Wil wasn’t drinking much, The Mark needs umbrellas in his drinks, and Spaceman is a beer man. But damn it, there is a way this game is played. And we’re down a collective $300. No make that $400. And I’m in my pocket. What? I’m buying in again? I’ve got too much money on this table.

***

rtp online is a game of playing even. You play for the drinks, the cigars, the company. And, of course, the steak and eggs. I wasn’t leaving down. It appeared I wasn’t leaving at all.

Now, I’m not really the type to get all superstitious, but just about the time the grehyhounds showed, the dealer started dealing himself (now, it was actually a fan-girl dealer) pai gows.

“Pai Gow!” we screamed, and dutifully pointed at all the losers around us.

The pit boss, ready to leave her shift for the night stepped up.

“You’re going to scare my regulars.”

I looked at the regulars. They were aging, tired, Asian gamblers. They hadn’t said a word all night. They were playing for a little nickel a hand and they hated everything about the Pai Gow lifestyle. They weren’t getting steak and eggs. They weren’t getting anything but sore-asses and finger-pointing from we low-rollers.

“Scare, ma’am?” I said. “Inspire. We will inspire them.”

The winning continued. Suddenly, I was back out of my pocket. The boys were winning on either side of me. The green chips were stacking up. We couldn’t stop playing long enough to pee, so we put out our chips and let the pit boss set our hands for us while we ran to the bathroom. We played the dragon like it was our own personal bitch. It was a tornado of Pai Gow activity so intense and insane that the greyhounds were all set on my napkin and my liver was fueling every bit of energy on the table. The boys read about Don Gay’s exploits, The Mark blew his cigar smoke into the eye in the sky, the dealers got their autographs, and we screamed “Pai Gow!” loud enough to shake the parking garage pillars 500 yards away.

And seconds later, the old Asians woke up, stood up, pointed at their table, pointed at us, and screamed, “PAI GOW!!!!!!”

I looked at the pit boss and said one word: “Inspire.”

It all passed too quickly for me to record more than that in my addled memory banks. I have no more. I only know that I looked down, counted out my chips, counted my other players’ chips, and realized we were within $5 (FIVE DOLLARS!) of even. Over the past two hours, we had gambled hundreds…no wait…that was hundreds per hand…THOUSANDS of dollars. And we were down $5. I did a quick accounting of the drinks, cigars, commissions, and tokes and realized we were way, way ahead.

It was a good thing, because Spaceman and Wil were getting antsy. Just then the pit boss walked up and handed us our comp.

Steak and eggs, bitch. If Simone and that casino host could see me now.

It was with something like post coital afterglow that we four low rollers settled into the food joint at the Gold Coast and ordered our food. The table was awash with steak, eggs, shrimp cocktails, strawberry daquiris, and, for Wil, a dry English muffin.

Then the prop bets started. There exists video and pictures of that. I can only say that I lost everything I played.

Regardless, folks, as I prepare to board this final leg to Vegas, I’m bouyed only by the knowledge that steak and eggs still exist and getting them is still my game. I may need Wil’s face, Spaceman’s drive, and The Mark’s roll to get what I need, but I get’em.

Steak and eggs.