Footloose in Las Vegas

Jul 17, 2007 1:18 AM

Now that my for-profit play is over for this year, I can relax and go at the game in the many bits and pieces of free-play that comes in the mail.

In essence, I revert back to my advantage-playing ways whenever I’ve met my win goal for the year. There are no denominational or game volatility progressions, no pre-set profit determinations, no plays that deviate from optimal strategy, and there’s absolutely no discipline required. I simply sit at a machine and pound the time away — mostly to build up my points.

I went into town on the day after the Fourth, and while the traffic was in its usual gridlock mode, it didn’t really seem any different than any other time of the week. I purposely took no money and my AMEX card only, just to see how I’d fare throughout the nearly one week visit. I checked into Sam’s Town because they always send out the maximum offers for months after giving them a good amount of play — which I did earlier this year because of their strategy-friendly machines.

But I rarely stay at Sam’s Town, and this particular time I gave my room to some friends from the Phoenix area. Weekend rates are high at any location in Las Vegas, so "free" really helps those on a budget out. After collecting my $150 in cash and another great dinner at Billy Bob’s I went to the MGM, checked in for my comp night, turned my $60 in free-play into $120 by hitting several full houses and straights, then called it a night.

In the morning I had to move my living quarters from the MGM to the Golden Nugget for the next two nights — which for obvious reasons is the only place I’ll stay in downtown Las Vegas. They make getting the $50 in free-play much more difficult than it’s been in the past by having to stand in line at the slot club, but when I ran through it just once and saw $85 it was worth the 30 minutes of inconvenience.

In the late afternoon Friday my other "guests" began to arrive. I checked two of them into the Venetian, two into Paris, and the final two into the Monte Carlo — all for the two weekend nights. "Two" showed up so many times here that one might think it could be my lucky number — and it turned out that it was. On the $50 in free-play that I again played through only once at Monte Carlo, four 2’s came up on dollar Bonus Poker for an overall profit of $175. Five minutes certainly well spent.

On Saturday I went over to the Hard Rock to both play off my $75 in free-play. That meant another $55 in my pocket. I also made a quick stop at Tuscany, where $25 in free-play turned into $15 cash.

Saturday night I debated whether $25 in free-play was worth the trip to the El Cortez. Normally it would be, but on a Saturday night it was a 50-50 proposition. I chose to go, and it turned out to be the right choice. Changing free-play strategies to 25¡ instead of dollars, I hit a royal flush and left with a profit of just over $1,000. With cash in hand, I left for my room at the Golden Nugget and retired for the evening.

On Sunday each of my eight friends departed, but not before I took them all to the world’s most delectable brunch buffet at Zeffrino’s inside the Venetian. Sure, $650 is quite a bill for brunch anywhere, but even after that I was ahead over $500 for the weekend and I still had three days to go.

On Sunday night I checked into the South Point — a favorite of mine. With another comp room, $50 in food and $25 in free-play, what I really went there for was to relax in their movie theater before going to bed. In the morning I magically turned the $25 into nothing, as I got five losing hands on dollar Bonus Poker. But the seafood lunch at their seafood bar was as good as it gets.

Monday morning had me checking in for an unusual offer at the Stratosphere — where I haven’t played in at least 6 years. They gave me three nights in a suite, $200 in food, $75 for use in their spa, two tickets to Bite and two tickets to American Superstars. Their slot club also had an interesting $200 valued offer, which I decided to take a shot at.

Once the player reaches 2,000 points — which was $4,000 through on the 50¡ 8/5 Bonus Poker machine I was playing — $120 free-play (which I’ll play in August) a tee-shirt and two show tickets were yours. All that in addition to the cash back, and current comped room and food I was in on. I figured WHAT AN ADVANTAGE PLAY — a 99.1% game combined with 5% in promotional benefits PLUS comps and I was in "AP" Heaven! Almost. I lost $450 trying!

On Wednesday before I left I went to the Fishing and Camping show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. While walking through the Hilton I updated my player’s card and lost my last $23 on a quarter machine. Will I see any offers from that? Don’t laugh —I’ll bet there’s something being generated by their computers at this very moment.

On this trip I had a total of 15 mostly luxurious rooms, never paid a penny for a meal outside of the special Sunday Brunch and the many tips dished out throughout the week, and I came home with exactly the same amount I left with — zero. And that’s after not even playing for-profit video poker! So tell me again, what is the definition of being an "advantage player"?