Friday, February 09, 2007

First Graduate of Singapore Casino Dealer Training Program

SINGAPORE - Her fingers moved nimbly, swiftly gathering the scattered casino chips from the green roulette table into her cupped palm in stacks of 20. Toh Xue Ling's record for "chipping,'' or restacking 100 chips into neat piles, is 24 seconds.

But the 18-year-old who just graduated from Singapore's first casino dealer training course is more proud of her ability to calculate pay-outs at the roulette wheel, where the winnings depend on the placement of a chip and require quick-thinking math skills.

"I feel confident about finding a casino job. I've mastered the skills and I'm ready,'' Toh said.

Toh and 37 classmates - dressed smartly in dealer uniforms of black trousers, white shirts, black vests and armbands - graduated Wednesday night in a ceremony marked by laughter, champagne and demonstrations of newly acquired dealing know-how.

They are the first class to complete the six-month Certificate in Dealing Casino Games at the International Club Games Training Center, a 20,000-square foot (1,858-square meter) space styled after a real casino and filled with dozens of baccarat, roulette and blackjack tables.

It is an unusual scene in Singapore, which legalized casino gambling in 2005 but is waiting for the construction of two casino resorts - slated for 2009 and 2010 - before the games begin.

Even then, Singaporeans may be dissuaded from testing their luck by proposed regulations requiring casino operators to collect a levy of 100 Singapore dollars (US$60; euro50) a day or S$2,000 (US$1,180; euro990) a year from locals visiting the casino.

The new gambling reality has sparked the interest and curiosity of many in Singapore, who hope to take advantage of the job opportunities and tourism boom that the casino resorts are certain to bring.

Training center CEO Ramachandar Siva said Singaporeans are in a perfect spot - educationally and regionally - to gain from the casino boom.

"The standards are high in Singapore education, and among Singaporeans,'' he said. "So that pushes us to set a high standard, and we can then offer quality, professional croupiers to casino clients. That's our main objective.''

He opened the center in November 2005 in response to Singapore's legalization of casino gambling and also to fill the high demand for croupiers on cruise ships and in the Asian gambling hub of Macau, where he said an employment crunch has led to rushed courses that graduate "half-baked'' dealers.

Besides learning the ins-and-outs of the games, the students are schooled in theoretical situations such as how to spot a cheat and how to remain calm with aggressive customers.

"The pressure is higher in Asian casinos than American ones,'' Siva said. "The typical Asian gambler is more gung-ho, more hard-core, places higher bets in more volume.''

The students are hoping all this work will pay off.

Joel Koh Yang Pang, 26, was self-assured as he stood at one roulette table, moving chips around the number board to demonstrate the patterns he had memorized for quick calculations.

"We are better prepared than many others already working in casinos,'' he said, explaining that he often stayed for hours after the five-hour daily course to practice what he had learned. "We're trained well, we have hands-on experience, we know about gaming security, we know so much.''

Many Singaporeans have only gambled at horse races and other sporting events, or on slot machines at some gaming parlors.

Koh was ready to change this.

"I want some experience overseas, and then I hope to come back to Singapore and work at one of the integrated resorts at a higher level,'' Koh said. "I have the knowledge, and soon there will be opportunities in Singapore.''

Source : STAR
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Anonymous said...

ahh, typical singaporeans, they thought they know a lot.

Anonymous said...

well, they know a lot more than the average Malaysian

Casino booms said...

Excellent post. I’m actually surprised the use of blogs and wikis isn’t higher




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