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Any casino with a poker room must hire a staff of dealers. Casinos generally pay dealers minimum wage. However, a dealer's primary source of income is not salary, but tips from players. Tip income may be substantial for dealers who can deal hands quickly and efficiently, and are selected by the casino to deal in higher limit games.

To become employable by a casino, applicants without prior experience are typically required to complete a 4-6 week training program at a dealing school. Dealing in a casino may require working late hours and remaining seated for long periods of time. Dealers also commonly work holidays, since these are especially busy days for casinos. Having to deal with difficult individuals may be another drawback to dealing at a casino—some players are abusive to dealers.

Major poker tournaments also hire dealers. For a given tournament stop, the tournament coordinator will hire dealers on contract for the duration of the tournament, which may be a few days to a few weeks. Room and board may or may not be provided by the tournament management; the dealer is typically responsible for his own travel expenses.
Dealers must be proficient in shuffling the deck, distributing the cards to the players, and, if required by the game being dealt, turning up the community cards in the center of the table. There are two methods of distributing the cards, "American"-style and "European"-style.

[edit] Shuffling

To shuffle the cards, the dealer follows a sequence defined by the casino. First all cards are spread out on the table and pushed around randomly. This is called "scrambling" or "washing" the cards. Then the cards are collected and squared into a deck. At this point a typical shuffling sequence might be: riffle, riffle, box, riffle. Professional dealers always keep both halves of the deck very low to the table while shuffling.

Finally, a cut card is placed on the table and the deck is cut onto the card. The cut card is held on the bottom of the deck for the entire hand, to keep the bottom card from being exposed.

[edit] American-style dealing

In American-style dealing, the deck is held in one hand, and the dealer pinches the front-right corner of the top card between the other thumb and index finger. The card is then thrown (pitched) to the player, with a wrist extending motion.

The positioning of the throwing wrist is critical, since the cards must be maintained low and level with the table surface, so that players at the table can not see the undersides of the cards.



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