Casinos fuck their customers over like few other businesses. I think it goes 1) Hookers who drug their customers, then steal their kidneys and leave them in a bathtub full of ice 2) Casinos.   And “1” is an urban legend. One way they fuck you is with Jackpots, where they collect a dollar our of every pot, keep an unspecified amount of the money (i.e. 90% of it) then pay out the rest to customers who make high hands or improbable bad beats. Oh, and if you ever hit a big jackpot and tip the dealer something in the neighborhood of $100, you’re an asshole. You’ve essentially loaned the casino thousands of dollars at a hugely negative rate of return, and you’re supposed to tip like 5% more for the privilege. Before paying taxes on your “winnings.”

The upside of the jackpot is that, as one of the worst propositions in gambling, it attracts poor players like moths to a laptop screen. Losing players are often obsessed with the jackpot and the bigger it is, the more of them will be in your game. We all get a little rush of false hope when the flop comes AA2 in a raised pot, but Jackpot Jackass scrutinizes every board with an equally unbridled sense of fantasy. I’ve seen people actually become excited over a board of AKK in an unraised pot. “Pocket aces and pocket kings, jackpot!” Never mind that, in order for this to be true, the aces and kings would have both had to limp in. Also, after limping in and hitting that flop, one of the potential jackpot players looks like he is about to fall asleep while the other one is ordering a Corona. All of these signs point to jackpot! The only reason I can imagine still playing poker if I were rich would be sticking it out till I finally hit a jackpot hand and flashing my cards to Jackpot Jackass before tossing them into the muck.


As a former casino worker, I’ve gone light on the staff of casinos until now. They take enough bullshit from the assorted idiots they serve and their insanely greedy employers. But it occurred to me that Ruthless has never been a place for fairness or decency, so why begin now? In fact, let’s pick on those pitiful, downtrodden souls who must clean up the snot rags and spills left by society’s garbage.

It doesn’t take much observation to see that many porters are a little slow. Like really, products of special education and horrible accidents. (Or worse still, they aren’t.) Because of this, I will tip them whenever the chance arises. However, I don’t care how fucktarded you are, you should be able to realize that an ice cold bottle of water that is 90% full probably isn’t trash. And no, Professor, as disgusting as the food in this place is, the single bite taken out of my burger and the three missing fries do not signal that I’m finished with my meal. I’m just not eating at this second because I’m, you know, playing a hand of poker. And here’s the tricky part– even though cold water bottles are probably not trash, in the case of coffee or tea, a full cup is probably not trash when it’s hot. We can simplify this though. Don’t worry about what kind of drink it is. Any drink that is still very cold or very hot–not trash. Hot drink, cold drink, barely touched food–not trash. Write it on your hand if you have to, champ.


I hope for your sake that you remember hearing the Jay Santos character, a self appointed “auxiliary” cop on the old Phil Hendrie show.  Santos was hilarious because the intrusive, petty, bullying sort of imbecile he lampooned is so infuriating.  So of course, he has a counterpart in the poker room.  Just recently, we had taken a flop during a sleepy, late-night session.  The player with the button, thinking he was first to act, put out a bet which I, in first position, thoughtlessly matched.  The dealer straightened out the confusion quickly and without controversy and as we pulled our money back, the Citizens’ Auxiliary Floorman,  who was in no way involved in the hand, loudly objected that my bet must count.  He argued his case against 1) the dealer and 2) the unanimity of the players actually involved in the hand, before allowing the game to continue

It was only one of  many hands that played out in a similar fashion.  Whereas most players not involved with a hand only want it to be over quickly so that the next hand comes sooner, the Citizen’s Auxiliary Floorman routinely slows down the game, even when he is not getting any gambling fix from being involved in it.  It seems counterintuitive until you realize that he is so impatient that he simply cannot wait his turn.  He has not been blessed with even the fragile modicum of patience possessed by the typical degenerate that allows them to wait, however eagerly, for their next pair of cards, or to at least sit and play the role of Jackpot Jackass.  He must be directly involved in this hand, regardless of  whether or not he is actually involved in this hand.  This also explains why the Citizens’ Auxiliary Floorman is unfazed by being proven wrong dozens of times in a row.  His never-ending, erroneous objections have less to do with a concern for the integrity of the game than injecting himself into every second of action possible.  May he die painfully in the near future.


When you roll your eyes as some superstitious moron requests the fifth deck-change in 90 hands, the Secretive Rationalist will shoot you a glare or whisper that you shouldn’t say anything.  His reasoning is that contradicting the irrational view of the superstitious moron will trigger his sudden enlightenment and immediate switch to game-theory-based play on par with that of Chris Ferguson.  Better to let the poor player remain ignorant and to continue chasing luck with losing play so that Secretive Rationalist might cash in.

Sure, Secretive Rationalist.  Because of a single sigh from my lips, this fifty-year-old man who believes that the fucking Super Bowl is fixed every year in accordance with his $200 bet, and still makes the bet every year, is going to suddenly revamp his entire worldview.  Five minutes ago he was asserting that Obama is a Secret Muslim.  Who helped fix the Super Bowl.  Now that I’ve foolishly awakened him, he might even leave the casino in a mad rush to get to the library at the local university before closing time, burning to rid his mind of the ignorance and prejudice he has stridently embraced ever since he quit school in the fourth grade back in Albania.  You know what? If that actually happens, I think it’s worth potentially losing a few bucks.


Once in a while you will encounter a wandering man who seems to be literally homeless.  He will stretch his time in the casino as long as possible, finishing other people’s meals.  This Wandering Man just makes me sad.

The more common Wandering Man is someone so thoroughly deranged that he actually enjoys being in the casino and just wants to prolong the experience.  In Vegas, as a tourist, I guess this might be… not understandable, but at least comprehensible.  However, Wandering Man is actually more common in places like Los Angeles, where the card rooms are about as glamorous as a K-Mart in a bad neighborhood.   He is also usually a Regular.  He prolongs his stay by posting, playing a round and disappearing until his chips (amounting to whatever the minimum buy-in is, minus the blinds he has posted) are about to be picked up, then returning, playing another round and repeating, essentially transforming a nine-handed game to an eight-handed game. Naturally, the floorman will not intervene because Wandering Man is technically within his rights.  All he’s doing, after all, is making the game worse for the other eight customers and often costing the casino money by making the game more likely to go out of action.  Why on earth should such trifles as customer satisfaction and casino profitability trouble the floorman?  As they are Regulars, I’ve even seen floors comp meals for Wandering Men, which they, of course, sit out to eat.

Most card rooms offer very few activities, other than playing cards, so nobody can say for sure what Wandering Man is doing during his session, in which he will typically spend something like six of eight hours away from the table.  Being a Regular, he is certainly hobnobbing with other idiots, but can that really fill so much time?  I think he just literally wanders around the casino.  He fancies himself a poker player, perhaps even imagining that, if not for the bad luck in the 20 hands he actually plays, he would be a winning player.  And so long as he is in the casino “playing” poker, he can prolong this fantasy and say things like “I was playing poker all night.”


Check out Part 3, featuring Poker Porker

Part 2, featuring Mr. Trivia

Part 1, featuring Blue Chip Phil Hellmuth