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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Pinchy and Flashy, Meet Fadey

In the shadow of Slotzilla, my favorite street musician played his steel drums, softening the hustle of the street with his soothing sounds. I took the opportunity to grab some video, drop a few bucks in his bucket and have a quick chat with him.

If you see this musician, throw him a buck or two. True talent on Fremont.
Just as we started talking a big, lumbering doofus lumbered by and then lumbered over and started spouting stupid stuff just as the steel drum player was explaining to me that the pans are tuned to augmented fourths.

"That's a tympani right?" he blurted, interrupting, and then belched.

"That's a steel drum sir," I explained. "It's a brilliant piece of Trinidadian innovation and creativity that saw the careful hammering of the bottoms of oil drums into shapes that would turn the discarded vessels of filthy black gold into unique and beautiful musical instruments."

Doofus adjusted his hat, which had three sets of sunglasses perched on top of it.

"That's a tympani though, right?"

My guy had no choice but to kick off a new tune. After all, he was there working, and when he wasn't playing, he wasn't earning. I gave him a wink and went on my way. He flashed that big gold toothed grin and played.

My next stop, good ole Fremont home of spinners and full pay pick 'em. I played without a card and lost most of a $20 bill on spinners. Left with $2.50 (not enough for a full hand of triple play spinners), I walked back to the lobby and played pick 'em. I had quite a good run, garnering a number of fulls house and flushes (which pay decently on pick'em) and a number of delicious refreshing cocktails as well, hand-delivered on their very own presentation tray.

I also narrowly averted disaster by avoiding a Pick'em royal flush by just one card. Thank goodness the King of Spades wasn't present!

In the spirit of low rolling and not getting blown out on my final day, I cashed with $40 on the meter. That put me up $100 on the day. It felt good to take a small win, leave Fremont, and instantly head for another casino where I would then gamble the small win regardless.

That destination was the Plaza. I kept the volatility low, opting for Bonus Poker.

Because decorations.
The net result at the Plaza was a loss of $20. I nursed my profit into the Golden Nugget and got ready to blow the free play. I conversed with mission control back in Flusherville and we agreed to play the free play on dollar 9/5 Jacks. It was low volatility, but high denom. It was the best playing game at the Nugget, pretty much. And if lightning struck and I magically got a Royal, it would pretty much salvage the trip into 'reasonable' territory.

I started with my card. I had $75 free play available and I managed to extract $50 in cash out of that. One the Quad Queen's account, there was $90.

I pulled up $50 to start. It went nowhere fast. Gone.

I put in $25 of free play. Zip.

The last $15. Three hands worth. I got a couple of things and worked the credits up a little.

And then I lucked out a little bit!

The upshot of it was that I turned $165 in free play into $190 in cash.

One of the rare occasions on this trip that I can say was The Royal Flusher Way and even somewhat savvy.

This was weird territory for me, and I wasn't used to it. I was - what's the word? - winning. I was up about $250 on the day!

I picked up a delicious Americano at StarBuck$ and wandered north to my next stop.

Yes, I was camped out at the Keno lounge at the California.

I bought a couple of tickets, kibitzed with Maria the Singin' Cocktail Slinger a bit, chatted up the Hawaiian keno pros who had grown roots in their little keno chairs with the little desk attachments, sipped my Americano, and had a great time relaxing.

Keno sharps at the Cal.

Great views of the entrance to the newly renovated Men's room.
A bit of luck came my way, but not in the form of gambling. I happened to be on hand at the moment they opened the brand new lobby. Not only that, I spotted the boss, David Lebby, and got a chance to talk to him about the additional changes in store.

Pictures of the new lobby, and the details of the California casino plans appear in a separate article in Royal Flusher World.

I had been toying with the idea of trying to do a second decent day's play at Starship Binions to see what kind of free play offers might come out of it, but given the state of my budget, and the bad luck streak I'd been on for two weeks, I shelved that idea. It would have to wait for better days.

Friday at the California means only one thing - Oxtail Stew! I grabbed a seat at the counter in front of the Keno board and ordered up a bowl. It was delicious as always. After lunch (for which I paid - shudder - cash - can you believe it??? me paying cash at the Cal???) I hit the alcove for a little video poker.

Pinchy and Flashy have a new friend. Let's call him Fadey.

I played this machine that had kind of a dark screen. As I played it got darker. And darker. And darker still. And even more darker still beyond that darker still amount of darker.

It got so bad I flagged down a floor person.

"I'm pretty sure this machine is dying. I know these are older, but at this point, I can't really even see the cards!"

"Beat it."

"I should... leave?" I said, crestfallen. Was I being 86'd from the Cal???

I made the patented F.P. sad face. Think of the saddest fucking basset hound hang dog face you can imagine ever existing, and add tears. And then go sadder than that.

"No, beat on it. You just have to give it a good whack or two. Let me show you."

She reached over and, flat-handed, gave the screen a few good ones.


It came right back. The screen, lit up in all of its video poker brilliance.

I've been on these machines for twenty years now, but this one was new to me.

I played out the string without any drama, and the keno tickets didn't pay anything much. Two bucks back or something.

Time to get back to the El Cortez. I took my final walk down Fremont for the trip, gave the steel drum guy one final nod. I had to get completely packed up and ready for the limo at 9:30pm. I'd take a rest, maybe a shower. Kill some time. And then try to have a decent meal and maybe a decent last gamble at the ElCo.

Keno is a game for kicks
Pay some money make your picks
If by chance you get a win
Just play those same old numbers agin



    1. Oxtail stew!! I finally had some on my last trip (i rarely am in town on fridays). SO delish - glad you splurged and had it even though you had to pay cash for it!!

    2. I've had the oxtail soup a million times. Well a bunch of times, not really a million. I'd like to try the stew now sometime!

      Had me cracking up at Fadey. Permission to slap a machine? Thank you very much! I've got pissed and struck the VP glass...damn that hurts. Things are made of titanium or something.

      Enjoying the details and grimacing in financial pain with your results. Thanks for keeping it real. Misery loves company and the fact you aren't sugar coating a rough trip, well, who hasn't had one of those and got their butt kicked a time or two doing this? --NMchop

    3. So, Samuel L. Jackson grew a beard and is now an entertainer on Fremont St. Who knew?


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