My Big Vegas Story
I arrived in Vegas on Tuesday afternoon, Diane (George's sister) got in Tuesday night. On Wednesday, we wandered the casinos, and watched a few craps games, had no idea what was going on, except that people seemed to get very excited.
Our hotel offered free craps lessons, so on Thursday morning, while we were waiting for Marie (George's other sister) to arrive, we had our lesson, just the very basics. I learned what the 'pass' is, and which numbers are good and which are evil (seven is good until the point is rolled and then it's very, very bad).
So, early hours of Friday morning, and I'm still on London time. The clock in Vegas says it's 5.30am, but to me it's lunchtime. I need coffee. I get up, trying not to wake Diane and Marie, and go down to the Casino to see if the coffee shop is open. (The Barbary Coast, unlike some of the mega-hotels, doesn't have 24-hour Mickey D's or anything.) The coffee shop is closed, but in the otherwise-quiet casino, a craps game is going on.
I wander over to have a look. Two guys are playing, young guys, 30-ish, one white, one black, both losing and almost broke. The tables have these little grooves round the edge where you can stack your chips and they only have a few each. There's just them, the dealer and the pit guy (a tough-looking guy in a suit who watches everything very closely and never shows any expression).
The white guy says to me "here, you roll, you might be lucky". The dealer says "you have to be on the pass to play" (meaning I have to be betting to be in the game). "Oh no, I'm not betting" I said. The white guy puts one of his few remaining chips on the pass and says "now you are".
I'm in the game.
I pick up the dice and begin to roll. I really have no idea what I'm doing, but it seems to be making these guys happy. They start high-fiving across the table and hugging me. My little chip starts to make a little pile. I take some of my chips away and put them in my little storage tray on the table. I put a few back, I keep rolling. The black guy gives me a chip too, and that starts to grow a little pile of its own too.
I laugh. I tell the guys this is the first time I've ever played craps.
The pit guy picks up the phone that's sort of hidden under the table, speaks quietly. A few minutes later, the Big Pit Boss turns up to see what's happening. I'm still rolling, the two players are still winning, still delighted with whatever it is I'm doing. The two pit guys confer, quietly. They both watch me very carefully, talking to each other out of the sides of their mouths.
I can feel my luck is running out. I tell the two players that as soon as I roll a seven, I'm out of the game.
I keep rolling. No seven. Fours, sixes, eights, tens. They're happy. More high fives, more hugs.
Then, at last, a seven. I'm done.
I look at the pile of chips I've amassed and divide them in two to give back to the guys.
"No, honey, that's your money, you won it."
"But ... but ... but ..."
I take it to the window to cash up.
Six hundred and forty dollars.
For no money down.
In about 20 minutes.
Hoo boy. I'm shaking like a leaf.
By this time the coffee shop is opening, so I go over and get an Americano with a triple hit of espresso.
Still shaking, I walk outside into the 6am sunshine. Standing in the street is a naked man, with just his hands to cover his modesty. He's cute, early 30s, nice bod.
"It looks as if you've had a good night" I say, laughing.
"Don't ask" he replies. (I was hoping he'd shrug, but his hands stayed right where they were.) A couple of guys passing by were taking his picture and said his wife had thrown him out of the hotel room. Two of the Barbary Coast security men leaned against the wall and told him that he couldn't go back up to the room unless he could show them a room key. I hope they were joking.
I can totally understand why the pit guy got his boss on the phone. Here are these two guys, who don't know each other, just about to go broke, then I turn up, don't know either of them, clueless about how to play the game, and suddenly everyone starts winning. It probably looked very suspicious.
I know that if I won $640 in that little space of time, then those guys won thousands. Once my first few rolls came back good, they changed their chips into hundreds (mine were $25 and $10 chips) and were betting big money, plus doing all these kinds of complicated side bets on different numbers.
When I went back up to the room, they were still playing. I hope they didn't give it all back to the Casino.
The next day I won $123 on a slot machine on a $10 bet, then another $29 for a $1 outlay and after that it was just pennies here and there.
But I took more money from the Casino than I gave it.
Just another morning in Vegas. I won big for no outlay and saw a nekkid man.