Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Borgata Summer Open Tragedy

The Borgata Summer Open is finished. It was a great event. It really was. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of people they get playing in their June Events when they are so far away from Vegas and the WSOP is going on.

It truly is a testament to the staff, the facilities, and the product they provide to players.

I have a lot of crazy stories, funny stories, and weird stories. All sorts of things from weird player behavior, to hand histories, to chops.

But what I want to discuss now relates to dealers. So gather around and pull up a chair. Pay attention to what I am about to discuss because its important to us as poker players. You may think the point I am about to make is trivial,, but believe me, when you are grinding it out for 3 days, dealers will have as big an impact on your performance as the retard sitting in seat 5 will as he tries to tilt you.

What I am talking about are dealer tokes. Tournament tokes to be exact.

It has gotten pretty bad recently. I don't know if it's because of the economy or because of the influx of new players who just don't understand the rules. Even though they are told and get suggestions from people like me. It's a shame when the total prize pool is $1.2 million and the dealers get a grand total of $3500 for tips (and a three day event).

The bulk of dealer compensation comes from tips. They are (or should be) a requirement of any winner. And tournament dealing is worse for the day to day dealer because the make so much more dealing ring games.

I can't tell you how many chops I have covered that have included a piece off the top for dealers BEFORE the deal is made. That's when the experienced players are involved. But this time around, it was down right comical. To the point where a guy who cashed for over $80k refused to give a penny, and then lied to me about it saying he did.

It's gotten so bad that the New Jersey gaming commission has enacted a bill stating that the casino will be able to take as much as 3% off the prize pool for dealer tokes. It will largely be up to the Casino to do so, but I know a lot of them in AC are considering at least 1.5%. This bill is effective starting in September.

And if you are wondering, it is usually customary to tip 1.5 to 3% of earnings to the dealers. Usually the lesser earners get a pass and the higher guys negotiate putting in more to cover them. Playing for three days and coming in 9th earning a total of like 2k after your buy-in doesn't make it easy to fork over any more than you have to. This is why experienced players get it.

But let me tell you about some things that went down to highlight my point about how the dealers can effect your play.

When they realize that their pay out is going to be close to nothing, they lose interest. Dealers are there to help the game. They are there to help the players. A good dealer will fire off as many hands as possible to make sure the players get the most out of every round. When they feel slighted, their performance diminishes. And I wouldn't be surprised if it was on purpose.

The overall treatment of dealers by players today is shameful. Some of the things I saw were down right retarded. It was the middle of one deepstack tournament and someone raised. Another player shoved all in and everyone else folded.

While the initial raiser was contemplating his call, some punk who wasn't in the hand started yelling at the dealer. "Pull that in". The dealer just looked at him and didn't say anything. Again he got louder and said in a very demeaning way, "Do your job and pull that in". She shook her head in disagreement and he responded yet again, "You friggin people are atrocious. The worst dealers in the country".

What the idiot didn't know was that the dealer is NOT ALLOWED TO PULL IT IN, unless she is requested by the other player to get a count. Once that happens she then pulls in the two bets and counts out the remaining stack to be called.

If you ever notice (and I know most of you do) when the dealer pulls a pot in throughout a betting hand, it gets piled in the middle. Not stacked up neatly so that you can count whats in the pot. They can't even give you a count of the pot. They can and will spread it out for you to count on your own, but the only count you will ever get is from an opponents stack that has already pushed in. NOT THE POT.

So here is this idiot who is complaining about something that he is completely WRONG about, and is blaming it on the dealer. Not only does it piss off the dealer, and subsequently hurts the rest of the players by doing so, but it holds up the hand. This gives you less play in any given blind round.

The point is... TIP THE FUCKING DEALERS! $3500 for a $1.2 million prize pool is atrocious.

Adam Gerber took 4th place in the Main event. Adam has won several tournaments and has cashed for over a million by doing so. When he went to sign for his money he asked for a calculator. He multiplied his winnings by 2% and gave that amount in a tip. He was the only one to do so.

Everyone else through $50 bucks or so. Some didn't do anything. As a poker player, I was appalled.

Please, pass this on to everyone you know. The old adage, "act like you know" encompasses every part of tournament play. Including knowing how to tip the dealers.

Gawd, I pine for the old days again!


DrChako said...



Shrike said...

Great post. I hate scrooges.


TripJax said...

This helps remind me in case i ever cash in a live tourney. LOL. Thanks man. I appreciate you posting this.

KenP said...

Bah! Humbug!

Well, not really but it did make me post a counterpoint in my blog for the day.

Anonymous said...

Dealers are getting paid by the casino. A tip is just that, a extra offering of monies for a job well done. It should not be mandatory.
I would think that players tipped more than the number you are "reporting" for others to feel sorry for them and to get MORE ...

At what time did it become mandatory to get "tips" -- let's tip based on our preference.

Riggstad said...


Dealers get paid by the casino a much lower wage because it is assumed that they will make more in tips. Cash game dealers make a whole bunch. Probably on average of a $1.50 a pot. And they deal an average of 40 hands an hour. That's not a bad wage, and that's why they deal.

Tournament dealers however do get a higher hourly because the tip ratio is smaller. But they still expect to get 1.5%. When that doesn't happen, they lose.

I did not make that number up. I sat there and watched the dealer toke be counted. They did it at the media table. It was $3500.

I have nothing to gain by making up a number. I'm not a dealer.

I'm only reporting what I saw. And you are right in the sense that a tip is not mandatory. But in September... it will be.

The Wife said...

It's just an interesting conversation, in general . . . even in cash games, I have been at tables where I feel more or less obligated to tip.

I realize, in the service business, there is an expectation of a tip. But since this is a variable amount, I expect to see variations in service, and I tend to pay according to those variations. Even dealers. Ones who speed things along. Help the stragglers. Calm the a-holes. Smile. For god's sake, just smile.

Maybe we need to do it like Europe. Everyone paid a fair wage, tip included. Few extra coins for a job well done, instead of a calculated percentage.

Gorilla said...

To support Riggs..I was there to witness the $3,500 total and I too was appalled.

When I talked to a couple of dealers the next day, I told them the number they were stunned and disgusted.

I added a caveat by saying $3500 was the total as of one hour after the event ended, and that there was a chance the top two prize winners would come correct and add to the tip pool at a later time (as one player did earlier in the BSO).

I don't believe that happened, but miracles and mistakes do happen, so I was holding out hope.

To make matter worse, the top two players from the Main Event were proud of the fact they satellited their way into the tournament. They each paid $360 and the winner took home more than $356,000,000 (less because of the chop, Riggs will have to fill in the specifics).

Even if the winner nets half of that, accounts for taxes and has $100,000 free and clear, the tip (based on 2%) should be $2,000.

This guy tipped (as far as we know) zero, nada, zip, zilch, $0...which is a true crime.

His tip should've been more than half of the meager amount actually collected.

When the winner was at the cage, I asked him to return to the media area so we could do a quick video interview that we'd post it to the web. (Something we did with almost every Event winner at the BSO).

The reason we wait to do a more in depth interview with all players that cash, is so that we don't interfere with the tipping process. We don't want to be a distraction as players are filling out the paper work, collecting their money from the cage, or depositing in the toke box.

This guy ( said he would return to do the interview, but never showed.

One possible reason? Let's just say the toke box was on the final table a few feet away from media row.

Wolfshead said...

You're appalled. I learned long ago to appreciate a good dealer. They can speed the game along and make it a much better experience. I don't play in the high level tourneys but I usually tip 10% of the first $500 and 5% after that. The prize pools in the $50-200 tourneys aren't always that great and the dealer usually puts in a couple of hours tho many casinos in AC seem to rotate the dealers between tourney and ring games in their daily tourneys

i twice saw what you were talking about. In a tourney I chopped, both of us taking over a grand the other guy dumped about $13 in the pot. In another I walked over to watch the h2h at the end and saw the tip box. Now admittedly the money is concentrated in the top spots but 12 got paid and the other 10 had put in about $25. In the daily tourneys there are usually anywhere from 6-10 dealers going for a couple hours at least. $25 don't stretch too far.