Every March, a few buddies and I make the pilgrimage to Las Vegas for March Madness. My friends and I call it March Badness. It’s a four-day orgy of beer, basketball and blackjack. We always come back with a lot of stories. Normally, I stick to the “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” rule, but I think it’s OK to share this one.
When we arrived at our hotel, Kurt Kitterman, gave each of the guys a special good luck charm. It was a one-inch-tall Julius Caesar Lego toy. Kurt instructed us to put Caesar in front of us on the blackjack table and it would surely bode well for us. This was genius. Why? Because we were staying at Caesar’s Palace and how could you not win with Caesar on your side?
By 2:00 am on the third day, I’d kind of forgotten about mini Caesar.
I was playing blackjack at Caesar’s, and I was kind of treading water, which means that I was winning a hand, then losing a hand, then winning, then losing. Not making any dough. But not really losing either. Just drinking beer and laughing with Kurt and an attorney from Chicago, who was sharing a table with us and betting like he was representing Al Capone.
Suddenly, I had a moment of clarity and realized something was missing: Caesar. I asked Kurt where his Caesar was and he said he left his in his room. I reached into my front pocket and dug around for a minute. Buried deep under two $1 Flamingo chips, a Bally’s chip, four Corona caps and a worthless NC State -4 betting ticket, I found my little plastic Roman Emperor.
I pulled him out and placed him right beside my then dwindling stack of chips. The dealer laughed and asked where I got it. She’d never seen a Lego Caesar. I told her that it was Kurt’s idea. She dealt another hand. I had a 14 and dealer was showing a 6. Everyone at the table stayed. Before she dealt herself another card, I bowed to mini Caesar and loudly chanted, “Hail Caesar!” She dealt herself a King and busted. Everyone at the table cheered.
The table had turned. Now each time before the dealer dealt, I bowed to mini Caesar and chanted “Hail Caesar!” The dealer proceeded to bust 6 hands in a row. We were on a roll.
The attorney from Chicago was enjoying it as well. He looked at me and said, “I want Caesar.” I looked over at him, and he repeated, “I want Caesar.” “What do you mean you want Caesar?” I said back to him.
He looked straight at me and said, “I’ll give you $100 for Caesar.” In an instant, I slapped the felt Shania Twain table, pointed at him and yelled, “Sold! To the lawyer from Chicago for $100.” He reached into his stack and tossed me a black $100 Caesar’s chip. I slide Caesar across the table.
Kurt gave me a look that said how could you possibly sell the gift I gave you? Hey, it was $100. And it was my biggest win of the night.
I felt great about it until the attorney said, “I would have given you $200.”
That is one of the 10,000 reasons I love Las Vegas.