As I stretched out on my couch after the drive home, I closed my eyes and could still hear the casino in my head. The sounds are addictive. I wanted to jump in my car and drive back to The Paragon. Instead, I reminisced about Mrs. Beautiful.
Lunch was good. Not as good as the lobster tail dinner, but good enough to get me itching to gamble again. I headed back to the casino floor with a purpose. Apparently, the casino didn't understand my purpose because things quickly went awry...
I know how to play Blackjack. I know the game. I've played it and played it well. It's not that hard. There are times when you hit and times when you stand. Sometimes you split, other times you double down. And every now and then, you're supposed to get Blackjack.
Apparently the Blackjack gods hate me. I never saw a Blackjack. Every time I doubled down, the dealer managed four and five card 20's and 21's.
It was time to swear off Blackjack.
Instead, I was lured to the fool's gold of a Three Card Poker table. I had my initial $80 profit running through my head, while conveniently forgetting I had given it all back.
I sat down with what seemed like a Shriner's convention, and plunked a hundred dollar bill on the felt.
It wasn't a blur this time. I remember it all happening. It was like slow motion. A brutal slow motion, like when Rocky punched Drago in slow motion and sent him to the mat. I was Drago.
I didn't see a single pair or better. One guy at the table got dealt three flushes in a row. I wish I had been in his seat. Instead, my $100 was gone in just minutes. I ran from the table.
Apparently the tables just weren't going to work for me, so I headed back to the nickel slots. At least I had won money there.
I sought out that crazy Pyramid game again hoping to see the same luck as last time. I slid two $20 bills into the slot and started playing my 800 credits. 785... 770... 755... 400... 385... 370... 100... 85...
It didn't take long before it was gone. The funky pyramids didn't show up this time and I was becoming rather deflated. This trip to the casino was turning out a lot worse than I had envisioned.
I slid over to the next nickel slot machine and put another $40 inside. It was some kind of spelling bee game. I remembered that I hate bees soon after that $40 was gone.
Why do I even play slots? I've said countless times that I hate slots. In just 10 minutes or so, I had given back everything I made at the slots the day before, and then some.
I didn't really come to lose my $500. The only reason I brought that much was so I could take a legitimate bankroll to the poker table. Since the poker room was closed, I was stuck giving my money away to the casino.
I had already lost $300 and figured I should probably just head home.
Then I saw her.
She was stunning.
I was drawn to her, and that led me to the Roulette wheel. Her shimmering smile and bottomless blue eyes helped me forget the huge house edge I was facing.
I bought in for $100 and hoped for the best. I apparently wasn't the only man drawn to the roulette table, but most others merely stopped at the other end from Mrs. Beautiful and stared. Her plunging neckline made for an inviting sight every time she stretched to bet on the number 10.
I began my routine, playing the number 17 and surrounding it. That was a $9 bet every time the wheel spun, and a total of 11 spins if the numbers 13-21 failed to hit.
For awhile that looked to be the case. Even Mrs. Beautiful was having a rough time of it. She busted out and for a moment, I feared she was going to leave. Instead she pulled out another $20 and started again. It was a good thing she did because Mrs. Beautiful suddenly turned into Lady Luck.
It didn't take long before Mrs. Beautiful had every baby blue chip in front of her. The luck didn't spread to me, however, and I was getting close to busting out.
Then it happened. Mrs. Beautiful stretched across the table and placed one of her chips on 17. I laid out my 9 chips and decided to put an extra chip on top of 17. I knew, I just knew my luck was about to change.
The little white ball began it's trip around the wheel and started bouncing from number to number before finally settling in a spot it hadn't settled in since I sat down... 17 black.
"It's about time!" I said, then I turned to Mrs. Beautiful, "Thanks for changing my luck."
"Oh, you're welcome. I'm just glad you finally hit," she smiled.
The wheel man slid me 100 orange roulette chips and then 70 in casino chips.
I slid a $5 chip down to Mrs. Beautiful, "I figure I wouldn't have hit that without your bet."
"Thanks!" she was surprised. I'm not sure how often people tip other players at the table.
Things just got better from there. A few spins later, 17 hit again, this time for a haul of 135. Unfortunately, Mrs. Beautiful had to go and when she left the table, I stopped hitting. In fact, when she left the table, everyone stopped hitting.
I walked away from the wheel with a $50 profit. That's not much in the grand scheme, but I was down to almost nothing when I made my comeback, and I have Mrs. Beautiful to thank for that!
Half my money was gone. But I was actually feeling a lot better after my turn on the wheel. It made sense to walk away at this point. If I stopped anywhere else and lost, I'd feel terrible.
As I headed toward the exit, I had to pass the Craps table. The Wizard of Odds says, "Craps can be an intimidating game for the beginner." That's why I've never actually played. I know how to play (thanks to Hoyle Casino), but I've always been intimidated by the pace of play. Craps is fast.
As I stopped to watch, a player told me, "If you're walking into a casino, you're playing craps, or you might as well go home." He's right. No game in a casino has a lower house edge than craps.
In fact, the Paragon features 10X odds, and that means the house edge is just 0.184%. I hadn't cashed in my $150 in chips from roulette and thought, "What the hell?"
I took my chips and got ready to play.
The Wizard of Odds also gives this advice, "If you are playing for the first time don't announce this if you are male. Male virgins to the game are said to be unlucky, and the opposite for females. This is evidently because virginity is despised in men and valued in women." I made no such announcement and placed my $5 chip on the pass line.
It was a blur. But this is one of the greatest blurs I've ever been a part of. I was betting the pass and the come and playing 4, 5, 6, sometimes 10 times odds.
They were throwing red and green chips at me faster than I could put them in my tray. I love craps!!!
Before I knew it, I had more than $400 in chips in front of me, and combined with the five $20 bills in my pocket, I was actually up for the trip.
As the dice turned cold, I got myself back down to $300 in chips and knew it was time to walk away. Less than an hour earlier, I was two roulette spins from walking away with just $100. Now I was walking out of there with $400.
It's one of those trips where you lose money but walk away feeling like a winner. In fact, combined with the free room ($65), free dinner ($50), and free breakfast and lunch buffets ($20), I actually came out ahead.
I can't wait to get back to the Paragon to experience their poker room for the first time and to throw those dice again.
As I left the casino, I took a deep breath and smiled. I love to gamble.