Retro Report #42 January 2015

I left a cold NY morning behind and ventured out west to Las Vegas for a mid-winter getaway with my Dad
For those of you following the action from my SLS or Golden Nugget thread…the update is that both casinos sent limos to the airport but I informed SLS that their host had not gotten back to me despite numerous calls/texts/emails and that when I called their reservations they had nothing reserved in my name…as such, I reached out to my new GN host who was happy to ensure I had accommodations…


I have checked in and am now unpacking…I need some caffeine badly–I believe my dad is already wandering around Fremont street and getting a lay of the land…

I will keep everyone here updated and will be sure to take plenty of photos along the way

as I have not yet played, the trip is EVEN

Sat down for my first session:

Was up about 500 within the first 15 hands.
Raised bet to 200 and was dealt a 6,5 v dealer 9
I doubled and was dealt an 8 for 19
Dealer turned over an Ace for 20

Things then went back and forth and I pushed two hands of 20 in a row followed by a third 20 where the dealer had an Ace,6 and drew a 4 for 21
Got a natural the next hand then played the roller coaster for about 20 hands – I was eventually dealt a 5,5 v dealer 10
I doubled and was dealt an Ace
The dealer had a Queen underneath

Taking a dinner break…

Trip is +1k


Had a nice dinner at Grottos – the lasagna was excellent as well as the service

After a brief respite to digest, I adjourned to the blackjack table once again

There were two guys at the 2D table who were already playing so I joined in on the next shuffle…
It was bad from the start
In the first shuffle I lost or pushed every hand but the last one
In the second shuffle I lost or pushed every hand but the last one
In the third shuffle I lost or pushed every hand but the last one
There went the 1k I was previously up

The two guys decided to cut their losses (at least at that table) and moved to a 6D
I stayed and played head’s up
Things got a bit better and I was soon back in the plus column up 500
However, (cue dramatic music)–the gods of blackjack deemed me to be unworthy of winning any splits or double downs…
The first was ACE, ACE split and dealt a 4 and 5—lost to dealer 17
The second was 4,7 v dealer 10…dealt a 6—lost to dealer 20
The third try was 5,5 v dealer 5…dealt a 7—lost to dealer 19
The fourth was a 8,8 v dealer 10…dealt a queen and jack—lost to dealer 21
Trip was now down 900 overall

Ok, not all was bad as the gods began to smile upon me yet again
I split 8,8,8 v dealer 10 and was dealt a 10, 9, 3
I doubled the 8,3 and was dealt a 7 for 18
The dealer had a 10 and turned over a 7—woohoo!
The next shuffle I split ACE,ACE and was dealt a King,King
I was now even for the trip and kept playing

It became a roller coaster ride…at one point I had regained 800 of the 1k I was up
I then lost it back
I then got a nice run and picked up 600
I decided to take a break as my phone needed to be charged (I guess taking notes during shuffles uses up the battery)

So, as it stands, the trip is +600


Ok back again for another session…
Played 2D with a gentleman from Boston – we talked sports of course and we’re both immediately treated by the dealer as if we just invested in No No Nanette

At one point, the dealer had an Ace up 3 hands in a row (of which 2 were dealer blackjacks)
The gods of blackjack then decided to reinstate there ban on me winning any double downs or splits
I won’t bore you with the details but, Suffice it to say that I was down 200 for the trip rather quickly

A dealer change happened about 20 minutes into the session and things got to the “fair” level at least
I was once again on the roller coaster and rode it until my jet lag kicked in and I decided to call it a night

The trip is once again +1k



Sweet dreams


Ok so I woke up at 6am and was still feeling tired so romptly fell back asleep until 11am
I had very strange dreams about some secret organization investigating me
Woke up and had a protein bar to start the day before venturing to the casino

Sat down to play with a guy from Saratoga, NY so that was nice to discuss the east coast

Lost the first 3 hands then got on a beautiful run of doubles and splits over the course of the next 20minutes
It was not even that I was getting dealt anything good…such as:

Dealt 4,7 v dealer 10…drew a 3 for 14…dealer turned over a 6 and busted out
Dealt ACE,ACE v dealer 5…drew a 6 and 6…dealer turned over an 8 for 13 then a 3 then busted out
Dealt 8,8 v dealer 9…drew a 3 and doubled on the first 8 then a 7 for 18…second 8 drew a 2 and doubled and drew a 5…dealer turned over a 3 then a King to bust

By the end of this short session I had another 1150

Time for lunch

Trip is +2150

I had a chicken Caesar salad for lunch and then hit the tables for another session

This session started out with some losses then began getting better until…
I had 300 up and was dealt a 3,8
I doubled and was dealt a 9 for 20
The dealer had a 2 showing, turned over a 9…pulled a 4…pulled an Ace…then……….a 5 for 21

I quickly recovered, however, by getting into a nice little run over the next couple of shuffles

Trip is +3200

an aside–last night, while playing blackjack, there was quite an uproar at the baccarat table…
The BANKER had come in 18 hands in a row
AMAZING…but, even though the gentleman playing rode the streak the entire way, he never pressed his bet above the 200/hand he was playing
What would you have done?


Sat down for a pre-dinner session:

Was playing head’s up and immediately began getting destroyed…here are the lowlights:

Dealt an ACE,7 v dealer 6…doubled and dealer placed card facedown…dealer had 6 turned over 5 then drew a 10 for 21…luckily, the facedown double down card was a 3—push on 21
Lost every hand in a 2D shuffle (yes, every hand, no pushes, no exaggeration)
During the session, had a few shuffles of only winning a couple of hands
After an hour, I had lost back 2k of the 3200 I was up

an aside…
Another player joined me and bought in for 5k
He immediately began destroying the table…he was up about 10k in ten minutes
However, his final hand was his make or break hand…
He had bet 2k and was dealt an 8,8 v dealer 5
He split and was dealt a 7 on the first 8 for a 15
His second 8 he was dealt a 3 and doubled…he was dealt a 6 for 17
His third 8 he was dealt a 10 for 18
The dealer had. 5, turned over another 5, drew another 5…then a Jack to bust
The guy colored in with 20k–very nice

Upon his leaving I rode the roller coaster and finally climbed back like the little engine that could…
On four occasions I was within 500 of getting back to the 3200 mark but, each time, as is typical of my blackjack experience, I am dealt a split/double hand which backfires
It seemed
The dealer was pulling blackjacks with ease and I could not get over the hump…
I had stayed within 1k of getting back to 3200 and finally caught a nice run of cards in a few shuffles and got back 1800 of the 2k
Had 200 up and was dealt an ACE,8 v dealer 6
I doubled and the dealer gave me a quizzical look followed by asking if I was sure…I said “yes” and he dealt the card face down
The dealer had a 6, turned over a Queen, then drew another Queen
My dealt card was an ACE
At that point, I was getting hungry and grabbed dinner with my dad

Trip is now +3k


Evening session:

Bought in for 2k and played with the Boston guy from last night
We both got pounded quickly
We both had a case of “lose by one-itis”
After two shuffles, Mr. Boston adjourned to another table and proceeded to be jokingly superstitious by changing my seat every few shuffles until I found the “perfect seat”
However, before I found such a seat (lol), I felt as if I was in (in the words of Norm Peterson), “a dog eat dog world wearing milk bone underwear”
The doubles and splits again eluded me–drawing virtually squadoosh each time
After about 30minutes, I had lost 1500 of the 2k buy-in

Of course, once I found the “perfect seat” all became right in the blackjack world
I was in a nice run and put up 200 and dealt a nice split…
I split 9,9 v dealer 2 and was dealt another 9
First hand: 9, dealt a 2 doubled and dealt a 10 for 21
Second hand: 9, dealt an 8 for 17
Third hand: 9, dealt a 10 for 19
The dealer had. 2, turned over a 10 and drew a King
No fuss, no muss

I was able to complete a nice run

The trip is now +3450

Sweet dreams


Woke up early due to a jack hammer doing what it does at 7am

I figured I would venture downstairs and see how the early morning tables would treat me — saw a pit boss who is just as cynical as a NY’r (love her)

Sat down to play with two older gentleman from Big Sky country and we had the usual ups and downs
I got on a nice little streak, including the following three hands in a row

Dealt a 4,3 v dealer 7…dealt a 6 then an 8…however, the dealer kept pace by turning over a 4 then drawing a 10—push on 21
Dealt a 5,9 v dealer King…dealt a 7 for 21…dealer turned over a 10—won on 21
Dealt a 9,2 v dealer Ace…doubled and dealt a 10…dealer turned over a 9—won on 21

After a brief session, trip is now +4050


My dad and I headed to the Strip to meet a childhood friend of mine who works at the Venetian for lunch at Grimaldi’s
It was a good time catching up and enjoying amazing pizza – I ordered the personal pizza with spicy chicken sausage and extra sauce
After lunch, headed back to the GN

Sat down and played for about half an hour
Things were pretty good from the start…no complaints
However, on one run, it seemed as if every time I bet 300 I would lose the hand
It reminds me of the old joke–“hey doc it hurts when I move my arm like this…well, don’t move your arm like that!”

Nothing crazy really to write about

Trip is +5k


5k is gone
Going on tilt
Dealers at 6 different tables ranging from 2D to 6D all pulled 20s, 21s and naturals at will

Got 1k back – going to eat

The last 3 hours have been extremely frustrating and I am sure if I listed all the nonsensical hands I encountered nobody would believe me–perhaps after dinner I will give the lowlights but right now I am starvin’ like Marvin

Had dinner and first 2D shuffle back lost every hand but two that I pushed

Dealer just made 20 or 21 in 12 hands of 2D shoe

Dealer started off the next shoe with

20 4-card
21 5-card
Trip is -2k

Took a break and walked around the casino a couple of times

Sat back down and got the 2k back in about 10minutes

Trip is yet again EVEN


Tomorrow I head to the Strip


So I woke up early and headed down to the casino to see if I could restart my winning ways…

All did not go according to plan as things picked up where they left off last night…plenty of 12s-16s for me and plenty of 20s and 21s for the dealer
After an hour of abuse I had lost 2k and was beyond hungry so I wandered over to the Claim Jumper
Upon being seated, I waited about 10minutes with nary a head nod from the waitstaff–I got up and left, telling the hostess what had happened–she apologized but I knew it was not her fault

I grabbed a protein bar and headed back to the pit

In about 20minutes the ship was righted
I was once again EVEN

I continued to play and, after a couple of more shuffles, was once again north of the Mendoza line

Trip is +1250

an aside…
Got in the elevator with a gentleman mumbling to himself–he was decked out in black sweats, black tank top and a gigantic diamond necklace that read “SWAG”
He proceeded to flex his arms and attempted to shadow-box me
I laughed and he went on to tell me he is 60 years old, quicker than a rabbit and that if he decides to take me out it would be over in a few seconds
I laughed and agreed with him–at that point the elevator doors opened and he exited with nary a word

time to head to the Strip (my mom arrives this afternoon)


All checked in at Aria – now going to pick up mom at the airport


I just woke up from an afternoon nap
Heading to dinner with my parents then will hit the tables this evening!

After an amazing dinner (as usual) at Delmonico’s, my dad collapsed getting out of a cab at Aria
He is awake and alert but on the way to hospital in ambulance
My mom went with him
I’m hanging at hotel on standby

PHEW!  Possibly only dehydration
His BP was 76/40
On an IV of electrolytes it has gone back to 107/80
EKG was good

Ok, my dad is on the mend and should be back in the mix in about an hour
He was severely dehydrated and it took about 2 hours of fluids before he could even urinate (the doctor said his body was basically soaking up every bit of moisture provided)

In celebration thereof I played a session

Lost the first 9 of 13 hands and promptly (although maybe not promptly enough) changed tables

A pit boss I am friendly with was working and we chatted while I played — the second table was much bette than the first and I got about 400 of the 1k lost at the first table back
A passerby decided to jump in on a shuffle and he bet erratically and was gone in about 7 hands

I then was back to head’s up and got on a mini-run

Trip is still +1250

I’m calling it a night — back to the tables in the morning


Morning session

Just played 2 shuffles of 2D
Lost every hand but 4 pushes and one blackjack

Trip is -600

Just finished a session:

the lowlights:
(Consecutive hands)

Dealt A,6 v dealer 5…doubled and got a 3 for 20…dealer had 5, turned over a 2, drew a 9, drew a 5 for 21
Dealt 7,4 v dealer King…doubled and got a 9 for 20…dealer had King, turned over a 4, drew a 7 for 21

The Highlights:

Dealt 8,8 v dealer 8…split
First 8 dealt another 8 (suspicious shuffle lol)…split that out
Still first 8 dealt a 10 for 18
Second 8 dealt a 3…doubled drew a Queen for 21
Third 8 drew a 7…hit and drew a 2
Dealer had an 8, turned over a 9 for 17

Dealt 4,4 v dealer 5
Split and dealt another 4
First 4 dealt a 7…doubled and drew a 10 for 21
Second 4 dealt a 6…doubled and drew another 6 for 16
Third 4 dealt a 10 for 14
Dealer had 5,turned over an 8…drew a Jack to bust

Trip is once again EVEN


Doubled with 200 up
9,2 v 5
I drew an Ace
Dealer had 5, 6, 4, 6

800 swing ughhhhh

Just lost 2k
Dealer had 5 21s in a row at one point


an aside: guy next to me REFUSED to split 9s v dealer 2 — we showed him the strategy card and he said the strategy must be misprinted


Just lost 13 hands in a row dealer made 21 6 times against my 19 or 20
Down 8k

Lost three 20s in a row to 3 dealer naturals
Went on tilt betting 500 hand and got 3k back

Trip is -5k

Taking parents to dinner
I have zero interest in eating at this point                                                                                                         Just had dinner with the folks…going to relax a bit and then work my way back to even and beyond


Negative 7k about to go on tilt
Cannot win a hand

Took me the past hour to get 1k back

Trip is -6k



an aside: Ok so I wandered over to the MLIFE desk to inquire as to how whether they could look up what offers had been mailed to me…they informed me I needed to go onto the website (which the girl informed me was “usually down”) or call their hotline


I then inquired as to how many Fortune Spins I had earned…

Apparently, one Fortune Spin is earned per 1500 session points

However, the girl informed me that I was not signed up for the promotion…I mentioned that I just was at the MLIFE desk yesterday to print out a new card and was not told I was activated
She apologized and put 1499 points on my card and informed me I needed to earn 1 session point by playing $3
I asked where the nearest machine was and attempted to figure it out
The girl came over to help and I earned my 1 session point
The Fortune Spin screen appeared and the girl told me to press the screen to spin
Around and around it spun
After about 10 seconds it began slowing down
I was hoping for a good spin
Lo and behold it slowed down and down and I could not believe it
It stopped on $5,000 FSP (free slot play)


The MLIFE attendant was in awe – she said she never saw anyone hit the $5k before


After that spin, I celebrated with a drink and went to bed

Good morning – where will the day lead today…?

Just lost every hand in 3 shuffles of double deck with one other player at table

Sat and played double deck for quite a while…could not catch a run…could not win with 20
The ridiculous number of hands where the dealer didn’t bust are too many to list here

I was down 9k

I decided to sit at a shoe game and won 1k back very quickly

I am now taking a break to drink some water

Trip is now -8k
(Still have 5kFSP)

Pete Rose and his wife playing a 6D main floor game at Aria

Just played a session – lost 1k really quick
It then took about an hour to get it back plus another 250
Trip is -6250

Just played a mini-session and picked up a little bit towards the “getting back to even fund”
Trip is -5500

Sweet dreams


Just played first session of the day — just a mini-session of two shuffles of 2D

The first shuffle took 700 from me
Had a crazy hand of:

3,3 v dealer 7
Split 3 dealt another 3
Split 3 dealt another 3
First hand: 3, dealt 8 doubled got 8 for 19
Second hand: 3, dealt 7 doubled got 6 for 17
Third hand: 3, dealt 10 hit for a 5 for 18
Fourth hand: 3, dealt 10 hit for a Jack – busted
Dealer had 7, turned over and Ace for 18

Second shuffle went much better and I won 4 double downs

Trip is now -4750 and still have the FSP

Heading home in a few hours


Finally home:

So here I am back in NY – having landed late last night. The jet lag got to me and I basically slept the day away—drifting in and out of consciousness while a Law & Order marathon played on the television…

Looking back, the trip started out as “can’t lose”
However, I would soon learn that this trip’s version of “can’t lose” was more in line with Revel’s “You can’t lose” promotion than the truth
Things took a decided downturn my last evening at the GN
Friday was going well, including a great dinner at DelMonico’s steakhouse at the Venetian, but, alas, my dad fell ill and it was, fortunately enough, merely severe dehydration
Saturday was a so-so day until the “Saturday swoon” hit me and I could win nary a hand
It took all day Sunday and a min-session on Monday morning to get a little over halfway home
All in all, a good trip, filled with the usual roller coaster ride that is blackjack, but one filled with a great time with family!

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