And while that may sound like something I'd be into had there been cans of beans simmering over open trash-can fires, honestly, like this guy said, opening day at Hollywood Casino was THE single worst casino experience I've had in my life. (And please to keep in mind these words are coming from a girl who spent Thanksgiving 2007 in Atlantic City. I'm not ashamed.)
Let me put it this way: Charles Town made it HARD for me to lose my money. Let me repeat: A CASINO MADE IT EXTREMELY DIFFICULT FOR ME TO BASICALLY GIVE THEM MONEY.
Now, despite that I'm a genius (at least by Internet standards), it doesn't take an excessively smart person to figure out that something's very wrong with that business plan...
When I brought my opinion to the attention of one of the pit bosses, he told me that due to delays with the West Virginia Lottery Commission, only a handful of the hundreds of dealers were able to get their licenses in time for the "grand opening." What this means is that even if the casino bosses wanted to, they couldn't open up more tables. But that's no excuse. In fact, it kind of makes things worse because, at some point somewhere, someone at the casino must have realized the epic clusterf*ck that would ensue for calling something a "grand opening" when, actually, more than half of the stuff you've promised to open remained closed.
Really, all this Saturday did was prove to me and other people that West Virginia is still, well, West Virginia. That is, the whole thing was an epic sh*tshow. With only a few tables open, only a few people could get a space. And if you did get a space at a table, the ridiculously high minimums either sucked the fun out of game play or drove you to spend a lot more than you wanted to. We're talking minimum limits of $100 per deal on blackjack and $50 for craps.
It'd be like if King's Dominion touted some awesome new rollercoaster and then only allowed 10 people on it opening day, oh, and also charged them $100 per 10 feet. How many people do you think would stick around to ride? More or less than had they allowed more people on and charged them less? Ten times 100 is a lot less than 1,000 times 10...just
However, there was one table with a $25 minimum, or so I heard -- it was hard for me to see through the mob surrounding it as if it were a CSI crime scene, except instead of Caruso in the center of the mob, it was five guys with mullets gambling away their childrens' futures.
God, it was such a depressing scene...
But finally, just as we were about to leave this nightmare, my casino buddy and I decided to plunk down five 20s when we spotted one sorta-open seat (I'll explain that in a bit) at a $100-minimum blackjack table. By that point our motto had changed from, "Let's bet low and play long" to "Let's just f*cking play something because I'm getting bored watching people get diabetes."
Speaking of diabetes, jeez, if I had a nickel for every time I saw a non-senior citizen using a Hoveround to get around because her legs weren't strong enough to withstand the weight of what I'm guessing was second or maybe third dinner, I'd have, well, 25 cents. But still -- that's 25 cents too many, if you ask me or Jamie Oliver. Seriously, West Virginia, next time you say "Double-Down," I hope to God it's because your casino got its sh*t together...
And on that topic, my betting bud and I actually got our sh*t together -- we won! But then again, we were only able to play a couple of hands before the lady who had gotten up from that sorta-open seat to
"Where's my placeholder chip? I had one here!" she said.
The clearly inexperienced dealer replied, "Well, it's crowded and you were gone for 10 minutes and..." (The dealer broke protocol by putting the woman's clear plastic holding chip away for us.)
The woman looked at my casino comrade as I looked from the dealer to her.
"No worries," I interrupted. "You can have your seat back. We were just leaving."
But maybe that's for the best because our five minutes at the table that earned us $200 dollars more than we sat down with would probably have been quickly negated had we stayed five minutes more.
However, that left the problem of trying to cash in our three black chips. The line for the cashier was about five times longer than the line tape allotted for, which resulted in about 50 people jamming up the casino's main Hoveround thoroughfare. It was cue chaos to the max. Yet still, that was the least of the Hollywood Casino's issues...
Finally, after over an hour, we found ourselves dining at the fast food restaurant across the street. After all, when in Rome... if by "Rome" I mean, "a state that considers its state bird a chicken nugget..."
Alas, while I vowed never to return to this dull turd of a gambling venue, I've got a different perspective now. I probably will go back at some point, which either speaks to a nascent gambling addiction or some sort of morbid curiosity. Word on the casino floor is that by the end of the month the brouhaha with the Lottery Commission should be resolved and all the tables will be open. No word on whether the limits will come down. But if they don't, I might leave an ironic bag of burning dog doo-doo on the casino's front steps. That, or just go to Atlantic City. Nothing sticks it to a business by not giving them any business at all.