Life is full of unwritten rules, like holding the door open for the person behind you or pushing your chair in when leaving a restaurant – and the casino is no different. There are plenty of unwritten rules and laws when playing online casino games as well as unwritten rules for conducting yourself at a brick-and-mortar casino. Sometimes it’s easier to remember casino etiquette when playing at a traditional casino because you’re face-to-face with the other players. But it’s important to remember that you’re still playing with real people when you play casino games online! Even in a digital space, you should treat other players with the same courtesy and respect you would any other person in a face-to-face game.
Looking for a guide to online casino etiquette for beginners? We’ve put together some online gaming etiquette tips, including some pointers on poker etiquette specifically, to ensure that both you and your opponents have a great time, whether you’re playing live dealer games, online casino games or any other games online.
1. Play by the rules and don’t cheat
It might sound obvious, but it needs to be said! World of Warcraft, online poker or online casino slots – no matter what you’re playing, it’s important to stick to the rules if you want to keep playing. Certain actions may be considered more or less acceptable depending on the game or where you’re playing it. However, there’s one simple and universal rule that applies to games around the world: don’t cheat.
Some people think that cheating is amusing; others simply want to win at all costs. Whatever the motivation, remember that cheating will not only be frowned upon by other players, but it may also get you banned or blacklisted from playing at all. If you genuinely enjoy a game, it’s better to put in the effort to get better at it. Playing by the rules will not only help you avoid being kicked out; it will also make winning a much more satisfying experience.
2. Give new players a chance to learn the ropes
No matter who you are or where you’re from, everyone starts off as a beginner. Experienced players should let beginners learn at their own pace or let the official staff assist them (even when they do things that you and everyone else would agree are a bad idea.) And if a new player asks you for advice, the best way to make learning easy and to encourage them to keep on playing is to take a gentle approach.
Be careful in highly competitive games, though. Some players are the equivalent of pool sharks – they pretend to be bad or inexperienced at games to lull you into a false sense of security so that they can beat you. This is particularly true in games with actual prize money. But it also often happens in games without any reward attached to winning. Some players will even lure you into losing so that they can claim bragging rights.
3. Banter is acceptable, but being rude isn’t
Depending on the game you’re playing and the people you’re playing with, there are probably going to be some choice words flying around. These could vary from mild teasing to full-blown insults.
When you’re unsure about what kind of language is acceptable in different online spaces, your best bet is to play it safe and keep your conversations PG. This is undoubtedly the best option – if only because you will avoid being reported to a game moderator or getting banned for swearing or breaking the rules.
That said, rather than censoring yourself completely and not swearing at all, it makes sense to first review the rules, judge the age group of participants, work out who is actually playing and tone it down if another player should request you to.
You can take a similar approach when it comes to insults: avoid them entirely. This way, you don’t need to worry about dealing with a game moderator after one of your insults breaks a game’s terms of service or upsets someone. Then again, some light, impersonal jabs or banter with other players may all be part of the game. This is why it’s important to review the rules and assess the game environment (and the personalities of your fellow gamers) before you make a decision either way.
This is particularly important when you’re having fun at online casino table games since these environments are specifically designed to be as social as possible. This means that it is more likely that players will be sharing a few words, at least compared to other online casino games.
4. Don’t spam the chat
Trolls may think it’s funny to flood the game text or voice chat with text, emojis, music or sounds, but for most people, it’s just annoying. There are no ifs, buts or maybes when it comes to spam – just don’t do it. What you find amusing or topical will, in all likelihood, be boring and irrelevant to at least some of the other players. This applies equally to typing in all caps or yelling into your microphone during voice chat. Avoid spam or risk being automatically banned by the bots that most online games use to manage this sort of behavior.
5. Learn how to mute other players (or yourself)
If a player is annoying you over text or voice chat, it’s very important to know how to deal with them. Yes, reporting them to a game moderator is an option. However, you should also learn how to mute another player so that their behavior doesn’t get under your skin. Most games that allow you to interact with other players have the necessary tools for you to manage other players’ behavior without getting official support staff involved.
On the other hand, if you find yourself unable to keep the content of text or voice chat messages in check, it may be time to disable both – for your own sake as well as those around you. As we’ve already mentioned, you may find yourself in hot water if you can’t keep your in-game chat suitable for the game and the people around you.
6. Keep your online avatar acceptable
Most games allow you to use an image or avatar to represent yourself in-game. It’s worth thinking about it before you use a rude picture or create a custom avatar that people may find offensive. It might seem funny at the time, but – just like in a chat – you may find yourself banned from using the service if you use an image or create an avatar that goes against the rules or norms. Not sure what is and isn’t acceptable? If you wouldn’t show it to your parents, don’t use it!
7. Be a good sport and have fun
Being a good sport applies to all online games, whether you’re playing with or against other people. In games that have winners and losers, there’s always the possibility that you may end up the loser, even if you’ve played your best. This is why it’s always important to lose gracefully: avoid temper tantrums or going after your teammates or the opposition. No one likes a sore loser. So if you find yourself on the losing side, congratulate the winner of the game, take your loss in good spirits and try again (if your bankroll allows, that is!)
Even in games with winners and losers, every game’s ultimate aim is to have fun. If you’re not enjoying the experience and keep getting angry or frustrated, you may have to ask yourself if it’s worthwhile to keep playing.
8. Pay attention to the game
If you’re playing at home or on the go, it’s a must to try to eliminate as many distractions as you can, especially when playing social casino table games such as poker. Everyone knows that the most important part of poker etiquette is tipping the dealer in an in-person setting. In an online poker setting, it’s playing your turn with your – and everyone else’s – precious time in mind. Most online casinos will give you a decent chance to mull over your decision, but avoid using all of it up unless absolutely necessary and definitely not simply because your attention was elsewhere! This will hold up the game and leave you with extremely frustrated and resentful opponents.
If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t dedicate your complete attention to your game, consider switching to a single-player option, like video poker or online slots, until you’re in a quieter, calmer environment.
9. Optimize your connection
In some cases you’ll be totally focused on your game only to realize that your internet connection is less than stable, causing you to miss playing your turns. Of course, this isn’t your fault, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t annoy the other players! If at all possible, try your best to optimize your connection before logging in and, most importantly, make certain that you have the right hardware to ensure that the online casino games that you wish to play run seamlessly on your device.
10. Don’t try to help unless you’re asked
Another important aspect of live poker etiquette (that also extends to in-person poker) is avoiding trying to “teach” a seemingly less experienced player the rules or give them pointers on how to improve their game after beating them at the table. Your intentions are likely pure, but for many, being approached in this way might come across as demeaning.
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