Q&A: Landon Wieging, casino dealer

  • Photo by Jeffrey Konczal
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From the October 11, 2012 edition

Two words often considered opposites kept re-appearing in my interview with Landon Wieging, one of Hollywood Casino’s card dealers: Work and fun. The fun part wasn’t a surprise — Hollywood often lends a calm, cool sheen to the profession. The work part of the job, though, is usually overlooked. Not anymore.

Wieging spoke to Alive last week just prior to the casino’s grand opening about the preparation needed to be a card dealer and the pregame jitters that hit him before the casino’s soft opening.

Obviously Hollywood glamorizes (card dealing) more than it is. Wednesday we had a soft opening and that was the first day I ever dealt cards live. It was so much fun (but) there’s more work to it than most people realize. I underestimated how difficult it could be and how much you have to think.

Absolutely it’s similar. I’ve played sports throughout high school and clubs and intramurals throughout college. The night before (the casino opening) I was jittery and nervous — if you want to call it pregame nerves. In the morning my heart was racing, and once I got on the tables it was a blast. It was exhilarating.

None. I knew black jack, (but) I knew nothing about craps and am still amazed at it. It’s so much more complex than I ever thought it’d be. As far as casino experience, I had never been in one to gamble. It wasn’t something I was against; I just was never around one to experience it.

I’m studying architecture at Ohio State. I really left my options open with it. I’ll finish up my last year with classes here and there. I’ll assess things when I graduate. … If I love this as much as I think I will and with the opportunities for growth that I have, I could easily see myself staying there for a long time.

Training was a bigger commitment than I thought I was getting myself into. It was five days a week and multiple training classes. I worked evenings bartending and waiting tables, so I was taking the morning classes every day at 7 o’clock in the dealer school working on my table game skills. I worked late nights and turned around and worked early in the morning again.

I think at first we thought, Wow this is a big commitment to deal black jack or craps or poker … but on day one we get in there and realize it’s not overkill — there’s a lot to these games. There’s a lot to watch. We needed every day of that training.

A big portion of our training was game protection and what we would call ‘walking our table’ — keeping your eyes open and alert for bets being placed and even using your peripheral vision, not just what’s in front of you, but to the left and right too.

For me, that’s something that’s amazing. I grew up in Grove City, but I live a minute away from Georgesville (Road) and W. Broad (Street). … For me growing up I’ve been able to notice the downfall of the area in many ways and you can already see the uplift the casino has had thus far — and it hasn’t even opened yet.