PCF member dennis63 becomes a real casino dealer (1 Viewer)

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Today, I work full-time as a 911 calltaker and dispatcher in my home state.

I still deal blackjack at private events, and have dealt for a casino party company. I've pondered the idea of returning to the casino tables close to home, but haven't done that yet.

Sorry it didn't turn out more positive but from the early posts it seems it was worth while at first and you got out when it wasn't. My career is 100% project based and certainly some projects were not much fun at the time. I have always approached it as trying to make sure it was time well spent when I look back. As in I learned something new or now I know how to avoid a new kind of problem I never would have otherwise. Sounds like you were able to get a new fun skill out of it even if it didn't turn into a career. Plus you will never have to wonder "what if?"
 
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dennis63

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@dennis63 I thought you were LEO at one point, or did you retire

You have a good memory. I was a police officer for 25 years. I retired at the end of 2015. I worked as an instructor in the federal system for awhile while working part-time for my alma mater, the University of Delaware.

I applied to take the blackjack class in the summer, during a break from UD, thinking I could deal part-time, two or three shifts a week, and still work at the university. The casino really wanted you to work 40 or more hours per week, but did not deliver on promised benefits.

One day at lunch, I asked a floor supervisor, "So, I've been working more than 40 hours a week. When do they start paying benefits?"

His answer was blunt and honest.

"When they are told by the state that they have to." That could take a year, he said.

Shortly after, I heard that the university was looking for a police dispatcher.

Now I work inside a room that looks like the "MTAC" in the TV show "NCIS." (Giant flat screens with hi-Def camera images from all over the campus and city, and lots and lots of technology designed to be used on the worst day imaginable.)

The pay and benefits are good, and, as it turns out, much better than the casino.

I still miss dealing, or some parts of it.

Using the real stuff -- beautiful cards, a real two-shoe shuffling machine, and a float with $35,000 in face-value chips. You can't beat that experience.

(The chips at the casino where I worked looked like crap. The inlay was ugly, and the chips were worn, beaten, sticky and smelled like an ash tray. Smoking was allowed at the tables.)

It was fun, but after awhile, you begin to see all the negatives.

I would point out that most of the negative things I've mentioned here do not happen in every casino. The one I worked for was a subsidiary of one of the biggest gaming industry companies, but was their "low-end" brand.

For me, it was a great experience. It was not for me, but it may be exactly what someone else here is looking for as a career.

So if you are reading this thread and thinking about it, I would say try it and see. I did. Even though it was not my permanent retirement job, I don't regret doing it for a second.
 
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dennis63

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Side question, based off a topic from another thread...

@dennis63 , do you tip differently now, based off your experience?

Probably not. During play, I try to tip before a dealer change. If I am up and leaving a table, 15 percent of the win goes to the dealer. If they were a really good dealer, maybe more.
 

Anthony Martino

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Today, I work full-time as a 911 calltaker and dispatcher in my home state.


I was an on-call firefighter back in the early 90's and an EMD for a private ambulance company which held the 911-contract for the town back in the early 2000's. Have about 20 years of experience in "logistics" which not only involved managing ambulance crews but also a same-day courier company, a limo company, a security company and now I manage an auto-hauling company with 7-car haulers and tow trucks moving cars to and from auctions and dealerships.

It's all the same job, just a different "product".

Two stories stick out for me from my time taking 911 calls:


BYPASSING 911

I'm working a double shift and it's about 1 in the morning when a call comes in, but it's direct to our ambulance companies phone #, rather than 911. Girl says she found her boyfriend and he's unresponsive, needs an ambulance. So I ask if he took anything, she says she doesn't know, she just found him like that.

So in my head I'm thinking "ok, it's 1am, I find someone I care for unresponsive, do I:

A. Call 911
B. Lookup the # for a private ambulance company and call them direct

Well now, THAT doesn't add up. So why is she bypassing the 911 system? Probably because it's a drug overdose and she doesn't want a police response. So of course I call the Police and have them roll a unit, cause I'm not sending my crew potentially into harms way, and sure enough it was an OD

THE GLORY RUN

EMT's and Paramedics in our small town of 22,000 people got paid dick. It was like $13/hr for EMT's and $16/hr for Paramedics. And maybe $0.25/hr raise for each year of experience. For the amount of knowledge, training and retraining, certifications and responsibility on their shoulders it's really terrible. But a lot of them use it as a path to higher paying nursing or physicians assistant positions, or getting into higher-funded firefighting paramedic positions.

But anyway, the days can be a real grind. You have your "regulars" like a lady who would call screaming into the phone I CAN'T BREATHE! even though she's breathing just fine as she screams about it. So you'd roll a unit, she'd refuse service, and then an hour later she's calling again and you roll another truck.

But then there are the "glory" calls that EVERYONE wants to go on. We had a busy 4-way intersection in town where a transit bus, dump truck and a station wagon all got into an accident. I can't recall which, but one of them got flipped over and we had multiple injuries. So I'm on the horn calling all the nearby towns for mutual aid to the scene, and start rolling my trucks.

However, I held one Paramedic crew back at our station. The thing is, once a crew makes patient contact, I can't pull them from the scene. Since I've already called in mutual aid from surrounding towns, if I dedicate ALL of my own resources to this one scene, and someone has a heart attack elsewhere in town, I have no resources available to respond to it.

So obviously the crew that didn't get to go on the "glory run" was pissed about it, but I had to manage my resources at the time to be ready for the unknown.




As far as my time as a firefighter, I fought some brush fires and house fires, but I never rescued anyone out of a burning building or saved a cat from a tree or stood up in a fire and had beautiful blue eyes (I'm looking at you Backdraft!). I was also a CPR instructor but was fortunate to never have to actually perform it on anyone. We did have a family lose their house to a fire on Christmas Eve which was pretty heart wrenching, but no one was injured so at least there was that.
 

dennis63

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I was an on-call firefighter back in the early 90's and an EMD for a private ambulance company which held the 911-contract for the town back in the early 2000's. Have about 20 years of experience in "logistics" which not only involved managing ambulance crews but also a same-day courier company, a limo company, a security company and now I manage an auto-hauling company with 7-car haulers and tow trucks moving cars to and from auctions and dealerships.

It's all the same job, just a different "product".

Two stories stick out for me from my time taking 911 calls:


BYPASSING 911

I'm working a double shift and it's about 1 in the morning when a call comes in, but it's direct to our ambulance companies phone #, rather than 911. Girl says she found her boyfriend and he's unresponsive, needs an ambulance. So I ask if he took anything, she says she doesn't know, she just found him like that.

So in my head I'm thinking "ok, it's 1am, I find someone I care for unresponsive, do I:

A. Call 911
B. Lookup the # for a private ambulance company and call them direct

Well now, THAT doesn't add up. So why is she bypassing the 911 system? Probably because it's a drug overdose and she doesn't want a police response. So of course I call the Police and have them roll a unit, cause I'm not sending my crew potentially into harms way, and sure enough it was an OD

THE GLORY RUN

EMT's and Paramedics in our small town of 22,000 people got paid dick. It was like $13/hr for EMT's and $16/hr for Paramedics. And maybe $0.25/hr raise for each year of experience. For the amount of knowledge, training and retraining, certifications and responsibility on their shoulders it's really terrible. But a lot of them use it as a path to higher paying nursing or physicians assistant positions, or getting into higher-funded firefighting paramedic positions.

But anyway, the days can be a real grind. You have your "regulars" like a lady who would call screaming into the phone I CAN'T BREATHE! even though she's breathing just fine as she screams about it. So you'd roll a unit, she'd refuse service, and then an hour later she's calling again and you roll another truck.

But then there are the "glory" calls that EVERYONE wants to go on. We had a busy 4-way intersection in town where a transit bus, dump truck and a station wagon all got into an accident. I can't recall which, but one of them got flipped over and we had multiple injuries. So I'm on the horn calling all the nearby towns for mutual aid to the scene, and start rolling my trucks.

However, I held one Paramedic crew back at our station. The thing is, once a crew makes patient contact, I can't pull them from the scene. Since I've already called in mutual aid from surrounding towns, if I dedicate ALL of my own resources to this one scene, and someone has a heart attack elsewhere in town, I have no resources available to respond to it.

So obviously the crew that didn't get to go on the "glory run" was pissed about it, but I had to manage my resources at the time to be ready for the unknown.




As far as my time as a firefighter, I fought some brush fires and house fires, but I never rescued anyone out of a burning building or saved a cat from a tree or stood up in a fire and had beautiful blue eyes (I'm looking at you Backdraft!). I was also a CPR instructor but was fortunate to never have to actually perform it on anyone. We did have a family lose their house to a fire on Christmas Eve which was pretty heart wrenching, but no one was injured so at least there was that.

I hear you on all of that. Most of what we dispatch is routine -- students or professors locked out of dorm rooms or academic buildings, the occasional fire alarm. But we do get some serious calls, medical, psych, fights, etc.
 
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dennis63

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Dennis. Are you still dealing? Learn any new games? Does your casino have craps? That is the game to deal.

Sorry for the delay. I just found your post.

I'm not dealing at the casino anymore. I dealt for about six months, and grew tired of the very strange shift and the very tough customers cursing, cheating and generally doing stuff that my instructor said, "would not be tolerated in any other casino" he had worked for in 30 years.

These days, I deal a regular, weekly two-hour session at a senior center, where we get between 10 and 15 players at two tables. We play strict "casino rules," for points only. We give away a few prizes during the game -- dollar bills, silver dollars, decks of cards, candy. The players love it. It's all volunteer, but I pay a second dealer to take the second table.

And you're right. My casino "dealer academy" instructor said, "If you want to have fun working at a casino, the next game you should learn is craps."

Someday, I will trek to Vegas for a month or two and enroll in a good dealer training program out there for craps and roulette.

And you can bet I'll be writing about it here...
 

dirty moose

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How do you dealers do all the math at the tables? Is it just memorization?
Roulette comes to mind, seems like a nightmare to deal.
 

Kain8

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How do you dealers do all the math at the tables? Is it just memorization?
Roulette comes to mind, seems like a nightmare to deal.

When I got trained in roulette you had to memorize your multiplication tables of 35 and 17 mainly. I could do that math in my head so that was a breeze. Part of your final exam is they take a whole roulette layout and cover every single possible bet. Then you had to go from 0 to 36 and figure out the payout on each. No scratch paper, just a spot to write your answer in for each payout.
 

dennis63

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Yes, no phones or calculators allowed at the table for the players or the dealers. The information must be in your head. You have to be able to do the math quickly -- quicker than the player, at least.

When they interview new dealer applicants, the first thing they do is give you a math test.

After you get hired, they give you a table of common bets and payouts and recommend you memorize it.
 
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dirty moose

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Yes, no phones or calculators allowed at the table for the players or the dealers. The information must be in your head. You have to be able to do the math quickly -- quicker than the player, at least.

When they interview new dealer applicants, the first thing they do is give you a math test.

After you get hired, they give you a table of common bets and payouts and recommend you memorize it.

WOW.....
How in the world did you guys learn this? Serious question. I guess I'm just bad a math.
 

Frogzilla

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Interested to hear about the cheating you experienced. Just as a “hey someone thought they could get away with it”. Was it mostly trying to add/ subtract from the bet?
 

dennis63

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Interested to hear about the cheating you experienced. Just as a “hey someone thought they could get away with it”. Was it mostly trying to add/ subtract from the bet?

No, much simpler than that. People most often tried to give crappy hand signals. When they saw the card, either because you dealt it to them or to the next player, they would say they didn't want the hit, or that they wanted the card you dealt to the next spot, depending on the card value. It was their way of trying to see the next card before deciding if they wanted it.

Next most common was calling out their total. The number they said was always better than what they had.

I heard a player telling a floor supervisor once that he watched a player sitting at "third base" and pinching and capping bets repeatedly on the previous night with a particular new dealer from my class. I did not necessarily believe him.

When the player left the table, the floor supervisor was not happy. He didn't believe they guy either.

"What really sucks," he said, "is now I have to report that." He said casino officials and the gaming enforcement officers would have to open an investigation on the dealer and the player to determine if they were working together to cheat the casino.

This is actually pretty rare, from what I've heard. We were told to never even think about dealing to anyone we knew.
 
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PlaidDragon

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Thanks for all of your insights, Dennis. This was really an interesting read.

This is the 2nd time I read thru everything here. Incidentally both times have been while I’m here visiting Vegas.
 

Lemonzest

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Yes, no phones or calculators allowed at the table for the players or the dealers. The information must be in your head. You have to be able to do the math quickly -- quicker than the player, at least.

When they interview new dealer applicants, the first thing they do is give you a math test.

After you get hired, they give you a table of common bets and payouts and recommend you memorize it.

I love the idea and romance of it. Using real chips and real cards etc. However, I am weak at math so I think craps and roulette would be way to hard for me. I would however love to read your trip report of being a craps dealer in Vegas. That is a video series or book I would pay for. So cool.
 

dennis63

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As I've noted in posts above, my blackjack instructor loved craps. After he learned the game and was working at the craps table, his bosses had a unique way of getting him to pay bets very quickly and always pay out the right amount.

If he made a mistake on the payout, his boss would kick him in the shins.

"You learned pretty quickly to get it right every time," he said.

(Incidentally, this was when he was working for The Sands.)
 

Poker Zombie

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As I've noted in posts above, my blackjack instructor loved craps. After he learned the game and was working at the craps table, his bosses had a unique way of getting him to pay bets very quickly and always pay out the right amount.

If he made a mistake on the payout, his boss would kick him in the shins.

"You learned pretty quickly to get it right every time," he said.

(Incidentally, this was when he was working for The Sands.)
Makes sence. Make a mistake, get kicked in the shins. Make a big mistake, and two very large gentlemen show up at your house and break them.
 

Lovejoyz

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WOW.....
How in the world did you guys learn this? Serious question. I guess I'm just bad a math.

Practice. Most people who want to deal either: 1. Go to a dealing school, where they give them some ideas and tools to practice with, and work on it until they get it, or fail out. 1. Have friends that deal, and they work outside of their other jobs on the math/procedures until they get it.
Not all places have dealing schools in/near their jurisdiction, and they have to come up with other ways of memorizing pay tables and doing the math before they apply at a casino. We won't even take an application from somebody that can't instantly figure out a Blackjack payout, or have the 3 card poker pay table memorized. If they have those, THEN they can get an interview. Learning the rest of the games are easy, and very relatable to those two games.
 

dennis63

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So I posted today in @Nuhockey's Starting Dealing thread and was trying to recall some numbers from the posts above.

I don't want to (further) derail his thread with my own experience and the reasons I left the casino. I'll correct my post here.

My state charges $350 for a gaming license. The casino paid it and took $70 per paycheck for 10 weeks -- five paychecks to pay for it. They said they "owned" it for two years.

And that first 40-hour paycheck was $10.58 for 40 hours of work -- roughly 26 cents per hour -- after taxes and deuctions taken by the casino for various things.
 
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