What is working in a casino like?
July 26, 2010 12:24 AM   Subscribe

Help me get a job as a trainee croupier! (I'd also love to hear from anybody who has worked as a dealer in a casino -- a day in the life of a croupier?)

I have an interview to be a trainee croupier!

I'd love info on what the numeracy test might be like, as well as the manual dexterity test, and the group interview component which assesses customer service skills.

What sorts of questions/problems should I prepare for?

Also, please tell me what the job is like. What are the demands/challenges? (Will customers really yell at me frequently?) What are the fun parts and perks? What skills do I need to be successful in this business?

(I'm in Sydney Australia in case you've got local information as well.)
posted by KLF to Work & Money (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm in Sydney Australia in case you've got local information as well

Well if you're in Sydney there's really only one major employer for croupiers, isn't there? A friend of mine worked there a couple of years ago while he was at uni (behind the bar, not as a croupier) and only had decent things to say about the work environment. Heavily unionised, very strict safety standards, very professional management, good hours, good pay.

Working around some very desperate gambling addicts, on the other hand, he said was something he just had to put out of his mind.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 12:50 AM on July 26, 2010

Best answer: I worked for the casino in Melbourne for a couple of years. I had a very heavy load at uni and so it was hard to find work that fitted in. I used to work ten hour night shifts on Friday and Saturdays as a blackjack dealer. They trained you in one major game (blackjack, roulette, baccarat) and the minor games (big wheel, pai gow). There were opportunities to train in further games later, and you got more money if you could deal more games. Roulette took an extra week of training.

I don't remember what the numeracy test was like, except that I had to take one. I don't think there was a manual dexterity test - but one guy in my training group couldn't hold a stack of chips and cut it down, so I think he was asked to leave for not passing the skills tests. A stack of chips is 20 chips and you need enough dexterity in your fingers to be able to slide a given number of chips off the bottom of the stack. Other things are picking up chips (if you want to try, spread a whole lot of 20 cent coins out and flip them into piles in your palms using your middle finger and thumb). Also you need to be able to hold eight decks of cards between your thumb and ring or index finger.

Day in the life - I would start my shift at 8pm, so needed to arrive early enough to change into my uniform. I had to get down to the pit (set of tables) by 8pm and be on my assigned table at 8pm. We worked for 1 hour 20 mins, then had 20 mins break - repeat all night, rotating around a set of four tables. If it got quiet, we might help pick up glasses or go quality check decks of cards.

Challenges - being on your feet for very long periods of the time, the smoke (I think they are smoke free now?), players who blamed you for their losses, watching people blow stupid amounts of money. Sometimes I would feel sympathy for them and sometimes I would think they were all stupid. At first, paying out on bets can be hard, but you memorise a lot of the payouts and learn how to do it visually with chips as well. I don't feel like customers yelled at me frequently - there were a couple, but lots of nice enough people. Dealers can't take tips - so we would always have to suggest that perhaps they give them to the cocktail waitress instead! I never did have anyone piss under the table, though allegedly they would at the temporary casino as it was too crowded to get back onto a table if you left.

As a new dealer, be willing to admit mistakes and call your supervisor if you think you might have done something wrong. The cameras see anything, so there is no point in trying to hide your mistakes, and it is easy to stuff something up worse by trying to fix your mistake.

Fun parts - if you got a good table of friendly people who were winning, it could be good fun. Perks weren't any better than most large corporations - we did get free meals while on shift though (but as a dealer, you only ever had 20 mins break, even for eating a meal). It was good money.

If you have any more questions, just ask.
posted by AnnaRat at 3:53 AM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's not croupier work exactly, but McSweeney's has been running a series from an employee of a casino lately. I can't vouch for accuracy, having never worked this type of job, but the articles seem to convey the basic feeling of being an employee in the casino environment.
posted by owls at 9:18 AM on July 26, 2010

I hired a guy once who came directly from a croupier job, making a LOT less money working for me. He was a very nice guy who said he just couldn't take it any longer. It really bothered him to see people lose all their money, he said they cried sometimes, and he couldn't just leave it behind every night when he went home.
posted by raisingsand at 9:26 AM on July 26, 2010

There's also a book called The Labor of Luck that describes what it's like working in casinos in both the United States and South Africa.
posted by jonp72 at 9:39 AM on July 26, 2010

Response by poster: Wow raisingsand - hardcore!
Thanks all. I went for the interview; wasn't as difficult as expected. If anybody comes to this thread late, please do still post, as I'm still curious about the topic.
posted by KLF at 1:05 AM on August 4, 2010

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