Monday, August 02, 2004

I guess my first clue that the casino wasn't what I was going to be expecting should have been the fact that it was anywhere outside of Vegas. But that wasn't it. What tipped me off instead was that no one checked my ID. Anywhere.
I don't look 21; on a good day I can pass for 16 or so. But they didn't care. I could have been seven years old and as long as I was smoking a cigarette and looked like I had money to spend no one would have said a thing. I wanted a set of bouncers named Guido at the doors.
The noise inside was muted. The slot machines are all computers, so nothing goes ching or klunk or anything. There were no levers to pull and no obvious sense behind the winning of credits on the machines. There's also no actual money, just paper tickets that feed in and out of a little slot. At least there were still slots, I guess.
We won and lost and won and lost and I started to check myself occasionally to make sure I wasn't getting all hunched over and squinty like the rest of the crowd. Sometimes I would pass a person and they would have a card in the machine attached to a plastic springy leash. The least would be hooked onto their arm, and at a quick glance it looked like they were fed straight into the machine; plugged in.
A little confused, we headed over to the tables. Jeff changed in some cash for some chips, and this was when the real fun started. He put down a chip at the blackjack table and played a hand. Then another one. He was doing pretty good, staying at around what he'd started with, and so I wandered off a bit. I pushed into the crowd next to the craps table, where there were easily 19 people, all throwing down chips and yelling. The man next to me tossed two onto the table and shouted something, but no one could understand him. They stared and he shouted again and they stared some more. Something must have happened that I missed because all of a sudden the dice were flying down the table at me, bouncing right below me and hitting someone on the arm. A few people groaned, some others nodded, and I realized I was out of my depth.
My next stop was the roulette table, and while I understood a little bit more I had given up hope of really getting it and just waited for him to spin the ball. He passed his hand over the table, stopping anyone who was trying to lay down last minute bets and then he spun it. I watched, and after it landed (red 25) I was satisfied and ambled back to Jeff.
He wasn't doing as well as before and said something that translated to "double or nothing" in my cliche-addled brain. I nodded, trying (because I've seen Swingers too many times) to remember when he was supposed to double down. I couldn't. He lost the rest of it and we left.

A few minutes later we stopped to get dinner and I stuck a couple of quarters in a machine, trying to get a sticky hand toy. All that came out was an empty egg, and I thought that was pretty much right.

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