The player next to me—as is often the case—was tipping the dealer tonight. I—as is always the case—was not. The dealer thanked Mr. Tips more noticeably each time for the table scraps coming his way, and Mr. Tips responded by ever more loudly espousing the eternal virtues of tipping. They were addressing each other, but they were talking at me.
This happens on a regular basis. I have become accustomed to being the lone big bettor at a table, raking it in hand over fist, and nevertheless wearing the label Ungrateful McCheapy-Pants for not tipping a dime.
Finally Mr. Tips got up the nerve and asked me to my face why I don’t tip. I remembered that this player had been talking earlier about signing up for a blackjack tournament.
“Do you ever tip the dealer in a blackjack tournament?”
“NO WAY!” He chortled. “Why would I do that?”
“You tip the dealer here, why not in a tournament?”
“Every dollar counts in a tournament. It might make the difference between winning and losing.”
“That’s why I don’t tip,” I said. A long silence followed.
“Well,” the player finally said, “What goes around, comes around, you know? It’s about Karma.”
“The same Karma that is suspended for blackjack tournaments everywhere?”
Over the long haul, the casino takes a few cents every round from the average player. The advantaged player turns that on its head to take a few cents every round from the casino. Don’t let your moments of high positive variance fool you. Your margins are a lot smaller than your chip stack. In the long run, he who gives away his cents makes neither cents nor sense.