Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vegas II

The man who would end up being my brother-in-law took me upstairs and got me to my room. I couldn’t see straight, and I hadn’t had so much as a sip to drink. Probably a good thing as I would have gone face-down asleep right there on my chips.

Babies don’t sleep this well.

The next day yielded a wealth of options. The only problem is when you’re from the Midwest, and you’re up and going two time zones away, NOTHING is open yet. Undaunted, we took to the planning phase of the day. It would go something like this; eat, take the monorail as far north as we could, from there, cab it downtown, play around on historic Fremont Street, cab back to the north end of the strip, eat the biggest hotdog known to man, then spend the rest of the day walking back from the Circus Circus area, to the Luxor. For the record, if you’ve never been to Vegas, the place if full of optical illusions. More specifically, things look really close that are a country mile away because everything’s so damn big. If you were to walk the length of Caesar’s Palace, you’ll cross three, maybe four streets and still be in front of it. So to start at one end of the strip, put your head down, don’t take time to see anything, oooh or ahhh (which is impossible by the way), and just walk, you’re still looking at probably 25 minutes.

Then the damndest thing happened, starting at Binions Horseshoe…we won. We didn’t win a lot. We weren’t breaking the bank or anything. But Josh, Sarah and I would sit down, buy in for $40 as was the trip custom, and then all cast a look to one another when it was time to get up, generally between $60-100 richer then when we sat. If you’ve been to Vegas, or any casino for that matter, you know how rarely it is that you win, let alone a party of three. Oh well…what a fluke. Then Four Queens, and we won. Then some other small place on Fremont Street, and won.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. We’re clearly being punked by some hidden camera. Let’s all time out, head back to the strip, get a hot dog, have a Coke and a smile. And away we went.

Another Vegas destination is Slots-of-Fun casino at the north end of the strip. It’s a tiny, stand-alone place right in front of Circus Circus, and, as you may have guessed, it’s got a few tables, but mainly a ton of slots. But nestled up in the front corner of the place, is a little snack stand, where you can get a hot dog that’s roughly 16 inches long, and at least the diameter of a quarter. Easy big spender, it’ll cost you about $1.39. Want chili on that? $1.49. Chili and cheese? $1.59. Add a large coke, and you’re totally stuffed for about three bucks. It’s amazing. Now that we were refueled, the tour was to recommence.

We picked up right where we left off. Sit down, win. Go somewhere else, sit down, win. Freaky. The gambling gods looked upon us with favor, and nothing must be said that would seek their wrath, for they are fickle, and easily offended. So tips were paid to dealers, bets made on their behalf, if a deck was cut and profitable, the same person would cut again, good lucks and table bumps offered when someone had an ace dealt first, cheers when it was followed with a 10.

Then we stopped at O’Shea’s. This small haunt is right next to Harrah’s. It’s mostly open air, with a great view just to the south of Bellagio. After cab rides, lunch, and gambling from place to place, we were all ahead of the game, up for the day. Trina sought out some penny slots to get free drinks, and again, Josh, Sarah and I took to a table with our standard $40 buy-in. It was a $5 minimum double-deck game, the kind where they still let you touch the cards, and we were flanked at first and third base by 2 friends from Utah, I think. They seemed to be holding their own just fine before we got there, but once we sat, the gods saw fit to reward us all once more, as we won, and won, and won.

It was the kind of runs people dream about (or write blog entries about four years later). Of course, they usually dream about making these runs with black chips at $100 a pop, as opposed to the red $5 chips that occasionally totaled up to as much as $15 when we were feeling REALLY saucy. Nevertheless, the time passed, shuffle, cut, shuffle, cut, and on and on with everyone continuing to win. Before it was over, I’m pretty sure we tallied up around $600 between the three in our group. Hell with the buffet…it was time to go somewhere nice for dinner! Fat Burger or bust, baby! Actually, we were so spent that we barely made it through a late-night sandwich at the café in the Luxor and packed it in.

The bulk of our last full day there was a bit of a blur. We never spent a day at the pool, nor did we take much time to see attractions and do the tourist-y stuff we all planned on doing, mostly because we just kept winning. I figured we’d all be flat broke by 3 p.m. on day two. Instead, everything became a question of bets.

“Wanna see Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay?”
“Well we could, but at $20 a person, that’s like, four bets each!”
“Alright, let’s go find the tables.”
“Cab ride?”
“$15 bucks? Hell no. That’s as many as three bets!”
“Good God you’re right! Let’s walk five miles in 90 degrees!”

Under the auspices of the rationale “if some is good, more is better” we walked north again to find a seat at O’Shea’s. Somehow, Josh’s bankroll had dwindled down to about $50 or so. Not bad for someone who managed to gamble the whole trip on $200, but somehow managed to lose the previous day’s winnings. We found a table, and the cards hadn’t cooled down in the least.

I have no idea how long we were there? It had to be a couple hours. I was feeling pretty good about my whole state of being. I had cash in front of me, we were all winning well more then we were losing, and the unconventional play of doubling on a soft 18 was paying off in spades.

At $5-10 a crack, I was flirting with the $200 mark in pure profit for the day when I catch an elbow from Josh.

“Dude, I just tallied my money, and I’ve got $260 in front of me.”
“What? Are you serious? And you’ve already pocketed back your buy-in?”
“Yeah! What do we do now?”
“You push all your chips in the middle, ask him to color you up, and we get the hell out of here…immediately!”

Again, if some is good, more is better. Undaunted, he decided to press on, as I colored up my chips, and stood back to watch. The next four hands he was dealt natural 20’s…and lost all four time to four and five-card 21’s. Now it was really time to leave.

We spent the night modestly. We had a nice dinner in the Luxor. We walked down to see the pirate battle at Treasure Island, which has really gone downhill by the way. We didn’t sit and gamble so much as a dollar the rest of the trip.

Thursday came. Time to go home. Time to pack up and leave the glitz and glamour and rush all behind us. We sat in the terminal eating $7 Big Macs and talking about how soon we could get back. Spring? Summer? Next fall at the latest. See, that’s the thing about that whole town. You win, and you feel this level of invincibility. You feel like you were able to make it happen for yourself. You spend three days getting your ass kicked and you can’t leave the city fast enough. Ah hell, who am I kidding? I’d be fighting to get back either way.


Blogger Katrina Clement said...

You forgot to mention my big wins at the penny slots.

1:01 PM  

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