Are you ready to make some money at the card tables, rather than losing it? The best way is to change sides and become a casino dealer. A dealer, or a croupier, is someone who is in charge of handling the bets and payouts at a casino game. This can cover everything from blackjack to poker to roulette and craps.
Education for a Casino Dealer
The good news is that being a dealer does not require a college degree. You can get the training you need in a few weeks at a dealer school. In a few instances, you may be able to gain training from the casino itself.
Finishing a course at a dealer school will take between eight to twelve weeks, and will enable you to pass a dealer audition to be hired at a casino. There are a few qualifications required to be admitted to a school. Generally, you need to be 18 or over, have a high school diploma or GED, and have no felonies at all and no misdemeanors related to theft.
When choosing a casino school, visit the schools you are considering to make sure you feel comfortable there. The teachers should be full-time dealers or have extensive experience working the games. Make sure that the same teacher doesn't teach every game. There should be experts for each type. Also look for a school that provides lots of hands-on interactive training, as well as job search assistance. Many schools help students set up auditions and have casino managers visit the school to review students and find potential employees.
Some of the most well-known dealer schools include:
- The Casino Institute, with campuses in San Diego and El Cajon, CA, offers training in table games, roulette, poker, and craps
- Casino Career Institute is located in Florida and offers training in dice, roulette, blackjack, baccarat, Pai Gow, and poker. The programs include game protection, detection of counterfeit money, and detecting common cheating methods.
- Casino Gaming School of Nevada can be a great place to learn if you want to work in Las Vegas. They offer training in blackjack, craps, roulette, Pai Gow poker, poker, and baccarat.
While it is best to attend a formal training program if you want to work as a casino dealer, on-the-job-training may be available in a few circumstances. It is most common when a casino is new and about to open. Occasionally a gaming company that owns several casinos may offer on-the-job training with placement at one of their locations afterward. As you search for jobs, you'll be able to see if the employers you are interested in offer any training.
Requirements to Become a Dealer
Generally, to become a dealer, you must:
- Pass a dealer audition or accept on-the-job training (if available)
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Not have any felonies
- Not have any misdemeanors related to theft
- Pass a pre-employment drug test
- Being able to obtain and maintain a gaming license - requirements vary by state
- Be extremely flexible with scheduled hours, with the ability to work nights, weekends, and holidays
To ace a casino interview, you'll be expected to do an audition to demonstrate your skills and an interview where you can showcase your personality. Dress up as you would for any professional interview. Don't gamble while you're in the casino for an interview, even on the way out!
Essential Skills for Dealing at Casinos
Once you have acquired technical gaming skills, such as game rules and how to riffle cards, through training and meet the basic requirements to work at a casino, you'll still need to make sure you have the specific personal and relational skills required to succeed in this type of job.
Some of the interpersonal, emotional, and physical skills casinos look for include:
- Communication skills: Being able to clearly communicate with both players and co-workers is essential to success in a casino. You'll have challenges that include new players who don't know the game, loud music, and folks drinking alcohol. When you can communicate clearly and patiently with everyone you encounter, you'll represent the casino well.
- Customer service skills: Dealers must be able to provide effective customer service, even in situations where customers are not having a positive experience. It stands to reason that someone who is losing money will be upset. If the individual has been drinking or thinks you are at fault, the situation can become heated. Some players will blame others at the table for costing them money with poor play. Handling these issues with cool-headedness and poise is essential.
- Analytical reasoning ability: Of course, you'll need to do math in your head quickly to determine winners and pay out the correct winnings. However, part of your job will also be to detect cheating, tricks, or unfair play. This requires a clear understanding of the game and how people might try to collude or scam you. Additionally, to move up in your career you'll need to learn the details of different games. While blackjack is fairly straightforward, poker is much more complex and craps is reserved for the best dealers.
- Outgoing personality: In order to thrive as a dealer, you will need to be personable and fun. The largest part of your pay is from tips, so if you don't enjoy people, this isn't the job for you. You have to be able to keep people engaged and having fun even when they are losing. Keeping people at your table and keeping your regulars coming back is vital to your success!
- Physical stamina: Dealing is a job done on your feet unless you are dealing poker. Because dealers don't typically work the same game 100 percent of the time, you'll need good physical endurance. You'll be standing, bending over the table, stretching for chips, and enduring a lot of second-hand smoke. You'll need to stay keen throughout your shift so that no false moves or cheating get past you.
You can make good money as a dealer, but it's a lot of work. You have to stay on top of a lot of details while maintaining a cheerful attitude. That can be challenging, depending on the people at your table!
Are You Ready to Deal?
Being a dealer may not pay much in base pay, but the tips often make up for it. According to Glassdoor, the national average salary is $37,258. The training for the job is short and inexpensive, so getting the education you need to succeed in this occupation is fairly easy. Dealing can be an excellent career path for those who love the gaming industry.