Life as a prop poker player
October 17, 2017 3:00 AM
by Patricia Chavira
My brother asked me how to become a prop player, which is a person hired by a casino to start games and keep games going. I asked my husband, Robert Turner, who has managed props at several casinos, what it takes to become a prop.
One misconception is the casino furnishes props with money to play. The reality is they play with their own money, and the casino is not responsible for their wins and losses.
The skill level of a prop would be the ability to manage their bankroll so they can stay in action. If you can beat the game and also earn your hourly rate, it’s a dream job.
It’s also one of the hardest jobs in the casino because of the fluctuations in the props’ bankroll. For example, a prop could be earning $20-$25 per hour and losing $50 per hour.
What makes the job even harder is when the game is bad, you’re asked to play in it to keep it going, and when it’s good, props have to get up.
Constantly moving from good games to bad games can take a toll not only on the props’ bankroll but also on their state of mind.
Prop players are one of the best marketing tools a casino can invest in. If the right props are hired, they can increase business substantially by bringing in business, keeping games going and helping with customer retention.
The majority of California cardrooms employ prop players both part-time and full-time. Prop players come from a wide-range of backgrounds. Robert has hired producers, teachers and writers. They all have a passion for poker, and they want to try and earn a good living playing the game they love.
The common characteristics of a good prop are that they need to be charismatic, outgoing and proactive. They need to know when to enter and exit a game. Props learn customers’ names and interact with them to make the game more enjoyable.
The majority of props have to play all the games that are offered by the casino, and their hourly rate is based on the limits of games they play.
My brother is a No-Limit player. I told him all these things; he decided to keep his day job and play his favorite game on the weekends.
Patricia Chavira is a freelance writer and social media consultant