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Poker and Mai Tais

Video poker in the Bahamas. And Mai Tais

Poker and Mai Tais

I played video poker in the Bahamas last month.

OK, going to a casino was not all I did. I crashed my face into a cave at the Atlantis water park, I did water sports with my family, I drank mai tais, and I watched the Olympics in the hotel bar. While drinking mai tais.

However, I also did the interview of the Baha Mar executive that appears on the last page of this magazine (see Casino Communications), I visited the Crystal Palace Casino next to the Sheraton Nassau, where we stayed, and I played in the Atlantis casino on Paradise Island.

I mention the casinos and the executive because, of course, it makes the mai tais, the water park where I smashed my face, and all the water sports completely tax-deductible. Hey, I asked Mitt Romney.

Anyway, the two casinos in which I played are the only two located in Nassau, the location where I necessarily had to be to perform those tax-deductible, work-related recreational activities I mentioned previously. The Atlantis casino is as large as most U.S. casinos, with a 100,000-square-foot floor and lots of variety, including marginally playable video poker.

(It was 8/5 Jacks or Better, but you had to bet 10 credits per hand to get 4,000-for-1 for the royal flush. Otherwise, it was 1,500-for-1. Thankfully, I realized this without hitting a five-coin royal for less than $400. Had that happened, I could still be in a Bahamian jail.)

The Crystal Palace casino, part of the Wyndham hotel adjacent to ours, is tiny by comparison—30,000 square feet, with no good video poker I could find. The table games were shut down when I was there as well, so I found myself playing blackjack with one of the attractive Table Master video dealers.

I think her name was “Sue.” She was oh, so pleasant as she repeatedly turned over 21 and cleaned out my credit meter. She just kept smiling, even after I threw my drink on her.

But the Crystal Palace casino has two things that make it great: a Starbucks (“I’ll have a Rum Café Mocha, please…”) and… me. That’s right, it has the AC Slots video game “Rock and Roll Legends,” in which one of the “Legends” is an animated version of me—I was over at AC Slots’ New Jersey office one day, and their executive vice president, Jerry Seelig, had me stand for a picture. Then, they animated me, and put me in the game wearing a T-shirt bearing the logo of the rock band in which I play bass in my spare time, Voodoo Weasel.

(Yes, “Voodoo Weasel.”)

My wife and daughter had a great time watching a bonus round in which the animated me—they shaved 30 years and 50 pounds off me, by the way—windmills a guitar, Pete Townshend-style, sending out notes that become bonus credits.

The Crystal Palace is aces in my book.

So, what did I learn from my business trip to the Bahamas, in which I did work-related things like researching casinos, interviewing executives, snorkeling and parasailing?

• I learned that Domino’s Pizza is available for delivery to your Bahamas hotel, but that apparently, there is a language problem—the employees there hear “large pizza with onions and mushrooms” as “large pizza with pepperoni and sausage, with a side of hot wings.”

• I learned that it is extremely fun to watch the Olympics in a mai-tai-induced haze in a luxury Bahamas hotel. (I mean, casino-hotel. Tax-deductible.) My favorite moments were when a Bahamian athlete won the gold in one of the track events, which sent the whole place into a frenzy; and any one of the basketball games involving the Americans—Team USA was the Harlem Globetrotters, and every opposing team was the Washington Generals.

• I learned that there are public jitneys that will take you across Nassau for $1.25, but they generally pack the riders in like sardines, and taxis are cheap. Of course, you do have to barter with the cab drivers on the fare. I asked how much it was back to Cable Beach, and suddenly, I’m on American Pickers.

• I learned that the pursuit of our industry’s main offering, gaming entertainment, is not really advisable after five mai tais. One tends to mistake the video dealers for real people, and real people for video dealers. And to make remarks on the progress of the game that sound something like, “Aaarragghoffpm.”

I also learned that the steakhouse at the Wyndham is fantastic. Worth every penny—every now-tax-deductible penny, that is.

Dat’s how I’ll file it, mon.

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.  

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