I have recently realized what an amateur I am at so many things, and one I recently rediscovered was at the casino. I have never been one to be thrilled parting with money, it is painful for me. As I am writing a check or paying out cash, my mind starts reeling about what else that money could be used or saved for. I love getting out and I love being entertained, but there is a cost that goes with that and so it’s always a bit difficult for me to fully enjoy things. That being said, I do like to spend time in a casino. It’s not even that I like gambling that much; but I like the noise, the people watching, the free drinks when the casino isn’t too cheap to give you a .10 draft or watered down screwdriver (does anyone drink screwdrivers anymore???). It’s that adult atmosphere where no one is pulling at my leg or whining in my ear and I can swear whenever I damn well please!
Last weekend my parents came into town and begged my husband and I to go do something fun since we had just celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary and I am inches from turning 40. They even gave us money and told us to have a fancy dinner or stay at a hotel where we could sleep in without kids. We decided to head up to Charles Town, WV and have a look at their casino. We really weren’t sure what to expect and we were pleasantly surprised. It was huge and clean and pretty (I am female so I have to throw in the pretty part). We ate at a great grill and talked to each other, I didn’t have to cut up my husband’s food or get under the table to clean up the crumbs afterward, it was bliss! After our lunch we headed to the casino floor to do some gambling.
My husband always teases me because I like to walk around and get a feel before I do anything. He on the other hand could belly up to the craps table and sit there for hours. After taking a tour, I decided to start out with the trusty penny slots. Love the penny slots, I can max out my bet all day long and make $20 seem like a million. I played for about 20 minutes before getting up the courage to start gambling big, that’s right, I moved across the aisle to the nickel slots. I inserted a twenty and started getting decent hits right away, which of course is like getting a hit of crack for a gambler, “Boy this is the machine, I can tell I am up $3.50 already!” I played for a bit and then the damn machine hits and it won’t stop counting until it gets to about $200 then it says ‘Call Service’. I am thinking great, I finally hit for something and it is a machine malfunction. As I am sitting there waiting for someone to come help me I notice it says I am due 50,000 nickels and I sit there thinking that it can’t be right. I start doing the mental math which gives me a migraine and makes me have to pee. I finally get out my cell phone and use the calculator to help me out….$2,500……could I have really won $2,500??????
Well, I did and let me tell you I was more than a bit happy. My husband comes over to find me and says, “I was feeling bad cuz my $20 didn’t last long, I guess I am ok with it now.” We waited while the casino host took all my information for the IRS and paid me out in crisp $100 bills. As this is happening the accounting/finance degree pops into my head and I need to go have a meeting with my husband to determine how much we can spend and how much we will take home. I quickly pull together a budget on a napkin and stash away $800 for the property tax bill, $900 to pay Visa, and $300 to put in our emergency fund. That done I feel that I can be comfortable going to do some gambling and have some fun.
Back to being an amateur, I start gambling at the tables. I lay a $100 bill on the 3 Card Draw table and start giggling. I do this every time I lay out another $100. This is a big deal for me, but not the dealer or anyone else at the table. Every time someone gets a good hand I clap for them and yell things like, “Way to go! Yippy for you!” The dealer continues to glance at me and adds me into his ‘annoying gamblers’ list but just smiles and does his job. My husband sits down next to me to play and hits a straight flush for $600 (BTW those would have been my cards had he not sat down). We are on a streak! We gamble for a while taking breaks to have a drink and talk and then decide to head to the horse track.
I have never been to a real horse race and wasn’t sure what to do. I asked my husband if I was supposed to wear a hat and he said, “This isn’t the Kentucky Derby”. We get our table and start going through the race book. I immediately decide what horse I am going to bet on solely by its name and color of saddle. My husband asked if I was going to bother to look at the odds or not. I walk up to pay for my first race and the guy says, “To win, show or place?” Um, yes please. He then shakes his head and tells me they are three different things and I need to bet for each. I tell him that I am sure my horse is going to win and give him my money, he gives me my ticket and wishes me luck. The first race starts and my horse comes in last, in fact I am not even sure he left the stable. My husband’s choice takes first place and he asks me if I want to consider looking at the odds before choosing my horse for the second race (smart ass). I go again by name and my horse wins the second race. I go to collect my winnings and I give the guy a tip, he then informs me that, “Only big winners actually tip” and gives me my money back. I am a bit offended because I won $53.50 and isn’t that a big win? No, it isn’t but he takes a $1 tip finally and tells me to go have fun.
At this point I am on a roll, I tell my husband that I am sure Robert Redford is about to offer me a million dollars to sleep with him. He tells me he is sure that is about to happen but maybe we should head home while we are on a roll. I agree and we head out. I smile and wave to all the dealers that I have met that evening and they smile back while they think, “There goes another one of those people that think they know how to gamble”. Let them think what they want, I am in my happy place, the only place that I am not an amateur!