Tipping the Craps Dealers

crapsdicejokeYou ask, “You mean I have to tip the dealers?”  No, you don’t have to, but you should when they’re helpful or making your time at the table more enjoyable.  In the gambling world, a tip is referred to as a “toke.”  Obviously, this article applies to playing at a live table.  If you play at your favorite online casino, tokes are one less thing you have to worry about.

Generally, dealers work for minimum wage or close to it, so they rely on tips to make a decent living.  They’re like waiters who provide you a service.  Dealers handle your bets, answer your questions, listen to you complain about your spouse and other personal problems, and help make your overall gaming experience better.

Craps dealers share tips, which are typically given in chips instead of cash.  When a player tosses a chip on the table as a tip, the boxman picks it up and places it in the dealers’ tip box attached to the side of the table.  Likewise, if a player makes a bet for the crew and the bet wins, the dealer takes down the bet with the winnings and stacks the chips in front of the boxman who then picks them up and drops them into the tip box.  By sharing tips among the dealers, your job of tipping the good dealers and not tipping the bad ones becomes a bit tricky.  So, how can you ensure the good dealers get the good tips and the bad dealers get the bad ones?  Unfortunately, you can’t.

casino chipsWhen we say a craps dealer is “good” or “bad,” we don’t necessarily mean that one is more or less skilled than the other.  A dealer may be relatively slow in handling the chips, but she may be so funny, polite, and friendly that you don’t care about losing because you’re having such a good time at the table.  Another dealer may be so fast with the chips that you can’t keep track of what he’s doing, but he may also never say a word to anyone at the table.  So, in these two different examples, which would you say deserves the bigger tip?  If you play for the fun and excitement that craps offers, then maybe the slow talkative dealer is your favorite.  If you just had a fight with your spouse and don’t want to talk to anyone about anything, then maybe the fast quiet dealer is your favorite.

When I play at a live table, I politely ensure the other crew members know I’m not exactly thrilled with one of the dealers.  For example, when the “bad” dealer leaves to take his break, I might politely say to the new dealer who rotates into the position, “Is Joe having a bad day?  He’s been really mean to the new guy in the four position.”  The new dealer has seen me tip during the session, so he gets the hint and usually makes sure Joe also gets the message when he returns to the table.  Because their earnings depend heavily on tips, the good dealers won’t hesitate to tell the bad ones to shape up.  They know, if I stop tipping, then other players might stop, too.

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Don’t blame the dealers if you’re losing during a particular session.  It’s not their fault.  They don’t have some mysterious mojo over the dice to control how they land.  I know it’s difficult to tip while watching your chip stack dwindle, but don’t base your tipping on whether you’re winning or losing.  If you can’t keep the same tipping pace as when you’re winning, then simply slow down, but don’t stop altogether.  Remember, you tip for good service, not based on whether you win or lose.

Most players don’t tip at all.  Maybe they’re cheap or just don’t know any better.  Usually, you’re the only one at the table tipping, which is great for you because the dealers pay more attention to you than the others.  Also, tipping has its rewards, sometimes more than just good service.  You ask, “You mean tipping can get me something more than just a friendly dealer? ”  Absolutely!  We’ll talk about that, and how to tip at a craps table, in another article.  You will also enjoy, How dealers keep track of everyone’s bets.

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Author
Written by John Nelsen in partnership with the team of craps pros at crapspit.org.