I got a message from my friend Rocky about an upcoming PGA pro-am event sponsored by the Iowa PGA. I was happy to say yes to an amazing event held at 3 of Las Vegas’s premier courses. One of which has been on my bucket list for years, Southern Highlands. The other 2 Rio Secco and Cascata I had played before, but my round at Cascata was cut short due to inclement weather so I was happy to get back out to Boulder City to enjoy another 18 holes. It was great to hang out with my friends Frank, Rocky, Tilly and a new friend Jeff. I had not seen them in years and we had the chance to catch up on old times. We didn’t play that great, but we made up for the lack of scoring at some nice restaurants in town including Nora’s Italian cuisine and STK steakhouse at the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino.
You just got the bill now comes time to sign and tip. If you have ever been to Las Vegas, you’ll quickly learn that everyone will accept tips. Well most people that is. Some people will just outright beg. While others will expect nothing at all. However, for most practical purposes let’s answer a few basic questions. What percentage should you leave? Where does the tip go when you leave it?
As a customer you are ultimately in charge of whether you leave a tip or not. As you should be, after all you paid for a service and it’s up to you to give more if you feel the server deserved it. I will tell you though if you want to leave your server what is considered a “good tip” the industry standard in Las Vegas is 20% of your entire bill (and another 5 to 10% if the server has help). That is the magic number that most servers will strive for. However, that isn’t stopping you from leaving more or less, again I stress the importance of your own comfort levels on tipping, but so you know if you want to give your server a good tip remember the 20% mark, anything over that is greatly appreciated and should be given if well deserved and you can afford it. 15 to 20% is an okay tip, and anything below 15% will most likely get you a fake smile. Failing to tip means you were totally dissatisfied, and may lead to bad karma on your end so I would refrain from no tipping unless you feel you got totally ripped off.
That brings us to our second question. Where does the tip go when you leave it? Many establishments in Las Vegas pool their tips and later distribute an equal amount to all their servers, bussers, bartenders, barbacks, doormen, security or whatever. So to answer the question in a clear way is virtually impossible, because the tipping system can be totally different wherever you go. If you really want to know just ask and the staff or management and someone will explain the tipping procedures which as I mentioned can vary widely from place to place.
Finally, the people that work in the service industry in Las Vegas are very aware that in many customs around the world and even parts of the USA many people will simply not tip. However, that doesn’t mean you are going to get bad service if you don’t tip, just note that if you do tip especially up front you are more likely to get a better service experience had you not tipped.