By Kayla Field, Professional Dealer and Experienced Player, Las Vegas
Were you thinking of becoming a dealer but don’t know what to expect or how to approach the dealing industry? Entering the casino with no experience or understanding can make your career choice seem difficult, and let’s face it, what employer wants to hire someone clueless about their work environment? This guide will give you an understanding and help you choose which dealing path you want to take, along with a few tips to ensure you start in the right direction.
What kind of dealer do you want to be? Are you the person that wants to play one on one with the gambler or do you want to just run the table and be the conductor of the game? Table game dealers get to play one on one and you are the direct person representing the house when taking in money or paying out the gambler. In poker dealing, you conduct the flow of the game by informing players about the current action and making sure they are paying attention to the game when it is their turn to act. The dealer is responsible for controlling the pot and awarding the correct winner as well as controlling table etiquette from players that can be unruly.
Learn the rules and structure of the games you want to deal. There are many options for learning games out there, you could attend dealer school (it could take four weeks to a year to learn depending on the school), you could learn on your own by using online tutorials or you can set up practice games with friends and family to get some hands on experience.
If you’ve chosen table games, you need to learn the basic games first, which are Blackjack and Carnival Games. Carnival Games are Baccarat, Pai Gow, Big 6 Wheel, Let it Ride, Three Card Poker, Four Card Poker, Blackjack Switch and many similar games. You must also learn either Craps or Roulette to add to your knowledge of games if you want a job quickly.
All casinos want to know you’re capable of learning one of those games because they’re the hardest to learn. Craps is a very complex game that can be the most fun in the casino because there can be endless betting options and as the dealer you need to compute math problems on the fly to properly pay the players. Roulette dealing is about remembering patterns for payouts as well as computing large numbers.
You will need to learn how to cut chips properly and have clean handwork when dealing with chips on the table, this is because the cameras (eye in the sky) need to clearly see whats happening on the table. You don’t want to be the dealer that is shuffling chips casually because the cameras may not understand what your doing and think you could be stealing from the casino. It’s important to have clean handwork when dealing with chips and the cards.
If you want to become a poker dealer you should learn the basic games, Texas Hold’em, Stud/Stud 8 (8 means high and low qualifying hands) , Omaha/Omaha 8 and Five Card Draw. You want to learn the different rules for Limit, No Limit and Pot Limit and how the flow of the game should be. Poker dealers should also learn tournament rules and understand how tournaments are played. Poker TDA (Tournament Directors Association) rules can be found online on several sites and are typically updated each year. These are always good rules to read regardless if you deal tournaments or not because many poker rooms base their House Rules off the TDA rules.
Every great dealer masters their customer service skills. Casinos want to hire the friendly people that feel the most inviting so that players will want to play at their tables. The casino industry is based on tipping in many casinos around the world but mostly in the United States. Good customer service skills will both get you a job and pay your bills. People like to reward good service so it would be in your best interest to learn the do’s and don’ts to customer service.
1.) Understanding the customer is important, you need to see their side and understand their needs. This will go a long way towards helping the customer and helping your company. We all want happy customers but sometimes that just doesn’t happen and learning to deal with those special ones can be tricky. Some people just don’t back down until they get what they want and it’s up to the company to allow the employee to know what is acceptable or not. This is the reason for House Rules and why dealers have pit bosses.
Pit bosses are the managers of the Table Games and in Poker the Floors are the managers of the poker room. These people make the tough decisions for the dealers and they are typically taken more seriously because of their manager status. This is important because dealers work on tips and sometimes they don’t want to make a decision that would effect how they make future tips by upsetting someone playing.
2.) If you are unsure of your rules or dealing with someone who is upset, always take advantage of the floors and have them make the decisions. The pit boss also has direct connection with the eye in the sky for reviewing what actually happened on the table or if wrong payouts have occurred. As a dealer, NEVER think you know it all. Let the managers do their jobs because trust me, players don’t want to deal with a “know it all” when they may or may not be right.
Treat everyone equally; as if they are all the best tippers even if they are not, because you never know when that one person is a millionaire that could throw you an awesome tip or when that person is your bosses boss just checking in on employees.
3.) Keep a positive demeanor even when it is tough. If you go into work with a negative mindset, telling yourself that you are not going to make any money today or the room is slow, or whatever it may be, you will have a negative impact on yourself and everyone around you. People go to casinos to have a good time and hopefully win some money. As the dealer you need to keep people happy by being kind and having an upbeat attitude. It makes your job a whole lot easier since most people will not yell at a happy person when they lose money and if they do you simply get a manager and resolve the issue right away.
Don’t let other’s negativity bring you down. Even if you’re on a table not making any tips there is always a chance that you could be tipped well so keep a positive mindset and do your job well. Some people also tip towards the end of their session so don’t let yourself turn into a nasty mean dealer because you didn’t make anything yet.
4.) Professionalism and appearance will go a long way in your dealing career. Acting professional at all times is important because people will take you seriously when you need to enforce rules. Players want to know they’re dealing with a professional staff that takes their jobs seriously. Casinos expect their dealers to have clean habits and hygiene when coming to work. People don’t want to sit next to the “smelly guy” so it is best to not be the “smelly guy” at work.
5.) When applying for a dealer position, always wear your black and whites, this means a black pair of pants or skirt and a clean white button up collared shirt with black shoes. This is the standard for dealers to wear when applying for a casino dealing job, if you show up in a purple shirt with blue jeans you will most likely not get the position. Smile at your interview or audition and don’t rush through anything, take a deep breath and relax.
These five tips are simple guidelines to keep in mind when beginning your dealing career. If you feel this is the job for you, then go out there and become a dealer. Just remember that when you decide what you want to deal, do your best to learn as much as possible from both sides of the table, give your best customer service to everyone equally, have a solid positive attitude, be clean and professional and it will go a long way towards the success of your career.