Casinos have that special atmosphere that just can’t be replaced by online games.

So if you’re thinking of visiting one, go for it. If you’re on a trip somewhere, you could go to the casino and get a few chips as souvenirs, too.

But what if you don’t like to play, or never gamble? What if you find table games a bit intimidating?

The good news is that 99 percent of the time it’s perfectly fine to just go and look around — you don’t have to gamble.

Can you go to a casino and not play?

Generally speaking, you can go to casinos and not play. You will almost always be allowed to just look around.

Casino floor

The only exception I can think of would be visiting a smaller casino, or club, where the regulars don’t like being watched by strangers.

In that case, management would probably ask you to either play one of the games or leave the casino.

But most of the time you’ll be fine. And the scenario I just described would probably only apply to smaller European casinos, not the ones in the US.

Besides just looking around, you could also go to the bar and get a drink. Or eat a snack or a nice meal if you’re hungry.

If the casino has a promotion for new members, you could even get a free bet, and if you do, you may as well try your luck for free.

Is it rude to watch people gamble?

It is not rude to watch people gamble as long as you follow basic etiquette. Watching people gamble in casinos can be a great way to learn the rules of the games. Provided you are not invasive and don’t get in the way, you will almost always be allowed to watch.

Obviously, if a player asks you to leave, or if they’re visibly nervous or if it’s obvious they don’t like being watched, then use common sense and just walk away.

I can think of the following (unwritten) rules:

  • Don’t stare at them
  • Do not stand too close to the table
  • Do it only for a few minutes or so
  • Don’t talk to the dealer if he or she is busy
  • Don’t talk to the players if they’re focused
  • Don’t watch slot players

As a casino dealer, I’ve seen situations where someone came close to the table to just watch and then the player struck up a conversation, and they both had a good time.

I’ve also seen players react or call a supervisor after being watched for too long, usually because the other person was intrusive or annoying (e.g. too talkative).

Use common sense and you’ll be fine.

Can you watch people play poker?

Cash game

The answer is pretty much the same as the previous one — it is not rude to watch poker players if you follow basic etiquette.

In poker, it is especially important to watch from a distance.

Absolutely do not sit at the table if you’re not playing, even if a friend of yours is. Just stand up, and make sure you’re not too close.

The main reason for this is that theoretically, by standing too close you could be cheating.

For example, you could try to see someone’s hole cards then send a text message to a friend who’s playing against them. Or something similar.

Also, do not comment on anyone’s hand or play style, even if you don’t know how to play.

In poker, anything you say may influence a player’s decision and/or affect the outcome of a hand.

With the exception of heads-up poker (two players, one talking to their opponent, or both talking to each other) anyone who makes a comment during a hand, including spectators, will be told off by the dealer and possibly be asked to leave.

Can you go to the casino by yourself?

Of course. You can go to the casino with a group, a friend, or alone. Many people like to go to casinos alone as they have a lot more freedom in terms of which games they want to play and when they want to leave.

Going to the casino by yourself won’t be awkward, either.

It’s easy to be very self-conscious when going to a bar by yourself, or eating alone. But in casinos it’s different.

Besides the fact that many people gamble alone, and therefore it’s seen as totally acceptable — if you play the games, or even just get a couple drinks and walk around and watch, you’re being active.

Meaning, it’s not like you go to a casino and sit somewhere and do nothing. That would be awkward.

If one of the dealers is standing at an empty table, and they look bored, then you could even talk to them for a while.

Don’t be the annoying drunk customer who ruins the dealer’s occasional break at an empty table. But if they look friendly, go for it. They may tell you a few crazy casino stories they’ve seen.