Aunty’s back with $30 more in her pocket, kinda.
Aunty just got back from a 4 day trip to Vegas – mostly to learn techniques and projects from the best of the best in the polymer clay world at the 10th annual Clay Carnival headed by my buddy Donna Kato. It was so wonderful to see old friends there and meet new ones, and get to play with clay!!
Aunty combined this trip with business – attending a Nerium Real Results Party hosted by Teuila in her beautiful new home and meeting up with Martin Fajardo, the premiere bestest real estate and property manager in Las Vegas. [note: this trip was a tax writeoff, the entire airfare and hotel bill because crafting, Nerium, and real estate are Aunty’s business ventures.]
Although this was a busyness trip, Aunty had 3 opportunities to donate money in Vegas, i.e. gamble.
Aunty’s Lessons about Gambling
The first opportunity was at the Main Street Casino in Downtown Las Vegas. Aces with No Faces is a 25¢ machine that pays you for aces if you don’t have any picture cards in the dealt hand, and also for poker hands after you change and draw cards. I bugged Donna about it and she plopped in $50, lost about $3, and decided to cash out.
The problem with this machine is that it cashes out with quarters dropping out into a trough – cling, clang, bang, bang! until all 185 quarters were dispensed, and we scooped them up into a plastic bucket. I gave Donna $47 for the contents of her bucket and told her I would play on her machine. After all, I was the one who raved about it and insisted she play.
The lesson of Sitting
Aunty sat and put in one quarter and pushed spin, another quarter and pushed spin, very very occasionally winning a quarter, sometimes winning a few credits, but nothing big was happening. Meanwhile the nice formerly-from-Kauai lady next to me was getting 4 of a kinds and scratch cards, and the one on the other side of me was getting 4 of a kinds and some triple aces with no faces and I was getting a bit hu-hu (steamed) because not much was happening for me on “my” machine.
My new found neighboring machine friend told me that I have to play max bet, which is 5 quarters, so I started doing that, but still, only dinky hands with a few aces. Playing max bets might mean you get bigger payoffs but it also means your money doesn’t last as long, so after about an hour or two of plopping in quarters and using up the measly credits that I had acquired, I stood up and talked story with my machine neighbor because I was wiped out and lost my entire $47.
One man swoops in, sits on “my” chair and “ka-ching, ka-ching”, starts winning with 4 of a kinds and some aces without faces in a matter of minutes! “Eh!”, I said, “I warmed that machine up for you!”
You know, that buggah never even say thanks. How rude.
So, the lesson Aunty learned is to sit little bit longer on a machine if it didn’t pay out, or else, just cash in the bucket of quarters.
After that, Aunty didn’t feel so good and wasn’t in the mood for craps. Our party headed back to The Quad – the revamped old Imperial Palace on the Strip where we were staying, and Aunty found a nice Pai Gow table.
Lesson of the Candy
Pai Gow is Aunty’s favorite table game. It is played with 7 dealt cards and you make 2 hands, one with 2 cards, and the other with 5 cards. The dealer also has 7 cards and plays 2 hands. The goal of the game is to beat both of the dealer’s hands for a winning payoff, or at least one of them for a push, or tie. The bonus bet will payoff if you have a triples or better hand regardless of how well or poorly you did against the dealer.
Unlike Black Jack (apologies to Black Jack players), Pai Gow people are usually a friendlier bunch because we all have a more communal wish that the dealer has Pai Gow – both hands being poor – no pairs, nothing but a bunch of cards that can only boast of a high card. Players’s actions do not affect the outcome of anyone else’s chances. The dealer is our common enemy. Our neighbors on the table become fellow supporters and cheer leaders.
Power in little gifts
Aunty always brings Hawaiian goodies in the form of little packages of macadamia nuts in bars or smaller snack packs. Aunty passed everyone on the Pai Gow table a pack of pistachio crunch (ono!), including the dealer. Aunty lost the first few games, and was going to leave the table but there was a dealer change. The new dealer saw the pistachio crunch package in the departing dealer’s hand and said that she wanted one too.
“Only if you are good to us” is what we told her.
And you know what? She dealt us rather decent hands, and a pack of pistachio nuts was tossed to her. Every few deals, when we needed boosting, another pack of pistachio would be tossed to her. We struck a deal that if everyone lost on the table (kinda rare), then she would have to give a pack back. This only happened twice.
Meanwhile, my neighbors were winning pretty good hands and I had some decent ones, but not terrific.
That’s when Aunty brought out the bomb – Hawaiian Host chocolate macadamia nut 2 piece packs that Costco sells. “Really good hands, please!” and a toss to the dealer, who by now had a pile of pistachio nut packs and a few chips for tips.
“Ka Pow!” Aunty had 2 sets of 3 of a kind, which meant winning the bonus spot and beating the dealer very easily. This happened again, the very next hand! Everyone else was also getting pretty good hands and won too! By the end of the hour (Aunty had to leave since classes began early the next day), Aunty had made back her losses, and even after tips and drink tips, left the table breaking even, making up for the earlier losses. The dealer was very happy with a pile of goodies.
The lesson here is to purposefully give candy to the dealer and make friends with your neighbors. It creates a synergy of something bordering love, and brings out winning blessings for everyone.
The lesson of taking the small victory
The flight back to Honolulu was delayed, and it was really boring waiting at the gates, so Aunty sat at a Wheel of Fortune 25¢ machine, put in $20, and played for a little while, alternating single credit bets with max bets. Pay attention to what the max bet is on the machines – some were 5 credits, and some were 3. Better to play the machines that have 3 credit max (Aunty found out the fast way to lose is 5 credit machines).
The loudest machine in the place is the Wheel of Fortune machine because when you earn the right to spin the wheel, it sounds like a big bunch of people are shouting, “WHEEL….. OF……. FORTUNE!!!”, the wheel turns and the clicker clicks until it stops on a number, the bigger the number the better because that is how many credits you will get. After one of those, Aunty was winning, and cashed out her big $38 ticket!
However, that was not a rounded off number, so Aunty got brave and now that $20 had turned into $38, the $1 Wheel of Fortune machine was played. After a few spins (alternating between single credit and max credit bets because Aunty is a bit chicken), Aunty got another chance to spin the “WHEEL……OF……..FORTUNE!!!” Then, Aunty cashed out $50, so the final outcome of the trip was a very sweet $30 ($50 win – $20 initial buy in). Could Aunty have won more playing the $1 machine since Aunty now had more ammo? Perhaps, perhaps, but I will never know.
The lesson here is, be happy with small victories. They are twice as nice as a small loss.
As always, the best part of any trip is coming home and sleeping on our own bed. Funny though, how I can still hear people shouting, “WHEEL…..OF…….FORTUNE!!!” It is pleasantly haunting, kinda.