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Last night I was playing poker at the casino. A combination of where I was sitting, bright lighting overhead, and a poorly fitting blouse gave me a pretty full view of the inside of a dealer's shirt. I was doing my best not to look but (like most people I think) when I actively try to not look at something I often find myself looking at that exact thing when my focus drifts.

I felt uncomfortable saying anything at a table full of guys and wasn't sure what would be the appropriate thing to say as the cause could have easily been that she is larger than when her uniform was assigned.

Should I bring it up? If so what is a socially acceptable way to say that the space between your buttons is wide open?

Related to, but substantially different from the following question as the root cause of lack of coverage isn't something that can be immediately remedied: Is it appropriate to tell someone of the opposite gender "your fly is down"?


Just for clarification based on several comments: Due to rules from the union, dealers share tips in a pool of 100+ people without even any sort of tracking who individually collected what. Given the low percentage of additional tips a dealer would see (<1%) I see it as unlikely that tips would be a significant factor in this situation. Good thing to consider in similar situations but not applicable in this specific one.


Update on this:

I think most had interpreted this as cleavage out of the neckline rather than between the buttons. Turns out she was pregnant and just starting to show which caused her shirt to fit tight down low and loose up top and distort in the middle. She shortly afterwards switched over to the maternity uniform which fit much better.

  • The fact that she is larger than when the uniform was assigned changes a LOT. I wouldn't say anything and I wouldn't (or at least try my best to not) stare. Also, telling someone that the space between their buttons is wide open is not something they can help and is an obvious pointing out of them having outgrown their shirt. – Crazy Cucumber Sep 13 '17 at 15:16
  • @CrazyCucumber Either she is larger or the uniform fit poorly to begin with... – Myles Sep 13 '17 at 15:17
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    Related but not duplicate: How to tell a friend I can see through her swimming suit – A J Sep 13 '17 at 15:53
  • Where are you located? Your cultural context will have a big effect on what the proper response should be in this situation. – user288 Sep 13 '17 at 23:10
  • Was it a tournament or cash game? the answer might make different options available (i.e. rotating dealers, unable to move, regular breaks etc..) – Bradley Wilson Sep 14 '17 at 0:56
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Well, you are correct that bringing it up at the table is not really appropriate, unless you happen to be in the 1 seat or the 9/10 seat (Next to the dealer) and can discreetly whisper in her ear without it being overheard.

There is the basic thought that she is perfectly aware of it, and is using it as an enticement to better tips (As a dealer's salary is substantially dependent on tips). In that case, anything you say would most likely be decently received.

Other scenarios include that was the only shirt that was clean, she can't afford new shirts, is completely unaware of it, had to borrow from a roommate, things like that. In those scenarios, she is most likely going to be embarrassed, and thinking about it the rest of the shift.

Every poker room has several floor supervisors, whose job it is to enforce things like dress code, and each day before the shift starts there is a dealers meeting. At that time, they would address it, so it is entirely possible she has already been notified that it is unacceptable. If you were really uncomfortable with the situation, I would have notified one of the floor supervisors and let them know about it. That can be done away from the tables, and then handled discreetly later. The downside there is that you could potentially get her in trouble for dress violation.

I really think that is the best course of action. You run a high risk of embarrassment for both her and yourself if you address her directly, so if you honestly feel it needed to be addressed, I would have spoken to a floor supervisor and let them handle it.

  • My concern was that she is unaware of it. This room definitely doesn't have dealer meetings at the start of shift due to schedule staggering and due to union tip sharing policy dealers getting extra tips has basically no impact on their take home. Also the shirts are uniform with logo monogramed on them so I think by local law they must be provided to employees free of charge (or with a deposit) so not being able to afford a new shirt is unlikely in this case. As a regular in that room and that being my preferred seat, I'll bring it up with the floor if it happens again. – Myles Sep 13 '17 at 15:58
  • @Myles - Probably the best course. :) The poker room I frequent has set shifts with dealer meetings, and they don't share tips (Each dealer has their own tip box they carry table to table). – JohnP Sep 13 '17 at 16:05
  • At my local room dealers share between poker room, table games, slot attendants, coat check, and bank. I'm actually really surprised that management would agree to a contract like that as it has definitely led to people working there that obviously aren't striving to make a fun atmosphere for patrons like you would see in an environment where tips are kept individually. – Myles Sep 13 '17 at 16:14
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    Ok, so, I never imagined acting as a breast-expert on SE, but anyway: I can assure you that she knows exactly what's going on. When you put on a buttoned shirt that should be larger, you're entirely aware of it. Maybe she had no choice and is trying to convince herself that it's not that bad, maybe she's super-embarrassed, maybe she does not care at all, maybe she did it for tips... but I'm sure she knows, so there's no need to mention it and risk increasing her embarassement if she had a uniform problem and is trying to act normal. – Kerkyra Sep 14 '17 at 14:05
  • @Kerkyra - I had figured that was the case, but didn't want to presume. :) – JohnP Sep 14 '17 at 15:47
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Within the very specific context of a poker table, talking privately with the dealer can be misinterpreted, as you are being recorded at all times by security cameras, and it may be taken as some sort of collusion/cheating.

In such a context, your best bet is to leave the table and mention the issue to a pit boss, who can then decide how they want to address the issue.

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If you really think it is necessary to tell her:
Don't dwell too much on the fact that you are of the opposite sex.

When I was in the Navy, although I wasn't one of those who obsessed over the bearing of the uniforms — unless it was dress whites or blues and during special ceremonies, of course, — I knew that other people appreciated it.
Once, on my workstation, I noticed that one of the female ELTs had a shirt that had become untucked in the back and was exposing some of her undergarments. My concern was twofold — actually threefold, as it were, because radiological contamination is always a concern with them.

I didn't beat around the bush. I noticed this while I was walking past on my log-taking round, and so I told here right then and there, and then continued my business. I think I said something like

I just thought you should know that your shirt is untucked in the back. I don't care, but someone else might notice.

Straightforward. Didn't make a big deal of it. She responded with a “thank you” or something.

Your situation is probably different, however: Did it actually look like a “wardrobe malfunction”?

  • Did it seem like the shirt had become accidentally less closed since when she put it on?
  • Did it seem like the shirt was an ill-fit on the dealer?

She could've worn it in such a way intentionally — and I'm not saying that it would mean she is a slovenly or lascivious person. Not at all: it goes towards how you broach the topic, if at all.
Maybe whatever particle of her body which is being exposed has been overly sexualized, and rather unnecessarily so, and she simply doesn't think of it like that.

All in all, although JohnP's answer gives you a good protocol to report many problems … if you are really concerned that this poor girl is unaware of her clothing's condition and would suffer mistreatment from other people who could notice it, you really then need to think about who you tell: would the floor supervisor have her best interests in mind?
You'd like to think so, but there is always the chance he or she could make it even more awkward or uncomfortable for the dealer.

I'll leave that one open.

  • I'm not necessarily concerned about mistreatment as her embarrassment should she become aware that she is accidentally flashing a third of the table. I think it's low probability that anyone would mistreat her because of this. I like JohnP's answer as the floor would have the flexibility to have the discussion in private whereas my only opportunity to discuss would be in front of a bunch of people. – Myles Sep 14 '17 at 13:41

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