72. Betting Big in Vegas

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Jasper's parents were going to Las Vegas for a week. The last time they were there was 10 years ago. The city had changed greatly in those 10 years. For one thing, the all you can eat buffets were $15, instead of $3. And traffic was much worse, of course. But now Las Vegas had a monorail that stopped at all the major hotels. No more walking in the hot sun (or the bitterly cold wind, if you visited Las Vegas in the winter). Jasper's dad loved the buffets. "Even at $15, he'll still eat $20 or $30 worth," Jasper's mom said.

Jasper asked his dad what games he was going to play. Blackjack, he replied, if he could find a $2 table. Jasper told him that he might have to go downtown to a real old casino. Most casinos, he said, require a $5 minimum nowadays. That didn't surprise his dad. After he lost a hundred dollars, he was finished anyway, he said. He was never one to throw good money after bad.

Jasper's mom had no use for anything except slot machines. She loved the slots, as long as she could find nickel machines and dime machines. "Are any of those left?" she asked Jasper. He said he wasn't sure, but there had to be some, somewhere. She said she was going to play differently on this visit: she would wait till someone used a machine for at least 15 minutes. Then she would play that machine when that person got up and left. Maybe, she hoped, the jackpot would hit on the first nickel that she put in. That's a good idea, Jasper thought. Unfortunately, it's the same trick that everyone who plays the slot machines does. And almost everyone goes home broke.


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