Day 4 - Thursday - part 1
I'm in the midst of an ongoing battle with the Jacks or Better video poker at the Four Queens. For $10K coin in per day each we started getting $300 freeplay offers every two months. These offers included all meals plus $150 at Hugo's Cellar. And a suite. It took a couple of rounds of playing at that level for the computers to catch up to us.
The idea is that in the long run, we should do just fine playing this 99.54% return game, when you include the value of the freeplay and the cashback that you generate - around $31 per $10K of play.
|This limited edition business card may still be there.|
Third, in the last year or so, the Four Queens has tightened things up, making me wonder if I really want to do this.
My goal is not to be an advantage player. But this was one play that seemed worth pursuing. However...
When the Quad Queen's March/April offer dropped to $200 freeplay, and then my May/June offer unexpectedly dropped from $300 to $200 this spring, I was pissed. We'd done the $10K a day and a bit more on the last trip. What was going on???
On the advice of Turbospeed, I got on the blower to a host (Nicky the Chameleon) and he explained that the $300 offer level requirement had gone from a $10K a day coin in average to $12K a day. That's a 20% increase. And, according to the computer, I'd missed the level by about $100 in coin in. Presumably the same thing had happened to the Quad Queen.
But that's not all - the offers no longer include the $150 Hugo's meal, and food (which had included room service) for the stay. Now you get a $50 comp dollar voucher. That's a huge drop. Meanwhile, you earn comp dollars on your play at the rate of $62 per $10K of coin in.
Nicky the Chameleon said to go ahead and book and he'd fix it for me so I got the $300 in freeplay for May/June instead of $200. That sounded good to me and I booked.
Old: $300 freeplay, $150 Hugo's, Magnolia's/Chicago Brewing/Room Service (call it $200 worth). Cost $30K coin in over three days. Expected loss $150 with perfect play. Total value $650 plus suite.
New: $300 freeplay, $50 Magnolia's only voucher. Cost $36K coin in over three days. For that you earn $225 in comp dollars that you can use for food. Expected loss $180 with perfect play. Total value $575 plus suite.
I know what you are thinking - this is still a fantastic deal. Well, except for one thing. Reality. First, it takes you a couple of trips to get established at this level, so on those trips you don't get anywhere near what your play warrants. Second, that is perfect perfect play on 9/6 Jacks and it includes getting the commensurate number of Royal Flushes with your play.
Without the Royal, you are down to say 97.5%. Add some mistakes and you are at 97%. And that's without variance - you could be unlucky...
So now the comparative costs of the offers are six times higher, or $900 for the old one (value $650 plus suite) and $1080 for the new one (value $575 plus suite).
I've had days where I've skated through $10K a day and made a few hundred, or lost only one or two hundred. And I've also had those disaster days where I've dropped $1000 on $10K of coin in at Jacks. It happens.
And it's not easy doing $10K of play on the Jacks or Better uprights they've got. It's a test of skill, patience, pain tolerance and endurance. Thank God they no longer play 'The Blend' off of Sirius for music.
I was really pissed when both our offers dropped for May/June to $200. They'd changed the requirements without telling us, which I suppose is to be expected, since they are not published anywhere. But still, how about a heads up?
As mentioned, my host said he would fix my offer. We'd see.
This brings me back to the other part of this... it's only worth it to me if we are getting Royals enough so that we don't get slaughtered on the play. All other things considered, the Four Queens is not the fanciest hotel around. It's worn. It's what you'd call 'serviceable'. The best assets they have are the video poker, and their staff. The food at Magnolia's is pretty good, the pizza at Chicago Brewing Company is excellent, and the meals at Hugo's are outstanding... except they aren't comped anymore.
Part of being a degenerate video poker nut like myself is to take the time to work around all the parameters of these offers to see what risk they have and what rewards. Is it worth it? In an effort to be savvy I like to lay it all out in the blog as I have above, to see if I can make sense of what I want to do.
The next three days are going to be a battle. Because I am here solo, to maintain both my and the QQ's offers, I have to play for both of us, assuming I am going to blow through her freeplay, which of course I am going to do. That means $12K coin-in on my card and $12K coin-in on hers for the first two days. The third day I need to do my own $12K coin-in only. That's $60K of coin-in and I'm not sure the risks are worth the diminished rewards.
There is a terrible hard truth to all of this. I'm kind of dancing around the facts of the case. All of this only works only if I get some dollar Royals at the Four Queens.
Because, the thing is... I've never had one. Not once. Not ever. All this screwing around, maybe a quarter mil in coin-in between us... and I've never had a dollar Royal at the Four Queens. And neither has QQ. For this to make any kind of sense, I must get one. Or more than one. And there is just no way of knowing if it will happen.
It also didn't help that so far this trip, I've pretty much been nosing my way deeper and deeper into the warm dumper of loser-shitville. (That means I've lost way too much money for little useful return, by the way.)
But, I'll try, see how it goes, and maybe I can get through this without getting my nutsack handed to me.