As someone who likes to gamble a good bit, a recreational Advantage Player as it were, a willingness to accept that I love gambling is a necessary component in a relationship I'm going to have with someone, all the better if she'll actually join me! One of the chief complaints I get among some of my fellow gamblers out there is that they have a lot of difficulty getting a significant other into a casino with them and showing them a good time.
With respect to relationships, I do think that it is essential to have solitary pursuits, but at the same time, when one of the two people in a relationship has a serious passion for something, it is certainly beneficial when the other person can take at least a bit of an interest in it.
For my part, I had almost no interest in TV or Movies, in general, prior to getting together with my girlfriend...but she has gotten me into a couple of movies and shows that I am not going to publicly discuss for fear of ridicule, (cough, Once Upon a Time, cough) but I think a relevant discussion that we can have is how she warmed up to gambling.
With that, we're going to conduct an interview with my girlfriend of twenty months, Alexandra, and we'll hopefully get some insight on how a non-gambler can warm up to being with someone who most assuredly has a passion for almost all things gambling:
Mission146: Alexandra, can you describe your feelings towards gambling prior to us getting together, did you know much about it?
Alexandra: The only thing that I really knew about it was that it can be addictive and that people could have serious problems as a result of gambling. For example, my Mom almost lost her house due to a gambling addiction. I also never saw the point of going into a gambling establishment, losing $50, and having nothing to show for it.
Mission146: So, is it fair to say that your entire experience with gambling prior to us meeting was negative?
Mission146: I want to say that I was pretty upfront early on about the proclivity I have for gambling, I remember parking in a casino parking garage and walking to the restaurant where we went on our first date, for crying out loud! What were your initial thoughts about the fact that I enjoy gambling?
Alexandra: It made me a bit uneasy, at first, but then it occurred to me that everyone has a vice. I also think that virtually every vice borders on addiction, anyway, whether it be marijuana, alcohol, pills or gambling. With that said, I did recognize that some people can keep it under control and still enjoy themselves. So, it worried me, but it wasn't a deal-breaker.
Mission146: It took me awhile to actually get you into a casino when we started dating, though, didn't it?
Alexandra: You got me to go with you eventually, but I did have some worries about how you would react if you lost, or if you would maybe lose a lot of money and lie about it because that is what my Mom did. Winning and losing has different impacts on peoples' personalities. I also didn't want to be second fiddle to the gambling.
Mission146: There's a ton to discuss there! I definitely try to get you involved in whatever I am doing most of the time, do you ever feel like you play second fiddle? If ever, do you feel that way often?
Alexandra: I don't feel that way too often, but there are occasions where you end up getting stuck on a play and I get tired and go to bed. I figure you'll be up after an hour or so, but then you don't hit whatever it is you're trying to hit until later and I don't see you for several hours. Also, I feel more like a buddy than a girlfriend when we go from place to place, sometimes.
Mission146: Trust me, I wish the machines would cooperate sometimes! The worst part about slot plays is that they are mindless activities, so you can drink while you're on them, but if you've ever stayed up and stared at a machine until you were basically sober, that part sucks...
Alexandra: (Laughter) I'd definitely have to agree with that.
Mission146: It's hard to resist a really good play, though, and you have to admit that you like the free food and rooms and accompanying stuff that comes with it. I mean, sometimes you hit the hay by yourself for the first few hours, but those beds are really nice!
Alexandra: (Laughter) Every cloud has a silver lining.
Mission146: Is it really a cloud, though? You seem to genuinely enjoy playing negative expectation Video Keno for small amounts.
Alexandra: It reminds me of Bingo.
Mission146: We've not played Bingo together, and Bingo is gambling, so your memories of gambling before meeting me must not be all that bad.
Alexandra: No, playing Bingo with the old ladies in the synagogue was always fun, especially when one had a heart attack and the other old ladies were screaming at the caller to keep calling the numbers.
Mission146: Did that REALLY happen?
Alexandra: Not like that right away, but when she was somewhat revived and the paramedics got there, the ladies were yelling at the caller to go back to calling the numbers before she'd even been wheeled out. It was also funny listening to the old ladies gripe when someone would bring her husband there.
Mission146: How was your presence taken? They don't tend to like young people, generally.
Alexandra: I used to go with my Mom and my Grandmother, so I flew under the radar. Also, I think it helped that I never got any Bingos that weren't shared, maybe they'd have been more pissed if I was the sole winner at some point.
Mission146: Bingo is undoubtedly gambling, though, and you did it with your Mom. So, how does that mesh with your earlier apprehension to gambling?
Alexandra: Even though you buy the cards and you either don't hit any Bingos and walk out $30 lighter, or you do hit something and win some money, I never really thought of it as gambling because it is more of an experience.
Mission146: Does it occur to you now that a casino visit can be an experience?
Alexandra: Yes, definitely!
Mission146: It can suck when I end up on some boring open-ended slot play that takes forever, though, so how do you deal with it when that happens?
Alexandra: It's actually pretty fun when we, "Tag Team," it. (We call it, "Tag Teaming," and how it works is we'll switch seats back and forth every time one person or the other goes up or down an arbitrary amount of money, or maybe after x consecutive losing spins) When we Tag Team it I feel involved, even if it is only your money in there and we're at least talking about what is happening or cheering for or against each other. Sometimes we talk about other things, too. It's more of an experience.
Mission146: Will you please share your opinion of just the hotel rooms at Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack, because I always feel like nobody believes me.
Alexandra: They're pretty amazing rooms, high beds, super-comfortable mattresses, always clean, big pillows, down comforter. The rooms are a good size, two people can be in the bathroom at once easily, the windows are big enough to allow natural light. The HVAC units all work well. I just wish they'd actually have HD channels with the HDTV's, because the picture quality sucks.
Mission146: They don't have many channels, either.
Mission146: I think that's intentional.
Alexandra: I think there are different screens they want the players to be watching, instead.
Mission146: You seem the most bored when I'm playing Video Poker.
Alexandra: I was really bored with it, at first. I also like it when you play at a casual pace because you can have a conversation and play correctly because you are taking your time, but still talk. The only time I get bored is when you are on a mission, and I'm not even sure what the mission is other than to play really, really fast.
Mission146: I'm trying to earn points to keep our offers consistent, the faster I play, the faster we can move on to other stuff. It seems like we kind of eased into the whole casino thing, but then, little by little, you actually started to enjoy it, do you think that would have happened had you dove into it head first?
Alexandra: It would have been overwhelming to have jumped into it, so I wouldn't have tried to understand what you were doing, which is really something I try do to now.
Mission146: While I play negative expectation games sometimes, do you think casinos are beatable by a knowledgeable player?
Alexandra: I've learned a lot watching you, I'd say yes, as long as you don't do TOO much negative expectation gambling.
Mission146: Unfortunately, we can't go into much detail about it, however, you had the chance to observe me working with some guys on a play where a TON of money was being made, unfortunately not really being made by me, but what did you take away from that experience?
Alexandra: I learned that serious money can be made gambling, as long as you know the right way to play something.
Mission146: Having the money to commit to something like that helps, too! Do you think that if we were to stop seeing each other that you would go to casinos at all?
Alexandra: I actually think I would to see if I could do any of the things that I've seen you do, but I'd probably have to go with people. I couldn't go there alone like you do.
Mission146: I also don't think you'd much like watching thousands of slot machine spins when you're not actually playing it, fortunately, machines are so complicated these days that I almost never have the opportunity to do that...or maybe it is unfortunate, I don't really know. I probably didn't earn much per hour from doing it.
Alexandra: (Laughter) I don't have the attention span for that.
Mission146: So, what advice would you give to the guys out there who want to get their significant others to give casino gambling a fair shake?
Alexandra: You'd have to do it gradually, for one thing, and you actually have to find a way to involve the girl. What made it easy for me is that the first couple times we just went in there to eat and you just briefly said this machine could be good and here's why...but we didn't really play anything...by the time we started actually staying awhile, I was genuinely interested in what you were doing. I think it's also important to be willing to leave the first few times when the girl you're with wants to leave...when I understand that you have a good play and can't leave until something hits, that's fine, but that wouldn't have went well if you had done that on one of our first visits.
Mission146: So, introduce gambling gradually, and make sure you're paying equal attention to the person you're with, basically?
Alexandra: Yeah, you have to involve the person, or they're not going to enjoy it.
Mission146: And, while they do suck, those hours-long plays do happen sometimes, but that's something you can tolerate now?
Alexandra: A little sucking up goes a long way. Just make sure you make it up to her later.
That concludes my interview with my girlfriend, so my suggestion to the guys out there who have difficulties getting their significant others interested in casino gambling is just to make sure you are including her in the process. You're a player, so help her to become a player, too, rather than a spectator!