Did I Develop a Gambling Addiction Over the Weekend?

Spread the Money


This past weekend my family and I celebrated my sister’s 40th Birthday at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut.  It was a surprise so she had no idea we would all be up there to celebrate with her.

I was able to get a great deal on my hotel room because I booked it about a month before the date on Hotels.com.  I was able to get a room for $125/night. We were only staying for one night.

The early bird really does get the worm because about a week before our trip I checked the price of the room out of curiosity and it went up to $525 a night!  Booking early is the key in getting the best possible travel deals.  Travel prices are like Bitcoin. It can be a total roller coaster.

I’ve never been a gambler and it was something that never interest me, even though I put a lot of my money in the stock market and Bitcoin. I guess it’s arguable that they are all the same thing.  Investing kind of is like glorified gambling if you think about it.

After we checked in, my partner and I wanted to walk around the shops and casino. I should mention that my colleague went to the same casino a few years ago and bet his entire year-end bonus on the Roulette table.  He bet it all on Red and won double the amount.  I guess he had beginners luck as they say.

He swore that he never gambled before and did it on a whim.  After he doubled his money, he took his winnings and left the casino.  His self-control was admirable, at least in my book it was.

I had his lucky experience lurking around in my head. So I decided to play Roulette. I had never played before.  I took a $20 bill out of my wallet and handed it to the dealer. She gave me 20 bucks worth of chips and I bet it all on Black.  As the wheel turned I couldn’t help but feel this excitement that I may double my money in a matter of seconds.

The little ball landed on Red and my heart sank. I lost my $20 bucks just like that. My partner wanted to give it a try so he also bet $20 bucks, but this time he bet it all on Red. After the wheel kept turning, the little ball landed on Black. It was as if someone up above was laughing in our faces.

My partner then wanted to try his hand at Black Jack so he bet another $20 bucks and lost it all just as quick. I was pretty upset and I wanted to get away from the casino. But something kept pulling me back.

I had to try the Roulette one more time. I mean, where was my beginner’s luck, right?  So I pulled another $20 bucks out of my wallet and played one more time. This time I was going to bet that the ball would land on an odd number instead of picking black or red.

Guess what number the ball landed on? It was an even number and I lost another $20 bucks just like that. I was getting very upset. It didn’t help that the guy playing next to me just won around $700 bucks. He spread his chips all over the board, betting on several different numbers.  If the ball landed on any of his numbers, he would win 36X the amount.

I was not going to quit just like that. I had vengeance on my mind. I gave the dealer another crisp $20 bill and I was going to play like that guy did. I spread all my chips on many different random numbers.  I just knew I had to finally win, right?

As the wheel kept spinning and the ball kept rolling it finally landed on a number that I of course did not bet on. And just like that, I lost another $20 bucks.

I was depressed and my partner had to pull me out of the casino. He offered to buy us drinks at a bar as I sulked and complained about how big a loser I was.  I felt so sorry for myself and I was very angry. How could I be that stupid? I never even gambled before. I usually pride myself on how I have such amazing control over how I spend my money.  I am the Money Guru after all.

My partner kept reassuring and consoling me that at least I learned and I enjoyed the experience of gambling. But I wouldn’t go that far. I couldn’t get my colleague’s doubling his money on the Roulette experience out of my head. It just wasn’t fair.

At my sister’s surprise birthday dinner, I told everyone and anyone that would listen about how we lost all this money at the casino.  It was a lot of money to me. Money that could have went into the stock market or towards my mortgage instead of it going down the drain in a matter of seconds.

After a few drinks and a few hours of feeling sorry for myself, I began to feel better about the whole situation. After dinner, my partner’s sister’s friend won $300 bucks on a slot machine. Just like that.

All of us, my two sisters, two brother in laws, my friend and her husband, my partner and his sister decided to go gambling. After all, $300 was just won and we could all win the same or more, right?  It was possible and it could be done. We just saw it happen right in front of our very own eyes.

I decided to put my last $20 bill into a penny slot machine.  I spent over two hours on this machine while my partner sat next to me.  I was constantly up and down.  It was so exciting to win money in a matter of seconds. It was just as heart wrenching to see my money dwindle in the same amount of time.

My family and friends kept passing me by to see how I was doing.  Some kept telling me to cash out and I almost did up until my brother in law came over. He showed me that he just won $135 bucks on a slot machine. Boy did that make me jealous and it had a very powerful effect on me.  I mean, if he could win that, than so could I, right?

I was up $70 bucks on the penny slot machine. I was possessed. My sister kept saying I had crazy eyes. All I kept thinking was that I had to make the money back that I had lost earlier. I also wanted to win enough to pay for our hotel room. If I had won that money, it would have been like a free trip. Those were the things that kept swirling around in my head. That and how my brother in law just won $135 bucks and the fact that my colleague doubled his money on the Roulette table.

I wanted to tell everyone I was with that I had won it big. It was like a drug. I had to prove myself to everyone that I was a winner.  I was not going to leave this place feeling like a big fat loser.

After about another hour I went up from $70 bucks to $0. I was beyond depressed. I just felt like giving up on life. It was also late and I was feeling so tired and defeated.  I kept telling myself I should have cashed out when I was up $70 bucks.

The thought crossed my mind to go to the ATM machine which was only about 5 feet away to take more cash out and play some more.  But I was tired and all I wanted to do was go to bed.  I felt a combination of shame and buyer’s remorse.

The moral of this story is that gambling is dangerous.  I never understood why people were addicted to it. Before I would look down on them and dismiss their need to play the slot machines or the poker tables.  Why can’t they just get up, quit and do something more productive? But after experiencing gambling first hand, I now fully understand how it can totally consume you.

I can now empathize with people that have a gambling addiction.  It may be one of the most amazing feelings in the world to win some money in a matter of a few seconds.  When I lost money, the only thought in my mind was I could win it all back just as quick.

Unfortunately I did not win any money while gambling. I ended up losing $80 bucks in total.  But I did win the lesson, experience and knowledge of gambling. So maybe losing was actually my saving grace. I thoroughly enjoyed myself when I was up a few bucks. I am proud of myself that I was able to quit after losing $80 bucks. That amount could have quickly spiraled to $800 bucks and more.

Will I gamble again after this experience? The answer is I don’t know. Luckily, I live nowhere near a casino so that helps a lot. But if I did ever go back, which is inevitable at some point, I will only carry $20 bucks in my wallet and leave my ATM card with someone I can trust.

If you ever find yourself gambling in a casino, I hope you remember my story and it stays in your mind.  Hopefully it will help you quit while you’re ahead.

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