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Dream home

Claire just found our dream Vegas house.  5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms (is that enough? really?) on a fifth of an acre, and a steal at just $149,000.

The icing (terrible pun, sadly intended) on the cake is that it looks like someone got whacked in every single room.

“Needs some restoration”, reads the description, perhaps understating it ever-so-slightly.

Anyone know where I can find the CSI report?

More photos and less-gory details here: http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/284–Seal-Ct_Henderson_NV_89074_1119676035

Las Vegas iPhone apps suck balls, save lives

It looks like it is becoming the norm that every Las Vegas casino has to have it’s own promotional iPhone app.  It’s such a shame that the ones I’ve seen so far have failed to live up to the hype.

I’ve already let my thoughts be known about the Caesars Palace app, and I still keep on checking back to see which of their customers’ pictures they’ve passed on to total strangers lately.  It’s disgraceful that this is still going on.  Be it man, child or dog – they don’t discriminate.

MGM Mirage have now entered the fray with apps for three of their hotels: MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and New York-New York.

They’re all much the same.  The brief probably read: “like the web site, but more iPhone-y”.

Well it mostly meets that brief, and where it wasn’t possible to make things iPhone-y enough, they just ship you off to parts of the web site instead.

Like for reservations, which has a special mobile version just for this screen size – although it comes at the expense of no longer looking like it’s part of the app.  That’s more than can be said for the player’s club link.  Below is as much as you can see at any one time (you can’t pinch to zoom out).  I don’t think they got the memo about Flash not playing on the iPhone, either.

You have to include Twitter these days.  It’s the law.  Here’s how:  first you pretend everyone cares about this junk, then you assume that they don’t already have a more convenient way to read it.  Loading each little nugget of crap separately is just about perfect.

Finally, throw in an unscalable, nastily-compressed copy of the floor plan and you’re good to go.

Maybe I am just a little too picky about this kind of stuff.  Or maybe I’m just jealous of whoever got this job, and annoyed that the contract went to someone who doesn’t appear to care about the image their corner-cutting is portraying for the resorts involved.

I’ll admit that I don’t really give two hoots about NY-NY, and if I was developing this it would be tough not to include a hysterical laughing sound if someone tapped a button that said “I want to eat here”.

But MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay are – like Caesars – primo properties.  Huge, huge Las Vegas brands.  They deserve so much better than this.

So do I have anything nice to say today?  Not about these apps, but MGM Mirage did release one other iPhone app last week – an “augmented reality” browser for the Las Vegas Strip.

Or at least for the half of the Strip that’s dominated by their hotels.  Although it includes the neighbouring Tropicana and Paris, once you get north of Flamingo Road, you’re on your own.

Even though I haven’t had chance to try this out on site yet, I like the concept and, assuming it works just as well in reality as it does when you simulate being there, I like the way it behaves. I know my way around town pretty well but I can still appreciate this as I still haven’t got my head around which part of CityCenter is which.

Veer is the one that looks like it’s falling over.  Harmon’s the one that actually might.  Beyond that…

The simulation mode virtually puts you on the Tropicana Avenue intersection, and from there you can spin around 360 degrees and see what hotels would be in view.  In this case, It showed me a bunch of casinos out there, in the corner of my office, just behind Summerfest Bear.

It might not seem like a big deal at first, but showing the distances on here is brilliant.  These buildings are so huge, you can lose all concept of size and distance.

When you think, “What’s that big pyramid thing?  It can’t be far away – let’s check it out!”, this app can help to put things in perspective.

And when the sun is beating down with triple-digit heat and you still think walking from Bellagio to Luxor sounds like a great idea, it may actually save lives.

Hello (again) there

Apparently it took a momentous win for me to start blogging again after an unexpected month off.  (If I just say “work commitments”, will that do?)

It was like one of those moments on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire when you can tell they know the answer to a big money question well before the four possible answers are revealed.

Only this time, the prize was even better: a Cheap Trick baseball cap.

This competition had my name written all over it.  I just happened to notice an older Facebook post by Paris Las Vegas saying there’d be another competition any minute now to promote the new show by Cheap Trick at their hotel.  I thought two possible things could happen: they’d ask the only possible Cheap Trick-related question that I would actually know the answer to, or it’d be a mad Google scramble while dozens of Facebook fans fall over themselves for the privilege of wearing some free advertising.  I kept the page open, just in case.

Sometimes it’s just your lucky night:

Actually I was later than third to answer, I saw a number of other wrong answers drop off the top (including, I’m sure I didn’t imagine it, one from FHBM’s Tim Dressen – dude I can’t believe I beat you on this) but I was quite amazed nobody else got it right.

Perhaps Rock Band really is for eight year olds, and I really am having a mid-life crisis with this pretending-to-be-a-drummer phase.

But whatever.  It was one of those moments that was meant to be.  This song makes up 50% of all the Cheap Trick songs I could name, and I haven’t played another video game (unless Lego Rock Band counts) in over two years.

I think I was just due a win.

Even with my limited knowledge of this band though, I’d actually quite like to see their show in Las Vegas.  It’s doing a stint at Paris this summer and some of the dates collide with mine.

It’s an odd concept: they’re playing through the entire Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album.

It’s not a Beatles tribute band, it’s Cheap Trick.  But playing The Beatles.  Followed by a bunch of hits I’m probably supposed to know.

But after some deliberation, I’d already decided to decline Ticketmaster’s kind offer of securing two tickets for the price of three and take a risk that there’ll actually be some available at the hotel when I get into town in July.

It’s a calculated gamble.  There’s significantly less hype for this show than for Matt Goss playing twice a week to 200 people, and they can’t give those tickets away.

But if it doesn’t happen, well meh.  I can always listen to the real Beatles while wearing my Cheap Trick cap by the pool….

Tree night, I'm gonna have myself a real good time

Just one of a bunch of confusing things on offers from Terrible’s casino that came in the post today.  This typo was also the most amusing (to my infantile mind at least).

Then there’s this picture from the same tree-mendous mailer.  How many mistakes can you spot? :

I got four: (1) She’s young.  (2) She’s attractive.  (3) She’s smiling.  (4) She has $100 bills.

All pretty much unheard of at the casino in question.

Then I had to try to work out what this was about:

The deliberate mistake?  I’m nowhere near a gold card player.

As my mail gets batched up in a mailbox in California for weeks at a time, I can’t figure out what the date under the offer means.  Is there just the one day when I can go and claim this reward for my alleged second-to-top-tier loyalty?  Or if it’s the date they decided to upgrade me – more than two months after I last left town?

Sure, we play at Terrible’s quite a bit.  Sometimes we play together on the same card.  But we only just made Gold status on Claire’s card with a concerted effort during 5 weeks of summer; there’s no way it could have happened for me in 10 days.

They seem to have me confused with someone else.  My best guess is that they’ve mixed up my account with Claire’s.  And they’re running several months behind.

Apart from her card changing colour, there didn’t seem to be any difference in the offers she’s had since August.

The best part though was this offer, which is really quite superb.

3 nights in a suite, $100 gambling money and $100 eating money.  I have no idea how I could possibly use all of the latter.  It’s an awful lot of $9.99 theme buffets or T-bone steak dinners.

I don’t know yet if we’ll actually stay there, but I’ve already booked it.  It would have been rude not to.

There were apparently no suites available.  I’m not sure I believe they exist, but I’ve seen pictures so there might be one or two.

No shows for our dates either. We’re too late to see Neil Sedaka and too early for Smokey Robinson.  (These are the actual 70-something singers, no less, not tribute acts).

Still a great offer though.  I wonder whose it was meant to be.

They're all Caesars

Turns out the fact that the Caesars Palace iPhone app was only designed for one person to use at a time was only a minor design cock up, as the “send a postcard” feature doesn’t appear to get used very often at all.

Well, maybe more people than this try, but they actually give up and delete the app before they get anywhere.

This is pretty much all the activity there’s been over the past few weeks.  Some of these photos were up there for days.

These individuals are the elite few.  They should be considered ambassadors of one of the finest hotels in the world.

UQ0

UQ3

UQ2

UQ4UQ1

Terrible's new poker room, or something like that

I’m still not sure if this email I had tonight is genuine.

terriblespoker

For a start, if Terrible’s really has live poker, I’m quite disappointed that this mailer didn’t come with a picture of Mr Terrible wearing sunglasses and an iPod.  They usually make an effort to dress him up whenever possible, and this would be a perfect opportunity.

But let’s assume this is for real (they routinely spell my name wrong on emails this way, so that goes some way to verifying the authenticity).

How on earth did they find space to put in at least one poker table?  It’s pretty cozy in there already.

The sportsbook is so small it has about half a dozen seats and the pit is perfectly crammed into the middle of the action so that if you want to play Wheel of Fortune and roulette at the same time, I’m pretty sure you’d be able to.  And if there happens to be a line for the cashier (particularly likely on paycheck day) snaking through a tightly arranged grid of video poker machines at least gives you something to lean on while you wait.

They’ve recently moved the player’s club out of the broom cupboard next to the gift shop into a kiosk on the casino floor, but I can’t see that space being any use for poker.  It’s not much larger than six feet square.

The mailer says “see casino pit for details”, not “see poker room”.  They clearly don’t have any pretensions of being the Bellagio (thank goodness).  It might just be one table.  And you might have to ask for directions.

There’s just nowhere I can think that even one table could go without needing to get rid of either slot machines, table games or space in the bingo hall, and I can’t see any of those happening for a game that (according to the coupon on this mailing) has a $20 minimum buy in.

That would make it one of only two such recession-busting poker games in Las Vegas (the other is a single $1 blind no-limit Hold’em game at Bill’s).  I can’t wait to see what games are on offer, and what kind of clientele it attracts.

I can’t find any other details about this.  Nothing on Terrible’s own web site, or any of the usual suspect Las Vegas poker blogs.  I might actually be the first to break this massive poker news in the whole of the “blogosphere”.

Oh how I hate that word.

However, to be fair, I’d be surprised if any other bloggers were on Terrible’s mailing list, let alone had ever stopped by for a 99c coffee and Krispy Kreme special.

Would the real Caesar please stand up?

The mug shot below is definitely not mine, although it definitely should be.

caesars-postcard

I have no idea who this is. At least it’s a dude, I suppose, but something has gone a little bit awry between taking the photo and sending the postcard.

iTunes had told me there was an update available to the crummy Caesars Palace iPhone app, and as the version had leapt from 1.0 straight to 1.3 you might have expected great things of it.

But you’d be disappointed.  In fact the product description still claims this is a “beta” release (which, clearly, is still a pipe dream) and the only change that it brags across three minor version numbers is a “new dining menu”.

Nevertheless, the app did tease me with an exciting new undocumented function: the addition of an “open in Safari” button in the toolbar of on most pages.  This would provide users with a way to capture some of its information for later offline viewing (so that, for example, it did not take 30 seconds and incur data roaming charges for overseas guests to view the property map).  Guess what?  That button actually does nothing.

Still, there was something of an enhancement to the “send a postcard” feature.  As you can see above, at least the template now actually has space to fit the photo that you take.  That’s a significant improvement on the last version, but however shit it looked before, fixing that should be secondary to making sure the right photo gets sent to the right recipient.

Otherwise it’s just going to be creepy.

I dread to think who ended up with the picture of yours truly, which I took only to test the postcard feature and expecting that nobody other than myself would ever see it.  The email comes from a no-name Caesars Palace address and there’s no option to add a personalised message, which might have given them a clue that it was broken.  It just says “A special message from your friend”.

Of course, I was pulling a stupid grin when I was playing about with this.  I bet I looked pretty special to whoever was unlucky enough to get that postcard.

Actually, given that I sent two of these to myself and they both came through with the same (wrong) picture, I have a suspicion of what’s messing it up.

I bet this feature would work just fine if only one person ever used it.  The problem is its immense popularity.  As soon as a second user comes along and smiles sweetly for the camera, he overwrites the first photo with his own.

So when you are sent a postcard, you have a small window of opportunity to view it as it was intended.  If you’re too slow, you’re in for a surprise.

Check it out if you like.  The image URL embedded into both emails I got is: http://ipa.acumob.com/caesars/scripts/images/UQ==.jpg.  I thought the “UQ==” part might have been a unique identifier that was assigned to each photo uploaded.  That probably would have worked out OK though, because using upper and lower case letters, numbers and a few symbols, even just a four character filename could handle more than 20 million photos before it started overwriting the first one.

But I’ve tried guessing other values and found nothing but “404 Not Found” errors.  What I’m expecting, though, is that by the time you click on the URL above, the picture you see will probably be nothing like the one I posted above.

If I’m right, it could be amusing to keep checking back to that link to see what changes over the next few days.  Presumably, every time someone sends a postcard from the app, we’ll get to see some stupid pose that they thought was only going to be seen by a close friend.

If anyone catches a good one, either though this or through trying to make a postcard of yourself, send it to me and I’ll add it to the post!

Celine Dion is only the support act

Celine Dion announced this week that she would return to Caesars Palace next year, but she’s in danger of having her thunder stolen by British 80s boy band graduate, Matt Goss.

It’s difficult to argue who is the bigger star.

But even so, it’s Goss’s gig that’s getting attention here in the UK.  The news (which was announced nearly two weeks ago) has just started to hit the papers over here, and it even got a mention on Radio 2 last night.

Play the clip below to hear Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie give their critique of his career so far and announce his arrival as the new headliner at Caesars.

That’s if you consider playing in a 165-capacity indoor boat with a novelty rocking, floating dance floor (rather than the 4,296-seater Colosseum under the same roof) to be headlining.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

If you can’t be bothered to listen to the clip, here’s the highlight:

“He’s exactly what [Vegas] used to have and lost?  What, a bloke with some Doc Martins with Grolsch tops on?”

As the supportive partner of a former Brosette (is that such a thing?  Isn’t it like saying “former alcoholic”?) there was little doubt that we’d be seeing this show in April, and I’ve just booked the tickets.

I actually don’t mind and I’m quite looking forward to it.  The clips I’ve seen make it look, well, not bad.  And it’s definitely a Vegas show (complete with sleazy backing dancers called “Dirty Virgins”) – about as far from a Bros tribute as it could be.

I’ll give anything a go these days, and besides, my tastes are much broader now than they were when I was 14 years old and detested Kylie just as much as I hated Bros.  What was I thinking?

Everything you wanted to know about Caesars Palace but were afraid to find out the easy way

You can’t imagine how excited I was to see an offiical Caesars Palace iPhone app appear on the App Store recently.

It came with a big boast too: “The Caesars Palace Mobile application is a travel companion that can elevate your trip from ordinary to legendary”.

Sadly, I beg to differ.  It’s a bit of a turd.

The app weighs in at a tiny 0.4Mb, which tells you it’s going to have to fetch most of its data from the network.

This is good and bad.  It’s easy for them to update information when it changes (it’s Vegas – things change frequently) but it alienates iPod touch users and visitors from outside the USA who don’t want to get stung by horrendous data roaming charges, pay extortionate hotel wifi charges, or go to the effort of getting their iPhone unlocked and using a local SIM.

iPod touch users are also screwed over on the included gimmick to put your own photo onto a Caesars Palace sign.  It only works with the iPhone’s camera – you can’t use a picture from your photo library.  Although it’s a pretty piss poor effort at slapping two photographs together anyway.  I tried it with an old friend.

caesarsapp3

The other information you get is a subset of what you can find on the Caesars web site, thrown together in a style reminiscent of web sites from 1995, except without a hit counter or an animated “men at work” image.

caesarsapp4

The part I was really interested in though was how I would be able to “use Caesars Palace Mobile to find [my] way around the resort”, like they claimed.

Let’s face it.  If someone describes the floor plan at Caesars as “all over the place”, they’re being kind.

For what it’s worth, I actually find that meandering mess of a maze an endearing feature of a property which has evolved and grown in character over more than 40 years.  It’s just a nightmare to get to where you want to be.

So, what technological wonders that take advantage of the iPhone platform have they used to help you find your way?

It’s a map.

caesarsapp2

It’s the same map that you get when you check into the hotel or if you can pick up around the casino.

The user experience is somewhat different, however.  When they print maps, they tend to make sure that they’re readable, and they generally print them larger than three inches in size.  This is is pretty standard because, well, it just works.

Above is an actual size screenshot.  Tell me where Total Rewards is, or how to get to the Augustus Tower from the parking garage.

I’m being a little unkind.  You can actually zoom in enough so that the text size is almost the same size as it would be in print.  Of course, once the text is readable, you can only see a fraction of the map.

I guess it’s nice to have a map graphic on your phone though.  I’ve used that kind of thing before, with zooming and panning and what not.  I’d probably use this one too if it actually stayed downloaded to my phone long enough to use it – instead of requiring a significant download every single time you navigate away and come back.  It takes a good 5 seconds over wifi and 25-30 seconds on 3G.   (I didn’t bother trying over EDGE).  They should at least cache it within the app for a couple of hours.

I should probably have seen this coming, when the first thing in the product description is an attempt to claim that this is a “beta” release – despite being publicly available to anyone with an iPhone or iPod touch, and carrying a 1.0 version number.

Disappointing as the app is, it’s even more disappointing that Caesars Palace would put its name on what is clearly a work in progress.

The worst video poker game I ever played

The time has come to say a tearful farewell to my Diamond Total Rewards card.

The current card is still valid until the end of March, but as I won’t return to Las Vegas until the beginning of April, that does me no good whatsoever.  In order to retain it, I needed to have achieved the requisite number of tier credits by the end of last year.  I didn’t get there.

The number of tier credits required to achieve or retain Diamond is 11,000 – representing $55,000 of action on slot machines, or $110,000 on video poker.  Or some secret magic formula of time, money and whether or not the pit boss likes you when playing table games.

I’ve achieved this before, using a 50-line 9/6 Jacks or Better game in Harrah’s Laughlin.  It takes some commitment (and some balls to trust in the numbers when you run bad), but a 99.54% game with (usually) 0.3% returned as comp means it’s a decent proposition.  Cycle $110,000 on that game and you expect to lose about $500 in cash, but receive $330 to spend on food and stuff.  Net cost: $170.

Consider that most video poker on the Strip is in the 97-98% range.  A typical player qualifies for Diamond status with a theoretical loss in the region of $3,000 for a given year.  They still only get back the same $330 as comp, so doing it my way is a pretty good discount.

Yes, slightly better plays are available.  I just don’t have the bankroll for them.

Here’s one that you won’t find on the vpfree2 web site.  That could be down to a lack of casino monitors, the inability to actually find what you’re looking for since the site switched to it’s new craptastic format, or just that members of the so-called community are no longer sharing data like they used to (you know, the way most of them actually got started), just reporting a handful of so-so games but keeping the best information to themselves.  I liked the old site.  I miss the old site.

I may get death threats for talking about it, but Harrah’s Laughlin has a 9/6 Jacks or Better in a $1 Multistrike game.  Or at least it did in December 2009.  It’s a slant-top, just inside the high limit area, next to the poker room.

Multistrike video poker requires you to pay for four hands at a time.  If you win the first, you play the second with a 2x multiplier; if you win that you play the 3rd at 4x and – if you get there – the top line is paid off at 8x the regular win.  If you don’t win on the first attempt though, you’ve just lost four times the usual stake very quickly.

Yes, the swings are big.  But making some adjustments to the way you play the game teases the odds in the player’s favour.  You can get almost 99.8% payback (so it’s a profitable game when you add in other benefits) and at $20 per game it’s very quick to cycle money.  Perfect for a professional with deep pockets, but given that a not-insignificant part of the overall return comes from large 8x wins – including an extremely rare top line royal flush – I was only able to have a quick punt on this one.

How sweet it nearly was though.  One card away from thirty two grand…

multistrikeoneoff

I did actually abandon an attempt to achieve Diamond in a Day at Harrah’s Laughlin (requiring only 3,000 tier credits in 24 hours) on a $1 Deuces Wild machine.  Although it’s a solid play at 99.7% payback, I wasn’t familiar with the game and it was more volatile than I expected – and was comfortable with – so I bottled it, took the money and ran after hitting a lucky quad deuces.

After that, I got back to Vegas with roughly 3,200 tier credits showing for the year.  There was no way I’d get Diamond now, but I only needed to reach 4,000 to ensure Platinum for the next year.

Frankly, Platinum isn’t worth much.  At some hotels you can use the same VIP check-in as Diamond, but at others it looks like you have to wait in the pleb line.  There’s no queue-jumping at restaurants or for taxis, and if the valet is “full” you actually have to pull cash out of your wallet to make a space magically appear, not just a players card.

You do get some kind of show tickets offer though, and an invitation to the Summerfest tournament.  But mostly, well, I just wanted my players card to not be gold again.

Do you see why these tiered programs are so successful?…

It’s not (quite) all vanity.  I do like the idea of flashing a shiny player’s card when I sit at a poker table to let everyone else know I gamble.  I’ll then most likely turn to granite for two or three hours, by which time nobody is fooled when I check-raise with a sigh, but just in case I hit a monster early on it certainly can’t harm my action.

I wasn’t sure where that 3,200 number had come from.  In the summer, I used a Macy’s gift card promotion to play a few otherwise unfavourable games with an edge and Claire and I between us racked up about 1300 tier credits.  In December in Laughlin, we’d done a little more than 700 more in total.

So that’s 1200 tier credit that had to have come from somewhere….  Who knew it was from poker?

This is a new phenomenon, apparently beginning earlier this year and, according to Poker Grump, awards 28 tier credits per hour in addition to the usual 100 spendable credits (worth $1 towards eating).

A commenter on that post saved me some calculations by noting that you can reach Diamond status with 393 hours of play and Platinum with 143 hours.  That’s out of reach for me.  I’ve failed in three consecutive summers to reach my target of 100 hours play in a month-long trip.  I’m sure I could do it with a little more focus, but as I take real work with me on long trips, I don’t go to Vegas to make poker feel like a job.

It does actually sound like a great deal though. It seems that if you lived in Las Vegas and gambled recreationally, playing $2/$4 Hold’em would be a much less stressful way to get to Diamond than any other kind of low stakes gaming.  If you play poker with any kind of seriousness (and loyalty) you’ll do it several times over.

At least it feels like Harrah’s are being generous to poker players.  In fact, even using a conservative estimate of $10 rake paid per hour†, a Diamond poker player is worth at least $3,930 to Harrah’s.  That’s actually more than a video poker player who isn’t completely clueless about strategy, or a slot player who gets there by playing games with 93% payback or higher (which is about right for $1 slots on the Strip)!

[†20 hands per hour maxing out the rake at $5 per pot gives this number when averaged across a full table of ten players; it could be double this, which would put it on a par with penny slots].

Anyway, I’ll gladly take advantage of any opportunity to reduce the amount of machine play I need to put in to reach a player’s club tier, especially when the machines you can do it on just keep getting worse.

Last week, in a last-ditch attempt to try to salvage my Total Rewards status, I decided to play quite possibly the worst video poker game I had ever sat down at.  (Well, at least since I realised that not all games were created equal.)

Imperial Palace.  7/5 Bonus Poker.  98.0% payback with optimal stragtegy.  The last surviving 8/5 paytable (99.2% payback) is long gone.

Actually it was slightly better than that – it was a Super Times Pay game.  STP lets you play an extra coin on each hand for the chance of being dealt a multiplier card worth 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x, 8x or 10x on a winning hand.  The multiplier appears every 15 hands and averages 4.05x, and those numbers actually make it a slightly profitable bet.  Unlike Multistrike, no change in strategy is needed to benefit from the additional payback, but it’s still quite volatile.  Even on a 25c machine the long-term return accounts for hitting a 10x royal flush, worth $10,000.

Super Times Pay is a slight improvement – worth about 0.3% overall – which, unfortunately, made this machine the very best of a bad bunch.

The question was: would this gamble be worth it?

I had to give Harrah’s $8,000 more action in order to retain my level.   Add on roughly 0.3% in comp credit to the 98.3% game payback and I stood to lose 1.4% of the total amount bet.  That’s an expected loss of $112 – too much to pay just for a free afternoon show (of someone else’s choice) and entry into a $40 tournament (if the dates worked out right).

But because I was doing it at a Strip casino rather than out in Laughlin (where being able to count the spots on two dice is generally enough to get you a free room) there was the possibility of that action being enough to qualify my account for the much more valuable Las Vegas comps again.

It’s not surprising that I had lost my free room privileges, but it’s surprising it took so long.  Nearly a year after I began booking weeks of free hotels at a time, doing little more than stealing the soap (or at least trying) and not gambling a penny in Harrah’s casinos in Las Vegas, they finally caught up and decided I needed to start paying to stay there.

What’s even more surprising though, is that it only took a couple of days after this short stint at Imperial Palace to get those freebies back again.  They started showing today!  It looks like almost any dates for five free midweek nights are available for at least one of: Flamingo, Bally’s, Harrah’s or Rio.  It only takes a couple of nights to cover that $112 loss in full!

I don’t really care that my offers don’t include Caesars or Paris, or even the “Luv Tub” rooms at Imperial Palace that had tempted me so much in the past.  Rio suits me down to the ground.  It’s within walking distance of places I actually want to gamble at (Gold Coast, Palms) and close to the freeway for getting places.  If I want to play poker on the Strip, I can be at Caesars Palace in about 5 minutes.

A good result then, but fortunately so this time, I think, rather than being a brilliantly calculated advantage play.  Even that 1.4% theoretical loss on a game is too high to justify retaining Platinum – and certainly too high to justify shooting for Diamond – for next year.  I’ll either have to find a better game that I am comfortable with, increase my tolerance to risk significantly, or just play lots of poker at Harrah’s casinos to bump up the numbers.

There is one more option.  A cunning backup plan.  It involves one of the spare copies of my old Diamond card that I started stock-piling last week and a black marker pen.  Can you tell what it is yet?

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