Are Gamblers Becoming More Skilled? The Numbers from Vegas Say No.

Silhouette of Woman Juggling in Front of Money Dice and Las Vegas

Casinos have always held the edge over gamblers. They design their games in a manner that gives them a slight or, in some cases, large advantage.

Therefore, it’s not surprising that the house wins in most instances. What is surprising, though, is that gamblers aren’t closing the gap and winning more often.

I’ll explain why this is surprising below along with statistics that reveal how players aren’t any better at beating casinos than they were decades ago.

Why Gamblers Should Be More Skilled

Up until 20 years ago, you had to visit bookstores and/or subscribe to magazines to obtain gambling knowledge. Books and magazines were by far your best path to becoming a more-successful player.

Of course, the problem here is that you had to physically drive to a store and spend money on these resources.

Alternatively, you could have subscribed to a gambling-related magazine. However, this subscription would have cost you $10 per month or more.

The internet is the big game-changer with regard to gambling strategy these days. Although the internet existed two decades ago, it didn’t have nearly the amount of information it contains today.

You can quickly learn how to become an expert blackjack player or minimize the roulette house advantage to its lowest point. All you need is 5-10 minutes’ worth of online research to accomplish these feats.

You even have the ability to become an advantage gambler with little time wasted nowadays. You could learn a card counting system and then use online counting trainers to hone your skills.

I shouldn’t say that these resources come absolutely free. You’ll need a computer/smartphone and Wi-Fi connection beforehand.

However, you can use your smartphone and Wi-Fi connection for far more things beyond just gambling. The same can’t be said about the “How to Master Blackjack” book you might have bought 15-20 years ago.

Simply put, the widespread availability of strategy should make today’s gamblers much better than those in the past. Players can easily study a game with just a simple internet search.

What the Vegas Numbers Show on Gamblers’ Winnings

Anybody can go online and learn in minutes what took past gamblers hours to master. Therefore, you’d think that players today would be crushing casino games.

Statistics from the University of Nevada Las Vegas Center for Gaming for Research show otherwise. UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research has compiled statistics dating back to 2000 on the house’s win rate

The Bellagio and Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino

These numbers don’t show that the casino is losing more. In fact, they reveal that gambling establishments are actually taking more money from players.

Here’s a breakdown on some figures from their research:

All Casino Games

  • Casino win rate from all games in 2000 was 6.76%.
  • Casino win rate from all games in 2019 was 8.32%.
  • +1.56 change

Blackjack

  • Casino win rate from blackjack in 2000 was 12.56%.
  • Casino win rate from blackjack in 2019 was 14.12%.
  • +1.56 change

Craps

  • Casino win rate from craps in 2000 was 13.53%.
  • Casino win rate from craps in 2019 was 16.03%.
  • +2.50 change

Poker (House Banked)

  • Casino win rate from all games in 2000 was -0.28%.
  • Casino win rate from all games in 2019 was 19.27%.
  • +19.55 change

Slot Machines

  • Casino win rate from slot machines in 2000 was 5.23%.
  • Casino win rate from slot machines in 2019 was 6.90%.
  • +1.67 change

I should point out that not all of the factors accounting for the house’s increasing win rate are related to gamblers’ skill levels. However, the simple fact that casinos are winning more shows that the average player isn’t becoming any better.

Reasons Why Players Are Losing More

Casinos’ improving win rates goes beyond just players being lazy. As you’ll see below, though, the latter does play a part in how much Vegas is winning these days.

Many Gamblers Aren’t Taking Advantage of Available Resources

You’d think that with how easy it is to find gambling strategy today, players would be honing their video poker skills before hitting the casino. This just doesn’t seem to be the case, though.

I don’t know the habits of every single person who walks into a casino. However, I do know enough gamblers to realize that not everybody takes the time to learn games ahead of time.

Some people don’t think that strategy is worth the time. Others feel that they’ll be overwhelmed with something like basic blackjack strategy.

Another crowd simply feels that spending time learning gambling tips will take away from the enjoyment. People are free to play casino games how they want, but they’re also missing out on extra winnings by ignoring strategy.

They Still Rely on Luck

Even if you’re a skilled gambler, you need some small degree of luck to win. The only time that this statement isn’t true is when you’re an advantage player (e.g. card counter) who makes money in the long run.

Considering that luck is still a big part of gambling, many people just rely on this aspect to the fullest. They feel that they can only play and hope that Lady Luck smiles on them.

Of course, one doesn’t need to rely as heavily on good fortune if they can reduce the house edge through strategy. Nevertheless, many gamblers still think that they need a mystical force to intervene for them to win.

Casinos Have Increased Their Edge

Las Vegas used to be more generous with its rules and give players better odds. For example, they commonly featured single-deck blackjack games with around a 0.5% house edge.

These near coin-flip situations are becoming less and less common in Sin City and elsewhere.

Casinos focus more on their all-around resort offerings these days and don’t rely on gambling as much for profits.

They feel perfectly comfortable giving players worse odds. After all, those who still want to gamble live will do so regardless.

Of course, the same casinos also risk alienating serious players who know the rules and odds. But they seem perfectly comfortable with this for now.

Casinos Are Even Better at Marketing Today

The gambling industry doesn’t just rely on its advantage alone to win money. It also uses clever marketing to draw you back into the casino.

If you haven’t been to Las Vegas in six months, for example, you might suddenly receive an email for a free buffet.

This buffet pass has nothing to do with gambling. But if it gets you in the door, you’re more likely to play casino games afterward.

Some corporations are even using RFID technology (through casino chips) to track your betting habits and better tailor promotions towards you.

What You Casino Do to Win More with Casino Games

You don’t have to settle for being a statistic and lose big like many other gamblers. Instead, you can boost your chances of earning money with the following tips.

Play Games with the Lowest House Edges

Casinos offer a wide variety of games across the board. You can spin the slots reels, play Baccarat hands, try for Caribbean stud jackpots, and much more.

While this variety is great from an entertainment perspective, it doesn’t help your bottom line. Assuming you spread your play across the wrong games, you’ll end up facing house edges ranging from 10% (certain slot machines) to 30% (keno).

Image of a Busy Casino Floor

In contrast, baccarat, blackjack, craps, European roulette, French roulette, and video poker offer some of the best odds in gambling.

Study Strategy

My main point throughout this post has been that many gamblers aren’t using easily accessible resources. You can go against the grain by using the countless strategy material that are available.

If you want to learn basic blackjack strategy, for example, you can simply google the term “blackjack strategy chart.” This search will bring up countless charts that show correct moves in every situation.

Or, you could go online and lookup “video poker strategy” and find both charts and trainers. The latter refer to online programs that point out when you do and don’t make correct decisions.

Account for Variance

With reference to gambling, variance indicates how frequently casino games pay out in the short-term. Slot machines have high variance, because they don’t deliver many short-term payouts. Baccarat, on the other hand, has low variance, because it sees you win around 50% of the time.

Understanding this term alone will improve your profits. Return to player (RTP) is a more-relevant concept when trying to figure out how much you can win in the long term.

If you’re dealing with a small bankroll, though, you definitely want to know the variance behind each game. You can target low-variance games to win more often and sustain your bankroll.

Have a Bankroll Management Plan

Bankroll management plays two key roles in your gambling success:

  • It allows you to keep playing.
  • It prevents you from risking money that you can’t afford to lose.

Both of these concepts make bankroll management a worthy cause. What’s more is that you don’t even need to spend much time mapping out a bankroll plan.

You simply need to set aside an amount of money that you’re willing to lose. From here, you can set a stop-loss limit to ensure that you don’t lose your entire roll in one sitting.

Here’s an example of executing bankroll management:

  • You start by going through your bills and expenses.
  • You determine that you can afford to lose $500.
  • You set a stop-loss limit of $100 for each session.
  • You’ll quit playing for the day any time that you hit $100 in losses.

Conclusion

Gambling is all about entertainment. Some people just don’t find it entertaining to look up strategy before playing.

These cases aren’t a big deal if the same people are perfectly fine with facing bigger losses. But anybody who wants more control over wins and losses should definitely learn the strategy and odds.

Fortunately, the internet has made learning gambling strategy much easier. Contrary to past gamblers, you don’t need to visit bookstores or get magazines to learn.

Instead, you can quickly study strategy for any game with a simple online search or two. As a result, you’ll avoid being one of the many gamblers who keeps losing more to Vegas, online casinos, and other destinations.