Once, when I was booked for a “fun casino” the other person due to work dropped out at the last minute, leaving the job a dealer short. A “fun casino” if you haven’t come across one, is a casino at a private event – usually a Christmas party – where the “customers” come to the table with fun money. No real cash changes hands, and there’s usually a bottle of bubbly for whoever wins the most chips. The casino dealers tend to be former croupiers who no longer work in casinos, although a few will be doing the job on their night off.
I was living in New Jersey in the late 1970s, when casino gambling became legalized in Atlantic City. The casinos that began opening there were clamoring for casino dealers. Soon, casino gambling schools began opening that taught students the skills necessary to become a casino dealer. (You had to be certified by a state-licensed dealer’s school in order to be a casino dealer.) The public was inundated with news, TV, and radio reports and advertisement about becoming a casino dealer.
Previous articles covered how I got started with blackjack, how I learned the basic playing strategy and card counting, my playing experience in Atlantic City after the first casino opened, and my first barring. This article describes how I got involved in blackjack tournaments, and how I learned tournament playing and betting strategies.
I usually get an email or phone call a few times each month from a blackjack player who asks me the following question: “Your article said to stand on (a specific hand). I’ve read in a book (or on the Internet) that you should hit that hand. Who’s right?”
“Have you ever caught anyone card counting?” As a croupier, working in London’s high end casinos, this was one of the questions I was asked most – often by people who’d never been to a casino, who wouldn’t even know how to play blackjack. The notoriety of this form of cheating is probably due at least in part to Ben Mazrich’s bestselling account of a group of card counting students who won millions in Vegas.