BY ARVIN ABRAHAM
I struggled to find a topic for this column. I thought about talking about the end of 1L finals, but I decided it would be too cliché. Who wants to hear about finals? I certainly don’t. They are done with. Over. At least for another 4 months they will be far from my mind.
So what to write about? I’d already done a column on visiting New York-don’t want to be repetitive. I know! How about my recent trip to the Foxwoods Casino? If any of you have read the book “Brush With the Law,” this is the casino where one of the main characters, an HLS student, blows his entire summer advance and has to ask his firm for more money. Since I am not a big gambler, and also because I don’t have a $5000 summer advance to blow, I decided that this trip was going to be a frugal one (Credit my parents for teaching me the value of money)
So I pile into a friends’ VolksWagon and set off for the casino. In my head I can hear Vince Vaughn repeating, “Foxwoods baby Foxwoods.”(My inner monologues are corny. I know.) It’s dark; it’s rainy; the roads are windy. For a time I thought that there was a good chance we would veer off course and be stranded in the wilds of New England. It didn’t happen. After an hour and a half that felt like an eternity while driving on a dark freeway we arrived at the casino.
The first thing that you notice about Foxwoods is its size, especially in comparison to its surroundings. After driving through desolation for well over an hour the bright lights of the casino hit you with palpable force. It was like ShangriLa emerging from the mists of the Himalayas or an oasis surreptitiously discovered after hours of wandering in the desert. The casino is huge. According to my friend Mike, although this hasn’t been independently verified, the casino is the 2nd largest in the United States. It certainly seemed that way when we approached.
On the inside Foxwoods is a lot less astounding than its size would suggest. The casino is clean and seems well run and maintained, but it lacks the flair of most Vegas casinos. Although there is a HardRock Café attached to the casino and a theater that supports performing acts, the casino lacks the polish and pizzazz that I’d come to expect in Vegas. However, when it came to gambling the casino definitely delivered the goods.
Foxwoods isn’t just one casino, its 6 mini casinos spread throughout a large complex. I made a beeline for their one and only poker room so I missed out on seeing the other 5 casino areas. The poker room was large, well lit, clean, and had friendly staff. I signed up to play expecting a long wait. Instead, it was only a few minutes before I found a game.
I had initially come in thinking that I was going to play “No Limit Hold-Em.” I’ve spent countless hours watching this game on ESPN 2 so I thought I’d be a natural. However, I was playing poker on a budget, so the minute that I sat down at the “No Limit” table and saw people putting down $30 on one hand I got scared off. That was too much for me.
So I migrated to a “Limit” game. “Limit Hold-Em” differs from “No-Limit” in that you can only bet a certain amount per hand. I was at a 1-2 table, which meant that an initial raise was $2, and raises after the flop and on the river were $4. (I know these terms are confusing, but they are eminently googlable). I sat down to play. Even though I went in with the expectation that I would allow myself to lose up to $100, I managed to play on a stash of only $40 in chips. Since the stakes are really small in “1-2 Limit” a cautious player can go for a very long time on a small stash and I managed to finish up the night down by only about $20. I had been swinging up and down about $20-$30 dollars the entire night so I thought that was pretty reasonable for 4 hours of fun.
So at the end of the night I hadn’t managed to emulate Vince Vaughn and John Favereau. However, I still managed to have a good time, and unlike my last experience in Vegas I wasn’t down more than the price of a few lattes at Starbucks. All in all a good night at a very fun casino.
Arvin Abraham is a 1L from Fresno California.