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TIPPING:  Is There Two Sets Of Rules?


The Question

Are there two sets of rules for craps players? 

Is there one set for players who TIP frequently, and are recognized as good tippers by casino employees?

Is there another set of rules for players who DON’T TIP, and are regarded by casino employees as “fleas”, “strokers” or high-maintenance/low-value players?

The Answer

Happily, if you are a player who tokes (tips) frequently, and are recognized as a dealer-friendly player; the answer is YES!

Sadly, if you do not toke (tip), and are regarded as a “flea”, “stroker” or a high-maintenance/low-value player by casino employees; then the answer, unfortunately, is still YES!

Yes, there really are TWO sets of rules that the dealers, box-men, Floor Supervisors, and even the Pit Bosses apply when it comes to dealing with players who tip, and those who don’t.

The Reason

The casino-guys treat “good” players with one set of very flexible and compliant rules, and they treat non-tipping players, with a more stringent, strictly enforced set of regulations.

That’s the nature of the game, and the nature of…well, human nature.

It is human nature to treat those whom you consider to be a friend, a little better than you would treat a stranger.   It is also human nature to treat “enemies” far worse than you would your friends.  While a non-tipper may not be a dealers “enemy”, they’re not likely to be given very much slack either.

It’s Not Personal…It’s Just Business

So it is in the day-to-day casino battles.  The more that you can have a dealer, boxman, Floor Supervisor, or Pit Boss look favorably upon you; the better you will be treated…and the easier and more flexible the rules will be applied to you.

If you are a “flea”, a “stroker” or a high-maintenance/low-value player, then a more stringent set of rules are enforced against you.  It’s as simple as that.

Listen, if you want fairness in judging; then take up professional figure-skating or wrestling, because you certainly aren’t going to find the rules applied equally at the craps table.

What’s In It For Me?

Why should you consider tipping the crew at a dice table? 

The latitude that consistent tipping brings is quite extensive.  Let me list just a few of the benefits:

v     They’ll give you little or no hassle if you don’t always hit the back wall.

v     If you are a little slow when you set the dice (which you shouldn’t be because of your extensive practicing), they’ll be more patient in waiting for your toss.

v     The stickman will step back or step aside to give you extra shooting room, and he’ll be sure to keep his stick and his hands out of your way.

v     You’ll also notice that the stickman will be much less “fidgety” when you are shooting from the first couple of positions on either side of him.  He’ll stop moving, to lessen the amount of distraction within your shooting “eye” or line-of-sight.

v     They’ll book late-bets for you, and they’ll retroactively book super-late bets, especially when the dice-outcome goes in your favor.

v     They’ll say, “no bet” or “sorry, I couldn’t book that bet for you” on your late bets when the dice-outcome goes against you.  As cover for their actions, they’ll simply say, “What was it that you wanted there Mr. X, I didn’t hear you clearly so I couldn’t book it.”  In their minds, a dollar or more saved on your behalf is a dollar or more that you’ll have available to wager on their behalf next time.

v     They’ll resolve payout-disputes in your favor, even when your mouth wasn’t as clear in its instructions, as your brain was in its intentions.

v     They’ll give you reminders about bets that you’ve forgotten to make, or Odds that you’ve forgotten to wager.  They’ll jog your memory to remind you about your normal supplementary Come-Out bets or Point-cycle hedges.

v     They’ll suggest certain “trend-type” bets when they identify a trend or streak, even though you may not have noticed it.  They’ll say something like, “Did you know you’ve thrown at least one Hard-6 on every hand that you’ve tossed today?” or “Every time you throw a 4, you come right back with a couple more outside 4’s and 10’s.”

v     If you start throwing a particular Box-Number that you aren’t on, they may say, “How many more times are you going to roll the 5 before you give yourself permission to bet on it?”  

v     They’ll clue-in quicker to your betting methods.  Whether it be regressions, progressions, parlays, or “bets-off” calls; they’ll anticipate your moves and they’ll be sure to ask about a usual bet-change even if you forget to request it.

Need More Reasons?

v     As if the benefits of tipping that I’ve just listed aren’t enough, here’s a couple more:

v     The dealers will “service the hell” out of a tipper.  For example, the incoming stickman on the game will be reminded by the departing stickman to “Take care of my friend here (as he taps the stick in front of you), he likes to work his Place bets on the Come-Out, and be sure to remind him to take full Odds, okay.”

v     When a dealer says, “Take care of my friend”, it really means, “This guy tips, so give him your best Premium Customer Service.”

v     Likewise, one dealer will say to the other, in a low conspiratorial tone, “George” (dealer jargon for a good tipper) is at L-4 (the fourth player-spot to the right) and he doesn’t want you to “scramble” the dice (he wants them delivered the same way as they rolled, regardless of their outcome).”  

v     If a player tips well, the dealers, boxmen and Floor Supervisors feel that it’s incumbent on themselves to make your gaming experience as comfortable and hassle-free as possible.

v     A lot of times, when a “good” player approaches the table, virtually all of the staff will welcome him by name.   This small acknowledgement is beneficial to both the dealers and the player. 

v     The dealers want him to feel welcome, and greeting him by name is their way of providing recognition for his past tipping efforts, and hopeful anticipation of additional future bets.  It is also their unstated signal to the player that a more flexible set of rules is in place for him once again. 

v     The player accepts the warm-welcome as recognition for his past tipping efforts, and the expectation that the more flexible set of rules is once again in place.  It’s a “one hand washing the other” symbiotic relationship that continues to perpetuate the “two sets of rules” state of affairs.  It’s just human nature that this “if you help me, I’ll help you” attitude works so well in a casino-environment.

v     For a dice-setting tipper, the stickman will often pre-arrange the dice before stick-handling them out to you.  For a 3-V set, they’ll have the 3’s on top.  For an X-6 shooter, they’ll send you the 6’s on top, etc.

v     They’ll retroactively book your Prop bets, even if you forgot to call it out.  Many savvy boxmen will direct a dealer to make the payout to you by telling him to “set it up and then pay it”, even when you completely forgot to even think about making it. 

v     What usually happens is that the stickman will groan (as soon as you do) about the Horn bet that you forgot to make.  As cover, the base-dealer (the dealer across from you) may say, “Oh, I booked that for you.  You may not remember making it, but I remember booking it.  You’ll have to throw in x-dollars so that we can set it up and pay it to you”.  The boxman will nod and say, “Yeah, that’s his normal bet, try to book that a little earlier next time, Mr. X.” 

v     A good player will immediately drop part of his winning payoff directly into the Toke-box instead of just placing another low-chance bet for the dealers.  That is how a decent player shows their appreciation, and keeps the good times (favorable rules) rolling.  You certainly never want to stiff them (not toke them) when they have gone out of their way to put money directly into your pocket.

v     They’ll make room for you even at a jam-packed table.  If there are no “legal” betting positions available, they’ll sometimes team you up with another “known” player who will let you piggy-back your bets on top of his.

     They aren’t going to team you up with some idiot.  They will be sure it’s someone that they themselves would trust.  You’ll not only see this happen in the high-dollar casinos at the high-limit tables, but also at some of the friendlier neighborhood places.  It’s all part of how they will try to accommodate you for taking such good care of them.

 More Reasons for Tipping

v     If you forget to hand in your Players Card at the beginning of a session, they’ll back-date (time-wise) the Rating Card to give you more accumulated playing time.  This results in higher comp ratings.

v     The best Floor Supervisors (also know as TGS-Table Game Supervisors) will keep a small address-type of book with frequent players Players Card numbers in it.  That way, they can start your Rating Card immediately, and they can waive off your Players Card on a busy table by saying, “Don’t worry Mr. X, I’ve already got you started here.”

v     Likewise, they’ll be sure that your Rating Card “follows” you when you change tables.  Most people don’t take the time to let the TGS know that they are moving to another table, so the Floor Supervisor innocently “closes out” your Rating Card (stops the clock on your rating, and gives it to the Pit Clerk to enter into the computer).  That means that if the card doesn’t follow you from table to table, ALL of the time you spend playing after you leave the first table goes uncredited.

v     For a good tipper, a smart floor-man will look around to see if you are still playing, then he’ll bring the Rating Card to your current table to ensure that the comps continue to accumulate on your account.

v     Most floor-supervisors (especially current “dual-rate” dealer/supervisors) will keep your Rating Card “open” (still accumulating time) even after you leave the table.  I’m not talking about a washroom-break sort of departure, I’m talking about when you leave the building entirely. 

 v     This is a small courtesy that they extend to tippers, in appreciation for the action that you wagered         on behalf of “the boys”.  Again, this adds more time to the all-important comp-equation when                 your Rating Card is finally entered into the computer.

v     If you want to read more about ensuring that you are getting properly rated, you should check out my You've Got (More) Mail! article.

v     If you are highly regarded as a frequent-tipper, and you have a “favorite” shooting-spot at the tables, they will sometimes have another player move so that you can comfortably settle in to your “normal” spot. 

v     If they need to “cover” (justify) this move, they’ll simply say to the player who is in your spot, “You’ll have to move over sir, Mr. X needs his spot back.”  This isn’t so much about stroking your ego; it’s more about making you feel comfortable and welcome.  By accommodating you at their table, they are showing their appreciation for past tips, and making it more likely that you will tip in the future.

v     In the same vein, when they are preparing to open a new table (usually at a shift-change), they’ll reserve your spot at the soon-to-open table with a lammer (one of those plastic “off”, “on”, “buy” or “lay” buttons) to save your place, as they count down the check-bank, unwrap new dice, and do the necessary paperwork that has to happen before they can start the game.

v     That way, you can keep playing at your current table until the new game is ready.  Of course, you will probably be given the dice first since you (their lammer on your spot) were there before all of the other eager players arrived at the table.   Little courtesies like letting you shoot the dice first, make the game all that much more enjoyable, especially for a Precision-Shooter who is looking to maximize his number of dice-throwing opportunities.

v     They’ll often reach across and extend your Place-bet or Come-bet winnings much closer to you on the table layout, especially when you are the shooter.  This ensures that you not only don’t have to reach to pick up your winnings, it also means that you don’t even have to shift your body out of any pre-set position that you like to be in when you are shooting. 

v     Again, this is a courtesy that they extend so that your rhythm is not disturbed or interrupted in any way.  Since all, or most of your dealer-bets will be in action when you are the shooter, they know the benefits of keeping you “in the game”, and not imparting any undue distractions.

v     These small benefits may not seem like much, but cumulatively, they add up to substantial remuneration for your low-cost tipping investment.

v     When you first walk up to the table, they’ll often take your “call bets” before they even “see” your money, even though this move is strictly against the rules in EVERY gaming jurisdiction in North America.  Again, if they know you from past sessions and they are aware of your normal buy-in; then they’ll push the boundaries of their operating procedures.

Still Need More Justification?

As you can see, there are many, many benefits to getting on the good side of the table-crew.  Here are a few more:

v     They’ll control the game-speed to YOUR liking whether or not you are the shooter.  If you are the impatient type, they’ll try to keep the action flowing.  If you are a slow bettor, they’ll try to reduce the pace to ensure that all of your bets (and your dealer toke-bets) are booked.

v     If you are a non-smoker, they’ll often ask if anyone else at your end of the table is a smoker.  If there aren’t any smokers, they will politely put up the “No Smoking” placard at your end of the table.

v     Moves like this doesn’t cost them one red cent, nor one ounce of energy; but it virtually guarantees a higher-level of appreciation from the player, and it provides recognition that he is a valued customer.

v     If you are a well-known player of substance, and you ask for a Casino Marker (credit), the Pit Boss or TGS will “give the nod” (approval) to the boxman to dole out chips before he even consults the computer credit file.  He does this based on his current knowledge of your credit availability or the amount of “front money” that he knows that you have in your account.

v     They’ll be extra generous with your Player Rating, which leads to bigger and better comps.  This alone is worth anywhere from a 10% to 75% increase over your actual ratings. 

v     If you normally spread $25 to $50 on the layout, they will often bump you up to the $50 to $75 range. For a steady tipper who normally spreads $40 to $80 in action, your kind efforts are frequently rewarded by having the ratings bumped into the much-vaunted black-chip $100 category.  

v     Even if you are a lower-roller, your $10 to $20 spread-action will magically transform into a $25 rating. Once you get past the green-chip $25+ threshold, it equates to much better food comps, many more free room and suite offers, airfare reimbursement, additional invitations to casino parties, concerts, shows and sporting-events.

v     It is important to remember that the lower-rung Strip casinos (Sahara, Tropicana, Stratosphere, Barbary Coast, Frontier, Circus Circus, Stardust, etc.) have a much smaller comp-threshold than the higher-rung resorts (Bellagio, Venetian, Mirage, MGM Grand, Paris, Mandalay Bay, etc.). 

v     Likewise, Downtown casinos (Fremont, Four Queens, Golden Nugget, Plaza, California, etc.) have even lower bet-requirements than the bottom-rung Strip resorts.  Better still, some of the neighborhood “locals” casinos have even lower action requirements than the Downtown houses.

v     A good rule of thumb to remember, is that the lower the table bet-minimum, the better the dealers will treat a good tipper.

   v     Another tangible benefit of enhanced ratings based on tipping, is the amount and frequency of                cash-voucher mailings.   Instead of receiving $10 or $25 vouchers once a month; it translates into                multiple $50 vouchers that arrive in your mailbox twice or even four times each month from casinos                that use these items to reward valued customers.  

   v     I look at these vouchers as a well-paying dividend on my tip “investments” that I’ve made during the              past month or so.  If you have multiple casinos doing the same thing, then this benefit alone is a very              compelling reason to tip the crew.

v     They’ll sometimes allow you to use a “Blackjack-only” match-play coupon at a craps table.  To read all about this very narrow, but highly lucrative subject, I would invite you to read my Match-Play Coupon Circuit series of articles.

v     They will be a LOT more lenient on their “discretionary” stick-calls.  This especially includes “leaners” (where the call could go either way, but they’ll make the dice-call in your favor instead of announcing the other less desirable 7-Out). 

v     Likewise, they’ll call a “no roll” when the dice “could legally be called, but really shouldn’t be”. You can translate that phrase into meaning that they will avoid calling a 7-Out if they possibly can, especially if you currently have dealer-bets in action for them when you are the shooter. The definition of what constitutes a legal roll varies from casino to casino, and even shift to shift; so the boxman and even the dealers have a lot of discretion in that area.

 Just a Couple More Reasons

v     A lot of times, they’ll conveniently forget to take down your piggy-backed Hardway bet, even though the “easy way” just rolled.  If the bet is piggy-backed (their bet is placed on top of your Hardway bet instead of placed separately on the normal dealer-spot) they are more likely to forget to take it down.

v     Sometimes during a hot-roll, they’ll also forget to take down your Come bets after a Come-Out winner-7.  These things don't happen at every table, but they happen often enough to more than cover the cost of your dealer-bets, and that action alone, more than justifies your investment.

v     Likewise, for DP and DC players, dealers will often forget to pick up a losing bet.  While DP-players aren’t normally known for their consistent tipping, those that do tip are often rewarded for their gracious efforts.

v     When you are looking around for a cocktail waitress, they will often summon one from another area, or the Pit Boss will even call for one on the phone.

v     When there is a cocktail waitress in the area, they’ll let you know, so that she doesn’t miss your order, or in the alternative if you are shooting, so that her arrival doesn’t throw you off of your rhythm.

v     It is important to remember that alcohol makes it easier for the casino to separate a man from his money.  You might want to save your “serious drinking” for a post-session celebration, and substitute water or juice while you are actually playing.

v     Before you depart the table, they’ll often ask if there is anything thing that you need, comp-wise, such as lunch, dinner or perhaps a show.

v     They may also ask if you are planning to come back after lunch or dinner.  That way, a savvy boxman or TGS can keep your card “open” (and keep your play-time and comp-time racking up), even when you are away from the table.

This list covers the more overt help that the dice-crew can give a consistent toker.  There are many, many more benefits that are far too numerous to list here.


So to answer the “Are there two sets of rules for craps players?” question, the answer should be patently clear.

Yes, there is definitely one set of rules for players who tip frequently, and a completely different set for players who don’t tip.  Whether you tip or not determines which set of rules will be applied to YOU. 

Tipping DOES NOT give you a free license to mistreat or berate the crew.  Behave yourself, and don’t act like an “I’m entitled to special treatment” idiot, and you’ll soon see the dividends start to tumble in.

In the event that you haven’t figured it out by now, the return-on-investment that you get from tipping, far exceeds the cost of the actual tokes, especially for a Precision-Shooter.

Good Luck & Good Skill at the tables…and in Life.


The Mad Professor

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