9 Brain Games Casinos Play on You

Casino Chips Falling Next to Casino Written With a Face to the Rights and A Closeup of a Maze on Left

I’m willing to guess that most of us have had an experience somewhere along the following lines. You strut into your favorite casino overflowing with an excited glow and a pocket full of crisp $100 bills.

You plan to enjoy a few hours of casino fun at the blackjack or craps table, have a few drinks, and enjoy a responsible and trouble-free gaming experience. Then without warning, it’s 5am, and your wad of cash has made its way into the casino’s hands.

How could we let things get away from us like that?

Well, some of it is definitely on us, but unseen forces are working against us constantly. The casinos use psychology to make us beat ourselves.

Here are 9 brain games casinos play on you.

1 – The Labyrinth

Casinos are meticulously laid out to trap players on the casino floor. The entire casino floor is a massive maze with rows of games that merely lead to rows of games that will guide you in a completely different direction.

The casino doesn’t want to make it easy for you to leave. They know that the more games you pass on your way to an exit, the more likely you are to toss in a few bucks before your departure.

For casinos, everything is a numbers game. The casinos understand that not everyone will succumb to this clever trick, but they don’t need every gambler to slide an extra $20 their way.

Enough players will fall victim to their trap to make it worth the casino’s while.

You can avoid this gauntlet of games by making a note of the exits as you enter the casino. That will make it much easier to make your way out of the casino after your gaming session.

2 – You’ll Be on Your Own for the Time

The casinos aren’t going to do you any favors as it relates to keeping track of the time. It’s easy for players to become so consumed with the games that they totally forget about time.

Time is an essential factor in the casino for a few reasons. First, the longer you play, the more time the house edge has to work against you.

So, when you are gambling for 8 consecutive hours instead of only 4, you’re expected to double losses. That’s assuming your playing style remains consistent, which leads me to the second danger of forgetting about the time.

Silhouette of Man in Front of Dice and Casino Floor

The longer you gamble for, the more mental fatigue you’ll experience. That fatigue will eventually lead to poor decision-making and costly mistakes.

Keep tabs on the hour by setting reminders on your phone or smartwatch. This step will ensure that you’re fresh at the tables and don’t miss any important engagements like dinner or sleep.

3 – They Immediately Take Your Cash

The most brilliant trick used by casinos happens before you ever place a bet. That’s the exchange of your cash for casino chips.

The act is so subtle that a vast majority of gamblers never recognize its effect on their mental state. However, separating the gamblers from their cash creates a disconnect.

Many don’t realize the emotional connection we have to our money. We spend vast portions of our lives earning money, and though we don’t mind using the cash for entertainment and our hobbies, we aren’t exactly eager to hand it over unnecessarily.

The problem many gamblers have is they buy-in for far more than they intend to lose. Unfortunately, once they have made the exchange, they completely forget that those chips are as good as cash.

Treat your casino chips like they’re cold-hard cash, and you’ll make more prudent decisions in the casino.

4 – The Loyalty Program Helps the Casino More Than the Players

Casinos are well known for handing out lucrative comp to players that join the VIP rewards programs. There are some actual upsides to the programs, and the players definitely get benefits that non-members are missing out on.

Players can earn everything from free meals to complimentary stays; some guests will even earn cashback.

However, there’s a slippery slope that many players have trouble navigating. These players feel they are on the cusp of earning the next perk or gift and begin playing more.

This practice is known as comp chasing, and it’s a great way to burn through your bankroll. You’re never going to receive the same value out of the money you lose earning comps.

So, the casino is luring more significant losses out of you by offering freebies. Let the comps come naturally, and you’ll get much more value from the experience.

5 – They Rarely Give You Any Glimpse of the Outside World

Casinos are, in many instances, shut off from the outside world. This is the case whether they are in the middle of nowhere or in a thriving urban setting.

In either scenario, you’re not going to enjoy picturesque views while you gamble. In fact, the only picture you’re ever going to have will be of the casino itself.

Suppose a casino built a massive casino floor overlooking their championship 18-hole golf course. In that case, many of us may have the notion to ditch the tables and hit the links.

Harrah's Gulf Coast Hotel & Casino Casino Floor

Casinos want the world to disappear, and our sole focus to be on the task at hand, playing casino games for money.

In eliminating any view of the outside, casinos also make it more challenging for our internal clocks to work correctly. It’s another defense against players keeping any accurate tabs on the time.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked out of a casino and been shocked to witness the sun peeking up over the distant horizon. Set a timer and take regular breaks to keep the casino from trapping you on the floor all night.

6 – They Disguise Losses as Wins

Another clever tactic the casinos use to trick players into playing more is by disguising losses as wins. This primarily pertains to the real money slot machines.

Because you’re most likely playing max lines on every spin, as you should, the casino has an opportunity to roll out all of the bells and whistles even when you hit on any of the lines.

Most players are so excited by the commotion created by the machine that they pay no attention to their bank. More critically, they get to experience the high of winning without winning anything.

Losses disguised as wins amount to nothing more than a spin where you lose less than average. I suppose there is some good in that, but overall, the practice gets players in trouble.

Don’t become so consumed with the prospect of wins that you forget your primary goal of having fun.

7 – The Party Starts When a Lucky Player Wins

The real fireworks start when some lucky gambler spins the reels on a machine, resulting in the rare jackpot win. I’m not saying the wins are rare in terms of never happening, but they are scarce concerning the number of spins required to hit the jackpot.

When a player wins a sizable prize, the gaming action seems to stop as all attention is directed at the lucky player. Casino personnel is on the scene within seconds, and the winner is treated like royalty, if only but for a few hours.

There will be giant checks, champagne toasts, and photoshoots right on the casino floor as the casino makes a complete spectacle of the winner’s good fortune. This is grade-A marketing for the casino because everyone loves a winner.

Winners give the rest of the poor shlubs some hope that their day may be coming. When it is astronomically unlikely, the players will never enjoy the success of the gambler being celebrated.

8 – Keep the Drinks Rolling

It’s not hard to follow why the casinos are so eager to pass out complimentary alcoholic beverages. Based on what a beer costs at a sporting event or concert, the casinos pass on $8-$12 in revenue each time they bring a player a drink on the house.

Alcohol considerably lowers our inhibitions and clouds our decision-making. When that happens in a casino, our money will begin to evaporate faster with each drink.

Cocktail With Poker Cards and Chips

Keep your wits about you while you’re gambling. The cost of those free drinks is much higher than you’ll believe on closer inspection.

The money you save can quickly pay for a night of drinks in a more sociable atmosphere when you’re done gambling.

9 – Tempt Players with Complimentary Room and Board

I’ve covered how casinos will use the comps earned via the player’s card to get them to spend more money. Another trick casinos use involving freebies includes offering guests free room and board during their stay.

This tactic works exceptionally well at luring customers that may not otherwise be inclined to take a casino trip. Yet, when the costs of accommodations are covered by the casino, it feels like players are getting a free weekend getaway.

Once the player arrives at the casino, it’s quickly off to the races. A majority of players will be inclined to up their typical bet amount or play more because they feel indebted to the casino.


The casinos are masterful in the way they separate gamblers from their money. Whether it’s by giving away free gifts, getting them buzzed, or fooling them into believing they’re winning, the psychology behind casino gambling costs players millions of dollars annually.

Don’t let the 9 brain games casinos play on you sucker you into losing more than you need to.