Casino: Follow the money

By  and 
From the October 11, 2012 edition

The only thing Jackie Mantey has ever bet on is whether Pete Rose would get into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Jesse Tigges is a grizzled gambling misanthrope (OK, well, he’s at least not a newbie). Each took $25 to Hollywood Casino and recorded where they lost, where they gained and where they found Michael Jackson wearing a golden codpiece.

Jackie

Game: Hot Shot Progressive slot machine

Time: 7:38 p.m.

Put in: $5

Time: 7:49 p.m.

Left the game with: $0

Thoughts: Wow, gambling sucks. This experiment isn’t going to last very long.

Game: Blackjack Table

Time: 8 p.m.

Put in: $20

Time: 8:25

Left the game with: $72.50

Thoughts: Wow, gambling rocks. I still don’t really understand how to play Blackjack, but sitting by an older gentleman (or lady, if that’s the case) who wants to impress with his knowledge of the game and enlisting his help is an efficient strategy for winning chips. Speaking of those chips, put ’em in your pocket after you leave the table. Jesse relayed this tip as I was walking with my handful of winnings and gawking at them as if they were shiny doubloons.

Game: Lago di Amore slot machine

Time: 8:36 p.m.

Put in: $10

Time: 8:40 p.m.

Left the game with: 12 cents

Thoughts: All the icons in the spinny thing are items you would buy your trophy wife —champagne, roses, bada-bling jewelry. I wish I could win $1 for every stereotype I saw here.

Game: Michael Jackson King of Pop slot machine

Time: 8:46 p.m.

Put in: $10

Time: 9 p.m.

Left the game with: 35 cents

Thoughts: Does loyalty count for nothing, Michael?! I guarantee I’ve listened to more of your songs in one year than Jesse has his whole life. Who shrieked when we stumbled upon the gratuitous orgy of slots dedicated to your legacy? ME, Michael! Not Jesse. I want my money and self-respect back.

Jackie’s total gain (minus the initial $25):

$27.97

Jesse

Game: Hot Shot Progressive slot machine

Time: 7:38 p.m.

Put in: $10

Time: 7:49 p.m.

Left the game with: $0

Thoughts: Even on penny slots, I lost $10 in about 10 minutes. That’s not good.

Game: Blackjack Table

Time: 8 p.m.

Put in: $20

Time: 8:25

Left the game with: $67.50 (minus $5 tip to dealer)

Thoughts: Blackjack has always been the game I have the most success with. Hit a couple of Blackjacks — which led to tipping the dealer — and made the right call to stay with lower hands and hope the dealer busts. The gentleman who was playing with me and Jackie was very friendly and helpful. I told Jackie it was time to leave when we were up, and they switched dealers on us. This was Jackie’s first introduction to a “cooler.”

Game: China Shores slot machine

Time: 8:36 p.m.

Put in: $10

Time: 8:40 p.m.

Left the game with: 20 cents

Thoughts: I don’t know what I dislike more about this game — the fact that it ate my money in mere minutes, or that it was borderline racist with its Asian stereotypes. Did you really need to put a panda and a yin-yang on the machine?!

Game: Michael Jackson King of Pop slot machine

Time: 8:46 p.m.

Put in: $10

Time: 9 p.m.

Left the game with: $22.40

Thoughts: Hitting the bonus means you’re treated to a classic M.J. video — here it was “Smooth Criminal”— while you watch your winnings pile up. The icing on the whole win is a giant gold Michael Jackson statue—complete with codpiece—that pops up at the end. Shamone, indeed.

Jesse’s total gain (minus the initial $25): $69.90