Shanghaied at the Imperial Palace

This actually happened to me on a trip to Las Vegas in 2001. The wife and I went out to Vegas with her sister and brother-in-law. They had been married the year before at a nice ceremony at Caesar's. Caesar's decided to use some of the photos from their wedding in their wedding brochure. In return, Caesar's gave them a deal on a three night stay in what they called a junior suite in what was then the very new Palace Tower. In reality, this junior suite was a premium room with a slightly different layout - same square footage. A quick note - my wife and I had joined the slot club the previous year at the wedding and received an even better deal. Of course, we gamble a lot more than they do.

Caesar's Always Gets the Best of Me

So, we are at Caesar's. I am losing my rear end - at everything. Don't ask me, because I do not know why, but Caesar's has always been a dead zone for me, a gamblers version of the Bermuda Triangle. My brother-in-law was winning at craps and my wife had hit a couple of college football game bets in the sports book. So, at least someone was winning.

Look, I love Caesar's. I like the placement on the strip. Love to gamble in all of the smaller casinos on the other side of the strip. The forum shops are cool. Nero's is a great steakhouse inside Caesar's that I have had the pleasure of dining at several times. There is a fantastic seafood buffet in the back by the wedding chapels and convention rooms. I have seen great shows there. For instance, the wife and I saw Elton John there last year. But, I just cannot win there, no matter what I do.

We Leave to Check Out the Other Side of the Strip

So, back to the story. We have been at Caesars for two days and one night and I am getting my butt handed to me at the tables. We are all four of us taking a break drinking martinis at the bar up front by the reservation counters listening to a guy singing Frank Sinatra songs - he was really great by the way. I say, "look you guys; I am getting my ass beat here. Who wants to go across the street and try out The Barbary Coast or maybe O'Sheas? The table limits are lower and I could sure use a change of scenery for a few hours". The wives were not interested. So, my brother-in-law Chris and I head out for the other side of the strip.

To be honest with you, I do not know whose idea it was to go into the Imperial Palace. However, I do not believe it was mine. I know that I am straying off the track a little here, but, one of the things you must do if you visit Las Vegas is to take in the classic cars exhibited at the Imperial Palace. These four wheeled beauties are shown on the 5th level of the parking garage. The Imperial Palace calls it the world's largest classic car showroom. It is really impressive. They have everything from Dusenbergs to classic GTO's, Model T's to muscle cars. Definitely a must see. Head to the elevator at the back of the casino. Once inside, you will see a button mark car collection or something like that. Or, you can just ask any of the staff and they will give you directions to get there.

Ok. So we walk in the front doors of the Imperial Palace and the place is packed. Was there a convention in town? I cannot recall. What I do remember is that took forever to find two open seats at the same blackjack table.

Finally we are seated at a blackjack table. I am at first base. Brother-in-law Chris is two seats away from me. The casino is filled with smoke, the noise level bordering on deafening and I constantly feel people brushing up against me as they try to squeeze thru the narrow isles thru the thick throng of people crowded around the tables looking for an open chair. We both toss $100 bills on the table and great ready to play $5 blackjack.

The Imperial Place Kicks My Butt At Blackjack

I get absolutely spanked by the dealer. Worst run of my entire life! Dealer gives me 20, he pulls 21. I split aces and get dealt a 7 and an 8. Dealer pulls 19. I double 11 against a six and get a 9. Dealer pulls 21. I get 15 and 16 against a 10 and bust every time. Meanwhile, brother-in-law Chris is beating the dealer right and left. He gets dealt 3 or 4 blackjacks and hits 21 several times. His doubling opportunities come thru.

The Pit Boss Thinks I'm Cheating? We're Outta Here!

Eventually, I end up losing 20 of the first 21 hands. I can't stinking believe it! Then I notice this little oriental gentleman, the pit boss, staring at me. He comes over next to me, bends down and looks under the table where I am seated. "What the hell is going on?" I ask him. "What are you looking for?" He just stares at me. "Look" I tell him. "If I'm cheating, you need to hire me to teach a class to anyone even thinking about playing blackjack here. Have you seen the way I am getting my ass beat at this table?"

Obviously not amused, he leaned into me, his bad breath almost making me gag and said "You know I can have you removed from this casino." "Fine with me", I told him. "You will just be saving me from losing any more of my money. I'm leaving anyway." "Come on Chris!" I yelled to my brother-in-law, who by now had a fairly decent pile of chips in front of him. "No, him can stay." said the pit boss. "We're leaving I said. And you can take this blackjack table and shove it." Not my most mature moment, now that I look back on it.

As we were standing in line at the cage cashing my brother-in-laws chips, he asked me "What was up with that guy?" I said "I'm not sure. I think that he believes I was cheating." "He can't be serious!" He exclaimed. "I've never seen someone lose like that. Worst streak of bad luck I have ever seen." All could say was "yeah".

We left the Imperial Palace and walked down the strip and the crossed it to the Mirage. I faired a little better there while the brother-in-law kept winning. He was really in the "zone" that night. Nice to see it happen for him. He is a really great guy. Just wish that "zone" had included me.

Neither one of us has ever been back to the Imperial Palace to play blackjack. It is a story that gets retold when we get together with friends and have a few drinks and always brings a few laughs.