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WATCH THE WATCHES

by Vinny DeCarlo

Vinny DeCarlo is the author of How to Beat Casino Surveillance Ė Insiderís Secrets for Card Counters. He is a retired veteran casino man with over 20 years of upper management experience. His expertise covers the pit, security, and surveillance, and he even served as a General Manager for two different casinos. Currently, Vinny travels the states as a freelance reporter and a personal consultant to many Indian casinos. He also appeared on the Getting the Edge radio show from Las Vegas (http://www.bobdancer.com/mp3/gwae081811.mp3). According to Vinny, there are two types of casino employees - those that know him, and those that claim to know him; therefore, never believe what you hear.

This story happened about 26 years ago. I was working surveillance. Funny, but it seems like yesterday to me. It all took place on a boat; a craps table if you will. Back then, craps was still the favored table game amongst players even though Dr. Thorpís classic book on card counting had been out for a while.

Though craps seems confusing, itís really not. Most dealers memorize cheat sheets for the payouts and can run at any pace the players wish. This is why itís such an exciting game and players feel like theyíre part of it when they get their chance at throwing the cubes.

Four casino dealers and a supervisor (the box person) run the game. We have a dealer on the stick, the 2nd base dealer (covering half the table), the 3rd base dealer (covering the other half), and one relief dealer thatís on break. The 2nd and 3rd base dealerís responsibilities are to watch their part of the layout, book bets for their area, and be sure their area remains secure. The stick takes care of the dice and the bets made in the center portion of the boat, which are the Proposition bets. The box person makes change, verifies and drops buy ins, and has the final say on what the dice rolled if it happens to be a leaner. The Box also keeps the standing (2nd and 3rd base) dealers stocked up in casino cheques so that they may make payoffs and such.

When the dice are airborne, each standing dealer must lock their eyes on their section of the layout, the stick follows the dice, and the Box is required to watch the dice hit the back wall and then quickly look towards the other end of the table to secure the wagers made after the dice have settled. Now, this is where our story takes a turn.

Back around 1986 in Las Vegas, in one of the biggest casinos in town at that time, I was watching some pretty girls being short-sticked. This means the stickman purposely slides the dice to the new shooter but he stops the dice in the middle of the table so the pretty girl has to bend way over, allowing the dealers to look down her top and up her short shorts, if sheís wearing them. I thought to myself "this is why crap dealers are a breed all their own."

Anyway, I noticed the unusually slow game speed and how the Boxman appeared to be hyperventilating for no reason. His arms were all over the place and he was always looking at his watch. All I could think about was how the players might perceive his anxiousness as bad customer service. Nonetheless, he would set a stack of cheques out for the dealer, then check the time, then pull the stack in and check the time again. I was getting dizzy. Finally, he is tapped out to go on break. I laugh and decide to go get a drink. As I was walking through the surveillance room, I started laughing and one of the other observers said to me," Something funny? I just had a bout with my old lady. I liked to hear something funny." So I started telling him about this freaking Boxman. Better yet, I started impersonating him, which drew laughter from everyone in the room. As I was walking out of the "laughing" room, it dawned on me...

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