5 Ways to Handle Angry Players

  1. Count to Ten
  2. Listen
  3. Sympathize
  4. Don't Fight Back
  5. Distract

First thing to do when handling an angry player is Count to Ten . Now I know this seems obvious but a lot of people don’t do it. Now it’s extremely normal for people to get angry in this business. It’s going to happen. You’re going to see angry players. That’s just the way it is. And part of your job is handling these people. Again we’re a customer service industry so sometimes we have to handle angry people. And as soon as you realize the conversation is getting heated and things are escalating, and you feel that anger. As soon as you realize that this is happening, I want you to stop, take a few deep breaths and count to 10. Now the reason why I want you to count to 10. I want you to stop, take a deep breath, take a few deep breaths, count to 10. The reason I want you to do this is because this will give you enough time for your rational portion of your brain to kick in. So that way you're not just purely reacting on the fight and flight instinct or response. So again, count to 10, and this gives you enough time for rational part of your brain to kick in. And that way you don’t lose your temper. You can remain calm, you can remain composed, and you don’t want to react to what an angry player is saying or doing because then that’s just going to escalate the situation and make things worse not better. So that is step number 1.

Now let’s go to step No. 2. Step No. 2 is to actually Listen . Now I know this may seem a little weird but sincerely listening to what the player is saying and taking the time to figure out what the player wants, this will help immensely in the long run. You want to try to attempt to understand what the problem is. If you can understand what the problem is and see things from the players perspective. Some players just want that. You don’t have to fix anything. You don’t have to solve anything for them. You don’t have to do anything. In Fact you’re sorta acting a bit like a therapist in a way. All that requires is listening. Listening and being a bounce board. So just take in what they are saying and actually, see it from their point of view. Listen to what they are saying. This just helps immensely. Some people just want to rant. Some people just want to sit down, and they want someone who doesn’t know them, doesn’t know the people in their lives, can’t go back and talk with other people about what they said. They just want to sit there and do a verbal dom. They just want to rant and get things off their shoulders and they’re not expecting you to solve all of their problems. And this helps. Just listening. Just trying to see things from their point of view. This helps a lot. Ok so. That was step No. 2. Now before we go on to step No. 3. let’s see what you guys are saying in the chat.

Scornedone says..just keep calm and use force. No. don’t kill the player. That will make a bad day even worse because going to jail sorta sucks. Especially for the rest of your life. And you know all the publicity of murdering someone and all of that. So yeah, don’t kill your player, it won’t be good. It will make a bad day worse. So Joey has a question. And it is, Having angry customers not abiding with social distancing and totally ignoring what you are trying to explain to them. What do you do? We don’t have security. So normally what you do in that situation is you would call over your call over your floor supervisor. It’s the floor supervisors responsibility to handle rully customers. People that won’t settle down. If any of the 5 tips that I give you today doesn’t help and they’re still angry and throwing cards and ashtrays at you and being really horrible. Then call over the floor supervisor and let the floor supervisor handle the situation. Stay silent, don’t talk, let the floor supervisor do their thing. And the floor supervisor will either accommodate the player or they will kick the player out. You might not have security but you probably have eighty-sixing. Most casinos can eighty-six a player, so that’s probably happen. The player would be eighty-sixed. I hope that answers your question Joey. Thank you for asking. Dane says, Use THE force not use force. It was a Star Wars thing. Totally went over my head. Totally missed the Star Wars reference. Okay. Thank you Dane for pointing that out.

Okay so going on is step No. 3. Step No. 3 is to Sympathize . Now sympathy, sympathizing, acknowledges another person's emotional hardship and provides comfort and assurance. So you want to try to sympathize with your players. You want to acknowledge their emotional hardships. You want to acknowledge what they are saying. Again, it goes back to step no. 2 Listen to them. Listen to what they have to say, and then provide comfort and assurance. Those are tough rocks, man I’m sure your wife will come around. Whatever the situation is going on. Respond appropriately. Try to offer some kind of comfort. So, that is step no. 3 Sympathize. Now as far as sympathy goes, most of the time disgruntled players, they just want someone to listen to them. You would actually be surprised by how many irate customers will settle down once they have your attention and your sympathy. Problems are opportunities in disguise. Opportunities means tokes. You could actually get some tokes from this. If you listen to someone, sympathize with them, be that soundboard that I was telling you about, because again, part of this is being a therapist. Some people will appreciate it and they will give you more tips, more tokes for this. And you can actually give yourself a raise by doing this. If you want to know more about giving yourself a raise, I actually have a course you can check out by clicking here .

So step No. 3 was Sympathize. Let’s go on to step No. 4. Step No. 4 is Don’t Fight Back . Dealers should never get into a disagreement with the player. But saying that is kinda, like, unrealistic. It’s going to happen. You want to try to not fight back. You want to try to not make a situation worse than it already is. If there is a dispute, again, the floor supervisor needs to be called over. When he comes over and asks what’s happening, don’t lie. Be honest. Arguments are going to happen because that’s the way it is. You’re meeting a lot of people from all around the world and sometimes personalities clash and that’s just the way it is. It’s not anything against you it’s just the way human beings are. When that happens don’t lie. Be honest. Arguments are going to happen. Because again they always do. There’s nothing anyone can do to avoid it, so the best thing to do when you find yourself in that situation is to tell the truth. Now if the dealer has an argument with the player, they will always come out looking bad. That’s why you don’t want to get into an argument with the player. If you notice that you're starting to raise your voice, and it’s above the normal conversation level, again stop yourself, check yourself, count to 10, take a few deep breaths. Call over the floor supervisor so that way they can handle the situation and make sure you stay quiet. Because if you get mad and you start yelling that’s going to get you in trouble. That’s not going to do anything against the player. It’s just going to make you look bad. So that’s why you don’t want to fight back. Also, remember...again this is a little bit of psychology for people out there who don’t know this.. But people naturally tend to mirror one another, so if you're level headed, if you're patient, if you're kind, the other player...the angry player will eventually start mirroring your behavior because that is what we normally do as human beings. That’s just a psychology type of a thing. So keep that in mind. If you escalate, if you get mad, if you fight back, they’re going to get mad, they’re going to fight back and it just keeps getting worse and worse. So keep in mind that people mirror your behavior. If you're patient. If you are listening, if you’re kind, if you’re level headed, the player is more likely to mirror your behavior. Eventually, not right away, but eventually, this will help de-escalate the situation, and keep things from getting worse than they could be.

So, next one. Now before we go on to No. 5, let’s go through and see what you guys are saying in the chat. Dane says, “What do you do if sympathy causes escalation and things get worse?” Again, remember when you sympathize with someone, you acknowledge to them that their emotional hardships. You provide validation to what they are saying. You’re listening to them rant. By doing that that’s not going to escalate the situation, so there’s not a chance...by providing comfort and assurance that that type of sympathy will escalate and things will get worse. If you do listen and provide sympathy and provide comfort and assurance and you listen to the person and you validate their feelings and beliefs and they do escalate, there is something seriously wrong with them and you need to not deal with that. So that’s when you call over the floor supervisor and have them deal with the situation. When things get out of control, when you can’t handle it, call over the floor supervisor. But sympathy shouldn’t escalate the situation. Again, remember people mirror other people so if your level headed, if you’re patient, if you listen, if you offer that degree of sympathy towards them, they are less likely to escalate. In fact these are all de-escalate tactics and that’s the whole point. You want to de-escalate. You don’t want to escalate the situation. Again, that’s part of No. 4 don’t fight back. If you fight back, you're escalating the situation. So, I hope that answers your question Dane. Let me know if you have another one.

So Vodkatonic says, “Is it acceptable to taze an annoying player?” Again, you want to de-escalate the situation and tazing the player will either escalate the situation or give the player a heart attack. Either way, not good. Don’t do it. Taze... would be for someone who took way too many drugs and now thinks they are HeMan or KingKong or is having a seriously bad trip, then taz them. Yeah. There are some situations where tazing might be a good idea, but otherwise de-escalate. Don’t do, you know, don’t do that.

Q: I’ve seen a player when he got aggressive with security. Security must have really been mad at him then. In that case, that’s security’s problem. When it gets to the point where Security has a problem with them, that’s their problem. That’s not on you anymore as a dealer. You go up the chain of command. You deal with it first, and here are the 5 steps of how you can deal with it. And then if it gets any worse than that, it goes to the floor supervisor and if it gets worse than that, it goes to security and when security is tazing you know it’s hit the level. It’s gone over the top right there.

Q: This is a bit off topic but I did have an experience where a lady was at the roulette table and she collapsed on the floor and needed medical attention. Perhaps this is a question for another day. If anything like this happens, because it does happen, I’ve seen people have heart attacks at the table. I have seen this kind of stuff happen. I’ve seen a lot. If this happens call over your floor supervisor right away and he will notify security. Security will usually have...depending on the casino, some casinos will have an EMT on their security detail. They’ll have someone come and help the person right away. Or they will call the ambulance to have to help them. But if you ever see anything like this, let your floor supervisor know right away, so he can notify the appropriate department in order to administer the medical detail.

Q: How do you handle other players trying to tell someone else how to play their hand, or getting mad over how someone else is playing? This would happen all the time on my table. You don’t want to go in there full force. You want to try to cushion this as much as possible because sometimes people are having a bad day. Them controlling other people makes them feel better but that is not allowed at the table. The thing is, those players are playing with their money that they worked for, so they can do whatever they want with their money. Another player telling them how to play their money is just unacceptable. Having someone, especially when they are trying to bully them, and get upset, and you are not playing by the book, and all of that stuff. As the dealer, remind that player…”Sir, you are in charge of your hand, they are in charge of theirs. You are putting your money on your hand, they are putting their money on theirs. If you put money on their hand, then you can tell them how to play but you are not doing that. That’s not your money, that’s their money. They're the ones in charge of their money and they are the ones in charge of their hand. You sir are in charge of your money and you are in charge of your hand.” That’s just not acceptable. It doesn’t make for a good playing environment for the other player. Part of your job as a dealer is to keep players on the table for as long as possible. You’re not going to keep players on the table for long periods of time if you have a player bullying another player telling them how to play. Sir, if you don’t like how he’s playing you can go move to another table. You can move to a table where there’s no other players and no one’s going to mess you up. Having them ruin that experience for that other player, is just not acceptable. As the dealer you're in charge of your table. You're in control of your table and you need to assert that control in a nice way where you notify the player that that behavior is just not acceptable. Okay so I hope I answered your question. Please let me know if you have another one.

Q: Any funny story of an irate player that became a happy player. Yes! It’s not a story I tell often, just because it’s not as entertaining as some of my other stories but...One of the fun things that I would do when I was a dealer was, I took it as a challenge that if I had an angry player, If I had an irate player, if I had someone that was just a real jerk, it would be a challenge to me to try to brighten they guys day up. By the time he left we would be like friends. We would be laughing. We would be talking. If I ever had a player like that, that would be my personal challenge because while I was dealing Blackjack and by then I was so bored with Blackjack I needed something else to do with my brain, so that is what I would do. I would have guys, old guys that were grumpy and having a bad day and all sorts of things. It didn’t work for every player that I tried this on. It worked for at least half of them. Which I think is a fantastic success. But some of them got more angry because I was cheerful and I wanted to talk with them. Again that goes back to reading the player. If the player wants you to stay silent, sometimes you should stay silent. Every player is different. It’s not really a story but it is something I would try to do.

Q: So Thomas says...How do you handle people who don’t know how to play and they keep asking for rules and advice? That’s part of being a dealer. So that is your job description, is you teach people how to play the game. You give them advice. You let them know what the rules are. You let them know what’s going on. That’s part of your job as being a dealer. You want people to come up to your table. You don’t want them to be intimidated. You want to be open and friendly and welcoming, so that way people could feel like they could sit at your table and learn something new. And they can have fun with it. So that's part of your job as a dealer, is to do that.

Let’s go over the four things that I talked about. And then we will discuss the fifth way to handle an angry player. First thing you do is you count to 10. No. 2 is you listen. Remember sometimes being a therapist is all they want and sometimes that’s what you do as a dealer is you listen. You be that soundboard that they need. No. 3 Sympathize with them. And again when you sympathize you acknowledge another person's emotional hardship and provide comfort and assistance. No. 4 You don’t fight back. You keep calm. You keep level headed. You remember that people mirror other people so if you act the way you want them to act they will eventually mirror your behavior. And no. 5! Last one for today's live stream. No. 5 is Distract . This is a good one. Just like a little toddler having a temper tantrum. What you do is you distract. Do they have a jersey of their favorite team? Maybe if you like that team too you can talk about the team. Distract them from what they are thinking about. Distract them from what they are having a problem about. If you know that the person really likes a certain TV show. Ask them if they saw the latest episode. If you know, you and this certain player have a hobby in common. Bring that hobby up and ask them, “Hey you did a really fantastic job doing this and that! How did you do it? That is so amazing! And people love talking about themselves. If you don’t have a certain topic to distract them with, then ask them about themselves. Ask them about their lives. Some people really, really love talking about themselves. Distract them by talking about the things that they enjoy. If you distract them from what is making them angry then you will have a lot easier time having them at the table. Again, if the player is in a bad mood. Instead of waiting for a fight to happen or if a fight has already started, try to distract them. I know this is bad to say but some people are like little toddlers, so just like a toddler when they have a little temper tantrum...oh no problem! We can distract you. You won’t think about what your problem was. It works with adults just as well as it works with kids, believe it or not. Try to talk about a subject they are interested in. Try to talk about something they find interesting. A lot of people find themselves interesting, so if you talk about themselves. If you talk about them, that will distract them. If you’re upbeat, if you're positive, this will disconnect the guest from their foul mood and it will take them to a better place. That is the five ways to handle an angry player. Count to ten, listen, sympathize, don't fight back, and distract.

Q: Arry. I have a funny distraction story. It didn’t go so well. He was doing the negative progression method on Blackjack. He lost four hands in a row. He decided to bet big with green chips on three spots. Dealer Blackjack. Ouch! Okay so we will see what happens. So he was fuming. I was like, “Hey, did you ever go to the sportsman warehouse in the mall?” He just shrugged. He said I don’t gave a ** about the mall. I only care about you paying my money back. Pay me back my money and then we can be friends. Yes this does happen. They are a little feisty. Expect a little feistiness with them. You need to have thick skin in this industry. People are going to be rude. They are going to be Asses. Especially when they are angry players. Again, what you want to do is remember that people mirror other people. If you're level headed, if you're cool, if you're calm, if you're collected, if you just go with the flow and ride the wave, things will be a lot easier. If you have a player like that, where if you attempt to distract and it doesn’t work, that’s okay. Let’s try something else. You know it’s just like a video game. If one way doesn’t work, let’s try a different way. Ask him….how well do you know the player? That’s the first thing that we need to establish when trying to figure out how to handle the player. Do you know the player well? Do you know what they like? Do you know what they enjoy? Go with that. If you don’t know what the player likes, if you don’t know anything about the player...that’s when you're going to start -- throwing the darts in the….what do you call it? Throwing the darts in the dark? It's a phrase. I think I totally screwed up the phrase. But, you do just what you did. You try to distract. You talked about a subject. The subject didn’t hit. It didn’t work with him. That’s okay. Try a different subject. If he doesn’t like that. Try a different subject. Ask an open ended question. If you ask him open ended question he’s...your more likely to feel out what they like and what they don’t like. If you have a player who acts like that and all he wants you to do is stay silent. Go ahead and stay silent. Read the player. Your sorta playing therapist. Try to figure out what makes them tick. Go in that direction. I hoped that helped answer your questions.

Recommended Resources

Your support keeps this site free.

We believe in making education and information as accessible as possible. Help us keep the lights on by supporting financially. Every bit counts!


Support and get something directly back by picking up gear or a lucky trinket.

Shop Now


Access years of exclusive content immediately for a small monthly commitment.

Become a Patron


One of the first things we teach players is to tip their dealer. We accept PayPal!

Leave a Tip

Get gamewise, now.

Don’t miss interviews, upcoming games, dealer and player tips, and more.

Join over 1,500 Vegas Aces students at Curious.com

Join in the conversation at Tapatalk.

Copyright © 2010-2024 Vegas Aces Services, LLC All rights reserved.