Kamis, 16 Oktober 2014

What players want

Once in awhile, a card room manager asks me what players want. I usually try not to let the shock show on my face and try to give them a straight answer. With Bluff sitting in card rooms all over the country, I have an opportunity to answer the question for any members of management or staff that flip through the magazine. So what do players really want from a card room?
1. Consistency
A lack of consistency is the most common complaint and it is often the most valid. Players have a point when they complain about rules that vary from one dealer or floor person to the next, but the most frustrating lack of consistency is the non-standard rules that so many card rooms implement. If you have a rule that is unique to your card room, I can assure you that most players see it as unprofessional, annoying, and a reason to avoid your room in the future.
Almost all of these non-standard rules come from management who think their idea will allow their card room to reinvent the wheel. I’ve seen four or five different views on betting lines, what is required if a player makes a forward motion with chips, when you can listen to or text on your electronic devices, and whether cash plays on the table. To tell you what all the standard rules are would require a book rather than an article, but if you visit a few large card rooms, it isn’t hard to figure out what rule is the most common and the most common rule should almost always be the standard.

Sometimes these non-standard rules pop up because floor people don’t have the time or the initiative to police the games. Rather than make a decision about whether a hand is dead or a player made a bet, they institute a rule to try to avoid the situation in the future. This is understandable, but it doesn’t work. You cannot legislate away everything. Rule No. 1 must always be that the floor person must make decisions in the interest of fairness and this supersedes all other rules. It’s tough to shoot an angle with a smart and experienced floor on the prowl.
2. Competent staff
Competence is also crucial to making players happy. From the poker room manager to the dealer and the fry cook in the kitchen, having reasonably competent staff isn’t tough. It may require a little bit of paid training time, firing a few people who refuse to learn, or a change in how your management handles the rest of the employees, but in getting a license to run a poker room, you have a chance to make a pile of money and the least you can do for your customers is to make sure the people who represent your poker room are competent.
Your dealers and floor people should know the rules, be well trained, and, most importantly, be willing to make the effort to get it right when they don’t know the answer. A dealer who is wrong, but interested in learning the right answer, is much better than a dealer who is right and has an attitude about it.
3. Comfort
If you want players to spend serious hours in your card room, then you need to make them comfortable, too. A friendly and welcoming environment is easy to foster in a place where people come for entertainment, and they will find something else to do if they sit in an uncomfortable chair, are made to feel out of place, or are uncomfortable for any reason. A good chair and a quality poker table is the least you can do, and a welcoming brush who can help out with any problems shouldn’t be the exception, it should be the rule.
4. Food
If those players in their comfortable chairs who are enjoying a conversation with a friendly dealer are going to stick around all night, they are going to need to eat. Card rooms aren’t known for great food, something I have never understood. You have a captive audience with money and a desire to stay where they are. If you can give them some reasonable food options, they will not only buy the food, they will pay hundreds of dollars in rake. Even a Subway franchise and a greasy spoon diner would combine to make most players happy, but I have been to card rooms all over the country that offer only sub-standard bar food when the buffet closes.
I can tell you that when I am in Las Vegas, I often choose a card room based on the food available, especially when I plan on playing a long session. This makes The Wynn, with good food delivered and multiple food choices nearby, one of my favorite places to play. Comfortable chairs and good service help, too!
5. Money
The players who pay the most rake are the grinders and local pros. And those players won’t come to your room if they can’t make a profit. We know you need to make money, but if you rake us to death, we can’t come back. If you take too much of our money to build a bad beat jackpot, we know we are being forced to play a lottery with a huge rake attached to it and we won’t return. The promos you run are great, we appreciate it, but if they mostly benefit the bonus whores and low-limit players, we can’t afford to play in your room and will take our 50 hours a week somewhere else.
6. Attached hotels
We also really like poker rooms that have hotels attached to them. We can stay later, have a few drinks, and not worry about getting a DUI or having to sleep it off in the parking lot before we head home in the morning. When we’re on the road, we will always pick the poker room with a hotel attached rather than find a room, check-in, head out to the poker room, and play for a while before we drive back to the hotel.
7. Safety
Safety is important to us as well. If I can’t get a box, and you can’t write me a check for my winnings, you better be in a very good neighborhood or have a hotel attached. If I have to walk out into a rough neighborhood with $20,000 in my pocket, you can bet that I won’t be back.
8. Miscellaneous
There are other small things we like. Can we put our iPod or cellphone on the rail, or do you really think we’re hiding cards under there? Can we get a shot and a beer, or are you worried that two drinks at once will cause a riot? How about you provide a chip runner instead of making me run up to the cashier to get chips so that I can start paying rake? Are you really raking the pot in increments of 50 cents? Seriously? Don’t you think that half dollar you just handed me points out how much money you are taking out of the game and irritates your players?
Somehow, someway, poker rooms are closing. Not many of them yet, but there are, in fact, people who have been unable to make money with a license to rake poker games. How this happens I’m not sure, and it will never happen in a place like Minnesota where the poker rooms are well protected. In Vegas, where there is open competition, we may see more rooms close in the next year or two. When a room closes, you can be sure that they aren’t following the advice in this article, and they aren’t asking their players what they can do to make them happy.

source : bluff