A pair of blind daters go all in at newly expanded Sycuan Casino Resort.
In the game of love, there are two types of people: there are the types of people who bet wisely and keep their hands close to the vest, and there are the types of people who go all in and put everything on the line. Because what is dating if not a game of chance? Much like gambling, finding love involves a bit skill and a bit of luck. You’ve also got to trust your gut (and it helps if you have a good poker face).
So what better place for this month’s blind daters to test their luck than the newly remodeled Sycuan Casino Resort? In March, Sycuan unveiled the results of its $247 million expansion, which added a hotel tower, pool area with dedicated adult and children’s pools, plus a lazy river, a new spa and fitness center and a handful of new eateries and entertainment venues.
In other words, it’s the perfect setting for this month’s sizzling blind date and the ideal place to find out what types of daters (and gamblers) Zach and Andrea are. They’ve just met in an Epic Limo that has been stocked with Pacifico beers and is shuttling them out to El Cajon for a night of blackjack, cocktails and getting to know one another.
Do they get lucky? Let’s find out while we meet our daters via their pre-date interviews.
Where are you from and where do you live now?
ANDREA: I was born in Mexico City, moved to Houston at 12 years old and now I live in San Diego.
ZACH: Born and raised in Indiana, now living in San Diego.
How old are you?
ANDREA: 27 years old.
ZACH: 24 years old as new.
What do you do for a living?
ANDREA: A little bit of this, a little bit of that. I am an influencer and a personal trainer.
ZACH: Pipe-layer, thanks for asking. As a skilled tradesman, I lay the pipe all day all around the city.
What’s your Instagram handle?
ZACH: You can find me @ZGiess.
Currently, what dating apps can be found on your phone?
ANDREA: None, I have never used one.
ZACH: Is this a trick question? Which one did we meet on again?
Where can you be found on the weekends?
ANDREA: If I am in San Diego, I’m at home with my dog. If not, traveling somewhere.
ZACH: If I’m not tending to my vast collection of aglets, you’d most likely find me at the beach, or out at the bars.
What are you best at?
ANDREA: Working out.
ZACH: Conversation, having fun and learning new things.
What do you suck at?
ANDREA: Math, and hiding my facial expressions. If I don’t like something/somebody, you will know, no doubt.
ZACH: I’m really bad at sleeping quietly. I talk a bunch and for that reason, I have no idea what my friends know about me.
What are you looking for in a date, physical or otherwise?
ANDREA: I’m pretty new to dating. Honestly, I was in a long-term relationship and haven’t really been on an actual date since, so I guess just someone that can make me laugh and make things not awkward.
ZACH: Under the circumstances of a “blind” date, I wasn’t really “looking,” but I hope she’s cute.
Why do you think you’ll be a good date?
ANDREA: (Laughs) I don’t really, but I am very easy-going and fun to be around.
ZACH: I do well in spontaneous situations like this, and I know how to have a hell of a time.
Describe your special brand of sex appeal in a Tweet.
ANDREA: I have no idea.
ZACH: Zagnut creamy with every bite.
Rate yourself on a scale from one to 10 for looks.
ANDREA: I would like to say an eight, if I’m being generous, but people seem to think I’m a solid 10 (laughs). I guess be your own biggest fan.
ZACH: Mom says I’m a 10, but I’m not into her.
Rate yourself on a scale from one to 10 for personality.
ANDREA: Eight. I’m kind of shy at first and my best friends have told me at the beginning I’m not the most friendly person.
ZACH: Eight during the work week, 10 on the weekends.
What’s your cocktail of choice?
ANDREA: Tequila pineapple.
ZACH: Nothing beats Sand in the Crack on the beach.
What’s a total deal-breaker on a date?
ANDREA: Bad breath.
ZACH: I swear, if she pulls out her feet, I’m out. We’re not doing foot stuff.
How many people have you slept with?
ANDREA: Less than 10.
ZACH: Are you going to show this to my grandparents?
Fill in the blanks: I want my date to be “blank” and “blank.”
ANDREA: Good-looking and funny.
ZACH: I want my date to be “smart” and “a babe.”
Will the night end with a kiss, something more or something less?
ANDREA: (Laughs) Probably not. A hug, if he’s lucky.
ZACH: If the vibe is right, who knows what might happen.
So, Zach boasts that he’s a “skilled pipe-layer” who talks in his sleep and isn’t into foot stuff. He also describes his particular brand of sex appeal as “Zagnut creamy with every bite,” which we can only assume means he thinks he’s sweet.
Meanwhile, Andrea is a personal trainer and an influencer with over 17K Instagram followers. She confesses that she’s bad at math and she’s also bad at hiding her facial expressions, which suggests she might not be the world’s greatest blackjack player.
Andrea’s also hoping her date doesn’t make things awkward, but just based on the answers to this pre-date interview, she might be out of luck on that one.
Speaking of luck, Andrea says her date probably won’t get a goodnight kiss, but he might get a hug “if he’s lucky.”
Let’s find out if Zach’s luck extends beyond the casino floor and if this date ends with a jackpot or a bust.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner
Zach and Andrea try their luck at a winning hand of blackjack and romance
Zach and Andrea arrive at Sycuan and are quickly whisked away to the newly opened Elicit Bar & Lounge, a chic cocktail lounge that wows visitors with unique, sometimes smoky, libations that can be mixed tableside on a cocktail cart. The indoor/outdoor space boasts stunning views of the property, which our daters enjoy while downing a few drinks to help them loosen up a bit.
The daters are then taken back to the casino floor to play some blackjack and try their luck at the slot machines.
Here’s hoping those slots are loosened up, too.
Zach seems to know his way around a blackjack table, while Andrea is a bit less skilled at the card game. Their dealer gives them a quick lesson, which seems to pay off because both daters walk away with double their money!
They’re riding high on their wins when they they’re taken to dinner at Viewpoint Neighborhood Kitchen, a contemporary eatery with floor-to-ceiling windows and a dinner menu offering everything from buttermilk fried chicken to Kobe beef steak.
We interrupt their dinner to find out more about how the date is going.
How’s it going so far?
ANDREA: It’s going amazing.
ZACH: It’s going good. She is definitely very attractive.
At first glance, would you swipe right or left on your date?
ANDREA: Swipe right.
ZACH: Swipe right. She’s gorgeous.
Is this the type of person you’d normally date?
ANDREA: Nope. He’s a little bit younger than me. He’s just younger and into different kinds of things than me. We don’t have the same interests, but he’s a nice guy.
ZACH: To be honest, I don’t think so.
How has your experience at Sycuan been?
ANDREA: Oh my God, it’s so fun. I love the casino, everyone is so nice and helpful and the place is so beautiful.
ZACH: This place is great. I’m having a blast. The dealers are nice, the service is great, the in-house restaurants are great. Everyone is extremely friendly, everyone has a smile on their face and it’s a lot of fun.
Describe Elicit Bar & Lounge.
ANDREA: It was amazing, I’ve never been to a bar that has tableside cocktails. That was pretty cool.
ZACH: Elicit was super sick. It’s super huge. They definitely did a heck of a job on the renovations. Super exciting, lots of fun.
What caught your eye on the menu at Viewpoint?
ANDREA: The shrimp pasta was amazing, also the soup. I’m such a tomato bisque person, it was just amazing. The salad was really good.
ZACH: Definitely the chicken. The chicken has been the best so far. I’d gotten so full up to that point, because they kept serving us before that. So I regret getting full before the chicken.
What’s the most attractive thing your date has done so far?
ANDREA: He taught me how to play blackjack. He’s been really helpful and really nice and really patient with me, because I really had no f**kin’ idea what I was doing. And I won, so he’s doing everything right.
ZACH: Coming out double off blackjack, on her first time. She sat down at the table and she came way down, but then she shot way up towards the end.
What’s the least attractive thing your date has done so far?
ANDREA: I really don’t know. It’s not even something he’s doing, I just think he’s too young. He’s not doing anything unattractive, he’s opening doors like a gentleman. I just think that he’s young.
ZACH: Constantly on her phone, 100%. Constantly on her phone, and I can tell she’s really all about herself. But that’s okay.
Rate your date on a scale from one to 10 for looks.
ANDREA: Looks? I would say an eight.
And for personality?
ANDREA: I would say a 10.
ZACH: I’d say a seven.
Did you have a chance to social stalk them?
ANDREA: 100%. He already followed me on Instagram. He had no idea. I went to go follow him, I’m like, “Wait, you follow me.” He’s like, “Oh, that’s so weird.” I’m like, “It’s so weird, I don’t know” (laughs). But that’s fine.
ZACH: No, I just met her, so honestly, I came in today trying to devote 100% of my attention to my date and I didn’t want to be on my phone a whole lot. We did exchange Instagrams already, but I haven’t even looked at it. I was just interested in getting to know her.
What’s your date’s most attractive physical quality?
ANDREA: His eyes. Pretty eyes.
ZACH: She has a beautiful face. She has beautiful eyes. She’s a cutie. She’s so sweet.
What’s your date’s least attractive physical quality?
ANDREA: I don’t know, man. His hands? He does this weird thing with his pinky, like when he holds something, his pinky goes all the way out and it’s weird, I don’t know.
ZACH: I don’t think she has a bad physical quality.
Do you want to kiss your date right now?
ANDREA: 100% no.
ZACH: I would definitely kiss her.
Does your date want to kiss you?
ANDREA: No. I hope not.
ZACH: I think she would. I think so.
Is this someone you’d take home to mom, or just take home?
ANDREA: (Just laughs).
ZACH: I need to get to know her a little bit more before I take her home to mom. I’d take her home to hang out and see what happens. I say that because I would like to see how she is outside of this environment with cameras, 100%.
How and when will the date end?
ANDREA: I’m having fun at the casino, 100%. I think we’ll hang out and play for a minute.
ZACH: We’re gonna step out of dinner here soon. Definitely going to play some more blackjack. I plan on having fun, keeping the drink on. I’m definitely not expecting anything out of the ordinary. We’re just going to see what happens and go from there. One hundred percent open-ended.
Well, this is a little awkward. Even more awkward than finding out your blind date already follows you on Instagram.
Despite the fact that Zach and Andrea both like to describe things as “100%,” it’s doubtful that’s how they would describe the chemistry on this date. They have nothing but rave reviews for Sycuan Casino, but the reviews of each other aren’t as good.
Zach complains that Andrea is on her phone a lot and seems to be pretty into herself, while Andrea thinks Zach is just too young for her.
And when it came down to asking whether they wanted to kiss each other, Zach felt like there might be a chance, but Andrea’s answer was pretty emphatic: “100% no.”
Guess Zach’s instincts are more useful at the blackjack table. But that’s okay, because Zach says his only regret of the night is eating too much before he got to the chicken at Viewpoint.
And if that’s your only regret after a night at the casino, well, you’re walking out a winner.
With a seemingly encouraging start, Zach and Andrea’s date ends with a bust
After a night of casino action and excitement, it looks like our daters didn’t end up getting lucky. They might not have been a match romantically, but they both enjoyed the date itself and they at least walked away as better blackjack players than before.
Sometimes, the numbers just don’t add up.
Our blind daters didn’t go home entirely empty-handed: They both won some cash and don’t appear to have any hard feelings towards each other, so can we just call it a draw?
We checked in with Zach and Andrea after the date to see where the chips fell.
How did everything go last night?
ANDREA: Everything went really good. It was actually really fun.
ZACH: It was awesome. She was really cool, she’s fun to be around. And we had a really good time. The cocktails were really cool and we doubled our money in blackjack.
Where did you go and what did you do for the rest of the evening after you ate dinner?
ANDREA: We went and played blackjack, we played on the slots and I actually won $26. It was great and then we just went home because I didn’t feel very good.
ZACH: She went home, she was really tired. And I was also tired because I work really early in the morning. So she went home and I went home.
Did you guys exchange numbers?
ZACH: Yeah, we exchanged phone numbers, for sure.
ZACH: We did not hook up. I gave her a kiss on the cheek at the end of the night. That was all.
What’s the funniest thing that happened during the date?
ANDREA: I think it was how much I really sucked at all the games. I literally was like trying to figure out how to not be terrible. I think it was pretty funny to watch me have no idea how to do simple math.
ZACH: People were asking the camera guy if we were famous. That was kind of funny.
What was the best part of the date and why?
ANDREA: Meeting the chef was really cool, the food was amazing. I think that the coolest thing was that I got the little lesson on how to play (blackjack).
ZACH: Best part of the date was winning money at the casino. We both doubled our money, which is not a common thing to do at a casino.
What was the worst part of the date and why?
ANDREA: I wouldn’t say there was a worst part, per se. There’s no worst part. I literally had a great time.
ZACH: Well, during dinner, she was kind of on her phone a lot. Just really into her phone. So it was a little harder to engage in conversation during dinner.
Do you follow each other on Instagram?
ANDREA: Yeah, well, no he followed me, but I didn’t know. It was funny. He didn’t know either, apparently. I was like, “What’s your Instagram?” I pulled him up and it said he was already following me.
ZACH: Yeah, actually, when I met her, I didn’t recognize her, but I was already following her on Instagram (laughs). So freaking funny. So then she followed me and now we follow each other. Let’s call that the funniest part. We were about to exchange Instagrams and I was already following her, so that was kind of embarrassing and funny, and I was surprised, I didn’t know either, that I was following her.
Will there be a second date? Why or why not?
ANDREA: I don’t know. Possibly, because he wants to teach me how to jet ski.
ZACH: Yeah, I think there will be a second date. There’s definitely going to be a second date because we vibed and we had fun. And I wanted to take her on what would be my ideal date. I’d like to take her sailing on the bay and finish the date off with a picnic or dinner on the beach. Or a fire. I like fires a little bit.
Do you have any dating tips for your date?
ANDREA: No, he’s a pretty solid guy. He’s really funny. I don’t have any tips. I’m awkward as hell. I should get the tips, not him.
ZACH: Try to be a little more engaged in conversation.
Maybe all hope is not lost for Andrea and Zach.
Although there’s a bit of a discrepancy regarding whether or not they actually exchanged phone numbers, Zach is still hoping to take Andrea out again, minus the blinking casino lights and camera crew, and he seems intent on firing things up, or at least, making a fire. And Andrea is open to the possibility of a second date as well. After the date, she was able to acknowledge her own awkward dating shortcomings, so we hope she’s open to giving Zach a second chance as well.
In the end, this blind date bet might not have paid off big, but in the dating game, there’s always a chance at another round for the big payout.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Daters’ answers may have been edited for length and clarity.
SPECIAL THANKS TO AND PROMOTIONAL CONSIDERATION FROM:
EPIC LIMO: 858.270.limo (5466), epiclimo.com
SYCUAN CASINO: 619.445.6002, sycuan.com
ELICIT BAR & LOUNGE: 619.659.3372, sycuan.com/restaurants/elicit-lounge
VIEWPOINT NEIGHBORHOOD KITCHEN: sycuan.com/restaurants/viewpoint-neighborhood-kitchen
MATCHMAKER JESSICA PELLIGRA: matchandmagic.com
Checking in with last month’s blind daters
Looking back to last month’s blind daters, Jimmy and Jessica (“Mezcal Me Maybe,” April 2019), we can’t help but wonder if these two are still happily Netflix and chillin’ or if the romance has burned like popcorn in the office microwave.
We checked in with the duo to see where things stand.
Are you still seeing your blind date?
JESSICA: We have still been texting and trying to plan a time to meet! We’re both so busy with our businesses, but I think we appreciate each other’s work ethic.
What were the reactions of your friends/family after you went on the date?
JESSICA: Everyone loved reading about our date in the magazine. I think it was so funny how many of our pre-date answers were the same!
JIMMY: They thought it was hilarious and a fun night.
Has your opinion of the date changed since you went on it?
JESSICA: No, I had a blast!
What did you learn?
JESSICA: (Laughs) Maybe not so many drinks at dinner.
JIMMY: I learned that mindset is everything in any situation and having an open mindset, especially to a blind date, usually leads to a good outcome.
Anyone slide into your DMs since the blind date went to print?
JESSICA: Just a few of my friends, but they thought it was really cute.
JIMMY: Nope, but they should be flooding in soon.
Would you ever go on another blind date, either in a magazine or otherwise?
JESSICA: I think it was a one-time thing, but it was very fun! Trying to get some of my girlfriends to give it a try.
JIMMY: Yes, that would be fun!