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A Guide to Proper Casino Etiquette

February 5, 2024

Today it’s easier than ever to get involved in playing casino games, because you can do it in your pants at your computer or phone and not worry about etiquette.

Of course, before there were online casinos there was the live casino. And online casinos have caused a resurgence in popularity of live, or bricks and mortar, casinos. So now you’re interacting with other humans in real life – can you remember how to do that?

Never fear. Here’s our handy guide to casino etiquette and behaviour.

What should I wear to a casino?

Chances are you’re probably overthinking this. In short, treat your trip to the casino as though you’re going out for a few drinks. By that we mean to a decent bar, not your local flat-roofed pub.

Overdress, don’t underdress

Most casinos will have a fairly relaxed smart-casual dress code, which means that as long as you’re not wearing a football jersey, grubby trainers, or the shorts you slept in (or all three at once!) then you’re likely able to get in.

At the end of the day, you’re still going out. Have some self-respect and try to look a bit nice! That being said…

Leave the tuxedo at home

Look, we all want to be James Bond. That’s a given. But while you might not turn any heads wearing a suit to a casino (plenty of bankers will be headed there after work), the tuxedo might be a bit much.

Most casinos will be pretty normal affairs. Unless you’re going to a really fancy spot, black or white tie is far from necessary. But if you want to be James Bond that badly, they won’t turn you away for it. You’ll just look a bit strange betting £2 a hand at blackjack in a dinner jacket, is all.

What should I bring to a casino?

Fortunately, the inventory needed to enjoy a night at the tables is pretty small. So you can leave your hiking backpack at home alongside your tuxedo.

Photo ID

No matter how wise your countenance, or how impressive your beard, there’s a chance you will be asked for ID at the casino. Even if you’re clearly a decrepit old husk, you might need to prove your identity purely for the transaction of large amounts of money.

So bring your driving license – better safe than sorry!

Cash and/or cards

This is a pretty important one. Forget your money, and you probably won’t have a great time on your night out at the casino. Though, on the other hand, you’re guaranteed to break even…

It might be a good idea to bring cash and leave the card at home for a couple of reasons:

  • You can use your cash as a responsible gaming tool, withdrawing only the amount you’re willing to lose and calling it a night when that’s done. It’s easy to treat digital money on a card as “not real money” and get a little extra to top yourself up. Again.
  • The ATMs at casinos almost always charge an extortionate fee to withdraw any money. If you have your cash sorted before you go, then you’ve saved a few quid automatically.

How to get chips at a casino

So, you’ve got your cash – but you can’t just slap that on the table and play. You need your chips first.

Fortunately it’s an easy process. Once you’re sat at the table, you can just… actually, you do just slap it on the table. Then, the dealer will count it out and give you the correct amount of chips in its place. After that, you’re ready to start playing!

The dealer might occasionally “colour up” your stack, exchanging for example a stack of 10 £5 chips for a pair of £25 chips. This is just to keep things neat and tidy and to ensure that there are enough chips to go around.

If you need more chips at any time, just put a bit more cash on the table and ask the dealer. Simple.

How to join a game at a casino

The way in which you approach and join a casino game depends what game it is. Unfortunately, it’s a little more complicated than clicking a button at PokerStars Casino. Fortunately, it’s not that much more complicated…

Blackjack

Generally, if there’s an empty seat at the blackjack table then you can join. Be aware that some players might be playing multiple hands at the same time, so an empty seat next to somebody might not be as empty as it seems.

You might find some people are reluctant to let a new player join the table until the full shoe of cards has been played. It’s an old superstition people have, thinking that the order of future cards might matter. It doesn’t, and it shouldn’t stop you sitting down.

Then again, if you’re going to wind up sat next to a grumpy old git who thinks you’ve spoiled their luck with your mere presence, maybe you can find a more enjoyable table?

Roulette

A roulette table doesn’t have seats (usually) so it’s simply a question of standing at the table and placing your bets. Sometimes they can get pretty crowded, with every punter straining to see the wheel at the same time, so try to give people a bit of breathing space – especially in this post-pandemic world!

Note that roulette has a unique chip system. You’ll place your bet with regular casino chips, but the roulette croupier will pay you out in chips of a different colour. These plain coloured chips are used only at the roulette table and serve to distinguish individual players’ bets in the chaos of the game. Being a roulette dealer is a tough job!

When you cash out from the table, you’ll receive regular casino chips with which to go on your merry way.

Slot machines

This one is easy. Find a slot machine, sit down in front of it, insert your chips or coins or notes, and work away. Sometimes people will leave an item on the seat of a vacant slot to mark it (think of the German tourists and their towels at the pool!) but it’s not common.

How to cash out at a casino

If you need this part of the guide, then congratulations on having some cash left!

To cash out your winnings – or what’s left of your bankroll – then simply head to the cashier cage. Some casinos don’t make it obvious where this is so you might be tempted to continue betting. However, once you find it you can simply exchange your chips for their cash equivalent.