Interview with a croupier

Author: Larry N.
Now that we have an idea of the life of a dealer in theory, we will now get a real picture of it by speaking to a real dealer. Because practice often shows that the theory is wrong. In the following you will get answers to the questions that you have probably always asked yourself. Our adorable guest is a very charming young lady, so she is just the right person for our informative yet entertaining blog
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Alexandra Ionescu is a female Romanian croupier currently based in Varna, Bulgaria. She completed her training over 12 years ago. Soon afterwards she became a croupier in the metropolis of Bucharest, Romania. She then took her skills out to sea by hiring a reputable cruise line. Given her experience as a croupier both in a large casino on land and on many cruise ships, we asked her to sacrifice some of her time and answer a few questions for our valued blog readers. We have quite a few questions, so let's get started.

Hi Alex! Thank you for accepting our invitation to an interview.
Hello, and thank you for the invitation.

We've all been in the player's position before, but what is it like to be across the table in a casino?
In all honesty, I've always loved being on both sides of the table. Somehow that brings the profession with it. But working as a croupier ... that's what I'm really good at! Often times I even give players advice on whether or not to take a card or split in blackjack. So I think I'm always a little bit of both.

How long have you been croupier?
I was a croupier for almost 5 years, the first 2 in Bucharest and then on the cruise ships. I think you never really stop being a dealer ... even if you're on the other side of the table.

Would you do it again
I would do this job again and again because it's exciting and I've always been very good at it. A lot of experience and practice make a croupier good, but to be honest, this job is not for everyone.

Speaking of experience: Do you think that a croupier will get better over time or will they burn out quickly and have to change jobs?
When it comes to changing jobs, most croupiers do it because over time it becomes exhausting, with all the different shifts, holidays and so on.

Why did you become a croupier and has the job fulfilled your expectations?
I became croupier because I wanted to go to Las Vegas to work and live there. And I still did not give up this dream. Croupier to be a great way to find friends, but also have many enemies. So it's pretty hard to tell if it has fulfilled my expectations or not. But I can tell you, I do not regret anything.

Croupiers, especially those in urban casinos, must have special skills, e.g. be professional and friendly, be able to process bills quickly in their heads, i.e. simply be able to multitask. Which skills do you think are the most important?
They are all important, but most of all, you need to be able to stay calm in stressful and sometimes dangerous situations. And yes, you need to have a quick mind and be good at mental arithmetic.

Now let's move on to more specific topics. What was your best experience as a croupier?
Oh, there were so many that it's hard to pick a specific one. I loved working at the roulette table when I was working in Bucharest because it is a very fast and intense game. I once had a group of Italians from Sicily on the cruise lines and I dealt Texas Hold'Em for them, which happens to be my favorite game too. But I'll save the story for another time.

And what was your worst experience?
Unfortunately, I also had a lot of them. But one of the most terrible situations I found myself in was when a man who had lost at roulette started choking me on the table. Fortunately, the person watching the game jumped off his chair and intervened.

Oh my god, that sounds scary! As a croupier on many cruise ships you have to see the world. What is your favorite goal?
I've seen a lot of the world, but I have a few favorite destinations like St. Maarten and St. Thomas in the Caribbean, Malta and Italy in general. To be honest, Italy is my first choice thanks to the food, great wine, nice music and happy people.

What distinguishes a casino on cruise ships from a casino to land?
Well, on cruise lines, people usually come to have fun and not so much to play. That's one of the biggest differences. And that reflects everything else from the betting limits, which are much lower, to the way the players think. It is much less stressful working as a dealer on cruise lines than it is on land. Although I missed the fast-paced games in Bucharest when I got on board for the first time.

Our blog readers will be curious about the experiences with huge stakes and in the private rooms? What happens behind closed doors? Can you share some inside stories?
A lot of things happen behind closed doors and, to be honest, not all of them are good. But the games in the private rooms are the most exciting and I have to admit I miss the action. Often the real gamblers smoke cigars and order all kinds of food, so the air is sometimes a little difficult to breathe. And I can tell you that when the stakes are very high, the players cannot take losing well, which leads to quite intense situations. I could tell you stories that make your hair stand on end. Once, a Chinese player tossed a $ 10,000 chip at me that missed my head by just a few millimeters. And these things are really heavy because the inside is made of metal. Needless to say, I'm so grateful that he missed me.

Croupiers are human too, and with life in the spotlight and the opulence that surrounds them, aren't they tempted to gamble themselves? How does this work? Are you allowed to play in the casino you work in or not?
Yes, most croupiers are avid gamblers too, some playing roulette, others blackjack or slots. But Texas Hold'Em is my drug of choice and I loved this game immediately after I started learning it. As for gambling in casinos, it is absolutely forbidden for croupiers, especially in the same city where they work. So we went to other cities to gamble, or we settled for an electronic roulette in a nearby bar. I play online these days, and if the poker gods are kind to me, I'm pretty good.

Thank you again for being our guest. Finally, is there anything you would like to add?
Thanks for the invitation! Just that this is a wonderful job, but I always advise people to consider all aspects before starting their dealer training. If you are not a strong and balanced person then this job will not be the best for you. That being said, being a croupier is exciting and it has taken me to places I probably would never have seen otherwise.

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