Tipping at home games?

upNdown

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In another thread, the issue of tipping at home games came up. Seems like it can use its own discussion.
One guy implied that tipping might be expected in lieu of a rake.
Another guy said he refuses tips.

Those are issues I haven’t considered. The few times I’ve gotten tips, I’ve happily accepted them, but they’re certainly not expected. My games are generally between good friends - I don’t usually tip them when they have me over for burgers, and they don’t usually tip me when I have them over for poker. And it’s not like I have many real expenses for a game - I’ll put out like $10-$15 worth of hot dogs, but otherwise, it’s bring your own.
No tips required or expected, but if you want me to round down your stack to the nearest $5, that’s fine too.

what do you all think?
 

Taghkanic

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Our game has been going for so long (across four venues) that the regs kind of take the hosting for granted.

They may be grateful to the host, but they would never think to tip.

People do bring six packs to share, or leave a few behind, or bring pizza/cookies/snacks, etc., which is as good or better than a tip IMHO.
 

Eloe2000

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It depends on the game setup and social situation. I can’t imagine taking cash from people who I invite into my home ever. My game is among the same weekly regulars for many years. It is a social game. I don’t provide much accept snacks and soft drinks. When we grill everyone kicks in to whoever is stopping by the butcher or brings stuff. When we order food delivery no one lets me pay my share. Last year they got together and bought me a nice new grill. If I was routinely invited over someone else’s house I would find ways of contributing or gifting, but it would not be cash unless that was an established custom.
 
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Rhodeman77

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If the host is not raking/charging anything and hosts regularly I would definitely tip. If they charge a fee/rake something to cover food/drinks then no.

If the same person was regularly hosting dinner parties I wouldn’t show up empty handed either. It is customary to bring wine/beer/booze, dessert or a side dish/appetizer etc. Poker is no different.

If everyone that regularly played all shared in the hosting equally then I would assume each person assumes the cost since they all would do it and would not tip in that case.
 
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TKEUofM

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In the beginning as I was buying supplies I would have some of the regulars "donate" to the general fund for new things. As the years went by the donations dried up.

15+ years into our game, people will bring extra beer or buy me a nice bottle of Bourbon or Rum as a gift for my bar. At this point any new investments are strictly my decision and I don't ask anyone for money. Hosting is my decision and the most valuable part of it is that I can drink as much as I want and not have to worry about driving home. :)
 

upNdown

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I thought tipping was generally for dedicated (non-playing) dealers.
I was referring to end of the night tipping.
I’ve played home games with a dedicated dealer and I’m happy to toss that guy a bucks when I rake a pot.
As far as my game goes, there’s one guy who plays occasionally, who’s been dealing professionally for years. Our game is self dealt, but when he wins a good pot, he’ll tip whomever dealt it. That always seems funny to me.
 

toothpic

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Dedicated dealer, tipping is ok.

For our social home game, it's bring snacks and drinks which are expected to be shared. At the end of the night, every one should also help with a little bit of cleaning before they go. If the host is providing most of the drinks and snacks, I'll gladly chip in at the end of the night in lieu of bringing a bottle of liquor or beer.
 

Chawks45

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I host an unraked social game and provide food, sodas, water and folks are welcome to my leftover beer. It's BYOB if there's a preferred brewski.

I don't expect tips/donations and won't accept it even if peeps try to slide a few bucks at the end of the game.

Bottom line for me is to provide the best environment possible. Anyone coming over to my place knows to sit back and have fun on the house.
 

Senzrock

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We never tip our hosts at home games but do encourage folks to bring whatever they want to drink/eat with them. The exception to this, as others have said, is tipping a dedicated dealer, at that point it is built into the cash game structure. Hosting at the end of the day is a labor or love and generally the thanks is that extra few beers leftover at the end of the night (I personally host frequently so I don't look to go out of my way to provide additional food/drinks for people but I do have it available upon request).
 

JK_Poker

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We have a dedicated dealer, we all tip before the game starts. As for the host we usually chip in money for food or bring something to contribute, easy.
 

Poker Zombie

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  • If I'm traveling to a game as a friend of a friend, I will offer a tip to the host at the end of the night if I finished up. Afterall, if I can finish up, I need to become a welcome addition to the game.
  • If I'm traveling to a game of one of my friends, I won't tip. None of my friends have ever left me with a gratuity, and I wouldn't want to make it awkward.
  • At my home game I don't expect tips, but most of my players bring some sort of food, drink, or shack to share, and we provide a main course. We box up some of that 2 hours into the night to have for lunch/dinner in the following nights. In a way, you could say food is our rake.
  • Meet-ups are a special endeavor. A felted or tilted player may resort to just dealing, in which case I will tip when pulling a big pot. I always look for a way to financially assist the host with a meet-up. Lately, that has been by forwarding the profits from embroidered shirts at meets we attend.
  • We have accepted tips from meet-ups as well. I don't expect them, but PCF'ers are incredible human beings. They have provided support and tips that has absolutely blown my mind.
In short, it's a poker decision. The correct answer is always "It Depends".
 

Chris Manzoni

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No wrong answer for a home game. That's why it's a home game. When I host I leave a jar to help cover snack costs, but it never covers it - and that's fine. Tournament winners typically insist on tipping me, I'm happy to take it, and don't mind at all if they don't tip at all. No wrong answers.

Myself I tip if I cash in a tournament at a home game, or finish up in cash. Not a lot, but I do. I don't spend too much time thinking about it because I know I'm not right or wrong to tip. If I don't get invited back because I tip too little, or zone out and don't tip at all, I don't worry about it.

No one is hosting to make money, or if they are then the game is illegal. Raked games, games where toking is expected - to me those aren't home games. I avoid them. I go to a casino for that..
 

swana

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I have never even considered the giving or receiving of tips as part of the home games I participate in. I think this would be in large part because the majority of players are friends, so tipping would just be weird. Also, the hosts in my circle don't put out an elaborate spread... we typically just focus on the poker. For those that drink it's a BYOB situation for the most part.

Edit: All of our games are self dealt / no rake if that was not clear.
 
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BGinGA

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When I dealt at a local raked home game, I dealt for tips. The house rake was $5 on each player's first $100 buy-in ($100 cash received $95 in chips), which went towards the supplied food (informal dinner), snacks, and drinks (beer and soft drinks).... the cost of which was far in excess of the amount collected. Nobody felt exploited, and everybody was happy. Additional tipping the host and/or dealer at cashout was optional, and about 50% of the players did so.

In our rotating-host dedicated-dealer tournament series meetings (currently in our 17th season), each player pays a $5 dealer charge plus a $10 hospitality charge, on top of the tournament buy-in amounts. The dealer charges go into a dealer pool, which is used to pay dedicated dealers over the course of the tournament season ($15/hr), and any excess is added to the end-of-season Championship tournament prize pool. The hospitality charge goes to the host, who is responsible for supplying snacks and drinks for a 12-hour period, along with a formal sit-down dinner with dessert during intermission between the two scheduled poker events (those players on restricted diets are accommodated). The players see value in both of the 'rake' charges, those providing the services and food/prep feel like their efforts are adequately compensated, and the tournament winners tipping dealers is common.
 

DeeVee8

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I don’t accept them, as a host. I’ve always felt that was similar to taking a rake. People would feel obligated.
 

tabletalker7

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I am the guy the OP mentioned that refuses tips. All my players are my good friends, and they all know if I want their money I am capable of earning it on the poker table.

Now, if they just so happen to have an extra case of beer just laying around or something, you know, I think I can give that a good home. Once the guys realized that anything kinda round will cook on the hot dog roller, they started experimenting with all kinds of stuff. Lots of good food and good beer has been shared in my home.
 

Trihonda

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I've thought on this some.

I will take tips, but they're never expected. Here's my rationale:

I was hosting regularly, and I was the only one in my circle that really hosted all that often. I also love to provide a great experience for my players. Like many here, I've spent many thousands of dollars on tables, cards, chips, chairs, decor, etc.. In addition to my setup, each time I'd host, I'd provide beverages (beer, soda, etc) along with a spread of food and snacks. There are times players also bring snacks and beverages to share. While I never felt it necessary for guests to pay for the costs of my game room, it isn't uncommon for me to outlay $40-50 or more for snacks each time I host. I've experienced periods of hosting where nobody tipped, and that was ok, but dropping $50 per game on snacks became a bit much. I also had times when players wouldn't bring snacks to share... So, I have taken a stance that if people leave tips, I just apply that to the snack fund for the next game. I certainly don't make money on tips, they just go back to the experience of the players.

For the people who use the analogy that they'd never accept tips from friends coming over for a party or a BBQ, I understand, and neither would I. BUT, if I was hosting a regular party or BBQ venue, and it cost me $50 per week to host, and nobody else hosted, then if people threw me some cash afterwards, I wouldn't find that tacky.
 

Schmendr1ck

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When I host, I always put out plenty of snacks, soft drinks, and I open my beer fridge and bar to my players. Players bring snacks occasionally, and some always bring beer or whiskey for themselves and the group.

I don't expect tips and have never asked for them, and some players never tip. Others will round down their cashouts a few bucks to tip me when they have a winning night, and I always accept and thank them.

It's not the money - I spend at least $50 each time I host a one-table cash game, and I rarely get more than $10 in tips if any at all. For me, it's a gesture of appreciation from my players, and I would feel rude to refuse it.
 

PlaidDragon

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I don't require tips of any type when hosting. Most of my guests bring food and/or drink on their own volition which is enough for me.

When travelling to another locale, I'll show up with a case of beer every time.
 

MrCatPants

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I think opinions on this will differ too depending on a few factors:

- Frequency of hosting. If I was hosting a few times a year, I would totally be in "this is my friends, I'm being a gracious host, etc." If I was hosting once a week and blitzing through $50-$100 in snacks, drinks, etc. every week....yeah, that adds up. I'm twice a month so it depends on my mood how I am feeling about it, but regardless of how I am feeling I don't require any tips/pitching in etc.
- Generosity of players. Some have players who find ways to bring 'stuff' to help, do bigger or combined appreciation gifts from time to time. Others have friends who are all 'takers'.
- Success in the game. Hosts who are generally up vs. hosts who are generally down from poker alone. Former group feels a sense of 'give back' as they are making money on the whole from their friends anyway.

That said, I think tossing a few bucks to the host/bringing shared drinks or snacks/bringing a gift for the host/winners offering to round down a cashout are all positive behaviors (that I do personally when I play in someone else's game) but shouldn't ever really be required.

My personal game I host is about 1/3 these types of people, and 2/3rds takers - as mentioned above I don't require or even suggested 'giving' (other than telling people drinks are BYOB), but do sometimes get frustrated with people who raid my snacks, damage a card set up, ask to try a nice bourbon, and then take pause when I round down their cash out by .25 because I don't keep quarters ready on hand in my bank (yes, this literally happened.)
 

ekricket

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If you have a dedicated dealer that plays too, and you tip them - should they put it into their playable stack or pocket it?
 

swana

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For unraked self dealt games sounds like those that do take money are typically hosting much more frequently than those they play with AND are providing more of a "lavish" experience by providing food and drink... so that makes sense. But I'm not sure I would call the money provided a "tip"... Tips are for service providers, not friends / acquaintances hosting a poker game.
 

MrCatPants

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If you have a dedicated dealer that plays too, and you tip them - should they put it into their playable stack or pocket it?
I'd say pocket. But ideally people would save this until the end to avoid and confusion.

I play in a game where they take care of the dealer by giving them the odd chip of split pot splits (it's all split pot games in this game so it's a $1 occurance every couple of hands).
 

upNdown

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If you have a dedicated dealer that plays too, and you tip them - should they put it into their playable stack or pocket it?
I’d say pocket too.
But that’s not quite a dedicated dealer, in my mind. The whole reason I’ll tiip a dedicated dealer is because of the value they’re adding to the game - speeding things up and running things efficiently. If the guy is playing, he can’t be adding as much value.
 

JeepologyOffroad

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I host an unraked social game and provide food, sodas, water and folks are welcome to my leftover beer. It's BYOB if there's a preferred brewski.

I don't expect tips/donations and won't accept it even if peeps try to slide a few bucks at the end of the game.

Bottom line for me is to provide the best environment possible. Anyone coming over to my place knows to sit back and have fun on the house.
This.

Although one of my players INSISTS on tipping at the end of the night. Doesn’t matter how much I decline it he will find a place to leave it if I don’t take it. He hosts a regular game himself so I think he just “gets it.”
 

trigs

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When I cash out at the end of the night (if I still have any chips left that is), I'll usually just round down and let the host keep the rest if it's not a raked game. If it's raked, I most likely will not tip at the end of the night (most home games I used to go to before covid were not raked).

When I host, most people will round down and leave me a few bucks, but not everyone. I don't ask nor do I expect it to happen, but I'm not going to refuse it. When I hosted before covid, I would provide some drinks and food (water, beer, hotdogs and random snacks for example). I haven't hosted since but I think I may try to start up again soon.
 

JustinInMN

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Tipping the house is part of the culture on my group. I don't think anyone feels obliged to (I would never withhold an invite over this, for example), but I always leave a few bucks for the house wherever I play and I surely appreciate when others do the same for me.

At a dinner party it would be rude show up without brining something to the party (or at least offering).

Poker is a little different, but you should tip hosts that put effort into the game. Hosts buy cards, chairs, tables, organize the communication, it's time and money they take on so no one else has to.

Playing in a casino is probably $15-20/hr per player in rake. Giving the host a fiver for a whole night goes a long way to keeping the host interested in keeping the game going, supplying players, cards, and maintaining the bank (which was the discussion in the other thread) which has some risk.

All of this is work that players that don't host never do, and if they are smart, they appreciate it.
 
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Windwalker

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Whenever I host a PCF game, I always have a dedicated dealer, food, drink and splash pot prizes. My dedicated dealer is paid out by me, and the guests are never asked to tip.

I have noticed that some players, if they had a wining night, throw a little money into the kitty to pay the dealer, and I just add that to the agreed upon fixed amount that the dealer was promised. I’ve never kept any tipped money for the house, it’s always gone to the dedicated dealer.
 
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