Roulette Etiquette

Here you will find an introduction on how to go about playing roulette, what to do and say, and what you should never try in a casino.

A social game

The game of Roulette is one of the most glamorous of all games in the casino. When thinking of roulette, images spring to mind of wealth and luxury, of a time to enjoy the finer things in life. It is a sophisticated game, with a ceremony that has been respected for a very long time. Everyone involved becomes an actor in a film in which the luxury and the proprieties are some of the most important elements of this social game…

To approach the roulette table with ease and play the game properly, you must know the rules. To enjoy both the game and the unique atmosphere of the casino, it’s important to know the rules of the game as well as the corresponding rules of etiquette. For most of the regular guests at the roulette table, the formalities and unwritten rules are just as important as the written ones.

Entering the Casino

In general it is required, throughout South Africa and the rest of the world, to identify yourself upon entering the casino by providing a legal document that proves that you are older than 18 years of age.

Of course, no casino will ever allow a guest to bring weapons or other dangerous items.

In most casinos the use of cameras and other recording equipment is banned. Using a mobile telephone to film or take photos is also not allowed. Since there is software available online for smartphones which can, for instance, a
count cards, it is possible that casino security staff may ask you to leave your smartphone in the cloak room altogether. Of course, coats, bags and bulky items must also be left in the cloakroom.

Clothing

Your manner of dress must always be appropriate for the occasion. Keep in mind that what is "right" varies by country and by casino. In South Africa, one is generally permitted to dress casually. For women, about all manner of cocktail and evening dresses (and possibly suits) are appropriate. For men, while a jacket and tie are not mandatory (especially jackets, because of the heat), a suit or something similarly formal is always okay. A shirt and long trousers (not jeans) are fine as well.

In American casinos dress is often very informal. In most European countries the conventions are more similar to those in South Africa, ranging from smart casual to semi-formal.

Good manners

At the roulette table it is necessary to observe a standard of courtesy. This means one is never rude or aggressive, or invades the space of other players. Nor is it acceptable to yell to celebrate winning, or curse at a loss. Try to be mindful of your surroundings and behave with elegance, winning as well as taking the occasional loss with dignity. Mobile phones should only be used in places where this is permitted and never where it could bother other guests during their game.

If you really want to enjoy a night at the casino, try drinking in moderation. People who are obviously drunk or otherwise under influence will be removed from the casino. Also, do not put your drinks on the table. The dealer will not appreciate it, and a spill will result in a fine.

How to behave during a game of Roulette

The first thing to consider is that at the table it is the dealer or croupier who runs the bets and the wheel. He (or she) and the floor manager are there to guarantee that everything runs smoothly and that there are no problems during the game.

In a game of roulette, the dealer and the player go through the following steps to bet, spin and collect winnings and losses:

  1. Players can start placing their bets when the croupier has finished paying out the winning bets and collecting the losing ones. Sometimes the dealer announces this by saying "Faites vos jeux!" (A French phrase which freely translates to "Place your bets!"). A player can bet by placing any number of chips on a specific bet, as long as the amount of money he bets is at least the minimum wager and is no higher than the table maximum. Also, a player can call his bet, if it is a specific "call bet". For how to bet what, see our list of different kinds of bets.
  2. When the croupier announces "No more bets!" or "Rien ne va plus!" (French, meaning "nothing more"), players may no longer place chips on the table. The dealer now spins the wheel and throws in the ball.
  3. Once the ball stops in a pocket of the wheel, the croupier announces the winning number and its colour. He places a plastic or glass marker called a "dolly" on the correct number box on the felt, to clearly mark which bets have won. He then proceeds to collect all losing bets and pay out the winning ones. For this the dealer uses a rake. Players are not to touch the table or any of the chips on it while the dealer is paying out.
  4. After this, the players can place bets again and the game starts anew…


Tips and Chips

If the casino permits it, it is considered courteous and good manners to tip the dealer after a win, or when leaving the table after playing for a while. If tipping the dealer is not permitted in a casino, doing so is considered a crime, so be careful! Check the rules of the casino before dishing out any tips.

Also, please beware never to touch another player’s chips. Not the ones in front of him and especially not the ones he or she has placed on the table as a bet. Some casinos immediately remove players who do this, especially at a table with a high bankroll. Even when collecting your own bets you must wait until the dealer is done collecting and paying out all bets. At best, touching your own bets before the dealer is done paying everyone out will be considered bad form, at worse it will be mistaken for cheating.

If a player runs out of chips, it is considered rude if he asks his fellow players to lend him money. However, sometimes a woman on her own can be offered some chips from a gentleman if she appears to be running out. This is similar to offering a drink in a bar, which may also not always be taken the way you meant it, so make sure that this is considered appropriate in your situation should you attempt to be that a gentleman.