The Unbearable Banishment: The center prop bets are all sucker bets

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The center prop bets are all sucker bets

I have been a bit down-in-the-dumps recently for some very good reasons. On Monday, the office was closed for President’s Day and Mrs. Wife forwarded the excellent suggestion that I blow off some steam by jumping in the car and driving down to Atlantic City for the day. I haven’t been there since my birthday last July and I love shooting craps. And she knows it. What a gal. What a pal.

All interior shots were surreptitiously taken with a cell phone. Casinos frown on this sort of thing. You will be ejected if caught taking pictures.

Lord, almighty, I love shooting craps. It makes me feel smart and cool (though it's not). I love a casino’s ambiance. (Ambiance: such a pretty word for such a trashy place.) Just look at this hideous architecture. It’s awfulness on a spectacular, grand scale. Yet, I feel so at home here.

And how about this elegant ceiling? I feel it has just the right amount of lights, mirrors and gold. It screams Donald Trump.

For decades, casinos have been successfully marketed as palaces of glamor and mystery, filled with young attractive people who will gladly sleep with you, if only you would ask. The reality is counterintuitive to what they’re selling, particularly if you visit on a Monday afternoon instead of a Friday or Saturday night.

On a Monday, most of the patrons are of the down-on-their-luck-playing-with-the-mortgage-payment variety. It’s like watching a horrible traffic accident that you can neither take your eyes off of nor prevent. When I’m feeling blue about my career or my finances or station in life, all I need to do is visit a casino and take a look around. I soon come to realize that I’m doing just FINE.

The best thing about gambling is the esprit de corps that arises between you and your fellow degenerates, particularly at a crap table. You either succeed together or fail together. We’re all friends. Of course, you don’t get to enjoy this singular sensation if you park your ass in front of a slot or video poker machine. Those things are just soulless, money-sucking robots.

Here is the latest abomination. It’s video roulette.

People sit in a circle in front of a video screen and place bets against an animated roulette wheel. Roulette is such a quiet, elegant game. I like the accouterments. The wheel. The sound the little white ball makes when it drops. The feel of the chips. Roulette is not as dull as blackjack nor as nerve wracking as craps. And as you sit at a roulette table and place your bets, you get to know the croupier and your fellow players. Cockamamie strategies are discussed. Drinks are drunk. Why would you deny yourself this pleasure in favor of a video screen?

Do you know what feels really bad? Losing money by gambling. When it happens, you feel like a fucking fool. But do you know what’s as good as a shot of pure adrenaline? Bellying up to a crap table just as a hot roll of the dice commences. I’ve participated in rolls that lasted over an hour. When it happens, you grab a shovel, back up a dump truck and start filling it up with chips.


Blogger Pueblo girl said...

I can smoke money (Camel's the poison), drink money (Jack Daniel's the nectar), burn money (diesel) and wear money (cashmere for preference), but somehow, the idea of playing with money just scares the life out of me.

I wouldn't mind sticking my nose around the corner to look at the ceiling though. But not when the mortgage payment people are there.

February 18, 2010 at 2:53 PM  
Blogger savannah said...

the MITM gave me a $100 worth of chips at harrah's in NOLA and said play until it's gone. he did this because he knew i couldn't bring myself to even try the roulette table with my own cash. 2 things happened almost immediately: i lost, so i got bored. he took the last 10 chips i had and parleyed them back up and then took it up to a grand, cashed out and we took off. so what's the point of my story? he likes it and i don't because i know i'd turn into the mook who played the mortgage money! xoxox

February 18, 2010 at 3:01 PM  
Anonymous daisyfae said...

i like blackjack and roulette for the social connectivity - but like you, find much sadness in casinos. oh, and i've probably lost no more than $200 total from about 20 visits to casinos. not exactly a high roller...

February 18, 2010 at 4:33 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

PG: THAT is a clever comment! It looks like gambling is the only thing you leave out.

Savannah: Isn't it depressing as hell to lose your stake and have nothing to do? Isn't it heartening to watch 10 lousy chips magically transformed into $1K? It's free money! You didn't work for it!

Daisy: Mrs. Wife doesn't mind if I go, just as long as I don't ask her to join me. She finds casinos to be a depressing place to hang out. I find them to be tragically and endlessly entertaining.

February 18, 2010 at 4:40 PM  
Blogger Barlinnie said...

I used to gamble on whether I would live to make it through the night... these days I prefer a cup of tea and a night in front of the fire.

February 18, 2010 at 6:21 PM  
Blogger mapstew said...

I just like the word 'Accoutrements'!

Notice how we Europeans put the r before the e! We're funny like that! (It being a French word an' all!)

February 18, 2010 at 8:32 PM  
Blogger mapstew said...

OK! Call me pedantic!

February 18, 2010 at 8:33 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Jimmy: Now, there's a wager I've never had to make. Glad things are different for you. That's why it's called the past.

Map: It's amazing how I can pull words like "accouterments," "ambiance" and "esprit de corps" out of my ass and, yet, continually leave grammatical errors and missing words in every post that are discovered days later and corrected well after the fact. And look at you with your "pedantic!" You're fancy!

February 18, 2010 at 9:17 PM  
Anonymous Nurse H said...

Um, next time Mrs. Wife banishes you to AC, take me with you. I used to go with my parents each year on Christmas Day (where you find jews and asians)...haven't been in years...and I'm itching to take up residence at a blackjack table.

February 18, 2010 at 11:53 PM  
Anonymous nursemyra said...

I haven't got the gambling gene...

February 19, 2010 at 4:25 AM  
Blogger Leah said...

I won't hesitate to say that I like the rush of gambling...and the ambiance...and in fact, just last night i dreamed I won a bag of nickels in a slot machine. Isn't that weird.

these are great comments here.

February 19, 2010 at 8:05 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Nurse H: Didn't we take a trip down there once? Am I imagining that?

Nurse M: You're better off, really. Consider it a blessing.

Leah: There's no middle ground. You either love gambling or you don't. Have you ever been to Las Vegas? It's like a bad/good acid trip.

February 19, 2010 at 8:37 AM  
Blogger Leah said...

I've never been there, only Atlantic City. But it's long been a dream of mine. I'm hoping to go there sometime soon...I appreciate a good faux acid trip!

by the way, I think the surreptitious photos are great.

February 19, 2010 at 10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've spent about 16 minutes inside a casino, and that was enough. But I do love the Jockey Club at Oaklawn Race Track in Hot Springs, Ark. Somehow gambling seems a little less tawdry when you're surrounded by white-jacketed waiters at your beck and call.

February 19, 2010 at 4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whether it's been a casino or a "friendly" card game at someone's house, I might just as well as simply thrown my money out in the street. I don't get the entertainment part and I hate losing.

And Donald Trump? That guy is a total asshole. It's pathetic that any one even listens to a word he says.

February 19, 2010 at 5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh how I do miss the the old days of me taking the Junk-it trips to AC to meet you for a day. You would take the train from NYC and feed me rolls of quarters becuse I was too frugel to spend more than my $10.00 an hour and you could not stand to see me sit there and not play. Remember the first time I threw the dice for you? Right out of the table they went .... I loved those trips because I did not have to share your time with anyone else.

February 19, 2010 at 10:58 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

HIF: The Jockey Club is merely a matter of making a silk purse out of a sow's ear. It's still all about the betting.

Rob: Sometimes I wonder why I like it so much. From a purely logical standpoint, gambling makes absolutely no sense at all.

MT: I *DO* remember that first roll of the dice you did! You made a lot of money for me and everyone else at the table. Beginner's luck.

February 20, 2010 at 10:58 AM  
Anonymous Nurse H said...

We never went...but i think we've discussed it..

February 20, 2010 at 11:03 AM  
Blogger Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

I don't understand the video roulette thing either, but for a different reason. If it's computer animated, computer generated all the's like, the element of 'ooh, but I could win!' is gone. The computer is programmed with certain amounts of win or lose attempts, surely? it's a completely different experience to watching a ball teeter about and topple into a space. I might be wrong.

February 20, 2010 at 7:17 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Jo: That is EXACTLY right! Who the hell knows how the computer is programmed! It's the same reason why I'm not comfortable placing a bet online. I like watching the little white ball drop.

February 20, 2010 at 7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole enjoyment of Roulette comes from the camaraderie round the table I find.

I had a craps lesson last time I was in Vegas, still didn't understand it enough to play though.

February 21, 2010 at 12:11 PM  
Blogger Ellie said...

I love Pueblo Girl's comment! :-)

I'm not a gambler, but I love Vegas. For no more than 3 days.

February 21, 2010 at 4:26 PM  

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