The little-known profession of croupier calls on some very specific attributes, namely skill and discretion. After a career as a professional footballer, Antoine Grauss is now one of the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer resort’s most promising croupiers, who won recognition at the 2018 European Dealer Championships. Interview with a pro who makes his own luck!
Did you go to casinos as a player before you became a croupier?
Antoine Grauss: Not at all, and I actually think that to be a good croupier, you need a taste for competition rather than a taste for gambling. You have to constantly reflect on what you’re doing in order to push your boundaries and optimize your performance.
How do people learn to do a job as specific as this?
A.G: I attended the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer’s “Ecole des Jeux” training course. Once I’d done all my math, handling and psychology exams, I started off with three months’ blackjack training. Then I learned some associated games, like poker, before I was trained in roulette, craps, and all the European games. Graal—French roulette—is the hardest to get to grips with.
What was your first evening working as a croupier like?
A.G: The first time I handled a table, I felt like a teenager sitting my oral exams all over again. It was exactly the same feeling. Little by little, you get used to it and learn to manage the pressure you feel when you’re in front of a customer. It comes with experience. I still get a bit stressed sometimes when I’m operating a new game or when a customer’s got a lot of money at stake. When you’re in that situation as a croupier, you have to quickly get used to the way the customer does things, acts and plays. You have to take in all this information so you don’t make mistakes or disturb the player.
How do you manage your emotions when you’re at the casino tables?
A.G: You have to keep things in perspective: Even if a client’s playing big, it’s all just chips. I have to be able to take a step back and stay in control of what I’m doing. I’m learning over time to manage my emotions so that my adrenaline doesn’t spike quite as much. I’m learning to hide my feelings in any case, and I’m slowly learning to master them. You need to be as cool and natural as possible.
How do you contribute to the magic of the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer resort?
A.G: A customer’s experience starts the minute they come into contact with staff. As an employee, I have to recognize customers who play in several of our casinos and welcome them in exactly the same way wherever we happen to be. Recognizing and greeting customers comes naturally anyway. Some of them have been coming to play here for over 20 years. Our job is to make sure they feel relaxed and enjoy themselves. We like talking to our customers whenever they fancy a chat.
The magic of the resort also resides in the wonderful Casino de Monte-Carlo itself…
A.G: It’s incredible to be able to work in this amazing place. The casino might start off very calm, but can totally change and get busier as the night goes on. I love taking the time to look at the moldings and paintings whenever I can, it’s wonderful. Every time a new customer walks in, I see them look up and go “wow!”
Big players, little rituals
Like any good professional, Antoine Grauss never reveals who his illustrious customers actually are. But he’s happy to share some of the superstitions he has witnessed: