Whether you are playing in your home town or you’re on the Las Vegas Strip, there are many different rules that you need to follow when playing at a land-based casino.
The proper casino etiquette is an expectation of how people should behave when in a casino environment. But not everyone is aware of all the rules, especially if they have never played at a casino before.
The main thing you need to always keep in mind is this: while you’re there to have a good time, so is everyone else.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve popped around to play a few hands of Texas Hold’em, want to try your luck playing some slots, or are in a mood to test your skills and fortune at live tables.
You must stay respectful of others at all times, including other patrons and the casino staff alike.
It’s not always easy to keep your cool at a casino, especially if you’re having a bad day, but knowing the limits will ensure a much better experience for you in the long run.
After all, casinos are much likelier to treat you well if you’re a good guest overall, not just in terms of money you leave at the tables.
One thing that you don't have to worry about, even if it's your first time in a live casino, is the games. If you'd played online before, you'll have no problems finding your way around, as most games you'll find at brick and mortar casinos are also available at some of the best live online casino websites.
Beyond that, here are some of the most important do’s and don'ts of live casino gambling.
The Do’s of Casino Etiquette
If you’re planning a visit to a live casino, there are a few things that are considered common courtesy at most venues. These are some of the most important ones.
DO – Wear the appropriate attire
The proper dress code for your time at a casino really depends on the establishment you are playing at. While there are casinos with a casual dress policy, those that require formal wear will only allow you in if you have followed their dressing code.
You can avoid the inconvenience of having to go back home to change if you take some time to learn about the casino’s dress code and rules before visiting.
Even if there are no strict rules in place, you go to a casino wearing a tracksuit and flip-flops. They may let you in (don't try with flip-flops, though), but you'll probably stick out like a sore thumb, especially if it's an actual casino and not just a slots joint.
DO – Be Friendly to Dealers & Other Players
You don't have to be the Mr. Sociable while gambling, and you most certainly don't want to annoy people who don't want to be annoyed while playing. But you shouldn't be rude, either, and especially towards dealers and waiting staff.
Many players develop animosity of sorts towards dealers over the years, as if somehow they are to be blamed for their losses.
The fact is, these women and men are just doing their job, and you're wrong in thinking they love to see players lose. In most casinos, the exact opposite is true, as winning players leave tips and are, in general, easier to work with.
It's okay to have some banter and complain a bit if you're losing – it's only natural, and everyone working in a casino is already accustomed to that. However, try to keep it friendly and don't escalate things unnecessarily.
DO – Try to Understand the Rules Before You Play
Although some dealers or players might be patient enough to explain roulette or blackjack rules, it’s better to know them before sitting down to play.
When other experienced players are waiting, it’s not good casino etiquette to join a game when you don’t know the rules. Most game rules you can learn to play at home before going to a casino.
Sometimes it’s also a good idea to stand on the sidelines for a while to figure out how the game works first.
When doing this, though, make sure you keep your distance from the players, especially if you notice someone isn’t too happy about having a lurker over their shoulder. Some players will happily let you watch and even explain things to you, but if they shoot you a dirty look or ask you to move, move along or join the action.
DO – Turn Down Ring Tones on Your Phone
You are usually allowed to carry your mobile phone into a casino, but you should turn the sound down a bit, especially if you’re planning to play table games.
Using your phone isn’t polite when playing at live tables and can distract others. Noise from mobile phone ringtones can affect concentration levels and cause others to make errors and ruin the game.
Some casinos may even ask you to turn your mobile off to ensure no distractions, although this is quite uncommon.
Casino Etiquette Don’ts
Unlike things you’re supposed to do in a casino, things you shouldn't do are much more serious, and not sticking to these guidelines could get you in trouble and even lead to a ban.
DON’T – Have bad table manners
If you are at a table to observe or support a friend, don’t sit at the table because the seats are for players only. You can stay behind the table and wait until you are ready to play.
If you are in a game, it's also important to only touch your own cards and never anyone else’s or the dealer’s deck.
Once chips are in play, they also shouldn’t be touched. When bets are in, you cannot change your mind at the last minute as you could be accused of cheating.
Most venues will give you a pass if this happens once or twice, and it's clear that you're a new player. But repeated offenses of this type, especially in regards to messing with other people's cards and chips, can be a reason for a ban.
DON’T – Chase Your Losses
Whether you are gambling at a land-based casino or online, it’s important to always gamble responsibly. A part of gambling responsibly involves only betting what you can afford and knowing when it’s time to stop.
Set yourself a money limit and walk away if you are having some bad luck at the tables.
If you need some help to control your gambling, the Gambling Commission has a list of useful organizations and services available in the UK and worldwide.
DON’T – Interrupt the Dealer or Other Players
You can ask the dealer a question or two, but don’t use them as your instructor. Constantly talking to the dealer can affect the concentration of other players and may affect their decisions.
It’s important to be mindful and respectful of other players at the table, so having discussions in the middle of the play is usually a big no as well.
Many players will be busy concentrating on their next move. It’s also crucial to never discuss hands or strategy when playing, especially with strangers who probably don’t care for your advice in the heat of the moment.
DON’T – Ask for Money From or Give Money to Strangers
While this isn’t something most people would do, it’s not uncommon to have someone walk up to you in a casino and ask to “borrow” some money from you.
This may give you a feeling that this is acceptable behavior in a casino setting, but don’t be fooled.
Casinos don't condone this, and they'll frequently ban players who make it a habit of asking strangers for money.
In line with this, don’t give any money to gamblers who come up to you to ask you for a “small loan” right after they saw you win big. They’ll make up stories and come up with all sorts of promises, but once you give them money, consider it gone. You’ll never hear from them again.
Now that you know a bit more about casino etiquette, perhaps you’d be interested in learning the rules of Ultimate Texas Hold’em, one of the most popular house-banked poker variations around.