Monday, July 17, 2006

My Nightmare

It was my first day in Vegas and I was staying at the El Cortez. I did a little shopping and had a bag with some decks of cards and other small things tucked in front of me. I sat on a bar stool and was playing video poker. A number of old guys with three day beards sat next to me, joked with me, talked to me. The place was busy and crowded.

In a lull of activity, I was alone and I noticed that the bag was missing some items. I checked closer and some of the decks of cards had been stolen. One deck had only had a third of the cards left.

I was annoyed to think that a thief would steal such cheap things. I was a little amused that he had apparently stolen the cards a few at a time and I wondered how long it took to learn that much skill in being a pick pocket. I got up to tell a guard what had happened and that is when I noticed that my wallet was also missing as was my cell phone.

Well, I was in a panic. I remembered that I had not written down the numbers of the Traveler’s Checks and that they were all in that wallet. I would have the numbers from when I first bought them, but I had cashed some on my last trip and would not know the numbers of the ones that I had left.

I felt like such a jerk.

I went to a tall Black guard and he was very calming and helpful, but I did not really know what I wanted to do first and was not ready to have him help me. I told him I would be right back. I went and checked over my things again and when I decided I knew what I wanted to do, I went looking for him, but now there was this older white woman with red hair on duty, and she was more about lecturing me on why I had sat on the bar stool with my wallet visible, and what did I expect them to do for me and didn’t I know this was the El Cortez after all and these things did happen. And she told me all these things in a demeaning and lightly sarcastic way the way some parents talk to their kids when they are annoyed at them. She made me feel terrible. I told her she should know that I was upset, and did not need such insinuation and lecture.

Of course, all the while I am not just thinking of the money and the credit cards and my checkbook and all I have to do now to close those accounts, but also that I am in Vegas on the 4th of December and have planned to stay until the 28th of December. With no money I might as well go home and even if I borrowed money, I would not feel good about gambling after so large a loss. So as well as the disappointment in the loss of funds, I was very sad to lose my trip meant to be a celebration of turning 60.

I left the rude redhead and found another casino person. This person offered to lend me $800 to gamble with. Here I was in a panic, and all they were worried about was losing my business!

I wandered around the casino looking for someone to help me, but no one would. There was either nothing they would do, or they were not listening even to my problem.

Finally, two fine looking girls were assigned to me and were very friendly like those hosts on the television show. They talked to me and took me around and finally got me in a cab where I thought we were going to a phone or to the police. This would have been a great time for a little erotic dream break from this nightmare, but I was much too upset for delightful fantasy.

We drove down this street of building with hotels and signs in Spanish. I guess I was in Costa Rica too in some small dream way. Finally, listening carefully to their talk; I realized they were taking me to one of those time share lectures to buy beach front property in Tahiti. I asked them straight out if that was what they were doing and they looked uncomfortable and finally explained to me that this was their job.

Now I was almost screaming at them to help me find a phone, so I can call my wife and hopefully get my checking account stopped before I am totally broke. At that point they disappeared completely from the back of the cab and I was alone there.

And I woke up.

Enormously relieved to be back in the real world, I immediately went and wrote the numbers of my left over traveler’s checks from my last trip in two places.

And gradually the panic is ebbing away.

Dream sources from the real world:

I talked two hours last night to my buddy Lucky Pete who just returned from a great Silver Strike collection. He had plenty to tell me about the decline of the Plaza, partly due to the bad feelings between the staff and their new bosses who are nasty. He had won ever session of 10/7 video poker he tried. And I got a written trip report from our other Vegas Buddy, Louisiana Mudgriff Dan who had done well too on Silver Strikes and had a good trip. both of them got me excited about my Dec 4-28 trip in December where I well might start at the El Cortez if the cowboys have precluded any free hotel offers to come.

I had forgotten to write the Traveler’s checks down. but actually I don’t carry all of them with me and I never take personal checks to Vegas or when I travel nor a card to an ATM because both can be stolen and there is not much recourse afterwards. Charge cards are a lot safer. My friend had his number stolen and maxed out in Vegas. It cost him just $50.

Then there is visiting this board daily and recently booking my Dec 4th flight down on Southwest.

Now, I’m going to have bowl of fruit and go swimming.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Bring comfortable shoes.

The thing to try to understand is that while a casino may look like a 10 minute walk from where you are, it may be more like thirty minutes. In that clear air distances are deceiving.

If you have a good sense of how far a mile is, here are the figures for the strip casinos. However, remember that you would not walk by most of them. You would walk in to them and see something. That could easily double the distance.:

Calculating the distances between any two points on the list involves nothing more than basic math, going forward or backward.

0.0 Mandalay Bay
0.2 Luxor
0.4 Excalibur, Tropicana
0.6 New York-New York, MGM Grand
0.7 Showcase Mall
0.8 Monte Carlo
1.0 Boardwalk Holiday Inn
1.0 Harley Davidson Cafe
1.2 Aladdin
1.4 Bellagio, Paris
1.5 Bally's, Barbary Coast
1.7 Caesars Palace, Flamingo
1.8 Harrah's
1.9 Mirage, O'Shea's, Casino Royale
2.0 Venetian
2.2 Treasure Island
2.3 Fashion Show Mall
2.5 Frontier, Desert Inn
2.8 Stardust
3.0 Westward Ho, Slots 'O Fun, Riviera
3.1 Circus Circus
3.4 Wet 'N Wild
3.6 Sahara
3.9 Stratosphere

And did I say anything about comfortable shoes?
Bring them!!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The cheapest gambling near the strip

Recent board post: The westin still has there happy hour as of 7/7. It's a dollar craps, .25 roulette, and 5 dollar blackjack. It's between 12-5. The casino is small, never crowded. It's right next to the old Bourbon street at Koval and Flamingo.

Odds on the craps are 3-4-5

They count those small bets toward comps and mailings.

It is really a good deal and a very classy, if boring, casino. They have apparently have not had much business since opening and this is a way to get the public in. For those new to Vegas they also offer a great new card sign up deal where you can gamble in slots or video poker a certain amount and have it matched by them. I don't remember the exact deal but it is good. Finally they have a deal where you buy $15 in chips for blackjack for $10 and play them until they are gone. You keep the profit. I did well on that deal last time, but you can only do it once a lifetime.

So a visit to the Westin is a good newby deal and I will go with you if it fits into your visit. A block away is also the best steak deal in town as long as you like green beans.