Conventional Tipping Etiquette within Live Poker Game

One of the more difficult situations an online poker player faces when transitioning into live play is tipping the dealer. Tip too much and you could eat up any profits, tip too little and the entire room may hate you.

Proper Tipping Etiquette

In general, you see three philosophies on tipping a poker dealer. The most common way to tip the dealer is to give him $1 per pot in a no-limit game, and maybe $2 or $3 for very large pots, such as $200 or more. As long as you tip a $1 – and the pot isn’t obscenely large. Like $1,000 – you won’t garner the reputation as a rude or cheapskate player.

Some players give a dealer a flat-rate at the beginning or end of each turn . In Vegas, dealers usually change tables every 30 minutes. Flat-rates usually range from $2 to $3 per half hour, or $4 to $6 for an hour.

Local players, and ironically, many high stakes players, don’t tip at all. If you are a recreational player and just want to have a good time, you should seriously consider giving the dealer a tip.

Handing the Dealer a Tip

Technically, you can toss a dealer a chip at any time, as they rarely reject free money. However, most people in a live casino setting wait for the dealer. To push the pot into their chip stack and then toss the dealer any gratuity. Waiting until the dealer officially acknowledges a winner can avoid some awkward situations too. For instance, sometimes a dealer accidentally pushes the pot to the losing hand. But catches the mistake and gives the pot to the true winner. If you were too eager to tip in this scenario. You would have to ask the dealer for your tip back or accept tipping the dealer on a losing hand.

Making Change for a Tip

If you cannot make change for a tip, hand the dealer a token and request a “chop.” For instance, if you want to tip $1 and only have a $2 chip, toss the dealer the $2 chip and ask him to “chop it.”

Personal Thoughts

It’s OK to “stiff” a dealer that doesn’t provide great service, but these situations are rare. For instance, I don’t tip dealers that constantly skip my turn or make an error that costs me a pot (on the other hand, I gladly tip dealers when they make a mistake in my favor).

I play live poker in Vegas several times a year and a dealer should never talk rudely to you just because you refuse to tip or give a small tip. However, that doesn’t mean the dealer can’t influence the action in subtle ways. For instance, if a non-tipper makes a raise, the dealer might ask the next to act if he wants to “Fold, raise or call,” because the dealer wants to end the hand as soon as possible.

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