Life as a Dealer

Like many jobs in America, Table Games Dealers spend their life as a dealer working 8-hour shifts. But 9 to 5 to a dealer likely means 9pm to 5am. There are three standard shifts; graveyard (4am-12pm), day shift (12pm-8pm), and swing (8pm-4am). Most new hires begin on swing shift, as more people gamble in the evenings than any other time.

During a typical shift, Table Games Dealers get a twenty minute break after they work one hour, so in an eight hour shift, a dealer works for six hours and takes two hours worth of breaks. Dealers take breaks away from the casino floor in a break room or the EDR (employee dining room). Hours vary and are quite flexible. Casinos often send dealers home who wish to leave early if business is slow. New dealers customarily start on the extra board, working part time with a changing schedule, yet as they gain seniority they will be promoted to full time with benefits.

A dealer’s income varies drastically based on the house where they work. In Las Vegas, dealers normally make minimum wage, with customer tips comprising the majority of their earnings. The average salary ranges between $20,000–$100,000 per year. A break-in house, where most dealers begin their career, pays toward the low end but after some experience dealers can get jobs at higher end casinos. Most casinos require that Table Games Dealers pool their tips and divide them based on a 24-hour split.

The chart below shows the average dealer tips per day in November 2008 as reported by The Dealer’s News. (These tips are in addition to minimum wage daily rate of approximately $60.)

Property Tips
Wynn Las Vegas $263
Hard Rock $203
MGM $158
Green Valley Ranch $156
Harrah’s $129
Sunset Station $125
Bally’s $123
Planet Hollywood $118
South Point $113
Monte Carlo $111
Sahara $66
Stratosphere $65

Some casinos assign a dealer to a table for the entire evening and others assign a dealer to a string where they rotate tables all night. The more games a dealer knows how to deal, the more variety they’ll receive at work and the more valuable they become to a casino. Dealing can be a very fun job. Dealers are paid not only for their technical skills, but also to provide customers with a rich and entertaining experience. There’s no other industry where a front line employee spends so much concentrated time with guests.

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