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Best of Barney Vinson

Gaming Guru

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Barney Vinson's World

1 March 2002

What makes Las Vegas run? Is it greed? Everybody wants something for nothing, and gambling is a good way to get it. Or is it something else, something called juice. We secretly put a tap on the telephone of one casino boss, and here's a transcript of his conversations:

Rrring!

"Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department."

"Robbery detail, please."

"One moment, I'll connect you."

"Robbery. This is Jenkins."

"Harry? Jack Fletcher here. How are you doing?"

"Great, Jack. How about you? Still running things over at the Wanderlust Casino?"

"Yeah, listen Harry. I need a favor."

"Name it, buddy."

"Well, I got a speeding ticket this morning on my way to work. Stupid thing, really. I overslept, and I had a nine o'clock appointment--"

"Hey, you don't have to give me your life story, Jack. I'll take care of it. After all, what are friends for?"

"Thanks, Harry, I really appreciate this. The hotel has started a safe driving campaign, and it would look bad if the assistant casino manager got a speeding ticket."

"Forget it, buddy. By the way, I don't know if you ever met my kid brother Jeff, but he's getting married in a couple of days. And I was wondering if maybe you could put him and his new bride in your honeymoon suite next weekend."

"Oh, heck, I wish I had talked to you sooner. The hotel's filled up because of the Evander Holyfield-Floyd Patterson fight. Let me do some checking around, though. I'll call you back."

"Thanks, buddy."

Rrring!

"Ritz Hotel, Mary speaking."

"Bill Hankins, please."

"One moment."

"This is Hankins."

"Bill? Jack Fletcher."

"Hi, Jack."

"I wish you wouldn't always say `Hi, Jack' like that. It makes me feel like I'm on an airplane or something."

"Ha ha, same old Jack. So what's new?"

"I need a favor. Some friends of mine are getting married next week and I promised them a nice room somewhere. Have you still got that honeymoon suite up on the tenth floor?"

"Yeah, but the new owner's living in it. I can get you a room down by the pool, though. It's a little small and the bathroom's out of order, but it's got a great view."

"Well, if that's all you've got."

"I'll put a hold on it right now. Say, while I've got you on the phone, do you have any extra tickets for the fight next week? My brother-in-law's been driving me crazy."

"I don't even have any for myself, Bill. But let me make a phone call and I'll see what I can do. I'll call you back."

"Thanks, Jack."

Rrring!

"Good morning. Pleasure Dome Hotel, Terri speaking."

"Tim Shindler, please."

"One moment."

"This is Tim."

"Tim? Hi, it's Jack Fletcher."

"Jack? How are you, pal?"

"Good, thanks. Say, I was wondering if you had any tickets left for the Holyfield fight. I need two if you've got them."

"Lotsa luck. About the only thing I've got is center row in the balcony at the convention center on closed-circuit TV. Will that do?"

"I guess it'll have to. Thanks, Tim."

"Don't mention it. By the way, do you have any juice at the Camelot? My wife and I are celebrating our anniversary on Wednesday, and she's been after me to take her to that fancy Chinese restaurant over there. If you could get me a comp, it would save me about a week's pay."

"Let me make a phone call. I'll get back to you."

"Thanks, Jack."

Rrring!

"Camelot, Carrie speaking."

"Walt Dingle's office, please."

"One moment."

"Walt Dingle."

"Walt? Hi, Jack Fletcher."

"Hello, Jack. What can I do for you?"

"I need a comp for two next Wednesday at your Chinese restaurant. It's for a friend of mine."

"Sure, but they'll have to share a table with the state spelling bee champion and her grandmother, if that's okay."

"I'm sure they won't mind. Thanks, Walt."

"My pleasure. Incidentally, do you know anybody at the Desert View? My folks are coming in from Sacramento Tuesday and they're dying to see Rich Little."

"Let me make a phone call, Walt, and I'll see what I can do."

Rrring!

"Desert View Hotel, Cherry speaking."

"Rod Brinkley's office, please."

"One moment."

"This is Rod."

"Rod? Jack Fletcher here. I need a favor. Do you have any seats available for the Rich Little show Tuesday night?"

"Sorry, Jack. Rich closes on Monday. Tuesday we've got Little Jimmy Dickens and the Blue Ridge Mountain Boys. Will that be all right?"

"I don't know. I'll have to call you back, but thanks anyway."

"No problem. Say, while I've got you on the phone -- do you have any connections over at the Shoreline?"

"Yeah, I know the groundskeeper. Why?"

"I need to get a foursome on the green at four o'clock...my boss and three junket guys from Chicago. If you could help me out, you'd really be getting me off the hook."

"I'll call you right back."

Rrring!

"Shoreline Golf Course, this is Moony."

"Moony? Jack Fletcher."

"Jack! I thought you'd died and gone to Reno! How the hell are you, buddy?"

"Great. Say, what's the chances of squeezing four people on the course around four o'clock this afternoon?"

"Fine with me if they don't mind getting a little wet. That's when we run the sprinklers."

"Ouch."

"Tell you what we could do. We could put `em on the back nine for four holes, move `em to the front nine, then let `em finish up the back nine. That way they ought to avoid most of the water anyway."

"I'll have to let you know, Moony. Thanks."

"By the way, Jack, you wouldn't know anybody at Metro, would you?"

"Why?"

"Oh, I bought a new pickup last week, and I opened it up on the freeway just to see what it would do, and I got a damned speeding ticket. Jack? Jack, are you there? Hello? Jack? Jack?"

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