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Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

I found two strategies to doing better in a gambling place like Vegas or Reno.

Find a place that actually closes

I learned this in Puerto Rico in 1999.  It’s much harder to gamble away your winnings when they throw you out at closing time.  Of course, this kind of place is very rare as most casinos are 24×7.    One might also equate this to “bring a spouse along” but that’s not the case for me.

Track your winnings and losses

Gambling can play tricks on your mind.  You might buy in for some amount and try to mentally keep track of “I’m up this much or that much” but once you dig in your pocket again, or forget how much you bought in for, you can get lost in how much you’re actually up or down.

For my Reno trip, I decided I was going to track every gambling session by how much I bought in for and how much I walked away with.  I’d type into my blackberry the casino name when I got there, the game, the  buy-in and the walk-away.

Did it help?  Maybe.  I think so.

Much like when you track exercising or food intake, the simple act of accountability forced a different behavior.  Knowing that I was recording my walk-away-money made me think about leaving ahead more often.

I will now share some of my stats with you, by time, game, and hotel.  Since giving specifics on dollar amounts may cause unwanted tangents (“you only bet THAT MUCH?!?!? what a marooon!” or “how could you bet THAT MUCH when there are children starving in Africa??!?!?”) I decided to give my stats in percentages of my actual budgeted gambling amount.  The amount is mostly irrelevant to the stats, the budgeted bankroll may have been $10 or it might have been $100,000.

The first day was incredible.  I more than doubled my money!  I wasn’t down until the 2nd half of the last day, and just as I was down 50% of my bankroll, a fortuitous win brought me back into the positive side.

Thank you, Star Wars Slot Machine.

These other graphs show how I did per game and per hotel:

One can infer from these statistics that next time I go gambling, I should go straight from the Airport to Siena hotel and just play craps.  When done, go directly back to the airport and only play Star Wars slot machines.

All in all, the trip ended up being close to “free” because winnings and comps took care of most of cab fare, food and tips.  The flight and hotel were free already.  That’s about as good as a vacation as you can realistically hope for.

In case you’re sick of hearing about gambling stats, here’s something for you so you can hear about gambling funnies.

Hey there, Whall-fans. It’s Marty from [edited to keep this post rated PG]. When Wayne asked for guest bloggers, I jumped at the chance. It’s not every day a liberal fun-loving guy gets to do more than leave a comment here on Whall.org.

And being the video guy I am, I thought I would make my own version of a DITL. I call it a WITL [Wayne Is Traveling Lately]. Here you go.

NOTE: The Vimeo video is having troubles. Below is the YouTube upload.

Blatant Plugs

9:37 pm
Post Meta :

I’m going to say “holy cow” again.  Quick aside: I now realize what I did to completely and accidentally blow away this post earlier today, and that was to go to edit it, change the time of publishing, and then click “update” before the post edit box filled itself back up.  My tip to you?  Don’t EVER do that. Not only do you lose your post, but you lose all the post revisions!  I had to go into my Firefox cache on the disk, do some creative searching and editing, and here I have the post back.  What an ordeal!

And now… for your viewing pleasure, the original post.

I had tweeted recently that I was looking for a decent getaway vacation spot with my rapidly expiring frequent flyer miles.  I got a great reaction, and for that I’m thankful.

My first impulse, before sending the tweet, was to go to Vegas, the all-time gambling have-a-great-time what-you-lose-here-stays-here staple of the US.

But as I tried to piece together a 2-3 day vacation to Vegas with my miles, it was a losing prospect.  I’d either need to fly out one day and come back the next, or stay 5+ days.  Neither of those options fit into my schedule.

I’ve been to Vegas many times and have always enjoyed my visits.  Some visits had more gambling than others; we’ve traveled there for pool tournaments; I’ve been there for work; my wife and I spent a late honeymoon there back in 1992; some visits had a lot of shows like Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil; and even some where I didn’t have any money at all and just had to sit and watch other people win the money *I* was supposed to win.

Then I started thinking of some of the other enjoyable places I’ve visited over the years:

  • 2wk trip to Russia, with my high school band
  • Short stop in Shannon, Ireland (on way to/back from Russia)
  • Mexico
  • Puerto Rico
  • New York (I basically worked there for 4 days a week for 6 months)
  • Seattle
  • Denver
  • Pittsburgh (we lived there for a short time)
  • Bay Area
  • Los Angeles / Costa Mesa area
  • Atlanta
  • Orlando
  • Lived in Minnesota and Louisiana
  • Arizona
  • St Louis
  • Massachusetts

As I kept thinking about all these trips I’ve made, I realized that I’ve never – EVER – taken a vacation by myself.  I’m almost 40 years old, and I’ve never gone just to go.  For all the above jaunts, I was either with my family, with school, or going for work-related purposes.

Sure, I’ve always had fun (travel is what you make it, after all) but the gist is — I’ve always been on someone else’s schedule.  I either had a class I was teaching or taking, a spouse or kids to coordinate schedules with, boatloads of work to do, someone to meet, or some responsibility here or there.

I’ve never actually had my own vacation.

So that’s what I decided to do this time – use the last bit of my frequent flyer miles to go do something for myself – Just for Wayne.  And while I’m at it, I should probably do something for those two hotties attached to my legs – oh my, one of them seems quite frightened.  There, there, hottie girl.  It’ll be ok.

As I mentioned, valid dates for a Vegas trip were coming up dry.  I started thinking of other places I could go, and the only logical thing for me to do was to see if I could meet up with other bloggers (hey, isn’t that another responsibility? I thought you said you wanted to relax SHUT UP NO-ONE IS LISTENING TO YOU).

Cissa from cissafireheart.com spoke up about Connecticut and Foxwoods and this and that, and as it turns out my company has an office there so actually it would be pretty cool for me to see that campus and knock out some relaxing times up there.  I’ve been in the NE a couple of times and always liked the many colors, so maybe that would work out well.  I see Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun all the time on ESPN for 9-ball tournaments, so there was that.

As I searched for valid hits on my award miles, NOTHING could get me up to CT.  Not any of 3 different airports within the area were showing up on my award search.  It wasn’t looking good.  American Airlines just didn’t want me to go to CT.

I searched some of the other vacation destinations and they too were slim pickins.

Until I got to Reno / Lake Tahoe.  It was like I hit a jackpot!

All that green – that’s good stuff!  Those are days that I can depart (on the left) and arrive (on the right).  There were so many to choose from!

So I chose April 5th – 7th for Reno / Lake Tahoe.  YAY ME!

Now here’s where you come in:

  • I want a cheap place to stay – I’m not picky on junkets like this.  Any recommendations?
  • I’m looking to do more gambling than sight-seeing — I figure I’d wait until I could take my wife to see how beautiful nature is and stuff.  Any recommendations?  I like poker, craps, and table games.  I’d prefer non-smoking if they have it (I’ve done ZERO research on Reno/Tahoe as you can tell)
  • Anyone else going to be in that area around that time? (not that I’d want to burden my busy schedule not scheduling anything, but hey, you never know…)
3:50 pm
Post Meta :

oh wow.  Holy cow.  I wrote up this long great post last night and scheduled it to post today and here it is, BLANK.  I’m editing it now to put at least this much in and open up the comments but what the heck happened??/

Hopefully I’ll have the post back up later tonight.  Sheesh!  There aren’t even any revisions listed, either, and I saved six or more drafts.

tsk tsk

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