By the time I did get back to Las Vegas, slot machines had changed. I was astounded that the denominations of coin one could play in a slot machine had increased from penny, nickle and quarter to dollar. Of course, I tried my hand at the dollar machines. I had some success, but of course, mostly losses. Nevermind, I was convinced that if I played them enough, I would eventually win big. I didn't. On subsequent trips, I learned to play Blackjack. It's a great game, but didn't hold the thrill and excitement of playing slots. Sitting in front of a slot machine, with nothing but the free drinks and my pack of cigarettes seemed to take me away from the present. The world belonged to just the machine and me. Once in a while, I'd hit a nice-sized jackpot, but overall, I still lost lots of money. About 8 years ago, while on another jaunt to Laughlin, Nevada, I ventured into the "High Roller Room" at the casino I always stayed at. In this room I discovered that I could bet in higher increments. My machine of choice was a $5.00 slot where two tokens were required to be eligible for the jackpot. So, at $10 a pop, I played my little heart out, and lost even more money. I had never heard of Texas HoldEm poker till last year. I had decided that if loved Blackjack and casino environments so much, why not learn to deal? I not only learned to deal Blackjack, but also Poker. I found myself so intrigued with poker that I started playing it online. It's been a roller coaster ride ever since. I've had stunning wins, but equally stunning losses. When a Native American casino opened in a town in California, not far from where I was living, I would drive an hour or so to it every couple of months. I continued to play slot machines, I continued to lose. About six months ago I admitted to myself that I, indeed, am a problem gambler. Admitting this fact and doing something about it are two different things. I keep thinking that if I could win just one big tounament then I could use that money to win back some of my losses. I'm not stupid. I know I'm deceiving myself with this thinking. I know there are resources available for problem gamblers, I just don't know if I'm ready to quit. Will I be like an alcoholic who has to reach rock bottom before I quit? Will I lose everything to this addiction? I'd say it's even odds.