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LAS VEGAS TRIP REPORT: NO KICKERS-Part 3
by ROYAL FLUSHER
Royal Flusher is the nom de plume of the once degenerate (but now savvy) blogger Royal Flusher. A veteran of fifty plus trips to Las Vegas, Flusher has learned the best ways to get more out of Vegas casinos then they get out of him. He's not a professional gambler... more of a professional tourist. His stock in trade, when not making size 7 grommets for Royal Canadian Veeblefetzer, is the art of the trip report, his humorous, tongue-in-cheek take on the true events - good and bad - that happen on each trip. His home on the web is Las Vegas the Royal Flusher Way.
Note: In the January issue of BJI, Royal Flusher covered day 1 and 2 of his Vegas trip. Last month, he covered days 3 and 4, and this month it's days 5 and 6.
Honours and Offers
Day 5 Wednesday October 29, 2014 - part 1 (of many)
There were a number of things at play at this part of the trip around offers. Let's take a look-see, shall we?
Full hands out.
Four Queens (FQ)
We'd booked two back to back offers. Quad Queens (QQ) had $300 free play for Sept/Oct and I had $200. That offer also came with three nights, a meal at Hugo's, and all the other food we could cram down our gullets.
The Nov/Dec offer also had $300 and $200 free play respectively, but the FQ moved to their new system starting Nov 1. You play would earn cashback as usual, and comp dollars at double the rate. You'd use comp dollars for meals. We also got letters granting us a total of $160 comp dollars.
My play has been a bit light there and that's why my free play is less. We aimed to do $10K each of coin in per day, or (gulp) $120K over 6 days. It would be, in the proper sense of the word, an epic stand. It could make us. It could break us. We might get drunk and fall off a stool.
For the Nov/Dec part of the offer, we figured we would end up generating, including the letters, about $850 in comp dollars.That, my friends, was enough to cover an imperial shitload of Magnolia's country throw-up gravy.
Mrs. F likes the tubs at the Rush Tower. Who am I to argue with cleanliness? So she'd booked some offers through our host there, John Submarine, and had gotten an 8 day stand with 5 days comped, and including some wine tasting promotion and the Turkey Trot slot tournament. We gobbled up that offer.
I'd played enough at Mandalay Bay last summer to garner another two night comp with $50 resort credit. So I booked it because every savvy gambler needs three hotel rooms.
Just before the trip, I'd gotten an email from Delano saying I could upgrade for $25 a night. Luxury? All-white bedrooms with padded walls? I'm in, hell yes, I'm in.
And then there was the matter of the comp situation at the Cal.
I've felt for a long time that we are under-comped at the Cal. For the same play, we get $200 or $300 free play, and RFB at Four Queens. Our offers at the Cal are free nights, and $30 or $40 food, and some tournaments. It's not even close.
We'd gotten about $180 cash back which we'd grabbed the night before. Four Queens is similar to that. I'd tried to rectify this a number of times, talking to marketing and whoever else would listen, but it always came back that we are getting what we should. I kept confirming that play at all three downtown properties counted and everyone says it does.
Now, we'd put the meal at Redwood Grille on our room and went to see the host on duty to get it comped off. Apparently, that isn't how we should have done it - we should have gotten an up-front comp ahead.
I'd known that Main Street had the wonderful mythical 'gold card' that would get you food in any downtown Boyd restaurant. We'd been told last year that the Cal didn't have this, and they didn't know why, and they wished it did.
Well, intrepid little snoop that I am, I found out during our stay that the Cal does indeed have a gold card. How did I know for sure? I'd been shown one.
We had a second stay booked for later in our trip so I broached the subject with the host on duty. It would take $10K coin in per day each to get the gold card.
"We have that."
She made typey typey on the computer.
"You have about $7,500."
"Look again. Look at Main Street, and Fremont play."
She made more typey typey.
"Oh. Hmmmm. I'm going to send this upstairs. I think they will be surprised."
We'd done $102,000 coin-in in four days.
"You should be able to get the coveted Gold Card next stay. I'll make a note."
Every time I'd ever gotten the hosts to do anything I'd had to point out that we'd played at all three properties.
All of a sudden, I was lightly bathed in the dim glow of a 5 watt flashlight bulb, which flickered in recognition that I should have seen ages ago.
"Are mailers based on the play at your home property only?" I asked. "Yes. But comps are calculated on all three."
I finally had the missing puzzle piece to why our offers fluctuated. The Cal was our home casino, but we actually played probably 75% of our coin in at Main Street and Fremont. Sometimes I am amazed at how thick I can be, because this now seems obvious, and logical. Needless to say, we will take this into account going forward, and play more at our home property!
We got the meal at Redwood comped off and our bill at the Cal was $6.00. It was time to pack up and move on to some new adventures.
These adventures included the first pictures from my new Cameron Powershod G16 camera. I'd hoped to use the thing for the more important pictures, like scenery, artistic shots, foodie shots and so on - for the run-of-the-mill quads and Royals Flush the piPhone 3.14 would suffice.
Missed the three pointer.
Squint and you can see Uranus.
Well, I was able to take bathroom shots so far, if anyone wanted to see one. I kept at it and then I think I started getting somewhere.
How about a toast to the Cal?!
"She offered her honour, he honoured her offer. And all night long, it was honour and offer."
The Three Casino Shuffle
Day 5 Wednesday October 29, 2014 - part 2
It was time to take on the dollar Jacks at the Four Queens... $10,000 coin in each, about two and a half to three hours of grueling video poker conflagration. And this was the first of a six-day marathon. Who would emerge victorious?!
It's always great to hone one's concentration with an early morning cocktail, so we did that and then did battle.
"I've got you covered, baby."
I had $200 in free play. I punched up the first hundred and settled in. Withing five minutes, I had settled out. It was gone. What the f**k?
"I lost my hundred," I lamented. "Change machines." I did so, and punched up the second hundred of my free play. And you know, it did pretty darn well. I played along, got a quad or two, and the dollars kept going up. I got almost to $500 at one point and in the last ten minutes it just dumped.
The final tally for round 1 of the Jacks Blitz was this - we'd both done $10K coin in. I'd used $200 free play and cashed out $100. The Quad Queen had used $300 free play plus $500. So I was minus $100 and she was minus $800. Owie.
Our Four Queens gambling plan for the morning complete, we went back to the Cal to eat, and do admin stuff, like make sure the bill was fixed. (It was.)
Then came part of the three casino shuffle which included:
- check out of the Cal
- check in to the Four Queens
- check in to the Golden Nugget
- go back to the Cal and get the luggage and haul it to the Four Queens
- get the rental car
Remember the Four Queens El Primo Seventies Stag Suite from last time? Good ole 1148?
I got the same one again.
I think I left my disco ball somewhere in here.
Somewhere in there, we gambled some, and then ate lunch.
Art shot on the new Cameron. I call it "Hey out of focus lady, no f**king smoking!"
Morning on Fremont.
The Cal has, as I've mentioned, a tasty half soup and sandwich (short order for soup and half sandwich). I ordered the salad bar as well so I could try out the new Cameron. I felt like I was mastering it.
Salad Bar De-Luxe!
Half-a-soup and Sandwich with half-a-pickle and half-a-Snickers errrm De-Luxe!
Hugo's Cellar - Royal Flusher Restaurant Review
We ate at Hugo's Cellar at the Four Queens twice during the No Kickers Las Vegas trip so I thought I'd describe one visit and include details about the food from the others, all together into one review. I also visited Hugo's Cellar (and ate there too) during my summer trip with Kenny and LuLU, so I'll include some of that info.
As I left the Four Queen's casino floor with it's gaudy buzz and carnival atmosphere and descended about a floor, down the gently curving steps, into Hugo's Cellar. Boisterous shouts from the casino faded away and I felt myself relaxing. Hugo's ambiance coddles you as you make your way in, as if you were entering a velvety, muted chamber. It's comforting and elegant. Hugo's is almost out of place at the Four Queens, it's such a cut above. But it's well regarded, well established, traditional, classy without being pretentious, and there are many (like me) that hope that it never changes.
I pondered the name "Hugo's Cellar." Part of it was obvious, since someone who really likes faux red bricks would obviously be named Hugo. But why the cellar?
As I regarded the restaurant bar and it's two or three tables, I realized that it would be an extremely civilized place to have a quick pre-dinner drink, a nice place to unwind away from the hubbub upstairs, where one could debrief the day's gambling events, and argue over whether pimento is a thing unto its own or a part of something else that gets pickled and called a pimento.
However, I'd made an early reservation and there were many tables open. Mrs. Flusher came down the stairs to join me, and we approached the podium, and were promptly seated. A red rose accompanies each lady and is placed on the table, and at the end of the meal, presented to said lady to accompany her on her way. What said lady does with the rose in a casino, I have no idea, but it's a nice touch, and part of what makes Hugo's Hugo's. In fact, there are roses incorporated into Hugo's Cellar logo.
Hugo's is traditional gourmet room service, with crisp linens, proper place settings and tableware, and a full team of gastronauts to launch your tastebuds into orbit - bus folks, waiter, sommelier, maitre'd, and so on.
One of Hugo's 'stealth' servers. Can you spot him?
The dress code is pretty much the same as it is all across Vegas - if I had to sum it up it would be something like 'Pants Required. No Nipples.'. Most restaurants in town now cater to the lowest common denominator in terms of dress in the sense that you have to be dressed, and that's about it. (A follow-up check on their website has this description: Located in the Four Queens Hotel-Casino in downtown Las Vegas, Hugo's Cellar offers romantic and elegant dining with exquisite service in a casual setting. No Nipples.)
We were given water and offered drinks, and perused the menu. Service at Hugo's is excellent. The staff is timely but unobtrusive; friendly, but not in your face. Things arrive at the table and unneeded things disappear from the table with elegant efficiency.
I ordered a bottle of Veuve Cliquot ($100), which was delivered by the sommelier along with a running patter of information, observations about the color of the label being yellow or is it really orange, and the fact that there is an interesting and not very flattering portrait of Madame Cliquot on the cap of the bottle - something which I hadn't known about since I ordered the same champagne in the summer, and was told the exact same things.
I didn't worry about this too much, because the restaurant business is theatre, someone said. I can only hope that I return to Hugo's often enough that I start to become familiar with the staff, thus forcing some new and fresh information about the Veuve Cliquot.
It was delicious, by the way, and our glasses were always refilled at the perfect moments.
The menu is pretty traditional for an old school gourmet room/steakhouse with the usual beef offerings and seafood dishes - prime rib ($50), rib eye ($55), New York ($49) and filet ($57) steaks, crab and lobster tail (market price), shrimp ($50), and the like - along with a number of specialty dishes, such as Duckling Anise Flambé ($40). In the brick corner, weighing in at $175 is The Cellars Champion, which is Chateaubriand and lobster tail for two.
The Hugo's Hot Rock Specialty for Two appetizer sounds interesting. You get medallions of filet, chicken, shrimp and ahi tuna along with (I'm guessing) a very hot rock on which to cook them. These are accompanied with various dipping sauces. ("You're the chef at your table!").
Food service starts with the bread basket, a selection of rolls and a crunch cheese-dusted flatbread. This is my go-to bread because a) it carries a good portion of butter and b) it doesn't take up much room in your tummy. Note the rose motif has been carried forward onto the very (creamery fresh) butter itself.
Why isn't this place called Hugo's Rose?
Or Rose's Cellar?
One of the big attractions is Hugo's Mobile Emergency Salad Cart X1-B. When you are ready for salad (or whether you aren't), dispatch puts out the call.
"Salad emergency, table 42, salad emergency, table 42 - stat!" The salad engineer then responds, "Green Goddess X1-B departing Rampart General for table 42, ETA... 4 seconds."
The idea behind all of this is that you get a custom-prepared salad with exactly your choice of ingredients, made before your very eyes by the Green Goddess Emergency Salad Team, just for you, thus quelling your chlorophyll shortage emergency in flamboyant Hugo's fashion. There is a huge selection of ingredients and a good choice of dressings, including the house specialty which I think was suspiciously like Ranch. It sounds wonderful and it is, but I can see some folks succumbing to peer pressure to have ingredients they might not really want, because the exchange goes like this.
Hugo's Mobile Emergency Salad Cart X-1B
"No, thank you. I'm allergic to eggs."
"No, thank you."
"God no! Wow, anchovies. No..."
"No, thank you."
And before you know it, you have degenerated into a salad short order cook, with yes, no, yes, no, civility be damned.
"Trail mix with only brown M&Ms?"
My salad turned out beautifully. It had lots of prizes in like shrimp and blue cheese and no brown M&Ms, just like I wanted it.
I ordered the Scampi Hugo, which featured jumbo shrimp with sundried tomatoes and herbs in a garlic wine sauce. It was quite good. The shrimp were cooked just right and the tomatoes gave an earthy zing to the dish that balanced the sauce and other spices nicely.
Service continued with a homemade sorbet to cleanse the palate. I've had both lemon and raspberry, both were delightful. I don't know if the flavor changes according to what you've ordered or not, but I suppose it is possible.
The rib eye steak ($55) was perfectly cooked the way we'd ordered (medium rare) and was very generous, cut to the perfect thickness. It was not so thin it would overcook and get tough, or not be enough to satisfy, and not so thick it wouldn't cook right in the middle if you so wanted it that way, and also not Neanderthal thick.
Served on a reduction, the steaks were remarkably good - tender, flavorful, great seer on them, perfect color inside, juicy - absolutely delicious from start to finish. Along with the entrees came a roasted spice and parmesan tomato (okay but forgettable), a jumble of perfectly cooked vegetables, and garlic mashed potatoes. The taters were quite good but for cryin' out loud, I have a thing about anything but ice cream being served with an ice cream scoop. Specifically, it shouldn't be. I'd much rather have a portion of potato with a random top to it than something that looks like it came off an assembly line.
Perhaps I am off base here and a very fancy French pelle du potate is used to plate the macerated tubers.
Mrs. Flusher had the same rib eye along with a lobster tail added ($38). She asked that it be broiled plain and plainly it was broiled. It was okay, but a tad over-cooked, giving a little too much spring to the lobster meat.
After such a feast, it's hard to imagine having room for one of the desserts on offer such as Bananas Foster or Cherries Jubilee (each $16 for two), or something off the Hugo's Mobile Emergency Dessert Cart ($6). Fortunately, Hugo's Cellar provides a little sweet tray, featuring chocolate dipped strawberries and apricots dipped in dark chocolate, and figs nestled on white chocolate. Along with this comes a bowl of whipped cream. It's delightful and all one needs.
On one occasion, I mentioned that the strawberries alone would be enough (because I knew that Mrs. Flusher wouldn't partake of the other items). So I thought two chocolate strawberries, and the cream, would be just right for ol' Flushypants. The tray arrived with just strawberries, all right - six of 'em. And the whipped cream. I managed to glut down most of them. Okay, and the whipped cream too. It was a special occasion, all right?
This particular version of the Hugo's Cellar experience was excellent. On other occasions, we had very good luck with the rib eye steak again.
The Lobster Bisque ($14) was, well, horrendous. Adorned with a cutesy (but fail) rose drawn in cream on it's slightly skinned over surface, it was fishy, thick and heavy, and worst of all, bland. I had to season it myself with salt and pepper, and it perked up significantly.
Now, bear in mind that I never add salt to my food, having given up the sodium addiction years ago, so my palette has been cleansed of that need. No, the bisque was just not very good. There were chunks of lobster in it that were tough and kind of off-putting. I normally don't order these kinds of things, and I should have known better, but on the other hand, I thought Hugo's could pull it off. On this occasion, they didn't. So the Lobster Bisque is not recommended by me.
A much better choice proved to be the Escargot en Croute ($17), piping hot, lots of butter, and a nice puffy pastry hat on each one, like they were ready to go out on the town, straight to mouthville. Delicious.
Alaskan King Crab (market) was pretty good, but not stellar, having an underlying fishy taste that said the crab legs might not be quite as fresh as they should be.
On our first visit this trip I had (yes) the rib eye with what was billed as a horseradish crust.
It ended up being more like a horseradish sauce with a little bit of crust on top. It was pretty damned good, and if they could find a way to really put a crust on it, it would be spectacular. Again, the steaks were perfect that night.Here Goes Hugo's Cellar
Sadly, on another occasion, they weren't. We both ordered Beef Wellington ($59). It was our first visit to Hugo's and our first time ever having this dish. We ordered it medium rare and it came well done. And tough. It didn't even seem like filet. At least the sauce was good. We should have sent it back, but we'd already had appetizers and huge Mobile Emergency Salads, and at that point, we were ready to get on with it. And never having had the dish before, we didn't know what it should be like. But we did know the meat shouldn't be shoe-leather dry and tough. So, unfortunately, that dish was not a winner.
We didn't go back to Hugo's for a long time because of that first experience, but every return visit has been very rewarding and in the last case, downright delightful. I'm guessing that it was a one-off mistake and had we brought it to the waiter's attention it would have been made right.
When Hugo's Cellar is good, it's very, very good. It's unfortunate that we've had a couple of miss-steps land on our table, and that's cost them a card or so in the Royal Flusher Restaurant Ranking, but we most certainly will return.
Other visits to Hugo's:
If there's anything... anything you need
Royal Flusher Restaurant Rating - Hugo's Cellar at the Four Queens - three-and-a-half to a Royal.
Hugo's Cellar - three-and-a-half to a Royal
Four Queens Hotel and Casino
202 Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV 89101, United States
Eat Twenty Dollars Worth of Glossette Raisins
Day 5 Wednesday October 29, 2014 - part 3
Our host at the Nugget, John Submarine (not his real seagoing vessel), had secured a room in the Gold club atop the Rush tower. So we dragged some stuff up there - actually, Mrs. Flusher would be camped out in this room because it has the nice tub where she can stretch out. Meanwhile, I'd be bouncing around town. I wanted a chance to have some me time, have a few cigars, and have some of the food she can't abide. I'd have full visitation privileges if I played my cards right though.
"Honey... do you think I could fit a tripod for the Cameron in the bathroom?" I asked innocently? "Take a hike, pervert." I grabbed some snaps of the room instead.
The Gold Club rooms cost extra because they have all you can eat penny candy in the elevator foyer. And apples. And waters. There is about $20 worth of Glossette Raisins, $20 worth of M&Ms, $20 worth of bar-room spitback peanuts, and about $20 worth of trail mix out on a table. For this, they charge each guest $20 extra per night. The question now, is, how many Glossette Raisins can I eat in eight days?
The Nugget is a very nice property though, and still easily the class of downtown Vegas.
How much for 4? How much for 8? How much for 12? Okay... How much for 4 again?
Much of our admin crap done, we did some play at the Nugget, starting with the new quarter Deuces progressive.
The Quad Queen has a way with Deuces that is uncanny. She's hit the Loose Deuce about 3 times in 20 minutes of play while sitting beside me and taunting me on those different occasions. I, meanwhile, have never hit the Loose Deuce.
Naturally, she did this:
Quad Queen, Deuces Progressive for $292 and change.
We moved on to the bar for some quads and Boner Deluxe. I hit one at the bar and ran it up to $600, then cashed out at $400, so I made $300 there. The Quad Queen hit some hands but played heavily and ended up losing quite a bit on the session. She was in a fairly deep hole at the end of it.
Parlay again to Boner Deluxe.
QQ Straight Flush - almost a Royal...
And with that, it was time to go and take a look at one of Vegas' newest offerings - Delano.
From This... to Delano Las Vegas
Day 5 Wednesday October 29, 2014 - part 4
I grabbed enough stuff for a couple of nights and we loaded up the rental car, and drove down to Delano.
'Delano' is Spanish for 'where the f**k has The Hotel gone?'.
The answer - everywhere, and nowhere. The uber cool whiteness of Delano makes one speak this way, it's just something that happens.
Delano is in the tower that was The Hotel, which was beside the hotel Mandalay Bay. So there was Mandalay Bay, and then there was the other hotel (The Hotel) but The Hotel is now the other hotel, Delano. It makes perfect sense after a bunch of comped Absolut rocks.
I know what you are thinking.
Royal Flusher...! You?! Going from this...
What about your half-soup and salad bar roots? How will you manage in the chic gravity-less Delano? Just saying it makes me feel... randy! What are you wearing?...
We found valet easily enough and we dumped the car. The foyer of Delano is really cool. They built it around some gigantic desert boulders that camouflage the entrance to the secret underground headquarters of Splurge, the international overpriced shopping ring.
Check-in was a breeze. I was asked all kinds of questions, offered all kinds of help, had my credit card imprint thingy taken, and was given a key. And up we went.
The suite was gorgeous, and upon entering, I had the feeling of moving from the desert-inspired art gallery public spaces to floating into an underground grotto, with sunlight dappled walls.
The grotto awaits...
These headless mer-people could be... you!
I think this entire wall is a whiteboard. Either that or housekeeping is going to be pissed.
The Romper Room
Everything in the place, pretty much is white or off-white. It's cool, it's elegant, it's... savvy. It's not that homey but I live in a place that is, and this is the kind of place I want to go when I'm getting away from it all.
From the dueling robes in the one and a half bathrooms to the custom postcard on the bed to the padded - yes padded - wall that served as a headboard, I felt transported.
"Look at all this," I said, "It's amazing! Look, the brochure says everything the guest touches should be real!"
We locked up and walked down the hall to head to the casino.
"Look, at this chair, see, it's real! It's wood! Everything you encounter...!" I continued. I was really starting to understand the design underpinnings of the Delano concept.
"Yep, it's a real chair," said the Quad Queen. "Look, a real elevator button! Real carpeting! Look, real light bulbs!"
"Some people have... savvy chic taste," I countered. "REAL taste."
"Sounds like real bullshit to me."
Upside of the Delano - it's very cool and pretty comfortable. The fit and finish of the suite was excellent. It would be a great place to be if you had to work in the room, given the separate work area and desk chair. There are amenities right on site including a spa and some eateries, but all the Mandalay Bay has to offer is just a two minute walk down a corridor.
Downside of the Delano - the pillows are horrible. Way too high, way too firm. The TV in the bedroom had a sound problem, which I didn't report. Finally, I found out after the fact that they charge $20 for valet access. This isn't posted anywhere that I saw and wasn't mentioned at valet or check-in.
I think that's way too 'real'.
A The Fab Night
Day 5 Wednesday October 29, 2014 - part 5
I partly planned my stay at Delano around the fact that The Fab were playing at the lounge in Mandalay Bay. I'd really enjoyed their music last trip, and wanted to make a point of playing video poker, drinking, and rocking out to live Beatles' tunes this time.
We headed to the casino and played some Triple Play and got warmed up for 'the Ersatz Fab Four or Five'.
Poor Mrs. F. was down about $850 on the day and losing, losing, losing, until she was winning, winning, winning, with... you guessed it (because you can see the picture down there), she hit a Royal Flush, her second of the trip, and #4 between us!
We played on, got some drinks, and waited for the band to start. It was turning into one of those perfect Vegas evening.
Royal Flush #4 for $1000
I actually got a kicker?!
The Fab started, and I went to check them out. That's when I found out there were bartop machines there. Well, of course there were... it's Vegas!
We moved over and danced and drank and sang our way through the set. The Fab was in fine form, wearing costumes and throwing candy to the crowd.
We played about 35 or 40 minutes at the bar and I lost about $70. I asked the Quad Queen how she'd done and she said, "I put in $20. I've been playing dollars all this time."
WHAT?! Great! More points on my Milf card!
And just for fun, she got a quad at the end.
The Fab at Mandalay Bay
I wanted to eat Mexican for dinner and Mrs. F. wanted to head back to the Nugget, so we walked through the Mandalay Bay Place Shopping Walkway hallway of values thingy to the Luxor, through Luxor, through the walkways to Dickscalibur, and through Dickscalibur to the bus stop outside You Nork You Nork (YNYN).
The WAX came and off she went. I started hiking it to Hussong's Cantina. I walked briskly, and looked down at one point and saw something glinting in the light.
Something silver and wonderful.
"You," I said, picking up the magical object, "you will be the centerpiece of my Halloween costume."
I carried on, briskly. Walking pretty damn briskly. Here's where it gets weird. Before I had even exited Luxor, I got a text. The Quad Queen was downtown!
She'd gotten some kind of super-luck WAX express ride. There was no one on the bus, the freeway was fast, and there was no one waiting at any of the stops. She'd made it to Fremont in less than the time it took to walk from YNYN to Mandalay Bay Place Shopping Walkway thingy.
I got a table at Hussong's, which I'd enjoyed last trip. This time I was in luck! The Mariachi band was in full force, featuring El The Big Guitar.
I had the same thing as before, the Zeppelin-sized chicken burrito. And I loved, loved, loved the music. The way the changes twist and turn, the way the beat tumbles on itself like a drunken muchacho rolling down a freeway verge, then righting itself at the last possible moment before the semi-trailer El The Big Guitar thrums out the central riff at the climax of the verse.
The band was relaxed and took little breaks to chat amongst themselves after each tune. I even clapped for them. I was probably the only one listening to and appreciating their musicianship. "Thank you! Thank you!" said the leader, "To.... table number 5."
Meal finished (it was delish), I greeted the band and asked some things about the time signatures and the band."So, when you guys met for the very first time, did you all have on those same shirts and cowboy hats? Because that would be like... fate."
We had a laugh about that and the leader said, "Sit back down, we have one more for you, a special one." And these guys played a song just for The Flusher. It was beautiful. It twisted and turned and rolled. The semi-trailer missed the muchacho. The harmonies lifted my heart, soaring so you weren't sure if you were hearing two voices, or just one special sound that defied humanity and lived with the angels. I thanked them again.
"That was an original, composed by this guy, the trumpet player." I felt truly blessed. What were Royal Flushes and gambling when compared to true human talent and expression? What indeed?
I headed for the casino and missed a kicker that would have given me a $500 hand instead of a $100 hand. But I had El The Big Guitar and a stomach full of burrito and a heart full of tumbling beats.
No $500 kicker.
Royal Flusher: Day -$200 Trip +$2250
Quad Queen: Day +$150 Trip -$500
Royals Flush: Four (!!!!)
Day 6 Thursday October 30, 2014 - part 1
I gave up this great coffee to go and keep Mrs. F. from losing more dough.
I slept at Delano in my sterile luxury suite and the Quad Queen slept at the Nugget in her fairly sumptuous luxury room (with chocolate raisins).
Real seating outside the real spa.
The spa at Delano. I was too scared to venture in.
Actually, I had a terrible night - the pillows at Delano are the size of old growth tree trunks and about as soft. It was too hot, and I woke up with a headache.
A long, long shower helped that along somewhat. The Delano in-room amenities include one that's new by me - peppermint shampoo. I dabbed a little here, and some there and some there, and scrub a dub dubbed, and dabbed some down there... and I felt this crazy alarming burning sensation! And yet... I found it strangely refreshing.
Done showering and shaving, and smelling like a huge Mentos, I checked in with the Queen, who was starting her day at the Nugget, already on the machines. Apparently it "wasn't going well".
I nabbed the car from Valet, passing up the little coffee shop off the Delano lobby, and headed downtown. When I found her, she reported that she "hadn't hit a single f**king quad yet". At that point she was down $500 on the day before I even played my first hand. "Okay, so, not off to a great start, but still showing promise," I summed up helpfully.
I grabbed a java at Starbucks and we headed to Four Queens for Dollar Jacks Blitz part 2 of 6. I loved this. It was really like doing battle, it was them or us. Would the machines yield that first ever dollar royal at the Four Queens? It's true, we've never hit a dollar royal there, and I've never hit anything bigger than a 25 cent quad.
I got two quads right off the back, but they drained away pretty quickly and I ended up going out.
After a good hour or so we took a break and played at the bar for a change. I did 50-cent Double Double and she did dollar Double Double for a while, then 50 cent, and did get a quad at that.
Back to the Jacks, I was in for $600 so far on the session. The Quad Queen had gotten a straight flush, which I was jealous of, and I kept saying things like, "I have about $100 here, if I could get a straight flush and a couple of quads, I could end up even or up some. It could happen..."
I drifted down as low as $30 and worked up a little bit.
Then I was dealt 4 to a straight flush. And I have trouble getting them. Reelin' in the Years was on so at an appropriate musical point I lead out this blood-curdling war scream and hit the button. And I got it. And I just kept on screaming for about ten more seconds.
I looked back at a couple of guys who were watching from the cage, just to my right, and said, "That's how you do it. I'm going to play every hand just like that from now on."
I played on and started getting some hands, a few quads even. I worked my way up, higher, a bit higher.
"I'm done my points," said the Quad Queen, "I'm going to the suite to order some room service breakfast." "You know, I could do it, one more quad and I could break even on this debacle. See you in a bit," I said.
She walked away and boom, I got quad sevens. I finished my points and cashed out up $15 on $10,000 coin in. A minor miracle of video poker, if you ask me.
Unfortunately, the Quad Queen was down $500 on her Jacks play and $1000 on the day (casino bastards!).
I met her up in the suite and we compared notes.
"You were down $1000 yesterday, and came back from it. You just need a couple of dollar Boner Deluxe quads to get you going again."
"Or a Royal," she said.
"Or a Royal."
"Or a pizza."
Day 6 Thursday October 30, 2014 - part 2
For lunch, we 86'd the room service idea and had lunch at the Chicago Brewing Company - pizza and video poker and drinks at the bar. I added a couple of cigars to the bill too, to see if they would go through. I got this Arturo Fuente thing that looked disturbingly like a diminuative penis, a more reasonable looking Monte Cristo, and a mighty Cohiba.
The pizza was excellent as always and we pretty much got our ass kicked at the bartop video poker. Not to worry. $280 for free pizza is well worth it.
QQ's Pizza Quad
After, we headed up to the suite at the Nugget and chilled out and did some Keno and stuff. I had to sober up for the drive back to Mandalay Bay.
I left around 7:00pm and hopped on the freeway. I missed my exit and thought, "Serendipity!" because I knew how to continue on to Whole Foods.
When you have an uber chic luxury suite at Delano where everything is real, what should you do?
I bought some little bottles of champagne at Whole Foods and a variety of things like that foreign 'taboo salad' made of coo coos, tortilla chips, some Moroccan chicken drumettes, curried chick peas, some hummus... I layered that crap into a couple of these cup things. Anything you want to put in there is $8.99 a pound. I picked up some healthy snacks too, like these spicy almonds and something called Flax Snax. I'd rather have Xanax, but whatever. Because healthy.
Room camping calls for ice, and lots of it. I filled the sink at the bar and stashed my room camping supplies. I also put the champagne on ice in the bucket, and made it pose with the Arturo Fuente penis for pictures.
Or champagne with Arturo Fuente's penis? Ick.
While that stuff was chilling, I headed down to the casino for some red wine, a smoke, and a great run on multiplay Double Double.
Okay, it's not just mine, these cigars are made this way on purpose. Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story cigars, apparently.
I cut the end at the top of the band. If I'd cut the other end, I think I might have circumcised the damn thing.
Say what you will about Arturo Fuente's wrapper, I enjoyed smoking my Hemingway Short Story cigar, once I got the
There was an 80s cover band playing - they were quite good - and I lost about $100 over an hour and a half. It was a lot of fun and I did about $4000 coin in.
Back in the suite, I enjoyed my feast while watching top-notch quality video programming (Survivor, on my niPad).
It was a fun day, but kind of expensive.
Royal Flusher: Day -$400 Trip +$1850
Quad Queen: Day -$1050 Trip -$1550
Combined: Trip +300
Royals Flush: Four (!!!!)
Deuces... no kicker.
This represents a quad that I didn't see!
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