My mom and I both sleep in, giving our bodies time to heal our fresh ink.

She texts me that she’s going to take a bath in her soaking tub, and we plan to meet after. Unfortunately her bath is cut short by a call from her sister that my grandpa has fallen and broke his hip. He’s fortunately alright, but that puts a damper on the final day. On my way to the room, I find a discarded White Claw box in the hall, so I crack one.

Not a huge fan of the Claw, but free is free.

My mom and I check out at the last possible minute (protip: ALWAYS ask if they have complimentary late checkout to score an extra hour) and drop our bags at the bell desk, which is quite crowded, and head to the Strip for our last few hours.

A $0 room at the Cosmopolitan is almost as beautiful as the view from the room.

My Last Stand

We hit Chandelier for one last stand. I end up blowing the entirety of my $200 daily bankroll there; fortunately, my mom is hitting lots of full houses and is winning. She’s cashing out every time she doubles, which is happening so frequently that the drink ticket doesn’t dispense; the bartender comps her second Heineken.

Best hand of the trip, thanks to my mom.

My Double Double Bonus experiment is officially a bust, so I sheepishly accept a $100 gift from my mom who is up for the day and the trip. We head to the Cromwell to walk it off, and belly up to the bar. In my desperation, I start playing fucking KENO for 25¢ a spin at the slowest pace possible after getting my free drink. This proves to be my least losing session by $/time. It is also nice, cause we are able to gamble directly next to each other at a bar for the first time (thanks to the plexiglass dividers, which are easily circumvented by leaning back or forward).

Desperation makes one do strange things.

We go to the Flamingo next, and Bufalllooooo calls me. I hit a decent bonus round, which I end up giving back elsewhere, but it feels good to finally hit something.

Biggest win of the last two days.

My mom treats us to Johnny Rockets, which proves to be a great value since there was no line; the $14 for a burger and fries is very reasonable, especially when you factor in the time savings versus In N Out.

This has become one of my go-tos on the Strip.

We finally end at O’Shea’s for a customary Frozen Bailey’s. My mom is a 4OAK MACHINE and literally hits two within the same minute. To add insult to injury, one of them is even a premium with a kicker… and she’s playing Jacks or Better.

The only guaranteed way to hit premium hands with a kicker is to play JoB.

We retrieve our bags, make our way to the airport, and get through security theater with time to spare.

My mom’s flight leaves an hour before mine, which is nice cause I can send her off, but dangerous cause I have an extra hour at McCarran to be tempted to break into the $200 I have set aside from the first day.

A guy at the gate compliments my Soul Asylum shirt before a literal fight breaks out between a crowd of people heading to Los Angeles. I shit you not, the reason I overheard a girl telling Metro was that “he told me my boyfriend has a small dick.” The stimmy crowd strikes again.

I send my mom off, and the sadness that it’s back to reality and that I got my ass handed to me sets in.

The not-so-fun part of Vegas.

In a last ditch effort, I blow $50 on Wheel of Fortune, hoping for a miracle that doesn’t come.

Sadly wouldn’t be enough to bail me out even if it were a $1 machine.

I get a Jamba Juice smoothie for some much needed nourishment, fill my bottle, and head to the gate.

The palpable excitement of people getting off at the neighboring gate contrasts sharply with the dejection that I feel; their happiness is my sadness; their optimism is my resigned defeat. As I board my plane exhausted, on the brink of a hangover, and broke, a new wave of visitors embarks energetically, buzzing, and with hopes of hitting it big.

The cycle of Vegas continues.


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