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Pique n' Your Interest

Pants? Check…

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That constant whooshing noise was most likely the air exchange system pumping oxygen-rich product into the casino, but I could almost swear it was the sound of a giant sub-floor vacuum sucking the cash out of my wallet. Vegas, Baby! – it was a privilege to be robbed by you.

Back home, my stomach stretched out and always hungry after four days of binge buffet dining, I’m still trying to decide how I feel about my first visit to Sin City.

Deep down, I don’t think Vegas should even exist – urban sprawl and large-scale development set impractically in the middle of a treeless, waterless desert, created solely for the purpose of exploiting our worst human vices for crass profits. At a more superficial level, I’m glad it’s there, and can’t wait to go back.

I’m proud to say I made it out of there relatively intact, down only slightly after four days of gambling like a total wuss – don’t bet more than you can afford to lose, as the saying goes, and I really couldn’t afford to lose all that much.

Not that everybody loses. I passed two big slot machine winners in the casinos, one winning a thousand dollars, another winning $800. I watched dozens of other people walk away from the craps and roulette tables, and the sports bookies exiting with thousands in cold hard cash in hand. And I was tempted, I’ll admit – it’s not like I’m above making the occasional wager.

I’ll bet on practically anything, as a matter of fact. I’ve bet friends that they couldn’t eat and hold down various quantities of McDonald’s food. I bet a friend that he would get shot down by a girl at a school semi-formal. A few months ago I even won $30 U.S. betting three friends that the Australian duck billed platypus has a stinger, secure in the knowledge I gained through a zoo summer camp and various nature shows.

I once ran a weekly football pool out of my high school that my teachers discovered – and then proceeded to enter every week. It was $5 a card, and one Sunday I had more than $400 in my pockets for the winner and runner-up.

In Vegas there are opportunities to gamble around every corner, from the moment you arrive at the airport to the moment you’re called for boarding on the way home. It’s exciting, although the sound of a thousand machines going "ding ding ding ding" 24 hours a day will slowly drive you insane.

My own highs and lows could be measured in fives and tens, up some and down some for the entire weekend. The people I was with were betting slightly bigger stakes on higher risks, and were up close to a thousand dollars Canadian after their first night. They lost most of that back to the house over the rest of the weekend, but on the bright side, they were well entertained and drank free for three nights in a row, probably making back every penny in liquid compensation.

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