I love gambling as much as anyone, probably a lot more than most people. I even like gambling in land-based casinos from time to time. But over the years, gambling in person has become less fun.
The overall odds have become worse, and it’s getting harder and harder to find good gambling opportunities. I still use advantage techniques when I can, but the casinos are making this harder and harder all of the time.
Here are six terrible things that I don’t care for about gambling in live casinos. On the bright side, there are still a few good opportunities if you know what to look for.
1 – Terrible Odds
While the odds have never been great in casinos, you have to work especially hard nowadays to find gambling opportunities that don’t destroy your bankroll quickly. Most casino games have a return percentage of 95% or lower, which eats your bankroll quickly.
At a 95% return, you’re losing $5 or more of every $100 that you risk. It’s very easy to risk $100 or more quickly when you play most casino games. At a slot machine with just a $1 spin cost, most gamblers risk over $100 every 15 minutes.
The best way to gamble in a casino is to eliminate all of the games and wager options that have a return rate of under 95%. This rules out almost every slot machine, many video poker machines, and many table games.
Most blackjack games have a return of 99% or higher if you use strategy correctly. Video poker games with the right pay tables and strategy can also offer a return of 99% or higher.
Baccarat and craps games both have certain wagers that offer a return over 98%.
2 – Weak Rewards
You need to understand that just because casino rewards are weak, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t sign up and get them. I’m a big believer in signing up for every rewards program where I gamble. I just don’t like how low the rewards are.
But at the end of the day, you’re still better off getting low rewards for your casino gambling than no rewards at all.
Every casino that offers a rewards club has their own program guidelines, and most of them aren’t sharing exactly how their program works. My best guess is that, on average, you get back about .1% of the total amount you bet in the form of rewards.
Here’s what this means in a real-world example. You play slots and bet $1 on each spin and take 534 spins in an hour. This means that you bet $534 every hour. At .1%, you earn 53.4 cents every hour. If the rewards program pays .2%, you’re earning $1.07 every hour.
This amount doesn’t do much to help with your losses. Of course, if you’re playing a game with a higher return percentage, even a small amount like this helps offset your losses.
3 – Limited Game Selection
Most land-based casinos have a lot of game options. In fact, most of the casinos where I play have hundreds and thousands of slot machines and quite a few table games.
But when you compare the game selection in land-based casinos to the game selection available in mobile and online casinos, you can see that land-based casinos have a limited game selection.
The games that I play in casinos are blackjack, video poker, Texas Hold’em, and Omaha. This means that it doesn’t matter how many other games are offered.
All that matters is if the casino has a blackjack game with the rules that I’m looking for, or video poker games with the pay tables that I’m looking for, or a poker room.
4 – No Bonuses
Casino game bonuses are a good way to gamble with a bigger bankroll, but they aren’t available in land-based establishments. On the surface, this looks like a good reason to stop gambling in land-based casinos and stick with online and mobile gambling.
And in some cases, this is exactly what you should do. If you play slot machines, it may be better to play online and get the biggest bonuses that you can find. But if you play other casino games, you might be better off playing in land-based casinos and skipping the bonuses.
It all depends on what bonus terms you can find and what games you play. It also depends on whether you’re close to a land-based casino in the first place. Many mobile and online bonus terms are designed so that you actually end up losing more money than if you didn’t use a bonus.
The key is determining how much you’re going to lose when you’re clearing the bonus. The amount you lose is dictated by what you have to do to clear each bonus; these are called “rollover requirements.” This is why you have to take a close look at the terms and conditions before you claim any bonus.
The more you’re required to risk to clear a bonus, the more money you’re going to lose.
5 – The Pace of Play
How fast you can play most casino games depends on whether you’re playing live or online. When you play live dealer blackjack, you can play 50 to 100 hands every hour. But when you play online, you can play 500 hands or more an hour.
If you’re playing video poker or slots, the rate of play is about the same whether you play live or in an online casino.
You need to see both sides of the pace of play argument. On one side, the faster you play, the more you tend to lose because you’re risking more money over the same amount of time. On the other side, you might want to play faster, and the only way to do this is to play in real money online casinos.
And there’s another reason why gambling in a land-based casino is better than playing online. Playing in person gives you the best opportunity to use advantage play. You’re going to learn more about this in the next section.
6 – The Challenges of Advantage Play
If you gamble in casinos, you should learn as much as you can about advantage play. You often can’t use these techniques in online casinos. Unfortunately, land-based casinos do everything that they can to discourage the use of advantage play. So, it’s going to take some effort to execute these successfully.
Common advantage techniques include counting cards and seeing hole cards. You simply can’t use these techniques online.
But when you try to use these techniques in person and don’t do them well, the casino may use it as a reason to blacklist you from their property.
If you’re going to attempt advantage play techniques, you should investigate every type and see which ones you can execute well.
Our Conclusions on This Topic
Every time you’re planning to gamble, you have to look at which activities provide the best odds. Sadly, the best gambling odds are rarely found in a land-based casino.
In addition to poor odds, you also rarely receive good comps. Instead, you get just enough rewards to make it look like you’re receiving something worth playing for, which is just a miniscule percentage of your overall losses in the end.
Bonuses for casino gambling are only available online, and the game selection is much better in online and mobile casinos.
While live casino gambling is the best opportunity for advantage play, the casinos are doing everything in their power to eliminate advantage gambling.