Beginner’s Luck

20 November, 2010 | | 2 Comments

So there I was, reading this excellent post about games of chance and winning the lottery over at Good Job Sucking, when I realized:  I know exactly what he means.  Driving home from Chicago one year, young and impressionable, we stopped at a rest stop in Nowhere, which is in between Chicago and Omaha.  There was a casual slot machine in some road-side lunch shack, which must have been a bar in the evenings, back in the 70’s when slot machines still roamed the Great Plains – I understand they’ve been hunted almost to extinction in those parts, outside of well-regulated areas.  Having been given a fist-full (literally, you got to keep what you could hold in one hand) of change as we left Chicago, I asked my folks if I could try it. 

Mom was very cheerful about this chance to provide an object lesson in Why Gambling Is Dumb, and I proceeded to hit a small jackpot with my first quarter – it was probably only around $10 bucks, but it was in quarters and it seemed like A LOT.  Some of them were silver, which just opened my mind to all sorts of gambling vistas. 

Beginner’s luck.  Ain’t it a bitch. 

I got a second shot at being a professional gambler a number of years ago, the first time I went to Atlantic City.  We were there on business, but since we had about 2 hours to kill, we went over to a casino.  No idea which one, it was dark and vaguely Western themed, which I’m tells you everything you need to know.  My friend walked me through How We Play Roulette, and I gave the nice lady my 2 dollars and put them on some number.  She promptly drew that number, handed me something like $75 bucks, and we left for lunch – on me. 

Needless to say, it doesn’t happen like that very often, by which I mean I lost the next time I was in Atlantic City.  Since then, the Human Tape Recorder asked, a few years ago, “Daddy, what’s the lottery?”  I explained very cheerfully that the lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math. 

HTR:  “Oh.  But I’m good at math!”   
BUMD:  “Right, so you won’t have to pay that tax.”
HTR:  “But you buy lottery tickets sometimes!”
BUMD:  “Yep.  Daddy was never really too good at math.”

Ah well.  Any stories about beginner’s luck out there?

  1. Rin Saunders says:

    Absolutely! When I was six on a road trip to Colorado, we stopped in a Vegas cafe. My parents gave me a couple of quarters to put in the slot machine to show me the evils of gambling.

    I figured that this is essentially a gum ball machine and no one’s going to put anything in without getting something out. Sure enough, I put a quarter in and two came out.

    Then the waitress came over and made them stop because I was underage.

  2. admin says:

    I was never quite sure why no one shushed me away from that one, being all of 6 or 7 years old at the time. Was neat to find the old quarters in it, though – some of those must have been there since the 40s.

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