Sometimes you wonder who runs the nut house

Dear Mark,
I have heard that in some casinos in Las Vegas a pit boss will keep track of a dealer's gains and losses on a per shift basis, and the subsequent pit that they get assigned to will be based on these numbers. Generally speaking, hot dealers (dealers who are winning more than they are losing) will be assigned the higher limit tables. Two different dealers in one casino told me how much pressure they were under to win. Is this true? Darrell L.

If it is, Darrell, you've got dimwits running the insane asylum.
Dealers assigned to the high-limit table games should be those with both experience and the ability to deal to heavy action without feeling the pressure of the dollar denomination. Unfortunately, some pit supervisors sweat the money as if it were their own pirated loot and have been known to take the casino's losses out on your friendly dealer. Quoting Forest Gump: "Stupid is as stupid does."
Funny thing, Darrell, deep down, casino management knows the money, over time, will always swing back the casino's way regardless of the dealer's flaming wizardry. It is too bad that in some casinos heat from management is still part of a dealer's job description.
Over the long haul, the "hot" dealer for any casino is a dealer who can deal the most hands per hour. Period! If I ran the asylum, give me a dealer who can pitch plus pay and take with speed, not one who charts out having the hot hand that day.

Dear Mark,
How do the dealers like the Shufflemaster and does it speed up the game? Joe L.

Speaking as a former dealer, most of us dislike shuffling machines. Shuffling allows the dealer to catch his or her breath, plus it breaks up the monotony of only pitching cards. Now, speaking with my former casino management suit on, we love the Shufflemaster because we can grind out more hands per hour on a game that has a built-in house advantage.

Dear Mark,
Are progressive slot machines programmed to hit different with the amount of coins played? I have been told that the jackpot hits more often with one coin played. Yes or No? Gene A.

Gene, you've got to start reading this column more often. I have answered your question one way or another at least six times this past year.
The definitive, absolute, conclusive answer is NO. A jackpot will not hit more often if you play fewer coins.

Dear Mark,
Because a royal flush is really only a straight flush with a fancy name (as well as the highest straight flush), why then is it more powerful than five-of-a-kind on a deuces wild machine? Dan H.

When was the last time you hit a royal flush, Dan? I know plenty of video poker players who never have. The odds of hitting a royal flush are almost 40,000 to one.
A five-of-a-kind hand uses four additional wild cards (deuces), making the hand relatively easy to obtain. On a deuces wild paytable, five of a kind ranks fourth behind a royal flush, four deuces and a wild royal flush. You should be able to hit one by your second roll of quarters. A royal flush can be elusive your entire lifetime.