My two favourite casino movies are 21 and California Split. Both of these movies have taught me important lessons about myself and about casino gambling.
California Split is about two compulsive gamblers who meet while they’re sharing a table at a California poker room in the 1970’s. They train themselves for the big casino win of their lives but, when it happens, one character, the far more serious one, can only say that he didn’t feel any kind of thrill at winning a great deal of money. I’ve seen the movie several times and that moment is still very sad to me but I clearly remember my feelings the first time I heard him say that.
This movie taught me that gambling can never become an obsession. It isn’t that gambling is the only obsession people fall into; far from it. It’s just that gambling is one of the easiest obsessions to fall into.
A person who is not a cigarette smoker will not suddenly become one if he has a cigarette at a party. A non-alcoholic could never “teach” himself to be an alcoholic. Gambling is easy. We are inundated with gambling opportunities. California Split taught me to keep gambling in the proper perspective. In a sense, it’s like shopping. I go to the store to buy a shirt. I go to a store where the shirts go for say $25 not to a store where the cheapest shirts goes for $100.
California Split also taught me that if gambling isn’t fun it isn’t worth doing. At home we have chores. These are activities that we have to do but that we don’t like doing. If gambling is not fun it is simply not worth doing. I love playing blackjack, the subject of the next movie on my list and I keep blackjack in perspective. I also love baseball and I follow every game my favorite team plays but I don’t watch the games because they take too long and I have much more important and better things to do with my precious time.
The great movie 21 is about those boys from MIT who learned how to count cards at blackjack and broke the casino by winning big. This movie taught me that I will never be able to play blackjack, my favorite game, like one of those MIT geniuses. I have to know my limits.
Both movies taught me that playing at an online casino is much better for me than going to a land based casino. When I play blackjack online, I use a strategy card. I make sure I know the rules perfectly. And I never get intimidated by another player at the table.
Online I never have to wait for a table and the natural course of my life keeps my gambling down to just a few minutes whenever I sit down. After all, I have friends to spend time with, dishes to wash, weeds to pick, laundry to do, and a significant other who is far more worthy of my time than the lobby of a casino.