There is an old story where one character says to another, “What’s your secret? You can tell me.”
And to that the second character replies, “If I told you then it wouldn’t be a secret any more, would it?”
This scenario has played out millions of times in real life. We’ve even seen it in live broadcasts of Congressional hearings where national security experts defer answering questions in front of cameras.
There are many secrets in the gambling world. But each secret is not as secret as the one no one shares. So even though what follows will be new to some people, all “best secrets in gambling” articles can only reveal secrets that are already known.
How many of the following secrets do you know?
1 – Casinos Around the World Use Facial Tracking Technology
While ethicists and privacy advocates argue the pros and cons of using this technology in online services, facial recognition technology for commercial use was first announced in the mid-2000s.
Trade shows for gambling, high technology manufacturers, defense contractors, law enforcement agencies, and other critical need industries began hosting presentations and vendor booths for facial recognition technology by 2010.
While today’s systems are not quite that good, they are good enough to be scary.
Facial recognition grew out of old optical analysis spy software. In the 1970s and 1980s the CIA needed to analyze thousands of satellite and high altitude surveillance photographs every year. Working with major companies they developed computers and software that recognized shapes in images.
This optics industry has grown by leaps and bounds ever since. The algorithms have been applied in machine learning systems around the world. Facial recognition systems now integrate everything that has been learned about identifying objects and people in pictures regardless of the angle, lighting, coloring, and size of the image.
While not all casino surveillance uses this technology yet more of them buy it each year.
2 – Many Casino Employees Really Do Gamble
If you’re like me you’ve probably read articles quoting casino employees who advise people not to rely on gambling for an income. Mainstream news media and gambling sites love to run stories where casino employees talk about people losing fortunes or explain how casinos catch you cheating.
If you browse question and answer sites where real casino employees explain how slot machines work, how casino security watches gamblers and dealers alike, and more you’ll rarely see any of them admit to gambling.
A common perception among gamers is that “casino employees know better” than to gamble. After all, they are trained to keep things legal and ensure no one circumvents the house edge that is designed into every game.
And just how often do you read about casino employees using their own money to gamble?
But many of them do gamble. But they’re not allowed to gamble where they work. One dealer in Las Vegas got off work, went across the street to a rival casino, and won a jackpot.
Many card game dealers really do love to play cards. They would have to love these games to play them day in and day out for years.
Some card players seek out jobs as dealers because they want to play the game without risking their own money. And being a dealer is a great way to learn from other people’s mistakes.
And some dealers turn pro including people like Erick Lindgren, Johnny Chan, and Ted Forrest to name a few.
3 – Casino Employees Are Not Necessarily Expert Gamblers
Just because they gamble all day long doesn’t mean casino employees know how to win the game any better than you. That is why so many of them tell people to gamble for fun not for a living. They see every sob story.
And yet people love to ask dealers for advice.
Some casino employees tell bloggers and news media they know dealers who give really bad advice. They may do it because they don’t know any better. Or they may do it because they want people to lose.
Dealers are humans. If you treat them with respect they’ll treat you with respect. But their jobs are to ensure you have fun without causing a fuss.
Each dealer learns to handle constant inquiries appropriately. If a dealer refuses to offer advice she may not be allowed to by her boss, or she may not know.
If you push her, she may give you advice that won’t be helpful.
The best dealer-given advice I’ve ever seen or heard was given by people off the floor. They may write their own casino blogs or answer questions at parties. Casino employees are often put on the spot just like doctors.
Everyone wants free advice. No one is willing to learn by doing. And maybe it’s a good thing that most dealers are just average players because the casinos don’t need any more help in winning the game.
4 – The Best Liquor is Not on Tap
While I don’t recommend anyone drink and gamble, if you’re getting drinks from the bar at the casino you should always ask for stuff out of the bottle. And this is probably good advice for any bar that uses “guns” to squirt beverages into glasses.
It’s easy for bartenders to fill orders with those hoses but they are high technology devices. The amount of liquid dispensed is measured by and recorded on a computer.
Bartenders sometimes admit that “the good stuff” is only served from the bottle. It makes sense. Selling cheap, watered down liquor is more profitable than spraying the best whiskey into every shot glass.
And there is the liability to consider, too. In many jurisdictions establishments that serve alcohol to customers who are way past reasonable tolerance can be held accountable for unfortunate things that happen.
Naïve bar patrons – perhaps watching too many movies – ask bartenders for extra shots and other favors. These employees are not going to risk their jobs for strangers no matter how much they flirt.
On the other hand, an appreciative bartender will do you safe favors if you’re polite, leave tips, and don’t cause problems.
I haven’t drunk alcohol in many years but I’ve spent a lot of nights in bars. I’m usually the designated driver. A few bartenders slip me free sodas because they know I won’t pester them and I leave good tips anyway.
Does management know about these favors?
Sure. A lot of the managers were once bartenders too. They’re not blind or stupid. But about the best favor you can expect from any bartender is a free soda or the polite suggestion that “the good stuff” is in a bottle and costs more.
5 – The Best Time to Play Slot Games Is When They’re New
Slot gamers have built up a large mythology through the years. While casino managers push back on many of these ideas, they sometimes admit to the truth of certain things.
One of the most interesting secrets I learned about slot machine gaming is that the casino fronts its own money for slot prizes in the first month after the machines are installed.
By that time players will have lost enough to make the game profitable and it covers all future jackpots out of player wagers.
What this means for the average gamer is that the machine really may pay better than the casino expected. Your chances of winning won’t change overnight but playing that new game before other players learn about it could give you an advantage.
The casino simply doesn’t know in advance how a machine will pay until players use it. Everything from the manufacture of the machine to the sales pitch and the specification sheet is all theoretical until the players begin putting real money into the game.
You should know very quickly how loose the machine is. Waiting for everyone else to figure it out is a bad strategy because games that pay more often or higher jackpots quickly become popular with regulars. And then you really have to wait for a chance to play the game.
If you already knew all 5 secrets consider yourself a well-informed gambling trivia connoisseur. If you knew 3 or 4 of these secrets you’re pretty smart. If you only knew 1 or 2 don’t feel bad.
After all, they are the best kept secrets in gambling.