Are you curious about how to become a casino dealer? Do you want to know the main qualifications and job requirements to work at the top casinos in Pennsylvania or Las Vegas? The casino industry is set to grow in the US over the next few years. That means more job opportunities for trainee dealers right here in the United States.
Check out the TopPACasinos.com guide on how to become a casino dealer and see if you have what it takes.
What is a Casino Dealer?
A dealer, or croupier, is responsible for running a variety of table games on the casino floor. You might be dealing cards in a game of baccarat or blackjack or spinning the wheel in a game of roulette. You must be able to communicate with the public, handle the flow of the game and correctly calculate winnings for players.
While trainee dealers earn minimum wage in the US, salaries can be good at the higher level. You can also enjoy tips from gamblers as you work!
Pros and Cons of Being a Casino Dealer
There are numerous ways to start a career in casino dealing. Career progressions are good, and pit bosses and managers can earn decent salaries.
Average salaries (Las Vegas):
- Trainee/novice dealer: $14,000-$20,000 plus tips
- Trained casino dealer: $20,000-$37,000 plus tips
- Pit boss/manager: $69,000
- Work can be varied and fast-paced
- Good career progression
- Subsidized income through tips & bonuses
- Opportunities for local and international travel
- Growing industry as new PA casinos continue to open
- Unsociable and long hours
- Poor pay for trainee dealers
- Work can be monotonous
- Dealing with abusive or drunk players
Types of Casino Dealers
Dealer training schools will train students in a range of games, like blackjack, roulette, craps and baccarat. Some colleges and schools also have dedicated poker training programs.
Roulette: Spin the Devil’s Wheel and learn to calculate payouts for Red, Black or Dozens. You’ll also learn how to correctly spin the roulette wheel and handle chips.
Blackjack: Learn to shuffle, deal and work out payouts in this fast-paced casino card game. You’ll also get to learn interesting local variants like Atlantic City Blackjack. As a card dealer, you’ll also get to learn games like baccarat and Caribbean Stud.
Craps: Craps is the popular dice game that features a huge range of bets. Craps tables usually have up to three croupiers working it at once. One dealer at either end of the table handles the bets and acts as the ‘stickman.’ The ‘boxman’ keeps an eye on the bets and insures there is no cheating.
Live Casino: There is a growing live casino industry at online casinos in 2020. Live dealer games are streamed live from a studio. Players place bets on their computers, but the cards and tables are totally real. As a dealer, you will be expected to call out the winners and chat to players in real time.
What You Need to Become a Casino Dealer
There are hundreds of dealer training programs across the United States. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board requires dealers to have had training or work experience before applying for a position.
The PGCB also provides a full list of verified casino dealer schools on its website. There are around a dozen approved casino dealer schools in PA. Casinos like Harrah’s Philadelphia and Hollywood Casino at Penn National run full dealer training programs. The training is provided in-house and is free for students.
You can also train at a verified non-casino dealer school in Pennsylvania or in states like New Jersey and Delaware that have land-based casinos. Examples include the Bucks County School of Bartending in Pennsylvania and Atlantic Cape Community College in New Jersey.
Students typically receive around 120-150 hours of training in banked games like blackjack and roulette. They will also learn to deal poker games like Casino Hold’em. Texas Hold’em classes are also provided for trainee poker dealers. Trainee dealers will be paid to attend classes and can usually work on a real-life casino floor during that time.
Here are some of the key requirements to joining a dealer training program:
Education: There are no formal educational requirements for joining a dealer training program. However, some casinos prefer students to have a high school diploma and some customer service experience. Prospective trainees will also have a job interview to see if the training program is right for them. They will usually have to pass a basic math test to join the program.
Flexible Work Availability: Most casinos in the US are open 24/7, so you must be flexible. Be prepared to work nights, weekends and during holiday periods.
Be Age 18 or Over: Most states, including Pennsylvania, require you to be over 18 to enter a dealer training program.
Criminal Background Check: A clean criminal record is a must for any trainee dealer. You will also need to pass a drug test.
PA Dealer License: Once trained, you will receive a Casino Croupier Certificate. In most states with legalized gambling, like Pennsylvania, you must also apply for a license. Casinos will usually provide these when you successfully apply for a job.
Good Grooming: Appearance is a key factor for dealers. Croupiers must be clean, have tidy hair and clean nails if they are going to be working at the tables. Some casinos still ask dealers to cover up tattoos, although the rules vary.
Essential Skills for Casino Dealers
If you want to know how to become a casino dealer, you need to understand the core skills. Anne Loughlin is a dealer trainer with more than 20 years’ experience. She says that a willingness to study and learn is paramount.
“There are a lot of times tables to memorize. This can be done outside class and it’s important to practice regularly,” Loughlin said. “Teamwork and punctuality are also absolutely essential. Being a minute late for work means a minute off someone else’s break time. That will quickly make you unpopular among colleagues. The same goes for taking excessive sick leave.”
Ability to Learn & Study: You must be able to accept instruction and listen to your trainer.
“An ability to take constructive criticism is essential,” Loughlin said. “I think the best students are enthusiastic and curious at the same time. The ones who have a desire to be the best and develop a flair will put in that extra time.”
Explaining and Enforcing Rules: Dealers must be good at explaining the game rules to players and enforcing table etiquette.
Math Skills: It’s essential that dealers can quickly and accurately calculate winnings for players. You’ll also need to be comfortable with the rules of various games. Novice dealers will also learn chip-handling skills so that they can count stacks in seconds.
People Skills: Part of the skill of becoming a casino dealer is knowing how to communicate with players. They must be friendly but firm and should never lose their cool if players are abusive.
“You need to be able to step back and summarize the situation in a neutral manner,” Loughlin said. “Wait for the supervisor to deal with the situation if it becomes difficult.”
Tips for Being a Successful Dealer
How do you become a casino dealer? You need the right appearance, head for numbers and good attitude dealing with the public. Here are our top 5 tips for becoming a successful dealer:
1. Stay positive
Casino dealing can be a monotonous and stressful job, especially at busy times. It’s important to stay positive at all times and remember that the players’ happiness is key.
2. Be professional
Stay calm at all times, and don’t be afraid to be firm with players who are stepping out of line. Remember to wash regularly and iron your uniform before your shift starts.
3. Don’t be afraid to call the floor
Every casino dealer can become unstuck. Luckily, a pit boss will always be on hand to help if a player has acted out of turn or you need assistance with a payout.
4. Be friendly and engaging
Dealer hours can be long and tiring. But successful dealers must remain alert and friendly throughout a shift.
5. Keep practicing
Dealing real-life hands or games of roulette will improve your skills. But it’s always good to keep practicing through video tutorials and via home setups.
How to Practice Becoming a Dealer
We hope we’ve answered the question: How do you become a casino dealer? Now it’s time to find a good dealer school and join a program. You can also gain invaluable experience practicing at home.
Learn with friends: You can also practice dealing with a group of friends. Invite a few pals over and practice dealing hand after hand. It pays to purchase a cheap set of chips and playing cards too. With a group of friends, you can also practice other social skills you may need, such as being friendly, smiling and concentrating on the bets while chatting to players.
The Rise of Live Casino Dealers
As a professional dealer in 2020, you don’t even need to step foot in a real-life casino. Live dealer games are growing in popularity across legalized US states.
In live dealer games, which are offered at some top PA casinos, you operate the game from a studio or casino floor setup. No players are sitting at the tables but gamblers at home can place bets through their computers.
In live blackjack, for example, you will deal out physical cards to places on the table. The player at home will decide when and how to bet. The action is streamed live via webcam.
As a live dealer, you won’t handle physical chips but you must be comfortable with equipment like the roulette wheel or blackjack cards and shuffler. You must also be friendly and talkative so that players at home can chat with you.