Friday, June 24, 2011

Red ties and casinos don't mix! -Tales from the roulette wheel

When I returned from the Bahamas and the glamorous life of working in Freeport, I found myself in Manchester and took a job at a dive in the center of town. Our clientele consisted of almost 100% Hong Kong Chinese.
One day we changed our uniforms from the traditional waistcoat to a red jacket and tie – a real tie not a clip on, which I immediately knew was a big mistake. My boss disagreed, “Red is a very lucky number to the Chinese he pointed out.”
It didn’t take long for my fears to come true. Only a week later I was dealing roulette on a heaving game on a Sunday afternoon. That was the big day out at the casino for the local Chinese.
The ball had just dropped into the slot for black four, when out of the corner of my eye I noticed a middle aged woman in a smart jacket snatching her losing chips off the red betting diamond.
I politely told her that she had removed a losing bet.
She refused to replace the losing bet, and declared “I was in time.”
So I casually called, “Place you bets,” and reached in the wheel as if I was about to spin the ball again. At this point the same lady put her chips out again thinking she was getting a fresh spin.
As soon as I saw her place her chips, instead of spinning the ball, I said, “Thank you,” and reached over and took them!
The punter went crazy screaming at me in Chinese. I ignored her ranting feeling pretty smug. I felt like I had done a good job in outwitting a cheater.
Next, I called out, “Place your bets,” and leaned forward to spin the ball. Like a red flag to a bull, my tie dangled invitingly over the table. It was too much for the punter to resist; she grabbed hold of it with both hands under my neck, and pulled hard. I felt the tie tighten.
I grabbed her hands and a tug of war ensued with the tie gradually choking me. Everyone in the casino was shouting, the whole casino ground to a halt as they all came over to my table to watch me choke.
My supervisor yelled, “Let go.” But I couldn’t because I felt like I was really choking.
He jumped off his high chair, got behind me and tried to pull me away from her. At the same time the woman’s husband was pulling her from behind, too. We went to and fro several times when finally I pulled hard and lifted right off her feet until she was lying flat on the roulette table. Her husband pulled back and the sleeves ripped off her jacket.
He pulled out the paddle (that pushed the money into the drop box) and smashed it down on a glass ashtray. Pieces of glass flew everywhere including into my supervisors’ eye.
By this time the casino had erupted into a free for all with ashtrays flying, while punters were gathering up handfuls of roulette chips and flinging them around the room.
Finally I disentangled myself and ran the gauntlet past the irate players up the stairs and safely hid in the break room. On the advice of my supervisors I hid there for the next eight hours, fearing for my life if I went down the stairs or out the entrance as there was a mob waiting for me. Eventually management convinced the players that I had left by a back exit.
So the moral of this story is never wear a red tie while dealing, it gives the punters something to hold onto.

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