I have started a blog on my gambling journey which I hope provides some educational points. We are all on different journeys and I would never pretend to define yours. But I hope they are at least entertaining.
Before they started the campaign to put brochures at the exits of all casinos with the caption "When the fun stops". I was a Lost Wages Casino Dealer in every sense.
Gold Coast Story 1 - Break for a Royal! (Chasing the Win)
Early in my Casino Dealer career I worked at the Gold Coast casino, incidentally when I was at my worst in many ways.
When I worked there, the Gold Coast let you gamble slots on your breaks. Yep, on my 20 minute break every hour, I would take my tokes (tips) and gamble at video poker, mostly Bonus Video Poker, chasing that elusive Royal Flush for a quick $1199 payoff. Back then, it seemed like Royals popped much more often, but I have come to realize that this only seemed true because I was literally ass in seat half my waking life.
I would always find one machine to play and play and play until I hit a jackpot, also known as "chasing". Video Poker machines required that you load them up with quarters or whatever denomination you played. You would buy rolls of quarters from a change person and feed them into a slot. Each roll was worth $10. 40 Quarters got you 8 hands at $1.25 per hand.
For 4 days in a row I played the same machine investing $50 a day. Normally I would work a machine for 5 days before finally giving up.
On the fifth day I continued to work the same machine. This was my last desperate try to hit the machine before my weekend.
As a dealer you get 4 to 5 breaks a day. Lots of chances to play.
Thinking back its amazing how much optimism I had despite all the losses AND being a casino dealer, watching first hand the losses stack up.
On one break alone I managed to fire (feed) an entire $100 bill or 10 rolls of quarters into the machine to a stunning loss. Still, the next break, I was right back at it. With my last $60 I sat down, dejected, but somehow resigned to being the biggest possible loser I could be.
As I pulled out my last roll of quarters, with just 2 minutes left of my 20 minute break, I kept just 1 card to the royal and by some miracle, drew the other 4 cards to the Royal Flush.
I was excited, but also late to return to my Craps table. I told the slot attendant I would be right back, ran over to my crew and let them know I won and would tip them all for being late to return.
Back at my machine I waited another 5 minutes to get my payout, $1199. I tipped the change attendant $100, the floor supervisor $20, and then each of my crew $50 for being late.
Although at the time I never even considered my investment or return, today I imagine that I lost about $400 chasing that one machine and another $270 on tokes. A net profit of $530 give or take and the birth of a gambling addiction that took nearly 25 years to defeat.
In the end I believe that this one story defined many more stories to come. This story solidified the idea that I could actually keep chasing and ultimately find a win to save the day. Of course, not true, but amazingly I had a few more stories like this along the way, one a long battle at Caesars palace that I will share next.
Looking back, I almost wish I had never hit that Royal. Even to this day, I still find myself optimistic even on my last credit or final chip. A gambler was born.