Jerry’s Nugget is a phenomenon in Las Vegas, managing to stay above a declining norm in the industry without having a poker room.
"The industry is struggling, obviously. All the local casinos are," said table games manager Jay Hill. "We’ve lost a lot of revenue, but are doing better than most. The Nugget fits in the right niche in our market."
Here the term customer services come into play. And, it makes perfect sense. Treat players right, they will want to return.
"We like keeping a low-key personal atmosphere," Hill said. "We know clients on a first name basis, which is really advantageous to us."
Table games are doing well at the North Las Vegas locale where it’s $3 minimum all day all the time.
"The most important thing is to figure out what clientele you are going after and what your market is, based on location," said Hill, a New Jersey native who played baseball at UNLV in his collegiate years. "People who play $3 tables buy in for a lower amount of money and they play longer."
Blackjack is the game of choice among players here. There’s also craps, roulette and Texas hold’em that do well, but it’s blackjack people head to first.
"I have been here at Jerry’s Nugget three years and am so thankful I have this job," Hill said. "The average bettor has changed slightly. We see fewer of the rowdy crowd. Definitely our image is very good to general public."
On an average day, the demographic will be baby boomers to an older clientele.
"People can relax and have a good time in here for a relatively small amount of money," Hill said. "I got into the gaming industry at the tail end of the mob era. When corporations came in, employers began offering more benefits for employees than the mob gave and the working conditions improved."
Hill likes to refer to Jerry’s Nugget as "a reminder of old Las Vegas without the mob."
"It’s rare for us to have a high roller come in," he said. "I’ve never had anyone buy in for $10,000. We have a game on our blackjack table called Lucky Ladies. If a player gets two queen of hearts and the dealer has a blackjack, they get a 1000-1 payoff after placing a $5 side bet.
The attitude of casino management is a big plus at Jerry’s in that they never seem overly concerned about losing.
"Casinos do have losing days and that’s okay," Hill said. "If you take players’ money every day, they’re not going to come back. I enjoy seeing people win. I just worry about the hold. I like to see a lot of bodies in the seats."
Hill even offered a few betting tips for the more popular table games.
"Say you bet $5 first hand in blackjack and win. Then you raise the bet to $10," he said. "If you win, you go up to $15 and then $20 if still winning. You never know when a winning streak starts and ends. Once you lose, go back to $5. I would repeat this process every time I win a hand. You could go 15 or 20 hands without losing.
"In craps, I recommend the pass/no pass, come/no come, and placing the 6 and 8," Hill continued. "Those are almost even money bets. Craps is the most exciting game in the casino but people get intimidated because it is so complicated. This way, it keeps things simple."
Hill noted that one of the biggest hits the casino took was paying out $30,000 on the dice table.
"That’s a rare instance out here," he said. "But, believe it or not, we were happy to do it. I just say thank you for an easy every day drive, parking access and having a job. These days, that’s a lot."