Issue 188
April 19 - 25, 2004
Volume 4
page 3

I Am Worried
By Frank Scoblete

The other night I received a call from a young lady who wanted to ask me some questions about casino gambling for a survey a casino company was conducting. I asked her what company that was and she said she didn't really know since her employer was the survey company, not the casino company itself.

After a few general queries about what games I played, where I played, and what I thought about casino gaming in general, she asked a host of questions about Horseshoe in Tunica and comparisons between Horseshoe and Harrah's. These comparisons were obviously geared to finding out why Horseshoe's players--and I number myself among the legions of table-game players who just love playing at the "Shoe" in both Tunica and Indiana--really love the place.

But there was a glaring problem with the questions asked of me during the 20 minutes I spent responding to this young lady--there were only a handful of questions that dealt with the quality of games offered by the Horseshoe and how they treat average-to-expert players in their casinos. Most of the questions were about customer service, slot and players' club promotions, accommodations and the like. These things are important but nothing is as important as the quality of the games, the personnel who deal those games, and the ability of an entire casino operation NOT to sweat the money!

My guess is that the upper management of Harrah's was trying to discover through the survey just what it is about Horseshoe that makes it such a special place to those of us who gamble there.

And that's the problem with big corporations! Do you really need a survey to tell you why the Horseshoe is such a great place for serious gamblers? I don't think so. If I were the upper crust of Harrah's, I'd just take off my suit, establish a credit line at Horseshoe and spend a week or so playing the games and meeting the personnel at the casino. I'd ask for comps and see how I'm treated when the answer is yes and when the answer is no. I'd see how the pit personnel, the boxmen, the dealers reacted when a monster roll was happening; or when a savvy blackjack player went on a tear.

It doesn't take a survey to know when you are in a superior gambling establishment; you just have to open your eyes and look. The legions of players at the craps and blackjack tables at the "Shoe," even during weekdays, is testament to the fact that it is one heck of a place to gamble. While other competing casinos' tables are empty, the "Shoe" is packed.

And I wonder if Jack Binion, the brilliant owner of the "Shoes" in America, ever had to take a survey to discover what it is gamblers really want? Or did his years in the industry tell him in no uncertain terms, "This is what you must do to be the best!"

Now, I happen to love Harrah's in Las Vegas and I play craps there frequently. I also know that the customer service at Harrah's properties nationwide is outstanding. It's a friendly environment.

But the Harrah's "personal touch" is a "corporate touch" that relies on formulas for comping, ratings, and the like. There's no "human" behind the Harrah's mask, no Bill Harrah anymore, or Sam Harrah or Harry Harrah; it's just a company name, a brand. Horseshoe is Jack Binion, just as Mirage, Bellagio, Golden Nugget, and Treasure Island were Steve Wynn.

It is no accident that when Steve Wynn was running the Mirage properties, they had the best blackjack games in Vegas--and rarely sweated the action of even the biggest and most expert of players, and Mirage won a lot of money. Just as Horseshoe does!

Abraham Lincoln said that the greatest danger to America would be politicians who change successful institutions in order to make a name for themselves.

The person who runs the Horseshoe when Jack Binion is gone can't make a name for himself if he doesn't affect change. In the corporate world, change is meat, potatoes and promotions. These changes that I fear coming at the "Shoe" will not be made to hurt the property, no change is ever done to hurt the thing about to be hurt, they will be enacted to improve the "Shoe."

I would love for the Harrah's brain trust to say to the new property manager, "Don't you dare change a thing!" Preserve tradition. That won't happen. And here, by way of analogy, is why:

Both my sons went to a private, Catholic high school in New York. When you entered the school, there were photos and paintings on the walls dating back to the early 1900s of faculty, students, teams and academic awards. There was a sense of history in the building. The curriculum was old fashioned, English was Shakespeare, the Greeks, and the greats from past ages. Students took Latin. The teaching style was positively medieval--completely teacher centered.

The principal stood before the 9th grade parents on orientation night before the opening of school and said, "We know what works from generations of success and we intend to do what we know works. We have real standards and 25 percent of the young men you see in this audience will not make it to their senior year because they won't have what it takes!"

Now, my wife works in a public school. Change is king. Committees rule the day and every fade, foible and good intention created by educrats has been embraced, including the idea that no child is stupid, all children can succeed, and the teacher creates the discipline problems. You name the idiocy; my wife's school has implemented it: creative spelling (translation: no spelling is wrong); the writing process (translation: any slop will do); self-esteem (translation: no one should fail, it makes them feel bad about themselves), cooperative learning (translation: one stupid kid teaching another stupid kid); creative math (translation: no need to get a right answer), et al.

The administrators who effected all this change received promotions and moved on to other public schools ready to be ruined in the name of improvement. My sons' former school, unchanged, is one of the best in the country and has been for over 100 years. My wife's school, one of the 10 best public schools in New York State 30 years ago, has been improved into a disaster--70 percent of the kids can't read this article. But they sure feel good about themselves!

I am worried that the Horseshoe, once a private success, absorbed by a large corporate entity, will also be "improved." The road to Horseshoe's hell will undoubtedly be paved with good intentions.

About the Author

Frank Scoblete is unquestionably casino gaming's number one best-selling author. In 1998, his books, Beat the Craps Out of the Casinos: How to Play Craps and Win! and Break the One Armed Bandits: How to Come Ahead When You Play the Slots! were the best-selling books on in their respective categories. His books on blackjack, roulette, video poker, craps, slots and new games are consistently on the most-requested books lists of Ingram and other distributors.


Of Related Interest

Frank Scoblete has written a number of books, which includes, Beat the Craps Out of the Casinos. Until now, craps has been considered an unbeatable casino game because the house has the edge on every bet. Beat the Craps Out of the Casinos changes all that by introducing you to the "Supersystem," a method developed by the "Captain," a player who has been winning at the game which players and pundits alike claim is unbeatable. Beat the Craps Out of the Casinos is written for both the novice and the experienced player. Starting with the basic rules of the game, the types of bets, the house edge, and what bets players should never make, Frank Scoblete helps any level player understand the Captain's system. The "5-Count," the basis for each varuation of the Captain's strategies, and the key to minimizing losses and maximizing wins id thotoughly explained, followed by step-by-step instructions that take you through each possible situation and show how the Supersystem gives you the advantage. How about beating the casinos while they pay for your room, food, and entertainment? Learn how to take advantage of casino comps reserved for high rollers - without the risks. Discover which casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City are best to play craps at and why. Find out how to get a better craps game with better odds than the casino advertises. And gain practical and workable advice on money management and mental preparation. Beat the Craps Out of the Casinos gives you the skinny on the casinos and players in Las Vegas,Atlantc City, and anywhere else a craps game can be found.

Wacky Wednesday Slot Tournament
Isle of Capri, Bossier City, LA
Every Wednesday night
Registration: $10.00
Call 800-473-4753 for more information

Free $1000 Friday Slot Tournament
Casino Magic Biloxi, Biloxi, MS
Every Friday night

Call 228-386-4600 for more information

Tell us what you think about our newsletter.
Copyright � 2000-2003 Casino City. All rights reserved
Casino City is a trademark of Please read our Disclaimer of Warranty