You Bet Your Life: Newcomer's views on Vegas
Driving into town, the first thing you notice is the freedom.
Over on the left, a man in his Ford F-150 truck is making a U-turn in the middle of a four-lane highway. Up ahead and to the right, it's a gas station with video poker machines. The guy driving in front is talking on his cell phone - and he's speeding.
And hey, look, there's a homeless man. And he just stopped traffic.
“Is there any order in this town?" I ask myself.
I've lived in Las Vegas for two weeks now, having previously lived in Kansas, and so far the answer is "no". This city, one I dreamed of moving to since I was 12 years old, is very much "anything goes,” which is kind of neat but also unsettling.
Like the drive-thru weddings here, my move wasn't planned. I had never been to Las Vegas before and didn't know what to expect. I corresponded with a local prior to making the trip and he kept telling me how the town would swallow me whole if I let it.
"You shouldn't trust anybody," he said.
"That's good to know," I told him. "But hey, wait, does that include you?"
Yet I find myself trusting everybody, even the cable guy, who argued persuasively that the UNLV football team was poised for a big year while installing my DVR box. After the Rebels covered the spread against Wisconsin in the season opener, I thought he might be on to something.
I ventured down to Wynn Casino a few days later and bet the Rebels as 14-point underdogs against Washington State.
Final score: Washington State 59, UNLV 7.
Each week in this space, I’ll be writing about my adventures in Las Vegas, at least until I get an e-mail from Covers.com's editors telling me they’ve had enough. Or until you send an e-mail to Covers.com telling them you have had enough.
I’ll provide you with some of my picks from time to time - Kansas State over Kent State is a lead-pipe lock this week, in case you’re interested - but more than that, I’ll try to provide you with the courage to make the move to Las Vegas, if it’s something you’ve considered but have been hesitant to do.
If an idiot like me can make it here, you can too.
Here are five things I’ve learned so far:
1. Betting at the sportsbooks is overrated. By the time you drive to the casino, park, walk and place your wager, you’ve wasted 45 minutes. I hit traffic prior to the Louisville-Florida International game last Friday and couldn’t get my bet in. Which stunk, because I liked the Under 48 in that one. Also, when you factor in gas money, every bet is like laying -112.
2. People here are unapologetically honest. A man at the blackjack table split 7s against a face and was promptly called an “idiot” by a woman to his left. This was after the dealer busted and everybody won their hand.
3. If you go out to a bar, don’t go alone. I figured I’d strike up a conversation with a few of the locals but had no such luck. All of them sat in silence and had their face buried in a video gaming machine. I sipped on my drink and read Las Vegas Weekly while watching the end of Missouri-Arizona State.
4. Everybody bets, even the women. I bought a pair of couches from an elderly couple the other day and watched in horror as the woman cursed at the television. “I bet the Giants -3,” she would later say (Her husband went 1-3 in the early games).
5. The camaraderie here is contagious. There’s a very real “us-against-them” mentality, “us” being the gamblers and “them” being the house. You’ll make new friends every day if you go to the casino, but I don’t recommend giving up your cell phone number.
No, like, really. Don’t do it.
Remember, you shouldn’t trust anybody.