Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Casino at Princess Hotel - and musings about Gambling

So a pair of Regulars invited me to join them after a quick check that I could get in.
I had visions of slickly-suited men in tuxs and women in designer gear immaculately made-up like in the Bond Films. Wasted a whole fantasy as I was told I could go in jeans! In fact, just after midnight a couple of dirty-looking Brazilians came in wearing Flip-Flops! Nothing like low-life Brazilians to lower the Standards of a place!
So the place is roughly T-shaped when you walk in - the US Dollar machines on your left, the poker and 21 tables straight ahead and the lowly G dollars machines on your right, past the Roulette table just before the toilets (which by the way were woeful-- two of the five booths were open and one had not toilet paper and the one that did had a sticky floor by the actual toilet).  We headed right.  I figured the arrangement was to help the mainly 20-something dolly-birds who were waitressing figure out who to ignore as the free drinks never materialised an hour after ordering them and I wandered up myself to the Bar at the back to get a bottle of water as the Chinese guy next to us was smoking non-stop and the smoke was drying out my throat.
The machines have been updated from my memory-- there isn't a lever on the right that you have to pull any more-- instead a button you hit- thereby depriving the mainly overweight middle-aged crowd of any little exercise they could justify their presence in the Casino. I was mildly surprised to see most of the machines apparently made in England!
At about midnight there was a Balkan/Eastern European Dance Troupe, sadly no-one paid them much attention although I appreciated that they choreographed belly dance steps to a contemporary Hindi/Filmi song. I was told that the serious gamblers also don't drink too much as they want to keep a clear head to 'win'.
As I wandered around the room I remembered a passage from a very elucidating book - 'Healing Life's Hurts' by Michael Hardiman, about addiction: 'Addiction, in most cases, is the abuse of any substance or activity that leads to self-destruction. The core element of addiction, in my opinion, is the individual's use of such purposes: filling a void or sense of emptiness; quelling distressing feelings; and /or producing pleasant or euphoric feelings.'  Of course, I hasten to add this does not apply to my two regulars who justified their visits as an economic one as they would end up spending what they do at a regular evening at a Bar, and the surroundings were pleasant enough:  air-conditioned with soft rock music in the Background, the odd sandwich thrown in for free...  "So gambling addicts use thinking as a means of avoidance. - and Casinos provide a situation that can utilise their mental energy - the risks inherent in betting occupy the mind and eventually take it over completely. Allied to that is the adrenaline surge inherent in the excitement in winning or losing."
Beginner's Luck - and I was ahead by $4000 -- started losing and stopped - ended the night $2000 more than when I came in, somehow I don't think I was the sort of person these Casinos were designed for!

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