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Best of Alan Krigman

Gaming Guru

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Seven Ways to Let Everyone Know You're a Loser

12 January 1998

There's a reason for the way certain folks gamble. They're losers... have to be, want to be, are fated to be. Nature or nurture? That's for head shrinkers to answer. Maybe by studying later lives of identical twins who separated after burning their "Born to Lose" motorcycle jackets the day James Dean got killed.

Normally this column is for solid citizens who want to win. Still, losers need help, too. Not to waste more, or faster; most losers are already good enough at that, and it's an area where I claim no expertise. And not to break the losing habit; that would imply politically incorrect judgement of a lifestyle choice. Rather, help to excel in a vital yet largely ignored aspect of the art of defeat: letting everyone know they're losers.

I can only guess why legions of losers covet and exercise bragging rights. Maybe to let the world know they live dangerously. Or are secure enough to take a hit. Or are driven to go for broke like the pioneers who made this great country of ours by painting "Miami Beach or bust" on their wagons and heading south.

Anyway, here are seven tips to help losers call attention to themselves. Pass them along to friends in need.

1) When you run out of money, go to a cash or credit card machine. Cash machines afford the benefit of long queues, so lots of your fellow losers will see you and will form a captive audience for your tale of woe. Credit card machines provide bigger bucks, with the bonus that you get your funds at the cashier's cage. The cashier will know you're a loser because you borrow at high interest to gamble. Reinforce the image by being rude and impatient about the paper work - say by grousing about how long it takes.

2) If you're still playing, find someone to blame for your bad luck. Specifics are game-dependent. The slots: candidates are bosses who set the machines or spouses who nag you to quit. Blackjack: pick on dealers who shuffle to favor the house and never break, bozos or bimbos who don't know basic strategy and ruin the flow of the cards, or cocktail waitresses. Craps: grumble about crummy shooters or "don't" bettors. Roulette: accuse the special relief dealer brought in to drop the ball where there's the least money in action. Mumble sexual or racial epithets when possible. Go beyond verbal abuse; blowing smoke, spilling drinks, and targeted elbowing or general pushing and shoving are effective.

3) At the tables, buy-in too low and take out more money as you need it, preferably in small bills - tens are best, maybe a few ones. Also, slam down your chips when making bets.

4) If you play where they give "comps" for meals or other amenities, go to a host or pit boss and crassly demand something expensive. Loudly lament your losses, this time's and last time's. Exaggerate, although the casino will have tracked your action and might check, so don't go overboard.

5) In restaurants or lounges, complain about everything. Where you're seated. Slow service. Weak drinks. Cold soup. Staff members and patrons within earshot will know you're a loser, but how big? Gripe about what the meal really cost you.

6) At home, tell your non-gambling acquaintences that you know the odds favor the casino, so nobody really wins except as a come-on. Then add something like, "I go all the time because I love the action. And they really treat me good there."

7) Buy a book that says "Guaranteed to Win" and has a secret system based on marking up a little card. You can't write things down at blackjack, but it's OK elsewhere. Let everyone see you use the card, but don't show them what's on it.

These tips are only starting points. With practice, losers develop their own brands of braggadocio. And the best of them ascribe to this advice of the immortal Sumner A Ingmark:


Jealousy of those who've won,
Helps make losing so much fun.

Alan Krigman

Alan Krigman was a weekly syndicated newspaper gaming columnist and Editor & Publisher of Winning Ways, a monthly newsletter for casino aficionados. His columns focused on gambling probability and statistics. He passed away in October, 2013.
Alan Krigman
Alan Krigman was a weekly syndicated newspaper gaming columnist and Editor & Publisher of Winning Ways, a monthly newsletter for casino aficionados. His columns focused on gambling probability and statistics. He passed away in October, 2013.