We get asked all the time why casinos have go-go dealers. Here’s a little crash course in casino marketing.
If you’d like to do a little marketing research of your own, we highly suggest The D Las Vegas, downtown.
Being a dealer in a Las Vegas casino can be a sweet gig. You meet interesting new people every day, the financial rewards can be substantial and you get to be an ambassador not only for your casino but also Las Vegas, the most exciting city on Earth.
There are challenges to being a dealer, too, of course, and a lot of that’s on us.
We grilled a dealer, Michael Nguyen, co-owner of a new dealer school, Casino Entertainment Group (CEG), and got him to spill about the things that tick dealers off, and how we can avoid them.
5. Don’t Blame Dealers If You Lose
Gambling is a numbers game, and the house always has the advantage. Nevertheless, dealers make a convenient target when players need to vent about their bad fortune.
“We hear people say things like ‘unbelievable’ or ‘Can you believe that?’ every other hand,” says Nguyen. “We’ve dealt thousands of hands. Don’t get upset if your 17 in blackjack doesn’t beat the dealer. People must realize the odds aren’t always in their favor. They can’t expect to win every hand.”
One of the worst things about players taking their frustrations out on dealers, often to the point of verbal abuse or worse, is dealers aren’t allowed to defend themselves. A dealer who gets combative with a player, even if it’s deserved, risks losing their job. So, they just have to take it. Only jerks and cowards beat up on those who aren’t allowed to defend themselves.
4. Don’t Gamble Drunk
Yes, the cocktails are free, and drinking is part of the Vegas experience, but customers going overboard can turn ugly for dealers.
Nguyen says, “The person gambling isn’t doing him or herself any favor by tipping back one too many during the game. The more drinking, the more mistakes are made during a game. If you’re wasted while playing, you’re wasting money.
Dealers are used to players having a few cocktails, and getting a little boisterous, but excessive drinking is annoying to dealers and other players alike.
Also, gambling drunk leads to spilled drinks, one of the most irksome aspects of a dealer’s shift. Spilled drinks ruin table game felt, disrupt the game and turn dealers into babysitters. Drink responsibly. Or don’t, but don’t play a table game!
3. Don’t Blow Smoke in a Dealer’s Face
Sounds like common sense, right? Wrong.
“We understand the environment and know people like to smoke while playing,” says Nguyen. “We don’t even mind the smoking, in fact. But blowing cigarette or cigar smoke directly in a dealer’s face is rude. Be respectful.”
Agreed. Oh, and if we ever write a list of “The Five Best Ways to Not Piss Off This Las Vegas Blog,” not smoking a disgusting, big-ass cigar in our vicinity will be all five things on the list.
2. Tip Your Dealer, Already
We’d have make this number one on the list, but we defer to the expert.
Nguyen comes clean, saying, “This is a very touchy subject. Dealers don’t expect a person who’s
losing to tip. But if you’re winning, toss a chip our way every so often. We’re not looking for
a stack of chips, but don’t stiff the dealer if you’re on a winning streak.”
Somebody had to say it! We’ve seen this trend getting worse in recent months, or at least it seems that way.
We disagree with Nguyen on this point, actually. Dealers make a meager base pay, and they live on tips. So, we tip whether we’re winning or losing. We value what they do no matter the outcome of our play.
Nguyen continues, “Another pet peeve is when a player tells us we’ll get tipped at the end [of the session] and leaves a dollar or less when all is said and done. A dollar or less is sort of like a slap in the face. And while we’re talking about tipping, don’t stiff the cocktail waitress, either.”
We can’t say it enough. If you can’t afford to tip, do something other than play casino table games. Slot machines might be your thing. No tipping required.
1. Good Vibes Only, Please
Playing in a Las Vegas casino is meant to be fun, so avoid being a buzzkill.
“Remember, there are other people at the table, too,” says Nguyen. “No one wants to be next to the person who constantly complains, demands the cocktail waitress bring a drink immediately, and so on. We understand when a person’s trip or gambling session may not be working out, but the next hand or spin may be different. Keeping an upbeat attitude and staying positive could possibly change a person’s luck.”
Absolutely nailed it. The Golden Rule applies to casinos as it does to everday life.
In a casino, be the kind of person you’d like to hang out with. Keep the mood light, be polite and don’t lose sight of the fact if gambling isn’t fun, why the hell are you doing it?
Special thanks to Michael Nguyen of CEG dealer school for giving us the straight scoop, and we appreciate dealers for being such an integral part of some of our most memorable Las Vegas moments, ever.
There’s a new way to play roulette, and it’s spicing up what is perhaps the best-known of all casino games.
Double Ball Roulette recently made its debut at the Tropicana as part of a “field test” required by the Nevada Gaming Commission prior to the game being more widely available.
This new take on roulette is familiar enough to keep it from being daunting. It’s traditional “American” (0-00) roulette, but with two balls rather than one, plus new bets, different payouts and an added bonus: Players get to remotely control when the balls are dropped onto the wheel.
The look of the layout isn’t dramatically different from traditional roulette, except for a side bet that pays off if both balls land on the same number. This bet pays 1,200-to-1. Two balls land on one number roughly once every 38 spins, so it’s not too uncommon. The chances of picking that number when it hits, though, is 1-in-1,444.
Beyond differences in the layout, you’ll know you’re at a Double Ball Roulette table because of an eye-catching addition to the wheel itself. The balls are shot with compressed air through a tube (see photo, below), as opposed to being spun by a dealer.
A wireless remote is circulated around the table, and players get to press a button to release the balls. We love this new element of the game! Anything to make a table game more interactive, we’re up for it.
Of course, this remote control doubles as an ingenious way to keep players at the table longer, awaiting their turn to hit the button, just as craps players stay at the table longer awaiting their next roll of the dice.
We’d love to show you the remote button device, but photos are forbidden in casinos. Ha, ha. That jokes never gets old. This Las Vegas blog doesn’t live by society’s rules.
Because there are two balls, one might conclude there’s double the chances of winning on any given spin. While that’s true, a closer look at the payouts shows the casino isn’t giving up anything extra. In fact, it’s taking a little more of a commission for all the fun we’re having.
For example, in traditional roulette, a win on a straight up number pays 35-to-1. In Double Ball Roulette, a straight up number pays 17-to-1. (Two balls, two resulting numbers, roughly half the payout.) So, in its payout, the casino gets a little extra something by rounding down.
For a single number, the house edge is 5.33% in Double Ball Roulette. In traditional roulette, it’s 5.26%. So, not much worse, and there’s definitely no bet in traditional roulette that pays 1,200-to-1.
The Double Ball Jackpot seems unlikely, but during the first 16 days of Double Ball Roulette’s operation at Tropicana, the jackpot has hit nine times. An individual player, in fact, won three times. On the same day.
Oh, and yes, there’s room for two balls in any of the wheel’s number “pockets.” Double Ball Roulette uses a traditional roulette wheel.
Some of the other bets and payouts take a little getting used to. Two numbers, split, pay 8-to-1. Three numbers (a line) pay 5-to-1, four numbers (a corner bet) pays 3-to-1. Five numbers (called “first five,” otherwise known as a basket bet) pays 5-to-2, and six numbers (line) pays 2-to-1.
It only takes a minute to get used to two results for each spin. The dealer uses two dollies (or markers) on the layout, and a video display shows both winning numbers overhead.
Overall, Double Ball Roulette brings some new twists to a vintage casino game. Roulette tends to get a little repetitious at times, so we find this new take refreshing.
Hardcore roulette players might opt to skip the novelty of Double Ball Roulette because of its slightly higher house advantage on certain bets, but for the recreational player, it’s a fun variation we hope will start cropping up in other Las Vegas casinos soon.
Get more details about the game at the official Double Ball Roulette site, as well as some enticing hints about future prize possibilities (how cool would it be to win a jet ski at a roulette table?) which will really make this game stand out among table games.
If you get a chance to play Double Ball Roulette, let us know what you think! And while you’re sharing your thoughts in the comments, please feel free to also share your shock at the fact we didn’t make even a single “ball” pun in this entire blog post. It’s called maturity, thanks.
Roulette is one of the most popular table games in the world, featured in myriad movies we can’t recall the names of, but we’re pretty sure roulette has been in movies, so just go with it.
The house advantage, or “edge,” in roulette is 5.26%. That’s for the most common version of the game, American roulette. You can tell American roulette from European roulette because: 1) it has a zero and double zero, rather than just a zero, and 2) it doesn’t use the metric system.
The bet to avoid in roulette is called a “basket bet.” This bet is placed strategically on the roulette layout in a way that screams, “I am a tourist, I have too much money, and I would like to give some to this casino!”
The basket bet covers five numbers, the 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3. Super convenient, right?
Well, yes, but that convenience costs a lot. The house edge for the basket bet is 7.89%, the worst bet on a roulette table.
So, it’s best to avoid this particular sucker bet and stick to the regular, less-sucky bets.
Another way to ensure you won’t look like a roulette novice is to always wait for the dealer to remove the marker (called a “dolly,” below) from the layout before placing new bets. It’s no fun having your hand slapped in public, even metaphorically, trust us.
Good luck, and we look forward to hearing how you gave it to The Man at the roulette table. And by “gave it to,” we mean “took it from,” of course.
You’ve probably seen video slots similar to this one in a Las Vegas casino. It’s a blackjack or roulette game with a “virtual dealer,” typically an attractive young woman beckoning you with her gaze. Or, in this case, cleavage.
We spotted this roulette machine, from the visionaries at ShuffleMaster, inside the casino at Planet Hollywood, and quickly realized this was no ordinary virtual dealer.
The young woman in question sported large, artificial breasts, with a revealing dress requiring spray adhesive (or fashion tape) to keep things from getting completely R-rated.
Not content to entice players with her smile, this virtual dealer proceeds to lean over and spin the wheel.
This is about as close as it gets to porn in a casino, folks.
And the fun doesn’t stop there. Let’s just say this roulette wheel is very, very happy to see her. (For casino nerds, the part of the roulette wheel she’s fondling is called the “turret.”)
Pretty bold stuff, even for Las Vegas.
How much shame do slot machine makers have? We’ll let this virtual roulette game answer that question.