Poker dealers distribute cards to players and manage the action at the table. They must have a strong knowledge of the rules of poker and make sure everyone is playing fairly. Some estimates say that over 50,000 poker dealers work in the United States; the legendary Johnny Chan was even a dealer at one point.
You won’t find human dealers at online poker tables because everything has been fully computerized. Dealing cards, calculating the pots, and deciding the winner have all been reliably automated on poker sites for a long time.
Poker dealers have one of the most important jobs inside a casino. We’ll cover the best poker dealer skills to have and the basic rules of dealing.
Skills That Every Poker Dealer Needs
Poker dealers need to master various skills and know the main types of poker to keep games running smoothly.
Shuffling: Most modern casinos and card rooms have mechanical shuffling machines to ensure a completely random selection of cards. When an automated shuffler isn’t available, you’ve got to shuffle by hand. There are lots of different techniques for shuffling cards on YouTube.
Distributing: After a good shuffle, it’s time to give cards to each player. Even the best live poker dealers accidentally expose cards from time to time. Dealers usually flick the cards low over the table, rotating the card for stability. It doesn’t take long to be consistent with this motion.
Pot/chip management: A dealer must keep track of bet sizes and the minimum raise sizes, plus allocate chips to winners, among many other things. Dealers need to be accurate when handling poker chips.
Mediation and conflict resolution: When a card is exposed before the showdown, what happens? There are lots of unexpected things that can happen at the poker table. Players sometimes act “out of turn” or take actions that break the rules, so a dealer must know how to react. Online poker doesn’t have any of these issues, since everything is fully automated.
If a dealer can’t resolve an issue, there is usually a supervisor or floor manager that steps in to give a final ruling.
If you want to set up private online poker games with your friends, the software will handle the dealing for you. PokerStars will let you arrange online cash games or tournaments using play money or real money, it’s up to you. Their software is top-of-the-line and there are over 17 different formats to choose from. Texas hold ‘em and Omaha are the most popular, but they have lots of others like Omaha hi/lo, short deck, and mixed games. Stakes for PokerStars Home Games go from $0.01/$0.02 to $0.50/$1, but you can switch to free play mode at any time.
Our Poker with Friends article has a few different ways to organize private online home games.
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The Basic Rules For a Poker Dealer
At casinos and cardrooms, poker dealers sit at the center of the table. This puts all of the chips and cards within reach and gives them a good view of each player.
- Start by shuffling a standard deck of 52 cards.
- Check that the small blind and big blind players have placed their mandatory bets. If there is an ante, collect it before dealing cards to players.
- Deal in a clockwise direction, starting with the player to the left of the dealer button. Give a card to each player, one at a time until everyone has the correct amount of hole cards. For Texas hold ‘em, each player receives two. Other kinds of poker like Omaha use four hole cards.
- Now the preflop betting round can begin. The action starts on the player immediately left of the big blind and moves clockwise until it’s complete.
Poker dealers move any hand that a player folds into “the muck”.
Play through the multiple betting rounds and if players remain at the end, it’s time for a showdown.
- If a player makes a bet on the river, and it is called by another player, the bettor must show their hands first.
- If no players bet and the river is “checked through” (everyone checks), then the first player to act has to show their hand first.
When a hand has been completed, it’s time to move the dealer button. Move the dealer button one place to the left after each hand.
Get familiar with the rules and experience the action by playing poker for free. Poker without real money is different, but it might be helpful to play a few hands without any deposit, to get a feel for the game and software.
When you’re ready to play micro or low-stakes poker, 888poker is a great site to start on. They’ve developed great software and attracted a lot of recreational players to their tables. Their No-Deposit Bonus is another reason to play on 888poker; eligible players can get up to $88 in cash and tickets – just for signing up. Head to our review to learn more.
How Much Does a Poker Dealer Make?
The salary of a poker dealer can depend on the casino they work in and the country it’s in.
A poker dealer’s salary is made up of their base pay, plus the tips that they receive from players. Sometimes these tips go directly to the dealer and other times they are split with other staff members.
The average annual salary for a poker dealer in the US, according to a 2023 survey, is just above $45,000. Many of the dealer jobs are just above minimum wage. In the UK, poker dealers can earn around $50,000 each year.