Own the Night

Karie Hall knows her regulars. As the vice president and general manager of Las Vegas’s new Cromwell boutique hotel, she does more than anticipate a regular client’s expectations—she exceeds them. “We had a gentleman come in who has been playing at Caesars for many years,” Hall says, recalling the first night of the property’s soft opening. “He wasn’t at a private table, he was just playing one of our regular tables on the floor. We sent over a nice bottle of Glenfiddich anyways. He didn’t request it, but we know what he likes.”

Talk of Glenfiddich and table games always makes us think of the film Swingers, in which Jon Favreau memorably fumbles through an attempt to order a scotch at a blackjack table. “Any scotch will do,” he begins, “as long as it’s not a blend, of course. Uh, single malt. Glenlivet, Glenfiddich perhaps. Maybe a Glengow—any glen.”

The scene poignantly conveys the fact that there’s a right way and a wrong way to order a drink at the table. What’s more, proper etiquette for drinking and gambling in Las Vegas does exist. Here are four cardinal rules that will keep you looking and acting like a winner.

Rule 1 – Not All Tables Are Created Equal

If you are laying down $500 bets at a blackjack table, the casino will happily provide you with your tipple of choice. If you’re playing minimum stakes and ordering like a high roller, well . . . that won’t always work out so well. “If you are playing at a lower-minimum table and you want to drink something superpremium, that really can depend on a number of factors as to whether we will give it to you for free,” explains Hall. “It depends on how much you are betting, how long you’ve been playing. We might charge you for it or we might not. That’s really at the discretion of the managers on the floor at the time.

“At the Cromwell,” she continues, “we don’t even have wellliquor. It’s all top shelf. If you are coming in to play big stakes, we will hook you up with an executive host. This person will not only establish a credit line for you but also get to know your tastes and preferences. If you are in the Abbey [the Cromwell’s higher-stakes, reserved section], you can have anything you want. If we don’t have it on hand, we will find it somewhere and have it delivered.”

Larry Lepinski, chief operating officer of the Palms Casino Resort, concurs. “Let’s put it like this,” he says: “the higher the bet, the higher up the liquor shelf we reach for premium beverages. If it’s not on the shelf, we will find it and provide it to the table.”

Rule 2 – Keep the Felt Dry

You can splash the pot with chips, just don’t splash the table with a beverage. “There’s money involved, so we obviously suggest you use some common sense on how much you’re imbibing,” says Hall. “However, pretty much the only thing we ask you not to do is to put your drinks on the table. If you spill it, all the fun stops. We have to clean the felt, exchange the cards, and while the dealer will only lightly reprimand you, the people playing will be pissed off and usually pretty vocal about it. Particularly if you are all on a good roll.”

Rule 3 – Share the Wealth

Should you decide to purchase something, it can go a long way to also buy a round for the table. As Hall says, that’s “always a classy move.” But such generosity can be extended only so far. “You cannot buy your dealer a drink, for some very obvious reasons,” she laughs. “However, it’s appropriate to tip if you are doing well.”

Rule 4 – Bet Like You Drink and Drink Like You Bet

In the end, your drinking is much like your betting: If you’ve had too much to handle in either scenario, it’s best to call it a night. No one gets to the big leagues by seeing double and losing triple.