Blackjack Insider Newsletter, Sept. 2004, #56
COST TO CASINO FOR THEIR ABUSE OF SKILLED PLAYERS – A LOCAL PLAYERS PERSPECTIVE
LVBear is a contributor to BJ21.com Green Chip, the internets premier location for blackjack discussion. LV Bear is also a skilled blackjack player and casino critic that offers his opinions on things that sometimes go wrong in the world of casinos. The following article had been posted by LVBear on www.bj21.com.
Sometimes casino personnel behave in such a ridiculous manner. Some small-minded pit critters and their low-level supervisors frequently seem incapable of understanding the big picture of a casino’s operations, and through their actions, cost the casino far more than they save it by abusing skilled players.
Granted, casinos is general are over-paranoid when it comes to "protecting" their games from winning players. While eye-in-the-sky surveillance and much of the "game protection" supervision is really there primarily to help prevent cheating by players, cheating by players in collusion with dishonest employees, and employee theft, the net is usually cast too wide, and ensnares patrons who are no real threat to the financial well-being of the casino. When casino personnel antagonize these patrons, and antagonize other patrons who may simply witness the often boorish behavior of the pit critters, the casino loses in the long run. I suppose the arrogance casinos acquire simply by being in a business where people just walk in off the street to hand over their money for very little, or nothing, in return takes its toll on the mindset of the employees. This mindset serves to encourage employee behavior towards patrons that would not be tolerated by the management of any other type of business enterprise.
To many Las Vegas residents, the facilities and amenities offered by casino properties are utilized for far more than just the casinos themselves. The two primary locals-market operators, Station Casinos, and Coast Resorts, have pleasant and well-maintained properties that include children’s play areas (Kids Quest and various arcades), many fine restaurants, first-rate movie theatres, bowling alleys, and even an ice-skating rink. Of course, the real purpose of these offerings is to lure the adults into the casino, prolong their visit to the property, and to get youngsters into the habit of going to the casino, and thinking of the casino when they’re seeking "entertainment." However, these ancillary operations can be, and undoubtedly are, themselves quite profitable, and contribute significantly to the overall prosperity of the property. For example, movie ticket prices and refreshment prices are no lower in casino-based theatres than in non-casino theatres.
The point of all this is that bad behavior of pit personnel which is tolerated, or even encouraged, by casino management, is short-sighted and a poor business practice. Why is it so difficult for upper management to realize this, and stop the petty abuses?
For every skilled player they chase off, they will chase off the family members, friends, and acquaintances of that skilled player. For example, my wife is a competent basic strategy blackjack player, but isn’t the least bit interested in learning counting or other advantage play skills. Though she "wants to win," she plays primarily "for fun." She, of course, will be a losing player in the long run, and should be a "valued casino customer." In addition, she sometimes plays slots (ignoring my repeated objections), and, of course, loses at them, as does everyone else.
Why does the casino want to chase her, and many others like her, away? They probably really don’t want to. But they do anyway, with their frequently ill-advised and downright stupid behavior towards skilled players.
When they hassle me, or any other skilled player, in an unreasonable manner, I will, of course, remember it. I have no quarrel with reasonable backoffs that are done professionally and courteously. While I may disagree that it’s necessary to back off any player whose max bet is $150.00 or less, the casino is certainly within their rights to do so. But casino management frequently appears to be so short-sighted, and so blinded by their own greed, that they seem to want to turn every patron upside down and shake them by the ankles until ever last penny falls out of their pockets. Stupidity is often the result.
In Barry Meadow’s book, Blackjack Autumn, he quotes highly-regarded former casino executive, author, and casino consultant Bill Zender, "Too many people in this industry sweat the games, and that makes the players uncomfortable. These corporations get scared if one month your hold is a couple of points lower than it usually is, and they start panicking. But usually, it’s just the fluctuations of the game. ... But if you run the game right, you’ll actually make more money than if you’re wasting all this energy on trying to stop counters." Mr. Zender was referring to the poor penetration virtually everywhere, and the harassment of red and low-green chip level skilled players that is seen so often nowadays.
Even among skilled players, only a small percentage has the time, tenacity, and bankroll to be a real threat to the casino. So why all the ridiculous harassment and stupidity?
Stupidity is a pit critter trying to renege on a coupon offer, and argue with a patron about a net difference of $12.50 (see "Sunset Station tries to cheat couponomist out of $50.00," Green Chip 11/9/02).
Stupidity is a shift boss speaking to a well-meaning ploppy who got involved in a poorly-executed backoff, and referring to card counters as "scumbags" (see "Green Valley Ranch shift boss calls counters scumbags . . . ," Green Chip 4/4/02).
Stupidity is a pit critter refusing to accept a single bet, with an Expected Value of less than $5.00, from a player who had never even played a hand at that casino (see "Gold Coast backoff story," Free Archives, Vegas BJ, 9/1/02).
Stupidity is a casino using security guards to bully a high-rolling ploppy who was mistakenly identified as a skilled player (see "The Reno Hilton Blows a Barring," by Harold Harvey, in the Acts and Barring section of Green Chip Archives).
Stupidity is the overuse of personnel and resources in trying to eliminate all the skilled players, regardless of their bet levels, from among their patrons (see "Cost of Catching Counters," by Ky Hick, in the Acts and Barring section of Green Chip archives).
Skilled players have family members who are NOT skilled players, and ARE "desirable casino customers." They are shocked and disgusted when told about the overzealous behavior of the pit personnel, and usually agree to take their patronage elsewhere in the future.
Skilled players have friends who are NOT skilled players, and ARE "desirable casino customers." They are shocked and disgusted when told about the overzealous behavior of the pit personnel, and usually agree to take their patronage elsewhere in the future.
Skilled players have business and professional contacts and associates, who are NOT skilled players, and ARE "desirable casino customers." They are shocked and disgusted when told about the overzealous behavior of the pit personnel, and usually agree to take their patronage elsewhere in the future.
Skilled players have neighbors, and members of community groups they belong to, who are NOT skilled players, and ARE "desirable casino customers." They are shocked and disgusted when told about the overzealous behavior of the pit personnel, and usually agree to take their patronage elsewhere in the future.
Whenever casino personnel abuse or unreasonably mistreat skilled players, the consequences of their actions extend into a much wider circle than they may initially realize.
UPPER-LEVEL CASINO MANAGERS, WAKE UP! CONTROL YOUR EMPLOYEES!
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