In July 2022, Norwegian Espen Jorstad became the second-largest winner in World Series of Poker (WSOP) history by beating 8,663 players to take home $10 million. You may not be as fortunate and skilled as the most successful Norwegian poker player, but you may wonder how much WSOP winners tip the dealers.
WSOP winners tip the dealer between 3 and 5% of their prize money to show appreciation for the service rendered during a tournament. Poker tournament dealers earn service industry wages and rely on tips to supplement their income.
Let’s find out why poker players tip, how much dealers make at the WSOP, and the other unwritten poker rules. You’ll need to know this valuable information if you find yourself playing–and winning–at the longest-running tournament in the world!
Why Do Poker Players Tip?
Today’s poker players tip to express gratitude for the service rendered by the dealer and the rest of the tournament and casino floor staff.
Poker players tip because dealers and casino floor staff earn service industry wages. Casino wages often fail to meet workers’ basic expenses, so dealers and other staff rely on tips to supplement their earnings.
Like most service industry jobs, the hope is that the better a dealer serves the players – the casino’s customers – the more they will tip.
In some places, tipping is not mandatory but is considered a polite gesture. If however the tournament prize pool is already deducted for dealer tips, then it is completely fine to not tip the dealers if you win. The % of the tip usually drops slightly the bigger the prize is.
Tipping Isn’t Always Necessary
Sometimes, tipping isn’t necessary, and a tournament director will not have an envelope ready in which the winner can place some cash for the dealers and floor staff.
Tipping isn’t always necessary when the casino or tournament has already withheld cash from the tournament prize money or entry fee paid by players.
When a casino or tournament does this, they use the money expressly for tipping dealers and floor staff. This practice is increasingly common at games like the WSOP to ensure dealers and floor staff earn a decent living.
How Much Do Dealers Make at the WSOP?
Dealers make between $8 and $12.50 per hour at the WSOP, with occasional bonuses for seasoned dealers. However, amateur dealers generally make very little money working at the WSOP. However, their tips are usually more substantial than their hourly wages.
In 2022, the WSOP announced a new pay structure where dealers would make a starting hourly wage of $12.50 with a $100 bonus upon completing their first shift.
The WSOP’s new pay structure is higher than the usual hourly wage, which is between $8 and $10 for a novice casino dealer.
Prospective dealers would earn an additional $15 per down, or half-hour period between tables, during Texas Hold’em bracelet events. Non-Hold’em bracelet events could earn dealers an additional $20 per down.
In addition to their set wages, dealers can usually expect to earn between $15 and $50 per hour in tips based on their experience and standard of service. Tipping, as always, is also at the players’ discretion.
Take a look at Jaz discussing the often brutal reality of working as a professional poker dealer and whether it was worth it:
What Are Other Unwritten Rules of Poker?
Tipping isn’t the only way you can show support and gratitude to your dealers when playing poker. Along with tipping and game strategies, it’s a good idea to learn the other unwritten poker rules.
Don’t Angle Shoot
The prohibition against angle-shooting isn’t an official rule of poker, but you will be called out for it if you:
Hide your high-value chips Imply that you’re about to call without any intention of doing soDon’t wait your turn to playTry to see other players’ cardsLie to induce another player to muck their hand
I have a whole article explaining what angle shoot is on this link.
Don’t Slow Roll
You may be accused of slow rolling if you know you have the best hand and hide this fact to cause another player to believe they hold the best hand. Bluffing is allowed, but lying and unethical behavior are never acceptable at the felt table.
More on about what is a slow roll in this article.
Don’t Waste Time
Taking unnecessary long to play is frustrating for other players and the dealer and will not endear them to you. Poker is a game. However, time is money, especially during high-stakes tournaments like the WSOP.
Pay Attention to the Game
If you miss your turn or fail to hear vital information, you may distract other players and throw them off. This distraction may not be unethical but is considered lousy poker etiquette. Nobody likes to play with someone uninterested in the game.
Don’t Offer or Ask for Advice
If it’s not your hand, it’s best to stay quiet. It’s inappropriate to offer or ask for advice at a professional game in a casino or at a tournament. You may miss important information from the dealer or valuable tells from your rivals.
Don’t Splash the Pot
John Malkovich’s character in Rounders makes it look like fun, but don’t splash the pot:
You’re only making more work for the dealer to gather your chips and count the pot accurately.
Be Respectful of the Dealer and Other Players
At its heart, poker is a game, and the goal is to have fun. Like any other sport, fair play and respect are essential for a smooth and pleasant experience. Show respect to the dealer and your fellow players. You’ll avoid being dubbed the most annoying poker player ever:
Dealers must organize professional poker tournaments like the $10,000 WSOP Main Event to run efficiently. Competent, skilled dealers and floor staff are the backbones of such operations, and they rely on tips to make a liveable wage.
Remember that your dealer might be like Greg, dealing with work challenges as professionally as they can for your and other players’ comfort:
You don’t have to be a big winner like Espen Jorstad to tip your dealer or other casino floor staff. Simply show appreciation for a well-done job, and learn to win and lose gracefully.