We refer to the top tiers of sports and the world-class athletes participating as the majors, or big leagues. Before ascending, the minor leagues serve as home.
When I first moved to Las Vegas in the late 70’s, I was definitely ensconced in the minors. I mean, I thought I had some of the answers, but not nearly as many as you need to survive in Las Vegas.
On my first night in the city, I started out drinking (big surprise there) at Benny Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in the heart of downtown. When I moved here, I only knew craps by the games that I participated in at high school throwing dice against the side of the school building. I always seemed to do well in those games, and by the time I got to my senior year of high school, I was making money off of two games I was running.
Paid for my weekly bottle of VO and extra cash for dates, so I was good. Never really played Blackjack until I went to Vegas. I only looked at Blackjack as a source of making money over the long run, and I am too impatient of a gambler for that.
So it is my first Saturday night in the glitzy city and I end up throwing dice at the California Club.
The very worst thing that could happen to a gambler, new to Las Vegas, happened to me.
I mean it was like How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. I not only won, I couldn’t lose. I was hitting on the worst bets on the table. Hi-lo’s, Boxcars, Snake-eyes, hell I was even doubling and tripling up on the sucker Field bets I was so hot.
I seemed to have the Magic Touch. I mean a shooter would be throwing the dice and all of a sudden, it was if I took a call from the Man Upstairs directing my moves. So, I get a hunch a hot roller’s throw was ending and I pull down all my removable place bets and lay a big stack of chips on the Come Out.
I even did the unthinkable; I left a red-hot table and went to the parking garage for a bowl of Panama Red. When I returned, I sat down in the Keno lounge. Now I never even heard of Keno, so I asked the very amply-endowed cocktail waitress (she was 45 if she was a day old) how to play. As I stared down her blouse, I thought I heard the rules.
I played an 8-number 3-way ticket and promptly read my eight numbers off the overhead ticket board.
Twelve thousand dollars later, I instantly became a fan of the game. Over the course of the next five years, I would lose back way more than I won.
But not tonight.
I threw dice for a total of 32 straight hours.
When I finally pulled down my last bet, I was thirteen grand to the good. The IRS got their money. I spoke with them in the cage when I cashed out.
Then I saw something that told me I was not in the minors anymore.
Not one, but two ladies of the evening were waving to me and smiling.