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TR: A Low-Roller's 1st WINNING Las Vegas Trip

I finished all of the classes I need for my major a semester early, so I'm done with college. I'm working a full time job as a Special Education Assistant at a local elementary school, so I still get spring break, which naturally meant a Vegas trip. My friends’ reactions varied from “weren’t you just there?!?” to “how many times have you been there?” (5, not that I’m counting), to “of course you are.” (Un)fortunately all of my buddies from college had spring break a week before mine, so I had an excuse for a solo trip.
I really enjoy solo trips. I love the freedom that comes with them, and being able to call the shots however I want without having to worry about anyone else. I like meeting people, doing my own thing, and being able to follow my whims. That said, in a crazy turn of events, I was able to coordinate a meeting with a girl I’d matched with on Tinder (hereafter referred to as Cinderella). I matched with her a year ago during a layover at O’Hare on my way back from Japan, and we’ve talked off and on. Her spring break lined up with mine, and I jokingly invited her. She actually took e seriously, and by that point I couldn’t back out, so it was on. I flew out to the desert on Sunday and came back Thursday evening, whereas I got her to fly out Tuesday and leave Thursday morning, leaving me ample time for gambling on both ends.
I budgeted my usual $100 a day for gambling, for a $500 bankroll. I’ve been refining my money management system to ensure that I keep enough in the kitty to keep gambling and keep coming to Vegas. The gist of it is that I bring a fresh $100 bill with me each day, and keep whatever I have left at the end of the day for next time. I try to protect my winnings by cashing out my initial buy in if I double it, pocketing that for the next trip, and playing only the amount of my initial buy in, hopefully with many more pocketed chips. I really have to stick to this and a preset loss limit because I’m operating on a loss limit.
I booked a flight on Allegiant, direct from Colorado Springs for $76 one way. I was hoping the flight back would go down, but it never did, so I ended up paying $170 for the flight back. Not too bad considering I had three nights comped at the Golden Gate and I didn’t have to pay for a shuttle from DIA (I just gave my buddy some whiskey for the trouble of driving me).
I maxed out my comped room offer at the Golden Gate, booking for three nights from Sunday-Tuesday. I stayed at Harrah's Wednesday, since I like to take the strip in for one day (after I get the gambling out of my system), and also because I wanted to give Tinderella the full Vegas experience for her first time.
As per usual, I fit my grossly overpacked bag under the seat as a "personal item" in order to avoid paying the exorbitant bag fees. It's a point of pride for me to be able to stick it to the airlines and efficiently pack 4 days worth of things into a small grocery bag. In a related matter of principle, my signature shooters of rum made the trip to COS with me.
A friend and his partner picked me up from the airport and we went to Pho Kim Long. It was my first time eating Vietnamese, and I really enjoyed it. I sampled some pho, grilled chicken, milk tea, and an eggplant dish. It was all so good, and I was so starving, that I forgot to document any of it.
I checked into my room at the Golden Gate, and dropped my bags off. As per usual, the room was loud and I could hear people walking in the halls, and the shower has two temperatures: freezing or scorching. Oh well, free is free.
I went down to the players club to redeem my Allegiant match play (2 $25 chips if you show a confirmation number within 24 hours of landing). I was pleasantly surprised to see the same lady who helped me last time. She remembered me and said it was great to see me again and we chatted while she redeemed my offers. It felt pretty good to have someone remember me in Vegas, although it did make me feel slightly degenerate at the same time (not that that makes me feel bad; it’s a point of pride). In addition to my room, I also had $10 of free slot play and $15 of food credit at DuPar's. Who says gambling can't pay off?
SUNDAY
I went to Binion's to play some Bonus Poker, which was more like Boner Poker. I got boned for $60 without hitting anything particularly noteworthy. The scattered straights and flushes that I hit weren't enough to bring me positive, and I was chasing my losses the whole time. I got $5 free play and a $10 food credit for the cafe on my Motherlode spins.
Down to my last $40 for the day less than 30 minutes into the night, I was pretty frustrated. Since it was already late, I decided to play aggressive and try to turn it around. I went to the Golden Gate and bought into blackjack with all of my bankroll for the night a little after midnight.
I wasn't having much luck, even though everyone at the table besides me seemed to be winning. I was down to my last $25, so I went all in with my match play. I’m a (single) red chip player, so betting green is huge for me. At a quarter of my bankroll, and all that I have left, I’m freaking out. I can barely stand to look up, and I see an Ace. I try to stay calm and not get ahead of myself, and then the second card comes: Jack! I hit a blackjack for a sweet $75 payout that brought me right back to where I'd started for the day. I pocketed 2 greens and kept playing with the remaining $50. I worked up the courage to put down my second match play after steadily increasing my chip count and pocketing a couple more greens. On the second big matchplay hand, my 17 beat a dealer bust. I pocketed another $50 and kept playing.
At this point, my bankroll management strategy is really coming into play. I’m fairly steadily pocketing greens, (and $5 worth of 50¢ chips from blackjacks). I was tipping generously, betting a dollar for the dealer every few hands. It was a good table, with a fun lesbian couple (who played with horrible strategy, splitting 10s and staying on 14s, to name a few… luckily I don’t mind how others play, because in the long run it events out) and some nice guys who came in later.
I got a pair of aces, which I split only to get 2 more aces and learn that you aren't allowed to resplit aces. My 2 12s lost to a dealer 17 which was painful, but I can't complain too much after paying for my flight with the match play alone.
A new dealer came in after a while and all of my friends left, so I was playing heads up. I wasn't feeling it, so after I lost $25 I colored up and walked away with $250 at 4:30am. It was a huge relief to lock in half of my bankroll as a guaranteed return the first night, especially after being down so fast. I was so wired after playing for 4+ hours and increasing my buy in 8x that I couldn't sleep, so I called both of my parents before they went to work and texted my degenerate cousin the great news.
$100 in, $250 out (+$150) +$150 on the trip
MONDAY I slept until noon and took it easy after waking up. I went to Mermaid's for some quick drink service to start the day, and turned $5 into $20 on a vintage nickel WoF multireel. Unfortunately the luck didn't continue, and I donked it (and $60) off at Boner Poker. I hit a few full houses/flushes/straights, but it wasn't enough to get me above water. I hit four to a royal twice, but couldn’t finish it either time.
Had lunch at Binion's, using my $10 voucher to get pancakes, scrambled eggs, and wheat toast. At least I got something (a $100 brunch) out of all the Boner Poker losses.
I bought into $3 craps at the Fremont for $21. I've been cutting my teeth at $1 craps at the Wildwood Casino out in Colorado, so I was excited to give it a shot in Vegas. I lucked out and ran my $21 up to $50. I should've pressed harder since two shooters had rolls of 26 and 27, but at least I left with something.
I went to the D for some horses and cocktails. I bought in for $30 and was hammered by the end. I had enough wins to keep me there for a few hours, including a nice 105 payout on 4-5. I called it an early night and went to bed around midnight since I was so drunk and because I'd lost all my money.
$100 in, $0 out (-$100) +$50 on the trip
TUESDAY I woke up with a nice hangover from all of the Whiskey Cokes I'd drank at the Derby the previous night, so I did the only thing to do in that situation: mimosas and a greasy burger (after buying overpriced Advil at the ABC store). I went to Flippin' Good Burgers and got my usual, the Farm Burger. It's one of all time favorite burgers and I love getting it every time! I can't recommend them enough.
I donked off $40 on Boner Poker at Binion’s and some random slots, and blew $10 at 25¢ roulette at the El Cortez. I was chasing a 20 (not sure why, I just had a hunch... Maybe Nate is rubbing off on me) and didn't hit it, so I lost after treading water for a while. After losing all this before lunch, I decided to add a discretionary $20 more to my kitty for the day.
My tinderella got in about 2:30 in the afternoon, at which point I was playing craps. I made her wait until the roll was done to go meet her, like the true degenerate I am. She wasn't happy that I made her wait with all of her bags, but I can't say that I regret my choices. After she dropped her stuff off, we went to Binion’s where I used a $10 coupon to pay for my guilty pleasure of country fried steak and eggs. I picked up the rest of the tab with comp dollars, which was pretty satisfying for a low roller like me.
After lunch, Tinderella wanted to play blackjack, so naturally I obliged. Bought in for $30 at the GG and was able to run it up to $50. She was gambling with scared money (she bought in for $5…) and didn't really enjoy it, but that didn't stop me.
We headed to the Fremont for craps, but she didn't want to play. We can't all be degenerates. I bought in for $30 and played for a while and could tell she was getting bored. I told her (in between rolls of course) that she's welcome to leave any time, and she was gone before the next shooter sevened out. I stayed for a while, and with the help of a hot shooter was able to cash out for $100.
I went to GG for $25 worth of BJ before bed, content that I'd locked in $100 on the day. I played for a good 2 hours on my $25 buy in before losing it, so I was happy. I had a massive hand where I split 2s, resplit, and doubled a 9 against a dealer 4. This took all of my money on the table, so the guy next to me (who was so drunk off of two Coronas that he couldn't add up his cards or figure out what his total was with aces) spotted me $5. Luckily I won, and had a massive $40 payout, and gave him his red back as well as betting a dealer tip for him. I was tipping the dealer very generously, and helped her color up her tokes to a a green.
Finally content with the gambling, I went up to the room to find Tinderella asleep. When she woke up she said "you weren't kidding about being a degenerate gambler." I can't say I didn't give her fair warning, so I didn't feel too bad. We had a good time and went to bed.
$120 in, $100 out (-$20) +$30 on the trip
WEDNESDAY While I was packing, I ripped my Bucee’s cooler bag, so I had to buy a souvenir Las Vegas bag. Started the day off with breakfast at DuPar’s so I could use my $15 voucher. I got a bacon avocado omelette with jack cheese and a blueberry muffin. It was delicious, as were the pancakes that I stole a bite of. Played a little blackjack and I ran $30 up to $50.
I had a Groupon at Banger Brewing, so we headed there next. $19 for a flight of 4 beers, two half-pint pours, and a one liter growler to go was a steal. I wasn’t a huge fan of the El Heffe (Jalapeño and pepper beer, although it was exactly as described). I loved the Morning Joe (coffee kolsch) however, and took my pour and growler of that. It tasted just like a frappucino without being overly sweet, and was a very unique taste.
We checked out of the Golden Gate and took the Deuce to the Strip. A guy struck up conversation with me, and we talked the whole way about solar energy. Before I got off, we exchanged numbers and he told me that, as far as he was concerned, I'd "aced the interview" and he'd "call within the month with a job offer for me" that will "pay 6 figures." I'm obviously skeptical, but it made for an entertaining ride and it was a nice confidence boost to know that I can ace an interview hammered.
Once we got to the Strip we watched the Bellagio fountains and then went to Harrah’s to check in. I paid the extra $7 to upgrade to a strip view, and the jury’s still out on if it was worth it. The room was surprisingly nice, especially after the comped nights at the Golden Gate.
We got a half hour in at the pool before it closed (which was long enough for my fair skin to get sunburned, don’t worry), freshened up, and walked to Ra for dinner.
We got lost in the mall looking for it, but we finally found it and it was delicious! Tinderella insisted on paying for dinner, and I gladly took her up on it. The sushi was incredible! The specialty rolls on happy hour were a delight, and the Viva Las Vegas roll was my favorite.
By the time we finished dinner, it was dark out and surprisingly chilly with the wind. We stopped at H&M where I found a sweater that was 50% off the clearance price, effectively making a $28 sweater $6.49. My frugality thoroughly satisfied, we walked back to the Linq Promenade for some cupcakes and Happy Half Hour on the High Roller.
I bought a cinnamon cupcake from the Cupcake ATM. It saved the wait of standing in line, and it was a pretty cool experience. The frosting was delectable, but the cupcake itself was a little dry and left something to be desired.
We redeemed a Living Social deal for the High Roller (thanks Tinderella), and were in the car within 5 minutes. As we know by now, I’m a value hunter, and even though I didn’t pay for the ride, I wasn’t going to leave any money on the table. I went in with a goal: 10+ drinks in 30 minutes. I started strong with some Jack and Cokes, and was 3 deep by the time we were a quarter of the way up. I switched to a Jack and club for a palette cleanser, and then downed two more Jack and Cokes by the time we reached the top. Once we got to the top, the car did a shot together which put me at 7. I eased up a bit, nursing another Jack and Coke on the way down (8). When we neared the bottom, I switched to a Bud Light (9). I hid it on the rail and ordered another one (10) for last call, and when the bartender told us that we could only bring one drink off, I took a big gulp and stealthily snuck one in my pocket. I made it off, and felt so accomplished!
With my buzz coming on strong, it was time for some gambling. I walked all the way to Hooter’s to sign up for the card and get $15 of match play and $10 free play. I won $12.50 on Boner Poker, which I then lost (plus another $50) on $3 blackjack. The game was so painful I don’t know why I stayed. Past a point, it was like schadenfreude. I kept buying in thinking it would turn around, only to get beat by one or two. The final hand, on which I bet $10, I got a 20 vs a dealer 3. I breathe a sigh of relief, which is intensified when the dealer flips a 10. Guess what comes next: an 8, for a dealer 21. I had a hard time shaking the loss off, not because I lost $50 (I do that all the time), but because it was at Hooter’s. Anywhere else I wouldn’t have minded, but it just felt so dirty.
Tinderella had a flight at 5am, so I stayed up with her and walked her down to the cab, and then crashed.
$100 in, $0 out (-$100) -$70 on the trip
THURSDAY I woke up at 7:45 to pee and felt like absolute death, so I was dreading my 9:15 alarm. I went back to sleep, and miraculously felt fine when I woke up, even beating the alarm by 2 minutes! My stomach didn't feel too great, but after a shower and granola bar I was good to go. I felt like a professional tetris player as I packed my personal item, which had now expanded to include my newly purchased sweater.
I checked out and cracked open the Banger growler that I'd put on ice the night before. I can't say that a liter of beer was what my body wanted after a night of heavy drinking, but I'm a man of principle and I refuse to waste beer, so I did what I needed to do. I cracked my Morning Joe open and started walking North on the Strip. A coffee kolsch was close enough to breakfast for me.
I got on the Deuce with a good buzz going, and walked to Binion's. I played Boner Poker one last time and was up $10 for the first time all trip, but it quickly went back down to $20, at which point I cashed out and called it even. Having earned 5 points, I spun the wheel and got $5 of free play, which I donated back to Boner Poker.
I decided to hit craps hard at the Fremont, buying in for $30. I ran it up to $60 in short order, but then lost it after pressing aggressively. I bought in for $25 more. I was up and down, but finally down to my last $2. I threw it on C and E and was ready to walk away when a 3 hit. The bet stayed on for the next roll (at which point I was tempted to take it off, but I didn’t), and what comes out but a yo? I parlayed my winnings into some place bets and come bets with odds, and ran it up to $81. I colored up and was going to walk with $80, but I decided to throw one more dollar yo on my way out. Guess what hits... another 11! I walked out with $95.
My flight home left at 5:47 and it was already 2pm. On the way to GG for my last blackjack buy in of the trip, I walked across the street from the Fremont to do the free spin at 4Queens. I watched in awe as 3 clubs lined up and the 4Queens hit the payline! I got $25 of free play.
I decided to press up to 50¢ 9/6 Jacks or Better in the hopes of hitting something decent, or at the very least extracting some of the cash value. Instead, I hit literally nothing in all 10 spins, cementing that it was not to be a VP trip. I was gonna try $5 more of quarters, but the bill got stuck. After an attendant came over and I got it back, I tried again only to get the same error. I took it as a sign and left to the Golden Gate.
I bought in for $50 at a table with some fellow Midwesterners (from Wisconsin). I played aggressive since I only had 30 minutes until I should leave for my flight, and I was able to color up to a black. I played my remaining $25 down and walked with $100.
Because I'd gambled so late, I missed the WAX and had to take a Lyft to McCarran. It was $30 and I had perfect timing; by the time I got through security, boarding had begun but I didn't have to rush. No stress of missing the flight, and no wasted time not gambling... Well worth the $30.
The flight was hotter than the 7th circle of hell, and ironically the warmest I was the whole trip since it was so windy every day. The air was a sweet relief, as was the water I'd filled my growler with. Uneventful flight, minus my failed attempt to eat a melted chocolate bar. I typed up the bulk of this TR and basked in the glory of my first winning trip, and tried to ignore the two-part hangover already setting in. The Vegas hangover is hard enough, so it sure didn't help to feel the Long Islands wearing off...
$100 in, $190 out (+$90) +$20 on the trip
TOTAL: $520 in, $540 out +$20 on the trip
I had an awesome trip, and am very happy to have my first WINNING TRIP even if it was only $20! I got a lot of value out of it, and think that four nights was the perfect duration for Spring Break. I got some good gambling and drinking in, but I’m definitely ready to be home and go back to healthy eating and working out. I don’t have the next trip planned, but I’m hoping to come out later in the summer, perhaps for a shorter duration so I could have a higher daily bankroll.
I hope you enjoyed reading my TR! Thanks for taking the time to read through my low-roller account!
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Colorado has 38 casinos in which you'll find more than 15,314 slots and gaming machines. There are a total of 228 table games. The minimum bet we've found at casinos in Colorado is $0.01 and the maxium bet is $100. Click a casino on the left for more information on a particular property. Colorado Casino Nights offers full size, high quality, Casino regulation CRAPS Dice tables!. Craps is a fun, popular, high energy game that anybody can get involved with. Guests love to play this game, especially when they don't lose real money, to learn how the game is played. Visitors tempt Lady Luck at limited-stakes black­jack, craps, roulette and poker tables as well as slot and video machines in 26 casinos. Farther south, Cripple Creek, another gold-mining-turned-gambling town, is tucked in the mountains an hour from Colorado Springs with 16 casinos. In 2009, the state’s casinos increased betting limits to $100, added new games and began operating 24 hours a The 2008 initiative also let casinos operate 24/7 and added craps and roulette as acceptable game offerings. With or without Initiative 257, Colorado's gaming industry is looking at massive changes. Other approved Colorado sports betting casinos. The following Colorado casinos were also approved for sports betting master licenses in February: Brass Ass Casino, Cripple Creek. Brass Ass Casino offers live-action blackjack, high-five poker, craps, three-card poker and roulette action 24/7. It also features video poker and slot machines.

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