Here Are Five of the Top Online Super Bowl LIV Prop Bets

The 54th Super Bowl is officially set and ready to go. The San Francisco 49ers will take on the Kansas City Chiefs at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Even the best NFL betting experts are having a tough time predicting how this game will play out. Today, I’m going to break down some of the top online Super Bowl LIV prop bets currently available.NFL Logo

Sports betting has never been more people in the US than it is right now. A huge number of individuals throughout the country are flocking to online sportsbooks to place their wagers on this year’s Super Bowl.

Here are five of the best and most unique wagering options for the big game courtesy of one of the best online sportsbooks in the world, Bovada.

Bet On The Highest-Scoring Quarter

There’s really no way to accurately predict this one. Over the past few days, I’ve seen several football bettors give their opinions on how the different quarters will unfold. This is mostly nonsense. We can only look at these team’s current strengths and give a wild prediction as to how they will match up against one another.

It’s hard to say which quarter will bring in the most points. At the moment, Bovada has the second quarter as the betting favorite with odds of +160. This makes sense, as both teams will have seen the other’s defense and can begin to push heavily down the field.

The odds that the most points are scored in the first quarter are set at +500. During this time period, both teams will have strong defenses. Anything’s possible though. This is one of the top online Super Bowl LIV prop bets available right now. Make your bets on this one today!

Bet On The Super Bowl LIV MVP Award Winner

It’s always fun to try and predict which athlete will win the MVP award after the Super Bowl. This year, there are plenty of players ready to earn that spot. Both the 49ers and the Chiefs have world-class rosters filled with talented players.

For now, there are two main players favored to win this year’s Super Bowl MVP award. Patrick Mahomes is listed as the favorite with odds of +125. The 24-year-old has dealt with some injuries this season, yet he’s still managed to lead his team to the championship game. If he can continue to perform during Super Bowl LIV there’s a good chance he earns the award.

Unsurprisingly, Jimmy Garoppolo is listed as the second-highest favorite at +185. The 49ers quarterback has also been a dominant force on the field this season. He’s emerged as one of the best QB’s in the league and will have his big moment in the spotlight on February 2nd. There are plenty of other fantastic players available to bet on so make sure to check out the odds!

Which Team Will be Penalized First For Holding

Holding, and offensive holding, in particular, is the most common penalty in the NFL. Now, one of the top online Super Bowl LIV prop bets currently available is on which team records the first holding penalty. The beauty in this one is how simple it is.

There are obviously only two options here. Both teams are being given even odds of -120. Most individuals won’t put any real thought into this one. They’ll probably just pick their favorite team and throw down some money.

I could break down the stats here, yet they won’t tell you much. Neither the Chiefs or the 49ers are known as teams that record an unusual number of penalties. Think of this one as an online blackjack hand, go out there and have some fun! If you want a fun, simple wager, this one might be the one for you.

Will a Fan Run Onto the Field During the Game?

The Super Bowl is the most-watched sporting event in the United States. For this reason, some individuals use the opportunity to run onto the field for their five seconds of fame. NFL officials and law enforcement highly discourage this, yet it still happens from time to time.

Now, Bovada is allowing its members to wager on whether or not someone rushes onto the field during the game. Interestingly, the odds of this happening are fairly low at just +800. The safer is bet is that no one decides to interrupt the game by running onto the field, where the odds are set at -2500.

There have been some hilarious moments where fans rushed the NFL field over the years. Some go well and others end in disaster. We’ll need to wait and see whether or not this happens during the 2020 Super Bowl.

Which Commercials Will Air First?

The Super Bowl is famous for airing some of the best commercials of the year. Companies recognize how many individuals are viewing this game and pay millions of dollars for just a brief moment of advertising. Now, betting fans can place their wagers on which commercial will air first between a variety of different pairs.

One that many are currently betting on is which will air first between Audi and Volkswagen. Both of these car companies are known for their commercials. For now, the odds are even for both companies.

There are a huge number of these bets available right now. You can wager on which airs first between Coca Cola and Pepsi, Heinz and Cheetos, etc… They are fun little wagers that will keep you entertained throughout the game.

These are just a few of the top online Super Bowl LIV prop bets available right now. Many more are currently available through Bovada. Feel free to check them out today!

Stay tuned for more Super Bowl betting next over the next two weeks!

How Studying Poker Strategy Can Improve Your Life

Two People Playing Poker, Hands Holding Poker Cards
Gambling is often looked at as entertainment first. However, it can apply to real life in some situations.

Poker strategy is a perfect example. By studying strategy, you’re indirectly learning skills that translate to many other aspects of life.

Of course, you may not understand how this strategy relates right away. But you’ll experience the benefits over time.

That said, I’m going to cover the different methods for learning poker skills, along with how these efforts will improve the rest of your life.

Different Ways to Study Poker Strategy

Years ago, the only way to learn about poker or any type of strategy included books, magazine articles, and a mentor/coach. These methods are still around today.

But the good news is that the available materials for learning poker strategy have greatly expanded. You can read more about the main ways to learn poker tips below.

Articles on Poker

Many different poker websites offer strategy articles. These articles are great for in-depth advice on how to handle certain situations.

For instance, you may be wondering about the best times to make a continuation bet (c-bet). An article can clearly explain — with examples — how you should go about placing c-bets.

Another benefit of poker strategy articles is that they allow you to quickly skip through filler. Assuming you just want examples or specific pieces of information, you can scan down and find out exactly what you’re looking for.

Poker Books

Books were once the preferred method for learning strategy. You can purchase a book authored by a famous pro, such as Phil Hellmuth, and learn a great deal about their strategies.

Poker Pro Phil Hellmuth Playing Poker, Phill Hellmuth Book Play Poker Like the Pros

Poker books have since lost some of their luster due to all of the free strategy information available. Plus, you can quickly learn the playing philosophies of many pros — rather than just a single player — with all the info found on the net.

Nevertheless, books are still viable resources for becoming a better player. Assuming you really like the way a certain pro plays, then you can get inside of their head by reading one of their books.

Coaching

Poker coaching is typically the most-expensive way to improve at the game. Most coaches charge an hourly rate, which increases based on their success and experience.

However, you should definitely consider coaching if you have the funds to afford it. A coach can look over your shoulder as you play online (through screen mirroring) or live.

They can then provide feedback on your play and discuss what you must do to improve. Of course, you need to find a quality coach in order to get the most out of this experience.

Post Session Analysis

Sometimes the best strategy doesn’t come from an outside source, but rather through your own analysis.

Post-session analysis plays an integral part in improving as a player.

You should make it a point to review every long session, most notably any hands that you struggle with.

The goal is to think through how you could have handled these different situations better. With enough work, you should be able to fix your leaks and improve.

Poker Training Videos

Poker training sites offer a large library of strategy videos. These videos feature experienced players dispensing tips while playing online poker. For instance, they may cover 3-betting and show examples through online hands.

The main benefit of training videos is that you can learn from knowledgeable players (in most cases). Another advantage is that you have access to numerous videos that cover lots of different concepts.

The only drawback is that you’ll have to pay a subscription fee. But this fee is typically only $30 per month.

Poker Twitch Streams

Once reserved for video gamers, Twitch has become very popular in the poker strategy realm. Now, many pros commonly stream their online sessions.

Poker Cards and Chips on Table, Twitch Logo

Learning poker strategy through Twitch is handy because, in many cases, it’s free. You can watch pros for hours without paying anything.

Some poker pros do feature subscription-based content. But you should be able to learn enough free strategy without having to pay.

Poker Strategy Commands Directly Impacts Your Results

Now that I’ve covered the different methods of learning poker strategy, I’ll discuss how each of them can help you beyond the game.

First, your poker knowledge largely dictates how well you’ll do. Assuming you thoroughly understand the basic concepts and know how to read your opponents, then you’re going to be successful.

The same applies to school or work. If you’re knowledgeable about a certain subject in school, then you’re going to do better on tests.

Likewise, your work salary is often commensurate with what you know. If you’re a lawyer, for example, your command of the law and experience will largely dictate what fees you can charge.

Work Ethic Needed to Improve Poker Skills Applies Anywhere

Part of poker success is attributed to natural abilities, including handling tilt and being able to grind for long hours. But hard workers will succeed with the game, even without the natural traits of success.

Hands on Poker Table Surrounded by Stacks of Casino Chips

Many pros commonly play 5-6 hours per day and also spend extra time learning strategy. Mixing long hours on the table with strategy is a definite recipe for success.

The same holds true in the workforce and with finances. Those who put in long hours and also spend time on the side learning more about their professions can make more money. In turn, the same people will be better off financially.

Poker Works on Critical Thinking Skills

Most people don’t look at poker as anything more than a game. However, it does give you an opportunity to practice critical thinking that can apply to other matters.

After all, poker requires you to solve problems while playing. You may run into an opponent who keeps re-raising you over and over. You’ll then be forced to figure out how to keep from getting run over by them.

Critical thinking skills come into play in many other disciplines. For instance, you may go through your finances to determine if you can afford another car payment.

Move Up the “Stakes” in Life

Many poker players dream of grinding their way up the stakes and making a good living through the game.

Of course, the vast majority of players will never get past the low stakes. But some are able to improve to the mid or even high limits.

Regular professions require the same mindset in order to move up the ladder. Those who can keep improving their education and performing well at work will eventually ascend to higher-paying jobs.

Manage Your Bankroll Finances

The biggest cause of failure for many poker players is a lack of bankroll management. They don’t put any time or thought into how to properly choose their stakes and handle their bankroll.

Casino Chips Stacked on Poker Table, Poker Cards Spread Out

But anybody who wants to succeed in the long term needs to have a plan. For example, cash game players should only play at limits where they can afford at least 25 full buy-ins.

You also need a good plan for managing your finances. The better you’re able to keep track of your bills and expenses, the more likely you are to remain disciplined and succeed financially.

Conclusion

You don’t have to be the world’s best poker player just to learn the game. Instead, you can enjoy poker for what it is and still pick up important life skills.

For starters, poker requires work to become a better player. This same work ethic applies to improving at virtually anything else.

The game also involves critical thinking to make smart plays. The same type of critical thinking can be used in many other areas of life.

Assuming you take poker seriously, then you’ll likely want to climb the stakes. You can use this mentality to move up the ladder at your workplace as well.

Bankroll management is yet one more area where poker skills come into play. If you’re good at bankroll management, then you’ll likely be adept at handling your finances.

Most of what I’ve covered here is about how learning poker strategy translates to life. But what if you want to make poker your life?

Luckily, you’ll have no shortage of methods for improving your game. Articles, books, coaching, post-session review, training sites, and Twitch are all great ways to improve.

Assuming you put enough work into the game, then you could possibly become a semi-pro or even full-time professional player. But even if this doesn’t happen, then you can still benefit greatly from learning poker strategy and applying it to other parts of your life.

MIT Blackjack Team Member Reveals Secret to Success

Jack of Diamonds Card on Blackjack Table, Casino Chips Laid Out on Table
Casinos don’t offer players a lot of openings with regard to long-term profits. They hold the advantage in almost every scenario.

Blackjack is one of the few situations where players can gain the edge over casinos. Of course, one must know how to count cards in order to pull off this feat.

But card counting alone isn’t always enough to win big. Some players form teams to give themselves a stronger chance of earning bigger profits.

The MIT Blackjack Team is arguably the best such team in history. They made millions of dollars from casinos around the globe.

One of their founding members recently explained exactly what made the team so special. Hint: It wasn’t just the fact that they were geniuses from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

What Was the MIT Blackjack Team?

The MIT Blackjack Team is actually an umbrella term for a team that encompassed multiple schools. It included students from the Harvard Business School, Harvard University, and MIT.

The team’s origins can be traced back to November 1979, when blackjack pro Bill Kaplan saw a flier for an MIT blackjack club. He contacted the students in charge and proposed that they form a team to take advantage of Atlantic City casinos.

The latter was ripe for the picking, considering that the New Jersey Casino Control Commission had recently ruled that AC casinos couldn’t ban card counters.

Kaplan’s team was able to increase its initial $5,000 stake to $20,000. However, he didn’t feel like they were really bound for greatness due to their lack of cohesiveness.

In May 1980, Kaplan met J.P. Massar at a local Chinese restaurant. The latter overheard Kaplan talking about his blackjack exploits and introduced himself.

Massar asked Kaplan to travel with his newly formed team to critique their play. Kaplan agreed and watched the group play in Atlantic City.

He saw more potential in the students than with his old team. But he also explained that they needed to simplify their counting strategy.

Kaplan wanted Massar and his friends to agree to a corporate-like structure for the team as well. He wanted a uniform procedure that included:

  • A standard counting system used by all members
  • Management at the top (i.e. Kaplan and Massar)
  • Tough training protocol
  • Trial by fire for potential new members
  • Investors
  • Funds split between investors and players based on multiple factors

By August 1980, the team was up and running with $89,000 worth of investment capital. Just three months later, they’d more than doubled their initial stake.

Casino Dealer By Blackjack Gaming Table, Las Vegas Strip

The team was also crushing Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos to the tune of over $160 an hour. The players and investors earned around a 50/50 split, with team members collecting $80 per hour.

In 1984, the MIT Blackjack Team had grown to 35 players and had capitalization of $350,000. But Kaplan decided to become less involved with the team around the same time.

He had been playing as a pro since 1977. He’d become recognized by so many casinos that he couldn’t set foot on most Vegas gambling floors.

Therefore, Kaplan decided to stop playing and continue managing his real-estate investments. Massar, John Chang, and Bill Rubin assumed managerial duties afterward.

What Makes the MIT Blackjack Team so Special?

The MIT squad isn’t notable just because they won. After all, many card counting teams throughout history have been successful.

Instead, this particular team is famous due to the extent that they won. They earned millions of dollars, making the endeavor worthwhile for both the players and investors.

Some of the investors earned as much as 300% back on their stake. This rate is incredible when compared to traditional investments.

The MIT Blackjack Team is also famous for its sheer size. At its height, the team had 80 people playing in casinos throughout America and Europe.

The group’s strict training and procedures paid off. Every group within the team was profitable after taking expenses into account.

Yet one more notable point about the team is their longevity. They lasted from 1979 into the early 2000s.

Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut, Poker Card

Chang, Massar, and Kaplan, who was still involved in some capacity, even turned the team into a limited liability corporation in 1992. They created Strategic Investments in order to raise more funds for the team and take advantage of Connecticut’s Foxwoods casino opening.

Strategic Investments was able to raise far more money for the team than previous efforts. It also used included groups of three players, including a big player, spotter, and controller.

The spotter would watch games and count until finding a positive deck. The controller would sit at the same table, make small bets, and verify the spotter’s count.

They’d signal the big player when the deck went positive. This player would sit down and bet big immediately, so as to look like a high roller instead of a counter.

Of course, the big-player technique wasn’t completely new to those who are used to playing real money blackjack. But the extent to which this team took advantage of the concept was.

At one point, the MIT Blackjack Team had members stationed everywhere from New York to California. Sarah McCord, who joined the team in 1983, trained players located on the West Coast.

Casinos had never faced such a coordinated effort to count cards. Many gambling establishments across the world were losing money to this skilled corporation.

What Happened to the MIT Team?

All great things must come to an end. Casinos aren’t stupid, and they eventually came to realize just how much money they were losing through blackjack.

They made a more concentrated effort to network and identify the team members. Some casinos even hired private investigators to look into the matter.

The investigators had a breakthrough upon realizing that many of the players had addresses near Cambridge. They then used MIT and Harvard yearbooks to determine the members.

Strategic Investments made a fortune in a short time span. They paid all of the remaining members and investors, then dissolved at the end of 1993.

However, the team was still kept alive to some extent by other players. It hung on until the early 2000s, when almost every member had been outed and identified by casinos.

Did The MIT Team Win Because They Were Geniuses?

A close connection has often been made between card counters and geniuses. The MIT Blackjack Team is a large reason for this association.

However, the truth is that one doesn’t have to attend a prestigious university just to understand card counting. Kaplan, who recently did an interview with Boston Magazine, explained this aspect.

“Honestly, just about anyone with a high school education can learn the game. It just happened to be, everyone on the team was from Harvard, MIT, Princeton, University of Chicago.”

He added that some of the team members didn’t even attend college. All it took was enough practice and memorization.

Kaplan Explains the Real Secret to the MIT Team’s Success

As mentioned above, you don’t need to be a genius just to count cards. But you do need some traits that some players seem to struggle with.

“Most teams fail on the money management. They never make it to the long run.”

“There are tens of thousands of people who tried to win at the game, but MIT was the only team who really won year over year, because we ran it like a business. Training, extensive training, checkout procedures, two hours of perfect play, leaving the table right. It was really run more tightly than most businesses.”

Person Stacking Colored Casino Chips on Table

Kaplan added that another key to the MIT Blackjack Team’s success was their sheer volume of players. More manpower allowed them to better capitalize on opportunities.

“It’s hard to do, as an individual. One of the reasons you play as a team, you can pool all your capital, but you’re able to get to the long run sooner. As a player, your advantage is about one percent. If you’ve got 30 people playing and putting in eight hours, playing in accordance with the guidelines, you get to the long run that much faster.”

Conclusion

The MIT Blackjack Team has become one of the most legendary names in gambling history. They terrorized casinos from the 1979 to the mid-1990s.

The team even continued on into the early 2000s, before finally disbanding for good. But they’d more than made their mark by this point.

As covered by Kaplan, what set the MIT Blackjack Team apart from other teams was their commitment to bankroll management and discipline.

This team wasn’t just a collection of gamblers who pooled their money together. Instead, they were a corporation run by investors with strict guidelines.

Casinos had never encountered such organization in card counting before. They had serious difficulties rooting out the MIT Blackjack Team members and stopping their organization.

The casinos resorted to hiring private investigators to crack the code. They were finally able to identify the MIT and Harvard players and stop the bleeding.

Nevertheless, the MIT Blackjack Team walked away with millions of dollars and also cemented their legacy in gambling lore.

3 Ways to Evaluate Omaha Starting Hands

Poker Cards Laid Out
Omaha Poker can be tricky when it comes to starting hand evaluation, especially for Texas holdem players. With four cards to evaluate, you have to consider more possible combinations and outcomes while playing Omaha.

One of the most important things to remember when evaluating Omaha starting hands is that the best ones have many things working together. I cover three different qualities to look for below, but the best hands usually have at least two of the properties listed, if not all three.

After reading this, you should feel ready to take on the mighty Omaha poker rooms in Las Vegas and feel confident in your game. Let’s get started!

1 – Flush Possibilities

If you’re a first-time Omaha player, one thing you should know is that a flush is one of the weakest complete hands in Omaha. When you have a flush and the board pairs, you can end up losing a big pot to a full house. When there isn’t a possible full house, a flush limits your opportunities to build a pot because it’s obvious to everyone that a flush is possible.

I never play an Omaha hand based only on the possibility of a flush. Having a possibility of a flush is valuable, but it’s more of a secondary value than a leading value. And you should never make the mistake of believing your second or third-best flush is good.

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Many Omaha Poker players play any suited ace, so the odds are high that, if a flush is available, someone has the nut flush.

When the possibility of a flush is present, in addition to a straight or full house possibilities, it greatly improves the value of your starting hand. You still aren’t going to put much money in the pot with second or third-best flushes, but with a king high flush, the ace may land on the board, giving you the nut flush.

With a queen high flush, if an ace lands on the board, your flush is still the second best. But the odds are lower that an opponent has a suited king than a suited ace. Players value suited aces much higher than suited kings, as should be the case, so the suited kings get folded before the flop more often.

2 – Straight Possibilities

Straight possibilities aren’t as flashy and popular as flush and full house possibilities, but they’re just as important to winning Omaha players. Most of the value in straights in Omaha Poker is because they’re often harder to spot by your opponents than flushes and full houses. You can usually extract extra bets with the nut straight that you won’t get with the nut flush.

The higher the straight, the better. But on many boards, the nut straight isn’t ace or king high. A nut straight that’s nine or 10 high is often ignored by your opponents, which makes it more valuable than a nut flush most of the time.

Straight Starting Hands Poker Cards on Green Table

You still have to be careful when considering which hands to fold and which ones to enter the pot with. A hand like 10, nine, seven, and five is still a terrible hand. But a hand of 10, nine, eight, seven, with backup weak flush possibilities is playable in some situations.

The backup flush possibilities offer almost no value as flopped or turned flushes because you don’t win many contested pots with weak flushes. The value of them in this situation is when you flop or turn a nut straight and get all in, or close to all in.

Sometimes, when you get all in with a straight, an opponent is drawing to a flush. Other times, a card lands on the river, completing both a higher straight and a flush. The backup flush draw can save you when this happens.

3 – Full House Possibilities

Full house possibilities come from having a pocket pair, or two pocket pairs, in your four-card hand. Full house hands are strong in Omaha and often win the hand when you hit them. But when you complete a full house and don’t have the nut full house, you still need to play with caution.

Most good Omaha poker starting hands include high cards for a good reason. The higher the cards in your hand, the better your opportunities are of completing a higher full house. This might seem like common sense, but some of the biggest pots I win in Omaha are full house over full house.

Here’s an example of a full house over full house hand.

You start the hand with queen, queen, jack, 10, and the flop is ace, queen, seven. The turn is another seven, and the river is a two. You have queens full of sevens, which seems like a big hand. But at the showdown, your opponent turns over ace, ace, jack, 10 for aces over sevens.

Even the aces over sevens aren’t technically the nut hand. An opponent with pocket sevens has quads, but quads are rare even in Omaha Poker.

While this isn’t a scientific observation, I’ve only had quads two or three times that I can remember while playing Omaha, and I’ve played at least tens of thousands of hands.

When I have the best possible full house, I always get as much money in the pot as possible. If someone has quads, I simply lose the hand and move on to the next hand. It happens so rarely, and you have to maximize your profits when you have a strong hand that it costs you more in the long run to slow down with a strong full house than playing aggressively.

Putting It All Together

The best Omaha starting hands have multiple things going for them. A hand like ace of clubs, ace of spades, king of clubs, and queen of spades is a good example. The pair of aces is a good starting point, with a chance to improve to the best possible full house. When a flush in spades or clubs is possible, and the board doesn’t pair, you have an ace high flush.

The only way to lose with an ace high flush when the board doesn’t pair is if an opponent has a straight flush. This hand also has the makings of a nut straight, with an ace, king, and queen. As you can see, all four cards work together and give you multiple ways to hit a good flop.

While Omaha Hi Lo isn’t as popular as Omaha Hi in real money gambling, the best starting hands in Hi Lo work together in the same way. The best hand is usually believed to be two aces, each paired with a two and three suited to the respective ace.

This hand offers the three lowest cards. In most cases, if there’s a low, you have the best possible low. The only time you don’t have the best possible low is when the board has two of your three low cards, which is rare.

Stacks of Casino Chips on Poker Table

The pocket aces are strong and can improve, and you have flush possibilities in two suits. While you still need to have the nut hand to win most high pots in Omaha Hi Lo, when you have the nut low and the second or third best high hand, you can bet aggressively and occasionally scoop the entire pot.

Here’s an example in Omaha Hi Lo.

You’re on the river and have the nut low and an ace high flush. The board paired, so you know you might lose the high half of the pot to a straight, but you can afford to jam the pot because you have a nut low.

Of course, there’s a possibility that your low can be quartered, but in this situation, the chance of winning the high half far outweighs the possibility of being quartered. In this example, your most profitable play is to get as much money in the pot as possible.

In the three sections above, you learned the three main ways to evaluate Omaha Poker starting hands.

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A key thing to learn in Omaha is when the board pairs, it reduces the value of flushes and straights, even if you have the best possible flush or straight.

Of course, sometimes you still win with a flush or straight when the board pairs, but if you get much action after the board pairs, it’s a good sign you’re behind. You also need to be careful when you hit a full house but it isn’t the nut full house.

Evaluate all of your starting hands looking for the three things listed above. The best hands have all three possibilities present, and the other playable hands have two of the three present. Rarely is it profitable to play a hand that doesn’t have at least two possibilities present.

The only type of hand that comes to mind, that you can play profitably in some situations which only has one of the possibilities listed above, is four high cards with an ace. Hands like ace, king, queen, jack, or ace, king, jack, 10. And when you play a hand like this, you need to get away from it whenever a flush is possible or the board pairs.

Conclusion

When you’re learning to evaluate Omaha starting hands, look for straight, flush, and full house possibilities. The more possibilities a starting hand offers, the better your chances to flop a good hand. Fold most hands that only have one of the three things going for it, focusing most of your resources on hands that have two or all three possibilities.

3 Card Counting Systems for Normal Blackjack Players

Normal People Playing Blackjack

If you play blackjack, why aren’t you counting cards? It’s a proven mathematical way to eliminate the house edge, and some players are so good at it that they make money in the long run. Is it because you think counting cards is too hard or you have to be a mathematician to do it?

I’ve got good news for everyone who plays blackjack that isn’t counting cards yet. The first thing is that the statement above about using card counting to break even or beat blackjack is true. You can use counting to win playing blackjack.

The next piece of good news is that it’s much easier to get started as a counter than almost everyone believes. You can use one of the simplest counting systems ever designed to break even or better, and I can teach you how to use it in just a few minutes. You don’t have to be a gifted math student or anywhere close to a genius.

If this sounds too good to be true, just take a few minutes to read the rest of this article. I’m getting ready to prove it to you.

The final piece of good news is that, once you start counting cards at any level, it’s easy to keep learning and working until you’re counting at an advanced level and beating blackjack on a regular basis. Everything you need to know to get started is included below.

1 – Ace Five Count

The ace five card counting system is as simple as a card counting system can get. Anyone can learn how to use it in just a few minutes, and once you start using it, you can eliminate the house edge every time you play. It’s easier to learn how to use than basic blackjack strategy.

You can use the ace five count in any blackjack game, but if you want to benefit from it as much as possible, you need to do two things. The first thing is either get a blackjack strategy card and use it or memorize basic strategy.

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You have to use the best strategy to start with the lowest house edge possible.

The other thing you have to do is find blackjack games with good rules. The best games have as many of the following rules as possible. You won’t find games with all of these rules often, but you want games that have most of them.

  • Surrender
  • Dealer stands on soft 17
  • Can double after splitting
  • Can split three or more times
  • Blackjack pays 3:2 (never play at a table that pays less than 3:2 for a natural blackjack)
  • Can double down on any two cards
  • Can double down on any hand even after hitting

The ace five blackjack system is based on the fact that the ace is the most valuable card for the player and the five is the worst card for the player. When a five is removed from a deck, it increases the player’s chance to win. This effectively lowers the house edge.

When an ace is removed from the deck of cards, it hurts the player’s chance to win and raises the house edge. Using these two pieces of information, you can track the aces and fives and use the information to alter your bet amounts. This can eliminate the house edge.

Here’s how the ace five card counting system works:

You start with a count of zero. If you don’t like to work with negative numbers, you can start with a count of 10, and adjust the count where you raise your bets by 10. Every time you see a five, you add one to your count, and every time you see an ace, you subtract one from your count.

Ace Five Card Counting System

It doesn’t matter if the ace or five is in your hand, another player’s hand, or in the dealer’s hand. You add or subtract for every five and ace that gets played.

You start with a base bet amount, and when the count reaches +2 (or 12 if you started at 10), you double your bet amount. Every time the count goes up, you double your bet again, and when it goes down, you reduce your bet accordingly. Any time the count is at +1 or below, you bet your base amount.

The only downside to the ace five card counting system is that it’s a relatively weak system compared to more advanced systems. It will help you overcome the house edge, but it’s not going to do much better than allow you to play a breakeven game. Of course, playing breakeven blackjack is better than losing.

2 – Speed Count

The next system is the speed count, which was developed by Frank Scoblete and is included in a couple of his blackjack books. The basic way to use the speed count is to track low cards and compare the volume of them to the number of hands that are dealt on each round.

The reason I include it in this article is because it’s an easy system to learn. It’s not quite as easy to learn as the ace five count, but it’s easier than most advanced counting systems.

I’m not going to spend a great deal of time with the speed count here, because it’s also a weak system compared to many others.

If you can learn how to use the ace five system and the speed count, you’re 100% capable of learning and using a better system.

In other words, most blackjack players should go directly from the ace five count system to a more advanced system like the KO, Red 7, or Hi Lo. I cover the KO in the next section.

If you want to learn more about the speed count system, you can follow this link. Here are the basics of the system before you move on to the next section.

You track all of the cards valued two to six that are dealt every round and subtract the number of hands that are dealt on the round. You then use this number to adjust your overall count and adjust your bet size based on the running count, just like in the ace five system.

3 – KO or Knock Out

If you understand how to use the ace five and speed count systems, you’re ready to learn the KO system. This isn’t a system you find on most pages designed for normal blackjack players, but it’s not much harder than learning how to use basic strategy. In my experience, most regular blackjack players can quickly learn how to use it.

KO Card Counting System

If you look over the KO system and don’t care for it, the Red 7 and Hi Lo systems are also good systems you can learn how to use. Any of these three systems teach you how to make money playing blackjack.

The difference between simple systems like the first two on this page and advanced systems is the number of cards you track. In the ace five system, you track two cards. In the speed count, you track five cards. In the KO system, you track 11 cards. Every time you see any card from a two to seven, you add one to your count and every time you see a 10 to ace, you subtract one from your count.

Once you learn how to track a few cards, it only takes a little bit of practice to learn how to track more. You don’t need to memorize the cards. You simply subtract or add one at a time to your count.

The main advantage that the KO system, and the Red 7 system, has over the popular Hi Lo system is you don’t have to calculate your count based on the number of decks remaining during play. This is handled by starting your count at a set number based on the number of decks before you start counting.

Don’t worry about all of this right now, because you don’t have to worry about it unless you learn how to use the Hi Lo system.

When you use the KO system, you start your count based on the number of decks.

In a single deck game, you start your count at 0. In a double deck game, you start your count at -4. In a six-deck shoe game, you start your count at -20, and in an eight-deck shoe game, you start at -28.

When the count is at 0 or negative, you make your minimum bet. When the count gets to +1, you double your bet. You keep doubling your bet as the count goes up until you reach your maximum bet amount.

Conclusion

You can start using the ace five system today. It’s an easy way to play a breakeven blackjack game against the casino, and anyone can learn how to use it. Once you’re comfortable using the ace five, start learning how to use the KO system. If you want to take it slow, you can learn the speed count before using the KO. But if you can use the speed count, you can use the KO, and it’s a better overall system.

How to Use Roulette Wheel Bias Today

Roulette Wheel Logo And Table

Roulette isn’t the first game that people come running to when they’re looking to beat the casino. After all, roulette doesn’t have a commonly-known advantage play technique, like blackjack (card counting).

Nevertheless, this game can be beaten through wheel bias. This advantage gambling method has helped some players win millions of dollars.

The catch, though, is that wheel bias isn’t as easy to pull off these days. In fact, some players don’t think that it’s possible at all.

But you actually can still use wheel bias to earn profits today. I’ll explain how after I discuss more on the technique itself.

How Does Wheel Bias Work?

Wheel bias involves looking for roulette wheels that favor certain pockets and sections. For example, you may discover a wheel that sees the ball go into the 16-4-23-35-14 section a disproportionate amount of times.

This bias occurs when wheels suffer wear and tear and aren’t as random as they’re supposed to be. This phenomenon can occur through a number of ways, including unequal pocket sizes, deformed balls, a shaky wheel shaft, or loose frets.

Roulette Wheel And Ball

Of course, the casino doesn’t put a blinking sign next to biased wheels. They normally don’t know about such wheels if they’re still on the floor.

Instead, you need to put the work into figuring out if a casino has one or more biased wheels. Some claim that you can even spot wheel imperfections with a trained eye.

But even if you do think you’ve found an imperfection, you must record results for a measurable amount of time. After all, it’s difficult to notice a deformed ball or shaky wheel shaft before the casino does.

The amount of data you need depends on whether you’re looking for bias towards specific pockets or sections. The latter doesn’t require as much data because it’s easier to spot a biased section than single pockets.

Here’s an example on how you can record data for section bias:

  • You track 1,000 spins.
  • You put the data into a spreadsheet.
  • You discover that a section of 10 numbers between 27 and 6 is biased.

You need to analyze the wheel a lot longer to find out if certain pockets are off. Some believe that you need anywhere between 5,000 and 10,000 spins’ worth of data to discover pocket bias.

Of course, the benefit to looking for individual biased numbers is that you can make more money. Single bets pay out at 35 to 1 when you win.

Why Was Wheel Bias More Common Decades Ago?

As mentioned before, some people have become millionaires through wheel bias. However, these stories seem more like ancient legends than feats that can still be accomplished today.

For example, an English engineer named Joseph Jagger made a £65,000 profit (£7 million) while playing roulette in Monte Carlo. He took advantage of a biased wheel at the Beaux-Arts Casino before the employer switched around the wheels to throw him off.

In the 1990s, Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo made over €1.5 million at a combination of Spanish and Las Vegas casinos. His story was documented in a History Channel documentary called Breaking Vegas: The Roulette Assault.

Jagger and Pelayo aren’t the only players who’ve won big through roulette. But stories of heroic winners are becoming less common today.

What’s changed from the nineties and beforehand? The roulette wheels.

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Casinos used to feature wooden wheels that were more exploitable.

In recent years, they’ve rolled out Starburst wheels. Developed by John Huxley, the Starburst model features metal frets and shallower pockets. These two features help eliminate two of the main sources for bias.

British casinos were the first to roll out Starburst wheels. They did so after finding that they were losing a bunch of money to roulette players in the 1980s.

Atlantic City and Vegas casinos have since followed suit. Therefore, you’ll have a tougher time finding a beatable roulette game today than ever before.

Casinos Have Stepped up Their Game These Days

Starburst roulette wheels aren’t the only things that gambling establishments have changed. Nowadays, casinos run regular inspections on roulette wheels to ensure they’re running properly.

Staff members are trained to look at the wheel shaft, frets, pockets, balls, and more. They’re very good at identifying when one or more of these elements are out of whack.

They also electronically monitor results. You’ve probably noticed electronic boards near roulette wheels that display the last 10 or 20 numbers.

Arrow Pointing At Electronic Roulette Board

These boards serve two purposes:

  • To prevent wheel bias
  • To cater to players who like gambling based on past results

Between the combination of more frequent inspections and better equipment, casinos do a better job of stopping wheel bias than at any other point in history.

Finding Biased Roulette Wheels Today

TCS John Huxley provides revolutionary wheels and equipment that help casinos prevent advantage play. Nevertheless, modern technology hasn’t completely closed out the chance of bias.

This tech mainly concentrates on winning numbers over a long period of time. It doesn’t, however, keep track of various factors that can lead to biased numbers (e.g. ball, casino temperature, shaft).

Sometimes, casinos will still keep biased wheels on the floor even if they know about them.

They’d rather only take action if somebody exploits a wheel instead of adding an expensive replacement.

That said, wheel bias is still possible to some extent. Here’s a recap of certain factors that can lead to a biased wheel:

  • Bent frets — Over time, frets can become bent or suffer other damage.
  • Deformed balls — A ball can suffer nicks or even complete design flaws. Such balls make a rattling sound on the track.
  • Deformed ball track — Sometimes, the entire ball track will be messed up. In these cases, the ball will make a rattling sound at specific points on the wheel.
  • Flawed wheel shaft — The wheel shaft can become uneven over time and slightly shift the wheel toward a certain section.
  • Older wheels — Some casinos still opt for classic roulette wheels that aren’t as costly. These don’t have metal frets and shallow pockets, leaving them more susceptible to bias.

Conclusion

Roulette wheel bias certainly isn’t as easy to pull off as it was decades ago. Casinos have taken big steps to cut off this advantage play technique.

For starters, most gambling venues now employ Starburst wheels. These feature shallower pockets and metal frets in an effort to prevent wear and tear.

Casinos also perform regular inspections on their wheels. Staff members look for various flaws that could lead to wheel bias each day.

Gambling establishments also have electronic boards that track results. These boards feed the casino data, which they can use to figure out if any pockets or sections are biased.

These factors make it harder to earn money from wheel bias than in the past, when players like Joseph Jagger and Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo made fortunes. Nevertheless, this advantage play technique is still possible to some degree.

The key is to understand some of the factors that can cause wheel bias.

These include damaged frets, deformed balls, older wheels, flawed wheel shafts, and damaged ball tracks.

Assuming you can master spotting these imperfections, or perceived imperfections, then you can move on to recording results. The point of recording spins is to gather enough evidence to confirm the bias.

You’ll need at least 500 to 1,000 spins to find section bias with any degree of success. Anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 spins can provide you with pocket bias.

Unfortunately, finding such wheels is harder than ever before. But you can still do it by sticking to tried-and-true methods and putting enough work into the matter.

How to Play Keno Like an Expert

Online Keno Numbers, Keno Tickets on Table
Expertise in any game is based on a mastery of the rules and strategies used in that game. Like most casino gambling games, keno is designed to make money for the house. Players win their prizes from the pool of wagers they make.

No amount of expertise will help you beat the rules in keno. Playing like an expert means making the best possible choices. It also means maximizing your potential for winning.

The best poker player in the world can’t beat a bad deal. Where the poker player has an advantage over the keno player is in the fairness of the game. Keno is an unfair game by design.

Some would say that makes winning all that much sweeter. I once heard someone compare playing a game with a low return to player to playing the highest level in an online strategy game.

The analogy is flawed, in my opinion.

In an online strategy game, the computer makes it harder for the player to win by giving advantages to the computer opponents.

But the player can still win by adapting his strategy to compensate for those disadvantages.

Whether you’re playing slots, chuck-a-luck, or keno, there’s nothing you can do to compensate for the advantage the house gives itself. The smart money says don’t bet on keno. But if you’re going to bet on keno, then bet smartly.

Here are several ways to bet like a keno expert.

1 – Master the Basic Concepts

As everyone knows, keno is a lottery game. What most people don’t realize is that it’s the low-quality version of lottery games. In a massive game like Powerball or Mega Millions, you could theoretically win $100 million.

I’ve never seen any version of keno that pays that much money. The largest keno prize I ever heard about was less than $10 million. It was awarded in Australia in 2018.

Hats off to anyone crazy, brave, and lucky enough to wager on the Pick 10. Three people in Australia have won it.

Most of the large keno jackpots I’ve heard about were from Pick 7 and Pick 8 games, and the prizes were in the hundreds of thousands.

Do the math. You’d have to win an unbelievable amount of unlikely drawings to win $100 million in keno. But every year, a few lucky lottery players win $100 million or more in Powerball, Mega Millions, or Euro Millions.

Piles of Money, Two Keno Tickets

If you’re going to play keno games, you’re playing for less prize money. And the odds of winning are usually worse in keno than in other lottery games. The win may taste sweeter because of those disadvantages but you’re still winning less money.

Another thing most people don’t realize about keno is that there’s a multitude of keno games. Each game has its own rules, odds, and prize schedules.

They look very similar but, when you compare the details of keno games to each other, you find the differences. That means whatever strategy you think works best for one version of keno may not work as well for another version.

It’s similar to learning to sail in a dinghy versus learning to sail a catboat. Both types of sailboats will get you across a calm body of water despite their differences. And both will be swamped in a bad storm. But they’re still different types of sailboats.

2 – Study the Odds Carefully

There are three basic types of keno:

  1. Video keno
  2. Live drawings
  3. Scratch cards

The odds of winning keno differ from game to game. But the video keno machines can be programmed differently, too. Since more than one gaming company distributes keno, they don’t all use the same pay tables and random number algorithms.

Many video keno players prefer to play Pick 7 or Pick 8 games. They don’t win jackpots, but they do win smaller prizes.

The best odds fall somewhere in the mid-range picks.

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Pick 4, Pick 5, and Pick 6 are usually more likely to pay a prize. The prizes will be smaller, though.

Whatever keno game you choose to play, study the pay tables and odds for that game before you decide how many numbers to wager on.

If your best friend plays keno at a different location from you, on a different gaming platform, his favorite picks are probably not going to help you.

3 – Keno Demands Patience and Consistency

You’re wagering on random number drawings. Each drawing is a new game. The odds of winning don’t change no matter how many games you play.

One difference between keno and standard lottery games is that keno doesn’t duplicate numbers in a drawing. If the “1” is drawn in a keno game, it’s only drawn once.

When you compare a Pick 4 keno game to a typical four-ball live lottery game, those lottery games use four machines with the same number of balls. Daily drawings sometimes produce four duplicates in these games.

Numbers on Keno Ticket, Keno Casino Lounge

Many people do bet on 0-0-0-0 in their states’ daily four-ball games. Since keno doesn’t allow duplicate numbers, your chances of picking the right numbers are less than in any other lottery game. That means you’ll hit in a lower percentage of games.

The advantage of playing keno over a daily drawing game is that you can play video keno as often as you wish. Even live drawing keno is played several times per hour on state networks.

To compensate for keno’s poor odds, you must budget for as many games per day as you can. You’re making in volume what you lack in probabilities.

4 – Play Multiple Cards in Each Game

In my opinion, it’s best to make minimum wagers. Regardless of how many numbers you pick, you should play several cards per game.

This is sometimes called “pattern betting” because you’re spreading your picks across the multiple cards in patterns or spreads.

Wagering on spreads allows you to cover more numbers. You won’t be able to combine numbers from multiple cards but the idea is that you’re more likely to hit a winning combination by playing multiple cards.

If you play Powerball, you choose your numbers and buy your ticket. The basic price is $2. You can add up to $5 per ticket to maximize your non-jackpot prizes up to 10 times.

In keno, you simply wager a multiple of the basic bet.

In either style lottery game, you can increase the spread of numbers you cover by making only minimum bets on each card or ticket.

The idea is to use a pattern because the drawings rarely, if ever, result in more than two sequential numbers.

It’s less expensive to bet $1 on a keno card. Some keno games offer a “bonus” that costs extra, but in basic keno, there’s only one bet per card.

With a set of cards covering different spreads, you have better chances of winning a non-jackpot prize. This is true for any kind of lottery game, but it’s the most economical way to play keno.

Conclusion

Keno appeals to many people because it’s easy to get started with the game. After a while, people fall into a style or habit of play that makes them feel comfortable.

You’ll want to experiment with different picks and different patterns. Although there’s no way to guarantee you’ll win anything, you’ll find that some picks and spreads work better for you than others.

The effectiveness of your choices depends on where you play keno and how often you play.

7 Things Every Poker Professional Needs

Hand Grabbing Casino Chips, Two Poker Cards
Don’t let the movies fool you. The life of a professional poker player is not all big tournaments and winning big pots. But that’s not to say it doesn’t have its glamorous moments, and there’s a certain freedom to basing your livelihood on playing games whenever you want.

Still, when you’re a professional poker player, playing the game becomes about more than just winning the hand. It starts to mean that if you lose the hand, bills do not get paid. Of course, I would never dissuade anyone from answering the call if professional poker is what they want to do.

Instead, I want to point out that playing professional is a job that has similar concerns as any other job. A lot of poker pros who are just starting out don’t always enter the profession with that mindset. They just want to play the game and worry about things like insurance and groceries some other time.

Fortunately, when you decide to go pro, that won’t be you. You’ll be prepared, because I’ll show you some things you must have as part of your poker playing career.

1 – Motivation

Starting off as a poker pro, you might not think that motivation would be something you need. However, there’s a lot more to the life of a poker pro than you see on television and, after a while, it can start to seem like a grind.

This is the major problem with basing one’s lifestyle around a game or activity you find fun. Once it becomes a job, then it’s work. It’s not just leisure anymore.

You’re going to need to be sure that when you’ve played 12 hours of poker on real money gambling sites, you can play a few more if you have bills due. You need to make sure that even as things aren’t going your way, you will still want to play.

Fortunately, motivation can be tested before starting life as a pro. Put yourself in a few extreme poker situations (playing for hours everyday after a day job or entering a marathon of tournaments) and make sure you always want to play. If not, just play for fun.

2 – Savings

If you’re considering the life of a pro, you probably know how much money you need to be successful in a given tournament. Now, you need to start thinking about exactly how much money you’re going to need to be successful in a tournament and still eat, pay rent, keep the gas on, etc.

Person Sitting By Poker Table, Stacked Casino Chips, Poker Cards

How much any given pro needs to live varies based off of their lifestyle, whether there’s a spouse with their own income, etc. If possible, though, a poker player should look at what they’re doing as if they were starting their own business. Experts say you should have at least three months’ worth of expenses in the bank before starting on your own. That money does not include what you think you need to gamble.

We’ll talk more about poker bankrolls later.

3 – A Deep Understanding of Downswings

Every poker player hits a run of bad luck in the casino and online. There are some nights where no matter what, the slot machines keep coming up empty, the dealer keeps hitting 21 or you keep getting dealt 2-4 off suit as your hole cards.

Sometimes, these runs of bad luck last a night and sometimes, you start a downswing that can last for months. If you are playing at a friend’s house or for fun, you can always shrug off these runs of bad luck, stop playing, and come back to fight another day.

If you play poker for a living, you don’t get to just play when you’re on a heater.

Your ability to make money gambling needs to somehow survive and flourish despite the fact the only kind of luck you might be having at that point can be categorized as “awful, terrible, or just bad.”

Good professional poker players soon learn that downswings happen and they keep gambling because that’s their livelihood. Hopefully, they have a way to keep up their spirits and many will switch games for a bit for a bit of fresh air, but ultimately, they do play on because they understand downswings go away eventually.

4 – A Large Enough Bankroll to Survive Some Downswings

We said we would get back to talking about poker bankroll because it’s important that a poker pro’s bankroll be large enough to survive rotten luck without sacrificing their lifestyle. Certainly, there’s a give-and-take when it comes to funds for poker and funds for living, but you don’t want to dip too far into either one to pay for the other.

That’s why, when you’re figuring out how much money you need to save, think about the number of tournaments you plan to play in a given week and their fees, how much money you plan to deposit into online accounts, etc. That should give you a basic idea of how much playing poker is going to cost you.

Hand Touching Poker Cards Spread Out, Roll of Money, Dice

Next, assume that you make absolutely no winnings for a period of time (e.g., two months). Hopefully, your savings can keep you fed, with gas in your car, and clothes on your back, but you need to take your weekly poker costs and multiply them by eight (or more) so that you have money to keep playing even when your luck goes south.

With that being said, practicing casino bankroll management is extremely important, no matter what kind of casino game you’re playing. So this applies to every player.

5 – Paying Taxes

That’s right. Poker pros pay taxes, too. Money earned as part of gambling is taxable, which means it’s as certain as death. Not including it in your financial plans can be deathly, too.

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Like I said, paying taxes is not optional and the casinos themselves will take out around 30% of your winnings in taxes and pay it to the government.

This can be partially offset by your gambling losses (which you will have), but you will still owe money at the end of the year.

To figure out how much you owe, if you have all the losses reported, poker pros would do well to hire an accountant to help them figure it all out. A financial planner can help, too. Unfortunately, both of those services cost money.

6 – Emotional Support

Great entrepreneurs who start businesses always talk about the need for a network. Great athletes have agents. Golfers have caddies. You get the picture.

Any professional poker player would do very well to find an emotional support network on which they can lean when times inevitably get bad. They’re also good for celebrating when things go right, too, but that’s another story.

In all seriousness, before becoming a professional poker player, you would do well to find people who genuinely care for you and want you to succeed in the profession. At the very least, find people who are willing to help you pick up the pieces when you’re in the midst of a downswing. This will keep your mind right and ensure you don’t tilt in the midst of a run of bad luck.

7 – A Good Laptop

If you’re going to do the professional poker thing, get used to the idea of playing online poker. Sitting at several different tables at once playing poker is the easiest and fastest way to ensure that a steady flow of poker winnings heads your way.

Guy on His Laptop, Two Overlapped Poker Cards

However, you cannot do that on a crap laptop that lags, locks up, or doesn’t get a clean connection to the internet. Even the best internet will sometimes glitch and those glitches can cause your poker client to time out or fold or do other things that don’t result in you winning money.

Therefore, good poker pros have good computers to get online and fast, clean, reliable internet to play online games.

Conclusion

First, I said it before, but I will reiterate—if you want to be a poker professional, absolutely go for it. It’s a life of freedom that few will ever enjoy in their careers. It can also turn into a life of adventure, travel, and lots of stories if you do it right.

However, the life of a poker professional isn’t all sun, fun, and playing high stakes games James Bond-style in Monaco. You have to grind, and you have to win or else the money goes away.

That’s why we wanted to highlight these things that people who go pro need but aren’t thinking about. It’s really difficult to add paying taxes to the fantasy of sitting final table at the World Series of Poker, but if you aren’t doing the one (pay taxes), you can’t do the other because the government will have some things to say.

Still, good luck. Keep these things in mind, and you can have a rewarding life as a poker pro.

Should You Travel to Las Vegas by Bus to Save Money?

Three People Sitting in Bus
A little while back, I found myself in quite the predicament as I prepared for a quick trip from Phoenix to Las Vegas.

As a writer covering the casino gambling industry, keeping up with the latest Las Vegas trends and developments is my full-time job. And as an avid blackjack and video poker advantage player, I can earn a sweet supplementary income grinding my favorite games while I’m in town.

I recently discovered the cottage industry of direct bus rides to Las Vegas. As it turns out, I wound up spending less than $50 roundtrip to get myself to Las Vegas and back to Phoenix, scoring a massive 90% discount in the process. This is great news for those wanting to get out of town to do some real money gambling in the gambling capital.

Readers out there might find themselves in a similar spot somewhere down the road, whether they’re coming from Phoenix, LA, or Cedar City. With that in mind, this blog was written to answer a question you probably haven’t considered before, should you take a bus to save money traveling to Las Vegas?

Reasons to Take the Bus Rather Than Driving or Flying

First things first, let’s dive into the various reasons why people might consider taking the bus over more “convenient” options like driving or flying.

Well, you might encounter an unexpected issue with your vehicle at the last minute. When your car breaks down without warning, getting it to a mechanic and back on the road isn’t always as easy it might seem.

Rather than canceling or modifying your hotel reservation, incurring fees and surcharges along the way, booking a bus reservation is an extremely easy fix that ensures you’ll still get into Las Vegas on schedule.

Group of People Getting in Plane, Man Getting on Bus

You might prefer taking a plane, and if you live outside of the Southwest region, this is probably your best bet anyway. A bus ride from somewhere like St. Louis or New Orleans would take well over a day to get you there, so this plan isn’t exactly feasible for folks who don’t live in Arizona, California, New Mexico, Utah, or Colorado.

On another note, many people out there simply don’t enjoy flying whatsoever. Whether their reasons involve a phobia or fear, a desire to cut costs, or an unwillingness to deal with those intrusive TSA pat downs and long lines, getting on an airplane is simply a nonstarter for more Las Vegas visitors than you might suspect.

Finally, plenty of people have issues like suspended driver’s licenses that preclude driving themselves. When that’s the case, letting a professional long-haul bus driver take care of things while you kick back and read a book is quite helpful.

What Are the Drive Times Really Like?

In my case, traveling from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport to Caesars Palace Casino on the Strip took just under six hours for the one-way trip there. That’s about an hour slower than I’d normally make the drive, but an extra 60 minutes on the road wasn’t a big deal in the slightest.

For direct drive times when leaving from other regional hubs, check out the list below:

ROUTE DURATION
Kingman (AZ) to Las Vegas 2 hours
Los Angeles (CA) to Las Vegas 6 hours
Anaheim (CA) to Las Vegas 6.5 hours
Salt Lake City (UT) to Las Vegas 8 hours
San Diego (CA) to Las Vegas 9 hours
San Francisco (CA) to Las Vegas 11 hours
Las Cruces (NM) to Las Vegas 15 hours

As you can see, proximity to Las Vegas obviously dictates how long you’ll be on the bus. And of course, you’ll need to factor in the return trip, which essentially doubles the one-way durations listed above.

But these drive times are quite manageable across the board, especially when you factor in the absurdly affordable fares.

How Much Does It Cost to Take the Bus to Las Vegas?

My trip from Phoenix to Las Vegas cost $24.99 one-way, and $24.99 for the return trip through the popular regional discount travel line Flix Bus.

Flix Bus fares vary slightly depending on your departure point. Tickets from Anaheim cost $19.99, while a ride from Kingman is only $9.99, but $24.99 seems to be the baseline. And remember, these aren’t airlines with their “flexible” pricing plans that seem to punish travelers for making last-minute changes to their itinerary.

In other words, you can hop on the Flix Bus site right now, book a reservation for tomorrow morning, and you’ll still pay that advertised flat fee.

Even better, you won’t encounter any hidden baggage fees or surcharges that come out of left field.

I chose the Flix Bus line after reading through user reviews on sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, but you’ll find a few competitors out there, too. Greyhound is obviously the most well-known national bus service, and from what I gather, they offer extremely similar pricing plans.

However, it looks like a Greyhound direct route adds a couple hours to the trip for whatever reason, so I feel comfortable sticking with Flix Bus for any future bus travel needs.

My Experience Riding the Bus to Las Vegas

After getting over the initial panic of having to adjust my travel plans with little notice, I was pleasantly surprised at how nicely everything turned out.

My pickup point was at the airport, where I waited alongside about a dozen other passengers eagerly awaiting their trip. The demographics were about what I expected, mostly college kids trying to save a buck, elderly folks who don’t enjoy the rigmarole of modern air travel, and a few admittedly sketchy characters who likely prefer avoiding metal detectors and drug-sniffing dogs.

To board the Flix Bus, we simply presented our printed paper tickets or had the driver scan a QR code on our mobile device. The drivers stashed everyone’s big baggage in a compartment underneath the bus, but people were permitted to bring a carry-on bag along for the ride.

Blue Travel Bus, Phone Displaying QR Code

Once everyone was safely onboard, the driver hit the highway and made his way across the desert. We even took a “shortcut” to avoid major traffic snarls, winding our way through Wikieup, Arizona, on the old US Route 93 rather than take the Interstate.

Inside the bus, everything was clean and comfortable. The seats were plush, the armrests were wide and roomy, and the entire cabin was equipped with free Wi-Fi. And because the full capacity for a Flix Bus ride is seldom reached, everyone had their own private nook to enjoy peace and quiet.

Personally, I buried my nose in a good book to pass the time, while others scrolled their smartphone or made conversation with other passengers.

We took two pit stops, first in Wikieup for a bathroom and snack break, and again in Kingman to pick up additional passengers.

Eventually, we passed through the Hoover Dam area, into Henderson, and arrived on time at Caesars Palace on the Strip. The Flix Bus route also includes departure points in Downtown Las Vegas and Henderson, so you can get yourself to the city’s three major gambling hubs without any trouble.

Conclusion

Overall, the entire travel experience from Phoenix to Las Vegas was actually quite refreshing. I didn’t have to worry about speeding tickets, putting miles on my car, or any of the other pitfalls associated with driving myself.

And I saved a bundle too, at least compared to the airfare rates I was quoted. Taking the bus might not be for everybody, but if you’re willing to try something new, letting the bus take care of the logistical details is a great way to get yourself to Las Vegas when you’re in a pinch.

10 of the Strangest Celebrity Restaurants in Las Vegas

Night View of the Las Vegas Strip, Friends Eating at Restaurant
Las Vegas has always had a love affair with food. Back in the day, Vegas was known for making cheap eats popular across the United States. When Vegas tried to go family-friendly, the trend of featuring food went right there with it.

Today’s Las Vegas is the more adult-oriented, “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” version of itself. And it has continued to feature some of the best food in the world.

Unsurprisingly, in a town that attracts entertainment moguls, concerts, celebrity athletes, famous people, and Las Vegas visitors in general, a lot of this food is served up by restaurants bearing the names of world-renowned chefs.

Still, just because a chef has had success on food television or their restaurant has been successful somewhere else, doesn’t mean they’re going to be a natural fit for Sin City.

In fact, there are some restaurants that stick out like a sore thumb in the bright lights of Vegas. That doesn’t mean they’re bad. In fact, some are amazing. They’re just strange. Need an example? How about 10?

10 – The Giada Restaurant

With apologies to celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis, having her restaurant in Las Vegas always seemed a bit incongruous if not exactly strange. Okay, it seems kind of strange.

Giada is everywhere and, as such, it makes sense that she would extend her culinary empire to Sin City. At the same time, she’s always had a squeaky clean image that just seemed strange being nestled in the heart of an adults-only playground.

With all that said, there’s nothing wrong with Giada in Las Vegas. In fact, it was voted best Power Lunch in Las Vegas (which is also strange… you don’t really associate power lunches and Vegas). Oh well, moving on.

9 – Rao’s Italian Las Vegas

For those of you who don’t know Rao’s, it is in itself a celebrity. Based out of New York City, Rao’s is famous for being the restaurant for which you can’t get a table. Every table is booked every day in perpetuity by the same crowd and unless you know someone, you’re probably not getting a seat. On top of that, the food is rumored to be amazing and the owner is often featured on Food Network.

Pasta and Breadsticks on Plate

With all that said, it kind of makes sense that a famous New York eatery made the journey to Las Vegas, just not Rao’s. First, for symmetry’s sake, I would have loved to see it in New York, New York, but that’s beside the point. Basically, this venue inside the Caesars Palace Casino does the original Rao’s no favors.

It ruins the mystique because suddenly it’s very easy to get a table in the Las Vegas venue (and frankly no place in Vegas should be easy to get a table at…) Secondly, the food suffers for not being located near home base. All in all, it’s a poor substitute for the real thing.

8 – El Burro Borracho

This will be the first time we hear from celebrity chef and Raiders superfan Guy Fieri. It won’t be the last.

El Burro Borracho, or the drunken donkey, is Fieri’s lower cost eatery located in the Rio.

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Low cost is sort of a relative term, as the menu features some plates in the $12-range or all-you-can-eat tacos, margaritas, and beer for $50 a person.

The menu looks much like his line of taco shops, which are tacky approximations of the way a donkey might decorate a low class cantina. El Burro Borracho steps up the class a bit, but the food remains largely average to poor in its rating. Given how good food can be in Las Vegas, it’s definitely strange this place was made.

7 – Hell’s Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen, the restaurant, is strange, but for different reasons. If anyone has ever watched the show Hell’s Kitchen and secretly desired to eat there, walking into the Hell’s Kitchen will be the fulfilment of that particular culinary fantasy.

Scallops on Plate, Food From Hell's Kitchen

While the restaurant layout itself doesn’t exactly match what’s on the screen, the open air kitchen is divided into blue and red kitchens and serves all of the popular TV show favorites. You can order steaks, risotto, beef Wellington, and so on. Given the prices, it’s probably good that the food quality is absolutely through the roof.

It’s just strange there’s no one yelling.

6 – Burger Bar

If you spend any time watching food television, especially Iron Chef and Iron Chef Masters, then you have probably heard of Hubert Keller.

He’s a masterfully skilled, classically-trained French chef who radiates confidence in the kitchen while seeming like a pretty decent guy all in all.

So, of course he opens a burger bar. Because why not?

I’m not criticizing Keller or his restaurant. I respect him and his cooking far too much to do that. It’s just that he’s a world-class chef. He has a great restaurant known as Fleur, which is amazing. It’s just odd that on top of that, we have a burger place… An expensive, magnificent, ultra-chic burger place.

5 – Cabo Wabo Cantina

It’s probably just me, but the whole Cabo Wabo Cantina experience outside of Cabo San Lucas itself just seems out of place, being conveniently located just outside the Planet Hollywood Casino, which faces directly onto the Strip. Of course, owner Sammy Hagar didn’t consult with me before opening this location or the other one in Hollywood.

Las Vegas Cabo Wabo Cantina on The Strip

Instead, Hagar keeps the place rocking for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, serving Americanized beach fare for prices that actually make you want to come back. The drink menu is also pretty decent, though its clear where Cabo Wabo Cantina makes its money.

Ultimately, what really makes Cabo Wabo strange is that it just feels like a Vegas spot. Vegas has lots of themed eateries where you can get a meal and an overpriced drink. If not for the name, Cabo Wabo would just be another restaurant.

4 – Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen and Bar

He’s back. I told you he’d be back.

What’s strange about Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen and Bar is how average it is. The models on its advertising page look like they came from a stock photo site, the décor lacks that “drunk donkey barfed Americana all over the place” feel of some of his other restaurants and the food is pretty average according to most reviews.

Guy Fieri is such a huge personality, it would be nice if this restaurant could show the same attention to the exceptional cooking that he did on his shows.

It’s strange that it doesn’t.

3 – Joel Robuchon

Copy everything I said about Hubert Keller and apply it to Joel Robuchon, the man for who the restaurant Joel Robuchon is aptly named. Well, that and the fact that Joel Robuchon isn’t a burger bar, it’s a really, really high class restaurant helmed by one of the best chefs in the world.

Joel Robuchon Restaurant in Las Vegas

It just seems strange that a man of his caliber would open his flagship in Vegas. It certainly has the Vegas price tag without the Vegas “devil may care” attitude. For some reason, that means if I am going to eat at one of his restaurants, I’d probably just travel to New York instead. It certainly feels more dignified.

2 – Robert Irvine’s Public House Restaurant

Public House has always been a bit of a head scratcher. It was opened in 2017, well after Irvine’s hype had faded, his controversy had come and gone, and he was generally banished from the public eye.

Then, all the sudden, his upper half is gracing the side of the Tropicana Hotel like the casino thinks his name alone is going to draw a crowd. It’s not that the gamble didn’t pay off, it’s just a strange thing to bet the farm on, even in a city known for big gambles.

1 – China Poblano by Jose Andres

I don’t know what to do with China Poblano by world-renowned chef (and one of the greatest humanitarians of our time) Jose Andres except go back there and eat again. And again.

Plate of Food From Las Vegas China Poblano

China Poblano is a Chinese-Mexican joint that features absolutely no fusion cuisine. I went in expecting General Tso’s tacos or stir-fried fajita egg rolls. Instead, I got a menu with two sides—one Mexican, one Chinese.

In the end, I had the best shumai of my life and lost a bet to my waiter that cactus tacos are disgusting (they’re not gross at China Poblano).

Still, who else but Jose Andres opens a restaurant that literally can’t decide what it is? That’s the kind of place Robert Irvine used to shut down on Restaurant: Impossible. Strange, but delicious.

Conclusion

And thus ends our tour of the strange establishments in the Las Vegas food scene. It covered some restaurants we’d love to go to again (China Poblano and Hell’s Kitchen) and some places we’d avoid when going to Sin City. All in all, there’s no awful food in Las Vegas, so even when a restaurant is strange, it’s probably still pretty good.