Tipping in cash games

General Discussion by BentonBlakeman Posted

So I'm playing in a room that I don't play in often and encounter something I don't normally see. Several dealers never say thank you after being tipped in a cash game. The game is 2/5 NL with a $10 button straddle so the pots are reasonably large and the dealer is getting $1 or $2 every hand, bangs it on her chip rack, and drops it in her box, never saying thanks or acknowledging the player who tipped her. Maybe it's a pet peeve of mine (as I used to deal many many years ago and we would get written up for not thanking the players) but this bothers me. Am I a complete douche for not wanting to even tip dealers who don't thank players after getting a tip? Thanks for the feedback.


  1. As a test I just tipped $1 on a $70 pot where half of the money in the pot was what I bet and didn't even get a smile much less a thank you. Thoughts?

  2. It's 100% rude to not say thank you. When you work in the service industry you have to be courteous even on your worst day.

  3. I tried the theory one last time. Raised and won the blinds, a total of $7 profit (2/5 and no straddle that hand). No one called, I tipped $1, and didn't get a thank you. I just can't justify tipping her again I don't think.

  4. Although, in her defense (sort of), as she pushed out of the table she did say "thank you players for the tips." Not sure if the general thank you cuts it though.

  5. i've been playing poker a LONG time and it was always a given that a tap on the tray after receiving a toke was a quick and simple way of the dealer's appreciation for the gesture.

    i started playing poker in gardena ca, where at one time we didn't have house supplied dealers, the players took turns dealing. cheating and errors in those games was rampant, so be thankful that in today's games you have a house supplied dealer.

    i want a dealer who is able to control the game; keep it running fast, smooth and fair. a simple
    tap on the tray to acknowledge the toke is fine with me if they perform those duties. a dealer saying thank-you after every hand isn't going to add chips to my stack or yours so why are
    you even letting it bother you?

  6. @zzyzx Fair enough. That's why I was asking for feedback. Like I said, it's just a pet peeve of mine I guess since I used to be a dealer and would get written up if I didn't say thank you. Also, I was taught that the tap on the tray was to signify to the cameras that the money was a tip that you were pocketing and not that you were just pocketing money from the rack or elsewhere.

  7. @BentonBlakeman i agree 100 percent it seems like its more the norm to tip but i am sure as you know even though alot of people may or not know the dealer tapping the chips mean thx but its just common courtesy to thank anyone who tips you and some dealers do a better job than others not by card results but by keeping the game moving and creating a positive experience for the players those are the dealers i tip

  8. I always thought the tap on the tray was a signal for security, not a way of thanking the players (I hadn't thought of the bartender ringing a bell analogy). So, I'd guess that the gesture's meaning is lost on many, perhaps most, poker players. Also, since most dealers thank players verbally, I'd guess that most dealers either don't know that the tap is supposed to signify thanks or realize most players don't know the significance. So, I generally take offense when a dealer doesn't verbally thank me or, if they are discussing something with another player, at least give a nod and smile in my direction as they are pocketing the tip. It's been so long since I haven't been thanked, I honestly don't remember whether I withheld a tip from that dealer afterwards -- although probably not.


  9. P.S. Benton -- we all know you're a nit who hates tipping, no need to justify it :)

  10. @Dap Poker LOL. You are somewhat right. I am a nit. And I do hate feeling like I "have to" tip. But in general i am actually considered a George (good tipper) to the dealers who a) I Like, b) entertain me while keeping the game running smoothly, and c) who are just machines who pump out hands and don't make mistakes. I understand dealing is a thankless job and if it weren't for dealers I wouldn't be able to make a living doing what I love. So I try my best to be generous.

  11. @zzyzx dealers make a lot of money from tips although some of us know tapping the table is a thank you but I think they should thank the person that is tipping I don't think 2 words slow the game

  12. While I don't expect a "Thank you" verbally every time, I do expect a nod or smile. 95% of the time I get some acknowledgment and that is fine with me. If the 5% is from the same dealer, than we have a problem.

    ps: The majority of my poker playing is in Deadwood SD and as a group the dealers are appreciative and interactive (in a good way).

  13. i am with u ,dude. fuck that tapping sheeeeeeeeit. just say Thank You!!!!!!!!!!

  14. I'm a Brit who comes to Vegas for 3 weeks every year just to play poker (and get some sun). I am always amazed how the Americans tip everything that breathes or moves. UK visitors are not used to tipping - cafes, restaurants, bars etc. In the UK tipping the dealers in a casino is illegal. I tip the dealers in Vegas just to keep in line - but really I don't see why I should need to tip to get a good service, I am already paying a rake. I expect a dealer, floor man, cocktail waitress etc to do their job without the need for extra payment. If they can't do that, then look for another type of job.

  15. @nutsmike It's unfortunately how our service economy evolved. Supposedly it's to encourage better service, but in reality it just reinforces mediocre performance since almost everyone tip the expected amount regardless, while being attractive/young automatically gets better tips.

    Heard a story (second hand so not sure if true) that after a regular tipped a dealer he knew $5 out of a $100 promo bonus, he grumbled how he has mouths to feed...

  16. @thamster I think you are right about it becoming the norm rather than the exception. Although this is drifting off the tipping dealers theme -I have visited Vegas every year for 15 years, and make a conscious decision only to tip as I would in UK - this means only the taxi driver from the airport (or the shuttle bus). I get some bad glares and mutterings from people in the service industry, but I try to stick by my guns. I cannot for the life of me understand tipping a barman for pouring you a drink!
    ps I do tip the poker dealers - seems part of the tradition!

  17. @implantclinics.com I agree with you except for the cab driver part. They don't make a living wage without tips, and if my driver gets me where I'm going safely, and engages me in conversation, I am happy to tip him/her for a good experience.

  18. Ahhh, that makes sense. Yeah, long hauling equals shirt tipping for sure

  19. @BentonBlakeman You are maybe the biggest nit I've known in my life in real life. I know he isn't one with dealer tokes. But I am disappointed in his retention of what the tap on the rack signifies. What do you expect from a former Palms dealer. ;D

  20. @nutsmike It is illegal to tip dealers in your country because your government demands that the owners of the casino pay them a living wage. Not the case in US casinos.

  21. @stevemc Lol, I know what it signifies, but I should have said that if I was lucky they would "tap" the rack in acknowledgement. I still think dealers should say thank you but that's just me. Hope you're doing well Steve.

  22. @BentonBlakeman Dude I totally agree. Nothing pisses me off more then a dealer who doesnt say thank you. I always said if I dont say thank you, you dont ever have to tip me again. And the new breed of dealers dont know how to bite their tongues either. Love to see what they say when they get stiffed on 6 figure pots like I did back in the day.

  23. @BentonBlakeman Doing as well as I can LOL Hope all is well with you and Kim and if I remember correctly, at least one little one.

  24. @stevemc
    You are right Steve - we have a minimum wage by law in Uk - I thought it was the same in US? As an outsider; I think tipping (including poker dealers) has got out of hand in US. But, when I visit Vegas, I realise I am a guest in your country, and try to act accordingly. The reason we are not allowed to tip dealers in Uk, is nothing to do with wages, pay etc; it is the casino's law (not the Governments) to stop any form of collusion between a player and a casino worker. What happens in Uk as regards waitresses, shop assistants etc, is that most of the time at the check out till, there will be a bottle/box/container for customers to drop in their small change- seems to me a better idea than actually tipping? Anyway, non of this would stop me enjoying myself in US - you have a lot to be proud of! I just wish the tip was not considered 'compulsory' :)

  25. You are not wrong. I used to deal and you should always say Thank You. They are being rude and are probably bored with their jobs. I saw this when people got sick of dealing - they just give up treating the players well.

  26. @nutsmike you have to realize that in the restaurant and bar industry in the US, these people do not get paid even minimum wage hourly. It is expected that they make their money from tips. So by not tiping your asking them to do thier job for like 2.10 an hour.

  27. When she taps the chip rack say, "You're welcome."

  28. @orcusvox It's 100% rude to not say thank you. When you work in the service industry you have to be courteous even on your worst day.

    this is how i feel, you are a proffessional card dealer and server, when someone thanks you for your work, its only normal or polite to gesture gratitude or some form of acknowledgement(i guess some dealers are quiet, and thats not a problem) like a smile.

    i personally try to be just with tipping, not only tipping when i win pots but rather when dealers are switching out maybe throwing a few bucks or even when a fresh one comes in for a little extra juju.

  29. @JimmyLee7
    I really do care Jimmy about low paid (mainly youngsters) workers. But I feel my tipping everything in Vegas is not helping the situation - I feel my tips are just assisting the casino owners to make their billions of dollars profits; when it should be them addressing the problem of low paid workers. Its called 'greed' Jimmy; and it may be very contentious, but I think while people continue to tip at the rate they do in Vegas, these greedy corporations will never pay a decent wage because of this expectation. However, I do think that this is a separate issue to tipping dealers - this is money you have just won - so I think that is a different matter.

  30. Glad to see your tips. I have enjoyed with your posts.

  31. I also agree that tapping the chips on the tray (or tapping with hand) means 'thank you'....also eye contact while doing so would be nice....unless the dealer is super fast and doing what she can to speed up the game, for the players.

  32. @nutsmike "But I feel my tipping everything in Vegas is not helping the situation - I feel my tips are just assisting the casino owners to make their billions of dollars profits; when it should be them addressing the problem of low paid workers."

    You are not wrong that businesses (all of them, not just casinos) should be paying their employees a living wage, but withholding tips from those low-paid employees isn't teaching the owners anything, it's just making it harder for the employee to make ends meet (which hopefully includes getting trained/educated to get out of their current situation and into a better paying field).

    Since pretty much all casinos operate this way, it's hard to vote with your wallet; you can't just take your business to some other casino that's doing it "right". One of the few ways I know of to have any sort of impact on the thinking of a CEO is to buy stock in their company and participate in shareholders' meetings. Of course, since raising wages will be perceived as affecting the bottom line, you'll probably be in the minority with this opinion, but you'll at least be dealing with the decision-makers.

  33. @buzzedsaw
    This is drifting off the poker dealer tipping question a bit, but I agree buzzedsaw, it is a difficult situation with no realistic answer. I have been coming to Vegas every year for 15 yrs, and always have to remember I am a guest in your country, so don't like to gripe and criticise the US way of doing things. I guess for the visiting Brits it is a culture thing - we are just not used to it. It is strange, I am happy to tip taxi drivers in Vegas just as I would in Uk, but not bartenders or waitresses. I suppose we all like to do what we are used to. I would not like anyone to think I was being critical - I love coming to Vegas, and I've met some great characters over the years - love to mix it with the Yanks at the poker table; engage in some friendly banter; put the world to rights and have a good holiday!

  34. Agreed.

  35. @BentonBlakeman
    totally agree with you. The only question is : was it just one dealer or severals ? If one onlt he is to blame, if more, the room is to blame.

  36. @nutsmike
    That "barman" starts @ $2/hr in this country. It is part of the culture that service industry personnel, who are tipable, are paid under minimum wage. It is also part of the culture, and vastly accepted, that the remainder of their living wage is made though tips via service rendered. Better service certainly earns that employee better hourly compensation, through the tips they are given. That said, any service employee who does not thank someone for their tip is being extremely rude. So, Benton, you are totally justified in being annoyed by that behavior, and it is well within your right to withhold future tips. My 2 cents.

  37. @buckeyeDug
    Since I wrote my comments last year - I have had another poker trip to Vegas (9th Dec - 22nd Dec). I love coming and playing poker, meeting, talking, and putting the world to rights with you yanks. I still operate the same policy re tipping: cab drivers and poker dealers only. Why? I don't know - I understand about the low wages of service staff, but still think that the casinos/bars/restaurants etc that are making millions out of the tourists should address that problem. I am even more less inclined to tip now the casinos are sticking on this 'resort fee' scam. On my 3 trips to Vegas this year I have paid something like $700 dollars in resort fees (the price of a flight from UK to USA!). However, through comments I have read on Poker Talk - I am now beginning to feel GUILTY every time I don't leave a tip in Vegas!! - We have drifted off the original topic a little here - sorry. I think on my next trip in June I will start to tip aarrgghhhh.
    Happy New Year to all

  38. Mike, appreciate the quick response. Tell ya what, my plan is to move to Vegas in the spring. Hit me up before your trip and I will buy you a beer or few (tips included).

  39. @buckeyeDug
    LOL - OK will do. Plan to come 29th June until around 11th July. Play a lot in MGM; Mirage or Excalibur - tournaments in Caesars or Binions

  40. Unless there is some event causing me to tip after a hand in the past year or two I've moved to a practice of tipping dealers as they get pushed, and thank them for their good work running the game. That removes me from tipping because I won a pot and tipping because the dealer ran a good game during their down. If they made unwarranted mistakes and otherwise were not good for the game, I don't tip them for bad service.

  41. I must play at a great casino...The dealers are great, but I have a different take. Just because we tip it does not mean they need to say thank you. I have seen dealers deal with so much crap from players it isn't even funny. I develop a relationship with the dealers. So I always get thanks...but that is not why I do it. I develop a relationship with them because as much as it is their job, no one signs on to being totally disrespected and I have seen it happen every night I play by someone on tilt, ticked off at cards, blaming the dealer or drinking too much...

  42. Not a douche at all brotha. I wouldn't tip either if they didn't say thank you.