Gamers share their tales of winning, losing and just having fun
BY JOHN GROCHOWSKI For Sun-Times Media
The gaming tables bring friends together for talk, celebrations and trading of stories, tips and good times. | FILE Photo
Whether we win or we lose, casinos want us to leave feeling good enough about our experiences keep coming back. That’s not always about the games, nor even about the restaurants, shows or other amenities. Sometimes it’s just a small act by a casino employee that makes our day.
Take Margie. During a break for a shuffle at a blackjack table — often a great time to tell a story or two — she told of one such small customer service touch.
“This was pretty cool,” she said, explaining that more of her play came on penny slots than at the tables. “My husband and I drove a couple of hours to a casino I’d never played in before. I spotted a sign that said they were giving a free case of soda to new club members after some minimum amount of play. It was a kind I liked, so I asked my husband about how much I’d have to play. He said I probably wasn’t eligible, that he thought I already was a member of the club. There’s another casino we go to that’s owned by the same company.”
“I didn’t think to bring my card from the other club. So I went to the booth to get a new card, and I asked them about the soda. They said yes, I was already a member, but that I’d never redeemed a new member bonus, so if I played, I could get the soda.”
“I teased my husband that he should have left his card at home. Maybe we could have gotten two cases. They were so nice about it.”
I love collecting stories like that, and I steered conversation to small touches other players have experienced.
A 50-ish gentleman called Roy was grateful to a dealer for a first step in improving his game.
“One of the nicest things a dealer ever did for me was point me to another customer,” he said. “My friend Paul and I were playing blackjack, and just getting beat up. Another player showed up, betting $25 a hand, and he was WINNING. I asked Paul if we should be jealous, and Paul said, “No, anyone who can beat Tom here is all right with me.”
“Then Tom the dealer threw in his two cents. ‘He’s just a good player. You should watch him. He knows how to play this game’.”
“When the other player left the table, Tom said, ‘I’m not really supposed to give a lot of advice, but you should ask him how he learned to play like that’.”
“I don’t usually do things like this, but I asked Tom to mark my spot, and I chased after the guy. He said I should learn basic strategy. And he recommended a couple of books.”
“The dealer noticing and caring and giving good advice ranks high on my list of the best customer service I’ve ever had.”
Gerry, an older man with a big mustache, was a bit of a showman during play, cracking jokes with every hand. During one shuffle, he talked about learning to play craps.
“I like when they have game demonstrations and learners tables. They don’t have them in Illinois where I live, but I learned a lot at one of those in Las Vegas.”
“I play a lot of craps now, but I was always afraid to try until one day I was in a casino that was giving free lessons. They had a dealer walk us through how to make the bets, and let us do a little practice play with no money. They used chips that had no logos or values on them and couldn’t be cashed in. I had fun, and I decided to try the game at a $5 table. It wasn’t too crowded, and the dealers answered all my questions ... and I had a lot of them.”
“Isn’t this a customer service thing that makes sense both for the players and the casino? I think it is. I play more now because I know what I’m doing.”
That’s the object of customer service ... satisfying the players and keeping them coming back.
And for those of us waiting for the next deal, there was the side benefit of a little entertaining table talk.