Poker Dealer Salary – How Much Do Poker Dealers Make on Average
It’s well-known that poker is the best gambling game you can focus on if you want to be a professional gambler. The best poker players earn millions and enjoy a high life playing the game they love.
But what if you want to become a professional poker dealer? What’s the average poker dealer’s salary, and how much can you expect to bring home from tips? Moreover, how stressful is the job, and is it worth the paycheck?
We’ll cover this and much more as we dive deeper into the subject of poker dealer salaries and everything you need to know about this interesting topic.
How Much Do Poker Dealers Make?
Most poker dealers, like all other casino employees, work on an hourly rate. In other words, their salary directly depends on how many hours they work per week or per month.
Looking at the salary alone, poker dealers make around minimum wage in their location.
In the US, this is around $10 per hour without tips in most states, while the number is slightly higher in European countries.
Add to this the tips they receive, which are unpredictable and challenging to calculate, and you have the average salary. Only these aren’t the only factors to take note of.
When discussing average poker dealer salaries, the two most important factors to consider are the dealer’s experience and the location they’re working at.
Focusing on the first one, a poker dealer with one year of experience and a poker dealer with ten years of experience will have vastly differing salaries. This is understandable and is normal to almost any profession in the world.
Speaking of location, this includes the region/country you’re working in and the specific casino you’re working for.
Based on these two factors and overall experience, a poker dealer can earn anywhere from $15,000 upwards of $80,000. Poker dealers working high stakes rooms can sometimes earn over $100,000 a year, including tips.
Is it Difficult to Be a Poker Dealer?
Of course, when discussing how much you can make as a poker dealer, it’s also crucial to consider how much work you’ll be doing and how demanding this work will be.
In terms of the job’s difficulty, being a poker dealer falls somewhere in the middle. It is a bit more challenging than being a blackjack dealer but not as challenging as working the craps table.
Like with all other table games involving a dealer or croupier, the poker dealer is the host that represents the casino.
You need to have great knowledge of all poker rules and make sure that all of the players at your table adhere to them. You need to perfectly handle the cards to ensure fair play and minimize any mistakes or cheating attempts.
Lastly, as the player’s host, you need to keep the atmosphere at the table light and enjoyable. This last aspect also heavily depends on the players at the table, but the bulk of this work is on you.
And if there are any incidents, you need to know how to handle them promptly and without escalating.
Pros and Cons of Being a Poker Dealer
Besides the basic job descriptions we’ve mentioned above, the nature of this job also implies a handful of things you should know.
Depending on what type of person you are and the reputation of the casino you end up working in, these aspects can be either pros or cons. With that in mind, here are some key considerations you should know of as a poker dealer:
- Job Dynamics – Working in a casino is dynamic and significantly differs from a regular nine-to-five job. The nature of the job is very niche, and the casino hierarchy structure is unlike what you’ll find in most common jobs.
- Customers from All Walks of Life – As a poker dealer, you’ll also be dealing with tons of different people every day. If you’re an extrovert, it will not only lead to great tips but also some awesome stories and anecdotes along the way. That said, if you’re an introvert, dealing with all types of people can be more difficult than it is rewarding.
- Different Shifts – It’s no secret that casinos are the most active in the evenings and nights. So, night shifts are a regular thing and can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on whether you’re a night owl. Regardless, even if you like working nights, this can be strenuous on your overall health over time.
- It’s Not All Fun and Games – We’ll list this exclusively as a con, as the job can get boring, no matter how much you like poker. There’s a difference between playing poker when you like to and having to deal cards for hours on end, especially when the players around you are tilting.
Poker Dealer Salary by Country
The ballpark numbers we’ve mentioned initially provide approximate figures you can rely on, but the discrepancy between the low and high values is too big.
Because of this, we need to localize the salaries and look at specific examples. With this in mind, here’s a more detailed breakdown of the average poker dealer salaries in various US states and European countries:
Average Poker Dealer Salary in the US
The average yearly salary for professional poker dealers in the US is just under $40,000, rounded off at around $3,300 per month or around $19 per hour.
However, this is the national average, and there’s a lot of room for differentiation.
Expanding on this, it means that most professional poker dealers earn between $26,000 and $44,000 a year. That said, there are some poker dealers that earn just around $12,000 a year and those that earn closer to $100,000 a year.
Dealers that earn closer to the lower amount work in US states in which the gambling industry isn’t very well developed or the living standard isn’t as high.
On the other hand, poker dealers that earn close to the whopping $100,000 a year likely work in popular gambling locations like Las Vegas or Atlantic City in some of the more popular casinos.
Even poker dealers working in these big gambling cities can’t automatically count on a big salary. For example, dealers working in a casino on The Strip can easily earn from $80,000 to $100,000 or more per year.
But, as you move away from The Strip and more towards downtown Las Vegas, the salaries are twice as low and range between $30,000 and $40,000 a year. And this is just by being a few miles from the epicenter of the biggest casinos in the world.
Average Poker Dealer Salary in Europe
The dissimilarity between salaries can significantly differ, and the numbers are not as close as those in US states.
Moreover, since many European countries don’t have a heavy tipping culture like that in the US, European poker dealers rely more on their base wage and only supplement it with tips.
Of course, in some European countries like the UK, poker dealers can earn a lot from tips. This is because this country also has a strong tipping culture.
Focusing on the exact numbers, UK poker dealers can comfortably earn around $50,000 yearly. This number almost doubles for employees working in more prestigious London casinos.
Poker dealers in Germany also make a very nice living, as they can earn around $40,000 with tips.
Lastly, poker dealers working in French and Italian casinos earn slightly less. Dealers with several years of experience can earn up to $30,000 in these two countries.
Tips – A Crucial Part of Every Dealer’s Salary
In many countries, poker dealers earn just above minimum wage if you don’t count the tips. But, when you include the tips into the overall monthly salary, dealers can make the average or even above-average salary in their location.
This goes to show just how important tips are in this profession.
The vast majority of casinos worldwide, and especially those in the US, allows players to tip the dealers. Casino operators know that this allows them to pay their employees less money, as the dealers are compensated heavily through tips.
This might seem unfair, but the gambling industry has always worked like this, and it doesn’t look like this will ever change.
Looking into specific numbers, the total tips often match the hourly wage when averaged out throughout the day. For example, a dealer working in a mid-sized casino in the US, making $15 an hour, can also expect to earn close to this number in tips.
Do You Need to Tip the Poker Dealer?
In line with the previous subject, this poses the question on the player’s part, do you need to always tip the dealer? If so, how much should you tip every time you do so?
The answer is simple. Tipping the poker dealer isn’t required but is often expected. In other words, tipping the poker dealer is a sign of good etiquette, especially in US poker rooms.
Sure, it’s not uncommon for poker players to play for a couple of hours and not leave any amount of money to the dealer. Still, tipping is encouraged for players who are on a winning streak or have just won a big pot.
This isn’t to say that they should tip the dealer after every hand. Even a small tip now and then can be a great sign of courtesy and show that you appreciate the job that the dealer is doing.
Want To Earn More as a Poker Dealer?
As we’ve determined through the numbers above, a professional poker dealer’s salary can wildly vary based on several factors.
Recognizing these aspects and working on them can help you pave your way to a more rewarding salary as a poker dealer.
The best way to give yourself the opportunity to earn more is to improve constantly. Adopt the mindset of professional poker players in the sense that you try to read all of the people at the table.
Knowing how to act with each different customer based on their mood or personality will help you get the best possible tips from each of them.
Moreover, if you’re working poker rooms with low buy-ins, the customers you’re serving likely aren’t generous with their tipping.
Try to progress your way to high roller poker tables. In these games, high rollers bet tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars per game, so tipping you a few hundred bucks is pocket change for them.
Finally, a great way to obtain a more generous salary is to expand your profession. You don’t have to be a poker dealer exclusively.
Learn games like baccarat, which often attracts VIPs willing to tip the big bucks. Not only this, but having such a diverse skill set as a casino dealer will prompt the house to give you a better base salary.
Poker Dealer Salary – Key Facts to Remember
Many gambling enthusiasts often romanticize being a professional poker dealer, overlooking the many potential drawbacks that come with it.
One of the biggest ones is that this job heavily relies on tips. Because of this, it’s certainly not suitable for everyone who wants to know exactly how much money they’ll be earning each month.
Moreover, if you’re not a social person or don’t like dealing with people too much, the job might not be right for you, as it can get demanding and straining.
Smokey rooms and drunk and loud players can make the job very stressful at times.
That said, being a poker dealer can be a very profitable line of work. When the tips are good, and there’s a lot of traffic, you can make a great living as a professional poker dealer.
Plus, if you love poker in general, being a poker dealer is a fantastic profession, as you’re getting paid to be close to the game you enjoy.
Additionally, if you are a social person by nature, you’ll have fun interacting with people from all walks of life. Memorable stories and funny banter at the felt table are always guaranteed, so your job will never feel dull.