You just hit the legal gambling age, and you’re ready to have a fun night. Of course, casinos are the first thing to come to mind.

You’ve seen casinos in movies. They’re bright, people are throwing money around, and everyone seems to be having a good time.

You think, “This is going to be fun.”

However, as soon as you step in the door, you’ll notice that it isn’t exactly like the movies. Like anything in life, casinos are much different in reality.

If you are preparing for your first trip to a casino, here are a few things to keep in mind.

You Have to Do These Things

Your first time in a casino, you should feel free to check out any game that interests you.

Yes, not every game is a great economic decision. However, you shouldn’t let that stop you. Casinos are a place to have fun, not a place to make money. Keep that in mind.

When you first step in, take some time to learn about your surroundings. Take it all in.

There’s a lot going on in most casinos, so it’s good to allot some time to learning where everything is. You don’t want to be caught clueless about the bathroom.

Get a drink and take a lap around. Learn where the slot machines are and where the card rooms are. Where are the craps tables?

These are all things you’ll want to know for your first time in the casino, and probably in the future.

If you’re nervous about your first time, it’s probably better to go wherever the most noise is being made. Why?

These tables tend to actually have a lot less pressure than the quieter tables. When people are making noise in a casino, they’re having fun. When people are quiet in a casino, they are fully entrenched in the game. This can be fun in its own right, but it often takes some working up to.

Of course, people are there to take money from you. Other people at the table, including the dealer, want to take your money. However, most people will be friendly. They’re there to have a good time, too.

Expect to spend some time socializing. If you’re not looking to make friends, bring some along with you.

Expect to be entertained, too. Most casinos offer entertainment beyond betting and drinking. For example, you might see a magician, a singer, or even a boxing match. These events are often spectacular and are always fun. Plus, getting involved in the other things going on can help you become comfortable in the casino.

You Probably Shouldn’t Do These Things

The most common casino trap is the slot machines, especially penny slots.

They’re cheap to play, so they’re easy to get suckered into. However, they are one of the least profitable things inside most casinos. You are almost guaranteed to lose money.

Similarly, you should probably avoid playing card games that you haven’t tried before.

The only person that you’re guaranteed to play against is the dealer, and being good at card games is literally their job. Yes, you might get lucky every now and then. However, the odds are not in your favor.

What’s worse is when other people show up. Sometimes you’ll find yourself against similarly inexperienced players, but you shouldn’t expect that.

Most people playing card games at a casino are experienced, which can make things difficult for newcomers. Card games are harshly competitive and often best learned in an online casino. Online casinos tend to be a much lower-pressure environment, but some people do learn best when they’re thrown into the fire.

Of course, losing money isn’t always a bad thing. If you are prepared to be in the black, don’t value economic decisions over fun. However, remember to stay responsible and avoid making decisions you’ll regret.

Do your best not to get stuck, as well. Casinos are known to employ a host of tricks that keep you inside and bleed your wallet dry. For example, many casinos avoid putting clocks on the wall, so people lose track of time. The lights, sounds, and energy of the environment are also designed to draw people in and keep them there.

Being aware of these casino tactics can help you avoid staying longer than you meant to. And Don’t Forget the Rules.

The most well-known casino rule is the age limit.

Whatever it is in your area, you should listen to it. You can try to get past it, and you might sometimes succeed. However, it will not function in the long run.

When fraudulent casino visits are found, the results can be catastrophic.

There are lesser-known rules, though. In fact, many casinos have house rules that are completely unique. For example, many casinos don’t allow people to take pictures inside, so snapping even a quick photo could cause trouble.

You’ll want to learn them early and follow them strictly. Getting kicked out of one casino often means getting kicked out of all of them.

Similarly, remember that most casinos use chips or other currency instead of dollars. At the start of your trip, you’ll want to trade in your cash for them. At the end of your trip, remember to do the reverse.

You Should Expect These Things

Whenever you go to a casino, you can expect prices to be high.

Remember that you’ll be doing a lot of tipping, as well. You’ll tip bathroom attendants and drink servers. You’ll tip valets and waiters and waitresses.

The most exorbitant of these tips, however, is tipping your dealer. Coincidentally, this is the most forgotten about, as well.

If you’re playing card games, remember that the dealer will expect a tip if you win. You don’t technically have to give it, but you likely don’t want to be the person who dodges tipping someone.

Many people fail to account for this tip, which can often make a profitable bet break even, or worse. Even though you’re reading this now, you can expect to forget this while you’re there.

You’ll only do it once, though.

Be careful of excessive drinking, as well. Many casinos offer complementary drinks to gamblers, which is always nice. However, you’ll find yourself making poorer and poorer decisions as drinks are poured. Of course, casinos that don’t offer complementary drinks often hike the prices up accordingly.

In general, you should expect to walk away from the casino with less money in your pocket than when you walked in. If you’re going in with dreams of winning big, you will be disappointed.

Especially early on, casinos are a great way to lose money. If you’re playing a game of skill, you need time to develop it. And if you’re playing a game of luck, you might find yourself chasing the high of winning.


Casinos are about much more than winning money.

Casinos are about having fun. You might be putting money on the line, but you aren’t at a risk for a bad night. If you remember that and expect to have fun, you will.

Casinos are one of the most interactive forms of entertainment there is. You even get to share them with friends.

So, expect to lose money, and expect to buy overpriced drinks sometimes.

But expect to have a good time, and remember to bet responsibly.

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