September 30, 2009

Tips for the Tipper

Gambling at a casino can be a fun and, if you’re lucky enough, financially rewarding experience. However, often forgotten in all the excitement is the dealer. It is customary to tip dealers, both when a gambler wins, but also when they lose, as they are providing a service, much in the same way you would tip a waitress at a restaurant even if you didn’t love the food. Here’s the protocol for “taking care of” your dealer…

· Remember that the cameras are everywhere! Dealers are always being watched by security and are usually not allowed to make direct contact with the customer. They are also forbidden to take anything out of a gambler’s hands.

· Place the tip on the table during a break in the action, like at the end of a hand while the dealer is shuffling the cards. Do not place the tip in a betting circle, however, as the dealer may assume that you are making a bet instead of offering a gratuity.

· Tip the dealer before you decide to leave the table. Dealers may not be able to swing the tide of lady luck in your favor, but if you tip them while still gambling at their table, they are far more likely to ensure you do not make a foolish mistake, and may offer you their professional advice on how to play.

· Get the dealers in on the action. Dealers are not allowed to wager their tips, but customers are allowed to place what are known as “toke bets.” Place an additional chip next to your wager and identify it as “for the dealer.” If you win that bet, the dealer will also get paid on that bet and place his winnings in the “toke box” next to the table, where tips are stored until the end of the shift.

· Understand that dealers do not get a cut of the house action. Most dealers, even after decades of experience, get paid less than minimum wage by the casino. Their primary source of income is from tips. If they’ve been friendly and helped you have a positive experience, tossing them a few dollar chips is the least you can do.

· Don’t worry if you only have cash instead of chips, or chips instead of cash. Dealers can accept either as a tip.

· Under most circumstances, dealers at a casino pool their tips. Attempting to tip an individual dealer “privately” may result in you getting banned from a casino. The better thing to do if you really enjoyed the way a dealer treated you is to tell his/her supervisor.

· After you win a big payout, failing to tip a dealer not only will likely cause that dealer to become angry, but also may cause his/her supervisor to lower your comp rating. It’s not worth the negative karma to save a few bucks.

· Conversely, dealers should never outright solicit tips. If you feel a dealer is badgering you unfairly, talk to their supervisor.

September 29, 2009

Tru Calling

For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, the good folks at have posted an interview of yours truly about what it was like to be the mascot for the New York Mets.

Check it out here!

And for those of you who are finding this blog through the link in that article, welcome! Check out some of my past articles, and we’ll have plenty more interesting reads in the days ahead.

September 27, 2009

Not as Le Bon as I Would Have Liked

At first, when I heard over the weekend that Duran Duran was about to release an “pro-environmental” ditty as part of a group led by Kofi Annan to “get the word out” on the dangers of climate change, I was excited. I just couldn’t wait to hear what confounding lyrics would spring from the mind of Simon Le Bon.

Alas, upon further review, the Duranies are simply one of 55 groups doing a “We are the World” type group sing-along, on a remake of Midnight Oil’s “Beds Are Burning.”

But how can I sleep when all those years of strange lyrics are now stuck in the forefront of my brain? I know, I’ll put some of them into a quiz for my dear blog readers --- and I apologize in advance if you’re humming some of these for the next few hours…

QUESTION 1: Girls on Film: "Lipstick cherry all over the lens ___."

A) And she's calling

B) As she's falling

C) She's enthralling

D) Watch her crawling

QUESTION 2: Is There Something I Should Know: "I made a break, I run out yesterday. Tried to find ____."

A) A girl like Doris Day

B) A moonlight holiday

C) My mountain hideaway

D) My place to get away

QUESTION 3: Rio: "Her name is Rio and she ____. Just like that river twisting through a dusty land."

A) Dances on the sand

B) Does the best she can

C) Needs another man

D) Really understands

QUESTION 4: Hungry Like the Wolf: "____, night is a wire. Steam in the subway, earth is afire."

A) A park with graffiti

B) Darken the city

C) Dokken is gritty

D) Shocking unpretty

QUESTION 5: The Reflex: "The reflex is in charge of ___ in the dark."

A) Finding treasure

B) Lighting passage

C) People's pleasure

D) Writing letters

QUESTION 6: New Moon on Monday: "Shake up the picture ___. With your dance on the eventide."

A) The ice cold picture

B) The lizard mixture

C) The sparkling fixture

D) With a little scripture

QUESTION 7: Union of the Snake: "There's a fine line _____. And I think it's about to break."

A) Along the tightrope, baby

B) Calling the people together

C) Drawing my senses together

D) Over the growing chasm

QUESTION 8: Notorious: "You own the money. You control ___."

A) Commitment

B) The Christmas

C) The prices

D) The witness

QUESTION 9: Wild Boys: "On the razors edge you trail. Because there's ____ by the roadside."

A) A burning bush

B) A woman

C) Murder

D) Yellow

QUESTION 10: Ordinary World: "What is happening to me? ____. Where is my friend when I need you most? Gone away."

A) Blazing orange-gray

B) Crazy, some'd say

C) On a lazy summer's day

D) What'd people say

Midnight Oil live at the Sydney Games