Los Angeles, CA
Photo courtesy of @SteveODwyer
Just another Saturday night in Vegas, eh?
While the online poker world is still picking up the pieces of the tragic events of April 15th, Las Vegas suffered a scary explosion that sent fireballs shooting three stories into the sky and plumes of black smoke billowing into the night. The fires caused blackouts in parts of City Center.
The explosion occurred early on Sunday morning shortly after Midnight. I got tipped off by Mr. Funk aka @LVCabChronicles. He was leaving Monte Carlo when one of the transformers by the power station blew up.
The New Yorker in me wondered if that was a terrorist attack. One early report said that a car drove into the power plant, which sounded like a drunk driver to me.
The Peak Oil theorist and Lost Vegas jaded vet in me chalked it up the explosion to overwhelming demand of power, especially for the shoddy constructed City Center.
Who knows what really happened because there's been very little information about the fire and explosion in the MSM. I flipped on the TV at 1am PT and not a single "breaking news" blurb on CNN or Fox.
Vegas Tripping has a decent recap of the events. Even though I was in Los Angeles at the time, I obtained plenty of intel from my buddy Mr. Funk. Cabbies know and see all in Vegas. I also vetted info from different tweets from poker players (BTW, great reporting from Jon Aguiar and Steve O'Dwyer). Behold the power of Twitter! Within a few hours, videos eventually appeared on You Tube. Twitter and YouTube are amazing tools in the hands of citizen journalists. This is one of the main reasons why I'm for net neutrality and against censorship of the web.
Whenever weird shit happens involving the Strip or casinos, the power brokers do a bang-up job of suppressing anything horrible (like suicides and dead hookers) and negative which might deter tourism. I get it. Vegas is a huge racket and the city, state, and entire gaming industry needs tourists and dreamers flying in day after day to keep the money coming in, especially in a shitty economy and intense currency debasement. Without the flow of cash slowing down, people lose jobs and casinos shut down. If that happens, then the terrorists win.
Las Vegas can't afford any bad press like half-baked poker reporters stirring up rumors of a Al Qadea attack on the Vegas power grid to retaliate for OBL's dismissal. Or more so, a deranged Peak Oil monger trying to scare the sheeple by telling stories about more incidents like this will happen more frequently as the demand (and prices) for power increases substantially over the next six months.
Anyway, back to my theory about Las Vegas's insatiable demand for power (and to more serious extent -- drinking water). Casinos rely on their own power substations mostly for security reasons in case of a major blackout. We've all seen Ocean's Eleven and if people are dumb enough to Google "how to rob someone" before they knock off the Bellagio, well then you gotta assume that some dipshit copycat criminals will eventually try to blow the power grid to City Center. In this case, no one is that sophisticated enough to orchestrate a high-level robbery of that nature. Those million and billion dollar heists are pulled off by Wall Street suits. The folks who rob Vegas casinos are "lone gunmen" -- despondent, angry, confused, desperate souls hampered by a degenerate gambling bug.
I doubt Las Vegas will ever come under a Jihadist terrorist attack. I'm more concerned with an apocalyptic scenario caused by a city wide blackout during the summer when the entire power grid goes down. How will everyone react to such an unexpected crisis? Most of the locals working at the casinos are going to get the hell away from the Strip and find their families, which will leave the majority of the Strip's occupants on their own and a small police force.
Great... so the lights are out and the few cops are around are busy chasing down looters, so you're stuck with hundreds of thousands of angle-shooting degens, LA douchebags, and scores of drunken tourists on vacation in a completely unprepared environment.
If the shit hits the fan during the WSOP, I'm heading to Poker Prof's undisclosed underground bunker to ride out the widespread panic and looting of the entire Strip. The again, there's no way the police can handle the flash mob of rioters, so either Marines from Yermo or grunts from Nellis will quell the riots, whereby the entire city of Las Vegas falls under martial law. Sounds like a horrendous worst case scenario if you ask me.
And it only starts with one transformer fire...