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Inside Moscow Casinos.

The world of excitement is handled without mittens. The management system in casino can be compared with the structure of military organization. Every employee discharges his defined function. The mechanism works like clockwork. If you look at this construction from above, the other analogy will become obvious: the structure of casino resembles an organism, where the general manager is brain, the junior managers are arms and legs, the security service is ears and eyes, and the dealers and the inspectors are heart. When a visitor comes to the casino, he communicates with the dealers and inspectors, and only in some cases with the pit bosses.

First steps.

The dealer schools are opened for 18-30 years old people. “In Moscow casino you could hardly find a dealer older than 35, in Russia this is profession of young people”, – said the “Kommersant-real game” Ivan Solomatin, a pit boss of casino Golden Palace. The dealers have flexible schedule, they could work the night shift, so it’s easy to combine work and study. For many of them it’s a chance to pay the study or to get together the initial capital and then go into another business. Karina, one of the students of the dealer school at the casino Golden Palace, said that as a child her grandfather taught her to play cards and since then the gamble firmly established in her life: “I am a very excitable person and play cards since 5. Into the gambling I went to work, because I wanted to know the system inside. I always thought it was a very interesting world. For the present, it comes up to my expectations.” Now Karina completes the six-week course in school and soon she will be wok as a dealer. For her, as for many other students at the school, the most difficult was the beginning. “Our classes are held five times a week, except Saturdays and Sundays, from nine a.m. to five p.m. And every day so much information, numbers ans scheme fall upon you, so it’s hard to force myself to go through this time and don’t leave.” According to the head of the dealer school at the casino Golden Palace Marina Yarmolinsky, many of “students” are sifted out during the first week or two: “Despite the fact that our group consist of no more than 6 or 7 person, some of them don’t reach the end. Somebody realizes that it’s too difficult for him, somebody doesn’t have the patience, and others have a jealous young man or strict parents. But it happens sometimes that the people reach the end, and after a week of work at the table they don’t go back. You know, it is one thing to learn to count and it is quite another to practice it.”

Every morning before the practical work students, or as teachers call them children, write a test on the material covered. The most important in the study at dealer school is the rules of games (both card and roulette), the rules of communication with customers and technology of the game. “People who have chosen this profession every day have to deal with a lot of gamblers, so that’s why everything is important: the way you meet a new gambler, the way you communicate with him, how you deal the cards or take bets at the roulette table. The discipline and self-control are very important in any situation. Sometimes you could come across the gamblers who can be rude to you, and the most important rule is not answering them in the same way,” – said Marina. Rudeness to a customer is one of the faults for which you will inevitably be fired. “We tried in every way to protect dealers and inspectors from the conflict with gamblers, but you couldn’t manage to do this every time and if the dealer takes liberties to the client, we discharge such employee”.

Now in connection with the possible transfer of the casino to the new gambling territories there is a lack of staff. People are less and less want to work in this area, because they see no prospects. “We couldn’t say that we don’t have enough staff or staff turnover has increased. Yes, some of them resigned after it was announced the transfer of gambling houses to the special areas, less people came to the interview. However, casinos continue working, and if there is a good proposal, there will be demand”, – assured Marina.

By the way, about the proposals. In Moscow, dealer receives an average of $ 1,000. The inspector’s salary is a little bit higher – about $ 1,200. A pit boss gets about $ 2,000.

“This is a relatively easy way to earn money, – says Oleg, the dealer from the casino “Europe”. – I already got my master’s degree, now I get the second one and at the same time I’m preparing for the opening of my own business”. According to him, the work in casino learns find common ground with any person, as well as treat airily with money – that makes your life easier.

Through hardship to the managers.

It turned out that most part of Moscow’s casinos in the training of personnel prefer English school to American. English School requires a more rigorous, sustained staff behavior, whereas, according to the American tradition, the dealer is a showman. However dealers-showmen, in Moscow, and in Russia in general, didn’t take root.

The first dealer school in Russia was opened by the dealer, an Englishman Ian Livingstone. For 27 years he has taught thousands of young people. Ian came to Russia in 1993 and he became one of the founders of the gambling business in Moscow. He taught the first group of workers of the capital-based gambling casino “Meteliza”. Many of his first graduates occupy a major post in the largest casino of the capital now. “I started in 1977 in England – told the “Kommersant-real game” Mr. Livingstone. – At the time I worked in a carrier transport company, but I understood that this work is not for me. One day I decided to take sick list for a couple of days and search for a new job. Two days long I ran on interviews, but something didn’t suit me, the potential employers weren’t delighted with me. When the second day was coming to its end, in the newspaper Manchester Evening News I run into an announcement of enrolment to the post of the dealer. I thought it was something completely new, interesting and unusual. I called, was interviewed and they engaged me. Thus began my journey in the world of casinos.”

The journey turned out to be long. The first six months Ian has worked as a poker dealer, then he began to deal for black jack, and a year later he was entrusted to assist in the conduct of the one of the most complicated games – craps. After a while he went to work as inspector in South Africa, then to Amsterdam, then to Florida. There for the first time he began teaching staff. The next destination was Las Vegas and then Russia.

“When I started working in Moscow, my main problem became the lack of knowledge of the Russian language, so the classes were held in English. All those who were the first graduations of our dealer school in “Meteliza”, has very good English, but despite this, many things we had to explain by means of gestures or just show. Yeah, the first graduations were having a hard time. I prepared them about six months, and at the same time they have learned for inspectors, because there wasn’t any time to qualify for an inspector,” – says Ian. According to Nikolai Ivanov, the present general manager of the casino “Meteliza” and in 1993 one of the pioneers in the gambling business, they really had a rough time: “It all was new, nobody has done before anything like that in Russia, and here the Englishman who teaches you to conduct card games. Everything else went to the background, so we were completely engrossed in it, and as you could see, 14 years have already passed since then, and it still arises before me, as if it was yesterday.”

Comparing the learning process in the United States and in Russia, Ian praised the Russians for the high level of education and noted the following: the fact that he had to explain something to Moscow’s apprentices in plain words was because of the difficulties of translation, and in America it was because of low education’s level. “Dealer is a kind of mathematical genius, the person who perfectly can count in his head. If you have little knowledge of mathematics and if you cannot say straight off what is 2 multiplied by 1.5, you will have difficulty in achieving success in this profession”. But the differences are not only in teaching, but they are also in their approach to work. “In the West the dealer profession often pass from father to son for several generations, but there is a way to make money – says Marina Yarmolinsky, the head of the Golden Palace dealer school. – Abroad you could hardly meet a young dealer or an inspector, but it’s easier meet a person, who is already 30. Now in Russia the level of dealer’s education is very high, so many of them, who dare to go to work in the casinos abroad, will have success for sure. But there the work of the dealer is not just deal the card or spin roulette; it is art show, which has not taken wind in Russia yet.

The dealer school.

Each dealer school has its order and its own methods. In some schools the training lasts six to eight weeks, in others it comes to from three to four weeks. At the dealer school at the casino Golden Palace the studies begin with the most difficult – with roulette, and only then they move up to card games. In the school at the “Meteliza” casino it’s the other way round – the first stage of training includes nothing but card games, technology and good manners, and then the newcomers go to the hall for practical study. “While they are studying, we pay them allowance, in three or four weeks we let them out to the gambling rooms and already pay them. After a while, when we realize that they feel easy, we continue the training. Guys have to learn to work on the roulette and work in gambling room at the same time, – says the “Meteliza” general manager Nikolai Ivanov. – We believe that this method of teaching is the right one. If a person has never played in casino and has never come across with such games, it will be very difficult for him or her to learn all at once and start practicing both cards and roulette. It is much easier to learn to conduct card games, to practice them at the table, to become a dab hand and only then learn to handle roulette.” The casino Golden Palace holds other views. It considers that it’s better to start with the most difficult things in order to the rest comes easy. “Teaching to handle roulette, we make them learning the multiplication tables by 1.5 or 2.5 simultaneously. We tell them some tricks in order to they could calculate the difficult combinations more quickly. And when they have already learned to conduct play on roulette, they will be much easier to deal with the cards, because the systems of counting have something similar, but with the cards it’s easier”.

Chained together.

Dealer –is a junior stage among the staff, who works in gambling rooms. The dealer’s duties include conduction games, chat with a customer, adoption bets and their payment. At the same table with the dealer there is an inspector. He is the next link of gambling staff. As a rule, inspector can discharge all the dealer’s duties, but his main task is preventing irregularities in the conduct of the game. Most often, the inspector just superintend the dealer’s work in order to the dealer doesn’t made a mistake, correctly deals cards and takes the bets, counts and paid winnings to the gambler in good time. In addition, during the game the inspector communicates with the gamblers and monitors the service, call up the waitress, if it’s necessary, and if there are some problems with the gambler, he call the pit boss.

“Each casino has its own system of signs. For the purpose of calling the waitress, in our casino you have just raised your hand, and if it’s necessary to call the pit boss, the inspector make a sucking sound, as if he blows kisses”- said the general manager of “Europe” casino Leonid Obozny. At one time Leonid had begun with the post of dealer, but he learned quickly and went ahead with confidence. Now he is general manager of one of the best casinos in Moscow. “You cannot come to casino to work as a manager at once. Casino is a mechanism where until you get through all the stages, you almost certainly will not be able to be successful at the helm. Of course there are some exceptions to this rule, and there are quite bright exceptions, but they prove the rule,”- assures Leonid. He explained that the dealer, as well as all gambling staff, is one of the most important links in the structure of any casino: “These people are in constant direct contact with our customers, they are the face of our casino and whether the gambler returns again or not it depends on how the dealer will represent us”.

And what about the pit boss – he is a “master of the territory”: pit is a group of gambling tables. Pit boss – is the lower stage of management or the highest stage of the gambling staff (in every casino it’s in their own way). People in this post are the masters of gambling area; they solve all the problems, they followed the work of inspectors and dealers and they keep order in room. And they are watched just by the “all-seeing eye.” In addition, the pit boss is a connecting link between staff and casino’s management.

“Dealer or inspector couldn’t appeal directly to the manager, all the problems they solve with a pit boss. There is only one exception, when the system works in other way: if the dealer or the inspector is under the impression that the pit boss is prejudiced against him,” – says Vadim, a pit boss of “Europe”. Vadim got into the gambling business by accident. Studying in the third year, he decided to earn some money – and for eight years he devoted to his job. “It was hard at first. It was impossible to combine the Institute and the job right along. However it was cool and fun – every day was full of new people and new experiences. There was not time or energy for my private life, but now I have a wife and children.” Vadim thinks that working in casino has taught him a lot. The experience of daily contact with people, analyzing their behavior, management in pit’s area helped him to develop his qualities of a manager. “If the casinos are really transfer in the special areas, it will be unlikely me to follow the gambling business. However, I know for sure, that I will be able to make a good career in other areas as a manager. It’s a pity to lose a convenient schedule, which gives me possibility to travel to the country at the time when everybody works and there’s no traffic jams”.

In different casinos there were called various qualities, which are necessary to reach success in the gambling industry. Among them there were sociable, restraint, knowledge of foreign languages, honesty, ability to form a correct estimate of situation and make the right decisions quickly, attention and patience. Nevertheless, the main quality is still a desire to succeed. “When you come to the dealer’s post, the main thing is to understand what you are doing and why. And then you just need to work on a level above others in order to prove that you stand for something,” – sums up Leonid Obozny. The process of climbing the career ladder is rather long and complicated, some advance quickly and confidently, while others don’t move up farther the second stepping stone. However, the most part of those who came into the world of casino cannot leave it.

This article was written before July 1, 2009, that is before the date of the prohibition of gambling business in Russia.

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