"Deal"ing with reality

Just a lil slice of life from a casino dealer's perspective.

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Location: Edgerton, Missouri, United States

I grew up in a small town, and live in small town now. Like to think I have more than a small town mind, but I doubt it.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Happy Halloween

I'm gonna step outside the confines of the casino for a little bit. I just want to say something about holidays with the season looming over us.

A growing number of people are foregoing the holidays because they "are just for the kids." While this may be true to one degree or another, that doesn't mean adults can't get joy out of them as well. Feel free to dress up however you want. This is the one time of the year where no costume would be thought of as out of place. Inappropriate and revealing maybe, but not out of place.

Carve yourself a jack-o-lantern. Use a pattern to get a fancy result without much real effort.

You will get many compliments on your "talent."

No matter what anyone else tells you, you're never too old to Trick-or-Treat. With the right costume nobody will know who the overly tall kid was knocking on doors asking for candy. Who knows, you may even get something more adult in your bag.

Just always remember this phrase. Just because you get older, doesn't mean you need to grow up. Enjoy life and live it as though every day was a new one.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Caino Shorts

Not everything that happens during a shift is worthy of a full blog post so here are a few highlights.

  • In less than 5 hands a player cleared a blackjack table by doing everything wrong and winning. Once he had the table to himself, started playing "by the book." That's when he started losing.
  • A player hadn't visited the casino in some time. After talking to her about some of the changes that had occurred, she asked me what happened to the Roulette table. While we were standing next to the Roulette table.
  • A player sat down at Three Card Poker and started playing. After a few hands the dealer stated that she had a flush. The player asked how that could be since she only had three cards. When the dealer told him that it was Three Card Poker, and only three cards were needed to make the flush he looked a little surprised. "Oh, I've thrown three or four of those away."
  • A dealer spinning the ball on Roulette lost his grip and accidentally toss the ball out of the wheel. The ball bounced off of a metal cup holder, skipped off the back of a chair, and landed in the jacket pocket of a lady sitting at the next table.
  • Near the end of a long, busy shift I was aware that another dealer was overdue for a break as a crew of fresh dealers entered the pit. Since I was the only other person able to deal the game that the tired dealer was on, I volunteered to relieve him. I cleared my hands and proceeded towards the other table. Without realizing there was no dealer behind me to take over my table.

Honestly, I could have sworn there was another dealer to cover my table so I could relieve the other dealer. Fortunately the pit boss was quick on her toes and stepped up to the table before anyone could take advantage of the open chip tray.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Of Mice and Men

Some people wouldn't get the hint if you nailed it to a 2x4 and whapped them upside the head with it. I mean, how many times do you need to smash someone's head into a brick wall before they stop putting themselves in your hands. Even cute little lab mice have the sense to stop pushing the red button after they have been shocked a few times.

Over the last week I have seen a number of people losing money over and over again and again. After losing all their chips in a small number of hands, they pull out more money and get more chips. Only to lose them just as fast, if not faster.

I can understand the desire to attempt to gain back money lost. But spending $300-$400 to try and get back the first $100 lost seems a little ridiculous to me. Even Wile E. Coyote has better odds chasing that silly bird.

Most people do win now and then and offset their marathon losses. It's the true masochists that come back night after night padding the casino's profit margin. I do feel kind of bad for them as they hand over another stack of bills, putting their total losses at over $10,000 for the week. I also feel a little pity for them after taking so much time from them that could have been better spent doing something more productive. Like watching paint dry or teaching monkeys to type. My guilt and pity are overridden by the fact they are keeping my paycheck from bouncing.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

It's Unlucky To Be Superstitious

Here we are, in the month of October. Friday the 13th has come and gone, Halloween is fast approaching. What better time to talk about some of the more colorful (and plain stupid) superstitions out there?

Now and then I get the chance to watch players on slot machines and the rituals they go through to try and bring a little more luck their way. Some tap the reels in a given sequence, others gesture to the reels how they would like them to line up on the next spin. The most interesting ones are the ones that push the buttons in an order that must have been beamed to them from space. Because no human mind could ever be bored enough to devise such a long, monotonous series of moves.

Press the "Bet One Credit" button three times, then the "Spin" button. Do this for three spins. Press the "Bet One Credit" button three times, then the "Bet Max & Spin" button. Do this for three spins. Press the "Bet Max & Spin" button for three spins. Press the "Bet One Credit" button three times and pull the handle. Do this for three spins. Repeat entire sequence until broke.

As mindless as this seems, it looks to be a fairly popular method for feeding the machines. But there are some superstitions on tables that are just as senseless.

Some people seem to think the cocktail waitress is a bad omen. I have seen entire craps tables stop as one walked by. The delay is usually even longer if she is delivering drinks. On the faces of some players you can see the battle between the happiness the waitress delivers and the bad luck she heralds.

A few blackjack players get upset when someone buys in during the middle of a shoe, even if the new player doesn't play. Just their arrival and the delay due to the changing of cash for chips seems to change the cards for the worse. Even though the cards aren't touched during the process, they miraculously move themselves around to make things worse for the current players.

The most unique (oddball) superstition I ever encountered was practiced by just one player. Near the craps table that Mr. Unlucky liked to play was a bank of "Wheel of Fortune" slot machines. These machines would periodically call out "Wheel! Of! Foorrrtune!!!" in an attempt to draw players. If Mr. Unlucky was shooting the dice, he would actually put them down and wait till the machines' announcement was over before rolling. It was his insistence that the paging by the machines forced the dice to land on 7.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Maintained Stupidity

I don't mind a lack of intelligence or knowledge when encountering something new. It's when someone insists on refusing to learn despite my repeated attempts to show them the same thing over and over (and over and over and over..........).

Sometimes this is caused by attempting to enhance brain cells with alcohol. An attempt that fails far too often. However, given the number of people that make the attempt, you'd think there are public service announcements touting the method.

Late one night a group of guys came into the casino after visiting a few bars around town. One of the group had never played craps before and the others decided to educate him. It seemed like a good idea if one doesn't consider that the majority could barely spell craps, much less play it.

The Booze Crew stepped up to the empty craps tub and bought in. With each throwing down a $20 bill, that didn't take long. As play started one guy bet a simple "C and E." The bet lost that roll. Two rolls later Rookie Boy asks, "What is a 'C and E?'"

I politely answer "It's a one-roll bet on Craps and Eleven" without missing a beat or blinking an eye.

The dice continued to roll without much excitement. The monotonous pattern of roll, call number, pay a bet or 2, slide the dice, roll..... continued for a time. The only break was the total stop of all action to take care of the cocktail waitress.

It would have been a typical game if not for the fact that every comeout roll someone would bet a "C and E," and, two rolls later, Rookie Boy would ask what the bet was. This lead to him asking the question more than five times in the ten minutes they were on my table before I went to break.

When I walked back into the pit after my break I (very happily) saw that the entire Booze Crew have moved to a blackjack table with a simple side bet. I did pity the blackjack dealer each time someone hit that side bet and I overheard Rookie Boy ask, "How does this bet work?"

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Surprise, surprise?

Some people are just full of surprises. You never know what someone is going to get upset about until it happens. It's really surprising when a person is upset by something that would make most people glad.

Not every casino uses the large craps tables most people encounter. Some casinos use a smaller table called a "tub." A tub is usually run by one or two dealers instead of the four used by a larger table. However, the smaller size of the table limits the number of players that can give their money to the casino.

The tub that I dealt on had 8 seats around it for 8 players and players had to be seated to play. The number of players was limited to allow a single dealer to maintain control of the game. Some people seemed to think this limit didn't apply to them though.

One afternoon I had a full table and everyone was betting rather heavy. No large dollar bets, just lots and lots of small to medium sized bets. In the middle of a particularly good roll a gentleman steps up to the table and attempts to buy in. I politely informed him that, due to the size of the table, he had to be seated to play. Without a pause he turned to a nearby slot machine, grabbed a chair, pushed two current players out of his way, and sat down.

At the very second his butt hit the mis-appropriated chair I knew this guy would take a little work before he got the clue. Without pausing the dice in the least I informed him that the table was full and he would be unable to play until a position opened up for him. He apparently failed to hear me as he proceeded to dig a handful of bills and change out of his pocket.

As I moved the dice to the shooter for the next roll the gentleman placed his money on the Pass Line and stated "Money plays." Anticipating this move I quickly called "No bet" as the dice tumbled through the air.

As Murphy's Casino Law dictates a 7 rolled, causing everyone to lose their bets. Everyone except the guy that required an engraved stone slab falling on him to get the hint. As I picked up all the chips I passed over his money without a glance.

Most people would take this as good thing. He did not. This guy actually asked me why I didn't take his money, and required a supervisor to be called over to explain the situation to him. He actually complained about NOT losing his money.

Maybe next time he should just mail his money in and save everyone a few headaches.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Casino Guarantee

The main draw of casinos is the idea that a person will make a lot of money with very little effort. If casinos were in the business of actually giving away money, would there be so many of them? Now, don't get me wrong. Many people win some hefty jackpots in casinos. Most progressive jackpots grow with the losses of other players though. So in that case the casino is acting more like a redistribution center than actually giving the money away.

For some reason a percentage of casino customers (99% to be exact) think that the casino owes them personally. I don't know how many times a day I hear that someone is "due" or "overdue" for a big payoff. A casino is not a library or other lending institution. Things are not "due" to happen. You can't collect on an "overdue" bet payoff.

Basically, if you have lost ten straight hands of blackjack, you are NOT due to win the next hand. If the last four spins on roulette have landed on red numbers, black is NOT due to hit the next spin. Just because the dice have been passed around the craps table twice without a single front line winner, it does NOT mean that the table is overdue for a winner.

If you have been losing consistently for a considerable length of time, just GET UP. You can always return another day when your luck could be better. You might not win on the second day either, but at least you'll have gas money/cab fare.

There is only one guarantee I can give you regarding casinos. I guarantee the casino won't take any more money than you give them.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Know when to walk away, know when to run.

Kenny Rogers had it right in his song. The biggest money maker for casinos is the tendency of people to give back their winnings. And then some. Casinos don't intentionally make winners stay till they lose, it's just a matter of the human condition to want more.

The fact that all casino games are designed for the player to lose over time escapes most players. If a game was meant to give the players a tremendous edge and pay them lots of money, it wouldn't be on the casino floor. Even if someone manages to win a hefty amount, the longer they keep playing the more they will give back.

Intellegent gamblers will know when to get up from the table with their chips and head to the cage. However, the other 99% keep playing, waiting for lightning to strike again.

Once they have lost all their profit these gamblers proceed to pull out more money in an attempt to get back what they just gave up. The most impatient of these complain how they can never win, despite having doubled their money just minutes ago.

There is an old saying that nobody really leaves a casino a winner. No matter how much one wins they have either lost more than that amount on previous visits, or give back that much more on later visits.