15 Sep 2014
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My Visit to Maryland Live!

Patch editor gambles and learns a big life lesson.

My Visit to Maryland Live!

Despite being at the Wednesday night and , I had yet to gamble any money at the new casino.  

So on Monday, I set aside part of my morning to wager a few dollars. (Yes, I am gambling on company time. I know you’re just jealous.)

I drove over to the Arundel Mills area at about 11 a.m. I parked in the garage, took the elevator down to the main casino floor and walked in, confident that I could win a few bucks.

Except that I forgot to bring one very important thing: Money.

Whoops.

As it turns out, I did locate five $1 bills in my wallet, which I figured would be enough to let me have fun on the cheap slot machines.

BUT FIRST, I had to go and sign up for the Live! Rewards card, which promised to offer free slot money and big discounts on food and other things. Apparently, you get a point for every dollar you gamble. Which is nice, except that you need about 400 trillion points to earn enough for a trip to the salad bar.

Nevertheless, I had dreams of winning it big, so I shuffled over to the 25-cent video poker machines. (Took me quite a while to find them. Next time, I am bringing a Sherpa.)

I sat down at the shiny machine, put a dollar in the slot and … saw it come right back to me. I tried again. Rejected, again. I flattened the bill against my stomach. No success.

Feeling a bit like George Costanza, I found myself both irked and amused at the notion of a casino that refused to take my money.

I hit the “service” button on the machine and waited. And waited. And waited. Eight minutes later, I got up and bothered a friendly employee on the casino floor. I’ll call her Denise.

“So… these machines don’t seem interested in my money,” I said.

“What kind of money are you trying to put in?” Denise asked.

I thought of replying with a snide response like “Prussian Francs,” but held myself.

“One dollar bills,” I said.

“Oh, I think there’s a five dollar minimum,” Denise said. “But let me check with someone else.”

Denise checked with another woman, who was apparently on the “slots team.”

“Five dollar minimum. Five dollar minimum,” Mrs. Slots Team said.

“Even for 25-cent games?” I asked. She nodded, as if there were large neon signs at every corner informing us of these rules.

The next step was to then hustle over to the cashier, who accepted my sorry dollar bills in exchange for a crisp five spot.

Finally, I was ready to gamble. I bet a quarter. Lost a quarter. Bet a quarter. Lost a quarter. This went on a while, so I switched machines. I bet a quarter and won … 50 cents! Then lost. Then lost again.

I was broke within 20 minutes. 

But I had fun, I suppose. And I will be back. 

Next time, armed with a briefcase of $5 bills.

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