I can't imagine anyone else shed a tear as the (New) Frontier was imploded yesterday on the Vegas Strip. I did, though. I have a number of memories of the place, nearly all of them occuring in my nascent Vegas phase.
My second greatest gambling-related moment took place there (this was number one). I was in town with two buddies, the first time I'd been to Vegas with them, and they were skeptical, to put it mildly, when I suggested we hit up the Frontier for craps. I'd always had good luck at the game there and they offered 10x odds on cheap tables, the latter information convincing Big Head and Jorginho to give it a try.
We walk onto the tiny casino floor and as we approached the craps table, one of the croupiers shouted, "Joe!" (well, he shouted my actual name). First time I ever felt like a Big Shot. Turns out dealers remember big tippers.
I had cleaned up on the table my previous visit and was tossing redbirds every which way at the dealers. Meanwhile, my girlfriend at the time was stashing black chips in her purse. When we finally called it a night, she stopped at the toilets before we cashed out and went back to our hotel. In the meantime, I sat at at vacant blackjack table digging the black chips out of her purse, which she left with me to watch. Didn't take long for two burly security guards to come up and ask me what the hell I was doing stacking blackies out of a woman's purse. I managed to convince them I was on the up and up, but they still stuck around to make sure.
It's the place where Big Head--on a subsequent trip--"fooled" the blackjack dealers. Needing a little card (they were dealt face down back then), he'd ask for a ten; needing a ten, he'd say "little one." When the dealer gave him the opposite of what he asked for, he'd celebrate, punctuating one 21 by splaying his fingers above his head, dancing them around and shouting, "You are my puppet!"
It's where I ended up one night with Bro and Sate. Bro had been a cooler all weekend and we were calling him "Eddie Mush." Sate and I were making a bit of a comeback at the craps table and when Bro walked by we literally shoved him away from us, prompting one of the dealers, who had been the beneficiary of several tips already, to say, in all seriousness, "I can have him thrown out if you want."
Yeah, you had to wade through the omnipresent picket line/labor strife to get there. The couple times I booked a room there, they smelled old and musty, though not on par with The Plaza. Amenities were few and there were no pirate shows or volcanos to behold. Still, I cut my gambling teeth there.
And I, for one, will miss it.