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A Night at Spotlight 29 Casino

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Trip Reports' started by spinette, Jan 5, 2017.

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  1. spinette

    spinette Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
    Messages:
    288
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    16

    My Trip Report

    I decided to go on a casino binge last night and chose to take the junket bus to Spotlight 29, a small casino in Coachella, California.

    In Los Angeles, traffic can make 10 miles take more than an hour, and with the New Year's exodus and a rainstorm, the freeways were basically gridlocked. I'm glad I left 80 minutes early!

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    Now you have to understand that a "junket bus" is really a semi-illegal outfit with a questionable safety record. This bus seemed passable and wasn't leaking water from the side panel like another I rode recently.

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    All but 5 or so of the patrons were Spanish. These buses originate in largely Hispanic and Asian neighborhoods down here! It was about 8:05 PM at the time this picture was taken and, as you can see, we are all eager to get going!

    Our driver was FAST...imagine Cedar Point's most thrilling roller coaster except that you're in a bus on the tracks! We made good time arriving in Coachella at 10:20 PM.

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    The casino was built with junket tours in mind, and there's even a dedicated slot club for people who arrive by bus. There happened to be a promotion running that night and I won $50 in free play! In all, I would begin with $85 of the casino's money for (1) riding the bus, (2) winning the $50, and (3) getting an invitation in the mail.

    But before getting started, I needed to eat badly. I had some rice or something just before leaving the house and thought it would hold me over for a few hours. Wrong!!

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    By the way, ordering was really weird. I went to the cashier, asked for a menu and ordered right there. She must've thought I was ordering to go, but I thought it was standard to basically order off the menu and then be seated. She gave me a strange look and basically said "um, you can sit over there for 15 minutes." No thanks. Table, please!

    So lo and behold, I get my food (a BLT with fries) and the moment I bite into the sandwich, this happens:

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    The whole thing basically exploded like a grenade and went all over my pants. It just literally flew apart while I was eating it and the whole mess went all over the floor. Now that's dining, baby!

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    Okay...it's clear I'm very green at restaurant. So the casino is already up a pair of pants. But nevermind...it's time to get even, well almost.

    The key tool in my arsenal is error-free play. Don't leave home without one of these. (Challenge: Can you figure out which program generated this chart?)

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    Now Spotlight has one good beacon of hope...their 9/6 jacks or better video poker returning 99.54% with good strategy. Their slot club returns 0.29% making this a decent place to grind a few quarters. Oh and boy was there grinding! Stay tuned!!
     
  2. spinette

    spinette Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
    Messages:
    288
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    16
    I had come with the intention of cycling $4,000 through the machine: getting to the next tier isn't that hard here and to me the benefits are worth it. But even 25-cent Jacks or Better, you can lose $200-$300 in a single session. (I lost about $500 on another trip playing half dollars!) My luck was somewhat better here, and I got this dealt right out of the gate!

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    And sevens paid $31.25:

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    Even after these, I was behind about $80 following $2,500 coin-in or so. This casino has 6 machines with this game and pay schedule, and I was the only one there playing cards. Many of the machines showed 1- or 2-coin play from others' sessions...I always go for the max to get the full return. Also, I seemed to get a fair amount of attention and had watchers. That's not necessarily a good thing because there are a lot of sketchy people at the Indian options here. If you read my Pechanga trip report (forthcoming), you'll know what I mean. Make sure you're situationally aware!

    Now getting to $4,000 coin-in on quarters isn't too easy in 4 hours. I had to figure out a way to reach that without overplaying. Dancer et al. say to never overplay your bankroll: playing quarter Jacks or Better is relatively safe, but if you decide to play more volatile games (like DB or DDB or the ultra-volatile ACE$), authors advise more coverage. In this case, I had to turn up the action to $5 per bet while keeping the volatility within acceptable parameters. That meant establishing a "play-no-more-than" threshold on the dollar machine. I decided to play a couple hundred hands and I felt really uneasy, but I had to "trust the math." The idea was to emulate 50 cent play by playing a combination of quarters and dollars.

    I put in $300 and the credit meter dwindled down fast, until...

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    No, deuces aren't wild but phew! And then this:

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    When playing the same game at a different denomination, the rule is to multiply the volatility by the factor increase. Jacks or Better 9/6 is a 19.5 game, so at the dollar level it's a 19.5 x 4 = 78 volatility game! It's easy to accrue for the slot club on this machine, but unless you have plenty in the bank, you can get swallowed up by a downswing real quick.

    And speaking of volatility, imagine what happened when this came up:

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    Ugh!! That queen! That there is a color royal, but the jackpot was denied as it was the queen of diamonds and not hearts. I was within a whiff of a $4,000 handpay.

    As you can see, the credit meter is a lot lower. These pictures are not in chronological order, and so the damage may seem higher than it was--a $169-dollar loss. However, I did get my coin in for the day (night) and am well on my way to their top tier. The return for the night was 95.8%, which shows (1) the importance of getting your quads on time, and (2) how much eating takes place while waiting for the royal. One would expect to get 97.5% back or so while waiting for the RF, but sometimes the hands just aren't there. Additionally, "97.5%" means $250 held for $10,000 in, which means dollar play can get expensive fairly quickly.

    Hope you enjoyed reading, and please have a look at my Night at Pechanga report!
     
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  3. Richard Alpert

    Richard Alpert LOST

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2015
    Messages:
    8,754
    Location:
    The Island
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    11
    Your JoB strategy is better than your BLT strategy! :poke:
    Thanks for putting the spotlight on Spotlight 29! :D
    Looks like an interesting little place!

    RICHARD
     
    Return of the Alperts!
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