Blackjack! That phrase is music to my ears. Every year, I take a vacation to Black Bear Casino in Carlton, Mn. (near Cloquet and Duluth). One of the motives is so I can meet up with my grandparents in Duluth to catch up, as we do not have many opportunities to see each other what with busy schedules. The main reason is that a trip to a casino provides the opportunity to vacation for free.

Last week was my chance to go on vacation. When I tell people I vacation at at Black Bear casino, I'm typically greeted with jokes and or blank responses such as "huh" or "never heard of it". Thats part of the draw. The hotel rates are reasonable and since we go during the week, it is a relaxing atmosphere and rooms are not in high demand.

Another positive to a casino vacation is that you don't need to drive for food. Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner buffets are served daily and at a reasonable price (unless it is seafood night).

Ultimately, the greatest part of a casino vacation is the presence of hope. Hope that this is the time I get lucky. Hope that I get dealt the good cards. Hope that I get 3 cash boxes on "Deal or No Deal" (apparently thats how you win the big bucks). I have a chance to win back the money I spent on a couple nights at a hotel, and a few trips to the buffet. It is high risk, because most of the time the house wins. But the reward is worth playing the game.

In 4 trips, I've lost the game every time. Next time I'm going to win.