My Vegas Vacation: A Big Thanks to HTF!!!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dome Vongvises, Oct 16, 2002.

  1. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    I want to thank everybody for the wonderful advice, tips, and recommendations I received from everybody in my other thread. I will now give a full report. Since my memory is a bit hazy, I'll give reports by location. I would upload photos but my camera isn’t finished, and I don’t know how to upload photos.
    The Airplane trip to
    Our plane was set to leave sometime 7:00 am from Bluegrass airport in Lexington, KY. We got off to a bad start. Our plane's engine couldn't work!!! I've had bad luck with engines starting on me lately. I was working on two hours sleep (bad back because I slept on the floor [​IMG] ), and I had to "book it" (no pun intended) to another airflight. We were originally supposed to go to Cincy, but got sent to.....Detroit (Noooooooooooooo!!!!!!!)
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    :p) (you'll understand the joke)
    Anywho, the airport at Detroit was really nice. Granted, our pilot couldn't land worth a crap (I think domestic flight pilots suck, but that's IMHO). And then off to Vegas!!! That pilot couldn't land either.
    The flight into Las Vegas was cool!!! I got to see the strip from my window. I took a look and thought, "Wow, all the hotels are pretty close to each other. We won't need to walk far!!!" Needless to say, I was sadly mistaken. [​IMG]
    MGM Grand Hotel and Casino
    For economical and practical reasons (an extra night and a start on one end of the strip), we decided to pick this hotel as our base of operations. If I remember, MGM had the largest casino in Las Vegas. They had your usual slots, but they also had 5$ blackjack as well. We basically slept and played there and ate at one restaurant (more on that later) so there's not much more to discuss here. Overall, a great place to stay, and it had a connecting monorail to Bally’s which we used extensively.
    Emeril's Fish House
    This restaurant is located in the MGM Grand. It gets a [​IMG] from me. Emerill Lagassee's restaurants rule!!! I had a bean soup deal for an appetizer, and a salmon dish for my main course. And for dessert, bananna cream pie!!! [​IMG] I sure will miss the food in Vegas. Beats my usual 20 piece Chicken McNugggets and Big Mac any day. [​IMG]
    Paris Hotel and Casino
    I liked the atmosphere here quite a bit. The faux sky in the shopping center was pretty cool (though it pales in comparison to the "real deal" at Caesar's Forum shops). I didn't do any gambling here because there weren't any 5$ tables of blackjack at the time (and I still had yet to discover craps [​IMG] ). The waitresses were pretty cute in their faux Paris outfits. I didn’t go up the Eiffel tower though.
    Paris Buffet
    This was my first Las Vegas buffet. Needless to say, it sure beats the hell out of the Golden Corral Buffet. I mean they had lamb for crying out loud!!! I got to eat crepe for the first time as well. They also had good prime rib too (not excellent, but certainly not the run-of-the-mill stuff at other buffets or lower-end restaurants either). They also had an assortment of other foods as well, and a wide variety of cheeses to eat.
    The Monte Carlo
    Don’t remember much. We just used their monorail to Bellagio. [​IMG]
    Bellagio Hotel and Casino
    One part of me says I'm glad I didn't go. The other part says, "Damnit, Ocean's 11 was filmed here!!!" I am in awe by the whole place. The glass sculpture in the lobby is something to behold, although it looks smaller in person than on the Travel Channel. The Botanical garden is refreshing, but I only stayed there for a few minutes. The shops were pretty cool, although I’m not into clothing that much (note to self: hire fashion consultant). Limits were too high so I didn’t gamble here (haven’t learned Craps yet).
    The Fountains at Bellagio
    Cooler than advertised. I got to see them twice, once with the Pink Panther theme. [​IMG] Luckily, there’s a good view everywhere. I suggest the dead middle for maximum viewing.
    The Bellagio Buffet
    It’s even better than the Paris buffet. Quality and quantity are certainly up here. There’s food I’ve gotten here that beats any trip to Outback steakhouse any day. They’ve got good lamb and prime rib, an assortment of desserts, but the coolest thing in the world are the pre-cut Alaskan King Crab Legs!!! A little pricey, but then again, what settle for less?
    O
    I’m not spelling out CS (I can’t). It cost $120 for a ticket. I think I ripped them off. The show was that great. Clowns are funny again. Worth more than the money.
    Caesar’s Hotel and Casino
    I wasn’t too impressed with their casino as it seemed too dark and not enough college-age people walking around. Granted there was some construction for Celine Dion’s Coliseum, but I wasn’t too impressed with it, inspite of the “Rainman” charm it possesses.
    Forum Shops at Caesar’s
    It’s a running theme in every shopping place to have a fake sky, but the Forum shops do it the best. That’s simply because they run on a computerized schedule where the lighting changes to simulate different times of the day. Quite frankly, I’m impressed. If you’re a big clothing fiend and you love to shop (read, don’t take your wives here if you want to save money [​IMG] ), then the Forum shops is the place to go. Otherwise, if you’re more of a movies/videogames guy like me, than you’ll probably just stare in awe of the shops. They did have this neat movie memorabilia store right near the entrance to the Casino.
    Race for Atlantis
    Cool, but too short. It was worth it only because we had coupons to reduce the cost.
    Cheescake Factory
    I know, I know, they’re a franchise, but this is the first time I’ve ever had a cheesecake from this store. I liked the one I picked (Oreo), but I’ve had better (better meaning a softer cheesecake IMHO).
    Palm’s at Forum Shops
    I’ll tell you what, I’m not at all a big fan of fillet mignon as I believe it severely lacks taste, even when cooked rare. However, it was the only thing on the menu at lunch time. I’m still not a big fan of fillet mignon, but it’s certainly a testament to the restaurant when I actually quite like it. The mushrooms that were served with it were fabulous. The desert I got was Crème Brule (sp?) [​IMG]
    Spago’s
    We settled in here for dinner (lovely hostesses btw [​IMG] ). It was a lot better than I thought, considering I sometimes delve into cynicism when I evaluate the rants and ravings of celebrities. Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant was pretty cool. I had a seared rare tuna dish with an assortment of vegetables. [​IMG] I liked it, but then again, it was pretty pricey. I had a cabernet with the fish, although I’m not quite sure if that was the right wine. :b
    Bally’s Hotel and Casino
    I didn’t do much here. Casino is nice, but well short of extraordinary.
    The Venetian Hotel and Casino
    Simply beautiful. The canals, while I could imagine well short of the beauty of real Venice, were pretty cool to behold. The faux sky was cool and ranks second behind the Forum shops. Again, clothing gurus would love this place, I assume since I’m not into clothing all that much  Can’t remember much about the casino though. They do have Krispy Kreme doughnuts however. [​IMG]
    Delmonico’s Steakhouse
    Emeril is the man!!! This place rules. I had the best steak and lamb I’ve ever had. I had a really nice red wine to go with this meal. I got lamb cooked rare for my main course, and it was absolutely magnificent. The leek really added that wonderful flavor to it, sort of akin to garlic which I love. My brother’s steak was awesome too, though I thought it was overcooked at medium-rare  . Coincidentally, it was my most expensive meal at 80 dollars.
    Aladdin’s Hotel and Casino
    Didn’t do any gambling here, although I checked out the London club. All I can say is if you watch the Travel channel a lot, it’s all the truth: they have hotties for dealers [​IMG]
    The Desert Shop
    What is it with all these shops that are solely for clothing!? Again, a faux sky, and one neat little store with a Vegas gaming theme (surprise surprise).
    Todai’s Seafood and Sushi Buffet
    The best deal IMHO I had during the trip. Good quality sushi and crab rolls to boot!!!
    The Mirage
    I liked the casino atmosphere of this one the best, simply because I’m partial to tropical settings. I got to see the white and regular tigers. I played some here, but I’m constantly reminded of Vegas Vacation when I was here. [​IMG]
    The Volcano
    It got cold during one of the nights there. Needless to say, it got hot really fast when they were showing the volcano show. [​IMG] Great show.
    Treasure Island
    Didn’t do much here except played a few hands of blackjack.
    The Pirate Ship Show
    Get there at least twenty minutes before showtime. It gets crowded fast!!! And this free show proves that pirates rule!!!
    Sahara
    I hated this hotel. It was dark and depressing, and I lost five hands of black jack in a row with 18’s, 19’s, and even 20’s!!! [​IMG]
    Speed
    The only redeeming quality of this hotel was that it had the roller coaster. Awesome!!! See the coaster thread for details.
    Downtown
    Coincidentally, they were filming a Live-Action Looney Tunes movie near the Golden Nugget. The girl for one of the bigger roles looked pretty hot!! I heard Brendon Frasure was going to be in this.
    Golden Nugget
    I liked the casino here, and this was the first place I learned how to properly play craps (I’m talking the real deal, not just that Project Prom crap).
    Freemont Light Show or Experience
    The best thing about Downtown is this free show. The version I saw was a song variety from the 60’s (Stones and Hendrix music [​IMG] )
    New York New York Hotel and Casino
    Pretty cool. Low limit gambling. They had the ESPN Sportszone, but I didn’t eat or stay there.
    Manhattan Express
    A little pricey, but I liked it nonetheless.
    Excalibur Hotel and Casino
    Walked through their casino. Nothing outstanding.
    Luxor Hotel and Casino
    No comment, lost money here. [​IMG] :p)
    Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino
    I liked the atmosphere here, and I won money at the craps table. Ran into a lot of people from Kentucky here oddly enough. My brother last summer went here for a friend’s wedding. They had about two cool restaurants here, but I was sadly running low on money at this point (I went here the day before leaving). One restaurant had a wine tower!!! Another had running waterfalls. I wish I went to House of Blues though.
    Mandalay Bay Buffet
    Good, but not spectacular. A little pricey for what you get.
    Blackjack
    I’ll only play this game at the $5 tables. I swear it’s rigged. It’s pretty easy to tell what tables are “rigged” by the dealers that clean everybody out. No joke, I had this one deal with five people. Two had 20’s and the rest had 19’s. Guess what? Dealer got Blackjack!!! [​IMG]
    Craps
    Quite possibly the funnest game to play. You develop comraderie with the fellow players, and if you know how to play it correctly, you can win money in large amounts and in a short amount of time. Words of advice: put money on the 8’s and 6’s.
    Slots
    They’re rigged. Don’t get me wrong, they’re fun to play, but don’t go in thinking you’re going to win money.
    Disappointments
    I’m sad I didn’t get to see M, the Amazing Jonathan, Lance Burton, or the Blue Man group. I didn’t even make it to Hotels off the strip either (Rio, Hard Rock Café) Oh well, maybe a next time? And where was Matt Chmeil? [​IMG]
    Final Thoughts
    Truth be told, I broke even for the trip (damn Blackjack…..) so I basically decided to use the money for DVD purchases. Oh well, there’s next time. If I learned anything valuable from this trip, it’s wear very, very comfortable shoes. You’re going to be doing a lot more walking than you would normally think. If there are any questions, I’m more than happy to answer. Again,
    Thank you HTF!!!
     
  2. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    Wow...awesome report, Dome! Glad everything went so well. My first trip to Vegas is next weekend and I'm pretty pumped. [​IMG]
     
  3. MikeH1

    MikeH1 Screenwriter

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    Wow talk about checking out nearly every casino/resort in town. You must have been on the move an awful lot. I've never been to Vegas but one day have to go there to see all the lights.
     
  4. Michael D. Bunting

    Michael D. Bunting Screenwriter

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  5. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

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  6. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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  7. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Michael (and Dome)
    I play the hell out of Hoyle Casino and it's helped me slowly get up to speed on games like craps, or my new fav Pai Gow poker.
    It also allows you to look back at your wins and losses. The biggest lesson I learned...do NOT play the slots EVER. Its tough to avoid them though. [​IMG]
    I think if you bet BJ correctly you can do pretty well, at least that's been my experience. I also do well with sports betting.
     
  8. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    I flew into Las Vegas at night and lucked out to be on the right side of the plane and saw a magnificent view almost right down the strip. I remember the green MGM being a big standout as it's one of the casinos closer to the airport's final landing approach.

    Did you get to the Stratosphere and that rollercoaster up there? I know they do a free shuttle from one of the side streets. My friend and I walked the whole strip from like Luxor all the way to Treasure Island/Mirage when we were there, stopping at a bunch of the casinos on the way.

    Jay
     
  9. DaveBB

    DaveBB Supporting Actor

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    Good report Dome. Everything you said seems right on; especially the part about the outfits the waitresses wear at Paris.[​IMG] Hopefully anyone on the forum going to Vegas will search and find this thread.
    If you want $5 blackjack with better odds; go downtown. The Strip seams to be tougher.
     
  10. LewB

    LewB Screenwriter

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    Get to a low limit ($5) craps table when it's not too busy. Tell the dealer closest to you that you're new to it and that you'd appreciate help in betting. Make sure you show that appreciation with a buck or 2 either given to, or put up as a dealer's bet every so often.
    That approach worked for a buddy of mine who wanted to start to learn craps. The dealers showed him what to do and told him why he should do it. Unfortunately I forget what Vegas hotel this was at.
     
  11. DaveBB

    DaveBB Supporting Actor

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  12. Dave Falasco

    Dave Falasco Screenwriter

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    Most resorts offer lessons in all of their games, including craps. I stayed at the Stratosphere in May (big mistake, but that's another story) and they had signs indicating that they were giving craps lessons at 10:00am on the casino floor. Problem is...it's Vegas--who the hell is up and showered by 10:00am???
    So, I still don't know how to play, but one of these days...
     
  13. Ning Wong

    Ning Wong Stunt Coordinator

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    great report!

    i'm going in a few weeks for my bday, and i am super excited.

    i wanna learn craps real bad too!
     
  14. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    Jay H said:

    Quote:



    Did you get to the Stratosphere and that rollercoaster up there?






    Sadly, no because it was closed at the moment we went there. I think it was too late at night.

    Dave Beebe said:

    Quote:



    Where is at in the Caesers complex?





    It's right outside Caesars. It's the one that actually looks something like a coliseum. Kind of a funny structure. There's actually more construction going on as well.

    The best way to learn craps is to know the basics and learn everything else on your own. But I'm more than willing to lend out the basics and some of the intermediate ways of betting.

    Craps: The Basics
    It's no wonder it's called craps because you can make a crap load of bets. [​IMG] You can either lose or gain money very quickly. The odds are in your favor because everything is up to the way you bet, and how "hot" the roller is. You place the table minimum on either the pass or no pass line. This basically means you are betting for or against the guy/gal rolling the dice. When you bet pass (for the roller) you are betting that he/she is going to roll a 7, 11, or establish a point (more on that later). You only win money on a 7 or 11 on the very first roll If you bet on the no pass (against the shooter), you are betting that he/she will roll a two, three, or twelve on the very first roll.

    If the shooter rolls a number besides the ones mentioned previously, then a "point" is established. This is either a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10. A "point" is a numerical number a shooter must roll before everybody gets money. Once a point is established, the roller can roll a two, three, or even a twelve without anybody losing money. You win money if the shooter rolls the "point". If the roller makes a seven, however, it's called crapping out and everybody loses.

    Additional note: Once a point line is established, you can place an additional bet (minimum I think) right behind the pass line bet you made.

    That's the basics. On the first roll, if they get 7 or 11 and you bet pass, you win money. On the first roll, if they get 2, 3, or 12, you lose money. On the first roll, if they rool 2, 3, or 12, and you bet no pass, you win money.

    Roll a point line? Hope they roll that number again to win money. [​IMG]

    Craps: The intermediate game

    The boxes
    There are boxes marked 4, 5, six, 8, nine, and 10. You place bets on these boxes to, what else, make money!!! Here's how they work: once a "point" line is established, the roller is obligated to throw the dice until he/she hits rolls the "point" or rolls a seven. Between each roll, new bets can be made.

    This is where the s**t load of money is made. You basically tell the dealer/worker that you want money placed on these boxes. This is always the table minimum, but there's an exception at six and 8. You have to bet the minimum plus to the nearest multiple of three. For example, a table minimum has a set minimum of five bucks you have to gamble. You have to bet at least six or another multiple of three. That means you can bet 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, etc dollars on six and 8. The reason they make you do this is to make it easier on the dealers/workers on paying off the wins.

    You win money on these boxes whenever the shooter rolls that number. If you put money on a box with 4 and the shooter rolls a 4, you win money!!! Here's the beauty of it: the bet you placed stays there until the shooter craps out. That's right, if the shooter rolls the point, your bet gets to stay on there on through the next roll and on through whenver the new "point" is established.

    Additional Note: You can put money on any combination of boxes you like.

    The Come Bet
    After a "point" is established, you can place money (table minimum) on something called The Come. This basically means that if the shooter rolls a seven (once the "point" has been established) you win money. If the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 11, you lose money. If you shooter rolls anything else (a 4, 5, six, 8, nine, or 10) your bet gets put in the box. Same principle applies here as in the box, with the sole exception that once you win money from this, your bet is returned to you. It doesn't stay there. [​IMG]

    The Field Bet
    AKA, the "sucker" bet (because it's assumed you're stupid for making this bet). You basically make a bet (minimum) that the shooter will roll a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 12 on the very next roll. If they don't, you lose money.

    That's about all the wisdom I can soundly impart. Here are my pieces of advice for betting:

    1. Put money on boxes six and 8.
    - The reason is because the odds of a person rolling a six or an 8 are better than the other numbers.

    2. Go to a table with lots of talking people.
    - Trust me, a table with talking people means A. They might be winning money and B. It sucks to be around a bunch of sour pusses.

    3. State everything articulately.
    - Talk slow if you have to, but always tell the dealer what you want done in a clear and concise voice. You avoid arguments that way.

    4. You earn money, you got to spend money.
    - That's obvious with gambling, but it's really true with box betting. If the shooter you get can't roll the "point" (or worse a 7) and keeps rolling other numbers, you should spread your bets out amongst the boxes. He/She keeps rolling those numbers, you keep winning money.

    5. Always clap and give words of encouragement.
    - "Papa needs a new pair of shoes" isn't there for just laughs. The shooter needs to know that you appreciate what they're doing. Keep throwing words of encouragement.

    Any questions, I'm more than happy to answer. [​IMG]

    Seth, Pai Gow poker scares me. [​IMG]
     
  15. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    haha, bluegrass is a nice airport. The airport manager is a great guy down there, I had to do a report and presentation on that airport.

    Also, why is everyone an aviation expert when it comes to landings? you have NO idea what did or didn't happen to make that landing. Go read "the naked pilot" aircraft accidents aren't caused by lack of training or proficiency, the domestic route guys are probabably more proficient than the international guys.
     
  16. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    I once had a pilot for the now defunct Piedmont Airlines land the plane so hard in Lexington that it dislodged four of the ceiling panels and left the wiring/cables exposed. All this in crystal clear weather. No wonder the airline didn't stay in business. [​IMG]
    Dome, thanks from the craps primer. It didn't help me worth a damn in understanding the game, but I'll probably print it off and bring it with me. [​IMG]
     
  17. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    Uh, piedmont was still in business last time I checked. They've been a codeshare with united for some time now. Unless it happened last week, they're still around.

    Again, the landing means very little. Next time I'm watching baseball I'll be sure and judge the pitcher on how he walks off the field.
     
  18. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    Er...I guess they are still flying, albeit as a regional carrier flying puddle jumping Dash-8's. Of course, the planes fly under the U.S. Airways livery. As for the landing back in '85, I still maintain that it was pretty piss poor. With the number of pilots that have been busted recently for showing up for their flights drunk, it's not hard to imagine that that the offending Piedmont pilot may have hoisted a few too many before that flight. I feel lucky to have survived.
     
  19. Shawn C

    Shawn C Screenwriter

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  20. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Pai Gow is actually pretty simple.
    You basically play 2 hands - a 5 card hand and a 2 card hand. Both must beat the dealers 2 hands.
    Your 2 card hand is just pairs or high cards.
    You can't make your 2 card hand BETTER than your 5 card hand. Often there are few options on how to play your cards, but sometimes you can go for 3 of a kind and high card, or 2 pair, stuff like that. So you risk making one hand too weak to win.
    However, if you split hands (win/lose) it's just a push.
    One slight twist is that there is a JOKER that makes it a 53 card deck. The JOKER can ONLY be used as an ACE or to complete a straight or a flush.
    So on the surface this game is literally a 50/50 bet. However, no casino plays 50/50 games. Instead, to slant the odds slightly toward the house you pay 5% on all winnings to them AND the banker (dealer normally) wins all tie hands (like pair of 10s to pair of 10s).
    One way to "beat" the game is by adjusting your bets based on the winning streak, basically buying your way out of losses. It requires very deep pockets versus the minimum bet that will keep the game from busting you out on short runs.
    But any probability course will tell you that if you can afford to stick through the short term bad luck things WILL turn around for you. The casino odds run about 2.5% better than yours, so it's a game you can play for awhile (slower than blackjack even).
    I've not played it where the dealer WASN'T the banker, but that is an option. If a player is the banker then the hands are compared to that players rather than the dealers. If the table is allowing this it is rotated among the players and you have the option to pass on being the banker.
    BTW, where is JohnS when we need him. [​IMG]
     

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