Icy road to Tahoe turns into hot streak back in Vegas

Feb 4, 2008 3:24 AM

When I left a week ago Sunday night for an overnight drive up to Lake Tahoe to pick up the usual free gifts, cash, and comped rooms, I didn’t expect the trip to be different than any other.

Afterwards, I’d go back to Las Vegas for a few more days of the same — along with meeting up with friends and training even more.

Throughout the trip I expected my play to be limited to whatever free-play I had coming here and there. Maybe some 25-cents through dollar play at a bar or two as I took in some games. But life doesn’t always move in the direction planned, and as a gambler you have to be flexible and able to adjust successfully.

Several hundred miles north of Las Vegas, I ran into slight snow and black ice. I started driving slowly, but realized I’d never make it in time for what I had planned ahead. And, I have no reason to drive in dangerous conditions when there’s always a next time.

I go about my video poker play intelligently, and I certainly try to go about my life in the same way. So I turned around and began the drive back to Vegas, not really knowing what I was going to do with two extra days there. But I had plenty of time to think about it and I was determined to make something positive out of a negative situation.

I chose to use the extra time to see if fate was on my side. So I went down to Laughlin and waited for the bank to open across the river. With some cash, I went over to Aquarius to begin my 2008 professional play. As a player, it’s always easy to call hotels and get free rooms at any time. Although I rarely do this, I had to this time.

I was going to wait until after the Super Bowl to play this year because I’ve been betting on sports throughout the NFL season. The Patriots have my complete attention right now, but I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity and see what fate might have in store for me since I had to change my plans.

My intent was to play multiple $500 win goal sessions at various casinos during the nearly two days I had before I began my normal Las Vegas operation of scooping up gifts, cash and comps with no video poker play other than free-play. So I began with a $1/$2/$5/$10 Romp-Thru-Town (RTT) strategy at the Aquarius.

It took two W2G’s, but I finally got ahead $790 — which means it’s time to quit and move on. So I went on up to Santa Fe Station in Vegas for no particular reason. Here I played an Advanced Romp-Thru-Town (ARTT) game, and a W2G quad on $10 Bonus Poker gave me a session profit of $1,050.

I next chose the Hard Rock for another ARTT session through $10. I never had to go that high though, as I won exactly $500 at the $5 level on Bonus Poker. My next stop was a disaster, as I lost a $1/$2/$5/$10 RTT totaling $6,050 at the Rampart Casino in Summerlin without a cashout or a quad.

But those losers are part of the overall expectation of how I play. My bankroll — which is calculated to absorb the occasional big loss — gets me through such negative results. Helter-skelter play with whatever money I had left over for the week wouldn’t cut it here.

Now I decided was the time to go over to Sam’s Town, which is a casino I’ve had extraordinary luck at the past few years. I like their 8/5 Bonus Poker games on their many 25c/50c/$1/$2/$5 machines. I chose to play one session of RTT and multiple others of ARTT — all at five levels.

After three sessions and a profit of $1,920, I decided a change of venue was at hand so I drove over to the Fiesta Henderson. Wrong choice it turned out, as I lost $2,025 on a $5 maximum ARTT. Back to Sam’s Town I went, and those same machines.

And as it turned out, the winning returned in the form of $5,200 in profit after three more ARTT sessions and a pile of W2G’s.

I was smiling again.

But it didn’t stop there. I played one more session, applying my $5 play on Super Aces instead of Double Double Bonus (DDB) poker.

Once again I made the correct choice at the right time. Four Aces appeared for a payout of $10,000 and a profit for the session of $8,200.

Later on, while showing some friends a sample of how I play, I lost $700, That’s usually what happens when there’s no real play plan.

Before I stopped playing for profit I wanted to play a lower level 25c-$2 ARTT at Hooters, because I heard their bar had put in machines that I like to play. The good machines were indeed at the bar, so I played.

On $2 DDB I hit four aces with the kicker. I ended my test with fate with a net overall profit of $12,900 and zero royals. It turns out that icy road to Tahoe was all I needed to start 2008 play out right.

Sure, some of you are saying I’ve got to be luckier than any other player at this point, but that’s simply not true. I’m no luckier than anyone else who plays. I just apply a winning structure and the proper discipline to my game that few if any would ever do. It’s not easy and not for everyone, but it makes a whole lot of sense to me. If it does to you too, you know what to do.