Although our flight from LA wasn’t until 9.15pm, we weren’t taking any chances with getting there in time and left before lunch for a leisurely drive through the endless desert.
I thought the gambling was behind us, until we stopped for a toilet break in Barstow, CA.
A vending machine selling lottery scratchcard tickets. That’s almost as good as a slot machine! How could I resist?
With a car full of all our worldly posessions, we played tag team toilet. I went first and came back with two scratchcards. Then when we didn’t win, Claire got two more.
These two are simple “match the numbers” games. You’ll see that we didn’t even bother scratching off the prize boxes, so we’ll never know just how much we could have won – if only the cards had been a winning ones.
The next was a crossword game where you had to take a letter at a time from the list at the top and scratch them off the crossword grid and see if you made a word.
We made one three-letter word (“age”) and you need two or more to get paid.
Whereas it took only a few seconds to find out that the other cards were losers, this one kept us going for a good ten minutes.
Finally, there was a poker-themed game, where your hand had to beat the dealer’s to win a prize. So as not to alienate anyone not familiar with the rules of poker, there was a hand ranking guide on the back of the card.
Our dealer had trips, so it wasn’t going to be easy.
The first four cards making a flush draw for twenty five grand could have been an exciting bit of a wind up, except that inexplicably I was scratching from right to left.
I still don’t know why, but it meant that we never really saw anything come close to a win, except for a gutshot straight draw for $75. Yes, we did both shout for the deuce.
My scratchcard experience is pretty limited but I was fairly impressed with this range of gameplay options - from the quick gambling fix to the chilled out game that you actually have to think about.
We were offered one final chance to gamble, at the airport. In a terminal dogged by construction, the baggage scanners were just plonked on the floor in a busy area quite close to the doors, with a bit of that stretchy barrier stuff they use in Post Office queues around them.
“You can just leave them there, I’ll take care of it from here”, said someone who apparently worked for the airport, as we approached the barrier.
Upside: not having to stand and wait for thirty seconds.
Downside: could be quite severe.
After careful consideration, I decided not to take that bet.