What does a Pit Boss do?

Mike Howells

A pit manager, or pit boss, is a managerial position in the gambling industry. The job of a pit boss is to supervise the activity of a casino pit, which is the name given to the area in a casino reserved for table games, such as craps, roulette, and poker. A pit boss is in charge of all personnel who work in a given pit, including dealers, game supervisors, and other maintenance workers, and is responsible for the smooth operation of the games that are conducted there.

Pit bosses oversee table games at Las Vegas casinos.
Pit bosses oversee table games at Las Vegas casinos.

Most casinos feature pits that contain anywhere from six to twelve tables each. Small casinos may only have one pit, but large venues can feature a dozen or more pits, with a pit boss running each one. Aside from being available to resolve minor issues that come up in the course of a shift, pit bosses must be knowledgeable about their jurisdiction's gaming laws, and make sure their pit remains in compliance at all times. This can include monitoring incidences of suspected cheating, underage gambling, or people gambling while intoxicated.

Pit bosses make sure the equipment in games such as roulette work properly.
Pit bosses make sure the equipment in games such as roulette work properly.

In addition to such regulatory responsibilities, a pit boss also has the authority to offer customer relations perks, such as free drinks, meals, gambling credits, and other complimentary items. Besides maintaining a positive atmosphere for both customers and employees, a pit manager can have other, more technical duties, such as managing payroll, conducting training sessions, and scheduling shifts. In most jurisdictions a pit boss must be specially licensed by the local or regional gaming authority, and, therefore, must pass varying degrees of background checks and character assessments. In many locations a convicted felon may not be eligible for a gaming license, and therefore unable to work as a pit manager.

A boss pit is charge of monitoring dealers.
A boss pit is charge of monitoring dealers.

It is not uncommon for the career path of a casino employee to progress from dealer to game supervisor to pit manager, and beyond. The position of pit boss is considered mid-level, and the need for a comprehensive understanding of the games in the pit makes prior experience working with a variety of games a strong positive. Unlike dealers, whose income relies greatly on tips from players, pit managers make a guaranteed salary. This degree of financial freedom is intended to promote more varied interaction on the part of the bosses with the players, and allow for a greater degree of neutrality when settling player disputes.

Casino pit bosses are in charge of activity at a craps table.
Casino pit bosses are in charge of activity at a craps table.

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Discussion Comments

Inaventu

I don't know if I could handle being a pit boss or not. I can only imagine what it would be like trying to convince an intoxicated gambler to leave the floor voluntarily. I'd also hate to confront a dealer who might be skimming off the till or a professional card counter. It just sounds like a lot of dangerous work to me.

Reminiscence

When my wife and I took our first trip to Las Vegas, we obviously wanted to check out a really nice high-end casino. We must have looked like the out-of-town tourists we were, because one of the pit bosses came over and introduced himself personally. He asked me what kind of table games I liked, and I told him Blackjack. My wife went to play the slot machines, and the pit boss invited me to sit at one of the Blackjack tables he managed.

I realize it was part of his job to put customers at ease, but I felt like royalty in that casino. When I got tired of losing money at the Blackjack table, he found some other games with minimum bets I could afford. If I needed something to drink, a server came right over to my chair. I had to force myself to quit while I was still a little ahead. The pit boss even told me where I could get tickets for a show and the best places to eat on the Strip.

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