August 2009
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Day 15: Paper money

Sometimes it just makes sense to buy two copies of the same newspaper.

Friday’s Las Vegas Review Journal contained an insert magazine called Coast Connection from Coast Casinos, which contained a boat load of offers for Sam’s Town, The Orleans, Gold Coast and Suncoast.

We played at Suncoast on a busy 5x points Sunday afternoon last weekend and it was filled with the largest number of miserable gamblers I have ever seen.  It got to the point where I was walking around actually looking for anyone with a smile, or who seemed to be even vaguely enjoying their time at the casino.  I didn’t find anyone.

And this was before they had something to be really unhappy about, as just a couple of days later Suncoast pulled out all of its good video poker.  There’s absolutely no reason to ever go back now.

However the other three Coast Casinos are great and have been pretty good to us.  Gold Coast in particular is somewhere we’ve been playing a lot – helped in part by it’s proximity to the Palms (where there’s something free to collect most days; this year’s haul so far includes a t-shirt, an apple pie and a tyre pressure gauge) and, where we’re living right now, it can be virtually on the way to most places.

We’d already marked in the diary a 5x point weekend at Gold Coast this Saturday and Sunday.  That promotion turns a 99.7% payback machine into a 100.5% winner and as these are multi-line games with the Super Times Pay feature, they allow you to push money through at 3-6 times faster than the usual single line games.

Positive expectation times fast play equals lots of monies, right?  Well, it’s great if you’re winning but those games costing $4.50 or $7.50 a spin can be pretty painful when things don’t go your way.

Fortunately, Claire hit her second Royal Flush of the trip for a thousand dollars more playing money 🙂

The magazine gives you another two 5x points day of your choice at both Gold Coast and Sam’s Town (one before August 15th and one after) and one 5x points day at The Orleans.  Sam’s Town has Full Pay Deuces Wild (100.7% before points, a whopping 101.6% with 5x) and The Orleans has several games that can be manipulated into positive plays with the coupon.

Don’t forget, there’s further meta-benefits in the form of room offers and free food too.

As Claire and I will play together on one slot club account on any given day, two copies of the newspaper has therefore bought us ten days of advantage play on video poker!

But that’s not all.  The supplement also contains a $10 and a $20 blackjack matchplay coupon.  As you get paid double when you win, and you win about 48% of all hands, the value of the coupons is a little under half of the amount of the bets that they match.

Cost of newspaper: $1.  Value of matchplay coupons alone: $14 ish.

Unfortunately, you can’t just rip the coupon out of the newspaper and plonk it on the table with your money.  In order to use the matchplay you have to take the coupon to the players club to get a different coupon, and that way they make sure everyone only gets to do it once.

It’s a smart move because believe me, if this limit didn’t exist, I would have bought significantly more than two copies!

Day 14: Back in black

I was delighted today to see that a Las Vegas landmark has returned to its former glory.

Luxor is, once again, just a big black pyramid.  It looks magnificent.

For several years now, the front side of this iconic building has been violated by some kind of advertisement as part of the growing trend in Vegas to ruin the exteriors of the hotels by turning them into gigantic billboards.

Most recently, and until today, Luxor has carried an advertisement for the latest Transformers movie.  This wouldn’t be quite so ghastly if there was some connection to the resort.  I thought, perhaps, the movie was being shown on the Luxor’s IMAX screen – and then remembered that the IMAX was dismantled last year to make way for a positively non-Egyptian exhibition of stuff from the Titanic and some human corpses.

In the past, they have used building wraps to advertise their own shows: Criss Angel "Believe" and Hairspray.  It still makes it look nasty, but I don’t mind this half as much as just random commercials being plastered over the walls.

The Luxor is not that dominating along the Las Vegas skyline during the day.  There are many newer buildings that are much taller.  However, even the small ones in Las Vegas are huge, and there are still times when it is the only thing you can see.

Giant black pyramid, twelve o’clock. 

How much better is the view above than it was earlier in the week, when it was also spoilt by a crosshair pattern (this had been added to three sides of the pyramid) as a way to entice potential advertisers?

This is why, sadly, I have little confidence that all black will remain a permanent look for the Luxor.

All four sides have been cleared, so chances are something new and tacky is going up all the way around.

It’s at night when Luxor really shines.  Literally.  You can see the Batsignal from miles away (as well as from space, apparently) but it’s most impressive close up, when you can see the animated lights along the edges of the pyramid shifting towards the peak, and then that impossibly bright beam poking out of the top and reaching upwards for miles.

The last thing I want to see distracting from this is an enormous picture of a bottle of vodka.