A wide variety of conversations can be overheard while walking throughout the floors of a casino.
Blackjack tables often feature subdued banter between hands, while craps and roulette tables can be more raucous. These conversations typically depend on how everyone at the table is faring and the types of personalities present.
While the topics are as unpredictable as the conversationalists discussing them, there is always one constant: the dealer.
Talking and Gambling
When topics to mull over seem to dry up, it’s as if most gamblers are hard-wired to turn to the person dealing cards. Some might appreciate an invitation to opine their thoughts; others are less agreeable.
That often depends on how stimulating the discussion is. There might not be a how-to when it comes to striking up a chat with your dealer.
Other questions are plain disrespectful, and if posed to a dealer, can result in some discomfort around the table.
To help keep your conversations original and courteous, here are seven questions every casino dealer is tired of answering.
How Long Have You Been Dealing Cards?
There’s often a moment in conversations with service industry workers when you enter an uncomfortable period of silence.
That typically occurs after greetings and pleasantries are exchanged. With no more formalities to take care of, the subsequent conversation can go in a number of different directions.
If you’re getting a haircut, those greetings might be some of the only words spoken. While drinking at a bar, it’s socially acceptable to focus on the game after the bartender’s done making your cocktail.
Similarly, nowhere in the gambling rule book does it say you must converse with casino employees. Despite that, the aforementioned awkward silence can be too much to handle for many.
Queue what is arguably the world’s laziest and most-asked question. “So, how long have you been dealing cards?”
If everyday life had a soundtrack to accentuate interactions, this question would likely be followed by shattered glass or sad trombones.
All joking aside, the question is completely harmless. It’s not as if a dealer will sic the pit boss on you for trying to talk to them.
But, consider the fact that your dealer likely gets asked about the duration of their employment all the time. Plus, most questions that follow this tired old inquiry lead to a dead end.
Do Gamblers Usually Tip You Well?
Hopefully, if you’re reading this, you’re aware of the significance of tipping casino staff; if not, here’s a brief run down.
Like waiters, bartenders, and even the guitar player perched outside your favorite coffee shop, dealers depend on tips. The typical base pay for casino dealers is fine, but it doesn’t adequately compensate many employees.
Growing up, my parents always advised against asking adults how old they were, how much they weighed, and how much money they made. If they want to offer that information to you, fine, but much of that is far too personal to ask on a whim.
While I still subscribe to my parent’s teaching, others don’t share my perspective on this matter.
It might be okay to ask your buddy how much his new job is paying him under certain circumstances. But, asking a complete stranger how much they make after tips is completely inadvisable.
What’s the Most Money You’ve Seen Someone Win?
The previous question is rarely appropriate to ask a dealer. It’s discourteous and may be perceived as rude and intrusive.
However, asking a dealer about some of their craziest experiences is much less frowned upon.
A popular question I seem to hear most of the times I’m gambling deals with major wins and significant losses. For the sake of maintaining transparency, I’ve been known to ask this question occasionally.
Most of the time, a dealer’s answer is both underwhelming and seemingly rehearsed. That’s probably because they’ve had this exact conversation with countless gamblers.
If you’re desperate to converse with the dealer at your table, it might be worth asking this. Just don’t be surprised if you’re met with a deep sigh and a curt reply.
Do You Gamble Here on Your Days Off?
Assuming a casino dealer is an avid gambler is an understandable assumption to make.
It stands to reason they didn’t just happen across a random job listing in the classifieds. Dealing cards often carries the same mystique and inspires the same level of interest as bartending.
It’s natural to think that a real money blackjack dealer loves to gamble just as a bartender loves to drink.
While that assumption is somewhat logical, it’s not always correct.
At the very least, they are prohibited from gambling in the section where they deal. It might be unfortunate, but permitting this practice could create several conflicts of interest and problematic situations.
I know this because dealers have been forced to explain it to gamblers since the dawn of man.
Even if a particular casino allows this, how many people enjoy going to work on their day off?
What’s the Worst Part of the Job?
Under the best circumstances, a casino table is a place of entertainment and feelings of relative joy. Gambling is, before anything else, a fun and enjoyable activity.
That doesn’t always come to pass, but hopefully, negative gambling encounters are the exception instead of the rule.
During pleasurable gambling stints, certain occurrences can easily derail the mood of the table. That might come in the form of an antagonist’s arrival at your table or someone deciding to test the limits on a casino “free drink” policy.
These events are often a dramatic spectacle; however, more subtle events can be just as detrimental to the positive vibe.
I’ve discussed several questions that come into conversation after racking your brain during lulls at the table. When all else fails, it might seem appropriate to interrogate the dealer and pepper them with questions about the job.
During this stage, a common query is a dealer’s least favorite aspect of the job. While significantly less classless than other questions, this one is still problematic.
If the dealer answers truthfully, it’s likely unprofessional. If they deflect, it can get uncomfortable. No one really wants to hear other people gripe and bring down the table’s mood.
When’s the Other Dealer Coming Back?
Due to the demanding and taxing nature of the job, dealers often rotate between tables. They are also given frequent breaks to make sure they can stay sharp and fresh.
During these rotations, one of two things typically take place.
Either the table in question becomes infatuated with the new dealer, or they start losing and begin counting the minutes until the other dealer returns.
The dealer who kills a heater is often subject to ill will, and even the wrath of less level-headed gamblers. But, even if the table seems to have shifted with the changing of dealers, they shouldn’t be made to feel bad.
Treat Your Casino Dealers Well
Any self-respecting gambler should attempt to stay on good terms with the casino staff, and avoid being like the types of gamblers that dealers hate. For whatever reason, many believe the best way to do so is by striking up conversations at the tables.
This often leads to the same line of questioning and subsequent awkward situations.
If you think a dealer is open to socializing with gamblers, there’s no harm in engaging them in conversation. Most dealers are decent conversationalists and don’t mind a bit of chatter.
But, after countless hours of dealing cards, many lines of conversations can grow stale. For that reason, you should consider avoiding certain types of questions.
It should go without saying, but never ask a dealer how much they make. Casino employees might seem more approachable than other service industry workers, but that inquiry is still inappropriate.
Gamblers can sometimes lack originality, so it’s safe to assume that most dealers have been asked about their best and worst experiences at a casino.
While these aren’t necessarily frowned upon, your dealer deserves better and is likely tired of telling the same stories over and over.