Business Irish

Thursday 29 September 2016

€200 gone in 10 seconds as drunken gamblers hit late-night casino to 'spend a few quid'

Robin Schiller

Published 03/05/2016 | 02:30

Online betting has kept many gamblers away from traditional bookmakers – but our casinos and poker halls are flourishing. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire...A
Online betting has kept many gamblers away from traditional bookmakers – but our casinos and poker halls are flourishing. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire...A

One man is gambling away his student grant. Another is using a large portion of his pay packet, received hours earlier, to fund his game.

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The croupier throws out a flop, players leaning over the table eagerly anticipating the next card.

Online betting has kept many gamblers away from traditional bookmakers - but our casinos and poker halls are flourishing.

There is an arcade of some description on nearly every street corner in the capital.

Over three hours in one of Dublin's popular poker haunts, I witnessed vast amounts of money being spent.

In a quiet back alley off one of the capital's busiest streets, hundreds and thousands of euro exchange hands in a game of poker.

The Texas Hold'em game is completely legal, but in some cases young men and students were throwing their week's earning into the pot. A number of the men were clearly intoxicated, but the cashier gladly exchanges their money for poker chips.

The atmosphere is tense, with the players focused on the cards being dealt by the croupier.

By the time 'the River', or last card, is drawn, the table is down to three players.

And by the time the players show their cards, the pot has over €300 in it. "Trip Queens," one player exclaims excitedly, as he gathers in his large winnings. The other man, defeated, leaves the table.

As the night turns into the early morning, the number of players diminishes while the value of the pot available grows.

By 4am, there are thousands of euro at stake. One player, who is down €300 in a half-an-hour period, hands his bank card to the cashier to collect another three-figure sum of chips.

Although players must have identification to enter the premises, inside it seems very relaxed.

The premises serves alcohol, only further clouding the judgement of some irrational gamblers throwing their money away. At €1 a bottle, the price is too tempting for most.

Most gamble sensibly, sticking to small figures. But others are intent on "chasing" their losses. The end result is invariably the same across the board.

One young man even explains that he'll have to wait for "the first bus" as he hasn't got the money for a taxi home.

He laughs, but then awkwardly shuffles out of the casino.

In another room, mainly filled with roulette wheels, drunken punters stop in from a nightclub to "spend a few quid", as one puts it. "Two-hundred euro on red," he eventually says to the dealer. After a brief spin of the wheel, the dealer's response - "black" - is met with a deep sigh.

Despite being left penniless for the night, most agree they'll be back next weekend - and the cycle will go on.

The house will always win.

Irish Independent

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