Sunday, November 27, 2005

Saturday Night Tokin'

It's 2:30 in the morning, I just got home from work, I have a full pot of coffee brewing, and I just feel like staying up for a few hours and doing some writing. My shift was a little different tonight--I worked from 6pm till 2am and just got home. I like that shift, but unlike the 8-4 shift, this one doesn't give you any time to stand around and relax at a dead table. The first six hours absolutely flew by--I had the funnest tables ever. When I was getting tapped out, I couldn't believe that the hour had already passed. So let me tell you a few stories from the casino.

It all started before I left for work. I've been shaving my head for over ten years, and have gotten pretty good and quick with a razor. Normally that part of my daily toilette is done in the shower, without the use of a mirror. Well, I got in a hurry and managed to cut myself pretty good on the back of my head. Although, I didn't know it at the time. I finished up, dried off (with a maroon towel, so I didn't see any blood), got dressed, and drove to work. As I was walking back to the uniform room, somebody came up behind me and freaked out. The entire back of my head was all bloody and it had even ran down all over the collar of my shirt. According to her, it looked like I'd been smashed with a brick or something. I managed to get it all cleaned up and stopped the bleeding almost as soon as I put pressure on it, but I went through a half a roll of paper towels and everything withing three feet of me looked like the back seat of Jules Winfield's car before The Wolf showed up. Other than the dead nigga in the back seat, the car is tip top!

After that dramatic episode ended I got dressed and prepared for my evening at the tables.

One of the games I was scheduled on is called Super Fun 21. Basically it's a single or double deck blackjack game with a few different rules. Blackjacks pay even money, unless it's diamonds, then it pays double. You can double down at any time, not just after two cards, late surrender is offered, and a 5-card 21 pays double, a 6-card 20 or less wins regardless of what the dealer has, and all players' blackjacks win--no pushes, even if the dealer has a blackjack, too. Anyhow--it's a very popular game and we offer three tables of it.

So I'm on one tonight, just cranking out the jokes and dropping tokes after every hand. One dude had been at the table for almost twelve hours straight and had quite a stack of green quarter cheques in front of him. Unfortunately, he started betting big and I busted him three times in a row. I was a little bummed because he had a good personality and was a George (casino slang for 'great tipper'). After that, he said he felt like it was probably time to go, so he pushed out all of his green checques in a stack and said The hell with it--lets gamble!

So I called out 'Cheques play!' to alert the floorman that somebody is betting big. So he came over to watch the hand. I dealt the cards, and I had an eight showing. I get to Mr. Chips and he's got two cards that add up to seven. He takes a hit. Five. Now he's got twelve. He takes another hit and makes 16. Instead of surrendering the hand, he resigns himself to his fate and starts to wave me off to stand on his sixteen. Just being a dork, I said Hey man, a five-card 21 pays double... I'm just sayin'...

Everyone at the table laughed, even the floorman, but the player said Ok--hit me again.


I was beginning to feel as bad as everyone else at the table since I'd just beat this guy down three hands in a row, and was about to bust him again. A grey cloud of depression formed overhead, as everyone started shaking their heads, anticipating the train wreck they were about to witness. Another player kept telling him to surrender but he wouldn't listen, and insisted on taking a card.

So I tapped the table, wished him a sincere Good Luck, and pulled the next card out of the deck.

Naturally, I dropped a five on him to make his five-card 21! Pandemonium. The whole table went nuts. I looked over my shoulder and see the floorman laughing and he whispered to me--"A five card 21 pays double!" Nice going, dickhead. Actually, he really didn't care at all--they don't 'sweat the money' in my casino, but he just couldn't believe the guy would take the hit. Anyhow, the player turned his $600 bet into $1800 on that one card, and was kind enough to throw me another fifty bucks tip in addition to all the rest he'd given me so far that evening. Good times all around. Talk about putting the entire table in a good mood--they wanted to nominate me for Dealer of the Year after suggesting that hit... Shortly thereafter I got tapped out and took a break, the same time as the floorman. We sat around in the dining room laughing about it and telling anyone who would listen.

When I got to my next table, it was a six-deck shoe game. Fun crowd, made better by one dude who, although he was a terrible player, had a substantial bankroll and was betting $100 per hand for himself, and every other had--win or lose--he'd bet $25 for me. Very nice. The bummer of it was the play at the table was so bad that I only won about every third or fourth bet. Not bad money in the toke box, but it would've been much more if people would take the time to learn some basic strategy and not be afraid to hit hands like 14 or 15 on occasion. As much as I'd hoped he'd play correctly, I certainly can't complain too much about his generosity.

The best table of the night was one that just had a perfect mix of people. They all had decent bankrolls, weren't playing with 'scared' money (you can always tell who is--they are the ones most upset when they lose, and still gripe when they win...), they all got along well, and believed in the karmic power of tipping the dealer. Even when the cards went cold, they were still having fun. After a particularly bad run, during the shuffle, the guy on third base asked me Mikey, where have all the good times gone?

So I replied with I dunno, we're running a little bit hot tonight--I can barely see the road from the heat comin' on...

The whole table started laughing and he tossed me a green chip, thanking me for my quick comeback to his Van Halen lyric with one of my own. Overall, it was a very fun hour and it ended much too soon. I think I probably dropped about $300 in tokes on that table alone. That was awfully nice, because I'm sure somebody needed to carry the load for the four poor schmucks stuck on the dollar dice table for eight hours. They might drop fifty bucks between them for the whole shift.

One thing I almost forgot to mention that helped my mood somewhat was that all the cocktail waitresses got their new Christmas uniforms and started wearing them tonight. Instead of the biker girl leather motif, they've gone with the red velvet and white furry Santa's Naughty Helper look. You gotta love that. It's like if Hef were Santa Clause and all the elves lived at The Mansion. It's just lucky that dealing blackjack requires me to stand still all night. If I had to walk around I'd be all bruised up from falling down and walking into stuff, unable to concentrate. Babes in Toyland, indeed.

So my eight-hour shift just flew by tonight. It was one of those days where I had so much fun that it didn't even seem like work. Of course, by the time I left I was exhausted and my feet were killing me, but now I'm at home sitting on my ass, drinking coffee, and doing something else I enjoy--writing this stuff down for you fine folks.

It's been a hell of a day.


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