Video Poker Etiquette

Video Poker Etiquette
by Marilee of

If you want to have good luck, it is generally best to minimize the distractions. The same is true of the players near you. Cooperation and consideration between players can make the difference between a fun casino evening and an irritating one.

A few rules of thumb:

Approach a bay of machines quietly with respect to the players already there. If you are taking a machine on the inside of a bay, carefully pull the chair back and pull up to the machine. If you have a drink, carefully put it down. The people there are likely into a rhythm and they won’t appreciate a big commotion when you join them. Keeping that in mind, it is reasonable to take action if someone approaches your bay of machines and are disruptive.

Something to avoid: If the person who sits next to you is either watching you or acting as a chiller, it is not unheard of for a player to accidentally spill a drink on them so they will go away. This is bad form even though it is not uncommon. This is childish and you should avoid it. Its better to tolerate the new player or move yourself.

Now, you have been playing a while and your machine is hot. You don’t want to lose your machine but you have to use the restroom. If you have been playing next to the same person for a period of time, you can watch the machines for each other. But beware, you can’t necessarily trust people. Keep in mind the amount of money you leave in their keeping. If the amount is over $100, it might be best to cash out and put in a 20 to hold the machine. If the amount is less than $100, most people won’t take the risk of being caught stealing. You should also consider that money sometimes disappears fast and your neighbor may lose their bankroll during your absence and leave. You can ask an attendant to put your machine in out of order status if you have put a lot of money in it and want a break for dinner or a nap. Most casinos will accommodate you with this.

Something to avoid: Do not sit in your chair and wet your pants rather than risk giving up your machine. People do this everywhere from the Bellagio to the corner 7-11. This is a sign of a compulsive gambler, so if you even consider doing this, get some help.


A little supporting story: A local casino opened a riverboat gambling hall on the Mississippi. Local dealers were sent to get the ball rolling, so to speak. Those southerners couldn’t get enough of the games and the excitement. At the craps table, a man had a heart attack. A dealer took his pulse and determined he was dead. As they waited for emergency assistance, they didn’t miss a roll. They slid the man under the table to get him out of the way and continued with the game. This is too much of a good thing.

Never treat casino employees with disrespect. Almost all of them will be willing to comply with any request, so yelling at them is almost never necessary. If the cleaning person is chilling your game, simply ask them to wait until you leave the area. If the cocktail waitress is distracting you, you may request that she not approach you unless you signal.

This basic respect naturally leads to tipping etiquette. Always give the cocktail waitress at least a dollar per drink if you want good service. If you are ordering more drink, rule of thumb is a buck a drink. The good news is that with the domination of ticket-in/ticket-out machines, you rarely have to tip a floor person for assistance. The biggest exception is when you have a taxable jackpot (more than $1199). If you get a hand payout, the rule is 10% if the jackpot to the paying attendant. This seems high to a lot of people, so adjust it as you see fit, but the basic rule is 10%. You might also want to give a previously attentive cocktail waitress an additional tip if you are winning.

Something to avoid: Do not stiff the cocktail waitress. It will give you bad service and bad juju.

Something to keep in mind: If they call you a George, it means you are a big tipper. You will be popular among cocktail waitresses but your win/loss ratio may suffer a bit. You will be expected to tip equally and continuously. The affection a George gets is conditional.

Finally, a note about leaving your machine be just as polite when you leave as when you arrived. Be respectful of other players. If you win, quietly take your ticket and slide back your chair to leave. If you lose, don’t beat your machine and scream obscenities and cuss out the others still playing. Be graceful and lose with dignity. Beat yourself up later when you get home. If you have been sitting with the same people for some time, be sure to say good-bye and wish them luck. Be sincere. Be a good winner and a good loser.

These are a few rules for etiquette in the world of video poker. Keep these simple rules and you will fit in just fine and you won’t have any trouble. If you go over the edge, you may be verging on a problem so find some help before you lose the house. There is one big thing that separates a regular gambler from a compulsive one and that is this a compulsive gambler won’t quit until he has lost everything. Don’t let that be you.