Thursday, April 13, 2017

Good Luck

After nearly a year spent in Oregon feeling lost and directionless, I landed a job dealing cards.  It's been two weeks now since I started, and I couldn't be happier with the choice I made to go to dealer's school.

I think there are people who have known me for a decade+ who have never seen me in black pants and a white button-up shirt before.  Cody thinks I look cute in my uniform :3

I'm practicing "better safe than sorry" with regards to my job and this blog, so I'm not going to name it by name.  That said, it's an awesome place to work.  Everyone that I've met so far, from the students in my class to the teacher to the other dealers to the pit bosses and supervisors and managers, has been encouraging and supportive and mindful of the fact that it can be a pretty intimidating job at the very beginning.   I've been in a perpetual good mood ever since starting, and so I wanted to write a little bit about where things stand.

I don't mind the work.  Like, not at all.  I'm basically getting paid to play games and do quick math in my head. That's not to say it's easy - there are a lot of things I need to be doing and keeping track of at all times, but it never really feels like work.  The more I do it, the more I feel myself getting accustomed to all the little ins and outs of how to deal, and I like feeling myself improve as the days go on.

My "customer service" approach is simple and honest:  I actually want the people who sit at my table to win. Sure, tips are a factor, but it's more that I'm usually talking to the people who are betting with me and sharing that moment with them, and that in turn usually makes me legitimately root for them.  One of my funnest moments as a dealer so far has been on a table where I was getting absolutely slaughtered and couldn't win a hand, which meant that everyone at my table was winning.  During moments like that, what I do doesn't feel like work at all.

Of course, my wanting people to win doesn't change the cards in the slightest.  You get what you get.  I've had a few of opposite types of moment where I deal myself a bunch of 20s and 21s in a row, and it can get pretty uncomfortable.  In those cases, I remember that I've had my fair share of moments in my twenties where I was the person on the other side of the table, losing money when I really couldn't afford to.  Having that experience helps, I think - I try to be respectful of the fact that it's a pretty rough feeling to lose on the tables.  I don't take it personally when people get upset, and to their credit, most guests go in expecting to lose and are cool with it.

The weirdest thing about the job has been getting used to the schedule.  Right now I'm on the graveyard shift, working from 2am - 10am Saturday through Wednesday.  This means going to bed when it's light out (around 5pm) and waking up around 1am most nights.  While I reserve the right to change my mind on this, right now I don't mind my hours too much.  I haven't had the type of social life where I care about nights or weekends for more than a year now, and in my limited experience working graveyard has a more relaxed vibe than other busier shifts.

The work night is broken up really well.   For every hour spent dealing, we get a twenty minute break to recharge our mental batteries.  This is important, because when I'm on the tables I pretty much have to give the game 100% of my undivided mental attention.  I like this system a lot - I've always been the type of employee to cycle between working extra hard and slacking off, so it's good for me to be in a field where that's more or less the expectation.  During our breaks there's a dining room with good/free food, so I usually kick it in there.

Cody drew this for me a few months back when I was feeling lost and directionless.  It's funny how the job that I ended up getting actually involved running games.

Becoming a casino dealer completely changes the game for me.   The main things that have been holding me back since we moved here were boredom and lack of money.  Now that I feel like I have those two things covered, I feel really optimistic about what the future will bring for Cody and I.

We're in agreement that we want to move into our own place - as it stands right now, that's the next major life change on the horizon for us.  Being 37 and in a committed relationship, all I really want out of life at the moment is to find stability and a place that we'll want to call home for awhile.  I want something close to the casino that isn't too far from other people, and Cody wants something in the woods.  It's western OR, so those requirements don't seem all that unrealistic.

Although there's still plenty of time for this sort of thing, I'm already excited at the prospect of learning how to run craps and roulette games.  They're seen as more advanced game (and pay better) because there are more things to keep track of and more complicated math to process, but those are the things that I find fun about the job. It doesn't need to happen anytime soon because I'm still really new, but it's nice to know there's room for advancement while still allowing me to basically do all the stuff I like.

So yeah - all in all, things are looking up.  I haven't felt this un-stressed and excited for the future since leaving Boston more than a year ago.  Thanks to everyone who has been cheering me on through everything!