There are well over a dozen jobs that a person could hold within the casino industry, from those off the gaming floor such as in housekeeping, a chef, a driver to pick up and drop off whales from airports or surveillance staff, to cocktail waitresses, cashiers or pit bosses at the heart of the action.
Then there are those members of staff pivotal to the smooth progression of the games. In card games they are typically called dealers, while for anything else the widely used term is croupiers.
One big decision for these staff members is whether to specialise in developing their skills in one game or whether to attempt to branch out and try their hand at multiple. After all, as in most walks of life, knowledge is power.
However, being crisp and clean at managing a single game is far more useful to a casino than a versatile dealer whose skills are second-rate at multiple games. Attributes such as personality and attitude may also play a role in the hiring process.
And it may not be appreciated quite how unalike different casino games are to deal and progress.
Focusing on two of the most popular games – blackjack and roulette – here are some similarities and differences that a person may face if trying to perfect their croupier skills at both:
Dealing with customers
Casino customers come in all shapes and sizes and with different behaviour traits. Some are loud and brash, others say little and prefer to concentrate with little interaction. Some are rude and obnoxious and others are chatty and pleasant company.
All staff have to manage tables potentially involving a mixture of these personalities at the same time and host in such a way that these players want to carry on betting.
Keeping a positive attitude and a fun demeanour can be especially challenging when the casino is on a winning run. Players can believe the game is fixed in one fashion or another and take out their frustrations by firing a tirade of abuse at dealers and croupiers.
Dealing with chips
Players arrive at a gaming table with real money, which obviously needs changing up into chips.
It is on the dealer to quickly do this switch, while following all of the rules and protocols of the casino to ensure they avoid any accusation of chip or cash theft.
Not only must they do this for a shift lasting eight or even 12 hours, they must do so standing the whole time. Standing in virtually the same spot for such a length of time isn’t easy.
Quickly identifying winning and losing bets
Although the rules and types of bets placed are considerably different between blackjack and roulette, both contain winning and losing bets. And with different players often betting different amounts, this has the capacity to get confusing.
Dealers and croupiers need to sweep losing bets off the layout quickly and correctly pay the winners, which means having a good understanding of their chip well, knowing where to return losing chips to and take winning ones from.
In blackjack, chip colour typically relates to value. A chip worth £5 may be red, while a yellow chip could be £50 and green £1,000. With roulette, as there are so many more bets in play on a single spin, chip colour is a way of identifying a player.
It would be difficult for a croupier to track 20 players all betting with the same colour. By having, say, 10 different colours of chips, this task of remembering who is responsible for which bet is made easier.
Watch how the staff pay winning bets too. A blackjack dealer will pay winners from first base, through the middle to finish at the seat characteristically called third base to their right.
Roulette croupiers pay the outside bets on sections like red and black first and begin to work their way inside onto the numbers, rather than in any kind of player order.
All blackjack bets must be placed before the dealer has dealt any cards.
This should come as no surprise as an upturned card is certain to swing how much a player is willing to stake. Give them an ace and a player could double or triple their regular bet. Deal them a four and there is a strong chance they will reduce a bet to the table minimum.
In roulette where players are stretching across the layout and certain betting opportunities are out of their direct reach, the call of “no more bets” from a croupier tends to come after they have already set the ball in motion around the wheel.
Despite this, the ball still has ample rotations to complete before coming to rest on its winning number, giving a player no real advantage.
With blackjack, dealers have to shuffle cards, fill the card shoe, be able to add up hand values rapidly to know whether a player has busted a hand total of 21 or not and understand some more intricate game rules, such as doubling down and insurance betting.
Developing a reliable ball-spinning technique is a tough skill to master at roulette. There are different elements to short and long spins and other rules relating to the area of the wheel a spin must begin from, based on the last winning number.
Mucking chips and stacking chips are other art forms that take some mastering if carried out quickly.
Blackjack is considered the easiest to learn and so takes less time than other casino games to train to deal, whether this be via training through a casino or through the more expensive casino gaming school route.
Roulette takes longer, although it is the dice games in a casino which take the most time to train for.