This past weekend the Mrs. and I were in Las Vegas (part anniversary, part food junket, part reporting—and hence the lack of blog items). And though I will be writing at length on Michel Richard’s latest outpost—Central at Caesars—as well as share a few musings on spa culture, I would like to briefly discuss my gaming experience (“gambling” has such negative connotations!).

If there’s one good thing to come out of the recession, it’s that the table minimums even at the high-end casinos were still relatively reasonable. Both at Caesars and next door at Bellagio, $10 blackjack and craps tables were available. On Sunday morning, I spotted a $10 craps table at the Bellagio with no one playing. When I told my wife I was tempted to have a go at it, she replied, “Sure,” though her smile seemed stiff and her eyes were telling me, “Really? You want to play craps alone at 9am on a Monday morning?”

I did have some luck early on but, as often happens, I ended up giving it back. I also tried turning a table’s luck around but crapped out after four rolls (first a 12 on the come out, then a 7, which earned some applause, then made 6 the point, then crapped out, which prompted the older gentleman next to me to say, “Son of a f—g bitch”).

But what struck me the most as I walked through the casino were all the computerized slot machines with five or six rows of options, none of it making much sense to me. There were Star-Trek-themed machines, Lord of the Rings machines, and of course slots tied to The Hangover—a film that has brought megabusiness to Caesars—everyone wants to stay at the Hangover suite until they find out it costs $4,000 a night.

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