Recently, I took a trip out to Las Vegas with my folks and my fiancée, just the same as we do every year. It’s kind of a birthday present to me as I tell everyone to forgo any kind of gift each year in favor of money for me to blow at the tables or on some secluded video poker machine that’s strategically placed near where the wait staff comes and goes to get drinks. We tool around the town, we eat all kinds of amazing food and by the time our trek is over our legs have to be carried home in a wheelbarrow, which one can imagine isn’t terribly easy…
Our quest is not purely one of wealth seeking, though, as we all go out there expecting to thoroughly lose our asses. Inevitably, though, someone always comes out a wee bit better than everyone else each year. Last year was my turn ($800 on a nickel poker machine); this year was all my father.
See, while video poker is our gambling game of choice we usually we intersperse our playing with some real-life interaction at the three card poker tables. Personally, I find them to be the best places to find unique people to chat with and since the game itself is pretty simple to play, it allows me to people watch.
This year, we didn’t sit at one.
I shouldn’t say that, actually. This blog entry is actually kind of about the three-card table we DID sit at. The only three card table at the Golden Nugget without a dealer.
Now, I love Freemont Street, but aside from the gigantic television screen awning, I never expect to see anything of high technology down in the old part of town. That all changed this trip when we saw a model, bathing suit and all, staring blankly out into the ether from behind the gloss of a flat-screen television set. Around her were seats bordering another TV screen that lay flat on top of a table marked with all the familiar bet zones.
What we were looking at was an unmanned, virtual three card poker machine.
I understand that they’ve been around for awhile now, but I still almost teared up. Yes, there’s no substitute for human interaction, and to be honest, I enjoy ribbing a human dealer for not giving me the cards I want, but to see something that looked like it was straight out of Bladerunner installed on a casino floor gave me hope that maybe someday I’ll actually see my first flying car or android walking down the street.
Okay, maybe not that much, but it’s a start!
Naturally, I had to play it, so my father, fiancée and I all popped in $20. The virtual bimbo behind the screen perked up, looked towards a seat where no one was sitting and started to deal out the cards. I looked up and could have sworn I saw her wink at my father, but as it turns out it was just the video skipping every time a new action occurred.
In other words, some bugs still needed to be ironed out. Still, we were playing, and having a good time. That is, until I realized my fiancée had been having a panic attack because she had no idea what a “three card poker” was. I guess I was just so blinded with technological excitement that I didn’t hear her say “Baby? Andy, honey? I just lost another $20… What do I do now? I think the computer dealer person just flashed a pistol at me…”
So, being the awesome future husband I am, I decided to stay out a couple hands to give her a lesson on how to properly lose money. She’s pretty sharp, so it didn’t take long, but it brought to mind that maybe my technologically unsavvy father could probably use a refresher too.
Shows me how much I know…
I looked down at his total winnings, blinked a couple of times and figured that over here, no lesson was needed. Off of a $20 bet my father was bordering on almost a grand in hand. He was spanking high technology! Maybe it was beginners luck; maybe it was just his year, but it did well to encourage me that when it comes to electronics, my dad’s okay. I’m rather proud of him, actually. There were no “What button do I push?” lessons, no “I just don’t get the controls” gripes or anything! Just “I’m gonna win. You gotta problem with that?”
So to any of our younger readers with a tech green mother or father I say: Help them experiment! Just because they can’t use a laptop doesn’t mean that they won’t kick butt on a Nintendo Wii or virtual three card poker machine! You never know, they just might be your lucky charm in sin city!
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