I Would Like to Thank the Readers That Take the Time to Review Books

Jeff at the Temple of Athena in Delphi, Greece

Jeff is holding a copy of my second novel Casino Queen set in the High Desert and Palms Springs. It is about my years working in a Native American casino in California. I know that whenever I want to read a book the first thing I do is look at the reviews. Not the critics reviews I rely on reader reviews. Most readers review books where they buy them, but some go to BookBub or Goodreads among many online sites to answer the question, what does the average reader, someone like me, think of the book? And even if they don't want to write a review, they can always rate the book. You know where you check a box 1 through 5 depending on how much you liked the book. 

I have a few things to say to my reader reviewers, thank you, thank you, thank you. Recently my book was featured at Women Writers Women's Books and the first thing that a potential reader will see if they click on my link will be my reviewer rating, the thumbs up that an author really needs. It is nice to know that people who read Casino Queen really enjoyed it. Everyone knows that writing is a solitary pastime. There are so many hurdles to being a writer that sometimes you wonder why you do it. It's because you have a story to share. I feel like I have the best readers in the world!
 
My path to writing was years in the making. I was dealing cards in a Lake Tahoe casino. The casino owner was a plumbing contractor from Fresno. The head of security was an ex-Mossad officer and every few weeks we would be strapped down and given lie detector tests. They allowed porn movies be filmed in the casino and there were rumors that he rigged the slot machines. I’m not sure if that was true but he did manage to get his casino closed down by the Nevada gaming commission, no small feat. One day a sports agent with Hollywood connections played on my game and encouraged me to write down all my great casino stories. That was the day I became a writer. Well my script got as far as HBO where it was promptly rejected but that didn’t matter, I was a writer.
 
A year later I went back to the real world and became a systems analyst by day, writer by night. I lived in Boston, the home of perpetual students and so I was able to take writing classes and join critique groups and improve. After a few years I began working on an MFA in writing at Emerson because they were connected to Hollywood. Well, just before I was scheduled to intern in Los Angeles as a script reader I got the opportunity to join Princess Cruises as a croupier. My choice was spend my dwindling savings on an internship or get paid to see the world. I wasn’t scared of going - only staying. The Germans have a word for it torschlusskpanik, the fear of missing the boat.
 
I stayed working at sea for five years and I would like to say that I wrote every day, but I didn’t. I spent those years soaking up all the history I could. The ship was my home and the crew bar was my living room. The nights I spent there were research since I planned to tell the story of all my crewmates someday. And then on my last contract I met Ray a Scotsman who became my husband. My novel turned into a love story and that surprised me more than anyone else.
 
After leaving ships we settled in Palm Springs, and I began writing my novel 'Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships'. There were years of writing and editing, rewriting and more re-writing but finally I decided my novel was ready to face the world. You would think that when it is published the hard part is over, but it is only beginning. Then your job as an author is to do everything you can to get the word out to readers and after that you wait for that special reader to find you.
 
And now my second novel Casino Queen is out.  It draws from all the years I have worked in the casino industry. I wanted to build a story that took the reader behind the scenes of the casino industry, present relatable characters, and tell a really engaging story with a believable plot. 
Rosaleen at Ubiquitous chip in Glasgow, Scotland 
 
But then you turn on your computer one day and you look up your book at a review site, and you find something like this.
 
5.0 out of 5 stars Robert
There are two things I really look for in a good read, first I want to go inside a world that’s unknown to me. Next. I want to be surprised when I finally get to the part where the “who done it” is revealed. Casino Queen hit it for me on both points and one more. I love Palm Springs California the setting for the story. For over a decade I attended the Palm Springs film festival and saw a lot of films and even more celebrities, writers, directors and artists of all types. 
 
5.0 out of 5 stars Debbie S.
A unique look at casino operations, with so much suspense!
Such great character development and depiction – I could see and hear every character as I read. The Coachella Valley and High Desert were also told from an insider’s point of view, rather than just as a backdrop for the story. As were the casino operations and roles, both on the floor and behind the scenes. Very well done. This was a super-fast read because the suspense just kept layering. There were red herrings and real hints, but as the reader I wasn’t sure which was which. I could not solve the mystery until it was laid out for me, which to me is the sign of a well written book.
 
 
Lori Caswell wrote:
I started reading Casino Queen and could not put the book down. I stayed up late because the story had a slow build that grabbed a hold of me and wouldn’t let go. Soon the story became so surprising and suspenseful the pages were flying so fast there should have been steam coming out of my Kindle.
 
Susie Black wrote on BookBub:
Part romance, part mystery, part redemption, and a second chance at life, Casino Queen does not disappoint. Gaming industry pro Cara Bertoia has penned a taut tale that weaves an insider’s view of the world of casinos with a heart-pounding plot that keeps readers interested long after bedtime. The deftly written plot moves at a good clip and is driven by love, loss, trust, betrayal, family ties, and the inner strength one must summon to accept responsibility for the consequences of one’s decisions. Bertoia has created a cast of flawed, but believable characters who drive the plot, and readers find themselves rooting for them right from the first page. Bertoia creates enough conflict with a backstory and throws in a couple of clever red herrings to keep readers turning the pages to see how it all turns out.
 
 Those readers all wrote a review so good that I think I could use any of them as the perfect blurb for my book. They got it. It was even hard to decide which reviews to include in this post because I loved them all so much. Susie, Robert, Lori and Debbie along with all my other readers knew exactly what I was trying to do when I wrote my book. That alone makes all the hard work worth it.
 
It is not easy to write a review. In fact, most readers never write a review. You have to go back to the site where you bought the book or a review site after you have read the book and write your review and submit it. I also think reviewers like all writers suffer from performance anxiety. They are putting something out there for all the world to see. There are also readers that go above and beyond that post their reviews at multiple sites and since I started writing the number of review sites just keeps growing.
 
Proud Momma wrote a fantastic review of my book and brought up points in the book that I had taken for granted but that really caught her attention as a reader. TK always wanted to know what it was like to work in a casino and now she does. Susie loved my three-dimensional characters. I re-wrote my dialogue a hundred times to make my conversations sound natural and nuanced. Sandy Young a great writer and the author of the paranormal romance Divine Vintage, took my book along with her on vacation. I have received so many pictures of people carrying Casino Queen across the globe. They will never know how much seeing those photos thrills me.
 
I use reader reviews all the time as a reader. I love to know what actual readers are saying about a book because they are the ones who have purchased it. Their opinion can sway me to click that buy button. I particularly enjoy going back to the review page after reading a book, it is like having you own book club where you get to discuss the book with readers from around the country.
 
I know that other writers feel the same way about the reader reviewer. I belong to a fantastic network of writers. Writers love to post their reviews. They glory in every five-star review. Because everyone knows you don't write for the money but to tell your story. And the reader reviewer doesn't write for money either but out of the love of books. Let me end with a thank you to all the readers writing reviews, the people that make it all worthwhile, keep them coming. And remember readers the best thing that you can do for an author when you like a book is to write a review, but if that is too daunting, they will be very grateful for nice rating. 

I love interacting with readers. If your book club is interested in reading Casino Queen just email me at carabertoia@yahoo.com. I will provide your group with questions, and I will appear on Facetime, Zoom or WhatsApp to talk at your meeting. I will also answer any questions you have about casinos and gambling. 
 

Cara Bertoia is the author of the critically acclaimed Casino Queen, a new suspense novel published by The Wild Rose Press. She has drawn from her years in the casino industry to create a fascinating thriller. It is all true although the names have been changed to protect the guilty. It had been featured at The Big Thrill and Women Writers Women's Books and at many other sites. Read the blurb here.

Caroline Popov, alone, heartbroken, and deeply in debt ends up in glamorous Palm Springs, California where Native casinos have just opened, offering employment to thousands. She lands a job at the Palm Oasis Casino and is mentored by the charismatic tribal chairman, John Tovar.

Embraced by casino culture, Caroline works her way up to casino manager of the Night Hawk, in the High Desert town of Joshua Tree. There, she is responsible for managing multicultural team members, satisfying the demands of challenging guests, growing revenue while rooting out corruption.

 

In the process of rediscovering her inner strength, she learns, you have to gamble like your life depends on it. With her life on the line can she pull out a win?

 

 

 

                         To check out my interview in The Big Thrill, click the link below.

 

Casino Queen by Cara Bertoia | THE BIG THRILL

Cara Bertoia's first book is Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships. Her novel is really a travelogue, a narrative, a romance, a self-help manual for gambling and cruising, and a real-life story all rolled into one funny, obsessive, and entertaining story of two people whose separate life journeys meet at a crossroads. Kindle Fire Dept. says, "This novel is a gem that is nothing short of a vacation in a book!"
                                                                


Below is the links to Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships to buy at Amazon or read as a part of Kindle Unlimited. Cruise Quarters Amazon

 

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Forget Quiet Quitting Try a Hard Eight or Take a Chance on a Career in the Casino Industry

 

This could be you!

I understand why people are quiet quitting their jobs. At first When I lived in Boston and worked as a systems analyst for a high-tech company, I was thrilled with my company credit card and my expense account. But it all came at a price, I was expected to travel at any time, not glamorous travel but snowed in at the Keene New Hampshire airport for six hours travel. I was expected to stay at the office and socialize after 5 p.m. I had no life. I worked between 50 and 60 hours a week but received no overtime pay because I was on salary. I dared not calculate my hourly wage to avoid falling into despair. Did all this dedication promise me my company’s loyalty, a lifelong job and great benefits?

Not really, people were fired all the time. I doubt if the average employee lasted more than two years. At first traveling sounded great but after two years and 15 pounds heavier something had to give. How many nights can you spend in a lonely hotel room? Excitement led to boredom and finally burnout. When I got an opportunity to join a cruise ship as a blackjack dealer. I jumped. I stayed at sea for five years and then I went to work in Palm Springs. I still traveled but the ship moved with me.  

People wanted to know how I could leave my prestigious job at a tech company to be a blackjack dealer. Why I went from a salaried tech job to become a factory worker. After working in both professions I can tell you why. If you ever walk into a casino you will see a line of dealers slinging cards, they look like workers on a factory line, and that is just fine with me. I just wanted to work a Hard Eight. I give work my all for eight hard hours then I finish my shift and go home.

The other 16 hours of the day are mine. Since I work nights and am off during the day, I can ride my bike, go to the beach or write a book. All that free time allowed me to write my novels, Cruise Quarters and Casino Queen, both about the casino industry.

I work in a go for your own joint, which means any tips I make I keep. Thousands of dollars cross over the table each night, if they tip me even a small fraction of that amount, well you do the math. I deal fast while playing the role of entertainer engaging the customer in conversation. I cheer them on hoping they will win, because if they win, I will probably get tipped. There is nothing more exhilarating than sharing in a big win with a player. Your income is only limited by your personality and by your luck. But even losers will tip you if they like you. I consider job satisfaction to be walking out of work with a wad of cash in my hand and leaving my players happy.

To sum it up my take home pay increased, and so did my job security. Dealers weren’t the only one who make tips, slot cashiers, cocktail waitresses and valet parkers also do. Many dealers leave to try to make it in the real world, but in the end the majority return. Some people might look down on shift work but in the end life work balance means more to me. On the other hand, if you ever want to go into management and get paid a salary there are so many opportunities to advance in the gambling business because it is new and growing.

One of the good things about working in a factory is that most provide good benefits. Every casino that I have ever worked in provides health insurance, vacation pay and sick leave.

Factories work in shifts, at a casino you can work any shift that you want to. Can’t stand sunlight, just sign up to work the graveyard shift. A morning person, well day shift is for you. With casinos open 24/7, including the holidays there is a perfect shift for everyone. Dealers who have children don’t need child care they just work opposite shifts.

Gambling is a growth industry. With more states and cities in desperate financial straits, they are turning to casinos. Fifty years ago there were casinos only in Nevada now according to Wikipedia there is some form of casino gambling in 44 states. You need to attend a dealing school and learn to deal and some casinos have inhouse training schools.

Unlike a tech job you can’t be outsourced. Someone does have to actually pitch those cards on a blackjack game. I know they have been working on perfecting a blackjack machine, but then you might as well-just play the slot machines, Table game gamblers don’t trust machines.

You can get a job at almost any age. I have seen dealers in their sixties get hired. This is great because at some point most people in the casino get fired. But it is a small enough industry that you probably know someone in management somewhere, and they will juice you into a new job.

Free food is a great incentive. Most casinos I’ve worked in have provided free meals and drinks and if they do charge the cost is minimal. If going out to lunch costs $10 a day, then that is like a $50 raise every week. It can get even better, when I lived on a ship I also got free room and board.

You don’t have to buy clothes, because your company will gladly provide you with a uniform. It will be ugly, it will be made of polyester, but it will be free.

You get to live in nice places which is what got me into the business in the first place. Besides Tahoe, I have lived on a cruise ship circling the world, Palm Springs, and I now live in Hollywood, Florida. My husband has worked in Moscow, London, the Czech Republic and the Bahamas.

You get to meet celebrities. I am just thrilled whenever anyone from Vanderpump Rules plays on my game. Well, okay to me reality stars are big celebrities. My husband dealt to Pamela Anderson and Kirk Douglas. I saw Justin Bieber on the table next to mine. Some of them are nice, but you soon realize that the rich and famous aren’t “all that.”

The next time you play at a table you don’t have to ask, you will already know why that dealer is working there. Casinos aren’t the only places with shift work but they do offer you the opportunity for a lifetime career with many opportunities for advancement. If you are interested in a “Hard Eight,” and have any questions please contact me at: carabertoia@yahoo.com if you would like to be added to my blog list so I can notify when I post.

My highly rated thriller Casino Queen has been featured at The Big Thrill, Charlotte Reader Podcast and dozens of other publications. Spend some time at the Night Hawk and find out what it is really like to work behind the felt.

Caroline Popov, alone, heartbroken, and deeply in debt ends up in glamorous Palm Springs, California where Native casinos have just opened. She lands a job at the Palm Oasis Casino and is mentored by the charismatic tribal chairman, John Tovar.

Embraced by casino culture, Caroline works her way up to casino manager of the Night Hawk, in the High Desert town of Joshua Tree. There, she is responsible for managing multicultural team members, satisfying the demands of challenging guests, growing revenue while rooting out corruption.

Her list of enemies grows as she uncovers the underbelly of corruption running through the casino. With her life on the line can she pull out a win?

Click the link below to order at Amazon

Casino Queen at Amazon.com

Click the link below to order at Barnes and Noble 

Casino Queen at Barnes & Noble

 

Our first date became our book cover!

You can read Cruise Quarters free at Kindle Unlimited. It is about my years working on a cruise ship and meeting my husband there. Only the names have been changed to protect the guilty. Click the link below to check it out. 

Cruise Quarters Kindle Edition Amazon.com


 

The Top Ten Reasons to Travel Around Europe on a Cruise Ship

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The Author in Leningrad
Many times people ask me what is the best way to travel around Europe. I have toured England and Europe by car and train, but definitely the best way to get around Europe was on a cruise ship. For many seasons I cruised the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. Here are my top ten reasons for picking a cruise ship over train or road.

 1. Sail Away. There is no view in the world that compares to sailing out of Venice on a large ocean liner. I remember the time the crew club sponsored a pizza party on the back deck. To look down on the city of Venice and sail past all the medieval buildings while drinking wine and eating pizza, cooked by Italian chefs will always remain a special memory. The sun was setting and the view was spectacular.

 2. You only have to pack your bags once. When you try to visit a lot of countries in Europe by car or train, you always seem to be packing. Inevitably you leave a few things behind. But on a cruise ship you unpack at the beginning of the cruise and pack the night before you go home no matter how many countries you visit.

 3. You don't have to spend all your time working out how to travel from place to place. When I went by train so much of my time was spent figuring out the train schedules and I ended up spending many of my nights on trains and buses lugging heavy suitcases. I was always exhausted. On a ship one day you are in Copenhagen and the next morning you wake up in Stockholm, refreshed, very well fed and ready for a new adventure.

 4. Speaking of well fed the food is wonderful, plentiful and served at any hour of the day or night. It seems as if in Europe that the chefs try to outdo the local chefs. Besides three meals there is the pizzeria, room service and the midnight buffet. It is a feast and at the midnight buffet it is also a feast for the eyes.

 5. If you pick your ship carefully you will find first rate entertainment. Many of the ships offer history lessons about the ports of call, wine tasting and some feature Cirque de Soleil caliber shows. I never did figure out how they managed to balance so well while the ship was moving.

 6. You can sample many countries on a cruise and if you find a place that you really enjoy you can always return for a longer stay.

  7. Tea Time. I just love tea time. In the afternoon I would always run down from the casino to the lounge where tea, finger sandwiches and adorable tiny cakes were served. I worked on a British ship and no one does tea better that the Brits.

 8. When you travel from country to country you never have to worry about clearing customs, that is all taken care of by the pursers staff, usually when you are asleep.

 9. There is something luxurious about traveling on a cruise ship. From the crystal chandeliers to the polished brass stair railings, ships exude elegance. Even though I was only working on a ship I always felt like a celebrity traveling on a very big yacht.

10. I wrote novel based on my years at sea called Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships. I met my husband while working in the Star Princess and it is about adventures. I have to mention that most cruise ships have an onboard casino. It is usually a small and intimate room, which closes while the ship is in port but opens as soon as the ships sails. Here is the link to find my novel on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Cruise-Quarters-Novel-About-Casinos-ebook/dp/B004NIFUUU


About the Author:
Cara Bertoia is the author of the critically acclaimed Casino Queen, a new suspense novel published by The Wild Rose Press. She has drawn from her years in the casino industry to create a fascinating thriller. It is all true although the names have been changed to protect the guilty. It had been featured at The Big Thrill and Women Writers Women's Books and at many other sites. Read the blurb here.

Caroline Popov, alone, heartbroken, and deeply in debt ends up in glamorous Palm Springs, California where Native casinos have just opened, offering employment to thousands. She lands a job at the Palm Oasis Casino and is mentored by the charismatic tribal chairman, John Tovar.

Embraced by casino culture, Caroline works her way up to casino manager of the Night Hawk, in the High Desert town of Joshua Tree. There, she is responsible for managing multicultural team members, satisfying the demands of challenging guests, growing revenue while rooting out corruption.

In the process of rediscovering her inner strength, she learns, you have to gamble like your life depends on it. Because it often does.




Click the link below to order at Amazon, enjoy your stay at the Night Hawk

Casino Queen (Night Hawk Casino Series Book 1) - Kindle edition by Bertoia, Cara. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Click the link below to order at Barnes and Noble 

Casino Queen by Cara Bertoia | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)

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How the Casino Industry Sucked Me in and Never Let Me Go!

 

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When I was younger and working at Caesar’s Tahoe, players would sit down at my game and invariably the following question would come up. “What’s a nice girl like you doing working in a joint like this?” I would always look around me where there were rows of dealers like me, fresh-faced recent college grads trying to postpone adulthood as long as we could and Lake Tahoe (America’s all year playground) was a great place to do it.  Over the years at one time or another most of us have left the casino business, but in the end the majority return. So let me tell you the top ten reasons for working in a joint like the Night Hawk.

1.     You get paid for playing games all day but you really don’t get paid much. The majority of your income comes from tips. Remember punters there is one person in the casino who wants you to win, and that person is the dealer. Because if you don’t win she won’t make tips and everybody likes to eat. There is nothing more exhilarating than sharing in a big win with a player. If you work in a ‘go for your own joint,’ you get to keep all the tips you can make. Your salary is pretty much up to you and your personality. It’s like being a salesman but the casino provides all the leads.

2.     Every casino I have ever worked in provides health insurance because we are all going to get carpel tunnel from pitching cards for years. You also only work 8 hours a day. Occasionally I worked overtime but I got paid for it. I decided I’d rather work by the hour than for a salary.

3.     You can work any shift that you want to. Can’t stand sunlight, you sign up to work the graveyard shift. A morning person, well day shift is for you. With casinos open 24 / 7, including the holidays there is a perfect shift for everyone. Dealers who have children don’t need child care they because work opposite shifts. At a young age I decided I liked to work night shift. I lived in Lake Tahoe and if I worked nights that left my days free to ski or swim in the lake. I also hate waking up to a alarm clock.

4.     Gambling is a growth industry. With more states and cities in desperate financial straits, they are turning to casinos. Fifty years ago there were casinos only in Nevada now according to Wikipedia there are casinos in 30 states.

5.     You can’t be outsourced. Someone does have to actually pitch those cards on a blackjack game. I know they have been working on perfecting a blackjack machine, but then you might as well play the slot machines, Table game gamblers don’t trust machines. I believe dealers are safe for a while.

6.     You can get a job at almost any age. I have seen dealers in their sixties get hired. This is great because at some point most people in the casino get fired. But it is a small enough industry that you probably know someone in management somewhere, and they will juice you into a job. When I left high tech to go  into the casino industry people thought I was crazy but most of my friends got laid off at one point or another that never happened to me.

7.     Free food is a great incentive. Most casinos I’ve worked in have provided free meals and drinks and if they do charge the cost is minimal. If going out to lunch costs $10 a day, then that is like a $50 raise every week. It can get even better, when I lived on a ship I also got free room and board.

8.     You don’t have to buy clothes, because your company will gladly provide you with a uniform. It will be ugly, it will be made of polyester, but it will be free.

9.     You get to live in nice places which is what got me into the business in the   first place. Besides Tahoe, I have lived on a cruise ship circling the world, and Palm Springs. My husband has worked in Moscow, London, the Czech Republic and the Bahamas. Not all casinos are located in nice places but with a little research you can find a beautiful place to deal.

10. You get to meet celebrities. I was thrilled whenever anyone from Vanderpump Rules played on my game. Well, okay to me they are actually big celebrities. I have also dealt to official Hollywood stars. Some of them are nice, but you soon realize the rich and famous aren’t “all that.”

The next time you play at a table you don’t have to ask, you will already know why that dealer is working there. Read my suspense novel Casino Queen and enjoy your time at the Night Hawk.

Cara Bertoia is the author of the critically acclaimed Casino Queen, a new suspense novel published by The Wild Rose Press. She has drawn from her years in the casino industry to create a fascinating thriller. It is all true although the names have been changed to protect the guilty. It had been featured at The Big Thrill and Women Writers Women's Books and at many other sites. Read the blurb here.

Caroline Popov, alone, heartbroken, and deeply in debt ends up in glamorous Palm Springs, California where Native casinos have just opened, offering employment to thousands. She lands a job at the Palm Oasis Casino and is mentored by the charismatic tribal chairman, John Tovar.

Embraced by casino culture, Caroline works her way up to casino manager of the Night Hawk, in the High Desert town of Joshua Tree. There, she is responsible for managing multicultural team members, satisfying the demands of challenging guests, growing revenue while rooting out corruption.

In the process of rediscovering her inner strength, she learns, you have to gamble like your life depends on it. With her life on the line can she pull out a win?

                         To check out my interview in The Big Thrill, click the link below.

Casino Queen by Cara Bertoia | THE BIG THRILL

If the Blackjack Table Could Talk

 Hi, my name is Cara and I am the author of a new suspense novel Casino Queen, it is based on my years working at Native American casinos in Southern California. One week we were working on a cruise ship and the next week in a Native American casino in Palm Springs, California. When I arrived, the casinos had recently opened. It was a brand-new industry that needed to hire thousands of people. If you build it, they will come, blackjack dealers appeared from all over the country.

If you read my book, you are probably curious about casinos.  I have spent decades in the casino business. I have decided to show you the view from behind the table. I will pass on a few tips, so superstition doesn’t ruin your game. Please let me know if they help you win the next time you visit a casino!

If the Blackjack Dealer Was Allowed to Speak!


If you were a blackjack table visited by thousands of punters a year, you would hear the same five things repeated every day. Guess what, all five of them are misconceptions, mixed up with superstitions and topped off with a thick layer of so-called expertise. 

1. When the majority of players walk up to the table the first words out of their mouth are, “Dealer, are you running hot or cold?”

This old chestnut has been around as long as gambling. Movies, books, and even a dealer or two have added to the mystique of hot and cold dealers. Some things are easily disproved.  Trust me, if some dealers were naturally hot and some cold then the casino would only employ the hot variety. Have you ever seen an advert in the paper for a new casino, “Now interviewing for staff, hot dealers only need apply.” No one would be a dealer because dealers work for tips and generally people who are winning tip. Without winners dealers would have no income. I can assure you there is only one person in the casino who wants you to win, the dealer! They want you to win because they work for the tips you throw them.

2. Third Base is the most important spot at the table, because seat number seven controls the cards.

That would only be true if the player in seat seven had a crystal ball and knew what cards would appear next. Sometimes they play correctly and the cards fall perfectly and the dealer busts, then third base will take all the credit. Sometimes they play correctly and the dealer hits out to twenty-one, but they don’t take the blame for their losses. In fact, the cards are shuffled many times during the course of the day and no one knows the next card – or equally importantly the dealer’s hole card.

3. Someone at the table has to take a hit.

Let’s imagine the following scenario. The dealer shows a low card, maybe a five or a six, and everyone at the table has a stiff hand (12 – 16). All the players signal no card, but the benevolent player at the all-important third base will offer to sacrifice his hand for the good of the table, because, “Someone has to take a hit.” I have never understood the logic of this one. Since no one knows what the dealer’s hole card is or the next card out of the shoe, then just like every other hand a player should stick to the rules of basic strategy. By the previously mentioned twisted logic, third base may very well take the bust card and his sacrifice will doom the table. But if everyone loses with a sigh he will proclaim, “Well at least I tried.”

4. When things are going badly at the table, players think they can change the flow of the cards by adding or subtracting a hand from the game.

There is no flow or run of the cards, they are shuffled in a random order. Casinos go to great lengths to devise a shuffle which results in a random rearrangement of the cards at every shuffle.

5. I know I shouldn’t split these sixes against a ten but I have a feeling.

Nothing gets a gambler into more trouble than a feeling. A gambler feels like they are smarter than the average person. The house always has slight edge even at blackjack but if a player follows the rules of basic strategy, they can avoid increasing that edge.

Like most things in life blackjack is a game of skill, which can be easily learned. I feel that if a player is going to spend $300 on a night at the tables it is worth their while to invest ten dollars to buy a book on basic strategy. There are thousands of books on basic strategy, you can find them in the gambling section of any bookstore or online. No book on basic strategy or gambling mentions ‘hot dealers’ or ‘taking the dealers bust card’ or ‘flow of the cards,’ it’s all strictly math. Take our advice, forget the old wife’s tales, buy yourself a copy, read it and study it. Happy Gambling.

Cara Bertoia is the author of the critically acclaimed Casino Queen, a new suspense novel published by The Wild Rose Press. She has drawn from her years in the casino industry to create a fascinating thriller. It is all true although the names have been changed to protect the guilty. It had been featured at The Big Thrill and Women Writers Women's Books and at many other sites. Read the blurb here.

Caroline Popov, alone, heartbroken, and deeply in debt ends up in glamorous Palm Springs, California where Native casinos have just opened, offering employment to thousands. She lands a job at the Palm Oasis Casino and is mentored by the charismatic tribal chairman, John Tovar.

Embraced by casino culture, Caroline works her way up to casino manager of the Night Hawk, in the High Desert town of Joshua Tree. There, she is responsible for managing multicultural team members, satisfying the demands of challenging guests, growing revenue while rooting out corruption.

In the process of rediscovering her inner strength, she learns, you have to gamble like your life depends on it. With her life on the line can she pull out a win?

                         To check out my interview in The Big Thrill, click the link below.

Casino Queen by Cara Bertoia | THE BIG THRILL

Derrick from Donegal from Casino Queen Will Take You Inside of the Mind of a Gambler!

 

Yeh, I’m Derrick from Donegal. I’m the table games director at the Night Hawk.  Don’t believe what people say about me especially that that tight arsed bitch Caroline. I’d like to see how long she’d last in the East End of London where I was raised.

She can’t see I am a damn good boss. They should have made me casino manager instead of her. Who ever heard of a bird running a casino? She’s probably sleeping with the Chairman John Tovar. I see the way they look at each other. It’s like they speak a secret language.

Don’t start me on John. All the guest and employees act like he walks on water. It’s as if they think he’s not just the Indian chief but some kind of shaman. With his braids he looks like Pocahontas, pretty like a bird. I like his cousins, the Tovar twins, a whole lot better, they know the score. Don’t look too closely don’t upset the good gig we have going on here.



Caroline caused trouble for me since the first day she walked through the door. Towering over me in her heels, trying to intimidate me. She acted all lady boss, calm and efficient, but I could tell this wasn’t going to work out. I don’t know what the problem was, but I have never done well with lady bosses. They don’t really understand how this business works. Blokes know that if you scratch someone’s back, they’ll scratch yours in the future. It’s what I did for my employees. I did favors for them to help them make more money, and they passed part of it my way. We have an understanding. Do you see the problem?

I first walked into a casino in London when I was laying bricks at the Golden Nugget. Working inside seemed a damn site better than freezing my bum out in the cold, wicked streets of the city. I signed up for a grueling training class in roulette. I remember the thrill I felt the first time I spun the ball around the heavy mahogany wheel without it flying into space. I had to memorize so many multiplication tables, it almost did my head in. But I survived. We started with fifty in the class and ended up with five. I’m glad to say, London dealers are the gold standard.

We were wanted all over the world, from South Africa to cruise ships circling the globe. A captive audience. I met the Ex on a Regal Cruise ship. An American who fancied a man in a suit. I fancied a green card. When the marriage ended, I walked away with a green card and a restraining order against me. I tried to get as far away from San Diego as I could which is how I ended up in this godforsaken desert, with a bitch for a boss. But it is a sweet gig and I don’t intend to lose it.

It's not my fault, the only thing there is to do around here is play at the casinos. It’s so hot in the summer you feel it in your bones when you walk outside. The dust from the wind storms so thick it settles in your suits. I can only spend so many nights on the couch drinking Guinness and watching the telly. When I get off work casinos an hour away in every direction entice me to eat, play, win. I get the itch about half-way through my shift. I drive to Indio Springs convinced I will walk away with a small fortune and make up for the losing streak I have been on lately.

At first, it all goes to plan. I keep hitting numbers at the roulette wheel, turning a thousand into ten thousand. It feels so good to win, there is nothing that compares, even sex. In the flow, I feel invincible. But a plonker like me never knows when to quit. I keep telling myself the next roll will be my last as my pile begins to disintegrate. Before I know it, I am back to my one thousand and then down to naught. Pissed off at myself, I slam my fist on the table. A few minutes later security escorts me to the door. Hope the Chairman doesn’t hear about that.

But I can feel it starting again, that itch. But tonight, I will quit when I’m ahead. It will happen, I will climb out of this hole. All it takes is one good night. Only four more hours to go. I walk over to watch the black jack game and notice this idiot making money hand over fist. But I’m not worried I know he’ll walk away with nothing. Because it’s hard to walk away from a winning streak. But I will tonight.

I’ve learned my lesson. Want to come with me to Indio Springs? I could teach you roulette.

Cara Bertoia is the author of the critically acclaimed Casino Queen, a new suspense novel published by The Wild Rose Press. She has drawn from her years in the casino industry to create a fascinating thriller. It is all true although the names have been changed to protect the guilty. It had been featured at The Big Thrill and Women Writers Women's Books and at many other sites. Read the blurb here.

Caroline Popov, alone, heartbroken, and deeply in debt ends up in glamorous Palm Springs, California where Native casinos have just opened, offering employment to thousands. She lands a job at the Palm Oasis Casino and is mentored by the charismatic tribal chairman, John Tovar.

Embraced by casino culture, Caroline works her way up to casino manager of the Night Hawk, in the High Desert town of Joshua Tree. There, she is responsible for managing multicultural team members, satisfying the demands of challenging guests, growing revenue while rooting out corruption.

In the process of rediscovering her inner strength, she learns, you have to gamble like your life depends on it. With her life on the line can she pull out a win?

                        

                         To check out my interview in The Big Thrill, click the link below.

Casino Queen by Cara Bertoia | THE BIG THRILL

Caroline Popov Casino Manager at the Night Hawk Would Like to Introduce Herself to You!

 

Hi, I’m Caroline Popov, casino manager for the Night Hawk. I was more surprised than anyone when I was promoted to this position. The first woman casino manager in the valley. John, the tribal chairman likes to call me the Casino Queen but that doesn’t sit well with me. Whenever I think of a Queen, Mary Queen of Scots comes to mind and we know she was beheaded by her cousin. 

It’s funny living up here in the High Desert between Joshua Tree National Park and the world’s largest Marine base. There isn’t much around here some scrub brush and twisty mountain roads bordered by rocks that look like Jenga pieces. The kind of place where you would film a car commercial. The sky is always crystal blue and it barely rains, but when it does it is quite spectacular. A few days after a rain storm the desert wildflowers bloom painting the hillsides in a rainbow of colors. There is something spiritual about the place.



I worked hard to deserve the job. I was such a scared lonely person when I came to work at the Palm Oasis in Palm Springs. I needed money and John Tovar our Tribal Chairman promised me a future with the tribe. He guaranteed it would be a trial by fire. I know there were some skeptics who didn’t think a woman couldn’t be tough enough to run a casino. Especially that chauvinist Derrick. He’s from Ireland and speaks a nice brogue but I can tell you his words are all Blarney. You have to be tough, but there is room for a little heart in this business. John taught me that.

One thing they never tell you about when you are training is at end of the day your feet feel like lead weights are attached to them, and your hair and clothes smell like cigarettes. Not the glamorous image of casinos you see portrayed on the movie screen. I can’t remember the last time someone walked into the Night Hawk in an evening gown. But there was something about the business that drew me in.

There was a fun atmosphere in the casino, you worked with hundreds of people. Every night was a mini adventure. I was alone, but I never felt lonely. Because dealers are working with math, after an hour the numbers start to get jumbled in your head and you lose concentration. That’s why if you are dealing you get a twenty-minute break every hour. That meant I had plenty of time to read, most dealers always have a book on the go. But most breaks I shot the breeze back in the break room with my team members.

Working with dealers from all over the world opened me up. Rui came from China. June came from Wales, she won the Green Card Lottery. Binh escaped from Vietnam on a leaky boat. Nadia came over as a mail-order bride. So many countries, so many stories. I could spend all day telling you about them. I was completely fascinated by them, Sometimes they made me cry but I admired the way they all fought to be part of the American dream. Although I doubt living forty miles off the highway slinging cards or pouring drinks was part of that dream. But the money was good, the hours were flexible and the job came with health insurance.

Here at the Night Hawk, my team really works well under pressure. You try dealing to someone when you’ve just relieved them of $10,000. Sometimes customers can be less than diplomatic. I’ve been called a bitch on many occasions. But it comes with the territory. On the other side I’ve had a player throw me a $500 chip. You learned fast in this business to take the bad with the good.

Of course, there are a few bad apples around here. When people work in the money store, they begin to think the money is theirs. Look around there are cameras everywhere. Everything you do is being recorded. We trust our employees but we believe in trust but verify. There are so many inventive ways to steal from a casino.

When you come visit the Night Hawk, I’ll show you some of the scams people have tried to pull on us. There is the famous wall of shame filled with photos of all the finest hustlers, petty thieves, hookers, drug pushers and gambling addicts the valley has to offer. Keeping one step ahead of them is a big part of my job.

You can tell I really love this place. I confess, the business is in my bones. I’ve seen people leave but they always come back. Come to work for me, you’ll find out why. But in the meantime, let the casino buy you some dinner.

Cara Bertoia is the author of the critically acclaimed Casino Queen, a new suspense novel published by The Wild Rose Press. She has drawn from her years in the casino industry to create a fascinating thriller. It is all true although the names have been changed to protect the guilty. It had been featured at The Big Thrill and Women Writers Women's Books and at many other sites. Read the blurb here

Caroline Popov, alone, heartbroken, and deeply in debt ends up in glamorous Palm Springs, California where Native casinos have just opened, offering employment to thousands. She lands a job at the Palm Oasis Casino and is mentored by the charismatic tribal chairman, John Tovar.

Embraced by casino culture, Caroline works her way up to casino manager of the Night Hawk, in the High Desert town of Joshua Tree. There, she is responsible for managing multicultural team members, satisfying the demands of challenging guests, growing revenue while rooting out corruption.

In the process of rediscovering her inner strength, she learns, you have to gamble like your life depends on it. With her life on the line can she pull out a win?

                          

                         To check out my interview in The Big Thrill, click the link below.

Casino Queen by Cara Bertoia | THE BIG THRILL