There are three jobs on the periphery of the World Series Of Poker that aren’t in what I consider growth industries:

First is cigarette girl. As the number of people who smoke continues to decline, the woman who lugs around those big trays of tobacco seem less and less happy. I bet she’d do more business if she carried around candy bars and chips. As if that’s not bad enough, she has to wear the only non-tobacco item she sells — big fluorescent bunny ears. Anyone who buys those has already had too many visits from the cocktail waitresses.

Second is shoe shine guy. I never see anyone in his chair, and with a hotel full of poker players, there aren’t a lot of shoes to work on. Sneakers don’t need polishing.

Third is male masseuse (excuse me, I mean massage therapist). The demographics of poker are that 96% of the players are men. Given our choice, when our backs are sore from sitting hour after hour, we’d rather be rubbed by someone of the female persuasion. My gut tells me that most women would rather be massaged by a woman, too. That’s why there are literally dozens of women walking around the World Series Of Poker every day giving back massages to the guys. The good ones make a lot of money, especially if they have regular customers (I admit I’m one of those — last year, I had one woman, Sara, work on my back almost every day, and she remembered me when she saw me this year, so I’ve been putting her to work again). But there’s also one guy walking around offering to do massages, and in all the hours I’ve spent in the midst of the poker action, I have never seen him with any customers, male or female.

At least he doesn’t have to wear fluorescent bunny ears.