Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cashing Out

Well. This is it. The semester is winding down to an end, I'm staring graduation in the face, and my visits to the casinos have come to a close. I've never been a gambler, but I will miss some aspects about my visits to the Desert Diamond Casino and Casino Del Sol

First and foremost, it was the vibe. It's not that I'm opposed to gambling, I like the idea of it. The fact of the matter, is I'd rather spend my money on ______ (fill in blank with normal fun activities). But, that said, I do appreciate the casino's ability to keep you rocking at all hours, any hour, anytime. The work ethic inside of a gambling establishment is admirable. No matter if you're the security guard making sure no one is abusing the cocktail waitresses at 5 a.m., or the man determined to win back his paycheck in desperate attempts to avoid a divorce lawyer, every things alive. 

It's the complimentary services, the pop music blaring at 1 a.m. with the neon lights confusing your bodily clock, the luck, the loss, and the simple passion. Even if you're opposed to the possibility of addiction, finances being torn to shreds, or the dependency on the thrill, there's one thing for certain; it's a place that keeps your heart ticking. 

So, as I cruise through the rest of college with aspirations of a new diploma in my right hand, I'm adding a new addition to my "Graduation Bucket List." I plan on spending a recreational amount of time at one of Southern Arizona's casinos. I'm not saying I'm going to bet a lot, I'm not saying I'm going on a bender, but I'm going to walk through those doors without a notebook and pen in my hand, with no intentions of interviewing anyone, and I might even strap on a cowboy hat to fit in. 

Hit me!! 

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Bird Cage Theatre

Long before the days of eBay themed slot machines, all-you-can eat king crab, and complimentary executive suites, Ariz. was home to one of the Wild West's most infamous gambling establishments. 

The Bird Cage Theatre, located at 517 E. Allen Street in Tombstone, Ariz. now stands as a memorial to one of history's most rowdy, dangerous, and infamous places to play blackjack, poker and faro. The building, which originally opened in 1881, stayed open 24/7 for eight consecutive years, as a bar, casino, and brothel. Wild company and lawlessness lead to shootings, stabbings, and famous guests, including Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. 

As a place to drink, gamble, and sit in "cages," to watch live entertainment, the Bird Cage Theatre was one of Tombstone's most popular attractions. The theatre was also the setting for a continuous poker game that was played every day for eight years, five months and three days. The minimum buy in was $1,000, which led to the Bird Cage Theatre taking in more than $1 Million dollars between 1881 and 1889. 

Today, tourists are able to see the poker and blackjack tables where some of the Old West's most famous figures tested the luck of the draw. With many of the pieces of furniture, and the entire bar still preserved, you can see your reflection in the same mirrors the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday saw their own. 
Of course, you might get more than you bargained for, as the Bird Cage Theatre was the site of 26 murders, and allegedly the restless spirits of the victims still haunt the establishment. 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

University of Gambling

Planner: A 30 page paper in Presidential Leadership, an Industrial Organization test, and $1 dollar on number seven.

"They have machine roulette," said Emily Lee, a senior communications and econ major at the University of Arizona, and a casual gambler at Casino Del Sol and the Desert Diamond Casino. "There was two weeks where I went almost every day."

The casino continues to be a once-a-month source of occasional entertainment for Lee, and other students looking to luck out on some quick cash to pay the bills, buy some books, or fund the next bar tab."I only go when I'm really bored," said Lee. "When there's absolutely nothing to do, it's like 'oh lets go to the casino.'"

The voyages, which are normally taken with a group of friends, generally last for about five hours. "It goes by so fast when you're there you don't even realize it," said Lee.

But with many other places to go, why 15 miles away from campus at the casino? "It's the excitement of when it lands on your number and feeling lucky," said Lee. "You can go there and drink and gamble."

When at the casinos, Lee spends most of her time playing roulette and black jack, and has once taken part in the Casino Del Sol's cosmic bingo. 

"There's this drag queen that calls you a stupid bitch if you call bingo and don't have it," said Lee.

Study break? 

Monday, April 6, 2009

Monsoon Season

I'm not a gambling expert, infact, I don't gamble, but something tells me that when you're winning big, sometimes you might just want to dance. 

The Desert Diamond Casino has answered that call, by offering guests of the hotel and visitors of the casino the Monsoon Night Club. It's a typical lounge and club with a $5 dollar cover, cheap drink specials, and an entertaining ambiance for club hoppers and concert goers alike. 

Open from 8 p.m. till 2 a.m. on weekend nights, the club offers two full bars, rows of tables, booths, video screens, a large wooden dance floor and a stage for live performances. 

The club's entertainment is appealing to both younger and older crowds depending on the performers and genres. Friday nights are equipped with flashing lights, and a packed younger crowd accompanied by the loud, dance inspiring Fiesta DJ's. 

Saturday nights are full of cowboy hats, belt buckles, and an older two-stepping audience that enjoys the club's themed Tejano Saturday Nights. The Mexican music genre brings performers like Los Gallegos and Grupo LaMadrid. 

Saturday night drink specials include $3 dollar wells tequila sunrises, $3 dollar Mexican imported beers, and $2 dollar Frozen Fat Tuesdays, which resemble Slurpee's with an adult addition of tequila or rum. 

"People come here to dance, have fun, and have some drinks," said Marc Jones, the manager of the Monsoon Night Club.  

To keep things classy, the night club also enforces a dress code, which includes no hats, no excessively baggy clothes, and no sleeveless shirts.