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October 18, 2012

In Vegas, the hand is quicker than the eye

"There’s a sucker born every minute''

Who said that? P.T. Barnum, wasn’t it?

You remember him. He’s the circus magnate who drew up a rather novel approach to alleviating the crowd one day. He drew up a sign that read: “To the egress.”

People thought it was some weird animal and followed the arrow. It pointed right out an open door and, if you wanted to regain entry, it would have cost you another ticket. Good old P.T. He certainly had a way for deception.

I couldn’t think of a better way to ending a two-week tour of the national parks than to spend a couple days in Las Vegas. You know, the city of ill repute. It’s also the city of broken dreams, where money can be lost in more ways than “won.”

After I held my own with the slot machines, off we headed to the strip for some resort-hopping. Actually, I enjoy visiting the casinos more than playing them.

We started at one end, walked a little, then hopped aboard a bus for a lift. It was hot this particular day — 98 in the shade. We were with some dear friends from Andover. I suppose you could consider us moderate gamblers.

We’ve done the Connecticut scene and even been to Vegas before. Add it all up and we may be a trifle behind in our earnings. But hey, that’s entertainment.

Walking along, we came to a small crowd of observers huddled around a table. Behind it was a man with the gift of gab. And dexterity.

He maneuvered three playing cards. Follow the action and pick out the red card for $100. Simple as that. But not so easy until you try it.

“All right now, just follow the red card and pick yourself up a C-note,” came the pitch.

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