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Friday, June 5, 2015

Swinging with Sweet Eyes

Day 5 - Friday - part 3

After lunch, I visited an old friend. The El Cortez, where I've had crazy luck, royals, and incredible runs on video poker. Where I cut my craps teeth on their $3 game. Where we once stayed in the Pavilion rooms for $10 a night on some crazy offer and lay shaking with fear all night as the crack whores argued outside our cracked window. (The Pavilion rooms are literally on one of the floors in the parking garage. I kid you not.)
Thanks Jimmy Poon for this incredible infographical!!!
The ElCo has seen a wonderful rebirth since those days. It still has some of its kitschy charm, but is updated enough to have a business model that should see it be successful. It's the kind of compromise that has to be made in this day and age. Yellowing, nicotine stained basement rec-room drop ceiling tiles may be comforting and quaint, but the health hazard that the blue air in the casino used to represent, was not.

Yes, in those days, you could pretty much cut the air with a keno ticket, and the ElCo was chock-a-block with rubbydubs playing their begged-for change. I'm glad I experienced it back then, but I'm not sure I miss it.

I drilled a few test holes in the little alcove beside the cage on dollars and wasn't finding any machines to my liking. In other words, they ate my $20 bills.

One last shot, at the bar near the lobby where there are some good games that you can employ the Strict Rules of Parlay on.

Once again, my test hole drilling seemed to pay off, because I found a machine that really wanted to play.

I started with $20 on Bonus Poker and it played okay going up some, then down a bit, but never under my buy-in. I pondered doing a pre-emptive parlay to 50 cents when I got to $30 but before I could do that, I hit the Aces.

Sweet! Now that was more like it.

Playing conservatively, I bumped it up to fifty cents and played on. My plan was to cash and run if I got down to $100.

And man, I was in that sweet zone where almost every hand is a dinger, and almost every hand is a winner. When this happens, I play the fuck out of the machine as fast as I can, lest it stop before I wring every last cent out of it. It's exactly like being a top Formula 1 driver, racing right on the edge, in the rain, at Monaco. Except that it was pushing buttons at a bar at the El Cortez. I'm sure it feels EXACTLY the same though.

I worked my way up bit by bit, and then hit a quad at fifty cents.

OK, now I was flying and hoping for the kill shot.

I switched to dollars. I played hard and fast for a while, dropping down to maybe $160. There was no way I was going to play this one into the grand, and I set my mental cash-out point at $140. Then I hit back to back full houses.

I had punched up over the $200 mark. I made that my new cash-out point. But I was over it already and kept going. I made it as high as about $270, then down to around $225. I toyed with the idea of switching to Boner Deluxe, but played it safe.

The thing took off again and I made it up as high as $340. I was playing as fast as I could, trying to still be accurate, and balancing risk with reward, trying to find that fine line so I could maximize this opportunity.

It was all about the flow and the moment, and I felt like I played it just right. I didn't make any mistakes that I saw (my weak spot is missing low pairs!) and cashed that mother out at $300.

I got chatting with the bartender, Sweet Eyes Polenta, who had noticed my focus and my win. She was really nice and I told her about my trip so far. She offered a drink, if you can believe that, but I was on my way so I turned it down. And then I thought what the heck, and slapped five bucks on the bar.

"Here, Sweet Eyes, make sure I get this machine whenever I come back," I said with my best Humphrey Bogart lisp.

"Is there something wrong with your voice? You sure you don't want some tonic water or something?" said Sweet Eyes.

I tipped my imaginary fedora and swaggered my way to a cash-out machine, which wouldn't take the ticket. No problem. I swaggered to the cage to cash it in, and it couldn't be read there either. Next thing I know the cashier, Gabby Gibson, is on the walkie talkie.

"I can totally prove this is legit," I said, fumbling with my piPhone 3.14. "I have pictures!"

Next thing I knew, one of the floor guys, wearing a vest, a walkie talkie, and eight pounds of tools, takes the ticket and hauls ass away.

I recognized him from previous visits.

"Where did Vestibule take my ticket? I'm going to get it back, right?"

It was kind of weird because all of a sudden, there I was with my dick in one hand, my phone in the other, and no $300 ticket. For all I knew I'd never see it again.

But I did. Vestibule had looked something up on some computer, and I got paid and swaggered on out of the El Cortez with a really sweet winning session under my belt.

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