A few tips on the lost art of tipping in a casino

Jan 17, 2001 2:38 AM

Tips. To-Insure-Prompt-Service.

The story goes that the word "tips," used as a substitute for gratuity, had its origins with the above phrase. Whether or not the tale is true, things seem to work that way, don’t they?

I was reminded of the fact this past week when my buddy had a problem with a favorite video poker machine. "Mo will be right over to fix it," said the bartender.

"I’d hate to hang that long," my friend whispered to me. "Mo won’t be here for ages."

Guess what? Mo was there in a jiffy.

"I just broke two knives trying to fix the last machine I was at," Mo said. "I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Finally, I found it. There was a penny stuck in the machine!"

"Oh, it was probably some drunk last night," Mo said. "He couldn’t tell the difference between a quarter and a penny!"

Now we’re laughing. "Do you ever get tipped?"

"Actually, yes, but not often," he replied. "A guy who was winning did give me a $20 bill the other night."

The conversation with Mo did get me thinking. We tip some workers but not others, don’t we?

Personally, I like the system where the dealers and waitresses keep the tips they themselves earn. Most places pool tips now. I’ve seen the process late at night at Foxwoods as the chips, change and bills are poured onto a craps table. Then a representative of each group watches as the tips are divided equally.

You should always tip for a drink. The government presumes something like a 17 cent tip for every drink on average. If you don’t tip, the waitress can be stuck.

For everything else in the casino, feel free to tip. Even Mo the maintenance man. But not security.

Onward to Victory!