Former Red Hawk Casino Dealer Opens Dealers School in Santa Maria
Spotlight on: Coastal Casino Dealing Academy
Fernando Mariano, owner
BY KRISTINA SEWELL
Casinos are chaotic hubs of activity and entertainment—the cha-ching of the machines, the occasional frustrated cry of a guest who bet too much, or people who haven’t slept for 10 hours straight.
At the focal point of these casinos is the gambling. Card tables give us a variety of paths to choose from; behind them sits the dealer, the person who ultimately will deal the fate that makes or breaks people.
Local resident Fernando Mariano knows what it takes to be a successful gaming dealer, and he’s decided to share his insider knowledge with other potential casino dealers.
Scheduled to open on Sept. 12, Coastal Casino Dealing Academy will teach interested students the techniques and skills required to become a card dealer. The upstairs office suite at 930 S. Broadway in Santa Maria is spacious and ready for students. With four card tables and a roulette table spread throughout the space, students will have a chance at a hands-on experience.
Mariano is professional and welcoming, and it’s clear to see he’s excited for business to begin. Mariano first began dealing cards in 1993 before becoming a shift manager for six years at Red Hawk Casino in Northern California. Mariano also had experience on cruise lines before coming to Chumash Casino in 2005.
With a background in gaming and casino operations, and no dealing school within a 200-mile radius, Mariano decided to open his own dealing academy for local residents.
“There are always people excited to become a card dealer,” Mariano said, “But they don’t know where to learn from.”
Mariano said he knows card dealers who have had to travel as far as San Diego or Sacramento to receive proper training, or had to learn from other dealers during their free time. Now he’s offering his professional services.
Students who sign up for Mariano’s classes will spend time going over blackjack, baccarat, and roulette, with poker dealing being offered as a night class. Mariano said the school will give students an edge on dealing, and an opportunity to develop professional skills.
“The goal of the training is for them to handle the games the way they were assigned to: proficiently with confidence and style,” Mariano said.
Students will be taught the technical skills of a dealer, which involve mathematics and hand dexterity, he said. Most importantly, students will be taught about gaming security and customer service skills.
After students complete their training, they will be certified dealers in a particular game. According to Mariano, the academy will offer job placement at various California casinos. The school bears no affiliation to Chumash Casino.
Although Mariano said dealing is something anyone could do, it takes a certain kind of personality to work in this field.
“The person needs to be outgoing and comfortable in a party atmosphere,” Mariano said. “They have to have a positive attitude and mingle with people.”
Mariano said a casino job is for someone seeking an interesting, well-paying career with potential job advancement within the gaming industry. Eventually, he said he would like to host casino nights for companies and other events in both San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.
“It’s experimental at this point,” he said, “but it’s an opportunity to give a chance to people who want professional training.”
For more information, call Fernando Mariano at 868-9890.