It was on day two of my most recent Vegas experience that I one of the people there asked me if I had been gambling yet. Yes, I say Vegas experience because Vegas isn’t just a bunch of casinos or a city in the desert, or a weekend destination, Vegas is an experience. Take every small individual and minuscule thing and throw them in a blender, add about half a fifth of tequila, hit purée, and what you can remember at the end of it all is just a small factor of what is called the Vegas experience. If there ever was a city you never be without your towel and that could use a huge sign that says, “Don’t Panic” I think Vegas is it. There is something about the experience called Vegas that could use that constant reminder.

Considering that I arrived in town around 9PM on Tuesday and called it a night after shortly checking into our friend’s condo. I didn’t actually go to bed until after enjoying a Mike’s Hard Lemonade and an episode of the Daily Show. On a personal note, considering this was my first night in town, I do feel it was a raging success. Well, maybe not raging, but a success all the same.

If there is one word that most people find synonymous with Vegas it’s gambling. One thing that I’ve learned about myself when it comes to gambling is I’d rather be doing most anything else. I’ve tried it on a few occasions. The first time was on a river boat in Kansas City… actually I take that back, my first time was on an Indian Reservation in Washington state. I lost my entire gambling funds for the evening at a black jack table… in one hand. Granted, I only had $5 to gamble with and the minimum bet for the table was $5.

My friends keep pushing me to just do it, to remove the petals my proverbial gambling flower and, “just do it.” So I walked over, dropped the five dollar bill on the table, and was handed a queen and a six. I held. The dealer flipped over his cards, a jack and a king. I turned around and walked back to my friends and that was it. It took me a total of one minute and four seconds to lose my “gambling virgin” title, and replaced it with the “been there, done that, got a tee shirt to prove it” saying that most novices seem very proficient at sharing at social gatherings in an attempt to be part of a conversation, even though they really don’t have anything to add to the conversation.

My second experience gambling was the river boat in Kansas City. I doubled my gambling limit this time and had one whole ten dollar bill for the sole purpose of sloting away the evening. The thing about slots is that $10 doesn’t really contribute to a lot of time consumption in the gambling realm. For about five minutes I pushed a button and was done. This whole experience was a little disheartening. I had always wanted to pull the lever of a slot machine. It has always been one of those small goals in my life, a very simple accomplishment that really only takes a quarter, and lever, and an able and willing hand, which I had then and still have now.

Turned out the lever was all for show and completely useless. In fact I checked 87 additional slot machines and every lever there was purely for show. So I pushed a damn button for five minutes and every time I won I put the shinny slot machine vomit that spewed out into my pocket. At the end of five minutes I had about eleven dollars in change and had had my fill of the river boat casino.

Once I found I my friend I attempted to bribe him with the two things that I knew he enjoyed more that gambling. I suggested we get some food and then go back to his house to watch some MST3K. The thing was, was that he had already lost about $200 and had about $100 on the game he was playing. It was some bizarre electronic touch screen game thing. After he would win a roll he could pick 5 things on the screen, which had hidden bonuses behind them to add to his total. As I walked up to him he hit a bonus round and got to pick his bonus gems, he even let me pick one. I picked a peach colored gem and with that and the other ones he picked he got some mega, super-duper, yippy-ki-yay, hallelujah type bonus making tipping his credits past the $350 mark.

One interesting thing I’ve noticed about gambling is, when people start winning, they start betting faster and faster. I told my friend Ryan that we should go. He told me ok, and kept pushing buttons. I tried it again, and said, “Dude, cash out and let’s go.” To which he agree again, “Ok.” and kept pushing buttons at a little faster pace this time.

“Ryan! You’re ahead. Stop betting and let’s go.”

“Just a sec.” he said and started tripling his bet.

At this point I was now the mother trying to motivate a 5 year old to eat their vegetables, so I did what mothers have done from the beginning of time and I took matters into my own hands. I reached over and pushed the cash out button. As the big dollar tokens began to pour out of the machine he started grabbing two and three at a time and pushed them back into the machine. It wasn’t until I slapped his hands and said “NO!” that he finally stopped. He was still about forty bucks a head when he exchanged all his tokens. The sad thing was that in that five minute time span of me trying to encourage him to stop he had lost over $100 dollars of his winnings. Still, he was $40 ahead for the evening, so he took me out to dinner just so he could break even, and to say thanks.

My third encounter with gambling was during my first trip to Vegas. My sweetie-baby-cutie-pie-wifey-pooh was so excited about taking me to the Vegas for the first time she started saving all of her change so we could play penny slots all night, well, at least until the our show was about to start. So before we left our room she filled her purse with all the spare change she had saved up and off we headed to the casino. I have no idea of the actual net worth of the change, but her purse was about 10 pounds heavier as a result.

Here’s a little nugget that should help you out if you happen to find yourself in Vegas in this similar situation… there are no penny, nickel, or dime slots anywhere in the MGM Grand. There are a lot of dollar slots that will allow you to make a lot of penny, nickel, and dime bets… but there were none that let you add any of these coins by hand. There are a few that do take quarters, but only a few. The problem with our plan is that we only had about $12.00 in quarters. That left Angela with 24 quarters and me with 24 quarters.

So to get our money’s worth, so to speak, we would put one quarter in the slot at a time and then press the button. My favorite part about the whole thing was during my turn gambling. Every time I would win Angela would reach across and slap the cash out button, with ninja like reflexes I might add. Ding! Slap! And out would pop the little ticket displaying our winnings. By the end of it all I think we had just enough to tip the valet guy when we left.

I guess you could say I did do a little gambling while I was in Vegas. A friend from work gave me a recommendation to an Asian restaurant in the Chinatown part of Vegas, which we checked out. The gamble paid off, the food was quite tasty. Oh, there was one more gamble, we did some label shopping at Trader Joe’s and out of the 18 bottle of wine we brought home with us, over half of them are new, so we’ll have to see if that gamble paid off. Cheers!

What was your first gambling experience?

Image Sources:
Google Images, key words: gambling, black jack, slots, cash out button, jar of coins, and No.