2018 Trip to Europe

Discussion in 'Craps Stories & Trip Reports' started by random_roller, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. random_roller, Sep 13, 2018

    random_roller

    random_roller Member

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    A few days ago my wife and I returned from a @2 week trip to Europe. We made quite a few stops, perhaps a few too many, but overall it was an enjoyable vacation. Places we visited included England (Liverpool, London), France (Paris, Nice), and Monaco (Monte Carlo). We also had layovers in Zurich, Switzerland (after departing Chicago) and Frankfurt, Germany (on the return trip home).

    Travel by train within Europe is affordable, very convenient, and basically hassle-free (unless there is a labor strike affecting the line). We took the Eurostar train from London to Paris. Fast & great scenery enroute (except while in the tunnel under the English Channel). We also took a first class train from Liverpool to London, as well as a few shorter train rides between cities. Highly recommended if you have the opportunity.

    Most of the regulars on this forum know I visit casinos while I'm traveling. With the blessing of my awesome wife, I managed to check out a few during this trip, adding chips to my collection. The casinos I visited were very different from what is "typical" (expected) in the US. All were much smaller and had far fewer table games and EGDs. In general, they were also much nicer in terms of the building and interior décor. For the most part, they're more classy places than their US counterparts. Some casinos even had dress codes and/or required a membership. Table games weren't available until later in the afternoon. European roulette and blackjack are the most popular table games.

    As far as craps is concerned, it is not a popular game in the areas where we visited. There is no craps table in a Manchester or Liverpool casino. Yikes. Fortunately, it's only a 2 hour train ride to London, where there are 2 casinos (Hippodrome, Grovesnor Victoria) that have craps tables. Didn't find a craps table in France, but there really aren't many casinos in the country. Casino Barrière (Menton, France) is located on the French Riviera in a beautiful setting but alas, no craps or dice. Plenty of eye candy on the beach across the street, though. Sun Casino (Monte Carlo, Monaco) has 2 craps tables; the main casino -- Casino de Monte-Carlo (the one featured in the movies) -- doesn't have craps.

    I'll post additional commentary and pictures as time (and the forum server) permit.
     
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  2. KokomoJoe4, Sep 13, 2018

    KokomoJoe4

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    Ya gotta love eye candy RR, nice report. Sounds like an great get away
     
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  3. random_roller, Sep 13, 2018

    random_roller

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    Our first stop after taking off from Chicago O'Hare International Airport was picturesque Zurich, a global banking and finance center, as well as the largest city in Switzerland. Zurich is located on the northwest corner of Lake Zurich. The Limmat River winds its way through the city.

    We had a several hour layover before our flight to Manchester, England was scheduled to depart, so we took the train from Zurich Airport to the Zurich Hauptbahnhof (main train station). Because of time constraints, we basically stayed within (extended) walking distance of the train station. Still, we managed to cover quite a bit during our brief visit. I was able to stop by one casino, Swiss Casino Zurich. It didn't have craps but had an 8 player Dice Ball table. Not the same game.
     

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  4. random_roller, Sep 13, 2018

    random_roller

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    A few souvenirs from Swiss Casino Zurich in the picture below. The casino doesn't issue (print) a player card for each gambler. Instead, the player cards are recycled and used to track only that particular session and (apparently) only on EGDs. Table games were not open at time I stopped by.

    The chips are 0.50 Swiss Franc and 2 Swiss Franc. At the time we visited, it was approximately 1:1 exchange (USD for Swiss Franc) before the service fees. Swiss bankers know how to make money.

    IMAG9287 Resize 800x600 - Copy.jpg
     
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  5. Mssthis1, Sep 16, 2018

    Mssthis1

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    Sounds like a fun trip.

    From what I've heard gambling in Europe is more of an experience, like a "men's night out" or "date night" than gambling in the US is.
     
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  6. von duck, Sep 16, 2018

    von duck

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    :confused: You're watching too many James Bond movies. :D
     
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  7. random_roller, Sep 16, 2018

    random_roller

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    After our layover in Zurich, Switzerland, our next destination was Liverpool, England. We took a @2 hour flight from Zurich to Manchester, England. International flights use Manchester Airport (MAN), while domestic flights use Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LPL). We hired a transfer service to drive us from Manchester Airport to our hotel located at historic Albert Dock in Liverpool. Once our driver managed to escape the mess that was the airport parking lot, the drive took about 45 minutes.

    The City of Liverpool has long been a center for maritime trade. Albert Dock played a key role in helping facilitate such trade. It was constructed of cast iron, brick and stone, the first structure in England to be built without the use of structural wood. It was also the first non-combustible warehouse complex in the world when opened in 1846. Today, the complex has been repurposed to house commercial, hotel and museum space. It (and the surrounding area) is a major tourist attraction.

    I stopped by 2 casinos in Liverpool: Genting Casino and Leo Casino. Neither had craps tables. I was told by dealers and others there are no craps tables in Liverpool or Manchester. Fortunately, it is a relatively short 2 hour train trip to London.
     
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  8. random_roller, Sep 16, 2018

    random_roller

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    Pictures from Liverpool, England:

    IMAG5125
    The city's famed Three Graces (middle of picture): Port of Liverpool Building (closest), Cunard Building, and the Royal Liver Building. The Museum of Liverpool (left) and Mann Island Buildings (right) are in the foreground.

    IMAG5330
    A view (looking north) of historic Albert Dock, Liverpool, England. Photo taken from our hotel room on the 4th Floor.

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    Leo Casino, Liverpool, England.

    IMAG5030
    Genting Casino, Liverpool, England.
     

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  9. random_roller, Sep 16, 2018

    random_roller

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    The favorite sons from Liverpool have a statue on the waterfront:


    IMAG5624 Resize 800x600 - Copy.jpg
     
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  10. random_roller, Sep 17, 2018

    random_roller

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    It's a different gambling atmosphere in France & Monaco, at least in the casinos I visited. Residents of Monaco are not allowed to gamble in the casinos in Monte Carlo. The main casino (Casino de Monte-Carlo) has a dress code after 7 pm, so I made sure I was inside by 6:45 pm. No problems getting through security, even though compared with others I was quite casually dressed (cargo shorts, collared short sleeve shirt, boat shoes). Lots of tourists inside all 3 Monte Carlo casinos were dressed up. Some were there for the upcoming Yacht show, while others were there to be (hopefully) seen -- perhaps by the millionaires who live there.

    The casinos in London were more close to their US counterparts, but on a much smaller scale. Caesars Entertainment EMEA operates a number of casinos in UK, Egypt and South Africa. Empire Casino in London's Leicester Square -- which I visited -- is one of them. Unfortunately, the Total Rewards programs overseas are not linked with the US program.

    Sports betting is very popular in England. I saw quite a few sports books while walking around in Liverpool and London.
     
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  11. random_roller, Sep 17, 2018

    random_roller

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    We had a great time. It was good to schedule the trip when school / university was back in session; more importantly, though, while we're still able to walk around relatively well. We did a lot of walking, much more than we're accustomed to back home.
     
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  12. Mssthis1, Sep 17, 2018

    Mssthis1

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    Thanks Random. Lots of good information
     
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  13. random_roller, Sep 17, 2018

    random_roller

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    Hope you (and other forum members) will have (or have had) the opportunity to travel overseas on vacation. Well worth the experience, even without playing craps.

    One thing to keep in mind when overseas, bets in the casino are almost always in local currency. When I was playing in Monte Carlo, the craps table minimum was €25 -- roughly $30 US at the time. That's on top of the currency exchange hit a tourist from another country is already taking. Since I primarily play at the $25 & $15 tables at Rivers, it wasn't too bad (more on this in a later post). Compare that with playing craps at a casino in Lima, Peru, in 2017. If memory serves, the exchange rate at the time was about $1 US to 3 Peruvian Soles. It took me a while to get accustomed to playing at what was essentially (less than) a $2 table (5 Soles).

    Another thing to take into account is traditional table games often aren't open until 4-6 pm in many overseas casinos. So plenty of daylight to do some sightseeing without missing out on table game play.

    Finally, I did have to show my passport in each casino I entered in all 4 countries (Switzerland, England, France, Monaco). Some casinos require membership before admittance. In Liverpool, the rep was willing to waive membership after I mentioned we were headed to London in a few hours. That was not the case at one casino in London, which wanted a fee (in addition to paperwork).
     
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  14. basicstrategy777, Sep 17, 2018

    basicstrategy777

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    When I was stationed in Great Britain I took my 66 Chevelle Super Sport, 396, 4 speed, 373 rear end, my then wife and my 2 kids across the channel, landed in France and took off all over Europe. One stop we made was Monte Carlo; I took that Chevy and stopped in front ( lots of steps to the door) and walked in....I expected to see Cary Grant types in their tuxes but instead was disappointed to see guys in very, very casual clothes. Roulette was the game of choice for many.
    Don't recall seeing a craps table. Went to Germany ( saw the bronze skeletons at Dachau, which left an impression), got waxed by an old ferrari on the autoban, visited relatives in Italy, went to the Eagles nest, went to Napoleans tomb in France, the ride down the mountain to Monte Carlo is very scarey...many sharp, sharp turns and no guard rails and a long drop down if you go over the edge........plus alot of other stuff....it was something being able to go from country to country by just showing your passport....(by the way, if you don't have a passport I suggest you get one as I beleive it will become very important you have one over the next few years).......I enjoyed playing craps at the playboy club in London....this was back in the 60's.... the world has changed and it is alot different now than it was then.

    We need a slogan...." Make the World Great Again" ......I'm glad I lived in the time I did.....the road ahead for you whipper-snappers will be a tough one.....good luck.

    777
     
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  15. Liman

    Liman Member

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    a bit jealous random, but we will never make that trip.

    Im having trouble convincing my wife to fly out to nevada, shes just totally against flying again.

    it looks like you two had a wonderful time thanx for posting great pictures and sharing the experience.
     
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  16. random_roller, Sep 17, 2018

    random_roller

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    Don't give up hope! Overseas travel is absolutely worth it. We had a great time. Just wish we had more vacation available. Hopefully your wife can be talked into making such a trip at least once. Perhaps your children and new son/daughter in-laws can help convince your wife that a trip overseas would be a great family vacation.

    Fly first or business class, at least for the trip there. That makes a huge difference in terms of comfort and service. You'll be tired by the time of the return flight and more likely able to sleep in a coach seat. Also, there are non-exit rows on certain transatlantic planes with only 2 seats, such as the Lufthansa Boeing 747 we flew from Frankfurt to Chicago. Really nice. Check out www.seatguru.com for airline/plane/seat maps.

    Las Vegas is probably a 5 hour flight for you -- only a few more hours and you're in London. Then take the Eurostar train from London to Paris. You could also take a ferry from Dover (England) across the channel to Calais (France). Once you're on mainland Europe, take passenger trains, which are really convenient.
     
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  17. von duck, Sep 17, 2018

    von duck

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    Do "Swiss" casinos have holes in them? :cool:
     
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  18. Mssthis1, Sep 17, 2018

    Mssthis1

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    If you want some help convincing her, I can tell her stories about some of the flights I took while in the USAF and ANG.:)
     
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  19. random_roller, Sep 17, 2018

    random_roller

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    I had planned on going in order of our travel, but since you mentioned Monte Carlo...

    No craps table in Casino de Monte-Carlo, the main casino, or next door at Casino Café de Paris. Nearby Sun Casino has 2 craps tables. All 3 casinos have the same owners and use the same chips. European roulette is definitely the most popular table game here.

    Casino de Monte-Carlo (main casino) at night

    P1110884 Resize 800x600 - Copy.jpg

    Arguably the world's most famous curve, at least on a race course. F1 drivers slow down for this turn (and view) during the Monaco Gran Prix; some local bus drivers (seemingly) don't. Anyone with a car / motorcycle / scooter & valid driver's license can drive the entire Monaco Gran Prix course most days of the year (subject to the occasional road closing), which is unusual. Sun Casino is off to the right (not pictured).

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  20. random_roller, Sep 18, 2018

    random_roller

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    There are 2 craps tables at Sun Casino (Monte Carlo, Monaco). The casino didn't open until 2 pm. Officially, if you spend €30, you get free admission; otherwise, you pay fee to enter. The way around this is to sign up for a free My Monte-Carlo player's card (loyalty program) at nearby Casino Café de Paris. You'll need to provide your passport and fill out a form (basically providing the same information when signing up for a casino player's card in the US). Once you have your My Monte-Carlo player's card, you get free admission to Sun Casino as well as Casino de Monte-Carlo (.€12 to €17 per person without My Monte-Carlo player's card, depending upon time of day, season).

    When I arrived at Sun Casino after 8 pm, the crew was still readying the table for play. The craps dealers were very friendly and spoke English. I asked them how to say several craps terms in French and they were happy to tell me. It took me a few times but I eventually got it (or close enough).

    Sun Casino has the only craps game in town, excluding any tables on cruise ships visiting Monte Carlo, and the casino rules reflect this monopoly:

    Craps table minimum: €25 (roughly $30 US at the time of visit)
    Max Odds: 2x (all bets)
    Max Bet: €1000

    1. Pass Line / Come and DP / DC bets could only be made in increments of the table minimum (e.g., €25, €50, €100, etc.).

    2. Odds bets could only be made in increments of the table minimum, up to 2x.

    3. Place bets could only be increased by table minimum amounts (€25).

    4. Buy the 4 (or 10) starting at €100 (€105 with vig). Can't buy the 4 (or 10) for less than that amount.

    5. If memory serves, the Horn bets paid off at 15 for 1 (3, 11) and 30 for 1 (2, 12).

    6. No Fire, ATS, Repeater or Sharpshooter bets.

    7. For hardways and other center action bets, €5 minimum per bet and increase at €5 increments.

    That's the Fairmont Monte Carlo Hotel in the picture below. You can also see the hotel in the 2nd picture in the preceding post (#19).

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    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
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