13 January 2003
"A casino? There's a casino?" she said, her head whirling around to
look at the sign we had just passed.
"Yes," I replied, eyes on the road and the traffic ahead of me.
"And why is it that we didn't stop?" she asked.
"Oh? Did you want to stop?" (Is the Pope Catholic?)
We got off at the next offramp and turned the car around to head back to the Indian
casino. We did have, after all, an hour to kill--and what better way to kill it than
earning a little money?
I knew that I wouldn't be gambling. I am the world's most unlucky gambler. I
suspect it has something to do with hating to turn money over to someone just because they
got better cards than I got, or because I can't get three damn cherries to line up in a
slot machine. That is not entertainment to me the way it is for some people.
The way it is for my companion. If she didn't have another respectable profession, she
could probaby make her living gambling. She is living in a very nice house in what is now
a fairly ritzy section of Southern California. She bought the house by paying cash
for it from winnings she received at the race track.
I've gone with her to casinos in Reno and Las Vegas and sat beside her in the race
track betting area, sheets for several different races in front of her, and watched her
lose hundreds of dollars, and then turn around and win hundreds of dollars. I think I
watched her lose a couple of thousand dollars in a matter of minutes one day. She gets a
bit nervous when that happens, but usually makes it up by the end of day, and then some.
She knows you have to take risks--play big to win big (casino owners love her).
Me? If I lose a bucket of nickels in the slot machines, my day is ruined.
So I knew that I was not going to be participating in any gambling that went on, but I
was curious to see how she'd do. "I have $100 here. Let's see if I can run it up to
$500 so I have money to take with me to Las Vegas later this month," she said.
There's something a little ....unusual... about pulling into a half-empty parking lot on a
Sunday morning, under grey skies, and slowly walking to a rather shabby looking casino. Oh
they try to glitz it up with a fountain (a couple of cement balls spitting water into the
sky), but who goes to a casino to gamble on a grey Sunday morning?
"This will probably be a little sad," she told me, commenting that people go
to Las Vegas for the glitz, but to Indian casinos strictly for gambling.
We were stopped at the door by an armed guard, who had to examine my large purse. He
finally decided, I guess, that I was OK because he let us enter.
The room was mostly empty. There were a couple of people lounging on some couches that
had seen better days. There was an enthusiastic group gathered around a blackjack table
and some activity over under a sign that said "Pai Gow." But mostly the place
"No slot machines?" she asked. We peeked in the side rooms, but only saw more
She finally saw a guard and asked about the slots. "Only cards here," she was
told, and she was directed to another Indian Casino up the road a bit (near where we live,
actually), where she could find slots.
No time for that, though. She had a plane to catch in Sacramento.
Instead we got back into the car and found more of a sure thing: CompUSA, where she
plunked down the money she intended to gamble and came away with software and added memory
for her PalmPilot.
She'll be off to Vegas next. I'm sure we'll hear all about her winnings very soon.