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When my buddies from the Fire Department asked me to go to Mohegan Sun with them for one of their birthdays, I was a little taken back. I had never been to a casino, and my idea of a casino was a large structure filled with suit-wearing highrollers. I'll be honest, initially I resisted and tried to deny going... But I was eventually talked into it. At the time I didn't have that great of a job - I was working part-time for the town. Luckily I had some money saved up - enough for travel, food, a hotel room, and some gambling - and went off with my buddies across the Long Island Sound via the ferry to Connecticut.

With some careful planning we found some travel system that gave us vouchers to the casino if we took the ferry and stayed at a specific hotel, so we took the offer. This is why I won't be reviewing the hotel portion of Mohegan Sun, as I have never stayed there. At my first sight of Mohegan Sun I was amazed - a large, lit-up building - a beautiful sight from the roadway in which we were coming on from. At this point I was pretty nervous - I didn't know what to expect, how to act, what to do.

Do I play slots? Is there standards to playing certain games? Where's the bar? I know, I know - all thoughts that may seem silly, but I was the only person in the group at the time that had not been to an actual casino. When we made our way into one of the entrances I was pretty skeptical. We went to a window and got some vouchers for food through the travel system in which we took (we were also transported by the hotel by their van).

Then we made our way into a large, open room with hundreds of slot machines. Anywhere and everywhere I looked all I saw was slot machines and gambling games. The place was jaw-dropping for a newcomer, but I thought that maybe, just maybe, that that was it. Maybe that room was the whole casino - or at least a large portion. It seemed reasonable at the time. But then we progressed further into the casino, each area becoming more complex and awe-inspiring.

Restaurants were bountiful, slot machines lit up the room, and intricate designs and artistic structures that were contained within would give butterflies to any casino amateur. We went on a Saturday night, so the casino was packed. I tried the slots - no luck for me. I tried my luck at the roulette table - my amateurness in gambling getting me in trouble for touching the chips too soon after a completed round - oops! Well, we all learn. By this point I had lost some money, but not much, and we went to dinner.

The array of restaurants and shops within this colossal structure gives consumers so many choices. Music was being played, people were mingling, and people smoked openly within the building (there are off-limit areas). So, if you fancy, you can sit at a slot machine, get some free drinks, and smoke some cigarettes. Oh, did I mention the drinks were free? Yes - workers at the casino walk around with a platter taking drink orders (you may have to ask). While the drinks are free, they're nothing huge.

But, hey, you can't beat free - especially when it comes to free alcohol. Just make sure to throw the workers a tip. The dinner and food was great - the vouchers paying for almost the whole meal for all of us combined. From the restaurant (I can't remember the name of it, but I think it was "Margaritaville", or something like that) you could look over the casino. Music was playing, http://slotoff.com/ drinkers were plentiful, and the food was immaculate.

Afterwards we played some more games. No luck for me, of course. I watched some friends at the Blackjack table. Although I wanted to get on one of the tables for fun, the place was so packed that I walked around for 45 minutes before I found a vacancy on my friend's table. Sitting at the table I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Fright struck my heart as the dealer asked me to cut the deck and then dealt the cards.

I lost, and lost, until my initial $40 had vanquished in just moments. I hesitated, and threw down another $40 the table - it was on. Keep in mind, I am not an avid gambler. While I may know the fundamentals of Blackjack, I didn't know some more "advanced" rules and procedures in the game, nor the casino code for hand gestures for hitting and passing.

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