Where have I been…
As you could probably tell by the abrupt way in which I stopped blogging on NYE 2016, I have not made any casino trips in 3 months (actually exactly three months today). On NYE, I was all set to stay at Mohegan Sun — my host gave me a great room, invite to the Mohegan Sun NYE gala/dinner and the after-party. That weekend started out great, going up 2k very quickly. However, the blackjack gods were merciless in their quest for schadenfreude. The 2k was gone almost as quickly as it came — then another losing session – then another — but the time they had wiped my ego from the floor, I became despondent and could not bring myself to stay for the NYE festivities — succumbing to a loss like that, the word celebration was no longer a part of my vocabulary. At that point, I packed my bag, checked out of the hotel, and headed home. NYE came and went while I was somewhere on I-95 — nobody to kiss at midnight, nobody blowing noisemakers and certainly, nobody smiling on the lonely car ride home.
I made the decision to take a break from casino life. 2015 and 2016 were not good years at the blackjack tables — it seemed as if the old standby that, over a billion hands, the house edge holds true — but, over the short term, the house edge can become 90% (I suppose maybe my good hands will come the final 10,000 out of 1,000,000,000).
In my three months away from the casinos, I have become very busy with work. However grateful I am for that, it also comes with a ton of stress. Yes, I realize we all lead stressful lives and, who am I to complain — well, since it is my blog, I will complain 🙂
One particular case I have involves a bitter custody battle, drug addiction and inept attorneys (not me, of course). I realize most of us are addicted to some sort of drug (caffeine, nicotine) but hardcore drugs that take over a person’s life are a totally different story. Hardcore drugs eventually lead a person to believing their own lies. They say perception is reality but, in a court of law – reality is reality. Someone can say they are the “father of the year” and actually believe it, but, in reality, they are out of work and do not take an active role in their children’s lives. Once every few weeks they will make a grand gesture, such as a surprise birthday party, that, in their minds, makes up for all other shortcomings — they believe the court will see them planning a surprise party for one of their kids as the type of thing that no other parent has ever done — something they should be rewarded for. After all, it is truly not about the kids, it is about ensuring they look good in Court — ensuring that they be seen as a “normal” parent and not a drug addict. If my Starbucks cold-brew addiction ever gets to a point where I cannot function in life, and attempt to tell anyone who will listen how great I am, kindly kick my ass.
But, as I always tell people who ask me how I can represent certain clients in their custody battles. I tell them that everyone is entitled to be represented and, even if a certain client will not get custody, they are at least entitled to an attorney who can help “stop the bleeding” and help them get to a better place in their lives. I do not judge my clients, that is up to the Court – I can only help them put their best foot forward.
Coming back full circle, I think to those of us who enjoy casinos, a point can be reached where the rush of adrenaline from gambling can become just as addicting as a drug. For me though, it was only half about the gambling. The other half was the “vibe”.
We all know what the “vibe” is — that feeling when you are planning a trip to Vegas, Atlantic City or some other destination — the feeling that everything is at your proverbial fingertips. @Snickers99poker , in his Trip Reports posted at Your Trip Reports , always includes the planning stages, months in advance, when writing his trip reports. He realizes that us casino people love the planning stages almost as much as the trip itself. Determining which hotel we will stay at, what flights, how many days, which restaurants, which shows, etcetera etcetera. Then, upon actually checking into the casino, hearing the sounds, seeing the sights and smelling the smells, knowing that all of those chips are there – red, green, black, yellow, watermelon – waiting to be relieved of their positions in the rack. Anticipation is such a powerful feeling – the anticipation that anything is possible. To know you can sit down at a machine or a table and easily strike up a conversation with another player – after all, we are all there for the same thing – the thrill of victory (and to commiserate over the agony of defeat). On some level, we all “know” one another. Walking into an elevator in Vegas is an entryway into a world where each person’s private finances suddenly become open topics of conversation – “Hey, are you winning? How much? Oh, you lost, damn, get it back after dinner – it will turn around for you!” These are conversations that would not take place anywhere else other than in a casino. The casino and the “vibe” one all of us up to one another — the “vibe”, I believe, is a camaraderie, a knowing glance, a secret handshake that grants you admission to a society wherein we are all attempting to be kings and queens for the time we are there — although most of us end up becoming Jokers. That is the “vibe” – that communal feeling, the anticipation of winning, the possibilities of life, love, entertainment, gustatory pleasures and electricity – all blended together into what I call the “vibe”.