Monday, June 30, 2008

Vegas Gambling (Part Two)

I covered most of the games outside of blackjack and poker already. Blackjack is far and away my favorite table game. First off I can count a single deck pretty well and have made a few hundred dollars on multiple occasions. On my single trip to the South Point I've even counted a double deck and made up for my vicious poker loses on that trip. I've got to the point on a single deck that I can memorize virtually the entire deck and recite it back if needed. I can do that with two or three total players, more than that it goes too fast for me to really pay attention.

However I was on vacation and I can't count when I'm drinking. I can count with a few drinks the problem is I don't know when the cut off is, what number drink is the problem. So I think I've got the count correct but who knows. When you're varying your bet based on a count you probably should know it and not let alcohol affect it. Vacation meant no counting and thus almost no single deck. The rules are far less in your favor on single deck so we played mostly out of a shoe. That way we'd get to double down when we wanted, split when we wanted, and get paid 3:2 on blackjack instead of the standard 6:5 on a single deck.

For the first five days we were able to stay pretty close to even on blackjack, probably even up a little. I had one bad take where I was down about $125 and another where I was up $110 so it made it even. With two days to go in the trip is when it got interesting. Oddly enough I hadn't split any cards up until Sunday. This is with probably ten to twelve hours of playing. Then I had the mother of all splits come up twice.

Ten dollars a hand at the LV Hilton. I dealt 8-8 vs. a 5 so I split. First hand gets another 8, split again. Get a 3 for 11 total, double down. I've now got $40 down on a $10 hand and only one of the three 8s dealt with. Back to 8 #2, another 8 for yet another spilt bring my total up to $50 on this one hand and four total 8s. One of the 8s gets a 10 and another gets a 5 both staying. The last 8 gets a 2 so its time for another double down for six bets on this single hand of blackjack. It turns out I just should have surrendered. The dealer flips over a 2 for a 7 total. Then the dealer hits for a 3 making her total 10. None of my double down hands had a 10 or an A so I took a total of 10 cards with only one 10 out of the shoe. Well her Ace finished off the entire table and make the session go from $10 down to $70 down pretty quick. It turned out okay because Pretty Bird was up about $80 or so (far and away her best blackjack session ever) and I stayed in. My luck turned around pretty quick and I ended up about $50. Pretty Bird ended up over $125 up which made her really happy.

Another 8-8 session was at the NYNY but this turned out much better. This time was vs. a 3. I was drinking a bit so I can't remember the details exactly other than I wasn't allowed to split anymore. You can only split four times and I split them all and still got dealt another 8. There was also a double down in there as well. I don't remember the exact breakdown other than I ended up one bet up vs. the dealer because she didn't bust and didn't have any great hands.

I only got A-A once and so did Pretty Bird. She hit a 10 on both of hers and I broke even.

So going into Monday we were probably $250 or so up in blackjack with only 36 hours or so left in Vegas. We quickly decided to give $150 or so of it back but were still up about $100. Then Monday night I decided I only wanted to win. My luck was so insane that Pretty Bird a few times had to stop me from going crazy with the betting. I was up well over $500 in a few sessions with $10 to $15 bets, it was just silly. I even sat down at the high rollers table just to say I played a few hands. Once at the Monte Carlo at about 3 in the morning we were looking for cheap craps or Pai Gow just to say we played there some because its my mom's favorite casino. We didn't find a game and Pretty Bird had to use the ladies' room. I sat down at the $10 blackjack table with $50 because she wasn't going to be that long. When she game back I hadn't lost a hand and was up over $130.

One Tuesday we decided to give back about $200 of it because I thought my luck would continue, it turns out I was wrong.

I did get two sessions in single deck and both ended with me being a little down. The first one was with a buddy and there was five players on the table. I can't count with five players and even if I did it wouldn't matter because you only get two or three hands. The other time was with just two players and I ended up down about $75 and had to leave. I lost hand one and hand two, one $10 bet and one $15 bet. At this point there was only 2 tens dealt, zero Aces, and 20 to 22 cards already out of the deck. With 30 cards left in the deck and at least 17 of them a 10 or an Ace I felt really daring. I bet $50 and got dealt an 18, player #2 gets 20 (which at that point you'd almost split), and player #3 fucks everything up with his 14. The dealer has a 7. At this point I feel sorry for the 14 player but happy that my 18 beats the dealers' 17.

Well the 14 player decides to stay. He even verbalizes his logic that "the dealer hasn't had a little card under for a long time, he's got one this time". No dummy there's a pretty good chance that is not the case. Well the dummy player is sorta correct, the dealer had a 9 under giving him 16 and a must hit. He hits and gets the 14 player's 5, yes boys and girls 16 +5 equals one fucked table. To be nice or to torment us the dealer rabbit chases the next card before he shuffles showing a Queen.

I decided to just leave the table and not be too upset at the moron. I know it doesn't really matter what other players do, the cards are random. But it sure is frustrating. Still up about $400 total for two people only playing $5 to $10 a hand in blackjack is a pretty good week.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wall - E

Today I took the Little One to see Wall - E. She was supposed to stay in ATL for another week and see the movie with her uncle but things changed. I wanted to make sure she still got to see it quickly and make up for ending her trip away from parents too early.

The movie is incredibly well done but not top 10 animated movie territory for me. Pixar has set the bar pretty damn high for their movies which isn't exactly fair to them. Movies like Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc. are good movies but pale in comparison to The Incredibles and Toy Story. Wall - E suffers from the same thing. Its a cute, well done movie but it just isn't for me. The Little One loved it which is really all that matters. It was fun to see the world controlled by Wal-Mart and everyone having become a fatso. Worth watching for sure but not as good as Kung Fu Panda.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Back Home

Today I picked the Little One up from her trip to visit Grammy. I'm not much for driving over 2 or 3 hours, it wears on my bad knees. Today I did the complete round trip so almost 9 hours of driving total. That just makes me beat. It is great to have the Little One home. Two weeks is a long time to live without her.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Vegas Gambling (Part One)

I’ve been to Vegas about 15 or 16 times and have developed two favorite games. My favorite table game is blackjack and of course I love to play a little poker. Blackjack intimidates Pretty Bird because even on a $5 table a bad run can put you down $100 in 10 minutes. She doesn’t play poker at all. This meant I had to find another game so we could play some games together. I taught Pretty Bird to play Pai Gow because that is a simple game and we both could get plenty of drinks losing very little money. After a day or so of Pai Gow we decided to try our hand at craps and eventually we even played roulette.

Pai Gow was pretty uneventful but I guess that is to be expected since it is Pai Gow. We actually only played Pai Gow together for long periods the first two days we were there. After that we’d either play for less than an hour or Pretty Bird would play it while I was playing poker, which wasn’t that often.

I had a vague understanding about how to play craps before and we took one of the free lessons. All the lesson did was make me more confused so I just watched betting, asked a friend, and asked one of the dealers on a live game to learn. My favorite thing about craps is that when the table is going well everyone is having a great time. Plus we can both play off the same amount of chips and both have a great time. Our first session wasn’t good at all, we lost $100 pretty quickly. We played about four or five more times over the week and ended up about $50 up in craps, give or take. We never got a really hot streak but we also never had more than three numbers bet. Hanging out at a craps table it is amazing how bad people are with probability. When any random bet didn’t hit for a few hands you’d almost always get some genius explain how the odds were that it would hit this hand. Nope, you get the same odds every roll.

You want to talk about people who don’t understand odds then play roulette. We went to Vegas with the intention of putting ten $10 bets on 10 to mark our anniversary. It will be ten years on 10/10 so it seemed appropriate. We actually did quite a few hard 10 bets on craps which worked out better than the bets on roulette. None of the 10s hit but after about seven of them we decided to actually play roulette for a few hands instead of just make one single bet. We played twice and I can see the appeal of roulette. We were up close to $100 on the two sessions making our ten other bets even. There is no skill or thought process in roulette. Its just playing a bunch of mini-lotteries. It is even more fun to make fun of the other people though. The ones that swear 0 or 00 are coming this hand or the odds say this will happen. I guess that is why Vegas is still in business.

I’ll update by blackjack later and then poker deserves its own post, poker was good.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Vegas: The Beginning

I’m at least somewhat rested I guess its time to talk about our incredible vacation to Vegas. I couldn’t believe it had been over a year since I went to Vegas, over two for Pretty Bird. That is just unacceptable; the Vegas Gods require a penance at least every twelve months. For almost a year we’ve been planning where to go on our 10 year anniversary vacation. I really thought Pretty Bird would want to go to a beach somewhere but she picked Vegas instead. Vegas it was, for a week! I’ll ramble on about the vacation in general and then eventually get to what everyone wants to hear, how I did gambling.

I used points for part of our trip which meant we had to spend some nights at the Hilton but that was only half the trip. The other half was at a casino we’ve never stayed at, City That Never Sleeps Inside Sin City, The New York, New York. Other than a complete lack of a poker room I’ve always really enjoyed the NYNY. It’s on the right end of the strip, has a nice casino, and some pretty good places to eat. Plus a rollercoaster! We got a room with a strip view on the 35th floor of the Empire Tower.

We planned on doing more of what I call tourist stuff on this vacation, stuff like riding the rides, the pure tourist traps. We did do more tourist stuff but not near as much as I thought we would. We had way too much fun doing other things.

No More Sin

We're back from Sin City. It was sinful and profitable; I'll update everything later when I'm not so beat.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Vegas Baby, Vegas!

See you in a week!

Out of the Office

I'm currently out of the office until next week. If you need immediate assistance, wait you'd need immediate assistance? We sell trading cards and die-cast cars, why on earth would you need immediate assistance? Well if you do need immediate assistance then too bad.

Viva Las Vegas

Monday, June 16, 2008

24 Hours To Go

Hopefully in 24 hours we'll be in the air on the way to Vegas. Its been way too long since I've been to Vegas. I probably won't post while I'm gone but I'll take pictures and have gambling stories when I get back.

Yesterday's Enterprise

It is probably my single favorite episode of television much less Star Trek and it is on tonight on SciFi. I don't own (and probably never will) the Trek DVDs so I'm at the mercy at what they decide to show. I think this one will stay in the TiVo for a little bit though. Next week is Best of Both Worlds which will be great to catch when we get back from Vegas.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Incredible Hulk

Well it wasn't very incredible but it sure was better than the first one. I enjoyed it and I really love how Marvel is weaving the properties together. I guess my biggest problem is that the Hulk doesn't make a good 3D hero, he belongs in comics. Next up for us I think is going to Batman, we'll see how it goes though.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


It was pretty tough to leave The Little One today. She's going to spend two (or three) weeks with Grammy. I know we're going to have a great time in Vegas and that wouldn't be possible with her there. Still I really love being a dad and having her around is obviously part of that. She'll have a great time with my extended family but it doesn't make it any easier.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Two Jones

Sure one of them isn't very good but it is better when there is a Jones at 3rd and a Jones in the outfield.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Gene!

I normally don't celebrate much to do with celebrities. I also usually don't mourn their deaths. There are exceptions of course. I love Gene Wilder and I always have. To me he'll always be Willy Wonka.

The WB logo freaks me out

Yes I'll see it, on opening night even. I'm not jaded, the theme song still makes me smile. I just think the Warner Bros. logo seems more than a little out of place.

Troy you'd better click that link.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

One week till Vegas!

Only one week to go! Hell we might be going to the desert to cool off. With temperatures in Vegas at 92 when we're at 101 that's a big difference. We've got Love tickets and everything. What a great week it's going to be.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Fixed League

I'm a sports fan. I'm also a gamer. To put it simpler I enjoy contests. More appropriately I enjoy fair contests. I understand the concept of 'veteran' or 'star' calls or whatever you want to call it. When Tony Gwynn didn't swing on a close pitch it must have a ball. I watched Maddux and Glavine make one inch off the plate become 1.5 then 2 then 2.5 as the game went on. I'm not a fan of it but normally it isn't a huge deal and it doesn't usually demolish the integrity of a specific contest.

However the NBA takes it to a completely different level. I enjoy watching college basketball and I used to enjoy watching the NBA. Like I said I like sports and basketball can be a lot of fun to watch. The NBA though just makes it hard. They mess with the integrity of the game and don't even pretend they don't. One of the best tongue and cheek stories is the first NBA lottery where the Knicks won. The NBA takes the 'star' or 'veteran' call to a completely different level. Sometimes they go so far past the line of integrity that the line becomes a dot. :)

I'm not a Lakers fan, I can't stand Kobe Byrant so its fun to root against him. Last night's game was just a little silly. It is impossible for me to believe the Celtics had almost 20 shooting fouls against them and the Lakers only had five. A four to one ratio, now you're just making this shit up. In the NBA a foul leads directly to points. In the NFL or MLB a bad call doesn't usually lead directly to points. The NBA gave the Celtics almost four times as many free point chances as the Lakers.

That's just cheaty right there.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Everybody was Kung Fu fighting!

I took The Little One to see Kung Fu Panda this morning. That is actually how we go to the movies now because the shows before 12pm are very cheap. Anyway the movie was very good. I think Iron Man is still #1 for me this year but Kung Fu Panda was great. Very funny and entertaining. The movie was in the digital theater so that helped even more.

It's almost the middle of June and I've only seen five movies in the theater. That's really weird for me, I mean really weird. I love going to the movies but I guess the cost finally is problematic. We can afford to go to the movies more but it just doesn't make as much sense. It only takes three months or so for a movie to hit DVD and my 55 inch TV looks pretty damn good.

Unlike this time last year though I've enjoyed everything I've see so far this year. Last year the "Year of the Trilogy" was frankly pretty shitty with only Bourne being a good three-quel. This year I've seen Rambo (not a good movie but I enjoyed it), Cloverfield, Iron Man, Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skrulls, and now Kung Fu Panda. Only Rambo wasn't a good movie but the others all were.


It was such a hope filled beginning of the season for the Braves. Now with all of their injuries I don't even know. There is still plenty of the season to go but you can't start this many players who aren't good and expect to win. At least I don't have to watch much in the next few weeks since they've been awful lately.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Mighty (pretty) Elephant

Yesterday was The Little One's spring play. The Little One and Pretty Bird made this great elephant head piece. I always view elephants as mighty but The Little One loves pretty things so this was a girl elephant and of course she's pretty. I think the costume turned out great and of course the actress was incredible.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Congrats on #400

Congratulations to Chipper Jones on home run number 400. It hasn't been the best week for Braves news with Smoltz out for the year but this is pretty sweet. The number one pick from all those years ago has had a pretty good career. I know it's been a lot of fun to watch. Number one was against the Mets, #400 against the Marlins and I don't like either team. Good job Larry.


I'm sure this makes Mark cringe but its kinda cool.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

If Today Happened Before Yesterday

Then I'd view today as a bad day. Yesterday was such a shitty day that today isn't quite as bad. I'm so glad I'm going on vacation in less then two weeks. The vacation will hopefully cleanse some of this stress I've been feeling lately which will make some of the little things in life seem not that big a deal. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Some days are just shitty.

Monday, June 2, 2008


Now this was a good series of commercials.

John Smoltz

John Smoltz is one helluva starting pitcher. John Smoltz is also one the all-time great closers in MLB history. A good starter yes but a great closer. Granted he blew his save tonight but he was insane as a closer. I think this will be good for the Braves, that is assuming their pitchers don't keep dropping like flies. Overall a good win tonight.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Isn't Just Football

It isn't just in football that all teams in Ohio are evil. Apparently it carries over to baseball as well. Being swept by the Reds just sucks ass.