If you’re like me, it can be quite interesting to watch people. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing; everyone can be so incredibly different.
You could be standing in line at a grocery store with four other people. One will be quiet and patiently wait for his turn. Another can be boisterous, talking on the phone about private matters that no one else really should be privy to, especially in a grocery store.
There’s the impatient woman who can’t stop sighing and edging up because a few inches will make all the difference, right?
Then, there’s the Mr. Budget-Conscious who second-guesses everything that’s scanned and pulls out a wad of coupons, much to the chagrin of everyone in the queue.
These are different people with widely varying personalities that you can pinpoint within seconds.
Everywhere you go, you come across the same kind of diversity in mannerisms, behavior, and dispositions. A casino is no different. In fact, in a casino, you have much more time to make the determination, as you may be sitting next to other players for hours at a time.
I’ll be honest with you. Sometimes I enjoy being around all kinds of people. I think it’s fun to watch newbies win and new card players master a table game. I’ve sat at Pai Gow tables full of really kind people and developed a camaraderie where we cheered each other on to victory.
But other times, it can just be downright annoying. I don’t enjoy sitting near smokers. If I’m losing, I’m a bit put off by someone who is gloating about their good fortune, as much as that’s embarrassing for me to admit.
Overall, though, people fit into some nice, neat categories with others of similar traits. A talented comic strip artist could really do them justice.
So, I’m going to take you on a little trip through the casino and introduce you to the players that I’ve met, or at least been in the vicinity of, who are part of a dozen distinct categories.
The first type of person is the brand new casino player that’s oh so excited to be there. They’re fun to watch and interact with because everything is bright, shiny, and happy to them.
This type of betting newbie is there to play and have fun. They don’t take things too seriously and want to try out all of the different games they’ve been hearing about for years.
The excited new player is almost always on vacation and not just visiting a local casino.
When new players are at a table, they appreciate the help from the dealers, and they don’t want to make a mistake that would negatively affect anyone else.
The excited new player is eager to learn and respects everyone else who already knows how to play.
Just as the excited new players have somewhat prepared themselves for their trip to the casino, the confused new player is a whole different story. They may be willing to try out the games, but that’s probably not a wise decision.
The confused new player is someone who sits down at a video poker machine when she doesn’t know a thing about the game of poker. She doesn’t ask for help.
Instead, the help screen appears, and she does a lot of reading and clicking buttons that doesn’t translate into any real betting action.
After the extensive reading and then loading money into the machine, she’ll try one hand and is then out of there. It’s just too confusing.
I bring up the confused new player because I have to say that it can be pretty humorous to watch. You can spot a confused new player a mile away. They wander around very slowly, reading every name of every game. They’re slow and deliberate, but they never stick around.
There should be a side bet on how many games a confused new player will play because the number, more often than not, is “one.” Even at a table where they have to buy chips and get situated, they’ll jump through all of the hoops to prepare to play, and then they’ll get up after the first hand.
It’s inevitable that whenever you have two people who go to a casino and one is brand new and the other knows how to play, the knowledgeable one morphs into “the helper.”
A visual isn’t needed to hone in on the helper, and listening can sometimes be quite amusing. The helper is not just helpful but is also a cheerleader. Every hand that her friend gets is a big deal – a VERY big deal.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a five-credit win; you’ll assume that the new player hit a massive jackpot by the sound of the helper cheerleader.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not criticizing. I think it’s great that friends and family help each other out and are so enthusiastic about every little thing. But if you’re on the sidelines listening to the interactions, it can go from heartwarming to annoying very quickly.
That’s not to say that I haven’t played the role of helper cheerleader, though.
I had a friend visit Las Vegas for the first time and wasn’t all that excited about the whole casino thing. We ventured down to the MGM Grand, though, so she could try out a few slot machines, and then we were going to do some sightseeing.
With her first few spins, she got uncharacteristically enthused. So, I was happy for her. Yes, I was cheering for every few coins that were added to the credit balance. I became one of the people I had listened to for a few years.
Incidentally, that same friend who really had no desire to gamble at all didn’t need a helper cheerleader after about five minutes. She ended up so immersed in a favorite slot game that she had discovered that I didn’t see her for six hours! No sightseeing, no food, but plenty of free beverages became the new agenda for the day.
I won’t make you wait until the end because I’m sure you’re expecting this one.
If you’re not a casino player, then you can still relate to this one if you’ve been on a plane. Maybe you are the Chatty Kathy, or you’re the person that’s avoiding him or her. Headphones are usually the tricks of the trade, but even they won’t help you out with a persistent Chatty Kathy.
There are times when I enjoy meeting new people and am in a social mood. But other times, I do like to go and play a few hands of blackjack or sit at a video poker machine for a few hours. It’s an escape to me. It’s a time when I can relax and not have to think about or do anything else.
During those times when I’m immersed in the game, doesn’t it figure that a kind but very talkative person will sit right down next to me?
It makes me feel bad because I know the person has a good heart and is just looking to be “neighborly.” But if you’re not in the mood to talk, you just aren’t. And sometimes, I’m just not.
Some talkative players can read the signals, and they don’t go overboard. But others miss the nonverbal cues entirely, and they can talk non-stop about anything – the game, the casino, the weather, you name it.
When you’re looking to relax and just play for a bit, it can be incredibly distracting. But if you’re not part of the conversation, it can also be entertaining.
I’ve been at some tables where a few players will connect, and they’re enjoying their discussion so much that they need to be cued when to make a move and play their hands.
I’ve picked up some interesting little tidbits over the years. Chatty Kathys can be a wealth of information. They know about discounts, the best game to play, dining bargains, and everything else under the sun. Chatty Kathys are kind people with good intentions. They just like to talk.
I had to follow up the Chatty Kathy with the Congratulator because it’s a good segue. Sometimes Chatty Kathys are also Congratulators; they’re not mutually exclusive.
If you’re not quite sure what I’m talking about, a Congratulator is someone who watches your game. You could be focused on your machine or hand at the table, but they are paying attention to their game as well as yours.
Here’s the thing about the Congratulator. I know they are trying to be polite and somewhat “cheerleader-y,” but I’m not someone who likes everyone to know when I’m winning (or losing). I keep it to myself.
If I’m playing a video poker game and I hit something good, I don’t let the loud noise of my rising credit balance fill in the air. I take it off the board immediately.
My thought is that if someone near me isn’t doing well, it doesn’t help him out to know that I just hit something.
I have been sitting next to people who have watched my every move, including every win or near win. No matter how quickly I take it off of the board, they catch it and comment. Yes, I know they’re just talking on a cheerleader role, but I would rather that they didn’t.
I don’t like someone else focusing on my game. I’m a quiet winner, and when I’m losing and have those near misses, someone bringing it to my attention isn’t helpful.
So far, I’ve been talking about types of people who are well-intended and just enjoying their time at the casino and meeting others. But now, I’m going to shift gears and talk about my casino “nemesis,” otherwise known as the Oblivious Smoker.
I am not nor have never been a smoker, and I am not a fan of the habit. Everyone has the right to do what they want, but smoking, for me anyway, is different than some other pursuits because it affects everyone in the vicinity.
It’s not enjoyable to smell like an ashtray, have burning eyes, and feel like you need to cough up a lung. So, the Oblivious Smoker is the person I stay as far away from as possible.
The Oblivious Smoker holds their hand out and lets that smoke just waft in your face. They give no thought to anyone else, or else they’d be holding the cigarette away from you and not toward you. I guess they think that everyone loves that smell in their hair, clothes, and eyes.
I will say that I don’t just plunk myself down next to a smoker and then act territorial. In fact, I go out of my way to stay away from them.
If someone has already set up shop with their machine and their ashtray, I will even forego playing my favorite game to find a smoke-free area.
But when I’m in a remote space, and the Oblivious Smoker comes into the vicinity, any credits that I have accumulated seem to dwindle faster than I can press the draw button. My entire focus shifts to the negative direction of the cloud that lingers in the area.
The funny thing is that the Oblivious Smokers really are unaware that they’re affecting anyone else. They’re in their world with their hands outstretched toward any unsuspecting fellow player as they light one after another.
The coughing and the waving of smoke away by everyone else just doesn’t seem to register.
Just as gambling and smoking seem to mutually exist more often than not, so do gambling and drinking. This is just an observation and not a statement of fact. But I notice that table game players seem to drink more than players at the slot or poker machines.
When I play blackjack or Pai Gow, it’s not uncommon for other players at the table to order a drink almost every time the cocktail waitress makes the rounds. I don’t notice it as much at the machines.
In the areas away from the pit, there are more coffee drinkers or players so mesmerized by the game at hand that drinks are secondary.
Table gameplay seems to prompt more consumption. It may be because there are idle times when you’re waiting for other players to make their moves. So, you’re focused on other things like ordering a drink.
I share my observation because that’s where I tend to see more “Sir Drinks a Lots,” (gender neutral, though).
The more these players order, the louder and more carefree they become during the game.
Casinos certainly know what they’re doing with the alcohol availability. Inebriation and bigger bets seem to go hand in hand.
You can spot a Sir Drinks a Lot pretty easily. They are typically the loudest ones at the tables, and they seem to get even noisier when ordering another drink. I really haven’t been around too many annoying drinkers in casinos, though. I know they’re out there, but I don’t think they’re as prevalent as you people assume.
The “Sir Drinks a Lots” I’ve shared a table with have been fun-drinkers who are having a good time, and the alcohol just makes them a little more free-wheeling with their chips.
The “Everyone Is My Friend” gambler may not be what you think. It has nothing to do with alcohol. It’s just a personality type.
These are people who know everyone by name in the casino whether they really do know them or not. They ask every casino team member their name and talk to them as if they’ve been friends for years.
It seems to be more of a locals’ kind of thing in a place like Las Vegas. It’s territorial and makes them feel like they belong.
I’ve noted that the “Everyone Is My Friend” player is even more so when they’re showing off “their casino” to their real friends.
They talk a lot and are “Norm from Cheers” wannabes that can also be somewhat braggadocious. They know all of the ins and outs of the casinos and share umpteen stories of the freebies they get, the hidden discounts, and how they have the hookups with the casino.
It’s kind of fun to be on the listening end of an “Everyone Is My Friend” conversation – up to a point, anyway.
I didn’t make a typo here. You would think that the losing players would be the biggest complainers. And yes, I’ve certainly seen my share of that. But the winning complainer is the one that stands out even more because it can be quite annoying.
I’ve been playing and maybe not doing so well, and a nearby player will hit something that I’d be so excited to receive. But instead of being grateful or even just staying quiet, they’ll complain that it wasn’t more.
A perfect example is the video poker player who gets four aces but drones on and on about how they didn’t get the kicker with the aces. Come on! You just received a few hundred dollars in one hand.
Yes, it’s always nice to get more. But I’d rather be around someone who shows some appreciation.
The Winning Complainer is not afraid to be vocal about how they should have won more. You can see them at table games collecting a stack of chips while everyone else is surrendering theirs to the house. Instead of being humble and thankful, they’ll freely express how it’s a small pot or “it’s about time.”
It only fits to follow up the Winning Complainer with the Losing Complainer. This time, though, you can understand it a bit better. After all, who likes to lose, right?
Most people are quietly disgruntled, though. After all, we’re talking about casino gambling, and most players aren’t winning, or casinos wouldn’t be in business. For the most part, you don’t even know what kind of outing anyone is having because most hold their cards close to their chest.
If you’re near a Losing Complainer, though, you’ll know it for sure.
The Losing Complainer won’t just make a few comments here and there. They’ll complain every few minutes about the bad luck they’re having. They’ll throw chips instead of placing them on the table.
Rather than neatly folding their hand, they’ll fling the cards in the direction of the dealer.
A Losing Complainer at a machine will hit the keys loud and hard. They’ll do a lot of sighing and make some crazy noises that you just don’t want to hear.
Honestly, you have to be prepared to lose if you’re going into a casino. In Las Vegas, there’s a saying that if you broke even, you’re a winner.
People know that there are no guarantees with gambling, so if you’re not doing well, it’s not beneficial to anyone to be a sore loser. It affects the entire area, as everyone in the vicinity has to listen to the grumblings.
Yes, we all get it. You’re not doing well. But maybe we aren’t either. If everyone were a Losing Complainer, the casino floors would be emptied out because it would just be way too intense.
The Machine Abuser, to me, is in the same category as the Oblivious Smoker. It’s the player that you want to steer clear of if you play slots or video poker.
If you’ve ever played machines in a casino, chances are you’ve been in the vicinity of at least one Machine Abuser before.
What do I mean?
There are three physical moves that a Machine Abuser makes.
I’m going to elaborate a bit on these even though I honestly don’t know why they do these things. It could be superstition, anger, frustration, habit, or a belief that they really can control the machine by these actions.
I would have to say that the key slammers come across as angry as they violently smash their hands on the game controls. They slam the key for a deal, they slam it to hold cards, and they’ll smash the buttons loudly and repeatedly trying to get their slot reels to land in the right position.
Like the Oblivious Smoker, the key slammers must be completely unaware of anyone else because their actions put everyone else on edge.
The game screen tapper tends to be more superstitious. Every time the slot reel just misses, or they’re one card short of a winning hand, they use their nails or the top of their fingertips and tap the screen over and over again.
Why? I have no idea. But there are quite a few screen tappers in the wonderful world of casinos.
The third Machine Abuser is the chronic user of the cash-out button. They click “cash out,” and the machine makes a lot of noise as it generates the ticket. You think that they’re about to get up and leave. But no, they put the ticket back in the machine.
Okay, maybe they made a mistake, and they want to keep playing. A few minutes later, they cash out again. They’re not going anywhere, though. They cash out, and they put the ticket back in, they cash out, and the ticket goes in once again. It’s an endless cycle.
I would venture a guess that they think they’re tricking the machine into changing its pattern. But machines run on random number generators, and someone cashing out a ticket isn’t going to change the internal programming.
Each of these types of people can be a little frustrating to sit next to, but it’s awful when a player does all three. And yes, they are out there slamming, tapping, and cashing out, over and over and over again.
I’ve got to say that I’m generalizing, but the “Along for the Rides” are usually older men accompanying their wives to the casino. They don’t want to be there, but their wives really don’t care.
Mr. Along for the Ride does everything he can to pass the time. He wanders, gets something to drink, pops into the retail shops, and returns to his spouse about every 15 minutes to see if she’s ready to leave.
The answer, about 90% of the time, is no.
It’s kind of funny because you do see it a lot, and I have an “Along for the Ride” in my own family. He makes the rounds of the entire casino, pops back to check in, and then wanders off looking for something else to do to pass the time.
He’ll put a dollar into a machine and play it through. But the second dollar will be reserved for another machine during his next lap around the venue.
Oblivious is a word I’ve used more than usual in this write-up, but there seems to be a pattern. “Along for the Ride” is typically accompanied by someone oblivious to him (or her).
They’re doing their thing, betting and playing their favorite games, all while “Along for the Ride” is trying desperately to stay busy and patient.
A casino is no different than anywhere else. There are different people with unique personalities, but you can typically file them into distinct categories based on their outward behavior.
Things tend to be tenser in a casino, though, because money is at stake. There are winners and losers, winners who then turn around and lose their winnings, and losers that don’t have money to burn.
In any case, it’s a fascinating study in human behavior.
Are you a Machine Abuser or a Winning Complainer? Maybe you’re about to be an Excited New Player or an Along for the Ride.
Whatever trait you take on when you gamble, just have fun, don’t go over your limit, and remember that others may not be having the same good (or bad) fortune all at the same time.