Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Riverboat Gambler

Several years ago I spent Thanksgiving with Dave's family in a spacious guest house up in Truckee.  During the weekend, we drove over to Reno so Erin could shop.  I am not into shopping, so the boys and Dave and I spent the afternoon "gambling".  We dropped the boys in the arcade and Dave and I headed into the casino.  Now, I had never been in one of these modern casinos. I spent some time in Nevada years ago and did a little gambling, but my game was Blackjack.  I never played the slots.  What greeted me here was a dark, vaguely sinister cavern, filled with flashing lights, stale cigarette smoke and lots of noise and movement.  Dave and I bought a few rolls of quarters and then he took off. 

Now, I have never claimed to be the brightest bulb in the chandelier and I am completely flummoxed by machines and  mechanical devices, so I was at a loss.   I wandered around a little and then went looking for him and hauled him over to show me what to do.  He pointed out some slots and levers and the bucket that is designed to hold all the coins that you are sure to win and took off again.  Ok.  So I pulled the lever and watched the lemons and cherries and things roll up (always all different, aren't they supposed to match up?)   Well, I  fed the beast a couple of rolls of my quarters and it didn't even belch.  Just blinked it's colored lights and waited for more.  This is fun?

Back in my Rhythmette days, we played endless games of 3-handed pinochle and lots of poker.  The good ole honest-to- goodness games like Draw Poker and 7-card Stud and maybe a little Spit-in-the- Ocean.  After I was married  and became a mother I did not play much poker except for occasional socials with friends.  I never enjoyed these much.  They played party games where it seemed like every third card was wild and there were so many variations that you forgot what you were supposed to be playing.  Forget the strategy and bluff and that delicious little feeling of excitement and danger when you are playing real poker.  It might as well have been Rummy.

Erik did not care for cards much and so I got out of the habit and many, many, many years have passed since I have stood at a Blackjack table and instructed the dealer to "Hit me!"  I have even forgotten the rules.  But I know one thing, I am never going to take up the slots.

Some of my favorite people love slot machines and even win some money now and then.  They have favorite casinos and even machines and spend many happy hours pulling that lever.  None of these people are addicts and they don't blow money they can't afford, so why not?  Just not my thing.

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