Slot Machines Etiquette 101 – How Not To Act Like a Fool

people playing slots

Last month, I had a pretty bad experience during a night at my local casino. I had decided to kill some time at the Hard Rock. I decided that my game of choice for the night would be slot machines. After getting to the casino, I headed right to the section that contained my favorite slots.

After playing for about a half hour, I had to use the restroom. I marked my break by leaning my chair up against the machine, and I took off towards the restroom. Upon returning about 5 minutes later, I found another casino player in my chair at my machine. Instead of confronting them about it, I just decided to move along to another machine. I couldn’t believe that it happened, but unfortunately, some players just don’t have any courtesy towards their fellow players.

Once I got settled into my new machine, I was quickly surrounded on each side by two other players. The casino was pretty busy that night, so I wasn’t too surprised. While I wasn’t bothered by the players being on either side of me, I was very bothered by their smoking habits. One of the players constantly blew their smoke in my direction. This was a complete pain, as I very much hate the smell of cigarette smoke. To add fuel to the fire, the player on my other side was smoking without the use of an ashtray, and the ashes were getting everywhere.

I decided to get up and move pretty quickly after realizing that neither of the two smokers were going to be courteous that night. On my drive home that evening, I got to thinking about slot machine etiquette. To help all slot machine players learn better etiquette, I decided to draft this blog article that includes my top slot machines etiquette tips. Read on and follow these tips so that you won’t end up driving fellow players nuts.

Take Short Breaks

In the slot machines world, it is totally ok to take breaks. No one is going to argue if you need to use the restroom or grab a quick bite to eat. However, you need to make sure that you keep your breaks short. In an ideal world, I’d suggest that you plan on keeping your breaks to 15 minutes or less. If you go much over this, you’ll risk pissing off fellow players that want to play the machine you’re on. If you think you’ll be more than 15 minutes, it’s best just to come back later and not hold the machine while you’re gone.

Don’t Sit if You’re Not Playing

One of the biggest tips when it comes to slot machines etiquette is to not sit in a chair in front of a machine unless you are actually playing it. This is especially true if the casino is busy, but it should honestly be followed at all times. By sitting in a chair without playing, you might be keeping someone from playing.

I know that it is tempting to want to take a break sometimes and grab a seat. Instead of doing it at a slot machine, head towards one of the casino lobbies or bars. Also, if a friend of yours is actively playing slots, but you are not, just stand close to your friend as opposed to sitting next to them.

How to Tip

Many folks are aware that they should tip in a casino, but unfortunately, many others are not. If you’re in a physical brick and mortar casino, you should make sure that tips become part of your casino practice. From dealers to servers, there are many folks in the casino that are working for tips.

First, let’s chat about servers. During your time at the slot machines, there’s a good chance that you’ll be approached by a server offering you free drinks. While free drinks are a great perk of playing at a casino, please remember to tip your servers. A good rule of thumb is to tip $1 per drink that you order. Tips make up a majority of the income for servers, so it is important to tip them for their service. The drink is free after all, so the least you can do it tip them for bringing it to you.

If you’re already a regular casino tipper, you also probably know that you should tip your dealers from time to time. However, there are no dealers when it comes to slot machines. Tipping is still sometimes suggested for slot machines though. In some cases, slot machine jackpots are paid by hand. Usually, a slot attendant from the casino will come and pay you out.

If you’re dealing with a slot attendant paying you out in person, I’d suggest that you consider tipping them if you just won a good sized jackpot. A good rule of thumb is to consider tipping roughly $10 to $20 per $1,000 worth of jackpot. For example, if you won a $2,000 jackpot, consider tipping somewhere between $20 and $40 to the slot attendant. While tipping is not mandatory by any means, the tips will be greatly appreciated by the slot attendant.

Smoking Courtesy

If the casino that you’re in allows smoking, you’re more than welcome to smoke in the designated smoking areas. However, it is important that you’re considerate of your fellow gamblers. When it comes to smoking, a little bit of consideration for your fellow players goes a long way. As you’re probably aware, not everyone is a fan of cigarette smoke.

Specifically, regarding slot machine smoking etiquette, we’d start by suggesting that you never blow your smoke in the direction of a fellow gambler. Also, make sure that you’re always using an ashtray as opposed to just flicking your ashes wherever. Your ashtray should always be kept on your own machine.

Properly Signal Your Breaks

When you’re doing a long stretch of gaming on a slot machine, it is totally normal to need to take a break here and there. If you’re on a good run on a hot machine, you clearly don’t want to lose your machine while you take a break. Therefore, it is important that you learn how to properly signal your break so that your machine isn’t disturbed while you’re gone.

My preferred method of signaling my break is to lean the chair into the machine slightly. From my experience, this is now the most common way that people signal their breaks. By doing this, you should find your machine ready to go once you return from your break.

Another option would be for you to leave some form of non-important item on the screen. You could place your player’s card, a pack of cigarettes or anything else. If someone else comes along and wants to play that particular slot machine, your personal item should signal to them that someone is on break. Make sure that you don’t leave anything of value on the screen. If you do this, you might come back and find your valuables missing!

Multiple Games Etiquette

If you’re a more advanced slot machine player, you might enjoy playing more than one game at once. If you’re at a casino on a slow night, this is totally cool. I’ve often played up to three games at once when I’ve come across an open set of machines at a casino. However, if the place is packed, you should avoid playing more than one game at once. A good rule of thumb is not to play multiple games if you look around and notice that others are waiting to play. By not playing multiple games on a packed night, you’ll be courteous to your fellow gamblers.

Interactions with Casino Workers

Unfortunately, I can recall too many times when I’ve seen a casino patron have a poor interaction with some form of casino employee. For some reason, many people feel like they can disrespect casino employees ranging from dealers to servers.

Ultimately, you should treat all casino employees like human beings and use a high level of respect. Being polite will go a long way. If you come in demanding things and get aggressive towards them, don’t expect them to bend over backwards to help you. Even if you have an issue, do your best to retain your composure. Casino workers will always be more willing to assist you if you’re not an ass about it.

Interactions with Fellow Players

Similar to the interactions with casino workers, I’d also suggest that you use the same rules when it comes to fellow players. As best as possible, always aim to treat your fellow players with respect and politeness. Although sometimes, this is much easier said than done.

Unfortunately, it is common that players often get into disputes with one another. This usually occurs at a table when someone disagrees with another. If you have an issue with another player, consider addressing it in a respectful manner. By being polite, you’re more likely to get your fellow player to meet your request.

Occasionally, things get too heated between players. If this happens to you, it is always best to remove yourself from the situation if at all possible. If you can’t get away, seek a casino employee to help you resolve the dispute between you and your fellow player. Remember to keep your calm throughout the entire dispute so that you don’t end up acting like a complete fool.

Don’t Hover

If you have spotted a particular machine that you’d like to play and another player is currently on it, be sure to wait your turn patiently. What you want to avoid is hovering very close to the person that is playing the game. It’s ok to hang out in that general area, but don’t put yourself too close to the player. Put yourself in their shoes and think about how you would feel if you had someone hovering too close to you. I know that personally, I’ll drag my feet even more if I feel like someone is hovering too close while I play on a slot machine.

Keep It Clean

When playing on a slot machine in a casino, it is important that you keep things clean. You’ll want to try to avoid spilling drinks and food while you’re at the machine. If you’re a smoker, make sure that your ashes end up in the ashtray and not all over the machine area or floor. I’d also suggest that you do a general cleanup of the machine area before you leave the game. Make sure to pick up any of your trash or anything else that makes the area seem dirty. Ideally, make sure that the space is in the same or better shape than it was before you sat down.

Petko Stoyanov
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About Petko Stoyanov
My name is Petko Stoyanov, and I've been a gambling writer for more than ten years. I guess that was the natural path for me since I've loved soccer and card games for as long as I can remember! I have a long and fairly successful history with English Premier League betting and online poker, but I follow many other sports. I watch all big European soccer leagues, basketball, football, and tennis regularly, and I keep an eye on snooker, volleyball, and major UFC events.