Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hit a Royal, Deal a Royal. In that order

Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas, NV
Yes, folks, it's that time of the year in Las Vegas. Don't even give me the "but it's a dry heat" bullshit. Actually, 100 IS tolerable. It's the 112-115 days that are simply brutal.
Been a long time, been a long time, been a long lonely, lonely, lonely time.


A lot of people had a fit over this marquee. If you look closely at the bottom you will see the word TRIP. This was a tongue-in-cheek advertisement for a promotion at the new Bistro Buffet inside the Palms. Take a pill, people.

On Tuesday I was fortunate enough to deal a diamond royal flush (with both hole cards playing this pays a jackpot in our room). When high hand jackpot is dealt the dealer must count down the deck and surveillence is notified. They view the hand and verify that there wasn't anything unusual about how the hand played out. This verification takes a minute or so. After they give the OK, we can push the pot but it still may take a little bit for the floor to prepare the payout. With a jackpot over $599 it takes a little longer because there is paperwork involved for the dear folks at the IRS. This jackpot happened to be for $860.
After pushing the pot in this instance and before the jackpot money was delivered, the winner pushed me a stack of blue chips from the pot while stating that he "wasn't done". This could mean anything but I was thinking SWEET. When the jackpot money was delivered he pushed me about $60 more in red and asked "Is that appropriate/is it enough". Are you effing kidding me? You were very generous. Come again, please.
Of course this is not a common occurrance and I believe I may have dealt 7-8 royals in 3.5 years. Sometimes you hit a sweet spot and the player makes your day.
Thank you, Sir!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Not So New Frontier

Another venerable Las Vegas strip casino has a date with an implosion. It has been announced that the New Frontier will close the doors on July 16, 2007.

I visited the property today for what will likely be the last time. Of course I visited the Westward Ho for the "last" time on three separate occasions and ended up being one of the last patrons to exit the building on it's final day.

Ironically, the last time I was in the New Frontier it was for the purpose of viewing the implosion of the last of the Desert Inn towers.

Although the Frontier/New Frontier/Last Frontier, in one incarnation or the other, has been around since the 40's, most will just shrug when it joins the growing list of landmarks that went BOOM.

Here are some views of The New Frontier.

The site is surrounded by a lot of new construction!
To the North, the old Stardust site is being prepped. Could the demise of Circus Circus be the next big announcement?

Actually situated on the New Frontier property is the new Trump building.

Directly across the strip, Encore rises beside sibling Wynn, LV.

A little to the Southeast, Palazzo races skyward.

Here's to the future.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Running Scared

From Inside Gaming comes this news:

... Fiesta Rancho, reversing a trend, closed its five-table poker room May 13; it was one of the few poker venues in the valley that still permitted smoking ...

Very, very interesting.

If anyone knows what happened to the poker room staff there please let me know. Were they transferred to other areas within the property or simply terminated?


On the Bellagio poker room:

"I was told that comps are for the higher limit players. One player told me that it was cheaper to just go buy a sandwhich than have to bribe the Floor for a comp."

"I'm told that you can be moved up the list if you are willing to grease their palm. Thanks, but no thanks."

These quotes are from an older trip report on

Yesterday at a no limit table the chatter turned to this issue at a
famous strip poker room. It seems that a half dozen, give or take a
few, floor people have been terminated for these practices.


If you have even been inside the "new" Aladdin, you sure wouldn't recognize the place now. Planet Hollywood is finally up and running and the casino floor (the only part of the casino/hotel that I've seen since the changeover) is very nice. Gone are the gaudy fake jewels adorning every post, nook and cranny. Sleek decor now abounds. Check it out, you won't believe it's the same place.


John L. Smith is intimately familiar with the tactics of Steve Wynn. Mr. Smith is the author of Running Scared, a book that exposes many aspects of Wynn's life that Steve would prefer not be revealed. Wynn sued in an attempt to keep the book from being published. I got published anyway.

Below is John L. Smith's column from May 15th. You can click here to view the column in it's original form.

May. 15, 2007 Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal

JOHN L. SMITH: Wynn shoots himself in the foot with bid to redistribute dealers' tips

Steve Wynn once shot off his index finger while playing with a
pistol. You'd think he would have learned his lesson.
Last September, Wynn fooled with the wrong end of another gun when he forced his dealers to share their tokes with floor supervisors.
Bang. That'll show those dealers.

But in no time, it was Wynn who was doing the bleeding.
Not at his lusty bottom line, but in the image department.
Like workers in some gaudy gulag, Wynn Las Vegas dealers were warned not to speak with the press after the change. When they did, some media scolds chided them for being ungrateful.
I've rarely seen such journalistic fretting about what working
people earn. Breathless stories of dealers making up to $100,000 a year -- most of that in tokes, mind you, for their hourly wage is a pittance -- made them appear greedy and ungrateful.
I'll let others measure the depth of the dealers' gratitude. In a business that celebrates greed, one that finds casino operators scoring insane salaries and scooping up gargantuan net profits, how
anyone can criticize the dealers for battling to hang onto their tips is beyond me.
Last, the card pitchers were warned against attempting to
organize. Over the weekend, they voted by an overwhelming majority to do just that, electing to invite the New York-based Transport Workers Union of America to negotiate with management on their behalf. It was a decision that took real courage in the face of Wynn's intimidating influence.From the start, state bureaucrats and Wynn's lawyers warned the dealers they had no legal standing. They were told to save their money and forget about litigation.
They didn't listen.They received only a partial hearing at the peoples' Legislature after an Orwellian afternoon in which they weren't allowed to mention the name of their billionaire boss. And yet they still refused to quit.When they talked about organizing, they were reminded how quickly they could be replaced.
Some, in fact, were replaced.
But as the months passed and Wynn's profits
from his Strip and Macau casinos were reported along with his own $6 million annual salary, the story began to refocus. Legalities and ethics aside, Wynn had robbed Peter the dealer to pay Paul the floor boss, and he looked bad doing it. And looking bad is something Steve Wynn hates to do.
After 40 years in the casino racket, Wynn has made a vast fortune by being a good boss and by reminding people about all the class he brings to the Strip. But in one move the multibillionaire made himself look cheap. He "redistributed" the dealers' tips without their consent, then tried to portray the dumb decision as an innovative business move. It was such a bright idea that not one major casino corporation endorsed it.
When the blue smoke and bullying failed, Wynn tried the direct
approach. Addressing his dealers on the eve of the election, his tough-guy talk was replaced by the measured speech of a contrite father figure, who apologized for his mistake and expressed gratitude for all the dealers have meant to his success. He implored them to vote against the union and said, "I gotta be your guy in order for us to really get great."
It was taped and disseminated on the Internet.
Trouble is, the dealers' guy screwed them out of a piece of
their tips. Wynn should have rescinded his stupid policy before the unionization effort began. It probably would have derailed it.
Instead, he escalated a fight that can only hurt morale at his casino. Not many good-news stories are generated from union contract negotiations.
Wynn is a brilliant guy in many ways, but is there no one in his life who tells him when he's full of baloney and headed in the wrong direction?
Over the years, Wynn has had a great relationship with his workers. Word of a new Wynn property opening sends a buzz
of excitement through the casino worker subculture. People were genuinely thrilled to be part of his operations because they knew they'd be flying first class and making arguably the best tokes in the business.
Steve Wynn has blown his credibility with his people.
Now he'll have to hustle to stanch the bleeding from his self-inflicted wound.
John L. Smith's column appears
Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. E-mail him at or
call 383-0295.


Two pics of the old and one of the new. The construction pic is of City Center as seen from Tropicana just West of the 15 (Near Wild Wild West)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Wynn Succeeds Where Others Have Failed

As prediced, Steve Wynn has managed to motivate his dealers to organize.

The final tally is 444 FOR the union, 149 against. Nearly 75% voted YES.

Nearly 75%! It's been said that you couldn't get two dealers to agree on pizza toppings, let alone asking for union representation. Congratulations Mr. Wynn. You have cemented your legacy in this town, state and nation.

Do the right thing, Mr. Wynn. Don't contest the vote. Don't drag the negotiations out for months. Your "family" has spoken. They trust a third party more than they trust you and in desperation they have cast what amounts to a no-confidence-in-you vote. Here's you chance to start rebuilding a relationship with your employees.

Wynn dealers, keep the faith during the negotiation process.

The rest of the town is indeed watching closely. Thank you for doing what had to be done.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Amazing Aerial Tornado Damage Photos

As a child I used to have nightmares about tornados. Invariably I would be in the basement looking out of the small windows there. The dream-tornado would always come from the crest of the mountain and roar into the valley.

Mom always reassured me that because we lived in the mountains, tornados weren't a concern.

When I was in my twenties, a cat 4 tornado cut a path through the Frostburg area about 12 miles from where I grew up. The can, and do occur most anywhere.

The best we can do is stand in awe of the power they unleash.

The other serial nightmare of my childhood involved the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker emerging from the silverware drawer in our "old" house. Even after we moved from that house, it was torn down, and a state road was constructed directly over where the house once stood those three devils still made appearances on occasion.

Anyone want to interpret that one?


Several people have chided me about not posting more often. Frankly, I wish I had started an annonymous blog. Although I like incorporating family and friends on this virtual page, my daily reality is work related. I desperately want/need to rage against all that is wrong at my workplace.

Apathy and neglect reign supreme..... and we are all adrift.

Today the stone tablets were delivered from the mount. Among MANY other "thou shall nots" is the thou shall not play "on the clock". Given that we are perpetually over-staffed this will only serve to compound that issue.

Why? you ask. It seems that an on-the-clock dealer not only check-raised, but did so on a bluff and then showed said bluff when the other player folded to the check-raise. Showing a check-raise bluff is not always good for the game.

The player went berzerk. Part of me wishes that he would have been told to get over it, it's part of the game. (despite the fact that our handbook forbids check raising while clocked in). A HUGE part of me wishes that, like other similar situations where rules are violated by certain employees, said employees were addressed individually and disciplined. Jerking the rug out from under EVERYONE because of one persons misdeeds is not, in my humble opinion, the best management strategy. ***disclaimer*** that is only MY SUGGESTION of how to better manage and should not necessarily be construed as a direct criticism of management....incase anyone is actually reading this.

Yes, I need an annonymous outlet...and I need it soon!

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