I have a neighbor who is a noted physicist, at least other physicists note him. He is a man who scorns casinos and is totally disdainful of casino players and slot players in particular. I am sure most of my readers know someone just like him.
The other day I asked him why he was so “perturbed” (his word) about slot players. What was it that got him so annoyed?
“What is the point?” he said perturbed and annoyed. “I really mean it; what is the point of playing machines that you must ultimately lose on? That makes no sense to me.”
Certainly he was getting even more perturbed and annoyed. Not being one to hold things in, he continued to go nuclear. “I just don’t see the point of it. You have to be really stupid to do a thing like that. It convinces me that the American public is composed of idiots.”
The physicist got me to thinking about the reason casino players, and slot players in particular since they face such high house edges, would play games they know they cannot beat. What is the point? Why step into a casino at all? Isn’t that tantamount to monetary suicide?
Could it be the advertising for slot play? I doubt that very much.
Despite the attempts to make slot playing look glamorous in the current television ads for racinos and casinos, it just doesn’t have the oomph of a James Bond analyzing the roulette wheel or walking into the baccarat room wearing his perfectly fitted tuxedo. There is no glamour in slot playing. I think most slot players would agree with that statement.
Come on, you just put in your credit slip and hit some button. Where’s the “Bond, James Bond” moment in such an activity?
It must be something deeper; more meaningful than glamour.
I was now perturbed. I was now annoyed. I thought long and hard about it and then like a physicist discovering a new way to blow up a city, the bright light went on above my head: “Eureka!” I had it!
I think the really fun part of casino gambling is not the actual results when finished with one’s sessions or trip. It isn’t reflective or even current. I think the big factor is anticipation, an adrenaline-soaked prelude to an imminent decision. I think anticipation is the driving force for slot players and probably most casino players as well. Their anticipation of playing those machines is built on heart thumping wishes and dreams – whether those dreams ever come true is irrelevant; the future could contain some money, perhaps a lot of money, perhaps riches, and perhaps life-changing riches.
The anticipation even from spin to spin is the real joy of play. Yes, it is fun to win a decision, but the heart thumps loudly as the player waits in anticipation of the decision and truly the heart thumps far more before a slot player ever steps inside a casino. At home, before a trip, the dreams flood the slot player’s mind and the heart thumping becomes as real as the heart!
And I have experienced those heart-thumping moments. For example, I find that when I buy a lottery ticket for those monster jackpots of 200 million or more, I dream of what I would do with all that money. Recently the Powerball Jackpot soared to almost half a billion dollars and when I held that ticket in my hand I could feel that surge of anticipation. Thump! Thump! Thump! Would I win? Thump! And if I did? Thump! The dreams twirled in my mind and it was really exciting.
I didn’t care that the chances of my winning were outrageously large against me. I didn’t care that I was bucking millions upon millions of odds to come out with the winning ticket. I also knew that when those lotteries are less than 200 million with the government taking its taxes and the state only paying a portion of the win on a yearly basis, the bet is not one of the good ones. But it is one of the bets that dreams are made of, I can’t deny that.
The excitement is palpable. I even talked to my wife, the beautiful AP, about what I dreamed of doing with such a windfall of money. I would set up my kids and grandkids for life. I would help my other relatives. I would maybe even buy my own casino! I’d buy my wife her own public library – if you are allowed to do such a thing – since she loves libraries.
Perhaps my physicist friend feels something like that when he works on his projects. Maybe he is trying to find the Higgs Boson and feels that sense of anticipation as he comes closer and closer. And that is why slot players flock to those machines. The slot machine is the Higgs Boson of the entertainment world; the anticipatory entertainment world to be precise.
So what is the point of slot play? I think we now know.
Frank Scoblete's newest books are "Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines!" featuring advantage-play slots and "Casino Conquest: How to Beat the Casinos at Their Own Games!" Frank's books are available on Amazon.com and by calling 1-800-944-0406.
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