How to Become a Professional Casino Dealer
Have you ever been sitting in a casino and wondered just how it goes for the dealers and croupiers? Would the grass be greener on the other side of the roulette wheel and blackjack table? You would certainly get to enjoy the glitz and glamour of the casino lifestyle and surround yourself with the buzz and anticipation that only being in a games house can supply. And, perhaps most pertinently, you can do so without feeling that crushing sensation should you leave the premises with a hole in your wallet, as unfortunately is an occasional side effect for punters. So what is life really like for a professional dealer or croupier and how do you go about becoming one?
Earn Your Stripes
Remarkably, working on the frontline of a casino is a career like most others, in the sense that there's a clear lineage of starting at the bottom and working your way up to the top. Like many vocations, the professional croupier often starts life in further education and training – either on the job or at one of a number of ‘gaming academies’ that have been established in the UK and beyond.
As far as qualifications are concerned, few employers will ask that specific programmes of learning are completed, e.g. an NVQ in Gaming, but a solid grade in GCSE level or higher maths is recommended. Via training courses, aspiring croupiers learn all they need to know about managing their station, from dealing the cards and counting chips to understanding the legal framework for gambling in a particular city or state.
There are tangible factors that would-be dealers can work on as well as interpersonal skills, such as clear communication and the ability to handle occasionally rowdy customers. The need to ‘scrub up well’ is essential in most casinos too. And really that’s about it as far as a job specification goes. Sound numeracy and communication skills are essential, as are a warm personality and a well-groomed appearance.
Plenty of Advantages
Like all jobs, being a professional croupier comes with its advantages and drawbacks. And you will certainly have to get used to working some pretty family unfriendly hours if your mission is to land a role in a working, brick-and-mortar establishment (live dealers online is a whole other story). Even so, if you can get your head around the unsociable hours then there are plenty of positives in becoming a casino dealer:
Did you know that croupiers can earn up to £500 per month in tips, based on their location? On top of a basic salary that could prove to be a very handsome boost to your finances. How can you ensure your tip jar remains full to the brim? A winning smile helps, as does a bubbly personality – for many punters, the casino is a social environment as well as a place to get down to some serious money-making. And if you can deal out plenty of winning hands and spins of the roulette wheel then that'll do your chances of landing a nice tip no harm at all!
Once you've become a fully trained croupier with experience under your belt, the world is your oyster. You can go and play your trade anywhere on the planet, from the bright lights of Las Vegas to the stunning Monte Carlo. More and more casinos are being built in developing countries too – places like Macau are currently thriving and so you can combine your croupier work with sightseeing in some of the hottest tourist destinations on the planet.
For those readers in the UK, take a stroll down your local high street. Which are the most common shops that you see? You’ll notice plenty of charity shops, lots of discount stores, a myriad of chain coffee shops and, standing out like beacons, will be the neon signage of betting shops galore. Gambling is a bulletproof industry that's not affected by economic conditions – indeed, in hard times bookmakers actually make more money as hard up try to win a few quid. It’s why bookmakers and casinos tend to thrive in particularly challenging economic environments. So a job is almost always a sure thing.
The Good Feeling
As well as the tangible benefits of becoming a professional dealer, there are also the good vibes that go along with the job. Whether it’s a party of casual gamblers looking to have a good time, right through to the professional players for whom life revolves around the turn of the card, the power, essentially, is in your hands.
Professional dealers are typically night owls, with most working evening or even night shifts to reflect the busiest hours of a casino’s operation. It is, to some extent, a job of high pressure: hundreds of players will sit at your table each day, and they will all expect the same high standards as those that have been before them. That means you will need to retain your focus and concentration from the start to the very end of your shift.
Demands of the Job
You might not think it, but being a professional dealer is also a demanding occupation – both physically and mentally. As mentioned above, you will need to be able to concentrate for hours on end and you will be on your feet for the vast majority of that time as well, dealing cards, spinning the roulette wheel and raking in chips. It can be exhausting when you are first starting out.
And the customers… well, what can be said about those. Without them a casino would not function, but there will be occasions when you would like nothing more than for certain punters to disappear. Some people are nice, some people aren’t - that’s an unfortunate fact of life. If your heart's in it, you can make a great living from being a card dealer. Sure, there are downsides, but no job is without them. Sharing in the exhilaration of being part of a big win is certainly enough to make anybody’s day!
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