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Thursday, April 5, 2018

A Pile of Vegas Club

Tuesday - Day 4

I get ready for the day and head down to the buffet for breakfast again - the sausage lures me. Make of that what you will. After, I head up to the room and get everything packed - I'm moving to the Cal and hoping they will have a room ready for me.

Potatoes are tubers, and I say sausages are tubers too.
The Nugget television shows my folio, which consists of a complicated series of entries with holds added and removed, credits, debits, fees, taxes... I can't follow it, but one thing has me wondering, I see two $17 buffets there. I take a deep breath and a quick call to the accounting trolls that live deep beneath the Nugget, and never see daylight, confirms that I am a fucking idiot.

The eco fee is $15 off for the stay for denying housekeeping (something I do anyway) - NOT PER DAY. Mousing furiously, swiftly, clicking and scanning, I confirm again that I am a fucking idiot. It's spelled out clearly in RGB.

That's $34 I could have saved by having breakfast at the Four Queens for free using comp dollars on my card there!!! I'm pissed at myself for the latest stupid thing I do. The emotional way out is to count my blessed sausages, because it is almost worth it to have experienced their tubular delectibilocity, on two separate occasions to whit. And also to mentally blame it on the Golden Nugget somehow. (I'm not talking about the sausage from the carvery, by the way, I'm talking about the sausages in a bin on the other side - to your right as you face Mr. Omelette Man.)

The California Hotel and Casino lobby is fairly quiet, and I don't wait long in line. How can you not love downtown hotels, and this one in particular - it's seven hours before check in time and they happily find me a room that's ready to go. No bullshit, no 'early check-in fee' like they have on the strip. It's another reminder that this town has mostly forgotten what made it successful.*

The lobbyist tells me reluctantly, almost sheepishly, that my room is at the very end of the hallway. That is so not a problem - I finish check-in, get two meal books that cover my stay (thank you to my host), and four minutes later, I'm in.

The room is fine. The Cal has a limited number of coffee makers available at no charge. I get on the blower to call down for one. That pound-plus canister of oatmeal is weighing my suitcase down. Plus coffee. But they don't have one available. Wha?.... My heart sinks. I was counting on this. They say they will send one up when one is available. I say fat chance they will remember - after hanging up.

And with that, I'm off to GrommetCon. While waiting for the elevator, I attempt some photos of the Vegas Club site. My photos are as much a failure as the Vegas Club was.

The pile of Vegas Club that is left.
Manning the table at the front of the GrommetCon booth is not as much fun as I thought it would be - it's actually pretty boring.

I set up a 'guess how many grommets' jar, and a couple of receptacles to collect business cards - one for leads, and one to enter a draw for a Royal Canadian Veeblefetzer-branded Meaty D-Light protein go-basket, featuring a Veeblefetzer-branded vacuum pack bag of beaver jerky, six feet of Meaty D-Light Doub-l-Garlic Polish coil, two packages of Meaty D-Light Mr. Crab chopped and extruded fake crab Trail Treats, good for a decade and a convenient source of something for morons on the go, and finally, a 9 pound Veeblefetzer-branded head cheese. Way to go, Norbert, you stunk up the joint with class.

The morning goes slowly as I watch the throngs of grommet enthusiasts and manufacturing reps moo moo along the aisle, looking for stuff to take, and tossing business cards around like alms for the poor.

In the afternoon, I amuse myself with a little game. If someone puts a card in just one of our bins, I do the old switcheroo. If they put a card in the bin for the Meaty D-Light draw, I move it to the "Yes! Please have your marketing weenies contact me at an inconvenient hour by phone!" bin. If they actually are interested in buying our grommets, I move their business card to the Meaty D-Light draw bin.

After what seems like trade show eternity, I'm finally free to make of my evening what I will. I walk back to the Cal, dump my trade show shit in the room, and decide to see what weird machines I might find on the exclusive Mezzanine Level Casino, home of the coin-dropper I.S.Gs.

By gum, I find what has to be the loneliest slot machine in Vegas. There's actually three of them and the one on the right is the loneliest of the lonely. They are as far from any of the Cal entrances as you can possibly get, on the wall of the 2nd floor, furthest from the escalator. Not only that, they are far to the right, on the end, next to about 2500 of floor space deemed so lonely, so pathetic, that they have not even bothered to put any machines there.

Immediately, I fall in love with these machines. Flusher is the champion of the quirky, the upholder of the downtrodden, the lover of old, freaky slot machines. These ones are progressive Double Flaming Burning Sphincter Sevens nickel machines. Each of them has a progressive jackpot, up over $2,000. I suspect it is an awfully long time between jackpots.

It seems fitting that I put a Five Dollar Bill into the Outpost Machine on the left. And by God, it's so happy to see me, that I win something! Not only that, it is just possible to order a cocktail here, if the cocktail waitress happens to see the smoke rising from your camp fire from her dog sled.

I cash out the profits from my big nickle hit, but I can't leave it alone. I play some more on this good ole non-volatile beauty. She's a five coiner, and yes, she's seen better days, but you press her button right and she'll put out like it was Saturday night in oil country.

My latest drink hasn't arrived yet (horrors!) so I survey the mezzanine with squinty secret agent eyes, noting all the exits, entrances, and anything out of place. There are only two ways to get up to the mezzanine - the escalator, or the elevators. The bank of crappy nickel video poker progressives at the top of the escalators gets the nod as the place to stake out the cocktail waitress. And there's one machine where I can see the escalator to my right, and be seen as well.

I sit and play a bit on this dog of a machine. The Double Double Bonus paytable is 6/5, and I sneer at it. That's a hold of around 5%, compared to about a percent on the quarter machines widely available in the casino. What kind of a moron would play such a machine? There's a progressive on the royal to slightly sweeten the deal, but other than waiting for a drink to arrive, this machine has nothing to recommend it.

As a peace offering, in a bid to entice me to keep playing it (because nobody ever, ever, ever does), the pathetic old nickel machine forks over a quad. The server spots me as she comes up the escalator twenty feet away and delivers the goods. I deliver a tip, take a sip, and play a couple of hands to get to an even amount, and cash out.

Beeeefffaalloooooo doesn't do me much good - I am starting to sour on this game. It's popular and it stands to reason that they've cranked the hold as a result. It's time to settle in to some blackjack, so I find a spot and buy in for $100.

Conservatively, I bet the minimum - $5 a hand. The table is half full, I'm relaxed, and between hands I look around to see what's going on in the casino. My plan is to play $5 a hand until I've won some, then switch to $10. If I get to $100 profit, or $150, try $15 and go from there.

It's about six hands in and I'm up $25 and I kick out a couple of reds, just to test the waters. Rewards come in the form of two consecutive blackjacks.

Sticking with $10 a hand bets, I play for about an hour. The high water mark is $175 on the table, and when that gets whittled to $150, I color up for a $50 profit.

That there is how it's supposed to work.

*On the day this post was published, Main Street Station, The California, and Fremont started charging their first ever resort fee of $14.99 a night. It's a sad day. Can axing free in-room coffee makers be far behind?


    1. Whoa - you buried the lede! Resort fee at downtown Boyd hotels??? I did a search and I'm not finding news of that anywhere. I assume this won't be charged for guests coming in on an offer?

      1. We don't expect it will be charged for comped rooms. I couldn't find anything on their site, but people booking were quoted the $14.99 a night resort fee.

        Lots of discussion on Vegas Message Board:


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