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Blackjack Insider Newsletter, October 2002, #34



Hello Readers:

Mr. Pit Boss here again. I hope all of you gained a little knowledge from my last article and subsequently had a profitable month. Today I thought Iíd tell you about the impact that 9/11 had on Las Vegas business and the lasting affects itís had on card counters and advantage players.

I have been employed in the gaming industry for over a decade now, working for hard core sweat houses to the laid back attitude of Steve Wynnís properties, where the culture was "the customers come first" and "donít worry because the profits at the end of the year will always be up". I can honestly say that I started with the bad, seen the good, and now Iím looking at the worst.

For a couple of weeks after 9/11, business fell dramatically. Las Vegas was definitely impacted by this tragic event as well as many businesses across the country. However, the slow down was short lived but unfortunately, the wheels to "cut costs", were already in motion. I witnessed massive, unnecessary layoffs. We were told the sole purpose of this was to "protect profits and keep us running".

As it turned out, it only protected the highly publicized bonuses of corporate executives. Who do you think paid for these record bonuses? It was not only the thousands of people who lost their jobs, but you, the customer, are paying. If these executives had gone just one year without their bonuses, no one would have been affected. Their excessive bonuses have only motivated them further to tighten the ropes. Whether itís by keeping payroll down, which in turn affects your quality of customer service, or by tightening the comps.

Two of the major corporations in town have "linked" their different properties by using one "corporate-wide" player card. Now they can not only track your play at each of their properties, but more importantly, they can track every single comp you receive. When Mr. Wynn ran the show, comps were much more liberal. He knew that heíd more than make up for them in the end. Unfortunately, the new attitude is "if they donít earn it-they donít get it".

Before 9/11, it wasnít uncommon for dealers to be very concerned with entertaining players that they sometimes mistakenly made an incorrect payoff. When mistakes did occur on the game it also wasnít uncommon for the floor supervisor to say, "pay the layout", with the dealer, at the worst, getting a verbal warning. Now dealers, floor supervisors, and pit managers are under the constant stress of losing their jobs so that the dealers are more focused on the game (and less on the customer) and you probably wonít hear "pay the layout" from floor supervisors as much. Nowadays the floor and pit are told to be on a constant lookout for card counters and advantage players so they are quicker to report any suspicious activity.

My advice to counters and advantage players that figure in comps as part of their profits is to play in the local casinos and stay away from the strip properties. However, keep in mind that if your playing in local casinos youíll have to use smaller spreads to stay under the radar. If you try to jump from a $25 bet to say a $200 bet with a high plus count, chances are you wonít have to worry about your comp because youíll probably be asked to leave (i.e., be careful increasing your betting level from one hand to the next).

If you donít figure comps in your profits, then play on the strip, preferably in one of the larger casinos during busy hours and in the busier pits. Unfortunately, even the large casinos with their huge profits are bringing a new meaning to the word "sweat"!

Good luck at the tables, from your fellow card counter,

Mr. Pit Boss

Mr. Pit Boss is a seasoned veteran who has worked in the casino industry for over a decade on the Las Vegas strip. He has experience in all casino games.

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