Archives » June 13th, 2003

June 13, 2003

Ormsby Update

Fresh today: three more pages in the Ormsby House Photo Gallery. There are a bunch of pictures in this update, including exciting shots of reopened streets! Poured concrete! Painted parking garages! Plus a reprint of my little Winchester Club rant! Who could ask for anything more?

Pages one, two and three.

The Winchester Club Opens

The Winchester Club opened in Carson yesterday, as evidenced by the high-tech 21st century sign shown above. The Winchester Club is the new mini casino that opened next to the Ormsby House, on the ground floor of the parking garage. The Ormsby House itself has been undergoing renovation for the last three years, and I’ve already said plenty on that subject. The Winchester Club is a way for the owners to finally get a return on their investment, since the renovation has been going on for way longer than anyone anticipated. And since I’m apparently the only Ormsby House authority on the Web, I felt it my duty to do a little sniffing around today.

The place had a good crowd, maybe 20 or 30 people. I was walking around, and I noticed that it’s a no-coin casino. Meaning the machines don’t take or give coins, only bills. This means two things: 1)you can’t walk around with a pocketful of change, hopping from one machine to the next, like I like to do. 2)When you cash out, it doesn’t even give you a cashier’s ticket or anything. The light flashes, and an attendant has to come over to hand over your winnings (or the few dollars you were able to salvage – either way). When I decided to pop in for a couple of minutes, I knew neither of these things. And #2 I didn’t find out until – well, let’s say until it was too late.

It is a fact that luck can be passed down genetically within families. I know this because bad luck is one of the hereditary traits in my family. And while the bad luck gene is recessive in me, it still does assert itself every now and then. Once I got into the Winchester Club and found out that my pocketful of change would be no good, I looked in my wallet and found a single dollar bill. I dropped it into a nearby nickel machine and started to play poker. My gambling luck was unusually good, and I had quickly built my pot up to four dollars. That was good enough for me, so I hit the Cash Out button. “Call Attendant — Pay $4.00” started to flash on the screen, and “We’re In The Money” started to play in that annoying casino-synth rhythm. I looked around; there were no attendants to be seen. I looked on top of my machine; the light was most definitely not flashing. And there were a couple of seedy guys in the area, so I didn’t want to abandon my machine to go find someone. So I sat there to wait for an employee.

Of course I had picked the one corner of the casino that the employees seem to avoid. Nobody was coming to my aid. The perky jingle my machine was playing was attracting some attention, though. “Four hundred dollars!?” somebody asked. “No, four,” I said sheepishly. I still didn’t want to get up. The guy next to me in particular looked like he’d have no problem “holding” my seat for me. So I waited. Finally a waitress came by, and I asked her to get an attendant for me. She disappeared around a bank of slot machines and didn’t come back.

While I was sitting there I somehow found the magical combination of buttons that turned the music off. So now my machine was just sitting there mocking me. “I have your four dollars”, it said menacingly. “And there’s nothing you can do about it.” After a while, the same waitress came back around the corner, and looked right through me like she didn’t remember. “I still need an attendant,” I said. “Oh, OK,” she answered, and proceeded to take drink orders around me. The poker machine kept on mocking me.

Finally an attendant came over and looked at my machine. “Oh, I guess the light didn’t turn on,” he said. “I’ll go get the guy with the money.” He disappeared around the corner too, and I thought my one chance had gone. But a few seconds later the man with the cash showed up, and proceeded to count out four wrinkled dollar bills to me. I thanked him, and stuffed the bills deep in my pocket. They weren’t getting any of these back, not after what I went through to get them.

So, I guess it’s good to see that after three years, there’s finally gambling taking place on the grounds of the Ormsby House. The main casino still sits dark and empty, though, even though work is taking place around the edges. And now that the Winchester Club is open, the workmen will be able to get right on the main building, I’m sure. I know I’ll be keeping my eyes open, and updating the photo gallery accordingly. But I don’t think I’m going to be doing a lot of gambling there.