What is a ‘Prop’?
In the casino, a ‘prop’ is a player at the table who is paid by the card room to take part in games. Shorthand for ‘proposition player’, the prop is there to keep games going, especially when tables run short, and to encourage play from others by filling up tables and keeping the casino busy. Props play with their own funds but might make a take from the pot – more usually, they receive a wage instead.
A ‘prop’ or ‘proposition player’ is essentially a professional gambler who the casino hires to play at their tables. Usually found in poker games, props can take part in all aspects of casino gaming and are an active, legal and valid part of the games they play. The prop plays with real money which is their own, and they risk wins and losses just like anybody else at the table. However, they collect an hourly wage or small salary in return for their service, and they are required to play games as requested by the casino, to a certain extent.
Props usually enter a number of hands but play low bets and avoid confrontations, because they need to stay in games as long as possible. They will drop out if a table starts to fill up with players. If asked, casinos must tell players if there are prop players active in the game – however, using props is legal and fair. Casinos will use props to get more hands out of a game because they make their money through the rake each hand. More hands played means more profit. Not all casinos will employ props – some use dealers who are between games, allowing them to play at the tables while on the clock. Busy card rooms rarely have a need to use props, and instead will move players from smaller games to the main one.