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Look beyond the lure of instant riches

By Frank Scoblete


She sits at the machine figuring this is why she came to the casino. She works in an insurance company and while her job makes her a good living, it is kind of dull. She has about 10 years before she can retire and take as many cruises as she likes. When she plays the slots, her aspirations are immediate and sky high. Maybe the next spin will be the one to give her a new life and quite soon at that. Inside that machine is buried treasure; she just has to dig it out. Let us buy those cruise tickets!

He’s playing craps. He knows that one hot shooter can win him thousands of dollars. Didn’t some player once roll more than I50 times? He’d take half that roll and then he’d be rolling in money.  Every shooter has the possibility of being the shooter to uncover the buried treasure of Lady Luck. Then he can tell his wife and friends, “I’m the guy that broke the bank!”

She wants to get on the bus and leave the assisted-living complex for an adventure in the casino.  She only plays nickel machines but that doesn’t matter, those machines are her release from a somewhat staid life. She has worked hard all her life as a wife and mother and later as a business woman. That hard work has given her the money to enjoy these monthly trips to the casinos. She knows that she can win but looking for the buried treasure just isn’t that big a deal. She goes to the casinos for other things.

There is something very important to be learned from our last player. I think she has her priorities straight.

Most people go the casinos and figure that the games they play will yield fabulous results and most go home, even most winners, disappointed. I remembered once my wife the Beautiful AP and I were coming back from Atlantic City; this was sometime in the early 1990’s, and I complained, “Do you know, we only won four dollars. Four stinking dollars.”  She laughed. “Did we have fun?”

“Well, yeah,” I said. And I did. She did.

“So what are you complaining about? We enjoyed ourselves. Now it is time to get back to our real lives.”

She was correct. At that time I was teaching and while I enjoyed it, every so often I needed a break. I needed an escape. I needed to play blackjack and craps in a casino. Yes, I was looking for buried treasure, just as the first two individuals above were searching for the same thing. I never found it; win or lose, my buried treasure stayed buried. I had to grind it out to win.

But I enjoyed my casino visits, my long casino trips, and the over I00 days a year I would spend chasing the gold of Dame Fortune. But that wasn’t really the most fun part.

Now I realize that the playing wasn’t really looking for buried treasure at the games. The treasure of the casino world goes beyond the games. I enjoyed all aspects of the casino experience, the shows, the hotels, the working out, the swimming, taking walks, people-watching and being with friends.

The entire experience was a joy. The games, after a while, became somewhat routine, but the rest of the experience remained happily, excitingly, enjoyably refreshing. In over 28 years of casino visits, I can say that most of my trips – even the ones where I lost — were worthwhile for the variety of buried treasure I actually found.

I loved walking the strip of Vegas; the boardwalk of Atlantic City, sitting on a casino boat just looking at the water. I’ve toured the desert; taken field trips to see the wildlife. I am amazed, actually, by people who don’t do all the other things there are to do in casino venues. If we take a look at most people who go to casinos, I am guessing that many are not in love with their jobs or overjoyed with their businesses. Work is work after all, and as my son says, ‘That’s why they call it work.”

The casinos are not work. The casino world is the opposite of work – at least for people who don’t work in the casinos – it is a world of “getting away from it aII” as one of my friends said. He continued, “To me every casino trip is a vacation, even if it is for a single day. You enter another world where your normal world is usually lost in the fun. The games are fun but everything can be fun. I enjoy the everything.”

If you are a casino player who only looks to the games for your excitement and fun, I think you are missing out on a fuller experience. There is so much to see that merely sitting at a game can’t give you; just plopping down will not be all that fulfilling as your casino visits increase. Go to shows, eat gourmet dinners, take a dip in the pool, visit a museum, take a tour bus.

The buried treasure is all around you when you visit a casino town.

Visit Frank’s web site at . Frank’s latest books are I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps, Confessions of a Wayward Catholic and I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack. Available from, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.


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