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Monday, July 3, 2017

Pointies, Pointies, who's got the Pointies?

Day 9, Wednesday May 24, 2017 - continued

My coupon and match play assault on Fremont Street would begin at the Plaza. I had $10 free play and a $25 match play coupon. The free play went for naught, and then it was time for the match play. I have had such a rough time on match plays, going back to last year. And $25 on blackjack is five times my normal bet. But I believe in math, I believe in magic, and I believe in the Spirit of Savvy, and I knew that the odds were in my favor.

I bought in for $25 at blackjack and put the coupon out. I was dealt a sweet 20, and the dealer stood in 18. I won!


A good one, too, $50 profit.

I practically tipped my chair over in my panic to run immediately to the cage to cash in my three green chips. It was a great start.

It was bloody hot out (103 F) and I realized that my hiking days were over, as far as this trip was concerned. I'd had two more outings planned, but the heat was here to stay, and it was just too oppressive.
Main Street Station is proud to share these exceptionally empty spaces with everyone. Their story is but one chapter where nothing happened.

I barely made it from the Plaza to the Golden Gate... it must have been a trek of as much as 70 feet.

At the Golden Gate (and at the D) they give you these special match play chips that are bigger than regular ones. They are kind of cool but I quickly discarded the idea of keeping one. Same deal, I played blackjack and... won both match plays! I was three for three! I changed a green $25 chip in for reds and played a few hands at $5 a hand just to keep some tipsy Sheila company, but when it started turning bad, I walked away.

Ever have one of those transactions where you are pretty sure what you've got and then it ends up different and you aren't quite sure what happened? Did you mis-count? Were you overpaid?

I'd gotten $160 from the cage for my chips and as I walked along I did the math over and over. How many green chips did I have? I should have had five $25 and two $5 chips. I remembered the cashier stacking, and restacking the greens, being a little tentative and I remember for sure there was one larger stack and a stack of two. But why would you mistake three greens for four? Maybe I'd been paid an extra one at the table. I really didn't know, and I didn't notice at the time in either case. And, to make a long story short, by the time I got to the Four Queens, I figured out that I was paid for an extra green chip. Total win, $110.

Mentally, I put the extra $25 on the stupid T.I. internet bill, which in my mind I'd whittled down to 75 bucks.

It was fun walking through the Smug Nugget and sucking in their air conditioned, cool air, and not playing a dime. Next stop - the Four Queens.
The glitz! The glamour!
At the Four Queens, I cashed in a $10 Silver Strike token and kept the money. And I had $10 in free play and tried to do a short parlay on Jacks, but it failed. No big deal. What's $10 in free play really worth, anyway?

Happy to see that the Nickel Palace sign lives on, even though the nickels don't.
Next stop, the D. I had two $5 match plays, and two $25 match plays. I started with a $5 one and won the hand. And then it was boom, boom, boom lost all the rest. Shit. This cost me $45. I'd hoped for a super match play streak, but obviously that wasn't happening.

Next stop... the El Cortez.

I'd walked all that way for nothing, in the searing heat. Well, it wasn't completely for nothing - I got to see my smiling steel drum player. I slipped $5 into his bucket as I went by and gave him a nod. Maybe some good karma?

I played at the Parlour Bar long enough to get a couple of free beers. They cost $60, because Bonus Poker. Another $20 went on Beeffaallooo!!!

And then I thought of the old Deuces machines, and why not? They are rare birds downtown, the only two of their kind, and on the endangered video poker machine list. All you have to do to find these machines is to locate the girl in the casino who is pushing a cart full of White Castle sliders. She'll lead you right to it.

One of the two machines was available (the one by the Men's room) so I went at it.

I fed in a twenty, and it dumped. Then a second one, and went on a kind of mini-streak. I started hitting things and got to play and play and play. I managed to get up to $100 and a bit over, and when I hit $100 again, I cashed. That made me almost even at the ElCo.

Next stop... the Downtown Grand. I've had incredible luck at picking off their progressive Aces hands at the bar since they've been open. So that is where I'd play my free play - $10 worth. I had a $10 match play as well.

The progressives looked pretty sweet. I picked a machine and got a drink going. For some reason, I thought I had to play at least a hand in order to trigger the free play availability. So I put in $20, ordered a Lucky Heineken, and started thinking about getting Pointies.

It went for shit. Fine. I moved my tip jar, my card, my beer, everything over to the next machine on my left.

This time I pulled up the $10 in free play and I managed to get things going a little bit. Had a few threes of a kind, but couldn't convert. Couple Aces showed up and I held them and slapped the button.

Boom. Four Pointies!

I shouted "YES!" and giggled a little bit. Checked for the kicker, but it wasn't there. That's okay. I ordered up a shot of Jack to celebrate.

The Quad Queen was very happy to see the pictures I sent her. I couldn't believe it. Aces on $10 free play, Aces yet again at the Downtown Grand Bar.

The message that went with the pictures?

"One down, one to go."

I played a few more hands and cashed out. And then I thought... why not? Anything can happen. Why walk away from a juicy Aces Kicker progressive?

The ticket went back in. I ordered another beer. And I played.

It didn't take long before I was dealt three Aces. Oh my. Could this be it? Held my breath and drew... but number four Pointy was not there. Had this been my chance. Probably.

A couple of minutes later, I was dealt three Aces again. Oh my. Ok, here we go.

I pounded the padded armrest. I bellowed with laughter. I bent over and almost pounded my head against the bar. "YES! YES! YES! HOLY SHIT BANANAS YES!!!"

And it was there - the four Aces. AND the kicker.

Another shot of Jack please! And twenty bucks into the tip jar.

Man oh man, what a feeling! I took down not one, but two sets of Aces in half an hour for $1,071.25 - on $10 free play. Fuckin' AAAA!

Yes, I did try for the trifecta, hoping to get the 2s,3s,4s with kicker progressive, but it wasn't happening and I cashed out.

I always say that the difference between a winning and losing video poker trip comes down to two or three hands. You either get those bolts of lightning, or you don't. I'd managed it twice this trip and it had made all the difference.

I played my $10 match play at blackjack - won it - and had a nice time helping some newbies along.

I was at first base and to my left was a young black woman. At third base were two brothers who spoke an exotic-sounding foreign language between themselves. Their English was so-so, and they spoke with thick middle eastern accents.

The pit boss came over and said to them, "Do you boys have players cards yet?"

"Sorry? Excuse?"

"Cards? Players cards?"

In unison, almost like synchronized swimmers, they reached into their pockets with their right hands and drew out... their.... passports.

We all had a laugh. These guys thought they were getting busted or were in trouble or something.

I played for a nice half hour or so, and it was fun watching the young woman next to me learn the game and struggle to figure out whether to take a risk or not. One hand came up and the advice from everyone was to double.

She had only a few chips left and hesitated. She looked me, a questioning eyebrow raised.

"Should I?"


She looked down. Looked at the cards, at her chips. Fiddled with them.

I'd had such good luck that I knew what to do. I took one of my chips and played it next to hers.

"Tell him you double", I said with a smile.

She was gracious and accepted the gesture and of course, she won.

Time for me to go. I cashed out and practically skipped the two blocks back to the Cal. What a great fucking day it had turned into!
The power was off pretty much all night the night before. It was now, clearly, back.

This card might still be there....
I had dinner at the Noodle House with two women I just met - but who cares.

I'D WON! And I was up over $1K on the trip.


    1. Yeah!! What a day! The only thing it was missing was an appearance by Video Poker playin' Grandpa Munster!

    2. One word sums it up - SWEET!


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