HOW MUCH SHOULD I TIP THE DEALERS?
Update May 16, 2016 This is a question that many experienced casino players as well as new casino
players ask: how much should I tip the dealers? It happens to be a question with many answers and many controversial beliefs.
There are experienced casino players who say they don't tip dealers and never tip dealers because the dealers are
paid by the casinos and they -- the players -- should not have to subsidize the dealers' pay.
are also casino players who call themselves "advantage players" and they say they only gamble with an advantage
which means an edge over the casino's odds. Many "advantage players" will not tip dealers or slot personnel who
pay jackpots because these "APs" as they call themselves say tips cut into their edge over the casino.
There are tournament poker players who refuse to tip poker dealers in tournaments because of the casino fees that
are part of tournament entry fees and these casino fees are supposed to include tips for the dealers.
then there are casino players who don't tip because they were told not to tip or don't think tipping is necessary or never
heard of the practice of tipping casino dealers.
And then there are casino players who do tip
and tip generously. Some casino players tip as much as 20% of their wins thinking they tip restaurant waiters 20% so why not
tip other service workers such as casino dealers 20-percent?
At this point in this discussion
let me say there is no rule or standard practice about tipping casino dealers or the slot floor personnel who pay you jackpots.
Whether or not you tip is a decision you will have to make yourself.
While there isn't a
rule or a standard practice about tipping I think there is one tipping practice which is probably accepted by everyone and
that is no one is expecting a player who loses to tip. However, there are players who will tip even after they lost.
There are also different views about how tips should be made for dealers at table games. For example, some players
say the tip should be a hand-in which is a chip given to the dealer to put directly into his tip box, which is also called
a toke box. Other players say the right way to tip is to make a bet for the dealer or dealers. Other players do not tip during
their session but will leave a tip for the dealers when their session is finished and they are leaving the table.
I am going to offer a few tipping guidelines that are followed by many players. Because I am giving these guidelines
doesn't mean they are correct and it doesn't mean you have to follow them either. They are suggestions for your own consideration.
I'm going to start with tipping slot floor personnel -- the casino staffers who bring you jackpot money when you
hit a big winner at a slot machine or a video poker machine. If it's a taxable win, and the slot floor person also has to
fill out a W2G IRS tax form, I will tip. If it is not a taxable win, but the machine will not pay out the winning amount,
I won't tip. How much do I tip? On a $1,250 taxable jackpot I usually tip $5 or $10. At Bellagio in Las Vegas, the floor
staffers will bring you the jackpot money with the last ten-dollars as two $5 bills to make it easy to tip $5. At Caesars
Palace that ten dollars in a $1,250 jackpot will be paid as a $10 bill.
What about tips on larger jackpots for the
|A 1% tip on this $100,000 royal flush is $1,000.
|A 0.5% tip on this $100,000 royal flush is $500.
Suppose you hit a $100,000 royal flush as in the photo above?
Would you still tip $5 or $10 as you would for a jackpot of $1,250 or would you tip more? A $5 tip on a $1,250 win is less
than one-half of one percent. A tip of one-half of 1% on a $100,000 royal is $500. Should you tip a slot floor person $500
for bringing you your winning money -- perhaps in the form of a check -- and the tax form? Some say $500 is appropriate but
others say $100 would be just as appropriate. And then there are some players who would argue that no tip is needed.
If you're a restaurant patron who tips 20% on your check, it's not necessary to tip 20% on a casino jackpot. On that
$100,000 royal a 20% tip would be $20,000 and in reality it probably cost a player who hits a $100,000 royal $20,000 or more
before he hit the big winner.
Some players might also tip the cashiers at the casino cage. I've
seen "tip buckets" at the cages of several casinos including Pechanga in Temecula in Southern California. I've never
seen tip buckets at Caesars or Bellagio in Vegas but I've seen players tip the cashiers after cashing out a big win. I've
tipped the cage a couple of times after very big wins but the tips have been modest and less than what I've tipped dealers
and slot floor personnel.
MORE ABOUT TIPPING DEALERS, BETS FOR THE DEALERS
Now, here's some more about tipping the dealers at table games such as blackjack and Let It Ride and
craps. You will have to decide when you want to tip whether it's during your play or after your play. In these table games
you can place a chip next to one of your bets and indicate it is for the dealer or dealers.
be honest, if you are a new player giving tips to dealers as you win during your play might prompt them to help you with advice
as you play. If they are familiar with you and know that you tip at the conclusion of your play they will still be friendly
towards you, but there are table dealers who have been indifferent or even rude to players who don't tip.
In a game such as blackjack it is common to place a dealer's bet next to or on top of your bet as a tip for a previous
win. In a game such as craps there are many ways to tip the dealers ranging from a bet next to your bet on the passline or
a bet on top of your bet on the passline, or making a bet for the dealers on a "hard-way" bet or placing the point
for the dealers.
When you make a bet for the dealers by placing the dealers' bet on top of your
own bet, the casino might give you credit towards your rating for the dealers' bet. When the dealers' bet is made separately
from your own bet the credit might go to you and then it might not.
When you're at a craps table
you might find that some dealers want their tip made as a "hand-in" and not as a bet. When I played "card craps"
at Harrah's Rincon Casino in San Diego County, the overnight dealers preferred hand-in tips because they didn't get many tips
with few players in the overnight hours and they didn't want their tip money at risk.
you're at a craps table you will find dealers who prefer that the dealer bets be put on the bets with the best odds such as
the passline instead of on the Eleven, or on a hard-way bet. I recently played craps at Caesars Palace and as a player left
the table he threw a $5 chip to the stickman and said "put it on the ALL." Caesars has the Small, Tall, All Bets
known as the Bonus Bets. As the player walked away the dealer at the stick position muttered he would have rather had a passline
bet with the $5 because it had a much better chance of winning.
In live poker games -- not tournaments
-- the standard practice is to give the dealer a tip on each pot you win. The standard practice is $1 per pot, but players
who win big pots will tip more. You don't want the dealer to get a tip more than your profit and sometimes the pots are small
and even a $1 tip is a big percentage of what you won.
Again there is no rule. If you are not
sure about tipping you can observe what the practices are at the table and you can ask other players, too. Remember, I've
never seen a player who lost money while playing be criticized for not giving a tip.
TIPPING OTHERS ON THE CASINO FLOOR
There are others on the casino floor you might want to tip. Let's start with beverage servers and cocktail waitresses.
I always tip and so do most players, even if they are just getting a bottle of water. A standard tip is $1 even for an alcoholic
drink but some players will tip $2 or more, especially if a special drink is prepared for them.
tip the porters or cleaners sometimes who come by to clean a video poker machine I am playing on, or to clean the shelf at
my position at a craps table. I especially tip if there is a lot of rubbish left there.
ago, early in the morning, I was playing a video poker machine when a cleaner came to empty the ashtrays and wipe down the
machines where I was playing. As she cleaned my machine (I paused while she did it) she wished me good luck. As she moved
to the next machine next to me I resumed play and hit a progressive royal flush for about $28,000. Yes, I gave her a $200
tip. Wait, there's more to the story. A couple of months later I was back at the casino for New Year's Eve. Shortly after
midnight my date and I were walking through the casino -- she was in a fancy dress and I was in a tuxedo. That's when this
cleaner saw me and ran over to me to wish me a happy new year! I smiled and reached out to shake her hand and she (obviously
very happy to see me) reached over and gave me a hug! The hug didn't bother me at all even though later I saw that she left
a big handprint on the back of my jacket from ash on her gloves. That gave me and my date a good laugh. But hold on, there's
more to this story. About three months later I was playing video poker again and as she was cleaning the machines on my row
I hit quad aces for $4,000. Yes, I tipped her again. About six months later... yes, another winner but this one was $2,000
and I tipped her again. Now, I look for her before I start playing!
What about tipping "suits"
who are the managers? I've been told you never tip the managers or supervisors. Years ago, when I was having a hot roll at
a craps game, I placed a passline bet for the dealers and when I tried to place another bet for the boxman the boxman waved
it off and said I could not place a bet for him as a tip.
Some casinos provide food service at
the machines and tables and you would tip them as you would a food server in a restaurant.
know many casinos that still have a person who changes currency into coins so you can play the slots. These change people
have been eliminated because of the modern ticket machines. But if there were someone who changed a $20 bill into quarters
I wouldn't tip that person. I would not tip a cashier at the cage either unless I was cashing in chips or tickets from a big