Because of its relatively straightforward rules, blackjack is usually one of the most popular table games in a casino. Casinos rely upon dealers at blackjack tables to administer games, award winnings, claim bets and deal cards to the players. Most casinos have strict guidelines that govern their dealers’ behavior and gambling habits, so good dealers are simply efficient and well-versed in rules rather than brilliant gamblers themselves.
Blackjack dealers earn rather low base salaries, with the average blackjack dealer receiving an annual salary of $14,538 as of February 2011, according to Salary.com. There isn’t a wide range in blackjack dealers’ salaries, either, with half of all dealers receiving between $12,654 and $16,023 each year. Although base salaries are low, most dealers make the bulk of their earnings from tips, paid as chips from players’ winnings, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook. The amount of tips a dealer may earn hinges upon the stakes of the table he works, his rapport with players and other factors.
Las Vegas Blackjack Dealers
Because Las Vegas is one of the few locations in the United States with very few limitations on gambling, and, thus, supports a thriving gaming industry, blackjack dealers in the city are among the best compensated in the nation. Even at that, their base salary isn’t very high, with average annual salaries of $24,703 as of February 2011, according to Salary Expert. Dealers on high-stakes tables may receive large tips, supplementing this income much more than dealers who work at limited-stakes tables in other areas.
Salaries Compared to Other Gaming Industry Jobs
Blackjack dealers are among the lowest-paid positions in most casinos. Gaming dealers of all games – baccarat, poker and other card games – earn slightly higher salaries on average, $16,310 as of May 2008, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook. Other positions on a casino floor pay much higher wages, with slot key operators receiving $25,460 annually and gaming managers such as pit bosses earning $45,500 each year.
Many for-profit casino schools provide training courses for dealers. Small courses may include only instruction on blackjack dealing, while more extensive courses provide students with training in all table games in a casino. Although instruction can provide a basis for dealers’ job skills, many casinos don’t require their new hires to be certified, and many sectors of the gaming industry provide their own in-house training to dealers. In most states, blackjack dealers must be at least 21 years old to deal.