If you can’t stand the “heat”, you may
want to take a personal look at your gaming demeanor. Casino “heat” gets
batted around quite a bit. Casino “heat” means to be under the scrutiny of
casino personnel while you are in a game.
Contrary to popular opinion, pit
supervisors are not lying in wait for the next advantage player to ambush
them with harassment. The player has to do something blatant against
casino rules before receiving a warning about their play. Pit bosses are
there to protect their game, it is true, but the notion that advantage
players are on a hit list is preposterous. Without winners, there would be
Now, when it comes to blackjack and dice,
I have always said that there is no such thing as casino heat, if you play
your cards right. I have never experienced it. If a player attracts the
attention of the casino personnel, the player has done something bring it
on to them self. Keep in mind that you are like an invited guest when you
walk into a casino.
You may have thought that you were the
customer and that the customer is always right. However, a casino is not
some bawdy arena where you may act out your alter ego, forgoing etiquette
and manners. Just as you would do with any inappropriate guest in your
home, a casino has the authority to protect their game and withdraw their
invitation to play. It is their game, their house and their rules.
The casino has the privilege of telling
players what they can and cannot do. If you do not know the rules, or if
you deliberately infringe, you are likely to garner attention from the
casino personnel. Do not confuse negative attention from the casino as
“heat”, or believe that you are picked on for no apparent reason. Casinos
do not stay in business by chasing away their players. At the same time,
they are not going to put up with nonsense from anyone.
For the blackjack player, take the head
down, blinkers on approach. Simply focus on your game. Don’t get involved
with other players. Avoid conversation and opinion. Here, with proper
table etiquette, minding your own business and keeping your mouth shut,
you will not give anyone from the casino staff cause to engage you.
The only other attraction would be
outlandish play. Usually this would be a large increase in your betting
style, coupled with consistently winning the overstated bets. The savvy
blackjack player always masks their play and never bets out of the
bankroll. To do so would likely draw the ire of the pit personnel.
When you catch a run playing twenty-one,
don’t over stay your welcome. How you play will either draw attention, be
considered normal play, or perhaps just lucky. You control you. There
should be no reason for someone else to feel justified in taking away your
control and assert his or her own.
During a recent trip to Las Vegas, I was
at the craps table. A couple of players joined the game and I recognized
them to be dice setters from a previous meeting. There were six players in
the game. The dice came to where the two dice setters were playing. The
first player rolled a short hand of no consequence. The second player
caught the casino heat that I say does not exist. It started of with the
box man asking him to hit the back wall with both dice after two short
rolls. No big deal, it is a reasonable request and a craps rule.
After a short time, the box man told the
shooter that he was taking too long with the dice. It was true. The
shooter was slow and obviously not skilled with arranging and picking up
the dice. He was holding up the game fumbling with the sets. It is a
reasonable request by the casino to keep the game moving. The heat turned
up high when the shooter challenged the box man. He asked the boxman what
difference it made how fast the game was going. He went on to say that the
game was for the players and without players the casino would have no
I could not believe the ignorance (not
arrogance) of this player. This fellow engaged ego and emotion, defending
his lack of skill. He was taking mention of his inept play personally. The
player was wrong. The boxman called the pit supervisor over and discretely
spoke with him. The pit supervisor then spoke to the player; politely
informing him that if he continued to hold up the game, that he would lose
the dice to the next player.
This only fueled the fire. The slow
player muttered something unkind, and did his best to roll faster in a
passive aggressive manner. Of course, he sevened out. He and his partner
colored up, in apparent disgust, making a big show of it before leaving.
Side note: At the first sign of trouble,
I pulled down all my bets. Arguments in the game always break the energy
and the inevitable consequence is losing.
There was no “casino heat”. The shooter
was slow with his setting. Singled out for being slow, instead of
accepting it, the shooter went on the defensive. He tried to defend with
reasons why he should be allowed to be slow.
Now, if this guy had put in the necessary
practice time, my bet is that there would not have been any mention of
holding up the game. No hold up, no heat! Additionally, the surly attitude
was the kiss of death for these two. If you go looking for trouble, no
doubt it will find you.
I had been playing at this table for a
while. I had at least three previous turns before the arrival of the two
setters. I was setting the dice and I know I unintentionally missed the
back wall a time or two. The boxman did not reprimand me, nor did I
receive any attention for selectively arranging the dice. For my part, I
take less time with the dice than the average random roller. I have put in
the necessary practice time at home.
Everyone has his or her own style of
tossing. I am not saying, “look at me or do it my way”. As an example, I
use to teach archery. When shooting free style, you knock an arrow and
look at your target. You bring the bow hand up as you draw back the arrow.
You anchor and release. It is a kind of a 1-2-3-release fluid movement. I
do the same thing with my dice toss, 1-2-3-release.
I know what set I am going to use, how to
arrange the dice and my intended target, all before the dice are passed to
me. I know what I want to do, (should any adjustments be necessary) prior
to getting the dice. When I get the dice, it is “1-2-3, show me the
money”. It is not a race. At the same time, I want to lock in a quick
rhythm. I’ve noticed that with this technique no one has accused me of
holding up the game.
Avoid casino heat by not giving the
casino a reason to give you the negative attention. It was a huge mistake
for the guy in my story to engage and defend in an argument. To argue with
the boxman is just dumb.
I assume that he was also losing, which
usually evokes ego and anger. The two disgruntled players colored up and
headed off to another casino where they likely found a similar treatment.
See what I mean? If the guy is slow in one casino, he is going to be slow
anywhere he plays. He created the situation that drew attention.
As you develop your skill becoming an
advantage player, you must also learn to mask your play disguising that
you are skilled at your craft. It is the similar bluff used at the poker
table to pull the win. When you take your game to a new level, you must
also take your deception to the next level.
Yes, it is obvious that I am a dice
setter when I am at the craps table. Yet I put a lot of energy into not to
drawing attention to myself. I know the house rules for tossing dice. I
also know how appear as “no threat” to the game.
At the blackjack table, my front is such
that I get advice while pretending to be stuck on a decision. Sometimes
even a pit boss will butt in telling me how to play. All the while, I am
just stalling to appear inexperienced while I adjust for the count.
Learn to play the game inside the game
and you will never experience casino “heat”. If you can’t stand the heat,
you better learn how to act when you are in another’s kitchen.