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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

What I Learned in Las Vegas

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I first went to Las Vegas when I was 19 years old and while I was able to see things, I wasn’t able to fully experience them due to being underage.  Fast forward seven years later (and I do mean fast forward) and I was able to fully experience the desert at its finest.  Even if you’ve never been to Las Vegas you have probably seen enough television or read enough about it to get a good idea of what it’s all about.  My point of this writing is hopefully to share some things with you that you could only experience by actually being in “Sin City.”  Much like Vegas, the ride to follow may be a little bumpy at times, but hopefully by the end you’ll be glad you joined me on it.

Ninety-eight percent of the living things in Las Vegas are roaches.  One percent of those are big ass roaches.  The other one percent is birds.  They say there are coyotes out there, but luckily none of them hang out near “The Strip.”

To fully appreciate how hot it is in Las Vegas, stand on the sidewalk in one spot for longer than 10 seconds.  Not only will your ankles and calves start to burn, but your sneakers will actually stick to the ground for a second.  My uncle, who lives in Vegas, had his father-in-law in for a visit.  The cap on his tail light actually melted off.

When you are on “The Strip” and you see a casino you want to visit, it’s a lot farther away than it looks – a true desert mirage.  The Bellagio appeared like it was a short jaunt away from the Gold Coast Casino, where I was staying.  It was not.  A few parking garages, a freeway overpass, and another mile or two was all it took to get to the casino that appeared to be right outside my window.
Because of the mirage of distances appearing to be so close you routinely say to yourself “I can walk there without having to pay for a taxi.”  “There” for me was traveling back to the Gold Coast from MGM Grand on July 4th.  I saw things on that walk that will haunt me for years to come.  There is a part of “The Strip” that you don’t hear much about in guides and television shows.  Luckily being July 4th, there was a cop or two every few steps, so I felt pretty safe, but the scene was so wild it was hard to keep my wits about me.  Seeing two cars bang into each other sideways, with one pulling off the road a few feet in front of me was one of the more unnerving experiences.
I’m not sure I will ever understand the theory about taking your infant children to “The Strip” on July 4th, or any other late night/early morning in Vegas.  I understand people in Vegas have children, but it’s truly a sad sight to see a baby asleep in a stroller while mommy and daddy play craps in a smoky casino while ordering their umpteenth cocktail.

Speaking of cocktails, it is very difficult to put into words the way cocktail waitresses are taught to say the word “cocktail.”  Imagine fingernails down a chalkboard, but drawn out longer.  I get it why they do it.  In a casino where everything sounds the same they need to be able to sound different.  But really, most of the ladies are wearing next to nothing, and the reason most people are in casinos is to get drinks as well.  We’ll find you, trust me.  Nevertheless, I will hear the words “cocktails, drinks, cigarettes, and candy,” in my head for weeks, if not months, to come.

Once in your life you have to have too much to drink and just walk around a casino until the sun comes up.  For whatever reason, that feels like a huge accomplishment at the time.  When you feel yourself getting really tired with an hour or two before the sun comes up, it’s time to go play Keno.  I truly thought I would never play Keno, but it was there for me as my quest came to an end, and for that I will always be grateful.  I don’t think I will ever look at a collection of numbers again without seeing “if my numbers hit.”

Not every woman in Las Vegas is a hooker.  Also, not every ugly guy you see with a good looking girl is a product of a business arrangement.

If you are given a piece of paper or a flyer inviting you to a party that is “V.I.P. Only”, then it is not V.I.P. only.  But I do appreciate Las Vegas trying to help us all feel better about ourselves.
It seems that there is an overabundance of guys wearing t-shirts with Ultimate Fighting Championship logos or a crazy amount of other logos on them.  It also seems that most of these guys also had big muscles, about 5-10 years prior to putting on that shirt that morning, though.  Of the thousands of guys wearing t-shirts that matched that description, I don’t think I saw one that actually would still be considered in shape.    At times I felt left out wearing my t-shirts supporting my favorite team, or a shirt with but one graphic on it.
It’s possible to go to a pool party in Vegas where not one person swims.  In fact, when someone does, there is a mini-uprising among the partiers wondering why so and so (in this case, Mike “The Mouth” Matusow) was actually swimming at a pool-party.

It’s possible to lose 10 straight hands of blackjack, usually by 1 point.

I’m sure there is more I will remember as everything starts to settle, but it also doesn’t help that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” is a huge lie.  If you hear about a huge cold outbreak in the East that originated in Las Vegas, it’s probably my fault.  On my flight home I was in the middle of two gentlemen about 40 years old, give or take.  At the start of the flight they seemed well enough, while I was in the middle blowing my nose every 10 seconds.  By the end of the trip they were asking me for napkins.  Maybe Vegas can use this motto for their next advertising campaign “Vegas: The Gift That Keeps on Giving.”

*Read Billy Monroe's Blog*

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