I previously said this year was going to be different, and the first three trips I have lined up for ’05 are going to be just for that. The one I just returned from last evening will be followed by another at the end of January to Reno/Lake Tahoe with the same goal — checking into hotels, get the free gifts, food and show, use their free play coupens and then leave. I also have one lined up for mid-February where I take my son-in-law to Las Vegas for my nephew’s (from Philadelphia) bachelor party.
The purpose of such "comp-romps" are just as the words imply: To stop in a number of casinos around town, pick up whatever freebies I’ve accumulated or have earned, play whatever free-play is waiting for me, and then move on. One need not feel obligated to put in any further play than this. It’s also an exercise in self restraint.
On this most recent trip my wife surprisingly had the time to come along with me, so we put in some recreational time.
On Friday morning we left the Phoenix area for trip No. 1 of 2005. Since Cindy only comes along on about three visits a year, I set up a full spectrum of romping. Our first stop was the Fiesta Henderson where our plan was to get a quick meal at the café, win $40 and leave.
The only thing that worked out was the meal. We lost $440 on a 25Â¡/50Â¡/$1 machine. From there we drove out to Casino Monte Lago, where the conundrum is I love the place but usually do lousy there. Today, however, I got my $30 in free-play, quickly turned it into $50 and then left.
Our next stop was another of my nemeses, Sam’s Town, where we picked up my free $100 that came with the invitation. Before dinner at Fellini’s we played about 30 minutes and won several hundred dollars. After dinner, we played some more and won another couple hundred dollars, drove out to the Strip and The Venetian, where I had a two-night invite with $50 in free food (used for great breakfasts at Grand Lux Cafe) along with $200 in free-play.
I’ve won tens of thousands of dollars playing in this beauty of a resort over the past year, and if there were one single casino I’d like to play more than the others, it would be The Venetian. Not that it matters where I hit the larger jackpots, but it’s the overall elegance of just being there that makes all the difference in the world to me.
In the morning, we had our meal at the café we walked over to Harrah’s to pick up our two free tickets to see Clint Holmes. My goal was to win $20, and after about three minutes we were up $34 and left.
Then we headed over to The Westin Casuarina for a go at the $25 in free-play I was sent. This is another one of those casinos that hasn’t been too kind to me, but this time we reached our pre-set profit goal of $60 and walked.
It was over to Sam’s Town for a movie, dinner at Billy Bob’s, and another winning session of something around $500 this time. You may be wondering why I don’t know the exact figures, but winning money wasn’t my main goal on this trip, and because it was all just-for-fun anyway, I would wait until I returned home to make a final tally.
Now it was time for that long, traffic-laden Saturday night drive up Flamingo Road back to Harrah’s for the show and then The Venetian for video poker. I had the free-play put onto my player’s card, and in nearly two hours we won about $1,400 (thanks to four aces with the kicker on $1 Double Double Bonus Poker).
Sunday morning we hit the casino up for another three or four hundred profit after breakfast, checked out, and immediately raced to the Aladdin for $200 in free-play along with a free jogger’s suit (my wife got it). It turned out that suit must have been made out of imported silks, because I left there minus $1,300.
We zipped back to the Westin Casuarina because I had another $25 free-play coupon for the second half of the month. This time we won $126. As we drove by Tuscany Casino, where I’m far ahead, my wife made the comment that twice she’s been there with me, and twice we’ve lost. So what happened? Trying to show her how well I handle the machines there, I dumped a quick $1,400. I shook my head, and she was prepared with a good-natured, "I told you so."
We drove back to Laughlin and the Ramada Express (my most successful casino the past two years), where we lost another $900 or so. Very rare at the Ramada, but the great meal at the Steakhouse helped ease the pain.
In the morning we drove down the street and checked into Harrah’s for the sole purpose of picking up a free leather jacket I’m giving to my nephew. This time, 30 minutes of play turned an $1,100 profit (thanks to four aces twice and four 3s with the kicker).
Overall we came home with an extra $35 after tips, paying cash for gas (also something I never do) and a few snacks along the way.
Did I make this trip for the money? Nope. I really thought I’d lose playing in such a non-structured, schedule-controlled way. The Reno trip will basically be the same — only with far less play because I’ll only plan to use the free-play the casinos are providing. Imagine that. Playing and doing what you the player want to do and not what the casino expects you to do. What a concept!