Here is my story that sums up my love for Las Vegas and its wild ways…
I grew up gambling. No, let me rephrase that. I grew up swimming in gambling culture. Bookie relatives. Talks of ½ points and bad beats at the dinner table. Family screaming at the TV on Thanksgiving because of a late TD for a backdoor cover. I was the kid who not only ran the NCAA pool in high school but I had all the teachers and two principals in it too. So now that you have the picture you understand that when I turned 21 I had to get to Vegas. ASAP. The problem was that I was a student at Penn State with no money. About a month after my 21st birthday, my buddy Joe, who I booked with, and I got drunk watching Monday Night Football. We started toying around the idea of going to Vegas. Not next month or next weekend; that night. We tossed around different ideas and scenarios and we came up with the best one: Let’s take a bus! Now, I’m sure most of you are familiar with the geography of the United States, but State College, PA to Las Vegas, NV is 2299.1 miles. This was the first of many quality decisions on our spur of the moment cross country bus trip. We left Tuesday morning at 7am. We arrived in Vegas on Thursday night. No hotels. Only truck stops and bus stations. We had not showered in 3 days and had survived a mugging attempt. It all felt worth it. We were in fucking Vegas, baby! We got a room at The Mirage. We had heard of it in movies. After several days of living on the bus, the room felt like heaven; maybe better. I’ll never forget that escalator ride onto the casino floor. The sounds getting louder and louder as the steps rose up. The bings and dings followed by the loud celebration screams. Like a tuning fork in my heart, I felt an energy that I had never felt before. Anyone who has been to Vegas knows exactly what I’m talking about. (I’ll pause for a second while you reminisce) Okay, so now Joe and I start gambling. We are knowledgeable, but not so wise in casino etiquette. We are ordering draft beers. Remember, we are poor college kids. Once we realize we can drink whatever we want, we go to town. I see people drinking Corona. I had never had one. I see this trick they do when they put their thumb in opening and flip the bottle upside-down and the lime floats to the bottom of the Corona. Looks pretty cool. I grab my bottle, thumb in, flip over, turn back right side up, thumb out, and… I was unaware of the trick of sliding your thumb out nice and slow. I spray the entire blackjack table with beer; chips, cards, money, the dealer, and a few other players. I think it’s time to try some craps.
Joe and I bounce all over from casino to casino and from game to game. We are up and down all night. Finally, we hit a hot streak at roulette. By hot streak, I mean we won got smashed, went to piss with money on table in play, and when we got back it had quadrupled. I know, pure genius. We gave some back that night but we knew what we had to do with that money. The plane ride home to Pittsburgh felt like stealing. Needless to say Vegas had left a lasting impression on me.
I’ve made plenty of trips out to the desert since then; strip clubs, night clubs, $5,000 bar bills, getting thrown out of The Flamingo, and then some. Some winners and some losers. I hope to share them all with you here on our site, THE BOOK OF VEGAS.
– @THE_ScottK (Hermitage, PA, USA)