The Ultimate Guide to Casino & Table Game Etiquette

min read
BetMGM Nov 22, 2023, 3:41 AM

The rebel in everyone would like you to believe that casino rules are made to be broken. However, everyone knows that following the rules — especially the unspoken ones — is the right thing to do. Every casino (online or otherwise) has its own rules, social cues, and etiquette. Take it from the professionals: it’s better to play it safe than be sorry.

Why Etiquette and Rules Are Essential

No one wants to follow the rules without understanding what they’re there for. So, before getting into the nitty-gritty of casino etiquette, here are some reasons why it’s in everyone’s interest to behave appropriately and stick to the casino’s house rules.

Everyone Wants To Have an Entertaining Experience

Casino players can be divided into two groups: those who want to win big and those who just want a big night of entertainment playing the best casino games. Although some may sit on the fence, what’s true for all gamblers and casino-goers is that the rules make the entertainment and winning chances possible each night.

If you find yourself on the wrong side of the rules, you can expect to be penalized, kicked off the casino premises, or worse. If you know how to play casino table games in a way that’s considerate of your fellow players and respectful of the rules, the flow stays positive, the good times last longer, and the excitement remains high.

It’s Important To Keep the Peace and Avoid Stepping on Anyone’s Toes

What you do at a casino has a telling effect on everybody who is part of the experience. Familiarizing yourself with rules and how things are done is invaluable for everyone involved. Mutual respect, socially acceptable behavior, and good etiquette are the mandatory minimum. But you don’t have to feel that you’re shouldering the weight of responsibility alone — you’ll be pleased to know that dealer etiquette is equally important and expected. Both sides of the table must play their part.

If the winnings and experience aren’t quite enough incentive for you to be on your best behavior, you might want to remember that at land-based casinos, there are always eyes in the sky (surveillance) in the form of CCTV and other security measures. 

It’s important to remember that you’re only human, so it’s natural to forget some of the rules at times. To remind yourself of everything that you need to know, bookmark this article so you have a readily available and comprehensive guide on how to gamble at a casino. It covers virtually every rule you’ll need to know to enjoy the experience fully while tactfully avoiding offending any of your fellow gamblers. 

Casino Etiquette: Basic Dos and Don’ts

Even though the word “etiquette” sounds a little snobbish, it isn’t a customary code of behavior reserved for the elite. Etiquette is a list of unsaid rules and polite behavior that’s expected from society, a group, or a person in a particular setting.

The rules of casino etiquette are constantly evolving alongside society’s collective preferences, but below are a few that (and you can bet your bottom dollar on this) have stood the test of time, and show no signs of changing.

Actress Lillian Gish once said, “You can get through life with bad manners, but it’s easier with good manners.” Try to make sure the following dos and don’ts become second nature — you’re bound to stay in the good graces of casino-goers anywhere if you do.

Know Your Casino Rules

2 people wearing suits shaking hands as a sign of etiquette

Have you ever sat down to watch one of your favorite movies of all time and had a friend constantly ask you questions about every little detail? At first, it’s understandable and maybe even endearing. Sooner or later, though, it stops being endearing. It becomes pull-your-hair-out annoying, right?

It’s one thing to be a beginner, but it’s entirely different to be a beginner who hasn’t even bothered to learn the basics of what to do at a casino. This is a basic fundamental guide to beginner’s etiquette. Take the time to learn the rules, whether you’re playing a baccarat casino game in person, online casino slots, or anything else in between. You’ll find you’ll get more enjoyment out of your casino experience. What’s more, it’ll help you win more favor with your fellow gamblers at the tables, and save them a lot of frustration and some premature gray hairs.

Most casinos facilitate an induction of sorts that allows you to take a tour and find out how each game works. The online casino world also allows you to learn the ropes before you unwittingly part with your money without really knowing what you’re doing. For example, you can play a host of different games for free so that when you’re ready to play real casino games online, you’ll feel confident and ready.

Reading books or other resources online can also help. YouTube is also full of tutorial videos and information about all types of casino table games. However you do it, it is strongly recommended that you make sure you’re adequately prepared in advance, whether online or at a real casino. It’s the optimal strategy to put into place right from your first foray into the gambling world.

Forget About Your Phone

As unnatural as it may seem in today’s times, the moment you walk into a brick-and-mortar casino, your mobile friend should be placed firmly in your pocket. The only time gambling and smartphones go hand-in-hand is when you’re playing at an online casino via a mobile app. No matter how incredible your experience on the casino floor may be, you’ll have to settle for savoring it all from memory. It’s how people remembered glorious nights of gambling back in the old days, too. So, you’ll be just fine — in fact, it will make you much more present and engaged at the table.

This no-no about phone usage exists because allowing gamblers to use a phone freely in this space could lead to cheating, as well as other safety and privacy infringements. These include protecting the casino from criminals casing the interior, or taking photos of other players or their staff (who might be subject to harassment if an angry player loses, for example, and wants to track them down).

It’s really important that you resist the urge to snap any pictures and record videos. That’s right, casinos are very serious about the “no selfies on the casino floor” rule. This is not up for debate because most places have strict policies against such behavior. 

To put it into perspective, throwing caution to the wind to capture a few pictures for your Insta feed could result in the confiscation of your handheld companion. In more serious cases, it could bring your night to a premature end as you are escorted to the exit.

 If you want to keep the peace with fellow gamblers, minimizing your mobile time is part and parcel of that process. Casino establishments don’t like to see people having loud conversations around a table. While you might find discussing what to have for dinner fascinating, the company present certainly won’t. Chit-chat on your phone during a game slows the flow of play, comes across as disrespectful, distracts players who take their winnings seriously, and can even lessen your chances of walking away from the table a winner.

Keep Your Cool

Man placing his phone in his back jeans pocket, with an aqua blue background

History’s shown, on more than one occasion, that tempers can flare in the heat of competition. In gambling, the stakes are even higher, with both your money and your pride on the line. But it’s vital to keep calm no matter what happens during your game. 

There’s always a point before someone sees red that they can feel their temper rise. It’s at this “flush” point that you should probably consider taking a short time-out. Before you play the blame game and lash out, bite your tongue, step back, and have a break. If anything, remember that calm minds think more clearly. This approach will keep you in the casino’s good graces.

This is especially important to remember when you’ve been playing a game for a while and start to experience what’s known as “going on tilt.” This refers to when you become emotionally confused and frustrated and start implementing less-than-ideal strategies in your gameplay, which can lead you to become overly aggressive. In this case, it’s vital to take a break, too.

When you get back in the zone, you’ll have the presence of mind to execute a better strategy, which might also help you to play a better game. So remember: always keep your cool.

Look Sharp, Think Sharp

Cartoon man wearing a suit meditating outside under clouds in a blue sky

Many people are familiar with that incredible rush of excitement that you feel as you near the entrance of your favorite nightclub, only for it to die a swift death because you realize you’ve worn the wrong shoes, forgotten your jacket, or just arrived feeling underdressed for the occasion. To say the same thing could happen at a casino wouldn’t be far-fetched.

Remember to confirm the dress code before leaving your home because every establishment has its own rules. The reality is that you’ll be turned away if you find yourself inappropriately dressed. Night over. So, save yourself the trouble and ask first.

Of course, if you desperately want to be comfortable in a pair of sweats and sneakers when you play, you can always opt for online casino games. You can even play in your pajamas and won’t have to worry about having to explain why you’re wearing them to anyone.

Don’t Let the Booze Get the Better of You

Group of friends playing roulette dressed up in suits and dresses

Venturing out to a land-based casino is an occasion in itself, and is all the more fun because it’s an adult environment where you can really let your hair down as you try to win big. That’s all well and good, but anti-social behavior won’t be taken kindly to, so don’t overdo the drinks. It’s easy for one drink to spill into two or more, but set yourself a respectable limit. No one enjoys being around someone who has had one drink too many when they shouldn’t have. Don’t let that person be you, especially if it’s your first time at a casino.

As long as you keep it under control, you’ll minimize the risk of alienating yourself from other casino-goers while hopefully avoiding the regret of recklessly spending and betting your whole bankroll. Oh, and don’t forget that drinking alcohol can also significantly impair your decision-making ability — being intoxicated while gambling is a definite handicap. 

Buying Casino Chips

At face value, buying chips at the table probably seems like the simplest part of gambling and casino etiquette. That’s not quite the case, though — some aspects of it are simple, but others are more complex. But it’s okay; it’s all laid out for you here to save you a few blushes. First things first, make sure you find out what the minimum and maximum bets are for each table, as there is no guarantee they’ll be the same from one to the next.

Timing is everything when it comes to buying or cashing out chips. If you happen to sit down with a hand in play, take your time and wait until it’s over. This is the right time for you to buy your chips. In the meantime, you can always keep yourself occupied by getting your money ready. If you do it this way, everybody wins, at least in terms of etiquette.

When exchanging your money for chips, you must remember to lay down the cash for your bet on the table to make sure that everyone can see exactly how much it is and that the correct number of chips is given to you in return. Yes, it might feel like you’re carrying out a mobster deal, but it’s actually to prevent any shady dealings from taking place. Another precaution that’s put in place to prevent bribery comes in the form of the numerous security cameras around the casino. This video surveillance is in place to ensure that fundamental casino rules and etiquette are being observed.

The next tip is an exercise in humility that could save you from getting unwelcome attention. Don’t count your big bills (if you have them) in full view of everyone. It’ll leave a bitter taste in the mouths of those who have just lost their fair share of money, and it’s wise to keep large amounts of cash concealed in the first place for safety reasons.

A small note about casino chips to keep in mind is that roulette chips are not like other casino chips. They are referred to as non-value because instead of their value being signaled by the color of the chip, their value is determined by how they are marked up on the roulette wheel. For instance, if you buy in $100 and ask for $5 chips, you’ll notice the dealer sets one of your color chips beside the wheel along with a lammer (plastic marker) that says 100. This means that every stack of your color is worth $100. If you buy in for dollars, they will mark your color as 20, which represents $20 dollars a stack, and the same pattern continues for other denominations. You need to remember to color up your roulette chips before you leave the table because they aren’t worth anything anywhere else.

Handling Your Chips

There’s a time to handle them, but also a time to leave your chip stacks alone. For example, you should never move or remove the chips you’ve bet on the table during a spin of the roulette wheel or a hand of blackjack. Don’t lay a finger on another player’s chips, either. The dealer will place your winning chips on top of your bets on the table. It’s up to you to decide whether you’d like to remove the chips. Keeping them there will effectively “let it ride” onto the next bet.

At the roulette table, your dealer will give you chips that are a different color from everybody else’s. Don’t be alarmed. This is intentional, as it helps you recognize which chips are yours and differentiates one set of chips from another. Take note, and don’t hesitate to ask for assistance when it comes to where to place your chips to make a bet.

Cashing Out

Male dealer handing out chips to a woman playing roulette on a green table

As discussed above, roulette chips have different colors than your generic cash chips. Before you leave your table, you’ll need to make sure that you get your dealer to exchange the roulette chips for generic cash chips. However, in this case, remember one of the biggest principles of etiquette and be considerate of others before you leave the table. This means telling your dealer you want to leave when they’re not distracted. Typically, this will be at the end of a wheel spin, when the dealer has paid out the previous betting round.

What’s more, when cashing out, be aware that dealers appreciate it when you cash in smaller denominations for larger ones. Between hands or spins, when they’re not as busy, give your dealer your neatly stacked pile of chips and allow them to count the chips and change them up for you.

Remember that red chips are usually worth $5, a green one is $25, and black is $100, although this can vary between establishments, depending on where you are playing.

Respect the Dealer

There’s no room for negotiations or bargaining in a casino, and why should there be? Can you imagine if everyone was granted the benefit of a secondhand of cards or was able to interrupt the flow of play at any given time? It would ruin the passage of play. The expectation is for gamblers to listen to and respect the dealer. If the dealer says, “No more bets,” that’s it. There’ll be no more bets, and any attempt to shoehorn in another will end in scorn and refusal and is unlikely to make you the most popular person at the table.

The dealer keeps the passage of play fluid and entertaining, so keeping an ear out for what they tell you is critical. But what if you’re new to the scene? The best advice is to take the refresher class and observe a few games before diving in. It’ll give you invaluable insight into beginner etiquette. All you need to do is listen to the dealer.

In this particular case, live dealer casino games can be invaluable places to learn, as you can still experience what it’s like to play a real game with a dealer without feeling too worried about making a mistake (as the visual layout on your screen makes it easier to figure out what to do in each game). There is a wide variety of live dealer games to choose from, too, so you aren’t limited when it comes to entertainment options.

Tipping Is Tops

Anyone who’s worked in the customer service industry knows just how much a tip means to the recipient. Every little bit counts and goes a long way. In fact, a big portion of land-based casino card dealers’ earnings comes from tips. Dealing is a demanding business and requires a significant amount of emotional, physical, and mental energy. Dealers are at the core of your casino experience: they have to keep their spirits high while being on their feet constantly, smiling broadly, and dealing the cards out efficiently — all to make sure that your night is one to remember for all the right reasons. 

In terms of casino tipping etiquette, there’s no hard and fast rule to how much you tip a dealer, but it’s an unspoken expectation of table game etiquette that you do tip them something. Nobody expects you to part with your last dollar, but for small wins, a dollar shouldn’t be too hard to spare. If you’re on a hot winning streak, you can show a little gratitude with a $5 tip when you leave the table.

Of course, in live casino games (or any online casino game), you’re not expected to tip the dealer.

Don’t Be That Guy

Icon showing a hand throwing a poker chip with the reflection in blue

In many cases, the guy who’s being THAT guy is completely oblivious to it. That’s why this blog outlines a few things you should reflect upon just in case you run the risk of being that guy. After all, nobody’s perfect.

Don’t Splash the Pot

Splashing the pot may sound remarkably like splashing the cash. Rest assured, it isn’t. Splashing the pot refers to when a player, with very little regard for anyone else, throws their chips into the pot. This is done when making a bet, call or raise. It’s a gross display of bad betting etiquette because it makes recognizing the number of chips added difficult to determine.

Don’t Make String Bets

Making a string bet is the act of putting in a few chips at a time when making your bet and then continuously adding more, little by little. Though often an honest mistake committed by many a beginner navigating through their first time at a casino, it can also be used tactically. String betting slows down the passage of play. In addition, by making a bet of a few chips at a time, a player can get one over fellow gamblers by reading into the reactions of his/her opponents with every chip added. The reaction of opponents will be an effective tell of whether or not to increase the bet. Easy to avoid and simply not worth doing, avoid conflict and accusations of cheating by avoiding string betting. It’s proper casino etiquette.

Don’t Abuse Smoking Privileges

Cigar, poker chips, whiskey glass and playing cards on a green casino table

With changing regulations, being able to smoke indoors in public places — casinos in particular — is becoming less common. If you’re a smoker, you’ll need to check what the regulations are, as smoking may only be allowed in certain areas. 

It’s nobody’s place to judge what you put in your body, but the other players are entitled to an opinion when it comes to what affects their bodies. Not everyone is okay with inhaling second-hand smoke, even from a vape. If you’re playing at a “smoking-allowed” table, it’s good etiquette to ask your neighboring gamblers whether they’d be put off by your smoking.

If you are allowed to smoke, do everything in your power to avoid blowing smoke or vaping into anybody’s face. Make sure you stub out your cigarettes or cigars properly using the provided ashtray and take care to snuff out any residual smoke fully. Try to stretch out the time between smokes for the sake of your non-smoking fellow casino-goers. 

(Of course, if you play online, you won’t have to worry about any of this).

Don’t Cuss or Swear

Everyone who is gambling legally is an adult, but that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is comfortable with the use of profane language, swearing, and cursing. Many people, though not vocal about it, feel uneasy around strong language. Since being considerate is part of casino table game etiquette, do your best to refrain from using offensive language.

Don’t Give Advice Unless Asked

2 black and white speech bubbles indicating swearing and no swearing

You know that guy from the gym? That guy who’s getting on in his years but swears by his former glory days as a fitness heavyweight? Think about the feeling you get when you see him making a beeline for you to offer some unsolicited advice. This is much the same feeling casino-goers get when they’re continuously offered wisdom from others when they’ve not asked for it. No one is questioning your knowledge or experience, but it is strongly advised that you not share it unless someone has asked you something.

Along with unsolicited advice, your opinions and criticisms of fellow players are equally unwelcome — as is giving a running commentary. Speak when spoken to at the tables and keep the judgments to yourself.

Don’t Ask Other Players or the Dealer for Help With Your Hand

Just as you shouldn’t give out unsolicited advice, you shouldn’t ask other players or the dealer how to play a particular hand. You should study the basic strategy for the game you’re playing and use this knowledge to inform your own decisions. Remember that other players are also trying to win the game.

Asking the dealer for advice is equally inappropriate. Not only are they unlikely to be able to know how to help you, but they also won’t want to be liable for any losses incurred if you do happen to take their advice.

Don’t ask other players or the dealer if they think you’ve played the right hand after the fact. No one at the table wants to explain what you did right or wrong. Asking for advice is often seen as rude and will only slow the game down to an infuriating pace. 

A Few More Fundamental Rules of Casino Etiquette

Here are a few more general points worth making a note of when you’re working on your casino etiquette.

Keep Your Cards in Sight

One of the most basic rules of casino table etiquette is to make sure your cards are always in sight. The aim of letting everyone see where your cards are is to ensure that competing players can tell you’re still active in the hand (and that you’re not cheating, of course). Being clear with your actions will also prevent your fellow gamblers from accidentally acting out of turn. But remember that while your hand should be within sight and in full view of everyone throughout the game, only you should know exactly what cards you’re holding. 

Know When and How To Handle Your Cards

Your hand may be your own, but you’re not entitled to touch your cards whenever you please; leave them on the table. Knowing when you can pick them up will help maintain a fluid passage of play and ensure your gambling opponents still find you as endearing as you can be.

In some games, your cards will be dealt face-up. The unwritten law here is that when your cards are dealt face-up, you never touch them.

Alternatively, if your cards are dealt face-down, you can only touch your cards with one hand. If you forget this rule or decide to touch them with two hands anyway, you can expect to be reprimanded instantly. But what if you’re so used to holding your cards in two hands that it’s automatic? You might want to sit on one hand to make sure you’re not tempted to use it. You might feel silly doing it at the time, but keep in mind it’s far more humiliating to be continually reprimanded for using both hands. Stick to it, though, and before long, you’ll be able to ditch this self-restraining technique.

Other than that, be kind to your cards. Treat them as valuable possessions — don’t bend or mark them, scrape or flick their edges, or use them as coasters for your drinks. Many unsavory players have tried to cheat their way to a win by bending specific cards. Don’t do it.

Be Patient

Woman wearing a black hat, holding a royal flush in her right hand

Haste makes waste. In casinos, haste also makes for some bad and possibly long-lasting impressions. Regardless of how desperately you want to sit at a table, poker machine, or slot machine, patience remains an important virtue. You must take your time and wait your turn.

Table game etiquette always comes first. Wait until there’s an opening for you to take a seat at a table or to use a machine. If you happen to be standing among people who show no indication of what their intentions are, simply ask them if they are waiting to play.

When it comes to winnings, if you’re at a table with multiple winners, the courteous thing to do is wait patiently for your share of the table’s pot. Dealers operate in sequence, so rest assured you’ll get what’s due to you in good time.

Know the Stakes

Knowing the stakes before betting is not only a matter of proper etiquette, but it’s the logical thing to do. Before you place your bet at any table, first establish what the minimum and maximum stakes are for that table. As with most aspects of betting etiquette, it’s important not to be disruptive or to disturb the flow of play. Not only will it lower the quality of your experience, but it may also rub your tablemates up the wrong way. Make an effort to find out what the stakes are before you take a seat, and place the appropriate bets within the acceptable range while you’re there.

Manage Your Bankroll

This is probably a no-brainer, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, so this important point has been added to the list anyway. If there’s one core rule that every player needs to acknowledge, it’s that you manage your own bankroll. The whole gambling experience is designed for entertainment, and where anxiety, stress, and negativity creep in is often where players can lose sight of the fun factor.

The key is to manage your bankroll responsibly, so don’t wager money you can’t afford to lose. Never bet money that you know you need for day-to-day expenses. Certainly, don’t borrow money for the sole purpose of gambling. While this is more common sense than “etiquette,” it really should form the cornerstone of how you choose to experience casinos.

Set a Loss Limit

One way to manage your bankroll effectively is to set a loss limit for yourself so that you have a clear idea of what you can afford to lose. Some players rely on willpower to tell them when enough is enough, while others prefer to only bring in a certain amount of money with them so that they can be sure they’re not tempted to chase losses if things go sideways. 

It’s a crucial part of responsible gambling to stick to your limits. These limits help to ensure that you don’t lose all of your money in the first few hours and that, even if you lose your first few games, you can still move on and try your luck somewhere else without potentially losing more money than you had planned for. It also keeps your emotions in check and provides a circuit breaker for when you just want to keep throwing money on the layout, no matter how bad the cards are. Limits also act as emotional regulators, preventing you from making impulsive decisions to continue betting recklessly despite poor outcomes.

Some players set limits based on what they would like to win, and while this limit strategy is not as common, it can help you improve your discipline when gambling.

Don’t Sit at a Table if You Aren’t Betting

At a land-based casino, table games have a limited number of available seats, which are exclusively reserved for active players, not onlookers. You can certainly be a spectator and observe the game; just maintain a suitable distance from the table, refrain from unnecessary chatter, and make sure you’re not preventing someone who actually wants to play from doing so.

Don’t Put Your Personal Belongings on the Table

When you’re playing a casino table game of any kind, it’s important to remember that no purses, wallets, bags, or anything of that nature should be put on the table because they can block the views of the security cameras, can be used for hiding things, and simply because they often get in the way. Use the designated cup holders for your drinks, and when you’re playing dice games, make sure you don’t hold your drink above the table. If your drink spills on the table, the entire game is stopped, and the casino management may even temporarily close the table. No one wants to be the person who was responsible for ruining the game, so it’s small casino etiquette tips like this that can make sure everyone has a good time.

Table Game Etiquette

Now that a broad spectrum of casino etiquette has been covered, here’s a closer look at some etiquette dos and don’ts for two of the most popular casino card games: poker and blackjack.

Poker Etiquette

The words Poker 101 written on a yellow legal pad

Poker is a staple in the gambling scene and comes in a number of variations. Thankfully, casino poker etiquette remains largely the same across the board. 

Know Your Deck

It’s of critical importance to understand the deck of cards when playing poker. There are a fair number of poker variations that use a single deck of 52 cards. However, there are also poker games that will include jokers or use more than one deck. Fortunately, these variations don’t really complicate the general flow of things, as the number of decks has no bearing on the card rankings (although it makes it harder to judge what’s likely to come up).

Where the High Card Becomes the Deciding Factor

In scenarios where more than one player has four of a kind (which is highly unusual but possible with multiple decks), three of a kind, or two pairs of equal value, the winner of the round will be the player with the highest kicker card. (This is the card that does not make up the winning combination). Make sure you understand this rule properly so that you don’t hold up the game by asking the dealer to clarify why your hand didn’t win.

Do Your Homework

While these aspects have given you some indication of things to avoid doing in a game of poker, the subtle differences between the variants can be learned over time. You should become fully versed with the rules for each poker variation you enjoy playing until you know them like the back of your hand, so to speak.

Blackjack Etiquette

Blackjack is one of the simpler card games available, which is a good part of the reason it’s become a staple at almost every online casino. In addition to its suspenseful nature, blackjack is also a popular attraction for casino-goers because the odds against the house are significant. This relatively low house edge puts you in a good position to boost your bankroll with some winnings, provided you learn how to master blackjack table etiquette.

This relatively low house edge puts you in a good position to boost your bankroll with some winnings, provided you learn how to master blackjack etiquette.

The Basics

Diagram of all poker hand rankings explained

Blackjack involves a series of hand signals that indicate how you want to play your hand. These hand signals are mandatory because oral instructions alone won’t be enough. Learning them is an integral part of blackjack etiquette. You don’t want to be the cause of delays or confusion because of a few mixed-message signals that you could have taken the time to learn beforehand.

Dealer hands out 2 cards to a player who is placing chips on the green table

When the cards are face-up, these are the hand signals:

  • Hit: Tap the table. This tells the dealer you would like another card(s).
  • Stand: Wave your hand, palm open, parallel to the table. This means you want to keep your hand as it is, with no need for any more cards.
  • Double/Split: Place your matching bet next to (never on top of) your original bet. If you have two 4s or two 5s, you should hold up one finger if you are doubling and two fingers if you are splitting. Doubling means you wish to double your bet on your current hand, while splitting is when you have a pair that you wish to separate into two hands. (You’ll be dealt another card for each and will then be betting simultaneously on two hands).

The hand signals when your cards are facing down are as follows:

  • Hit: Lightly scrape the corner of the cards against the table felt.
  • Stand: Slide your cards under the bet you staked. Do not lift your chips in the process.
  • Double/Split: Place your cards face up on the table, just above your bet. Then, place your matching bet next to (never on top of) your original bet. If you have two 4s or two 5s, you should hold up one finger if you are doubling and two fingers if you are splitting.

If you bust, then place your cards face up by your bet. Resist the urge to throw them in anger; — it will do you no favors.

Bets and Payouts

Betting etiquette is arguably one of the most important things to consider. If you plan to play at an online casino, you’ll be pleased to know that many versions of blackjack come with the rules displayed on the virtual table.

If your hand ends up being closer to 21 than the dealer’s, then your winning payout will be given at ±100 odds. If the dealer busts but you don’t, you’ll be paid out at odds of ±100 no matter what hand you were holding.

If the gambling gods just so happen to smile on you that day and you get dealt a blackjack with your first two cards — that’s an ace and any other card valued at 10 — then you’ll be paid out at odds of +150. 

Finally, if you and the dealer end up with hands that are equal in value, it results in a push or a tie. This means that you simply get your bet back. The same would happen in the event that both you and the dealer get a blackjack.

It’s important to note that there are numerous versions of blackjack in existence, and both the bets and payouts may vary from the ones described above.

Card Values

The number cards are equal in value to the number written on them, whereas the jack, queen, and king are equal to 10.

Aces, on the other hand, are valued at either 1 or 11, depending on what you choose. If you have the option to value your ace at 11 without busting, then you have what’s called a “soft” hand — because it’s more flexible. A soft hand allows you to hit for another card without the possibility of busting. In contrast, a hard hand is one with no ace (or where valuing the ace at 11 will cause you to bust). 

Male hand holding a red 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace of Hearts cards

In addition, unlike poker, the suit (whether the cards are hearts, diamonds, clubs, or spades) does not affect the value of a card combination.

Rather like poker, the game of blackjack is easy to pick up but much more challenging to master. Hopefully, though, this blog has highlighted some of the things to be aware of before you play.

Wrapping Up Online Casino Etiquette

Read the rules. Take them on board. Then, read them again.

When it comes to online casino games, it’s incredibly important that you don’t try to wing it in the same way you would with a new gadget. Who isn’t guilty of sometimes casting the instruction manual aside? In this case, though, it’s best to follow the rules to a T.

Each game has its own rules that outline how to play, how to win, and how much is at stake and could be won. Reading rules isn’t meant to be a chore — it’s supposed to allow you to enjoy all the fun on offer in online casino gambling. Knowing the rules will put you at ease as you play because you know where you stand. This familiarity will allow you to formulate a winning strategy over time.

When it comes to gambling etiquette, online games are probably a lot easier to deal with because there is limited social interaction compared to the brick-and-mortar alternative. That means less opportunity for disrupting the flow of play or rubbing a fellow gambler up the wrong way. However, there is still real money up for grabs, which changes the dynamic of a game. Finally, if you find that you’re a part of “team frugal” and struggle to part with money for tips, remember that no tipping is required or expected online, so this gaming format could be for you.

If All Else Fails

If there’s one piece of common ground that everyone can collectively lay claim to, it’s that everyone makes mistakes. These things happen to even the best players, casino veterans included. Fingers crossed that the ones you make never progress or reach a point where you bear the burden of a penalty or get escorted out. However, if you have the misfortune of breaking a casino’s code of conduct, all’s not lost.

The first call to action is to acknowledge your fault and own it; follow that with a swift and sincere apology. This will usually suffice and ease any tensions at the table. After all, everyone there has the same basic intention of having a good time. The only real scenarios where things may not pan out as smoothly as you’d like are when you have violated the rules intentionally and repeatedly or if you refuse to apologize. And, if your violation has been extremely offensive, the only resolution would be for the casino to remove you from the premises or site and consider banning you from returning indefinitely. Game over, literally. Don’t let it get to that point.

Time for the Real Deal

Now that your confidence is running at an all-time high and your mind has been filled with the full length and breadth of all kinds of rules and things to consider when playing popular games like blackjack and poker, it’s time to put yourself to the test. You’ll notice that this blog didn’t cover any casino dice games, but the same table etiquette applies (although the style of play and rules will differ).

A great place to start is BetMGM, which offers many of the best online casino games and welcomes self-proclaimed pros, beginners, and lovers of all types of games.

Register and get access to more than 400 casino games, including slots, table and card games, and live dealer titles. BetMGM regularly offers a variety of promotional offers and sign-up bonuses, which can give you a leg up when looking to showcase your newfound knowledge of rules and etiquette.

After creating your BetMGM account, you can manage your bets and update your details effortlessly. Simply deposit money into your account, and you’re ready to go.

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.