It’s a very rare casino that overlooks a half a grand shortfall

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An interesting thing happened to me at the casino. I was on a crap game and after a great roll that lasted over 40 minutes, I decided to call it quits. The dealer asked me if I wanted to trade in all of my $5 and $25 chips, of which I had plenty, for $100 dollar ones. What happened next was the interesting part. The dealer accidentally overpaid me $500.

All right, I didn’t say anything, figuring I could use the $500 more than the casino could, so I walked over to the cashier’s cage to cash out. Within moments, the pit boss that was on the game came over while I was standing in line and politely explained that I was overpaid and he would like the $500 back. Without creating a scene, I gave in. Please tell me how you would have handled this both from my end as a player, and as a former pit boss? Forrest R.

Okay, next time, “run, Forrest, run!”

Sorry, Forrest, I couldn’t resist. It’s one of those “box of chocolates” lines from a favorite movie, coaxed out of memory by your first name.

Seriously, if it’s an overpay, be it on a slot machine, keno ticket, roulette payout, or in your case, on a color up, it’s still their money; ‘taint yours. You didn’t expect him to come up and say, Merry Christmas, did you? He was only doing what his job required, protecting his rump as well as the company assets.

Being that the overpay was undisputed, and that’s top-hole important here, in the joints where I worked, we would have done exactly the same, but further, I would have tried to put a smile back on your face.

I‘d have walked up beginning with tactful idle chit-chat, maybe shifting smoothly into friendly joshing, but the five $100 chips would definitely have left your possession, surgically if necessary. If a modicum of smoothing things over seemed in order, I would have happily offered you a feeding frenzy opportunity at our Free-All-You-Can-Eat buffet, just so we didn’t lose you as a customer for life.

I think blackjack players should not tip dealers in casinos that pay only 6-5 for a blackjack. Since the casinos are making so much more profit, they should pay the dealers more. Frank H.

Let me tell you Frank, with 100% certainty, what’s NOT going to happen: The dealers getting paid more!

This column has oft-repeated the basic principle of NOT wasting your hard-earned money on any blackjack game that pays less than 3:2 for a blackjack, but what it has NOT recommended is stiffing the dealers.

On a conventional blackjack game, a blackjack typically pays 3:2 ($15 for $10), while these new 6:5 games pay only $12 for a $10 wager. Tweaking this one rule has dramatically increased the house advantage—an extra 1.39%. So step away, don’t play, but that doesn’t mean don’t tip out of revenge against the house. You settle the score by good ol’ perfect strategy in a casino that offers 3:2 for a blackjack.

What you might not realize, Frank, is that most front-line casino employees are low paid elves dangling from minimum wage. The majority of a casino employee’s pay comes through the gratuities of casino patrons. If you are winning, and the dealer is being courteous and helpful, it is customary to show your appreciation. Naturally you are under no obligation to tip, but an occasional gratuity is always in good form.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Keno demands so little of the player that it is almost a spectator sport.” –Dawin Ortiz, Gambling for the Clueless

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