Wednesday, August 15, 2007

More Vegas

Summertime – warm August days with kids dreading the return to school. I grew up in New Jersey, where the school year started the Wednesday after Labor Day the first week in September. So the last two weeks in August were the end of vacation and the dreaded trips to buy clothes and supplies for the upcoming school year.

Back to the big hotel next door to where I work. A few months ago we noticed this new game out on the casino floor – a modern version of roulette. It seems that the trend for new games, and this one shifts players from putting chips on a big table to touching a video screen.

So people sit on stools in front of computer screens, insert their money into a slot in front of them, and place their bets. There is still a wheel, but it’s in the center of the circle with a video camera on it. A motor keeps the wheel spinning, but a dealer still starts off the ball. A computer is attached to the camera and determines what number the ball stops at. It then looks at bets and gives points to the winners. This prevents dealers from trying to change the game, and players from palming or moving bets around.

I’ve read about test versions of a computerized poker game. There will be no dealer; each player has a computer screen in front of them for their cards with a larger screen in the center of the table for the common cards. Players would still have interaction with each other, but there would be no chance for a dealer to mess up the deals or for players to see cards as they are dealt. All bets will again be via the computer interface, with no chips out on the table.

Somehow that doesn’t sound like as much fun as it was – people could just stay home and do all of this on their computers. But then you wouldn’t need Vegas and I wouldn’t have all of these pretty lights to look at or good food to eat (as if I could afford it).

To keep the players going there is a nice food court along side the gaming floor. There are small tables and soft padded chairs. Upstairs is the more typical food court, with hamburgers and Chinese food and other

One of the strangest things I’ve found is people’s fascination with things that are different. Up at two ends of the canal are small stages where people painted white just stand. That’s it; they just stand there and don’t move. And people stand around and look at them. Somehow I just don’t get it – what is so fascinating with someone just standing there. But you can always find a crowd just standing watching somebody just standing.

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