Dealertainers at The Quad, Formerly the Imperial Palace, Are No More

Sometimes, it’s just in the cards. During our last visit to The Quad (soon to be The Linq), we witnessed the sad state of the casino’s “dealertainer” pit and predicted the demise of a beloved, although outdated, Vegas institution.

Dealertainers, blackjack dealers who also perform as famous musical artists, have been around since The Quad was the Imperial Palace, but now the hotel’s approximately 30 dealertainers have been asked to take non-dealertaining positions at The Quad or seek new gigs elsewhere.

The dealertainers are done at The Quad.

Dealertainers The Quad

Black and white photos make things seem like a much bigger deal, don’t they?

The end of the dealertainer pit comes as The Quad Resort and Casino is being rebranded as The Linq Hotel and Casino.

This most recent rebranding is happening, in large part, because of a disasterous miscalculation by Caesars Entertainment, the company that owns The Quad and other Strip resorts. Imperial Palace, an Asian-themed hotel, was very popular with Asian gamblers, a lucrative source of revenue for Las Vegas casinos. Imperial Palace was renamed The Quad as an attempt to capture a younger audience (“quad” being a meeting place on college campuses), but overlooked was the fact “quad” also means “four,” which many Asians consider bad luck because “four” and “death” sound similar in Mandarin Chinese.

This gaff has sparked another multi-million dollar rebrand just two years after Imperial Palace was rebranded to The Quad.

Dealertainer

We’ll miss your twang, fake Garth Brooks.

The change from The Quad to The Linq hotel, in addition to the waning popularity of the dealertainers, made the removal of the quaint, but out of place, remnants of the Imperial Palace inevitable. (The dealertainers were originally inspired by the hotel’s “Legends in Concert” tribute show. That show is still going strong at Flamingo.)

Dealertainers

Back when the dealertainers were still sort of a thing.

An obvious sign the dealertainers were doomed was how their stage had been downsized since Imperial Palace became The Quad. Here’s a shot of the stage when the dealertainer pit first opened in its new location at The Quad.

Quad dealertainer

The former elevated stage drew crowds. The problem: Crowds don’t always translate into gambling.

During our most recent visit, the stage had been downgraded to little more than a couple of carpeted steps.

Dealertainers

The beginning of the end for the dealertainers.

Also, there was no signage featuring the dealertainers anywhere at The Quad. When The Quad was the IP, the dealertainers were promoted heavily, had their own blackjack table felts, a Big Six wheel devoted to them and they were the centerpiece of the casino.

Aretha dealertainer

Tamara as Aretha, back when the dealertainers had more to smile about.

During our visit, the frequency of performances by the dealertainers had been severely cut back. During more than an hour of play, there was one performance.

Remnants of the dealertainer era include a neglected page about the dealertainers on The Quad’s Web site that features a photo taken during the Imperial Palace days. We expect this page will face the same fate as the dealertainers and will soon have its plug pulled.

Dealertainer

Exactly, fake Wynonna.

While we’re sorry to see the dealertainers go, in Vegas, money talks, and their time had clearly come. The dealertainers were a cheesy vestige of a different time and a different Las Vegas. With it’s massive casino and room renovation, the new Linq Hotel & Casino is likely to market to a younger, more affluent customer as Sin City’s focus shifts away from gambling toward nightlife, as can be witnessed at the nearby Cromwell or the new SLS Las Vegas.

We’re happy to have had one more chance to play in the dealertainer pit at The Quad. Our dealer seemed resigned to her fate.

On a brighter note, a Caesars Entertainment source says the dealertainers weren’t fired, but rather offered other positions within the company. It’s not known how many took new gigs and how many decided to move on.

The curtain coming down on the dealertainers marks the end of an era in Las Vegas. They’ll always hold a special place in our heart.

Update (10/4/14): According to posts on Facebook, some of the dealertainers from The Quad have found a new home at Ellis Island casino, just off The Strip.

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  • Misslaydj

    I don’t get it. Why are they really getting rid of them?All cause of the rebranding? Also what is the purpose of these folks anyway? Is it just something fun for the consumer/gambler? It seems pretty cool.

  • Matt S.

    I’ll miss Fake Gwen Stefani the most. Being from Chicago, I will miss the Blues Brothers the least. Good riddance Jake & Elwood!

    • Everyone had their favorites, that’s for sure.

  • Jonathan M Bell

    When it was the IP, I found the entire experience sad and creepy. Once it became the Quad, there was an excitement there, but some of the acts just couldn’t hold it. Their Adele was superb. I hope she gets a gig at Legends or something like that.

    I’m sorry the transition wasn’t enough for them, but they were a big reason I wouldn’t set foot in IP.

    • The dealertainers were definitely a case of “different strokes.” There are hardcore fans of that pit, but apparently they didn’t show up in sufficient numbers to keep the dealertainers around.

      • Jonathan M Bell

        Very little can survive on hardcore fans alone, particularly in Vegas. There has to be something the casual observer can see as their own. I thought the change to the Quad would be that factor for the Dealertainers. But ultimately, the acts were so hit or miss, it was hard to sustain interest. There were acts I would leave the vicinity during. There were acts I was enthralled by. You can live without the everything being the latter, but you can’t survive with any of the former.

  • Stampindown

    I am so sad to see them go. That was the ONLY reason I went to IP. They will all be missed dearly. I have met and stayed in touch with some really great Dealertainers. Please keep in touch!

  • Margo Townsend

    Ummm, that’s Wynonna, not Reba. 🙂 And I know them all personally and am seriously reconsidering my 2x per year trips to Vegas now.

    • Thanks for letting us know. Yeah, there are going to be a lot of disappointed fans.

    • Niki Smith

      Hi Margo! I’m with you on this… I’ve been going there since they stated at the IP…Friends with most of them. I’m absolutely heartbroken right now…and I won’t be spending another dime in ANY Caesar’s Entertainment casino!!! What they did was awful! They could have updated who they impersonated, to keep up with the times. There was no need to get rid of the Dealertainers! The old IP cared about their employees AND their guests… now everyone is just a number. Sad…very, very sad.

      • They had a following, but having fans doesn’t always translate to bringing business or generating revenue, which is what drives a lot of decisions in Vegas casinos. A lot of folks are with you, though!

  • Hundley Fan

    I never saw the dealertainers, but that last photo looks more like a fake Wynonna than a fake Reba.

    • You are correct! Great catch, and thanks for letting us know.

  • Ian Grant

    In the last 6 years, we’ve stayed in hotels such as The Venetian, The Palazzo & Caesars Palace, but we ALWAYS went to the Imperial Palace to play with the Dealertainers, because it was FUN! We booked to stay in The Flamingo this year, so we wouldn’t have so far to travel to visit the DT’s, so imagine our disappointment to arrive (from Spain) and find they’d been cancelled! The Quad, Linq, or whatever you want to call it is now just another sterile environment which has very little atmosphere, at least the new O’Shea’s has some “oomph”! I sincerely hope the DT’s find a new home with a purpose built performance area, so people who like to paaaarteeee have somewhere to gamble that’s fun!

    • Scott Roeben

      Thanks for your thoughts, Ian. I know the dealertainers had a lot of die-hard fans, but in Vegas, money talks, and unfortunately their popularity had waned in the last few years. (Partly because they didn’t have a fixed place during the transition.) Guess we’ll see how The Quad (now The Linq) does without them. Oh, and a few made their way to Ellis Island!