Tip the Dealers
Someone recently told me that they do not tip dealers. When asking the player why, he told me that it cut too much into his profit. He then proceeded to tell me about how that at the stakes he played at, paying $1 a pot was costing him about 15 to 30 bucks a day.
My first thought was "Wow, you are winning 15 to 30 pots a day?" Then I had the prescience of mind to ask what stakes he played. "$2-$4 Holdem." I literally shook my head and walked away.
I play $2-$4 Holdem, but that is not why I walked away. The guy was fussing about tipping at low limit poker. I'm sorry but, in my opinion, we should give the dealer a tip if they have shipped up a pot. Of course, that is within reason. If you won a pot that netted you $2, then ya, you don't need to tip. However, if you just took down a $20+ pot, give the dealer a buck.
What many players do not realize is that many dealers make at or below minimum wage. The argument by many players is, "Ya, but they get tips." They get tips, but only for downs that they deal for cash games. For tournaments, they get nothing at all. They might get a piece of the toke from the casino on their check, but that usually doesn't adequately compensate.
Let's take a look at a potential scenario for a dealer. Let's say that the dealer makes $4 an hour and works an 8 hour shift. Most downs are 30 minutes. (Also, in some casino's the dealers only get paid if they are dealing downs. If they don't have a table to sit at, they get nothing for that 30 minutes or longer.)
Let's look at a potential dealer day.
8 a.m. - $2-$4 Holdem
8:30 - 9 $2-$4 Holdem
9 - 9:30 Sitting in the box for a $1 - $5 Stud table that eventually doesn't go.
9:30 - 10:00 $5-$10 Holdem
10 - 12 Dealing in the 10 am tournament
12 - 1 Lunch (unpaid)
1p.m. - 1:30 p.m $2-$4 Holdem
1:30 - 2 p.m. $2-$4 Omaha Hi-Lo
2p.m - 2:30 pm Sit in the box for a $5 - $10 stud that has 3 players show up and they decide to not play.
2:30 - 3 p.m. $5-$10 Omaha Hi Lo
3:00 - 3:30 p.m. $1 - $2 NL Holdem
3:30 - 4:00 p.m. $1 - $2 NL Holdem
4 p.m. - 5 p.m 4 pm tournament
So, how much did the dealer work in order to get tips. The dealer lost 3 hours to tournaments and 1 hour to games that never started. They also dealt two down of non-Holdem games which get fewer hands. Essentially, the dealer has three to three and 1/2 hours to make up the difference between their base pay and a decent living wage.
Let's say that the dealer gets in 15 hands in per down (and that's being generous). That's 7 downs at 15 hands. That's 105 hands. At $1 per hand, the dealer makes $105 in tips. That's about $13 an hour. However, we know that the dealer didn't make $1 per hand on average. Many low stakes stud games and even Holdem will tip .50. Lets say that for 30 hands, they get 50 cents. That's $15 for that batch. On the rest of the hands, lets say that 20 hands did not make the player any money, or were chopped. No tip. That leaves 50 hands. So, for the day, the dealer made $65 in tips. That's 8 bucks an hour in tips. After tips, that effectively has the dealer earning $13 an hour, and that's assuming the house don't get a cut of the tips.
Tips are very important to the dealer's livelyhood. So throw a buck their way. If a buck is going to make or break your profit margin, take up another game.