Ultimate Level 1

Chapter 78: Gambling the night away
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Chapter 78: Gambling the night away

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The noise of the room took a few minutes to acclimate to. Maxs sonar skill had struggled at first to handle it, but after slowly moving around and steady breathing, the headache he had felt at first disappeared.

All over the massive room, with what must be fifteen-foot ceilings, were signs hanging above the different games one could play. Huge wheels were scattered around the room, spinning with various colors and symbols on them, earning groans or cheers depending on where they stopped.

Many tables had dice, and people gathered around them, blocking what was happening at them from Maxs view.

Some tables had cards, where the workers from the inn stood in their red outfits, handing out cards and keeping the game moving.

Everywhere was chaos. It was organized chaos but still chaos. Amidst the men and women of every race were servers bringing mugs of ale and colored drinks in fancy glasses.

Need help?

Max had felt someone coming near him, but it was hard to tell where they were headed in the mass of people.

Do I look that overwhelmed? Max asked as he turned and saw a female elf with a rare shade of red hair tied back in a braid. Her red outfit had a silver fringe along the collar and sleeves that differed from many other employees.

She smiled and nodded before waving her hand around the room. My name is Adharza, and I am one of the casino managers. I am happy to help introduce you to any of the games. Forgive me if I am forward, but you have never done this before, have you?

Unable to hold back his laughter, Max shrugged and nodded. Everyone keeps saying that. Is it that obvious?

She grinned back and nodded. I have done this for a while. One learns to spot those who are truly new at this, and you, sir

Seth.

You, sir, Seth, have that aura about you. Its nothing to be ashamed of, but we would prefer to make your first time more enjoyable.

I dont even know where to begin. It is a bit overwhelming, and I find it hard even to know where to start.

Adharza motioned toward a walkway on her right and smiled. Well, let me give you a tour.

Half an hour later, Max was back where he had started. She had shown him every game of chance in the casino and even handed him a card, worth two silver at one of the unique tables marked for first-time visitors. He waved as she walked off, moving to assist the next person she had noticed.

The first game he found mesmerizing involved a metal box with different gems. One would put a coin in the slot and pull on a handle. The lights would light up randomly, and depending on how the five gems across four different rows lit up one could walk away a winner.

He put a copper coin in and pulled, unable to look away as the lights flashed before slowly coming to a stop on a pattern that signaled he had lost. Five copper later and with no win coming, Max realized how much luck seemed to be a part of the game. Near him were others putting coin after coin into the slot and pulling fiercely on the handle. Some talked to the machine before each pull or said a prayer. Most never won, and the few that did never seemed to come out ahead.

Seeing the futility of this, he left, ignoring the flashing lights that called for his attention in search of another game to play.

Would you like to cash in that card?

Max nodded and handed the man at the large table with a flat wheel that had two arrows that would point to the winning spots. Across the stone table were different colors, numbers, and symbols. On the wheel were two separate sections, each with a place for one of the arrows to stop at. The outer edge only had two colors and numbers, while the inner edge had different images.

Put these tokens on any square with the yellow or blue numbers. If you win, the payout is based on the chart above. You can also play for the wheel. Choose the monster strength, and if you win on both ends, there is a multiplier for that as well.

Max tried to figure out the odds and was overwhelmed, so instead, he watched what the other six people near him were doing. Some bet on yellow only, while others bet on blue. A few put tokens on different numbers, claiming they were lucky. Only one bet on the monster ball.

Its easy, the elf said. If you win, choose if the monster will be higher or lower on the power end. The greater the difference between the middle two, the higher the multiplier if you are right.

Max nodded even though he didnt have a clue and copied the man. Putting one red token on yellow and the other on the monster square for lower.

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Spinning! the worker said, and he twisted both wheels, sending them around and around. The sound of the arrows clicking against the tiny pins on the circle rang out.

As the wheel began to slow down, a few more people leaned over to put more tokens on the table until the employee shouted, No more bets!

Anticipation gripped him as he realized how excited this made him feel. The wheel slowed down, and the outer circle clicked slower and slower. As it did, everyone at the table leaned in to see where it would stop.

Yellow 42!

Groans and cheers came from around him, and Max smiled, realizing he had won. The clicking sound caught his attention, and the other wheel inside was slowing down now.

Ogre!

The elf he had copied did a yes! followed by a slap to Maxs arm. We won both!

Tokens were handed out to Max, the elf, and a dwarf while the others groaned.

Eight tokens?

Congratulations, sir. You won both bets, so you made four times your money.

The elf smiled, and Max grinned. Thanks for helping me win!

Maybe you were my good luck, he replied. I dont win every time, but I enjoy this more than the other games.

Seven more rounds went by, and Max had managed to earn ten total tokens, having lost and won randomly.

Each time, though, he realized something was going on with the wheel. His skill let him hear the cadence. He watched it like a hawk and saw that once the dealer called no more bets it always did the same thing. It always made the same number of clicks before coming to rest.

At first, he wasnt certain, but he was right almost every time. The color was easy to get, but the number was more challenging as they flew by so fast. Three more games went by, and each time, he waited till near the last second, acting like he wasnt sure, mimicking the behavior of all the others next to him before putting a single token on the yellow or blue. Each time, he had been right on the color.

It looks like you are figuring it out! the elf exclaimed, impressed at Maxs luck.

Max laughed and shook his head. Its my first time, so Im just trying to guess.

The elf snorted, and Max noticed something in his sphere. A person had moved in and was watching him.

He lost the following two on purpose, picking the wrong color even though he did everything the same, and the person left.

Guess Im not as lucky as I hoped, Max complained, watching his tokens get retaken.

Max continued this pattern for thirty minutes, figuring out the rhythm even more. Winning, losing, and always staying near the same amount of tokens in the long run.

In the last five attempts, in his head, he picked the three numbers he guessed might win, and twice, he would have won. The odds werent as good, but still, they were better than nothing.

He had tried to figure out the monster wheel, but there was no pattern. It had its own movement, so he started to play with both.

When he felt ready to try big, Max was up twenty tokens.

Yawning, Max looked around the room. What time is it?

The worker smiled and pointed at a set of lights along the top. Two hours after sunset, sir.

Shaking his head, Max realized he had been here far longer than he had thought.

They dont use windows. Keeps us in here longer, and we lose more when tired.

Max saw the elf man sipping on some drink after talking.

Does anyone ever really play the numbers? I mean, I see a few, but why not? Max asked the man as the employee started the wheel again.

Fools bets, the elf hissed. Only a fool bets on those. Sure, the odds look amazing, but the chance of winning is slim.

Max nodded, his skill keeping track of the wheel as he pointed at the numbers. But you can play more than one, right?

The elf choked on his drink as he took a sip, and smacked his chest. As he cleared his throat, Max threw a bet on blue, knowing it would lose but acting like he had almost forgotten to bet.

Sure you can. You could put a token on every number but lose even more. In all my time, Ive seen only two people win on a number, and both times, it was with just a silver or two. Never enough to earn what they had lost.

What about the numbers and the monster square?

The man groaned, shaking his head as he wiped his tired face.

A few other groans came as the wheel stopped, and Max knew his token had been taken away.

You have to play an equal value on the monster and the highest bet on the board. You break even if the board is right on the color and the monster wrong. Get the color wrong and the monster right, and you get nothing.

Max nodded but grinned, pointing to the odds listed above. But bet on both and win both, and that would be a fortune.

Scoffing, the elf shook his head from side to side. Trust me. Its a fool's bet. There is a reason the house always wins. The fact you are up at all is a sign you should probably walk away and count this day a success.

Max shrugged as he pointed to the elfs stack of chips. Youre up, though. I mean, why dont you quit?

He started to laugh, and then the elfs laughter turned into a roar as he bent over and gave Max a playful tap on the arm. Because Im up. This is all I do now. Drink, watch people, and try to have more wins than losses. Like I said earlier, you seem to be my lucky charm. I havent had this great of a day in a while.

The wheel spun, and Max focused on it again.

If someone up there likes me, maybe they can help me win here

The dwarf beside him muttered a prayer to Ockrim, and Max tried not to sigh. He wasnt desperate enough just yet to start praying to the gods.

Yellow 28, blue 39, yellow 72, blue 13

No more bets!

You forgot to bet, the elf said as Max stared at the numbers.

Goblin shite, I did Max replied, knowing full well he had chosen not to for a reason.

Blue Thirteen!

Max kept his face straight but knew it was time to go big.

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