Out of work? Underemployed and looking for some extra cash?
It might be time to try your luck at Harrah's Chester Casino & Racetrack - by applying for a job there.
Table games are coming to Pennsylvania as soon as July, and somebody's got to deal the cards.
Yesterday, more than 350 people lined up for the first of three job fairs at Harrah's. The casino is planning to bolster its 1,000-person work force in Chester with 500 hires, mostly dealers for games such as blackjack, poker, baccarat and Pai Gow.
Some of the applicants had been laid off. Others were seeking a second job to help make ends meet.
"I'm retired and I'm just trying to get back in the job market," said Charles Lane, 72, a Navy veteran and former letter carrier from Philadelphia. He's hoping for some part-time income to supplement his pension.
"I don't want to be a pit boss or anything like that," Lane said. "That's a little too stressful."
Behind him was Michael Tran, a limousine chauffeur and former table-game dealer at Resorts in Atlantic City. The dealer positions at Harrah's start at under $5 an hour, but the tips are where the real money is, he said.
Tran, 36, of Southwest Philadelphia, recalled a man leaving him almost $500 when he won a hand of stud poker: "He was happy as hell. He gave me whatever was on the table."
But dealers can also serve as verbal punching bags for losing gamblers.
"They don't have anyone else to yell at, so they take it out on you," said Trisha Godwin, a poker dealer from Delaware.
"When they lose . . . aw man!" Tran said. "There are some nasty players."
The table-game legislation passed in January is expected to create about 5,000 jobs statewide, said Richard McGarvey, spokesman for the Gaming Control Board.
Harrah's Chester will provide training to qualified applicants. It is also hiring supervisors and shift managers.
"Not having experience is not prohibitive to joining our team," said Robert Guidice, the casino's vice president of table games. He's looking for upbeat applicants who "see themselves as entertainers." And it doesn't hurt to have a good memory and quick hands.
"In general, if you put in the time, you can become a good dealer," Guidice said.
Job fairs at Harrah's Chester are also scheduled for March 26 and March 30.