How I Prove That I Am Not My Father, BlackJack 

Sly and I have made it a tradition to spend Christmas break in Las Vegas since we first started going together. It’s become something of a tradition, and I’ll explain why (in no particular order) in the list below: 

There is no family strife

We had a much better understanding of how Las Vegas could help us deal with the post-holiday blues after our first trip. When it came time to decide where we would go on vacation during the next Christmas break, the decision was simple. So we set off once more. And it was a breathtaking sight. 

We ate at Burger King, had a champagne brunch (bring on the pitcher of mimosa!!! ), and then went to see Zarkana, another one of Cirque du Soleil’s unforgettable performances. During our visit to Las Vegas, we went shopping at the North and South Premium Outlets, explored Fremont Street, and visited the Mob Museum. We stayed at the MGM Grand Hotel last year and will do so again this year because our room was so amazing and the hotel is so conveniently located near the theater where we usually go to see a couple of movies. (The previous year, we were able to see a sneak preview of Into the Woods! That’s fantastic!). Check out some of the photos in the gallery below. 

You may have noticed something unusual about the activities listed above: there is no mention of gambling, despite the fact that gambling is one of the city’s main draws. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t try our luck! Sly and I had a lot of fun playing the Walking Dead slot machine together for a while, and we did so for quite some time. A fortunate turn of events even enabled us to win by a significant margin. However, that was all there was to it; there was nothing else. There will be no poker, blackjack, or roulette. 

My father used to be a gambler, which you may or may not be aware of. Worse, he was a gambler who didn’t know when to stop and, as I’ve learned, didn’t understand that engaging in any activity to an unhealthy degree can be harmful to both the individual and those in their immediate environment. He eventually lost not only a few restaurants and some money, but also something far more valuable: his family. 

Please be aware that the following may appear extremely offensive, but I adore and respect my father. He is not perfect because he is human, and he has made mistakes in the past. Don’t we all? But he’s my father, and I’m talking about events from a long time ago, so I’m not going to hold it against him. I beg you not to think that I am disparaging my father at random. At this point, it’s more about me than it is about him. 

I’ve always been told that because I gamble, I don’t come from a traditional, nuclear family. As a result, I have always considered gambling, in any form, to be a taboo activity that I must avoid at all costs. It concerned me that I might “catch” the illness that runs in my family. Like my father, I would completely lose myself in the pursuit of winning at cards, slots, or horses, and in the process, I would lose everything that I cared about. 

As a result, when I was able to prove to myself that by dropping some cash into a slot machine, enjoying a few free drinks, spinning the reels, and then walking away when I reached my limit, both in 2013 and 2014, I had a significant epiphany: I am not my Father in this regard, nor would I ever be. 

As a result, I concluded that I was going to engage in a previously frowned upon behavior. To Sly’s chagrin, I’ve learned how to play blackjack from a variety of books I’ve purchased over the years. I purchased a piece of software that allows me to practice playing blackjack before I play for real money. Since I’ve never bet on a hand of cards in a casino before, I’ve been diligently saving some US currency over the last year so that I can play blackjack for the first time for several hours spread out over four days. And it’s money that, even if I do lose it, will not have a negative impact on my or my family’s financial situation. 

And I think I’ve identified the true difference between myself and my Father when it comes to gambling in that last sentence: I know how to say “when.” I know how to say “when” it comes to gambling. 

At this point in my life, I consider myself to be “relatively” self-actualized. When I set my mind to something, it eventually comes to pass. I am aware of who I am, as well as the fact that my will is most likely the most powerful aspect of myself. Sly refers to it as will, but I prefer to call it stubbornness. 

The only real issue I’m having right now is with Sly; I’m sure she’s watching everything with concern and wondering where it’s all going to go from here. I won’t go so far as to say she’s being encouraged to write about it, but she’s also not being critical of me. I’ve made a promise to myself to be completely honest with her and not withhold anything from her. That is extremely significant. In everything, but especially in this case, I need Sly’s trust. 

Sly enquired as to the reason for my desire to gamble. I’m not entirely sure I’ve given her the appropriate response at this point. Could you please explain this to me? 

I enjoy gambling. Not so much the gambling aspect as the part involving system analysis, mathematics, and patterns. Each component comes together to form a larger whole, and if variance (what some people refer to as luck) is on your side, you may be able to make a few extra dollars. 

It is difficult for me to emphasize the significance of the word “chance” in the preceding sentence using emphasis devices such as italics, bold, or underlining. FFS, it’s gambling! I don’t have a “system” in place that guarantees a return on investment of 3,000 times what I put in. I don’t use a progressive betting system (Martingale, anyone? ), so I can’t promise that I’ll always win. My expectations are becoming more grounded in reality. I want to play a few hands of poker and then, whether I win or lose, be able to look my wife in the eyes, smile, and say that I had fun and didn’t jeopardize our joint future. 

In addition, I’d like the casino to pay for some of my drinks, and hopefully win enough money to get a discounted room rate the next time I come to town, or even a free meal at one of the casino’s restaurants or buffet! 

I could win a few dollars, but I could also lose a few dollars. The fact that I am now able to sit down and enjoy something that I have always been so terrified of my entire life is both exciting and challenging. Fear is the most damaging mental detriment.