A Couple of Degenerate Las Vegas Observations

I like to make jokes about some of the sick things I see in Las Vegas but what I saw last night was sick in the literal sense.  I go to a local video poker bar on graveyard a couple of days a week.  I write some of my best articles in that bar.  It is the perfect balance of music, background noise, beer and degenerates.  The bar is typically close to empty, especially between 2am and 6am.  Those that go there that time of night are usually alone and playing the bar top video poker machines.  It is a nice place overall.  The only distraction is the occasional drunk that wants to be my friend and will not leave me alone.

I finished writing a long opinion article and handled some end of month content work for a client last night.  It was a long night and I got to the bar about 10:30pm.  I noticed a woman sitting by herself playing video poker who seemed annoyed when I went to the bar to get a beer.  She was drinking wine.  The bartender seemed to be familiar with her.

Fast forward about six hours and she is still there on the same video poker machine.  There was a certain odor that came from that area and not long after the bartender noticed that this woman had thrown up all over herself.

The bartender and cook cleaned up the area around her.  Apparently they were out of what they called “Puke Dust” (I guess this is a bigger problem than I thought for this seemingly quiet tavern) so the job was made harder than it would normally be.

The apparent drunk woman getting sick is not the worst part of the story.

The woman had it all over her.  Instead of going home to clean up, she continued to play video poker covered in puke.  Apparently she was stuck a bunch and had to try and win it back.  It was not just a little, she was wearing it.  She finally left about an hour later.  The bar did not kick her out sooner because she is a “big player”.  In other words, she loses a lot of money to them.

And my previous visit to this bar..

The last time I was at this bar someone was playing video blackjack.   I usually ignore the video poker players.  They keep to themselves and typically do not cause any problems.  I would not have noticed this man except for he was screaming about his wins and losses so it was hard to ignore him.

This bar offers the typical garbage Las Vegas tavern video poker that should be avoided by all.  Their video blackjack game pays even money on blackjack, does not allow doubling after a split and only allows doubling on 10 or 11.  The game has about a 3.5% hold and goes as fast as any other game so it tears people up quick.

The player was going on wild swings.  From all his yelling I figured out that he was playing $50-$400 a hand.  This meant he was wagering somewhere in the $60,000 an hour range if he was playing 10 hands a minute, something easy to do.  That meant that he was losing about $2100 an hour at a $100 a hand average.

He would cash out thousands and put it back into the machine.  It got to the point that this player had taken every $10, $20, $50 and $100 bill out of the bar through his cashouts but had stuck it all back in the machines.  The bartenders do not have access to the cash drops from the machines for a variety of security reasons.  He probably cashed out about $50,000.  One of the bill collectors was full from him stuffing it so he had to change machines.  It got to the point that this player had $1000-$2000 in $5 bills all around him because he had put every bigger bill the bar had into the machines.  He could not shove them in the machine fast enough to cover his large bets.  Eventually he lost everything.  He even left and came back with a reload in the middle of this session.

There are a lot of fun things about Las Vegas but there are some things that are just sick to watch.  Some people dismiss the idea that gambling can be an illness but I have witnessed too many times how some people get on a gambling binge.  It is sad to watch, but I guess it is unavoidable considering the business Las Vegas is in.

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