Life on autoplay
Next to that is a bulletin board, with an old postcard from the Horseshoe when it was the Horseshoe, a picture of Lance Armstrong and two old comps from the Grand Casino in Biloxi, before it was washed away.
To my left, cards flash by at a dizzying rate of speed -- 880 hands an hour. It's 32Red and I'm burning through the n00b bonus (100 percent to 50), $5,000 wager requirement. I'm doing 2,500 hands at $2 in one shot and it's like an electronic safecracker in the James Bond movies.
I'm about 50 bets ahead.
My entire life should be on gatoplay. For one, I get way more done -- I finished watching the rest of the movie Serenity and saw the entire film Crash on my portable DVD player. I don't get tired or bored like I do when I have to burn a 2,500-hand bonus playing blackjack.
That said, burning a bonus on autoplay isn't the best option. Even though the hands flash by like the computer is challenging itself at hundreds of hands of jan-ken-po -- the original Japanese name for roshambo, or paper, rock, scissors -- I can tell that it isn't conforming to the proper multi-deck blackjack strategy as outlined by the Wizard of Odds. I can tell when the computer on autoplay doesn't double down on 11 against an A. I pause the program and correct the autoplay strategy. But it won't let me correct other discrepancies, such as doubling down with A7 against the dealer's 6 for example.
I do a few hands on manual but realize even with its faults, the autoplay is the way to go. Soon I'm above 50 bets, which means I've basically doubled up. I go back and forth 10 bets -- up $20, then down, then up -- and eventually let the computer go about its business. It's like an Airbus on fly by wire. Let me do the work, it says. Sit back and enjoy the ride. I am a leaf on the wind, as Wash says during the turbulent scenes in Serenity.
But blackjack is blackjack and I've played enough bonuses to know that you can easily go 50 bets up or down. My worst showing ever -- and I've only busted out of blackjack only once online ever -- was down 70 $2 bets on InterCasino. Still, that made me only lose $40 after the bonus. I can't tell you how stupid I think people are when they tell me they're going to go play in a casino for $50/hand with no bankroll at all.
"I went up and down and then I promised my wife I wouldn't take any more money out of the ATM," a friend laments after a trip. I just thank God my life isn't filled with that kind of leak. You can be the high roller. I'm just here to take your money.
Like a plane landing on cue, the autoplay stops. I'm not even done with Crash yet. Those 50 bets are gone and I'm left with $99 -- which means a profit of $49, since I only bought in for $50 and got a matching $50 bonus. Sometimes you get chicken and sometimes you get feathers. I'm happy to have some extra money stay in my account.
Those who the gods wish to destroy, they make live in air conditioning. I play here, sleep here and eat here in this cocoon of cold air. I think of Mark's recent post on addiction and this is probably a lot like being a closet drunk -- in the morning I get up and do the routine all over again, climbing on my Trek bike and making the commute to work, a ride that has the right amount of freedom (the ability to not be stuck in traffic) and risk (you're 12 times more likely to be killed on a bike than in a car) for a gamblo. The weather is hot but I hardly exert myself going to and from air conditioned worlds. I come home, crank up the a/c full bore and turn on the computers again.
And sit and play, flying my own ship. Or lie back and stare at the ceiling, watching my life go by as the computers do all the work.
Happy June. And good hunting.