Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Today's fortune: March 22, 2011

Today's fortune: You will take a chance in the future, and win.

I have been a semi-successful gambler in the past, which is to say I haven't lost every single dime I've ever gambled, just most of them.

Jamie and I have both felt the allure of the casino. She likes to play video blackjack, slot machines and the like. I'm a poker room rat (even though it's getting harder and harder to find a poker room at a casino).

But neither of us have been to a casino for years, and it's because of this: losing sucks.

We've both left the casino as winners, and the feeling is a true high. But the low of losing, we have come to agree, is so, so much worse than the high of winning. For people without much disposable income, losing a hundred or even just fifty bucks at a card table or a slot machine is demoralizing.

My best experience as a gambler was about five years ago. I was working as a newspaper editor, and I was able to attend a conference on media coverage of the court system. Sounds like a blast, right? It wasn't. But the conference was in Reno, Nevada, and... well, Reno's a gritty, dirty, fun little town.

I stumbled upon a few poker rooms while I was there, one at the Circus Circus casino, another at the El Dorado, and a third at the Silver Legacy, which was where us conference attendees were staying.

Over the course of two nights, I played in all three poker roms. And I walked away from all of them with more money than when I went in. Not a lot more, mind you, but definitely enough to buy some souvenirs from the trip.

Back in Kansas City, I thought to myself, "If I can win in Reno, I can murder the poker rooms in this city." I tried, too. And I lost. Not very much. Just enough to sour me of the experience.

The fact of the matter is, eventually the casino always wins.

"Unless, when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big, and you take the house."
But my gambling days aren't entirely through. I still like to dabble in games of chance. Hell, I'm buying a lottery ticket every day. I filled out an NCAA Tournament bracket at work (and I am getting crushed!) for part of a charity drive in hopes of winning a gift card. I play cards with my friends and relatives from time to time, and there may be a more than just pride at stake.

Tonight, in fact, Jamie and I are going to be gambling again. We're eating dinner at Hamburger Mary's and taking part in Ham-BINGO, a charity bingo event to benefit a local animal shelter.

When your money goes to helping homeless pets and not into the pocket of a casino, losing doesn't seem so bad.

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