by Terry Matthews-Lombardo, CMP
• Recommendations for before you hit the gaming floor
• Easing first time jitters by seeking low-stakes tables
Do you feel slightly out of place when you enter a casino? Kind of like everyone in the room but you knows what’s going on at all the tables and slot machines? If so, let’s review some basic casino etiquette that might put you at ease without having to learn all those intricate and sometimes complicated rules and regulations of gambling that will come with time and experience.
This means that when planners bring their groups into a gaming resort the casino will work with you to schedule group training sessions that fit either into your overall meeting agenda or perhaps as an optional fun activity after hours. Savvy planners might even want to include a ‘tip sheet’ outlining basic game information and some casino etiquette guidelines in conference registration packets to help prepare attendees for a more enjoyable gaming experience no matter how much time or money they spend. Even some of the most basic things such as discovering what the minimum bet is per table and best times/places for beginners to gamble are simple recommendations that can be shared and help ease a newcomer into his or her first seat at the table. (HINT: minimum bets are usually posted on each table, or look above for hanging signs in the casino). It usually doesn’t take long to get a comfort level in any casino providing you haven’t chosen a busy table with a high minimum bet on a Saturday night, which is definitely not a place for beginners!
But if you are an occasional gambler who just wants to learn some basics in order to feel more comfortable, here are some simple casino ‘best practice’ tips to help you relax:
1. Save those questions for the down time between live play. Know the basic game rules before you start, with one of the first rules of table etiquette - do not ask questions while the game is in play.
2. Stand and watch several dealers in action to get a feel for their ‘vibe’ before you sit down because each one is unique. Some are talkers, some are listeners, some are teachers, and some are not.
3. As a beginner, select a quiet table away from the central casino action where you’ll have a better chance of easing into play at a slower pace with lower minimum bets. You will get more one-on-one time with the dealer and not interrupt seasoned veterans in their fast-paced action.
4. Casinos have cameras everywhere that are recording transactions. Always place cash on the table, not directly into a dealer’s hands. The time to exchange chips is between hands and not during a game. And never count your cash openly in a casino.
5. Cards are dealt either up (don’t touch these) or down (use one hand to privately view at appropriate time). Do not remove cards from the table or push to the edge or you will receive a gentle reminder from the dealer that this is inappropriate.
6. Learn the value of the different colored chips before the game, and don’t touch those chips after placing your bet once the game is in progress.
7. For obvious reasons, many casinos have banned electronic devices altogether in and around both tables and slot machines. Keep electronic devices in pockets or handbags. Wait until the round is over, politely palm your chips, thank the dealer, and excuse yourself to make calls or return texts.
8. Best bit of advice? Don’t forget to tip the dealer when you win!
So now are your ready to roll the dice or try your hand at a few games?
Terry Matthews-Lombardo, CMP, better known as TML, travels, plans meetings and then writes about all those experiences from the viewpoint of being on the road and in the center of the action. It’s usually a good combination, or at least worth an interesting read. Having worked on both sides of the industry, she writes from the viewpoint of a veteran planner as well as a travel-savvy road warrior.
If you want to read more from TML you can follow her at www.MidwestMeetings.com and at www.tmlwrites.com where you’ll find stories covering both destinations and detours or visit her blog at www.hypeorlando.com/hospitality-hive/