Coolers and Lucky Charms

The Cooler

If you are a gambler and you haven’t seen the film “The Cooler” with William H. Macy, Maria Bello, and Alec Baldwin, rent it right away. Coolers are for real and if you’ve ever spent time around casinos you know they are.

In the movie, the Macy character, Bernie Lootz, is a casino employee with a down-in- the-mouth look, a depressed life, and a black cloud that follows him everywhere. When his boss, Shelly Kaplow, the Baldwin character, sees a hot table developing on the in-house video system, he sends Bernie in. Bernie shoulders up to the crowded table, pulls a few chips out of his pocket, makes a bet, and the table immediately goes dead! It’s not scientific; there’s no rational explanation; he just has this uncanny ability. Bernie walks away, the boss is happy, and the house wins again. Of course the whole thing turns around when Bernie finds love (Maria Bello plays the love interest) and his cooling abilities suddenly vanish.

Now, I’m not saying that casinos hire “coolers.” What I am saying is that there definitely are people who can walk up to a table or “sit down” in an online scenario and shut down the good vibes immediately. On the other extreme, there are those who can turn an otherwise dull table into a win-fest.

How many times have you been at a craps table when someone has held onto the dice for a good 20 minutes? Everyone has their bets doubled and tripled, their racks are full, the pit boss has a frown on his face and the dealers are smiling from all the tokes sent their way. Then some puny rat pushes his way in, drops a $5 chip on the “Don’t” and everything goes to hell in a hand basket! It happens all the time; you know it! Coolers are for real.

If you are in an online poker tournament slowly losing your stake hand by hand and suddenly someone with the handle of “GhostRider13” gets pulled from your table to fill a gap in another and before you know it your stack starts growing again! You hope, of course, that you won’t run into this “black cat” at the final table!

Then again, you know that you’ve been at craps tables late on a Saturday night that are uneventful when suddenly out of no where a loud, drunken, old guy with his hat askew appears, puts his drink down, waits for the dice and rolls for an hour! Lucky charms? You bet! The problem with these guys is that you can never predict when they are going to arrive and often they are just boisterous, rude, and disrespectful – traits that we all would be happy to tolerate if they consistently made passes.

Like everything that has to do with gambling, it’s all so very unpredictable. But that’s why they call it gambling. Those of us who can keep our wits about us and take all this mumbo jumbo in stride and chalk it up to chance and happenstance will survive to play another day. I have; you can too.

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