These can be the most intimidating of all. I know – I’ve been there. The first time I tried to play blackjack in a land-based casino, I was embarrassed right off the gaming floor. I stood near the table, watched a hand unfold, then attempted to take a seat in the empty chair. I was immediately and blatantly informed, “Someone is sitting there!” Hopping right back out of the seat, I apologized, and scurried back to the slot machines. Not one of my proudest moments, and largely the motivation behind writing ‘How to Bet at a Casino’ in the first place.
My embarrassment came mostly from the fact that I had really psyched myself up for it, and was so confident in my position. So, my first line of advice to you when approaching what appears to be a vacant seat is to simply ask, “Is this seat taken?” If it’s open, you should receive a warm welcome, which I assure you will immediately relieve some of those first-time jitters.
Before you take that seat, though, be sure to examine the range of stakes for the table. It should be printed directly on the table’s felt. It will say something like $5 – $500, or $10 – $1,000. The stake range defines the minimum and maxim um bets you can place per game (e.g. $5 minimum, up to $500 maximum). Some of the fancier casinos might have starting stakes of $25 or more. Just be sure you know what you’re getting into.
Once you’re seated, look for a spot at the table to insert a club card. If it’s an electronic table, there will be a slot available, clearly marked for this. If you don’t see one, simply raise your club card in your hand and ask the dealer if they need it. They’ll respond one way or another, then ask if you’d like to buy chips for the game. Say yes and hand over the cash. If you’re getting a large amount, you may want to specify the chip size ($5, $10, $25, etc). You’ll be given an equivalent amount of chips in return.
The procedure for placing bets depends on the type of game you’ve chosen to play…
Before a new hand begins, the dealer will call for bets. Place the chips you want to wager in the circle marked Bet. When the dealer says ‘No more bets’, you can no longer touch the chips in the Bet circle. Once the hand is underway, if you choose to double down or split your hand, the dealer will indicate where to place an additional amount of chips, equal to the original bet.
If you lose, the dealer will take the chips from your Bet circle. You’ll need to place a new bet to play another hand. If you’ve won, the dealer will place the amount of chips you’ve won next to your bet, outside the bet circle. You can slide these back to your chip pile now. If you’re done playing, take the chips from the Bet circle too. Otherwise, leave these in the Bet circle to play another hand. When the dealer calls for bets, you can adjust the amount of chips in your Bet circle if you wish.
This is probably the easiest table game to bet on. In front of you will be three betting circles; one labeled Banker, one labeled Player, and one labeled Tie. When the dealer calls for bets, you will place your chip(s) in the circle that corresponds with your desired bet. From there, just wait for the dealer to play out each hand.
In roulette, each player is given different color chips to wager. This way, no one gets confused as to who bet what and where. When the croupier says “Place your bets”, you may start placing one or more chips on the table. Place them exactly where you want to place your wager. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
Roulette is a game with many different wagering options, and one I highly suggest practicing for free online so that you understand the rules, odds, payouts and above all, the rules of chip placement, before you stat playing for real money.
If you don’t feel comfortable making a single number or street bet right away, stick to the even-money wagers early on. It’s hard to mess up a bet on something as simple as Red or Black.
This probably shouldn’t be your first choice, but if it is, I have to assume you’re fully prepared for it. The rules, betting options and payouts are quite complex.
As for placing bets, there’s a few things you need to know. Each player has a different color chip stack to work with, to avoid any confusion. Only Pass Line and Don’t Pass bets can be made directly by any player. You can make these bets by placing the chips on the Pass or Don’t Pass line directly in front of you.
All other wagers must be made by handing your chips to the dealer closest to you, and telling them where you’d like to place the chips. Do not ever reach over the table or you can expect a swift reprimand from the boxman for not knowing how to place a bet