Code of Casino Behavior

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A front-line employee of a casino is forced to obey two rules when it comes to casino customers. One, the player is always right, and two, if the player is wrong, see rule number one. Not easy when a decent percentage of players are running on high octane drinks and losing money. But that doesn’t mean that the casino patron shouldn’t at least know some table civilities. These social graces will go a long way in making both your stay and the employee’s job more enjoyable.

Let’s start with blackjack. Here is a table game where a manners referee (pit boss) is called into play most often.

o Know the hit/stand signals for the blackjack game you’re playing.

o In baseball, it’s two hands for beginners; on a live blackjack game, the opposite. Some casinos are real touchy-feely (throw you out) about you doing anything funny to the cards.

o Once you’ve placed your wager, don’t touch your bet until you get paid.

o If the cards are running against you, don’t keep asking for a new deck. If you don’t like your cards, move to another table.

o Expect with abusive language an early departure from the casino.

o Don’t ask the dealer what her hole card is. Dealers won’t risk their job over your wager. There’s nothing wrong with asking for advice, but not after the dealer looks under her face/ace.

o If you lose several hands in a row, don’t accuse the dealer of cheating. Most (99%) don’t. It’s most likely a bad run of cards, plus, let’s not discount poor play. Also, abusing the “messenger” for crummy cards lacks any form of civility.

o If you’re using a basic strategy card (recommended), don’t refer to it each and every hand. You should have a basic understanding on how to play most of your hands well before you sit down on a game.

o Using these lines? “Are you going to be nice to me?” Question is, are you going to be nice to them. “Where are you from?” It’s most likely on their nametag. “Do you live here?” Yes, we’re not Martians commuting from Mars. Instead, try some other light conversation.

o Don’t walk up to a dealer and tell him he looks bored, make him shuffle an eight-deck shoe just to make one $5 bet, lose, then walk
o Once the hand has been completed, don’t turn your cards over to help the dealer. Dealers have a routine on the pickup and you’re just slowing them down. Besides, dealers need to spread the cards a certain way so the cameras can read them.

Slots/Video poker:

o If the casino is crowded, limit your play to just one machine. For that manner, even when the casino isn’t bustling, don’t play more machines than you can “safely” watch over. Certain individuals make a career of ripping off inattentive players who don’t monitor their machines.

o In video poker, confine yourself to playing just one machine. Making correct decisions based on the cards dealt is much more difficult than pulling a slot handle.

o When taking a break or looking for a change person, a player will put a cup on her seat or on the handle indicating she is still playing that machine. Heed these signs. Separating a player from her favorite slot is like messing with the cubs of a mother bear.


o Do not try to hand cash to the dealer to make change. The dealer is not allowed to take any cash or chips directly from the customer. You need to place your money on the layout, before the shooter gets the dice, and ask the dealer for “change only.”

o Some wagers like Pass/Don’t Pass bets, odds, come bets, the Big 6/8 or field bets can be made by you. On the other wagers, place you money on the layout and ask the dealer to make those wagers for you.

o Keeps your hands off the table and out of the way of the dice being thrown. You do not want to disrupt the game by altering the toss with your hands.

o Tables have rails all around the game to store your gaming chips. Use them. Also, underneath there is shelving for your drinks.

o If you are the shooter, give the dice a good toss across the table. Never try to slide dice across the layout thinking you can control the outcome. The first time the boxman will call out, “No roll.” The second time, possibly a slap on the wrist. The third-adios Amigo.

o If you are a Don’t Pass bettor, don’t scream out, “Come on, seven!” Betting against the majority of players is bad enough, but rooting against them and gloating after a win is a awful form.


o All seats in a casino are for players only. Most dealers are instructed to ask non-players to move.

o Roulette is a game where you exchange money for chips. The color coded chips are not allowed to be bet or intermingled by your friend’s or family. If both you and your spouse are playing together, you will need to get separate-colored chips.

o Dealers will leave the winning bet on the layout. Your payoff on the inside wagers (numbers) will be slid to you. It is your responsibility to remove the winning bet if you don’t want to play it the following spin. Outside wagers (red/black, odd/even, columns, etc.) will be left alongside your original winning wager.


As in most service industry jobs, most front-line casino employees get paid minimum wage. The majority of a casino employee’s pay comes through the gratuities of casino patrons. Never should you expect the employee to bend the rules if you decide to tip. However, if you are winning, and the dealer is being courteous and helpful, it is customary to show your appreciation. Naturally you are under no obligation to tip, but an occasional gratuity is always in good form and helps keep up the morale at the table. Look at tipping as a donation to “Lady Luck.”

by Mark Pilarski

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