I just got unpacked from a quick trip to Las Vegas and guess what?
I’m a winner!
Yes, after three days of gambling, I am the proud owner of seven crisp new dollar bills.
It was great. After arriving, our friends promptly brought us to a casino. I’d forgotten about the smoke. I don’t love smoke, but I can tolerate it. But as for gambling that first night, I realized that I was much too tired to make good choices at a blackjack table. I love blackjack, but when I sit down, I work to stay on top of all that adding. I know it sounds simple to add cards to twenty one, but do it really fast and get back to me.
That night, I watched for a long time, but never sat down. I tried slots, but lost the first few and then went back to wandering around. Losses/gains? Zero if you don’t count the huge bottle of water I bought from the gift shop. I am just not used to how dry I was in the Mojave desert. You could die of dehydration out there, even in the city. People even kind of looked a little more shriveled than in the Pacific Northwest. But even though I didn’t gamble, I had a great time watching.
I’m telling you: people-watching in Las Vegas is great. Our friends take us to gamble at affordable casinos and we walk around and shop at the expensive ones. People-watching is great at the affordable casinos.
The second night, after spending a gorgeous day in Oatman, AZ with wild burros and a bunch of rock hounds, we came back to a casino and I finally sat down at a blackjack table. I never quite got my stride, but I had fun with a nice, but losing table, so later, when I joined the rest of my friends, I’d lost a grand total of $42.
Oh no! Forty-two dollars!
I love when people look at me as if I were going to hell because I gamble. Some people really believe that. I don’t get it. I sat down at a table full of people. We talked about where we used to live as kids and where we used to vacation. No one looked at their phones while another talked. No one. And in a couple of hours, I spent $42 dollars, got to know some strangers, and played a game.
How much do other games cost? Bowling? Pool? Video games?
You get my drift? I played a game. I worked on the math side of my brain to keep up with the dealer. I had fun. I even got a free Perrier. It’s entertainment.
When we got back to our friends’ apartment that night, they decided it was time for me to learn a new game: pai gow poker. We sat on their terrace and played until the pink on the horizon had turned to that dark blue that only a clear sky can achieve. After sharing a beer with Mike, I loved pai gow poker!
On the third night, our friends gave us a night at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel from a comp they couldn’t use. I could have sat longer in that window looking at the mini Eifel tower blink and the Belaggio water dancing, but we had a show to see and pai gow poker to play.
After a great magic show by Murray, we drove to the outskirts of town to the Texas Station Casino for a five dollar pai gow poker table.
I had so much fun!
Four of us invaded a table with a pair of quiet men at opposite ends. I won’t give you a play-by-play, but I made a few ridiculous mistakes. Mostly, I had it down, but I asked for a lot of advice and tipped the dealer when I was winning. In the meantime, we cheered when our quiet comrades won, got a bunch of ice water and juice brought to the table, imagined what it would be like if we just had that two of spades, and we played hard for a couple of hours. It turned out that the quiet guy to my right was a dealer who was finished working for the night, so he helped me out when I was about to lose the power of a straight flush. It was awesome!
You think you get a dopamine rush from fifty likes on Twitter? Try winning a fifty to one at pai gow in Las Vegas.
Okay, it was only a one dollar bet, but it was still an awesome one dollar bet.
And that’s how I went from being down by $40 to being up by $7 by the end of the trip, all thanks to a quiet dealer playing for a while before heading home for the night.
I love Las Vegas!
Thank you for listening, jules