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Tipping dealers and why a little bit can go a long way


7 Jul 2017

Being a casino dealer is largely a thankless job.

Blackjack players will regularly blame dealers when they suffer a losing streak or a particular bad-beat hand, despite the casino staff having no sway on the running order of the cards.

It is easy to forget that dealers have nothing to gain from screwing over visitors and rigging games so that the casino wins. Those positioned on the top rungs of the staffing ladder are the ones that will notice the benefit, not the low-paid dealers.

We have all felt the frustration and temptation to lambast a dealer at the moment they flip an eight to turn their hand of 13 into 21, when the rest of the table is sitting pretty with probable winning hands of 20.

Yet for all of the losing criticism, a dealer is unlikely to get a similar level of praise when their card-turning skills generate a winning run for a player. At best, they may receive a small tip for their involvement.

Tipping is not compulsory, but there are a considerable number of semi-regular casino goers who believe it should be. This is despite the rules of all games already being tilted in favour of casinos.

Giving a tip is considered another method of emptying the pockets of players.

But, here are four reasons why next time you step off your blackjack seat after a winning or losing session, you may to want to consider chucking at least a few chips in the dealer’s direction:


Although no two casinos are the same, dealing blackjack is a job that typically pays little more than the minimum wage. Staff do not require years of proven experience or a certain skillset. If they are willing to learn quickly how to handle cards, work unfashionable hours and are reliable, this can be enough to land a job.

The basic pay reflects this and that is why dealers heavily rely on tips to make their personal ends meet. In many cases, tips can account for between 50% and 75% of a dealer’s hourly wage.

This is another reason why it makes no sense for a dealer to fiddle the cards so a player loses more frequently, as this is only going to be a negative towards their prospects of receiving a tip.

Gambling Experience

If you are going to have fun at the tables, there is a strong chance that a dealer will play a pivotal role in this. Telling fascinating stories, being helpful with queries, ensuring the game progresses smoothly without error or getting the eye of staff to provide more drinks to the table are all ways that dealers aid in providing a positive experience.

Dealers also have the ability to turn a game sour with their service.

Should they be obnoxious by requesting a tip outright, fail to offer a single smile in an hour’s play, avoid conversation at all costs or fail to support with queries, they maybe don’t deserve a tip.

Yet those who do everything in their power to assist and entertain arguably warrant some remuneration for their role in an enjoyable session.

Service job

There is a general acceptance towards tipping staff working in the service industry. Go to a high-street restaurant and people will regularly tip a waiter or waitress for doing little more than successfully taking an order, bringing food and drink to their table, clearing away all of the dirty crockery and printing out the bill.

Obviously, the size of the tip is determined by the quality of the service provided. If it wasn’t for this member of staff, a restaurant visitor wouldn’t receive their food.

The same is true of a blackjack dealer. Without them at the table, there would be no live blackjack. They deal cards, collect cards, gather losing chips, pay out winning bets and keep the game moving.

Although there is the opportunity to play all casino games online, the chance to interact with other players is paramount to some. The service of the dealers is an absolute must to allow this to happen.


Even though casinos can be jam-packed full of people and considerably busy, being a dealer is still quite a lonely profession.

Staff can be on their feet for 10 hours at a time, tolerating abuse, threats and bad language, enduring the stenches of odours and soiled chairs and staying alert for long shifts so their standards don’t slip.

And all of this for the equivalent of £5 per hour in some US locations.

The recommended tip from a player is only half of their average hourly bet. So bet £10 a hand of blackjack and tip just £5 an hour. Of course, this may increase during profitable sessions.

But a little bit can go a long way if multiple players follow this philosophy.