Being a casino dealer can be a rewarding and exciting career. And definitely a unique one.
From what I’ve seen, it’s often a “love it or hate it” job, and if you’re thinking of becoming a dealer, it’s important to evaluate all the pros and cons, and that’s what this article is about.
Don’t have time to read the whole list? Feel free to skip to the summary at the end!
Pros of being a casino dealer
Usually well paid
In high income countries such as the US, casino dealers can earn an above average income.
Although the basic hourly pay isn’t usually that high, tips make up for that, especially when the dealers get to keep them, or only share them with a few other dealers.
Being a dealer won’t guarantee you’ll have a high income, but if you’re experienced and you work in the right casino, chances are you will.
To find out more, have a look at my article about how much casino dealers make.
No alarm clock
Although some casinos are open 24/7 and that means there will be different shifts available, casino dealers almost always work nights.
Trainee dealers will usually be given earlier shifts simply because they tend to be quiet, but that’s it.
Most dealers won’t start their shift until late afternoon, and won’t finish before 2am, at best.
This usually translates to poor sleep quality but, on the other hand, no alarm clock — you can wake up whenever you want.
I’m a casino dealer myself and I’ve noticed that my sleep has actually improved because of that (yes, I’m aware there’s other factors involved but being able to sleep in when needed is fabulous).
Opportunities to grow
Want to level up and become an inspector, or pit boss, or even a casino manager?
Good news — it’s not that difficult as a dealer. Especially if you work in a small or relatively small casino.
As we’ll see in the “cons” section, staff turnover is generally high in casinos and that means those who actually love the job and want to advance will have the opportunity to do so.
This is not true for other careers (most careers, I’d say).
I’ve met a few dealers who chose not to be promoted because they thought the extra money was not worth the extra responsibilities or stress, but they were given the option and that’s what matters.
You can work anywhere
From casinos, to cruise ships, to private games (especially if you’re a poker dealer), casino dealers can work wherever they want.
I mean, you could even become an online dealer. I wouldn’t do that personally — too boring and repetitive — but go for it if you think you’ll like it.
And if you ever want to move to a different country and you are an experienced dealer, chances are it’ll be easy to find a job.
The only requirements you may have trouble with are the different language (although you don’t need to be a public speaker) and the visas.
Relatively easy to get started
For some jobs or careers, expect to study for at least three years before you can earn your first paycheck.
This isn’t just time-consuming, it can also be very stressful and very expensive.
But for anyone who wants to become a dealer, things are much easier.
Some casinos even have training schools and offer paid courses every year or every couple of years.
Which basically means you’ll be paid to learn if they hire you (check out my list of common trainee dealer interview questions if you’re interested).
After you have familiarized yourself with one or two easy casino games, such as blackjack, you’ll then have the chance to learn many other games.
Although the rules and payouts will be different, you’ll be able to apply most of the skills you already know, such as cutting the chips and dealing the cards, as well as customer service.
The more games you can deal, the higher the pay, and the easier it’ll be to get promoted (or to work more hours).
You’ll also have more job variety, and you’ll interact with different players, and that breaks up the shift a little bit and makes the job more interesting.
The best stories
I’m not aware of any other job where you get the chance to see someone win (or lose) millions in one night, or throw their last chip on a roulette number and it comes in, and so on.
Plus, you get to interact with some really interesting people. Not always in a good way, but still.
If you become a casino dealer, I guarantee your job will be unique, especially when compared to the average office job.
True, those who work the average nine to five don’t need to work nights, or deal with drunk or annoying customers. But their job probably won’t be as exciting, right?
Customers are usually nice
This depends on where you work, to be honest, but from what I’ve heard and seen as a dealer, most customers are really nice.
Occasionally, you’ll have to deal with (and deal to) people with gambling problems, drunks, customers who are way too talkative, and so on, but that’s a small percentage.
And if you ever get verbally abused, or abused in any way (e.g. a bad loser throws a stack of chips at you and says “hope you get hit by a car”), whoever does that is likely to be banned instantly.
But like I said, it’s quite rare.
Some people think all those who gamble are degenerates, but that’s just a stereotype, and it doesn’t apply to the average casino player.
Another advantage of being a casino dealer is that, generally speaking, your job will be safe.
Of course, some casinos end up losing money and shut down. Or, there may be a global crisis, and you may lose your job as a dealer.
But these are rare exceptions, not the rule.
Plus, people will always gamble, and it’s not like technology will be able to replace live casinos, no matter how advanced a particular website or software may be.
The experience of a real casino is irreplaceable, and that means there will always be a demand for dealers.
Especially if they’re experienced and/or know how to deal multiple games.
Cons of being a casino dealer
Not the best social life
It can be hard to socialize when you’re working nights and weekends.
If you’re young, this could be the main disadvantage of being a dealer — all your friends will be out partying and you’ll be stuck at the blackjack table until 4am.
Over time, this could make you feel lonely and impact your overall quality of life.
On the plus side, if you get on well with your colleagues (not just the other dealers — casino employees in general), you’ll become good friends and potentially go out together on your days off.
Just be aware that, in order to be a dealer, it’ll be technically impossible to have the same daily routine of most people, and that will probably affect your social life as well.
Customers can be aggressive
Most customers are nice. Some customers won’t be so nice.
Especially if they can’t afford gambling and they end up losing way more than they thought, way faster than they thought.
Rationally, everyone knows it’s not the dealer’s fault if the roulette ball drops on a certain number, or if they’re dealt a six instead of an ace.
When it happens, though, some customers will automatically blame the dealer, at least inside their head, and behave aggressively.
Of course, there is a threshold, and whenever a player becomes abusive, management and security will take care of that.
But as a casino dealer you need to have a thick skin, or at least learn to be emotionally detached, otherwise the job may be very draining in the long run.
It can be stressful
You’re trying to calculate a complex payout on roulette and you make a mistake, and everyone’s watching you.
You’re dealing blackjack and a customer keeps betting below the minimum even though you’ve already told them three times.
You’re trying to pass six stacks of chips to a customer, with one hand, and a supervisor keeps staring at you to check you’re using the right technique.
Being a dealer can be a lot of fun, but it can be very stressful, too.
If you want to work as a dealer, you must be willing to go through a lot of stress and even embarrassment, especially when starting out, and accept that as part of the job.
You are going to make awkward mistakes, and some customers are going to challenge you, no matter how good you are.
Dealers rely on tips
As I wrote at the beginning, casino dealers can earn a pretty good income if the players are generous.
But guess what, tips are not guaranteed and can fluctuate a lot throughout the year.
And if tips are not good, in general (because players don’t tip as often, or because tips get shared with all casino employees), then it basically means you won’t be earning much.
Keep in mind, the hourly pay for dealers, even senior ones, isn’t very high.
So yes, most casino dealers will have to rely on gratuities, rather than being able to charge a certain amount per hour, and that’s not always ideal.
The last disadvantage of being a casino dealer is that staff turnover tends to be quite high.
This implies that, for most people and in the long run, a career that involves dealing casino games isn’t the right one.
After a while, some dealers find that constantly working nights takes a toll on their physical and mental health.
Similarly, I’ve met many dealers who really enjoyed their job at first, but then got to the point where they lost interest and suddenly all the cons of the job became too draining.
Are there casino dealers who work in casinos their whole life? Absolutely! But don’t assume it’s the norm — quite the opposite, in fact.
Casino dealer duties
Besides dealing roulette, blackjack, poker, etc. and having excellent knowledge of the rules, casino dealers should also have great customer service skills.
After all, casino games are played by other human beings, and if you’re someone who hates dealing with people in general, or if you’re an extreme introvert, dealing may not be for you.
Moreover, dealers must be able to spot anything unusual and report it to management if they believe it’s a no-no (for instance, someone who tries to count cards at blackjack).
And of course, they must be able to be mentally sharp and wide awake regardless of which shift they’re on.
The good news is that you can learn all these skills with experience — if you like the job, you will become good at it.
And frankly, that’s true for most careers.
Pros of being a casino dealer:
- Above average income if the tips are good
- No need to wake up early in the morning
- Easy to get promoted, especially in smaller casinos
- Can work wherever you want
- No degree or expensive education needed
- Different than any other job
- Customers are usually nice
- Good job security compared to most careers
Cons of being a casino dealer:
- Can be hard to have a social life
- Bad losers can be aggressive/abusive
- Very stressful at times
- Income depends on tips, which are not guaranteed
- High staff turnover