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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Flight Home Over The Blue Moon

The 20th Anniversary Blue Moon Cheapstravaganaza trip was winding down.

On the last day I'd had a phenomenal run of decent sized wins and if it kept going, paying the out of pocket expense, or at least a decent portion thereof, was in sight.

I was extremely pissed at myself for losing back $360 of winnings on the last night. Just as much as I couldn't lose earlier, I couldn't win in the evening.

One of the reasons I never get tired of this game is that in the short term it is completely unpredictable.

I figure it's my challenge to try to make sense of the ups and downs, the trends, the lucky streaks - while keeping the long-term math and strategy in mind - all the while, to try to take more out of Vegas than it takes out of me.

Having a break-even trip is not easy. Having a winning trip is incredibly difficult. Sometimes it comes down to whether you have the discipline to stop playing just so that you can book the win.

So there I was, pissed. Not just pissed, but the kind of pissed a 2 year old gets when the ice cream scoop falls off the cone into the sand.

One has to take responsibility for one's actions in these situations, and I responsibly called up Jimmy Poon and tried to blame him.

"Jimmy, goddammit, I had an almost $400 lead today and blew it all back," I blubbered.

"Royal Flusher, are you crying again???..." said Jimmy Poon, serious as a heart-attack.


At least Jimmy understood the seriousness of my fuck-up.

And then I could hear that elfin high-pitched giggle, muffled. He had his hand over the phone.

"Stop laughing at me! Or I'll throw away the porn-slapper cards I collected for you."

"Flusher... you have to ask yourself - am I here to book a win, or am I here to play? What are you going to do with the rest of the night? Sit in your room watching 4 minute segments of American Greed sandwiched by 7 minutes of ads for As Seen On TV grooming products? Or are you going to take advantage of the night?"

I watched American Greed for 20 minutes. And stewed. I packed. I stewed. If I went downstairs, I'd risk having a break-even day, and a winning trip.

I grabbed a hundred bucks and headed to the casino.

So, as you read, I decided to play the high volatility crap game and managed a quad on it, to book a win for the day.


The next day, I got up and the same questions loomed. I showered and got everything ready to go. I even banged out a blog update.

And I took $100 and went down the the casino.

I played here and there and it was all just no good. The kind of session that eats your money. There went a good piece of my winning trip.

There I was, pounding out hand after hand of nothing, and, so help me Quad, I heard "Leaving Las Vegas" playing on the Cal sound system.

(Calling the Cal's tin-eared speakers a 'sound system' is like calling a tricycle an 'All Terrain Vehicle'. But that's another blog post.)

I had time to grab breakfast, and then haul ass upstairs and get my gear ready for the limo. They make a pretty good omelette at the Market Square.

Only ate half a piece of toast - Vegas Diet!
The whole airport thing is so old. I answered a bunch of typical questions from the limo driver. Got my stuff, tipped the driver. Got boarding passes and ran the wedgie-pull security gauntlet.

Of course, there are machines at the airport.

And I had time to kill.

So I burned through about $60 and finally got a quad on Triple Double Bonus. One of my dreams is to pull off a royal at the airport. Hasn't happened yet.

I burned through the quad trying for either a royal or Aces with kicker for $1000. But it wasn't happening. I'd ended up with three Aces and a kicker, twice. And four to a royal. And that doesn't count.

So I ate through another $160 of my win, leaving me (counting the $10 Four Queens Silver Strike coin) with a win of exactly $100 for the trip.

This is cause for celebration. I felt tired and ready to be home. Grateful that I didn't lose my shirt. Grateful for the good luck I'd had and the comps I'd gotten. Grateful that there are folks out there willing to read my ridiculous degenerate (yet cunningly savvy) drivel.

And yet, a few questions remain...

When will I be back in Vegas? I don't know.

How much weight did I gain (or lose!!!!) on the Royal Flusher Vegas Diet?

Why do I play keno?

Am I some kind of fucking idiot?

Don't answer the last one. Jimmy Poon will answer it for you.


Some stats:

Stake Have Win/Lose Trip

Tues 20 300 400 100 100
Wed 21 600 100 -500 -400
Thu 22 600 550 -50 -450
Fri 23 400 900 500 50
Sat 24 580 0 -580 -530
Sun 25 320 200 -120 -650
Mon 640 1000 360 -290
Tue 460 0 -460 -750
Wed 400 860 460 -290
Thu 600 0 -600 -890
Fri 240 900 660 -230
Sat 24 400 0 -400 -630
Sun 400 1070 670 40
Mon 200 360 160 200
Tue 200 260 60 260
Wed 170 0 -160 100

Win of $100.00 this trip.

As you can see, winning and losing days roughly alternated. This is a good thing.

Here's the comps I got - I valued the rooms at what I would pay out of pocket for them.

Comps Aug 20/2013 to Sep 4/2013

20-22 MSS 3 nights 150
Tues Cal 2's company 5
Wed MSS Buffet Lunch  10
Wed Pasta Pirate 20
Thu Lunch buffet 10
Thu dinner buffet 14
Fri Magnolias 10
23-24 FQ room 100
Fri FQ Freeplay 30
Fri FQ QQQQ Bonus 75
Sat FQ Freeplay (K) 80
Sat The D Freeplay 5
25-27 Encore Room 450
Mon Magnolias comps 22
Mon FQ Cashback 31
Mon Wynn freeplay 32
28-29 MGM Suite 250
Wed MGM comp 50
Thu MGM Express 12
Fri MGM Freeplay 25
Fri MGM complaint $56
30-04 Cal room comp 250
30-04 Cal food 200
Fri Cranberry juice pts 4
Fri Royal t-shirt 10
Sat Pasta Pirate 20

Lattes pts 12
Tues Redwood 40

Total: $1,973

I paid out of pocket $700 for airfare (thanks, Air FU Canada), $300 for the rental car, $150 or so for Encore meals (hi Allison!), and about $12,000 in cocktail waitress tips.

So what's next?

Well, next up, I'm going to maybe do a Q&A based on comments and emails I got, and I have Linda Boyd's book The Video Poker Edge to review, so c'mon back for that!

Yours savvily,

Royal Flusher


    1. "about $12,000 in cocktail waitress tips."
      Ha Ha!!!!!

    2. Thanks RF- enjoyed the journey and remember, that a win is a win no matter how modest. How many of us look at a video poker machine when we are up a bit and think, "one more hand?"
      We are off to Vegas in a couple of weeks and your reports helped hold us over.

    3. Flusher...You are the man. Love reading your blog. Hope you will be back sooner rather than later.

    4. great read as usual sir. my first $1 royal was embarrsingly at the airport, and barely caught my flight. $40 buy in on quarters, the guys decided to go for pizza so i switched to dollars to "play it off quick". never got that pizza!

    5. You and Tom the Bomb make the VPFree blog interesting. Thanks and keep up the good work.

    6. I'm sure Jimmy tells you how many of us read your posts--it's gotta be more than 6 right? Wonderful funny and truly insightful stuff. Thanks RF!!!

    7. RF, great trip report. Looks like you had a great time and I enjoyed the blog everyday. Makes things pass faster here in Afghan and looking forward to my own trip in January. RK

    8. Hey Flusher, for three days the link has not worked on VPP, VPPFree! I had to Google and search. Please tell Mr. Poon.

    9. Thanks for writing such a great blog. I just found this and have lost days and days at my computer reading of your exploits. But I've laughed and cheered and hung my head in shared shame. Keep up the wonderful work.

    10. Aloha FLUSHER, Great Trip and Outstanding reporting. Thanks a million. BTW! Have you ever thought about? or even heard about? winning BIG (e.g. HAND PAY)... at the airport OR any other "remote" location?? Check-it-out the next time you decide to PULL the HANDLE @ the airport. [There is NO cage or CASHIER!] Can you picture yourself - MISSING YOUR FLIGHT? - soooo you can SIT for HOURS ON END... waiting for someone to "show-up" and pay your 'HAND-PAY' Royal??? Either way... thanks again for sharing your fun and exciting, adventure and gourmet packed trip the "Fabulous Las Vegas". Lucky ;-))

    11. I was mentally adding up your comps and win against your expenses, then I hit the $12,000 in tips and the math got hard.

      Thanks RF!

    12. Great Blogging,

      If you do a Q&A:

      Just wondering how you maintain spirits on a two week solo trip? There usually comes a point in any trip to "the Meadows" when suffering through the combined effects of a hangover, indigestion from a greasy meal of dubious genetic origin, and a run of bad luck (high negative variance for those who are more advantage player than degenerate gambler) where you wonder, even if only for those few minutes until the cocktail waitress brings you another free drink, shouldn't I be having more fun? What are your coping techniques to survive those moments?

      1. A real gambler would never think to ask that question

    13. Thoroughly enjoyed reading the blog, and look forward to the next one. Cheered with your wins, commiserated with your "almost-wins", and was vicariously pissed at your losing streaks. Good warm-up to my trip next month.

    14. You're a much more realistic and better writer than Bob "The Douchebag" Prancer.


    15. Congrats on the winning trip Flusher hope you can head back soon with the QQ!

    16. I enjoyed your trip report very much!!!
      Greetings from Germany

    17. I've done a rough calculation of your action, and had you played only fullpay games rather than (shudder) games like 8/5 Triple Bonus (96%), assuming you got the same mix of hands, you would have won roughly $1600 for the trip. It is quite true that you were lucky to simply not lose. The equivalent amount of luck on good machines, however, would have resulted in a substantial and satisfying profit. (Note: I am estimating your total coin-in and assuming, from your blog posts, that you averaged 98.8% theoretical return, then extrapolating that action to playing 100.0% or better games. In other words, I am assuming your daily play was in the $4000-6000 range.) It's something to think about: when you play bad machines and get lucky, you survive; when you play good machines and get lucky, you win. In any event, thanks for the blogs and I'm glad you had a good time.

    18. Love your blog dude. Keep it up.

      Sent from Dublin, Ireland

    19. Please take more pictures of hot waitresses!! Love the writing. Keep it up and I can't wait for ;your next trip


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