So maybe you’ve just turned 19 (Or you’re in Québec and 18 years old) or perhaps you’ve just never been in a casino before. Either way, if it’s your first time going to a casino, you’re in for a treat.

Doing anything for the first time is always exciting and your first time in a casino is no exception. Sure, you’ve seen it plenty in the movies but it’s nothing compared to the all-round sensory experience.

The flashing lights, the feel of the chips clicking in the palm of your hand, the sweet smell of suspense hanging in the air. It’s magical and alluring.

That’s why we’re on hand to keep you grounded.

Just like the kid in the candy store, too much sugar and they puke. It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement on that first trip but if you follow our tips and tricks, you can go in armed against any potential traps.

Here’s what we recommend so you have a fun-filled first time.

Are you old enough?

First and foremost, let’s be clear. To enter any land-based casino in Canada you must be 19 years of age (other than in Québec, Alberta, and Manitoba where you must be 18 years of age).

Expect to show proof of age in the form of a driver’s license or passport. Even if you look old enough, a lot of casinos want some form of identification anyway so make sure you have that on you.

Dress Up

We know that it’s getting more and more accepted to dress down but casinos still like you to make an effort.

We’re not talking James Bond black tie style (although that’d be pretty neat) but just not your sauce-stained wife beater tank top. Sounds obvious but you’d be surprised.

So, make sure you’re actually wearing something that covers your body – nudity will not be tolerated – and avoid slogans or anything that might upset or offend anyone. Smart-ish shoes or trainers, trousers without any holes and a shirt. Ladies, same thing applies, no holes or rips. No beach wear or caps.

Get rewarded

A good thing to do as soon as you arrive is to sign up for their in-house loyalty rewards program. It’ll get you discounts off food and drink and if you’re going to be playing a lot, they usually have schemes in place to reward you for your loyalty and investment.

Mind your manners

Even if you encounter some rude or offensive people, always stay calm and polite. There’s security everywhere and any lousy behaviour can get you kicked out. Plus, life’s too short, be nice.

Other players and dealers will respond better to you if you’re being cool and pleasant. And if you lose, do so gracefully. Nobody likes a sore loser.

Get a feel for a game

If there’s a particular table game you want to play, watch it for a little while before actually joining. This way you get to see how it works, the etiquette of the other more experienced players, and how to interact with the dealer.

Don’t watch at the table

This leads us on nicely to our next point. Never, under any circumstances, sit at a table if you’re not actually playing. You’re taking up the seat of someone else who might actually play and it’s perfectly easy to see from standing up. You mess up the flow of the people immersed the game.

This is a big no-no and you’ll only embarrass yourself.

Ask before joining a table

If you’re comfortable with how a game’s going, it’s always nice to ask if you can join when the hands change. Shows the rest of the players you’re not that cocky, bravado player who thinks they own the place, and instead has respect for the players already there.

Don’t talk to the dealer

Obviously, you can talk a bit, you’re both human after all. But you came here to play, and so did the other players. So, respect that that’s what this space is for.

And absolutely do not expect the dealer to be your teacher. A couple of pointers here and there is fine, but remember, you’re not the only one at the table and chit chat about your game plan can throw the others off. So, if you must, make sure it’s between hands.

Place your own bets

Don’t expect the dealer to look after your chips. When you want to bet, you place them on the table yourself. If you try and pass them to the dealer, they can’t do anything since they’re not actually allowed to handle them directly for you.

Put your phone away

You don’t want to be that person that the dealer has to reprimand like a school child asking you to turn off your phone. It’s distracting for other players so keep it off and out of sight. If you gotta use it, leave the table when there’ s a good moment, usually between hands.

Oh, and that means no insta-story. Don’t video or take photos and selfies of the games.

Stay sober

Ok, so not stone-cold sober. But don’t get carried away with the booze. Fine to have a few but if you’re drunk you’re more likely to be more reckless with your spending.

Keep a check on how much you’re drinking so you can keep your wits about you and make good decisions. 

Have a plan

Before you get to the casino set yourself a limit as to how much you’ll spend. Make sure you stick to it! It’s so easy to try and win back your losses or get caught up in the excitement of it all, but if you stick to your plan and limits, it won’t be damaging to you and your finances. You’ll thank us in the morning.

If you need some extra tips, read our guide on how to manage your bankroll.

Tip the dealer

It’s good etiquette to show the dealer your appreciation for their hard work and devotion to your game. Offering them a small tip when you walk away from a table, around $5 or $10 will do nicely, more if you win!

Again, don’t hand them directly over but place them away from the betting area and say that they’re for the dealer.

Swot up

To keep up with the fast pace make sure you’re down with all the lingo. If you’re not sure of what it is, or means, check out our jargon busting page.

A lot of the time you’re required to use hand signals too especially in blackjack. It’s always a good idea to get to grips with those before your trip so you look more pro.

Look for wear and tear

In some cases, it’s easy to bet on the roulette wheel as certain numbers are more likely to win according to how the machine’s worn down.

Famously in 1873, Joseph Jagger was able to make a fortune off this idea on a wonky wheel at Monte Carlo! Although casinos are very aware of wear and tear and keep things updated, there might be one they missed…

Resist the lights

Like a moth to a flame, we can sometimes be drawn in by the flashy lights and sounds. As a general rule, though, if the casino has jazzed up a game it’s probably because the odds aren’t in your favour and you should avoid. Stick to the more boring-looking stuff, that’s where the gold is.


So, there you have it. All our tips from the top to help you on your way to a fantastic time on your first trip the casino. Have fun!