10 Things to Avoid on Your Next Visit to a Casino

Casino Sign and Frustrated Man at a Slot Machine

If ads for casinos were true, each one would be a glittering palace where the drinks flowed freely, the blackjacks never ended, and chips rained down from the sky. But it’s not quite that wonderful in reality.

Having spent an embarrassing amount of my life in land based casinos, I’ve made some poor choices, and witnessed countless others. Don’t be like me.

I have made this list of 10 things to avoid on your next visit to a casino in hopes that you’ll learn from my mistakes.

Personally, I don’t walk into a casino every time expecting to win a fortune. But I have a hopeful attitude.

I admit that I’m comfortable in casinos, I’ve visited more than 75 over the last 15 years. While it’s true that most new or occasional gamblers don’t win a lot of money, you can walk away with some of it still in your wallet. Breaking even is okay.

1 – Don’t Walk in and Immediately Start Throwing Money Around

Some people get a burst of adrenaline when they enter a casino. I’ve been guilty of it myself. The lights, the sounds and the people on the casino floor are all very exciting.

Walk around a bit and get acclimated before you wager. Start small and get into a rhythm.

You’ll have plenty of time to place bigger frivolous bets if you’re still in the mood after a couple of hours.

2 – Losing Control

Gambling can be an insane amount of fun. I mean, who doesn’t love it? There’s nothing in this world that gives you the adrenaline rush of chasing a huge pot or even better, hitting it. But like they say, time flies when you’re having fun, and it’s easy to go overboard.

That’s why developing self-control is so crucial to your health and happiness. In fact, self-control is probably the most important of all good gambling habits.

Avoid going too wild and burning through your bankroll. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a blast, sometimes throwing caution to the wind for one big spin can be quite the thrill. But focus on keeping it light and fun.

You should always know how long you’ve been playing. You must also keep an eye on your bankroll. Remember that you’re buying this fun, so make a decision on how much you want to spend before you get started.

Avoid letting the slots or the tables fool you into feeding them more than you want to.

3 – Don’t be an Eeyore

I’ve always believed that the happiest gamblers treat playing at a casino like going out for a night on the town. It’s a form of being entertained and perhaps you leave with a reward.

So make sure you’re being positive. You wouldn’t force yourself to be miserable out with friends, so why not apply that same logic to casinos, too?

Winnie the Pooh Character Eeyore

If you start to become frustrated or notice you aren’t enjoying yourself at a game, taking a break is the wisest thing you can do.

Every couple of hours, stop and ask yourself, “If I won a big hand or pot right now, how would I feel?”.

If the answer is happy, you’re on the right track.

Conversely, if your first reaction were to think “about time” or “lil late now” it’s likely time to move on.

4 – Delusions of Grandeur

Not everyone can win a fortune. Vegas wasn’t built by winners, as they say, and the same can be said for online casinos.

The best gamblers know this.

Gaming should be about getting as much excitement as you can from your money. Play what you enjoy and learn how to play that game as best as you can. Expect to lose, but use strategy and goal setting to give yourself a good chance of coming out ahead of the casino.

Keep in mind that it won’t always go your way. More often than not the casino will win and if you are realistic, you’ll live to see another day.

Disabuse yourself of this notion immediately. Nobody’s opening up Blockbuster franchises anymore for a reason, there’s no money in it.

Casinos, on the other hand, pop up on a regular basis. There are roughly 1,500 in the US alone, and it’s because they’re proven moneymakers.

Sure, you can win money, but if you play long enough, you won’t.

On a very serious note: if you find yourself gambling too much with the goal of “earning” extra cash, stop now. I’d advise you to search Google for some tips about preventing a gambling problem as well. If your gambling starts negatively interfering with your life, seek help.

5 – Throwing Good Money After Bad

Chasing losses never ends well. Period. At all costs you must always avoid going on tilt.

Be patient and take the wins as they come. You can’t control when the games will start paying out or you get the right cards.

If you lose your entire gambling budget way faster than you imagined, you must quit. Reconsider how you bet and think about playing more conservatively in the future. Or just chalk it up to a really unlucky day. It happens to all of us.

If you don’t avoid the urge to chase spent money it won’t be fun. There are only two possible outcomes:

  • You lose way more than you planned for.
  • You win the money back and get in the habit of chasing losses instead of having fun.

So, for your own sake, don’t put yourself in that position. If you find yourself chasing losses, take a break from gambling.

6 – Going Back to the ATM

Just stop.

Know exactly how much money you’re willing to drop in a given period of time. Bring that to the table with you, and if you lose it, take a break and go to the bar.

When I first became a casino gambler my uncle would often say to me, “Live to fight another day.” He is right as usual. I’ve seen him lose sums of money that would send me into a deep depression, go play a round of golf, and win back triple what he lost the next day.

Man Taking Money Out of an ATM Machine

You’re not gonna win your money back. I once saw a guy on a fixed income lose $10,000 in the span of three hours, and he kept saying, “My pacemaker can’t take this.” That’s how you get a pacemaker in the first place.

7 – Being Too Rigid

No matter what your game of choice is, adaptability is key. You have to avoid staying in your comfort zone.

It’s obvious if you’re a poker player: you have to keep an eye on the other players to really gauge your likelihood of winning. But being vigilant and making changes where needed is important even if you just play slots and table games.

For instance, games are known to change. Some casinos might adjust the rules or add new variations of existing games at any time. Take the time to look these up and learn them.

You might find that, with proper strategy, these new games are an even better opportunity.

Think about what games and strategies will give you the best chance of winning, especially when it comes to races and contests. Planning out your play and making changes along the way can really make all the difference.

8 – Not Having a Goal

One of the most effective ways to keep gambling fun is to decide what you’re hoping for. Obviously, everyone wants to win big gambling, but keep it realistic.

Do you want to double your stack? Triple it? Quadruple it, or maybe even more? Just keep in mind the higher your goal, the less likely you’ll be able to reach it.

Hand Grabbing Dart From a Dart Board

Once you hit your win goal, stop playing immediately. It’s easy to keep playing until suddenly you’re below your goal again, and things can only go downhill from there.

Avoid mindlessly making bet after bet without any thought about where you’re at or how you’re doing. The casino isn’t going to go anywhere, so enjoy your wins poolside or on the golf course and play again another day.

9 – Borrowing Money from a Friend

It’s like going back to the ATM, except you’re not sharing a room with the ATM.

The ATM also won’t email you next week, asking where its money is.

If you decide to loan a friend money at the casino, I suggest you consider it a gift. You’ll be much happier if you do.

I’ve unfortunately seen more than one friendship meet its end because of this. I’m thankful that my strict no cash loans policy has merely hurt feelings and not ruined relationships.

10 – Spilling Your Drink

This bad decision is not casino-specific.

You instantly become “persona non grata” when you spill a drink. With just the flick of the wrist, you’ve single-handedly forced your table to close and everyone sitting at it to relocate to a new lucky table.

And if you’ve ever been in a casino, you’d know that crusty and friendly types alike do not enjoy giving up the warm chair they’ve occupied for hours. Use the cupholder.


Keeping these guidelines in mind is sure to improve your real money gambling experience and for those around you.

These 10 things to avoid on your next visit to a casino are meant only to improve your overall experience.

The ultimate goal should be to have fun, enjoy the camaraderie of your fellow gamblers, and make some memories.

Good luck out there. Gamble on.