Thursday, August 06, 2009

AC Day 3 Addendum

Something I forgot to mention in the last post (among, I'm sure, other things I've neglected) - the dealers at Caesars.

Driving in on the first day, we saw the billboards - "When dealers are ignored, EVERYBODY LOSES AT CAESARS AND BALLYS" brought to us by the UAW dealer's union. Why the United AUTO Workers are managing a dealers' union is beyond me. But it appears there's a dealers' union in AC, and they aren't happy about something. Frankly, I couldn't care less. Then came the rebutting sign "What is the UAW up to? Same dirty tricks, DON'T LET THE UAW TURN ATLANTIC CITY INTO ANOTHER DETROIT" brought to us by Harrah's. We couldn't stop laughing at that. What a fantastic return shot from Harrah's, brilliant PR.

Not much picketing, just a handful of people strolling along the boardwalk in front of the doors, handing out stickers. There were some notes of solidarity from other casinos (Taj craps dealers made a veiled comment about the poor quality of management at the Harrah's properties). But the poker room at Caesars was still going.

I got the distinct impression that the dealing staff was a mix of management, scabs brought in from other Harrah's properties, and rushed graduates from dealers' school. My first dealer in the tournament was a supervisor, and while completely capable, he didn't seem to really want to be dealing. His replacement showed how green he was quickly.

I had just knocked out the player on my right. Vacant chipstacks hadn't been removed yet, as they were still allowing buy-ins. The dealer dealt the next hand, including two cards to the now empty seat to my right.

"Wait a second - I just knocked him out, there shouldn't be cards dealt to that seat."

"I have to deal to all the seats, even if they're empty."

"But he's knocked out."

"That's what I was told."

"No, you deal to the seats with chips, but not to a KO'd player."

"Really? I don't know, this is my first tournament."

[head feels suddenly drawn to the table]

Another player, "Naw, you just deal to where there are chips."

"Oh, okay... should I redeal then?"

Everyone: "Yes."

And the redeal was done.

This added to the rookie impression he gave off, as the hand earlier (where I KO'd the guy), he miscounted the change coming back to me by almost 1/3! I won the hand though, so it didn't matter.

For the next 20 minutes, I counted every chip when I was involved in a pot, and watched every card he dealt, burned, or turned. We all started helping him with chip counts and bet sizes.


"2200 more for 3400 total"

"3400 to you sir."

etc, etc.. I later had him at the cash game, and he was at ease, joking with everyone, and doing his job properly. So he'd at least had a few days on those tables.

There were at least two more dealers who made equally rookie mistakes in the tournament, and one Asian guy who barely looked old enough to enter the casino, let alone deal me cards, but he was the most comfortable and skilled of the dealers we saw.

Even the floor directors were scattered. One would have to call over another to get payouts ready, another needed advice on how to merge the tables from us again (cards A through 10, and draw.... they screwed it up twice), and they updated the board all of three times during the 2.5 hours of play.

I overheard one of the FD's talking to the manager behind the desk too,

"It's great that you guys came up here to help us out, but you're kinda screwing up how we do things."

"Hey, I'm just doing my job. He wasn't where I needed him."

"He was helping me out! We're a bit more lenient on duties here."

"Yah, I can see that."

etc, etc.. until they calmed down a bit and got back to joking around.

During the cash game, dealers would be thanked by the floor and supervisor when they switched tables - "Thanks for coming in tonight." "We really appreciate you working through this." These were usually met with "what else am I'm gonna do?" shrugs or "Yah, well I'm not one of the guys complaining."

So solidarity might not be so strong in the union, and Harrah's has deep pools of employee resources they can seemingly tap. Especially with gambling volume down across the country, I'd think there are dealers and managers who are more than willing to fly in from Vegas or Detroit or wherever if it means they'll get some hours and tips out of it.

It certainly made for an interesting bit of observation.

1 comment:

TenMile said...

Nice recap and trip report, Astin.