Most of your relationship with other players takes place inside the games themselves. So no matter if you’re playing blackjack, baccarat, poker, or roulette, you should know how to play the game, and you should have an understanding of the casino rules that dictate your behavior before, during, and after a game. House rules help assure respect and sensitivity to each player participating in the game and these rules protect against cheating.
Right before you cash in your money and make a bet at a table game or slot machine, make sure you know the existing rules and parameters of your game. Even popular rules, such as blackjack and video poker, can have weird variations or unusual conventions. Avoid disrupting other gamblers and save yourself some unnecessary embarrassment by confirming that you are playing a game you think you are. Feel free to ask the dealer (while he’s shuffling is a great time) to give you an instant overview of the game. But many specialty or unique games have their regulations printed at the table, so you should typically read them before you join.
Always check your table limits, the minimum and maximum betting, before you join in. Casinos usually show limits on a little, colored placard at the table to keep you from unwittingly joining a high-limit game where you simply can’t afford even at the minimum bet. Making a $3 bet only to have your dealer point out that you are sitting at a $200-minimum table can be quite humiliating.
Sitting down at slot machine or at any table that has an empty chair is fine, but remember the following caveats when joining a game:
- You need to ask a crowded table if a position is available. (For example, a player may have merely run to the toilet.) Craps doesn’t have stools or chairs, so occasionally you can’t obviously know whether the table has an available slot for you. If you are in doubt, ask the dealer next to you or ask the stickman if the table is available for one more player.Some blackjack games have a ‘no midshoe entry’ sign. At those tables, you should wait until the shuffle, and then you may play the game. In blackjack and craps games are played in predictable cycles. If the game you want to join has any top bettors, you should courteously ask before jumping in the midst of a hot roll or in midshoe. Many gamblers are superstitious, and if they are in great runs, they often choose to wait. In blackjack, they hold off until the shuffle so they don’t break up the cards sacred order. In craps, they wait until a come-out roll.
- When you do join in the game, you need to buy in (convert your cash to chips), except if you bring unexpended chips with you from other table. To do so, place your cash on the table (but not inside any betting areas) for your dealer to exchange them into chips.