Reflections on My Brief Career at Hollywood Park

Calls from Human Resources are never good. Every time they say they need you to come over right now it means you’ve lost your job. I got this call last Wednesday as I was waiting to clock in. Oh, well; there went that job, propping for Hollywood Park Casino. I can’t say I was particularly nervous walking down to sign job away, (because it was still my second one), and wouldn’t leave me unemployed. In case I needed any more reinforcement that I didn’t need the job, the whole walk down there reminded me of all the things I didn’t like about that casino.

Casinos are inherently bureaucratic organizations: they produce nothing of value and simply take customers’ money. Thus, casino management is virtually always comprised of layer upon layer of bureaucratic departments whose entire purpose is maintaining the status quo. After all, as long as the lights stay on, no drugs are being dealt, and the employees remain relatively civil, why should anything change? The consequence of all bureaucracies is that strange, inconvenient rules seems to work their way into the organization and soon become just another annoying aspect of it. All casinos have these, but I think Hollywood Park’s HR department might deserve honorable mention in terms of its uselessness.
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First Day on the Job: An Interesting Hand

So yesterday, Monday September 12th, was my first day on my new job at Hollywood Park Casino. I haven’t left my old employer, Normandie Casino, but as the start of the year they announced they were cutting my pay. Then they cut my hours down to part time. Meanwhile, Hollywood Park starting hiring part time. So I pieced together to pay time positions to make one full time position. As it stands now, if all I do is break even at the game of poker, I’ll we working 46 hours for $1270 a week. Which, given the current economic situation, is really nice.

Now first days on the job are interesting, but I don’t know if it’s ever been quite like this. You see, casinos tend to be run pretty loosely, and that applies doubly so for how they treat house players. Most of time your “orientation” is nonexistent and you just start to pick up habits from other house players in a “monkey see, monkey do” fashion. And, of course, I’m coming from a different casino with different habits. At the Normandie it was appreciated if I helped out in running chips for players, because they ended up getting rid of their chip runners. Not that anyone asked me to, but often I was just sitting around anyway. Another related habit I picked up was “echoing” a call for player checks or food service so the designated people could more rapidly attend to the patrons.

So here I am, my first day on the job, carrying on my old habits. A player busts out, and I’m already calling for the chip runner. As I settle into a $3-5 No-Limit game,  I see one of the long time former hosts of Hollywood Park who has recently be made just another house player like me. You see, Hollywood Park used to have a group of three or four hosts on staff who were responsible for individual games. They would gather player information and call them up to get them to come in and play with them.  This particular guy used to be the host of the big NL game, and this was the first time I was really playing with him. I looked forward to playing some pots with him. Continue reading First Day on the Job: An Interesting Hand