William Shakespeare, aka
England’s National Poet, aka the Swan of Avon, aka Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise (wait, that was William Shatner), celebrated his birthday in April. Well, okay, everyone else celebrated it. He was busy, as it turns out, being dead from typhoid fever since 1616.
Like Aristotle and DaVinci before him, and Mozart and Einstein after him, there will never be another one like him. Writers who write about other writers’ writing rightly dub W. Shakespeare an epochal genius, the most brilliant, most prolific, most influential purveyor of the English language in the history of the English language.
Or the future of the English language, for that matter. What’s to be left of it anyway, once the Emoji Generation finishes abbreviating and acronym-ing everything down so that even the most intricate thought can fit into an iMessage window or onto a personalized license plate?
2BRNOT2B… TMRW X3… ET2BRUTE
Even today, long after his brief candle burned out, out, it’s as if Shakespeare is still with us. (Him and Tupac.) He remains the most quoted author of all time; his works—and allusions to such—have pervaded every inch of popular culture, from the Harry Potter movies to the video game Halo to the television show The Simpsons.
So, what about table games? Any beauts from the Bard that apply to our world? Let’s venture unto the breach and find out.
“Love all. Trust a few. Do wrong to none.”—All’s Well That Ends Well
Despite their omniscient, Big Brother image, surveillance operators are some of the nicest folks you’ll ever meet. Maybe being cooped up alone in a cold, dark room, staring at a wall of monitors all day, makes you appreciate those rare and fleeting occasions of human interaction. And talk about fun at a cocktail party. Boy, oh boy, the stories they tell. (Well, the ones they’re allowed to, anyway.)
Just don’t cross them. Surveillance exists, after all, to catch cheaters and foil scammers. The eye in the sky may not see everything, but it sees enough. And the eyes of the eye are trained to detect all sorts of shenanigans—even stuff that hasn’t gone down yet—so be on your best behavior.
“Nothing will come of nothing.”—King Lear
When in doubt, don’t. That adage served the table games industry well many years ago, when the riskiest decision ever deliberated was switching the layouts from felt to synthetic. As long as the doors were open, the racks were full, the cards were shuffled and the dealers were upright, casinos couldn’t help but make more money than they could count.
That was then. This is now: Table games are squarely in the innovation business, whether they like it or not. And most, it would seem, like it quite a bit. Content, progressive jackpots, utility devices, technology, big data, small data, etc. It’s all about the new, new thing. This makes a lot of sense. Doing nothing, as the philosophers say, is doing something, and that something is being left behind.
“Men of few words are the best men.”—Henry V
Two ways. Just as there are only two ways to like your peanut butter (smooth or chunky), your martinis (shaken or stirred), or your desert-island women (Ginger or Mary Ann), there are only two ways to like your casino dealer.
Chatty or quiet.
Put me down for the latter category across the board.
It’s not that dealers should be seen and not heard. That’s children. Rather, it’s about reciprocating the vibe coming from the players at the table. If everyone’s chill, you chill. If everyone’s talkative, you talk. And if everyone’s throwing around racial slurs, you represent like you’re straight outta Straight Outta Compton.
Actually, no. You don’t. Otherwise, you might find yourself pink-slipped from one of the most prominent casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. True story. Happened a few months ago.
“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”—The Merry Wives of Windsor
Casinos may have no clocks, but that doesn’t mean they’re lax when it comes to time. Quite the contrary. Ask anyone who’s dealt, sat box, stood floor, pit-clerked, or held any other front-line position, and they will confirm that punctuality is paramount and tardiness is not tolerated.
If you want to test this theory, try blocking the walkway to the pit when dealers are coming back from break. You’d be safer taking your chances at the running of the bulls in Pamplona.
“It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”—Macbeth
Poker bad-beat stories are to anecdotes what sarcasm is to wit: the lowest form possible. Yes, you were right to limp in under the gun. No, he shouldn’t have re-raised your check-raise when the flop came suited. Yes, you had to semi-bluff on the turn. No, it’s not fair the river card that gave you the nut flush gave him a baby full house.
Sound familiar? It should, because bad-beat stories are like knock-knock jokes: If you’ve heard one, you’ve heard them all.
Oh, and by the way: Yes, we’d rather be rubbing cat food in our hair than listening to you ramble on. And no, you’re actually not that good of a player anyway.