Code of Casino Behavior
by Mark Pilarski
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
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
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
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,
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.
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
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
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
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."