Shoulda Left Las Vegas

Las Vegas
And pondering why I love the TV show, ‘Nashville’ so much.

Here goes:

Many a time while stationed in San Diego, I would make a spur of the moment decision to drive the five hours to Vegas.

Occasionally with a buddy or two after closing down a bar somewhere downtown San Dog. Once or twice with a female accomplice,  but usually alone.

“It’s OK. We (I) can sober up on the road. We’ll get to Vegas about sunrise.”

Would just show up, never having the wherewithal or forethought to reserve a room so I’d just nap in my Tornado if necessary.

But then, I never really slept while in Vegas anyhow. Why would I need a room?

Too bad I was born too late to experience “The Rat Pack.” Maybe if I accumulate enough good Karma, I can come back as Sammy Davis Jr. Or Frank Sinatra.  Stranger things have happened, in the night, eh?

Dean Martin, caught in a Gravity Storm.


One Saturday night after a not-too-lucky session at the craps table, I fell asleep in my car, which was always parked in the Union Plaza Parking Lot & Cow Pasture.


Union Plaza
Live it Up!

Well I woke up Sunday morning, (with no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt) knowing full-well that I was due back in San Diego and on my “boat” before nightfall.

While attempting to drive out of the parking lot, the young uniformed schmuck informed me that I owed two dollars for the parking.

“Listen Asshole, I just dropped two grand in your casino last night.”

“Sorry Sir, but the parking is two dollars.”

“Let me say this one more time: I just ‘invested’ two large in your fucking casino.”

“Sir, I am just doing my job.”

“And me mine, for fuck’s sake. I’m protecting your way of life and your right to be an idiot.”

I then proceeded to drive through his little wooden gate, trailing splinters all over, never looking back except briefly to see the look on his face. (This behavior is not unprecedented in my past).

Got to San Diego with no gas, no cigs, no money, and no nada.

Had to ring up (collect) my girlfriend to meet me at a station and buy me some gas just to get to 32nd Street and back to my ship.

Ah! To be young, bullet-proof, and not worry about life’s consequences!

I love Las Vegas.

Was once almost thrown out of the El Cortez (Downtown Glitter Gulch) for card counting.

You see, I had read and studied Kenny Uston’s book

My Hero

My Hero

which I had purchased in a book store in Hong Kong. I spent many hours a day while at sea, practicing Uston’s card-counting methods.  I also read Ed Thorp’s (The guy who “invented” or rather “discovered” card-counting)

Actually, I got rather proficient at it hence my early and unceremonious exit from El Cortez.  I was too proud of my new-found skills and did not try to conceal my counting behavior.  I would place one or two-dollar bets when the deck was ‘cold’ and fifty-dollar bets when the deck went ‘hot’: breaking the cardinal rule, of never ever be obviously stupid. Technically card counting is not illegal, but the casinos will still throw you out if they suspect you have that skill.  And do not mistake: Black Jack is the only “game of skill” in Vegas, aside from poker, but who can afford that?

Slots? Oh Yeah. Once I was playing the “Big Quarter” ($25) machines at the Tropicana and won $5,000. (Proceeded to give it all back at the craps table, but not before I impressed the hell out of the management, betting black chips). They asked me “What do you do for a living?” I said, “I’m in the Navy.” They just shook their heads and asked me if I needed a girl. I said, “No. I just wanna roll a hard six; can you arrange that?”

Roulette? One time, after a particularly successful round of BJ, I was walking out of the Union Plaza (again), dropped a green ($25) chip on seventeen black: Bond, James Bond’s bet.

Bond; James Bond.

Bond; James Bond.

And WON! Took my winnings (approx. $800) and went to breakfast. Smartest, smoothest move I ever made in Vegas. Ah… those were the days My Friend; thought they’d never end….

Obviously I have some stories from Las Vegas.


I guess that ‘bout sums it all up.

“Live it up, Y’all!”

34 thoughts on “Shoulda Left Las Vegas

  1. I’ve never been in a casino. I don’t know how is it possibile to like so much this kind of places. I don’t like to play this kinnd of games. This lady was with you?

  2. Isn’t it funny? I mean, how…. (never mind), how stupid I can become? Honestly.
    I mean, here I sit, after five hours of battle with some AI in Civ 5 (look that up) and now, now, I find me watching Nick Cage in “Leaving Las Vegas — avec Liz Shue (sp).
    What the fuck is it all about, Alfie?
    Yes: Lance is an ass; we all know this. You, Sir, would be wise to steer clear–just sayin’.
    (Most of the ‘wants’ I got from my ‘poll’ were for ‘Peanut’. This may say something….
    Or not.

  3. “Fear and loathing…in Las Vegas….hmmm…
    Lessee… How do I incorporate that, that! Into my diatribe? Hmmm.
    No worries: I will.
    (And yes: This ‘story’ is one long ago written, but I lost the digital, hence, I must re-write it, and you know damn well how lazy I am..
    (Get to it, by and by)
    And honestly, I don’t know what I am doing (half the time)
    Hey! Here is the first sentence:

    “Union Plaza. Hell on Earth. Travis studied the facade. Then he went in… once again… just one more time…”
    He did.

  4. Hope to see that ‘re-written’ short story one day in your blog Lance. Stuff the ‘cruel mistress’. I’m sure you can rekindle that innocence in which it was written. ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ should be officially recognized as the necessary American pilgrimage into (ironically) the death of the American dream. Few books have been better written IMHO, nor can I remember having as much fun reading a book. Cheers mate.

  5. Sir,
    Not read it.
    Probably lived it.

    I am just a smart-ass; don’t never mean no harm.
    I will look for that book you mentioned.
    I have a wonderful short-story of Las Vegas I wrote in the Eighties…
    Should I post it?
    Of course I should!
    (Problem is…is… it was written in DOS and I do not even have the original file…guess I could re-write it–naw! The re-write would probably be better and then I lose the original ‘innocence’ of it…
    Ah! Dilemma!
    Cruel Mistress!

  6. Lake Charles?
    Aw! Surely you have read my connection to Lake Charles?
    I am too lazy to look just now

  7. The RIGHT!! was for Teela’s comment – best late night show on the net! (Didn’t connect the way I thought it would when I wrote it!) Love this one, too! I have never been to Vegas. Gambled once in Lake Charles & did pretty good at the Blackjack table – played on $100 for 4 1/2 hours – then finally lost it all – but had a blast! AND I feel the same way about the show NASHVILLE. Love it & love the music – which surprises me cause I have never been a huge C&W fan – more of a rock-n-roller, blues & jazz type. You’ve lived an interesting life Lance & I am enjoying reading all about it – you spin the tale real nice 🙂

  8. Would make me most happy for you to read and comment. Some of the older stuff is probably better than the newer stuff. It helps to check out the ‘tags’ and / or ‘categories’. Hahaha.
    Seriously, I do hope you stop by and comment.

  9. I have been meaning to read your blogs, but typically only use the wordpress mobil app, and it is very difficult to do any searching or reading of older posts.
    I’ll be reading over more this evening.

  10. I love your blog site and I am very happy to see you on mine. Yes, I love Las Vegas, and I do not exaggerate when I say I have been there so many many times. While in the Navy, I actually subscribed to the Las Vegas Sun newspaper.
    I suppose I am going to hell for that.
    Thank you so much for searching out and reading an older post of mine.

  11. Everything in Vegas is severely over-the-top. Not for everyone, but I do Love VEGAS. Thank you for reading and commenting.
    –Viva Las Vegas!

  12. And I always wondered why I was the Black Sheep of the family.
    Thanks for reading Laura. And thanks for visiting. And thanks for commenting.
    Basically thanks.
    Happy Saturday to y’all.

  13. Thank you for reading Tracey. I do have more Vegas stories. Hmm… Before I post them, I gotta check the statute of limitations.
    Thanks for the comment. ‘Live it up!’

  14. I know it, I read your posts to my mom she likes ’em too. I know you’re a good man and I enjoy your company. I have a feeling you won’t run outa past posts remember yesterday was your past. 🙂

  15. Teela, I am a raskal with a heart; a good one, so, yes.
    You can read. I just write true shit about my past. When I run outta my past… Well then, I will need to create more past.
    Make sense?
    Prolly not.
    Thanks for being my friend.

  16. Thank you Teela.
    Ya know, I don’t know what I am doin’ half the time.
    I do hope you ‘get me’. Then again, I hope you don’t.
    Thanks for the kind words.

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