Breaking the “curse” of the casino
By Frank Scoblete
I think just about everyone reading this column knows the basic story of the werewolf, the half man/half beast monster that terrorizes villages, towns and cities when the full moon rises. A werewolf cannot control this inner beast and when the silvery moon bathes him, well, blood is spilled, flesh is shredded, terror reigns; in short, all hell breaks loose.
The werewolf can only be killed by a silver bullet and most werewolves do in fact meet this doom. An animal-man can only survive for a short time be-fore the silver bullet does him in.
Now there are in fact two types of werewolves; the kind mentioned above and another kind, one many of you have encountered—the casino werewolf. This second type of werewolf has little or no control over his emotions; he allows his inner beast to consume him; he is driven, not by the light of the silvery moon, but by the flashing, cheering, moaning environment of the casinos and, more important, by the games he chooses to play. Those games are his prey.
Good casino players need a hefty dose of strong discipline to play casino games and, in fact, most casino players have just such. Otherwise everyone who goes to casinos, some 54 million Americans, would be broke.
So what characterizes the casino werewolf? Let’s take it step by step.
The casino werewolf has no control over the volume of his drinking. He might savor his first drink; savor his second drink which he drinks faster than his first drink, and by the tenth drink he is downing them as if they are water. As he becomes more and more intoxicated he bets more and more foolishly and far faster than he wagered at the beginning of his playing. He plays fast into the casino’s edge—a major mistake.
If he is a craps player, he will start to make the poorest bets on the table—and he’ll make lots of them. If he plays blackjack he will in-crease his bets to make up for the bets he lost. He will criticize other players if they make decisions he doesn’t like—sometimes he doles out his criticisms in the most obnoxious way. Many players will color up and take their play to another table.
At roulette he will push aside other players’ hands in an effort to make sure he gets all of his bets down. As the game progresses he in-creases his bets and makes more and more of them. If he thinks the dealer is moving the game along too fast he will yell at the dealer. He doesn’t talk; he shouts.
Worst of all, in whatever game he plays, if he is losing, he moans and shouts about his bad luck or how other players have taken the wrong cards, thus hurting him, or he shouts that other craps players stink at rolling the dice; or he cheers and shouts even louder when he wins thinking he is now going to make a bloody killing.
In some primitive or infantile part of his churning brain he is convinced everyone near him wants to know what kind of luck he has been having. He perceives himself as the center of the casino action and as such, he deserves to be heard because (he imagines) everyone is quite eager to hear from him. Thus he must be loud so everyone can hear him.
If he plays slots or video poker you will often hear him cursing the machine, hitting the machine and complaining to management about how tight every machine is. He will complain to any other players who are near him, interfering with their enjoyment of the machines. If he happens to be winning, he will whoop and holler to make sure every-one in the casino (and perhaps on Earth) knows what a great player he is. He will share his exact hands with anyone who will listen.
When he goes to a restaurant, the food is never good enough for him; the service is always lousy; the management should be fired. He thinks of himself as the gourmet of the buffet and cafe.
There does exist a silver bullet in the casino werewolf’s future. Be-cause he is such wild beast of a player, sooner or later, he starts to lose significant money. Without self-control, he bets more than his bankroll allows and he will find himself in a hole, or a deep hole; or a very deep hole.
When he wakes up from his “full moon” ravages in the casino, he will often ask himself, “I did what? I lost how much?” There is no stop-ping the casino werewolf until he hits bottom, whatever bottom that might be for this particular individual.
Now, can these casino werewolves change? Yes. But first they must understand how the casino is their full moon and then they must chain themselves in the cell of discipline to ever have a chance to overcome their curse.
Frank Scoblete’s is celebrating 25 years of casino playing. He is offering a free book, The Virgin Kiss, to Casino Player readers to share the joy. Just email him firstname.lastname@example.org, give him your address and he will send the book out ASAP.