Becoming a dealer in a Las Vegas casino may sound like a glamorous job, but there are some things you need to know before you begin this career. Like any profession, being a dealer in Las Vegas can be a great job that you love and do well financially, or it can be a tough job that makes it hard to get up and go in every day.
Being a Casino Dealer in Las Vegas
If you love gaming, then being a dealer might seems like the dream job. If you are considering going into the profession, there are some things you need to keep in mind. Here’s a look at benefits and pitfalls of taking a job as a dealer at a Vegas casino.
How much does a Dealer make?
The first thing to consider before deciding to become a Las Vegas dealer is the amount of money you will make. Truthfully, the salary is not very lucrative with many dealers only making the Nevada minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for those companies that offer benefits and $8.25 per hour for those that do not.
The plus side is that many of the casinos do have great health insurance so if you need that kind of benefit for you or your family, this is helpful. That base salary is raised by the amount of tips you can make, and the promise of this is what motivates most people to become dealers.
This is definitely not a science because you never know what players may tip but while the base pay for a Las Vegas dealer is about $15,000 per year, with tips included it can be anywhere from $30,000 – $60.000. There are very few jobs where you can make double the amount of your salary through tips.
The Pros and Cons of being a Dealer in Vegas
Your personality and physical restrictions are other things to consider in the field of dealing casino games in Las Vegas.
Most dealers are on their feet for their entire shift, excluding break times. This is not something that everyone can handle. Smoking is also still permitted in Las Vegas in the casinos so you will be subject to the smoke. And if you can handle those physical issues of the job, you need to decide if your personality is well suited to the work.
You need to be friendly, deal with a wide variety of people (some wilder than others – it is Las Vegas after all), handle gamblers who can be too friendly or too angry. You never know how someone will react to a losing streak! Patience is definitely a virtue in this position.
Also, you really need to have some math skills. You are the one adding up the cards in a lot of the table games, and the gamblers themselves may not be great at this. Even those players who might normally be good at math may not be so good after several drinks. It is the responsibility of the dealer to know what is going on at all times so know your math! So if you want to continue on this journey, here are some next steps.
It could make you a better Player!
Believe it or not, a lot of dealers get into the game simply to hone their skills at the tab;e, especially poker dealers. As a poker dealer at a large strip casino, you will get to sit along some of the best players in the world, and have an up close and personal look at how they play.
So if you are in it to improve your skills, then becoming a dealer is:
- A great way to the gamer without spending your own money
- A steady way to earn a living while learning the game.
- A chance to talk to and meet some of the top players in the world.
Some other benefits to the job:
- Minimal training and in most cases no degree necessary to work.
- Depending on your personality, it could be a hell of a lot of fin. You will more than likely never have a dull day, and on a daily basis you will interact with new people from all walks of life.
- There are always places to work, and even if you decide to leave Las Vegas your skills can get you hired throughout the world.
Your future as a Dealer: If you do plan on going into this career because of your ability to travel and work anywhere in the world, here is a look at what it’s like to be a traveling dealer.
Dealer Schools: Training to get a job as a Dealer
There are several gaming schools in Las Vegas that will teach you how to deal the various table games. You can focus on a specific area such as the different kinds of poker, or you can rotate through all of the table games like poker, blackjack, roulette, craps, etc. Having a working knowledge of many different games will be helpful when looking for work or if you should decide to try something new in the future.
The costs range from approximately $400 for training on two to three different games to upwards of $2,000 or more if you want to train in many.
Applying for a Job as a Dealer
Once your training is complete, you can apply for jobs at many different casinos. There are off strip casinos located throughout the city that are smaller and cater to more locals, or you can go for a job on the fabulous Las Vegas strip or downtown Las Vegas (Freemont Street).
Requirements for the Job
Once you have been offered a job, it is up to the employer to provide you with the referral slip to obtain your Sheriff’s card. This card is required for anyone working in a gaming establishment. Las Vegas Metro Sheriff’s Cards cost $44.00 and are good for three years before you need to renew them.
Now you have had your training, applied for and been offered a job, got your Sheriff’s card, and you are ready to start work. How do you get the maximum amount of tips so you can raise your income?
Raising your Income: Generating enough Tips to Double your Income
Much like any job in the entertainment and service industries, your attitude can be the key. People who come to Las Vegas want to have a good time while they gamble. For some people, it may be their first time ever gambling so you will need to show those folks a lot of patience. Las Vegas dealers are able to talk while they are working and keeping up a steady, friendly chit chat may make those gambling feel more at ease.
Some hardcore gamblers take the games very seriously and do not talk while they play and they do not want anyone talking to them either. Las Vegas dealers need to read their audience and decide which people may be up for some talking and which are not.
If a dealer has regulars, who come to their tables often then remembering someone’s name can be helpful. This is tough in a big casino where people come and go all day and night, but if you are able to get a few regulars that come to see you, then you might get better tips from them. Showing excitement for people when they win and sympathy for people when they lose are also good traits for a dealer.
Everyone has a Story!
As mentioned before, Las Vegas dealers can have to deal with some interesting people who may not be very happy if they lose money or if they are intoxicated. A good dealer will learn some strategies to calm a situation down, but you can never be ready for every scenario.
One dealer told me a story of a beautiful tall, blond pregnant woman playing at his table. She was sweet and friendly and just the kind of customer every dealer would want. After a few minutes, one of her friends came over and told her something that involved her husband, and this lovely young lady turned into the Tasmanian devil!
She started cursing like a sailor, stood up and kicked her chair backward, sending it flying across the casino. She screamed, “Get him on the phone. I want a divorce. And bring me a shot of tequila!” Her friends calmed her down and let her away (without the shot of tequila), and the dealer had to remind her to take her chips with her. Despite how mad she was at her husband, she gave the dealer a nice tip and left.
That dealer had worried for years that he might run up against a huge biker with a bad attitude. It turns out the scariest customer he had was a 100 pound, pregnant beauty queen! If things get to the point where the dealer is not able to handle someone, or they cannot leave their table to address an issue, then you always have the back up of “the floor.”
There is a pit boss on the floor at all times, and they can come in to deal with problems from a dispute over the cards to a complaining customer. Casinos also have security available at all times, and the pit boss can call them in to help if something gets violent or an intoxicated guest needs to be escorted out of the building.
What you can Expect
A Las Vegas dealer can be a fun and exciting job, and you can truly say that it is not like any other job in the world. It may take some time before a dealer gets to the exciting stuff. Some new dealers may be put on slow-paced games during the less busy day time shifts.
As you gain experience and longevity with a casino, you can be moved into more intricate games and a night shift. Night shifts can be hard to get used to if you have worked at a day job in the past. However, Las Vegas is known for its nightlife, so casinos are much busier at night. A busier casino can equal better tips.
Most casinos also have high limit areas or rooms where it costs more to gamble, and this may give you a better opportunity to make tips. Having a high roller at your table does not always mean that you will get a better tip. The rich sometimes stay rich because they do not like to spend a lot of money. But many Las Vegas dealers say that they make more in tips once they have moved into a high limit area.
Of course, there are also those amazing stories like this one: A dealer had a businessman at her table, and he consistently lost round after round. He was down a million dollars, and instead of getting upset he stated that he had figured he would lose at least that much but wanted to stay longer. He left the table, made a phone call to someone to bring him more money and played several more hours. Luckily he won back the million plus an additional 3 million and tipped the dealer out $5,000 on his way out the door. That is the Las Vegas dealer dream!