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Best of Walter Thomason

Gaming Guru

 

Casino Etiquette

8 June 1999

Gambling in a casino, like dining in a fine restaurant or attending a concert or a major sporting event, has certain rules of good conduct which are expected and appreciated by other patrons and establishment employees. Your personal actions can either make your gaming experience enjoyable for you and those around you, or can ultimately lead to your being forcibly ejected from the casino!

Some rules of etiquette relate to your relationship with other players or casino personnel, while others concern your actions while playing specific games or machines.

Some of the "don'ts" associated with dealing with other people in the casino are as follows:

  1. Don't share your misfortune with others. Frankly, other players and dealers don't really care how lousy you feel, how tired you are, how bad your luck is running, how much money you've lost, how other players are causing you to lose, etc. Casino gaming should be an enjoyable experience for everyone. If you can't be a part of this experience in a positive manner, keep your opinions to yourself -- or quit playing!
  2. Don't tell others how to play (unless you're asked and really know what you are talking about). Even though it's true that most gamblers make technical mistakes and don't fully understand the proper way to play the games, it's their money and they have the right to spend it any way they choose. In truth, the actions of other players have no long-term effect on your outcome. Their mistakes help you as often as they hurt you.
  3. Don't blame the dealer -- or the machine -- for your losses. Casino gaming by nature is a highly volatile activity, and individual dealers or machines are incapable of causing you and you alone to be a consistent loser. Even the best players experience extended losing streaks. The person dealing the cards or the machine displaying the results of the spin are not the cause of your misfortune. If you're not happy with a particular dealer or machine, play elsewhere. If you encounter a surly or ill-mannered dealer, or a malfunctioning machine, inform the pit boss or casino manager -- the people who can properly deal with your complaint.
  4. Don't disrupt play. Novice or insecure players can seriously slow down the pace of play in most table games, much to the consternation of other players. If you don't understand the games or have problems making playing decisions, don't play! Note: It's OK to speak up or interrupt play if you think that the dealer made a mistake that cost you money. If you have a general question about the rules, ask the dealer or pit boss to explain them, but do so between hands or before you begin play.
  5. Don't be obnoxious! Nobody likes a braggart, a bully, a crybaby, or a drunk! The Golden Rule is especially important in a casino, where emotional swings in temperament tend to run higher than normal. If you can't be nice to people, leave before you are asked to leave!

Other rules of etiquette apply to specific games, and are generally not known by novice players. Some examples are:

  1. Never touch the cards in a blackjack shoe (4- to 8-deck) game.
  2. Never touch the dice on a craps table unless you are the shooter.
  3. Never enter a high limit blackjack game "mid-shoe" without first asking the players if it's OK to do so. The best thing to do is wait until a new shoe begins, especially if the players are winning.
  4. Don't expect the casino to hold your lucky slot or video poker machine for you for any length of time. Once you step away, it's no longer "your" machine! Also, don't simultaneously play two or more machines if the casino is busy. It's not fair to the other patrons who are waiting to play.
  5. Poker games are often by "reserved seating" only. Don't expect a seat at the table unless you reserve one in advance.

These and many more rules of etiquette are explained in most casino gaming books, including one that I edited, The Experts' Guide to Casino Games. Learn the basic rules of proper conduct, and the casino experience will be more pleasurable for you and those around you.

Copyright 1997, Walter Thomason

Walter Thomason
Walter Thomason is the best-selling author of Blackjack for the Clueless and the editor of The Experts’ Guide to Casino Games and The Ultimate Blackjack Book.

A long-time casino gaming enthusiast, he is a frequent contributor to
The New Chance and Circumstance, Midwest Gaming & Travel, and Heartland Casino News.

His new book is
21st Century Blackjack: A New Strategy for a New Millenium. He can be reached
at PO Box 550068, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33355.

Books by Walter Thomason:

> More Books By Walter Thomason

Walter Thomason
Walter Thomason is the best-selling author of Blackjack for the Clueless and the editor of The Experts’ Guide to Casino Games and The Ultimate Blackjack Book.

A long-time casino gaming enthusiast, he is a frequent contributor to
The New Chance and Circumstance, Midwest Gaming & Travel, and Heartland Casino News.

His new book is
21st Century Blackjack: A New Strategy for a New Millenium. He can be reached
at PO Box 550068, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33355.

Books by Walter Thomason:

> More Books By Walter Thomason