There is a certain etiquette that I believe has been lost in today’s gambling culture that I would like to restore. If you don’t like gambling or casinos then this article is not for you. Gambling is a personal decision and you won’t be judged here if you decide to quit reading. I happen to like gambling and these are a few observations on how I believe people should act while in a casino.
It’s not your living room so dress accordingly
Gone are the days when men wore suits and ladies wore evening dresses in casinos. Thank goodness. I’m not going to that extreme because that seems like a waste of effort to me. But pajamas and sweat pants tell me that you have simply given up on life. They have already invaded our airports; must they poison our casinos too? I’m not asking for much here, just more than half a shirt with sleeves for the men and something that covers your beer gut for the women. I don’t want to have to look at your sagging butt while I lose my shirt at the tables. Sorry, that was horrible.
Yes, it’s rigged
I love when people exclaim in casinos “this place is rigged.” Yes, it is and they tell you so right on the felt. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but in the long term you are going to lose. Steve Wynn, the owner of many casinos in Vegas, told “60 Minutes” that he had never known a professional gambler who made money and that the only way to make money in a casino is to own one. When you lose in streaks it’s not because the casino is picking on you personally, the odds are. They don’t need to install any extra rigging into machines or table games because all they have to do is wait. Over time the odds catch up to the players. No one wants to hear your conspiracy theories because they are about as obvious as saying, “I touched some fire and it was hot,” yep, welcome to fire.
Pay attention to odds
Once you’ve accepted that the odds aren’t in your favor, make sure that they aren’t less than they should be. Casinos are clever in that they change pays and pay tables in order to increase the house edge without you knowing if you aren’t paying attention. This can be an addendum to the last sections because this is where the “rigging” comes into play. Good examples are blackjack pays and video poker. Every blackjack table tells you what getting a blackjack pays. The best you can find is “3 to 2” and the worst is “6 to 5.” The percentage change is slight but over time, which is what the house has, that slight change in house edge adds up. But the casual gambler may not pick up on this or care to let it ruin their good time. Video poker house edge is measured by what getting a full house or a flush pays per credit bet. In the game “Jacks or Better,” the best payout is 9 for a full house and 6 for a flush or “9/6.” The worst is “6/5.” If you’d like an in depth breakdown of the odds of every casino game everywhere, I’ll refer you to the “Wizard of Odds” website.
Don’t be jealous of people winning
Most people in casinos are losing so there is a tendency to be jealous of other people’s success. I hate being at a table and getting shot dirty looks by players when I win. Isn’t that why of sitting here? I’m not looking for a pat on the back but you really shouldn’t care if I win or lose. I also like winning something on a slot or video poker machine and have someone say, “Oh man, I was just playing that.” So, what? You squeezed all the bad luck out of it and I profited off your misfortune? No, I got randomly lucky. Hooray for me.
Don’t be a gamble watcher
Some people love to just watch people gamble and it’s kind of weird. It’s one thing if it’s someone you know or you are trying to learn a game, but please stop living vicariously through my risked money.
If it’s not your money, you have no right to criticize
The reason I don’t play blackjack is I think it’s boring, but I also don’t like the criticism some players have of my decisions. For example, if you hit something that you shouldn’t and take a card that would have benefitted the next player or caused the dealer to bust, some people take issue. You can express your derision if you want, but how about if one of my decisions benefits your hand, we split the profit? No? Then hush. You are responsible for your bets and I’m responsible for mine. If you chose to play with someone you think is causing you to lose, then that is your mistake even if it is misguided.
Stop blaming the dealer
It is amazing the abuse dealers take sometimes. They want you to win, idiot, so stop blaming them for your losses. They work for the house, but their wages depend mostly on tips, which they typically don’t get unless a player is winning. In fact, most dealers, the good ones anyway, will provide you with good advice on how to play a game in order to maximize your chance of winning. Don’t be afraid to ask them what to do. Obviously people are different and this doesn’t apply to everyone, but it holds true for most.
I don’t understand people who don’t tip in casinos. I worked for tips for many years and I understand that some people are allergic to it, but if it is apart of the culture, you should participate. You have to remember that the employees of casinos do not participate in the profits of the house. They get paid a small wage and then largely depend on tips for their living. There isn’t a set formula for tipping or a set percentage because there are so many variables. Dealers don’t expect you to tip if you’re losing. It can also get annoying when every employee expects a tip such as the cashier. I guess if I won a ridiculous amount I may tip one, but I don’t believe you get gratuity for changing my chips into cash. Tipping is up to you, but not doing it is rude and brings about bad karma in a place where you could use all the help you can get.
I know this list won’t eradicate the jerks and chumps in casinos because unfortunately it comes with the territory. But if you take my advice, it will improve your experience and that of others while gambling. The purpose of gambling is to have fun, you win some and you lose some, but don’t ruin everyone’s good time by being a turd.