Although the main purpose of going to the casino is to have fun, there are certain rules every gambler needs to follow to make this experience enjoyable as much as possible. In case you’ve never been to a land-based casino before, you’ll need to learn some basics on how to behave once you find yourself in that situation. So, we’re here to help you out, and we’ve prepared several casino etiquette rules that you should know before entering a casino.
Dos: How You Are Expected to Behave in a Casino
If you usually access your favourite online casinos via your desktop or mobile phone, you may not be familiar with how one should behave at brick and mortar casinos. But, hey, do not worry - you'll learn the subtle Vegas dos and don’ts of betting in a land-based casino in no time.
It’s pretty normal for every casino to have cameras all over the place, as well as security guards walking around, so don’t let that scare you. That’s standard for every casino and you’ll get used to it. Once you enter a casino, all by yourself, try to behave in such a way that no one notices you’re a newbie. To start off, here are some simple casino etiquette rules you can follow:
#1 Dress Properly
If you want to fit in – dress for the occasion! It doesn’t mean you have to go to a shopping mall and spend a fortune on “adequate” clothes, just get an appropriate outfit. In other words, plan your casino outfit and try to appear semi-formal.
#2 Be Polite to Dealer and Other Players
No matter if you’re winning or losing, keep in mind that you need to be polite. We all know how easy it is to get carried away, so watch your behaviour towards other people at the casino. In case you’re winning, try to keep your voice down, and, if you’re losing, be cool and stay calm.
#3 Know the Rules
It would be appropriate to wait and watch a few hands of any table game before you sit down and play. That way, you can pick up on some basic casino etiquette rules and come up with your own strategy. After all, it will lead to a much better atmosphere when you are finally ready to sit down and play. Then, make sure you’re aware of the minimum and maximum bets of each table, as they will differ.
#4 Know Your Casino Lingo
After knowing how to dress, and getting the hang of the game you want to play, you’ll need to work on your gambling and casino terminology and vocabulary. Especially if you're a newbie, using casino jargon can impress your game-playing friends, plus, it can add a unique quality to your next casino experience.
#5 Know Your Chips and How to Handle Them
When playing roulette for instance, the dealer will give you and other players a specific colour of chips and that is to differentiate your chips from everybody else’s. Just focus on each round, know your chips, and be sure to exchange them in between hands and not during a play.
#6 Know Your Cash Ins and Cash Outs
To buy chips, never hand the dealer cash – just lay it on the table in front of you as you sit down. Then, once the dealer changes your money for chips, pay attention to the colour of the chips and think where you want them placed for a bet. Don’t be afraid to ask the dealer if you need help; at least you won’t end up losing bets by placing chips in the wrong place.
Once you’re ready to cash out, give the dealer neat stacks of chips, let him count them and change them in. Casino dealers usually prefer for players to trade in smaller denominations of chips for large ones, so try to remember this casino tip to show your gambling expertise.
#7 Understand Hand Signals
When playing at certain casinos (Blackjack especially), it wouldn’t be enough to learn the verbal commands - you'll need to master your gameplay by also using hand signals to show how you want to play your cards. It’s not that hard though, depending on whether the cards have been dealt face up or face down.
Once the cards are dealt face up, you should tap the table for “hit” and wave your hand over the table (with your palm open) for “stick.” And, if it’s “double,” you need to place your matching bet next to your original bet and hold up one finger. For “split” use the same action with two fingers.
In case dealt cards are face down, you should use your cards to lightly scrape the corner of the cards for “hit” and slide your cards underneath your bet for “stick,“ using one hand only. “Double” is for cards face up on the table and placing an additional bet next to your original one, while “split” is for placing the bet next to one of the cards instead. In case you have two fours or two fives, hold up one finger if you are doubling, and two fingers if you are splitting.
#8 Know Who to Tip and How
Tipping is not mandatory, but of course it would be much appreciated. How much you’re going to tip is entirely up to you; however, there are certain norms. For example, at US poker tournaments a standard tip is 3%, whereas in the UK, it is accepted that you give around 10-15% of the total amount of your buy-in. For land-based casinos in the US, it’s perfectly fine to tip the dealer $1 on every small win or give $5/10 when you leave the table.
Also, if you tip your waiter or waitress, that way they’ll keep coming back. But, keep in mind one thing – at some places they may not allow you to put the drinks on the table.
#9 Put the Money on the Table
When you want to buy more chips, put the money on the table instead of giving it to the dealer directly. He or she will then take it and hand you the corresponding number of chips. Be sure to know how much money you can afford to wager and lose, in order to avoid stress.
#10 Have Table Manners
If you want to order a drink, make sure you signal the host or hostess. There’s no need to go to the bar; just signal them and they’ll bring you drinks, some of which will be on the house.
In most brick and mortar casinos players are allowed to drink and eat. At some places you may be asked to use cup holders, to avoid spilling drinks. As for the food, it may be a good idea not to eat smelly meals, because you don’t want to spoil the focus of other players. Also, you may want to avoid ordering greasy food, as that way you won’t stain the chips with grease!
#11 Respect the Time of Other Players
Of course, you go to a casino to have a great time and maybe even make some life-time memories, but be mindful of the other players and dealers by not spending too much time making a decision. Focus on the game and make your moves accordingly.
#12 Check Whether Smoking is Allowed
In case you are a non-smoker, we recommend you follow signage requesting non smoking areas and tables. For smokers, however, the good news is there are casinos that allow smoking in specific areas, while there are always some places that totally forbid smoking near the slot machines.
#13 Keep Your Cool - Be Gracious in Defeat
As it's totally ok to feel aggravated after a heavy loss, it's also unavoidable because it’s part of every gambler’s life. Blaming a dealer or a rigged game are extremely unlikely to be true, and no amount of grumbling will change the outcome of a game. So, be gracious in defeat – don’t throw away the cards or storm out of the casino, as it will make you look like a bad loser and unwelcome guest at the casino.
#14 Enjoy the game
Although it may seem a little too much at times, when at a casino you are supposed to have fun, so relax and take it easy. Remember to have a good time and, in case you are a newbie (do not worry!), think about it this way - every player had to start somewhere. Whenever in doubt, ask in a polite manner, scan the table for the appropriate time, and you will be fine.
Don’ts: What You Should Not Do in a Casino
Even though you are here to have fun, what’s important is that you don't find yourself in an embarrassing situation or, even worse, get removed from the property. So, try to remember the following advice:
#1 Don’t Ask the Dealer or Other Player for Advice
Do not discuss your gaming strategy with the dealer or other players, and don’t ask other players for advice at the table. Make sure you are just focusing on your own game without making reactions or discussing your hand while the game is still in play.
#2 Don’t Mess with Your Phone or Make Numerous Selfies
Not only is using your phone during the gameplay unethical, it’s also rude to distract other players who are trying to concentrate. In fact, most croupiers will ask you to turn off your phone while playing. In case you really have to take a call, step away from the table between the hands. Leave your selfie stick at home and focus on a game.
#3 Don’t Yell or Have Loud Conversations
It is of utmost importance that you stay calm, and not yell or have loud conversations while playing at a table. Try not to take things personally and yell at the dealer or other players. After your game is over and you leave your table, you can start drinking, yelling, and highfiving each other.
#4 Don’t Get Sloppy Drunk
Although casinos are considered as places where grownups can relax, have a drink or two, and enjoy their time, remember not to drink too much. You don’t want to let the booze get the better of you and make your experience lousy.
#5 Don’t Touch Chips Once They’re on the Table
Once you place your chips on the table, don’t touch them any more. There’s no changing your mind at the last minute as that would be considered cheating. So, when you make your decision, stick to it.
#6 Don't Touch Cards on the Table
Certain card games involve very little interaction with other players, which is why you are not supposed to touch your cards that are on the table. Some casinos may allow you to split your cards yourself when choosing to double down, it’s not always the case. So, the best thing to do is ask the dealer what is acceptable for the table where you’re at.
#7 Don’t Take Someone’s Place
In case you’re only interested in observing, don’t sit at the table until you’re ready to play, and especially not take some else’s place. If you come to support a friend, stay behind the table. Those seats are reserved for players only. In case you’re still not ready to join, try playing table games at online casinos first.
#8 Don’t Discuss Other Players’ Strategy
Be mindful of other players and try to respect them. They are all trying to concentrate on their moves so try not to interrupt the gameplay by discussing their strategy. If you must, ask questions between the hands, but don’t discuss a hand or react to it.
#9 Don’t Ask Others to Borrow You Money
Probably the biggest advice we can give you is to not borrow money from other players. If you want to gamble, plan and manage your budget wisely, and know how much you can afford to lose. It’s extremely important to know when to stop.
Dos and Don'ts of Online Casinos and Live Casinos
Although the casino etiquette rules at brick and mortar establishments may be known to most players, there are no strict guidelines for players who decide to join online casinos.
Yes, you do have to read the terms and conditions of each casino and yes you do have to be aware of gambling and casino terminology, but there are so many perks when playing from the comfort of your homes. For example - you can log into your account from the comfort of your home without having to get dressed up or even knowing the dress codes.
However, even at online casinos there is still certain gambling etiquette one must be aware of before deciding to play online. So, with that in mind, we’ve decided to single out a few rules you can take into consideration:
- Before you start playing, be sure to check if online gambling is legal in your country
- They say "House always wins" for a reason, so be prepared to lose especially if you’re playing online slots
- Stick to a budget that you can realistically afford
- Look for the best rules that will suit your tactics, advantages and preferences
- Don't rely on luck alone - understand the odds and learn from them
- If you are frustrated over a losing streak, there’s no excuse to take it out on the dealer. Step away from the screen to avoid fighting with your fellow players
- Be polite to other players, even if your game style can sometimes be aggressive
- Don’t drink too much, and don’t chat with the dealer or other players
There are a few perks when playing from the comfort of your homes - you can log into your account without having to get dressed up or knowing the dress codes; however, there are other things to take into consideration when playing on the internet and we summed them all up in our definitive online casino guide.
However, before sitting down at a live dealer game, ensure that you are familiar with the game rules of the game. If you are not sure about how a game is played, maybe it would be best to try your hand at regular automated table games at any of your preferred online casinos.
When choosing a table to sit at, find a table that fits our budget since tables have minimum and maximum bets. Once you are at the table, look closely at how the dealer distributes the cards.
In case you still feel like the only newbie out there, remember that you’re probably not! Especially now that you’re familiar with these common rules, you’ll be like a pro in no time ready to enjoy different types of online gambling. How others behave at the casino will also help you act in the right way, so pay attention to your surroundings and we’re sure you’ll do just fine!