This thread deserves a respective viewpoint from the perspective of dealers that work for $ for a living. This is not by far the fairest of views, neither could it perhaps justify the madness associated with a casino job that is capable of depreciating the moral capacity of pit dealers that deal worldwide.
I work as a brush/chiprunner in a poker room over here in South Florida that is held in high regard and runs behind a well known casino franchise. I earn a modest amount as my base wage, but I earn a majority of my profits off the gradituity of the dealers/players. I do a cheque fill for a particular table, and i come back with the money, often rewarded with a dollar or two which is prepared by the dealer, which was received as a tip from the player him/herself.
Nowadays it's become a tedious job because of the instability No-Limit Hold 'Em was when it was first introduced down here on July 1st. It has caused an uproar for most of the poker room, but for the most part players could never wonder what kind of havoc its been causing the room. Thats because its behind closed doors. Further details later.
There was once a "Golden Age" for Poker Dealers across South Florida; If you were good enough, you could sleep on your hand (figuratively speaking) and easily make 100k< a year. We had these 9 man SnGs that would run up to thousand dollar buyins that one dealer would deal for the entirety of the game. We had at least several hundred of these every single day before they began introducing 100$ max buyins and No Limit. They were in such high demand that the waiting lists could get up to three hours long. And they frequently did.
Anyways, the dealers dealt their string of one table games, and would often receive a range of 50 to 300$ tips PER game. It was possible to make over a thousand dollars a day and not break a sweat. I recall one dealer telling me how he would cash out "only" 700$ while the guy nexts to him tips out 900, which indeed frustrated him. Sometimes, people were such degens that they would give a dealer 200 dollars just to rabbit hunt (dealers could get written up if caught).
This golden age lasted about three-four years. Then came 100$ max. Dealers still did alright, albeit, pretty much was a 20% earnings cut. This was because the SnGs started to die out, and were replaced by 2/5 and 5/10 games. 5/10 games were considered the action packed games because of the gigantic pots which would emerge preflop because of all the fools jamming in their 10 bb stack with 48o and hoping to suck out on a major river. It was almost profitable to play any kind of hand if you just sat down with 100 bux and was up against thousand dollar stacks that were built by these major PF shoves.
It still wasn't too bad for the dealers because most of the non-tipping pros, or the internet rakeback/hudbotting nits weren't choosing Florida for their destinations. It was the high roller degen haven because they had an endless supply of hundred dollar knots to peel off for a second or third buyin in less than ten minutes. This equated to an extravagant 5$ tip for every player involved in a pot per hand. Almost 140$ an hour if you dealt solely 5/10 games as a dealer.
Then was the NLHE uncapped buyin anticipation. Everybody was ready for it. We spent hours, weeks, rigorously training and learning the new games, PLO being the toughest game to know how to deal. Omaha kill/half kill. High Limit Stud, Razz, even Pineapple and Tahoe.
Then was their first week dealing.
I was excited to be brushing on opening day. Finally getting to meet some of the pros (I met Alan Boston who was a very cool guy and not an alien) I identified some of the online players from their nerdish demeanor (sorry didn't really mean to put it out like that) and I was excited to meet them/discuss trouble spots/identify leaks.etc. and met and made friends with several six/seven figure earners. But for the dealers it was a different story.
I'll use a random variance graph to illustrate the earning % of an average shift over a six year course.
The big limit games being especially worst since the notorious pros would resurface the gambling world under a different flagship venue. Not Vegas, Not AC. But Florida. They emerged and for once the dealers had to endure a grueling string while pushing 1-30k$ pots and getting 1-2$ tips or nothing. I heard this one dealer yell from the top of her lungs in the break room when she earned about 7 dollars the entire hour dealing. Some dealers would wear their disgust on their faces when they looked at me from across the room sitting in that chair on a table with more than 150k combined chipstacks.
Yep. High Limit was here to stay and it could only get worst. Finally, the dealers started tipping out only 200-340$ daily and the slow dealers made pretty much a measly 30k a year. Five months into it, some dealers have houses in foreclosure, an endless pit of credit card debt, and worst of all, deadbeat broke, struggling from paycheck to paycheck trying to adjust to the saucer tables of doom which have invaded their home cities.
Almost as if it was something that got their blood boiling like lava ants from the sun, dealers getting into verbal fights for three table strings which included 2-4 limit games because those low-stake tables inclined players to tip better than a 10-25 NL game.
Then came a night where I met one of the people who became regs who was one of the top earner on stars - I was excited to open a table for him and greet his other friends willing to play. I talked with him for about 40 minutes discussing 6-max play, HEM graphs, top pros, etc. and all the while, the floor people sitting on the chair ignoring my requests to get these players seated in a game. Soon the reality set in my head when I had lunch with a floor and a dealer with one dealer sitting down and saying "You know, we couldn't care at all if we could open 3 tables for those players there." He told me with his eyebrows raised.
Well, thats when it suddenly hit me.
Thats when suddenly, your only making 70k a year tops, breaking a sweat - which wasn't worth the mind strangling abuse from the players, the bad talk, the table tantrum... the BABY SITTING which could have been a more proper name for the occupation.
When suddenly, dealers suggested I go to school and step away from this particular profession.
When suddenly im reminded why every dollar I ever tip really does count. I know it adds to the bottom line for every one of you. It improves your hourly rate, it really does. But for me, when someone pushes me a 1.2k pot from a 2/5 game, that 15$ tip i might give minus the rake+jackpot, really does add up to my negative variance factor. But I can't forget that my bottom line isn't really supported by me tipping less than I should. It's supported because those dealers/players have the graciousness in their heart to support me with each and every dollar they generously give to me in order to sustain myself, and have the very power to make it the opposite if they wished.
Anyways, this isn't really to persuade anybody to tip better, and it probably won't even get past the fifth grade journal entry based on my writing abilities. I just felt that it was fair to give an opposing viewpoint.
Yes, 10% of your pot does sound ridiculous. But it also sounds ridiculous when people dictate how much a dealer "should" make and forgoes tipping based on that assumption.
But then again, I recently came back from El Salvador. Casino dealers over there make about 400$ a month and its not customary at all to be a tipping player.