The iconic card game scene in Casino Royale, the one where Daniel Craig and Mads Mikkelsen play a poker game for millions, is pretty awesome. It’s a real testament to the skills of director Martin Campbell, who shows how a scene with little dialogue and action can have incredible tension. The scene lasts over four minutes, reaching Hitchcockian levels of suspense. It’s really something.
But, you know, real casinos are not like that at all. Indeed, you are more likely to encounter groups of drunken frat boys than Bond-like ‘suaves’ in dinner jackets, more likely to be denied entry due to your footwear than escorted to the VIP room to play against master criminals. Moreover – shock horror – women are regarded as fully-functioning human beings in casinos, not accessories waiting to seduce the winner of the game. Go figure.
Don’t do a Hunter S. Thompson
Anyway, the truth is that casinos – big or small – can be quite intimidating for a variety of reasons. Part of it is that many of us simply don’t know how to act when we get there, either going full Johnny Depp in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, or being incredibly timid because the movies have taught us the pit-boss will throw us out because we won $20 in blackjack. The sweet spot is somewhere in between – enjoy yourself and be merry, but don’t be a complete jerk.
The first, and most important, rule is to be nice to the staff. It’ll actually be beneficial for you. The whole free drinks thing is sometimes misunderstood. You aren’t owed free drinks for being in there and playing, it’s a discretionary choice. Throwing an extra few dollars down as a tip for the server will ensure they choose to come back – you don’t need to tell them, they know their business.
Practice makes perfect
As for actually playing the games, again it’s important to have fun without ruining everyone else’s time at the table. Learn to play a little before you go, especially to a big casino. Sites like https://livecasinosonline.org.uk/ will give you advice on everything from live bingo to high-stakes roulette. But, if you really don’t know how to play, simply ask the dealer, he or she will have a little patience with you – within reason.
Most casinos will have a dress code. It’s usually something like no shorts, flip-flops or tank tops, so you can keep those speedos in the suitcase for the pool the next day. It can be fun to dress up in a suit or fancy frock, of course, but you’ll probably look a bit out of place. Go for it though, you aren’t hurting anyone.
Don’t play out the Sting
We all love Rain Man, Rounders and the like, but you are unlikely to have the sleight of hand skills of Paul Newman in the Sting. So, don’t be lifting cards are trying to pull any fast moves. The result will likely not be removal from the casino, but a call put in to the local police department.
Judging alcohol intake is also crucial. The more you drink, the looser your play will be. The casino knows this – it’s part of the reason for those complementary drinks – so once the roulette wheel starts to spin of its own accord, best hit a nightclub and dance it off for a while.
The overall advice is to treat a casino like you would a decent restaurant in terms of how you dress, act and treat the staff. Drink and be cheerful, but be mindful of the other people, and think about how your actions will affect their evening. Celebrate wins with grace, losses with dignity. If you do that, you’ll be cool in a casino.