Sunday, July 25, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________

Week One 

I've said it before, I'll say it again. There is so much to dealing Blackjack that I couldn't, in my wildest dreams imagine.

This is the best time I've ever had "on the job". I simply cannot believe that we are being paid to be there. Our fortune is something that our instructors never let us forget. They all had to pay for their own courses, no one was paying them to be there, and of course, they were not assured of jobs after graduation. The skills that we have to acquire over the next five weeks look easy but they certainly are not. We devote most of our eight hour day to practicing things like counting to 21, although the instructors say as the class average time improves we will spend less and less time on that. Since the second day I already hit the required time for counting. I was prepared to sit back and laugh for the rest of the week, but the second day was also when they started to teach us "chipping".

"Chipping" is the term people in the industry use to refer to the handling of chips. Again I feel like a complete gorblock telling people what I've been doing "at work". Most conversations go something like this: "So what do you do at dealer school?" "Well, this first week we've learnt to count to 21, handle chips, shuffle and deal cards." "Riiiiiight. And you're paid to do this?" I digress. Chipping is much harder than it seems, which is the point. It's supposed to look easy when one does it. Despite the fact that I play a number of instruments (albeit badly) my fingers just don't move like they are supposed to. While I'm currenly the fastest at initial dealout and among the top five on our counting excercises, there are times I barely finishing chipping before the instructor yells time.

I guess we all have to fall short somewhere or our heads will swell to the point where we could only wear button-down shirts. Plus if everything came easily within the first week of school, what would I do the rest of the time there?

The one thing that makes dealer school absolutely amazing (aside from the skills that I will take away from it) is the people. Every couple of days the instructors change our seating plan. This is done to accomplish several things. Firstly, each table at the school is in different conditions. Some are harder, softer, more threadbare, very plush. The set of chips at each table all have varying degrees of wear. All these differing conditions make certain actions harder/easier. The lesson to be learnt here is that at the casino, one cannot expect to get exactly the same table and exactly the same chips so we have to get so good at everything that the exact conditions that we are working with do not matter. I digress again. It's 3:15am, the latest (or earliest) I've been up in a long, long time. Secondly (if you still remember what I'm talking about at this point) we get to meet and work with new people. The importance of this is immediately apparent when we do meet more of the people that are in class.

Due to the intense nature of the course I find that I really end up becoming close to the people with whom I share a table. Lisa and a few well suggested Harry Potter links (primarily this one) has resulted in my taking over three hours to complete this post. There's so much more to say but it's almost four in the morning and I have a fantabulous meal to prepare tomorrow.


posted by Joie! at 1:33 AM

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-Part I: First Week...or so...yeah...

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