7.30.2004

Shoeshiners

There's this subclass of gamblers within the casino called shoeshiners. Typically, they hang out behind the seated players and look for a handout. They appoint themselves the mascot of whomever seems to have money and hope that that person will give them a hundred dollars to go away. Shoeshining takes many different forms, from sexual flirtation to mindless cheerleading, but the most dedicated and aggressive of the shoeshiners are the Asians. The amazing thing about them is how, given that they already start from a position of panhandling, they manage to make themselves even more worthless by the things they do to play"host" to their victim/player, who is already being hosted quite nicely by the casino staff. A few common forms of shoeshining assistance:

- They handle the player's money and arrange their bet nicely for them. There's one guy who is always doing this, even when the bet is already placed correctly, sometimes stacking it wrong so the bet goes over the table limit. Trying to be helpful.
- Counting action on the table, advising the player to buy action (theoretically so he can win more and have more to give away). This is ALWAYS wrong. As bad as most of the players are at counting, somehow the shoeshiners are worse, yet they offer their misinformation repeatedly, again in the hopes of appearing helpful.
- Calling service people and attending to the player's food and drink. This is, you guessed it, useless, since the casino already has a full staff that is also eager to receive tips. The shoeshiner tries to intercept the tips before they get to the casino staff which is actually performing a service.
- Shouting out incorrect information about everything: the table limit, people's names, the collection amounts, everything.
- "Rooting" for their player. This is probably the most hilarious thing they do, because it amounts to a play-by-play commentary on the very very obvious. "If they hadn't pulled that six you wounda won." "You hot now you won three in a row." "You made the right decision." It's as if they can read their own minds.
- Where it gets personal is when they start trying to liason between me, the corporation player, and their player, by shouting out the price of prop bets and how much change I'm supposed to give them. "One thousand -- 25 dollars," they tell the player, who already knows this because he's been paying the same price for the past four hours. "Fifty dollars change," they'll tell me, because it is possible that in the half-minute elapsed since our last identical transaction, I have forgotten how to make change.

I'm not against panhandling altogether, but the shoeshiners lack even the dignity of a guy on the street with a cup, because they posture like they're playing in the big time.

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