One of the reasons we love Las Vegas so much is its undeniable magic. Not the kind of magic with doves or mirrors. The real kind. The kind that keeps the dream that is Las Vegas alive and kicking.
So, we were recently at the California casino, downtown, and had been playing roulette about an hour. We were up about $100. Which is pretty magical, but that’s not the magic we’re discussing here.
After that hour, we’d gotten to know the dealer a little, and our fellow players. Building that rapport makes the game even more fun. Then a young guy strides up and slaps a green $25 chip on one number.
After you’ve been in casinos awhile, you get used to seeing that kind of random behavior. Often, it’s annoying. Those “hit it and quit it” gamblers can disrupt the flow of the table, and often don’t tip, for whatever reason. You also kind of get used to those one-off players getting spanked, hard. Especially if someone bets on just one number in roulette.
That $25 bet was the only one this guy made, just the one, out of the blue. On 23. Then this happened.
There was a collective stunned silence as the number 23 was called. Then there was bedlam. The other players at the table roared, and this guy’s friends roared. He just sort of smiled, as if he’d known what was going to happen all along.
The bet paid $875. He tipped the dealer $25, and began to walk away. The dealer said, “Sir, you have a $25 chip still on the table.” The player said, “Keep that, too.”
After this magical moment, we learned the guy’s name is Ken, and he and his friends were visiting from West Covina, California.
The whole episode had us all shaking our heads for the rest of the session.
Yes, the odds are stacked against us. Everyone knows that. Yes, the casino almost always wins. But sometimes, Lady Luck intercedes, and that “almost” clears the way for us to win, too.
When those moments happen, and they happen more frequently than you’d think, it’s as close as it gets to real magic. Voila.