If you are new to Live Dealer games, you may be wondering if you are expected to leave a tip. The answer is that the same guidelines that apply for tipping the dealer at a regular casino also apply online for tipping in Live Dealer Games.
The general consensus is that casino dealers depend on tips for a living. Whether and to what extent that is true is not your problem though. Even though it is an appreciated gesture, tipping in Live Dealer games is optional.
In other words, if you don’t want to leave a tip, you are under no obligation to do so.
Reasons for Not Tipping in Live Dealer Games
If your dealer has been friendly as well as helpful in answering your questions, leaving a tip is a good way to reinforce that behavior. But even then, it is not something you absolutely have to do.
According to blackjack expert Stanford Wong, sometimes you can gain the same benefits from a dealer simply by smiling. On the other hand, if your experience playing with a particular dealer was in any way unpleasant, maybe if you don’t tip, your dealer will get the message.
Here are some other justifiable reasons for not tipping.
- The dealer is doing a poor job. For example, if the game is intolerably slow or fast or the dealer makes repeated mistakes, withholding a tip would certainly be reasonable.
- The dealer has a poor attitude. A dealer who has a poor attitude, never smiles, doesn’t join in the conversation, and keeps looking at her watch doesn’t deserve a tip.
- The dealer makes uncalled for derogatory remarks or comments negatively on your play.
Should you also refrain from tipping when losing and limit your tipping in Live Dealer Games to when you are winning?
Live Dealer games tend to have a higher house edge than other versions of the same games you can play in the regular online casino. Excessive tipping of the dealer will therefore eat away at any potential profits faster. This is especially true if you are playing with a limited bankroll, in which case limiting your tipping to when you are winning clearly makes sense.
However, “Wizard of Odds” Michael Shackleford recommends basing your decision to tip or not to tip 2/3 on how friendly and helpful the dealer is and only 1/3 on how much you are winning and losing. He thinks a player should still be tipping in live dealer games even when losing if the dealer made the experience enjoyable.
Keep in mind that if you lose, it is not the dealer’s fault. The situation is analogous to eating in a restaurant and getting very good service but not liking the food. The server isn’t responsible for the taste of the food and the dealer isn’t responsible for the outcome of the game.
Protocol for Tipping in Live Dealer Games
There are multiple ways you can leave a tip for the dealer.
- Place a bet for the dealer next to your own bet and inform the dealer accordingly. Obviously the bet for the dealer should be much smaller than the bet for yourself.
- After winning your bet, give the dealer a tip from your winnings.
- When the dealer leaves on break, give her a tip.
- When you are ready to leave the table, give the dealer a tip.
If you are playing blackjack, keep in mind that if you make a bet for the dealer and you have to put up more money for a double down, split, or both, you need to do likewise for your bet for the dealer.
When you place a bet for the dealer, if the bet wins, the dealer gets the both the bet and the winnings. For example, if you’re playing blackjack and make a $5 bet for the dealer alongside your own $50 bet and win, you get back $100 and the dealer gets $10 for a net profit to you of $45. If the bet loses, you’re out $55 and the dealer gets nothing. However, what I generally do when my dealer bet loses is say “Sorry we didn’t win, but let me give you this instead.” I will then tip the dealer the same amount of my bet for her. That way the dealer won’t get as much if the bet won, but will at least get something and will appreciate the gesture.