Poker Through the Eyes of an Amateur

June 12, 2006

Casino Etiquette

As many of you already know, I am bound for Foxwoods on Tuesday of next week with my wife for our third anniversary. It promises to be a very nice and relaxing getaway for us both. I will be playing in two $80+$20 NL Hold'em tournaments, one on Wednesday morning and one on Thursday morning. While I'm slinging chips in the tournaments, the wife will be pampering herself at the spa. Everybody wins!

This will be my first trip to a brick and mortar casino, and so I would like you guys (and gals) to help me out with some etiquette questions. Also, please feel free to supply any other points that I may miss in my questions. Some of these questions may seem silly, but I don't want to accidentally offend anyone. Thank you in advance for any help you can offer.

Note: A lot of these questions have to do with tipping. I'm no tight wad; I generally tip 20%+ for good service at a restaurant. However, I don't want to just throw money at people either.

1) When is it appropriate to tip the dealer? When you leave the table? When you hit a big pot?

1a) What is an appropriate amount to tip the dealer?

2) Do you tip dealers in tournaments? If so, I'm assuming that this is at the end, after you've collected your prize money?

2a) If you tip the dealers in tournaments, is there a collective pot for all of them? I would think it might be a little tough to remember all of the individual dealers as you get moved around, especially if it's a large tournament.

3) Do you tip chip runners/waitresses every time they get something for you? What's an appropriate amount?

4) Say you're in the middle of a tournament, and you need to use the restroom. It's 30 minutes until the next break. Do you just get up and go?

5) If you know you're going to be tipping a decent bit throughout an evening, do you prepare by setting aside a certain amount of smaller denomination bills/chips, or do you just tip as you go? If you tip as you go, do you ask for change?

I'm pretty sure I had some other questions, but I can't think of them off of the top of my head. If there's anything that I've missed that you can contribute, it would be most appreciated.


  • Hey Matt I will try my best here.
    1. In cash games, a buck when you win the pot is usually the norm. You will see people do it each hand. On a big pot (I usually play limit so a buck has been appropriate at my limits) another dollar or 2 might be appropriate.
    2. Tip the dealers after you collect. They pool it and I was told 2-5% of what you won in the tourney. I won $500 at Caesars and the pit seemed fine with the $25 I tipped.
    3. A buck a drink.
    4. You just leave anytime you want. You will be blinded down of course.
    5. Whatever you want but asking for change is just fine.

    Have a great time man. Hope you win some moolah.

    By Blogger drewspop, at 6/12/2006 10:26 AM  

  • Hey Matt. I agree 100% with all of Chris's answers above. Generally a buck when you win a decent pot in a cash game is the norm. In tourneys you won't see tipping along the way but it is customary to tip out of your winning payout.
    Certainly a buck a drink should be enough to satisfy the cocktail waitresses enough to keep coming back to you. Some people will tip more if they want exceptional service but most will do a dollar a drink, or less. $1 is the way to go I think.
    You can announce that you'll be back if you need to go to the restroom, but otherwise you just go, just like you would if you were playing a cash game at the casino. No one will make any big deal about it.

    Anyways man, have a kickass time at Foxwoods. Wish I could join you there. The poker room is fairly big, you should definitely enjoy it.
    And come play in Mondays at the Hoy tonight at 10pm ET on pokerstars if you're available man, it will be a good time. Signup details are on my blog. Hope to see you there, and I look forward to hearing all about your first B&M experience later in the week.

    By Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo, at 6/12/2006 3:41 PM  

  • Sounds like a great time for all !! Good luck in the tournies.

    By Blogger mowenumdown, at 6/12/2006 10:41 PM  

  • Excellent questions, I was wondering the same things. I guess with all of the bloggers getting in casino games it was bound to be on some of our newbie minds.

    By Blogger BrainMc, at 6/13/2006 9:33 AM  

  • Chris and Hoyazo are right on.

    I tip the waitresses, the chip runners, and the cashier at the cage when I cash out my chips, as well as the valet both coming and going.

    I usually throw a $1 per pot to the dealer and that goes up by the size of the pot I hit. If it's a $500 pot I'll usually throw $5-$10 bucks.

    Also I get change ahead of time and tip everyone except the dealers in cash not casino chips. This started because I don't like pulling chips off the table in cash games.

    I always have change for a $20 and I try to be overly generous. When you're a regular at a casino like I am you'll be surprised how much better you are treated by tipping more than standard.

    Watch how people tip, cheap people hate parting with their money and in some cases it you can bet them off hands because of this.

    By Blogger Miami Don, at 6/13/2006 7:23 PM  

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