Casino Knowledge Is Power

Navigating the Casino Maze

From Monaco, the Las Vegas of Europe, to Queen Mary II, the largest cruise ship ever to sail, most world casinos are laid out in a similar floor plan. Even at the smaller clubs, you recognize many of the same aesthetic and functional characteristics in the megaresorts. This standard-design is no accident — casino owners have an intimate knowledge of the gambler’s mind, and they design the interiors to make their guests comfortable with parting with their cash.

This section takes a stroll through a typical casino to prepare you for the sights and sounds you encounter when you walk through those neon-bathed doorways. Preparation is the key to maintaining control.

Getting in is the easy part.

It may surprise you how fast you can find yourself in the middle of the sensory hurricane on the casino floor. In less restrictive states, such as Nevada and New Jersey, you can walk in off the street or get dropped off by a taxi and find yourself a few feet away from the gaming areas. You’re practically holding the door for your significant other with one hand and rolling the dice with the other. After all, casinos want as little as possible to stand between you and your favorite game.

But most casinos give you a chance to catch your breath and do some mental stretching before plunging into the action. You often find yourself in a lobby or foyer when you walk in. Remember that most casinos are also hotels so that you may see familiar sights, such as the concierge, bell desk, and check-in counter. People bustle about and crowd together before finding the destinations suited for them. While some gamblers anticipate the excitement steps away, others are exiting with delirious grins on their faces — or expressions of shock and awe.

Slot machines: Place them, and they will come

As you enter the casino proper, you see hopeful gamblers, often two-deep, standing in line, patiently waiting their turn to reap the spitting, buzzing payoffs from the slot machines. You operate the slot machines by pushing the buttons or yanking down the lever to the side. Larger casinos hold aisle after aisle of slots, like rows of corn.

Casinos typically place the most profitable slot machines within easy access to the main traffic aisles, such as the foyer, restaurants, and bars. They are cautious about placing high-hit frequency slots within earshot of the thronging masses.

Table games: Penetrating the inner circle

Just as the sun is the center of the solar system, the table games rest in the middle of the casino system, attracting visitors ever inward and at the same time providing the primary source of energy and vitality to the floor. Table games are grouped into areas known in casino lingo as pits. The pits are separated from slot machines, restaurants, and other casino functions by a wide aisle, allowing nonpayers to watch the action and vicariously enjoy the thrill of turning over the winning card or nailing the winning roll.

Meeting the Casino’s Cast of Characters

A vast and sometimes complicated hierarchy of employees with various titles, responsibilities, and even different styles of dress populates a casino. These workers simultaneously cater to the needs of the guests and the casino owners. But, no matter who they are, the casino employees all have one goal in common: to provide you with ample opportunities to try your luck against the unevenly-stacked house odds.

Casino employees are usually pleasant, professional, and well-trained individuals (after all, if you’re treated with courtesy and respect, you’re more likely to stay — and spend — longer). This section introduces you to the pleasant cast of characters you may encounter, and I explain their unique roles. With this knowledge, you’re better equipped to take advantage of their services — to your advantage.


More prominent hotels can have several dozen security officers working at the busiest times of day and a supervisor in each significant area of the casino who manages the team. Security supervisors must wear many hats, including the cap of a diplomat. Their staff is on the front lines, both protecting and ejecting guests. When the occasional temper flares or a misunderstanding arises, the security supervisor must wade in to render an on-the-spot verdict.

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