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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Tipping Dealers Is Proper Casino Protocol

7 December 2005

People who are new to the world of casino gambling may be unaware that you can express your appreciation to dealers for a job well done by tipping them. They cannot solicit tips, so it's up to players to make the initiative. Dealers rely heavily on tips to beef up their weekly take-home pay. The reality of the situation is that dealers are in an abstract sense part of the entertainment and dining world's service industry. This puts them in the same category, for example, as restaurant servers, the majority of whom make less than minimum wage and depend on the 15 to 20 percent gratuities they receive from customers.

Tipping has always been an accepted practice in American culture, something which business owners in the hotel, restaurant, and, yes, even casino industries, have exploited to some extent.

Tipping for good service is a fact of leisure life few of us argue with outside of the casino environment, so why should efficient and friendly dealers who play a big role in creating an entertainment experience during a gambling outing be exempt? In all fairness, they shouldn't be.

Dealers really do not expect tips from a customer who is losing, although in all fairness winning or losing should have no bearing on whether or not to be rewarded for the level of service and playing experience they provide.

Sure, it's easier and more fun to tip the dealer when we're raking in the chips. For average players, a dollar or two every half hour is reasonable and greatly appreciated. At the opposite extreme I've seen players over tip to the point where it becomes counterproductive, especially when your bankroll is doing battle with the house edge. You have to strike a happy medium.

The best way to tip is to put the money in play for the dealer so that they have a chance to win right along with you. Placing a dollar for the dealer alongside your bet at the blackjack table, making a bet for the crew at the craps table, or placing a number for the dealer at the roulette wheel will be greatly appreciated.

Here's a tipping method that was sent in by Jeff K. via e-mail:

"...many players who seem to be tipping every hand are actually allowing dealers to parlay their winnings. We like to call this type of tipping 'riding the train'. It works like this: Suppose you are going to tip the dealer two dollars. Normally this would be done by placing two dollars in front of your bet. If you win, the dealer wins too. He removes the entire four dollars, puts it in his box and the fun is over.

"Riding the train has you put one dollar in front of your bet and the other dollar on top of your bet. If you win he takes his two dollars from the front and puts it in his box. The other dollar plus the winnings is then re-bet for him to move on to the next stop on the train. Again you place one dollar in front of your bet and one dollar on top of it. This appears as though you are tipping again, but actually you are just betting the dealer's winnings for him. As long as you keep winning the dealer has a bet up and remains a passenger on the train. Try this tipping method. Dealers love it."

Dealer tips are placed in a common pool at a majority of casinos and distributed in equal shares at regular intervals.

It's a fact of casino life, and part of good casino etiquette, that tipping the dealers should become a part of your table games experience.

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