Monday, February 15, 2010

Low Roller

In Las Vegas, the casinos refer to high-rollers as whales. The people who don't throw around a lot of money are called minnows. That's me.

When I visited Las Vegas almost two years ago, I signed up for a casino loyalty program. I used it to gamble a small amount of money, then put the card in the drawer when I got home and forgot about it. It stayed there until a couple of months ago, when we made a trip to the local branch of the casino. I remembered to bring the card with me and used it in each of the slot machines I used.

That trip was enough to excite the casino company; they smelled fresh meat. Several weeks after our visit, I got coupons from for a discount on food and two for a small amount of free casino play. (I'm sure it wasn't a coincidence that the two free play coupons were for different time periods, the better to suck me in.)

However, since the idea of losing money at the casino doesn't appeal to me, I didn't make it a priority to go. I let one coupon expire, and the rest of them kept getting buried under other things on the kitchen island. Today they got used. Thanks to the President's Day holiday, both Tony and I had the day off. This morning when he was running errands he picked up a promotional calendar that had a coupon for the casino buffet, so we decided to use both food coupons and go there for lunch.

The casino parking lot was MUCH less crowded than the last time we were there on a weekend night. We were able to park in the second row, and it was a quick walk to the building. The complex has eight different places to eat; the buffet is on the second floor close to the entrance, up an escalator. We paid at the cashier, got a table, and went to get food. The buffet had multiple food stations--appetizers, salad, Italian, Chinese, "home cooking", and dessert--and I had to try each of them! Some time later, with full stomachs, Tony and I left to hit the casino floor.

This area was less crowded (and, thankfully, less smoky) than on the weekend. It was easy to find a machine that suited me. I'm a cheap gambler. I stick to the penny and nickel slot machines, and don't play a lot of lines with each spin. You don't win a lot that way, but it takes longer to run out of money. I inserted my free play coupon into the machine, and Tony watched while I played. I lost a bit, then won a bit (and got a voucher for my winnings), then lost a bit again. Then lost some more. Before I knew it the free money was gone. Tony found a machine to play, and I watched him. His money lasted longer than mine...he had a few substantial wins...but after a while he was finished too. I used my wins voucher then we both decided we'd had enough.

We grabbed a "complimentary" cup of coffee before we left, then walked back to the car and left. I suspect that based on my cheapskate ways today I won't be getting more free coupons anytime soon!


  1. At least you had fun! We used to go to the casino in MN just for the food. The one there has a smoke free slot room. $4.00 in nickles is my limit.

  2. Kathy-We're certainly two of a kind! The casino we went to has a small non-smoking section, but I like the machines in the regular area better. You don't even have to have the physical coins anymore; the machines all take paper money.

  3. Well, you had a fun day anyway! :) At least you didn't loose a ton of money. ugh.

  4. I wonder how the casinos are doing in this economy. I haven't been there in fun fun! Yeah I'd pick the no smoking section too. Didn't know they had them. And I wouldn't say your a cheapskate...just playing it safe! Frugal.

  5. Betsy-yes, I did have fun playing with money that didn't come from my own wallet...

    maggie's garden--The people I know that go to casinos on a regular basis haven't cut back on their visits, but usually don't spend as much when they go. I DO like the sound of the word frugal. Much better than the other one.

  6. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  7. I love Vegas and I love to gamble. I have never been to one of the shows though. I either head to the tables or to the pool to enjoy the scenery. I'm afraid that I would only qualify as a minnow as well.

  8. Sounds like an inexpensive evening of fun. Although I was born and raised in Nevada - I never gamble, only rarely entering casinos to visit the restaurants. I just never got into it. I hate to lose!

  9. sounds like a fun day, glad you didn't lose any money. I'm not a gambler at all, but I have done the nickel slots and I can see how it can be addictive, it is sort of fun.