Working as a Roulette Dealer

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I worked at a casino for ten years, and the position of roulette dealer (sometimes called a croupier) was without a doubt my favorite. Of course we take to certain games because of our personalities. Some people enjoy the fast pace of the craps table, others like the more personal interactions of dealing to blackjack players.

There were several things I liked about being a roulette dealer, but I'll start with what I call the "gaming atmosphere" as it compares with the other major table games. On the craps table it is chaotic and exciting. You have to place bets even as the dice are being thrown. You can easily make mistakes that will piss off customers, like not booking a bet that was thrown toward you at the last moment.

On the blackjack tables the customers get angry with each other. If a person takes a card when the others don't think he should, and then the dealer gets a good hand as a result, the other players complain and insult that person. It is all nonsense, since just as often a stupid play by someone will result in the dealer drawing a bad card, but there is no changing the superstitions of blackjack players (and for this comment I'll get emails from players with lame arguments defending their superstitious beliefs--gamblers never understand the science of probabilities or they would be owners of instead of visitors to casinos).

On the roulette table, the wheel is spun and the ball falls. It is so plainly random that the players rarely blame the dealer, nor do they have reason to blame other players. Consequently, it is a less stressful atmosphere to work in--as long as you know what you're doing.

You will have to know how to multiply numbers in your head quickly, but you'll get used to the common bets. Even many years later I still think "102" when I see six chips on the line between two numbers (a two-number bet pays 17-to-1).

I also enjoyed being a "chip mucker." Mucking chips just means helping to sort them back into stacks as the dealer pulls them in, and preparing payouts for the dealer. I loved the low-stress behind-the-scenes aspect of this position. This is where you'll start prior to training on the "front line."

How Much Can You Make?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lumps all "gaming dealers" together, which is okay, since most casinos do as well, even pooling tips among poker, blackjack and roulette dealers. As a group they average about $17,000 according to the BLS, but this is misleading. Some casinos let dealers take tips in cash rather than rolling them into the paycheck, and some of those tips are surely not reported. I personally know several dealers in small casinos in Michigan who make over $45,000 annually, and when I recently asked a friend who work in a casino what the starting pay was there, she told me dealers start at $6.50 per hour and tips are averaging $10 per hour, meaning the starting wage is about $33,000 per year plus benefits (they get 401k matching contributions, vacation pay and health insurance).

Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities | Tips

If you work at the rare casino that lets you keep your own tips, naturally you'll want to try to get shifts that are busy, and work at the busiest tables in the building.

Qualifications / Requirements

You need to be able to think on your feet and multiply numbers quickly in your head.

First Steps

Normally you'll be hired as a blackjack dealer. There are many more of those positions, and roulette dealers are usually trained on the job after working the blackjack tables for a while. Small casinos will often hire and train dealers, so you do not need to go the dealer school to get started.

Resources

http://www.thebulletpoint.com/roulette.html - A chapter from an ebook about a man who won $80,000 at my roulette table.


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