Why do drug dealers in movies roll their money into fist sized cylinders?

Flat stacking bills has to be the most space efficient way of storing cash volumetrically. Why do people (in movies at least) roll them into bundles and store them that way? They do it on Breaking Bad if that helps.

So they can carry them around in their pockets more easily. Note how, when they’re past the point of fitting into a pocket, they fill a briefcase or a brown paper bag with the afore-mentioned flat stacks of bills; they don’t dump a whole bunch of rolls into it.

A roll of bills is a “big spender” cliche going back at least to when US bills were reduced to their present size in 1928. The idea is that on a night on the town you peel off bills to tip your valet parking, waitress, doorman, etc.

The story I was told was, you put a low-denomination bill on the outside of the roll, so that a potential thief would have a harder time figuring out if you were worth the effort to rob.

I’m guessing even a thief could figure out if you had a giant roll of bills you would be worth robbing - even if they were all 1s.

What I can’t figure out is how do you easily get to the larger denominations on the inside?

Pull them out from the center, like it’s a roll of Wet Wipes?

It’s called ‘in my pocket’. Various people, often involved in illegal activity, but not always, carry their money in their pocket. Large amounts of their money, they’re not using a bank an ATM for cash. Flatly folded it would be easy to fall out of the pocket inadvertently, and easy to remove intentionally by a thief. So carrying a wad makes more sense than folding it up into a nice flat package.

**mbh **states what some people will do, keeping a small bill on the outside to make the wad look less valuable, but some will do the opposite and put a large bill on the outside to inflate their apparent worth. A drug dealer is likely to run into that with his customers, when he asks to see the money he’ll be shown a roll with a $20 on the outside. A la My Cousin Vinny it could just be filled with $1s.

I’ve heard the opposite, you put the large bill on the outside so people think you have money.

An acquaintance of mine used to give people $200 as a wedding present. A hundred dollar bill on top of 100 singles. Really freaked people out. :stuck_out_tongue:

I never really knew. I guessed it was rolled tube shaped so if need be it could be stuck up a minions rear if the police were around and they didn’t want it taken.

That’s probably totally unlikely. Still, it would explain both of the phrases “Right Hand Man” and
“Rich A-sshole”. :eek:

Also consider, you’re talking about a prop that’s going to be used to make a TV show or movie. Actors are going to be carrying them around, hauling them out and handing them to people. A stack of bills is a terrible idea for this, as they’re going to drop them, or get paper cuts, or who knows what. Rolling them up and putting a rubber band around it makes it a much more uniform lump that the actors aren’t as likely to screw up.

A twenty or a fifty on the outside of a major roll of ones and fives — makes even a second rate dealer feel like some major player.

Or the same but one real note on the outside of a stack of cut-up newspaper; films better.

I’ve always heard that called a “Michigan Bankroll”. I’m sure there’s some reason, probably offensive to the inhabitants of that state, but I don’t know why.

That wasn’t the reason in Breaking Bad. Guys like Tuco carried big rolls around in plastic bags.

There are lots of derogatory names for this kind of roll. In my neighborhood in the Bronx, we referred to it as a “guinea bankroll.” (My Italian friends probably referred to it as a Mick bankroll.;))

Here, I always heard Jewish bankroll. It sounds really racist to me.

Basically, you can just fill in the ethnic group or geographic area of your choice.

Moved to Cafe Society

If you’re using a rubber band to hold the bills together, it’s naturally going to want to curl into a roll. Keeping them flat works in a drawer or a briefcase if you can keep the stacks separate. Banks use paper bands that won’t roll up. If you can’t lay them flat or keep them in paper bands, you need something to hold the wad together and those wads are way to big for a money clip. A roll bound with rubber bands is the most secure option left.

Ya think?

I’ve heard the lowest outside/lowest inside distinction referred to as a “Carny Roll” vs a “Pimp Roll”.