First time Casino trip

My birthday’s coming up and my mom said she’d take me to one of the Mississippi river casinos. It’s a year late (I’ll be 22), but still a great idea. I’ve been meaning to get to one, but have never gotten around to it. While this technically isn’t my first time to a casino (my parents took me an my sister on trips once a year or so when we were teens), it will be my first time gambling. I have to admit, though, I’m a bit nervous and don’t know any of the customs. I’d like to get into more than just slots and video poker, and maybe try blackjack. The problem is, the only exposure to casino games I’ve had has been on computers mostly. Any tips I should know for wetting my ears in the real world?

Watch, listen and learn. Know the basic strategy of any game before you sit down. Keep your mouth shut, wait your turn, and play basic until you get comfortable with things. Most dealers are friendly and willing to help you through any rough spots, but they won’t tell you how to bet. Don’t bitch when you lose. Always tip the drinks waitress and the dealer. I usually make a bet for the dealer after every blackjack she deals me.

Good luck!

I tell all my friends and family who come to visit the same thing:

They don’t build these places because people win.

Set a limit as to how much you’re willing to lose. Don’t take any more money than that and leave your credit cards at home.

Find out the rules at the casino(s) you’ll be visiting and get the basic strategy for that set of rules.

Don’t listen to other players if they grumble about your play.

Don’t play Martingale. It doesn’t work.

I agree with silenus that most dealers “are friendly and willing to help you through any rough spots,”. My advice is to let them know when you sit at the table that it’s your first time.

(Now to disagree with silenus) Some of them will even suggest how you should bet ‘according to the book’ (at least for Blackjack). It all depends on the dealer. Every dealer is different, so find one you like and are comfortable with. I’ve had dealers who are gruff and all business and I’ve had them chummy, talkative, and more than willing to suggest how you should play your cards. But they can only ‘suggest’, it is still your decision how to risk your money.

Remember it’s not that the dealers don’t care who wins, they do care… and they’d rather that YOU win. Having players win means more tips for them, a bigger crowd at their table, happier players, and did I mention more tips for them?

Also check with the hostess desk (or information desk) and see if they are giving lessons on any of the games. Sometimes they set up a seperate table, give you ‘fake’ chips to learn with, and walk you through the rules and basic play. It’s great for learning complex fast paced games like Craps. (and in my case, learning that I like sticking with Blackjack)

I’ll also second Otto on saying ‘Set your limit on how much to loose and don’t go over it, no matter how much you are tempted to’. I’ll add to that with 'Don’t expect to win any money. Just play for the fun of it. If you do win, Great. If you don’t win, enjoy the fun you had.

I look at it as, If I were going to see a show, I’d be spending $100 on tickets and get 4 hours of fun out of it. So that is what I plan for my casino trip. I plan on loosing $100 with 4 hours of gambling, just for the fun of it. If that’s what happens, then I had a fun time. If I break even, in my mind I am ‘ahead’ by $100. And if I win anything, well that’s just an unexpected bonus. In ten years of casino going, the only time I have ever ‘lost’ with this philosophy was the one time I sat down and lost my $100 in 10 minutes flat. Five hands of black jack at $20 per hand and I lost every one. ThankyouverymuchI’llbegoinghomenow.

Good Luck and Have fun.

I very much agree here, but also wonder if the riverboats offer lessons? Many smaller Vegas (and other area) casinos offer free lessons about how to bid at poker, 21, etc. - things that are meant to make you more comfortable at the tables. I assume the rationale is that if you ‘think’ you know what you’re doing, you’ll risk more. OTOH, if you use the lessons to increase your knowledge, and follow the guidelines given by other dopers (i.e., anything you lose is paying for a fun experience, and you will NOT go above a set limit on gambling funds), I expect you’ll come away, whether you win money or not, with a great memory.

Personally, I’d stay away from the slots. But then again, I’m biased and only like table games. Also, make sure you know the rules and etiquette for the game(s) you decide to play. I suggest The Wizard of Odds for this.

To echo Snowboarder Bo, “There are no non-profit casinos.”

That said, you might win some, and that’s a rush. This is real money we’re talking about. But it’s real money if you lose, too. When it’s no longer a game, stop playing.

If you’ve got some head for odds and learned the good bets (where the house pays close to the true physical odds), I recommend the craps table.

Couldn’t you just get a nice massage instead?

Seriously, though, speaking as a former dealer (craps and blackjack), I would have to say that at the craps table, pay attention to what’s going on and do what the dealer asks you to do. Watch closely where the dealer sets your bets up- as long as you remain in the same position at the table, the dealer will set up your bets in the same position on the layout. Set your money down in front of you and tell the dealer clearly what you want to bet on (exception- proposition bets should be tossed to the stickman).

If you throw your money into the layout so it scatters and/or goes into the box numbers, especially after about the fourth time the dealer has told you to please set the money down in front of you and not throw it in, or throw it in behind the layout (where the dealer’s working stacks are), you will find that a polite, friendly, helpful dealer will become less polite, friendly, and helpful, until your lucky if he/she doesn’t get downright rude. I personally have taken thrown money and placed it on my working stacks (with the boxman’s blessing) after a couple of warnings that “if you throw it in like that I don’t know what it is and I’ll lose it.”
And being repeatedly asked “Is that my bet? Do I have a bet on (whatever number just rolled)?” when the dealer has five, six, or seven (or even eight, I have dealt games that had nine players on a table designed for eight) all demanding service at the same time is an unwarranted distraction- especially after the dealer has pointed out what position your bets are in several times.

I’m not saying this to be harsh, I’m just giving you the dealer’s perspective. Most of the time, dealers enjoy helping out novice players and explaining the game as best we can between rolls. If you listen to your dealer, and make an effort to be observant, the dealer will bend over backwards to make sure you are having a good time, but you must understand that craps is a fast-paced game and the dealer has to keep track of several people’s bets, repeat prop bets for the stickman, keep an eye on the guy down the middle that she suspects is trying to cheat, explain to the boxman why she is paying this player when the bet hasn’t been set up because he was too busy looking at the lady with big boobs and a low-cut blouse to pay attention when the dealer booked the bet, and all of this in the space of maybe thirty seconds before the dice roll again. We also understand that craps is a complex game that can make a novice player’s head spin (hell, even veteran dealers can get a bit dizzy on a jammed-up game during a hot roll). If the dealer knows that you are at least trying to understand and keep up with what’s going on, she will do everything in her power to help you, especially when winning bets are followed up by a bet for the dealers. Also, if the game gets so busy that you simply can’t keep up with what’s going on, you might want to move to a less busy table. It’s a helluva lot easier to teach a novice player the ins and outs of the game when there are only a couple of other players on your end than if there are five or seven.

Blackjack? That’s cake. The game is virtually self-explanatory. Just don’t get mad at the dealer if you lose. He’s not shuffling the cards to favor the house, honest. Most of a dealer’s income comes from tips, and players who are losing their money don’t tip.

I have been to precisely one casino in my life: at Burswood in Perth, Western Australia in 2000.

It had been a long-held ambition to bet on 17 Black on a roulette table, as a result of an episode of Thunderbirds, “The Duchess Assignment” (see episode 23), where the Duchess of Royston has a spot of bother when trying out her roulette system. Anyway, I invested in A$10-worth of chips and found a table where 17 Black had not come out recently. Eagerly I plonked one of the 2 chips down - lost. I plonked down the second chip and - saints be praised! - the ball landed on 17 Black. The geezer with the stick (er, possible called a croupier) slid me A$85 which I cashed immediately and never placed another bet all night, neither have I set foot inside another casino. That A$75 profit will last forever!

Bolding above is mine.

I am somewhat perplexed by your statement as your payout of A$85 on a A$5 bet is 17:1 which is not the payout on a straight number bet. Did you place a bet on the line for two numbers or are the odds different in Australia?

The normal odds of 35:1 are paid on a straight number bet in Australia. As you suggest, perhaps **seosamh ** actually made a split bet on two numbers (paying out at 17:1). Or else he was was using $2.50 chips, and has got the numbers slightly confused.

Listen to Otto’s sage words, my friend.

First night in a casino? Have fun! Leave developing the habit for later.

Take no credit/cash cards and, before you go, decide how much you want to lose.

Write this amount off as an entertainment budget and play making small bets near the minimum stake. That way you get the chance to play the game often, learn a little and still have the chance to get that buzz.

I’ll tell you, wining a few bucks the first time is always a buzz.

But think of your expenditure as entertainment money, rather than any form of investmemnt.

If you do get a bit lucky, devise some system whereby you will always come out at least a few dollars ahead. In my case, I would always slip a chip into an unused pocket if I had an unexpected win (cashed in before leaving, of course). To my mind, that helped me enjoy the feeling of winning and reminded me that I wasn’t going to play until I had nothing left hoping for a very unlikely big win.

If you play roulette, I would sugest largely playing the coulours or numbers groups and throwing the odd chip on a single number for the hell of it. Never, ever, play pet numbers on the “this time” basis.

For all games, know the house rules (though the dealer or croupier will help you here).

But one more thing - casinos almost always have tricksters and hustlers working them, so watch out for your fellow players (always keep your eye on the chips you bet). I recall one old guy who fell down some stairs, drunk, and hit the floor hard. As I hauled him up, I caught him plunging his hand into my chip pocket - and someone else spotted him, too.

Luckily, I had switched my chips to another pocket but it taught me a valuable lesson about just the sort of hustler that could be near you at any time.

Summary: know the rules, look at it as entertainment money, bet small, watch other players.

And enjoy!

(Don’t get hooked :frowning: )

Hmm. My memory isn’t what it used to be (it used to be my eyesight…) so I may well be mistaken. I am very sure I won $85 so, given that I had only 2 chips and have no idea how to place a split bet (cut the chip in half?), I must have only bough $5-worth of chips. Thanks for putting me straight!

Two-number bets are made by placing the chip(s) directly on the line between the two numbers. You may have inadvertantly put them on a line when you placed your bet. If you had placed two chips (irrespective of value) directly on a single number bet you would have gotten back 35 times their value. You should have also retained the two chips that were placed on the winning bet.