Addiction like…!

A man walks into the casino for the first time, smiling, even as he looks a little unsure; he asks about different games, takes out a couple hundred dollars and starts to tentatively play a game, he is relaxed, asks for a drink, he is having fun. Even when he loses, he takes it in stride.

He comes back two days later, a little more sure footed, he has a favourite game now, he goes straight to that table, throws his money with money confidence, handles his chips more like someone who knows where he is, and exactly what he is doing… maybe he’s meaner now, maybe he insults the dealer with every hand he loses, or maybe he’s just a nice guy who now knows and is friendly with all the dealers, he doesn’t get mad when he loses, he still just takes it in stride, he’s here to have fun afterall.

Maybe at the beginning, he only comes a few days in a month, he’s not a regular gambler, not yet… but then, his visits start to get more frequent, his bets start to get bigger, he wins a few times and get reckless… his life becomes like an exhilarating rollercoaster ride, he doesn’t go home, he stays in the casino day and night, living off of coffee and cigarettes and no sleep but he just can’t tear himself away.
He blends into the casino life, he becomes a fixture, someone you always expect to be there… and then inevitably, he crashes, the money all goes away, maybe he loses his job, maybe he’s used his house and businesses as collateral to get loans, maybe he owes a huge debt to the casino.

Then one day, you get to work and see this highroller begging some other player for a 25Euro chip, so, he can make a bet. Now, he doesn’t go home, not because he’s chasing the high but probably because he’s trying to escape the low.

There is one player here who fits this description perfectly; I really used to like and respect him but in the past couple weeks, he become a shadow of himself and it happened to quickly, it’s extremely startling. Yesterday, I saw him sitting here, looking like he was homeless, he obviously hadn’t been out of the casino in days…now, I just feel sorry for him.

To truly understand what addiction is, one simply has to visit a casino, and see first hand how it happens gradually, addiction is like a spirit that drags people in slowly and teasingly and never lets go, even after they’ve lost everything, it just keeps dragging and dragging and these people get to a point where they’ll do anything to get a small fix.
I once had a woman crying while giving me money to change into chips, she had lost so much money that day and still couldn’t stop. One of the most ironic/funniest situations I’ve ever seen was a psychology student who started coming here because he was writing a paper on the processes and effects of addiction and after the first week, he became his paper.

In my opinion, seeing the effects of gambling addiction on players is one of the saddest aspects of the job.

Casino Chronicles

 


©Adeola Matemilola 2016
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Adeola Matemilola and aeyshadeedee.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Beginning

The first time I stepped into a casino, it didn’t feel strange, it didn’t feel normal; it felt like an alternate universe but one in which I felt sort of okay, if not comfortable.

It was 9pm on a Wednesday night, just one hour earlier, I had arrived at the casino lodgement  with my sister and heart beating wildly, I had begun getting ready for my first day working as a croupier.

When I arrived at the casino, I was shown into the staff-room and all eyes turned to me, I felt like an anomaly, the way they quickly tapped each other, whispering and pointing and not one person said hi, and looking back, I probably was; they had never seen me before, I was wearing a croupier uniform and I was black, talk about shock!

Anyway, suddenly, they all stood up and started to move towards a door and here I was confused, do I follow them? Do I wait for a welcome party? What to do? In that split second, I felt a tap on my shoulder and a pretty girl with a small smile on her face told me to put my bag in her locker and come along.

She would be my first friend in European casino, Zeynep.

Out on the casino floor, I was assigned to a roulette table to stack chips, I had never done this before, I didn’t know what I had to do, and I wasn’t told, I was simply told to go and do it. Luckily for me, it was a dead table (no players) and the Georgian girl assigned to deal at that table immediately turned to me and smiled, asked my name and told me hers, and told me not to worry about a thing, she was going to help me as much as she can and she assured me that I would be an experienced croupier in no time, she talk about when she trained and gave solid advice on how to make the most of the experience. She talked about how being a croupier can be an exciting, how it can be frustrating and tiring.

Enter Maia! She kept every promise.

It’s been 4 years and I am very far away from that quiet, confused girl who walked into the casino that Wednesday night.

It wasn’t all roses and cream; many many things happened that made me feel like quitting so many times, I gave myself so many pep talks those first 9 months, I can’t even count.

But then the next February came and I moved to a different branch of the casino in a different town, got an apartment with my sisters,enrolled for my MSc in International Relations.

My first day at this new casino, I walked in like a boss! I knew how to deal all of the games we offer, I spoke a little Turkish, I walked into that staff-room not expecting anyone to say hi and I didn’t care.

Here in this casino, I have grown, blossomed… I also got a little crazy, there was no way to help that.

This is Casino Chronicles.

 

©Adeola Matemilola 2016

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Adeola Matemilola and aeyshadeedee.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.