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Avoid becoming a casino zombie

By Frank Scoblete


zombieSometime in the mid-1990’s my wife the Beautiful AP and I were in the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas. We were walking from the buffet, full and satisfied after a delicious breakfast, when a somewhat wild-eyed, somewhat disheveled woman stopped us.

“What’s today’s date?” she asked.

“April 2,” said the Beautiful AP.

She shook her head. “What happened to April 1st?”

“That was yesterday,” I said.

“Are you okay?” asked the Beautiful AP.“

I must have played the machines right through April 1st; the whole day. I’ve got to go to bed.” Then she wandered off into the bustling crowd.

“The whole day,” I said.

“That’s scary,” said AP. “She lost a whole day playing slots.”

Now I wondered this: When she got home would she say, “It was a memorable trip” or would she say she didn’t remember much of it? I’m thinking she’ll relate a story that she had a great time on her vacation to Las Vegas, something she’ll never forget.

In reality, did she really have a good time? I’m thinking the answer is a resounding “no.” After all, memorable occasions are not occasions you can’t remember them.

This lady’s problem, a wearying two days of zombie-like slot play, is more or less what many slot players’ experience. They play and play (they gobble their meals at the speed of light) and then play and then play some more. Every moment blends into every other moment and when all is said and done, the whole experience becomes a gray wash.

Okay, if that’s your particular thing, then fine, have fun if you consider slot oblivion pleasing. I don’t. If you are going to travel to Las Vegas or Atlantic City or anywhere else dominated by the casinos then making those trips only to wander in a fog doesn’t seem worth it to me. Just take a nice long nap and spare yourself the plane fare or the gas money.

My gambling mentor, the late great Captain from Atlantic City, had a theory of casino gambling that I have adhered to for a quarter of a century. Create your gambling day to reflect (to an extent) your regular day. Get up around the same time; have breakfast around the same time; play in sessions that are split up throughout the day and evening.

The Captain believed in taking time away from the games to walk, swim, shop, people watch, and go to shows. He thought all your meals should be occasions for discussions with your friends or, if eating alone, times to be contemplative.

He would always say that no human being can live by the casinos’ 24/7 rhythm because human beings are creatures of habit and one of those habits is rest.

If you are the type of player who says upon returning home, “I need a vacation from my casino vacation” then you should heed the Captain’s advice. Your casino day should be a regular day, with the games being a part of that regular day.

So I am going to share the Beautiful AP and my basic day in a casino. Now, I am not someone who goes to the casinos for a single day and then drives back home. My trips last between five days and up to a month. If I tried to play to the casinos’ rhythm I would be in a rest home, not writing articles and books.

5 a.m.: Wake up and moan about getting up so early.

5:30 a.m.: Take a walk and complain about getting up and out so early.

6:30 a.m.: Shower and go to breakfast (debate whether to have bacon)or to play a first session.

8:30 a.m.: Go to breakfast (and debate whether to have ham) or playa first session.

10:30 a.m.: Take a break; maybe sit outside with my wife and/or my friend(s) and discuss the world, the flesh and the devil and how that woman could have forgotten a whole day.

11:30 a.m.: Play a second session.

12:30 p.m.: Lunchtime! Debate whether to have a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich or go to the buffet and eat as if the world were coming to an end tomorrow.

1:30 p.m.: Go for a swim and lounge around the pool.

3 p.m.: Shower, then take a nap.

5 p.m.: Head down for another session or a people watch hour.

6 p.m.: Dinner at a fine restaurant. A couple of glasses of wine or a couple of cocktails. Life is great! Dinner to me, to AP and to my friends is the treat of the day.

8 p.m.: Go to a show, or play a session, then head back to the room.

10 p.m. or so: Bedtime. Snuggle with the Beautiful AP or if she isn’t on this trip, wish I were snuggling with the Beautiful AP.

Yes, this schedule can be shifted, modified and changed. But you get the idea. The day is structured. I am awake during most of it. I can remember that yesterday was April 1st or November 3rd or whenever.

Frank Scoblete’s latest books are I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage Play Craps and I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage Play Blackjack. Available on, Kindle and at your local bookstore.

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