Side Hustle Series: I’m a Craps Dealer

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(Guest Post by Jeremy Orr – as part of our Side Hustle Series!)

For the last eight years I have been dealing craps as a side job at company events and holiday parties. It is a great “side hustle.” The hours are perfect if you keep a 9 to 5 job, the pay is good, but most of all it is a lot of fun.

How I got started

Out of college, I worked for an event company. They put on corporate parties, renting out everything from sumo suits to cool funky furniture. I ran team building events for them, planning and managing trainings. This company also puts on casino events for company functions and parties. Everyone at the company was encouraged to work these events as casino dealers. They train you how, and the pay was good enough that everyone did. At first they trained me to deal blackjack. I took to that easily and they quickly moved me to roulette and taught me Texas Hold’em. These all paid well, but the highest paying gig was dealing craps. I had never played craps before but asked to be trained on it. Craps is a complicated game to play and there is a lot the dealer needs to know.

The pros of craps dealing

After I left the company, to pursue a career as a teacher, I continued to deal craps. My manager emails me when he has dates he wants me to work and I let him know if I am available or not. The flexibility is great. I show up at the designated hotel, convention center (or even yacht!), at the designated time, deal for four hours and walk away. Most of these events happen during the month of December, I can work every Friday and Saturday night up to Christmas and make an extra thousand dollars to line my stocking.

The cons of craps dealing

If it is not the winter time, I work on average a casino every two months. So it is not a great gig if you are looking to steadily supplement your income all year long. Come December you need to give yourself a tutorial to refresh your memory on all of the small details and brush away the cob webs. This is also not a great side hustle to count on. It is great money to pad the pockets, but the work is inconsistent. Last year, the economy was such that a lot of companies cancelled or scaled back their holiday parties. I ended up only working four casinos in the month of December. Thankfully, things rebounded and I am scheduled for eight events already this holiday season.

How you can get started

Many of the dealers I work with found their way to the event company on craigslist. They post an ad that says β€œcasino dealers wanted, will train”. If you have the disposition to be a people person, this is a great way to make some extra cash while meeting all sorts of nice folks. They are usually socially lubricated, nicely dressed, and in a great mood! You don’t have to start as a craps dealer like me; you can deal blackjack or roulette and get steady work. It helps if you live in a big city or urban area, if you are in the San Francisco bay area, I might just know a guy.

Jeremy is an elementary school teacher in the San Francisco bay area. He blogs at about anything and everything that floats across his chalkboard. He can be found on twitter as @jeremyorr

(Photo by woodleywonderworks)

Do you have a side hustle to share? Let me know.

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  1. Lazy Man and Money December 30, 2010 at 10:16 AM

    Interesting… I didn’t realize that craps had “dealers”, I would have thought they were chip placers or something like that.

    I’m a part-time craps player. I can tell you that playing craps doesn’t pay as well as dealing it.

  2. J. Money December 30, 2010 at 11:27 AM

    Haha, maybe you’re not rolling it the right way? ;) I’ve never played (yet) but whenever we go to Vegas or AC my friends are at it for hours and they swear by it. I might have to make it my mission to learn on the next trip.

  3. Jeremy Orr December 30, 2010 at 12:21 PM

    Technically, craps has two dealers and one stick man. The dealers place the bets for you and the stick man calls the game.
    Craps is fun but it’s the type of game where you have to bet big to win big. You have to have your money out at the right time, you’ve gotta “know when to hold em, know when to fold em” so to speak. If you have your money out at the right time you can do very well for yourself.
    As for how much a craps dealer makes, most of these guys work for tips, so take care of them.

  4. Geoff December 31, 2010 at 8:31 AM

    I’ve considered doing that as a side job too but never went into it. Actually if it’s slow like that during most of the year except holidays, perhaps it’s something I should look into. Interesting post!

  5. The Penny Hoarder December 31, 2010 at 12:20 PM

    What a cool job! I occasionally see listing on Craigslist Gigs for poker dealers and I always thought it would be such a fun way to make a few extra bucks.

  6. Kristina December 31, 2010 at 12:43 PM

    I love playing craps. It’s definitely my casino game of choice. My Dad taught me to play craps in Las Vegas on my 21st birthday, now I’m 30. He learned to play on a street corner in Toronto when he was younger, but now he has evolved his craps knowledge into the casino format of the game. Street Hussle…Side Hussle…It’s all good.

  7. Amber January 1, 2011 at 5:08 AM

    This is my side gig too :) My husband and I have been working with entertainment casino companies for about six years, and know blackjack, roulette, three-card poker, Texas hold-em, and (by far our favorite) craps. It’s really a wonderful job to put together extra funds for Christmas. When looking into the job, definitely know your state’s rules on gambling (not allowed here) and make sure your company is operating in a way that is consistent – we use play money all the way, and they play for raffle tickets for prizes. Personally, I like the fact that no real money changes hands – I find it hard enough to take fake money, let alone someone’s real money!

  8. J. Money January 1, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    @Jeremy Orr – Sometimes I feel like the more you tip, the more you end up winning in the end? At least at Texas Hold’em. I swear everytime I tip big I win big.
    @Geoff – I think I’d rather be a professional craps or poker player over dealing ;) Although that’s also because I’m clumsy (and A.D.D.) as hell. I wouldn’t be cut out for it.
    @The Penny Hoarder – You should try it and then tell us what it’s like coming in as a beginner! Would make for a great blog series ;)
    @Kristina – Hahaha… I love your dad. I’ll have to come up and meet you all sometime :)
    @Amber – Wow, that’s pretty interesting. I bet people lose fake money much faster though! If it looks like monopoly $ I’d have no problem dropping it all over the place (which is bad!). Pretty sexy though having women dealers ;)