I have a Las Vegas trip coming up and I would like to rectify errors made on my previous trips with respect to inadequate recordkeeping, resulting in accidentally playing in the same casinos on the same shifts.
Using Current Blackjack News, I created a spreadsheet of all blackjack games that are playable for me throughout Las Vegas. I’m interested to see examples of how others structure their daily play and read suggestions. For example, assuming there are 24 playable games on the Strip, would you break them down to one-hour sessions (depending on a multitude of factors) and set up a schedule like the following?
And so on ...
Or would you set up your daily schedule based on shifts? If so, what are the shift times in Las Vegas? Are they:
I would appreciate knowing how you structure your day to maximize playing hours, minimizing travel time to ultimately maximize Expected Value (“EV”).
Ikthor: The above shift schedule is correct for Las Vegas. When I'm in Las Vegas, I generally do the following:
Just common sense stuff. Don't be a pig at one specific casino or shift, especially if you have a large win there. I just bounce around town, hitting and running, nibbling as I go, collecting EV and getting out before pit people get too good a look at my play.
I would not be too scheduled or structured. Play where you like, when you like. Just keep it short, and try not to camp out anywhere or give them a chance to think, "Hey it's 9 pm and there's that guy again!"
Cougfan: One advantage of short Las Vegas trips is that you don't need to worry about too much overlap. I usually only get to Las Vegas for 2-3 days, so maybe 12 total hours at the tables. If I had 24 casinos with playable games on the Strip, then I could play each place exactly once for a 30-minute session and they wouldn't see me again for 3-4 months.
That is a little extreme, so what I actually do is narrow down my game selection a bit more to where I have maybe eight "best" casinos to hit. I then split these into the three shifts, giving me 24 sessions. I will then make a little grid with casino names down the side and columns for each shift. This acts as a punch card of sorts. Once each box has a check mark in it, I'm done.
As far as scheduling, I will list the casinos in order on the grid based on location and other factors -- I may want to hit a certain game early before the tables get crowded, etc.
Snapper: You need comps as well, right? In your pre-trip planning, identify a centrally-located option that is known for comps. Play it a bunch using blackjack and whatever else you can do cheaply. Use coupons, etc … count but don't spread too much. That would be a good place to play as you become fatigued and need to rest, assuming you are staying there. Ask the pit for food comps as you are playing rated and not being an obvious advantage player. Ask for good comps -- don't be shy. You want to play to the level of comps you are after.
Once you have that scheduled, hit the highest-EV spots in a time-saving order. You may be able to hit each of three options, reverse the order on the next shift and make that a full day.
I don't know your level of play, but you may be able to spend more than 45 minutes in a shop, especially if you don't get a lot of big betting opportunities. Try multiple pits at two or three shops and stay out of street traffic. That might be a full day.
EmeraldCityBJ: Don't be too structured. If I do any planning ahead of time, it's nothing more than a list of places and the order in which I plan to play them. I might have multiple lists depending on day of week or time of day (e.g. on a busy Friday/Saturday night, I might choose to wong shoe games on the Strip; on a slower weekday, I might choose double-deck games off-Strip), but I don't try to plan my itinerary down to the minute or even hour. Your schedule needs to be something that is flexible and something you can adapt to whatever conditions you happen to find. For example, you might have to skip Casino #1 and go straight to Casino #2 if the games at #1 are closed, the games are crowded, the most unpleasant pit boss is around, or something else about the conditions doesn't warrant playing. Then, you might walk into Casino #2 and stumble on a juicy promotion that warrants playing there for the rest of the day.
The list you prepare should include more casinos than you'd possibly be able to play in a single day. There will be times where you'll walk through several casinos before finally finding something where the conditions are right. When you don't get through the full list, you can pick up where you left off on the following day.
hockeydad: In Las Vegas, I start at one casino, play through a maximum bet cycle, then walk to the next one. Rinse and repeat. The next day I'll target the other side of the street. Then on day three, I'll begin at the opposite end I finished the first day. I rarely make it to all the places on my list for a day. By doing this over a week-long trip, I’m seen maybe twice in the week by any one crew. The downside is lots of walking and dispersing my play amongst some crappy games. The upside is I've had no issues on the Strip. I tend to try to get off the Strip on the weekends or just wong shoes.
Admittedly this is a grind. It does not maximize EV. I am probably being overly cautious based on my betting levels, but I don't mind the exercise of walking up and down the Strip. I could probably extend my sessions a bit especially at the bigger places where my betting levels are not noteworthy. And if I find a good situation then I'll sometimes go two big bet cycles rather than one.
Originally published on bj21.com Green Chip, edited for this format.