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Best of Barney Vinson

Gaming Guru

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Barney Vinson's World

13 January 2002

September 11, 2001. The date brings a chill to the soul, and most of us will never forget what we were doing when we heard the news. I was vacuuming my wife's car when she called me to the TV set. "A plane just hit the World Trade Center," she said, and of course at first we all thought it was a terrible accident.

At Caesars Palace, where I was the gaming instructor, people talked in small hushed groups, and business ground to a standstill. In fact, business was bad for the next month, because people were afraid to travel. And who could blame them?

Casinos, however, have a panic attack every time business slows, and the first thing they do is lay off personnel. In fact, I was one of those to get the proverbial ax. Terrorist attack? Reduction in staff. Culinary strike? Reduction in staff. Summer slowdown? Reduction in staff.

I mean, I'm not bitter about it, because I had been contemplating retirement for quite some time. But I wanted to do it on my terms, not somebody else's. Caesars was gracious about it, even offering me a floor position in the casino. But I chose retirement instead, and I'm glad I did.

After working at one job or another since I was 17, it's kind of nice to wake up in the morning and murmur, "Ah, what am I going to do today?" For the past two months, I've been painting our house and doing all the other mundane things I had been putting off. But it's really the lull before the storm. I've got two books coming out this year, and there's always rewrites and revisions to make.

To all the friends I made while teaching the games at Caesars, my apologies that I won't be there any longer. That's the downside. The upside is that I'm not at the mercy of a casino any longer, and it's a wonderful, wonderful feeling.

Oh, and another thing I'll miss are the wonderful stories I saw unroll before my eyes. I'll leave you with this one that happened recently. A little old lady was standing at the end of a crap game watching the action when the shooter accidentally threw both dice off the table. Kidding around, the floor supervisor asked the woman in a stern voice, "Madam, did you take the dice?"

With a sheepish look, the woman replied, "No sir, I'm sorry. I only took two ashtrays."

Barney Vinson

Barney Vinson is one of the most popular and best-selling gaming authors of all time. He is the author of Ask Barney, Las Vegas: Behind the Tables, Casino Secrets, Las Vegas Behind the Tables Part II, and Chip-Wrecked in Las Vegas. His newest book, a novel, is The Vegas Kid.

Books by Barney Vinson:

> More Books By Barney Vinson

Barney Vinson
Barney Vinson is one of the most popular and best-selling gaming authors of all time. He is the author of Ask Barney, Las Vegas: Behind the Tables, Casino Secrets, Las Vegas Behind the Tables Part II, and Chip-Wrecked in Las Vegas. His newest book, a novel, is The Vegas Kid.

Books by Barney Vinson:

> More Books By Barney Vinson