First when I talk about home games I’m not talking about your typical neighborhood drunken donk fest where most people don’t know what they are doing and the limits are .25/.50. I’m talking about organized games where its casino style play and lots of money on the table.
Why do these games exist? Why don’t they just play at the casino? Well they may not be in close proximity to a casino, because the state doesn’t allow gambling or there just isn’t a casino near the city. The games are usually organized by someone that has a little of the entrepreneurial spirit, or just extreme gambling habits. Most of the games either take a small rake or an entry at the door. This also makes it illegal in most states, if not all of them.
Depending on the crime level in the area, they may be located at a house, or rotating houses. They may rent space somewhere and change the venue frequently. I’ve seen some with some pretty sophisticated security. There is always the threat of getting busted by the cops/feds and the threat of getting robbed. Since it’s illegal who are you going to report it to? Sort of like a drug dealer getting robbed and calling the cops. “Um, they stole all my weed”.
For these reasons it makes it pretty risky to deal one of these games, and also the fact that if you are currently working in a casino and get caught dealing one of these they can revoke your gaming license and losing your job might be an inconvenience. On the other hand it can be extremely good financially.
First you get to know the players and aren’t restricted to being a robot for the casino. Some of these big, big games, with a few 10k plus pots can get you huge tips. It’s always hit or miss, just like in the casino, but I generally get taken care of better than at work. It’s all tax free take home cash at the end of the night. Who wouldn’t love a bunch of cash to fall in your lap for a few extra hours? One of the other reasons you make more is that you are the only one dealing that night. You don’t have to rotate with other dealers, you just get to sit and deal and deal and deal. This also makes it a little harder on the body, but hey tax free cash tips are nice. I’ve never earned an hourly wage either, it’s all been just tips. The players are told this so that they make sure they compensate us, another thing thats not allowed in the casino.
Attention IRS and local government officials. I have never dealt home games.
These games need dealers for the same simple reason casinos do: you want games that are fair, unbiased and professional. There is a lot of money on the table, you are making a small profit from the rake, which makes keeping your clients/customers happy and coming back. You want experienced and skilled dealers. You can’t have mistakes, there are no cameras to back up a claim or floors to make decisions for 1000’s of dollars. If you have players deal they are sloppy, mistakes are easily made and some know how to cheat. We have standard procedures that make it damn near impossible to cheat for the players.
Some of the benefits, other than cash tips, are you can eat, smoke, drink, swear and act like you aren’t at work while you are in the box. Of course you have to have some discretion as to what you should say with some of the players. In the huge games it’s still just best to keep quiet.
The games can be more fun as they do things like run it 2 or 3 times. They want to play different games sometimes. Occasionally I like to make a bunch of money in tips and then jump in the game and play for the rest of the night. Most of these places have backup dealers that take over if you need a break or want to be done for the night. So if you are planning to run a home game with decent stakes, find a dealer who is willing to work for you. It doesn’t cost you anything because they just work on tips, and your game will be smooth and professional and your players will appreciate it.
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