Dice and Dealing with Dickwads

Okay, there’s an article title you won’t see every day.  Unfortunately, if you play craps regularly it’s an issue you’ll often face and need to know how to handle.  And the first step in addressing this question is to define what the hell a dickwad is. I think most of us have a general idea. One dictionary I looked at on-line defined dickwad as a contemptable person.  Another (slang) dictionary cut to the chase and said it was a synonym for asshole. Yeah, that makes sense. But for the purpose of this article let’s just define a dickwad as any person who opposes you on an intellectual and emotional level at every turn. Player or dealer, they’ll take every opportunity to derail you at the table, driving you mad with comments that suck the energy out of you and the game. They may smile and feign friendliness in an effort to lure you into their black hole of despair. But their ultimate goal is to “bring you down to reality” with their “that’ll never work,” or “we’ll see how long THAT little streak of luck lasts” comments. Why the heck do they do this stuff? In my opinion (and we’ll talk about the importance of that phrase in a minute) it’s not so much about bringing you down as it is elevating themselves in comparison to you.

The truth is, most dickwads are simply stupid people. Not everyone can be smart like us, right? But wait a minute. If I held a craps class tomorrow and asked everyone who thought they were smarter than average to raise their hands – how many people do you think would do so? 80%? 90%? 100%? Nobody wants to admit they’re stupid. Hell, nobody even wants to admit they’re average. But by definition – half the people in any room at any time are below average. And the guy who’s below average subconsciously does everything within his power to appear smarter. Often times that means bring you – the smart guy – down.

So how do you handle the dickwad? That depends a bit on whether you’re dealing with a casino employee or a fellow player. Dealers can be a little easier to deal with. I like to try the “candy” approach at first. Sometimes a little toke will turn an attitude around. If not, the tokes stop. Then you can simply ignore them and focus on the task at hand. If their dickwad moves prove too much to bear you can appeal to the box. My favorite line is “Hey Jim, what time is Bob scheduled for that customer service training again?” That sends a not-so-subtle message. If that doesn’t work I might make a comment to the stickman along the lines of “I sure hope you guys will explain to Bob when you get back in the break room how he’s costing the rest of you tokes.” If the TGS won’t correct the issue – often his co-workers will. The third strike for me when it comes to casino employees usually ends up with a letter being written to the casino manager explaining and complaining – along with a request that the manager review the video of the session to confirm what I’m talking about.  That will often result in a poor craps dealer becoming an extremely bored Big Wheel dealer.

But what if the dickwad is a fellow player? Well, there are a couple of ways to go. But trying to change him for the better probably isn’t going to work. It’s like the old “teaching a pig to sing” story. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. No, the better choice is to change YOU – and a good place to start is between your ears. Here are five approaches that may help you:

1. Lower your expectations of your fellow man. My father used to say “Expect the worst and hope for the best and you’ll never be disappointed. A wise man, my old man.

2. Ignore them completely. Shut them out of your mind and pretend they don’t exist. Don’t look at them, listen to them, or acknowledge anything they have to say. Practice getting into and staying in the zone. That means using creative visualization to mentally take yourself away.

3. Remember, you can’t fix stupid. So if you can’t keep from listening to the dickwad, silently preface everything he says with “According to Alfred E. Neuman.” Neuman, you may recall, is the mascot and poster boy for Mad Magazine, famous for coining the phrase “What, me worry?” So when you hear the dickwad saying “You ought to turn your bets off, pal. The seven is coming next.” Just silently add “According to Alfred E. Neuman” and let it pass. In one ear and out the other.

4. Be overly receptive and kind – and equally reactive. So when dickwad says “I’d just pick up that Field bet. The six and eight are way past due.” – kill him with kindness. Repeat every word back to him exactly as he said it and ask if that’s right. When he says yes, pick it up and say “Thanks for the expert advice.” But if any Field number rolls then feel free to go off the deep end. “Oh my God! You just cost me $15! Son-of-a-bitch!” Then “Don’t you ever offer me another piece of advice again!” That should do the trick.

5. Be the elephant at the table. As you may have heard, elephants have long memories. Years ago I was playing at a casino and shooting from the hook to the inside turn – diagonally across the table. I had a fairly short hand and a dickwad on the other end of the table started cursing at me when the seven showed, shouting at me to “keep the damn dice out of the corner – they roll a seven every time.” As fate would have it, when he got the dice he tossed them straight down table to the middle of the back wall and went point-seven-out. I gave him the same cursing right back, shouting at him to “keep the damn dice in the corner – hit the flat part of the wall and they roll seven every time.” He promptly left the table with his tail tucked between his legs.

Most important of all – don’t let the dickwads get to you. Remember, half the people you meet today will be above average. That ain’t all bad.