How to be a Blackjack dealer?
During my 10 years of work as a part-time casino dealer, I earned enough money to pay off my first mortgage.
I worked at the Leelanau Sands Casino in northern Michigan, dealing blackjack, roulette and some forms of poker. The $14 per hour I earned between my base rate and tips in 1993 is the equivalent of $23 per hour today, according to the BLS inflation calculator.
Most of my co-workers loved their jobs. Many are still working there (or at a nearbycasino with the same owners) 17 years after I quit, and they tell me that they now make over $20 per hour, plus have decent benefits. Some have even moved to management positions.
Could You Be a Casino Dealer?
Do you have what it takes? It helps to be friendly, but you also have to be able to politely handle rude customers. People get upset when they lose, and will sometimes even accuse you of plotting against them (sadly, I’m not kidding).
Fortunately, when they’re winning, they’ll often act like your best friends and share their good luck with you in the form of tips.
Is your body ready for work as a dealer? You’ll spend most of each shift standing, although poker dealers typically get to sit. You also need at least a normal amount of manual dexterity to deal blackjack, poker, roulette or craps. And you’ll need to be willing to work in a smoky environment, although that’s becoming less important with better air filtering systems, fewer smokers and more regulation.
Naturally, you’ll have to be able to count to 21 to be a blackjack dealer. Most people don’t have too much trouble quickly adding up the value of the cards as they’re dealt out, and players will certainly correct you when an error is not in their favor. However, if you make too many mistakes, you’ll likely lose your job.
Other dealing positions often require more skill. Poker, for example, involves keeping track of many players and several rounds of betting. Craps is such a fast-paced, high-energy (and high-stress) game that I quit before I even finished training.
Why Become a Casino Dealer?
Here are some of the reasons people choose to work in a casino:
- Minimal training required
- No degree necessary
- Decent pay
- Good benefits
- Fun environment
- Plenty of places to work all over the world
That last one is nice if you are uncertain about where you’ll end up later in life, or want to work while you travel. The American Casino Guide lists casinos in 42 states, and there are 111 in Canada, according to the listings in the World Casino Directory.
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