Upgrade from Bad Santa

As a newbie poker dealer at The Poker Room NH, I am working hard to include conversation in my repertoire of dealing tools. As a rule,  dealers should just make sure that the action at the table is brisk without rushing anyone.

Comments made by the dealer should be non-biased and certainly not unkind. There is a fine line between friendly conversation and annoying banter.

To that end, I sometimes  tell the “Bad Santa”

Bad Santa

Bad Santa (Photo credit: BRED(odevay.com))

story whenever a player complains about the bad hands they are dealt by me.

During one session a female player raised the opening amount to 4,000 chips. The table’s chip leader re-raised her to 8,000. The lady player thought about it for a couple of minutes and re-raised All-in and was called by the chip leader.

The female player tabled QQ and the chip leader tabled AK off suit.

The flop was 5 9 J, rainbow (meaning no matching suited cards).

The turn card was a 2.

The river card was an ace crushing the female player’s pocket queens by giving the chip leader a pair of aces.

She looked at me and said “you are not Bad Santa, you are the Grim Reaper!”.

Grim Reaper (advertisement)

Grim Reaper (advertisement) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Poker room math – how it works

English: Poker Room at the MGMG Grand. Lion Re...

English: Poker Room at the MGMG Grand. Lion Reservoir in the background (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you play cash games at poker rooms, there are two or three items that will reduce the amount of the pots that you can win.

Rake – the amount that the house or poker room keeps from each pot. For this example, we will take $1 from every $10 pot up to a maximum of $5 when pots reach $50 or more.

Tips – the amount that a player gives the dealer when the player wins a pot. For this example, we will assume that the player gives one dollar for each pot won.

Bad Beat – the amount that the house or poker room keeps from each pot for the bad beat jackpot. For this example, we will use $1 per pot. Generally a bad beat is when one players has four of a kind like 2222 and the other player has 3333 for a better four of a kind. Rules at each poker house will vary.

Let’s assume that there are nine players at the table and that each player brings $100 to the table to play for a total pool of $900.00 in play.

Let’s assume that each player receives 20 hands per hour.

Let’s assume that they all play for 5 hours or 100 hands total and no one rebuys when they lose.

Of the 100 pots won, on average 50 of them will have a rake of $2 taken for a total of $100.

25 pots won will have a rake taken of $4 for a total of $100.

25 pots won will have a rake taken of $5 for a total of $125

An average tip of $1.50 will be taken from the 100 pots for a total of $150

A dollar taken out of each pot for the bad beat jackpot for a total of $100


Starting players amount       $900

Less total rake amount         -325

Less total tip amount            -150

Less total bad beat amount   -100

Ending players amount         $325

Average amount remaining per player:  $36.11


The effect of rake and tips is not immediately noticeable to the average player due to the fact that some players leave and new ones take their place, bringing new money to the table. Of course there are always those players that buy more chips and remain at the table.

Unless you are a winning player, it is virtually impossible to accumulate winnings when more than 40% of each players chips ends up going to the poker room and the poker room dealers.


I am a poker player and a poker dealer. I really appreciate my customers and the tips that they give us fellow dealers. I enjoy both the game and the challenge in spite of the fact that I do not play poker well enough to make a living doing it.

You could say that I love the social aspects of poker. As a player, I can relate to other players. As a dealer, I see the business side and relate to that as well. Some consider poker as part of the entertainment industry and I am striving hard each day to provide a service to my customers, the players.

And I hope that everyone understands that this is not a condemnation of the industry that I love but just an explanation of how it works. This post was the result of my thinking about the business side of poker that I wanted to share with you.

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