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From the Dealer's Box: Tipping Response

xxrod17xx This is going to be a more serious than my average blog because I am upset at this issue all the way around. I skimmed through the thread on 2+2 about this subject and only read the post from people that I respect. I had to weed through like 100 "Fuck the dealers!" posts which was frustrating, but people are entitled to their opinion if they back it up. Just saying that we don't deserve as much as we make isn't going to convince me not tipping is the way to go. I want this blog to be as objective as possible, so it will have been completed way before it will ever be posted to ensure that it is proofread by a number of people I respect and keep me from swaying one way or another.

As most of you know, I am a poker dealer. I have dealt in two events just like the Bay 101. I dealt the WSOP Circuit event at Harrah's A.C. and I dealt the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open as well. Both tournaments I heard dealers complaining about how much we were getting tipped. I thought it was being a bit petty, and if you don't like it, leave because there were a ton of aspiring dealers that could use the experience. Most of the time the complaining came from people who have been in the business for a while, complaining seems to be part of the culture in a casino it depresses me to a point.

When I finished up both events I ended up making around $25 per hour when I was dealing. When I was on break I made $4.3/hour at Harrah's and $10/hour at Borgata (Borgata does not pay by down they just give you a flat hourly rate and then figure a toke rate out after that).

This is a good amount, but certainly nothing I could survive on. These tournaments have become one of two things, a place for new dealer's to show their faces and gain experience/contacts or a little extra cash that month for the dealer with a cash dealing job. This is because of the poor tipping standards especially in N.J. In N.J., the C.C.C. does not allow for a part of the entry fee to be taken out as a tip for us. We rely almost solely on tips. So we are in a bit of a dilemma here because the players will never get the quality of dealing that they were accustomed to in cash games and the dealer's will never get what they feel they deserve.

Way before I was ever a dealer, I was a player. I was a generous player I thought. I tipped when I just won the blinds in a cash game (SO -EV) as well as tipped multiple redbirds in big pots. I would be classified as a good tipper to the average dealer. I did so because I thought I was suppose to, and I wasn't playing for a living and oh yea, I ran SICK good (just ask Foulky). At the same time this issue was involving a player who plays poker for a living. This is a $10,000 event that in all likelihood Brandon put up the full amount. Yes, he won 1 million dollars, yes he ran really good, but a lot of people who play low limit tournaments said 3% is the right tip. That is $30,000! For a $65 tournament at the Showboat on a Monday morning, sure 3-5% is great (trust me we would kill for this much, we probably get around .05% on avg), but for a 10K event where this guy has to pay tons of taxes, flights, hotel expenses 1% is great 1.5% is excellent.

The main issue is that players like Shaniac want a standardized tip amount or it just taken out of the prize pool so nobody has to worry about it. I agree with this to a point. For 10K's or for Majors lets call them, a standard is needed, but if you are going to go ahead and make a standard for my $65 daily tournaments 1%, I will be upset. Recreational gamblers are generous, it is how a lot of us make a living. It is common knowledge that dealing 1/2NL and 2/5NL is so much better than dealing 10/20NL because the recreational players are there having a good time, tipping reds (sometimes greens, although I have yet to get one). The same goes for small tournaments. We get recreational players who come and tip a lot sometimes, the good tippers will always counter the shitty ones.

I feel it is up to the players to discuss it amongst themselves (because don't forget recreational players play 10K events too) and come up with something they feel is reasonable. Keep it to yourselves, not everyone needs to squeeze out every dollar to improve their ROI. As a dealer we are obviously going to take as much as we can get. So I disagree that a standard should be taken out of the prize pool, you just won't get the service you are used to if this is the case.

No matter what the players are going to supplement our income. If they want a standard, they are going to pay it out of the prize pool. Same goes for cash games, the rake is going to go way up if the casino has to pay a higher hourly to us. In the end, tipping is voluntary tip what you want. From 0-infinity, I don't care as long as you had a good time and are comfortable with what you tipped. Just expect to get what you are paying for. It is how the world works. You think a bartender is going to stop what he is doing to serve a guy that isn't tipping? No way, do you think a dealer is going to put in his best effort if he knows his toke rate is going to be $3/hour (typical Showboat tournament rate) you are crazy! I won't sit here and complain because I make good money and I love my job. I give 100% no matter how much you tip me or not because a little part of me thinks my attitude might make a difference, but not everyone is like me. You will not get good service or hard workers unless you pay them, and face it players you are paying our salaries no matter what.

I don't agree with it, but the casino isn't going to change. They are going to do what is best for them. As a 2+2er said, they are running the best scam ever created. They pay us under min-wage and have the people who gamble at their establishment pay our salary for each week. It's sick to think about it that way isn't it? I wanted to write this blog to try and come up with an answer to the problem, but when you try and please both sides the casino management is what gets in the way. I think the player should do what he feels is right and the dealers will just take their bumps as they come. Everyone knows dealing cash is where it is at, so here is my solution: get good deal cash, let the new dealers deal tournaments and make a little less. That is as win/win as I can picture it.


foulky says

You run like a deer. imo


Oberonn says

The players put up 100% of the money. The Tournament entity makes all the rules regarding how the money is allocated. To most players far too little goes to the prize pool.

Poker tournaments have the largest pay out of any competitive event for the winners, but still there is no corporate sponsorship and all the money comes from the players. Even bass fishing tournaments have corporate sponsorship.

Until the Tournament entities themselves acknowledge the need for corporate sponsorship, and make efforts to encourage it, many players will take the approach that the less they have to pay out of their winnings the better for the long term.

I feel the dealers should make a good wage for dealing the tournaments but I can not fault the players for tipping lightly, or not at all, because that is basicly the only cost control measure the players have in these events.

Unfortunately I think the situation will have to get worse before it gets better. Like many things in life.


SixWays says

From what I have seen rod is right. Last time I played 1/2 I didn't see much tipping. I didn't tip when I won just the blinds (think it happen twice in 2 hours) but I tipped every hand that went to the flop that I won. I think I tipped out $5 3 times when I won bigger pots. I was new to live cash table and didn't know if everyone else where tightass's or I was tipping too much while I was still worried I was tipping too little. I think some just don't know. Thanks for letting me know about the $65 tourny, I was wandering about the correct dealer tip for those. Does everyone who cashes tip or just the winner?


xxrod17xx says

six ways: no not everyone tips, but personally...I think they should. I don't think that should have to, but you win a little you tip a little, you win more you tip a little more. If I cashed at all I would give like 1-2% and top 3 should give in that 3-5% range. Again, this is if you are just chillin having a good time and wanna be generous, you can obviously tip less. Tip what is the most comfortable for you to tip if you had a good time and feel the dealers deserve it.


SixWays says

xxrod17xx. Thanks. If everything works out I should be there to play within 2 weeks. For me 1-2% is good for just cash because although i'm having fun its still like my second job. (time I put in) But for a win it should be atleast 5% to 10%.You said the winner gets $1000 atleast right? I would have no problem w/ $100 dealer tip. 2 more questions.1 do they split up all cash table tips to all dealers or do you get what you get? 2. Get a beer when I get there?


xxrod17xx says

10% is very generous...thanks if you win! We keep our own tips (cash), tourney tips are pooled. I am down for a beer any time...


Mr_Taterhead (Anonymous) says

So if they take out 3% or such from prize pool for staff and dealers are you still looking for some more $? I always wondered this.



xxrod17xx says

I dont know, I doubt it since we never get tipped that much lol as far as big WPT's they never tell us because I am like totally sure they take a lot off the top for themselves


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