The year was 2006 AD.
The summer I joined the army.
A month or so before turning into a useless pawn for the government, a cousin of mine living in the US flew over to visit me.
As a tourist visiting Helsinki for the first time, he wanted to experience some fun.
So I took him to the Grand Casino downtown where he lost a few grand at the roulette table.
No biggie, he said. For someone involved in the banking world losing pocket change like that made no difference.
Fast forward a few years and I met my cousin again in Philadelphia. He had just purchased a house for his wife and newborn daughter in Baltimore.
Over beer and burgers, he told me he had lost five figures gambling in Vegas - something he made me swear I'd keep under wraps from the missus.
I'm sure he's not the first, or last, guy to burn through the green stuff at the Bellagio.
Each year tens of thousands travel to Vegas, only to leave in a worse mood than they arrived - thanks to gambling away money they shouldn't have.
A few dastardly casino tricks you want to be aware of next time you visit Sin City:
* No windows
You won't find any windows inside most casinos - a trick of the trade to help you lose your sense of time.
The longer you stay inside a casino, the higher your chances of leaving with a lighter wallet.
* Captivating lights, sounds and activity
A casino is a cacophony of wonderful and alluring stimulation: bells ringing, siren-like lights flashing, change clanging, slot wheels whirring, digital sounds beeping - it’s all captivating.
Why is it captivating?
Because it’s non-verbal communication screaming:
"Win! Win! Win!"
It gives the impression that everyone is winning when, in reality, most are losing.
* Free booze for gamblers
The casinos love a drunk. Downing liquor makes you too confident and you'll end up making sucker bets you normally wouldn't.
So go easy on the gratis White Russians.
* The casinos will want to change your money into chips as soon as possible
Most people are looser with chips than notes. They don't seem as precious as real money.
The lights. The ambiance. The chance that you might actually win a jackpot makes vacations to casinos exciting for many.
Until you realize it's just a losing proposition.
If I were a betting man, I'd cash in all my chips, leave the glamor behind. Place my Benny Franklins on Next Level Hockey Training 2.0.
The odds of making great strength gains on it are stacked heavily in your favor.
Though I must warn you there's a good chance you'll get addicted to lifting.
The program comes with an unconditional, 365-day money back guarantee - making it the farthest thing from a gamble.
And you'll come away as a winner every time you finish a workout.
Can't say that when touring the casinos in Vegas, can you?
Roll the dice and claim your prize at: