I'm not easily impressed.
But when I first saw the shark swimming in the Mirage's lobby fish tank, I was hooked. The casual power in the flip of its tail, and the beady glance in my direction this shark had my number. Wow! They also had rays, eels, and a school of colored fish looking like they wanted to be somewhere else.
On a recent Atlantic City trip, the chandeliers at the Tai Mahal made me stop and stare. And the Borgata's glass sculptures offered a simplicity that shrieked power, and money.
I'm not easily impressed. Really!
Granted, it doesn't take long for the endless slot machine clanking to shatter your sense of wonder. The flashing lights and people walking some kind of zigzag pattern force you back to into the here-and-now.
My next impressions were more subtle...the practiced sway of the cocktail servers, the croon of the dice croupier, and the flash of a hand sweeping chips away. A certain rhythm flows through the place.
They have my attention.
Later, after my senses acclimate, I see other things, but initially all I see is the glitz. It's the call of action, the thrill of the big win, the promise of easy money.
I give up. I'll stay. I'll never leave.
What can I say? Casinos create a powerful allure.
If that's not enough, I see the money. Some guy tosses down a wad of hundred dollar bills. A huge wad!
The dealers proceed to count it. Neat rows of five bills each. Wait, how much was that? Was it eight rows, or ten? He got two stacks of chips.
So the green ones are $25 and the black $100. That other guy has...let's see...10 black plus 20 green. That's...
What am I doing? I know what money is. I'm a grown man. Why am I staring at this guy's money like it's my first time on the planet?
I don't know. It must be the glitz.
Just when I start calming down, I find the buffet.
The buffet has more prime rib and shrimp than Billy Bob's wedding reception. Hold on. I don't know anyone named Billy Bob. Oh well, you get the idea.
Back to Reality
I know the glitz is for show, and that it's mostly a ruse to loosen up my wallet.
I know the Casino wants my money. It doesn't matter. I'm not going to give them my cash just because the lights are flashing and the rug design is catchy.
Even if it's a show, I like the sense of excitement.
My intent is to focus on poker. Eventually, my study will turn poker into a profitable venture.
While at the Casino, though, I like to give in to the excitement.
Just so I don't feel restrained, I set aside specific funds for slot play and the table games. They're not my serious games, but I dive into the crap table's crowd and place a few bets. It's my contribution so the Casino doesn't go broke.
My game is poker, but I do like the glitz.
In most Casinos, the glitz is only short walk away.
The first stop is the high-end shops.
The Casino's shops carry beaded jackets, Hawaiian shirts, and leather goods like you've never seen. My favorite: polo shirts with a small, tasteful logo of the Casino. Hey, I'm a low-keyed guy, and it fits my budget.
Next comes restaurant row with the dark paneled steak house. The cafes are good resting places, and you should always know the way to the buffet.
On the gaming side, I like to check out the Asian games and baccarat areas. Was that James Bond at the back table? No, I guess not.
Casino towns take the road trip to the next level. In Las Vegas, for example, you've got a volcano, a pyramid, and show tunes on a sinking ship. Throw in white tigers and an Elvis sighting, and it is one heck of a tour.
Atlantic City is different. Its hotels look like hotels, and Elvis doesn't live there. It does, however, have the Atlantic Ocean, a carnival atmosphere, and a sense of history.
As you stroll the boardwalk, pictures depict Atlantic City as it was seventy years ago. People wore hats and appeared happy to be at "the hottest place." You can almost hear the big bands in the background.
And there's Reno definitely a town with a cowboy swagger.
The University of Reno, with an amazing duck pond, is within walking distance from the main strip.
The bonus attraction: Virginia City is right down the road. They maintain the town as it was during the gold rush, including a silver mine and a crude jail. A ride into the mine uses an elaborate pulley system and drops you down a 2 by 3 foot hole, one passenger at a time. Cells in the jail consist of holes dug in the basement and covered with bars. Yikes!
Casino towns are my favorite.
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