RSS findIndex trimsentences createcard



createItems and other JavaScript code

Item Render Code

    New Posts

    Sunday, June 16, 2024

    Banned from the ATM

    Day 8 Tue June 4, 2024 

    Time to go home. My plane was due to leave mid-afternoon, which made for a relaxing pack-up and prepare morning.

    When I checked in on Monday, the Premium seat upgrade was again available, this time for $145 USD. No-brainer.

    Mt. Risemore, just east of Pointy Point.

    I had managed to get by without another visit to the ATM but that meant minimal to no gambling on departure day. I kept to my word, playing a lone $20 at the Cal on my way to breakfast.

    I ordered my usual two over hard with sausage, hash browns, and wheat toast. 

    I suppose I could even re-use the same photo of breakfast over and over each day, it's always the same order.

    I took a Lyft to the airport, and surprisingly, and perhaps refreshingly, the driver stayed off the interstate, instead winding his way south down Las Vegas Blvd., then over to Paradise and into the airport.

    The plane would have left dead on time except one of the passengers was not feeling well, not feeling well at all - and it was decided to de-board them and deal with any potential medical issues in Vegas, instead of potentially having a problem mid-flight. I never found out what the issue was, but we were delayed for half an hour while they searched for their fluorescent lime green sparkling lit up luggage fitted with sirens and horns. Apparently it was a tough ask of the baggage Sheilas.

    We took off and I snapped a few pics here and there and I reflected on the trip over a large vodka rocks.

    Las Vegas creeping closer and closer to Red Rock.

    We got a menu for eats, which was nice, and for course I opted for the short ribs. They were really tasty but I swear there must have been but 2 ounces of beef.

    I'd had a pretty good time on this trip. It was much, much easier on my tattered soul than the last one, and I'd wrapped up the emo things I needed to deal with. Next time I come to Vegas I won't have nearly as much mental baggage.

    The gambling was frustrating. There weren't near enough wins to keep me even anywhere close to even. I had that $300 and some odd win on Buffalo, and that run on White Orchid for a similar amount, and of course the stars of the trip, the two back to back 5/5 video keno wins, totaling nearly $1000.

    But everything else was pretty much a losing slog. It's been a long, long time since I had a Royal. My last one was on day 2 six trips ago. I guess it's just the nature of the beast, gambling is volatile. Look at the difference just two spins on video keno made.

    Another one or two lucky spins like that on VP like a Shockwave hit, and I'm even on the trip.

    I never hit any kind of decent quad on Double Double Bonus, but I did get Pointies on Bonus Poker a couple of times.

    Fortunately, my out of pocket expenses for rooms and food were very reasonable. $160 or so at Park MGM for the room, and $100 for room and food at the Cal.

    I arrived in Toronto around 11:30 pm, breezed through customs, got to my car which passed the moment of truth and started right up, and I was home in bed in Flusherville by 3:00 am.

    Vegas still has unanswered questions for me - perhaps these videos can explain the glamour, the glitz, and the allure of high stakes quarter video keno play.

    The trip was an excellent diversion from being mired in all the chores that need doing at home and I felt revitalized and refreshed, if quite a bit lighter in the wallet.

    Maybe my daily bankroll just isn't enough to get to the good hands. I'll be thinking about how to change my approach for next time. I'm considering a split bankroll of so much per day for blackjack and craps, and so much per day for everything else. Again, I didn't play any table games, and I should. I used to spend hours each day at $5 blackjack and often made money or broke even. We'll see.

    A huge thank you for reading, and thank you to the loyal supporters who took care of me through PayPal and Ko-fi throughout the publication of this trip report.

    If you had a little diversion from your time at your particular size 7 grommet factory job, if you chuckled once or twice, if you did a spit take at my antics, how about throwing a cup of coffee or a wee donation my way?

    Till next time,


    Saturday, June 15, 2024

    The World's Largest Ken

    Day 7 Monday June 3, 2024 

    Another day in Vegas, and I was hoping to find some more luck as I had yesterday.

    The morning was a repeat of what I've been doing this trip - get up, make coffee, eat emergency nuts (which ran out), and write the blog.

    Feeling hungry, around 7:30 I went to the coffee shop for a proper breakfast.

    I never noticed this before.

    I ordered my usual two over hard with sausage, hash browns, and wheat toast. 

    I suppose I could even re-use the same photo of breakfast over and over each day, it's always the same order.

    After breakfast, I sat down at Pinchy and played quarter Jacks, as I figured I'd have the best chance at playing long enough to maybe hit a Royal, which is what I really needed at this point.

    The Royal proved elusive, and in a little less than an hour, I was down $100. Was it going to be that kind of day again?

    It seemed prudent to go on walkabout as I had a few stops to make. I hadn't been to El Cortez yet this trip, and I wanted to cash my Keno ticket in at the D. And I wanted to stock up on emergency nuts for morning snacking, and the trip home. And maybe, if things were going badly, I'd hit the ATM. Maybe.

    So off I went.

    They finally, finally made this stretch of street between Fremont and the Downtown Grand look like it's part of the Fremont Street Experience. It's 20 years overdue.

    One of the big attractions at the D is the World's Largest Ken.

    Barbie must be thrilled.

    I went up the outside escalator and cashed in my Keno winnings. $16. This time I just kept the money.

    At El Cortez, I reacted with dismay and disappointment. The stripification of the ElCo is complete. Gone are the 'colorful characters', in other words, the drugged out, homeless and desperate, or as I put it in the Gambling Games Slot Decathlon part 1 the silver miners, chippies, drop down artists, heads, sterno freaks, relief grunts, ‘mary jane’ huffers, hopped up joy poppers, swinging octogenarians, marshmallow goofball wave riders, power hitting moonshine mamas, six-way yellow lighters and red-eyed snaffle dapping zip snifflers. In is the heavy scent. Gone is the live Keno lounge and most of the Keno machines. Gone are the coin droppers. The alcove that had coin dropper full pay Bonus Poker and Double Double machines that the Quad Queen and I loved so dearly are gone and the area is now a high limit area. Gone is the $5 blackjack. Minimums were $15 on a Monday morning.

    Relics from another era. A better era, if you ask me.

    I dropped a bunch of money playing video Keno and won nothing.

    Keep it classy, El Cortez!

    I walked through the place and when I got to the area at the north end, the one that you go down a few steps to? The one that used to have rows and rows and rows of busy coin-dropper VP machines like those Deuces machines that paid 2000 for Deuces? Gone. All gone. It's airy and open and empty and sprinkled lightly with the lastest annoying video slots that return 86%.

    I don't feel that I will ever bother going to the El Cortez again. Nothing of what made it special to me remains. It's just another fleece joint filled with penny slots and automated craps installations yelling "PUSH THE BUTTON" at me.

    Walgreens provided an assortment of packages of emergency nuts, so that was done.

    I decided to tough it out and not go to the ATM. I'd rethink the decision 100 times in the coming hours, weighing experiences I could have versus money I would likely lose.

    Next stop was Plaza, where I planned to use the 9x points I'd generated the other day for slot play. And I'd feed a few twenties into White Orchid and probably win a boatload.

    I did get a bonus or two and ran the machine up to $110 after feeding it $60. I blew it all back looking for more. A quick flip on full pay Boner Deluxe yielded nothing. Have I completely lost my video poker mojo???

    I left, forgetting to use up my points.

    A break in the room ensued, and when it was brunch time, I headed over to Main Street Station to use my meal book for a buffet again.

    At the Cal, only one of the three elevators is working. It was like that for my entire stay and I never saw anyone working on the broken ones. It gave me lots of time to look out the window at the temperature atop Binions.

    Find the pool!

    At the buffet cashier, it was Nope, five dollars extra this time. I was confused. No, it's just on weekends, I was told. Otherwise you pay extra with your meal book coupons.

    Oddly, the signs posted back at the Cal, and at the buffet don't mention this. Maybe they just put out the signs when they feel like it?

    I paid, and this time the buffet was very meh. The things I sampled were just not very good. Some pulled pork was okay enough to fill the gap.


    For gambling, I still had some money left from my video Keno wins the day before, but if things continued to go badly I didn't think it would be enough to keep the action going. So I continued the mental skirmish - do I make another trip to the ATM or not? Did I really want to be stuck on my last night in Vegas with nothing to do?

    I played another $100 around Main Street and hit absolutely nothing. I had $100 in reserve for the evening, and that was it.

    I went to my room and wasted time. For hours. Time went on and I finally decided to drink the last of my duty free vodka and then go get some grub. It was pushing eight o'clock, eleven on my body clock, which was still on Eastern time pretty much.

    At the Cal coffee shop, there was a sign up saying they were closing at eight for cleaning. It was 7:45. I talked my way in, promising to eat quickly.

    My order was the chicken fingers. They were super salty but still pretty tasty.

    After eating, I found myself outside Redwood. It was time to take care of the 1000th gut-wrenching heart-aching task of the last 2 years. There were only a couple of people left to talk to who knew Karen and I as a couple. One of them was Grace, but I hadn't seen her around. Other than Grace, there was only Hilario left to tell the sad news to.

    I went in to talk to Hilario, the waiter that had always taken care of the Quad Queen and I. He probably served us 15 or 20 times over the years, and we had so many wonderful meals there. It was always such an enjoyable bright spot of our trips together.

    Steeling myself, because I knew how difficult this was going to be, I asked for Hilario. Yes, he was working, yes he'd be right over.

    And then all of a sudden, there was Beatriz, a server I've known since the Pasta Pirate days. I hadn't seen her since the start of the pandemic and thought she'd moved on. So Beatriz gave me a huge hug and claimed gut-wrenching task number 1000.

    Hilario appeared and, well, I'll let you read between the lines. I choked out what had happened as best I could. He was gracious, and caring, and very emotional. He really understood how difficult it was. Task 1001 done.

    I tried to pull myself together as I left the restaurant and immediately ran into task 1002, the last gut-wrenching task recipient. Grace was right there.

    She asked where Karen was and by the look on my face knew immediately that it was bad, really bad news.

    What lovely souls we've been so blessed to meet in our times in Las Vegas.

    Feeling wrung out, I headed for the bar and consumed a couple of large Maker's rocks, getting me officially drunk.

    There's actually more emo-blogging I could do about a woman at the bar who ended up having a conversation with me about everything, but... this is enough.

    These experiences are incredibly difficult, but cathartic and part of the grieving process. And they are all taken care of now. The next time I come to the Cal, I won't have any more rickety emotional bridges to cross, and hopefully will have just fond memories of Karen and I living it up, laughing it up, and being treated like Kings and Queens.

    Friday, June 14, 2024

    Manny VIP Rock Star!

    Day 6 Sun June 2, 2024 

    I had a terrible night, I'm broke, my ankle hurts, I'm tired of losing, I'm tired of not getting quads, and I'm tired of not hitting 5 out of 5s.

    It took me a while to get to feeling human again. In-room cheap bastard coffee, some emergency nuts and pilfered peanut butter, and a reallllllllllllly long shower did the trick.

    It occurred to me that I've been using the Portable Beaker without the top on. I know just how much water to put in to make a cup in my travel mug, and I could save on weight and room by leaving the top at home. I could also find a shorter power cord and save 83.391 grams of weight that way. You'd think I was going to the moon, but it's just Las Vegas. (I actually have been to the moon - see the Apollo Yo-Leven trip report.)

    My blogging got done and I headed over to Main Street Station to have buffet for breakfast. Getting those buffets comped makes me so happy!

    And, as I got moving, I noticed that the ankle wasn't really holding me back as much (and it would continue to improve through the day).

    Here's a great piece of news, if you have a very odd view of what is of import in the world, but I was thrilled to see that Manny is back at the omelette station at the Main Street Station buffet!

    I greeted him with, "Hello Rock Star, you VIP! I was just thinking about you!"

    I think it threw him a little bit, but he made me one hell of an omelette. I added some 'taters O'Brien, a teeny country fried steak, and a purge of Country Throw-up Gravy.

    It was all delicious, and I went back and got a waffle and a couple of unlinked sausage links. And then I had a piece of coconut creme pie. I thought it was the banana creme, which I've been obsessing over, but they changed it up and BAM I got hit in the coconuts. And it was gooooooooood.

    There was still a hundred dollar bill in my gambling wallet, so I broke it into 20s and started the day's work, swearing to myself I would keep it to low volatility quarter action only. No crazy slots, no seventeen-play Ultimate Super Slutty Double Spin Jack Handy Deuces Wild and Crazy Flying Flashing Flipping Fucking Multiplier video poker. What I really needed was a nice, little single line Royal Flush.

    I did give the Loose Doose a shot, and it played very nicely for about 25 minutes on $20. Sadly, the ducks failed to flock.

    But hey, they did show up on Bonus Poker.

    Back at the Cal, a couple of machines later, the inevitable became the evitable, and I went on walkabout, or limpabout. Destination, the Bank of America ATM.

    Fortunately, Vegas had cooled off - it was only 96F out.

    Once again my walk took me by the Four Queens and... I faced up to the 999th gut-wrenching heart-aching task of the last 2 years. I went in and had a talk with Mike (who some know as Jersey Mike) about my wife's battle with ALS and ultimate death. It turned out he had heard the sad news, something that I suspected was probably the case.

    For some reason, telling people that cared about her about these things is incredibly difficult.

    In the end, duty was done. It was a blubber-fest on my part and Mike was also moved, but handled everything gracefully. Sixteen hugs and nine fancy handshakes later, I was on my way to the ATM, trying not to completely lose it out on the street.

    The little red card and my trusty PIN (1 2 3 ... 4, which is also the combination to my luggage) worked its financial magic and my wallet was festooned with greasy, beautiful hundred dollar bills.

    Mentally, I thought about that I should really make sure this lasted through till the end of the trip. And is there any other way to think, but mentally? In one's head? I think not!

    Next stop, The D, to cash in a losing Keno ticket and buy another losing Keno ticket!

    My expectations were low. Having monitored the results, I expected maybe $20 out of the thing. To my pleasant surprise, the ticket came in at $57 and change.

    Awesome! I cobbled together a plan and this time, I used the ole mental noggin. I picked five numbers, and then looked them up in the kenocloud site, which keeps a record of the last 1000 games. The numbers had not hit for three days. The odds of hitting 5 out of 5 numbers is 1 in 1,551. Those puppies were due!

    Using the handy calculator app in my piPhone 3.14, I found that 172 games at 40 cents a game (the Deano rate) added up to exactly $57.60, what I'd won on the previous ticket. It was a lock. I'd probably hit three or four $400 jackpots. Yeah, that's the ticket! All I had to do was wait, and then come back and collect.

    As I strolled confidently back to the Cal, I realized I wasn't noticing my ankle much. That was a relief. I really didn't know if this was going to be a 2 day or a 6 week thing. I need my ankle! It keeps my foot on!

    I still have this burning desire to hit a Shockwave quad for $1000. Someday, it'll happen. I fed it a couple of twenties and I did have a shot at it.

    So, after hitting four twos, you have 10 games to hit another quad for $1000. But what's the strategy? It's an interesting problem, if you like boring problems.

    For example, suppose you are dealt two pairs? It's a no-brainer - just keep one of them. (The correct one.)

    But what if you are dealt three to a straight flush, contiguous? Straights flush on this game pay double - 500 credits. If you don't go for the straight flush, what do you hold? And what about three to a Royal? If you keep it, you eliminate the possibility of a quad.

    If you're dealt two high cards, normally you'd keep them both. But that really narrows the possibility of getting the $1000 quad. I say you pick just one.

    And finally, what if you are dealt RAZGU? That is, a completely useless hand, like 2, 4, 6, 7, 10 in mixed suits? The Quad Queen and I would have arguments over hands like this. My take on it is that keeping one of the cards was a better choice than throwing them all away, as you have one of four needed cards for the quad. If you toss them, you are counting on a quad on the re-deal. Both very, very slim possibilities but with $1000 at stake, you want to get the best chance you can.

    I created a user-defined game in the piPhone WinPoker app that pays 4000 for a quad, and the rest of the paytable is the standard Shockwave one. And it shows for the RAZGU hand, you are slightly better off keeping a card, typically one in the middle of the range, because of more straight possibilities.

    In spite of all this thinkology, I failed yet again to get the $1000.

    When the credits ran out, I moved to the machine next to the Shockwave one to try some video Keno.

    Finally, finally, I hit a 5 out of 5!


    I wasn't a complete and total loser for the entire week in Vegas! For this small sliver of a day, I was a winner!!!!!!!!!1

    As the Quad Queen would do, I muttered out loud, "Now... get it again."


    I was shocked.

    Holy crap.

    I did.

    I did get it again... on the very next spin!

    After all the thrashing about all week, I hit 5 out of 5 on back to back spins!

    All of a sudden, things looked different. Visions of a comeback seemed possible. If I could win $1000, I could win a second $1000. It was possible.

    I got my cash and headed back up to the room to figure out my next move and take a break.

    How many of you have enjoyed that smug feeling as you head up to your room in the elevator with a stash of hundies hidden away, not letting on that in your head you're screaming with delight, walked calming down the hallway, even though you feel like skipping, and then as soon as the door closes and you're in your room, letting out a YIP! or a YAHOO! and pumping your fist in the air, or jumping for joy, or doing whatever celebratory dance you do?

    What a great feeling, and that in large part is why I keep coming back to Vegas.

    After some chill out time, I formulated a plan. I'd do something I've never done before - buy back my marker. And I'd stretch the rest of the cash I had on hand to make it last for the rest of the trip. No more walks of shame.

    And that's what I did.

    Then I played various quarter video poker games around Main Street out of my budgeted cash. But back to normal, now, I guess, nothing was hitting. Main Street is just not the way it used to be. So many of the fun machines are gone. Why must this happen in every casino I love???

    Back in the room, I chilled for a long while, took a nap, and felt great. When dinner time rolled around, all I could think about was pie, so I headed back to the buffet - but it was closed. Sunday night and the buffet is closed. I dunno.

    Schlep back to the Cal, and I had the Hawaiian Hamburger Steak. Delicious as always even though it looks like crap - I think it's the fault of the onions. I forgot to order fries instead of rice, so they came later on a side plate. They were super hot, fresh, right out of the fry basket - fries just don't get any better than that.

    I had forty bucks left of my day's revised stake, so I spent it on video Keno, 5 spots marked, a quarter a game. I hit 4 out of 5 a few times, but never the jackpot. It would have been nice to haul in 838 more quarters, but I couldn't complain.

    It was another great day in Vegas.

    Trip Reports

    More Trip Reports