Recently, the newly appointed Champion Blackjack Dealer of the year for 2019, was interviewed and asked to give her tips on how to play and win at blackjack. Catalina Huzum is the first woman to be given the prestigious award and we thought our British blackjack players here at CasinoTop would appreciate learning her inside secrets about the game.
In March this year, the competition was held at the Genting International Casino in Birmingham UK bringing together the cream of the crop of croupiers and dealers from around the world. The winner receives a handsome cash prize as well as a chance for a place in the European Dealer Championships.
Casino experts from the industry, as well as previous winners of the prize, are amongst the judges. The contestants are judged on their customer service, game control and technical skill and points are given by the judges for each of the categories.
Catalina is a croupier at the exclusive Les Ambassadeurs Club in Mayfair London. She won a prize of £2,000 cash in addition to the title UK Dealer of the Year for 2019 beating 26 other contenders in doing so. She comes from a Romanian background and has graced blackjack, roulette and poker tables in her home country of Romania, Cyprus and the UK where she still currently works.
Catalina was interviewed by OnlineGambling.com and she revealed many things about herself, what it takes to be the best croupier and gives some great tips for blackjack players, whether they are seasoned ones or new players to the game.
She was asked how her career started, to which she replied that she answered a newspaper advert for a summer job when she was still only a 14-year-old schoolgirl. She was accepted and trained by the local casino in her area as a casino games dealer. The games included Carribean Stud Poker, roulette and blackjack. She started off learning all the important skills a dealer ought to know like how to handle chips, how to shuffle cards and spin balls, skills that must be practised in order to become dexterous at it.
After her training, Catalina commenced her role at the casino working nightshift where she loved the thrill of the gaming floor. She attained the position of a supervisor after 4 years, and sometime later, in 2011, she took on a role in a casino in Cyprus. After four years of dealing in Cyprus casinos, an opportunity arrived to work in the UK. Being a croupier in the British capital was always a dream for Catalina, however, in specific her dream was to work at the private casino in Mayfair called Les Ambassadeurs Casino. In 2016 her dream came true and she was offered the role of dealer and inspector in the ritzy gaming establishment. Thanks to her recent win as UK Dealer of the Year, she was given a promotion to Game Team Leader. She feels very fortunate to be working in a place that places a lot of importance on its employees.
The management team at the elite club Les Ambassadeurs selected Catalina to be one of the representatives at the UK Dealer Championships. A woman had never won the prize before and so this was a very special honour for her. Not only being one of the team but actually taking out the top prize. Becoming the first woman to ever win the championship was indeed the highlight of her career, a huge feather in her cap!
When asked about her tips for new blackjack players, the first thing Catalina said was that it was incredibly important for players to gamble for entertainment or else it could become harmful. Wise words indeed from someone who has probably seen what damage can be done to players who lose control. Next, she said that learning the basic rules of blackjack as well as the game payouts were crucial. Researching different game strategies to improve their game but also taking time to learn about the casino’s house edge as well.
Understanding the rules, the odds and the house edge is the number one piece of advice she can give new players. At good establishments, like Les Ambassadeurs, should provide their players with plenty of detailed pamphlets that are easily accessible so that all players can make themselves well informed. Another thing that reputable casinos will do, is encourage their players to gamble responsibly.
In response to the question “If you drew 16 in your first two cards, would you stand or double down (stick and twist)?” Catalina said she would never double down, but that she’d stand on a hard 16 against a dealer 2-6 or, HIT