A little over a month ago, I was challenged by my editor to write and publish 40 blog posts about gambling in one month.
Initially, the prospect of putting down that many thoughts on what would have to be a huge range of gambling topics seemed exhausting. Not to mention the task was no doubt going to rob me of precious time on the golf course. Or worse still, rob me of sweet sleep.
My second thought was one of pride. I was flattered and perhaps surprised that my editor thought I had so much worthwhile to share about gambling.
Ultimately, for more than a few reasons, I accepted. It was a testing and rewarding month. I always take great pleasure in sharing my experiences with all of you. And I even learned a few things about myself along the way.
Let’s look at what this road looked like and where I stand with my new-found knowledge.
I Have a Love Affair With Casinos
I saw my first James Bond film with my grandfather when I was a young boy.
There’s a famous scene where 007 in his trademark tuxedo standing beside a gorgeous woman playing a table game. He’s sipping on a martini, shaken not stirred of course.
The woman blows on his dice, and he smoothly tosses them across the craps table.
At that moment, I knew I wanted to be Bond, James Bond.
This didn’t happen, though.
I don’t spend my days chasing supervillains in my Aston Martin equipped with the latest alien technology and excess firepower.
I don’t drive a supercar at all, in fact. I drive a late model Toyota Tacoma equipped with a child’s booster seat in the back.
My love for Bond movies has translated into a love for everything gambling.
I love to gamble in casinos, sportsbooks, and in my friend’s garage.
The first time I walked into a casino, I was in awe.
I’d played poker and blackjack online in college.
I’d bought squares for the Super Bowl.
I played fantasy football.
I was in my mind a pro class casino gambler, in spite of never having stepped foot in a casino.
But I was terribly mistaken.
I share often in my blog posts about beginner mistakes because I’ve made more than my fair share of them.
I love taking some time to brush up on my table game skills against a stranger on the other side of the world in an online casino.
I had my niches that I was good at and areas of the gambling community and industry I knew nothing about. I get to learn it all and tell you about it.
This has grown from a hobby to a sustainable career for me and for that I am thankful.
When my editor, let’s call him Mr. X, asked me if I wanted to write for his blog, I thought I would tell the world about what a great gambler I am.
Like my first casino experience, my goals were much loftier than I could achieve.
My first blog was a disaster.
I’m a numbers guy. I was too wordy and did not convey my thoughts or gambling experience in a relatable style or direct manner.
I used big words, and my knowledge was not near as vast as I had convinced myself. I only considered table games and slots. I’d never even considered keno a real gambling game worth playing.
I had much to learn.
My approach to gambling has always been from a mathematical viewpoint. Gambling in my eyes was always about the odds and statistics. Minimize risks and exploit mathematical edges.
Some folks, my wife for example, are not always math whizzes. I had to learn how to convey how to play a Double Bonus video poker game to someone who might not be good with numbers or might just plain hate math.
I have improved my own gambling habits by having to learn to view gambling from different perspectives. Before I started writing about gambling, I had never played online casinos. I thought they lacked the fellowship of excitement I have always craved.
I never considered that not everyone lives in a state that has legalized gambling or had never visited Las Vegas. I have since been able to open my eyes to other people’s experiences and lifestyles.
Mr. X sent back my first blog with more red lines than not. My explanations and writing didn’t seem to connect with the reader. We went through 4 edits. It was not the great ego boost I thought I was sure to receive when he read all that I had to offer.
Writing for the gambling community, be it for veteran gamblers or the noobs, has brought me a better understanding of people and a level of humility I thought I would never achieve.
In the Darkness, There is Light
In my years as a blogger for gambling, I’ve discovered some dark sides and beautiful sides to this industry. I’ve learned about problem gambling and seen the generosity of the gambling community.
Problem gambling has become one of the causes that I care deeply about. Yet, I may not often enough speak about. It breaks my heart to see a hobby take over someone’s entire life and destroy it.
One of the most amazing aspects of the gambling community is the support for people who struggle with addictive gambling.
Not in A Million Years
Here are a few wild and wonderful things I would never see or do in my life because of gambling blogging:
- Slot machines with pee bottles next to them (Not my own)
- Gamble in the middle of the ocean
- Turn my hobby into a legitimate career
- Be able to play with veterans and newbies alike
- Learn more about humans than I ever thought possible
- See sportsbooks begin to blossom across the United States
- Tell the internet my opinions on a variety of betting games
- Enjoy slots
That last one is one I thought I would never say; let alone write on the internet.
I’d never played slots until I started writing professionally about gambling. I always passed the sea of slots in casinos and paid them no attention.
So much smoke, so much more smoke I’ll pass.
Slots are what I play almost every trip when I need a break from the table games or sometimes my travel companions.
It’s so strange but familiar at the same time.
If you haven’t played, give it go.
Trust me, you won’t regret it.
Friends in All Places
Since I have started being an active part of the online and land-based casino community, I have made more friends than I had in years.
I am the quintessential introvert.
I’m lucky my wife said yes to our first date. I’m socially awkward and I get in my own head far too easily. It has always been tough for me to manage a large group of friends. Then all of you came along.
I have blackjack friends, keno friends, roulette friends, poker friends, and fantasy football friends.
I have made more true connections in writing for the gambling community than I could have ever imagined.
Even my best friend is someone I met playing poker several years back.
By diving in headfirst, writing 40 blog posts about gambling in a month, I was able to reconnect with friends that I hadn’t spoken to in over a year. It taught me valuable lessons about getting wrapped up in my own bubble.
It has made me a better friend and ignited a desire to be a better listener.
I don’t really know how to close this blog. I hope you have a better idea of who I am as a writer and a player. I hope you feel the same about our shared passion.
I usually wrap up with a synopsis, but I only wish that this may spark an inner fire in some of you. May you find your passion wherever it lies and chase it without any reservation.
This has been a wonderful journey and I look forward to many more years of sharing the “stuff in my head”.
Thank you all for the opportunity. Gamble on.