From a pool of about nine of my poker playing buddies, we visit LV a couple of times a year.
This time, about seven of us were going over for the Halloween period. We make our own arrangements and arrive and leave on different days that fit around our work schedules.
Two Vegas virgins were coming on this trip J and D. Both younger than me in their twenties they had secured a good deal staying at the Wynn. But then they told me that was sharing a room.
Those two sharing a Vegas room, ‘are you crazy?’ I’d asked them. ‘How long are you staying for?’
I reeled back in shock clutching my chest. I know these guys very well and two weeks in Vegas was either going to make them or break them. Wynn housekeeping would probably take a good day to fumigate their room after they’d left. Plus sharing a room with a good pal for two weeks can strain any friendship. I also hoped they’d thought of some arrangements should either of them want some ‘adult pleasures’ one night.
There was going to be less poker for me on this trip as I knew I’d get roped into mornings, afternoons, evenings and nights of drinking and random slot and table game action with J and D. I know J’s family and felt kind of obliged to keep my eye on him. I don’t mind, he’s a good friend and poker would just have to be sacrificed for some of this trip. With 17 years age difference I knew it would take its toll on me.
The agony of a ten hour flight is soothed by getting upgraded at the airport. Boom! Thanks BA. Second upgrade in a year and first win of the trip. I think it’s travelling alone a lot that gets me upgraded.
Swiftly through customs and after annoying the taxi driver by telling him not to tunnel me and showing no interest in his strip club or hooker suggestions (again, travelling alone it happens EVERY time) he drops me at my home for the next ten nights. That temple to economic mammon for any single guy in LV; The ‘not so’ Imperial Palace.
As I walk in, the usual reminder that I’m back at the IP attacks my nostrils. Jeez this place stinks. I could tell where I was if wearing a blindfold. Clean the carpets please.
Win two of the trip comes with a short check in line and it’s not long before I’m unpacking in a high room in Tower 5. This has its own bank of elevators so no excruciating long waits for the elevator as is the case elsewhere in the IP. The room is the usual unique IP style of shabby, dated and on its last legs. But hey I’ve stayed here often enough to know what it is and for the price and location I’m not complaining. The balcony has a great view of, err, other balconies, but is good enough for when I want a smoke. As I leave my room to meet J and D I realise some of the other guests must be enjoying a smoke as the sweet unmistakable smell of pot fills the corridors.
A few drinks with J and D and I’m off to bed.
Up early the next day and collect the hire car then on to collect J and D from the Wynn. Amazingly they are ready and waiting by the valet. Our day is spent over at the Hoover Dam which I’ve seen before but still makes me nauseous as I peer over the edge, paranoid my sunglasses will fall off.
We then drive along Lake Mead and up the Valley of Fire. In the UK I’m used to rolling green countryside. The landscape on this drive is breathtaking and is just how I’d imagine some distant planet to look. If you’ve never done this trip, I can highly recommend it as a good day trip away from the noise and hustle of LV. The drive from Hoover Dam is longer than it looks though so be prepared with plenty of gas and water.
Back in LV we end up doing some random slot action, chugging back the beers and somehow end up at Toby Keith’s in Harrah’s. I’ve not been in here before but it had a good atmosphere and the bar service was fast. If you’re single and looking to pull (well not that being single is a requirement for that in LV) I get the feeling this would be a good place to go.
We leave there late and I stagger back to the IP. On the way back to my room I spy one of my old favourite slots, ‘Kitty Glitter’. Yes I know it can look a bit odd for a middle aged guy to be playing this (though not as odd as the guys I saw playing Village People or Sex and the City) but it holds an emotional tie to me. If any of you know this slot, why the hell did the designers make the cats so freaking miserable looking? They look like cats that want world domination. C’mon liven it up a bit for Kitty Glitter 2. Make them purr, wag their tails and meow in chorus when you hit the bonus or flex their claws for five of a kind. Ideas patent larfingravy 2011.
Being the whale that I am I slip a crumpled $20 in and spin away. It’s then that my attention is drawn to the woman to my right.
‘how ya doing?’ she asks in a raspy voice that gave away her 40+ a day smoking habit.
I look over to her expecting to see the usual LV, dive casino late night hooker fare but instead see a scrawny, not particularly pretty thirty year old in some clothes that looked as if they hadn’t seen the laundry for some time. (Maybe that is the new dive casino late night hooker fare?)
I briefly acknowledge her but turn back not wanting to encourage conversation. She is persistent though and talks about the machine she is playing. I spy that she is playing 1 credit 1 line on a 1c machine. I grunt mono-syllabic replies and keep my eyes on those goddam miserable looking cats.
My attention is drawn away from them though when she says amongst her ramblings to me,
‘I spoke to my man today and he can’t help me with the money. He’s in prison and I don’t get to speak to him much.’
OK, let me spin down this $20 and I’m out of here.
‘Would you like a massage?’ she asks. ‘I’m very good.’
I look at her spindly, bony hand, the fingers stained yellow with nicotine and the chipped nails holding more black dirt than a poker chip. I nearly puke in my mouth at the thought of this woman straddling my back as those hands rub my bare skin. I then imagine her smashing the bedside lamp over my head as she helps herself to my cash.
I turn down her kind offer and leave. As I’m walking back to the elevator I realise that I’d left about $25 in the slot. Fully expecting her to have spotted this as fast as a hawk sees its prey, I walk back to see that she has gone. I get to the machine and see that my credit is still in. That’s as good as a win.
I take the weed walkway back to my room and feel the buzz from the smell it’s that strong. Bed and I deadlock the door.
More to follow……