Observations of a First Timer at Casino Du Liban

Casino plans somehow came up yesterday afternoon and we actually acted them out – for the first time ever. So we drove to Lebanon’s only casino in order to waste away some hard-earned money (or not).

Aside from the parking being beyond expensive – whether you’ll be there for an hour or ten, the fee is 10,000LL, we entered the casino and apparently you need to have a membership card in order to get access.

Getting a membership card isn’t problematic but you have to be above 21 to get it. They take your address and phone number and an ID. They then fill out a form which you have to take to another counter in order to print your membership card.

Then, if you’re Lebanese, you have to pay 10,000LL to get access to the casino. If you’re a foreigner, you get free access. Yes, you read that right. So if the one million reasons to get a foreign passport were not enough for you, add this up to yet another reason why our passport is of meaningless value – you even have to pay to access the only casino of your country.

Once you’re inside, you go to the cashier where you buy chips. And then you hit the machines. The first thing I noticed about the game rooms is that they are very dated. Casino du Liban might look fancy from the outside but inside might as well have been out of the 1950s.

The crowd that frequents the casino is also cringe inducing. Apart from the dress code being a myth by the looks of it, I don’t mean the way people looked as much as their mentalities. When I saw a man win $7,000 at a roulette table, I felt happy for him. Only then he decided to gamble his entire winnings and lost everything. How stupid can one get? If I had won $7,000 I’d make such a big fuss that security would throw me outside – the fall would be cushioned by the money and I wouldn’t care.

It is then that I decided I could never do that. I could never risk that much money, even if I had made it. And for what? to feel an adrenaline rush? I’d rather go bungee jumping instead. I guess I’m not a gambler at heart – or I’d rather not gamble my money away at a game of odds (roulette).

Contrary to popular belief as well, poker is not the most popular game at the casino – or it could be that I thought it would be seeing as it’s the only game that I play. In fact, the area reserved for blackjack and roulette trumps the space for poker tables significantly.

While observing the games, like I did, or playing your money away like some other people did, you get waiters circling the tables offering you drinks. Apparently those drinks are free and for you can ask whatever you want – after all, you are indirectly paying for them.

The casino was also smoke free. I had been once at the slots machines I was 19 (yes, we pulled a few strings to get me in) and smoking clouds were present all over the place. The carpets smelled of it, the machines smelled of it and once you got out of there, you smelled of smoke as well. This time around, I saw a few men with cigarettes that weren’t lit. A way to pokerface, perhaps? But “No Smoking” signs were plastered all over the place and you could smell the difference.

What I also found interesting was the fact that I saw so many veiled women there. Somehow I thought gambling was against Islamic rules. I guess not.

Would I go the casino again? I would assume so if I could find friends to go with. If not, I guess I could live without it. But I definitely need to fine tune my poker skills because they’re getting a little rusty.

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