Gambling is the one really degenerate facet of prison Ive yet to delve into more than a passing mention. From the choose-your-own-adventure viewpoint, the joint also functions as a shantytown casino where poker chips are old playing cards and antes are a soup each. There’s a poker table in every big day room, where there’s also spades and pinochle games; a half dozen tickets for any sport, square boards, etc. etc. For Nascar races, you can pick a name of a driver out of a hat for a buck each. I’ve even seen a roulette table, although im not quite sure how that works because there’s no ball to roll. Personally, my favorite poison in this regard is fantasy football, although that’s almost more a social thing than a gambling one. (btw, there’s no better small talk fodder for regular ass dudes who dont know each other well.) Bragging rights are almost as good as the cash prize.
Fortunately, Ive never been much of a gambler in my life. Sure, ive gone on scratch-out binges when I was xannied or addied out or both–“xaneralled”–and a pocketful of money. In similar states of mind, but double the dosage, Ive gone to the three casinos in downtown Detroit a dozen times. The first time I ever walked into a casino I put a five into a random slot machine and walked away 5 minutes later $125 richer. Even irrationally-self-confident high on vyvance, I would only ever drop $80 on slots or roulette before calling it quits.
Dont get it twisted: ill make a good bet if I see one. However, Im too self-conscious of the long odds and general uncertainty of gambling money to get lost in the sauce. That, and I swear Im a little Jewish deep in my soul. (Of course, some people gamble, like those who play the lottery, and spend that couple of dollars to feel the glimmer of a hope of a better future.)
As far as addictive dopamine hits go, Im pretty indifferent to the thrill of gambling, unlike drugs, which Ive done enough of (and have enough related problems) for several lifetimes.