There is a long story short at the end but trust me, you’ll want to experience arguably one of the greatest days of my life through my words as if you were right there next to me.

Act 1- The Sports Bet

Not sure if you heard the greatest news to ever hit the greatest section of the United States, but the very first sports book in the Midwest opened up in Waterloo, Iowa today, August 15th at Noon

This tweet is the single best thing out of Darren Rovell’s stupid mouth.

After I read that last night I knew I had to go. I hit up some friends who were still in Ames but none of them wanted to accompany me- cowards.

And so I went. I drove an hour and a half by myself. Morale was high, the vibes were good, I was about 30 minutes away cruising along the interstate until I looked in my rear view mirror of my 2019 Range Rover (which is actually a 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix with a bowling ball sized crack in the windshield). The flashing red and blue’s of the law. They must’ve heard I was about to go swindle their casino out of all their money, or maybe it was because I was going 20 over the speed limit. Who knows how deep this conspiracy goes? I escape the encounter with the long arm of the law virtually unscathed, albeit with a hefty fine for my sin.

My (not very) hard earned money was not the only thing that Deputy took. My morale was depleted and the vibes were no longer good. “Gods Plan” which I had on repeat the whole ride just didn’t sound the same anymore.

On the brink of depression I pulled into the parking lot (valet of course, what am I poor?). And the valet said he wouldn’t be caught dead driving my car. Fair enough, “This is just my daily commuter” I lied to him, as I drove off to self parking with the rest of the peasants.

Isle Casino and Hotel, Waterloo IA. And my new home.
Isle Casino and Hotel, Waterloo IA. And my new home.

This beauty of a building greeted me as I exited my car. The doors opened as I walked towards them, as if they knew their king had arrived. I walked in about 100 feet and was stopped by a grumpy looking security guard (when will this Ageism end?!) and he asked for my ID. Like most people do, he goes on to roll it up to see if its fake, and then asks for a second form, then a third form of ID. I comply with this nonsense knowing I would eventually rule this castle and this security guard would feel silly. I walk another couple hundred feet, getting cancerous amounts of second hand smoke along the way, almost makes me feel like I’m back home at Treasure Island (shout out the TI boys).

They knew why I was here and what I wanted. They knew their king had arrived. Following these signs led me to the promised land.

To stage left here, a news crew was interviewing people who had just placed bets. I listened into the last one, a fat guy who said he had just bet on the Packers to win the Superbowl. “I always take the Packers to win, but I feel really good about it this year with a new head coach and young and upcoming defense and, yeah, it’s very exciting having a sports book in Iowa now.” Idiot.

I grab a sheet of the days action and look over the lines given. I give our baseball gambling group text a message, “Who do we love today boys? About to place my first legal sports bet.” No answer, sick. I strike up a conversation with an older gentleman who is also perusing an MLB lines sheet. “Who do we like today?” I ask, “I always like the Yankees”, he responds, “and they play pretty well when they have an opener” he adds. Hmm, an interesting thought. I stay away from money-lines in this particular instance and decide my pick. I walk up to the counter and ask if I need to fill out a card, like you usually do at a horse track. I was given blank stares and immediately knew I had messed up. “No you don’t need a card for this” a worker says to me. “Just tell her what game you want and what line you want, money line, run line, total runs.” he continues. Ashamed, I approach the teller again and place my bet.

I did it. My first official, legal, sports bet was in the books. But this story isn’t over. Not by a long shot.

I decide to play a little blackjack, as I thought the whole process would take a lot longer and I didn’t want to leave just yet. But I spent all my cash on that bet. So, like the degenerate I am, I head to the atm. Pull out $100, with an absolutely absurd $5 service charge on top of it. I head to a blackjack table with only one person sitting at it. A smelly guy wearing a cubs hat, a good omen perhaps? I ask if I can jump in and he just kinda grunts at me. Oh-Kay I think. Its been a while since I’ve played in a casino, so I play the table minimum for a few hands. Eventually Smelly loses all his money and takes off to hopefully buy some deodorant. That’s when all hell broke loose- in a good way.

Act 2- The Heater of a Life Time

It started off so slowly, a 20 here, blackjack there. Before I knew it I had a decent stack of chips on me. Dealer shuffles and I count. $200 in chips, up $100. Do I call it quits? Do I stay and potentially lose it all? Of course I choose the latter. New shoe comes around and this is where the magic begins. First hand I land a couple face cards. Good start. I start to implement my usual method of betting blackjack. Start at the table min ($10), and add $10 to the bet every consecutive win. Every loss or push I bring it back down to 10. The shoe continues on and I’m barely noticing the chip stack I have or the bets I’m placing. Just phasing in and out of a replay college football game on the TV above me and playing.

I find myself with a solid stack of chips, maybe $50-60, on the table and I have a 16 with a 7 up for the dealer. Anyone who knows blackjack knows this is No Man’s Land. More than likely the dealer has a 10 under to make 17. I throw out a prayer and a hit. Get a 4 to make 20. Dealer shows 10 under. Win. I think it’s about there I realized what was going on. Couple hands later I catch a couple 5’s with the dealer showing 8 up. Fuck, another shit hand. I throw out the double and catch a face card. Dealer shows 10 under. Win. Holy shit. At this point I’m still by myself at the table and my chip stack is the biggest I’ve ever had. This entire shoe I legitimately lost maybe twice. This seems to catch the pit bosses attention because he walks over to watch this game. He asks if I have a player card, I say no. He asks if I’ve ever been here before, I say no. Another few hands go by, I keep winning. The pit boss is still standing there and I am sweating bullets. I start to ask myself if I’m cheating, which it what I assume the pit boss is thinking.

Me thinking about how I’m about to get my ass kicked in the back alley of a casino

That shoe ends and the dealer starts to shuffle them up again. The pit boss walks away, I seem to have avoided the back room, for now. I sit there and fiddle with my chips. I start to count them out, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 hundred in chips. Fuck me I’m hot I think. I cash in 400 of them to give myself a safe guard if I start a losing streak. End of the shuffle a new dealer approaches my table, “You’re on break” the new guy says to the the lady who seemingly had been my good luck dealer. As a token of my great appreciation I tip her $20, and start the new shoe with this dealer. When I say this guy is old, that’s an understatement. He makes old look young. He deals them so slow, but he shoots the shit with me so I don’t mind. This shoe I seem to cool off, back to about 50% winning. I get on another decent little streak but end up losing it. Right then, a guy who vaguely reminds me of Fat Thor from Avengers End game approaches the table. He reeks of cigs and sits right next to me. At a wide open table. Alright psycho. With no regard for me or my play he just jumps right in. Everyone knows its common courtesy to ask if they can come in when it’s the middle of a shoe. This asshole is giving off terrible vibes and that very hand I’m dealt a 9-5, 14 with dealer showing 10. Fuck this guy already. “Ah what the fuck Bob (the dealer), you gonna make me lose more money? I’m already down $635 (an oddly specific amount by the way).” Bob responds “Might as well make it an even 700.” I love this old geezer.

This guy effectively kills my hot streak but I’m still winning at a decent clip. “Last shoe” I think to myself. I cash in another 500 in chips but leave myself with about 200 to play with. By the end of this shoe I knew it was time to leave. I had lost more than I won and obviously with Cigarette Thor next to me I wasn’t heating up anytime soon. Cash out the last of my chips, don’t even bother counting how much I have. Get to the cash out counter and hand over my chips. “Wow, nice day” the teller says. “Ha, just lucky I guess” I responded awkwardly. Grand total: $975. A cool grand. Almost a band. “Big bills or 20’s?” she asks, “Uh big bills are fine” I say. Knowing I was gonna flex them boys on my snap story. “I love gambling” I think to myself as I walk out the door, King of Isle Casino and Hotel.

LSS; First of all you missed out on an incredible journey but nonetheless here it is. Pulled over on the way to the first ever sports book in the midwest almost ruined my mood, placed my first legal sports bet, and won a cool grand from blackjack, all while meeting some characters along the way.

To those of you who stuck with me through my novel, I appreciate each and every one of you. Those of you who didn’t, well, we got the page click anyways so, thanks, but also fuck you. This was my first time to Isle Casino and Hotel in Waterloo, Iowa but it certainly won’t be my last. For how can a kingdom survive without its King?

I’ll catch you guys on my next great adventure as this weekend I’m back at the homeland and will be tearing up the casino there. I can’t wait to come back with part 2.



Midwest Jack
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