I became a pit boss at the Ritz Club in 1994. At 15, I'd seen a dealer in a film, and I started phoning casinos to learn how to become a croupier. I started in Kensington at 18. Everyone in this industry starts at the bottom. I rose through several jobs, including casino manager at the Ritz, but left to open this casino two years ago. There are around 15 casino directors in London, with an average age of 65. I'm 38.
- What does management mean to you?
The odds look after our revenue, but getting it requires customers, so customer care comes first. I deal personally with all our VIPs. The wealthier people are, the more people they have around them who say 'yes', but sometimes we say 'no'. And no-one likes losing money. Sometimes, a heavy player will phone at 2am to discuss a problem. I'll drive over and have a chat. They may need me to listen to how the dealer pulled a blackjack and that was unfair, or just vent their frustration for 20 minutes. It's my job to be the sponge.
- What do you like/dislike about your job?
I like the action on the tables, the big swings, and the pressure. The casino always feels so alive and sociable. Those who've never visited a casino think they're full of criminals and cheats. That's a very British opinion. Go abroad and people see them as a good night out.