Executive Hotel Manager
2000 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89104
Dear Mr. Buksa:
I am not sure that you are the right person for addressing this concern, but it was your card that was given to me by the people at the information desk when I asked. I trust that you will pass it on to whomever else in your organization might best be suited to handle it, if need be.
Earlier this week I was in the Stratosphere poker room. Before playing, I wanted to get something to eat at one of the restaurants in the facility. I had never used any of the comp dollars that had accumulated on my player’s card (my Ultimate Rewards card number is 300999976), despite having played in the poker room 17 previous times. I assumed, therefore, that there would be no problem in getting a comp ticket.
To my surprise, when the person at the desk checked the records, it showed me having played only one session within the previous year (apparently the credits expire after a year)—specifically, 2.25 hours on January 17, 2009.
Because I play poker for a living, I have to keep meticulous records for tax purposes. Never mind the 13 previous visits prior to a year ago; my actual time in your poker room during the last year is as follows:
March 8, 2008 6:00 pm to 7:40 pm, 1.7 hours
May 23, 2008 8:55 pm to 10:35 pm, 1.7 hours
October 14, 2008 6:45 pm to 11:35 pm, 4.8 hours
January 17, 2009 4:40 pm to 6:50 pm, 2.2 hours
Total: 10.4 hours.
Naturally, I am aware that it is the player’s responsibility to clock in and out using the card. You may or may not tend to believe me on this point, but I do this with great consistency. To the best of my knowledge, I have only failed to notify a poker room desk of my departure on three or four occasions in the last year, despite playing five to six days per week, at essentially every card room in town, often at more than one casino on a given day. It is inconceivable that I failed to check out three out of four sessions at the Stratosphere.
I have a pretty good idea of what most likely happened. As I cash out my chips, I ask the person at the counter to clock me out. He or she asks my name, and when I give it, promises that it will be taken care of. But there is somebody else behind me in line or just approaching the desk, and the promise quickly gets forgotten, with no record made.
Even so, the sign in the poker room says that the policy is that neglecting to clock out will result in only one hour of credit being assigned. Were that followed, I would have at least received credit for one hour on each of the three visits beside the January one, for a total of 5.5 hours on record now. In other words, the staff is not even following the room’s own stated policy.
I am not overly concerned about the loss of something like $7 or $8 in comp credits; the fact that I had dozens of hours’ worth of credit that I let expire unused (from more than a year ago) demonstrates that. I write because of the irritation. Poker players are already at the bottom of the ladder in terms of what casinos give back in comps. I resent that, though I understand the reasons for it from the businesses’ point of view. So when you further erode the effect of even this paltry token of appreciation by not bothering to keep track of it correctly, it’s frankly insulting. It is another sign of the generally lackadaisical approach to customer service that I have found to pervade the employees’ attitudes in the poker room of the Stratosphere. I would prefer that you not bother even having such a comp program than to claim to offer one, but then implement it with such carelessness that it can’t be relied upon. When I ask, for the first time in 17 trips to the poker room, for a lousy meal comp, and am effectively told that I haven’t earned it, that I’m not a sufficiently valued customer for you (that’s the corporate “you”) to have bothered taking note of my presence, I don’t think I’m being overly sensitive to find that an affront.
There are many things I don’t like about the Stratosphere poker room (the noise and infiltrating cigarette smoke, mediocre dealers, lax enforcement of rules, etc.), which is why it’s one of the least frequent stops on the Strip for me, despite being the most convenient to where I live. Your poker room staff today gave me yet another reason to stay away. And, in case this matters to you, I will be posting a copy of this letter on my poker blog (pokergrump.blogspot.com), which is read by 1000 or more people daily, so that they, too, will know that if they choose to patronize the Stratosphere poker room, they should not count on receiving even the minimal token of appreciation that the promised $1/hour food comp represents.
Thursday, March 05, 2009