There are two times in a mans life when he should not speculate; when he cant afford it and when he can. ~ Mark Twain
What is it about "The Casino" that prompts sane people to discard their hard-earned money as easily as if it were yesterdays coffee grinds? Speaking for myself, theres something about getting money and not working for it that becomes like a fever in the blood. When I am winning, the fantasy lives, and when I am not, Tinkerbelle keeps whispering in my ear that I will with just the very next roll of dice, turn of card or drop of quarter. The fantasy persists until I run out of money; then both of us come to a screeching halt and I become a responsible adult again.
There are no exceptions to this chain of events, despite the temptation of all those ATM machines set up so strategically by Satan himself near every entrance and exit. (Lets not forget those pawn-shops with their "we buy gold" signs. One would have to be blind not to notice them, even walking with ones head down in shame all the way to the parking garage and subsequent sanity.)
One thing I have learned over the years is that whether you are winning or losing, if you keep playing eventually you will lose your shirt, hat, gloves and most of your brains. The house always wins, even if it does so with all the patience of a hungry alligator lying in wait for its unsuspecting dinner. It is rare for someone to win a lot of money, walk away from the table and never return to the scene of the crime. My mother proved to be an exception. At a Las Vegas casino some thirty years ago, she walked over to a nickel machine, put one coin in the slot and won $250! My father, who had left her for just a few minutes to go to the mens room, was in shock when he found my mother below a ringing red light, rushing silver and surrounded by a crowd. My mother never returned to the casino. If she had, its not likely that would ever happen again.
The madness spurred by "The Casino" takes many forms. Mine are Blackjack, Roulette and the slots. Any and all will help me achieve my goal of winning and losing my $300 (and thensome). When I first started going to Atlantic City, I played only the slots. Soon I worked my way up, just as some addicts start with one substance and progress to more expensive highs. Slots are a no-brainer. Anyone could operate one with one hand and side of the brain and do almost anything else with the other, even take a quick nap. The action is always the same; slip the coin in, pull the lever and watch it spin to either victory or defeat. After a while, even if you win, your hand gets tired. That is when you know you need to move on to other, more dynamic ways to lose your money!
It is said that the card game, Blackjack, offers the best odds to the unsuspecting dinner for the alligator. Unlike the slots, table games involve human contact and strategy. This can be good or bad depending on the human contact and the strategy. I am no pro, but I have noticed that the moment ones rear-end meets a seat at a Blackjack table, (a rare enough occurrence if you travel on a holiday or busy week-end), one is sized up immediately by all of the others who are prepared, just like you, to throw away all their hard-earned cash. Winning a round involves a deal of the cards and the illusion of strategy for the ones that land in front of you. Im not knocking expertise; certainly there is a way to play properly and to win a major portion of the time, but its like that old saying about not being able to make an ace from a sows ear, or something like that. After a while, the whole thing gives you a headache. When that happens, its time for another challenging way to lose your shirt; namely, Roulette.
I am sure that the game of Roulette derives from the form of suicide known as "Russian Roulette." Being half Russian myself, I cast no ethnic dispersions, but surely the concept of holding a gun to ones head and pulling the trigger in the hopes that it will discharge the only empty chamber in the gun is as smart as playing casino Roulette. At least with the table game there is no gun involved, and even if you miss a few rounds you can still live on to play some others. In this way, you can still meet your expectations as a failure or of being a glutton for punishment. I know the least about the dynamics of this game, as I have only played it a handful of times. Its very exciting and moves very fast (cant take a nap here) and many things seem to be happening with each roll of the wheel, but in reality, only one event is calling the shots; the winning or losing of your money.
There are many ways to lose this game. You can lose on red or black, odd or even, on a specific group of numbers or on each and every number available. The chips seem to fly and within an instant you can make and lose a fortune (and it is usually in that order). The problem is that the chips dont really feel like money. Maybe if they were all green and crinkly with the familiar faces of dead presidents on them it would help to curtail some of the action, but I doubt it. Once you get into the flow, its hard to stop, especially if you see the chips pile up in front of you. Of course, if they are not you must rebuild the pile and that is how the alligator gets you!
Go to the casino with a plan. Walk softly and carry a small wad. Decide before you play how much you are willing to lose and if you do, just consider yourself having been entertained for the time you spent gambling. Do not give even a passing glance to the enemy ATMs situated all around you. Play and have your fun. Then leave when your money runs out. Im headed for the casino in about a month. Itll be less than $300 bucks this time. Will I win or lose? Well, the way I look at it, Ill always win if I dont gamble more than I can afford to lose. Maybe Ill make new odds on this trip or maybe Ill just remain someone odd who loves the adrenaline rush of the game. Or maybe Ill finally get smart and make friends with that damn alligator!
Dont gamble and drive!
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