Home game tipping (1 Viewer)

Taghkanic

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In an unraked home (cash) game, where the dealer draws no salary, do you tip more than in a casino?

I do.

But in the games I host and play in, it seems many players don’t adjust their tipping rates to reflect that the dealer is working *only* for tips.

The result is that usually 3-4 players are carrying way more of their share of the dealer’s keep, with the other 5-6 chintzing out—getting a giant discount on the luxury of having a dealer.
 
Example:

I play pretty regularly in a 2/5 game with a guy who is spectacularly wealthy. Hedge funder, philanthropist. Not just rich. Well into the top 10% of the 1%.

This guy often forgets to tip, and never tips more than $1. I know that he plays in casinos wherever his business travel takes him, and my guess is that he tips $1 per hand there. But those dealers are salaried.

So in a recent home game, he scooped a nice $650 pot. I then saw him hand the dealer a $2 chip… and ask him to break it, for a $1 tip on $650.

It seemed really disrespectful, to my eyes.

If I won that pot, I’d tip at least $5. Maybe as much as $10. But maybe that’s too much?
 
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… My general feeling is that one should also tip something for smaller pots, because they often involve just as much work as the big ones.

If it’s a walk, or a blind-vs-blind that ends on the flop, maybe that goes untipped, since the hand was quick and even $1 would be a huge percentage of the pot.

Thinking about it, I’d say this is my rough scale in a 2/5 game:

Pot Size … Tip
————————
$20+ … $1
$50+ … $2
$100+ … $3
$400+ … $4

+$1 for every hundred after that. So a $1K pot might be a $10 tip or more.

There might be some variation. If a modest pot contains one $2 chip, I’m tossing that to the dealer rather than asking for change.
 
Again, this is in unraked games where the dealer works solely for tips.

I appreciate the hard and skilled work dealing requires, and want these games to retain dealers.

I play in one such game which lost its dealer because two older players said they didn’t want to have to tip. These are well-bankrolled guys who play higher stakes at casinos and get raked to hell there, so IDGI.

Now we get far fewer hands in per game, and have a lot of bad pitches/spoiled hands because players suck at dealing, especially from awkward seats.
 
I generally tip $1 per hand no matter what. If it’s a rather large pot I’ll go $2.

The dealer isn’t getting a base salary, but also isn’t paying any taxes on the tips either.
 
I generally tip $1 per hand no matter what. If it’s a rather large pot I’ll go $2.

The dealer isn’t getting a base salary, but also isn’t paying any taxes on the tips either.

Huh. In the 2/5 home games I play in, most dealers wouldn’t stick if they only got $1 per hand.

Not paying taxes only adds a modest percentage to their take, unless they are in some high income bracket (in which case they probably would be playing, not dealing, right?).
 
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Say the dealer gets in 250 hands a night and the average tip is $1.25. That’s ~$310 in untaxed income.

If they are in a 22% tax bracket, their savings is less than $70 by not reporting.

So now they’re averaging $1.50 per hand instead of $1.25. Doesn’t seem like much of a bump.
 
I know tipping cultures differ vastly in the US vs over here, but if the concern is that every player isn’t contributing their fair share, why not pay a fixed hourly that every player pay an equal amount towards?

Yes you might lose money in the game AND ”lose” money to the dealer but win or lose you’re still being provided a service.
 
I know tipping cultures differ vastly in the US vs over here, but if the concern is that every player isn’t contributing their fair share, why not pay a fixed hourly that every player pay an equal amount towards?

Yes you might lose money in the game AND ”lose” money to the dealer but win or lose you’re still being provided a service.

Interesting thought, didn’t occur to me. Not sure the best way to collect hourly without it becoming more of an issue. Maybe a bomb pot where some portion is the fee?

You might also run into players timing their cashouts rather than staying another 20-30 minutes to avoid the hourly.

Note: There are some players in these games who tip lightly during play but “take care of” the dealer at cashout. However, if they bust out sometimes this gets forgotten.
 
Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about but I would rather have players pony up a set amount per person for the dealer at the start of the night, or when they buy in, than have 500 to 1000 bucks come off the table in tips. This way the dealer can count on that amount and people can tip if they want. Seems like a win win.
 
Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about but I would rather have players pony up a set amount per person for the dealer at the start of the night, or when they buy in, than have 500 to 1000 bucks come off the table in tips. This way the dealer can count on that amount and people can tip if they want. Seems like a win win.
that’s what I would do as well.
 
Pay the dealers hourly, but collect it per session divided equally across all players. If players decide to play less than max session hours, that's on them (and doesn't short the dealer or house).
 
I have experimented with a flat fee vs players tipping on their own, and both the dealer and players preferred tipping.

I believe @Hornet uses a mix with a small fee collected at first buy in that goes towards the dealer and then the players can tip in addition. The game is on a week night and goes for a set amount of time they are paying the dealer for.

Also @Taghkanic you being in NY is a much different cost of living than Cleveland OH. A person making $300+ (tax free) in a night dealing cards is a very good payday.
 
I would rather have players pony up a set amount per person for the dealer at the start of the night, or when they buy in, than have 500 to 1000 bucks come off the table in tips.

The problem I would foresee with that suggestion is the strange pennywise/pound foolish mentality of a lot of players.

There are guys who will happily tip $60-$100 slowly over the course of a long night, but who would protest a $30 upfront dealer fee. Makes no sense, but I 100% would expect that.

Also, I know that the cheapest players would not tip another dollar over the initial fee, feeling they’d already contributed—even on massive pots. Whereas the generous players would continue to add a little more when they won big pots. So that would just re-create the problem in a different form.

Meanwhile, I don’t think $500 coming off the table in a game where there is $12-15,000 in play is too much... A casino could capture 2-3 times that in rake, promotions and tips.

(I read a while back that in raked games, whether live or online, a good deal less than 10% of players are longterm winners. In unraked games, it’s more like 30%.)

Lastly, there are good dealers and there are not so good ones. It’s skilled, difficult and sometimes exasperating work, requiring patience, diplomacy and constant attention. So you might be able to find someone to drive to a job that goes from 6 pm to 4 am for $300, but they probably aren’t going to be very good, or probably aren’t going to last.

I also think dealers need to get enough not to become resentful of the money flowing through them, and not get tempted to palm chips etc.
 
I prefer the flat rate, as well.

I’ve noticed some dealers will frisbee the cards out to “new” players to the extent that I can see the cards (my cards) before they land. Since I was paranoid about it I watched how they dealt to the regs…flat on the table. So, I had to say something. “Hey, nice toss…please keep the cards lower.”

Like I said, I’m paranoid…but…if a dealer gets no tips from one player and is tipped well by another, then the dealer could (theoretically) fuck with the non-tipper.

Maybe I’m paranoid.
 
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For clarity, does the host make it known the dealer is working for tips alone?

The only time we had a professional dealer, we agreed on a floor for payment. I had one guy tip $5. The rest? Nada. Only one of my guys plays in casinos, and I didn’t do a good job conveying the objective to the group. In the end, I was happy to carry the group for a night (they still talk about how awesome it was), but it was an easy move to get a shuffletech after that.

In your case, assuming everyone understands, it sounds like some people are being cheap and have watched Reservoir Dogs too many times. It might require a base cost at buy in to help float the cost, or maybe a suggested tipping scale posted somewhere in the hopes of guilting some into tipping at least a little more and hoping it’s the ones who aren’t currently pulling their weight
 
The unorthodox hours should yield more than $300/night imho.

But timed tip is great. $20-$25/hour sounds right, $3-$4 a player every hour. And if you win a big pot it’s not unusual to tip again.

This is exactly what bigger casino cash games do during the bomb pot dealer change. Same time they pull the timed rake.

Example $20 bomb pot, 9 players
$180 gathered
$7 per person to timed rake
$3 per person to dealer tip
$90 removed

Now the bomb pot starts at $90.

This way the winner continues to paying for the tips, which is what I prefer as well.
 
The unorthodox hours should yield more than $300/night imho.

But timed tip is great. $20-$25/hour sounds right, $3-$4 a player every hour. And if you win a big pot it’s not unusual to tip again.

This is exactly what bigger casino cash games do during the bomb pot dealer change. Same time they pull the timed rake.

Example $20 bomb pot, 9 players
$180 gathered
$7 per person to timed rake
$3 per person to dealer tip
$90 removed

Now the bomb pot starts at $90.

This way the winner continues to paying for the tips, which is what I prefer as well.
And winner pays for timed rake, also I think a benefit.
 
The unorthodox hours should yield more than $300/night imho.

But timed tip is great. $20-$25/hour sounds right, $3-$4 a player every hour. And if you win a big pot it’s not unusual to tip again.

This is exactly what bigger casino cash games do during the bomb pot dealer change. Same time they pull the timed rake.

Example $20 bomb pot, 9 players
$180 gathered
$7 per person to timed rake
$3 per person to dealer tip
$90 removed

Now the bomb pot starts at $90.

This way the winner continues to paying for the tips, which is what I prefer as well.
When I hosted games regularly ~$25 USD per hour was about right, plus a timed bomb pot with around the same structure you mentioned. Everyone is happy
 
Another option is a rake per hand (based on pot size) that the house pays to the dealer.
 
Is this a home game or an underground game?

Home game = friends.
Underground = strangers, though many may be regulars.

If the answer is home, then the door is wide open to mock and tease the player that doesn't tip. I for one, would understand being down 3 buy-ins, and finally winning a monster and not tipping because the player may be still on tilt (and down 2 buy-ins), so he would not get the cheapass teasing I would deliver to the guy that asked for change while up a couple buy-ins.

That said, I'd rather the dealer fee be taken as a percentage of the cash outs. That way winning players pay more than losing players, felted players pay nothing, and the dealer can earn a relatively predictable amount.
 
Is this a home game or an underground game?

Home game = friends.
Underground = strangers, though many may be regulars.

If the answer is home, then the door is wide open to mock and tease the player that doesn't tip. I for one, would understand being down 3 buy-ins, and finally winning a monster and not tipping because the player may be still on tilt (and down 2 buy-ins), so he would not get the cheapass teasing I would deliver to the guy that asked for change while up a couple buy-ins.

That said, I'd rather the dealer fee be taken as a percentage of the cash outs. That way winning players pay more than losing players, felted players pay nothing, and the dealer can earn a relatively predictable amount.

The unraked but dealt games I am referring to (mine and one other) are home games where most regs are good friends who have played together for 10-15 years.

However, the bad tippers (who are common to both games) are almost all newer additions.

These newer regs have “only” been part of the group 1-2 years. One of them was called out for it after forgetting to tip on two successive huge pots, and he did change his ways, but he was the type who could handle criticism.

The worst offender has never really become one of the guys. He’s hugely successful, but kind of clueless about personal relations. Very much accustomed to people doing things for him.

(For example, at my last game he spent half the night quizzing a contractor at the table for free advice on a home improvement problem, not picking up on any obvious cues that the contractor was there to relax and not think about roof leaks or rotted siding for a few hours…)

But as a whale/donator to the game there is hesitancy to call him out the same way longtimers get razzed instantly for the smallest mistake.

Normally the guy who brought him to our two games would be on the hook for alerting him to what’s expected, but I don’t think the sponsor would be comfortable or particularly suited to take on that task.

I know, too much info. But this is the stuff hosts have to navigate.

For my own game, I think I am going to address it first by attaching a friendly notice to the next invite more gently reminding players that decent tips are essential if we want to keep enjoying the comforts of a great dealer. (I could never replace him.)

I may also give them a sense of what my own tipping is like as an example, while not compelling anyone to do anything in particular.

The initial goal would be to avoid embarrassing anyone publicly or making them feel singled out.

But if that hint doesn’t lead to some improvement, then I’ll have to take it up at the table and/or in direct conversations.
 
Just pay an agreed flat fee with every player contributing evenly at start of session. Dealer gets a fair amount, players are pulling their fair share.
 
The unraked but dealt games I am referring to (mine and one other) are home games where most regs are good friends who have played together for 10-15 years.

However, the bad tippers (who are common to both games) are almost all newer additions.

These newer regs have “only” been part of the group 1-2 years. One of them was called out for it after forgetting to tip on two successive huge pots, and he did change his ways, but he was the type who could handle criticism.

The worst offender has never really become one of the guys. He’s hugely successful, but kind of clueless about personal relations. Very much accustomed to people doing things for him.

(For example, at my last game he spent half the night quizzing a contractor at the table for free advice on a home improvement problem, not picking up on any obvious cues that the contractor was there to relax and not think about roof leaks or rotted siding for a few hours…)

But as a whale/donator to the game there is hesitancy to call him out the same way longtimers get razzed instantly for the smallest mistake.

Normally the guy who brought him to our two games would be on the hook for alerting him to what’s expected, but I don’t think the sponsor would be comfortable or particularly suited to take on that task.

I know, too much info. But this is the stuff hosts have to navigate.

For my own game, I think I am going to address it first by attaching a friendly notice to the next invite more gently reminding players that decent tips are essential if we want to keep enjoying the comforts of a great dealer. (I could never replace him.)

I may also give them a sense of what my own tipping is like as an example, while not compelling anyone to do anything in particular.

The initial goal would be to avoid embarrassing anyone publicly or making them feel singled out.

But if that hint doesn’t lead to some improvement, then I’ll have to take it up at the table and/or in direct conversations.
The benefit of having a regular newsletter. All I need to do is throw in a column about something that needs fixing (rabbit hunting, proper order of showdown, etc.) and (nearly) everyone reads it. Nobody is "called out" or embarrassed, and it gives me eyes at every table correcting the mistakes. A player that is socially numb may not even understand that they are undertipping.

At the same time, if said player is a whale/donor, I'd let him tip as shitty as he likes. The "Don't tap the glass" rule applies here.
 
Removing money from the table to tip the dealer = collective way of going south? I'd rather pay a fee of sorts (either pre or post play) instead of tipping from each hand to be honest.
 
So what's a reasonable "commission"? Does it depend on how much is on the table at the end of the night (calculated at cashout) or taken off at every buy-in and reload? Or maybe even some combo of the 2?
 
The unraked but dealt games I am referring to (mine and one other) are home games where most regs are good friends who have played together for 10-15 years.

However, the bad tippers (who are common to both games) are almost all newer additions.

These newer regs have “only” been part of the group 1-2 years. One of them was called out for it after forgetting to tip on two successive huge pots, and he did change his ways, but he was the type who could handle criticism.

The worst offender has never really become one of the guys. He’s hugely successful, but kind of clueless about personal relations. Very much accustomed to people doing things for him.

(For example, at my last game he spent half the night quizzing a contractor at the table for free advice on a home improvement problem, not picking up on any obvious cues that the contractor was there to relax and not think about roof leaks or rotted siding for a few hours…)

But as a whale/donator to the game there is hesitancy to call him out the same way longtimers get razzed instantly for the smallest mistake.

Normally the guy who brought him to our two games would be on the hook for alerting him to what’s expected, but I don’t think the sponsor would be comfortable or particularly suited to take on that task.

I know, too much info. But this is the stuff hosts have to navigate.

For my own game, I think I am going to address it first by attaching a friendly notice to the next invite more gently reminding players that decent tips are essential if we want to keep enjoying the comforts of a great dealer. (I could never replace him.)

I may also give them a sense of what my own tipping is like as an example, while not compelling anyone to do anything in particular.

The initial goal would be to avoid embarrassing anyone publicly or making them feel singled out.

But if that hint doesn’t lead to some improvement, then I’ll have to take it up at the table and/or in direct conversations.
I think my solution nailed it tbh…
 

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