The Muck: How much should poker pros tip a dealer?


The dealer’s tip replaced the The Robbi Garrett Story on Twitter poker thanks to a tweet from the poker vlogger Lex Ozias (@LexOpoker1) which sparked a heated debate.

Ozias’ hot take, which said “If you play poker for a living: the size of the pot won should not dictate the size of the tip to the dealer”, received the same reception as any other opinion controversial on social networks – a mixture of insults, opposing views and those who agree.

“I love getting on the tables and piling on guys like you,” Michael Mcardle (@m_mcardle12) tweeted at Ozias, for example.

The vlogger who has more 47,000 YouTube subscribers is certainly entitled to his opinion. After a number of replies to his initial tweet, he followed up with a more in-depth explanation of his views on pros tipping dealers.

Ozias clarified that he was only referring to those who play poker professionally. Thus, he was not concerned with the opinions of recreational players. That, of course, didn’t stop the non-pros from intervening.

reviews everywhere

One of the most common arguments in the initial tweet was that, to some, it seems silly to tip the same in a $100 pot as in a $100,000 pot. But one poker fan made a valid counterpoint by rhetorically asking if a dealer works harder to push a six-figure pot than a standard $1/$3 pot.

Another main topic of discussion was the salary structure of a poker dealer. In the United States, in almost all cardrooms, dealers are paid a low hourly wage, usually between $10 and $15.

Similar to bartenders and waiters, they rely primarily on tips, meaning they desperately need players to be generous or the mortgage won’t be paid. Some have suggested that casinos pay employees a living wage instead of forcing them to rely on tips. This could be a viable option, one that many dealers would prefer, but one that would likely result in an increased rake to cover the dealer’s additional payroll expenses.

“Dude, f**k these haters. You tip your tip and let them tip theirs. For what it’s worth, I’m with you. Super dealer, who’s entertaining, fast, remembers my name, doesn’t don’t screw up the deal, etc., will always get a better tip”, @SeanHud argued.

“Should dealers make more than $25 per hour? That sounds crazy. $1-2 per hand is more than enough outside of high stakes or streaming games,” Andrew B. Arthur tweeted.

“I would never comment on your [lack of] advice, but you opened the door. It’s your right to tip as you wish, but don’t try to influence others with your lack of generosity and portray it as helpful. Plus, I know very few pros who tip as little as you.” Peter Kimwrote a Texas poker player.

“That makes no sense. Winning 100 in a 1/2 game versus winning 100k in a 100/200 game wouldn’t tip the same,” Allen Kesler commented.

A few reviewers have attempted to draw the comparison with dining out. But that’s a tough comparison to make given that in the United States, the standard for good service in a sit-down restaurant is 20% or more. No poker pro could ever make a living playing cards if he put 20% of the money into every pot he won, of course.

Herbie Theopepoker enthusiast and writer of the Kansas City Chiefs Beats for the Kansas City StarTold PokerNews he is “of the belief that the size of the pot dictates the tip” and strongly disagrees with Ozias’ take.

poker professional charlie carrel Brought up an interesting question regarding the tipping issue.

What poker dealers say

Perhaps a little surprising, but quite a few poker dealers seem to side with Ozias. Some dealers would prefer to be paid a solid hourly wage and receive full benefits instead of the current structure.

“Tipping has become a means of subsidizing naughty jobs”, justin mccluena former poker dealer in Des Moines, Iowa said PokerNews. “The only people I think really deserve a tip are people delivering food, especially in their own vehicle. I’m asking them to do something I don’t want to do.”

“I’m a dealer and I agree 100% with that statement. I also play quite a bit so I guess I understand the players side better,” tweeted Lee Bradbury.

Final take

Poker dealers are as important to this industry as anyone else. Qualified dealers should be compensated fairly, whether that comes from the casino paying a reasonable salary or tips. If the hourly wage isn’t enough for a dealer to get by financially, it’s up to the poker community to step in and tip generously, whether you’re a professional or amateur player.

In any industry, employees who are well paid are more likely to work hard than those who are not. If you value having a quality dealer at your table, and it doesn’t make sense that a pro doesn’t, you shouldn’t expect great service from underpaid workers.

That said, tip-shaming is just as bad as not tipping at all or being a cheap tip. Tip the amount you’re comfortable with, but consider the person you’re tipping who has bills to pay and you couldn’t play this game for a living in a land-based casino without them.


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