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Best of Barney Vinson

Gaming Guru

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Christine

11 March 2005

I was dealing craps at the Mint Hotel in Vegas. I was making a lot of mistakes, but the joint was still open for business so I couldn't have been that bad. Well . . . maybe I was. I was dealing one day when this don't player said to me, "Take my bet down behind the six."

It was the first time anything like this had ever happened, and I really didn't know if the player was allowed to take down a don't bet or not. Line bets and come bets stayed on the number until the number rolled again, I knew that. But I just wasn't sure about the don't pass and the don't come. Like I said, this never happened before.

I didn't want to come off looking like a complete novice by asking the boxman. Besides, he was busy anyway, watching someone worse than me on the other base. So I asked the player instead. Big mistake.

"Can you do that?" I asked him softly.

Instead of being a gentleman and reassuring me that his request was perfectly legal, he hollered at the top of his voice, "CAN YOU DO THAT? CAN YOU DO THAT? DON'T YOU KNOW HOW TO DEAL?"

Every head in the casino turned, six thousand eyeballs on me, and I'm standing there with a sheepish look on my face, looking for a foxhole.

Oh, did I tell you I had a girlfriend? Believe it or not, I was actually getting laid three times a week by this hot Italian number named Christine. I'd met her through another dealer, who was going with Christine's girlfriend, and the next thing you know we were an item.

Growing up in Texas, I'd never even seen an Italian girl up close. Thirty miles from the border, you can imagine what the nationality was of nine-tenths of the population. But I'll tell you something. I know now why Italian men are always singing and whistling. They've got Italian women at home and ooh, Lordy! They start getting figures when they're in the third grade, and by the time they drop out of high school they're ready to rock and roll.

The only problem was trying to remember her last name. I was used to names like Smith and Williams and Peterson. All of a sudden I'm dating a girl with the last name of Panepinto. It was embarrassing. I'd go to introduce her to one of my buddies, and I'd forget her last name. "I'd like you to meet Christine . . ."

She would always finish, shooting me daggers. "Panepinto!"

Finally my roommate Tim came up with a great idea. "You've got to use word association. Think of a pan of pinto beans. Pan of pintos. Pan of pinto. Now say it all together. Panofpinto. Panepinto!"

I thanked him profusely, then it was off to the races with Christine. Sure enough, here comes a buddy and I'm raring to introduce her.

"Blinky, Id like you to meet my girlfriend, Christine . . ."

Shes waiting expectantly.

"Christine . . ."

Visions of food were floating through my head. What the hell was it Tim said? Something about beans? Noodles? Pasta? "Christine PLATE OF PASTA!"

I didn't get laid that night.

Her dad ran a deli (and probably a numbers racket in the back room), and his idea of being sociable was smiling when he ran over a dog. He always called me Buster, and it was starting to get under my skin. Every time I stopped by the house to pick up Christine, it was Buster this and Buster that. "She'll be out in a minute, Buster. How's everything going, Buster? How've you been, Buster?"

One night I just couldn't take it anymore. I was sitting on the edge of this Barcalounger, waiting for Christine to finish doing her hair, and her dad said, "Want a drink, Buster?"

I didn't answer. I just sat there, my eyes staring straight ahead.

"Want a drink, Buster?"

I finally looked over at him. "Are you talking to me? I thought you were talking to your wife."

He never called me Buster again.

That was another thing. Christine worked in a beauty shop and her whole life was all about hair. When she wasn't washing her hair she was setting her hair, then combing her hair, then brushing her hair, then putting her hair up, or taking her hair down. By the time she got finished with it, she had bangs in front, curls on the sides, and a beehive on top. She looked like a drum majorette at Disneyland.

And then, suddenly, tragedy struck.

(To be continued)

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