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Best of Barney Vinson

Gaming Guru

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Barney Vinson's World

7 July 2003

May I have your attention, please? Welcome to our first annual Casino Awards Banquet. We are extremely happy to have the . . . could I get you to hold it down, guys? Frank, you want to take that lampshade off and have a seat?

Thank you. First of all, I think we should give a big round of applause to the kitchen staff. The mashed potatoes and peas were great, and the meatloaf was really tasty. We've got dessert coming later, too, so hold on to your plastic spoons.

I'd also like to thank the management of the hotel for allowing us to use this meeting room tonight. We have to be out of here by 7:30, so I'll make this as short as possible.

Our first trophy is what we call our Top Gun Award. It goes to the person who has done the most to make our jobs a little easier and a lot more fun. And our Top Gun Award this year goes to Casino Manager Don "Warning Slip" Ballinger. Come on up, Mr. Ballinger, and say a few words. What's that, he's not here? Oh, well, we'll get it to him somehow. He says the door to his office is always open, and now I know why. There's never anyone in it. Ha ha, just kidding, Mr. Ballinger--wherever you are.

Incidentally, I want to thank Ralph Ironsides of Security for these beautiful trophies. Ralph managed to get 'em wholesale through his brother-in-law, so you'll all be getting a little refund on your next paycheck.

And now our Dealer of the Year Award. As you no doubt remember, we had all 43 of the dealers vote last month for who they thought was the best dealer in the hotel. And believe it or not, this year we have a 43-way tie. Unfortunately, we only have one trophy, so each of you will get to keep it for one week and 13 hours.

Now I'd like to read something out of our dealers' manual that I think exemplifies what we are all striving for in this crazy business.

"Casino customers spend more time with the dealers than any other employees. It is important that the dealers give the normal courtesies and customer services that let the customers enjoy themselves so they want to return to our hotel again and again."

With that thought in mind, we present our Most Courteous Dealer of the Year Award—-and this year it goes to roulette dealer Freddy Rodriguez. Freddy? Hey, you didn't have to rip the damn thing out of my hand. I was going to give a little speech first. Yeah, same to you, pal.

We also have three Purple Heart Awards to present tonight. Our first one goes to Harvey Ferris, who has worked graveyard shift for 19 straight days without once calling in sick. Way to go, Harv.

The next Purple Heart Award goes to cocktail waitress Shirley Killebrew. Shirley's kind of a mainstay in the keno lounge, where she has served cocktails for the last 17 years. I understand she's unable to be here tonight because of the bus strike, but maybe we can get a volunteer to run the trophy over to her at the trailer park.

Our third Purple Heart Award goes to 21 dealer Joyce Markle. I think the caption on her trophy says it all. "To Joyce Markle, for dealing to Jerry Lewis."

To Entertainment Director Pete Valentine, we would like to present our Service Excellence Award. Thanks, Pete, for making our showroom, The Seven Drink Minimum, the talk of the Strip. And as a special treat I am pleased to announce that Pete has arranged a 4:30 a.m. show tomorrow for all casino employees. Featured will be Janet Stanton and her all-girl orchestra along with Elvis impersonator Steve Simmons. Sounds like a great lineup.

We also have a Special Achievement Award for Bo Whittenburg, who has done such a remarkable job this year of heading up the Dealers' Toke Committee. Unfortunately, Bo is still in Acapulco, but we're hoping to have him back in the near future-—just as soon as we can arrange some kind of extradition proceedings with the Mexican government.

To Dean Brumley, our Golden Casino Award. As you all know, Dean is in charge of making up the schedule. It certainly hasn't made Dean the most popular guy here tonight, but in our opinion he has done the best he could under the circumstances. No need for you to come all the way up here for your trophy, Dean. Here, catch.

The Host of the Year Award goes to Smiley Harrison. Most of us have gotten to know Smiley on a first-name basis, mainly because of helping him carry stuff to his car every night. Smoked hams, suits, crates of fresh seafood, boxes of wine and champagne. Boy, those customers of his really know how to say thank you, don't they?

Nicky Balboa gets the Slot Mechanic of the Year Award. Nicky keeps those babies humming 24 hours a day. In fact, you probably read about the $300 jackpot somebody hit last month on the Nifty Nickel Carousel. Thanks to Nicky and his crew, we got some nationwide publicity on that one.

Along the same lines, here's our Top Slot Change Person of the Year Award, and the winner is . . . Juanita "Heavy Duty" Mercado! She can toss those bags of quarters around with the best of them. I understand she's still in the hospital recovering from back surgery, so we'll just keep her trophy in Lost and Found until she comes back to work.

To the owner of the hotel, Mister Burton, this gold-plated "Man of the Year" Award kind of sums up how we all feel about working here. "To Wilbur C. Burton, the greatest man on the face of the earth." Due to his hard work, his pioneer spirit, his great business sense, and his vast inheritance, he has made this hotel the biggest star on the Las Vegas Strip.

On another note, I'm sorry to announce that the Christmas party for all employees at Mister Burton's country club mansion has been canceled. According to his secretary, he got called away suddenly to Europe, so our party will be held as usual in the dealers' room on Christmas Eve. It'll be pot luck, so everybody be sure to bring something.

Well, that's about it. On behalf of Mister Burton and the hotel's board of directors, who have just announced record profits for the third straight year, a special thank you for a job well done. And don't forget to pick up your certificate for a free turkey when you punch in at the time office on Christmas morning.

Hey, wait a minute, everybody, where are you going? Don't leave yet. We've got jello coming!

Barney Vinson

Barney Vinson is one of the most popular and best-selling gaming authors of all time. He is the author of Ask Barney, Las Vegas: Behind the Tables, Casino Secrets, Las Vegas Behind the Tables Part II, and Chip-Wrecked in Las Vegas. His newest book, a novel, is The Vegas Kid.

Books by Barney Vinson:

> More Books By Barney Vinson

Barney Vinson
Barney Vinson is one of the most popular and best-selling gaming authors of all time. He is the author of Ask Barney, Las Vegas: Behind the Tables, Casino Secrets, Las Vegas Behind the Tables Part II, and Chip-Wrecked in Las Vegas. His newest book, a novel, is The Vegas Kid.

Books by Barney Vinson:

> More Books By Barney Vinson