For those of you playing in home games, online, leagues, or just watching poker on TV, there is one thing never mentioned and may go unnoticed if I don’t speak up now. For the poker events on TV and in any casino the one that controls that game and pushes you pots are the dealers and most of them don’t get the recognition they deserve.

I have been a dealer for the last four years and a player. But for most of my life I have always taken care of the people who are in charge of taken care of me. What I mean here is by tipping. I see it every day dealers (including myself) get stiffed on pots being pushed to people. I see all these tips on websites about how to get the biggest pot or how to trap the donkey for the biggest payout but not anywhere can I find a way for the dealer to make a little more since this is his means of income. The big pots people crave and write about in this game can sound more often out of greed and a dealer just wants to go home and pay his bills and be able to live comfortably.

This is my rant and my opinion only on the subject so I am sure to get a lot of disagreements out of it but here it goes. I go to work every day trying to make a living and we have a lot of regulars that play. Most of which we hope not to push a pot to because we know we don’t make any money in doing so. We hear all sorts of phrases like pick me dealer but our thinking is why would we want to pick you and give you money when you don’t want to pick me to give money too? These same people have no problem tipping the wait staff for getting them a pop when it’s only 15 feet away. Anyone else see something wrong with that picture?

Here’s my views on it when I tip a dealer and I will also try to throw in some rebuttals I have heard as well.

I think of it like this. The dealer is like a stock broker who you are investing your money to but the rewards could come faster than one with no penalties for cashing out. When you invest your money with a stock broker they take a percentage of money earned and people have no problem in doing up to 15% but they have a problem tipping a dealer 10% or worse nothing to a dealer when they win a big pot. Some rebuttals I have heard on this subject would be the dealer is not risking his money in these pots. Well that’s not entirely true. A stock broker doesn’t risk money but a dealer that keeps pushing pots to the guy that doesn’t tip and taking money away from the ones that do is facing not having much money at the end of the night to pay his own bills. Not to mention the fact that the dealer is not making you call with gut busters or the hundred dollar open-ender but if your risk turns out a good one and the pot is being pushed to you the dealer is also not making you stay. You may cash that big win out at any time.

But the dealers get paid to deal. Yes they do but in most states it is barely minimum wage and because of it being a tipping profession the casino (and Uncle Sam) can tax them up to 45%. So if you win (profit) a $400 pot and tip a dollar that’s tipping 65 cents which is less than 1%.

Before I get bombarded with me as a greedy person here let me stop that right now. I tip this way and is just my opinion. I do not tip this way because I am a dealer. I have always tipped wait staff and bar staff %10 + and after my dealing career is over (most likely due to arthritis or carpal tunnel) I will still tip this way.

Feel free to add comments good or bad and I will comment back on them.


  • Avatar of
    [email protected]
    March 25, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    Well Rod I give you anything you want to know about it but first off I would like to say as also a fellow coder thanks for the userprofiles module for DNN. I have a few posts over there still awaiting an answer from you by the way. =)

    Ok now I am a firm believer in Karma so I tip on every pot. A dollar a hand is good but I like to bribe my fate a little and try 10% on every hand. Now that for me goes for big pots too and you are right a bit on my analogy on the stock broker because there are different kinds of brokers. Also right on the casino taking money for a house rake but a lot of the rake goes back into what is called a players pool. This money is used to create things like big freerolls or bad beat jack pots and other misc give aways. As far as tournaments here the house takes usually $5 per entry fee for the house and $5 for what is called dealer appreciation. Now some people think that that takes care of dealers but some times it does not. To break it down a bit look at 20 dealers dealing a tournament that has 200 players. Now that might look like the dealers will get 50$ a piece but the way it breaks down is money / downs / dealers. Downs are how many times a table is dealt in half an hour so lets say it takes 100 downs on a big tournament to complete it. That would be $1000 / 100 = $10 a down. Now let’s say i only dealt two downs that means I made $20 when in a live game for the same amount of time i could make $40. It seems like a lot but they take 30% from us so from every dollar we pocket only 70 cents.

    Now for the other questions. There is no time limit to what we call the “Hit and Run” method. That is where you sit and wait for a big pot then rake up and leave. Players want to see this happen because they want to try to get their money back but is perfectly ok. In fact it can be a good method if you can keep hitting a profitable hand then leave daily. The thing I would try to do is usually play a couple rounds before I rack up and leave. Not trying to get people to pissed off at me so that when I come in again they might let me “Hit and Run” again. =)

    Feel free to ask me any other questions bout the other side of the table Rod. I’ll be glad to answer.

  • Avatar of rodders
    March 25, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Great view point from the other side of the table, thanks for that!

    Ok, so I do not often play in casinos (we play in our own home poker league and pass the dealer) – I have to be honest, I have no clue on tipping ettiquete and how much and when to tip the dealer (I live in Australia, I know the US tip at bars and resturants all the time, in Aus you don’t tip at bars and you only tip for food if service is good).

    I’m not sure about your analogy of the stock broker – an Execution-Only stock broker gets a small fee but offers no help on the trade. This is like a dealer, who should not be helping any player, merely executing the “trade” or deal. The payment is the house rake that you are paying to play in that venue is it not? This is a % of the tourney entry that goes towards the establishment. One might say it is the establishments responsibility to pay it’s employees (I’m playing devil’s advocate here).

    So, please enlighten me as to how and when one should tip (I assume it is only on big winning pots and is it relative to the size of your current stack? Do you tip if you are short-stacked?) – although maybe this should be a new blog post – When and how to tip…. 😉

    Actually, there’s a couple of things I would love to know about playing in a casino – it’s really intimidating the first time – for example, in a cash game, how soon after you sit down can you leave? Is it rude to leave after a big win? If not, how long to wait? Would love to here your comments as a pro dealer!

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