Saturday, April 28, 2012

A post that started as a general recap of the cruise so far, but quickly devolved into a rant about bingo and poker.

Old people are annoying. They seem to think that it is perfectly okay to walk four abreast very slowly in a narrow hallway and just stop wherever they are to argue over whether to go right or left. In the buffet they'll clog a traffic lane to debate where to  sit. And because I'm polite and respectful to my elders, I try to avoid telling them to get the fuck out of my way. But, I am losing patience. Never in my life have I felt such an overwhelming urge to beat an old man with his own damn cane.


I am beginning to feel hopeful concerning my Google problem. I spent a few minutes on high speed wifi and Blogger worked. Hopefully I can use it to put up a post with a bunch of photos. We'll see what happens when I have a bunch of time and ample wifi. Until then I'm stuck with text. I hope you can read.


I met a girl. She is very cute, black with dark skin, braids highlighted with purple and a smile that can melt the hearts of men. I was smitten. I was sitting at the bar in the so–called disco, and she sat next to me and ordered a virgin drink. We got a talking and a couple hours later she let me know they sure neither drank our smoked. She's a church going girl and she stayed away from sin. I told her that I am an atheist.

She said, "But, you're so nice."

I didn't bother to explain her bigotry. I'm on vacation; I haven't the time or inclination to explain to bigots that atheists are people. I just bade her farewell and wandered off. We didn't end up in bed.


At the moment, I am sitting in a lounge expecting a not good enough for a New York club but good enough for a cruise ship lounge band, but instead I'm sitting in the middle of a bingo game. Intriguing.


I have gotten used to the rocking of the ship, but that's not very interesting. It's normal now.


Every night we have a show. They are no where near Broadway quality, but not as bad as most off–off Broadway shows. They best comparison is with an off strip Vegas casino. Good, but not worth paying a lot of money for.


I just asked one of the bingo girls how much the house takes from the prize pool, but she didn't know. She asked a co–worker, but she didn't know either. I'm curious to find out if the bingo players are getting fucked as much as the poker players are. They promised to find out.


Speaking of gambling, I checked the video poker games. Forgive the numbers, but bear with me. A Jacks or Better machine in Vegas is generally 9/6, and machines in Atlantic City are usually 8/5. The first number is the payout per credit for a full house, and the second number is the payout per credit for a flush. If you are ever in a casino and what to check how greedy the house is, check the payouts for the full house and flush on a Jacks or Better machine. If you see 9/6, you've found a decent machine. If you see 8/5, you got an okay machine. If you see 10/7, sit down and play, cause that is one of the most generous situations a casino will ever give you.

The machines on this damn boat pay a paltry 6/5. That's just plain greedy.


No word yet from the bingo girls.


I am finding cruising slightly boring. We putt–putted across the Atlantic for a week and then started going for port calls. All port calls are daytime only with curfew around 5:30. That's no where near enough time to see a town. I'd rather spend at least few nights in a place before moving on. In the evening we have a show and play bingo.


So far, Europe is interesting. They do not seem to have the fear of life that Americans have. So far I have visited four cities in two countries (posts with photos coming once I figure out my Google problem), and no one has yet to ask to see my passport. Security is very lax compared to New York standards, and Europe has traditionally know much more terrorism than America.

Today I sat in a cafe on the edge of a marina, and there was no railing along the water. Any drunken idiot could have fallen in and drowned. Any American marina would have had a chain link fence to protect the idiots from themselves.


I have just discovered that an old lady who wins bingo becomes positively giddy. I hope that I have such excitement in my old age.


Last night I met a bartender from Romania by the name of George (not his real name). He told me of his youth before communism fell. He had built his own radio receiver so he could listen to the BBC. He told no one out of fear of prison. He said he was twelve at time. I cannot image such a childhood. Now, he keeps one of the bar's TVs tuned to the BBC.


Bingo has ended, and now we have the mediocre lounge band I was expecting. The singer needs to learn basic mic technique. Proper use of a microphone is a requirement for any professional singer.


One of the bingo girls got back to me. She told me that she checked and that she was not allowed to tell me how much of the prize pool the house kept. I got pissed and went to Guest  Relations. After checking, they told me the same thing. I demanded to have a supervisor contact me.

It is simple. A gambler has the right to know how much of a percentage the house is taking. Failure to answer is inexcusable. I'll follow up until I have an answer. I have nothing else to do. This cruise is kind of boring. I need excitement.


Well damn, it is an hour later, and I am angry. I am a paying customer (well, David is), and I'm not getting answers. After speaking to Guest Relations, I went down to the casino and told a floor person that I wanted to speak to a manager. He said that he was the manager and I told him about my problems with the video poker and poker table (I didn't bother with bingo because that is handled by a different department). After hemming and hawing for ten minutes, he found another manager for me to speak to.

She fetched a slot technician to explain video poker to me. She then claimed that the  slots were based on Nevada standards. I explained how the video poker is not up to Vegas standards, and asked how much the slot machines payed put. The technician said that he was not allowed to tell me.

So, the lady manager found another manager for me to complain to. He tried to claim that poker was a service offered to the players and that the boat had to charge so much to make up for their costs. I handily made mincemeat out of his claims. The table is a cheap price of equipment, and dealer costs are minimal.

He baldly told me that he could not give me a satisfactory answer and that no one could. I demanded that someone above him get back to me, and he said he would.

I then asked him if any governmental regulatory agency had any authority over the casino's games. After attempting to evade the question three times, he finally answered with a simple no. Royal Caribbean can do whatever they want in the casino with no regulation whatsoever. I knew that beforehand, but it was fun getting the third manager to finally admit to it.

In case you don't know much about Vegas, let me explain that it is filled with billion dollar resorts paid for by fair games. Fair games are profitable, and it  annoys me that Royal Caribbean is so greedy that they run such expensive games.

And as a side note, this situation is a great example of the fallacy of the free market. Those ultra–conservatives who believe that government regulation is bad, and that the free market will solve all problems are proven wrong. The free market is not self–regulatory. If it was, Royal Caribbean would have fair games in their casinos. But, they are not bound by any regulations, so they charge whatever they think they can get away with. And, then they have the audacity to evade customer questions.

So, I went back to Guest Relations and complained about the lack of answers and general runaround that the many casino managers gave me. I requested that somebody with the power to give me answers contact me. They asked for my room number and told me that someone would call.

I told him that two of us share the room, and that it would be nice if they asked my name.


  1. Damn Mr Paine in the Ass!!!
    U Love to bust chops!!!
    Just come back to the Big Apple & give all that grief to John the Dispatcher!!!
    I strongly doubt he'll be as polite as those elusive Casino Managers though.
    He'd probably send U over to the day shift so Stanley could make mince meat of you!!!
    Hey!!! Don't get too drunk with those free drinks!
    I've seen you really drunk! That's a scary sight! It's like someone crazy glues your chin to your chest! :)

  2. Sorry. I meant "Pain" in the Ass!
    These damn smart phones ain't too smart after all!