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by KC Brooks

I have been addicted to blackjack ever since reading Revere's "Playing Blackjack as a Business" when I was 15. The art of blackjack is a lifetime endeavor. I went through the learning process backwards, learning Revere's Advanced Point Count first. I found out early that the actual count system is only a small piece of the puzzle. Presently, I travel "my" Devils Triangle (Reno, Wendover, Vegas}, playing mainly single- and double-deck games. Hi Lo is my choice of strategies and "Professional Blackjack" by Wong is my bible. I worship a large spread, and have been known to wong everywhere I go. Thank God I haven't had to register as a wonger yet, but I am sure it is not too far off. I also help fellow AP Nick teach card counting at

What is a Duel Rate Dealer?

A duel rate dealer as the name suggests, has two pay scales. When you are working as a dealer, you are paid an hourly wage plus tips. When you work as a floor supervisor, you get paid at a higher rate, but do not receive tips. As a dealer, my hourly rate is slightly higher then minimum, around $8.50. Tips at my place are horrible, averaging around 30 to 40 bucks for an eight-hour shift. My wage as a pit critter is around twenty per hour. Unfortunately, we have a lot of local players, so when it comes to tipping most of our customers have alligator arms. We get players who come in every day and play for hours on end. They will tip the cocktail babes, but don't give the dealers squat. When I deal blackjack to players that I know will never cough up a gratuity, I usually cut the double decks of cards in half.

As a card counter, I understand that over tipping can lead to losing sessions. As a poker dealer, we had players who were trying to grind out a meek living, usually making a small profit with the help of comps. However, having said that, a few dollars in tips can go a long way to getting a dealer on your side; as I said earlier, if you are playing blackjack, that could mean getting "good penetration," or seeing only a deck then a shuffle.

As a floor person, you are responsible for tracking players. This means their buy-in, average bet, and issuing comps for food, cigarettes and such. Comps are calculated by average bet and hours played. In the poker room, players receive one dollar comp value for every hour played.

Duties of the Floor

When starting your shift on the floor, the first order of business is to check all the racks in the tables in your pit. Five hundred, one hundred, and twenty-five dollar checks need to be on the money; nickels can be plus or minus one hundred dollars. If any of those denominations are missing, you need to confirm with the floor person you are replacing, where they went. As customers come and go from the various games, you are constantly updating the racks.

You need to keep track of how much each player won or loss, what was there buy in, did they come to the table with chips; if so, what denominations?

Aside from the accounting end, you are also responsible for game protection, and safe guarding the company's assets, which includes keeping an eye on dealers, making sure they are not making any mistakes, and or wrong pay-outs.

Dealers are required to call out all transactions of one hundred dollars or more by saying, "Check change one hundred," or "Change one hundred," or "Color up one hundred" are a few examples of dealer calls. The dealers are not allowed to proceed until they receive an "ok" from the floor.

It all seems simple enough, but you would be surprised at how often those rules are ignored. Many times I have come to tables that are missing black checks, and the dealers have no clue as to where they went. The casino where I am employed is considered a break-in joint; in other words; they hire dealer's right out of dealer's school. Not all, but most of the new dealers are pretty much clueless. I'm amazed at how many new hires had no idea as to the proper procedures. I blame the schools. Gaming school is on par with going to high school, your first casino gig, is like your first year in college. After that, your actions reflect on high you can climb.

As you can see, multi-tasking is a requirement to be a successful pit critter. Knowledge of all the games and procedures, and people skills, the ability to deal with customers, is probably most important. My opinion is that most, not all floor people lack the ability to deal with customers. We have players that I can't stand, some are cheap shot artist, others are drunks and a few are just miserable excuses for humans, yet I treat them all the way I would expect to be treated if I were the customer. As a dealer, the only pleasure you have dealing with these types, is to hit them where it hurts; take their money.

If a player hits for more than 500 bucks, surveillance needs to be contacted to check that everything was legit. If all is okayed, then the pay-off can be made. When closing tables, the eye is contacted so they can watch the table as the dealers pull out the larger denomination chips (500,100) from the rack and are counted. Once completed the rack is verified by the dealer, the floor and the shift supervisor. Everything is checked and double checked constantly.

So, there you have it. If you don't have a problem dealing with drunks, secondhand smoke and rude, obnoxious folks, then being a table games dealer may be the ticket for you. I must admit that there are a lot of good customers, but the deadbeats always seem to overshadow those few.


We get a lot of Asian players, most speak no English nor they have a clue as to how and play. I had one player that had two aces; I told him to split his aces and moved his cards for him. He waved me off, not wanting to put up the extra money. He took a hit, which was a ten, for twelve and then took another hit, and another ten for a bust. I have had players double on 14 with a 9 up, double on 6, you name it and I have probably seen it. Being a card counter, it is very frustrating watching these nits play. I have had to listen to why they make this terrible plays. I have finally stopped giving advice, but I will tell them the correct play and the reasoning behind it. I usually tell them the best play, but say," It's your money, do as you wish."

There is one player that will usually dump $1000 or more at a time. He will bet $25, sometimes $50, and put up 10 bucks on the Lucky Ladies side bet. He will usually take one hit and then stand. It does not matter what my up card is. He does not make the right double downs, but according to him he is a great player. I have hardly ever seen him walk with a profit. Just a few days ago a player came to his table and asked if he minded if jumped in. He said he did not mind, what bothered him was the players that came in and made bad plays. I could hardly keep a straight face.

I was dealing blackjack to a player, cutting the deck at around 75% penetration. When I came off the game a floor supervisor came up to me and told me that I needed to cut the deck in half, it keeps the players from streaking. I was dumbfounded; the player I was dealing to was blind. I had to call out his cards and my up card, go figure.

A while back a guy hit the Pai Gow Progressive for over $260,000. The dealers that day did not even hit the century mark in tokes; maybe it is time to look for another job.

Happy holidays and best wishes to all.

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