My mum won’t be happy, but I’ve started to gamble online again. There is very little excitement in the countryside and I don’t get out much, so I get my kicks in the glamour of an imaginary casino, which you can pretend is patronised by glamorous people in evening wear, rather than a load of idiots sitting at home in their pants.
I always fancied the life of the professional gambler. About 14 years ago I flirted with the idea of playing poker a bit more seriously, but I don’t really have the patience and eventually realised that I was wasting time trying to gamble my way to a living, when I had loads of actual writing work that would definitely pay. Also I was trying to fill a void of emptiness inside me and often more or less deliberately lost as a way to hurt myself without inflicting any physical damage.
But now I have lightly returned to the online gambling establishments, only to fill the void inside me of being old and not being arsed to go out. And to see if I actually can keep my head above water.
And I have been quite successful at sticking within my limits and banking money when I get ahead. I bought some clothes with my winnings a couple of months ago and since then have been bobbling around the break even mark. As it comes out of my paypal account I know if I am losing as I have to put more money into it. And as most casino games are 50/50 ish and I am quite good at poker, I have only dipped into my bank account three times and then immediately won the money back.
But as I decided to play today I thought it had been a long time since I’d had a bonanza day. I either lose the £50 I play with or bank between £100 and £200, but sometimes you get a day when everything goes your way (most remarkably in a casino in Melbourne where I played all night long and won thousands of dollars - but there were plenty of times when I lost in those days too).
I like to play roulette first, in the hope of having a bit of luck and building up a kitty and paying off my initial investment. I play 17, 35 and whichever number came up last (plus a few of the smaller odd bets if I feel like it). I only put a pound on a number, but if it wins, I back it again with a £2 bet and then if it wins again a £4 bet and so on (though I don’t think I’ve won more than 3 times in a row). If your numbers don’t come up you quickly lose your money and have to steer away when you’ve lost what you can afford to. But today, I was straight into it. 18 had come up last, so I played it and it came up again. And again. I was also playing the corners between 17 and 18 so I’d immediately bumped my winnings into £300+. It feels magical when stuff like this happens and you have to remember that it’s just maths. But the maths went my way and 35 came up twice in a row, followed by 17. In my session I had 3 occasions in which I hit a single number with a £4 bet.
My run went cold so I decided to play a bit of blackjack and with this big balance behind me I was able to take some risks and pushed my winnings up towards £800. Could I make £1000?
On blackjack I like to make a smallish bet and then let the winnings ride for three deals and see if I can win a decent amount. With splits and doubles and blackjacks you can occasionally make a big amount, but I lost about £100 (though sort of only £10) after a run of three deals, with an attractive double on the third that unluckily didn’t come off.
The casino relies on you losing your head and chasing your winnings or your losses. But I mainly kept calm, banked £600 and then played recklessly with my remaining £100 in the hope that another run of luck might make me more.
It didn’t. But still not a bad day’s work. And I had managed to do quite a bit of writing too.
If you’ve been here a very long time, then we have been here before. And I don’t recommend that you join this circus, unless you are prepared to lose some money. Overall in my life I am down on gambling (but also down on drinking, going to the theatre or cinema - if you see it as money spent on entertainment then it’s not such a disaster), but as disappointing as it is when things don’t go your way. An hour of stupid luck is such fun. And I bought a steam cleaner with some of my winnings.Which shows that maybe I am not going to become a professional gambler. But it gives me a flash of excitement amidst the drab life of the house husband. A drab life that I adore. Hence the steam cleaner.
My wife was out all night, podcasting with her friends (that's what she tells me and I have no reason to disbelieve it - it's certainly the excuse I use when I am having affairs) and I watched some stuff on Netflix. Including Adam Sandler's stand up special. It was very disappointing. I had hoped to have a terrible time and be able to mock it for being awful. But it was actually pretty funny. He's a great talent. Which makes most of his film choices all the more confusing.
He even managed to get Rob Schneider in this. And Rob Schneider was funny too. What has happened to me?