7 Mistakes to Avoid for Your First Time at a Casino

So, you’ve finally decided to grace a casino with your presence. Congratulations! Speaking from experience, the first time at a casino can be overwhelming for new gamblers. Upon entry, you’ll most likely be blown away by the totality of all the sights and sounds, and before you know it, it’s time to hop on a table and get down to gambling.

Before you head to a casino for the first time, you need to know what to expect. To make sure you’re handling the experience like a seasoned veteran, here are seven mistakes that new gamblers need to avoid during their first trip to the casino.

1. Don’t Be Unprepared: Know the Rules

The easiest way to ruin your first experience at a casino is to walk in unprepared. If you are unfamiliar with games, you could easily frustrate the gamblers at your table and lose money at a rapid pace. You don’t need to be a poker savant to sit down at a table, but you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t research the rules of the game.

Before you travel to a casino, you should do a quick search for some of the more popular games like blackjack, craps, and roulette. That research will help you decide what games appeal to you and where you’ll spend your time at the casino. Most games are relatively basic to grasp and shouldn’t require more than five to 10 minutes of reading to pick up the basics.

There’s a significant difference between playing a casual game of poker with your friends and gambling at a casino. Demonstrating proper casino etiquette at the tables is a necessity to avoid trouble.

2. Don’t Disrespect the Dealer

You have no idea how many young gamblers I’ve seen berate dealers in the past. For the most part, dealers are professional and respectful to players, and that respect should be reciprocated. If things go south and you aren’t getting any good cards, remember that it’s just a game, and the dealer doesn’t control the variables that impact the results.

New gamblers who are unfamiliar with the rules of the game can look to the dealer for direction. It stands to reason that a dealer would be more willing to offer newer gamblers advice if they are polite.

On this line of thinking, dealers make their living off of tips, so do not forget to tip your dealer after winning. How gamblers tip varies from table to table, but I prefer to slide a chip or two across the table after a big win to make sure the dealer knows I appreciate them. Developing good habits when it comes to tipping dealers is crucial to successfully build rapport with dealers.

3. Don’t Chase Losses

You’re going to lose consecutive hands your first time real money gambling. It happens to every single gambler, and it will happen to you. A frequent mistake players make is to chase these losses, which means to increase their bet after a loss to recoup some of their bankrolls. Chasing losses is a terrible strategy that can lead to an early exit after losing all your money.

Trying to win back your money is understandable in theory. As a younger gambler, two to three losses in a row would spell disaster for me because I would feel the pressure watching my stack of chips deplete. Chasing losses rarely, if ever, works and leads to more frustration.

When this inevitably happens to you, it’s essential to stick to the game’s basic strategy. If you continue to play the game in question correctly and bet a reasonable amount, the cold streak will end eventually, and the losses will turn to wins.

4. Don’t Buy Booze

One of the most natural mistakes to make as someone new to casinos is to walk in and head straight to the bar. Rushing to buy a drink is ill-advised for several reasons. First of all, most casinos will bring you free drinks if you are gambling. My first time in Vegas, I spent a good amount of money on a round of drinks only to sit down at a blackjack table and realize we could drink for free.

Alcoholic beverages at casinos can be expensive, and while not all casinos will pay for gamblers’ drinks, it’s certainly worth asking. Casino employees will walk from table to table, taking drink orders, and even if the casino makes you pay, it’s inconvenient to step away from the table every time you need a drink.

On the subject of alcohol, I recommend taking it easy your first time gambling. The most productive gamblers will tell you mixing drinking and cards isn’t always a winning combination. If you’re serious about winning money on your first trip to the casinos, it’s essential to be as sharp as possible.

5. Don’t Rush

When you walk into a casino for the first time, odds are, you’ll be blown away by the sights and sounds. My first time walking through the doors, I felt an impulse to run to the nearest table and start gambling. Please don’t do that.

Upon entry, you should walk around for a few minutes to settle down before you toss your money down. This will allow you to scout out which game you want to play and the minimum bet per required per hand. A sign typically designates the amount on the table, so make sure you’re comfortable with the amount before you sit down.

The importance of the energy of a table can not be understated. This may sound superstitious, but you’ll be able to figure out the vibe of a table just by walking around and inspecting the floor. If you brought a group of friends, consider starting at a relatively empty table to feel more comfortable as you gamble for the first time.

6. Don’t Go to the ATM After Losses

If you’ve gambled in the past, you’ve probably heard the old cliche that goes something like, “it’s called gambling, not winning.” As a new gambler, you hope to be leaving the casino with more money than you brought. If things don’t go your way the first time you gamble, don’t compound the loss and completely ruin your gambling experience.

As I discussed earlier, a common impulse after losing is to try to win back your money immediately.

For Example:

Say you brought $100 and dropped it at the blackjack tables. Your first thought might be to rush over to the ATM, withdraw another $100, and win back your money. If you’re already in this state of mind, the likelihood of you betting smart and winning back your money is slim to none.

Before you walk into the casino, set a number in your mind, and if you lose it, call it a day. We’ve all been there, and you can only hope for better luck next time.

7. Don’t Get Discouraged

The experience and results that come with gambling at casinos can be a mixed bag. I have had great times, but I’ve also been beaten down so severely that I can’t even bring myself to say a word on the drive home. If your first gambling trip finds you feeling dejected, don’t let it keep you from coming back.

The nerves associated with gambling for the first time will slowly fade, and after a few trips, you’ll begin to feel more comfortable. To help lessen these nerves and make sure to prepare for the next trip, continue to read about the rules and strategies. Also, try to play a few games or even download an app to play in your spare time.


Gambling at a casino can be a pleasurable and fun-filled experience for avid gamblers. It can also be miserable if you make some of these common errors beginners are prone to make. Taking these tips to heart will help you find yourself having a smooth entry to the gambling world.

If things don’t go your way on your first to the casino, don’t convince yourself that’s the norm. Do some more preparation so you can flip your fortunes and walk away a winner.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016.

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