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Best of Henry Tamburin

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Interview with a blackjack dealer

5 November 2010

I sat down with a veteran blackjack dealer and began firing questions at her. You may find what she had to say about her career very interesting.

How long have you been dealing blackjack?

Ten years.

All with the same casino?

No, I've worked in four different casinos.

Why did you change casinos?

I hated my boss in one case. He was a real pain in the you-know-what. He kept blaming me when players were winning money. I also switched once to a new casino thinking I would have better opportunities to move up.

What do you like best about dealing blackjack?

I like interacting with players. I've always been pretty outgoing and I like being able to talk to my players, find out where they are from, you know, stuff like that.

Are you a fast or slow dealer?

I'd consider myself a fast dealer. I like to keep the play at a steady pace so I'm pretty quick dealing the cards from the shoe. But I try not to rush players when they are thinking about how to play their hand.

Do you try to help a player that may be new to the game?

Yes, I do. If someone asks me to explain the rules or a specific procedure, I'm more than glad to do so. Sometimes players ask me how to play their hand and I'm not supposed to tell them, but I usually say something like, "This is what the books say to do."

Do you know the basic playing strategy?

Yea, kind of. I've read a few books on blackjack but I don't get to play a lot so my strategy is a little rusty.

What don't you like about your job?

Standing on my feet for long periods of time every day gets tiring. Also my wrists get sore from dealing the cards all day. I also hate it when players blow smoke in my face, or get upset at me when they lose.

Have you had some nasty experiences with losing players?

All the time. Like I said, some players blame me when they lose and they can get pretty angry.

Can you give an example?

Well, I had one fellow stand up and throw his cards at my face. Another player swore at me so loud that my boss and security had to come throw him out of the casino. Once a lady called me a "bitch" when I got a blackjack and often men have called me worse when I outdraw them. A few weeks ago, a player slammed his fist so hard on the table when he busted that all the players' chips went flying.

Do most players tip you?

No, I'd say maybe half. I try to be nice and friendly to my players and make them feel comfortable when they play. I want them to enjoy themselves, win or lose. I figure if I do that, I'm more likely to get a tip.

How important are tips for your livelihood?

Are you kidding me? Without the tips that we get from customers we couldn't live on our salary. I depend very much on the tips that I get to make ends meet.

Do you know anything about card counting?

Only from what I've read in books and from that movie "21."

Do you card count when you deal?

Me? No, I've got too much to concentrate on adding up the player's cards and making the right payoffs.

Do you think you've ever had a card counter playing on your table?

I've had players increase and decrease their bets, which is what card counters do, and a couple of times my boss told me to stop dealing and shuffle the cards after only a couple of rounds and I figured it's because one of my players was card counting.

Do you have any rules that you must follow as to where you must place the cut card into the shuffled decks of cards?

I'm mostly dealing with six decks of cards and our policy is that we are supposed to cut off about 1.5 decks. They have a mark on the side of the dealing shoe that tells us where to put the cut card so that after 4.5 decks are played I have to reshuffle.

Have you made any dealing mistakes?

My first few years dealing I made a couple. Once I passed up a player who wanted a hit. Another time I added up the player's hand incorrectly. And one time I miscounted my hand and incorrectly paid off the table. You know we are human and sometimes we make mistakes.

What do you do when you make a mistake?

Our casino's policy is to stop dealing and call over our supervisor. They are supposed to make the final decision on how to correct a mistake.

Do you have to work different shifts?

Oh yeah. That took a lot of getting use to in the beginning but now I'm used to it. But it's still tough some time working nights and sleeping during the day, and I hate to work on holidays when everyone else is off.

Are you interested in getting promoted to a floor supervisor?

Yes, but right now I'm not qualified. I need to get a license in another game. That's a big mistake that I made years ago. I should have gotten a license in another game besides blackjack. Only having experience in one game hinders you from getting promoted.

Overall, are you satisfied with the career you chose?

I would say yes. I only have a high school degree and I don't think I'd be able to make the kind of money that I'm now making as a dealer. I've also got a chance to advance if I get off my duff and go to school and get licensed in another game. But, overall, I enjoy my job as a dealer.

Recent Articles
Best of Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin is the author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course. For a free 3-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter with full membership privileges, visit www.bjinsider.com/free. For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 866/WIN-BJ21. For a free copy of his casino gambling catalog featuring over 50 products call 888/353-3234 or visit the Internet store at www.smartgaming.com.

Henry Tamburin Websites:

www.smartgaming.com

Books by Henry Tamburin:

> More Books By Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin is the author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course. For a free 3-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter with full membership privileges, visit www.bjinsider.com/free. For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 866/WIN-BJ21. For a free copy of his casino gambling catalog featuring over 50 products call 888/353-3234 or visit the Internet store at www.smartgaming.com.

Henry Tamburin Websites:

www.smartgaming.com

Books by Henry Tamburin:

> More Books By Henry Tamburin