I am going to preach in this column. I figure after 25 years of writing, I deserve a day on the soapbox.
I think if casino dealers, hosts and other employees are excellent; if they give professional, courteous and friendly service; if the dealers make you enjoy playing at their tables, or going to their hotels, if they give outstanding personal service, then you should write letters of commendation for them. I know some readers will say, “Of course, of course, that is not soapboxy, just something we should do.” This letter writing can be used to praise check-in clerks, waiters, waitresses, and stationary store clerks – anyone who made you feel happy to be there.
Yet, of the tens of thousands of people who play in casinos and stay in casino hotels every single day, I ask this: What small percentage – what mini-fraction of a percentage – of players actually return home, put pen to paper (or keyboard to e-mail) and send off a letter letting the casino executives know that they have a stellar crew?
I know the tendency is that we are more inclined to write nasty letters about how poor the attitude of casino dealers or hosts, or other employees might be, rather than write a piece in praise for those who excel.
Let me give you what I don’t like so you can appreciate what I do like. In one of the premier Las Vegas properties I was subjected to snarky comments made by dealers while I played craps. The dealers snickered and smirked; they said such foolish things as, “You know playing that way doesn’t work.” Why would any good employee at a casino say that to a player at his table? What made this even more idiotic was the fact that I am a consistent tipper.
These dealers essentially ignored the players, continually cross-talked (they talked to each other about things other than the game) and were cold and impolite when asked questions. The box person was no different. He was a snarler and a frowner.
At that same casino, I had a hostess who was the “leastest.” She rarely answered your e-mails and when she did they were usually one-word answers such as “Okay,” “Yes,” "Done.” Never a single sentence such as “We look forward to seeing you again,” or some such. She was also unpleasant in person, although in such one-on-one conversations she actually used sentences.
So what kind of letters should you write in praise of casino people, places and things? Here is a recent example of a letter CasinoCity Times columnist Jerry “Stickman” and I sent to Mr. Tom Pohlman, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Atlantic City’s Golden Nugget.
Dear Mr. Pohlman:
Table-game players enjoy the excitement of the games but just as important is the professionalism of the dealers working those games. If a player encounters poorly performing, bored, hostile, cold, cross-talking and impersonal dealers it can be a real turn-off. Such personnel can send a player fleeing to one of your neighbors.
A good casino needs good games and great personnel to hold on to experienced players.
Atlantic City’s Golden Nugget has both.
We enjoy the game of craps and have played it just about everywhere, from Vegas through the Midwest, to destinations in Canada, in Mississippi and in Louisiana. We’ve played on cruise ships and on the islands. We are inveterate craps players. In short, we have long-run experience.
On our recent trip we played daily sessions with your morning crew. We loved them. Yes, they are truly professional but just as important as their personal attention to the game; their friendliness to us as players was second to none. If every casino had dealers such as these, craps would not be a fading game.
On various mornings the following dealers made our play a delight (we didn’t get all the last names and we missed a couple of people, sorry about that, list in alphabetical order): Rosario Catacioti, Tom Gulone, Kenneth, MD, Reggie Williams.
We had some winning sessions and some losing sessions. When we were winning, your dealers cheered us on; when we were losing they sympathized and encouraged us. We felt as if they were a true part of the game. We felt they were our friends and they wanted us to do well. There was none of that far-away, cold body language or indifference to our situation at any given time – and a few times our situation was Titanic-like.
We both realize it is not easy dealing with the public. A dealer can be having a great day at the tables and suddenly one angry, obnoxious player can make the day drag on. Keeping that bright outlook and performing one’s job even in the face of such annoyingly hostile players is a credit to your dealers’ professionalism. This crew was totally superior in their attitude and their handling of the players and the game.
We also want to tip our hats to Dipak, MD and Siurti at your Pai Gow Poker games. Your Pai Gow dealers gave us the same high-level and friendly professionalism.
Lastly, our host Alan Korman is without peer. We are RFB at many casinos and have a host of hosts but Alan is amazing. Each birthday, each holiday, he calls us to wish us the best. He makes a point of meeting us at the property. The man is a gem.
The Golden Nugget should be proud of them all. They are an asset to your company. We both look forward to our return to Atlantic City’s Golden Nugget in the near future.
[Please let them each see a copy of this letter to let them know how much we appreciate them. If you have employee files please include a copy of this. Thanks.]
All the best in and out of the casinos,
Now, are there other casinos that deserve to have their dealers rewarded with high praise for a job highly done? Absolutely. I know that across America and in Canada, there are many great dealers who would love to hear from their players – and have their bosses hear about them. The above letter is just one recent example from two very satisfied customers.
OK, I just stepped off my soapbox.
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