Catalina Huzum, of Les Ambassadeurs Club, fought off stiff competition from 26 finalists to be crowned as the UK Dealer of the Year 2019, the first ever female to hold this title, along with the £2000 cash prize, sponsored by the gaming technology company, Novomatic. She impressed judges throughout the competition and held her nerve in a day-long test of dexterity, mental agility and hospitality.

This year’s event, held in the stunning Genting International Casino, Resorts World Birmingham, was very well attended by judges, competitors and supporters. It was at this venue that Catalina started her Croupier career, so it was wonderful to see her triumph where her journey began.

A journey that will now take her and first runner-up Chris Hall, from Crockford’s Casino London, who won the £1000 cash prize, Sponsored by Clarion Events, to the European Dealer Championship where they will represent the UK in Tallinn, Estonia in late April. Damon Ryan of the Hippodrome Casino finished as the second runner-up and received the £500 cash prize, sponsored by TCS John Huxley.

The UK Dealer of the Year Championships, which is organised by The National Casino Forum, has become the pre-eminent national casino competition and attracted entrants from 10 companies, with competitors coming from all over the country.

Points were awarded to contestants for their technical skills, control of the game and hospitality, but the 23 judges prioritised excellent customer service, with the most points available in the hospitality category. This year’s Judging panel contained two former winners; Slawomir Workun (2018 winner) and Jamie Cummins (2017 winner), alongside a host of fresh faced judges and seasoned UK Dealer Championship judges.


Other winners of the skills challenges, Sponsored by TSC John Huxely, were:

Card Handler – Carmen Ivanescu

Chipping – Dragos Dalta

Stack Pushing –  Ivan Urso

Chip Cutting – Genesis Carrasco

Maths Challenge – Zoltan Szendrei

Tracy Damestani, chief executive of The National Casino Forum, said: “I was delighted by the standard of the competition, which was extremely high. It was wonderful to see so many operators taking part and there was a great spirit and camaraderie throughout the day.

“The 2019 Final was exceptionally competitive. The best croupiers command the casino floor, creating atmosphere and a sense of occasion, and Catalina is a worthy winner”.


The National Casino Forum would like to thank; Murat Salih, Mark Jacobs, Ian Haworth, Paul Trindle and Georgina Porru, whose hard work and dedication put on this wonderful event.

To our Judges:

David McClatchey, Manny Eckersley, Mark Malia, Slawomir Workun, Mandy Codd, Ash Thorpe, Martin Keane, Amanda Lambe, Stephen Suttle-Burton, Jamie Cummins, John Bowe, Aurelia Matras, James McCrory, Tina Noble, Terry Beardall, David Lowry, Craig Dobson, Amanda Chadwick, Jane Haley, Jerry Lewis, Paul Benton, Angela Barletta, Phil Keller

You are a crucial part of the UK Dealer Championship, your expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm was clear to see and helped make the day a memorable one for all involved. Thank you.

Finally to all those who participated in this year’s event:

Damon Ryan, Miguel Vizcaya, Charlie Kerr, Lawrence Robson, Ivan Urso, Dragos Dalta, Stefano Moretti, Eliska Udatna, Henry McKenzie, Charles Guignard, Gabrielle Frenna, Kaspars Tormanis, Carmen Ivanescu, Catalina Huzum, Jezebel Ellwood, Genesis Carrasco, Saul Ramos, Jamie Miller, Kristina Stierankova, Chris Hall, Zoltan Szendrie, Florin Masca, Florian Geri, Vanya Zhelyazkova, Nicola Baroldi, Issac Griffiths

It was a tightly fought competition, well done to you all. Thank you for showcasing the camaraderie, talent and professionalism of UK Dealers.