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A good bartender is a lot of things to different people- a joke teller, a shrink, an advisor, a best friend, and of course, a dispenser of adult beverages. Of course, in the case of a casino bartender, there are usually a few additional roles they are required to play. Recently, I spent some time chatting with Lamista Hackworth, a bartender at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa, Florida. Over the course a few delicious mimosas, and a few (dozen) hands of video poker, I asked Lamista to share her insights into what it’s like being a casino bartender.
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While it is obviously important to be a fast and accurate bartender, Lamista noted that, for the most part, the customers at her bar are generally beer drinkers. Although the bartender at your local tavern may be pouring martinis during lunch hour or cosmopolitans on ladies night, the patrons at the Hard Rock tend to stick to a basic draft brew; the exception being mornings, when Bloody Mary’s, Mimosas, and Screwdrivers tend to be the most popular requests.
One of the questions most of us want to ask anyone working in a casino is what the biggest win they ever personally saw was. Lamista didn’t hesitate a second before answering, and her response would make most of us envious. One woman was sitting at my bartop and she hit for $4,000. While she was waiting for the attendant and paperwork, she hit for another $2,000, and then again for $4,000? This led me to ask Lamista what her personal record for a tip received was, and again, she only took a moment to answer. One person gave me a $300 tip, right after hitting a jackpot?
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Obviously, working in a large casino near a metropolitan area offers the possibility of seeing some famous celebrities, but surprisingly, Lamista hadn’t really seen too many during her tenure; the fact that she mainly works the daytime shift, 8 AM to 4 PM, may have something to do with that. Her shift-mate, bartender Brian Thomas, mentioned having served a few big names, listing a few rappers, some pro athletes, and a recent visit by the cast of Breaking Bad? Adobe indesign 2020 portable.
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No matter where they work, there are some basics tasks all bartenders need to take care of, and the bartenders at Hard Rock are no exception. Making sure the beer coolers are stocked, making sure there are enough clean glasses on hand at all times, checking the garnish tray- these are all part of the typical workday for bartenders at the Hard Rock. Most bartenders at the Hard Rock work an 8 hour shift, which includes a 30 minute break mid-way through. If they are going to be working more than 8 hours, there are additional breaks given. Considering the fact that bartenders spend their entire shift standing on their feet, moving only short distances, those breaks are very welcome.
Most readers would probably imagine that working in a casino is a lot of fun, and a place like the Hard Rock is even more fun than most casinos. I asked Lamista what nights of the year were the most fun to work. She said that New Year’s Eve is always a great time, for both guests and staff, but her personal favorite is Halloween. She explained that at the Hard Rock, on Halloween, all the staff are encouraged to dress up, and in her opinion, this made it even more fun than New Year’s Eve.
I asked Lamista about the one unpleasant part of any bartenders job- determining if a guest has had too much to drink, and what to do in that situation. A venue like the Hard Rock takes this responsibility very seriously, and bartenders are trained to look for signs that a guest has gone over the limit. In the event this happens, and a patron is cut off, all of the bars in the casino are notified so the intoxicated party can’t simply move on to another bar in the casino. Of course, unlike a local watering hole, a large establishment like the Hard Rock has plenty of security on-hand, so the bartenders don’t have to double as bouncers. This allows things to run smoothly and bartenders can focus on their customers.
Lamista has been tending bar at the Hard Rock for 2 years, and prior to arriving in Tampa, she lived in a very small town in Kentucky, and tended bar across the border at a small bar in Ohio. Her hometown is in a dry county? and alcohol is not available for sale, so to learn her trade she needed to leave town and cross the state line. Although she’s only been with the Hard Rock for a relatively short time, Lamista represents the casino very well, and made my brief visit a delight. If you’re in the Tampa area, drop by and spend a few minutes getting to know her and the rest of the wonderfully friendly staff at the casino.