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Sportsbook Etiquette

Sportsbook Etiquette: How to Act in a Sportsbook

By Loot, Professional Sports Bettor,

Believe it or not, there is sportsbook etiquette. You might walk into a book and have a difficult time seeing any evidence of decorum. But that’s because a lot of people don’t know how to act at the sportsbook. Below are some tips that will help you blend in better. No one wants to look like a “noob” at the book.

Rule number one is to get your picks together before hitting the betting window. One way to have a whole group of people rolling their eyes at you is to step up to the window and start fumbling around. Even worse is the guy who is in line a minute before a bunch of games start asking questions about betting procedure.

We were all new at this at some point. If you are in that camp and aren’t quite sure what you’re doing, try hitting the window at a time when there are not many people betting. Then you will not be under stress, you will not aggravate other bettors, and you have time to ask questions and get your act together. And when you’re ready, you can dance with the big boys.


And for you veterans, we know what lines to avoid if we are in a hurry to make a pick. Say we are making a halftime bet and need to act quickly. Do the same thing you do when you drive and are in a hurry to get somewhere. Just as you wouldn’t get behind an ice cream truck if you were in a rush, avoid lines with certain people.

If a guy is scrambling, trying to organize a whole series of wagers, you know he’s going to take a long time. If a guy is in a crowded line and you see him holding a sheet for futures picks, you know he’s gonna be trouble. And sorry gals, but women generally do not act quickly in a betting line. And then there are the older dudes. You gotta love ‘em, but when hurrying to make a bet, the last thing you need is a guy taking 5 minutes to extricate a bill from his wallet.

Here’s another tip--act like you’ve been there before. If you win a bet, act like that isn’t such a foreign feeling. Look, a certain amount of adulation is naturally acceptable when winning a sports bet. Cursing up a storm and celebrating is a big part of why betting on sports is so fun. But there’s a telltale way to determine who the winners and losers are. And the guy yelling like a maniac is usually not a winner. He may have won one bet, but that hardly defines a winner.

Take note of the cocktail waitress in a sportsbook. Is there a tougher gig in the whole casino? The sportsbook is perhaps the most crowded part of an entire casino. These poor ladies have to negotiate the giant crowds then go fetch the drinks, while walking through a morass of humanity that is largely inconsiderate. If you think of tough crowds to service, a gigantic room full of college football bettors is pretty high on the list.

While you needn’t feel her pain and spend your whole Saturday bemoaning the plight of cocktail waitresses--you should treat them right. Just from a karma standpoint if nothing else. These women work their tails off to bring drinks to all these degenerates. The least you can do is help them out. Tip them well and offer them some kind words. You don’t need to go overboard, but just be nice.

Don’t forget to budget your time properly. Why put yourself on the spot? First of all, a sportsbook full of people is the last place you want to be when you’re pressed for time. You might be in a hurry, but no one else will seem to be feeling the heat except you.

The danger of betting late online or especially at a brick-and-mortar book is that rather than having time to thoughtfully calculate your bets, you are now forcing yourself to act quickly in the light of line movement or another shift in the odds. When games are about to start and the lines are packed with humanity, that’s the last place where you want to make decisions. Give yourself extra time, then go ahead and even give yourself even more time. What you think will take 10 minutes often takes 30. Manage your time wisely.

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