Here ya go folks, the latest Simpson on Vegas, via our good friend Jeff Simpson.
This column is all about the little annoyances on the casino floor - it's a great look at the little things that bug Jeff (and a lot of these bug me too)... Plus, we get to publish the term 'craps superstar' - a new job description is born!
I've been working on a column about the Gaming Control Board's complaint against the Hard Rock Hotel but decided to wait to post it until the Nevada Gaming Commission acts on the board's proposed settlement deal.
Instead, while we wait for the NGC's decision (it should come Jan. 27), I'd like to write about some of my gambling pet peeves. Some are superstitions, acts that I know don't have a real effect on the game or my chances of winning, but they still irritate me, at least a little. Irritating or clueless patrons are responsible for many; others are customer-service related. Of course, I have to admit, none of these irritants are enough to keep me from playing, and I know that my complaining will not change things at all.
1. Buying in with $50 bills. I don't know why people bring Grants to casinos, but when someone spreads out a handful of fifties at a dice table I wince. You'd think folks would know that fifties are bad luck. And don't try to give them to me at the cage when I redeem chips, either (although most casinos train their cashiers well enough not to). I know using 50s doesn't truly affect the game, but c'mon, man. This is Las Vegas. Leave your Grants at home.
2. A lot of people feel that it is bad luck when a die is tossed off the dice table. That's fine, and I don't mind if you want to take your own bets down or off for the next roll, with a quiet request to the dealer. But don't make a big spectacle of your request and don't make a big deal of how bad it is that the die or dice left the table. No one wants the commentary.
3. People who say the word "seven" at a dice table after a point is established. I never say the word at a table but I particularly dislike it when folks say it after the point is set. The don't bettors should just be quiet, and for the pass-line bettors who don't want a seven, don't say "No seven." Of course, there's a special place in hell for that certain kind of antisocial dice player who not only likes to play the don't but also likes irritating his table-mates by calling for and cheering seven-outs. I just can't believe God is a don't player.
1. Don't stand and watch players at table games for a long time. I don't have a problem with folks who want to watch a dice game or a blackjack game for a few minutes, but don't stand there for 10 minutes or more, especially if there's just one or two players at the game. If you want to play, play. If not, take a hike. I know that some blackjack players like to count the cards at tables that allow mid-shuffle entry and that doesn't really bother me. Prospective craps players who watch for certain rolls, or a certain number of wins before they'll play, are just ridiculous. And people who watch a cold dice game and then comment on how bad it is are just asking for a profane response.
2. Craps rollers who engage in too many shenanigans before throwing, like rubbing the felt, or taking mini practice rolls while waiting for a number they like to come up. I don't mind people who set the dice on a certain number before they throw -- if they can do it speedily. Folks who take forever to figure out where the right numbers are (there are only six) do irritate me. The worst are the hot dogs who make theatrical gestures when they throw, spinning around, snapping their fingers and otherwise acting like they think they are some kind of craps superstar, on stage for the world to admire.
3. People who bet against everyone (on the don't pass or don't come) but bet on the pass line when they roll. I don't mind don't bettors, and don't even mind if they throw the dice and keep betting the don't. I also don't mind players who switch back and forth, trying to ride streaks or whatever. But those who switch, betting only on themselves and against everyone else -- they are irritating.
4. Folks who can't believe their luck, either good or bad. Believe me, it's usually not that unusual. At blackjack, 20s regularly lose to dealers who hit and get 21s. Doubled hands regularly catch stiffs and lose to the dealer. It's not some casino conspiracy against you; take your loss like a man, whether or not you are one. In dice, it's not that unusual for the table to lose on six or more points in a row, yet some players act like they just can't believe their horrible bad luck.
5. Video poker players who jump from machine to machine, especially when the machines all offer the same games and denominations. And especially when they sit right next to me when there are plenty of open machines. Stay away.
6. Craps players who wait until the very last second to make bets. For some reason the morons who prefer field bets are the worst at this, grabbing their chips, if any, after the last roll and then making their new bets at the last possible moment.
1. At a dice table, dealers should not tell me when my original line bet and subsequent come bets have now covered every number. "You've got the bases loaded," they like to say -- right before the roller throws a seven. I know what's going on and don't need that kind of dealer update. A related gripe: If I have four or five numbers covered and the roll is an uncovered number, don't tell me the shooter "found the hole."
2. If I change my betting pattern and stop making a bet I'd previously been betting, don't advise me that I would have won if I'd continued with that bet. Some dealers like to remind me, as if I'm not aware. Even worse are the dealers who feint as if they are preparing to pay me but then suddenly "realize" I didn't make the bet. Ha ha ha.
3. Dealers who try to sell bets and then rub it in if you don't take their advice and it would have won. I know they are supposed to sell bets (especially the bets most beneficial to the house) and that's totally fine. Just don't tease players for failing to follow your advice when it wins. I rarely hear players tease the dealers when their advice fails.
4. Dealers who stare at players -- particularly attractive women, or even at women who walk by the tables -- and murmur comments, whether blatant or in code, about them. Save that talk for the break room, dealers. It's rude. Also, stick men should refrain from "short-sticking" attractive women, when they make female dice throwers reach farther than normal for the dice so that they'll expose more of their cleavage.
5. Dealers who check player IDs to make sure that the player is old enough, then discuss among themselves the player's age or where they live. Respect players' privacy.
-- Jeff Simpson, January 2011