How much does a poker dealer typically make?
You’re sitting at the poker table, looking at all the chips, and you begin to wonder – with all the money that goes through the dealers hands, how much does he/she get paid? What is a typical poker dealer salary? Becoming a dealer might sound like a fun career, they get to be in the thick of the entertainment. But is the pay worth the long days (and nights), working through holidays and facing angry customers who’ve just lost all their money?
The average base pay for dealers is actually quite low, just $14,700 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The real money that dealers earn is through the tips they receive from players. On average, dealers can earn anywhere from $15-$50 an hour in tips, bringing their average yearly salary to between $30,000 and $60,000, with the luckiest (and very few) dealers making up to $100,000 when dealing private tables with high roller clients.
- Some countries don’t allow dealers to accept tips and therefore pay their dealers a higher base salary.
- Many gamblers don’t tip the dealer.
What Factors Determine Pay?
The more experience a dealer has under their belt, the more likely they are to have a higher base pay. But experience is also going to play a bigger role in tip potential. Players are more likely to consistently tip a dealer they like, so speed and precision coupled with a good attitude are going to help bolster a dealer’s pocketbook. Other factors include how busy the dealer is and what game they are dealing.
Benefits Given To Dealers
Depending on the casino, poker dealers can be eligible for good benefits. Casinos are generally part of corporations that offer benefits including medical, training, tuition reimbursement and 401k matching. There is also the benefit of flexible scheduling as casinos are usually open for 24 hours a day. This makes it easy for people might struggle with a 9-5 schedule, but does mean that dealers may have to work some anti-social hours.
Being a People Person
To be a successful dealer you must have people skills. This isn’t a desk job, you are on the floor dealing with the public and must stay composed. Keeping a friendly smile and making small talk with strangers all day may sound like a nightmare for some, but it is essential in the life of a poker dealer. You must be friendly, attentive and interesting for your entire shift, or risk losing those tips.
Not All Players Are Nice
Serious sums of money can change hands in poker games, and players want to remain focused on the game. Those who are losing money may take their frustrations out on the dealer, especially if they have also been drinking. Top-notch, experienced dealers must be able to keep their cool, deal with unexpected situations and make sure that play continues as calmly and professionally as possible – and can expect both base salary and tips to reflect this.
The average base salary is low, but there is room for experienced dealers to make more. When the range of tips is factored in, there is potential to make very good money. Not everyone has what it takes to deal with the gaming public and keep their cool, but if you are the type of person that loves working with people, and can keep gameplay interesting, then being a poker dealer could be a dream job.