But I've been especially busy with work assignments while here, thus leaving no time for me to write for fun to this point. I just turned in not one but two articles for Ante Up last night (or this morning, really). So I'm hoping I can knock this out quickly and get back to work. Fortunately, I am known for my ability to get to the point quickly without a lot of unnecessary exposition.
Because I have two other jobs in the poker biz, for Ante Up and PokerAtlas, I have to be careful telling this tale. If I only had this blog and no professional associations with poker rooms around the country, I might just name names and blast away at this casino with reckless abandon. But I have a relationship with the manager of this poker room, he or she is a great person and I continue to wish his or her poker room all the best.
No point in guessing the room, I will never confirm it. Just for clarity, however, I will point out one room this is definitely not about...BSC. I know too much about that room and also the casino for anything like this to have taken place there. Besides, they all know me there and for that reason alone I would have been treated a lot better there.
No, this took place in a casino somewhere in North America. That's as close as I'll narrow it down. I happened to be in the vicinity recently and decided to play at Casino X for the evening. They have a restaurant there that I've eaten at before that I like, and even better, I had enough comps to pay for the meal. Let's call it the ABC Tamales & Sushi Canteen because everyone knows how much I love tamales and sushi.
It was about 6:30PM on a weekday evening and I went over there first before the poker. I was surprised to see the place deserted. There was no sign indicating it was closed, but there was just a bench blocking the entrance. It was dark and empty. I was surprised and it actually appeared to me that it was possible that the restaurant next to it, a Thai place, might be in the process of expanding into the space inhabited by ABC.
I remembered the poker room advertising that they provided food service from ABC T&S Canteen so I knew the poker room would know what was going on. I had actually googled the restaurant to see if there was a news story about the place closing, and there was not.
There were two people manning the front desk at the poker room, a guy in a suit, who was probably running the room, and a guy in a dealer's uniform. The dealer asked how he could help me. The guy in the suit ignored me. I asked, "What's going on with ABC?"
He started to point and give me directions to it. I said I was just there and it appeared to be closed. He expressed surprise. I believe his exact words were "Oh." I expected him to offer some further help. He might have asked the guy in the suit standing next to him if he knew why ABC was closed. He might have made a phone call to see what was going on. He might have suggested an alternative place for me to eat offering similar food. Afterall, Tamale & Sushi restaurants are a dime a dozen, right? I'm sure the casino had five other similar places.
He just turned away from and then did an excellent job of ignoring me. I looked over at the guy in the suit who I was sure had heard the conversation, who continued to do what he had done from the second I approached the desk, which was ignore me.
I suppose I could have gotten his attention and asked if he knew what was going on with ABC. But I decided not to bother. If neither one of these individuals was interested in helping me, I reasoned that this poker room didn't want my business. I had plenty of alternatives. And neither of them was going to magically make the Tamales & Sushi place suddenly open for business.
I moved on, found another place to eat and then play poker. When I got back to my computer, I wrote an email describing my experience to the poker room manager. I did that as a favor to him or her. Surely he or she would want to know that his employees were treating potential customers this way.
He/she couldn't have been more apologetic. He/she explained to me that the restaurant recently changed its hours and it was closed on this particular day. But he/she said that the hours of the place are on the menu they use in the poker room and there was no excuse for the person I spoke to not knowing that they were closed this evening.
The poker room manager thanked me for reporting this, and said it will definitely be a training issue to use for the staff. The manager offered me a comped meal at the eatery anytime I wanted.
I am in a bit of a quandary as to whether or not to accept the offer. I will definitely give the room another chance, but I don't want it to seem like I only wrote the email to the manager to get some kind of goody. That was not my attention at all. I might feel a little guilty now about taking up the offer.
But I have to applaud the manager's rapid response to my concern, and I'd be willing to bet he/she would have had the same response to any such complaint, even if he/she didn't know me from PokerAtlas and Ante Up.
I also suggested to the manager that he/she talk to someone in the casino to suggest they put a sign up at the front of the restaurant listing their hours, perhaps saying, "Sorry we missed you. We re-open for business...." Sadly, considering how poker is treated in general in casinos, it's unlikely the casino will pay any attention to a poker room manager's pleas.
It was a very frustrating experience. But let's face, everyone has bad days. That dealer at the desk may just have been having one. And maybe the guy in the suit didn't notice me. A guy who looks like Costanza could be easy not to notice.
The poker room manager did right by me, and I will not hold it against the room.