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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Minding Your (Casino) Table Manners

8 January 2002

A few weeks ago, I began a discussion of good gambling etiquette by giving you some rules to observe when playing slots and video poker. Today blackjack and roulette get the black tie treatment:

BLACKJACK

1. Avoid criticizing or demeaning the plays or strategies of your fellow players. If you're so smart and are playing at a $5 minimum table, you should move on to a higher stakes game. It's always best to play the game the way it is supposed to be played, but, as the man said "it's your money". If you are dissatisfied with another player, just keep silent and move on.

2. Convey clearly and decisively to the dealer your playing decisions, allowing no room for ambiguity. In a face-up game from the shoe, make one pass of your hand, palm down, over the cards to show you wish to stand. If you want a hit, scratch the felt toward you with your index finger. In a hand-held "pitch" game, tuck your cards under your chips in the betting circle when you wish to stand. Scrape the cards on the felt toward you when you want a hit.

3. Dealers don't expect you to tip when you're losing, but it's always a nice gesture when you're winning. At a five-dollar game, a dollar bet for the dealer a couple times an hour, or after you've won a blackjack or a nice bet on a split or double-down is appreciated. You may place the tip bet just outside of your betting circle or atop you own bet and then announce your intentions to the dealer. If you place the tip on your own bet, you are in control of the money and can therefore "parlay" a winning bet for the dealer if you choose to do so. When it's outside the circle, the dealer is obligated to take the money in after the decision.

4. Wait until you're finished playing and you're ready to leave the table before you push your chips in to the dealer to "color up", and wait until there's a break in the action (the shuffle) to do this. It's rude to interrupt the game. If you have an abundance of nickel chips (we should all have that problem!) and wish to color up for black or green while you're still playing, also wait for the shuffle.

5. Don't hog the table by using the vacant chair next to you as an arm or footrest, or by spreading yourself all over. There should be room for six or seven people to play comfortably. Everyone should have the opportunity to play, especially when it's crowded. Hogging your space is intimidating to prospective players.

ROULETTE

1. The most important and the most abused rule: DON'T pick up winning chips from the layout or start to make bets on the next spin until the dealer has settled all winning bets AND has picked up the marker off the winning number. Even players who know this sometimes have a memory lapse, but the dealer is quick with a stern admonition.

2. Don't take roulette chips away from the table when you are finished playing and don't tip cocktail waitresses with them (they'll let you know if you do!). Roulette chips only have value at the roulette wheel you are playing. They are not negotiable casino checks that you can bring to the cashier.

3. Don't hog your space at the roulette wheel. Keep your chips in front of you and don't spread yourself all over the table. There should be room for six or seven people to play comfortably.

4. Show courtesy to your fellow players when placing your wagers. Sometimes when the table is crowded there can be a lot of hands and arms moving in the layout when it's open for betting. Just make your moves at the right time and in turn and everything will be fine. The dealer has a good sense of the tempo of the game and will know when it's time to drop the ball.

5. It's customary to tip the dealer a chip or two after you've won a 35 to 1 bet straight up on a number or you've done particularly well. You can toss in roulette chips and the dealer will convert them to casino checks and drop them in the "toke" box. You may also make a bet for the dealer and announce your intentions. Some players will ask the dealer what his or her lucky number is. Nothing makes a roulette dealer happier than to win a 35 to 1 tip bet!

My complete rules of casino etiquette are in the October 2001 edition of Midwest Gaming & Travel magazine. Log on to www.midwestgamingandtravel.com.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp