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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Readers Write

19 August 2002

A few weeks ago I wrote a column about catching Royal Flushes at video poker and invited readers to share some of their interesting adventures with the "royal family." This one comes from Elgin resident James Rudolph:

"This true story happened a couple years ago at the Grand Victoria. I was playing dollar Jacks or Better, betting two dollars per hand as I was running out of cash. The lady to my left tapped me on the shoulder asking 'What should I do?' She had a straight dealt to her with four clubs to the royal flush needing a king for the royal. I told her she had no choice but to go for the royal. She did and caught the king with five dollars bet and was paid $4,000. On my very next hand I was dealt a straight with four clubs to the royal and needed a jack for the royal. I turned to the lady and asked 'What should I do?' She replied 'Go for it.' I did and hit the royal filling with the jack of clubs which paid $500. Side by side royal flushes in the same suit was a sight to behold."

A sight to behold indeed! Thank you for your letter, James, and congratulations for becoming a member of our video poker royal family. Look for a selection from my gaming bookshelf to be coming your way!

Now here's a letter from Robert Abate, director of the Elgin State Bank, which addresses a column from earlier this year in which I mentioned that tipping dealers when you're winning is a recommended practice among players:

"Your January 11 column was keenly disappointing to me. You alluded twice to tipping and recommended tipping when winning. Naturally there is no consideration given the customers who lose. The earnings of the casino are obscene already; this is common knowledge. The income is from the regular losses of patrons. To recommend that a winning moment should reward a dealer is ludicrous."

First of all, I agree with you that casino earnings are obscene. Keep in mind, however, that casinos are subjected to heavy taxation. Last year, for example, the Grand Victoria in Elgin paid $140,258,422 in state and local taxes from adjusted gross receipts of $416,690,151. The state's share was $115,946,654 while local government received $24,311,768. In light of recent legislation the tax bite on casinos is going to become even bigger.

In spite of the huge profits the Grand Victoria (and every casino in the country for that matter) generates, casino employees such as dealers and cocktail waitresses receive compensation barely above the minimum hourly wage mandated by the law. They rely heavily on tips.

It is common practice among all casinos that the tips dealers receive from all the shifts are placed in a common pool and distributed to them as a line item in their paychecks.

Dealers don't expect tips from players who are losing. But a dollar every half-hour or so during a winning session is greatly appreciated and an inexpensive gesture of good will.

Is it right for multi-million dollar casino operations to pay key employees minimum wage and leave it up to patrons to make the difference from their winnings? Probably not any more right than it is for multi-million dollar restaurant operations to pay their wait staff minimum wage and rely on patrons to bankroll the rest of their salaries at an accepted rate of 15 to 20 percent.

Dealers provide gamblers with a service, and if that service is especially good and adds to your entertainment value, I see nothing wrong with showing your appreciation with a token dollar tip here and there. It's not as if they expect a set percentage of your winnings as in the food service industry.

Wait staffers provide diners with a service, and if that service is especially good and adds to your enjoyment, a twenty-dollar tip for a one hundred-dollar tab is common practice.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp