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Monday, April 9, 2018

Through a Glass, and Darkly

Wednesday - Day 5 - continued

In preparation to do battle, I adjust my uniform (black t-shirt, leggings, shoes, silver helmet) until it is just so, and strap on a pair of matching pearl-handled wallets. I stop off at the Cal weight room and pump up my upper body, so that I look fierce. I skip all muscles below the waist, because nobody sees that stuff anyway.

$15 a day resort fee gets you all the weights you can eat.

Don't want to pay your marker? This is where you end up.
As training, I find a seat at the No Smoking table in the Cal pit and buy in for all of $20. I have the same plan, win enough to do the match play. After a while I am up $5, so I play the match play, and I win. Things turn a bit squiffy though, and all of a sudden I have only one measley $5 chip left.

I push it into the betting circle. I feel oddly self-conscious. It's not great failing in front of a table full of anyone, plus the dealer, even if it is only on a $20 buy-in.

My cards flutter to my hand like wounded birds, and I scrabble them up and take a peek. The dealer is showing an nine. I've got a six and a four for a total of ten. Shit. I flash my cards around so a couple of guys can see.

The guy on my right says, "I don't know if I'd double or just chicken out if I had that."

I tell him, "Don't you worry about it. I can assure you that when you put your hand... into a bunch of goo, that a moment before was your pile of chips..." I pause for effect and continue, "'ll know what to do."

I take a look at my genuine Royal Flusher EZ-Ultimate Blackjack Strategy Card and confirm that if I don't double this hand, I will have to sacrifice a pinky to the blackjack police.

So I buy in for another $20 so that I can double down on my ten. Quite sounds of appreciation are heard from my troops.

The dealer pulls a four for thirteen. Then a two for fifteen. And then performs the coup de grace with a six.

He's got 21 and I lose the double. And then I lose the rest of the second $20. It reminds me of the previous night, piling loss on top of loss.

This is just a skirmish, though - the proper battle lies ahead, and I push back my high chair, mutter good luck to the survivors, edge my way out, push the chair back into place, and walk down the pit, head held high, marching for the exit. I hop up the few stairs, and exit onto the corner of Main street, where my jeep and driver await.

My driver starts to take me to the Plaza, saying "The battlefield is this way, General Flushiepants", but I stop him. I tell him to turn, goddamit, turn here, and turn left off Main and bust through a chain link fence and onto the dusty, lonely, rubble of a deserted, ancient place, a place where I know what has happened.

"The battlefield is at the Plaza sir..." says the driver.

"Don't argue. I can smell a battlefield - it was here. The Vegas Club was here. They were... attacked. By three roaming legions of advantage players. The dealers were brave, but they couldn't improve the casino hold. They were massacred. The creditors stripped them of their cards and dice and table felt and left them to lay naked in the sun... two thousand years ago."


"Sorry, I meant two years ago," making my voice extra gravelly. "You don't believe me? You know what the poet said: As if through a glass and darkly, the age-old strife I see, where I gambled in many guises, many names... but always me. You know who the poet was?"

My driver shakes his head.


Having surveyed the dust and rubble of the ancient casino battlefield, I have my driver finally turn the jeep around and get back onto Main street. A quick left, and we arrive at the Plaza, where I get out and salute the children playing around its entrance of a million lights, with no hint of a smile on my lips. One hand on one of my pearl-handled wallets, I push through the doors. I'm greeted with a fairly strong floral scent, decent music, and acres of new carpeting.

First things first - I check out Popup Pizza for a triangular snack to fill the gap.

They have a wide selection of pies, but as always when its a by-the-slice affair, I just ask what is the freshest and have that.

I end up with some sort of vegetarianism pizza and it is very good. Really nice crust, and if it had been fresh out of the oven, it would be stellar.

Again, my battle plan is to buy in for $40 and win $25 to use with the $25 match play. Alternatively, if losing, I will play the last $25 with the match play. It works. It works so well, like a bloody charm! I win the $25 I need, play the match play, and win. Cha-ching!

I'm next to third base on a table is almost full with a group of nice young fellas from Austin. Their enthusiasm cheers me, and the guy on my right is gushing with gambling advice, which in this case is to never hit above 15. He tells me how it worked for him last night and how he made like $400! I like these guys, and I see myself in them, twenty years ago. I tell him that if it is working for him, then it is a good system.

I'm on my second beer, the cards come out, fwap, fwap, fwap, fwap, fwap, fwap... the dealer shows a ten. And then there is a bit of a disturbance on the end of the table to my right.

But play has stopped, and the dealer asks, "Where is he?" There are chips in the seat number two betting circle, but nobody in seat number two.

"Oh, it's okay, he's coming back," says the Austin guy on the end.

"I can't deal if he isn't here," says the dealer.

"He's just gone to the bathroom, it's cool. He asked me to play for him till he gets back."

The dealer has motioned for the pit boss and he comes over to find out what the hell. They talk, and we giggle, waiting to see what's going to happen.

"OK," says the pit boss, "so the guy who owns these chips and the ones in the circle, is not here - he can't bet. You can't bet for him."

He pushes the chips back to the guys stack at the rail.

"I've already dealt the hand," says the dealer. Which is obvious.

The pit boss mucks piss-boy's cards. I wonder what's next. And what he comes up with is a more than fair solution.

"The rest of you can either play this hand, or if you want, you can take your bet back and not play the hand."

We all kind of look at each other and we all have shit cards versus the dealer's ten. Every one of us takes our bet back and we laugh our asses off.

Kudos to the Plaza for the way this was handled! I've been in so many gray area situations, especially at craps tables, where the pit makes a call that pisses everyone off and empties the table.

After the next hand, piss-boi comes back and says, "How'm I doing?".

We all just laugh.

I keep playing, watch for things to turn, and they do. I actually really hate to leave the table, it's such a good group - but I have more battles to fight. I color up $140 for a $100 win.

Over at the Golden Gate, I use my same strategy, and by God I manage again to win the $25 I need for the match play. I shove out five reds, and the match play chip, and promptly lose. I keep playing for a while and manage to win back an extra $30, and that's my profit for the session.

I take my chips to the cage, and shove them fiercely away.

"Get rid of these," I say. "This is a casino. Not a bordello."

And I move on to the D.

At the D, there is no $5 table, so I bail yet again, and head to the Fremont for ten bucks worth of 9/6 Boner Deluxe. I double it and cash. What? Yes! I cash!

Then it's $20 on triple play Slutty Times Pay Bonus Poker and run it up to $40, which takes about 40 seconds,  and by God I cashed that out.

Dinner is junky Chinese food, which I enjoy. It's utter crap, and I still enjoy it. The meal book covers it, too.

Working my way back to the Cal, I stop off near the Fremont lobby and play some Deuces. I get oh so many almost hands, and no most hands.

The tide seems to be turning against me, and sure enough, back at the Cal, fucking Beeeffffalllloooo eats $50 and gives nothing.

(My recorded notes from this say, and I quote, "I'm gonna swear off that fuckin' game!")

It's time to wind down, so I get a keno ticket, and then head up the escalator to the mezzanine, on my way to the little store to buy a bottle. And what do I see?

The dog nickel machine, the one I played waiting for a drink, with a guy sitting at it, with an attendant at it, with the light flashing, with one of those lollipop Jackpot in Progress signs, with a hand pay going on. Motherfucker hit a $225 royal flush on the dog machine. Good luck to you sir. Harrumph!

Now I really need that bottle. Back up in the room, I get Keno going on the TV, run for ice, pour one, and get the computer going, check on the stupid coffee maker that isn't supposed to arrive for 11 days.

Package received by carrier
Los Angeles, CA US

Package has left the carrier facility
Baldwin Park, CA US

Package arrived at a carrier facility

Baldwin Park, CA US

Woohoo, the Little Giant is on the move!

My luck came and went today, but things are looking up for the arrival of the Little Giant.

Machines: -$160
Blackjack: +$90
Keno: -$30 (my ticket from last night bombed)
Day: -$100
Trip: -$440

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