The positive energy that poker dealers bring to the table is a huge advantage. You won’t believe it if you don’t play with your friends and have one of them act as the dealer. Dealers play an important role in poker, and they are likely making a lot of cash.

The unique income structure of poker dealers is that they are paid very low hourly rates and most of their tips come from tips. While the hourly rate of a dealer is $8.87, they average $33,200 in tips. They still make a decent income, despite this.

The poker dealer’s earnings are often dependent on tips.

Let’s take a look at the various compensations poker dealers receive from casinos. We will also explain why tipping dealers is important if they allow you to do so.

Different Casinos Use Different Compensations

Different casinos have different compensation schemes for dealers. All of them are designed to enhance a player’s gambling experience. The only positive interaction you can have with a dealer is when you hit the felt. You can only play with someone you know, but that doesn’t always happen.

Casinos don’t take chances. Casinos want to make sure you have a positive experience by providing it through one of their employees. The best way to do this is through a dealer in poker. What do you think is the best way to bring positivity to every table? You can do this by playing poker with a well-paid dealer who makes an average of $85,000 per year!

You’re sure to be amazed at how they manage to make that much per year just by playing cards. Although the compensations for poker dealers can be complicated, most structures are based on tips from players. A poker dealer without tips will make between $38,000 and $46,000 annually.

Compensation through high hourly rate without tips

Some dealers get fixed hourly pay. Their hourly earnings will increase substantially in this case.

Some casinos won’t allow dealers to accept tips. This is a strange practice, although it’s not common. The tips they get from players make up at least half of the money poker dealers make. Without it, they only get a minimal hourly rate.

True to a certain extent. But casinos want to infuse positivity at every table to keep their customers entertained. Statistics show that the longer a player stays at a game, the more they make. Instead of depending on tips, many casinos pay poker dealers hourly rates up to $22.84 an hour or $72,000 annually!


This is a significant difference when compared to the median salary. However, there’s one caveat: they are not permitted to take tips from players. This is a great compensation system for poker dealers who want a guaranteed income every night. It’s not possible to accept tips from players who rely heavily on luck or tips.

Standard Hourly Rate with Tip Pool

Casinos that are generous offer hourly rates to their dealers, while still allowing them to take tips. This is the compensation scheme that poker dealers most value. It allows them to still make a decent living, even if they have a poor night.

They make less than the poker dealers who are paid an hourly rate that is higher, but they share the tip pool with all employees of the casino. It still provides a good balance in terms of pay for many poker dealers.

This compensation structure reduces competition among poker dealers who choose to host tables at mid-stakes where the majority of the tips are. Because they are at high stakes, they get higher tips but not many players. Low-stakes players may have more players but the tips make little difference to their earnings.

Specialized Tipp Pool Offer: Reduced Hourly Rate

Poker dealers are most commonly compensated by a reduced hourly rate or tip pooling between dealers from the same game. This means that all tips received by poker dealers are for their own use. They make less per hour but they make more in tips since they don’t have the burden of sharing it with low-tipped games.

This structure not only generates positivity at every table, but it also keeps all dealers well-paid. This is often where the poker dealers make the most. They split tips with other dealers which can sometimes lead to conflict between employees, or even between the casino and employees.


This structure, if implemented and executed correctly, can encourage teamwork among employees and give players a positive experience, regardless of where they are playing. This is because how well a dealer works will affect the income each player makes.

Low Hourly Rate with Keep Your Own Tips Policy

With the KYO tips policy, inexperienced dealers will be paid less. However, best-looking dealers and those with more experience will make more.

This compensation structure creates the largest gap in the amounts that poker dealers make. This means that a lower hourly rate is only an allowance for the dealer. An experienced professional will earn more than newer dealers if he knows how to keep players happy at the felt.

Keep Your Own Tips policy, also known as KYO, favors more experienced poker dealers. This structure allows a casino to have two different dealers. One can make $100,000 annually and the other only $46,000 per annum. The difference is due to the tip they receive from their players as well as the table they were assigned.

This structure can be described as performance-based. However, almost all dealers will prefer to be at mid-stakes tables. Since they only get reduced hourly rates, dealers would have to rely on the tips they receive, and most of it will come from the mid-stakes–high-stakes have very few players, and low-stakes have small tips.

Tipping is not mandatory, but expected

Now that we know the income of poker dealers and how it is earned, let’s discuss how your tips can affect it. It’s safe for us to assume that a casino will allow its dealers to take tips from players. If you are getting excellent service and treatment, tipping your dealer is a sign that they are treating you with respect.

Tipping is not mandatory, but it is encouraged, especially when you are on a roll. It’s not necessary to tip the dealer for every winning pot. That would be absurd. Instead, you should be ready to pay at least 10-20% of your buy-in amount every time you hit the felt. If you reach a point where you feel the need to tip, 20% of your buy-in amount will be a small fraction of what you have earned.



Although being a poker dealer can be a lucrative career, the income they make depends on their ability to accept tips. Their salary is not very high and they sometimes make just a few hundred more than the poverty line. They make the majority of their income from tips they receive from their players.

If your dealer is positive and you are playing poker, you should tip him. Although it’s not mandatory, they expect it. He may be the reason you’re on a roll -dealers can bring a lot luck to the table!