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True Tale 2

This post was written by Donald Michael Kraig
on November 1, 2013 | Comments (1)

It was about fifteen years after the events in True Tale 1 when I returned to Las Vegas. This is how the experience came to be.

I had been studying music since before I was in grammar school. By the time I reached high school, I was pretty good at playing rock organ. To my disappointment, all of the rock bands from my high school were really, really bad. A friend of mine since junior high school, Ricky R., played quarterback on the football team. I was left guard. He played organ in a band. He used a small, “chord” organ, which, beside standard keys, had neatly-labled button where pressing one would play chords of several notes. I never saw him play using more than two fingers.

So rather than join a band I practiced playing rock music and classical music on my own. One day, a friend told me that some people from another high school were looking to form a band. I decided to try out.

The other high school was Beverly Hills High. If you ever saw the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, the scene where the gym’s floor separates and the stars, Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, fall into the pool beneath, was filmed at the then newly-built Beverly Hills High School gym. It’s still there. Many people think that Hollywood movie stars with children in public school would send their kids to Hollywood High. At the time, few did. The stars didn’t live in Hollywood, they lived in Beverly Hills. It turned out that the guys starting the band were the sons of movie and TV producers.

One, however, was the son of a true movie star. His father was a tall and wonderful man who, after two sons with his wife of many years, had adopted a daughter. This actor had been in several movies, the most successful being one of my favorite, all-time science fiction films, a movie that’s still popular today. He went on to star in several very successful TV shows ranging from playing a famous Western hero to being a spy. The younger son, who became my good friend, was the band’s rhythm guitarist. We usually practiced at this home. I’ve promised not to identify him or his family more than this, and for this True Tale I’m going to call him Frank.

Frank and I spent time together as friends, and not just as bandmates. Once, he “ordered” me to come with him to something called the Teen Age Fair. These fairs were actually franchises and Frank’s older brother had become involved with its production. That particular day, a band called “Delaney, Bonnie and Friends” was playing. Frank pulled and pushed me up near the stage and we enjoyed a nice country/bluesy set. At the end, they stayed on the stage rather than leaving, and we waited for several minutes. Finally, one of the members said they were waiting for a guest and were having trouble finding him a left-handed guitar. I looked at Frank and he shot me a big grin. There was only one guitarist I knew of who might fit the bill. Sure enough, in a few minutes, out came Jimi Hendrix, playing with the band and standing just a few feet from me.

Frank’s father, who had started out as a “song and dance” man, was hired to do a show in Las Vegas. His wife said if Frank and I wanted to come out to surprise his father, she’d have a room for us. At the time, flying to Las Vegas was very inexpensive, so we took a flight from L.A. to L.V. The first night there we dressed up and saw Frank’s father’s show. It was a nice, one-man show and he was able to hold the audience throughout. That was a lot of work and charisma for anyone.

Into the Casino

The next day we again dressed up, but this time we headed into the hotel’s casino. Frank was 19 and I was 21. We wandered around a bit and finally sat at a blackjack table. Neither of us were very good and we were sort of playing for fun. Frank asked the dealer, who rapidly counted the value of the cards and paid off the bets, if he ever made a mistake. “No,” was the brusque answer.

“Oh come on,” Frank continued, “with all of the times you deal and work with money you must make a mistake now and then.”

“I said no,” repeated the dealer through gritted teeth. This, I realized was the dealers livelihood and he didn’t want to chance anyone thinking he ever didn’t fairly deal with the players. But Frank wouldn’t let up.

“Ow,” Frank said, as I started to repeatedly kick him under the table to get him to shut up. Instead, he asked again.

“Look,” said the dealer, “I don’t make mistakes, and if you keep asking I’m going to have the guard check your ID.”

When the hand was over I grabbed Frank and we left the table. I tried explaining what was going on but he felt it was a fair question and didn’t understand the problem. I let it go.

We wandered around the casino some more and saw a worker repairing a type of slot machine based around horse racing. There were several small horse figures that would go around an oval track. Each horse had its own odds, and you could bet between one and twenty quarters on any horse. We started talking to the repairman about various machines and this one in particular. He told us that this machine was set to most often let the horse with three-to-one odds win. That is, if you bet a quarter, you’d get back three quarters plus your original bet.

Over lunch, Frank and I worked out a system. We wrote out how many quarters we’d have to bet so we’d always come out at least one quarter ahead. The first bet was one quarter. The second bet was one quarter. The third bet was two quarters, etc. We could do this up to the maximum bet of twenty quarters.

We tried out the system, and to our utter delight, it worked! It worked slowly, but it worked. For the next several hours we plunked quarters into the machine and let the horses race. We’d regularly win about $5.00 per half-hour. That doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but it was pretty good back then and besides, it was like free money. By dinner time we had made about $40, more than enough for food. Frank, however, tried out another blackjack table, lost a bit of money, then took his remaining chips. “Let’s cash in our chips, put on some more comfortable clothes, and go to dinner,” he said. I agreed.

We went to the “cage” where you cash in your chips, and started back to our room. The floor plan is made so to go from the cage to your room you have to go through the casino. Everything in Vegas is designed to get the tourists to go through casinos and gamble some more. As we were walking through the casino, Frank reached into a pocked and found a single, one-dollar chip he hadn’t cashed in. “Okay, let’s go back and cash it out,” I said.

“No,” Frank said. I want to play a game I haven’t played yet.

The Magick Begins

“Which one?” I asked.

Frank looked around and started walking toward a table. “Let’s try roulette.” We got to the table and Frank looked around, somewhat dazed. There are many dozens of possible bets in roulette, and he pondered where to bet his dollar chip. Finally, he placed it on “red,” a bet that would make any red number a winner.

“Don’t do that,” I said. “The odds are bad and you only double your money if you win.”

“What should I do?”

“Place it on something that pays at least 3 to 1.”

“Where?” he asked.

“Put it on one of the three columns. You have a bunch of numbers and it pays 3 to 1.”

“Okay. Which column?”

Without thinking, I put my hand on the table. I let my mind go blank. I went with the first thing that popped into my head. “Put it on the left column.”

He did.

He won.

He now had his original bet plus three more dollars for a total of four. “Let’s go,” I said.

“No, let’s do it again. Which column should I place my bet?”

I repeated my action, making my mind a blank and waiting for something to come to me.

“Move it to the center column.”

He did.

He won.

He now had $16 on the table.

“Now where should I put it?”

Again I repeated my action, putting my hand on the table and blanking my mind. “Leave it on the second column.”

He did.

He won.

There were now $64 on the table.

There are a lot of traditions and superstitions in Las Vegas. One is that if someone is winning, you pay attention to what they’re doing. I suddenly had a feeling, a sensation that I should look up. The roulette table that had originally had about five or six people around it suddenly had fifty people trying to see what was going on. I also saw two armed guards making their way through the crowd. “Frank. Grab the chips and let’s go…NOW!

I had used a commanding voice and Frank obeyed. He pocketed the chips and we were off back to our room.

Be Open to Magick

The purpose of these “True Tales” is to present concepts in the form of true stories that happened to me. In True Tale 1, the concept I explored was that magick is an art. Here, the concept is to understand that magick takes place all the time, 24/7. Rituals and spells are like nodes or high points in the magickal experience, but that doesn’t mean magick isn’t taking place at other times. Here, I recited no spell, performed no ritual. I simply opened myself up to the magick that was already there.

It’s sort of like a San Francisco cable car. There is an actual cable under the street, and that cable moves in a large loop, powered by an engine at the appropriately-named “powerhouse.” The cable car operator or “gripman” moves a handle that slides a “grip” into the cable, and the cable then pulls the car. As a magician, you can be open to pull the handle and grip the magick, or you can ignore it.


First, I’ll be leading a Tantric Magick workshop and ritual in Las Vegas on the 16th of November. For details, see this LINK.

Second, my first prediction contest is still on. The person who makes the most accurate prediction will win a Tarot deck of his or her choice, and that may be chosen from all the decks offered by Llewellyn. To read all of the rules and make your entry, please go to this LINK.

This contest will run for just six more weeks. At that time a winner will be selected from among the entries on the page at this LINK. Don’t wait until the last minute! Part of this is that the earlier you make a prediction the more strongly it will be considered than the same correct prediction made later. Be sure to make just one prediction and include dates or a date range when you think your prediction will take place. Remember, the more specific you are the more strongly your entry will be considered.

Don’t enter on this page!!!! Instead click on THIS LINK and read all the rules. Then make your entry there.

This is your chance to prove how accurate you are at making predictions. The contest is open to all people. Whether you just have a “hunch,” are a professional psychic, or somewhere in between.

Enter soon!

Reader Comments

Written By Frank
on November 1st, 2013 @ 12:41 pm

I have played that game with the horses not too long ago. It was in Old Town and I think the casino was the Golden Nugget. I never bet with the 3-1 horses. I was always going for the long odds and hoping to cash in, even if it was just quarters.

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