A Night In The Casino

Do you know that feeling you get on certain days of simply having to go out? Last Saturday was one of those days. From my experience, those are always the days in which some deity has it in for me. It becomes extremely difficult to find something to do – friends have other plans or just want to stay in. Normally a tinder date can always save the day. Emphasis on normally. On Saturday the dating pool was full of the following:

  1. The horndog: The sexually excited and extremely horny guy. Don’t get me wrong, generally speaking I’m a sexual person myself, however before meeting someone in person it just gets very tiresome. Decency people, decency.
  2. The couchpotato: He just can’t be bothered to have a proper date. You going out of your way and driving straight to his home? Not going out on dates? You’ve come to the right place!
  3. The ghost: This one is especially frustrating, since you make plans, get ready and when you check in to see if you’re still meeting he ghosts. Why plan a date if you don’t want to go?

So, I wound up cancelling plans with 7+ guys on Tinder and after a certain time (usually around 10ish) it gets harder and harder to find someone decent who doesn’t fall into the first category mentioned above. Fortunately, a friend of mine saved the day by inviting me to Liverpool Street, where I soon found myself. One Jaegerbomb and Guinness later we walked to a rooftop bar called Sushi Samba. Let me tell you this – I love rooftop bars. Aside from the overpriced drinks there’s so much to enjoy. The people, the view, the ride up and down the glass elevator – oh, and they don’t close at 11pm or midnight (usually), Sushi Samba stayed open until around 3am.

But sometimes even 3 am is too soon to go home and that’s where casinos come in play. Because casinos, unlike the majority of bars and pubs in London, are open all night. Another alternative would be strip clubs, but my friends weren’t as enthusiastic about that idea as I was. So, casino it was. Ever heard of the Hippodrome Casino? It’s London’s biggest casino with multiple floors, bars, games and tables. Once you enter the doors it’s like entering another world. It’s the staffs job to make you feel welcome and happy. Not necessarily out of hospitality – the intention is to make you stay as long as possible and come back. The drinks are relatively cheap compared to bars (especially the rooftop bar, one cocktail and a gin tonic for £27! We paid around the same for three double gin tonics in the casino). And did I mention that they had hair straightener in the ladies’ bathroom?

Now, in a casino you have to ask yourself – to gamble or not to gamble? While you can certainly have fun in a casino without betting your money, you will miss out on an experience. To be honest, I was having second thoughts at the cash machine when a man told me how much money he lost after taking out a few hundred quid from the machine. Counterproductive or desperate? Maybe both with a little component of hope. There is a way to avoid the same fate, casino nights don’t have to end that way. It’s a good idea to have a set amount of money you’re willing to play with, say £20-50. You accept beforehand that you have a high chance of losing it, especially if you’re an inexperienced player. Avoid the slot machines, aka money-eaters and choose a game that seems fun and that you know the rules of. Roulette, blackjack or my favorite: poker. Here’s where it gets tricky. If you actually do win money, should you keep playing or stop right then and there?

Stopping immediately gives you the rush of winning and being successful. You leave the casino with more money than you had before, which is a huge plus. However, say for instance you win in the first round – you wouldn’t really have the joy of playing.

Continuing to play gives you the chance to multiply what you have and leave with significantly more money. Not to mention the joy of playing with others for a longer time. But, and this is one big but(t), you can also lose everything and walk out with absolutely nothing. This is more annoying than just losing your bet straightaway, since at a point in time you actually had more, however not knowing when to stop lost you all. You’ll beat yourself up a little bit for sure.

Now, back to the fun part – playing. My friend’s choice of game was roulette, while I made my way to the third floor to enter the poker-zone. Being the only young woman (and woman in general, for that matter) felt a bit awkward at first, but it being poker and everyone being focused on their game made me the only one who cared about this. That is, until I was led to my table. The new player is always immediately sized up. Are you a threat or an easy target? Do you make an experienced or inexperienced impression? A trick I admittedly sometimes use when playing is giving the impression of an inexperienced girl who just wants to have fun. Oh, and poker-face? What’s that again? If done right, it gives you the advantage of being underestimated. If done wrong, the players will look right through your facade and the advantage goes to them. A good balance is required when doing this act – overdoing it will guarantee failure on your behalf. (But hey, the acting lessons pay off!) The disadvantage of this technique is that the longer you play, the more likely your little game will be noticed, especially by experienced players. Plus, you can’t be a regular at the casino and keep pretending to be new to poker. Despite that, pulling off this act every now and again can be a lot of fun – especially if you win.

After a few rounds of poker and starting with £50, I made more than double that. My mistake? I kept playing and in the end I had only a little more than I started with. But hey – I still walked out of the casino without losses! So, overall it was a very exciting evening with lots of vicventures. Get it? Because my name is Vicky and I had an adventure, so a mix between those two words? Also the name of my blog? No? Okay. Don’t judge.

I left the casino at 6 am and somehow ended up in Chinatown, before finally finding my way to the bus station. What followed was a forty minute journey back home, filled with up-beat music to stay awake. Getting home when the sun is rising is an odd sensation. The birds are chirping, you see people who have just woken up and are ready for the day… All of that while you’re on your way to do the opposite of what they’re is doing. Sleeping.

Vicky x

(Photo credit: James Bond: Casino Royale)

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