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Table Game Protection Training: SELLING FEAR
by Vic Taucer

Table Game Protection Training: SELLING FEAR


I have seen the gaming industry explode over the last ten years and with this explosion a great need has arisen in the field of qualified personnel that truly understands the concepts behind protecting our table games from cheating and fraud. This need is being addressed by attempting to train our personnel; both surveillance and table games supervisors, in how to better protect our games.

This training effort, whether it be delivered by in house staff or outside trainers is seemingly the way we have to go in this day of rapid casino expansion. Prior to the gaming explosion, training efforts in this vein were both non-existent and in many cases not needed. Both surveillance and operations were generally staffed with gaming veterans that had basically seen it all. This is not the case in today’s casino world. In some cases senior staff in both surveillance and operations lack the experience that some in the older days were equipped with.

Sadly though, some training programs and especially some of the so-called game protection experts in the training business are using a method that is detrimental to this much-needed training method. These trainers are selling fear as a training mode for surveillance operators instead of addressing real world casino issues. This selling fear is turning some surveillance personnel into roles that are detrimental to the success of your casinos operations.

Selling fear as a casino game protection training method puts emphasis on elaborate cheating methods that either does not exist in our industry or if they do exist it is on a scale that is miniscule. On the subject of game protection, both for surveillance and operations, we need to get back to basics here. We have our operators so frightened that they are looking for things that do not exist. These operators after this fear-based training become junior FBI agents, looking for grandiose scams that they have seen in a game protection seminar produced by a magician or a card mechanic. This kind of operational scenario can hurt your casino.

The basics of casino game protection are pretty simplistic. They are based on both the operator and the surveillance personnel having a complete and thorough understanding of both the games and their operations. Without this basic understanding on procedures, the fear based game protection programs we run our staff through are a complete waste of time and money.

A great deal of our surveillance personnel does not understand the basic concepts of casino games and do not fully understand operational procedures. They do not understand the basics behind game protection issues. Sadly to say this is true for a lot of casino supervisors also.

The basics of casino game protection are:

1. A full and thorough understanding of casino game procedures.
2. A full and thorough understanding of cheating moves and equipment
3. A full and thorough understanding of how these moves are used when the procedure breaks down.


Without this basic procedural understanding both surveillance and operations are meaningless in protecting our games. Procedures placed in our games, assuming they are correct, are the underlying strength and primary detractor against any cheating. Any personnel that lack this type thought process or are more in tune with fear-based training can be both detrimental and seemingly useless to your operation.

I have lost count of how many times I have talked to operators and surveillance that speak of elaborate cheating scenarios but lack the procedural understanding of how these scenarios can work. A great many do not fully understand how our games work but can recites endless rhetorical nonsense on cheating issues.

These experts in their own mind are watching your games on surveillance monitors. Watching for elaborate cheating scenarios while not fully understanding the concept of procedural breakdown is a waste of time.

On the subject of game protection training we need to stop selling fear and flash as training methods. A drastic need to get back to basics is called upon.

Mr. George Joseph of Worldwide Casino Consulting, the industries expert on casino game protection makes a strong statement in this regard. George says, “ The procedure is stronger than the move.” We should take heed in this statement.

Consider this:

Training needs for today’s surveillance and operational personnel:

If enforcement of game procedures is their primary job and if most surveillance operators lack knowledge of gaming operations, what are we to do with our current staff in this department? What a lot of surveillance departments hope is their surveillance staff will learn game operations from observing the action on CCTV. This isn’t going to happen. Did you ever try to learn how to play Craps by watching a game on TV? If this is your hope, you are better off putting the Flintstones on the screens because that is more realistic.

The following training programs for surveillance operators should be addressed:

1. Game Procedural Training:

All surveillance personnel should receive basic game procedural training. If they are to follow and observe the dealers operational procedure they should receive the same basic training. Dealer training for surveillance operators is necessary. Maybe not as lengthy as a full dealer training course but at least the basics must be covered.

2. Game Play Training:

Surveillance operators must at least know how to play all the games. If observing player methods and procedures is part of their primary duty, training on this issue is necessary also.

3. Advantage Play Training:

In Blackjack, the player’s skill level dictates the casinos game advantage. A player with exceptional playing skill (perfect basic strategy) and tracks card distribution (card counting), gains an advantage over the house. Surveillance operators must be trained to identify and assist in identifying these players.

4. Cheating & Scams:

Table game cheating and scams are identified through breaks in procedural adherence. Without knowledge of the basics of game procedure, training on cheating and scams is worthless.

A great many surveillance departments offer classes on cheating but neglect to train their people on the basics. While cheating classes are exciting and interesting, they are a waste of time and money if the operator does not have the basics of game procedures.

How to accomplish this necessary training:

Some casinos, both in Indian country and commercial casinos are utilizing table games staff as part of their surveillance operations. Drafting table games supervisors for part time roles in surveillance in this training capacity works for some. Skills in procedure can be used and assistance in the advantage play training is useful. The only problem with this is the need to keep these two departments, surveillance and operations, separate.

Using training from a casino educational consultant is probably the better way to go. My company, Casino Creations, has worked with many tribal casinos to offer this training. We combine a number of my standardized training programs to work for this group. I condense my dealer/ supervisor training courses and combine them with my surveillance course to offer the necessary procedural training needed for the success of your surveillance department.


The sooner we stop using fear as a training mode for our surveillance personnel the sooner we have a surveillance department that is performing their correct mission. Stop trying to turn surveillance into junior G-men and you will have a will have a department that is truly worth the money you are spending.

If magicians or card mechanics were really the experts in casino game protection as some state they are, why aren’t the major casino companies using these groups in either their training or operational departments? Major casino com

Date Posted: 12-Apr-2007

Vic Taucer is president of Casino Creations; a Las Vegas based casino educational and consulting company. A current professor of casino management for the University & Community College Systems of Nevada, Vic has recently served as Director of Casino Training for the new Paris resort in Las Vegas. Vic can be reached through Casino Creations at 702-595-7800 or at vtaucer@msn.com.

 
 
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