return to, the home of critical reviews

The Casino, Leicester Square

From:     Dave Death
Category: Life
Date:     25 June 2007
Time:     11:35 AM


For a degenate compulsive gambler, it is strange that until last Friday I had never been in a casino.  
But at 11pm I found myself in Leicester Square, having just seen a film; my friend had left and I had an 
hour to kill before the last tube.  I happened to be in a suit and have my passport on me.  I had in my 
pocket 125, of which 90 was for my rent. So, I thought, why not visit the much-hyped Casino, a 
place which its promotional blurb erroneously declares has "literally" brought Las Vegas to London.    
There wasn't much of a queue to join up and I was soon inside.  

The ground floor has restaurants and bars - the low lighting giving a suitably louche atmosphere.  I 
could see myself hanging around here.  I think it would be a good pick-up joint, if you wanted to pick 
up the sort of girl who hangs around casinos - and who wouldn't? 

They have a  poker room, but despite it being a Friday night it was closed.  I saw the schedule of 
when they have games, and it seems like it will continue to be an underutilised facility. This is a 
shame, because I can't imagine how soft the games would be if they were to regularly spread low/mid-
stakes cash tables.

I went downstars to look at the table games.  I was hoping to be impressed by high-rollers gambling 
massive sums, but having seen online poker players flipping (i.e. pushing both agreeing to push their 
money in with random cards) for $80,000 earlier in the week I was bound to be underwhelmed. The 
Casino's roulette tables were full, but mostly by people betting 1 chips. Seeing the huge piles of 
unlucky chips get pushed into the drop box at the end of every spin did make me wonder why anyone 
bothered with this stupid game.

I saw more money being spent at the blackjack tables, but even then the maximum bets are quite low. 
I watched punto bacco for a while, not understanding what was happening.   They also have three 
card poker which is played against the dealer.  This was the nearest to a game that would tempt me. I 
didn't see any craps.

They were doing  a good business, and people had clearly dressed up.  You are at present allowed 
to smoke throughout.  The vast majority of the clientele was Chinese or Asian. I wonder what effect 
this place will have on Chinatown - probably it will bankrupt it! Or maybe it will take custom away from 
existing backroom places nearby which neither you nor I know about. 

I left just before midnight.  I would like to tell you I went on an Archie Karas-style run - the legendary 
Vegas gambler who turned a few thousand into $18 million in a few weeks, at one point having all the 
$5,000 chips in ciculation at the Borgata- and walked out of there a freshly-minted millionaire. 

Or that I gambled and lost all my money, my passport, my mobile phone, my door keys, my shoes 
shirt suit and dignity, and that they threw me through the swing doors a naked, broken man.

Sadly, however, I spent no money whatsoever.  But I'm glad this place exists.

return to, the home of critical reviews