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28 August 2014
By Vin Narayanan
With the Labor Day weekend upon us in the U.S., I thought it would be nice to honor the casino workers who make trips to Las Vegas, Foxwoods, Atlantic City and all of our other casinos special.
These people work hard to make our trips to the casinos -- and the hotels many of them are attached to -- an enjoyable experience. And they usually don't get enough credit for doing their jobs well. But not this week!
It's time to show these workers some love. They've earned it. Happy Labor Day.
This really is a thankless job. Bouncers are constantly dealing with minors trying to use fake IDs or talk their way in, drunk people who can't find their IDs, people trying to talk their way into packed clubs and altercations that erupt at a moment's notice. Yet we rarely appreciate them. Somebody has to keep out the under-aged from the nightclubs and -- in many cities -- the casinos themselves. And for the most part, these folks do a pretty good job.
You know that drunk bachelorette party you saw weaving its way down the Las Vegas Strip last night? Odds are they made it back to their room and started puking their guts out. But they didn't have to clean up the mess. Housekeeping did. And they do it every day. It's particularly worse in cities like Las Vegas and Atlantic City, where you get large groups of friends meeting up and staying together. Each morning, their rooms look like a tornado hit. Yet the housekeeping staff somehow finds a way to not only clean up, but make the room presentable again. They deserve some appreciation -- and a gratuity.
8. Pit boss
These are the people that rate your play at table games. Rating play at table games is an inexact science. If pit bosses catch you while you're betting small, your rating suffers -- as do the offers you might get in the future. If the the pit boss catches you while you're betting big, watch those offers roll in! Most of the pit bosses I've dealt with have been quite generous with me. I joke around with them. They make fun of my name. It's all good. And I appreciate it -- especially when the free offers start rolling in.
When you head to the cage to cash in your chips, the one thing you really want is a fast cashier. There are a myriad of reasons for this. You hate standing in line. You want to celebrate your winnings. You want to forget about your losses. You have a dinner reservation in 15 minutes. Whatever the reason, you need to get moving. Fortunately for you, the cashiers at most casinos are really good. They count cash the way Usain Bolt sprints -- really, really fast. And they're rarely wrong.
6. Front desk worker
In many casinos, this person is the first point of contact for customers. A good experience at the front desk paves the way for a good trip. And the casinos know it. Or at least the good ones do. So they make sure their reception staff is well trained. But usually, that training goes unnoticed, even when you get an unsolicited upgrade. Sometimes it goes unnoticed because receptionists are so good at their job, you don't even notice how quickly you checked in. Other times, you're too tired to notice. We all remember the bad experiences at the front desk. But the good ones deserve appreciation as well. And for that, we should thank the workers that made it happen.
5. Cocktail Waitresses
This is another job where it's easy to remember your bad experiences and forget the good ones. A good cocktail waitress arrives at your table quickly, delivers drinks quickly, remembers what you've ordered and is always there to see if your drink needs refreshing. It's a lot harder than it sounds when you're responsible for 15 tables and some slot machines as well. So the next time a cocktail waitress is doing a good job, show some love and remember to tip her.
I rarely sit at a bar in a casino without playing video poker. It's a fun way to pass the time. But it's important to remember playing video poker doesn't guarantee you free drinks at the bar. The person who is in charge of deciding whether or not you get the free drinks is usually the bartender. Bartenders are supposed to keep an eye on how much you're spending on video poker and comp you accordingly. Most bartenders I've dealt with have been pretty liberal with their comps with 30 bucks worth of drinks coming for $20 worth of play. I always try to hook bartenders up with a nice tip when they do that. So should you. (Some casinos do not offer free drinks for video poker play, so make sure you know the rules before you sit down!)
These are the people that make the logistics of travel manageable. They store my bags, no questions asked. I don't even have to be a guest at the casino. I just hand them my bag and they store it. They get me taxis. They point me to good restaurants. And they remember my name and my schedule. For example, whenever I go to Las Vegas, I catch a red-eye home. On the last day of the trip, I head over to the Wynn to relax, hold meetings and eat some good food. And the valets at the Wynn always remember me. They greet me by name -- even though I didn't stay there. They always remember it's the last day of my trip. And if there's a line when I show up to head to the airport, they take care of me first. I'm not a high roller or a big spender. But I'm a regular. They appreciate that. And I appreciate them.
2. Bathroom attendants
The public restrooms in most casinos are remarkably clean. Thousands of people use them every day, but they are remarkably usable at all times of the day. Airports could learn a few things from casinos about cleaning bathrooms. At the World Series of Poker, thousands of poker players converge on the same two bathrooms during 20-minute breaks in play. The bathrooms get destroyed. Yet 20 minutes after play resumes, those same bathrooms look like no one had ever used them and they're ready for more patrons.
The bathrooms at the Wynn are always pristine. From velcro in the urinals to floors you could eat off of, the Wynn has the cleanest bathrooms in Las Vegas. And if you're going to spend some time in a casino with no access to your hotel room, it might as well be at place with great bathrooms. Kudos to the people who keep them clean.
It seems the only time people talk about dealers is when they want to complain about them. Not here. Not today. Most dealers rock! And the very best make players want to stay at the table, because talking to them is fun. Games like blackjack and Pai Gow Poker are interesting to play. But what make them fun are cool dealers who banter with players and keep the game moving along at a good pace. That combination is outstanding. It brings a social element to the game that players crave. Yet game play isn't affected. This is why we come to casinos. If I wanted to play a game and get no feedback, I'd be on my PlayStation. Most players tip dealers when they get good cards. I think we should change our behavior. Let's tip dealers when they're fun and interesting. It will make for a much better gaming experience.
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