How to Become a Poker Dealer at the 2021 WSOP

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Jack Effel, the WSOP’s long-time vice president, shared with CardsChat News details on how poker dealers can get hired for the 2021 WSOP, which begins on Sept. 30 in Las Vegas. Applications are now being accepted on the Caesars Entertainment website for seasonal dealers.

jack effel wsop poker dealers
Jack Effel is as excited as ever for the 2021 WSOP, though it will take place at a different time of year. (Image courtesy PokerGO app)

Effel is enthusiastic about the upcoming series and is optimistic that, despite some challenges, everything will go smoothly when it comes to hiring dealers for the fall series. After the WSOP was unable to host a live series in Las Vegas last year due to COVID-19, he’s ready to welcome everyone back, including the dealers who play an integral role in the success of poker’s most prestigious annual event.

“We hope that everyone is excited to come back to the World Series of Poker … we can’t wait to see everyone,” Effel enthusiastically said.

The WSOP is just now beginning to accept applications for the fall series. Effel said they hire around 1,200 poker dealers each year, and they anticipate the 2021 WSOP will be no different. Dealers, he informed us, are paid a $9 per hourly wage and then receive a portion of the tournament buy-ins on top.

You aren’t required to reside in Las Vegas to get hired for seasonal work with the WSOP. In fact, Effel said that more than half of the dealers each year come from out-of-state. He also stated that most dealers hired for the series should expect to work five or six days per week.

The final decision on how many dealers to hire is contingent on a few factors out of the WSOP’s control, Effel said. He said WSOP executives are holding off on releasing a full schedule until the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) gives the all-clear on operating at full capacity. Effel can’t currently say when the final schedule will be released.

Requirements to become a 2021 WSOP dealer

The hiring process begins with submitting an application to Caesars Entertainment, the company that owns the World Series of Poker. Qualified candidates will then receive a call back in the next month or two, according to Effel. After that, prospective seasonal employees must pass an audition to get hired. Auditions will begin in June or July and run until the beginning of September.

Those who pass their audition will be offered a job to work the series. Effel has some advice for those hoping to get hired on for the series. “Make sure that you know some of the games that are in the Dealers Choice event because you could be asked to deal a hand or two of Triple Draw or 2-7 No-Limit, or something like that, and that could be your audition. “

Many dealers, Effel explained, are exceptional at dealing No-Limit Hold’em, but may not be as well versed at other games. Having experience dealing other forms of poker will help prospective candidates pass their auditions, he said.

“As a dealer you should have a good understanding of the rules, and you should have a good understanding of your daily schedule,” he said.

Not everyone is required to audition for the job, however. Effel said that those with 2-3 years of WSOP dealing experience are grandfathered in. Even so, every poker dealer who wants to work the series must submit an application, including past employees.

Minimum WSOP poker dealer qualifications (per Caesars):

  • Previous WSOP or WSOP Circuit dealer, or poker dealers of the Heartland, World Poker Tour, and/or Mid-States Poker Tour Tournaments who meet pre-employment requirements -or-
  • Current Poker Dealer in a licensed casino or licensed poker facility  – or-
  • Minimum six months verifiable experience within the last 3 years (After Jan 1, 2017) as a poker dealer in a licensed poker facility – or-
  • Recent graduate from a licensed poker dealing school (Proof of certification is required)
  • Can deal and run all flop, draw, and seven-card tournament games in limit, no-limit, and pot-limit formats
  • Must be a team player with a friendly outgoing personality and good customer service skills
  • Presents a neat, professional appearance and practices good personal hygiene at all times
  • Uses good math skills to calculate pots and to take required rakes quickly and correctly
  • Must be able to understand and communicate in English

If you’re looking to parlay the seasonal gig into full-time work in a Caesars card room — there are currently four open in Las Vegas — you’re in luck. Hard work during the series just might pay off. “It happens all the time,” Effel said of dealers transitioning from seasonal to permanent.

Optimistic despite some uncertainty

Effel acknowledges that there may be some challenges when it comes to hiring for this year’s WSOP. With the series taking place in the fall as opposed to the summer, some out-of-town dealers might not be able to bring their families along for the series.

“I don’t know the answer to that question because we haven’t started hiring,” Effel explained. “All we can do right now is speculate. At the end of the day, this is what poker dealers do for a living. Everybody’s personal situation is different, but we hope from a hiring standpoint that poker dealers are going to find a way to make it to Las Vegas for the WSOP like they always do. Remember, a lot of folks lost jobs during the pandemic, so I have to think there may be a lot of poker dealers out there that need work.”

Effel continued: “I think there’s gonna be a balance of folks who lost their jobs and need work, and those who found other occupations during the pandemic out of necessity because they lost their jobs to COVID-19.”

At the end of the day, Effels says the World Series of Poker is still the game’s greatest and most prestigious event. Dealers from all over the world come to town each year for the opportunity to deal in such a popular series. As a result, Effel says he’s optimistic that dealers and players will be excited to come to Vegas in the fall.

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