Joker’s Wild

Astute viewers will notice the entirety of The Strip in the far background.


It’s refreshing to go into a casino whose ridiculous casino theme is “casino.” I hate sounding like a Dennis Leary sketch here but where did all the fucking casino-themed casinos go? It used to be, you’d walk into a casino, you’d see slot machines, table games, a keno bar, girls walking around selling cigarettes from a board around their necks and cocktail waitresses handing out free watered-down cocktails for every ten bucks you’d put into a machine. Then all of a sudden around the mid-90s we have the pyramids and the Eiffel Tower shoved up our asses and casinos stopped being casinos and started being theme parks.

Fuck. That. Shit.

That’s why it’s such a delight to run into a casino that’s still a casino. The first thing that strikes you when you wander in off of Boulder Highway and into the Joker’s Wild is The Smell. Oh if you’ve lived in this state[1] long enough, you’ll remember it. The stale, musty smell of week-old cigarette smoke, that tarry, sickly, treacly smell that clings to the air-conditioned entryways and hovers between the sets of doors that act as an airlock between the blistering brilliance of outside and the damp, dark, dankness of the inside. In that zone, that scant four feet The Smell hits you and you’re back where you started, seven years old and wandering through the casino floors of your youth, glaring at the poker machines and watching the keno balls rattle around in their translucent plexiglass dome.

More like this.


If there’s anything that hits me in the mouth and makes me put on those rose-tinted glasses and look back at something with a delightful nostalgic wax, it’s The Smell. And Joker’s Wild has it. Since I obstensibly “live” in that area (I found a sweet place to urban campout nearby), I find myself going back from time to time, just to catch a snootful of that sickly, stale tobacco tar and remember how things were back before I was cognizant and realized how shitty the entire universe is and just how fucking cynical I really am.

Joker’s Wild is a great club. No cloying ads depicting chiseled hardbodies with airbrushed gradient glows on their thighs inviting you to the pool, no night-club-all-day bars that play the same Alicia Keys song[3] on repeat while douchebags in designer jeans and italian shoes reeking of Axe body spray pump their fists over their gelled fauxhawks. No, just a real, live, honest-to-God oldschool casino experience. The way Sammy and Dean-o and The Chairman wanted it.

The martini has three ingredients. Gin, Vermouth and an Olive. If you ask for one with vodka, the bartender here will punch you in the mouth and then security will swoop in and take you to a back room where they threaten to cut off your cock. True story.

[1]by which I mean “the parts that don’t suck.”[2]

[2]also you sort of had to be here before the anti-smoking Nazis clamped down on us back in 2006 with their ridiculous Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act.

[3]newyorknewyorknewyorknewyorknewyorknewyork *blam *

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One Response to “Joker’s Wild”

  1. Gavin Says:

    When I hit up Vegas, I’m gonna take a gal to play at some Joker’s Wild.

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