I’m afraid this post is going to be a rant and also touch on one of my pet peeves. Although it was mid-March and spring had barely arrived, it was unseasonably warm in Vegas. Actually, the weather was just about perfect, but walking outside in the sun made me quite thirsty. As it happened, I started noticing what might have been a sore throat coming on soon after I left my hotel (it turned out not to be anything serious, just “Vegas throat”). So by the time I found myself seated at a 1/3 game at Wynn, walking over from TI, I was quite in need of some liquid refreshment. Oh, and also, I had some medication I needed to take pretty soon.
After being there over an hour, I was still waiting for the cocktail waitress to make her first appearance at our table. At one point I noticed one across the room but she never made it over to our table. I asked the dealer about it. He said they no longer have buttons on their Bravo system to light to ask for a waitress. Not that that ever does any good, but it makes you feel like they have some interest in getting you served.
So I took to Twitter. And to the Wynn poker room’s Twitter account, I tweeted, “Been at @WynnPoker for a hour and still no cocktail waitress. How embarrassing for you. Worst I've ever seen.”
I wasn’t sure what, if anything, would come of that, but at least it made me feel a little better to publically vent. And let me make this clear: The Wynn poker room is a fine room. It is well run. It is a very nice place to play poker. And I know that the folks who run the room have absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the cocktail service. There’s nothing they can do about it. That’s handled by a separate department and the waitresses are all union. The poker folks are at their mercy.
My tweet didn’t get any response, no surprise. At least from the good folks at Wynn. But a couple of my twitter followers responded. One was sympathetic. But one, not so much.
The unsympathetic response came from someone I’ll call “Andr0us” since that’s his twitter handle. I know he’s a poker dealer (and sometimes floor, I believe). Through my vast network of spies, I even know what room he works at, even though it’s supposed to be a closely held secret. We’ve been twitter peeps for some time. In fact, in the post here, when I referred to him (not by name) as one of my twitter peeps, he tweeted back to me that I had touched his heart.
As far as I know, I’ve never met him in person. But you know, I wouldn’t be surprised if somewhere along the way, we have indeed been in the same poker room at the same time. Honestly, it would surprise me if we hadn’t.
Anyway, my twitter peep Andr0us tweeted to me, in a series of three tweets: “this is my view on poker room cocktails. Drinks are a privilege, not a right, the casino gives to the players. if you want a drink right away, you are more than welcome to go to the bar & pay for one... but if you want a drink for free, you have to be patient & wait as long as it takes.”
The day not having exactly gone the way I had envisioned, I was less than pleased with his thoughtful response.
Ever been really upset about something—which may seem really minor to someone else but is just pissing the hell out of you—and had someone try to tell you that it was no big deal, or that you are wrong to be upset? You have, I’m sure. I’m sure you know how maddening that is.
The last thing I needed right then was for someone to argue with me at that moment. I’ll bet the other players at my table were wondering why there was suddenly steam coming out of my ears.
Calmly, cooly, I responded to Andr0us with the very first thing that came to my mind. I tweeted back, You're right u don't have bring us drinks. So put a f***ing water cooler in the f***ing poker room.” (Note, my actual tweet did not contain asterisks in place of the actual letters).
He replied, “i agree with that. Place I work has a water cooler & coffee in the corner.”
I suppose I appreciated him agreeing with me, but he happened to bring up another pet peeve of mine. My response was, “And as someone who drinks soda not coffee I'd still s.o.l. but I'm used to that. At least the water would help.” Every office I’ve ever worked in offered free coffee to the employees. Not at all helpful to me since I don’t drink the stuff. And I’ve never worked in an office that offered free soda. But I’ll save the full rant on that topic for another time.
I didn’t hear back from him on that, nor did I expect to. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I was pissed to be challenged like that when I was clearly in the right. I would have expected nothing but sympathy for my plight. But I spent the rest of my poker session thinking about it and formulating a better response. You know, instead of concentrating on the poker game.
So here’s the thing. We all know how the game is played, and dating back to the days when the mob was running Vegas, there’s been an unwritten contract between the casino and the players. It is understood that the casino will provide free drinks for folks while they are gambling. This accomplishes two things for the casino. One, it keeps the player playing longer instead of having to get up to fetch a drink. And two, since most of the drinks people order contain alcohol, the casino hopes the players will get somewhat intoxicated, loosening their inhibitions and staying longer, and reaching into their pockets (or their ATM’s) and risking more and more of their money when they are no longer in full control of their faculties.
I suppose I beat the system to some degree by drinking mostly non-booze. Note: back when I played table games and not poker, I ordered liquor a lot more often, tho never to excess.
But implied with that contract that they’ll serve you drinks until you get hammered is that they will come around and give you more drinks reasonably frequently. It’s to their benefit as well as the player’s.
So getting a drink in less than an hour and a quarter doesn’t seem too unreasonable.
The other thing of course is that, what the heck do they charge for drinks in a Vegas casino bar these days? I’ve heard various reports. “Eight bucks for a beer.” “Twelve bucks for a beer.” “Fifteen bucks for a mixed drink!” I dunno if these are accurate, since I don’t order drinks in Vegas casino bars. But I do know it ain’t cheap. And what would they charge me for a diet coke? I have no idea, really, it’s been like forever since I ordered a soft drink in a bar. Five bucks? More? Are you kidding me?
Well, it was nearly 90 minutes before a waitress came by to take our orders. To be fair, at least she had a tray full of Fuji Waters with her to pass out as she took orders. I grabbed one of the waters and ordered a diet coke. I immediately took my meds which were now overdue. And I would say I gulped down about 90% of the water in less than a minute. I was pleasantly surprised when she returned with my diet coke in a fairly reasonable amount of time. But I did hear the waitress say—to no one in particular as far as I could tell—“I’m so tired.”
Of course the drink consisted of about three ounces of diet coke in a glassful of ice. But that wasn’t so bad. Remember, I like sucking on the ice. But here’s the kicker. The diet coke was resting on the portable cart that was behind my chair (no cup holders at the Wynn). Not long after getting the drink, I was ready to take off. I got up to grab a rack and started racking my chips. I saw/heard the waitress come by yet again to take orders, and I didn’t order since I was practically out the door. I stood up and went to grab my glass, which had a bit of watered down soda and a ton of ice, only to discover that the waitress had taken away the glass that I wasn’t done with. Are you freaking kidding me? I had waited 90 minutes for that drink and the damn waitress took it away before I was finished with it? As I told in the post here, taking away my glass (even if it’s just ice) before I’m through with it drives me absolutely insane. The waitress was AWOL for 90 minutes, then somehow manages to make three appearances at my table within a relatively short amount of time, only to take my glass away before I was done with it? It took every ounce of self-restraint I posses to not start screaming and make a scene.
To add insult to injury, later in the evening, I was playing in another poker room. Let’s call it Caesars. Let’s assume that I had walked from Wynn to Caesars. Let’s assume I was still damn thirsty.
The waitress came by fairly quickly. I ordered a diet Coke. Someone else at the table ordered a Jack & Coke. When she came back, she went to the other guy first and gave him one of the two dark colored drinks on her tray. “She said, “I’m not sure if this is your Jack & Coke, can you taste it?” He did. He handed it back to her and said, “That’s diet Coke.” No, it wasn’t just diet Coke. It was mydiet Coke. Which she could now not serve me. She gave him the other glass on her tray and told me she would have to come up with my uncontaminated diet Coke.
I finally got my drink but this day it was a real struggle getting drinks. And as I said, I think there’s an understanding that when people are gambling, they’re supposed to get a beverage within a reasonable amount of time. Doesn’t have to be 10 minutes. But nearly 90 minutes to see a waitress? That’s unacceptable.