Once a year Monterey’s gamblers have a real stroke of luck. Instead of traveling to the gambling spots, the gambling tables come to them. It’s called Vegas Night – four hours when the Yacht Club is converted into a mini-casino, and players roam from one attraction to the next with wads of play money clutched in their hands.
At some tables the bills are converted to chips, and everybody finds places for them on an array of numbers and squares laid out on the table. When the wheel stops, workers are quick to size up the situation and pay the winners with little down time. No one cares if you don’t quite know what’s going on.
Black Jack tables line the far wall. Dealers with splendid little shuffling machines take charge of dealing the cards, analyzing the array of card combinations all around the table, and paying off the winners. If one of the players has a losing streak and walks away, no matter. Plenty of people are milling about, ready to occupy the vacant seat.
Near the end of the evening is the horse race with real, live horses. If the horses are actually ladies pushing little wooden sticks, who cares? The excitement builds as numbers are called and horses inch forward, with a big shout when one crosses the finish line and bets are paid off.
The final attraction is a drawing for donated prizes and an auction for spending whatever play money you have left when the gambling tables shut down. It’s a night when everybody goes home with something, even if it’s only the intent to come back next year.