The Board at VegasTripping

Board @ VT RSS Feed Board Topic RSS Feed!

Airfare, Hotels, Rental Cars, Vacation Packages

Southwest Vacations logo!


VEGAS BAYBEEE 4th to 16th Sep.

Last edit: StudiodeKadent on Sunday, 18th September 2011 12:48 am
Last response by StudiodeKadent 25th September 9:12pm

Alright, I've just finished my second trip to Vegas and now am reporting all the usual stuff. Below you will find comments on hotels, restaurants, blackjack conditions, some other gambling conditions, bars, and the like.

I'm still an unrepentant ARIA fanboy, and this trip didn't disappoint me. Many staff members remembered me from my previous trip and were all very kind. Julian Serrano is still an amazing restaurant... they recently introduced a risotto to the menu which has so much cheese in it that one serving is enough to clog your arteries. Thick slices of iberian pork too... oh, and I drank a whole pitcher of white sangria. Julian Serrano is probably my favorite restaurant at ARIA. I also went to Barmasa and was disappointed; the staff were amazing and friendly, but the prices were very high and the food wasn't that impressive. Maybe I ordered the wrong things but this restaurant is the most prohibitively priced of all of ARIA's food joints. I should've had orgasms over the food and I didn't. Lemongrass is also a very good Thai joint; their duck panang curry has the duck fried crispy as well as being in the curry (lustful growl). Sirio was also a very competent Italian restaurant that I wholeheartedly recommend.

For some reason, the beds felt more comfy this year. I like a firm-ish bed and last year, ARIA's beds felt too soft. This year, they felt better. I don't know why. Still. the room was really nice; this year I got one of their gold-and-purple rooms (last year I was in a blue-and-silver room). There were many interesting textures on the wallpapers, especially in the bathroom.

As for gambling, the staff are great. Thomas and Marty are two excellent dealers and both Jim and Jill are wonderful table games supervisors, but honestly the staff here are all very competent and friendly. Drink service is generally good and fast, but inconsistent (a bit more inconsistent than Bellagio). The drinks are large however.

There's a $25 Euro Roulette wheel on the main floor. Blackjack conditions are typical MGM high-end rules; $10 CSM H17 games, with hand-shuffles (both S17 and H17) at $25 and up. ARIA tends to have the highest minimums out of MGM's casinos; there are only 2 $10 tables, all the other CSM tables are $15 and up. H17 hand shuffle can be found in the hand shuffle pit and the Deuce Lounge; S17 can be found in the hand shuffle pit, the Asian Games pit (where the Pai Gow and Mini-Baccarat can be found, outside Carta Privada) and the high limit areas (Carta Privada, the Baccarat rooms and private salons).

Counters will be interested in knowing that the penetration at ARIA is pretty good... 1.5 to 1 deck cut off, with most dealers leaning towards the 1 deck.

Barmasa needs to be more amazing. Also, a few less CSM games would be nice.... removing 4 CSM tables and replacing them with H17 hand shuffles at $15 during slow times would be nice.

This place still looks amazing after all these years. Bellagio is a fantastic casino; the staff were great. That said, Le Cirque didn't amaze me, but Olives was extremely tasty. Bellagio's dining is inferior to ARIA's in my opinion; I've done Circo as well and whilst it was good, it wasn't "oh my god yes." I did love Olives, however.

Bellagio has similar casino conditions to ARIA. They now have a European Roulette wheel on the main floor at $50 and up. Blackjack-wise, there are typically plenty of $10 H17 CSM tables open for low-rollers, and I THINK I remember some $15 H17 hand-shuffles during busy times. Liberal S17 rules start at $25 and up.

The dealers can be slow here (one in particular was lethargic), and the penetration at Bellagio is uniformly 1.5 decks... much less enticing for counters than ARIA. However, that makes Bellagio pretty good for comp hustlers and BS players.

The bars are all great places to drink, too!

I think the restaurants need some new blood.

Oh dear... here we go....

I honestly have affection for this place. The cocktail bars are easily some of the best I've ever been to (the Chandelier bars especially are amazing but Bond is good too). The staff were always friendly and chatty. And the restaurants were excellent; I had the duck foie gras ravioli with marsala reduction at Scarpetta and I felt like I just had the best sex of my life three times in a row.


The crowd is just FULL of Jersey Shore rejects. I mean, here's how they act; "they like, so call me like, L-Wow, because, like, I can fit a whole pineapple between my, like, labia!" It says everything that every single member of staff I talked to openly confessed to hating the douchebags.

This, plus the casino decor is very... erm.... femme and flamboyant. I'm sure its a hit with women and the Krave crowd, but its like ARIA had a sex change after listening to way too much Donna Summer. Not that there's anything necessarily WRONG with this... its just not my kind of taste; I'm not one for high concentrations of FABULOUSness.

But the real kick in the nuts is the shitty blackjack conditions. Anything below $100 per hand is 8deck ASM H17.

That said, I won a free cocktail from the free Identity play so I can't really bitch too much. And the cocktails really are excellent.

When the current High-Limit area is moved upstairs, please turn the old HL area into a mid-limit green chip area with S17 blackjack (you can keep the ASMs).

I only looked in once, but the coconut smell really is nice and the casino looks fantastic! These really are impressive renovations! No surrender on the main floor, but at $25 and above one can negotiate whatever conditions one would like. Some of their tables don't say either "hit on soft 17" or "stand on all 17's." I'd expect that these tables can be flexible if everyone is betting green chips.

An excellent value joint. Very relaxing and refreshing feel.

Single Zero Roulette would be nice, and having some more "dealer stands on all 17s" tables would be good.

The casino might be getting old but this place really is fantastic value.

Shoe-dealt Blackjack is all 6deck, with RSA and LS offered on shoe games. Penetration is consistently between 1.5 to 1 decks cut off, with some H17 games being CSM, some being ASM and some being hand shuffle. S17 games are all hand-shuffle or ASM. The MGM also has $10 and $15 hand-shuffled S17 games (YES! YES! YEAAAAAHHHH!!!!!). All the S17 games can be found in Pit 17, outside Tabu, in the area surrounded by all the colums. I do remember seeing $5 hand-dealt H17 shoe games, so this place really offers a lot for low-rollers.

The pit crew were very friendly; they even comped my cigars (and I don't bet enough for that to typically happen). Drink service was pretty efficient given the size of this place, too. The only real drawback is the drinks are small.

I ate at L'atelier de Joel Robuchon, which was fantastic (though I listened to the sommellier far too much and thus ended up spending a lot on that dinner!). I also ate at Emerils, which was very nice indeed. MGM does have excellent restaurants alongside its great value blackjack.

I also saw Crazy Horse Paris. Crazy Horse is a fantastic revue; extremely tasteful and talented burlesque with very creative use of light and shadowing and sets. The girls are very athletic and talented; the parts of the show which require acting talent (like "Champagne Taste") are very well acted! And of course, the girls are gorgeous, very athletic and leggy. The show focuses a lot on the female legs and buttocks, so "breast men" may be a bit underwhelmed, but "ass men" and fans of ladies' legs will be very happy with this show. Comedy segments are incorporated into the show, as is traditional with a full burlesque revue. This show is fantastic in that it offers sexiness without being "slutty" about it; you don't feel like a sleaze for enjoying sexy girls. If only most actual pornography realized that "nasty dirty sticky sluts" demeans their own product...

The casino is in need of a refresh and an update. I just hope that said casino, when updated, won't toughen up the blackjack games. Good blackjack is good for business.

Now this place was fantastic.

I only dropped in for drinks and recon, but $5 cocktails in a place as swanky as ARIA with a gorgeous pool deck and amazing architecture really works for me! The staff were all brilliant; very friendly and welcoming and clearly proud of their property. And they should be. For double-deck blackjack players, the M is fantastic because it offers RSA on double deck. Shoe games aren't impressive though; they don't offer surrender on their main floor.

I'm going to stay there next trip. This place really seduced me.

A few S17 shoe games (3 to 5 tables) on the main floor wouldn't hurt. Think $15/$25/$50 limits (depending on demand), 6 deck, RSA, but no surrender.

Only went in there to get raped in the High Limit room. Some people say this place has been de-themed; I disagree. Its got some more modern-y stuff but its clearly not de-themed. The modern-y stuff is very, very art deco. The high limit area looks gorgeous.

Everything outside HL is H17, and far too many tables are 6:5 (IIRC I did see some $5 handshuffle 3:2 tables though). The drinks are small too (even in HL). However, the penetration was pretty deep in HL; consistently close to 1 deck being cut off. HL begins at $50.

Keep the 6:5 stuff in the party pit and let low rollers have real 3:2 H17 6 deck blackjack.

The grounds still look very, very impressive, and I think the modern additions to the place haven't whored it out (yes, its a little different, but the color palate is consistent). The high limit lounge is genuinely beautiful.

The pit crew comped my cigars and I got tons of free booze from a cute cocktail waitress who was very nice to me. So I can't complain about the staff.

I can, however, complain about my gambling losses. This place slaughtered me.

Blackjack conditions are typical MGM high-end conditions, but with many ASM H17 games as well as CSM. Penetration seemed a bit better than Bellagio.

A while ago they tried to eliminate S17 on the main floor. They recently failed and brought back some S17 tables; two double-deck and two six-deck. They start at $25. But honestly, they could do with a whole pit of S17 games.

I like how this place looks and feels, but they shouldn't try and pretend that they can neglect the gambling. This is clearly one of the better value MGM joints; it can easily compete against Venelazzo and Wynncore if its simply kept in prime condition.

More S17 tables.

MGM seem to be making double deck games easier to get than they were last year.

I saw 6:5 at the NYNY and Monte Carlo, however they weren't endlessly packed. Additionally, at MC they are confined to one pit only; MC has plenty of legitimate $5 3:2 BJ tables in the morning. MGM only has 6:5 on single deck, Bellagio and ARIA and Mirage have no 6:5 IIRC. Perhaps the tide of 6:5 has been stemmed somewhat?

Overall I had a good time in spite of my gambling losses. Good staff, good food and honest gambling (with lots of free booze) helps lessen the pain.

Also, I did my typical indulgence in American fast food. Carl's Jr still rocks. I found In N Out Burger nice, but overrated.

Post Response

Report this topic as inappropriate.

     Add To Itinerary
 jinx73 responded on Monday, 19th September 2011

very nice and I like the focus on gaming conditions. Not an MGM prop, but from my understanding Riviera has put in a low limit single zero (possibly European rule) wheel on its floor, which I'm hoping to check out next trip.

 MikieTaps replied on Monday, 19th September 2011

low limit single zero... Riviera... this excites me greatly.

 StudiodeKadent replied on Monday, 19th September 2011

I'm glad you enjoyed the trip report! Thanks!

 MikieTaps responded on Monday, 19th September 2011

1st thing that comes to mind...

How the hell do you get to party in Vegas for 2 weeks straight?! Im lucky to get 10 days over a whole year!

 StudiodeKadent replied on Monday, 19th September 2011

I'm from Australia. Its a long trip to the US, so I try to make an event of it.

 vespajet responded on Monday, 19th September 2011

I saw Crazy Horse Paris during my trip back in March and am planning to see it again during my trip in February (I may splurge on the meet & greet they offer in between shows on Fridays and Saturdays.), as I enjoyed the show. I decided on the spur of the moment on Saturday night to go see it.

L'atelier de Joel Robuchon is also on the list my next trip as well.

Good to hear about the $5 3:2 tables at the Monte Carlo, as that's where I'm currently booked for February, and since I am up early due to the 3 hour time difference, works for me.

 StudiodeKadent replied on Monday, 19th September 2011

I wish you all the best.

Monte Carlo also have one 8d ASM S17 table on the main floor. Its $25 during peak times, but it drops below $25 outside of peak times. You might be interested in that too.

 MikieTaps responded on Monday, 19th September 2011

An event indeed!

You dont happen to the be chap that bought my wife and I dinner at that tapanyaki place a couple years ago are you? Shit... I guess it was like 8 years ago now. hahaha.

 StudiodeKadent replied on Monday, 19th September 2011

No, that wasn't me. Sorry to disappoint.

 DeucesWild responded on Tuesday, 20th September 2011

Very interesting report. Thanks for the comprehensive review of the blackjack conditions at the major MGM casinos.

How did you find the crowds at the tables? Did you notice more players gravitating towards the better rules?

 StudiodeKadent replied on Tuesday, 20th September 2011

Glad you liked the trip report! Happy to help.

But generally I didn't notice people flocking to the best tables (unfortunately). Most people that gamble tend to be casual gamblers and judge on the basis of total amount bet rather than the house margin (i.e. they'd take a dollar slot over a $10 BJ table even if the slot has more than ten times the house margin).

 Bajagmoe responded on Sunday, 25th September 2011

Can you explain the acronyms with the blackjack and maybe list them from better to worse?
I like to play, but don't know what to look for.

 StudiodeKadent replied on Sunday, 25th September 2011


S17 = Dealer Stands on Soft 17 (better for the player)
H17 = Dealer Hits on Soft 17 (worse for the player)

LS = Late Surrender (good for the player)
RSA = Resplitting Aces allowed (good for player)

CSM = Continuuous Shuffle Machine (speeds up the game by eliminating the need to shuffle, thus bad for the player)
ASM = Automatic Shuffle Machine (speeds up the game by doing the shuffling very quickly, thus bad for the player)

6:5 Blackjack Pays 6:5 (i.e. if you bet $5 and get a blackjack, you win $6; typically blackjack pays 3:2 meaning that if you bet $5, you win $7.50 on a blackjack). DO NOT PLAY ANY GAME WHERE BLACKJACK PAYS LESS THAN 3:2!!