Monday, August 27, 2007

Sunday at the Suncoast

Yesterday I made a mistake, or as I like to call it "The Lesson I Never Learn." I did not quit while I was ahead. And to compound the problem, I ventured into a casino I do not enjoy. The excuse was simple, I always like to give casinos and slot machines a second chance. I'm generous, i.e. foolish, that way -- for as we all know, casinos and slot machines know no mercy. It's just not a fair fight.

The day started out innocently enough. I would go to Rampart casino at the J.W. Marriott in Summerlin to play my free $5 bonus play. I'll review the Rampart, it's Slot Club, and it's Slot Club at a later date, but suffice it to say they regularly send me lovely inticements to frequent their establishment including a $5 freebie about once a week.

I did quite well parlaying my free play into about $45 on IGT's "Carnival of Mystery" machine. I was quite pleased with myself, and should have left right then and there. Of course, I didn't. I had to keep playing "Carnival of Mystery" to see if it would stay hot (later I will debunk a myth of a debunked myth that slot machines are neither hot nor cold) -- naturally it didn't, and my win dwindled to below $40.

No worry, it was free money after all, so I decided to play IGT's new "Soul Train" bank of penny machines, where for a 25 cent bet, you get 50 lines of play. I chose "Cookie Jar" and it didn't do a thing for me.

I was stuck in the general vicinity as I had ordered a drink, so I sidled on down to WMS' "Fiesta something or other" and lost a little there until my drink arrived.

I should have left, but I had a full beer to consume so it was off to my old nemisis WMS' "Life of Luxury" bank. My favorite "Far East Fortunes" was occupied, so I chose one on the opposite side. I never win on this machine, but hey never, say never, right?

At this point I was down to $35 and decided to risk $10. It went in the blink of an eye, and still determined, but somewhat daunted I went for what I call my "piddlin'" machine IGT's "Cash King Checkers" -- a penny machine with nine lines. I love this machine, and the only two I have ever seen are at the Rampart. This seems natural as the Rampart caters to the locals, in this neighborhood retirees, i.e. old people -- and don't old men love to play checkers?

So I piddled, playing 9 cents a pop, jumping my checkers when I got them and even hitting a bonus round or two. I broke even, and thought I'd go back to where I started on "Carnival of Mystery." I broke even there after a short play, had finished my beer, and finally had the sense to leave the Rampart with $25. I was very proud of myself.

Across the street from is the Suncoast Casino Notice the Monopoly "Super Money Grab" link on it's homepage. Yep, I played it today, and yep, AGAIN I didn't win. Jeez, this machine and this online promotion really sucks. But back to yesterday. The Suncoast looks alright from the outside, but inside it is relatively small for a modern casino, and the floor is very, very crowded with slot machines. That wouldn't be such a bad thing, if the machines were the ones I like to play. They aren't. Too many IGT, and Atronic machines in relation to my favored WMS machines, but admittedly, the Coast Casinos are improving in this area. Still, there are way too many old machines in far too small a place.

I've never had any luck at the Suncoast, but like I said earlier I always like to prove myself wrong, especially when it involves luck. They were offering 2X points, and every now and again I like to remind casinos I'm alive and playing to keep the freebies flooding my mailbox.

I noticed a WMS "Hot Hot Super Jackpot" machine I hadn't played yet, I believe it was called "Mystical Fortunes" and had fortune telling characters. I did alright, in fact I was up about $10 and was quite pleased with myself. So what the heck, it wouldn't hurt to keep playing, and give the Monopoly machine another shot at redeeming itself.

As I passed the bank all slots were full, so I ventured on over to WMS' "Top Gun" machine with their new "Sensory Immersion" Technology. Later in the week, I'll fill you in on this machine. Long story short, I lost. This began my rather swift decline, as I tried a few other machines until I could give "Super Money Grab" my attention, and my money.

I can report a few new things. I forgot to mention that these machines have old fashioned handles, which is a good way to get out your frustrations and work your arms at the same time -- let's call them "Slot Jockey Curls." Also if you get four Chance cards in a row, you have a better shot at the Money Grab or Top Box bonus, and five Chance cards (in an active pay line) gets you straight into the Top Box. Now I didn't learn this by winning, mind you, I read the Pay Table carefully. I couldn't win to save my life.

My neighbor and I chatted about the machine. She agreed with me that it wasn't all that, and noticed that the Monopoly "Super Grand Hotel" machine appeared more popular. I agreed whole-heartedly, and will review "Super Grand Hotel" later. She also made the astute observation that whoever developed the penny machine concept was a genius, who deserved a huge promotion and raise, as she loses much more on "penny" machines, than she ever did on nickels. Again, I noted that great minds think alike, as I also have suffered this phenomenon.

Her drink came, Champagne in a tumbler, served by a surly waitress, which I didn't think showed much class on Suncoast's part, but it did make for a generous amount of alcohol. She also got a Money Grab bonus, and the woman next to her got into the Top Box bonus. Their opinions of these machines may have been looking up, but mine was pretty much set in stone.

I left with no bonuses, and considerable less cash, and limped off to lick my wounds with IGT's "Gem Wild Tiles." I noticed that the Suncoast was offering a 75% off deal on the Buffet when you pay with your points, so I thought at least I could get a free meal out of this deal. Alas on Sunday, their dinner buffet closed at 8pm, and at 7:45 there was a long line with patrons nervously looking at their watches. I left hungry and frustrated.

Just to add insult to injury I threw some more money into machines, before I sulked out of the Suncoast, downtrodden and $40 lighter from what I had when the day began.

So much for the Sunday at the Suncoast, perhaps good for a free buffet from time to time (before 8pm), but otherwise a casino to avoid.

No comments: