Assumption #1: The pit boss always ignores me when I want to get his
On occasion, a pit boss might purposely ignore a player, if that player is
obnoxious, loud, drunk, or otherwise a ploppy. But most of the time when you
think you are being ignored, you arent. If that pit boss, or floorperson, is at
the computers, it probably means he or she is checking on a comp or a rating.
One pit boss, one floorperson, is in charge of many tables and they do have many
responsibilities. Chances are they dont see you waving. When they do, theyll
usually say, Ill be right with you. In such cases, patience is a virtue. One
caveat to the above. If you are trying to get the attention of the pit boss in
order to ask for a comp — stay seated but stop playing! Dont risk any more
money as you wait for your comp.
Assumption #2: Dealers make a lot of money, thats why they all wear so
much gold on their arms.
Some dealers do make a lot of money. Some dealers dont. It all depends on
which casinos they deal in and, sometimes, what games they deal. It also depends
on what you consider a lot of money. But most dealers salaries are
marginal at best, sometimes not more than minimum wage. They need tips to make
ends meet. Dealers are in the service part of the casino industry, very much
like waiters, waitresses, bartenders, valet parkers and bellhops. As to the gold
that festoons many a wrist, finger and forearm, those are there for decorative
purposes. Many dealers realize that their hands/arms are watched carefully and
they actually take pride in adorning these. Ive noticed female dealers will
often polish their nails in truly creative ways. Male dealers will have
interesting rings. Often these displays are sources for conversation. Since I
cant tell legitimate from faux, I have no idea if all that gold I see is real
gold or fools gold.
Assumption #3: If a craps table has been hot it will continue to be hot.
If its cold, it will continue to be cold.
Many casino players, not just craps system players, look for trends and then bet
with or against the trend. It is an old law of gambling that the dice have no
memory. That is, what happened on the last decision has no influence on what
will happen on the next decision. That is absolutely true as long as the game is
random and no one is controlling the outcome through physical means. Craps is an
independent-trial game and what happens now will have no effect on what happens
next. However, there is some truth to the assumption that while the dice might
not have a memory, certain shooters do. These shooters, called rhythmic rollers,
might be able to influence the game by the way they physically roll the dice
thereby increasing the likelihood of some numbers appearing and decreasing the
likelihood of other numbers appearing. So heres an instance where an assumption
is false except if its true.
Assumption #4: Professional blackjack and video poker players make
millions every year.
The number one video poker expert in the world is on record as stating he
makes about $50,000 per year playing. Thats about 500 hands per hour at a one
dollar VP game at five dollars a pop at a machine that returns 101 percent of
all the money played, playing eight hours a day for five days a week for 50
weeks a year. Theres no medical, no dental, and no pay if you dont play and,
horrors, no pay many days and weeks even if you do play! And hes the best, mind
you, the very best.
The best blackjack system pro I ever met was the late PK who played five nights a
week 52 weeks a year. He earned between $20,000 and $30,000 per year playing
He had to supplement his blackjack income with a job in a bookstore. He was
the best, mind you, the very best at what he did. For most mortals the sky is not the limit on VP or
blackjack winnings, the ceiling of a typical lower middle-class house is.
However, for the recreational player who has no illusions about being a
professional, it is always better to play with an edge over the casino than to
play without an edge. Obviously, you want to play the very best games that
excite you and play them in the very best way. But millions? Im afraid it aint
in the cards for the majority of players.
Assumption #5: The casino comping formula is an exact science and is
written in stone.
There is a little truth to this assumption and a big untruth to it. Slot
clubs for small and medium players are an almost an exact science. You play the
requisite number of coins to get the requisite number of points and you get the
requisite number of buffets or show tickets or discounts to rooms. However, for
bigger slot players (dollars and up) and for table-game players, the comping
policies are guidelines. If the guideline says that a $150 player who plays four
hours per day gets RFB (the highest level of comps) and Mr. Jones, a very good
customer of Luckland Casino, happens to only play three hours one evening, do
you think the host is going to say: Sorry, Mr. Jones, I know youve dumped tens
of thousands here at Luckland, but tonight you can have the coffee shop, not the
gourmet room, because you didnt play the four hours. More than just a rating
will often go into what an individual on the high end might get. Such factors as
the number of good players the individual brings with him or her would be
considered; how often the person comes to the casino, and past history. Remember
that comps are inducements to play and stay at a certain place and would any
casino in its right mind say to Mr. Jones: Buzz off, we dont want your $150
per decision, go somewhere else. I doubt it.
Assumption #6: Intelligent people dont play the slots.
I used to buy into this one big time. Then I started to do research into the
slot machines for my book and found I was completely wrong. In fact, not only
are many slot players intelligent, some are actually brilliant. Slot players are
a representative cross section of America, not the bottom of the U.S. barrel. So
why do they play the one-armed bandits when they know the games are impossible
to beat in the long run and often carry house edges that are much greater than
the table games? The usual answer is that slots are relaxing. You dont have any
pressure to play a certain way at a certain speed. Often people with jobs that
cause them to deal with the public will say, I love to play the slots because I
dont have to deal with people. Others state: I play because it is the only
chance you have for a big win with a small investment. Whatever the individual
reason a person gives for playing the machines, one thing is certain across the
country — slots are king! From Vegas, where they represent almost 65 percent of
the gross revenue to Mississippi where they represent over 85 percent, more
people pull those handles and press those buttons than roll them bones at craps
and tap for hits at blackjack.
Assumption #7: If you tip the dealers at blackjack, theyll give you
If you were a dealer and you could control what cards came out of a deck or
shoe would you be hustling tips from the likes of you? Or would you tell your
relatives and friends to come to the casino tonight to clean up! Of course, if
you had larceny in your heart, every relative you have (that you liked) and
every friend, would belly up to your table and bet the table max until they
wiped out the casino, or until the casino fired you. Unfortunately (or
fortunately), dealers cant control what happens to the cards. In the bad old
days of bent-nosed casino owners and baseball-bat justice, some of the
unscrupulous casinos hired card mechanics who could indeed control what came out
the deck. Those days are done. Very few dealers today have an interest in cards
per se. They are just doing their jobs. Luck controls the fall of the cards.
Tips just control the possibility of a smile or a thank you from an
Assumption #8: Senior citizens are spending their social security money
on gambling and not saving it.
This is not so, since most seniors have budgeted their money wisely. But if
the assumption were correct, that seniors are taking some, part or all of their
social security checks and blowing it in the casinos instead of saving it for
their offsprings inheritance …so what? Arent you tired of the busybodies in
the government and the press telling us what to do with our money?
We have begun to treat our senior citizens not as the generation that
survived the Depression, not as the generation that defeated Hitler and
Mussolini, not as the generation that faced down Communism, but as this melange
of drooling idiots who shouldnt be allowed to make decisions for themselves.
Assumption #9: Most dealers are problem gamblers.
Most dealers dont gamble at all. The percentage that do usually do so only
when friends or relatives come to town. The percentage of problem gamblers among
dealers is probably what it is in the general population — minuscule.
Assumption #10: Progressive jackpots are programmed to hit on weekends
and not midweek.
More money is won, and lost, on slot machines during the weekend than during
any similar time span during the week. In fact, more progressives, big and
small, are probably hit during the weekend than at any time during the week. But
it has nothing to do with the programming of the machines. It has more to do
with a very simple fact: More people go to casinos during the weekends and more
people in the casinos means more spins of those reels, and more spins equal more