Top 10 Reasons for Tipping Poker Dealers

By Robbie Strazynski
March 16, 2012

Some poker players like to tip dealers while others don’t. Here at Cardplayer Lifestyle we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 reasons why you should tip your poker dealer next time you play Hold’em, PLO, or any other mixed game.

Tips1. To Show Your Appreciation

The simplest and most straightforward reason for tipping dealers is simply to show your appreciation for a job well done. If your dealer does his or her job in a professional and efficient manner to keep the game moving without unnecessary delays, it’s worth a tip.

2. To Help Them Out

Many poker players are unaware that dealers often just make minimum wage and essentially depend on tips to make a living.

3. They Helped You Out

If a poker dealer helped you hit a miracle one-outer or otherwise suck out, just remember that the money in the pot wasn’t supposed to be yours anyhow. There’s no harm in parting with a couple of those “free” bucks to a dealer who will be very grateful for the tip.

4. You Win or Cash Big in a Poker Tournament

While a percentage of every tournament buy-in is set aside for the dealers, they’ve likely been working without getting tipped (like at cash games) for their entire shift. To the tournament victors indeed go the spoils, but they carry with them the responsibility of taking care of the tournament staff.

5. They’ve Been Especially Friendly to You Personally

Poker sessions can sometimes be a long grind for both players and dealers. Smiling, engaging you in conversation, and taking a genuine interest in you; a friendly dealer to keep you in positive spirits should be rewarded. Keep in mind that their good mood has likely had a positive impact on your own mood and play, so a good dealer can indirectly help you play your best poker!

6. You’ve Had a Big Losing Session

The money you win is not coming out of the dealer’s pockets so most of them would love to see you win. They know that most players who have a losing session are not going to be inclined to tip them. It’s human nature that when you are losing money at the table you won’t feel too benevolent. A good dealer will try to be friendly and personable so that the players will feel they are having a pleasurable experience even when they lose. Players having fun and enjoying themselves are more likely to leave a tip even after a bad session.

If you’re already stuck big after a losing session and just have a few loose chips “left over”, those few bucks will probably make far more of a difference to the dealer than to you.

7.  You’ve Had a Big Winning Session

If you’re cashing out to leave the table and a few loose chips don’t fit in your rack, the same reasoning applies here as in reason #6. The difference between walking away with $500 as opposed to $504 is negligible, but the $4 is probably close to another full hour of base wages for your dealer.

8. You’ve Been Lucky Enough to Win a Share of a Bad Beat Jackpot

Winning a share of a bad beat jackpot is poker’s version of buying a winning lottery ticket. This kind of money is clearly heaven-sent and not strictly “earned” through your poker play. Players, however, often tend to forget that the “extra person at the table” is just as much a part of this incredible experience as the players themselves. Share some of your good fortune and ensure that the dealers also have an amazing poker story to tell when they get home.

9. They Taught You Something

You can always learn something from a good poker dealer. If a dealer teaches you something about the poker room’s specific rules or about the game itself that happened to save you from making a very big bet, call, or raise, think of the money they saved you and show the dealer that you’re grateful.

10. They Gave You a Tip

Dealers sit at poker tables for longer than all but the most serious grinders. They’ve seen everything and are often quick to pick things up at the table. If they happen to spot a weakness in your game and make you aware of it (whether intentionally or not), think how much money this knowledge will make you and reward their tip with a tip of your own.



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Written By.

Robbie Strazynski

Robbie founded in 2009. A veteran member of the poker media corps, in addition to writing and video presenting, Robbie has hosted multiple poker podcasts over the years, including Top Pair, the Red Chip Poker Podcast, The Orbit, and the CardsChat Podcast. In 2019, Robbie translated the autobiography of Poker Hall of Famer Eli […]



I did not know that dealers can offer tips on your game. Isn’t that illegal?

I think that it would more likely be incidental, and even so more likely to be from a dealer you have seen more frequently.

#9 and #10 are so similar, I don’t see why they’re separate, but there is information beyond a rule book which helps play the game. I fully agree either way, plus its so fun to learn rules/tricks of the trade.

#6 and #7 only appear as crap and seem to cancel each other out because the real point may be lost in there: whether your luck was good or not, the dealers still provided a service to you which often begs for a little something extra, especially if they did their job expertly.

#2 is the one I’d stand behind the most, while #3…I’m not sure I understand, since the article sounds like its free money we’re talking about here. No, you brought your money and risked it. Poker may be a game but its also work. Random chance aside, you do deserve those chips if you’ve put in the effort. If I prepare my own food and clean up afterward, I’d like to think whatever server I had would get considerably less for a tip. Kind of a bad analogy, but hopefully my point is made.

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