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Our Gambling Vacation To Louisiana
Before I begin to describe how we prepared for and then went on our first gambling vacation, there are few details you need to know.
We are not wealthy!
We do not have rich parents to call for money! In fact we don't have anyone we can call for money!
If we screw-up, we are on our own!
When we started discussing a weekend at the casino, it really scared us to think we could spend more than a hundred dollars at a casino.
Sure we had blown more than that during a day at the casino, but we are now talking about spending all day and all night at the casino.
How would we act?
This is like going to Vegas without all the shows and other sights to break the gambling.
We could spend all our savings in several days at the casino and this would definitely be a major screw-up.
Planning For The Trip
When we decided it was a go, my wife automatically started to plan our clothing for the trip. She always handles the packing and she is very good about taking extra clothing in case we decide to dress up one evening or have an emergency such as me pouring a drink in my lap.
My job is making sure our car is in top shape. I check the tires and change everything that needs changing or will need changing before we return.
Another of my jobs is checking our credit cards. I need to know how much cash is available on each card and the charges for getting that money. Different credit cards charge different fees for getting cash advances. I also had to call the bank to see how much cash we had available and if there were any charges on their end (there was) to access the funds using our cash card.
Next we called the casino (or casinos in case we wanted to stay at more than one) to see what comps or program specials they were offering. As it turned out we were able to get our room paid for the whole weekend because we had been playing on our comp card on previous day trips. The casino also told us if we gambled with our card in which ever game we played or if we would advise the pit boss at the table game we were playing at, we would probably not have to pay for any of our meals (don't depend on this).
Pleased be advised if you are planning a gambling vacation to research the comp program of the casino where you plan to stay. They vary greatly and can be a major impact on your vacation.For instance; the casino where we were planning on staying does not allow you to cash out when you end play.
If you do not know what I am talking about, the amount of money you wager is kept up with by the casino computer and using a formula unique to the casino they calculate the number of comp points you earn by playing. These comp points have a cash value. You have the option of taking that cash value in cash or gifts. The hotel stay is paid for by these comp points as well as the meals referred to earlier. The amount of money you wager directly effects this total. This is a very important part of any gambling vacation and I cannot tell you too many times to research this.
We have decided on the time and the place. Reservations are made and a credit card will hold the room. I ask if the credit card will be charged and the hotel informs me it will not unless there are other charges to the room.
The Start Of The Gambling Vacation
OK! We have called all the kids and told those who should know we are leaving this Friday morning and may not be back till the following weekend.
The car is gassed up and all levels have been checked and rechecked.
I have loaded the suitcases and placed our clothes on the rack in the back seat.
I always forget my shoes or boots so my wife makes me double check to see if I have the ones I want.
Everything is loaded and double checked. We are ready to go.
I have already pre-selected the route we will be taking and since the casino hotel is within one days driving distance we will probably arrive at the hotel about six or seven in the evening. Meals are selected from the cafe's along the road. This is a no frills vacation.
Upon arrival at the casino hotel we are impressed by the service we receive and the VIP treatment we receive. Our bags are placed on a gold trimmed cart and we are escorted to a private check-in lobby for VIPs. This is first class treatment and we have not spent a dime....yet!
Our room is very clean and nice. A suite of sorts with a living area separated from the sleeping area. There is a huge piece of furniture in the middle of the room that sort of divides the two sections of the room and I soon find it houses a 35 inch television. We locate a small refrigerator in a small room just outside the bathroom in which we placed the sodas and bottled water we had brought with us. We always bring bottled water with us for health reasons.
The cloths are in the closet and our bags are unpacked, it is time to find the casino.
Getting Our Feet Wet
It is not hard to find the casino as all signs point us toward it. Down the elevator, across the lobby, past the VIP Lounge and down the tunnel to the riverboat. It really was a long walk but it went quickly as our excitement began to mount. We looked around first at the various banks of machine and there appeared to be a lot of action on a group of slots just inside the door to the right. My wife checked them out while I stood in a long line to see which coupons I had were good and to get whatever cash I could for them. It took about ten minutes for me to finish my adventure and I soon joined the wife.
We had agreed on a set amount of money we would spend on any given day. The idea was not to allow ourselves to overspend and have to sell the farm to get home. Our combined limit was $600. One hour and forty five minutes after arriving at the casino we were over our limit.
The television worked fine. There was ice just down the hall and the air conditioner had cooled the room down to our comfort level. I watched a movie while my wife cried.The next day we did a little better but not much. We decided about noon to head to town and see some sights. We bored with that in about an hour and headed to a neighboring casino. About ten minutes after we arrived my wife hit a nickel machine for $600 and this definitely made us feel better.
We arrived back at our hotel around five PM and checked to see if we had enough comps for dinner. We did and soon we were enjoying a very delicious meal.
Our next venture into the casino was much more cautious. I spent a lot of time walking around before I committed to any serious gambling. I was looking for any type of trend I could find. There was not anyone in the casino doing anything except losing.
The television worked fine. There was ice just down the hall and the air conditioner had kept the room cool. I watched a movie while the wife sulked.
I guess it was about midnight when we decided to return to the casino. We had been at the hotel now for about 30 hours and we were something like $350 down (only because we had won at the other casino). We again approached the casino with caution. Walking and looking at who was doing what for almost 30 minutes before settling on a game to play. I played the $5 Double Diamond and began to win. Slowly I won until I was about $2000 ahead. I played the $10 Double Diamond some but was unable to gain anything. The wife was in shock because we had never played more than the dollar machines and here I was spinning the wheel for $20 a pop.
Just as suddenly as the machine started to pay, they stopped. I may have been more than $2500 ahead but before I realized the run had ended I had lost several hundred dollars. We played the dollar machines for a little while, but I don't like to just give money away and we could not find a machine that would even pay enough to let us play.
The television work fine. There was ice just down the hall and the room was cold. I watched a movie and my wife counted our money.
We returned to the casino the next day but we saw no change and we were tired anyway so we decided to go home. Our first gambling vacation was successful if you counted the money but it was unsuccessful if you counted the entertainment. We wanted to gamble. Put our money in the machines and play. We did not want to just throw our money away on tight machines. It turned out OK! I guess.
The drive home was almost uneventful. I got a ticket in one of those speed trap small towns in Louisiana which cost me $115. Oh Well!
Gambling and Dr. D. are a natural fit. As a business owner who risks his hard earned money daily, Dr. D. believes in the American dream and the people who live it.
Thomas Sweetz: Will gambling continue to provide governments with tax revenue? - Allentown Morning Call
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