Posted on March 25th, 2019
I'm not much of a gambler despite being luckier at gambling than most.
Sure it has some entertainment value, which is why I'll throw some money on the table or drop some in a slot machine when I'm out with friends. But gambling is not something I seek out, nor do I use it as a cure for boredom when I'm working in a place like Las Vegas. The odds are just too stacked against the player for me to find much joy in it.
For this birthday weekend with my friends at the Tulalip Casino Resort, I decided to set a gambling budget of $100. I ended up spending $0 of it because I was awarded "free play" money by the casino for staying at the hotel on my birthday. It was $50 in credit which I ran up to $78 in real money which I then used to gamble with (and ultimately lose). Perfect. Hours of entertainment that cost me nothing. That's a kind of "gambling" that I understand.
What I don't understand is people who gamble away more money than they can afford to lose. And yet it happens all the time. People have the expectation that they're going to win, when they really should have is the expectation that they are going to lose. Winning is just a happy accident... if it even ever happens.
While I was getting my $100 out of the ATM yesterday (that I didn't end up spending) there was a guy on his phone screaming at his bank because they "took his money." Except they didn't take his money... he had probably been gambling all morning and kept taking more and more out of his account. Before he knew what had happened, it all added up, and his money was gone.
Oh well. Hopefully he had enough left for rent. But, if his screaming was any indication, probably not.
The $78 in "real money" I got was won playing a slot machine called "Mega Meltdown." As I started to lose it all, I switched to a machine called "Miss Kitty Gold"...
I never truly understand how multi-line slot machines pay out... stuff flashes and you win or stuff doesn't flash and you lose. But it had cats on it, so I figured it was an entertaining way to finish off the last of my "free money" winnings.
Next thing I know, my screen is filling up with flashing pink cats and I'm up to $60 again.
It was at this point I heard a kerfuffle going on behind me and saw some woman stomping off. I must have looked puzzled because a guy standing there said "She was mad because she was going to play that machine." Now I was really confused. "There was nobody here when I started playing." And there really wasn't. "I wouldn't worry about it. If you had really stolen the machine from her there are cameras everywhere and she'd be asking for security.
One more reason to take a pass on gambling, I guess.
Well, that... and the fact that I still have my $100.
Posted on August 9th, 2013
I am not much of a gambler.
Not because I am particularly unlucky, because I'm not (even though I don't much believe in luck)... but because the paranoia of losing my hard-earned money just kind of sucks all the fun out of it.
But it wouldn't be a trip to Vegas without a little gambling, so I slid $20 in a slot machine... lost everything but $4, then somehow ended up $136.43 ahead...
And there's my gambling money for the trip.
Yes, I'm a total player that way.
But at least I won't be whoring myself on The Strip to earn cash because I lost all my money playing roulette.
No... if I'm going to whore myself on The Strip, it's going to be because I enjoy it, dammit!
Posted on March 23rd, 2013
I am not much of a gambler so I avoid it. This means that going to a casino is kind of a treat for me since it happens so rarely. That being said, I am kind of lucky at gambling... even though I don't believe in luck. Maybe it's the magical combination of alcohol and all that cigarette smoke?
In any event, going to a casino with a bunch of friends is pretty much the perfect birthday, so here I am.
I used to play blackjack quite a lot and have tried other table games, but it's not very enjoyable because I spend most of my time being paranoid that I'm going to make a mistake. So most of my time is spent playing the slots because the machines do all the work for you.
Many years ago when I first went gambling, it was in Las Vegas because that's about all there was in my neck of the woods. Slot machines were pretty simple and looked something like this...
If stuff lined up, you won. If it didn't, you probably lost. Simple.
But eventually slot machines started looking like this...
Now there were three lines you could win on (sometimes five lines if your machines played the diagonals). This allowed you to place multiple bets at the same time, and the more you bet the more "lines" you were playing. This both increased your odds of winning... but also sucked your money away faster. Still, it was all pretty simple. If stuff lined up on one of the lines you were playing, you won something. If not, you probably lost.
Then, like everything else, slot machines eventually went digital. The "wheels" were simulated and, since it was all a computer program, things could get a bit more complex. Things didn't necessarily have to line up on straight lines any more...
This was a bit confusing, because you didn't always know how you won or why you lost. "Lines" weren't always "straight lines" any more, and so it was getting harder to tell what was going on. In the past, you got a momentary thrill when you saw you had won, and the machine paused long enough before telling you so you got to enjoy that moment. But now? There's so much to look at that a small pause in the action isn't enough time for you to figure out what just happened. Instead you just get annoyed waiting for the machine to let you know what the verdict is.
And today? Well...
I have no fucking clue what's going on any more. I just press the "play" button and watch stuff fly by. The images on the screen mean absolutely nothing to me...
Tonight I played $20 and ended up with $77. Don't ask me how. I saved that ticket and then played $40 which went all the way up to $480... then dwindled down to $0 three hours later. Again, don't ask me how.
So it looks like I'm ahead $17, since I spent a total of $60 and have $77 to show for it.
Tomorrow I'll either lose all of it and be down $60... or I'll have won a million dollars and be ahead $999,940.
Whatever the case, don't bother asking me how I did it, because the machines are so damn complicated anymore that I just won't know. I'll just be happy to be alive.
At least until I have that one drink too many.
Posted on September 7th, 2009
Over the next couple days I'm having my blog templates upgraded, so there may be some problems pop up while things get sorted out. I was going to do a redesign at the same time, but I kind of like my blog the way it is.
A couple people asked me "how I did" in Vegas. Since I made it home alive, I'd say I did okay, but I don't think that's what they are talking about... they want to know how much money I won or lost. The truth is that I am not much of a gambler, even though I seem to be luckier than average.
Which is to say that I lose less money than average, because at the end of the day, the casino almost always ends up the winner. Given the addictive nature of gambling, it helps to have a plan. To make sure I don't go broke, I set myself a daily budget based on the total amount of loose change I've managed to collect over the last year or so... $264. This spread out to $64 for the first half-day, and $100 for Saturday and Sunday. My luck played out something like this...
So I lost $181. Which isn't bad when you consider it gave me three days' worth of entertainment AND was under my budgeted amount of $264. This would be great if I hadn't burned through the remaining $83 at the new Hard Rock Cafe an The Vegas Strip buying Grand Opening collector's pins. Oh well.
And now I'm home again... collecting my pocket change for the next time.
Posted on September 4th, 2009
And so here I am in Sin City. I've been a lot of bizarre and strange places, but all of it pretty much pales in comparison to the bizarre and strange stuff you see in Las Vegas. Limos with hot tubs in the back... people puking on the street... half-naked partiers on the sidewalk... gamblers sobbing inconsolably... drunks EVERYWHERE... it goes on and on. Some might say this parade of non-stop debauchery is the ultimate expression of humanity's downfall. I just think it adds to Las Vegas's already considerable charm.
My day began very, very early as I drove to the airport at 4:00am for my 6:00am plane ride. From there I had three quick back-to-back flights which deposited me in Vegas around 11:00am. I packed light to avoid Horizon Airline's STUPID FUCKING $15 LUGGAGE FEE, which allowed me to skip baggage claim and head directly to my hotel.
After checking in, I played the slots for 15 minutes before winnings $200. Yay me! This money got pocketed, leaving me $62 of my original $100 daily gambling budget (which I would eventually lose, netting me out at +$100 for the day).
I'm guessing that was all the luck I'm gonna get this trip. But you never know.
I cashed out my winnings and headed out to have some drinks with a good friend and his wife whom I haven't seen in nearly seven years. That's when the magic began, as we headed out into the wilds of The Vegas Strip. We started out at The Excalibur where I decided to go out and people-watch while my friends played the tables...
In wandering around the South end for a while, I came to the inescapable conclusion that a lot of people... a lot of people... come to Vegas to fight. Every 50-feet I ran into people yelling about something. One drunk woman was causing a major scene as she screamed for her boyfriend/husband to "GIVE ME SOME MONEY!!" over and over and over again. Next I'd see two people yelling over who's turn it was to buy cigarettes. More than a couple of times I overheard people fighting over where they wanted to go next. A particularly nasty brawl erupted in front of the MGM Grand Casino because, from what I could gather, one guy slept with his friend's girlfriend and was freaking out because the guy who got cheated on was threatening to tell the guy's mother on him. This might have been funny, except I'm guessing the guys were in their late 30's or early 40's.
In an attempt to get caught up on the USA Hard Rock properties I haven't visited yet, I dropped by the new cafe on The Strip (leaving only the new Hotel & Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma remaining)...
After joining back up with my friends and losing $50 at blackjack, the three of us decided to eat a late dinner at the original Hard Rock Cafe Las Vegas, located in front of the Hard Rock Hotel...
The hotel's casino is where I decided to blow my last $12 in nickel slots before we started doing Jäger shots at the bar. Oddly enough, it took well over an hour to lose my remaining money... even at MAX BET. They really know how to drag things out in Vegas... but it doesn't really matter, because the house always seems to win in the end. At least they're patient about it.
My friends were staying at Paris Las Vegas, so we decided to take the shuttle back to the MGM Grand and walk back to their hotel. I didn't have any gambling money left, but my $100 in winnings was quickly consumed in alcohol-related expenses along the way...
Yes, that's right... it's Mr. Morality Himself, Donny Osmond. I find it oddly satisfying that this self-righteous ass is more than happy to tell people how to live their lives according to his beliefs with his lobbying against gay marriage... and yet here he is, right next to his twice-divorced sister advertising at a venue where pole dancers are shaking their ass to beckon people inside the casino to smoke, drink, and gamble (all three of which I'd imagine are also against his beliefs). I guess Donny's moral superiority can be yours... IF the price is right.
But I'd imagine that would hold true for a lot of people in Las Vegas.
*My morals can be rented for very favorable hourly rates. Long-term leases also welcome!
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