As many of you know, I was back in the fine city of Las Vegas for 5 days over the past weekend. There was some early thought that this might be a bachelor party, but it really turned into a chance for my brother and I to hang out for the last time before he gets married. That's a gamble of a whole other kind...
But I digress.
I arrived in Vegas Saturday evening with designs on finding a poker room as soon as possible. Except for one problem. My brother was still snowbound in Chicago. So instead of heading straight to the tables, I checked into my room at the Boardwalk to wait for him. I assumed it wouldn't be long.
I was wrong. It was actually a couple of hours. At least I could console myself with the fact that I was going to be there for 5 days and losing a few hours wouldn't matter that much. Had the Boardwalk had a poker room, I would have been there, but I wasn't interested in passing the time at the blackjack table, and I didn't want to be in another casino when my brother finally arrived.
About 9pm that night, Lefty finally arrived. This was his weekend, so I wanted to make sure he had a good time. Soon I learned just how -EV he really was.
We headed downstairs to the modest floor of the Boardwalk Casino to find a $5 blackjack table. There were a few single deck tables, but they were paying blackjack at 6-to-5 and that takes away a great deal of your edge. Instead we found a table with a 6 deck shoe and proceeded to get killed.
I suggested we move to something else and my brother suggested his other favorite game: roulette. Great, why don't we just play keno?
We learned how to play roulette from our dad. He would cover and surround 17. That meant 9 numbers paid, 13-21. If a corner number hit, it paid for the bet. If a side number hit you made 27 bucks and if a 17 hit, it was a cool $135 profit.
When my brother and I played together we applied to the same strategy to 5 and 11 (our birthday is November 5th, get it?). Apparently our birthday isn't very lucky because it didn't take long for our money to disappear.
That's when my brother decided we needed to find the "Wheel of Fortune" slot machine. It's one of my mother's favorite games, and Lefty seems to love it as well. We pumped in some money into the quarter slot machine and started playing. I think we got the magic spin maybe once or twice, and we didn't exactly hit the jackpot. Before long, our money was gone.
I think Lefty was a little worried at this point. He had a wedding to pay for and in just a few hours on his first of five days in Vegas he had already dropped a chunk of change. I took solace in the fact that if I got to a poker table eventually, I'd be able to win back what I had lost.
We decided to go looking for a $5 Pai Gow table at that point. The last time my brother and I were together in Vegas, we spent countless hours playing Pai Gow at the Barbary Coast. Maybe our endless hours at that table convinced Vegas to eliminate all $5 Pai Gow tables, because we couldn't find one.
Instead we headed back to the Boardwalk for Lefty to grab some food. That's when he spotted the penny slots and figured that would be an easy place to waste some time without losing too much money. And it worked. We got a bit of enjoyment out of it without losing nearly as much as we lost elsewhere... but we still lost.
That's when we decided perhaps it was time to hit the sack. We wanted to get to the Mandalay Bay as early as possible Sunday morning to stake out a seat for the NFC and AFC Championship games. And it's a good thing we got that good night's sleep because Sunday would be the craziest day I've ever spent in Vegas.
And I'm not exaggerating. If you think the WPBT sports book experience was wild... multiply that by a million and you approach what I experienced. But that story... you'll have to wait for.