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Punch Drunk

This Week: My Own Private Disney



A fool and his money are soon parted. Add legal gambling, a nearby bar with gyrating women, free Jack and Cokes, no discernible ability to tell if it's 3 p.m. or 3 a.m. outside, and that fool and his money are soon ripped in half like the French infantry.

I'm talking, of course, about the happiest place on earth: a casino floor. Sorry Disneyland, I'm of legal drinking age now.

This past week we took a road trip to Atlantic City, N.J., which for those of you who try to avoid places that God has cursed, is like a poor man's Reno, Nev. That's being generous. It's more like a post-apocalyptic Detroit, only with more casinos.

Some thoughts:

ƒ?› The Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort features a gorgeous bar on the casino floor. A beer is $6, but it's more cost-efficient than gambling and getting free drinks. Not sure if you heard, but drunk people make abominable gambling decisions.

ƒ?› The bartenders are all 50 years old and older. They've been tending here since the Reagan administration. This means those old bastards are making fantastic money. No one truly aspires to tend bar past the age of 50.

ƒ?› There's a table game called Let It Ride. Don't go near this table. Instead just hand one of the casino floor managers $800, have him kick you in the nuts and then call it a night.

ƒ?› Atlantic City poker rooms, or really any poker rooms, are the ugliest, most squalid places on earth. If you had a weird affinity for Roseanne Barr when you were little, you might like a poker room. I played for about six hours straight and somehow contracted dysentery. I also lost a few oxen.

ƒ?› Diminuitive, elderly Asian women really like to gamble. Take my word for it.

ƒ?› Don't lose your cell phone at a strip club. Your significant other will not believe any lies you formulate in this situation. That's just general everyday advice.

ƒ?› Smoking is allowed in Atlantic City casinos! I wasn't even reprimanded as I ashed all over a roulette table at 7 in the morning. Picking up the elderly Asian woman sitting next to you every time your number hits is frowned upon, though, which sort of takes the fun out of hitting a number. Though I'm fairly certain that Xin was loving every second of it.

Luckily the aforementioned fool (me) didn't crap out a horseshoe and managed to return home with extra money, which never happens. My advice for a successful casino trip? Stay in Richmond, or go to Vegas. AC truly puts the dirt in Dirty Jersey.

Put Down the Grey Goose: I had the pleasure of spending an evening out with the owner of Zyr Vodka a few years ago in Baltimore. At the time, Zyr was only in a few major cities. Recently it made it to Virginia as a special order. I highly recommend seeking out a bottle. Its claim as “the best Russian vodka ever” is ballsy, but it might just be true. Some of the smoothest I've tried. Just do me a favor, don't mix it. With anything. Only neat or on the rocks. No exceptions.

Richmond bartender Jack Lauterback consumes and slings drinks at a number of local establishments. He also writes a surly blog at Find him on Twitter @jackgoesforth and on e-mail: