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Slips, Trips and Granfallloons

After an exhaustive study on gambling behavior, my grand conclusion is: slot players quiet, table players loud.

Slips, Trips and Granfallloons

I recently concluded an exhaustive study of casino patron behavior, focusing specifically on the variations in attitudes and interactions between those who prefer slot machines and those who prefer table games.

Not really. I was just in a casino and looked around. But this intense scrutiny did yield conclusions and hypotheses. To wit:

Slot players quiet. Table players loud.

I am actually both, a veritable schizophrenic of a casino patron. I play video poker until I have enough money to play craps, and then play craps until I lose enough that I have to go play more video poker.

It’s a vicious cycle. But it works for me.

Anyway, I notice how differently I behave between video poker and craps, and it’s the same way for all other players, if I may make a rash generalization for the sake of the bit.

At the video poker machine, I’m the picture of solitude. Of concentration. Of pondering whether the cocktail server actually traveled to Scotland to retrieve the Scotch I ordered. I hit the button, concentrating on the rhythmic beauty of the process of deal, draw, curse… deal, draw, curse… the only other noise being the electronic sound of the game, provided it even has one.

Many psychiatrists think this means I’m mesmerized by a gaming machine, especially if it’s a slot machine. Responsible gaming advocates advise against falling into a trance (or as Shemp used to say, a “transom”) while playing slots.

But I don’t consider it a trance. (Or a transom.) I’m just chillin’, playing video poker, and appreciating the silence of the evening, especially if it’s late. Then, suddenly, enter table-game players:

“Deal… draw… deal… draw… deal… dr-WOOOOOO!”

That’s the sound of a woman playing blackjack at the nearby pit the other night, every time she won a single $5 chip. As I removed shards of glass after biting through my cocktail glass, I pondered the near-heart

attack that resulted from table player behavior.

But that’s the difference. When I’m at a table, I’m the same way. Everyone’s interacting, high-fiving each other, cheering… especially at craps. You form a sort of camaraderie and become what author Kurt Vonnegut called a “granfalloon,” a group of people who are proud to be a group because of some random, meaningless association. (Vonnegut used “Hoosiers” as an example.)

At the craps table, we all happen to be betting against the house at the same time (except for the jerk betting Don’t Pass). After a couple of hours, we’re all best pals. We’re a granfalloon. For all I know, I could be high-fiving Charles Manson.

But to get back to my exhaustive study of player behavior, I’ll reiterate my conclusion:

Slot players quiet. Table players loud.

Moving on, here’s the definition of irony: Slipping on a “wet floor” sign.

Not slipping on the wet floor, mind you, but the sign put there so you don’t slip. It happened at the Jack Cincinnati Casino, or as they like to write it, JACK Cincinnati. (It’s like they feel they have to shout for you to hear the name.)

A woman was awarded $3 million in a lawsuit against JACK. She sued because she was injured when she tripped over a wet floor sign. (The floor was wet, not the sign.) Evidently, the sign had been knocked over, and a JACK employee saw it and just walked around it. Moments later, the woman tripped over it and broke her kneecap.

I’m guessing the employee didn’t comprehend what was on the sign because JACK didn’t use CAPITAL LETTERS on it.

OK, hold the phone here. If she was able to report that the guy walked around the sign, she had to see the sign sitting there. Did she think the guy just stopped in mid-stride to do a little two-step? How did she trip over the sign moments later?

That’s what the casino’s lawyers argued, anyway. She wasn’t paying attention, and she should have seen the sign. The judge didn’t buy it.

Maybe the lawyers should have made their argument in CAPITAL LETTERS.

Finally, if there’s anything I love, it’s sarcastic philanthropy. London bookmaker William Hill won a copyright infringement lawsuit against rival bookmaker FanDuel, after convincing a judge that FanDuel’s sports betting guide was a nearly word-for-word copy of the William Hill guide.

William Hill donated part of the settlement to the creative writing program at Rutgers University’s Newark campus, right down the road from FanDuel’s New York headquarters.

Love it. Of all the reasons to give to charity, sarcasm has to be the best. I think it’s just… CAPITAL. (Sorry.)

Seriously, where’s my Scotch?

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.  

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