How Jesus Helped Jerry Yang Stiff the Dealers

by , Jul 18, 2007 | 7:37 pm

LAS VEGAS–The WSOP dealers, as mentioned before, were wanting to see Jerry Yang win for the sake of a bigger tip. He couldn’t have had a reputation as a big tipper — because as a guy playing in his first WSOP and with no noted accomplishments high-stakes or otherwise, how could they know? Perhaps they saw him as a mark … an inexperienced player who had already committed 10 percent of his winnings to charity might be easily persuaded to “give a little back,” if you know what I’m sayin’.

Not sure what Yang’s intentions were as he walked into the payouts room … but Chris Ferguson reportedly joined him — not because he was invited, but because he was a Full Tilt guy looking after a Full Tilt player. When the payout ladies asked what he would like to leave for the dealers, Ferguson supposedly informed him that he had already given 2 percent. Nolan Dalla corrected him, saying, “Actually it’s 1.8 percent.” [Ed. Note: Inaccurate as originally reported. We regret/apologize for the error lazy journalism.]

At that point Ferguson pointed out what that came out to — $148,500 by my calculations, but not certain that’s the number he cited — and said, according to a mostly reliable source who was in the payouts room, “So I recommend zero.”

And so that’s what Yang left — either $148,500ish or $0, depending on how you look at it.

The dealers were a bit pissed — probably moreso because they had their high hopes yanked from under them (just like they did last year when rumors circulated that Jamie Gold was going to tip $1 million) than because of the actual dollars in play. From any extra tips left at the WSOP, 30 percent goes to the floor staff, and 70 percent is distributed to dealers based on the number of “downs” they put in. Though I may need to doublecheck the math — Chris Ferguson is better at math than I am — a tip of, say, an additional $100k would’ve meant anywhere between an extra $250 and $500 for main event dealers.

Regardless of how the exact numbers work out, it brings up a very fair issue for discussion about how to handle tipping of big tournament wins. Harrah’s, after all, does indeed take out money to guarantee that WSOP dealers can earn a fair wage. But does that mean it should be left up to the “kinder” players to subsidize their income. I know a lot of pros would rather have tournament officials deduct a higher percentage, and then attempt to enforce a no-tipping policy.

Of course you can’t stop someone from finding a person who provided them excellent service and rivers and giving them a little something extra. And a few pros seem to be aware of this.

Second-place finisher Tuan Lam, for example, reportedly went around to floor staff, dealers, and crew to give them direct tips in cash. In the neighborhood of $200. Of all these tokes he may or may not have spread around, it’s hard to know how many of them actually made it into the official shared tournament tipping pool, and how many went directly into the pockets of temporary employees who felt they had it coming to them.

62 Comments to “How Jesus Helped Jerry Yang Stiff the Dealers”

  1. Ed

    Let me just say…if I won the event those dealers would never forget the name “Ed”.

  2. DanM

    But some might argue that by not recognizing the business math in play, that’s why you will never win.

  3. DanM

    By the way, Gutshot has a good picture of Yang showing his appreciation to the dealer who gave him the runner-runner win:

    Seems rather sincere, no?

  4. uncle ray

    1) I always tip less to people that have their hand out expecting extra (or asking for extra)

    2) If Dan’s math is right, that an added 100K is from 250-500 per dealer more, then the ~150K already taken from his payout paid each dealer an extra 375-750. What more do they want?

    I know dealing isn’t easy, especially at an event like this, but I’m thinking that taking money (a signifcant amount) out of the paycheck of the winners is sufficient.

  5. DanM

    They see the tip totals as for 11 days of work. But keep in mind, other tips from other money finishers in the main event are added into the pool, so it doesn’t fall completely on the winner. After all, the winner’s share of the total prize pool is only 14 percent.

    Tournament dealers are guaranteed $25 a down. A down lasts a half-hour … but they don’t get credit for 10-12 hour days even if they have to be “on call” for that period of time. Dealers I spoke to admitted they would be happy if it came out, with tip, to $30 a down, but then when we kept talking, that number would sometimes go up to $40 a down — which obviously would make for a more joyous WSOP score.

  6. Enrique Rios

    Quoted from a 2+2 post:
    “Every year it seems like there’s drama about what someone tipped or didn’t tip.

    Ferguson simply pointed out that he already had $150,000 taken out of his prize for the dealers. That seems like important information. When they ask you if you want to leave a tip, I don’t think they say, “You’ve already tipped $150,000, would you like to leave anything more than that?”

    If someone told me that the guy won $8 million and left a $150,000 tip for the dealers, I would think that sounded like a nice tip. I’m certainly not going to think less of the guy because the tip was automatically deducted.

    If I go to a restaurant and they automatically add an 18% tip onto the check, and that’s all we leave, I think it would be pretty lame to claim we “stiffed” the waitress. Yet that’s the title of this post.”

  7. itsoverjonny

    While it has long been customary for winners to add some compensation to the dealers’ collective pockets, this is one event where I would feel completely justified in not contributing anything extra. At the risk of angering my many dealer friends, the Main Event is a different animal. Harrah’s has already skimmed about $1.15 Million from the prize pool for “dealers and staff” on an eleven-day event. That’s a cool $100k per day – how much more should the winners be expected to give up? That money is in addition to the almost $2.7MM that Harrah’s claimed for its own coffers. How about they just reallocate the “skim” a little more in the favor of the kiddos in the funny vests? Or better yet, cut them in on a piece of the pay-per-view cheese or the dozens of other profit centers that the WSOP creates. Am I the only one that thinks that it is absurd that Harrah’s benefits from that cash-cow known as the WSOP without doing ANYTHING monetary for the players, and instead CHARGING the players while the company prints money? Harrah’s is a smart company. The first thing they did when they bought the WSOP was to move it from the springtime to the heart of the summer, which is traditionally a slow time in Vegas. Bada-Bing, suddenly they have six weeks of improved hotel occupancy, increased food and beverage revenues, round-the-clock poker live game drops, and of course increased casino action. Oh, and with the increased corporate sponsorship of the WSOP under the direction of Mr. Pollack, did Harrah’s cut the players any break on the rake/juice or pay the dealers more? Of course not. With all of that “new” money the last couple of years from PartyPoker, Milwaukee’s Best Light, Hershey, U.S. Playing Card Company, Planters Nuts, etc., how much of the “savings” in the “cost” of running the Main Event were passed along to the players? Oh wait, the juice was still 6%. And don’t forget the WSOP video games whatever Hard-On medication ponied up this year. Oh, and lest we forget, if we exclude those pseudo-bracelet events last year that started after the Main Event, there were SIXTEEN more events this year than last. I’m sure those didn’t generate any new revenue either.

    Of course, nothing will change – the players will still flock to Vegas every summer, and the dealers will still blame the players for not tipping enough, but let’s face it – there’s only one party being greedy here.

  8. itsoverjonny

    One other angle to consider: EVERY SINGLE PLAYER that entered the Main Event tipped the dealers and staff to the tune $180.00.


  9. DanM

    ***The first thing they did when they bought the WSOP was to move it from the springtime to the heart of the summer,***

    Point of order: Harrah’s is in the process of moving it back to the traditional springtime. That’s why it ran a month earlier this year, and expect it to run even earlier in 2008, and earlier again, in 2009 — when it will be held somewhere other than the Rio.

    So they currently aren’t trying to play that game … though the intent was probably there in 2005, before they realized that sticking to the traditional springtime would be more profitable in the long run.

  10. Nolan Dalla

    I was with WSOP champion Jerry Yang the entire time of his post-tournament parage of media and payout.

    I did not ever discuss the tipping issue with Jerry Yang personally, nor anyone else. The report above about me correcting the 2 percent to 1.8 takeout is not accurate.

    I was inside the payout room when Mr. Ferguson was discussing the matter of tipping. However, I stayed out of the discussion as it is not my place to comment or influence his decision.

    This report is inaccurate so far as my involvement.

    — Nolan Dalla

  11. Johnnie Walker

    History seems to be repeating itself once again…

    I’m sure some of us remember the Huxley article where a professional player ( name withheld) advised Hachem on what to tip as well.. much to many people’s dismay.

    I really don’t have much of an opinion either way except this would be much less of an issue if Harrah’s was a bigger “Tipper” to the dealers as well.

  12. Scott Chaffin

    I regret not mentioning earlier that this is Year Two or Three for me hearing the dealer rumors that Big Winner Joe Schmoe is a grand tipper. Sounds mostly like wish fulfillment to me.

    I say this as a ridiculous over-tipper who values good dealers highly, but is ever-cognizant of the rake, and the fact that this is a nation where you’re not forced at gunpoint to deal poker to a bunch of cash-hungy degenerates in order to put some gruel on the chipped formica dinette.

  13. beelzebubba

    F*CK the dealers and Harrahs greedy sons of bitches, they get more than their fair share in addition to whatever they steal or scam. Notice how the valet was always full except if you offered them a 10 spot then its “yessir” leave the keys on the dash. or line too long to play give em 10 bucks and proceed to cage get your chips and bingo”you are next” or ever notice how at every push the dealers tray was off by at least $10? pleeease they deserve nothing they are all coming up.They deserve less than they get.Thats why they are all temps.Don’t get me started on Harrah’sthey get 3rd place money for screwing everything up, from bad structure to commercializing every single thing to the enth degree.

  14. RakeKiller

    It is preposterous that the WSOP staff doesn’t mention the already contributed tip amount before asking for more.

    What is the mood of the dealers on how they were treated this year compared to last?
    Was there a guarantee last year?

  15. DanM

    All good points. Overall, the dealer situation was clearly improved this year. The non-shared tipping in cash games was a huge improvement.

    But I am not sure about the specifics of changes to tournament tipping. I know we have a few dealer readers out there. Perhaps they’ll be able to pipe in with their take on 2007 vs. 2006.

    A general consensus I heard from first-time dealers this year was that working the WSOP was the most fun they never want to have again.

  16. My2cents

    I don’t even see the need to tip poker dealers. Its a huge scam.

  17. michele lewis

    In past years of the WSOP players would generally tip around 2% and the reason the pros are against the tipping is because that is the amount (roughly) Harrah’s is taking out to tip the dealers.

    The amount Harrahs takes for the dealers ensures that all winners are to tip. It’s really rude to ask for a gift/tip in the first place but to receive the traditional tip and yet ask for more is just plain greedy.

    It is the players responsibility to review the rake before registration.

    Furthermore, I tipped 5% on top of Harrah’s wack last year (mainly due to ignorance)and I never received a thank you note.

  18. DanM

    The 2+2ers have some good stuff to say, including Shaniac:

    When they cash you out, they ask, “would you like to leave anything extra for the dealers?” For my part, I said “no” but distributed about 1% of my win to a few different floor people and staff who I thought were undertaking the uphill task of actually working hard to make the tournaments better.

  19. Laurie

    I am actually offended by the implication that I saw Jerry as an easy mark! I also NEVER said that the dealers were guaranteed $25 a down, and as for guessing what my final pay per down will be, well ya know what,I only want to be able to pay my bills and get to the next event and take care of my son, so I just go by rumors and hope for the best. I am going to just paste my post from 2+2 and leave it at that. No one ever stated to me that Jerry was a huge tipper, I just simply liked him because he is a kind man with a good heart and I watched and dealt to him while he went from the short stack on sunday to the unstoppable force. Y’all can just keep bashing us dealers and maybe if y’all are lucky, the great dealers will continue to put up with it so you dont have to get 4 card flops, rolling decks and dealers with no clue how to deal omaha 8/b.

    My post from 2+2:

    Hello all. Im stopping by here first to clear a few things up then i will be posting on pokerati. I am the dealer that put out the last hand. I was in the payout room with Jerry as a representative for the dealers. I do not know if chris was invited or not but that is beside the point. First I want to say that Jerry is a wonderfull, big hearted man that played a great tourney for somebody that has only been playing for 2 years. HE DID NOT STIFF US! He was misled and didnt know any better. A stiff is someone who knows all the facts and refuses to toke and wont even say thank you. Next, we do not get paid by the hour this year, we get paid by downs (each table we deal), we do get an hourly $6.41 from harrahs. As for the main this year, 1.8% was withheld for the staff, which i might add is the smallest we have been given in years. It is split 30% to the Floor staff and its supposed to be 70% for the dealers but i have heard that a chunk of that is going to the chip runners and cashiers….dont quote me on that cuz i dont know for a fact. Now We started the main this year with over 700 dealers and that was too many in my opinion because they were getting very little downs per day and having forced days off. We are NOT garunteed $25 a down, Dan misunderstood me when I was explaining to him what we have been averageing this year. Now I am not good at math without chips and cards infront of me but everything that goes into the toke pool must be shared between all dealers for that 11 days and going by CF’s number that he stated in the payout room to Jerry means that we should only recieve $214 for 11 days of work? Hmmm that doesnt sound to good to me.

    As for what happened last night, Jerry trusted CF to give him very sound advice because he has never won anything like this before. The issue I have is when the payout clerk asked Jerry if he would like to leave anything ADDITIONAL (yes that is how it was stated) for the dealers, Jerry looked to chris and asked What he should do. CF Told him that the dealers already get 2%, he was then corrected by someone in the room with us that its 1.8%, so CF goes on to say that “It works out to be around 170K that you have already tipped them so no, I would not leave anything more.” It Was very wrong of CF to state it in that manner because he was flat out misleading. I stood there smiling, waited for Jerry to finish signing his paperwork then hugged and congratulated him once more, very sincerly. Of course i was pissed, not that Jerry declined to tip but that CF was giving him great advice on everything else but was completely wrong when it came to the dealers. I couldn’t say anything because that would be considered soliciting. I just wish that he would have been properly informed and if then he declined, I am perfectly fine with that. Yes we make good money for what we do and unfortunately there are some greedy ones in the bunch. Alot of you out there calling me greedy need to understand that because i choose to work the circuit for harrahs and travel with them, I have to pay all my own expenses, my own health care and we only work about 2 weeks every month. We depend on the WSOP to make up for the rest of the year to keep us all fed till January. This 45 days of hard work is atleast 2/3 of most of our incomes. Now I believe that harrahs with the huge vig every event should be the ones responsible for giving us a bigger chunk and I think that tipping is a very personal thing that should be left to every individual to decide on and not bitter players who wish to bash us “greedy sons of…”. I for one dont expect anything that i have not earned but I always appreciate a thank you for a job well done and that doesnt have to be in the form of cash and last night it was in the form of a huge hug. I love my job even with the ups and downs and honestly, This years WSOP was a great time for me. So hopefully this rambling clears up a few things and starts alot more discussions on how things can be done even better next year for all involved.

  20. DocJohn

    I think to an ordinary Joe Poker like most of us, even a big win doesn’t diminish the size of a number like $100,000. I’m sure we’d feel a little different, one way or any other, after a good night’s sleep and the impact of it all had sunk in. I would not want to have to make a decision about a hundred thousand dollars on the spur of the moment, because I can’t imagine as an amateur how to make a decision like that. You don’t buy a BMW on impulse if you’ve been driving a Ford. After winning the Big One you must be about brain dead, like coming off a two day speed run. I would say that no new guy to the game, no matter how fortunate and skillful the win, should be pressed to start passing out money. I’m just thinking that this year, probably more than any other, the winner could have been any of a number of guys I’ve played with, including some of you folks who do such a great job on this website. Every dog has his day. I am a big tipper in my underground home game, but on this one I have to side with Joe Poker and say it’s his money, his moment, and cut the guy some slack.

  21. DanM

    Laurie, thanks for clarifying some of the numbers issues. That $25-a-down figure came from others than just you, however. I didn’t realize it was a sum-total average being referred to.

    By the way, I didn’t intend to reveal that you were (one of) my super-secret inside source(s). But glad you were willing to say so … as now I can tell people about the prop bet you turned down:

    Laurie might not want people to know this, but when she found out she would be dealing the final table, her friends and colleagues started pooling money to pay her for an intentional goof. Everything’s got its price, after all, right? What started as an offer of a few hundred dollars grew to $3,000 to deal out a four-card flop on ESPN … but she declined.

    I dunno … $3k is a lot of money. And four-card flops can be pretty dern funny. Also woulda helped the tournament director on duty get a little extra airtime. Maybe you should reconsider?

  22. DanM

    Also by the way, since we seem to be into clarifying misreported “facts” here, might as well specify that it wasn’t Tuan Lam giving out private tokes to various members of the final table crew … it was his brother or cousin or at least one of his primary sweaters.

    Lam did tip on top of that, into the official tip pool. Not surprising, because he was a former dealer … and dealers almost always overtip other dealers. It’s like a secret handshake to them or something.

  23. Randy H

    If you leave an additional tip for the dealers, is that amount deducted from your W-2G?

  24. olivert

    Randy H. asked:

    [i]If you leave an additional tip for the dealers, is that amount deducted from your W-2G?[/i]

    The answer is NO.

    When I came in 21st in the $1K Stud H/L event, I chose to leave $106 extra (as a “protection fee” to make sure that the dealer community will NOT label me a stiff) so that my take home check would be an even $5000.

    My W2G still has the $5106 amount.

    I was hired by Jerry Yang as his agent on Monday afternoon and I got Jerry the deal on very short notice, literally minutes before the ESPN interview.

    I was also the one who authorized Chris Ferguson to be present in the payout office.

    Chris was acting in good faith as a former world champion who wanted to look after a fellow world champion. He was NOT acting as a representative of

  25. J.E.H.

    Not to demean the “45 days of hard work” that dealers put in on the WSOP circuit, but if you make 2/3 of your annual income in a month and a half of work days, there are a lot of joe-six-pack workaday stiffs who consider that a windfall. If you want 45 days of HARD work, go work a crab boat in the Bering Sea. Sitting on your butt for 45 days dealing cards in an air-conditioned room may be tedious, but it’s not hard. Fishing for crab in subzero weather on the pitching ocean seas for weeks on end with little to no sleep, that’s hard work.

    I agree with the poster above, the tipping culture in Vegas has really become grotesque lately. It’s devolved to third-world standards.

  26. Sodapop

    i know dealing is easy that anyone can do it if they learn how to, but to become a good dearler is hard… you can say theres no need for a dealer like.. if you are playing your 25/50 CENTS homegames.. or APLs. but if you want to keep the game straight, pots right, game moving smoothly, you need us. we dont expect big tips every hand, we rather you give us 2 dollars a pop than 5 dollars every 10th hand. and since the main event’s big winner only actually tips “once” outta how many ever hands he played during this whole event, if those dealers kinda expecting a little more.. you can blame them for it. BUT if theres already a deduction from the prize pool that goes to the dealers and floor, players generally dont tip extra, so its kinda a risk you are taking… tip a garauteed percentage or.. “up-to-the-player-percetage” and of course for that fucker Jamie Gold. you know which method you should use.

  27. Michele Lewis

    BTW – Dan, do you have it out for Full Tilt?

    and…FYI – I know that all dealers don’t expect to have a huge tip at the end. In fact, I never heard a dealer complain this year…only players gossiping.

  28. DanM

    Michele, definitely don’t have it out for Full Tilt. In fact, I like a lot of those guys, even the ones I am writing about. Just sharing observations made as I tried to learn a little more about how the off-the-table money works. With Party and so many others gone, and PokerStars apparently playing a different game, Full Tilt people just happened to be the most active/noticeable.

    As to dealers … they all go to the dealers’ smoking porch and/or Ellis Island to do their griping.

  29. Laurie

    I just want to add that I never expected ANYTHING from Jerry. I got my thank you from him and it was priceless. I may have put my ass out there for Jack to kick out the door, but ya know what,it was a helluva ride this year and I had a blast! I truely believe that since we now have the Players Advisory Board, there needs to be a dealer representative voted in or appointed to this group. We have earned the right to have a voice and to be able to bring some great ideas to the table. It can only help and make the coming events even better.

    PS…..Your Thank you card i sin the mail ML :O)

  30. Sabyl

    Laurie writes:
    “I truely believe that since we now have the Players Advisory Board, there needs to be a dealer representative voted in or appointed to this group. We have earned the right to have a voice and to be able to bring some great ideas to the table. It can only help and make the coming events even better.”

    I think that would be a good idea actually. I also think there is a problem with a system where a decent amount of the prizepool is withheld as fees and tips, but where the dealers may not be sufficiently taken care of. I like the idea of the dealers already being taken care of because that means I don’t have to think on the fly about how much is appropriate to give while still making sure as a professional gambler that I am not giving up so much expectation that I can no longer make a profit as a player. There is a lot of misinformation on how much the dealers actually receive. I would feel better knowing no matter what I decide regarding extra tips that the dealers are taken care of.

    But there are other concerns for the dealers as well. I was appalled to hear that dealers couldn’t keep a bottle of water with them out in the pavilion when there was no air conditioning. That is a health risk IMO. The fact that many of the chairs couldn’t be adjusted was also a problem. I also heard a rumor, so no idea if it is true or not, that the original closing date for dealer applications was not honored. So some experienced dealers who arrived in Vegas to apply before the originally announced closing date were turned away and dealers who applied early but had no real experience were hired instead.

    As a player I appreciate competent dealers. And there were some very good dealers at this WSOP, just as there were some really bad ones. But if dealers had a voice and if their conditions were improved overall, that would be a win for the players because morale would be higher and the best dealers will want to work the series.

    As another aside, anonymous tipping might be best. I don’t like the fact that this headline can exist. Whether to tip and how much one tips is a personal decision and while the general state of tipping and dealer wages is appropriate for discussion I don’t like the idea of singling out individuals as good or bad tippers.

  31. 85nutz

    Okay, I would like to give a point of view from another WSOP dealer, one that didn’t get to deal the final table of the main event or any other event because of my ‘rookie’ status, or so I was told (turns out it didn’t matter if you were a rookie just so long as the right floor person liked you, you were in).

    To start I would like to clarify some of the math. There were 6358 players in this year’s main event who each contributed $180 of their $10,000 entry to the tip pool. 70% of this $180 ($126) goes to the dealers the other 30% goes to the ‘staff.’ This brings the dealers total tip pool to $801,108. I’m not sure exactly how many dealers worked the main event but the number is roughly 700. If the pool were to be divided evenly among all the dealers regardless of their time spent actually dealing it would work out to about $1145 per dealer. Sounds pretty good right? Well to make the math easy lets bump the number up to $1155 per dealer. For 11 days of work that means each dealer made about $105 a day and most dealers worked somewhere between 8 and 12 hours (we’ll say 10 to make the math easy again) about $10.50 an hour. How does that $1145 sound now? $10.50 and hour at a 40 hour a week job comes out to just under $22k a year before taxes. Last time I heard, anyone making under $20k a year was considered living in poverty and could qualify for ‘government aid.’ I’m not trying to create any false impressions that we dealers do not make a decent living. If it wasn’t a decent living there wouldn’t be any good dealers. Unfortunately because of how tournaments work the bad dealers get just as much per down as the good ones even if they only get out 8 hands in their thirty minutes compared to the 15 the good dealer gets out. It will probably turn out that the amount each dealer gets paid ‘per down’ (every half hour of dealing) will be more than $10.50 which means more than $20 per hour. This will be because of the generosity of those who we’re able to make a little return on their investment. Remember every player contributed their $180, or $126 rather, share to the dealers, even the guy that busted out in the first level on the first day. He didn’t get dealt in the other hundreds of hands that the winners did. To give you a rough idea of exactly how many hands the final table participants were dealt we can do a little more math. The average dealer probably gets out around 25 hands an hour (20 for the bad dealers, 30 for the good ones). Each day of the main event lasted more than 12 hours but this includes breaks and dinner and table moves and so forth. If you knock that down to 10 hours of actual card playing per day that’s 250 hands per day which is 1750 hands for 7 days of play. This is the primary reason the winners are expected to tip. If enough money was taken out of the original buy in to pay the dealers a decent wage the guy who was dealt 100 hands would be paying the same to the dealers as the guy who was dealt 1700. I don’t know about you but that doesn’t make much sense to me. The amount taken from the buy in is to ensure that the dealers get some compensation, the rest is up to you the player.

  32. donkey

    I haven’t read some of these comments cuz everyone is writing a freaking chapter about this subject, so this may or may not relate to what everyone is talking about. I know when I ran a poker room (in a casino), dealers were making $500-$800 on tips on a weekend night. The avg is around $300 for weeknights, but that’s still pretty high. I think dealers, in general, are getting accustomed to their high society life with the tips they are making. So their expectations are higher the more money they make, and they whine and bitch when the tips are below standards. I hear people bitch when they get a $500 tips for dealing a $20k badbeat

  33. Laurie

    I am very sorry that you were not chosen to deal the espn tables. I do take offense to your comment that I am only there because I know the right floor person. Who is that exactly? I have been traveling with the WSOP since the very first event in San Diego 2005. Yes I know pretty much every floor person in that room and i have made a point to always leave a great impression with them. I have worked long, hard, and have taken both good and bad criticism to heart to help me to become who I am professionally today. The dealers were chosen in part by ESPN and Sue Phillips. Most of us have worked for ESPN/WSOP in the past years, so we have first choice. I hope you dont take this the wrong way but, keep working on becoming the best of the best and the perfect employee and you will earn your place.
    As for this tipping issue, the players are NOT expected to toke us at all. In our line of work, alot of us have become almost snobish because of the money we sometimes make. You need to put it into perspective here, we get paid very well for a realativly easy job. Even if the downs turn out to be $15 each, thats still 36.41 an hour and believe me, the guy flipping burgers at McDonalds would kill for your spot. We are employed by Harrahs, not the poker players, so it is Harrahs responsibility to ensure that we are fairly compensated. When we deliver the best service that we possibly can, thats when the Gratuity comes in. The more you “expect” to get toked, the less you will recieve. We all chose this job over a full time position for various reasons. I personally enjoy traveling and working part time. There are no guarantees on the road.

  34. itsoverjonny

    Bravo, Laurie. It’s not the responsibility of the players to compensate the dealers. If the dealers feel they aren’t adequately compensated, then they have an issue with their EMPLOYER, NOT WITH THEIR CUSTOMERS.

    And to 85nutz, are you to have us believe by the math you presented that the 1.8% withheld from the prize pool is the SOLE source of compensation for Main Event dealers? I think not.

    I’m tired of the whining. You knew what the job paid when you took it. If you had some expectation of making significantly more because of an expected windfall from tournament winners dressed as White Knights, then you have only yourself to blame.

  35. JP

    Q. What is the minimum wage in Nevada?

    A. Minimum wage in Nevada is $5.15 per hour with insurance and $6.15 per hour without insurance.

    Q. I’m a tipped employee. Can my employer pay me less than minimum wage?

    A. NO! In Nevada, tips may not be applied as credit toward the payment of the statutory minimum wage.

  36. Chris Rebuy

    Randy H. asked:

    If you leave an additional tip for the dealers, is that amount deducted from your W-2G?

    The amount is not deducted from your W-2G, but you can claim it as an expense. Hotels, limos, airfare, and other gambling “expenses” can be itemized and deducted from your tax return for that year.

    Unfortunately, just because you donked off 100K in ’06 doesn’t mean you get to apply it to ’07. You can only apply gambling losses and gambling expenses for that year.

    So if I win big and you see me digging around the loose scraps of paper at the sportsbook, it’s not because I dumped my winnings at the craps table… it’s because I’m looking for losing tickets to apply against my winnings! 🙂

    Check with your tax professional, or ask one of the pros who will surely be hovering over your win. Just don’t ask CF, or he might tell you something along the lines of “you already paid sales tax.”

  37. angusT

    Give me a break.
    Until there is full disclosure, any figures thrown around are either speculation or propaganda.
    Conveniently omitting mentioning the cash game tips you pocketed during the 11 days of the ME.
    Or the money from the secondary (non-bracelet) tournaments that ran parallel to the ME.

    Simple. Have Harrah’s publish the figures. Downs. Hours. Tips. “Top dealer”, “Average Dealer”, and the “Median Dealer”. So the tournament players can decide for themselves if “something additional” needs to be contributed.

    But the first ones to scream will be the dealers.

  38. TheActorTony

    I think the dealers do a heck of a job during the WSOP and have to put in a lot of time aside from their actual down time to keep everything running smoothly. I’m sure they can’t get to the Rio at 8:55 and start their down at 9. At the celeb charity event for example, all the dealers were sitting there at their tables for over an hour while the celebrities all hugged each other and took pictures and all that. I doubt they got anything for that wasted hour. They may be making a little more than McWage but they deserve more than they currently earn.

  39. 85nutz

    I think I was misunderstood a little bit. Laurie, I was not referring to you when talking about dealing final tables. I actually don’t think we ever met but I’m sure you are an exceptional dealer and you have put in more than your fair share of dues over the years and deserve the final table time. I am referring to other ‘first year’ dealers who somehow seemed to get picked to deal the better tournaments down to and including non-tv final tables, these same dealers also seemed to somehow never wind up in the live games where the tipping was generally horrible (especially high limit games which baffles my mind but that’s for a later discussion).

    Secondly, I think I may have used a bad choice of words at the end of my post. When I said “This is the primary reason the winners are expected to tip.” If you know me and have ever talked with me about players tipping you know I never ‘expect’ a tip from anybody. It is the players’ money and any tip they decided to give me I greatly appreciate, it’s those tips that pay my bills and keep me out of the soup kitchens and for that I am very grateful.

    Now to address some specific points, first Mr. Angus; I’m all for your idea. Let’s make it all public knowledge. As a matter of fact the dealers this year requested that we have a representative (one of the dealers) who would review this exact information to ensure the dealers were not getting screwed by Harrah’s but we were denied. I would also like to point out that a smaller percentage was taken out of the “second chance” tournaments that ran every evening of the main event however the downs for these dealers are lumped in with the downs of the main event dealers, and they receive the same amount per down. The downs were divided up on a weekly basis, not per tournament basis, or so I was led to believe, I can’t check for myself because Harrah’s keeps that info secret. As for the cash games as the series wound down there were so many dealers looking for work that you were lucky if you got 4 hours of actual dealing time in an 8 or 10 hour day. Three times I was told to come in at 4 only to be told to come back at 6 because there were not enough games going for the number of dealers working. I wasn’t allowed to leave, I had to sit in the break room or employee dining room making 6.15 an hour and getting taxed by the state of Nevada at a rate of $18.00 per hour. Yes you can look it up. This bring up the second point I want to address, itsoverjohnny; I might have had high expectations when I arrived here in Vegas but those expectations were dashed the first time I pushed a 6k pot to a high limit player only to receive $0 in return. I didn’t even flinch and moved right on to the next hand. I would like to point out as a side not that it’s pretty sad when the 4-8 limit players are better tippers than the 100-200 no limit players. As for the 70% of the 1.8% being the only compensation the dealers receive, I’m not 100% sure that it’s not, other than gratuity, again I am not allowed to see the numbers. You know my background; they might be scared to show someone with my knowledge those numbers because I might be able to figure out exactly how they are screwing us. It would not surprise me one bit to find out that our 6.15 an hour wage was taken out of the 1.8%. You stated yourself that Harrah’s is the only really greedy one in this equation, would it surprise you?

    To sum things up, I am very grateful for the tips I have received no matter what the amount. If I could give some advise to other players, if you feel a dealer is doing a good job, better than average, show them by giving them an extra few dollars, if you feel their not doing a good job, show them by not tipping, the same way you show your friendly neighborhood bartender. I work very hard to be the best that I can at my job, is it wrong to expect a little more than the lazy dealers?

  40. BJ Nemeth

    I just wanted to add a few (not-so-quick) comments.

    1. Laurie is a great dealer whom I first worked with over a year ago (18-24 months?). It’s always a pleasure to see her working a final table — she knows her stuff and takes pride in her work.

    2. If I finished in the money, I would definitely have left an additional tip, with full knowledge of the terms of the rake. I worked with several new dealers this year, and was impressed with all of them. (And yes, as a tournament reporter, I consider myself to be “working” with the dealers, because I rely on them for a lot of subtle things most people never think about.) Unfortunately, I’m only judging a limited sample size, because working at the final table usually keeps the weaker dealers off my radar.

    3. I think having a dealer representative in some sort of formal role with WSOP planning would be a positive step, but I don’t think the Player’s Advisory Committee is the place for it. Then again, I think there should be a WSOP Media Advistory Committee. Of course, it would just end up pissing me off as I watch higher-ups at Card Player make a bad situation even worse.

    4. I think the timing of asking for dealer tips is unfortunate. Jerry Yang (like most Main Event winners) was very tired, and under a strong mix of never-before-felt emotions. Suddenly, he has one person asking if he’d like to tip, and another person recommending that he doesn’t. If you win $7,500 in a $2,000 event, that’s one thing. But turning a satellite victory into $8.25 million makes for a completely different situation … it would be nice to give him some time to think about it. *He* should be the one posting on 2+2, asking for a variety of opinions on the matter, and then weighing all of the factors carefully, and doing what *he* thinks is right. And I think Laurie, myself, and everybody else would be cool with whatever he decides under those circumstances.

    That’s it. As for me, I’m already going through WSOP withdrawals. Aside from a long-overdue good night’s sleep (that lasted about 20 hours), I’m ready to go back to the Rio and do it all over again from the top.

  41. Card S. Linger

    AngusT said:

    “Simple. Have Harrah’s publish the figures. Downs. Hours. Tips. “Top dealer”, “Average Dealer”, and the “Median Dealer”. So the tournament players can decide for themselves if “something additional” needs to be contributed.

    But the first ones to scream will be the dealers.”

    Just why is a dealers income any of your business? Why do we dealers have to report our income to the likes of you or anyone except the IRS?

    Laurie said it very well and I have said the same thing, I expect nothing from players I am happy with whatever they choose to give me.

    Then there was

    beelzebubba Says:
    July 18th, 2007 at 11:10 pm
    F*CK the dealers and Harrahs greedy sons of bitches, they get more than their fair share in addition to whatever they steal or scam. ***Notice how the valet was always full except if you offered them a 10 spot then its “yessir” leave the keys on the dash.***

    okay, what does that have to do with dealers?

    *** or line too long to play give em 10 bucks and proceed to cage get your chips and bingo”you are next”***

    BS, if you tip to jump line you are not much better than a cheat. and if the employee who let you jump line was caught, they would be out the door on their butt.

    ****or ever notice how at every push the dealers tray was off by at least $10?****

    Agains BULLSHIT!!!!! if th4e tray is short, the dealer has to make it up out of their own pocket.

    I doubt you have spent anytime in a legitimate casino, at least not playing winning poker.

    pleeease they deserve nothing they are all coming up.They deserve less than they get.Thats why they are all temps.Don’t get me started on Harrah’sthey get 3rd place money for screwing everything up, from bad structure to commercializing every single thing to the enth degree.

    I’m guessing that you spent your formative years avoiding school, does your kid turn on your computer for you?

  42. itsoverjonny

    $0 on a $6,000 pot? Shocking! Never saw that coming! I told at least a half-dozen of my dealer-friends from this area that headed out to Vegas that they would see MUCH WORSE tipping in Vegas than they are used to here in the underground games, and that the tips got worse as the stakes increased. I hate it when I’m right.

    Having said that, I hope that you, 85Nutz, make a great life in Vegas. Pull a Joe Awada or Scott Fischman on them and make that successful transition from dealer to winning player. Just don’t forget us little guys. If all else fails, you always have that college degree to fall back on, right?

    And YES, I have no doubt that Harrah’s is fucking you. That’s why I would never leave tips for the dealers under the custodianship of the Man. I’ll find you on the floor and act like I bumped into each of you while I slip casino chips into your pocket.

    Best of luck. And pick a better favorite hand, please???

  43. DanM

    Oliver says:

    ***Chris was acting in good faith as a former world champion who wanted to look after a fellow world champion. He was NOT acting as a representative of***

    Fair enough, Tse-man, I believe that. And this tipping issue has nothing to do with Full Tilt dot-net OR dot-com. But the relationships with online sites can’t be denied. It is a factor in ALL poker dealings.

    Would Greg Raymer, Joe Hachem, and/or Chris Moneymaker (who are all with PokerStars) have been welcomed in? I don’t think so … because there presence would be perceived as something more than just a posse of world champions looking after their latest initiate.

  44. Vegastaxpro

    None of you get it – the dealers as well as the players. If the dealing job is so horrible and Harrah’s is supposedly screwing you, then why are you there dealing? Did someone put a gun to your head to deal for Harrahs? If enough of you didn’t show up to deal then maybe Harrahs will pay more to get the required amount of dealers.

    Same goes for the rake. Harrahs charges what it charges because that is what people are willing to pay. It’s called capitalism. If you feel the rake is too high, then DON’T PARTICIPATE!! If numbers go down, then maybe Harrahs will reconsider.

    From all the comments I’ve been reading, it seems like that there is a feeling of entitlement. Guess what? There isn’t.

  45. Tulsa

    Look, can we all just agree that Dan is a good reporter, and leave it at that?

  46. Laurie

    vegastaxpro….entitalment? im not sure where you got that from me. work somewhere else and harrahs will be forced to pay more? untrue. they will pay less and it will be nothing but green dealers that dont care.

  47. angusT

    Card S. Linger Said:

    Just why is a dealers income any of your business?


    Just why is what went on in the payout room any of your business? Yet a dealer decided to blab it all over the net.

    When dealers come on forums and complain about the amount of tips but refuse to say how much they make, the only way to be able to make an informed decision is to see the facts.
    Not a dealer saying “I make too little.”
    Not a ‘player’ saying “You make too much”.
    The dealer involved in leaking the story complained that she felt CF gave “misleading information” to Yang. How about some unbiased information about how much the dealers actually made? Then, if a player thinks they deserve more, he can tip an additional amount.

  48. steve d

    i tipped $20k when i came in second about 1/2%…they asked for 1%…if a guy is getting $8 million for first, plus endorsements, i would say he should tip at least $100k…its only good karma…..steve

  49. ChrisC

    ***Three times I was told to come in at 4 only to be told to come back at 6 because there were not enough games going for the number of dealers working. I wasn’t allowed to leave, I had to sit in the break room or employee dining room making 6.15 an hour and getting taxed by the state of Nevada at a rate of $18.00 per hour. Yes you can look it up.***

    what does this mean, getting taxed at the rate of 18/hr?

  50. Johnny Nguyen

    We dealers work extremely long hours during the WSOP. We put up with a lot of trash talk and stiff after stiff. This was the worst series ever! There has been about ten of us that have withdrawn all of our money on FULLTILT and gone elsewhere. I personally am not giving that moron any more money at all. He makes enough money daily to never work again in his miserable gambling life. We dealers depend on tips so we can put food on the table for our families. When some prick tells someone not to tip…hes just screwing it up for the 800 of us trying to make a living. It averages out to about $225.00 for dealing the 11 day event. Our downs dropped considerably less than half of what it was last year. Way to go Jesus! May some dealer put 3-6’s on the flop and watch you burn!

  51. waldoworld

    If you want to see what can happen to a poker tournament, stop tipping dealers. Find out who takes a job that pays $6 an hour plus “no tips”. Would you work it? I am not a dealer from Harrahs and cannot speak to the structure there, but I do know this:
    Less money = lower quality + more mistakes = players lose MONEY. Tipping buys you workers who make your job run smoothly. If you pay less, you lose quality people who can make better money elsewhere and you get slower games, less hands per hour, and more errors that change the outcome of hands. Your choice.

  52. Nameless

    Laurie,..what would happen to the money if one of this day an anonymous person sends you a check for lets say $50K to $100K cashier’s check. Just wondering..

  53. Steve

    Im tired of dealers crying…..A tip is a tip…take what they give you….waaaa waaaaaa…….

  54. peko

    peko Says:
    August 2nd, 2007 at 2:51 am
    I have been around the poker indusry for about half a decade now as a dealer, player, and now a tournament director. I will say that when I work I rarely ever go in the break room. It is often a miserable place where there are dealers bitching about stiffs. This is not true about all dealers but these dealers tend to be the most vocal. They have a bad outlook about the dealing profession. Dealing can be a lucrative job weather you bitch or not but it makes it less enjoyable when you bitch. The outlook that the dealers should have is that they are just there to deal the games and be professional and freindly. Some players will be very generous while others not so generous, they should all be treated with equally proffesional service. The good tippers will make up for the players who tip less and you will a make a good average tip rate despite players who don’t tip much.

    That being said, the reason I work in this industry is the money that the tips bring in make it a profitable profession. I don’t work for the hourly rate or the extra money the casino withholds to pay us. The money comes from the extra tips. The house money that is taken out isn’t meant to fully compensate dealers, it is meant to supplement the tokes. If not tipping extra became a trend then the house would in fact have to increase the withholdings to pay the dealers more. The initial house withholding is not, in and of itself, enough money to entice the good dealers to work the events. In order to get the good dealers they need to know that there are generous tippers out there that will increase their pay. However, I reiterate they should treat all the players equally, tip or not, and allow the average tips compensate them, handsomely I might add.

    I don’t think Jerry Wang or anyone should be looked down upon for not tipping and I don’t think Chris Ferguson is all to blame, but I think he could of handled the situation a little differently. Maybe he should have said, “The house takes out x% to compensate dealers and floor staff, any tip beyond that is up to the individual. I personally don’t tip extra, however, some other players do. A typical tip is between %2 and %5 while some very genrous players will tip up to %10.” This is what I tell players when they ask me how much they should tip. It may have been better to give Jerry some more information about the range of the typical tip from winning players, rather than his own guidelines. If Chris’s practices became a trend the poker industry would certainly have to withhold more out of the prize pools to compensate dealers. Otherwise the good dealers would go elsewhere and we would be left with the junior varsity dealers handling important big games and events and I don’t think anyone wants that.

    One final thing I want to mention was about a post earlier that talked about not tipping dealers cause they made mistakes that cost them money. I think that dealers should be compensated if they do a very good job regardless of the outcome of a hand. Mistakes are going to happen sometimes even with the best dealers and I’m sure there have been times when those mistakes benefitted you but you only remember the ones that cost you. The mistakes should be looked at as random. They may help you or hurt you and dealers should be compensated when they are doing their job well, not based on the outcome of hands.


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  56. Pokerati | Texas hold’em blog » Blog Archive » Elvis Sighting at wsop

    […] those of you who have be reading the whole tournament tipping vs not tipping controversary, let’s take a moment to check out this dealer. I call him the Elvis dealer as the Pokernews […]

  57. Pokerati | Texas hold’em blog » Blog Archive » To Tip or Not to Tip?

    […] So many interesting questions arise from this discussion, as they did when Jerry Yang won the 2007 WSOP main event. […]

  58. Tom the Dealer

    It doesn’t surprise me that Mr. Ferguson recommended that Yang tip nothing extra, anymore than it surprised me that David Plastic (I have no problem mentioning his name, since it’s already documented in the newsgroups and elsewhere) recommended that Gold tip nothing extra. I well remember how much Mr. Ferguson tipped the dealers when he won the 2000 WSOP.

    It’s your privilege to not toke/tip and your privilege to recommend that others don’t toke/tip. Just don’t go complaining when you run off all of the good dealers because of it. I quit after 18 years of WSOP and other tournament dealing, and instances like the above are one of the reasons.

  59. Solution

    Here’s a solution: People agree 2% is appropriate.
    They take out 1.8%.
    30% of that goes to non dealer staff
    5% of that goes to card runners.

    1.8% * 0.65 = .0117 (1.17%)

    So when I hit the FT, guess what I’m tipping? .83% of my winnings.
    If Jerry Yang did that with his 8.2 million, he would have tipped an extra $68,060. Not really THAT big of a deal when we look at it and it was his choice not to tip extra. Over the reported 700 dealers, we’re talking less than $100 more a dealer over their 7 days of work, or about $14 a day.

    I think they’ll get over it, and if they were expecting JY to throw down an extra 2% on top of everything, they definitely need to get off their high horses.

  60. one4thedealers

    I would like to start off by saying that I apperciate every dollar I have been tipped and would like to thank all of those who have ever tipped thier dealer. I do understand the pro players veiw and the players who fly by to have fun. I, along with many of my co-workers, do the very best job we can and appericate that we even have jobs in these times. If, as a dealer, you do a good job you will be compinsated by those who reconize your good effort. I have found that every player has thier own views and procedures on tipping but in the end (if you do the best job you can) your tokes will average close to the same at the end of the year.

    I would also like to thank all the fish who blame every hand they have ever lost on the dealer. Those who have thrown thier cards at us, mucked out of our reach, destroyed the cards, flat out lied to the floor man to try to get the dealer in trouble, and even those who have called us b****, c***, and every other name in the book. Even though you stiff us (or so you think) you are and always will be the fish. And every time you lose a hand, your supporting your local pro or putting a big smile on the weekend fun party guys face, and in return they tip us with your chips. So again thank you. Without you guys there wouldn’t be $1 – $10 million dollar pay days, pros, dealers, or tips.

  61. kennedy1

    I’ll start tipping the dealers when they start tipping me when I lose. Fook em. 2 percent for what I wouldnt give ya squat, just Like the cab driver or the pizza delivery guy if you dont like your job get a new one. Tip someone for doing there job, ridiculous. I don’t get tipped for doing my job. Anyone tipping their dentists or doctors, how about that bank teller or that person who screws up your phone bill or utility bill, ya head on in to that minumum wage workplace and tip the guy who says you owed more than you really did on your phone bill ,ahhhh but the doctors and dentists make a lot of money right, well go to school and become a dentist then you wont have to take a job that forces you to beg for money.

  62. pitman

    Hey! If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I’d like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is! Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where’s the Tylenol?