There’s more to Palms than just video poker

Jul 29, 2002 11:11 PM

Normally I don’t write much about any one property, but after a weekend at the quickly maturing Palms Hotel/Casino, I have a lot to say. Sure, I’ve been there several times to briefly play video poker, but unless you actually are a guest of the hotel you’re missing much of the overall experience. Because I was in a good friend’s wedding on Friday afternoon at the Monte Carlo, and the fact that my wife couldn’t be there due to our daughter’s shower for her own wedding at Paris Hotel in August, after the ceremony and celebration I came back to Palms to do nothing but see what it was all about for my two night stay.

The first thing you notice is that the casino is indeed for locals. With plenty of video poker machines on every corner of the floor ”” all of which are ticket-in/ticket-out ”” those who live nearby now have another place to play.

Realistically, the place is loaded with what players like best ”” lots of 100% plus games ”” and it was a smart move by the owners, because they know that’s how continual profits are generated from the locals. To bolster this, there’s the constant promotions and multiple point days that most "advantage" players have no idea how to just say no to.

But let’s look at the real reason I wanted to stay at the Palms ”” to experience as much of whatever else it has to offer as possible. After checking in late Friday night, I noticed my room was very comfortable and much more than adequate ”” really not what I expected. When I ventured downstairs, I thought I was at the Hard Rock. Music was playing (although not quite loud enough for me), the table games were packed, the young and beautiful people were walking around checking each other out, and those up in their years were banging away at the video poker machines. I was tired after the long day, and one walk-around did me in.

The next day was no less stimulating. In the morning I played some video poker at one of the bars for about 10 minutes. I noticed that all of the bar machines are short pay, but I wasn’t there to play for profit anyway. More interesting was the couple sitting next to me. They suddenly jumped up in joy, and I looked over to see a $1,000 royal flush on their screen! Typical of video poker players, they rewarded themselves by ordering two more drinks and lighting up cigarettes. I congratulated them on their luck, and when they told me they lived just down the street I asked them if they were going to go home and savor the win ”” as I would do if I were a local.

Although their response shouldn’t have surprised me, my eyes still opened wide when I heard it. "We’ve never been to the Ghost Bar up on top because they charge $20 each for admission. That’s 8,000 points and we’re just barely over 2,700, so we’re going to stay and play until we get to that level."

When I asked them why they don’t just buy the two tickets, I was told that they "never pay for anything in casinos," just like the so-called experts around town. So I made a bold move hoping they wouldn’t be offended, and asked if they’d allow me to buy the tickets for them with the condition that they go home for the day and enjoy their winnings. The man responded politely "No, but thanks for the offer anyway. Besides, we’re playing with their money right now!"

I said "Since when is that the Palms’ money ”” isn’t it now yours?" But I could tell I was talking to wrongly influenced (playing for the points), addicted gamblers (unable to stop), so I wished them more good luck and went to lunch at Gardunos (still shaking my head).

When it was time to leave on Sunday morning, I have to admit I really would like to have stayed. But unlike most video poker players, it wasn’t the machines that were calling me back ”” it was the hotel. I know I’ll come back again, and not just for the video poker, which I’ll put into my crosshairs!