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What Makes a Great Poker Dealer?

What Makes a Great Poker Dealer?

Whether you’re playing poker face-to-face in a casino, or live online, you want to know that the game is in good hands. That’s why a skilled, confident, and experienced poker dealer is absolutely a must-have. You’ll know a good poker dealer when you see one, but here are some of the things to look out for in a really tip-top dealer.

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People skills

A huge part of a good poker experience is the interaction with the dealer and your fellow players. You’re there to play a game, but also to have a good time, and take advantage of the atmosphere and soak up the social aspects of the casino experience.  Because of this, you want a dealer who is friendly and welcoming and makes some effort to provide a human, personal touch to the game. Of course, if you’re playing free slot games there might not be a live dealer to look at, but in land-based casinos, this is all-important.

A live online poker dealer has, even more, to contend with, as they aren’t interacting with customers face-to-face. It can be challenging to look into a camera and act as though you’re speaking to a person, which means acting skills can be a big advantage for online dealers.

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At the heart of dealing are the manual skills. An excellent dealer might well have a natural flair for shuffling, cutting and dealing, but true mastery of this comes with years of practice. Dealers will learn to shuffle the cards tightly and confidently, and though they may not use them in a poker game, can also add various different shuffling techniques to their repertoire to increase their skills. An element of flair and personality in handling the cards can also raise a dealer onto a higher plane.  A little bit of personal touch goes a long way in terms of entertainment value. 

An eagle eye for detail

It goes without saying that a dealer needs a good eye. But it takes more than just attention to detail to be the best of poker dealers. A really good dealer will be able to carry out the mechanical necessities of handling the cards, as well as be in tune with every aspect of the game as it unfolds. They must make sure the rules are being observed by all players at all times, handle payouts quickly and accurately, and cash people in and out of the game expediently, so the momentum isn’t lost. All this requires expert multi-tasking.

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Confidence and Control

Above all, a good poker dealer must have command of the table. This doesn’t, of course, mean dominating it like a stern taskmaster. It’s important that players feel relaxed and comfortable, and that the game belongs to them, just as much as it does the dealer.  But a dealer should also radiate an air of confidence that reassures the players of her/his professionalism and capabilities, which in turn will make players more relaxed and content in their play.

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