AMA with Jay Shapiro Table Games Director at Sunset Station

Heather Ferris: Hello, welcome back to Vegas Aces. My name is Heather Ferris and we have a special guest today Jay Sapiro the Director of Table Games from Sunset Station.

Jay: Hi.

Heather: Thank you so much for being on.

Jay: My pleasure.

Heather: We are really happy to have you on today. We are going to be talking about the casino industry, what it is like to be a casino manager or run a casino. Also any inside things you want to talk about. We are going to talk about the pencil. We will get into all of that.

Jay: First thing I want to say, all of my views are my own. They do not represent Sunset Station or Station casinos or anybody connected with that. Anything stupid that I say is all on me.

Heather: And thank you for taking time out of your day to join us and answer our questions.

Jay: My pleasure. I love watching the live streams, it’s a lot of fun.

Question: Which game gives you the most concern from the protection standpoint.

Answer: Jay: That is a great question. I would have to say that has to be craps. The reason is on craps a lot of the stuff is verbal, and survance is only visual so there has to be someone there to make sure things are happening the way it should be happening. That is probably the biggest challenge is protecting the craps game.

Heather: Okay. That is basically the box person's job right? So you have three dealers on there and one box man. Then you usually have the stick man watching one side and checking and making sure the base dealer is doing their thing. And then you have the box man watching the other side and making sure that that dealer is doing their thing. It’s like a double - you always have four eyes on the layout.

Jay: That is the way it used to be. A lot of casinos have eliminated the box man position. They will have a floorman that is standing or sitting down or way at the other end of the pit having a coffee. That is something that casinos have done over the 20 years to eliminate that position to save some money.

Heather: Do you think that is a rising trend? Do you think that is something that is going to continue or do you think the corporations are going to realize that they need that position?

Jay: A good box man will save you way more than their daily salary in mistakes. A bad box man will steal way more than their daily salary off the game. So it’s a two way street there.

Heather: Do you have to worry about that a lot? Floorman for example stealing?

Jay: I don’t.

Heather: Well I mean not you in particular. But as a casino manager, as a table game –

Jay: That is always something to be aware of. There are a lot of things that you need to do to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Heather: When I was working at one of the casinos they actually told us that the casino is equally worried about their employees stealing as much as they are worried about the players stealing. That is one of the reasons why we have policies and procedures. We have to go by procedure and if we do anything that is not by procedure then that is a good reason to give us a second look.

Jay: That is absolutely correct. They have made these procedures – everytime there is a move or someone does something the casino will create a procedure to stop that move. The procedure is always stronger than the move. As long as dealers are following the procedures the casino should be pretty safe. Anytime there is something going on, they have to violate a procedure in one way or another, that is a clue that something needs to be watched.

Question: I understand triple zeros are on some tables on the strip. How many casinos have the three zeros now?

Answer: Heather: I think it’s a lot, right?

Jay: They’re getting to be more of them. It’s starting in some of the tourist casinos. The Venetian was the first to have it. They actually call it Sands Roulette. It is starting to get in the properties where you have more tourist. It's got a house edge that is phenomenal.

Heather: It’s 7.69%.

Jay: Yeah. The game of roulette itself at 5.25% is pretty brutal, making it worse is not a good idea.

Heather: There really aren't very many single zeros out there. But if there are, they don’t have the La Partage principle which is really what gets the house edge down to something really good.

Jay: Single zero roulette you might find in some high limit rooms. I am sure Caesars has them in their salons and some of their other bigger places. For the most part you are going to see double zero wheels out there.

Heather: Yeah. Cool.

Question: How does the casino test their chips and dice? Do they check it regularly on the table?

Answer: Jay: Great question. Whenever we open a table, there is going to be a slip in there that is put in there when they close the game the day before of how much money should be in there. We will check the money. They will usually take out a couple stacks of the largest denomination run one down making sure there are 20 chips.

Heather: That proves to the cameras that that amount is correct, right?

Jay: Yes. Proves to the cameras, proves to the floorman. On a craps game where the chips are sometimes buried in there, they will take out all the high denomination checks to make sure there are no lammers stuck in there. That can be an easy way to steal $500. If I had a stack of $500 chips, that looks like 20 chips. I can put that in the back of the bankroll and cover it up and nobody would know there is a chip missing. It’s the right height because it has that lammer in there or a chip with a different color stuck in there. So that is something we check for.

Heather: And you don’t find that out until you are on a busy table and you are using all of the chips. Then by then you are on a busy table so they don’t care if there is a lammer in there. Oh let’s just take it out and use it.

Jay: Could be. It’s important to check those when the game opens. Then if something happens you know exactly where it’s coming from.

Heather: You usually have two, three, several people checking. You have the dealer making sure the amount is correct. The floorman making sure the amount is correct. And also a shift supervisor I believe, coming around later on coming around to make sure it is correct?

Jay: Usually when it is closed, most places will want three signatures. That way three independent people have checked to make sure that's what’s there. When it opens generally two people, the dealer and the supervisor will check it and make sure it is still right. Once you lock it down it should be the same when you open it back up. You want game security to keep the games locked. 100% game security.

Heather: Yeah but then no one is playing.

Jay: They also asked about the dice. Before we put dice on the game they are checked in a bunch of ways. We put them in a micrometer to make sure that the sides are no more than a fifth of a millimeter or – they have to be within a certain tolerance. We will spin them to make sure they are balanced. We will square them and make sure all the corners and sides are square. And if the die fails any of those tests, they go back in the drawer and back to wherever and we will take a new set out.

Heather: They have to be absolutely perfect on all sides.

Jay: Absolutely perfect. That is so the casino makes their money. If the game is 100% on the square we have people betting one way, people betting the other way, we want to keep it balanced.

Heather: Also, when you are rolling that dice on the craps table and the craps table has a hard table, if the corners of the craps dice are square or absolutely perfect or razor sharp, then it tumbles more and it gives you a more random outcome. That is why they do that correctly?

Jay: When that is happening sometimes those corners will get softer and that is why dice are usually changed at least every eight hours.

Heather: And same thing with the cards. Aren’t cards changed – let me see if I remember this correctly, handhelds are changed every two hours and 6 to 8 decks are changed once a shift.

Jay: Now games where the players don’t handle the cards we will keep them on for 24 hours. But baccarat for example they change every shoe.

Heather: But that depends if it’s Mini Baccarat, Midi Baccarat, or Big Baccarat.

Jay: Baccarat where the players handle the cards they will change every shoe.

Heather: That is Midi and Big. But Mini Baccarat where they don’t handle the cards, is it per shift or 24 hours?

Jay: That is handled just like a blackjack table. If the dealer is just handling the cards, we don’t change them. Unless we have to change them for some reason. If there are bent cards.

Heather: Or if someone spills their beer all over.

Jay: That never happens.

Heather: Are you kidding me?

Jay: Okay. Yeah that happens a lot.

Heather: That is the only time we would clean the chips when someone would spill beer. We had to actually sit there and clean the chips and then the white rags that we would start with would be totally black by the end of it.

Jay: That is true.

Heather: It’s – please wash your hands after you gamble.

Jay: The dirtiest substance in the world is money, and chips are just like money.

Heather: Exactly.

Jay: It’s terrible.

Question: I made a new dice game. How can I get it into your casino?

Answer: Jay: That is another great question. We have a lot of new game inventors that have new games that they want to show. The smart ones will hire somebody like Heather to professionally produce materials and come and show the game. Some are not so professional and try to do it themselves. I am willing to meet with anybody that calls and says they have a new game to show you. I am always happy to give you 10 - 15 minutes to see what you got. For it to actually get into the casino it needs to meet a few criteria that are pretty important.
You need to be able to explain the game to a player within 15 seconds. How to play and what kind of game it is. The game needs to have a house edge that is between a certain level. We don’t want it to be too low, we can’t make any money. We don’t want it too high, because the players won't enjoy playing the game. I run a locals casino. My demographic is about 80% local and 20% tourist. I try to offer the best game I can. You can shear a sheep once a week, you can only skin him once. So I like to give people a chance. Come play and have time on game. Time in a game is a very important statistic that we follow. Want to make sure people get value for their entertainment dollar.

Heather: That is really great advice.

Jay: Your game has to be easily understood by the dealer. Has to be within that range. It has to be interesting. Those are kind of what I am looking for. There is a game right now that I really like that I looked at, that is on field trial right now at Green Valley Ranch. It is called Advantage Play Three Card Furry.

Heather: Cool.

Jay: If I can explain that to you in 15 seconds. So if you know Three Card Poker, the player gets four cards, the dealer only gets three. You play your best three out of four. The dealer is playing their three. That’s it. That is the explanation. Players are like wow that is pretty cool I will try that.

Heather: He got it done in 15 seconds or less.

Jay: That game has a house edge of around 3%. It’s got some side bets that are a little higher that are in the 5% range. That game started on Thursday and people seem to like it. It is doing well.

Heather: If people want to play it, how long do they have to play this game?

Jay: It will be on field trial for 45 days. After that if it is approved by the State of Nevada, it will be good to go everywhere.

Heather: Cool.

Jay: I have already talked to the game inventor and said if it goes well on this field trial I will put one in as well at Sunset.

Heather: That is very cool. That is Green Valley Ranch. You gotta check that out.

Jay: It’s one of our properties. So I can –

Heather: What about custom cards and custom equipment? What about – I saw this one game that was very cool, they had this buzzer. It was a button and you had to press the button before anyone else. That is how they determined it.

Jay: That is a great game to play at home on your kitchen table, not a very good casino game. If your game has cards that are not standard cards, that you need some other cards to run it, that’s probably going to be a deal killer. With the exception of Mystery Card Roulette which is in California that can’t run roulette or craps. That is a separate set of cards that we had to use to run roulette games. But any game that needs proprietary cards of any type, is not going to work too well.

Heather: Or just any equipment really?

Jay: Generally yes. If you are looking at anything more than like a dice shaker for a Pai Gow game, or something like that. It is probably something a casino will shy away from.

Heather: So a dice shaker would be ok?

Jay: Yeah.

Heather: Okay, cool.

Jay: You have to remember if you are putting in a new game it has to do at least as well as the game that I am taking out. Because you have to get that real estate.

Heather: Because that game that you are taking out it’s bringing in a certain amount of money. If you can’t match that then you are losing.

Jay: Correct. If I have to pay you X dollars a month as a licensing fee, it needs to make that much more.

Heather: That makes sense.

Jay: Shawn if you want to show me your game, give me a call at Sunset Station. I will be more than happy to take a look at it for you.

Heather: Nice. Thank you.

Jay: I will give you real feedback. Just don’t ask the question if you are not ready to hear the answer. If you really want to know what I think I will tell you. But that is a good thing too. Maybe you will find out ways you can improve it and maybe you will come up with something awesome.

Heather: That is actually normal. That is normal for a new table game. It’s normal for them to evolve and to change and to grow and become better. It’s just a part of the process. Cool!

Question: How does a person get into the casino as a dealer with no experience?

Answer: Jay: How do you get experience for a job and how do you get a job without experience? There are in Las Vegas particularly, there are joints which we call Break In Joints. They will hire dealers right out of school. The tokes may not be as good as a better casino. You could probably get in with one game. You work your way up from there. In other jurisdictions they will have training classes. One place that I worked we ran classes for people that were in other departments to learn how to deal and then we transferred them over to dealing positions when they became available. At Sunset I am willing to take a chance on somebody with no experience. They have to have an excellent attitude. They have to have good mechanics as far as what they have on the game. I would like them to have two games. I am always willing to look at somebody and give them a chance.

Heather: Awesome. Cool!

Question: Has 6 to 5 payouts on blackjack pretty much eliminated counting?

Answer: It is very difficult to gain an advantage counting a 6 to 5 game. Once again you will find more 6 to 5 games in casinos that cater more to tourists. Casinos that cater to locals will always offer a better game to try to have them come more often. There are a small number of 6 to 5 games at my casino. I have a $3 game that is a 6 to 5 game because a $3 three to two game won’t make enough money to cover the cost of the dealer. Single deck games you will find at 6 to 5. If it were me I wouldn’t play a 6 to 5 game if there were a 3 to 2 game available.

Heather: And you have seen more 6 to 5 games popping up on the strip. Especially nowadays.

Jay: Absolutely. The strip is trying to make money any way they can.

Heather: They are corporations.

Jay: That is their thing. They want to charge you to park, and charge you for everything else.

Heather: Although there has been some blowback. One recent example of that is when parking. When parking you had to pay but they had some blowback. So because of that, now it’s free parking.

Jay: It has blowback twice. First it was you had to pay, then it was you had to show at least $50 in spend to get your parking validated, and now it is just free. I think that is a good thing.

Heather: Yeah. Definitely.

Jay: That is the free market. If I want to charge for parking and nobody wants to come to my casino who suffers for that.

Question: What is a good tables game promo to run without giving away the house?

Answer: Heather: Fantastic question.

Jay: These are awesome questions.

Heather: I know right?

Jay: Table games promos can be anything. Usually they are used to beef up slow times, or to increase busy times. We run promos every weekend at our place where you can win anywhere from $50 to $2500. Obviously it is harder to win $2500 than $50. A few times a night if you are lucky enough to get your name drawn there’s hot seats. All different promos. They are great for bringing in business, they really are.

Heather: They also have the normal promos like Match Play, for example. I think that is the promo that most people are used to seeing where you have a coupon and it matches whatever you play.

Jay: There are Match Play coupons, there are Free Bet coupons where you just come up and play the coupon.

Heather: Promo chips.

Jay: Promo chips. Some of them are play until you lose. Some of them are play once, win or lose. You keep them when you tie but they play once. I have used all of those things in my career. They are all good at different times for different reasons.

Heather: And it’s not something that’s simple that you just do. It’s not like something where the casino manager says oh we will just do this promo chips and – it takes a lot of money, it takes a lot of effort. There is a lot to it.

Jay: You have to do the math.

Heather: Yeah there is a lot of math.

Jay: There are casino managers that have put promotions out there without thinking and the best example of that is the blackjack pays 2 to 1 during these hours. Well during those hours tables are packed full of advantage players and beating the heck out of you. When blackjack pays 2 to 1 the player now has an advantage over the house. The people that put those promotions out, I don’t understand it.

Heather: Yeah and then the casino just ends up losing money.

Jay: And firing the persons whose idea that was.

Heather: Exactly. Promotions are very interesting.

Jay: Any time you are putting a promotion into play, you should always know what the math is. Know what it is going to cost you and know what it’s going to get you in return. Look and see if the ROI is worthwhile.

Question: What levels of management are there at the typical casino? What are their qualifications?

Answer: Jay: These questions are awesome.

Heather: I know. Don’t you love these people? I love these people.

Jay: This is great. Everyone is prepared and asks for good stuff they want to know. I am assuming you are talking about table games. You are starting with the dealer. Watching the dealer is a floor supervisor. Floor supervisor is someone who should generally have at least a year or more of dealing experience. Knowing more games is better. We teach them what to watch for. Their job is based on two things, game security and customer service. Those things are very important and depending on the casino you work for, one may be more important than the other. Depending on again whether you are catering to locals or tourists or whether you are at Whisky Petes where you are on the Nevada/California line and people are just driving through to be there for five minutes and go. You treat all those operations a lot differently.

Heather: Before the dealer goes to the floorman, you also have something in the middle called dual rates.

Jay: Dual rate is a great position where a dealer will deal a few days a week and floor a few days a week. It gives them a chance to learn as they go. It gives them a chance to see if that is something they are interested in. Gives us a chance to see if it is someone who does a good job. That is a good step to becoming a floorman.
Above floorman is a position called pit manager. Like the box man, that is a position that is kind of being eliminated in a lot of places. When I broke in in 1985 in Atlantic City, we had nine pits and each pit had a pit manager. These days you might see a pit manager for the whole floor. Depending again what location you are in and what kind of limits. Above that –

Heather: Before that I have a question.

Jay: Shoot.

Heather: The reason why that is the case is because of corporations and they are just trying to squeeze as much money as they can so that they eliminate that position. They get more money because they don’t have to pay it?

Jay: In table games the number one expense is labor. If I have a restaurant and I have two waitresses in the restaurant each watching five tables, one calls in sick, the other one can watch ten tables. It won’t be the greatest service but they can do it. If I have four tables and I only have three dealers, I can’t open, I lose revenue. So labor is a very very important part of the table games business. It’s the number one expense. Operations people know the value of having someone watching the games that knows what they are talking about. Finance people coming from a different point of view. A lot of times that is a give and take between what the company wants and what the table games director wants.

Heather: So the company normally wins?

Jay: Not necessarily.

Heather: Okay.

Jay: Depending on who can make the stronger argument. There are positions that are unnecessary, that have been removed. It used to be that a floorman would watch one or two games. Now they are watching six. Sometimes more. You used to have ratings on paper and pencil and everything was done that way. Now we have computers and other things. Everybody has a player's card.

Heather: Is there a point where the casinos change things in a detrimental way? Is there a point where that comes back and bites them in the butt?

Jay: They try to just skimp and save. The cheapest does not necessarily mean the least expensive. The right answer is a balance. Knowing where to save money and where to spend money is very very important part of the business.

Heather: That is part of the table games directors job. You are the one that decides what goes.

Jay: That is a big part of what I do. What games go where, what to price them, what promotions to run. Who to hire. How many positions to have, all of that stuff.

Heather: Is that a 40 hour a week job? 60 hour week job? 80 hour week job?

Jay: I am 24/7 except for this hour where I am representing myself. I carry two telephones, and when they call me they call me. Generally I work 50 to 55 hours give or take.

Heather: Is that a common thing? Or do you work more than normal?

Jay: I might be working more than the average bear. I like to come in and see all three shifts as much as possible so I can interact with my people.

Heather: That is really good.

Jay: I spend a lot of time out on the casino floor. Some managers you never see, some are just pictures on the wall. I try to be about 50/50 time out on the floor and time in the office.

Heather: Each casino manager director has their own style of what they do?

Jay: Absolutely. Everybody has their own management style just like in any business.

Question: Can you get a Five Card Charlie in blackjack?

Answer: Jay: There are some blackjack novelty type games that have that as part of their game. I think Super Fun 21 was one that had that. In a normal blackjack game you won’t see that. That might be a promotion that between 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock in the afternoon we will pay even money on a Five Card Charlie. You might see something like that but in general that is not really a rule you will see very often.

Heather: So just basically it was Super Fun?

Jay: Super Fun 21 is where you will see that. There are still a few of those left.

Heather: Really? There are?

Jay: Yeah.

Question: It seems like there are fewer tables with human dealers and more tables that are just electronic. Is this trend likely to continue?

Answer: Jay: What you are looking at – there are two things you are looking at there. One of these games like Bubble Craps that has no dealer, those are basically slot machines. What you are seeing at some places is what is called stadium gaming, where there would be one live dealer dealing a game and then a whole bunch of terminals where people will bet with electronic bets. That is the way you are going to see large casinos post their lower limit games. I know the Venetian has – they advertise $5 games all the time. Those are their stadium games. A lot of places that have baccarat action are going to stadium gaming. Macau has a lot of stadium gaming. It is a trend in the future but as costs go up, especially labor cost, if you are going to offer lower limit games, something has to give. That is an alternative.
Personally I would rather play at a stadium game with a dealer shuffling real cards than a blackjack machine where I don’t really know what’s going on behind the scenes. I would rather also have that interaction with the dealer one on one or seven on one. I think that makes the game.

Heather: What is your opinion on people actually playing the stadium games. When I am walking through the casino I see all the stadium games you are talking about but a lot of times I don’t see any people on there or I see one or two. It’s never really full. Or the dealer is just sitting there looking board. Is that something that people really like?

Jay: It depends on where you are doing it. People that play table games a lot of times they are playing for that interaction. That social interaction where slot players don’t want to be bothered, they just want to bang on their machine and zone out.

Heather: The one armed bandit.

Jay: Not too many have arms any more. They are mostly the five button bandits now.

Heather: In that case they are missing out because those arms were the best part about it.

Jay: Stadium gaming you really don’t get that interaction. You are more or less playing a machine. That dealer is there and you know the dealer is dealing real cards and shuffling real cards but you really don’t get that interaction. A lot of people aren’t looking for that. However, if I walk into the Venetian and I want to play blackjack for $5 a hand, I can play on the stadium game or go somewhere else. It’s what you are looking for. Generally casinos as the limits or minimums go up, you will get a little better game. In a high limit room you might get a little bit better rule set than you will out on the floor. The lowest limit game probably will be a 6 to 5. So depending on what action you want to give is what kind of game you are going to get.

Heather: Okay. Sounds good.

Question: I feel I am getting ripped off at the local casino when I get raided at the craps table. How do I tell?

Answer: Jay: Ratings! That is a really good question. First thing I can tell you is slot players will get more points than table game players.

Heather: Why?

Jay: They have more decisions per hour. In a blackjack game you might get 30 decisions per hour, if you are betting $5 - $10 that is the action you have. On a slot machine you are probably putting hundreds through on that same – even if you are playing pennies at that same time. You are risking more and you are going to get more of a rating. In craps, most places will not give you any credits for the free odds because there is no house advantage. So you won’t get any credit for that. Some places, including Sunset Station, do give credit for the odds up to double your Flat Bet. That is a little commercial for us. Generally the rating and what we give back is a percentage of what’s called the house advantage. The house advantage is how we pay the bills, put the lights on, pay the dealers, pay me, send me on vacations. We will give back a small portion of that in either free play, or comps, or rooms, or whatever. That is the ratings is what we use to do that. Craps we call that about anywhere from 30 to 45 decisions per hour. If you’re looking at the Pass Line it’s a lot less decisions than that, because a lot of bets are up there for quite some time. You can make a Pass Line Bet, shoot for half an hour, and then finally win that bet or 7 out. That is one decision. Craps you are not going to get as high a rating. If you want a high rating play roulette.
The ratings are based on four things, the house advantage on that particular game, the speed of that game, your average bet, and I am blanking on the fourth. Oh and time on the table. Those are the four. Based on that determines the house advantage. Based on the house they will give you back anywhere from a couple percent to ten percent of that number.

Heather: I have a question. With craps in particular, do they just get one rating for just playing craps and it doesn't matter what they are playing. Or does it actually matter what they are playing because you have multi-roll bets, you have single roll bets? You also have the Proposition bets where you have a higher house edge compared to let’s say the Don’t Pass where it is 1.36%.

Jay: It depends on the casino and it depends on what type of system they are using.

Heather: So they all use a different system?

Jay: They all use different systems. There are bets on that table with a 15% house edge and there are bets on that table with a 1% house edge. If you take the full odds, takes it down to less than that.

Heather: Right. So if someone comes to the table and they are just playing the Proposition Bets compared to some who just places a Don’t, would they be rated the same or differently?

Jay: That person is worth a lot more to the casino and it might not show up in the rating but – in table games we also have what are called discretionary comps, a lot of that is based on well this guy was betting a $100 average on the Pass Line and not betting anything. And this guy was betting a $100 on the Hard Ways or the Hot Bets or the Any Seven – I think that is the biggest house edge. Don’t bet that one. Those players have a lot more value to the casino. Then we will give you a lot more back. Just remember there’s no free lunch.

Question: I hear Caesars has Two Times Odds on Dice, Straight Double are other casinos doing this?

Answer: Jay: There are all different ways to look at odds. Straight Double is probably the worst you are going to see anywhere. I don’t think anyone is offering Single Odds anymore. True Double which is what I did when I broke in back in Atlantic City which is double plus a little more. It’s taking the bet and rounding it up. Players that play on True Double Odds know that if they bet $15 it is a better bet than $10 or $20 because they can get more of the odds that way.
A lot of places have what’s called 3-4-5 times which is getting to be pretty standard. Three times on the 4 and 10, 4 times on the 5 and 9, and 5 times on the 6 and 8. Then there are places that offer 100XODDS, like the Cromwell.

Heather: Yes the Cromwell. And there are also 10XODDS too.

Jay: 10XODDS, 20XODDS, there is anything in between. 5XODDS.

Heather: But I think there is only like one or two maybe three casinos that do 20X but there are 10 or 15 casinos that do 10X. I think the majority are 3-4-5s.

Jay: 3-4-5 is what you are going to see most of the time.

Heather: And only the Cromweel has 100X.

Jay: At this point that is the only one that I know of.

Heather: Yep.

Question: Would you prefer a dealer that chats a lot but gets less reps or an efficient stone faced dealer?

Heather: That is a good question.

Jay: Depends on what casino I am working at. If I am working at like I said - I hate to pick on Whiskey Pete's - Whiskey Petes is a truck stop basically. People are coming on their way from California to Las Vegas and they are stopping there to go to the bathroom, maybe play a little bit, because OMG I am in Nevada! Let me gamble! Then they are on their way. If I am there that dealer needs to get as many hands per hour as they can. I want to shear that sheep all the way down to the skin. I may even want to skin that one. If I am running a locals casino, I would like to give great customer service, which is what I do now. My dealers are rated on their guest service more than their hands per hour. If a dealer is talking, deals one card, has a conversation, dealers another card, has a conversation, that is not good. But one that can deal at a reasonable pace and have a conversation and keep the players happy, that is a good thing.
One place that I worked we had ranges where the dealers had to be in a certain hands per hour range. They had to hit a minimum, but they could not go over a maximum. They felt that if they were over that maximum they were not giving enough guest service.

Heather: Yeah. And to mention when they are going that fast you can’t read it. It’s not good for game security. The cameras –

Jay: The cameras can’t read it.

Heather: I know this one dealer who would deal so freaking fast. I seriously couldn’t look at – and she was sloppy and everything. The cards were all over the place. She was just like well I am getting more hands per hour. But she wasn’t dealing a great game.

Jay: No you really are not. You want to deal a nice clean game so it is easily read by surveillance, by the floorman, by the player. Everyone knows what’s going on. There should be no secrets on the game.

Heather: Yes, a nice reasonable pace. Not like a crazy pace.

Jay: Yes. Personally I wouldn’t play with a dealer that’s dealing and chatting and not dealing. And I would not play with the robot. Looking for someone in between if I am going to play.

Heather: You want a good balance.

Jay: I want to enjoy my time and I assume the players want to enjoy their time.

**Heather:**But that is the same thing with casinos. It’s like you have the two, you always need the balance. So it’s not one or the other. Whether it’s getting the game done and being a good dealer, policies and procedures vs customer service, talking with some, keeping the people there, because that is what brings the money in.

Jay: There is always that balance between game security and guest service. I can have 100% game security by putting a little in every game, locking it up and never letting anyone touch the chips. That is 100% game security. I can have 100% customer service by taking the chips out of the rack and handing them to my uncle. There you go there's chips. That is 0% game security and 100% customer service. Somewhere in between there at about 50 - 50 is the right answer. If we don’t have good customer service we will not have any customers. It doesn’t matter if the game security is there or not.

**Heather:**That is a very good point.

Jay: I tend to lean to the customer service side. Again because of the type of casino that I work at.

Heather: Right, because with locals casinos those are your people, they keep coming back every single day. That is your bread and butter basically.

Jay: I see the same players day after day, week after week. I know when their birthdays are. They know when my birthday is. We chat, we talk, we know what’s going on. We run outings, like golf outings with them. I go out and golf with them. We run parties where we invite them to come. It becomes like a family. That is the atmosphere that I like to be in.

Heather: That is really awesome.

Question: I played 175 on the Don't Pass Line, and I hedged the point with an amount. For example I placed 5, I’ll bet $125 to balance my DP bet but it seems that they rate me as a zero because both bets cancel each other out. Is this true?

Answer: Jay: That is another great question. A lot of places will look at that and they will say this guy is not risking anything. But you really are. You are risking $175 on the Don’t Pass on that first roll. That is your average bet. You are risking $125 on that Place Bet. That is a completely separate bet. That is also part of your average. Some places will give you the difference, some places will give you the total. Some places will give you the higher of the two. It depends on their philosophy and how they want to rate that. If you bet $10 on the Pass Line and $10 on the Don’t. And you are just shooting the dice, and the only chance that you have of losing any money is a 12 on the come out roll, you are not going to get a $20 average bet, you are going to get a 10 or even closer to a zero average bet in that case. But the way you put that, I would give you almost most of that full value.

Heather: Okay cool. Oh cool, Dan said next time he comes to Vegas he will come check you out.

Jay: Absolutely, come and find me. It’s been a long time. I worked with Dan in upstate NY and it’s been a long time since I have seen Dan. It will be great to see you. Anyone wants to come find me, I am very easy to find at Sunset Station. Happy to answer questions, happy to look at games, happy to chat. Feel free to come by. Say you saw me on the livestream.

Question: Is Blackjack Switch popular in Las Vegas?

Answer: Jay: Blackjack Switch is a game that has come out. There is a game designer, his name is Jeff Hall. He came out with a bunch of games that all have the same mechanism where if the dealer gets a 22 everything pushes that is left on the layout. He has come up with a bunch of games that use that same mechanism. Blackjack Switch I believe was the first one. It was reasonably popular when it first came out, and it’s kind of lost its popularity. I think I have seen about five places in Vegas that have it. There’s a few of them downtown, there are a few of them in other places. He came up with the next game Free Bet 21 which is probably his most popular game, where you don’t have to pay for your splits and your double downs. This is a neat thing because when you split and double down four times you can lose 8X your bet. You know this way you can only lose 1X your bet but win 8X your bet. But you give that back on the push 22.

Heather: Oh okay, so the push 22 is what brings the house edge back to a reasonable amount –

Jay: Anytime we give you something, we take something back. Blackjack Switch – and he has a couple of other games, Zombie Blackjack, there are a few of those out there. But Blackjack Switch I don’t see as many of those around as there were.

Heather: So I have a question, what makes – if you even know the answer to this -

Jay: If I don’t I will make it up.

Heather: So when you have those really really popular games like Blackjack Switch for example and then they – or Let It Ride -

Jay: Let it Ride oh that is an awesome example.

Heather: Yeah and then it just sorta died and fades into – like what happened? If it was so popular why would it –

Jay: The first of those games was Caribbean Stud. That was the original novelty game with the Joey air quotes. That game was very popular, and then it stopped being popular because people realized that if the dealer didn’t qualify you have a royal flush you are not going to get anything. There was a problem with it. Let It Ride was the next of those games that came out and people really liked that. But every time the next latest and greatest comes out, that game fades a little bit. After Let It Ride was Three Card Poker, which was a hugely popular game when it came out. That had the most placements of any novelty game. I don’t know if it still does. But that game was very popular and that popularity has waned. Yes I have taken my Three Card Poker out a year and a half ago at Sunset. It just lost popularity. The big game now is Ultimate Texas Holdem, that seems to be the most popular. You see that almost everywhere. You will see Progressive Jackpots on those games. Very popular! Other games for example, this game that they put in at Green Valley Ranch, it could have a swell in popularity. It could go for a while and then it could fall off. We put those games in and when they stop being popular we take them out and try something else.

Heather: Do you think the reason why is because the people who play those games are always the same kind of people. It’s that one demographic and then they move from game to game to game and that is why that happens?

Jay: They are looking for two things – players of those games, they are looking for enjoyment and they are looking for a reasonable house edge where they can not lose all of their money.

Heather: Now what would a reasonable house edge be, because you have a huge range of house edges. For example blackjack you know is 0.5% but then you have roulette which is 5.26%.

Jay: I think right in the middle 2.5% is about the sweet spot for a game like that. Remember most of those games where you have to pay a licensing fee every month to the game developer, so that has to be factored in. That is about the right price point. There’s a lot of those games out there. For every game designer that has a game, there is probably – if one gets to the floor, 250 of them don’t.

Heather: Yeah it’s what 1% chance of getting your game into a casino?

Jay: I would say that is a little high. I would say less than that. If you are a game designer there is a lot of money and time and effort you have to put in to design your game. Researching, patenting, marketing, everything like that. There’s a lot that goes into that. If you have a Three Card Poker or a Ultimate Texas Holdem or a Face Up PaiGow which I can talk about in a second, those are huge home runs. If you have a I don’t know what?

Heather: Pick a game.

Jay: Pick one that you have seen once and you have never seen again. I don’t want to trash anyone's game in particular.

Heather: Yes exactly.

Jay: But if you have one of those games you might see at one place and it might not do well. I have a game that actually could mention that I put in at my casino. I looked at it, it was a game called Thirty One Classic. Happens to be the same designer that is in Green Valley Ranch now. I thought it looked good. It hit all the sweet spots, had the game in the right range and we put it in. What happened was Variants. We beat the snot out of all the local players the first couple weeks. They all just lost. It wasn’t that the game was holding too much, it was just bad luck and those players said oh this game is horrible, you can’t win at it. The game made it through the field trial and that was the end of it. That happens also. That game has come back. It is somewhere in Mississippi right now, it is doing very well. It’s in a couple of other places. You know, there’s the luck factor also.

Heather: Variances pretty much the same as statistical fluctuation right?

Jay: Yes.

Heather: When you are flipping a coin and you actually flip the coin randomly, you will notice the streaks. You will have good luck streaks, bad luck streaks, like everything.

Jay: Here is a question for you Heather, if I flip a coin 10 times in a row and it’s heads, what would you bet the next time.

Heather: It doesn’t matter.

Jay: Incorrect. I would bet heads. Because it might be a two headed coin.

Heather: But it doesn’t matter about the past event.

Jay: If the coin is legit and it is perfectly weighed and everything else it doesn’t matter. But that coin might be a weighted coin, there might be something wrong with that coin that forces it to come out heads. The worn answer is tales because it is long overdue.

Heather: Yeah that is the wrong answer.

Jay: But if you see a roulette wheel, that the number 10 hits ten times in a row, that wheel might be weighted. There might be a problem with that wheel, it could be a biased wheel. I am going to bet 10.

Heather: Well it’s not that it is weighted, it’s just sometimes they don’t take care of the wheel. There are some casinos that just ignore the roulette wheel and then over time, you have grooves in the wheel, indentations, one side is thicker than the other. If they don’t turn it – you have to take care of this equipment.

Jay: All of those things can happen. It is very important to make sure your equipment is good.

Heather: Right.

Jay: Like I said, with dice they have to be perfect. Cards, they have to be perfect.

Heather: It’s not like the casino actually doing anything with the wheel to cause it that way, it's just more like neglect.

Jay: Yes. There are some places that spend a lot of time and effort to make sure everything is up and running well and there are some that don’t.

Question: Are continuous shufflers in blackjack being used much in Las Vegas?

Answer: Jay: Let me tell you my view on continuous shufflers. I don’t like them. A continuous shuffler gives you a count of zero every single hand. If you are playing basic strategy, basic strategy is 100% correct at a count of zero. If a count of zero every single hand, basic strategy will be correct every single hand, the casino will not make as much money. Even if they think they will.

Heather: Oh okay. So it’s actually when you are playing on a blackjack game and they have a continuous shuffler. If you are playing by the book or by the blackjack strategy guide that is better for you. That is awesome.

Jay: I believe so. If you are not counting cards and you are not doing anything and you just want to play with your basic strategy card, you are actually better off on a continuous shuffle.

Heather: That is a fantastic tip. I love that tip. I want to post that on a picture, like one of the 90s inspirational posters but with something like that.

Jay: I have worked in three casinos where I have had a hand in getting rid of continuous shufflers, we don't’ have any currently where I am.

Heather: And that was your decision?

Jay: There weren't any when I got here and I certainly wasn’t going to put any in.

Heather: And that is because of that reason?

Jay: Just because of that reason.

Heather: Okay.

Jay: Plus the dealers don’t like them because they don’t get that shuffle break.

Heather: Some of the players don’t like it either.

Jay: No because they feel – they like the shoe – even in baccarat where there is no rhyme or reason to the patterns that are on the wall, they like the shoe because they think that they can get a beat on how that shoe is running.

Heather: Well not just the beat but there’s something about seeing the dealer actually shuffle it in front of you.

Jay: That too. I have played at a casino once – it’s a casino that is not there any more so I might be able to mention it by name, it was the Las Vegas Club downtown. They had a game called the most liberal blackjack game ever. You could double on anything, double after three or four cards and split and surrender and take your money back. Also 5 Card Charlies, and 6 Card Charlies and every possible rule you could imagine. I thought that was a pretty good game. I played it with a friend of mine who was a card counter. I am not saying I count or don’t count. This is going back 20 years or more. It would deal a four deck shoe, they would deal exactly half. Every shoe we were watching the count was like plus 10, plus 15, this is incredible, these counts you never see. We are seeing them shoe, after shoe, after shoe, which means a lot more small cards are coming out. A lot of big cards, allegedly, are left in. So we are playing right near what we knew was a shift change, they were going to change the cards. I said that I want to see when they put the cards in that we are playing with real full decks. They took the cards off, they brought cards on, face down, shuffled them up, put them on and went. That was the last time I played there. I am not saying that that game wasn’t on the level but statistically what we saw was not what you would expect to see. We were there for many hours.

Heather: In your experience, or in any history book, or anything that you have read, has there been casinos that cheat? I always hear players say that casinos cheat them. But in my mind they are not cheating you because of the gaming control board.

Jay: I can’t believe that a casino would do that intentionally. At Least not a major casino. If I am going to try to beat someone out a couple extra hundred dollars, but I can lose my casino license which is worth millions and hundreds of millions, and billions of dollars? It’s not worth it.

Heather: Yeah!

Jay: I have worked a lot in Indian gaming and can tell you that Indian gaming is highly regulated. I have not seen an Indian casino where I wouldn’t feel comfortable. But if I am playing in Joe’s basement take it for what it's worth.

Heather: Okay.

Joe: I think it is reasonably safe.

Question: Do you give blackjack counters or flash counters any grief at the Sunset Station?

Answer: Jay: I am going to give you a different answer to that question. What is my philosophy on backing off counters? This is not the Station Casinos philosophy or anything else. This is how I personally handle that. If I find that somebody is a card counter and again that takes quite a bit of evaluation to find out, and I decide that they are an unprofitable player (there are a lot of things involved in that) I will very nicely tell them, “I am sorry no more blackjack for you, you are welcome to play whatever else you like.” Normally if they are an advantage player they smile, they know they are got, and they say thanks and they go. I watched one in an Indian casino. It was a young lady. She was playing. She might as well have been wearing a shirt that said card counter. She would bet $25 to $1000. She played every deviation perfectly. You know when your count is plus this, you do this. When the count is minus this you do that. I watched for a while and I waited until the count got really really good, and then I told her I am sorry you can’t play any more, you are too good for us. She said, “Well why didn’t you stop me all this other time when I was playing?” I said, “Well the count wasn’t that good.” But I told her I am happy to buy you lunch. I gave her a tip. I sometimes do this. I said, “You know, if you didn’t take every possible deviation on your small bets when you are negative counts you might have lasted a little longer.” She said, “Well, I am not from here, I am only going to be here for a little while and I wanted to get you for every dollar I could.” I said, “Fair enough, thanks for the $9500 that you lost. Like I said I would be happy to buy you dinner. If you want to play any of the other games but I never backroom anybody, or not let them cash out, or have broken their fingers like in the movies. You left-handed or right handed? Wherever I have been or wherever I will be, I always give a very pleasant backoff. Sometimes people are not profitable for your business. If you own an all you can eat buffet and you charge $10 and someone eats $30 worth of food everyday, eventually you are going to tell them you are not profitable.

Question: Heather: Have you ever encountered or heard of a casino manager going further than he should have when backing someone off?

Answer: Jay: Yes. There have been cases of that. There is a very famous lawyer in Nevada that sues casinos that do that. I think his name is Bob Masarian.

Heather: Oh okay.

Jay: I have seen videos of people being backroom and told that they couldn’t leave. Basically they were incarcerated against their will. They were kidnapped.

Heather: And they are not allowed to do that. Casinos are not allowed to hold people against their will.

Jay: Not for card counting.

Heather: Okay. But for trespassing?

Jay: If somebody steals something, that is a different story. That is somebody breaking the law. There is really no law against card counting. Now if you are using a computer while you are playing. That is illegal, at least in the state of Nevada and most other places that I know. You can be arrested for that. If it is something that you can be arrested for, you can be held. If it is something like card counting or something else where you are trying to take advantage of the game that the casino offers. They can’t really do that to you.

Heather: Can you arrest someone for trespassing though?

Jay: Yes. If somebody comes in and we tell them for whatever reason we don’t want you in our casino, you are drunk and disorderly, you cause fights, you this you that. And if they continue to come back in, they can be arrested for trespassing. When you throw them out the first time, you read them the trespass warning which is usually done by security and told you can’t come back onto this property until X amount of time has passed. You then get permission from the director of security to return, and if you do, you are subject to being arrested.

Heather: In casinos they can pretty much have any reason they want for trespassing right?

Jay: Any lawful reason. Any reason that is not a protected class, race, sexual orientation, creed, religion, age. Although we discriminate against people under 21.

Heather: That is fair enough.

Jay: That’s a legal discrimination. But if there is a real reason to discriminate against somebody, like I said, drunk and disorderly is always a good one. Fighting, problems, you know things like that undesirables, panhandlers that’s a good one.

Heather: Oh okay.

Jay: Panhandlers, we get a lot of those.

Heather: So they will actually walk through the casino and try to get money from people?

Jay: Yeah.

Heather: That’s actually a pretty good idea. I never thought about that.

Jay: Those people we can and do trespass. We don’t want them back so they are subject to being arrested if they return.

Question: Would you ever switch out a dealer to shake up a hot player?

Answer: Jay: I don’t believe in any of that. That’s old time Vegas where they would do all kinds of things, switch out the dealer. There used to be a TV commercial for Olive Garden where there was a guy shaking the cheese over the plate and then the manager would be back there, “He can’t get it over the plate, send it lefty.” There is a line of people with cheese things and they bring in a left handed. I have seen the casino business do that. This dealer is no good, this dealer is too hot, this dealer is too cold. If I have a dealer that is dealing the game correctly and getting the proper hands-per-hour and paying winners and taking the losers, that’s the dealer I want on that game. If they happen to be running hot that’s great. If they happen to be running cold that is great.

Heather: You guys don’t sweat the money.

Jay: I have never sweated a single dollar in any place that I have ever worked.

Heather: That is awesome.

Jay: There are some places where the policy was to sweat the money. I didn’t do very well in those places and left some of those places as soon as I could find a better position elsewhere. That is very stressful.

Heather: It is.

Jay: There is no reason for it. I have been in places where dealers have been kicked when they are dumping and told to do all kinds of things.

Heather: Yep. I have worked in those places.

Jay: I have seen people drop pennies behind games and matches to change the luck. I don’t believe in luck. I believe in mathematics. If the mathematics of the game are correct then everything should be good. Again that is my personal opinion. That may or may not be the opinion of anywhere that I have worked for or do work for or anything else.

Question: I heard that some casinos close their poker rooms in Vegas. Does the Sunset Station have a poker room?

Answer: Jay: I have not seen a bad question yet. This is another excellent question.

Heather: You guys are awesome.

Jay: Sunset Station does not have a poker room. Sunset Station used to have a poker room. Here is the problem with poker, I have a blackjack table, it’s standing empty. Heather, the dealer is standing here. You walk up and you want to play blackjack, come and play. Poker requires a base of players to have a game. You need 6 or 7 players to get a game. Probably want a few names on the board when people are leaving. If you don’t have that base of players you really don’t have a good poker room. If I have just enough to run a 1-2 No limit game, but somebody wants to come in and play 4-8 Limit and I don’t have a base of players for that it is not a very good poker room.

Heather: But that is why they have shills right?

Jay: You won’t see too many shills anymore. Shills are people that play with the house money. That’s pretty much dead and gone. You will find what’s called proposition players. They get paid a certain salary to play with their own money. You will see a lot of those in California card rooms. I haven’t seen too many of those in Las Vegas. In Nevada they have to identify themselves if you ask. Again you don’t see very much of that to my knowledge. Before I got to Sunset Station, they made the decision that we have a very excellent poker room at Boulder Station and another very excellent poker room at Green Valley Ranch. They were located on either side of Sunset Station and rather than having three mediocre poker rooms we decided to have two really really good ones. They decided to close the room at Sunset Station. Poker has been on a downswing.

This isn’t a question that was asked but I can tell you what killed poker is No Limit. No Limit is a recent thing that has come up. There used to be No Limit Doyle Brunson and all those guys with hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table play no limit. But these no limit games where it’s a $200 - $500 buy in and you play No Limit, that’s what’s really killed poker.

What happens in a poker room, you need a certain balance of excellent players, good players and fish. What happens on a limit game is that fish will lose their money over a long period of time and will come back again next week. In a no limit game that fish loses their money on one hand then says this is dumb, let me play something else. That is pretty much taken a lot of players out of the poker environment. Right now you are going to find more poker in Las Vegas than anywhere.

It’s World Series of Poker time. There is poker going on all over the place. When the World Series ends, a lot of these rooms are not very busy. A lot of these rooms close early, and open late. Some of the big top rooms at the Bellagio will always have games going. You will find any game you want, that is the place to play. California has those places. But for smaller casinos poker just isn’t as popular as it used to be. That’s sad because I am a poker player and I enjoy playing poker.

Heather: To reiterate the point that Jay made, so basically when you go into a poker room, you basically have sharks, and you have the high/medium players. You really don't have anyone else. So unless you are really really good and you have skill, it’s not fun. Basically there are all sharks on the table.

Jay: If you look around the table and you can’t figure out who the fish is, you are the fish.

Heather: I’m the fish. Can’t play poker at all. I don’t have a poker face. I am like I got that and everyone is like, fold, we are done. We are not playing that one.

Question: Do you recommend any of the dealer schools in Vegas? \

Answer: Jay: I recommend Vegas Aces, the only free trade dealer school on the planet.

Heather: Thank you. I appreciate that. We will help you, we will teach you, we will help you get a job for free. We are here for you guys. Whatever you need.

Jay: Is that the right answer?

Heather: I like that answer. I love that answer. It’s awesome.

Question: Poker tournaments are pretty scarce in most of the local casinos. Is that the same in Vegas? Are there a lot of tournaments? \

Answer: Jay: There are places that have tournaments and there are places that don’t. The Orleans Casino is a very good place to see a lot of tournaments all the time.

Heather: That is like a 3-6 tournament.

Jay: Tournaments are based on buyin. You will find a $50 tournament, a $100, a $200.

Heather: So it’s not based on what they play?

Jay: There’s all different games that they will play. There’s no limit tournaments, there’s Omaha Tournament, there’s horse which is five different games…Hold’em, Omaha, Raz, Stud and Stud High Low.

Heather: Okay.

Jay: There are all different kinds of games that added to those kinds of tournaments, those can be a lot of fun. Right now there's a lot of very big tournaments. Again, the World Series of Poker is going on. The Venetian has a lot of big tournaments right now.

Heather: Did you know the World Series of Poker that there are 18 games that you have to know as a dealer in order to deal in the World Series of Poker. A lot of those games, like you have never heard before and you are like why?

Jay: Like the Duggie?

Heather: Yes, exactly. Like that one. Exactly.

Jay: There are a lot of different poker games going on in the World Series. There are a lot of events this year too. You are looking that the very minimum of $500 buy in to a million dollar buy in at the big –

Heather: Tournament.

Jay: It’s not the main event. The main event is $10,000 just like it always has been.

Heather: Oh okay.

Jay: If you are ever on vacation at Niagara Falls my wife and I are taking you to dinner.

Heather: That is awesome.

Jay: I used to work in upstate New York at the Turning Stone Casino. I honeymooned in Niagara Falls. I like the area very much in August. It’s a great part of town. Thanks very much. If you come to Vegas I would be happy to take you to dinner.

Heather: Cool.

Question: Is labor or dealers the biggest challenge for a good casino?

Answer: Jay: Finding good people is a challenge for every casino and every business. You always want to find the best people. Right now there are quite a few dealing jobs in this town and not as many good dealers as there used to be to fill those jobs. That is always a challenge. I would rather leave a job empty than to hire the wrong person.

Heather: So what are you looking for in a dealer?

Jay: I am looking for someone that has good mechanics, who has a great personality, who can do both at the same time. Someone that doesn’t call in sick. I am looking for a unicorn. Someone who can get around the layout, give us a couple of games. Like I said, I can take someone with a good personality and teach them how to deal, or Heather can. But I can’t take someone who is an excellent dealer and teach them a good personality. I think that is more important to be honest with you.

Heather: So personality is one of the bigger factors?

Jay: Yes. I believe so.

Heather: You want someone who is friendly, smiling, they talk to the people. They are not just stone faced or silent.

Jay: No stone faced and silent went away years ago.

Heather: Usually the best thing to do is to talk with people and find out what their interests are. Whatever their interests are. If you have the same interest you can talk for hours and that is what casinos want.

Jay: When I was dealing and somebody walked up to my table wearing a Philadelphia Eagles shirt, “Oh you're an Eagles fan, oh so am I!” There is an instant conversation.

Heather: Yeah.

Jay: I have worked places where dealers ave their hometown on their name tag and the player says, “Oh you are from Wisconsin, so am I!” It’s an icebreaker. It gives you a good chance to talk. It’s that kind of conversation that when you are having that conversation with anyone you don’t even have to be dealing, you can talk for hours. Then if you are on the table dealing blackjack that is great because you are talking for hours and then they are tipping you for those hours because you are talking with them.

Jay: From a casino point of view, we do what’s called circle management. I want to keep your money in the circle as long as possible. If you are having fun with that dealer and you are enjoying that time and you spend two hours instead of one hour, that is a win win. You are having fun, the dealer is having fun, the casino is making money. That is what we do.

Heather: It’s entertainment.

Jay: It is.

Question: Do you have bonus craps, all tall and small?

Answer: Jay: Yes, I have three craps tables at Sunset Station. Two of them have bonus craps, the other one has the Fire Bet.

Question: Do you have any Hop Bets?

Answer: Jay: Every game.

Heather: Cool

Jay: We love Hop Bets, they have a huge house advantage.

Heather: Yeah. Huge.

Question: Do you have Crapless Craps?

Answer: Jay: Crapless Craps we do not have. There are a few tables out there that you can find. The original was the Stratosphere that is where the game was invented. I have seen them at other places. I think it is a pretty cool game but for some reason it never caught on.

Heather: I think it is still at the Stratosphere.

Jay: Oh yeah it is still there. I have seen it at a couple other places. I can’t off the top of my head recall which. It should be pretty easy to find. The problem with Crapless Craps is there are no Don'ts. You have to play the Do side only. That is where the house edge is in that game.

Heather: Yeah. Totally.

Question: So in Kentucky we have casino gambling outlawed, but we allow slot machines on the bases that are based on historical horse racing. How crazy and hypocritical is that?

Answer: Jay: There are so many gaming rules that are crazy and hypocritical for one reason or another. When California was first going to go with these full Indian casinos, Nevada realized they were going to steal a whole bunch of their play. You know Rino and Tahoe are right on the border. They did lose a lot when these places opened. So the Nevada lobby put a whole bunch of money into the California politics saying, well you guys have card rooms, you can have card games, don’t have craps or roulette. We will keep something. Is it reasonable to just have just card games and not craps or roulette? Doesn’t make any sense from California's point of view but that is what happened. That has happened in a lot of different places. The slot machines in Kentucky may be that they got them in some backdoor way that horse racing is legal so we have these horse racing machines. Some places have what’s called VLT Video Lottery Terminals. Because the lottery is legal so these pseudo slot machines are also legal. There are only two states in the US where there is no gambling at all, that is Utah and Hawaii. Utah and Hawaii have no legalized gambling no lotteries, nothing.

Heather: I understand Utah. Completely understand Utah but why Hawaii?

Jay: That is so weird. I know it’s true but I don’t know why.

Heather: One thing I want to bring up really quickly is in Florida there was actually an establishment that wasn’t allowed to have slot machines because there was no horse racing or vice versa.

Jay: Something with Florida where they had to have either had to have horse racing or jai alai or something else there?

Heather: In order to have the slots. That is actually normal where you can only have gambling or usually it’s only slot machines in a horse racing facility.

Jay: Yes.

Question: Heather: I have a quick question. We said we would talk about min/max.

Jay: Yes. That was on one of the other streams, somebody asked how you decide minimums and maximums? Basically, again it depends on what type of casino you are running. On the strip they are going to have very high minimums. They will also offer very high maximums because they need to make that money. When you go to a locals casino you are going to offer a better game, some lower limits. Again, I want to keep the people playing and give them some times on divide for their entertainment, for their money. It’s by how busy you are. What time of day it is and what time of year it is. There’s all kinds of factors that go into making those decisions.

The maximum bets are based on risk tolerance. If you have a max bet of $100,000 and there is only one guy that bets that, you are gambling, he beats you, you are losing and if he loses you are great. As a casino operator I want to have a whole bunch of guys at that top tear so variance will factor out and house advantage should pull through. That is why max bets are there.

There is a particular casino right now that has a very high jackpot on their PaiGow Poker and have raised their mim accordingly. That makes a lot of sense. People want to go there and play that game. They charge them a little more to do it.

Heather: Is min/max a way of casinos using that as a tool inorder to control the money or the profit on the table?

Jay: Well you have to have min/max in order to avoid something called the Martingale. The Martingale is if I come in with an infinite amount of money and I bet $1 and I lose and I bet $2, $4, $8, $16. Eventually I am going to win something and I will have all my money back. What casinos do for that is they have that min/max. When I get to $500 and that is the table max I can’t continue to double up and use my bank roll to beat the casino.

Heather: I have had a lot of people come to me asking about the Martingale and I always tell them that is not a good thing to do because you need a ton of cash for it to be viable. When you get on one of your sling streaks you have to be able to put out enough money to get through that. Sometimes when you are betting the Martingale system you can lose a lot of cash if you are in one of those streaks.

Jay: Yes. There is no money management system that can take a negative expectation game, and turn it positive.

Heather: Yeah.

Jay: There isn't any. People that come in with systems, we send limos for them. Happy to see you.

Heather: Yea same with being a dealer. We would have people come up to the table – I would always laugh hard at this, they would come up to the table and say, “I got this great system that is going to win every single time and if I could use your money I will prove to you it will work.” Well where’s your money? Well I don’t have any money. Well why not?

Jay: We call those panhandlers.

Heather: Right.

Question: As a dual rate, how do you work with dealers who are difficult to supervise?

Answer: Jay: That is really tough as a dual rate.

Heather: That is a good question.

Jay: What I tell my dual rates is when you are wearing a suit you are a supervisor. If a dealer is not following procedures you need to hold them to it. If they are difficult – You have to be able to supervise. That is a skill. I have seen people that are excellent dealers, and they become not very good supervisors. I have seen people that are horrible dealers, and they are great supervisors. That is a completely different skill set. A lot of times casinos will take the guy who is the best dealer and promote them to floor and find that that was a mistake. Either they are not good at it or they are not interested in it or anything else along those lines.

Heather: What kind of skills are you looking for? What kind of skills do they need? Is it all people skills because you are handing all various types of people, not just the dealers but also the players as well?

Jay: People skills are hugely important. Generally anywhere you go, the higher up you get the less technical skills matter and the more people skills matter. Floorsupervisor needs to be about 50/50. You need those technical skills. You need to know how the games are supposed to be dealt, and what the house way is for Jackson 6’s with an Ace and all of that stuff. You need to know all of that stuff. You also need to have the people skills to handle the dealers when you get… “What the heck you doing, don’t you know you are not supposed to…” That is a very bad management style. When the dealer get’s off the game – if a dealer is on a game and makes a money mistake, I would say hey hang on a second I don’t think that is right, that should be $50 you paid it $45 we owe you an extra $5. I always like when I find one that is in our favor and I tell the player no, no we owe you more. I do that, you know. We just want it to be fair. But if it is a mistake, if the dealer is using the wrong hand to pay sometime or some other minor procedure, wait until they get off the game and say, “Hey you know I noticed you did X, next time can you please do Y, thanks.” You know. We are all still friends.

Heather: That is cool.

Jay: That is the hard part.

Heather: I bet it is.

Question: What is your opinion on cell phone use at the blackjack table? Most casinos disallow it. I have been to some, such as the Golden Gate who don’t get bent out of shape if I check my text.

Answer: Jay: Ohhh cell phones. Is that a cell phone? Or is it a blackjack computer that looks like a cell phone?

Heather: Well technically it is a computer.

Jay: There is a rule in the state of Nevada that you can not use any electronic device while you are playing any game. Technically you are not supposed to be texting while you are on a slot machine. Nobody! Nobody will stop you from doing that. Nobody!

Heather: Well just on the slot machine, they will stop you on the table.

Jay: At a table game you can have some sort of an app running in the background that could be doing I don’t know what. You could have a camera on that phone that is looking at I don’t know what. I do know what but I am not going to comment on that. There are a lot of reasons that cell phone use is not good at a table game. I will very nicely say if you would like to use the phone please step back from the table use your phone and when you are ready come back and play. You should put the phone away.

Heather: But sometimes as a player that is really hard. Especially nowadays your phone is stuck to your hand.

Jay: Or it’s in your pocket and it’s buzzing, who’s texting me now? Oh wait I am playing. I can't do that.

Heather: Or I just want to see my notifications are or whatever.

Jay: It is tough. Again somewhere there is a balance there. I think in this case game security is going to outweigh the guest service. If there is anything that important all you got to do is step 10 feet away from the game and you are fine.

Heather: So here is a really weird question, would the casino or any one person who has a problem, would they use the fact that it’s illegal to use an electronic device on the table, would they use that against the player to kick them out? Or say I don’t like this player, hey you are using your phone on the table, you are getting out of here, you are using an electronic device you could be cheating.

Jay: There are people in this world that use excuses for different things. In the casino business if there is only one core value available that has to be integrity. I am never going to tell somebody that they are thrown out for something when it is something else. I just don’t work that way. There are people that do. People use any kind of excuse for any reason to say anything to anybody.

Heather: Now integrity is what casinos are based off of right?

Jay: Absolutely.

Heather: You have to have the integrity of the game in order for people to think that it is fair, in order for it to be gambling and all of that. Integrity is very very important. So when people are going to the casino, and this is so normal, they joke about – oh hey do you have that foot on the pedal?

Jay: Yeah I know.

Heather: People think that but the integrity of the game is so important to casinos.

Jay: It is.

Heather: And gambling.

Jay: My personal definition of integrity, which I stole from a casino that I worked for in California, was that integrity means do the right thing even when nobody's watching. I think you will never go wrong doing that.

Heather: I like that.

Jay: That is just me, that is who I am. Other people have other values that are more important. In the casino business that has got to be the number one.

Heather: That is awesome.

Question: Why is recording at the craps table not allowed?

Answer: Jay: Recording in general isn’t allowed. In the old days recording wasn’t allowed because people that came to the casino didn’t want to be seen or didn’t want people to know that they were at a casino. When I broke into this business in Atlantic City everybody was Mr. G and Mr. R and Mr. S. You never used their name. You never told anybody that they were there or anything else. These days there are electronic devices that can pick up different security flaws and other things that may be going on in the casino and we just don’t want that stuff videoed.

Heather: But see here’s the thing, if you are sitting at a table and you get a big win and you win a lot of money, it’s so normal to pull out your phone and take a picture of the table with your winnings and it’s like fun! It’s part of it. You put that on social media.

Jay: If hypothetically you are on a table and you win something big and you take out your phone and you take a picture of it, probably nobody is going to give you a hassle for that. I just did the exact same thing Monday night. I was playing at an unnamed casino. I hit a royal flush in Pai Gow, I won $1250. I posted those chips on Facebook. You can find them. I am as guilty as the next guy. It’s always better to ask for forgiveness than for permission.

Heather: That is so true.

Jay: I just killed my integrity there. But something like that nobody is going to make a big deal out of, but if you are taking some video that’s probably not a good idea. I have seen in the old days security confiscate cameras, pull the film out the back and give them back the empty camera and say here you go have a nice day.

Heather: I was in the casino one time and I was with someone and we were like hey let’s take a selfie really quick. So we did a selfie but the casino pit was right behind us. OMG security came over and was giving us some really bad –

Jay: We encourage people to take selfies in the casino, we have some very beautiful stained glass, and some other things going on in the casino. As long as you are not taking the picture directly of the table or of the casino cage or some other secure area.

Heather: But if your winnings are on the table, like if you have winnings on the table and you take a picture, you are technically taking a picture of that table.

Jay: If you take a picture right here (up close) that’s not a problem.

Heather: So can I get part of the betting circle in there?

Jay: I have been asked, “Am I allowed to take a picture of this?” I say, “No, absolutely you are not.” But if I don’t see it, then it didn’t happen.

Heather: That’s cool. Ok so that does it for today's show. You were amazing with the questions.

Jay: Thank you all! One last thing is that my views are my own. What I said today doesn’t represent Sunset Station, Station Casinos or any of their operations. Because my bosses are probably going to watch this. \

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