Las Vegas Little Black Book Blog
Doubling Down on a Blackjack! 
8/28/08, 5:44 AM - True Vegas Advice

And you thought splitting tens was strange - now players are starting to Double Down when they have a Blackjack!

Granted, they only do it on a single deck game, where the blackjacks payout 6-to-5, and only when the dealer has a 5 or a 6 showing.

It started as a rumor to combat the -1.39% player disadvantage of a 6-to-5 blackjack. While there is no published math on the advantage or disadvantage to doing this, it is not a smart more to make. Take you winnings when you get blackjack.
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Late Checkout Rates 
8/26/08, 8:33 AM - True Vegas Advice

A new trend at Vegas resorts are published "late check out" rates. If you want to check out of your hotel at 6pm, instead of the normal 11am, it is now getting simpler.

For example, at the Stratosphere they market the following rates:

$20 extra charge for a 6pm check out Monday - Friday
$30 extra charge for a 6pm check out Saturday and Sunday.

This is a win-win for both the resort and the customer. The resort has a way to make some incremental money while the customer has the ability to keep their hotel room later. If you have a flight that leaves late in the day, it really is a pain to check out of your hotel, check your bags into the bell desk and wander around until your flight leaves.

A late check out changes the dynamic of your last day in Vegas, ask the hotel you are staying at if they do this.
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Classic Vegas Mistake: Leaving Chips Under the Lip of the Table Game  
7/21/08, 11:35 AM - Classic Vegas Mistakes

Every day in the casino, the management find chips and coins under the leather lip of table games. When people play, they keep all their chips pressed against the leather. Eventually, some get stuck between the leather and the felt.

If you think a chip is in there, the dealer has no problem with you lifting the leather lip up to find your money.

When the casinos find the money, it usually is too late, the player is long gone. The dealers end up taking it as tip.

I am not saying that people leave $100 chips in there, but if all I did was go around Vegas and collect money from the lips of table games, I would be a very rich man.

Keep you stacks of chips organized and make sure to double check that there are no chips stuck.

Want more Classic Vegas Mistakes? Need some True Vegas Advice? Looking for that special Hidden Vegas Gem? Heading to Vegas soon and need the right strategy for your group? Purchase the Las Vegas Little Black Book or Las Vegas Little Red Book on Amazon or on the links to the right. Do you have specific questions about your Vegas trip or stuck on your planning? Email questions to info@vegaslittleblackbook.com.

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Hot Summer Nights Put Heat on the Casinos 
7/11/08, 5:36 AM - True Vegas Advice

Every year, the heat of the summer and the lack of big conventions makes the period between Fourth of July and Labor Day one of the slowset times in Vegas. (The slowest is the time between the end of NFR and Christmas Day). Every casino struggles.

The results for July and August are usually masked in an always overly successful Sept, which casino companies tend to downplay. (July, August and Sept make up the 3rd quarter in earnings, thus just the quarterly numbers are released, not each month)

In addition, by the time the 3rd quarter numbers are released to Wall Street, the casino companies are rocking at the end of October, the most profitable month in Vegas. So, they tend to focus on the current rather than looking at the past.

This summer, Vegas is in the eye of the media. Horrible real estate, high gas prices, and high interest rates have made excuses for the media really to dive into what is going on in Vegas. Plus, I think people for around the country are sick and tired of hearing how profitable and flourishing the town is for the past seven years.
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Las Vegas Little Black Book Trip Report 
6/23/08, 9:39 PM - Vegas Trip Reports

I would like to thank Sal for sending in this detailed Vegas trip report. I welcome any other submissions. This is good stuff.
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48 hours of booze-fueled madness!

Sal Paradise here. Just returned from a bachelor party trip to Las Vegas and since the Little Black Book was a huge part of it, wanted to fill you in. Usually I don't know when to quit and it shows here, it's long, but hopefully worth it. I of course had to leave lots out, but I think hit the biggest details.

Six of us flew out of Chicago O'Hare to Las Vegas on Sunday morning, arriving around 9AM for a bachelor party. Despite most of us operating on less than four hours sleep, due to the early flight time, the anticipation was high for a good time. Everyone carried-on their luggage so we made a dash for the exits, where the group was greeted by a driver from Bell-Trans limo service. Only myself and one other guy knew we had a limo arranged so it was a nice surprise for the bachelor.

We had conned the groom-to-be into thinking the first stop was the Liberace Museum with a personalized tour, but when I told the driver where we were stopping before the hotel, the group squealed like a bunch of little girls. The driver was fast and efficient and seemed almost as excited about the destination as us. First stop, The Gun Store to squeeze off a few rounds from automatic weapons. We doubled up on most of the guns. Montana Slim and Old Bull Lee, split the M16 carbine and the Thompson. Carlo Marx and I shared the MP5 and M16. Dean went solo and fired the M249 SAW. Mississippi Gene, being a pacifist, decided not to shoot. Mr. Limo driver was quite impressed at the beginning of our party.

A quick stop at Walgreen's was in order to grab some supplies and afterwards we headed to Treasure Island. Of course it was too early to get our rooms so we did the champagne brunch at Dishes. It was reasonably priced at $18 and although not a tremendous amount of variety was available, everyone seemed to leave satisfied. The freshly made mini donettes were quite delightful. Check in line was at least six miles long at this point in the morning, but it moved fast and we were up at the front in about thirty minutes. Got the keys for the three rooms we reserved and were upstairs before 1PM. The plan was to head over to Casino Royale at 3 for some cheap drinking and gambling, so we all agreed to meet in the Breeze Bar at 2:30.

Old Bull Lee and I hit the blackjack tables and got creamed by the dealer hand after hand. She had the personality of a wooden post, so we left, fortunately not down by much since we're both low-rollers. It was bar time, so we walked over, got some drinks and waited for the others. Everyone had assembled by 3 except for Montana Slim. He finally showed up about fifteen minutes late and with a mad cackle proclaimed he had already lost close to $200 on blackjack and roulette. And I felt bad about being down $20!

The next three hours was spent shooting craps at Casino Royale and drinking Michelob's from the bar or Killian's at the table. Montana Slim, Mississippi Gene, Old Bull Lee and myself played, whilst Carlo and Dean played the slots. They seem to prefer shredding their money, although Carlo has got some uncanny luck with those damn things most times. The craps table was hot and we had some good runs. We were easily the rowdiest table in the joint and we started drawing a bit of a crowd. Making it more entertaining, was we were at the little table with a single dealer and sitting down. Eventually the table cooled off and we had some douchebag playing don't pass at the other end. Montana Slim stuck it to him though on a come out role, hitting an 11 and douche lost a forty dollar bet. He ended up driving everyone off the table with his attitude, at one point berating us for not tossing out a buck for the dealer. The guys that had just sat there for three hours and placed three "horn high yo's" for the dealer and hit all three of them! Ultimately the craps paid off and I had recovered my losses from TI plus some extra.

Afterwards we wandered over to Carnival Court and Harrah's to use the bathroom and have a look-see. The original plan was for Isla for dinner, but no one was ready, so we ended up getting something at the Forum Shops at a little cafe in the middle, not far from the Neptune statue. From there we hit Casa Fuente for a smoke and when the group got an eyefull of Rathna, the hostess, we were quickly convinced staying for a drink was in order. Tip here, sit facing the entrance if you want to get the most opportunity for leering. Two cocktails apiece later we hit the bricks and headed back towards TI. Mississippi Gene decided to call it a night and the rest of us got a drink and went over to the outdoor area set aside for hotel guests on the last Sirens show of the night. It was corny as hell, but not hard on the eyes. Definitely not a kiddy show anymore, but still plenty of kids in the crowd.

Carlo wanted to go to the Double Down saloon and try a bacon martini, so Dean, Old Bull Lee, and I joined him and hopped a cab. After listening to the same song for an hour and a half from the crap band that was playing, we stumbled over to Hard Rock. Carlo and Dean played the slots and Bull hit the craps tables. I wandered a bit and had a beer, ogling the women. When I checked in with Bull he said he was getting crushed, but twenty minutes later and he was up. Dean was beat, so he and Carlo headed home for the night, but Bull was looking to stay, so I figured I'd keep him company. Good choice. To celebrate his good run, we opted to hang for a bit and have a cocktail. A Lebanese/Sicilian hottie next to us started chatting us up when she asked to bum a smoke and things were going well, until her friend wanted her to come talk to some putz with a mullet. Ah well, can't win em all. Gave up our seats along the perimeter of the bar to go to the bathroom and here's where the night takes the most entertaining turn. Went back to the center bar and I spot our seats opening up again, so I tell Bull to grab them and I'll get the drinks. Belly up to place the order and the woman sitting at the counter to my left says "Hi, I'm Sera, what's your name? What are you up to?" I answered and realize, hey wait! Here's a hottie with a big rack in tight little clothes and talking to me. Woohoo! Hooker! But she didn't have hot tea so I think that's what threw me off at first contact.

Before our conversation goes any further, a woman slips in between us and says "Hi, how's it going?" Not a hooker as far as I can tell; she has a drink, she's wearing jeans and a black top with spaghetti straps. Never seen a prostitute dressed like that. Sera looks pissed though and the new girl walks back over to where Bull is at with me as we converse. However, now I know she's a working girl, because no way is a woman like this going to talk to me. Before too long we have hooker show-down as Sera and Natasha duke it out over who's customer belongs to whom. Natasha settles on Bull and Sera grabs me and pulls me away. Kept brushing her breasts on my arm, but it was the only action either of us would see. Although fun to talk to and both really nice, neither of us married fellers had any intention of hooking up with them. Both had good attitudes about not getting business from us. Bull and I decided it was time to go back.

At TI we stopped in the store for some supplies where the woman that checked us out six hours ago, remembered us and was shocked to see we were still up. Called up to Carlo's room and chastised him for being a "big blubbering vagina" and he should come down and join us. TI was dead, so we gave about about 5AM and headed to bed. Bull stayed up a bit longer in the room to eat cheetos and beef jerky.

Monday, was a bit looser in terms of schedule. Bull and Gene decided to chill at the TI blackjack tables, whilst the rest of us toured the strip a bit. Carlo and Montana Slim were Vegas rookies, so it seemed like a good time to see some of the strip sights. It was hot, but dry; so pleasant to walk down the strip. Visited Bellagio, Alladin, MGM Grand, New York NewYork, and then made our way back up to Paris to meet Bull who had been gambling at Bellagio. After a stop at Barbary Coast for a bit of play and a quest to see Big Elvis, we were needing to get back to prepare for dinner. Unfortunately outside the Forum Shops entrance, Bull and I made a decision to ditch the others for a cocktail and another eyefull of Rathna. Carlo and Dean found us within twenty minutes. They're no dummies!

Montana and Gene were a little upset with us for being late to meet in the Breeze Bar prior to dinner, but it was well worth it. Got changed and jumped some cabs to go to Del Frisco's. Everyone loved the place and raved about the chow. I would have been happy to just smell my beef instead of eating it. Food was absolutely fantastic and it was a slow night for them, so we got treated quite well and very attentively. I asked to see a manager to let her know what a great time we were having and also told her David deMontmollin at Hooter's sent us. After dinner we headed into the lounge where we hung until close for cigars and drinks. The only downside was the jackass doorman there.

When we walked out and said Gene was going to TI, but the other five of us wanted to go to Scores, he kept trying to get us to take this SUV limo that was sitting in the lot. It started at $100 for the transport and VIP passes, but with each no, the price got lower. I think the last was $30 just to drive us there. We took cabs. I rode with Carlo and we got dropped in back at the VIP entrance. They had us wait for an escort and Patrick came back to bring us into the club. I let him know David from LBB sent us and he seemed appreciative.

Scores rocked. Not many patrons for midnight, so we had plenty of attention from the ladies. I had one girl dance for me a couple of times, but had miscounted my scratch before we left TI, so I was just about tapped out. Carlo, Dean, and Bull tore it up with them; but not like Montana Slim. He disappeared more than once and dropped some serious money upstairs. He was happy man. Well we all were, just Montana was happier than the rest. They had a moonlighting Cirque performer do a few shows in between stage shows, which was actually very cool and although she remained clothed, she was pretty damn fine too. It was about 1:30 or maybe later and we decided to head back. Montana had done well for us and we were given the house limo to take us back to the hotel, just needed to tip. Very cool.

Bull wanted to see the Wynn, so we stumbled about in there for a while. It was a ghost town so luckily no one was too offended by my perverse songs about a former boss. Dean and Montana called it quits about 2:30 and headed home, but Carlo, Bull, and I were still going. Grabbed a cab and went back to Casino Royale. We joked that Wynn was a dump and we were tired of slumming it there. The cabbie seemed genuinely amused. Bull and I hit the craps table again, same little one and started another decent streak. Well I did at least. Carlo left about an hour later and went to gamble at the Venetian, ultimately turning in around 5AM. The table at Casino was a way more subdued than the day before, but there was still a decent number of players considering the time. I'm going to be part of somebody's wacky Vegas story, as we sat there and spouted off all sorts of strange comments and out of context remarks. I was the weirdo at the tables at 4 in the morning. Again there was some douche playing don't pass, but he ended up getting creamed by our hot runs and walked away having lost all his chips. We finally stumbled out at 6AM with my having recovered from losses at Barbary Coast and was up $50 for the trip.

We'd be leaving for the airport in just a few hours, so we tried to get some shut-eye. Not much else to say about the journey back home. It was two booze-fueled days of madness in Vegas and less than ten hours sleep over a 72 hour period. I don't think I'd have it any other way.

The success of this trip couldn't have been possible without the Little Black Book and the personal suggestions of David deMontmollin via email. All names have been changed or omitted. My only regret was not getting over to Hooter's to say hello to David and thank him in person, but it sure felt like he was with us in spirit....

Sal
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Why is Everyone Splitting Tens in Blackjack? 
5/26/08, 6:32 AM - True Vegas Advice

It has become a growing trend in Las Vegas. When dealt two tens (or face cards) in Blackjack, players are starting to split them more and more.

You are splitting up a "20", which is great hand. Yes, it is your money and you can make any choice you want when playing. But other players at the table will be insulted that you are changing the cards that the dealer gets. I have seen people almost come to fisticuffs over this.

If you are going to join this growing trend, do other players a favor - only do it when playing alone.
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Women Want to Meet Men in Vegas 
4/18/08, 6:05 PM
In our research for the Las Vegas Little Red Book, we have talked to many a woman in Vegas. We have determined that there are a lot of women searching for guys, but they have no luck finding them.

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Here are some quotes from our interviews:

"We hung out at the hotel’s center bar a lot, but we think that all the men thought we were escorts."

"I got a lot more attention when I wore a fake badge as a prop. Guys would comment on the badge and then it would start up a conversation."

"We ended up walking around the casino a lot, but all we could do is make eye contact as we passed by."

"When a guy would approach our group of girls, it was awkward, because it was one guy but eight girls talking in the same conversation."

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A couple of things to walk away with from these observations.

1) Escorts usually don’t travel in more than groups of two. If you see a group of girls drinking and searching for something to do at a casino center bar, don’t think they are “working”.

2) If you see any girl with a prop to start a conversation, that is an open door to approach here.

3) Attack in similar size groups. You want the ratio to be one guy for one girl. Don’t overwhelm them or underwhelm them.

4) Woman at bar stools are easier to talk to them woman at a table. When you approach a table, you are looking down at her, and she is looking up. It is just awkward talking that way. Two options: talk to the girls at the bar or grab a table next to the seated girls, and talk from “table to table”.

5) Easy conversations pieces: Where are you from? Where are you staying? How long are you here for? Do you gamble? Or my favorite: “Shots, I am buying. Do you want one? ”

All in all, women are looking for “Vegas Stories” just like men are. They need something to tell all the girls back home. The goal is for the story to be about you.

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A Black Book Trip to Vegas 
4/14/08, 7:18 PM - Vegas Trip Reports

Below is a trip to Vegas sent in by Bill. Many Black Book influences: Gambling with the boys, Day Time activites, Big Man's Dinner, Drinking and Strip Clubs.

Vegas Weekend

The trip was great. Once again staying at Hooters paid off.

From a gambling perspective, I came back home up around $1200. My poker play was profitable (about +$600) and I hit on a video poker machine at Shorty's for $500. We also all made out well at blackjack.

Friday

I played poker before the other guys arrived. It's an anti-social game, not compatible with a group of guys having fun. So I usually come early and stay late so I have time to play. I played at Mirage; I really like their room. It's not pretentious, the play is good, and they run regular sit-n-go single tables, 10 player tournaments. I bought in for $70 ($60 for the pot +$10 to the house). Nice bunch of guys. A really fun table. When it was four of us we agreed to split the $600 pot three ways when one more was eliminated. I knocked out the last guy when I called his all-in bet. We both had top pair, Jacks, but my 10 kicker was better.

We met for our big dinner Friday at Lawry's and were served by the lovely Mrs. Krmpotich. Our prime rib arrived in its own Airstream trailer. After dinner we stopped in at Spearmint Rhino, but it was like a frat boy convention, without an open seat in the house. The front-man wanted at least $200 grease to seat us. We left and went to Scores. Got a nice table up front and got treated very well. We got back to Hooters around 3AM. I think I went to sleep. I know I woke up in my room.

Saturday

Met up at The Dam Restaurant; nice breakfast buffet. More prime rib (almost as good as Lawry's... not really). Played some blackjack to let the buffet settle and then it was off to Flyaway Indoor Skydiving. $250 buys up to 5 people 15 minutes in the chamber; you get a DVD of your "flight." 250 is a magic number, if you weigh 250+ you aren't flying. 4 of us flew and it was a good time. I'll probably end up putting a version of the flight on woof.

After Flyaway we walked over to Wynn in the 100 degree heat. I thought I smelt bacon but it was only my skin in the Las Vegas sun. At Wynn we played some more blackjack; the 5 of us took the house for more than $1K and about a dozen very good margaritas. After blackjack, we went over to the Fashion Square Mall across the street and I bought a pair of sunglasses for my aching eyeballs. Then it was more red meat and red wine at a very nice lunch at the Capital Grille. It's a la carte so you don't have to mess around with that green stuff if you don't want to. After a nice meal it was time for some of us to recharge and nap for an hour or two. Others took in the spa at MGM.

After a nap and a shower I went to play poker for an hour at MGM before meeting the guys. I was tired and my play suffered; I lost $100 in a snap. At your suggestion, we decided to meet up at the Centrifuge "center" bar at MGM. The idea of a center bar at MGM is kind of hilarious since the place is so flippin' huge. But it's a nice round bar (aren't they all?) and the good looking bartenders break into a bar-stomping dance number about once every 15 minutes. If you're seated at the bar, watch your drinks and beware the bleach-wipe-down.

We debated going to Red Rock and opted for Mandalay instead. We had dinner at the Border Grill. Great Mexican, Tex-Mex cuisine and more margaritas. It was a nice dinner on the patio that was slightly marred by the intrusion of REO Speedwagon. After dinner we suffered a spell of indecision (in the cab) trying to select a gentleman's club. I recommended Crazy Horse Too or Striptease based on your suggestions. The cab driver tried to talk us into Sherri's Cabaret... ugh. I had to explain to him that his suggestion was bad and why. We ended up stopping at Striptease, which was nearly vacant (the guys sent me in to investigate) and then the Horse which wouldn't let once of us in without paying. As my friend Jim observed, we learned a valuable lesson: if you think too much about such things, the allure fades.

We went back to Hooters for another great round of blackjack with a very funny dealer from Jersey; fortunately he wasn't wearing the Hooters Gril outfit. The deck and the dealer were good to us; once again we all walked away winners.

I played a little late night poker and then went to bed.

Sunday

We met for coffee at 8AM; two of the guys were flying out at 10. We said our goodbyes and I checked out, checked my bags and went for a few more hours of poker at the Mirage. Ate lunch (a salad, finally) at the California Pizza Kitchen near the poker room; watched the Red Sox come from behind to beat the Texas Rangers by way of a David Ortiz 3-run-home-run in the bottom of the ninth. Nice cap on the trip.

Bill
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The Taxi Kickback from Gentlemans Clubs is Back 
4/6/08, 7:01 AM
It came back slowly over the last month. Club by club, starting to pay the taxi drivers $20 to $30 for each person they drop off. I guess they were getting tired of all the taxi drivers bringing people to the "scam" places of Sheri's and Diamonds.

So, if you arrive by taxi, you won't get in without paying cover, which ranges from $20 to $30 at the good clubs.

If you drive, the clubs will still try to get you for the entry fee, but you should negotiate from that point. Let them know that you will go somewhere else, or at least give you the entry fee back as a bar tab.

It looks like the taxi kickback is here to stay, it is officially being called a "transportation fee", not a kickback.
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Classic Vegas Mistake: Forgetting About Daylight Savings Time 
4/3/08, 2:55 AM - Classic Vegas Mistakes

Daylight savings affects us all. While it is great to have that extra hour of sunlight during the nighttime, it can wreak havoc for travelers.

If you do forget to change your clock and you miss your flight, just stay at the airport and try to grab the next flight. Don’t proceed with your bags back to the casinos to keep gambling.

When you are ready to leave Vegas, then it is time to go. Your body has already switched back to “normal” mode; you can’t just throw yourself back into the Vegas mix. Every $5 you lose will feel like $25, and every drink will make you sick.
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