A vast and sometimes complicated hierarchy of employees with a variety of titles, responsibilities, and even different styles of dress populates a casino. These workers simultaneously cater to the needs of the guests and the casino owners. No matter who they are, the casino employees all have one goal in common: to provide you with ample opportunities to try your luck against the unevenly-stacked house odds.
Casino employees are usually pleasant, professional, and well-trained individuals (after all, if you’re treated with courtesy and respect, you’re more likely to stay – and spend -longer). In this section, I introduce you to the pleasant cast of characters you may encounter, and I explain their unique roles. With this knowledge, you’re better equipped to take advantage of their services to your advantage.
In the pits: Serving the table players
As you explore the responsibilities of the various casino personnel, it helps to split the casino into two parts:
– The area where slot machines appear in endless rows.
– The area where you play table games, such as blackjack, craps, or roulette.
The casino arranges the tables in clusters, similar to wagon trains encircled to protect against an attack. These groups of tables are known as pits. Each pit is designed to be an autonomous, fully functioning business, equipped with a variety of table games and a small community of casino personnel that is always willing to usher your dollar bills into the casino coffers.
Pit bosses are smartly attired, experienced professionals who are responsible for all the gaming operations in their assigned pits. As the name implies, pit bosses are just that: bosses. They supervise floorpersons (see the next section), dealers (see the section “Dealers”), and the garners within their pit.
Theirs is a very detail-oriented job, requiring not only intimate knowledge of all aspects of the games but also the ability to keep track of thousands of dollars flowing through their spheres of influence. Even though the average gambler probably doesn’t have much contact with a pit boss, in the event of a serious dispute, the pit boss is the one who steps in to settle matters. Among other tasks, pit bosses monitor credit markers, or the amount of credit extended to you, and they dispense camps, such as free meals or shows, doled out according to an elaborate formula based on the number of hours you play
and the amount of money you wager.
Winning or losing vast sums of money often ignites supercharged emotions. Another responsibility of the pit boss is to make sure those emotions don’t explode into conflict. The pit boss is there to congratulate as well as to calm, to soothe as well as to strong-arm. The pit boss’s job is part security staff, part supervisor, part gambling expert, and part public relations manager.
Reporting to each pit boss (see the previous section) are several other suits known as floorpersons. The main difference from pit bosses is that floorpersons are in charge of only a couple of tables in the pit and report directly to the pit boss. They dress and act like the pit boss, and you typically can’t distinguish between the two without asking. Both of them make sure that proper casino procedure is followed. These procedures include refilling dealer chip racks, monitoring markers, and handing out comps, all while remaining cool and calm.
For most people, gambling is a social sport. Because the machine games are a more solitary venture, many players prefer the camaraderie of table gaming. Dealers are at the center of this emotional wheel of fun. Excellent customerservice skills are a requirement; after all, dealers stand on the front line when it comes to irate, belligerent, or inebriated gamblers. Even during high-pressure situations, dealers must promote a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere.
Dealers have their fingers on the pulse of the casino – figuratively and literally. Their hands, after all, deal the blackjacks and the full houses and take the money you lose or payoff your winners. Theirs is a high-pressure job with a demanding audience. Overseeing several players at a table, dealers must be confident in their gambling knowledge. They must know who wins, who loses, and how much to payout on each hand. Many gamers mistakenly believe that dealers simply shuffle and deal cards, but dealers must also handle dice, chips, and money – accurately and quickly.
Dealers have a wide range of personalities. Some are polite and ebullient, others efficient and brusque. Although finding a compatible dealer doesn’t change the cards or the size of your winnings, it can make your gaming experience more enjoyable and, sometimes, that’s as much as you can ask for. You can spot a good dealer by his or her smile, humor, demeanor, and often the size of the crowd at the table. When you find one you like, sit down, but remember the dealer has no control over the outcome. Most dealers prefer that you win because they make their money primarily from tips.
Slot employees: The reel dealers
The average American casino makes nearly two-thirds of its profits from its various slot machines. Much is at stake along the rows and rows of clingclanging slot machines and electronic games. Therefore, casinos are diligent when it comes to maintaining and stocking them for long-term play. Just like the pit bosses and dealers who watch over the table games (see the previous section), the staff members assigned to the slot machines – the slot attendants and the slot supervisors – keep a careful eye on their vast realm.
The person you’re most likely to deal with if you have a problem or question about your machine is a slot attendant. Slot machine attendants are on constant vigil, ever watchful for the next jackpot or flashing light requesting service. They’re usually wearing a uniform and sometimes push carts with oodles of money so they can give change to bettors in need. The attendants are the perfect people to ask if you’re not sure how to play a particular machine; they know every bell, cherry, and bar like the back of their hand.
Ifyou need change, assistance with a game, or simply a bill that’s just a tad crisper than the one you have, summon a slot attendant, who’s usually at your beck and call. However, if a machine needs repair, the slot attendant calls a slot technician.
The slot supervisor rules the realm of the slot machines, managing employees and overseeing the maintenance and upkeep of the machines. The slot supervisor generally has several slot attendants as direct reports. For casual gamblers, slot supervisors normally play a part in your life only if you hit a jackpot that can’t be paid out in coins.