May 16
by Don

Had dinner with a couple this past weekend and we got to talking about Vegas.  Now the wife has been to Vegas 3 times in her life and loves it, the husband has never been.  They were fascinated to learn that we have been so many times and over so many years and are not living out of a cardboard box!  I started explaining the why and how of it all and it reminded me how much fun it is to share with folks who are new to it all.  It also reminds me that I have neglected this space for entirely too long.

So, in an effort to resurrect this blog (like for the 3rd time it seems) I am going to start anew with new little tidbits and stories that have been piling up like junk mail during a vacation.  Now back to the dinner.

We covered the basics with them, but even the basics are a lot when you are starting from scratch.  So it made the most sense to talk about slot play, why it’s important, how to actually do it, and what to expect from it.  Now how I play slots is not sexy, can be infuriating at times, and seems odd to most, but it’s incredibly effect considering the total and complete randomness of slots in general.

I am not even sure that I have covered slots in the blog, honestly, it’s been years since I have thought about writing about anything really, but it’s worth a visit.  Here is how I approach slots:

  • Understand the basics.  This is to mean that you always play for max bet at the domination you are playing to trigger any and all bonus play, jackpots, or other bennies that the machine might pay out on.  If you don’t and hit something, oh man… I can’t even think about that possibility. Use your player’s card every time you sit down.  Don’t have your card on you? Don’t play.  You just need to always do this.
  • Play at least $1.  I know that’s not really an option for some folks, but I find that it’s at $1 denomination that everything happens in terms of getting truly rated by the casinos.  Which brings me to….
  • Redeem your comps.  Seems pretty straight forward, but honestly people forget to do this all the time.  Depending on where you are playing and staying you will be afforded different comps.  Slot play is the most rewarded kind of play that the casino will offer (mainly because it’s the most accurate accounting of your play) and especially on the day you check out, check with the hotel marketing (Red Card, Total Rewards, Grazie, etc.) to see what your play has earned you.  Many times they will take $$ off of your final bill and send you on your way.  If you have charged any food to your room or have had dinners on the property, those are the easiest charges to give back.  That’s always nice.
  • Find machines that give bonus play.  A crowd favorite has always been The Wheel of Fortune machines.  These are great because they offer a game within a game.  If you play max bet (see #1) and you hit the bonus wheel, you will get an additional spin for extra cash.  Plus a lot of them have different multipliers that make the normal play that much more lucrative.  I personally like any game where you are playing 5 lines at a time ($5 a pull) as the additional play for the value is better than playing a one payline max bet $3 machine (like MegaBucks).  For $2 more dollars you are getting 4 additional chances to hit something.  It’s a no brainer.A Big Win
  • Strict Money Management.  Here is where I lose people all the time.  I take any and all winnings the minute that they happen.  That means often I will spin one or two times and win a small amount.  I immediately cash out and go to a new machine.  There are several reasons for this, but the biggest reason is the dirty secret behind what runs Vegas.  It’s the willingness of people to push that button or pull that handle until they have no more money left.  Understanding this very base fact is paramount to safe guarding your bank roll and experiencing a positive outcome.  I look at it this way, if you saw a $20 bill on the ground, would you pick it up?  Of course, you would.  So why wouldn’t you do that same thing at a casino? The $20 is sitting in the slot machine that you just nestled into and on the first pull you won.  Cash out and go to the next machine.  There are thousands of slots in Vegas, you will have your fill of pushing that button or pulling that lever.
  • A Strap of $100's

Essentially, I look at slots as a means to incrementally build my bankroll as Lori is off playing Blackjack or vice versa.  You can certainly lose some or all of bankroll playing the slots, or any game in the casino for that matter, but this is a way to assure that you capture the winnings that are afforded to you and on occasion you are going to hit a jackpot like the one here. 😉


Jul 22
by Lori D.

Well for those of you that have been to Vegas with us or have read some of our other posts, you undoubtedly know that “The Wheel of Fortune” is my favorite slot machine.   This was my first and everlasting mechanical crush.  I think this is mainly the case because it was the first machine that I ever played and on the about the 3 spin I had hit a crazy jackpot and won over $450.  It would also mark one of the last times that we ever went to the Luxor and certainly one of the last times we ever won anything from there.  But that’s another story.

While on our last trip to Vegas a few weeks ago I did something that I never thought I would do, I turned my back on “The Wheel of Fortune” just for a minute. Don and I had about 15 minutes to spare before playing in one of our poker tournaments and I decided I wanted to play the slots for a bit.  If you have been to Harrah’s before you know that the $1 “Wheel of Fortune” can be found on the back wall by the poker room. As Don and I headed towards the wheel I decide I wanted to try a new slot.  I told Don I wanted to try a new slot and ask him to find me one with good odds. Of course he looked at me puzzled; I think he was more shocked than anything, but after a few moments he did find me a machine. It was $1 Red, White, and Blue machine with a 10x multiplier, so I sat down with $100.  After the first $50 I starting wondering if this was a good idea, it was kind of boring because there was no wheel bonus spin to look forward to spinning. I continued to play through the last $50. I get down to my last few spins and I hit a ridiculous 10x payout. It was craziness, I had already written that hundo off as a lost cause, but instead I ended up winning $400.  I do have to admit that “Wheel of Fortune” is still my favorite; I mean nothing beats the bonus “Spin”.  However trying a new machine every once in a while is fun and can pay off.  The payout from the slot was just the beginning of me pimping Harrah’s that day.  Read about that poker tournament and you will see what I am talking about.


This is what you want to see on the old Red, White, and Blue!



Oct 16
by Don

Well I need to apologize for calling out my bud for not providing a guest post as promised.  Well good  ol’ Thunder Nips came through.  Thanks and Enjoy:


So myself and Kanuck recently took a quick two-nighter out to the motherland.  Vegas calls my  name hardcore about every 4-5 months these days and the only way to quiet the nagging voice in my  head is to just bite the bullet and go.  I’ve been going 2-3 times a year since mid 2005, so plenty of trips over the past 3 years.


This was a landmark trip for me in that it was my first one where I had gotten completely comped at Harrah’s.  Fun factoid: comped rooms don’t even include tax and other service fees therefore making them completely free.  Most people don’t realize this.  See, I’m already saving you money.


As I try to do with every trip, I make a point to do/try new things that I haven’t done on previous trips.  This is sometimes hard for me as I’m a creature of habit and like to stick to the places I love to hang out in during time in Vegas.  With this just being a 2 night trip, I had to maximize my time!


Kanuck had a last minute work change with his schedule so he did not arrive in town until about 4 hours after me so I had plenty of alone-time to start doing my thing.  I don’t mind spending a day alone in Vegas by the way.  Try it sometime; it’s empowering to know you can do exactly what you want to do with zero people to worry about satisfying or anything like that. 


So, I landed, caught a cab to Harrah’s (traffic is getting worse and worse in Vegas btw), checked in, threw my crap down in the room, and headed out.  I first visited the sports book and laid down a few baseball parlays for me and a friend and then highballed it to Bellagio.  Now, I only went to Bellagio for one reason only….the drinks!


Let me preface this next section by pointing out the fact that I am indeed a straight male.  However, ON OCCASION, I enjoy a fruity alcohol-filled beverage.  Fine beers will always be #1 in this Polish heart of mine, but hey…I’m a man of variety.  Through time spent on the message boards at, I’ve learned that many find the drinks at Wynn and Bellagio to be the best in town.  So I went over there for a little slot action for the main reason being to enjoy these drinks for free as I played. 


I first tried the infamous Bellagio cocktail.  I’ve heard many good things.  It was…….ok.  I imagine it’s a big hit with the ladies but it was simply too weak for me.  It’s apparently sparkling white wine with passion fruit puree mixed in it.  Not bad, but not great…very sweet.  However, I then moved on to the strawberry daiquiri and was simply the best I’ve ever had.  Made with real strawberries and a decent amount of alcohol, this hit the spot.  I highly recommend it. 


I also had aimed to try the pineapple mojitos at Wynn but did not get a chance to.  They’re apparently exquisite as well.


I then moved on to Flamingo for a little more slot action and to check the table limits.  Most limits were $10 so I decided to play a random slot and, wouldn’t  ya know it, I hit $300 on a single spin!!  My credits kept going up and up, people were stopping and looking, it was great.  There’s rarely a more uniquely thrilling moment when you hit something on a slot that you don’t know exactly how much you got and it keeps counting up…and up…and up.  By the time it got to 1200 credits, I was flying high!  What a start to the trip!


From here, I went to Casino Royale and had a strong craps session and then went to finally meet up with Kanuck at Harrah’s.  We mostly stayed near Harrah’s, had another decent craps session at Royale where I showed Phil the craps ropes, then back to Harrah’s where we both hit a bad streak of luck on blackjack.  Basic strategy by no means equals winning kids, let that be a lesson.


Day #2 centered around us getting over our respective hangovers and then heading to my favorite Vegas dive…Ellis Island.  EI is a tiny casino off-strip (behind Bally’s/Paris) that has the best cheap food in town.  They also brew their own beer on site and it’s of course free if you’re playing but only $1 a pint if you’re not.  Can’t beat that with a rubber snake.


But, the food…ahhhh the food.  Perhaps the single best BBQ value in the entire world is in this little hole in the wall joint.  I’m talkin’ a half rack of ribs, a half BBQ chicken, two ears of corn, baked beans, slaw, and garlic bread.  The portions are huge and it’s truly mind-blowing the first time you see the plate.  On top of that, it’s actually really good!  AND….$9.  An amazing deal, it could also be easily split by two lighter eaters.  You can also find an easily obtainable buy 1-get 1 entrée at Ellis Island coupons in the American Casino Guide book which essentially brings the meal down to $4.50 each for 2 ppl dining.  They also have a $7 top sirloin steak dinner with 2 sides and a beer.  Another outstanding meal to check out.  Go to Ellis Island, you won’t be disappointed.  Don’t expect much on ambiance though.  Oh yeah, they also have $5 BJ.


After this, we went to check out the comedian Vinnie Favorito at Flamingo.  Very funny, I highly recommend it.  He basically is a hardcore Italian dude who cracks on the audience for an hour.  Sounds simple, but it was hilarious.  Again, you can also find a buy 1-get 1 ticket coupon for this to make it very inexpensive.


After this, I played some more and headed to bed.  Overall, a great yet quick trip.  Funny though, I had unusually bad luck at table games but unusually great luck on the slots.  It’s typically the complete opposite.  For the trip, I did not come home ahead and but came home with over half of my budget still intact.  And that, my friends, is considered a winning trip in my book!