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What do those "suits" do?

24 June 2011

I received an interesting question from a blackjack player who wanted to know "what all those people in suits that work in the pit do."

Most of the time a blackjack player interacts with only one casino employee, the dealer, whose job is to ensure that the game is run by established procedures, and to provide customers with a pleasant gaming experience. In addition, for the most part, blackjack dealers work hard and do a good job so that you have a good time when you play blackjack. However, what about those folks who are standing behind the dealer in an area known as the "pit"? I'll explain what they do, and how they help make your playing experience a pleasant one.

Dealers report to floorpersons, who are supervisors responsible for the operation of a group of tables within the pit. The number of tables that they supervise varies depending upon the policy of each casino (I've seen a floorperson supervise up to eight blackjack tables in the main pit, and as few as only one table in a high roller pit). The main responsibilities of the floorperson are to ensure that each dealer is in compliance with house rules, government regulations and game protection (i.e., cheating); to intervene and be the final arbiter if a dealer makes a mistake in either dealing cards or paying a winning wager; to be sure a table doesn't run out of chips; to do the table accounting (count chips); and to rate players.

A floorperson can be your ally when it comes to receiving comps. When you first sit down to play blackjack, you should place your Player's Card in front of you. The dealer will either input your information into the casino's player tracking system or set the card aside for the floor person to do so. The floorperson will usually record the amount of your buy-in, and then periodically record how much he sees you wager. When you are done playing, you should get the floorperson's attention and ask him politely if you can have a comp (for the buffet, or restaurant, or Show Theater, etc.). Nowadays most casinos have strict rules that determine how much a floorperson can give a player in comps (usually the computer will calculate the amount based on your average wager and length of play). However, in many casinos, floorpersons can still give discretionary comps to players. Just remember that a floorperson usually will not give you a comp unless you ask for one -- and when you do so, ask nicely.

If you establish a good rapport with a floorperson who treats you well (i.e., rates your play liberally), ask for his business card and then reward him with a token of appreciation on his birthday or at Christmas. It's the policy in most casinos that floorpersons cannot accept cash from players, but they can accept gifts (as long as they are nominal, usually $100 or less). Here are some suggestions for gifts: if your floorperson is a golfer, a set of golf balls or a gift certificate for a round of golf; a gift certificate to a local restaurant; or a gift certificate to a local spa. I think you get the picture.

Next up in the chain of command is the Pit Manager (or sometimes called the Pit Boss). This manager is responsible for overseeing the operation of all the table games in a specific pit. He or she supervises the floorpersons and the dealers in the pit. Their main responsibilities include supervising the floorpersons and dealers in a manner which results in an efficient operation, ensuring that all gaming occurs within established local and governmental rules and procedures, ensuring that the table accounting is done correctly (cash drops and chips), maintaining game protection, settling disputes that may arise with players, and monitoring credit markers and comps issued to players. If a particular table hasn't won what it should, upper level managers expect an answer from the Pit Boss. Nowadays, the responsibility of a Pit Boss has been expanded to include spending more time with players (customer relations) to ensure that they are having a good time (i.e., to be less like a policeman and more like a good-will ambassador).

Pit Bosses report to Shift Managers, who are responsible for the overall operation of all the table games and personnel during a particular shift. Shift Managers in turn report to the Casino Manager or V.P. of Casino Operations (who has the overall responsibility for the operation of the table games and slots).

Another group of employees that players don't interact with but are indirectly involved in the table game operations is the surveillance employees. These folks monitor and record the activity that goes on at each table to be sure that proper procedures are being followed and all employees comply with gaming regulations. They also watch for any suspicious activity (i.e., cheating by either a player or dealer or both).

I hope I've given you a clear overview of the hierarchy of the "suits" that manage the table games in casinos. If you ever have an issue with any casino employee, I suggest that you take your complaint directly to the Casino Manager or V.P. of Casino Operations (you can call the casino to get his name, phone number and e-mail address).

Recent Articles
Best of Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin is the author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course. For a free 3-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter with full membership privileges, visit www.bjinsider.com/free. For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 866/WIN-BJ21. For a free copy of his casino gambling catalog featuring over 50 products call 888/353-3234 or visit the Internet store at www.smartgaming.com.

Henry Tamburin Websites:

www.smartgaming.com

Books by Henry Tamburin:

Winning Baccarat Strategies

> More Books By Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin is the author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course. For a free 3-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter with full membership privileges, visit www.bjinsider.com/free. For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 866/WIN-BJ21. For a free copy of his casino gambling catalog featuring over 50 products call 888/353-3234 or visit the Internet store at www.smartgaming.com.

Henry Tamburin Websites:

www.smartgaming.com

Books by Henry Tamburin:

> More Books By Henry Tamburin