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Table Games Are Not Fun Anymore! Part 2
by Vic Taucer

TABLE GAMES ARE NOT FUN ANYMORE! PART 2

Reaction and feedback from an article that really hit home!

Feedback from Table Games Managers overwhelmingly agreed with my take on this topic.

The main reason table games are failing?
..It is not an enjoyable environment for both staff and customers!


I wrote an article for this magazine earlier this year, the title was Table Games are not fun anymore and I spoke of the police-like state of table games operations. I stated that we are over-reactive to players being a little loud, god forbid if they swear of get a little bit out of line. In the supervisors efforts to make sure the dealer does not hear a swear word, acting in a law enforcement fashion, these supervisors back off players too reactively. What are we operating a church or a casino?

I also alluded to the fact that we in the casino industry are selling fun and excitement but we treat and interact with our staff more like cops, injecting neither fun nor happy interaction with this group. You know what I mean, the casinos that tell their staff to interact with the customers in a fun and exciting manner than look for ways to treat the staff similar to the way the Gestapo treated people in Europe during WW 2!

Well the response from this article was very much positive in the general agreement that I really hit the mark in portraying this truth about table games and casinos in today’s world, they indeed are not fun anymore. I received countless e-mails and phone calls from my readers telling me how they enjoyed this article and I really “told it how it is” in table games today.

Here are some samples of the responses I received, I will leave out names and casinos as possibly these responses may not be shared by the sender’s respective managers:


Here is one response:

Dear Vic,

I enjoyed your article in the July 2008 Casino Journal. I could not agree more with your concern for where the fun went in Table Games.

I have had a number of different Director/VP of Table Games positions since 1993. [Currently I’m an executive at ( no name casino). Of those jobs, four different GMs hired me specifically since I have a demonstrated success in creating a fun, interactive, engaged table games environment. Truthfully, I’ve felt like the “clean up” crew for the fall out from those old world TG Directors that are focused mainly on task and forget the reason we are here is for the customer. Not to minimize that to get there you need to have an engaged work force that feels appreciated and knows that the customer also needs to feel acknowledged and appreciated.

Probably the most fun I had was working as a Shift Manager (prior to being a Director) at ( no name casino) in the early 90’s. We developed a Sports themed pit that was opened on weekends and during the summer months. The employees were empowered to develop a “character” that they wanted to play while dealing. We had both a Babe Ruth and The Coach. You would often hear them leading their tables in singing “Take Me Out to the Ballpark,” all while having dealing to 6 or more players at their tables.

Tables Games doesn’t need to go over the top like we did at ( no name casino), but hiring the service heart, creating the expectations, and rewarding that type of behavior is a must to keep us from losing the fun in Table Games.

Again, I enjoyed your article and will be looking forward to reading your section every month

Sincerely,

R..


Here is another response:

Dear Vic

I read your article about table games not being fun anymore...and had to chuckle. You are spot on with your reaction to an individual being directed to not swear while playing BJ.

In the late 1980's, I was the Director of Table Games for a ( no name casino), and we had a player betting between $3,000 and $5,000 per hand. He had a filthy mouth but wasn't really a bad guy. We had in house at that time a very large convention group (500+ rooms which at that time was fairly large) and they were paying top rate for everything. The program director for the convention group (a lady) and other senior members were playing at a table next to the large bettor. They took exception to his comments, wanted us to kick him out, and then he wanted us to kick them out of the casino. The Shift Manager called me, we separated them (I took the player and calmed him down) and I recall hearing the Shift Manager telling the lady in a very conciliatory tone...as he led her AWAY from the area..."now Ma'am, you have to understand, this isn't a church." He opened a game just for their group in another area which was difficult to do because it was extremely busy and we were buried with OT. It was in my mind a very "cost effective" thing to do given the value of both parties.


I went from being the EVP/GM of a large property where we were taking bets of $150,000 per hand on Baccarat, $15,000 on BJ, to opening a casino in a ( no name casino) in Colorado which has a betting maximum of $5. The guest expectations were identical...only the bet sizes differed. The folks at the $5 games had so much fun that the tip rate for the dealers exceeded the hourly win rate per table for BJ. Go figure. To be sure, there were differences.

With the large property, I and the appropriate senior management representation would be at the curb greeting and welcoming the million dollar limit international players upon arrival. It was often a matter of "face" with them, even though many did not speak English. It didn't matter what time of day or day of the week.

That did not occur in the smaller casino venue in Colorado. But the folks in Colorado still wanted their time with me and other senior members of the team. Though one would not manage both types of facilities in the same manner, you would manage the guest expectations in the same manner

Regards,

M

I could go on with this as I received numerous responses similar to this. Table games are not fun and in some cases it is getting worse. If we are going to survive as an integral part of the casino mix, if we are not to be replaced by electronic dealers or worse yet, downsized even more as a department, we have to rectify this situation.

How to start fixing this product?

“Lets put the fun back into this product”

Why do we make table games and their operations an ultra-conservative and a way to serious part of our gaming product? Going to a casino shouldn’t be a sedate experience. Isn’t the product we are selling supposed to be an entertainment event? The atmosphere in most table game areas has about all the fun and excitement as a hospital waiting room.

I may be dating myself (as I generally do with these articles) but I remember when the table games industry wasn’t as serious as it is now. In most instances when I was a dealer, I had fun, so did the customers. I had fun with the customers; I had fun with my co-workers. Most of the time, I enjoyed both. I used to look at my job as a dealer like the old Army recruiting commercial, you know the one that said, “It’s not just a job, and it’s an adventure.”

Maybe times have changed, as I am sure they have but it seems that nobody is having fun anymore in the table game theater, neither the players nor especially the staff. Everyone I seem to run across in table games seems to be in a definite no-fun mode, sometimes even close to being miserable.

IF WE EXPECT OUR STAFF TO SELL FUN, WE HAVE TO MAKE IT FUN FOR THE STAFF.

First step here…LOOSEN UP!!

For all you clueless table games managers and especially you pit supervisors, start looking at what your job actually is more closely. You are not cops or junior FBI agents so stop acting as such. I know there are game procedural and protection issues that you must deal with but you don’t have to act like you’re protecting the president do you?

You job of course has to deal with all the technical functions that go with the territory. G

Date Posted: 14-Jun-2009

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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