On my recent Gambling With an Edge appearance, Richard, Bob, and I talked about Blake’s article on eavesdropping. I thought it was an interesting conversation because this is something that I use on a regularly basis. I may hear something coming from the pit crew that I don’t like and decide it’s time to save the play for another day or shift. Or, I may hear something I do like and decide that it’s time to ramp up the aggression. Either way, I find ways to gain value from paying attention.
On a recent trip, a couple of associates and I were playing when we noticed a lot of sudden commotion in the pit. I figured this was likely due to the stack of orange chips we had pocketed, but just to be sure I paid very close attention to find out what the pit crew was talking about.
In this instance, all I could hear was discussion about who had what chips, which wasn’t very useful. They seemed to be quite interested in me, in particular, and not so much so in my partners, so we decided to play on. Long story short, they ended up finding out who I was and now none of us are able to play in that particular region or casino in the near future. If I heard them say something more telling of what was to come, I may have been able to avoid any major fallout by just getting out of their hair.
In other, clearer, instances I’ve actually seen the pit mulling over a picture that was obviously me, so that gave me a pretty clear indication that it was time to go. In one extreme instance, I turned around in my chair and was staring directly at an 8.5×11″ photo of my face as a pit boss rushed into the pit with it to show her pals what she found. No reason to stick around after that.
Leaving before things escalate can sometimes help you avoid collateral damage, which is good. Leaving a great opportunity when you could have kept playing for hours longer without issue, on the other hand, is not good.
Many times I’ve heard pit crew talk about the count, or pretend to count me down, or openly debate as to whether or not I am counting when I am definitely not counting. Or they may be staring at a pic that is obviously not me. In instances like these, I am happy because I know I will easily pass inspection, and they most likely don’t even know who I am.
Recently, I actually was counting cards, when I heard a pit boss say to another employee: “if he’s counting he’s really bad cause there’s already a lot of aces gone and he raised his bet.” In that instance I decided I might as well stick around for a bit.
Some APs get nervous easily and think any commotion in the pit is about them, causing them to call off plays too early. Eavesdropping helps. Often, the commotion has nothing to do with you. Other times, it may have something to do with you but isn’t play-related, like when your BP approaching the CTR threshold and the casino is worried about missing a buy in.
Maybe there’s someone else in your pit betting big, or getting a marker, or being a drunk idiot, or hitting on a dealer too aggressively, and so on. The bottom line is that it’s not always about you, but sometimes it is, and the more you hear, the better the decisions you’ll make will be.