SCHENECTADY — For Bruce Dixon, finding a game of poker to sit in isn’t difficult.
But, as the poker room manager for Rivers Casino & Resort, finding people willing to play with him is a different story.
“Oh yeah, sometimes I can hit a game with a few of my buddies,” said Dixon, taking a seat where the dealer usually sits at a poker table in the resort’s corporate offices. “There’ve been management trips where we’ve been at the poker table and heard, ‘we’re not playing with Bruce.’’”
Dixon was among a cadre of casino employees on hand to announce Rivers’ upcoming training program designed to educate and hire would-be card dealers. The casino, scheduled to open its doors in early next year, needs 300 people to man its more than 80 live table games. The odds of finding that many qualified people straight off the streets of the Capital District — with an aggregate 2010 population of 533,763 — are worse than landing a royal flush (649,739 to 1).
To tip the odds in their favor, Rivers is offering the occupational training for free. It involves ten weeks of card handling, chip cutting, game strategy and good ol’ fashioned customer service.
“It’s a great career opportunity,” said Romsemarie Cook, vice president of gaming for Rivers. “It’s a great competitive wage and benefits involved with it.”
The Rivers Casino & Resort Dealer School will begin Monday, Oct. 17, with Poker Dealer School beginning Monday, Oct. 24.
The Dealer School will be held at 1482 Erie Boulevard, right across the street from the under construction Rivers Casino & Resort, and will run for 10 to 12 weeks, depending on concentration. The Dealer School will feature both morning, evening and weekend sessions to best accommodate trainees’ schedules.
“Whether it’s blackjack, craps, poker or any of the other exciting table games we’ll have at Rivers Casino & Resort, being a great dealer takes lots of practice in addition to having a great personality,” said Mary Cheeks, general manager of Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady. “This is a fun, fast-paced environment in which to begin building a career in the gaming industry. I encourage everyone interested in a dealer position to apply immediately on our website to ensure we have time to review their information before the first Dealer School begins.”
Successful candidates do not need prior dealer experience, and those who are 21 or older and interested in a dealer career are encouraged to apply immediately. Qualified applicants will be called to interview for a position in the Dealer School. There is no cost associated with the Dealer School, and Rivers Casino & Resort will pay for gaming license fees for all team members hired at the property.
In addition to competitive salaries, Rivers Casino & Resort team members will be eligible for workplace benefits that include 401(k), health insurance, paid time off, tuition reimbursement, free uniforms, free parking and opportunity for career growth.
“The opportunies to advance are tremendous. Look at me, I started out as a dealer,” said Cook, who has now been in gaming industry for nearly 40 years.
The operator of Rivers Casino & Resort, Rush Street Gaming, operates three other casinos, all of which have been named a 2015 “Best Place to Work” or “Top Workplace” by their team members.
Rivers Casino & Resort is a $330 million project that will have a 50,000-square-foot gaming floor with 1,157 slot machines, 66 gaming tables and 15 poker tables attached to a 163-room hotel and a 10,000-square-foot banquet facility capable of hosting up to more than 900 people for conventions and special events, one of the largest spaces in the region. Additionally, the property will have a steakhouse, a marketplace with light fare eateries, entertainment lounge and day spa. The casino will take full advantage of its riverfront position with outdoor patios and pre-function spaces.
Rivers Casino & Resort will be located adjacent to a new mixed-use Mohawk Harbor development currently under construction by the Galesi Group, which constitutes an additional $150 million investment in the 60-acre riverfront property. The mix of residential, retail and commercial space will include a 124-room Courtyard by Marriott and a 50-slip harbor on the Mohawk River and Erie Canal.
For more information visit riverscasinoandresort.com/careers.
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.