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The REAL Vegas, from a REAL Vegas cocktail waitress

7 March 2005

Dear Mark,
I am planning on moving to Las Vegas this summer. Though I have no gaming experience, I have been a cocktail waitress here in Chicago for the past seven years, and would be doing the same in Vegas until I find something else that interests me. Would you know if there are any special requirements up-front to getting a job as a cocktail waitress in Nevada? Katie S.

Vodka tonic, Bloody Mary, "Grey Goose, must be," three Coronas, and out! This is Cocktailese, taken from a source laden with information that even Yours Truly, with 18 years on the inside, didn't know, nor would he ever have known had he not come across the following website: http://www.cocktaildoll.com. So now, to answer your question:

Readers of this column know that with tens of thousands of gaming-related websites, I rarely, if ever recommend any. Not that they are unworthy of mention, but, the last time I did, I was hit with an e-mail avalanche saying "Hey, don't forget my website, too."

Ah, but I'll take a mailbox full of requests for this exception. Dollie (not her real name) is a REAL cocktail waitress in Las Vegas, and has put together a "nothing held back" insider's look at the gambling industry from a cocktail server's perspective. To answer you specifically, Katie, Dollie will tell you that before you get started you will need two work cards: a health card and an alcohol awareness card, she gives you the heads-up that drug tests are mandatory, she shoots you the low-down on how joining the Culinary Union will help you tremendously when applying for a job, and she alerts you that they run a background check on you, including a credit report.

With all the behind-the-bar tittle-tattle she has at her website, even my wife, a casino service employee most of her adult life, learned plenty. Like Dollie, she too believes she is rarely wrong when it comes to weeding out casino riffraff!

One exception, though; she did marry me.

By the way, per Dollie, at her must-read tipping-tips page, "must be" means that when a certain premium brand of alcohol is ordered, it "must be" the real thing. For example, sometimes when a waitress orders a premium vodka like Grey Goose, the bartender will give her a less expensive brand such as Absolut or even generic vodka. But if the waitress says, "Grey Goose, must be," then the bartender will give her the real thing. As for "out!" well, you'll have to check out her website for a hilarious narrative on what that means.

Yes, readers, a complimentary drink like Grey Goose can be had for nothin', but as Dollie and every waitress I have ever known will say, "The drinks may be free but the service is not." So, if you're going to stiff the cocktail waitress, plan on drinking Shadow Spit in lieu of Grey Goose.

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Best of Mark Pilarski
Mark Pilarski

As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.
Mark Pilarski
As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.