7. Casino Dealer

A Misunderstood BPB Job

Taking a look at the job of casino dealer, you might wonder why it is on this list.  You do stand in one place and do repetitive motions over and over.  It is loud and smokey.  It is lower skill.  The shifts can change at will.  That is the bad.  It is not all bad, there is some good.

What is to Like?

Life is much what you make of it.  A few things can be made of a casino dealer career.  The best part is training is minimal.  A few weeks training and you meet the requirements.   Part of your interview process is what they call an “audition.”  This is to make sure you know the game and all of its local procedure.  Every last move a dealer makes is part of a process made because at some point someone got caught stealing, so procedure was made to stop such theft.  It is not hard, but it will take 80-200 hours of training and a bit of practice on your own time.

Training is usually at a dedicated dealer school (if you are in Nevada) or a local community college as part of a program with the casinos.  Sometimes the casinos will offer a free school if they need people in larger numbers.  An intro class will last 20-40 hours and teach the basics of chip handling and common procedures.  Then you take a class on the game you will learn first, usually Blackjack.  Doing well will require practice at home, same homework as any school.  Check before you start, but any reputable school will get you at least one audition.  When you pass, the casino will hire you, either full time or as an “extra” until you work your way to the regular rotation.

Now, here is the good part.  After you get say a year under your belt, you can take your skills anywhere they have casinos!  Since the late 1990s, casinos have started popping up all over the USA.  The list is endless and growing.  Nothing is a guarantee the new house will hire you, but to have a marketable skill that you can get with just weeks training is a good thing.

Then There is the People

There are low level jobs filled with slugs and there are low level jobs filled with lets call it sharp misfits.  One difference is the slugs gravitate to jobs that pay near minimum wage with little hope of bettering their lot in life.  Misfits are more intelligent, gravitate to jobs that pay better if uneven, and have other things going for them.  The job you meet them on may be either a way-station while their regular field is in a down time, or it may be paired with various hustles, smoothing out humps and bumps.  The more of these kind of people you are around, the better your mind gets and the better you do.

An Entry Plan

The term “break-in” is used in many businesses, but casinos really use it.  You need a break-in job.  Forget about anything other than Dealer, since any job you want to grow into starts there.  Casino games break to three categories:

  1.  Blackjack, Roulette, and Craps
  2. “Asian Games” which are mostly Baccarat and Pai Gow, though the list is growing.
  3. Carnival Games.  These are usually poker based or “wheels.”

The “carnival games” are almost always licensed, with the casino paying a fee to the inventor.  They come and go as play dictates.  Since there might be just a few of each game there are few dealers that specialize in any one.  The carnival games are not where you should start, in some cases schools will not even teach them.  Asian games are growing but growing in narrow areas.  Las Vegas keeps adding them to meet demand, but other places not near as much.  They are as well not the place to start.

You need to start on Blackjack or Roulette.  Craps is harder to start on, and unless you know how to play then avoid starting there.  It is just so much more complicated to learn.  Believe me, I tried this!  I’d learn Blackjack first.  As time goes on, learn more games.

Skip the Poker Room

I love and play poker.  Don’t deal in the poker room.  Poker Rooms are a casino within a casino.  The dealers do not mix with other dealers, they do not get noticed by higher casino management.  You know just one game, limiting your marketability.  Play poker, don’t deal it.

Building the BPM Lifestyle as a Dealer

The thing here is do not make it a grind.  Consider volunteering for the graveyard shift, tips are usually divided on a 24 hour basis anyhow.  Your days are now free!  Chances are you will get “swing shift” being 4-12.  Days will be next to impossible to get, and you will work every weekend.  Put your life on an alternate plan.

Swing shift workers who are on it are the kind of people who have half a dozen side hustles and deals all in various stages of development.  You can see your dentist, doctor, and realtor before work!  I did not prefer swing shift as it cut into my evening side hustle, but I loved the doctor or realtor asking what time was good and picking!

In Summary

Casino dealing is a mixed bag.  It is not the highest pay, but few other places can you have no training and make in the $40s right out of the gate.  Few other places can you just move and try out in a new city easily.  Should you stick with it, Strip dealers touch six figures, though this is a hard gig to get, always involving knowing a guy who knows a guy plus the occasional payoff to get the concession.  OTOH, casinos have a huge number of differing jobs, break in and you get the inside track on many.