Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Beginner's Luck

My first time in a casino was ironically at Bradford, Leeds with Alvin (Shirley's brother), ah tee, doyo and a few other guys.

Shirley and I woke up late that morning to take Mega Bus to Bradford. I woke up to Shirley shaking me roughly awake saying: we're late. We hurriedly dressed and threw our luggage together then ran out to Finsbury Park Station to catch a tube to Victoria. We were just on time. The doors to the bus had already closed and getting ready to pull out from the station when we ran up out of breath and banging on the doors. Phew.

For those who don't know, these buses are exactly on time. They leave on the minute. If its 9am, they leave exactly 9am, waiting for no one.

Once, on a national express bus, we stopped over for a stop in the middle of the night around 2am for a chance to stretch our legs, go to toilet and buy some food and drinks. Before we got off the bus, the driver announced: be back here in 20 mins. 20 minutes, you hear me. I wait for no one, and its a long walk to London from here, so don't be late everyone. Then he chuckled at himself..wtf.

Photo taken in the bus on the way to Leeds. Yellow stuff are the flowers. Its spring.

Anyway, not long later we arrive at Leeds and met Alvin. Was that the first time I saw him? Shirley and I attended their graduation ceremony at University of Leeds. It was the first time I attended a convocation and I was so envious. Everyone was so happy; friends and family smiling holding cameras and video cameras. Some more he's an engineering student so most of his classmates are guys.

So, we hung out with a lot of guys till the night where we went to a movie, dinner and casino. If I'm not mistaken, we watched Fantastic Four. Then we went to Gala Casino. At Leeds Gala Casino, as long as you are able to show that you have £200 in cash you are allowed and entitled to a free dinner of your choice from their menu. So, of course everyone withdrew £200 from their bank accounts to show it to the waitresses. Voila. Free dinner.

A typical roulette table at a casino.

After dinner, the guys showed me how to play blackjack (21) and roulette. The rules and regulations. I had fun that night and made new friends whom I should have made more of an effort to keep in touch.

The next time I was in a casino was in London with friends. Then Genting Highlands, KL with my parents.

My dad is a roulette player and my mum plays the slot machine. Then I met Willie and his friends and I learnt roulette at Aspers Casino in Newcastle.

For me, I prefer roulette but I don't really gamble. Cos I'm stingy. I'm afraid to lose money I don't have enough in the first place.

With Willie in a casino, normally our understanding is, I leave him alone to gamble while I normally watch the singers, or stay at the bar with a drink, or wander around the tables myself.

This time, Willie asked me to help him place bets for the front half of the tables, while he played the lower half of the table. Due to the large number of people around the table, a person didn't have enough time to place bets around cos people are all jostling you right?

He had already lost £200 by that time and I was very reluctant to let him play more. During that time, I was watching George of the Jungle in Dutch by the bar.

I just followed his instructions to place the chips where he asked me to. 1, 4, 11, 15, 24. He placed bets on the lower half: 30, 33, 36 etc.. By the way, I watched 21 on the plane the other day. I liked the movie. They used mathematics to cheat in a game of blackjack. They count the numbers and memorize. I know there are actually books that teach you to play roulette apparently using mathematics. Does it really work? I don't know..not tempted to try.

My maths has gone very rusty since high school. I scored an A in mathematics but somehow in uni, my financial management sucks. Which reminds me, I was offered a job as a maths tutor yesterday for high school students. I turned it down. I don't trust my maths enough and I bet some students are geniuses and would be better than me even.

Back to the roulette game, I didn't know how much one chip was worth. I know that when you get the number, you get paid 1:36. If you bet £1, you get £36. Am I right? Correct me if I'm wrong.

I just dutifully placed bets for each game with Willie. Nervousness wore off pretty quickly as we won again and again. Yet, I didn't know how much it actually was. When we were given another different colour chip, I didn't pay any attention. Once I looked up to see Willie grinning at me and he said: do you know how much we won?

I don't know man. Idiot.

When I realized, I tried to stop Willie playing. Ok. Last game. Last game. After 4 or 5 last games, we cashed in our chips, gave the guy a tip and left to celebrate our winnings.

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