Ultimate Guide to Casino Tipping

Service tips are nothing new. We genuinely believe good service deserves good tips. While tipping is not mandatory in most of the United States, it is customary in many circumstances for service, It’s up to the discretion of the customer,” and it’s not strictly necessary to tip in a fast food or quick service restaurant. However, parts of the gambling industry may differ from that status quo. Here, in our Ultimate Guide to Casino Tipping.

Ultimate Guide to Casino Tipping

Why Do We Tip In America?

At the end of the Civil War, America’s labor force “was flooded” with formerly enslaved people and immigrants. Employers took advantage of this class of “low-educated, low-income” workers, and hired them for jobs that paid very little, encouraging patrons to tip as a supplement to wages.

One of the most widely accepted reasons behind the word “tip” comes from the phrase “To Insure Promptness.” Tips are a service provider’s majority of their income. Tips, not their base wage, actually earn up to sixty-six percent. It is the same for casino employees.

Casino Tipping Consider A Different Approach

Outside the casino, tipping at the end of a meal is the report card of how your server took care of you. Attentiveness and friendliness are critical factors in my book. Take a taxi, and tip at the end. Get help with your bags at the hotel, and tip at the end. I soon learned that tipping at the casino is a little different.

Tipping Drink Service

I approach tipping for free casino drinks a little differently. I tip big with the first drink. Now that I have their attention, further smaller tips continue depending on the attentiveness, friendliness, and quality of drinks. Tipping bigger at the beginning of service tends to grease the service wheels.

However, whatever the position, bad service = no tip.

Ultimate Guide to Casino Tipping
Service with a smile.

Tipping Dealers

For tipping see tipping as a way to reward good behavior or grease the wheels for future consideration. Not tipping IMHO, shows the dealer that his/her lack of hospitality, consideration, positive interaction, or help is not acceptable. Unfortunately, most casino dealers have to pool their tips, which means the good and bad share, giving the worst dealers less incentive to a positive asset at the table for the players.

Instead of handing the chip, or toke, to the dealer, I like to make a bet for the dealer. Many dealers prefer this as it raises their interest. With Pai Gow Poker, it could stay there for many hands.

From The Dealer’s Perspective

Following are explanations from a few anonymous dealers who also gamble concerning tipping:

I dealt blackjack at a casino. We pooled the table game tips, except for poker, where the dealers kept their tips. I can tell you, without a doubt, that even the poker dealers had the tips included in their paychecks, and they WERE taxed on them. Dealers typically earn minimum wage plus tips. I had times dealing blackjack, where I would have kept $1 for a shift and other nights where I brought in over $1000. Poker dealers, good ones mind you, can earn up to 60 grand a year, but most of them are around 40-45.

Playing at a table with a friendly efficient dealer and failing to tip because you didn’t win is the same as receiving good service from a restaurant and not tipping the wait staff because you didn’t like the flavor of the soup. The waitress and dealer serve, with the understanding that you will tip if the service is good, they don’t cook the food or decide the outcome of the game. If you can’t afford the food and the tip for the server, eat at home. If you can’t afford to gamble and tip the dealer, play at home. A tip is the price of the service, not tipping is stealing the service.

The reason I tip is to develop a good relationship with the dealers. If some f’d up situation comes up where it could go either way, whose side do you think they will come down on? The friendly guy who tips well, or the asshalf that never tips ever?

Ultimate Guide to Casino Tipping
My favorite bartenders, Tammy, Steve, and Kay, at Play Bar, Foxwoods, 2020

Gambling Tips For the Recreational Gambler

Quality dealers with good technical and interpersonal skills make the gaming experience fun for players. Individuals with that combination of skills know they can succeed in any industry. Regular casino patrons value these skills. (Regular patrons might mean those that visit weekly or only monthly.) Here are my suggestions for the recreational table game player based on personal experience and networking with other players:

  • Greet the dealer, and ask how his/her day has been as you lay (not throw) your money on the table.
  • When the pit boss comes over, address them the same way you give him/her your player’s card.
  • Tip the dealer during play – better yet, play for the dealer.  Put a smaller bet down with yours. Many dealers look forward to being part of the action. Now that you and the dealer are a team, notice a positive reaction and appreciation. If none, no more play for the dealer.  However, I’m yet to see that. If they appreciate it, occasionally repeat, or more depending on your bankroll’s progress.
  • Dealers at tables such as Pai Gow Poker may appreciate it. With such a slow game that doesn’t bring many tips their way, dealers may mainly take notice.
  • Back to that pit boss – remember they were dealers once.  When they see you tip or play for the dealers, pit bosses may bump up your bet-per-play rating. Tipping isn’t automatically included as part of your wager amount, but it could mean a bump to a higher denomination.

Table Game Tipping – Ultimate Guide to Casino Tipping

Part of the dealer’s service responsibility is providing a reasonable time or efficient game run. I don’t tip “Debbie” or “Donald” Downers. But, if the dealer is professional and pleasant, 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.

Playing table games produces fatigue in long sessions. Or, how about that early morning or late night session? That’s why it’s nice to have the dealer in your corner. Tips at the black table, or any other table game, is like a cheap insurance policy. It doesn’t take much to show your interest in the dealer taking care of the game. If you especially play side bets or multiple hands, considerate deals will remind you if you forgot your usual play.

Craps is a particularly good example. With so much activity – odds, hard ways, pressing bets, etc. – it’s probably the most hectic game to follow as you play. At a busy tub, it’s good to have the stickman on your side, for example. Let’s say you always play the Fire Bet on the Come Out roll, Miss placing the bet and you need to wait. A little reminder from the craps staff is great.

Here are more specific suggestions from the Ultimate Guide to Casino Tipping.

Tipping Specific Table Games

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 time a dealer works the table before their replacement. Some blackjack players set aside as much as ten percent before starting gambling.

Ultimate Guide to Casino Tipping

Craps – Again, like blackjack, it is custom to give the dealer a minimum of one chip worth five dollars during the session. The player can add a side bet to the ante for the dealer to be “in play.” Craps is a challenging game for dealers and takes a particular person to follow all the actions, especially on a busy table. A “two-way hard way” bet, even at a $1 denomination, is always appreciated, including the dealer. Dealers at the craps table will take care of you more if you forget a typical wager or forget to pick up a winner. That should weigh in on your tip considerations.

Poker – Tipping etiquette is much like blackjack and craps in that most players give their dealer a minimum of one chip worth five dollars during the session they deal. Then, 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 – The tipping rules are pretty simple at the roulette table. Keep your tip around one chip worth five dollars for each session.

Tipping after a Jackpot – Ultimate Guide to Casino Tipping

You are not required to tip the staff employee who pays you your jackpot. On the other hand, they must follow a process before that moolah gets into your sweaty little hands. If you tip, only tip the person paying you – the others can divvy it. Here are some typical jackpot/tip amounts:

Typical Tips for Slot Jackpots

$1250 gets $10 or $5. Some will give $20 off the top.
$1000 gets $5 on hand pay, and that’s generous. Frankly, it shouldn’t even be a hand pay. I don’t tip at this amount.
$2000 gets $20 or $10
$4000 gets $40
$10,000 up to $20,000 gets $100

If you win more than $20,000, tip no more than 1 percent.

“I Don’t Tip”

Some players don’t tip. There are two categories – the perfect strategy player who wants nothing to cut into his reduced house edge, and the “tight-wad” who always tips lightly or not at all, casino or not.

I do understand the former. He needs no help from the dealers, he has worked hard to be good at his craft to lower the house’s edge, and tips will cut into his expertise to come out ahead. These are “Advantage Players.” Let it be known that many APs still tip, and tip well.

The latter are just cheapskates. Some of which I have heard them say:

“I don’t like to tip dealers. When I barely make a profit, I’m supposed to tip anyway? These dealers earn more than I earn in my real job in much better conditions. And tips are tax-free.

I don’t like tipping dealers. Dealers don’t tip you when you lose. I tip sometimes (like in that hand), but not systematically. It’s a waste of money in the long term. Tipping is a scam anyway. I earn less than dealers and I have a degree – and I don’t get tips.

Final Thought

Tip ahead, be friendly, and good things will happen. Some believe tipping = Good karma. In any case, I hope this has helped answer some of your questions.


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