My Vegas Vacation – Gambling

Going into my solo adventure to Las Vegas I thought that I would end up gambling a little more than I would if I was with friends.  I met that expectation.

Being with out anyone else to consider I found myself wandering to just about any slot machine that looked remotely entertaining.  That was both good and bad.

Munny was located on the edge of the walkway to the rooms at the Palazzo.  I put $20 in and left with $50.  This is a 5 reel penny slot. There were tons of line combinations, but all that really mattered were the bonuses.  The big bonus set free a lotto ping pong ball scene.  Each ball had a multiplier.  I got a couple of 10x balls and bingo!  I played this game a few times and ended up positive each time.

I played a lot of slots in all denominations with unspectacular results, but not awful results.  I played my new favorite Time Machine at Palazzo, a new version of Top Dollar at Wynn and many more.

By definition, slots include video poker.  I played a good amount of video poker too and couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn.  There were some nice wins like 25 straights playing multi-video poker at Planet Hollywood.

Unfortunately there was nothing better than 8/5 Jacks or Better anywhere I played.  I did pretty well on my last trip to Vegas playing 8/5 JoB…

..this trip to Vegas was the complete opposite.  It happens.  It’s time to move away from machines to the tables.

Let It Ride
My greatest session gambling was a win of a couple hundred dollars in Let It Ride.  I haven’t played Let It Ride in a while and didn’t have much of an idea what I was doing.  Maybe that’s the trick.

Sports Betting
The best gambling for me this trip was sports betting.  I won about 8 of 10 games.  I only wish there were more games that were that I felt strongly about.  I spent a good amount of time at Legasse Stadium and I can’t wait to get this TV setup in my house.  Someday…

Blackjack Switch and Blackjack
Wynn was a second home for me and I played slots, bet on games and played Blackjack Switch for the second time.  Being sober helped a lot as I almost doubled my money in about 15 minutes.  Not too shabby.

Blackjack is always the same for me.  Up and down, up and down.  I did have a great time playing blackjack at the Palazzo on my final night.  I went to a table to play alone, but that changed quickly as the table filled with a variety of fun people.  I doubled my money and even spotted comedian, Brad Garrett, across the way!

3 Card Poker
My worst gambling came playing 3 card poker.  I did not have a winning session or even a big hand.  My experience in 3CP was so bad I had to stop playing.

My downfall at 3 Card Poker began at Planet Hollywood where I fell prey to extremely hot dealers and plenty of vodka in the Pleasure Pit.  I wasn’t in the section with Go-Go Dancers.  That’s a bit too distracting.

I had a great time playing at the Pleasure Pit.  The music, other players  and dealers were all fun.  Drink service, to no surprise, was very quick.

I’ve had a pretty good year and a half run gambling.  I may have gotten a little reckless gambling alone, but I gamble to have fun and I succeeded at that.  Moving forward I have to get back to smart gambling.

Las Vegas Gambling – Everything Else

I didn’t just play slots and video poker when I was in Las Vegas in December.  I played 3 card poker, 4 card poker, blackjack, blackjack switch and of course, bet on sports.  Unfortunately phones and cameras are shunned at the tables and sportsbook so there aren’t any pictures.

I didn’t only gamble at the Palazzo. I played a little at Wynn, Encore, Bellagio and Palms.  The people I was traveling with were blackjack players so most of my time at the tables was spent playing blackjack.

3 Card Poker
I only played at Palazzo and only played a couple of times.  If the table isn’t full I like to play multiple hands.  Palazzo didn’t allow me to do that.  I went at it with just one hand both times I played.  I lost everything I put in both times I played and lost it quickly.  I’d like to blame this loss on the rules at Palazzo.  I’ve had no problem playing two hands in Atlantic City.  Thumbs down to Palazzo.

One point to note; there was only one 3 card poker table open all weekend and it was rarely full.

4 Card Poker
I put a couple hundred bucks up while killing time at Bellagio.  I’ve only played this game once before and wasn’t too familiar with the rules.  Thankfully, I happened upon a table of very nice people.  The game was a slow bleed until my friends found me.  I wanted to play the hand blind, but was told not to.  I didn’t want to look at the cards, so I showed them to someone else at the table and ended up with a straight or a flush.  Whatever it was I won all of my money back + $5!  WOOOHOOO!

I probably won’t play this game again.  Most of the non-blackjack card games at Bellagio were packed.  This was the only table that had players that also had room for me.  There were a couple empty tables.  I don’t like playing these kind of games alone.

Blackjack Switch
This was the game I was most looking forward to trying out.  I wrote about it when I first heard about it last year.  Blackjack Switch it a newer table game where you are dealt two hands of blackjack and can switch cards dealt.  I learned two things about this game after playing at Wynn after a great steak dinner at SW.

First, I had a little too much wine with my steak and probably wasn’t in condition to experiment with a new game.  I lost my initial buy in of $200.  I was too confused to play the game properly.  I lost patience fairly quickly.  As a result I lost my money, but I had a good time losing it.  The game was fun and kind of slow.

The second thing I learned about Blackjack Switch came the following night when talking to a pit boss at Encore.  More people walk away winners at Blackjack Switch.  In fact I was one of the few losers they met that played the game.  Oh well, there will be a next time.  In fact, I just got an idea on when that next time will be!

The tables in this area at Wynn were pretty crowded for a Thursday night.  There was an entire pit area that was empty, so I guess they did a good job shuffling people to one area.

Sports Betting
I ended up at Legasse Stadium every day of this trip.  Unfortunately, I didn’t record all of my bets, but I did ended up on the plus side at sports betting.  I split my action between the NBA and NFL.  I may have lost one NBA game and a couple NFL parlays.  You can see my review of in game betting at the Palazzo here.

One resource I found shortly before my December trip is covers.com.  I like to use trends to help with my knowledge of NBA and NFL.  Covers.com color codes and simply lays out game and total trends.  It’s an easy read on an iPhone too.

Blackjack
I played a lot of blackjack on this trip because that’s what the others on the trip played.  The best time I had at the blackjack table was at Encore.  It was one of those runs that keep people gambling.  Read full details at Wynn and Encore Win Me Over.

I only played blackjack at Palazzo once and I went from up $700 to losing $300.  This was my first gambling session of the trip and it lasted about an hour.  It was a wild ride.  Kenny Rogers said it right..have to know when to walk away, know when to run!

We made a stop at Palms after a quick stink at Bellagio and it was a quick stop.  I turned $200 into $500 in about 20 minutes.  I don’t even remember the game.  A friend of a friend happened by and introduced his girlfriend.  Chit chat began and I just kept pressing winning bets.  Palms rules.

The best thing about my blackjack play is that none of the games I played were 6/5 payouts.

Overall, the tables didn’t treat me too poorly.  Bad runs in 3 card poker and Switch were made up for with wins at video poker, sports betting and blackjack.  I’ll take an even trip to Vegas every time!

Blackjack Switch

A friend of mine recently told me about Blackjack Switch.  My friends rarely tell me about a casino game that I don’t know about.  That sent me into research mode.  I had to find out what this game was all about.  I think I like what I found.

Explanation of Blackjack Switch.

  • The player makes two bets on two hands of blackjack.  The cards are all dealt face up.  The player is allowed to switch cards between those hands.  For example; if the player is dealt a 10-5 and A-5, the player can switch the hands to have 10-A and 5-5.
  • Blackjack is paid 1:1 instead of 3:2 like the normal game or even 6:5 like we’re seeing more often and dealers hit on soft 17.
  • If a player switches cards and get’s 21 it is not blackjack and will push against 21 or 22 by the dealer.
  • The dealer plays until 22.  If the dealer gets 22 then the hand is a push.
  • There is also a bonus bet.  The bonus bet pays anywhere from 1:1 for a pair all the way to 40:1 for four of a kind.

Blackjack Switch sounds like fun to me, but what seals the deal is the house advantage

Default House Advantage for Blackjack Switch is .58%.  That can be lower depending on the house rules.  The bonus bet has a house edge of 2.55%.  Normal blackjack has a house edge of approximately .63%, depending on the rules.

Blackjack switch seems a lot more fun then some of the other carnival type games that I’ve tried in the casinos.  I will give it a shot on my next trip to Vegas, but won’t likely go out of my way to play it.  No game really makes me do that.

Sources:
Wizard of odds: Blackjack switch

Wizard of odds: Blackjack

Wikipedia