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Friday, March 30, 2018

The Degenerate's Eye View

Saturday - Day 1 - continued

I take the elevator down, and even though I am dog tired, the rush of the casino washes over me in a tsunami of noise and smoke and perfume. I feel like a familiar old flame has snuck a kiss. I walk through the Nugget, and out across Fremont, which is alive with its new-found carnival atmosphere.

The Las Vegas Club is no more - only a low pile of rubble is left, and I marvel that for perhaps the first time ever, I can see all of the California Hotel and Casino at one glance. I quickly walk the block, alongside Binions, cross at the light, and walk into the Cal.

I have that feeling of being home, and I see a few familiar faces. It's not like there are disembodied faces floating along that I recognize - the faces are attached to people, actually. The place is rocking, and I stroll along the pit, dodging potential Island Senior Girlfriends with their various assistive mobility devices.

Up the escalator, past the jerky shop, which I have yet to ever buy anything from, and across the skywalk to Main Street Station. And then that wonderful degenerate's eye view of the casino.

Main Street Station Casino

I quash the pull of the Boar's Head Bar and find an available Aces no Faces machine. This is IT. Five quarters go in, and... no dealt Aces. I win nothing. Five more quarters and.... a pair. I'm then dealt an Ace with no face and five extra quarters pang into the tray. One down, next stop four of 'em.

After about eight or nine hands, I'm out. I will have to use paper money now. I find an appropriate nickel machine, and insert five dollars. I order a Lucky Heineken as soon as is humanly possible.

I have a couple of close four to a Royal calls. I think about how I will feel if I hit a Royal on nickels, instead of the quarters that I play 98% of the time these days. I haven't played nickel video poker in years and years.

The five bucks doesn't last long, but the Heineken arrives and it is ice cold. After such a long, trying day, it may be the best thing I've ever tasted. It's so cold it hurts in my throat, in the way that only a Lucky Heineken can. Or a Chuck Norris punch, I suppose, but fuck Chuck Norris, I'd rather have a beer.

Flusher playing nickels. It's a sad, sad day.
I put in a $20 bill. Before long, I hit a quad but I can't get a scratch card. I'm gambling without 'protection' - no player's card, playing bareback. I don't want to hose my daily average on the nickel machines.

I play for perhaps an hour before my credits run out. Deciding that I might as well get desperate right away, I play another $20 on Triple Double Bonus, which offers some big premium quads. As in a lot of nickels.

I'm almost relieved when I don't hit one - but I try to prepare myself just in case. Two hundred bucks is two hundred bucks, and I decide that if it happens, I will count my 2000 nickel blessings.
My mettle is tested early - on Triple Double Bonus the 'correct' hold is to keep a kicker with the three pointies.

I don't get the needed pointy. Bye bye potential $200.

Polish Royal. 

Thank God I didn't hit this.
There have to be other no-bankroll degenerate machines I can play so I decide to take a quick look around. This part of the casino is practically unexplored.

I find the ultimate low-roller video poker machine. It has the following denominations: 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents. That's all. I can play video poker for a cent a hand if I want. Or five cents a hand.

If I hit a Royal while playing five cents a hand, I will win $40.00.

I think the smart play for a five cent a hand video poker maven is in the free drinks you get while playing. You could get hammered on a dollar with a little luck.

I head out, because it's about 4:00am Eastern time and I am starving.

I know just where to go to get seated, and get piping hot food delivered within 9 minutes of my arrival - the counter at the Cal coffee shop. I am guided in my ordering choice by the fact that there is no strawberry jam amidst the sea of 'fake jam' - that jumbleberry and jelly shit - so I go for The Hawaiian Hamburger Steak. It's hot, it's smothered in onion gravy, it has fries, and I pour on four different condiments to make it even sicker. I wolf it down and can't imagine how anything out-do it.

Screw you and your Fake Jam, Heinzie.
I drag my ass back to the suite and hit the hay. Fuck me what a day. I'm down $43.71 and I couldn't be happier.


    1. Wait. Why did you take a donkey to Vegas?

    2. Great article. I loved the inner thoughts and feelings. This is me, except I look for full pay tables, and have just a bit more fun perhaps. It is great to play for hours and break even on the drinks. In other times free room offers would come in the mail even from nickel play. Odd to find the term "donkey" used in this context. A poker donkey is not a frugal player, but a player to plays every hand. I don't see any mention of nickel play freeing you from good basic strategy decisions. There is no suggestion that the narrator tries to hit all long shots. All the represented hands reflect reasonable holds. Of course, donkey play in live poker sometimes makes sense, depending upon who sits down at the table. Machines don't get rattled. That tip to skip the Cal line and head for the counter is right on. As a solo diner, I've done it often, even when the wait for a table was forty five minutes.

      1. Thanks, Dewey! Maybe I'll bump into you at the counter some time.

      2. I was talking about the last line in this post, not anything about the play.
        I would never criticize anyone's play. They're money, they're way.

    3. I guffawed at the Polish Royal. I don't think anybody has actually guffawed since 1922.


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