The Ins and Outs of Casino Hand Gestures

min read
A hand with painted red nails holding cards.
BetMGM Nov 08, 2022, 11:51 AM

While there’s still a time and a place for that dizzying thrill of playing casino table games at a traditional brick-and-mortar casino, fans of online casino games will be aware of just how simple it is to play their favorite casino games online. After all, up until recently, the automatic features of online games have meant that most players haven’t needed to bother learning the same casino etiquette, such as hand gestures, that they would if they were playing casino games in an actual casino. 

However, the rise of live dealer casino games, and the use of technology like AR and VR, have made it important to learn these gestures and to start working on perfecting your “poker face” once again. Even if you steer clear of live games and prefer to keep it “old-school,” you never know when you’ll have to use these skills at a brick-and-mortar casino in the future!

So, where do you start? Below, we take a look at the ins and outs of the most common hand gestures used in the most popular casino table games: blackjack, poker, craps and roulette.

What are casino hand gestures and why are they important?

Dealers and players use specific hand gestures when playing certain games as an alternative way of communicating what it is they want to do. In most situations, these hand gestures help to ensure faster, more streamlined gameplay. Some gestures are also often used to prevent cheating or to make it impossible for a player, dealer or croupier to influence the game. An example is when a dealer claps and shows their hands to the camera (in the case of a live online game) or to the players (in the case of a game at a traditional casino,) known as “clearing the hands.”  

Blackjack hand signals

Blackjack, also sometimes referred to as 21, is one of the most popular table games on casino floors and in online casinos, and for good reason. Firstly, it’s a fun and entertaining game to play, but it’s also incredibly easy to learn – both in terms of the rules and the relevant hand gestures. This makes it an excellent choice for beginners. Blackjack also has one of the lowest house edges on the casino floor, which gives players a better chance of winning than some other games.

Of course, like any other game, when you play blackjack at a casino, it’s essential that you know the casino table rules and how to play it. One of the crucial aspects of blackjack is understanding and learning the variety of hand signals that are used in the game.

Let’s take a look at the most common blackjack hand gestures and when you should use them.


A hit is when you request another card from the dealer. If you’re holding your cards, then you can simply scrape them on the table to ask for another card. If your cards are face-up, however, then you can either touch your finger on the table or use your hand to wave toward yourself, indicating that the dealer should give you another card.


When you opt to “stand” when playing blackjack, it means that you want to stick or stay with the cards that you have and that you don’t need another one. You can indicate that you want to stand by simply waving one of your hands over your cards.

Double down

When you double down, you are doubling your initial bet, and you will receive one more card from the dealer. This means that you have your two initial cards and the extra one. The way to signal that you want to double down is to simply place the extra chips next to your initial bet.

Split a pair

This is when you split the initial two cards that you’re dealt, but it can only be done if they have the same value as each other. If you would like to split two same-value cards, all that you have to do is place another bet with the same value but put your chips down in an area away from the original betting box and hold up your index and middle finger.

Poker hand signals

Online poker is easily one of the most played games – and it’s estimated that there are over 60 million poker players in the US alone! This isn’t surprising, considering that the game is challenging, fun, and boasts many varieties to choose from, which means that players will never get bored. 

While an online casino does most of the work for online games, live or in-person casino poker games are a whole different scenario. If you want to play poker and play it well, you simply have to know the hand gestures for the game. Here are the most common gestures used in poker.


When you fold in poker, it means that you’re conceding the game and have no more interest in the current pot. If you want to use a gesture to show that you want to fold, all that you have to do is place your cards face down on the table.


“Calling” in poker simply means that you are willing to match a bet or a raise. Instead of words, you can use a gesture to do this: simply place a stack of chips in the middle of the table that matches the value of the other players’ stacks.


When you raise in poker, you are increasing the size of an existing bet in the same betting round. To do this, you must first place chips equal to the current bet down and then add the amount that you wish to increase it by.


If you want to pass the play onto the next player but keep your current cards, then you will have to check. If this is your next course of action, all that you have to do is make sure that no other player has bet or raised in the round and then simply tap the table.


If you are opening the betting, then you need to place down the value of chips that you would like to bet in the middle of the table and wait for the other players to call or raise your bet.

Craps hand signals

Craps doesn’t rely on hand gestures as much as poker or blackjack do, but there are still a few hand signals and etiquette that you should be aware of.

Rolling the dice

Although not necessarily a hand signal, it’s important to know that you must always handle and throw the dice using only one hand.

Passing right

You don’t always have to roll the dice; for some rounds, you can pass the dice on to the player on your right. To do this, simply open your hand with the dice in your palm and offer them in the direction of the player to your right.

Hands high

During a craps game, the dealer could call “hands high” or “the dice are out.” This means that all players must lift their hands off of the table to ensure that they are not interfering with play. 

Roulette hand gestures

Roulette is similar to craps in that the gameplay itself doesn’t rely on hand signals. However, it’s important to be aware of the following to ensure that you play the game correctly.

No more bets

The dealer will signal that no more bets can be placed by raising a hand horizontally over the table.

Hands away

Players must keep their hands off of the table until the dealer has removed all losing bets.

Brushing up on casino etiquette

Remember, using the right hand gestures is just a small part of casino etiquette. So, if you’re keen on visiting a traditional casino or you have your eye on live casino games, it’s definitely going to pay to brush up on the do’s and don’ts. For example:

  • Always be sure to check on the casino’s dress code before slipping on a comfortable pair of sandals ahead of your visit. 
  • Avoid checking your mobile phone during a game. 
  • Consider tipping the dealer or croupier – they work long hours and usually really go out of their way to make sure you have a great time and all gameplay is fair and safe.
  • Don’t break card etiquette. Card games have a few more rules (and unwritten rules) in place than most casino dice games. For instance, you should only touch the cards with one hand when they’re face down and you shouldn’t touch them at all when they’re dealt face-up. 
  • If you ever find yourself confused about which hand gestures you should be using, use your words instead. It’s much safer than using the wrong hand gesture to indicate that you’re bowing out or folding and unintentionally raising your bet!

Also, keep in mind that casino etiquette can differ quite a lot for live online games vs. in-person games, so be sure to take the time to research and compare both.  

Play the best online casino games at BetMGM

Whether you enjoy playing casino table games on the casino floor or playing slots online in the comfort of your own home, it’s important that you know the basic rules and gameplay for whatever game you choose. At BetMGM, we have a massive variety of online games for you to choose from. Register with BetMGM today and explore our massive collection of online slots, live dealer casino games and so much more. 

Still learning how to play poker in a casino or trying to figure out how to beat cognitive bias when playing casino games? Our blog is an amazing resource for all sorts of tips and guidance, so don’t hesitate to read further!

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.