August 19, 2009
An old friend is in town this week staying at the Riviera, and today I was finally able to meet the idiot for lunch.
After we had polished off our respective deli sandwiches in the early afternoon, I informed him that even though I was enjoying his company, I had pressing business to attend to.
“Can we drop by someplace first?”, he asked.
“Where?”, I asked in the irritated pitch meant to convey to someone that you don’t want to go anywhere, and you hope they will get the hint and respond with “Ah, never mind”.
For whatever reason, subtlety never works for me. I don’t know if it is my sunshine demeanor or my striking physical attractiveness, but unless I come right out and say “F You, No Way!” the assumption is that I am happy to oblige any request.
“I want to check out that Dotty’s place”, he replied.
What the ???
“Dotty’s?”, I said, “I’ve never been to freaking Dotty’s. Why would I go to Dotty’s? For that matter, why would you go to Dotty’s you lamestain?”.
After explaining to me that it would be a harsh realm if we couldn’t swing on the flippity-flop at Dotty’s, I didn’t want to be part of the tom-tom club … so I acquiesced to his request.
Two and a half people on the planet will understand the above paragraph.
The rest of you are cob nobblers.
Megan Jasper is my hero.
I digress …
Dotty’s Casino is one of those places that, even though I am surrounded by them, I had never actually been inside of one.
I don’t know. They look like convenience stores, and the moniker just never grabbed me.
You can get away with naming casinos after yourself if your name is “Wynn”, “Binion”, or “Hooter” … but who the hell is “Dotty”?
I’ve lived here for 5 years, and passed these casinos thousands of times, but I have never been able to answer that question.
When we arrived at the casino, I was sure that we were in for an imminent knifing. Any casino that has to buzz you in after dark is not a good sign. Especially when any determined thief could simply shoot through one of the glass windows that surrounded the place.
After cautiously opening the door and walking inside, however, I was very pleasantly surprised.
There was a small casino floor ringed by dining tables, all of the machines were shiny, and save for high-roller sections, they had the greatest slot chairs I have ever seen in any casino. Yes, including the Wynn and Bellagio.
Instead of the godforsaken, hemorrhoid-inducing chairs of stone found in too many gambling halls, Dotty’s actually went out and bought decent quality office chairs for the sitting comfort of its gamblers. Nice.
Anchoring the casino near the door was a food counter and a small convenience store with cigarettes and a few other comfort items perfectly suited to the local gambler. While it did not contain an actual kitchen, they did have a small selection of microwavable food products to satisfy the immediate hunger of the patrons, and most non-alcoholic drinks were readily available. This was a very basic and unimpressive setup at first glance, but it was so much more in reality.
If a customer wants a pack of cigarettes, it’s there. If they want a cup of coffee, it’s there. If they want a sandwich, it’s there. The casino is a home away from home.
The simplicity behind this property is a small stroke of genius. Cater to any inexpensive whim of the patron, and the patron doesn’t have to leave.
“Do you know what this reminds me of?”, I asked my friend rhetorically.
“If someone converted their living room into a casino, this is what it would be like”, I said.
The place was as casual as they come, yet spotlessly clean. There was plenty of room between machines, sodas in the refrigerator, and it was just … comfortable. As a matter of fact, I think they should change the name of the place to “Comfortable’s”. It’s the perfect adjective.
Not only was the room spotless, but so were the machines. Dotty’s does not have table gaming, but all of the machines are nearly pristine and are all ultra modern … with a twist.
As I was furiously pressing buttons on a new Game King, I became confused. I summoned the single waitress/cashier and explained to her that I was mentally slow, and was thus having trouble reading the paytables.
“This thing is showing me the payout for 10 credits”, I said, “What am I doing wrong?”
“You’re not doing anything wrong, you can play up to 100 credits”, she replied.
I looked at her as if she had two heads, but after screwing around with the machines a little more, I realized that she was right. By pressing “up” and “down” in the help screen, I was able to display payouts for 5 credits, 32 credits, 65 credits, and yes … up to the full century mark.
While this was cool, it was also kind of a pain. If you don’t have a calculator handy, you could really get screwed on a 58 credit shortpay.
I decided to stick to five credits and under where I could do the math in my head.
The sheer amount of games they had on a single Game King was the largest I believe I have ever seen anywhere. This place is a VP players heaven, because you can play damn near everything ever made without leaving your original comfortable seat.
They had every variation of video games imaginable including a game called “USA Poker” with an 8/8 payout.
It was a bit overwhelming and it took me a solid 10 minutes just to run through the game selections.
Eventually, I decided to sample a little of everything, but this did not work out terribly well. By the time I had burned through five or ten plays of each unique game, I was out of money.
Obviously I did not play any of the games optimally, because more often than not I didn’t know what the hell I was playing.
I have to fall on my sword for this losing session because I was under the influence of video game attention deficit disorder (VGADD).
My buddy lost all of his money as well, which made me feel better. Misery loves company.
I left Dotty’s quite impressed. These places are nothing to look at from the outside, and I always kind of chuckled at them when I drove by, but the joke’s on me. The casino I went to was absolutely not a dump, nor was it a mickey-mouse operation.
There were no drunks, no crowds, and no endless trek through a parking garage … just video game Nirvana. It’s arguably one of the most comfortable gaming parlors in which I have ever played.
I can definitely see the appeal, and I now understand how this chain can thrive.
As for me, I still need table games, poker rooms, sports books, and surly pit bosses looking over my shoulder to get the full casino experience. I probably won’t be a Dotty’s regular, but I will play here more than I did in the past … which was never.
I was skeptical at first, but as far as off-strip video poker and slots go, you could certainly do worse than the Dotty’s franchise.
So who, exactly, is Dotty?
I still don’t know.
Maybe she’s some chick with a perpetual case of the chicken pox that likes to play Bonus Poker a hundred nickels at a time.
I’m not even sure I care who she is anymore.
I do know one thing about “her” now that I didn’t know before, however.
She found a niche’ for herself and she fills it incredibly well.
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