My Vegas Vacation – Eating at the Grand Lux Cafe

I love a good meal, but I like sharing good eats with friends.  As I mentioned last year in a guest blog at Solo Friendly when I travel alone I usually eat more casually.  If I’m hungry, I’ll eat what’s nearby as opposed to planning my meals.

The Palazzo was my home casino so I mostly ate there.  The restaurant with the best variety at the Palazzo/Venetian complex is easily the Grand Lux Cafe.

I had to catch up with a little work when I sat down for my first bite in Las Vegas.  I really just wanted a beer, but I knew I had a full night of drinking ahead of me so I made sure I had something in my stomach.

I was the only person in the bar area and the lone waitress was VERY attentive to me.  She came over about 5 times while I was on a call to take my order.  The fifth time she came over I felt bad for not ordering and just asked for the best burger on the menu because there were so many to choose from.  Of course, no tomatoes please.  Half a beer later this monster came out!

I don’t recall the name and don’t see it on the menu, but it was braised short rib on a bacon cheeseburger.  Whoowee!  This was overload, but it wasn’t bad.  It was very salty and I didn’t finish the whole thing.  Any more I would have gone to my room to nap.

I don’t think I’d ever order anything like this, but it wasn’t bad and I’m happy to have had something different.  Later that evening I started heavy drinking at BNBLV.

For years I’ve told friends that the Grand Lux Cafe at the Venetian has the best steak and eggs in Vegas.  I still haven’t found any better.  This is the best breakfast after a night of drinking.

The steak is seasoned pretty heavily with salt and pepper.  Most breakfast steaks are pretty bland.  I think that’s what makes it so good after a night of drinking too much.

After a night of less drinking I tried a more traditional breakfast at Grand Lux of bacon and eggs.  The bacon was nice and crisp and this made for another winner.  4 cups of coffee didn’t hurt.

Sitting “outside” at cafe at the Venetian Grand Lux is a nice place to people watch.  They sit most single diners outside, so it’s not awkward if you’re alone.

Sometimes in Vegas I’ll forget to eat if I don’t have plans.  My last night was a night like that.  I was having a good time at the sportsbook and lost track of time and after a losing session of blackjack I realized that it was late and I was hungry.  I rolled up to the bar at the Grand Lux once again and grabbed another quick bite.

The waiter recommended something that the restaurant was out of so I ended up trying the pot roast.  This was another experiment for me.  I can’t remember the last time I had pot roast.

The pot roast was ready for me in just a few minutes.  It was very pretty to look at and it wasn’t bad at all.  It probably isn’t something I’d order again, but it did the trick and I was back out for some more blackjack in no time.

The food at both the Venetian and the Palazzo Grand Lux Cafe’s were both good.  The breakfast was fantastic.  The service was excellent.  The only “complaint” I had was a waitress trying to serve me while I was on the phone.  That’s not a bad thing.

I ate more meals at the Grand Lux Cafe than anywhere else.  This is a good option to have at a casino in place of the traditional coffee shop.  The Atlantic City casinos could use a restaurant like this.

Blackjack at The Palazzo and The Venetian

A little more research for my trip to Las Vegas brings me to blackjack.

Blackjack on the Las Vegas strip over the past couple of years has gone from paying out 3:2 to 6:5 for blackjack in many casinos.  For example; the Harrah’s properties seem to exclusively only pay out 6:5 on blackjack.

I look for any advantage I can get so I look for 3:2 blackjack.

On a small scale this isn’t much of a big deal, but the house edge increases about 1.5% when only paying out 6:5.  One of the reasons people play blackjack is that the house edge is so small that money lasts for a while.

You can check house edge based on different rules with the calculator on Wizard of Odds.

Sometimes to offset a 3:2 blackjack game casinos will use a continuous shuffling machine (CSM).  I don’t like playing these kind of tables because every hand is like the first hand being dealt from a shoe.  There is no counting cards with a CSM and no predictability of the upcoming cards.  I don’t count cards, but I pay attention to face cards and usually know when the deck is heavy or light with face cards.

Until this research I thought the CSM decreased player odds a lot.  I never looked at the math behind a CSM.  The CSM actually decreases house advantage. This surprised me, but it’s hard to argue with the math.  This only changes my mind a little.  I still don’t want to play a game with a CMS, but with this knowledge I hate it a little less.

On to my research for my house casino(s) – Palazzo and Venetian.  I found that they both have plenty of blackjack that is hand hand shuffled and dealt from a shoe and pays 3:2.  After my last trip where I saw only 6:5 games at Caesars Palace this is nice to see.  I didn’t play any blackjack on that trip.  Onward and upward!

Video Poker At The Palazzo and The Venetian

**UPDATE**

The day I landed in Las Vegas I was given a heads up that there was no more 9/6 Jacks or Better video poker at either Venetian or Palazzo.  That was lame.  Details to follow as I write up my trip.

** ORIGINAL POST BELOW**

I’ve been doing some preparation for my trip to Las Vegas as always.  I did so much prep last time that I don’t feel the need to do so much this time.  I really only play video poker at my home casino so I kept my research to the Palazzo and Venetian.  A friend is staying at Caesars Palace, but I know there aren’t any good paying games there.

Sources: vpFREE2 and @palazzolasvegas

Palazzo
99.54% JoB 1-2-3-4-6-9-25-50-800 JoB (FP)
(?) $2/$5 1 Play Slant just inside and outside high limit room
98.44% JW 1-1-2-3-5-7-17-50-100-200-940
(8) 25¢, 50¢, $1 1 Play Up between walkway to Venetian and Laguna Bar
98.01% BP 1-2-3-4-5-7-25-40-80-50-800
(1) 25¢ 3/5/10 1 Play STP Up between slot club and Grand Lux Cafe
(?) 25¢, 50¢, $1 1 Play SP Slant scattered around casino
(?) 25¢, 50¢, $1 1/3/5/10 Play MG Slant scattered around casino
97.87% DDB 1-1-3-4-5-9-50-80-160-160-400-50-800
(?) 25¢, 50¢, $1 1/3/5/10 1 Play MG Slant scattered around casino
(10) 25¢ 1 Play Prog Up between slot club and Grand Lux Cafe
Venetian
99.54% JoB 1-2-3-4-6-9-25-50-800 JoB (FP)
(?) 1 Play Slant
98.73% TB+ 1-1-3-4-5-8-50-120-240-100-800
(14) $1, $2, $5 1 Play Slant near food court
98.45% JoB 1-2-3-4-5-9-25-50-800
(3) $1, $2 1 Play SP Slant in the high limit room
(3) $1, $2 10 Play Slant in the high limit room
(3) $1, $2, $5 3/5 Play Slant in the high limit room
98.01% BP 1-2-3-4-5-7-25-40-80-50-800
25¢, 50¢, $1 1/3/5 Play Up and slant-tops scattered around casino
(7) $1 1 Play Prog Slant near food court
(10) $1 3 Play Prog Slant near poker room
(4) $5 1 Play Prog Slant in high-limit room
97.87% DDB 1-1-3-4-5-9-50-80-160-160-400-50-800
(10) 25¢ 1 Play Prog Slant location and game details are unknown

Palazzo

99.54% JoB 1-2-3-4-6-9-25-50-800 JoB (FP)
(?) $2/$5 1 Play Slant just inside and outside high limit room

98.44% JW 1-1-2-3-5-7-17-50-100-200-940
(8) 25¢, 50¢, $1 1 Play Up between walkway to Venetian and Laguna Bar

98.01% BP 1-2-3-4-5-7-25-40-80-50-800
(1) 25¢ 3/5/10 1 Play STP Up between slot club and Grand Lux Cafe
(?) 25¢, 50¢, $1 1 Play SP Slant scattered around casino
(?) 25¢, 50¢, $1 1/3/5/10 Play MG Slant scattered around casino

97.87% DDB 1-1-3-4-5-9-50-80-160-160-400-50-800
(?) 25¢, 50¢, $1 1/3/5/10 1 Play MG Slant scattered around casino
(10) 25¢ 1 Play Prog Up between slot club and Grand Lux Cafe

Venetian

99.54% JoB 1-2-3-4-6-9-25-50-800 JoB (FP)
(?) 1 Play Slant Location unknown

98.73% TB+ 1-1-3-4-5-8-50-120-240-100-800
(14) $1, $2, $5 1 Play Slant near food court

98.45% JoB 1-2-3-4-5-9-25-50-800
(3) $1, $2 1 Play SP Slant in the high limit room
(3) $1, $2 10 Play Slant in the high limit room
(3) $1, $2, $5 3/5 Play Slant in the high limit room

98.01% BP 1-2-3-4-5-7-25-40-80-50-800
(?) 25¢, 50¢, $1 1/3/5 Play Up and slant-tops scattered around casino
(7) $1 1 Play Prog Slant near food court
(10) $1 3 Play Prog Slant near poker room
(4) $5 1 Play Prog Slant in high-limit room

97.87% DDB 1-1-3-4-5-9-50-80-160-160-400-50-800
(10) 25¢ 1 Play Prog Slant location and game details are unknown

In Running Sports Betting

I was prepping for my upcoming trip to Las Vegas when I came across something that looks to be pretty awesome at the Palazzo and Venetian: In-Running sports betting. In short, this is a way to make sports bets during a game using a device a little bigger than a blackberry. Both prop bets and standard bets are available and lines are updated throughout the game.

After a little more research I learned that Palazzo and Venetian are the only casinos on the strip offering In-Running sports betting.  The technology debuted earlier this year at M Casino.

What a great tool to protect bets if you’re sitting at a sports book watching the games.  This is a smart addition for Palazzo as it gives people another reason to sit, eat and drink at Lagasse Stadium.

I like making a lot of small bets in addition to full game bets and this makes a perfect addition to my style of sports betting.  Needless to say I’m slightly smitten by this.

The Las Vegas Review Journal has a full look at In- Running sports betting.

Coffee At The Venetian and The Palazzo

While I was having a relaxing Sunday evening, licking my wounds from a brutal weekend of college and NFL parlays, I heard a disturbing call into a favorite Las Vegas podcast – Five Hundy By Midnight.  I may have misheard the caller; but I can swear that the person said:

THERE IS NOWHERE TO GET A CUP OF COFFEE AT THE PALAZZO

This sent me into a frenzy trying to find out if this is true.  Suddenly my chill night of podcasts and NFL highlights went away and my laptop and iPhone got fired up.

Before I get into anything else:

THERE ARE PLACES TO GET COFFEE AT BOTH PALAZZO AND VENETIAN

I’ll be staying at the Palazzo on my next trip to Las Vegas and I would not stay at a hotel that didn’t have a coffee shop.  Starbucks, Coffee Bean, Dunkin Donuts, whatever.  After throwing the question out to my twitter folks and pulling up The Palazzo website I found that there are multiple locations.  Whew!

logoCoffeeBean

There is a Coffee Bean at each hotel.  This is a west coast staple with good coffee.  There is also an illy location called espressamente illy at Palazzo.  There’s an illy location at the Borgata and Harrah’s in Atlantic City.  The coffee is nice, but add some espresso and you are rocking!

After about 15 minutes my nerves were calmed, but now I feel like I’m jacked up on Mountain Dew…like the kids from “Talladega Nights.”  I’m going to chill out for the night.