The foremost benefit of the casino job was that it allowed you to observe certain kinds of human behavior that you just can't find anywhere else in the world. For example, the smiles. The whole casino is run on the basis of artificial civility, and everyone smiles all the time. However, there are many types and functions of smiles, and after a while you start to notice the small variations which differentiate them:
1. DEALER SMILE - All dealers have in their skill set at least one type of sly, lazy smile that only card dealers can do. This smile is used in response to positive comments/requests from players along the lines of, "Please let me win / You're beautiful / You are the best dealer in the whole world." It is friendly without being inviting, and it never means "Yes" or "Thank you." When they mean "Thank you" they say "Thank you." The Dealer smile means something like, "It is too much trouble to actually speak with you, and seeing how you'll probably be screaming for my death within the next fifteen minutes, there's no sense engaging your delusion that we have some special connection, so I will smile at you instead to acknowledge that you are speaking."
2. LOSER SMILE - This is one of my favorites. This smile happens when someone loses a big hand and wants to give off the impression that it doesn't matter that much to him, usually in response to some laughing comment by the hand's winner. See, unlike the civilized world wherein it's generally uncool to gloat in victory or kick a dog when he's down (unless of course you're the Bush administration), in the casino it's pretty standard that after you take a guy's money you can give him a "good-natured" ribbing about it, because....well, because these people are sick. But the really special thing about this type of exchange is the loser's face; should he decide to play the game of "it doesn't matter that you just took six thousand dollars of my money" when in fact it does matter to him, he'll offer up a kind of sickened fragile smile and laugh that, as soon as the ribbing is done, collapses so quickly it actually sucks away whatever appearance of good humor the loser was trying to convey.
3. NOTHING I CAN DO SMILE - This is the smile that the floorman or pit boss gives you when they're telling you that despite all your screaming, the request or complaint you have registered is just not going to go your way tonight. It's an embarassingly fake smile, which can trigger-quick switch to a scowl when they decide to start using the Bark of Intimidation on you. Once you see the Nothing I Can Do smile, even if you have a valid complaint, you can be sure they've already decided you're not important enough to satisfy.
4. NOT UNDERSTANDING YOU SMILE - The default dim-wattage smile, usually accompanied by some head-nodding, used when you want to appear engaged in whatever the hell this person is blathering at you about. Unfortunately, a popular staple of corporation bankers.
5. GOING HOME SOON SMILE - Another dealer smile, this is one of the only really genuine smiles on the list, and usually comes near the end of the shift. After being harassed, screamed at and spit on for the past eight hours, they're giddily unable to hide pleasure at the thought of going home. Different from the other dealer smiles because it's the one that sneaks out even when something grotesque or violent is happening at the table to which he/she ordinarily should act dispassionately.
6. STUPID SHOESHINER SMILE - The dumb, forced grin worn by the shoeshiners who are trying, with difficulty, to assess the best way to turn incidents on the table to their financial advantage. Different from the Not Understanding You smile because while the NUY smile is merely lazy and apathetic, the shoeshiners are really too unintelligent to understand what is going on around them, as revealed in their twitching, slightly slack-jawed smile.
7. WINNER SMILE - Another genuine smile that needs no explanation, the one that they get models to fake for all those Casino Morongo ads.
8. BOTOX SUPPORTIVE WIFE & KIDS SMILE - There was this extremely drunk insane Korean guy who brought his family along to watch him gamble. It became clear after a little while of watching his wife and daughter that they seemed incapable of frowning due to some kind of surgical work on their mouths and foreheads. Despite the guy's humiliating losses and embarassing tirades over the course of the evening, his female companions always had on the same bright rubbery smiles.
9. CORPORATION CHANGING THE SUBJECT SMILE - This is the most difficult smile to master, and I've only gotten off a few really good ones in my brief career, although some of my co-workers are experts at it. A typical need for it comes when the corporation banker (us) has just won a big hand, pulled an insanely lucky card, or otherwise caused affront to the other seated players (them) which results in them screaming and bitching at us and at God's general injustice. At this point one can either ignore the haranguing, or, if you are really skilled, with a confident smile, perhaps a careful joke and an innocent tilt of the head, you can make everyone forget what just happened. It's a slight variation of the Nothing I Can Do smile, and as I understand it happens a lot on poker tables where the skilled players have to keep the suckers interested in the game. The trick is, instead of acknowledging that you just took away someone's liquor store and feel kind of bad about it, you try to smile at them in a way that both assauges their disappointment and asserts with authority that it's okay, this is the way it's supposed to be, it's only a game and, hey, that loss you just suffered? You really kind of liked it because it means you can hang out here a little longer.
10. STAY AWAY FROM ME I'M FEMALE SMILE - This is one smile that also exists outside the casino, and OK, it's a bit sexist to say so, but there are certain kinds of superficially warm and wonderful smiles displayed by certain women who hang around the table that should, to any halfway perceptive and rational person, translate directly into "Get, and stay, far the hell away from me if self-preservation is something you practice."