Just hit it already!!!

I hated Spring Break. The island was full of loud, drunk, obnoxious, over sexed teenagers, with fake IDs and daddy’s credit card. I myself was only 24, and still, they made me feel mature in comparison. It was even worse when they hit the gaming tables.

“So what do I have?” she asked.

I looked at her hand in disbelief. I could tell she was no Einstein, but seriously? She had a four and a three of spades.

“Seven.” I told her. “You have seven.”

“I should hit that, right?”

“Right.” I nodded. I gave her a two.

“So what do I have?”

Really? Normally, I would hit their hands until they totaled twelve or more, but after dealing to her for half an hour, I was totally tired of her kindergarten math. I had decided to just let her figure it out. It was amusing to both me and the floor person.

“You have nine.” This was going to be a long shift

“Okay, so I should hit that, right?”

“Right!” Dear mother of God! Someone give this girl an abacus! I gave her another two.

“Eleven.” I stated.

“Or twenty-one, right?” She clapped her hands.

“Noooo.” I corrected her “Remember? I said an ace was one or eleven. You have four cards, it’s just eleven.”

“Awww!” She pouted. “So I should hit that, right?”

“Riiiiight!” My evil twin, ‘Bitch Shirley’ was fighting to come out. I didn’t know how much longer I could hold her back. A three. What the hell? Could this hand get any worse. The guy on the last seat shook his head. He was waiting for the hand to be over, so he could get the hell off this table.

“Twelve, thirteen, fourteen!” She cried jubilantly. She looked at my ten. “I should hit that right?” I nodded, I had nothing left, in the way of agreement.

“I’m not hitting it!” she announced. “You’re going to give me a ten!”

I had already moved on to the next hand, at ‘I’m not’. I gave the next player a five.

“Awww!” she whined. “”So what would I have had?”

“Not enough!” I informed her, turning over my twenty.

The sad thing was, she was just about to graduate from nursing school in New Jersey. I was very happy I didn’t live in New Jersey, and need medical attention. I could see it now.

“So two pills, three times a day, that’s nine, right?”


United we stand!

Back in the day, British casinos were rather elegant, very James Bondish. The decor at the Dragonara, was styled with smoked glass, ornate mirrors, and rich, deep red drapes. The male dealers wore a simple shirt and bowtie, with black pants, while the girls wore long backless dresses adorned with rhinestones, and silver sandals. In our casino, they were sticklers for our appearance being as chic as possible. Hair had to be done, makeup and nail polish were mandatory. They even checked our toes!

At night, players were asked to wear a shirt with a collar, and a jacket. A tie was necessary for the restaurant. Through the day, the dress code was a little more relaxed, so that was when most of the classless crowd would come in.

The Yorkshire coal miners had been on strike for over a month. A small group of them, instead of joining their brothers on the picket line, had chosen to hang out in the casino, on a daily basis. One particular miner, was especially uncouth. He frequently dropped the F bomb, and made crude comments to the girls, normally pertaining to their cleavage. He had been warned numerous times about his behavior, but seeing as he hadn’t actually said anything offensive to another guest, just to the staff, he had been allowed to stay.

“If that arsehole says anything to me today,” I told my supervisor Sylvia, “I’m going to say something back!”

“Well make sure you drop a chip first.” she cautioned me. If she was busy bending down, to pick up a chip, she couldn’t hear anything I might say to a customer. Sylvia always had my back, and she was running the pit today!

“Oh I will!” I assured her.

Sure enough, in they came, four of them. Two of them wandered over to the Punto Banco table, a third opted for roulette, while the arsehole chose blackjack, as usual. I think he really just liked to be offensive, and Blackjack afforded him the close proximity necessary for his snide, and vile remarks. He sat down at Michelle’s game. Sylvia instructed one of the male dealers to tap her out. He never said anything to the guys. After a few hands, he rose from the table and headed over to my game. I had no other players, I was ready for him. Sylvia dutifully took her place beside me.

“Drop a chip.” she reminded me.

He smiled at me as he sat down. He was quite a good looking guy, just totally lacking in social skills. He truly believed he could say anything he wanted to women, especially the ones in the casinos. At that time, most people believed that women who worked in casinos were loose floozies, who slept with all the players for money. Contrary to popular belief, socializing with the patrons, was totally prohibited. We would get fired for dating a customer.

“You look nice today Shirley.” he told me, about three hands in.

“Thank you.” I smiled sweetly. I was waiting for it. Sylvia stiffened at the side of me, she was waiting too.

“That dress makes your tits look great!”

“I beg your pardon?” I stared at him in disgust.

“I could really f**k you!” he told me leaning in to the game.

“And if I had a brick in my hand, I’d really f**k you too, you piece o’ shit!” I heard Sylvia cough at the side of me. Panicking, she threw her pen over her shoulder, then frantically swooped down to pick it up.

“What did you just say?” he knew that we were not supposed to answer back to players.

“You heard me!” I glared back at him.

“Did you hear what she said to me?” he yelled at Sylvia.

“No sir! I was picking up my pen.” She looked at me in disbelief. “But I did hear what you said to her. I think you need to leave the table.”

To cut a long story short, after some back and forth bantering between the arsehole and Sylvia, he did in fact, leave the table.

“What happened to dropping a chip?” Sylvia gasped. “You were supposed to drop a chip!”

“I’m sorry. It just came out!” I smiled sheepishly.

“Next time drop a bloody chip!” She knew there would definitely be a next time.

No bet, 2/5 Split!!!

I was dealing roulette, my sister Carole was the assigned chipper (mucker) on the game. For those of you not in the business, that’s the person picking the chips up that the dealer sweeps in.

“Look at this guy.” I said out of the corner of my mouth, taking in the appearance of an older gentleman, in the seat nearest to the wheel. “He doesn’t look too good.”

“He looks grey.” Carole noted.

There was something about his pallor that was quite concerning. It was like one of those black and white photos where they add color to just one area. Well he was in a color photo, yet he was sepia.

It was quite a busy game. Three or four Chinese players, and this one old sepia man. The Chinese players were betting quite heavily,erratically, while the old man was very slow, calmly placing just a few chips on only the area of the layout in front of him. After paying the winning bets from the last spin, I picked up the ball, and gave it a strong spin to give the old guy extra time.

Suddenly,he took a deep, rattly inhale, and with a lengthy, raspy exhale he fell forward onto the layout, his head landing solidly on the 2/5 split.

“Oh my God!” I yelled.

“Jesus Christ! He’s dead!” Carole yelled.

The Chinese players did not seem to notice the carcass now laying in the center of the layout. One woman actually leaned over him to place a bet on the Zero.

“No spin! No spin!” I screamed, plucking the ball out of the wheel.

“Lapsap!” The Chinese lady shouted. Apparently a corpse in the middle of the table was no reason to stop the game, but stop the game it did.

“It’s okay!” The floorperson called out. “It’s okay everybody, we have medical help on the way!”

“I think he’s dead.” I stared at his grey, lifeless eyes.

“He’s okay Shirley.” The floorperson corrected me.

“No, he’s dead.” Carole said, leaning over to get a better look. “He’s definitely dead.”

“Why don’t you go chip over there!” the floorperson ordered her, gesturing with her thumb toward one of the other tables. Carol obeyed, leaving me alone with him.

I was told to color everyone up. I took all the chips off the layout and handed them back to their respective owners. We gave them all an extra stack of chips, just to stop them trying to stick their hands under his head to grab their bets from beneath it.

I stood there watching, as the head of security, Ann, placed an oxygen mask on his face, and covered him with a blanket, while awaiting the ambulance. A little redundant, but good for business. No casino wants people dying at the tables.

“Why are you doing that?” I asked. “He’s dead!”

“Shut up!” she snapped.

“Look! His eyes are open!”

“Shut up!” she said through clenched teeth.

He was gone in less than fifteen minutes. Placed on a gurney, and wheeled out. I was tapped off the game, and told to take an extra five minutes break, you know, to help me cope with the trauma.

To this day, when an old person sits at my roulette game, I can’t help but wonder, if they’re going to bet the 2/5 split!

Attention Deficit

Bumped into an Asian dealer friend of mine on my way back from break, with a rather strong Vietnamese accent. I wished him a Happy New Year, and we high-fived. Suddenly his face took on a serious expression. He gripped my arm.

“Have you ever noticed I lack attention?” he asked me

Oh oh, what was wrong? I wasn’t sure what to say. Was he telling me that he was lonely? Had something happened on a game, where he had been told to pay more attention? Did he have ADHD? I felt a little uneasy with the situation.

“Well you’re a little flaky sometimes..” I joked. He cut me off.

“Coz my wife start new business. She do I lack attention.” He said flicking his eyelashes with his fore-finger.

“OH!!” It suddenly dawned on me “Eyelash extensions!!!!”

This is my favorite language barrier experience ever!

Little Miss know F All

So, it’s my second shift as a Dice dealer, at Bally’s, 1991. I’m heading back to the Craps pit, when I’m stopped by a middle aged couple from the East Coast.

“Excuse me. Where’s the buffet?” He asked

“I believe it’s at the other side of the sports book.” I told him.

“You believe?” He sounded a little disappointed at my response.

“Is it open now?” she asked. He checked his watch.

“It should be.” I said, checking mine.

“It should be?” He looked at his wife, and rolled his eyes.

“I’m sorry, this is only my second day here.” I shrugged apologetically. They had gone to great lengths to show us their state of the art smoke alarm system during orientation, (Bally’s was previously the MGM) but they had failed to educate us on the buffet opening times. I checked my watch again. I had to get back to my game.

“Are we keeping you?” he asked sarcastically. I ignored that.

“Do you know how much it is?” she asked.

“I’m sorry, I don’t.” I replied honestly.

“What the hell do you know?” He was quite aggressive.

“Apparently, not a lot.” I confessed. “But when you get there, why don’t you ask the bus boy what a thirty-five dollar Horn-Hi-Yo pays when the twelves hits!” I strode off, leaving them with puzzled looks on their faces.

I think my customer service skills have greatly improved  since then.

The Longest Hello

Leeds has been a very interracial city for many years. I had grown up going to school with many West Indian, Indian, and Pakistani kids. For some reason I had never really been exposed to the Chinese community, apart from trips to my local takeout, and the occasional restaurant. I had been dealing about a month or so, when an elderly Chinese lady, known to the employees as “mother”, came up to my table. It was the first time I had ever dealt to her.

“Yayo.” she said with a small bow, putting a ten pound note on the table.

“Hello.” I replied, smiling.

“Yayo.” she repeated, again with a small bow.

“Hello.” I replied, again.

“Yayo.” she said once more.

“Hello.” I said again.

“She wants the yellow chips you idiot!” My floorperson finally told me.

We’re all idiots!

How many of you have had something similar happen to you?

“This place sucks!” the customer informed me. “They’re all f**king idiots!”

“Oh, I’m sorry, what’s wrong?” I asked.

“I gave that dice crew five grand last night. Now they act like they don’t even know me.”

I looked over at the dice pit. That was strange, the dealers he was pointing at were normally very customer friendly, and especially to Georges. He pulled a wad of bills out of his pocket.

“I might as well play.” He said. I can’t get in the room.”

“Why not?”

“The f**king card they gave me doesn’t work!”

“If you go to registration, they’ll get you a new one.” I informed him.

“I did, they’re idiots!” He threw a wad of cash on the table.

“Two thousand cash!” I called out. “Do you have your card, so we can rate you?”

The floorperson had joined us at the table. She smiled sweetly, as he fumbled through numerous pockets, looking for his elusive player’s card.

“Just put my name in.” He ordered her.

“Do you have your ID?” she asked. “I’ll get the pit clerk to make you a new player’s card, but you’ll have to go to registration for a room key.” He pulled his drivers’ license from his wallet and handed it to her. She deftly entered data into the tableside computer. “Have you played here at all today Michael?” There was no information on him in the system.

“Are you f**king serious?” He snapped. “I’ve been playing here for two days! I’ve lost twenty grand!” He began rifling through his pockets again. “Here it is!” He threw his player’s card at me.

“Do you have a card with us sir?” I asked. “This one is for the Bellagio.”

“This isn’t the Bellagio?” He looked around, puzzled.

“No sir, this is the “casinothatshallnotbenamedbecauseIamcurrentlyemployedthere”.

“Shit!” he looked embarrassed. “Where can I get a cab back to the Bellagio?”

I pushed back his money, ID, and player’s card. “Right outside that door sir.” I pointed toward the exit. “Next time come and stay with us, and we’ll give you a room key that works!” I winked at him.

“Okay, thanks!” Suddenly everything was making sense to him.

You would be amazed how many times this happens.

Dealers all look the same

My blackjack game had just gone dead. It was a Saturday night, about two-thirty in the morning. It was just starting to quieten down. I was happy. I had pumped cards all night, and was pleased to have a break. Then she walked up.

“Hi!” she said, with a smile, and a distinct stagger.

“Hi!” I replied, with a smile, all the time thinking “get lost”.

“So where did everyone go?” she asked. 

“Probably to bed.” I shrugged. “It’s getting late.”

“Can I get a cocktail?” she ignored my subtle hint.

“Cocktails!” I bellowed.

“Okay Shirley”, she said reading my name tag, “let’s play some cards!” She clicked the fingers on both hands.

“Okay.” I said, secretly meaning, “get lost!” I waited for her to buy in with cash.

“So where are my chips?”

“You didn’t give me any money yet.”

“No, no, where are my chips?” she looked around the table.

“I’m sorry?” She was obviously drunk as a skunk.

“I left them right here!” She tapped the betting spot in front of her. “I had over two hundred dollars!”

“I think you’re at the wrong table.” I guessed. I’d never seen her before in my life.

“No! You were dealing to me!” She patted the table. ‘I was right here all night!”

I started thinking back to who was on my game before it went dead. It wasn’t one of those games where the same players sat there all night, and I was pretty sure she wasn’t one of the people who had been at my game.

“I think you’re at the wrong table.” I told her again.

“No!” She was adamant. “You were dealing to me. I was right here!”

“I don’t think so. Maybe you…”

“Listen bitch! You think I don’t know what you people do! You wait for us to go to the bathroom, and then steal our money!” She was leaning across the table snarling at me. “Where’s my f**king money?” she was salivating.

“Floor!” I called out.  I started clicking my fingers trying to get someone’s attention.

“Joyce?” A voice called from the table next to mine. “Why are you over there?”

She turned, and peered. A man, who I assumed she belonged with, was beckoning for her to come and sit in the seat next to him.

“Oh.” she said. “This is not my table.” she rose and staggered to the next one.

Will, was the dealer. He was black, stood about six foot five, two hundred and fifty pounds. I’m white, five foot five, a hundred and fifteen, with red hair. Guess we all look the same after a few Bahama breezes!



Follow that!

A “George”, to those of us in the gaming industry, is a nice guy. He doesn’t just tip occasionally, he wants the dealer to make money right along with him. Not as big as a “whale”, but a good guy to have on your table. We have lots of terms of endearment within the casino business, but one dealer, back in the eighties, managed to use practically all of them in one line.

He was from New Jersey, and should probably have gotten out of the business way before he did. When you’re trapped on a blackjack table with players you don’t like, it has a tendency to bring out the worst in people. I tapped him off the game at the end of his eight hour shift. Instead of the customary “Okay guys,you have a new dealer. Goodnight!” He began pointing at each individual seated at the table, and said;

“Stiff, stiff, asshole, dick, total prick, and George!” 

He then cleared his hands, and walked off the game, leaving me standing there, open mouthed. There was probably a thirty second period of silence, before the guy on the last seat, and the only one to deny his given title, said;

“Er, my name’s not George!”

Fresh off the boat!

Although Maria and I came to be great friends, the first time we met was an absolute fiasco. She stood roughly four feet ten, was blessed with strong Inca facial features, and spoke broken English with a heavy Nicaraguan accent. She did not seem to appreciate my slender five foot eight, in heels, stature, my red hair and blue eyes.
“You over dere!”, she nodded toward toward BJ 8.

I had literally just got off the plane from England two days before, this was my first shift. I was extremely nervous. I was still just a kid. I dealt a few hands without incidence, and then shuffled the deck. For the last five years I had worked with a four deck shoe. As I held out the six decks to be cut, I squeezed the cards a little too tightly, they sprayed the players.

“What de matter? You don’t know how to shuffle?” She rolled her eyes.

“I’m sorry, I’m not used to holding six decks.” She rolled her eyes again, and reluctantly helped me pick up the cards.

I managed to last another thirty minutes or so, before having another trivial mishap. In England the dealer does not take a hold card, the second card comes directly from the deck. I had remembered this so far, but habit had kicked in, and when I got to my hand this one particular time, lo and behold, I had no hold card.

“I don’t beleef you!” she said, as though I had just murdered the Pope. She allowed the players who didn’t want to play out the hand, to pick up their bets.

Fifteen minutes later, I received my first tip, ever!!! Tips were illegal in England when I worked there. I proudly tapped my ten bucks on the rack, and for whatever reason. I dropped it in the drop box! Realizing what I had done, I called Maria over, and explained my mistake. In hindsight, I should have kept my mouth shut.

“What are you, stooopid?” she yelled at me, in front of all the players. “I’m gonna tell all de dealers here dat you don’t know what de hell you’re doing!” That, kinda pissed me off! Who the hell was this bitch talking to? I was a little tired of this midget devil.

The next incident, was one of my own design. I drew twenty-two to my own hand, busting. Instead of paying everyone. I quickly picked up all their bets, and grabbed the cards, making sure to mix ‘em up a little before throwing them in the discard rack. Sure enough, one of the players said;

“You had twenty-two!”

“Oh, did I?” I smiled sheepishly. “Oh Maria!”

She thundered over to my game. I explained that the player on box seven thought I had bust, and I had picked up everyone’s bet. She needed to back up the cards. Good luck with that!

“What did you have?” she asked.
“I don’t remember.” I said flatly.

She tried to assemble my hand. The players all informed her that those weren’t my cards. So she tried to give back the money. She pointed to the first hand.
“What was the bet?”

“I don’t remember.” She set him up for whatever he claimed he had. She went to the second hand.

“What was the bet?”

“I don’t remember.” I shrugged. This went on around the table.

“You don’t know what any of the bets were?” She scowled at me.

“I guess I’m too stooopid.” I mimicked her. “I hope I don’t do that all night.”

She looked me in the eye, and we both knew right then, that we were either going to play nice, or play nasty. I can be quite good at nasty.

It was quite a pleasant shift after that.

I love the Irish. They are never afraid to speak their mind, tell it like it is. I got a little of that from my mother.

It was a regular weekday afternoon, in my old Leeds casino. I had not been dealing Blackjack very long, perhaps six months. My supervisor and friend Linda stood by my side. An Irish gentleman, new to casinos, came to sit at the table. It was evident that he had never played the game before. About three hands in, he suddenly rose from his seat, clearly agitated.

“This game’s f**king fixed!” He yelled, at the top of his voice in a strong Belfast brogue.

I was a mere twenty one years old. I froze on the spot, and raised my hands in the air in total submission. I had no clue what he was talking about. I hadn’t even got to his hand yet. The player on the second box had just drawn a card.

“You’re a bunch o’ tieves!” He was red in the face with anger. “A bunch o’ f**king tieves!”

“Sir, what’s the matter?” Linda asked him, coolly.

“Look! Look!” He screamed. “Dere’s two tree o’ clubs!”

Apparently, he was unaware of the fact, that there were four decks in the shoe.

The Lucky Touch

It was hard to tell how old she was because of the makeup and false eyelashes, and the extra hundred pounds or so she was carrying. She wore a tight mini skirt, black mesh hose, and high heels, that to be honest, for a woman her size, she walked extremely well in. Her abundant breasts were barely contained by the low cut, gold sequined tank top. I saw her eyeing the black chips in front of my player, and sure enough, they were enough of a bait to lure her to the table.

“Want some company?”, she asked coyly, taking the empty seat beside him. 

“I’m playing.” He didn’t look at her.

“I can bring you some luck.” She told him.

“Yeah, I see that.” He said, as I picked up his losing bet.

“Where you from?” He didn’t answer. She was going to have to work a little harder than that.

“You don’t look like you’re having much fun here.” She touched his arm. “I could make it more fun for you.” 

He kept his eyes forward, focusing on his betting spot. He was not interested. I looked over my shoulder and tried to get the floorperson’s attention, she was busy with another guest. Working girls are a part of Vegas. If their company is welcomed, then that’s one thing, but when it’s not, they just got to go!

I dealt a seven and a four to his three hundred dollar bet, I was showing a five. 

“Ooh baby!”, she squealed, “That’s a double down!”

Ignoring her, he placed three more black chips beside his bet. “Face down.” He instructed me. I turned over a six, and drew an eight to my eleven, nineteen to beat. I paused before turning over his card.

“Ooh! Ooh!” She stood up. “”You want to touch one for luck!” She pulled her gold tank top down rapidly, allowing huge tattooed breasts, with nipples the size of side plates, to spill onto the edge of the table.

“No thanks.” He answered calmly, and without taking his eyes from the cards. “I didn’t bring gloves!”



I never got a muffin!

I returned to my dice game from break, and asked my box lady;
“Did you have one of Bobbie’s Muffins? They were awesome!”
“There were muffins?” Tim asked from third base.
“No, I’m trying to be good.” Christa told me, ignoring Tim.
“There were muffins? I never got a muffin!” Tim looked sad.
“She offered me one, but I’m doing my kettle bell workout.” Christa informed me.
“I never got a muffin!” Tim was pouting.
“I got two!” I said, teasingly.
“So you ate MY muffin.” Tim admonished me.
“I never ate YOUR muffin.” I said in defiance. “I ATE HER MUFFIN!”
As soon as the last word left my lips, I realized what I had just said. I began to shake softly, tears welled up in my eyes, and I had to press my lips hard together, fighting hard to regain composure.
“So is a muffin the same thing here as it is in Texas?” A player to my left asked.
That was it! I could not see the dice through the tears in my eyes, could not call the numbers because I was laughing uncontrollably. The pit clerk ran over with tissues, thinking I was having an allergy attack!
BTW, Bobbie, the muffins were awesome!

For the benefit of the blind!

I was dealing roulette, in a Bahamas casino, to a New York retiree, now living in Miami. She had come over on one of the day cruises, sponsored by the casino. She had availed herself of the free one hundred dollars in slot play, the free lunch, and had decided to land on my game to wile away the hours, until the ship left at six pm. She had turned her meager buy in of one hundred dollars, to a hefty twenty-seven hundred. Every payout I pushed out to her was greeted with absolutely no response. My smiles went unnoticed, my charm unappreciated, for four hours!

Now I’m not saying that tipping a dealer is mandatory, but come on! If you went to Denny’s for an hour, had a pancake, and a cup of coffee, you’d leave a tip, wouldn’t you? It’s all about the service, right? I had listened to her gripe about the humidity in Florida, the service in the casino, (apparently the four or five cocktails she had been served, didn’t elicit a tip either) the lousy boat trip, and the impending bus ride back to the ship, all with a sympathetic ear, and a warm smile. For four hours! I gave up, I was stuck with her. “Just spin the ball”, I told myself.

One of her fellow Miamians took a seat at the table. He was a sweet little old man with a crooked back, and a wicked little smile. He bought in for twenty bucks. I gave him a stack of chips which he spread  across the layout haphazardly.  The ball dropped, number eight. I paid the Queen of Mean one hundred and five chips, for the three she had on the number, she didn’t even look at me. Then I paid the little old man thirty five, for his single chip. He threw me two bucks, with a wink.

I smiled at him, thanked him, and after changing them for cash chips, I bashed them as hard as I could on the wooden rim of the wheel.

“Dealers’s! I yelled. The Queen of Mean jumped.

“Why did you do that?”, she asked.

“It’s for the benefit of the blind madam.” I informed her casually. “Those who can’t see we accept tips, can bloody well hear it!”