Vegas -- About this high
Those who chase straights and flushes go home on Greyhound buses.LAS VEGAS -- It's really late and I'm suddenly starving but I don't want to take time away from the table.
I'm at Bally's and this bear of a black guy is raising it up with things like 84s, calling any kind of bet. He doubled up when he went all in with K8o, an OESD and a poor Asian guy to his left in the 3 seat had a set of Js.
This is what I'm in Las Vegas for.
It hasn't been too long ago that I was here but already the weather is nice and cool and not brutal like I remember it. They took out a lot of metal posts by the baggage claim at the airport so it looks really open now. It's like every time I'm here, something has changed.
The play hasn't, though. It's semi-crowded at the MGM Grand as I sit at a NL$1/2 table near midnight. There's a huge calling station and a lot of his peers at the table. He makes it $11 and five people, including myself, call.
Of course, it gets checked down out of fear something's going to happen. And it does. I make my Presto set on the river.
I bet it out, looking like I'm interested in my pair of fives. The calling station calls, and looks disgusted when I shout "Presto!" I know nobody knows what the fuck I'm saying.
Some guy to my right says "Presto! Changeo!" but that's about it.
I expend $15 later on a double gutshot against the calling station but do not hit.
After MGM, I make my way to Bally's to see if any of the black journalists are hitting up the tables. A few are, including the bear of a dude.
"It's my first time playing," he explains to the table after raising with 84s and catching trip 4s, busting this dude in the 1 Seat with 99.
In between a hand, I rush over to the gift shop and get a rice krispie treat and some M&Ms to tide me over so I don't lose a chance to felt the Big Guy. I come back, having missed a hand, and in the next one, it's over. Some Asian guy has top pair, busting out Big Guy's random hand. He gets up and walks away.
I cash out as well.
"Did you like it?" I ask the Big Guy.
"Normally I play about this" he says, finishing his sentence by raising his hand about seven feet off the floor.
I nod and walk off.
Still up a little for the trip so far, I call it a night. I finally make my way downtown to the Plaza (one of the cheapest hotels I can find to fit my reimbursement so my trip is free) at about 1:30 a.m. and sort of think about playing at nearby El Cortez just for laughs.
So far it's been an experience. I didn't know where to park, so I parked at the outdoor lot next to the Greyhound Bus station. All kinds of people hanging out on the sidewalk there. I just pretend like I'm walking by to catch a ride and hope my wallet doesn't get stolen. Whenever I see the Greyhound station I always think of the Horseshoe dealer's wisdom on straights and flushes.
I go inside the Plaza entrance, take an elevator to the third floor check-in. When I get to that floor, I notice the other elevator is broken down, there's a metal wastebin overturned in the middle of it with its gray sand for cigarettes all over the floor.
The check-in lobby oddly is decorated with balloons like prom night in a horror movie. The old fella behind the counter takes his time to process my reservation and I notice the wall behind him is filled with hundreds of slots to put room keys and messages in the old days. These are just dirty.
I finally get to my room, but not before going to the wrong one. The old man told me one floor, although when my key doesn't work I notice my information says another, 10 floors higher.
It's a large, clean room, but like many of the places I stay in, it's seen better days. Instantly I get suspicious, though. I've learned from experts that bedbugs like to hang out in the corners of a bed, tucked away.
I lift up the mattress slightly. It's clean, but I see something glossy deeper under the mattress.
It's Penthouse magazine. From January 2005.
I laugh and think that maybe El Cortez has nothing on this place.