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23 days in Vegas-My frugal overview

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  • 23 days in Vegas-My frugal overview

    I am home and and almost unpacked after a 22 night trip to Vegas.
    Trip reporting 22 nights is impossible.
    Over the next month I'll write up snippets of the trip and place them in appropriate board places, but I thought I'd just do a bare bones overview.

    Vegas is clearly the least expensive place to visit if we do our homework and make frugal choices.

    Many people I talked to before I left thought it impossible to go to Vegas for such a long time on a frugal bankroll. I find it impossible to imagine going for three days now that I am older and take time to adjust to the weariness of plane travel.
    My pace is a bit slower than it once was.
    Still, I was a bit worried about bankroll and during the first part of the trip I limited my gambling and expanded my experience of other Vegas fun.
    It helped to have buddy Wild Bill with me and also some time with Lucky Pete because I could watch them gamble. It was especially helpful for me to watch Bill play VP because he does not know all the smaller play decisions, and I could watch and coach and feel really not much of a difference in the pleasure of it.
    However, even in those early days of the trip, there were quite a few poker sessions that extended into the morning hours. Some of the best live poker is between midnight and 4AM. I don't think there were many days that I took a full break from gambling.

    My VP play I saved for the nights that I needed either to seed a casino hotel for the next trip or protect offers I have coming.
    So, playing hard the seven nights I was at the Four Queens on my favorite 10/7 DB, the two nights I had from the Orleans on my favorite nickle 3 play 9/7 DB with progressives, and seeding Fitzgerald's by playing a nickle Deuces Wild and the Vue bar progressive 8/5 was pretty much the extent of my VP play.

    I don't do slot play except for an occasional very limited 10 pulls on the Megabucks with money saved by not playing the local lottery over the year. Megabucks is better mathematically than those lotteries and playing just a bit and walking away reduces long loss experience and still lets me plan how I might manage the millions I might hit on all the sleepless nights over the year. Many Megabucks winners have only put $20 at risk.

    Below are most of my actual expenses.

    There are missing expenditures: tips, bottled water, a few items like band-aids and antibiotic ointment to wrap my blistered toes. I did not keep track of those expenses. But here is a good sense of what the trip cost.

    Vegas offered an inexpensive bed:

    I played with different ways of representing the cost of hotels and decided to break out the free food and the freeplay and let the first reduce my food calculations, while the second reduced my gambling losses.
    I paid an average of $14.68 a night, with all taxes and fees:

    2 nights at Fitzgerald's $36 total
    7 nights Four Queens(3 in Oct and 4 in November) $27 total
    2 nights at the Orleans - free
    2 nights at El Cortez $34 total
    3 nights at Harrah's - $34 total
    7 nights at the Gold Spike $192 total

    (note: I ended up double booked for a night, so there are 23 booked nights here, but for the calculation I divided by 22)
    Vegas was a frugal show trip:

    I saw 13 shows:
    Bull riding $45
    Beatles - Fab 4 at V Theater - $30
    Orleans Big Al's comedy $14
    Orleans Big Al's comedy free
    Xtreme Burlesque at Flamingo - free
    Two shows at Fitzgerald's comedy- free
    Three Toast of the Town Vegas variety shows - free
    Sandy Hackett's Rat Pack - $20
    Sin City Comedy - $10
    Eastside Cannery Latino Lounge Act (2 sets) - $3 for 2 beers

    Total $122 dollars or $9.38 a show.

    Vegas was a cheap Moveable Feast:

    I ate whenever I wanted at buffets and restaurants and diners and snacked in the room for 23 days for a total dollar charge of $161 or $7 a day. ( not including bottled water or tips)

    I had $50 in food comp at the Four Queens based on play, and $50 at Dupars for winning the American Casino Guide contest by writing casino reviews. Veterans Day was a real freebie with Harrah's giving a full day buffet pass to Veteran's.

    However, I don't need to eat often when I play live poker. Sometimes a free cookie at Imperial Palace and the olives in a Caesar's with tequilla was a meal.

    Vegas reduced my Silver Strike ring gamble:

    Thinking they would make great card protectors, I bought a bucket of Silver Strike outer rings for a wide variety of casinos. A guy had popped out the silver and sold it at melt down prices. I got the rings for scrap value.
    At poker tables I sold $17 worth of these rings, bringing the recovery on my investment so far up to $47 of the $100 I invested.

    Vegas was a venue of inexpensive transportation:

    Vegas was not a free flight trip:

    For years I was the one to use the free Southwest flight because I had the largest flight expense. With the new point system, the points work more like money so the family politics of who gets the freebie is more balanced. This was not may turn for a freebie.
    The nonstop from Albany to Vegas was $379 or $16.47 a day

    I traveled all around Vegas on the bus, riding almost everyday, and took the bus from the airport and back for $31 total or an average cost of $1.34 a day.
    So for $18 a day all my transportation was covered.
    It costs me twice that in gas and tolls to drive to my local casinos.

    Vegas was never a completely sober adventure:

    I was rarely was excessively drunk; however, I was never completely sober, starting the morning with coffee and Sambucca and expanding later to clamato with tequilla and lots of olives, Hennessy, Myers dark rum, nuts and berries (my new drink), Dewar's, more coffee with Sambuca, hot chocolate with Frangelica, rusty nails, red wine, and assorted beers including a few microbrews.
    I chased the alcohol with orange juice, clamato juice and my favorite Perrier with lime.
    Cost (without tips) $3 total for the trip (2 Eastside Cannery micro-brews while seeing the Latino lounge act). Otherwise the only drinks I bought were in bottles of water.

    Vegas was a frugal gamble:

    Played hours and hours of limit poker, often six or seven hours at a stretch and a good bit of video poker, seeding free room offers for my next trip. Added a bit of single zero roulette, some Megabucks so I can keep my millionaire fantasy life alive, and one slot which I played a penny a spin for 45 minutes in the lobby of Fitzgerald's while waiting to meet up and get a ride. I risked $5 and cashed out for $5.37.
    Two days before I left I was ahead $42, but the last two days drained me down to a net loss of $232. I guess this means that I did not have the bankroll for 22 days and should limit myself to 20. But even so, this means I recklessly gambled away just $10 a day on average.

    So this rich and wonderful trip, not counting tips and water, cost me
    $59 a day.

    Vegas was a social trip:

    Listened to the life stories of people from Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington state, Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, Mexico, Scotland, Norway, England, Israel, Australia, Vancouver, Alaska, Florida as well as those of my sister's children and grandchildren and great grandchild.

    Met Vegas discussion board posters from four discussion boards at a couple of last minute meets, and over a half dozen poker table players I had met on prior trips. Sailor, Rambler and his wife Irisheyes, Hardware, and Passline were among those whose faces I can now match with names. I have exchanged banter with Sailor for many years and finally we met face to face. And thanks Ian for a good meetup while you took me and my luggage from downtown to Harrah's. Donnigan and I met three times without any planning.

    Hung out and gambled and ate with buddies Wild Bill from home, Lucky Pete and John from Florida, and Mojave from Nevada.

    Joked and bantered with some of my favorite dealers at the El Cortez, Flamingo, and Imperial Palace.

    Vegas was a daily exercise:

    I don't need a workout room at my level of sedentary decadence. Just the constant walking, the skipping meals to stay at the poker table, the running to catch buses, the hiking to see attractions, the pulling of heavy luggage, and the swimming means that I put myself in better shape over those 23 days. Without diet and even with the added alcohol calories I came home 5 pounds lighter and feeling much more fit, which suggests some muscle development replaced fat. Especially dramatic was that one muscle issue I had that put me in a good bit of pain the month before I left, was worked out and eliminated with swimming exercises and walking.

    Vegas was a learning trip:

    I have plenty to write about this trip. Slowly I'll post the details over the next month. But here and now I'll just list a few bits that caught my attention:

    I rode and enjoyed the new buses. See my other post here.

    Contrary to what Gold Spike told me when I booked, the Gold Spike outdoor pool was heated to feel like bath water and I swam without my wet suit most of the 6 days I stayed there.

    Four Queens comp calculations for free offers and Binions poker room rates are mutually exclusive on the computer. This means I can book my free nights and play the VP hard while I stay for free, but I can avoid check in check out by adding a poker room booking at Binions for as many other nights as I might need without affecting my play score at the Four Queens (as long as I don't play just a little VP on the days I book to play poker.) Eventually, the two cards will become one and the poker may contaminate the VP statistics, but for now there is a separation in calculation.

    Poker now starts at 8 am at Imperial Palace and Flamingo with cracked Aces and sometimes Kings, so waking up early does not mean waiting for a game.

    My low limit poker skill has clearly reached another skill level, and I'm consistently playing beyond the break even point.

    Bull riding is just great to watch.

    Toast of the Town on Thursdays at Sam's Town is a hidden gem of a show, especially for seniors.

    The Cosmopolitan newbie signup is probably the best gamble in Vegas. My play-the-volatile-first strategy worked for me and others I talked to.

    In November a very light summer shirt ,two warm pullover shirts, a scarf, and a warm hat allowed at least Northern blooded people to walk outside, wait for buses, and be comfortable in all November weather. The outside air was cold at night. The casinos were too warm. Layers is the answer.

    The new Margaritaville has two amenities to travelers. First it means that one can walk from where the Boyd shuttle lets off at Bill's to Oshea's with only two small bits of the walk in the cold of the outdoors. I stayed at Harrah's, played at Flamingo, and just dressed in a light shirt even on cold nights.
    Second, waiting for the Deuce there means being entertainted with plenty of Jimmy Buffet sounds instead of the usual rock pumped to the street.

    Okay. that is enough. I'll detail all I experienced and learned as I write over the next month. For now, it was fine to see many of you and this was my best trip in a long while.
    Last edited by dewey089; 11-18-2011, 08:22 PM.

  • #2
    Re: 23 days in Vegas-My frugal overview

    The winner and still champion of all that is frugal - we salute you Dewey. I will be interested in reading your future installments.


    • #3
      Re: 23 days in Vegas-My frugal overview

      Great report Dewey!!