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Las Vegas Gambling – Everything Else

I didn’t just play slots and video poker when I was in Las Vegas in December.  I played 3 card poker, 4 card poker, blackjack, blackjack switch and of course, bet on sports.  Unfortunately phones and cameras are shunned at the tables and sportsbook so there aren’t any pictures.

I didn’t only gamble at the Palazzo. I played a little at Wynn, Encore, Bellagio and Palms.  The people I was traveling with were blackjack players so most of my time at the tables was spent playing blackjack.

3 Card Poker
I only played at Palazzo and only played a couple of times.  If the table isn’t full I like to play multiple hands.  Palazzo didn’t allow me to do that.  I went at it with just one hand both times I played.  I lost everything I put in both times I played and lost it quickly.  I’d like to blame this loss on the rules at Palazzo.  I’ve had no problem playing two hands in Atlantic City.  Thumbs down to Palazzo.

One point to note; there was only one 3 card poker table open all weekend and it was rarely full.

4 Card Poker
I put a couple hundred bucks up while killing time at Bellagio.  I’ve only played this game once before and wasn’t too familiar with the rules.  Thankfully, I happened upon a table of very nice people.  The game was a slow bleed until my friends found me.  I wanted to play the hand blind, but was told not to.  I didn’t want to look at the cards, so I showed them to someone else at the table and ended up with a straight or a flush.  Whatever it was I won all of my money back + $5!  WOOOHOOO!

I probably won’t play this game again.  Most of the non-blackjack card games at Bellagio were packed.  This was the only table that had players that also had room for me.  There were a couple empty tables.  I don’t like playing these kind of games alone.

Blackjack Switch
This was the game I was most looking forward to trying out.  I wrote about it when I first heard about it last year.  Blackjack Switch it a newer table game where you are dealt two hands of blackjack and can switch cards dealt.  I learned two things about this game after playing at Wynn after a great steak dinner at SW.

First, I had a little too much wine with my steak and probably wasn’t in condition to experiment with a new game.  I lost my initial buy in of $200.  I was too confused to play the game properly.  I lost patience fairly quickly.  As a result I lost my money, but I had a good time losing it.  The game was fun and kind of slow.

The second thing I learned about Blackjack Switch came the following night when talking to a pit boss at Encore.  More people walk away winners at Blackjack Switch.  In fact I was one of the few losers they met that played the game.  Oh well, there will be a next time.  In fact, I just got an idea on when that next time will be!

The tables in this area at Wynn were pretty crowded for a Thursday night.  There was an entire pit area that was empty, so I guess they did a good job shuffling people to one area.

Sports Betting
I ended up at Legasse Stadium every day of this trip.  Unfortunately, I didn’t record all of my bets, but I did ended up on the plus side at sports betting.  I split my action between the NBA and NFL.  I may have lost one NBA game and a couple NFL parlays.  You can see my review of in game betting at the Palazzo here.

One resource I found shortly before my December trip is covers.com.  I like to use trends to help with my knowledge of NBA and NFL.  Covers.com color codes and simply lays out game and total trends.  It’s an easy read on an iPhone too.

Blackjack
I played a lot of blackjack on this trip because that’s what the others on the trip played.  The best time I had at the blackjack table was at Encore.  It was one of those runs that keep people gambling.  Read full details at Wynn and Encore Win Me Over.

I only played blackjack at Palazzo once and I went from up $700 to losing $300.  This was my first gambling session of the trip and it lasted about an hour.  It was a wild ride.  Kenny Rogers said it right..have to know when to walk away, know when to run!

We made a stop at Palms after a quick stink at Bellagio and it was a quick stop.  I turned $200 into $500 in about 20 minutes.  I don’t even remember the game.  A friend of a friend happened by and introduced his girlfriend.  Chit chat began and I just kept pressing winning bets.  Palms rules.

The best thing about my blackjack play is that none of the games I played were 6/5 payouts.

Overall, the tables didn’t treat me too poorly.  Bad runs in 3 card poker and Switch were made up for with wins at video poker, sports betting and blackjack.  I’ll take an even trip to Vegas every time!

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Gambling in Las Vegas – Video Poker

I played a lot of video poker on this trip to Las Vegas.  My sleeping habits have me starting my day with slots.  That’s usually followed up with video poker after my first cup of coffee, when I can think a little.

One of the first emails I received when I landed in Las Vegas was a warning that the Palazzo and Venetian no longer had 9/6 Jacks or Better video poker games.  That is my game of choice, so I was disappointed.  Checking vpFree’s database I knew that these machines would come and go.  Unfortunately, they went away when I arrived.  I’ll call that sketchy.  🙂

Poor pay tables don’t deter me too much, but I’ll usually play less.  I mostly played the $1/$2 8/5 Jacks or Better games outside of the high limits area at Palazzo.  This trip was fulls of ups and down in gambling as usual, but Video Poker at Palazzo was probably what made me the most money throughout the whole trip.  Let’s take a tour…

Early in the trip I was hitting a handful of medium sized jackpots like this full house.  Jacks or Better seems to be a slow grind and multiple Full House’s is where the profits really come from.  That’s why the “9” in 9/6 matters so much.  In one session I hit about 3 Full House’s in about 5 hands.  Overall, these machines seemed to have a boatload of Full Houses.

Video Poker at Palazzo made up for a lot of my gambling losses.  I only played video poker one other time and that was at Wynn.  I think I won $20 after putting $20 in.  I don’t recall much as this was after a bad run at black jack and after a little too much wine at dinner.

I was down a little for the trip, when I sat down for my final session of gambling for the trip.  The session lasted about an hour and I was unstoppable.  This session erased all of my losses for the trip.  I count every dollar spent as a loss, since I spent the money.  Losses include tips, drinks, coffee, etc.

After grinding about 30 minutes to double my money, I finally had some big hits.  Four of a kind…

Four of a Kind is a great hand.  When playing the $1/$2 games these hands can make up a lot of distance, but they aren’t game changers like a Royal Flush and even a straight flush.  With about 5 minutes left on my trip I hit my first straight flush ever!

All of this brought me back to even for the trip.  NICE!  Even though the pay tables were not in my favor, I was able to make the best out of what I was given.  If I wasn’t winning, I wouldn’t have played but my luck was such that I didn’t feel so bad playing.

Unfortunately, it looks as if any hotel I’d want to stay at in Las Vegas has poor video poker pay tables so this won’t be the last time I deal with this.  As a result I see less video poker in my future trips, but I’ll keep checking the awesome vpFree to see what games are available where.

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Wynn and Encore Win Me Over

Until my last trip to Las Vegas I only visited Wynn once and didn’t really enjoy it.  It felt like old money.  Cold and stuffy.  That feeling changed on my last trip.  My first night was spent enjoying a nice dinner at SW steakhouse.  The next night I gambled at both Wynn and Encore and had a visit to XS.

XS
Generally, I’m not a club guy but it’s always fun to check out a new spot.  I grabbed a drink and took a walk through XS and had a great time.  I can’t believe that people wait in lines half the night to get into clubs.  Thankfully, I know people and didn’t have to deal with the incredibly long lines.  We walked in and up the stairs into the club.  It was early (around 11pm) and they club was already packed with people drinking and dancing.

I took a walk around the perimeter of the club stopping at the bar for a moment before heading outside to have a waitress get a drink.  $14 for a Grey Goose & Soda feels like club prices to me.  One of the nice parts of XS is that the club is both inside and outside.  Being from the east coast, I didn’t feel cold outside like the locals.

After watching girls dancing on stages (some went commando) I looped around the club and headed out to gamble.  It was a nice quick trip through XS and I’m glad I took a spin.

After walking out of XS into the Encore casino my friends and I sat down at an empty $10 blackjack table.  It was a great spot – we were close to the drink station, close to a rest room and had a great view of clubbers leaving XS.

We played blackjack for about 4 or 5 hours and closed down the pit.  Everyone at the table had plenty of drinks and everyone at the table walked away with more money than they started with.  It was an impossible run.  Entire tables rarely win.  I think I finished up either $300.  The end of the night was fuzzy.  I was in the middle of the winners and I was happy for it.

This was a special night filled with tears of joy and vodka fueled laughter.  I had so much fun.  The dealers, pit bosses and cocktail waitresses were all fantastic.  I knew I had to start drinking water when I stopped at the urinal and took a picture of the antisplash above.  It’s the one photo I took that night and it’s the sole reminder of the laughs that night.

At Encore I learned that my earlier loss at switch blackjack (at Wynn the night before) was rare.  Evidently most people win at switch blackjack.  I’ll try switch again before I drink.  Unfortunately my gambling at Wynn was filled with losses and a small video poker victory.

My two nights at Wynn and Encore changed how I felt about Wynn.  I think the addition of Encore has added a little youth and energy to the complex that wasn’t there when Wynn first opened.

This is a good reason not to hold one visit against a casino/hotel forever – especially when hearing opposite impressions from others.  That’s something to keep in mind as CityCenter and Aria develop.

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SW Steakhouse Fantastic!

On my first night of this trip to Las Vegas I had dinner at SW Steakhouse at Wynn.  I went into this dinner with plenty of excitement based on feedback from others, but I had a little apprehension as well.

My only visit to Wynn wasn’t very fun as the casino felt stuffy and boring.  When I called to make reservations I was told that if anyone didn’t show for my reservation I would be charged $50 a person.  I felt somewhat threatened by this, but I understood why that policy might exist.  When I called back to adjust my reservation I was told that policy was never used.  Very nice.

When my friends and I walked in we were greeted with smiles and had a drink at the bar while we waited for a table.  I had a 9:30 reservation because I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to wash up and change after the Thursday night football game (which paid for dinner).  I’ve found that a late reservation can be hit or miss with food preparedness.  Dinner was a hit on this night and was the beginning of a turnaround on my feelings about Wynn.

Dinner started with fantastic bread that is baked fresh daily on the premises.  I don’t like to fill up on bread because I like to try as many different foods that come to the table, but it was difficult to stop eating.  I’m happy to say that I stopped at one piece.  Even though it was highly recommended I didn’t have a bacon cheddar muffin.  The bread was a great sign of what was to come.

The others at table shared a variety of seafood appetizers and they all seemed to like it.  I stuck with a Caesar salad that was excellent.  We each also had a slice of bacon.  I don’t think this is on the menu and it was damn good.  A nice salty way to move the evening forward.

I almost always get a NY strip when I’m at a steakhouse for the first time.  Because of the lack of fat strips are usually pretty easy to compare.

My strip was fantastic.  In fact, it was one of the best I’ve had in a while.  The steak was perfectly cooked.  There was a nice amount of char on the outside of the steak and the inside was soft and pink as I wanted.  I believe the steak was seasoned with just salt and pepper.  The salt stood out, but wasn’t overbearing and the meat tasted fantastic.

I don’t recall all of the sides ordered, but the photo above shows that we had parmesan creamed spinach.  I’m pretty sure that we also had the truffled creamed corn, butter roasted fingerling potatoes, and steamed asparagus.  All of the sides were excellent.

If there was a down part of the meal it was our choice of wine.  It didn’t have the body and full flavor I enjoy with steak.

SW Art(?)

One of the things you’ll read about Wynn is that their service goes above and beyond and the service at SW proved that to be true.  Service was fantastic.  We had two waiters that handled different parts of service and their work blended seamlessly.

Dinner at SW was fantastic and I would definitely go back again.  The food, the service and the vibe were all really good.

If you’re on twitter I recommend following WynnLasVegas for info and tips on dining and everything at Wynn.

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Garth Brooks Signs Big Deal At Wynn

The big casino news this week was that Garth Brooks signed a 5 year deal to perform at Wynn Las Vegas.  It will cost $125 to see a man, his hat and his guitar.

In the meantime if you want Garth Brooks tickets click here.

This has been rumored for a couple of months.  I don’t like country music so I won’t be going to see this show, but I think that my parents would like to see Garth Brooks and when they make it out to Las Vegas for the first time I will hook them up with tickets.

In more attractive show news Carmen Electra finishes up a brief stint getting naked at Crazy Horse Paris at MGM Grand this weekend.

Copyright © 2017 Marc Meltzer & EDGe Vegas