Let me make this short and sweet: if you know what’s good for you, then tip your dealers.

Here are my thoughts on tipping, with no regards to Karma…


I’m a utilitarian person in real life.

I believe in practicality and usefulness. I tend not to trust people who repeatedly tell me that they’re trustworthy and swear up and down that they’re trustworthy because of honor or divine righteousness.

For example, I’m a kind person, not because I believe in Karma or because I fear an anomalous cosmic force; rather, I’m kind because being kind to others is the best way to attract other kind people into my life. Being surrounded by kind people makes my life easier, more enjoyable, and less stressful. This means that I’ll live longer, which then means that I get to play more craps in my lifetime.

Oh, what’s the one trait that most women find attractive in a partner? Kindness.

Even if you aren’t a kind person, you can train yourself to be kind, but that’s another topic for another website.

What I am getting at this is: I tip not because it’s ‘the right thing to do’ or because it brings good or bad Karma; rather, I tip because there are legitimately good utilitarian reasons to tip.

Besides, doing something only because it’s right or wrong leaves too much room for judgment and deviation.

God wanted me to have a private jet…

In the spirit of utility, here is why I tip and take care of my dealers.

Walk In Another’s Shoes

Before we can understand why we should tip dealers, it’s important to understand the skill required to be a proficient dealer. Do this exercise, so that you can walk in their shoes…

Next time you are at a casino, take about 40 chips – two stacks – up to your room. On the table in your hotel room, layout four stacks of chips with each stack having five chips. Let’s call each stack ‘player stacks’.

Stand up, but face the four stacks.  It should look like you are dealing blackjack to four players.

Then take the remaining 20 chips and keep them in a single stack in front of you, like how the craps dealers have a stack of chips in front of them.

Let’s pretend the four-player stacks are winning pass line bets.

Now…pronto…pay each of the player stacks using your single stack of 20 chips.

Unless you’re an experienced professional, you are not going to have the snappiness, precision, and speed of an experienced dealer. Look at how dealers handle chips and how they pay, take, and calculate. There’s a sharp military-like precision to the whole process. That’s a skill and trait acquired after years of experience.

Have a friend film you doing it. Now compare yourself to one of the experienced dealers in my videos.

Let’s add odds to each player stack. Combine the four-player stacks onto two stacks. One player stack has two chips and 4x odds, while the other player stack has 3 chips and 2x odds.

Now…pronto…pay both player stacks as if the point was a winner 9.

You’re probably going to make the calculations in your head and then move to pay. That’s unacceptable unless you want to be the slowest dealer on the table. You have to grab your stack of chips and make the calculation as you’re moving towards the chips and handling the player stacks. It’s all one motion.

Even if you already know that you’ll fumble the chips or look slow and clumsy, do the exercise that I described. Once you walk in another person’s shoes, it easier to see their perspective. It’s also easier to be kind when you have experienced a little bit of what they do. You will understand that proficient dealing is a monumentally difficult exercise in multitasking.

Oh, finally, for part 3 of the exercise, have someone scream and curse at you while you’re trying to pay. That’ll make it super real, no joke.

Tipping to Retain Talent

Did you see the Resorts video where the dealers made all those mistakes?

Let’s recount some of the horrendous dealer mistakes: marking the wrong point (no joke, watch the video here), not making correct change, not making the correct payment, and calling no bets. Those are just some of the mistakes made by these dealers.

John Koryto is a dealer in Atlantic City, and he points out why the dealers at Resorts are so horrendous:

Resorts has one of the lowest toke rates in AC, which results in having fewer highly experienced dealers.

It’s a simple concept that good labor does not come cheap. Anyone who is skilled at their work deserves to get paid, and if they aren’t paid fairly, they’ll go do something else. If all the good craps dealers leave, then we are stuck with inexperienced craps and table game dealers who move like molasses and make mistakes.

Oh, if you want to see a slow and inexperienced dealer, go back and watch part 1 of my Boomtown video. Watch the dealer in the early part of the video. That was literally his first day on the job.

I don’t point him out to knock him down. Actually, in a few years, after he deals enough hands and has seen enough rolls, he’ll be quite speedy and efficient.

However, if during his process of becoming proficient, he doesn’t earn enough money, he’s going to switch professions. If that happens, we’ll go back to having an inexperienced dealer who slows down the game and makes all sorts of mistakes.

Like all skilled craftsmen and women, if we want good dealers, we have to pay to retain them, otherwise, they’ll go do something else.

Humans are Social Creatures Who will Follow Each Other’s Example

So you’re thinking, ‘RoadGambler is pretty much right, but I’ll let the other players tip.’

Let’s continue to set aside any arguments of right or wrong and explore another practical implication.

The problem with this train of thought is that humans are social creatures (NIH Study) and will typically follow the example or allowances set by their fellow humans.

There’s a large body of science that studies the group behavior of humans.

The Science of Why People Follow the Crowd

The Science of Why People Follow the Mob and Riot

The Bandwagon Effect and Why People Follow the Crowd

It’s a fact: When a player doesn’t tip, they will empower and set the example for others to follow. Sometimes, the crowd will follow not because of spite or malice, but because of example. You will be the unintentional leader of a gang of non-tippers who will drive out the best talent that’s qualified to deal my two favorite games in the casino.

Players who do not tip are destroyers, and that’s the opposite of being a purpose-driven constructive utilitarian who builds things.


I’ve always been hesitant to discuss tipping because it’s such a volatile subject. In my videos, I prefer not to show tipping because it opens up a discussion that can lead to nonconstructive vitriol.

There are some players who see tipping as a sign of weakness; while on the other end of the spectrum, there are those who think no tip is ever good enough.

People attribute way too many character traits to a person’s tipping habit.

People who overtip aren’t morally superior to those who undertip or don’t tip at all. I knew a person who overtipped on everything because she craved the attention and praise that came from tipping 100% on her final bill, while her children didn’t have enough money for school clothes and infant formula. I bought boxes of diapers for this person when her baby was two months old and her credit card was maxed.

I’m not going to judge anyone for not tipping. That’s really none of my business what someone chooses to do with their money, so long as the gratuity is optional. At the end of it all, tipping remains an implicit understanding that isn’t bound by law or contract.

I just want players to know that there is a real world utilitarian cost to not tipping your dealers.

At the end of it all, the cost of not tipping may be greater than the money saved in terms of efficiency, proficiency, accuracy, and time, especially if you consider that these mistake prone dealers may become the norm if we don’t adequately compensate these skilled craftsmen and women.

That’s my perspective, and what you chose to do with my perspective is your prerogative.

If the dealers get too bad, there’s always bubble craps, ya know.

Posted in: Casino, Gambling

0 thoughts on “Screw the Karma…RoadGambler Thoughts on Why Tipping Dealers is Smart

  • I tip on every single roll. At least $1 on the point for the dealers. Even if I’m down to my last dollar. I do it not to be condescending, rather that each one of those bets don’t win. I also think of dealers the same as waiters, chances are by the time my session is said and done – I would have bet at least 15% of my bankroll for them (in my case, typically $300 to start). That’s just me, I don’t expect everyone to do it that way – but that’s how I like to do it for them.

  • I believe you should always tip good service. They work a lot hard than I do and make a lot less. Even if they are new and slow because they will get better.

  • I’ve been swapping between betting 6/8 on my last roll of the session vs. just outright giving them a tip at color. I also have tipped to start the session to show that I appreciate the service they will give me for the session. That’s a bit harder as I don’t always throw great at the beginning and I feel taking a simple $12 tip and turning it into $40+ tip is a good way to go.

    • RoadGambler says:

      You do great work, John. Keep up the fight for AC. I hope they convert the existing airport into an international airport one day. In the long run, that might be good for AC.

  • Thomas Stillwaggon says:

    Another great read agree with all the above. I feel that tipping just makes for a better game over all and a better atmosphere. It also has its advantages a tipped dealer may make reminders about missing odds on a come bet, call over drink service, etc. little things but important none the less. Plus I genuinely feel it’s just the right thing to do

  • Lawrence Roth says:

    While I enjoyed the article, did you address tipping on a bet the house doesn’t know is 2 way bet versus one that they know? I believe you mentioned in video 3 the house doesn’t like the latter.
    On a restaurant there is a known typical percentage tip. However, dealers are like barbers. I tipped mine $3 on a $14 cut for years until one day I saw the two guys before me threw her a $20.
    There’s a cheery dealer at Mountaineer who, about every 5-10 minutes or so when there is a 7 out, says, “thank you for your tips everybody.”

    • RoadGambler says:


      It’s not that they don’t like the bet. Rather, that’s not what most dealers would prefer. The reason, ironically, is that the only people in the casino who are gambling are the players.

      The casino doesn’t like to gamble, and the dealers will gamble with the players if it encourages the players into tipping more. That’s part of the reason why if you ask the dealers whether they want to lock up a hand in or play the toke, they’ll say to prefer to play the toke.

      However, to play for the dealers like how the players would play is probably not ideal. That’s what I mean.

      The difference is that if players tipped the way I tipped in part 3, the dealers would not be able to lock up the tip after every win. I’m pretty certain like 99.99% of dealers would prefer to lock up the win immediately thereafter. But…always a ‘but’…if the choice is no toke or an unconventional toke, smart dealers will always take the unconventional toke.

      I’m a member of a gambling Facebook group where the players sometimes discuss some strange methods of tipping. I’m not going to discuss particulars, but I remember a thread where the player described one of the most unusual tipping methods I had ever heard of. It was so complex that it needed an entire article to describe; however, the method provided for continuous tips.

      One dealer lashed out at the player, while the vast majority of dealers told that one dealer to shut up and just take the toke.

      That’s another example of what I mean by not ideal, but it’s still good because it’s form of tipping. So long as tipping is not disrespectful, all tipping is good, no matter how unusual.

      Funny coincidence that you mention barbers. I think tipping a good barber/hairstylist is the wisest form of tipping. I have a guy who cuts my hair, who I tip 150% to every time. It’s for selfish reasons because if he ever disappeared, I would have nightmares.

  • Ha RG I work in an industry where the guy that work with me greatly rely on tips to make a good living . we work with people from all over the world just like they do in casinos .For this reason when I am out in a service related industry I make sure to take the time to tip as much as possible and also make sure to say thank you . The dealers out their work hard for us to do something we enjoy .remember it not their doings when we are not winning so if you can afford to be their gambling you can afford to tip for their service . thank you and your crew for the great videos and the time you put in keep up the great work.

  • Kevin Hopkinson says:

    I definitely hear you RG! I went on a cruise last year for my birthday and saw a guy place a dollar chip next to his five dollar chip and ask “what’s that”? He replied “its playing for the dealers” and ever since then I always play for the dealers and afterwards when I leave the table I tip twenty bucks in chips for the dealers. I know they appreciate it.

  • Consistently tipping and being polite to the dealers can have unexpected good results. Years ago, I was throwing the dice well at Foxwoods and making a number of points. After establishing the next point, I made the point on the next roll but forgot to put my odds down. The dealer noticed this and said let me see what I can do for you. He talked to the Box and the Box told me put fifty dollars (my normal odds amount) odds down for the camera so we can pay you your odds for making the six. I gave thirty dollars of the sixty dollars to the crew because my thought process was thirty dollars is better than only winning my line bet with no odds. It’s true that a lot of life is how we treat people.

  • There is no free lunch. Dealers work hard, and good dealers are assets to their employers. Some may object, and say that the employer should be responsible for paying the employees. However, the current structure means that not tipping leads to underpaid dealers. The only time I stop tipping is when dealers are rude, or if they consistently don’t give a “thank you” after resolution of a dealer bet (has happened to me more than once, but not often).

  • All you have to say is dealer bet, player controls….and they will leave the bet up….

    Some dealers want to feel part of the game, along with the player….

    Some dealers want to lock up tokes and not gamble….

    Some dealers don’t like the long shot bets in the middle…

    How can I make everyone happy? Just ask them…..

    The vibes are much better with a more engaged crew….

    • Hi

      I do the same as you, I say Player control if I win the dealer wins I find this makes a better game and dealers get into the game more.

  • craps fanatic says:

    I have found that tipping whether it be small when I’m down or high when I’m ahead, always makes for a more enjoyable game. Human nature dictates that how you treat others tends to be reciprocated most of the time. For me, craps is a form of entertainment and my time at the tables tends to be much more enjoyable when others around me are also having a good time. An added benefit is that the dealers will take care of you when you’re nice to them. I just got back from Vegas and can’t recall how many times a dealer would remind me that I was missing a bet (“are you going back on your craps check for the come out?”) or that I may have an improper amount on my odds (“do you want to add a dollar to your odds on the nine?”). Small simple things that I may forget when I’m making several bets, but which in the end makes a difference. I liken it to a home football game when the home crowd advantage makes for a better playing environment.
    Thanks for another great video and interesting topic.

  • Totally agree.

    I’m a fairly active bettor- pressing, regressing, switching to dark side etc. as a result I tip periodically throughout the session as a thank you for moving my chips around more than most players require.

  • I agree with you and always believe in tipping, but not all cultures are similar to ours. This story is not really related to craps, but on my first business trip to Japan about 15 years ago some coworkers and I went down to the hotel bar in Tokyo for a beer to relax after the flight. We left our tip on the table after we paid our bill and headed back to the elevators to head up to our rooms. About halfway across the lobby we heard someone call out to us. We turned around and it was our waitress. She ran up to us and kindly handed our tip back. We mentioned this to our Japanese colleagues the next day because we found this so unusual, but they said no, this was normal. It is actually considered somewhat rude to tip in Japan, but they are not really offended when Americans do it because they understand it is part of our society.

  • As a dealer it’s always great to be apart of the game and to feel appreciated. Tipping is the incentive for us to perform to the highest standards that we can, and to provide great service and to make the game as enjoyable for you as possible, win or lose.

  • I play in upstate N.Y.

    I tip on almost all my rolls with some odds . when people ask I tell them it’s a tip and if you can afford to gamble you can afford to tip . it drives me crazy how many people only tip if they win . like the dealer has control over it . it also amazed me how the loader and more obnoxious the player the less they tip. And the good dealers just smile and I increase my tips .

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