Serious romping!

Jan 27, 2004 12:22 AM

This past year holiday season seemed like a good time to take a break from playing video poker. We had family coming in from out of town, and only one or two of them I would guess have ever gambled. In truth, none of them would even know me if it were not for the fact that I was their relative.

It was nice to have everyone together for a week, but having eight people staying over does start to wear you down a bit after just three or four days. As a result, as soon as we dropped off our final guest at the airport, my wife and I were ready for a break. So it was off to Laughlin we went.

As I do on almost every trip these days, I try to inject a little variety into my plans for playing in order to spice up the gaming experience as much as I can. Walking into a casino to play as long as I can stay awake is not for me. Similarly, I see no sense in attempting to out-play a very perfect computer with perceived optimal play, and foolishly banging away at two machines at a time not only LOOKS stupid”¦.it IS stupid.

Since we had just made it through what seemed like running a small motel for our families, I decided that we might like a little more than simple recreational play to get our attention. Because of that, I set off with a hefty bankroll of $13,000 with a set of goals to win as many $100 sessions as needed to attain an overall win of $2,500. Risky with that type of a bankroll, but certainly doable. What made this different from my standard is that we did not HAVE to win $2500. But it was a goal, and I never play without one.

Cindy was not so enthused about the whole idea, and at the onset I wasn’t so sure taking her along was the right thing to do. We were playing with serious money — something she is not used to. And I wouldn’t subject her to it if she weren’t at least 50% comfortable. But she was willing to see what it was like for this one time only, she earned the choice — especially after being hostess-for-a-week, and I was in need of a solid diversion from all the recent festivities. I reminded her that this trip would be made up of serious goal-setting/disciplined play, but we would also enjoy several gourmet meals along with quiet relaxation in our player’s Jacuzzi suite at the Edgewater. Now I had her attention.

We arrived in Laughlin very early in the morning, so we chose to make a stopover at the Ramada Express to start our play. At dollars and $2 we failed to hit a quad or higher, but the $5 progressive Royal/Straight Flush/Four Aces 7/5 Bonus Poker machine was very different. Dealt four cards to an inside straight flush, we nailed the four of diamonds for a hand-pay of $1,288. Three hands later we pulled the fourth Ace for $2780. We were up several thousand dollars, and went over to the Colorado Belle to play their single remaining dollar 10/7 Double Bonus machine up at the bar in the Mississippi Lounge. There we hit four Aces again, but lost that along with a few hundred more at the Boiler Room Pub’s bar.

After we checked into our exceptional room (two-room suite) at the Edgewater complete with their Gold Card that meant free everything — and after lunch at the so-so Garden Room café — we headed for the River Bar that I like so much. We played close to a draw on and off the rest of the afternoon, but Cindy was having a hard time adjusting to playing so many hands on the $1/$2/$5 machines. Even though we were down only several hundred dollars at the end, the sighs came often. In fact, after an excellent dinner at the Hickory Pit Steakhouse, we took another wild ride where we were down $4000 at one point but left finally $100 ahead. To me this is pretty standard stuff, but to her it was a nerve-wracking experience. She then realized why it is that I do not take her on trips where I play for profit professionally.

The next morning after about an hour on a bar top 25¡ Triple Play offering progressive royals on each line ($1150/$3780/$2560) and a loss of $200, we took in a movie across the street at Horizon Outlets Mall, walked over to the Ramada for lunch at Tuscaloosa Cantina, then played for $100 in Grand Junction. Here’s where it got even more interesting. Dollars, $2 and $5 all proved losers, so we went to their top machine — the $10 8/5 Bonus Poker game that pays triple for four 7’s. Naturally I was shooting for Aces, 2’s, 3’s, 4’s or 7’s — or a Straight Flush — but we didn’t hit any quads. Surprisingly though, we won many smaller hands and cashed out $1,200 ahead after an hour’s work. Not for the faint of heart, as the many onlookers would attest.

We had not yet won our $100 goal (we were down $450) but I was with someone who’s much more important than the machines, and I could see she had had enough of the higher-limit play for the day. Back at the Edgewater we had another fine dining experience at the Hickory Pit, and decided to give their machines one more session of play before turning in for the night.

Starting out on $1 Bonus Poker, we quickly lost; $2 proved no better. Well, into $5 we hit a quad on Double Bonus that put us up only $75. But soon we were down over $2,000, and I chose $2 Triple Bonus Poker Plus as our last game to play since we were both tiring. Almost immediately we got four Aces for a welcome $2,400 win. Win or lose on this session, it was time to quit for the trip.