You don’t have to be a big gambler to enjoy a casino visit every now and then. Whether you’re posting up at the blackjack table, trying your hand at slots or just supporting your Vegas-loving friend, there are plenty of opportunities for hours of entertainment.
But as with any social outing, it’s important to be considerate of others. And experienced casinogoers don’t hesitate to point out the common faux pas they see on the floor.
To help make casino nights more enjoyable for yourself and everyone else, HuffPost asked etiquette experts to share some common rude behaviors you should avoid in these spaces, and what to do instead.
Not Tipping Dealers And Servers
“Be generous with your winnings by tipping dealers appropriately,” advised Diane Gottsman, the author of “Modern Etiquette for a Better Life” and founder of The Protocol School of Texas. She added that a 5% tip is typical.
Others recommend tipping up to 10% depending on your winnings.
“For example, if you win $50.00 then $5.00 is acceptable,” said Tami Claytor, the etiquette coach behind Always Appropriate Image & Etiquette Consulting. “However, if you win $20,000, don’t feel compelled to tip $2,000. But do tip them. Considering some people stand during their eight-hour shift and are required to split their tips, it’s a lot of work. The reality of the job is not as glamorous as seen on TV.”
Don’t forget to tip the casino cocktail servers who bring you drinks on the floor as well.
“People occupying these positions are like all service workers, where the base salary is low and tips are taxable,” Claytor said. “A $2 to $3 tip per drink is acceptable, as the drinks are free, compared to the price of a cocktail purchased at the bar, which would be far more expensive.”
Having Your Phone Out
“There’ll likely be strict rules about using phones near tables, so best to just keep yours away,” said Nick Leighton, etiquette expert and host of the weekly etiquette podcast “Were You Raised By Wolves?”
Keep your phone out of sight in your purse or pocket. If you have to take a call, step away from the table.
“Don’t talk on your cell phone while playing,” Claytor said. “It’s disruptive to the other people around you. And don’t take pictures of people as they are playing.”
Putting All Your Stuff On The Table
Just as you shouldn’t have your phone out on the table, avoid covering the table with your stuff.
“Don’t place your belongings on the tables,” Claytor said. “Handbags should be placed on your lap, never on the table or hanging from the back of your chair. If your belongings are on the table, it interferes with gameplay. If your handbag is hanging from the back of your chair, it’s tempting to thieves.”
Overdoing It With The Free Alcohol
The complimentary drinks are a nice perk at casinos, but try not to overdo it. You don’t want impaired judgment while gambling and some people have a tendency to get sloppy.
“Monitor your alcohol intake,” Gottsman advised. “Stay focused, aware and appropriate.”
Taking Out Your Frustrations On The Dealer
“Don’t become belligerent towards table dealers if you are having a streak of bad luck,” Claytor said.
Try not to be a bad sport or take out your frustration on the dealer if you don’t like your hand. Remember to be polite to the people who work at the casino.
“Do remember basic common courtesies,” Claytor said. “For example, saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to table dealers and cocktail servers.”
Slowing Down The Game
“When visiting a casino, take the time to do your homework in advance,” said Jodi R.R. Smith, the president of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting. “There are a wide variety of options, along with laws and policies to keep in mind. While there are a small number of professional gamblers who make their living from casinos, most patrons are there for fun. Just be sure your fun does not interfere with other people’s fun.”
Don’t slow down the game for others by agonizing at length over how much you want to bet each hand, for example.
“Be mindful when asking a dealer to convert your chips to other denominations, as this can slow the game down for others,” Leighton said.
“Know before you go. It’s useful to you and mindful of other players to know the rules before you start playing,” he added. “Check the minimums before you sit down at any table to make sure that’s the right number for you.”
If you’re learning a new game, try to choose an empty table and give the dealer a generous tip for helping you understand the rules.
Giving Unsolicited Advice
“Nobody likes unsolicited advice,” Leighton said. “Don’t tell others how to play.”
If someone’s apparent lack of knowledge about a game is frustrating you, get up and move to another table.
“Don’t say, ‘you should do…’ or ‘you should play…’” Claytor said. “If someone wants your advice, he or she will ask for it.”
She also advised against chatting up other players who don’t seem interested.
“Serious gamblers want to play,” Claytor said. “They are not interested in chitchat because it disrupts their concentration.”
Criticizing People’s Superstitions
Everyone takes their own approach to casino games, so don’t be dismissive, critical or mocking of people’s rituals and habits.
“It’s rude to criticize someone’s superstitions or idiosyncrasies,” Claytor said.
Smoking Where You Aren’t Allowed To
“Be mindful of where you can and cannot smoke,” Leighton said.
Many casinos allow visitors to smoke on the floor and at the tables, but this isn’t a universal rule.
“Know the casino’s smoking policy for cigarette, cigar and cannabis,” Claytor said. “Not all United States casinos permit indoor smoking.”
Putting Your Drinks In The Wrong Spot
Be mindful of where you set down your drinks as well.
“Drinks should always go in designated drink spots, such as the cupholders or on nearby shelves,” Leighton said. “A spilled drink on a table might mean the whole table has to be closed, and nobody likes that.”
Be respectful of the people around you by avoiding behaviors that spread dirt and germs.
“Don’t put your feet on the tables or the chair next to you,” Claytor said.
“When at the casino buffet, always use a fresh plate every time you go up,” Leighton added.
Fighting Over Real Estate
“Understand that some patrons are particular and some are superstitious,” Smith said. “Do not touch others, do not crowd someone’s spot, and do not claim that a machine or stool were yours.”
During peak crowded times, be mindful of the real estate you’re occupying.
“Don’t occupy multiple slot machines,” Claytor said. “Don’t loiter or hover over people as they are playing at a table or slot machine. It’s considered bad luck.”
The same goes for other people’s winnings.
“Never touch another person’s chips, unless he or she asks you to do so,” Claytor said.