I made it out of Vegas alive and with most of my finances remaining. I know a lot of you were worried. I had grand plans of writing tomes for the blog, but should have know that it's impossible to get anything productive done in that town. So days late and (many) dollars short, here it is:
I don't think I mentioned before that my dad was meeting me out here in Vegas. The plan was to hang out for a day in Las Vegas, then he hops on the back of the bike and we go to LA. It was also nice that he had a few Marriott points stored up, so we got some free rooms in 2 very expensive cities.
So we got going around 10 on Thursday morning and got a few chores out of the way. Dad did laundry while I went to the UPS store to ship my camping gear to LA. There wasn't enough room on the bike for a passenger and all that gear, so we worked out that we could just send it to the hotel.
We got some lunch and then walked/rode around the strip for a while just to look around. We ducked into Casino Royale and played some very cheap roulette, craps and blackjack. We played for an hour or so and both finished up slightly. I think this might be the only time in my life when I will be up lifetime vs. the Vegas casinos.
Our family went out here about 10 years ago, so we went back to all the places we went when we were out here. We checked out the Luxor, where we stayed last time, and Mandalay Bay. I had some sports wagers to make, and I did those at the Mandalay Bay Sportsbook, which was really cool. Lots of flatscreens and huge LED boards listing odds on various games/sports. It was also Sweet 16 Thursday, so it was a great place to just hang out for an hour and watch the games with everyone. All the bets seemed to be on the underdogs, judging by the cheers of everyone watching. Watching random sports games is a lot of fun with people who have bet heavily on one team or the other. I went up to the desk to place my bets: I put 10 on the Bobcats to win the title at 100/1, so basically Vegas owes me $1,000 in June. I also put a bet in for Russell, my roommate on the Pirates to win the Pennant at 150/1. The guy who booked that one for me said, "Make sure he doesn't spend that one before it hits." I was also very excited to be able to bet against Dook in the tournament. So I said, "I'd like $10 on bet number 808 against the spread." Dook was favored by 8.5 against Purdue. As it turns out, I'm not used to the way that I had to place my bets at the counter, and I might have accidentally bet on Dook instead of against them. I went up to the counter thinking, "Ok I want to bet against Dook, so I should say the bet number next to Dook." Which I did. Which placed a bet against Purdue. I just want to say that I am very happy for this opportunity to represent the University of North Carolina and the fine education I received there. Mom and Dad, if you want me to pay you back for all that tuition you spent, I understand. (Also, Duke won and covered, but on General Principles, I will not be cashing that bet in. At least I can be an idiot with principles.)
We walked around the Bellagio for a while and came across some $10 blackjack tables, which are very cheap for the kind of place that the Bellagio is. We decided we had to play for a little bit, just to say that we played at the Bellagio. The tables had cream colored felt and you placed your bet on a script "B" instead of in a circle. To make a short story shorter, we both lost $40 in about 6 minutes. Totally worth it.
We went to see David Spade do stand-up that night, and it was a great show. We also purchased some of the cheaper tickets, so we sat right in front of the drunk idiots in the last row. They started yelling stuff at the opening act, and he did such a great job of shutting them up while making the rest of the audience howl. Spade did a great show, and yes he did do the "Housekeeping" bit from Tommy Boy.
After the show we hit the cheap tables at the Sahara. We played some craps, which was not going well and getting expensive quickly. Then we sat down at a dollar blackjack table and spent the rest of the night there. We had two dealers who rotated through our table: Natalya, a very nice Russian woman, and Frankie, an older guy from New York who said he went to Vegas to visit some friends about 15 years ago and never left. It was two different worlds when these two dealers would switch. Natalya was just throwing out blackjacks for everyone and when she was dealing, the whole table was up. Then Frankie would come around and we all cowered in fear. It was uncanny how you just couldn't beat Frankie. You could turn a 15 into a 20, and Frankie would somehow get 21. Every time you got blackjack, it was a push. But the great news was that we were playing dollar blackjack. We sat at that table for almost 4 hours and only lost $40 each, while drinking enough beers to seriously impair our addition skills. Natalya eventually gave up and just told us how much we had after each card.
It was just an awesome day. Technically I walked out down about $70 on the day, but you have to take that Bobcats wager into consideration, so I'm actually up $930. Pretty good for a first time in Vegas if you ask me.