BACK IN THE BIZ--ANOTHER AUDITION

 

 

    In February, Mary came across an advertisement in the paper that the Trump Plaza was hiring experienced dealers.  She missed the good income, so she talked me into going for an interview.  So why the move to the Trump Plaza after vowing never to return to the biz?  Because it was the big time.

     I told Mary the Trump Plaza was the only casino where I would ever work. Boy, did I stick my foot in my mouth. I was sick of working for flea joints.  When I quit my last job at the Tropicana (now called Trop World) I was making $3.50 an hour.  That was with nearly four years experience and after eight months with the company.  Not only that, but their toke rate was around $7 an hour. For ten bucks an hour it wasn't worth it.  So you could see why it was easy to just walk out.  The Trump Plaza on the other hand had a strong toke rate, always over $12 an hour.

    Trump Plaza had gone on to become the best joint to deal for after Steve Wynn sold out to Bally's Manufacturing.  It was ironic too, because Bally's would not have bought the Golden Nugget if it were not for Donald Trump buying Bally stock.

    I remember finding out that Donald Trump was buying stock in Bally Manufacturing.  We all started wondering if we would be working for "The Donald".  There was a meeting called and we got the word there.

    It reminded me of the scene from the movie Johnny Dangerously, when they were having a gangster meeting in a big ballroom about how the business was doing.  I used to think The Boys would gather there to watch films of the dealers messing up on the games.  The moment I walked in our ballroom, all the big wigs focused their eyes on me.

    Someone asked what the takeover by Trump was going to mean to Bally's Park Place.  I think it was the big cheese, Jim Carr, who answered that question.  He told us not to worry, that "The Boys in Chicago were going to take care of him and he would be gone soon."  I wondered what that meant.  I knew Capone started Bally's and was sure his boys still had a hand in it.  But what did he mean by "gone".  I had always heard while working there that Trump could never get into Las Vegas.  They said that The Boys in Vegas would not put up with his shit and he would find himself in cement shoes.  Were they now not going to put up with his shit in Atlantic City and give him the shoes? The solution found by Bally's was an interesting one.

    Steve Wynn, owner of the Golden Nugget casinos, said of Atlantic City, and I can't be sure on the exact quote but the words were like, I'll take Reno, I'll take Tahoe, but I will not take the ghetto.  He was looking to get out of town and Bally's was trying to stop Donald Trump short of killing him.

    When Trump started buying Bally stock he was operating two other casinos, the Plaza and the Castle.  Bally stock gave him interest in Park Place, which was his third casino.  When Bally bought the Nugget from Wynn it also became a piece of Trump's.  That gave him four casinos and the state law said you could not have more than three.  Donald Trump had no other choice than to dump his Bally stock.

    After Bally's management took over the Nugget they turned the best casino in town into a flea joint.  The toke rate had dropped from $14 an hour to just a little over $8.  No one wanted to play or work there anymore and I certainly was not going to get a job from them.  The employees became so disgruntled that when Steve Wynn was about to open the Mirage in Las Vegas he called the employees from his old place in Atlantic City and offered them jobs which they took all quitting Bally's Golden Nugget at the same time thus leaving them in disarray.

    Trump proved to be the big time when Mary and I showed up for the walk-in interview being held one weekend.  They had turned down the stuck-up blackjack dealers, who stood in front of us, when they got to the door because they only had a year and a half dealing experience.  We couldn't help but laugh because all they did for the two hours we stood in line was gab about how they were the shit in the casino business.  It was funny seeing their long faces after the lengthy wait just to be turned down because they did not have enough dealing exposure.  Oh, yes, Trump was the big time.

    Once we got through the door I had to fill out an application and wait another two hours to be interviewed.  I saw some friends from school and Bally's Park Place, so I spent the time with them shooting the shit and avoiding the evening news who was there filming for their program.  Then I got my call.

    I hated the interview. It was fifteen or twenty minutes of kissing the ass of some gangster casino Floorman while trying to explain to him what happened with the other jobs.  Bally's there was no denying, but I could not let them know I got angry and just walked off the game at the Tropicana.  I told them the reason I left was because I was not happy there.  That was true and I also pointed out the low pay for someone of my talents. I was given a date and time for an audition and sent on my way.  Mary was more excited over it than I was.  It might have appeared to look better, but to me it was just another job in the mines.

    I took my audition one night in February at six o'clock. It was on table 4 in pit 3.  They told me they were going to leave me on stick for twenty minutes in order to give the crew an extra push.  They seemed comfortable with me as I called seven outs and toke bets and handled myself in a professional manner.  After dealing on third base for twenty minutes they sent me to another table. I didn't know if they were just jerking me off or if they really gave long auditions, but mine lasted one hour.

    They gave me the old, don't call us, we'll call you routine.  While I awaited the call I spoke with Randy, who lived in the next building over back in 1986 and worked with me at both Bally's and the Tropicana.  Randy had a thing about working the holidays; he wouldn't. Rather, he would quit in December and get a new job the next year.  He told me he had gotten hired at the Plaza in January, before they held that "career" day.  (That was a joke to call it a career day.  In a career you leave one job to take a better position.  In the casino business if you held a management position and was separated from that job you had to start over from the bottom as a dealer. However, if you were one of the Boys you were quickly promoted. I heard of one Pitboss named Paul at the Plaza who went from dealer to Pitboss in a matter of two months.)  According to Randy, the only way I was going to get a job out of Trump was to keep calling and bothering them.

    On my first call I got the same old, same old.  But a few weeks had gone by.  I knew there was no problem with the audition, so I wondered what the problem was.  I figured they must have gotten hold of the Tropicana black list.  I knew I was on it after the stunt I had pulled.  Certain friends of mine from Bally's, such as Mike, were having trouble finding work as dealers after they were fired.  Some were even forced to work in other departments before they were allowed a transfer to dealing.  That might have been going on with me as well. A few days later I called again, but all they said was that they had the application and would call me if needed.  I called one more time towards the end of March. At that time I got the excuse that they were only hiring two game dealers. I figured it was some kind of white wash and I was never going to work there or in any other casino again.  I continued to deliver pizzas and tried to figure out how I was going to support my family and me.

    The next week I got a job offer from Trump.  They called and told me they were hiring only two game dealers.  Since I had only one game they were going to cut me a deal.  They would hire me as a part-time dealer provided I sold change on the weekends.  It was a new program they were starting because all the casinos in town were having trouble getting people to sell change.  I would be listed as a "full-time, duel-rate, dealer/change person" (Ooooo).  I would sell change on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and get two days dealing during the week. Being listed as a full-time employee meant that I also would be getting benefits.  That sounded great because welfare was picking up the hospital stay for Mary and the baby and Domino's didn't offer any, so we had no idea how we were going to keep up with the medical bills each baby accrues.  After putting in 90 days I would be transferred to a permanent part-time dealer provided I completed schooling for a second game.  What could I say but yes.

    My official first day of work was to be Friday, April 15.  One thing lead to another and I had to call them up that night to ask them to make it Saturday. For on Thursday, April 14, 1988, Nicole Leigh-Ann Levite was born at the Atlantic City Medical Center, Mainland Division, in Pomona, New Jersey, just three or four miles from our house.  It became the most intense and happiest day of my life.

 
 
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Dedication

Behind These Eyes

Chapter  1 - OVERTURE

Chapter  2 - IN THE BEGINNING

Chapter  3 - MY FIRST SHOT

Chapter  4 - CHAD AND THE DEALER

Chapter  5 - THE DECISION TO DEAL

Chapter  6 - LICENSE TO STEAL

Chapter  7 - CASINO SCHOOL

Chapter  8 - SPRING '84

Chapter  9 - GETTING IN--THE AUDITION

Chapter 10 - BREAKING IN

Chapter 11 - LEARNING THE BIZ

Chapter 12 - SHOOTING DICE: THE HOOK

Chapter 13 - THE CITY, THE CASINOS, AND THE MOB

Chapter 14 - THE MOVE TO GET OUT

Chapter 15 - FIRED BY THE MAFIA

Chapter 16 - ALONG COMES MARY

Chapter 17 - THE TROP

Chapter 18 - OUTSIDE THE BIZ

Chapter 19 - BACK IN THE BIZ--ANOTHER AUDITION

Chapter 20 - THE BIRTH OF NICOLE

Chapter 21 - TRUMP: THE ART OF THE STEAL

Chapter 22 - PREVIEWS OF THINGS TO COME

Chapter 23 - THE BREAK-UP

Chapter 24 - THE NUT HOUSE

Chapter 25 - RECOVERY

Chapter 26 - PARENTAL ALIENATION

Chapter 27 - FIRED FROM TRUMP

Chapter 28 - I FIGHT FOR NICOLE

Chapter 29 - THE RUN-A-ROUND

Chapter 30 - THROWING IN THE TOWEL

Chapter 31 - WHAT NOW

GLOSSARY