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Understanding Tipping in American Casinos

If you are not a regular casino visitor, then it is likely that you are aware you have to tip, but you may not be clear on exactly who and when. Tipping is not only a nice thing to do (most casino floor workers are not on very large salaries), but it can also be used strategically to help you get better service and a few extra comps.

If tipping in casinos is something you are worried about then you have arrived in the right place. We will explain the different scenarios you should be tipping in and why.

Tipping Upon Arrival

If you have driven to a casino then it is definitely worth taking advantage of the valet runners. They are fast and can save you lots of walking. You don’t have to tip a large amount, a couple of dollars upon arrival and a few more when you leave, and it can be really worthwhile, especially if it is cold and wet outside.

Similarly, if you are staying at a casino’s hotel, then tipping the bellmen is also a good idea. You can tip them just a few dollars for a bag or between $10 and $20 for an entire luggage cart, and it is sure to get your stay off to the best possible start.

Tipping Advice for Slots Players

If you are at the casino to play slots then the good news is that tipping is relatively straightforward. There are attendants near the machines and if something goes wrong, they are the ones who will help. It is definitely worth tipping them a couple of dollars in case the machine goes wrong again and you want fast service.

In most US states, a payout of more than $1,200 is paid in person by a slot floor person. In this instance, you should be tipping at least $20 and this increases by between 3% to 10% depending on the player.

Similarly, if you ask an attendant to hold a machine for you while you go to the toilet, then you should tip based upon how long you were gone. It doesn’t have to be much, but it is respectful. If you think you will be gone for more than ten minutes then it is worth requesting that they switch the machine off instead.

Tipping Advice for Table Games

Tipping at table games is far more complicated. Casinos pay their dealers a very small amount and expect customers to make up the rest through tips. However, once money is placed in a tip bucket, it becomes money that the casino can’t win, so they will sometimes make things more difficult.

Ultimately, how much you tip your dealer should depend on how much fun you are having. A dealer is there to entertain you and ensure that you are having a good time. You are not really tipping for their service but more for their entertainment value.

Of course, if you hit a big win at a table then you should certainly show gratitude to the dealer, but even if you don’t win, a dealer should ensure that you are smiling and deserves recognition for this.

Tipping Advice for Blackjack Players

When playing blackjack, you can tip the dealer by handing him/her chips or by placing a bet in front of yours. Most players will choose to make a bet for the dealer as they feel it will bring the dealer round to their side.

If you are playing on a low stakes table then tipping a few dollars after a blackjack or after a winning streak is appropriate. If you are on a higher stakes table, $25 and above, then tipping with $5 chips is more appropriate. You should also tip between 3% and 10% if you win a side bet.

Tipping Advice for Roulette Players

When playing roulette, the bet for the dealer can be offset on top of the chips you bet, to let the dealer know it is for them. Alternatively, you can simply hand them chips, tell them which number you wish to bet, and that the bet is for them.

Another common form of tipping at roulette tables is to hand in chips before leaving the table, around 5%. However, the size of your tip may also depend on how hard you make the dealer work. If you are simply placing outside bets and placing the chips yourself, then you will not need to tip as much. However, if you are asking the dealer to place several bets for you on every spin, or you are stacking up chips on the betting area, then more frequent tips are appropriate.

Tipping Advice for Craps Players

Most crap players will simply hand the dealer some chips when they are done playing as it doesn’t disrupt the game. However, others prefer to keep the dealers in action as a form of good luck.

Therefore, you may hear phrases such as “$5 for me and $1 for the dealers” on the come out roll. If the 11 then rolls, the dealer would win $15 (and the player $75).

It is also common to hear players say, “I’m in control” in reference to a deal bet. For example, if the player said, “dollar for the dealer, I’m in control”, then the player would decide what to do with a winning bet.

If you are new to craps, you are likely to be using all of your energy making sure you remember the rules, so it is best to find a slower paced table with fewer players. Tell the dealer that you are learning and you can also ask about tipping.

Tipping Advice for Baccarat Players

Baccarat players will often tip when they colour up, which is when low value chips are exchanged for higher value chips. Some players will also bet for the dealer on some hands by placing a chip in front of their own bet. Like blackjack, many baccarat games now offer side bets, and when one is won, a tip of between 3% and 5% is normal.

Tipping Advice for Other Table Games

You will come across plenty of other games on the casino floor, Casino Poker games such as Mississippi Stud, Three Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em and Pai Gow Power. These games pose a problem for casinos in the US as they offer a taxable jackpot.

The casinos are not willing to fill out tax forms for the many dealers who would split a jackpot so more often than not, betting for the dealer on a single hand is not allowed. Rather, you can give the dealer a tip when you leave the table. The rules will vary from casino to casino, but there is always a way to make it work.

Tipping the Wait Staff

At many casinos, there will be a small army of waiters and waitresses bringing you drinks. However, they are usually paid extremely poorly and rely on tips to make up their salary. Whether you are playing in a casino with free drinks or in a casino where you have to pay for drinks, you should be tipping the wait staff for every drink brought to you. As an added bonus, the more you tip, the better the service will become.

Other Places to Tip

There are a few more places in a casino where you may be expected to tip. For example, if you are going to cash out a really big win at a casino cage then a tip should be considered. Many casinos have restaurants onsite and if you dine out, you should tip as you would at any other restaurant. Those who then take a taxi home should also tip the driver.

American casinos are almost unique in the number of tips you can be expected to give over the course of an evening. In the UK, tipping in casinos was illegal until recently and throughout Europe it is still fairly rare. However, you should view your tips at an American casino as part of the expense of going, and if you are generous, you can be sure that the casino staff will show their appreciation.


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