Prairie Meadows Holds Third Annual Premier Dealer Championship
October 8 – Altoona, IA. On October 1, 47 of Prairie Meadows’ table games dealers battled it out for the top spot in the 3rd annual Premier Dealer Championship (PDC). An awards ceremony was held October 7 in the Prairie Rose Room at Prairie Meadows. Winners took home award certificates, engraved crystal trophies, and more than $4,200 in prize money provided by Gaming Partners International (GPI), Galaxy Gaming, Interblock Luxury Gaming Products, Shuffle Master, and Scientific Games.
The Premier Dealer Championship celebrates the craft, artistry, and passion for the art of dealing. The tournament was introduced by Vice President of Casino Operations Eddie Llambias at Prairie Meadows three years ago and mirrors similar competitions held throughout Europe. This year’s tournament was organized by Table Games Supervisor James Nelson.
Llambias hopes to expand the tournament into a statewide competition. Employees excitedly anticipate this event each year and look forward to the friendly competition. In the weeks leading up to the tournament, participants practiced in the table games training room at Prairie Meadows.
“We are so proud to have held our 3rd annual dealer skills championship at Prairie Meadows. This has become an annual event that the Table Games staff cherish and look forward to each year. The Premier Dealer Championship provides a creative and competitive outlet for our croupiers to show off their skills and motivate them to not just take home trophies, but bragging rights, as well,” said Llambias.
This year’s head judges included James Nelson, Doug Finken, Sheila Raygor, Steve Petesch, Sean Sly, Jody Bryan, Connor McReynolds, Jamaica McNeely, Joe Rhodd, and Joe Currier. Competitors were judged on their roulette, craps, and blackjack skills: Speed, presentation, gaming knowledge, and guest service expertise is scrutinized. Winners were selected for each category, with one Best All Games Dealer to be crowned at the awards ceremony. Chad Godfrey was named the Best All Games Dealer, Meldzan Isakovic took second place, and Edra Tookes was named the Rising Star winner. Kira McNeeley took first in both the blackjack and craps categories, while Bryan Eenhuis took first in the roulette category.
“I would like to thank the event organizers and judges who comprise our table games supervisory staff. It’s this kind of initiative that makes dealing cards, roulette, and dice more than just a casino job and instead celebrates the art of dealing. In many ways, one could look at PDC as the gaming equivalent of the culinary world’s Iron Chef competitions. We’re hopeful that we’ll expand the PDC over time and include other casinos from across the state of Iowa,” said Llambias.
About Prairie Meadows
Prairie Meadows began operations as a nonprofit organization in 1989 with the goal of promoting economic development, jobs, agriculture, and tourism in the state of Iowa. Through taxes, grants, and charitable donations, Prairie Meadows has given $1.8 billion to the state of Iowa. Prairie Meadows offers nearly 1,700 slot machines, table games, live and simulcast racing, sports wagering, hotel accommodations, entertainment, and more.