The world is ridiculous and inexplicable. You already know that. There is Kate Gosselin’s hair, for example. And spam, which wouldn’t exist if it didn’t work. The Snuggie. The snooze button. Politicians.
But wait! There’s more!
Wednesday was Sept. 9, 2009. That’s 9/9/09. A once-every-hundred-years-coincidence with a pesky zero that we all wish wasn’t there? Yes! A marketing opportunity? Of course!
“It’s been fantastic!” said Weldon Russell, who oversees the poker rooms at the local Station Casinos chain. “Business has been very good!”
Stations promised to pay poker players who flopped four nines (we’ll explain that in a minute) Wednesday a pile of money. Guess how much?
$9,999 of course! (less for getting four nines an easier way, which we’re not going to get into).
To win the big money, you had to get a pair of nines in your hand (pocket nines), and two more nines (the only other two in the deck) had to come on the flop (that’s the three cards the dealer lays down that everyone gets to use).
Clear? If it’s not, that’s OK! You’re just not a poker player!
Despite long odds, Russell said three people had won already by Wednesday afternoon.
Last year, when they did an 8/8/08 promotion, guess how many people won?
Make sense? It doesn’t have to! It’s an excuse to par-tay! This is Vegas, baby! That’s the point!
Like over at the Chapel of the Flowers, a wedding joint near the Stratosphere. Marketing director Whitney Lloyd said things were going great.
“It’s great!” she said. “We’re very busy!”
She said they had 72 weddings booked for the day. That’s several times the normal volume for a Wednesday, though not as much as last year, when Chinese legend said all of the eights made it a lucky (how exciting!) day to get married.
“A lot of couples like 999 — especially the grooms because it’s easy to remember,” she said.
And so it was all over town. At Madame Tussauds Wax Museum on the Strip, nine couples were married simultaneously at — wait for it — 9 a.m.! And they did it for $99 each!
The Stratosphere down the road had a mass ceremony planned, too! A bunch of couples — 99 of them! — were to get hitched at 9:09 p.m. on the tower’s indoor observation deck. That’s 857 feet off the ground, which is almost 900!
They did the same thing with 88 couples last year.
Even the food joints were getting into it. Envy the Steakhouse in the Renaissance sold a bunch of food for $9.99.
$9.99! For steak! In a fancy hotel!
Less fancy was the 99 Cent Only store. The chain of super-cheap-discount-a-rama warehouses held its own wedding promotion, in which nine couples got married for 99 cents each at its store in Hollywood, Calif.
No such luck here in Vegas, where there seemed to be no 9/9/09 marketing to be found.
For example, the store on Charleston and Decatur boulevards. At 9:09 a.m., this:
— an elderly couple in a green Ford Taurus shuffled and hobbled to the door, purple shopping cart guiding them;
— a young couple in a Mazda pickup that seemed older than they were loaded bottled water into the bed and drove away;
— and just before the magic minute was up, a shuttle bus came into the parking lot, inexplicably turned around, passed through the parking area and got in line at the red light to leave.
North on Decatur, in the direction of Starbucks.
Hey, that’s nine letters!
Contact reporter Richard Lake at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0307.