Now that’s cool!

September 28, 2008

What’s the coolest thing that’s every happened to you in a casino? And I’m not talking “big wins”, think outside the box here. Something that doesn’t have to do with money or the actual hands of poker.

Have you met a celebrity, maybe sat down next to one at a blackjack or poker table? Perhaps just catching a glimpse of one is more likely, since they’re usually roped off in some exclusive high-rollers room, either playing the house by themselves, or playing at a table with stakes so high you couldn’t even afford the drinks.

On the celebrity side, I think I saw Ringo Starr once at the craps tables of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. I snapped a blurry picture, but I’m convinced it was him. There was a huge crowd around him, and…well…it looked like him. I didn’t need to hear All You Need Is Love to hammer the moment home.

What about big-time, professional poker players (excluding Moneymaker)? Every happen upon one of them walking around – taking in the sites – brutally abusing a rich tourist or two? I never have. Maybe I don’t go to enough casinos for that to happen. Of course, the kind of casinos around here anyway are hardly the ones you’ll find someone who lends his face to the cover of a video game box anyway.

Nevertheless, cool things always happen in casinos, and not just in the movies, either. Casinos were created as a hot-spot for “cool.”

Does that make sense?

And aside from the literal meaning of “cool,” you know, where they keep the temperature down and pump oxygen into the place to keep you awake, I have experience a couple cool moments worth sharing.

The biggest one I can remember was on a cruise ship years and years. It was March, I wasn’t quite 21 yet, but lucky for me the laws of international waters draw that line at 18, so I was good to go. I was downing Cokes instead of Vodka Tonics, but I was still good to go.

So anyway, this cruise ship and this one alone (I’ve been on 4 in my life) actually had a poker table.

I know, big surprise! And it didn’t have Caribbean Stud markings messing it up, either (although there were plenty of those on the other side of the casino.)

Let me qualify the rest of the article by saying at the time, I was pretty shy of girls. I know, whatever. I can admit it now. So that’s relevant because instead of hitting the club late at night to dance, I wanted the familiar and comfortable surroundings of the casino.

And I made myself right at home at the seven-card stud table.

Now, like I said, this isn’t about how much I won or lost, but just for further reference, I scrounged up more than enough to take care of that duty free Kahlua.

Anyway, at the end of one of the nights…sometime around 2 a.m. or so when they closed the casino for the night, I was talking with the dealer. We had become friendly since I’d been a regular for a few hours each night, and the conversation went around to different home pages (how could it not in a casino, right?)

I shared a few of my own, one being Spots, which I’ve explained in a step-by-step process of how to play in one of my earlier article entries on this Web site.

Well, the dealer loved it, and decided (with the OK from the casino manager) that he would deal it for an hour if there were enough people left who wanted to play. So myself, a couple of my fraternity brothers who were with me, and two other cruise guests sat down and played for an hour.

We played spots. Spots – one of the craziest split pot games that has less to do with actual poker talent than smoking a cigar.

The $1-$5 betting rules stayed, and the lowest card was still forced to open with an ante value chip like in seven-card stud, and we went from there.

It was a very cool moment for two reasons. First, we were playing frickin’ spots in an actual casino setting. And second, I was able to pass along a fun game to new people who enjoyed poker just as much as I did.

Oh, and don’t worry about my aforementioned shyness of girls (not that you cared anyway). Turned out I would actually get laid toward the end of that same cruise.

Now that’s cool!