"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.

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.

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