I have noticed quite a few people searching this E-rag for information regarding the new Maryland casino "Maryland Live!". Well, today I had occasion to visit and observe, having taken a pair of ladies to Baltimore-Washington International. Actually, I had much the same opportunity two days ago, but the gentleman paid me with cash. With his payment I had over three hundred cash in pocket, and I could ill-afford getting caught up in "casino fever" since all of those semoleons had a destination they were due at in a few hours.
But this morning was different. And I figured that five AM on a Sunday was probably not a peak gambling period and that table minimums would be dialed back and I could play three hands of ten dollar blackjack OR two hands if the minimum was fifteen.
BLACKJACK MINIMUMS STARTED AT FIFTY BUCKS WITH A CAP OF A GRAND. And as I said this on a Sunday morning with a very sparse bettor population.
Every other table card game had a minimum of $25. But most of these are games such as 4-card Poker where you have to make an initial bet and then after looking at your hand decide whether to fold (and lose your 25 bucks) or bet one to three times more to continue playing (and possibly lose another 25 ducats - or more). The only two exceptions were "Three Card Poker" with a minimum of fifteen bucks (and if you don't fold you lay down another fifteen smackeroos on the line. It's pretty fast paced, too; and your wallet can get hoovered fast even at a five-dollar 3-card table). That, and baccaraat; with a whopping hundred dollar minimum and a limit on "tie" winnings of $695.00 (Most other places, a tie bet pays 8 to 1)
Wow, what an effing clip-joint.
Well, out-of-control table minimums can be forgiven if the slots are decent. Maryland Live! has a good assortment at first glance. But for example you cannot just play one line on a nine-payline nickle slot. The machine forces you to play at least "nine credits" or $.45 (forty five cents) per pull of the handle. I will say this much for the joint: At these minimums they can't afford to piss off the Senior Citizen bus-ins too much, so the slots are not all that tight. I wound up wagering and ultimately losing about $27.00, but at one point I could have just left about $80.00 richer.
No matter. I had over $250 in credit card reciepts and vouchers that have to be turned in to the cab company before that revenue can be spent, and I still had about $30 cash in pocket when I left. I rather doubt I will be back. If you are the kind of bonehead who actually likes the idea of laying fifty bucks on the line for one hand of blackjack, then by all means stop doing it at Charles Town. Why should you when Maryland Live! is half the distance away and over better roads, to boot?
Meanwhile I'll bet Charles Town's "Hollywood Casino" is going to have to start bringing down table minimums due to the competition in Maryland. Guess I'll put in a CD of Flatt and Scruggs playing "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" and hope I don't break down on some damned foggy mountain in a few weeks when I revisit Charles Town with about five hundred bucks on me (and fifteen hundred more where I can't get at it). I'll let you all know how that works out.