Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Stand Up Against Scrunching





Day 10 Monday Nov 3, 2014 - part 1

There have been a couple of times in this trip where we've pushed the boundaries of 'how much are you willing to lose in a day'.

Like yesterday.

The Quad Queen went in the hole $800 on the jacks and by noon she was down about $1000.

"Where are you going?" I'd said.

"I'm going to the brown envelope in the safe."

"And why are you going to the brown envelope in the safe?"

"To get more hundred dollar bills. For my stake. For the day."

"How much are you going to take?"

"I figured a thousand. I need to have extra on me or I don't feel 'comfortable'."

The discussion circled around 'if you could lose $2000 in one day, you could lose $2000 every day and we could lose all our winnings' versus 'it'll come back, it's an anomaly to go down $800 like that, trust the math, trust our experience'.

We went back and forth and back and forth on this. We both had a point. And the upshot of it was that we viewed the flow of money in the trip differently. She saw it much more longer term than I did, and didn't sweat the ups and downs. But I saw each day as a brick in the road, signposting its way to ultimate success or disaster. I wanted a winning trip. I wanted my fucking money from my last losing trip back.

Because that, would eradicate me being a loser.

What could have become an ugly Glossette Raisin-throwing full-on blow-out knock down drag out fight up in the Rush Tower became a minor argument, and a realization that we both see these trips differently, and we both have different goals.

In the end, I said okay, take more stake, let's see what happens. And thank God she'd done well at the Luxor. Because I never ever wanted either of us to lose $2000 in a day. To me, that was crazy stupid.

Fortunately, we'd dodged that bullet, and started our week with difficult Monday morning work - playing quarter triple play at the Nugget.


At some point we moved on to the sports book bar - and found it was closed.

How can you close a bar in Vegas?!

The men in the blue shirts were there and they had all the bartop machines opened up with their guts spilling mechanically all over the place.

What were they up to? It's usually not a good thing when the machines are open and the blue shirted men are hovering around looking stern. On the other hand, what were they going to do, further gut the short-pay bar paytables?

Maybe they were going to fix the scrunchy screens at the Nugget!

I haven't mentioned this before much, but the Nugget has new improved changes to their slot club (meaning less cash back). The difference is, cash back earned can be played directly onto the machines using their slick new player interface, instead of having to get a paper check from the slot club to cash at the end of your stay.

Here's where it gets weird though. When you put your players card in a machine, a panel opens at the bottom showing the player interface.

And you can't get rid of it or hide it.

On the bartops they have with an already too wide aspect ratio for the old VP games, the entire game is scrunched up even further to the point that the cards look almost square.
Player's eye view of scrunched Nugget cards.
It's pretty vile, for a first world problem. Play square cards???!!!

It actually made it kind of hard to play for the first while, but I'm sad to say I kind of got used to it, which reduces the integrity of my whining, bitching, pissing and moaning about the situation. That still doesn't change the principle of the thing - Stand Up Against Scrunching!!!!

Anyway, I buttonholed Johnny Blueshirt (who looked suspiciously like Jimmy Poon's Vegas doppelganger) and said, "Hey, you changing the paytables on these games?"

He hesitated.

"Not really..."

I narrowed my eyes at him.

"We'll see about that," I said.

I'd shown Johnny Blueshirt just who he was dealing with. Indeed, we'd see about that - later.

We went to another bar where I could get a cup of video coffee and played. I decided to go for some high volatility quarters, just to see if I could get a big kicker hand. Just took my time, plunked away, sipped my coffee. Like that.
Kicker, doesn't matter on this game. See how square those cards are? Vile!

By the time we were out of there I was down a couple of hundred on the day.

Nothing to worry about. We headed over to the Four Queens to do our $10K dollar Jacks stint. I had a big cushion on the trip. Wasn't pushing it. Just relaxed, taking it easy, coast this mother home. Why should I worry? Like that.

Magnolia's fed me another great omelette with the Super Secret Spanish Sauce du Luxe, hash browns, sausage patties this time, no meat sticks.

And then I settled in to play the Jacks. The Quad Queen was off somewhere doing something else.

My first hundred went pretty quickly. I switched machines and my second hundred played down a bit and then I was dealt four 7s. And then worked the machine up to around $240. It was going to be fine, it was going to be an easy session. I'd just sit back, take it easy, enjoy the ride, maybe win a few hundred, maybe lose a couple hundred. Hey, maybe get a royal, who knew? Like that.

The Quad Queen arrived and I'd done about 300 of my needed 1200 points for the day. The dollar credits in my machine swiftly and almost immediately plummeted to zero.

She lost about $400 on the Jacks and given the beating she'd been taking for the past 5 days of this, she'd had enough. She went to play lower volatility penny hundred-play and urged me to do the same.

"No, I'm going to stick it out," I said.

Famous last words. You stick it out, it might get cut off and leave you with a Hemingway Short Story.

I played another hundred. And another. And another. And another.

It was brutal. A total fucking debacle.

On my last four $100 bills, I got around 40 points. At $8 a point, that's $320. That is 64 hands.

I changed machines every time, I whispered sweet nothings, I played fast, I played slow. Nothing changed. I couldn't get a fucking thing.

I ended up dropping $900 on Jacks. I had only half the coin-in I needed for the day. So $5000 coin in played, lost $900. That's a payback slightly above 80%.

There were a number of problems here. One, I was spitting nails angry. Two, I'd gone on complete tilt. Three, I was down the most I'd ever been down in a day, $1100. Four, I had no more stake on me whatsoever. In fact, I'd borrowed $200 from the Quad Queen. Five, I'd completely blown up the Jacks play, and a good portion of my winnings. Was it all folly? Six, trust WHAT fucking math???

I needed to win $1000 and I needed to win it NOW. I borrowed $20 from Mrs. Flusher and sat down beside her.

"Guess I let my guard down," I said.

"What are you going to do now?" she asked.

"Well, I need $1000. This machine has Shockwave poker on it. You get one quad, it goes into Shockwave mode. Get a second quad in 10 hands and you get $1000. I'm going to do that."



Sixty dollars later I didn't have even a single quad, and I was busted for the day.

I bitterly pondered the fact that the other side of the savvy gambler coin says degenerate gambler, along with a picture of a buffalo, and the date 1983. And my savvy coin had flipped.

Where Losers go.



1 comment:

  1. OMG the scrunched screens at the Golden Nugget are super annoying! Who the hell designed that system and didn't think to include a "minimize" button to make the menu go away? It's irritating as heck on ALL of the video poker machines, and especially on the wide-screen AVPs at the beer bar.

    We noticed a week or so after your trip that the video poker machines at the sports book bar were all changed to have $0.50 as the lowest denomination. No thank you.

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