Guys Vegas Trip Year 3 – Recap

As you can see in the post title last week was our 3rd annual summer guys trip to Vegas – previous trip recaps at bottom of this post.  It always occurs in August near my Birthday, but has nothing to do with my Birthday, it is just a time of year that works for all of us with kids back in school and typically slow work schedules.  The same three guys have made this trip each year, we’ve tried to recruit other guys, but for whatever reason it has stayed the original 3 each year.  As always it was a fun time and below is a recap of our 48 hours of drinking and gambling.

Day 1: Slow start: We had a 10am flight out of Atlanta for which I got a 1st class upgrade and when we taxied to the runway the pilot came on to announce we were turning back to the gate.  We get off, call Delta to get on 11:30 flight, run down terminal, get to gate, and gate agent won’t let us on the plane which the phone agent assures us we have seats and tickets for.  Not a great start.  Lunch and 3 beers later we’re on the 2p flight and now I’m back in Comfort+ which at least still gave me free drinks.

Downtown: Each year we look for new and different things to try during our stay and this year we decided to spend some time in downtown for a change of pace.  After landing we stashed our bags at Paris, where we were staying, and caught a cab to Binions.  Our plan was to hit Binions – old Vegas history, The D – face of new DTLV and to piss off @_Lucky45, and El Cortez because @VegasFanboy and @WallStreetNole swear by this place for cheap fun and good blackjack games.  We started at Binion’s, but it felt small and claustrophobic so we strolled down Fremont with our drinks and ducked into The D.  One of my buddies is an aspiring blackjack player so he joined me at a $15 table where we played for an hour or so – he struggled to a small loss and I had a nice run to start the trip up a couple hundred.  Our 3rd buddy who doesn’t really gamble was ready to keep exploring so we headed to El Cortez.  By that time we were hungry so we tried Hennesseys tavern across the street from El Co (apparently that’s what the cool Twitter kids call it).  Hennesseys was pretty solid for what it is, especially when you are drinking all day, and our waitress Anne was great fun putting up with us morons.  Next stop El Cortez – expectations were low – but once we got inside we really did enjoy ourselves.  The vibe was friendly, place was chill – guy had his dog sleeping next to him at the bar, and plenty of good tables.  We played a little low-limit blackjack without much flow and then decided to try a $1 roulette table – because it was a $1 Roulette Table – and the min bet was .25 – I didn’t even know those electronic signs had decimal points!  Lost a few bucks, but really didn’t care since it was late and we had a solid time.  With a good night in the books in DTLV we grabbed a cab back to the Strip.

Day 2: Pool Time and Team Gambling: We stayed at Paris since I have Total Rewards credits that got us three rooms for two nights for less than our drink tab for the trip (almost half of that was resort fees).  In the spirit of trying new things we decided to get a cabana at the Paris pool to use as our home base for day 2.  The pool opened at 10am and we were still on East Coast time so I decided to play a little blackjack after breakfast.  It became clear that was a financial mistake pretty quickly.  I played at the Paris high limit room at a $100 table and was quickly knocked on my ass.  After a quick beat down I walked next door and Planet Hollywood then continued my losing streak at a $25 table which put me in a 20-yard hole for the day and 16-yards for the trip…grrr.  Luckily the pool was now open and I was already a few beers in so we started the day 2 drinking marathon early.  The pool was a good call, we had a private cabana with a great server – Samantha – who was a lot of fun and made sure the drinks flowed constantly all day.  We took a trip across the street to Todd English Pub for lunch which has been our tradition and quite honestly may never go back – our tab was $200 for lunch for sandwiches and 2 drinks each – I don’t mind paying more in Vegas but that was excessive so we’ll find another option to add to the mix in future trips.   After lunch we played our way back to the pool stopping at Planet Hollywood where the pleasure pit took us for a few more hundred before for more drinks and unbelievably it rained for an hour while we were in the cabana.  We were on tilt after the PH loss and so we called it a day around 5, headed to the room, changed and hit the road to make our money back.  My buddy looked at me when I walked down the hall and said – ‘dude you look ready to win’ – I was fired up and knew we were going to win.  We started with $50 blackjack at Bally’s high-limit room where my buddy who gambles and I went on a nice run and both kept building stacks and the non-gambler started to play roulette.  Every 15 minutes or so he would stop at the table with a stack of chips saying – look what I won!  We were rolling…so we took our blackjack winnings of about 6 yards each and joined the roulette craziness.  It was a $10 table and we pooled money to buy in for $300.  I played the numbers and the other guys manned the outside bets and we started crushing it.  I hit at least 5 numbers all with 2-10 dollar bets each and they were putting stacks of ones on red/black/even/odd and hitting at least 60% which meant we were getting loud and drawing a crowd.  The table started copying our bets and we rolled to 3X our buy-in then got real nuts putting $100 on odd/even/black/red and $25 on numbers which of course dented our winnings on the spins we missed, but damn it was fun when we hit – unfortunately we never hit the $25 inside bets, but when we felt the tide turn we quit up 2.5X which was a great finish to the night.  Of course I went and played the $50 table again and in one shoe made 6 yards for good measure.

That was our 36 hour blur of a Vegas guys trip, overall down a few bucks thanks to one bad run of blackjack, but well worth it for the entertainment value.  We are ready to go back immediately, but realistically it will be next August and we’ll keep Downtown and the Pool cabana in our rotation for next year’s festivities.


Previous Vegas Guys Trip Recaps:




T-Minus 2 Weeks Until Vegas


If, like me you’re a gambler stuck far from major casinos, Vegas is the vacation you look forward to with great anticipation.  Yes, 49% of the Nevada population is in debt collection and there seem to be more unemployed people in drunk Mickey costumes on the strip than at the blackjack tables these days, but with due respect to Macau, Vegas is still the place to be.

I’m headed to the strip in two weeks with a couple of buddies which has got me excited, but also a little hesitant.  Of course I’m excited because I’m staying in an Aria suite, get to play blackjack for two days straight and we’ll enjoy great food and drink.  I’m hesitant because I’ve never gambled with these guys before and I have a feeling it will lead to more BUI than good solid money-making blackjack sessions.

There is also some added pressure since these guys know I have a system and play to make money.  They will be watching all my play and constantly checking on my progress.  I’m okay with the extra scrutiny, but with them playing at my table there is a good chance they will impact my game with their play and I won’t be able to say anything since these are my friends.

I’ll keep posting updates on my way to the trip as well as during and after to give a summary of how this new experiment in my blackjack journey unfolds.


Mohegan Sun Guys Trip September 2013

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts my preferred blackjack playing style is solo.  Of course for every rule there are exceptions.  In this case a guys golf and gamble trip with a couple of college buddies.  In my opinion blackjack isn’t really a fun team game – only rarely does the whole table win and you usually end up with at least one person busting while only one person is getting the breaks.  If you want team drinking fun head for the craps tables – lots of fun and usually if one wins everyone wins.

I went into this trip expecting to lose, which is never a good approach no matter what you’re doing.  It was a Saturday night at Mohegan Sun so the place was very busy with almost no open tables anywhere in the place.  There were three of us, one is a poker player so we lost him in the poker room almost immediately, my other friend isn’t a big gambler so we found a $15 table with only one other guy and jumped in.  I did my best to guide my buddy and he went on a huge run with easy wins and auto-doubles that hit each time – I lost a couple of bucks in the first hour while he racked up a few hundred which of course got him hooked on the action.  After a few shoes a couple of others joined the table and tanked our luck so we quickly headed to find another table.

Mohegan Sun is a nice place, it’s huge, with three different gaming areas and a ton of various dining choices from simple to high end – we chose middle of the road at the Michael Jordan bar which was pretty solid.  It definitely has a more impressive feel than most regional casinos and I’d imagine I’d be happy to return especially on a weekday when it isn’t so crowded.  I actually think I’ve been here way back in the day, but I’m sure back then I played 25 cent slots and whined about $10 per hand blackjack being too rich for my blood.

The biggest frustration with the night was the constant jump and dump  or sit and s&^t players – the guys who roll up to a table with 50 bucks in chips, don’t even sit in a chair, put down a bet, win or lose a hand then move on.  I’m not superstitious, but it does mess with your flow of betting and card consistency.  We started losing which wasn’t that big a deal, but I did want to play a little strategic blackjack just to feel better about the night.  Unfortunately, the only tables that were no-mid shoe entry were $50+ and even though they had an impressive amount of tables above $50 there wasn’t one completely empty the entire night so we kept playing small minimum and I ended up dropping $500 over the course of the evening – my buddies both walked away up a few bucks so it was a worthwhile donation for a fun night.

Mohegan Sun blackjack set-up is pretty standard fare:

  • Main Floor
  • Many $10-25 tables, mid-shoe entry available
  • No surrender available, one split of aces, auto-shuffle machine, no single deck or manual shuffle that I saw.
  • High-limit room
  • Several $50 tables, no mid-shoe
  • Dozen or more $100 tables, no mid-shoe
  • No surrender available in any situation, one split of aces, manual shuffle, no single deck that I saw.