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Comp City

You Don't Have To Be a High Roller To Get the Perks from Vegas Casinos--You Just Have To Act Like One
Michael Konik
From the Print Edition:
Linda Evangelista, Autumn 95

"How much does a guy have to lose in this joint before they start taking care of him?" Max Rubin asks, dumping $3,000 worth of black $100 chips onto one of the MGM Grand Casino's blackjack tables. It is Fight Night at the MGM this evening, a few-times-a-year occasion for high rollers from around the globe to convene in a glamorous casino, where they can be seen and socialize and gamble and, if they get around to it, observe from a palpably intimate perspective George Foreman getting his face pounded.

Dressed in a casually rich track suit, accessorized by a Shadow Creek baseball hat usually worn only by the highest of rollers, Max Rubin could blend in effortlessly with the MGM's spiffy crowd of gamblers, if that was what he wanted.

It's not. "Damn! I've been losing my ass off in this joint since lunchtime, and I only find out just now they're having some sort of fight here tonight," Rubin announces loudly to nobody in particular. A harried pit boss, trying to attend to the needs of several dozen "preferred customers"--that is, wealthy suckers--approaches Rubin's blackjack table. "Something I can do for you, sir?"

"Hell, yeah," Rubin snorts, simultaneously slamming back a "shot" of apple juice and placing a $200 bet. "I've been playing my butt off all day, and this is all I have left," Rubin complains, gesturing toward his pile of chips. Knowing shifts have just changed at this pit, Rubin is certain the floor man, who has only been on duty 10 minutes, won't have the time or inclination to check up on his claim. If he did, he would discover that Max Rubin had only walked into the MGM five minutes ago.

The pit boss looks Rubin over. You can almost hear his mind working: Big player. A little drunk. The kind of loud loser that might alienate my other players. Better keep him happy. He shakes Rubin's hand. "How can I help you, sir?"

"I hear you got a fight here tonight," Rubin says, as if he were the last guy in the world to notice that 10,000 big shots, celebrities and Germans happened to have all showed at the same place this evening.

"That's right, sir. Would you like to see the fight?" the pit boss offers.

"Sure I would," Rubin says. "Could you do that for me?"

"Of course," the pit boss replies. "Just give me your name, and I'll call it in to the box office." As he turns to fill out the requisite paperwork, Rubin, who has stopped betting his black chips, calls the pit boss back.

"Hey, could you make that for two?"

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