Cats, dogs, hamsters, birds, fish, lizards, snakes, horses, and even the occasional goat – we certainly love our pets! I personally own multiple pets (everything from a three-legged hamster to several short-limbed shelter cats) and can confidently say that most of the dealers I know also have some kind of furry, feathered, or fearsome friend to go home to at the end of their shifts.
I’m even more confident saying that 100% of table games dealers have one kind of pet in common – and that’s a pet peeve.
While the variety of “peeve” will vary, there’s no doubt that anyone who has ever dealt at a table will be the outspoken owner of at least one. My very unscientific poll of dealers (in person and online) about their biggest pet peeves unearthed interesting commonalities.
This list was gathered from mostly American and Canadian dealers, but did include a handful of European, Caribbean, and cruise ship dealers, handling blackjack, poker, roulette, and a myriad of carnival games. I’ve compiled the most common responses across the board and have noted when a particular pet peeve was more regional than universal.
In no particular order, here are the most common responses when table games dealers were asked what their biggest pet peeves are.
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Top 9 Ways to Annoy Your Casino Dealer
Let’s start with the elephant in the room. By this point, everyone knows that you’re supposed to tip your dealer. This is one basic casino fact that no one can plausibly claim ignorance of.
While tipping practices vary, a common guideline is to tip table game dealers a minimum of 5% of your total wins.
The amount is up to the player’s discretion, and there’s room for discussion as to the appropriate frequency and amount, but there shouldn’t be any argument that you should be tipping your dealer.
Most dealers are paid minimum wage plus tips, so they rely on them as a significant portion of their income. And yes, even if you’re not winning, you should still be tipping.
This is my personal biggest pet peeve as a dealer. The minute someone utters the phrase “If you’d give me good cards, I’d tip you”, I know it’s going to be a frustrating shift and that no matter what I do, I won’t be making any tokes from that pigeon. Most dealers I know (including myself) take great pride in creating a safe and fun environment for their players.
Their job is to run an honest, safe game. All the joking, story-telling, commiserating with bad-beat stories, and answering questions about where you should go to eat later are extras.
If you’re at a table with a dealer who is making an effort to do anything above and beyond the bare minimum of slinging cards, the least you can do is throw them a few dollars to recognize their ancillary efforts.
Simply put, tipping is a gesture of appreciation for the dealer’s service and should always factor into your gambling budget.
Blaming the Dealer
Players sometimes blame the dealer for their losses due to frustration, disappointment, or a lack of understanding as to how games of chance work.
It’s important for players to understand that dealers are simply facilitating the game according to established rules. Winning and/or losing outcomes are based on individual decisions and chance.
The desire to externalize responsibility for a losing outcome demonstrates immaturity and poor sportsmanship. Believe me that most dealers would rather see the players win – it keeps them at the table longer and increases the chances of good tips.
The dealer is a captive audience member, and it just makes sense that they would want their players to be laughing and having a good time rather than being stuck trying to stop an on-tilt player from ruining all the other players’ fun.
No matter what you’ve read, an honest dealer has absolutely no control over what number the ball drops into or what card comes out next. They’re not magicians, and they’re not responsible for runs of either good or bad luck.
Blaming Others at the Table
Much like blaming the dealer, blaming the other players for one’s losses is immature and shows a lack of knowledge as to how casino games work.
Making passive-aggressive comments about how someone else plays their hand can ruin the playful vibe of a table.
Even worse, actively blaming someone else for “taking the dealer’s bust card” or “taking my ten” creates a nasty environment for everyone at the table.
Play your hand the way you want to play it, and unless asked, don’t offer advice or give a running commentary on how someone else chooses to play theirs.
Lack of Respect for the Dealers and Staff
This is an umbrella entry that covers dozens of pet peeves. Casinos are part of the service and hospitality industry, and the people who work in them are very aware of that fact.
They understand that many people aren’t familiar with the intricacies of casino behavior and etiquette; frankly, most dealers aren’t bothered by that at all.
What does bother dealers is when people are rude, disrespectful, or even demeaning towards them. There were some regional differences in how disrespectful behavior displayed itself.
For instance, several Northern state dealers mentioned that it sets their teeth on edge when players call them diminutives such as “sweetie”, “honey,” or “darling,” whereas this wasn’t a major issue for dealers from Kentucky or the Caribbean.
Dealers from areas where smoking is banned are annoyed when players still pull out vapes or other smoking implements. Cruise ship and Las Vegas dealers seem to deal with frisky patrons the most often and frequently have to fend off unwanted sexual advances.
All of these show a huge lack of respect for the work dealers do and for them as actual human beings rather than some kind of robotic servants.
Aggressive and Antagonistic Behavior
From splashing the chips in a poker pot to flinging your discarded hand at a blackjack dealer, the ways in which players can display aggressive or antagonistic behavior are seemingly endless.
Using harsh or vulgar language toward the table, ignoring the established rules, reacting negatively to losses, and using intimidating body language are also common ways in which angry players behave.
There’s no excuse for acting like a schoolyard bully, whether towards the staff or other players.
Dealers understand that emotions run high when money is involved, but that’s not a free pass to mistreat someone. Know when it’s time to walk away from a table rather than digging in and making it miserable for everyone else.
Being Unaware of Basic Casino Etiquette
Most dealers are happy to help gambling rookies navigate their way around a table.
Everyone was a beginner once, and seasoned dealers often get a kick out of dealing someone’s very first hand of blackjack or poker. Part of a dealer’s job is guiding the players through the correct process to keep things moving.
What is not part of a dealer’s job, however, is being an adult babysitter.
It’s not the dealer’s job to ensure you’ve washed your hands, aren’t playing with your neighbor’s chips, are keeping your hands to yourself or a million other things that fall under basic casino etiquette.
If you would be scolded by a kindergarten teacher for doing it, don’t do it in a casino, and please don’t make the dealer have to call you out on it.
Don’t handle someone else’s chips or cards, don’t excessively play with your own chips, and please don’t touch your bets after you’ve placed them. If you’re unsure what the proper way to do something is – just ask!
Dealers would much rather answer your questions than have to correct you. The last thing a dealer wants to do during a busy shift is to have to call Floor over to fix a bet that has been handled improperly or a card that was handled out of order.
Slowing Down Gameplay
Whether intentional or not, slowing down gameplay will earn a player the ire of both the dealer and the other players.
Casinos keep track of how many hands (or spins) per hour that each table gets out. Dealers are expected to achieve a set amount, and consistent failure to reach those goals can lead to disciplinary action.
If you want to learn a new game or feel you need extra time to make the basic decisions a game requires, simply play during downtime.
Dealers will be much more patient with a slow player at 2 pm on a Tuesday versus at 9 pm Friday night.
Another common pet peeve is when players buy in after every hand rather than simply buying in for the full amount they intend to play.
For example, a customer will buy in for $20, play for $20, and lose. On the next hand that same customer buys in for $20, plays $20, and loses. Rinse and repeat, over and over.
Perhaps this is TMI, but this behavior makes my brain scream, “Just buy in for $500! Dagnabit! Buy in once and play. Don’t make me change your ass after every hand.”
You should have a gambling budget in mind before you ever sit down to play, and it’s much easier to keep track of your funds if you do one large buy-in rather than multiple tiny ones.
Excessive buy-ins slow down gameplay (which we’ve already discussed is a major way to annoy dealers) and ruin the game for the other players. It shows a lack of preparation and intention.
It’s also selfish behavior for one player to monopolize the dealer and floor rather than allow the game to flow at its natural speed.
Dealers are stuck on their tables for an hour at a time (or even longer, depending on the specific region/casino).
Some players weaponize the fact that the dealer can’t leave their table, leading to uncomfortable situations, including trauma dumping.
The dealer is not your therapist! While it’s perfectly acceptable, and even encouraged, to make pleasant conversation with your dealer, there’s no reason to spill intimate family secrets or reveal your deep, dark angst.
Most dealers have numerous stories about that player – the one who doesn’t understand boundaries and repeatedly reveals private details that the dealer has no desire to know.
Forcing your dealer to be your new best friend or psychologist because they are forced to be in your presence is beyond rude – it’s cringe-worthy, bordering on creepy. Don’t be that guy!
Here’s to Drama-Free Gameplay!
Welcome to the world of casino dealers, where we juggle cards and difficult people on a daily basis. From players blaming the dealer for a streak of bad luck to turning the table into an unplanned therapy session, we contend with some unique pet peeves.
So, here’s the secret sauce for an optimal gaming experience: a bit of tipping, a dash of casino courtesy, and a collective commitment to keeping it drama-free.