Dealers in training ahead of new casino opening


The games they're playing look like casino games and they are casino games. The tables look like casino tables and they are casino tables. The people playing look like regular casino players, but they're not -- they're students.

The still controversial, $800 million casino, rising up from the cow pastures of Rohnert Park, is expected to open by early next year and when that happens, look for people like Dawn Cook of Rohnert Park to possibly be running a gaming table. She used to sell kits for a toxicology lab. Now, she's learning the intricacies of blackjack. "There's a lot to remember, the payouts, the cards, how do deal," she told ABC7 News.

The unique thing about the school is that it's free. The casino needs to hire 700 dealers and has promised to utilize local people. "We are saying to the community at large, come and learn a skill. Learn a career opportunity," says General Manager Joe Hasson.

The school does not guarantee a job in the casino, but it is certainly a good way to impress future employers. The class runs 12 weeks, four hours a day, five days a week, and it's not easy. It's more than counting and more than just playing a game -- it's "choreography," as they call it.

Clearly, there's more to it than sitting down and flipping cards. Dealers can expect a base salary of around $30,000 a year, plus tips

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