day 177
vegas: the casinos

"You're gonna argue with me? I work here."
- Cocktail waitress, explaining how to
find the front door of the casino.
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Few & Far Between:
We quickly discovered that there are only three types of eating establishments in Vegas: the fast food joint, the very expensive restaurant, and the buffet. We tested out three buffets during our tour of duty. Here's the skinny on where to get fat.

Where: Circus Circus
Price: $6.49
Hot Counters: 1
Cold Counters: 2
Main Meat: Glazed Ham

Where: Paradise (Fremont)
Price: $6.49
Hot Counters: 2
Cold Counters: 5
Main Meat: Roast Beef

Where: Imperial Palace
Price: $9.95
Hot Counters: 1
Cold Counters: 1
Main Dish: Prime Rib, Crab

Merchandise Mistake of the Day

A Dicey Problem...
Here's an interesting question for you...

Why do casinos have maximum betting limits?

If you think you know the answer, too late!
Danny got it!
A Closer Look At...
Circus Circus

Once you go in, you may never come out. It's got loops and turns and levels and lobbies and all the doors only face in. It'd be best to let your loved ones know that you're going in so that they can send a search party if you don't make it.

Floor Plan: Confusing
Exits: Not Marked
Goal: You can drop your kids off here and by the time they find their way out, you've been down the strip and back.

The Floor

The Physics of... Casinos!
Feb 19 - Let's get one thing straight: This is not about the probability of casinos, or the statistics of casinos, or some trick to help you count cards. I'm sure you already know full well that the dice are loaded, the odds are against you, and the house always wins.

Let's leave the dice behind for a moment, and simply talk about the casino experience. That is, entering, wandering and leaving.

You're standing on a street. Let's for the sake of arguement call it Las Vegas Boulevard. There to your left stands Circus Circus, for example, a themed hotel/casino/buffet not uncommon for the strip. You decide that, yes, this casino is worth exploring. Fifteen minutes after you've made the decision and stepped off the sidewalk towards it, you arrive at the recessed front door. In you go.

The first thing you invariably see is a grand prize of some sort. Probably a PT Cruiser, or whatever the cutest car is that year. You probably plunk a quarter into the slot, just to see if you can do it in one pull. You can't. You move on.

The slots are first. You walk past nine rows of dollar slots, followed by 12 rows of quarter slots, then finally 33 rows of nickel slots (incidentally, I have never seen dime slots). The slot themes range from simple (7-7-7 you win, everything else you lose) to obscure (the Addams Family Spookum Slot-o-Scream-a-Rama, play all 9 rows, match any two family character heads or a head and a wild Uncle Fester to win the corresponding prize listed on the opposite row).

The gaming tables are in the centre, cheap tables to the outside, expensive tables to the inside. Or sometimes, the cheap tables to the right, expensive tables to the left. Or sometime, the cheap tables to the front, expensive tables to the back. This is where it begins to get interesting.

What three things have you not seen yet? I'll give you a hint: they're the three things that might make you get up from your stool.

1) A Clock. Time has no meaning in a casino. The scientists behind the latest Las Vegas casinos have managed to unlock the secret behind what makes the rest of the world tick. Unfortunately, while most are looking for the breakthrough that will slow it down, these geniuses have found a way to speed it up.

In the real world, time flows evenly, at a constant velocity along a single dimension. Upon looking at your watch, as one second goes by in the world, you will see one second go by on your watch. Time functions as an arithmetic sequence, such that as time progresses, an equal number of seconds will be counted in the first minute as will be in the second minute.

However, in certain casinos, time has been altered so that it flows geometrically. Upon entering the casino, Time inside will begin to deviate from the path of Time outside (hereafter cited as Ti and To). As To progresses at an even pace, Ti goes faster the longer you remain inside the casino. 10 minutes of To may only increase Ti an additional few seconds, whereas 10 hours could increase Ti up to three or four days!

This explains why the average casino patron is a grey-haired, shrivelled old woman wearing a pastel green Las Vegas t-shirt with a cat on it. She's actually only 28 years old, three of which were spent inside a casino (the shirt could only be explained by the aging process tattering her previous clothes, and only having poor merchandise available to her for a replacement).

No clock placed in the casino would be able to accurately tell the time after long term exposure, and would soon be spinning at unbelievable speeds. The patrons' watches, however, only show minimal effects, but enough of a difference to make one say, "Holy crap, how long was I in there?"

2) The Bathroom. You've been watching the roulette tables for about an hour now (Ti = 1:08), and had a couple of 99 cent margaritas, and start to look for the bathroom. Any bathroom will do, but unfortunately, there is only one bathroom in this behemoth of a building.

The engineers behind the layout and architecture of Circus Circus have slipped the surly bonds of conventional space-time, and have perfected the ability to bend space into the fourth dimension.

Imagine, if you will, a piece of paper. Yes, I know, you all saw this in the movie Sphere, or maybe Event Horizon, or some other Hollywood crap, but bear with me as I fall back into character. In that paper's two dimensional universe, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. However, if we were allowed to bend space, warp space into the third dimension, those two points could be folded onto one another, nullifying the distance between the two and making travel between them instantaneous.

In this sense, a architectural physicist is able to bend a three dimensional building into the fourth dimension, the way we were able to fold the paper into a third. In doing so, a gambler may enter a casino and continually walk a straight line, while the universe bends around him, and have him end up on a point miles from where he started and facing a different direction.

For a casino to have only one bathroom makes sense, since space may be bent from different areas of the casino to arrive at the same bathroom. It is the same principle as decorating a restaurant with mirrors so that it looks bigger than it is, although in this case, you're able to walk through the mirrors.

3) The Exits. The door you entered cannot be found simply by retracing your steps, on the same principles as the bathroom. All signs lead you further in, but none will point you the way out. Nor will following the signs in reverse order.

In four dimensional space, conventional rules to not apply. It may be that once entering and walking as few as three steps, you immediately pass through a dimensional wormhole, placing you towards the rear of the compound. Should you turn around, you will find that you have already lost the doors you came in.

Only by following a complex pattern of steps will you be allowed to exit the building. Most people stumble across it blindly, and simply think they've lost their way, but this is not the case.

For example. In Excalibur, had you entered initially from the Luxor moving walkway, you would need to find the escalator to that walkway again. Ascend the escalator, and at the top, take the stairs back down. At the bottom, turn left and make a U-turn around the side of the original escalator and follow the red line. You should eventually approach a moving walkway coming in from Las Vegas Boulevard. By walking in the opposite direction of the walkway, you may be able to exit the building.

Only this set of instruction will allow you consciously to access the street again. Otherwise, you may be stuck inside forever, or at least until your clothes become ragged and you need to buy one of those cat shirts to replace it (shudder).

I hope this has been an enlightening tutorial into the inner workings of casino physics. And remember, don't do drugs.

exit in style...

The Sahara

The MGM Grand

The Excalibur

The Flamingo
more photos in the archive...

We've got mail...

Do the slots have twenty fingers intoxicated with pleasure to the level they are shriveled in retreat? Or, maybe the internet connections aren't close enough to the all day buffets? Hope you and Kev are doing well.
- Randall, Texas

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Current Location
(get out your push pins)

Las Vegas Strip

Next Stop: Vegas in Concert

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Today's Weather:

Gambling Gambits
Slots: Incidental
Biggest Win:10 coins
Won With:1 coin

Circus Circus
Vegas Strip
Both:Breakfast Buffet
Cost:$6.49 each

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Speaking of dice...
Remember that complex set of finite math word problems way back on Day 136? Well, it takes a big man to say he made a mistake, and by gum, I made a few. However, a plucky young buck named Danny The Actuary pointed out my errors.

The answers are up! Head to Day 136 for the solutions.
P.S. Andrew, you came close. Check your answer to number one again and I think you'll have the rest from there. But you do get brownie points for being first!

Speaking of Danny...
Congratulations to Danny Nawrocki! This marks the fifth time this photo of him has been used on the website. This makes him an honourary inductee to the Five Timer's Club, along with other prestiged members such as Michael Kellman and The Piggly Wiggly!

You can also see this photo on the following pages:
Two weeks before Maine!
Day 89!
Day 105!
Just above this photo!
© 2002. Kevin Beimers and Aimee Lingman. Having the space-time of our lives.