Friday, April 19, 2019

It's Not Over Until Keno Says It Is

When is a finished Vegas trip not finished? When there's still action! White hot 5 cent a game live Keno action at the D!

It really was a fine trip, nice and long, with some really lucky wins happening in week 2. I thought back fondly on getting the Loose Doose twice in 10 minutes, including on the redeal, on the Quad Queen's royal flush, and hitting the Shockwave quad for $1000, and on getting some ridiculously unearned out-of-the-blue video keno hits.

Stashed away in the back of my memory place, tucked between the memory place storage of things I forgot to buy at Costco even though I went to Costco specifically for those things, and the memory place storage of 69 cent a litre gasoline I bought once, was the fact that I had a Keno ticket.

A beautiful, 500 game, Candyman keno ticket that was so far unchecked.

And as long as I didn't check it, in my happy hopes place (just down the aisle from the potholed memory place) I could think that yes, it probably was a big winner!

I let this go on for that whole first week back, savoring the thought of that keno ticket, letting the Candyman sweeten my thoughts like a slowly dissolving brain peppermint. (My happy hopes place also harbored the distant thought that at some point I might become a competent writer, that I might write similes as beauty as corn paper atmospheric.)

Well all that fancy wordshit is well and good - but I know you want to know what I wanted to know, and right now, dammit, how much did that $75 keno ticket pay back??!!!!

I really kind of hated to call, because even though I was shlepping through work days, I was sort of still on the Vegas trip.

Of course, finally, I gave in, like a virgin simile, giving in to a champion metaphor's advances.

So how do you check a keno ticket at a distance? It's actually very easy. You find an 800 number for the casino, and you call it.

As soon as someone answers, you just repeat, "KENO DESK KENO DESK KENO DESK!" until they either transfer you to someone else, in which case you shout, "KENO DESK KENO DESK KENO DESK KENO DESK", or maybe, you get the Keno desk.

At that point, the Keno Sheila answers and you say, "Uhh... I wanna.... uhh... checkuh tickit?"

Every keno ticket has some sort of identification number on it and in the case of the D, it's labeled as a 'serial number'.

So, I simply provided the magic serial number to the Keno Sheila and waited...

And I got the last set of tingly winglies of the trip - that little bit of suspension, the chasm where time stops and you hang between what could be, and what you fear will be.

Should I hope? It's probably nothing. I might win big, then I can go back to Vegas and blow it all! I only bet 15 cents a game, and keno sucks, it's probably nothing. I might have won on multiple games! It's probably nothing. ANYTHING can happen! Nothing's gonna happen.

And then... and then... and THEN...

... along came Jones.


And then... "Seven dollars and seventy cents."

I could barely contain my non-existent fake excitement. A 10.26% return on my $75 investment

"Thanks for the life-changing news, Keno Sheila."

She chuckled. "You're welcome. Thanks for playing at the D."

And then the trip was really, truly and finally done.

I don't have another trip planned. Nope.

And it's killing me!

I'm like... I've been good, I've worked hard slaving for the Man at Royal Canadian Veeblefetzer, it's been such a longggg time since I was in Vegas, I'm justified in poking around at offers and airfares, right? And I have a stake when I get there - $7.70 to win a fortune with, right?

Then I realize it's been 3 weeks and 5 days since we returned home.

It's no longer Shut Up and Deal, it's Shut Up and Work.

How long can I last?

You'll be the first to know.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Funk #49

At age 13, I gamed the system at Flusherville High's Monte Carlo night to make sure I had enough fake dollars to get something of real value - a James Gang album, James Gang Rides Again.

At the end of the night, you could bid on prizes with your fake dollars. I realized that the kids with most of the dollars would be grabbing prizes early, picking off the primo stuff. There was no point in bidding against them. I had no chance at the top prizes.

Meanwhile, other kids were pooling their money, so they'd have enough to clobber a prize out, which I presume they would later fight over.  I rejected all offers to join in, and sat back. Once they'd overpaid for the top-middle prizes, I had the biggest dollar stack of the rest of the bunch.

Now I could get two or three middling things, including a 12" vinyl LP record, featuring Funk #49, a guitar jam staple.

(Funnily enough, I only found out this year that the guitarist in the James Gang was none other than Joe Walsh of the Eagles, and of, well, Joe Walsh.)

If you just apply a little thought to a gambling situation be it a tournament, a promotion, a game, a slot machine, and ask yourself some common sense questions, you can almost always find a strategy that gives you more.

So, there we were, everything pretty much under control. The night before, we'd checked in for our flight and upgraded to Rouge Plus, which meant I'd be able to get some sleep. We'd be plied with drinks, and a hot breakfast before landing.

I'd booked the room through Saturday night so we'd have it right until departure for the airport at 9:30 or so.

I hate, just hate, leaving the casino that final time. We pulled our bags out by the north entrance, leaving Mrs. F in charge of them, and I retrieved the car from Valet.

Avis had pinged my app with a new thing to try - curbside service. For $25, when you arrived at the McCarran Rental Car Facility, you were to put your flashers on. Someone would then chauffeur you, in your rental car, along with all your crap, to the terminal. You hop out, and wave bye bye to the rental car.

Twenty five bucks for that????

I'll do it!

So I signed up but when we got to the airport, the man with the scanning laser tricorder dealy said there was nobody to drive us. He'd take the $25 off the bill. So much for that experience. (More on this later.)

At the airport, security was jammed, but with PreCheck, we sailed through. Duty free? Yup. (In which I made a fatal error, grabbing Bulleit Rye instead of Bourbon. Who knew they made rye?) Last chance video poker? Yup.

After a few twenties, I had to throw in the towel.

No $1000 Aces Kicker at the airport.

No Royal on this trip for me at all.

The red eye flight was fine, and the upgrade got us into the Maple Leaf Lounge. A couple of hours later, we were back home. After a couple of hours sleep, it was time to hit the road for the Left B-Hind Kennels and Driving Range (featuring moving targets) to pick up Chippy.

My God this trip report is ending with a whimper. Is it over? I guess it is - except for one thing.

Astute and loyal readers (or any traveller for that matter) know that getting a refund out of Air FU Canada is next to impossible. You fill out a form and if you're lucky, it gets sorted in 8-10 weeks.

Well, sitting on the plane, pre-takeoff, I fired off a note to Avis on their web site about the unavailable curbside service. It hadn't been taken off our bill at all.

Less than 24 hours later, I had a response, a heartfelt form-letter apology, and the promise of an immediate refund, and 12 hours after that, I had the refund.

AVIS, YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is the way it should be. What a difference from so many other companies!

Next order of business, huge thank you to Steven F. who just made a wicked donation. The registrations for the domain names and all the crap that comes with it is being renewed, so Steven F. has just helped ensure that more goofy posts will be coming your way throughout the next year.

Finally, the comps!

Yeah, this trip was again a pretty bad loser. The first week was grim, but we hit our stride in week two and I dare say we came close to breaking even or even gaining ground, thanks to three $1000 or so days by the Quad Queen and one by me.

Comp Amount Notes
Mandalay Bay 3 nights $800
Mandalay Bay Free play $50
Mandalay Bay Resort Credit $50
El Cortez 2 nights $140 $50 a night as booked, $20 resort fee
El Cortez food $35
El Cortez Free Play $20
Cal 4 nights $500 Weekend. March Madness
Cal Free Play $50
Cal Food $320 $40 a day per person
Wynn 3 nights $600 $129 casino rate $40, taxes
Ellis Island Free Play $40
Luxor 1 night $120
Luxor Free Play $50
Luxor Resort Credit $100
Main Street 2 nights $300 Weekend. March Madness
Main Street Free Play $30
Main Street Food $160 $40 a day per person
Boyd Spins $45 Cash value of 45,000 points won
Binions Free Play $30
Four Queens Free Play $20
Four Queens Food $120 Comp Dollars
Four Queens Cash Back $80
The D Free Play $5
LVA Free/Match Play $100
Comped Liquor$3,000 Nice try, Royal. J.P.

That's a pretty solid set of comps, including some premium (Wynn), and some very nice (Mandalay Bay) rooms.

My Playground

Overall we lost an average of $150 per person-day of gambling. Over a two week trip, that's not too bad. Once again, Las Vegas' unique method of billing for room, food and beverage has worked out very well.

I was pretty shocked that blackjack went as badly as it went. I've done very well the last 5 or 6 trips and intended to play it for about half my time. That went out the window. I was shocked to win at video keno overall, and super shocked to get the Loose Doose from one, and five minutes later again on the redeal. Kind of makes up for the loss of the Downtown Deuces.

This was one of the best vacations we've ever been on. Because it was a really long trip, we were able to just relax and not worry about the clock ticking down. We stayed healthy and got home safely. The Left B-Hind said that when Chippy had issues, some pumpkin "plugged her up real good".

Pumpkin. I guess I did learn something new after all.

When's the next trip? I don't know. But I ain't done yet, even after all these years.

Keep your eyes open - you never know when you might spot a lucky Flusher business card.


Friday, March 29, 2019

Playing with Dr. John

You know what's savvy? Playing 5 quarters found in a pocket in a coin-dropper Treasure Chest machine and getting a quad on it. And then picking a 180 quarter chest.

Before I continue with the trip report, I want to take a quick time out to recognize some of the great folks out there.

First of all, I'd like to thank the people that donated to support my habit the blog. There are real out-of-pocket costs to this, and of course, the time it takes Jimmy Poon to do the tech stuff and ghost-write all the posts. But two people donated $100!!!! You guys are AMAZING.

Thank you, thank you, thank you so very much to:
  • P. E.
  • Pete G.
  • Casey
  • Bobby G
  • Chris M.
  • Timothy
  • T. Hook
I'd also like to thank you for reading the blog, for engaging with cool questions and helpful hints, for sharing posts and tweets, and for clicking the like button. It's also great fun to meet some of you in person, I met some great folks this trip.

OK, onward.

The Quad Queen was on a roll, chuffed after her 10-play success.

All trip long, as usual, we'd seen luck move from one person to the other. I have no explanation for this. For a while I could do no wrong, and QQ couldn't hit anything. Now, it seemed like she had the gambling stick, as it were.

Sometimes we both lose, and rarely, we both win at the same time. But usually it's one or the other.

The Binion's money I'd won, plus the Four Queens Jacks money had lasted me all day. It was nice to play that long on a $120 stake. But I was even, and it was time to either win, or lose.

I finished packing for the most part (meaning that when we came back to the room later, with 30 minutes to go before departure, I'd be panicking, trying to cram everything into my carryon). It's always like this.

Blog done and posted, shower and shave done, I headed down to join Mrs. F. in the Main Street Station casino.

We headed to the bar to play some Jacks, but there was only one spot available. The Quad Queen really wanted to get back to multiplay, so she let me have it.

I put a ticket in that had $8.75 on it or something and pulled up the 9/6 Jacks. I heard a voice beside me say something.

"You going to use the Strict Rules of Parlay?"

What the hell?!

"I sure am," I said, "I wish I had a way of remembering the rules, though."

The guy next to me took out his wallet and pulled out an Official Royal Flusher Business Card v 2.0.

I took out my wallet and pulled one out from the stash I keep there.

"Trade you," I said.

We traded cards, shook hands, and the gent turned out to be none other than Dr. John.


And not the poser, phoney piano playing Dr. John, the real Dr. John.

It turns out that John is a huge supporter of the blog (including three-time donator, which explains why he had a card - I mailed it to him, I think), so we had a really nice chat for 45 minutes or so.

Great to meet you, John!

I rejoined the Quad Queen, and we played a little of this and that and then had our final meal in Vegas for the trip - at the buffet.

It was pretty good, as always, and the server guy we had was astonishingly attentive - to the point of dropping off extra straws, and wipes, and toothpicks for us.

I've never had a grown man lay out a welcoming spread of toothpicks to choose from, but, by gum, that's what happened.

After eating, the QQ wanted one more bash at 10-play. I wanted to play a few other things, and then I'd join her on triple or five-play.

How many of these must I endure?
And for once, we were both winning at the same time!

I ran my $100 buy-in up to $300 easily - and I got overconfident. What a twit! Sometimes you are playing along, winning, you relax, and you keep playing but don't really notice the credits going down. By the time you are back to your buy-in, you are desperately trying to get that winning feeling again - and you crash.

And that's what happened and I felt like a dope. I could have had a winning day - it was in my hands, or rather, on my meter.

One of these days, I'll hit the home run. If I'd been dealt that fourth Pointy, I'd be looking at twelve Pointies, and more importantly, $3,000.

The amazing Quad Queen cashed out another $500 ticket, putting her at an amazing and wonderful $1020. I ended down $200 on the day, and I had to admit, collectively, we'd had a good day.

And it wasn't quite over.

There was still time for more customer service fuck-ups, and a last chance shot at the airport.

(And the post-trip accounting spin.)

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Kenoman Kan

You shouldn't play Keno and neither should I. Standard disclaimer. I picked up my $57 in 'winnings' at the D Keno lounge on my $200 ticket.

"Do you want to lounge around for a while?" I asked the Quad Queen.


"So... not quite decided? See these luxe booths here? They're for keno players only. That's me, and by extension, you. Shall we sit while I figure out my next winning strategy?"


"Great, we'll just sit here then."

The D has great rates for lowball Keno play, including the terrific Deano rate (D... D eano rhymes with keno? Get it? I didn't for days).

My plan was to do a ticket with a group of four numbers and two kings. I'd bet two 5 spots and a six spot. Guess what? I could do this for a nickle a way.

What's more, the keno boothling steered me towards the Candyman rate. It's skewed to the 5 out of 5 and 6 out of 6 payoffs. Just what I wanted.

Basically, the payback for getting all numbers is much higher at the cost of a very low payback for anything under that. For example, 5 out of 5 is $50 but 4 out of 5 is a paltry $0.35.

Who can take a tick-et? Sprinkle it with doo? Spend a few twenties just to get a buck or two. The Kenoman kan. The Kenoman kan. The Kenoman kan cause he mixes it with love and makes the numbers taste goooood.
I set up a 500 game ticket at a nickel a way for my three ways per game, and that came to $75.

Why was I doing this? So that I could gamble at the airport, gamble on the plane, gamble on the drive home, gamble while picking up Chippy, and even gamble while working my Monday shift at Royal Canadian Veeblefetzer.

Hitting either of my 5 out of 5s would pay me $50, and the 6 out of 6 would pay $125 - but since that would by definition include both 5 out of 5s, it would be $125 + $50 + $50 = $225. I figured I would probably hit this six or seven times.

I figure lots of things.

I figure that readers of a certain age now have what is indisputably the single worst song ever recorded by a member of the Rat Pack sweetly gumming up their brains.

You're welcome. The Kenoman Kaaaan.

We headed back, saying goodbye to Fremont for this trip. I was ready for some downtime (I said), to pack (I said), and reflect (I said), but the truth is, I wanted to be alone with my keno numbers, the kenousa site, and the last of the bourbon.

The Quad Queen, who has developed a thing for 10-play quarters at $12.50 a pull, wanted to scratch that itch one last time at the Cal.

This makes me so nervous. There's a lot of things that can go right with it. For example, you greatly increase your chances of hitting a Royal, but if you hit only one, there are no tax issues, compared to playing at, say, the $2 denomination.

But when it goes bad, it can go bad fast, and I've seen a very unhappy Quad Queen drop a number of hundies in a very short time - and when this happens, there is unhappiness.

Good God, the first photo came in, and then another, and I figured we would be okay. Go Quad Queen!

It's so fun when one of us is playing and texting photos to the other. You get a tiny photo and zoom in - what is it?! What denom?! How much did it pay???! How many credits on the meter?!!!

Two - Two - Two sets of Pointies!
She hammered that machine for about half an hour and cashed out the winnings.

Perfect! Well done!

It really was time to pack, get ready for the red eye, eat a final meal, and have a final gamble.

One last chance this trip to knock one out of the park. Or maybe bunt to the pitcher.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

From Five Bucks Here to Eternity

Two weeks is a long time for a Las Vegas vacation. One has to pace oneself. That's why I never start drinking before breakfast.

I knew it was time to leave Las Vegas and head for home because I was out of coffee to feed the Little Giant. You have to tune in to these sorts of signs.

The blog writing went very well, with the characterization of the Luxor parking garage kiosk as an evil Deus Ex Machina that didn't put things right, it put things wrong. I also got to include a lot of foul language, which pleased me to no end.

My final breakfast awaited at the counter at the Cal coffee shop.

Nobody ever shops for coffee there, I'm not sure why it's called that.

The counter was full, so I waited in the unofficial but traditional waiting spot, along with another guy. We waited. And we waited.

Finally, someone got up, and I got all excited - but they were just headed back for round 8 of the breakfast buffet.

Ten minutes passed. Then fifteen.

Then I remembered that I didn't have my meal book. Swift thinking saved the day - I texted the Quad Queen and instructed her to bring it. She said to ping her when I was nearly done.

I said to the guy, "Let's go hover over them, and say stuff like 'you gonna finish that?'"

Twenty minutes. This was unprecedented.

"You know what's going to happen..." I pontificated. "Everybody's going to leave at the same time."

And that's exactly how it went down once Hawaiian Guy and I were seated, side by each. (That means next to one another.)

There was a sense of awkwardness, as we sat side by side at an otherwise empty dozen or so seat counter. It was the same kind of awkwardness as when you pull up to a middle urinal in a line of 30 at the stadium and another guy comes in and pulls up (and out) righhhhhhht next to you.

The awkwardness wasn't quite as bad though, because neither of us had our hot dogs out.

The Quad Queen appeared and I introduced her to Hawaiian Guy.

"I want you to meet my breakfast mate here..." I said. "This guy, is bad luck. He made us wait for 20 minutes and then emptied the place."

There was much chuckling between the three of us. Oh, my, how we chuckled. It must have gone on for 2-3 seconds.

We had some stuff on the agenda, such as a mini coupon run on the way to the Four Queens.

An incredibly generous soul, Casey, hit the Donate button and forked out $100!!! Thank you Casey!!!

But, there were instructions, which were pretty cool. We were to find the $5 Wheel of Meat machine in the Four Queens (one of two actually) that has a reputation for paying out, and play the hundred on that. I would do that gladly!

First stop, though, was Binions, to do some coupons.

I have to say, the woman that took care of me was just excellent. Her badge named her as Supervisor of the slot club, and she was just fantastic. There are good people around, that's for sure. I even gave her a business card.

For the second time in two visits, the Quad Queen showed up as a new player, so she got all the new player stuff again. A bit of free play - plus we each had $10 from the LVA booklets.

We went and played and neither of us kept anything much. QQ wanted to get her 20 points to get $10 more free play and put some money in to hammer away at Boner Deluxe. After a while, she needed a pit stop, so she told me to play in her place.

"This thing is going to pay off. It's trying to deal quads!" she said.

Within a minute, I'd run her credits down to zero.

I put five bucks in and played some more and looky!

Damn straight. And because it was my money for the stake, I kept the quad winnings. Alternatively, if I had hit the quad while on her stake money, I would have kept the quad winnings.

She got her points, got her free play, and hit a quad, and left the place even.

Meanwhile, I relaxed and felt good about turning five bucks into a hundred. I kind of wandered around a bit and stashed a card in a very secure location for very entertaining trip reporter notfromconcentrate to find, who would be in town just after we left.

Next stop, the Four Queens, where we wanted to have one last bash at the 9/6 Jacks.

Well what do you know, that five bucks from Binions continued to grow!

I knew which one of the Wheel of Meat machines I wanted to play - and it was out of order.

So we played the other one. We had a system. I put $100 in, and the Quad Queen played all the spins.

Here is a visual record of our incredible run on that machine.