Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: August 12th

Robin Williams died yesterday via apparent suicide.  I haven't been so sad at a celebrity death in a very long time.   I think it would have been Junior Seau as the last such shocking, saddening well-known untimely death.

He brought so many laughs to so many people.  Iconic movie roles, an incredible improvisationalist.    Just imagine anyone else going through moments like when he was at a USO function and the entire crowd turned away for "Retreat."  Haha!   His response to it was golden!!  but I was thinking, NOBODY would have the chops to improvise on a moment like that.  He made it into an incredible routine on the fly.

There's just no one else like him.   His interviews were engaging.  The bit he did on the invention of golf that Tom in NJ suggested to me was a hoot!  I'm so sad… we will miss Robin Williams.

I don't know if my manner of bouncing between so many different subjects is inspired by Robin Williams… it seems like more of a Mitch Hedberg thing, but in actuality, there's no specific person I attribute this to.   I just write what I think.  I'm usually not thinking of any one subject at a given time.  I have a lot of ideas.   Robin was able to take that kind of train of thought and really act it out in hilarious fashion.  I don't know many who can improvise on that level… Jim Carrey was pretty good at that, and maybe a couple others, but with the energy and positivity that Robin Williams brought?   We lost a true original yesterday, fellas.

I've had an unusual run of success with slots lately.   I played blackjack on two occasions on my last vegas trip but both times I was out within 10 hands.   Fortunately I only brought four units to the table each time.

I did not attempt any NFL futures bets… no way.  I tried 8 of them once and none of them hit HAHA.  I could pick a favored team, but everyone seeks the challenge of getting that sleeper pick with a decent return.   I remember picking the Texans to win the Super Bowl, maybe twice, in the late 2000's.

However, my unlikely success at slots continues.   I learned over time that the most basic machines are the ones with the best returns… which aren't great returns, but they are still pretty good if you time it right.   A basic slot machine can return between 95% to 97% of your investment… they seem to be tighter at some casinos than others.  My favorite machine is the "Double Diamond" machine, which uses "Double Diamond" oval symbols as multipliers.  Other than that, it's just bars, cherries, and 7's.  That's it!   With so few combinations and no progressive jackpot, the maximum win is only 800 credits for 1 credit spins… of course I say "only" and people are commonly getting fleeced 200 to 500 bones at tables…

The Double Diamond machine by and large has been very good to me, especially at MGM properties.   Monte Carlo, Aria, and this month at Mirage, it's done extremely well.  Here's the story:

I was on this trip with family, so I don't have much night life to comment about nor buffets… our meals were pretty good and straightforward, Wendy's, a Mexican restaurant off strip, Chipotle, and so on.  My relatives also had rooms at the Hampton Inn by the Airport which offers free breakfast.  The breakfast was nothing to write home about and the eggs there were downright awful.  Its like they made them out of mashed potatoes.

At Mirage, my parents asked if I could have them stay with me.  I thought that was a sporting move, so I said, let's do it.  My parents could not be more thankful.  It was great to have their company, and boy, they *loved* the Mirage.   The beds were so comfy.  My dad talked so much about the bed, he even wanted me to get the model of the mattress, which happened to be a Sealy model made exclusively for Mirage.  The view was gorgeous!  I ask for the pool view at Mirage and it delivers, because the pool side of the building faces the strip southbound, but at an angle so that you can really see every casino on the street.

After this fun night, in which we dabbled with gambling here and there, I tried the double diamond slot machine in the morning.   I remember my last trip to a DD machine at Aria, where I put down 20 and let it roll for a while.  and then I hit a 96 dollar win!  I was so pumped.   I thought "let's ride this out and see how big a win we can get."

My first 20 was nearly cleaned out but it took a while to deplete… there were minor wins along the way, so I said "I'm going to put in another 20 bucks".  This  was a quarter machine, playing 2 credits at a time, so each play was 50 cents.   I put in the other 20 dollar bill, and get it rolling, just a few spins later, I got two double diamond symbols and a 7, which means a triple 7 win of 160 credits (for two credit plays) times FOUR.   A $160 win!!!!   I was up to $210 for the trip, brought 140 w/ me going in.  To celebrate I went to Starbucks and ordered a mocha latte with whipped cream.

but then, being the mongo I am, I blew most of it trying similar machines at this off strip casino where we went in the afternoon.   I was down to about 60 bucks.  Then, I HAD to go after this giant slot machine with the enormous reels at MGM Grand and that thing was a complete loser and the game sucked anyway.  Oi.   Down to roughly 43 bones.

The final morning at Mirage, I was down on my aces so to speak.  I went to a different Double Diamond slot machine and tried again.  The first 20 dollar bill went for a little while but eventually ran out… and I had a decision to make!  Do I just call it a day or put in the last 20 bucks… I still had a whole day plus the next morning to go on the trip… and how embarrassing would it be to not have the option of winning money for 36 hours.

Somehow, I elected to do the last 20… I said "f$#% this, go big or go home."  So I put it in, and barely a few spins later, I won $160 **again**!!!!!!!  Haha!!!!!!  I was simply stunned…   With the win and the assorted 1 dollar bills I hadn't accounted for, I had 193 bones in pocket meaning I was up over 50 bucks for the trip.  Do the dance!

I laid off gambling for the most part from that point forward.  What a day!  I tried to get another mocha latte to celebrate my recovery but the line at Starbucks was too long, so I ended up getting that yesterday back here in Santa Monica.  Ohhh it was so good.

I can't explain it fellas… I suck ass at Blackjack but kill it in slots.  Maybe I just got really lucky that weekend.   To date, it was my best vegas profit of all time.  Usually I'm down a few bones or break even.  I would have tried more tables but with a group of two dozen that I was with which composed of three families, there were just a few windows to gamble.  We did a lot of non gambling activities for the handful of people who were under 21.  I thought that was fair, and we all still got in some decent gambling activity.

The next trip to Vegas, whenever it is, I intend to finish a blackjack round with positive money.  I haven't had a positive money blackjack round in at least two years… I will make it my mission.

So who is ready to roll?  Are you ready?    Been a good summer so far!  On to more… catch you all soon.

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