A True Vegas Story: Down Three Grand, Only $120 Left & My Last Stand


Some people travel to Las Vegas, the debauchery capital of the world, to soak up the nightlife, catch a show and eat at a few lavish restaurants. And in between all that, they may throw $20 into a slot machine. Then some other people, like yours truly, shamefully morph into an absolute crackhead the instant their plane lands. Some people watch a Louie Anderson set at the Excalibur. Others toss dice next to a pimp from Atlanta at an MGM craps table. To each his own.

For the duration of my last three-day trip to Sin City, it was ugly. I was like a blind guy playing Jenga — I couldn’t stop losing. By the last night I was so low on funds that I was reduced to eating dinner at the Hooters Hotel & Casino. If you’ve never been, and here’s to hoping you haven’t, the Hooters casino is kind of like, nay, exactly like, a methadone clinic that serves chicken wings.

I was tapped. After nearly 72 hours, I was down over $3,000. Three f’n grand! I don’t have that kind of money to lose! I attempted to slay the mighty beast that is Las Vegas and I failed…like so many before me. The first day I was eating steak and downing drinks in the pool at The Hard Rock. Now I was reduced to eating curly fries while joking about whether or not I’d sleep with a fat, old Persian woman for casino chips.

For the record, I absolutely would have. I went to bed that night cursing my love for Las Vegas and vowing that I’d never return.

Then came the next morning.

I woke up hours later, still furious at myself while packing my suitcase. My once-booming casino budget was down to $120. And, since I’m a monumental dope, I figured I may as well go all in. So in the 90 minutes I had left in Nevada, I decided to take my $120 and give it one final go. The casino floor was Little Bighorn, and I was General f**king Custer.

And let me tell you, my friends, Custer’s Last Stand was simply unbelievable. It was glorious, really. I cashed in at a Three Card Poker table and, within one hour, miraculously recouped every single dollar I recklessly squandered over the previous three days–and then some! It was a run that defied all logic. Pure luck. I was hitting everything! Pairs. Straights. Flushes. Three of a kind. A Straight flush. Another three of a kind.

It. Was. Awesome.

I sat down at the table depressed, down over three grand, and with only $120 in my wallet. Then, after 90 minutes, I had cashed in for $4,300.


And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I love Las Vegas. Very truly, all you need is a chip and a chair, a dollar and a dream. That hour and a half, those 5,400 seconds, they completely encapsulated the thrill that me and so many others hope obtain on every Vegas trip. It’s a high, no doubt. And I know full well that I’d probably be better off having no interest in it whatsoever. But that just ain’t me.

So that concludes my tale of redemption. I hope it gives you fellow gamblers hope–hope that you too can one day wage a successful war against whatever casino has robbed you of your dignity. It’s entirely possible. Probable? Hell no. But possible? Hell yes.

God speed, gentlemen. Go forth and conquer.

Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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Peter Hoare (@PeterHoare) is a screenwriter and dashingly handsome humorist.