The Big Tips

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July 24th, 2018
Back The Big Tips

How generous are you? Seriously.

I know a lot of gamblers who are big spenders when they win the big money. They will take their tournament earnings and throw a lavish party for their friends. They will disregard the cost of caviar, champagne and other expensive liquors, they'll rent out an expensive suite in Las Vegas, Macau, or some other gambling destination, and for a few days, they will live like Diamond Jim Brady or John Rockefeller.

Here is the troubling part...

Casinos have many employees who earn good tips for the work they do. I am referring to dealers, cocktail waitresses, and the hosts of exclusive restaurants that seat their wealthy patrons.

But in every casino resort, there are people who are not well paid and who don't have jobs that entitle them to tips. I am talking about the busboys, the wait staff that cleans up tables, and the cleanup people who make sure the restrooms are functional and clean.

Their pay is meager and they work hard for their money. Very hard...

While a cocktail waitress may be dressed like a Playboy Bunny and have a glamorous job serving drinks to big winners as well as losers, their jobs are anything but glamorous.

Eddie Rack knew this. So did Puggy Pearson and a handful of other high stakes gamblers who cared about these workers.

Rack was a friend of mine who owned two golf courses, one in Western Pennsylvania and the other near Ft. Lauderdale, FL. He also enjoyed gambling and spent a lot of his leisure time in Las Vegas where, as a big roller, he was comped to luxury suites and treated like royalty.

Eddie played poker, shot dice for big money and a big-time favorite - blackjack. He was a tough gambler who usually won more than he lost.

He had an eye for the little people, the individuals who are invisible to most casino visitors. When Rack visited the restroom, for example, he kept his eyes open for a cleanup attendant. If he found one, he would take a green $25 chip out of his pocket, hand it to them and wish them good luck. Sometimes when he was an especially big winner, the chip would be a black $100 one.

Eddie loved to see the look of astonishment that would come across their face. He told a wealthy friend who owned a Cadillac dealership, 'That $25 or $100 didn't mean that much to me, but I knew it meant a lot to that employee. I was happy to make the donation.'

The late Puggy Pearson was also a generous tipper who helped more people financially than he will ever be given credit for. I watched him in action in Las Vegas. All the casino employees respected Puggy. They would embarrass him by insisting on calling him Mr. Pearson because of that respect.

Now I admittedly am not the most generous person in the world when it comes to giving tips. My daughter, Rossana, often gives me a strange look and adds money to the table after we finish a good dinner at a restaurant. But the generosity of people like Rack and Pearson has had an effect on me. That generosity has made me more aware of the financial conditions of the people who are invisible to the average gambler.

I remember a weekend in Las Vegas when I was staying at Binion's Horseshoe. I had done well the previous evening, winning over $1,200 at poker. After a good night's sleep, I left my room and headed for breakfast.

As I walked down the hallway, I saw an attractive room attendant cleaning a room. She was from Mexico and her name was Conchita.

I greeted her with a 'Good morning, Senorita,' and she returned the greeting in Spanish. I took a $5 chip out of my pocket and handed it to her for good luck. She seemed surprised to receive the token and thanked me profusely. Then, on impulse, I asked her what was the biggest tip she ever received.

She hesitated. Then tears rolled down her face.

'About three months ago a man who was staying here gave me five hundred dollars,' she said. 'At the time I was short of rent and grocery money. I have two children and I was desperate and then that dear stranger came through with such a generous tip. For weeks after that, I said a prayer of thanks and wished him well for what he did.'

I realize there are many members of this website who don't go to brick and mortar casinos to gamble. But there are many others who do. I would urge those folks to be generous when they win and tip the people who don't normally get tipped in a casino. The action will gladden your heart and help make another person's life easier to handle.

“Their pay is meager and they work hard for their money.”

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