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Things I’ve Learned from Dealers

I had a conversation the other day with a dealer from one casino who was playing in a different city at another house.  We instantly recognized and greeted each other as old friends.  Even though I’ve known him for about two years, I never knew Mark’s last name or much else about him or his family, other than the fact that his wife was a baccarat dealer in the same casino.

We had a great time shooting craps and making a pile of money during some terrific rolls.   We ended up having a comped lunch together and discussing all sorts of things.  Of course the subject of dealers tips came up.  I’ll stop right here to remind you, in case you were wondering, dealers at casinos DO accept tips. (click here for an article on toking the dealers)

I’m a fairly generous tipper during my rolls.  If something develops, they make out like bandits.  If I can’t find my sweet-spot or settle into a focused rhythm, then my loss is also their loss.  Let me also add that I FIRMLY believe inattentive service or surly dealers deserve to be STIFFED.

Mark agreed that terrible dealers should not be encouraged in any way whatsoever, and that an occasional comment to the stickman about your dealer’s ineptitude and the resultant lack of tipping is one sure-fire way to improve service from the “bottom up” instead of vice-versa.  He said that “break-room” chatter and peer pressure was much more effective than a surly glance from a boxman, or even a written warning from a pit supervisor.  Peer pressure from other dealers usually straightens out all but the poorest dealers because they understand the basest of motivations: Fear and Greed!   It’s the, “Hey buddy, you’re f---king it up for the rest of us, get your act together or we’ll get rid of you” routine.

Knowing how dealers covet their toke money, I knew he was right.   Our conversation moved onto a couple of dealers that had moves on some of my complicated bets that amazed even ME!  We had a good laugh over a few other things, and then I said, “Ya Know, I’ve learned quite few things from dealers.”

Mark looked at me with very open eyes and said, “How can that be?  You’ve obviously been playing for a long time.  There’s no one else I’ve ever seen that can throw the dice like you.  What could you possibly learn from a dealer?”

It didn’t take me long to list the lessons and their payoffs.

v     I learned a very effective Don’t Pass Hedge Method from a dealer at the Stardust.  This bet alone has made me a quite a few dollars over the years.  But more importantly, it has saved me thousands upon thousands of dollars from being lost for keeping me on the profit-side of a bet at the right time.  I’ll explain this rather run-of-the-mill approach in my upcoming Playbook II article.

v     I learned the “Oriental Yo-Train Method” from (you guessed it) an Oriental dealer at Caesars Palace way back in ’81.  I no longer use this method, but in my “high-roller-without-brains-era”, this method made me more than enough money to fuel sillier and riskier bets.  This method will also be in the above-noted article.

v     I learned a great lesson from a Dealer-turned-Boxman-turned-Pit Boss-turned-former-employee at the Frontier.  He quickly recognized my ability to throw a lot of 9’s.   After seeing several of my solo hands at an empty table, he had the following to say.  “Bet exactly as I tell you to for just one hand on just one number (9).  If you don’t make more money my way than you would your way, then I’ll personally set you up for as many comped diners at Phil’s Angus Steak House that you can handle for a lifetime.  He combined some interesting double and triple presses and parlays, with some hopping propositions on the 9.  That one hand generated about $3700 MORE than I would have won with my normal approach.  I don’t use his method very often, but when I do, it pays dividends in the EXTREME!

v      I first learned how to tip from a bonus-sized dealer at the Desert Inn way back in 1978.  I’ve calculated how much I’ve spent on tips for dealers, and to me, I consider it as part of the expense of carrying on my business.  I also keep track of their winnings as part of my money-management program.  It’s one more way that I gauge how their service is, in relation to my winnings.  In an upcoming article, I’ll discuss how much I’ve spent on tips since 1991; how much the dealers have earned from those bets, and the resultant rating of their services in my not-so-humble opinion.

v     I learned from one of the Plaza dealers, a couple of bet variations that reward typically high-vig, low-chance wagers with a lower house-edge while having the dealers in play at the same time.  I’ll obviously have this one in Playbook II.

v     I’ve also been introduced to a number of fellow “like-minded” players by a former dealer-turned-Pit Supervisor at the Plaza, who currently runs another Gaughan operation in town.  This may have been the most rewarding of all the things that I’ve learned from casino personnel.  Any one of the three key individuals that I’ve met each contributed critical portions to my over-all game plan. 

     One taught me the most effective tracking/trending/betting formula methods ever devised, and I still use it today.   I am seeking his kind permission to put his method in print for you right here on Irishsetters site.

      Another took me on a tour of all the different table-felt/underlay variations and combinations around Vegas.  He showed me the subtleties and nuances of a heretofore unknown part of the game.  Until then, I had only suspected what he later proved to me on that eye-opening tour.  Using his information to alter my Precision-Shooting to adapt to various table conditions improved my game by an average of 8-rolls-per-hand, and I am eternally grateful for his guidance and tutelage.

     The third chap that I was introduced to showed me the smarmy, sleezy, scuzzy side of the degenerate dealer/gambler segment that makes up a small, but significant chunk of the dealer population in Nevada.   Having learned from the best, I also learned what sink-holes of desperation NOT to fall into from the worst of players.

     And from this former dealer who introduced me to all these great people, I learned some useful throwing technique variations.  There were a number of tables that the Plaza had in storage in a little used interior-alley that leads to an “authorized personnel only” section that was originally the Union Pacific Railway Station that the Plaza is now a part of.  They had tables of 12-feet all the way to the monster 24-foot variety in storage.  I learned some new things, and I reconfirmed some old things, plus I formed a long-term friendship with a truly great individual.

v     I also learned from a dealer at Sam’s Town how to make tipping contagious while I am shooting.  During a swelteringly-hot roll, I will sometimes place even more small bets for the dealers in addition to the ones I already have in action.  I will challenge other high-rolling players to match my bet, “So that the numbers just keep on rolling.”  If no one obliges, I’ll say, “Are you sure you don’t want this to end…let’s get the dealers into the game.”  If there are still no takers, I’ll take every bet down, remove all odds, then Lay the No-4 or No-10 for a reasonable sum, them promptly throw a 7-out.   It seems mean-spirited, but if other players are making thousands of dollars with each roll of the dice, and the dealers are remaining calm, efficient and servicing the hell out of all the players during all of the heated action, then their services should at least be recognized by those who can afford to do so. 

We finished lunch, and Mark had a sort of shell-shocked look on his face.  He said, “I always knew you were a good tipper, but I never knew you took such a professional approach to the whole thing.”  I smiled and said, “Let’s go win some more money, and maybe a little for the dealers too!”  His only response was, “Giddy-Up!”

Good Luck & Good Skill at the Tables…and in Life.

By: The Mad Professor

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