Gambling in Another World

29 Jun

I love everything about casinos. The lights and sounds of the slot machines. The yells as people win at the Craps tables. The feel of the felt under my fingers as I sit at the Blackjack table. The thrill of putting chips in the circle and anticipating the cards. The cocktail waitresses who deliver free drinks. I love it all.

When I tell people about going to a casino, they automatically think of glamor, and the things I just mentioned could, I suppose, be considered glamorous. In Las Vegas, they definitely are. The cocktail waitresses are hot. People are dressed their best and ready for action. After all, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. I bet Monte Carlo is more glamorous than that. I mean anywhere James Bond gambles must be cool.

I say all of this because I just returned from a gambling junket to Tunica. It has the same slot machines, Craps tables and Black jack tables and would like for you to think that it has the glamor to go with those things. Just check out one of the promotional photos.

Everyone is dressed up, smiling and attractive. However, that is not exactly how it is. Some people look like they have slept in their clothes, and others have no idea how to dress. I saw one man wearing flip-flops, shorts and a blazer. Also, it seems that every Southeastern Conference school is represented by a cap or a t-shirt. Now, I have plenty of that gear as well, but I try not to wear it all the time.

I reckon the best way to describe the fashion of Tunica is to describe one of my Blackjack sessions. I was sitting with a wanna be Hip Hop king when a man wearing overalls and a “South Shall Rise Again” t-shirt sat down. He pulled $6,000 in cash out of his bib pocket and played $2,000 a hand. After three hands, he was done; stood up; said, “Fuck this.”; and left. In Vegas, you will see large amounts of cash but not a “South Shall Rise Again” t-shirt. That’s the difference.

Soon, I left the table and walked around the casino and figured this must be what the scene looks like in Lourdes. Everywhere, people were using canes, walkers, wheelchairs and scooters. It’s as if the disabled go to Tunica for the healing waters or the miracles of the Poker Slots.

After scanning the scene, I eased over to the bar for a drink and a bit of reflection. As I considered my surroundings, I was reminded of a place I saw in my childhood and realized that I had stumbled into a similar world. It was a place with lively entertainment and a variety of characters. I wasn’t really in Tunica. I was here. Except, there was no live band. These beings were rocking out to the best of the 80s.

The next day, I changed venues and went to a smaller casino. I had not been there in a long time because it always gave me a weird vibe, and that vibe returned as soon as I walked in. Are you a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation? If you are, then you may remember an episode where Riker, Worf and Data find themselves in a casino on a distant planet. It was built by aliens for an astronaut who was stranded in space. The episode was The Royale and the trio was trapped in a cramped casino with eccentric characters.

That’s the way I feel when I walk into this particular casino, and this trip did not disappoint. There was one Blackjack table in operation, and it had two people playing. I sat down to play, and they wanted to have a conversation. One was a woman who looked like Elvira if she was addicted to meth and Krisy Kreme donuts. Doing her best to flirt, she asked me what I did for a living. I told the truth and said that I was a history professor. Thankfully, she said that history was boring.

Unfortunately, the other player thought it was interested. He was a man wearing an oxygen tank who had traced his family’s lineage. In short, he was a history buff and was convinced that I was interested in his family history. I didn’t stay long.

With all of that being said, I came home with more money than I left with, and I suppose that is the point. If you ever go to Tunica just don’t expect the glamor of other gambling destinations. And, watch out for what may be happening in the corner.

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8 Responses to “Gambling in Another World”

  1. angic1964 June 29, 2012 at 13:43 #

    this brings back very interesting memories of when I went to the Liberty Bowl in Memphis years ago to watch the University of Louisville play. I was both amused and apalled by the Fitzgeralds casino, where we stayed. But hey, if you get tired of one smoke-filled casino, there’s a shuttle to take you to another one! (p.s. my brother is a private detective in Las Vegas and that’s amusing and apalling in a whole different way)

    • surroundedbyimbeciles June 29, 2012 at 14:46 #

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I have been in Fitzgerald’s once, and it was, uh, interesting. Honestly, it’s probably the worst one. It sounds like your brother has a cool job, but I bet he sees some rough things outside of the bright lights. Go Cards!

  2. Redhead June 29, 2012 at 14:39 #

    there are a ton of little not-very-glamorous casinos near where I live (with very similar promotional pics as the one you showed!), and just driving past the buildings and the parking lots makes me want to save my pennies for a trip to Vegas. Or Monte Carlo.

    • surroundedbyimbeciles June 29, 2012 at 14:48 #

      Have you stopped in to check them out? If not, then you may need to. It would be an educational experience. But, please save your money for one of the finer destinations. Thank you for reading my blog and commenting.

      • redhead July 1, 2012 at 17:59 #

        i really should stop in. I drive by two of them on a weekly basis. Couldn’t hurt to stop in for a half hour, blow $5 on the slots.

  3. John S June 29, 2012 at 21:55 #

    Brings back memories of the eighties when I and few friends used to go down to a casino in Soho, London, called Charlie Chesters, after a few beers. Played a bit of blackjack and roulette and basically set a limit for the losses. Maybe £50. You’d have a run of luck and then reinvest until it was all gone. The clientele was mostly London Chinese but everyone mixed. Many of the Chinese recorded every outcome of the roulette wheel to detect patterns. No chance as totally random. The only certain thing in a casino is that if you stay long enough you lose! But it was fun and that is what you paid for.

    • surroundedbyimbeciles June 30, 2012 at 15:18 #

      It sounds like a fun time was had by all. I never take more than I am willing to lose.

      • John S June 30, 2012 at 22:35 #

        Absolutely right – the first rule.

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