Nov 152005
Authors: Tim Waddingham

Frank Sinatra once said New York is the city that never sleeps. While I don't disagree with this, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the other city in the United States that never sleeps: Las Vegas.

Since turning 21 I have only been to Sin City once. The occasion was for one of my best friend's bachelor parties, and it lasted four days and three nights this past summer. Although we were there for half-a-week, our time seemed to go by a lot quicker – not unlike our money. As naive first-time Vegas-goers, we all thought we'd come back with at least twice as much money as we brought. Unfortunately, we learned that Vegas didn't become what it is by people going there and winning money.

With this newfound wisdom, our trip to Sin City this Thanksgiving break hopes to be a more successful one. This time, however, there will be some changes.

Knowing that drinks are free, I will sit down at a 25 cent slot machine for as long as it takes for me to get whatever drink I want. Last time, when I wanted a free drink, I chose to play craps at the $10 minimum table. Fifteen minutes later, still with no drink, I was out $100. Bad decision. It would have been better to buy a drink at the bar and risk the remaining $90 on black. Or red. Or I could have saved it, but we're talking about Vegas here. Regardless, this is one example of how my rookie trip to Vegas will help me in my encore visit.

Another lesson I learned in Vegas is that if you win, especially if you win big, expect to lose real soon. On a day where I won a sizeable amount of money, I got cocky and lost what I had won, and more. Luckily I was able to break even on the day, but it was all because of my innate ability to be dealt pocket aces in Texas Hold' em. When that third ace fell, I knew I was in the money. Some call this luck; I call it skill. Holding back a smile from ear to ear and restraining myself from dancing on the table isn't luck, it's skill. Great skill. At least that's what I told myself.

One thing I did really well within Vegas was selecting the slot machines I thought would win. I'm not one to brag, but my choice of slots that are going to win is simply uncanny. Some say this skill is completely unfounded and ridiculous, but I disagree. Slot selection is perhaps the most formidable skill to have in Vegas, with the exception of great luck, of course.

Speaking of luck, in my first trip to Vegas, the only time I was lucky was when I had no luck at all. However, just because bad luck finds me more than Michael Jackson finds little boys, it won't make this Vegas vacation another abysmal failure. No matter how bad I do at craps, roulette, poker, blackjack or any other card game, there is still one thing that will save me: football.

Never before have I studied the scouting reports for match-ups such as Rice vs. Central Florida and Ball State vs. Central Michigan. And never before have I considered betting on the Houston Texans. But come next weekend, I'll be considering these otherwise nugatory sporting events. I just hope my selection of football teams that are going to win or cover the spread is as good as my indubitable skill of selecting winning slot machines.

Regardless of whether I win or lose money in my upcoming trip to Vegas, one thing is certain: I am going to win. Whether it is at craps, roulette, slots, football games or any card game, it is safe to say that my first trip to Vegas has taught me how to win. Clearly, I am going to return to CSU after break with at least twice as much money as I am taking to Vegas.

Maybe I haven't learned anything from my first trip.

Tim Waddingham is an undergraduate, double-majoring in speech communication and political science.

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