Reportage

A big deal for Europe’s best croupiers at Monte-Carlo Casino

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Monte-Carlo SBM

40 European dealers are competing in a major tournament on Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 May.

Behind the calm and apparent tranquillity of the Casino de Monte-Carlo, there is a lot of excitement! In one of the last rooms in the building, a heavy wooden door opens to reveal an incredibly busy room. And with good reason! This is where the European Dealer Championship is ‘being played’: a prestigious annual competition, with the best dealers in Europe taking part.

On 17 and 18 May, 40 dealers from some twenty countries will compete here in roulette and blackjack, all with the same goal: to be voted the best dealer of this edition.

It is a much more complex profession than it seems. It is not just about dealing cards and handing out chips: here, professional courtesy and mental arithmetic are assessed by carefully selected, experienced judges. “Soft skills are extremely important”, explains Pascal Camia, vice president of the European Casino Association (ECA). ” It’s easy to explain how the game works, but knowing how to behave is much more difficult. You have to have a lot of empathy, remember that customers are betting with their own money, and sometimes they lose. (…) There is a real psychological aspect, and it can sometimes be difficult for a dealer to know what posture to adopt. (…) They also have a protocol to follow, if they spot signs of gambling addiction, to ensure that clients are taken care of and that gambling remains at a responsible level.”

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Per Jaldung, ECA President ,Jaana Ruoramo, Competition Director and Pascal Camia, ECA Vice-President – © Monte-Carlo SBM

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The dealer’s strengths

A good dealer must also be able to entertain, and turn his gaming table into a real show. This is Christopher Subtil Conceicao’s strong point. The 30-year-old dealer is a Monaco resident of Portuguese origin, and is representing the Principality this year. Full of enthusiasm, he tells us that he “got a vibe going” at the end of the first challenge: “The welcome, the smile, the mood, putting people at ease, letting them play their game, this is really my strong point.”

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© Monte-Carlo SBM

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Christopher is passionate about the profession he has been exercising for three years. His favourite game? Roulette. At least for the time being. Because dealers can only work with all six games in the casino after nine years’ experience. But that little spinning ball is also his biggest challenge: “The roulette wheel is the most complicated for me. The aim here is to give special attention to each customer, who has his own colour. This is Monaco: service comes first.”

This doesn’t dampen his enthusiasm, however: “I want to win. I don’t know if I’ll pull it off, but I want to win!”

As for his colleague, Noémie Serra, also representing Monaco, she wants to keep her feet on the ground. At just 26, and with four years’ experience, she is one of ten competing women. She thinks that what matters most is to make the most of this unique experience: “I was very stressed at the beginning of the day, but the atmosphere is actually really relaxed, people make us feel comfortable, the pressure has gradually gone down.”

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Monte-Carlo: the best playground

First assessed on blackjack, unlike her teammate, the young dealer also hopes to stand out through her sense of hospitality and her smile. But also, her ease with mental arithmetic. The goal is not to let stress get in the way.

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© Monte-Carlo SBM

“We’re going to have to cope with the stress and take it one step at a time. But I want to go for it and give my all! There’s basically nothing we can’t do, so we just need to do it! »

Partners rather than opponents, Christopher and Noémie hope to make the most of their home advantage. However, the experience is just as unique for the other participants from abroad, as Monte-Carlo is a reference in the Casino world.

Daniel Rhodes is a dealer at the Hippodrome Casino in London. Although he has a solid thirteen years of experience in the gaming industry, this is his first time in Monaco, and it’s a unique moment for him: “For the job I do, Monte-Carlo is one of the best places in the world. It’s a real source of pride to be here, I’m very excited.”

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The Monte-Carlo Casino is the only casino in Europe to have introduced training to become a croupier. Could that be the ace up the Monaco competitors’ sleeves ?