PCF member dennis63 becomes a real casino dealer (1 Viewer)

SixSpeedFury

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I love reading this thread. Very insightful. I try to stay away from blackjack but the curiosity is always in the back of my mind. Does anyone know of a good strategy or strat thread on how to play +ev?
 

Nex

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Afaik, you cannot play blackjack +EV. Like all versus-the-bank casino games, it has a slight statistical edge built right into its rules.

This used to be possible to turn into an (also) very slight statistical edge for the player when counting cards, one where you had to have an insanely large bankroll and play for high stakes in order to make a decent hourly rate from it. But in the modern casino setting with like 6 or more decks and only partial use of the dealer shoe contents, the effectiveness of card counting has been reduced to levels where for the casino it's either a very slight statistical edge again or a zero-sum game, or the statistical advantage for the player has become too small to be worth the time spent.

If you don't see your gambling money as expenses paid towards a "good time", you want to stay far away from any casino game where you play against the bank and not other players. The house always win.

The only reason why you can actually consistently win money at poker in casinos is because you are taking the money from other players, not the casino. The house always gets its share too via the rake, but the house doesn't (and doesn't have to) care who actually wins the pot. Essentially you are gambling here as well, albeit for good players with very high winning chances: You bet that you can win more money per time unit from other players than the amount you pay to the house via the rake in that time frame.
 
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Poker Zombie

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I love reading this thread. Very insightful. I try to stay away from blackjack but the curiosity is always in the back of my mind. Does anyone know of a good strategy or strat thread on how to play +ev?

Like Nex said, you can't get it all the way to +EV, but you can get pretty close with a basic strategy card and good game selection. Not all BJ tables play with the same rules, and the house edge can vary from as high as 2.5% to as little as 0.2% (good luck finding that game though). The biggest rule to look for when selecting tables is the payout on a blackjack. 3:2 is good, 6:5 is very bad. This one rule shifts the house edge from 0.6% to 1.9%

Beyond that, the only +EV is counting cards. This allows you to increase your bet when the deck favors the player (lots of 10s and big cards) and decreasing your bet when the deck is bereft of 10s. The MIT strategy involved an entire team, so one player could count and then signal the "whale" when the deck favored the players. This was to blindside the casino thinking the casino wouldn't spot the increased bet, because it was not a player increasing their bet, it was just a random new player.

There may still be active teams out there that the casino has not caught because I imaging it's difficult to pick up on a team working the table vs a lucky player just sitting down when the cards were right. Instead, of trying to identify a team, it's easier for them to adjust the rules that make counting useless - 8 deck shoes with 1/2 the cards never used, continuous card shufflers or 6:5 blackjack.

If you want +EV, stick to poker or sports betting. Otherwise, blackjack is spending money, getting drinks or comps, and having fun when the deck goes in your favor.
 

dennis63

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The biggest rule to look for when selecting tables is the payout on a blackjack. 3:2 is good, 6:5 is very bad. This one rule shifts the house edge from 0.6% to 1.9%

This, absolutely. All of the tables we have are 3:2. It they ever change to 6:5, that would suck. If I went into a casino and realized the blackjack tables were 6:5, I wouldn't play there.

In the early days of Vegas, payouts for getting a blackjack were even higher. If you got a black ace and black jack, the payout was 10 to 1.

The MIT strategy involved an entire team, so one player could count and then signal the "whale" when the deck favored the players. This was to blindside the casino thinking the casino wouldn't spot the increased bet, because it was not a player increasing their bet, it was just a random new player.

Where I work, they have a "no mid-shoe entry" policy in the High Limit Room. This is certainly a reason why, along with avoiding conflict among the players if someone sits down and buys in without asking. At the $5 and $10 tables, less than 20 percent of the players ask if they can come in mid-shoe or wait until I'm setting up a new shoe. As a rule, the people who ask to come in tend to be the most polite anyway, and it's a pleasure to deal to them.
 
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SixSpeedFury

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Like Nex said, you can't get it all the way to +EV, but you can get pretty close with a basic strategy card and good game selection. Not all BJ tables play with the same rules, and the house edge can vary from as high as 2.5% to as little as 0.2% (good luck finding that game though). The biggest rule to look for when selecting tables is the payout on a blackjack. 3:2 is good, 6:5 is very bad. This one rule shifts the house edge from 0.6% to 1.9%

Beyond that, the only +EV is counting cards. This allows you to increase your bet when the deck favors the player (lots of 10s and big cards) and decreasing your bet when the deck is bereft of 10s. The MIT strategy involved an entire team, so one player could count and then signal the "whale" when the deck favored the players. This was to blindside the casino thinking the casino wouldn't spot the increased bet, because it was not a player increasing their bet, it was just a random new player.

There may still be active teams out there that the casino has not caught because I imaging it's difficult to pick up on a team working the table vs a lucky player just sitting down when the cards were right. Instead, of trying to identify a team, it's easier for them to adjust the rules that make counting useless - 8 deck shoes with 1/2 the cards never used, continuous card shufflers or 6:5 blackjack.

If you want +EV, stick to poker or sports betting. Otherwise, blackjack is spending money, getting drinks or comps, and having fun when the deck goes in your favor.

So just wing it basically, and hope for the best. blackjack = slots
 

dennis63

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Afaik, you cannot play blackjack +EV. Like all versus-the-bank casino games, it has a slight statistical edge built right into its rules.

This used to be possible to turn into an (also) very slight statistical edge for the player when counting cards, one where you had to have an insanely large bankroll and play for high stakes in order to make a decent hourly rate from it. But in the modern casino setting with like 6 or more decks and only partial use of the dealer shoe contents, the effectiveness of card counting has been reduced to levels where for the casino it's either a very slight statistical edge again or a zero-sum game, or the statistical advantage for the player has become too small to be worth the time spent.

I would agree with all of this. The casino's practices -- six-deck shoes, cutting 20 or 25 percent of the working deck out, shuffling machines introducing a fresh shoe, rapid dealing and measures to speed up game pace -- are all designed to take the edge out of counting.

Just the dealer's ability to act last has some advantage, I would think.

And we can say with certainty that the house has a bankroll thousands -- and perhaps millions -- of times larger than the average player.

What the casino really has is a big bank of chips, or cheques, whichever term you choose for the replacement currency.

Very often when dealing, after you've dropped the cash in the drop box, you have the distinct feeling that the money is no longer involved, and you're essentially just moving cheques and cards around until the player runs out of them. They're all coming back in eventually.

This is why casinos, like insurance companies, talk about "exposure" in table games. They know that the everyday player will almost certainly lose, and the skilled player will sometimes lose and, less often, win. They view the operation in terms of how many hands they'll need to deal to low-limit players to cover their loss on a large win.
 
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dennis63

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@dennis63, any stories of fiights breaking out while you were dealing at your table?

Not physical fights. Players will sometimes exchange words when one enters the game without asking. The offended player usually just strings some curses at the newcomer as they leave the table, and is gone before anyone realizes the epithets were directed at the new guy.

One dealer who works early evening into late night says they have fights every night. I work later and into morning, and haven't seen anything serious.

We've been told that if a fight breaks out between players at your table, just watch the money. Cover the float if you can, but don't get involved. Security is watching on camera, and the Floor will alert them with a button in the pit.

We were taught that a dealer many never touch a player, and a player may never touch a dealer. I don't think I got to my third day before a player grabbed my hand as I removed his bet from the circle. He lost, but miscounted his total. I can understand this, so it was no big deal.

I heard about a dealer who was born in China and spoke Mandarin. One night before I worked there, this lady was dealing to a man who also happened to speak Mandarin. Every time he lost, he said some words in that language. (It is actually illegal to speak anything but English during a live game in a casino, though I'm not sure how tight they are on this rule.)

After this pattern repeated several times, the dealer had enough. She leapt across the table and began slapping and punching the player. On her way to being fired, she never actually revealed what he was saying. The supervisor who told me the story says he wished she could have stayed.
 
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bergs

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Not physical fights. Players will sometimes exchange words when one enters the game without asking. The offended player usually just strings some curses at the newcomer as they leave the table, and is gone before anyone realizes the epithets were directed at the new guy.

One dealer who works early evening into late night says they have fights every night. I work later and into morning, and haven't seen anything serious.

We've been told that if a fight breaks out between players at your table, just watch the money. Cover the float if you can, but don't get involved. Security is watching on camera, and the Floor will alert them with a button in the pit.

We were taught that a dealer many never touch a player, and a player may never touch a dealer. I don't think I got to my third day before a player grabbed my hand as I removed his bet from the circle. He lost, but miscounted his total. I can understand this, so it was no big deal.

I heard about a dealer who was born in China and spoke Mandarin. One night before I worked there, this lady was dealing to a man who also happened to speak Mandarin. Every time he lost, he said some words in that language. (It is actually illegal to speak anything but English during a live game in a casino, though I'm not sure how tight they are on this rule.)

After this pattern repeated several times, the dealer had enough. She leapt across the table and began slapping and punching the player. On her way to being fired, she never actually revealed what he was saying. The supervisor who told me the story says he wished she could have stayed.

My dealer at the 4/8 O8 table at the Bike screamed at a woman at her table and threw her own chips at her. She was being incredibly verbally abusive to the dealer, and I guess this was one in a long pattern of abuse from this particular player. Also happening at my table - a gentleman from El Salvador was telling a gentleman from Mexico that we were going to build a wall around him and send him back to Mexico, a Chinese man told the guy from El Salvador that he was an idiot (in Spanish) and everyone at the table insisted that the woman who was berating the dealer was Arab while she adamantly (some would say furiously) maintained that she was not but wouldn't discuss where she was from. This is all at 9:00am while me and the my neighbor (a guy who said he was from East LA and used to be a gangster) sat and watched quietly. After the dealer got taken aside by the floor and the game broke the gangster made a comment that he'd basically shoot everyone at our table if this was back in the day. Then he left too, leaving me sitting at the O8 table by myself wondering what the fuck just happened.
 

Michael Murphy

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What is the biggest amount you've won or lost playing blackjack?
The best I have ever done at blackjack was leaving the table up $350 in the mid 60's, but it wasn't because of my stellar play.
It was early evening, and myself and one other guy were playing. I was betting the minimum, and steadly losing more than I won, when an older well dressed woman, clearly enibreated, sat down and asked the dealer "whats the limit here honey". I'm a bit fuzzy on what it was, $25 or $50, but to me it was a lot. She proceeded to start betting the limit, and if she got a pair she doubled up , and started winning.
She was very bubbly and happy and every winning hand she gave everyone at the table a chip....the table filled up quickly and attracted a crowd, and the attention of the casino. The comped drinks flowed freely, and the casino started doing every thing it could to break her lucky streak. One deal thru the deck and we would get a dealer and deck change. No one left the table.
Over the course of the next hour, she was accumulating so many chips that she was putting them in racks, and at one point the casino brought over a cart to hold the racks. She declared that she wouldnt quit till she filled up the cart. My stragagy changed. I would not take a hit if there was a chance of breaking, since the house was playing against her, and I started to make to make larger bets. In retrospect I realized I could have won a lot more that night by being less conservative and betting more. The crowd around the table was getting really large.
then, seemingly, as quickly as it started it ended. She started losing, and so did everyone else at the table. Eventually she had to start taking racks off the cart to stay in the game. About half way thru the second rack off the cart, I realized my free ride was over and politely excused myself fron the table. My seat was immediatly taken by one of the onlookers.
I have no idea of what ever happened to that lady. All I know is she provided me a a fun and memorable evening, and at least once I left Vegas a winner.
 

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Cool thread and congratulations sir. I'm a table games dealer as well - if you have any specific questions - feel free to ask me anything.

Tim
 

MikesDad

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What is the biggest amount you've won or lost playing blackjack?

Biggest bet you've placed on a hand? How did it turn out?

Biggest Bet: $250 .. i was getting frustrated and tired and ready to go home.... I hit BLACKJACK baby!
Most I ever won in one session (actually my daughter and I playing together on my money) -- $1200 at a $15 table
 

dennis63

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Hey @dennis63, any new dealer stories?

Alas, all my newer dealer stories are all negative.

My casino paid the state's minimum wage -- $7.25 -- then an equal share of the tokes. When you are training, they tell you that, with the tokes, you'll make around $25 per hour. In reality, it's between $16 and $18 an hour.

What they don't tell you is you don't make tokes all the time. In fact, there are many times when you are working, but not sharing in the tokes. And they subtract for uniforms and training, taking an equal amount every pay. When you apply, they say the training is free. It's not.

One day, I came in to work as scheduled. When I looked at the road map -- the chart of where you will be working, posted next to the time clock -- my name was not on it. I went to the "pencil," the casino boss who tells you where to go if you're not on the road map.

She looked at a list and said, "Oh, yea. We need you to sign a a form." I thought it would be routine. It was an agreement to accept less than the state's minimum wage, which, the casino said, would be "made up" by tips. The pencil said, "It won't change your total wages."

She had to know that was false. Since tokes were reasonably consistent, the cut in the casino's share of my pay -- from $7.25 down to $5, I think -- would clearly lower my pay per hour by about $2.25 per hour. Since my hourly was hovering somewhere around $16 at the time, that meant it would go down to $13 or $14 am hour to deal.

I asked what would happen if I refused to sign the form. She said I would not be able to work until I signed the form.

I signed, telling myself that I had a really fun job, that I got to play blackjack all day for a living, and that things would get better.

The same day, a player sat at third base at my $10 table and produced the casino's top-tier affinity card. He was a small,thin older man of about 60. He did not look wealthy, but to earn the card, he would have to lose more than most people make in a year. Why he was at my table, I don't know.

The pit boss greeted him by name without looking at the card. He immediately complained that there were not more tables open, then proceeded to harass me for the next hour. When I was required to change decks, he kept repeating, "Come on. Let's play cards here!" He complained to a pit boss that I wasn't dealing fast enough. He lost four hands in a row, called the floor manager over and demanded that I be moved from "his" table.

I was promptly moved. The floor manager said it was "no big deal," and "not (my) fault." The player was known as a jerk, he said, and was probably just waiting for the high-limit room to open. I spent the rest of the day thinking the job wasn't really worth the abuse, particularly at this casino. I recalled the training instructor saying that this casino allowed more abuse language and threats to the dealers than any place he had worked in his career.

Not long after, I got a call from a former coworker who urged me to apply for a new job.

Today, I work full-time as a 911 calltaker and dispatcher in my home state.

I still deal blackjack at private events, and have dealt for a casino party company. I've pondered the idea of returning to the casino tables close to home, but haven't done that yet.
 
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Poker Zombie

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I've worked 911/dispatch.

The stories will still be great, the pay will still be shitty, and there will still be abusive language - though you won't know it unless someone has an "open mic". :oops:
 

dennis63

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I've worked 911/dispatch.

The stories will still be great, the pay will still be shitty, and there will still be abusive language - though you won't know it unless someone has an "open mic". :oops:

Yes. If they only knew what we said when we lift our foot from the pedal.
 

Kain8

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I asked what would happen if I refused to sign the form. She said I would not be able to work until I signed the form

Go eat a bag of used condoms that I don't sign your piece of paper, which blackmails me into accepting a smaller wage.

I was promptly moved. The floor manager said it was "no big deal," and "not (my) fault." The player was known as a jerk, he said, and was probably just waiting for the high-limit room to open. I spent the rest of the day thinking the job wasn't really worth the abuse, particularly at this casino.

And casinos wonder why good help is so hard to find. If you cater to the scum of the earth as your most valued clientele over the well-being, respect, and the faith in your own employees, well, kindly eat the aforementioned bag and choke on it, you horrific "entertainment business" venue.
 

Lemonzest

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Alas, all my newer dealer stories are all negative.

My casino paid the state's minimum wage -- $7.25 -- then an equal share of the tokes. When you are training, they tell you that, with the tokes, you'll make around $25 per hour. In reality, it's between $16 and $18 an hour.

What they don't tell you is you don't make tokes all the time. In fact, there are many times when you are working, but not sharing in the tokes. And they subtract for uniforms and training, taking an equal amount every pay. When you apply, they say the training is free. It's not.

One day, I came in to work as scheduled. When I looked at the road map -- the chart of where you will be working, posted next to the time clock -- my name was not on it. I went to the "pencil," the casino boss who tells you where to go if you're not on the road map.

She looked at a list and said, "Oh, yea. We need you to sign a a form." I thought it would be routine. It was an agreement to accept less than the state's minimum wage, which, the casino said, would be "made up" by tips. The pencil said, "It won't change your total wages."

She had to know that was false. Since tokes were reasonably consistent, the cut in the casino's share of my pay -- from $7.25 down to $5, I think -- would clearly lower my pay per hour by about $2.25 per hour. Since my hourly was hovering somewhere around $16 at the time, that meant it would go down to $13 or $14 am hour to deal.

I asked what would happen if I refused to sign the form. She said I would not be able to work until I signed the form.

I signed, telling myself that I had a really fun job, that I got to play blackjack all day for a living, and that things would get better.

The same day, a player sat at third base at my $10 table and produced the casino's top-tier affinity card. He was a small,thin older man of about 60. He did not look wealthy, but to earn the card, he would have to lose more than most people make in a year. Why he was at my table, I don't know.

The pit boss greeted him by name without looking at the card. He immediately complained that there were not more tables open, then proceeded to harass me for the next hour. When I was required to change decks, he kept repeated, "Come on. Let's play cards here!" He complained to a pit boss that I wasn't dealing fast enough. He lost four hands in a row, called the floor manager over and demanded that I be moved from "his" table.

I was promptly moved. The floor manager said it was "no big deal," and "not (my) fault." The player was known as a jerk, he said, and was probably just waiting for the high-limit room to open. I spent the rest of the day thinking the job wasn't really worth the abuse, particularly at this casino. I recalled the training instructor saying that this casino allowed more abuse language and threats to the dealers than any place he had worked in his career.

Not long after, I got a call from a former coworker who urged me to apply for a new job.

Today, I work full-time as a 911 calltaker and dispatcher in my home state.

I still deal blackjack at private events, and have dealt for a casino party company. I've pondered the idea of returning to the casino tables close to home, but haven't done that yet.

Aww sorry to hear it didn't work out. For whatever reason working in a casino was always a dream job of mine...even though I know it probably isn't a great job. I feel I would have the personality for it and am pretty thick skinned but I suck at math so that doesn't help...

Many of the dealers just stand there looking bored as hell whether their table is busy or not.

I feel like dealing poker would be more interesting and perhaps more social than pit games. I think pit games players may be a bit more degenerate. Of course there are many poker degens but I just feel like poker tables often have a more positive/fun conversation and banter. I have only heard people berate the dealer in fun and in very rare occasion actually hassle them.
 

dennis63

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Go eat a bag of used condoms that I don't sign your piece of paper, which blackmails me into accepting a smaller wage.



And casinos wonder why good help is so hard to find. If you cater to the scum of the earth as your most valued clientele over the well-being, respect, and the faith in your own employees, well, kindly eat the aforementioned bag and choke on it, you horrific "entertainment business" venue.

Agreed.

As I mentioned, my first instructor had worked for many different casinos in Vegas, Atlantic City and elsewhere. He admitted that his "favorite" place to work was Sands in Pennsylvania. He said our casino allowed more abuse of the dealers than any he had ever seen in the industry, nationwide. He noted that very little dealer abuse is permitted in Vegas. It says something that he quit halfway through our class and took a job at a small casino up north somewhere.

And the player had our top affinity card. To get one, you need to lose $750,000 in a year. It does not have to be all your own money. If you came in today, put down $200 at a table, win until you stack was $1,000, then lose it all, they'll credit you with $1,000 in losses for today.

But apparently, when you get one of those cards, everyone is expected to kiss your ass. There are stories of a (name deleted)-card holder getting a dealer fired by complaining that the dealer was impolite. Even the cameras can't save a dealer from that. Even if the floor manager was standing with the dealer and went to bat for him or her, it won't save their job.

I've only actually met two of those card holders, since I worked at the lower end. One guy was really nice. Then there was this guy.

Money and class don't always travel together.
 

dennis63

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Agreed.

As I mentioned, my first instructor had worked for many different casinos in Vegas, Atlantic City and elsewhere. He admitted that his "favorite" place to work was Sands in Pennsylvania. He said our casino allowed more abuse of the dealers than any he had ever seen in the industry, nationwide. He noted that very little dealer abuse is permitted in Vegas. It says something that he quit halfway through our class and took a job at a small casino up north somewhere.

And the player had our top affinity card. To get one, you need to lose $750,000 in a year. It does not have to be all your own money. If you came in today, put down $200 at a table, win until you stack was $1,000, then lose it all, they'll credit you with $1,000 in losses for today.

But apparently, when you get one of those cards, everyone is expected to kiss your ass. There are stories of a (name deleted)-card holder getting a dealer fired by complaining that the dealer was impolite. Even the cameras can't save a dealer from that. Even if the floor manager was standing with the dealer and went to bat for him or her, it won't save their job.

I've only actually met two of those card holders, since I worked at the lower end. One guy was really nice. Then there was this guy.

Money and class don't always travel together.

Still prefer not to divulge the name of the casino where I worked. They have more lawyers than I do.
 
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