by Vic Taucer

Vic Taucer

Time to give this department a fine-tuning! You may need an overhaul!

So many of my clients these days are in the same operational quagmire concerning table games operations and have similar requests. My table game department and surveillance operator clients, associates and friends frequently are requesting that my company conduct a full table game department evaluation and analysis of their table game departments.

Casino Creations for years has specialized in conducting an evaluation of a casinos table game operation and report back to both operations and surveillance on our findings and recommendations. Over the past decade, we have done this many times, a great many of those times in Indian Country. Is your casino in need of a look at (and maybe a complete overhaul) of your table game department’s operations? If so, read on…

The complaints and request are always similar. Here are some:

• “Our table game department is not performing up to our expectations”
• “The hold percentage has dropped dramatically from our historical expectations”
• “ The staff (in table games) does not seem to be following any procedures that we have ever seen”
• “Our written procedures and what is actually being done on the floor and not similar nor consistent”
• “ We feel there are holes in our table game operation that may allow for some form of cheating”
• “We have complaints from our customers and need an outside consultant to assist in identifying causes”

These and many other reasons are all need for a casino to have an expert on table games operations come in and evaluate this department’s performance. Just like your car, this department needs not only maintenance but sometimes and evaluation to find out what the problem really is. The department’s performance counts on this.

Years ago, when I broke into the casino industry (medieval time…you know, the 70’s!), when the table games didn’t perform up to expectations, casino managers took what they thought were the best solution. These dinosaurs always suspected (sometimes justified) that the staff was probably cheating, so therefore in those days the solution was simple. They fired just about all the dealers and started over! We in gaming don’t (and also can’t) do that anymore.

When your table game department is in need of an evaluation, there are many indicators that will tell you so. Sometimes, even if the indicators are not there, preventive maintenance by conduction an audit and evaluation is suggested.

Don’t take the easy way on this one either. The problems in table games, the need for an evaluation is not always cheating or game protection based. In these days, when so much of our training applied to table games staff is concerning cheating and game protection, we tend to overdo this issue. It is not always a cheat or a scam that is the reason what your table game department is under-performing.

Sometimes our over-reaction to game protection issues causes procedures to be put into place in table games that adversely affects table game performance. Don’t let those game protection people, the ones that are always selling fear as an operational tool, conduct an evaluation. The results sometimes are a wealth of unneeded and sometime ridiculous procedures being put in place that will slow your game operations to a crawl. This will hurt as much (or more) than the cheating that may be prevented!

Here is when you should get a check up…a real table games evaluation and analysis:

• Sustained low hold percentage
• Drastic fluctuation on hold percentage compare to expectation
• Continued procedural violations by table games staff
• Lack of similarity between written procedures and actual procedures
• Lack of updated written policies and procedures for table games
• Diminishing productivity (Hands/rolls per hour)
• Customer complaints
• Fluctuation in dealer toke rates
• Adversarial actions between operations and surveillance because of procedures

These and other reasons would be the time to conduct and evaluation & analysis.


As in anything, there are two ways to conduct this audit/evaluation and analysis.

1. In-House…i.e. doing it yourselves.
2. Expert Table Game consultant

All casinos, (mine to when I ran them), want to try to do things themselves. It is cheaper, that’s for sure and if the situation is perfect, this is a do-able thing. But there is always a problem with the “in-house” evaluation…it is always either biased or insufficient.

Think about it…who is to do the evaluation? The table games department themselves? The results will always be skewed to either save current staff or to conduct a “witch hunt” generally either eliminating or making un-comfortable the staff itself.

If we use another department to evaluation table game performance, (you know, like Internal audit or accounting), the result can be just as biased or skewed. These other departments do not generally understand table games at all; much less the causes and effects of low hold percentage…most do not know the definition of hold percentage!!

Logically, call in an expert on table games to evaluation your staff. And make sure of this persons credibility on the issues. Don’t just get a “cheating expert” as this is not where you need to go. There are a number of situations that can cause diminishing hold percentages, cheating is just one.

Casino Creations has done these evaluations successfully for over 100 casinos, both Tribal and Commercial. The methodology we use is exact and right on. As a table game expert we always do the following:

• Evaluate all written operational procedures
• Compare these written procedures with actual operations
• Appraise your table games staff performance and understanding
• Appraise your surveillance staffs performance and understanding
• Conduct an audit of operations from the floor (in the pit)
• Conduct an integrity shop of your operation (undercover play)
• Conduct an audit of surveillance room operations

A full and detailed verbal report is given after the evaluation followed by a detailed written analysis as soon as possible on completion. This report must identify weaknesses, make suggestions and changes. Any training need must be identified. We supply the training solutions also.

Take a look at your table games department’s performance. Are we satisfied? Do we see problems? Is procedure being followed? Are there any procedures at all? Has someone changed procedures adversely effecting performance?

Call me; we can supply the information needed to tune up your table games department for you…it would be a pleasure!

Date Posted: 18-Oct-2007

Vic Taucer is president of Casino Creations; a Las Vegas based casino educational, training and consulting company. Casino Creations specializes in table game evaluations, customer service training, dealer training and managerial training for table games operations. A former professor of casino management for the University & Community College System of Nevada and long time casino manager at many resorts, Vic can be reached at 702-595-7800 or vic@casinocreations.com

Look for Vic Taucer’s new book, Table Game Management, available at www.casinocreations.com and at booksellers nationwide.

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