Why not enjoy yourself, for a change

August 20, 2007 11:42 PM
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How often have you traveled to Las Vegas and/or Laughlin in the past and, after it was all over, you wished you could have done things differently? How many times did you end up kicking yourself because you started up ahead on your trip, but because of the length of your visit, all you had were multiple ATM slips upon returning home? Sound familiar?

I’m here to change all that, and if you’ve read me in the past you’d know very well that I’m likely the only one who not only cares about helping other players figure these things out — I actually know how to do it from years of experience.

Vacations are no longer as important to me these days since I gamble for a profession, but they are for my wife — who still works. So I put more effort into the planning for a good break that mostly allows for things that interest her, and I will do just about anything she asks. Her interest on the Las Vegas scene is not gambling, but rather shows and gourmet dining along with comfortable accommodations.

After five relaxing days in Hawaii we stopped at home for a few days, then took off in the car on the next leg of our holiday. Since we still enjoy beaches we went to LA for a few days, then up to San Francisco for a few more. Our next stop on our way home was at beautiful Red Rock Station in Las Vegas, because it is Cindy’s favorite location in the city.

After dinner while she visited the spa I chose to put some of the $600 in cash I had left on a few of the 25¡/50¡/$1/$2 games at the bars. A machine in a hot cycle popped four Aces on $2 bonus Poker for a profit of nearly $700, so my 30 minutes of play was done. We met up for a movie, and then went back to our room — in a resort we consider to have the best off-Strip rooms in town.

The next day we took a casual drive over to Lake Las Vegas and the Monte Lago casino since I haven’t been there in a while. As my wife shopped in the Village I gasped at the new poor pay tables on the games at the upstairs sports bar (6/5 Bonus Poker) but I played one anyway and walked out with a $410 profit after 15 minutes. It also came with a table gift and a $20 gas card.

We continued on to the Aquarius hotel in Laughlin, where we had been invited in on a full comp to see the Heart concert — again, my wife’s choice. The show was far better than I expected, over the weekend we had several great meals at Aqua Bella and Outback, I won $300 this time with Cindy present, and we even got a movie in across the street at the mall. See, you don’t have to sit at machines for 20 hours in two days to have a good time at a casino.

The final part of our trip took us back to the Venetian, where I had $100 in free play that was turned into $95 cash. In between seeing Phantom of The Opera, Blue Man Group (the real reasons for coming) and the Bourne Ultimatum, we lost $100 at Sunset Station, we turned $100 in El Cortez free play into $240, I lost a very quick $1100 at Sam’s Town, and $25 free play at the Hard Rock gave me $240 because of a Straight Flush on my last hand.

When the vacation was over with, yes, I had more cash than I started out with, but that was hardly the point. Unlike when I come to town with tens of thousands of dollars for some serious for-profit play, this trip was built around activities and fun with a watered down recreational version of a Romp-Thru-Town thrown in mostly for me.

And unlike years ago when I came to Nevada simply to play video poker hour after hour and nothing else, I enjoyed myself even though I put the trip together for my wife and the things she likes to do while staying where she likes to stay.

I know there are many, many players out there who come in for a visit and rarely get to see a show, movie, or a stay at a nice resort. Then when they get home all they do is complain. I know this because I’m their ear at times. Hopefully, they too can learn to make their video poker trips more enjoyable ones. It took me entirely too long to figure it all out. But it can be done.