Hello, I'm "Lucky" Ned, the man with the golden-winning-touching arm. Every day, when I'm sitting in my favorite chair in my favorite casino, drinking my favorite drink, people come up to old Ned and ask "What's your secret? How do you keep your gambling muscles in such great shape?"
Well, ladies and gentlemen (especially the ladies, liiiick), I'm going to let you into the glitzy world of high-rolling and take you on a day in my life and it's "BLOOD, GUTS AND DRIVING CASINO OWNERS NUTS!"
"Lucky" Ned is up with the Sun! Normally, I get up about 10:00 a.m., but since I'm doing this Day in the Life thing, I thought I would give you a full day of Ned. So much Ned that you choke on me.
So, I'm up and I'm hungry. Time for the BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS. Three eggs, two sausages and "Body Shaping" on ESPN. I'm thinking of a number. Can you guess which one? I can't. See, I've trained myself not to be able to guess what number. I sharpen my psychic skills by trying to figure out which number I chose.
My roommate Ted wakes me up. I fell asleep, I guess, because that number game was too much thinking. A THINKING BLACKJACK PLAYER IS A LOSING BLACKJACK PLAYER! My finely-tuned brain knows to stop me before I get out of MY WINNING HABITS.
I know what you're thinking (STOP THAT!). Why does Ned have a roommate? Hell, I could crack the rent nut by myself with both hands behind my back, but I like the company. Being a world-class gambler can get lonely, and lonely almost rhymes with baloney. I've never been married and I've never been with a women more than one night because I have learned the hard way. WOMEN'S BE THINKING TOO MUCH - NEDDY'S MONEY THEY WANT TO TOUCH!
My shift at the Smith's Food King starts in an hour. Most nights I sleep in my clothes because TIME SAVED IS MONEY WON! I'm as ready as I'll ever be to run the Corona 1400-THE CADILLAC OF MEAT LATHES!
While I trim and cut, I go over the previous night's session in my head. This is just a smart thing for any gambler to do - without thinking too much. This way you can figure out how much you REALLY WON. Sure, I made a lot of money last night, but it could have been more. You see, my IncrediSystems are a lot like women, I'M ALWAYS FINE-TUNING THEM. For example, one time at roulette I considered betting the five. But I got scared. BLAMMO! The five came up. And I was going to bet ten times my normal wager. That's another $360 in the plus column for the IncrediSystem! When I was at the blackjack table, I stayed with an ace and four against a dealer's eight. I thought my gut told me to, but I was wrong. My gut told me to hit because the next card was a six! Followed by a ten! Twenty-One! The lesson? ALWAYS GO WITH YOUR GUTS!
Lunchtime for "Lucky" Ned. I microwave some ground beef on its styrofoam platter and take it and an ice-cold Orange Crush back to the cardboard stacks along with a copy of "Easy Rider". Patty, one of the cashiers, comes back looking for me. She says she needs a price check on some London broil. I tell her the price code and say she could have gotten it from any of the guys at the butcher counter. "Oh, I know," she says.
Patty's my kind of lady. She loves football, video poker, and I've seen her so drunk she fell down and chipped her front teeth. A LADY THAT LIKES LIQUOR MAKES A MAN'S HEART LOVESICKER. If I didn't know better I'd fall in love with her faster than a pit boss can cut me off from the booze.
But I live by the "Lucky" Ned credo: NO LADIES ALLOWED BECAUSE "LUCKY" NED WON'T BE COWED by your feminine charms. Besides, a classy lady with good credit like Patty is probably beating off the men with a stick.
My shift's almost over and I'm in a good mood. A lot of the guys here get all happy on the first and the 15th of the month because those are paydays. Those poor guys live paycheck to paycheck, because they don't know any better. I know a hell of a lot better. I like the 26th and tenth. Those are the first days I can get an advance on my paycheck. Today is the tenth.
After a quick trip to Xpress Chex at Boulder and Tropicana, I ride the 107 heading north to Downtown, where everybody knows my name. And if they don't, I'll introduce myself.
At the Downtown Transit Center, I am met by some bums looking for a handout. A lot of people treat these people like something they'd find on the Gold Spike's floor, but not me because THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GUT GO I! While some people think they're helping these bums by giving them a few bucks, I give them something much more worthwhile. I give them something that will build their spirits and help them accumulate wealth. I give them 17, my hot pick of the week. GIVE A MAN A DOLLAR AND HE'LL EAT FOR A DAY! GIVE HIM A LUCKY NUMBER AND HE'LL EAT FOR A LIFETIME!
Something deep down in my tum-tum pulls me into the Las Vegas Club where I see a video poker machine with a glowing aura. I slide a crisp sawbuck to the change girl and she hands me a hot, fresh roll of quarters. After kissing the wrapper, I coolly break it open and slide five easy pieces into the slot. Jack, Jack, four, eight, queen. I keep the jacks and the queen, because she's a special lady in my life. I'm dealt another queen and already my bus trip Downtown is paid for.
NEVER GAMBLE ON AN EMPTY STOMACH. That's one of the foundations of the IncrediSystems. It's too easy to confuse hunger for that GUT FEELING. After grabbing a foot-long hot dog at the Lady Luck I'm back on Fremont. I stop at Sassy Sally's where a pretty, not-so-young thing in a big foam hat gives me my free pull on a giant slot. In eight years, I still haven't hit that $25,000 jackpot, but tonight I come awfully close. "Whoa! Hey! Doctor Doctor, I think I'm dying!" I holler as two red sevens come up, followed by a blank.
Things are going according to plan. I've slid into a spot at the El Cortez's quarter craps table and I've got about ten bucks out there. I've got some small bets on the pass line and then on the hard eight. But my big bet is on Big Six. "Bring it home!" I'm hooting because my gut's really tingling for the old Asian lady throwing the dice. She tosses those sexy red dice softly, like they were her own teeny-tiny children.
This lady's hot! She's hitting the sides for her points, bouncing up the middle for her sevens. "Dang, Lady!" I hoot as I haul in more loot, "I just might take you home!" I have to laugh to show I'm only joking because her husband doesn't get it. My fourth bloody mary is hitting that spot right behind my eyes but in front of the brain.
I've adopted a street urchin. An eager kid, just barely into his thirties, stands beside me at the craps table nervously fingering his chips. I tell if you go with guts, you don't have to be nervous. I show the kid when to bet the field, and why a good hard ten is as valuable on the craps table as it is in bed. He laughs so hard that beer comes out his nose. Soon enough he's made enough money for a late night steak special. He's broke and living at the Ambassador East Motel, a "LUCKY" NED NO-NO. I tell him that's no way to live, there's enough room on Ted and my porch. That'd give the neighbors something to talk about. He says, "Thanks, but no thanks."
When the kid leaves the craps table, so do I, after grabbing another bloody mary. I'm looking for a little dinner company because I'm in a story telling mood. I invite the kid along for some cheap grub but he's got to get up early.
It's been more than an hour since I had my foot-long hot dog and I've got the tummy rumblings something fierce. There's no better meal for a winner than the "Pound of Pig" in the Plaza diner. Besides, I know a couple of the waitresses over there and they love to hear my stories.
Sure enough, Rose is on duty. I call her over to my table and start pulling out the wad I just made. "I GOT MONTEZUMA'S RICHES BACK FROM THAT CORTEZ BASTARD!" I tell her loud enough so everyone in the diner knows who they're dealing with. But one of the girls didn't come in tonight and Rose is covering two shifts. She's got no time to talk. I eat my ham steak all by myself, saving up all those good stories for another night. Hell, a good story is like a good piece of fish - it just gets stronger by the day.
WITH A POUND OF HAM SITTING THERE, IT TAKES A LOT TO GET MY GUT RINGING, but I feel the call of the roulette wheel. I head down Fremont to the Western, the last place in town with a dime roulette wheel, penny slots and a concrete floor. I make my way past the crackhead getting busted on the sidewalk and into my favorite casino. CRACKHEADS MEAN GOOD LUCK.
It's just like I like it. Nobody else at the roulette table, meaning it's me versus the croupier. The only thing separating us is the wheel, and that baby's on "Lucky" Ned's side. Like I predicted, the 17 was way, way, way overdue about 30 times for me. But so has the 33, a number that comes up so long as it thinks you're being loyal and not playing any other numbers. I put my hand out every time the ball drops so the chips on 33 can't see my bet on 17. CHIPS ARE TOO STUPID TO KNOW ANY BETTER.
My gut tells me to pack it in while I'm so far ahead I forgot where I came from. Only one thing left for me to do: celebrate a good night. The Western sells package liquor and I buy a six-pack of Old Style to take home and share with Teddy.
I catch the 107 back to my place. This late at night everyone on the bus is either drunk, stoned or asleep, so I sit up front, explaining the finer points of IncrediGaming to the driver, but he's not really paying attention. Too busy "driving," he says.
Once I'm inside the love den known as "Lucky" Ned's apartment 14C, I knock on Ted's door. "Teddy! Come on, buddy! Drink with a winner!"
Ted finally opens his door and tells me to keep it down. "Let's celebrate, buddy," I hand him a beer, but he won't take it. "I have to work tomorrow," Ted whines. I start into my tales of adventure, but he's too grumpy to listen. I wonder what crawled into his ass and died.
"I had a good night," I say, offering the beer again. All huffy, Ted says, "Great. Keep it to yourself." He slams the door. Fine by me if that ungrateful jerk can't be grateful. I'm a little mad right now, but nothing six beers can't fix. It's time for a little IncrediDrinking! I sit down on the sofa and crack open my first luke-warm Old Style of the night. I might just stay up and watch the sun rise, or an infomercial.
I'm a rich man, and tonight I keep it to myself.
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