The Jekyll and Hyde Guide to Pai Gow Poker Etiquette

The truth is – I think proper table etiquette is common sense. You can be friendly, mind your manners and make friends at the tables, or you can be an asshole, piss people off and make enemies.

That said, we notice that lots of people ask about how they should behave in a casino. So we feel it’s our duty to help people out and answer the question, common sense or not.

Thinking about how to approach this topic got the wheels in my head turning. One thing I asked myself was, how would someone with a split personality, say Jekyll and Hyde, approach table etiquette? That was funny to think about, so I decided that was the theme I wanted to use for this article.

I hope you enjoy it. More importantly, I hope it’s obvious which approach you should take.


1. On tipping the dealers and cocktail waitresses.

Jekyll – I recommend you treat it like a restaurant experience. How was it? Did the dealer do a good job? Were they friendly? Did they make your experience more enjoyable? Then tip them – I recommend somewhere between ½ and 1 (average) bet per hour. Maybe more if you’re winning.

Hyde – Why would you tip a dealer, let alone anyone that is hired to perform a service? Don’t they make minimum wage? That’s plenty enough to cover the bills and buy a 6-pack of special brew.

If you do decide to tip, just toss them a few quarters. Only when you’re winning though. And be sure to give the cocktail waitress a firm slap on the ass.


2. On playing against (non-dealer) bankers.

Jekyll – The general rule of thumb is to continue with the same bet sizes (as you were betting against the casino dealer), or to shave your sizing bet to accommodate the player-banker’s bankroll After all, you want them to have a good time, too, right?!

Besides, you want them to bet reasonably if/when you choose to be the banker.

Hyde – There is a good chance that the player-banker does not know the ‘casino way’ of setting the cards. That can put the odds in our favor. BET AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE!!!


3. On smoking at the table.

Jekyll – I recommend keeping your smoking to a minimum. When you exhale you should blow your smoke away from the table (maybe towards the walkway). Not everyone likes the smell of smoke, let alone smelling like an ashtray.

Hyde – Finally! A public place I can smoke in. I think chain smoking is in order here. Maybe the dealer won’t mind if I try to blow smoke rings over his nose? Ah, who am I kidding – I don’t care if he does.


4. On drinking at the casino.

Jekyll – Like smoking, you should only drink in moderation. They’re free, sure, but you ruin the game by getting drunk and becoming obnoxious.

Hyde – Oh boy, free drinks! I’m going to get sloshed. I better make sure I speak real loudly so everyone can hear me. I don’t want the girl next to me to feel neglected either, so staring down her shirt is a must. Can’t forget to slap the waitress on the ass again either.


5. On sharing or peeking at cards.

Jekyll – I recommend only peeking when it’s obvious that the other players are offering / allowing it. Be sure to be a good sport and share your cards, too. It’s all in good fun.

Hyde – Proper etiquette here would dictate that I reach over this table and flip the banker’s cards over, whenever I want. I need to know how to set my hand, after all.


6. On losing multiple hands in a row.

Jekyll – As hard as it may be, I recommend taking your losses in stride. You should already know that you’re destined to lose in the long run anyway. Also keep in mind that the game could always swing wildly in your favor, allowing you to win your money back and then some.

Hyde – When I lose so many hands in a row, I get angry. I recommend slamming your hands on the table at the very least, just so everyone knows how mad you are. If you really want to get the point across you’ll flip the table over. Maybe even chuck your chair across the room.


7. On giving advice to other players.

Jekyll – We’re well-versed on the right ways to play pai gow poker for maximum results. I have no problem sharing them with the others, so long as they don’t mind.

Hyde – Why help those guys? They can fend for themselves. But when they make a bad play, you should definitely laugh at them and call them stupid. Bonus points if you make them blush or cry.