For those of you that don’t me, I am in my mid 50’s and been around the casinos in Atlantic City since the 1980’s, just a couple years after they made gambling legal in New Jersey. Then Las Vegas as well as the two in Eastern Connecticut in the mid to late1990’s. Occasionally playing in Reno, Southern California and Biloxi, Mississippi. After moving from the northeast after the disaster of 9/11 happened, I played at numerous properties around the upper and central Midwest.
Although I am not a grind, daily type of player, I have spent many hours in various types of casinos playing mostly baccarat and some black jack. I met numerous kinds of people in the various casinos I have frequented. Some were business trips and some were strictly personal. We used to mix business with the casino, especially when I was in business in NYC and New Jersey. Relationships were defined and refined along the boardwalk in Atlantic City. Those times above all else, were the most memorable and precious to myself in many many ways. Of course all this started before the internet really picked up and became the item it did, especially in gambling, information, systems and false perceptions, etc.
While many members on here are elusive and quite, they believe in and subscribe to certain systematic and grinding type ways of gambling, I do not. I don’t gamble for a hundred dollars a day to sustain myself, there is nothing wrong doing that, just what comes with that is a different frame of mind than the one I have about gambling and casinos. I never will be a grind gambler as I enjoy the safety and the income that, owning or partnering in a business has. I use gambling as an outlet and a sport of fun, for lack of a longer explanation. I do okay at it and while I do not classify myself as a recreational gambler or degenerate gambler, for the most part I have fun and enjoy myself at the casinos I go to. The best analogy I can give is about a couple of bowlers I know. One of them lives eats and breathes to bowl. He wagers on it, plays it and is always at one of several bowling alleys. The several times I have and my other friends have bowled with him, he takes it serious, doesn’t drink, doesn’t laugh, puts on a mean face and needs to make strikes or spares each and every time or his evening falls apart. The other guy has a professional career in a ‘non-bowling’ field and when we do bowl together, he is funny, laughing, buying everyone food and doesn’t matter if he wins or comes in last place. I tend to think I am the same with gambling as the second bowler I described.
I have experienced family outings, holiday celebrations, get-a-ways, hundreds of concerts and shows, special family events and yearly birthdays, etc., at various casino properties where gambling was just part of the trip. While some players do gamble for the lifestyle, I never have. It is just that my life style included going to the casino. We merely used the casinos for the same purpose someone would travel to another part of the country to a resort property.
A handful of relationships have evolved and stayed to this very day, while some have went by the way side due to death, businesses or marriages dissolved, casino properties closing or being bought out or just in general—change of lifestyle and people moving away with their lives. So, the relationships that are left are special and will remain for quite some time I figure from this point. The other night I get a phone call from someone I knew in Las Vegas from the late 1980’s. He started as a dealer and made his way up to senior management in the marketing department at the Las Vegas Hilton. I met him and knew him from there and we associated with each other outside of the property as well. More than the ‘player-casino personnel’ type of relationship by far. Again, this all started and took place before the ‘internet on-line electro-techy’ instant everything era that we are in since 2005 or so.
He is currently at another casino property in Las Vegas, on the strip but not a mid-strip huge mega resort that I got burned out on, as I mentioned in other postings. He is at a property that is striving to bring back a bit of the pre-2000 Vegas days and has been fairly successful at doing so. We talked about the 1980’s and 1990’s Las Vegas. What a great phone conversation to tell you guys the absolute truth. I mentioned writing on this board and brought up the aspect of what some talk about here just to see what he thought. On the other end of my phone was a guy that literally spent his entire life in a casino, day in and day out for nearly the past 40 years, just about. You know, at times standing and watching players at the tables for 20 hours at a time. He laughed so hard, choked and about had a shortness of breath when I detailed about systems and related bet-placement methods that are discussed here. He says, ‘you know—I have witnessed players winning and losing millions of dollars, and I will tell you from experience and real-life happenings, the wins come at the least suspecting times to the players that generally don’t count of them. The losses come to those players that wager because they absolutely know they can beat the game and these days—those far outnumber the ones before in the 80’s and the 90’s’.
Then we went on to the best part of the conversation, the reminiscing of the Las Vegas Hilton. Although considered ‘off-strip’ it was almost adjacent to it. Their baccarat pit was almost second to none in Vegas for numerous years. Of course the icing on the Hilton’s cake was their entertainment. And their entertainment broke all-time records with the biggest names in show business. I think he started there a few years before I got out of high school which was in 1976. So he caught the last couple of years of Elvis Presley’s all time super performances at The Hilton and his attendance breaking 100% sold-out shows. Same with Liberace, AKA ‘Mr. Showmanship’. It was during that time I met my friend at The Hilton. And the boxing matches, those were the icing on the cake as well, some of the largest worldwide boxing matches, happened at The Hilton.
The phone call continued and my friend went on to reminisce about one of the Liberace concert weekends we were at. We just got to Vegas and was checking in, my friend hustles me away from the lobby and the person that was with me to get something to eat. Didn’t even finish the check in and he told them to put my bags in the room and we would be back later. We actually went off property to a place now closed, it was called “Foxy’s Firehouse Casino” and as we were eating, he told me he booked me a suite on the 13th floor along with some other baccarat players. Unlike the highest majority of hotels and office buildings, The Hilton did not believe in the unlucky 13th floor (known as ‘Triskaidekaphobia) and my trip will be quite profitable that weekend. He cracks up laughing when he tells me about the look on my face when he said, the suite was on the 13th floor. LOL, I laughed so hard how he remembered that after all these years. I visited him and another guy that I knew back from the Hilton days in Vegas along with my little son from my current marriage. That was during Asian New Year back in 2015 and it was a great week. When he gave us a tour at the current property he is at, he kept telling my son about Elvis, Liberace, and the rest of the famous entertainers and the look from my son was priceless. Every once in a while we would look at each other and just wink, but he felt compelled for some reason to explain to a 2 year old about the 1980’s. My wife wasn’t even listening, she was consumed in eating her lunch.
He brought up how our entire aisle in the Hilton’s showroom, a few rows from the stage—got up and danced when Liberace played his song ‘Boogie Woogie’. He said if it was a dance contest we would have made complete fools of ourselves and that was the reason he loved all his players so much—because we were so real and so fun—it didn’t even seem like a job. He further went on to compare back then to the present and although there are some down to earth players, overall it is another world of casino patrons. Amen, I second that.
So, for those of you that go into a casino to sit and grind and sweat and cuss life, I understand and I am sorry for any desperation that the casino brings out in you. But in all realty, the casino is no different than so many large hotel resort type of properties that do not possess gaming where many just experience lost money in going and yet others, get extreme value for their dollars spent including a couple of words, that have different meanings to each of us, enjoyment and experiences.