I still remember my first time going to a brick and mortar casino. I was 19 years old and scared out of my mind I was going to do something wrong and embarrass myself or get thrown out.
As was par for the course for me at that age, I was overreacting, and I ended up having a really great time.
What was my super secret method of not getting thrown out of the casino or embarrassed? I acted like an adult…Groundbreaking, I know. In all seriousness, though, it really isn’t that difficult to have a great time at the casino without causing unnecessary issues for yourself.
That being said, I understand if you’re here wanting to do a little homework to prepare yourself for your first trip to the casino. There are some things that I’ve learned over the years that I think will be helpful to get you ready.
While some of these things may seem somewhat basic, you’d be thoroughly surprised how often people screw these up and create problems for themselves.
Understand the Table Mechanics
Playing casino games in an actual casino is not the same as when you play for fun in your kitchen with friends and family. When you play at home, there aren’t any rules or protocols that you have to follow.
If you want to throw all the cards on the floor because you’re mad, that’s ok. In the casino, though, the gaming board and the casino management have requirements of how things need to be done. These rules are in place to protect the casino from cheating and to keep “law and order” in place.
For example, if you decide to buy your chips at the table instead of the cage, you can’t just hand your money to the dealer. You have to set it flat on the table, and THEN they can pick it up and exchange it for chips for you.
While this might seem silly, it’s so that the cameras watching the table can see everything clearly. This may not seem like a big deal, and if you try and hand your money to the dealer, you aren’t going to get kicked out.
But you are going to look like a doofus. The dealer is going to stare at you and tell you over and over again to put your money on the table.
I’ve seen it happen so many times and the person doing it ends up feeling embarrassed and usually starts trying to explain that they’re new, so they feel less awkward.
How do you learn this stuff? Two answers.
- The first, which is more work and probably not necessary, is to research the protocols online and prepare yourself for the games you want to play.
- The second and much easier method is to take a few minutes and watch other people playing before you sit down to play.
You’ll get to see how everything works and you can just mimic what everyone else does. Here’s another tip that probably trumps everything I’ve said already.
The staff is there for you and will help you with anything and everything you need.
Again, none of this is rocket science, but it can put a dent in your day or night if you get your hand slapped by a dealer for doing something wrong.
Respect the Staff
Ok, I completely agree that the casino staff is there to serve you, but they’re not there to serve you in a slave and master sense. They’re there to provide a service to you and help facilitate a fun and safe environment for you.
They’re also not there just for you. They’re working to provide a great experience for every guest in the casino.
They are not your slaves. You cannot treat them like garbage. You cannot berate them and throw things at them. Here’s the thing; no one goes to the casino with the plan of berating the staff.
When they’re winning, they’re happy and the nicest of people to the staff and dealers. The problems come when they start losing. They start blaming the dealers and staff and start to get angry.
Here are some things you need to realize.
- No matter what, it is not the staff’s fault you are losing. They are dealing out the random cards or spinning the ball randomly around the wheel. What cards come out or where it falls is completely up to chance. This is why it’s called gambling. People LOVE to blame the dealers because they’re an easy target.
- If you berate the dealers, you’re going to have a bad time, and you may be asked to leave. The dealers are not there to take your abuse. A good casino pit boss is going to protect their dealers which means removing people that are not treating them with respect.
- Dealers are people too. While they might be performing a service, they are still living and breathing people with feelings. They have families and friends. They hurt and get excited just like the rest of us. How do you feel when someone yells at you or calls you names? You obviously feel terrible unless you’re a special kind of person. Don’t try and ruin a dealer’s day just because you are losing.
- Dealers will make mistakes. There are two sides to this one and thankfully one solution. On one side, I understand that dealers are people and people are not perfect. Mistakes will happen, and that is ok. On the other side, though, if I am playing for real money, I deserve a top notch experience without mistakes that cost me money.
So how do you handle a dealer that has made a mistake? If the mistake was one time and wasn’t something major, I let it go and chalk it up to being human.
If the mistake was one time and was a major, major issue or if the mistakes are habitual and impacting the game, I will talk to the pit boss or change tables.
Notice I didn’t say that I would scream at the dealer and demand they fix things. I politely ask to speak with their boss (the pit boss) and explain the situation. If you want, you can even step away and talk to the pit boss as to not embarrass the dealer.
The thing is this. If it is impacting your ability to win, it needs to be fixed right away. If it’s impacting your ability to have fun and relax, it also needs to be fixed right away.
Again, these dealers are there to provide a service to you, not be your servants. They should get your respect, but they should also provide you a service that commands that respect.
Respect the Other Players
While some people are smart enough to realize they shouldn’t berate the staff, they forget that same courtesy should extend to the other players. Nowhere is this more evident than at the blackjack table. I have seen this same scenario play out countless times at the table.
You’ll have one player who is a “serious” player who knows every aspect and nuance of basic strategy and is betting larger amounts. You’ll also have a recreational player who doesn’t really know what they’re doing but is having fun. The cards will be dealt out, and the recreation player will have a 17, the serious player will have a 12, and the dealer will have an 8 showing.
By way of basic strategy, the recreational player should stand, and the serious player should hit. The recreational player doesn’t know this and decides to hit because they’re just having fun and didn’t take the time to learn optimal strategies.
They pull a 9 and bust. The serious player hits and pulls a 10 and busts. The dealer flips over a 10 and has 18. The serious player LOSES THEIR MIND. They start yelling at the recreational player that they took their card and caused them to lose.
What do they mean? Well, if the recreational player “did what they were supposed to”, they would not have taken a card, and the serious player would have gotten a 9 instead of a 10 and had 21 and won the hand.
The problem with this is that what the player did before really has no effect on the randomness of the next card that came out. The recreational player very well could have pulled a 10 and left a 9 for the serious player and caused them to win.
The point is that it does not matter, but people only remember and notice the times it caused them to lose. Each card that comes out will be completely random. Each player is also free to play however they would like.
If they want to hit on 20 every time, fine! They aren’t going to win much, but they are free to do what they want without getting yelled at by other players.
If you are someone who decides to berate other players, not only are you a jerk, but you will also end up getting into a fight and/or getting thrown out of the casino. The casino does not like players who mess with their business.
you’re going to be asked to leave.
Don’t Over Think It
This really doesn’t need to be a blog that you study or use to prepare extensively before your first trip to the casino. All of this should be common sense that you should be doing already.
The reason that it becomes an issue at the casino is that people hate to lose money and sometimes that can cause them to react in ways that they normally would not.
If you get mad and upset when you lose gambling, you probably shouldn’t be gambling. Gambling is designed to be fun and create excitement and relaxation. If it’s not doing that for you, maybe it’s not for you.
Gambling is always going to carry a house edge meaning that in the long run, you are going to lose and the casino is going to win. This doesn’t mean you can’t have short term wins and it certainly does not mean that you can’t have fun.
The point is that your mindset needs to be right. You need to realize that you are gambling for entertainment purposes only and not as a means to make money or pay your bills.
and respect the casino and respect everyone around you.
If you’re confused about anything or what you can or cannot do, just ask. The staff is there to help you and do everything they can to make sure you and all the other guests have a great time.
It’s not rocket science. Act maturely, and you’ll have a great time.