I did one of these last year and received lots of great questions, and I'm back again to answer more if anyone has them!

I have about nine years of experience in the casino business. I worked my way up from Pit Clerk to Dealer to Floor Supervisor to Pit Boss/Manager, with a stint in between casinos as a Tournament Director for an organization that put on poker tournaments for charities. I've worked at a few different casinos in the southern part of the United States and am very knowledgeable in Table Games. I know a bit about other aspects of the business such as Slots, Marketing, and overall Casino Operations.

Feel free to ask about the math/odds behind the games, general gaming questions, "behind the scenes" casino questions - I'm happy to answer or try to answer any questions you may have!

Proof, although I'll message the mods the uncensored version of this: http://i.imgur.com/XKBnrqp.jpg

EDIT: Heading off for the night! I've enjoyed the questions so far. Keep them coming, and I'll answer them tomorrow!

EDIT 2: Wow, I didn't expect this much of a reaction! I'm replying now!

EDIT 3: I never could have expected this kind of response to this. I'm excited so many people are interested in the business! I'm still answering. And thanks for the Reddit Gold!

Comments: 1393 • Responses: 43  • Date: 

benben591266 karma

I have some casino myths, would you mind answering to the best of your ability?

  1. Casinos pump oxygen in to make you stay awake and stay longer

  2. Slot machines near entrances pay out more so newcomers are more likely to see people winning

  3. Computers determine when the roulette wheel stops

  4. Casino's "loosen" slot machines the first week or so of opening so that people will go home happy with stories of the big win they had down at ______ casino

  5. How do you get a job like this? Does it pay well?

Yo_Eleven55 karma

  1. Not true at all.

  2. Actually somewhat true, it depends on the casino. There are such a thing as "looser" slots - some casinos will even give you a printout of where the loosest machines are (even the loosest ones still have a house edge, so they don't mind if more people play them.) Casinos generally will put some of their looser slots in high-volume areas so people see more wins. High-denomination slots also are generally looser than penny machines.

  3. Nope, roulette is actually just a ball going around a wheel.

  4. Not true, casino payouts are submitted to the state and it's actually a really long process to change the house edge (you have to go through the state and get it approved, this is a multiple-month process.)

  5. /u/RichTraveller answered this already. You generally take a math test to become a dealer (simple math, addition and basic multiplication to make sure you can count and make payouts) and then you go to dealing school, pass, and start working. The higher you go the more it pays.

readcommentbackwards239 karma

Have you ever seen anyone win or lose a life-changing amount of money? If so, how did it go down?

Also, what's the best way to score some comps?

Yo_Eleven434 karma

I saw a guy lose $1,000,000 once, I actually was dealing when he lost about $200,000 of that in about 15 minutes. It made me sick, but he didn't seem to mind much. Later he attempted to sue the casino because "clearly his drinks were spiked," but he later recanted that.

How to get comps: Play for a long time and/or have a strong average bet. Buying in for large amounts and then not playing won't get you comps. Alternatively, be a fun person and the supervisor will probably hook you up because we appreciate the fun (not drunk) people.

Faee186 karma

Who's your favorite person in the entire world?

Yo_Eleven241 karma

My favorite person in the world is my lovely girlfriend, who asked me to do this and also supports me in literally every aspect of my life. She's an incredible person, I'll tell you that much!

___________________s165 karma

Is /u/Faee your girlfriend? I smell some colluding going on here.

Yo_Eleven159 karma

Collusion indeed! It's so true.

Hoooooooar424 karma

no posts in /r/gonewild I'll save you guys the time.

Yo_Eleven46 karma

dear lord

Solo11160 karma

I've always wondered about counting cards. People get thrown out for doing it, but it's something that happens entirely in an individual's mind. Surely this is not cheating, and although the casino stands to lose out, they have no right to throw somebody out for doing this.

So my question is: Has anyone been caught counting cards at your casino? Were they thrown out? Were they allowed back? What were they told?


Yo_Eleven283 karma

Counting cards is not cheating at all. You're not doing anything but keeping a running total in your head and basing your play off of that. That being said, casinos are private businesses and can refuse service to anyone for any reason.

Yes, people have been caught counting cards. The majority of them aren't that good at it, to be honest, and so we let them think they're getting one over on us (and still lose.) If someone wins "too much" or does too well, they will be approached by senior management and told that they can still play but can no longer play blackjack.

taH_pagh_taHbe107 karma

Are there any common tells that you look for when you suspect someone of card counting?

Yo_Eleven215 karma

Generally I'm looking to see if they deviate from a reasonable basic strategy and have an abnormal success rate on hands where they make questionable plays. At that point I'll run a count as they play and see if they are changing their strategy and/or betting patterns when the count is in their favor.

jamiiis232527 karma

This is why you load the table with your counting friends. The movie 21 did a good depiction of this. You can't go in alone and expect to keep winning. You need a group to play with you. All set up with an anchor to win high and the rest to lose low.

This I would understand having them kicked out for. But one person counting, I don't see it as an issue.

HeyItsNagy16 karma

Most tables worth $25 or more don't let people in once the shoe has started. Makes things like that hard to do.

Yo_Eleven7 karma

Ours does! Such a game protection issue, even our $100 tables allow mid-shoe entry unless the players request that it becomes no entry (which they'll do so other people don't come in and mess up a good shoe.)

Radials158 karma

Fellow Dealer here. Explain your name to the masses. Thanks.

Yo_Eleven193 karma

I was beaten to the punch! But yes, YO-LEVEN (or as one dealer calls it, "YO ADRIENNE!") is an eleven call. Never even say the word seven after the come out roll unless you're paying off a dollar hard 4 or 10.

dvvb132 karma

What does a player have to play for you to approach them an offer comps? Does that even happen anymore? I usually don't bet that much, is there any chance of me getting some freebies from the pit boss?

Yo_Eleven181 karma

Honestly these days it's all computerized. Your play (on your players card) determines the comps you get. If it's your first time or your birthday (or you've played and/or lost a lot) you'll get more than you "should."

huy56indc33 karma

How can the computer determine your average bet etc.? Like, the computer will know how much you initially put down, but how would it know if you're actually playing each hand?

Yo_Eleven25 karma

Some casinos (ours included) don't use the electronic betting recognition sofware. If you don't see the dealer pressing a little button before each hand, here's my advice - bet big right at the beginning. A lot of supervisors will put in your average bet when you first sit down and they swipe your players card and then won't adjust your average bet unless you made big changes throughout playing.

everyoneisdoingit129 karma

The chips have always seemed susceptible to counterfeiting to me. What are the countermeasures that are not apparent. RFID?

Yo_Eleven155 karma

Some casinos use RFID (they'll have a more plastic feel to them.) Honestly, even high-value casinos' chips are subject to counterfeiting. I've seen stickers replaced, I've even seen people paint lower-denomination chips to look like higher-denomination chips.

kellzone93 karma

How much of an effect do you think things like slowly changing the rules in favor of the house over time (6:5 blackjack instead of 3:2, dealer must stand on all 17s instead of hit soft 17, 00 roulette vs 0 roulette, for example) has impacted the gaming revenue on The Strip? It seems like corporate overlords changed the rules to squeeze out more profits and it has had the opposite effect.

Yo_Eleven92 karma

I don't live on the Strip, but our casino has 6:5 and hitting soft 17 tables. Honestly, it doesn't affect us at all. Our high-limit tables are still the more "standard" rules. I think issues on the Strip are related more to over-saturation of the market as opposed to the rule changes, even though I disagree with the changes.

PoisonOP91 karma

Have you ever had to permanently ban someone from your casino? What's the craziest way you've seen somebody get banned?

Yo_Eleven156 karma

We've permanently evicted people for threatening physical violence on other players and/or employees, getting into fights, things like that. A man peed under a blackjack table once; he was evicted and arrested!

Eliju91 karma

I was playing blackjack once and this other got got really mad at my friend for the bet he made, he stood on a soft 16 or something. He immediately knew it was dumb and apologized to the table and the game went on. But this guy kept ranting and I said hey man, chill out. It's over now. He got in my face and wanted to fight, saying lets take this outside. I sat looking at the dealer like soooo are you gonna do something or am I gonna have to hit this guy? In the end the guy backed down but no security or anything came over. We're there people perched in wait or was this casino really shitty and security? It was Wild West in AC.

Yo_Eleven119 karma

Sounds like a shitty casino. I personally would have told the guy that he either stopped or he was leaving.

bco213473 karma

Does craps have the best odds in the casino if you understand the game well? Been gambling for a few years now and I have found that I typically only win when playing craps.

Yo_Eleven140 karma

The best odds of all the table games is betting the Don't Pass with max odds behind it. Second-best is the Pass Line with max odds behind it. Those odds are true odds, the casino has ZERO house edge.

b0r0n17 karma

Also to add: while the pass/don't pass are great bets, craps also has some of the worst bets in the house. Stay away from the centre action!

Yo_Eleven7 karma

Very good advice, prop bets are there to mess around with but don't play them if you're playing "smart."

mattarse19 karma

Last time I was in Vegas I stood by the craps table thinking I could understand what is going on, an later I went back to blackjack.
I think next time I'll try to read a primer on craps before I go.....

bco213447 karma

Even if you lose at craps, it's the most fun you'll have in the casino once you understand the game. If the dealers and other players are having a good time, you won't even mind losing a little (or hopefully winning)!

Yo_Eleven102 karma

The best example of friendship is a winning dice table. The worst example of friendship is a losing dice table.

WhyNotGolf66 karma

How often do you find people cheating? What are some of the dumbest/clever ways you have caught someone doing so?

Yo_Eleven121 karma

Cheating is less common than you may think these days. The technology we employ is really advanced, as most places have upgraded their surveillance tech. We can see a lot now. The best ways that people cheat now aren't by physically manipulating things, but by "taking shots." Little things, things like making a hand signal that could be interpreted as a hit or a stand and then raising a fuss if it doesn't go your way. Most casinos will just give you the money if it's not too much instead of fully investigate it.

CrymeScene64 karma

Hi there. I've heard many people say this who aren't or never were, but I played poker professionaly for 3 years. There were casinos throughout my area (not near you) that were known to be hotbeds for teams that would focus on the 4, 5, or 6 people at the table who weren't playing with them. They'd raise and reraise to get a lot of money in the pot, et cetera, then run the player not on the team out and split the money. How do you guys combat this? Do you even try to? What is the penalty if people are caught playing in teams? I lived in the midwest and the staff couldn't have cared less.

Edit: spelling edit. Many people seem to believe that collusion among other people almost works to their advantage if they know it's going on. Keep in mind, you won't notice that it is going on unless you've been in pots early or have had enough time to observe. Additionally, if people who are colluding aren't winning against those they are colluding against, they aren't doing it right. Not only do they have the advantage of seeing more cards, people who have collusion down to an art have signals and every other variety of scam to gain better insight into the odds of the pot when they know what hands 2 of 3 of three players are playing.

I agree that it can be a boost to be in a game of collusion against people who don't know that YOU KNOW they are colluding. However, the people who do this day in and day out usually know what they are doing. If they don't, you can start stacking chips.

Yo_Eleven6 karma

It's really hard to prove that kind of collusion. If I were running the poker room and someone came to complain about it I'd hear them out and I'd keep more of an eye on it. If it's the same people every day and it was a pattern of behavior, then I'd probably look into making a move on it. Don't expect the dealer or supervisor to just magically see it, though. We're just there to deal poker, you're not playing against the house. That being said, the casino doesn't want to be known as a place that lets that happen.

boilerspartan62 karma

What are the chances of me being busted for switching my pass line to the dont pass line, after a point is established? What would typically happen if caught? Police or just booted?

Yo_Eleven118 karma

Good lord, don't do this. Best-case scenario you get away with it, worst-case scenario you're arrested. You could also get thrown out if they don't want to deal with the cops or it wasn't that large of an amount. But seriously, just bet the don't from the start. You make your money off of the odds anyway.

sportsworker77759 karma

Do the auto-shufflers for blackjack favor the house in any way? I always wonder if it uses a certain algorithm to determine how to shuffle the decks.

Yo_Eleven107 karma

I HATE auto-shufflers. No, they have no way of knowing how many people are playing at the table or which cards go to the dealer. It's legitimately random, moreso than some dealers who have specific shuffles.

Damnskipp41 karma

Ever have to lay down a beating on some unruly folk?

Yo_Eleven83 karma

I wish! That's old-school, before my time. If we beat up someone who was unruly the state would shut us down, guaranteed.

fishyfish741 karma

Why is it than when I double-down at Blackjack table, sometimes the dealer will let me have the card down while others insist its shown. Is there an industry standard? I see no disadvantage to a casino to let me have it down, it adds a bit of excitement for me.

Yo_Eleven55 karma

Different casinos have different rules. Ours used to mandate it face-up, but now we let you have it face-down.

gotyourqueen35 karma

How closely are you (or other pit bosses) looking for card counters? If I'm counting and you notice, what's a good way for me to know that you spotted me? Thanks!

Yo_Eleven62 karma

Honestly, I'm probably not looking unless you're winning a large amount or you're making really large swings in your bets. I won't let you know if I suspect you, I'll have already called surveillance and they'll be running down (counting along) on the next shoe to see what you're doing. If you see security or people in suits near your table, just color up and leave. They won't do anything to you, but they're preparing to talk to you about what they've found and might back you off.

mattarse32 karma

I see anecdotal reports every once in a while about the facial recongition used by casinos, how good is it really?
I'm also interested in what it is used for other than the obvious - tracking known card counters is an obvious one but in what ways is it used that aren't so easily guessed.

Yo_Eleven28 karma

Facial recognition software has always been pretty strong going back for quite a while now. There aren't really too many ways it's used other than for people who have cheated or who have overall suspicious behavior. That's the only reason we'd want to run the software on someone.

Knineteen31 karma

I was once playing Casino War (yeah I know) and a dealer actually peeked at my card BEFORE dealing it. She saw it was an ACE and told me to bet everything I had. Needless to say, I won the hand.

Have you seen anything crazy like that in your travels?

Yo_Eleven9 karma

Before I started working at my current place I heard a story that happened there where the dealer was using their back foot to stop the Big Six wheel (never play Big Six; happy it's gone) early which meant that the people playing knew where it would stop. He was physically handcuffed at the table and arrested. DON'T CHEAT.

RadOwl31 karma

I was recently in Vegas and learned how to play Craps. It's a fun game and it really engages the mind with calculating odds and such. So two questions for you:

  1. Should I turn around and run away now while I'm still ahead?

  2. Have you noticed that players who place bets for the dealers do better? A long-time Craps player gave me that advice. He said that getting the dealers involved in the game increases his luck.

Yo_Eleven86 karma

  1. Don't play to win. Play to enjoy yourself and have a good time. Wins happen, losses happen.

  2. The dealers appreciate the bets, but it doesn't help your odds. It's an illusion of luck. But by all means, tip the dealers!

webbtraverse2126 karma

I'm not a big table player, however I do enjoy standing back and watching friends. I've noticed in some games, especially blackjack, that there are "unwritten rules". i.e. what hands to hit/stay or split. Not everyone follows them and I've witnessed some players loudly get upset by another players style of play. What role does the casino have in these breaches of table etiquette?

Yo_Eleven43 karma

I'm fine with people making "dumb" moves. Generally the dealer will say "Are you suuuuure?" if someone is about to split up their 20 or something like that. Other players do get mad when someone does something, but we protect our players. If someone wants to make a nonstandard or risky move, they have every right to. I personally wouldn't let a player berate another player, and it has nothing to do with the casino's interests.

fishyfish725 karma

I rarely tip at the craps table, but anytime the point is even I throw a two-way hardway, I realize that it is probably not ideal for the dealers and its not like I am forced to tip; but is that somewhat acceptable in the stickman world?

Yo_Eleven36 karma

If you're putting the crew up on any bet they're happy, I promise. A large percentage of dice players don't tip. Any two-way bet is appreciated!

Krazy61124 karma

How bad are the odds or win rates for slot machines? I feel like you are just throwing away money. Not saying that other casino games are better . What was your best perk being a pit boss?

Yo_Eleven31 karma

Most states will publish the odds for slot machines. Honestly most machines at reputable places (as in not bars) will have a return rate of 95-98%. That's a lower house edge than carnival games or even roulette.

The best perk? Honestly, that it pays well and I don't actually have to DO too much, haha.

GHofe22 karma

Soooo, which casino game do you believe has the best odds for the player? Where do I have the best chance to win money?

Yo_Eleven35 karma

I mentioned this elsewhere, but the don't with max odds on craps. Or the pass line with max odds. Or blackjack with perfect basic strategy.

chocolatechipcracka18 karma

Have you ever stopped someone from playing who is obviously a gambling addict? Are you, or any other casino employee trained to spot the signs of gambling addiction?

Yo_Eleven16 karma

We're not allowed to tell someone that we think they have a problem, but we can respond if they tell us they do. We have paperwork on it, we're trained to spot it (chasing losses, claiming to bet money they can't afford, etc) and we also have a hotline they can call. Additionally, players can fill out self-exclusion paperwork banning themselves from the casino if they feel they can't gamble responsibly. If they come back while banned, they can and will be arrested for trespassing.

Ketch114 karma

Do you gamble at all, and if so, what's your favourite game? I like my roulette, there's nothing like the rush of adrenaline when you're on a losing streak and your strategy is to double down until you win.

Yo_Eleven23 karma

I don't gamble, sorry! I used to play poker a ton, and I also really love Pai Gow even though it has an absurdly high push rate per hand.

mistertrustworthy13 karma

What's the saddest thing you've seen, working at a casino?

Yo_Eleven11 karma

Years ago a guy was playing blackjack. He lost, left, and then came back with five crumpled up $1 bills so that he could make a $5 bet. He lost, was gone for another hour, and then came back and did it again.

I'm okay with people who come every day, some people enjoy it. But I hate to see people play with money they shouldn't bet with.

UnrelatedInsult10 karma

How many people get thrown out in an average night?

Also, do you have any special training in counting cards?

Yo_Eleven19 karma

I'd guess 2-3 people on a weekend night. The people that get "thrown out" are usually 12 or 24-hour evictions for intoxication.

Special training in counting cards? No, the casino didn't offer me training. I had to show that I could to become a Pit, though.

AdmiralAkbar17 karma

Has a casino ever been robbed while you were working?

Yo_Eleven12 karma

Not that I'm aware of!

Tejas576 karma

ever send someone off to look for a left-handed roulette ball?

Yo_Eleven12 karma

"Hey, new guy, we need you to find the wheel grease. Go ask the shift manager." YES I HAVE.

poker_saiyan5 karma

I'm an avid poker player and I've always wondered, do casinos keep track of my winnings/losings at the poker tables too? Also do they follow me around the casino and keep a close eye on me if I play higher stakes or am a regular at the poker tables?

Yo_Eleven19 karma

The casino doesn't care if you play poker, to be honest. There's a reason most places will give you only maybe $5-$10 of food comps if you play for eight hours - the casino doesn't really profit off of you since you're just playing against other people. The rake is basically the casino leasing out the space and the dealer.

AutoBond5 karma

What is your take on the advent of legalized on-line gambling in some states? Do you see this affecting you or your bottom line?

Is this the "job stealer" the Pols are carping about, or is this just another throw away issue to fill warchests and line cheap-suit pockets in the year before an election?

Yo_Eleven22 karma

I don't see online gambling ruining brick-and-mortar casinos at all. People like coming for the experience, it's not just the gambling.

dong_wellington4 karma

Hey'o. I have a short list: 1. If my 2 friends and I come up to a blackjack table looking to screw the dealer at the table, how quickly will you shoo us away? Anything you're looking for in particular... aside from overt verbal communication?

  1. How often do you notice that people are just using the casino to change money (do the laundry- ya know?)? Does anyone really care?

  2. How many people go in trying to use the double-up method? Any success stories with it?

  3. I don't know why you would, but do you every play online?

  4. Ever worked for tribal casinos? Any difference between those and the traditional commercials?

Yo_Eleven12 karma

What do you mean by "screw the dealer?" Do you mean trying to pick up a female dealer, or just trying to be a dick? Either way we wouldn't let that happen, if we don't back up our dealers it'll be our asses when they report what happened and that we did nothing. Don't be a dick.

1 - Money laundering happens very rarely where I've worked, but when it does we report it and let our upper management take it from there.

2 - I assume you're talking about the Martingale system, where you double your bet after every loss? I've seen plenty of multi-hand/spin/roll losing streaks, so it always fails. It's mathematically designed to fail when the streak gets too big for your bankroll (or for the maximum bet on the table.)

3 - I don't even play at a live casino! I played online poker a bit when I was much younger.

4 - I have, I've worked for both. They tend to have fewer regulations (since they aren't really governed by the state.)

boilerspartan0 karma

They say after you crap out and the four comes up next, we can expect a YO. How often is that true?

Yo_Eleven25 karma

Not true at all. Every roll is independent of any roll before or after it.