Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Downtown Grand - Video Poker Paytable Makeover!

Like many of you, I was very excited with the opening of the Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino last October, thrilled to see new life breathed into the old Lady Lunch Hotel & Greasino. We were there on opening night and it was clear that they'd done a bang-up job. Great staff, good looking remodel, great bar and great VP paytables everywhere. We couldn't have been happier.

And then came the Great Unraveling - just three days later, the paytables were gutted. No more 8/5 Bonus Poker. Double Double progressive set to 7/5. And on like that.

It made no sense and word got out fast. I did my part to try to get the suits there to see the error of their ways including posting on the blog, twitter, posting on their facebook page, talking to my host, and even talking to the floor shift manager last trip.

Since that time the Grand has been in a slow spiral, with the casino business sparse at best. They tried to be what they wanted to be instead of providing what the downtown customer wants (and can get in spades just 2 minutes away at the D, Four Queens and the Fremont.)

Well I am happy to tell you that the Downtown Grand has Seen the Light and restored playable video poker to the casino!

There is widely available full pay 8/5 Bonus Poker in quarters, 50 cents and dollars throughout the casino. Ditto for 9/6 Double Double Bonus, and 8/6 Boner Deluxe. These games are available at the bar as well and include $2 denominations there, if you really want to take a run at it.

The Double Double progressive has been restored to 8/5.

Of course, advantage players - and I am NOT smart enough to be one - won't be interested. But

There is no equivalent for the super juicy plays to be found elsewhere (such as Four Queens' 9/6 DDB progressive and 10/7 Double Bonus machines, or the D's ridiculous 101.7% payback nickel Deuces machine) but this is wonderful news for savvy tourist degenerates like me who ask only for good food, good gamble, good whiskey. (Now, whoever had that idea first?)
Besides, they have great coffee in the morning.

Along the same lines, they have lowered their craps game limit to $5 and continue to offer five buck 3:2 black jack. What's not to like?

Way to go, Downtown Grand!

Update - read more about the Downtown Grand's ongoing changes and improvements from our friends at Vital Vegas!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Caesars Magical Screw You Peons Empire

Tuesday October 15, 2002

The last day of my solo $19 a night Vegas trip.

I started the day with the breakfast buffet.

Filling my gob the Caesars Palace way.

It cost $14.99 but it was good. They had all kinds of fresh fruits out, breads, hot selections, and of course, the omelette station.

Fully fueled up, I did some gambling. I hit a winning streak. Then I hit a losing streak. Then I got four Kings on Barge Bonus, and then four more kings on 9/6 quarters. I had a nice $70 profit.

Thought I would give roulette a spin but $20 wheeled away in no time. And then somehow I lost $60 on multiplay deuces.

I’d played for about an hour and a half though, only losing $40 when it was all said and done.

With my room offer at Caesars was a free ticket to Caesars Magical Empire (which I suspected was just south of Caesars Magical Toga Waistband.) In any case, putting the questionable sexual proclivities of the whole Caesars/Rome thing aside, I went to check out the venue.

That’s when I realized that my ticket was for a late showing. In fact… I’d be on the plane by then.

But wait! There was an earlier show!

So I went and talked to the boothling at the desk about my predicament. Do you think I was met with any kind of understanding or helpful attitude?

Not on your lion-fodder life.

The bitch would not change my tickets for an earlier show, even though it they were free. It didn’t even matter that I wasn’t going to use one of them (I had two). I was pretty pissed off, needless to say. I aquaduct out of there and headed up to the room to pack.

At check-out, I got talking to the Brazilian ‘line guy’ at registration. His job, I think, is to ‘facilitate’ the line. He was the perfect guy in the perfect job. Sometimes you just meet people that are like that.
We got talking and he said he was a music therapist and was impressed that I chose to go on vacation after getting laid off.

In return I told him I was impressed that he’d let me dump my entire life story on him.

I got some pictures and did a free pull and lost.

Then, having a moment of inspiration, I decided to make a deposit into the future karma bank. I strolled back to Caesars Magical Screw You Peons Empire, found some people in line to buy tickets… and gave them mine.

One last gasp at reaming out Caesar, as it were, was at the barge and it was a no go, mo fo. Lots of woe, tho’.
It was time to leave the strip and engage on the final act of cheapness of the trip, one that I was pretty proud of. I took the free shuttle to the Hard Rock Hotel from the valet area of the Forum shops, where I hung around playing 9/6 Jacks and ogling the cocktail waitresses while waiting for my plane.
I switched to Bonus Poker just in time to hit two quick quads, which was nice.
Did some shopping, made a webcam appearance for the guys at the plant, and lost my money back afterwards.

One of the great things about playing at the Hard Rock is always the music. They know what they’re doing in that department. Some personal favorites of mine were played and it was a nice ol’ rocking time. Hendrix’ Wild Thing (the Monterey Pop version), Jackson Browne, Doctor My Eyes, Guess Who with No Time, I’ve Got You by Split Enz… a wide variety of rock and tasty pop.

Had a late lunch/early supper at Mr. Lucky’s. I had a free dessert coupon that came with the slot club sign-up. Had a 12oz. New York steak (beef for a change?!), salad, fries. It was very good, actually. The steak was an inch thick, cooked to perfection.

For the free dessert, I chose home made cheesecake with strawberries. All in all, it was an excellent last Vegas meal and, my notes specify, my server Carmel was ‘very nice!’.

And that’s the end of my solo trip.

My notes have a complete list of everything I spent on expenses (food, tips, etc.). The grand total was $448 out of pocket.

Not bad for six days in Vegas!

The gambling results, I lost $143.
I still have the Hard Rock Casino dice.
So total, total, total was a little less than $600 out of pocket and the flight was on points.

As you can see, I really had a low gambling budget for this trip. It was a time when full pay video poker was still easily found on the strip, and free rooms and some meal comps came easily. Sadly, those days are long, long gone.

Can you imagine getting that Caesars offer today on an hour or two a day of quarter video poker play, on full pay machines?

The Flusher never had it so good, back in the days of Vintage Las Vegas.