Sunday January 4th, 2009


I vaguely recall the clock reading approximately 8:00 am when I began to stir in my still porn card covered bed.  Cory managed to wake up before I, shower and sneak out of the door without too much noise.  I was already awake so I too got up.  After my quick shower I noticed the thoughtful steam outlined "Kevin is a dork" on the bathroom mirror.  How nice.  I quickly got dressed we met downstairs and opted to search for some food.  He suggested an Ellis Island breakfast and I didn't disagree.  We started the venture and found nearly no one on the strip at that time.

We did see a few police officers escorting what I can only imagine was a prostitute off of Caesar's Palace property.  She was tall, skinny, tight pants and high heels.  I tried to get her in the picture but I was too late.  I figured asking the officers to pose for another picture would have been out of the question as well.

Empty Las Vegas strip.

Really empty......

Police helping a prostitute find her way.

Something about this pic reminds me of Cory...

Caesar's fountain.

It was kind of nice walking outside in the cool breeze without all the foot traffic around you.  We made our way to Ellis Island after a few minutes and settled into their nearly empty restaurant.

I opted for some biscuits and gravy while Cory went straight for the steak and eggs. 


Ellis Island booth behind me.

Steak and eggs.

Biscuits and gravy.


Cory thought his eggs were a little runny and I thought the steak was a little pink (red) for being well done.  My selection wasn't anything to write home about.  It took a while for the food to arrive, but that's what I remember about this place anyway.  But hey, it was cheap and it was food - sorta.

While Cory was finishing up his cup of coffee, I opted to use the restroom.  I find a stall that was relatively clean and I settle in for the task at hand.  Things are going about as well as can be expected without going into too much detail until "it" happened......  By some sort of strange stroke of fate, luck, karma, or whatever you believe in....  I managed to make a new friend.  And when I say "make a new friend" I mean have the stall door busted open by a short, flustered, sweating Asian man looking for a vacant seat.  After the shock of "WTF, get the hell out of here!" ran through my mind, all I could really do is smile at him from my throne while he apologetically closed the door on his way out.  We didn't have time to chat about much in his quick departure.  Mark THAT off of my things to do before I die....  Okay.

While wandering out of Ellis Island we find a taxi getting ready to pull away from the Kwik Shop next door.  We get lucky and he is on duty, so we ask him to take us to the El Cortez.  "The crown jewel of Las Vegas" he sarcastically retorts.  Yes, we know. 

One very quiet $21 ride later, we pull up and walk inside. 

After signing up for a players card we settle in at an empty roulette table.  We buy in for $20 each and start covering numbers with our twenty-five cent chips.  The drink service was pretty good and I start things with a coffee and Bailey's while Cory goes straight for the rum and cokes. 

The numbers were hitting and missing for us so we were mainly treading water.  Things were fun and I heard at the table behind us a large bellied man talking to his mute friend about "positive money." 

"You see Bob, there are 38 numbers on the wheel, and if you put your money on the number that hits, you win.  It's positive money.  Not negative money, positive money, Bob.  Bob are you hearing me?  It's positive money."  I think we heard the phrase "positive money" about fifteen times in a span of two or three minutes.  No, I'm not exaggerating.  For a few moments we let ourselves in on the conversation telling each other that it's positive money - not negative money - positive money.  "You see Cory, how she's paying me when my number hit just there?  That's positive money, not negative money."

A few rum and cokes later I see a tall black man standing near the other roulette table opposite of us.  He has a note pad and appears to be writing something down.  He sees me and we make eye contact.  I turn away only to find that he's still awkwardly looking at me.  I again look down at my bets, and peek back only to find he's still watching me. we're going to get raped....

He comes over and eventually we end up talking to him.  This was Ron.  Ron is a nice enough guy, and just for our readers, I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  See, Ron has a system to beat roulette.  SHHHHH!  Don't go running off to tell all your friends.  This is hush-hush information.  What Ron does is, he writes down every number that comes up at the roulette wheel.  He also notes which dealers are spinning the ball as the numbers are coming up.  Then through his secret "system" (which he wouldn't reveal to us) he determines which numbers are going to come up next.  Based on this magical system, you bet on 12 numbers, and you'll statistically hit more than you'll lose.  STATISTICALLY YOU'LL BEAT THE CASINOS AT THEIR OWN GAME! 

Okay dude, whatever.

He later shows me a laminated card about the size of a piece of paper from a fortune cookie with numbers on it. 

"Okay now you see that 26 came up last right?"


"Do you see it?"

Do I see what?

"Do you see what's going to happen next?"


At this point I find my hand slowly going to my pocket where my cash is.  Okay, it's still there....  Whew.  He had dozens of these laminated cards in his pockets.  Cory, being the dumb ass he is, tells Ron we're staying at Treasure Island.  We both end up in our possession a piece of paper showing how "using his system" we could end up making a net profit of something like $866,500 dollars a year if we only gamble 1 day a week at 4 hours a day.  The first week you bet with dollar chips, the second week you move up to five dollar bets, and eventually end up betting with $25 chips.

I know what you're thinking, well why doesn't he use his own system?  Well I asked that.  He tells me he doesn't "shit where he eats."  He just takes the numbers from the El Cortez for his system.  Normally he's on the strip wearing a suit, but today he's just slumming downtown.  Uh huh.......okay.

We wrap up our roulette session and head over the El Cortez poker room.  We wanted to see if we could find Jackie Gaughn playing since he's a part of the old school Vegas.  Plus he's from Omaha so we thought we'd have something to talk about. 

He was playing and I managed to get a seat at his table.  The only card game in session was 1-3-6 hold'em.  It's a single one dollar blind, and you can raise anywhere from $1 to $3 until the river.  On the river you can bet anywhere from $1 to $6. 

What the hell????  Yeah, I thought so too.  In any regard I sat down.

I ended up tossing Jackie my license hoping he'd comment on the picture or the fact that I'm from the same city as he.  He looked at it for a good 45 seconds before sliding it back without a word.  Okay.....personable guy....

After about an hour and a half I got up the courage to ask him what ever happened to Fat Irish Green the gangster with a lifetime comp at the El Cortez.  He said he hasn't seen that guy "in quite a while."

He wasn't a really talkative guy, but wasn't a grumpy old curmudgeon either.  If I sold some casinos for $82 million, you wouldn't find me at that poker game all day everyday.  Granted the guy's 88 years old now, and I suppose can do whatever the hell he pleases. 

I think I heard him say "one for the money!" every time he called to see a flop.  I did hear "two for the show!" a few times when he made a two dollar call.  In the end, Cory and I thought the game was horribly weak, and lame. 

I ended up losing my $40 buy in since I was bored with the action and would call with anything.  From here we decided to venture towards Fremont street and see what was going on.

Again the crowds weren't out.  I wasn't expecting a sea of people but I did think I would have noticed more traffic than what we saw.  I texted Mr. Scotch and as it turns out he and his son were at Binions, and we were nearly there.  We all settled in at a blackjack pit.

Leaving the El Cortez.

Is that new?

Maybe later....

Pretty empty.

Pretty quiet.....

Spray painters attracting a crowd.

Promo chips.

They had a promotion where you buy $20 at the player's desk you'd get $25 in promo chips in addition to a $10 match play coupon.  The game started well and I was winning some bets.  In the end I walked away with another measly one bet profit.  Cha-ching.....  The Scotch boys and us part ways for the time being.

Cory and I elect to check out the Plaza hotel to see if any sit and go tournaments are about to start.  First, the poker room has moved again.  It's now against the wall where the old Omaha lounge used to be just next to the convention hall.  Back towards the bathrooms is the new players desk.  I guess they like to move things around every couple of months.  Must make things more profitable.  I dunno.

We find that there are 7 seats filled for the next sit and go tournament, so we put our names on the list.  Just as a tenth signs up and they call everyone back, two people get up from the one live table going and said they had to remove their names from the list.  Turns out it would be a while before a game started.  The fact that we've been there 20 minutes now waiting, and the fact that the sit and go's are now $50 an entry (they pay 4 spots now?), we took our names off the list and left.

With a few minutes of miscellaneous walking around we find our way into Mermaids.  A $.99 cent hot dog sounds good about now. 

I decide to go crazy and try something different.  I get a Mexican dog but also go for a standard regular.  Cory opts for two "normal" dogs and we settle in.  Normally I'm not a fan of onions smothering my food, and jalapeņos certainly have a limited place in my diet.  But I said what the hell, and thought I'd give it a try.    The Mexican dog is smothered in what seemed to be a pound of cheese.  After every bite I needed to use about 5 napkins just to clean myself up.  It was good, but I likely won't be having another one in the future. 

Mexican dog for $2.99!


Cory decides to play it safe.

I used the last napkin at the table....

Bar shot.

About now we're weighing our options as to what to do.  Nothing on the strip was calling our name, so we landed on going back to the El Cortez for a second round of roulette.  But, not before I buy a round of 60 oz rum and cokes for the trip over. 

The same cocktail waitress was working from our visit a few hours earlier so we were in good shape. 

Blue chips are going to be winners!

It just looks like a sexy mess.

My greyhound while Cory still nurses his football.

Now the El Cortez is famous for shooting me down for my requests to take pictures while at the tables.  This time I apparently had the upper hand.  I simply left the flash off on my camera and snapped away when it wasn't too obvious.  I got some good shots.  I put away the football in short order and went with a greyhound - grapefruit juice and vodka.  It was "eh."

Pretty soon I had to switch to brown chips as the casino decided to take away the blue ones I was having fun with.  Also, you have to keep an eye out on your pay outs.  We corrected more than one mistake.  It's easy to notice when you should have 105 chips coming your way instead of 35. 

For some reason betting on two sections of numbers seemed like a good idea.  That is until I lost.  Eh, what can you do?  I opted to move over for some mini baccarat while Cory finished his roulette session.

Let's see if brown gives me better luck.

Getting crazy!

Okay, one more time.

That bet lost too. No love. Where's Ron? I need some help here.

The mini baccarat table was fun.  Everyone was writing down the numbers looking for patterns.  The dealer handed me a sheet and a pen, so I had to write down some information too so I didn't look like I was being left out.  I only played a few hands and made a small profit before Cory came over.  Time to try something new.

Candid camera shot at the mini baccarat table.

My notes.

Eh, a win is a win.

Cory had never really played craps before, so today was going to be "his" day.  We each bought in, and a tall black guy next to Cory was giving him some pointers.  Ironically his name was also Ron (but different guy, mind you). 

The dice make their way to Cory and he lets them fly.  You know that old saying that craps virgins are good luck?  Well, this is no exception.  Cory was hitting numbers left and right.  Bets were being pressed, high fives were being exchanged and every other person in the casino knew what was happening in our neck of the woods.

At one point the pit boss came over to tell us to try to keep it down a little bit.  Are you kidding me?  What, are we scaring all the "normal" Cortez customers away?  Give it a rest.  I had to snap a few pictures of my growing stack to document the excitement.  Cory was a magician with those dice.  After his 60 minute roll I was next in line.  I set the point, made some bets, and crapped out immediately after.  I guess the magic is gone. 

Making some profit....

Oh it's getting pretty!

It's pretty. It's so pretty!

Again no pit bosses or dealers gave me a hard time about pictures or my camera.  But at the same time I was being a stealthy ninja about it.  Click, turn off, put away.

From here no one else was hitting anything for very long and I lost a good portion of my profit back to the house.  I cashed out while still ahead and decided I needed to find Ron (roulette Ron) and get a picture with him.  I figured he was still on the property somewhere unless he was making thousands at Wynn or Bellagio in his suit.  At first I thought I might have missed him, and decided to check one more place before giving up.  Sure enough, I found him marking up some numbers in the keno parlor.  I wonder if he has a system for that too. 

I asked a player at the closest slot machine if he could snap a quick picture with me and my new friend.  Ron thought it was cool, and never really had any clue I was making fun of him with my "Shocker" pose. 

I even went outside looking for Ron before finding him.

If you see this man in Vegas, play roulette with him. It's positive money! Sorry Ron, I like you, but wake up man.

I feel for the guy.  Either he's mentally ill and finds it appealing to write down numbers from an irrelevant tote board, or he's a con artist (my vote), or he really believes he can beat the casino at their own game, or all of the above.  He really wanted me to call him the next day so we could all meet up at Treasure Island and make a killing.  It would only take a five thousand dollar buy in from Cory and I to do it.  Uh huh.....riiiiight.....

Back at the craps table I showed Cory my new crown jewel of a picture.  He's still holding his own at the craps table, so I wander back to the poker room to kill some time.  I bought in for another $40.  Jackie was still playing as well.

I made a quick $20 profit and things were going my way.  Soon a security guard came over to the table to escort Jackie to his suite.  I asked the guard if it'd be okay if I could inquire about a picture, and was shot down.  No way.  Even if I asked Jackie?  Yeah, no sale.  It wasn't going to happen today, so that's why I was glad I snapped a picture with my cell phone earlier.

Around this time I was starting to hit some flops.  I'd nail two pair right away, and it'd hold up the entire way.  The chips were coming my way and I couldn't believe how easy this game had become.  During one hand I nearly got into an argument with a regular on my left.  His name is Brian, and I can only describe him as a skinny biker type (long greasy hair, mustache that needs to be trimmed, smelly, etc.)  The board had showed 2-4-A-K at this point.  I had turned a pair of kings and one player was all in for his last three dollars.  I raised another three and Brian on my left folded.  The river was a blank and the pot came my way with kings being the best hand.  Brian said he folded an ace since he didn't like his kicker.  I had to disagree with him.

I said there's no way he folded an ace since there was already about $20 in the pot by the turn.  "Yes, I did."  No, you didn't....if you had any sort of ace,  you're going to call the extra three dollars to see the end of the hand.  In no way did I agree with his statement, and thought he was blowing smoke.

Soon a few other players at the table turned against me since I took a few pots from them too.  Granted, I hit a few straights and flushes at the river, and the flops bringing out two pair for me were still coming.  This reminded me of the no limit session I had at Bellagio in July.  I couldn't lose.  They'd be mad at me for playing a jack-3 off suite and hitting.  I soon had to set them straight.  At one point, I got into it with a muscle head who criticized my play for the final time.

"Dude, do you realize where you're playing?  You're playing at the El Cortez in a 1-3-6 LIMIT game.  This reminds me of my home poker games when I was fourteen, only easier." 

By now he gave me the "whatever man, keep playing that way" speech and started to put on his headphones.  I asked "Do you want me to play with my cards up?  Because I will, and I don't think it's going to help you any.  I'll still be taking your chips."  I also told them I'm not going to fold anything pre-flop to a one dollar bet at this point.  I also told them if I have any sort of draw, or over cards after the flop I'm going to chase it. 

Yeah, I got into a testosterone pissing contest at the worst poker game in Vegas.  Having good times, and making friends. 

I'm off to a good start early.

It just keeps getting better.

I've had enough time to chop 'em up, time to leave.

Cory's craps winnings.

Another thing that turned me off about the poker room, was the fact that no one really had any respect for betting order.  You know, that fundamental rule in poker?  It did pay off for me, when I had a King-8 of hearts and flopped the nut flush.  Brian on my left bet $6 at the river when it was my turn.  The dealer looked at me, and I thought he was going to ask me what the rule is in that situation.  In any case, I raised another six bucks and Brian called.  He could have saved himself some cash if he knew what he was doing. 

When I hit about $213 dollars I packed it up.  The few at the table I got into it with were quiet by now.  But alas, nothing is easy.  I go to the podium to get my cash, and of course no one is around.  It's only the two dealers in the room and both are at full tables.  I asked one dealer "Hey man, do you guys just want me to get this myself?"  I got a few laughs from the other table but finally the manager came scurrying over to cash me in.

I met up with Cory who had just concluded his profitable virgin craps session.

We cab it back to Treasure Island and look for some food.  By now only the deli and coffee shop are open so I told Cory I'd pick up the bill.  Canter's Deli is where we waited for about 20 minutes from standing in line to waiting for our food to be delivered.  I went with the Gay Canter's Delight which consisted of pastrami, corned beef, ham, turkey, and swiss cheese.  Cory elected to try out the Canter's famous cheeseburger - with a pickle.  We took our food back to the room and chowed down.

My main complaint concerning the deli is......  Don't ask me if I want coleslaw or potato salad if you're not going to give me either with my order any way.  Ass hats.

The sandwich is good, but wayyyyy too much food.  I left half of it behind.  It's easily enough to feed two or more people.  Cory's cheeseburger was okay, but nothing worth waiting 20 minutes for.

Canter's Deli menu at Treasure Island.

My view while waiting for our orders to come up.

That's one sandwich out of four.

Cory's burger.

Closer pic of the Canter's famous cheeseburger.

I only managed to get through half of my food.

By now we were just tired and the booze was wearing off.  I opted to take a shower to get all the smoke smell out of my hair.  Soon after, it was night night time.


Main Menu     |     To Day One     |      To Day Three