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Frontier Hotel 1942-2007

Frontier Hotel 1942-2007

"This is the end result of all the bright lights... and the comp trips, of all the champagne... and free hotel suites,
and all the broads and all the booze. It's all been arranged just for us to get your money.
That's the truth about Las Vegas. We're the only winners. The players don't stand a chance. "

-- Sam "Ace" Rothstein, Casino, 1995

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Life in the Pit -- Story #1

Through the years my friends and I have been pounding the BJ tables in LV and Reno.  We have gotten into all kinds of "situations" with dealers, pit bosses, other players, and casino management while playing blackjack.  It thought it would be interesting to share some of our experiences.

"Don't Worry, He's O.K., 
I Will Keep an Eye on Him" 

Where:  Binion's Horseshoe

When: Circa mid 1990's.

The Setup: The Horseshoe may have been the greatest casino ever before it got run into the ground after Benny Binion died in 1989.  It was like the wild west in there -- packed tables, drinking, partying, money everywhere.   Just about anything was tolerated as long as you were gambling.  This incident is typical of what went on inside the joint.

I am playing blackjack at the Horseshoe.  It's 7:00 p.m, Saturday night.  I am next to a complete drunk 20 something guy at 3rd base with his nose wide open.  He's sitting on $5000 in black, green, and red chips.  His chips are strewn all over in front of him.  I am playing $5-$25 a hand.  He's playing $100-$1000 a hand.  His bet spreads make no sense -- he's all over the place and he's not counting cards.  He's splitting 2's against a 10, he doubles down with a 13 against an Ace.  I have been at the table for about 5 minutes and this guy is so drunk he can barely sit at his chair.  At this point he stands up and high fives me when he hits a BJ.  He attempts to sit down and misses the chair.  He staggers and then falls into the pit.  His drink goes flying.  He's not even down 5 seconds when two PB's rush over and pick him up off the ground.  They then carry him back to his seat and plop him down like nothing happened.  He does not even miss the next deal.  The PB's summon a waitress over to get him a another drink.  Think about it -- can you imagine something like this happening at Caesar's, Paris or NY NY today?

Then a couple sit down at the table.  They both have these beautiful Bloody Mary's they are drinking -- salt on the rim, celery sticks.  The drunk guy sees their drinks and orders himself  Bloody Mary from the waitress.  I know this is going to get ugly as soon as that drink arrives.  Now the drunk is really giving the dealer a ration of shit.  This dealer kind of deserved it -- just one of those typical old school Horseshoe dealers with no personality and an attitude.  So anyway, the dealer just gets fed up with the abuse and starts talking to the PB that this guy needs to get cut off -- This is the first and only time I have ever seen a dealer in LV say this to a PB.  The PB mumbles to the dealer something like: "Don't worry, he's OK, I will keep on eye on him."  Keep an eye on him?   Come on now.  The guy is so drunk he can barely sit on his stool.

About 5 minutes later the waitress arrives with the table drink order.  The drunk guy gets his Bloody Mary.  The drink is not even on the table for 10 seconds when he knocks it over all over the layout.  I am talking a full Bloody Mary, the entire glass, celery, olives, ice. Not only is the Blood Mary all over the table, it has splattered into the chip tray.  Now, at this point I thought the guy was going to get cut off.  At this point the dealer demanded this guy get 86'd.  Two incidents in 10 minutes because he was so drunk -- Not at old Binion's Horseshoe.

Within two minutes a housekeeping crew was there to clean the table.  They had the table cleaned up and ready to go in about a minute or so.  Cards were in the air again in under five minutes.  I watch this drunk stagger off to use the restroom -- he can barely walk.  He's literally bouncing off of people.  He comes back to the table and the crazy thing is the drunk guy was not only allowed to continue playing blackjack, but the PB's got him another drink which arrived a few minutes later.  He was told no more Bloody Mary's and if there was another problem he would be cut off from drinking -- but he could still play blackjack.  I was actually surprised they gave him a warning.  I guess they had some level of intoxication in the place where they had to cut off someone.  Apparently falling down drunk and spilling a drink on all over the table did not meet the standard!

I finally could not deal with the guy anymore and I left the table.  I don't know what happened to him or his money, but that's one drunk to remember.  Binion's Horseshoe -- now that's old school Vegas.

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