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Old 05-31-2011, 12:47 PM   #26
foxtrot uniform
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Re: Tipping CONTAINMENT thread.

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Originally Posted by Rapini View Post
I never expected this thread to touch on the most interesting and worthwhile topic regarding tipping (the business model of tipping v. living wage) at all, let alone immediately.
Don't worry, I'm sure it will soon devolve into:
  • I'm new to live play. How much should I tip?
    • A dollar per hand.
    • I always tip five per hand.
      • Five? wtf? You're an idiot!
    • I never tip. TIPS = To Insure [sic] Proper Service.
      • Anyone who never tips is a ****ing douchebag.
        • Well, you're a moron! Do you know how much tipping cuts into your hourly rate?
    • Tipping is a personal decision. Tip whatever you want.
  • (OP) So, what's the answer?
This is just the calm before the **** storm, as it were.
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Old 05-31-2011, 01:01 PM   #27
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Re: Tipping CONTAINMENT thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rapini View Post
I never expected this thread to touch on the most interesting and worthwhile topic regarding tipping (the business model of tipping v. living wage) at all, let alone immediately.

Rake is typically higher in Europe. The places I have played rake the equivalent of 10% to $12 max and 10% to $16 max.

At the places I have played, there is a BBJ and other promotions that are paid directly out of the rake rather than out of a promotional drop.

In my experience, European dealers are typically more competent and professional than North American dealers.
I'll admit to being pleasantly surprised by this thread. I didn't expect intelligent discussion - just the usual, pointless, back and forth.

Nice to see the thread taking the high road for the most part, and I hope it stays there!

Rapini: To what do you attribute the European dealers being more competent and professional? Especially since they are salaried (or hourly wage, whichever) and don't have the incentive of tips to do better?

I'm really curious about this one, since it seems couner-intuitive to me. I've never played outside of the U.S., so have no personal experience to rely on here. Maybe the Europeans are onto something? If so, it would be nice to know what. Might work here as well.

Thanks.

Lee
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Old 05-31-2011, 01:32 PM   #28
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Re: Tipping CONTAINMENT thread.

1. I hope people will be honest. Next time you play, note how much each dealer gets tipped. Does the "bad" dealer make next to nothing and the "great" dealer make a ton? That is, on average, per hand. Yes, better dealers will get more hands out. But do the players "stiff" the bad dealer to the point that he is making significantly less than the average?

2. The House makes more money off of table games. Hence, they have more stake in the quality of dealers on table games. Yet they pool tips there.

According to the prevailing B&M wisdom, the dealers at table games should be slow and surly. Are they? Or does the House pay attention and mandate a certain quality of service from the pit dealers?

Why doesn't the House monitor poker dealers where they pool tips and insist on a certain level of professionalism?

In San Jose, where they keep their tips, the House reviews the dealers and they are required to deal X hands per hour, or they are disciplined. Why doesn't Foxwoods do the same?
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:02 PM   #29
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Re: Tipping CONTAINMENT thread.

Excellent idea. People have been floating the notion of a containment thread for this topic for awhile now. It's a legitimate topic which has relevance to the game, but sometimes gets out of hand. There should be no problem with it as long as people are respectful.
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:03 PM   #30
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Re: Tipping CONTAINMENT thread.

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Originally Posted by Lovesantiques View Post
Rapini: To what do you attribute the European dealers being more competent and professional? Especially since they are salaried (or hourly wage, whichever) and don't have the incentive of tips to do better?
I'm so used to dealers in the US getting into the box and yukking it up with the regulars for 30 mins while dealing 10 hands during that time that it's nice to see someone sit in and just "dummy up and deal," as many regulars on 2+2 say. These European dealers usually are not surly or distant; they just don't make smalltalk and they pay attention to the game. Sometimes they'll comment if someone asks them for an opinion or otherwise speaks to them directly, but they're not continuously telling jokes, talking about family, or giving out their sports betting picks.

FWIW, I experienced for the first time in my life--and greatly appreciated--that same style of dealing from the many Asian immigrant dealers (racist ban!) when I visited the Commerce in late 2008 while in LA for work.
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:08 PM   #31
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Re: Tipping CONTAINMENT thread.

Ok let me chime in, first and foremost the poker room is the red headed stepchild of the casino. It brings in the least revenue per sq ft of everything. Casinos are owned by big multi-national stockholders or extremely rich people. Poker is labor intensive if they had to pay a decent wage and take away tipping they would just get rid of the poker room and put in more machines. Or your rake would at least double. So for all of you who use ev as a reason not to tip you better stop preaching and let those who tip pay your freight or the freight is going to get real expensive.
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:08 PM   #32
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Re: Does the room you play ion pool dealers tips?

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Originally Posted by Dealer-Guy View Post
I think this would be an interesting side bar to this discussion. Can we get a list of rooms that pool tips for poker dealers started?

I believe pooling tips lowers the comtencey level of the deaelrs because good dealers know thay can make more money elsewhere.

If you play in rooms that pool and other rooms that do not, what have been your experiences in the quality of dealers between the two?
I'm 99% sure that Hollywood Casino at Penn National (near harrisburg PA) pools tips not just between poker dealers, but ALL dealers of table games. All tips from poker and other table games all get pooled together and distributed. Even if this is not the case (but I've heard it was), I know at the very least the poker dealers pool tips.

In my experience, the casino has some HORRIBLE poker dealers, and also some that do a great job. It has made tipping the very few times I've played there a very tricky situation, because I hate knowing that my tip to a great dealer is being shared equally with the terrible dealer I just had.
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:11 PM   #33
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Re: Tipping CONTAINMENT thread.

Quote:
1. I hope people will be honest. Next time you play, note how much each dealer gets tipped. Does the "bad" dealer make next to nothing and the "great" dealer make a ton? That is, on average, per hand. Yes, better dealers will get more hands out. But do the players "stiff" the bad dealer to the point that he is making significantly less than the average?
This is an excellent point. There are people who think that terrible dealers make $X per hour and good ones make $5X per hour. The difference is actually pretty small, because a huge % of people have a standard tip that they give based on pot size. As far as hands per hour, you're talking 30-32 as an average, but in your standard NL game, there isn't a ton of deviation from this. We're not talking someone being terrible averaging 9 hands per hour and someone good averaging 46
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:19 PM   #34
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Re: Tipping CONTAINMENT thread.

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Originally Posted by King_of_NYC View Post
How about taking pride in your work, and keeping your customers (the players, obv) happy so they keep coming back and you still have a place to deal? Not incentive enuf?
No.. I once knew of a dealer in AC that people nicknamed "octopus" because they only got 8 hands per down... lol (sorry, still cracks me up to this day.) Anyway, when I dealt in AC, I more than doubled that after I gained some experience. Why should that dealer that only got out 8 hands per down get paid the same as someone who gets out double that?

This is exactly why dealers leave pooled tip rooms. I know of several that left Foxwoods for that very reason, and they are FAST dealers. They now make about 30% more than they used to.

Poker players are there to make money, and so are dealers. You give me incentive to make more money, I deal as fast and efficient as possible. If I am not going to make any more money by dealing 16 hands per down versus 8, well, you're not going to see 16+, I'll tell you that much...

And by the way, I was grateful for every single dollar I got tipped. My customers were happy that I was dealing to them, and for the most part, they were really great people. I enjoyed going to work, and I tried to make sure they were as happy as possible as well.

Last edited by rammynutzhard; 05-31-2011 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:29 PM   #35
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Re: Tipping CONTAINMENT thread.

I find it very, very difficult to believe that someone averaged 8 hands per half hour down over an extended period of time. This is only 16 hands per hour. I've never heard of any figure anywhere near this low. I would imagine people in the thread would agree with me. The only way you'd go way below the 13-17 reasonable range per down were if you were dealing some loose, donk filled, slow game that always went to showdown, like 2/4 Limit, where the dealer would have little control over the time it took to play a hand.
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:35 PM   #36
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Re: Tipping CONTAINMENT thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2OutsNoProb View Post
I find it very, very difficult to believe that someone averaged 8 hands per half hour down over an extended period of time. This is only 16 hands per hour. I've never heard of any figure anywhere near this low. I would imagine people in the thread would agree with me. The only way you'd go way below the 13-17 reasonable range per down were if you were dealing some loose, donk filled, slow game that always went to showdown, like 2/4 Limit, where the dealer would have little control over the time it took to play a hand.
You can choose whether to believe it or not, but there was in fact a dealer that was THAT slow... I guarantee if my post gets viewed by enough people, there will be at least some people who know who I am talking about. The dealer was older, couldn't do side pots, did the slowest flop I ever saw in a dealer, and instead of bringing in all bets at once (i.e. 7 players to a flop) would take 4 or 5 swipes to bring them all in. They really were THAT slow and I am not exactly sure how they kept their job besides the fact that they were very nice to the customers. Most people didn't mind the fact that they were slow, but at least a few players per night honestly got up from the table to take their smoke break, pee break, etc.. when they were dealing..

This was a Harrah's property, btw
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:36 PM   #37
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Re: Tipping CONTAINMENT thread.

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Originally Posted by King_of_NYC View Post
You didn't answer the question, as there was no mention of paying a dealer any less (although I do advocate paying someone what is fair, based on skill set required, education, experience etc).

If someone is getting paid a fair wage, I think it's reasonable to expect that person to be courteous, professional and hard working, regardless of how that wage is earned (ie tips or salary). And if you can't maintain that level of professionalism while working because you feel you could be earning more, for whatever reason, you'll be weeded out as anyone would be under those conditions.
Sorry, the "question" sounded rethorical.

Quote:
How about taking pride in your work, and keeping your customers (the players, obv) happy so they keep coming back and you still have a place to deal? Not incentive enuf?
Part of the job is making sure everyone has a winning experience, pretty standard stuff for the casino business. Taking pride in your work should be standard for any job, wouldn't you say?

Tell your casino to pay all dealers a set wage. The first result will be higher rakes or some other fee whether they call it a rake or not. The second result will be slower, less competent dealers since the good ones will find agig where their efforts are rewarded.

The third result will be a spike in that extra fee since replacing a worker who leaves costs much more money than keeping that worker and the good workers will leave if you reduce their earning potential.

And by the way, a good dealer, who earns good tips does so partially because they take pride in their work, it's part of the job.

By tipping dealers based on their performance, aren't you controlling their income, something you seem to think is appropriate. Tip or don't tip, that's the bottom line.

Look at any decent sales job. Pay is based on performance, not hours worked. Perform better, earn more. Why shouldn't that be true of dealing? There are other jobs that require little formal education but the worker can determine his own income by how well and quickly he works.
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:43 PM   #38
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Re: Tipping CONTAINMENT thread.

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Originally Posted by rammynutzhard View Post
You can choose whether to believe it or not, but there was in fact a dealer that was THAT slow... I guarantee if my post gets viewed by enough people, there will be at least some people who know who I am talking about. The dealer was older, couldn't do side pots, did the slowest flop I ever saw in a dealer, and instead of bringing in all bets at once (i.e. 7 players to a flop) would take 4 or 5 swipes to bring them all in. They really were THAT slow and I am not exactly sure how they kept their job besides the fact that they were very nice to the customers. Most people didn't mind the fact that they were slow, but at least a few players per night honestly got up from the table to take their smoke break, pee break, etc.. when they were dealing..

This was a Harrah's property, btw
I can't verify the 8 hands per hour no will I dispute it. But I can tell you that there are some dealers in the room I work in who are much slower than the best dealers we have. It's just a fact of life. Some people have faster hands, they think faster, they know the job better.

The slower dealers can deliver great customer service in other areas, they just are not as fast. They are limited in their speed so they do not have the potential to earn as much as the younger, faster dealers. And that's just the way it is.
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:55 PM   #39
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Re: Tipping CONTAINMENT thread.

I play in a pretty well staked home cash game in a rich suburb. I got to know the best dealer at the casino and I asked him if he'd like to deal it, and keep it all to himself. He's been doing it for a while now and makes off pretty well. We give him 350 just to sit for the whole session (gen. 7 hrs), and all the tips as well. He's a great dealer and also has a fun personality. Maybe a decent opportunity that wouldn't have been given to some idiot, like "the octopus" hahahaha.
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:59 PM   #40
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Re: Tipping CONTAINMENT thread.

I don't think tipping the dealers is an appropriate practice. It's a conflict of interest, since dealers sometimes make judgments calls that can cost players money. Tipping can also lead to intentionally bad service, since we all know that those who are known to stiff are occasionally retaliated against when the opportunity presents itself. However, the system is what it is, corrupt as it may be, so I have to play along with it.
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Old 05-31-2011, 03:48 PM   #41
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Re: Tipping CONTAINMENT thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2OutsNoProb View Post
I find it very, very difficult to believe that someone averaged 8 hands per half hour down over an extended period of time. This is only 16 hands per hour. I've never heard of any figure anywhere near this low. I would imagine people in the thread would agree with me. The only way you'd go way below the 13-17 reasonable range per down were if you were dealing some loose, donk filled, slow game that always went to showdown, like 2/4 Limit, where the dealer would have little control over the time it took to play a hand.
There is a dealer at my local casino who only gives out 7-8 hands per down. He mostly works the graveyard shift and always looks like he is falling asleep. It sucks.

On topic, I believe tipping $1-$2 per pot is best. It gives the dealers incentive to keep the game moving while giving them the opportunity to earn decent money. Overtipping leads to complacency and reduces the incentive to give 100% (since they'll make money anyway)*. Undertipping causes apathy and drives away competent dealers.

* Some people have pride and are an exception. Most, unfortunately, do not.
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Old 05-31-2011, 04:10 PM   #42
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Re: Tipping CONTAINMENT thread.

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Originally Posted by Dealer-Guy View Post
Refuse to tip dealers and you will eventually find yourselves with tip free, self dealt tables.
You mean like the tables in countries where dealers aren't tipped...

There's two major separate themes in these threads:
  • In a tip-based economy, what sort of tips are fair and how best should I apply or withhold my tips for good and bad dealers -- and how should I respond when others do things I find different than my thoughts on the matter. ...and...
  • OMG, if you don't tip dealers, the poker economy will collapse.
The later theme is bunk.

As there are plenty of service-based jobs in the world that aren't tip-based that manage to provide incentive for, reward to, and promotion of employees, I refuse to accept that the only model for casino poker dealers is tip-based, and that all other models would fail. The mere existence of poker dealers who don't get tips proves this is possible.
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Old 05-31-2011, 04:11 PM   #43
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Re: Tipping CONTAINMENT thread.

I play low and mid-stakes games, so tipping ranges from $1 to $5. I don't tip if my opening bet/raise takes down the blinds/antes. Also, in high/low games, I don't tip if I get quartered (I don't consider that a win). Otherwise, tip size is affected by a) the game stakes, b) the pot I just dragged in, c) the efficiency of the dealer overall, d) the conduct of the dealer overall.

Dealers who are error free, quick without making the players feel rushed (can I consider my $60 three bet for a few seconds please), and who keep the game going from a "rules" perspective get higher tips, and I will generally throw them some extra at the end of their time. On the other hand, really bad dealers may only get tipped every other hand, or even less frequently. I have occasionally refused to tip really horrid dealers, even if I won a few pots when they were dealing.

What's horrid? When you are already several hands into a stud game and you are still seeing several flops because the dealer can't make the transition from hold 'em to stud, or if you have to keep asking for 2 more cards in an Omaha game, or there is repeated card flashing, pushing the pot to the wrong player, misdealing, etc. I'm not talking 1 or 2 mistakes in a 30 minute shift, but close to every hand.

I view dealer tipping as part of the expense I factor in for playing at US card rooms, just like the rake, money for gas to get there, etc. It's factored into my balance sheet. The good news is, I'm only tipping when I'm winning. I don't think any dealer expects a tip from a player who has a losing session. Not that I hold the dealer accountable if I have losing hands. Someone wins every hand. If someone else chooses not to tip, it's their business. I won't tell other people how to spend their money. Where I've played (LV, AC, FL, PA, CA) most players will tip at least a buck when they win even the small pots.

BTW, please address my next 2 questions regarding tipping:

- If a tournament takes out a percentage (eg 3%) out of the prize pool for dealer appreciation and you place high in the money (1st or a chop mostly), do you still tip the dealers they way you might if the percentage was not taken out? If so, how much?

- What about other poker room personnel? I usually tip chip runners a buck or so, and cocktail servers get their buck a beverage (even if it's a bottle of water). What about floor staff? Cashiers? Front desk?
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Old 05-31-2011, 04:32 PM   #44
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Re: Tipping CONTAINMENT thread.

Although I've tried such strategies as moving my tipping to the end of down, as a fairly low-limit player, I tip:
  • Poker Dealers
    • Generally $1 per pot, $2 for big pots, and sometimes $5 in no-limit (or spread-limit) over $300 or so, depending on the sort of hand. More or less if I'm winning or losing.
    • In split-pot games, I tip $1 on profitable hands where I win the high, or on very profitable hands where I take the low.
    • 1-2% of BBJ or table-promotion type payouts with a $5-10 minimum.
    • 1-2% of tournament net wins, with a $5-$10 minimum.
  • Chip Runner
    • $1 about 50% of the time, more likely if I'm requesting a color-up or a hard break or something other than just buying in or re-buying in.
  • Cocktail/Food Service
    • $1 on most soft-drink orders,
    • $1 on all non-soft-drink orders,
    • $1-3 on all food orders, as if I were tipping restaurant rates on table-side food.
  • Cashier/Cage
    • $1 in the tip jar if I've got an odd-dollar cashout.
  • Floor Persons
    • 1-2% of hand-pay type table jackpot and promotion pays.
  • Slot Attendants
    • 1-2% of any W2-G type hand pay.
  • Table Game Dealers
    • Always a '2-Way Yo' when it's my turn to shoot in craps, relative to the table limit. $1, $2 or $5 for each of us, generally, in my case.
    • Occasionally a dealer bet on the side of my bet in games like Pai Gow (tiles and cards), BJ, etc. for half of my per-hand bet size. Roughly once per down.
  • Brush/Board
    • I do not tip the brush/board, although I would if they performed some special service for me -- call in, or rolling my name based on a preferrence, etc. without asking me.
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Old 05-31-2011, 04:36 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Dealer-Guy View Post
How many rooms do you play in that share tips? Are you sure that they do? I know there are some rooms that pool tips for poker dealers but they are rare. Most poker dealers carry thier own box and keep what they cash out at night.

BTW, I get asked once or twice a week if my room pools tips, I tell them the truth of course that we do not pool tips.

I pushed into a table yesterday and a player threw me a tip he would have given to the last dealer since:

"you guys pool tips anyway."

I explained that we do not pool tips and I had a chip runner take the tip to the dealer I pushed out.

Mant casinos pool tips in their table games deparment, games like "let it Ride", BJ, etc. But NOT in poker. if you have been told thatthe BJ dealers pool their tips, please do not assume that poker dealers in the same casino also pool their tips. Ask a floor, ask a dealer, they'll tell you how it is.
I know 100 percent that the tips are shared. An easy way to tell is to check if the dealers are carrying their own box or not. Just so you know, most places in Ontario have pooled tips.
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Old 05-31-2011, 04:37 PM   #46
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Re: Tipping CONTAINMENT thread.

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Originally Posted by Ibuprofen View Post
There is a dealer at my local casino who only gives out 7-8 hands per down. He mostly works the graveyard shift and always looks like he is falling asleep. It sucks.

On topic, I believe tipping $1-$2 per pot is best. It gives the dealers incentive to keep the game moving while giving them the opportunity to earn decent money. Overtipping leads to complacency and reduces the incentive to give 100% (since they'll make money anyway)*. Undertipping causes apathy and drives away competent dealers.
So undertip the incompetent ones. Or don't tip them at all. You know quite well there are dealers you'd like to drive away, so do it. Drop your $1–2⁄pot rule if a dealer is bad enough that you want to see him or her leave the industry. It's not enough that the dealer you mention in your first paragraph gets only seven or eight tokes per down. (You know how I know? It's that (s)he's still dealing.) If it dropped to zero per down, I think we can be confident something would change.
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Old 05-31-2011, 04:53 PM   #47
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Re: Tipping CONTAINMENT thread.

Overtipping does not lead to complacency. They would work even harder hoping to get another nice toke, in addition to being in a positive frame of mind that will further enhance the game (dealing quicker, running a smooth game, etc..). Yea, I know, they should do this anyway.

I play in San Jose mainly, usually late afternoon/evenings, and there are some good dealers and poor dealers. There is one dealer at GC that I really enjoy dealing my game. He is fast, good personality, pays attention, polite, just an overall excellent dealer. Bay 101 also has a dealer that I really like dealing my game. Same qualities. Having exceptional dealers enhances the quality of the game.

These people get paid low wagers and depend on tips. Its a personal choice. I have no problem tipping dealers for doing a good job. If a dealer does a poor job, then don't tip them.
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Old 05-31-2011, 05:12 PM   #48
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Re: Tipping CONTAINMENT thread.

This is my completely arbitrary tipping rule:

I do not tip unless there is action on the flop. Meaning: if I raise, get a caller or two, then win the pot on the flop with a C-bet, I don't tip. However, if I do win a pot with action on the flop, I'll tip at least a dollar - more depending on how big the pot is.

I do sometimes tip pre-flop or after a flop with no action, if the action before was substantial. Like if I 3 or 4-bet pre-flop, then take it down there or on the flop without further action.

This works for me and I think it's fair.
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Old 05-31-2011, 06:05 PM   #49
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Re: Tipping CONTAINMENT thread.

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Overtipping does not lead to complacency. They would work even harder hoping to get another nice toke, in addition to being in a positive frame of mind that will further enhance the game (dealing quicker, running a smooth game, etc..). Yea, I know, they should do this anyway.
In theory, dealers (or any employee) would react the way you describe. In practice, easy money makes people complacent. See: Unions, Athletes, High stakes poker players, etc.

The fact of the matter is most people have an income threshold. Once they earn enough to reach it they relax and turn on autopilot. For some people it's $100 a day, for others $50,000 a year, or $1,000,000 in a lifetime, or a stack of 500bb at the table. Tipped employees (and poker players) are especially susceptible to an income threshold because they see their money in increments. I witnessed it first hand in the restaurant industry with waiters and bartenders. They would start their shift saying something like, "I want to make $100 today." and once they hit it they were psychologically satisfied and started coasting.
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Old 05-31-2011, 06:33 PM   #50
AKQJ10
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: I've been all over. Now Seattle.
Posts: 11,981
Re: Tipping CONTAINMENT thread.

For HE, trying to decide between:

$1 per pot with a flop, regardless of action
$1 per pot above $30 (and possibly $2 for a pot > $500 at NL), including 3bets that take down $30 in dead money.

===
Tipping in Omaha H/L is far from trivial. Do you tip any half? Surely not quarters. What if it got heads-up on the flop? What if you got the extra dollar for high? So many decisions.

Nowadays i play 5/10 full kill O8 at a room where dealers pool tips and some of the dealers are really mediocre so i feel a lot less pressure to tip every half pot. If i like the dealer, $1 on the first half, nothing the next, $1 for all 3/4 or more. I the dealer's ok/mediocre, reverse the halves. If the dealer's terrible, maybe $1 on all scoops.
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