Last month when my theme was “Games,” we discussed one of my casino experiences. I always love when the croupier says, “No mo’ betssss.” It literally makes me giggle each time.
Just before the first time my sister and I were going to be going to a casino to see some of our band friends, Uncle Charlie took me out on the gambling boat to teach me how to gamble. He told me to stay away from slots, then explained other games such as craps, blackjack, poker, and roulette. My granddaddy had taught me craps and blackjack when I was little, and my birth mom taught me poker when I was eleven. But I just didn’t care for those games. I mean, I liked them fine for playing at home, but watching them in a casino, I didn’t like the way you have to interact so much with the dealer or croupier.
But the roulette wheel called me. I liked the odds, and more than that, I liked the “feel” of standing near it — or the energy I felt when I did.
Uncle Charlie generally flew to Biloxi, Mississippi about once a month and gambled a few hundred dollars (or more) which he could comfortably afford to play with. His game was poker, and he won far more often than he lost. But he wasn’t much of a roulette fan.
Anyway, as he played blackjack and was showing me what to do, I wandered away to watch roulette. If you’ve never been to a casino, there’s a wheel that has 38 slots numbered 00 to 36 in non-sequential order. You can bet on red or black, or a certain number, or odd or even, and the payout amount varies depending on what you bet. If you bet $1 on a number and it hits, you get $35. If you bet $1 on red or black only and it hits, you just win $1. Then you can also bet on the line between two or four numbers, and the payout is split in two or four and so forth. And behind the wheel is an electronic board that shows what number hits.
I stood there just watching, mesmerized for about ten minutes before Uncle Charlie found me. When he stood beside me, I started telling him the numbers that would hit next. I got them right more than ten times in a row. Other people started listening and placing bets based on what I was saying. But then Uncle Charlie asked me what was next. And before I could answer, he took $100 out of his pocket and said he was going to bet that on whatever I said, and if it won, he’d give me half.
My whole chest tightened up! To him, $100 was pocket change, but to me, that was a lot of money. A LOT! I choked. I couldn’t do it. I walked away without telling him a number. He got a little aggravated and followed me and tried to get me to come back.
I finally returned, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell him a number. I didn’t want to be responsible for him losing that hundred dollars. Finally, he placed a bet on his own. He bet all of it on 21. And as soon as the croupier spun the wheel, I looked at Uncle Charlie and told him “It’s gonna be 33.” And it was 33. And Uncle Charlie was a bit upset with me to say the least!
I never went gambling with Uncle Charlie again after that. But I have been several times with my sister Michelle and my best friend Lora. We’re not as willing to part with $100 as Uncle Charlie. So when I’ve been with Lora, she usually bets about $20 at a time. That’s a little easier to swallow if I’m wrong.
However, what usually happens with Lora is that she wants to divide her bet. So she’ll ask me for five numbers, and I’ll give her five. Then she’ll put her money on five sets of four corners which only include one of the numbers I selected. So her four numbers usually lose and my one number usually wins, however, because she has it on four corners, the payout’s only $8 to $1, and since she loses on her four numbers, she goes through her money quickly, and we’re done.
When I go with Michelle, she’s excessively cheap, so she gets more entertainment out of watching me call the numbers that strangers hit rather than putting any money on the table herself. So we usually walk away only about $50 to $75 ahead because we’re too afraid to risk much more than a few bucks.
I don’t get them right every time, but I find that I get a much higher instance of right “guesses” when no one is depending on me to tell them how to play their money.
Time to talk: Do you believe in E.S.P.? Do you have it yourself? How often do you just know something such as who is on the phone before you answer?