Regardless of whether you are a seasoned professional gambler, or an amateur trying your hand at casino games for the first time, there are some basic rules of gambling etiquette you should be familiar with. You wouldn’t sit down to play a game before learning its rules, and in the same way you should know the tipping protocols of the country and casino you are visiting prior to making your first bet.
Tipping by country
Tipping a casino’s employees may or may not be customary. If you are playing in a casino located in the United States, for instance, you will be expected to tip the dealers, slot machine attendants, cashiers and Keno runners who serve you – even if you don’t win a penny. If, on the other hand, you are visiting a casino in Barcelona, you will not be expected to tip the individuals who deal cards to you or run your bets. In fact, you might draw some unwelcome attention if you do attempt to tip a dealer in Barcelona.
Tipping dealers in Macau is the custom, but you wouldn’t tip them in most parts of Europe other than in England and Monaco. Tipping casino employees became legal in England less than a decade ago so, while the casino culture dictates that you should tip when you gamble there, you will not be expected to tip as big as you would in Las Vegas. In general, you should tip approximately 5 – 10 percent less than you would in Sin City when you are gambling in Britain.
Who should you tip in a casino?
Knowing who to tip and how to do it are just as important as conforming to a casino’s tipping conventions. As a general rule of thumb, you can assume that if a casino employee is allowed to accept tips from gamblers, the tips he or she collects is probably the majority of their pay, up to as much as 65 percent!
It is also safe to assume that the employees who accept tips are paid low hourly rates by the casino you are visiting. Knowing that the person dealing cards to you is collecting just above minimum wage, and is reliant on the generosity of you and your fellow bettors, should be enough to remind you to consistently tip.
If you are playing video poker or slots, for example, you don’t have a dealer to tip, but you certainly can tip the cashier who assists you with your transactions, as well as the slots machine attendant, if you win. It is appropriate for you to tip the cashier a minimum of $1.00 each time you ask him or her to make change. If you win big on a slot machine, tipping the attendant five percent of your total winnings is generally expected. If you need to call the attendant for help with your machine, you should tip the person a minimum of $1.00 each time your machine needs his, or her, attention.
Table game tipping
If you decide to play blackjack, poker, roulette, craps or any other casino game that has a live dealer, you will be expected to tip the dealer at your table. Of course, the total amount you will tip a dealer depends on various factors such as whether you win a pot or two, and the length of time you spend gambling at a given table. But you should plan on tipping approximately 15 – 20 percent of the amount you buy in chips during the course of your gambling session in the United States. In Britain, you should budget between 10 – 15 percent of your gambling money for tipping purposes.
How to tip your dealer
Ordinarily, you will be able to tip a live dealer in several ways.
You can tip a static amount for each session that the dealer works at your table, tipping a minimum of $5.00 per session. You can share a dollar every so often, or wait until the dealer is about to leave your table and tip the full amount before he or she is about to be replaced. If you are playing at a high stakes table, you should increase the amount you tip per session proportionately.
Remember to avoid handing the chips you are tipping with directly to your dealer. Most casinos frown upon dealers taking chips, as those chips are meant to be used to benefit the casino. Instead of handing them over, simply put the chips on the table outside of your betting area and state they are for the dealer.
You can also tip your dealer by sharing your winnings with them. In this case your tips should equal between 1 – 5 percent of each pot you win. If you are in a ring game and win $100 in a hand playing poker, you should give your dealer a $5 tip. If you win more in subsequent pots, your tips should increase respectively. If you only manage to collect the blinds, you will not be expected to tip your poker dealer.
Alternative tipping methods
Another popular method of tipping is to place bets for your dealer. You can do this in blackjack by either placing a chip ahead of your own so that it is about half in-and-out of the betting circle, or putting a chip dedicated to the dealer on top of your own bet. If you do the former, your dealer will be able to collect both the bet you made for them and any winnings related to it. If you do the latter the dealer will still collect their winnings, but not the bet you placed on their behalf.
You can place bets for dealers at roulette and craps tables, too. In roulette, place a bet for your dealer anywhere you want on the layout, but audibly tell them that the bet is for them. Also put the chip you’re using to bet for the dealer on top of your own bet, slightly offset.
In craps, you can bet two-way, meaning you and your dealer will split the winnings related to your bet. You can also bet the hardways and pass line for your craps dealer, too, but your dealer will keep all of the money that is won on these types of bets.
If you play Keno, you will be expected to tip both your writer and runner in at least two ways. First, you should tip your writer and runner a minimum of $1.00 per ticket. The game doesn’t offer great winning odds, so they are not going to share in many jackpots. If you are lucky enough to have a winning ticket, tip your writer and runner a combined total of around five percent of your winnings.
Of course, as long as tipping is customary where you decide to gamble, live dealers, slots attendants, runners, writers and cashiers are not the only individuals who are at least partly relying on a casino’s visitors for some extra cash. There is a slew of others who you should tip during the course of your stay at a given casino, including the establishment’s valets, bellhops, waitresses and housekeeping professionals.
Tipping non-dealer staff
If you decide to take advantage of a casino’s valet services, be sure to tip whenever you pull up to or away from the individual’s post. It’s typical for valets to record when someone tips them, so tipping both ways might increase the speed with which you get your car.
Bellhops should be tipped a minimum tip of $2.00, even if you only have one bag. If you have multiple bags, you should tip at least $1.00 per bag. Etiquette also dictates that you should tip a waitress or waiter at least $1.00 every time the individual delivers a drink to you in a casino, regardless of the game you are playing. Keeping in mind that housekeepers rotate shifts and floors regularly, so you should leave a few dollars for the person responsible for cleaning your room daily, too.
Tipping – it’s not a town in China
In the United States, most people recognize the word “tips” as an acronym that means “to insure prompt service. While that is widely acknowledged, the tips you give others in a casino should be based on more than just speed. You should increase your tips to reward people for being friendly and/or helpful, for instance.
Alternatively, if you sit at a table with a surly dealer who makes gambling a chore instead of a form of entertainment, you should leave the minimum acceptable tip if you choose leave anything at all.
Similarly to the way there is a tipping etiquette, there is also a protocol for how a casino’s employees treat its guests. If you receive poor service in any part of the establishment, you are not obligated to tip the individual. Tipping is always voluntary, not compulsory.
But do be prepared to reward great service by giving tips to those who contribute your casino enjoyment…whether you win, lose or break even.