Five Ways to Not Piss Off a Las Vegas Dealer

Being a dealer in a Las Vegas casino can be a sweet gig. You meet interesting new people every day, the financial rewards can be substantial and you get to be an ambassador not only for your casino but also Las Vegas, the most exciting city on Earth.

There are challenges to being a dealer, too, of course, and a lot of that’s on us.

We grilled a dealer, Michael Nguyen, co-owner of a new dealer school, Casino Entertainment Group (CEG), and got him to spill about the things that tick dealers off, and how we can avoid them.

craps game

We’re about to get told.

5. Don’t Blame Dealers If You Lose

Gambling is a numbers game, and the house always has the advantage. Nevertheless, dealers make a convenient target when players need to vent about their bad fortune.

“We hear people say things like ‘unbelievable’ or ‘Can you believe that?’ every other hand,” says Nguyen. “We’ve dealt thousands of hands. Don’t get upset if your 17 in blackjack doesn’t beat the dealer. People must realize the odds aren’t always in their favor. They can’t expect to win every hand.”

One of the worst things about players taking their frustrations out on dealers, often to the point of verbal abuse or worse, is dealers aren’t allowed to defend themselves. A dealer who gets combative with a player, even if it’s deserved, risks losing their job. So, they just have to take it. Only jerks and cowards beat up on those who aren’t allowed to defend themselves.

4. Don’t Gamble Drunk

Yes, the cocktails are free, and drinking is part of the Vegas experience, but customers going overboard can turn ugly for dealers.

Nguyen says, “The person gambling isn’t doing him or herself any favor by tipping back one too many during the game. The more drinking, the more mistakes are made during a game. If you’re wasted while playing, you’re wasting money.

Dealers are used to players having a few cocktails, and getting a little boisterous, but excessive drinking is annoying to dealers and other players alike.

Also, gambling drunk leads to spilled drinks, one of the most irksome aspects of a dealer’s shift. Spilled drinks ruin table game felt, disrupt the game and turn dealers into babysitters. Drink responsibly. Or don’t, but don’t play a table game!

Las Vegas dealer

It’s simple. You be nice, they’ll be nice.

3. Don’t Blow Smoke in a Dealer’s Face

Sounds like common sense, right? Wrong.

“We understand the environment and know people like to smoke while playing,” says Nguyen. “We don’t even mind the smoking, in fact. But blowing cigarette or cigar smoke directly in a dealer’s face is rude. Be respectful.”

Agreed. Oh, and if we ever write a list of “The Five Best Ways to Not Piss Off This Las Vegas Blog,” not smoking a disgusting, big-ass cigar in our vicinity will be all five things on the list.

2. Tip Your Dealer, Already

We’d have make this number one on the list, but we defer to the expert.

Nguyen comes clean, saying, “This is a very touchy subject. Dealers don’t expect a person who’s
losing to tip. But if you’re winning, toss a chip our way every so often. We’re not looking for
a stack of chips, but don’t stiff the dealer if you’re on a winning streak.”

Somebody had to say it! We’ve seen this trend getting worse in recent months, or at least it seems that way.

We disagree with Nguyen on this point, actually. Dealers make a meager base pay, and they live on tips. So, we tip whether we’re winning or losing. We value what they do no matter the outcome of our play.

craps dealer

One of the many talents of dealers is concealing their “tells” when a player is being a nimrod.

Nguyen continues, “Another pet peeve is when a player tells us we’ll get tipped at the end [of the session] and leaves a dollar or less when all is said and done. A dollar or less is sort of like a slap in the face. And while we’re talking about tipping, don’t stiff the cocktail waitress, either.”

We can’t say it enough. If you can’t afford to tip, do something other than play casino table games. Slot machines might be your thing. No tipping required.

1. Good Vibes Only, Please

Playing in a Las Vegas casino is meant to be fun, so avoid being a buzzkill.

“Remember, there are other people at the table, too,” says Nguyen. “No one wants to be next to the person who constantly complains, demands the cocktail waitress bring a drink immediately, and so on. We understand when a person’s trip or gambling session may not be working out, but the next hand or spin may be different. Keeping an upbeat attitude and staying positive could possibly change a person’s luck.”

Absolutely nailed it. The Golden Rule applies to casinos as it does to everday life.

In a casino, be the kind of person you’d like to hang out with. Keep the mood light, be polite and don’t lose sight of the fact if gambling isn’t fun, why the hell are you doing it?

Special thanks to Michael Nguyen of CEG dealer school for giving us the straight scoop, and we appreciate dealers for being such an integral part of some of our most memorable Las Vegas moments, ever.

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  • sheri sloan

    Best part of playing table games is socializing with the others playing and chatting it up with the dealers……win or lose!

    • vitalvegas

      Agreed! Dealers put up with a lot of nonsense.

  • mattbob77

    You know, I’d like to see information given to dealers on how not to piss off players. I like table games, especially craps. 1) I’ve never spilled a drink on the layout. 2) I ALWAYS tip (usually when I roll the dice), win or lose. But my last few trips I consistently run into a couple of dealers who are complete tools. You hate to stiff them, because then the other dealers get punished. But I don’t stay at the table if the dealer is being an ass.So here are a few tips from me:

    1) Toke appreciation…..you don’t have to be obsequious or repetitive, but is a quick “thanks for the bet, sir” too much effort? I’ve bet hard ways for the dealers before and nobody even looked at me.

    2) Enough with pushing the sucker bets already…..I’m not fighting an 11% house edge for the sucker bets on pai gow, three card poker, etc. So don’t point out to me how much money I’d have won if a premium hand lands.

    3) Socialize on your own time……if you want to hit on the dealer next to you or argue with the stick about a sports bet, do it on your own time. I’m there. I’m a customer. I’m spending money. Again, I don’t need constant attention; but stopping the action so you can socialize pisses me off.

    Okay. There. Whew. I feel better…..

    • vitalvegas

      Really great stuff, and so true! Two more pet peeves and we’re writing a blog post about you, so pony up!

      • Dan Yost

        – dealers that go hard on a tip hustle. I don’t mind a little work to try and get some stiffs to open up, but when you openly try and take advantage of a new or misinformed player, you’ve probably cost you and your co-workers more in future tip earnings than the $1-$5 you just dropped into your box
        – dealers discussing their kids or family life (rule apply 5x more at a ‘party pit’ or ‘dancing dealer’ table). I really am a nice guy, but I go to a casino to escape the doldrums of everyday life, please don’t drag me back into reality.
        – dealers giving incorrect advise on games such as blackjack or Pai Gow. Just because I’m too polite to inform the table that you don’t know what you’re talking about, that doesn’t mean I appreciate you saying what you think the players want you to say about their hands, or worse yet, you just don’t know and don’t want to admit it.

    • Steven Brown

      I’ve had a few dealers over the years that tried to push the side bets pretty heavily, but I don’t see it as much as I used to. Some of the dealers at the old incarnation of O’Sheas were notorious for it. I don’t mind the socializing if it’s not too busy and I’m the only player at the table (Something that happens a lot to me due to waking up so early in the morning due to the time difference.). At a really busy table, I can see how it the dealers may ignore a toke, but from my own experiences, more often than not, the boxman will acknowledge the bet for the crew win or lose.

  • Rob Taylor

    I’ll never forget my first dealer; 1981 at Frontier, a delightful young lady named Candi. 6 deck shoe BJ 2.00 minimum. Back in those days they alerted the PB when they changed 20’s. After repeatedly trying to master the hand signals, she started getting hard on me but I deserved it. She trained me well. Thank you Candi.
    Rob@skyyontherocks

  • John White

    Great tips .. I believe I follow all 5 ..