To be a good casino dealer, you want to enjoy dealing, learn as many casino games as possible, and never stop learning in general.
To be a good dealer, you should also have excellent knowledge of the rules, and practice dealing skills such as cutting down chip stacks, so your games will be as smooth as possible.
I’m a dealer myself, one who enjoys their job, and these are the things I’ve learned over the years.
Here is a list of thirteen tips to keep in mind if you want to become a really good casino dealer, and potentially level up and become a pit boss.
Without further ado, let’s dive in!
How to be a good casino dealer
1. Learn to love dealing
Here’s the thing: to excel at anything, you need to love what you’re doing. Or at least be interested in it.
The reason I’ve been a dealer for years is because I love this stuff. Playing cards, casino games, poker chips.
Obviously, who wants to work nights and sacrifice their weekends? Who wants to deal to (and with) a bunch of annoying drunk players who don’t even know what even numbers are?
But no job will ever be perfect, and as long as the pros outweigh the cons, and as long as you feel it’s the right one, that’s probably good enough, right?
If you love dealing, and if you focus on the good side of the job rather than on the most stressful part — you’ll almost certainly become a very good dealer.
2. Work in different casinos
Honestly, not the best advice if your goal is to get promoted as soon as possible.
By staying in the same casino, your chances of becoming a senior dealer, or a pit boss, or even a manager, can significantly increase.
But… this article is all about becoming a good casino dealer, so if that’s your plan, I do encourage you to work in a few different casinos.
The experience you’ll gain will be invaluable, whether it’s land based casinos or cruise ships.
You’ll have to learn new games and new procedures, and deal to different customers and see different situations.
You can become a good dealer by working at the same casino for, say, five years. But it’s good to change, and you’ll learn faster too.
3. Be yourself
Being a good dealer isn’t just about technical skills.
Customer service and interaction plays a big role for this job, so you’ll need to become better at talking to people, too.
My advice (as a casino dealer, and as someone who’s predominantly an introvert) is to simply be yourself.
Do try to adapt to different customers, and different situations. But don’t pretend to be who you’re not.
If you’re naturally outgoing, then show your personality by being friendly with the players. If you’re more reserved, use that to your advantage because you’ll probably look more professional.
If you hate dealing with people in general, or find it too draining, then perhaps it’s not the right job for you. But you definitely don’t need to be an extrovert to excel at dealing.
4. Do your homework
Have you learnt all the rules and procedures of the games? Have you practiced enough?
Once your shift is done and you clock out, then technically you no longer work and you can enjoy your free time however you like.
But do use part of your free time to “do your homework”. Especially if you’re a beginner.
Buy a few stacks of chips and practice cutting them down, and pushing them. Get faster at adding up roulette wagers. Learn to calculate 3 to 2 payouts instantly.
If you deal poker, practice with side pots, hand recognition, the rake, and so on.
It’s true that the best way to learn is by dealing at live tables. But practicing at home won’t hurt.
5. Don’t focus on speed
Yes, I’m aware that the faster the game, the better it is for the casino (and usually for the players as well).
The problem with focusing on speed alone is, you won’t be smooth. And probably make a lot of embarrassing mistakes at the table.
Focus on being smooth instead, and it will look like you’re faster, too.
This is a well-known principle in magic and card flourishing, but it applies to dealing as well.
Once you get to the point where you’re fully comfortable dealing all games, then by all means do try to be faster.
But as a general rule, try to be smooth and accurate first.
A dealer who deals accurately and in an eye-pleasing way is already a very good dealer, even if a bit slow.
6. Get your eight hours
Seriously, get enough sleep! It is a priority, especially for this job.
Don’t rely on caffeine to stay up all night. Instead, establish a routine and stick to it.
Take naps only if you need to. And do everything you can to optimize your sleep.
Obviously, working from 8 in the evening until 4 in the morning (or whatever your shift is) isn’t the healthiest, most natural pattern.
But it still doesn’t justify lack of discipline.
When you shift ends and you arrive home, don’t do anything else and just go to bed.
If you’re busy, try to schedule your activities on your days off so you won’t have to wake up too early.
I’ve seen way too many dealers become miserable, not because of the job itself, but because they didn’t prioritize their sleep (even though they could), and quit. Don’t make the same mistake.
7. Don’t just deal — play
I don’t encourage anyone to gamble unless they want to.
But to become a good dealer, it’s a good idea to play the games you usually deal. You don’t need to gamble, just play.
And if you don’t want to play, you can still observe the games, for example by visiting another casino.
Just keep in mind that as a dealer you may not be allowed to play anywhere. This is usually stated by your contract, but always double check.
By playing (or watching) you’ll learn a lot about the player’s psychology and you’ll get an idea of what it means to actually play, and that’s going to improve your dealing skills too.
8. Learn picture bets
If you don’t deal roulette, then just skip to the next paragraph.
In short, picture bets are patterns of inside bets (such as splits and corners) that are easy to remember.
Have a look at this image:
In this case, a beginner would have to add up all inside bets one by one: 35 plus 17 plus 11 plus 8.
But if you have learned all the main picture bets, you can work out the total instantly by simply adding 60 and 11.
This is because the combination of a straight up, a split, and a corner will always equal 60, which is a nice even number.
For the full guide and list of picture bets, please check out this page.
9. Look your best
This could sound either obvious or irrelevant/unimportant.
But the way you look as a casino dealer is indeed pretty important. Dealers must not only act, but look professional too.
When it comes to what you can or cannot wear, such as jewellery or tattoos, that will usually be stated by your company’s policy.
Regardless, to be a good dealer, try to look your best.
Don’t do anything that may look unprofessional, or gross. You represent the image of the casino you work at, and the way you look plays a big role in how customers perceive you.
10. Improve your manual skills
No need to learn card tricks or anything like that.
But… manual dexterity is key. And once you learn all the common dealer techniques with cards and chips, you’ll be able to use those regardless of the game you deal.
Some basic manual skills of casino dealers:
- Shuffle the deck with the right technique (riffle)
- Cut down chip stacks quickly
- Drop three, four, or five chips from a stack without looking
- Spin the roulette ball (not as easy as it looks, I promise)
- Push up to ten stacks of chips with one hand
- Deal the cards accurately
11. Improve your maths
Similarly, you need to make sure you are good at adding up numbers.
If you deal blackjack, then you can practice at home by dealing the cards on top of each other and try to add up the total score.
You can also learn to work out 3 to 2 payouts faster by practicing with random three-digit numbers.
If you deal roulette, practice adding up straight up bets, split bets, and so on.
Experience, once again, is the best teacher, and the more you give change, calculate complex payouts, convert cash chips into color chips, the easier it’ll be.
12. Be as patient as possible
As a casino dealer, you will have to deal with some pretty stressful situations sooner or later.
Occasionally, you’ll be forced to interact with people you wouldn’t even want to say hello to.
And doing that at three in the morning… oh, boy.
The key, as I mentioned at the beginning, is to focus on the good aspects of the job and try to ignore the cons as much as possible.
Learn to be patient, and you’ll automatically become a better dealer.
13. Keep learning
And finally — never stop learning. Probably true for all careers, but still.
Although dealing can get repetitive at times, no situation will ever be the same.
This means that as a casino dealer you’ll constantly have to deal with new players and play styles, as well as different types of mistakes, disputes, and so on.
If you stay curious and accept the fact you’ll never know everything, I guarantee eventually you’ll be a very good dealer.
And the more you learn, the better your chances of becoming a pit boss, or manager (if that’s what you want to do).
How to spot a good dealer
Interestingly enough, I’ve met a few dealers who looked like they didn’t know what they were doing for the first few seconds I saw them, then amazed me because they were so good at the table.
I guess they were just being lazy.
Either way, you can usually spot dealers who are better and more experienced than average by paying attention to these three things:
- The game is just smooth. There are no mistakes, and whenever something’s not right (such as a player betting over the maximum or below the minimum), the dealer knows how to address that.
- The dealer is calm. It’s easy to get nervous when the players are staring at you, and you have to pass a stack of chips, or count money, or calculate a payout. But a good dealer will usually have learnt to remain calm no matter what.
- The table is unusually busy. I’ve seen this many times. A new (very good) dealer comes to the table and suddenly that attracts new players as well. Besides being more elegant, a dealer who knows what they are doing will run the game so it’s also faster and more enjoyable for the players.
How to be a good casino dealer: summary
Want to be a good casino dealer? You must…
- Learn to love the job
- Practice, practice, practice
- Focus on accuracy rather than speed
- Be curious and never stop learning
- Look professional and be spontaneous
- Improve your maths as well as hand dexterity
- Ideally, work in a few different casinos
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