To a fault I’m probably an over-tipper. Not everyone tips as freely as me and that’s fine. We can all spend our money however we feel comfortable. I look at tips as tokens of appreciation that will come back to me with some form of positive karma in the future. It’s a win-win for me and the people I’m tipping.
I’ve written about why tipping dealers in a casino matters before (See Gaming Today article) but I had a great, real life experience last week in Atlantic City that I want to share.
When I arrived at Showboat in Atlantic City I met up with some friends for a drink at the bar and to catch up with each other. Shortly after a little video poker and BSing we decided to hit the tables. We approached an open Pai Gow table and told the pit boss that our group would play the entire table if they lowered the limits. The pit boss “called his supervisor” to ask permission to lower the limits. In a call that seemed like a scene from Seinfeld our request was denied. That’s cool, the table remained empty until 7am when I called it quits and headed back to the room.
The casino actually made the right business move as we went on to play a game with a larger house advantage. There was an open 3 card poker table across from Pai Gow where we ran into one of the most fun dealers I’ve ever had, Billy.
3 Card Poker is a game of minimal skill and perfect for a bunch of friends to catch up, drink and have a little gambling action. Billy was our dealer all night/morning – from 1am-6:30am. Billy knew that we were looking for a good time and helped stoke the flames by giving us all nicknames (I was “The Attorney“) and constantly encouraging us to “Take a Siiiiiiip“. He was very loud and we obliged and took many sips.
He kept reminding us that 3 Card Poker was an “Easy Game” by yelling it all night. Billy was louder than any dealer I’ve had but he was perfect for our group on this night. He was the conductor to a great night/morning in the casino. He would be rewarded with tips all night for helping us steer towards a fun time.
The nature of playing low limits 3 Card Poker is that you’ll win a few big hands, lose a bunch and repeat. Ultimately the low limits don’t really ever dent the bankroll when you hit a bad run. I tipped Billy every time I got a straight or better. A straight pays 6-1 on the pair plus line and I’d tip a unit each win. He always played with me instead of keeping the tips and we won pretty quite a few hands playing together. Billy’s largest tip was when my $5 bet paid him $150. I played the Caesars bonus and he gave me 4 of a kind for a cool $1,000! It was awesome for both of us.
When you tip craps or blackjack dealers they can remind you to place the bets you want, offer simple strategy and generally keep an eye on you. There really isn’t much assistance a 3 Card Poker dealer can offer besides a good time. I wasn’t winning because I tipped. Or was I? I wasn’t getting any strategic advantage. So, why tip?
Billy is a working stiff like most of us and his level of service was fantastic. He was providing a great time for everyone that came to the table. As long as I’m winning why not share some of the money with the person helping create a great memory? He deserved it and now I have a great memory that will last forever.
Photo: Vegas Chatter