GLEN BURNIE, Md. (WUSA) -- Table games may be legal in Maryland's casinos, but there aren't enough dealers in the state to work the tables when they go live this spring. That is, until one casino teamed up with a community college to create a "Dealer School."
From shuffling cards to handling chips, there's a lot more that goes into being a table games dealer than you might think.
"You need to build dexterity. You need to have personality to interact with players. You need to be able to manage security without being distracted," said Rob Norton, President and General Manger of Maryland Live! Casino.
When table games became legal in Maryland last November, Norton says he knew he needed help.
"You can't run a restaurant without chefs and you can't deal a table game without dealers," said Norton.
Maryland Live! will open 150 table games this spring, which means the casino needs to hire about 800 new dealers. So the casino teamed up with Anne Arundel Community College to sponsor a free, 12-week course. Nearly 9,000 people signed up, but only 860 were admitted.
"I'm a people person," said Breina Rippy, a student. "I've been a bartender for almost twelve years so I figured this was right up my alley."
"I've definitely noticed a difference between now and week one," said Vinny Pastore, another student. "It's just simple things like cutting the chips was really hard at first. Now it's almost second-nature."
But just because a student is in Dealer School, doesn't mean they're guaranteed a job after graduation.
"They have to do well in school. They have to come to all the classes. They have to pass the classes. And if they get through that process, they'll have a chance to audition for one of the final positions on the casino floor."
It's a big commitment, but the payoff is a job that pays up to $55,000 a year.
"It's a great opportunity. There's lots of benefits: health care, 401K, full-time and part-time jobs," said Rippy.
Demand has been so great that the school is currently closed to new applicants, but they expect to add more courses in the coming months.