By the time Dov and I woke up on Monday morning, the other 60% of our group in the adjoining room was gone - back to reality. We rallied, packed up, and checked out, heading north to meet up with Big Show before our 3pm flights.
We banged out brunch at BLT Burger at Mirage, complete with milkshakes, and then hauled our bags across the street to the Venetian for a few hours of serious double deck blackjack. The 65 degree sun was a refreshing change from the frigid weather I'd faced at home, and would soon face again.
I feel at home at the Venetian, as Big Show and I have given them most of our blackjack business over the past several years, on account of their face down double deck with player friendly rules (ie, double after split). I mean, hey - you can't give away that 12 bps of edge!
Big Show, his wife, Dov and I monopolized a table and got down to business, grinding away. Big Show ended up stuck quickly, and took out a marker for another buy in, as Dov tilted both of us by being super slow and deliberate with his "decisions." I tilted the dealer by showing him an ace and offering him insurance, which he of course declined, adding "I never take insurance." I shrugged, and tucked a blackjack facedown. I was playing two hands, and found another blackjack in my second hand. I again offered him insurance, and again tucked the blackjack facedown. I signaled to Big Show that I had a few winners, and sat back to await Chang's reaction after the hand as he turned up my blackjacks, which of course the player is supposed to turn faceup instantly. I feigned a shocked look, while shouting BOOM and fist bumping Dov and Big Show, who was laughing hysterically.
Dov had an epic hand where he was stuck and steaming, holding 7-7 against a dealer 3, with a big bet out. Dov split the 7's, stacking off another bet, poker style. He was of course rewarded with another 7, and stacked out another bet. He proceeded to double one of the hands after receiving a 3, and then split again to 4 hands after receiving another 7 on one of the initial hands. He ended up with 4 hands, one of which was doubled, but which amounted to only an 18 and 3 pure bluffs - hands that could only win if the dealer busted.
The dealer, who was Dov's doppleganger, rolled over his hole card: 3. "YES!" I howled, and started hooting like an ape, "MONKEY MONKEY MONKEY" The dealer slapped a deuce down, making 8. "NOOOO!" We all shrieked, and stopped the monkey whooping. Next card: Three, for a total of eleven. Dov sounded like he'd been shanked in the liver, as he let out a miserable wail, but the dealer quickly painted an ace on his 11, making 12.
Dov screamed "ONE TIME!" and the dealer slow rolled the next card.... FOUR, for a total of 16. I banged out the gorilla whoop at the top of my lungs,. It sounded exactly like the gorilla at the 16 second mark (and 36 second mark) of this video, only much louder:
In slow motion, the dealer turned over a king for a miraculous 7 card 26. Dov erupted from his seat, flipping it backwards, and proceeded to take a victory lap around the double deck blackjack pit (right outside the Salon high rollers area), high stepping it in slow motion with his arms raised like Rocky at the top of the Philly Museum of Art steps.
Dov's victory lap was so awesome that a pit boss from an adjacent pit came over to check things out. "When I see a victory lap, I have to find out what's going on," he told our pit boss. Dov stacked up his winnings, and our time was up - we had to cash out and grab a cab to the airport. Our cabbie was a wealth of information, including the details of the odd kitchenettes in the Cosmopolitan rooms. As he put it, from the perspective of visitors: "I'm on vacation - I don't want to fucking cook."
Dov and I said goodbye at the airport and headed to our respective gates. I had a better Southwest boarding number this time: B10, but again was on the wrong side of the trade. Instead of locking up the "known," an aisle seat next to a couple who fit comfortably into their seats, I exhibited what I think is probably normal (yet flawed) psychology in terms of seat selection - I went further back in the plane and took an aisle seat in an empty row. This makes perfect sense if you know that the flight isn't full, but we'd already been told that this was a full flight. Doesn't it make more sense to take the known - a seat that looks like the middle-seatmate won't be a problem - instead of gambling for the unknown, where I'd basically be allowing someone else the option of choosing to sit next to me? Come on smallll person! Anyway, I definitely lost the gamble when the largest guy on the plane, boarding near the end, sheepishly sat down next to me, apologizing, "sorry, no choices left." This dude passed out quickly, and we were a lot closer than what's normally comfortable, but the jetstream had our backs and the flight home was closer to 4 1/4 hours than the 5 1/2 hour flight out.
As we landed around 11:30pm, the captain announced: "Welcome to Manchester, New Hampshire, where the current weather is three degrees." Three? Oy vey - I groaned - not knowing that the next few weeks would see temps dip into the negative twenties. I layered up, pulling my hat and fleece out of the outer pocket of my carry-on, and double timed it to the parking lot shuttle, which took me to my car without incident.
Next trip - who knows when...