A winner at European Dealer Championship
Luiza Caradeanu, from Bucharest Casino, reigned over the seventh edition of the European Dealer Championship, as she was crowned the best dealer in Europe.
The competition was hosted by Casino di Campione d’Italia, in Como. It is the second time in the history of this contest organized by the European Casino Association (ECA) when a woman places on the first position.
Romanian Luiza Caradeanu is 34 and paid herself for participation in the Italian competition. According to the mass-media in Italy, the Casino where she works is in financial trouble, due to the economic crisis.
The best dealer in Europe, humble about her performance
‚I am not a superwoman!’
She succeeded to defeat tens of other competitors at the European Championship in Italy, but she remains a down-to-earth person, anchored in reality. Luiza Caradeanu has given our publication ‚ Casino Life & Business Magazine’ an exclusive interview, where she speaks about her job and success.
You managed a great performance, to be named the best dealer in Europe. How do you feel after this success? How did you do to defeat 31 competitors from 20 countries?
I feel excellent. Two years ago I went to the same competition, so I could say I was a little bit more prepared. About the fact that I defeated other 31 opponents, you have to know I am no superwoman – they are not as well prepared as we are here. And I am talking about the Romanian style of playing – we are tested nonstop – limits, bettings. Looking from this perspective, it was a similar environment in the contest.
Talk to us about your win. What was the peak moment, from your point of view?
Of course, the most important was the final. We had the attention and betting tests – different amounts betted different clients – you would have six clients at the same time, asking for various things and you had to split attention and listen to all of them. And the peak moment was…when I could not understand what a gentleman was saying – the accent was different as he was a Spaniard speaking English, you know how that is. But I managed to overcome the difficulty. I would say I was lucky, I figured out really fast what he wanted. That was the peak moment – had I done anything wrong, that would have not been good for my final average.
You know that this was the second time for a female winner. What do you think about it? I guess it is a good reason to be proud of.
Yes, I guess. To be honest, I did not give too much thought to the other woman. I was there two years ago, when the other woman won, and I was happy for her. The difference was slim between us, just 0.01 points. But I had just found out that she had been there five years in a row, that would have been the sixth. When I heard the story, the least thing in my mind was winning. And the fact that we are women, it does not matter much. At least in Romania, very many dealers are women, they are just favored. Most clients are men and they like to see a woman at the table. As for differences between men and women, I can’t say they are huge. It is true that men start learning how to gamble at a younger age and they gain more experience. They start poker as children. Their attitude is also different – but everything changes when you have a woman who knows her stuff, that erases any difference. And yes, I am proud of having won – a woman winning the European Championship, I feel empathy for all the women in the world.
You are working with Bucharest Casino, but I hear that you took money out of your pocket to go Italy. Any details about it?
Right now, we have a tight budget. They limit to what is really essential. The moment I heard about the competition they told me that they had no money to help me with. No extra expenses, as this competition was looked at. Then, I said to myself that I had bought the plane ticket, accommodation some time ahead – I knew about it since last September – I would not spend so much and I also had some time to save a little for the trip. It seemed good for me to go there. The same thing happened last year – we found ourselves in the impossibility of leaving and it would have been too late to pay for it myself. But now, since I knew about it in advance, I told them that I would go, whether they had money or not. This is an experience I do not want to miss, especially that I had been there two years ago and I knew I can do better and win. And the fact that I had to pay for everything from my own pocket, I don’t see is as a big deal. It is true that the others had been sent by their casinos. Many of them were just surprised, would not want to go but their managers had them to. For me, it was an expense I wanted to make. I really wanted to gain that experience. Besides, this is very good for my CV and my professional path.
What was the prize they gave you after winning the European Championship?
A trip for two people to Las Vegas, one week long. It is about accommodation, flights and some money to spend.
How did your peers receive the news?
Very well. While I was still there, everyone was trying to get in touch. The wireless internet was not quite working, but they were texting me. They even went on Facebook. Of course they were happy, even made me a cake and drank champagne when I came back. Everybody is trying to do their best right now, to promote us as a casino. And a win like this helps a lot, it automatically brings more value.
What is exactly that drew you into this job as a dealer?
I have been in this job since 1999, for almost 14 years. What attracted me to this job, I cannot pinpoint very well, as I had no clue about it. I was 19 when they hired me and the only thing I was doing then was playing poker with my friends. I had a friend who had been hired as a dealer on cruise line ships – back then, the pay was very good of the ships. How did everything start? As a summer job – I decided to do something. I come from a single parent family, my financial resources were not many, so I needed some money for myself. I remember this is exactly what I told my mother – ‚we will just see, I might make some money’. After that, everything started revolving around the casino. It was not a random job anymore, I had just fallen in love with it. I was very excited, looking forward to go back to work. I was even willing to come here on my days off. A true revelation! There are not too many people to have a job they can’t wait to go. Not even now, after 14 years, I can’t say that I dislike coming to work. It is true that enthusiasm faded a little, but my love for this job is as fresh as ever.
What would be the secret behind the succes in this job?
It is hard to tell. There are very many things you have to pay attention to. You have to have some mathematical skills, as you will go through a lot of calculation. You are not allowed to be wrong. You attend some courses, you are trained how to calculate, various methods that keep you from making mistakes. To be perspicacious is essential – most of the time you are the only dealer and you have 6 or 7 clients in front of you. You must be careful so they will not change a bet, bet after the call or to steal, etc. A secret would be to be confident in and trust yourself . To learn your stuff very well and also to be sharp-sighted.
What did your family have to say about working in casinos?
I cannot say that they expressed any opinion. It was all my choice. I liked it, so my mom had nothing against. She was only interested in school at that time. She kept telling me that I should go to school. She was saying the same thing while I was doing sport, not to let go off school.
What sport did you do?
Ice hockey. I am doing ski now, it is just a natural follow-up to what hockey meant in my life. I have always had a strange taste in choosing things that I liked….As for my family’s opinion about my job.. They were excited. After I was hired, there was a time when my mother fell sick and had to stay home for a long time. My little sister was still in school and I had to keep my job to bring more money. And my job worked. In three months, I had been promoted two positions and was making double money than my mother. For me, it was wow! You would make good money in the casinos, from the tips. Anyhow, it was a better paid job compared to others. My mom was happy that I was not working in a factory or going in the field to pick up strawberries. It is an easy job that you can do as long as your mind does not betray you. It does not require a physical effort, it is a clean and nice job. Well, it is true that you get in contact with some clients who do not take it very well when losing money. But you just get over and used to it. For me, this is just beautiful.
As a person directly involved in the gambling industry, what is your take on it for Romania? Is it going the right direction?
In terms of development, it has not done it very much lately. There used to be 12 casinos, only 5 are left, due to the financial crisis. What do I think about this industry? I like it a lot, am so excited about it. This is a place where many splendid things can happen. Casinos are, generally speaking, an entertainment place, where they have shows, fashion presentations, etc. Very nice, indeed. The idea is for you to be responsible in gambling. No one wants to see people losing their houses, all their money in the casinos. As an industry, gambling is very agreeable. People should come here cool-headed, not to bring more money that he can afford to spend and not to get into a spin. Many of them reach that stage and I am sorry when that happens, but there is nothing I can do. I cannot tell that person how much he is allowed to lose, to send him home forcefully while explaining that his family will be hurt. There are indeed advantages and disadvantages, bad and good things associated to this job. But all comes down to the client. I can give some information, a phone number, but it is all up to him whether he can control himself or not. For people coming to have fun, this industry is really beautiful. There are lots of people here to have a good time.
But as an industry, do you thing is going in the right direction or is rather stagnating?
Lately, due to the higher taxes, it is lagging behind. I am not aware who is doing the laws governing the casinos, but they are totally off. The authorities should know better, have had a direct contact or work with the casinos so as they have an idea about what is going on. There are many laws passed for nothing. No market survey, no discussion with the managers at various casinos. When you pass a law, you need to know that field very well from the inside, not outside. Higher taxes sometimes close a casino and people lose a lot. Very many people are employed in a casino and I have heard that they were left jobless when big casinos went out of business. We, the people in the casino industry, are middle class – from our wages, taxes, we bring money to the state budget. Neither of the the other two (poor or rich) is doing the same. We, the middle class, are. Besides, some taxes are useless – in conclusion, this is a wrong direction.
Do you play at the casinos?
Have you ever tried?
No. Eight hours a day, for 14 years on, I cannot say to know any winning recipe. Had I have some money to spare – the gambling money or entertainment is extra money for me. For me, going to a casino is not fun, as I am very familiar with that place. But to gamble, I have never been into it, not even at the beginning.
When in Las Vegas, are you going to gamble?
A little, just to see how the staff is doing, the dealers, how do they behave at the table, whether they have another method of dealing the cards. Only to ‚steal’ some information, not to gamble. I have already done my homework – what is to be seen, trips to take, shows. It is just for my experience, not to play.
Should you are asked to sketch a profile of the Romanian gambler, what would be his main features?
The clients are very intelligent. They test you and know what your limits are. They test you to see whether you know. They are a little bit aggressive when playing. If you do not stick to your limits, they are trying to take advantage – but exactly this thing has helped me at the championship. At least once a week, you have a client who is checking to see if you know what is the limit on a number or on a certain bet.
Who is Luiza Caradeanu on a regular day?
I love skiing. And I have just started learning how to skateboard. I hope to get to paragliding. As for the rest, I am a normal girl, like anyone else. Love shopping, nothing special.
How do you do with this night-shift, does not tamper with your schedule?
No, because I have been doing it for very many years. I have been used to this schedule. I have no sleeping issues. From this point of view, my husband is very understanding about it. He is a bartender and he also works nights. We have a good timing. Plus, I can do other things during the day. Some people cannot have this, honestly.
What are your plans for future?
I do not have any plans of this kind. I love short-term projects. Life has proven me that it is not good to think in the long run. Things happen the other way you plan them. I wish the casinos never closed and had a good business.
Two more titles
During the European Dealer Championship, Romanian Luiza Cradeanu came before Finnish Amir Ben Said, on the second, and Swedish Johan Ranesta, who ranked the third. The Romanian dealer also won two side events, namely roulette shipping and pushing stacks.
A number of 31 participants from 20 countries entered the competition. Eleven of them were women. Luiza impressed the jury by her dedication, passion, talent and charm. The prize she was given is a two-people trip to Las Vegas. ‚I just love my work. It is such an honor to be the winner’, said Luiza Caradeanu when the competition was over.