Professional card Dealer
About 88, 370 gaming dealers were working in the United States as of May 2011.
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Card dealers work in casinos to assist patrons in playing table games such as poker and blackjack. In addition to physically dealing cards, gaming dealers must keep track of bets and understand who has won the game or hand, and how much each player has won or lost. While this occupation only requires a high school diploma, card dealers are usually sent to a gaming school for between four and eight weeks before they begin working.
National Salary Statistics
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, card dealers working in the United States made an average of $10.54 an hour in 2011, and reported an average annual salary of $21, 930. The median-earning half of gaming dealers earned between $17, 140 and $22, 430 per year, while the top 10 percent of earners in this occupation reported salaries of $35, 690 or more per year.
Pay by State
Texas reported the highest average salary for card dealers in 2011, $37, 470 per year. Minnesota ranked second with dealers there earning an average annual salary of $36, 810, followed by Maryland at $33, 720, Oregon at $31, 910 and Illinois at $30, 530. Several states reported significantly lower average salaries, such as South Carolina, Montana and New Mexico, where the average salaries of gaming dealers ranged between $18, 000 and $19, 000 per year. Those working in Missouri averaged $17, 700, and the very lowest average salary of $17, 370 was reported in Nevada.
Pay by Employment Setting
According to the BLS, card dealers working in casinos attached to hotels earned some of the lowest wages in 2011, $8.63 an hour and $17, 950 per year. Those who worked for casinos run by local governments made an average of $22, 920 per year, while gaming dealers who worked for privately owned casinos reported somewhat higher earnings, averaging $25, 010 per year. Those employed by civic and social organizations reported an average annual income of $20, 380.
The BLS predicts that employment among gaming dealers will grow at a rate of 17 percent between 2010 and 2020, faster than the 14 percent growth rate predicted for the American economy and the 13 percent general growth rate expected for the casino and gambling industries. An additional 15, 500 jobs are expected to be available by 2010. However, because of the popularity of this industry, candidates for card dealing position should expect strong competition. Those who have prior experience in a customer service industry should have the best prospects.
In addition to hourly wages, card dealers rely on gratuities for part of their earnings, much like servers and cab drivers. According to a 2009 article in the "San Francisco Chronicle" website, many card dealers rely on tips for between 30 and 40 percent of their income. According to former professional card dealer Chad Harberts, it is customary for the winners of hands to tip their dealer between 3 percent and 5 percent of their winnings, and sometimes as much as 10 percent.