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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Gambling with Gordie

Quick break from the Vegas Nerds Summit trip for a little history. I have already written up my side of the day Joan of Aces and I met Ginger from Tulsa, and later pissed off a table full of senior Hawaiian quintuplet great grandfathers. And one very surly dealer.

That blackjack session led to the conversation that led to Joan of Aces jumpin' into the Flusherville pool and writing some of her adventures for us to enjoy.

Just for a quick change of pace from the Nerds Summit report, here's a jump back to Joan's accounting of that day, from her September trip, before we continue with the Vegas Nerds Summit trip report.


The call of the open road. It has nothing on the Call of the Open Seat.

Especially if that seat is at Boar’s Head bar, at Main Street Station, in front of an ever-enticing VP machine, in front of several handles of their in-house home brew, in front of a giant bronze boar statue that came all the way from France. In case you are the last to know, their Jacks or Better VP has an excellent 9/6 paytable, even at the quarter level. They are practically paying you to partake in their fine libations. That’s my favorite J O B of all. His highness, the Royal Flusher, and I made a plan to meet up, hoping for a couple of open seats next to each other.

There’s only three problems when it comes to me making plans in Vegas:

In Vegas, I don’t always know what day it is, much less what time. Or even what time of day it is. Or where I am, exactly. Or generally. Or what name I’m going by today.

Vegas happens. When you have no plans, anything can, and does happen. Any day in Vegas: Oh look! Shiny! Wander off.. Repeat. All day long.

I’m Vegas Unreliable. Like many people,I am exactly the opposite of the person I am back home when I’m in Vegas. In my everyday life, everyone can count on me, every day. And does. I am living, breathing Responsibility. Always. In Vegas? Not even close. Heck, I’d already invited our hero RF out to breakfast and forgot to pay. I could have. I have points, too, but, alas. Shiny! If Vegas has taught me one thing, it’s when fate smiles upon you, just say “yes” and “thank you”. Return the favor when the opportunity arises. (You’re right. That’s two things. Vegas definitely did not teach me how to count.)

For me, the only thing better than no plans is cancelled plans. But even my Vegas “brain” knew I shouldn’t miss the chance for a front row seat at the Royal Flusher Show at one of my favorite venues.

There were, in fact, two spots open. I took a seat. Flushiepants is tall and mighty, so he stood. It’s probably a celebrity thing. A woman was sitting next to him. What happened next was a little surreal, and Flushiepants himself captured it exactly in his post The Jumbleberry Conspiracy -or- Flusher Surprise. She hit a straight flush. She turned to RF and said, “well, you know, in the strict rules of parlay, I have to increase my bet.”

Pretty crazy when someone repeats your words echoing around in cyberspace to you, verbatim. I think Flushie paused for just a second before he revealed his identity to her. I don’t think she believed him. Until he pulled out one of his razor-edged, signature purple Royal Flusher cards from a stack in his wallet, and handed it to her.

You’ve never seen a bigger fangirl that the lady from Tulsa. Not at Justin Bieber, not at Justin Timberlake. This was clearly the highlight of her morning. As we waited for the scratch-off ticket to appear with the slot attendant, she asked for a photo with the great RF. He declined. I, too, had asked for a photo. Like Sasquatch, he exists, but the elusive, credible photo of him does not.
Boar's Head Bar at Main Street Station
There's more than a Boar's Head at this bar.
James Hetfield lives near me. He, too, will give you a handshake, but no photo. Metallica and Royal Flusher, lone no-photo crusaders in a selfie-crazed world. In a world of “pic or it didn’t happen!’, it’s an old school rule. I get it. Flushie is handsome and striking in person, and if his mug got out there on social media, the man would have no peace. Although, he might have fans who actually made good on their promise to buy him breakfast. He got up to go water the Berlin Wall in the men’s room at Main Street station.

“Don’t roofie me, bitch!” he called out, over his shoulder.

I laughed and laughed.

“Too late,” I thought.

Sometimes, when I say “I”m going to the bathroom!”, I actually go to the bathroom. Sometimes, though, I wander. Sometimes, I forget. Sometimes, I just leave. Years ago, I had a friend who said she was going to the bathroom, forgot what she was doing and went home. From a restaurant. I get that now.

Las Vegas Neon

Later, as we prepared to abandon Boar’s Head with a hoppy/whisky buzz and slightly lighter cash stash, the lady from Tulsa said her husband had a chronic illness and was resting in their room. She read all of Flushiepant’s blog to him, every new post. Every single one. It was a moment of brightness in their otherwise challenging days.

I think Flushie was wishing he’d procured a chair just then.


Just, wow.

Tissues and a shot, please.

Writing in general can feel like singing in the shower. Nobody can hear you caterwaul. In writing, maybe nobody reads your words. To hear that your words matter, a lot, when you thought you might as well be telling your stories to the big bronze Boar is a rush like no other. OK, it’s a rush like hitting pointies with a kicker on a dollar machine. Or a Royal Flush. It’s fun to watch an anonymous, invisible-on-purpose internet raconteur take a deep breath, hesitate, then reveal his true identity to a loyal and grateful reader.

Oh Vegas. It was a moment like no other.

Later, Flushie and I met up at the Hawaii Senior Center bingo hall and ice cream parlor, aka, the California, and he introduced me to his good friends, Pinchy and Flashy. These were two old school VP machines whose screens flickered a bit, like somebody’s shrooms from the Life is Beautiful had somehow been folded into the omelet you don’t recall eating. They were tucked away, next to each other. VP machines in Time Out. It’s a nice spot to order a drink, relax, and be able to talk with each other. It was almost like a booth in a diner for DDP.

Soon, the blackjack table beckoned and we obliged. We found side-by-side seats at a $5, 3/2 blackjack game. Yessssss. The cocktail waitress brought our here actual Maker’s Mark on the rocks.

“So,” I said, smoothly, to the Flusher. “You like pootang?”

He stared at me.

“You know, fries with cheese curds and gravy?” The explanation sounded like more of an inappropriate come-on than the original question.

“Poutine?” he asked.

“Right?” he added, hopefully.

Right. That’s what I meant.

The dealer helped me win back the money I had just given to Flashy, and then some. The dealer soon switched. Same Hawaiian shirt, different scowl. Our stacks started to sink. It was, again, Flushiepants to the rescue. He disappeared into a phone booth. A minute passed. I waited for Superman to appear.

Then at our table, Mr. Gordie Howe emerged.

On an original Gordie Howe trading card, propped up against the stack of red chips. The stack started to grow. When my stack waned and needed a boost, Flushie skated Mr. Howe over to my spot.

Dealer McScowly didn’t appreciate the Flusher and I making bad puns, worse jokes and ongoing hilarious commentary. When you’re on the right side of the Maker’s Mark equation, everything is hilarious. I asked the dealer for singles, so I could tip him. He said something unintelligible.

“What?” I asked.

He said it again. I caught the word “single.”

“Did you ask if I’m I single?” I asked.

Flusher laughed.

Harder scowl from McScowly in my direction.

I tipped him anyway. Flushie wondered aloud why blackjack is dealt left to right, but the bets are paid right to left. Maybe it’s goes the opposite way in Austrailia, I said.

Like the toilet.

Way, way too soon, I had to force myself to go to bed. Even before the three goals I had set for myself: get the Canadian Royal Flusher to utter the words out, about, or doubt. And for a bonus: Again. Like, A. GAIN. I had failed in even one of my trifectas. Alas, real life was a few hours away, and my alarm clock, like the dealer, couldn’t be tipped or cajoled into giving me any sort of reprieve.

Official Royal Flusher Savvy Gambler Business Card 2.0

I boarded the plane in the morning, determined to stay away and watch the sun rise over the strip as our plane followed its familiar path. First a westward take off, then a bank to the north with the glorious Vegas lights just starting to acquiesce to the red, radiant sunrise out the plane’s right-side windows. I fell asleep before the first sunrays glinted over the mountains and illuminated the plane.

We landed. We taxied. My biggest gamble of the trip awaited. I had booked a shuttle that departed 21 minutes after our expected arrival time. The shuttle was a 15 minute walk from the gate. We were early. I walked fast.

And I made it with five minutes to spare.

I boarded the shuttle, then looked through my photos of another glorious Vegas extravaganza. No Flushie photos. Not a one. Did it happen? Am I sure? Then in my wallet, my Vegas wad poked me. ID, credit card, 14 player cards, a mess of grimy ones that should probably be soaked in antibiotic solution, all held together with a thick brown El Cortez rubber band. I still had a good chunk of bankroll left for my next trip, tucked away somewhere in my adult-world wallet. And there, between players cards, my purple Royal Flusher card appeared. It’s edges softened and curled by the Golden Nougat pool. Its Strict Rules of Parlay a bit faded, but legible. Ah yes. My Gordie Howe. I tucked it away as the shuttle started its 120 mile trek to take me back home.

    1 comment:

    1. Years ago you were kind enough to send me one of your original business cards. Still carry it on the Vegas jaunts. Was going thru a bunch of old trading cards last week and found a dup of your lucky Gordie card. If you ever need a replacement I am happy to return the favor. Lots of Royals, Bill vanyuhas on twitter


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