Sunday, June 5, 2011

The 10 Reasons I Still Work in a Casino After All These Years


When I was younger and working in a casino in London, players would sit down at my game and invariably the following question would come up. “You went to university, what are you  doing working in a joint like this?”  I would always look around me where there were rows of dealers just like me, fresh faced and trying to postpone adulthood as long as they could. I was planning to deal for a couple of years, maybe travel a bit, and then find a 'proper' job and settle down. However I quickly discovered that I loved the job. Next I worked in the Bahamas, and then on a cruise-ship in the Med, and by that time I was sucked into the casino lifestyle. Over the years at one time or another most of us have left the casino business, but in the end the majority return. So let me tell you the top ten reasons for working in a 'joint like this.'

  1. You get paid for playing games all day. Well you really don’t get paid much; the majority of your money comes from tips. So remember, punters, there is one person in the casino that wants you to win, and that person is the dealer. Because if you don’t win I won’t make tips and everybody likes to eat. There is nothing more exhilarating than sharing in a big win with a player.

  1. Every casino that I have ever worked in provides health insurance, because we are all eventually going to get carpel tunnel from pitching cards for years.

  1. You can work any shift that you want to. Can’t stand sunlight, you just sign up to work the graveyard shift. A morning person, well day shift is for you. With casinos open 24 / 7, including the holidays there is a perfect shift for everyone. When dealer couples have children they don’t need child care they just work opposite shifts.

  1. Gambling is a growth industry. With more states, cities and countries in desperate financial straits, they are turning to casinos. Fifty years ago there were casinos only in Nevada now according to Wikipedia there are casinos in 19 states.

  1. You can’t be outsourced. Someone does have to actually deal those cards on a blackjack game. I know they have been working on perfecting a blackjack machine, but then you might as well just play the slot machines, Table game gamblers don’t trust machines. So we’re safe for a while.

  1. You can get a job at almost any age. I have seen dealers in their sixties get hired. This is great because at some point most people in the casino business get fired. But it is a small enough industry that you probably know someone in management somewhere, and they will juice you into a job.

  1. Free food is a great incentive. Most casinos I’ve worked in have provided free meals and drinks and if they do charge the cost is minimal. If going out to lunch costs $5 a day, then that is like a $25 raise every week. It can get even better, when I lived on a ship I also got free room and board!

  1. You don’t have to buy clothes, because your company will gladly provide you with a uniform. It will be ugly, it will be made of polyester, but it will be free.

  1. You get to live in nice places, which is what got me into the business in the   first place. Besides London, I have lived on a cruise ship circling the world, in Moscow, the Czech Republic and the Bahamas. and  I now live in Palm Springs.  

  1. When I was single it was a great way to meet girls! I would put that as reason number one but the Missus would kill me!
So the next time you play at a table you don’t have to ask, you will already know why that dealer is working there. If you really want to know what it is like to work in a casino read my novel Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships. 

About the author:
Ray Bertoia is the author of Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships. He wrote the novel with his wife Cara.Their novel is really a travelogue, a narrative, a romance, a self-help manual for gambling and cruising, and a real-life story all rolled into one funny, obsessive, and entertaining story of two people whose separate life journeys meet at a crossroads. Kindle Fire Dept. says, "This novel is a gem that is nothing short of a vacation in a book!"
Below is the links to Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships


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