Saturday, March 16
Saturday was the day that was set up to be a pure gambling day. There were no excurisions, no golfing - just an appointment to be on the floor for the day. A nice break from the logistics of the comings/goings of the past 3 days.
I finally got out of bed around 11 and headed to the floor - there was a debate, I guess, on whether to wake me up for a parlay pick; the consensus was "to let him get some sleep". I appreciated that gesture, even though it wasn't nearly enough to get me back on track.
One of the first things we saw that morning/early afternoon was the great white whale of gambling.....an open $5 craps table on a weekend! I've never seen that before - not even at the Monte! Well, we couldn't say no to that! My rolling sucked, again, and we got sand kicked in our face - again. $5 craps is a trap. A pit. A pure money vaccum.
We all ended up at a Pai Gow table for most of the afternoon - all 6 of us filling the table, as we watched Maryland come up short vs. Carolina and one of us running to the book to place bets as games were tipping off/went to half. After that long session, we went back to the craps table, where we did a little 3 vs 3 formation to try to change our luck - 3 on one end, 3 on the other. The formation change did not work until an African American - and his posse - came to the table; I think his name was "C.C.". This C.C. character rolled for about 20 minutes and saved most of the crew from horrendous losses; that roll helped me to at least get to a manageable loss. One of the guys in his posse was straight from Kid N Play from 1991 - with the high flat top hair cut.
The group split up a bit after that; Leland had a friend in town and at this point, he disappeared to the pool at the Mirage and then to a club at the Cosmo. Wiz mentioned that he - nor any of us - should not expect to see him the rest of the night. Ok, then...everyone has his priorites.....
....and one of mine at the moment was trying to play UTH while wathcing the Southland conference championship. The 5 of us sat down at the UTH table just as the Moutain West game ended on CBS; the TV was showing local news. Well, this can't stand. We asked the pit boss to come over - I asked him to change it to ESPN2.
He immediately said, "No, the Louisville-Syracuse game is on ESPN".
I didn't miss a beat. "No, I want to watch Stephen F. Austin."
He looked at me for 2 seconds, signed, and rolled his eyes. It was a proud moment in my life as a degenerate. My degeneration level went up a few more notches as we were playing when Leland texted me multiple times to "get on out here immediately". I didn't know where he was immediately - then I found out he was at Bare. I declined to go out, as I was comfortable playing UTH, drinking Tom Collins's and watching Northwestern St-SFA. Again, each has their priorities.
After a good UTH run - and Wiz making money by banking Layup's trips bet - it was time for dinner.....or so we thought. Don, Mike and I were hungry; Layup and Wiz wanted to eat somewhere else. They took off on their field trip as Don and Mike treated for dinner at Stack.
It was a Saturday evening at the Mirage - so I decided to change into something a bit more formal for the evening; I took off my Adidas tangerine sport shirt and changed into my Adidas tangering golf shirt. Hey, I have class - the night called for a collar.
The five of us met again at the same UTH table for part 2. We were about 45 minutes into the session when Layup - on the other side of the table - tried to ask me a question. He asked me 5 times before I finally understood.
"Is that Herman Cain over there?"
I look behind us - and at the other UTH table, separated by the pit, is a African American guy, balding, late 50s, sweater vest and Oxford shirt....and yes, is a dead ringer for Herman Cain. We all start asking ourselves the question and start to stare at him.
We asked the dealer - who was no help, as she couldn't turn around - so we asked the pit boss. She was a dead ringer for Edie McClurg (and now I have the Small Wonder theme song in my head. Thanks. -ed. )
, and in her Minnesota accent, she said she would make a few phone calls.
After a while, she confirmed it - it was Herman Cain, live and in person. She said the dealer asked for a card - but he refused to provide a players' card or sign up for one. But "her best friend" up in security confirmed it was him.........
(Note - I found this link when
poking around on Herman Cain; I now am 99.999% sure it was him.)
It was getting late in the evening, so it was time for one last session in the salon. Mike went up to bed - I said goodbye to him as I headed over. Wiz and Layup were at a table, but for once, they were not alone - there was another guy at the table on third base.
I jumped in, starting with the second shoe; Wiz and Layup were losing steadily as I was valiantly trying to hold my own- but to no avail, as my pile dwindled away. The shoe mercifully ended, and it was time for a new one. Wiz cut ( I think) and off we went.
The first 4-5 hands were very good, as we all won, or at least won all but one. At that moment, the third baseman spoke up.....no, no, please don't say it. Please don't.
"Well, this shoe's looking great! It's much better than the last two!"
Oh dear. In an instance, Wiz raised his hands and dropped the F bomb. "What the fuck are you doing??" he shouted, not looking at him. "Why did you say that??"
I think you all know what happened next. I managed to survive - I broke even on the shoe.......but Wiz and Layup got destroyed. That was their last shoe; they picked up and left. I wasn't in the mood to leave just yet - it was about 12 midnight and I was still fresh! - so I stayed with the third baseman. We played another shoe - again, it was choppy.
I was debating whether to leave or not when I got a tap on the shoulder. Don! Don, what are you doing here?
"I was thinking about trying my luck here...."
Sure, join the fun! The three of us played one shoe - it was an ok shoe; I made a bit and so did Don, making the decision easy on whether to play another shoe. The third baseman picked up and went to another table. The cut card came to Don; he decisively cut it.
Well, it was a historic cut. The table turned, for the positive. We were winning 2, 3 hands in a row; a loss and then another 3 winners. It was hot.....
I had 1 1/2 units in play when I got dealt 7-7 vs a 2. OK, a split. Next card - a 3, for 10. Gulp. OK, double...card dealt face down. On the second 7....a 7.......another gulp as we split again......a 10 was dealt on the 2nd 7, and then a final 4.....Oh dear, let's double again.
So I have 7-4-X, 7-10, 7-3-X. Dealer - well, I think he had a 10, and then pulled another 10. Oh my!
At the end of that shoe, I was a bit delirious and pleasantly stunned when Don turns to me: "Well, the table is not getting any hotter, so I think I'll color up".
Oh yes, that would be the prudent play, correct? Good idea. I colored up and received one chip back in a new color. That's a first! Honestly, I probably would have played one more shoe if Don did not mention anything. I think I owe him at least a greens' fee this summer for the suggestion.
He was done, and headed upstrairs; I was far from it. Now alone on the floor, I was determined to conquer craps. I went to an empty $15 table and started shooting. I was there a while meeting all sorts of characters - a group of guys at the other end of the table who kept calling me "tangerine"; a 22 year old girl from Minnesota who was celebrating her birthday - I put $15 on the pass line for her and ordered her to shoot; she made 2 points and walked away with $60 profit. The majority of the session was spent with a drunk Navy guy from New Jersey as we slowly lost our bankroll.
About midway through the session a voice whispered in my ear.....
"A 5 is coming here...bet the 5 hopping". Out of nowhere, it's Leland! Where have you been?
"At the Cosmo....I'm so wasted". He stayed for another 10 minutes, calling rolls about 20 seconds after the roll finished....
Craps burned me again, so I went back to a blackjack table where I sat down alone at a table; it was going poorly when 3 young 2-somethings joined me; only one was playing; the guy playing was taking orders from his girlfriend (who knew how to play).
I cut the shoe; as a result, I lost about $100 but the group doubled their money. They insisted I cut again; again, I lost money but they won at least $300-400 more.
I was ready to go, but there was no way they would let me leave. Cut again! You're doing great!
What's the proper etiquette here? I was ready to sleep, but I was the ATM for them! Do I have to take one for the team?
I finally got back to even on the last shoe as they made another $300 or so...and I called it a night.
Sunday, March 17
Woke up around 9:30 or so, and the horrible task of packing began. It took me an hour to shower and pack - due to all of the target bags strewn around the room. Finally done, I headed downstairs for breakfast where Wiz talked me into one last Salon run.
Nothing notable was happening - I was bobbing up and down - until Wiz had to leave; it coincidentally was the end of the shoe and Wiz decided to color up.
The dealers challenged him - "cmon....let it ride for one hand....."
Now, if this was in the middle of a shoe, there's no way Wiz would have done it. But, as luck would have it, there was the "TV timeout" as the dealer shuffled, and as the shuffle went out, Wiz started to shift.......
"OK, I'll do it!"
I quickly texted Layup to get in the salon immediately. I did not want to screw up anything, so I asked Wiz if I should play this first hand . "Yes, you're with me here....." ok.
The cards came out; I got dealt 11, Wiz 18 - the dealer had a 4. I asked permission to double. "Hell yes!". The dealer turned over a 2, then a 10, then a 7. Winner.
On that note, the gambling ended for the trip. Layup and I drove to LA, listening to an incoherent John Thompson analyze the brackets on the radio. We had a great dinner in the airport.
I took two sleeping pills before the 15 hour flight home. I was so tired once I got in my seat; I managed to stay awake for dinner, and that was it. I swear I was hallucinating right after dinner, seeing the lights in the plane float around the cabin.
I slept 7 hours straight, gotup to go to the bathroom, then slept another 5 hours - then it was breakfast. 12 hours of sleep in a coach seat on China Southern. That, in itself, is something to blog about.