I am currently a magazine editor looking to work part-time as
a dealer, simply for a little extra income and because I would
really enjoy it. I am good mathematically, smart, friendly, know
all the games inside and out, a college graduate; in short, a
very good dealer. How do I break into the business? Any advice?
Most newbies looking for jobs
pitching cardboard get 'em in one of two ways: a) going to a local
dealing school and then auditioning, or b) being hired from within,
i.e. boosted from some low-level job at ABC casino, like lugging
50 pounds of change strapped to your waist. If you cheerfully
survive the mule-service, rarely call in sick, your work history
file shows no major boo-boos, and management requires a few new
dealers, you may be sent to their in-house college of dealing.
But — and you knew there would be a but — there are exceptions, of
which Yours Truly was one. It's known as the Ironing Board method.
I learned on an ironing board from Jerry (who went on to become
a gaming control agent for the State of Nevada), then auditioned
for a job. Of course, faking it can only go so far when learning
on a hot-press table. Initially, like all break-ins, I got the
heebie-jeebies if a player happened to bet over 50 cents. That's
right folks, my virginal hour dealing blackjack was on a 50¢ game
at the Club Cal Neva in downtown Reno.
After my 20-minute break, I was assigned a dead $2 game. No
problem, no bettors. I can do this. Then SLOSHY STAN showed up,
feeling no pain, and started betting $5-$25 a hand. Five minutes
into his play he got a pair of aces, and then split them.
Huh, mathematically interesting, I thought, punching my memory
back to the ironing board, but to no avail; Jerry had never mentioned
splitting aces. Actually, a frazzled dealer of ten minds with
limited knowledge of the game does not know what to do or pay
when a player splits aces.
This crisis situation required drastic measures to avoid total
disaster. So I pondered briefly whether to call over a pit boss
and look like an idiot, didn't, then pretended to know what I
was doing. I made the airy decision that if you split aces and
got two face cards as lucky Stan had just done, you just got yourself
two blackjacks, so I paid him accordingly. Stan liked me. Oh yeah!
I was actually paying this unmerited royalty on split aces for
most of my first shift until an old-time pit boss named Dennis
Healy (my all-time favorite old-time pit boss) noticed my generosity
and asked, "You're new, right?" Yeah, I answered. "Is
your name Pilarski?" I replied, yes. Then he asked, "Are
you Polish?" Yep, I said proudly. His next words were, "See
me on your break."
No slap on the wrist, nothing from Healy, unless you count being
put on secret double probation and the demotion to the sole 50¢
game in the house for the next two months.
So to complete my answer to you, John, get a high-grade ironing
board and a watchful roommate willing to spend more than four hours
Gambling quote of the week: "Life is a gamble, like crossing
the road. One day chicken, next day feathers." —Unknown