Credit: Carter Gill
Yesterday, professional gambler Carter Gill — famous for his “saddest face ever” at the World Series of Poker — gave us a bunch of advice for not going broke in Vegas. He warned against boozing while gambling because it “makes your decision-making worse,” but admitted, “I have a few drinking/gambling stories.” Here’s one of his favorites.
So I was in Vegas in 2008, freshly 21, with a few thousand to my name. I was staked for live poker, which means that someone who has more money than you (and is more fiscally responsible) pays 100% of your entries and splits the profit 50/50. I had roughly $3,500 of my backer’s money in my pocket for the next day or two’s poker tournament.
Well, the day started as most of the best/worst days do: Getting drunk at the topless pool at like 11 a.m.
I remember being there, I remember randomly throwing around a football with a topless girl who had bad implant scars, and after that it starts to get hazy. I remember heading to the Luxor’s nightclub, LAX. I can vaguely recollect waiting in line, then chatting up some girls so we could get in faster by entering together. After that, I have no memory. Like, nothing. Think “The Hangover,” except the first one. Because the rest were just horrible.
Fast forward to the next morning. (And by “morning,” I mean, “1 p.m.”) I wake up on the floor and realize I am already an hour late to the tournament I am supposed to play. I start getting dressed, reach into my pocket and grab my dead cellphone. I open my wallet, and there is nothing. Nothing. I left with around $3,500 and came back with zero dollars. Zero! Nothing in my pockets but a five-dollar chip from the Rio casino.
I start freaking out. THIS IS NOT MY MONEY that I had lost during my blackout. I didn’t even have the money to cover it.
I ran downstairs to my friend in a panic and woke him up. (Yeah, poker players all still sleeping at 1 p.m.) “Yo, what the f**k happened yesterday? I have no money! I lost all my staker’s money! What happened?”
He looks at me and giggles. “You left us at the nightclub, said you were gonna go hit on some girls. Then I saw you at the Spearmint Rhino with three strippers at 6 a.m.”
Now I am freaking out even more — I probably spent a ton and got robbed by a bunch of strippers.
So I go back to my room, trying to figure out what to tell my staker. Should I just tell him the truth? At this point, I have no idea what to think. Only thing I know is, with this hangover, sleeping on it a bit longer couldn’t possibly be a bad idea.
I take my pants off and hop into bed. No sooner had my pants hit the floor than I see a piece of paper fall out of the back pocket. I reach down for it, expecting to find a receipt and gather some sort of recollection.
It’s a check. And not just any check — a check for $17,500 from Harrah’s. Now I am just in shock. WTF happened last night? Why do I have this? Did I rob a casino?
But I am not one to look a gift horse in its mouth. I went to the bank and cashed it. Valid. Now I am just extremely curious, so I go to Harrah’s. I get there, walk in, and a cashier starts laughing: “Back again, are you?”
I have no clue what she is talking about. She catches on and says, “You don’t remember? You hit $500 on a number in roulette for $17,500 at the Carnaval Court outside. You hit, then the dealer had to remind you that you hit, and then you got kicked out of the bar for being too drunk, and a security guard had to bring you inside to collect your winnings. It was one of the funniest things I have seen since I’ve worked here.”
Obviously, at this point, I am smiling big. She looks at me and says, “Now that’s what I remember — that smile when you got the check.”
Looking back, I don’t know what’s more disturbing: That I managed to spend the entirety of a guy’s cash partying on an idle Tuesday, or that I won enough money a casino had to write me a check instead of giving me chips and I STILL have no memory of it.
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