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The Best Things Dealers Can Do11 August 2005
There is a war going on in the casinos between machines and man, and this war is every bit as terrifying as the war between the machines and man in the Matrix series, the Terminator series, 2001: A Space Odyssey; Colossus: The Forbin Project, and a host of other movies, books, plays, poems that speculate what will happen when man is replaced by machines. It usually isn't a pretty prognostication.
Casino dealers already know what I'm talking about - the machines are going to replace them. They know it. I know it. The manufacturers and inventors of machines know it.
The machines are the dealers' enemy and if a dealer doesn't realize that then that dealer will soon be getting an unemployment check from, yes, a machine that has taken the place of a clerk at the unemployment office.
Look around any casino in the country and what do you see? Small islands of table games in a vast ocean of machines, and players happily feeding those machines, feeding the casinos' bottom lines, and making the casino executives figure out how to get ever more machines into the mix to make those bottom lines stand out in bold lettering and gold relief.
We all know the impact of the slot machines on casino gambling. From 1984, when machines first made more than table games for the casinos, until right now, the growth of the slots has been faster and more profound than the growth of the blob in the horror movie so named. But machines are now taking over the traditional realm reserved for humans - the table games. Machines are now shuffling cards; soon they'll be dealing the cards, rolling the dice, and spinning the roulette ball - I saw the prototypes of these at the 2003 Global Gaming Expo. Machines are analyzing people's play, making decisions on how much and how many comps they can get. It's impersonal, but highly practical.
Machines don't get tired; don't need medical benefits. If a machine malfunctions, it's fixed quickly or discarded - with nary a headache from the Human Resources folks. A machine cannot be perceived as insulting a player as can a dealer, whether the dealer intended to insult the player or not. Machines are strictly neutral. Their intentions are never misunderstood. They don't get into arguments; they don't have personality clashes; frankly, my dear, they really don't give a damn.
What is a dealer's best defense against the loss of his or her job to the machines? His or her humanity! That's the only thing that can save the rapidly dwindling dealer population. Dealers have to play up the one thing they have over the machines coming off the assembly lines of Shuffle Master, IGT, and a host of other machine-cubators. People want to interact with people -- caring, warm, intelligent, and, above all, pleasant people.
Not all players want this interaction, but most table-game players certainly do. Those players are the dealers' constituency; their happiness playing at the tables with this or that dealer is the dealer's job security.
Many players enjoy and some long for human company and many go to casinos to interact not only with Lady Luck but also with the dealers and pit personnel. For many players, a casino is like a club where you meet people who are glad to see you. These players look to the dealers for a certain amount of warmth and, yes, friendship - or, at the very least, cordiality. So here are the top 15 things that dealers must do to make players want to play at the tables with "humans" and not gravitate to the machines or not care when the latest model of HAL rolls off the assembly line and takes over for Janice who has two kids and a mortgage.
The march of the machines might not be able to be stopped completely, but by following the 15 rules listed above, casino dealers have a fighting chance to stem the tidal wave and stop it from replacing them with metal, plastic, and a computer chip where a heart should be.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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