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Successful trip to Nevada...Part One

DICKDICK Wealthy Alum
I spent 3 nights in motels on the way out, and 3 on the way back.  Weather was an interesting factor on this trip.  On the day I left Ohio, there was an accident in Glenwood Canyon  ( spectacular, 20 miles long, with the Colorado river and I-70 side by side ( bike path too, one of my all time favorites)).  The cars ignited and it started a 10,000 acre forest fire.   On Day 2 of my trip I was driving from Junction City Kansas to Grand Junction Col, about 750 miles, what I thought would be a fairly easy drive with 75 mph speeds.   Soon  I saw signs that I-70 was closed West of Denver and commercial traffic should find an alternate route.  Years ago there was a mudslide which closed 1-70 through the Rockies and we took a detour on two lane highways curling around the mountains.  Not something the trucks could handle.  Anyway, when I got to Colorado I stopped at a roadside park for information and found out about the fire and that the first detour failed as trucks broke down and shut down a highway, so they had a long 6 hour detour set up, no trucks allowed.  Instead of getting to Grand junction around 7, I got there at 11:30.  Long, difficult drive, especially in the mountains at night. You could smell the fire in  Grand Junction.  I also saw a large burn area between Cedar City and St. George, Utah.  When I got to Mesquite, it was 122 degrees.

While I was there, Nevada set a new record with 61 straight days of over 100 degrees.  Since it was so hot, I got up at 6 every morning and did a 45 minute walk while it was in the 70's.  While I was in Vegas, the entire valley was in a smoggy haze and some days you could smell the smoke from California fires.  The weather finally changed just before I drove home, and I had to take 1-40 home because the day I left they had 10 inches of snow in the Rockies.  I stopped at the Grand Canyon the day I left and it was 52 degrees there.

I spent all my time in 3 casinos.  19 days in Mesquite at the Eureka and the Virgin River and 4 days in Vegas at the South Point.  20 of the 23 days were comped and the other 3 only cost $138.  The comped rooms were from mailers which they send me because of the amount of money I put through their video poker machines in the past.  I also got 40 free meals in those 23 days.  ( Various ways.  Eureka gave me $35 food money each month and I also earned points and bought some with my points.  The Virgin River had a daily spin and win and I won 4 free buffets, 1 $20 food coupon, plus 5 $5 food coupons and they gave me $10 food money, plus I used my points.  At the South Point they gave me $20 food credits and a couple of half price buffets coupons, plus I used my points).

So my expenses were minimal.  On the first  half hour that I was there, I got an $800 hit playing dimes on a multistrike machine.  Multistrike is played on 4 levels, and you anti 5 coins on each line, so 20 coins in all.  If you get something on the bottom, you get paid for it and advance to the second line and get paid double. If you win something there you advance to the 3rd line and get paid 4 times, and the 4th line is worth times 8 if you can get there and win something. Anyway I got dealt 3 to the Royal on the second line and got a Royal Straight Flush, worth $800.  Oddly, abut a week later, playing the exact same machine, I did it again, holding 3 to the Royal on the second line, got a Royal, this time playing nickels for $400.

By getting off to a good start I was able to play conservatively and not "chase " by going to bigger denominations and I was never lower that $350 ahead.  Both the Eureka and the Virgin River had placed plexiglass between each machine and I felt perfectly safe there.   They also had a card which sat on each machine saying "just cleaned" and when you left you turned it over and it said "needs cleaning" and there were a couple of workers continuously cleaning those machines for the next user. South Point just shut down machines to give you spacing. When Nevada first opened the casinos, they had huge spike in there Virus numbers and the Governor closed them down.  When he reopened them all bars were completely shut down and mandatory masks were required.  Every half hour there were announcements of the rules and they actively enforced the mask mandates and social distancing.  All the casinos would give you a free cheap mask if you asked.

I think the Eureka has the best video poker in the world.  There used to be all kinds of great opportunities, but not so much any more.  The Eureka has great pay tables at low denominations, and you can't find that anywhere else anymore.  They have 100 play machine in pennies, 2 cents, or nickles.  You can actually play anywhere from 1 to 100 hands.  I would usually play 25 or 50 hands of pennies on those machines ( $1.25 or $2.50 per hand).  They had games which had theoretical payouts of 99.6 to 99.8 %.  They also had 5 play machines throughout the casino with 99.6 and 99.7 percent payouts in nickels up to dollars.  The Virgin River is not as good, but they give 4 free rooms per month for a little play, and it is easy to earn point and food comps, plus I would make about 10 $10 sports bets per day there.  I played 25 play penny games there which paid 99% theoretically. which isn't bad.

The South Point in Vegas is a huge and beautiful casino on Las Vegas Boulevard but maybe 5 miles South of The Strip.  I think they have the best Sports Book I have seen.  One good thing is they have a separate Race Book around the corner.  They normally can seat hundreds of fans, but with social distancing  it was more like 80.  Crowds were definitely down, the only time it was crowded at any of the casinos was Labor Day weekend ( Friday to Monday).  The Sports Book is 24/7 and has 4 huge video screens and then about 35 more flat screen tv's, so that every game which you can bet on is shown somewhere.

There is a limit to length of a post, so I will do Part Two tomorrow.



  • DICKDICK Wealthy Alum
    Part two. picking up where I left off.

    The South Point's video poker is more challenging, but they advertise having over 2,000  video poker machines with over 99% theoretical payouts.  You have to play quarters or better to get the good pay though.    I played 5 play jacks or better multistrike which has a theoretical of 99.92%, but it is $25 per hand if you play 5 quarters per hand, so I played one quarter per hand ( only hurts you if you get a royal) which was still $5.00 per hand.  The other game I played a lot there was 5 play bonus poker on quarters, which has a theoretical of 99.2% and I got lucky there.  Playing 5 hands it is $6.25 per hand, but bonus poker has a low variance, so it is a good way to pile up a lot of points.

    Three times in the 4 days that I stayed there, at some point I got $150 to $250 down on the day and each time I got a really good hit on the 5 play bonus poker to recover.   Once I was dealt 3 Aces and I got the 4th Ace on 2 hands, which was 400 quarters each and 830 quarters in all.  Another time I got dealt 4 jacks which paid 125 quarters each for a total of 625 quarters.  The third time I got dealt 3 threes and for only the second time ever I got 4 of a kind 3 times out of 5.  Threes were worth 200 quarters so I got 630 quarters that time.

    I could play higher denominations and have bigger hits ( I have had two hits of $8,000 and one of $12,800 in the past).  However, you can also lose big that way, plus you get W-2's for hits over $1200 which count as income and can push me into a higher tax bracket.  So my goal is to break even or come out a little ahead and play enough to get free rooms and free food and avoid W-2's.  I usually play 6 or more hours per day, plus I put another 4 or 5 hours a day studying sports and watching the games that I bet on ( baseball and NBA playoffs on this trip).  Anyway, I ended up a little under $1,100 ahead, and that basically covered all my expenses for the entire month.  Then when I come home I have my teacher's retirement check waiting and I have done something I really enjoy doing and which is challenging to me and constantly changes.  When I go back some of the games may change or the offers might be different, you just never know.  I may have to study and learn how to play a new game perfectly, or even change casinos.

    IF the MAC does not decide to play football this Fall, I may go back Mid October and stay till Mid November.  That way I can use comps from 2 different months ( I am getting 4 free nights a month for two casinos and 2 nights from another).  Since I got home I also got an offer for 2 free nights from The Cannery in Vegas where I have played in the past.
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