Posted by Mission146
Apr 21, 2017

Relationship Between Player and Casino

If there is one thing that I will never quite understand, it is why an individual (advantage player or otherwise) would believe that there is an inherently adversarial relationship between himself and individual casino employees. The most common instance of this belief manifesting itself is that of table games players v. dealers and the pit crew. To a certain extent, I understand why a table games AP might consider the pit crew an adversary, but I don’t know that it means that he/she should treat them like an enemy.  

The first aspect of the relationship, as perceived, that I find problematic is the fact that someone will generally be viewed in terms of the way that they act towards someone else. In other words, I would tend to believe that if an individual is essentially neutral and robotic in his/her relationship with another person, then that person will get more of the same in kind. In other words, if you are a table games AP and you pursue what you are doing with a single-minded and robotic attitude, then the pit will be more likely to do their job in a robotic fashion. If your play results in them thinking that the eye should take a look at you, then they will call it up without hesitation.  

If you are hostile to the dealers or to the pit crew, then you give them a reason to actively want you gone. If there is a place that you want to be, and the casino is certainly such a place if you are an advantage player, then it is probably important not to give them a reason over and above your actual play to potentially want you gone. Simply put, if the pit thinks that you have a standoffish attitude, and for someone with very little table games AP experience I have DEFINITELY seen card counters get very standoffish when asked for a players club card, then any signs of AP might cause them to take a look at you.  

Of course, there is no reason to go over the top with kindness as that is also likely to arouse suspicion. If nothing else, a player should not want to be noticed by the pit (or anyone else, really) at all.  In order to accomplish that, the player simply needs to do what the players around him/her are doing.  If the pit makes small talk with you, then make small talk back with the pit. If the dealer is being somewhat chatty, then be at least minimally chatty back with the dealer.  While you might not want to go out of your way to be pleasant, and might perhaps find such small talk trite and annoying, most people at the tables are willing to engage in at least a modicum of small talk. Those who are not willing to do so have generally lost a ton that day and are in a sour mood, but you just sat down!  The fact that you just sat down and are already giving the dealer coldness in response to typical banter will likely be noticed especially in a small house.

The fact of the matter is while a cold neutrality or aloofness might not get you remembered, it might get you noticed. That is especially the case if you are doing something like card counting in extremely favorable conditions, such as having the table to yourself. If you have the table all to yourself, then who else is the dealer going to be paying attention to? The pit might also be watching your game simply because the pit has nothing better to do. Something as simple as a, “I’m fine, how are you,” that is not coldly and distantly muttered might be the difference between the pit just watching your game out of boredom as opposed to analyzing your betting.  

Of course, many advantage players already understand that and do what they can not to be noticed by the crew. However, several of these players (some of them great ones) still view the casino industry and all of those who work in it in a negative light. Again, that’s not something that I will understand anytime soon.  

The casinos often make decisions that are detrimental to the players out of nothing more than greed, but if a dealer deals a blackjack game that happens to be 6:5, does the dealer have a choice if his supervisor tells him to go deal that table? Short of quitting his job or taking an insubordination write up, I don’t think so. The dealers are no more responsible for the games or the nature of the casino industry than a cashier at Target is for the massive data breach that company was involved with.  

For me, that doesn’t mean that I go into a casino with a negative opinion of the individual employees there nor do I go into Target with a negative opinion of those employees.  

The fact of the matter is that I have worked a good many places in my life, and the fact of the matter is that more companies than not (in my limited experience) are questionable in one way or another. I would certainly hate to be blamed for many of the things that occurred within those companies or that I was made to do as opposed to losing my job.  

I think one great example was that of the distribution center (which shall go unnamed) that I once worked at. I would say that most things that took place there were more or less by the book, but for some reason, there was a waterline break in the area one day that rendered the warehouse without running water. It should seem pretty natural to close it up given that the employees had no means by which to wash their hands or to go to the bathroom.  

Actually, we were going to be allowed in the bathrooms on a, “Number one only,” basis, but eventually, too many people violated the, “Number one only,” rule and the DC closed the bathrooms altogether. Eventually, what you were left with is a bunch of employees holding it until break and then driving down the street to some woods and doing whatever it was they had to do. Of course, these employees should have washed their hands afterwards, but at least we had access to hand sanitizer.  

In any event, to operate under such conditions not only broke any number of health and safety regulations, but it also put the customers at risk given that we were dealing with open produce in some of our departments. It’s not like we were only touching cardboard boxes that would only later be touched by other employees of the company at the stores. Granted, all of these produce items were either in boxes or some other sort of case, but when you have a collapsible container full of apples, sometimes your hand touches an apple in the process of grabbing it.  

The fact of the matter is that the distribution center should never have operated under those conditions, but I don’t think that makes the employees of the distribution center bad people. We were essentially told that, if any of us left early, we would be subject to the usual disciplinary action that comes as a result of leaving shift early, and no, we may not use any PTO time to leave early.  

I thought about leaving early and just dealing with the write-up, but honestly, I always wore gloves when I filled orders anyway (personal preference) so I didn’t really view it as subjecting anyone to any more risk than usual.  Besides that, my gloves were probably considerably more disgusting than my hands even after taking a leak and only cleansing them with hand sanitizer, but if I wanted my gloves replaced as often as they should have been, it would pretty much require me to spend a fortune buying them myself.  

For example, if you drop a case of eggs and work on cleaning up the mess and your gloves run across some of the egg yolk (cross-contamination with everything else you touch) you can ask for new gloves, and a few days later, you might get them. Of course, it would also require you to admit that you dropped a case of eggs (which they know happened but ignore as long as you put it on your pallet) and that is going to result in a write-up of its own because humans are supposed to be physically infallible creatures.  

I could get into other examples of companies that I have worked for that have blatantly violated other safety and health requirements, but I imagine you get the point.  

My position on dealers and most other casino employees, certainly low-level ones, is that regardless of how you feel about casinos only the worst of casino employees should be looked upon with scorn. In many cases, the employees are doing nothing more than taking the best job available to them in the area in question. This is often true of the dealers who would otherwise be unemployed or be working for less in areas with high unemployment rates.  

Besides that, I do not understand how AP’s could be AP's without casinos and how casinos could operate without employees. Even if the position of an AP (as some claim to have) is that they would will casinos entirely out of existence if they could, the fact of the matter is that the casinos are still enabling the AP to do what he/she does. No casinos, no AP.  No employees, no casinos.  

On an individual basis, there are many employees that could be looked upon with distaste. Sticking to the example of dealers, there are occasionally dealers that want most of the players at their tables to lose regardless of whether or not the player in question has actually done anything to them. Even in my limited table game play, I have heard dealers say something about a player leaving the table under their breath when the player hasn’t done anything wrong that I have seen. It is usually something like, “Idiot,” or, “Loser.”

At the same time, I have no problem with a dealer who, “Just wants to do his job,” and there are many AP’s who would prefer such a dealer.  Of course, what the AP’s often mean in saying that is they want the dealer just to deal the cards without cheering for the AP, rooting against the AP, making small talk with the AP...long story short, just mechanically deal the cards.  

Of course, that desire is generally inconsistent with what is good for the dealer. The fact of the matter is that having an affable attitude (at least to a player’s face) is usually going to be what results in a dealer doing well in tips. It is the job of a dealer, I will admit, to do his/her best to read people to determine whether or not they want to be engaged in small talk, but not every dealer is going to get it right 100% of the time.  

If we assume that a dealer is going to get a fixed hourly rate no matter what and that the only variable is how much money goes into the dealer’s toke box, then we can also assume that a dealer will generally try to behave in a fashion that results in the most money going into said box.  Sometimes this even (in the dealer’s view) calls for, ‘Toke hustling.’

If there is one thing AP’s hate it is a toke-hustling dealer. Some are more blatant than others, but many of them will hustle by throwing out a phrase like, “You’re sure doing well since you sat down,” or, “I’ve been giving you some great cards,” as if they actually have any control over it. Once again, it could probably be assumed that the dealer believes he is acting in his/her own self-interest and that said hustling is the best way to elicit some tips from the player. That’s not always going to be true, but certain players are not likely to tip regardless of what the dealer does, so he/she might as well try something.

If the casino believes that you are playing a negative expectation game, (ie. not an AP) then the casino believes it will perform well because you are sitting there. However, if you are taking up space and not tipping, then it makes more sense that the dealer will try to do or say something that will get you to tip him/her. Otherwise, the only thing that your presence at the table is doing is giving the dealer more work to do as opposed to less.  Maybe the dealer could watch the baseball game on the TV over the bar if you weren’t sitting there trying to play at lightning speed.  

Again, there are some dealers that seem to have needlessly unfavorable opinions towards their players for no reason whatsoever without the player even antagonizing them in any way. Of course, it is important to realize that such an attitude is not unique to the casino industry. Despite working a customer service job, there are many customer service people who suck at their jobs and would prefer not to be bothered rather than deal with customers. These people assume the worst about every customer who walks in the door and, other than in rare cases, view each individual customer as nothing more than a mild-moderate annoyance to be dealt with.  

There are countless examples of this, but perhaps the best one is the night guy at a gas station.  He might be listening to the music he put on (they can often put on any radio station they want over the loudspeaker) and doing his job straightening up the shelves, and in you come at three in the morning to bother him. Better yet, he might have all of his work done and he’s sitting in the backroom on his phone...um...I’d rather not speculate, here. Candy Crush.  Let’s say he’s playing Candy Crush.  

In you waltz completely unexpected and put the kibosh on whatever it is the guy would rather be doing just so you can get ten bucks on pump three.  The guy really wasn’t expecting anyone to walk in at 3:45a.m, but here you are. Maybe the guy was legitimately going to the restroom but heard the,DING,” and knew he had to rush it because he recently had a happenstance related complaint about taking too long to address customers and his boss is not forgiving at all. The thing is that the fecal matter rolls downhill (paraphrase) and the low-level employees often have it the worst and have the most demanded of them, particularly in the customer service industry.  

Some customer service type people just generally dislike other people or eventually grow to do so after doing their jobs for too long. These are the types of people you see manning cash registers at grocery stores with the, “Thousand-Yard Stare.”  Whereas their co-workers are actively trying to get people to come to their registers, these people are looking at you thinking of all the different ways they would like to see you die for having the audacity to want to make your purchase on their lane.  

Take it from someone who worked as a cashier and talked to other cashiers (when I was younger) this is not an embellishment in any way whatsoever.  I remember one of my co-workers coming to me and saying, “I think I have a problem.”  Upon inquiring as to what that might be, she looked at me and said, “I just hate everybody and I don’t know why.”

Anyway, having a problem with such a dealer is perfectly understandable, but ironically, that is the sort of dealer that many AP’s would profess to like!  Even though he is cursing your presence at his table internally, if there is anyone who would be likely to deal to you in a robotic way, it’s that guy!

The best thing that an AP can do for himself is to be viewed as a normal player, and the best way to do that is to view the casino staff as a normal person might and treat them accordingly. If you’ve ever been backed off of a table, or even worse, 86’ed and that was relayed to you robotically or as if with satisfaction, then you probably did something non-optimally and should improve your interpersonal relations. If you must be backed off at all, then it should be prefaced with a, “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but…” If that happens, then it means that you did your job to the best of your ability and that you probably got more hands and EV in than you otherwise might have. 


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