Tipping or Betting for the Dealer
by Ralph Stricker
Copyright © 1997 Ralph Stricker
Ralph Stricker was an internationally known blackjack expert. In 1978 he opened one of the first blackjack schools on the East coast. In 1981 he sold the school and has played blackjack professionally. He has appeared on many of the major talk shows throughout the United States. He had his own radio and tv shows for three years. He has also written a book on the playing of Blackjack entitled the Silver Fox Blackjack System “You Can Count On It“. Ralph Stricker passed away in 2012
The age old question of whether to tip or bet for the dealer is always asked of me. My response is, it is up to the individual. You must remember that each and every time you do this, it becomes a percentage of your win or loss result. Let us assume that you are “flat betting” (not varying your bet) and your unit increment is $5.00. Let us also assume that you are playing multiple deck blackjack. The table will usually have 3 or 4 players due to the low minimum table limit. Therefore you will get approximately 60 hands per hour. If you were to only bet/tip $1.00 per hand you would be “giving away” $60.00 per hour. This amounts to 20% of your bankroll.
$1.00 is 20% of $5.00 Therefore you should limit the amount of bets/tips you make.
I recommend not “tipping” the dealers. Instead “make bets” for them. This is done by placing his/her bet in front of your bet. Therefore if you win he/she pays you and the dealer’s bet. Most dealers like this better and many times will root for you to win, knowing that they will make money also. Also when you do this, they know immediately that they have a chance of getting money. If you wait to tip after the playing session, they don’t know that they are getting any remuneration from you. It also may give you some added “benefits” playing the game. The dealer may give you better deck penetration and not selectively shuffle.
I do not mean to imply that one should try to “bribe” the dealer. You must be careful never to be in “cahoots” with a dealer. There have been instances when players and dealers have been in collusion with each other. Such as a dealer paying a push or paying a bust hand. There have also been times when dealers have flashed their hole card to players in order to be paid off outside the casino. This can result in a large fine and jail sentence if caught.
These are my parameters for making bets for the dealer;
- The dealer must be friendly and courteous. (You should also act the same as you expect them to be)
- The dealer must wait for my playing signals and not assume how I am going to play my hand.
- I must be winning.
A little trick at the tables is try to get other people to make bets for the dealers. This usually ingratiates you with dealers.