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[Table] IAmA Casino Pit Boss with years of experience in Table Games and Casino Ops and would love to answer questions you may have about the business!

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Date: 2014-04-08
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Questions Answers
Have you ever seen anyone win or lose a life-changing amount of money? If so, how did it go down? I saw a guy lose $1,000,000 once, I actually was dealing when he lost about $200,000 of that in about 15 minutes. It made me sick, but he didn't seem to mind much. Later he attempted to sue the casino because "clearly his drinks were spiked," but he later recanted that.
Also, what's the best way to score some comps? How to get comps: Play for a long time and/or have a strong average bet. Buying in for large amounts and then not playing won't get you comps. Alternatively, be a fun person and the supervisor will probably hook you up because we appreciate the fun (not drunk) people.
What if you are fun and drunk?? Those two words likely don't go together. Trust me, we deal with SO many people every night that if you're drunk we are probably throwing you in with the others no matter what.
I've always wondered about counting cards. People get thrown out for doing it, but it's something that happens entirely in an individual's mind. Surely this is not cheating, and although the casino stands to lose out, they have no right to throw somebody out for doing this. So my question is: Has anyone been caught counting cards at your casino? Were they thrown out? Were they allowed back? What were they told? Counting cards is not cheating at all. You're not doing anything but keeping a running total in your head and basing your play off of that. That being said, casinos are private businesses and can refuse service to anyone for any reason. Yes, people have been caught counting cards. The majority of them aren't that good at it, to be honest, and so we let them think they're getting one over on us (and still lose.) If someone wins "too much" or does too well, they will be approached by senior management and told that they can still play but can no longer play blackjack.
Are there any common tells that you look for when you suspect someone of card counting? Generally I'm looking to see if they deviate from a reasonable basic strategy and have an abnormal success rate on hands where they make questionable plays. At that point I'll run a count as they play and see if they are changing their strategy and/or betting patterns when the count is in their favor.
Are they aloud to keep their winnings? Yes, they get to keep what they've won. They just can't play anymore after that.
What does a player have to play for you to approach them an offer comps? Does that even happen anymore? I usually don't bet that much, is there any chance of me getting some freebies from the pit boss? Honestly these days it's all computerized. Your play (on your players card) determines the comps you get. If it's your first time or your birthday (or you've played and/or lost a lot) you'll get more than you "should."
How can the computer determine your average bet etc.? Like, the computer will know how much you initially put down, but how would it know if you're actually playing each hand? Some casinos (ours included) don't use the electronic betting recognition sofware. If you don't see the dealer pressing a little button before each hand, here's my advice - bet big right at the beginning. A lot of supervisors will put in your average bet when you first sit down and they swipe your players card and then won't adjust your average bet unless you made big changes throughout playing.
Who's your favorite person in the entire world? My favorite person in the world is my lovely girlfriend, who asked me to do this and also supports me in literally every aspect of my life. She's an incredible person, I'll tell you that much!
Is Faee your girlfriend? I smell some colluding going on here. Collusion indeed! It's so true.
No posts in /gonewild I'll save you guys the time. Dear lord.
Have you ever had to permanently ban someone from your casino? What's the craziest way you've seen somebody get banned? We've permanently evicted people for threatening physical violence on other players and/or employees, getting into fights, things like that. A man peed under a blackjack table once; he was evicted and arrested!
I was playing blackjack once and this other got got really mad at my friend for the bet he made, he stood on a soft 16 or something. He immediately knew it was dumb and apologized to the table and the game went on. But this guy kept ranting and I said hey man, chill out. It's over now. He got in my face and wanted to fight, saying lets take this outside. I sat looking at the dealer like sooo are you gonna do something or am I gonna have to hit this guy? In the end the guy backed down but no security or anything came over. We're there people perched in wait or was this casino really shitty and security? It was Wild West in AC. Sounds like a shitty casino. I personally would have told the guy that he either stopped or he was leaving.
What are the chances of me being busted for switching my pass line to the dont pass line, after a point is established? What would typically happen if caught? Police or just booted? Good lord, don't do this. Best-case scenario you get away with it, worst-case scenario you're arrested. You could also get thrown out if they don't want to deal with the cops or it wasn't that large of an amount. But seriously, just bet the don't from the start. You make your money off of the odds anyway.
How often do you find people cheating? What are some of the dumbest/clever ways you have caught someone doing so? Cheating is less common than you may think these days. The technology we employ is really advanced, as most places have upgraded their surveillance tech. We can see a lot now. The best ways that people cheat now aren't by physically manipulating things, but by "taking shots." Little things, things like making a hand signal that could be interpreted as a hit or a stand and then raising a fuss if it doesn't go your way. Most casinos will just give you the money if it's not too much instead of fully investigate it.
The chips have always seemed susceptible to counterfeiting to me. What are the countermeasures that are not apparent. RFID? Some casinos use RFID (they'll have a more plastic feel to them.) Honestly, even high-value casinos' chips are subject to counterfeiting. I've seen stickers replaced, I've even seen people paint lower-denomination chips to look like higher-denomination chips.
Stickers? I have only been to casinos in Australia (Criwn, Star City) , but none of those could have their denomination changed by simply changing the sticker (didn't actually notice any stickers actually) because the whole chip is multicoloured plastic. Ours have stickers on them that could be taken off. They're different colors, though, so you'd have to do something else on top of that.
Does craps have the best odds in the casino if you understand the game well? Been gambling for a few years now and I have found that I typically only win when playing craps. The best odds of all the table games is betting the Don't Pass with max odds behind it. Second-best is the Pass Line with max odds behind it. Those odds are true odds, the casino has ZERO house edge.
Also to add: while the pass/don't pass are great bets, craps also has some of the worst bets in the house. Stay away from the centre action! Very good advice, prop bets are there to mess around with but don't play them if you're playing "smart."
Do the auto-shufflers for blackjack favor the house in any way? I always wonder if it uses a certain algorithm to determine how to shuffle the decks. I HATE auto-shufflers. No, they have no way of knowing how many people are playing at the table or which cards go to the dealer. It's legitimately random, moreso than some dealers who have specific shuffles.
Should I turn around and run away now while I'm still ahead? Don't play to win. Play to enjoy yourself and have a good time. Wins happen, losses happen.
Have you noticed that players who place bets for the dealers do better? A long-time Craps player gave me that advice. He said that getting the dealers involved in the game increases his luck. The dealers appreciate the bets, but it doesn't help your odds. It's an illusion of luck. But by all means, tip the dealers!
How closely are you (or other pit bosses) looking for card counters? If I'm counting and you notice, what's a good way for me to know that you spotted me? Thanks! Honestly, I'm probably not looking unless you're winning a large amount or you're making really large swings in your bets. I won't let you know if I suspect you, I'll have already called surveillance and they'll be running down (counting along) on the next shoe to see what you're doing. If you see security or people in suits near your table, just color up and leave. They won't do anything to you, but they're preparing to talk to you about what they've found and might back you off.
Ever have to lay down a beating on some unruly folk? I wish! That's old-school, before my time. If we beat up someone who was unruly the state would shut us down, guaranteed.
Why is it than when I double-down at Blackjack table, sometimes the dealer will let me have the card down while others insist its shown. Is there an industry standard? I see no disadvantage to a casino to let me have it down, it adds a bit of excitement for me. Different casinos have different rules. Ours used to mandate it face-up, but now we let you have it face-down.
How bad are the odds or win rates for slot machines? I feel like you are just throwing away money. Not saying that other casino games are better . What was your best perk being a pit boss? Most states will publish the odds for slot machines. Honestly most machines at reputable places (as in not bars) will have a return rate of 95-98%. That's a lower house edge than carnival games or even roulette.
The best perk? Honestly, that it pays well and I don't actually have to DO too much, haha.
Sooo, which casino game do you believe has the best odds for the player? Where do I have the best chance to win money? I mentioned this elsewhere, but the don't with max odds on craps. Or the pass line with max odds. Or blackjack with perfect basic strategy.
I'm not a big table player, however I do enjoy standing back and watching friends. I've noticed in some games, especially blackjack, that there are "unwritten rules". i.e. what hands to hit/stay or split. Not everyone follows them and I've witnessed some players loudly get upset by another players style of play. What role does the casino have in these breaches of table etiquette? I'm fine with people making "dumb" moves. Generally the dealer will say "Are you suuure?" if someone is about to split up their 20 or something like that. Other players do get mad when someone does something, but we protect our players. If someone wants to make a nonstandard or risky move, they have every right to. I personally wouldn't let a player berate another player, and it has nothing to do with the casino's interests.
I see anecdotal reports every once in a while about the facial recongition used by casinos, how good is it really? I'm also interested in what it is used for other than the obvious - tracking known card counters is an obvious one but in what ways is it used that aren't so easily guessed. Facial recognition software has always been pretty strong going back for quite a while now. There aren't really too many ways it's used other than for people who have cheated or who have overall suspicious behavior. That's the only reason we'd want to run the software on someone.
I rarely tip at the craps table, but anytime the point is even I throw a two-way hardway, I realize that it is probably not ideal for the dealers and its not like I am forced to tip; but is that somewhat acceptable in the stickman world? If you're putting the crew up on any bet they're happy, I promise. A large percentage of dice players don't tip. Any two-way bet is appreciated!
I'm going to Vegas for the first time in about 2 months. I really only know how to play black jack and texas hold em, but I really don't want to play poker for hours on end while I'm there. 1) Will dealers (or customers) get mad if i stand and watch a game for a few minutes before sitting down? The only time players will get mad is if you're right on top of them. Stand back, see if you can get a pamphlet on the rules of the game you're watching, or just ask the dealers or supervisors! Honestly, they want you to play - not because they want to take your money, but because it's fun to teach and show someone. As for "easy" games, roulette is pretty easy to learn, dice is the most fun but can be overwhelming, carnival games (Three Card Poker, Mississippi Stud) are very easy since they're all poker-based.
How many people get thrown out in an average night? I'd guess 2-3 people on a weekend night. The people that get "thrown out" are usually 12 or 24-hour evictions for intoxication.
Also, do you have any special training in counting cards? Special training in counting cards? No, the casino didn't offer me training. I had to show that I could to become a Pit, though.
Have you ever stopped someone from playing who is obviously a gambling addict? Are you, or any other casino employee trained to spot the signs of gambling addiction? We're not allowed to tell someone that we think they have a problem, but we can respond if they tell us they do. We have paperwork on it, we're trained to spot it (chasing losses, claiming to bet money they can't afford, etc) and we also have a hotline they can call. Additionally, players can fill out self-exclusion paperwork banning themselves from the casino if they feel they can't gamble responsibly. If they come back while banned, they can and will be arrested for trespassing.
What is your take on the advent of legalized on-line gambling in some states? Do you see this affecting you or your bottom line? Is this the "job stealer" the Pols are carping about, or is this just another throw away issue to fill warchests and line cheap-suit pockets in the year before an election? I don't see online gambling ruining brick-and-mortar casinos at all. People like coming for the experience, it's not just the gambling.
Do you gamble at all, and if so, what's your favourite game? I like my roulette, there's nothing like the rush of adrenaline when you're on a losing streak and your strategy is to double down until you win. I don't gamble, sorry! I used to play poker a ton, and I also really love Pai Gow even though it has an absurdly high push rate per hand.
When you say it pays very well, what do you mean? what's the starting salary like and how rapidly does it increment if you do a good job? Table Games pays VERY well compared to other departments. Your housekeeping and security is probably making $10-$12/hr (more than they would at non-casino businesses, but still) and your slot techs are probably making $14 or so an hour. Dealers with the toke rate start above $20/hr, and as you go up (supervisors don't make tips where I work and at most places, although some places give supervisors a cut of it) you make more. Especially for the amount of work I do, I get paid well.
Would I get in trouble for ordering a 7&7 from the waitress? Do they kick people out for doing unlucky things? You wouldn't get in trouble at all. Just turn away from the table. Although for comedy purposes, the waitress could come back and say "7&7?" as she brought the drink really loudly, then the table sevens out and blames her.
I was once playing Casino War (yeah I know) and a dealer actually peeked at my card BEFORE dealing it. She saw it was an ACE and told me to bet everything I had. Needless to say, I won the hand. Have you seen anything crazy like that in your travels? Before I started working at my current place I heard a story that happened there where the dealer was using their back foot to stop the Big Six wheel (never play Big Six; happy it's gone) early which meant that the people playing knew where it would stop. He was physically handcuffed at the table and arrested. DON'T CHEAT.
For someone like me, who is underage at the moment but would like to visit Vegas in the future when I can actually get the full "Vegas experience", what do you suggest if I find myself in a casino? What is proper casino etiquette? I usually try to be courteous to anyone around me at events and such, but is there anything special I should know? Any "taboo" subjects I should stay away from in conversation at a table? Are there any specific games/areas you recommend staying away from? Either because that's where most of the unruly people flock to, or because the experience of playing is not worth the odds of losing? You can just push a chip forward and say "For you." They'll thank you and drop it! -Not really, no. Play what you want! Stay away from unruly people in general, wherever they may be. Enjoy yourself!
How much money would be a decent amount to bring? Not in the sense that I'm hoping to win big, but in the sense that I'd like to experience as much of the casino as I can without going over-board. Bring whatever you'd be willing to lose. Go to a casino with low limits, bring a couple hundred bucks. Do NOT bring an ATM card.
What's the saddest thing you've seen, working at a casino? Years ago a guy was playing blackjack. He lost, left, and then came back with five crumpled up $1 bills so that he could make a $5 bet. He lost, was gone for another hour, and then came back and did it again.
I'm okay with people who come every day, some people enjoy it. But I hate to see people play with money they shouldn't bet with.
I've heard of apps that are available on cell phones where you surreptitiously hit a button for a high card, a middle or low...the phone silently vibrates when the card count is high? Basically one keeps the phone in his jacket/sweatshirt and hit the appropriate buttons as the cards are dealt Encountered those? There's a reason most places don't allow electronic devices at the table. If you were constantly looking at your phone I'd consider that a tell.
I recently turned 21, I have played a lot of card games, and tried to dip my feet in Blackjack and Poker. What is some general casino etiquette I should know? I've never been to one before. What kind of bankroll should I go there with? Craps sounds like a ton of fun but all the guides I've read are pretty confusing, and I have no idea how to play other than reading this thread/other places on the Internet. Like, I essentially imagine myself walking into this big place being totally lost and confused. What could you tell me that would make my first time going more enjoyable? It's a lot less stressful than you're worried about. Go in, talk to people, enjoy yourself. It's seriously not that big of a deal, just enjoy your first time! Bring an amount you're okay with losing. Don't bring your ATM card in. Don't chase losses (I know I just lost my last bet but I know I can win the next one!)
Has a casino ever been robbed while you were working? Not that I'm aware of!
One day i was walking around the strip after midnight on a tuesday, with 2 friends. we went to the bellagio, and ended up walking around the (mostly vacant) floor, buying some drinks, getting really drunk, and walking around the artsy stuff. the glass garden, the cirque du soleil sculptures in that museum. A security guard came by to the museum, when we were inside, and closed the door. the lights turned off and we got locked in. i started freaking out. ive never had anything happen like this before. The girl that was with me said its ok, theres a door to the back end right here- lets see if it opens. it opened. We ended up walking through the back end of the casino, past the dishwashing and laundry and various kitchens, and got lost trying to get back to the floor (theres not really any signs back there telling you where you are or where youre going to go) We were about to ask a room service guy for some help getting back to the floor, but before we got anywhere with that (he only spoke spanish? might have been just a dishwasher), we were in a weird situation. five or six of those men in blacks with earpieces, walking a money-box with a floor manager, from the floor to the vault (i presume, i dont know how this works). the MIBs asked us a bunch of questions, determined we werent there to intercept them, and one of them guided us back to the floor, and told us to have a good time and try to keep from getting locked in off-limits areas again. i thanked him a lot and then i decided, me and my tourist friends were just going to take a straight walk from where we were, to the nearest exit to the street. it took us past the high roller slots area first, and then past the dollar video poker area. as we passed these areas, they were opening the machines and unloading their cash, and loading up cash carts with the cash. at least 2 of the MIBs recognized us, and started doing their 'always around you, but appearing to just be crossing your path while doing their thing' act. i started getting scared, and we collectively decided to hurry the fuck up and get the fuck back out of this building, we probably just looked like some idiots trying to drunkenly do oceans 11. When we went to treasure island to get back to the parking garage and start our mission home, the MIBs in the vacant casino floor all kept crossing our paths, it was really fucking bizarre. To this day, 4 years later, i am still scared to go to bellagio, because i still notice the security/mibs/whatever crossing my path much more often than i ever noticed before walking up to a loaded cash cart in the backrom on accident while drunk at like 1 am on a tuesday. Should i be afraid? are the mibs really following me around, still? did i actually scare them by appearing to have some sort of their 'cash-loading' schedule? am i just being paranoid and none of this happened, and was just exacerbated by drunkenness and being somewhere i knew i was not supposed to be at a time that large sums of cash money were being moved around? It's in your head. The day of, they probably kept tabs on you because you happened to be in an off-limits area with a money transfer. Now, they wouldn't remember or care.
How much, on average, does a casino make on slots? Also, how does all this money transaction work? Is there a big computer network the machines and tables are connected to? It depends on the casino. Most places I've worked bring in 60-90% of their floor revenue from slots (10-40$ from tables.) Smaller places pull in six-figures per day easily, even on slower days.
Ever send someone off to look for a left-handed roulette ball? "Hey, new guy, we need you to find the wheel grease. Go ask the shift manager." YES I HAVE.
My buddy was playing craps one night and had about 25-35 rolls i think( about 30-40 minutes worth of rolls I'd guess), the craps table officials or whatever you call them started to get pist off/angry and started yelling(not yelling, but loud pestering) at him to throw asap before people could even get their bets on the table/ their bets winnings, is this typical to throw off the guy because hes winning a bunch (went up like $800 and if he threw like 3 more times it would have been like 1.5k with a bunch of other people at the table winning as well)or were they just being dicks? Edit: Also the dealers got pist he didn't give them a tip after he finally lost because they were being assholes(he was pretty awesome about tipping the first 20 throws or so till the dealers became douches). Is this part of the dealers job since he was winning to get him flustered and lose? It's not part of the dealers' jobs to berate someone that's winning. The only things that should bother a good dice dealer are when people are throwing in tons of late bets or are being rude. If you're winning, good for you! Keep winning! Sounds like they were just being jerks.
Do you remember any card counters in particular that you had to call the pit boss on? Any obvious large bet spreads that caught your attention at the blackjack table? Most interesting blackjack story? Thanks very interesting stuff. It's me, I'm the pit boss. I've come across a couple. The most recent one is a lady that our surveillance ran a report on and concluded that she's definitely counting. She's not that good at it, though, so we let her go because even though she bets big she doesn't actually win. We have the camera on her every time she plays, though.
What is the most popular "carnival" table game your casino has? Also how many tables does your location have? Any new games that have come out which seem fun? Mississippi Stud, by far. It used to be Three Card, but it's all about Mississippi Stud now. Total tables at our place is ~40 or so. We haven't had too many new games, lately it's just been adding bonus bets to existing games (three card bonus bets on pretty much all of our carnival games now.)
What's the craziest tip you've ever received as a dealer? Does the casino monitor these generosities? Most casinos have a tip policy. I can't accept chips or money at all (dealers can accept chips, obviously.) We can't accept non-monetary gifts with a value of over $50 as well.
As a dealer, I've been tipped in orange ($1,000) chips before by high-limit players.
How often do people try and cheat and has the amount of peolle trying to cheat declined since you first started working in a casino? It's hard to say. The amount of people cheating with old methods (counting cards, etc) has declined. The amount of people taking shots (pretending they didn't want that hit, things like that) has increased, but it's harder to prove.
Other than the obvious of betting as much on every hand as possible or increasing my hands an hour... is there any other way to increase or maximize my comp rating? There really aren't ways to maximize it. Increasing your hands per hour won't matter to the computer system, you'd honestly be better off betting more at a slower table because then it shows a higher average bet over a longer period of time.
What table game gives the most bang for the buck as far as comp pay back? As for which table games are the best, avoid mini-bacc, pai gow, and any game where you have to add bets as the hand goes on (some carnival games.)
Would you ever gamble at a casino after your experience? Would I? Yeah, knowing the odds wouldn't prevent me from doing it or anything. I just don't have a desire to do it.
Whats the best way about getting a job in a casino? I am interested in being a poker dealer, should I attend a school or will the casino offer my training? You apply when a job is available and when a casino is starting/advertising a "dealer school." Some places will offer the training which is usually free, but you're not technically hired until after the class.
I hope you see this tomorrow and I didn't miss where it may have been answered- what kind of training, considering the free drink culture, do dealers get so they cut someone off if they are drunk? Not even obviously, but if the casino as a whole is giving free drinks, isn't every employee required to at least have a reasonable knowledge of who is incapacitated or not? Great question! Everyone has to get a responsible alcohol server card, even people that don't serve drinks. It's a basic class that goes over how to spot intoxication, drinks per hour, things like that. People who can serve drinks also have to have a bar card. Where I work, dealers and supervisors can't cut people off. The Pit calls a Beverage Supervisor who makes that call.
Related question: do you think the days of free drinks in casinos are numbered? On a couple of Vegas podcasts I listen to, this has been discussed, especially in relation to the guy suing Downtown Grand over his losses on Super Bowl weekend. The thought is that one of the biggies (MGM, Caesars) might experiment with eliminating free drinks. And if one of them does it, the other biggie will follow suit, and then all the little guys would probably eventually follow along as well. Your thoughts? It's an interesting question. Some places in the US don't serve free drinks. Everywhere is different. I don't foresee it actually taking, it's a pretty big part of "the experience."
What would be the best table game for a beginner? I love Mississippi Stud, but I would love to start branching out. My goal is to play live Texas Hold 'Em and win a hand, but I'd love to learn them all. All carnival games are the same. Let It Ride is reverse Mississippi Stud, all the other games like Three Card and Flop are just variants of poker. Live poker is a little different, you can read and learn about it! There's always blackjack, which is simple and fun.
How many tables do you have per FM? At my casino it's moved from 4-16. 16 tables per supervisor? Different casinos have different terminology, ours has a floor per 4-6 tables and then a pit that oversees it all. 16 seems crazy to me.
Yeah well it used to be 2-4 but there's been a lot of staff cuts. We have 3 pits on the main floor, each containing 10-16 tables, and there's 1 FM per pit, 1-2 roamers and 2-3 pit managers floating around + doing the roster for dealers. Interesting. We have about 40 tables total across multiple pits, but only one pit manager who oversees it all and runs the pencil/rosteroadmap. 1-3 floors per pit, depending on the size (4-6 tables per floor)
As a dealer, would you rather have someone tip you a $5 chip, or make a $5 bet for the dealer? Personally, I'd like the tip instead of the bet. One of the places I worked at trained the dealers to always take it instead of betting it. Those bets have house odds; give me the money!
How high tech is the security? The show Las Vegas makes it look like over the top csi levels of technology. TV shows are dumb. We have cameras everywhere that can zoom in pretty well (no ENHANCE! ENHANCE!) Huge places in Vegas probably do have very sophisticated technology, we're smaller and so we have tons of cameras, security, electronic locks and vaults, things like that.
Last updated: 2014-04-13 00:47 UTC
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While the popularity of Blackjack dates from World War I, its roots go back to the 1760s in France, where it is called Vingt-et-Un (French for 21). Today, Blackjack is the one card game that can be found in every American gambling casino. As a popular home game, it is played with slightly different rules. Game Advice For Seven Card Stud Starting hand requirements. A strong starting hand consists of either a high pair, three of a kind, three cards to a flush or three cards to a straight. Live cards. In seven card stud it is important to notice when other players get the cards you need. Suppose, for example, that you are dealt three hearts. Sticking with the same example of our $10/$20 seven-card stud game, the limits of betting on third and fourth street would be the smaller limit, or $10 in this case. On fifth, sixth and seventh In seven-card stud, the player with the lowest-ranked card showing to start must pay the bring-in (a forced bet). However when two players tie for the lowest-ranked "door card," suits are used to More betting occurs, then the sixth card is dealt face up. More betting. The 7th and final card is dealt face-down to the players remaining in the hand. A final round of betting occurs. The players show their hands at the showdown. The player who can make the best five-card hand from the seven they were dealt, wins.

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