Lurking in the Shadows

The denizens of the night frequently haunt the hallowed halls of the very casinos and card rooms that poker players inhabit. While all of these individuals are not the reprobate that society would make them out to be they are generally a sorted collection of misfits and scoundrels that are down on their luck. The poker players of course being one step up on the food chain up until the point they bust out and become a rail bird. The muck, mire and filth that lies beyond the rail is there to beg, borrow or steal a few dollars.

Take a look around the room and you will notice a few people wandering aimlessly with no real purpose other than to be in the vicinity of the money. They are scouting the room for potential marks. You may not be targeted for a mugging or robbery but you may be labeled a soft touch and an easy mark for somebody seeking a few bucks. Management does the best it can to keep these people out of the rooms but it is hard to clearly distinguish the difference between a hard core poker player and a down out transient from the other side of the tracks. The busted out railbird is particularly adept at hanging out in the room without raising suspicion.

The reason I point out this seedier side of the poker world is to make sure that players are aware of what lurks in the shadows. These people will take advantage of you if you let your guard down for even a second. Your money and your chips are what they are primarily after but they will take your belongings, bum a cigarette, and steal your food or even your drink. They need just a second to make a score and chances are you will not even realize that you have been a victim.

I hear it all the time, “Oh it was just Tony, and I wasn’t going to eat it anyway”. “I loaned him a hundred and I am sure he is good for it, that guy used to play $20-40.” The sooner you take a stand and refuse to give anything to anyone at the poker room the sooner these people will move on and find an easier mark. Be aware and do not be a victim. A few cigarettes today could lead to a mugging down the road and the loss of thousands of dollars. Always be aware and never let your guard down even for a second.

A recent visit to Las Vegas and a few of the larger poker rooms with a decent amount of cash in my possession left me with a heightened awareness of my surroundings. I was amazed by the number of parasites lurking at the edges of the felt jungle. One gentleman in particular stood out for the ease with which he was able to glad hand the crowd and not draw suspicion from management. In six hours of observing I saw him make over $200 from players and manage to stay on the list for $3-6 hold’em without actually taking a seat and playing. Free drinks were a regular occurrence and I saw him capture a free meal from a player asking for comp to the buffet. “Make it for two and I will go with you.”

Please be aware and the same way I ask you not to feed the pigeons I am asking you not to give the railbirds any money and do not become an easy mark. Of course none of this applies if I am the one down on my luck.

One Response to “Lurking in the Shadows”

  1. Jacqueline Rhonda Bruschi Says:

    Victor Shaw,
    I’m absolutely amazed by your well worded and edited article I am really impressed what an unexpected surprise in C.C from an old friend. I have to wonder though if you have any further assistance on slot playing and how to get secret or daily promo’s on a player’s card.? I’ve been researching via Web answers to this question. Again well done I suggest Quora and disqus forums, I’m a member and blogger, question answerer, and have really enjoyed being able to choose through a wide range of questions purposed to me.

    It’s Rhonda Bruschi Whipple 😉

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