Recent postings on tipping at the casino has inspired me to point out typical practices and etiquette concerning casino tipping.
First, my own opinion is that tips are earned for good service. Tips are not an entitlement. A smile goes a long way towards a tip.
That being said, those that work in the casinos, whether they are waitresses or dealers, have job similar to the waiters and waitresses that serve you every day at your favorite restaurant or your favorite bartender at the local bar – these people work in the service industry. As service providers, the majority of their income, up to sixty-six percent, is actually earned by tips and not their base wage.
The following are tipping guidelines for table games. It is my opinion that part if the dealer’s service responsibility is providing a good time, or at least a efficient run of the game. I don’t tip “Debbie” or “Donald” Downers. But, as long as the game is being dealt in a professional, pleasant manner, it is appropriate to tip your dealer periodically regardless of whether you’re winning or losing. Besides, having the dealer on your side can certainly help. Many dealers will look out for your bets if you even place a bet for them, including them in the game.
Blackjack – A good rule of thumb and proper tip etiquette is to tip the dealer about one chip worth five dollars during each session. A session is the amount of time that a dealer works the table before their replacement steps in. Some blackjack players set aside as much as ten percent prior to starting gambling.
Craps – Again, like blackjack, it is custom to give the dealer a minimum of one chip worth five dollars during the session that they man the table. Again, a side bet of as much as ten percent can be set aside to compensate the dealer. Personally, I feel craps is a tough game for dealers and takes a special person to follow all the action, especially on a busy table. That should weigh in on your tip considerations.
Poker – Tipping etiquette for poker is much like blackjack and craps in that most players give their dealer a minimum of one chip worth five dollars during the session that they deal. Depending on the amount you win, you can give the dealer an extra ten percent but do not tip more than twenty-five dollars.
Roulette – While at the roulette table, the tipping rules are pretty simple. Keep your tip around one chip worth five dollars for each session.
Slots and Video Poker
Even the slot machines, which are played independently of any dealers, may require tipping. If you hit the slots big, feel free to tip the casino worker up to five percent but no more than twenty-five dollars.
Rob Wiser from Strickly Slots points out that “Don’t forget the waiters and waitresses. The one person you should always tip every time—without fail—is your beverage server. “Complimentary” means the drinks are free, but it doesn’t mean the service is. Most players aren’t aware that when you stiff a cocktail waitress—or get up and leave before she can bring your order—she technically has to pay for that drink. To put it simply (the actual formula is rather complicated), each time a waitress orders a drink from the bartender to serve to a customer, the drink is recorded in the computer, and she is responsible for paying the IRS tax on that drink.
When the drinks are “free,” a dollar per drink is a good tip. Whether it’s a glass of champagne or a bottled water, every beverage counts as one. This is why you should tip regardless of the type of drink, and tip for each one. If you request a glass of ice with your Diet Coke, $2 would be an appropriate tip, since it’s technically two drinks and they’re taking up that much space on her cocktail tray.”
Tipping beforehand can be a smart move with cocktail service. You’re letting the waitress know right off the bat that you’re an appreciative customer, and she’ll likely give you the fastest service possible. But beware, it doesn’t always work the way you’d like.
Dividing the Pie
Rob Wiser reminds us that, “In most casinos, dealers pool their tips and split them. If you want to know whether your dealer gets to keep tips, or has to pool them, just ask. Some players will tip a bit more generously knowing that the money is going directly into their dealer’s pockets.
Pooling tips is a policy that makes sense for casinos. Otherwise, the dealers working at the high-limit tables would rake in huge bucks—some high rollers are known to tip thousands of dollars—while the dealers at the low-limit tables would barely make a living. Pooling tips encourages all of the dealers, no matter what area of the casino they’re stationed in, to be courteous and professional.”
However you approach tapping at the casino, tipping is a very personal choice; there’s really no “correct” percentage, as there is with a restaurant bill. Consider what the service industry says: the word “Tips” stands for To Insure Proper Service.
If you get the proper service, give the proper tip. Simple.