Being a casino dealer might not seem like a glamorous job. Even at the best casinos, you’re probably not being paid more than a couple of dollars over minimum wage by the casino itself. But add in tips, specifically tips from happy, winning, wealthy players, and you could be talking about a six-figure income for slinging cards.
So, just to be clear, it’s not the same kind of thing as flipping burgers. Most dealers are easily replaceable, sure, but there is such a thing as a famous dealer. It’s an art form; it’s something that you can get very good at, commanding a premium price to deal at private parties and so on. Some of the most famous dealers are well-known for the wrong reasons, of course, like Hon-Kee Man, or “Honky.”
Honky was a triad blackjack dealer who worked the tables for a decade, earning the Blackjack Croupier of the Year award three years in a row. Hon-Kee was famous for his four-year winning streak at the Black Jack Championship tournament, and then he was famous for cheating the Holland Casino out of a few million bucks. He was known for his amazing technique at the table, and then he was known for using sleight of hand to overpay winning bets.
Other dealers earn their fame while staying on the up and up. Consider Vic Taucer, whose series of books on table games management and dealing and supervising blackjack, craps and roulette are considered mandatory textbooks in some casinos. Today, Taucer works in all areas of gaming, spreading his knowledge through academics, training; supervision and so on.
Taucer’s history includes dealing at the Mint, Marina and MGM casinos in Vegas, working as pit manager of the MGM, and directing casino education and training at Park Place Entertainment before becoming the president of Casino Creations. He is also a former tenured professor of casino management at the University and Community College System of Nevada. (I bet you didn’t know there were casino professors, did you?)
Taucer is an example of how far dealing can take you: Attain enough knowledge, and you can make a living off of your table experience without touching another card again for as long as you live.