Well, I'm finally back here in Blogville after surviving the last three weeks:
A Wii-filled holiday with the Frugal Princess family in Columbus, GA. The Wii game Brad and I gave as a family gift this year was a wonderful way to bring together family and friends of all ages, not only for group fun but healthy exercise at the same time – I can't believe how winded you can get virtually bowling! (I read that Wii is becoming THE thing in nursing homes and I can see why.) Below is a photo of grandson Zachary and me giving Brad some encouragement in virtual baseball.
The backyard trampoline didn't get as much action as the Wii, but Brad and I wanted to show the young whippersnappers that we still had some adventure and energy left!
A family reunion in New Orleans, where I arranged hotel accommodations, meals, and/or entertainment options for up to 13 people, from babies to seniors. It kept me so busy I forgot my shock and dismay at turning 70. Besides people said I didn’t look that much older than my 60- and 65-year-old sisters, left to right, Starr and June.
When Brad and I flew back to Vegas on the 30th, we hit the runway at top speed, phoning to make plans before we even deplaned and organizing to be sure none of our bounce-back expired, stopping at Ellis Island to collect some on the way home from the airport. On the 31st there is no time to unpack completely or unwind. In the morning free play awaited us at NYNY and Hard Rock, and we did some play at the former. Then the annual New Year’s Eve Huntington Press party was our next stop in the afternoon. By 5 o’clock the Strip was being closed so we had to use the Desert Inn Arterial under it to get to the Eastside and pick up more bounce-back cash at Ellis Island, an every-year extra offer for after 4 p.m. to lure customers to spend New Year’s Eve in their casino.
However, we were bushed so picked up our $25 apiece and immediately headed back to our west-side-of-the-Strip condo, again via the DI Arterial. There will be plenty of time to play at EI another time when it is not so crowded and smoky! And then it was to bed early to sleep the new year in as we were still suffering major jet lag. We had invitations to parties at almost every casino we had ever played in during the last 10 years or so (casinos are desperate for warm bodies so are digging very deep in their databases). However, we had tired of that comp long ago after we had our own place in Vegas and weren’t staying in casinos very often anymore. At our ages sleeping in our own bed is high on our Best Activity in Vegas list.
January 1 didn’t bring a rest day – holidays in Vegas never do for us. Bonus point promotions are still one of our best techniques for extracting money from casinos. We don’t have the stamina to play as many hours in one day as we used to do but we managed to max out the 9x points at Silverton (they only gave the bonus on 10K earned points) and do the 10K points at South Point that would be doubled and qualify us for the $30×4 mailer in March. There is a higher mailer there - $50×4 –that requires 45K points, but we usually opt for the second level down because we like the more comfortable playtime length. And it does have a higher EV.
The busy schedule continued on January 2 and 3rd: To the Palms to use comps in the Salon – haircut and style, fill for acrylic nails, pedicure – so I looked presentable at the infamous Blackjack Ball on Friday night. A tournament at Excalibur, with free play pickup and some major play. Pickup and play at NYNY. Bounceback pickup and play for 5x points at Hard Rock. Pickups at Palms and Green Valley Ranch.
On the 4th and 5th we crashed, the first days in a month I didn’t have to comb my hair, put on makeup, get dressed, and go out among people – I call them my nightgown days . We finally got completely unpacked and I could attack the stack of paperwork that had accumulated while we were out of town.
Today, after I finish this blog entry, I am reviewing all our past-year casino play, double-checking the EV (game plus extras), and looking for casinos to drop since I am resolving – for the umpteen time – to cut down on our busy schedule. Although all of our plays are over 100% – that’s what being an advantage player means – I am going to drop some where the edge is lower and step up play where the edge is better. I will take other things besides EV into consideration: whether I like the game we have to play or it seems more like a duty, or whether the casino has good air circulation or is very smoky.
A big issue is travel time. Although we like to play Multi-Strike at Green Valley Ranch, our January mailers (Brad and I just can’t get the same one although we play about the same amount of time on the same machines) require 14 trips to do all the play on bonus-point days and pick up all the free play. 14 trips of 25 miles round trip. Even with gas prices down, the expense of this play and the time involved cut down the hourly rate and/or EV to an unacceptable level. So out it goes – and I feel more relaxed already!