Slick, sophisticated, smooth. There are many words which spring to mind when we think ‘croupier’ but there’s so much more to this career than simply dealing cards and tossing some dice. It requires flair, wit, skill, and above all razor-sharp reaction times and an uncanny ability in mental arithmetic.
If you reckon the life of a croupier could be on the cards for you, hopefully this guide will see you coming up aces.
What is a croupier?
Croupiers work within a casino environment and are responsible for the running of the games. Depending on your area of expertise, this could see you at the head of a number of standard card games such as poker and blackjack, or any of the other games taking place within the casino including roulette and craps.
Of course, the specifics of your job will depend heavily on which games you are operating. Generally speaking though, these are some of the things that you could expect to do on a day to day basis;
- making sure that the betting table is set up correctly, before and during your shift
- demonstrating a high level of hospitality to the guests
- making sure that all players are aware of the rules of the game before it begins
- controlling the game by dealing cards, rolling dice, or operating machinery
- making sure that all players follow the rules of the game
- collecting and dispersing chips depending on the outcome of the game
- doing very rapid arithmetic to keep track of winner payouts and the progress of the game
- being constantly aware of the security issues associated with casino environments
Of all the skills necessary to have a successful career as a croupier, confidence is perhaps the most important. Not only does this mean that you need to be confident in your own ability but you must also be natural and comfortable when working in front of an audience. If you feel that you possess this ability, then there are a number of other skills and attributes which could increase your suitability for this role. These include;
- skills associated with customer service roles including a friendly, polite and welcoming demenanour
- an enthusiastic approach to your work and an understanding of the importance of your ‘performance’
- the mental stamina needed to sustain your concentration throughout what may be a long shift
- an exceptionally good eye for detail
- excellent skills in mental arithmetic to provide and smooth and seamless game for your players
- a high level of manual dexterity, to ensure that the progress of the game remains well paced and fluid
- professional integrity
Many croupiers make their living either on cruise ships or abroad and in these cases language skills become very important.
Hours of work and salary
As you would expect, working hours within a casino can be tough since so much of their trade takes place at night. Most croupiers will work around 40 hours a week, within a shift pattern that will include days, nights, evenings, weekends and public holidays. As a croupier you need to be flexible in your approach to work, and understand that the nature of the role will often require you to work anti social hours.
As is the case with all careers, the level of salary that you can expect to receive depends on a number of factors including experience, location and the number of hours you work. Generally in the UK, someone who is at the very beginning of their career can expect a salary, somewhere in the region of £14,000 to £16,000 per year, however with a significant level of experience this can increase to £25,000. UK gaming laws have recently changed, allowing croupiers to accept tips for the service that they provide, which can increase your earning potential substantially.
Entry requirements and training
Legally in the UK you must be at least 18 years of age to work in a casino.
Strictly speaking there are no specific qualifications necessary to train or work as a croupier, but some employers will expect a certain level of formal education. This will most often include the stipulation that you hold both english and maths GCSEs, owing to the high levels of mental arithmetic and communication needed to carry out the role effectively. Most application processes will include maths and mental arithmetic testing, to ensure that you can obtain a high enough level to carry out the work successfully.
You will also need to be able to pass a colour-blindness and hearing test to begin working as a croupier.
The training to become a fully fledged croupier takes place ‘on the job’ after a successful application has been made.
The Gambling industry in the UK is overseen by the Gambling Commission which is also responsible for the issuing of licences to those who have successfully completed an accredited training programme, which will usually be provided by the casino in which you plan to work.
These training courses will usually take place on a full-time basis over a six week period, and will incorporate the essential knowlege and skill needed to work within the industry. The areas covered by this training include; UK gambling law, customer service, and the techniques employed by croupiers in their day to day work.
With increased experience there is significant opportunity for career progression within the gambling industry, and particularly the casino environment. The next step on the ladder would be ‘pit boss’, who works in a supervisory / managerial position to the croupiers. It is the pit boss’s responsibility to monitor the dealers for errors and ensure that proper procedures are followed, payoffs are handled correctly, and guests are treated properly.
Fingers crossed this quick guide has been helpful if you are considering a career as a croupier. However, if you reckon that the deck is stacked against you, you might like to consider some of the other careers in our rather fab career directory.