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There’s more to the casino than gaming

By Frank Scoblete


This is not a review of casinos. I am sure that most of you have your favorite casinos at which to play and I am not going to change your minds. No, this is my outline of what is the best of the best in terms of casino offerings for me; these are the important elements I enjoy. Those elements include dealer and player comportment.

I spend a lot of words on how to play the games but perhaps not enough on how a casino can offer the best of the best in amenities and how dealers, pit people and players should behave; all the positive elements that make your visit the best of all possible visits.

So let’s get right to it.


I like to exercise in the morning and the best casino-hotel for me will have an indoor pool. I find if my wife the Beautiful AP and I can get down to the pool the moment it opens (usually 6 a.m.) we are usually alone to do our laps.

I like to walk and if a venue has a great walking area – I note both the Boardwalk in Atlantic City and the Strip in Vegas are great for walking, with people watching alone making them wonderful – then I will make a point of going for a walk just about every day I am in the casino venue.


I think even small casinos should have at least one of the following, a food court of some kind (an ice cream shop!), a buffet, a café and a gourmet restaurant. Most casinos will have the buffet but some of the very small ones skip the gourmet rooms. Obviously, the A+ casino-hotels will have all of the above, including several gourmet restaurants.


I do want a host of games. Most casinos, even small ones, will have a wonderful selection of slot machines and video poker games, but I am now of the opinion that small casinos, relying as they do on such slots dollars, will skimp on the table games. That is understandable. A vacant table with a dealer standing there is a waste of money for the house. In such casinos I think it is important to offer the electronic games of roulette, baccarat, blackjack, three card poker and craps (and others). If such a casino is the only one in town, table game players would probably flock to such places that offer electronic table games.

In New York City, near my home, is a casino that is a Valhalla of electronic table games. The players are into these machines in a really big way. They write about them on the Internet and even debate how to play them. You don’t usually see this type of enthusiasm for individual slot machines. If a casino doesn’t want to pay for table games the very least it can do is usher in these electronic “table” games.


Dealers have a tough job. Folks who work extensive amounts of time every day with the public know how hard that can be. It takes just one idiot to ruin your day and in the casino I have seen plenty of dealers abused by whining, truly annoying, red-faced angry players. Usually players who have “lost it” have been on losing streaks and they are lashing out.

The dealer has nothing to do with a player’s losing streak. The dealers are merely the vehicles of randomness. They tell you the results of a card deal, a craps throw, the spin and landing of a ball. That’s it. They don’t create or control those results.

What percentage of players is annoying? Undoubtedly the percentage is small, probably in the single digits but ask any teacher how those two or three students in a class can ruin it for them. You can safely bet that most teachers with Terrible Timmy, Awful Earl and Hellish Helen aren’t thinking, “Oh, I can’t wait to get to class to see the twenty-seven good students!” No, these teachers are thinking “Oh, Lord, I have to face those three again!”

So I prefer casinos whose patrons are fully aware of what the games they are playing entail. Such players do not have to be experts in the math behind the games; they just have to know that proper behavior is expected of them. They have to know how to buy into table games, how to cash out, and the routine of the game. They also have to know to keep whatever whining they want to do inside themselves.

Dealers too have a responsibility and not just to handle the games properly, they must act professionally and like or pretend to like the players. They might not be feeling well on certain days; they might have a headache; a boss they hate; a pending divorce – whatever the negative circumstances going on in their lives – none of these should interfere with their act when they are interacting with the players.

A great actor does not go on stage and allow his or her personal life to hurt the performance. The teacher does not go into the classroom and say, “Terrible Timmy, Awful Earl and Hellish Helen, I hope you all get Ebola!” Dealers have to pretend they like the players, including the creepy ones, even if they don’t really feel it. That is ultimately the hardest part of their job.

All the best in and out of the casinos!

Visit Frank’s web site at Frank’s latest books are Confessions of a Wayward Catholic! I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps, and I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack. Available from, Kindle, e-book, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.


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