A few weeks ago this column was devoted to tips for newcomers to the game of craps to play like a pro when you step up to the table.
This time around let’s do the same for the games of blackjack and roulette. It’s that holiday time of the year for outings to casinos for parties and get-togethers. Here’s how to not look like a beginner:
At the blackjack table, signal playing decisions to the dealer clearly and decisively. If you wish to stand pat, make one pass of your hand, palm down, over the cards. If you want to "hit" (take a card), scratch the felt toward you with your index finger.
Avoid criticizing or ridiculing the strategy of your table mates. It's always best to play the game according to basic strategy, but as the man said, "It's your money". If you don't agree with the decisions another player is making, simply remain silent or just move to another table.
Don't hog the table by "guarding" your space with elbows and arms or using the vacant chair next to you as a foot rest. There should be room for everyone to play comfortably.
Wait until you're ready to leave the table before you "color up" your chips, and always make the request during the shuffle. Interrupting the flow of the game with transaction and change requests is rude.
Remember to tip a courteous, friendly dealer. You may place a chip outside of your betting circle. When you win the dealer wins. You may also opt to place the chip on top of your own bet and start a parlay for the dealer.
As for roulette, the most important and the most abused rule: Don’t pick up winning chips from the layout or start to make bets on the next spin until the dealer has settled all winning bets and has picked up the marker off the winning number. Even players who know this sometimes have a memory lapse, but the dealer is quick with a stern admonition.
Don't take roulette chips away from the table when you are finished playing and don't tip cocktail waitresses with them (they'll let you know if you do!). Roulette chips only have value at the roulette wheel you are playing. They are not negotiable casino checks that you can bring to the cashier.
Don't hog your space at the roulette wheel. Keep your chips in front of you and don't spread yourself all over the table. There should be room for six or seven people to play comfortably.
Show courtesy to your fellow players when placing your wagers. Sometimes when the table is crowded there can be a lot of hands and arms moving in the layout when it's open for betting. Just make your moves at the right time and, in turn, everything will be fine. The dealer has a good sense of the tempo of the game and will know when it's time to drop the ball.
It's customary to tip the dealer a chip or two after you've won a 35 to 1 bet straight up on a number or you've done particularly well. You can toss in roulette chips and the dealer will convert them to casino checks and drop them in the "toke" box.
You may also make a bet for the dealer and announce your intentions. Some players will ask the dealer what his or her lucky number is. Nothing makes a roulette dealer happier than to win a 35 to 1 tip bet.
AMERISTAR: Fresh off the championship tournament of season XIV of the Heartland Poker Tour, plans are already underway for the kick-off of the 2019 campaign with a tournament set for Jan. 3 through 14 at the East Chicago property. In addition to the $1,650 Main Event there will be a selection of tournaments to appeal to every poker player, plus there’s always something new. The full schedule will be released soon on hptpoker.com.
BLUE CHIP: The Michigan City property’s distinctive sports lounge and restaurant, The Game, recently added eight new video poker table top machines to the bar. It’s a great way to take in sports entertainment on one of the big screen TV’s and select from one of the 34 brews on tap. If you happen to arrive early, the “Morning Kickoff Special” is a perfect way to start the day. Two eggs, two slices of bacon, a cup of oatmeal or grits, and toast is available for $7 Monday through Friday from 8 to 11 a.m.
FOUR WINDS: Get ready to start the New Year in the sunny climes with the $75,000 “Escape to Paradise” promotion. Win your share of $45,000 in cash prizes or a dream vacation to Mexico, Hawaii, Jamaica, or the destination of your choice. The drawings are set for Saturday, Dec. 29, but you can start earning entries on Dec. 9 through the day of the promotion. W Club members receive one free entry daily by visiting a promotional kiosk at any Four Winds location. On the day of the promotion three winners will be selected hourly at Noon, 2, 4, 6, and 8 p.m. to win $1,000 cash. The Escape to Paradise trips and $4,000 cash will be given away hourly to one guest at 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 p.m. At a last chance drawing at 10 p.m., a $10,000 cash winner will be selected.
HARRAH’S JOLIET: The “Big Red Sled” giveaway is a month-long promotion during which over $70,000 in prizes will be awarded to Total Rewards members. Weekly drawings will take place on Saturdays from 5. to 9 p.m. If you’re interested in accumulating some bonus entries into the drawings for your slot and table game play, every Friday is the day to earn tier-based entries with 1-X for Gold, 3-X Platinum, 5-X Diamond, and 7-X Seven Stars. The finale drawing will take place on Dec. 30 at 9:30 p.m. when a new automobile will be awarded along with any unclaimed prizes from previous drawings.
HORSESHOE: If baccarat is your game, the place to be is Le Cheng every Monday for the “Lucky Seat” drawings promotion from 7 to 11 p.m. Play at select baccarat and pai gow tables for your chance to win a share of $3,000 in prizes including up to $500 in free slot play and two spots in the weekly Thursday baccarat tournaments or $100 in free slot play. "The Big Red Sled" giveaway also is taking place at Horseshoe Casino.