Don’t lose to losses!

Jan 20, 2004 1:02 AM

How often have you made an entire weekend trip to Las Vegas where everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, seemed to turn out right no matter what you did? No, it doesn’t happen all the time, I’ve been run over by casino trucks before too, so I never take anything for granted.

This past holiday was, for me, a prime example of just why it is that I am a successful gambler. Earlier in the week, as a member of the GamingToday family, I was invited to their Christmas party in the Rotunda at the swanky Las Vegas Country Club. On my way there, I stopped in Laughlin to check into the Edgewater. I was a little early, so I thought I’d play as many mini-sessions as I could fit into an hour and a half.

My goal was to win $100/session. This I had done here numerous times before, and although I’ve taken several beatings recently at their multi-game/multi-denomination machines, I was nonetheless confident as usual. I had $5,000 with me, and I was feeling good.

Here’s where a professional gambler’s wits are tested — and without warning. Within a half hour I was winning nothing, quads as well as full houses were non-existent, and I could feel the machine making fun of me.

I even knew that one of the veteran blackjack dealers doing nothing at the empty table almost directly behind me, was having the time of his life watching me fire in the hundies one after another after another. Several times I got up to take a walk and re-charge, and whenever I looked over at him he was caught in a stare — and instantly looked away. It was as if he was thinking he was watching someone pour their life’s savings into one of his company’s machines — and loving every minute of it.

But nothing stopped me except the clock. After dumping $3,575 into several different machines, it was time to go. It could be that I would have finally won had I had the time to play off my entire $5,000. I’ll leave that for the what-if people.

Yes I got clobbered, but I am always prepared. It would have been nice to wipe that smirk off the dealer’s face, but that will come at another time, I’m sure. For now, I was a loser, and I had somewhere more important to be.

After the party, I stopped at Fiesta Henderson to see what I could do on their dollar Double Double Bonus game. I hit four 2’s with the kicker and left $600 ahead. I picked up $80 at Casino Monte Lago before I started to tire, so I got back on the road and drove to Laughlin for the evening. I chose not to play any more on this trip because I only had about $2100, and I felt too much luck was required to build that up to a $5,100 finish. In the morning I drove home, and prepared for the coming weekend in Las Vegas.

This was one of those weekends where I was lucky if 24 hours a day were enough to do everything I had planned. I took $2,000 with me, and all my play would be recreational since my wife was along. The main reason for the trip was because of an invite along with two tickets to see Mariah Carey perform at the Aladdin Theater Saturday night. But I made it into something much more than that.

Friday we checked into Sam’s Town, won $380 on video poker, picked up the $100 that came with the RFB offer, had dinner with some friends at Billy Bob’s, and left to check into the Aladdin. While Cindy slept I played, and after two hours I went to the room minus $900. I’ve never seen so many four-to-the-royal hands dealt and missed, but I’m never shaken by anything like that. It just happens, and that’s all there is to it.

The next morning we played a multi-denominational machine up through $2 at the bar, and while holding only two suited face cards we drew an $8,000 royal flush. That’s how it goes. Nothing numerous times on easier draws the night before, and then the ultimate hand today. So goes luck. We then walked up to the very quiet London Club and took a quick $105 from their $1/$2/$5/$10 five-play bar top machine, but it took several hands on $10 to get ahead. So how many players can simply quit and walk away after winning only a hundred bucks on such a machine? That’s why I am different.

Shortly afterwards we left to check into the Suncoast. Here I was sent another RFB/10th floor suite deal, and I’d never turn that down. The video poker is just too good, and their restaurants are superb. We won $300, had a fabulous dinner at Via Veneto, and went back to the Aladdin to see the show.

I’ve never really followed Mariah’s career, but I like a lot of her music. I do know she had an exhaustion breakdown of some sort, gained quite a bit of weight, and was the talk show fodder for a while. But now things were different. On what she calls her Charm Bracelet Tour, Ms. Carey not only looked as beautiful and fit as ever, her voice was even more magnificent than I remembered, and more importantly — a full smile never left her face. The critics are all crying in their beer. She indeed has returned.

After the show we went downtown to play a session for a $100 win at the Golden Nugget — $400 on the $1 machine provided nothing; $1,650 later on the $5 machine we hit a straight flush for $2,500 on Triple Bonus Poker Plus — and an overall win of $450. Cindy was getting a bit nervous without the quads showing up, but that’s one of the reasons I play the games I do.

Our final day was enjoyed doing too much Christmas shopping (thanks to a $100 gift certificate from the GN for the downtown outlets mall — we mysteriously spent $850), catching a movie, and playing several hours at the Suncoast. We won another $980 from hitting four Aces several times. When I went to cash out my points before leaving, I discovered it was a double-point day. So what does that mean to me? Nothing, except maybe explain why so many locals were in pounding away on the lower limit machines.

After a stopover at Sam’s Town for a quick $405 win and excellent dinner at Fellini’s, we left for home. It was quite a week of play for me, and even more exciting for my wife. All this may seem to be somewhat much to many people, but to me it’s enjoyable work. Certainly, the week began with a big loss, but it ended on a very high note in many ways. I don’t lose very often, but the losses are quickly forgotten. All it takes is another trip, a little luck, and the discipline to follow a pre-conceived plan. That’s why I have fun at this.