Casino Stories – Playing Blackjack with friendly dealers

The illegal activity only happened one evening and only at the one casino. If I had a pleasant run of cards and was considerably ahead, Id become even more generous. I’d heard that dealers sometimes cheat for the casino but this was the first time I’d heard that it worked the other way also. I wasnt sure about his proposal but I placed a 1 unit bet for him.

He gave me a blackjack.

And, keeping the dealer friendly does reap benefits.

A few hands later, he frowned and said Its time again. He dealt for a few moments silently. Place a bet for me, he said, and Ill give you a blackjack.

Since it was a low limit table, I’m feel like the dealers were happy with what had happened. He checked his hole card for blackjack.

We decided on our progression (something like increasing one unit after 2 wins and dropping back to the minimum after every loss). I put out 10 units for me and 5 units for him. He almost imperceptibly shook his head no. We visited there often in the 1970s while working in Michigan and flying to Nevada some weekends. I scratched the table.

The streak lasted for about 2 hours and because of our bet sizes – almost all small – we had quite an array of chips in front of us.

“If this keeps up,” I said, “we’re going to regret betting minimal amounts. But, even when I was behind, I continued to try to make the dealer my friend.

He paid it off. Not something a player could be depend on even if they wanted to. It was late – sometime after midnight. In both instances, dealer friendliness was necessary to the success of the sessions. We were happy with what we were doing. Most dealer friendliness in Las Vegas is confined to the type described at the beginning of the article and at the Stardust later in the evening.

This was true at most of the casinos where I played.

We decided that we’d put $20 each into the game and if it disappeared, we’d go back to the Marina and call it a night.

I didn’t know what to do. This particular time we were on a junket to the Marina.

The dealer paused. I saw other players ask for a food comp and the dealer would calmly call for the pit person and simply point at the requestor when the pit person arrived. Both of us won our bets.

And, later one evening:

I was sitting at one of the outlying tables where it was really dim. I’d been varying my bets between 1 unit and 5 units. When playing later at the Stardust, we learned that having a good time is more fun when the dealer is your friend.

Almost from the beginning we could do no wrong. If there was a procedural error that I wanted corrected or clarified, the dealer was always patient and leaned towards my point of view.

At all casinos, whether I was ahead or behind, I was usually generous in betting for the dealer. After wandering through the casino for a while, Sharon and I sat down at a low minimum table – probably $2.

However, at the Marina, at times dealer friendliness went beyond that.

Early one evening:

In those days I tried to count cards and knew when the deck was player favorable but wasn’t willing to bet the amounts necessary to show much of a profit.

As he paid me off I commented If Id known for sure, those bets would have been bigger. I received my two cards and the dealer took his. We also began putting out a minimum bet for the dealer after each winning hand.

There were nooks and crannies where it was difficult to see much beyond the table where your blackjack game was being played. The amazing run of luck we had at the Stardust can happen anytime but only rarely.

I looked at my hand and needed an additional card because my total was 14. I looked up to see what had happened. We were happy with what had happened and told the story back in Michigan so often people got tired of hearing it.

Lot’s of fun at the Stardust and the dealers wound up being our friends for the night.

I could tell that treatment of the dealer was particularly successful when I wanted something. We were cashing out $425. I tipped the dealer as usual.

After several losers in a row, I called a halt to it and the dealer stacked our chips and changed them to higher denominations. It seemed that every bet we made was a winner. He looked serious and if he wasn’t kidding me. When I asked, the dealer would almost stop the game and call the pit person, telling them when they arrived that Don would like a food comp and generally act like there shouldnt be any question about it.

We got back to the Marina about 4 AM and headed for the bed.

The conclusion that can be made

These three stories are not the normal for Las Vegas. I’m sure the dealer(s) pocketed some $100 in tips.

Whenever I spotted a mistake when a payoff was due me, the dealer was on my side when he called a pit person over. There was joviality and good will. I varied my bets as usual. I think we should at least start some kind of progression in betting.”. His up card was a 10. I stuffed my cards under my chips and watched as the dealer turned his hole card over.

It was a 4 and he found another 10 in the deck to cause him to go over 21. It was a single deck game and I was reasonably sure that there were dealers that could control the deck. The blackjack popped up as he had promised.

Playing at the Marina Hotel

The casino area of the Marina Hotel on what used to be the extreme south end of the strip (no longer around) was not a well lit and sparkling place. I particularly found that there was money to be gained one night at the Marina if the dealer was your friend. The dealer looked at me. After six or eight hands we paused.

The progression of dealers were happy with what we were doing. Sometimes when I had a 5 unit bet out, Id bet 1 unit for the dealer.

I did that. Shouldnt do it too often and you should probably walk away after a couple but Ill let you know.

I was sitting at one of the middle tables – right where there was lots of action. I picked up my chips, walked away, and cashed in my chips.

And, even later at the Stardust

We took a cab (even at that age, it was too far to walk) north on the strip to the Stardust. People passing by smiled when they saw us having a good time.

I had a 5 unit bet out on the table

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