How random is the Web? About as random as I seem to be. Over the last 72 hours I’ve hit the IBM ThinkPad drivers-o-rama center, looked into the doctorate program at University of Washington (and tried to find out if such a degree was covered in my benefits package) and checked to see if one of the local casinos was hiring any unexperienced dealers. I’d say pretty random, but still very useful in my fulfilling my quest for a local casino worthy to replace Mohegan Sun in my travels and long range plans.
Set the Way-Back Machine for about fifteen years. I went to Atlantic City for the first time and found that I wasn’t too impressed by it. The ocean side boardwalk was fun and all, but the casinos were sorta beat up. All of the brand name hotels were represented (Golden Nugget, Bally’s, Tropicana, Caesar’s, etc.) but it felt run down and focused on getting your money. Don’t get me wrong – the sole purpose of any casino is to separate you from your cash – but it’s just not fun when it feels like the casino is panhandling for it.
Enter Foxwoods, the first casino to open in eastern Connecticut, about ten years ago. Instead of the five hours via plane to Vegas and the four-six hours by car to Atlantic City, there was an option for the gambling hungry people in Connecticut. CT is a small state: you can make it from the west to east boarder in about two hours and one and a half hours from coast to Massachusetts. Assuming there’s no traffic, that is, otherwise all bets are off. So even though Foxwoods was isolated in the east of the state, it was much closer than AC, and people flocked to it like an anarchistic Weight Watchers group to a newly opened Krispy Kreme.
About five years after that, Foxwoods had grown to twice the size of it’s original layout, and Mohegan Sun opened it’s first casino. The Sun was about 15 minutes closer to New York, but Foxwoods had also added a hotel, for resort purposes. Over the last couple of years, the Sun added a hotel tower and tripled in casino space; Foxwoods has grown to be the largest casino in the world, with regards to its gaming area.
In relation to my former residence, I was about an hour from the Sun; and extra fifteen minutes got me to to Foxwoods. Not quite around the corner, but close enough to get me there about once every six months, to make “donations” to their respective reservations… yet when I was out of work, I considered taking a part time job at the Sun dealing any one of their table games. 62 miles each way, and I was willing to do it. Well I would have been, if I had gotten a call back, [savor the irony: it was easier to get a dream job at Microsoft (which took a lot of luck and hard work, to be sure) than it was to get a part time job at a casino – and people wonder where I get my sense of humor from… how can you not find that funny?] because I like the atmosphere of a casino that much. At least a casino that is like the Sun.
Foxwoods is very much like Atlantic City… whenever I’m there it feels like they’re begging for my cash. The somehow seem blatantly and pointedly focused on collecting your money. Picture a thief that can’t stop looking at a wallet. Vegas-based casinos feel like resorts that also offer gambling. Yes, they are there to make as much money as they can and yes, everything they do is engineered to get your cash out of your pocket, but they are somehow subtle about it. Mohegan Sun follows this model. They make you feel like you’re at a resort… a resort that also happens to host over three thousand slot machines, or something like that. That is the type of casino I would want to work at.
And now I’ve “discovered” the Tulalip Casino. Steve pointed it out to me on the way up to Anacortes for my visit to San Juan Island about a month ago, so it wasn’t really a secret that needed to be searched out. I just found time to get up there over Labor Day weekend. And I’m rather glad I did, even if I didn’t win any money. The place is about 35 minutes from Redmond: 32 miles, my door to their door. Translation: it’s closer to where I live than where my last company was from my condo, although I am reasonably certain that there would be traffic on a weekday, making this a 2 hours one way trek.
Can I take a part time job while working full time at Microsoft? Beats me, but there’s no way I would even consider it until I know that I’ll have my a weekend day free, and that won’t be until I’m out of my rental and into my own house. Since being out here I find that I spend a lot of time exploring the area and scouting out things to do. And once I do find a house to buy, I’ll need my weekends to move between places and improve on the new place… so we’re talking like a year or more before I would even bother to ask HR about it.
It’s not just the casino atmosphere that makes such an idea attractive to me either… dealers – while being a retail instrument of the House – are not directly responsible for any problems a gamer might have, unless they suck and I can’t imagine that I would suck at it 24/7. They might be pissed at you for dealing them a two instead of a ten that they wanted for a hand of blackjack, but they don’t get a chance to take it out on you… unlike a salesperson that might have to catch hell for selling a faulty product. Even if they do, you have a pit boss and manager right there to help out. It’s usually a descent way to meet people, too. I’ve chatted up many a dealer in almost every casino I’ve been in… it definitely offers some FaceTime, in a structured environment.
Right now, I can hear a collective grown from my friends in CT – they can figure that with a small town casino so close that there’s no way that I’ll be leaving the Eastside any time soon… and they might be right. I like the area, there’s tech everywhere, no silly alcohol laws, most of the drivers are aware of bicyclists, and they have a casino that’s large enough to feel like what I’m used to but in a small town setting. Never mind the kick ass job that got me out here in the first place. Pretty good chance of it, I’d say.
I guess it’s just nice to know that there’s a retirement plan available, should the need arise :)