I want your job... Croupier

'You need to be dextrous'

Jacqui Terry, 38 (right, centre), is a professional croupier and dealer. After working in a casino for many years, she now runs a poker events company and does television work.

How did you become a croupier?

I just fell into it. I was working at a private members club when I saw an advertisement in a newspaper. My training took three months, and the first thing I learnt was how to handle chips. When you do handle chips properly, it hurts, because it stretches your fingers - but you soon get used to it and your fingers stop aching.

Next, I learnt how to play roulette and blackjack. You learn the procedures of how to spin a ball, which is an art in itself, how to shuffle cards and strip the deck, and how to spread the cards so all the cards are visible when players come to the table. I entered the casino having mastered two games, and then spent a year as a trainee.

What advice would you give someone who wanted to become a croupier?

The jobs aren't often advertised, so one way to find out about work would be to approach a casino group directly and ask whether they had in-house training, or whether they knew of any training schools in the area.

Do you learn a lot of card tricks?

There are no tricks - that's for magicians. What we're trained to do is handle cards professionally, shuffle and deal so that the supervisors and cameras can see what we're doing. We learn two kinds of shuffle - a chemmy shuffle, which is scrambling cards randomly to mix them, and a riffle shuffle, which takes more technique.

What skills do you need to be a croupier?

You need to be adequate with numbers, with a good mind for basic maths - addition, subtraction, and multiplication - but many of the games have fixed odds, so a lot of it is memory and practice. You also need be fairly dextrous. If you're a friendly, outgoing person who enjoys meeting people and is happy to accept a disciplined environment, it's a fantastic job.

What's the best thing about being a croupier?

I love doing television work - getting the chance to meet celebrities on shows like Showbiz Blackjack was fantastic. I love getting to travel. If you're casino-trained, especially in London, you're highly sought-after. You could easily get work on a cruise liner, travelling the world and earning your living at the same time.

What's it like working shifts during the night?

During the summer, it's perfect. You drive home from work with absolutely no traffic, and then go straight out to lie in the garden, have a cup of tea and sunbathe while everyone else is sweating in an office. You can get all your shopping done and run errands during the day. But during the winter it's more difficult, because there's less daylight, and working unstructured hours can be hard on your sleep pattern - sometimes, I've finished a shift at 4am and been back to the casino at 12pm. You do turn into a bit of a vampire.

What's the career path and salary like?

When you apply for a job at a casino, you have to apply to the Gambling Commission for a certificate of approval and be checked by the Criminal Records Bureau, to make sure you have a sound background.

After three months training, you would become a trainee for 12 to 18 months, then become a dealer, then move up to become a dealer inspector, watching the dealer. Eventually you could become a pit boss, then a manager. Salaries in London casinos are much better than outside London. In London, the starting salary for a trainee in a casino is at least £15,000, while a manager might earn more than £40,000.

Jacqui Terry appears in 'Showbiz Blackjack', on Challenge weeknights from Monday, 29 May at 9pm

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Software Developer

£18000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate Software Developer i...

AER Teachers: Graduate Primary TA - West London - Autumn

£65 - £75 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: The school is seeking gra...

AER Teachers: Graduate Secondary TA - West London

£65 - £75 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: The school is seeking gra...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer - Surrey - £25,000

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer - Croy...

SPONSORED FEATURES

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference