Saturday, October 8, 2011

Flash Back! Vegas trip 15 years ago

Okay so let's go back 15 years, shall we? 

Back then I had a brother-in-law from Belfast....Johnny who was Cricket's then husband.  They've since split but he was/is a great guy.  He and his crazy Irish friend both worked for Continental Airlines, which meant they could fly for free anywhere they wanted, as much as they wanted, on their days off.  I benefited too as I could fly free on a "buddy pass" which meant I'd fly stand-by and only have to pay for taxes associated with the cost of the ticket.  Johnny was so nice he'd never even accept pay for the taxes and took care of them himself.  Sweet sweet man.  He's since moved out of state and I haven't seen  him in years, which is a shame because he's Sugar Bear's godfather, but I digress.

Johnny and his friend Paddy would fly everywhere on their days off, especially Vegas.  They'd gone there and hit pretty big on a sportsbook bet on The Pats (remembr this was 15 years ago).  So they were going back to collect on the bet on their next days off.  They flew for free and had free rooms at the Rio.  Johnny knew I was quite the black jack player (at the time) and I'd been busting his balls about going to Vegas without me, so he invited me to go with him and Paddy.  The flight was free and though my suite at the Rio wasn't free it only cost me $59 per night so I was in.

I had no idea what I wanted to do, besides play black jack and didn't realize The Rio was off the strip.  The first night I stayed in the Rio casino playing BJ while the boys drank and drank and drank.   I won and they lost.  They played everything, slots, roulette, craps and BJ which just didn't mix with their drinking.  They'd start drinking at like 11am and end when they passed out.  I remember one early morning walking through the half empty casino to get to the room and saw my brother in law curled up asleep on one of the game tables.  I shiat you not.

So the first day I was up a few hundy on BJ.  I was/am a card counter (not that I play BJ anymore) which means I kept track of all the big cards and small cards that came out of the shoe.  The theory is if there are significantly more small cards out of the game and there are alot of 10s and aces left in the shoe, you are more likely to win.  Small card and big cards are assigned a value to help track them and I'd count them in pairs because you had to be fast.  Once someone busted their cards would be removed lickey split. So I'd bet the minimum while counting away and when the count got really good the bet went way up.  The system works pretty well but because so many decks of cards are used in a shoe (usually 8) and because about 8% of the cards in the shoe never get used, there's alot of margin for error.  I'd heard that on Freemont Street in Downtown Vegas they had single deck black jack.  Ooooo That was something I wanted to try.  Me and the boys took a taxi down to Freemont. 

Single deck black jack was awesome.  Because it was a single deck the count was much more accurate.  I was making bigger bets and winning.  And for some reason (I don't remember why) I was the only person playing at this table.  It might've been because I had to request the single deck black jack but I'm not sure.  Anyway, it was me against the dealer with the pit boss watching.  The only edge the casino had was they reserved the right to shuffle whenever they wanted.  They did not have to play to the cut card.  So whenever I'd win say 5 hands in a row, the pit boss would call for a shuffle.  I was doing this while the boys were drinking not too far away from me and watching while the chips piled up.  A couple hours later my brother in law told me they were going to a strip club and I should go with them because it would be dangerous to leavve me on Freemont Street alone.


Except I have a ton of money on me now and the boys are broke and we're going to a strip club.  Some how this seemed like a great idea.  I get stuck with buying them overpriced beer while they hoot at naked women and cocktail waitresses. Awesome.  The club was actually pretty cool and the women.....very flexible.  Ewww.  Seriously guys.  I can understand wanting to see a woman naked but do you really need to see her naked and contorted so that you get the view of a gynocolegist?  Ewww.  No one needs to see that!  That isn't sexy!  Is it?  And of course Paddy kept insisting on buying me a lap dance (and he was broke).  He gets the woman over for the lap dance even though I said no (men, no means no!) and then he's like, "Well, can I have her then?".  Yeah, I end up buying him the lap dance.  She's giving him his my money's worth and somehow in the process whacks him in the eye with her boob.  The next day he couldn't even open it.  ROFL.

Then we take the cab ride home.  I swear we got the worst cab driver in the world.  He was going like 80 miles and hour and not slowing down on the turns.  OMFG.  My bro in law was in the front seat next to the driver and I was in the back with Paddy.  At one point we banged into each other because of a sharp turn and then next thing I know...he's on top of me starting a dry hump dance.  Oh I don't think so!  A little pain straightened him right out.

After that fun filled night I let the boys be boys and stuck to the casinos and the sports book.  I made a couple of long shot bets just for the fun of it and one of them paid off months later.  We were there in Feb, I think and I placed a $20 bet on the Angels to win the pennant the coming season and I won!  My $20 won me $500 exactly!  Of course I was faced with the problem of cashing in my ticket. 

As the sportsbook advised, I made a photocopy of the ticket and then I mailed it to them.  They mailed me a check a few weeks later.

The only other thing worth mentioning is the boys talked me into going on a ride called the Stratosphere.  Bro in law bought the ticket for me and said I couldn't waste his money.  Okay fine.  I got in the seat.  The guy who came over to strap me in told me I'd be better off if I took my shoes off as a lot of people lose them.  WTF.  Okay.......

I can see why.  That ride was worse than any roller coaster imho.  You're on top of a sky scraper and you're so high up you cannot see the building, only the rocks and canyons. OMFG.  And they drop you so fast, over and over again.  I hate rides that give me the sick feeling in my stomache and this one did it in spades.  Blah.  I'd set my camera aside to take that fucking ride and was so freaked out afterwards I'd forgotten all about it.  I left the camera there.  Booo.... My pictures of the strip club adventure were gone.

I spent a little time on the strip.  Remember this was a while ago, and I checked out all the new casinos....Paris, Treasure Island and MGM.  I told myself that next time I went to Vegas I'd be staying on the strip baby!  For sure!  And 15 years later, I did.  I should've been more specific because I stayed at the Imperial Palace.  Ewww.  The Rio it was not.  Be careful what you wish for.

Play smart.



lightning36 said...

Aww, the IP is not so bad. Heck, I even stayed there one night last year when I could have been sleeping at the Encore. Of course, when you rarely spend time in your room or your hotel, does where you stay really matter much?

Cranky said...

Josie - fun read! Thanks for posting it. What is it with men and strip clubs?!?

I spent quite a bit of time many years ago training myself to count cards in BJ. Rio used to have a $50/hand 2 deck table that I played at quite a bit. I swear when the deck was positive, it was the dealer that got all the tens and me with stiff hands!

Like you, I had success at the single deck games downtown. We went to Main Street station on one trip so I could give it a try. I won so much money, the cage called the BJ pit to confirm I'd actually gotten all those chips there. Fun!!

You've tried Rio and Imperial Palace, try someplace both nice and on the strip next trip! :-) We really love the Paris, but they don't have a poker room anymore, to my knowledge. It's a 30-minute walk to the Bellagio poker room from the Paris guest rooms but a quick walk to the Bally's poker room.

Josie said...

Light, I know, I know....but I would've picked Encore.

Cranky....yeah there's no guarantee with a positive count but it sure helps, and yeah next time no IP.....I'm thinking Ballys for my next trip to Vegas because hopefully I'll get a free room there and Lightning36 seems to like the poker room there.

Wolfshead said...

Naw, I got the cab driver from hell in Vegas. Was there with the family and Dad was having hip problems and we were at the Ip and needed to get to TI, a drive no cabbie wants to make but the doorman at IP arranged t for us. Because it was a short trip I planned to hit the guy with a good tip but afer the fare all I had was a single, a 20 and a couple Benjamins. Gave him the single,told him to wait and turned to Dad to see if he had some change. Didn't even get my question to Dad started when the cabbie jumped all over me, callung me all sorts of names and giving me 10 kinds of hell. Guess he wasn't paying attn when I told him to wait a sec. Anyway after that abuse I said screw it and walked away.

Josie said...


How's my favorite driver today? :)

Wolfshead said...

Great now that Brady threw an endzone int

Josie said...

oh shit! no worries baby. Pats will do it for me.

but the giants lost! Woot!