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Let's talk tipping....

Fish Fryer Posts: 161Member
edited November -1 in NLHE Strategy Discussion
I typically tip a buck a pot unless I just got the blinds. Occasionally I will tip 2 bucks on a largish pot and if I double up (2/5)etc... I occasionally throw a $5 chip to the dealer. Today I won a 1500 pot and gave the dealer a $5 chip. I got a weird look from the dealer and another player actually said "that's it". I felt like that was more than appropriate.

I remember years ago reading one of Sklansky's books (maybe poker, gaming and life)where he proposes that the appropriate tipping amount would be one where the dealer would ultimately end up with the appropriate wages for their position.

Just curious where you guys stand on the issue....


  • I feel I am with you on this, and maybe I am wrong. But I feel that I am there all the time so I give them a lot of money and to be fair all they do is pitch cards. Some of them are really nice and I will bs with them. Sometimes I give an extra tip or so. When I play 2/5 I tip in a pot 25 plus. If its a limper and i limp and bb checks. I bet flop i usually don't tip, but if i win another one like that soon. I will. Also, if I win a big pot 500 or so I give a 3 or so. I won a 1500 or so pot and I gave the dealer a 5. I won the pot because I played the hand well and got paid. My buddy said hook him up. So, i gave the dealer 10 more. Maybe I am cheap or being rude. But I am trying to build a bankroll and make money too. If I was there on pure gambling I think it would be different, and I know those people tip a lot more.
  • ThehammahThehammah Posts: 7,090Subscriber

    there is absolutely no obligation to give a tip. I only give a 1 dollar tip toots bigger than 50 bucks. and thats it! the time I won a jackpot I gave the dealer 50 and that was it too.

  • SkinnybrownSkinnybrown Posts: 286Member
    I play 3/5 and never tip more than $2.
  • UntreatableFPS Posts: 1,004Subscriber
    Assuming you're playing poker to win money, overtipping makes a huge cut in your win rate. When someone tips absurdly large amounts, I assume he's not a serious player.

    I think your standards are fine. That's about what I use too. $1 for standard pots, nothing for tiny pots, $2 for rather large pots, and maybe an occasional $5 if I really like the dealer and the pot is a couple thousand.

    It's pretty annoying when other players give me shit about not tipping enough. There was a hand in which I stacked two people when I had quads, and I tipped the dealer a stack of white chips that was probably $6-$7, which was generous under my standards. Another player had to emphasize how cheap he thought I was because I took two people out and "only" tipped several white chips. I wasn't sure exactly how to respond to that without sounding like an asshole.
  • BradleyT Posts: 621SubscriberProfessional
    At most $5 with most being $1 for taking more than the blinds. As for the other players you just have to remind yourself that you're there to make money while they're there to gamble.
  • Mike Posts: 371Member
    I suppose im at an advantage when it comes to tipping. At the casinos where i play (Vancouver) all the dealers in the dealer pool (including the pit dealers) all share the tips. ex, if there was $100 tipped all the dealers take the same amount of that $100. So it doesnt matter when you tip all the dealers get the same amount anyways. I ONLY tip after a winning session and i only tip at the very end of the session. I will keep a mental tally and usually tip ~$1 per pot i win. Not only does this keep my stack at the maximum if i double up later in the session, but i also tip and the front desk since all the tips goto the same pool anyways. Now all the people at the front desk do me favours and stuff (get placed at top of list if i even wait at all) because they see me walk by on most of my sessions and drop $10-$20 into their tip box on my way out.

    If the dealers kept their own tips i would $1 for a winning pot more than prob 10bb and a max of $2 if i double up. In reality the dealer has NOTHING to do with whether you win the pot or not, or how much you win in the pot. It would be like making your own food at a restaurant and tipping more than you normally would when the food is good.
  • StopHammertimeStopHammertime Posts: 81Member
    There's two elements here: some casinos have dealers tip-share, and others don't. (I haven't played in any of the latter but my understanding is that they exist.)

    The other element is that tipping is an expense to a player who plays for profit; it's a way to share in the fun for other casino patrons.

    My personal approach is to be cordial with dealers and to be consistent about my tipping. If you're not going to size your tips according to the size of the pot (which I don't), then make sure you tip when you're scooping blinds and dead money. If you're consistent about it, the dealers and perhaps other people at the table will see it's not a personal or cheapness matter from you; it's just that you always tip a small-blind on hands you win.


    Dealers probably should prefer to have normal casino patrons, and not players intending to turn a profit, at the table. Normal casino patrons are going to be in lots of pots and will tip larger relative shares of those pots. Players intending to turn a profit are likely to be involved in less hands, but the hands they are involved in have large pots - you're tipping a relatively smaller share of those pots to the dealers, and taking money out of the hands of the people who are inclined to tip the dealers more. But I don't think dealers really adopt this view of people at the table.
  • StopHammertimeStopHammertime Posts: 81Member
    Claire said

    It's pretty annoying when other players give me shit about not tipping enough. There was a hand in which I stacked two people when I had quads, and I tipped the dealer a stack of white chips that was probably $6-$7, which was generous under my standards. Another player had to emphasize how cheap he thought I was because I took two people out and "only" tipped several white chips. I wasn't sure exactly how to respond to that without sounding like an asshole.
    That has to be frustrating. I think scolding someone for their tipping is much more out of line than tipping less than the standard amount. The best response to that person, in a vacuum, is "If you have a problem with how I tip, you should have won the hand." But you probably want that guy's money at your table in the future, so being a jerk (although justifiably so) might not be the best idea.
  • ThehammahThehammah Posts: 7,090Subscriber

    There is ONE dealer at one of my local casinos that I DONT time at all. She has on a number of occasions argued with me when she was wrong and wouldnt admit it. So I have stopped giving her tips no matter how many pots I win with her as the dealer. Tips are for good service and doing their jobs well.

    Recently after a round with a dealer I thought did an exceptional job of not only dealing but controlling the table I gave her a $5 tip even though I didnt win a pot. I want her to continue doing a great job and compensated her for doing so.

  • jeffreyneuman Posts: 19Member
    I tip $1 per hand regardless of the size including pots including where its just the blinds . I stick to this policy even when I play short handed or heads up . If a dealer provides exceptional service , is exceptionally good , or goes out of their way to enhance my gaming experience I will tip more . There is one dealer where I play that will regularly lock up a seat for me when my game of choice starts & do other little nice extras , I will tip her more . Another dealer routinely gets 5+ more hands per 1/2 hour he deals , I will tip him more .
  • reedmylipsreedmylips Posts: 1,146Subscriber
    I am with everyone else, mostly tipping $1, $2 or $3 in larger pots, sometimes $5-$7 in a huge pot, where I'm stacking someone.

    Also of importance when discussing this topic is the way we treat dealers (and others) personally. I watch regs berate dealers all the time, usually for bringing bad cards, and occasionally for making mistakes. Most importantly, we, as readers of this forum and winning regs, can and should model appropriate relationships with dealers and other players. This includes not talking strategy at the table, not berating anyone, be it players or dealers, greeting the new dealer with a "hello," welcoming new players to the table, engaging in small talk, being polite in general, etc. This list could probably be longer, but that's what I can think of off the top of my head.

    All of that personal stuff goes a long way. Sometimes further than an extra few dollar tip.
  • napncrash Posts: 177Subscriber
    I really struggle with this. Borgata is a timed game at 2/5, so that's 10 dollars an hour going straight to Borgata. Then a dollar for bad beat in most pots. Then, put tip on top of that.

    So an hour where you lose every hand, you're paying 10 bucks. In an hour where you run well, you might be paying 20-30 bucks an hour JUST TO PLAY.

    Yes, like any business, there's overhead, but the tipping thing is rough at stakes this low. If I'm ever playing 5/10 consistently, then the extra $/hr may not matter since it will be a smaller percentage of my winrate (one would hope!)... but at 2/5, giving away too much money will hurt you in the long run. Especially if you play hundreds of hours a year.

    Poker is a side gig for me and I play about 600 casino hours a year. That's about 9,000 dollars in rake, bad beat, and tip!!! That's a shitload!

    I don't know, I'm thinking about becoming a bit stingier. I used to play at Harrah's AC almost exclusively and, with a smaller room and fewer running tables, I knew all the dealers much better and would feel bad if I "stiffed" them. At Borgata, there's a lot of faces in and out of the dealer seat and not all of them do a great job of running the game.

    As a quick tangent; I've experienced and witnessed this in the mass-production style games at the larger Borgata... a player will be standing behind his seat, stretching his legs, not more than 2 feet away, and the dealer will mindlessly deal them out. I NEVER experienced that in the smaller rooms.

    "You in?" they'd ask. And I think that's reasonable.

    So if a dealer deals me out when I'm RIGHT THERE, maybe that's where I find savings. Maybe if a dealer is slow, makes mistakes, etc, maybe they get tipped less.

    It's so tough because I don't want to be stingy, but poker is not a guaranteed paycheck. To voluntarily ship away some of your winrate is a tough decision to make.
  • LucasE Posts: 167Member
    This topic is likely to flare tempers, but oh well. The answer is always going to end up being 'tip whatever you want, and don't let others tell it's too much/too little'.

    Personally, I tip $1 on any pot I win where I've gotten more than one call of my bet. For example, if I open preflop, get one call, and then a fold on the flop I'm not tipping. If I get two callers preflop or get a call on my cbet, I'm tipping $1.

    I actually track all of my tips (including waitress tips & chiprunner tips). I end up tipping ~$3 an hour over my sample of 450 hours. Most of that was spent at 1/3 with a winrate of ~$35/hour. So tipping alone is costing me nearly 10% of my total winnings. That's a significant percentage and for anyone serious about making money playing cards, it's going to need to be factored in.

    That said, I do have a standing practice of tipping 10% on any bonus money I win - I've won a few $1,000+ mini-jackpots and promotions and have had other people tell me I give the dealers way too much when it has happened. Those same people have criticized me when I tip $1 after winning a 200bb pot, so I've found they're really not worth listening to all that much.
  • napncrash Posts: 177Subscriber
    Yeah, most people who give you shit about the amount you tip are usually doing so out of some ego thing.

    "Win a big pot like that and don't want to give the dealer more, huh?" Usually, they're just pissed that they got stacked. The last thing I'm going to worry about are those people.

    But I don't want to be a cheapass and not tip my dealers. Maybe I just need more stringent rules. My standard rule is a tip no matter what of $1, and then an extra one or two for bigger pots... THE OCCASIONAL $5 for a monster pot. But year after year, I've given away A LOT of money.
  • WackabrewWackabrew Posts: 400Subscriber
    To each his own. I tip $1 or $2 whenever I win a pot, regardless if I am just taking down binds. If there are dealers that I like personally, am friends with outside the casino, etc., I will tip more (redbird on their way off the table regardless of whether I win or lose).

    I've never had any comment about me being cheap on a tip, but if I did I would either ask the dealer what they think (I know most, and all would say that I tip at an above average rate), or just tell them that they are free to take off their stack and add to my tip if they don't feel like I gave the dealer enough.
  • floppedawheel Posts: 1,063Subscriber
    i'm just about auto $1 per pot -- small or large. if i'm on a heater and i like the dealer, i don't mind throwing in an extra. the amount that some players tip is hysterical. there's one fish i try to always sit with and usually when a new dealer arrives, he'll throw them a 5 and request pocket kings. he throw then another 5 or 10 in between hands when he wasn't in the previous hand -- or even when he's LOST the previous hand. i think he, and others, try to make up for incompetence, by at least being generous tippers.

    i think he took it too far recently, though. he was sitting there with about 80 left on the river and another guy put him all in. as he sat there considering, he threw the dealer 15 bucks, and then 5 more. i asked whether he could actually do that in the middle of a hand. the dealer (of course) said yes. i didn't pursue it with the floor but i did remark about how crazy that would be since the other players were basing their play on how much the other guy has left. food, i argued, is different, since you've pre-ordered that -- and waitresses aren't supposed to deliver anyway when the player is active in a hand. i do plan to ask the floor and will try to remember to do so tonight.

    but yeah, even having $2 as the standard is insane -- that amounts to a hundred grand a year salary if a dealer works a 40 hour week at 25 hands an hour. even 50 grand a year for a dealer seems pretty high since that's probably about what most social workers make. (guess we could go on about how much a poker player should make a year then, couldn't we? but you get my point.)
  • LucasE Posts: 167Member
    One thing I forgot to mention - every time I've been told I don't tip enough I always respond with 'you're welcome to add on to my tip with whatever you feel is fair' or something along those lines. I've actually had people throw a dealer a bunch of money after I've said this, I guess to prove a point, which I find hilarious.
  • CruelUltimatum Posts: 160Subscriber
    It sucks, because if you tip a "normal" amount, you're just chewing through a lot of dollars and it affects your winrate significantly. I keep track of how much I tip each session and record it. In 2012, over 10% of my winnings went to dealer tips. Screw that.

    I've gotten stingier and now I don't tip anything unless the pot is 100bb. Yeah I feel kind of bad, but I simply can't afford to pay so much in dealer tips. The dealers still seem to like me and are friendly, so it hasn't affected my relationship with them.
  • 1. If you read this entire thread you've already spent too much time thinking about tipping. $1 every hand is probably too much if your intention is to beat a game for a positive winrate. Never tipping is probably too little. I do tip $1 no matter what in PLO, even if the dealer turns over a deck and misdeals due to player error (it is a lot more stressful and just impossible to get the same number of hands/push out). If a dealer misreads a board or pushes the pot the wrong way or miscounts pot more than ~$10 or in any other way sucks at their job in a way that makes my playing experience worse I do not tip them for at least that push, normally that day, and sometimes forever. I have had dealers that misdealt every hand for an entire push--this is unacceptable and (one would think) the reason for the whole tipping system in the first place.

    2. If it matters to you that much just tip every dealer (or select dealers, or whatever) .5-1.5BB at the beginning of each push.

    3. This should be in the low content forum as it is not strategy related.
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