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The first line of defense

22 January 2015

Many, many years ago, I was invited by a large gaming company to take part in a weeklong crash course in casino operations. Other students were all employees from non-gaming parts of the company, such as building operations, hotel management and food services. The company had identified them as up-and-comers who might be well suited to move into the casino end of the business.

We took part in seminars, workshops and practical demonstrations and we were put through our paces on game odds, dealing procedures, promotions, customer relations, surveillance – you name it.

One point of emphasis was the importance of dealers as the point of contact with the table-playing public. They weren’t just there to deal the cards, spin the wheel or pass the dice. Dealers were hired as ambassadors for the casino.

That’s something I’ve always kept in mind when readers send me tales of their adventures with dealers, for better or worse. Here are a few:

Stuart: I’d played craps a few times, and I knew the Pass Line, but never really understood the Odds bet. I went to an open craps table with nobody playing yet, and asked the boys if they could walk a newbie through the odds.

The boxman said, “You playing?” I said yes, and he said, “We’ll give you all the help you need.”

I wanted to make it easy, so I just made a $5 Pass bet. They had 3x, 4x, 5x odds, and one of the dealers explained to me how the amount of odds I could take depended on what the point number was. I went through a few different points, and each time the dealer explained how much I could bet and what the payoff would be if I won. After a few times, it all seemed easy and natural. I started making Come bets, and when I got to where I could have a Pass and two Comes, and know how much odds to bet on each, the boxman said, “By George, I think he’s got it.”

I think I lost $10, but everyone was so nice, I left a $25 tip, too.


Gerry: The first thing [blackjack dealer] Joyce said was, “OK, let’s everyone lose some money.” People looked stunned, and she said, “I bet you thought I was going to say, ‘make some money,’ didn’t you?”

At first I figured OK, it’s schtick. She was going to be playful with us. No such luck. She was tired, bored, lazy and seemed to want to be anywhere but on her job.

For me, the last straw came when another player asked for strategy advice. I don’t remember what the cards were, but the guy said, “Joyce, what would you do with this hand?” And Joyce said, “Honey, I don’t care what you do with it. I just want to get to my break.”

The guy who’d asked for the help laughed, declared that he liked her and that her honesty was refreshing. I didn’t find her refreshing. I found her rude, and I left. She doesn’t have to give strategy advice. But in a public service job, she does at least have to be civil to the public.

Alain: I had $50 in free play chips and found a $5 blackjack table. The dealer said, "I’m red hot. You don’t want to sit here." I laughed and said I’d take my chances. Then I lost the first six hands in a row. My $50 in free play brought me back only $20. He warned me. I should have listened!

Look for John Grochowski at www.casinoanswerman.com, on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).
Related Links
Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski