The Biggest Difference between Table Games and Poker is Customer Service
Okay so we are here. This is a True Poker Dealer livestream and I am Marc your host. And I am here with Heather which is also Vegas Aces.
Marc: So, today we are going to go over something that is really exciting to me. Because this is something that – like I end up with a bunch of headaches from this. And the headache is that we are talking about Customer Service today and how it’s totally different in table games. I’m making sure I am pointing the right way. Table games verses poker. And if you don’t know me I’m Marc. I am True Poker Dealer on YouTube. I help teach people to be poker dealers and I have helped teach many people. Thousands of people to be poker dealers. I have been on YouTube for a bit, if this is your first time seeing me. And I’m really happy to be here. This is the first time that Heather has been on my channel. She is the table games version of what I do. It’s really cool to have both of us together. My personal opinion. Heather do you mind introducing yourself a bit?
Heather: Sure. Thank you so so so much for having me on. It’s always fun to do these livestreams with you. If you guys are watching and you want to see more of Marc, we have several videos where Marc is the guest and he has some really awesome tid bits of information so you check that out. Where you check that out is theVegasAces. That is my YouTube channel. One word. TheVegasAces. Or you could go to my website vegas-aces.com. We are the worlds first free dealing trade school. We teach people how to deal table games and we help give them a job for free. So that way they don’t have to pay to go to school.
I am also besides a YouTuber, I am also a CEO and founder of Vegas Aces. I am an adjunct professor at UNLV and I am also a consultant.
Marc: Alright. Well thank you for that. I need to learn how to give an intro of myself that’s like as polished as yours. I just laugh at myself when I hear intros from other people who are just like practiced. I like that very much. Koodos to the work that you have put in. By the way, the reason I am able to do this livestream the way that it is, is because I have learned how to do it from you. I super appreciate the time and attention you give me in order to be able to make something like this to happen.
Heather: Dude, were like friends! Of course. Anytime you need anything.
Heather: Totally here for you!
Marc: I super appreciate that and yes, you and I are friends and this is me talking to the audience right now for a second about that. It was really cool meeting you. When you called me years ago to interview me for a book that you are working on, which I am really excited for you to finish that at some point.
Heather: And I am still working on it. I swear, I know I am slow. I am still working on it but it is still going.
Marc: Totally understand! Listen I promise you I have projects that are big that are not completed either so I get that for sure. And so I sorta want to talk about how we came to what we are talking about today. This is really fascinating to me, is like I went through a little cycle, trying to figure this out. I knew I wanted to have you on a livestream, and I didn’t know exactly what so I’m just like…like you said we are friends. Let me call you up, and let’s brainstorm this right?
Heather: A hum.
Marc: So we brainstormed it a little bit. And you came up with this idea of customer service at table games verses poker right? Now, I want to hear how you came up with that. And then I sorta want to give a spin on it. That’s mine. So how did you come with ?? (3:28)today?
Heather: The way that I came up with it was, I used to be a poker dealer. But it was a really short – I found out really fast that I am not a good poker dealer and I should not do it. Like I understand that. But, I was a poker dealer for a small amount of time and what blew my mind was the difference between poker and table games. Where on blackjack it’s really big. You gotta be really into the customer service, you gotta talk to the client or players, you have to want to engage with them so that way they are on the table for a long time. You know because the longer they are on the table the better it is for the casino. Verses poker where people would actually get mad at me for trying to do that. I would try to strike up a conversation with someone and all of a sudden the whole table is really upset with me. I need to dummy down and deal. So I always found that to be very interesting. Very fascinating. And I thought that would be a really good topic of conversation since you actually have the experience of working in poker.
Marc: So I thought it was genius. And I think it’s very on point for what we would do well talking about and we are going to talk about in just a second. Something for me that hit me – I went on to your website and I’m going to show it in a second. I put it up there. And it dawned on me, never trust someone that has the name Vegas in their name. Or the word Vegas in their name, because they are always one step ahead of you. I went to your website and I thought this was genius of you, and I am so impressed. I went to your website and I am going to pull it up here. And let’s see. Going to this right here. You have on your website – by the way VegasAces.com great, great resource for people to learn how to deal table games especially. You have done a great job with this. And you have some courses that supplement that. And one of the ones I saw was customer service training which this is – I understand this to be a very good course. And it just dawned on me, oh on top of that you’ve got something that people really want related to this. And so do you want to talk about this course for a second?
Heather: Sure! First of all thank you so much for bringing that up. I do have a few new courses. We figured we would try to give it a try. One of those things is customer service. It’s about an hour long video. We go over 15 main topics and the whole point of the video is how to give yourself a raise as a dealer. Because, you as the dealer, if you are really good with the customer service and you are really good with connecting with people, more people are going to tip you. And if everyone follows these guidelines, then more dealers will be tipped and then you can raise the toke numbers/ the tip pool. So that way you enhance, basically give yourself a raise. It is really common sense stuff. The 15 points where you are like, oh yeah I learned that when I was working at McDonalds or something. So some of them are really common sense. And others are very specific to dealing. For example, you are basically an actor. This is an acting position. You have a roll. And there are certain things that come with that roll. Like you know, smile, be nice, be kind, be patient. That type of a thing. Like I said, it’s an hour long video. It goes into a lot of different topics which you can see. Marc was just showing. Hopefully we could talk about some of those topics today. Give you a little content.
Marc: Well I appreciate that you – I was in – everything works very well together. This is awesome. That course looks great. The concept you just talked about, improving your own money as a dealer is amazing because you can do that. The more you learn about how to get more tips and more hands out and all that stuff. You do better for sure as a dealer. Your money can go up a lot. You are sort of your own business in a way as a dealer.
Marc: Especially in poker for me but table games too.
Heather: And this is really great. There are some casinos where it’s table for table tokes. It’s not 24 hour tokes. So you have three – two, three tables where they all share tokes and that’s it. If you get all of your dealers doing these steps and working on customer service. Your tokes can go up immensely.
Marc: So to that point. Let’s actually dive in here. We’ll start with table games first. I sorta want to touch on the top points for dealing table games from a customer service perspective. Or giving customer service in table games. And then the top points for poker and then we will break it down. For table games, let’s start it out. Where do you start it with somebody for table games customer service?
Heather: So if we are going to do 10 points, let’s do some 10 good ones. First off is attentiveness. You want to be attentive with the player. You want to talk with them. You want to engage with them. What I tell dealers is if you sit at the table and you talk about what interests you – like what excites you and what gets your blood going. For example, if you are really into football or a certain team. Talk about that with players. Some players will be into it, some players won’t. But the players that are going to be into it, are going to stay at your table and they are going to stay for hours and hours and hours. And if they talk with you about a topic that you enjoy, you are more likely to get tipped because it is one of those things where it brings up good feelings. Everyone is having good feelings. They are talking, they are having fun. They are doing this for hours. They don’t care if they are losing. It’s not about gambling, they are just – gambling would be the secondary item to this conversation, this connection, they are having with this dealer. That is one of the reasons why the electronic dealers that we had in Las Vegas didn’t work very well, because there was not that connection. There was not that interaction.
Marc: That’s a really powerful point. I actually like the idea of sorta responding to this point from a poker perspective now that you have made it. So for poker, there is a good customer service in poker avoiding anything that influences the game itself. Engaging with the player as a poker dealer during the game would influence the person’s play that you are engaging with. So it is very difficult to do this effectively as a poker dealer. You almost have to resort to other things. The only opportunity you get as a poker dealer is between hands, during that little bit of time. You sorta can’t go to deep because then the hand starts and then it takes away from it. Poker dealer have a very difficult time navigating that. It’s very interesting how different that is. By the way I love the fact that you dealt poker for a little bit and I dealt table games for a little bit. It makes this a lot easier.
Heather: Yeah because you have that experience and you see what the differences are. You expect it to – I don’t know about you but I expected it to be the same. I expected it to go in there and be like, oh I got this, I am a dealer, I deal blackjack. I can totally do this! And it ended up not working for me.
This is totally off topic but for example, I was pitching the cards like a blackjack dealer, and you do not do that on a poker table.
Marc: You know that is a really interesting perspective, having – you must have learned table games first and never really even played poker before you got into it much right?
Heather: Exactly. Yep.
Marc: Because for me, before I ever dealt a single card I was a poker player in casinos and so I was always very protective of the game even in table games when I didn’t have to be. I learned the “poker vibe” first and I had to unlearn some of that in order to be able to deal table games early on in my casino career.
Marc: Cool perspective there. What’s another one? BTW, I didn’t mean to do 10. Are you – if you want to do 10 let’s do it! But –
Heather: We can totally do 10. Like where we do this, where I talk about something and then you tell the difference. I like this, let’s keep doing this.
Marc: What else do you got?
Heather: No. 2 is Communication Skills. So communicating. Like I said talk about what you enjoy. Talk about – for example we had a dealer at a casino that I used to work at, where he loved riddles and they were hard. You actually had to sit there and try to figure out these riddles. He would have players come from all around the valley just to sit at his table, so that way they could do riddles together, because they were big on riddles. The casino made so much money because of that. And he got a lot of tips because of that. Again, we know be buddies, talk about something you enjoy.
Also remember to say thank you, say please, use the guest name. You want to do those common manner type of a thing when you are communicating with the player. Another thing, what not so say to the player. Of course we can talk about all the things you can say. Let’s talk about the things you don’t say to a player. You don’t display negative body language. Don’t cross your arms. Don’t look or act disinterested. Basically don’t gain up on players. I know some players gang up on other players and they are like you have to play by the book or you have to do this. Or why are you betting this way? Don’t gang up on players because you’re there as a dealer to give an experience to the player and you want it to be a good positive experience. You don’t want it to be a negative experience. If you give the player’s a negative experience, they are going to leave your table. They are not going to tip you. And then you are going to go around being like, “Why isn’t anyone tipping me?” Well, how are you activating? What kind of experience are you giving the players? So you don’t want to drive players away. If the player – like for example, does give you a tip, then acknowledge it, thank the customer but also say it outloud. Like, “Thank you so much for the tip, really do appreciate it.’ Tap it and then drop it. The reason why you say that is because, by verbalizing that someone gave you a tip, now the other players are like, oh, I can give them a tip too. You know, so that’s why it is really good. Thank you so much for the tip. Really appreciate it. And then you have a player on first base be like, “You know, you’re a really good dealer let me give you a tip too.” And then you have another player on third base, being like, “You know what? These two people just tipped you, I think I am going to give you a tip too.”
I have had it personally myself, my experience the whole table ending up giving me a tip before I get tapped out, just because one person did it and I verbalized it.
Marc: I am sure you have.
Heather: It’s a small thing that you could do that ends up getting you more tips. One last thing and then I will stop. As a dealer, you’re basically a mini therapist. You want to stay positive, you want to listen to the players. Sometimes the players just want to sit at your table and talk your ear off. That’s ok. Listen to them, empathise with them, see it from their perspective. Act sorta like a mini therapist, and I guarantee you some players are going to stay at your table for hours and hours and hours. But they will also tip you while they are doing that.
Marc: I want to remind everybody that all of these amazing insights that Heather is providing will make you more money as a dealer. If you learn them properly. So alright, communication skills was no. 2 that’s the thing that you said and I’m like furiously taking notes as I’m hearing all this stuff that you are saying, in order to compare properly. Talking about what you enjoy is sorta where you started. You gave the example of the person that really enjoyed riddles in order to create connection and all that stuff. In poker it’s really hard to talk, period. Because like I said it’s going to influence the game and I have seen dealers that sorta walk the line. Right? In poker, if you’re able to engage people without it taking away from the game – it takes an incredible amount of knowledge and experience in order to do this well. If you can do this thing in poker and find the right moments to do it. You will absolutely crush it with tips. BUT, if you’re in my room and you do this and it affects the game I am going to be upset. So it’s like it’s one of these things that’s really difficult. And I will say this in tournament, there is almost no benefit to you for it.
A poker dealer in tournament, you do not get tipped per hand. It doesn’t really make that much of a difference. You just want to crank em out and get the tournament done quicker. Then your tips will be higher. So for tournament it wouldn’t make any sense to do this, and the good tournament dealers are very quiet and just do their job very very well.
But that was a really good insight. And I have even seen poker dealers try to have players figure out riddles and stuff like that. ?? (16:37) And it’s great when there are not in hands you give them something to do but if it’s during the table it’s brutal. Let’s see. Thank you. Saying thank you for tips is certainly the same for table games and poker. Poker has this thing that’s really built in that makes it nice where tips are very automatic. Table games are a bit less automatic. The thing that you describe is a very powerful inside. But as a poker dealer if you do not say thank you you will give that player, who probably doesn’t want to tip as much as they do, because it auto – you give them a reason not to do it. And creating connection is another opportunity you get when you do say thank you and make them actually feel thanked. It’s very powerful.
Also in poker you don’t want to over thank anybody. It’s a weird dynamic. When someone gives you a tip you have to act cool otherwise you are actually going to discourage them. Is what I have noticed. In table games it’s more interactive in the first place so you can be overly like –
Heather: Jazz hands.
Marc: Jazz hands. Exactly! You said no negative body language, don’t gang up on players, don’t give negative experiences. It’s a different game for each but it’s super on point for both. I really like that. My last note that I put here was, do not be a therapist as a poker dealer. Table gaming it totally makes sense. But as a poker dealer you just don’t have time. The only person I have ever seen do this effectively was someone who would – he would get up from the table and instead of going to break he would be a therapist. Standing in the room, he was so likeable that they let him do it. You’re not supposed to do that. It’s like get your job then get out. But in poker everything is not the house’s money so it’s a little bit less strict like that. That was a really well spoken and well thought out explanation. And I imagine that your course is on point and everything like that. Especially seeing that – I have a desire to go see a few comments right now. How do you feel about that?
Heather: Yeah. I’m cool with that.
Marc: So the first one, I don’t know exactly what this means but AI48 has contributed to these livestreams in a way I’ve enjoyed in the past.
“Is it true that the less you bet, the more you lose when you win?”
Heather: If you bet less don’t you lose less?
Marc: So the more you – if you bet less, the more – I think they did this just to mess with us. But I sort like the messing. Is it true if you bet less, the more you lose when you win? The answer is – there is a concept in there that is seems like you’re sorta getting at that has a truth to it. If the casino has a “house edge” in a game, then if you bet less then you’re going to lose less in the long run. However, I mean realistically if you’re going to play something, probably play it in a way that’s satisfying, right?
Heather: Or you could just get super super drunk, bet more and then hope you with a lot of money. I had that happen one time.
Marc: I have done that for sure.
Heather: The guy probably thought he robbed the bank because he was so wasted. He won so much money, I think it was like $20,000 off of $20 and he did everything wrong. He like split 10s, he hit on 18, he stayed on 5 and everyone was mad at him but he won every single hand and he kept pressing it and pressing it. He ended up leaving with $20,000.
Marc: That’s – I think casinos need to change their vibe and start releasing surveillance footage. Everybody would watch that on YouTube. Everybody! Like that sounds incredible.
Marc: Next one, Hello Marc from Todd in Tampa. So Todd is someone that is a member of the True Poker Course and has actually learned and is just starting his first week of dealing, or finished it. So far so good. So he has sent me an email recently and I’m super happy to hear this. I am glad to hear you are enjoying it and honestly I was very confident you were going to get chosen for a job there, just because of the audition that he did with me over video. That’s really cool to see though. Love seeing that! Really, really do!
Alright, I am ready to be tested again here with no. 3. What do you have for customer service item no. 3 for table games?
Heather: Okay, so no. 3. This is pretty important. Patience! You gotta be patient. So it is normal for people to get angry. It is normal for people to be frustrated and overwhelmed and in these situations when you are a dealer and your customer gets really mad and starts throwing cards at you and cursing at you, you’re going to need patience. Patience is wonderful and it’s a virtue and you really, really, really do need it. Now what happens if you’re not naturally a patient person what do you do? So as soon as you realize that things are getting heated, and you are starting to lose your cool, the first thing I want you to do is take a few breaths and count down from 10. Now what this does is it gives you enough time for your rational portion of your brain to kick in, instead of reacting purely on that fight and flight response. Try not to lose your temper. Try to remain calm and composed. And another thing to keep in mind is, human beings naturally tend to mirror one another. So if you are level headed and patient, the player will eventually mirror your behavior and become level headed and patient as well. Also, listen to what the player is saying is saying and try to figure out what they want. Try to attempt to understand what their problem is. Try to see if from their perspective. Offer a degree of sympathy. By doing this, by listening to them and offering them this degree of sympathy, most of the time disgruntled players will usually calm down and they will feel heard and feel like you actually care. And this will temper the temper tantrum that they are having. I can’t think of a better word for it.
Marc: They are not here right now you can say what it is. It is a temper tantrum. Okay. Do you have more for patience?
Heather: Nope, go for it!
Marc: Alright it’s response time. Okay, so first of all I love the way that you just layed that out. That’s valuable to anybody in many different job environments. In poker – So the first thing I want to say is, I have been overwhelmed at a craps table as a dealer. Okay, I will say that it is my belief that it’s harder to deal that game than anything else. And when I think about needing to take a breath, that’s where my mind goes to. As a poker dealer, it can be stressful as well. Especially if you get a four or five all in a $20,000 each person hand and you are not used to dealing that. But for the most part, poker is a little bit less intense than a game of craps, in my opinion. At the same time it’s also very hard when you are new. Right? So what do I want to say about that? I don’t know if you have time to sit and take a deep breath and count to 10 with everybody waiting for you. I’m not sure –
Heather: Ok count how about five? Count to five.
Marc: Yeah, something. But that – that’s fantastic! I’ve never really heard that before but poker dealers definitely get frustrated, overwhelmed. They get insulted. Dealers have a tendency to get insulted, which is where that anger comes from sometimes. And I know that that is true for table games too sometimes. But I think it’s pretty solid advice for both. When you said listen, sincerely listen, that’s interesting. I think that for poker it’s more of a supervisor roll that you just described.
Heather: Oh Okay.
Marc: Because a dealer with anything – if anything happens for a dealer in poker they call the floor. Now I know table games calls the floor too. But there is a different dynamic with players playing against each other. They are playing against the dealer in table games so the dealer has to sorta navigate some more of these situations. The floor calls are usually monetary floor calls.
Heather: And with blackjack and everything you sorta have to deal with a little more shit before you call the floor supervisor over and they expect you to take care of it. It’s only when you can’t take care of it, you call the floor supervisor over.
Marc: Absolutely and in poker they don’t really want – because confrontation on poker a lot of the time it spreads and it’s a confrontational game. Like the players at a poker table are actually trying to beat each other. At table games everyone is working together to beat the dealer sorta. It’s a different dynamic so you don’t want anything to escalate. We actually teach in poker for the dealer to never argue or disagree is what I should be saying. Or resiste, if you get any resistance from a player you just get a floor there and they are the ones that handle that. It is different! I like hearing the explanation you gave for that, because it is very insightful. And it brings me back – I have not dealt table games since 2009 so it’s been a long time. It’s interesting.
Heather: Oh that’s ok. I think I dealt poker in 2005 or 2006. Yep.
Marc: Really interesting. Now for me as a floor – which I actually did that more than I dealt poker. I used to go to the table and when there was a player that needed to be talked to, I would tell them, Indeed you to talk to me over here. And I would say quietly – almost all the time they would be like…okay I have no choice. If they would be like no I’m not doing it. I would just tell the dealer to deal them out. Which is pretty interesting. That really gets them. But it gets them up right? And then the first thing I would say to them is just like you said, I would say what happened. I would actually ask them first. And just like you said, I would sincerely listen to the whole thing. I would not form an opinion until after I hear the stuff they had to say. Because you find out a lot like that and it really creates that trust and ability to feel heard. I think that is super valuable. I would love to hear no. 4 now. What do you say?
Heather: Okay, so no. 4 is Acting Skills. We went over a little bit about this in the beginning, but we are going to go over it more now. So being a blackjack dealer, you’re a dealer-tainer. You are an actor. You’re an entertainer. You’re a showman. You are basically there to entertain the guest, and to keep the guest on the table as long as possible. Which means more money for the casinos but also it means more money for you in tokes. If you can make your table fun regardless whether the player is winning or losing. This creates a loyal tipping phase that will continuously tip the dealer.
Now how do you do this? Again, every person is different so let your personality shine through. Do what’s naturally for you, jokes, riddles, comedy. I would tell stories. I would tell antidotes. Some people would talk about what they enjoy, like they just talk about purely footbook or purely basketball or whatever it is. And then the player finds the dealers that they enjoy that they have a good time with. And then they stick with them.
Again, community help. Learn from each other. Learn useful bits of information about your players for example. If somebody found out a really good way to handle a player that is acting like a complete ass, then share that with your co-workers. So that way your other co-workers don’t have to be tormented by this player for example. So again – yeah that is pretty much it for acting.
Marc: I like that alot. Okay, so I was trying to take the notes. Dealer-tainer is really cool term for table games. Totally makes sense. Poker is different because, if you have everyone being entertained while they are playing – there is a lot of serious thought and decision making that gets ruined in poker. It doesn’t work that way. It’s almost like the version of this for poker, in order to create the right experience, is to create an environment where people can truly play poker. By being accurate as a dealer, like all money and actions should be correct all of the time. And by following the action at the table. So you see – if anything gets weird you’ve seen it, right? Every single thing that happens is seen by the dealer. That is sorta where you put the attention. But I love the thing that you said, I teach this to about – using your own personality as a dealer. That’s true for poker. There’s less communication with the players. There’s less interaction. But it’s still there. If you just – instead of trying to learn to be a specific person. Everyone says well how do you be a dealer in terms of your personality. It’s like you don’t. You use your personality. Same thing that you teach. And you bring it into it. I’m not going to say being motherly is something that I am going to do. But it works great if you have it in you. Right? As a dealer. And there’s all these different versions.
Heather: And also too, casinos hire you based on your personality. So if you got hired as a dealer, you already got the right stuff, now you just have to let yourself shine.
Marc: Yeah, yesterday I actually auditioned someone via video, in another state. And it was for a job in a poker room. And it was really fascinating. This dealer is very experienced and he came in and he was like changing the terms for things like raise and all that stuff into very colorful terms that were really likeable. I actually had to ask him a question in the audition. Hey if you were to work somewhere that told you you had to tone it down a bit – which is literally what we are talking about right now. If you were working somewhere where you had to tone it down a bit, would you still enjoy working there? And it was – because this is what poker is, this is one of the differences. Like toning it down. Not getting rid of it. But bringing all the communication and having your personality do it, is really powerful.
Heather: Do you think poker dealers still have to dummy up and deal more than blackjack dealers do?
Marc: The higher the limit tournament is – well the answer is yes. The higher the limit tournament is, the more of a yes it is. The higher stakes, the cash games is the more of a yes it is. As you get into some of these really big games, you better not affect anything, is all I can say. It’s nice. Even if you mess up, the players will take care of it and just make sure you never deal there again. It sorta is what it is. You are not a part of the show. I will say this though, if you are dealing 2-4 limit, texas holdem, then entertainment is fantastic. So the audition that I was just referring to from yesterday, they dealt both no limit and limit. And in limit it was perfect. It was amazing. All the stuff that I just talked about not doing, you can sorta do in limit. Because it’s not as much decision making. But in no limit, no, no, no. You got to be sorta versatile with that. So what ya got?
Heather: Okay, so next. What number are we on?
Heather: Five, Okay no. 5. A Calming Presence. So a camping presence basically means, the ability to stay calm and in control when things are stressful and a bit hectic. Customer Service representatives always need to be really strong in this area in order to support their customers who think the world is falling apart. So nothing is ever gained by winning an argument with a losing player. It’s not about who is right, it’s about what is right. So who is right or wrong is irrelevant in this customer service industry. It is unnecessary when it comes to what the right decision is, that will give us the best outcome for the situation at hand. So whatever happens remember, stay calm, be strong, don’t freak out, and don’t make a bad situation worse.
Marc: So, I love that one as well. This is really enjoyable, I gotta say! It’s not just conversation. It’s very on point conversation. So the phrase the customer is always right, just doesn’t apply to casinos. Because, people get it from restaurants and it’s like you’re not at a restaurant trying to take money off of them. It’s just a different thing. Or in poker you’re not at a restaurant playing for meals against other people.
Heather: If the customer was always right they’d just walk up to the table and take handfuls of chips and be like I’m going to leave now thanks.
Marc: Absolutely! And your point about it’s not about who’s right, it’s about what is right. It’s very on point. It’s a good way to explain it. And it is similar in poker. Having a calming presence is absolutely on point! Let me see, there is still a difference though with table games and poker for this, because in poker when something is right for one player, it’s going to affect the other players negatively, sometimes. So it ends up becoming what’s right in terms of the structure that was set out in advance for the game. In table games there is a bit more flexibility to figure out what’s right, but also sorta give to the player if that’s really what’s right. You can’t do that if you’re taking it from someone else’s money because the player was really set up in a booby trap. They just had to follow the rules the way that they totally are. But at the end of the day it is still the same thing, it’s just implemented differently. So you got another one?
Heather: Okay no. 6. Ability to read the customer. So reading the customer means that you’ll need to look and listen for subtle clues about their current mood, their patience level, their personality, and their wants. And then you will need to use this information to determine how you should interact with them. And that way when they leave the casino they’ll do so with a positive impression of that casino. Also, respect the players wishes. If you read a customer and could tell that they just want the dealer to be silent, then don’t have your mouth running a mile a minute. Respect the player’s wishes, and deal to him in silence. Every person is different. Some people have really, really weird superstitions. So if someone is superstitious about touching the chips, ok try not to touch the chips until the player straightens up their chips before you start dealing. It’s just reading the player, reading the customer, and interacting with them in a way that you analyze and read them.
Marc: So that sounds awesome for table games too. The thing that I want to say is a lot of poker dealers are poker players. And reading people is like (Bad audio….)
We disappeared but we are back…
Heather: Oh good, yeah –
Marc: There’s a rule as a dealer in poker –
Heather: I couldn’t hear what you said, sorry.
Marc: The rule in poker that sorta is an unwritten rule is that you are not allowed to look at faces. You’re not allowed to look at the face of a player that is playing, well when they are in action that is.
Heather: As the dealer?
Marc: As the dealer when it is the players turn your eyes should never be on their eyes. It should never be on their face. If it’s not their turn and they are interacting with you for something that is totally fine. It’s interesting – understanding – like you can’t get an actual read and figure out what a player has or anything like that the same way as you can as a player because you are not allowed to look at them. There’s still a lot of information.
Respect the players wishes and understand that. If there’s ever a time where you can read into that, you want to do it. And the most difficult thing for a dealer sometimes is when the players at the table contradict each other, which happens in table games too. But with poker, they are almost so competitive that they just do it sometimes. They just start – because they are trying to tilt each other and all this stuff. It’s pretty crazy. But I like that one alot. The premises is still the same. The ability to read the customer and for a floor it is even more valuable honestly.
Marc: Let’s take a quick little break and look at the comments?
Marc: I don’t know what the comments are…let me see. The best cards for table games. Can you help us figure out the best cards for table games? For people to buy at home?
Heather: Oh I see what you are saying. I have links on my YouTube channel and everything. If you go to Amazon, check out Amazon. Type in Sahara playing cards or playing deck and you will get an actual playing deck from the Sahara casino that is now defunct. Or is was defunct, now it’s not defunct but it was. It’s those cards. Those are perfect cards. They are the perfect everything. The feel – sometimes when I buy normal playing cards and I go and I shuffle it doesn’t feel right. It’s not the same. Those you could just buy on Amazon. It’s like $5 - 10 for two packs. I would recommend that, for sure.
Marc: I appreciate you telling that. I have actually wondered that myself. If you missed it, just watch it again. Or go to – you have it on your – where is it exactly on your channel?
Heather: If you go to any YouTube channel of mine. If you go to my YouTube and click on any video –
Marc: Oh, I see that.
Heather: Basically if you scroll down you will see supplies and I have supplies for cards, and I have supplies for chips. Just click the link for cards and it will take you right to it.
Marc: I appreciate that. I will do that too. Because people ask me that question on my own and I’ll just be like go to Vegas Aces it’s easy.
Q: It says, “Tonight I’m going to help a friend prepare for an audition as a poker dealer. Which aspects of the game should I emphasize? No limit, limit? In Omaha. I’m going to recommend your videos of course.” Well I appreciate that!
A: Typical auditions are just looking for no limit texas holdem, and then if they are bigger room then they are interested in making sure that you know pot limit omaha (??) (40:22). I can’t speak across the board because it’s very different place to place. I did mention that I was doing an audition. The room that I was doing it for literally only has texas hold’em. But if you are look for what to emphasize, the general answer is make sure you can deal texas hold’em really well and most rooms are going to be fine with that.
Heather: And this is also a good point to bring up too, poker auditions are different than table games auditions. Whereas table game auditions, they are looking for your personality. They are looking for customer service. They are looking for how you treat the players. So if you make a few mistakes on the dealing, as long as you were personable, friendly, engaging then you will get hired as a blackjack dealer. So with poker dealing, I think it’s more about the mechanics right?
Marc: Poker auditions – that’s a great question. Poker auditions are typically – the question they ask is does it feel like poker first of all. When I’m watching this person deal does it feel like poker? The mechanics all have to be there because all the money has to be correct every single time. You have to be able to break down complicated side pots and all those types of things. The things that the people are still learning hate. You can make mistakes as a poker dealer, but you don’t want to. If you make a mistake as a poker dealer, own it! That’s the easiest way for them to build trust in you. I feel like poker dealers are bigger pains in the butt for management than table games dealers most of the time. So they are evaluating you on a lot of stuff is really what I’ll say.
Heather: If you’re in an audition for a poker game and you show a personality and you are engaging and friendly and you are talkative with the players, does that count negatively towards you? Do they want you to be silent while you are dealing?
Marc: You don’t want to do too much. The person I auditioned yesterday was borderline over the line. There is no need to be flashy. There is no need to be entertaining. It’s just – you’re just trying to show that you can do the job and provide the type of guest services that poker requires. Which is being clear, talking your game accurately, following the action, making sure that all bets are correct, and making sure the correct hand wins. Those are the most important things in an audition. If you can bring a personality on top of it that does not interfere with the action of the game you will be fine. But it’s a very fine line and sorta risky and unnecessary.
I like that question. How about no. 7?
Heather: Okay no. 7 Knowledge of the product. So the last few steps that we talked about were oriented or centered around customer service and how to treat the guest. Now we are going to go more into the mechanics of the game and that type of a thing. Knowledge of the product is big! If you can’t deal the game, if you don’t know what you are doing, you can’t help the player. And the players are just going to walk all over you and they are going to take advantage of you and it’s just not going to be good. So knowledge of the game is really, really important. Know what you are doing. Know what the rules are. Know what is expected of you. Also, help the customers learn how to play the game as well. If you have a player coming up and they don’t know anything about the game, you would teach them how to play the game. So knowledge of the product is really important.
Marc: That’s really cool. So that’s no. 1 for poker, hands down. Knowledge of the product, understanding exactly what to do in every single situation. And have the correct information for the player. You’re not really training players as a poker dealer as much as you are in table games. I’m remembering doing that before. And you said 2005 or 2006 is when you dealt poker that is really funny.
Heather: Yeah. I started dealing poker in 2004 when I was 22.
Marc: Wow. So, this is no. 1 for poker because this is the thing that the players want so that they can play their game without any fear of things being messed up. There are probably more opportunities for mistakes in a hand of poker than in table games. The thing that is tough is, a table games dealer if they make a mistake in a players favor, the player is going to benefit. That stinks for the house, but there’s not another player that just got the short end of it. It’s the house that gets the short end of it. In poker, when you make a mistake that hurts somebody it benefits somebody else. When you make a mistake that benefits somebody it hurts somebody else. So it all needs to be very accurate otherwise you are just going to create bad experiences all over the place.
Heather: I have a question! Have you ever had the experience of making a mistake like that where it benefits one person but it harms the other and then the person that it harmed gets really mad and they start stalking you and making threats and stuff?
Marc: It was a yes until you got to the part where they follow up on it later. I’ve made plenty of mistakes as a poker dealer where it’s – I mean any – the real thing I am saying is I’ve made plenty of mistakes as a poker dealer. Every single one of them is going to benefit somebody and hurt somebody else. Maybe the rare exception is when you don’t make proper change and you end of putting an extra $5 in the pot by accident and your bank is short. I haven’t heard of anybody stalking a poker dealer. Although I am sure it happens. But I haven’t heard of anybody stocking a poker dealer.
Heather: I had a stocker!
Marc: Well yeah, you’re a pretty girl too. It makes it easier to get a stocker.
Heather: He was an 80 year old stocker. He was nasty.
Marc: Oh gosh! Well, do you want to tell that story? Like is this –
Heather: It was my first month of dealing. I was brand new to dealing and I was being nice to everyone because I was just so happy and excited that I had a job. It was this 80 year old guy and he would say the nastiest things on the table. Like talking about his Viagra, do I want to come up to the room to see if his Viagra’s working. You know that kind of stuff, kinda nasty. And he would be at my table at the time I started to the time I ended, for 8 hours. And then he would act – he know my car and he would be outside waiting for me at my car. And I’m like, I can’t do anything to you. You’re an 80 year old man. If I do that you’re going to fall over and hit your head or something. So finally I just had security start walking me to my car and everything. He got the hint I guess. But he staked me for a while.
Marc: That’s interesting. I’m trying to picture an 80 year old woman following me to my car. It wouldn’t be as intimidating, I don’t think. I have heard plenty of stories of there being stalkers for female poker dealers. People – they have plenty of time to ask to be escorted to their cars. I’ve never experienced anybody that has been so upset with me over something that I did. But that’s one of the things that’s really nice, in poker the rules of poker generally protect the players from anything that’s truly not their fault. It’s hard to create a circumstance where dealers going to F over a player like that, is how I look at it anyway. But, you also reminded me of this story of what it’s like to be a table games dealer. It’s even rauncher and crazier, the conversations that the older men say and have on those tables. Especially when it’s one on one with a female dealer. You never get that as a poker dealer. Ever! That’s interesting!
Marc: Let’s go to the next one.
Heather: Okay, this is 8 right?
Heather. Okay no. 8 Time management skills. How you manage your time while dealing the game, could also determine whether your tokes go up and down, and how your customer service comes across. So for example, if you’re dealing a slow game, like really really slow, you’re going to upset players. If you’re dealing a game that’s super super fast, that they can’t even read the cards, that’s not going to be a good experience for the players. So how you handle the game, your time management skills is really important. Also, for your toke numbers, if you’re dealing more hands per hour – let’s say if your hands per hour are pretty low, if you are dealing more hands per hour and you get that number up, that means more tokes per hour, which means more money for you. That’s also something to think about.
It’s also the dealers job to deal as many accurate hands as possible, that they are capable of. If you have slow customers on your table, you don’t want to be rude to them. You want to first use your body signal. For example your hand. What would you like to do? Just be very kind very passive. If they don’t get it then move on and be like, “You know, sir it’s your turn, what would you like to do sir?” And this usually get’s the table moving. You want to make sure that you are always doing a certain number of hands per hour and you want to keep a good game flow when you are dealing your game.
Shuffling, don’t take 5 or 10 minutes to shuffle. Try to shuffle as fast as possible. Remember when you are shuffling you are not getting tips, you’re only getting tips when you are dealing out the hands.
Marc: Those are all very on point. Getting out hands in poker is the dream, right? New poker dealers especially in the first 6 months of being a poker dealer is going to be hard to go fast. Table games is similar right? It’s like you tell people, speed will come. But I gotta tell ya, for me as a poker player, which I have played plenty of poker in addition to working in the industry. I absolutely get tilted – I hate it when there is an experienced – (glitch 50:23) like it drives me absolutely crazy!
Are you still there. You seem like you have frozen.
Heather: I’m here.
Marc: Was I gone, where you gone?
Heather: I think you were frozen. I don’t know. One of us was frozen.
Marc: It’s all good. I was just to say it again really quick. Getting out hands as quickly as possible when you are experienced is really important. When you’re not as experienced, learn the job, learn it well and speed will come. But yes absolutely! I also, like you said, reminding someone when it’s their turn. In poker, we never want to point. It’s the same for table games, you don’t ever want to point.
Heather: Yes. Never point!
Marc: Were going to go with an open tom – right! It’s like the monkey in Family Guy I think.
Heather: Oh I love that monkey!
Marc: That’s not what you want to do is what I am saying! Not the monkey in Family Guy. But when it’s the players turn in poker you give them that chance – right! You want to give them the open hand. The word is action. You say action! Actions over here in poker is how you do it. It is very valuable to be able to say that. Let’s do the next one.
Heather: Next one. No. 9 I think right?
Heather: Persuasion skills. Your body language and your facial expressions – actually speak of the devil! Your body language and facial expressions persuade people whether you know it or not. Persuasion skills means realizing that your body language can be either inviting towards people or pushing them away. So a good example of that is, when you are on a dead game, you don’t want to be unapproachable. You know have your arms crossed. Looking at people all funny. Being all like, “What are you lookin at?” And never, never do that. So, try to follow the 5 - 10 - 5 rule. Five fee away you smile at them. OR Ten feet away you look at them. Five feet away you smile and you acknowledge them. And then ten feet away, just follow them. So 10 - 5 - 10. Another thing to you really want to be approachable. So you want people to come to your game.
Marc: Those are great and those are – there is a huge difference between poker and table games with this. Because you are not really selling is not the exact word, but – You don’t have anything to do with whether or not the player is going to continue to play the game in poker. They come to a table, they are surrounded by a whole bunch of people. If they win it’s their choice to stay or go. If they lose it’s their choice to stay or go. You have a lot to do with it in table games and that’s a really good insight. With that said, you do sometimes end up on a dead spread in poker. When you are in a dead spread everything you just said applies 100 fold.
Heather: No crossing your arms. No getting all up –
Marc: 100%. It’s not any more than table games. Yeah.
Marc: You end up on a lot – a decent amount of dead tables is a table games dealer because all of a sudden it’s open and the casino is having to make money. And there is way less in poker because poker dealers complain constantly about them. But also in poker, the tables are all the same. It’s like whatever game you are going to open, it’s just one table. You figure out what’s next and then it goes there. So you need fewer dead spreads.
Heather: Well for poker it’s worse too if you are on a dead table because you keep your own tokes, you’re like screwed! You want people on your table. Where as a blackjack dealer we pool our tokes so if I’m on a dead table it doesn’t matter, I’m still going to get paid the same.
Marc: That’s true. Yeah. I used to like dead spreads when I dealt table games. As a poker dealer I didn’t like it as much because it keep your own. It is what it is, right?
Marc: But there is a good opportunity in poker in order – because you’re keeping your own, you can create connection with a player on a dead spread. The 5 - 10 - 5 is very on point with that. You end up getting tipped later if you do it right, for what it’s worth. The more authentic the better. Let’s do no. 10.
Heather: Number – not – 10? Ok my gosh are we at 10 already?
Heather: Ability to handle surprises. So in our profession we see a high number of incidents and it’s not the surprise but how you deal with the surprise that matters. How do you react? So when a surprise happens, we typically say or do the first thing that comes to mind without thinking about the ramifications. And usually this results in undesirable consequences. So for example, please do not laugh hysterically while pointing at a high roller they don’t like that. Would be very embarrassing. And customer service also, could throw you a curveball. Sometimes your problem isn’t covered in the company guidelines and the guest isn’t reacting the way you thought you would. So whatever the case may be, just remember to keep your cool, filter your words, act like a professional. And if the situation is too much to handle, call over your floor supervisor and they will help you out. Or you guys will have a really great story to tell later on.
Marc: So loved all of those. And those are pretty similar for poker. The amount of surprises that come up in casinos is insane.
Marc: You have to see it to believe it, honestly. And I’m not as good at remember the stories until someone reminds me, like “hey what happened with this?” I’m like, “Oh Yeah!” But I know that you tell some great stories. And I know we’ve only got about 4 or 5 more minutes. I don’t want us to start telling these types of stories right now.
Heather: I could go on for hours. If the best stories, always ask a casino dealer for stories. Because that is where you are going to get the best stories.
Marc: Oh for sure! I’m looking though to see what notes I have. I think we ended up covering everything I had. I had separate notes. We ended up just doing it a different a different way than I was picturing. Which I loved! But, I’m trying to think of poker dealers and surprises. The dealers sorta gotta keep dealing,during the surprise a lot of the time. And so it ends up being like a multitasking, like “Floor!” Which is basically what you said. But some of the surprises are crazy!
Like I will give one quick example and you just don’t know what it’s going to be. There was one player who had a mask before Covid. This was years and years ago. This actually at table games experience that I had. And the mask was coming up a little bit, or coming off a little bit and they had a complete hole in the front of their mouth that showed right into their teeth and all that stuff. It was from something that they had a surgery or something. It was literally had a hole right there. And you gotta not stare at it, right? Like, that’s what it’s like sometimes. You just don’t know.
Heather: Yeah! No you are absolutely right and the stories I can tell. I mean, you have people having sex in the casino. You have piss and shit stories. You have fight stories. I can tell you fights where there was blood all over the floor. The guy that started it who caused the whole problem was like, “You’re not going to call the cops right? Everythings cool, we’re good?” You just hit this guy over the head with a freaking shot glass, No stuff is not good.
Marc: It doesn’t even sound real. But it’s real!
Heather: It’s real!! It’s insane! And some of the stories I hear you would really think OMG that is not real. This is REAL! You see some really crazy things in the casino.
Marc: So let’s take a couple of questions and say goodbye. Sound good?
Marc: Q: Speros said, what advice would you give to a table games dealer to stay awake during the slow times when you are just standing around with no action?
Heather: I have a story for this.
A: This is the answer that came immediately after that. I do not support amphetamines is the answer. What a – thank you Bryan for that answer. What’s your story?
A: The answer is simple but I have a story with it. I am going to tell a story for the answer. I was working two jobs, so I would work swing and then work graveyard. I couldn’t do it. I never drank coffee, so ended up falling asleep on the table. And I had a dream that I was dealing so I was sleep-dealing on the table. I was on baccarat. Player has 8, banker has natural 9, banker wins so I start taking all the player bets, and I hear “What are you doing? What are you doing? Stop doing it!” and I wake up and I look down and I have a natural tie, like 8 to 8 natural tie. There is no way I could screw that up. And I’m sitting here and I’m taking all the player bets and all the people are so mad at me because I’m taking their money when it’s a tie. I had to explain to my floor supervisor why I was doing that. He was like, “Okay you are going to have to start drinking coffee after this.” So after that I started drinking coffee. I hate coffee. I despise coffee. I would drink so much coffee so that would never happen again.
Marc: I mean I wouldn’t want that to happen again either. That is – first of all coffee is a decent answer. You sometimes have to get tapped out for an emergency if you have it. But a lot of casinos provide it, because of that reason.
Heather: And I can say I literally deal that game in my sleep. Literally deal that game in my sleep.
Marc: You can but you are going to remember the stuff in your head instead of what’s actually in front of you. But that is sorta how it is sometimes. When you are on shift it can be a trance and then it is very comfortable and –
Heather: That’s why they have coffee in the break room right?
Marc:Yeah. Absolutely. That’s really, really, really – I don’t know how to finish that sentence. But it’s really.
Heather: Coffee is important!
Marc: Brian says I get much better tips by dealing or by entertaining personally while staying on top of mechanics. It’s a tough line to walk though. It’s very very true.
Heather: That’s what a good dealer is. They can do both at the same time.
Marc: I’m seeing if there’s anything else here that I feel like we can sneak one more in.
Heather: And it’s hard too.
Marc: No. I think we’re good to wrap up.
Marc: I super super appreciate you coming and spending the time. I am excited to jump on your livestream in a couple weeks.
Heather: I am looking forward to that too.
Marc: And also being on your gameshow is going to be pretty interesting.
Heather: Thank you so much for being a contestant.
Marc: You said Match52 is what it is called right?
Heather: Yes Match52. We are doing a gameshow. If anyone is interested in being a contestant and possibly winning a $1052 email me at [email protected] and we will get you on.
Marc: Wait! So anybody, even in the chat can potentially be on this gameshow? They can sorta apply with an email?
Heather: So what were are doing –
Marc: Oh I like that.
Heather: Is were sorta doing it in tears. We are doing like, technically the “important” people first. Like Wizzard of Odds, Marc - True Poker Dealer. We are getting all the big people first and then we’re going to fill as many slots as we can. And then after that whatever slots are open whoever want’s to do it, let me know and we can get you in.
Marc: So that’s awesome! I put in the chat [email protected] That is what you said?
Marc: Alright! So, anybody that wants to potentially be in – and win $1052 was it?
Heather: Potential to win $1052 for first place, and we also have a second place prize and a third place prize.
Marc: But unfortunately they will be competing with me so good luck, right? I don’t know how this game works at all for the record. I have no idea. I am excited to try and be vulnerable in that way. Right?
Heather: It’s going to be fine.
Marc: If I look stupid, I look stupid. If I don’t, I don’t it will be cool.
Heather: It’s going to be all fun.
Marc: I super appreciate you coming here and I love all the stuff we talked about over customer service. That was very valuable. Heather does have a course if you didn’t catch that at the beginning. She’s got a course where you can actually learn all that plus the real details. Just go to vegas-aces.com and you can go to her courses section and find it there. If you are just joining and you don’t know me, I do have courses too where I help you learn how to deal poker from start to finish. You can join at truepoker.com. Thank you guys very much!
Heather: Remember to like and subscribe!
Marc: Yes like and subscribe. I’m bad at asking for that. I appreciate you!