A peek into the lives of those who deal the cards in Canterbury’s blackjack havens.
Kevin Mattson has been a blackjack dealer for 18 years and Don for 22. At the Shakopee Casino, doing it with a poker face is Don Elliott’s business. Getting rounds of applause for witty entertainment is Kevin’s. Dealing the blackjack cards is what they are good at.
Kevin is funny and makes people laugh. He’s almost like a stand-up comic deftly dealing out blackjack cards on one side of the room. Kevin is just one of 150 dealers at Canterbury’s casino. The dealers there come from all walks of lives and horizons and have traded in their aprons or computers for cards, blackjack tricks and tips.
Elliott, a pit boss, on the other side of the room, where stakes are higher than the 300 dollar limit at Kevin’s table, has his poker face on. Here the players can gamble big and win big. 1,000 dollar tips have been known to be given to the dealers. However if the players lose, they may lose big – their farms, their houses, their livelihoods. And still Don has to keep his poker face.
As is the case in all professions, there are ups and downs. For workers, as well as players in this 24/7 gambling business, balancing personal and family life is tricky. Vail, 29, has a spouse who is also a casino worker. However with his graveyard shifts, starting a family has not been so easy. Luckily, he’s been recently moved to the day shift so there is still time and hope.