Everyone’s first time at a casino is slightly different than the next person’s.
But there are a few things that often occur during that first trip that can connect new members of the gambling world. Sometimes, that might be a stroke of beginner’s luck or for the less fortunate, countless rookie mistakes.
The reality is that no one knows exactly what awaits them inside a casino. Reading and preparing might serve you well, but until you pass through the entrances, everything’s somewhat of a mystery.
Still, first-time gamblers can and should do everything in their power to make the experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible. That might result in playing one too many hands of virtual blackjack, reading up on proper casino etiquette, or watching Rounders for the 100th time.
But being overprepared is much better than the alternative.
Something that beginners might overlook is as simple as what they should bring along with them.
If you do a decent amount of prep and make sure to pack some of the essentials listed below, you’ll improve your chances of success.
Here are the seven things that first-time gamblers should bring to casinos.
1 ‒ An Open Mind
The first two items on this list are a bit more intangible than you might have expected. But that shouldn’t diminish the significance of their presence inside a casino.
Anybody approaching new experiences with a lack of practical knowledge should attempt to have an open mind. You might think reading about casinos and playing games on your computer is enough experience to form opinions.
That simply isn’t the case. The problem with this approach is that you’re basing opinions on watered-down versions of games and other people’s perspectives on real money gambling.
Everyone’s experience is different. You will do yourself a disservice if you decide to make snap judgments based on what you read.
A gambler’s first casino experience should be just that: a time of firsts. Don’t let preconceived notions cloud your judgment and ruin any chance of enjoying yourself.
You will likely find that you agree with some things you come across while disagreeing with others.
2 ‒ A Good Attitude
One of the worst things you can do as a first-time gambler is gamble with a bad attitude. Once your mood deteriorates, there’s no reason to keep gambling.
Most gamblers are only successful when they can maintain a positive outlook. Sure, some high-quality professional players can overcome psychological setbacks and emotional breakdowns.
But inexperienced gamblers would be hard-pressed to describe their abilities as high-quality or professional.
Maintaining the right attitude while gambling is an easy process:
Walk into a casino expecting to lose money.
Know that gambling is hard, even for those with more experience than you.
Don’t overthink your decisions; mistakes will be made.
Nobody’s really going to care if you win or lose.
Remember that you’re there to learn and have fun.
3 ‒ The Right Amount of Money
Now that we have the more far-fetched “must-haves” for new gamblers, we can move on to more practical necessities.
It should go without saying, but you need to bring money if you want to gamble in a casino. Standing around watching other people play games and have fun might appeal to some, but the real fun starts when you start playing yourself.
After reading the title to this section, you might ask, “What exactly is the right amount of money?” That’s a fantastic question that every single beginner should ask themselves before they even consider stepping foot inside a casino.
The only thing worse than a new player’s gambling abilities is their money-management habits. But it’s unfair to be too critical or too hard on yourself if this turns out to be the case.
A casino is ruthless and merciless to beginners. It cares not whether you’re the world’s greatest blackjack player or someone who’s never even touched a deck of cards.
Money is money, and a casino will gladly accept yours if you put it on the table. You need to set a hard spending limit, and once it’s gone, your night is done.
Once again, you should accept the fact that you’re going to lose money. If you can’t stomach this idea, it might not be the best idea to gamble in the first place.
4 ‒ Responsible and Experienced Friends or Family Members
People tend to disagree over the question of what the best supporting cast is for first-time gamblers.
For some people, it might be a spouse, others a college roommate, or it might even be your parents. Most of the time, it doesn’t matter who you bring along as long as you’re comfortable with them.
Gambling can be sort of a scary experience for first-timers, and it helps to bring along someone who can put your mind at ease. If it’s possible, try to go with someone who has spent some time gambling in a casino.
However, it’s important to make sure the person in question is responsible and can offer good advice and proper guidance.
When in doubt, defer to experience and wisdom. Learning to gamble with your friend who is known to make questionable life decisions might be fun. But you’re better off staying home and tossing your money down the garbage disposal.
5 ‒ Some Form of Identification (Just in Case)
This item is geared towards younger gamblers who tend to fall victim to first-time casino blunders.
Most casinos are well-run establishments that aspire to preserve their reputation and high standards. One of the easiest ways to do the exact opposite is by allowing minors to gamble and drink.
If you’re reading this and aren’t of the proper gambling age just yet, your time will come. It’s not advisable to try to get away with gambling before it’s legal for you to do so.
Casinos are quite good at detecting and subsequently squashing any illegal activity. Their reputation depends on it.
For those of you who can gamble, but still relatively young, make sure to bring proper identification. That way you won’t cause any drama or be refused service at a casino.
Speaking from experience, nothing’s more deflating than the long home after forgetting my driver’s license and being turned away at the casino doors.
6 ‒ A Cheat Sheet for Blackjack
Blackjack cheat sheets get a bad rap for all the wrong reasons.
Unfortunately for novices, some more advanced blackjack players assume the role of gatekeepers. Their goal in life seems to be to judge and demean anyone who dares to pull out a cheat sheet at the table.
For those that don’t know, a blackjack cheat sheet is a perfectly legal card players can consult for assistance. Even though they’re legal, these cards are the target of some player’s scorn.
In some cases, players who use these cards slow down the pace of play and throw others off their rhythm. Additionally, anyone who has to use a card is often prone to mistakes.
However, despite the negative reputations these cards have, they’re a great tool for new players. If you plan to play blackjack, it’s a good idea to throw one of these cards in your wallet.
Over time, you’ll find yourself consulting it less until one day, you won’t need it at all. But consulting the card will speed up the learning process and make you a better player.
But before you hit the tables with a cheat sheet in your back pocket, remember a few things:
Try to start out at a table that isn’t too busy.
The lower the table minimum, the lower the stakes.
If consulting your card is causing problems, find another table.
Make sure you’re not drastically slowing down the pace of play.
Finally, we get to a question every gambler should ask themselves: What exactly am I supposed to wear to casinos?
Like most things, the answer depends on a number of factors:
What time are you going to be gambling?
How fancy is the casino you plan to attend?
Who are you going to the casino with?
Which part of the casino will you spend your time?
Does the casino enforce a dress code?
When people ask me what to wear, I typically ask them the questions listed above. Your casino attire should fit the casino’s dress code while also making you feel comfortable.
Gambling in a suit might sound appealing, but the appeal will wear off once you realize how stuffy and cramped casino tables can get.
If your first gambling experience is rapidly approaching, good luck and make sure you bring along everything I listed above.
The gambling experience is as fun as you make it. Win or lose, your primary focus should be to learn and more importantly, enjoy yourself.
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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