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atlantic city

The Gong Casino in Atlantic City

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Did the casino make its point with me? You bet your ass it did. For months, every time I went to Atlantic City I avoided the Gong casino like the plague. I didn't go in for a drink or even to use their men's room. I don't think I would have gone there even if they'd had great King Crab claws.

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Then, one day on the bus headed to Atlantic City, it suddenly dawned on me that I was doing it all wrong. Instead of avoiding the casino, I should use my wiles and hit back, but v-e-r-y carefully. They ripped me off for almost $2,000, so for the next twenty trips my primary goal would be to win $100 there each time. The Gong was about to taste the vengeance of my weapons of discipline and restraint—-my "Hit and Run."

With trepidation—I was scared shitless—I returned to the Gong casino for the first time in eight months. With my $2,000 in seed money at an "outside" (non-pit) $10 minimum blackjack table— no baccarat pit tables for me!—I played blackjack as close to the chest as I ever played it in my life. Slowly, I ground away, painfully winning two $5 chips at a time. Every time I lost a hand it was a tug at my heart. After an eternity of betting, I finally ground out my $100 and headed directly for the cashier's cage. $100 down,- a minimum of $1,900 more to go.

With winged feet I left the Gong casino. Even when I had won that $31,125 in Las Vegas so many years ago I don't think I experienced the same euphoria that I felt winning the crooked casino's $100.

Having broken the ice, my next visit to the casino was not so stressful. I even felt comfortable enough to return to the $25-min-imum blackjack tables. I won $275 rather quickly. I hit and I ran.

I felt so invigorated and confident that I actually made a second foray to the Gong casino before boarding the bus home, and I won another $ 125.

Four hundred dollars from the Gong for the day! At that point I had recouped a two-trip total of $500 from the Gong's cashier's cage. Another grand-and-a-half to go. . . .

When I next returned to Atlantic City, 1 was no longer intimidated by the rogue casino. Not only was I at ease there, but I even made it my first stop off the bus so that, if I had time later, I'd go back for a second helping. I had time. And I had my second helping. Total win for the day at the Gong: $625.

Regrettably, the rest of that visit to the seashore was a total waste. The $625 I won from the Gong, and most of my $6,000 seed money were swept away by a string of losing tables all across the city. No one can win all the time, or even most of the time. However, no net loss could detract from the sweet satisfaction of winning that $625 at the hated Gong!

Through the years since then I've made a lot of hit-and-run trips to the seashore. There has been no pattern to my excursions, with one marked exception: I always make an obligatory pit stop at the hated Gong casino to win something. Perhaps it was bull-headed of me to once have spent an hour-and-a-half of my precious five-hour scheduled visit to Atlantic City just to grind out a meager $35 win there, but goddammit, that $35 was sweeter than the $600 I won at the Next Casino on my tour.

In recent years I've had to curtail my Atlantic City trips because of an unfortunate accident. I was run over, dragged, and seriously injured by a garbage truck. (My premature obituary even was printed in a local newspaper!) Though my visits are fewer than they were, one remnant of my former agenda remains rigidly in place: the obligatory visit to the Gong casino. And I still refuse to walk out the door without some of their money in my pocket!

I've always felt awkward telling people of being cheated by a major Atlantic City casino by having my chips stolen off the table right in front of my eyes. Many of my friends have looked at me skeptically when I told the story. Why would a multimillion-dollar casino risk its license to steal a couple of thousand in chips from a player?

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