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Remnants of old Las Vegas are slowly disappearing

So, do you know what “buffed on the ace/deuce” means? Or, “Don’t copper me”? Or, he/she is a “don’t come”-type person?” Or, “he’s George,” or “he’s George on a junket?” Or, “not George” or “Stiff?” Or who has “juice”?

These are all old gambling/casino terms, still in use.

The first one, “buffed on the ace/deuce,” is my favorite because you really have to know craps to understand that one. It happens that if a pair of dice is buffed on the ace (or one) and the other dice is buffed on the two (or deuce), those numbers tend to land down, which produces “craps.”

However, it also makes the dice roll in a crazy or odd manner.

Floormen, boxmen and dealers have all learned to hear the special sound made by dice if they are thrown correctly. That’s why the stick man instructs players to throw the dice all the way down the table and try to hit the far wall of the table. It that’s done correctly, the normal dice roll is a cadence that becomes familiar to the ear. Dada, dada, dada dome, is the usual- sounding roll. But if the dice have been buffed on the one and the two, ace/deuce, they will roll in a crazy, odd manner. Then the stickman or floorman or boxman often will stop the game to inspect the dice and introduce a new pair of dice just to be sure.

So, in the world of gambling, when someone says he’s “buffed on the ace/deuce,” that means “he’s crazy” or “he acts crazy.”

To “copper” someone is the same as playing the “don’t come” box.

It’s a negative thing to do. You’re betting against the player and for the house. In the old days out in the mining camps or in the saloons, they had an actual copper disc to play, betting “you’re not going to make it.” Gamblers are extremely superstitious and resent the negative vibe. So, many think “don’t come” players are not nice people. “Don’t copper me” means don’t contradict me.

“George” refers to a player who is generous with his tips, so “not George” is obvious.

The opposite is “a stiff.” That’s the guy who stands at the table, betting as small as is allowed, waiting for the free cocktails, requesting services (got a cigarette?), knowing they’ll give him a pack, then walking off, leaving no tip, even for the cocktail waitress.

I’ve mentioned “Princess Fatima” before, called over the paging system to summon the cigarette girl to the pit. She carried a tray around her neck filled with every brand anyone could ask for, and perhaps a toy or two, like flashing earrings.

I’m logging this gambler’s special language because I’m afraid all of Las Vegas may be disappearing. I’m afraid to go into Caesars Palace because I love that place, and the powers-that-be seem to be tearing down all the hotels in which I used to work and fell in love and struggled to grow up a little. Sigh.

All this angst is due to the announcement that the Sahara will close in May. That’s my hotel! How dare they?

I was 21, nearly 55 years ago. I worked the showroom as a dancer for almost a year, seven days a week, 10 months. No nights off. And then stayed up until dawn to watch Louie and Keely and Sam in the lounge unless they were off and then stayed all night to watch The Mary Kaye Trio. Almost nobody remembers just how much fun this town used to be. It wasn’t all about the money. It was also about treating people right so they’d come back and play again.

I think I’m going to cry.

Don’t you dare close Caesars. That’s where I became a star! Excuse me. I’m speaking to the universe. While I’m at it, you need to resurrect the Desert Inn and the Dunes. Meanwhile, The Sky Is Falling, The Sky is Falling!

Betty Bunch is a former dancer. Today, she works with the national Elderhostel Association. Contact her at bettybunch100@gmail.com.

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