To be profitable, like any other business, casinos need customers. The more players (customers), the more revenues a casino can expect.
Casinos have huge expenses: salaries for its staff, utilities, supplies, maintenance and repair of equipment and facilities, and on and on. And, of course, they must make a profit for the owners. (Why else be in business?)
In California, most of their income is derived from the rakes dropped through a slot on the table, into a box under the table, at the conclusion of each hand. If there are too many empty tables, they lose out on revenues. So they need to attract and keep their customers. Why am I telling you this? I am sure this is nothing new.
Recently I attended a seminar on investing for retirees. It included an elegant luncheon at a fancy restaurant. I was seated next to an elderly gentleman in his 80’s and apparently quite wealthy. We chatted as we waited for the investment seminar to start.
As is often the case, we soon found ourselves discussing the game of poker. He too loves playing poker, especially Texas hold’em. He plays once a week with a group of buddies, and does quite well, he told me.
“I decided to see what it was like playing in a casino,” he said. So he drove from his home in an upscale beach community to a local casino in the L.A. area. I suspect what I am about to tell you could have happened at many other casinos as well.
As he was seated at the table, he observed two Asian-Pacific gentlemen speaking in a foreign language. That bothered him. He explained, “I had no idea what they were talking about.”
He called this to the attention of the dealer, whose response was to dismiss him with, “That’s OK.” “Well,” he told me, “it may have been OK with the dealer but it wasn’t with me.
How do I know they weren’t playing in collusion – cheating?” He looked at me for a response. I nodded my agreement, and offered an excuse in defense of the dealer: “I know there are Rules of Conduct while playing in every casino. Perhaps it’s OK to speak in a foreign language before the cards are dealt out.”
“Oh, no,” his face and voice tone expressing his anger, “this continued throughout the entire hand. I folded my hand and decided this was not for me.” At that point, he gathered up his chips, cashed out and drove back home. His adventure was over!
Not only did that casino lose a potential customer, but how about the other casinos he might have visited? Now, he will probably restrict his poker playing to his home game.
In a sense, he too has lost out. He may never enjoy the excitement and challenge of playing against a variety of player types. If his home-game buddies are like him, there probably is no maniac to learn how best to play against (and delight in bluffing him out).
When a player loses his stake, there probably is no one to replace him. The table often may be short-handed. There are so many things that a casino offers to players; but he probably will never experience these.
I checked it out: I readily found a copy of the casino’s Code of Conduct. It was printed in large letters and easy to read (all in English, by the way). Among the many topics included, here’s what it says about speaking in a foreign language: “English only while at the gaming tables.”
That says it loud and clear. No ifs, ands or buts. Only English – no foreign language is allowed to be spoken at the table. I am rather surprised the dealer did not know this rule. And I do intend to inform the casino so its management can properly inform its staff, especially the dealers and floor people.
Have you ever experienced this at any casino? There will be a special prize for the reader presenting the best comment during the two weeks after publication of this column.
An easy way of losing poker customers is not knowing rules
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