Source: Casino Creations

The following was originally in the April 2002 issue of IGWB Indian Gaming magazine

The dealer as entertainer

Utilization of the table games dealer in a role more fitting for today’s casino.

Vic Taucer.

    With the changing of the gaming business, a business that has evolved from a strictly provincial entity to a national business, the role of the dealer has changed drastically. Lets face it, even the name has changed...When was the last time one of us said they were in the  GAMBLING business? How many times have we all said we are now in the entertainment business now?

    Well, if we are  “ The complete entertainment package” as we are so kindly advertised as, this article is going to address the prime table game entertainer, THE DEALER.

    We are going to look at the role of the casino dealer, how it has evolved from the early days of gaming to today. The role of the casino dealer has changed dramatically over the years, especially in the last decade. Not technically but in expected behavior.

    The topic here is the Casino Dealer as entertainer. What exactly do we mean when we say the dealer has to entertain the customers? Am I saying that the dealer has to sing and dance for the customer? Dress the dealers in Elvis outfits or celebrity look-alike outfits?

    Well in some venues this may not be a bad idea, that is not what I am selling here. The dealer as entertainer is not singing nor dancing but more of a mind set for these employees. Dealers are entertainers and in essence the stage is the casino floor. Dealers in our casinos must be more in tune with role playing, scripting, communication and even body language training, all designed to keep the customer more entertained with the table game experience.

    Relate our casinos to a Broadway play or a movie. The similarities are striking. Movies have a theme or a story they tell, casinos do also. Look at your casino’s mission statement. Movies put out trailers and advertisements to pace people into their movies. Casinos do the same. Our advertisements lead and pace customers into our casinos. Broadway has a stage where the performers tell the story. The casino floor is the stage where our actors, especially in table games, are the performers.

    We as an industry expect our dealers to be more than just deliverers of cards and handlers of money.

"The casino dealer of the new millenium is expected not only deal and protect the game, but also to keep the customers entertained and happy"

    If we expect this from our employees, If we are to expect dealers to make entertaining and servicing customers a majority of their job duties, three things are certain:

  1. The dealer of the new millenium has to have a real outgoing style and personality
  2. The dealer of the new millenium has to be trained in how to service and entertain table game players
  3. The casino of the new millenium, both in design and management attitude has to be conductive to being an entertainment center

    The problem here is the parameters and expectations of the dealer have changed drastically. We will look at exceptions of the past and present. They are not the same. 

"We have changed expectations of the dealer without changing the training methods"

    Past expectations for dealers:

  1. Deal cards/dice to customers
  2. Pay and take bets
    Current expectations for dealers:
  1. Deal cards/dice to customers
  2. Pay and take bets
  3. Entertain customers so they play longer

    Lets take this a little further and add the floor supervisor to this mix:

    We expect more out of our floor supervisors than we did in the past. Different traits and duties. We stress service and entertainment but we don’t train for it. 

"We have changed the expectations of the Supervisor without changing the training methods"

    Past expectations for supervisors:

  1. Supervise games
  2. Account for bankrolls
  3. Manage dealers
    Current expectations for supervisors
  1. Supervise games
  2. Account for bankrolls
  3. Manage dealers
  4. Entertain customers so they play longer

"Both dealers and supervisors of the new millenium have one mandatory mission as both operators and entertainers"
Circle management - Keep the customers in the betting circle. The game will take care of everything else

    The only way to comply with Circle Management principles is for the table game dealer and supervisor to entertain the customer.

    To do this, the table game operators have two options, both have merit.

  1. Hire entertainers to be dealers and train them as such
  2. Hire dealers as entertainers and train them as such

    Some casinos are experimenting with option one. The problem with hiring entertainers to be dealers is this is expensive. While a great way to go, I do not see many casinos able to afford to hire this type and expect experienced entertainment types to work as dealers.

    All casinos will eventually wish to further execute option two. Serious training efforts must be made to arm our front line employees in table games with the entertainment-based skills needed to do the job their position requires. I am not talking here of the basic generic customer service based training programs we offer but detailed, targeted programs designed to get dealers more entertainment based than factory worked based.

    We offer the perfunctory customer service program to our employees. One day touchy feely type programs full of anachronism’s that we assume will make our employees more friendly and customer service proactive. If you want a gauge of how these programs generally work, try this, place a hidden camera on the way out of one of these customer service programs. Do these people look happy?  Now they are going to go out and work with your customer!

    I am not addressing or knocking customer service training. I am saying that the problem is we need to train our dealers and supervisor in PLAYER ENTERTAINMENT.

    I recently produced a Dealer as an Entertainer training program for the Shooting Star Casino in Minnesota. The idea for this program was to take their already customer service pro-active group of dealers and supervisors and instill in them certain entertainment based principles. This program worked well for them and would be beneficial in a great many tribal casinos. It is the same program I produced for the Paris Dealer’s opening orientation. It is needed for a great many non-tribal casinos also.

   Whether a tribal casino, Las Vegas operation or any of our nations casino’s. The same message is true

"If we are in the entertainment business lets use their methods to train our dealers and supervisors" 

  1. Scripted scenarios
  2. Rehersal
  3. Practise
  4. Speech and communication training
  5. Attitude adjustment

Vic Taucer is president of Casino Creations; a Las Vegas based casino educational and consulting company. A current professor of casino management for the University & Community College Systems of Nevada, Vic has recently served as Director of Casino Training for the Paris resort in Las Vegas. 

Vic can be reached at 702-595-7800 or at
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