How to become a casino dealer
If becoming a dealer appeals to you, this guide will teach you everything you need to know to get up to speed on what it takes to become a casino dealer in 2023.
- Becoming a casino dealer
- Is being a casino dealer for you?
- Other casino job opportunities
- Pitt boss versus dealer - what's the difference?
- Types of dealers
- How to become a card dealer in 5 steps
- What you need to become a casino dealer
- How to practice dealing
- Applying for jobs & nailing interviews
- Getting into the business
- Casino schools explained
- On-the-job dealer training
- Canadian casinos that train dealers
- Casino dealer job requirements
- What are the hours like?
- Dealer appearance: looking the part
- The benefits of being a casino dealer
- The ugly truth: the unglamorous side of casino life
- Kick-Starting your casino career
Becoming a casino dealer
The only way to become a casino dealer is to learn the tricks of the trade, get a casino dealer license, and apply for a role at your nearest land-based casino. Training courses and workshops are a great way to gain a deeper insight into the industry, but top tips from expert dealers around the world is bound to help too.
In this video, our casino insider and former casino dealer gives her top tips on how to successfully become a casino dealer.
Is being a casino dealer for you?
Working in a casino resort might sound like a glamorous occupation, but being on the other side of the table is a world away from the experience you'll have when you visit as a player.
You're there to do a job. If you think a dealer's life is all fun, games, and $100 dollar tips, think again. To even be considered as an applicant you'll need to possess a few important skills and attributes first.
Remember, the dealer is in charge of their own table. This includes calling bets, announcing results, and taking a bit of ball-busting from the occasional drunk punter. It's not 100% fun all of the time.
Skills and abilities needed
A good head for doing math
The ability to stay calm under pressure
Great hand-eye coordination
A professional yet friendly personality
A clean and well-groomed appearance
The flexibility to work unsociable hours
Other casino job opportunities
Of course, being a dealer isn't the only line of work the gaming industry offers. So, if you don't think you're cut out for the life, there are still tons of ways you can find employment at a local casino resort near you.
Resorts, in particular, look for experienced bartenders with knowledge of current drink trends and the ability to make cocktails quickly.
Getting drinks out to the casino floor is a servers main purpose, as well as relaying orders to the bar staff and kitchen.
Casino cashiers are responsible for converting players' money into chips and cash out requests. Experience handling transactions is a bonus in this role.
The casino manager oversees operations. This is an advanced role, which requires previous experience in a similar position, as well as hospitality training.
Security personnel keep the casino safe and intervene if any trouble breaks out. On-the-item training is provided, but previous experience is beneficial.
Restaurants are a big draw for casino resorts so having enough chefs on staff to keep orders coming out on time is vital. You'll need the proper training and certifications to gain employment as a casino chef.
Pitt boss versus dealer - what's the difference?
Another key role at any land casino is the pit boss, also sometimes known as the pit manager. Rather than share the same responsibilities as a dealer, the pit boss sits slightly higher on the gaming industry rung. They're in charge of making sure the pit action plays out smoothly.
Pit bosses are usually internally recruited from within a casino. So it's not uncommon for dealers with years of experience to advance into this role. You need to know the ins and outs of every game the casino offers.
Conflict resolution experience will also go a long way as you'll have to straighten out any problems that crop up in the pit, including instances of cheating.
Responsible for the action at a specific table in the pit
Rotate positions throughout a shift
Direct dealings with customers making bets at their table
Sits two rungs above dealers on the casino ladder
Little interaction with the floor staff, unless a major issue needs resolving
Directly manage casino floormen, who in turn oversee operations at three dealer's tables (any issues the floormen can't fix are escalated to the pit boss)
Types of dealers
Dealers run each table in the casino pit. Without them, there'd be no poker, roulette, craps or blackjack to play. But, different types of dealers also come with their own unique responsibilities. And what type of dealer you become depends on the game you look after. Here are a few examples:
Croupier (or roulette dealer)
Croupier is the name commonly given to the dealer who works the roulette table. It's the croupier's responsibility to spin the wheel, drop in the ball (in the opposite direction), and issue chips of different colours to each player. The croupier also announces the result, collects losing bets, and pays out winning players.
Card Game Dealer
If you work a card table at a casino you're responsible for keeping the action moving in games like poker, baccarat, and 21, otherwise known as blackjack. It's the dealer's job to shuffle and deal the cards. Making sure to dispense the right number, and present them face up or down according to individual game rules. Card table dealers also prompt each player to act when it's their turn.
Craps tables are unique in a casino in that they're the only dice game in the pit. They also typically have more than one dealer overseeing the action. If you're working a craps table it's likely you'll do it in tandem with another dealer. The job of the craps dealer is to collect bets and payout wins to players. And each dealer will be responsible for looking after half of the table.
Live dealers don't actually work in a land-based casino. Instead, they're employed by online casinos and work out of a studio, in front of a camera that broadcasts over the Internet. For that reason, live dealers don't have any physical contact with players. But they can communicate with them verbally and everything they do and say is witnessed by the players taking part.
How to become a card dealer in 5 steps
Dealers and croupiers are the glue that holds land-based casinos together and becoming a card dealer doesn't take years of experience. So, how exactly do you build a career as a casino dealer? Well, to be honest, avenues into the industry vary, but there are five steps that seem to apply in most gambling jurisdictions. See our five-step guide on how to become a card dealer listed below.
Research the industry. Learn the ropes.
Qualify. Study at an accredited dealing school and earn a casino dealer license.
Practice makes perfect. Put your new skills to work and practice with friends.
Get a job dealing smaller table games in a casino first.
Develop your skills. Perfect your craft. Work your way up to the poker table.
While it's technically an entry-level role (with a casino worker salary to reflect it), some experience will put you at an advantage over the competition so it's worth investing your time in perfecting your skill.
What you need to become a casino dealer
Most dealers will be given extensive, on-the-job training in-house. However, if you've already worked in a casino environment (even in another role) this could help your chance of securing a job. Typically, casinos are looking for the following attributes in any dealer hire:
Basic high school math
Dealers will need to be able to add, subtract, and multiply in their heads quickly and accurately to calculate payouts. So pit bosses will be looking for basic math ability in all dealer candidates.
Licence from State Gaming Board
Casino dealers by law have to be licenced in order to work. To apply, you'll need photo I.D. as well as proof of your residential status. Although this might not be required at the interview stage, having a licence does mean you can start work straight away.
Good communication skills
Being able to communicate clearly and confidentially is a vital part of a dealer's role. Casinos will get a sense of this at the interview, but they typically make you perform an audition, so they can see how good you are at the table.
Perfect colour vision
Dealers have to be able to differentiate colours clearly, something that, unfortunately, those that suffer from colour blindness are unable to do. If you don't declare colour blindness at the application stage, it won't take long for a pit boss to spot you during your live audition.
Criminal records check
Dealers are in charge of handling hundreds of transactions at their table, so they need to be trustworthy around money. Every dealer will undergo a Criminal Records background check as standard. So if you have a misdemeanour on record, be prepared for your employer to find out about it.
How to practice dealing
Casinos will be looking for flawless dealing when they put your skills to the test. So it pays to practice before you put yourself forward for a role.
Even one mistake can cost you the interview, so don't turn up unprepared. Here are some good ways to gain hands-on dealer experience:
Follow YouTube tutorials
YouTube is a great online resource for learning how to do just about anything - including dealing cards. If you have a computer, tablet, or mobile, visit YouTube for tons of short and easy-to-follow video guides that teach you how to deal perfectly.
Read "How To" books
If reading's more your thing, and you find YouTube demonstrations too fast to follow, buy a book that teaches you how to deal instead. E-bookstores like Amazon have a wide range of reference books about becoming a casino dealer. From dummies guides (fit for total first-timers) to pro manuals like The Professional Poker Dealer's Handbook.
Role play with friends
Getting your buddies together for a home poker or blackjack game is a great way to test out your skills as a dealer. Assemble a group who regularly plays in land casinos and are familiar with dealer behaviour and etiquette. That way you can practice under real conditions with players who know exactly what to expect.
Find a mentor
If you really want to learn from the masters, try tracking down a mentor or coach who can spend time with you in the real world and get you up to speed. Working with an actual casino dealer is a great way to learn to deal to a professional standard. You might have to pay for lessons, but if it lands you that dream dealer job, it'll be worth it.
Like anything worth doing well, learning to be a professional dealer takes time and practice. For some people, it might come naturally while others can take a little longer to pick up the essentials. The key is not to give up. Find a learning style that suits you, and stick with it. The payoffs will come when you collect your first casino dealer salary.
Applying for jobs & nailing interviews
The key thing to do (if you want work as a dealer) is to apply for an opening. Jobs do get advertised on online search engine sites (common Canadian ones include Indeed, Monster, and Canada Jobs), but you could also approach a casino directly and ask about dealer vacancies.
When applying for a job remember to include the following things:
Even if you didn't gain any qualifications past high school, you can still apply and be considered for a dealer job. Math is the most important subject in becoming a dealer, followed by English. So be sure to highlight these or any related, qualifications on your application.
Dealers do more than simply shuffle cards. Their role extends to customer service and hospitality, as well as handling transactions. Any experience you can demonstrate in these areas will strengthen your application, so if you have relevant casino experience be sure to include this too.
Including your address is a formal part of any job application but as we mentioned, casinos (resorts in particular) like their employees to have good local area knowledge. Being able to demonstrate that you're familiar with the area is another big boost to your application.
Having the right personality for the role is something casino pit bosses value, almost more than experience or skill. Dealers have close contact with casino clientele and are essentially the face of the casino itself. So having a brilliant personality (which you can demonstrate on your application through your interests and achievements) should help score you an interview. Particularly if those interests extend to casino gaming and/or taking part in player tournaments too.
When you get invited for an interview, be sure to have practiced your counting skills, as well as your dealing ability. It's likely you'll be given an on the spot math test, as well as a live audition. So be prepared to wow your way to a job offer by showing off your skills.
Getting into the business
While the internet is saturated with online casinos, on land the story is a little different. Most provinces have just a handful of gaming centres or casino resorts.
Although these typically feature hundreds of real money slots, tables (which take up more space) aren't as well represented. Meaning stiff competition for dealer openings.
So, how can you best get your foot in the door and make sure you land that lucrative dealer job ahead of the competition? One way to show a casino how serious you are is by attending casino school.
Casino schools explained
Casino schools are special academic training institutions in the gaming industry that teach students the skills and knowledge they need to gain employment in the casino sector. If you're hell-bent on becoming a dealer but haven't had success getting a position without formal training, a casino school is a great option to consider.
Specific dealer courses, which help train you in everything you need to know to operate on a casino floor, are perfect if becoming a dealer is your end goal. You'll learn the full scope of popular card games, putting you in better stead to get a job after the course. Plus, your training is supplemented with math tuition, perfect if you struggle with this side of a dealer's duties.
Recommended casino schools in Canada
Some recommended Canadian Casino Schools include:
1. Canadian Casino Gaming College
Based in Ontario, CA, the Canadian Casino Gaming College offers comprehensive dealer training courses. Designed in conjunction with qualified industry experts, all of who previously worked as dealers within Canada's casino industry.
2. Winning Touch Casino School
Ontario-based, Winning Touch is a training academy by celebrated professional casino dealer Robby Robertson. Training takes place at the Niagara Falls Casino and is open to aspiring dealers of all (legal) gambling ages. Course certificates include blackjack, roulette, and craps.
Of course, with any casino school you apply to, it's important to do your research first to ensure you know exactly what to expect.
Read reviews and reach out to past students to find out about their experiences, particularly those that have graduated already. If they've managed to find a dealer job as a consequence of their casino school training you know you're onto a winner.
On-the-job dealer training
Some casinos offer on-the-job training as part of their induction package for new dealers. Meaning you'd be taught the ropes, after formally accepting a job offer and starting work. One obvious benefit of in-house training is you get paid to do it. So you'll save on the cost of expensive course fees. Another perk of learning on the job is that you get trained at the tables you'll actually be working. So, it's easier to get up to speed and excel than when you go it alone.
Naturally, with so many benefits attached, on-the-job dealer training positions are coveted in Canada and some of the most competitive to land. So if you're trying to get through based on numeracy and personality alone, you'd better be sure you smash it in those two areas.
Canadian casinos that train dealers
There are over 100 casinos located on land in Canada alone, not including the ones just south of the border in the U.S. So if Toronto and Montreal are outside your jurisdiction, try approaching local casinos in your catchment to inquire about on-the-job training. Not all vacant positions are advertised, so you never know, you might end up in the right place at exactly the right time.
1. Casino de Montreal
This Canadian casino giant, part of the Loto Quebec group of government-run casinos, offers work-based benefits that extend to on-the-job training in its dedicated training suite.
2. Great Blue Heron Casino
Located just outside Toronto, Great Blue Heron employs over 1000 staff and in 2017 was named one of Greater Toronto's top 100 companies to work for. They provide on-the-job dealer training as well as education reimbursement.
Casino dealer job requirements
Before you eagerly approach your local casino asking about jobs, make sure you know exactly what you're getting into. Being a dealer carries a ton of responsibility. You need to be reliable, dependable, flexible, and, above all else, pleasant (even in the face of extreme rudeness). Plus a casino dealer's salary is typically minimum wage too. In this section, we'll get down to the everyday nitty-gritty that's part of a dealer's daily grind.
On average a dealer can expect around $5 an hour in tips from each player at their table. So, you can see how quickly this can impact your paycheck.
On pot wins over $100, it's customary for the player to tip the dealer 1-5%. However, this all depends on how generous the player is feeling.
In tourneys dealers usually benefit from a percentage of the prize pool, on top of player tips that can be anything up to 10-15% of a player's winnings.
What are the hours like?
Well, do you want the good news or the bad news? The good news is there's a ton of flexibility with the hours you can work as a casino dealer or croupier. Casinos in Canada open late hours (some 24/7) so there are options to work day and evening shifts.
The bad news is that some of the shifts you'll be expected to work are at pretty unsociable times, i.e. when most people in Canada are asleep. And unless you can find someone willing to switch, you'll probably have to work a few shifts at hours you might not like - including weekends. But casinos are nocturnal beasts, and at least if you work when it's busy you stand to make more in tips.
Dealer appearance: looking the part
If you're not ok with wearing a uniform to work then being a dealer probably isn't going to suit you. Casino employees, including dealers, will automatically be assigned a uniform and it's your job to make sure you turn up to work on time and ready to hit the floor. Here's what else will be expected of you appearance-wise if you snare a dealer job:
Long hair should be tied back away from the face.
Your uniform should be clean and wrinkle-free.
Male employees should be freshly shaven.
No jewellery (except wedding rings) should be worn.
Casinos like their employees to look well-groomed and professional at all times, so excessive piercings and tattoos (that can't be hidden under clothing) might not make the grade. Dealers, like all casino employees, are expected to take pride in their appearance and show up for shifts looking smart.
The benefits of being a casino dealer
Of course, the upside of being a dealer is the benefits the job brings, not to mention the security. As well as being on a rolling rota for steady shifts, you can rest assured your job won't be going anywhere. Land-based casino gaming is one of the most profitable income streams in Canada, with employment opportunities only set to rise in the coming years. Although a casino worker's salary doesn't seem like much on paper, add on those hourly tips, and your take-home pay is looking a whole lot better.
Here's what else you can enjoy about being a casino dealer in Canada:
Forget the 9-5! Working in a casino environment means you have unparalleled flexibility and freedom when it comes to your shift pattern. So if you have things to get done during the daytime you can fit them in easily around your work schedule.
Dealers can make up to 30% more on top just in player tips while they're on shift. Giving that annual income a very good boost.
Most casino resorts have great restaurants attached for players to eat between placing bets. But another on-the-job benefit for dealers is the chance to tuck into meals for free, meaning you'll never go hungry at work again.
Casino employees, including dealers, can look forward to a great work-based package that not only includes healthcare but also paid leave from the job too. So you can whisk yourself away for a vacation knowing you're still making money off the clock.
These are just a handful of the fantastic benefits casino dealers can look forward to in Canada, and of course, every job is different too. So the benefits you see here are just the start. Plus, you get to meet and mingle with a wide range of people, from clientele to your wider casino family.
The ugly truth: the unglamorous side of casino life
Just when you thought it couldn't get any better we had to come along with a big reality check and burst your bubble. Look, we don't want to be too down on being a dealer. It really is a fun, exciting, and lucrative career. But, no job is 100% perfect all of the time.
So, in the interests of full disclosure, here's what's not as glamorous about life as a casino dealer.
If you're the only one in your household who does shift work it can be a little frustrating at times. Especially if you're on a totally different schedule to your friends and family. Working at unsociable times is a big part of casino life. So if you can't hack weekend and graveyard shifts you probably aren't suited as a casino dealer.
Paycheck propped up by tips
Whether you work in Las Vegas, London, or Ontario, a casino dealer salary won't set your world alight. In fact, tips make a huge difference to your take home. So even on a Las Vegas dealer salary, you'll have to bust your ass every shift if you want to enjoy a better monthly paycheck.
Drunk or rude players
While some savvy gamblers know better than to hit the bottle while betting, others visit land-based casinos for the social side. Unfortunately, alcohol consumption while losing money makes some people pretty unfriendly. And it's the dealer's job to keep a smile on their face, even when they're being treated badly.
Lack of variety
Some casinos will train their dealers across a wide range of games, and frequently rotate roles over a shift. But sooner or later, working as a dealer begins to feel a little like Groundhog Day. Same games, same music, same people, same environment. If you're not good with routine and get bored easily, a dealer's life might not offer the excitement you need.
At the end of the day whether you're cut out for the job boils down to the type of person you are. It takes stamina, staying power, and a certain kind of resilience that not everyone possesses. Consider these downsides to the job seriously, and if any of them are off-putting, you have to ask yourself if you really want to be a casino dealer after all.
Kick-Starting your casino career
If, after weighing up the pros and cons of becoming a casino dealer, you're still set on this line of work, good for you. Go get 'em, tiger. But, if you're on the fence and need a little more advice, here are some good resources to turn to.
Career Addict is a great hub for any kind of profession, acting as an exceptionally good one when it comes to those interested in becoming a casino dealer.
Veteran casino card dealer Robert Wagner reveals all about life in the pit in this memoir about the best, worst, and most amusing parts of working a land casino card table. A must-read for anyone considering a career path in casino dealing.