Many blackjack players would like to tip a blackjack dealer, but they don’t know how to do it. In this article I will show you several ways to do it, including my favorite.
First, let me address the question I often get from players about tips.
“Why do top blackjack dealers, since they’re paid to try?
It’s true that there’s no rule that says you should tip a blackjack dealer, just as there’s no rule that says you should tip a waitress, hairdresser, taxi or Uber driver. However, let’s be realistic. Many workers in the service industry earn a relatively low base salary and rely on advice to make ends meet. The same goes for casino distributors.
Am I saying you should always tip a dealer every time you play blackjack? Definitely not. I’ve had my share of malicious blackjack dealers during my more than 45 years of blackjack game. You know the guy: rough, never smiling, hostile, useless, and it just makes you uncomfortable playing blackjack. My advice to them is nothing. It’s also important to tell the plant supervisor that I stopped playing blackjack because their dealer wasn’t focused on making the customer feel comfortable. On the other hand, if a blackjack dealer has been kind, courteous and helpful, I’ll give you a tip.
There are several ways to tip a dealer when playing blackjack. One way is to simply place a token in the design at any time and tell the dealer “this is for you”. Most players who tip do so at the end of their game session after they have colored their chips and are ready to leave the table.
Another way to tip a dealer is to place a bet on it in your hand, so if your hand wins, she will receive what you bet on plus the winnings. Most players who make a top bet for the dealer do it as follows.
Suppose you bet a green chip ($25) on your hand and also place a red chip ($5) just outside your betting circle. The cards are dealt and suppose your hand beats the dealer’s hand. The dealer will place another green chip next to the original green chip in their betting circle (their winnings), and a red chip next to the original red chip outside the betting circle (the winnings from the tip bet you placed for it). After the dealer finishes paying all other winning bets, and collects all the lost bets, he will collect the two red chips out of his betting circle, thank fully, and drop them off in the chip box. Essentially, the $5 bet he made for the dealer in his hand resulted in a $10 tip for the dealer because his hand won. If, on the other hand, you lost your hand, the dealer does not receive any tips, but you should still be thanked for trying. (If the hand loses, the red chip you bet on the dealer enters the dealer’s chip tray and is now owned by the casino).
Personally, I don’t like to make advice for the dealer by placing a chip outside the betting circle because I have no control over that bet. Instead, I prefer within the betting circle by placing the chip I want to bet on the dealer on top (and slightly off-center) of the chip I bet on the hand. By doing this, I can control the amount of tip I give the dealer.
For example, suppose I bet, for example, $25 (a green tab), and then placed a red tab at the top of the green tab, and the hand wins, I’ll give the dealer a red token as a win. I still own the original red chip that I bet on it because it was placed inside the betting circle. I usually let the red chip move to the dealer in the next hand. If I win a few hands in a row, it gives the appearance that I am a constant tipper, which can help when it’s time to ask the table supervisor for a draft. In addition, the supervisor will usually include the chip at the top of your bet as part of your average bet and rate it at $30 per hand instead of $25 per hand. This results in a slightly higher average bet and can result in a slightly more comps. In addition, this method of tipping the dealer also saves 50 percent of the money compared to placing your anteture bet outside the betting circle. (Of course, if your hand loses, the original bet you placed on your hand and any other chips you placed at the top will be picked up by the dealer and placed in the chip tray).
Here are a few more tips on tips to consider.
1. After you arrive at the table and the dealer gives you tokens for your cash, take a large denomination card (e.g. $25 green denomination), slide it to the dealer and ask them to exchange it for redones ($5 denomination) or white tokens ( $1). With lower denomination chips in your hand, you’d place a bet for the dealer at the beginning of your session. This lets the dealer know from the start that if she’s friendly and helpful, you’ll be giving her a tip.
2. It is perfectly acceptable to base your advice on how much you are betting. For example, if you are a $5 or $10 bettor, I suggest you add a few dollars; If you are a $25 gambler, I suggest a $5 tip.
3. Most card counters do not turn around because the edge they have is small, and if they are overturned, it could eliminate their monetary gain. However, by periodically tipping a dealer, you are perceived to be an average “Joe” playing blackjack for fun and not for profit. This will help you stay under the casino radar (i.e. good camouflage). My suggestion is to calculate your theoretical hourly profit for any card counting system you are using and reserve a small percentage of that amount for tips. I also recommend that you place the anteverse bet only when the table supervisor is nearby and can observe it. (Sometimes, I’ll also say something about making the dealer bet high enough for the supervisor to hear me.) Note: In my experience, I could often use less expensive ways to camouflage my card count, other than tipping a dealer. (See Chapter 10.12 in my Ultimate Blackjack Strategy Guide for nonpunitive camouflage tips).