VegasI just finished another Vegas trip, I believe number 6 for me. This time, it was with Dr. Kickass and the Old Man, the first time the 3 of us were at the same place at the same time since 2005. Of course, first I had to get there, which unfortunately involved a stop in Buffalo.
I wasn’t thrilled to be going to Buffalo, since a) there was just a massive plane crash there, b) it’s out of the way, and b) it’s Buffalo. Also, it was around 50 degrees in Balto, 50 in Vegas, but an absolute horrific arctic blizzard in Buffalo the likes of which could only be described by Buffalo natives as “Thursday.” Both landing and taking off from there were pretty shaky, To make matters worse, a woman across the aisle and one row back from me kept saying things like “I’m assuming they aren’t using automatic pilot right now” and other things like that during the final approach, referencing the recent Continental crash. I shot her a glare of such contempt that she actually shut the fuck up, which I was pleased with. Really though - talking about a week-old crash that occurred at the very same airport - and during a blizzard no less? Hey man, It’s the 8th inning, and I notice that no batter has hit safely off you yet. I dare say sir, you haven’t allowed a single hit! Do you think you’ll be able to keep that up? Getting the next 5 outs may be hard. By the way, this was the kind of landing that actually elicited a round of applause from the cabin. Jinx lady, not surprisingly, repeatedly thanked Jesus. I suppose, in her mind, that this means Jesus thought last week’s Continental flight was filled with heretics and assholes.
Vegas itself, after leaving god-awful McCarron (which took out all of its smoking sections, for reasons known to nobody since they were all glassed off and couldn’t have interfered with non-smokers’ precious clean air) didn’t disappoint. I won 50 bucks off a Blackjack prop bet (get a pair, it pays 10-1!) right off the bat. Of course, I lost that 50 shortly thereafter, but that’s Vegas. We saw a show, hit a buffet, won a small sports bet that I wasn’t confident in (KU-Nebraska - I was confident the Hawks would win, but the spread was 12) and lost a larger sports bet (50 bucks on OU, thanks a lot, Blake Griffin. Getting a concussion from, ah, getting flicked in the ear? Pansy.) I played a Kenny Rogers slot machine that, when I cashed out, said “Looks like this one knows when to fold ‘em!” We also saw a fairly hilarious altercation between strip club promoters. First, the cliche strip club promoter approached us. He had greased back hair, a mustache, and his top four shirt buttons undone. Really, all he was missing was the gold medallion. “Hey guys, strip club?” Just after that, this indie-rock hipster-looking dude who was maybe 19 asked us the same. Apparently, he had infringed on the territory of the cliche guy, as he immediately started yelling at the indie rock guy. The cliche guy got on the phone with who I presume was the boss, then handed the phone to the indie rock guy. When we walked down that part of the strip later, cliche guy was still there, “Hey guys, strip club?” but indie rock guy was gone. I wish there had been a way to bet on that one.
This trip ended with a pretty solid finale. I was dressed in a decent shirt, Kickass in a suit. After dinner, I kicked off the festivities by buying one of those silly Vegas novelty drinks in a 2-foot cup that was shaped vaguely like a bong. Of course, I wasn’t going to mess around with daiquiri or whatever they usually serve in these things - I went with a huge gin and tonic. Kickass and I went from Harrah’s to Caesar’s to Planet Hollywood (the casino, not the theme restaurant), and along the way I leveled up from novelty gin and tonic to double bourbon to Sapphire rocks. It was that kind of night. Well, It was Saturday night on the Strip, so I guess it’s always that kind of night. At Planet Hollywood, we attempted to get into one of Vegas’s high end clubs Prive (one of the few in town to boast more than one syllable) because it had a shorter line then Pure and Jet did. However, after learning the cover was $30, and seeing some dude tip the door guy $120 just for the right to pay another 30, we bailed. It was time to gamble, which meant leaving Planet Hollywood and its quarter tables to hit up Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall and Saloon up the street.
We found open seats at a Let it Ride table, a stupid game that had been my biggest money maker thus far on this trip. I started with $73 in chips, and rocketed up to $170 in no time. I know the rule is double up and get out, so I put 150 aside and planned to foul off pitches with my remaining 20 for the sake of a couple more free drinks (back to good old bourbon and seven at this point - I don’t think you can order Sapphire rocks at the $5 tables at Bill’s). Then, shock of shocks at around 2 a.m. or so - the Old Man showed up at our table and ordered himself a White Russian. The Old Man had been largely AWOL from the tables all weekend, so I decided not to cash in quite yet. Plus, I had another drink to wait for, and the dealer changed from a gregarious dude from Manila to a stoic, fast moving chick. In the background, a man walking under a ladder tripped over a black cat and shattered the large mirror he was carrying. This was the perfect time to up my bet. Obviously, I started losing, and after losing like 10 hands in a row, I bumped my bet even more, along with betting 20 bucks a shot on the side bonus game. In no time, I was down to 10 bucks - 2 chips. Playing Let it Ride requires 3 chips, two of which you can remove during the course of the game. But with only two chips - game over.
At this point, I was absolutely plastered, and blaming my precipitous loss on the cocktail waitress for taking too long, the Old Man for showing up, the strip club guy, Kenny Rogers, the jinx lady, really everyone in the world but me. I wasn’t cashing in two chips. I threw them onto the come line of the nearest craps table. Seven. I win, everyone else playing loses. I take my twenty bucks, drunkenly rambling about Walter Payton, and planned to throw the 4 chips onto the Roulette table, at the corner of 31, 32, 34, and 35 - the 34 for Walter. Reaching for my chips, a quater fell out of my pocket. I bent down to pick it up, and in the time it takes to do that, it’s too late to bet on the current spin. 17 or something comes up. I put my chips down on the corner. 34. 9-1. I win $180! I’m back above my Let it Ride peak. I went to the bar and bought the Old Man a beer, cash my chips, and we’re out.