Day 3 - Wednesday - part 2
I woke up around 6:00am again and lay in bed and groaned with trepidation. Then I groaned with dread. Then I groaned with "$2,200 lost on day 1 in Vegas" remorse. How was I going to forge any kind of a day with a $200 stake?
Not to mention I had no money for tips, tolls and incidentals such as extra Reverend Tabernacle's Old Tyme Half and Half Hooker Spray (with eucalyptus and mentholatum). (I still remember the ads they used to have. Don't take a shot in the dark, get Reverend Tabernacle's!)
As I headed to the casino, bypassing the petri dishes of treats in the Golden Club hallway, I forged a plan.
The plan, carefully concocted and pretty much sure to work, went like this.
Play the Quad Queen's free play.
Yep. She had $110 on her card, according to the Golden Nugget mailings and I aimed to make use of it. Hell, it added over 50% to my stake!
I went to Starbucks and got myself a flat white (damn, I love those things). Because you can get any name you want on your cup, I told the cashier my name was 'Freddy'. I know, pretty outrageous.
I saddled up to one of the bars with the scrunchy cards and dialed up Bonus Poker. Fifty cent. Slipping the Quad Queen's card in, I prayed that her pin would work and that the freeplay was really on there.
Well, it did, and it was.
I played carefully, $20 worth at a time, ready to parlay. Each machine I tried seemed cold. (Did you say 'each machine'?) Yes I did. Everything, though worked perfectly according to my plan, with the exception that I used all $110 of Mrs. Flusher's freeplay without actually winning anything.
Not a problem. I had gotten my bad luck out of the way and my daily stake was still intact.
Actually, I felt sick. Goddammit.
I put one of my last two $100 bills into another machine and played the same game, fifty cent Bonus Poker. And I got nothing.
Mentally, I started to rehearse the walk of shame to the cage to get another marker. I pondered how much I should get. This was disaster.
Remember when James Bond was out of money when he was trying to financially ruin Le Chiffre at baccarat? And the CIA gave him some money at the last possible minute?
I looked around for the CIA to give me some money, but I could spot them. After all, they are spies, and know how to disguise themselves as a wall phone or a potted plant. No, the CIA was not going to bail me out this time.
With $100 left, I decided to fall back on an old technique, and age-old gambling trick the oldsters taught me so many years ago, the same one I relearned last trip, and the trip before that and the trip before that and promptly seem to forget.
Drill test holes.
Drill lots of test holes.
Why? In a nutshell, I am finding that when some machines are hot, they are really hot. So why not drill test holes by playing a bunch of different machines and trying to find one that is in a good mood?
Now, many of you out there will say every hand is random, and it wouldn't matter if you sat on one machine all trip long. Everything logical says you are right.
And yet, lately, I have been finding that maybe there really are machines that are hot for a while. The Strict Rules of Parlay are designed to take advantage of this, but maybe there is another piece of the puzzle - finding the right machine to try to parlay on.
Maybe I was full of shit, but I had to try something. Because pouring $100 bills into machines wasn't getting me anything but broke.
I thought back to what Licorice Petey used to tell me when we rode the rails together,
"Some believe in hot machines, and say it don't matter.
But drill yourself some good test holes, and you'll climb the money ladder."
And I used to tell Licorice Petey when we rode the rails together,
"Matter doesn't rhyme with ladder, you drunk old coot."
I broke my very last hundred dollar bill into $20s and set off to drill some test holes on the 8/6 dollar Jacks in the Golden Hallway that leads to the Golden Nugget.
First $20. Nothing. Change machines.
Second $20. Nothing. Change machines.
Third and Fourth $20. Nothing. Nothing. Now I'm back on the first machine again.
Some of you may think that this is dramaticized but I swear on Jimmy Poon's wife's thong that this is really the way it went down. Besides, I already told you how I lost $2200 in 24 hours in Vegas, why exaggerate now?
My last freaking $20 bill... another test hole... and I held my own for a few hands, then it started to go down.
And, in fact, I Lazarused. I had $5 left in the machine and pressed Deal. That $5 represented the last, the very last of all the money I had brought to Vegas, $1700, and a $1000 marker. I was all in and shitting bricks.
Okay, the cards came. Four to a flush. Held four and expected a dull thud. But... got it.
Minor reprieve. Wow, didn't expect that.
Next hand, held two cards, got another flush.
The test hole had turned up a little trickle. And the trickle started to turn into a stream. The credits were going up not down. Every hand was dealt with a ding meaning I had a paying hand already. This had the scent of what I look for in a hot machine. Deal, hold, win. Deal hold, hand improves, win. Dealt straight. Dealt full house.
Yeah, now I'm starting to get excited.
I kept playing and the machine just kept winning. Next thing I knew, I was up to $140! Wow!
I played on. These are the moments that make it all worthwhile, or at least, come as a minor adrenaline-injecting consolation to a steady stream of disappointment.
I started to wonder about switching to Double Double Bonus but didn't and within a couple of hands I had myself a nice little four of a kind. 'May they come often,' I thought.
I decided not to beat myself up for not switching to Double Double Bonus. I needed this quad and I needed it bad. If I'd switched, the timing would have been different and I would have got something different. (Probably Aces kicker...)
After some more play I did switch to something with higher volatility and bigger payoffs - Triple Double Bonus. And, I picked up a second quad. Just like that I'd almost doubled my trip quad count.
Yes!!! Oh man, what a feeling. Back from the fucking dead! I played on, hoping to hit it out of the park, but used care and when I got down to $400, cashed out to regroup.
Just for a change, I played one of my favorite slots, one of those 'inching Diamond' slots that click up and down depending on which way the diamonds point. $20 actually lasted me quite a while, long enough to obtain, and drink, a cup of casino slop-coffee. Maybe half an hour? No big win though.
I decided to try some triple play. I drilled a test hole on machine number one, and got nowhere. $20 isn't much on triple play quarters, but its sometimes enough for a test hole. I moved to machine number two and it just lifted off. Boom boom boom.