dispatches from the desert: the lost dispatch.

IMG_0891When I was working in Vegas as a dice dealer at the finest resort on The Strip, I used to write a weekly email to some friends, detailing some of the funny, interesting and unique highlights of the week. Dispatches From The Desert had a small, but loyal following. I just stumbled upon something I wrote more than three years ago that never made it into a Dispatch. But I thought I’d share it with you…

1 December 2009
What I Do
If you’ve never been to a casino, being a dealer is a lot like being your favorite bartender. We provide a fun, lively atmosphere that’s welcoming, exciting and all about having a great time. Sometimes we educate you—how to play a certain game. We help you learn strategies and overcome anxiety of stepping up to a craps table without feeling lost. Our job as dealers is to be your guide, your ally, your coach, your teammate. The house pays us a rate to deal the game. But we make the lion’s share of our money off the generosity of our players (tokes). And it’s no secret that winning enhances that generosity.

So why, some have wondered, would I forego a nine-to-five gig that gives me a salary, regular schedule, weekends off and paid holidays? Why would I trade that in to move the dice around a craps game during hours when most people are asleep? “Who would WANT to work here?” Some have said to me.

Here’s why. Let me tell what happened the other night.
I took a break as my table was sedate, quiet and manageable. I returned 20 minutes later to find the “reserved” sign hanging on my table with five players who looked like they just stepped out of the movie Goodfellas. They where playing with anywhere from $300 – $2000 IN ACTION at any given moment. They were betting $100 chips for the dealers. They were betting $1000 chips for themselves. In less than one hour, my sleepy little table dumped somewhere in the neighborhood of $30,000 – $40,000. On five players.

And nobody broke a sweat over it. No heads will roll. If anything, the house and dealers alike want those same guys to come back to your table and play again. Certainly, there were moments I felt like I was getting shot out of a cannon. But who doesn’t want that feeling when they go to work? Who doesn’t want the exhilaration one must feel when standing in the batter’s box with the game on the line? Who doesn’t want to stand in the glare of the spotlight while all eyes and ears are focused on you and you alone?

I traded an office with a decent desk and a decent view from the 19th floor to an office that sits on a casino gaming floor and is teeming with activity day and night. My office is populated by gamblers, boozers, sexy club-goers, rich foreigners, famous athletes, scantily clad cocktails waitresses, dealers with the wit and repartee of comedians and high-prices call girls working the lounges. And this is 3 a.m. on a Tuesday. The question I have is: who WOULDN’T want to work here???

Yeah, sometimes I miss it. 🙂


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