Reason I like Bovada #3:

One-stop shopping

Let me share my experience at another online casino whose name I won't mention:  I wanted to try out their free-play games, and they made me sign up for an account.  That was annoying, just for free-play, but actually most casinos make you register, so they can annoy you by email to pressure you into depositing real money.

I didn't get to choose my own username, they assigned one, and it was long! An astounding twelve digits of mixed numbers and letters.  There was no way I'd be able to memorize it, I'd have to write it down.

After trying out the free-play games I decided to deposit money and play for real.  And guess what? I had to register a separate account to play for real.  They assigned me a brand-new twelve-digit username.  Great.

Shortly thereafter they started offering play-in-browser games.  That's convenient, so I wanted to get in on that.  Guess what?  Yet another username.

And guess how they handle they money they give you as a matching bonus on your deposit?  You guessed it, another account.

Okay, now let's fast-forward to Bovada: One account gets you everything.  And I mean everything.  Real money, fake money, bonuses, you name it.  I didn't get to choose my account name, but at least it's easy to remember.

And if you want to play for free with fake money, you don't even need an account at all.  For example:

Play for free, no B.S.
One click and you're in.

All in all, I think Bovada is the best bet for U.S. players.

Gambling problem?
  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

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Gambling problem?
  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

How much do casino dealers make?

Short answer:  About $50,000 a year, including tips.

Last update: August, 2019.

Dealers typically start out at minimum wage, and the median wage is only $10/hour.  The real money is in the tips.  Wages and tips together is typically about $50,000 a year, but it's way lower at the cheaper casinos and way higher at the ritzier ones.  Here's how total dealer income stacks up:

Casino Dealer Earnings

$41/hr • $6.9k/mo • $82k/yr Dealer, luxury casino (e.g. Wynn/MGM)
$34/hr • $5.7k/mo • $68k/yr Dealer, nice casino (e.g. Caesars Palace)
$32/hr • $5.3k/mo • $64k/yr All jobs for Bachelor's Degree, median
$26/hr • $4.3k/mo • $52k/yr Dealer, Vegas median, and non-LV casinos
$22/hr • $3.6k/mo • $43k/yr All jobs for Associate Degree, median
$19/hr • $3.1k/mo • $37k/yr All jobs for High School diploma, median
$14/hr • $2.3k/mo • $27k/yr All jobs for no High School diploma, median
$11/hr • $1.8k/mo. • $22k/yr Low-roller/Locals casinos (e.g., El Cortez, Gold Coast)

So, at most places, it's a decent middle-class job.  All the more so when you consider that it's one of the highest-paying jobs available to those without a college degree.  Dealers typically complete vocational training lasting 7 to 30 weeks.  That's comparable to Certified Nurses Aides, whose median pay is only $14/hour, a fraction of what the typical dealer makes.

On the flip side, dealer jobs come with some unique downsides.  Dealers work in a smoky environment day in and day out.  They might have to work the graveyard shift.  They deal with horribly rude players who blame the dealer for the player's losses.  They have to stand the entire shift.  There's little job advancement:  Most dealers can't graduate to anything besides a supervisor, and supervisors often don't make any more money than dealers because they don't get tips.  Here's one dealer's rundown on the challenges of the work environment.  On the other hand, some dealers are quite happy with the job.

Whatever you think a dealer should make, that tells you how much to tip.  Assuming a dealer makes $8/hour before tips and averages three customers at the table who will tip the same amount as you, here's how generous to be:

How much to tip the dealer
If you think the dealer
should make this much...
...then tip this much
$80,000/yr • $6.7k/mo $11/hr.
$70,000/yr • $5.8k/mo $9/hr.
$60,000/yr • $5.0k/mo $7/hr.
$50,000/yr • $4.2k/mo $6/hr.
$40,000/yr • $3.3k/mo $4/hr.
$30,000/yr • $2.5k/mo $2/hr.

See the table for cocktail waitresses.


All of the figures above and below have been converted to 2019 dollars.  The dates below are the dates of the source data, where the figures were lower before I adjusted them to 2019.

Median wage before tips.  Bureau of Labor Statistics (2017)

Vegas casinos.  Wynn (2019), MGM Grand (undated), Caesar's Palace (2018).

Non-Vegas casinos.  Dealer posts from NC (2012-16) and Northern MI (2015).

Low-roller / Locals casinos.  In 2002, I read in the defunct Dealer's News newsletter that El Cortez dealers made a paltry $21/day in tips (2002 dollars).   That plus inflation plus minimum wage gives the figure in the table above.  I can believe the figure reported in Dealer's News, because often when I've played in locals/low-roller places, I'm the only one tipping.  Once at the now-defunct Western Casino, when I tipped the dealer was confused as to what I was doing, because she'd never received a tip before.

Practice gambling with play money

Before you throw down your hard-earned cash in a casino, PRACTICE FIRST!  Learn the games with play money where it doesn't cost you anything if you lose.  Seriously.

I like Bovada's practice games the best, because you can play right away without registering for an account.  Most every other online casino makes you give up your email address just to play the fake-money games — ugh.  That's why Bovada is the only online casino that gets space on my site.  I hope other casinos will eventually start treating their visitors like human beings rather than walking wallets, but until they do, there's Bovada.  One click and you're in.





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