Thursday, September 15, 2005

Subject: The 'sickest' gambling story ever - told by Howard Beale


I have been reformed. Looking back it is hard to imagine the depths to
which I had sunk. I have no hope of ever reaching the surface but at
least I can see the light. It is dark, dark, dark down at the bottom.

- - - - - - - - -

Atlantic City casinos were irresistable to me. I went to Resorts
International Hotel/Casino with a friend on the 3rd day after it opened,
got there at 5am and stood on line until the casino opened at 10. They
pulled aside a rope barrier after the hotel guests were let in and the
crowd literally ran to the tables to get into any game, ANY GAME!, they
could. There were people standing 3 deep behind each blackjack seat,
waiting for a chance. When we left, the line to get into the casino was a
quarter of a mile long down the Boardwalk. I was too stupid to buy stock
in the company or I would now be writing from the beach in the Dominican
Republic, covered in baby oil and barely legal girls.

Needless to say I was hooked and began going to AC regularly. It was not
that much of a problem as I was playing with-in my budget but I was well
aware that I was a problem gambler. I either came home with a pile of
money or no money. When I say no money I mean maybe run out of gas and no
stopping at McDonalds and run the toll booths on the Garden State Parkway
(25 cents each) no money. I don't need to tell anybody which one happened
almost 9 out of 10 times. But I noticed, as I am sure many gamblers have
noticed, that there was often a time during the trip when I was winning
and often enough substantially. The problem was a lack of self control.
If I "had the casino's money" I really sent it in and it was boom or
(mostly) bust. I had to come up with a way to prevent this behavior while
still allowing me to feed the gambling jones.

My solution was to visit the locksmith shop that I did business with. I
brought a casino chip with me and explained that I wanted a small safe. I
wanted one that opened with a key and could not be easily opened and could
be carried around. The owner showed me a small safe that was designed to
be bolted to the floor and was very popular with the local drug dealers,
he said. The thing weighed about 25lbs but was the smallest suitable
safe. I opened it up and explained that I wanted a metal barrier welded
down the middle of the safe and gave him the casino chip. I told him to
cut a slot above one side of the divided safe so that the casino chip
could just be dropped in without any chance of getting it out. On the
other side I told him to drill a 1/4in. hole.

On the next trip to AC I put this 25lb safe into a leather overnight bag I
have, locked it with the key which I of course left at home. I lugged the
thing with me where ever I went, which was to all the casinos. I doubt
that I could do that today because security might think it was a bomb.
When I gambled, and was ahead, I would take a few chips and drop them down
the chip slot into the safe. When I cashed out I would take some bills,
roll them up tight, and shove them down the hole. I would do this the
entire time and it worked great. I would go broke but when I got home I
had a pile of chips and a bunch of cash. I had found the perfect
solution, or so I had thought.

This "system" worked great for a month until one Saturday night at
Resort's. It was 3am. I was at the craps table and started to run bad,
real bad. I had been putting chips and money into the box steadily during
the day, and at that table, but now I was running out of money fast and I
wasn't scheduled to leave AC until Sunday night. Who can stay in AC
without gambling? Not me. And I didn't even think of going home early.
Let me point out that the dealers and the pit bosses had been watching me
occasionally bend over and fiddle around with the leather bag on the
floor. They were real curious but didn't ask what the heck I was doing
between rolls of the dice when I hit a number.

Finally, I was almost
broke and was playing for small money when I asked the dealer "Is there an
all night supermarket open anywhere in Atlantic City, or a Walgreens,
maybe?" "What do you need a supermarket or a Walgreens for?" he asked.
It was hard to get out of my mouth but I said "I need a drill." "A WHAT?"
"A drill." "What do you need a drill for?" "I just need a drill." The
dealer called over the floorman and told him that I needed a drill. "A
WHAT?" "I just need a drill." "What do you need a drill for?" With a
reluctance I can not describe I put my leather bag up onto the craps table
rail and opened it, revealing the safe. "I need to get into this thing."
When the dealers and pit bosses finished laughing I found myself being
escorted by a security guard deep into the bowels of the Resorts
International Hotel/Casino where I was led to the machine shop. A
maintenance man placed the safe under his drill press and in a minute the
safe was opened. I took out the money, tipped him and the woman guard,
and told him to throw the safe away.

Of course I went bust. That was a tough drive home and I was sick to my
stomach for the next few days but the weekend was coming up, I knew I was
going back to AC, and I had to try again. I went back to the locksmith
but this time, after the locksmith finished laughing, I picked a mailbox
(much lighter and smaller) the kind you nail to the wall next to your
front door and headed off to AC with that.

This time I was at Trump Plaza playing blackjack. High limit section. It
was 4am Sunday morning. I had a pile of money and chips in the mailbox,
but I was broke, again. I looked at the dealer and said "Call the pit
boss." "What can we do for you Mr. Beale (not my real name)?"

"I want a drill press."

Howard Beale

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