Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ice and Fire

Just got in from my extended-weekend trip to Banff. I'll post some of the hundreds of pictures I took of mountains and scenic vistas later. Right now, I'm exhausted, so here comes a short recap. More details later.

The point was to ski. This goal was achieved in spades. The west-coast cold snap ended literally on the day we arrived. We made it to our 2 floor + loft cabin in Banff around midnight and got some sleep. We hit Sunshine Village on day 1 and loved the conditions. Coming from the eastern Canada, anything that isn't icy is fantastic. Lake Louise on day 2 was just breathtaking in the beauty and the runs, but the snow was MUCH icier and harder to ski. Plus, the World Cup was going on, which meant the place was PACKED. Back to Sunshine on day 3, and it was a great, easy finish to the skiing. Much soreness and tiredness... all good.

Since Joanne mentioned it on her blog, I'll go through it here - I (and 3 friends) met up with her at a casino in Calgary to gamble a WEE bit. As she said, I was card dead the whole time, and the table was loose. I couldn't steal, and I couldn't play with the crap I had in front of me. The guy with $1200 (when we sat down.. when we left it was more like $2000, and this was a max $200 stake table) would call anything, and raise if he had a hand. My AKs looked a lot less pretty when faced with a raise that would cripple me on my 3rd hand. Those were the best pockets I had all night (ok, not STATISTICALLY speaking, I did have a few low pocket pairs on occasion). It took a while, but I ended up down $200. From poker we moved to the casino, where my 2 of my friends wanted to watch me play craps... so I indulged them and lost $100 in 10 minutes, teaching them a valuable lesson about probability.

So with poker and craps failing me, I had but one option - SLOTS! I mentioned in my Vegas post how I won around $2700 from two slot machines in Vegas (Blazing 7's in TI for all you bloggers venturing there this week), thereby paying for my trip. Wandering around the casino, I saw a dearth of slots that interested me. Nothing with fun side games, LOTS of video and mutli-line slots (which I despise), and very few $1 slots. I tried a few that looked okay, and lost $20 after $20 after $20. Then I saw them - two Blazing 7 machines (by a different name here) - high-percentage progessives. The problem was - they were occupied. No worries, people will leave. Soon enough, one of the women was gone. I strolled over and saw that a winnings-cup was upside-down over the coin slot. I reached for the machine when the woman on the other one said "Someone is playing that one." I walked away, thinking, "since when can you reserve a slot machine? If you need a smoke that badly, then you lose your spot." Then, when that woman returned, the other woman did the same thing. I was mightily annoyed.

Near those machines though, were the Monte Carlo Spin-and-Win machines. $1, with a side-game, and good-sized progressives ($15,000 - $120,000). The highest progressive one had a player, so I popped in some cash on one of the others... and lost. I tried a different one.. and lost. At this point was down $100 - $120 on slots now. That would make it $420 down on the night. I wandered some more and glared at the harpies at the machines I wanted. Then I noticed the $120,000 progressive was unattended, so I plunked down in front and put in the last $20 I was willing to spend that night. Joanne and my 3 buddies gathered 'round as they were getting ready to leave as well. They'd heard of my legendary slot abilities, and wanted to see them in action. I had little faith as the night had not been going well. All I really wanted was one shot at the side game (which involved a ball spinning around a Wheel-of-Fortune-like dial and landing on a payout from $10 - $1000).

This is a diverse machine, with your standard range of winnings for BAR combinations ($2+), then better winnings for 7 combinations ($25-$1000), and finally a bunch of novelty wins for 3-credit plays ($100, side-game spins, and the progressive). I played down my $20, getting $2 here, $8 here, and generally going down. My friends watched as I came close to 0 and a down night... then I hit a triple-7 combination. This paid $50 for 3 normal 7's being on the pay line or one notch off. Nothing big, but it kept me alive. I kept playing. Then I hit the PAY100 symbol to jump to $100, bringing me to $101. Finally I was hitting. I spun and got nothing... a I spun again... and in standard slow-mo action -- 1 blazing 7. 2 blazing 7's....... THREE blazing 7's! All on the payline. Whistles blow, bells ring, loud annoying music plays, and lights go off. Strangers all gather 'round, to stare in wild wonder at the joy I have found. A pit boss comes over and asks me to push the red button to shut the damn music off. Joanne and the rest congratulate me, a couple of them with jaws dropped. One says, "Ok, I'm a believer now."

No, triple blazing 7's does not win the progressive. It wins $1,000. But it's $1,000 hand-paid by casino staff, and it involves lots of noise. It also happens to be just a touch less than the progressives on the blazing 7 machines were paying, so I got that big chunk of schaedenfreude on the fine women hogging the other machines. I played out my remaining 95 credits, which resulted in me FINALLY getting to play the damned side game and winning $50 on that, which I spun away. All told, I left up around $560-$580 on the night - once again thanks to slots and blazing 7's.

For those who haven't met Joanne, she's a sweetheart. Vibrant, friendly, open, and a great person. This is away from the poker table of course. She reminds me of Kat in many ways, even though they are distinct individuals... it's no wonder they get along so well. I'm glad I got to meet her in person.

On a final note (THIS is my idea of "short"?? Wait until the full trip report.) - It looks like my Vegas quandry is being resolved by circumstances beyond my control. I'd say there's a 99% chance I won't be going (never say never). There's been an unfortunate event that wipes out this week (and possibly beyond) from being anything but family-oriented. I'll be fine, but right now is a sad time, and going away to have fun this weekend would make me feel like dirt. Heck, part of me feels bad for being away this last weekend, and I had that planned months in advance.


SirFWALGMan said...


Joanne1111 said...

aww thanks :)

That was a great time. Thanks again for letting me tag along with you guys! Hope to see you at Eh? Vegas in Feb., if not this weekend.

Guin said...

Any chance of sneaking away for a few hours of live poker this evening? You deserve to stack loud mouth dude just on principle if you aren't going to vegas... rikidee is stopping by this evening plus I got a couple other bay streeters showing up.

Astin said...

Sorry Guin, couldn't make it out tonight for the same reason I can't make it to Vegas. I might be at the deep-stack on Saturday though, if the stars align properly... but you'll be at home with the family I imagine.