Travel Fanboy

Video Poker Etiquette

I received a great question via email regarding proper protocol when getting drinks at a video poker bar. Casinos can be tricky to navigate, as each game has its own rules and idiosyncrasies. It’s good to hear different opinions on how to approach particular situations. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic:

Could you speak to the proper video poker bar etiquette?  For instance, on my last trip, I sat at a VP bar, ordered a beer with $20 in the machine, played max coin and burned through the 20 bucks before my beer was half gone.  I did notice the bartender dropped a receipt in a glass on the top of my machine.  As a rookie VP bar player, I didn’t know what to do, so I grabbed my beer and ran 🙂
Is it okay to “slow play” your spins?
Do you pre-tip the bartender for faster service (assuming not in a drink-ticket situation)
Do you need to play the full $20 bucks after you get your drink or can you play just a few and be done?

VFB response:

Whether it’s ok to slow play is really more up to the individual bartenders. I usually don’t play too fast, but I wouldn’t call it slow playing either. Most bartenders are not shy about telling you to speed it up if it’s a problem. There have been times when I’ve been watching a game at TAG and likely only played a couple hands a minute, thanks to the distraction.

I usually throw a couple bucks in as tip (or leave it out in front of the machine to indicate a tip) after every drink I get. This is a gentle nudge to let them know I’m not going to cheat them.

As for playing the full $20, I’m not sure there’s a hard and fast rule about it, but I always do. It’s just good form in my opinion. My view is, the less I am likely to try and cheat them, the less they’ll feel the need to cheat me. I think one of the reasons they may be tightening these VP drink policies is to combat people who grab and run. But, to each his own.

It’s a bummer to go through all $20 before the drink is gone, but it happens. My mindset is to no longer gamble just to get the free drink. I gamble when I want to gamble and the drinks are a bonus. Sometimes, it saves money to just pay for a drink and relax at your own pace.


Host of the Vegas Fanboy podcast. A reluctant Millennial. An amateur human.