December 2009
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Say Aria

I wasn’t there, but I don’t really care.  It’ll still be there by the time I get to Vegas.

The Aria casino and hotel opened its doors a few hours ago, after launching a firework display from the roof that single-handedly put to shame the combined efforts on the Las Vegas Strip for New Year’s Eve last year.  Although, frankly, that wouldn’t have been difficult.

Of course, it’s on YouTube already.

It doesn’t make much difference to the effect, but this video seems to be mirrored.  Sadly it was the position of the hotels – and not the backwards letters in the “Aria” logo – that made me first notice this.

My poker career in pictures

As a side effect of planning forward for my next trip to Las Vegas, I’ve actually found myself staring at a summary of my entire live poker career so far.

As I’d decided to start using the iPhone app Poker Journal to record all my sessions from now on, it made sense to try to import all my old data into the same application before I got started.

That way I’d already have some lovely graphs to look at.

Although it’s not a documented feature of Poker Journal, it’s possible to use the backup and restore facility to import data from another source.  In my case, I had a master spreadsheet that I’d built up over the past few years from all the mobile phone spreadsheets I’d been keeping on my travels.

To be honest, that spreadsheet didn’t do much.  I’d set it to calculate a total profit/loss and done some (frankly) bodgetastic jiggery-pokery to give totals per trip and to add up limit hold’em and no-limit hold’em profit and loss separately.  With a bit of effort I managed to get a graph out of it once.

I’d been in contact with the developer, Michael Golden, who had already drafted a document that explained the data format he used and because my spreadsheet was so simple it wasn’t too much of a problem to convert it.  If anyone is in a similar situation, the script I wrote to process my own data might be of some use to you.  Leave me a message.

So, what does this wonderful little app do?  Let’s start with what matters – a graph, of course!


This is my cash game history for every session I’ve played in Las Vegas since 2006.  I was a relative latecomer to The Cash.  Thinking back, I probably I played a couple of sessions of $2/$4 in the summer of 2005 (my first month-long Vegas expedition, pre-blog) but not enough to make a difference.

I definitely didn’t touch no-limit hold’em until Summer 2006, and even then it was only briefly, scared away after the first attempt by the nine rocks I found myself surrounded by at Sunset Station.  In retrospect, this was horrible game selection (based only upon which casino was close to where I was staying at the time) which probably set me back more than I realised.

You’ll see from the graph that after the minimal variance of $2/$4 limit hold’em, it took me a little while to find my feet with no-limit, and I had a 6 buy-in downswing (I almost always buy in for $200) before the climb back started.

Poker Journal does a bit more than draw pretty graphs too.  There’s plenty of fascinating statistics.  The ones below are filtered just for no-limit hold’em:


Hardly an hourly rate I can “go pro” with, but it’s in the black at least.

If I switch to “glass half full mode” the 71-60 winning record isn’t awful – and in reality, winning more sessions than you lose isn’t even important.  What matters is winning more actual money the times you win than you lose the times you get sucked out on by some idiot douchebag who loves playing queen-three.

Not a bad beat story,  I just made up a garbage hand at random.  I promise.

With that 11 game differential, I managed to turn a profit of just over 8 buy-ins, which is a fairly reassuring way to look at it.

If only I could have “average luck”, surely that number would go up, right? …

But is 284 hours enough to draw any reliable conclusions from?  No, not really.

My career graph currently ends on a bit of a downer – which reflects how my poker results went towards the end of the summer trip.  Suddenly, I just stopped being able to win pots.

Whether I ran particularly badly or if it’s just variance, who knows.  Maybe I am a $6/hr player (or worse) and it was about time for this to happen.  I knew everything had turned to shit at the time and there wasn’t much I could do except to keep turning up and hope to catch a break before I had to catch a plane.  I never did.

Boy am I ready for a re-match.  Three days to go… :)

Room comp fail

Claire got this complimentary room offer in an email from The Orleans today.

Basically: “Come and stay with us for the New Year’s Eve Fireworks.  Offer excludes New Year’s Eve.”


Oh I wish it could be Christmas dinner every day

Last year, I compiled a list of Christmas Day menus for Las Vegas casinos.

Over the past week, I’ve noticed quite a few hits coming in from people looking for exactly this – and presumably leaving disappointed after finding the 2008 menus.

So below are all the ones I’ve found so far for Christmas Day 2009.  There’s still quite a lot missing though, but I’ll update it as I find more information.

Notably, none of the Harrah’s properties have been updated with their Christmas offerings at the time of writing, with the exception of Guy Savoy and Mon Ami Gabi (which had details on its own web site).  Most of the MGM Mirage properties still have Thanksgiving info showing.  Although Excalibur says it has the same menus for Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day, I’m not sure the others are relevant.

If you did happen to stumble here looking for festive Vegas food, why not subscribe to my RSS feed to get my next delicious trip report, beginning on December 20th, and see which of these I end up going for!

Casino web sites:

Unofficial links:

Last updated: Dec 17th 13:50 GMT

Happy anniversary Mr Terrible

It’s never a good sign when a casino makes a big deal out of celebrating a random anniversary.

Stardust was very keen to publicise the property’s 45th year as a landmark.  Even though nothing had been finalised at the time, it was inevitable that it would be pulled down before it got to the half century.

Today is apparently the ninth anniversary of Terrible’s Las Vegas casino.  I had this mailer to tell me about the free cake.


I don’t remember hearing about anything like this for the 8th or 7th… before they filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year.

It doesn’t inspire much confidence that the casino that gives me all the fuel I can guzzle and has possibly the best mascot ever will be around to make it to a decade.

El Cortez has world's smallest promotions girl

Picture doesn’t lie.

December Gift Cards at El Cortez