Waking this morning
at 4 a.m., I knew something was wrong as soon as my feet hit
the floor. "Where in the heck am I?" I wondered, then
remembered that my wife and I had gone to Las Vegas, Nevada.
Tuesday was my last day there, but it takes me a while to get
used to new surroundings. The time was 5 a.m. in Santa Fe, and
I was right on schedule.
I had been invited
to a craps tournament, and since Linda and I hadn't been to
the gambling capital of the world for a long time, we decided
We left Santa Fe
the previous Sunday evening and arrived at the famous Flamingo
Hotel about 6:30 local time. The Flamingo Hotel, you might remember,
is the hotel that the infamous Mafioso Bugsy Seigel built. I
hadn't been in the hotel for quite a while and had forgotten
how beautiful the landscaping in the interior courtyard is.
Even though the hotels
that have been built in Las Vegas the last few years are unbelievably
gorgeous, I'm still partial to the old ones. For years, my favorite
hotel was the Desert Inn. It represented what Vegas was all
about. Now it is being dismantled. Its country-club style, where
people dressed for dinner in the evening, had become outdated,
so the Desert Inn is being replaced by a much bigger casino,
a huge cathedral dedicated to the gambling gods.
After we checked
into our room, I went downstairs to register for the Monday
and Tuesday craps tournament. At one time I had fancied myself
a good craps player, and every once in a while I need a reminder
of how wrong I was. At the registration desk they gave me a
name tag, which also listed the two times I was scheduled to
play and which table and position on the table. They also gave
me a copy of the tournament rules.
The rules stated
that the play period would be 40 minutes, plus seven rolls of
the dice after that. Since all players have their own unique
system, which in the long run doesn't work, I figured that my
style, although contrary to most, had as good a chance as any
to win the tournament.
Linda and I got
up fairly early on Monday, in order to play some tennis before
the extreme heat of the day arrived. The temperature in Vegas
was hitting a high of 100-plus. An hour and a half of tennis,
even in the morning heat, takes care of any residue in my body
from the night before.
I was scheduled to
play craps at 11 a.m., so after tennis we had breakfast and
went to our room for a shower. By 10:45 I was at the appropriate
tournament crap table, ready to take on my opponents. Without
trying to teach you how to play craps in this article, suffice
it to say that one of the many ways to bet is for or against
the dice shooter making the point. Making the point means that
the person rolling the dice will roll the same number a second
time before rolling a 7, providing that the number rolled the
first time is 4,5,6,8,9 or 10. If the shooter rolls any other
number the first time, he wins or lose accordinglythat
is, on 2,3 and 12 he loses, and on 7 or 11 he wins. As long
as the shooter wins he (or she) gets to keep the dice. When
the shooter loses, the dice pass to the next player to the left.
Anyway, I usually
go against the dice, meaning that I bet that the shooter will
not make the point. If you bet for or against the shooter and
win, you are paid an equal amount to what you bet.
Each player was given
$5,000 in play-money chips that had no monetary value except
for the tournament. There were 12 players assigned to each table.
On the first attempt to make the point by the first shooter,
all the players at my tableexcept mebet that the
shooter would make the point. Well, he didnt, so I broke
out ahead of everybody else. The following two shooters did
not make their point either, and I continued to get further
ahead of my opponents.
As the 40-minute
time limit approached, I was well ahead. When the timekeeper
informed us that there were only seven rolls of the dice left
to go, I was feeling pretty goodand that's when all hell
broke loose. Since my opponents could see that I was far ahead,
and since we were only using play money, they began to make
high-risk bets that paid many more times what they bet. Well
of the 11 opponents, some won their gambles. To top it off,
the shooters started to make their points. The combination of
the two soon led to my demise, and I ended being third. In this
tournament, third had no rewards.
I went back to our
room and told my wife the results. Then, with a plan for the
second day tournament firmly entrenched in my mind, off we went
to enjoy the rest of Vegas.
Well, there I was
Tuesday morning at 4 a.m., thinking about my method of attack
on the crap table and at the same time limbering up for tennis.
I finally went downstairs to practice my craps method with real
money. I don't think I'll tell you the results, but I think
you can guess!
Linda finally came
down and rescued me from myself. She took me to the tennis courts,
where she continued to punish me. Then we went to breakfast,
and as we were waiting to order, my wife asked me what time
I was supposed to play. I told her my assigned time was 12 noon.
We ate a leisurely breakfast and ambled up to our room like
a couple of tired tennis players. When we got there, it was
11:15. I picked up the name tag just to double-check what time
my game was scheduledand was shocked to see that it said
11 a.m. I ran downstairs to my assigned crap table, only to
discover that I was too late to play.
Sadly I returned
to the room, convinced that had I gotten to play, I probably
would have won! I wonder if thats what they call a gambler's
Have a good day.