Saturday, July 7, 2012

Free Drinks In Vegas 101

Last weekend was not the first time I've ever been to Vegas, and it won't be the last.  But it was the first time I was there that I intended on sitting in front of a video gambling machine for an extended period of time, since I knew we would be getting to the bar more than an hour before The Heavy's show began, and that there would probably be a video poker machine there as well.  It was also the first time we'd be gambling without our friends Tim & Jill there along with us, both of whom are much more experienced gamblers.

So the first night, we each plunked in $50s into the machines, in a bar that had maybe 20 other customers, and selcted the 25 cent Jacks-or-Better poker, and DDF selected $1 blackjack.  The bartenders attentively served us martinis and glasses of Hennesy, and we tipped them with Abraham Lincolns.  We played slowly, but steadily, winning occassionally but not spectacularly.After the concert, as the Book & Stage bar was emptying out, we headed over to Bond Bar, where they had girls dancing in cages next to the windows that faced the strip.  The Bond Bar was jammed packed, and had a DJ, that was playing BOOM-phish-BOOM-pish music, so loud that we could not hear ourselves think, so we left without getting a drink.The NEXT night (Sunday night), we headed down to Bond bar after a delicious dinner, and sat at the video gambling machines at the bar.  Our first drinks arrived promptly and with a smile from a well tipped young male bartender.   When refills were in order, a young female bartender brought our drinks, and then lectured us on protocol of what level of video gaming play and frequency we need to demonstrate to drink in her bar, very rudely, and unprompted.  We were taken aback.  We cashed out our gambling tabs, and headed back to more friendly drinking establishments.

We stopped by a bar called "The Queue" but most of their video gambling machines were "out of order" so we walked across the casino and watched others losing their money at roulette, poker, war, craps.   I few people were winning, sure, but the vast majority were not.  Eventually, we wound up back the the Book & Stage, and their friendly bartenders.  Our drinks were promptly refreshed, no questions asked, as we entered out vouchers into the video gambling machines and played at our "normal pace"..After losing a few hands of video poker, I noticed the bar had few customers (it was close to midnight on a Sunday), and the three congenial bartenders did not have much to do.   So I called the oldest one over, and asked him:  "is it true that in Vegas, you have to play MAX CREDITS on video gambling in order to have your drinks comped?"  this question got the other 2 bar tenders' attention as well, and everyone gathered around to hear the elder bar tender's answer. He said, no, you don't have to play max credits, but at the same time, a customer who puts in $20 and plays two or three 25 cent games while talking to their friend for 3 hours, is not going to get comped drinks.   The casino (and the bar & bar tenders) need to make the cost of the drinks back, more or less, from the video gambling revenue.  The elder bartender went on to say "you can normally spot the people who come in just wanting to have a free drink, who are not interested in gambling at all.  You two don't look like those kind of people.  You were here last night, you gamble alot, so we're going to serve you/"  We related the incident with the indignant Bond Bar bartender to him, and he shook his head "you know, that's not how we're supposed to treat our guests".

So there you have it.  You don't HAVE TO be on MAX CREDITS, betting the max value every hand, but it helps.  You don't have to bet large amounts of money, but putting in a $5 bill will probably not get you prompt or sustained service.   You don't have to play NON-STOP, and can stop and pause to talk to your friends, or watch a concert, or a football game, just don't be playing 25 cent games at a glacial pace over many hours.  And always, always tip the bar tenders.  Make it worth their while.  They're pouring you "free" drinks after all.  =)

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