I Don’t Know When to Hold ‘Em or Fold ‘Em

While not wildly adept at playing craps, I am pretty decent at taking... forget it

I’m a terrible gambler.

This foolio has been living at the Rio in Las Vegas for the past three days. I haven’t sat down once at a table or slot machine.

I am surrounded by opportunity to play games and win some dough. So why aren’t I gambling?

A few reasons – first, I have an addictive personality. Moderation is difficult and I tend to drift toward the extremes. The past four years of therapy have taught me that learning to live in the middle, the grey, is a very important skill. A skill I don’t have.

When I sit down at the blackjack table I have a hard time leaving. If I win $20, I’m bummed I didn’t win $40. If I lose $20 I want to put in more money to win it back. Thankfully I’ve never been so heavy into gambling that I’ve blown more than $100.

Yeah, D.J. that’s how most everyone feels when they gamble!

Not everyone. My sister’s boyfriend expects to lose. He sets aside gambling money and views it as his entertainment for the evening. As such, he’s never disappointed when he blows it.

If I lose even $20 I’m devastated. I don’t expect to win every hand, but I hope to walk away with something in the black. This, of course, is not how gambling works. But addictions don’t pay much attention to rational thought. Addiction craves the high of winning.

Here’s the second reason.

I don’t have the stomach for large betting. I hit the $5 blackjack tables and never play more than $20 a hand. And when I do that I’m nervous and sweating.

Let’s say I’m really lucky and win $100. True, it’s adding to my overall net worth. But being $100 richer isn’t going to change my lifestyle. I can take my girlfriend out to one additional high-end dinner. If I lose the $100, I can still pay my bills. No real change.

And, as mentioned earlier, I haven’t the nerves for any high stakes.

Since my gut only allows me small bets, I’m never going to win enough to make a substantial difference in my finances. So, what’s the point?

The high of winning is not as intense as the sorrow of losing. I am more affected emotinally walking away down than up. I wish it were reversed, but it’s not how I’m wired. Since the games are tilted to the house’s favor, I have a bigger probability of feeling like poop.

I don’t know how to play most games. The electronic slot machines confuse the shit out of me. I feel like since I’m not Asian I shouldn’t attempt Pai Gow. I never learned Texas Hold ‘Em. Keno is for old people, and craps is way too fast. I don’t assume I’m lucky enough to pick Roulette winners.

Blackjack is the only table where I’ll sit down, and there are rules to maximize your odds. Because I’m such a risk-adverse person, I play the suggested ways. Which makes it boring after a while, even if I’m winning. I’m like a robot. A sweaty, nervous robot.

No, I’ll stick to the seafood buffet. I’m heading to the best one in town tonight. Can’t wait to sit by myself swallowing crab legs, lobster, shrimp, and halibut. I may do a few shots of drawn butter, but that’s only because I’m awesome.

While not wildly adept at playing craps, I am pretty decent at taking… forget it

photo credit: -RobW- via photopin cc