Imagine the pressure. You’re at the casino. The chips are down. The lights are low. The action is intense. The bets are on. All eyes are on you. Will you make or break those hearts. Will you leave them laughing with joy or heading home for an early night? Welcome to the world of the professional croupier.
The croupier is the human face of the casino: the Blackjack dealer, the Roulette overlord, the purveyor of Poker. Often wearing black tie, they report to the casino floor manager who – in turn – reports to the pit boss. Although they are at the bottom of the pecking order, they are the casino frontline, interacting with the punters and driving all the games.
Is it a job for you? Have you ever fancied testing your shuffling skills at the table? Do you have the necessary calm, cool, demeanour to deal with a difficult customer? Have you got the eagle-eyed ability to spot a card sharp or a cheat at the table? Take a seat and grab some chips as we guide you through the basics of a career as a croupier. Any more bets?
Are You In?
The average salary for a croupier, in the UK, in 2019, is just under £20,000 a year. To earn this, you must work between 35 and 40 hours a week; usually shifts from 2pm to 10pm, or 10pm to 6am. Unsurprisingly, you will be working weekends and bank holidays.
Clive Owen shows his skills
It’s no easy game. You will need to be smart and well-dressed; often black tie or a jacket. You will be spending hours standing on your feet. You need to be healthy. Even as you near the end of your eight-hour shift, you will have to maintain high levels of concentration; counting chips, working out the winners and losers, and making sure no one is trying to trick you. You have to do all of this with a smile on your face and a friendly repartee with the casino’s customers. Are you still in?
As you can see, being a croupier means long hours and personal discipline. It also requires training. There are several options, if you want to be a croupier. If you are lucky enough to get taken on by an established casino, many will offer you in-house training. This takes – on average – at least six weeks. Alternatively, there are plenty of businesses offering training courses. Again, these last around six weeks, costing anything from £300 to £2,500. Some even guarantee jobs at the end of the course.
After the training is complete, any potential croupier must apply for a personal functional licence (PFL) from the Gambling Commission. To get this, you must also agree to an electronic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). This ensures you don’t have a criminal record. (Hint: if you do have a criminal record, try another career).
Training involves learning the basic rules of the most popular casino games: Blackjack, Roulette, three card Poker, and Baccarat; how to collect and pay bets; how to open and close tables for play; how to shuffle and deal like a pro; how to quickly collect chips and the finer details of croupier etiquette. The latter involves always clearing your hands, never covering your mouth or turning your back, or crossing your arms.
Still undecided? Finally: a professional croupier must also understand the regulations of the gaming industry and the telltale signs that someone is becoming a problem gambler. You will need to know how to stay calm in difficult situations and deal with angry customers whose luck may have dramatically run out. Training, scrutiny, patience, and professionalism: you need them all to succeed as a croupier
Once qualified: the world is your Roulette wheel. Cruise ships are always looking for talented croupiers to work on board. The career path is clearly mapped out: from croupier to floor manager, to pit boss and upwards. All with a steadily increasing salary.
The casino career path courtesy of Scorsese
You’ll meet fascinating people, enjoy travel opportunities, and learn to solve problems, de-escalate awkward situations, and work with people. Croupiers often move into the online world where their knowledge of casino games like Blackjack, Roulette, and Baccarat gives them a clear edge.
There are also tips. Australian tycoon and casino whale Kerry Packer once asked a croupier if she had a mortgage. She said ‘yes – about $80,000’. He said ‘not any longer’ and tipped her the chips she needed to pay for her house. That’s a great deal!