Casino Etiquette

I try to keep a fairly decent attitude when I’m at a casino but some things will tend to tick me off.

People who blow cigarette or cigar smoke in my face.

People who push their ashtray or other trash onto my machine.

People who stand in back of me bumping into my chair or who crowd in next to me while they’re watching a friend play the machine next to me.

People who sit down at the machine next to me, put a dollar into the machine, and then turn to me and ask, “How do I play this machine?” All machines have a HELP button which explains the game much better than I can.

People who ask me how I’d play their video poker hand. When I’m betting $2.50 or $5 per game, my concentration is on the cards I’ve been dealt. More than once I’ve lost focus trying to help the person next to me, forgot to hold a crucial card, and lost a good payout.

Asking for my advice as to what cards to play is not a good idea. It’s your money, I don’t want to be the one you blame if you follow my suggested play and lose. I play for the highest hand possible which means I throw away cards that more conservative gamblers would keep. It’s just the way I play and it’s not the way everyone should play.

Free drinks are offered throughout the casino by cocktail servers. In most casinos if you’re actively playing a machine you can order most any type of drink with or without alcohol in it.

Native American casinos usually charge for alcoholic beverages (except in high limit areas) so ask before ordering.

When you do get your drink, free or not, be sure to tip the server. He or she works for tips in addition to a small hourly wage.

If you’re playing table games tips are also appropriate for dealers.

Tipping slot cashiers is optional but I find it usually gets me quicker attention when I want to cash out a ticket at a machine or get change.

While all gambling winnings are considered taxable, jackpots $1200 or over require that the casino report the win to the IRS.

If you hit a taxable jackpot, the machine will lock up, an attendant will come by to verify your win and then get your money. The attendant will ask to see your social security card to write the number on the win slip, ask for your driver’s license and verify your address, then take the information to the cashier’s cage to process your win.

The attendant and one or two additional casino personnel will return with your money, your personal information, and a copy of a W-2G form reflecting your win. If you don’t provide your social security number the casino will withhold 28 percent on a smaller jackpot.

If you are lucky enough to hit one of the mega jackpots verifying your win and processing your payout will be much lengthier but well worth it.

With so much money being given to me I feel an obligation to give some back as a tip. My tip is based on the win and will range from $20 to $100.

There are other times when a tip is appropriate. A few months ago I was playing video poker when I heard a woman’s voice behind me. ”Lady, how would you like this to be your lucky day?”

Not exactly something I’d expect to hear in a casino, particularly at my age.

When I turned toward the voice, a cocktail server was standing a few feet away smiling at me. She pointed down at the carpeting in front of her. “That’s a hundred dollar bill. I can’t pick it up. It’s yours if you want it.” I picked up the bill and handed her a $20 tip.

Should I have handed the $100 bill to her? Maybe. My first instinct was to give her my last $20 bill and keep the $100 which is what I did.

One last annoyance: people who spend way too much time cashing out multiple small cash vouchers instead of combining them and then cashing out one large voucher. The newer change machines do combine vouchers but older machines don’t.

To combine vouchers, put them one-by-one into a slot machine and when you’re finished push the Cash Out button. If some of your vouchers are rejected, cash out what you’re able to combine and take all your vouchers to a cashier.

We little old ladies will occasionally be given vouchers by gamblers, usually male, as they’re leaving the casino. A smile and “thank you” is appropriate. The vouchers are usually just a few cents in value but it’s the thought that counts.

A smile goes a long way in a casino.

From Casino Gambling Guide for Little Old Ladies. © Copyright Pat Gaudette.

Gambling should always be fun regardless of your age. When it isn’t fun, don’t!

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