Just back from a weekend in Vegas, here are some observations and anecdotes.
As usual stayed downtown, but after my last 2 trips with reduced expectations. Since Barrick won't deal single deck 2 rounds to 5 players or more, I decided to concentrate on DD this trip. There are still a couple playable $5 single deck games left, but since El Cortez is one of them, it's not much to talk about. I play red chip 1 - 5 or 6 spread, use KO.
Got on a roll the first night running up Fremont Street. Had my best session surprisingly at Main St, over $100 up both myself & my lady friend. Couldn't find good pen at Fitz's from any dealer, but luckily got some early high counts and made money there. Got my butt kicked at the Fremont, and surprisingly at the Plaza. Best DD game downtown and couldn't buy a good streak in 2 sessions. We played the Cal with minimal success, and skipped the GG & Nugget, the former due to full tables, and the latter due to higher minimums. The Horseshoe, once my home away from home, still offers only 6-5 SD and $10 DD no DAS. When we walked through, the BJ tables were busy but not packed like they once were. They also haven't reopened the sports book. I don't see how they will stay in business.
Had a good session at LL playing Super Fun. My lady friend prefers seeing cards face up, I like fewer decks, so this game suits us both. I ramped up my bet spread and we both walked away ahead.
We spent a day on the Strip, and what a waste that was. Started with lunch at House of Blues at Mandalay (good food, slightly overpriced, but we had 2-4-1 coupon from Casino Perks). Went to Luxor mainly to gawk at the decor, but sat down at a shoe game for a while. Look once, twice...8 decks! Jeez. Tried counting, but finally got fed up and flat bet. Lost at first then scrambled back for a small profit. Afterwards on the way to the cage, saw a $10 DD game I would have rather played. Oh well.
Next stop Excalibur - several 6-5 games, DD had limited double rules, only one 6-decker $5 min. Played there with WinCard $15 for $10 promo, lost that, and despite my better judgement rebought in twice. Lucky to get away from there with a $75 loss, but lady friend had a good time buying souvenirs (she loves dragons). Ploppy conversation of the trip: "Can I split 10s?" Other player: "You will be giving up a good hand and might get a 14" "Oh, I never thought of that".
Watched the fountains at Bellagio for the first time, took pics of the Mirage volcano, then took the tram to TI for the Sirens show. We were getting a bit tired at this point, so the tram was an excelent choice. After a drink at the bar we watched the show. Despite what I have read the show does not suck. It's not spectacular, but for free it's got sexy women, some cool pyrotechnics, and a pirate ship still sinks below the lagoon.
Ok, enough of that classy stuff, time to use some coupons. Riviera free slot pull got us a deck of cards & matchplays for BJ, craps, & roulette. Both of us won at craps, lost roulette, and won BJ. Eventually made it to Slots_A-Fun, got WinCard promo, and played DD with a small profit.
I know it's a negative EV game, but I played some late night Let It Ride while lady friend was asleep, and hit a Flush for $240. I like this game, it's a nice break for the brain from counting and it's a lot more social with the other players. I also tossed $60 into the progressive .25 VP at the bar at Fitz's. This was the 1st time I've been there that somebody hasn't hit the jackpot while I was in town.
Overall I came back ahead, covering most of the expenses of the trip including airfare. Can't ask for much better than that for just a couple days.