A Visit to the Baden-Baden Casino
I walked around all rooms; there aren’t so many tables, which is good; it creates a more casual atmosphere where you can hang out, relax, talk to someone, or even watch the football game at the bar (mind you, it was during the Euro and Italy was playing the Netherlands that night). Finally, I decided to try my luck. I picked a table, not too crowded, yet not too empty either and threw a 2 Euro chip on red as the last three numbers were black. Here is the thing about European roulette: unlike the States and Canada, European roulette only has one zero, which significantly decreases the risk when playing on colors. An even better alternative is to play the sitting tables, where even if zero comes out, your bet is only “frozen” for the next spin, and if your color comes out, you recuperate all of your money instead of paying half your bet. And that was my strategy – play simply black or red… and occasionally cover the zero. Simple? Naïve? Oh, it gets even better! The mathematician I am, I figured that I’d wait for the same color to fall out 3 or 4 times and I would bet on the opposite one. Whenever I would lose, I would simply double my previous bet and so until I eventually win. When my bet was getting too high, I’d also cover the zero, just in case.
Enough theory. First spin – a black number falls out. I lose. I put 4 Euros on red again. Second spin – I win and get my 6 Euros bet and 2 back. I did this for a little while, playing the minimum bet on colors only, trying different tables. After approximately an hour, I had won about 20 Euros on top of the 50 Euros I came in with, which was nice, yet quite frankly I was getting a little bored. And so I decided to spice it up a little. This time I started covering numbers – 6 numbers, 4 numbers and 2. Now I am not going to bore you in further details, so let’s just skip to 45 minutes later. I am left with 10 Euros out of the 50 I came-in with. The already familiar thought of never stepping in a casino again, gains more and more clarity in my head. But I kept on playing. I took all the chips I had left, total worth 10 Euros and bet on black on a table where the last 4 colors were red. Black came out. I now had 20 Euors. I looked around, and noticed that with the exception of the table I was playing on, zero had come out on every other table. And so I waited a few more spins, so the same color would accumulate; zero had not yet fallen out. I then placed a 2 Euro chip on zero and the remaining 18 Euros on a color. Zero came out. That meant 36 times 2. 72 Euros, not bad. The next spin was my color, so I recuperated half of my bet. I now could afford to place higher bets on colors – 4, 8, 10 Euros. So I did. The more I played, the higher the bets, my adrenaline was rising with every spin of the ball. It was already 12am.
You know that unexplainable feeling, when you’re doing things against your will? Aware of all laws of reason and logic, of sane judgment, yet you act against them. Almost as if you’re just an observer, looking through someone else’s eyes, powerless to exercise control what ought to be your own actions. I approached the table. “Last spin” I told myself. I reached into my pocket and got out two 20 Euro chips. I placed them on red. The ball was spinning fast against the wheel. I heard the voice of the croupier “Nichts geht mehr! Rien ne va plus!” (No more bets!) The ball kept spinning. I turned around and walked away. I looked at the bar – Italy was still playing the Netherlands “What a long game” I thought in an effort to distract myself. My heart was racing, my palms were sweaty. I felt uncomfortable, I was losing control. My clear thought was giving in to adrenaline and emotions, I was tired. The period between the moment I walked away from the table and when the ball finally chose a pocket to fall into seemed to me as an eternity. I heard the croupier say “Vierundzwanzig, Rot” (24 Red). Five minutes later I was waiting in line to cash in on all of my chips, worth 260 Euros. I got out. Rain was falling down. It was nice and refreshing. It was past midnight on a Monday, and despite all the construction on the A5 Autobahn, there were hardly any cars. On my way home I was thinking that if I was ever to play again, I should establish some principles: always play alone; never play emotionally, only rationally; play during the week, not on weekends – otherwise it’s too crowded; don’t get distracted, follow the game. After less than an hour I was in Freiburg. As I was entering my room, the phone rang. It was my dad. I told him about the adventures that night. “260 Euros? Good. Now don’t go back there or you’ll lose everything” he said. “Yeah, yeah” I replied.