What to Know When Visiting a Casino for the First Time

Being a casino dealer, I saw a lot of newbie players walk up to my table and have no clue what they were doing. Some were intimidated; some lost the courage to try to play and walked out; while others screwed up not realizing their mistakes, causing the whole table to scorn them.

Nobody wants that.

That’s why I’m posting a series of articles addressing the player’s concerns as a newbie. I’ll shed some light on what you can expect when walking up to a table, joining a game, as well as superstitions some players have, or table etiquette. So look for that, and more, in upcoming articles.

Common Concerns

It’s common to feel intimidated, nervous, or anxious when approaching a table game for the first time. These feelings are caused by a “fear of the unknown” and what better way to battle that, then by learning about the casino and it’s table games before setting a single foot into it. Google the casino you’re going to visit to see what games they have available.

Figure out what games you want to play and then learn how to play them. You can watch my videos and read my articles on how to play blackjack, mini-baccarat, pai-gow poker and more! Or you can visit Michael Shackleford’s website, The Wizard of Odds. Not only does he have instructions on how to play the game, he also has strategies, the odds and more!

Plus, it’s good to play the games online before playing them in a casino. This will build up confidence before you even enter a casino for the first time. There are many places you can go do this, one of them being Betbright’s free games, where you can play all sorts of casino games for free.

Practice at Home

Once you have a good grasp on the rules and how to play the game, buy yourself a deck of cards and practice at home with some friends. This will provide you with a friendlier and more casual atmosphere in which to learn the games in, plus there’s no time limit involved. You can also practice with online casinos where you can claim a no deposit bonus.

However, loads of laughing is guaranteed to be involved. You can continue practicing in this way until you feel confident enough to walk into a casino.

Start by Watching

After walking into the casino for your first time, if you approach your game and you still feel a bit hesitant, just know that the casino allows you to stand there and watch the game being played. This will allow you to get a feel for the game before jumping in.

If there are players already on the table, playing the game, then the polite thing to do would be to ask them if they would mind if you jumped in. The reason why some people might get mad when a new player enters the game is because they believe that this will change the rotation of the cards, therefore causing a good shoe to go bad with the addition or subtraction of players. That’s why it’s good to wait for the dealer to shuffle before jumping in.

Know the Rules!

When placing your items on the table, it’s good to know what the casinos allow and what’s forbidden. Avoid placing your phone, purse, food, small children or anything else that might be a oversized noisy distraction. Basically, in Las Vegas, if you can’t drink it, smoke it or bet it, then it can’t be on the table. (By the way, please keep in mind that every casino is different and that there are many non-smoking casinos out there.)

Take out the amount of money that you wish to play, and when the dealer is ready, place the cash on the table and the dealer will exchange the cash for cheques. Don’t hand the dealer money because they’re not allowed to take it from your hand. That’s why you have to set it on the table. Also, be careful not to set the cash in the betting circle because the dealer might mistake that for a bet and before you know it you have your entire day’s gambling budget riding on a 16.

Double-Check Minimums and Maximums

Use these clay chips when making a bet and remember to double check the table minimum-maximum sign to make sure you’re not actually sitting at a $100 table. You can typically tell the amount of a chip by its color. It’s common for red chips to be worth $5, green chips to be worth $25 and black chips to be worth $100. When you’re ready to start playing the game, place the amount of money you want to spend on that hand in the betting area.

Once the first card has come out, the player is not allowed to touch or alter their bet. If you’re playing blackjack and the cards are on the table facing up, then take note that you’re not allowed to touch or hold them. In blackjack, you can only touch your cards on a handheld game.

If you’re not sure what the right choice is when playing blackjack, then you can easily go to a gift shop and buy a small plastic card known as the Blackjack Strategy Guide. This will help you make the best choices that the player can make in blackjack. And you can keep this with you while you’re on the table playing. The casinos won’t mind, in fact, they encourage it. If you’re not sure about something or if you have a question, you can always ask the dealer and they’ll help you out.

How to Leave the Table

When you’ve finished playing and you need to leave, don’t walk off the table with all of your chips. Instead, give them to the dealer while saying, “Color Up” and the dealer will give you a few large denomination chips in replace of your stacks of lower denomination chips. This way you don’t have to push a wheelbarrow of chips all the way over to the cage.

Remember to go by the cage and exchange your chips for cash before you leave. If you forget and take the chips home with you, then you’re going to have a difficult time trying to spend that money. I doubt the supermarket will give you $100 worth of groceries for a single back clay chip.

First posted: November 26th, 2017

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