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Point – Counterpoint : Should Ramon Colillas Have Tipped the Dealers at the PSPC?

Most of you probably know by now that Ramon Colillas won the PokerStars Player’s Championship last month for $5.1 million after earning his way into the event via a Platinum Pass. What some of you may not know is that Colillas chose not to tip the dealers after his big win.

Colillas’ choice not to tip the dealers sparked another round of controversy as to whether poker players should tip dealers and today I would like to give a couple of arguments for and against his actions.

Point – Colillas Should Have Tipped the Dealers

A large percentage of the poker populace subscribe to the thought that Colillas should have tipped the dealers after his big win. There is a wide range of beliefs as to the amount or the percentage that he should have tipped, but most admitted that he should have tipped SOMETHING.

Some think he should have tipped some crazy amount like 5%, which would be in the neighborhood of $250,000. While I don’t necessarily agree with that much, it is reasonable to tip something, even if it was just $10k.

Poker dealers make the majority of their income off of tips. While they aren’t as poorly paid as a waiter or delivery drivers, they do make a relatively low wage and are only paid for the downs they deal. There are many times where dealers will sit around doing nothing in a poker room, which means they are not getting paid.

Also, tipping a dealer is a reward for great service and running the game properly. It would be one thing if you were in a cash game with a slow or rude dealer and chose not to tip. However, this was a world class event held by PokerStars with some of the best dealers in the world.

Finally, Colillas is giving himself somewhat of a bad name by not tipping anything to the dealers. When you get a stigma such as that, it is hard to overcome that, and if Colillas looks to be a big name in the game, this is a stigma he doesn’t need.

Counterpoint – It’s Colillas’ Money, He Doesn’t Owe the Dealer’s Anything

A less than popular opinion is that Colillas was perfectly within his rights to refuse to tip the dealers in the event. There are a couple of arguments that you could make against tipping. Firstly, dealers do actually make a wage for their time dealing. They are not paid $2 an hour like servers but usually make a reasonable hourly wage for their time. If tips are an absolute necessity to make ends meet, then maybe they should find another job.

Next, Colillas got into the event on essentially a freeroll and likely would not have had the chance to play in this event otherwise. Knowing this, one could potentially excuse him for not wanting to give up part of his prize. This was truly life-changing money to him, and it is not like he won’t have to pay taxes on that money. If he tips $100,000, are the dealers going to pay his taxes? Of course not.

Lastly, let’s not forget that tipping is a customer that’s big in the United States, but is less so in other countries. In fact, tipping in Spain is not that common. Most often, you will see Spaniards leave small change from a meal, but not anything like is expected in the United States. Something like tipping a poker dealer is not a common thing to tip for and in Colillas’ case, he may not have seen it appropriate or necessary to tip the dealer.

It’s Not Your Money – So What Business is it of Yours?

Ultimately, I will make this general statement about tipping in poker. If you want to tip with your own money, then do so. It is your money, and you can do with your money as you see fit. Adversely, you have no right to dictate how another person spends their money.

The act of calling people out for not leaving a tip is a bit shameful and is something that I particularly frown upon from poker players or people in general. You did nothing to earn that person’s money, so you have no right to comment on how they spend it. If it bothers you so much that a person doesn’t tip, why don’t you leave them a tip? Otherwise, mind your own business and work on your game. Then maybe you can make enough money at poker to afford to tip the dealers.

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