An element of no-limit Texas holdem that is not often touched upon is one that affects your bankroll, but has nothing to do with the play of the hand. The issue in question is one of tipping. If you have only played free online poker and have never sat down at a live casino poker table, you may not even be aware of the issue of tipping. On the off chance you do find yourself playing a live game, here’s what you should know.
While you are not obligated to tip your dealer in live poker games, it is expected. Players traditionally tip when they win a pot. If your style of poker is to play a lot of pots and you believe this system hurts you unfairly, you can always give the dealer a lump sum tip when they sit down and explain you do this in lieu of tipping after winning a pot, but this is rare, and skilled players should be playing fewer pots anyway since they should generally be playing premium cards. The amount of the tip varies depending on the game, but for lower and medium stakes games, between $.50 and $2 is standard. If you wish to tip a smaller denomination than the smallest chip you have, you can ask the dealer to “chop” a chip, and they will break it down so you can tip the amount you like. Some players like to tip more if they win a very large pot. If you win a very small pot, for example you raise the blinds and everyone folds, and you do not tip on that hand, the dealer will understand.
You cannot tip a dealer with a tournament chip. There are a fixed amount of tournament chips in play and they need to stay in play. The dealer can’t do anything with a tournament chip anyway; they have no cash value. Giving a dealer cash or a regular chip in the middle of the tournament will probably confuse the dealer and earn you suspicious looks from the other players. Tournament players usually tip after they cash in the tournament, if they cash. A tip of 3 percent of your winnings to be distributed among the dealers is standard, although you can of course give more or less. Take note: Some casinos take out a percentage from the total pool to tip the dealers before any money is given out. If you cash in one of these Texas Holdem tournaments, use your discretion to decide how much additional tip to give, if any.
Tipping will not make your dealer give you any better cards than if you had not tipped, nor will withholding tips make the dealer try harder to deal you winners to earn your tips. However, regular tipping keeps the dealer and the other players happy, which results in a smooth game, which results in continued profits for the skilled player.