A few weeks ago, I ventured out of the Manhattan bubble to the Jersey shore like most New Yorkers do come summertime. While many of them head towards the Hamptons and other such quaint, pastel towns along the east coast, my trip was a little more colorful.
I booked a bus ticket with Academy buses to take me to Atlantic City, the first place that comes to my mind when I think Jersey shore. I chose Academy solely because I got a $20 voucher at my arrival casino to gamble away! Booking the ticket is simple and done the day of your travel and the bus leaves out of Port Authority Gate 1.
I skipped out early from work. I think my boss felt bad for me because the weekend before, I spent curled up in my bed, high on narcotics from having my wisdom teeth ripped from my gums (graphic i know). With all of my bags slung over my shoulder, I headed to the bus station, passing four Rastafarian’s, two urinating dogs, and a one-legged pigeon fighting with a homeless man for a half-munched burger still wrapped in foil.
The Port Authority (PA) Terminal is impressive and as I rushed through the doors, I tried to figure out where I needed to go without looking like I didn’t know. Usually I take my trips from Penn Station, so PA is/was foreign territory.
The line for Academy buses had already started to form when I swung up. I realized I didn’t have my voucher so I had to trek up to the window to convince the ticket woman that I was really KT. This would have been an easy process had I had my ID. But like the voucher, I had rushed off without it (stupid yes). So, I cried. Big, heaping sobs. And the manager came over and all I could manage was “I have three credit cards with the same name on them…” and “it’s been one of those weeks.” She took sympathy on me and had the ticket woman print them, and told me not to lose them.
I went back down to stand with the interesting mix of people already in line. 95% of this group were over the age of 65. One had an oxygen tank. I waited for her to whip out her pack of cigarettes and start huffing in between tank inhalations. Several had large suitcases of the faux-Coach (Foach) variety. A woman with her son wore a leather lace-up corset that didn’t quite meet in the back. Comb-over’s, vacuum-sealed jeans, puckered lips, and falafels all waited to board the bus for AC and each had their own opinion about how to win.
Most of the 65er’s relied on their experience, showing each other their various rewards cards for the casinos. They advised on which had the best comps, which had great penny slots, where you could smoke and still have luck with the machines…They provided a plethora of information and were a wealth of knowledge for a novice gambler like me.
The bus ride took two 1/2 hours and when we pulled in to Caesar’s, amidst some whoops and hollers, I waited in line to collect my $20 voucher, the whole reason I chose Academy buses.
Two hours later, comfortably seated in front of the Triple Diamond Penny Slot Machine, I inserted $5 of my $20 and began to slowly play. You see, I’m a bit of a joke in my family for never winning. In fact, I am able to lose money (that usually I don’t even have) with record speed, and am then forced to sit beside either Mom or Dad and watch them until they give up (which is typically surprisingly late for parent standards) or give me 5 more bucks to squander away.
As I played, I got a bit gutsy with my betting at one point risking 60 cents, and losing, then 80 cents and losing, then 40 and winning 5 back. This went on until I was down to $1.40, at which point I decided to risk the max bet with what I had, but still have a bit left over if I didn’t win. So I bet 9 lines at 10 cents a line. The slots spun and flipped to 3 triple diamonds and a BAR in a row. I WON!
The sound of mechanically automated change clanking rang out as the numbers clicked up and up and up. For 20 minutes, I basked in my win and tried to figure out what exactly 3 triple diamonds and a BAR meant with my bet:
I was a little worried that I might have to show ID because of my big win (which clearly I didn’t have) so I called Mom over and said she might have to cash my ticket for me, but apparently it’s only for the wins totaling thousands and above that gain the attention of the casino staff. Now, as I am sitting there watching my $1.40 climb…here’s where I start thinking, well KT, had you played the MAX bet…you would have won somewhere in the ballpark of $25,000.00. But I can’t focus on that…because it makes me hyperventilate a bit.
I immediately knew that this was my win…so I did what an sensible person would do.
I tried to repeat it with little success.
Luckily, I’m not crazy, and only bet down to an even $200, then called it quits and cashed out.