Casino dealers searching for a job embark on a somewhat rigorous audition and interview process that is unlike most industries in the United States. Yes, an actor auditioning for a role in a movie has to act out a scene or two, showcasing his talents, but the actor is the exception. When applying for the majority of jobs, there is no practical application of job skills/duties. A bank teller, for example, doesn’t have to step up to the window and perform a few transactions for the hiring manager.
When applying for a job, casino dealers have to be skilled in two areas. There is the audition, focusing on skill and ability. And there is the interview, shining light on personality. In this article, I’ll give some pointers for acing your audition.
The audition is the practical examination. Dealers dress in black and whites (black pants, black polished shoes, and a crisp long-sleeve white button down shirt), step up to a game, and deal. The dealer should be able to swiftly calculate payouts and abide by proper procedure, preferably while carrying on a conversation with customers. This is either a you-know-it-or-you-don’t situation. You can brush up before an audition, but it’s really not possible to crash study and learn everything you need to learn a day before your “performance.” Casinos that require dealers to be experienced will be able to make an instant assessment as soon as the auditioning dealer makes a payout or pulls a card from the shoe.
My best advice for a casino audition is to know your stuff! If you have never dealt Baccarat before, don’t list it on your application as a game that you know. If it’s been a while since you’ve dealt, grab a shoe and an ironing board and brush up on your skills. In the audition, it’s not about perfection. The bosses will give you some leeway, understanding that you’re nervous. If you drop a card, it is important that you don’t freak out and blow the whole round. Just pick it up and keep going.
Confidence goes a long way. Casino bosses want to hire dealers who are confident, not dealers who are shaky and will have to be carefully monitored to prevent mistakes. Sweeping a roulette layout with speed and grace and paying the “pass line” on the craps table quickly and efficiently are simple activities that will evoke that feeling of confidence. Your confidence will make the boss confident about hiring you.
So, other than being good at what you do and being confident – two things that you may not necessarily be able to control – what advice do I generally give to those going on an audition?
Well, first piece of advice is to look good. Iron your shirt and polish your shoes. Look as if you care whether or not you are hired. You don’t have to be a supermodel, but look as if you take pride in your appearance. At the Rio there is a mirror right by the casino floor that says: “Would you hire you?”
I’m surprised by some of the shirts that people wear to an audition. If you don’t have a long-sleeve white button down shirt, then go to the store and buy one. Do not sort through your closet trying to find something that is “good enough” because “good enough” is not good enough. I had one student at my school who refused to purchase even a $7 shirt. He tried to make do with a short-sleeved white shirt that did not have a collar. Needless to say, that after being brushed off by a couple casino bosses, he broke down and purchased a $7 shirt. Skill was not an issue for this dealer and after he looked the part, he was hired.
My final advice is to prepare by visiting the casino where you are going to be auditioning. You should watch or play a few rounds to see what the casino expects. When you tap into a game for an audition, it is usually a live game. You can’t say: “Oh, wait, I don’t know that particular side bet.” Yes, it’s not fair that you can be tested on something that you’re not “required” to know, but think about it this way… If you’re the hiring manager and two candidates audition – one who doesn’t understand the side bet and one who pays it swiftly – who would you hire? Who seems better suited for the job?
With a dry run, you’ll get rid of some of your nerves. You will be able to picture the casino in your mind and will be less nervous when it comes time for you to deal. Also, you may get the chance to answer one of the common questions dealers are asked. “Where is the nearest bathroom?” And “Where is the nearest ATM?” Again, a candidate who knows the answers to these questions will be impressive to the hiring manager.
You may also find something quirky at the casino and have time to adjust to it. Something that threw me off personally was the $25 cheque at the Hard Rock. Every casino I’ve ever entered had green $25 cheques and purple $500 cheques. The Hard Rock, however, does not. Their $25 cheques are purple. This seemingly insignificant detail can derail your nerves at a job audition. Best to be completely prepared by walking through the casino prior to your audition.
So, when you go for a job audition, be sure that you know your stuff, are confident, look good, and prepare with a walk through. Good luck! Hope you get the job!