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Friday, May 10, 2024

Comps, Comps, Comps!

Day 5 Saturday Dec. 6, 1997

Our best day yet. We had $40.00 left over from our budget for yesterday. We had a cheap bastard bagel in the room and bought coffee to go.

Hit Excalibur, played a bit, and on to MGM. Found 4 quarters in one bin, and 1 credit on another machine while Karen hit the washroom. It never ends.

Took the monorail to Bally's again, and thru the Flaming O, Harrah's, and on to Mirage.

They have these nickel VP machines at the Mirage - 7/5 with 5000 coins for the Royal. Pretty good for nickels on the strip. Played for a while and then took the tram to Treasure Island.

Played the dollar 1-100 coin machines. I lost but Karen won. Then I tried my hand at the nickel VP with doubling. Turned one $2.00 roll in to $14.35 in five minutes! I like the double or nothing thing - it gets my heart going. Turned those into quarters and hit on a Double Diamond for 80.

Not bad for a $2.00 start. This was the first decent slot win this trip.

I haven't mentioned much about playing the slots, because we mostly lost on them up till this point. Not an uncommon occurrence.

Karen went back to the dollar VP and I hit a Triple Diamond for 120 quarters.

From the previous day's play (150 points) we got a comp for the coffee shop. What a meal we had! Shrimp cocktail, French onion soup, Filet Mignon (K), 16 oz. T-Bone (me), hot fudge sundae, and crepes filled with ice cream for dessert. Drinks. The bill was $60.00 and we paid only the $10.00 tip. Great comp.

Back to VP - we lost for a while and then made it up. Karen hit 2 4-of-a-kinds for $25.00 each. I hit 4 fours for $40.00.

Took a walk up to Stardust to have a look at it and get some fresh smoke-free air. (The only thing I dislike about Vegas is the cigarette smoke - it can be awful). Back to TI - we checked with the slot club and we had four buffet passes coming for our play! We ate the dinner buffet - including shrimp and prime rib. $18.00 value.

Back to VP - K hit four kings and I hit that same triple diamond (end of the hallway to Mystere theatre, on the end of the row, prominently placed) for 120 quarters.

Playing VP I played my winnings from a hitting a straight ($4) and hit for $32.00. That felt good. We quit VP ahead on the day and got $10.00 cash back in addition to the free meals worth $80.00 we enjoyed during the day.

Karen hit this loose Wild Cherry (5 coiner, end of the row, prominently placed near the washrooms) for 100 quarters and we left, very happy.

At Mirage played the nickels for a while and enjoyed the Caribbean band. Karen sometimes just wants to sit and bang away at VP - the nickels are good for this - she really wants to hit that Royal, and I do to. But she can really play fast and has better accuracy than I do.

Played some slots and lost. Took a cab to Luxor and burned the last of the profits on 25 cent VP. Tried $20 in dollar slots and lost, but K won and we broke even.

At the end of the day, we lost 75 cents, had $80.00 in free meals, and free drinks all day. We have two buffets (or more) at TI coming. A great day in Vegas!

I had quite a love affair in the early days with the Double Up feature on video poker machines.
One time at Luxor, my nickel machine jammed or something - a common occurrence on the old coin droppers - and a slot tech had to come by and fix it. This would happen five, six, seven times a day, especially if you put the coins in too fast. And sometimes they jammed on the exit. Sometimes the bin inside wouldn't spit out any more coins and the slot tech would open it up and give the remaining coins a stir.
If it was really low, they'd call for a fill. A huge, heavy bag of nickels and some staff to audit the procedure would appear and they'd dump them into the machine.
Anyway, I boasted to the slot tech that later he'd be having to come back because I was going to empty the machine of nickels.
He encouraged me in his special way with a "yeah, right".
Well, I got on a double up run and pushed one hand all the way to something like 1280 nickels. I think I doubled a full house win five times.
Needless to say, I actually did empty the machine and felt like a champ when the slot tech had to come by with a fill. Suck it, slot tech dude!
Slot clubs were the key to tracking play and granting comps and cash back on a more controlled basis. The club at Luxor was initially called the Gold Chamber and the cards didn't have magnetic stripes. They had little holes in them like an ancient computer punch card.
They were extremely unreliable and quite often you'd have to re-insert the card over and over to get it to read. Hmmm, not much has changed, actually.
As we played at Treasure Island this trip, the comps and cashback were pouring out of them like rain.
There we were, with our $80 a day bankroll, playing dollar video poker, one dollar at a time. Slowly. Taking turns. Confirming each hold was correct with each other. Cashing out after every win and stacking the coins on top of the machine.
And somehow we were getting full meal comps at the coffee shop, almost more buffets than we could eat (almost), and cash back on top of that.
I've thought about this often over the years, because our coin in was no where near what it would take normally to earn those kinds of goodies.
The only thing I can think of is that the video poker machines were rated the same as reel slots, and that they were looking to a large degree at time at the machine. Because we played those babies for hours and hours.
Regardless, the play was so good, we were playing less at Luxor, our base, and trucking up to Treasure Island every day to get the goods!


    1. One of our first trips I hit a jackpot for 1800 quarters. The machine didn't pay out and I was relieved to see the slot attendant, thinking they would do a hand pay. Nope, they went and got one of those bags of coins, refilled the machine, and I had to lug two really full tubs of quarters to the cashiers cage all the way across the casino. Good times, good times.

    2. Wow - those steaks and everything else in that meal only costing $60... how Vegas has changed.
      Now $60 gets you a slice of cheese pizza, a hot dog, and a bottle of Fiji water on the Strip.

      (I am not exaggerating - these 3 items were $58.71 pre-tip last month at Snacks in Bellagio)


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