The Complete Guide to Casino Etiquette
So your buddy is about to get hitched and he’s planned his bachelor party in Las Vegas, but you don’t know the first thing about casinos or gambling. Well, don’t worry. No one has their bachelor party in Vegas for the casinos. They have their bachelor parties in Vegas for the lack of open container laws , over-the-top strip clubs, and the general debauchery. Now if you’re heading to a casino and you really don’t know the difference between the Wizard of Oz slots and $5 Black Jack, I’ve got a few tips that will keep you from getting thrown out of the casino or even worse, chided by an 80-year-old woman.
When you’re a newbie in a casino it’s probably best to remember there are people that come here every week. They are regulars. They have very strict routines. They have most likely been awake for 18 hours. You’re probably don’t want to mess with them. Here are a few rules of thumb.
1. Don’t take pictures at gaming tables.
It’s one thing to snap a pic when your friend is posing next to the token blacked out guy), but otherwise your camera shouldn’t make any appearances. Taking pictures on the casino floor might lead the pit bosses to think you’re casing the joint for Ocean’s 69.
2. You can take breaks, but keep them short.
You’re allowed to “save a seat,” but it shouldn’t be for longer than a bathroom break or a short walk to stretch your legs. To break from a table you can notify the dealer that you’ll be back, and lean the back of you chair forward against the table over your chips. If you’re playing the slots, you can turn a coin cup upside down on your chair or the machine’s arm (if it has one). Honestly, though, you should just stay away from the slot machines. They are much like cock-teases, in that they’re bottomless, money-sucking pits that rarely give you even a little tug for all the time and money you spend on them.
3. Don’t be the jerk waving money around. No one is impressed by your handful of twenties.
When you want to buy in at a table, do so respectfully. Wait until the turn is finished and place your money on the table. Dealers are not allowed to take money directly from you. It must be placed on the felt so it’s visible to the casino cameras. Request chips in a denomination that makes sense for the betting you’ll be doing – don’t get $5 tokens, if all your bets are going to be upwards of $100.
4. Tip your cocktail waitress.
In a casino the drinks are free, not the service. As in any serving situation, a tip isn’t required, but always appreciated for good service. Most casino cocktail waitresses make minimum wage and tips can be the difference between earning $8/hr and $20/hr. It’s standard to tip the waitress $1 every drink or two that you order. Some recommend tipping when you order your drink to ensure fast delivery, but it is not necessary. Cocktail waitresses can accept cash, change, and chips as tips. So, unless you’ve lost everything and have been demoted to hobo status, you really don’t have an excuse to not tip a good waitress.
5. Don’t be a sloppy drunk.
Honestly, I don’t condone getting wasted at all, as you’re dealing with money – not exactly something you want at your fingertips when you’re walking around with impaired judgment. However, if you must be hammered (Maybe you accidentally married a butterface (last night. Who am I to judge?) try to keep yourself in check. Every casino has the right to throw someone out for being overly intoxicated. Even if they don’t take advantage of this right, you should still keep yourself from behaving poorly. Your neighbor at the roulette table doesn’t want you screaming in her ear and the blackjack dealer would really like you more if you didn’t spill drinks on his table.
(Another note on drinks: Most casinos do not allow double fisting. Keep this in mind when ordering your drinks. No one wants you to hold up the game while you chug your last rum and coke before you can get your next one.)
6. Tip/toke dealers.
Just like the cocktail waitresses, dealers in most casinos are only making minimum wage, and tokes from players greatly supplement their income. No dealer expects tips when you’re losing, and there’s no real rules about when to tip. A good gauge is when you’ve doubled your buy-in. If you sat down at the table with $30 and now you have $60, it’s a good idea to give the dealer a few dollars. Do this by simply putting the chips on the table in front of him and saying “thank you” or letting the dealer know the chips are for him.
Another acceptable time to tip the dealer is when you win big. A few chips off the top is a nice gesture.
(For a guide on tipping throughout a casino, check out this helpful guide.)
7. Wear a watch.
You will never see a clock on the wall of a casino. They are doing everything they can to keep you there – blasting the air conditioning, keeping it noisy so you stay awake, putting no windows within view of the tables. (Even though it sometimes feels like it after you find yourself in the casino at 4:30am, it is illegal for casinos to pump oxygen through the air ducts.) The way they see it, if you can easily keep track of time, you’re more likely to leave. This is exactly why you need to keep track of time. Five hours in a casino can easily fly by, and though you may not feel tired, the later it gets, the worse your judgment is.
8. Go on a weekday.
I doubt there are ever genuinely slow days where you can sit down at a table alone and enjoy a riveting conversation with the dealer. No matter the day of the week, hundreds of people are still going to be bussed in from god knows where, descending upon the casino like wolves on a lamb. However, weekdays often offer the benefit of smaller crowds and smaller minimums. On a monday afternoon, a casino may have many more $5 blackjack tables than they would on a Saturday evening, which allows you to stretch your money further and to play longer for less.
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