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John Souerbry's Blog

By John Souerbry | Broker in Palo Alto, CA

Real Estate Jargon: “Sawdust Joints” and “Rug Joints” – The Two Sides of Vegas

More Fun With Real Estate Terminology

Buyers, sellers, investors, welcome back to another installment of Real Estate Jargon, aka, simple explanations of sometimes-confusing real estate terms.  As a departure from terms typically used in real estate transactions or property management, I’m responding to a question asked a couple times regarding the definition of rug joints and sawdust joints.

All men know that anything they need to know about being a man they can learn from watching “The Godfather.”  Women – if you want to understand men, watch “The Godfather.”  Mario Puzzo, the late author who wrote the book, said that the story isn’t about the Mafia, it’s about the relationship between a father and his sons.  But I digress…

In “The Godfather, Part II,” one of the Mafia chiefs talks about how their casino hotels in Cuba are bigger and swankier than their “rug joints” in Vegas.  Some believe that a rug joint is a place where you shoot someone in the head, then roll their body in a rug to be taken into the woods to be buried.  Not true!

The Real Story - Rug Joints and Sawdust Joints

rug joints and sawdust joints“Sawdust joints” are casinos or bars with wood floors that are sprinkled with sawdust to 1) absorb spilled liquids, 2) protect the floor from damage by hard soled shoes, and 3) to muffle the sound made by walking on the wood floor.  In the early days of Las Vegas casinos, almost all of them were sawdust joints.

rug joints and sawdust joints

When big investors started building larger, fancier casinos to attract big-spending customers, those casinos were decorated with better furnishings and rugs on the floor.  They were known as “rug joints.”  Over time, nicer casinos came to be known as “rug joints” and not as nice casinos were known as “sawdust joints.”  Thus rug joints and sawdust joints were used as terms to describe a level of overall quality.

Thanks to those who asked this question, I hope everyone found it somewhat interesting.

If you have questions about rug joints and sawdust joints, real estate jargon or buy/sell/investment strategies, drop me a line!


John A. Souerbry & Associates  (BRE 01370983)

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