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In Case You're Wondering, Dealers at Casinos Accept Tips4 October 1999
Pay scales for some jobs presuppose that workers will normally get tips from patrons. Waiting on tables at restaurants is a classic example; most people understand not only that tipping is expected, but also when and how to do it. Sophisticated diners even know when particular generosity is in order, and when inattentive or surly staffers deserve to be stiffed.
Many casino employees are also paid wages that anticipate tips. Not just eager beverage servers, helpful washroom attendants, or omniscient coin changers who guide insiders to the hot slots. Table game dealers accept tips. Professionals with glamour jobs though they may be, dealers have bills to pay. Yet surprisingly few solid citizens have a clue about tipping at the tables.
Consider tipping dealers who've made your gambling more enjoyable when you've won or less painful when, well, you know when. Sometimes, this is a matter of their being courteous, balancing friendliness with proficiency in handling your bets and money, and displaying pleasure when your wagers pay and empathy when they go away. In other cases, it may extend as far as helping you master the subtleties and overcome the intimidation of a game. Anything from mentioning that "the book says" stand on that 14 against a six-up at blackjack, to reminding you about taking your usual odds behind the line when betting Pass at craps.
There are lots of ways to tip the dealers. You can drop money on the table after you've received an especially large payoff. You can put dealers into the action by making bets for them in the midst of the fray. You can slide or toss (never hand) chips to dealers at the end of a session when you color-up and leave. Dealers appreciate the consideration however they get it and, like players, are divided as to their 'druthers.
When to tip is mostly a matter of personal predilection. Many players like to tip during the course of a game, believing in their hearts that it brings luck when things are running badly or keeps a streak alive when they're going well. Some disavow such silly superstition but presume dealers have a degree of control over the game, and can therefore influence results to reward someone who's been generous to them or make money for themselves when they're participating in the action. Yet others who tip while the game is in progress are less cynical, and merely want to reinforce the dealers' self respect as caring human beings.
Tipping at the end of a session is fancied by some players who use the practice as a tangible way of saying thanks for services rendered. Others who tip when the dust settles like to see how a session turns out so they can size their gratuity accordingly.
Dealers typically favor tipping during the action. For several practical reasons. One is that they enjoy participating in the game. Another is the chance they'll get tipped again when players end their sessions. There's also the fact that tipping can be contagious and it's not unusual for everyone at a table to be making bets for the dealers once the first stalwart breaks the ice. Further, in games like craps and roulette, tips made in the form of bets are typically high-payoff wagers, so a dollar dropped by a player can multiply many fold on its way home.
A final factor to consider is whether tips are pocketed by individual dealers or dropped into a box to be pooled and split. If dealers retain their own tips, you'll want to lavish your largesse expressly on those whose work you most esteem, especially if a particular person is leaving the table. This is less important when tips are shared, although dealers' morale is boosted when they know players value their efforts.
Occasionally, players categorically refuse to tip dealers. Maybe they mistakenly think table games are personal contests in which dealers get job advancement credit or personal satisfaction by beating bettors. Or figure the casinos rake in enough to pay everyone those fabled big bucks. These must be the misanthropes the poet, Sumner A Ingmark, had in mind when he wrote:
With widely ranging latitude,
But seem to leave out gratitude.
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