I received my two cards and the dealer took his. It was a single deck game and I was reasonably sure that there were dealers that could control the deck. 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. I think we should at least start some kind of progression in betting.”. People passing by smiled when they saw us having a good time.

The dealer paused. I looked up to see what had happened. 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.

I did that. I had a 5 unit bet out on the table. We were happy with what we were doing. He looked serious and if he wasn’t kidding me. I varied my bets as usual. Not something a player could be depend on even if they wanted to. 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. There was joviality and good will. If there was a procedural error that I wanted corrected or clarified, the dealer was always patient and leaned towards my point of view.

Since it was a low limit table, I’m feel like the dealers were happy with what had happened. I wasnt sure about his proposal but I placed a 1 unit bet for him.

“If this keeps up,” I said, “we’re going to regret betting minimal amounts. 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. When playing later at the Stardust, we learned that having a good time is more fun when the dealer is your friend.

I looked at my hand and needed an additional card because my total was 14. I particularly found that there was money to be gained one night at the Marina if the dealer was your friend. We visited there often in the 1970s while working in Michigan and flying to Nevada some weekends. We were happy with what had happened and told the story back in Michigan so often people got tired of hearing it.

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. The blackjack popped up as he had promised.

We decided on our progression (something like increasing one unit after 2 wins and dropping back to the minimum after every loss). This particular time we were on a junket to the Marina.

A few hands later, he frowned and said Its time again. It was late – sometime after midnight. I’m sure the dealer(s) pocketed some $100 in tips.

As he paid me off I commented If Id known for sure, those bets would have been bigger. But, even when I was behind, I continued to try to make the dealer my friend.

He paid it off. We were cashing out $425. Sometimes when I had a 5 unit bet out, Id bet 1 unit for the dealer.

After several losers in a row, I called a halt to it and the dealer stacked our chips and changed them to higher denominations. I’d been varying my bets between 1 unit and 5 units. The illegal activity only happened one evening and only at the one casino. The amazing run of luck we had at the Stardust can happen anytime but only rarely.

It was a 4 and he found another 10 in the deck to cause him to go over 21. I tipped the dealer as usual.

And, keeping the dealer friendly does reap benefits.

In both instances, dealer friendliness was necessary to the success of the sessions. The dealer looked at me. He checked his hole card for blackjack.

I could tell that treatment of the dealer was particularly successful when I wanted something. Both of us won our bets.

And, later one evening:

I was sitting at one of the outlying tables where it was really dim. 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 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.

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.

Whenever I spotted a mistake when a payoff was due me, the dealer was on my side when he called a pit person over. After six or eight hands we paused.

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

I didn’t know what to do. He dealt for a few moments silently. His up card was a 10. It seemed that every bet we made was a winner. 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. Shouldnt do it too often and you should probably walk away after a couple but Ill let you know.

The progression of dealers were happy with what we were doing. I stuffed my cards under my chips and watched as the dealer turned his hole card over.

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.

Almost from the beginning we could do no wrong. If I had a pleasant run of cards and was considerably ahead, Id become even more generous. I put out 10 units for me and 5 units for him. Place a bet for me, he said, and Ill give you a blackjack.

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. He almost imperceptibly shook his head no. I scratched the table.

He gave me a blackjack.

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

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.

I was sitting at one of the middle tables – right where there was lots of action