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21st Birthday guide to casinos

By Tom Teixeira
On October 12, 2012

Students from every school celebrate their 21st birthdays differently. If you go to school in a city, you are likely to have dinner at an upscale restaurant before hitting the block's edgiest club. If you go to school in the middle of nowhere, expect a house party with some friends. You might even get a keg or birthday cake if you are lucky.
UConn has its own traditions -notably browsing the aisles of our many package stores or going for a Birthday Beaver at Ted's. While Storrs looks like a place hours from any form of civilized entertainment, the school's placement in "The Quiet Corner" of Connecticut conveniently places it less than an hour from two of the world's greatest entertainment meccas.
About 30 miles southeast of Storrs, surrounded by wilderness, sit two of the world's largest casinos. Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods are destinations in and of themselves. Both boast luxury hotels, shopping malls, fine and casual dining, stacked music and comedy line-ups, golf, bars, clubs and, of course, thousands of slot machines and table games.
Aside from stargazing or sports, UConn is a school not necessarily known for its busy nightlife. But if you are looking for something crazy to do for you or your friend's 21st birthday, try one or both of Connecticut's casinos. To help you make the most of your trip, here are some casino dos and don'ts.
Do - Dress up. Its easy to feel like a million bucks at a casino. Luxurious decor, gourmet food, a professional staff and a pocket full of chips will make anyone feel like a big shot. Make the most of it and dress the part. Nobody needs to know that you are really a liberal arts student with a B average.
Don't - Play a game without knowing the rules. Knowing the rules of a table game or card game may not only increase your chances of winning, but is the courteous thing to do. Other players appreciate a quick, clean game. It is a sign of disrespect both toward the dealer and other players to ask for lengthy explanations, take unnecessary cards or bet incorrectly.
Do - Eat. Both casino's boast impressive menus. Mohegan Sun features Todd English's Tuscany, Bobby Flay's Bar Americain, Michael Jordan's Steakhouse and Frank PePe's Pizzeria Napoletana. Foxwoods houses half a dozen of their own gourmet restaurants, as well as a Hard Rock Cafe.
Don't - Bring an ATM card. Bring a set amount of cash for food, gas and gambling and stick to it. If you win, you'll leave a happy guy/girl, but if you lose, you can hang your hat, and your bank account, on the fact that you played responsibly,
Do - Enjoy the free drinks. Yes, the rumors are true. If you are gambling at the casino, staff will serve you alcoholic beverages for the price of a tip.
Don't - Drink too much or at all while playing. Casinos serve alcohol because it impairs your judgement. A beer or two while you play might be nice, but gambling and drinking should not mix. Do not be the mouse who cannot resist the peanut butter.
Do - Designate a sober driver. This one is obvious - it is not responsible or safe for you, your passengers or fellow casino patrons to drive drunk. As if the act itself was not bad enough, cops know that the casinos are popular watering holes and patrol these areas constantly.
Don't - Go in alone. Both casinos are massive and crowded. Traveling in a pack makes the place safer, easier to navigate and more fun.
The casinos are both potentially fun and exciting places to spend a 21st birthday, whether you are the lucky guy/girl or just a member of his/her entourage. Fasten your ties and strap on your heels, get in the car and roll the dice-as long as you drink and play responsibly, you are nearly guaranteed a good time.

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