Las Vegas Dreams
Of the over 500 casino hosts in Las Vegas alone, few know how to dangle the casino candy, and bring in the highest of the high rollers, like Steve Cyr, president of H-Six and one of the world’s leading casino superhosts.In 1983, Cyr left small town Salina, Kansas, for the bright lights of Las Vegas to chase his new dream. He originally targeted to earn his hotel management degree from UNLV and go back to Kansas to run his family’s 75-unit Howard Johnson’s motel.
But after graduation, Cyr had the urge to get into the casino business. “I landed my first job as a sport book writer at the Barbary Coast for $52 a shift, plus tips. In 1990, I got on at the Hilton as a slot host making $22,000 a year. The Hilton became my home. I became their top casino host at just 27 years old. All the other casino hosts were in their 60s.”
So how did he do it? “Well, I was a telemarketing in college. I sold vitamins. I wasn’t afraid of using the phone. I wanted some leads from the Hilton. I asked for a list of Hilton players who hadn’t played in three years and lost over $10,000 in a lifetime and were from California. There were about 1,000 names and none of the older hosts were working them. It hit the phones, I called them. I introduced myself to them with our latest incentives. They were hooked and soon came back.”
Cyr creates his own hosting action. “Information is power. I was comping out over $20,000 a month for tips to limo drivers, waitresses, pilots, blackjacks dealers, anyone who could get me good leads on high rollers.”
Biggest high roller? “It took me about a year to land Larry Flynt. I sent him a fruit basket every Monday for six months, like Bud Fox in Wall Street. We offered him a great deal, the 15,000-square-foot Sky Villa, the largest in Vegas. I finally landed Larry and he is one of my biggest high rollers to this very day.
“The high rollers care about the deal, the appearance fees, discounts, the Super Bowl tickets, the shopping, they get it all, the megasuites, palazzos, mansions, villas, bungalows, the food, the booze, the service, they become the kings and queens of the casino. The biggest bet I ever saw was $245,000 in one roll of the dice. Biggest win or loss? $9 million. Biggest tip I ever saw? $100,000, a single chip toke.
“I get hundreds of emails a month from people wanting to be a casino host. I would like to think I helped put casino hosting on the map and do for hosting what the movie ‘Cocktail’ did for bartenders, what Wall Street did for stockbrokers and what ‘Jerry Maguire’ did for sports agents.”
Currently, Cyr has teamed up to casino host exclusively in Nevada with Tim Poster and Tom Breitling, the exciting owners of the Golden Nugget. Cyr also works closely with his beautiful wife Tanya, partners in H-Six, High Roller Hosts, who independently host for the Barona Casino in San Diego, Atlantis and Crystal Palace in the Bahamas and Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Mexican Riviera.
After years of people asking, “When is your new book coming out?” Steve Cyr has finally delivered his closely- guarded, superhost secrets with his outstanding new book, “Whale Hunt in the Desert,” published by Las Vegas’ own Huntington Press.
Might a blockbuster movie be in the cards? And, who might make a better Steve Cyr? Ben Affleck, Matt Damon or Leonardo DiCaprio? Only time will tell how these exciting cards unfold.