Blackjack Diaries: The Bellagio Incident 1/9/09

image I went to the Bellagio to go eat at Yellowtail, a sushi restaurant created by the Light Group that I went to during it’s opening weekend back half a year ago.

On my way out, a bit drunk and daring, I said to myself, “Hey – I can play here.  I’ve got balls o’ steel.  If these Bellagio dorks can play on the floor tables, so can I.”

“After all, it’s not like I’m playing high limit or anything.”

So I start looking for a good game.  The Bellagio is loaded with crappy games with Continuous Shuffling Machines or $25 games with 6 deck shoes.

I finally found a small pit with double deck 3-2 Blackjack.  Excellent.  Better yet, there’s only one guy playing.  Even better.  Wow – and they stand on soft-17.  Nice!

Then I looked at the minimum:  $1000.

WTF!?!?  I froze just as I approached the chair to the left of him.  He had nothing but yellow chips.  In fact, everyone playing in this pit had nothing but yellow chips.  Yellow chips are $1000 each.

As I stood surprised that the floor minimum for this pit was $1000 – and it wasn’t even the high limit room – the game continued.  86-6X4.  8X-9X. 56dd2-XX. 2246-5X2.  A2/A5-X9.  And so on it went.  This guy put up $1000.  Then $2000.  Then $4000.  Then $3000.  Then $5000.  Loss.  Loss.  Loss.  Loss.  Loss.  Again and again and again.

I looked at his chip stack and it had gone for $30,000ish to $2000 in a matter of minutes.  Finally his last $2000 disappeared on a lost double down against 4 and he slammed his fist on the table.  The gentleman, who wasn’t dressed particularly fancily, got up and left… only to return in 30 seconds with $10k more in yellow chips  I watched so more, and he promptly lost that as well. 

Disgusted, he got up and stumbled away from the casino.  I lost sight of him at this point.

My jaw was on the floor – just like everyone else watching.  I looked over at another table where an odd but stylishly dressed looking guy sat with some beautiful arm candy next to him.  He was on another monetary plane, using BROWN chips – $5000 each.  I watched him double down and lose what looked like a 4-chip $20,000 bet.  In a single hand, $40,000 was gone.

What I realized at that point was that, these were his last chips from a stack that was once quite large.  Probably $150k.  He got up, left his girl, and walked across the floor.  Everyone near me was watching him as he said loudly, “BRIAN… I’M GOING SDFASDGSDG”  (I couldn’t hear the final word)  All of a sudden the pit boss grabbed a clipboard and a pen, and whispered something to another manager, then started running toward the man’s direction, disappearing into the crowd.

I stood there sweating all over.  My antiperspirant gave out several minutes ago.  I was rooting for these guys to win HARD – even going as far as to mouth the right play as I watched the cards go down from shuffle to shuffle, and they… just… couldn’t… win!  Nothing was going their way… and these were the whales!  The guys that gamble at the $100K level.  On a good day, I’m lucky if I’m a black chip player!

I gotta say – I was shaken.  So much for confidence:  My play is NOTHING to the Bellagio, and they’re not going to offer me a decent game.  I’d be relegated to a $25 6 deck shoes where a bad run across multiple shoes could easily ruin me.

So, I promptly walked out of the casino, past the hookers in the lobby (who always seem to congregate there on the cushioned chairs there), and straight to the taxis. 

I’m still “up” and in the black for this trip.  Knock on wood.

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