The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, August 18, 2008

Back From Vegas

Just back from an incredible weekend in Las Vegas at the 2008 Silat gathering. Stevan Plinck has done a terrific thing here, and the quality of both instructors and participants was wonderful. Tired after a long drive listening to Steven King's "Cell." Got some very special stuff to do today, so this is short...but more tomorrow.
I usually blow twenty bucks in the hotel casino...but the new machines don't even take coins! That takes a huge amount of the fun out of it. Loading up a magnetic card and then having the machine make 'Ping" sounds is kinda lame. But I bet its more profitable for the Casino that way, somehow.
Personally, I miss those ridiculous little machines with all the coins on shelves, and the mechanical pusher-arms shoving them at you, as they defy gravity and refuse to fall. God, that's fun. I don't mind losing my money, but I expect a bit of entertainment along the way. Have they no respect for tradition?
Those of you who gamble...what aspect of it do you find most fun?


thrrrnbush said...

I loved the big family trips we used to take to Vegas; my mom and my uncles and some sampling of my generation and whatever significant others were about at the time. We would take over a row of video poker sitting side by side. My uncle's who had plenty of gambling budget would plunk their money in with absent-minded ease, but with my budget I had to savor every quarter. Fairly often (we did after all take over a number of machines) someone would get a great hand and we'd have an impromptu roll call of outcomes-

"I got a royal flush"
"I got two pair"
"I got a full house"
"I got a rock"

I can enjoy gambling without my extended family. There is still a soothing aspect to the lather-rinse-repeat ritual of playing each card in slow deliberate anticipation. Though I agree the ritual was better when it started with plunking in a quarter carefully gleaned from my big plastic cup. I like the sight-seeing and the people watching. When I was just twenty-one and had forgotten my ID I learned very quickly that if you slump over a machine and try to look like it just ate your mortgage payment (even if you just got four aces and are up considerably for the day) nobody will card you. But if you bounce like a ritalin-deprived cheerleader over things as trivial as Jacks or Better you're going to spend more time handling your Driver's License than your slot club card. I love learning stuff like that too. But everything goes better with my extended family at my side.


eric said...

When I lived in Vegas I made myself go on a strict budget--$2.00 a week for gambling. Many of the 'locals' casinos would offer people a premium for cashing their paycheck at the cage--the one I went to offered a random spin that was a minimum of a roll of nickels ($2.00.) At the time this casino had full-pay Jacks or Better video poker machines. I could make my two bucks last a very long time.

Going coinless is something that the accounting department thought would be a great idea--like 6:5 Blackjack and making gamblers pay for drinks in the casino. In the long term Vegas casinos are ceding significant business to the regional/Native American casinos by offering lousy odds and lousy service. They are assuming people will keep coming to Vegas because it is Vegas. They are wrong.

Mike Ralls said...

I like the social aspect of it if I'm playing poker with some friends.

Don't really care much for Vegas gambling with slot machines and such. I hate to lose more than I like to win, and the odds are I'll lose. I went to Vegas last year for a long weekend on Halloween and I don't think I spent more than four minutes gambling.

Angie said...

I like the complicated slot machines -- the ones with bonus rounds and mini-games and lots of gimmicks. I'll throw in a twenty or two and consider it payment for entertainment. I don't expect to win, I just expect to have fun, so if I do win it's just a cool bonus.


Marty S said...

I'm with Mike I hate lose more than I like win. I played poker at a casino once with strangers. I won about $140 dollars, but it was no fun and I never did it again. My wife on the other hand loves gambling. She goes to the casino about thirty to forty time a year. She says what she likes best about gambling is winning.

Bennett said...

The best part of gambling? Being the house, of course.

Josh Jasper said...

Unless I was professional grade, I'd never gamble. It's not gambling, really, it's either math tax - a tax you pay if you can't do math, or it's an entertainment cost.

Pagan Topologist said...

The only gambling I do is buying Power Ball tickets. They provide a license to fantasize about what I will do if I win big. If I lose, I have the satisfaction that I am enhancing the revenue position of the state of Delaware and thereby making it less likely that there will be regressive taxes enacted.

Steve Perry said...

I also had a pocketful of quarters I might have dropped into a machine, but since that wasn't allowed, I didn't gamble at all the whole time I was there.

If you don't count trusting some of the silat guys not to whack you ...

Had a terrible flight delay leaving Vegas, we sat there until 4 a.m., a pleasant six and a half hours past our scheduled departure. But the couple sitting across from me before we all started lying on the floor, bored, went to play the slots, which were right next to our gate. Guy hit a $1200 jackpot -- so it truly is an ill wind that blows no good ...

Dan Gambiera said...

Pure chance games like slots or roulette don't anything for me. I can secrete my own adrenaline without paying a casino that much for the privilege.

Poker is a whole different thing. I just don't want to spend the time or money that it would take to be a good player.

Dan Gambiera said...

Loading up a magnetic card and then having the machine make 'Ping" sounds is kinda lame. But I bet its more profitable for the Casino that way, somehow.

Of course it is. With the magnetic card you're more likely to press the buttons until the balance is zero. If you're lucky and get coins or tokens you might set some aside to take home.