Raise or Fold:  A Year of Risky Business

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Give The Bottle The Boot

I was reminded by this article in the Washington Post that I've been meaning to write a non-poker-related rant on the subject of bottled water in casinos ~ and for that matter everywhere ~ for some time now.

Those of you who want only poker content may cease reading right now.

I have long found it absurd that people will actually pay money for water in a plastic or glass bottle. Seriously? Here in the USA we have an extremely safe and reliable source of water in public systems throughout the country. If you don't particularly like the taste of your municipality's tap water, you can buy an inexpensive filtration system and render it entirely palatable in a matter of seconds.

An awful lot of fancy-pants bottled water is just plain or slightly doctored tap water with a snazzy label on non-biodegradable packaging, anyway. Why pay for that?

In a casino, they will give you bottled water for free (okay, you'll tip the waitress a buck if you're a decent human being). Does the low cost make the scenario any more acceptable?


There's just no excuse for bottled water in a country with a good public utility infrastructure. The resources that go into packaging and distributing bottled water are a complete waste of energy at every stage of the process. Manufacturing the bottles takes energy. Transporting the bottles takes energy. Disposing of or recycling the bottles takes energy. The whole chain is rife with waste and pollution.

At the Venetian in Las Vegas they proudly serve Fiji Water. Now, I will not argue the point that Fiji Water is delightfully refreshing. It is probably the nicest still bottled water there is. And it is absolutely execrable from an ecological point of view.

Think about it: they are shipping artesian water from an island in the South Pacific to the desert of Las Vegas. How can this be anything but obscene? Each bottle of that water must have a carbon footprint a mile wide. If you go to Fiji Green you'll see that the company itself acknowledges that it will have to work overtime to compensate for its negative impact on the environment. (And Fiji Water is probably one of the more responsible vendors of its ilk.) But honestly, no amount of carbon offsets makes this product sensible.

Please folks, consider filling up your own washable, reusable sports bottle with tap water. Don't participate in the ludicrousness that is the bottled-water industry. You'll save money and do one less thing to contribute to the degradation of our ecosystem.

(And while you're at it, ask for your casino beverage in a glass instead of a plastic cup. As far as I know, Las Vegas has no city-mandated recycling requirement or governmental recycling services for businesses or residents. All that plastic is headed straight for an incinerator or a landfill.)

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Blogger Rakewell said...

And encourage poker rooms to provide water coolers. Examples of the good folks who do are the Flamingo and the Palms. Even if you forget to bring your own container, you can get one serving of bottled water, then refill it yourself. It's not perfect, but if you drink 3-4 bottles during a session, as I tend to, at least you're generating 2-3 less pieces of waste.

8/13/09 5:02 AM  
Blogger Rakewell said...

Oh, but about the glass? At the old Hilton poker room, after the third time that I was served Coke in a glass that had lipstick on it, I started asking for the Coke to be brought in a plastic cup.

8/13/09 5:04 AM  
Anonymous joxum said...

I totally agree with the stupidity of bottled water. Then again, I have also tasted american tap water. I'm sure there are places where it's good, but I still have to come across one.

Water coolers are a fine idea, except the nozzles may be full of the previous users bacteria, unless they are thoroughly rinsed before use.


8/13/09 7:55 AM  
Blogger FkCoolers said...

I find the idea of shared water coolers pretty gross. I have one in my own apartment, but I refuse to use the ones at my work and would never use one in a casino.

I can't bring myself to put my bottle/container up to a nozzle that tons of people have been sharing.

You know the old saying ... a dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's.

8/13/09 9:34 AM  
Anonymous KenP said...

God, I'm in love! (You'll manage to live that down.)

The non-boutique water all comes from the tap. Most refrigerated tap water (dumps sny chemical smell) beats bottled in taste tests. BTW, NY water consistently beats almost all of them.

The places that have a bottling company on an aging aquifer can even cause damage.

In the casinos, I ask for a glass of seltzer with a squeeze of lime.

8/13/09 9:48 AM  
Blogger Cardgrrl said...

Anybody who truly worries about germs is inevitably going to be miserable in a casino.

A water fountain should be the least of your concerns. The chips and the cards provide more than enough pathogens to fuel a germophobe's anxieties!

Pack a robust immune system if you plan to spend any amount of time at a a poker table.

8/13/09 7:07 PM  
Blogger Cardgrrl said...

@ Rakewell: Lipstick can survive a trip through the dishwasher at scalding temps. It was probably perfectly sterile.

8/13/09 7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely agree with the idiocy of bottled water. I live in Sacramento, which has some of the best tasting tap water I've ever had, and I still see people using bottled water all the time.

Seriously, that bottle of Crystal Geyser tastes WORSE, but people drink it.


Actually, I totally understand. It's a security thing for a lot of people. They know exactly what they're getting. Or they think they do. But its supposed to always be safe. So I guess its actually fathomable. But still moronic.

8/14/09 12:43 AM  
Blogger Mike G said...

Las Vegas has business and residential recycling programs for plastics, glass, paper, and aluminum cans. They are optional.

8/14/09 12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those of you who have great tasting water...good for you. For those of you who are so concerned how I spend my money and the expense of water...I wish you would turn your wrath on high health costs, high fuel prices, and high food prices...something that really matters. I'm spending way more on things other than water. Thanks for your concern....but I like the convenience of being able to get a drink of healthy water when and where I want...what's the alternative? Coke or Pepsi...no thanks.


Texas Holdem, now that's poker.

8/14/09 12:31 PM  

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