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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Need the Queen of Clubs. No, wait...!

Moving day - again. One thing about stringing together a series of comped nights... you have to move a lot. It's starting to get a bit old, but I do like the change of pace. And I was ready to see the last of the MGM Greed.

I did a bit of morning play, tried the Lion's Scare one last time, and had to admit it wasn't to be this time. I left business cards number 88 and 89 out of 20,000 at the machine at various times. I wonder if any readers found them.

$21 lost there. Bonus Poker Deluxe. $60 lost there. I had $25 freeplay built up so I played that.

The MGM Greed God's took pity on me and threw me a quad. Thanks, bosses.

One last twenty on Boner Deluxe and... nada. Not even a twitch.

For breakfast, I had two diet Sausage a'Muffins with Cheese from the dollar menu at McDavers. See, when you are a loser, like I am, you learn to 'economize'. I also planned to return the expensive Bose headphones I'd bought for Mrs. Flusher - that would give my gambling budget a boost. Savvy!

So what made these Sausage a'Muffins diet? I only ate half of the english muffin part for each of them. That's a whole 180 english muff calories saved.

The last Web Conference of the week was a hum-dinger: "Accounting Inputs - Not Just Fiction Anymore". I learned a lot about the kind of stuff Mrs. Flusher runs into in the Estimatin' Department at Royal Canadian Veeblefetzer, where I numb my mind to one-syllable thoughts, sphintering out size 7 grommets for The Man.

I checked my room statement online and the $50 compensation room comp wasn't on there. I had to fight through the phone system to get it rectified. No exchange with these guys has gone the way it should, including the casino. It's almost as if they don't want me to take their money! Zounds!

I packed up and checked out, ready to go out into another wonderful Vegas morning.

Some of the room issues posed safety hazards, so I took some of my personal time and went to the Gold desk. I explained that I'd already checked out but there were things they needed to address - the pill in the safe, which I wasn't going to touch, the very loosely mounted toilet, the annoyance of the shade that didn't work again this morning, and the ever-crashing "low-speed smoke signal lo-fi internet".

Fortunately she took the matters seriously - and seriously reduced my bill by the two night "resort" fees for $56.

Now, please don't think I'm just a whiner. When things are run well, it shows, and I appreciate it, such as at Encore. Top to bottom it was a great experience, and I had no qualms about paying my share for good meals enjoyed, and saying it was great. Because it was.

Would I stay at MGM again? If they throw a comped room and freeplay at me, yeah I probably would, although I might short play them. It just depends on what other offers I might have at the time.

Next stop on the Cheapstravaganza tour was Hooters - because they offered me $10 in freeplay. It cost me $20 to get the additional $10 and they kept it. It didn't actually seem like too bad a place, but the offers I'm getting reek of desperation. I guess I hope they make it - the last thing the town needs is another shuttered casino.

Drove up to Fry's to return the headphones, and a bluetooth speaker I'd bought. I returned it because it was butt-ugly. And I needed the readies for gambling.

I know what you are thinking. You cheapstravaganza-skate. I bought a pair of headphones - active noise cancelling this time - for Mrs. Flusher at Staples across the street. So there. Wrinkle - not in stock - they are bringing them in for me Saturday, supposedly. We'll see.

(Tina, the young woman from Telecom, I looked for you but didn't see you. Thanks again for your service, and sorry it didn't work out this time. I still love Fry's!!!)

Hopped on the interstate and white-knuckled my way downtown. I-15, sponsored by NASCAR. Shake 'n Bake, baby!

Checked in at the Cal, where I was very well treated at the desk. I got upgraded to a little suite, just perfect for my needs. I got double meal books, so I'm good there, and I am picking up the downtown free internet well enough to do the blog. That's a $10 a day savings right there.

The desk boothling got a very welcome $20 green handshake from The Flusher. (I tried for a Signature suite - which I have yet to see - but the last one was given out an hour before. I think I would have been able to get it, with my silver-tongued sweet-talking demeanor.)

Schlepped back to the car, got the luggage, schlepped back up to the room. Schlepped back downstairs and had for lunch, the fabled, awesome, Oxtail Stew at the counter at the coffee shop. Yumzers!

After lunch, here are some of the things I lost on:

Diamond Head Sequential Diamond Royal Bonus Poker, twice, a slot machine, dollar super double boner, 50-cent upright progressives (near the horrifying squealing bird of prey machines), quarter BP slanttops by the cage, multiple machines, quarter double double bonus. On the last $20 I had two wins of 5 credits and that's it.

I even tried a single dollar keno ticket. Nada.

And, with that, I was completely out of gambling cash. I had $8 in admin money in my wallet. I started hunting around - maybe I could find a piece of cardboard and a sharpie, or maybe a Big Bird suit to make some money with.

Not having found any such things, nor Squarebob Spongepants outfits, I did what any destitute gambler would do - activate a line of credit at one of the downtown casinos. I'd set this up in advance, and did the paperwork needed, signed, and they gave me $500 - FREE. The only thing is, I have to pay it back.

I tried $40 on a couple of machines in Binions, and then $20 on the Wheel of Meat. I got to spin and won 50 quarters. I blew it all back.

Pic for the male Elvis fans.

Porn Slappers have come to Fremont. This hotty makes me want to make that call!!!
Binions has some odd-looking off-brand video poker machines. I think they are Australian.

It was probably time to work my way home at the Cal, and settle in for some keno in the room. A libation was in order, so I saddled up to the bar. I ordered an Absolut on the rocks and slipped a $20 in. Boner Deluxe.

This is where it got weird. I texted the Quad Queen "Need the Queen of Clubs."

I pressed Draw. And got the King of Clubs. Shit. Missed four to a royal again.

The only thing was, I'd misread things somehow, and the card I actually needed was the King.

And I had my first Royal Flush of the trip. SAVVY SAVVY MISREAD!!!!!!!

I got paid off, got a free t-shirt slip, tipped the guy $20, and tipped the barkeep, Jordan $10.

I played off the hand and continued on.

And next thing I new some dodgy looking guy was standing next to me trying to introduce himself, offering a skin-condition dripping hand which was peeling and flaky and which I refused to shake and asking me how much I'd won.

When am I going learn not to hang around after winning a jackpot? Something like this had happened once before, with some guy hustling me after I'd hit a Royal and was later playing a slot. That's how I learned the hard way to get the cash to the safe quickly, and not to play more with it on you. Security took care of it that time.

When you have a lot of cash in your pocket, you make new friends fast.

I told Dodgy guy that I'd won "a couple of hundred" and thank goodness, I think the guy went to attend to his machine and order some drinks - he called for two of something, so maybe he was going to buy me a drink or some stupid thing.

I cashed out of there and circuitously hightailed it to the room, making certain my new friend didn't follow. It kind of made me feel weird and shitty and took the fun out of it.

Well... not completely.

Note to self - next time you win a jackpot, cash out immediately and go with the attendant. And get that cash into the safe.

I reloaded with only $190 for the rest of the night, wanting to preserve a winning day.

Sick of my $2 cigars, I went to check out Vato Cigars in the back of Binions (near Benny's Bullpen and near the stairs to where the coffee shop used to be) for some better smokes.

Paul with the 'John Holmes' model.
I had a great time in there chatting with the proprietor, Paul Vato. Paul is a big friendly guy who knows a lot about cigars and explained all kinds of things to me about how they are made, different offerings they have.

The forbidden 'circumcision' cut. Don't take off the whole tip!
Vato Cigars has a full line of quality smokes with all the labels you'd expect, and they also have their own signature line. Paul fixed me up with a variety of cigars based on what I told him I'd liked in the past. He offers a buy 5 get 2 free deal, so I went for that, and picked up a cutter as well. He also showed me how to use it and more importantly, what not to do with it.

If you like cigars, check 'em out. 

Back to the Cal through Binions...

The desert weather calls for warm footwear, apparently.
Back at the Cal, I settled into some great quarter Double Double Bonus play - a nice long session with a couple of wins, and one of Paul's Las Vegas signature cigars. It was a nice, smooth smoke.

I had a great hour, puffing away, and saying things to the cocktail waitress like, "So what are you dressing up for this year at Hallowe'en? I liked you with blue hair last time. Red hair would look good on you too."

And she said things to me like, "I HAVE red hair."

To which I wittily retorted, "Ah yes. So you do."

Another straight flush!
I ate dinner kind of late - had the salad bar and braised short-ribs, which were tender and excellent.

And after that, I blew a $20 or two in this and that and devoted the last hundy to dollar play - and got nowhere fast. I didn't mind, it had been a great day, and I'd finally gotten that Royal and made the comeback I so craved.

As it stands, I'm only down $230 on the trip at this point. Which is pretty good, because I've enjoyed $1437 in comps so far. Now that is the Royal Flusher Way!

A note about cigars

Tobacco is harmful, as is second-hand smoke. When not smoking a cigar myself, it can be quite annoying, and many's the time I've chosen to move away from one.

I really do not want to offend anyone, but if you find a cigar bothersome, I suggest you move away from it. Hurtful comments like the one posted earlier today are uncalled for and not in the least helpful.

To date, I have not lit a cigar when there was anyone else close by. There was literally not a single other gambler in the high limit room when I lit my $2 beauty.  Maybe it would be better to restrict my cigars to the cigar lounges around town.

The last thing I want is to start a debate on smokers and non-smokers rights within this blog or within the comments.

Jimmy Poon moderates each and every comment that gets submitted before it is posted on the blog. I've spoken to Jimmy about this and additional comments on cigar smoking pro or con will not be posted.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Lace Up Your Bauers Everybody

Even though I wanted to like my first stay in MGM, there were those little things were putting me off. Like the one motorized shade of two that worked on a whim - which wasn't often.

Or the fact that the $25 (plus 12% tax) resort fee includes what they call "high-speed wi-fi internet".

I can't tell you how many times I had to reconnect on the laptop, and on the knock-off smart phone. Probably 20 times.

And Jimmy Poon tells me that the less than 0.5 MBits / second speed I was getting is anything but "high-speed". I get four times faster speeds on the free downtown service. rates MGM's wi-fi speed a 'D' by North American standards. This, and a news paper, is worth $25???

My suite is configured for the physically challenged, which is fine, but I wasn't told about it, or given a choice. That explains why no tub, and I think the layout is a little different than other suites.

Standing in the completely marbled shower stall, I had to wonder why it needed to have a fire sprinkler. It also had a seat, lots of grab bars, and one of those hand-held top 'n bottom squirty things, which was right up my alley.

I grabbed a tall skinny latte at Starbucks and put $21 into the Lion's Share and did not become a multi-millionaire. I did get to play for twenty minutes though, running it up over $100 and back down. Back in the room, I chowed down on one of my bird-seed bars and a few almonds. I'm a good l'il Flusher!

We had a fascinating Web Conference emanating from Norbert's office: "Giving And Receiving Criticism Objectively, Like The Complete Fucktonsils That You Are". That kept me busy for a while, which was probably a good thing.

At lunch (Avenue 24), they offered me a seat at the bar. Did they think I'd be embarrassed sitting at their version of the Single Lonely Diner Table?

I rejected the first offer.

How about this table... and they offered the S.L.D.T. I rejected the second offer.

The third and final offer was... a booth. Which I took. I ordered up a grilled cheese on sourdough with tomato dipping sauce and fries. This had the potential to be outstanding, but failed because of the bread - generic Wonderfuckingbread 'sourdough', and the cheese - one or maybe two slices or processed cheese.

Avenue 69, this is what I make at home. Exactly. Don't make it here and charge me $15. Does that sound harsh? They could have made it with a nice cheddar - and with the excellent tomato dipping sauce and the fries, it would have been delightful. Add a home-made bread and they could have bragged about it. I mentioned this to the waitress and they said they used to offer a choice of 3 cheeses. Clearly, the Avenue Blowme accountants that have ravaged all of MGM Mirage have also gotten to the lowly cheese sandwich.

If I sound cranky, it's because I know what happened on Thursday and you don't (yet). Isn't cranky a great word, btw?

After lunch, I lost $42 at the Lion's Share, and then managed a quad on dollar Bonus Poker. Then I lost $40 and $20 on various VP, and $101 on the Majestic Stupid Falling-over Lions getting only two $10 payouts, a $2 payout, and the rest dumperizing. Fuck me gently with a steamroller.

I was taking a minor beating and I knew it was time to retreat and regroup. This meant going up to the room and putting out yesterday's stellar blogging content. Hell, I'd only played 30 minutes in the casino and was down on the day way more than I wanted.

Eventually, I would need to take on the casino again. I had a couple of belts of Prince Plonknya, grabbed one of my cheap $2 cigars, my gambling accoutrements, Hello Kitty, Gordie Howe, Squidward lucky thong keychain, and a few other things. I would take on the dollar Bonus Poker in the high-limit room.

The session that followed was easily the highlight of my stay at MGM. It was that perfect time of day, early evening. The high-limit room was essentially deserted. I had my own attendant to call my own cocktail waitress. I had my cigar going, fouling the air for a radius of 20 meters, which kept the riff-raff away, or at least, subdued to the point of semi-consciousness, I had my Maker's Mark on the rocks at my side.

And I played.

And it went well.

I put a hundy into the machine and played it down to $15, and then recovered, due to a quad, and before long a very welcome straight flush.

Lovely straight flush(er)!
At this point, I was actually even on the day. I cashed out a $300 ticket and began again with a new hundy. Got 4 to a Royal, but didn't hit it. And then went into the dumper, down to $20 left.

Got a quad, kept going.

Was this 'quick quads' game made for the QQ or what?
And down to $10. And out. I played almost two hours on dollars, in comfortable surroundings, but ended up down $100 on the day when it was said and done.

I texted the news to the Quad Queen.

"What are you gonna try next?" came the reply.

"Men's room deluxe" I texted back.

So, the newest thing, is TV screens on the faucets. Really?

On the way out, I saw a shirt which read "The liver is evil and must be punished." Appropriate for Vegas!

I played a little more dollars, got a quad, and then promptly gave it all back in about 3 minutes. What the hey?

Time for dinner - I tried some Wok place the name of which escapes me. Wok Wok, or Wok and Roll, or Golden Wok, or Wok Job 2000 or something.

I got a great Single Lonely Diner Table, well away from other diners, but near the action of the casino. I was behind glass. People watched me eat. They pointed and took pictures when I did something 'cute'. I felt like screeching and  flinging feces at them.

Dinner was excellent, I must say. I had a lovely, spicy, hot and sour soup (yes, I guess my guts have recovered) and a red curry coconut chicken dish. I ate everything (except some of the rice - Las Vegas Diet!)

Wok Single Lonely Chimp Diner Table

Royal Flusher was seated well out of annoyance-range of the other patrons.

Thought I'd try some $10 craps and bought in at the coldest table I've ever seen. I dropped to $30 just playing pass line with single odds in about 3 minutes. Changed tables. Same thing. Down to my last $10, which I put on the pass line.

I said to the dealer, "that table over there was the coldest I've ever been on. Does this one have a sheet of ice on it too?"

He grunted.

The shooter set a point of 4. Great.

"So, is he gonna roll a 4 or are we going skating?" I asked the eloquent dealer.

He grunted.


"Lace up your Bauers everybody," I said, and left, disgusted.

Fucking craps.

I'd been flying so high on the dollar BP. Where had my luck gone???

I tried $42 on the Lion's Stupid Fucking Share. I tried $20 here, $20 there. I dipped into my Admin money when my day's stake was gone.

I played at the bar. I played at the machine I'd won the $500 on the night before.

Yes, you read that right, when the day's stake was gone... I did it again.

My view from the $8 Lucky Heineken bar.
One great thing about the bar was getting a free drink for playing while watching a guy pay $16 for two Lucky Heineken's - and he wasn't playing, so how was he going to benefit from the Luck of Lucky Heineken Brand Beers????

I texted the Quad Queen back at home: "Total crash and burn. I suck. -$600"

And with that, I sucked my way back to my sucky suite. And the trip sucked to the total of minus $890.

This is where it could get really ugly for this trip if I don't pull a miracle out of my ass (or someone else's ass). Where is that Royal????

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Kicker, Kicker, It's All About The Kicker!

Day dawned brightly, as it always does, because if it isn't bright yet, it isn't dawn yet. I surveyed the view from my suite at Encore and thought 'Today is a day for Gambling and stupid Web Conferences'.

One of the perks of a superior hotel/casino such as the EnWynn is that you can get things like cappuccino from the CWs. I ordered one up and started playing quarter Bonus Poker, and when it arrived, asked that she bring another forthwith.

I was so pleased to get free cappuccino that I tipped $2 for each of them. I had breakfast at the machine, one of those health bars I brought from Costco. It's basically compressed bird seed, but not as tasty.

I was feeling pretty burned from last night. having jumped on the stupid train and lost a chunk of change. As a result, I gingerly tried quarter ddb first. It makes a difference if you press the buttons gingerly - no machine likes to be man-handled, unless it is 'that way'.

After 300 hands, I'd lost $40 and had no quads (or Royals!) to show for it.

No worries, the day was young.

It was time for some of Norbert's stupid Royal Canadian Veeblefetzer Web Conferences: "Stating the Obvious Repeatedly - a Guide to Narcoleptic PowerPoint Slides".

Followed by "Profit! No Longer a Four-Letter Word!".

Since it was time to pack up all my gear, I packed up all my gear. I thought I'd give the casino one more go-round and got a couple of nice Double Double Quads, the returns from which I played out on 50-cent Double Double.

Being cautious, I dropped back to quarters for quite a while and on a whim, decided not to be as cautious - I bumped it up to 50 cents and four hands later got me Ace, Ace, Ace and another Ace (but no kicker! which would have really put my budget over the top.)

Since I now had a surplus, I thought it would be good to gingerly try dollar Bonus Poker, that low volatility mainstay. Put $20 in, lose, change machines. Put $20 in, lose, change machines. Put $20 in, lose, change machines. Put $20 in, play that high volatility mainstay, DDB. Win a bit. Get dealt three Aces. Now, this could be a $2000 score if I get four of 'em with the kicker. And I didn't.

But I did get this: 

At the slot club booth I enquired about a comped lunch or maybe some stuff taken off my bill. They want 21,000 points on 3 night comp before issuing additional comps. On VP at $6 a point, that is $126,000 coin in. That's a lot for a quarter player. That's 84,000 hands, or, at 400 hands an hour, 210 hours of play. Even on dollars you are looking at 52.5 hours of play. Do they think I'm Mr. Some Rich Guy???

I also confirmed that the reason Mrs. Flusher gets all these great offers with room nights and free play and I get crap, is that our cards our linked. And only one linked player gets the offers. So, she unlinked the cards. Now maybe we can double-dip on 3 night offers... we'll see!

Driving out of the complex, I thought I'd head east to Paradise or something to find some lunch - I was starving. I got 100 yards down the road and spotted the Peppermill. I put the rental gingerly onto two wheels and hard-abouted into the parking lot. It was on my list to try this place, which has been a mainstay low-volatility restaurant since 1972.

Flusher Ceiling Selfie at the Peppermill
I was pretty delighted with the decor. The service was loud and overly-friendly, to the point of discomfort, but it beats the alternative. The Maserati omelette was the size of a football, with meat sauce on top, and a wicked greasy good hashbrowns 'n onions on the side. Came with a bagel and cream cheese. $12.95.

I loved the Peppermill, and they even have a souvenir photo service.

The pictures are free but there are upsell frames and better versions you can purchase. I listened to a very sad exchange which featured patrons trying to wheedle better pictures for free from the photographer, who is in this not just out of the goodness of her heart. The logic went, predictably, well you are just going to throw these pictures out, so instead give them to us for free.

Good Lord, don't be such cheapasses!

Feeling bad about it, I had an idea, and called her over. She'd take a souvenir photo for me, and I'd throw 5 bucks her way. Dealio.

I think it turned out rather well, don't you?

Support the Arts! Get your picture taken at the Peppermill!
Some shopping at Fry's netted all kinds of discount electronics, including some noise cancelling headphones for Mrs. Flusher. (Which have to go back, because in the end, I picked up the non-noise cancelling version. Dammit!)

I love Fry's - I could probably spend days in there. They have... everything. And I got really great customer service from a friendly young woman in the Telco department, who I regaled with tales of turntables and vinyl records. She delightfully refrained from yawning while I was blabbering on about God knows what. There was just no rumble, wow, or flutter in this lady's world.

Valet was swift at MGM, as was check-in - as a valued Gold level MILFE degenerate, I got to skip the cattle-call line at registration.

Sadly, there were issues with the room. I called housekeeping to get them resolved. I don't want to dwell on it, but I did have a positive experience dealing with Denise, the housekeeping quality boss. She happened to pick my room for a random inspection just about the time I was on the phone with the front desk. I observed her do the inspection that usually occurs before guests check in, and she was incredibly thorough.

The issues were resolved and she helped me get a $50 room credit for charging food or whatever to the room.

Even more sadly, though, there were more issues. I've had to fight with the WiFi over and over - it's only marginally useful. The wired Internet connection doesn't seem to work. The automatic shade thingy got stuck for quite a while. And what I thought was a rocking toilet seat, initially, is actually a rocking toilet.

If this toilet's rockin' don't bother knockin' - dive on in!

At one point I actually smelled sewer gas in the bathroom (not of my own making!), and maybe the toilet situation has something to do with it.

And finally, I found, last night, some sort of capsule - i.e. drug - in the safe drawer, just behind the safe. It kind of rolls around in there which is why Denise didn't spot it.

I really want to like it here in my first MGM stay, but these things are off putting for a discerning Flusher, who knows how to drink 'challenging' red wine now!

One of the key things to try here was the Lion's Share slot with the $2.3M progressive, that is waiting to be won for some 15 years or more. Down I went. And that fucker gobbled up $101 like it was a small mammal. Another $101 netted me 25 minutes of play, so I got to enjoy my cheap cigar, have a vodka, and play the thing.

Next stop, the high-limit room for some dollar VP. And $100 netted me a quad, which got me to $200, and a nose-dive down to zero.

A few $20s in some quarter machines and I became very angry. I'd blown through all my profits from EnWynn.

Shit. Hell. Shit hell.

Regrouping in the room, I thought, well, I could lock in a profit by having a few drinks and not gambling. I thought this. Yes, I did. But my stupid body had other ideas, forcing me over to the safe, forcing me to remove, like a gamble-zombie, a couple of hundys from my stash.

I would be disciplined. I would play only quarters. I would play only low-volatility stuff.

Broke the $200 into twenties and played a couple, and then headed off to the buffet for dinner, where I ate way too much crappy food. This buffet is NOT worth $30. The food was sad. So many things looked old, cold, and oversold. C'mon MGM, you can do better.

Is this the quality you charge $30 for MGM?

Delicious little cheesecakey things, and some rock candy
With a few twenties left, and on the verge of pushing the day from a $460 win to a losing day (snatching degeneracy from the jaws of savvy, as it were) I proceeded to find the highest volatility quarter VP games I could find. I settled on one that pays $500 for 2s, 3s or 4s with kicker and a cool $1000 (see how I did that, there?) for Aces with kicker. You can guess what I was shooting for.

As an aside, this machine has a game I've never seen anywhere else - Tens or Better. Strange, eh?

Okay, so, actually, I did hit quad 3s - but no kicker. Dammit!!! So close!!!

I had a good stake now though to pursue my dream and before very long, I nailed it!!!

$500 for the Flusher!
Finished the day up $460 (exactly what I lost yesterday!) and putting me at a loss of $290 for the trip so far.

One little Royal and I'm over the top. But where is it????