"This is the end result of all the bright lights... and the comp trips, of all the champagne... and free hotel suites, and all the broads and all the booze. It's all been arranged just for us to get your money. That's the truth about Las Vegas. We're the only winners. The players don't stand a chance. "
A brief visit to the LV Strip the other day and I go these two photos...
I am going to guess that this gentleman is not an American. I am going to guess South America -- possibly Brazil. Anyone want to guess what country?
These two fellows normally would not warrant a photo or a blog post. However, I could not resist a photo because of the identical backpacks they both were wearing. Gucci backpacks? Really? Come on now... I have no idea if these backpacks are real or imitation, but if they are real they retail online from Gucci for $990. "Free shipping" is included...
My friend was here in LV on business for a week so we spent quite a bit of time playing blackjack at different casinos. We have been counting cards in LV and Reno for over 20 years. We try to move around from casino to casino and as a rule we try not to play more than an hour at any property. If we think there is no heat and the conditions are good we might play more than an hour, but that is a situational call. We try and play the $10 and $15 tables as much as possible with our max bet spread around $150. If nothing else is available we will play $25 with a max bet spread of up to $250. We do play some side bets depending on the neg or pos count. Double deck is the only game we play in LV, unless at the El Cortez then we will play single deck. We do not use player's club cards anymore -- to stay off their tracking system and mainly because table game comps are so crappy now in LV, that it's just not worst the hassle anymore. If I am hungry I will pay for my own lunch....
We have had our share of back offs, but our camouflage and short play sessions, combined with constant rotation of casinos when we play has kept the back offs to a minimum. Places we have been backed off at in LV:
Downtown: We have been backed off from most casinos downtown over the years. However, we just wait a few months and go back with no worries. The one exception is the El Cortez. We play green action in there and cause a real stink. It's usually under 30 minutes before the hammer comes down, but the amusement is worth it. Then we go back in three months and do the same thing. It's a fun to pick on them...
Fiesta Henderson: Been backed off 2x from there. Usually we wait about 6-9 months and then go back. Problem is the place is a such low roller grind joint that excessive green action causes pit shit fit.
GVR: Backed off one time. Floor manager was a such a bitch and so hostile on the back off that we did not go back for a year. Now things have calmed down in there as I believe this manager was fired a while back. One of the better places for AP's and decent basic strategy players to play at in all of LV.
Mirage: Very hostile back off on the morning shift a few years ago. Had to wait over year to go back and play there. Very careful when we go back there now. As soon as the heat gets turned up we hit the eject button.
South Point: Angry and hostile back off about 2 years ago. Have not been back since. Probably the most paranoid and hostile pit in Vegas. Got backed off on a $10 to $50 ramp up. Assholes...
Cosmopolitan: Fastest back off ever on the first time we ever played there. $25 to $250 spread. 30 minutes at most and shoulder tapped. No heat from the pit -- all of it came from the eye. Found out later this place has some of the toughest AP counter measures in Vegas. Personally, I think they are paranoid and probably chase away their share of lucky basic strategy parlay players. Duh... And they wonder why the joint just keeps burning money....
Anyway, here's a summary of our most recent card counting adventures with some commentary.
Sunset Station: Played double deck with a bet spread of $10-$150. Allowed to re-split aces. Some heat on super pos ramp ups. Drink service efficient but restrictions on top shelf liquors -- I tried to order a Johnnie Walker Black Label on the rocks and was denied.
Green Valley Ranch: Played double deck with a bet spreads of $10-$250. Played $10, $15, $25 limits. Allowed to re-split aces. Some minor heat depending on the PB, but otherwise played without any harassment. Good drink service but restrictions on certain liquors. I ordered a Grand Marnier and they served me a knock off version -- very sneaky.
Aria: Table minimums were $100 for double deck. Did not play. New York New York: Played the $25 double deck. Bet spread of $25 to $200. Terrible chop, terrible drink service. Lots of birds dropping in on the middle of the deck. Not worth playing. Orleans: Played the $10 double deck. Bet spread of $10 to $200. No heat at all. Drink service was efficient but short pouring was the norm. I ordered a Grand Marnier up and it looked like I got a half ounce pour. Ridiculous. There also appeared to be a pimp convention at the hotel.
M: Played the $15 double deck. Bet spread of $15-$175. Minor heat on pos ramp ups. Drink service excellent -- top shelf not excluded. Hottest cocktail waitresses in all of Las Vegas makes for a very pleasant casino experience after dealing the cranky granny's at the Mirage... Harrah's: Played the $15 double deck. Bet spread of $15 to $150. No double after split. No heat at all. Drink service very fast. Casino is very crowded and loud, not the most relaxing place to sit and play blackjack. Chop varied from dealer to dealer. Idiot ploppys populate most tables with some of the most stupid and ignorant blackjack play one will ever experience.
Flamingo: Played the $25 double deck. Bet spread of $25 to $375. No double after split. No heat all. Decent drink service but restrictions on certain liquors. Very crowded and noisy. The $25 weeds out some of the ploppys but stupid play is still the norm. Needs a major facelift -- the place is falling apart. Also, hookers are everywhere on the prowl... Treasure Island: Played the $15 double deck. Bet spread of $15 to $150. No heat on the am shift but things get real nasty there at night after 6pm. Major heat from PB's on bet ramp ups. Major harassment to sign up for a player's club card. They are competing with South Point to be the most hostile place in Las Vegas for blackjack. Toke hustling dealers are irritating also. Drink service was average with restrictions on top shelf.
Mirage: Played the $25 double deck. Bet spread of $25 to $225. Bet ramp ups get attention from pit then heat gets turned up. 30-45 minutes is max amount of time to play there before the hammer comes down. Most dealers are old and cranky. Drink service is average with lots of granny cocktail waitresses.
This mess was present when I arrived at the casino at around 9am. I will give this casino some credit for cleaning it up as I witnessed a hotel worker emptying the trash and clearing out the cigs at around 2pm. Though I would speculate that this amount of garbage was left over from the previous night.
This past year or so I have noticed this trend in several casinos in the Las Vegas area. Usually it's a group of men, all under the age of 30 and wearing disguises / costumes while they gamble. The main impersonation I have seen is Allan Garner from The Hangover. So there will be 3-4 guys all dressed like Alan Garner, with a baby doll, playing craps or blackjack. It is just too damn funny. I have also seen guys dressed up like the Village People and heavy metal characters from what looked like something from the movie Spinal Tap. Mind you, this is not Halloween in Las Vegas...
Allan Garner character from The Hangover:
Personally I think these disguises and costumes are great. In fact I think it is quite funny and amusing to see these outfits and the attention they create in a casino. However, I thought casino security had a problem with people wearing disguises? I was always under the impression that if a person gambles in a casino with a wig, fake beard, sunglasses, etc., casino security would have an issue with this. Apparently this does not matter anymore as evidenced by this photo I took recently.
This first photo is the casino floor of the Hard Rock Hotel. It was taken on a Thursday around 7:30pm. Looks pretty normal right? Notice the bottom of the photo. There are three gentleman playing craps. Note their outfits, especially the shorts the one guy is wearing. They all had wigs, fake beards, and sunglasses on. I was not able to get a clear picture of the front of them....
As some of you know I am a big fan of the movie Casino and how Robert De Niro portrayed Sam "Ace" Rothstein (Sam Rosenthal). So I am down at Fremont St. a few weeks ago visiting some friends and saw this impersonator. Not only does this guy look like De Niro but he had the outfit, voice, and mannerisms down cold from the movie. If he is ever out on Fremont St. again he is worth checking out and putting a few bucks in his tip cup!
If anyone has a link to this guy's website let me know and I will post it on here. Thanks. JH
I am assuming the Golden Nugget is responsible for this one. Unless someone can tell me otherwise, they get the blame.
The old lettering on side of this building and Nevada sign was pretty cool and was a nice piece of "vintage" Las Vegas. The location is at the top of the GN parking garage. So the GN tears down the sign and paints over the wall. Really? Was this necessary? I am curious how long the lettering on the side of the building and the sign had been there? I am guessing at least since the 1950's or 1960's? Was it really an eyesore? Did guests of the GN complain about it? Come on now. Ridiculous...
Here's a photo I recently took.
Here's what it used to look like:
With a little Photoshop help it made a nice "vintage" Las Vegas style photo:
My friend and I who is here on business decided to venture
downtown a few nights ago to see if there were any playable Blackjack
games.To our surprise there appears to
be a “Blackjack renaissance” at some of the casinos in the area.We were pleasantly surprised.Here are our stats from approx. 90 minutes of
Binions – single deck,
3/2, $25 min, bet spread $25-$150, bought in for a total of $400, cashed out
for $1000, time played – under 30 min.Heat: mild heat on the bigger bets.Net: $600.
Las Vegas Club –
double deck, 3/2, $15 min, bet spread $15-$200, bought in for a total of $400,
cashed out for $1400, time played – under 30 min.Heat:no heat until the end, PB scowling as we colored up.Net: $1000
Golden Nugget –
double deck, 3/2, $25 min, bet spread $25-$225, bought in for a total of $600,
cashed out for $3000, time played – less than 30 min.Heat: No heat from pit, but pretty sure the
eye was evaluating our play.Net: $2400.
Final stats:Total net: $4000, 90 minutes.Just like how it’s supposed to be done. Don't stay too long at a casino, hit them hard and fast, cash out big!
I took this photo at 4pm on a Sat. in August. Temp. was 110f in the shade, not in the sun like these folks were standing in. What you see is a line of people waiting to enter Gold and Silver Pawn aka Pawn Stars pawn shop. Thoughts of a random person in line: I am on vacation in LV, I am happy, I can handle this heat, I love Pawn Stars, I love Chum Lee, I will talk to Rick, I will be on TV...
Attention USA and the rest world: Pawn Stars on History Channel is a cool show and you might even learn something about history or popular culture... But the pawn shop is not worth waiting in line for. Yes, they have lots of interesting and valuable stuff that you see on TV... However, If you think you are going to hang out and take pictures with the guys from the show? As Rick likes to say when he does his deals... "That's not going to happen."
Perusing casino employment websites will occasionally yield some amusing jobs and/or job descriptions. Please see below...
Full-Time On Call
21 and over
Maintains strict confidentiality for the company when conducting observations and investigations.
Changes VHS cassettes tapes and video cassette recorders (VCRs) used by the department.
Operates CCTV/digital equipment to conduct surveillance.
Uses computer and associated hardware to complete documentation.
Writes and prepares daily reports and logs.
At least 2 years of gaming/surveillance experience.
Knowledge of all Table Games, Slots, and Cage procedures.
Basic knowledge of card counting systems.
Excellent telephone etiquette and communication skills.
A High School Diploma or equivalent.
Able to communicate effectively in English both verbal and written.
Working knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel.
Working knowledge of Microsoft Access preferred.
Previous experience working in a similar resort setting.
Is this job description for real?
The Bellagio is still using VHS tapes and VCR's to record casino
activity? You have got to be kidding... How is it possible that one of
the most high end hotels in Las Vegas is still using VHS tapes? Same
equipment when Steve Wynn opened the joint? Come on now... You can't
make this shit up. How can the Bellagio not be all digital w/ all video
saved to computer hard drives for all their casino surveillance?
My next question is this: The only education required for the
position is a high school diploma or equivalent? That's it? Not even a
community college degree? So the "eye in the sky" is manned by
employees with the bare minimum of education in the USA? Come on
Basic knowledge of card counting systems? So if I have read
"Beat the Dealer" or "Blackjack for Blood" does that qualify? No wonder
casinos toss out non counters who just get lucky and go on a big run
for a few decks.
I would love to know what the hourly rate of pay is for this position... I am going to speculate at around $11 an hour.
Black paint -- check. Giant Raiders sticker (with last name) -- Check. Personalized license plate -- Check. Raiders license plate frame -- Check. Failure to make the playoffs 10 years and counting -- Check.
With all the empty land in LV it always amazes me how these home and apt. builders will build right on top of a freeway. Note the huge wall in front of the apt. -- probably built to try and reduce freeway noise. Like that's going to matter on the upper floors of this place. I wonder if the freeway units are more expensive to rent because they have a "view."
Las Vegas has been hard hit in the recession and housing crisis. The unemployment rate is still one of the highest in the country. However, one would never know this with the amount of freeway construction, freeway landscape, and sound wall projects currently in progress.
I suspect there can be only person we have to thank for all this construction work to make our freeways move faster and look better: That's right, Boss Hogg himself -- Sen. Harry Reid.
This last one made me smile. The license plate is great but then I noticed the type of car. A plate like this belongs on something like a Maserati, Corvette, or maybe even a higher end BMW. A Pontiac Firebird? Come on now...
Low life low rider... This clown was hittin' switches as he rolled down Trop. Car was leaning left, right, up and down. I could not stop laughing!
What idiot would spend big bucks on rims, tires, and hydraulics and then put them on a crappy Ford Fairmont or whatever piece of crap this car is. Even if this car was fixed up with a nice paint job it has no business being turned into a low rider.
It's been awhile since I have seen a Raider Nation vehicle, then I come across this nonsense on the 215 west. What's up the Los Angeles Raiders sticker? Really? I think it's been over 20 years since Grandpa Al dumped ghetto LA and went back to the real ghetto -- Oakland.