Although not as flashy and disorienting as Vegas or Reno, Dublin’s seedy alleyways can provide some mid-night entertainment at a time when you seem almost invisible to all suburb-bound taxis.

Myself and two good friends happened to be in this situation last weekend and, after becoming extremely bored of shouting abuse at passing cabdrivers, decided that the only way to wait this out in style was to procure (or lose) some money at one of these fine establishments.

elmersherwinProviding no indication of a gambling house but a stalwart doorman and a legless drunk, we managed to enter the doors without any hassle – cash in hand being sufficient identification. They didn’t even seem to mind how drunk we were.

However, if you’re a noob to this sort of place, they want to take your photograph so they know that you’re not there simply to take advantage of the free €10 token “to get you started” (don’t even bother trying to get these exchanged for cash as they are specifically marked).

With that in mind, we proceeded to the only table that was free, Blackjack being the game on offer. Not knowing how to play or stand properly, we flung our chips in the general direction of the dealer in the hope that something would happen.

In the blink of an eye she had all the cards out and ready to play. Momentary bewilderment ensued. She had dealt me a pair of eights and, thinking that I had more luck than a boiled pigeon, I proudly said the words “hit me”.

How did it feel to lose €10 in ten seconds? -Unbelievable. Especially since I had obtained a third ‘eight’. My friends had better luck however, and managed to stay on long enough to lose thirty quid.

Meanwhile, I decided to look around and find out where I had gone wrong, and at this I was reminded of Hunter S. Thompson: “men hanging on until five o’clock on a Sunday morning, still humping the American Dream. Like taking a pep-pill when all you really want to do is sleep.”

Evident proof of this was available. There were no women or cigarettes, but there was certainly still men chugging back espressos, desperate just to win – it had gone beyond money.

Reeling back out of this cloud of ambiguity, I slowly ambled back towards my friends for fear of being sucked in to something less tolerable than an old woman’s rant.

It was too late however. They were no longer my friends. They had reached a state of perpetual gambling. Nothing could cure them. They were gone until they were broke.

I left with a feeling that sometimes, rather than visiting one of these casinos, you’ll probably be better off just to open your front door, throw a fifty to the wind and go back inside to watch a poker tournament just to see someone else lose.

But don’t let this stop you. Try it for yourself – at worst it provides a cosy shelter until a taxi becomes available.

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