Casino Etiquette: How to Behave in a Casino
So, you are new to gambling, and you are excited to hit your local casino or make your way to Las Vegas and play under the bright lights of the big city. Well, that's all very exciting! However, you need to know some basics about how to act when you are gambling so that you don't find yourself in an embarrassing situation, or even worse, removed from a property. We are here to help you - we've all been there before, and drawing from the experience of our team, we have compiled a list of etiquette rules that you should read before you set foot in a casino.
Oh...and even if you are a seasoned gambler, we think you may also want to read this page. We have seen too much bad behavior to believe it is all coming from newbies.
General Casino Rules
We'll be focusing this page on how to act when you are playing at a live casino. Obviously, if you are playing online, you don't have to worry about most of this, but you will need to adhere to some self-control basics which we cover on another page.
Now. Let's have a look at some of the things you should be considering when you are trying to be a respectful gambler.
These days, everything we do seems to involve our phones. Well, in a casino, they want you to be carefree and phone-free while enjoying your favorite games. When you are seated at a table, you aren't allowed to use a phone for the most part. In fact, just go ahead and put it in your pocket, as you also aren't typically allowed to place it on the table itself.
The good news is that when no one is on their phones, everyone is focused on playing the game, which means fewer distractions and waiting time between hands. Also, if you do have to step away to take or make a call, actually step away. We have seen players try to stay on calls while playing hands, and trust us...no one likes that.
Finally, casinos are loud. If you are on the phone, go find a quiet place to have a conversation. Don't worry; the dealer will watch your chips for you, and the rest of the players at the table will be pleased to not hear all about what you are picking up for dinner.
Know the Rules of the Game
We understand that not all of you know all the rules of the games you will find in the casino, but that doesn't mean you can't take a few minutes before you sit down to read some of the basics. Heck, if you are reading this page, then you may already know that we have a full section on strategy for casino games. Here is a link to that section so you can brush up on some of the basics:
There is nothing wrong with asking the dealer a question or two, but they are not your teachers. Other players are trying to gamble, and the friendly ones are going to offer some assistance. However, your best bet is to wait and watch a few hands of any table game before you sit down to play. That way, you can pick up on the basic rules as we have outlined in our strategy guides, and you can ask questions between the hands. This will lead to a much better atmosphere when you are finally ready to sit down and play.
Sitting Mid-Shoe in Blackjack
When you are playing blackjack in a live casino, you will likely be playing at a table which uses 6 or 8 decks of cards in each shoe before shuffling. Many players are superstitious about these decks, having cut the cards or taken the time to potentially try to card count (we do not recommend this). These folks can be very frustrated when someone sits at the table during the play. We think you should always look for an empty table or one where the cards are being shuffled when you sit down. Otherwise, you should ask the players at the table if they mind you sitting down. Being polite in that situation will likely get you a positive response, or at the very least a polite request to wait the few minutes until the shoe is complete.
Talking About Someone Else's Strategy
Casino gambling, despite the tables being open to multiple players, is not a team game. Each player is using an individual strategy to try to beat the house. Now, while we want everyone to learn at least the basics of a game (we can't stand rogue gamblers), one thing you simply must not do is speak about other players' hands during the play. Commentary on how people should or should not be playing is not cool, and if a player is losing, it could result in some strong words heading your way.
If you don't like the way someone is playing a game at your table, then your best bet is to stay cool and go find another table. Ultimately, if the player is playing with horrible strategy, then they will lose their chips soon enough.
Reaching Over People in Roulette
Roulette is a fun, social game with everyone sitting around the wheel and watching to see if their number hits. However, there can be many more bettors than there are seats at the table, and this can cause some commotion when trying to get down bets between spins. Chaos typically ensues right around the time that the dealer is ready to spin, so we always suggest that you err on the side of patience and courtesy. The dealer is watching everyone and will see if you are waiting to place your bets. There is no set time for each spin, so if you have to wait a few extra seconds, then you should be fine. Also, you can ask the dealer to wait a couple extra seconds so that you can let your tablemates get their bets in - the dealers will be appreciative of your patience.
Yes, the games are probability-based, and there is nothing a dealer can do to influence the outcome of a hand. However, there are some unwritten rules about tipping dealers at a casino table. These people don't get paid a lot, and they stand on their feet for hours and have to deal with drunk, disorderly gamblers.
While the dealers cannot impact your hands, they can make your time at the table more enjoyable by getting you a waitress faster, chatting with you, and keeping idiots out of your path. A few bucks here and there won't hurt your bottom line and will have a positive impact.
Many casinos offer their players free drinks when at the tables, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't tip the waitress bringing them to you. They are having to go back and forth from the bar, making sure your cocktail is topped up. At the very least, a buck or two a drink will keep them coming back more frequently, and these staff member really rely on those tips to make a living. Oh, also, don't just assume every waitress in a casino is looking to go home with a patron - this isn't Swingers, and you aren't Vince Vaughn.
Consider tipping part of the cost of being at the table, and really...how much money could you spend on tips?
Oh...Don't Be "That" Person at the Table
This leads us right into the next bit of etiquette - don't be that drunk person at the table. Yes, you may be having a blast, but your drunkenness will be annoying others playing the game and working at the table. We have all seen it - a drunk person who can barely see the cards spills their drink on the table, causing commotion and delay. Trust us on this one - your night will end early and badly if you are drunk and belligerent at the tables. That isn't to say that you shouldn't have a drink - just act like an adult, please.
Don't Touch the Cards Unless Told You Can
This is a common mistake made by players at the tables. We think it comes from watching players playing single-deck blackjack or Texas hold'em. For the most part, you can follow this simple rule:
Now, depending on how nice you have been to dealers (see the above rules of etiquette), you may just get a simple request not to touch the cards. However, when you touch the cards, the general rules of the casino dictate that the hand has been fouled and can be removed by the house. We obviously don't want to see you lose a winning bet just because you decided to touch the cards. Steer clear, or at the very least, ask the dealer when you are playing if you are allowed to handle the cards.
Do Not Touch Your Chips in Play
Very similar to the previous rule, once you have made a bet, and the play is ongoing, you are not allowed to touch your chips. Cheating players have in the past tried to remove bets when they were losing a hand (ask Charles Oakley how that worked out for him). There are cameras everywhere in the casino, and the house is always going to be right in this case. Even when the hand is over and is being paid out, wait until the dealer gives the signal that it is okay to remove your bets. What's the big rush, anyway?
When you are playing in a poker room, there is an entirely different set of rules of etiquette. Now, that doesn't mean you can be a drunken fool, so at the very least, you should be using your head when thinking about how to act. However, we have a full page dedicated to the way you should behave at a poker table.
We think that being in a casino can provide a lot of entertainment, regardless of if you are winning or losing (but we hope you are all winners). If everyone followed some simple rules of conduct, the overall atmosphere in a casino would be much happier. Stick to the points we outlined on this page, and you will find yourself making a lot of friends at the tables!