A highly skilled casino dealer from Grosvenor Casino Manchester Soames has played his cards right after fighting off stiff competition to be named the UK’s best croupier for the third time since he’s been competing. He came out top in two sections of the competition: the two years of experience category, and the competition overall.
32-year-old Josh won over the judges after going head-to-head in a series of skills challenges in Grosvenor Casinos’ annual ‘Dealer of the Year’ competition final held in Coventry. He started at Grosvenor as a dealer nine years ago after finishing university and took an interest in the role because of his flair for numbers. He progressed in the business, going from senior dealer to a card and relief cashier.
Ten finalists from all corners of the country were tested by a panel of eight judges in their aptitude and skill to deal traditional table casino games including blackjack and roulette.
Josh wowed the panel of judges with his skills, including chip dexterity, table maintenance and security, communication skills such as calling games loudly and clearly and his customer service skills. He finished the competition with a score of 94 per cent across all challenges.
Speaking after his win, Josh, said: “I am in total disbelief. This win is absolutely life-changing for me and my career. Even though I have won this competition twice before, it is still unexpected for me, and it makes me feel good knowing that my skills are at the top level. I enjoy taking part in Dealer of the Year because it tends to my competitive side—I love to challenge myself and see how well I do.”
Dave Allen, Gaming Performance Manager, commented on the Dealer of the Year competition: “We have so many passionate experts that work at our Grosvenor Casino venues, so it’s been amazing that we can celebrate them in this way through Dealer of the Year. Josh really impressed us with his skills and his roulette really stood out. This year’s competition has been a huge success and we’re looking forward to the talent that comes through in 2024 and beyond.”
Nicci Smith, Managing Director of one of the sponsors, TCSJOHNHUXLEY, also commented on the win: “We are extremely proud once again, to be sponsors of this fantastic event. Having supported the Championship since its inception we understand the vital role dealers play in not only providing skill and professionalism, but also outstanding customer service and entertainment. The Championships provide a great platform to showcase the high levels of talent within Grosvenor Casinos and allows the best of the best to be acknowledged and rewarded. Something we are more than happy to support!”
Josh’s interest in a challenge is what he loves about working at Grosvenor Casinos. The dealer said that the hardest part of the job is what entices him most: you never know what to expect. Josh has received £3,500 as part of his prize. At this moment he has no plans to spend the money and wants to just enjoy the amazing feeling of his win.
There was also a competition for the dealers with under two years of experience, which was won by Shawnee Allen, a young dealer hailing from Liverpool. Shawnee was the only woman to participate in the Dealer of the Year and finished strong with a score of 80 per cent. She joined Grosvenor Casinos through its training programme and has been progressing since. Winning this award has given her the confidence to progress even more within Grosvenor.