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Singapore Training Center Built for Aspiring Croupier and Card Dealers

300 students were expected to start the Dealing Casino Games program next month, as of Tuesday, 30 students have signed up for the $4,500 course. Mr. Ramachandar, the former vice-president of casino training at Star Cruises, said: "We simulate a real casino environment so that students will be better prepared for their jobs in the future."

Casino skills are not as easy as what you see on TV shows like Las Vegas and The Unbeatables. The job is not as glamorous as the TV dramas make it out to be. It's full of hard training to become a certified croupier who manages a game at a table and collects and pays out bets.

Mr. Ramachandar Siva, the operations director of the International Club Games Training Centre (ICGTC) at Bukit Timah's Turf City, knows how tough the job can be. ICGTC was launched earlier this month to teach specialized casino skills such as baccarat dealing. This is the first hands-on institution in the region. The school has three roulette tables and 19 tables for card games like baccarat, blackjack and poker, built like a real casino.

Hours of training are required for you to be a certified croupier or a card dealer at a casino table. Handling the cards alone would be such a tough skill to learn.

Mr. Ramachandar said: "Many people think card-dealing easy, but it's not. Our course is a full-time six-month course. So you can imagine the time and amount of practice you need in order to become a skilled croupier.

'Even then, you start out as a junior croupier or an apprentice. The first skill any student must learn is to pick chips and stack them up neatly."

Here's a sample skill to learn: 11 stacks of 20 chips a minute should be done perfectly. Then you have to cut a stack of 20 chips into a few smaller stacks of four or five chips. It is done by the coupier so that it is easier to count and distribute winnings to players.

Mr. Ramachandar said: "You must do it by feeling with your hands. When there are customers around, it's important to do it fast and accurately. You cannot keep on looking and counting the chips as if you're counting coins."

"Everything in the casino is slippery." Mr. Ramachandar said with a laugh.

Mr. Ramanchandar explained further, "Okay, before the game starts, the coupier would display the cards so that players can see that they are legitimate cards and are presented as a full set.

For Mr. Ramanchandar, he feels that casino jobs will post a new challenge for many Singaporeans. Besides ICGTC, other educational institutions have also been introducing new courses in tourism and hospitality management, in anticipation of the estimated 30,000 or more new jobs to be generated from the IRs.


July-23-2006 Sunday
John Palmer

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