5 Things I Learned Working At A Casino

Flickr / Ted Murphy
Flickr / Ted Murphy

Casino work is not glamorous. All those commercials on TV showing young, attractive people throwing back their heads in ecstasy as they clink champagne glasses and throw dice across the card tables are lies.

In reality, the people who frequent casinos are rather unattractive, are loud, surly and very poor losers. They are also addicted like crack heads to…well…crack. Regulars wouldn’t leave the casino for days. There they’d sit at the table, losing, losing, losing, and never move. They also stank. Their bodies, their breath, their spirits. It all reeked.

But I don’t regret working at the casino. In fact, I rather enjoyed myself. My supervisors and co-workers were fantastic. They were some of the best people I have worked with. Some of the players were funny, kind and lighthearted about gambling. It was nice when they approached the entire thing as a game rather than a job.

Here are the five important things I learned from my casino job:

1. “Customer service” isn’t just a trendy phrase

Don’t EVER talk back to a customer, especially a gambler. Not only is it unprofessional, it will get you fired in a heartbeat. Also, the guests don’t appreciate it and will tell you so loudly, with lots of hands gestures…and possibly their fists.

2. Never work a job that makes you rely on tips

Dealers at the casino have it rough. They take a lot of shit from the floor-men and players and have to depend on those same players to provide them tips because their base pay is peanuts. But here is the thing: Players don’t like tipping. It showed me that relying on a job based on tips will always disappoint and always leave you broke.

3. Supervisors are redundant; co-workers are indispensable

I’ve always suspected as much, but it wasn’t until this job that I learned just how valuable co-workers are. I learned more from them than from my bosses. That is saying something as I had seven alternating supervisors. Questions answered, general feedback, and good advice all came from my peers. I couldn’t have gotten the job done effectively without them.

4. The pursuit of money is a dangerous path

Players fighting over ten dollar chips, players fighting over table seats, players willing to risk heavy fines to cheat at five dollar blackjack, players with tired faces and red eyes, all hoping to win a large payout. Gambling is a horrible addiction, not saying it isn’t, but at the root of many players’ problems is the sheer lust for buckets full of money. After this job, I know there are more important things in life than to chase paper.

5. ABI: Always Be Improving

As much as I liked working at the casino, there is a truth I have to admit: I couldn’t be stuck working there for more than six months. More truth? I understood that people at the casino had settled, not because they couldn’t do better, but because they just weren’t driven enough, they just didn’t believe enough in themselves. Too many had given up on their dreams, on finding better careers. I have to always improve or risk settling.

Also, FYI to any gamblers reading this: The house ALWAYS wins. TC mark

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