The Dumbest Thing I Did in Vegas was Walk Away Even

I don’t consider myself much of a gambler in the traditional sense. I’ll play poker with friends occasionally, but I’m not the type of guy to run off to Vegas for a weekend and drop a few grand. As such, it may be no surprise to hear that I had actually never been to Las Vegas until last week. I had been invited out to the area to speak at the XLIVE conference (fun conference series, recommend it if in a town near you). Although not all that interested in doing a lot of gambling, I love exploring new places, so I planned the trip to give me a full day to roam around the city to explore the famous casinos and digs. I was staying towards the end of the strip at the Mandalay. After getting the obligatory picture in front of the Welcome to Las Vegas sign, I made my way up the strip and through the Luxor, MGM, ARIA, Bellagio, Paris, Caesars Palace, Venetian, and the Wynn. It was a long day of walking, but had a fun time exploring the over-the-top extravagance of each. If I were to ever come back, I’d definitely bring a friend as I could see how this could be a fun weekend if shared with others.

As the day turned to night, I decided it was time to try my hand at gambling. When in Vegas right? As I mentioned before, I play a little poker, so I sat down at a Hold ‘em table. BIG MISTAKE. I’m down $500 within 15 minutes to a shark that came and sat down next to me immediately. Ha wow, I’m starting to hate that 15 minutes into this I’m already in a hole. Instead of doubling down I cut my losses and move on to a variety of other games including the slots, blackjack, and craps. I have varying success at these and start to climb out of the hole I had quickly dug for myself. But then I discovered roulette. Oh boy.

It was amazing how the time disappeared without realizing it. Before I knew it, it was after midnight and I was still at the roulette table – slowly but surely climbing out of the hole. Around 1am I’mup $20. I feel invincible, I’ve climbed the mountain and I’m ahead (yes, I realize $500 might be peanuts, but for a non-traditional gambler, it’s a fair amount). I start to inject rational thought into my brain which is now on a high. WALK AWAY. I get up but stand watching the tablefor a moment and let a round or two play out without participating. At which point I gathered my chips, stood up, cashed out, and headed to bed.

…. And the story should have ended that way. But as I found out quickly, Vegas does strange irrational things to people. The beginning of the end started the same, but ended very differently haha.

I sit outside the table for a moment and let a round or two play out without participating. At which point I gathered my chips, stood up, and started to walk towards the cash out booth… as I’m walking over I start thinking to myself.

“You did it, you climbed out of the hole!”

“So you made $20 over the course of 5 hours… that’s $4 an hour… not all that impressive.”

“You know, that was actually pretty easy to climb out of the $500 hole you put yourself in. In fact, you’re at over $100 an hour if it wasn’t for that damn hold ‘em game…”

“To hell with this, I didn’t come to Vegas to break-even!”

I stop halfway to the cash out booth, turn around and march promptly back towards the table.

“$520 on red.”

The ball rolls.

“Black. I’m sorry sir.”

Wow, I hate this place haha. I turn around, and head back to my room and finally get in bed. As I doze off I smile to myself, for whatever reason, I sort of love the fact I went out that way, even if it ended up being the most expensive blog post I’ve written.