To Tip or Not to Tip the World Series of Poker Dealer

Written by:
Ace King
Published on:

PartyPoker ambassador Patrick Leonard asks via Twitter: "You win the WSOP Main Event for $10,000,000 and have 56% of yourself. How much do you tip? 2.025% of the prize-pool was withheld for staff ($1,754,257) outside of the rake ($4,093,267)?"


By late Wednesday more than 450 individuals had responded.

Quite a few of the respondents offered up just one word: "Zero".

Other participants went into greater detail.  Depending on your point of view, there is no "correct" answer per se, but plenty of thought provoking conversation. 

The Goon Squad offered this:

"They took 6 million out of the prize pool, contribute nothing from sponsorships and ad revenue to the prize pool. I would tip individual dealers, or possibly a 1% kind of thing. 5% or more is insane."

From Patrick Gillespie:

"0.5% when they take from the prize pool from the winner only, 2% in tourneys 1k or more with no tips taken, 3% in tourneys below."

Brian Metzger offered this:

"One idea - with such large payout, $65 per hour of length of tournament (I think I heard from someone that is the high end hourly pay average of dealers during WSOP). That way, you give back in gratuity the full cost of the dealers serving the table during the event."

Matt writes:

"I normally tip quite well in these situations but the WSOP is now gouging players at a unbelievable rake. I suppose I would tip 100k tops."

Chris Jones:

"I'd be curious how many of the people saying '0' live outside the US. I don't like how much of a tip culture we have here, but it's the way it is compared to the rest of the world. Many people need tips to earn a living wage. (I'd tip 1%)."

JoeyBallCap questioned which of the dealers should be tipped:

"I never understood who you’re actually tipping? So you’re only tipping the last dealer, after playing for 12 days. I guess I’m going to find the dealer that dealt me the biggest suck out and tip them."

BDShadow86 responded to JoeyBallCap:

"p3.. this is why most poker dealer would prefer a cash game down to a tournament down, as they’d like to make a living wage from dealing. The WSOP dealers do it for the experience, most shack up 5-8 in a house. 5.6m*.6(taxes) = 3.36m I’m tipping 360K."

He added: "Tournament tips are pooled, the way it goes is the tip pool is divided by the number of ‘downs’ dealt then each dealer is paid X*downs they dealt. So if a dealer dealt 100 downs at $1 each they get $100 for 12 days of dealing, or about $2/hr. The last dealer doesn’t get more…"

And how do the dealers feel?

Vanessa Kade asked: "What do you do here pads? I wondered the same about this earlier this year, but thought the point of withholding 2-3% of the prize pool was to circumvent tipping. Dealers, how do you feel about it when there's $ withheld?"

Tj49872474 offered his own personal experience:

"My old poker room manager used to take the lion share of it for bonuses for himself and the floor staff and the dealers would get about 20 percent of what was left so I personally hated it. His reasoning was dealers made during cash games so he had to even the field."

Leonard also tweeted to the dealers.

Matthew McDowell responded:

"My base is 1% but I usually like to do 2-3% it looks like they already took out 2% tho so I would likely just go with 1% in this scenario. The people saying 0 have obviously never had to pay their bills dealing poker. I spent almost 5 years dealing before full time poker."

Kim Stone suggested the following:

"With more people leaning towards zero, the rake will continue to increase. You can say that Caesar’s should pay the staff themselves, and they will. They will just rake you more to do it."

Or just play in Sweden, according to Oliver Nilsson:

"Sweden is the best place in the world when it comes to this! It's forbidden to tip dealers in our casinos. It's driven by a company that is connected to the state (monopoly on landbased gambling). Obviously the dealers get better paid but rake is still only roughly 10% for 1k$s."

- Ace King,