Ok gang...here it is, finally. Enjoy!! This trip to Vegas was kind of a bonus, as I had just gone three weeks before, and didn’t think I’d make it back to Sin City until sometime later this fall. Our last trip was less than successful, as Derek and Ed W both lost huge, and I came back even, but only after a furious craps roll I fell into just before we left town to come home. The downer of that last trip was that Eddie B was unable to join us. He had a couple of houses to close on, and too much business to take care of that weekend, so he missed out. I was very disappointed because Eddie is the one guy you definitely want as your wingman whenever you go to Vegas. Nobody makes a trip more enjoyable. We had a couple of things going in our favor to make this trip happen. Eddie made a nice tidy profit on his old house, so he had plenty of extra spending money. Since I didn’t lose my ass on the last trip, and also sold my condo the same week (without losing any money), those two pushes sure felt like a win to me, so when Eddie suggested we go to Vegas, I was ready to hit it again! We booked two nights at the Las Vegas Club downtown on Fremont Street for $59 per night (taxes included) for Friday and Saturday. Having gambled there a lot, and deciding on the last couple of trips that Downtown is The Place To Stay, we were ready to give the place a try. I scored a last minute get-out-of-jail-free card from work, so we decided to go up on Thursday night, instead of Friday, and it only cost us another $42 for the room. Eddie got to my house about 2pm, changed clothes, and after a quick stop at the bank, we were on the road by 3. The drive up was really nice as there were lots of thunderstorms rolling through the desert, and it made for an interesting change of scenery and took the edge off of the normal July-in-the-desert temperatures. We made our usual gas stop in Kingman, and I knew we were off to a good start when I twisted the cap off of the Coke I’d just bought, and found out that I’d won a freebie. It was definitely a good omen. The road between Kingman and Hoover Dam is the easiest part of the drive, long and straight, and it’s where we make up for the time stuck behind the blue-haired geezers sight-seeing at unbelievably slow speeds as we get closer and closer to the dam. Well, we were cooking along at about 90 mph, listening to Elvis tunes, and getting more excited with each passing moment. Suddenly Eddie pointed and yelled “COP!!” and sitting there behind the only tree for thirty miles in any direction, was one of Arizona’s Finest, and he clocked us doing at least 90. I slowed down, and looked back in the rear-view mirror. Yep, sure enough, he turned around and was chasing us down. He was still about a half mile back, and I told Eddie to reach into the glove box to get the documents I was sure he’d ask for. That’s when I got that “Oh crap” feeling as I remembered that I had taken out my registration and insurance cards the day before and had brought them inside because it was renewal time. I’d left them sitting on my desk at home. In my mind, I was thinking about what a ticket for no proof of insurance & registration, plus speeding, was going to cost. I couldn’t decide who was likely to get more of my money that weekend--the casinos or the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Well, the DPS decided that my money must not have been good with them, and the patrolman pulled around us, waved me by, hit his lights, and nailed the guy in front of us. Talk about dodging a bullet! Eddie and I just looked at each other in disbelief, thanked the poor schmuck in front of us for taking one for the team, and floored it to the state line. There was absolutely no traffic or tourists at the dam, and it was kind of eerie, actually, since we’re used to crawling along at 5 mph dodging pedestrians until we get to the other side. But it was Thursday, not a weekend, so things were quiet. We pulled into the valet at the Las Vegas Club about 7:15, gave up the keys for the weekend, cracked open a beer, and lugged our bags (and cooler, of course) inside to the registration desk. I was going to try and tip the clerk a $20 bill for an upgrade, but as soon as she asked for my name she wrote the room number on our key envelope. She was too quick for me, so the twenty went back into my pocket. Check-in took no time at all, and she sent us to our room on the ninth floor of the North Tower. As I swiped the room key in the lock and opened the door, something didn’t seem quite right. Eddie and I are close friends, but not as close as say, Siegfried & Roy—but that didn’t matter to the folks that took my reservation. They gave us a room with a king size bed instead of two queens. (Perhaps they thought we were two queens???) Anyhow, we trudged back down to the registration desk, told them that we weren’t on our honeymoon, and asked if they anything available for a couple of strapping young hetero’s like ourselves. “Couldn’t talk him into it”, Eddie said. Everyone in the check-in line got a good laugh, and the clerk changed our room for us. This time I took the twenty out, laid it on the counter, and asked if we could upgrade to an MVP room. She told me it would cost us an extra $10 per night. We said, “Sold!” and I put the twenty back in my pocket again. This time our room was on the 14th floor, so we hauled our stuff back through the keno lounge again and got on the elevator. This time when we swiped the room key, it didn’t work. The door wouldn’t open. Eddie and I flipped to see who would stay with the luggage, and I won, so he went back down to the registration desk with our latest request. He was back within five minutes and we got into the room with no problem on the third try. We were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the room. Knowing that the LV Club is owned by the same slum lords that run the Plaza, we were a little apprehensive at first. But no, these were damn fine accommodations for the money. There was plenty of space, everything was in good shape--not shabby and worn, and there was a floor to ceiling window that overlooked the California and Main Street Station. The beds were comfortable, the room was tastefully decorated, and it came with a fridge, iron & ironing board, and a coffee pot. Compared to the crummy ghetto room I’d had at Harrah’s a month before, this place was a vast improvement. We took a few minutes to unpack and get settled in, empty the cooler into the fridge, and check out the view from the window. We didn’t linger too long, because we wanted to get our weekend started. The first thing on our agenda was to go have a shrimp cocktail at the Golden Gate, as we were both starving. Walking through the casino, we saw an older gent sitting at a $3 blackjack table with the most attractive Asian hooker we’d ever seen. She was “walk-into-a-slot-machine-hot” because that’s exactly what happened as we were looking at her instead of where we were going. This led to a great discussion of how the oldster spent all of his allowance on Viagra and hookers, and could only afford a $3 table. We got over to the ‘Speakeasy’ without running into anything else, and there was no line at the shrimp counter. A couple of sandwiches, shrimp cocktails, and beers, and we were set. The food was great, as usual, and over dinner we decided that we’d go to Binion’s Horseshoe to get our gambling started. Binion’s is my all-time favorite casino, and as soon as I walked in, I felt like I was home. The sights, sounds, and even the smells are special to me. As soon as we got to a blackjack table, Michael, the pit boss, remembered my name and welcomed me back. Eddie was a little impressed with that. He asked if we had slot cards yet, but we didn’t. Every time I’d gambled there previously, I just gave the pit bosses my driver’s license, so Michael took our licenses and said he’d have cards made for us. We were sitting at a single deck $5 table, and bought in with $100 each. Before the first hand was dealt, the cocktail waitress came by and asked us what we wanted. Then she recognized me and said “Oh, I know you’ll want some Captain Morgan and 7-Up”. She even remembered my drink! Now I was impressed. Binion’s now has a customer for life. We played for about an hour, and we both got about 5 or 6 blackjacks each. I know this because each time we’d get one, they gave us an entry form to win the car they were giving away at 10pm. We put our forms in the barrel, and stood at the craps table nearest the drawing to hear if we were the big winners while getting a start with the dice. We didn’t win, but somebody standing there did, so it was kind of exciting to be there when it happened; but just as quickly, our attention turned back to the dice table. One of the dealers remembered us from back in March when I had the monster roll that put me up huge, so we were beginning to feel like genuine high rollers. Everyone working there remembered us, it seemed. Eddie pointed out that they remember the tippers, and we usually tip pretty big. We wandered around the casino a little bit, and it was pretty crowded. We were standing by the bar at the lower craps pit, and this older couple kept laughing at something. We went over to investigate, and there was this HUGE Fat-Albert looking guy bent over the craps table, with his pants halfway down his ass. The pants looked like they were going all the way to the floor, but he caught them just in time. He kept playing dice, oblivious to all of the laughter behind him, so Eddie got down on one knee and posed next to the full moon and smiled, while I snapped a picture. We couldn’t stop laughing about that one. We ended up playing more craps for a few hours, and the table was a little better than average. No huge rolls, but a steady stream of wins and a lot of fun for everyone. By the time we colored up, we were both up over $400 for the night. Not a bad way to start the trip. Not a bad way at all. It was after 1:30 in the morning, and since Eddie had been up since 4:30, we decided to call it a night and wander back to the LV Club. Fremont Street was blocked off right there between Binion’s, Mermaids, the Pioneer gift shop, and the Golden Nugget, and we had to walk around the back of the permanent stage they have set up there. It looked like they were building a movie set in the middle of the Fremont Street Experience. Eddie asked one of the guys working what was going on, and he said they were filming a music video, but he wouldn’t tell us for whom. We got back to the room, and Eddie went to bed, but I was too keyed up for sleep. I decided to go back downstairs and try to win back some of the money I lost a few weeks ago at the blackjack table. I should’ve known better. I sat down at a single deck table with two other women. My first two hands were a 19 and a 20. Unfortunately, the dealer’s first two hands were both blackjacks. I knew she couldn’t hit another one because all 4 aces were gone by that time, so I threw down a $25 chip. I got two 7’s and the dealer’s up card was a seven. So I split. And of course I got the last 7 in the deck (Should’ve doubled, I guess…). So I split again. I had $75 on the table, my three seven’s against a dealer seven. Of course, I bust on all three hands, the dealer draws to 21, and everyone at the table loses again. We all get up with a groan and walk away. I wandered back down to Binion’s, and buy in for another hundred at the craps table. It was kind of cold by now, but I had nothing better to do, so I tried to tough it out. Then this weirda carrying a golf stool and a notebook wandered up and sat down on the hook. He just watched and tracked numbers, apparently trying to catch a trend. The dealers just rolled their eyes, no longer surprised by any of the freaks that wander in from the street. Well, this ass-hat decided to start betting the dark side, so I took an immediate dislike to him. He sat there on his little stool with just his head and hands poking over the rail like Kilroy, and became more agitated with every throw. Whatever he did, it was exactly wrong. It was almost comedic. When I got the dice, he knew I was irritated with him, so he changed strategies. As soon as I established a point, he placed all the rest of the numbers. On my very next roll I sevened out and damn near laughed out loud because he was losing his mind and having quite the dramatic episode. I was never so happy to seven out, as it didn’t hurt me at all--I’m a come bettor--and it chased his sorry mug from the table. The stickman gave me a wink and said “Great Roll, shooter…just what we all wanted”. Everyone at the table nodded in agreement. I didn’t stay too much longer. The table was cold, and I lost another $150 in addition to the purse snatching the Las Vegas club laid on me. So I headed back to the room. As I was going back, I saw three people lying in the middle of the street just looking up at the canopy, either resting or daydreaming (night dreaming?). They weren’t bums, they were definitely tourists, but apparently had given up on walking at some point. There was also a little bald dude walking the other way, wearing white high heels and full-body frog suit. I had no idea what that was all about, but Eddie was very disappointed that he missed it when I told him about it the next morning. The phone in the room was ringing at 7:30 am, and I wondered who in the hell would ask for a wake-up call in Vegas. Well, it was no wake-up call; it was Eddie’s woman calling from Japan. I showered while Eddie gave the ‘Danny Ocean-talking-to-his-parole-officer speech’. “No ma’am, I’m not drinking too much”. “No ma’am, I’m not getting into any trouble”. “No ma’am, I wouldn’t even think of looking at another woman while I’m in Vegas where ogling is encouraged…” Our play at Binion’s the night before earned us a breakfast comp, so we headed off to the coffee shop. We were seated quickly, and I noticed that the service was much friendlier and fast this time around. I ordered the ‘Benny Binion’s Natural’, which is ham, eggs, potatoes, toast, and coffee for about 5 bucks. Eddie ordered the Big Breakfast, which features pancakes that are the size of a Frisbee. The food was incredibly good this time around, and I couldn’t finish my breakfast. The ham was as big as the plate, with everything else stacked on top. Over breakfast we decided to cab it up to the Imperial Palace and see if their craps table that was so good to me in the past still had any magic left in it. We got there around 10 am, and the casino was already buzzing. We went to the slot club desk, to make sure they had my correct address on my players’ card, and got Eddie signed up too. The dice looked a little cold, so we opted for blackjack. Nothing really happened for about an hour—it was just a grind, no big wins, no big losses, but the table wasn’t much fun, either. We decided to take our chips over to the craps table, where we promptly lost about a hundred bucks each. It didn’t seem that the Imperial Palace was in a giving mood, so Eddie suggested we make our way down to the Barbary Coast. It was hot outside, so we cut through the Flamingo and stopped to use the restroom. I’m still a little angry with them for their crummy blackjack rules, so we didn’t aim as carefully as we should’ve while using the facilities. I figured, that’s what they’re doing to us, so a little turnabout is fair play. Hell yeah, stick it to The Man! Anyhow, we finally make it down to the Barbary Coast, and saw an abundance of empty blackjack tables. Eddie said he can see the attraction to this place, because it looked old school, but is still very nice inside. I was just glad to be there with a chance to even the score, because my ankles were still bruised from all the times I had to grab them the last time I was there. We sat down at a $5 shoe game and continued the losing streak. It was unbelievable how many 21s the dealer pulled while beating our very rare 19s and 20s. Once through the shoe was enough for us, as one more Benjamin migrated from my wallet to the BC coffers. We wandered the casino a bit, looking around, cracking jokes, and trying to make the best of the can of ass-whoopin’ that the Barbarians had just opened on us. It wasn’t over yet, because we found another table, but it was just as cold. Eddie wandered off, and I stayed to try and change my luck. It changed all right—it got worse. After awhile a blonde cutie with dark sunglasses and a too-small shirt sat down at the table, and my thoughts of leaving were put on hold for a bit. She was actually a good player, and we had a few laughs at the hit-n-run morons that would walk up with a twenty, play four quick hands, and walk away without ever sitting down, but in the meantime changing the flow of cards for the two of us. We finally grew tired of that, and moved to the closest ten-dollar table. I didn’t fare much better there, but at least I got a free show. I had a crummy stiff hand, as usual, and the dealer had a nine showing. Miracle of miracles, she ended up drawing a 23, and I said, “Thank you, Nice Bust!” My new friend, without missing a beat, says “Hey, ya like ‘em? They’re real!!” and pulled down her top to give me a peek at the girls--right there at the table, in front of everyone! I’m telling you, it was the only good thing that happened to me at the Barbary Coast all day. Right after that, she said she was finally back to even, so she colored up, gave me a wink, and said “Hey, maybe I’ll see ya around later”. And then she was gone. I never saw her again. I went looking for Eddie, but couldn’t find him, so I found a craps table instead. I tried to have fun there, but couldn’t get any numbers to repeat, which is the kiss of death to a come bettor, so I ended up donating another 2 bills to the Barbary Coast. After yet another “7 out, line away”, I mumbled “I swear I’ve never won a dime in this friggin’ clip joint!” which earned me a stern look from the boxman, and just like that, my gambling day at the Barbary Coast was over. I saw Eddie coming out of the men’s room, and yelled for him. He hadn’t done much better, and we’d both lost the previous day’s winnings plus a few hundred more. He said he spent most of the last hour curled up in the fetal position under a blackjack table, whimpering “Make the bad man stop!!” We wanted to stick around and see the Big Elvis perform but it was only 2:30 and his first show wasn’t until 3. We were walking by, on our way out the door, and saw him sitting on the edge of the stage in his street clothes. We walked up and said hello and talked with him for a few minutes. He was a really nice guy, and we had our picture taken with him. I thought I was a big guy, but he is MASSIVE. I swear he’s got to weigh at least 500 lbs. He asked us to stay for the show, and we wanted to, but we took such a beating that we just wanted to get out of the casino. We said goodbye to the King, and headed back up the Strip, looking for a cab to take us away from that cash vacuum known as the Barbary Coast. Damn right they were pirates. There was a cab sitting at the light between the Flamingo and O’sheas, so we jumped in and had him take us back downtown. We were a little tired, and needed a break so we just went back to the room for a little while, and dozed in front of the news. There is one thing about the Las Vegas Club that I don’t quite understand. It touts itself as “Las Vegas’ only sports-themed casino”, yet there is no ESPN available on the TVs in the rooms. I thought EVERYBODY had ESPN. Not so. We chilled out for a couple of hours, but started getting hungry again. We decided to go over to Binions and try out the lunch counter snack bar. Eddie had eaten a hotdog while at the BC, but I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast, and it was about 6 pm by this time. I ordered a bowl of Binion’s Famous Chili, with cheese and onions, and a hotdog. Eddie ordered a cheeseburger with everything. The service was quick and friendly and the guys on the grill made good small talk while cooking. The food was outrageously tasty. I couldn’t remember enjoying “diner” food this much. And as hungry as we were, I still couldn’t finish my meal. After “dinner” we made our way to a blackjack table, but it wasn’t going very well—really choppy and no good streaks. Eddie gave up and said he wanted to go “get a dose of sucker bets” so he went to find a Let-It-Ride game, and I wandered from table to table for awhile, winning a little, and losing a little more. At one point, the thousand dollars I’d had in my wallet the night before was down to just $200, so I decided it was time to go “to the vault” and I hit the ATM machine. Eddie found me at that time, with a big sh*t-eating grin on his face. He couldn’t hold it in, and told me that he’d hit four of a kind on video poker for a $200 hand-pay, then 20 minutes later hit a Royal for a cool grand on the same machine!! (It was on a Game King multi-denominational machine, next to the lower craps pit at Binions. He was playing double- double bonus poker for quarters). Well, my bankroll was replenished, as was his, and he said he was feeling lucky. So we walked over to the roulette wheel, he put a hundy on black and said “Money plays!” The dealer gave it a spin, and whaddya know--the ball landed on black! Eddie made another quick hundred so we decided to hit the craps table again. The table was actually doing really well, and we made a few bucks. The dice finally came to Eddie, and as we always do, we bet big on each others rolls. Well, he hit a few numbers right away so we decided to get a little crazy and go full odds to start with (usually we start with double odds then press our way up). He hit a few more numbers, so we started getting paid with green chips. Finally, our luck had changed! In the middle of his roll, a Hawaiian guy squeezed in between us and got a few hundred dollars change and started betting. Dice players are nothing if not superstitious, and we always have to play next to each other, or we get a little jumpy. It didn’t seem to bother Eddie as much as it bothered me, and he kept shooting for about 15 minutes. It was a great roll, and the dealers loved us because we made bets with odds for them too, so they got paid well. Eddie finally sevened out, and got a smattering of applause from the table and a big thank you from me. I was coming back! The Hawaiian guy got the dice, and I swear, didn’t let them go for over half an hour. We had 2 great rolls in a row, and my hundred-dollar buy-in turned into $800 on my rail by the time he finally rolled the dreaded 3-4. By this time all of the craps dealers knew me and Eddie, and we didn’t have to ask for comps. The pit boss came over and told us he’d buy us breakfast and that he appreciated our play on behalf of the dealers. My roll wasn’t much to speak about, so we colored up and thought about what to do next. Our feet were hurting from standing at the table for so long, so we thought maybe we’d go over to the Fremont and find a blackjack table and relax for a bit. Unfortunately, it was Friday night, and the Fremont was packed solid. We just sat down at a couple of slot machines and people watched for about a half hour, talking about our amazing streaks we’d had so far. We decided to try the Four Queens instead, but the first blackjack table we saw that was empty was some kind of gimmicky crap that paid even money on blackjacks, so we passed. We found another table that said it was a two deck shoe, and the dealer said it played “normal” rules. Ed went to the bathroom, and I sat down and pulled out a hundred. Before he changed me up, I saw him putting two decks worth of cards into the back of the auto-shuffler, but it had another four decks in there already. I quickly discovered that the Four Queens version of 2-deck blackjack is to shuffle 6 decks together, then spit out 104 cards, and call that “double deck”. So it was basically nothing more than a 6 deck shoe with deck-and-a-half penetration. Eddie came back just as I was picking my money up off the table saying “Thanks, but no thanks”. We decided to give Fitzgerald’s a try, because neither of us had ever been there before. We found another empty blackjack table, $5 limit-double deck, and sat down. We were willing to give the Fitz a try, but the casino (at least our little corner of it) smelled like cheap aftershave, and our dealer was a very manly woman who had that whole mullet-haircut-gym-teacher-at-the-Lillith-Faire look going on, so we weren’t very comfortable. Well, that, and the fact that I lost a quick hundred was enough for me. We tried our hand at a quarter Wheel of Fortune machine on the way out the door, but didn’t get a single spin or even a single extra credit. It just took the $20 and turned it into two and a half minutes of complete un-fulfillment. It was worse than a bad lap dance. We made our way back out onto Fremont Street, and saw the guy who does that cool spray paint art. We watched him for a few minutes, while I narrated like I was Bob Ross (“Ok, lets put some happy little planets up here in the sky…We’ll use our burnt ciena and some Van Dyke brown to get started with”…etc, etc). We got a few giggles out of it, but our feet were hurting so bad, we wanted to move on. We couldn’t decide on anything better to do, so it was back to the Horseshoe. We played a little bit of blackjack for awhile, but I could tell Eddie was getting tired. He went back to the room and I said I’d probably be back there within half an hour. I was walking through the casino, when one of the craps dealers yelled out “Hey Mikey, we got plenty of room for you over here!” so I took my spot at the end of the table and got a hundred dollars worth of red. The dice were at the other end of the table, but I got lucky and hit a few quick points. When it was my turn to shoot, the stickman said, “Don’t go anywhere, this is gonna be a long one”. Truer words were never spoken. I started my roll by hitting a couple of 7s and 11s, which put everyone in a good mood. It didn’t take me long after that to get my point. I swear, I must’ve hit the hard 10 about six times, but I didn’t have money on it till later. The guys who had the hardways were going nuts though because they kept pressing the ten and I kept hitting it. I made several points, and kept throwing fives over and over again, too. I held the dice for over 40 minutes, but Eddie wasn’t there to witness it. Finally after more than an hour at that table, I was too tired to go on, and colored up to the tune of $1200. If I wouldn’t have been so tired, I probably would’ve skipped back to my room, because now I was wearing that same grin Eddie had on earlier in the day. Just as I got on the elevator in the Las Vegas Club, this ghetto looking crack-whore got on with me. I couldn’t help but smile, because, one, I was up big for the trip, and two, this chick just looked so funny to me. And she spoke first. “So, you winning big, sweetie?” “Yes I am”, I said. “So you want me to come up to your room and party with you?” “Uh, no. I don’t think so.” She came back with “Oh, you know I’ll treat you right”. I laughed and said “No thanks” again, and she got off the elevator a few floors before me. Just as I got to the room I wanted to kick myself. If I would’ve been more lucid, I would’ve thought to pay her $25 to hop into bed with Eddie and just say something along the lines of “Hey Sweet Thang, Gimme some lovin’!”--just so he’d freak out a little and I could stand at the door laughing my ass off. Unfortunately, it was too late, but it was a funny thought that added to the good story when I got back to the room. Eddie was rightly impressed with both my good craps roll and the Indecent Proposal I got in the elevator. We stayed up for a little while rehashing the day and finally went to sleep sometime in the wee hours. We woke up the next morning hearing someone yelling outside. But we were on the 14th floor, so it seemed a little odd. We looked out the window, and down on the street in front of the California, the woman from the elevator was standing there yelling at someone or something, but everyone around her was ignoring it. It was just another typical morning in downtown Las Vegas. It’s always fun to see the weirda’s in Vegas, and this trip was providing a good group to watch. We had another comp at Binion’s, so of course we wandered back to the coffee shop for some more breakfast. This time I had the chicken fried steak and eggs, and Eddie had the waffle with ambrosia, plus bacon and eggs (We got $20 each on this one, so we ordered a lot of food). It was very tasty, but we couldn’t eat half the stuff they brought us, yet we still walked away full. We didn’t want to test fate by gambling so much right away, so I suggested we take a little field trip to the Gamblers General Store down on Main Street. While we were waiting to get my truck out of the valet, a brand new Porsche Boxter convertible drove up and a cutie with a ponytail got out. We were wondering who drives such a car and why they would park it at the LV Club, when it was revealed to us. She opened the passenger side door, grabbed a duffle bag out of the seat, collected her valet ticket, and promptly walked over to the Glitter Gulch to begin her shift. Strippers always bring a smile to our faces, and this one was no different. It certainly got our day off on the right foot. We got to the GGS a few minutes later—it’s like 7 blocks from the Fremont Street Experience, and we entered what could only be described as the Super Wal-Mart for the Degenerate Gambler. Man, what a cool place. It had everything you could ever want to open your own casino. My buddies and I play a friendly game of poker once a month and I’ve wanted to upgrade our cheapo Walgreen’s plastic chips into real casino-style clay chips, and they had everything we’d ever need. Dice, cards, chips, layouts, gambling books, slot machines…Hell, you could even buy a full size craps table if you wanted. We browsed for about an hour, deciding that if we were still up big, we’d stop in here before we went home. We decided to leave, as the breakfast didn’t seem to agree with me—it was going through me like a Japanese bullet train, so we drove back to the hotel. Eddie wanted to do some more shopping, and I told him I’d just catch up with him later at the Horseshoe. I got some water in me and felt a little better, and wandered back down to my ‘second home’. Eddie caught up with me a short time later, and we wandered the casino looking for a table to play at. Nothing looked really promising right away, but we did see a midget, so we followed him around for awhile. After that, we realized that we hadn’t been to the Golden Nugget yet, so we wandered over there and found us a $10 blackjack table. I tell you, the difference between the dealers at Binions and the Nugget is like night and day. Binions dealers get to keep their own tips, while the Nugget pools them. So in this place it’s a rare dealer who will actually talk to you while at the table, much less speak English. This table had a bad vibe from the very beginning, and it manifested itself with the crummy cards I was getting. We played a few rounds, and pretty soon my $200 buy-in was down to $50. I wanted to get out of there, so I tossed one of my two green chips on the circle and called for an “adrenaline hand”. Of course I had to split the two 8s that were dealt to me, so into the circle goes my last green chip. I ended up pushing one bet, and winning the other, so now I have 3 green chips with me. I’m still down $125 since I walked in the door, and was ready to leave. As we were walking to the cage, we saw an empty roulette table, and I figured I could either double my money or save the walk to the cage. So I put my $75 on black, and just like Eddie the day before, it hit! So I scooped up my $150 and we went to cash in. We didn’t quite make it all the way to the cage, as we saw a five dollar-six-deck shoe with an English speaking dealer!! That’s about as rare as a stray dog in Chinatown, so we couldn’t pass it up. We sat down, won a little, joked around with the dealer, and actually started enjoying our visit to the Nugget. The thrill was gone shortly thereafter when two Oriental women came up and sat on either side of me. Neither one of them could play worth a damn, so after the fourth time I got robbed of a winning hand due to their foul-ups, Eddie and I finally colored up. And I cashed in for $213. Oh hell yeah—I actually made some money at the Golden Nugget for once! After that, it was back to Binions. We put a few coins in video poker machines, and the random slots, but nothing caught our fancy. We were looking for a good table to jump onto, when I said, “Hey Eddie, look over there—there’s some talent at the craps table!” Across the pit from where we were standing there was this cute little blondie girl all alone at the dice table. Eddie said “Oh, we gotta play there!” The dealers were glad to see us, but warned me that the table had gotten cold all of the sudden. They said that Johnny Chan, one of the WSOP champions had been there and was betting huge, and when he left fifteen minutes earlier, the table went cold. “That’s ok”, I said, “Mikey is here, and it’s warming back up again!” The next two shooters chased Eddie from the table, but I had struck up a conversation with “Jen”, the cutie on my left, and she was willing to try and ride it out. So we started betting a little, and the dice got to me. I rolled for a few minutes, and won back a little bit of money. Her roll got us back a little bit more, but the table did seem cold, and she suggested we go down to the “lower” pit and find a better table there. Eddie was a good wingman and wandered off to do whatever Eddie does when he’s alone, and left Jen and I to make our own fun. We walked up to another craps table at exactly the right time and spent the next 2 hours laughing ourselves silly, drinking like fish, tipping like drunken sailors, and hitting damn near everything we bet on. It was the hottest table I’d ever been on. Not just one or two hot shooters, but damn near everyone who touched the dice had monster rolls! The best part was when a rookie 21 year old kid in Vegas for his birthday, his first time ever at a craps table, just went nuts on the dice and rolled forever. At one point he hit the hard eight 4 times in a row, and since I kept pressing my hardways, I was getting paid a few hundred at a time. Jen bet a five dollar YO and it hit twice in a row. She won $150 on those two rolls of the dice. At one point, I busted out with my redneck voice “Come on hard Eight!! Mama needs a new tube-top.” Right then he finally sevened out, and without missing a beat, the dealer said “Looks like mama’s goin’ topless.” We all laughed about it, and gave the shooter a nice round of applause. It was unreal how hot the table was, and it was great to be a part of it. The pit bosses no longer needed my players’ card, because by then they all knew me, and they asked if they could buy me dinner. I couldn’t turn that down, so I asked for dinner for three. (We figured Eddie would show up when he got hungry). I cashed in for $1400, Jen cashed in for over $300 (she was only betting the pass line, and a few sucker bets), collected our comp ticket, and left a pile of chips on the table for the dealers. Just like clockwork Eddie showed up, but he said he was across the pit watching us from the video poker machine, and knew we were ready to go eat. We slowly made our way back down to the coffee shop, and were seated promptly. We ordered a couple of appetizers to start us off because we’d been drinking pretty well all day and hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast. Eddie ordered prime rib, Jen had a French dip, and I ordered the chicken parmesan. It was all really good, and it was nice to unwind over a casual dinner and rest our aching feet. We did more of the “get-to-know-ya” conversation, and talk about a deal-closer, Jen and I found out that we went to the same high school back in St Louis (about 10 years apart, however)!! At this point Eddie gave me a nod and a discreet wink, and I knew I wouldn’t be sleeping alone that night. We didn’t bother with dessert. It wasn’t too late when we finally left the coffee shop, and we felt our luck was still holding out, so we went to find another table to play on. Eddie disappeared for the rest of the evening, and Jen and I spent the next couple of hours slowly giving back our winnings. After I gave about $500 back to Binions, I was ready to head back to the LV Club. We stopped at a nickel video poker machine, and played five dollars for about 15 minutes, but it eventually took it all. We were both feeling tired, and headed up to the room. Jen was a little concerned about Eddie being there, but I told her he’d probably be asleep. Well, we opened the door and walked in, and Eddie was in bed watching Saturday Night Live, so we watched for awhile too. Luckily he started snoring before too long and gave us a little privacy, but we giggled about it and suddenly realized we weren’t so tired. We finally passed out at some point, and the next morning I woke up to hear Eddie snickering. He was pointing at the pile of laundry on the floor, saying, stuff like, “Hey Mikey, I thought you were a boxers kinda guy…that thong looks a little small” and so on. He finished packing while I took a shower, and Jen snoozed. After I was dressed and packed, I woke her up and we said our goodbyes. I left her some cab fare and we were checked out of the Las Vegas Club by 9:00 am. Since I was still up huge, I decided to pay for the room in cash, and we also went back to the Gamblers General Store. I bought a set of 400 poker chips, a carrying case, some chip racks, and about a dozen decks of cards for about $250. We wandered around in the store for a little bit, then decided to stop at McDonalds for breakfast. We hit the road about 10:30 and made in back to Phoenix by 3:00 pm. When we opened the door, Derek saw me carrying in my shopping bag full of poker supplies, and knew we’d won big. We spent the next hour or so reliving the whole trip for his enjoyment. Final Thoughts: • Craps at Binions is now only 5x odds, no more 10x odds, as are most of the other casinos on Fremont. Off of Fremont, you can find 10x and even 20x odds. • I don’t know why I have a strange attraction to the Barbary Coast. I just can’t win at that place. • Binions Chili. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that! • Never order a Captain & 7 while at the dice table. Every time you do, the next number rolled will be a seven. I have proof. • Eddie is the King of Video Poker. He got 4 four-of-a-kinds and a Royal this weekend. • We had the digital camera set up wrong—all the pictures came out grainy. • Glitter Gulch might get my business if they had redheads out front pulling people in, instead of those platinum blondes. • Each time a “ground rule double” is thrown, and the dice go off the table, everyone must stand on one foot for the next roll. It worked EVERY time! • After the episode in the elevator, we couldn’t stop giggling every time we saw the sign for the “Chocolate Dipped Banana” outside of Mermaids. We are completely “Vegas’d Out”. We gambled more this trip than ever before, and I’m still tired. It’s gonna be awhile before we go again…Maybe… October??