The Cooler

People who manipulate the non-scientific, yet perfectly true tenets of gambling

Posted by Chuckmonster

The CoolerAghast, we all watch as the dealer slides a card from the shoe and snaps it onto this asshole's split King - jack of clubs. "Split EM!" the douchebag says as he pushes out his two red chips. Another card leaves the shoe... Ace of diamonds gives Money Player a split natural. Another card, the Ten of Spades makes 20 on hand 2. The final card - another King gives him his second 20. Four cards that shouldn't have come out of the shoe - Jack, Ace, Ten, King.

Dealer reels back to his hand, grabs his 6, slides it over and scoop-flips his hole card - a Queen. If the next card is a 6 or higher, dealer busts and I will win $105. If the next card is a 3 or lower, the dealer and I will push 3 hands and I will win one (a net gain of $30.) If the next card is a 4, I will lose three hands and win one, net loss of $75. If the next card is a 5 I lose three hands and push one - net loss $90.

I truly can't believe this.

Maybe this guy is a card counter and he's seeing the opportunity. If so, why would he only bet $10 - cash on the line? Judging by his gear, he's in town for the convention from Kansas. I give him the once over... frumpy polo shirt with Old Navy logo on it. He looks like the Pillsbury dough boy - all squishy and kinda sweaty. Pasty white skin. Male pattern baldness. Razor burn. I crammed about two hours worth of study into those fractions of a second. Gross.

The dealer reaches for the shoe, pulls out the do or die card and flips it.

Five of spades. Dealer 21. In a blur of activity the dealer tapped out our push, scooped up all of my losing chips and refilled his rack. Instead of pocketing my winnings and hitting the road, I opted to stick around for the rest of the shoe, steaming at the idiotic play of the long-since gone Pillsbury Doughboy.

Who in their right mind would split 10s in that situation? There are only three plausable answers. The first, and most likely, is that doughboy is a ploppie - a blackjack douchebag who splits 10s and stands on soft 17. The second: Pillsbury was a card counter looking to hit and run. With only $10 on the line, it is doubtful that Pillsbury was counting. The third reason, and the one that intrigues the conspiracy theorist in all of is, is that Pillsbury was a "cooler."

The Cooler

Coolers are shills casinos employ to effect the outcome of gaming situations. Coolers are deployed to tables when the house needs to reduce player advantage, either by psychological or collusional methods. When action at a craps table is hot and frenetic, coolers may be sent to a table to do nothing more than stand near the table, act out obnoxiously, distract shooters, place "don't" bets - generaly abrase group craps karma. When blackjack players are on a roll, maximizing their bets when the count is against the house, a cooler is sometimes sent in to hit their hands as many times as possible in the hopes of flushing as many high value cards out of the deck.

This type of collusion between house and employee is completely illegal.

The second way coolers work is by manipulating the non-scientific, yet perfectly true tenets of gambling - the psychology of luck. The Cooler (2003), stars William H. Macy as a casino jinx whose mere presence near or around gambling has an amazing effect on the luck of the gamblers. This depiction, filmed on location at the now closed Golden Phoenix in Reno (formerly The Flamingo Reno), portrays the Cooler as a hapless loser whose downtrodden disposition sucks the joy of possibility out of every situation he experiences - until the hex and his fortunes are changed by a cocktail waitress who works at the casino.

In the casino, coolers can be both professional or amateur, indended or accidental, friend or foe. The question is not whether or not you will encounter a cooler, but how you deal with the cooler when their presence is made known.



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