Casino Etiquette Explained - How To Look And Feel At Home In A Casino

16th Jun 2020, 10:44:25 AM

Online casinos are great places to hone your gaming skills and generally enjoy some free-time gambling. They provide you with access to literally thousands of slots as well as all your favorite table and other casino games. And online live dealer games can give you the feeling of almost being in a casino.

Almost, but not quite. The big difference is people. Even with live dealer games, you don’t get to see the other players or interact with them directly, other than through the chatbox.

In land-based casinos, there are people everywhere. And all (or at least, most, there’s always a few..) of them seem to be following some unwritten code of conduct, which they are.

If it’s your first time in a casino, this can be intimidating. It’s not unusual for newbie casino-goers to end up not gambling at all, or just sticking to the slots. All because they’re afraid of doing the wrong thing at the tables.

So for all you preparing for your first, or even second or third, casino trip, we’ve prepared this guide to casino etiquette. And even if you are a seasoned gambler, you might want to give it a read anyway. Not all the bad behavior we’ve seen in casinos can be put down to inexperience.

General Casino Etiquette

First, we’ll take a look at some general rules for how to behave in a casino, and then we’ll move on to what is expected when playing a particular game.

A crowded casino floor

Be polite

Emotions can run high at the tables but that’s no reason to forget your manners. If you’re losing, remember you’re playing against the casino, not the dealers. Taking out your frustration on them won’t help and won’t make you any friends among the other players.

Also, a bad winner is almost worse than a bad loser. Crowing over your successes is just as disturbing to the other players as complaining about your losses. That doesn’t mean you have to go full on stone-face at the tables (unless you are playing in Japan). Just don’t go into over-the-top air punching mode.

Never hand money directly to the dealer

This is not just etiquette. This is an actual rule. All money changing hands between dealer and players has to be fully visible to the CCTV cameras for security reasons. When you’re buying into a game, place your money on the table in front of the dealer, they’ll do the rest.

Don’t get drunk

Alcohol is freely available in most casinos. You won’t even need to go to the bar to get it. An army of waiters and waitresses are there to bring drinks to you at the tables. And some of these will be on the house.

But don’t over-indulge. There is nothing worse than holding a winning hand only to have the game forfeited because the drunk beside you spills his beverage on the table, or scatters the chips or cards. Which brings us to our next point..

Never put your drink on the table

This is pretty self-explanatory considering our previous point.

Don’t answer your phone at the table. In fact, if there is no reason why you shouldn’t, it’s best to mute it and forget about it while in the casino. But if you do have to stay in touch with the outside world, keep your phone in your pocket, never on the table. And always step away to answer, the other players are not interested in hearing your conversations. Don’t worry about your chips, the dealer will keep an eye on them for you.

Don’t touch your chips

After you’ve made your bet that is. Once you’ve placed your bet, that’s it. You can’t change your mind mid-game, that would be cheating.

Only sit at a table if you’re going to play

If you want to give a friend moral support, or watch an experienced player in action, stand behind them. Only players get to sit.

Tipping

This is always a big question for first-time casino goers, how much to tip and when? First, tipping is not obligatory, but it is expected. Most casino staff work for quite low wages at best and rely on tips to supplement their income.

Secondly, there is no set amount you should tip. If you tip the dealers and waiters/waitresses what you can afford when you can afford it, they’ll appreciate and value it.

Following these general rules of behavior will help you fit in and enjoy the whole casino experience. Now we’ll take a look at how you should behave at particular tables.

Roulette

We’ll start with roulette because it’s a simple game and the one that, after slots, most newbies want to try first.

Follow casino etiquette at roulette table

Buy your chips at the table

Roulette chips use different color coding from other chips in the casino. This is to help the dealer keep track of which chips belong to which player.

Don’t throw your chips

While the movies are full of images of high rollers recklessly tossing chips on the table, in reality this is very bad form indeed. Stack your chips neatly, highest denomination on the bottom and place your bet. If you can’t reach the number you want to bet on, ask the dealer to place them for you.

Cash out before leaving the table

Roulette chips can only be used on the roulette tables anyway. (Note: In most land-based casinos)

Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games there is and always attracts a lot of casino newcomers. If you don’t want to be instantly marked out as one, follow these rules.

Blackjack - the world’s most popular casino table game

Ask permission to join a table

This is just basic good manners but it can also save you from the embarrassing mistake. Some players like to play multiple hands so even though a stool migh t be free, the corresponding betting circle isn’t. Nothing screams newbie than sitting in fron of somebody else’s chips.

Learn the correct hand gestures

For the sake of the cameras, you have to communicate your decisions to the dealer with hand signals, although it’s a good idea to do it verbally as well. Here are the signals to use at the blackjack table

  • Hit – tap the felt with your index finger

  • Stand – wave your hand, palm down, over your cards

  • Surrender – with your index finger, draw a line from left to right behind your cards

  • Double – place your second bet next to your original one and hold up one finger. This lets the dealer know you are doubling, not splitting, and only want one card.

  • Splitting – place your second bet next to your original one and spread your index and middle finger over the cards. Don’t worry if you forget them, you can ask the dealer to remind you at the start of the game. But constant mistakes or questions will start to get annoying.

Only touch your cards if appropriate

If your cards are dealt face up, hands off. You’ll forfeit the game if you touch them. If they are dealt face down, you may touch them, but with one hand only, never two. And don’t pick them up off the table. For other situations, such as splitting, watch the other players to find out what’s acceptable.

Craps

One of the fastest, most exciting casino games, Craps encourages socializing and interaction more than any other game. But despite all the shouting and generally boisterous behavior you’ll see at the craps table, there are still some do’s and don’ts involved in playing.

Fun at the craps table in a local land based casino

Only throw the dice with one hand

Again, this is a casino rule to prevent cheating, not just a matter of good manners.

Only place your bets when instructed to do so

Bets can only be placed in craps when the dice are in the middle of the table and the dealer says “place your bets”.

Watch were your hands are

Once the shooter picks up the dice, make sure your hands are not over the table. If the dice hit them, it’s a bad roll. This seems basic but you’d be surprised at how many people forget in the heat of the action.

Poker

Poker is where gambling crosses over from pastime to profession. So breaches of etiquette here where the serious gamblers come to play will meet with much less tolerance than at other tables in the casino. Everyone knows the importance of keeping your poker-face on during the game, but there’s a few other things you should be aware of as well.

Poker hand; A royal flush

Don’t “splash” the pot

Another cliché from the movies is poker players sitting round a table, casually tossing chips onto the pot, a big pile in the middle of the table, “splashing the pot”. And like so many clichés from the movies, it’s completely inaccurate.

When placing a bet in poker, stack your chips neatly and place them in front of you. This way the dealer and other players can keep track of how much is on the table.

Don’t reveal your hand during play

Showing your cards during a game, even when you are out, is cheating. When your hand is called, show it promptly

Taking your time about it might seem like the cool thing to do, but this is another fallacy picked up from Hollywood. This is called a “slow roll” and is guaranteed to annoy serious players who just want to get on with the game.

Following this guide to casino etiquette is not going to help you win or turn you into a high roller overnight (money does that). But it will help you fit in to the casino milieu and feel at home. And that’s when you can really concentrate on your game. Good Luck!

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