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Re: Trip Report Part 2 [long]

 Posted by Barfarkel on 17 July 1999, at 9:43 p.m., in response to Trip Report Part 1 [long], posted by Barfarkel on 17 July 1999, at 2:04 a.m.



Next morning saw my first appearance at one of my favorite venues: the DD pit at Bellagio. Strolling thru I noticed only $25 minimum tables, even at this early hour. In Dec.'98 they always had $5 DD tables at this hour and in April of this year they always had a few $10 min tables, no $5 minimums anymore at any time. I explained my situation to a pit boss who replaced a $25 sign with a $10 sign on one table and said "go for it". Buying in for $200, I was the only player at the table for most of the 1 hour session, getting 70% pen and spreading $10-$50. Went down @ $150 early, then rebounded to even, then up $100 towards the end of the hour.


Ok, good start to the new day. Next I drove to Mandalay Bay to take a tour, but the valet parking was full. Back on the strip I ran into a traffic snarl, reversed my field and got on I15 north. Drove to Arizona Charlie's to try the $2.49 steak and eggs breakfast as touted by the LV Advisor. Anthony Curtis was right, the breakfast was yummy. Scouted the games at Az Charlie's but couldn't find the right combination of uncrowded conditions and decent pen, so decided to drive to the Santa Fe again.


What a mistake that decision was. Played a heads up SD table with a new deck and couldn't win 2 hands in a row to save my life [anyone else ever notice this phenomenon?]. Switched to a DD table which was like pouring gasoline on a fire. Stiff after stiff with the dealers upcard always a 10. SD pen was 50% and I got @ 65% on the DD. Took less than an hour to lose $270. Driving back towards the Gamblers Book Club, I thought to myself that I really need to get an astrologist to tell me when and where to play :-].


Trip so far: Down $659


At the GBC I bought 3 books: Blackjack Autumn by Barry Meadows which I've already finished and can recommend highly,

Comp City by Max Rubin, and Blackjack Essays by Mason Malmuth. Also played around with the BlackJack Risk Manager on their computer. I've got to buy that software soon.

Retiring to the pool at the Gold Coast I laid out under the netting [a feature I love- you are in shade but getting tan at the same time]. I ordered 2 or 3 greyhounds [vodka and grapefruit juice]and started reading Blackjack Autumn. After an hour napping off the drinks in my room, I gave the GC a little more casual play, losing $64 in an hour.


Despite what you may think, I like the Gold Coast. If you have a car, it's easy to get in and out of the place quickly and you don't have to wait 10-15 minutes for the valet to bring your car nor drive out into the ever worsening strip traffic. It's also close to the I15 ramps and Valley View Blvd and Industrial Road which are much quicker than driving the strip. It's clean, small and quiet which I like. I stayed 6 nights including Friday for a grand total of $147 [casino rate]. All in all it's a good place to hide from the capricious hands of Fate which hadn't been too kind to me lately.


Later that night I sustained a series of small losses:


Reserve: Played 1 hour at the DD $5 table, getting 60% pen and losing $25.


Sam's Town: A half hour at the $10 SD table with 3 rounds to 3 resulted in a $93 loss.


Boardwalk: The DD pen has gone to the dogs here. Used to be 75%, now lucky to get 60%. Played for an hour at the DD table spreading $5 to $30 resulting in a $50 loss.


Horseshoe: During the half hour I played, I was up as high as $150 ahead before losing it back to win $5, basically breaking even. I used a $5 to $50 spread here after a pep talk/dressing down from Grifter. he told me I wasn't spreading enough and wasn't sticking with the game long enough. He's right of course. Sometimes you have to buy in and buy in some more before the cards turn your way. Can't just give up and accept a loss after a half hour just because you didn't start off winning from the beginning of the session.


Next Afternoon: Slots-A-Fun: Played for 1 and 1/2 hours at the $10 SD table with rule of 6 and 2-3 other players, winning $100 and getting a comp for 2 boxes [24 decks] of playing cards which I later gave out to my co-workers.


That night it took me 15 minutes to lose back the $100 it had taken me 90 minutes to win at Slots. This was downtown at Fitzgeralds where I switched from the SD table to DD, losing another $40.


Next afternoon, after breaking even after an hour at the B's DD pit [70% pen, $10 table, 1-2 other players], I toured the Tropicana's Casino Legends Hall of Fame. Used the free coupon in the magazine in the hotel room. I really liked this exhibit, especially the video of recent hotel implosions, the video of historical mob involvement and the computer database of notorious persons banned from all Nevada casinos in the Black Book. Some of the entrys were fairly recent [mid '90's] not just names like Al Capone or Sam Giancana. Then I sat at the Trop's $10 Dd game for only 20 minutes, getting 70% pen and losing $85.


Trip so far: Down $1011 in solo red play. Total time: 14.5 hours.


What expensive lessons had I learned so far? It's not enough to keep an accurate count, true count and recall your strategy index numbers. I found I was losing the count only rarely, unlike previous trips. The problem was not technical. There is a big difference between keeping an accurate count and playing a winning game of blackjack. Later in Part 3, your humble protagonist [me] will join a team and discover the secrets of getting the money out of casinos.


Stay tuned, sports fans.




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