September 30, 2009

Tips for the Tipper

Gambling at a casino can be a fun and, if you’re lucky enough, financially rewarding experience. However, often forgotten in all the excitement is the dealer. It is customary to tip dealers, both when a gambler wins, but also when they lose, as they are providing a service, much in the same way you would tip a waitress at a restaurant even if you didn’t love the food. Here’s the protocol for “taking care of” your dealer…

· Remember that the cameras are everywhere! Dealers are always being watched by security and are usually not allowed to make direct contact with the customer. They are also forbidden to take anything out of a gambler’s hands.


· Place the tip on the table during a break in the action, like at the end of a hand while the dealer is shuffling the cards. Do not place the tip in a betting circle, however, as the dealer may assume that you are making a bet instead of offering a gratuity.


· Tip the dealer before you decide to leave the table. Dealers may not be able to swing the tide of lady luck in your favor, but if you tip them while still gambling at their table, they are far more likely to ensure you do not make a foolish mistake, and may offer you their professional advice on how to play.


· Get the dealers in on the action. Dealers are not allowed to wager their tips, but customers are allowed to place what are known as “toke bets.” Place an additional chip next to your wager and identify it as “for the dealer.” If you win that bet, the dealer will also get paid on that bet and place his winnings in the “toke box” next to the table, where tips are stored until the end of the shift.


· Understand that dealers do not get a cut of the house action. Most dealers, even after decades of experience, get paid less than minimum wage by the casino. Their primary source of income is from tips. If they’ve been friendly and helped you have a positive experience, tossing them a few dollar chips is the least you can do.


· Don’t worry if you only have cash instead of chips, or chips instead of cash. Dealers can accept either as a tip.


· Under most circumstances, dealers at a casino pool their tips. Attempting to tip an individual dealer “privately” may result in you getting banned from a casino. The better thing to do if you really enjoyed the way a dealer treated you is to tell his/her supervisor.


· After you win a big payout, failing to tip a dealer not only will likely cause that dealer to become angry, but also may cause his/her supervisor to lower your comp rating. It’s not worth the negative karma to save a few bucks.


· Conversely, dealers should never outright solicit tips. If you feel a dealer is badgering you unfairly, talk to their supervisor.


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