I'm not afraid to say when it comes to betting at the casino I'm the antithesis of the high roller.
True, I often look quite smart in my Ralph Lauren shirt, and my wallet has enough money to feed a horse. However, I can only describe myself as a low roller. I'm not even sure if such a category of gambler exists, but I am that person.
Believe it or not, I was once called a high roller. There were some young lads at the Grosvenor and one sat down to play at the roulette table and see my tower of chips. I'm sure he thought they were of a high denomination. I hardly had the heart and didn't need the embarrassment, to say they were fifty pence at a time. There was me feeling quite chuffed with my sixty pounds considering I had started at £20.
Its all relative, hey. (So I keep telling myself!)
To be honest, the Great Yarmouth Grosvenor Casino affords the VIP treatment without trying. A very distinguished building with a touch of the Casino Royales. This listed building saw Edward 8th, the future king of England, visit this coastal town as his friend originally built Shadingfield Lodge. I think it was built by J Cuddon ESQ, from a design by Morant. It was purchase by Lacon and Company in 1953, the local brewery, and still running to this day at Main Cross Road, Great Yarmouth.
Anyway, so much for the history lesson.
I've felt like a minor VIP as a low roller. But who wouldn't like a taste of the high-roller lifestyle?
There's only one thing that would get you the full VIP treatment at the casino. You've guessed it - it's a bag-load of cash.
I have just about enough money to fill a bag. I'm not saying how big the bag would be, but it would look ample, even if I had to fill it out a little with polystyrene balls. As long as a few of those don't float out of the top as I flash the cash I'm pretty sure I could impress the staff.
I would phone the casino earlier (my secretary) saying that a high roller (Mr. Swag from Baghdad) would be arriving at 7pm, so could you please make sure security is topped up for the VIP, as he's going to be betting serious money.
To add to the anticipation, the pit boss would be asked if the maximum single stake of £2000 could be raised.
Remember, this conversation was taking place using my old Nokia phone from the (Haven) Seashore Holiday Camp. Our deluxe caravan was just across the road from the Mash & Barrell.
They serve a nice cheap meal.
But back to being Mr. Swag from Baghdad.
By the time I turned up at the casino, my reputation as a high roller had captured the anticipation of the staff and even a few regular punters asked for my autograph. I jokingly wrote: ''I O U''
They thought it was hilarious.
The manager of the casino introduced himself and asked if he could get us anything (on the house).
It was working a dream.
I and a couple of my entourage look through the menu and choose a few dishes with plenty of alcohol. It was limitless alcohol. No doubt hoping to get me drunk. I was enjoying the limitless life. That brings about a rabid hunger and thirst.
To build up the tension of a gambling maniac ready to exploded I shouted at one of my associates about not bringing enough cash.
He gave the manager £30,000 out of the bag and asked them to change it to £1000 chips.
The pit boss was told there's plenty more where that comes from. (There wasn't).
He returned with the chips. My associate told him to change £5,000 to £100 chips.
''Mr. ''Swag from Baghdad'' likes to get a feel for the table, he has his funny little ways.''
They came back with fifty pink chips. I flashed one to the waitress as she came to clear the table, as I put it back into my pocket.
''Be lucky'', she said, with a cheery grin like a character from Dickens.
We carried on drinking free Jack Daniels and even starting popping a few corks on the champagne...why not, I was on a winning streak with all this free grub and beer.
I sat back in the chair and thought this is the life.
I'm a high roller.
By this time the staff was looking a touch restless. A few phone calls came to the bar and they looked over. Clearly, I was burning a hole in their profits.
So we walked downstairs into the den of iniquity.
A small crowd turned as they saw me enter the room.
''There he is...''
''That's the high roller...''
I smiled as I walked towards the roulette wheel.
Like the red sea, the crowd parted and a seat awaited me.
I was followed by my entourage who held an armful of chips every colour of the rainbow.
Looking around, I placed a £1000 chip on zero.
The ball spun around the wheel like it was on fire, my heart beating hard and fast. I was thinking...Holy Lord make this a winner.
In the distance, I could hear the sound of gulls calling. The smell of bacon, and voices.
Jason, do you want a cup of tea?
Trying to gather my thoughts and senses, I fell out of bed.
It was a dream.
But what a dream.
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