Here's my tip: Bring back the old Caesars!

Apr 8, 2008 7:00 PM

Getting Rich with Saber by Richard Saber | Tipping has always been a huge part of the Las Vegas scene, but a lot has changed since those early days of Vegas before Ticketron and the big mega corporate casino chains.

Back when places like Caesars Palace were really Caesars Palace, a good tip could get you some prime seats for whoever was performing in the showroom. Back when you usually had a comp for the show, you would tip or toke the captain $20 upon arrival. He would then lead you right down to the front section.

Ah, those where the days!

You can just about forget it in today’s marketplace. That double sawbuck can’t even buy a good spot from a valet parking attendant. Well, maybe.

So when do you tip and how much? This applies both in Vegas and out of town. For valet parking, always tip in Vegas. We are one of the few big cities that still have free valet parking. Elsewhere, if you are staying at a hotel, they will charge you from $10 to $20 for valet parking. No tip for you.

Usually I will give the valet guy $2, but if in a hurry I will hand the guy a fin ($5) and hope for the best. I usually grade my tipping on service.

I know there are people that live on tips here in Vegas, but if the service is lousy I will tip accordingly. If it is lousy and the person taking care of me is rude, then there’s no tip coming. And, the person should find a different job if they’re that miserable.

The big question talked about in my travels in and out of several race and sports books in town is when and how much do you tip when betting? Well, if I happen to hit a big ticket that made me a winner for the day, I will leave a tip. The amount depends on the person or ticket writer that took care of me.

If I am a regular and get good service most of the time, I will leave a good tip depending on how much I am a winner, not on what I won on that particular ticket. You may have been losing all day, then hit a ticket, and everyone thinks you are a big winner. It might be you’ve just gotten even or are showing a small profit. So, tip accordingly.

The sticky part comes when you are dealing with places that split their tips. Most race and sports books, if not all, follow that procedure. If you have a favorite writer and want to give that person a good tip for great service and a smile, you will need to find another way if possible.

My first job in Vegas was writing race tickets at the Stardust for $7.25 an hour. If it weren’t for the tips, you could not live. Believe me the tips were great especially if you knew what you were doing. A good writer would build up a nice clientele and could make a good living at $7.25 an hour.

I don’t think the IRS liked that very much. Now, with everyone splitting tips, they can keep a better eye on how much you are making. They don’t like it if a person makes too much money and they don’t get their end.

One answer would be to do what Mr. Steve Wynn did when he opened the Shadow Creek golf course. He paid everyone top dollar and banned tipping. I do know that most race and sports book writers are grossly underpaid. They have to deal with a lot of money each day and balance.

Writers also take a lot of stuff from customers for what they are paid. Wynn just may have had it correct at Shadow Creek. To me, if the service is good I will tip accordingly. If the service is great and I know the person is not splitting tips, I will also tip accordingly. Moreover, I will come back and have that person take care of me again and again.

Baseball, my way

Last week started off super and tailed off a little on Sunday, which was expected. We had 11 plays for the week betting against the -200 or higher favorites. We bet $50 on the dog straight up and to win $50 on the +1½ run line. We won 6 straight up and 7 on the +1½ run line for a profit of $456.

We will continue to play and monitor the results.

On Saturday we had three plays. The Cardinals won three straight, the Rockies lost three and the Tigers were on a four-game slide. It was a nice three-team parlay with the Cards-155, Diamondbacks -110 and White Sox +150.

On Sunday the streaks continued. We hit 4-of-5 with Oakland the only loser (beaten 2-1). We had the Cards, Diamondbacks, Orioles and White Sox as a big dog once again. The streaks went 7-1 over the weekend.

NOTE: If you are a horse player don’t forget the website. My daily picks at Santa Anita and Bay Meadows are there. I will also be making plays on the Bluegrass Stakes and the Arkansas Derby this weekend.