by Christian Morrow
Courier Staff Writer
When David Johnson, Jason Session, Debra Walker and Ava Floyd celebrated receiving their diplomas as graduates from dealers school out side the Rivers Casino last month, it marked the end of weeks of daily classes, eight hours a day. But it was worth it because they knew they were just weeks away from saying, “shuffle up and deal.”
They are among the 458 employees being added to the Rivers Casino staff to serve clients at its 86 new table games, which—if test runs meet Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board criteria, will being operating at 6 a.m. July 8.
|NEW DEAL—Graduates David Johnson, Jason Session, Debra Walker and Ava Floyd pose during a July 1 ceremony outside the Rivers Casino.
“They are very excited, as we are,” said General Manager Todd Moyer during a preview of the new gaming facilities. “Table games allow us to draw people from further away. Generally, they bring in a younger crowd, but there are people who’ve been playing craps since the 1940s too. And it adds an electricity with people cheering around the dice tables. It’s a whole new vibe.”
The casino will feature 86 table games, including 24 tables in a dedicated poker area. In all, there are five distinct “pits” located around the casino floor that include tables for blackjack, craps, mini-baccarat, roulette, as well as three-card, and Caribbean poker variations. The casino’s high-roller area also features a room for no-limit, private play.
Of course, for these games to function, the casino needs chips. And to that end, the Rivers now has $26 million in chips on hand. All the denominations, ranging from $1 to $25,000, feature security measures such as micro-printing and ultraviolet ink.
In addition to dealers, the Rivers has added new security personnel and wait staff.
Asked if they also included radio frequency tags, the answer was that there are additional security features the casino will not discuss. The Rivers will also have 2,010 commemorative $5 chips available until they run out. All chips feature a variant of black or gold coloring.
“Hey, people wear black and gold on game day,” said Moyer. “Well, at the Rivers Casino, every day is game day.”
The first actual gaming with chips and tables took place during an eight-hour invitation-only test period July 6, with all proceeds going to The Mario Lemieux Foundation.
The control board will conduct an audit the following day before allowing public play.
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