I can’t quite figure out how Martinez did it, but he convinced a publisher to give him a $50,000+ advance. That in itself is pretty cool. But then he agreed to blow most of it gambling in Vegas. This is either cool or foolish, probably both. Moving from hotel to hotel every couple of days, Martinez moved his bankroll from casino to casino, trying as hard as he could to get comped and learn each of Vegas’ table games.
Working his way through Blackjack, Craps, Baccarat, Roulette, and even War (yes, it’s a stupid game) all the while trying to build his “nest egg”. He uses the phrase “nest egg” over and over again as an homage to Albert Brooks’ 1985 film,
Martinez must have known this when he started playing Roulette, because he plays ’22’ consistently, and claims it’s lucky because it’s his wife’s birthday.
Martinez descends into a gambling addiction, staying up all night and attempting to recoup his losses night after night, but never really makes much of a dent in his nest egg, nor does he ever increase it much. Finally, he returns to Vegas months later for the opening of the famed Bellagio, and he and his wife lose almost all of it. In that moment he realizes what he’s become, long after midnight, when he’s lost almost all of their money, and as their self-imposed 4am deadline passes, he wants to keep gambling. The look of horror in his wife’s face shows him just how much he’s changed.
Indeed, this is one of the more fun and readable stories about Vegas I’ve read lately, and nobody has to get hurt, unlike most of the poker biographies I’ve read, which involve the loss of someone’s entire savings every few years. I highly recommend you pick it up.