Now that the Encore casino tower has come into full view of almost everyone in Charlestown, it’s time to learn how to deal a good hand.
Encore Boston Harbor, Charlestown’s Cambridge College and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) announced this week that they will begin the first session of ‘Dealer School’ at Cambridge College in early September, focusing on teaching dealer basics, Blackjack games and Poker games. In coming years, they will also offer training on other games such as roulette and craps.
The collaboration is known as the Greater Boston Gaming Career Institute and is long in the making, debuting now as Encore begins ramping up for the hiring of 1,100 dealers next year to fill out its gaming staff. Hirings will take place next spring, and it is expected that two full sessions of the Dealer School will be completed by the Encore opening on June 24, 2019.
Classes will start on Sept. 17, and the cost is $700. However, residents of Everett, Malden, Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea and Medford will have the opportunity to win scholarships that will make it free. The deadline to submit applications for scholarships is Sept. 10.
“We have been talking with Cambridge College for a number of months about this and it has worked out well,” said John. “The space is 2,500 square-feet and it will hold about 80 students per classroom. They will have three sessions per day.”
The sessions will run Monday to Thursday, with sessions at 8 a.m. to noon; 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. A student is expected to stay in their chosen time slot once they start.
The Blackjack training will last nine weeks and the poker training will last 14 weeks.
There will also be a weekend session that only offers Blackjack training all day Saturday and Sunday for nine weeks.
Doug Williams, vice president of table games, Gary Hager, director of poker operations, and John all said that the Dealer School is a great opportunity to be ready when Encore ramps up to hire gaming staff next year. If one does get hired, it can mean a starting salary of $60,000 for a full-time job, plus benefits.
“This could be transformational for certain people,” said John. “In a matter of months for a 16-hour commitment and flexible times, you can begin a new career that starts at $60,000 for full-time work. It’s a chance for you to earn good money and have a career for the rest of your life. This isn’t for someone who likes to play cards and wants to do something fun. This is for someone really looking to make a career change.”
Said Williams, “It’s also a good avenue for someone who isn’t going to college or doesn’t want to go to college now. It’s a career you can take with you for the rest of your life. There aren’t many instances in a major metropolitan area where a new industry just pops up and you can get in on it.”
Added Hager, “When these kinds of jobs open up on the strip in Las Vegas, they don’t stay open long. These are good opportunities and this is getting in on the ground floor here.”
Those enrolled in the school will practice hands-on training, being taught by five former Encore dealers who will teach them all aspects of how to deal and oversee a good game. More than that, they will teach them the basics of being a dealer. That includes how to let people enjoy themselves and how to show off a good personality that will enhance the customer experience.
Basic requirements are that one have an eighth-grade level of math competency; be 18 or older; be willing to work weekends, holidays and off hours; and have a great personality.
“The personality is very important,” said Williams. “We hear all the time it’s not whether a customer wins or loses that determines whether they had a great time, but it’s the interaction they have with the dealer. They may enjoy themselves more because you are their preferred dealer or you become their lucky dealer. You can go a long way here with a winning personality.”
John said, however, there is no guarantee that anyone who completes the Dealer School would be hired, but they would have preferred status.
“Honestly, we don’t know if they will definitely be hired by Encore,” he said. “It’s the first time we’re doing this. Obviously though, if you get through the program, you’ll have preferential status and you’ll be the first person we look to when we’re hiring.”
The full information about scholarships and enrollment in the Dealer School can be found at www.BetOnU.com.
Once again, classes for the first session start on Sept. 17.