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Best of Madeliene Bizub

Gaming Guru

 

Are We Gambling Yet?

18 August 1999

Back in the early 1960s, I watched Art Linkletter on television and laughed with the rest of America as he interviewed children for a segment of his show called "Kids Say the Darndest Things". I was just a kid myself back then, but I developed a sense of the absurd at an early age, thanks to Art and others like him. If old Art could come along with me to casinos today, I think he might consider writing another best seller called "Adults in Fantasyland Say the Darndest Things Too".

I've considered writing a book about all the eccentric behaviors I see while traveling in that unique American landscape of casinoland. I've tried it out on some of my more conservative Southern relatives and a few friends who don't gamble. To a man, they just throw up their hands and say, "For God's sake, quit telling those lies!" I have been known to embellish a story. And while I don't see any reason to ruin a good story with strict adherance to the facts, I couldn't possibly make up my experiences in casinos. I'd have to have an imagination the size of the Titanic to make up some of the nonsense I've seen and heard from gamblers. Up until last week, I thought nothing could really shock me anymore. However, I'll not think that again, since someone is bound to come along and say or do something that baffles the heck out of me. Though what happened was funny, it also caused me to pause for a moment and contemplate all the illusions that people bring with them to a casino.

While I was playing craps at a Mississippi casino last week, a well-dressed, middle-aged man strolled up to the table. He had a practiced, confident air about him. He was hard to miss since the pit bosses ran right over and started giving him that subtle brand of treatment reserved for the really big bangers. It was obvious to me that he must be a regular by the casual interaction that was going on between him and the pit personnel. I'm not easily impressed by that transparent behavior, but he certainly was basking in the attention.

Much to my surprise, after the cheek kissing and hugs, he came over to the table and bought in for the monumental sum of $20. That's right 2-0, or 3 reds and 5 whites in casinospeak. The woman sitting box knew him, too, smiled pleasantly, said, "Haven't seen you in a while," and called him by name. The man responded to her by saying, "Oh, I wasn't gambling when I was here before. I don't gamble."

Well, he had my undivided attention now, for sure. I wanted to see what he was going to do with those chips, since he didn't gamble. The dice came to him, and he casually put down a pass-line wager, set the dice, and rolled in a manner that indicated experience at a craps table, even placing an odds bet behind his pass-line, which isn't a bet that's written down anywhere on the felt. My brain just couldn't take it any longer, so it directed my mouth to query the guy with, "So what do you call what you are doing right now? Since you don't gamble."

He answered in all seriousness that he was "just having a little fun. When I was here before, they had that high-low bet, and I made a lot of money." With a will of its own, my mouth just ran on, "Well, how did you manage to do that? Since you don't gamble." He said, "Oh, that was such a good bet, it wasn't gambling. They don't even have that bet anymore, because I made so much money."

"WINNAH! WINNAH! Front line winnah!" shouted the stickman. He had made his point. I told the dealer, "Don't pay him, he's not gambling", but they all ignored me for some reason. Thankfully, my mouth took a vacation, but my brain was working overtime--going through those file cabinets of memory, it pulled up some information I had read sometime about a high-low bet in craps which carried a huge house edge, and was such a bad bet it was banned in some places. Whether that is a fact or not is irrelavent though, since a bet of any kind is considered gambling as far as I know, and how anyone could think otherwise is way beyond my comprehension.

My brain was really jumping in its cage now. It was frantically sending signals about a beam of some kind to someone named Scotty. It seems to have a will of its own sometimes, but I've learned to just ignore it when it starts that stuff. Besides, I was already in enough trouble and the non-gambler just sevened out. It was my turn to roll the dice, and I wanted to see what was going to happen next.

I plunked down my pass-line wager and asked the stickman, "Are we gamblin' yet?" He reassured me that we were and passed me the dice. Surprising me again, the guy who didn't gamble put another pass-line wager down for my come-out roll. I told him the stickman had said we were gambling, but I don't think he heard me because he kept his money on the table. I rolled a few numbers, and quickly sevened out myself. Having lost his meager buy-in, the gentleman strolled away from the table, and didn't even say goodbye, but his head was held high. I guess he wasn't upset that he lost his money since he wasn't gambling anyway. The box lady gave me a look that would frost your beer mug, so I apologized, but I wasn't really sorry I had said what I did. I thought that man was scarier than the drunk at the blackjack table doubling down on a hard 12. Quite frankly, I would have more respect for the drunk, because when he woke up in the morning with empty pockets, I'd wager he'd know he had been gambling.

Things quickly got back to what is referred to as normal around the craps table, when some rowdy good ol' boys showed up and started having a few productive rolls, and a few Bud Lights to celebrate. Now, THIS is what I call FUN! But I also call it gambling.

I put down my pass-line wager, and a small bet for the crew. The stickman gave me a subtle wink and shouted, "WE'RE ALL GAMBLIN' NOW!" And that's the truth.

Madeliene Bizub
Madeliene Bizub is a craps aficionado and an experienced gambler who is making
quite a name for herself in craps circles. She contributes to many internet
gaming sites and her opinions are well respected.
Madeliene Bizub
Madeliene Bizub is a craps aficionado and an experienced gambler who is making
quite a name for herself in craps circles. She contributes to many internet
gaming sites and her opinions are well respected.