Sweat runs down my forehead. Am I losing everything now? Do I find the curve? Escape Forward? But before I, impregnated with adrenaline, forget the details and say goodbye to sin under the roar of the V8, back to the start. Every story has a beginning. This is my story about Las Vegas. And the game.
Once a year Las Vegas is in the diary. CES and kick-off for the Auto Show in Detroit that follows shortly thereafter. The first time you can't understand them, the impressions are too intense, the colors too bright and the strip too loud. But after the second or third visit at the latest, you learn to love the diversity of this satellite town. The Eldorado of gambling is concentrated in the middle of the desert. Nowhere else is America more focused on credit card bingo, chicken wings, and brightly painted fingernails. Adult entertainment.
We particularly recommend: the Cosmopolitan. The two huge hotel towers at the entrance of the Strip, which caused Deutsche Bank to lose billions of euros, are worth a visit not only thanks to their numbers with over 3000 rooms, floor-to-ceiling spa and wellness areas, but also because of the really good restaurants. But above all - and you are really alone in Las Vegas - in this air-conditioned city of art, almost every room has a balcony. If you are lucky enough to get something on the upper floors, you will be rewarded with this surreal view over the Strip, the other hotels and the desert. Jet lag plagues you. 9 hour flight. At least. Often 10.5 to LA, then another 80 minutes to Vegas. Including immigration. When you get to Vegas, the first thing you do is surrender. You want to sleep, get the flight out of your bones. And then you stand on the balcony at 4:30 a.m. local time. Experience this irrepressible city. Was that Elvis down there on the street? Probably.
The casinos. I don't know anything about the big game. About the passion of numbers, cards, luck. Of adrenaline. I was never interested in casinos. But here. It's just something different here. It's crazy, tens of thousands of square meters - in every hotel - full of slot machines and large, heavy felt tables for poker, blackjack and roulette. Sometimes you can't find the elevator to the rooms straight away, they pack everything so full of the temptations of the game. In front of the one-armed bandits sit the armies of meticulously made-up pensioners, blonded, without asking it is clear that they come from Florida. Once a year. And dutifully throw dollar after dollar into these blinking and squeaking boxes. Only the colorful play of lights and the background noise, which is annoying for outsiders, seem to be interesting, because it cannot be the profits. After all, the bank always wins with the machines. In general, of course, the bank always wins. Or why do these temples even exist? Because the player breaks the bank? No. The bank wins. Always. No, really, I can really get a better trip on the Strip for a handful of dollars than on those flashing metal buckets. But these trips don't appeal to me either. The only trips that appeal to me are those by car. Best off, away from Las Vegas.
From slot machines to poker. A fine game. At home, with my best buddies, after grilled sausage and beer, I have long since got my good whiskey, and I usually take them off to my pants. Bluffs are not a problem at all, most of the time the cards are even correct, so you don't even need a lie to win the pot. Only here in Vegas is of course a completely different league. You'd have to watch the tables for far too long to get a feel for who is a tourist here and who is an ice-cold professional. And if you then misjudge yourself, everything is in the can because your own talent has run out. No, poker is not played in Vegas either, there are just too many imponderables. And besides: who wants to have to explain the total loss with their own failure? Just. I certainly don't.
Remains: Roulette. The only game in the casino where you don't play against the random number generator and against opponents that may be too strong, but only against the statistics. And I've always liked that little bit of probability math. In line with this, I read an interesting piece in the business section of a large daily newspaper on the plane. "Casino Capitalism", which described a very plausible gambling tactic. In short, something like this: Roulette can always be won if you are satisfied with a fixed profit and have enough cash with you to play a sufficient number of rounds. That made sense. Of course, it is also clear to me that roulette is not a fair game and the green zero can be a big spoiler, but if you really only play by color and always double the stake in the following round, then it is very predictable. You are. Or?
I had for this - the first, only, last time - bring some cash with you. The credit card limit tested. Let the ATM smoke. The strategy is therefore clear, which is to put the dollars on black and then, in the case of red, continue to bet until I win. In the worst case, that would be four rounds. The first time $ 1.000, then two, four, and then eight thousand on round four. My chance of defeat should be around 6,25%. Well, of course, zero plays a role, so let's say roughly 7% - a risk that can be calculated. Or?
There was room at Jack's table. More than enough. A lonely roulette table during the week for those suffering from jet lag early in the morning. There is no place for spectators in my little game against the bank, which of course only I should win. This was therefore ideal. The first ten chips on black, Jack threw the ball in with a sovereignty that made me nervous. The wait began. Jack looked like he was a character from a John Grisham novel. Someone who came to Vegas many years ago looking for happiness. In the end she didn't find the American dream, but financed a simple place outside of Vegas with two full-time jobs. He smiles friendly the crises away. At all. Be friendly. You can do that here. Kindly ordering the Diet Coke. You have to leave Jack Daniels in front of the casino. Welcome to the USA. The land of double standards. Put your existence in the casino at risk? Yes, please. Do you wash the grief out of your brain with 35% vol.? No. It seems like only one addiction is allowed at a time. Katsching, the ball is rolling. Although I was very sure of myself, knowing full well that I would only need a little patience, even if it didn't work out immediately on the first few laps, I was suddenly tense. Very tense.
Not without reason, because the first round went out: red. Jack pulled my chips, shrugged his shoulders and made a gesture with my hand that I interpreted as a mixture of encouragement and indifference. In round two, the stake got smaller, at least as far as the tower was concerned. Because now there were two 1.000 US dollars on black. Next throw-in, next suspense. In general, it is astonishing how incredibly slow the time passes until the ball falls out of rotation into the numbers. Slow motion mode in the head. Is this stupid ball finally falling now? In my case, it should have been a little more time because: red. Not incredible, of course, but somehow annoying. Jack had of course smelled the roast a long time ago, but he must have seen too many strategists playing according to my plan. What he didn't know - and what he was looking forward to finding out - was my budget limit.
So in round three he naturally asked: "4.000 this round, Mister!". I loosely pushed my already decimated tokens onto the green felt field, Jack threw in - and I started to swear slightly. Incomprehensible. Red again. In fact, that cannot be true. Three times is really annoying. Whole 7.000 dollars in less than five minutes just knocked on the head. The bank always wins. I remembered. But I was also under adrenaline. It was in the newspaper. The tactics were clear and straightforward. Or?
Suddenly it was more nervous than I had wished for when it went into the fourth and last lap for me. Black again, this time with the rest of it. What came had to come. Because at some point it comes out of nowhere. The green zero. When was the last time you actually saw zero in roulette? That number that actually makes the game kind of mean. But above all the number that really got me off the hook. The complete budget - playful. During a breakfast break. The chances were good, four rounds in a row one color, that just doesn't happen. Or then just do it. Adrenaline got me drunk. The power of the game taken possession. All or nothing? In the end nothing remains. It is always the bank that wins. Didn't I already say that? Golden sinks on the restrooms? It doesn't come from losing. More like losers.
Jack understood the situation, had realized how I had pushed myself to my limit. But his powers of observation were even better than expected. "What AMG is this key for?“And pointed to my key, which had been on the table next to me for the whole game. "It's a G-wagon. A G63 AMG, the big one.“Is my answer. "Is it new? You might show it to my friend, I'm sure he'll give you a good offer." I beg your pardon? Pitch the Benz? "Excusez moi?“Apparently stood on my forehead. "No Sir, you don't need to sell it - not yet. It's just a loan. "
Let a windy hotel croupier simply loan the Mercedes-Benz USA press car? Um. Why not, at least hear what he has to say. In front of the door we actually got into business quickly. He'd give me $ 50.000 credit for the G63. He wasn't interested in the fact that it was a new car and easily worth $ 150.000. It is his risk and he has to live on something. Cutthroat! But still: fifty thousand. That's a few more easy rounds - that's why.
No. You just don't play for a G63. Take the G, flood the combustion chambers, ignite and move away. Get out of this city. Get out of Las Vegas. Run - Your brain screams, drive off! Forget the first part - forget the game. This, 577 hp, V8 and the angular conscience of the G - that's what matters. Leave the glittering illusory world behind you. Give the G the spurs, find your luck.
..and yes, it is and remains an autoblog and no, I didn't really gamble for money…