sparkling white wine with passion fruit puree mixed in it.  Not bad, but not great…very sweet.  However, I then moved on to the strawberry daiquiri and was simply the best I’ve ever had.  Made with real strawberries and a decent amount of alcohol, this hit the spot.  I highly recommend it. 


I also had aimed to try the pineapple mojitos at Wynn but did not get a chance to.  They’re apparently exquisite as well.


I then moved on to Flamingo for a little more slot action and to check the table limits.  Most limits were $10 so I decided to play a random slot and, wouldn’t  ya know it, I hit $300 on a single spin!!  My credits kept going up and up, people were stopping and looking, it was great.  There’s rarely a more uniquely thrilling moment when you hit something on a slot that you don’t know exactly how much you got and it keeps counting up…and up…and up.  By the time it got to 1200 credits, I was flying high!  What a start to the trip!


From here, I went to Casino Royale and had a strong craps session and then went to finally meet up with Kanuck at Harrah’s.  We mostly stayed near Harrah’s, had another decent craps session at Royale where I showed Phil the craps ropes, then back to Harrah’s where we both hit a bad streak of luck on blackjack.  Basic strategy by no means equals winning kids, let that be a lesson.


Day #2 centered around us getting over our respective hangovers and then heading to my favorite Vegas dive…Ellis Island.  EI is a tiny casino off-strip (behind Bally’s/Paris) that has the best cheap food in town.  They also brew their own beer on site and it’s of course free if you’re playing but only $1 a pint if you’re not.  Can’t beat that with a rubber snake.


But, the food…ahhhh the food.  Perhaps the single best BBQ value in the entire world is in this little hole in the wall joint.  I’m talkin’ a half rack of ribs, a half BBQ chicken, two ears of corn, baked beans, slaw, and garlic bread.  The portions are huge and it’s truly mind-blowing the first time you see the plate.  On top of that, it’s actually really good!  AND….$9.  An amazing deal, it could also be easily split by two lighter eaters.  You can also find an easily obtainable buy 1-get 1 entrée at Ellis Island coupons in the American Casino Guide book which essentially brings the meal down to $4.50 each for 2 ppl dining.  They also have a $7 top sirloin steak dinner with 2 sides and a beer.  Another outstanding meal to check out.  Go to Ellis Island, you won’t be disappointed.  Don’t expect much on ambiance though.  Oh yeah, they also have $5 BJ.


After this, we went to check out the comedian Vinnie Favorito at Flamingo.  Very funny, I highly recommend it.  He basically is a hardcore Italian dude who cracks on the audience for an hour.  Sounds simple, but it was hilarious.  Again, you can also find a buy 1-get 1 ticket coupon for this to make it very inexpensive.


After this, I played some more and headed to bed.  Overall, a great yet quick trip.  Funny though, I had unusually bad luck at table games but unusually great luck on the slots.  It’s typically the complete opposite.  For the trip, I did not come home ahead and but came home with over half of my budget still intact.  And that, my friends, is considered a winning trip in my book!

Oct 13
by Don

So this has been an absolutely crazy time.  Lori, being a stockbroker, has been completely buried with the Market virtually eating itself every day for the last two weeks.  I actually thought that we would have two “guest” posts from a couple of guys who just went out there, but basically they have “FAIL“ed me (MDF loves this term, and frankly I do too).

On top of all of this, Vegas is hurting.  I am getting calls from casino hosts, emails, mailers; you name it.   At least I know that postal service will not be going under any time soon since I am getting offers every day now from all of the various casinos.  They miss me, and I miss them (Sad Face).

Not to fear though, 44 and his lovely wife are going to sneak away for some well deserved R&R and maybe I can get a guest post from them (cough, cough). 

Thankfully I have had some great College football games to hold me over until Lori and I can make it out to the desert. 

So at least I have some great shots of UF vs. LSU this past weekend.  I have had a perma-grin on my face for the last 72 hours!  Hopefully the UF/GA game will be equally grand (re: big win for the Gators).

Oct 10
by MDF
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

A couple years ago I went to vegas for New Years and I had the privileged of learning how to play BlackJack properly from Don & Lori, who not only write on this wonderful blog but happen to be great help at the tables too.

Now I like BlackJack but there has not been a convenient way to practice, until now. Apple has a fantastic app store for the iPhone/iPod Touch and one of the free apps is 21 Pro. I had been searching for an app and tried a couple out, 21 Pro is the way to go. This is the simple convenient way I had been looking for.

Besides the basics of betting and giving you two cards the game also has game history, built in card counting that follows your game, and a cheat card in case you need to brush up on strategy.

I get to practice Don’s Hedge Ecomonics on my phone, it doesn’t cost me a penny, and I can make sure I practice not spliting 10s (thanks Don and Lori). All in all it is a great app, It doesn’t let you play multiple hands at the table but that is me being nit-picky. Lucky for me I get to put my practice to good use, 7 nights in the caribbean, won’t be free but hopefully I’ll have a better chance at the tables now!