Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I Knew Just Where the ATMs Were

I had freeplay at Four Queens I could use - but if I tapped it, I’d want to do a full day’s play of $8K to $10K and that was obviously a ridiculous proposition, considering how easily (I’d just proven) you could blow through $200 on dollar Jacks in about twenty minutes. Playing slowly.

I could get in the car and go downtown and take another marker. But I’d been drinking, so that was out.
Mandalay Bay Wildlife in its Natural Surroundings
I could play five singles of tip money on the way back to the room. I did that. Got nothing.

I could sit in my room and drink plonk and moan and piss and cry and whine. Yes, it was time for a long rest break to ponder things, figure out what I might do for the rest of the trip, and recharge my batteries. Eight days in and I’d been going all day, every day pretty much.

I had half a liter of cardboard Hole Foods wine, which I opened and worked away on while watching Ramsay yell at people on my tablet. In the back of my mind I cursed my luck - I couldn’t stop thinking about that fat progressive I’d seen at Luxor. And here I was without any dough to chase it.

After a while I was out of wine. And I had a couple of episodes of some show I wanted to watch.

So, I stole one of the last Admin $20 bills, and went down to where I knew they had wine. I managed to play for a while on the $20 and got a glass of wine from the CW. I had to cash out my ticket first, go get money for it, keep a dollar bill for the CW, and a quarter for my pocket, and put the money back in. I felt like a deadbeat dad using the gas money he'd need to pick up his kids to play video poker instead at the 7-11.

Here comes my plonk in a glass!

Look how much fun I'm having at Mandalay Bay.


When my $20 petered out, I took my tipsy ass down to the little store and bought snacks for dinner. I scored some cheese, a couple of bananas, and a bottle of cheap wine. I put it all on the room.
Hello Kitty - vintage 2010 - as if anyone who drinks it would care.
I looked the cashier in the eye.

“I’m going to take this bottleplonk and drink it in my car in the parking lot. It’s about 120 degrees in there."

I managed to get a smile out of her, anyway.

Upstairs, I opened the bottleplonk. After consuming most of the bottleplonk, and having consumed my penalty dinner of cheese and a banana, I gave Mrs. Flusher a call.

I had an idea. We’d never ever in our life taken money out of an ATM in Vegas for any reason whatsoever. Why not now?!

“Hello,” she said.

“Hi!” I said, brightly and clearly with excellent diction.

“Are you drunk?”

“Quad Queen,” I said, “I think its high time we did a test… to see if it works, in case of emergency, and also to see how ridiculous the fees are.”

“Take one hundred and that’s it. Play low volatility quarters ONLY, and hang on until the Four Queens.”

“You won’t regret this,” I said. But I probably would.

I knew just where the ATMs were. It was time to see just how much a degenerate I could be. It was exciting to be breaking new ground!

I stuck a credit card in the machine and fumbled around for a while. It wanted a PIN for cash withdrawals, which I didn’t have, apparently. I took another option and asked for $100.

The minimum for this kind of transaction was $200. Oh well, what’s a poor boy to do, alone and broke in Vegas. I punched up $200, vatched das blinkenlights for a bit, and finally, it spit out…. some paper. But not money.

I was to take the pieces of paper to the cage, it told me. So much for the automated part of the TM.

Fine, I weaved over to the cage and, hanging my head, handed the slips of paper over, along with my ID. The cashier looked everything over, then went away for a minute or so, to consult some magical orb he had back where all the cash was kept. He came back with some paperwork.

“Initial and sign,” he ordered, shoving the paper at me.

I started to look over the paper to confirm the amount and the cashier snapped at me.

“I said INITIAL HERE and SIGN HERE,” he said, jabbing the paper.

“yeah, I want to see how much it is actually for?” Sheesh.

Then I had to thumbprint the paper, like I was some kind of degenerate.

Then he had me perform a number of skill tests and trivia questions, followed by some interrogation to confirm that I was who I said I was. I also had to successfully answer the same questions you have to answer to become an American citizen.

Once we’d covered my medical history, I was given my $200 and a new passport.

The fee was $16 or something for the transaction. Then there would be fees charged by my bank. And there would be the exchange rate, and a fee for exchange. (The whole thing ended up costing me an additional $32 or something. I confirmed that, yes, I would get reamed up the ass sideways with no lube on this kind of a transaction. So from that standpoint, the evening thus far was a roaring success.)

I immediately left Mandalay Bay. I had a destination in mind… the juicy quarter progressive at Luxor.

I hauled ass over there and found the bank and… the progressive was at $1009. Fuck me, I’d just missed it. It must have been at $2600 or $2700 when it hit. The 9/5 Double Double Bonus game a positive game, and would have been for some time.

Fuck it, I found a seat and went at it. Can I just say, these machines were amongst the grimiest, dirtiest, stickiest machines I’ve ever played in Vegas? They were covered in the kind of crud I used to only see at certain downtown properties before they got spruced up and revamped. The buttons were actually sticking to my fingers.

The bank was right next to a very full bar, full of very loud drunk females that were shrill and loud and just make you want to claw your ears out. (How dare they have a good time when I was losing?! The nerve!) Well, let’s just say that if you got to party with these ladies, you’d probably be very loud and have a really, really good time. But if you just had to listen to it, the fun factor was dampened significantly.

I played $60 or so. I was dealt a mercy quad but played through it. Giving up on that, I headed for the High Bar. (Did I see a little wreath of flowers where the broken turbo-expensive bottle of tequila had been?)

I played about $40 and the casino financial model worked perfectly, in the sense that I contributed to the bottom line very efficiently.

Luxor was not being my friend. I headed back to Mandalay Bay. Played some, listened to Fake Sinatra, and got a few quads. The last one was deuces. No kicker. But I actually cashed out $100 and kept it.

I needed some admin money to get through the morning.

The only four Aces I would photograph today.

Royal Flusher: Day: $-700 Trip: $-3710

Jimmy Poon says: Enjoying the trip report so far? There are lots more here: Trip Report Index

Mopping and Sopping and Broke

Day 9 - Friday July 25, 2014

I’d left the curtains open the night before so that the sunrise would wake me early, and it did, about six. Why sleep when you could be in the casino losing?

Ablutions, Starbucks, cash the tickets.

I cashed the first ticket - $180 - and got all twenties. I figured I’d keep moving until I found a lucky machine.

What I can tell you is that the lucky machine must have been number eight, because the seven different machines that I tried ate up $180.

It all took less than an hour. Much less. How was I going to get through the day on a $500 bankroll at this rate???

I regrouped a bit in the suite and got a Tex from Kenny saying he was going down to the lobby for a coffee. I Texed back that I’d meet him there.

I hit the True Luxury coffee place and got a brew, and parked it, and thought about the Mandalay Bay elevators.

Mandalay Bay has the worst elevators I’ve ever encountered in a modern building. It just dawned on me that it had almost always been a negative experience. They each have a TV in them, blaring ads at top volume, distorted and grating. They take forever. They are often full. Sometimes you have to wait for quite a while to get one. It’s pretty much everything you don’t want in elevator service, save plummeting to one’s death in a sudden stop at the bottom of an elevator shaft littered with fast food wrappers and stained with grease. No, I had to admit upon reflection, that hadn’t happened yet. Perhaps the day was looking up, when compared to this elevatorial eventuality.

I Texed Kenny a few times and finally got a reply. I’d long missed him. He was too tired to wait. He was going to stay in his room and sleep.

Did he need anything? Was he okay? What could I do?

Just need to sleep, thanks, I’ll let you know if I need anything. And that was all he wrote.

Mentally I stroked through the list of great places we would have been visiting, like the Pinball Hall of Fame, Le Thai, Clark County Jail, and Pahrump. I was on my own again.

The buffet had been pretty good for breakfast, so I headed there again, this time on my own. I had a selection of things but disaster befell my half a bagel, which was perched on a couple of those little grey cream cheese containers, when the Eggman took my plate to put the freshly made omelette on it.

He fucked up and the half bagel did a one and a half gainer straight into the vat of liquid eggs.

“Savvy move, chef.”

The poor guy insisted he would go and get me another half bagel and made some half-hearted moves to desert his cooking station and go get one.

I let him off the hook and insisted it was no problem. I’d just go and get another one.

Full marks to the Eggman’s attitude. And I secretly enjoyed seeing the bagel take a dunking. It’s not an everyday occurrence, I think you would agree.

When you are down almost three large - correction - at that point, I WAS down over three large - you take pleasure in the small things.

One of the things in the plan was to hit the dollar full pay Jacks or Better machines in the high limit bar. I checked my seriously dwindling stash in the safe and found I was down to my last hundred. I left it there, and went down and cashed my second ticket from the previous night.

Then, a little walkabout to Luxor. I hadn’t been on the tram in years so I tried it out.

Took more time than it was worth, but I did get to look up the stately Luxor Sphincter’s nose. It reminded me of my own deviant septum.

It felt good to walk through the same good ole front doors into the good ole Luxor, the place of my Vegas initiation, and our favorite casino for years.

It’s much changed, but the Pyramid Cafe is still there, and the high limit bar, called, astonishingly, the High Bar, was easy to find. And sure enough, they still had dollar 9/6 Jacks at the bartops.

I gave it a go, hoping to get an hour or two of play in, and maybe trigger some teaser offers, like the one I’d gotten at Mandalay Bay. But really, that would be a very lucky occurrence, to last that long on 200 credits.

I played a little while but lost quickly and changed machines. Maybe a mid-morning drink would ease the tension… and that was easily achieved, with the bartender not 3 feet away.

He poured and served, and then turned his attention to wiping down the shelves upon which the super high-end alcohol was stored. This was the primo stuff and all of a sudden, there was the unmistakable but subdued sound of breaking glass.

In wiping the shelf, he’d bumped one bottle into another, and it had cracked down below. Premium tequila cascaded down the front of the bar cabinets in a white yellow torrent that smelled like money. And tequila.

My reaction was immediate.

“NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I screamed, and pretended to start crying.

The bartender coped with the carnage, mopping and sopping.

“Was that an expensive bottle?...” I asked meekly.


“Give me a straw.”

I managed to get Mrs. Flusher on Facetime and she played along with me for a while. But it was a losing endeavor, lasting not even as long as it took me to finish my drink. Two hundred twenty gone… (I’d degenerately taken one from almost the last of the tip money…) not even a quad. Perhaps the bar had been set to high at the High Bar.

I had played three different machines. Had two fulls house, no flushes. No straights. No quads.

Now what? I hightailed it out of there. On the way out I noticed a quarter progressive with the Royal up over $2500. Nice.

Too bad I had no usable money on me.

That moment when your day is clearly in the dumper. It just settles on you like a stinky cloak from the stinky basement of some place that’s musky and stinky and dark and dank.

I was pissed off. I had $100 left from my marker, earmarked for tips and admin expenses and no other cash on me at all.

I’d never been so broke for cash in Vegas, ever.