Beginner’s Casino Advice

Your first visit to a casino might be daunting, with all of the table games, machines, and never-ending trays of complimentary beverages. Thankfully, whether you’re planning a night at a local gaming hub or a trip to a Las Vegas casino, we put together this helpful list of casino tips for beginners (along with expert advice!) to help you prepare.

Tip #1: Be aware of your odds.

Yes, there is such a thing as beginner’s luck (or so we tell ourselves), but let’s face it: if this is your first time gambling, you should expect to lose. And that’s perfectly fine! Losing can be a terrific method to figure out what you’re doing wrong and what to do differently next time if you’re learning a casino game—as long as you don’t bet more than you can afford to lose, of course.

However, there are a few things you can do to improve your odds of winning. One of the most effective methods is to understand which games have the best odds.

The best casino odds are as follows:

Blackjack: Despite its frightening appearance, blackjack boasts the most excellent chances of any casino table game, with less than 1% house edge.

Craps: Anyone who can roll a pair of dice can play craps, making it an ideal game to learn for a novice. Even more of a tie: your chances of winning are 50/50.

Roulette: There are many different methods to gamble on a roulette wheel, but you have a 50-50 chance of winning if you stick to red or black, evens or odds.

Worst-odds games include:

Slot machines: Slot machines are relatively simple to play and maybe a lot of fun. However, because most devices have a house edge of 10–17 percent, they aren’t the ideal pick if you’re hoping to hit the jackpot.

Keno: Keno is known as a “sucker game” for a reason: the house advantage can reach up to 25%–35%!

Wheel of Fortune: Though it’s simple to play (spin the wheel and guess where it’ll stop! ), it simply doesn’t always imply easy money. According to experts, the house has a 25 percent advantage in this game.

Tip #2: Get a free lesson by arriving early.

Susan Battaglia, casino operations manager for L’Auberge Lake Charles in Louisiana, says, “The business levels are sluggish enough [in the early morning] that the dealers are delighted to have you here, and they have that time when they can teach you how to play.” One of her best casino suggestions is to start with low-limit tables because high-limit players are impatient with newcomers. Check each table for signs indicating the minimum and maximum bets.

You can often find learning aids at the casino itself if you need extra help learning a new game. You can get a player tracking sheet for roulette that lays out what each bet pays, according to Battaglia. Frank Scoblete, author of 35 books, including I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World Of Advantage-Play Blackjack!, also suggests getting a primary strategy card, which will guide you through the game by telling you what to do with each hand.

Tip #3: Never provide free advice.

You may be ecstatic about all the new skills you’re picking up at the tables, but that doesn’t mean you should flaunt them around the casino. Unsolicited advice can be particularly obnoxious or irritating to experienced players, making it one of the most important casino rules. If another player approaches you for assistance, Scoblete suggests referring them to the dealer. “You might never hear the end of it if the player loses,” he warns.

Unwelcome company is related to unwanted counsel. Nobody loves gossip, and this is especially true when vast sums of money are involved. Keep your distance whether you’re observing a table game to see how it’s played or drawn in by the thrill of a slot payoff. “The idea is to avoid being invasive,” adds Scoblete. “At a table game, don’t dangle your head over someone’s shoulder, and don’t stand close behind craps players.”

Tip #4: Make sure your phone is turned off.

Most casinos allow cameras on the gaming floor, but snapping pictures of the employees or strangers is frowned upon. When it comes to phones, don’t interrupt a game to text a pal back home how much fun you’re having. “If you get a phone call while playing a hand, you have to wait until the hand is finished,” Battaglia explains. “At that time, you can take a step back and utilize your phone.”

Tip #5: Don’t overindulge in the complimentary drinks.

“If you’ve had too much to drink,” Battaglia says, “we suggest that you go take a nap [or] get something to eat.” “The last thing we want is for someone who isn’t thinking straight to sit at a table and lose money.”

In that vein, if luck eludes you, don’t blame it on others. According to Battaglia and Scoblete, yelling at staff or other customers is a definite way to get kicked out of the casino.