The first time I went to Vegas I was in my mid 20's and tagging along with my girl friend who had gone there to work a trade show. We were staying at the Westward Ho which seemed like a "Days Inn" with a separate attached casino/lobby. A cross country flight had us arriving late in the evening and as she was exhausted and had to get up early to give a presentation, she decided to turn it. Not me though, I was in Las Vegas!
I headed to the casino and wondered around. The only game I remotely knew anything about was Black Jack so I found a $2 table (those were the days) and after watching for a bit, got my courage up and sat down. What followed was probably one of the best "first timer" experience (short of actually winning money) that anyone could have had.
First of all, being a $2 table in a low profile Casino, there were no uptight "high rollers" anywhere in site. It just seemed to be party people looking to have a good time. The dealer was an Asian woman who could have been anywhere from her late 20's to early 40's, she spoke with a pretty thick accent and was apparently a great judge of her players. She knew right off that I was out of my depth and she did everything she could to keep me out of trouble. She had these great ways of pointing out that I was about to do something stupid, without being mean spirited. She would ask me if I wanted a card and if I started to say HIT and should have said (or signaled) "stay" she would quickly repeat the question and then repeat it and repeat it until I got the hint that NO I did NOT want another card or one of the laughing players beside me would lean over and say "I believe the answer is NO". Sometimes she would just give me a look that said "WRONG". I know it might sound harsh but it had the whole table cracking up and was done in such a playful way that even I was laughing. Besides, she was keeping me in the game!
I followed her after her break and the next table was just as much of a fun. After that evening I was hooked. Not hooked on gambling really, by the end of my stay I had lost all but $5 of the money I had brought to play with. What I got hooked on was the FUN of sitting at a table and playing cards with people who were in the party mood, with a Dealer who knew how to bring that out in everyone.
I have been back to Vegas 3 times since then. I have had dealers with no personalities and those who were indifferent or all business. I didn't stay at those table long. There was this small place near the Rivera, I seemed to recall it had these steamboat smoke stacks and an upstairs with a grill. I would stay at those tables long after I should have gone to bed because I was having such a good time. These were $3 and $5 minimum tables and nobody very "serious" seemed to play those tables. Mostly happy drunks or Black Jack novices or happy, drunk, BJ novices. The key though, was the dealer. The good ones kept the party going and seemed to know how to steer people back into the "happy" when things weren't going well for them.
I really enjoyed those times. I know it sounds idealistic but If I were to move to Las Vegas it would be with the goal of becoming that kind of dealer.