Casinos are a place to unwind, have fun, and try to walk away with a few extra dollars in your pocket. Despite their reputation for being a party destination, there are more than a few rules that patrons must abide by, or they’ll risk getting kicked out.
For those visiting a casino for the first time, knowing all the regulations might be a challenge. In this article, I’ll lay out the behaviors that can get you thrown out by casino staff, and only a couple have anything to do with the games themselves.
1 – Being Underage
Since the dawn of time, 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds have been using a wide range of tricks to get into bars and clubs where the required age is 21 and older. This has become somewhat of a rite of passage into adulthood, and most individuals will withhold judgement (hey, most of us have been there, too).
Unfortunately, land based casinos are one of the places where these deceitful tactics are frowned upon to the highest degree. Regardless of whether you’re using a fake ID, someone else’s ID, or any other form of false identification, getting kicked out is going to be the least of your worries.
With all the technology that casinos utilize to ensure nothing slips past their radar, it’s at the top of the list in terms of the worst places to use a fake ID. My advice? Stick to the local bars in your town. If you get caught there, nine times out of ten, they’ll just ask you to leave.
Risk is always inherent when you enter the casino walls, but taking this risk will never be worth it.
2 – Using Your Phone at a Table Game (And Sometimes at Slots)
This one might seem obvious, but there are plenty of folks out there who just don’t think twice about reaching for their smartphone, no matter the surroundings. In a casino, this is a major no-no and can result in you getting tossed out.
The issue of cheating in casinos comes to mind when you think of why a phone wouldn’t be allowed. Taking a picture or doing research on the moves you should be making can all be done from your mobile device, and it would be considered illegal at any casino. However, there is another, less obvious reason why you need to leave your phone in your pocket: It can be used to check the time.
Casinos famously don’t display clocks, at least in any clearly visible location. The philosophy is that when you realize how much time you’ve spent gambling, you’re more likely to walk away, which is not what the casino wants. If you want to know the time, it’s on you to wear a watch.
Another interesting reason that any phone use is frowned upon is that they can be used to manipulate slot machines. Some casino swindlers figured out a way to turn their mobile phone into a bill validator device. The device was able to make slots recognize any bill, even $1, as a $100 bill. Don’t believe it’s possible? Scammers in France used it to take $88,000 from a casino.
In today’s world, most people have their phone attached to their hand seemingly at all times. The next time you visit the casino, try to keep it in your pocket. Casino staff do use common sense and won’t punish you for checking scores or taking a phone call. But if you’re actively playing a game, don’t put them in a position where they have to be suspicious of your activity.
3 – Card Counting If You Get Caught
Few tricks have gained traction in popular casino culture like card counting. If you aren’t familiar with the term, card counting involves a number system that allows players to get a better feel for what the next cards will be in games like blackjack.
If you have heard the term before, it may have been from a number of popular movies who show “geniuses” mastering the trick and winning boatloads of money. What you might not know is that it really isn’t all that complicated to learn. Even more surprisingly, it isn’t illegal either.
Mastering card counting does take quite a bit of practice, both in your home and during actual games. Because it all takes place in your head, it’s difficult for casino staff to know when you’re using the technique, but they have been known to figure it out if you give it away.
For example, when you go against basic, common-knowledge strategies, it can tip off pit bosses that something might be up. If a casino employee notices a pattern of this type of play, he or she may come up and talk with you in a friendly way in order to judge your reaction when your concentration is broken.
The real question is, if card counting isn’t illegal, why will it get you thrown out? The answer is simply that casinos reserve the right to remove you for any conduct they deem to be inappropriate. At the end of the day, “house rules” are a real thing.
If you want to learn how to card count, I would encourage you to try. It’s a good mental exercise and can be beneficial to your gambling strategy. Just know that you won’t be tipping the scales heavily in your favor. Even the best card counters can only expect to raise their winning percentages by 1% or 2% in the long run.
4 – Poker Collusion
Real money poker players are always looking for ways to manipulate the game. Because the competition is between other players and not against the house like in most other games, there is room for new tactics that won’t work anywhere else.
One of the main ways that poker players cheat is through collusion. This means that two or more players work together in order to get the rest of the table out, then split up the winnings. Because there is so much going on at a poker table, it can be difficult to spot when this is taking place.
So, how do dealers or other casino staff members know when two “strangers” might actually be in cahoots? There are a few known giveaways that inexperienced colluders might display.
First, if the same two players at the table seem to be winning every single big pot, it might be a sign that something is off. Of course it could just be due to chance, but over the course of a couple hours, it becomes more obvious when the winnings are always ending up with the same duo.
Second, this form of cheating might be recognized if two players are raising and re-raising each other, hoping to catch some unfortunate players in the middle of the action. Finally, one more giveaway might be when a player doesn’t bet when it would be normal to do so. This would be an indication that the player knows he isn’t going to win, because the other player has good cards and will win the hand.
If you’re caught in the act, or even after the fact, the house will come down on you pretty hard. My advice? It’s not worth the risk and doesn’t guarantee you’ll win.
I could go on for much longer and include a dozen more behaviors that will get you booted from just about any casino, but these are just a few casino etiquette tips to remember.
Casinos want you to have a good time, and they don’t want to throw you out. However, if they recognize you’re manipulating the games, to them, it’s a form of stealing. No matter how tricky or discreet you think you can be, just play honestly and let the chips fall where they may.