Saturday, March 17, 2012

Casino Visit - Part Deuce

After being shut down last week when I tried to get my gamble on, I showed up prepared this time. I strolled up and paid my 100 SEK ($13) – now I was good to go to at the Casino Cosmopol for a year.
Walking in, it was definitely a busy scene, and I wanted to make sure I didn’t waste any opportunities, so I decided to explore first. The casino is in a really nice, older building in downtown Stockholm – maybe used to be a theater, or something similar. There seemed to be three floors, so I did a quick sweep of the main level first. A lot of table games – blackjack, craps, roulette, etc. There were a few seats available at the 50 SEK blackjack tables, which I took note of. There was a bar in the back, a smoking room that reminded me of the Atlanta airport and a ton of euro-fashion – what could be better? In general, the crowd was 90% european dudes - mostly UK, Finnish or Dutch from my quick conversations. The other 10% was all older asian ladies - NOT there to mess around.
Downstairs was pretty boring – just a ton of slot machines. Only interesting part there was that it was crowded and I almost bumped into some guy coming around the corner. As soon as I did, I recognized that he had “the crazy eye” and probably would have slugged me if we had knocked into each other. Considering that him and his other 22yr old buddies were roided up, had neck tattoos and were being shown around the casino by a manager, I’m assuming they were some type of professional athletes. Or I’m just becoming old…
Upstairs was pretty sweet. They have some additional table games – much less crowded and without any minimums info, so I’m assuming more of a high roller area. The best part was the big opening in the middle that looked down into the main level – I hadn’t noticed it from below, but it is a great spot to get your card counting on. Its kind of a fun way to get the birds eye view of the casino – I definitely tried to “catch” cheaters, to no avail. A fancy / overpriced restaurant was up there as well – if you want to get some food, but not leave the casino for any reason whatsoever.
Once I checked everything out, I found a seat at the blackjack table and found out a few other “differentiators” from vegas:
1) the dealers CANNOT accept tips. One of the guys left the table and left the dealer a few crowns – probably a buck or two. The dealer had to stop the cards and called his manager over to clearly put the tips in a separate box. We discussed it afterwards, and I explained that I would normally go balla style in vegas and leave a few small tips after good hands, etc. He explained that the casino was gov’t owned and that the dealers were paid a legitimate wage, so tips weren’t allowed. He thought about and realized that in vegas, income per shift probably fluctuated pretty significantly – he then decided that he was good with the business model in Sweden.
2) They don’t let you make “crazy” gambles (crazy like a fox!) – the dealer had a hand that was going to bust, and I had a decent hand, so was going to double my money. He politely let me know that that was not allowed unless I had a very specific set of cards showing. I think he did not actually bust that hand, so he probably saved me some money on that one, but in the long term, really decreased the potential of calvin’s college fund.
3) No cocktail waitresses NOR complimentary drinks. This was obviously a major downer for me, but I persevered. When you want a drink, you tell your dealer who hits a button on the table. The waiter then comes over and takes your order. When they come back with the beer you can pay in chips, which is nice – and then they give you change in currency.
Overall, I’d say it was a fun time – but the stratosphere is still safely in my “favorite casino” ranking. I’ll show up a handful of times I’m sure, but probably mostly when folks are in town – gambling solo (outside of 3am after coming back after drinking) is a little much for me I think.
Luckily – Lis and I found a horse track today though, so it might be time to go hat shopping!

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