Feb 15
by Don

This past trip was a bit of a role reversal.  Lori normally does most of the winning and I just try to keep my head above water.  However, this go around it was I who seemed to be charmed and Lori was forced to ride an incredible roller coaster ride.


Now it’s up to me to make it happen for team, and I am certainly up for it.  It’s late and we find ourselves at the Venetian for some Black Jack.  One thing that is nice about the Venetian is that there are a ton of quarter tables.  So it is not hard to find a good spot to sidle up to.  I find one with two guys at it and I sit down at 3rd base.


The Guy at first is a nice guy from San Diego.  He has a good personality and keeps the table light as we all fight the good fight.  The guy in the middle is an older gentleman who looks like Jacques Cousteau, no lie.  He is smoking Marlboro Reds and doesn’t say much, although ironically he is actually French.Jacques Cousteau, never met a pair of 77's he didn't like!


So nothing is too terribly crazy on the first shoe, but as we play into the second I notice some erratic play from Jacques.  He is betting checks ($100) and can’t seem to help himself when he is dealt 77’s.  It seems that he has to split 77’s no matter what the dealer shows.  OMG.  He does this twice against a dealer 10 and somehow he has $400 bets up each time.   Of course he busts out each time, and each time he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a strap bundle of $100’s.  He has gone through about $3k since I sat down and I am just beside myself because I hate to see anyone take a big hit, especially someone as nice as this guy is.


Miraculously I am actually winning amidst all of this sporadic play.  Normally play like that would be a death sentence.  Now the principles of  hedge economics are predicated on everyone playing it straight.  But I guess I have been living right because I am surviving and even thriving in this 77 tsunami.   I am up about $1k and Lori is watching this madness and can only shake her head.  Things are going so well that the dealer even over pays me.  He has been paying us quickly and hasn’t really been keeping his tray neat.  On one double down I have three quarters up and the dealer busts.  He pays me out with a check on the bottom of each stack.  That’s a nice $150 extra little bump.  Call it a bank error in your favor, or in this case my favor!


Well Jacques actually gets another 77 dealt to him and we all look at each other.  Of course he splits and I just put my hand on my head.  Somehow some way the dealer busts this time and we all win.  There is a general feeling of relief and a small amount of merriment.  With that, Jacques takes his leave and we play for only a little bit longer and call it a night ourselves.  Lori and I walk to the cage still up about a grand and we just can’t stop talking about Jacques and those crazy 77’s!

Jan 18
by Lori D.

So yesterday (Saturday) was a bit rough.  It was like a roller coaster ride that was only going down.  By lunch time I was down from my $1k start to only $400.  Blackjack wasn’t working, the wheel of fortune was being stingy, and basically things were just not clicking.  Thankfully Don was able to do a bit of pimping throughout the morning to keep us going.  After lunch we decided to head back to the room and start again later.  So I had a nap and a few JWBs, I was ready to try again. 


I decided I was going to make it happen were it all started about 6 years ago, Harrah’s.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work out like I wanted.  There was this guy playing to my left who was basically a boob.  He thought he knew what he was doing, and of course he didn’t.  He was staying on 16 vs. a dealer 10.  He actually doubled down with a 12 against a dealer 10, because he had a “feeling”.  Moron.  I left Harrah’s down another $300 and was bumming.


I LOVED them as a kid and they still keep on giving!So we decided to go to the Venetian, where we are trying to stay in their good graces.  I only had one hundo left in my purse and it was an old Ben Franklin, you know back when he had a small head.  I was praying he could help me out, and he did.  I sat back down at the $1 Wheel of Fortune, the slot machine I had just sworn off a few hours ago. It was screaming at me with that familiar refrain, “Wheel… Of… Fortune!” I am just looking for a little play, not actually thinking that I could do much other than give them my last hundo.  I get some cherries, some bars, a couple of small spins.  As it is winding down and I have only about 10 spins left, I got to spin the wheel.  Donald said that he was not going to look as he was convinced of another big “30” or the like.  I said, “I am just looking for a couple of zeros”.  Wouldn’t you know it, I hit $400.  Yay! I finally won something.


Now I got something going.  We go to the tables and I am able to get my bankroll up to about $600.  Awesome.  Back on the train!  We go to the Wynn and have dinner and had back through the Venetian and I decided to play a little more blackjack before calling it a night.  I sat down with $300 and was able to go on an unbelievable run and cashed out with $1495!  It was all about the Hedge Economics.  I was able to get my starting bet of $30 up to $350 as I won 12 hands in a row.  Unreal.  It wasn’t even an entire shoe, but it was hot and I was hotter.  What a great ending to our first day. 


So Day 2 will start off with some Poker, so let’s hope for more of the same!  Did I mention that I love this town?

May 20
by Don

It seems like such a non issue, but your interaction with your blackjack dealer is critical.  They can certainly make a tough session easier and a great session even better. 

I have another post on Karma that I am cooking up, but I can tell you that a properly toked (tipped) dealer can certainly make a difference in your session.  I can not tell you how many times I have been overpaid, paid on a tie, or just paid on a loss by a dealer who was looking out for yours truly.

Now I am not saying that they are actively trying to get fired, or that I am running some confidence game with a ring of dealers in Vegas or anything.  That’s just not the case.

What I can say is that I have made eye contact with a dealer on a number of occasions as they made a simple mistake, and they just keep moving the game forward.  You see, they don’t care if you take every last chip from their tray.  It’s not their money, and many of them will tell you just that.  So think of it as a bank error in your favor, just like in the monopoly game of your youth.  Only this time its real money and it’s nice when it happens to you.*Not Actual Dealers

I can also tell you how many times I have been shorted; and that would be only once.  It was an honest mistake and we had moved on to the next hand when someone else mentioned it.  The dealer felt terrible and wanted to roll the game back and called the pit boss over and everything.  I told her it was fine and that things happen, and they do.  But I can honestly say they are much more likely to benefit you than not.

Of course it helps if you are tipping like you should (more on that in another post) and if you are at a table with a dealer that is friendly and engaging.  So let’s get to it!

5. Caesars Palace –

We play in the “old” pit in the Forum Casino near the hotel registration area.  This is where you have the best odds for playing and the dealers are generally much older and are really the salt of the earth.  A lot of them have been dealing for years and many of them have stories of Vegas from “back in the day”.  I have had many great times in this pit just listening to some vintage Vegas vets turn a card or two.

4. New York New York–

This used to be a young a hip place to play that was a bit too smoky at times.  That was fine because the dealers were fun and we used to pull a lot of money off of the tables.  However they are currently going through a renovation and everything looks like crap right now.  There is almost no gaming floor left, and they didn’t have a lot to start with.  Hopefully they can make a comeback for next year’s poll, but as of right now they are 4th purely on legacy.

3. The Venetian –

As our level of play has increase over the years, we have found ourselves playing more and more in the Venetian, which is a good thing.  There are so many tables that you never have to hunt around to find a home.  They rate your play pretty well and the dealers have for the most part been great; fast when you need them to be and slow when it’s hurting.  A class act all the way.

2. Harrah’s –

This one tugs on the heart strings as you never forget your first.  Lori and I stayed at Harrah’s for New Year’s in 2003 and it was the right fit for us.   They had lower limits and some of the nicest dealers around.  We were in Vegas for like 6 days (way too long when you have no concept of money management) and they all knew us on the 2nd day by name.  Lori was actually sick that trip and I still remember Arlene asking me about how Lori was feeling.  It was startling and I remember her to this day, some 5 years and 30+ Vegas trips ago.

1. Wynn – 

Now I don’t think that I have won a dime at the casino from the moment it has opened, but I love playing there.  Everyone (and I mean everyone) is so damn nice that you just want to kill yourself.  Everything just smells good and everyone looks good.  Not that it should matter, but a well put together dealer just sets the mood just right.

So there you have it.  Lori and I don’t play downtown or at local casinos so it’s not a definitive list by any means.  But for the average Vegas visitor going to the strip, you can not beat the group for the best dealer experience around.

Remember, results may vary and check with your doctor before starting any vigorous activity.