I am predisposed to a gambling addiction, that is one of the things I know about myself. Because of that, I never go to casinos unless it is a very special occasion, like a once every few years trip to Las Vegas with friends. I also know to set a firm gambling budget. A reasonable amount of money that I am comfortable losing, and I never go beyond that.
It's a demon that I keep it locked up.
My game of choice is roulette. Before you tell me how stupid roulette is, please remember that all the games are stupid, no game is more stupid than another. Your choice of game is all about how you want to lose your money and how slow or fast. Roulette can be a low game or a fast game.
Roulette pays 36 to 1 if you hit a number. 18 to 1 if you hit the edge and 9 to 1 on the corners of a number.
If you watch a roulette table, most people play by spreading chips all over the table in small stacks of one or two. This is the slow game. You win just enough to make your chips last. Using this technique you can play roulette hours.
I choose the fast game. It's the big wins I crave.
I pick a number and then put 8 chips on it, then 5 chips on all the edges and 3 chips on the corners. This creates a small pyramid of chips on the table. It's a odd strategy and I've ever seen anyone else use it. After I've placed my chips, it's not uncommon for other players to put a few chips on my number, looking for a little of my action.
A few years back in Las Vegas, I won over $6000 on a single spin of the wheel. I was only down a few hundred at the time, so this was big. I played two more losing spins, then cashed in all my chips and never gambled again on that trip. I knew that $6000 would be gone by the end of the night had I not. I have an addiction, but I also have willpower.
As it would happen, our hotel in Melbourne was connected to the largest casino in Australia. I knew this was going to be trouble. I managed to resist roulette for the first few nights and played the slots with my friend. I marked the 3rd night has the one I would finally hit the tables. My speech would be over and it was my reward.
I started with $150 in chips and burnt though those in less than 10 minutes. I got a hit on a corner, but that was it. I wanted to keep playing, but was done for the night.
I managed to stay away from the tables for the next few nights while I played some more light slots with my friend, but the tables never stopped calling me.
On our next to last night, I got $250 in chips and spent 20 minutes finding the right table.
Finding a table is part of the ritual for me and can take an hour before one feels right. I don't know why it feels right, I'm not looking for anything specific and I'm not superstitious. Part of it is the energy at the table. Too few people and it's boring, too many people and the game moves slow. The people need to be having fun.
I finally found my table and placed my first bet. I was feeling good, so I was betting a little more than usual, stacking the chips a little higher.
The first spin was a loss. Nothing hit. My stack of chips became smaller. Was this going to be another 10 minute night? Something about the table felt right.
I bet again, this time on the number 5. I was still feeling good, so I bet even more. Stacked on the number and all the edges and corners.
The ball began it's trip around the outer wheel and the dealer soon called no more bets. The ball slowed and then fell into the center of the wheel and began it's frantic bouncing as it started to settle on a number. My heart races at this point, it's the 3 seconds before the ball picks it's number that drives all my adrenaline and addiction.
The ball bounced, bounced again and then stop on the number 5. My number. It was a dead-on hit.
The dealer seemed a little confused, like she has never happened before. The number of chips and edges and corners was staggering. She spent a few minutes trying to calculate my winnings and finally called the pit boss over to help and he ended up getting a calculator. The other four players were getting bored. No one bet with me, so I was the only winner and it was a big win. Always get in on the action of a big bet.
When everything was tallied, it won over $2000 on that one spin of the wheel. I played two more spins and didn't hit anything and quit for the night. Willpower. It's all about the willpower.
I got a $1000 chip in the payout and locked in the hotel room safe for the rest of the trip. What was I going to do with it? I could spend another night gambling it away. I could turn it into cash and waste it on food and shelter. Or... I could just keep the chip.
So I kept the chip. I now have a $1000 chip from an Australian casino that is, for all intents and purposes... worthless. There was something ironic and poetic about that.
I carry it around with me as my worthless souvenir from Australia. Ask too see it some time and I'll happily recite the tale.