Roulette is a game of chance I was sure I would never try. Tonight, however, I hardly batted an eye when Michael informed me he decided to bet all his chips - left from the $10,000 worth he had started with - on black and lost it all. Instead, I let him convince me to dole out some of my chips on three card poker, and it turns out we have much better luck with that game. Michael even got a straight flush on one hand - odds 40 to 1! - and that's as good as it gets for three card poker.
In the end we turned in our winnings for almost 50 raffle tickets, although we still didn't end up walking away with any raffle prizes.
Obviously, this was no ordinary casino. Considering it was in a church basement, I'm sure that would hardly be legal, let alone ethical. But, for the second year in a row, our congregation, with the help of neighboring University Christian Church, who lent us use of their basement, hosted a casino night fundraiser. The funds raised went to support Elizabeth Gregory Home, the women's shelter we began a few years ago. To keep the congregation involved and drum up support, we now have the unique opportunity to see staid Lutherans gathered around little game tables, puzzling over how to place bets, and what exactly is craps anyway, and do I really want to bet all my chips even when no real money is involved? These are perplexing questions, and the average Lutheran will put more time into pondering these questions thoughtfully than actually placing any free bets. Maybe if the booze was free (as I hear it is in Vegas), people might get a little bit crazier, but I'm guessing that would also be a church basement no-no.
Still, once you loosen up a bit, it's actually pretty fun. And I'm sure I'd never run into so many people I know at any real casino even if I closed out every Saturday night with hand at poker. Tonight I spent most of my time chatting, snacking, and discussing what was up for silent auction. I even came home with a lovely original watercolor painting after my bid (the only bid, I must admit - there were so many auction items and not so many bidders) won.
And if I ever were to put down money in a real casino? You can bet I'd pick three card poker over roulette!