I’m going to confess this right away – I never was much of a gambler.
Oh, don’t misunderstand me, I loved playing poker on weekends with my mates, and occasionally trying out a pokie whenever I was in a casino, but I know myself well enough to know that most games are far too complicated for me to understand. And I certainly would never gamble for high stakes, or risk my life’s savings, and yet on one dark and stormy night in Las Vegas, that’s exactly what I did.
My Second Wife
But before I can tell you about how I decided to play with the big sharks at the MGM Casino, I’ve got to tell you a little bit about my wife. She’s my second wife, actually, my first marriage ending mostly amicably after two kids and a decade of boredom and frustration. After my divorce was finalized, I figured I was too old to get re-married, and I resigned myself to being a part-time dad and a full-time hot dog salesman.
Of course, that was before I met Katya, the woman who knocked me off of me feet with a single glance. How could I resist her? Few men could, with her stunning legs and sparkling eyes. Originally born in Ukraine, she’d been in the States long enough that she had just a few cute irregularities in her English. A former model, she towered over most guys, especially when she was wearing heels, but I inherited my height from my basketball playing father, so I can stare at Katya directly in her sapphire blue eyes.
Katya’s family escaped a lot of poverty and turmoil in her native land, which makes them especially focused on material security. Now, I get it that some guys might consider her a bit of a gold digger, but I see nothing wrong with spoiling my beautiful wife on occasion. She isn’t much of a cook in the kitchen, but she sure does heat up the bedroom, if you get my drift. And what exactly is wrong with working a few extra hours so that she can drive a late-model BMW?
Some of my mates kid me about having a trophy wife, but she’s a good woman, and I’d do almost anything to make her happy.
Las Vegas Beckons
When I got to the outskirts of Vegas, it was already nighttime. I could’ve picked up another coffee and kept driving, but I figured it’d be more fun to stop in at one of those all you can eat buffets and load up on cheap calories before pushing on through the desert. Somehow I wound up at the MGM Casino, and after parking my car in the free lot for guests, I found my way to the buffet. Delicious! Four kinds of shrimp, to say nothing of the Mexican bar, complete with my favorite spicy sauce.
Stuffed to the gills, I started feeling sleepy. I wandered over to the reception area and asked them how much a night cost. The price was a bit high, but they told me that they’d throw in some free chips to use at the casino. I promised myself that I’d use up the free chips and then call it a night, not wanting to risk my own money. I took a quick shower and then made sure the purse was securely locked in my room safe before heading down to the tables.
The Gucci Purse
I forgot to mention this earlier, but my wife has an older sister who lives in Brentwood. I guess you could say that the two of them have a bit of a friendly competition ongoing between them, each one trying to outdo the other with how good they’re living. My wife’s sister had emailed Katya a week before the hot dog conference, telling her that she had a handbag that she wasn’t using anymore, asking my wife if she wanted it. Now, me personally?
I can’t tell the difference between a Gucci handbag and one from Sears and Roebuck, but my wife went bananas when she saw it. Katya told me those things retail at a thousand bucks or more, and her sister was being the paragon of generosity to gift it to her. Personally, I thought her sister was more interested in showing off how generous she was, but whatever. Don’t get me wrong – I love my wife, but I sure wasn’t going to fork over a grand for a purse to hold some lipstick and her keys.
And that is how, on my lunch break on the second day of the hot dog conference, I went over to Brentwood to pick up the Gucci purse. It was gold in color, with a fancy quilted design to it, but didn’t seem to be made out of actual gold or diamonds, which is the only way I figured it could justify such an outrageous price. After trying to push some vile cabbage dish on me, which I politely inclined, I got out of there as quickly as I could.
Once I got to Vegas, I was afraid to leave the purse in the car, just in case there was a break-in. Therefore I took it up my room with me (after first wrapping the thing in a towel) and locked it in the hotel safe. After all, I knew my wife would have my hide in a hat if I lost the darn thing.
A Wild Night at the Tables
Down in the casino, one thing lead to another. I had a hot streak at the craps table, and soon I had a small mountain of chips in front of me. I was whooping and hollering, enjoying every throw of the dice as I continued to sip on the MGM’s superb cocktails. Later, I switched over to blackjack, figuring I could use my brains more and rely on Lady Luck a bit less. At first, my hot streak continued, and when I looked down, I saw I had more than ten grand in chips.
At some point during the night, I got a tap on the shoulder from an MGM employee. It was an invitation to take a special elevator up to the top floor and play poker with the high rollers. I know I should’ve said no, and cashed in my winnings, but I figured that the gods were with me. The room was sparsely lit, and the air was thick with smoke, but there were two dedicated cocktail girls, and so I took my place at the table.
For a while, it seemed like my hot streak was unbeatable, but then one thing led to another. It doesn’t take long to whittle down a mountain of chips when you’re tossing $500 chips into the pot as the ante. I definitely remember one hand that I almost won, which was way over $20,000. But the real mistake I made was not getting up and walking away when my stack of chips were all but gone.
A discrete gentleman in MGM attire asked me if I’d like to borrow some money from the house, and I foolishly said yes. That kept me afloat for another hour or two, but I soon found myself staring at bare green felt between my fingers. I tried to get another loan from the house, but this time the discrete gentleman shook his head no. I had two kings and two jacks, and wanted to go all in, but didn’t have the chips. It was then that I had the bright idea of telling my fellow gamblers about the expensive Gucci handbag that I had in my room safe.
The End of the Story
The bad news is that I woke up the next morning with a splitting headache, and no Gucci handbag. The good news is that I made a quick stop in Los Angeles and bought one that looked exactly the same that I found on a street corner for 55 bucks. And no, my wife never found out, thank goodness!