money music death

I was in Biloxi with a small crew, 3 of us total. There was another 2-man team of holecarders in town and we were vying for the same dealer. As players oftentimes do, we made a deal for the game rather than compete for the lucky seat. The deal was this: I would read the game and one of them would bet the game. We’d chop the result 50/50, their crew, my crew. We played and won. We chopped the money and went our separate ways.

There’s a lot I can say about making deals like this. You need to know what heat if any everyone has, past experiences with the dealer and the casino, related properties, the entire city. It’s situational but all of these factors and more can matter. It’s best to all trust each other not to skim the pot. It’s easy to count down the rack when playing a game but feeling like you “have” to count it down isn’t fun. I don’t work with people if I’m worried about them stealing. I’ve known other players who will work with people who might skim because the edge of the spot is big enough they can afford the risk.

To each his own.

Cut to a couple months later and word on the street is I’ve been laughed at, mocked. Something along the lines of “I always want to make deals with miss brown (me), she made an awful one in Biloxi.”



Their perspective was this: 2 of them, 3 of us, a fair deal would be to chop the result evenly 5 ways. They thought they hustled me by getting 50% or 25% each.

No, uh uh. That’s not how this works. The bettor was representing his crew and I was representing mine. It just so happened our crew was bigger that night.

I’ve worked solo often, a free agent if you will. If there’s a game on and I’m going to make a deal to read it for another crew, then in general I’m taking 50% (there are always exceptions). If their crew is 3 people and I’m 1, I’m getting half not a quarter.

Their crew, my crew.

For me to have done the chop in the way they thought would be fair I’d be setting a precedent that would kill me in the long run.

girl money.jpg

Now, a completely different scenario.

I was playing guitar in a band that would open up for R&B acts at the House of Blues. Al Green, Musiq Soulchild, Floetry. The gig paid me $100.

The singer I was backing would receive a check for the show and pay the band out on Monday; our shows were always on a weekend night.

We played on a Friday and on the following Sunday her husband died.

It was unexpected, really sad.

Monday came and I didn’t get paid. I wasn’t drowning in money and the $100 meant something to me but the girl’s husband just died! I wasn’t going to ask for it.

The funeral was a few days later. I attended. Somber service.

Again, I didn’t ask for my money.

We didn’t have any shows lined up but I kept in contact with the singer and still saw her on occasion.

I never ended up playing guitar for her again and I never got paid.

Every time someone mentions her I think about how that’s a chop I got screwed in.

This man doesn’t do his own soundcheck, he has another guy do it. He just comes out and lights the stage on fire. Legend.