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Monday, May 12, 2014

The Downtown Grand: Downtown, and Grand!

Day 13 - Part 4 (!)

Stomach full, sinuses cavernously clear, and tummy full of tacos, I made my way to my next destination, Wal-Mart, where I could not find any bottles of the $0.86 cheap knock-off anti-gas pills. I asked a staff member. Useless. I asked a different staff member. Useless. I asked a third, a sweet young pregnant woman, who dug around in the shelf under the empty cheap knock-off anti-gas pills. And she came up with one bottle, which had fallen. Bless her heart! May she name her first-born Royal.

Back downtown, I dropped the car off at the valet. They have a system where you keep the same valet ticket your entire stay, and just text them when you want your car. They (supposedly) text you back when its ready for you, but I just strolled out after five minutes or so regardless. Only once was it ever more than a minute wait after I got there, and usually it was there.

I hauled my stuff up to the room, dumped it off, and hit the casino.

The Downtown Grand is really quite nice. I felt very comfortable there. I like the atmosphere and the way its been decorated. And the more I like it the more disappointed I get that they gutted their video poker paytables on day 3 after opening last year, and have never much flinched in terms of restoring them.
Downtown Grand
I figured I would give them some play and feel out the system in terms of what additional comps I might get, cashback/freeplay, and future marketing offers. We're fully comped at the Four Queens with generous room, food, and freeplay comps, but when you look at a Four Queens room next to a Downtown Grand room? There is simply no comparison. The Grand is a huge step above. What to do... I would ponder this a lot.

I sidled up to the Furnace Bar and spent some time getting my card successfully in the reader. I think I tried 9 different orientations until I stumbled across the right one. The slot is aligned differently than most machines and it isn't obvious how the card should go in. Either that or I am really dense.

Great service at the bar as usual. And I really like the atmosphere in the casino. It's not too big, and the music is good. It's not too loud. It feels more like a private club in a way. And maybe that is the game plan for the Downtown Grand - to be a sort of boutique hotel that happens to have a casino, rather than a casino business that has to have a hotel, to take 'em, and break 'em

I put a hundred into the machine and went for Double Double Bonus - the Aces Kicker was up there, pretty high - in the $700 range, something you don't see too often at the Four Queens. The paytable? A killer at 7/5. There was only one thing to do with a paytable like that, and that is get lucky and forget the long term.

Sadly, I did not.

But I did find I had somehow been granted $50 in free play. I played that on dollar Bonus Poker and got nowhere.

I played another $100. And got nowhere. It was looking grim. I was pretty much out of readies, since I had been supplementing the Quad Queen's daily budget out of my Royal winnings. It was looking like I would have to cash - gulp - a traveller's cheque.

I got an additional $5 free play on points, so I played that on dollar Bonus and got a full house. A short pay full house. Screw it, I cashed that out, and headed for the cashier to pump up my stake by $500.

The craps table was one place where the odds were the same as at other establishments downtown, so I threw a hundy at it.

It opened its great green felt maw and swalled that hundy in 750 seconds flat. What fun!

Black jack anyone? Again, not bad odds. Maybe I would just stick to table games at the Grand. Bye bye $60 in 700 seconds flat.

It didn't matter how comfy this casino was, I was getting my ass kicked. I knew what to do about it too.

Yup, I headed for the Fremont, where a Chinese tour, complete with flag-bearing leaders up front, filed past me like a slow-moving freight train and me, stuck at a level crossing in the middle of the casino. I amused myself by greeting as many of them as I could and never using the same phrase twice.

"How are ya."

"Nice to see ya."

"Welcome to the Fremont."

"Lookin' good!"

"Hey beautiful."

"Lookin' sharp!"

"How's it goin'?"

"Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas."

"Good luck!"

"You're a winner!"

I didn't get a single response. None. Not a look, not a smile, not a word. I think they were petrified. Either that or mesmerized by the siren dance of the seven enchanted tour flags.

By going to the Fremont, I was committing to do a certain amount of play. They base your marketing offers on your average daily play, going back a year and a half. Playing $50 coin-in or something stupid like that would screw my average. I had to hit it hard.

First stop, Boner Deluxe to try to win a stake.

Next stop, Triple play Super Times Pay. I grabbed the end seat with the winning view of the food court, and went at it.
Fabulous Fremont Food Court
I started to win, which was good. And the very tall guy with shaved head next to me started to win too.

He got a multiplier and then bent forward, head close to the machine. I looked on the ground to see what he'd dropped, but couldn't see anything.

The guy next to me got another spinner. And again, he bent close to the machine.
The guy next to me got another spinner. And again, he bent close to the machine. And I realized... he must be praying. You know that weird feeling that runs up your spine when you realize something and then all of a sudden you get creeped out because someone all of a sudden proves themselves dodgy? I had that.

I didn't judge though.

Live and let live.

Why? Because, after all, I was winning. Don't mess with it.
Fun to be dealt something with 10x spinner.
As you can see, I had a really nice run and put close to $4K coin-in through between Boner Deluxe and triple play, and cashed out a profit on the session.

I had managed to salvage the day, somewhat. I took a quick boo over to the Four Queens to play a twenty at the bar and pick up a sub at Subway. I was visited by what was clearly a Hello Kitty Good Luck Angel.
Lucky Hello Kitty Onesie
 It had been a great day in Las Vegas. I felt surrounded by the warmth of the city and its fine people, gems, every one of them.
Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, the 'I love you!' city you'll flip over!
Quad Queen: -$50 day, -$1620 on the trip - her worst trip in 50.
Royal Flusher: -$270 day, +$490 on the trip

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