Day 3 in Vegas. The true test of wills. How far outside your limit have you traveled? How much more damage can your body withstand? It's a day of decisions, of survival.
I awoke feeling better than I had any right to. I was alert. I got a belly laugh from the couple wearing their matching Celine Dion souvenier t-shirts, garments that were a hideous orangish-pink. The shirts were two sizes too big and billowed like top sails. I wandered around a bit, while trying to make the first decision of the day. Shower or no shower?
It was 10:30 already and I was late for football, but I figured the healing powers of hot water would sustain me a bit longer, as would the grande hot tea I snagged on the way back up to my room. I'd like to give a shout out to the Flamingo service workers. They sure know how to pour a cup of hot water. Maybe, someday in the future, they'll go the extra mile and actually put the tea bag in the cup instead of just tossing it to me unopened.
Adequately cleansed and coiffed, I headed to the IP sportsbook where the usual suspects were knee-deep. I traded my tea for Hair of the Greyhounds (a couple of them courtesy of The Fat Guy). I had played a parlay the night before, so had action going. For a bit. The Raiders at +10.5 needed another zero in front of the decimal point to have a chance at covering at Lambeau and the ticket was dead by halftime (though I got the other three games correct; ain't that the way?). I played a baby parlay on the afternoon games and also laid a hundy on the Browns at -3 1/2 at the Jets.
Miami Don has already related what happened, in awesomely detailed and ass-eating fashion, but I'm compelled to add-on, since it was the most instense five minutes in the history of roller coaster football wagering.
The odd thing is, it was a completely normal game for 55 minutes. The Browns did themselves no favors by failing to capitalize on good field position, but their 11-point lead (17-6) seemed secure because the Jets were mounting nothing at all. Then they began a drive which, halfway through, caused all of us (ALL the money was on the Browns save for Waffles and F-Train) to start thinking ominous thoughts.
"Cleveland's in the prevent. Jets are gonna score and get the two-point conversion."
The first happened. The second did not and when the pass attempt was tipped away, we celebrated. Until the Jets recovered an onside kick and moved right to the 20. Now, with three timeouts left, 1:48 on the clock and down by 5, you can make a case that the field goal attempt was reasonable. Unless you had bet on the Browns -3 1/2. When Nugent came on on 4th-and-10 from the 20, threats were made against Mangini. People called their Italian relatives. His home address became needed information.
Still, reasonable. Until the Jets tried another onside kick. Why. The. Fuck. would you give the Browns the ball further up the field when you kicked a fucking field goal banking on your defense stopping them from getting a first down--and burning all your timeouts in the process? Would you not want better field position by kicking it deep in case you DID stop them?
But us Browns bettors were happy, especially when Jurevicius returned the onside kick inside the Jet 40. "Three plays, no first down, gain 8 yeards and the Browns HAVE to try an FG only up by 2!" was the reasoning amongst the IP Dawg Pound. So far so good when it gets to 3rd-and-4.
All I will say is, at the moment that ensued, I would have totally made out with Jamaal Lewis. What actually happend when he spun away from three defenders inside the 5 and scored was I blacked out. I came to in the hallway. Apparently, there was jumping and shouting and spinning. Balletic. Graceful. Drunken.
It wasn't over, but let's all thank the Lord for Mangina. First and ten on the 20, down two scores, and he kicks the FG, giving up 30 yards and the ball. Idiotic. THEN he kicks it deep. Hilarious.
My theory? Mangina was trying to get fired before having to face the Pats the next week.
Don called it a Slump Buster. I have to believe this is true. But I am also going to credit my scarf and knit cap. I haven't lost yet since buying them.
Now came Decision #2. The most crucial I would make all weekend. Nap and attempt to rally (no sure thing) or charge ahead, throwing caution and future liver function to the wind? I chose Door #2, behind which were Newcastles and Pai-Gow.
A LOT of fucking Newcastle. We waited way too long for our first round of cocktails at the All Blogger Pai Gow table (G & G, drizz, Betty, maigrey), but when she finally arrived, redbirds were offered as a carrot for a swifter response. We got it. To the point where we were forced to slam what we had left when she returned with more. drizz got confused, drinks were switched, drizz lost his voice and was reduced to mumbling incoherently. Our first dealer was No Fun, but toward the end of her down, she started handing out money, making us think her replacement, Ann (Ann? Was it Ann?), was brought on to close. Not so. Ann helped make the shouts of "PAI-GOW!" a frequent and rythmic chant. I regained my Bonus Heater and hit four in a row. Again, I got dealt back-to-back boats, including a Hammer Gow (77722), and both times I had $25 and $5 out there. I'm really good at Pai-Gow. Lots of people got paid twice. My oh-so-slow squeezing of the cards became a table-wide phenomenon. In fact, we may have hit on a new Pai-Gow tactic. drizz would watch me reveal my hand before even starting on his own, doubling the time it took to play a single round, increasing the Push Gow aspects of the game. If a push is a win because it buys you more drinking time, a slow reveal does the same.
I'll be copyrighting that move shortly.
I was thinking it was at this point that I got a huge laugh out of Tripjax, but, now that I think about it, it probably happened on Saturday night. I was playing Pai-Gow when he and his wife walked by. He was...um...searching for the right phrase here...er...epically fucked-up. He stopped to
Maybe you had to be there, but if you'd been around Trip for any of the previous 4 hours, you'd know the face I'm talking about.
I took $175 off the Pai-Gow table. They did finally bring in a cooler and Heather's behind-the-scenes machinations finally took effect. The IP opened up a $5 craps table. Just for us!
Our Pai-Gow crew, plus Irish Jim, ringed one end of the table. A bunch of jackasses ringed the other end. The fairer half of G & G was attempting to learn the rules of the game, an exceptionally difficult task when the people doing the explaining are hammered. Truly, we made no sense. But we were winning. I hit three 2-way yo's. THREE! Statisically unusual, but the dealers were lovin' us. By the time Jim let the dice go to the other end of the table, I was up more than a hundy. By the time they got back to maigs, I was down $40. Those people suck.
We ran through our group one more time and we couldn't reverse the cooling effect. I colored up down $125, but still up $50 on the session! Winner! Tired, hungry winner.
I figured that was it for my gambling exploits. I found bed to be excellent. I slept until 10:30 when the housekeeper interrogated me. Made it in time for my flight and did something I never do.
I stopped for no reason and stared. Just stared at it. It seemed to be beckoning me. Hard to describe, but it wasn't a random thing. So I sat down and put $20 into the machine, the one on the end, the one that spoke. A few pulls--the first I've made on a slot maching in 10 years--and it comes up 777, two different colors. That's $25. A few more and it comes up the same. $25 more. Fifteen more pulls, a couple minor wins, and it comes up 777, all white. That's $100.
I scratched my head. First removing my knit cap. My lucky knit cap.