Sunday, July 14, 2013

Dave and Busters just got unfun; in Contrast Harrahs for Adults is a blast!

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Dave and Busters just got unfun: in Contrast Harrahs for Adults is a blast!

My son loves Dave and Busters in Orland Park. Dave and Busters is a kids hangout formed by two guys who loved to eat an delay video games, the promos claim.

But the reality is Dave and Busters is just another business and their goal is to make profits. Just this past week, Dave and Busters jacked up the costs of its prizes.

You see, parents purchase credits on a Dave and Busters credit card and the kids use the credits to play games. SOme games are just for fun. Others are for coupons in the form of tickets. When you collected a certain number of tickets, you could cash them in for prizes.

For example, my son is a big baseball fan. Dave and Busters offers autographed baseballs and autographed baseball cards. The baseballs were 7,500 coupons and the cards were 1,000. Recently, though, greed pushed the prices up to 9,000 coupons for the baseballs and 1,500 for the cards.

It may not seem much but the difference between 7,500 and 9,000 tickets is about $35 in game play. Yes, my son enjoys it. Dave and Busters is basically teaching him how to be a degenerate gambler. Or is that me allowing him to be taught?

The Coin Push machine at Dave and Busters

The tickets you get when you win. You turn them in as they accumulate and they get credited on your credit card. Each ticket is now worth 2 instead of just 1.

Alison and I went to Harrah's casino this past weekend. We don't go often and we still had cards that were issued in 2000. We split $500 and each played and we played all night. I was willing to loss the $500 as long as we could play all night and have fun. It's the cost of doing fun. We actually came out a head and left with $980.

AT the first slot machine we played, I had no idea what was happening and I won $2,000. You don't get silver dollars any more as most of you know. You get a little paper coupon. My rule is simple. I don't cash in the coupons. I cash them out and pocket them and play whatever cash I have. At the end of the night, I played $420 but left with coupons totaling $980.

One of the big attractions at the casino is the buffet. Harrah's has the Paula Deen Kitchen, although I think they are dumping her after she admitted -- stupidly -- to being a racist and using the "N-Word." The N-Word should never be used. And if you have ever used it and are going to acknowledge, then you should also admit it is stupid. But she made it sound like it was an everyday thing. These days, the queen of southern food and recipes is imploding as everyone is dropping her like a hot potato.

Harrah's buffet was pretty good.

But I can't say the same about the restaurant at Dave and Busters. The food really sucked. ANd it was expensive.

I understand at Harrahs and other casinos, the games have become complicated. For example, the penny and nickel slots really soak up more money than the $1 slots. You may only play a Penny in the Penny slot but to win anything, you have to play 75 pennies at a shot. You might as well go to the $1 slots, play $3 and win 10 times more if you hit the jackpot, or, more likely,t he mini-jackpots that players often hit just enough to keep them at the one-armed bandits.

With the price of the tickets going up at Dave and Busters, my son has lost interest in going there. He recognizes that they're just greedy. And sometimes, that's all it takes to get him out of a bad habit, because that is exactly what Dave and Busters really is, a bad habit.

If you are going to play to win tickets, the best games are the SPin the Wheel. It takes 10 credits from you for each play, about 50 cents. You can easily win 60, 90 or 200 tickets on a spin, although sometimes you might just get 10 tickets. But you can easily win 1,000 tickets, which is the jackpot on the spin. Aaron did that several times.

There are other games like the coin push game where you drop a coin into the slot and it lands on a slide that pushes other coins over an edge that lands on another shelf and that pushes more coins over the edge. Each coin over the edge wins something like  9 tickets. (I'm not taking notes there so I'm just estimating. Could be slightly more or slightly less. But you get the point.)

If you play smart, you can easily accumulate 7,500 tickets in 2 hours of play and $60 worth of credits. Dave and Busters gives you a credit card and you slide the card to play the credits and buy credits that are automatically added to your card. The card remembers the total number of tickets. Dave and Busters uses a weight system to determine how many tickets you have. You bring them up in a clump and put them in a plastic bucket and the machine weighs it and tells you that you have 1,500 tickets for example. Aaron and I counted the other night and we claimed we had 3,240 tickets but the bucket which was packed, said we only had 3,150. That was a difference of 90 tickets. But who is going to sit there and count out each ticket -- which now is worth 2 instead of just one. Less paper.

I don't trust Dave and Busters anymore. And when you don't trust someone, you loss the excitement and the fun.

Dave and Busters used to be exciting and fun. But Aaron and I are looking for a new place to spend our money. SOmeplace where we feel a little more comfortable in the area of trust and fairness.

9,000 tickets for a baseball. No way.

Trust them to weigh the tickets accurately, not so confident.

As for the food, it's just not worth eating any more.

Photos from Harrah's Casino. You definitely want to go back to Harrah's. The place is clean. We had fun winning, and losing but winning for a long time. It was well worth it. And the food at the Harrah's buffet was phenomenal, only $13 per person, and we got a discount on our Rewards Card for playing slots.

This happens a lot.

My favorite game is the Wheel of Fortune but the game doesn't play fair. You should be able to spin the wheel when the "Spin" icon pos up in each column but the slot machines only allows you to spin the wheel when they line up in a straight line or an up, down and up zig-zag. (Above is down, up and up which they say is not a winner. That sucks. Fix that machine!)

Read the instructions on the same machine. Seems a little misleading to me. But even staying away from the Wheel of Fortune Machine, we still had a lot of great fun at Harrah's in Joliet.


-- Ray Hanania

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