There are few jobs in the world like that of the croupier. It’s a contradictory combination of charm, skill, scrutiny, attention to detail, advanced mathematics, and the ability to spot a cheat at fifty paces. Every player must be made to feel welcome but – equally – eyed with suspicion and distrust. What other job teaches you to shuffle and deal cards whilst making instant character assessments about every player at the table? As you work out the Roulette winnings for a dozen people, you must keep a keen eye on every stray chip. Tricky!
At a heated Blackjack, Roulette, or Craps table, emotions can run hot. Winners and losers, cheering and fuming, often a few sheets to the wind, fuelled by complimentary drinks; loud, excited, angry, exuberant. In the midst of the emotional storm: the croupier controls the action, with charm, confidence, and a firm touch.
Imagine the pressure: the chips are down; the bets are on. You sit in front of a table full of locked-in players, staking serious money. All looking at you; hoping you will draw the cards they desire. You are the source of their joy or pain. The answer to their prayers. The difference between a night to remember and a night to forget. This is a tough call.
A typical starting salary for a croupier is around £22,000. To earn this, you will be working up to 40 hours a week and enduring some gnarly eight-hour shifts, from 2pm to 10pm, or 10pm to 6am. Your social life is now your job.
Before you deal a single card, there are a lot of basics you need to bank. You will need to be smart, well-dressed, and reasonably fit. You will definitely be spending a lot of time on your feet, possibly wearing a jacket and dinner suit.
You will need to be able to stay focused until the end of your shift. You will need to concentrate and calculate every player’s winnings; counting chips, quickly and accurately, to keep the game flowing. You will have to do all of this with a smile on your face, making small talk, and keeping the customers engaged and happy.
Chain of Command
You will also have to accept the fact that you work in a hierarchy of distrust. Every casino has a chain of command and scrutiny. The croupier is the public face of the casino. Watching the croupiers are the floor managers who – in turn – are watched by the pit boss. It’s designed to make everyone feel secure but it’s not a job for the neurotic.
If you’re still in and ready to play, it’s time to get trained and qualified. There are several croupier schools in the UK. If you are lucky, you might get your training in-house. Training courses typically last six weeks and can cost anything from £300 to £2,500. Some offer guaranteed employment at the end.
Training to Deal
As you would expect, training takes in all aspects of casino gaming. You will learn the rules of Roulette, Blackjack, Stud Poker, Three Card Poker, and more. Trainee croupiers will learn to shuffle cards, push stacks of chips, and place bets, as well as the odds of all games, multiplication tables, and customer service.
You must also always clear your hands, never turn your back, and never cover your mouth. An experienced croupier will also be fully aware of all the industry’s regulations and be able to spot someone who is becoming a problem gambler.
Licensed to Thrill
At the end of the training course, players must apply for a personal functional licence (PFL). These licences are necessary for anyone who works in the gambling business. They cost £185 and are legally required by the UK Gambling Commission which states: “any individual who performs any function which enables them to influence the outcome of gambling or relates to the receiving or paying of money in connection with gambling will require a Personal Functional Licence.”
To qualify, you must provide details of your address for the past five years and demonstrate financial and personal integrity, as well as a clean criminal record. The process can take up to eight weeks and you must agree to an electronic disclosure and barring service.
Carry on Cruising
Time for the good news. You’ve trained. You’ve qualified. You’ve got your licence. The world is now your oyster. Most countries have casinos and good croupiers can be hard to find. The world’s most exotic locations normally have high-end hotels with casinos. Fancy working in the Caribbean? You can.
Cruise ships, Las Vegas, Asia… there are casinos everywhere and the money soon gets better. Tips can also be a significant salary booster. Some croupiers end up working in live streaming online casinos or work in online casino customer support and VIP departments. A detailed knowledge of the games and the players who love them is a clear advantage.
In conclusion: it’s hard work, challenging, and disciplined. It’s also a great way to explore the world and mix with some fascinating people. Deal us in.