The biggest poker tournaments will have hundreds (sometimes thousands) of players.
And unless we’re talking online tournaments, then the casino will need to have enough dealers.
Can you imagine showing up at the tournament table and having to wait hours just because there are no dealers available?
For the big events, casinos usually hire freelance poker dealers. These are not employees, but indeed freelancers.
Who are freelance poker dealers?
Freelance poker dealers are dealers who work for multiple casinos and poker rooms. Freelance poker dealers need to travel quite often, although accommodation is usually paid by the company. Their salary can be higher compared to that of poker dealers who work at a single casino.
Freelance poker dealers usually work for agencies. Whenever there is a major poker event, freelancers travel there and deal poker for a few days to a few weeks.
Most poker dealers work full-time, as employees, for a single casino. No need to travel, and the routine is always the same. Same games, same players, same coworkers.
So in a way, the job of a freelance dealer can be more exciting and more varied.
There are a few other differences, as well as pros and cons, and we’ll address that in a minute.
Whereas some casinos hire trainee poker dealers who have literally no experience, typically in order to get hired as a freelance poker dealer you would need to have dealt poker for at least one year.
It’s not guaranteed, but that’s usually how it works.
How much do freelance poker dealers make?
The hourly pay for freelance poker dealers is usually a bit higher compared to casino or card room dealers.
But we do need to take into account the fact that freelancers need to travel and often work longer shifts.
They may also need to have a higher level of professionalism as they deal poker in bigger tournaments and events.
Some freelancers also deal poker at private games, and these are usually the most lucrative although you cannot rely on those alone.
Pros and cons of freelance dealing
Like all jobs, there are advantages and disadvantages.
But this list refers to the pros and cons specifically between poker dealers in general and freelance poker dealers.
- Pay could be higher
- More exciting
- You get to watch the best players
- Makes you grow professionally
- More stressful
- Requirements may be higher
- Need to travel all the time
- Usually not a long-term career
How to become a poker dealer
Do you like poker? Do you enjoy working evenings or nights?
If so, becoming a poker dealer could be one of the best decisions of your life.
This is one of those jobs that feel more like a hobby than an actual job. Don’t get me wrong, there is stress and all that. But it’s a really good job if you enjoy it.
Dealing cards for a living could be as simple as sending your CV to a casino and getting trained for free.
Staff turnover is usually high in casinos, therefore most companies are happy to spend money on training.
Ideally, you’ll know all the basic rules of poker. Ideally because you’ve been playing the game for a while.
But it’s not always a requirement.
Most poker jobs will require experience but ultimately it’s impossible to get experience if you never start.
Psst! Feel free to check my article about the 14 pros and cons of being a casino dealer to get a better idea.