The end

If there is a history book for this sort of thing, it will say that the last bet ever at the Tropicana Las Vegas was a $3 minimum wager at a craps table, placed by Will Ross at about 2:45am on Tuesday, April 2. He was able to extend his session by hitting his point twice, making him the last person to gamble in the old casino on the south end of the Strip.

At 1:00pm today, the doors to the Tropicana will officially be locked as the property is prepped for demolition to make way for a new stadium for MLB’s Athletics, who will move to Las Vegas from Oakland after the 2024 season.

Ross told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he was just going to keep his $4 cashout ticket, frame it, and hang it on his wall as a keepsake. It’s an unimportant, but at the same time fun memento of the final bet at the Tropicana, which died two days short of its 67th birthday.

The beginning

And where Ross is the last person to place a bet at the Trop, the Trop was the first place I ever placed a bet in Las Vegas. I also have a keepsake, a white, one-dollar chip to mark my stay.

Despite what I do for a living, I’m not much of a gambler. Living in a state with no legal gambling except for the lottery kind of forces the issue, but I was never really one to begin with. I used to play micro-stakes poker and enjoyed the occasional blackjack or video poker when in Vegas, but overall, I don’t feel like losing money. But the Tropicana will forever hold a place in my heart, as it was the catalyst for what became a two-decade career in the poker world.

I was a customer and message board contributor on PokerSourceOnline (PSO), the site from which this one was born (Poker News Daily has transferred ownership multiple times in the years since). My wife and I were planning our first visit to Las Vegas at the same time Mike, the owner of PSO, announced that he was going to be there the same weekend.

My wife and I met up with Mike and his then-girlfriend (now wife) for breakfast, after which we split up in stereotypical male/female fashion: the boys played craps and the women went to the spa. After a few hours, we bid our new friends adieu and had a very nice rest of our stay.

Mike and I kept in touch over the next several months. In the meantime, I was working in a terrible management consulting job, stressed out of my mind because the person who ran the company was awful. Doing what I had to do to save my health, I gave my two weeks’ notice and announced it on the PSO message board in a “what do you do for a living” thread.

Within a couple hours, my phone rang. It was Mike. He saw my post. “We’re going to start a poker news site. You want to start it with us?”

And I’ve been with Poker News Daily ever since. I’ve written for probably a dozen sites over the years, but the one constant has been this one. So goodnight, Tropicana, and thanks.

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