I headed off to Cripple Creek, CO this weekend in order to sample the new atmosphere created with high stakes gambling limits. As I walked through the Double Eagle, I noticed that it was crowded around the tables. Just standing there observing the play and interaction occurring between the players at the tables. While the typical irritation between smokers and nonsmokers is gone (Colorado having gone to a no-smoking state), other things remained.
The casinos are there for your pleasure but that must be tempered with the realization that we all have to get along. I watched one little old lady commandeer three slot machines and snarl at anyone who got close. This is unfortunate because she got extremely nasty with a couple just looking for a place to play.
Here are my suggestions for those gamblers looking to have fun while knowing what the rules of etiquette for casinos. Follow these ten tips and you will never go wrong.
1. At slot machines or video poker games, restrict yourself to one machine at a time during active periods. Even when it’s not busy overall, set yourself to one machine when a bank of popular machines fills up. Casinos don’t place high payout slots side by side to each other in a group. You will end up losing too much money (this will be a topic in another post).
2. Whether at the tables or at the slots, if you are taking a break, make it short or give up your spot. Taking a bathroom break or taking a walk to stretch your legs for a few moments is fine. Signal that you’ll be returning by turning a coin cup upside down on the machine or chair, angling the chair up against the machine or leaving your coat or sweater draped over the chair. But if you’re going to lunch or to play another game, free up your spot. If you’re going to be gone for more than a few minutes, it’s not fair to other players or to the casino to tie up the game.
3. In roulette, wait until the dealer lifts the marker off the previous winning number before beginning to make bets on the following spin. Until that marker comes off the layout, the dealer is paying off bets from the previous spin and wants no mix-up over what is an outstanding bet and what is a fresh wager.
4. In craps, when you are the shooter, cast so that the dice hit the back wall of the table. That’s required to assure random rolls.
5. At blackjack, if you’re playing a game in which your cards are dealt face up, do not touch them. In the not-too-distant past, casinos used to teach dealers to smack the hands of players who moved the cards. Things are more player-friendly nowadays, but the rule remains. In games dealt face down, the situation is different. In those games, you pick up your cards.
6. When you join a blackjack game, especially at higher-denomination tables, ask if the other players want you to wait until the shuffle to start playing. It makes no real difference in the long run, but sometimes players who have been on a roll will want to finish out the shoe before changing anything. Don’t expect the same courtesy at low denomination tables. Space is at such a premium that it’s a bit much to expect someone to wait at a $5 table.
7. At any table game, when betting chips of mixed denomination, stack them with the highest denomination on the bottom and the lowest on top. It makes it easier for the dealer to read your bet size, and also is a casino safeguard against casino cheats who attempt to cap a bet with a large-denomination chip after they know the result.
8. If you’re in a casino where there is smoking (most casinos out there) while playing video poker or the slots, use an ashtray. If there’s not one at the machine, ask an attendant to bring one to you. Do not use the coin well to drop your ashes or butts. Players who follow you have a right to reach in for their coins without getting your ashes all over their hands. I for one am happy with the ticket machines that dispense my money.
9. Do not smoke in non-smoking areas. You have a complete right to smoke where allowed, but non-smokers also have a right to expect the specified areas to be smoke free. I’m not positive why this is a rocky concept, but I’ve seen smokers become quite belligerent when asked to douse their cigarettes in no-smoking rooms. In Colorado, it is against the law but everyone seems to be getting along.
10. At any game, resist the impulse to give unasked advice. Blackjack players are particularly bad about this. Some players get rough over plays that finish up costing them money, but never note the unorthodox plays that help them. Both come about, and in the long run, bad play by different players neither offends nor helps your overall results. And whether it’s blackjack or any other game, players have the right to make their own decisions, play their own way and make their own fun.