Looking at Gambling

Cocktail waitresses deliver drinks to gamblers.
An Encore cocktail waitress delivers drinks to gamblers.

My first casino gambling visit

By Josh Resnek

Each week, I deliver newspapers to the media office at the Encore Boston Harbor Casino and Hotel.

I park my car out front, run inside with the papers, drop them at the hotel desk, where a reservations expert folds them and delivers them to the head media lady.

I have come to know all the guys out front, and the ladies and gentlemen working inside.

Everyone is always cheerful, pleasant and professional.

I do not spend much time in Five Star hotels but whenever I step inside the Encore Hotel I take a careful look at the surroundings.

The surroundings, in short, are spectacular. There is nothing mediocre about the place. Everything shines. Everything radiates a warmth and over the top elegance. There is nothing quite like this in the country except in Las Vegas, and after that, in Macau.

The night before Christmas Eve, my two sons and I continued a longstanding tradition by getting together with five friends for a night of gambling at the casino.

Actually, we used to drive down to Foxwoods but obviously with the Encore Casino right here in our backyard, there will never be a need to do that again.

I arrived by myself about 8:30 p.m. I drove into the parking lot.

It was packed but I found a space.

I had taken $200 with me – just a bit of chump change so to speak – to gamble with.

I would not be sitting down at a gaming table to play cards. Those gaming tables are beyond my ability to figure out the odds and the games they play.

They scare me.

So I stay away from the gaming tables, which, by the way, when I arrived, were loaded with hundreds of gamblers and many people watching.

I can’t say I understand craps. Black Jack petrifies me. Texas Hold Em is way too risky for me. Roulette I understand but only to the extent that I bet on red or black. I made a decision.

I headed where I can do best, to the giant, ornate, busy slot machines in a huge room with high ceilings, gorgeous rugging and the sights and sounds of a casino that I am most familiar with.

Stunning young women selling drinks worked all the tables.

The casino population on this night right before Christmas seemed happy, robustly so. There is something about gambling that turns people on. It was like being in a place where magic is practiced and everyone wanted to test the magic.

The magic, of course, is winning.

I sat down at a $1 per play slot machine.

I deposited a $20 bill into the machine.

I began.

I pressed a button and the 7’s rolled in front of me. God those 7’s are beautiful when they line up.

I was down to my last $1 play when two 7’s lined up with something else which I frankly can’t recall.

The sound of a bell went off and continued to go off for about 30 seconds, maybe 40 seconds.

Each time the bell rang I watched the amount of my winnings going up and up.

When all was quiet again, I had $120.

Right there and then, I made a decision I had never before made at a casino.

I cashed out. I waited for my sons to arrive with their friends.

I was up $120 bucks. It felt good as opposed to being down $120 bucks.

Shortly, my kids arrived with their lifelong buddies. They were all raring to go.

I showed them my winnings

“I’m leaving,” I told them. They all made fun of me for leaving a winner with $120 bucks.

I instructed them to remain and to bet whatever they could because: ‘There’s a lot of money to take out of this place.” They all went up the escalator to the card tables.

I went home.

They all lost.

I was the only one who won – but everyone had a good time – which is what the experience is supposed to be all about.

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