The rush of gambling is nothing like people have experienced in their lives. Depending on how much money you have and how you earn it, these feelings vary from person to person. Some cannot wait to turn 21 to head to the bar. For me, it was Atlantic City, New Jersey. Being only an hour and a half away, it was the only logical place to be.
When you work in a bar or have used fake IDs to get into bars before turning 21, there is not much of a thrill when you actually do turn 21. The thrill was potentially getting caught drinking under age. But when you are allowed to do something, it does not seem as exciting as it once was. The potential to win and lose money has always been a thrill to me. It is a created anxiety to see how I could handle being under pressure situations. We tend to avoid what makes us uncomfortable, never testing ourselves to see what we are capable of.
At the time of the trip I took the few hundred dollars I had, which I had previously made from playing online poker, and hit the road with the only available friend. No idea what to expect besides the beautiful casino lights that fill up the night sky. And when you have nothing to expect, be prepared for anything. I didn't even bring a change of clothes with me, that is how unprepared I was for the journey. At least I had my spare tire which turned out to be pretty important.
As we arrived, heavy rains began to come down and not having a clue where I was going, (GPS was not even around at this time) I made a sharp turn and popped a tire on a curb. We quickly changed it and continued to the casino. Fortunately, it was the summer time and our clothes dried off in no time.
The illustrious Borgata, we have arrived! The newest, most expensive hotel in Atlantic City. It was like being a child at Disney. Even though I have never been to Disney but I can image it is something like that. Anyone who has ever placed a bet has heard of Las Vegas. The next on that list is most likely Atlantic City. We did not even have a room. Sleeping was not on our mind. We would either lose our money and go home or make millions of dollars. No in between.
Well 24 hours or so in and we had not done either. Exhausted, starving, completely unaware of what time it was or what day is was. That will happen in the casino as they pump loads of oxygen into the air to keep you awake and playing. Who knows how many drinks were consumed. My friend did the smart thing and took a nap in the car after we had a good meal. I should probably have followed his lead but nope, I was after that million dollars. I should mention it is pretty impossible playing 5$ minimum blackjack, slots and poker to win a million dollars. It was just a joke anyway. It wasn't for the million dollars, it was the rush! The people screaming, the lights, the sounds, all of it. I never wanted to miss a minute of it. It takes a hold of you and never wants you to leave. It becomes your best friend that will never leave you.
After my friends nap and a few more hours of playing without sleep, we have been there for about a total of 36 hours. Each up a few hundred dollars, we made possibly one of the dumbest decisions ever and decided to leave. I assume one of us had to go to work. As we left, once again, there was a heavy rain. No problem, just get some coffee, take your time driving. The only problem was while we were inside, the spare tire became flat. I'll be damned. It was not too far to go to put air in the tire. A few blocks in the rain on 3 tires. No big deal. Take care of that and we were on our way.
And then there is the ride home after not sleeping for 40 hours in the pouring rain. On a donut tire. I wasn't sure if I was still drunk or hungover. It usually does not help when the other person falls asleep either. I cannot count how many times my eyes started to shut on that drive nor can I even say why we attempted such a dangerous feat. Maybe it goes back to testing ourselves and what we are really made of. Just like anything in life, it was a lesson.