Updated: Nov 9
Geoff from Strip Walking has started training to become a casino dealer. He will be documenting this in a series of posts describing the process.
I've had many jobs during my life, and like most people, these jobs were simply a way to earn money, they weren't particularly anything I really enjoyed doing. But today, for the first time in a very long time, I was genuinely excited about starting a new job. I am training to become a table dealer at a local casino!
As with almost everything in life that is new, I have a variety of emotions. I am nervous as to what I have gotten myself into. I am definitely excited, as I love the atmosphere and excitement that I feel when I am in a casino environment. I also am a person that loves to learn new things, and having played table games in a casino for quite awhile, I'm very intrigued to learn the games from the other side.
Of course, there is a TON of information to learn and I felt like I was drinking from a fire hydrant a bit. The best way I can describe my first night is to compare it to another profession I have a little experience with, a referee/umpire in a sporting situation. Many people have watched a baseball, football, or basketball game and may feel like they know a lot about the sport. However, you find quickly that you don’t know shit about the sport in general when you have to know every rule and enforce them with just seconds to process what just happened. I have been in a lot of casinos and played many different table games. However, there is so much that a dealer does that I have never paid attention to.
Training Night # 1
My training started by simply learning how to shuffle cards by hand. I’ve played cards and shuffled them my whole life, but never like you would do in a casino. There is a definite technique to it, and one that I will have to practice often to become proficient at it. You of course are going to ask: “Casinos have automatic shufflers so why would you do that?”. I thought the same thing. But as my trainer explained, what happens when an automatic shuffler goes down? You can’t just stop the game. You have to know what to do in that situation and the proper procedure to have a well shuffled shoe. Next, we worked on the proper way to cut out chips (preparing the chips when a player buys in), as well as the method that the casino wants dealers to use to pay out bets. It is definitely not just throwing out chips.
My goal is to work at the craps table, but all dealers start with blackjack. Dealers learn multiple games for obvious reasons... scheduling, filling in for other dealers, and sometimes their game of choice simply isn't open.
We started going over the basics of dealing blackjack, and again, there is a lot more than meets the eye. Things we went over include:
Hand placement on the shoe
Which hand should be used depending on where the player is sitting
The sequence of dealing cards and paying bets
Cleaning up the played hands (there is a certain order and a reason why it is that way)
Handling certain questions from players
I finished up my first night just conversing with my trainer and another dealer. In hindsight, they may have been scoping me out to see how personable I might be. My trainer finished up by sending some homework with me for next time. It was a super quick evening, but I can’t wait to get back and learn more!
I'll be documenting the process of becoming a casino dealer through these online "diaries". Be sure to check back for more entries in the near future.