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My Lucky Shirt — Part 1 of 2
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Dateline: Las Vegas, NV
Tuesday, July 26, 2022

 

This true story happened some time ago, but so far, I haven’t written about it. I was playing $25 single line Double Double Bonus (DDB), rather heavily, at an out-of-town casino for more than a week. What casino, pay schedule, slot club, and promotions that made this a good play in my opinion are for another story, another day. Suffice it to say that I believed it to be a play where I had enough of an advantage to warrant playing hard.

If you can figure out where and when this took place (perhaps you saw me — a lot of players know what I look like), please keep it to yourself. There are reasons I don’t specify all the details of the game here, and please don’t undermine my reasons.

For those unfamiliar with this game, the primary returns are:

Royal Flush$100,000 
Four Aces with a 2, 3, or 4$50,000 
Four Aces with 5-K$20,000 
Four 2s, 3s, 4s with an A, 2, 3, or 4$20,000 
Four 2s, 3s, 4s with a 5-K$10,000 
Four 5s – Ks$6,250 

To be sure, the returns for the full house and flush were a critical part of the return on the game and my decision to play it. But those aren’t a factor in today’s story.

Days 1 and 2 (Tuesday and Wednesday), I played a $5 game that wasn’t DDB. I lost about $9,000. Day 3, a Thursday, I found the DDB game, figured it was a better game to play, and promptly lost $47,000! No fun at all. (Understatement alert!) In 2,000 hands ($250,000 coin-in), I only hit three quads, all for $6,250. I was willing to continue playing the game, but I was out of cash on hand. I had gone through the cash I had brought and the $50,000 in credit extended by the casino.

I was planning on only playing the $5 game when I showed up and had set up a $50,000 line of credit. On a $5 game, that would be plenty. But the DDB game was five times as large with a bigger variance. It was a struggle to get my line of credit increased, but eventually I got that done. I had dinner with a gambling buddy who had hit two $20,000 royals on his trip and was willing take my check in exchange for $30,000 in cash. I was very fortunate to have a friend show up at exactly the right time with both cash on hand and enough trust in to take a check.

A key part of my strategy was to visit my host at this time and ask if there was anything he could do to ‘ease the pain.’ I was down more than $50,000. Some hosts at some properties have some discretionary powers. Asking when you’re behind is more likely to succeed than asking when you’re ahead. I was able to get a little something that I would have not received had I not asked.

Day 4, a Friday, I hit aces with a kicker for $50,000, along with three $20,000 hands. I was only able to hold on to about $25,000 of that — but still, it reduced my trip loss by almost half. Along with the $30,000 cash infusion and the increased line of credit, I was optimistic. I’m fully aware that one day’s score is a poor predictor of how the next day is going to go, but I was optimistic nonetheless.

Day 5, a Saturday, my first jackpot was a $100,000 royal flush in diamonds! Sweet! I figured I may still lose on this trip, but I’m not going to get buried. Bunches of quads kept coming that day and I ended up $117,000 on the day. I was now enough ahead that I knew I could survive two semi-bad days in a row and still be slightly up. As many of you know, DDB is a ‘heaven or hell’ game, and I had experienced a bit of both of those things on the first half of my trip.

I had not played big at this casino before, and I don’t think the staff knew I was Bob Dancer — as that’s not the name on my Driver License. So, I decided to use some misdirection. I had won on my previous trip playing $5 machines — and some casinos get nervous when you demonstrate a pattern of winning. 

Although I was wearing a random shirt that day, I explained to every employee who came near how it was my lucky shirt, and I was going to wear it again tomorrow. I would shower, shave, and put on clean underwear — but the same shirt would be on my back. If I stank a bit, I didn’t care!

Day 6, a Sunday, wearing my lucky shirt, I hit another royal flush. This time in clubs. I gave full credit to my lucky shirt and told them they were going to see it again tomorrow! Too bad if I didn’t smell as good as I could! I held on to almost $90,000 of that jackpot and I played and played and played on all three shifts, running about $800,000 through the machines.

I figured the decision-maker who was in charge of determining whether or not to change pay tables might be off for the weekend. When he/she returned Monday, the game (or perhaps me) might be removed. I wanted to play as much as I could while the game was still around.

I’m going to continue this story next week. Spoiler alert: I eventually had to burn my lucky shirt because it let me down!

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