Why should you tip a poker dealer
? After all, that dealer provided you the same service as all the other players and really functions as nothing more than a random number generator. You made all the decisions and risked your money to win that pot. Some poker pros justify lowballing or stiffing dealers by saying that it cuts into their hourly rate. Those same pros are the first to complain, sometimes rudely, when the dealer makes a mistake.
I dealt for 8 years at a downtown Vegas casino and 3 WSOPs
after that. At best I am an average dealer and you won't be seeing me on ESPN unless I'm real unlucky. I can tell you what makes a good dealer and the kind of treatment dealers recieve whether good or bad. Casino dealers have to cope with drunks and people losing money they shouldn't have bet in the first place, usually both at the same time. We also have to deal with superstition, as more than a few blame the dealer when losing. Gambling and alcohol seems to bring out the worst behavior, especially both at the same time.
Unless you've never played poker in a casino you've seen what I am talking about. You probably also know that dealers work for minimum wage plus tips. You might not know that casinos
rarely hire full time dealers anymore, they've even regressed former full timers to extra board (part time). By making dealers work less than 32 hours per week casinos can avoid paying benefits and dispose of them arbitrarily if they so choose.
If you've ever played in the WSOP you may have noticed a wide disparity in the quality of dealers. They have to hire over 300 brand new dealers every year because they lose 20-30% in the first 2 weeks and a lot of experienced dealers decline to come back. On the social media sites you will find a lot of complaints about dealer mistakes from both the pros and amateurs.
You would think that dealing the premier event in all of gambling, not just poker, would attract so many experienced dealers to return that it would be hard for people that have never even dealt a casino poker game
to get the job. Let me tell you two big reasons why so many dealers don't come back.
The tokes we recieve for dealing tournaments come from a small percentage taken from the entry fee and whatever the winners leave for tips from their winnings. Every year the tokes from tournament downs (every half hour at table change counts as a down) have been going down. A lot of dealers who come from out of town don't think it's worth coming back for this reason and the second.
Most dealers HATE HATE HATE dealing the live cash games. The verbal abuse and disrespect causes most dealers to avoid dealing live games if at all possible. Tokes come into play here too. Imagine dealing a $150-300 7 Card Stud game and walking away from that down with less than $5 in tokes after dealing perfect hands and pushing pots worth thousands. How do you think it feels when some big time poker pro throws you a dollar after pushing him a pot with stacks of black chips and hundred dollar bills? And you know what, mot dealers are lucky to get that much in the high stakes games. The lower stake games is where you make the most as a dealer. Let put it in a nutshell for you; dealers call the subsection where you find all the high stakes games the Snake Pit!
GIVEN: you want professional dealers at your table and knowing that casinos only pay minimum wage while expecting you the player to tip the dealer enough to actually make a living, so let me ask a question. Do you expect professional level performance from a dealer only making minimun wage?
GIVEN: poker dealers recieve a lot of player abuse and every dealer makes mistakes just like everybody else in their jobs. So, would you deal poker for minimum wage only?
I have a perfect example of what I'm trying to say. If you have the patience to read even more in this long article you will see what I'm talking about.
I was playing a 1-2 no-limit hold-em game at the Golden Nugget. The WSOP was going at the RIO at the time. On my right was an older guy, drunk and with a heavy Scottish accent. He was in seat 2 and playing under the gun for this particular hand. The small blind checked on the river card and it was check around, including the drunk, until seat 7 made a big bet. When it came time for the drunk to act he mumbled something incomprehensible and angrily threw his cards face up to the top of the flop. Note, that he didn't physically call the bet.
The dealer grabbed the cards and was in the process of mucking the hand when the drunk started screaming that he had called. After all the screaming and yelling the floorman came over and allowed the drunk to get his hand back. Of course the drunk lost he hand anyway. The dealer was professional throughout the whole ordeal, she kept her mouth shut and let her boss fix the problem.
But the worst was yet to come. After the floorman left and the next hand was being dealt a player in seat 5 comes out and spews this gem; "I deal the World Series and if a dealer would have made that mistake there she would have been sent home". I still get angry when I remember that and how many things are so wrong about what this moron said.
First of all, a dealer NEVER criticizes another dealer at the table. Neither does that dealer abuse another dealer on the job. If you as a dealer have a problem with another dealer you take it the card room manager. If you have a problem that requires the flloorman to come over and fix, then you do it politely and professionally. Believe it or not some of the worst abusers are other dealers.
Since that mistake was made by the player and not the dealer she wouldn't even have been written up, much less get sent home. If anyone made a mistake it was the floorman for not killing the drunks hand.
I can tell you that this guy who shot his mouth off was a first time dealer at the WSOP and I seriously doubt he ever worked a regular job in a cardroom. Experienced dealers know that because of the high number of rookie dealers it's not that big a deal to work the WSOP and you look like an idiot bragging about it. At least that's true in Vegas.
Do you want a pro dealing your poker game or a minimum wage dweeb?
Would you deal poker for minimum wage?
If you don't want to tip do you deserve a professional dealer?
See you at the 2014 World Series of Poker!