Gambling's In My Blood By Amberly Ashton Do you remember the first time you ever placed a bet? Or pulled your first reel on a slot machine? I sure can but my first gambling experiences are probably much different than yours. Whenever we went to my Grandparent's house for the weekend there was always a poker game or something going on. The money is what I remember most and it was always piled up in the middle of the table. After pulling it to them, the winner would always take a few minutes to stack their money up into a nice organized pile. I always pulled up a chair and watched every single move of this fast pace game. To me it was the coolest thing ever, especially because you could win real money! On one occasion when we arrived at my Grandparent's house I heard my Grandpa, my two Aunts and a couple of their friends. I found them all in the kitchen. They were all sitting on the floor in a circle. The money wasn't in the middle like before but was in front of each player. They all took turns rolling the dice. What was so funny is my Grandpa would always say these strange phrases. He would refer to the number 4 as "Little Joe", a 10 as "Double Nickels" and a 3 as "Craps". Seeing all the excitement and everyone battling against each other made me determined to play this game! When he would roll he would tell the dice "Baby needs a new pair of shoes" or "7 come 11" but my Aunts' would be against him saying "7 up and I quit". I was smart, even for my young age. Since I wasn't able to play yet I became the waitress by getting them snacks and drinks! Now even I was winning money. Skip ahead a few years and you would find me with my Mom on the Air Force Base playing bingo twice a week. I used my $10 a week allowance to buy my own cards. At the end of the night I would walk around and grab all the bingo cards I could find. I would then daub the unmarked numbers on the cards so that all numbers were covered. I made a Bingo sign and put it at the end of my driveway. Kids would come over and I would be the caller. I charged them a quarter a card. When someone yelled Bingo I would confirm it and give them a prize! It was always a snack, stuffed animal or toy I no longer wanted. I loved all aspects of gambling! When my Mom would have a garage sale I would purchase some of her items because she always had really nice stuff at crazy low prices. I would take the items I bought and put higher price tags on them. This plan worked out wonderfully! I didn't realize this was a form of gambling too. I just knew it was exciting and I loved it! One Friday evening at my Grandparents, the night had finally come. I was able to play my first game of craps! It was scarier than I thought it would be, especially when you had to bet a dollar all away around the table. Even with my fear it was the most thrilling thing I had ever done! Actually, I was a natural at the game! I had done really good that night and walked away with the most I had ever won. When my Dad got there I just knew he would be so proud of me. He burst my bubble real quick when he said I was not to gamble anymore and if I did I would have to pay a fine. Looking back I should have listened to him but after we all went to Bingo the next night I just couldn't stop myself. After getting a bingo I had $70 and I really wanted to play craps again when we arrived home. Luck was still on my side. I couldn't believe I was taking money from people who were much older than me. At the end of the night I had $150. Not bad at all for a 12 year old! Well of course my Dad found out about me playing again. He was serious about the fine as well. He did fine me and I payed him $75. I was mad at the time but now I know he was trying to protect me from gambling. Unfortunately, it didn't work. Just like my family, gambling is in my blood and has been a part of me for a very long time.