A poker dealer distributes cards to players and manages the action at a poker table.
Any casino with a poker room must hire a staff of dealers. Casinos generally pay dealers minimum wage. However, a dealer's primary source of income is not salary, but tips from players. Tip income may be substantial for dealers who can deal hands quickly and efficiently, and are selected by the casino to deal in higher limit games. (In some countries e.g. in Sweden, where all the casinos are owned by the state, Dealers and other casino personnel may not accept tips from players. This rule is complied with strictly.)
To become employable by a casino, applicants without prior experience are typically required to complete a 4-6 week training program at a dealing school. Dealing in a casino may require working late hours and remaining seated for long periods of time. Dealers also commonly work holidays, since these are especially busy days for casinos. Having to deal with difficult individuals may be another drawback to dealing at a casino—some players are abusive to dealers.
A croupier or dealer is someone appointed at a gambling table to assist in the conduct of the game, especially in the distribution of bets and payouts. Croupiers are typically employed by casinos.
Origin of the word
Originally a 'croupier' meant one who stood behind a gambler, with extra reserves of cash to back him up during a gambling session. The word derived from 'croup' (the rump of a horse) and was by way of analogy to one who rode behind on horseback. It later came to refer to one who was employed to collect the money from a gaming-table.
Training methods to become a casino croupier vary from country to country. In North America, blackjack is almost always the game that dealers learn first, as it is simple and popular, and when the dealer makes errors, they tend not to cost the casino much money. In Europe, croupiers tend to learn roulette first. Complex, busy games such as craps, with complicated payout systems, etc., are usually reserved for the most competent and/or ambitious dealers.