I’m a new advantage player who still plays at low stakes. I don't care about getting comps, so I don't give pit personnel a player’s card to get rated. Despite my low stakes, I have been asked by pit people nosy questions like asking where I’m staying. I don't like to be dishonest, even to casino employees. Is there any harm in telling them the truth? Can they somehow trace me by my hotel? Even if they find out my name, what can they do then?
When they ask for a name, is it okay to give them my real first name but no last name? If they say, "What brings you to Reno (or wherever)?" I could say, "A little bit of business, little bit of pleasure." Or is that no good? I guess I could try to turn the tables a bit and ask them a question or two, such as, "Any good strip clubs around here?" I just want them to leave me alone.
The Pilot: It’s better not to be totally honest with the pit. They have no legitimate need for the information, an are often just trying to make conversation to size you up. Go ahead and give them just your first name; there’s no reason to give your last name.
If the pit asks you, "What brings you to Reno?" you can tell the truth -- “I’m here on business.” Just don’t tell them that it’s advantage-play business. I never tell them where I’m staying. For me, that crosses the line into invasiveness. It’s perfectly okay to give them bad information; don’t worry about it.
Rockky176: Your desire not to reveal your private information to a total stranger doesn’t make you dishonest or a liar. It should be the norm. These conversations are usually to try to get you to sign up for a card or offer you comps. Neutral, non-informative, short answers work just fine.
Baddog: Make some $10 bet in the sports book. Carry the slip and pull it out to discuss if they want to talk. A lottery ticket does the same thing. If you have any knowledge at all, starting a boring discussion on quarterbacks is harmless. Something boring presented with great enthusiasm marks you to the pit as a harmless chump and a player to avoid talking with.
Cougfan: Have some fun with them: In response to."What brings you to Reno?” you can say:
In response to "Where are you staying?"
Use your imagination, you can come up with lines that’ll get them to stop pestering you.
EmeraldCityBJ: It's none of their business. There’s nothing wrong with fabricating a story that makes sense to them, to get them off your back.
If asked where you're staying, I would not tell them the Motel 6, although it might be believable at low stakes. If you were betting green chips or higher, staying in the local fleabag motel won't make sense to the person asking the question. It would be better to give them the name of another nearby casino/hotel which is under different ownership. They would have to get pretty suspicious of you or your play to bother calling the other hotel to verify that your story checks out. You'd probably get backed off well before it got to that point.
If they ask you what brings you to town, if you're in Las Vegas, Reno, or Atlantic City, it would be reasonable to say you're on vacation and there to gamble. If you're elsewhere, and the region isn't known as a gaming destination, you'd better have a reason for being there, and your reason needs to make sense for the locale.
Snapper: Why would you tell a stranger where you are from, your name, where you are staying and the reason you are wherever you are? Why feel guilty about lying to a stranger? Why do they need to know -- so they can tell their friend that there's a pasty-white skinny dude with a few large bills in his pocket and he's headed to the Motel 6 at 7:15 this evening? Stop it!
Don't be a sissy! "I'm staying with a friend" should suffice. “To gamble” (period). Don't elaborate and they may stop asking. Around the third question, try, "My witness protection handler doesn't like me giving out too many details.” After that, just don't reply at all.
TheTahoeScout: If you're betting light green, most of the time they will not even bother. If they do, a polite but boring answer will make them go away. " I'm retired. I'm a retired accountant. I'm RVing. My wife wanted to play slots and keno." Or, if you know a lot about some subject and feel comfortable talking about it, blab away about what you know. The pit will engage you for a little bit, then go away. If or when they come back, start talking again and blab away. These people have other things to do than listen to your blabbing, so you’re keeping them from their duties. They probably will not return and will leave you alone. It's usually best to not call any attention or hostility to yourself by saying something confrontational like, "Why, are you writing a book?"
Originally published on bj21.com Green Chip, edited for this format.