Blackjack Terms For Beginners

Blackjack is a game in itself. Blackjack stands alone at the casino and is one of the most popular tables in the house. Blackjack has a long history and avid players, as such the game has developed its own language. If you have never played blackjack before, but would like to try, learning this language is one of the key steps to playing the game well. After all, you need to know what the dealer and the other players are talking about before you can make the best moves for your hand. Fortunately, blackjack lingo is straightforward and simple, more so than poker, and anyone can pick it up.

Common Blackjack Terms

Table: The table refers to the blackjack table. This is where the dealer will stand, the players will sit, and all cards and bets will be handled.

Dealer: The dealer is responsible for shuffling the cards, handing out the plays, and taking bets. The dealer will also call each round of blackjack and hand out the winnings. In blackjack, you play against both the dealer and the other players at the table.

Player Roster: For blackjack to be played you must have at least one dealer and at least one player. The amount of players sitting at the table is referred to as the player roster. Blackjack players sometimes use this term when talking about their opponents.

  • Basement: Basement is another way of saying player in blackjack. Each player is a baseman.
  • First Baseman: The first baseman refers to the player sitting directly to the left of the dealer. This is the first player to act after the cards have been drawn.
  • Third Baseman: The third baseman is the last player to act on a hand because he or she is seated last at the table, or on the right side of the dealer.
    Anchorman: Anchorman is another term for the third baseman or the last player seated at the table.
  • Twenty-One: Blackjack is sometimes referred to as twenty-one because you need a total of twenty-one cards (or closer than the dealer and other players) to win. Most all casinos call blackjack by its proper name, but the term twenty-one is common around private home games.
  • Natural Blackjack: A natural blackjack is a rare occurrence in the card game. A natural blackjack occurs when a player is dealt 21 in the first two cards. If a player is dealt 21 in their first to cards, it is an automatic win and the dealer can not beat out or tie with them.

Assisting Management With Casino Surveillance Operations

On any given day in the surveillance room, Pit Supervisors and other officials will request operators to give special attention to a specific guest, area, or activity. The Surveillance Supervisor or Director will decide as to the best method of handling the request. These requests occur often; sometimes they are false observations and others are a crime in progress.

Observing For Suspicious Activity

Observing a specific player or dealer for suspicious activity is a common request. Every request needs to be taken seriously and should be followed if it doesn’t interfere with higher priority activities like a crime in progress. One consideration to remember is that it could be a team or group operation. Therefore, all surveillance operators shouldn’t focus on the same person. The whole casino needs to continue to be observed.

If any criminal activity occurs, try to capture it from as many cameras and viewpoints as possible. These recordings may play the role of vital evidence at a later date. The Director of Surveillance must be notified of the incident immediately.

Utilizing Proper Etiquette

Remember, when calling management personnel or other departments use the proper tone, language, and utmost professionalism when discussing the issue. The same is consistent with other departments when talking to surveillance. If any discourtesy does occur, report it to your supervisor.

Proper Protocol

Also, keep in mind that no floor person should be calling surveillance personnel even if they witness crimes or cheating. The proper protocol is for them to report the activity to their Pit Manager or above. Regardless of the results, once the evaluation has concluded, report them to the Pit Manager. Sometimes even the Pit Managers forget that floor supervisors need to report all activity to them. Politely remind them of the proper chain of command.

On the other hand, floor men are required to call surveillance when they witness a dealer error that has occurred. According to their procedures, floor men must also report the incident to their supervisor. This is to confirm correct reporting to higher-level personnel and ensure another witness has been informed.

There are many different casino-specific procedures and protocols to follow. The most important points are to be courteous, respectful to other departments and your co-workers, be diligent with your actions, and have good attention to detail. This combination will allow you to be successful and efficient within your job.

Harrah’s Strategy Continues To Incur High Debt

Industry titan Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. of Las Vegas is backed by many investors with deep pockets. The company has continued to progress with its properties despite billions of dollars of loss and a debt of $22 billion as a result of the current recession. Moody’s Investor Services recently released a report questioning the current growth strategy implemented by Harrah’s.

Moody’s Point of View

One of the main points of the report is that Harrah’s debt encumbrance continues to leave the company with deficient funds for maintenance and growth plans. Moody suggests that Harrah’s restructure the debt load, sell off assets, or go public on the stock market. At the same time, the three options all present new obstacles to the company.

Moody claims that like many other casinos, they need to find a method of bringing new customers in while retaining current consumers as the gaming industry is in decline and unlikely to rebound in the near future. Despite financial engineering and some restructuring, debt payments consume 90 percent of earnings before depreciation, amortization, interest, and taxes.
Furthermore, Moody believes Harrah’s isn’t investing more in their properties, although with insufficient cash, it’s a difficult task to undertake. Over time this substantially damages their competitive position. It is clear that management is more focused on implementing growth than reducing the amount of debt.

The Numbers

Harrah’s owns nine Las Vegas Strip properties including Bally’s and Caesar’s Palace. Although second-quarter financial results are yet to be released, from 2008 to the first quarter of 2010, the company incurred $4.4 billion in losses, much in the form of asset write-downs. This was to compensate for their inability to generate profits.
Additionally, Harrah’s is challenged with annual interest costs of almost $1.7 billion. On the positive side, Harrah’s has managed to decrease operating costs by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Harrah’s Future Plans

Although no official comment has been made regarding their debt burden, Harrah’s recently acquired Planet Hollywood on the Las Vegas Strip with plans to attain Ohio’s Thistledown Race Track. Additionally, it is rumored they are looking to expand to a property in Mulvane, Kansas; all of this will substantial debt.
Although backed by deeply pocketed investors on Wall Street, Harrah’s needs to address the major debt issue at hand with a proper debt strategy. Expansion with no excess capital is a major mistake during a global economic recession.

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