Guest Post: Jacques’ Guide to Casino Survival

Charlie and the others here can tell you about creating a perfect life in some Third World former SSR, if only for a few weeks or a month or so. Me? I don’t go around negotiating a six-week lease in Minsk. I gamble. And I black the fuck out on the casino floor and some asshole who makes less than my secretary takes me to my room in the East Tower and makes sure no one rolls me on the way there. Because, you know, I don’t always watch my alcohol intake when folks are throwing it down my throat in an effort to get more chips out of my pocket. I = Baller. Not really, but I’ve logged enough hours on the tables to hip you to a few common pitfalls when you’re on a gambling junket.

All around the world there are casinos. The nicer ones (read “not the ones docked outside a Midwestern third-tier city”) can be quite a treat. Furthermore you can enjoy yourself as a single dude for days on end, sometimes weeks, in some of the better gambling destinations. Seriously, the folks who are unfortunate enough to live in these towns will bend over backwards to give you the vacation of a lifetime if you spend some time making yourself a known entity. Study up and learn a table game or two. Meet some of the fuckers who work there. Stop trying to be a badass and focus on separating yourself from the stereotypical casino dweller: The douchebag asshole. Once you do they will love you long time.

I will not bore you with my theories on the [im]propriety of using a progressive betting system on the blackjack table. You will not learn here whether or not it makes sense to double down against an ace. I don’t care if you agree with me that people who play fire bets and lucky ladies are wasting their money and should be ground into meal and served at the buffet. What I can give you is some practical survival tips for single dudes in the casino.

Today’s Rule # 1: All Girls are Whores*

*It would behoove me to explain that I am about as far from misogynistic as you could possibly imagine a writer for a site with a name like “” to be. When I say “whore” I don’t mean “soulless succubus drenched in perfume and social disease,” I mean “chick who will exchange sexual services for money and will possibly arrange an armed robbery during the transaction.” Hence the asterisk.

I’m not the moral police. If you want to buy your sex, I do not judge. For the rest of us, though, it is important to remember that casinos are magnets for folks from the underbelly. That hot girl who is oh-so-ever improbably sitting at a nickel slot machine right outside the men’s room, looking at her Crackberry and glancing up at the singularly right moment in a “I just might cry” silent plea for a knight in shining armor? Yep – there is no way she’ll suck your dick for free. Start with the presumption that you will not meet a hot, single girl on the floor of a casino who doesn’t carry with her the threat of high prices for sex, mugging, herpes or some combination of the three.  Be on guard.

Today’s Rule # 2: Roulette is for Assholes

However seedy it is, the casino is still a microcosm of the world at large – the best and brightest gravitate towards each other and away from the unwashed masses. This is the only dude-related reason to know that craps and blackjack represent the best odds for the player against the casino. Convinced I’m nuts and you CAN meet a great girl on a casino floor? Find one of these two table games and set up shop. Maybe you’ll get a bachelorette party – who knows? Just stay away from roulette unless you’re trying to pick up a chick who will burgle your wallet so she can afford to give the kids lunch money.

“Scared money don’t make money,” a sage old man once told me. Go over to the craps table, man the fuck up and max out your pass line odds. Unless you can count cards, a maxing out the odds on the pass line in craps generally cuts the house edge to the minimum possible. I would also add “dumb money don’t make money either.” Stifle the urge to make idiotic hard-way bets, yo bets, and all the other retarded bets residing in the middle of the craps table because you’re just wasting your stack. On the blackjack table, if you’ve committed to splitting those eights (as you should have) you still need to double down if you’re dealt a three. None of this is dude-specific – it’s merely smart betting that, over time, minimizes the chances you’ll walk away penniless and end the evening up in your suite masturbating in the bathroom with the complimentary hand lotion.

And sure, baccarat has some decent odds too. But you’ll only meet World War II veterans there.

Today’s Rule # 3: Tip Well and Tip Often

Every shithead who has ever set foot in a casino has had at least one moment when he thought he was Vince Vaughan from Swingers. I know – I can smell my own. Casino employees can carry the keys to the kingdom, and they respond to one thing and one thing only: generosity. The dealer and the pit boss know exactly how much money you have – play a hand for the dealer at least once a shoe, or bet for the dealers at least once every few shooters. You don’t need grandiose gestures – just goodhearted, honest generosity. Those cocktail waitresses? They hand out free drinks to all the dickheads you try to avoid talking to, and none of them tip. Treat the cocktail waitress like you would any average bartender: A dollar a drink is a standard tip, and if you’re having a great night go higher. Do this long enough and with exactly no fanfare and you will be rewarded. One waitress loudly and visibly shoed away two “griftahs” (this was in Atlantic City) who had apparently set up shop, right behind me. Were they about to pick my pocket? I don’t know. Would she have given a shit if I hadn’t been treating her right for hours? Absolutely not. Me? I’ve done this long enough that they send a dude down, my host or something, to check in on me. I’m nowhere near red carpet treatment, but if you’re going to be a gambler you might as well pay it forward.

Do you have any dude-related casino tips I have forgotten? Let me know in the comments.


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