2021 Western National Parks & A Few Casinos Road Trip

Discussion in 'General Craps Discussion' started by random_roller, Nov 8, 2021.

  1. random_roller, Nov 8, 2021

    random_roller

    random_roller Member

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    My wife and I recently returned home from a month-long road trip out west. All told, we drove almost 7,000 miles while passing through 13 states. We hiked trails at a dozen or so national parks/conservation areas/monuments and several state parks. Hit the Big 5 Utah NPs, but not as a loop. Grand Canyon was awesome and thankfully not too crowded. So great to travel and enjoy the great outdoors.

    Highlights of the trip include:
    1. Albuquerque International Balloon Festiva -- Annual event in October featuring hundreds of hot air balloons from around the world, including some with special shapes (e.g., Yoda).

    2. Golden Spike Tower -- Panoramic views from the 7th & 8th floor of Union Pacific Bailey Yard, the world's largest rail classification yard.

    3. Hiking the Hickman Bridge Trail, Capitol Reef NP.

    4. Beautiful fall colors seen throughout the trip.

    5. Capitol Reef NP -- IMO, it is at least the equal to the other Big 5 Utah NPs (Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands or Arches). The middle park of the Big 5 loop but absolutely worth the additional travel time to get there. The fruit pies are tart and, IMO, overrated.

    6. The drive from Capitol Reef NP to Bryce Canyon NP on SR 12.

    7. The drive from Moab to I-70 (at Cisco, UT) on SR 128. This route follows the Colorado River for much of the drive.

    Even though this wasn't a casino trip, we still managed to spend time in 3 casino towns (Laughlin & Las Vegas, NV and Black Hawk, CO). I have an awesome wife, lol. Besides, with so much driving, it's smart to periodically leave the car parked for a few days and just unwind.

    On the casino front:
    1. Lauglin, Nevada -- We stopped off in Lauglin for a couple of nights to take a breather from driving. We stayed at Harrah's, which is on the south end of casino row (South Casino Drive). Because of the pandemic, the all day fare for the water taxi wasn't available. The operating hours were cut short, too. Bummer. Even at $5 per ride, though, it is still the best way to view the casinos and take pictures of them. I played live craps at a few casinos but was there primarily to rest, grab a burger at In-N-Out Burger, and collect $1 chips. Before I forget, Colorado Belle is shuttered.

    2. Las Vegas, Nevada -- The Strip was very crowded on Sunday (10/24), the final day of EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival), and Monday (10/25), as many attendees chose to remain in Vegas Sunday night. Tuesday (10/26) & Wednesday (10/27) weren't too crowded. Things picked up again on Thursday (10/28). Managed to meet TDVegas at Bellagio as I mentioned in a previous post.

    3. Some casinos in Las Vegas still had plexiglass partitions on some/all table games, but most had removed them. None of the live craps tables I played on -- PH, The Cosmopolitan, Resorts World, Sahara, Harrah's, Ellis Island, Mohegan Sun LV (Virgin Hotel) -- had partitions. No social distancing required at any of the live craps tables I played on.

    4. Aruze probably has a winner in Roll to Win hybrid craps. The game was very popular with the younger crowd and requires only 1 person to operate. It combines electronice betting consoles (10 total; 5 per side) with the shooter tossing dice onto a @14' table. The surface seems to be made of acryllic that has been coated with rubber-like substance. One quirk is the table surface is made of 6 distinct panels. There are noticeable seams on the end panels, perhaps to prevent shooters from sliding the dice. I played Roll to Win at both PH ($5 & 2x odds) and The Cosmopolitan ($15 & 3x/4x/5x odds). PH had the table set for 15 seconds to bet after the stickman had input the previous roll into the system before the "no more bets" notice would be seen/heard. The Cosmopolitan setting was manual -- the stickman would input the previous roll and then wait until everyone was finished betting before proceeding with "no more bets" notice. Dealers at both PH and The Cosmopolitan rotate between live craps and Roll to Win. All agreed the lighting on the Roll to Win table makes them tired.

    5. Resorts World is a very nice facility. Unfortunately, it is relatively isolated on the north end of the Strip. Thus, there isn't nearly as much walk up traffic compared with casinos located mid-Strip and further south. The food court uses a kiosk-based ordering system which is great -- as long as you have a cell phone (perhaps with a US-based #, too). A text message is sent to your phone number when your order is ready for pickup. The craps table crew were a mix of experienced and new dealers.

    6. SLS was sold (again) and is back to being called SAHARA. The $10 craps table was busy when I stopped by mid-morning. Same issue facing this casino as Resorts World -- not enough casinos clustered in that part of the Strip, so walk up traffic is very light.

    7. Mohegan Casino Las Vegas, housed in Virgin Hotel (formerly Hard Rock) was almost empty. Nobody was at the craps table when I stopped by early afternoon. I talked with the craps table crew, who were very friendly and happily answered my questions, so I decided to play (in part so I could obtain $1 chips for my collection). I had a few decent rolls and won a little, so I left them a tip. Win-win, right?

    8. Ellis Island had the $5 craps table going when I stopped by. I played for @30 minutes. I'm used to playing $15 & $25 tables, so making $5 bets seems weird. It's the simplest of craps table layouts. No bonus bets and 10x odds. Simple.

    While I was playing, a guy walks up to the table and buys in for $100 (throws money on table without looking, mid roll, of course). Doesn't make a bet during the roll. Also doesn't make any bets during the next 3 shooters. I thought he might be checking out the table or doing a 20 count. Who knows. Finally, it's his turn to shoot.

    Shooter: Drops 3 white chips and says, "1-1-1".
    Dealer: "We don't have that bet here".
    Shooter: "What"?
    Dealer: "We don't have that bet here, sir". Points to the center of the table. There is no ATS Bonus Bet.
    Shooter: "Um, okay. $2 Fire Bet".
    Dealer: "We don't have the Fire Bet here".
    Shooter: "What"???
    Dealer: "No bonus bets. We offer a $5 table with 10x odds. That's what you get here".
    Shooter: "Oh."

    You know what happened next. Shooter plays with the dice a while then, in short order, proceeds to point seven out. Classic. Left the table while mumbling incoherently.

    9. Oya Hotel & Casino (former Hooters / Hotel San Remo) and Tropicana were pretty dead. Taxis don't queue at Oya and don't seem to stop by unless they have a drop off.

    10. Secret Pizza (The Cosmopolitan) is still awesome. Bacchanal Buffet (Caesars Palace) is dinner only (except weekends). It's still very good but now requires advance reservations (via Open Table). Wicked Spoon Buffet (The Cosmopolitan) is pretty good and breakfast/lunch during the week. The parking garage in The Cosmopolitan is still a mess (and always has been), but the room was great (as they have been in the past).

    11. Early on, we stopped by several casinos in Oklahoma. The state recently approved traditional live craps (e.g., dice determine the outcome, not cards) but the game is not house banked. Therefore, an ante (typically $1) is charged before each come-out roll. So if a 7, 7, 11, 2, 3, 4 is rolled, $6 in ante would be collected. The bigger casinos in Oklahoma (including River Spirit Casino Resort, Hard Rock Tulsa) waived the ante (e.g., the casino paid it) if the bettor had their player's card. For place bettors, there is a one-time ante per place bet.

    12. Black Hawk, Colorado -- A few big-name casinos (Monarch Casino Resort Spa, Ameristar Casino Resort Spa, Bally's Casino, Isle Casino, Lady Luck Casino) and several smaller ones. It's a former mining town that has found new life as a casino town. We stayed at Ameristar. The room was decent. However, there were 5 power outages the morning we checked out. It was bad enough the elevators/cables made loud grinding and screeching sounds each time we rode them. Thankfully, we didn't get stuck in an elevator. The front desk clerk indicated the power outage affected the entire city and it was the city's fault. Apparently Black Hawk experiences power outages now and then even without bad weather being the cause. After hitting the buffet at The Lodge Casino, we walked around a bit even though it was cold and snowing a bit. Upscale Monarch was by far the busiest casino. The Lodge Casino was pretty busy. Isle Casino and Bally's had some gamblers, while Lady Luck Casino was pretty empty. Ameristar had decent traffic. One great thing about Black Hawk -- on the ATS (or equivalent) bonus bets, the payout is 34x/175x/34x to 1 when it hits.

    13. We didn't stop off at Council Bluffs this trip. I had decided against attending the Ohio State-Nebraska game with 85,000 others in such close quarters, so I wanted to get back home to watch it.

    14. Jumers Casino & Hotel (Rock Island, IL) was sold and has been renamed Bally's Quad Cities Casino & Hotel. Guess I'll have to go back sometime and pick up a chip when the marketing transition has been completed (expected mid-2022).
     
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  2. Liman

    Liman Member

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    sounds fantastic. how did you deal with the elevation in blackhawk? just asking because it killed us, we were sluggish and had insomnia . you didnt mention, di dyou stop off in deadwood this trip?

    we asked the hotel is they knew of any oxygen bars in the area...she looked at me like I had 6 heads.
    monarch casino gift shop was the only place we found that canned oxygen. didnt help much.
     
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  3. random_roller, Nov 8, 2021

    random_roller

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    We're fortunate we haven't been adversely affected when traveling over the years to higher elevation areas. When we're hiking trails at higher elevations, we'll pack lighter and drink more fluids. We also slow down the pace a bit early on until our bodies have become acclimated to the decreased levels of oxygen. Before we arrived in Blackhawk, we had spent a good part of the trip at elevations not too different from Black Hawk (8,537' per Google). By the time we got there, we were already fairly well acclimated.

    Did you use acetazolamide (Diamox) and dexamethasone (Decadron, DexPak) to help out with elevation sickness?

    We didn't visit Deadwood during this trip. Once is...enough. If (when) we visit Glacier National Park again, we'll take the northern route (I-94) through North Dakota (or, perhaps, Amtrak's Empire Builder).
     
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  4. von duck, Nov 8, 2021

    von duck

    von duck Member

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    Oxygen bars, canned Oxygen? :confused: You must be a total “flatlander” man. :)
     
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  5. Liman

    Liman Member

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    I never thought at 8500 ft we would suffer. We stayed at 4500 feet for a day. figured we would just go slow up there.
    we hydrated well.
    what made our stay tolerable is that we kept winning money. if we were losing and dragging our asses, well, winning keeps spirits high.(and edibles kept spirits high also)
    I cant take much more medications anyway. I have to travel with a fucking pharmacy in my suitcase as it is.
     
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  6. Night Attack, Nov 9, 2021

    Night Attack

    Night Attack Member

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    You were gone for a month?

    Welcome back dude!

    IMG_0662.JPG
     
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  7. yacraps, Nov 9, 2021

    yacraps

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    now that's a grand neighborly greeting :)
     
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  8. Liman

    Liman Member

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    I know 3 people that attended weddings in colorado. dont recall the cities, but they were way up in the sky. each wedding had oxygen bars, and the oxygen bars were always crowded where the vodka bars were empty, so I was told by my friends and relatives(one wedding was at over 11 thousand feet and many people didnt attend because they know they couldnt handle altitude)
    Id blame itmostly on my fat body, but my wife is not overweight, maybe 10-15 lbs more than shed like, but she was suffering almost as bad as me. especially with insomin
     
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  9. random_roller, Nov 9, 2021

    random_roller

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    Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Tulsa, Oklahoma)

    Hard Rock Tulsa 800x600 - Copy.png


    Grand Casino Hotel & Resort (Shawnee, Oklahoma)

    Grand Casino Hotel Resort 800x600 - Copy.png
     
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  10. random_roller, Nov 9, 2021

    random_roller

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    Downstream Casino Resort (Quapaw, Oklahoma)

    Downstream Casino Resort 800x600 - Copy.png

    To get to this casino from I-44, we traveled through 3 states: Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. Note the casino's parking lot is primarily in Kansas, while the rest of the facilities are in Oklahoma. We were in Kansas for all of 5 minutes during this @7,000 mile road trip -- just for this stop.

    Downstream Casino Resort Map Capture.JPG
     
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  11. random_roller, Nov 9, 2021

    random_roller

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    Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (Albuquerque, New Mexico)

    This event is held each year in October. Balloonists and fans from around the world travel to the city to participate in a week+ long festival. One of the great things about this event is fans are permitted to walk around the grounds and interact with the participants. Kudos to the City of Albuquerque and their public safety / first responder / traffic management teams for a job well done. Far and away the best & most efficient job of directing traffic for a major event I have ever seen.


    Dawn Patrol -- The first balloons into the air provide information about wind speeds and directions at different altitudes. Because of an approaching weather system, the Dawn Patrol team didn't actually lift off. Fortunately, later in the morning balloonists received the go ahead for Mass Ascension. It was way too early to be up (and not at a craps table) when the picture below was taken.

    ABQ Intl  Balloon Festiva Dawn Patrol 800x600 - Copy.png


    Flight of the Nations Mass Ascension -- Usually all balloons ascend at the same time during this event. A weather delay threw the schedule off, but groups of balloons took off throughout the hour once the go ahead to proceed was given.

    ABQ Intl Balloon Festiva Mass Ascension 800x600 - Copy.png


    Special Shapes Rodeo/Glowdeo -- Balloons come in many different sizes & shape. This event features the not-so-typical balloon types. During the evening session (Glowdeo), the balloons light up.

    ABQ Initl Balloon Festiva Special Shape Glowdeo Image4 800x600 - Copy.png

    ABQ Intl Balloon Festiva Special Shape Glowdeo Image2 800x600 - Copy.png

    ABQ Intl Balloon Festiva Special Shape Glowdeo Image3 800x600 - Copy.png
     
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  12. random_roller, Nov 9, 2021

    random_roller

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    Harrah's Laughlin Hotel & Casino (Laughlin, Nevada)

    Harrahs Laughlin 800x600 - Copy.png


    Colorado Belle Casino Resort (Laughlin, Nevada) -- Sorry to report this place has been shuttered since March 2020.

    Colorado Belle 800x600 - Copy.png



     
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  13. von duck, Nov 9, 2021

    von duck

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    Must have been pretty cold, standing in the water to take these photos? :)
     
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  14. random_roller, Nov 9, 2021

    random_roller

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    US Route 66 (aka, Mother Road, Main Street of America, Will Rogers Highway)

    There are still many (in)famous attractions and vestiges of a bygone era to be found along Historical US Route 66. In its heyday, the highway connected Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. Although we primarily took I-55 / I-44 / I-40 (all of which have incorporated the former US Route 66 at times), we made stops along the way to check out a few of these places. Some are still doing quite well, while others have been forgotten and/or languished with the passage of time.

    The Big Texan (Amarillo, Texas) -- Still offering the 72 oz. steak challenge. Actually, the bigger challenge might have been finding a space to park in the lot.

    Route 66 The Big Texan 800x600 - Copy.png


    Cadillac Ranch (Amarillo, Texas) -- A "living" sculpture comprised of 10 Cadillacs that have been partially buried. Add your own touch by painting one or more of the cars. For your convenience, there is a vendor selling approved spray paints onsite.

    Route 66 Cadillac Ranch 800x600 - Copy.png


    Blue Swallow Motel (Tucumcari, New Mexico) -- An 1939 motor court still in its original configuration.

    Route 66 Blue Swallow Motel 800x600 - Copy.png


    Del's Restaurant (Tucumcari, New Mexico) -- We had a late dinner here. The Brisket Burrito is amazing -- worth stopping in Tucumcari. This restaurant has been around since 1956.

    Route 66 Dels Restaurant 800x600 - Copy.png
     
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  15. random_roller, Nov 9, 2021

    random_roller

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    US Route 66 (aka, Mother Road, Main Street of America, Will Rogers Highway) -- Part II

    Rio Puerco Bridge (Bernalillo County, New Mexico) -- Located just down the road from Route 66 Casino Hotel

    Route 66 Rio Puerco Bridge 800x600 - Copy.png


    Route 66 Casino Hotel (Albuquerque, New Mexico) -- Many improvements have been made to this facility since I last stopped by in 2006. IMO, this casino has one of the classier $1 casino chips.

    Route 66 Casino 800x600 - Copy.png
     
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  16. von duck, Nov 9, 2021

    von duck

    von duck Member

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    Didn’t this used to be called “Harrah’s NEW MEXICO
     
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  17. random_roller, Nov 9, 2021

    random_roller

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    Resorts World Las Vegas (Las Vegas, Nevada)

    Recently opened (6/24/2021), very nice facility located on the north end of the Strip.

    Resorts World Las Vegas 800x600 - Copy.png


    The "Eyesore on the Strip" (formerly The Drew / Fontainebleau)

    It appears at least some work is being undertaken on this long stalled project. Hard to say if the work being done is shoring up the property and readying it for the next phase or actually converting the structure to meet the new plans. Marriott announced it will convert the facility into a JW Marriott hotel with convention space and a casino. Currently scheduled to open late 2023. We'll see, lol.

    Former Fountainebleau Las Vegas 800x600 - Copy.png


    Aruze Roll to Win Craps

    I had a 35 roll effort on this table at Planet Hollywood. Also had a 22 roll later in the evening. This table is $5 minimun, 2x odds. PH used the same 2 dice for every shooter. Given the table surface and seams are harder than the felt used on a live craps table, it will be interesting to see how quickly dice have to be replaced or whether a move to 5 dice happens. The Cosmopolitan made 5 dice available at their Roll to Win Craps table ($15 minimum, 3x/4x/5x odds). The dice almost never flew off the table when bounced off the surface. Note the 3 vertical seams and single horizontal seam connecting the 6 panels that comprise the playing surface. The vertical seams connecting the 2 end panels to the 4 horizontal panels are very slightly raised, but enough to stop a die dead in its tracks if it isn't moving too fast.

    PH Aruze Roll to Win RR 35 Rolls 800x600 - Copy.png
     
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  18. von duck, Nov 9, 2021

    von duck

    von duck Member

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    I see seems running only thr width of the table, nothing running in the length direction. :confused: 35 rolls and I don’t see a single place bet. Very unusual. Was this your 35 roll?
     
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  19. random_roller, Nov 9, 2021

    random_roller

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    The center seam is flush and hard to see even without the backlighting. I had thrown a 7 out (red 7 on the far left of the roll history) on my 35th roll, so losing bets have already been taken down by the software. Much, much faster than on a traditional table where the dealer scoops in chips from losing bets before paying out any winning bets. On this setup, all bets are settled in a fraction of a second after the stickman has input the roll. I managed to take the picture before things completely reset for the next shooter. Since I wasn't very familiar with this gaming device, I didn't bet too big during the session, even during my roll. I was more interested in game play mechanics and observing how the dice bounced after contacting the playing surface. My initial thoughts are they react differently compared with the bounce on a traditional craps table. Not surprising since the playing surfaces are very different. If you see this in your local casino, check it out for yourself and report back.
     
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  20. Liman

    Liman Member

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    isnt this the game that duck says uses opaque dice in cherokee?
    this is the one, the same one I played in ameristar ? rythym city? a few other places, man, it all blends in now....I find the terminal too low for comfort. too much bending...bad back, at ameristar, shit, I cant recall now if I played it there, but ameristar I preffered the stadium style bubble or the aruze bubble with the six seats.I will be in cherokee but not until first week of july next year. trip is planned already, and places have been paid for.
     
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