Casinos are known for their clever methods of parting gamblers from their money. Among the most obvious ploys are the removal of windows and clocks from the gaming area as well as the installation of carpeting with garish designs, all intended to keep patrons awake and playing in timeless limbo through the wee hours of the morning. There are also the “comps,” from free room stays and meals to loyalty points worth cash and gifts, which provide added inducement for betting a bit more.
Not to be overlooked, too, are the complementary drinks served to players by provocatively dressed cocktail waitresses. The casinos are well aware that table game and slot machine patrons who load up on free alcohol are easy marks, more likely to over-bet, overstay and overspend. Chips and credits seem less like real money when one is well lubricated, which is all the more reason to use the gratis beverage service against the casino and to one’s own advantage by ordering tea instead of beer or wine.
Varieties and Sources of Tea
Historically, tea has been the beverage of choice in Asia for some 5,000 years. Habitual tea drinking has been a part of British culture since the 17th century, when the Portuguese princess, Catherine, married Charles I of England and included chests of black tea as a part of her dowry. This launched the great English tea drinking tradition and the custom of afternoon tea, which soon made its way to the American colonies. It was in the United States that tea bags and iced tea were later invented.
Today, no beverage other than water is more widely consumed than tea—from the green tea preferred in Japan and the jasmine tea popular in China to the Orange Pekoe common in North America and the Earl Grey so prevalent in the U.K. So-called “true teas” are cultivated from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis tree and include white tea, yellow tea, green tea, oolong and black tea—the difference is in how they are processed to attain different levels of oxidation. Such teas typically come from China, India, Sri Lanka and countries in Southeast Asia.
What all Camellia sinensis derived teas have in common is their caffeine content. By contrast, so-called “herbal teas” such as sage, chamomile, peppermint or hibiscus are actually infusions that come from a wide variety of plants. With the exception of the nutritious yerba mate tea found in South America, they contain no caffeine.
Benefits to Gamblers
The obvious initial benefit of drinking tea in a casino situation is heightened alertness. That comes courtesy of the caffeine boost. Black tea, for example, contains about 60~90 milligrams (mg) of caffeine per eight-ounce cup, while green tea contains 35~70 mg and white tea has 30~55 mg. The same amount of coffee, by comparison, contains a jolting 150-200 mg. Most energy drinks have around 100~240 mg.
Drinking tea also induces a feeling of relaxation and wellbeing. That’s partly because it causes dilation of the veins, which means blood flows more freely and is more readily supplied to the brain. Additionally, black tea helps reduce the amount of the stress hormone known as cortisol contained in the blood.
Another positive aspect of drinking tea is how it may help increase stamina. One study has shown that older people who drink green tea, in particular, are able to perform normal daily activities for a much longer period than those who do not. In the long-term, those people were also able to avoid functional disability and remain independent longer.
The bottom line is that drinking tea in a casino is a great beverage alternative. It can keep blackjack players sober, help them feel more alert, boost their mental and physical performance, and even elevate their moods. And unlike the side effects of coffee or energy drinks, tea won’t cause jittery feelings, elevate pulse rates or raise blood pressure—conditions that can really put players off their game.