Inside the Hard Rock Northern Indiana Trainee Dealer Course

Learning the craft of casino games is no easy task, a Chicago Tribune columnist witnessed first-hand during the second week of a 10-week trainee dealer course taking place inside the pavilion of Majestic Star in Gary, Indiana, training new recruits for Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana.

Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana

The $300 million casino property located just off Interstate 80/94 adjacent to Burr Street Interchange announced in November it was looking to hire around 200 new dealers, with or without experience in the games, ahead of its opening in the spring of 2021.

Inside the two casino boats anchored at Buffington Harbor on Lake Michigan since the mid-1990s, new employees learned that craps is one of the most difficult games to deal as it contains several smaller games into one larger and requires a lot of homework, alongside training and repetition, to master its arts.

“These new dealer trainees are learning the basic fundamentals of the game.”

Thomas Gutierrez, Director, Table Games, Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana

Like everyone else, Thomas Gutierrez started as a casino dealer, managed to climb the corporate ladder and will now continue as director of table games at the new casino resort, which will feature a gambling floor with 1,600 slot machines and 80 table games, inside the vast 200,000-square-foot gaming and entertainment complex.

Craps is Like Foreign Language

Josh Cole, a Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati dealer was brought here to teach the new employees the skills required to deal craps.

“Learning craps is like learning a foreign language when you consider all of its terms and its order of operation.”

Josh Cole, Dealer, Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati

The new trainee dealers are taught how to cut casino chips, how to push the dice across the table while calling each dice roll, and most importantly, how to do all this with energy levels to engage everyone around the table, a complex and challenging task for most of them.

“We’re looking for something special from these new dealers. We can teach the fundamentals and procedures of the game. We can’t teach personality. It’s key.”

Thomas Gutierrez, Director, Table Games, Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana

Unlike casino dealers learning craps, trainee dealers know nothing about casino language and have to learn both the game and the specific announcements at the same time, “it’s like they’re learning two foreign languages here every day”, Josh Cole noted.

Enticing Incentives

But the incentives are great as everyone who graduates the training course receives a bonus of up to $2,000, full benefits and a chance for a new career, despite the significant impact on the casino industry from the coronavirus-related restriction orders and safety guidelines.

“We realize this has been a tough year for people in the hospitality industry. We are very happy to help so many of them get back to business. The project is on track to give the area a much needed economic boost.”

Dawn Reynolds-Pettit, VP, HR, Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana

The casino property which is expected to generate to the state more than $20 million annually is also recruiting for other jobs, including restaurant managers, chefs and cooks, bartenders, servers and cashiers, as well as positions in security, finance, marketing and guest relations.

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