The Evolution of Casino Croupiers
They’re the people often taken for granted, but without them all of the finest casinos in the world wouldn’t be able to function. Although they may not be the ones holding the purse strings or keeping an eye on security, croupiers are the people that make each game you play run without a hitch. Through the flick of a wrist and the wave of an arm, casino croupiers are able to make and break the fortunes of gamblers across the world. Not only that, but these casino works are veritable fonts of knowledge and will gladly assist novices and explain the rules of any game (as well as give them a few strategy hints) when asked.
Although it may seem like a menial task to shuffle some cards or count casino chips, there’s actually a lot of training that goes into becoming a croupier. Being able to simultaneously count bets, control the action and calculate payouts all while under the pressure of time is extremely difficult and not something that can be mastered overnight.
Fortunately, the top casinos in the world have extensive training programs for their croupiers and their actions are not only effortless and efficient, but a joy to behold. However, not all croupiers are created equal and today, the wide variety of casino experiences available across the world have given rise to a new breed of members of casino controllers. Of course, the traditional life of the croupier is still very much the dominant force; however, thanks to TV and the internet, it’s now possible to interact with these guys in a number of ways.
Where it All Began: Traditional Croupiers
Visit any casino on the Las Vegas strip, in Atlantic City, Macau or any gambling destination in the world and you’ll encounter a traditional croupier (usually wearing a smart outfit). The main skills a dealer will need to master are: chip handling, mental arithmetic, card control and shuffling. Piecing these all things together means any croupier worth a dime should be able to control the following games: blackjack, baccarat, roulette and poker/ casino Hold’em. On top of this, a croupier in a live casino may need to take charged of a sic bo (dice) game as well as craps (also involving dice and a betting ring).
The reason becoming a live croupier is so difficult and why skilled practitioners are so well respected by casino players is that it’s tough to keep a game flowing without making any mistakes. Although the slip of a card or a casino chip may not seem like a big thing, it can actually be financially damaging for a player; especially if they’re betting large amounts of cash.
For this reason, a croupier not only needs to be accurate, but efficient in their movements. To do all this at the same time isn’t easy, but it becomes even tougher when you factor in the idea that a croupier also needs to be entertaining. Above all else, even the money, anteing up in a casino should be fun and if a croupier is too focused on controlling the game, the player’s experience will suffer. One famous Vegas croupier who has sadly now passed away who was an expert at controlling the game and entertaining players was “Elvis” Joe LeVine (not to be confused with the Elvis Presley who performed in Vegas for the first time back in 1956).
A staple fixture at the World Series of Poker, LeVine would do his Elvis Presley routine while dealing cards and counting bets to some of the top pros in the world. In fact, during any single session, LeVine could be in control of tournaments where millions of dollars were on the line. However, regardless of the stakes, LeVine was able to stay on top of the game and ensure that players at his table had the most enjoyable experience possible.
The New Generation: Internet Croupiers
While Vegas croupiers such as LeVine are able to give players a memorable experience through a range of senses, online croupiers have a limited set of options. This new breed of croupiers operate in a similar way as traditional croupiers, but instead of being less than a foot away from their audience, these dealers have a computer screen and, potentially, thousands of miles between them and players. Over the last few years, online gaming platforms such as PokerStars have begun to add live dealer tables to their platforms. Utilizing webcams and RFID technology, these innovative tables connect real croupiers in a remote location with players anteing via their computer.
By clicking their mouse, players can place bets which are then transmitted to the croupier. The croupier then deals cards or spins a roulette wheel and if the player wins the system credits money to their account. Although this system is able to mimic many of the features seen in brick and mortar casinos, there is an element of physical connection that’s missing. This is where online croupiers need to be more skilled in the art of engagement than their live counterparts.
When you play online, you’ll now find a string of glamorous croupiers who are as seductive as they are skilled at their job. The job of any croupier in the online world is to keep people playing and the best way to do that is to chat with them. From questions about the game to general chatter about everything and anything, these women (sometimes men) make the divide between virtual reality and reality seem non-existent.
The Hybrid: TV Croupiers
Performing a similar role to internet croupiers are those that preside over casino games shown on the TV. Although less skilled than traditional croupiers (mainly because the games the operate take place at a much slower pace), these people are probably the most engaging variant of the genre. Because there is no interaction between the players at home and the presenter, they need to keep the game flowing and the energy levels high. For this reason you’ll often see lots of anecdotes, jokes and gaming talk.
In essence, these croupiers are more of a hybrid between presenters and casino experts. The main games they usually control involve very little proficiency with roulette wheel or deck of cards. However, they do need to be skilled at entertaining people and ensuring that they remain engaged enough to continue playing for jackpot prizes.
An Excellent Service Regardless of the Medium
Becoming a world-class croupier may seem like an easy task but it’s not and the average person will have to complete a rigorous training regime before they become qualified. A lot of the time the most skilled practitioners have previously made their living as a gambler or poker player so they are able to transfer these skills into a new arena. Keeping a player entertained as well as content that the service they are receiving is efficient and fair is a tough task, and one that takes time to master.
Fortunately, when you ante-up in any reputable venue, whether it’s live, online or even on the TV, the people in charge of handling your bets will be the best in the business. Although they may sometimes be the forgotten faces of the casino world, don’t forget that these invisible heroes are the ones that make your experience as profitable and enjoyable as possible.