There's a backdated post on September 3rd, for you completists out there.
Cape Cod was scenic and quaint, but it wasn't exactly fun driving a truck through. Lots of winding, small streets where if you made a mistake in a big truck, there weren't many opportunities in terms of places one could turn around to correct it. It required a trememndous amount of attention for someone who isn't familiar with the area. I finsihed getting my load of cabinets off in East Falmouth, MA and found out I was headed for St. Louis, without much time to get there. So this cut out the prospect of going to Plymouth Rock, but in retrosepct, I'm glad things worked out this way.
I picked up my load in Uncasville, Connecticut which lies just north of New London. It was supposed to be a "live load" but when I got there, a trailer was already pre-loaded for me. Excellent! No waiting around to get loaded, so I dropped my empty trailer and hooked up the the loaded one and was on my way. It's a heavy load, too. Heavier than I'm used to pulling anyway. Most of these cabinets loads are around 15,000 lbs. tops... this was a load of containers and the Bill of Lading stated that it weighed just over 42,000 pounds. Yay, this was gonna be fun coming over the mountains with.
I had decided on my way to Uncasville that I was going to go to the casino that lies close to there after I got done loading. I really didn't want to drive through NYC during the day so I decided I would wait until late in the evening. The last time I was in Connecticut I had visited the Foxwoods Casino, so I thought it'd be fun to check out Mohegan Sun.
It's very different from the other. Foxwoods is this nice, modern looking facility with small reminders that it is a reservation casino. Mohegan Sun won't let you forget. The entire decor is done in these huge wood posts (although they appeared faux) that ran everywhere. The casino was dimly lit and spacious in contrast to Foxwoods bright open windows and cramped playing spaces. In hindsight now, I realize how odd it was for Foxwoods to even have windows. Most casinos go out of their way to not have clocks or windows so that all concept of time is lost while inside.
I got there about 3 pm and quickly found an ATM machine and withdrew $100. After feeling lost for several mintues I finally found the blackjack tables and had a seat. It was a 10 dollar table and it started out rather typical, win a hand, lose a hand - go up a little, go down a little. This table had some sort of continuous, electronic shuffler which the dealer used, so there was never an end to the shoes. Just non-stop blackjack.
For those of you have never played in a casino, there is a standrad color scheme to the chips. $1 chips are white or silver, $5 (nickels) are red, $25 (quarters) are green, $100 chips are black, and $500 chips are purple. It doesn't what casino you go to, this is the standard and allows for the sort of lingo that follows.
I got a little hot streak and jumped up a hundred bucks which is where usually I begin the inner crisis. Should I stay? Should I walk? I mean I just doubled my money and I'm generally pretty good at doing this, however, I'm usually pretty good at staying too long and losing it all, too. Of course, I decided to stay and I began to regret it quickly. The hot streak ended and it was more of the up and down and for a while there, it seemed I was gonna at least lose the hundred I'd already made. Just then, another hot streak hit and I jumped up two hundred dollars. Cool! So now the inner demons are really starting to work on me. I've got three hundred bucks sitting on the table, what you gonna do?
Naturally I stayed and started upping my bets. My red chip stack was slowly converted to a green stack as this was all I was betting now. Ordinarily, this is how the casinos get you. Once you start making money, you start upping your bets and being greedy and the law of house odds kicks you in the rear. Not tonight, within 30 minutes I had about $600 dollars on the table. And then things started to get really weird....
I... could not... lose. Hard 15's and 16's? Not a thing, I'd just take my hit and be sitting pretty at 20 or 21. Doulbe downs? Drew the ten everytime or the dealer busted. I told the guys at the table that when I got up to a thousand dollars I was walking. I made that rather quickly and the cards kept coming. Shit, I wasn't going anywhere. In about another hour I had 3 grand on the table and I was high rolling, just like I've always wanted to do. So, I started playing two hands. And betting black.
And it didn't stop... soon I had about 7 or 8 grand on the table in huge piles of black and green. I was doing the sort of high rolling I thought I would never be able to afford. The table limit was $1000 dollars and, at one point, I had $4000 in bets across the two hands I was playing. I broke even that hand, but, it was still such a rush. The waitress who was taking drink orders for the table stopped to watch and the pit boss, who had been checking up on my progress through out the evening was now permanently perched just beyond the dealer to verbally "okay" my bets. Reynold, my dealer, was cracking-up because everytime I would get the amazing cards that wouldn't stop coming I would just start giggling uncontrollably. But by this point, I knew there had to be a stopping point for me, some indicator that it was time to walk and in my head I had decided that, once I had a net loss over three consecutive hands - would cash out. Playing two hands simultaneously and at the level I was betting, losing three consecutive hands would be a substantial amount of money and losing any more would be foolish.
And it finally happened. I lost $3200 on three hands and pushed the remaining chip piles across the table to Reynold. The pit boss called for a cashier to bring some purple and colored up all my black and green into 14 purple, 4 black, and 2 green. That's right, $7,450. I decided to "make sure" the magic was gone and played two more hands with the black chips and lost all four of them. I had already tipped Reynold about $75 tonight as well as my waitress $50. I tossed the remaining two green chips onto the table for Reynold and thanked him and hauled my purple over to the cage where they presented me with 70 crsip $100 bills. It was a mere 7:30pm. Not bad for four and a half hours of "work".
All told, I guess I was up nearly $11,000 at one point and when people I've talked to since then hear that they say, god how can you stand that you lost that other four grand? One of the guys at the table kept begging me to stop betting black and just bet green. It doesn't bother me a bit, had I not been betting the way I had, I would've never made more than a few hundred bucks. If you get scared when you're up and just stay in red or green... well, you only win what you bet. On a long enough time scale, the odds are in favor of the house. The only way to make money gambling is to take advantage of the aberration when it comes along but get out quick when the tide turns. It doesn't happen very often, but when it happens, it can be a beautiful thing. The suckers are the ones who think they can win back money they've lost by throwing more money at it. The trick is to play at a level you're comfortable with and if you lose, oh well. But when that opportunity comes along, don't be afraid to bet it - but be smart enough to realize when you're beat.
Last night means I am -seriously- ahead overall. I only allow myself to go with $100 a month. In total, I've maybe lost a few hundred dollars in casinos in the past year and a half since I began gambling. This is a conbination of losing my hundred bucks most of the time and some nights winning a few hundred. But now, I can truly say I've beat the house.
I went back to my truck and called all my friends and family to gloat and to make promises of paying off a couple of people who have lent me some money over the years. I tried to sleep for a few hours before heading out for New York but couldn't. I was just too amped and fighting the temptation to take the money back inside was a bit overwhelming at times but I resisted. I will probably save out $500-$1000 dollars of my winnings and go gambling again sometime this month - the rest is going to eradicating most of debt. Life is indeed good. Greed, at the blackjack table, is good. As long as you're smart about it.
I headed out about 11pm and blew through NYC about 1am this morning. I stopped in Breezewood, PA to sleep about 6am and got up at noon. I stopped in Wheeling and had a very nice lunch at this brick-over pizza place I managed to find. In a few moments I will continue on and probably make it into central Indiana later this evening before stopping to sleep again.
One little interesting thing happened today. I was listening to this Thin Lizzy box set I've had for quite sometime but never really got around to listening to. I'm a big fan of Concrete Blonde's Free album... the one with "God Is A Bullet" and "Happy Birthday". There's a song on Free called "It's Only Money" which, turns out, is a Thin Lizzy song. An appropriate soundtrack for the day and a nugget of musical knowledge to boot.
You don't believe in love, you don't believe in hatred
You put your money in the bank, it's the only way to save it
You tried to make a buck, but you haven't made a penny
You need a little love, but you know you won't get any
You don't believe in God, you don't believe in glory
Got a brother in the clinic, he tells the same kinda story
If he had another life, you know I would be waitin'
If you had another soul, you could sell it all to Satan
It's only money
You don't believe in war, you don't believe in Jesus
Got a sister in New York, you know how she pleases
Walkin' the streets on the southside of the city
Tryin' to make ends meet, isn't that a pity