There Is No Fool Like A Careless Gambler Who Starts Taking Victory For Granted. – Hunter S. Thompson

My Fear of Playing Blackjack

I've got a phobia. 

There's no logic to it. I guess that's the definition of a phobia, hey. It's an aversion, irritational, and extreme. 

It's a personal fear and I cling to it like Rod Hull did to Emu's arse. Except I'm holding this brave bird with a snarling beak in terror before I've even turned a card. 

I don't think this Rod Hull, Emu, card-playing analogy is working very well. 

I'm not sure if there is a word for the irrational fear of playing Blackjack but I've got it. It's like an ism that's turned into an obia. 

You know, I've always loved to gamble. From a small child, I played slot machines at Haven Holiday Park, Caister-on-sea, Norfolk. It was like my hand had been superglued to a Jennings Indian Head One-Armed Bandit. 

I loved every minute.  

Back in the 1970s, there was a very liberal attitude to child gambling. My parents encouraged my twin brother and I to bet like addicts. I'm sure if they had thought about other vices they would have bought us 20 John Player Special and a top-shelf magazine. 

It has crossed my mind that we may have been victims of a secret field experiment that followed us through the ages to see if gambling really was a destructive force. Somewhere in Albania, there's a poster of two gaunt-face children crying as they pray for a rare win.   

I don't think it has done us any harm. 

I've lived to the age of 50 and I'm still waiting for the film crew to knock at the door and ask me a string of questions about my gambling history until I breakdown and cry out for help. 

I rather hope no one comes round. 

Anyway, if you're interested, gambling, horseracing, and websites just like this have actually seen me make a living from betting. Am I one of the few percents who can say that? Well, I will be your token victor if it helps diminish the thoughts that every gambler is frothing at the mouth, losing money like water running down a sink and struggling with mental anguish. 

I might have all these things to come!

But back to my present situation with playing Blackjack. 

The strange thing is I've always enjoyed playing Blackjack. I mean, you may call it 21, Pontoon or Blackjack. As far as I am aware, they are all one and the same thing. However, I don't push myself forward like some kind of expert. Far from it. I used to play at home with my brothers. 

You know, I've never been very lucky playing cards for money. 

But I do know how to play Blackjack. It isn't difficult, hey. 

However, the thought of playing at a brick-and-mortar casino fills me with horror. I look at the table and all the players doing their thing. It looks fun. There are people shouting things like ''Monkey'', ''Go Bitch'' and ''21''. I think I know what they are talking about most of the time. 

I once walked past and shouted: ''Monkey'' at the top of my voice and walked off. 

But the thought of sitting down at the table seems alien to me. It's like someone invites me to sit down and play and I'm pretty sure hidden inside the seat is a whoopee cushion which will echo a fart around the casino as I get comfortable. 

Like a nightmare, I run away from the table as my clothes fall off so I'm completely naked. I get to the door to find it's locked. Turning around, everyone is laughing like Alan Partridge.

Would you dare play if that was in your mind? 

I know logically, it isn't going to happen, but it's the fear of the fear. I listened to one of those Paul McKenna Self Confidence videos on YouTube, and I felt quite calmed but playing a game is a different matter. 

So, I just watch people play. 

The next time I go to Great Yarmouth Grosvenor Casino, I'm going in naked, bringing my own chair and a wallet stuffed with cash. 

I'm thinking if I can surprise the punters first, it will put me in a better position to stop any other problems in their tracks. 

If that doesn't work I'll shout out ''Fuck that Monkey''.