Macau Mega Tour: Rio Casino, Golden Dragon, Casa Real, Galaxy Waldo, Jai Alai Casino, Macau Palace and Babylon Casino
I've got to admit, these treks are getting harder to do every day. Even with pretending that yesterday was an 'off' day to be spend kicking it the Wynn Macau casino, it takes a lot of CPU to process all of this information I'm surrounded by. Add to it the continued battles with the heat and humidity (heat, no biggie - humidity... lord help!) the walking, the language barrier... all that good stuff. Oh... i've also noticed recently that when I'm walking the casino, everybody looks at me. It's quite weird. I guess they don't expect to see an American Tourister carrying a photo bag wandering through their baccarat pits. Could I be Amerigo Vespucci? Does anyone remember laughter? Did Led Zeppelin reunite while I was gone and nobody told me? Alright end of bitch session. I'm tired man, thats all.
I hit the highway and headed over to the Rio Casino, which is another SJM casino on the north side of Ave de Amizade. It's a four level casino with 10-15 floors of hotel on top. Like all SJM casinos, the higher the floor, the more exclusive it is. I managed to get to the landing on the 4th floor before security gave me the boot back down with the heathens playing HK$50 blackjack (US$4) and baccarat downstairs. It's a nice joint nonetheless... although I probably wouldn't recommend any Westerners to gamble up in it unless they speak Chinese.
Same goes for Galaxy Waldo a coupla blocks away. The hotel is under some reconstruction so getting into the casino took a little bit of effort. Again, 4 floors of gamble, the top one I couldn't get into. There is an exclusive VIP room there called the "Big Spenders VIP Club." If only they let you take photos of this shit... I swear. Galaxy Waldo also has a pretty good coffee shop up in it as well.
A coupla blocks further up the street is another SJM joint... the Golden Dragon Casino that plays host to a bunch of titty shows including "Crazy Happy Show". Unfortunately, I get Crazy Happy cause I'm Crazy Busy... maybe next time. I did manage to get down and dirty playing some Sic Bo... I won HK$100 taboot... always bet 'Big' and you can't go wrong!
Right across the street from Golden Dragon is Casa Real Casino which has a hotel up top of it as well. The hotel is quite pretty, but there really isn't much more to it than a lobby and rooms. The casino was a little freaky though... I got stared at a LOT while I was walking the joint. I also was trailed by a security guard for a while too and the second floor was a giant plume of cigarette smoke with some baccarat tables hidden beneath it. I suggest staying away from this joint, it doesn't offer anything that you can't get at the bigger, more friendly casinos. The hotel looks decent though.
Still further up the street was the Jai-Alai Casino, yet another SJM joint that was hands down, by far, the seediest casino I've been in so far in Macau. It's vibe is hard to describe... it's kinda like Macau's analogue to the recently departed Klondike casino over near Mandalay Bay. The tables were worn, there were three different patterns of carpet clashing into each other - not in a good Ballys kinda way - the dealers were visibly snarky and the folks gambling up in it seemed just plain down and angry. Way in the back they had a large bank of spinning reel slot machines (yay!) but they were roped off and unplugged (boo!). The Jai Alai Casino lives in a sorta shopping mall complex that is 10 times grosser than the shopping mall near the Colorado Belle in Laughlin (does anybody remember laughlin?). They also had a table dance joint and the chix in the photos look like the guys in Poison after a long night drinking, whoring and getting their asses kicked by Slayer. Yeah I'm sure none of you get any of these references but if you do, can I get an amen! After getting spooked out of the Jai Alai casino I headed over to the Fishermans Wharf area to hit two more casinos before my final destination - Sands Macao.
The Macau Palace is a gorgeous little Chinese riverboat casino that is right next to the Ferry Terminal. The interior of the joint is very red and extremely detailed in its decorations. I definitely suggest you pop in here just to take a look around... maybe play a coupla hands of blackjack.
I finally found my English speaking pit boss here, and she gathered up her dealers to give me a tutorial on one of the games that has been mystifying me - Three Card Poker... not the same Three Card Poker you and I bet, ante and pair plus our rent money away with. It's somewhat like poker, in that there is a 'button' that goes around the table to signify who gets the first hand of cards (instead of who is the 'Dealer'). The button position determined randomly at the beginning of the hand by a roll of Sic Bo dice cup containing four dice. The cards are dealt and players basically flip them over and try to beat the dealer - not the person with the button, but the hand that the dealer has dealt for themself. The three cards are valued using a baccarat-like addition system, face cards are 0 and the goal is to get 9. So if you are dealt QQQ, you've got squat in Chinese Three Card Poker, you've got a car payment in Vegas Three Card Poker. Simple. Now you know how to play the game with the layout that looks like 10 red rectangles in the middle of the felt and thats it.
I hoofed it on over to the Fishermans Wharf, which intends to be an outdoor shopping mall, with themed restaurants, a gigantic Chinese fort, a faux Portuguese village, a volcano and a bunch of other themed areas that is supposed to be family friendly. Babylon Casino is way at the end of the Fishermans Wharf right next to the excellent Rocks Hotel. It's a strange place this Fishermans Wharf, but the Babylon Casino - which opened a year or so ago - is just plain gorgeous. There are two casinos and a handful of private VIP clubs. The main casino is circular in shape and about the size of the main pit at Caesars Palace. It features a grand chandelier, high ceilings and fantastic wood work. The dealers try their best to get you to play. The second casino is directly on top of the first and this one is breathtaking. I had seen the photos above while doing some advance research for the trip... and it struck me as a very interesting room. It is just as interesting in person, but there were about 80 dealers, 10 security guards (who are all of Indian or Pakistani descent) and me. It's a cool place and one of the employees gave me his lighter when I asked him where I could locate some matches. Which reminds me... casinos here don't have match books. Everyone and their brother smokes, but there isn't a matchbook to be found anywhere. Thats just an fyi. And one more thing, I haven't seen any obvious hookers in any of the joints I've been it other than at Lisboa... my hooker locating guide is still accurate.
The last stop on today's whirlwind tour - Sands Macao. But that write up is going to have to wait until tomorrow along with the story on how I ate Steve Wynn's wife for lunch. I'm out of Wynn and over to Taipa Island to check into Crown Macao, which is supposed to be a six star hotel (in a three star neighborhood). Two more days of this nonsense then it's back to Hong Kong and then back to Los Angeles.
Mrs. Mo mentioned to me the other day that she wants to book another trip to Vegas. My first thought was... uh... what? Do I really want to go to Vegas after spending the better part of 10 days in a damn casino? My second thought was.... fuck yeah I wanna go to Vegas! Can we go the day I get home?
See y'all at Crown!