A video poker romp through ’Vegas

Dec 11, 2001 2:53 AM

Usually this part of the year is an interesting time for someone with my style of play. Since I achieved my CY 2001 profit goal in October, I have the time to make three or four end-of-the-year weekend trips to Nevada with Cindy for some fun play, to catch up on a number of shows we haven’t seen, and for some plain old-fashioned relaxation.

New Year’s Eve is always spent in Las Vegas, and this year we’ll be snow-mobiling through the Sierra Nevadas around Lake Tahoe at Christmastime. These are great getaways for my wife, a chance for both of us to enjoy our time together, and for me it’s a break from the strict routine of my Play Strategy.

I know that starting in January I’ll be right back working the machines for a living ”” continuing to overcome house odds that they said couldn’t be done. And it will be accomplished once again without all the fluff of throwing in comps, free meals, tournament invites, year-end gifts or other intangibles into the formula.

During our first trip in the month of November to Las Vegas recently, we decided to do something that was successful one time earlier this summer, when we went to 14 local pubs to play bar-top video poker for a small profit and then leave as soon as our goal was met.

However, this time we chose to go from Strip casino to off-Strip casino ”” a bit of a hassle with traffic and the constant valet parking, but a welcome upgrade in ambience. And we weren’t chasing coupon deals, double points, or promotions of any sort. As a professional gambler, even in my off time I couldn’t be bothered with those rope ’em in deals. Our goal was simply to pick up a minimum $40 cash in winnings from dollar Bonus Poker machines (and always A-C-E-S Bonus Poker first if available) and move on.

While last time it seemed every pub was eager to contribute at least $20 to our cause (we won $675), this go-around with the big houses wasn’t so simple ”” but it was a lot more interesting. We started at the Hard Rock for $45. Mandalay Bay contributed $60. Then it was onto Luxor for $40, Orleans for $45, and NY-NY for four Aces and $310. The MGM wasn’t so kind, however, as we lost our allotted $300 very quickly. We walked to the Monte Carlo, and again had a bit of struggle ”” playing up and down for nearly 90 minutes with our $300 before limping out with an extra 50 bucks.

Up $250, we got into a groove at the Aladdin for $50, Paris for $40, and Bellagio for $45. But although Caesars took our $300, we were very lucky at the Flamingo to get a royal after sweeping off a no-value deal on our second hand. Just as when I play for profit, these things happen, but it was much more enjoyable this day because I had someone to share the experience with. The good luck continued with four Aces at both Mirage and Treasure Island (+$245 and +$360 respectively), but we lost our $300 at The Venetian in what seemed like record time.

We were up $4,380, however, and kept on. I thought it would now be less of an effort to go downtown and walk from place to place, so we did. After a late lunch at Main Street Station’s Brewery, we grabbed $55 and went to the Horseshoe to deposit our $300. But we nailed the Golden Nugget for $80, took $140 from Four Queens, and $40 from Lady Luck. Not a very profitable trip into town, but nevertheless we won $15 and had fun doing it. (In case that doesn’t seem important enough, EVERY TIME YOU PLAY AND DO NOT LOSE, YOU HAVE BEATEN THE ODDS). Cindy was tiring rapidly, but I promised her a great meal at Morton’s Steakhouse after we made two more stops. At The Rio it took nearly an hour to win $45 and leave. Our first visit to the new Palms ”” crowded but impressive as far as locals hotel/casinos go ””netted an even $100 in 30 minutes. I was glad to get out of there but anxious to come back when things settle down in 2002.

After an exhausting day and over-indulging at Morton’s, the final tally showed a win of $4,540, with expenses of $28 in parking tips, $110 in gaming tips, $26 for lunch, $265 for dinner, and maybe $5 in gas. Net $4,106. Excluding the royal, which is always very unusual, the point here is that we still would have won ”” just as we did this summer. Why? Simply because we used a variation of The Singer Play Strategy: setting goals, attaining them (win or lose), then leaving. And the key? Always doing what your pre-set plan says to do, and never deviating from it no matter how hot the action or how high the emotion. Is it easy to do? Not at all, but it makes a whole lot of sense if you like to win money gambling. So the next time you happen to spot someone who’s been labeled an “expert” frustratingly pounding away at two of those “positive expectation” machines at a time, give them an “A” for effort, but let them know there really is a better way.