Retro Report #26 $1million BJ Tourn

I just received this – super excited!!! This could be just what the doctor ordered for an end of the year bonus!!!




FYI – the “auto qualifiers” for the $500k bonus hand are those persons who were invited that have either (a) lost $150k in any one visit to Aria or MGM Grand in calendar year 2013 or (b) aggregate losses of $300k or more at Aria or MGM Grand in calendar year 2013)



OK so a bit of a scare yesterday as I called my host to ensure I was pre-registered for the tournament. I was informed that I had two separate offers for December and that they could not be “piggy-backed” so my host put me in for the Zarkana show offer which included a SkySuite and $300 resort credit rather than the BJ tournament offer. After I came too, I immediately informed her that, while the Zarkana offer was nice, there was no way I was passing up on the BJ tournament offer. Luckily, it was remedied and I am now officially pre-registered for the BJ tournament. Talk about hyperventilating!


Of course, nothing can go smoothly when heading to Vegas for a tournament as last night I received an email from my host informing me that, due to an overabundance of players booked for the Aria side of the Aria/MGM blackjack tournament, players were randomly moved over to the MGM side to balance out the fields. This means, mere hours before I was to head to the airport, my whole trip took on a new persona…so to speak. I was very much looking forward to staying at the Aria again but, I will make the best of it and learn the layout of the MGM.

Heading to airport earlier:


Now through security…browsing the duty free shop…and waiting to board…


Made it to Vegas and, upon landing, my host called to inform me I would be welcomed by an Aria driver as I am reinstated at Aria in a corner suite:





Went to the Bacchanal buffet at Caesars Palace with my cousin earlier and it was A-MA-ZING!

The food quality was top notch…everything from the Chinese boneless spareribs to the carving station to the Kobe beef sliders were incredible (I do not eat seafood but the display looked incredible)…
I had freshly made crepes, gelato and mochi for dessert

1st blackjack session:

Started the shoe off winning the first three hands…then the hammer fell as the dealer ended up getting 4 blackjacks and 5 draws to 21 the rest of the shoe…luckily I ended the shoe even

Dealer change accompanied the start of the 2nd shoe…

First hand:

9,9 v dealer 8
Split the nines

First 9 dealt a 2 and doubled dealt a queen for 21
Second 9 dealt another 9…split again
So still on second 9 dealt a 2 and doubled dealt a 10 for 21
Third 9 dealt an Ace

Dealer has 8 turns over a 3…my heart dropped then the dealer himself a 2 then a King and won all bets

Taking a break

Trip is +500

I went up to the room around 8:15pm and was asleep by 8:45pm – jet lag is a SOB!

Good morning Vega$!!!

Pre-breakfast mini-session:

Sat down to play at a 100min. table…
The dealer told me it has been ‘dead’ in the high limit room so I said “Well then, let’s liven it up!”…

First hand was a 19 for me and 17 for the dealer
Next hand was a double…7,4 v dealer King…I drew an 8 for 19 but dealer had 20…
A few more doubles followed though…this time in my favor…
However, when I would press I would lose…that is, until I pressed to 200 and dealt 3,3 v dealer 7…
First 3 dealt a 6 then 10 for 19
Second three dealt a 7 and doubled…dealt an 8 for 18
Dealer pops over a 10 for 17
I ended up 1k for the half a shoe

Trip is +1500

Post-breakfast session:

Started off winning first two hands then all hell broke loose…

I lost 5 doubles in the shoe…surrendered a 10,6 to a King…
Did not hit a multi-card 16 twice and both times the dealer made 21 (having a 6 under the 10 and pulling the 5 for 21)

At this point I had lost back 1300 of the 1500 I was up…dealer change and new shuffle

Started this shoe with a win and did not look back until I was once again up 1500 for the trip

Session was EVEN

Trip is still +1500


Ok here is how it all went down

Played at a 6D table 100min. — the shoe started out with some give and take but then insane variance on double downs took over…in that shoe I was “blessed” with double down opportunities 10 times…however, I did not win one of those doubles

Shoe ended losing the 1500 I was up

Moved to the main casino area and sat down to a 6d 50min game — 3 of the dealer’s first four hands were natural blackjacks — exit Ace stage right down 300 for the trip


Went to the other side of the pit where the dealer’s specialty seemed to be pulling 4 to 7 cars 21s — lost another 700 here thus down 1k for the trip


Moved back into the high limit room cursing under my breath…lol

A dealer I enjoy playing with had an empty table and she could see I was raging — she attempted to corral my dramatic side and have me think positively — however, she proceeded to score herself 8 blackjacks in the shoe (I was luckily able to push one of them) — lost another 1k that shoe and now down 2k for the trip


Switched tables and began getting some funds back..that is, until a young guy and his girlfriend joined in midshoe — things went south from there (with the girlfriend questioning my plays on various hands (ie surrender 15 v. King) as the dealer proceeded to make 21 more often than not — at this point I had lost another 1k and was now down 3k for the trip


Guy and girlfriend left the table after losing his buyin…
Dealer change brought some positive speed counts my way and I got 1k back to be down 2k for the trip


Took a mini-break and then played some 2D 100min head’s up and, after two shuffles, had secured another 500 back to my side of the table

Trip is now -1500

Dinner break


I went to meet up with my cousin and watch the second half of the Pacers/Heat game (he had the Pacers +4) at The Quad…

We then walked over to the Palazzo for dinner at Grimaldis (personal pizza with italian sausage and ricotta cheese for me):



Walked back to Aria after dinner and sat down for a session…

6D 100min.
Played through a shoe — nothing much to write home about but ended with a 500 gain…

took a break and played on the main floor
6D 50min
Right before the shuffle and guy buys in with one black chip so I stayed out figuring I would let him do his thing…he played 5 hands and ended up winning 50…he left and I began
First hand blackjack
Second hand won 20 versus dealer 17
Third hand push
Fourth hand push
Fifth hand 6,5 versus dealer 6…doubled and dealt a 10 for 21…dealer flipped over an Ace for 17…just as another guy bought in for 75 (interesting unless he thought he would either bet the 75 or would double for less) so I took that as my cue to exit…

Trip is now -500

Sat down for a mini-session moments ago 2D 100min.

Played 1.5 shoes and got the 500 I was down

Trip is Back to even!!!

Good morning America how are ya…?

Just sat down at a 2D
Lost the first 6 hands including 3 doubles
First double 5,5 v dealer 7 I was dealt a 6 and dealer turned over a 10
Second double 7,3 v dealer 9 I was dealt an 8 and dealer had an Ace for 20
Third double had an 8,2 v dealer 5 I was dealt a 10 and dealer flips over a 4 then dealt a 4 then an Ace then another Ace then a 6 for 21
Was down 1k after the first shoe
However, made it all back +50 the next shoe

Trip is +50

Ok just played the 100min 2D

First shoe I could not win a hand
Lost 800

Second shoe had 2 blackjacks so that staved off some more insanity and only lost 200

Third shoe I was the victim of the dealer pulling 4 to 7 card 21s when I had 20s (three times)…lost 400

Fourth shoe was nondescript and lost another 300

Down 1700 at this point…the apologetic dealer went on break and shoe number five began

Started with a a string of low cards on both sides of the table and the dreaded speed count climbed…as did my chip pile…had a few nice presses and within 4 hands had the 2k back…simultaneously, my phone rang with a family call and decided I would take the call and a break

Trip is even


The “lady in red” is in the building! Only this time she is wearing a Texas Tuxedo and has a friend watching her play.

This concludes the alert.

Just played a shoe and a half…sat down with an Asian gentleman I have seen around the casino the past couple of days–he cannot seem to win a hand and is down over 50k. He invited me to join him mid-shoe and I had won 100 by end of the shoe and he had, yet again, taken a beating. He decided to change tables and another guy sat down for the shuffle and proceeded to get dealt the shoe of the century while I labored until the speed count was good…by the end of the shoe I had won another 800 – thanks to 3 blackjacks and a double down wherein I had a 6,5 v dealer 10 and drew the sneaky Ace for 12…dealer turn over a 6 for 16 then, as I yelled “monkey” and spanked the table the dealer drew a Queen…

Trip is +900

Then played a 2d game and was on a nice run up 1500 with another player at table…then
I lost every single hand in the next 3 shuffles

Trip is back to even

Ok after losing the 1500 I was up in that last session and drained back to even, I switched tables to a 6D game and the bloodbath continued…

in the one half shoe I played the dealer scored herself 7 natural blackjacks and 4 hands of multi-card 21s…I ended up losing 2k in that half shoe…so, up I went and switched tables…

Playing one shoe at the new table…I finally had a nice run where I could press and won the 2k back from the half shoe from hell moments earlier plus another 800
Trip is now +800

I am having a late night snack and heading to bed

Good morning– doing some sightseeing today with my cousin…will be playing at some point then registering for the tournament!!!

I just played a short session with the fastest dealer of all time and wound up 500 to the good after 4 shuffles of 2D

Trip is +1300


It has been a busy day sight seeing and registering for the tournament – heading to see Zarkana tonight

But…just played a 3 shuffle 2D mini-session with nothing to write home about where I ended plus 600

Trip is +2100


Tournament: Round 1:

Lost on last hand of first round because we had to redo the hand due to misdeal!!!!!!

I was the chip leader on the last hand of Round 1 at my table.  It came down to another player and I.

The dealer dealt everyone but himself (DOH!)

I was dealt a Blackjack (basically securing my place in Round 2 whereas the other player was dealt a 20.  The pit stated we could either (1) replay the hand or (2) play the hand out by giving the dealer the next 2 cards from the shoe.  However, they wanted it to be a consensus from the other guy and me.  Of course, I wanted to play the hand out as is but the other guy, of course, wanted to replay the entire hand.  Well after about 30 minutes of hush-hush meetings and phone calls to and from the pit, the pit had decided they would replay the hand (my assumption is the other player had a bigger credit line than I did–thusly, his continued happiness was worth more than mine to the casino).  Of course, as per the usual written rules, the casino has a “we can do whatever we want and that decision will be final” clause.

We replayed the hand and I was dealt a 17, other guy was, poetically, dealt a blackjack,  He overtook my chip lead and I was gone from the tournament, left to wander the Strip aimlessly mumbling to myself.

Update: that guy that won 1st round against me went all in first hand of quarterfinals and lost (I’d like to think I would’ve made a better run than that)


Back to real world blackjack:


Played a 1 shuffle session of 2d
Won 500
The “lady in red” sat down now dressed all in white so I stopped as she proceeded to talk to me and smile at me

Trip ended +2600


I just got home to New York – I did not play anymore last night – I was in a bad mood about the tournament but eventually got over it and had some dinner and the socialized in the casino talking to dealers and pit bosses I have become friendly with over the past year on my various trips there. I was drained from the tournament nonsense and felt that to play any additionally sessions…especially after the “lady in red/denim/white” (as the case may be – considering she has now made three appearances always wearing a monochromatic color scheme) deemed me worthy enough to ask my opinion on whether a dealer was hot or not – I informed her I had played with the previous dealer who I had won the 500 from but that the new dealer was an affable guy who I have played with on prior occasions. She took this as a the green light to go for it. Another gentleman then asked the “lady in red” if the table was “good” to which she replied, while pointing at me, “yeah , he just won here” — a few moments later, she had a disgusted look on her face and she was buying in with more cash

I must say that, other than the tournament, I had an excellent trip…

Zarkana was a great Cirque show, the Bacchanal buffet was a-ma-zing and getting to hang out with my cousin and trade blackjack war stories was great as well. Winning at the tables is always a bonus…

So, here I sit, contemplating when my next Vegas trip will be while I get ready to go to bed back home. The next trip is 12/30 to my old AC stomping grounds where I hope to have some great photos and stories from the NYE event and my blackjack sessions during that time.

Powered by
%d bloggers like this: