Always tryin' to take my money while I'm not looking.
This is a guide to just how horrible the casinos are when it comes to
bleeding your pockets dry. The information presented here doesn't only
apply to slots players of course, every gambler in the world should know
I call it the casino's rub, others call it blatant manipulation, still
others see it as the high intellect behind the casinos. It's all the same
thing really, it's all about how the casino uses your own brain against
you in any way it can.
The next time you visit your favorite casino (no, not all of these things
will apply to the Indian parlor down the street, but the strip in Vegas
is ripe with examples) take some mental notes as you walk around. One
of the subtlest things is the fabric that surrounds you. The carpet beneath
your feet will have a spiraled pattern with no defined beginning or end.
This creates a very distracting effect for your eyes, being caught by
a pattern that draws the eye further along the carpet but not to any point
in particular. Besides effectively hiding the grime the carpet must pick
up over the 24-hour a day life of the gaming floor, it also acts as a
nice dizzying surface for your brain. Since the patterns are linked the
way they are, you're hypnotically drawn to look at it, then immediately
repulsed by the fact that it doesn't offer you anything but more of the
same. Basically your eye has no place to rest, mix that with the same
thing on the ceiling and walls and bam, your left with only one thing
you can look at without feeling disoriented, that which is directly in
front of you. There isn't much you can do to relieve yourself of this
casino trick, other than sitting at a table near the edge of the casino
(what's that you say, there aren't any?) and taking frequent breaks to
clear your head. Just popping your head up to look around won't work,
notice the tall machines blocking your view of anything? Notice the mirrors
staring right back at you in an effort to disorient?
So on your walk around the casino did you notice anything else? How about
the simple fact that there are no chairs in the entire casino other than
in front of a gambling machine or table game. You simply cannot sit down
in the establishment if it's not to gamble or eat. This is a pretty blatant
and horrible thing for the casinos to do, but nobody seems to notice!
Worse than the lack of chairs is the complete lack of clocks and daylight,
what day of the week is this anyway? The casinos want you to lose track
of time, because all keeping track of time does for the casino is let
you know when to stop playing.
Another subtle trick for the casinos is placing the chip cage in the
center of everything. You can buy chips easily from anywhere in the casino,
but to turn those chips back into cash you must walk right to the middle
of all of the action, and then find your long way out with cash in hand
(oh ya, you're expected to manage that without making a bet, fat chance!).
You'll also notice the well-placed ATM machines at every exit, entrance,
and pretty much every corner.
A simpler rub, that most people usually take for granted, is the actual
chips themselves. It is a thousand times easier to put two five dollar
chips down for a bet than it is to put two five dollar bills down. Imagine
that the stacks of chips in front of you were stacks of paper cash instead;
the value seems entirely different doesn't it? With cash you can easily
visualize exactly how that money translates to things like groceries,
bills, and your general well being, it might even remind you of the work
you had to do to earn it. Although you could technically do the same thing
with the chips in front of you, your brain has never been trained to and
so just doesn't. Your brain is only used to using those chips to place
bets with, so it becomes easier and easier to do just that with them,
even in cases where common sense would normally jump in and questions
just what you think your doing with what would otherwise be a big wad
So what does all this boil down to? Well, in my humble opinion it's a
matter of reaction to distraction, or retention of attention. The casinos
job is to focus all of your attention on one thing, playing. But hey,
it's your attention; you can do anything you want to do with it. It's
important to do a little attention check every now and then, you may find
you're doing nothing but betting and going though your bankroll much quicker
than you'd anticipated.
I barely need to mention the free drinks, bad employee advice, higher
concentrations of oxygen in the air (ever notice how about five minutes
after leaving the casino you're tired?), and all of the lights and sounds
going on in the games. Yup, the casinos are psychology experts, and since
you've got a lot to protect, especially when you're in Vegas, you should
become a psychology expert yourself. Understanding the distractions forced
upon you can help minimize their influence. Next time you hit the strip,
I bet you'll come back with more than you normally do!