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C2C Day 18: Viva Las Vegas July 19, 2009

Posted by dakotabiker in Rides.
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I woke  in Boron at 2:30am an hour before my alarm.  Still feeling a bit dehydrated despite the copius quaffs of water the evening before.  I ditzed around the room longer than I hoped, checking the weather on the TV and laptop, and comparing trip options (continuing along the south route despite the bad heat experience versus kicking back up north to get home). 

I finally got my act together and packed the bike under a truly awe-inspiring desert night sky.  The moon was showing a thin but healthy cresent with the earth’s albedo illuminating the rest of it, creating that other-worldly look in the sky which happens when things line up just right.  To the right of the moon, Venus was shining very brightly.    There was the slightest glow on the horizon where the sun would later be dawning.

The air was still and warm, but on the bike it was pleasantly chilly, and very comfortable in the jacket.  I headed out of Boron toward Barstow (my failed destination from yesterday).  I stopped to top off the tank, and was surprised how big Barstow was.  On one hand I’d have had more to “do” had I made it there, but I much more preferred the package of experiences from the day before in Boron to anything I may have done in Barstow. 

From Barstow it was an uneventful shot of I-15 to Las Vegas.  Still stinging with the angst of the prior day’s speeding ticket, I was reticent to break the limit by much, and was getting irked every time I was passed.   Every so often I would drift in behind a speed demon using him as cop-bait to make some time, but would settle back into the driving lane at a 70 mph “crawl”.   There was a stream of traffic coming the other direction, presumably the throng of gamblers heading home from their Vegas weekend.  (Room rates drop like a rock from Saturday to Sunday night.)

I found the Sahara with no problems (just off of the Sahara Ave exit… What are the odds? – excuse the combined pun/sarcasm).  I unloaded, parked, and tried to check in; but check-in was still hours off, so I left my gear with the bellman, and hit the casino. 

My first stop, the Sahara Club to get a new membership card printed.  When I was last at the Sahara, I had over $1000 of spendable credits, but found this out my last night there with not opportunity to spend.  Unfortunately, all those points expired before I was able to come back.  (One great pit boss, Linda, later looked into getting that all back.  But since the Casino was actually sold since I was there last, the new owners permanently zeroed out anyone who didn’t show up within 6 months of the new ownership.  …Nice to be told – eh?)

My second stop was at the cashier to see if my line of credit was still good… nope.  And it would take until three days after I planned to leave to get it reinstated.  Long story short — I didn’t have a lot of cash on me.  Credit card advances have exorbitant fees, which I paid and headed for the craps table…

I stay at the Sahara for 2 main reasons:

  1. $5 craps with 5X odds.  While most of the other strip casinos are $15 with 2X, 3X, 4X.  The ONLY way to make craps a “fairer” game, is to make the odds bets for as much as you can afford or the table will allow.  The odds bets are the ONLY bets on the table that pay off at the true odds of the roll (no house advantage – they get that on your Pass/Don’t bets which are required to make the odds bet.  I did say “fairer” not “fair”)  So… you want to minimize your Pass and Come bets while maximizing your odds bets.  The Sahara has the best ratio for this while keeping the minimum bet low enough that smaller bankrolls are needed.
  2. Blackjack (at least on multideck) still pays off at 3:2.  I noticed a few years ago that most of the casinos on the strip are now only paying 6:5 on blackjack, which gives the house (in my opinion) an unscrupulous advantage.  The house edge at the Sahara is about 0.6% while at most every other casino on the strip it is upward of 2%!  (worse because many of those other guys add more edge- boosting rules like no re-splits, or limiting the hands on which you can double down).  I don’t understand how they get away with it (uninformed clientele and cool theme decor I guess).  The Sahara is the only place on the strip that I know of with a reasonably fair blackjack game.

The remainder of the day was a lot of work (at blackjack and craps) with a couple of “breaks” (Texas Hold’em Tournaments) interspersed in between.  My bankroll throughout the day saw a lot of oscillation, starting at a large craps loss, and spending most of the day there.  I played a morning poker tourney to break of the time and was eliminated pretty quickly (but not first!).  I finally got to check into my room for a quick shower, and I returned to the casino.  

Craps was pretty cold except for one shooter that just had the touch.  I had a very nice run of about $500 betting the Come with full odds with that shooter.  But every other shooter was cold. When he left, so did half the table.  A late afternoon push with a great dealer at the blackjack tables brought me back to being even, and then up about $200 (after fees and tips).  I really wanted to leave better than that, but was really getting tired.

I instead opted to play in a another poker tournament figuring that since my fatigue may have paid off in poker in Cody, maybe it would here too (and you don’t lose more than your buy in playing in a Tourney where $45 gets you $4000 in tourney chips).   The cards didn’t pan out though, and I was pulled by two good hands into large betting rounds against better hands which was pretty devastating for my stack.  I managed to win a couple of decent pots, but it was not enough to sustain, and I was eliminated pretty early. 

Back at the blackjack table, I tried to parlay my winnings into more, but the cards were cold, my favorite dealer had left, my favorite pit boss had left, and I was tired.  So I called it a night up a total Vegas net of  a whopping $91.  (Yeah, I know I was stoked by the $100 poker win in Cody, but this is a matter of scaled expectations.)

I headed back up to the room, and faced a tough quandry.  The age old question, should I stay one more night or should I go?   And if I were to go, I’d need to get to sleep immediately to wake early enough to avoid the desert heat.

Reasons to stay…

  • Haven’t done anything other “Vegas” stuff (dinner, shows, clubs)
  • Haven’t won nearly as much as I targetted.
  • Good to have another “rest” day
  • Already paid for 24h of internet pretty late in the date.

Reasons to go…

  • I’m on a ride, not a junket.
  • Too tired to go out anyway.
  • Made a great recovery from being way down (and that’s entertainment)
  • Home a day sooner.

I deliberated quite a while, polled my Tweeps for advice, and finally decided to get to sleep for an early ride to Utah.