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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

No-Roller Trip Accounting Spin

Every trip to Vegas is different, isn't it.

The trip home went pretty much the way it was supposed to. There was a little stress around some flight delays, and we landed in a pretty bad snowstorm in Watertown, but other than that, it was uneventful. As in the '84 Tercel was still there, and I was able to get a jump start in under 30 minutes.

I guess there was one event - I got long-hauled by the Uber driver on the way to the airport. When we got there I told him, "Next time, take Tropicana." He gave the usual, "Traffic, congestion, construction, parade..." lines. I had the perfect reply formulated. "Bullshit."

Uber knocked $10 off the bill, so other than having to put up with this guy for a little longer than I should have (he drove like a maniac) no harm done.

Alright, now just listen carefully... you should be able to see the runway at 300 feet. Aim the touchdown a third of the way along. There's a slight crosswind from  the right so be ready for it. Land too fast, use your emergency brakes. The red handle's right in front of you. If that doesn't stop you... if that doesn't stop you cut the four ignition switches over the co-pilot's head. Do you see us now? You should be able to see the field now.

Ted that was probably the worst landing in the history of this airport, but some of us here, particularly me would like to buy you a drink and shake your hand...Do you know what it's like falling in the mud and getting kicked, in the head. With an iron boot? Of course you don't, no one does, that never happens.


I really accomplished what I set out to do for this trip - for the first three quarters of it. Then I let it go in the dumper.

Consider this - by Day 11, I was up $105, which is amazing. However, I finished the trip down about $1400.

Spin - I lost less than $100 a day, and got way more than that in comps.

So let's look at comps.


I did really well with comps. All room nights were comped but one, and I chose to upgrade to the Club level at the Nugget, for which I ended up getting a huge suite with a view of the HVAC system.

Comp Amount Notes
Nugget Room $200 Paid for Saturday night, plus upgrade to suite
Cal Room $600
TI Room $150
Cal Food $400
Trop Food $30
Trop Show Tix $0 Had 'em in hand but didn't use 'em, so zilch 
Magnolia's Sunday $13
Magnolia's Monday $10
T.I. meal comp $32 Pit boss comp for blackjack play
Redwood $134 Host comp
Noodle House $49 Host comp
Extra room night $75
Breakfast comp $12
Total: $1855


I had quite a bit of freeplay available from offers, coupons, and converted points. I think I did far less than average at converting that freeplay to usable cash that I could later gamble away.

For example, at the Cal, I had a total of $225 in offer and point freeplay and converted that into just $50. I fared better at T.I., playing $100 and getting $100. I had small amounts at a number of places that all turned into zero - Plaza, Golden Gate, the D, El Cortez, Downtown Grand, Ellis Island, Hooters... most of these were $10 in, a few were $5 in, and all of them were zero out.

The best performance was at the Trop, where I turned $45 into $121.

Total freeplay was $740, and I got $611 out.

Match plays were completely fucking dismal - out of $105 in match plays, I won $35.

Game Choice

Once again, blackjack surprised everyone. I went on an amazing winning streak for the first half of the trip, and then mostly lost after that. But the net on blackjack was plus $225.

Machines were killer. I did get two $500 jackpots, but no royals. Overall, I lost over $1500 on machines.

Craps was -$50 but I hardly played it.

And the red-headed stepchild of the house edge world, Keno, netted me -$10. That's a lot of lonely entertainment sitting in my room waiting for 20 numbers to be drawn every 15 minutes for ten bucks.

Again, I am noting that I should be playing more blackjack, and that depending where you play, decent food comps are still on the table. The best example was at T.I., where I played $10 a hand for two hours, colored up ahead, and got a $30 food comp. I needed dinner, and would have had to pay cash for it, so in this case, the $30 adds to the EV, as far as I'm concerned, anyway.

I'm going to see if I can play more blackjack on my trips, and be bold about asking for food comps. At some places, like the Cal, it doesn't matter much because food is already covered. But at other properties, this is probably a good strategy.

Blackjack is much less volatile than machines. That has two effects - the bankroll swings are smaller, but the 'bolt of lightning huge win' potential is eliminated (unless you bet 40-50% of the bold of lightning amount in the first place.

The screen says "WINNER WINNER WINNER" every fucking time - lucky bastard.
The problem with all of this is... I sure love my video poker.


Out of pocket costs were about $2700. That covered everything for a 17 day trip - airfare, ground transportation, room, food, booze, cell phone roaming charges, a $13 coffee maker, and $200 in well-placed tips.

That's about $160 a day for all of that, plus of course, entertainment and hangovers.

When I think about those $400 a night hotel rooms in Sydney I shudder a little bit - Vegas can still be an exceptional value.

Comps added $1,855 in value and I had $740 in freeplay, for a total of $2,595 in freebies. That doesn't include any value for airfare - I used $400 in vouchers from the Australia trip to cover most of that.


I enjoy my little web site and writing up these trip reports. It takes quite a bit of time and effort, but everybody is pretty patient, and I get a kick out of when you get a kick out of it. And I get to make up stupid words and names.

If you want to help me and Jimmy Poon out, consider using links on the site to book your rooms when the time comes. Pretty much any CET link will get you to totalrewards, where you can book whatever you were going to book. Difference is, if you start from here, and go through with the stay, I get a little piece of whatever you spend. That helps pay for Jimmy Poon's technical supplies, like monochrome monitor repairs, and those oversized Kimwipe kleenexy things that he has in the computer room. (I don't ask too many questions about why he uses so many Kimwipes.)

Jimmy Poon put up a "total fucking sell-out" Savvy Deals page where you can peruse things - there's a link to it on the menu.

Once again, I thank you for reading, and for your feedback, and support. Hope you laughed a time or too, hope things didn't get too maudlin, and hope you felt like you were in my shoes a time or two, for the fun parts.


I'll be back...

Looking for more trip report fun? Try this one.

The Victory Trip

Holy crap!!! Another Royal Flush! I was shocked, tickled, and immediately stopped feeling bad about the small mammals. They were really, really small ones. Old. Sickly. I was probably doing them a merciful favor.

Anyway, in just three hands I'd netted $1000, recovered the losses from the day before, and added to my total trip winnings. 

Now THAT is totally the R.F.W. I drew a line in the carpet and gave the Quad Queen a bit of the ole Royal Flusher Stink-eye.

"THAT....", I intoned seriously, " the Line of Death."


    1. A rare treat, taking off on runway 01R with a left side seat. As always, thank you for sharing your adventures with us. See you next time.

    2. So enjoy your LV escapades. Get to enjoy the thrills without spending the money.

    3. If I may speak for thousands of readers, thank you for making our days a bit brighter, and for putting a smile on our faces at least once each day.


    4. As always, enjoyed the write-up, and our visit. I told all my penguins about it, and they seemed entertained as well.

    5. With their resort fee, Boyd should drop B connected and B lucky in favor of a more honest logo, B screwed.

    6. Video Poker still should be the best bang for your buck gambling. I think you are playing too many subpar paytables though....BJ sucks ..its like you win a little bit or lose a lot ..never really get the big scores unless you start betting your whole buyin.

    7. Since leaving Las Vegas, after 15 years of video poker, I read your trip reports to get the vicarious thrill! Thanks, Royal, you have given me another great trip.

    8. Thank you for your efforts of putting these reports together. Lots of fun to read. I'm already planning on using your.. "You have a Soft-ten... you need to hit again".... next trip.. Hope you don't mind.

    9. Great report, as always. I think your chart is missing something though. The total of comps is $1705 based on what is shown. Something missing? Still beats the value of my comps though, which is usually limited to the $5 or $10 of free play and maybe a free Tuesday night.

    10. Fun report, as always. Is something missing from your comps total? It adds to $1705, or maybe not, because I'm drinking while reading this. Beats the value of mine, though, which are typically $0.

    11. Just curious why your job didn't cover your travel expenses since you spent so much time working the show booth?


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