Dateline – Las Vegas

By , August 29, 2010

(I wrote this last month while in Las Vegas, but never got around to posting it until now.)

Every time I visit Las Vegas I feel disappointed in the human race. Of all American cities, Las Vegas is the one that offers the closest to an “anything goes” existence, so this is apparently what humans create when allowed to do anything they wish. :(

Bad Bets

This town is full of slot machines– everywhere you go you find them. I can understand the fun of inserting a few coins so as to watch the bright lights and hear the fun noises, but the likelihood of winning a substantial amount of money is on par with having one’s leg bit off by a shark while simultaneously being struck by lightning. In fact, that is probably more likely to happen than a slot machine jackpot, yet there is never a shortage of slot players. People pour millions, if not billions, of dollars into the things every year, forever thinking they are on the fast-track to wealth.

All Boobs, All the Time

At least for females, the only requirement for being hired to work anywhere in Las Vegas seems to be “big boobs.” Everywhere you turn, there are women old and young, fat and skinny, ugly and pretty, wearing the standard-issue pushup bra and hot pants uniform of whatever casino you happen to be in at the time. They scatter these employees everywhere; one girl’s job is apparently to sit on the bartop and look cute, and another is paid to dance in front of a miniature stripper pole behind some blackjack tables. Las Vegas amplifies every bad aspect of mankind.

You Can’t Beat Arithmetic

Or can you? I’ve been splitting my time between the poker tables and the craps tables. Normally poker is where I win most of my money. Two days into this trip, I have won a satanic $666 playing craps, and merely $304 playing poker. One should not be able to win at craps, right? The mathematical odds are against it, or at least I think they are. I play a very conservative strategy, but still– human vs. math, math usually wins. And speaking of which,

We Aren’t Teaching Our Kids Math Anymore

For all the free and cheap conveniences one can find in Las Vegas, wireless internet is not one of them. The last thing a casino wants are its guests holed up in their rooms, online. They want us at the slot machines and gaming tables, so wireless internet is sold in 24-hour blocks for $8.99. I don’t mind a week without wifi, but I did have to send a few emails to clients, as well as post this blog, so I went in search of a more affordable option than what my hotel had to offer.

I told the young girl at the front desk that I only needed about an hour to an hour and a half online, so $8.99 for 24 hours would be overkill, and asked if she knew a cafe or other nearby place where I could find free or cheap wifi. She bit her lip and scrunched up her eyes, spent a moment deep in concentration, then her face lit up and she proudly gestured towards a computer in the lobby. “You can buy 90 minutes on that one” she explained, “and it only costs $5 for each 20 minutes you use it.” She was so obviously delighted with her cleverness that I didn’t have the heart to press the matter any further.

Arithmetical illiteracy apparently is not limited to front desk clerks in this town. I saw a sign advertising the “World’s Biggest 64 oz. Beer.”

Coffee, the Mysterious Beverage

I ordered coffee with my lunch. The cashier took my order, then turned to her manager in the back and asked her, “how do you make coffee?” The manager came up front and together they tried to puzzle out the methodology behind brewing a pot of coffee. They poked at the long-dormant machine, hoping it might spring to life on its own. I was only paying partial attention to them, but snapped to attention at the point I saw the cashier using paper towels in lieu of a coffee filter.

“You don’t get much call for coffee here, do you?” I asked the cashier.

“Not really.” She replied, still layering paper towels into the coffee machine.

“I’ll switch to Coke.”

“Thanks.”

(And there you have it, my belated report from sunny Las Vegas, Nevada. For those keeping score at home, the dice continued to defy the odds and I left with $952 in craps winnings, on top of what I won at poker. dub tee eff?)

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5 Responses to “Dateline – Las Vegas”

  1. Annah says:

    Quite the accurate depiction of Las Vegas if you ask me. I’ve never quite understood the allure of the place. I think it’s pretty sad and tragic actually.

    [Reply]

  2. […] Dateline – Las Vegas | Divisione di Gioia […]

  3. Lucy says:

    At least you left with almost $1,000 richer than when you first arrived. Not a lot of people who visit Vegas can say that.

    [Reply]

    Peasprout Reply:

    @Lucy, I did better than that. By the time I left I had won 1,528.50. (Yes, I keep copious notes of my finances.)

    [Reply]

  4. Glen Raphael says:

    There actually do exist some slot machines in Vegas that you can play “skillfully” and some people have gotten barred for playing those slots too well. For those people it’s not “pointless” to play a positive expectation game. But I agree with you in general. *Most* slot players aren’t what the industry calls “fleas”, they’re just morons who are bad at math.

    [Reply]

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