A Guide to Casino Etiquette in Europe

Traveling through Europe, you may notice that the continent has a liberal gambling policy and plenty of well-established casinos, from the grandeur of Casino di Campione in Italy to the world-famous Casino de Monte-Carlo to the dozens of more accessible and casual chains throughout the city. 

Casinos can make for an excellent night out. The drinks are reasonably priced (sometimes free), and aside from the gaming, most major casinos offer bars, restaurants and entertainment. Still, it can be intimidating to enter this new world of flashing lights and glitzy gaming. 

It helps to be aware of casino etiquette, from the dress codes to the subtle nuances of each game. So, how do you correctly place a bet on roulette? How do you announce your bet at the poker tables? Read on to find out.

Casino Dress Codes and Behavior

In the same way that not every bar has the same policies, each casino has a different approach to dress codes and behavior standards. 

In general, upmarket casinos have a smart casual dress code. That means pants and a jacket for men, and evening dresses for ladies. Others are more casual, allowing for jeans and a T-shirt, with most not allowing tracksuits. If in doubt, check the dress code before going. You will also need an ID to enter the casino. Take your passport, as other “softer” forms of ID may not be enough. 

Once you are in the casino, you will soon be able to relax. The atmosphere is not usually too serious, apart from during major poker tournaments or high-stakes games. You can walk around, grab a drink and chill out. It’s when you sit down at the tables that you should only be more aware of the etiquette. 

Before exploring the specific etiquette for a few games, here are some general tips for how and how not to behave in the casino.

Check the rules on eating at the tables. It’s usually better not to eat while playing, as your grubby fingers will touch the chips and cards. However, some casinos do offer a table menu, and in the case of long poker tournaments, you may not have time to leave to eat. In any case, try to keep your hands clean. 

When it comes to drinks, many casinos offer free fizzy drinks, hot drinks and may even offer free cocktails. Alcohol is usually reasonably cheap in comparison to nearby bars in the city that you are in, which, along with the flashing lights and sounds, encourages more betting action. It’s better for your sake not to get too drunk, and you shouldn’t go around acting like a lout, either. If you end up out of control, you may quickly find yourself kicked out by the bouncers. Don’t be that person.

Be nice to the dealers and waitstaff. Although the casino atmosphere is designed to pamper, understand that the people who pamper you are likely to be on low wages and work long hours. The life of a croupier is a hard one, made more irritating by annoying customers. Showing respect and courtesy improves their lives and usually gets you better service. 

The etiquette for tipping is different around the world and depends on the context. Tips are not obligatory in casinos in Europe, and you don’t see too many people tipping the dealers. You also don’t need to tip every hand or bet. If you want to be generous, then tip after winning a big bet or large pot in poker to make someone’s night. Tipping waitresses is more customary if they bring you drinks to the table. 

Keep your phone in your pocket while playing at the table games. Phones are a distraction, and people also use them to cheat and collude, and so, they are frowned upon by the casino. Do yourself a favor and put it away and keep your attention on the game. It’s more enjoyable this way anyway. If you need to take a call, leave the table if possible. 

Etiquette Guide to Games

Each game in the casino has its own set of rules and different etiquettes. It’s quite different playing a casual spin or two of roulette than it is sitting down in a high-stakes poker tournament. Whatever game you play, it helps to be familiar with the basic rules, especially for table games where other players wait for you to make your move. 

Machine Games – Casinos usually have hundreds of slots machines as well as roulette machines and video poker. There’s not much etiquette here, other than making sure that you sit down at a vacant machine and not stalking machines where other people play. Once you have sat down, you have your space and won’t bother anyone. 

Roulette – This one is also a casual table game. You will be with other players, but your actions won’t affect them. All you do is place your bets before the dealer calls “last bet” and spins the wheel. Try not to reach over other people when placing your bets. 

Blackjack – Blackjack can be a little bit more intimidating, as you will play along with other players against the dealer. That means that you will need to keep up with the game. If you’re not aware of the rules, you can ask the dealer, and they may get someone to teach you. There can also be a superstition when it comes to new players joining the table in the middle of a “shoe.” To get around this, you can politely ask if it’s okay to join. 

Poker – This one is the most complicated table game, and you need to pay attention so that you don’t mess up the flow of the game. There’s plenty of etiquette to remember in poker. Post blinds and bets on time and be careful not to spoil the action for others by announcing your hand after folding, or by loudly discussing another player’s strategy. There’s also a lot of lingo in poker, from the names of the “streets” of betting to the many nicknames for poker hands such as “pocket rockets,” meaning aces. You will have to pick up on this lingo as you go.

Do you have to make bets?

This one is a question that’s a bit like asking whether you need to order a drink in a bar. Each casino is a business looking to make money, and when you go through the door, they see you as their “patron” aka customer. That means that they would expect you to spend money, however little, on gaming, food or drinks. 

In most places, you don’t have to make bets to relax and enjoy the casino, and they will rarely ask you to leave unless you behave badly. In fact, it’s better to enjoy your night and place one or two small bets than it is to go crazy and bet outside of your budget. Set an amount you’re happy to spend and stick to it. 


Victoria Brewood
victoria@pommietravels.com

Hi I'm Victoria, a British girl from Manchester. After graduating from university I decided there was more to life than the hours between 9 and 5, so I packed my journalism degree into my suitcase to travel the world and find a way to make money at the same time. I now call London home, although I still travel whenever I can. I hope to inspire you to be your own boss, live life and see the world.

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