Almost a Gambler

on September 20, 2011 in Misc

First of all, my apologies to any of you who stopped by yesterday only to be greeted by a page that said “Account Suspended.”  In my non-cyber life I am very, very good about paying my bills.  However, when it comes to this blog I can kinda space out when an annual payment is due…. Oops.  Sorry about that.

Anyway, you know what Layla/ action hero stuff I was finally ready to do this last weekend?  I was going to go gambling.  As in head for a local casino in the foothills outside Denver where I can lay down cold hard cash and play games of Texas hold ‘em.  Which by the way I’ve never played with anyone and never for cash, but hey, gotta start some time, right?

If I’m sounding less than wildly enthusiastic about this, there’s a reason:  I’m just not a gambler by nature.  I mean, I LOVE adventure and excitement and lots of physical risks and thrills and spills, at least the kind that don’t inflict physical pain and injuries.  But gambling?  Nope, doesn’t do a thing for me.

Of course I’ve been in a casino at least once where I played a couple slot machines (nickel level only) and came out two dollars ahead.  My reaction was a sarcastic Whoop-de-Doo.  I mean, risking bodily harm or even death can be fun.  But risking my money?  That’s what small cap funds are for, and even those I stay away from.

The problem is action heroes are often whizzes in any casino.  They walk in like winners and walk out with money stuck to them like lint.  In Casino Royale M even assigns James Bond the official task of winning over $100 million dollars from the bad guy in, like, the most exclusive card game in the most exclusive casino in the world.  Guess what happens – HE WINS! (Shocker, I know.)

But here’s a reality factoid:  In Ian Fleming’s original Casino Royale novel, which was the first in his Bond series, even a swank gambling joint is a weary, grim place.  “The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning.”

Or at three in the afternoon, I might add.

Still, Layla/ action hero duty calls, and I really did have the firm intention this last weekend of dragging my reluctant backside to said casino.  I was even kinda looking forward to it, which gives you an idea of how bored outta my mind I’ve been from too much work, both the paying kind and the writing kind.

But on Saturday the weather was crappy and I had chores to do, so I figured I’d go Sunday.  Then Sunday rolls around and a few REALLY CRAPPY THINGS happen and it was like, okay, my day is shot to hell.  I’d rather be up in the hills losing my hard-earned money.

So now it’s Tuesday and I’m at work.  But one of these upcoming weekends I really will go to a casino, where I intend to win lots of money.  Because action heroes never lose and because I really, really need the cash.

6 Responses to “Almost a Gambler”

  1. Robert L. Read says:

    Helena, I wish I could play Hold ’em with you. My family and I play a lot. In fact I’m quite proud of the fact that my 17-year old son has placed in the top 3 twice against adults in a charity tournament (field of 50) though of course half of them were drunk.

    It is a very educational game, but I can’t see playing in a casino as a good way to learn. I have never set foot in a casino (I’m somehow frightened of the idea of women in skimpy dresses bringing me free booze if I’m gambling). I’m sure that is educational in a different way. You absolutely need to read a book on Hold ’em — you can’t really learn the strategy without one or a large amount of time. I can mail you one, if you like.

    More generally, poker is a great game because like life, and being an adventure hero, it is about playing percentages. There are no guarantees. It is, in a way, the opposite of chess, which has no unknown variables. I personally believe that a proper education requires either several courses in statistics or a modicum of skill at poker.

  2. Helena says:

    Robert – Wow, I’m so intimidated by you! You’re a math whiz, no less, yet even you’ve read a book on Hold ’em strategy? Shows you that I don’t know much. I played poker as a kid and don’t remember showing any particular skill at it — I was certainly nothing like your son. At least the casinos in Colorado have low-level betting limits of $100 tops (and less than that would be my entire stake). Maybe because we’re a cheaper state there aren’t any free drinks given out, but don’t quote me on that.

    All in all, you’re right. I need to learn and to practice before I follow in Bond’s steps. And thanks so much for your offer, but I’m sure I can pick up a Hold ’em book somewhere close to me. But damn, it’d be fun to play with you and your family!

    And I REALLY like your point about life and being an adventure hero means playing percentages with no guarantees.

  3. Ciara Knight says:

    I’m SO not a gambler myself. BUT I am an adventurous person, so I totally get this. good luck on your outing. :)

  4. Robert L. Read says:

    You can get poker books at the library.

    Since you started this blog with a systematized attempt to become Layla, let me suggest a little plan of action:

    1) Read a book on Hold ’em strategy.
    2) Play for 4 hours with some of your friends if you can teach them.
    3) Enter a low-stakes charity tournament — you buy in for $50 for the whole night, proceeds to go to a church (Catholics don’t mind gambling like Baptist do) or a school or something, and play in the tournament.

    This will not make you a great poker player (which I am not) but will be very fun and educational. It also teaches you the poker is a combination of math and human emotional skills. You have to deal with sneaky little mouse players, guys who try to intimidate you, and stony-faced calculating machines. Until you’re forced to make a decision about going “all in” with a crappy hand in a real tournament, you don’t understand poker.

  5. Helena says:

    Ciara — I may have to put off my outing to a casino, after getting good advice from Robert Read, but what I can look for are the charity games. Less scary and expensive!

  6. Helena says:

    Robert — Great advice, and I certainly like the idea of a charity tournament, so I’m following your advice on the training. I do have to say the very low-stakes Hold ’em games I saw at a local casino seemed to have just amateurs having fun, so I might try one after my training. But a real tournament for me? Forget it.

    Love the remark about Catholics vs. Baptists. When I was around 7 or 8 I’d accompany my Mom to the church/school’s bingo games. The school basement was full of mothers glad to get away from their kids for the evening and would just kick back and play.