tipping in Las Vegas
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Introduction: Tipping in Las Vegas

By now you all should realize that we are proponents of serious money management whenever it comes to gambling. And that translates as knowing exactly, down to the last dime, what your spending is going to be. Simply put, make a list. This way we can all avoid the embarrassment of not having enough dough at the end of the evening for a cab home and a bite to eat. Part and parcel of this rule is to include everything that’s gambling-related onto that list. Things like transportation, meals, and drinks. But one thing many punters miss is the cost of tips.

Add Tips to Your Overall Budget

And it’s these additional costs that many gamblers fail to add on to their gambling budget. But all these relatively small items of expenditure can very quickly add up to a tidy sum of cash. And even more often, they’ll forget to include tipping. It’s as if that’s a bridge too far. If you’re visiting Sin City, then you must understand that it’s a town operating off the backs of the working poor. Traditional service industry jobs just don’t pay, and the difference to bring the wages up to the point where someone can live off them is made up with tips.

Every service worker encounter you have in Las Vegas is in the same situation. As you’re there to gamble playing jackpot games. Or as some might say, throw away your money, then it bodes well if you’re generous with your tips. Keep in mind that every encounter is the chance to turn it into something better. Even a miserly $1 tip can change your relationship from cold to warm. Tipping should be considered par for the course. But if you’re a newbie to Vegas and tipping culture (looking at you Europe!) then here’s a brief guide to ensure that everyone’s happy.

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Tipping in Las Vegas: Table Game Dealers

The first thing to understand is that in Blackjack, Craps and Roulette, you can’t actually place a bet without the supervision of the dealer. And a good dealer can make or break your gambling session. If things are going south, a sympathetic comment or some knowledgeable and kindly advice can help turn your ship around. Remember that these guys and girls have seen and heard it all. They can provide a wealth of information and gambling tips to increase your jackpot winning chances. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation, as this not only validates their existence as more than mere dealing machines but also allows them a means of breaking up what can often be a very boring shift.

tipping in Las Vegas
Always tip in Vegas no matter what

If your blackjack dealer is efficient between hands, then that’ll allow you to play more rounds, thereby increasing your payouts if you’re playing basic strategy. A good roulette dealer will know how to make each session a more streamlined and pleasant feeling. If the same story with the craps stick-men, where a highly coordinated effort is needed from all the dealers to ensure a smooth gambling experience instead of a chaotic mess.

Dealers Want You to Win

You may be under the impression that the dealer, simply because he’s working at the casino, only wants the casino to win. You couldn’t be further from the truth. Keep in mind that all losses go upstairs to the casino’s corporate overlords. The dealer gets his or her’s fixed low wage. There’s nothing in it for them. The dealers want you to win and win big. Why? Well, simply put, a winner is going to tip better than a loser. If you’ve been gambling at the casino for some time, then you’ll know that it’s pretty much standard practice to set aside an amount which is then used to tip the dealer at the end of a session.

Imagine that you hit up the blackjack tables with $100. We would recommend putting a $5 chip to one side before you start. Now, if things go well for you, then feel free to add to that initial tip in increments of $5. So when your session comes to a close, you might have $5 or $20 ready to be given to the hard-working dealer. And if things don’t go well for you, then you still have that initial $5 you put aside at the beginning.

Bet in the Dealers Name

Another way of tipping, that you’ll find in many Las Vegas casinos, is to place a bet in the name of the dealer. Yes, this is a gamble on their part, and they might well end up with nothing. But a dealer will always welcome the thought behind the action of placing a wager for them. Finally, please remember to tip before your dealer’s shift comes to an end. When a new dealer arrives, well, you simply replace the process and start again.

tipping in Las Vegas
A happy dealer means a delightful game

Tipping in Las Vegas: Poker Dealers

The poker room at the casino exists in its own little universe. And even how you tip here is going to be slightly different from the rest of the establishment. On the whole, a layer is going to tip the dealer $1 for every hand won. So, though you might be playing either Texas Hold’em with a $1 to $3 limit, or at a bigger Pot Limit Omaha table for $2 to $5, when your hand is done, then you should always “toke” the dealer at least a couple of dollars. As you probably know, tipping isn’t mandatory. On the whole, you’re tipping for the service, be it good or mediocre. So if the dealer is slow or making mistakes, you don’t have to feel obliged to tip at all.

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But in truth, that’s going to be a rarity in most of today’s casinos. So don’t hold back when it comes to “splashing the pot” with a chip or two.

Tipping in Las Vegas: Cocktail Servers

These are probably some of the most hard-working employees in the casino. So, you should always tip them. Without fail! They are in constant motion between the bar and the players. In many cases, these drinks are on the house, so they’re not costing you a penny. So you’re not actually shelling out for that Jack Daniel’s or Bud Light. Scoring drinks for free is one of the perks of gambling in Las Vegas, and it makes for an even more enjoyable casino experience. So if you’re sat playing jackpot slots, we say you should pay it forward by tipping the waiting staff a minimum of $1 per drink. You can read more about tipping when playing slots here.

Retail Outlet Cashiers

OK…this is where things can get a little more tricky. Many of the shops and outlets within the casino are also non-gambling amenities. Though you’re not going to be interacting with these employees as much as you would at the games table, they are still the same low paid workers who are relying on the generosity of patron. So, whether they’re working in the Starbucks or souvenir shop, don’t be miserly. If you’re uncertain as to how much to tip, then simply saying, “keep the change” is always a good place to start.

tipping in Las Vegas
Tipping and kindness can go a long way – Image source: Flickr


In Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century epic poem, The Divine Comedy, there’s a special level of Hell reserved for people who don’t tip the housekeepers and maids. When you come back to your hotel room after a tiring day at the casino, then there’s nothing quite as welcoming as a tidy room with a freshly made-up bed. Housekeeping works extremely hard to ensure your stay is a pleasant one. Yes, we know that they can sometimes wake you up early, but without them, all casino resorts would come to a grinding halt. So, please show some love. On the whole, we would recommend at least $5 per day. Put the money in an envelope when you’re leaving.

Porters, Bellmen, and Valet Drivers

These are the very first employees that you’ll encounter at the casino resort. If we’re talking about Vegas, then keep in mind that most of the time, they’re standing neatly in order in temperatures of 100+ degrees for most of the day. Though you’re not obliged to use any of their services, we suggest that you don’t hold back, if only for reasons of good karma. Be sure to give at least $5 to show you’re appreciation.

Conclusion: Tipping in Las Vegas

For those new to Las Vegas, tipping can seem like a huge financial add on, that you didn’t budget for. For many gamblers, the casino will end up taking all your cash. So we understand that you might be feeling sore. And the idea of rewarding these staff might make your elbow itch. But you should try and keep in mind the maxim; employees don’t earn a dime from your losing wagers. These low paid workers are the light and life-blood of the gambling industry. Always be empathetic and tip as best you can. Good karma should follow!