Saturday, January 5, 2008

You Pays Your Money...

I visited the Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls over the holiday. I played roulette. I love roulette. It's all shiny and spinny. It's one of the few games that can keep hold of my attention for at least as long as my money lasts.

I always love hearing people talk about odds and things when I go to a casino. I actually overheard someone say, "ooh, bet on black, it hasn't come up in a while." If you don't understand why this statement is completely false, I would strongly suggest taking a class in basic probability or reading a book called Chances Are... Adventures In Probability. Even if you already know why this statement is wrong, I would still suggest that book. It's quite entertaining.

Mom loves to inform me that roulette has terrible odds. If I really want to do well at the casino, I should play blackjack, she says. What my mother fails to realize is that I don't go to the casino to do well. In fact, before I've gone to the casino, I assume the money I'm taking is not coming home. Instead, I look at it as payment for entertainment; kind of like going to the movies.

One way I make sure I get my money's worth is by playing games that entertain me with shiny balls and spinning wheels. The other way I keep myself entertained is to ruin gambling for the serious players.

I hit on 14 at blackjack, for example. I once had a dealer ask me if I was sure I wanted to do that. People get so angry when you don't play properly. I have even been accused of taking someone's card. As though they knew what that card was before it came out of the shoe.

Another way I piss off the seasoned gamblers is to act really nonshallant when I win or lose. I won $125 on slots and the machine was whooping and hollering because that was the big prize on that machine. The guy beside me had a serious five o'clock shadow and looked as though his leg muscles had atrophied from sitting at the same slot machine for about a century too long. I looked around with a stupid, Mr Bean-like grin on my face while the machine did it's thing. The pro next to me reached over and hit the button to make my machine shut up.

"You have to wait for the girl to come around and pay you out, now," he said, with more than a hint of sour grapes in his voice.
"Okay. Thanks," I said, unwilling to let my winnings be sullied by this sour-puss. He looked at the machine again.
"Oh. No you don't, you didn't bet the maximum. You only won $125, you coulda had $250" he said with disdain.
"Oh well," I replied back with a big friendly smile. He made a noise of disgust and went back to pushing Bet Max with a grim determination that would make Sysiphus jealous. I wasn't about to be annoyed at what could have happened when I had just won $125. Given that I'd already written off the money I put into the machine, it was a pleasant surprise.

I am fond of saying that I never gamble what I can't afford to lose.

When I was 18 I started an RRSP. This is what banks like to call an "investment." They like to show you all these pretty graphs which say that if you put in $1000 when you're 20 you'll be a millionaire by the time you're 65. They try very hard to make the word "investment" sound like the word "savings" but really, it is a synonym for "gamble." My RRSP is comprised of what appear to be reasonably conservative mutual funds from Royal Bank. Up until recently it'd been doing pretty well.

Upon checking my online banking page today, however I discovered that perhaps I should have gone out and spent a few hundred dollars on a really good mayonnaise jar and burried my money in the backyard because there'd be more of it left in that case.

1 comment:

Rob (a.k.a. Dad) said...

Glad to see you have sound financial management skills...

And I know what you mean about the RBC mutual funds tanking... :O

Though I suspect that the economic roulette wheel is affecting most of the funds similarly. Cold comfort, that.

Got some room in that mayo jar for my retirement money too?