I love video poker. I mean, I really LOVE it!
Sitting at a machine for hours, playing, drinking and hopefully winning is my idea of heaven. Focusing my attention on the strategy of the game relaxes me, so I’ve been diligent in becoming an informed gambler. I’ve been able to play with a long term expectation of break even or better and been rewarded with many reasonably priced vacations where in addition to hanging out with friends, eating well and sightseeing, I can afford the swings in fortune. So, it is with great consternation that I reveal that I am starting to feel that my time, energy and dollars would be better spent at a regular tourist destination, sans the gambling.
When someone like me, who although skilled, is still semi-degenerate, is considering cutting back or even—the horror—eliminating gaming trips, the casinos should be afraid and I’m not even your average gambler. The average casino patron is a long term loser, but they too are being alienated by the annoying fees, downgrade in games and reduction of comps.
In AC there are now resort fees and parking fees at every casino (with the exception of the Golden Nugget at the marina, not currently charging a parking fee). You still can’t go a block from any casino and feel safe and I’m not too keen on most of the parking garages either. It’s more difficult to earn comped rooms now that multiple casinos have closed and some of the remaining properties are really run down. (Caesars should be ashamed to hold that name. The casino floor is dark and dingy). There are very few full pay games left and at the Total Rewards properties, the comp rate is severely reduced on those games. Even at my beloved Borgata, the large inventory of full pay games has been decimated.
Vegas is not much better for the low roller, what with resort fees, parking fees and the reduction of good games as well. I’ve rolled with the punches over the last several years as my offers have steadily declined at every single property I play at. Vegas is exciting and there’s a lot to do there in addition to the gambling, but there’s also a lot to see and do in New York City, San Francisco and Amsterdam. I could use my bankroll for non-gaming trips and not HAVE to gamble when I’m losing, in order to justify my comped room or maintain my theo for future offers.
So What About My Beloved Video Poker?
Video poker is relaxing and all, but is it really the best use of my time? And what about when I get the fever and chase my losses? (Of course I try not to do that, but it happens.) If I’m going to risk so much of my hard earned money, why not just pay outright for an experience like taking the train to New York City and seeing Hamilton? The math involved in gaming exercises my brain, but so would exploring new places I’ve never been to before.
What was the straw that broke the camel’s back and pushed me in this direction? It was the downgrade of the quality of the alcohol comped at the Vue Bar at The D in Las Vegas. I’ve been playing at the Vue for years and it’s one of the last, really fun, good gambles in Vegas. The bartenders are all exceptionally friendly and some of them do flair bartending. There is a progressive on full pay Bonus Poker in quarters, which adds a little value to the game. I would basically play there from the moment I checked into The D until I checked out and it never disappointed, even when I lost, until—one Sunday in December—when the shift changed and this meanie bar manager told me that I could not have a Ketel One lemon drop comped unless I had a minimum of $50 in the machine and I was playing at a 50c denomination. WHAT? I argued, “I’ve been playing here for years. I drank Ketel One all day yesterday…” No go. I could only have Absolut. Now Absolut is good vodka but I like Ketel One. I proceeded to wait until that meanie (it wasn’t just the denial of Ketel One, but he wasn’t friendly and he didn’t do any flair) went on break (surely he didn’t actually know the correct comp policy) and got a comped Ketel One from another bartender—who got in trouble for it when meanie came back!
Okay now, a downgrade from Ketel One to Absolut is no big deal, but it was the culmination of downgrades that broke my trance and made me question why I am resisting the end of this hobby? I pondered this until I finished the last drop of my lemon drop and packed up and checked into the El Cortez.
I know that I can get top shelf liquor comped at the El Cortez. There’s no progressive on Bonus Poker and the bartenders don’t do flair but they are old school friendly and very accommodating. You never sit without a drink if you don’t want to, but now I hear that they are turning what I call the Back Bar into Imbibe to attract millennials. Really? Does that mean the games and the comps will be reduced again?
I could adjust my expectations of my gaming trips and despite my rant, I probably will, but the heyday of my gambling is behind me and the casinos aren’t the only ones planning a lot of changes in the future!
Other articles from this author:
How To Evaluate Slot Promotions The Right Way
How To Deal With Bogus Airfare Sales
This Is How You Increase The Value Of Your AAdvantage Account
My Stay At The Borgata With The MyVEGAS Rewards Program
Southwest Airlines | Credit Cards, Maximizing Rapid Rewards and Finding the Best Fares
Southwest Airlines | An Introduction
Photo credit @ CoachKitty
Book a flight + Wynn Las Vegas or Encore hotel package of two nights or more, and enjoy a complimentary daily breakfast buffet for two.
Plus, receive exclusive savings on select room categories.