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The bus people2 December 2014
One thing is certain: The bus people love to play, and many come down once a week for the opportunity. The bus people consider these trips to be social events as well as gambling visits. Friendships have been made on these buses, and perhaps some friendships have ended, as well.
The buses are relatively inexpensive, too. I just looked at a local church bulletin and several groups were going down. The fare was just $35, and for that, the players received $25 in free play and a coupon for the buffet.
Most of the bus people are senior citizens, some few remaining from the “greatest generation” of World War II, slightly more from the Korean War of the early 1950s. The bulk of the bus people, without question, are in the post-45 range, many with grown children.
During warm days, the Boardwalk is a truly popular place for walking, talking and enjoying the scent of the sea air.
Atlantic City is not the only place with bus-people players. Las Vegas has a small population of bus people, mostly from California; so do some of the Mississippi casinos and those in the Midwest. But Atlantic City is defined by the bus people.
I enjoy playing at the new Golden Nugget in Atlantic City. The place caters to the young crowd; that is, the place caters to the young crowd on the weekends in their clubs and bars, but during midweek it seems as if there are many folks whose youthful kicking of their heels is long past. There’s blaring rock 'n' roll blasting your eardrums and many of the seniors complain of the racket. Of course, some can’t hear it at all.
The dichotomy is evident, midweek Atlantic City is fueled by the buses, the weekends are dominated by the younger crowds; but without the bus people, midweek in Atlantic City would certainly be far less active.
The highest-betting bus people come on what are often called the “high-roller buses.” These are expensive limo-type buses where small groups of high rollers enjoy their trips by drinking top-shelf liquors, fine wines and playing (non-sanctioned) poker. The cost of the high-roller buses? Nothing. You just have to play as a high-roller plays which is usually cost enough.
My late mother used to occasionally travel to Atlantic City via bus. “There are many more ladies on those buses,” she said. “The men are catered to, and boy do they enjoy it. I looked at those buses as every man’s dream.”
While casinos in Atlantic City and other venues will cater to the bus people, not all bus people are prime players. For example, some will pay their $35 for a ticket to ride, get their $25 in free play and, win or lose, only play that $25 while immensely enjoying the buffet. These bus people are really the strictly social set, but they come along with the territory. Obviously those bus people who do play more than make up for the ones who don’t.
The most curious (as in wildly weird) bus story I know, and one both my wife and I saw, happened at the Rio in Las Vegas in the mid-1990s. I write about this in my new book, "I Am a Card Counter." (Dear Reader: If you are a PC advocate, you might want to skip this.)
To leave by the Rio’s side entrance we had to pass the gloriously inexpensive, absolutely delicious Rio buffet, which by this time had garnered great praise all over Las Vegas. We went out the door but couldn’t get across the street because a bus just pulled up in front of us. The bus looked really off kilter, for it noticeably leaned towards the curb. When the doors opened, trundling down the steps were the fattest people I have ever seen in my life.
Look, I am overweight, but I would appear an anorexic compared to those now stepping foot off the bus and on to the sidewalk. That bus looked as if it could tip over as massive one after massive one made her exit (the majority of the riders were women).
I could overhear some of them talking. They were going to the buffet for breakfast. Certainly not stupid on their parts. For $3.95 they could enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet of the highest gastronomic variety. If eating’s your thing, then this place would be your thing too. Naturally, it was their thing.
So A.P. and I played our morning blackjack session and we came back to the Rio, figuring we’d have lunch then go up to our rooms to take a nap. It was lunchtime and the cost of the buffet was somewhat higher.
We entered the buffet and there they were. The same boatload of biggies stuffing gigantic portions of lunch down their throats! I turned to the waiter and asked him, “The, uh, large people that are over there,” I nodded my head in their direction. “Have they come back here for lunch?”
He shook his head, “No, they have been here for the whole time. First breakfast, now lunch.”
“Do you think they will stay for dinner?” asked A.P. It was a half-joking tone to her voice.
“Oh, yeah, they always stay for dinner,” he said.
The bottom line? The bus people are an important part of Lady Luck’s world.
Frank Scoblete's newest books are "Confessions of a Wayward Catholic" and "I Am a Card Counter." Available from Amazon.com, Kindle or at bookstores. Join Frank on his web site at www.frankscoblete.com.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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