Elayne Teitelbaum is the poker host at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. I was introduced to her by Aria’s Director of Poker Operations, Sean McCormack. Completely unfamiliar with the nature of such a position, there were a number of questions I had to ask her. After having spoken with her for a few minutes, it became clear to me that Elayne’s behind-the-scenes role is one that clearly deserves to be spotlighted so that the greater poker community can better the types of services she is only too happy to supply and assist with.
Thus, with thanks to Elayne for agreeing to be interviewed, I hope you enjoy learning more about her and the important role she plays in helping to make one of the busiest poker rooms in Las Vegas run smoothly.
So, what exactly does a poker host do?
I do reservations for the poker players. We offer a poker room rate, based on playing a certain amount of hours, so I’ll handle reservations. I basically just take care of whatever the player really needs, if I can, or refer them when they have questions about the tournaments. They see my name on our website, they contact me and ask me questions, and I’ll find the answers for them if I don’t know off by heart. Then I do all the office work as well.
I also take care of inviting all the high rollers who are at our big events. Not the cash games, but our regularly running $25K high roller tournaments. So, I will text them and inform them. We usually have them once a month, so I’ll message them about three days beforehand to remind them about it. Sometimes I’ll contact them via email as well, especially if they have specific questions.
So this service is provided exclusively for high roller players who buy-in for big events; all the VIP players?
No, rather to all players. All poker players can get our poker room rate, most of the time. Unless it’s a blackout period, or we’ve sold out, of course, but that would apply even to the VIP players. If I’m sold out, I’m sold out.
How long have you been a poker host here at Aria?
Well, I’m a Day 1 employee here, so I’ve been here since December 2009. I started as a floor supervisor. There was a different poker host, and I was interested in that position. So, I started filling in for her on the weekends when she wasn’t here, or if she was on vacation.
So, I was doing it part of the time, and then I switched over to doing it full-time together with her. Now I’m the only poker host, and I come from a poker background. I used to be a dealer, too, and I worked in eight different places.
What do you love about poker? What brought you into the game in the first place?
I used to play, when I lived in LA. We had a home game. I miss those home games; people don’t have those home games in Las Vegas. Like, cheap money; quarter, fifty cents. My money is too scared actually play poker. So, I haven’t played it in years. They say don’t play with scared money, and mine is terrified.
What do you like most about this job?
I like the variety. When I was a floorperson and then I was filling in in the back, I liked that. When I was a dealer, and then I was a dual rate, so I worked the floor. I was at Caesars, I was a part-time shift manager, part-time tournament director, part-time floorperson. I like variety. And now with this poker hosting job, I never know really what I’m going to be doing. I just pick up whatever there isn’t somebody specific to do, or they’re not there to do it. If they need something, like for example now we’ve opened a poker studio. They’re like “we need four tablecloths,” so I run over to our banquets division and get their tablecloths.
I have not been a floor supervisor in over a year. This sitdown job is making me soft! #oymyfeethurt
— Elayne S. Teitelbaum (@ElayneTheHost) July 4, 2016
So is this like a “24-hour-a -day” type of a job?
No. Now, it is possible I’ll get texts from high rollers at any time. They’re the only ones who have my private number, though. I don’t give it out; it’s my personal phone. But no, it can be, but I try not to. There’s always somebody here who can help a poker player who needs it. Or, sometimes one of my colleagues will text me if they need a hand or aren’t sure what to do and I’ll instruct them.
Back to our “normal” tournament schedule @AriaPoker.
— Elayne S. Teitelbaum (@ElayneTheHost) July 18, 2017
If someone wanted to get into a role like this and become a poker host, what sort of training would they have to do? Who would they have to contact?
There is no training for it. Also, this isn’t a job you’re going to find in very many places. I’ve worked in eight poker rooms, and this is the only one that’s had this position.
So why do you think the Aria has a host? What’s needed about a poker host here, specifically at Aria?
Well, the fact that we handle the reservations for the poker players, whereas in other places, they don’t do that. So we’re providing more services. Plus, with the high rollers, and the new PokerGO studio, they need someone on hand to handle a lot of that stuff, too.
We’re the busiest poker room in Vegas, and there’s a lot of jobs that need to be done. There’s probably similar positions – for example Bellagio has office coordinators who do reservations, but I don’t think they deal with the high roller kind of stuff.
Any final message that you want to give to the poker players out there who may be visiting Aria for the first time?
Call me or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! I’m here and happy to help you guys out!