As Las Vegas comes back to life after a long year battling with COVID-19, one of the biggest surprises has been the fact that dealer schools are fully stocked — but how much money do casino dealers really make?
For some reason, there is huge demand (all of a sudden) for people to go and get trained on how to be a dealer. If you’ve been thinking about a career in the industry or simply change gears and moving into gaming, one of the first questions that may have popped up is how much can you actually earn?
Let’s take a closer look at the type of salary (and extras) casino dealers make, and what type of salary you could expect from a career dealing cards.
How Much Does A Casino Dealer Make?
Taking a look at the average salary for a casino dealer, much of it will depend on where you’re located. In the state of Nevada–one of the gaming capitals of the world–you’re looking at an average of about $27,715 per year. Keep in mind that that’s about the average as some dealers will start off in the $16,000 range and high-end dealers can make salaries in the $60,000 range.
In terms of the dealers who are in the higher end of the spectrum, those are guys and gals who are doling out cards in either important games – like major poker tournaments – or high stakes. When it comes to the high limit rooms, they don’t allow just anyone in.
What is the Average Annual Salary of Vegas Casino Employees?
Wondering how much casino employees in general make? Here’s a glimpse at the average annual salary for Nevada casino employees from 2000 to 2016.
Data collected via Statista.
Tips Can Add Up
One of the reasons these salaries might look low is that they aren’t encompassing tips. Of course, like many other areas of the service industry, dealers can boost their take-home pay by quite a bit by being friendly, dealer well and having some lucky players.
Tips are often tied to the stakes of the game, so if you’re dealing $1 Blackjack, don’t expect the same type of love that you’d get at the $50-a-hand Pai Gow Poker table. Nonetheless, even at the low end, a dealer should expect to get about $15 an hour in tips. So, going back to the above range, the $16,000 range is about the $8 an hour range. If you tack on another $15 on top of that, you’re looking at about $23 per hour and a living salary of about $47,840.
A lot of these numbers are also state-dependent as Nevada dealers are actually right about in the middle of the pack (in terms of the salary average). Hawaii pays casino dealers the most (on average) at $21.59 and $44,905 per year. If you’re a dealer who is manning a table in Mississippi, the average hourly pay is $14.92 and your average salary is $31,028.
Now if we start looking at the higher end of things, we said that some dealers make about $60,000 on the books and can also take home about $50 an hour in tips too. That means that if you play your cards right – pardon the pun – you could be reeling in a healthy $164,000 a year (roughly speaking).
Of course, tips are not mandatory but when it comes to casino gaming, etiquette suggests you do. While it’s not like restaurants where it’s assumed that you’re going to tip 10% at least, dealers should expect to get a chip here and there – at least per hour – as that’s understood by those playing the game. That makes a big difference.
So what does that mean overall? It means that dealers in the casino can make anywhere from about $16,000 to $164,000. While it’s a very wide range, mostly will make $40,000+ working the tables and taking home some tips.
How Much Does A Live Dealer Casino Make?
While we don’t have the exact numbers, live dealer casinos – those who deal in online casinos – make slightly less than the average. In many cases, it’s right around the range of an entry-level casino dealer. The mindset here is that you’re not really playing with people in front of you, so there is less pressure.
Also, often dealers are playing in other rooms – possibly not even in a casino itself – so there isn’t as much required of them. They can sit around and wait for someone to log in and once they are there, then they spring into action. It’s a lot less intimidating dealing to someone who is on the other side of a webcam than it is to people right in front of you who are expecting a lot from you.
How To Earn More?
In terms of ways that you can improve your salary and move up the ladder, the key will be to have some diversity. What that means is you’ll want to be able to know the rules of several different types of games. That means you’ll be able to deal in several types of table games and pick up more shifts.
Very generally speaking, a lot of dealers know how to hand out cards in blackjack and Texas Hold’Em poker. People play these games at home or with friends, so there is familiarity. But do you know how to deal Caribbean Stud Poker? Or what about Baccarat? The more you know, the work you’ll be able to garner.
Typically, once you have the training for one game, the casino will be willing to training on the others. You should take them up as you never know when that will come in handy.
The other way to earn more is to move up to the higher-stakes games. If you’ve started out with the $1 tables, hone your craft until you get moved up to the games where bigger bets are being placed. Not only will the casino likely pay you more, you’re also going to collect more tips. Rich players tend to be more generous and since the stakes are higher, the chips that they throw your way will be worth more.
Lastly, learn to be a good dealer. Beyond just handing out cards, there’s a lot more that a dealer can do. You need to have a good feel for when players want to talk – if they’re lonely or are more social – and keep your finger on the pulse of those who are strictly business and aren’t there for the chatter. There are also efficient ways to handle and celebrate with winners, and to empathize with those who lose. Do that well, and players will be more open to leaving you a tip.