Casino Baden-Baden

Baden-Baden – Day 1

On Thursday, Val and I took the train (actually 3) to Baden-Baden, the famous casino and spa town. We arrived in the afternoon and walked around before having dinner. We ultimately ended up in this bizarre little restaurant filled with smoke and chicken dolls hanging from the walls. This oddity aside, the food was really good and I found my new favorite German dish: maltauschen. Think big ravioli. Kinda.

Casino Interior

The big event of the night though was to visit the Casino Baden-Baden. This was unlike any casino I have been to in the States (and was certainly not Vegas). For one, it cost money just to enter and there was a strict dress code of jacket and tie. Once inside, we found ourselves surrounded in a lavish room filled with much older German and Russian men. The atmosphere looked something straight out of a James Bond movie. What was even more unexpected was that the place was quiet, save for the clicking of chips and the spin of the roulette ball. Everyone inside was stoic, walking about gravely. We spotted only 3-4 other women there at most. It was also much smaller than any casino I’ve been to. It being a Thursday night, only 4 roulette tables and 1 blackjack table was open.

Given the grandeur of the place, I was surprised to find that the minimum bets were extremely low (10 euros per hand in blackJack, only 2 euros for roulette). Granted, most folks played much much more than that, which made playing side by side with them even more funny.

We played roulette mainly, which was a little odd without the usual cheers and jeers, but still pretty fun. I played a few hands at the lone Blackjack table which was exciting, despite not doing particularly well. Interestingly, an old man was playing 4 of the 7 positions on the table with 200+ euros per hand and was just bleeding money like crazy. The vein on his temple pulsated as he cursed under his breath, hah. The whole experience was quite surreal and it was actually one of my favorite on my trip. I only wish I could’ve recorded video of it!

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