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Gambling Etiquette

Let’s face it, whenever we stroll into a casino, even to head for the $1 tables, a bit of us imagine we’re James Bond. Suave, sophisticated, immaculately dressed and impeccably mannered; it’s no wonder heads turn. Unfortunately though, this is probably some distance from the reality.

Though we are never going to reach those levels, it is important to behave, and look in a manner that is befitting of a casino/gaming table. Everyone is aware there are things you should and more importantly should not do on the golf course. Sometimes it is easy to forget that there are similar sets of values and rules associated with casinos and gaming tables.

Some of these are just basic good manners, others are specific to the game or casino, but either way they are rules that you do need to stick to so you don’t ruin other people’s nights - or your own.

So, read the following rules on etiquette, and next time you make heads turn around the craps table, it will be for all the right reasons.

Casino Etiquette

Casinos are no different in essence than any other establishment such as bars or restaurants. Treat people - the management, staff and the other punters with the respect you would want to receive yourself and you won’t go far wrong. The dress code is something that differs the most from casino to casino. As a rule of thumb, if you dress comfortably but reasonably smartly you will be fine for the majority of casinos especially in the US. If in doubt, simply check their website before venturing out.

Don’t be scared to ask for help or advice from a member of staff. That’s what they are there for, but don’t expect or ask for help on how to play the games while at the tables, as this disrupts the game for everyone else.

If you want to watch, that’s fine, but do so from a respectful distance, and don’t distract those playing. 

Online Gaming

Online gaming is a fantastic way to get introduced to the casino games, as well as to practice and fine tune your techniques and strategies. Playing roulette for example lends itself perfectly to online gaming, because it is a bit overwhelming in a live setting for a first timer; you are required to place your bets in a timely manner before the dealer calls “no more bets.” For those who aren’t used to how the betting works, online is a better option – and a lot easier in terms of etiquette.

Due to the fact you are invisible online means that some of the rules on etiquette are relaxed or simply don’t apply when gaming online. For instance, you aren’t going to be asked to leave the table due to the fact that you are dressed purely in your boxers and those Homer Simpson slippers you can’t bear to throw out. Also, no one is going to raise an eyebrow – apart from maybe your neighbors – if you scream at the online dealer every time the ace doesn’t come your way in blackjack, or rejoice obnoxiously when you hit your number in roulette. However, it is worth your while to observe the traditional casino rules as much as possible when playing online, as it means it’s easier to turn on “casino mode” when entering the real thing.

Poker

Probably more so than any other game, ensure you know the rules and how to play before taking a seat at the table, and be sure to avoid any of these examples of poor etiquette:

  • Once at the table, play the game. Forget chatting up the waitress, ordering food or texting your buddies. Slowing the game by engaging in non-poker activities is the biggest annoyance for poker players
  • Though it is in the rules, don’t ask to see a folded (mucked) hand. As well as incredibly poor etiquette, you are also basically questioning their integrity.
  • We’ve all played against the guy holding four kings who waits until the last possible second to reveal that, lo’ and behold, he’s won. As well as being a huge etiquette no-no, it is also one of the biggest shows of disrespect you can give to your fellow players.
  • Playing out of turn. No matter how poor your hand, how frustrated you are with your constant run of bad luck, never fold before it’s your turn, or show that you intend to fold. Similarly, do not show your hand until it is your turn.
  • No one wants to know your thoughts on your hand, their technique, or the size of the pot. Leave that for the post-match analysis at the bar.
  • Over celebrating is as bad as being a bad loser. Refrain from both.

Blackjack

Several of the etiquette rules for blackjack are the same as for poker. For example, know the rules before sitting down to play, and while at the table concentrate on the game, not on people around you or the latest NFL scores on your cell phone. Likewise, talking should be kept to a minimum between those playing. It’s fine to introduce yourself when sitting down at a table, but keep it brief - no one wants to hear your marital troubles. Others rules are peculiar to blackjack, resulting from attempts to reduce the risk of people gaining unfair advantages:

  • Don’t manhandle the cards. Depending on the game, the cards will be dealt face up or face down. There is never a need to touch them when placed face up. If they are face down and the dealer in that game doesn’t turn them, do so with just one hand, and don’t return to them.
  • Whatever you do, do not touch the chips once you’ve made your original bet. If you are double betting place the second lot of chips away from the first.
  • Buy additional chips in between hands.
  • Most tables prefer – and it’s always easier anyway with the noise – to signal for another card or to hold, rather than telling the dealer verbally.

Roulette

As well as the common courtesy of treating the dealer and other players with respect, etiquette rules that specifically apply to roulette are:

  • In roulette every player has his or her own chips which must be kept separate from everyone else’s chips. You cannot mix yours with those of another player’s chips if one or the other can’t afford the stake.
  • Once the dealer announces “no more bets,” he means no more bets.
  • Never touch the chips after the spin, until after bets have been paid out.

Craps

Unlike the other casino games, craps tables are characterized by cheering and shouting, as the rollercoaster of emotions are played out for all to see, hear and join in with. It isn’t considered bad etiquette to scream and holler; in fact a loud table is often considered a hot one so it will attract more punters.

Like other games, it can be a bit tricky to pick up the intricacies of the game straight away so go in armed with at least the basic rules and techniques. Apart from the common sense rules about bad mouthing or laughing at people’s losses, the main thing to remember is bet on time, as late betting is considered poor form, and slows down the game. It’s also a good idea to have an understanding of the lingo in craps, as it is a bit complicated if you aren’t familiar with the game.

Tipping

Whether to tip, and how much to tip is something that a lot of people worry about. On the first of those points, most dealers are on minimum wage. They rely on tips. If they have been particularly good or helpful, or you have had a good night then you should be generous. If you’re coming off the back of the mother of all losing streaks, they will be less expectant. Like all etiquette, just follow your common sense and go with what feels right. 


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