by Vic Taucer
THE DEALER AS ENTERTAINER OR MORE ENTERTAINING DEALERS?
What is the right way to go…training dealers to be more entertaining…or training entertainers to be dealers?
One idea is truly unique but sadly only works in Las Vegas……the other idea is mandatory for table games success!
Almost a decade ago, (my how time fly’s!), I gave a presentation at the World Gaming Congress, you know, the G2E predecessor and the topic was the changing role of the dealer. The title of the program was The Dealer as Entertainer, and the seminar stressed the changing demographic and training needs for dealers in casinos. I spoke of the fact that if we are truly in the entertainment business, and we are, the Casino Entertainment industry, then maybe it is time for staff involved in this entertainment industry to start acting more like entertainers and less like factory workers.
I developed a training program after this, (who would have thought!), titled The Dealer as Entertainer, that is specifically designed to train table games employees to interact in a more entertaining fashion with the customers. A truly unique table games customer service course that I have brought to hundreds of casino properties here in the U.S, in Europe, Australia, even to Macao. The program is a great way to get your dealer out of that technical, factory worker mode that so many act as.
While this is still a hot topic and this type of training, whether by myself or by casinos themselves is becoming mandatory, some casinos have taken this entertainment concept in dealers to a different level. Way beyond my concept of training your dealers to act in a more entertaining fashion, taking entertainers and making them dealers!
In Las Vegas casinos especially, more and more casinos are putting into their table games mix, specialty pits where the dealers are truly out of the entertainment business and not the standard dealer that most others use. While this idea is indeed novel and unique, it at least to me kind of fad-like and may be difficult to do in locales other than Las Vegas. Not really where I was thinking of going with the idea but who am I to say?
A few years ago, the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas started utilizing the entertainers from their show, Legends in Concert, as dealers. These entertainers, acting as celebrity look-alikes, operated a low-end Blackjack pit primarily after their shows. The casino simply trained the entertainers to be dealers. Other casinos have gone this route. The Rio casino in Las Vegas has tried similar methods, not just with dealers but with other job descriptions also.
I was in Caesars Palace recently; this concept has been brought to fruition there with a Blackjack pit with beautiful models dealing in a special pit adjacent to their Shadow Bar. Fashion models direct from the entertainment industry, trained as Blackjack dealers but their career expectations are not gaming orientated but entertainment based. These dealers will not matriculate into casino management, at least not most of them!
While this is a lovely way to go, putting a pit into your table game department staffed with entertainers, ( I would love to have an all Elvis pit!!), this would be difficult ( read as impossible) to do anywhere but Las Vegas. As we all know, Las Vegas being the entertainment capitol of the world, it is relatively easy to do this. Want beautiful dealers in Las Vegas? Not a problem. Ever count how many strip clubs are here! Want entertainers? No problem either!
Try staffing a pit with entertainers in a casino in Gary Indiana, or how about Ponca City Oklahoma! No knock against these sites but rural locales do not abound with entertaining people that fit this mode. I travel constantly to rural and sometimes remote casinos offering table games training, maybe 400 casino locales over the last decade. While all are great places, this hiring of entertainers as dealers in these locales are not probable.
We as an industry in Table Games have to stress both hiring demographics for dealers and training methods used for this group to put greater emphasis in making these dealers ( and supervisors) more interactively entertaining to the customer. Not hiring entertainers as some casinos are doing in Las Vegas but hiring staff that likes to interact with the audience and can be trained in how to do this. That is what I talked of in my seminar a decade ago, that is what my table games training course, The Dealer as Entertainer, is all about!
Here are some facts about this issue, training entertaining dealers:
• Today’s dealer needs to have an outgoing and interactive personality!
You can’t just hire that person as a dealer that is just in-tune with the technical aspect of the job. This dealer/supervisor you hire has to know that 50% of his job is customer interaction!
• Today’s dealer needs to have some training in how to interact with the customer in an entertaining fashion
More than just that requisite customer service training that we all give our staff, how to interact with the table games player in an entertaining fashion is what is needed. If we expect this group (dealers and supervisors) to interact in an entertaining fashion, this is a training issue! Dealer training for most of the dealers out there consists of the same type training I received as a dealer 30 years ago. Well the expectations of the audience have changed, so should the training requirements.
This entertaining dealer training, like my course The Dealer as Entertainer, must be based on changing the thought process of this group. Dealer and supervisors today need to think of themselves as an entertainment based personality and less like a factory worker or in the case of a supervisor, less like a cop! I will present a seminar at G2E this year titled The Changing Role of the Casino Supervisor that indeed talks of entertaining expectations of the supervisor.
In your table game pit, unless you are in Las Vegas where entertainers abound, think more of training your dealers to be more entertaining and less of hiring fashion models or staff from show business. Training is the key here!
Date Posted: 23-Dec-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 for Table Games (The Dealer as Entertainer), dealer training and managerial training for table games operations (Pit Boss 101.)
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 email@example.com. Look for Vic Taucer’s new book, Table Game Management, available at www.casinocreations.com and at booksellers nationwide.