As frightened as I was, I did it. I lost my casino-virginity. Last Thursday I went to Mohegan Sun in Connecticut with a bunch of good-time friends who are more experienced than I am. We shared a suite on the highest of floors and had the most magnificent view over a frozen lake. After a couple of drinks, I made it down to the casino part of the hotel.
Before I go into the gambling part, let me tell you how capturing these casinos really are. First of all, there are no windows! No matter what time it is, it will always be dark. That is probably also the objective: these places want to get as much money as possible from you, so they take away your sense of time.
The enormous area illuminated the roulette tables and slots with flashing colorful lights, directing your eye and attention to the win-it-or-lose-it facilities. You won’t know where to look: every side looks completely different. While there is a huge plastic ice castle on your left, there is a wooden forest-like area to your right. It’s a world of magic; anything can happen.
I wanted to start small, so my other casino-virgin friend Chris and I made our way to the slots. Big mistake. We lost $20 just like that. We also had no clue as to what we were doing, so in a way that makes sense.
Then, however, we got to the blackjack tables at around one in the morning. We had a great time as noobs (read: newbies), but our fellow players on the table were rather irritated. Whatever, we had to start somewhere, right? With the aid of our good friend Joe, we eventually got the jist of the game. We sat there until five, and while we remained in the same spot, fellow players came and went. We played $15 on the regular, but sometimes we went crazy and threw down $20. That was nothing to this one other player who kept playing multiples of $25 chips. He lost a lot of it and did not say one word while Chris, Joe and I were giggling most of the time.
It took some getting used to the blackjack lingo, and we got our fair share of evil looks whenever we put our wallets on the table or didn’t do the right hand sign for “continuing” or “stopping”. They’re serious here. Three dealers later, I won a $100 and Chris lost $100. Oh well, you win some and you lose some. Once we figured we should stop (after we told ourselves numerous times within two hours), we went back upstairs.
After a tiring night, we discussed our successes and failures with the few that were still up and soon after we knocked out. Here are a couple of things I learned from my experience:
1.Don’t get sucked into your environment, as difficult as it is.
2.Don’t listen to your fellow players. They want you to lose, obviously.
3.Know when to stop; I could have made $185 had I quit at the right time. One friend made $1200, but went home with a mere $500 after putting in $100.
4.Make sure you know the haptic gestures; they’re needed for the camera’s that watch every game.
5.Start at the $5, $10 or $15 tables if you’re also a noob.
6.Know your way around – it’s a labyrinth in there.
7.Make sure you have dinner and cigarettes ($15 for a pack) before you go; the prices are ridiculous.
8.Be prepared for a sleepless night.