On Friday night, I arrived in San Antonio at my friend Lauren’s house. I like staying at her place because it saves me a hotel room and she’s a good friend and a cool person. I like hanging around people who are chill and laid back.
After a long work week, I just wanted to sleep. Lauren, the awesome friend that she is, allowed me to convince her to drive us to Albuquerque while I slept. There are casinos in Albuquerque!
As we were driving across the Southwest flatlands, we watched the sun set over the clear skies of the American Southwest. It was just beautiful.
After the sun set and it became dark, I went back to sleep. Falling asleep to the white noise of the road is one of my favorite ways to fall asleep. I made an ASMR video of the white noise of the road. If you are ever having problems falling asleep, let this play in a darkened room.
Note that there is no gambling in this video. It is an ASMR relaxation and sleep aid…
YouTube has a huge category of videos known as ASMR. People play ASMR videos to fall asleep to sounds or voices. When you’re in the car, it’s real ASMR, not recorded stuff. Add in a spacious car with comfortable seats, you will be knocked out in short order.
If you love falling asleep to the sound of the road, go on a road trip in the winter when it’s chilly – but not teeth-chattering cold – and run the heat just right. Rent a luxury SUV with heated leather seats and put the seat warmer setting somewhere in the middle. It’s a luxury and sensation you have to experience at least once before you die of old age. You’ll thank me.
As the sky became darker, we took turns driving. Around 11 p.m., I took over. Then, Lauren went to sleep.
While Lauren was sleeping, I stopped the car and had a moment with nature. As I was looking up at the starry night sky, a pair of glowing eyes caught my attention. Whatever it was startled the remaining daylight out of me. The eyes looked like they were moving towards me, so I got back in the car and skedaddled out of there.
At around 2 a.m., Lauren woke up and we chatted for a good three hours about all sorts of stuff. I used to be really into politics, but ever since getting into business, I’ve learned not to talk politics. I missed it at first, but now, after listening and never expressing my own opinions, I can really see both sides. My view of the world and people has changed significantly ever since I just stopped talking and started listening. In the end, people just want to protect and promote their interests.
So we talked, and we drove, and we understood why we are friends. Road trips are great for bonding. They’re also great for having inescapable arguments in close quarters, but that’s another matter.
We arrived in Albuquerque around 8 a.m. local time, and we got to gambling right away.
We decided on a room at Sandia Hotel and Casino. Years ago, it was probably the nicest and busiest casino in Albuquerque. It was uncharacteristically a bit dead there. A few years ago, I remember Sandia being busy at all hours, even on early Saturday mornings; maybe not completely ‘packed’ busy, just bustling. Perhaps things have changed.
We tried to check into a room that Saturday morning. I was going to pay for it and then ask the host to comp it later. Usually, I reserve the room ahead of time, but the trip was spontaneous, and I couldn’t reach a host as we were on the road.
If you’ve ever arrived at a hotel casino around 8 a.m., you can end up in a bit of a predicament. The rooms were allegedly sold out the prior evening, but there was availability the next day. Because the rooms were sold out and all occupied, we could reserve the room on the spot, but we couldn’t check in early.
So both Lauren and I went to play some blackjack and craps until a room was ready.
Around 11 a.m., while Lauren and I were playing blackjack, Lauren’s head slowly descended into her folded arms and she fell asleep at the blackjack table. We’re both the kind of people who can sleep anywhere.
Around noon or 1 o’clock, I went to the front desk and checked to see if a room was available, but they said, ‘not yet’. I asked them to check if a host had arrived yet, and sure enough, one had arrived and was available. I trudged on over and spoke to the host. I asked her if she would comp me and put me up in a room right away. After making a few calls, she says, ‘It’s ready!’
Now that’s something I don’t understand. Allegedly, they had no rooms, but now they do because the host asked. Whatever. We just wanted to sleep.
Later that day, the host told us that no rooms were available, but she asked housekeeping to clean my room immediately. That’s a fair explanation, and that’s a good host!
The lesson here is to just ask.
After a long slumber, I made up for last week’s sleep deficit. I asked the host about free play. She said I didn’t have any on my account. I protested and asked her, ‘Why not?’
So she gave me reasons, one of which was that I had purged my account balance last time I was at Sandia. I told her I was unhappy, and asked her to reconsider because of how long I stayed and gambled last time I was at Sandia.
A little later, I got a text message from the host saying I had some free play. She had pulled some strings to make it happen.
The lesson again is to ask.
I’ve always said that if you’re given a choice about promo chips or slot free play, always take the slot free play. The slot free play is worth about 90% of the free play, while the chips are worth about 48%.
In this case, I decided to take the chips so that I could show you why you want the slot free play [I’ll have the video ready this Friday. I am writing this post on Sunday night as Lauren and I are driving back from Albuquerque.]
This Part I Wrote While Having A Late Lunch/Early Dinner at Sandia
Even now on a Saturday, it’s still a bit slow here, but it’s calm and relaxing. It doesn’t have the hectic pace of Las Vegas. Speaking of Las Vegas, maybe I can convince Lauren to drive us to Las Vegas. Google says it’s only 8 hours away.
Ok, she just looked at me like I was crazy.
Albuquerque used to be THE best craps deal in the US. All the casinos had a true triple/triple field and free-buy 4 and 10. But that’s all gone. The tribes got together and decided to do away with those promos. Maybe they should bring them back.
I feel bad for the dealers. It’s likely that the loss of business is badly hurting their tips.
People are very friendly here, with a few outspoken exceptions.
Did I ever mention that alcohol is not allowed on the gaming floor in New Mexico? They’re very strict about it.
This meal is comped by the points on my player’s card. The food is so cheap that it doesn’t take much play to get free food.
Lauren says after eating, ‘Let’s go play slots’. She’s originally a slot girl and still likes slots. Yep, I agree, let’s hit some machines afterward.
Food is here.
Time to put away the writing and enjoy the little getaway road trip.
Free Bet Blackjack
I played some Free Bet blackjack. It’s a pretty fun game, even if the house edge is higher than traditional BJ. I asked the floor if I could keep the Free Bet button as a souvenir, and he said it’s not allowed.
It’s one of those blackjack variants where the dealer pushes on all remaining hands if the dealer busts with a 22. Blackjack pays 3-2. The game is called ‘Free Bet’ because on any hand that would traditionally require the player to put out more money, such as a double or split, the house will put up the additional money for the player, so that the player doesn’t incur that additional risk. It’s a ‘free bet’ for the player. If the player wins, the house pays the ‘Free Bet’ as if it was a genuine player bet.
We spent a lot of time playing FreeBet blackjack. For some strange reason, Lauren was mesmerized by the game. I’ll admit that I enjoyed it, too. It’s enjoyably different.
After a few hours of play, we were both up around $120 total. It’s a game that has very low volatility because of the house fronting the free bets.
Time To Go Home
I’m writing this as I’m on the road, headed back to San Antonio. It’s 11 p.m. on Sunday night, and we’ve been on the road for a few hours. I have a flight in the morning, and Lauren has to work at 8 a.m. central. According to Google, we will arrive at Lauren’s place around 6:30 a.m. She starts work at 8.
We’re going to be exhausted in the morning, but the weekend has been so worth it.
Maybe I can convince her to call in tomorrow and turn this car around and head to Vegas. Maybe I’m a bit crazy, but it’s possible with this thing called ‘accrued vacation time’…
Ok, never mind. Time to go home!
Random Thought From the Road
It’s my driving shift, and the sky is beautiful. The moon is out, with a little bit of overcast. At night in the southwest, certain stretches of highway are pitch black with no artificial light. I’m going to wait until the moon is clear of the clouds and take a super zoom pic.
It’s interesting to pull over, turn off the headlights and look up at the night sky. The sky, when it’s free of artificial light, just looks different from what we’re used to. If you’re ever out in the countryside, away from the city, I recommend you just pull over to the side of the road – make sure it’s a long and flat stretch so you can see if other cars are coming – and just turn off the headlights and all of the lights in your car and look up.
The moonlit darkness is beautiful and wonderful.