With casinos becoming increasingly common around the world, it’s important to maintain a level of casino etiquette. There’s an almost astonishing lack of etiquette in most casinos even as they become more popular, providing colorful local entertainment every hour of the day. Let’s go over some of the etiquette basics you should adhere to while enjoying a night of gambling.
Casinos offer all kinds of entertainment for all kinds of people from all walks of life. Most casino visitors end up at the slots and video poker machines. Some people gravitate to the table games. Still, others just wander around, taking in the atmosphere.
It can be less difficult reading a book in a crowded train station than finding the right zone for yourself in a packed casino, even for serious gamblers. An obnoxious player can ruin even the most fun games!
Money is what most casino patrons are after. There are certain rules of etiquette you should follow whether you’ve got a small fortune to lay down or just a few extra dollars. Simply act responsibly; you don’t have to pretend you’re in a church. Respect the time and space of the other players, and remember that the house tries to keep a watchful eye on the safety of everyone in the casino.
Table game etiquette
There are standard house rules that must be adhered to at gaming tables, in addition to the normal courtesy of everyday life. We’ve covered most of these rules as we discussed the various games available in casinos, but he’s a little refresher for you, all in one place:
- Join a table only after the currently running game or hand has ended.
- Buy in your chips, if you don’t already have any, as soon as you join the table. The dealer will exchange your cash for chips after you place your money on the table.
- Casinos and their employees are always on the watch for cheating, so never place both of your hands on your cards or the table. Use only one hand to avoid making the dealers and pit bosses nervous.
- Another sign of cheating is marking the cards in some way, so do not scratch, bend or nick the cards in any way as you play.
- Don’t touch your cards at all if they’re dealt face up during the game.
- In a game of craps, only the shooter may touch the dice.
- Once the cards have been dealt, do not touch your bet. Touching your bet is another thing that can make employees very nervous.
- Learn the correct hand gestures for the game you’re playing. The way to let the dealer know what you want to do is with gestures, so get to know the signals that go with each game.
- Before you join the table, be sure you know all the rules for the game you want to play.
- Other players can become annoyed if someone slows the game by asking lots of questions and interrupting the game’s pace. You can learn by playing; it’s just a better idea to do it when the casino isn’t very busy.
- If you have questions, ask the dealer. Asking another player may decrease their enjoyment of the game.
- The dealer doesn’t want any responsibility in your playing decisions. Feel free to ask them the mechanics of the game, but how you play your hand is completely your decision.
- Keep your advice to yourself. If someone loses because of your advice, you may feel responsible, and you certainly don’t want that.
- Practice good sportsmanship; if another player gets the card you wanted, don’t get upset. Just play it cool.
- Place your cards face down on the table when the game is over. Let the dealer pick up your cards, don’t hand them across the table.
- Always keep your head. Don’t blame the dealer if you lose. The dealers don’t affect your hand; they simply dealt the cards. Don’t forget gambling has ups and downs.
- People take casinos seriously: money is lost and won with each and every game. Don’t get drunk or act obnoxiously.
- Only sit down at a table if you’re planning on playing the game. The seats are provided for players. If the table isn’t crowded and you’d like to watch, ask the dealer if it’s okay for you to sit.
- Sit at either end of the table if you plan on smoking while playing. This can help prevent your smoke from bothering the other people participating.
Slot Machine and Video Poker Machine Etiquette
Nothing quite gets the blood pumping like an exciting game of slots. Who knew one little machine could be equal parts frustrating, emotional and exciting! Here are a few rules to keep in mind so you and other players can get as much fun out a slot machine or video poker machine as possible.
- Always check for warnings on the machine before you play. Some warnings you might see include one machine per player, malfunction voids all play, or progressive jackpot paid out in 20 annual payments.
- During peak times, don’t play minimum bets at a slot machine. There are plenty of other players that would gladly play the max bet on that machine, so move down to a lower denomination and let those players have their fun. It’s only polite!
- Treat the machines with respect, don’t bang or hammer the keys. All that noise could distract other players. Besides, if you’re loudly punching the keys, that might indicate you’ve got anger that needs to be worked off, preferably outside the casino.
- Also, don’t tap or stroke the screen. It may a superstitious practice of yours, but it won’t bring a jackpot any more quickly and probably will annoy the players around you.
- Do not, under any circumstances, do either of the two above things when sitting next to a calm and collected player. You wouldn’t want someone doing those things next to you while you’re enjoying your game.
- Players will sometimes leave a cup on the handle of their machine when they take a restroom. While there’s no surefire way to indicate a machine is in use, if you see the chair tucked in, a cup on the handle, or a play card left in the slot don’t play that machine. A slot machine with any of those things means the game is probably in use by someone else.
- Be friendly. If a player returns to a machine, first attempt to establish that they were using the machine before they left. If they were, offer to give the machine back to them.
- Ask a floor person to stand by your machine if you need a bathroom break. Some casinos even offer “Reserved” signs. You can always try to cup-and-seat trick if nothing else is available.
- If you ask the players next to your machine to watch your machine during a restroom break, don’t assume they will. Leave some kind of indication for others that your machine is occupied.
- If another player wins, be happy for them! Don’t get jealous, you may just be the next winner!
- Play quietly. Playing against a machine is a great way for a little alone time, even in a crowded room.
Maintain person space when watching others
There’s a unique breed of people watcher at casinos. These wanderers will travel around the casino floor, soaking up the atmosphere and participating vicariously through other players. It’s not too bad, so long as you don’t mind being watched while you play.
Some people find it incredibly annoying, however. They don’t like the feeling of a person constantly peering over their shoulder. They may even find it an invasion of privacy.
If you’d like to people watch, be sure to keep it moving. Most people will know you’re there and more than likely dislike it. Don’t stop and stare because you may be making them nervous.
Also, try to keep any loud conversations away from other players. Those players may be trying to concentrate on a big bet they’ve got riding, so try to keep it down. For some, the anticipation is half the fun. Don’t spoil it!
Tipping Casino Employees
There are no hard and fast rules for tipping. The rules of your local casino, if you have one, may not apply in Las Vegas.
It’s a good idea to tip when you know the employees of the casino, especially if they’re constantly nice to you. If you hit a jackpot that has to be written up, it can be nice to give a small tip to the floor or change person on duty at the time. If you’re somewhere new, like on a trip to Vegas where you don’t know the staff, you don’t have to tip. On the other hand, even a change person you don’t know could lead you to a winning machine, so if you hit a jackpot go ahead and spread a bit of the wealth!
Let’s say the dealer at the table game you’re playing has been nice to you the entire time and you’ve had a good run. Feel free to tip them. It’s a good way to show your appreciation for their service. The only truly solid rule for tipping is always to tip your beverage server. Tipping them can help keep you in a steady stream of refreshment.
You’re out to have a good time when gambling, so don’t try to put on a false personality; just be yourself. Follow your own judgment when it comes to showing your appreciation to casino staff. No one is going to stop you from spreading around your good fortune — except, of course, those few employees that can’t accept tips, like pit bosses, hosts, and hostesses.
May Lady Luck smile on your gambling trip!