You don’t have to be a big gambler to enjoy visiting a casino every now and then. Whether you’re sitting at the blackjack table, trying your hand at slots, or just supporting your Vegas-loving friend, there are plenty of options for hours of entertainment.
But as with any social outing, it’s important to be considerate of others. And experienced casino goers don’t hesitate to point out the most common faux pas they see on the playing field.
To make casino nights more enjoyable for you and everyone else, HuffPost asked etiquette experts to share some common rude behaviors you should avoid in these areas and what to do instead.
Don’t tip vendors and servers
“Be generous with your winnings by tipping traders appropriately,” it is recommended 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, $5.00 is acceptable,” he 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 that some people have to stand and share tips during their eight-hour shift, that’s a lot of work. The reality of the job is not as glamorous as it is on TV.”
Don’t forget to also tip the casino’s cocktail waiters who bring you the drinks.
“People who fill these positions are like all service employees where the base salary is low and tips are taxable,” Claytor said. “A tip of $2 to $3 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.”
Have your phone outside
“There will likely be strict rules about the use of phones near tables, so it’s best to keep your phone 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 need to answer a call, move away from the table.
“Don’t talk on your phone while playing,” Claytor said. “It’s disruptive to the other people around you. And don’t take photos of people while they’re playing.”
Put all your things on the table
Just like you shouldn’t have your phone on the table, also avoid covering the table with your things.
“Don’t put your things on the tables,” Claytor said. “Handbags should be placed on your lap, never on the table or hanging on the back of a chair.” Leaving your belongings on the table will affect gameplay. If your purse is hanging on the back of a chair, it’s a temptation for thieves.”
Go overboard with the free alcohol
The free drinks are a nice perk at casinos, but don’t overdo it. You don’t want to have impaired judgment when playing and some people tend to become careless.
“Monitor your alcohol consumption,” Gottsman advised. “Stay focused, aware and appropriate.”
Take your frustration out on the dealer
“Don’t get aggressive with table dealers if you’re on a losing streak,” Claytor said.
Don’t be a bad player and don’t take your frustration out on the dealer if you don’t like your hand. Remember to be polite to the people working at the casino.
“Remember common courtesy,” Claytor said. “For example, saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to table vendors and cocktail waiters.”
Slow down the game
“When visiting a casino, take the time to do your homework in advance,” he said Jodi RR Smith, the president of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting. “There are a variety of options as well as laws and guidelines to consider. While there are a small number of professional gamblers who make their living in casinos, most visitors are there for fun. Just make sure your fun doesn’t interfere with other people’s fun.”
Don’t slow down the game for others by, for example, thinking long and hard about how much you want to bet on each hand.
“Be careful when asking a dealer to convert your chips into other denominations as this can slow down the game for others,” said Leighton.
“Know before you go. It is useful for you and considerate of other players to know the rules before you start playing,” he added. “Check the minimum number before you sit down at a table to make sure it is the right number for you.”
When learning a new game, try choosing an empty table and tipping the dealer generously to help 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 frustrates you, get up and go to another table.
“Don’t say, ‘You should…’ or ‘You should play…'” Claytor said. “If someone wants your advice, he or she will ask for it.”
She also advised against chatting with other players who don’t seem interested.
“Serious players want to play,” Claytor said. “They are not interested in chatting because it breaks their concentration.”
Criticism of people’s superstitions
Everyone has their own approach to casino games. So don’t be derogatory, critical or mocking of other people’s rituals and habits.
“It’s rude to criticize someone’s superstitions or idiosyncrasies,” Claytor said.
Smoking where it is not allowed
“Be aware of where you can and can’t smoke,” Leighton said.
Many casinos allow visitors to smoke on the floor and at the tables, but this is not a universal rule.
“Become familiar with the casino’s smoking policy for cigarettes, cigars and cannabis,” Claytor said. “Not all casinos in the United States allow smoking indoors.”
Placing your drinks in the wrong place
Also be careful where you put your drinks.
“Drinks should always be stored in designated places, such as cup holders or nearby shelves,” said Leighton. “A spilled drink on a table could mean the whole table has to be shut down, and no one 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 chair next to you,” Claytor said.
“At the casino buffet, always use a fresh plate when you go up,” Leighton added.
Dispute over real estate
“Understand that some guests are picky and others are superstitious,” Smith said. “Don’t touch others, don’t crowd someone’s space, or claim that a machine or stool is yours.”
Pay attention to the property you live in during peak times.
“Don’t use multiple slot machines,” Claytor said. “Don’t loiter or stand over people 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 they ask you to,” Claytor said.