The first few times you visit a casino can be like a first date: excitement and hope mixed with worries and what-ifs. You wonder what to do, how much to spend, how to act if things go well, and how to extricate yourself if they don’t. While answering dating questions is up to you, 888casino offers these seven ways for new gamblers to avoid rookie mistakes at the casino.

TIP 1: GET AN APP

Many casinos offer free apps that let you try casino-style games at home – not necessarily for real money, especially in the United States – plus special deals, entertainment schedules, hotel or restaurant reservations, property maps and access to your player’s club account (More on that in tip No. 4). If you don’t want or need the app for a specific casino, you can download a play-money version of any casino game, from slots to poker to blackjack to craps.Without putting actual money at stake, you can get a feel for how a game is played and the best strategies to win. Apps are available through the iTunes store or Google Play.

TIP 2: GET A CLUE

A big mistake for first-time players is waltzing into a casino with little or no understanding of what goes on inside. Since you’re already reading 888Casino Blog, you’re unlikely to fall into that trap. Just remember that the casino always has the edge, and slot machines are among the worst bets around. The simpler the game, the higher the house advantage. Blackjack, craps or baccarat carry the lowest house advantage, meaning your money should last longer than at a slot machine. Take a little time to learn the basics of what you plan to play, whether its blackjack, craps,video poker or baccarat.

Casino Money Cash

TIP 3: GET A BUDGET

The most common question for first-time casino visitors is “How much money should I take?” The amount varies from person to person, but here’s the key: Take no more than you can comfortably afford to lose. A cynical adage holds that as soon as you walk through the doors, all the money in your pockets belongs to the casino, and you’re just holding it temporarily.

Some table games have minimum bets of $5, but minimums usually increase on the weekends or at night. Plan accordingly. You should take enough cashto cover at least 10 hands at the minimum bet; taking enough for 15 to 20 minimum bets gives you more of a cushion in case you hit a losing streak early. If you lose your gambling stake, be prepared to cheer on your companions from the sideline. Don’t run to the ATM.

TIP 4: GET A CARD

Whether you’re a rookie or veteran, the first stop for anyone visiting a new casino should be the player’s club booth. Many casinos offer free play or other incentives to new club members. Some run promotions that promise to reimburse you for your first-day losses (of course, you have to come back in a week or so to claim it). A player’s card is basically a loyalty program, comparable to a restaurant’s frequent-diner card or a supermarket’s shopper card. Give the card to the dealer when you join a table game; if you insist on playing slots, insert your card in the reader and make sure it registers properly. Typically, a readout will say something like “Good luck, Mark” and you’ll see points accumulate as you play. If the casino marketing team does its job, a few days later you’ll get incentives such as free play or room and meal discounts to come back.

Casino Player

TIP 5: GET IN THE GAME

With your player’s card and money, you’re ready for your moment of truth. Scout the casino for your preferred game, check that the table minimum is in your price range and claim any open seat. While the dealer is between hands, put your money and player’s card on the table (for security, you can’t hand it to the dealer like you would to a cashier). The dealer will give you chips (technically known as cheques), and you’re ready to start.  Put your money in the betting circle, and put your practice to work.

TIP 6: MIND YOUR MANNERS

A casino is boisterous – lots of people, lots of noise, lots of booze and lots of money changing hands. While you’re enjoying yourself – and even if you’re not – be mindful of the people around you. Make your betting and playing decisions quickly, without complaining when the cards are bad. Tip the servers, of course, but remember your dealer, too. Consider playing an extra dollar or two for the dealer on your first hand. If the casino allows smoking and you plan to indulge, ask your tablemates if they mind your lighting up.

Slots Player

TIP 7: STAY HAPPY

Remember that a casino trip is supposed to be fun. It’s easy when you win. But even when things don’t go well, enjoy the games and the camaraderie. You’ll get ’em next time.

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