Lex O Poker is a professional player from Florida. He plays in American casinos and talks about his poker life in detail on YouTube. After a wave of negative comments on one of his videos, he decided to speak out on the topic of tipping offline dealers:
If you play poker for a living: size of pot won shouldn’t dictate size of tip to dealer.
I tip more or less according to speed, table control, friendship, attitude, etc.. the fast, efficient dealers with a great attitude get tipped way more. The size of the pot shouldn’t matter if you play poker for a living.
I may tip smaller per hand but I tip much much more $ annually compared to the random rec. I may play 1,200+ hours a year, that’s a lot of $1 tips compared to the rec playing 300 hours a year. However, If poker is not your source of income then it doesn’t matter how much you tip.
Everyone with a differing opinion on this doesn’t play poker for a living.Therefore, the statement doesn’t apply to you. If you play poker for a living its a business. U must treat it like one. Base tip allows you to thank the dealer for their service while also keeping a winrate.
The purpose behind starting this thread is that I get tip shamed on my YouTube videos for throwing $5-$10 in a big pot. So I stated what my thoughts are on the topic.
– So you always leave one amount? – clarified in the comments. – Regardless of the size of the pot – $20, $200, or $2,000?
"That's a great question," Lex replied. – Small $200 pots go for several minutes, they can also have side pots, and hands for $2,000 usually end up all-in already preflop, and it takes all of 25 seconds. Small pots require more effort from the dealer, so why should the tip be based on the pot?
So you win a $50k pot and throw a couple of bucks at the dealer? I'm sure the correct amount is a $500 chip or even $1k,” a person who is clearly not a professional gambler joined the conversation. “The dealer has needs too—new tires, medical bills. Without them, you won't have a job. You pay them a bonus."
“No professional would pay a tip like that,” Lex protested.
“Haha, no one leaves $1k for a tip,” other readers echoed. I would understand if you offered $20 instead of $5.
– Even in $100k pots, no one leaves $1k? It's kind of sleazy.
– The incentive should be on the side of the casino to pay employees a salary. Here you are absolutely right. Their salary is not a customer problem at all, and if a player donates 5bb after every pot he wins, he will be on the street tomorrow. If everyone did this, the dealers would be the most profitable people at the tables.
Even among the dealers, there was not unity on the topic of tipping.
“I work as a dealer and agree 100% with Lex,” wrote one of them. – True, I often play myself, so I understand the logic of the players better.
“I also agree with him,” another representative of the profession supported. – I always do my job well and quickly, so it can be a shame when a dealer who is frankly bad at dealing cards gets a tip twice as much just because he was lucky to deal in a large pot.
“I don’t deal cards anymore, but I’ve been very good at it in the past (I did everything quickly, kept a close eye on the game, maintained a friendly environment, always knew the correct pot size in PLO, and so on)," wrote a third dealer. – I remember that “pros” always tip $1. My record pot was $100k and the winning reg gave me $1… I'm not sure what I was expecting in that hand. A green chip ($25) I would be happy haha. To be honest, I liked dealing $1/$2 the most. When amateurs win $500-1,000 there, they are always very generous. For them, this is comparable to a weekly salary.
– "The culture of tipping in the USA is *** here," – a reader with the nickname SOS revealed a global problem. – It was built by American corporations, which shifted the responsibility for paying their employees to customers. And people are idiots and took it for granted. Trade unions need to better advocate for workers' rights and push for higher wages.
Charlie Carrel proposed a radical solution to the problem:
Hypothetical: If everyone stopped tipping dealers, would the market eventually force the casinos to pay the dealers real wages?
Almost none of the commentators believe that such a move would force the casino to reconsider its salary policy. Readers are sure that in this case, poker tables will most likely be replaced by slots, and the dealer profession will finally lose its attractiveness. And the most likely outcome is that the fees will become even higher:
“This will lead to the fact that they will raise the rake, so it will not change,” one of Charlie's subscribers said confidently. – In the current situation, additional payments are mainly on the winning players, which is good for the losing players and amateurs.
“If they raise the rake, the players will simply go somewhere else or stop playing altogether,” Charlie objected. – I don't think that will happen.
At the end of last year, there was a thread from reddit in which a girl who works as a dealer at the WSOP answered questions from readers.
This summer, after the end of the World Series, she opened a new topic in which questions about tips and salary again became the most popular.
– How many hours a day do you work?
– From 8 to 16 a day. I don’t know the total number of working hours, but for the whole series, I had only three days off. The most hardworking dealers work from 10 am to 2 am, sometimes longer if they go to cash.
Tell me about the salary and tips.
“Our rate is $12.5 an hour, but overtime is mandatory, paying $15 for each 30-minute shift. My traditional goal at the WSOP is to make $15k over the summer in Vegas. This year I did it easily.
For tournaments, players leave tips at the cashier, 85% of them go to dealers, 15% to cashiers. Tipping for cash is 100% left to dealers. Good dealers get very decent cash tips. But in tournaments, players leave less and less every year. I think the point is that they began to sell shares more often. Almost all Europeans are goons. It is a fact.
“It's not about the Europeans. It's just that we are convinced that the care of employees lies with corporations. The higher the tips, the lower the salaries, and the profits of the companies only grow. America has a disgusting tipping culture, big corporations take advantage of it. I hope this will reach ordinary Americans someday."
“I totally agree with that, I hate our tipping culture too. But since you're in America and you know the dealers here live off tips, you should probably be a little more generous. I'm not judging anyone, but unfortunately, a few European regs who refuse to tip won't change anything globally."
– Dealer commission is taken in each tournament. How does that get shared?
– For all dealers who worked that day, and in any tournaments. We receive a salary for each half-hour shift, so it is also divided by their number.
– Are there any seniority requirements to become a WSOP dealer?
– No. Can you shuffle, deal two cards and is your heart beating? You are accepted!
– Where do you earn more money – in tournaments or cash games?
– Of course in the cash games, but the work there is much more difficult. Tournaments are an easy walk for me, and the pay there is also quite decent. In cash, if you try hard, you can reach $23 per shift.
The wise Maxim Katz understood everything about tips in Las Vegas back in 2009 and wrote an article on Pokeroff with the title "I'm a pro, I never tip":
Half the people in Vegas live on tips. Taxi drivers, luggage carriers, taxi stewards, hotel concierges, waiters, even dealers...
Apparently, once upon a time, it was customary here to just do the job, and consider the tip as a bonus. But it seems that over time, all sorts of cost-saving managers gradually figured out how much employees receive tips and stopped paying them a salary.
Therefore, no one here considers tips as a bonus, it's kind of like you have to give them. I watch a lot of people and myself in Vegas, I'm always interested in how different things affect certain people. So, Vegas produces a huge effect in all its manifestations, including this one.
If you do not tip the taxi driver, he will loudly resent you. So you kind of feel uncomfortable. Rather, at first, he tells you a figure one and a half times more than on the counter. You point to the counter, he says at least $15. You point to the rules, where it says that the minimum is $3. He says “It’s customary to give a tip here.” Then he intentionally gives less change. And then he gets angry. All actions, except for the last one, are aimed at getting a tip from you, and so that it becomes inconvenient for you not to give them or it is inconvenient to seem like a miser who, for the sake of two dollars, will pay just the number on the counter. The last action is already aimed at making sure that you give a tip the next time you get into a taxi, and just to let off steam.
In general, people usually engage in manipulation not in a complicated and planned way, but by intuition. But when they and entire systems of people do this for a long time, it reaches such a point that it is possible to write a scientific work "methods of influencing the human brain in order to get money out of it."
When you win a tournament, the tournament director, when paying out your winnings, will surely hand you a piece of paper, where it is written like this:
Total winnings: $40,000
Tip for the staff: _________$
amount to be paid:________$
And you have to type it in yourself. And when you enter 0 there, he, with the look of a mentor, tells you “In Vegas, it is customary to leave 1% -2% for a tip.” And he does it with such a look, as if he is trying to tell you some important life truth, and not just shake a couple of hundred out of you. This is manipulation. I always answer this with "I'm a pro, I never tip".
According to my observations, the weaker the character of a person, and also the more the money won seems random to him, the more he succumbs to such manipulation.
Someone, having won $40K, after a conversation with the pit boss, throws someone $100, or $4K. And then he grumbles, saying that they have orders there ... At the same time, everyone knows that in the tournament, in addition to the rake, they also took a staff bonus, which is a tip ...
I'm happy to tip when I feel like it, in Vegas or Moscow, but I don't give a damn how much they want me to give them. I don't care how they do it. I pay the taxi driver as much as it says on the meter, and I only give more if he did something useful for me or had an interesting chat, or just turned out to be a nice person.
I always tip waiters if they are fast and good, and never if they are bad and slow. And I will never in my life tip the person who opened the door for me in a taxi.
In general, you need to be able to distinguish manipulation from persuasion and not succumb to manipulation :) Especially here, in Vegas, where everything is set up for you to roll all your money into slot machines. Even the light in the rooms is especially dim so that you either sleep or gamble. And from the check-in to the room, there is no way to get past the sea of slot machines.
And if you play big, they generally create the feeling that you are a very respected and important person, and you just need to play further in order to remain respected. All this is manipulation. There are many and not only here :)