I play in Portland, Oregon where for legal reasons the dealers are "volunteers". They don't get paid a wage by the house, the only money they make is from tips. I've been trying to tip around 7.5%. I don't want to be a big tipper and I don't want to be a small tipper. I want to be an average tipper. So how much should I be tipping? I'm especially interested in the opinion of any dealers out there, especially any from Oregon. Thanks.


So I've done a little more research. According to this article dealers in Portland average between $20-40 an hour. (Tax free too. Anyone interested in how Oregon poker works should read the article). Most of the tournaments are low stakes, between $50 and $200 buyins with a $15 door fee. Last night I cashed for $435 ($370 profit, I tipped $30 of that). There were 36 players and the prize pool was $1800. There were 3 tables and the tournament ran for 5 hours. Total hours dealt for all dealers was ~(5+4+3) == 12. So for a dealer to make $30 an hour dealing this tournament I should be tipping 20%? That seems very high to me. But for a $100 tournament this drops to 10%, which makes my 7.5% seem more reasonable. Maybe I should be tipping based on how many hours I've played instead of a percentage? I'm probably overthinking this but what else if poker good for if not overthinking.

  • 3
    7.5% of $100 or $100,000? A fixed % is probably not the best solution.
    – paparazzo
    Apr 30, 2018 at 10:00
  • @paparazzo That's a good point. I've updated my question to provide more rationale for my 7.5% figure. Apr 30, 2018 at 18:06
  • Are these bar tournaments?
    – Jon
    May 1, 2018 at 8:25
  • @Jon No, these tournaments are at a poker room in at a racetrack in Portland, OR. Portland Meadows May 1, 2018 at 16:34
  • I read up on poker in OR. That is bizarre. Somehow it is not a casino if the dealer is not paid. But it appears they sell and cash chips. I assume no floor man.
    – paparazzo
    May 1, 2018 at 21:27

2 Answers 2


From my experience as a dealer when closing out a tournament, the player whom ended up winning would give the 'loose change' from their win as a tip. I.E. say you take down a 100$ tournament in your local card room, and the top prize is something like $1,675, I've often seen players give the 75$. Normally second place would follow suit too. In bigger prize pool tournaments normally final table members would leave tips too, again often the 'loose change'.

I've seen the above be true in many tournaments I've closed out from the lowest tournaments, i.e. above example, to final table of WSOP events. In my opinion, as a dealer I have never felt obliged to be tipped (granted when I was paid a rate), and whenever I was tipped I always really appreciated it. A good example of this, if you ever make it out to the WSOP one year, is the satellites games they run. You'd have your buy-in, say it's $150 (I can't remember the exact figures), the prize here would be $1k in lammers for tournament buy-ins and 100$ in cash. The dealers in satellites, and the floor staff do remind the players this, aren't paid a down rate, only hourly (which is basically all taken as tax), as such the cash prize is expected to be tipped.

So in short I'd say tip the 'loose change' of the prize, if the 'loose change' of the prize isn't enough, as in say your 1st and it's something like $1,825, maybe just bump it up to $75, $100 or $125. I will also say, if you know the staff are being paid an hourly rate, I wouldn't feel so obliged to tip so heavily. One thing I often noticed in many of the places I have dealt, especially in the smaller tournaments, they often gave the 'loose change' as literal loose change. As in rather than giving 100$ bills, they give you $5s,$10s and $20s, often floors will do this to encourage players to leave tips. Not all floors, but I've had several of my floors tell me this is why they do that.


In Portland, OR tip 10% gross of any tournament payout you receive. In the cash shootouts, tip $1+/hand you win. Everyone knows the dealers give you better cards when you tip them well.

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