CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of Barney Vinson

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

The Owners

16 January 2006

I was working at the Dunes Hotel in Vegas. The place was all about junkets: one a week from New York, one every other week from Miami and St. Louis. The airfare was free, so were the rooms, the booze, the meals, the shows. All the junket players had to do was gamble, or they'd never be invited back again.

One time a junket came in, and this fellow went running up to the dice table. "Give me five hundred," he said. He got the money, signed the marker, then threw in a $100 check. "Give me fives," he said, so the dealer gave him twenty $5 checks. "No, I want nickels!" he said. "I want to play the slot machine." He never got invited back again.

Another new player was so excited about getting free meals (kind of like me) that he ate three times on the plane before he even got to Vegas. Then he headed straight for the coffee shop, then the gourmet restaurant. He finally got to the tables on his third day in town and blew $500 shooting craps. "These dice are killing me," he wailed to the junket master. The junket master shrugged. "Have you tried pouring ketchup on them?"

I've been going on and on about the players, but I haven't told you much about the bosses, have I? Well, first I've got to explain how it works in the casino business. First you've got your dealers. They're at the bottom of the totem pole. Then you've got your boxmen, who oversee the dealers. After that come the floormen, then the pit bosses, then the shift bosses, then the casino manager, then the owners.

Nowadays you don't know who the owners are. It's all hidden through corporate structuring, but back then the owners were right there in the casino. They'd greet the players personally, slap them on the back like they were long-lost friends, giving out that personal touch which is so lacking in the business today.

At the Dunes, we had little owners and big owners. Some only had a few percentage points in the joint; they were little owners. When you passed them in the hall, you gave them a nod. Others had more percentage points; they were big owners. When you passed them in the hall, you gave them a smile. Mr. W had more percentage points than all the rest of them put together; he was the big, big owner. When you passed him in the hall you gave him one of your children.

He was a great man to work for, though. He'd walk through the pit, saying hello to everyone, even greeting us by name. Of course, we were wearing name tags, but it was still a nice gesture. If you were running short, he'd advance you a few bucks till payday, right out of his own kick. Anything you wanted, just ask him for it and you got it. If you crossed him, you were out the door, but that hardly ever happened.

As far as the other bosses went, it was a pecking-order sort of thing, like it would be in the service. The dealers were the buck privates, and the floormen were the lieutenants. These were the ones you desperately needed in your corner. They could make your life miserable, or they could make it a bed of roses, depending on whether they liked you or not. As is usually the case, you got along with some of them, and with others you didn't. Even giving them layoff, some of them still hated your guts.

(To be continued)


Editor's note: Barney Vinson served as a gaming consultant to King of Vegas, premiering January 17 on Spike TV.

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