Tsogo Sun’s 2017 Dealer of the Year, Tando Guzana from Montecasino, says there’s great power in a smile – a genuine one from the heart. He’s convinced that his smile helped him make it to the top in the group’s annual National Dealer Championship.
This is the second consecutive year that Montecasino has taken top honours in the hotly contested Championship. Last year, Montecasino tables dealer, Lwazi Valela, won the coveted title.
The finals were held at Montecasino on 27 September, with 18 finalists from the group’s 14 casinos around the country (one each from the smaller casinos and two each from the major casinos – Silverstar, Gold Reef City, Montecasino and Suncoast) pitting their knowledge, dealing skills, customer service standards, and more, against each other in a series of tough challenges that followed unit semi-finals. According to Glenn Joseph, COO of Tsogo Sun Gaming, the 18 represented 1.2% of the total number of dealers employed by Tsogo Sun, making it a significant achievement to be selected as a finalist.
The judges, represented by management from each unit, assessed technical skills and other aspects of the dealing cycle in American Roulette and Blackjack trials, and the top five were selected. They were given the same question and time to prepare their answers. At the awards dinner, the top five presented their answers on stage to a panel of judges, and answered an additional unprepared question.
First place was awarded to Tando, who won R10 000 and a Vodacom phone valued at R6 000; second place went to Cheszine Muller from Suncoast, who won R5,000 and a R3 000 Vodacom phone; third prize was won by Boniwe Khumalo, also from Montecasino, who received R3 000 and a R3 000 Vodacom phone; and fourth and fifth places went to, Mbuso Dube (Suncoast), and Given Motaung (Hemingways), who each won R1 000.
Tando is elated at what he considers a significant achievement in his life. He grew up in the Eastern Cape and after matriculating, he started studying office management and soon realised it wasn’t for him. “I knew I couldn’t survive working behind a desk. I need to work with people – that’s my passion.” In 2008 he applied to GrandWest Casino in Cape Town to be a trainee dealer – and his career in gaming was launched. In 2014 he resigned with the aim of joining a cruise ship, but instead accepted a job at Montecasino and came to Johannesburg. “It was the best decision,” he says. “I joined Montecasino on 1 September 2015 and in two years I’ve grown a lot in my skills and abilities. It’s the best place for recognition, training, and growth.”
He considers that his win can be partly attributed to his smile and his attitude. “All the finalists know how to deal very well. It was more about who we are. I decided to tackle all the challenges as if it were a normal day at work. I am always smiling, relaxed and friendly with the guests because I believe my smile is a key that can unlock their hearts. I engage in game-related conversation, and I try to make them feel special and happy. It works. Sometimes I see people looking around to choose a table and then when they see me smiling at them, they come to my table. I love working with people, interacting with them, and doing what I can to make their experience memorable.”
Building up to the final showdown was nerve-wracking, says Tando. But then when he was on stage, he felt he “owned it”. He was calm and relaxed and spoke from the heart.
He has big plans for his cash prize. He wants to spoil his 4-year-old son, Khayome. “My brother will bring my son here from the Eastern Cape and the first thing I will do with them is take them tenpin bowling. Then we will have a fun and exciting few days together – it’s like a dream come true!”
Joseph congratulated Tando and the other prize-winners on their achievements. “This is an important annual competition in the group as it recognises the significant contribution that our dealers make in customer service, it gives them an opportunity to show off their skills to their colleagues, and it helps to entrench best practices in our casinos. Well done to all the contestants – we’re proud of the standards you are setting on our gaming floors.”
Says General Manager of Montecasino, Mike Page, “We pride ourselves on delivering on Tsogo Sun’s vision of creating great experiences, and our well-trained, motivated and passionate staff ensure that we are able to fulfil this promise. Congratulations to Tando and Boniwe, who are shining examples of the Tsogo Sun values of Teamwork, Service, Opportunity, Growth and Ownership.”
Tsogo Sun has a portfolio of over 100 hotels and 14 casino and entertainment destinations throughout South Africa, Africa and the Seychelles. For more details, visit https://www.tsogosun.com, follow on Twitter @TsogoSun or like on Facebook /TsogoSun.