I’ve never been a thief. Outside of a few poker blinds and a piece of gum from a corner store when I was a kid, I’ve always shied away from a life of theft. Still, it made so much sense. The bin of shades sat right by the door. I was already nearly sprinting. No one would catch me. What’s more, I would be the envy of every 2:00am tournament player. The 22-year-old recovering alcoholic on my right would ask to borrow them. James Souza (onetime WSOP final tablist turned Binion’s $110 tournament regular) would forget that I sucked out on him and compliment me on my ability to turn downtown Las Vegas fashion on its ear. The waitress who learned to bring me a drink every time she came by would ask me what I was doing when she got off at 6:00am.
In short, I needed the glasses and I was willing to resort to a life of crime to get them. Indeed, I would steal the sunglasses.
Just as my brain forced my hand toward the overflowing bin, my eyes fell on a hand-printed sign hanging on the display.
It read: DON’T STEAL.
The world stopped. rtp online Snickers began to melt in my hot hand. Suddenly, the tournament and making it to the table on time meant nothing.
The zombies were one step ahead of me and that meant they had more brains than I did.
Everything beyond that moment is a matter of poker. It was a practice in crapshoot action, late night hijinx, and short-stack strategy at the final table. It was Souza saying (after I sucked out on him), “I didn’t realize you’d been drinking.” It was the young alcoholic asking me to move over because I “smelled like beer.” It was Wheaton, Absinthe, and Spaceman sweating me at the final table and imploring me to bubble.
It was, in short, fun.
Still, as we sat down in the cab and settled up on the last longer, there was no escaping the fact that we were likely leaving a casino that won’t exist in the near future. Like an old man who has outlived every member of his family, there was no one left to care whether Binion’s lives or dies. We young travelers were hoping to find some breath of the excitement Binion’s used to symbolize. We were left with the smell of cigarette-burned carpets and the sound of doors that closed before we even got there. While there was universal uneasiness about the way Harrah’s was now running the World Series of Poker, there was no questioning that poker had outgrown its home and that Thomas Wolfe was probably right.
Still, Wheaton’s belly was sated and I had somehow escaped transformation into a thief or a zombie’s dinner. We had set out looking for adventure and we had found it. Like they say, it’s not really about where you’re going, but how you get there.
We left downtown Las Vegas as the sun rose over Vegas. The zombies would go back to their holes and we would go to bed knowing that, even if no one else cared, we had sat with Binion’s as it slipped a little closer toward irrelevance and its ultimate demise. We were a hotel’s hospice and it whispered to us as it drifted away.