It’s back to school time for the kids, the evenings are drawing in and there’s a chill in the air when you step outside after dark. There’s no getting away from it, autumn will soon be here, and those evenings spent in the garden, at the park or strolling in your local town or city will soon be shelved till spring. 

If nights spent in front of the TV sound unappealing, don’t despair. There are plenty of indoor entertainment venues to explore this autumn, and one sort in particular is currently enjoying a surge in popularity. Casinos have always been seen as the playground for the idle rich, but in this internet age, their doors have opened up to a far wider audience. 

Now playing online is well and good – in fact from the perspective of bonuses and choice of games it can be an obvious choice. But no matter how realistic the live gaming experience, it is still no substitute for actually visiting a real world bricks and mortar casino. If you’ve never set foot in one before, you might worry about making some sort of social blunder. Don’t panic, basic casino etiquette is not as complicated as some people like to pretend. Just follow these simple tips and you will be guaranteed a great night. Who knows, you might even come away with some winnings in your pocket!

What to wear

For some, the worrying starts long before they even step out of their front doors. If all you’ve seen of casinos is Ocean’s Eleven and Casino Royale then you might think nothing less than the full black tie for the men and some exquisite gown for the ladies will do. 

If you are lucky enough to be off to Monte Carlo to mix it with the high rollers, then go ahead and get dressed up to the nines. Back in the real world, however, there’s no need to look like a Hollywood extra. Sure, most casinos have a dress code, but it is nothing more than you would expect if you are dining in a nice restaurant or visiting a London club. 

Smart casual is the order of the day. Of course, if you want to dress to impress, for example with a shirt and tie for the gentlemen and perhaps a cocktail dress for the ladies, a casino is a great place to do so. But nobody will think any the less of you if you opt for something smart but simple.

Start at the roulette wheel

An expert eye can always spot the casino newbies. They are the ones lurking around the slot machines, perhaps tentatively feeding in a pound or two, and looking more than a little lost. The thing about the slots is they seem safe, as there is no need to interact with anyone else, and if that’s your preference, then go right ahead. But the real fun is to be had at the tables, and there is nowhere better to start than the roulette wheel.

The great thing about roulette is that first timers are just as likely to win as casino veterans. It’s all down to chance, and if you choose a European wheel (with one zero instead of two) the house edge is less than three percent, so you shouldn’t burn through your money too quickly.

The rules are simple and the vibe around roulette wheels is usually fun and informal. As far as etiquette is concerned, it is mostly a case of common sense. Don’t touch your chips after you’ve laid them down (or indeed anyone else’s) and when the croupier says “no more bets” that is exactly what he or she means. Ignoring that instruction will get you some stern looks and interrupt the game, so keep your ears open.

Try some blackjack

Blackjack is one of those games that everyone knows how to play, but it is nevertheless worth brushing up on some basic strategy tips before you go. These are nothing more than some rudimentary rules on when it is best to hit, stand, split and so on. It’s not essential, but by following basic strategy, you’ll have a far better chance of winning, so it makes sense.

If a game is in progress, stand back and watch for a while to familiarize yourself with the gameplay. When you are ready to join, it is conventional to ask others at the table if you may join them. 

People make too much of the hand signals, as if it is some complex and secret code. It’s actually just three simple gestures you need to know, and even these are just for the benefit of the security cameras. Accompany them with the words hit, stand or split and nobody will be in any doubt as to your intentions.

Beyond that, the etiquette is simple. Avoid touching the cards more than necessary – in most casinos, they are dealt face up, so there is no reason to touch them at all. Don’t put anything else on the table, use the drink holder and keep your phone in your pocket (and ideally, on silent).

Manage your money

Different casino games have a different house edge – that’s the amount, on average, that the casino wins per stake. So in a game with a two percent house edge, you can expect to get back an average of 98p in winnings for every pound you bet. Of course, sometimes you will get lucky and win more than you bet, other times the opposite will happen and the stake will vanish, but the longer you play, the closer you will get to the house edge, and that is a mathematical certainty. 

This leads up to the most important tip of all. Remember, the house always wins. Have a set amount of money to wager, and when it’s gone, get yourself a drink and watch the others play. If you are lucky enough to have a big win, that is a bonus, but by approaching the casino with the expectation that you will be spending whatever cash you have set aside, you are guaranteed to enjoy a fun evening, whatever the outcome.