Ultimate Guide to Casino Tipping

Service tips are nothing new. Here, in our Ultimate Guide to Casino Tipping, we truly believe good service deserves good tips.

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 key factors in my book. Take a taxi, tip at the end. Get help with your bags at the hotel, tip at the end. I soon learned that tipping at the casino is a little different.

As service providers, the majority of their income, up to sixty-six percent, is actually earned by tips and not their base wage. It is the same for casino employees.

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Casino Tipping Takes a Different Approach

Tipping on the casino floor should be approached differently. For example, I tip big with the first drink whatever game I’m playing. Depending on the attention I get, the friendliness I receive and the quality of drinks, further smaller tips continue. Tipping bigger at the beginning of service tends to grease the wheels of service in a casino.  This practice also signals your server or bartender that you’re interested in their service, not entitled to it.

Service with a smile.

While their persona should be to treat you well, nothing is a sure thing at the casino.  But that initial tip can mean the difference.  It can also mean the difference in the quality of your drink. At a video poker bar, a little friendly socializing with the bartender in a good idea. Don’t be a pest! It could mean the difference between middle shelf and a taste of the top shelf.  Bartenders who get to know you tend to make your drinks a little heftier, if you know what i mean.  Remember, mileage may vary depending upon how busy the casino may be, or what kind of a day the server has had.

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My favorite bartenders, Tammy, Steve, and Kay at Play Bar, Foxwoods

DEALER TIPS

I was always the kind of guy that waited to tip the dealer at the end, much like a restaurant. Only, this was more dependent upon what I had won or lost. But, it’s not the dealer’s fault how my bankroll goes.  If I don’t realize the house edge, I shouldn’t be there.  Again, there is a better approach.

Table game dealers should be friendly, helpful and sometimes even entertaining. That being said, they can often be matter of fact, if not aloof. There could be lots of reasons.  I always thought “hey, it’s called the ‘service industry’ for a reason, buddy.” But, just imagine how many Bozos and idiots these people put up with on a daily basis.

Tip ahead?…….well, maybe not all dealers.

Here’s 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 as you give him/her your players card.
  • Tip the dealer during play – better yet play for the dealer.  Put a smaller bet down with yours. Many dealers look forward to be part of the action. Now that you and the dealer are a team, watch for a positive reaction. 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 really appreciate it. With such a slow game that doesn’t bring a lot of tips their way, dealers may particularly 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 automaticaklly included as part of your wager amount, but it could mean a bump up to a higher denomination.

Table Game TIPPING GUIDES

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. A side bet of as much as ten percent can be set aside to compensate the dealer.  Craps is a tough game for dealers and takes a special person to follow all the action, especially on a busy table. A “two-way hardway” bet, even at $1 denomination, includes the dealer and is always appreciated.  Dealers at the craps table especially will take care of you more if you forget a typical wager, or forgot to pick up a winner. 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.

Tipping after a Jackpot

This is a tricky one. You’re never required to tip after a jackpot, but you will look very stingy if, after you hit a nice jackpot, you don’t.

Some players feel a tip is not needed for someone giving your deserved jackpot.  Others realize that there is a process they have to follow before that moolah gets into your sweaty little hands.  What to do, what to do…?

I’ve heard about the “10% tips after jackpots” rule, but I don’t know many who tip that much. If you tip, only tip the person paying you – the others can divvy it up amongst them. Here are some typical jackpot/tip amounts:

$1250 gets $10 or $5.  Some will give $20 off the top.
$1000 gets $5 on a 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 no more than 1-percent.

PROOF AT THE TABLE

Recently I played Pai Gow Poker for a few hours at Foxwoods. Even recreational gamblers can play this game at a higher level denomination due to the number of pushes that occur. I was playing $25 a hand, with a few side bets and often a single $1 bet for the dealer. So, a spread of $25 to $31. As I played, I was friendly. At one point,  I even made a mistake in organizing my high & low hands once, which the pit boss and dealer collaborated to allow reorganizing my hand, which I thanked them with a slightly higher dealer tip.  Remember, there are a lot of pushes in this game, so a dealer’s bet can be repeated more than BJ or roulette.

When I inquired how I was rated after my session, the pit boss said $50 a hand!  Higher than I expected.  Coincidence? I say ney, ney.

Final thought

Take the plunge – tip ahead, be friendly and good things will happen.

Binbin

 

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