is a debate about changing British gaming law to allow individual casino
dealers to get tips. I always thought this would be good. Tipping motivates
dealers to concentrate, to keep the game moving quickly and efficiently. They
must get insanely bored, dealing hand after meaningless hand, and it suits
everybody for them to stay alert.
A few nights ago, I thought of
another reason why I'd like to see tipping introduced. I managed to win a
£1,500 pot with aces, just after the dealer had told me he was earning
£85 for his eight-hour shift.
If I could give him a share of the pot, it
would offset my guilt about collecting such a sum under the nose of somebody
doing a tough and monotonous job, in the middle of the night, for so little
return. Jesus, I thought, they must hate being stuck on the wrong side of the
The next night, I watched a player find kings under aces, flush
under flush, set under set, until he cracked up and threw away £30,000.
And I changed my mind about tipping. It would be fine if casinos kept paying
the same wages, but they wouldn't. Salaries would be frozen (or cut); the
dealers would end up with no extra money, and a big casino cost would simply
have been shifted onto the players. Eighty per cent of players are losing. The
game can't afford to shoulder that kind of tax.
I also thought: these
dealers are not fools. They see the 80% losers, and the faces of those who
crack up and do the whole bankroll. Their own income may be dwarfed by the
pots, but at least it's guaranteed. If they have any sense, they should love
sitting pretty on the right side of the table.