Why You Should Want to Be a Casino High-Roller
Published on March 15, 2019
It’s true what they say, you know. The rich really are different.
They may live among us and share some surface characteristics such as number of arms and legs, et cetera, but their ways and customs can seem as different and alien to us as those of the Ainu do to the Japanese.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in a casino resort town — Las Vegas is a good example, although Reno, Atlantic City, and Macau all could serve as well.
Now, somebody once said, “The love of money is the root of all evil” (I think it was my dad, in response to my request for a raise in my allowance).
Maybe so, but it’s also true that “money also makes the world go ‘round” (which is what I would have retorted to my dad if I’d thought of it at the time and had a death wish).
You don’t have to love money to want more of it. Hence, gambling. Also, Vegas.
But while you and I may joke about heading to “Lost Wages” and brag about our losses keeping the lights of the Strip turned on, the truth is somewhat different. High-rollers — gamblers who can drop millions of dollars during a single two-day visit — are the real engines that power casino towns.
Unsurprisingly, high-rollers are revered at resort casinos. Their visits are eagerly awaited, their likes and dislikes monitored more carefully than those of any Playboy centerfold’s, and their departures (hopefully a little bit lighter than their arrivals) are wistfully remembered.
What’s that? Did I hear you say, “I couldn’t live like that”? Well, bless your heart. Of course not — because you have to have millions of dollars to throw away to live like that. Got a million dollars? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Me neither.
So, if you’re like me — envious of those who do have millions of dollars to throw away like that — you like to imagine what that sort of life might be like, just once.
And I’m not talking about just big-money gamblers here. I’m talking about the kind of people the resort casinos call “whales” — the really big fish, the sort of people who could buy every ticket to a Lady Gaga concert at the T-Mobile Arena with what they have on them, m’kay?
So now that you have the right frame of reference, here’s what you — a newly-minted zillionaire high-roller — will encounter.
That shiny Rolls-Royce, the one with the uniformed chauffeur standing next to the open door? The one parked a safe distance from your private jet?
Yeah. That’s for you. Of course.
One does not take a ride in a Rolls-Royce so much as one motors stately — usually avoiding hitting errant hoi polloi who wander into its path — to one’s destination, sipping their prosecco and dining on, I don’t know, Grey Poupon or something equally weird and poncy like that.
Your host typically joins up with you at this point. The host is your personal representative at the resort. He or she is the one who made your reservation, let everyone else at the resort know you were coming, and ensured that all were aware of your noble standing and high value.
You won’t see much of your host during your stay, mostly because he or she has already been working hard behind the scenes to ensure everyone on staff knows what you like and what you can’t abide, any entertainment options you might enjoy, and any comestibles you’ve indicated an interest in.
Think of the host as the point person of your bliss team. Comprised of the host and all the other staff members you meet, the bliss team’s product is — surprise — your happiness, and every product on this assembly line is bespoke.
It is made to order for one person only. Guess who? Wonderful, wonderful you.
The concierge is likely the next person you’ll meet after your arrival at the casino. Many of us are familiar with the concierge desk that’s usually somewhere near the check-in lobby.
Those concierges are the people you go to for show ticket information, directions to the bathroom, etc. Like everyone in the hospitality industry, they are courteous, professional, and knowledgeable.
As a high-roller, you breeze right past them, or — more likely — arrive at the casino’s separate entrance for upper-crustys such as yourself.
Where you are headed, there is a special team of concierges, and reaching them is your goal. This is usually accomplished by simply stepping out of the Rolls-Royce (the chauffeur or perhaps a uniformed doorman has opened your door first, of course) and then walking from there to a private entrance and stepping inside.
Behind you, your luggage is stacked on a cart and is already quietly speeding to your villa.
You, on the other hand, must first deal with the concierge.
Concierges for high-rollers and celebrity VIPs resemble the concierges in the hotel’s main lobby like Captain America resembles your high-school gym teacher.
Sure, they’re both trained professionals, and the gym teacher might even be the cool sort that lets your class play dodgeball on Fridays. But Captain America won World War Two singlehandedly, man. And he didn’t use anything but his fists and a bedazzled trashcan lid. No comparison. Seriously.
Most of the exclusive concierge staff are college-educated, and many speak multiple languages, as well. This is not an entry-level job; you’ll find that a majority of them have been working there for years. All are literally brimming with arcane knowledge about your chosen resort and the surrounding area’s attractions and amenities.
It’s the concierge’s job to make sure you’re checked in and that your luggage (yes, you have “luggage” now, not that nylon sack full of wadded underwear and travel-size bottles of hair conditioner you usually carry) is fully accounted for and probably already on its way to your villa.
If this is your first visit, the concierge is likely to ask you what room temperature you prefer in your villa. If there’s a spa tub (and there is), the concierge will ask what temp you want the water to be.
The concierge is your go-to source for everything outside your villa, from unlimited transportation about town to obtaining tickets to sold-out shows and last-minute reservations at exclusive restaurants. Oh, you wanted to go on a helicopter tour? Concierge.
Pretty snazzy, eh? I’m just getting started. Now it’s time to meet the next member of your bliss team: your butler.
What does a butler do, you ask? Why, he buttles, of course.
Jeez, I hate smug jerks who give that as an explanation of what butlers do. I also hate the fact that nobody has ever asked me what a butler does, because I would so answer with “why, he buttles, of course.” Hey, I never said I wasn’t a smug jerk. Sue me.
Luckily, Wikipedia has a very good definition for butle,
Butlers are generally older men, and I challenge you to imagine one who doesn’t look like Anthony Hopkins in The Remains of the Day and have a galactically cool name like Herbert Arthur Runcible Cadbury.
Parenthetically speaking, a parent has got to know they’re consigning a child to the life of a gentleman’s gentleman when they name a kid Herbert Arthur Runcible Cadbury. Nobody with that name will ever work the drive-thru at El Pollo Loco.
In any case, it’s the butler’s job to make sure you want for nothing while under his care. You want it? He’s got it. Or at least he knows a way to make it appear, usually within moments. Want to eat something that even people from your home country wouldn’t eat on anything but a dare? The butler will be serving it in the dining room shortly. Yeah, he’s that fast.
Your butler also performs many of the duties of a gentleman’s valet, such as ensuring your suits are cleaned and pressed properly, your shoes shined, and your dentures their whitest white.
Okay, I’m just kidding about the dentures. I think.
Swank. Sumptuous. I can’t even.
Whether your stay is at Sky Suites at Aria, Skylofts or the Mansion at MGM Grand, or one of the villas at Caesars Palace, Bellagio, or Wynn, you can expect your accommodations to include steam showers, private dining rooms, and Japanese automated toilets.
Okay, only some of them have Japanese automated toilets, but this is our dream, so your villa definitely has them.
Some resorts call them villas, others refer to them as cottages, but they all have one thing in common: whole families could wander their halls without risk of meeting the other whole families wandering their halls. Big, is what I’m saying. And classy like Trump means it — rich, ostentatious, luxurious.
Several have private restaurants for you and your fellow zillionaires. Also, every amenity has been provided, and those that have not — why, your butler stands ready to alleviate your momentary lack.
By the way, did I mention your entourage? You have one, since I’ve not only re-imagined you as a high-roller but as a celebrity high-roller, to boot.
Your entourage has its own accommodations in nearby rooms. Those rooms are not quite up to the in-your-face luxury of your own villa, of course (one must keep up appearances, mustn’t one), but they are still w-a-y better than the hotel room next to the elevators that couple from Des Moines you didn’t notice on your way in is paying good money for.
Besides the main supporting actors in your sybaritic tour de force, there are more than a handful of featured players without whom you might notice a bit of the real world creeping along the edges of perception.
I’m talking, of course, of the valets, the chefs, the wine stewards, the masseuses, the bellmen, the security personnel — all these people make sure your visit is safe, comfortable, satisfying, and as happy-making as you are capable of being.
You’re probably new to this whole high-roller thing, so you may be forgiven your occasional gaffes and lapses in courtesy — provided you remember this: always tip.
The chauffeur, the concierge, the butler…they are each and every one of them far too courteous and sophisticated to actually hold out a hand like a bellman in an old Warner Bros. cartoon might do, so I’m telling you: always tip.
Members of your bliss team are all expected to deliver on whatever whim strikes your fancy, and they justifiably deserve a demonstration of your appreciation. Any denomination that folds is preferable to nothing, of course, but your exclusive team of resort hospitality experts seems to find denominations with Benjamin Franklin on them particularly attractive.
Sure, that Benjie might have represented your entire bankroll in earlier days, but you’re a high-roller now, dammit! Act like one.
The marketing slogan “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” is so true and so obvious it should really be stamped on money instead of that other slogan they use.
And if the lowliest bellman and valet understands what the better part of valor is, imagine how sacrosanct your privacy is to the battalion of trained professionals whose very careers are founded (and dependent) upon the multifaceted task of keeping you happy.
Need a box of French letters and a Suzy Creamcheese Inflatable Love Doll? Ask your concierge. Need someone to explain what a French letter is? Ask your butler. Need to smuggle evidence out of your villa and on out to the Nevada desert, which now that I think about it seems suspiciously well-suited for digging shallow graves?
OMG, could that be the real reason they built Vegas out there in the first place?
Okay, where was I? Never mind. Just remember: What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Thank god.
There’s no doubt that gambling for big money in Las Vegas and other casino destinations comes with some amazing benefits. It’s certainly a very different experience to playing online, as even the best online casinos can’t compete with the pampering and fawning on offer. But is it all it’s made out to be?
I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that being a high-roller would be fun for a couple of days, maybe three. But it would tend to get stale sooner rather than later. Why? Because nobody but a fool imagines paradise as unending luxury that requires no effort for anything, ever.
For me — and likely for you, as well — paradise is best served in small but memorable pieces, like achieving success or expertise at something we enjoy doing. Think of every good memory you have. Each one, I bet, was because of some achievement or accomplishment.
Accomplishment requires risk. Otherwise, it would not be an accomplishment.
Paradise can also be your own recognition of your accomplishments with little respites and vacations along the way, whether those respites are the Motel Six within a few blocks’ walk of Downtown Vegas or an extended hike in the Appalachians.
On second thought, I’ll pass on the Appalachian hike, if you don’t mind. Nobody gets into the writing game because they want to “feel the burn.” In fact, have my Rolls brought around, Cadbury. I need to run some errands…