‘Dummy Up And Deal’ by H. Lee Barnes – Book Review

Dummy Up And Deal is H. Lee Barnes’ inside look at the culture of casino dealing. As a long-time dealer and floorman working the casinos of Las Vegas, Barnes provides his own spin on the world behind the table. And then, as if that wasn’t enough, he captures the ideas and stories from a generation of fellow dealers from deep within Sin City.

High Points

  1. Lee Barnes worked in the casino industry for seventeen years

Straight and to the point with no holds barred

Stories only a dealer would know

Low Points

Stories jump from year to year, casino to casino, personal narrative to stories by fellow dealers which produces a jumbled, uneven flow

Too many stories sound like bitch sessions by Barnes’ fellow dealers

Due to intro and forward, portions of stories are repeated

Description

Dummy Up And Deal was released by the University of Nevada Reno Press in 2002

Paperback – 140 pages

Guide Review – ‘Dummy Up And Deal’ by H. Lee Barnes – Book Review

Dummy Up And Deal begins with a foreword, a preface, and an introduction. Because of this, there is some redundancy in the narrative. A simple introduction would have sufficed.

  1. Lee Barnes spent seventeen years slogging along the Las Vegas Strip and downtown casinos in search of something he finally found as a professor at Community College Of Southern Nevada: respect.

The art of casino dealing is an honorable profession, but Barnes’ own narrative and the stories he presents all have a sad twist to them, as though dealing, in and of itself, was a job to be looked down upon. Certainly many people become dealers because they need a decent job, but many look at a career in the casino industry as a prize – more than just a nine-to-five job that offers excellent tips. Dealing can be lucrative, and while there are casinos all over the world now, most of the stories from Dummy Up And Deal center around the 1970’s and 1980’s when there just weren’t that many dealing jobs around. They were hard to get, and to keep.

As John L. Smith states in the book’s introduction, “There is an undeniable kind of celebrity that accompanies becoming a dealer. The table is something of a small stage, the dealer its spotlighted bit player.” Most dealers are happy to work on the small stage. Barnes wanted a larger audience and found it as a professor and author.

Why the Book is a Classic

In the books eight chapters, Barnes displays his understanding of human nature and psychology with stories from his own experience and those of his fellow co-workers. He thrills the reader with the same excitement he experienced as a break-in, first-day dealer and follows up with a gamut of day-to-day burnout, disillusionment and shock that the gaming industry dished out in the 1970’s. Tales of coerced sex, drug-addled managers and shifts that can’t be remembered are a plenty.

The industry has changed for the better, but the stories H. Lee Barnes provides are disturbing, fun, and provocative. Of course even dealers don’t know everything.If you want to know what the scene was like in Las Vegas thirty or forty years ago, you’ll get a lot out of this book. If you are an aspiring dealer, the book can be an eye-opener for you, and although it is dated, it’s worth the read.