A Magic Moment. One among many in my fabulous yet ongoing life.
I was playing Blackjack ( “21” as we real gamblers call it) late one night a year ago last spring at the MGM in Vegas. McCain and his entourage strolled through the MGM Grand on their way to the craps tables. Among them: J. Terrence Lanni, MGM’s top executive and a dear friend who always comps me.
I recognized Lanni and gave a little wave, and noticed McCain give me the once-over then whisper to Lanni. Next thing I knew, they were headed my way.
“J.T.!” I enthused. “I was afraid I’d MISS you this trip! It’s SO good to see you.”
J.T. and I kiss-kissed and then he introduced me to Senator McCain.
They had just come from a hugely successful fund-raiser for the Senator’s Presidential campaign. Everybody was happy.
J.T. excused himself to make arrangements for McCain at a high-roller craps table, leaving just me and the other players . . . and Senator McCain standing behind me slightly to my right, since the table was full, and his one-man Security team.
(Please know that in Las Vegas, ESPECIALLY inside a casino, security and video-surveillance and plainclothes men and women are already so tight that further Security is redundant. Nobody gets by with JACK, in a Vegas casino. The world would be a safer place if they ran it.)
“Call me John.”
The dealer never missed a beat. So I’m trying to play 21 and talk to John McCain and count cards simultaneously.
But I’m a multi-tasker all my life, so I kept playing FLAWLESS 21 and winning whilst carrying on a conversation with the then-presumptive Republican Presidential nominee as he stared down my blouse.
(You had to ask. A low-cut unbuttoned Jhane Barnes under a Chanel jacket over a Versace leather mini and a pair of Manolo Blahnik four-inch fuck-me stilettos.)
As we chatted and I played, McCain noticed I kept winning. “Would you mind if I bet with you?” he asked.
“Sure,” I beamed. “But you pays your money and you takes your chances,” I laughed, touching him intimately on his arm and leaning forward to give an old man a better glimpse of THESE puppies.
I remember thinking, “He’s married, but I guess she’s out distributing beer or something.”
I’ve been betting dime chips. Hundred-dollar chips in Vegas. Splitting and doubling-down when appropriate, according to the count – which I’m keeping despite chatting up McCain.
“I like the way you play,” says he, inching closer.
“I do my best,” says I, leaning his way.
I bet my usual dime. McCain places a $1000 chip outside of mine. High roller!
“Goin’ ONE!,” I squeal. “I’m impressed!
McCain grins. “Only because it’s you.”
I’m dealt two Aces to the dealer’s six upcard.
I split my Aces and double-down on both. McCain follows my lead and places three more $1000 chips on top of his first. I’ve got $400 on the table, he’s got $4000. And I only get one more card on each Ace.
I draw a nine and a seven. I’ve got 20 and 18. Against the dealer’s six, I’m a virtual shoe-in. McCain’s arm’s around the back of my stool by now.
“I’ve brought you luck, haven’t I!” McCain laughed.
Smiling, I drew him closer and whispered, “You either give me six $1000 chips right now or I’m hitting both these Aces.”
McCain’s wisdom instantly caught up with his age and he extracted six $1000 chips from his pocket and dropped them in my palm. Still smiling. Tightly. Politically.
So I won $6600 on my dime bet and McCain walked away EVEN when he should have sauntered off $6000 AHEAD.
That’s the night I screwed John McCain.
But you want the FULL story of McCain’s gambling addiction, both to the actual tables and to the industry’s lobbyists for his Presidential campaign.
For that, GO HERE from the NYT.