A Vegas Tale

This past weekend, I made my first trip to Vegas. Unlike many places I’ve been, Vegas is in fact just as the movies portray it. As you walk down the street, people shout things at you like, “Quit hydrating with water! Take this shot instead!” I wasn’t sure if they were referring to an alcoholic beverage or a bullet from a gun because either one would’ve killed me before 11 am.

Naturally, we casino’d. Here’s my story. Learn from it.

Painfully aware of my constantly terrible luck, I began with fairly conservative gambling. A few bucks here and there on machines chosen strictly because I could generally navigate them by pressing all the buttons until something spun or flashed. I wasn’t making any kind of profit, and feeling pretty literally down on my luck, until something caught my eye. In the distance, was my machine. Was it a mirage? Was it a dream? No. It was Ellen DeGeneres’s slot machine.

I immediately concluded that this Ellen-themed slot machine would determine my fate. She’s a pretty giving person. Generosity is literally in her name. There’s no way I could lose money, right? She boasts a platform of kindness and laughter, two qualities that are wholly dictated by earthly riches. Surely winning is the only option this machine offers.

I was suddenly overcome with confidence and certainty. My luck was about to change. I strolled over to Ellen, assuredly preparing for my destiny, and inserted a crisp 20-dollar bill. You may be thinking, “wow Katie, you sure are a terribly risky gambler,” and you’d be right. Damn straight I’m a gambler (I chose to not hear the first two adjectives you used). As the machine validated my money, the screen and buttons lit up and Ellen’s encouraging, sassy voice came on to welcome me to the game and explain the instructions. It was a relatively basic slot machine; you pulled the lever and could get any image from Ellen’s face to her chair to a “dance party” bonus. I made my bet and pulled the lever. “Aw, well that’s ok. We can’t all be good at something.” What? Why would you say that to me, Ellen? Perhaps it was just a fluke. I’d win something the next round.

I pulled the lever and used my second credit. “Someone needs to get a day job.” How dare you Ellen. You are my hero. Or at least, you were. I lost all $20. I’m ashamed to tell you how much more I lost in an attempt to prove myself to Ellen. Dejected and disheartened, I hobbled away from the machine like a wounded prey. I felt like a failure. I felt like everything I’d ever done up to this point in my life had been for nothing.

I thought to myself, “Beyoncé (I call myself Beyoncé), you don’t just come to Vegas every day. Ignore Ellen and go win money elsewhere.” I silently perked up and won $30 at Wheel Of Fortune. Good job me!

I should’ve walked away. I should’ve pocketed my money and rewarded myself with 3 pairs of $10 sunglasses at the gift shop. What a deal. But alas, my inner college intramural participant told me to go back. Go back to Ellen and prove to her, and to myself, once and for all that I AM WORTHY.

So, brows furrowed and teeth gritted (the least approachable person in that casino I’m sure), I sauntered over to Ellen, cocked my head, looked the machine up and down, and sat. I could’ve eased into it, felt out the waters, but no. I jammed in all $30 and pulled that lever like I’ve never pulled a lever before (it’s unimportant to note that I had never pulled a lever until this day).



Readers, you’ve made it this far, and so I wish I could give you a better, more satisfying resolution to my tale than the one I’m going to tell you. I lost $30 in less than 4 minutes.

But don’t hate on Ellen. My friend Olivia came to find me and I told her to try the machine. She spent $5 and won $30. I was too bewildered to even cry.


Gambling is a risky game. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. I lost every time. But I kept going. I’ve always heard that it’s not about how often you fall; it’s about how often you pick yourself back up. But if you fall in a Las Vegas casino, for the love of Ellen, STAY DOWN.


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