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There’s a “Drooling Elmer” In Every Casino

Remembering the players I wish I could forget

By Frank Scoblete

“Nice people try to ignore Drooling Elmer (or just feel sorry for him), but he figures if he can’t attract attention by screaming he will attract it by screaming LOUDER. No experience is so refined or pleasant that he can’t ruin it.”

Casino gambling is the closest thing to going back to high school and dealing with scatter-brained teenagers. (A close second would be driving on the roads of this country, where apparently having a functioning brain is not a requirement for getting a driver’s license.)

In a casino, you rub shoulders with every type of human imaginable—some of whose shoulders you wished they would keep to themselves. It’s sort of like high school, where all manner of kids are dumped together to fend for themselves.

Drooling Elmer

The majority of folks I encounter in casinos are nice, friendly, intelligent and well-groomed—but then there’s the minority, who range from whiny and obnoxious, to disheveled degenerates shuffling around like zombies. There are peasants and paupers, kings and queens, walking the gaming floors, hallways and restaurants of almost any casino.

This is because as long as you’re of legal age, you’re invited to come inside and hang out (and hopefully spend some money). And as anyone whose job it is to deal with large swaths of the citizenry will attest, “Many of them are idiots.”

When it comes to the nice people, you don’t hear too many complaints, do you? “Oh my, Mrs. Jones is just too nice! She gives to charity, helps the poor, goes to church and has a smile for everyone. Isn’t that awful?

The Mrs. Joneses of the world don’t illicit our scorn. But Mrs. Jones’ cousin, Drooling Elmer, sure does. He’s loud, dirty and pushes his way into your life whether you want him there or not. He has no capacity to whisper, or even talk in a normally pitched voice.

On the beach, Drooling Elmer plays loud music; in his car, the thump, thump, thump of the bass can shake the foundations of a skyscraper. He smokes in non-smoking areas; behaves like a hyperactive gorilla when he drinks; and in restaurants, he spits while he eats because he talks with food crammed into a mouth that has more cavities than it does teeth. He’s a poor tipper, too, and loves to degrade waitresses with what he thinks is humor.

Drooling Elmer is the creep who jumps ahead of you in the buffet line and handles the rolls and desserts with his hands instead of using the tongs. He analyzes pieces of these foods, and puts back the ones that are too small—after bringing them up to his hairy nose to smell them.

At the gaming tables he is loud and rude, and wants everyone to share in his misfortune as he laments in foul language about his inability to win. When he does win, he wants the entire world to know as he unleashes simian noises: “Yee ha! Ha ha! Whoo-ah!”

Nice people try to ignore Drooling Elmer (or just feel sorry for him), but he figures if he can’t attract attention by screaming he will attract it by screaming LOUDER. No experience is so refined or pleasant that he can’t ruin it.

In truth, most people are nice, or at the very least, tolerable. Yet for me, Drooling Elmers seem to dominate the landscape—just as hordes of ploppies dominated my days as a high-school teacher. While most people have long since forgotten about the ploppies who irritated them back in high school, or as recently as during their last casino visit, I remember all of them.

Like the Californian heart surgeon who turned over a blackjack table at the Golden Nugget because he was losing. Or, the drunken woman at the Silverton who passed out on my lap and then slid to the floor in a heap. I remember the player who threw a towel into the dealer’s face at the Maxim after he purposely dumped a drink onto the table. And how can I can forget the numbskull who relieved himself onto the leg of a dealer at a craps table (at a casino that shall remain nameless)?

I remember the young lady who unleashed a torrent of profanity at the dealers at The Mirage because she thought all the games were fixed against her. And of course there were the two elderly women in Atlantic City, one with blue hair and the other with flaming red hair, fist-fighting over a slot machine and pulling each others’ dyed hair out by the roots.

I remember the blackjack player at Tropicana who abused an entire table for causing him to lose, because none of them “played correctly.” And at several casinos, I’ve seen inebriated players lose their lunch onto the middle of the craps layout.

Then again, I suppose it does keep things interesting. Between the constant action and the Drooling Elmers, there’s never a dull moment in the casino. I’m sure you’ve got your memories, too!

Frank Scoblete, #1 best-selling gaming author, is director of Golden Touch advantage-play seminars. Web sites: and Recent book is The Virgin Kiss! Join Frank at The World Casino Championships in August in Las Vegas. Go to: for more information. To order Frank’s products or a free brochure: 1-800-944-0406.

There’s a “Drooling Elmer” In Every Casino.

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