Passing down the love of the game

Each generation of croupiers writes its history at the Casino de Monte-Carlo. Sharing their passion with players daily, as does Mikaël Palmaro.

You have been working at the Casino for more than 20 years. Where did you get your attachment to gaming and this particular establishment?
It’s in the blood! My great-grandfather was a French Roulette croupier — also known as European Roulette. Then there was my father, who started off working as a croupier on card games, Chemin de Fer in particular, and was then Games Manager for 17 years. When I was a kid, I used to see him leaving for his shift in his suit and tie. He sometimes went to fetch customers from abroad and wasn’t there for Christmas, but these were small sacrifices besides the passion he passed down to me. I was 14 when I first saw the inside of the Casino on the way to his office. It was quiet because it was morning, the Casino wasn’t open to the public yet, but I found the place enchanting and magical. The gaming rooms are stunning.

The best game masters pass down their expertise from one generation to the next, combining theory and practice. What was your training path?
Games training begins with American games: Black Jack, American Roulette, and then Craps. Once this course is validated, you can stay in this sector or continue training. I chose to continue training on other games and I had the choice between learning Baccarat like my father or European Roulette like my great-grandfather. I chose the latter because I fell in love with the game. It’s the lifeblood of the Casino de Monte-Carlo. Customer calls and croupiers clearing the hands while the wheel is spinning makes the game very lively. You have to be skilled at mental arithmetic, and it takes years of practice to acquire the skill of raking in the chips.

What is your day-to-day life like today as a deputy table manager, your exchanges with players, and how are you keeping this family history alive?
We work as a team. The table manager monitors the play volume, and the deputy table manager helps with the flow and supervision of the game. I know all our regular customers’calls. The players have the same passion for gambling as we do, and our raison d’être is offering them the chance to enjoy exceptional moments. The luxury in gambling is the savoir-faire, the personalised service, and the human relations. I can sense when a customer is happy or buzzing with the adrenalin that gambling can produce. Putting on my bow tie and being at the tables in these rooms is a dream come true for me. The art of gambling is a family passion. We have kept alive for several generations and I am happy to continue passing it down to others.

By Eve Chatelet