Joined: Nov 2, 2009
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December 25th, 2013 at 6:52:46 PM permalink
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about a meeting I had at SHFL's offices this past October. Now I give you a more complete trip log. It's a LONG post...
Note: Most of the small photos are linked to the fill size photo.

The meeting was scheduled with little lead time. On Friday October 18th, Roger Snow and I were emailing back and forth a bit discussing the date. It eventually got decided late that afternoon that the meeting would be the following Friday. Because I'm in NJ, I got that email in the evening, while I was at dinner with my wife, celebrating our 15th anniversary. Fortunately, my brother and his wife were with us, so my wife wasn't totally pissed when I ignored her to book my flight via United's iPhone app. Ya never know when the airfares are gonna go up, so I booked during dinner. I took the Thursday morning flight in, and the Saturday night red-eye home.

Getting a hotel and car was a lot easier. Since there was no penalty for cancellations, I made multiple bookings prior to getting the meeting date settled. Then just rechecked them all during the following days to ensure I was getting the best price. For the car I ended up using Thrifty. No problems at the rental center. Hotels, on short notice, including a weekend night, would be more problematic. I could get a reasonable price at a casino hotel for Thursday, but not Friday. In fact, some of them were sold out for Friday.

So I decided that staying at a casino was not required, and turned to Expedia. I did a variety of searches, then went onto the hotel's own website to continue my research, and to book the room.

I ended up at Crestwook Suites. It's on the corner of Warm Springs Road, and Las Vegas Blvd, on a lot that wraps around a gas/convenience store. The large building at the top right of this photo is the car rental center.

I wasn't expecting much, but it wasn't bad. What I didn't realize untl I got there is that it's an extended stay hotel. That means it does not get maid service every day. I don't know what the schedule was, but that wouldn't be a deal breaker for me. In fact, I kind like that. Also, each room has a small kitchen. Full size fridge, two burner stove, oven and micro-wave, toaster, as well as a couple pots, pans and two full place settings. If I was there longer I might have cooked a few meals. As it was, I made use of the fridge. All in all, not bad for $50 per night.

As is my tradition when visiting Vegas, after settling in to the hotel, I gotta go for a swim. After all, we're in the desert, right? How cold can an unheated pool be? I should have reconsidered when I asked the front desk clerk if the pool was open and she looked at me funny. I put my toe in, and already was regretting it. But I was determined. Or maybe it's just being stubborn. I jumped in and swam around. I kept telling myself it would be OK once I get used to it. After 20 minutes, I gave up trying to get used to it.

Although I would do some serious gambling, I had additional plans for this trip. I headed to Towne Square Mall because I knew they have a half price tickets booth that doesn't get terribly long lines. I was right. Although only one clerk was working, I only had to wait about a minute before she finished her current customer. Got tickets to see Carrot Top at Luxor.

Next stop, Cosmopolitan for lunch at Wicked Spoon. On the flight, everyone was given a small packet that included several coupons for various stuff at Cosmopolitan, and a package of mints. Other than the mints, the only thing that interested me was a 2-for-1 coupon for Wicked Spoon. As directed on the coupon, I went to their player's club (Identity?) desk to redeem. I asked if I could get a $10 off or something instead since I was alone. Nope. Can't substitute. So I took the 2-for-1 voucher to the Spoon to see if I could find people on line that were planning on paying full price that could join me on the voucher. When I get there, there's no line. Just a couple who were already paying. I get to the cashier and do the same request of a discount since I'm single. There was some discussion amoungst the cashiers, and the next thing I know, they are giving me a no-charge receipt and being directed to the hostess to be seated. What just happened? Then I see them staple my voucher to the receipt from the couple ahead of me. I was planning on giving someone $10 to become a partner. Instead, I got totally hooked up. Sweet!

After lunch, I had time to kill so I went to Bally's to play a $60 poker tourney. Busted out kinda early. Then lost $100 at craps. Not good. I had a very tight bankroll for this trip. Around $600. Down $160, plus I paid cash for Carrot Top and the bankroll is already starting to hurt.

With time to kill but no desire to lose more money, I walked around and ended up at a Family Guy penny slot machine. Mind you, I generally do not play slots. Sometimes, I'll play video poker, but not slots. Curiosity got to me so I out $20 in. I got lucky early and hit something that gave me a bonus round, where I got to play "Stewie's World Domination" game. You spin a globe, and depending on where it stops, you play one of several bonus games. One was helping Brian dig up his burried bones (not sure how that helps Stewie dominate the world). Another was helping Stewie to kill Lois. The main game would occasionally show short clips from the show. It was a lot of fun - even though I haven't seen a lot of episodes. Some of the clips were unknown to me, but funny anyway.

After about an hour, that $20 finally got wiped out, and I headed to Luxor for the Carrot Top show.

The pre-show warmup was a video presentation featuring a variety of aminals having sex in all sorts of positions. Some were photos of inter-species sex. OK. This is not going to be a family-friendly show. Yeah, he's a prop comic, but some of his props included dildos and other items that would make someone who is sensitive a little uncomfortable. I loved it. One of his props was a suitcase with a portion cut off at an angle. He said it was designed specifically for storing it against the window in a Luxor pyramid room. All in all, it was a good show.

After the show, I walked around Luzor a bit. It was around 10:00. Since I had gotten up early for my morning flight, and felt like I was still on Eastern time, I headed to my hotel and called it a night. Big day ahead.

Friday morning I woke up early. Wasn't my idea, I just couldn't sleep. 11:00 meeting, and it's only 7:00. I decide to go for a walk, just to kill time and enjoy the morning sun. After a few minutes I notice a tall building on the horizon. According to the map app on my phone, it's the Silverton casino, just a mile or so away. So I head that way, walking across an enpty lot to save a few minutes. Although I was following a path that was obviously cut by dirt bikes, I couldn't help but get visions of movie scenes where a guy is crossing the desert, trips over a rock, and lands on a rattlesnake. I started to watch where I was going rather carefully.

After crossing Blue Diamond Road and I-15, I was on the edge of Silverton's property. But they had a fence and a drainage trence between the sidewalk and their property. No way in other than to walk along Blue Diamond all the way to Dean Martin Drive and down a bit to the entrance. Mind you there WAS a gate in the fence near the corner of the property closest to the highway exit, but the gate was locked. A direct route, as shown in this first map, has a path that was nearly 3/4 mile shorter than the route in the second map - the route I had to take. Sigh.

Before playing, I explore a bit and see something called "Air Stream Bowling". They took an air-stream trailer, gutted it, and put in two mini bowling lanes. The balls are a little bigger than the balls used on Skee-Ball, and the lanes are shorter than standard lanes. I didn't play but it was kinda cool. Outside the trailer was this gorgeous pool table.

I played BJ and craps alone for about 1/2 hour, lost $100, but I got my souvenir chips.

I head out the front door and decide that time is starting to get tight. Gonna cab it back rather than walk. I ask a valet where I can get a cab. He says he can call one, but it'll take at least half an hour. Yikes! At that moment another valet brings up a car for a guy traveling alone. I say "$5 for a quick one mile ride up LV Blvd?" He said he's heading to return the car then airport. Sweet. My hotel is on that route, next to a gas station where he can fill up. He seemed happy and told me to keep my money. Thanks pal! On the ride we chatted a bit about my game. He thinks it's a good idea.

As I'm driving to SHFL's office, Roger calls me. All sorts of stuff goes thru my head, including the meeting needs to be cancelled. No, he called to ask if he ever told me that SHFL moved. Good timing. Another minute and I would have been at their old location, wondering why there were no cars in their lot! Fortunately, I gave myself plenty of time and the new location was only a few miles away.

I neglected to take pictures of the new location, and Google street view and satelite view still shows it as an empty lot. But it's easily twice the size of the old location. For those that presented games at SHFL's Game Day Demo or Focus Group, the demo room had about the same number of tables set up, but was in a much larger room. Plenty of elbow space.

Full discussion of the meeting is discussed in this thread:

After my meeting, I called PaiGowDan. He has been hinting that I should call and come hang out at his home, have dinner, drink some wine, etc. So we made plans for that night. I head towards the strip, and into the McDonalds at the Hawaiian Marketplace for lunch. Afterwards, I noticed a liquor store next door, so I decide that I'll bring the wine to Dan's house. I rarely drink, so I didn't have a clue what to buy. I ended up buying a bottle of "Fat Bastard" wine, purely because of the name (if you've met me, you can see why I'd be attracted to such a name), and it was in my price range. I recently saw it in a local wine store in NJ for half the price! Damn, strip prices are inflated... (Can we all say "Duh"?)

I then spent a few hours at The Quad playing poker. Left up about $150. As I head over to Dan's house, he gives me some very detailed directions that include telling the guy at the guardhouse Dan's name and apartment number, and when I get to the valet, he'll tell me which building it is. What the heck kind of place is he living at?

If you're on I-15 near Aria and look west, you'll see these buildings. This is where Dan lives with his wife.

Wow! Dan's been living large since retiring from dealing!

Dan's place is on the 31st floor, facing the strip. Here's some views from his balcony.

This last one was made using a panoramic photo app.

He has an interesting throw-rug in the living room. Apparently, he's not afraid to walk all over EZ Pai Gow.

In fairness, Dan told me that the felt on his floor had a printing problem. It was either his floor, or the trash. He wouldn't ordinarily walk all over his game.

I had a very enjoyable evening with Dan and his wife. We talked about my game, and about my meeting with SHFL, the possibility that either Galaxy or DEQ would be able to help me get around the problems that the Casino Exec talked about, and a variety of other subjects - including how he found the apartment, and who his landlord is. Dan is sub-letting the apartment from Roger Snow. Yep. The Executive VP of SHFL Entertainment.

So for those of you that lost track, let me remind you: Dan is the inventor of EZ Pai Gow, distributed by DEQ. He works for Galaxy Gaming, and his landlord is the guy at SHFL. Those are the three major players in the casino game distribution business, and Dan is involved with all of them.

When I finally left Dan's, I headed over to Caesars and played poker for a few hours, leaving more or less even.

Next morning, I checked out and headed to Bally's. Played the morning poker tourney and busted out early. I decided to go for a walk and headed down the strip, stopping in at M&Ms world. I was tempted to purchase this underwear, but opted to take pictures instead.

Eventually, I got to Planet Hollywood. Had lunch at Pampas Churrascaria Brazilian Steakhouse. I didn't have the rodizio (where servers walk with meat on skewers and serve until you tell them to stop), because I wasn't that hungry, and I wanted a skirt steak. It was on the a la carte menu, but not one of the meats in the rodizio. The food was great, but service sucked. Although I didn't need it, I was almost done eating when the waitress brought over ketchup, steak sauce and other condiments. It was a drop and run - no asking how everything was. I was mid bite, so I didn't get to stop her to ask for a refill on my iced tea. When I was done, I was waiting to ask for the refill, then gave up and was mearly waiting to ask for my check. Surely when she brought the condiments, she should have noticed that my glass was nearly empty, or that I was almost done eating, right? Finally, after about 10 minutes, I just put $20 on the table and left. (The steak was $17. Not sure how much my iced tea or tax was, but how long should I have waited? I had no singles, otherwise I would have left $21 to ensure that I at least covered the bill. Oh well, her problem if it was short.)

After lunch, I played some poker in P.Ho for a bit. Got busted, then walked back to Bally's. Played some more poker, and got busted there too. Walked around for a while until I found myself back at that Family Guy slot machine. Sat down and put $20 in. It dissapeared rather quickly. No need to worry that I suddenly became a hooked on slots player. Walked around a little more and sat down at a "Push the button!" craps machine. Played a little while. Got annoyed at that damn perky voice. Losing about $30 didn't help.

Finally, thankfully, it was time to get out of Dodge. I came home with about $50 left. Could have been worse...
Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁
Joined: Aug 25, 2012
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December 25th, 2013 at 7:06:32 PM permalink
Great read! Sorry about your luck on the last day. Your 2nd crack with "Family Guy" has been my general experience. But the game looks fun...I just cant hit anything...
Joined: Jan 12, 2010
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December 25th, 2013 at 7:26:03 PM permalink
Joined: Jul 18, 2010
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December 25th, 2013 at 7:39:22 PM permalink
Always be proactive, Dave. If I want a refill, or
mostly it's my wife with her coffee, if I don't
see them in 60sec, I go and find them even
if I have to go into the back. I don't time or
patience to wait for anybody. I'd much rather
be rude.
"It's not enough to succeed, your friends must fail." Gore Vidal
Joined: Jan 5, 2012
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December 25th, 2013 at 8:51:11 PM permalink
Wow, seriously jealous of PGD's apartment and view...
"So drink gamble eat f***, because one day you will be dust." -ontariodealer

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