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TR: Jan 18 - 22. Lotsa blackjack

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Chicago, Illinois
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TR: Jan 18 - 22. Lotsa blackjack

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Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: TR: Jan 18 - 22. Lotsa blackjack

Three nights which turned into four nights at Treasure Island (TI). Solo trip coming in to watch the NFL Championship games on Sunday. I bet on sports, horses (tips from a buddy) and do mostly blackjack. I looked into TI since I played there a bit my last trip in October. Called up their VIP services and they offered me $89, $69 & $49 which seemed good. Soon after Mirage gave me two nights’ free nights but only Sunday thru Thursday and so doubled booked at Mirage for Sun & Monday nights. Since I hadn’t stayed at TI in over 10 years I wanted to have a backup in case it was horrible. Off we go….

Landed 9:15 am Saturday morning jumped in a cab. As the white & orange cab pulled up to #7 I thought this is one of the “bad” cab companies that is known for long hauling. (I can’t remember the name only the colors). Told cabbie TI please and please take Swenson to Harmon and not the tunnel. He took Swenson all the way to Twain Ave then turned left to LV Blvd (Twain turns into Sands Ave). So was Long hauled, not horribly but still.

Got to TI about 10:00 am, way too early to check in so checked my bags at TI and headed to their 24 restaurant (the Coffee Shop). There was a line of about 20 folks so walked around a bit. I remembered reading about breakfast at TI’s Kahunaville (sp?) restaurant so headed there. This is located toward the back as you head to the Mirage tram and parking garage. No line and seated right away. Food good and service really good.

After breakfast I took a cab to Hard Rock Hotel. The AVN awards conference was going on there so wanted to head over to play some blackjack and see what that was all about. It was a little more hopping than normal for 11:00 am Saturday, but nothing crazy. Mostly mid to upper 20’s years olds, many still up (and feeling good) from night before. Bounced around a few tables. They had two or three crap tables open and they all were packed. BJ tables mostly 15 minimums.

At one point I jumped on a double deck $25 table with three others. Dude sitting in middle slot was loud and couching his wife and the other guy at the table. As I sat at 3rd base he said “hey dude, you better play good for the table that is a key seat”. I told him I would do my best. I won first $25 bet so doubled up next hand and hit a blackjack, alright! I get paid two purple and two red (purple is the Mlife green), wait..what..,$60? I asked the dealer this is a 6:5 table??... and she sheepishly said yes. There were no signs/marking stating this, so you needed to ask before you played. As I was coloring up my chips the loud guy said “you won’t find any double deck 3:2 on the strip”. I said you mean other than TI, Mirage and Aria? He said “well maybe Mirage”. As I was walking away I heard the non-loud guy ask “what’s 3:2”?

Side note on HRH there’s always a long/slow lines (at least 10 people) at the cashiers cage, always. Last time I was there and the two times I went on this Saturday morning. (at one point was going to leave so cashed in then decided to sit at another 25 table w/some nice folks; so had to go back to cashier cage a 2nd time). I thought to myself do they do this on purpose?

Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: TR: Jan 18 - 22. Lotsa blackjack

Headed back to TI and checked in about 12:30 pm. They had a separate line for VIP services at the counter, only one person ahead of me. When I got to the counter I handed the guy two 20’s and said that’s for you thank you for helping me out. I then asked him how much more it would be for a high floor with either a nice view of the strip and/or toward Wynn/Encore/Palazzo. He said he had a room with a nice view of the strip which would normally be $30 extra a night but he would waive that. So off I go to room 34093 (36 floors in TI) and it’s a great view straight down the strip. Better than the strip view I had from Mandalay Bay and a (distant) second to the Cosmo balcony view overlooking the Fountains. View was so good, that a few times during my stay I would move the chair right in front of the window surf the internet on my ipad, drink my coffee, beer or water and just enjoy the view.

After getting settled in room I went to make some sports bets at TI’s sportsbook (SB). Then had to go to Mirage as TI doesn’t carry over/under point lines for college basketball. At Mirage I ended up sitting in the area between the main circular bar and the SB (near the poker tables). The cocktail waitress (CW) was awesome. I noticed the smoke bothering me a bit in Mirage (I have asthma) so I left after about an hour. I like the Mirage SB. They always offer me drink tickets after making bets and will give you a stack of them if you tip $5. At TI SB they never offered unless you asked and when you did ask they would have to yell down to the manager on duty and you have to walk down to him to get your 2 or 3 drink tickets. At one time at TI SB I was still putting together my line up of bets and didn’t have any drink tickets. So when the waitress came around I just ordered a beer and told her I would pay cash she said she couldn’t get me a beer unless I had a drink ticket. Ok then…

About 6:00 pm I went to the Seafood Shack in TI as I wanted to try their lobster roll. I’ve wanted to try this place for a while as it’s a fairly small place right off the casino floor and has a bunch of TV’s. No waiting and I ate at the bar. The lobster had a mayo-like sauce on it, which I didn’t like as much as just butter. I liked the LR at Todd English pub a lot better. Even though not crowded and I sat at bar, service was not good.

The rest of the day/night I played blackjack at Venetian, Palazzo and TI. The blackjack rules are pretty good at TI so was happy to stay there most of night. I bounced around between the pit by the Coffee Shop / main bar, the high limit room and the pit right near the high limit room. I would basically move around those three areas. I don’t really like playing alone at a table so I would only go to the high limit room if someone else was playing. In the high limit room they had two $50 min tables, one double deck the other a six deck shoe. They also had mini baccarat and a $100 min blackjack table. I saw a guy playing two hands at the $50 shoe game. He was ¼ way through the shoe so I asked if wanted me to wait or can I jump in. He asked if I wouldn’t mind waiting till he lost a hand (which took one more deal) then I jumped in. One $100 hand I had to split 8’s vs a 2. I pulled two tens. Dealer flipped over an Ace then pulled 4 and I won. Nice rules!

The tables in the main TI casino area were a mixture of $10 and $15 tables. I saw no $25 tables at TI the whole time I was there. On Saturday night they had a “party-pit” type area of 5 or 6 blackjack tables near Gilley’s. The rules at these tables are bad, so I didn’t play there. Many (most) players in TI’s main casino do not follow basic strategy. (more-so than Mirage and/or Aria for instance). So, when you come across someone who does it’s refreshing. Like my next story….

Side note: I prefer playing 1st or 3rd base at a table as it provides me opportunity to look around casino and not be so entranced with the cards on the table. My favorite table at TI is one nearest the Coffee Shop which sits right off the main aisle also across from their main bar. My favorite seat at this table is 1st base as it’s right next to the roulette table and while I don’t like playing roulette I like watching it and what players are betting (love the spinning wheel). So I was happy to see 1st base open with 5 other guys playing. This is a $15 table and I play green chips.

Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: TR: Jan 18 - 22. Lotsa blackjack

They guy sitting next to me with betting $50 a hand. He was and two other guys at the table were from NE Ohio. (why not just say Ohio?). The first hand I saw he hit 12 vs. 2 (and won). The next hand he stayed on 12 vs. 3. He played perfect BS. (On the other hand, the guy at 3rd base (not with him) stayed on every 14 or 15 vs dealer 10). NE Ohio guy would get so mad at 3rd base and I told him it doesn’t matter what anyone else does and besides if you get mad at this you’ll be mad the whole trip because every table has this. NE Ohio guy pressed his bets, like I normally do, and we both went on a nice run. At one point we both had $100 out there and I doubled an A/6 vs dealer 5. I pulled a ten, dealer flipped a 6 and pulled a ten. NE Ohio guy won his hand pressed to 150 and I went back down to 25. He went on a good run winning the next 5 hands largest one $350. I went on a good run too and we were both betting between 100 and 300 a hand. I remember a $250 hand where I split 9’s vs 3. Pulled a two (doubled) then a 10 then another 9 (split) then a 10 and a 10. Dealer flipped 10 then pulled a 5. Yes!! After a while I could see the pit boss staring at our table since we (mostly NE Ohio guy) were betting so much. Pit boss came up to me and said you’re Scott right? And I said yes. (he had my players card). He asked NE Ohio guy if he had a players card and he said no and didn’t want one. Pit boss said you sure, and he said he was. I started laughing and said you must work for the CIA or NSA or something. (sidenote: why wouldn’t people get players cards? I’m sure there’s and occasional good reason but it just seems weird). Needless to say the whole table had a great time playing together and eventually NE Ohio guy even started liking when 3rd base stayed on 14 or 15. (if you think I won a ton of $, I didn’t. I had such a good time I stayed at table too long and lost most of my winnings). Ooops.

Next day, I woke up and had to hustle down to the SB as the Blackhawks were playing at 9:30 am Vegas time. I also wanted to play some parlays with NFL & Blackhawks. Hustled down to TI and was disappointed when they wouldn’t take all of my action. Here’s what I wanted to player a $200 six-team parlay; a $1,000 two-teamer, and a $500 three teamer. TI would only take 100 of 200, 500 of 1,000 and 200 of 500; so I had to hustle over to Mirage to bet the rest. (the $200 6-teamer would’ve paid $14K; while it’s a lot of $ to me, to a Vegas casino, isn’t this chump change?). Anyway it was better that I had to split the two-teamer up as one of them was SEA over and Mirage line as 40 and TI’s was 40 ½. I never really saw so many limitations from a sportsbook (no over/under basketball lines, no Australian open tennis lines, limiting bets, can’t buy a beer without a drink ticket…what is this Russia?? Just kidding).

The rest of the morning I just watched most of the Hawks game from my room as I was still tired from night before. For the NFL games I knew where I wanted to go and was hoping it would work out. I like the idea of going to LV during the NFL wild card or conference championships as it’s multiple games and every bar will have game on; so you’re not tied to a sportsbook to watch. Last time I was in LV I saw this small bar in the middle of the Palazzo casino that had TV’s. I thought it would be a nice place to watch a game. It wasn’t a bar off the casino floor but rather a bar surrounded by the casino. It’s called Fusion bar. So before the games started I head off to Pallazzo. I stopped by the SB in Venetian. This is a great place to watch a game if you could get a seat as it was mobbed. The TV they have there is crystal clear, really, really nice. My buddy watched some games there the week before, he mentioned grabbing a (good) burger at the new burger joint right behind the SB and eating in the SB.

I got to Fusion bar and there were a couple seats open. Hunkered down and ordered a drink. I don’t drink mixed drinks too much. I read that the bar tenders at this place are really good; so I ordered something fruity with vodka. That’s exactly what I said and the bartender said no problem and created her own drink. She blended up some fruit including raspberries and it was really delicious. I ended up watching both games at this bar and really enjoyed the atmosphere of watching games in the middle of the casino. It was exactly what I was looking for. Afterward I played blackjack at Palazzo for a couple of hours.

Chicago, Illinois
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4. Re: TR: Jan 18 - 22. Lotsa blackjack

Next day I took the monorail down to MGM grand. While I’ve gambled at MGM a bunch I’ve never really explored much of the property. Plus I also wanted to see the construction progress in front of NYNY and Monte Carlo. I’m a big fan of the Monorail. It’s way cheaper than a cab and a train comes every 6 or 7 minutes. I know people complain it’s way far back of the casino and not easy to get to; I don’t agree. Even as big as MGM is, it’s not far to walk to and getting it the Harrah’s stop is even closer since Harrah’s not as big. It’s $12 for a one day pass or $5 a ride. (there’s 3 day passed too).

Construction progressing at NYNY and Monte Carlo. You can still walk on the NYNY bridge and on the street. They changed up the entrance to Monte Carlo a bit which makes the front of the casino more bright. I explored MGM quite a bit and it is really big. I found the “secret” west entrance which I’ve read about in these forums.

Got back and ate late lunch in TI coffee shop. I ate most of my meals in TI’s coffee shop; I really like the food and good service. Also, I like being able to play keno while in the restaurant. (0 for 20 for the trip; ouch).

That night about 5:00 pm I headed over to Encore to play blackjack. My gf and I are staying there during March madness so wanted to check out the vibe a bit. Plus the smoke at TI was getting to me and wanted to get to a better ventilated casino for a couple hours.

Needless to say the vibe at Encore much different than TI. It was a nice change of pace. I ended up at a $25 6 deck shoe table with 4 other guys in mid 30’s who were together. They worked in same industry (investment banking) and lived in LA. I sat at first and really enjoyed listening to their conversations. Eventually, an older gentleman sat next to me and he retired from Goldman Sachs a few years ago. We all had good conversations and we all ended up staying at this table for 2+ hours and had really nice time. One of the guys was betting 200 to 700 a hand which got really entertaining on splits and doubles. We were all hooting and hollering at the outcome of his hands. CW services was not great though. Dealer really nice and good. Encore vibe was relaxed (not boring) and a nice change of pace. A lot less smoky too.

Got back to TI and had a late dinner (coffee shop) and did some more gambling. I wasn’t quite ready to go home so asked TI if I could stay one more night. Hotel was only 86% filled (even with big 50K concrete convention starting that day) so no problem. I ended night at high limit room at $50 six shoe table with another guy. I bought in for 700 and he bought in for 800. He was a bit serious but okay to talk to. The pit boss remembered me from previous nights and said welcome back Scott, which I liked. One $75 hand I had to split 8 four time with two double downs. Won all. The guy I was with played perfect BS. He even would surrender with 15 vs. A. I think he was the only person I saw surrender during the whole trip. When I would surrender in the main casino several different times folks would ask me what that was/did and were amazed you could do that. The guy I was playing with was better between 150 and 500 a hand and again was fun to watch. He ended up having to buy back in for 1,000 in 3rd shoe. I left after 4th shoe.

Next day I took monorail down to MGM again as wanted to wonder around Mandalay and Luxor as I haven’t been to those places in a while. Then I swung by Tropicana on way back to Monorail to take a last look a there glass (crystal?) ceiling decoration that is above their table games. They’re going to renovate soon and ready they are removing this. Jumped on Monorail and got off at Quad stop as I wanted to see new O’Sheas casino and the new SB in The Quad.

Chicago, Illinois
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5. Re: TR: Jan 18 - 22. Lotsa blackjack

O’Sheas casino is connected to The Quad. O’Sheas is really nice but small. It’s dark in there too. The front of O’Sheas leads to the new promenade walk way that will lead to the new Linq. The new promenade walk way is nice and doesn’t feel very “Vegas” but again is nice. Check it out next time you’re there.

The new SB at The Quade is located in the front by the “dealer-tainers” blackjack tables. It’s small but I like that’s its located in the middle of everything. I like the vibe at The Quad and so sat at there main bar for quite a while watching parade of people through the casino and also the 6 TV with ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, etc on them.

Last night played only blackjack at TI, bouncing between the 3 sections I described above. Earlier in the day I found a $50 bill on the ground and told my buddy about it during a text. (I text a lot in Vegas, especially when I’m solo). He told me to throw it in a slot as it could be lucky! I never play slots but my buddy told me about a few of the ones he played and liked when he was there a couple weeks prior. I put the 50 in the Lucky Horse slot near the Buffet line. I tried changing the demonization but couldn’t (or couldn’t figure out). I played max lines (466, yes 466) and max bet on Lucky horse which was $4.50 a spin. I though it was funny you could control the volume on these games, who knew? I cashed out for $101…it was lucky. I also love the Family Guy slot! It’s like watching a cartoon during the bonus round. Really fun and funny!! Jumping in slots a few times during the night broke up the blackjack sessions a bit.

I played black jack quite a bit at my favorite table (near coffee shop and roulette) quite a bit the last night. The dealer there was my dealer from the night before in the high limit room (when the guy had to re-buy 1,000 in 3rd shoe). I asked her how he did and she said after I left he went on a great run and won over $5,000. I was disappointed I missed that; but she went onto say he stayed too long and lost it all. Oh well. She was much more talkative at this table than the high limit table.

Last black jack round I played at the $50 6 deck shoe table with the guy I played with the first night. I always enjoy running back into a person you met the night or two before. It’s like running into an old friend. I told him I hate playing alone as the hands go to quick. He suggested I play two hands at a time if I play alone, which is a great idea. At TI you can play two hands at minimum amounts (in main casino as well) which I saw folks do quite a bit. Normally, if you play two hands you have to play double the minimum amount.

Last day…11:30 am flight back. I got long hauled on way back to airport. He took the highway and fare was $30 w/o tip. I hate that you have to watch the cabbies like a hawk and give them turn for turn directions. Next time I’ll make sure to text my self the name an cab number of the cabbies I get and send a complaining e-mail to taxi-authority (whoever that is) next time it happens. Probably won’t do any good, other than give me some piece of mind.

Overall I liked staying at TI. Except for SB it’s pretty similar to Mirage in my opinion. The service and people are very good and nice. The smoke did bother me as I don’t think they (nor Mirage) has a great ventilation system.

My rating at TI: I played 17 hours with an average bet of $54. (I got $200 (or just over 1/3) off my bill). To be honest, I thought I’d get more off my bill. I don’t think my slot play even came into play as I only played an hour or two in total.

Hope you enjoyed.

NZ
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6. Re: TR: Jan 18 - 22. Lotsa blackjack

Interesting TR. I liked your insight into the different casinos and SB's.

Indianapolis,IN
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7. Re: TR: Jan 18 - 22. Lotsa blackjack

Great report! Thanks for a lot of good info. I really enjoyed your blackjack commentary. Thanks again!

Vancouver, WA
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8. Re: TR: Jan 18 - 22. Lotsa blackjack

i read it all- so kudo's on a TR that was entertaining and informative.

May I ask- with those bets, how you do on comps?

Did you have the urge to tell the NE Ohio guy who turned down a players card what he could get from it?

Wenatchee...
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9. Re: TR: Jan 18 - 22. Lotsa blackjack

Loved it! Thanks for sharing!

Calgary
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10. Re: TR: Jan 18 - 22. Lotsa blackjack

I enjoyed your report. I never play table games but liked how you won a little on slots. There's hope for me.