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Making the Case for Staying Home
A few months ago I made a 5 hour trek to a state-operated casino only because where I live there are no casinos and this was the closest of the available choices. Let me first say that 5 hours one way is a long time to drive if you are planning on returning home the same day, even if the weather is great, as was the case with this trip. Going there is fun. The trip back – win or lose – is taxing in a different way.
I will leave the name of the venue out of this only because many people from other states may have visited the same casino and have had a much different experience. A casino that one player by swear by will have another swearing at, but that is a different kind of adventure. So on with the review.
The approach will be to compare the gambling environment at a casino versus playing from home on your computer. If you are going to drive an hour or 5 hours for that matter, what you get when you arrive it should be something that makes the trip worthwhile. Anything else can qualify as an epic failure because at have everything I need, not want, at home.
After a 5 hour drive, the first thing many people want to do is find a place to have a drink or find a restroom. Or both, depending on the sense of urgency. This place was clean, and the restrooms met expectations. A good start. I planned on going in the afternoon during a weekday to avoid weekend mobs who rush in to play with paycheck in hand. I was right about that, as there were games available everywhere. Score another point for a good start.
You can get this all at home, and you are much more likely to be the most comfortable in your own bathroom. Unless you are a hermit, taking a drive to a local casino gets you out among the people. So from that perspective, staying at home and playing is a wash.
The playing environment includes other people playing by default – unless the place is a real dive. I didn’t notice until after I stopped playing the number of long faces in the casino. People who are regular players usually have fun when they lose – and show it. This casino was close to a morgue. Maybe it was because there were no jackpots going off (I didn’t hear any of the “happy talk” that comes with winning big. The slots may have been tight, but that does not explain the general mood in this casino.
Who needs it?
Playing at home allows you to create your own festive atmosphere and not be swallowed up by the faces that could sink 1,000 ships. This was a modern casino, with all the high tech slots and Vergas style bright lights. When playing at home you can set your own mood – even play in the dark if you want. Like the bathroom, the refrigerator is close by or you can order out.
It’s a Maze
Rarely do I go to the tables, so there may be a bit of bias in this review. But the tables may have been lonelier than the slots. Since this was the first (and only) time I went to this casino, it takes a good amount of leg work to discover where everything is. Every casino is designed to be a maze, so this is not a knock on this particular casino. But it is a knock on land based casinos in general when compared to online casinos.
This casino had some of the most modern video slots. Unfortunately the payoffs were not to be found during my stay there which lasted about 5 hours. There was an absence of familiar classical slots such as the Red, White and Blue 7’s which may have been a clue to the casino as a whole.
Online slots have the best variety because you can go to 50 casinos to find the slots you want to play. What one web site does not have, another will. It combines the best of both worlds – playing on your favorite classics and still being able to try out new ones. And you don’t have to spend 15 hours to discover that you’re stuck with your first choice.
One thing that has changed about land based casinos that used to be a complaint of mine online. When you played on a land based slot machine you would be playing on one machine alone. If that one wasn’t hitting you could get up and move to another. Real online slots can have 1000 people playing from a single server, so you are playing against 1000 players for the same jackpot. I was always uncomfortable with that, and was one reason I spent the vast majority of my time at land based casinos.
Then I learned that apparently land based casinos took a lesson from online and started to integrate their slots into networks. Instead of playing against a single machine, you are connected to a network that constantly is monitoring all payouts. This is in part necessary to meet state requirements for payout percentages, but it also allows the casino to monitor specific machines and regulate payouts. That reduces the chances of getting on a hot machine (at least not like it used to be).
True, every casino has its good points and faults, even online casinos. But for me, when I’m ready to drop down some money and have some fun, it is the big things that count. Home has the right environment, familiar facilities, and tens of thousands of real money games to choose from. Maybe you will want to visit a land based casino for a change of pace, or a bite to eat, but my last adventure has me believing home and mobile gambling is the only way to go!
Have you had similar experiences? You are not alone.