The money moves fast. When I lose count of the chips stuffed in my pockets or the cash I have extracted from them, or just when I need to dodge a little heat, compose myself, or strategize, I retire to my office—the casino bathroom.
In addition to its traditional offerings, the bathroom stall is every counter’s respite—often the only place in the casino without those pesky eyes in the sky following your every move. I don’t know how many millions of collective dollars I have unpacked, counted, recounted, rubber-banded and tried not to pee on inside these stained walls. Don’t drop that thousand dollar chip, because it has a mind for rolling into the next stall and then the scramble is on.
If you have never poured out a Budweiser into the toilet and refilled the bottle with water, you haven’t lived. Well you have lived, maybe quite well, but you have never lived as a shrewd card counter. Just don’t spill your water-filled Budweiser at the table like Ben once did. Oops!
A few stalls—the Wynn and Venetian in Las Vegas come to mind—have doors that go all the way to the floor. Privacy is nice when you are pulling 40 grand out of your socks. A ledge is nice, but more often than not, the top of the toilet paper dispenser is your only hope if you are looking for something resembling a flat surface to stack chips on. I hate automatic-flush toilets. God help me if I ever drop a chip into that bowl and am forced into a quick-draw duel with the hair-trigger sensor. It’s bad enough that while I am counting chips the toilet is flushing the whole time. Other patrons must think I ate at the buffet. Which brings to mind what I hear most while I am in there—buffet cursing, sports cursing, and casino-took-my-money cursing. I once heard a cellphone ringing one stall over. “This is the wolfman,” the man answered with a grunt. That explains the smell, I thought.
Here’s a fun fact—I have never been backed off in a bathroom. But I have been followed into a few, so keep your wits about you.
Tonight I had a handicapped stall to myself. The bigger office is always preferred. I had plenty of space to count, rubber-band, and re-pocket. Ten minutes later I sauntered out, and was met with the scowl and crossed arms of a man waiting in a wheelchair.