This blog is an account of Jacob and Mike's (Skippy) cross-country trip to move Jacob from Chicago, IL to Irvine, CA. We decided we'd document the trip by making a blog post for every hundred miles we drove, in addition to anything else of interest. There is a map that I made with a thumb tack in each place where we wrote a blog post.

Monday, June 4, 2007

(Entering Las Vegas) * -1

12:25 PM PDT | N36°6'41" W115°9' 45"

Last night Jacob and I rolled in to Vegas and looked for a place to stay. It wasn't long before Magellan suggested we check the fabulous Super8 Motel and Casino just blocks from the strip. We got a room and then headed out looking for excitement and quickly found the Paris hotel and casino. We wandered in and ogled the millions of slot machines, card tables, and well undressed waitresses.

We soon decided we couldn't really continue on with this until we ate. So we left for the large mall next door and found Cheeseburger Las Vegas which earned it's name.

Later we went to the Bellagio and decided we'd try to find some game to play. We settled on Big 6 mostly because of its low minimum bet. If we were going to keep under raps our well know playboy higher-roller reputations, taking a $500 blackjack table for all it's worth was certainly not the way to do it.

We stood and watch for a little while to get the idea of the game. There were spots on the table to place bids marked 1to1, 2to1, 5to1, 10to1, 20to1, and 40to1, named after their pay offs and a large wheel several notches labeled in the same way. A one comes up, the 1to1 bets pay off 1to1 and everyone else is screwed.

So we hopped in and placed our bets on the 1to1 square hoping for the highest probability of getting any kind of return since we were both only betting with $20. I noticed that the 1 notch was nearly every other notch on the wheel so I was playing on the 1to1 and 2to1 so I'd have a better than 50% chance of making some kind of pay off, which made the game a lot more fun. I was actually kind of surprised I only needed to play on two squares to do this.

So then I wondered what my actual expected return on the bets were so over then three or four rounds I counted the number of notches on the wheel and Jacob and I calculated the expected value. There two 40s on the wheel and between them two symmetric half wheels with 27 notches, 10 ones, and 7 twos. Placing the same amount of money on both means when a one is rolled I've broken even. 7/27 times I get 50% back and all the other times (10/27) I loose my two bets. $0 * 10/27 + $1 * 7/27 - $2 * 10/27 = $-13/27 = $-0.48. So I expect to lose 50 cents every time. This is unfortunately pretty consistent with the fact that we both left with less than we came. When all was said and done I left with $10 of my $20 and Jacob only $4.

Later we went to the Rio, where we heard the week-long World Series of Poker was just beginning. We went for a little while and checked it out. On the way through the Rio casino I found a guy carrying a brand new World Series of Poker t-shirt, so I asked him where it might be. He seemed to know and lead us around the casino back and forth looking around and later realized he was drunk and really didn't know at all where he was.

He was there for the week playing the satellite games trying to get into the full World Series. We walked shoulder-to-shoulder aimlessly around the casino, Jacob five feet in tow, and he explained to be the the mathematics of poker tournaments.

"You see I just came with $125 for the lowest bracket buy in, and I won my first games" he said proudly. "Ten players and me and the last guy split, so I got $500 after the casino rakes the pot." And then came the tricky part. "Now, I can take that $500 and buy into a bigger game with a $500 buy in. I win that I can get into a bigger game." I soon learned that if you do this enough you will, in fact, have enough money to buy into the World Series of Poker. Jacob later pointed out how little his monologue was dependent on any displays of interest coming from me.

Much to our amazement this walk lead us to the floor of the World Series and we checked it out. We stood idly by various tables and realized just how many games are determined before the flop. I was thinking in ten-player games we'd see the flop quite often but that was just not the case in the games we saw.

Jacob mentioned how very bored he was. I seconded and we left and wandered back to the strip to see Caesar's Palace, which was pretty much exactly like the Bellagio and Paris except a lot more Roman. We wandered around for a little while and found a pretty amusing blackjack installment where the dealers were police officers, only not carrying guns and where much smaller uniforms. The policemen dealt cards and occasionally check over their shoulders to ensure the incarcerated dancers behind them didn't escape their cages.

It was kind funny how blatant they were about how sex sells. The waitresses at the Rio wore bikinis. All over the city in small plastic bins where you'd normally find free newspapers or used car magazines were advertisement booklets for escort services.

In the morning, we headed next door to the Elise Island restaurant and casino for some really cheap breakfast and a bigger piece of ham than I think I've ever seen. We sat and ate and watched the occasional gambler push buttons on the slot machine. It's amazing how pretty much every place in Vegas has a casino. Even the first rest-stop gas station on i15 coming into Nevada was a gas station / casino. I really wanted to stop off at some of the local government services to see if they're the same way. Las Vegas City Post Office and Casino. Vegas Memorial Hospital and Casino. Hurst Family Funeral Home and Casino. But we had little time we have to get to L.A. We'll let yo know how that goes.


Harpie said...

What's "the flop." If I really cared I could look it up. I just think it's funny you threw that word in there just expecting everyone to know what it meant.

mike.machenry said...

Hm, I guess that was a little jargon-y of me. The flop is the first three communal cards in a hold 'em game. You get two more after that, each dealt separately. The flop comes all at once.