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Very Bad Manners

Identifying the most irritating, obnoxious and annoying players in the casino

By Bill Burton


I’m usually a very sociable person, and I enjoy playing table games sometimes because it gives me a chance to interact with my fellow players. Other times, I want to relax and enjoy some solitude, so I’ll sit down at a video poker machine.

Unfortunately, whenever I want some “alone time” the most, this is when I seem to run into the most disruptive players. Maybe you’ve encountered a few of these players as well.


The Novice

The novice player will often park himself at a video poker machine right next to you. They haven’t got a clue as to which game they are playing, let alone which cards to hold. Instead of learning the game first, or bringing a strategy card with them, they find it much easier to lean over and ask you how to play a hand.

casino table games


The Talker

This player wants to talk to you as you play. They want to know where you are from; where you are staying; and many other personal questions that you may not want to answer. Ignoring them, or grunting short answers in the hopes that they will take a hint to leave you alone, may prompt the opposite response. They will then launch into a monologue telling you their life story, or all about their latest winning or losing streak.


The Cell Phone Addict

It seems as if some people are physically addicted to their cell phones. At the casino gaming tables, it’s against the rules to talk on your cell phone, or to even have your cell phone on the table while you are playing.  If you get a call and answer your phone, you will be asked to step away from the table. You will not be dealt a hand while you are on the phone. This stems from the possibility of someone using an “electronic device” to cheat.

However, this rule does not apply to slot players, and many of them think nothing of carrying on a loud phone conversation while they’re playing the machines. I’ve heard some pretty explicit conversations in casinos while sitting next to people who were yammering into their phones. I often wonder why they would want to share such intimate conversations with everyone within ear shot.


Machine Bangers

 The machine banger is the player who pounds or slaps the spin button with such force that it vibrates the machine. Other players can hear the “slapping” sound three rows away. It’s almost as if they think the spin button is pressure-sensitive, and the harder (and louder) they slap, the more the credits the machine will pay out. You can only hope that a bruised hand, or total fatigue, will soon force this player to get up and leave.


Machine Beaters

The machine beater is similar to the machine banger, except they play with much more anger. Instead of using an open hand, they will beat the spin button with a clenched fist. A losing spin may provoke an occasional kick to the base of the machine, or a slap to the front display panel of the machine. This may be accompanied by enough profanity to make a sailor blush. As with the machine banger, you can only hope that they will wear themselves out, or sustain an injury which causes them leave and seek medical attention.


The Lounger

The lounger is the player who uses the shelf in between the machines as a foot rest. The player will lean back in his seat and prop his dirty boot or shoe up on the ledge. Any drink glasses or ash trays that may have been on the edge are likely to topple over which of course will be ignored. If asked nicely the player may remove the leg to allow another player to use the unoccupied machine. Leg removal may be accompanied by a grunt, sigh or other expression of inconvenience.


Group Players

 Group players can be especially annoying, because you’re dealing with more than one of them. One person actually plays the machine, while the others cheer them on, and jump up and down and scream at the smallest win. I understand that slot machines are about having fun, but in a crowded area these groups tend to bump into you or your chair while you’re trying to enjoy your own game. Sometimes you will find “friends” of players sitting in the seats of the machines on either side of the player and making a commotion, even though they aren’t playing.


The Smoker

 Whenever I’m scouting out machines to play, I make sure I won’t be sitting next to a smoker. If I see a smoker I will not sit down. I respect the fact that smoking is a personal choice, but I don’t want to have to breathe the fumes, so I leave them be. Unfortunately, a lot of casino smokers don’t extend the same courtesy in return. They’ll sit down next to you and move the ashtray to the space between your machine and theirs, even if the machine on the other side is unoccupied. No matter how good the ventilation system is in the casino, the smoke will always flow directly into the face of the non-smoker. The worst of the smokers are those who feel that the coin tray can also be used as an ash tray.


I’m sure of you have encountered at least one of these types of players. I learned a long time ago that I can’t control anyone else’s behavior except my own, so I have two ways to deal with these disruptive people. The first is to put in a pair of ear buds and listen to some music on my smart phone, and try to ignore the distractions around me. If that fails, I simply move to another machine. It may be a little bit of a hassle to move, but it makes my playing a lot more enjoyable—and that’s the reason I go to the casino.


Until next time, remember: luck comes and goes, but knowledge stays forever.


Bill Burton is the author of 1,000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets and Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold’em, which are available online at He’s also an instructor for Golden Touch Craps:

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