Live Dealer Blackjack: Why COVID-19 Has Made It a Hit

Laptop With Live Dealer Blackjack With a Coronavirus Background

Live dealer blackjack has been popular for over a decade. It offers social elements that you can’t find through traditional online blackjack.

However, the coronavirus has made the live dealer version even more popular than ever. Nowadays, numerous blackjack players are logging onto live gaming sites.

I’m going to discuss why live dealer blackjack is popular amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ll also cover what makes it so special in comparison to the traditional (virtual) online version.

COVID-19 Has Deeply Affected Land Based Casinos

Many industries have been impacted by the coronavirus. But few have been hit as hard as the brick-and-mortar gambling industry.

Most land-based casinos around the world shut down in March 2020. Many have since reopened with certain restrictions in place.

First off, casinos require players to wear masks on the gambling floor. This measure is meant to prevent gamblers from spreading COVID to each other.

Secondly, players must maintain proper distancing from each other. Casinos can enforce this policy by requiring players to sit at least one slot machine or blackjack seat apart from each other.

Online Live Dealer Blackjack Game

All of these measures are important with regard to stopping the spread of the virus. However, they don’t do casinos any favors from a business perspective.

After all, the average gambler’s vision of an ideal time doesn’t include wearing a mask for hours at the blackjack table. They also don’t want to be forced to sit one seat apart from friends that they may bring to the casino.

Some jurisdictions haven’t even allowed land-based venues to reopen. The UK, for example, was going to let their casinos open at the start of August 2020. However, they delayed this re-opening over fears that COVID numbers were too high.

Some gaming companies worry that they may never open certain establishments again. Station Casinos, which owns various properties throughout Las Vegas, has floated the possibility of permanently closing four of their Vegas casinos.

Live Dealer Blackjack Is the Perfect Substitute

Live dealer blackjack may not perfectly replicate the land-based casino environment. However, it’s a nice substitute if you don’t feel like visiting brick-and-mortar establishments during the COVID era.

Live dealer blackjack gives you an opportunity to chat with the dealer. You can also make comments to the table as a whole through the chat box. It streams gambling action from a brick-and-mortar studio straight to your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Therefore, you get to feel like you’re playing in a land-based casino—even when you’re miles away from one.

Most importantly, you get the convenience of online gaming when playing at live dealer sites. You don’t have to travel anywhere to play online. Instead, you simply grab your phone or hop on your PC and start playing.

You can also do all of this without worrying about wearing a mask or social distancing. Everything regarding online casino games takes place over the internet.

Best Aspects of Live Dealer Blackjack

Live dealer blackjack offers several elements that make it with trying. Here are the main aspects that make this type of blackjack so great.

Convenience

Perhaps you love playing at brick-and-mortar casinos. But even if this is the case, you may not always feel like getting in your car or hopping on a plane to visit a casino.

Live dealer blackjack is a nice option in these situations. You don’t need anything other than an internet-capable device and a Wi-Fi connection to enjoy it.

Casumo Live Dealer Blackjack

Of course, you do need to register for an account and make a deposit before betting real money. However, you can complete these steps and get started within a matter of minutes.

Afterward, you’ll never have to leave the couch to play blackjack if you don’t feel like it. You can log hands whenever as long as your phone is nearby.

Free Blackjack Bet

Live dealer gaming sites offer free online bonuses as a reward for you signing up and depositing. These deals give you a chance to earn back losses from a losing first bet.

Here’s an example on how free wagers work:

  • A casino offers a free live dealer blackjack bet worth up to $25.
  • You deposit and use the appropriate bonus code.
  • You place a $25 bet and lose.
  • You now have a chance to earn back $25 by meeting terms and conditions.

The last point is key to these deals. You need to satisfy all of the T&Cs before collecting your losses. In any case, free bets are still worth taking advantage of when they’re available.

You can also look forward to other rewards at live dealer casinos as well. Deposit bonuses, more free wagers, and VIP perks await at the average live gaming site.

Bet behind Feature

Live dealer blackjack is similar to the land-based version in that it has limited seating available. After all, live dealer studios only feature so many dealers and tables.

Live sites have added a bet behind feature in recent years. Bet behind essentially allows an unlimited number of gamblers to enjoy blackjack action. This feature lets you gamble on the action of another player. As an added bonus, you also get to enjoy the social aspects, such as chatting with the dealer.

One downside to bet behind, though, is that you’re entirely reliant on the gambler’s decisions and results. But at least you get to participate in the action.

Social Elements

Again, live dealer blackjack offers a social element that virtual blackjack can’t match. It lets you communicate with the dealer and even leave chat messages that other players can respond to.

You may even feel like you’re actually in a land-based casino at times. After all, games stream live from a brick-and-mortar studio.

Virtual blackjack is certainly a fun game. However, it puts you on a software-generated table with an AI dealer. This setup still allows you to enjoy simulated blackjack action, but it’s void of any human interaction.

Lower Stakes

Minimum bets at live casinos range from $1 to $5. The latter end of this range isn’t as cheap as the set $1 minimum wagers in virtual blackjack.

However, even $5 minimums are cheaper than what you’ll find at most land-based casinos. The latter often start bets at $10 or even $25.

Of course, you may have no problem with risking $25 per hand in live or brick-and mortar-casinos. But it’s nice to have the option to wager less.

Live Casinos Also Offer Plenty of Other Games

You don’t always need to play blackjack at live gaming sites. Instead, you can also look forward to plenty of other games at the average site.

Every live Gaming outfit that I’ve seen offers a minimum of live dealer baccarat, blackjack, and roulette. This selection alone might be enough to keep you entertained.

Live Dealer Online Blackjack

The biggest providers feature a much wider variety of games, including some or all of the following:

  • Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Caribbean stud
  • Casino hold’em
  • Deal or No Deal
  • Dragon Tiger
  • Dream Catcher
  • Money Wheel
  • MONOPOLY Live
  • Sic bo
  • Three-card poker
  • Ultimate Texas Hold’em

You may like blackjack more than any other live casino game. But the options listed above give you more to try when you’re looking for something different.

Will Live Dealer Blackjack Remain as Big When COVID Subsides?

Nobody knows for sure when the coronavirus spread will slow down. In turn, no one can predict when the land-based gaming world goes back to normal.

Eventually, though, normalcy will return in brick-and-mortar casinos. At this point, the question becomes if live dealer blackjack will remain as popular.

The live online version of casino games already increased greatly in popularity within the past decade. In the early 2010s, many live casinos weren’t even compatible with mobile devices. Now, every live dealer outfit is compatible with Android and iOS devices. This single change has propelled blackjack and other live dealer games to new heights.

The effect of COVID-19 on casinos has only bolstered the appeal of live dealer blackjack. Many gamblers are simply staying at home and playing on their smartphones during the pandemic.

I don’t expect as many of the same blackjack players to stay glued to their smartphones when land-based venues are operating at full capacity again. After all, more players will split time between their phones and brick-and-mortar casinos.

Of course, live dealer blackjack will always remain a viable alternative to land-based establishments. It gives you an opportunity to experience blackjack without having to go anywhere.

Conclusion

The coronavirus continues limiting brick-and-mortar casinos to some degree. You must now wear a mask and maintain a reasonable distance from other gamblers when playing in land-based settings.

These measures don’t completely prevent you from playing blackjack. But they make brick-and-mortar venues less attractive.

If you have a problem with wearing a mask for hours and/or social distancing, then you should strongly consider live dealer blackjack. It offers many of the same elements of land-based blackjack—only with no mask involved.

Harsh Truths Every Gambler Needs to Hear

Man Listening With a Hand to His Ear

The truth hurts. It’s a saying as cliché as they come. But like all clichés, there’s a reason it has persisted.

Gamblers, while typically well-intentioned, can fall into the trap of being unrealistically optimistic—even in the face of clear evidence that would suggest their positive feelings are unjustified. I guess if you’re rolling the dice and your financial state is riding on the outcome, you have no choice but to be hopeful.

In this article, I’ll dive into six harsh truths every gambler needs to hear, whether they like it or not.

You’re Probably Going to Lose Money

Speaking of clichés, have you heard the one that states, “There’s a reason those casinos are so nice.” The philosophy is that the opulent, excessive, luxurious casinos exist because people just keep losing. It’s hard to argue this sentiment.

The unfortunate reality of gambling, whether you’re talking about sports betting or casino games, is that the vast majority of people end up losing money. Don’t get me wrong, there are some who are able to win, but these players are few and far between.

Why exactly is winning so difficult? Part of it is the way the games are set up, and part of it is simply human nature.

Every single game in the casino is set up with a certain “house edge.” This refers to the percentage-advantage the games have over players and is one of the main ways that casinos make money. In games like blackjack or roulette, it may be small, but it exists nonetheless. Over the course of a long period of time, the advantage will almost always win out.

Man With Head Down on a Poker Table

Next, we have the human nature component. I don’t want to get into a debate over behavior psychology, but I think it’s safe to say that just about all of us have some “greed” gene which is responsible for bad betting decisions.

For example, if you go to a casino and win $200 in the first 30 minutes, you’re probably going to think, “How do I turn this into even more?” You know that you should quit while you’re ahead, but for some reason it’s too hard to walk away.

To reiterate, I want to make it clear that some people do win money gambling, it’s just that the vast majority do not.

You’re Probably Not “Good” At Gambling

All it takes is one lucky night of playing real money blackjack for your obnoxious friend to think that they’ve mastered the game. If you’re talking about sports gambling, it can be even more annoying to listen to.

It’s undeniable that some people are better than others at any form of gambling, but just about everyone can be classified as average. Sure, there are “sharps,”  or professional sports bettors, who have been able to quit their jobs and gamble full time. But these people account for a miniscule percentage of bettors.

Not to mention, those who are financially able to quit their jobs and gamble full time can typically take risks most people can’t afford to take.

Nobody wants to hear it, even though I think deep down most people know it’s true, but your success in gambling largely comes down to good ol’ fashioned luck. Once you’re able to recognize this, then you can actually start to be successful, I’ll explain why.

There Are Some Things You Can Improve Upon

As I stated in the previous section, whether or not you win or lose in gambling—especially casino gambling—it all comes down to luck. With that being said, if your goal is to be a profitable gambler, there are some things you can do to help your cause.

Because the results of the games are largely out of control, it’s important to look at the things you can actually control—namely, gambling money management.

Person Counting Money With a Calculator

The real difference between those who win money at the casino or sportsbook and those who lose money often comes down to discipline. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself “up,” walking away means that you’re literally walking away with free money. Don’t forget the fact and you’ll start to have better trips to the casino.

In addition to money management, there are a few other improvements you can add to your game that will help you become a little bit more profitable. For example, taking the time to learn basic blackjack strategy can do wonders. You might think you know what you’re doing, but if you’re not making the correct move at all times, the house edge is much higher than it could be.

Improving your skills isn’t going to guarantee success, but you might be surprised at how much luckier you get when you really know what you’re doing.

Gambling Can Be Addictive

This isn’t news, but gambling can become very addictive if you don’t take a step back every so often and recalibrate. Similar to drugs and alcohol, gambling triggers the dopamine center in a brain; it’s likely because of the inherent excitement that comes with the opportunity to win money.

In order to avoid becoming a victim of gambling addiction, it’s crucial to at least recognize the addictive nature of it. If you know that it’s a possibility, you have a much better chance of avoiding the negative consequences.

If you’re finding that you’re gambling on a daily or near-daily basis, consider taking a week off. Once you recognize that you can survive without betting on anything for a week, you’ll be in a much better place.

Another component of gambling addiction that’s important to mention is even if you’re winning, that doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have a problem. Simply put, if you’re unable to go a week or more without gambling regardless of your results, then you need to slow down before it has a more serious impact on your life and finances.

The Casino Is Not Your Friend

If you’ve been to a casino recently, you probably noticed that the staff was extremely accommodating, friendly, and seemed to focus on making your experience as good as possible.

If you go to a casino with regularity, you might have even enjoyed some casino comps in the form of a free room, event tickets, or special treatment on the floor.

Somewhere in the back of your mind, you probably know this, but it bears repeating: The casino is not pampering you out of the goodness of their heart. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Female Casino Dealer

Nobody wants to admit it, but when you start racking up freebies from a business whose main objective is taking as much money from you as possible, something just doesn’t add up. In fact, if you’re frequently getting comps, you’re probably one of the casinos biggest customers.

Always treat casino staff with respect, and it is fine to appreciate the friendliness you’ll be shown at most establishments. With that being said, recognize that they aren’t there to help you out, and to them, the more money you lose, the better.

Betting Systems Don’t Really Work

Most gamblers have at least considered the prospect of using casino betting systems. The problem is that while they seem logical and rational, there are some problems that will inevitably show up if you utilize them.

The most popular of all betting systems is probably the Martingale system. This system essentially states that after you lose, you bet the same amount +1 unit until you’re back in the green. The problem is that if you suffer a bad run, and we all do, you could end up down a significant amount of money with no easy way back.

As a general rule, don’t go into the casino thinking that a betting system is going to have you walking out a millionaire. Just think about it—if there was really a foolproof system, the casinos would have found out a way to nullify it. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to gambling success.

Conclusion

Although I believe all of the things included in this article can get overlooked by gamblers, I don’t want to discourage anyone from doing it. In fact, if you play responsibly, you can make some money and have a great time doing it.

Casino Gambler’s Toolkit for Waiting out COVID-19

Man Looking at Watch With a Casino and COVID-19 Background

The coronavirus has definitely soured the land-based gaming market. COVID-19 has forced many casinos to enact social distancing policies or simply remain closed.

That said, you may feel as if the coronavirus is wrecking your gambling fun. However, you can wait out the pandemic and still get your gaming entertainment with the right approach.

This guide discusses more on how COVID-19 is impacting the gaming industry. It also covers exactly what do you need to enjoy gambling in the meantime.

Current Situation With Land Based Casinos

The coronavirus outbreak occurred in China in December 2019. Ever since then, countries have slowly been being affected by this pandemic.

Many industries were quickly hit by COVID-19. Casino gaming has especially been impacted by this virus to a great degree.

Gambling establishments in most parts of the world shut down for a few months. Many have since reopen, only with certain restrictions in place.

First off, casinos are enacting measures to automatically social distance gamblers from each other. One common policy includes requiring that slots players keep at least one machine worth of space between them.

Casino Dealer With a Mask and Barriers

Of course, gamblers must also wear a mask when they’re inside of casinos. Being forced to wear mask is nothing uncommon, considering that people must wear them at workplaces and in businesses.

However, the same people don’t particularly enjoy wearing a mask when they’re trying to have fun in the casino. This is especially true if they’re gambling for quite a while.

What Are Your Options for Casino Gaming Now?

Your options for casino gambling haven’t completely changed just because of the virus. But as you’ll see below, the brick-and-mortar gaming landscape has definitely changed.

Wear a Mask at Casinos

COVID-19 initially forced many casinos to close around the world. Some of these same gaming venues are open again—albeit with some restrictions in place.

First off, you need to wear a face mask when gambling in casinos. Wearing a mask can be bothersome if you plan on long gaming sessions. Secondly, casinos now enforce social distancing measures. For example, some table games require players to be at least one seat apart.

The good news is that you can play at land-based casinos in many countries once again. However, you may not like how the scene has changed.

Play Traditional Online Casino Games

Real money online casinos have been around since the mid-1990s. But they’ve definitely received an uptick in business in light of the current brick-and-mortar gambling situation.

Internet casinos give you the opportunity to enjoy slots and table games just like their land-based counterparts. The key difference, though, is that you can play through a smartphone, tablet, or computer, rather than having to visit somewhere.

Of course, the online gaming experience doesn’t quite replace the social atmosphere available in land-based casinos. However, it at least gives you an outlet to play casino games from your home or anywhere else.

Play at Live Dealer Casinos

Live dealer casinos are part of traditional online gaming sites. But they feature their own section and offer a much different experience than standard virtual table games.

A live casino features a real dealer, table, cards, and chips. You get to interact with the dealer through a chat box. This aspect gives you social interaction that’s simply not available with regular online casino games.

Live Dealer Online Blackjack

The only downside is that you’re looking at all of this action through a screen. Nevertheless, live gaming is the best substitute if you can’t or don’t want to visit a land-based casino.

Everything You Need for a Great Gaming Experience

Perhaps you’re still fine with playing at brick-and-mortar casinos despite all of the new measures in place. Then again, you may be looking for a new experience in the COVID-19 era.

You should be able to find this experience through live dealer and/or traditional online gaming. The following checklist will ensure that you have everything needed for a great gambling experience while the pandemic persists.

A Quality Smartphone

Up until the 2010s, many people played internet casino games through their desktop or laptop computer. These days, though, the large majority of gamblers rely on their smartphones.

A smartphone offers the most convenient way to enjoy internet gaming. It’s portable and allows you to essentially keep a casino in your pocket.

Of course, not all smartphones are created the same. They can differ in terms of their screen sizes and processing units.

Everything regarding a great mobile online gambling experience begins with the quality of your phone. That said, you should get a newer model of an iPhone, Samsung, or other top-notch product.

I’m not suggesting that you have to drop $1,000 on a phone. But you should at least ensure you have one of the better models.

Deposit Money

One great thing about online casinos is that they let you play games for free. You simply need to register for an account to get started.

Of course, you’re probably not playing casino games for free entertainment. Instead, you’ll likely to feel like betting at some point.

Therefore, you will need some money to make a deposit. Luckily, most casinos only require you to fund an account with between $10 and $20.

You can always deposit more money if you feel like playing for mid or high stakes. Again, though, you don’t need much cash to try real money gaming.

Welcome Bonus

You should always check out any available online casino welcome bonuses before officially making your first deposit at a new gaming site. A welcome bonus gives you an opportunity to earn extra money on the side.

These deals typically include a bonus that’s worth a match percentage of your first deposit. They may also throw in free spins too.

Here’s an example of a welcome bonus:

  • A casino offers a 100% match bonus worth up to $200 + 50 free spins.
  • You deposit $100.
  • You now qualify for a $100 bonus + 50 free spins.
  • The $100 is credited to your account immediately.
  • The free spins will be giving out 10 at a time over the next five days.

You’ll be able to cash out the entire $100 upon meeting terms and conditions. Meanwhile, you can withdraw winnings from free spins after satisfying T&Cs.

I definitely suggest reading the terms prior to placing your deposit. This way, you can ensure that a bonus deal is fair.

Online Casino Games

The whole point of going through this checklist is so that you can eventually play internet casino games. Most casinos offer a wide selection that includes hundreds of slots and dozens of table games.

List of Online Casino Slots

Gaming sites differ from land-based casinos when it comes to betting stakes. For example, you can often play many slots for $0.20 per spin and table games for $1 per round. If you’re a low roller, you should definitely appreciate this aspect.

Of course, you can also play for higher stakes if you like betting big. Slots and table game stakes generally go up to $100 and $500, respectively.

Live Dealer Games

You may long for the days of mask-free, land-based casino play. As it stands now, though, nobody really knows when these days will be back again.

The next-best option is currently live dealer gaming. This type of gambling gives you an opportunity to enjoy live baccarat, blackjack, Caribbean stud, roulette, three-card poker, and more.

As explained before, you can chat with the dealer at live casinos. You also get to see regular brick-and-mortar gambling action streamed to your phone or PC.

If you play at a live casino, don’t forget to check if any free bets are available. A free bet gives you an opportunity to win back losses from your first wager.

Conclusion

You still have the ability to gamble in land-based casinos throughout most of the world. But you also need to wear a mask and practice social distancing at brick-and-mortar venues.

Ultimately, you may not feel like dealing with these measures and are simply waiting for the pandemic to slow down. In this case, you can wait out COVID-19 by ensuring that you have all of the essentials.

A quality smartphone, deposit funds, a large bonus, online casino games, and live-dealer gaming are all you need to enjoy gaming now. These factors will help you satisfy your gambling itch until land-based casinos are running at full capacity again.

Things to Consider When Gambling on the Upcoming NBA 2020-21 Season

NBA Basketball With a Money and Court Background

Just over a month ago, members of the Los Angeles Lakers hoisted the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. The Lakers’ championship capped off one of the strangest and most exhausting NBA seasons in recent memories.

While it seems like the season just ended, gamblers have little time to lick their wounds or celebrate their wins. Earlier this week, the NBA announced that the 2020-2021 season will tip-off on December 22.

Let’s face it, winning money gambling on basketball last season was a chore. COVID-19 completely changed the way the NBA conducted its business and altered what seemed to be a  potentially profitable season.

As case numbers continue to rise in the United States, the NBA will not return to a state of normalcy. The on-the-court product will look slightly different, as will the schedule.

To get yourself ready to gamble, here are things to consider about betting on the NBA for the upcoming season.

NBA Rosters Are Still in Transitional Period

In a typical year, teams typically have around a 4.5-5 month break between seasons. But, due to COVID, that break has been cut in half.

Because of this, teams are forced to prepare for the draft, make trades, sign free agents, and ultimately finalize rosters at an alarming rate. Next season tips off in a month, and several teams still have plenty of work to do.

There’s no way to know when gamblers can expect to have complete clarity about finalized rosters. While several teams have already announced moves, the free agency period doesn’t officially begin until Sunday, November 22.

NBA Player LeBron James

You read that correctly: free agency will begin exactly one month and one day before the season starts.

If you’re already desperate to scratch your basketball gambling itch, you should seriously consider pumping the breaks. While certain powerhouses should maintain some consistency, many rosters will look very different in a matter of weeks.

The Top Contenders Might Start Slow

The basketball season is incredibly demanding. A standard 82-game season, combined with travel and a brutal playoff schedule for the top teams, is exhausting for players.

The biggest superstar in the game, LeBron James, already came out and said he’s looking at the early stages of the season as a warm-up.

Players like LeBron are creatures of habit. Many desperately need the offseason to repair their bodies and prepare for the upcoming season. Without the benefit of a regular break, many top contenders could start slow compared to last season. Teams like the Lakers, Heat, Celtics, and Nuggets played meaningful basketball games just over a month ago.

While a shorter offseason has more implications on aging stars like LeBron, expect many top teams to be cautious early on. If certain teams decide to engage in load management, those decisions will impact futures, win totals, and player props.

Futures Will Be Challenging to Hit

As it stands, the Lakers (+350) are slight favorites to win the NBA Championship. Los Angeles is followed by Milwaukee (+500) and the Clippers and Nets (+600).

Each of the top teams has already experienced several shakeups. The Lakers will feature a new point guard in Dennis Schröder, after the team shipped off Danny Green and draft capital to the OKC Thunder.

The Bucks, who are coming off another incredibly disappointing playoff performance, also made significant moves. In what many think is a hail mary to retain Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks traded for Jrue Holiday.

Milwaukee is all in on this season, as one year of Holiday cost Milwaukee Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, and 3 first-round picks.

NBA Bubble 2020

Both of those teams should be safe bets if you’re desperate for action. But, don’t be surprised if either squad continues to make somewhat significant moves.

Meanwhile, it might be a sound decision to stay away from any of the other top contenders, to avoid any betting mistakes. Brooklyn is too unpredictable given the injuries to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Additionally, the Nets’ pursuit of James Harden makes any sort of bet completely inadvisable.

Once again, it would be best if you considered monitoring roster moves and signings as free agency continues. Until gamblers have a better idea about opening night rosters, it’s going to be tough to get proper value on futures.

Consider Starting Out With Low Volume Betting

After the 2019-2020 season resumed earlier this year, basketball fans were greeted with a different product than they are used to it.

The NBA effectively eliminated potential exposure to COVID by playing the rest of the season in isolation. The Florida bubble was highly effective, and the rest of the season went off without any significant drama. Having said that, the version of basketball the NBA gave its fans was different. That difference resulted in some confusion amongst the gambling public as everyone scrambled to figure out the bubble’s impact on outcomes.

The upcoming NBA season will not feature a bubble. That means teams will be back on the road, playing a slightly modified 72-game schedule. Teams will travel less this upcoming season to limit potential exposure and keep the season on track.

While it seems like the NBA has a solid plan in place, there are still several irregularities that you’ll need to account for when gambling. For this reason, professional NBA gamblers should avoid high volume betting until there is a strong enough sample size to base your decisions on.

Some Superstars Will Coast Early

As I mentioned earlier, teams who made deep playoff runs will be reticent to play their rosters to their maximum capabilities. That means stars might see fewer minutes, and teams will demand more from backups and role players.

The load management movement has already dramatically altered the way teams approach the regular season. Now, it seems as though certain teams are perfectly content to play well enough to secure a decent seed without burning out stars.

That might make it challenging to predict player props and the MVP of the regular season. Giannis Antetokounmpo is listed as the favorite (+390) to repeat as MVP. Trailing closely behind is Luke Doncic (+440), who should be a potential MVP candidate for the next decade.

It’s safe to assume that both Doncic and Antetokounmpo will be firing on all cylinders in the first half of the regular season. Antetokounmpo becomes a free agent after this season and is looking to put his postseason woes behind him.

NBA Player Kawhi Leonard

Meanwhile, Doncic will initially be without the assistance of Kristaps Porzingis, who will miss the beginning of the season. If Doncic can continue to improve and carry the Mavs to the playoffs, he will be a formidable MVP candidate to beat.

Both Giannis and Luka very well could be the outliers this season.

Many notable stars, including LeBron, Anthony Davis, James Harden, and Kawhi Leonard, could get off to slow starts.

The Clippers’ sad showing in the bubble led to the firing of head coach Doc Rivers and raised questions about team chemistry. Kawhi Leonard might have something to prove, but his notable absences on back-to-backs decreases his value as an MVP candidate.

Meanwhile, Harden is trying to negotiate his way out of Houston, and it’s unclear which jersey he will be wearing in December.

The NBA Will Be Less Impacted By COVID-19

Both the NCAA Football and NFL seasons have been a whirlwind to follow from a gambling perspective.

Under normal circumstances, Sunday mornings are reserved for fantasy lineup adjustments and last-minute wagers. Now, gamblers have to be hyper-aware of which players and even teams aren’t playing due to exposures.

COVID has dramatically changed the football gambling landscape.

But, betting on the upcoming basketball season should be slightly less unpredictable for gamblers.

The league won’t be able to isolate itself from the rest of the country like it did last season. The plans to keep players healthy and teams intact that they have announced to this point seem promising.

The one difference between the NBA and the NFL that works in the NBA’s favorite is its smaller scope.

There are far fewer players, coaches, and team personnel to manage. Teams should be able to handle the virus more efficiently, which will provide gamblers with some consistency.

Conclusion

The NBA will get back to action in a matter of weeks. For some, that may provide a nice change of pace from a wild NFL season. But, others might struggle with the changes the league has made in response to COVID-19.

Before placing early bets, keep in mind that teams are still tinkering with rosters and will continue to make moves in the next few weeks.

Teams that made deep playoff runs will still be recovering, especially if their roster features aging superstars. Instead of placing ill-advised, under-informed bets, consider betting less frequently early on.

Futures will be challenging to bet on, but several potential wagers should gain value as we get closer to tip-off.

Expect teams to rely on load management to avoid fatigue and early-season injuries.

The sheer unpredictability of 2020 will require you to be locked in if you want to win money this season.

Ways to Improve Your Casino Results in 5 Minutes or Less

Excited Casino Gamblers and an Upward Arrow

I’ve spent 1,000’s of hours learning about casinos and casino games. I’m driven by the desire to find ways to win. And I’ve learned a great deal from this investment of time. And there are some things that I’ve learned that I can pass on to you to save you some time.

It’s still a good strategy to spend time learning about casinos and casino games. But you don’t have to spend forever to learn a few things that can help you now.

Here’s a list of five things you can do in the next five minutes that are going to help you get better results in the casino.

Give up the Slot Machines

Playing real money slots isn’t the worst thing you can do in a casino, but it’s not far from the worst thing. Slot machines have a combination of things that’s deadly to your bankroll.

The first issue with slot machines is that even though they have a small wager amount, they play very fast. In fact, most slots players risk more over time than casino table game players. It’s common to take 500 to 600 spins every hour you play slots, and some players get in even more spins.

You might think that betting $1 or $2 on a spin is cheap, but when you multiply these amounts by 600 spins in an hour you’re risking $600 to $1,200 every hour.

Konami Slot Machines

The second issue is that slot machines have a lower return to player number than most casino games. The return to player number is a percentage of money that the slot machine takes in that it returns to players. The lower the number, the less you get back.

On average, the return to player number for slot machines is 2 to 20 times worse than other casino games. When you have a low return to player number and so many spins every hour, slot machines usually drain your bankroll as fast, or faster, than other casino games.

If you’re wondering what the worst thing you can do in a casino is, it’s usually playing keno. Keno has an even lower return to player number than slot machines. Bingo is another terrible game, though it’s not available in most casinos. And lottery games, which also usually aren’t available in casinos, are even worse.

Get Some Free Stuff

Most casinos offer free thongs to gamblers. Whether it’s free drinks or buffet tickets or casino comps in a land based property, or free bonuses or free play in mobile and online casinos, you can get all kinds of free things if you play in the right places.

Getting a free buffet ticket isn’t exactly the same as winning money, but it does let you send less money. If you don’t have to send $10 or $15 on a meal it’s the same as winning extra money or losing less money.

Many land based casinos have some kind of rewards club or program you can sign up for. You get free comps when you gamble. And you don’t have to do anything other than sign up and gamble like you normally do.

If you play in mobile or online casinos you can get bonuses when you make deposits. Some of these casinos also have rewards clubs.

While getting free stuff from casinos isn’t exactly the same as winning more, it’s still better than not getting free things. Take advantage of every free thing that casinos offer to offset some of your losses. This immediately improves your overall return when you gamble.

Stop Playing New Casino Games

I’m like most casino gamblers. When I see a new game offered in the casino I want to check it out. It can get boring playing the same games every time you go to the casino. So when something new pops up it’s a chance to change things up a little bit.

But you should never play a new game when you first see it in the casino. This isn’t because all new games are bad. The main reasons why playing new games is a bad idea are that you don’t know anything about the return to player percentage and you don’t know if there’s a strategy you can use or how to use strategy if you can use it.

The reason you need to stop playing slot machines is because of the poor return to player numbers. And you have no way of knowing if a new game is just as bad or worse.

New Casino Table Game

The games that offer the highest return to player numbers are games where you can use strategy. I cover some of these games in the final section on this page, but when you use strategy it improves the return to player numbers.

When you find a new casino game, write down the name and when you get home do some research. Find out what the return to player numbers are and see if anyone has developed a strategy that can help you win.

After you learn these things you can go back to the casino and try the new game if you still want to play.

Get Control and Use It

The casinos want to control everything about your gambling experience. They want you to play games where they have a big edge and they want you to play as long as possible, as fast as possible, and risk as much as possible.

This means that there are only so many things that you can control. And you need to take control and use control of as many things as you can in the casino.

You get to choose which games you play and how you play them. You also get to choose how much you bet when you play, and if you use strategy or not. And when you play video poker or slot machines you control how fast you play.

When you play online or mobile casino games you control how fast you play every game. It doesn’t matter if you play slots or blackjack or another table game, you can play at whatever speed you want to play.

Take control of everything that you can when you gamble in the casino. Control how fast you play to limit the total amount you risk. This means that you lose less money.

Play Blackjack, Video Poker, or Baccarat

I recommended that you give up on the slot machines but I didn’t cover what you should play instead. That’s what you’re going to learn in this section.

I recommend three games when you gamble in a casino. two of the games offer extremely high return to player numbers if you use the right strategy. The other game doesn’t really require strategy, and still offers a decent return to player percentage.

Blackjack is almost always the best game in the casino. But you have to use strategy to get the best return to player numbers. Blackjack strategy isn’t extremely hard, but it does take some work.

Casino Baccarat Table

Video poker is another casino game that has a high return to player than most games, but it’s a little more complicated than blackjack. In addition to needing to use good strategy, you also have to find the right machines with the correct pay tables.

These things take some time, but none of it is too hard to do.

Baccarat doesn’t require much in the way of strategy and it has a decent return to player number. It’s not quite as high as good blackjack and video poker games, but the lack of strategy decisions make it a good trade off.

When you play baccarat the only strategy is using the banker wager. This gives you a higher return to player number than other games in the casino except for some blackjack and video poker games.

Conclusion

You need to invest time in learning how to get better results when you gamble in a casino. Even if it takes hours, learning new strategies and skills is beneficial. But every new technique and strategy doesn’t have to take a long time.

You just learned about five ways to get better casino results in less than five minutes. It only takes a second to decide to leave the slot machines behind for good, and this is going to improve your results immediately.

It only takes a few minutes to sign up for the rewards program, so there’s no excuse to play without getting comps. Learn which games are the best to play and stick with them to start getting better results.

Casino Design Factors That Are Completely Intentional

Casino Text With a Casino Floor Background

Casinos have one single goal: to get you to empty out your wallet and wager as much money as possible.

Notice that I didn’t say the objective was to have you lose as much money as possible. Obviously, the house doesn’t want you to clean them out, but the games are all tilted slightly in their favor so the casino will always come out ahead. In fact, they don’t really care whether you win or not.

With this in mind, casino design takes on a heightened importance. In this article, I’ll lay out all the subtle ways casinos design gaming floors in order to encourage more spending.

Ugly Casino Carpets

Just about everything from eye-level up is beautiful at a casino. From the bright, flashing games with their cheerful soundtracks, to opulent chandeliers that hang overhead, it feels as if luxury just comes with the territory. Why, then, are most carpets in casinos notoriously unattractive?

The answer is simply: to keep you from looking down. Yes, the casino takes it that seriously.

Ugly Casino Carpet

Any second that your attention is diverted away from the casino games on the floor is a second that the casino isn’t making any money, now or in the future. When your eyes are up, you’re looking (even if subconsciously) for your next game—meaning the next opportunity for the house to make money.

To be realistic, the design or color on the carpet, no matter how ugly, probably isn’t going to be the difference between a casino staying open or having to shut down. However, it’s even more evidence that there is no detail left unexamined when designing a gaming establishment.

The Location of the Games

If you think the thousands of games spread out over the gaming floor were randomly-placed, you’re missing a major component of effective casino design psychology.

The most profitable games for the house are typically placed in the middle of the floor, because that’s where most patrons tend to spend the majority of their time.

You might be wondering, aren’t the games on the periphery of the floor more accessible? The answer is yes, but they’re also the least desirable. When people visit a casino, they usually want to be in the action. That means they want to be right at the heart of the gaming floor, surrounded by nothing but other gamblers and the endless opportunities to make a huge amount of money.

In most casinos, there’s a very real “central gaming area” that can be found if you walk inward long enough. Although you’ll always have those who prefer to stick to the low-limit tables and lower-risk slots that can be found on the edges of the gaming floor, the majority of players are going to spend most of their time in the middle areas—exactly where the house wants unwary gamblers.

Bathroom Location

Most businesses try to keep the bathrooms either out of sight or as convenient as possible. When it comes to the casino, however, there is much more at play.

You won’t find any bathrooms at the entrance or exit of most casinos. Rather, they’re usually placed toward the middle of the gaming floor (are you seeing a pattern here?). Obviously, this requires patrons to pass through the vast number of games offered on the way to the bathroom.

The casino designers are truly at an advantage when it comes to this particular component of design and layout. They know with almost near-certainty that everyone is going to have to take at least one trip to the bathroom. That gives them more than enough to work with in order to squeeze a few extra dollars out of the bankrolls of unsuspecting players.

The Lack of Clocks

If you’re an experienced gambler who has spent a good deal of time at land based casinos over the years, this one definitely isn’t going to be news to you. If you’re new to the hobby, though, it might come as a surprise that casinos don’t have clocks…or at least don’t have any that are easily visible for gamblers.

Progressive Casino Slots

As I mentioned at the start of this article, the goal of the casino isn’t necessarily to get you to lose as much as possible, but rather to simply bet as much as possible. If they’re able to remove any indications of how long you’ve been at that slot machine, you’re likely going to be pulling those levers for a much longer period of time than you originally had planned.

The good news? It’s easy to fight back against this by simply wearing a watch or looking at your cell phone. Personally, when I visit the casino, I set reminders on my device for every 30 minutes as a reminder that time is, in fact, passing even if I don’t notice it consciously.

The Lack of Windows

You know that casino floor with a great view? I don’t either. Again, another secret casino tactic is they try to remove the concept of time from your sense of awareness. And yes, it has proven to be very effective in getting patrons to spend more money.

I would go into more detail on the subject, but like the idea of removing clocks, a lack of windows is a straightforward concept. When you don’t see that midday sun setting as nighttime begins to fall, the only light you’re really concerned about is the one on the slot machine at which you’re staring.

To reiterate once more, wear a watch! It’s helpful.

The Noises the Games Make

If you’ve ever taken a stroll around a casino floor, you’ve undoubtedly heard the pleasant (or maybe not so much) noises emanating from any number of the vast array off video games. If you listen closely enough, you might just even hear, “Winner!” sprinkled in with regularity.

Unfortunately, these noises (or electronic voices) don’t necessarily indicate much success is being found by the people pulling the levers. Games are programmed to say “winner” even when the haul is merely a few cents.  Hey, I guess it’s better than losing.

When you sit down in front of a digital gaming machine, it’s important to recognize that the singular goal of the machine (or rather, the designer of the machine) is to keep you in that seat as long as possible.

Man in White Tuxedo Playing Slots

Following the theme of keeping you playing as long as possible, there’s one more notable tactic that slot machines employ to encourage you to stick around—the “near-miss.”

Our brains have evolved to recognize a near-miss as something that inspires us to try again. It’s a not-so-subtle reminder that something is possible, even if it didn’t quite work out that time. Simply put, don’t fall for this trick.

You get the exact same amount of money for a total miss as you do for a near-miss, and coming “close” is not an indication that you’ve almost won. Don’t fall for the trick and you’ll save yourself a lot of money.

The Gaming Labyrinth

Have you ever felt like the casino floor was, in many ways, like a maze that was hard to escape? You guessed it—that’s by design, too!

If the house had their way, you’d be walking around in circles, passing game after game while having serious difficulty finding a way out. The more time you spend wandering, the higher the likelihood that you’ll throw a few dollars down on a game of your choice.

Don’t get me wrong, you aren’t actually going to get lost and struggle to get out. However, they certainly don’t make it easy to leave.

Conclusion

Part of the allure surrounding casinos revolves around these psychological design tactics that casinos have been using for decades to keep people hooked…even if just for a day.

As long as you’re able to recognize what’s going on, it shouldn’t cause you to lose any more money than you would have otherwise. Your best tools for combating the casino’s tactics are simply a watch, some common sense, and of course, your bankroll.

With that in mind, find your local casino, pull up a chair, and let the chips fall where they may.

Bad Habits Subpar Blackjack Players Should Break

Blackjack Hand With a Breaking Chain

Blackjack is one of the table games in casinos that everyone should learn to play. It’s among the most popular card games and can be enjoyed by anyone.

Due to the low-entry barriers, blackjack tables are often full of players with varying skill levels. Some players might be professionals, while others could be playing for the very first time.

While casinos should never ward off beginners, there are a few bad habits that are common amongst bad blackjack players. These are far too prevalent in the gambling community. And once they’re picked up, they can be nearly impossible to break.

If you’re still at the early stages of your gambling experience and notice yourself forming bad habits, it’s time to make a change. Here are seven bad habits that real money blackjack players should break immediately.

Failing to Learn Strategy and Casino Etiquette

In casino culture, there is a hierarchy of the types of casino games that gamblers play. For example, fringe gamblers and beginners often lean towards playing slots. While more accomplished ones gravitate towards games that place more of an emphasis on skill.

One of these skill-based games is blackjack. The game is slightly more complicated than others but not tricky enough to scare off new players.

Luckily for anyone who is somewhat new to the game, you can follow an infallible set of rules while learning to play. This is commonly known as the basic strategy of blackjack.

Dealer View of a Blackjack Table

Committing this strategy to memory is the simplest way to succeed at the tables. But if you refuse to consult it, you will risk losing money at an alarming rate.

Similar to basic strategy, standard casino etiquette should be displayed by every single player. Failure to do so can land you in hot water with other players, dealers, and most importantly, the house.

Putting Their Own Spin on Basic Strategy

Gamblers who are incapable of winning money at blackjack often commit the same type of careless mistakes.

As I said, anyone who refuses to play by basic blackjack strategy is essentially thumbing their nose at an institution that is proven to be effective. While you can’t shift the odds in your favor by using basic strategy, you can limit the house edge to less than a percent.

Some people think the best way to gain the upper hand on the house is by taking a few creative liberties. These tactics often involve:

  • Splitting face cards and tens to “increase” the likelihood of blackjack
  • Standing on 12 when the dealer is showing a 2
  • Abiding by the “only split aces and eights” ploy
  • Standing on 15 and 16 when a dealer is showing a strong card

These types of misplayed hands play out at casinos all the time and are one of the main reasons gamblers lose money. Deviating from basic strategy isn’t going to improve your chances. In fact, the opposite is often true.

The more blackjack you play, the more evident this will become.

Playing With the Wrong Crowd

It’s safe to say that most players have a friend or a group of friends that first introduced them to blackjack. It might have been at a party, a casual get-together, or even when you were a kid at summer camp.

One way or another, you came to learn and love one of the most popular card games on the planet. Speaking from experience, the people who introduce you to casino games can often offer you misguided gambling advice. Whatever the reason might be, gamblers can be prone to sharing the wrong information.

It’s always a good idea to cross-check every piece of gambling advice you hear, especially when your hard-earned money is on the line. New gamblers are impressionable, and the lessons they learn early on can stick with them for a long time.

Another common problem I hear about is some gamblers being unable to separate themselves from the pack. They might find it hard to gamble by themselves.

It’s a luxury to be able to gamble with people you enjoy. But you shouldn’t feel locked into a certain group of people. By limiting your gambling experience, you can easily put severe limitations on future earnings.

Not Being Open to Constructive Criticism

Blackjack is a social game. If you choose to play it at a casino, there’s virtually no way you can avoid conversing with other players.

For some of the more extroverted players out there, that probably sounds like a good thing. But if you don’t consider yourself to be a social butterfly, that might seem like a deal-breaker.

Most other gamblers are a joy to be around. The gambling community, at its core, is mostly good. And other players want you to succeed. In games like blackjack, a rising tide lifts all boats.

Casino Floor With Blackjack Tables

One of the things rookie players can’t seem to wrap their heads around is the blackjack culture. Unfortunately, many gamblers believe that the way other players play cards can affect their results as well.

While this is not the case, it means other players can be vocal when you make mistakes. One clear sign of a terrible blackjack player is being unable to handle any form of criticism.

Look, no one likes to be told they’re wrong. But if someone is offering you free advice, you should probably consider taking it.

In these types of in-game situations, it’s always best to verify everything with the dealer. Someone’s heart might be in the right place. But as I said earlier, misinformation is commonplace in casinos.

Letting Other Players’ Prosperity Ruin Their Mood

One of the cardinal rules of casinos is to leave your emotions at the front door. Unpredictable mood swings are a gambler’s worst enemy because they result in losing play.

While this piece of advice can be applied to several situations, there is one scenario in particular where it becomes a must. Winning money at the casino isn’t a given, especially if you’re bad at blackjack. When your gambling trip isn’t going according to plan, it’s quite easy to sulk and bring down the table’s mood.

To make matters worse, oftentimes, someone at your table will win consecutive hands and grow their chip stack.  Newer gamblers—younger ones, in particular—tend to hold feelings of animosity towards players who are succeeding. However, under no circumstance is this acceptable.

Being a buzzkill by resenting other players for playing well is petulant and has no place at the table. You wouldn’t want someone putting a damper on your success, so it’s important to keep a calm mind when gambling for real money.

Drawing the Ire of Other Gamblers

There are far too many different types of blackjack players at the average casino. The diversity makes the gambling experience enjoyable and interesting, but occasionally individual gamblers will stick out. Typically, new gamblers are either shy and unsure of themselves or raucous and braggadocious.

For example, the casino I commonly frequent is next to several colleges. Trust me when I say that one is more confident in their ability than a drunk college student who is gambling for the first time.

Blackjack Hand and Green Casino Chips

It can be irritating to play at a table with someone who is over the top and obnoxious. But if they can back up their excessive noise levels with quality play, there isn’t much to say.

However, new gamblers who are both cocky and terrible at gambling will make few friends and several enemies at the tables. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard when gambling is to act like you’ve been there before. Whether you’re up big or losing your bankroll, carry yourself like a veteran instead of a rookie.

Using Gambling as an Excuse to Drink

One of the biggest gambling mistakes to avoid at the blackjack tables is giving in to the temptation of free alcohol.

When it comes to games like blackjack, players should aspire to be at their best for as long as possible. A couple of drinks might not hurt. But after a while, your winning percentage will nose dive.

I can honestly say I’ve never seen a severely inebriated gambler be successful at blackjack tables. Instead, they often make foolish mistakes and ruin any chances they had of walking away with money.

Conclusion

Gamblers are all too susceptible to forming bad habits that decrease their chances of winning money.

When playing games that are more demanding than others, like blackjack, frequent mistakes are common. That can certainly be the case when analyzing the playing habits of subpar blackjack players.

One of the most common bad habits is an inability to learn and follow basic strategy. Instead, gamblers often choose to play by their own rules, fully expecting to flip the house edge.

Bad blackjack players often refuse to take constructive criticism and choose to get defensive.

While these unfortunate practices are mildly irritating, the most damaging is the tendency to resent other players for winning. Any player who is unable to celebrate the successes of other players is typically reviled.

Hopefully, none of these points are relevant to you. But if you’re like the slew of bad blackjack players who succumb to unfortunate habits, it’s important to recognize your mistakes and move past them.

Are Underground Casinos Illegal in the United States?

Question Mark With Legal Illegal Text

Here’s a question for you—are underground casinos illegal? Well, a lot of that depends on where you live… Or does it?

In this post, I examine the legality of underground casinos in various cities and states. It can really vary, so there’s a thing or two that you ought to know about underground casinos and gambling in general.

Keep reading below to learn more about the legality of underground gambling operations.

What Is an Underground Casino?

Before you can say whether an underground casino is legal or not, you need to know exactly what an underground casino is. Basically, an underground casino is any gambling business or establishment that’s circumventing the law by operating discreetly or “underground.”

This might include your local bar. I used to drink at a bar in Dallas that had three slot machines called eight-liners. And that’s what they were called because they each had eight paylines.

Row of Slot Machines

They weren’t supposed to pay out cash. In fact, if you won money on one of the machines, you didn’t get the money immediately. You had to come pick up your money in an envelope from the owner of the bar on Friday. The bartender kept records of who won each week.

I figure that each of those three games earned at least $100 a day, making them quite a bit of money per week in additional revenue. That could be a significant amount of money for any bar, but especially one that’s small.

Real money slot machines, by the way, are illegal in Texas. This makes that bar, by definition, an “underground casino.”

More Examples of Underground Casinos

The most common example of an underground casino in the Dallas area is the underground poker room or cardroom. These operations were commonplace 20 years ago when I started playing serious poker, but they went through a period where they were getting raided by the vice squad. Many of them closed.

I was friendly with a couple of guys who ran underground cardrooms who served some time on probation and had felony convictions after running these businesses. Yes, those underground cardrooms were illegal. In Texas, you’re not allowed to run a gambling business that collects a rake from poker players. And they were definitely doing that.

In a sense, these underground cardrooms weren’t really casinos because they didn’t offer “casino games.”

I always make a distinction between casino games and poker games because casino games are, by definition, banked by the house. Poker games are banked by the other players.

In the eyes of the state of Texas, though, an underground gambling den is illegal regardless of who’s banking the action.

Enforcement increased when the Winstar started getting bigger. I’m not convinced that this was just a coincidence either.

What Is It Like to Gamble in an Underground Casino?

If you’ve watched a lot of casino movies, you might have some idea about fancy high-roller underground casinos where the patrons are well-dressed, and everyone is drinking something expensive and fancy.

You’ll be disappointed at most underground casinos because that’s not what most of them are like at all.

Most of them are more like the bar I talked about earlier in this post. They tend to be dingy, small, and offer low stakes gambling.

Another example of an underground casino is the “game room.” In Texas, every now and then, someone gets the idea to open a game room. It’s a business that’s full of eight-liners, which are just slot machines by another name.

Rounders Movie Poker Game

They try to skirt the law in various ways. I visited one in a small town once where you weren’t allowed to put actual coins or cash in the machines themselves. You had to buy credits on a card that you inserted into the machines for credits. This was an attempt to stay within the law.

The other funny thing about this game room was how the prizes worked. You couldn’t win cash there, just points. You could use those points to buy prizes from the prize table.

I examined the prizes available on the prize table on a couple of visits. I laughed when I saw that one my options was a six-pack of canned cream style corn. I laughed again when I saw a cheap set of gardeners’ tools.

Slot Machines in Gas Stations and Convenience Stores

Depending on the neighborhood, you can often find convenience stores and gas stations with a bank of eight-liners in them. These are also, by definition, underground casinos. They’re just underground casinos that also offer things like snacks, chips, and gasoline.

These seem to have more luck than the game rooms, probably because they have a plausible business outside of their gambling activities.

Also, for the police to arrest you, they have to be able to prove that you’re running an underground gambling business. Presumably some of the businesses offering these gambling games are good at keeping these activities subtle, secret, and well… underground.

Underground Casinos in Gambling Destinations Like Las Vegas

You’re not likely to find underground casinos in gambling destinations like Las Vegas. The businesses offering gambling activities in a town like Vegas have a lot of money and influence. Why would they not use that money and influence to crush small competitors operating outside of the law?

Also, why would anyone want to gamble at your underground casino when they could just as easily visit a legal, above-ground casino with security, drinks, and scantily-clad cocktail waitresses?

Park MGM Las Vegas

I could be wrong, though. Maybe there are underground casinos all over Vegas. Did you know that there are homeless people living in the tunnels underneath the city?

I’ve read about them, but I don’t think they’re doing any gambling down there. It sounds like they lead a hard-scrabble life and are just barely surviving.

Besides, an “underground” casino isn’t literally underground. It’s a figure of speech.

Underground Casinos Have a Cultural Component

Some cultures and subcultures enjoy gambling activities specific to their heritage. For example, a lot of Asian communities enjoy gambling. If you’re visiting a city big enough to have a Chinatown, chances are good that there’s at least one underground casino in that part of town. And that underground casino probably offers games popular with Asian gamblers. Baccarat is popular among Asian gamblers, so are pai gow, sic bo, and pachinko.

Of course, slot machines seem to be ubiquitous in underground casinos everywhere in the country.

Are Tribal Casinos Considered Underground Gambling?

Several years ago, the United States passed a federal law related to allow Native tribe casinos. These tribes have some degree of autonomy from the United States government but, of course, they must still abide by the law.

Such tribes have agreements with their state governments called “compacts,” and these compacts agree to specific rules related to the operation of casinos by these tribes in these states.

These tribal casinos are NOT underground casinos. They’re operating in full view of everyone with the blessing of the state government, although occasionally, you’ll see a state’s government disagree with the legality of a specific casino. That’s rare, though.

What kinds of restrictions do Indian casinos have? It depends on the state, but one of the common restrictions has to do with the type of gaming the casino is allowed to offer. Until recently, Oklahoma casinos could only offer Class II games and no Class III games.

This means the slot machine games operated like a bingo game where all the players were competing with each other in a parimutuel electronic bingo game. It’s seamless for the customers, but the machines have an LED screen with a bingo card on them. The reels are just for show.

Woman in a Native Tribe Casino

Another restriction that’s common with Native American casinos has to do with how random results are generated. Many times, cards are allowed, but dice and spinning wheels are not.

This has led to some interesting innovations from these casinos who want to offer craps and roulette. They figure out ways to generate results using a deck of playing cards, then “translate” those results into a virtual roll of the dice or spin of the wheel. But the outcomes are always based on the cards that got drawn.

Tribal casinos are likely here to stay, but they’re operating on the up and up.

Conclusion

Yes, according to US gambling laws, underground casinos are illegal. That’s the definition of “underground casino.” If they were legal, they would be aboveground casinos.

And no, most of them don’t look anything like the underground casinos you see in movies. They’re a lot less glamorous.

If you’re a business owner, they’re also risky. Vice squads are no fun to deal with when you’re breaking laws. They also offer little in the way of security, and who knows whether they cheat or not.

My suggestion is to stick with legitimate casinos that are licensed and regulated. Stay away from the underground casinos. You can get more out of your gambling buck at online casinos or make a trip out to a state-regulated establishment for some real fun! Underground casinos just don’t offer a lot of upside.

What the Casino Industry Has Done to Protect Guests From COVID-19

Umbrella With a COVID-19 and Casino Background

For anyone concerned about protecting their health on future leisure and business trips, there are two kinds of land-based casinos:

  1. Full resorts
  2. Simple gaming halls

Some resorts offer more amenities than others but any casino that has its own hotel is facing more complicated issues than a simple gaming hall.

The needs of the resort combine the needs of a local business with a hospitality business.

The needs of the local gaming room or hall are more like the needs of a local restaurant.

Although everyone agrees that the economic fallout out from the worldwide response to the coronavirus pandemic is devastating many communities, casinos fall in the category of businesses where customers and staff come into close, frequent contact.

You don’t even need to sit close to someone in a casino environment to pick up a random virus. They are all over the playing cards, casino chips, tables, and chairs.

Most viruses are too weak or harmless to sicken the vast majority of casino guests. But the novel coronavirus is one of the deadliest such diseases to come along in a long time.

Community health experts were right to be cautious about re-opening casinos to the public. And casino operators have had to be sincere about protecting their patrons because they may not get more than one or two chances to prove they can take reasonable precautions.

Here are seven things casino operators are doing to protect their guests.

Support Research Efforts for Vaccines and Treatments

This may not sound like something casinos need to do but the sooner effective vaccines and treatments are found the sooner the world can get back to living life as people wish.

Some casinos make contributions to medical research just like any other business.

Must they do this? Should they do this?

I doubt many politicians will insist on this kind of support from casino businesses. But their liability insurance costs may go up to reflect the need to assist with medical expenses and protect them from lawsuits if guests become infected.

Casino Slots With Dividers

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say.

While investing in medical research hasn’t been a priority for casino operators, they may have to agree to pay higher local taxes to support public hospitals and clinics. Most people should agree that any venue that attracts large crowds should accept some responsibility for covering spikes in costs of local health crises.

Require Casino Guests and Staff to Use Masks

This is the “no brainer” solution everyone is already aware of. The public is expected to wear masks everywhere in most large cities around the world.

Whether a land based casino accepts a guest that doesn’t wear a mask is another issue. But casinos and local stores have a powerful motivation they can leverage against reticent customers.

They can refuse to do business with anyone who isn’t wearing a mask.

Local convenience stores and other small merchants have asked how they are supposed to compel their customers to wear masks. Small business owners object to being burdened with this responsibility by saying “we are not the mask police”.

Businesses have been enforcing dress codes for decades. It is common to see signs on doors and windows that say “no service will be provided to anyone not wearing a shirt and shoes”.

While these business rules are usually directed at vagrants or casual beach-goers who wander into the wrong places, they have easily been updated to read “no service will be provided to anyone not wearing a mask”.

If you stop in a gas station to buy something and you’re not wearing a mask the clerk only need refuse to take your money.

Stop Using Facial Recognition Technology

While facial recognition systems have been deployed by casinos for at least 10 years, the public has only recently become fully aware of what these technologies can do.

Privacy advocates are already clamoring for governments to regulate and even ban face recognition systems.

Casino surveillance operators are looking for scammers, card counters, and people they’ve banned for any reason. They may benefit directly from these systems but the benefit to their guests is less clear.

Casino Dealer and Guest Wearing Masks

Some security systems may be useful in helping to find lost children, identify violent and dangerous criminals, and provide other occasional benefits to the public.

But the bottom line here is that face recognition systems are designed for casino’s benefit and not for everyone else.

Since guests are required to wear masks when visiting casinos, facial recognition technology will have to be scaled up to interpret masked faces better. There are so many ways that can go wrong.

Casinos need to weigh the risks of continuing to use facial recognition technology against their guests’ needs to maintain safety and privacy. You can expect privacy advocates to raise this issue.

Provide Gloves and Sanitizer to Guests and Visitors

Requiring people to wear masks is one thing. Demanding they provide their own gloves is another.

While not everyone will be comfortable with donning gloves, it’s been easier to persuade the public to wear gloves in a casino if they are provided for free.

Latex-based gloves may be cheap but not everyone can wear them. Some biodegradable materials may be suitable for one-use gloves. Certain sectors of the food industry already uses these kinds of gloves.

Guests have been asked to use hand sanitizers placed close to gaming consoles and tables, too. Anything the casino industry can do to make it easier for gamblers to stay clean and healthy will be a major plus for the industry. These are low-cost ideas that have already been adopted by most retailers.

It’s common in American grocery stores to see a roll of paper towels or sanitizing wipes next to every entrance. While these dispensers run out of product quickly, casinos can afford to replace them throughout the day.

Upgrade Restroom Amenities

It’s creepy to see a guy standing in the corner of the restroom offering to clean your hands or help you with other sanitary needs. Some night clubs allow local vendors to work their restrooms and some casinos keep a staff member in there to prevent guests from engaging in embarrassing activities.

But most people get used to these special service providers and even tip them generously. They may be able to encourage people to wash their hands more often.

Every business with public facilities have had to give considerable thought to upgrading how they expect their guests to stay clean. And for many that meant replacing all existing faucets, hand-drying options, and toiletries.

It’s an expense that could save lives and keep a business open. It’s an expense that will be considered by many local governments. Even if most businesses are deemed incapable of paying for upgrades there won’t be much economic sympathy for large venue operators like the casino industry.

Install Plastic Sheeting and Dividers

While a simple plastic barrier doesn’t guarantee to stop the spread of pathogens it’s much better than nothing. Stores and food processing companies have already installed hanging or rigid plastic barriers.

Casinos have been able to do the same thing. They’ve had to solve some simple structural problems but instead of removing games and tables from their floors, they want to give players some protection.

No one wants to wear a hazmat suit while gaming but plastic barriers serve a useful purpose.

Blackjack Table With Dividers

This is no time for companies to care about the aesthetics of plastic sheeting. If anything they should have done this years ago because it’s healthier.

But with the simple solution comes the problem of maintenance. You can’t just set up a plastic wall between two game consoles and leave it there. These things become gross very quickly.

Casino employees have to clean the barriers. And the sanitization procedures have become onerous.

While there may be pushback in the industry sooner or later individual privacy and health needs are priorities.

Game console designers may have to rethink how they create their equipment. Some consoles are already standalone games but it will take time to replace all game consoles. Temporary measures may be more cost-effective.

On-Call Medical Staff

Whether it’s a full-time nurse or just someone trained to take temperatures, casinos have been expected to go the extra mile and provide guests with some in-house medical prevention.

Taking people’s temperatures in public is a questionable practice but the practice was widely adopted in China and other countries. Casinos have been in a better position to test remote temperature-checking technology than other businesses.

There have been ethical and legal questions around such proposals. Again, some casinos have had pushback against the idea, but Macau’s casinos have already set the standard by checking temperatures.

The rest of the casino industry learned many lessons from how Macau has handled COVID-19.

Conclusion

The short-term debate over how to run casinos during the pandemic has been resolved rather quickly.

The long-term question of how to keep casinos safe for the public requires thought, discussion, and some experimentation. Because it’s in the casino operators’ best interests to protect their guests they’ll quickly adapt to the new requirements.

Esports Betting Has Boomed in 2020 – Here’s Why

Esport 2020 Text With a Money and Gamer Background

Esports betting has experienced rapid growth over the past decade. However, it has especially seen an uptick in 2020.

Many people are experiencing esports gambling for the first time this year. In turn, bookmakers are taking advantage of this situation to boost their bottom line.

What’s up with the extra crazy growth in 2020? Below, I’ll explain why this year has been so good to esports betting sites.

Coronavirus’ Impact on Traditional Sports Betting

Traditional sports run year-round. You can look forward to NFL football and soccer in the fall, basketball and hockey in the winter and baseball in the summer.

Therefore, you always have something to bet on with regard to sports. But the coronavirus has taken it’s toll on sports by reducing the amount of games available to bet on in 2020.

As you probably already know, COVID-19 currently makes it unsafe to pack stadiums full of fans. Bookmakers, who fully rely on sports to make revenue, are also struggling during this period.

Sportsbooks have turned to esports in an effort to continue generating revenue. They’ve had quite a bit of success with this type of gambling, considering that esports were already becoming more popular before COVID-19.

Empty Sports Betting Lounge

Despite their rising popularity, esports have still taken a backseat to the most-popular sports. Now, though, they’re enjoying the centerstage all to themselves.

Bookmakers are offering more esports markets than ever before. They’re also featuring plenty of live wagering opportunities—something that hasn’t always been the case in the past.

Those who love sports betting are desperate for as many things as possible to gamble on. They don’t care whether they’re risking money on video games or ping-pong.

Therefore, esports have managed to draw more fans during the coronavirus pandemic. Going further, their popularity is accelerating even faster than before.

Gambling Esports Nearly the Same as Betting on Sports

Before COVID-19 hit, many gamblers had yet to wager on video game competitions. Again, the average bettor sticks to standard sports.

But when sports leagues became sidelined, many people have taken the time to learn about esports betting. They’ve discovered that wagering on video game events isn’t much different than regular sports.

After all, esports gambling uses the same odds and wager types as betting on the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL. Anybody who was already well-versed with betting on these leagues has experienced little trouble adjusting to esports wagering.

Regarding the odds, esports betting sites use American, decimal, and fractional odds. These are the same types of odds that are used for regular sports.

Esports bet types include moneylines, totals, outrights, prop bets, live wagers, and futures. Almost every one of these bets is also available for sports too.

An outright are the only exception to this rule. It sees you wager on which team will win a particular video game tournament.

Aside from maybe outrights, sports bettors have felt completely comfortable crossing over into the gaming world. The only differences involve the players and teams that they need to handicap to be successful.

Esports Betting Has Already Been Rising Anyways

As mentioned before, esports gambling has been a growth industry for a while. It has experienced a boom right along with esports competitions in general.

The latter has seen its fanbase increase exponentially over the last several years. Thanks to celebrity investors and more interest than ever before, esports events now compete with traditional sports in terms of viewership.

For reference, over 100 million people watch the League of Legends (LoL) World Championship. This viewership even beat the Super Bowl audience!

League of Legends Screenshot

The growth for esports shows no signs of slowing down. In turn, esports gambling also figures to have a bright future.

Experts forecast this industry will be worth $1.8 billion by the end of 2020. This forecast is quite impressive when considering that the industry was only worth $24 million in 2015.

COVID-19 has provided a jolt to an industry that is already drawing countless new fans every day. It has forced traditional sports leagues to shut down and allowed esports to shine.

Esportsbooks Are Luring Gamblers With Bigger Bonuses

Esports betting isn’t the only type of online gambling that has benefited from the pandemic. Online bingo, casinos, and poker sites have all seen an uptick in customers as well.

Everybody is looking for things to do while many industries either feature limited hours or are shut down completely. The internet gambling industry has taken advantage of the situation to the fullest.

Casinos, poker rooms, and esports betting sites are offering even larger online bonuses than ever before. They want to capitalize on all of the new potential gamblers.

As for esportsbooks, they’re featuring large free bets and deposit bonuses. Typically, these sites only offer one or the other.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of these opportunities while they’re hot, here’s more on what to expect with free wagers and deposit bonuses:

Free Bet

You receive a free wager worth up to a certain size (e.g. $25). Assuming you lose your first bet, you can recover the losses by meeting playthrough.

Here’s an example:

  • An esports betting site offers a $25 free wager.
  • You bet $25 and lose.
  • Playthrough is 6x.
  • 25 x 6 = $150
  • You must wager $150 to get the $25 loss back.

This offer only kicks in if you actually lose the bet. Assuming you win the first wager, then you just collect your profit.

Deposit Bonus

This deal matches a percentage of your first deposit. You need to satisfy playthrough before withdrawing the bonus funds.

Here’s an example:

  • A bookmaker offers a 100% match deposit bonus worth up to $200.
  • You deposit $100, thus qualifying for a $100 bonus.
  • Playthrough is 20x.
  • 100 x 20 = $2,000
  • You must wager $2,000 before cashing out the $100 bonus.

These offers typically force you to bet above certain odds (e.g. only bets at -150 or better count). Otherwise, you could just back heavy favorites and have an easier time meeting playthrough.

Will Esports Gambling Retain Its New Fans?

Esports betting sites won’t continue drawing new customers at the same rapid rate when the coronavirus slows down. They’ll face more competition from traditional sports once again at this point.

However, they’ve undoubtedly taken advantage of the pandemic. Sportsbooks have introduced new people to a form of wagering that they might’ve not tried otherwise.

NBA 2K21 Screenshot

Some of these new fans will divide their bankroll between other sports when the opportunity arises again. Others will leave esports betting behind and never look back.

The end result, though, is that more people are aware of this type of gambling than ever before. The same bettors who only found esports due to COVID-19 will consider wagering on video game competitions in the future.

If esports as an entire industry is to grow and compete with regular sports, then two things need to happen:

  1. Continued investments from outside sources
  2. Big TV deals

The investments have been rolling in from celebrities and wealthy businesspeople. Savvy investors see both competitive gaming and esports betting as growth industries that’ll offer a nice return. Therefore, esports probably won’t need to worry about outside money coming in for a while.

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Regarding TV deals, gaming has already benefited from a relationship with ESPN. The world’s largest sports network covers various games, including Dota 2, Hearthstone, LoL, and NBA 2K.

But the industry could always use another major television deal or two. After all, TV currently brings in more advertising revenue than live streaming.

Of course, gambling figures to be a key cog in making both the advertising and investments happen. Betting has driven the popularity of sports for decades and figures to do the same for video gaming.

So far, everything seems to be falling into place in this regard. Bookmakers are drawing more action from esports gambling than ever.

Conclusion

Esports betting saw tremendous growth last decade and bookmakers are still working to make it more widely available for sports bettors. They went from obscure competitions to becoming a global phenomenon.

Competitive gaming has kicked off 2020 in the right way. Fueled by traditional sports shutting down during COVID-19, both esports competitions and betting sites have experienced major success.

Video game leagues and tournaments remain one of the few things to bet on while sports are sidelined. Therefore, many new fans/bettors have rushed to the industry.

The growth will no doubt slow down once the pandemic does. Even then, though, some gamblers who’ve recently found esports will continue wagering on them.

Bugsy Siegel and “The Syndicate” Set Up Shop on the Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas Sign and Bugsy Siegel

These days, the glitzy resort casinos that define Las Vegas in the minds of millions are largely owned by corporate entities. But despite the progress made by mega companies like Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts, the seeds of Sin City were planted by bold entrepreneurs who made their own gamble on the casino gambling industry.

Beginning in the 1940s, these pioneers realized the potential held by a dusty outpost in the Nevada desert by building the Silver State’s first casinos. In the first installment of an ongoing series, we’ll look at the life and times of Bugsy Siegel, the mobster turned manager of The Flamingo, one of the very first casino resorts on the Strip.

Brief Background and Biography of Bugsy Siegel

Long before he became the notorious leader of the Murder Inc. crime syndicate, “Bugsy” was born in 1906 as Benjamin Siegel in a low-income Brooklyn neighborhood. Like many children of European immigrants during that era, Siegel quickly decided to ditch school altogether in favor of joining a street gang.

A string of petty crimes soon ensued after Siegel joined a gang, as he and other Jewish youths threatened shop owners and shook them down for paid protection. Siegel eventually hooked up with Meyer Lansky to form a small-scale mob which expanded into bootlegging and other lucrative illicit ventures. By the tender age of 21, Siegel had already committed several gangland murders to “off” rivals, while palling around with mob legends to be like Al Capone.

Siegel’s proficiency with a pistol led him to become a sought-after hitman, a trade he flourished in as the leading figure of Murder Inc. Essentially, when mob families needed a professional killer to do their dirty work, Siegel and his underlings accepted the contracts in exchange for cash and favors.

Siegel’s skills weren’t limited to violence, however, as he also flourished in the murky world of underground gambling. By the mid-1930s, with his Murder Inc. activities bringing down “heat” from major Mafia crime families, Siegel’s boss sent him to Nevada a la Fredo Corleone in “The Godfather.”

Bugsy Siegel Mug Shot

His objective in Nevada involved furnishing illegal services by night to members of the work crew constructing the Hoover Dam. Drugs and prostitution reigned supreme, but with legal casinos providing for the workers’ gambling needs, Siegel spotted an opportunity to go legit.

Before he could capitalize on legal casinos in Las Vegas, however, Siegel was dispatched to California to extend the mob’s reach from coast to coast.

Once there, Siegel successfully gained control over the Golden State’s various illegal gambling enterprises in the name his bosses back east, in an ambitious scheme they dubbed the “National Crime Syndicate.”

In 1944, following a brief incarceration on charges of bookmaking and racketeering, Siegel realized that another change of scenery was in order. With that, he picked up stakes and headed to neighboring Nevada to make his biggest gamble yet.

Siegel Takes Over the Flamingo Casino and Starts the Strip

At this time, the beating heart of the Nevada gambling scene was located in downtown Las Vegas along Fremont Street.

Siegel initially sought to stake his claim Downtown by purchasing the El Cortez casino, but local gaming officials used his criminal background to block the acquisition. Forced to adjust on the fly, Siegel expanded the scope of his search to include areas that were technically outside of city limits, and out of the Las Vegas authorities’ jurisdiction.

Other entrepreneurs had the same idea, including a publishing magnate by the name of Billy Wilkerson. In 1945, Wilkerson was hard at work breaking ground on a property he envisioned as the biggest and brightest casino resort in town. Wilkerson’s project was centered on a plot of land a few miles south of Downtown along a largely deserted roadway which eventually became Interstate 15.

Vintage Flamingo Las Vegas Photo

At the time though, this undeveloped desert land held nothing but promise, plus a handful of “sawdust joints,” or old-school gambling halls that skimped on the frills players enjoy today.

Wilkerson’s dream was a full-scale resort combining a casino with a hotel tower, swimming pool, golf course, concert hall, and several other amenities previously unheard of in Las Vegas.

Unfortunately for him, those dreams soon drained Wilkerson’s bank account, and he found himself in desperate need of additional funding to the tune of six figures.

Enter the ambitious Siegel and his mob connections back on the East Coast… With no need to disclose his true identity or background, Siegel and his associates made Wilkerson an offer he couldn’t refuse. No, not that kind of offer, simply an infusion of a half-million dollars to turn Wilkerson’s casino visions into reality.

Of course, what began as a joint investment quickly turned into the shake down to end all shake downs. Enamored with the Las Vegas lifestyle and its lucrative nature, Siegel strongarmed Wilkerson out of the latter’s share in the casino project.

After naming the joint The Flamingo Hotel and Casino, inspired by a long-legged paramour who loved wearing pink gowns out on the town, Siegel set to work. Soon enough, thanks to investments made by Lansky and the boys back in New York, Siegel was spending exorbitant sums to complete the most glamorous casino in all of Las Vegas.

In December of 1946, having co-opted his partners’ expenditure of $6 million—nearly $80 million in 2020 when adjusted for inflation—The Flamingo finally opened its doors. Siegel had spent the last year promising his mob cohorts a tremendous return on their investment, owing to The Flamingo’s supposed appeal for high rolling “whales.”

Unfortunately for him, a rushed opening ensured that those whales never showed up…

Arrogance and a Bad Attitude Sever Mob Ties

Having spent countless thousands to hire celebrity entertainers, Siegel expected wealthy gamblers from around the Southwest would flock to The Flamingo.

But when the venue held its highly anticipated grand opening, only the casino and lounge were fully functional while the hotel tower was still under construction. Gamblers were greeted by the constant background noise of construction crews, and with nowhere to stay onsite, they inevitably left in favor of staying in downtown casinos where the hotel was operational.

The losses began mounting almost immediately, with The Flamingo’s casino intake failing to make up for the continued cost of hotel construction. Siegel’s temper flared with regularity, and he was even seen berating a family who had the nerve to complain about the noise.

Soon enough, as the flow of cash his investors expected dried up, the mob’s leadership began pondering possible explanations for the shortfall. Lansky, who by that point was based in Cuba to control the island’s thriving casino industry, began openly speculating about Siegel’s possible malfeasance in conversations with his criminal cohorts.

In his memoirs, fellow East Coast gangster Charles “Lucky” Luciano penned the following indictment issued by Lansky during a meeting of mob figures known as the Havana Conference:

“Bugsy had skimmed this dough from his building budget, and he was sure that Siegel was preparing to skip as well as skim, in case the roof was gonna fall in on him.”

Lansky based his suspicions on a rumor that Siegel’s girlfriend in Las Vegas was secretly funneling major amounts of money to a shielded Swiss bank account.

Whether those rumors were true was beside the point when it came to the mob’s code of “honor.” With Lansky abstaining from the vote, attendees of the Havana Conference voted to issue a contract on Siegel’s life.

Siegel, for his part, attempted to stall in hopes that The Flamingo’s hotel opening would generate the financial windfall he had long promised. After the hotel’s completion in early 1947, his vision for The Flamingo finally began coming to fruition. Well-heeled gamblers showed up from Los Angeles and back east, putting The Flamingo back into the black for the first time.

It was a classic story of “too little, too late” for Siegel, however, as the contract on his life remained in effect.

Bugsy Siegel Crime Scene

While enjoying a quiet evening at his home in Beverly Hills, the 41-year-old Siegel was assassinated via multiple gunshot wounds from a military grade machine gun. In an apocryphal tale, Siegel was said to have been shot directly through the eye, but autopsy documents confirm his eye socket actually suffered from exit wounds.

In any event, Siegel’s life and death were used by author Mario Puzo in his book “The Godfather” to create the greedy casino owner character Moe Greene. To this day, mafia aficionados refer to a gunshot through the eye as the “Moe Greene Special.”

Siegel’s Legacy Lives on in Casino Mega-Resorts

While he may not have lived long enough to see The Flamingo flourish, Siegel’s vision for a flashy home for high-rollers lives on today.

After the new ownership group led by fellow mobster Moe Sedway took over, The Flamingo soon became the most profitable casino resort in Sin City. Topline entertainers like Sammy David Jr. and Lena Horne headlined the nightly shows, and Las Vegas’ first property-wide air conditioning system left guests gambling in comfort day and night.

Sahara Casino Las Vegas

Six years after opening its doors, The Flamingo was followed by a second major casino resort on the Strip when Sahara debuted. Tropicana (1957), Tally-Ho (1963–now known as Planet Hollywood), Caesars Palace (1966), and Circus Circus (1968) eventually rounded out the Strip’s casino lineup modern gamblers know and love.

But without Ben “Bugsy” Siegel betting it all on The Flamingo, the world’s leading casino destination along the Las Vegas Strip may have never existed at all.

Conclusion

The sanitized corporate casinos of the modern era may not like to admit it, but their place in Las Vegas history originated with an uneducated gangster who grew up on the streets of Brooklyn. By realizing that casinos could become all inclusive centers for every form of entertainment—dining, dancing, and hob-knobbing with celebrities—Bugsy Siegel revolutionized the industry.

While he wound up meeting his end in grisly fashion, and never had the pleasure of seeing The Flamingo strut its stuff, Siegel’s conception of a full-scale casino resort remains the template in 2020. And fittingly enough, while competitors from Las Vegas “golden age” have fallen by the wayside, The Flamingo’s bright pink façade still shines brightly amidst the Strip’s skyline.

Sweepstakes Casinos vs. Real Money Online Casinos

VS Text With Laptop and Casino Table Game

Real money online casinos have been around since the mid-1990s. They give you the opportunity to play real money casino games through your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Sweepstakes casinos, on the other hand, are somewhat new when compared to traditional gaming sites. Therefore, you might not know how real money and sweepstakes casinos differ.

This page covers how both types of gaming sites work. It also dives into the main ways that they differ and which kind of casino you should choose.

What Is a Real Money Casino?

People have been gambling valuable items for thousands of years. Real money casinos take this historic approach to gaming.

They see you deposit and place bets in real currency. Many of them also provide the option to display your bets in different currencies.

Vegas Lux Online Slots Game

If you’re from Canada, for example, you’ll select the CAD option. Assuming you’re from the United States, you’ll choose USD.

Once your account is funded, you can visit the games section and start playing games. Online casinos typically feature a nice mixture of games, including slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and more.

How Does a Real Money Casino Work?

The name “real money casino” suggests that you must risk cash to play. However, the truth is that you can play at these sites without depositing.

Most online casinos require you to register for an account. But some casino sites even let you play for free without signing up.

Once you’re ready, you can simply open a game and start playing. If you see an interesting slot, for instance, you just launch it and begin spinning the reels.

Of course, you do need to be a registered member and deposit before placing real money bets. Here are the steps towards completing this process:

  1. Sign up for an account.
  2. Visit the banking section.
  3. Choose a banking method.
  4. Enter the amount that you’d like to deposit.
  5. Complete the transaction.

After depositing, you can start playing real money slots and table games. Upon opening a game, you simply choose your stake size and begin wagering.

What Is a Sweepstakes Casino?

Sweepstakes contests have been around for decades. Publishers Clearing House (PCH) made sweepstakes incredibly popular in the 1980s and ‘90s. The McDonald’s Monopoly continues to serve as one of the most popular models today.

Sweepstakes gaming sites are a hybrid of casinos and PCH/Monopoly. They feature typical online casino games, such as blackjack and slots. However, they also allow you to participate in contests and mail in to request more coins. The contests and mail-in aspects are where the sweepstakes factors come into play.

By nature, sweepstakes casinos don’t constitute real money gambling. Instead, they see you wager play-money coins in casino games.

They do feature some elements that make them similar to traditional online gaming in a roundabout way. Namely, you can exchange coins for virtual currency, which can be traded for money.

How Does a Sweepstakes Casino Work?

Sweepstakes gaming is similar to playing at regular online casinos. The key difference, though, is that it doesn’t revolve around a real money model.

You typically receive free coins or chips after signing up. These coins let you play the various games at a sweepstakes casino. Your goal is to use these coins to boost your bankroll. Assuming you lose your bankroll, you can reload it by purchasing more coins.

This process works just like placing a deposit at an online casino. You visit the banking area, choose a deposit method, and buy a coin package.

Sweepstakes Casino Game Select Screen

Sweepstakes casinos usually offer online bonuses for buying larger packages. For example, you might receive an extra 10,000 coins when you buy 100,000.

These gaming sites give you the opportunity to win bonuses through mail-in requests and social media, too. For example, a sweepstakes casino might give away coin packages to five people who like and comment on a post.

For the most part, sweepstakes gaming isn’t about real money play. However, many of these casinos provide the ability to exchange coins for some type of virtual currency.

You can then turn around and trade this virtual currency for money. In a roundabout way, you’re able to play for cash at many sweepstakes sites.

How Do Real Money and Sweepstakes Casinos Differ?

Sweepstakes and real money gaming certainly have key differences. Below, you can see the biggest ways in which they differ.

Sweepstakes Casinos Are Legal Nearly Everywhere

Traditional online casinos are available in many states and countries. In some cases, these gaming sites are even 100% legal and regulated.

However, real money gaming isn’t generally as accepted across the board. After all, most people still see these casinos as strictly gambling.

Sweepstakes gaming sites largely avoid the gambling distinction among players and governments. They use a unique model that helps them work around many laws. First off, sweepstakes casinos don’t see you directly play for cash. Instead, you receive and wager play-money coins.

You can trade these coins for virtual currency, which are actually worth something. But these casinos skirt the law by using a free-play model (at least initially) and sweepstakes contests.

Only Washington state and Washington DC ban sweepstakes casinos. Other states and US territories allow them, or at least tolerate them.

Real Money Casinos Are Only Legal in Some States

Real money gaming sites are considered much closer to gambling than the sweepstakes variety. They see you place a deposit and actually risk cash to win money.

Considering that they fall under the gambling umbrella, real money casinos face more legal scrutiny. Politicians mull over legal online gaming for months or years before passing legislation.

Most of the US gambling laws don’t go strongly for or against online gambling. Therefore, many offshore casinos serve gray market states with no legal troubles. But then again, offshore casinos don’t hold licenses or approval from the states they serve.

Sweepstakes Gaming Sites Don’t Let You Win Real Money (Directly)

Sweepstakes casinos give off the appearance being like real money sites. They feature fun games like baccarat, blackjack, roulette, and slots.

The key difference, though, is that they don’t let you wager money to win cash. Instead, you must take the following steps to win money:

  1. Buy coins or earn them through contests.
  2. Wager these coins through casino games (you can’t immediately trade free coins for virtual currency).
  3. Trade the coins for whatever virtual currency the casino offers.

The fact that you can eventually get money through sweepstakes gaming is appealing. However, you’ll need to go through a convoluted process to make it happen.

You Can Win Cash at Real Money Gaming Sites

Real money casinos offer a rather simple process towards earning money. You deposit, play games, and cash out winnings.

You don’t need to get play-money tokens, spin them into virtual currency, trade that currency for cash, and then withdraw money. No, you just play casino games and try to win.

Games Look Different at Sweepstakes Casinos

The traditional online gaming industry features plenty of unique games. It draws from dozens of software providers to deliver countless games to players.

Diamond Fiesta Online Slots Game

Nevertheless, you’ll still notice that sweepstakes casinos offer unique-looking games compared to the regular gaming industry.

Sweepstakes casino games feature a glossier appearance. They also have more-playful graphics than what the average casino does.

Real Money Casinos Offer More Games

When measuring the number of games between sweepstakes and real money casinos, the latter easily wins out regarding quantity.

The average real money casino boasts hundreds of online casino games. I’ve played at some casinos that feature 1,500+ game titles.

Sweepstakes gaming sites do provide some level of variety. You’ll typically find 50+ slots and a few table games. However, these casinos simply don’t have the same variety as what you’ll find through real money gaming.

Conclusion

If you’re strictly looking to gamble and play for big jackpots, then you should focus on traditional online casinos. Real money gaming sites give you an opportunity to bet and win money.

They also feature immense variety. You’ll enjoy hundreds of slots and dozens of table games at the average online casino. Sweepstakes sites make for nice fill-ins if you don’t have access to real money casinos. What you should understand about sweepstakes casinos is that they boast fun games and the ability to win cash through a bit of a convoluted structure.

But you may prefer sweepstakes gaming if you’re just a casual player. It offers a social media element and doesn’t typically cost much.

In summary, your personality will determine which type of gaming you’re most comfortable with. For me personally, though, I go with real money casinos due to the serious win potential. I think true rewards are a result of true risks. Good luck with your gambling!

Gambling Activities to Try If You’re Tired of Playing Blackjack

Images of Various Casino Table Games

Blackjack is the game of choice in the casino for gamblers who’re looking for a high return to player percentage. But you have to play by a strict set of strategies if you want to have the best chance to win, and this can get boring.

If you’re looking for some variety when you’re gambling there are plenty of options. But some of these options are so bad that you need to avoid them. On the other hand, some options are almost as good as blackjack.

Here’s a list of five gambling options you can try when you get tired of playing real money blackjack.

Let It Ride Poker

The first two games on this list are for blackjack players who don’t want to stray too far from blackjack. Both of the games in these first two sections are table games, but they’re based on poker instead of blackjack. If you want to stay as close as possible to blackjack but still want a change of pace, check out the last section in this article.

Let It Ride is a fun poker game available in some casinos. You can also play Let It Ride on mobile casinos and online casinos.

You start by placing three wagers of the same size and you receive three cards. You have the option to pull one wager back or let it ride. The dealer also places two cards face down on the table. After you make your first choice the dealer turns over one card.

Las Atlantis Let It Ride Poker

At this time you can either pull a wager back or let it ride. The dealer then flips over the second card and you get paid if your three cards and the two cards on the table form a paying hand.

The main thing that makes Let It Ride fun is that you have some control over how much you’re risking. If you have a good three card hand you can let all of your wagers ride, but if your hand is bad you have the opportunity to pull back two wagers and save some money.

You can use a fairly simple strategy when you play Let It Ride, but it’s not as good of a game as blackjack. The return to player percentage is worse than most blackjack games. But it’s a great way to play something different for a bit until you’re ready to get back in action at the blackjack table.

Mississippi Stud Poker

Mississippi Stud poker is another game where you have a lot of control over how much you bet during the hand. You can wager from one to 10 times your starting wager, depending on how the hand plays out.

To start a game of Mississippi Stud poker you make an ante wager. Then you get two cards and the dealer places three cards face down on the table. This is like the flop in Texas holdem, but the cards are revealed one at a time and there’s not a turn or river.

When you see your two cards you can fold the hand or place another wager of one, two, or three time your antes. So if your ante is $10, you can wager $10, $20, or $30. Then the first face down card is turned over. You can fold or make the same three wagers as you just had the opportunity to make. Then the second card is turned over and you have the same wagering options. Finally, the third card is turned over and you get paid if you have a winning hand based on the pay table.

If you’ve been adding up the wager options you can see that with a $10 ante wager you invest anywhere from $40 to $100 to reach the end of the hand. But you can fold at any time and save money. If you fold before the first card is turned over on the board your total loss is only $10.

This sounds like a game where you might have a chance to win in the long run because you can bet so much more when you have a good hand. This makes the games fun, but even playing with good strategy still has a lower return to play percentage than blackjack and Let It Ride.

High Return to Player Video Poker Games

Some video poker games have a return to player percentage similar to blackjack games. This makes these games a good option for blackjack players because you have roughly the same chance to win and are going to lose close to the same amount in the long run if you risk close to the same amount.

The key is playing the right video poker games. Notice that the title of this section is high return to player video poker games.

Online Casino Video Poker

In order to find these machines you have to learn which video poker variations are the best and you have to find machines with the right pay tables. And then you have to use strategy to make sure the return to player number is as high as you can make it.

The good news is that if you already know how to use blackjack strategy that it’s easier to use video poker strategy. And just like blackjack, you can get a strategy card for the most popular video poker variations.

Texas Holdem Poker

Smart blackjack players can beat the game, and smart Texas holdem players can beat the game. This is the main reason why Texas holdem is the best alternative for bored blackjack players.

The problem is that it’s hard work to beat either of these games.

The correct strategy for Texas holdem is much more complicated than blackjack strategy. But if you find a holdem table filled with bad players you can make a profit even if you make some mistakes.

I recommend picking up a couple decent poker books to help you get started. You need to learn as much as you can, but sometimes you have to get some playing experience to learn everything you need to know.

If you’re smart enough to beat blackjack, you’re smart enough to beat Texas holdem. It’s just going to take some work.

I can count cards and I’m a winning Texas holdem player. But it took close to 10 years to learn how to do both at a profitable level. It might not take you as long, but don’t expect to learn everything you need to know in a few months.

It’s much easier to concentrate on one game or the other. It’s also a much faster path to profits when you concentrate on one game.

Texas holdem poker is still a good game to learn. You can practice for free on your mobile device or online, and you can start playing for small stakes. This is a good opportunity to improve your skills without risking too much money.

Spanish 21 Variation

Spanish 21 is a variation of blackjack, so it’s a good choice if you want a change of pace but don’t want to stray too far. And if you learn the best strategy, Spanish 21 has a return to player percentage close to the best blackjack games.

The important thing to know is that the strategy for Spanish 21 isn’t exactly the same as regular blackjack strategy. So if you’re going to play Spanish 21 take some time to learn the important strategy differences.

Spanish 21 Blackjack Table

Spanish 21 is basically a blackjack game that has almost every good rule that you can think of. The trade off is that there are no 10’s in the deck. This reduces your chance of getting a blackjack, but all of the other good rules really make a big difference.

Another good reason to consider playing Spanish 21 if you’re a blackjack card counter is that there’s usually less heat on the game than on the regular blackjack tables. Counting is a little different in Spanish 21, but you can use it to beat the game.

Conclusion

If you can learn all of the strategies that you need to win, Texas holdem is the best choice on this list if you’re a blackjack player. But if you’re looking for a change of pace that’s a great deal like blackjack, Spanish 21 is a good game.

High return video poker games offer about the same return to player percentages as blackjack, so they’re a good option. If you’re looking for a new table game, check out Mississippi Stud Poker or Let It Ride Poker.

When you stick with one or more of the five options listed in this article you’re avoiding the worst games while still changing the pace a bit when you gamble.

Gambling Activities to Try If You’re Tired of Playing the Lottery

Online Baccarat and Keno Cards

Are you tired of buying lottery tickets, checking your numbers, and then throwing your losing tickets away? This get tiresome quickly, and many lottery players are looking for a better option.

The reason why you’re not winning the lottery is because it’s the worst form of gambling available in most places. You can find plenty of other gambling options where you can win big that offer better odds.

Here’s a list of five gambling activities you can try if you’re tired of losing your money playing the lottery. All but one of these options gives you a shot at a big payday, and the other option is easy to play and has a high return to player percentage.

Playing Keno Games

The reason why keno is the first alternative game on this list for gamblers who’re tired of lottery games is because playing keno for real money is very similar. It’s just a small change of pace if you don’t want to get too far away from the basics of the lottery.

Keno is a draw game that usually uses an 80 number pool. You pick anywhere from 1 to 20 numbers out of the pool depending on the rules of the game you’re playing.

20 random numbers are drawn from the pool and you win if your numbers match the numbers that are drawn. Depending on how many of your numbers match and the rules, you usually don’t have to match all of your numbers to win.

Online Casino Keno Game

If this sounds a lot like regular lottery games it’s because this is pretty much how all lottery draw games operate.

I recommend playing traditional keno instead of video keno. Traditional keno has a few drawings every hour. Video keno is designed so you can play it almost as fast as slot machines. Whenever you’re gambling you need to concentrate on making fewer wagers per hour and risking as little as possible when you do make a bet.

Keno offers one big advantage over most other lottery games. The return to player percentage for keno is not great, but it’s much better than almost every other lottery game available. This means that you’re highly likely to lose in the long run playing keno, but you’re going to lose a smaller percentage of your money than when you play other lottery games.

Most gamblers only buy lottery tickets a few times each week, so even though they almost never win, at least they aren’t risking too much money. You can do basically the same thing with traditional keno. Most keno games start at $1, so if you only play five or six draws every hour you’re not risking much money.

Progressive Jackpot Slots Games

I play the lottery because I want a chance at winning millions. I know the odds are terrible, but if I get extremely lucky once it’s going to change my financial life. Few other gambling activities offer a chance at life-changing money.

But slot machines with progressive jackpots offer life changing top prizes. Many progressive slot machines offer a top prize over $1 million. While most of the big lottery games have a top prize much higher than this, $1 million or more is nothing to sneeze at.

Slot machines also have a much higher return to player percentage than the lottery. They’re even better than keno games. The return to player for slots isn’t as good as many other games, but most other games don’t offer such big jackpots either.

Wheel of Fortune Progressive Slots

The only thing you have to be careful of when you play slot machines is that you might end up risking a lot more and losing a lot more than when you play the lottery.

If you spend $20 a week on lottery tickets it’s not a ton of money. But if you take 3,000 spins on the slot machines at $3 a spin you’re risking $9,000. And most slot machines are going to keep $100’s when you do this.

Small Table Casino Baccarat

Small table baccarat doesn’t offer a chance at winning a big jackpot. But it’s as easy to play as the lottery and offers a higher return to player percentage.

The only thing about playing the lottery that’s easier than playing small table baccarat is that you can buy a ticket at just about any convenience store. And with the availability of mobile and online small table baccarat the argument could be made that it’s actually easier to access baccarat than the lottery.

The biggest difference from the lottery is that small table baccarat has a return to player of 98.94% on the banker wager option and most lottery games are at 30% or worse. This is such a huge difference that there’s no question that small table baccarat is a better game.

But small table baccarat has one of the same issues that progressive slot machines have. If you’re not careful you’re going to risk more when you play baccarat and your losses can still end up being bigger than when you play the lottery.

If you risk a total of $1,000 every week playing small table baccarat, which doesn’t take long, your expected loss is $10.60. This is only 50 hands at $20 a hand, or 500 hands if you’re playing online or mobile at $1 a hand.

You can buy a $2 ticket to the big lottery draws for every drawing for the same amount of money you’re probably going to lose playing $1,000 of small table baccarat.

Bet on Horse Racing

Betting on horse races doesn’t have much to do with the way you play the lottery. But it does offer a fun change of pace for lottery players, and you have a better chance to win.

You can even place a small wager on a long shot and have a chance to win a big payout. You’re not going to win $1 million placing a $2 wager, but you can win $1,000 or more if you get lucky on a long shot horse.

Closeup of Two Racing Horses

Another option is to bet on the exotic wagers that offer the chance at a higher prize. You can bet on a superfecta, or even one of the multi race wagers if you want to shoot for bigger prizes.

And you don’t have to risk a lot of money to place a wager on every race on the schedule. Most race tracks run 15 or fewer races a day, so you can place a $2 wager on every race for $30.

Long Shot Sports Gambling

This is one of my favorite options for lottery players. Even if you’re a beginner sports bettor, you can find plenty of long shot wagers available that can pay off big.

The downside to betting on long shot sports teams is that you yarely win, but this is no different than the lottery. In fact, you have a better chance to win when you bet on a long shot than you have of winning the lottery.

Look for teams on the moneyline that have a big + number. The number following the + sign is how much you win if you bet $100 and the team wins. But you don’t have to risk $100. Put $10 down on a couple long shot teams and root for them to pull off the upset.

A quick tip is to look for heavy underdogs that are playing at home. Home teams always play better than they do on the road, so if there’s going to be an upset it’s likely to happen when the underdog is playing at home.

If you want a safer option, bet on a team with the point spread. I still like to bet on teams that are playing at home that are getting points, but really you have about the same odds of winning no matter which team you pick with the point spread.

When you make a point spread wager your team either receives points or gives points. These points are added or subtracted after the game to see if your team and wager win.

Conclusion

The five gambling activities listed in this article are good options for lottery players. They all offer better odds than winning the lottery, but you have to be careful or you’re still going to lose more than when you play the lottery.

Small table baccarat is easy to play, just like the slots, and it offers a much higher rate of return. Keno and progressive jackpot slot machines offer better odds than the lottery and still offer big top prizes.

And if you want to add some live action to your gambling, horses and sporting events can offer a different kind of excitement.

Michigan Casinos: Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort Review

Soaring Eagle Casino Logo and Exterior and Interior Photos

Located in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, and owned by the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Nation, Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort is your number one casino slash hotel in the region.

Having opened in 1998, this casino resort has remained a staple on the Isabella Indian Reservation for over two decades and you can place a safe bet that its best years are far ahead, considering its growth over the past 22 years.

You are looking at a resort featuring slot machines, table games, Bingo, Keno, a poker room, and more.

Amenities are all over the place in this venue. Here, you will find a pool complete with an underwater sound system, an arcade, daycare, full-service spa, amphitheater, concert hall, and so much more.

Ready to take a quick tour of the place before you book your stay at Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort?

This post will tell you everything you need to know about this Michigan gambling destination.

Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort Overview

Within Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort’s doors, you are looking at 210,000 square feet of gaming space featuring thousands of real money slots, dozens of table games, a poker room featuring your favorite games, nearly a dozen dining options, plus the greatest promos in the area.

And that doesn’t even include its on-site attractions. The Entertainment Hall, where you will see the greatest world-class acts, seats nearly 6,500 guests. And the outdoor arena’s capacity eclipses the 16,000 mark.

Soaring Eagle Casino Main Driveway

Soaring Eagle is also the ideal place to hold a business meeting or conference. Meeting rooms include the Saginaw Chippewa Ballroom, Three Fires Room, and the Ojibway Room. So if you are looking for the next best venue to fuel your business meeting, Soaring Eagle is the place.

Then when the work is over, you can hit the casino for a bit of fun, right?

Let’s take a closer look at what the casino gaming floor offers.

Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort Gaming

Casino gaming at Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort includes thousands of slot machines featuring the latest and greatest games from a plethora of the industry’s hottest manufacturers. If you game at the casino often, you are always in for a new treat as this venue is always offering improved gaming.

Whether you’re down for penny bets or high limits, classic and traditional games or the newest thing, Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort has what you are looking for. New slots include How to Marry a Millionaire, Golden Jungle Grand, Wild Pirates, Magic of the Nile, and more.

Enter the thick of what they describe as the hottest selection of table games in the Midwest. Whether you like to play Blackjack, Criss Cross Poker, Three Card Poker, or Chase the Flush, you will find your favorite table game here.

The poker room features the hottest and most popular games around, including limit and no-limit Texas Hold ‘em, Omaha, Seven-Card Stud, and more. Hop into your favorite poker games and test your skill against the area’s best.

Up for some Bingo? Soaring Eagle is the State of Michigan’s most popular Bingo hotspot. Whether you are a morning, afternoon, or evening player, you will find the greatest Bingo time slot that works for you.

Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort Dining

Dining at Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort features nine impeccable options, each with their own flair. Whether you are looking for upscale dining, a sports bar, a casual night, or something quick, Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort has everything you are looking for.

Ascend Sports Bar & Night Club is the best place in the venue to kick back and watch the big game and have some fun while the home team is winning.

Siniikaung Steak & Chop House offers the greatest upscale dining option around. Enjoy the award-winning menu and hand-cut steaks, chops, and seafood at this popular destination.

Isabella’s Taste Italy is your one-stop-shop for all Italian-related cuisine. You are looking at traditional flavors from old-world Italy featuring the area’s freshest ingredients from the area’s top chefs. So if you are looking for an authentic Italian experience, Isabella’s is where it’s happening.

Soaring Eagle Casino Diner Food

Legend’s Diner offers a classic atmosphere that will make you feel you stepped back in time. However, it’s also touted as a venue featuring a contemporary twist, so if you want something different, it is the place to be.

Aurora Buffet offers a potluck of favorites featuring food choices from all over the globe. For an affordable price, take advantage of the all-you-can-eat option for a lunch that will hold you over for a few hours after you return to the gaming floor.

Central Deli & SLICE features your favorite deli favorites. Here, you will find prime rib sandwiches, sub & deli sandwiches, pizza, and more of your favorite comfort foods.

The Native Grind Coffee Shoppe is your ideal location if you are looking for a variety of brews to prepare you for a morning or afternoon’s worth of casino gaming action. They also feature delicious desserts and snacks, so don’t be afraid to indulge a little.

Looking for a contemporary fast-food experience? Little Eagle Cafe is calling your name. Whether you are craving burgers, hot dogs, fries, wings, or whatever comfort food crushes your cravings, you can place a safe and winning bet that you will find it here.

Or, if you are looking for the ultimate relaxing experience, go over to Water Lily. Here, you will find the area’s greatest assortment of cocktails, wines, and craft beers. It is the ideal place for ultimate relaxation if you need a quick break from the gaming floor.

Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort Promos and Events

Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort’s Promotions are always running wild. So if you are in the casino often, be sure to take advantage of Bonus Plays, Gift Giveaways, and more.

What is the best way to take advantage of Soaring Eagle’s promotions?

By joining the Access Club, of course. Whether you are gaming here or at another location owned and operated by the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Nation, your Access Club Card is your one-way ticket to all the goods here at Soaring Eagle.

Just play your favorite slot, table, or Bingo game and you’re on your way to earn casino comps.

Soaring Eagle Casino Vip Lounge

For every $1 you bet at the slots, you will earn two points that can be redeemed toward any purchase at Soaring Eagle. For the same value, you will earn one point at video poker, 10 for a hotel room or RV space, 20 for Bingo, and four for dining, the spa, the golf course, or gift shop.

Yes, it definitely pays to be a part of the Access Club. And the more you play or spend, the more points you earn that can be redeemed for anything.

As mentioned in the intro and overview, Soaring Eagle has arguably the greatest concert space of any casino slash resort in the State of Michigan. That said, there are plenty of shows to get excited about. So check the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort event schedule to see who will be in town during your stay.

Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort Accommodations and Attractions

Need a place to stay during your time at Soaring Eagle?

Soaring Eagle Resort’s hotel provides guaranteed comfort whether you are looking for economy or luxury.

So what will it be?

A First Class Room, a room with a deluxe jacuzzi or fireplace? Premium suite? Superior room? Man, it all sounds luxurious.

What are you getting when you frequent here?

Amenities include a mini-fridge, microwave, in-bathroom Jacuzzi, soaking tub, living spaces, fireplaces, patio and balcony options, and so much more.  So pick your path to luxury, as even your cheapest rooms contain the world’s most enviable appliances and living areas.

Soaring Eagle Casino Water Slide

And for an on-site attraction, check out that 2,400 square foot “free form pool” that holds an astounding 66,000 gallons of water. Features include underwater music, lights, and 500,000 mini-glass tiles imported from Milan, Italy.

And if the pool isn’t enough to get you going, you will also find an indoor and outdoor jacuzzi waiting for you if your hotel room doesn’t already contain one.

Other on-site amenities include the Soaring Eagle Day Spa, where you can treat yourself to massages, facials, hair service, nail service, and so much more.

If you are at Soaring Eagle for a family vacation, your kids will love the Kids Quest outlet. So while you’re having fun at the casino, your kids can do the same at Kids Quest.

Other awesome activities await at Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort that include golfing, bowling, boating, and more. So if you are looking for a day off from the casino to explore the resort or to rejuvenate the mind and partake in fun activities, there is an adventure at every corner.

Conclusion

Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort is definitely the best of the rest in the State of Michigan. And you can’t ask for much more than what they offer at this legendary casino slash resort.

From the slots, tables, and Bingo games to the luxury hotel and dining options, a trip to Soaring Eagle is the ultimate vacation destination for you and the entire family.

So if you are thinking about booking a trip to Soaring Eagle, hopefully, this post answered your questions.

And if you are reading this post and have visited Soaring Eagle, tell us about your experience in the comments.

What Is It Like to Be a Gambler in Texas?

Poker Player With a Question Mark and Texas Flag

It’s strange that Texas gives its name to the most popular poker game in the world, but you can’t play the game legally in the state.

In fact, Texas might be the least gambling-friendly state in the USA.

I live in Texas, and I’m a gambler, so I might be better suited to write a post about what it’s like to be a gambler in Texas than just about anyone.

Texas Has Some of the Strictest Gambling Laws in the US

Gambling in Texas is covered by Penal Code 47.01. That set of laws makes it illegal to engage in almost any kind of gambling in the state. The notable exceptions are dog and horse racing.

What kinds of gambling are illegal in Texas?

You can’t play any kind of casino game – that includes blackjack, craps, roulette, slot machines, or video poker. That’s not a complete list of casino games, but those are the big ones these days, and they’re all covered by Penal Code 47.01.

Texas Lottery Ticket

Betting on sports is also illegal in Texas.

Bingo has limited availability and legality in Texas, but it’s closely regulated. The lottery is also available in the state.

One of the big specifics in the law is that it’s illegal to “keep a gambling place.” In other words, you can’t legally operate a casino.

The big exception is on Native American land, but Texas – unlike many other states – doesn’t have much of a presence in the Native American casino market.

What Constitutes “Social Gambling” in Texas?

The law does state that social gambling is legal in Texas, but that phrase doesn’t mean what you think it means.

When I think of “social gambling,” I think of a home poker game or a casino night hosted by… well, by almost anyone.

But, in Texas, social gambling is specific to charity-based gambling like bingo and the lottery. It also includes charity raffles.

It does NOT include hosting a home poker night. It also doesn’t include placing a bet on a sporting event in a bar with a buddy, although that sounds like it’s more “social” than the explicitly legal forms of gambling mentioned.

Enforcement of gambling laws varies by jurisdiction. I’ve lived in Texas all my life, and I’ve played slot machines in bars and convenience stores throughout the state – they call them “8-liners” because of the number of paylines. I’ve played poker in friends’ homes and in fraternal organizations throughout the state, too.

I know of at least one fraternal organization near where I live that hosts actual casino games, or so they told me when they tried to recruit me.

I have friends who were present when their local poker game was raided by the SWAT team, too, although that’s been years.

Legit home games don’t get raided often, but if you have a fraternal organization that’s really just a front for a poker cardroom business, you’re asking for trouble.

More About 8-Liners

I used to hang out at a specific bar in Dallas that had a bank of three real money slot machines in it. They were called 8-liners. I saw old men who were regulars there lose $200 or $300 a night on payday there trying to win on those games.

My guess is that those games made the owner of the bar significant amounts of money. In fact, I suspect they made as much money from the 8-liners as they made from selling liquor – at least on the nights when I wasn’t there. (I always had a big bar tab.)

Depending on where you live in Texas, you’ll see so-called “game rooms” pop up from time to time. These are basically just casinos full of 8-liners.

How is this legal?

Apparently, the law allows the operation of such machines under a couple of conditions:

  1. You can’t have cash payouts.
  2. You can’t award prizes worth more than $5.

Of course, most places offering 8-liners are ignoring the legal restrictions. The way it worked at the bar where I used to hang out was that if you won enough money, you were supposed to show up on Friday when the owner of the bar was there to pick up your envelope.

A buddy of mine won $200 there one night and called the bar to ask about picking up his envelope.

The owner didn’t know him, so she told him, “I don’t give envelopes to people I don’t know.”

He called me, and I had to call down to the bar to vouch for him. She was worried about law enforcement, of course.

Texas 8-Liner Slots

8-liners don’t seem to be going anywhere, but occasionally law enforcement will crack down on the game rooms in a specific jurisdiction.

Why did the state of Texas legalize such games to begin with?

It probably had to do with Dave and Busters. The law was called the “fuzzy animal” law, and it was passed to make it legal to offer the kinds of games offered at Dave and Busters where you win toys and stuffed animals.

Restaurants that offer these kinds of games with prizes to kids are just conditioning them to enjoy gambling at casinos later in life. Spend some time at Chuck E. Cheese and listen to the sounds there. Then visit a real casino shortly afterward. They sound the same.

Native American Casinos in Texas

One of the most notable Native American casinos in the state is the Lucky Eagle Casino, which is owned by the Kickapoo Tribe. It’s located on the Rio Grande River, and it’s so close to the border that it’s practically in Mexico.

It’s a real casino, though, with over 1200 different slot machines on the floor. These include newer games like Forest Dragons, Jurassic World 3D, and Rakin Bacon. They also have some of the most traditionally popular slot machine games you’ll find in almost every casino, including Buffalo Gold, Dangerous Beauty, and Golden Eagle.

Lucky Eagle Casino in Texas

You can also play a variety of table games at the Lucky Eagle. Ultimate Texas Hold’em is one of the more popular games, and it’s available with a minimum bet of just $5 per hand. It features a progressive jackpot, too.

Other popular table games at the casino include Emperor’s Challenge, which is a Pai Gow Poker variation, Mississippi Stud, and blackjack (in many variations).

Craps and roulette are available, too. Bingo and keno are popular at Lucky Eagle, too.

Just like the casinos in Las Vegas and other popular gambling destinations, Lucky Eagle has multiple restaurants to choose from, including a buffet.

Texas Is a Huge State

Texas covers a lot more land than most states. In fact, it’s one of the two or three biggest states in the country. And most people just don’t live close to the Lucky Eagle Casino.

What do Texas gamblers do when they can’t make the trip to Lucky Eagle?

It’s easier than you think.

Many Texans live driving distance from Oklahoma, which has more casinos than just about any other state. The most notable of the Oklahoma casinos are Choctaw Casino in Durant and Winstar Casino in Thackerville.

Depending on which side of the DFW Metroplex you live on, you can probably drive to one of these two casinos in less than an hour.

It’s no surprise that a lot of Texas gamblers head across the Red River to get their gambling done.

People who live further east often drive to Louisiana to gamble. Shreveport isn’t far. If you’re traveling from Dallas, it’s about a 3-hour drive, but if you’re in Texarkana, you can get to Shreveport in two hours or so.

The Eldorado Resort is the biggest casino in Shreveport, and it’s a popular gambling hot spot for Texans.

Being a Gambler in Texas Isn’t That Bad

I live near Dallas, and I have no trouble finding a way to get my gambling done. Frankly, enforcement is so sporadic that it’s easy to gamble right here in the state. I know plenty of people who deal with a local bookmaker for their sports betting. You can find one just by becoming a regular at a bar where people watch sports and asking someone.

Texas Holdem Home Poker Game

Poker games are ubiquitous, too. Most bars offer free poker tournaments with cash prizes. I’ve never seen such poker games raided. That’s one way to scratch the itch, but if you’re making enough money, you might find such low-stakes action boring.

Of course, it’s easy enough to host your own poker game. I’ve written multiple how-to posts in the past explaining how to host your own home poker game.

I avoid bingo and the lottery because I don’t like the odds, but if that scratches your itch, don’t let anyone judge you for it.

Conclusion

Being a gambler in Texas is all right. It’s not the same as being a gambler living near Las Vegas, but that might even be a good thing. I know a couple of people who lost fortunes when they lived in Vegas. They just couldn’t control their impulses.

It just takes a little more effort to gamble if you’re from Texas.

Most gamblers I know don’t mind putting the work in.

4 Gambling Movies You Need to See

Images of Casino Themed Movies

For most of us, a trip to the casino or sportsbook has a high probability of resulting in the loss of a few dollars – if we’re lucky. Perhaps it’s for this reason that movies about high-rolling gamblers playing for millions of dollars strikes a chord within.

Over the course of cinematic history, there have been plenty of exciting examples of what is possible if you’re able to manipulate the casino through legal, but mainly illegal, means.

In this article, I’ll lay out four gambling movies that you need to watch before your next real money gambling adventure.

21 (2008)

I’m starting off the list with the Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey classic, because it’s probably my favorite gambling movie of all time. If you haven’t seen it – this should go to the top of your “must-view” list.

The movie tells the story of the MIT math major, Ben, who has recently been accepted into Harvard Medical School. The only problem? The $300,000 price tag for tuition is much more than he can afford…even factoring in for grants, scholarships, and some of his mother’s hard-earned money.

So, with no other viable options for coming up with that kind of cash, it was somewhat of a serendipitous occurrence when Micky Rosa – a professor at MIT – asked Ben to join the MIT blackjack team.

Comprised of a half-dozen brilliant students and led by their intrepid professor, the entire team conducts regular meetings to hone their skills in card-counting. Their ability to master the art (or rather, the science) gives them a substantial edge against the house.

Screenshot From the Movie 21

Once Micky feels comfortable that his team is ready to take on the biggest stage, a few trips to Vegas prove lucrative beyond anyone’s belief…especially Ben, who was able to justify the decision to manipulate the casino by telling himself the money will only be put toward his Harvard tuition.

The plan was going smoothly until Ben recognizes that he actually enjoys the high-rolling Vegas lifestyle. This leads him to break from the team’s strategy during an outing…frustrating Micky, the team’s leader, and also causing significant friction with the team’s other members.

The casino staff gets tipped off by an “inside” source that Ben is counting, and he subsequently gets roughed up and told not to come back under any circumstances.

How does it end? That’s something you’ll just have to find out for yourself.

Uncut Gems (2019)

Adam Sandler and Kevin Garnett star in this exciting, if not anxiety-inducing, depiction of a gem salesman in New York City who needs to secure an expensive gem in order to pay off gambling debts he’s incurred recently.

Sandler’s character is an example of what can happen when high stakes gambling goes wrong. He owes a large amount of money to his brother-in-law, who happens to be his loan shark. The film largely revolves around the storyline of Ratner (Sandler) finding the money to pay off his debts before something happens to him.

Luckily, through his Jewish connections in the diamond mines Africa, he’s able to secure an extremely valuable gem that could be the answer to his debt nightmares.

Another connection, this time his business associate, helps Ratner land some rather impressive clientele. NBA star Kevin Garnett – who is played by the former MVP himself – walks into Ratner’s jewelry store and upon seeing and feeling the rare black opal he recently obtained (the aforementioned valuable diamond from Africa), asks to keep it in his possession for the game that night.

Screenshot From the Movie Uncut Gems

Reluctantly, Ratner (Sandler) agrees, but only under one condition: he gets to keep Garnett’s 2008 NBA Championship ring as collateral.

Like any good gambling addict trying to find a way to pay off his debts, Ratner swiftly pawns the ring and places the money down on a six-way parlay (because those always work out, right?). Whether it as foolish intuition or a genuine belief in the powers of the gem, every bet in the crazy sports betting parlay involved Kevin Garnett performing at a very high level.

The next day, Ratner should be waking up with the relief of knowing his debts can be paid – his parlay should have netted him roughly $600,000. However, Garnett doesn’t want to give up his new prized possession, which he believes helped him perform at a high level.

In the end, there would be another massive win for Ratner, but the price was simply greater. I won’t spoil the ending as I would recommend this movie to anyone who wants to experience the constant anxiety that comes with living on the edge.

The Ringer (2005)

Let me start off by saying that this movie, funny as it might be, would almost certainly not be made today. Politically-correct culture has at times made concessions for the arts, but in all likelihood The Ringer probably doesn’t get the greenlight even just a couple years after it was completed.

Comedy king of the early 2000’s, Johnny Knoxville, stars in the story of a man who does the wrong thing for the right reasons. Following an accident where a close friend, who is later revealed to be lacking health insurance, loses his fingers, Knoxville’s character (Steve Barker) feels obligated to come up with the $28,000 needed to reattach his friend’s lost fingers.

Screenshot From the Movie The Ringer

With time running out before the fingers are gone for good, Barker’s uncle, a degenerate gambler, hatches a plan to fix the Special Olympics in order to rectify his big gambling losses and their friend’s fingers. Obviously this idea is more than distasteful, but Barker (Knoxville) justifies it by reminding himself that he’s doing it for his friend.

Steve pretends to be high-functioning, but still mentally challenged, as he competes in the games. His uncle, assuming his able-bodied nephew will win the gold medal, bets against the odds-on favorite for a price of $100,000.

Again, I’ll continue on with the theme of not spoiling the ending. I will say that this movie has enough laughs to keep you entertained, but that doesn’t mean you won’t feel a little bit dirty afterward. All in all, I’d recommend watching it with close friends who won’t judge you for putting it on.

Beyond the Edge (2018)

Russian gambling film Beyond the Edge might not have been the critic’s choice for best gambling movie, but it does provide viewers with a unique and creative take on the traditional casino flick.

Instead of finding the smartest people around like in ’21,’ this team revolves around players with superhuman qualities that come in quite handy to cheat the casinos. For example, members of this particular group are able to move small objects like a roulette ball or a die, change the cards in a player’s hand during a game of poker, or even simply manipulate the cameras within the establishment so that their nefarious deeds go unnoticed by the house.

Screenshot From the Movie Beyond the Edge

Now, with the strength of superpowers on their side, it seems like the team headed by Michael has the world at their mystical fingertips. Which is important because he has a huge debt to repay, and the consequences could be dire if he doesn’t come up with the money.

Michael is surprised to find that the superhuman forces his team possesses might not be enough to clear his debts, as they’re facing an opponent with similar abilities. Unable to find out exactly why they aren’t able to win as expected, a struggle ensues that will determine the fate of the “good guys” in the film.

Fans of science fiction are typically not indulged by casino movies, but this one is sure to hit the spot.

Conclusion

Regardless of your cinematic tastes, there is no shortage of good gambling movies to keep you entertained. From the absurd, to the irreverent, even the supernatural, studios across the globe have tried their hand at a movie that revolves around gambling.

On this list in particular I’ve included a few of my personal favorites, but there are many others out there to be explored. If the movies don’t include the disclaimer, I will here: after watching, just don’t try this at home.

How Las Vegas Handled the COVID-19 Casino Shutdown

Padlock and Chain With a Las Vegas Background

Covid-19 resulted in something unprecedented:

The shutdown of all the casinos in Las Vegas.

The logistics behind closing down Las Vegas casinos are more interesting than you might think, too. You might think that it’s just a matter of the manager turning off the lights and locking the door on his way out.

The reality of how to close down Las Vegas is more complicated, though.

First Things First

Make no mistake. Casinos are part of the hospitality industry, just like hotels and restaurants are. Never in the history of the United States has an entire branch of the hospitality industry been forced to close overnight.

The closest thing was probably after 9/11, which caused a lot of fear and grounded a lot of planes. But compared to this situation, 9/11 was small change.

Escalator Walkway on the Las Vegas Strip

I hate to break this to people who are in favor of re-opening individual businesses, towns, or states – that’s probably about as effective as having specific areas of the swimming pool designated as being okay to pee in.

It doesn’t matter that you’re in one of the areas of the pool where you’re NOT supposed to be. Everyone in the pool is going to suffer.

And you won’t get detailed specifics from casino staff about their processes when they shut down—for security reasons, of course.

But we do know some things.

Closing Casinos Isn’t Quite as Definite as It Sounds

When we’re discussing closing casinos, really what we mean is not allowing paying customers in anymore. Some of the staff are still on the premises working.

No casino cruise ship or casino resort shuts down completely unless they’re going out of business. They continue to have a skeleton crew to maintain operational status for that business.

A typical cruise ship might have a normal staff of 1500 crew members, but during a shutdown, only 250 of them will stay aboard. These folks include the captain and other officers, the cleaning crew, the cooks, and the fire fighters.

In fact, when it comes to cruise ships, they don’t even stay in port the whole time. Often, they must cycle in and out of port so that other ships can stock up on provisions.

Sunborn Casino Cruise Ship Entrance

Other cruise ships aren’t just waiting, either. With thousands of crew stranded, some cruise ships are travelling all over the globe so they can drop of the crew that aren’t working at their homes.

And since there are no customers on board, it’s relatively easy for these cruise ships to maintain social distancing measures.

Most casino cruises have plenty of experience being shutdown. After all, they don’t have gamblers on board most of the time, anyway. Their main concern is keeping the electronics rebooted periodically – none of this electronic equipment is meant to be left on or turned off for long periods of time.

Land-Based Casinos Are Another Story Entirely

When was the last time all the casinos in Nevada were closed?

If you guessed never, you’re close to right.

Casinos and gambling in Nevada were legalized in 1931, and never since have all the casinos in the state been closed. They shut down gambling occasionally for brief periods, though – the assassination of JFK and the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. both promoted temporary cessation of gambling.

And even then, these closures weren’t complete. They shut down the table games. And they asked their customers not to play slots, which were still mechanical and hard to turn off.

Earlier this year, though, all the Las Vegas casinos had to shut down entry from the general public.

They also had to stop taking bets.

Thus ended an almost 90 year run of almost-unlimited casino gambling in Nevada and Las Vegas.

Occasionally, individual casinos have had to close their doors because of a fire.

So, Vegas has had to look to casinos in other jurisdictions for procedures. In multiple other locations, casinos have had to shut down because of natural disasters. Hurricane Katrina is a notable example of an event that shut down casinos.

There Are Rules for Casino Shutdowns

Casino gambling laws are one of the most heavily regulated topics in the world. There are legal rules they must follow when shutting down. And some security measures are obvious, too.

Any casino will have a large amount of cash on hand at any given time. One of the first things a casino shutting down must do is move that cash reserve somewhere safe.

In Las Vegas, the casinos were told on March 17 that they would need to suspend all activities by midnight.

This meant that they had to do something with all the money in the cage. They also had to clear out the change banks. Casinos keep money in lots of places, though – all the slot machines have currency in them all the time, too.

Even the chips need to be safeguarded.

Empty Las Vegas Strip

And all the computer programs used to help run the casino must be made secure, too. After all, even hackers have plenty of free time in this time of partial quarantines.

Las Vegas casinos aren’t much different from the casino cruises I talked about earlier, really. They still had to have a skeleton crew keeping things up so that they would be ready to re-open.

This crew consists of engineers, managers, and security personnel.

Even though no one was in the casinos gambling, they still needed to maintain everything, and that’s a bigger job than the general public understands.

Conclusion

The effect of COVID-19 on US Casinos is unprecedented, and I can’t explain the exact details about Las Vegas’ procedures during the shutdown, but it should be obvious the amount of logistics involved must be. With all that cash and all those employees, a lot of work had to get done to shut the casinos down.

And a lot of employees tended the casinos waiting for the day they re-open, too.

So You Want to Be a Sports Bettor? Read These Tips to Help You Get Started

Man Thinking With a Sportsbook and Money Background

Perhaps you’ve been watching a bunch of football games with your buddies who are constantly talking about the betting odds. Maybe you’ve been tuned into the mainstream sports channels that now spend a significant amount of time airing segments focused on gambling. Whatever the reason, you’re ready to put some skin in the game.

Betting on sports is a pastime as American as the sports themselves, and the chance to make money makes it hard to resist. In this article, I’ll lay out four things you need to know to get started betting on sports.

Your Sports Betting Bankroll Is Everything

I hate to start off with this, but I would be remiss if I didn’t make it clear how important it is to your long-term success.

Your bankroll, if you’re unfamiliar with the term (and you probably are if you’re new to gambling), is the amount of money you’ve set aside for the sole purpose of gambling. This should happen before you ever place your first bet.

You should only set aside an amount of money that you feel completely comfortable losing. Nobody wants to think that they’re going to lose it all, but if you don’t take this approach you can find yourself in a dicey financial situation. In fact, the best way to look at it is like a purchase or investment where you might get your money back, but you also might lose it all. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

World Series 2020 L.A. Dodgers

After you’ve determined what our overall bankroll amount is, the next step is to determine a percentage rang of your overall bankroll number between which you’ll bet. For example, if your bankroll is $1,000, you might decide you’ll only bet between 2% and 5% of your total amount on one play (these percentages are what most experts recommend).

That means on any one play, you won’t bet less than $20 or more than $50. The reason these percentages are so important is because they keep you from running through your bankroll too quickly by making ill-advised big bets. Keep in mind that the 2% and 5% amounts will change as your overall bankroll total changes.

It’s hard to make money betting on sports, but it’s nearly impossible if you aren’t keeping track of your finances. A bankroll isn’t fun to talk about, but if you’re serious about gambling, its importance cannot be overstated.

Find the Right Sportsbook(s)

Once you have your money set aside, the next step is determining where to place your sports bets. It sounds easy enough, but it can be a little bit overwhelming at first.

Due to relaxed gambling laws, there are more viable options than ever before for gamblers. What used to be a seller’s market (gamblers being the buyers, betting platforms being the sellers) has turned completely upside down.

So what makes one site better than another? Truthfully, it often comes down to preference. However, there are a few additional things to look for that can help you make your decision.

First and foremost, you should feel comfortable with the user-interface of any site you use. It sounds obvious, but there are many platforms out there that translate poorly on mobile devices – something you don’t want to find out after you’ve deposited hundreds of dollars.

Rivers Casino Sportsbook

Next, there are bonuses to consider. While they seem too good to be true, they’re almost always legit and should be taken advantage of in all cases. These bonuses can be things like: deposit matches, where a site will match your first deposit up to a certain amount of money, free entry into tournaments with massive prizes for the winner, and much more.

Finally, save yourself some frustration by finding out what the withdrawal process is on each site you’re considering. Speaking from experience, there is nothing worse than having a bunch of money sitting on a site with no easy way to get it back into your bank account.

Often times the issue has to do with your state’s laws regarding gambling. Even if you can’t find a site that’s perfect, some are undoubtedly better than others. Just make sure you don’t neglect this step before signing up.

Learn the Sports Betting Options

Now that you’ve completed the work on the “administrative” side, you’re ready to start placing bets! But first, you need to get acquainted with all your betting options and the associated terminology.

The most popular way to bet on games (assuming you’re going to wagering on team sports) is to utilize the point spread. For example, if the Cowboys are playing the Eagles, you might see something that looks like: Cowboys -3 (-110).

The “-3” represents the point spread. In this case, it would mean the cowboys are giving three points. The easiest way to explain how it works is to say that the Cowboys are starting out the game with a 3-point deficit. Meaning if you bet on the Cowboys, they must win by more than three points in order to win the bet.

NFL Cowboys Versus Eagles

The “-110” refers to what’s known as the juice (or the vig). The juice is, for lack of a better term, is how sportsbooks make money. In this case, it would mean that you have to bet $110 to win $100. That -110 number is the most common when betting with the spread, but you might occasionally see it at -105 or -115.

The second most popular way to bet on team sports is the moneyline. When betting with the moneyline, all that matters is who wins the game outright.

Continuing with the Cowboys vs. Eagles example, you might see something like: Cowboys -185, Eagles +165. This means that you must bet $185 to win $100 if you choose the Cowboys, or bet $100 to win $165 if you choose the Eagles.

While the moneyline and the spread are the two most popular betting options, many more do exist. However, if you’re just starting out in your sports betting career, I would highly recommend sticking to those two until you feel comfortable getting more creative with your plays.

Track Your Gambling and the Results

Just as any good business keeps a budget and a balance sheet, as a sports bettor you need to be keeping track of where your money is going.

It’s not necessary to have a fancy bookkeeping system that provides every insight imaginable, but you should be tracking your plays. Not only will this help you know where your bankroll stands at all times, but it can also help you identify where you’re having success.

Whether you decide to use an excel sheet, an online program specifically designed for tracking sports bets, or even just a pen and paper, the important thing is that you have a way of monitoring your bets over a long period of time.

Aside from being a financial necessity, conscientiously tracking your bets will allow you to see things you might not have noticed they weren’t on paper. For example, you might recognize that you’re hitting on your NFL bets at nearly 60%, while your NBA plays are losing you money each week. These insights will give you the opportunity to adjust your strategy accordingly, which will hopefully lead to improved success long-term.

The bottom line is that if you aren’t keeping a record of where your money is going, you run the risk of getting down big without even realizing it. Find a method that works for you, and update your tracker each day that you’ve made a bet.

Conclusion

Sports betting has become so popular because it allows fans to have a true rooting interest in every game – whether it’s from betting on the Super Bowl, or a Wednesday night MAC game that you’d otherwise ignore.

As long as you have the financial stability and don’t bet more than you can afford, gambling on sports can become a lifelong source of fun and enjoyment.

Keep this list in mind when setting up shop, and you’ll have a chance to be successful.

The Greatest WSOP Victories of All Time

WSOP Logo and Binions and Rio Background

The Main Event at the World Series of poker has provided electric action and incredible drama for half a century.

Since 1970, poker stars from around the world have made the pilgrimage to Las Vegas for the annual event.

Let’s take a look at nine of the greatest WSOP victories of all time.

Amarillo Slim – 1972

In the event’s third year, a star was born. Thomas Preston burst onto the scene, preventing the only man to ever take home the title, Johnny Moss, from claiming a 3rd consecutive victory.

Okay, some of you have probably never heard of Thomas Preston. That’s because he’s better known by his alias, Amarillo Slim.

Amarillo Slim became a media darling and the instant face of real money poker in the United States. In fact, Amarillo Slim made a total of 10 appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

Pro Poker Player Amarillo Slim

Amarillo Slim won the 1972 Main Event and was able to help integrate poker into mainstream America.

Amazingly, only eight of the registered players even bothered to show up for the event. So, essentially in 1972, you could’ve bought your way into the final table for $10,000.

Last year’s event had over 2,800 players advance to Day 2 of the event. Clearly, the media efforts of Amarillo Slim did wonderful things for growing the game.

Doyle Brunson – 1976, 1977

Doyle Brunson is a poker legend. Many would argue that the man who penned one of the must-read poker books, “Super System,” is the first face on the Mount Rushmore of poker.

Spend much time in poker circles, and you’ll quickly hear poker hands being referred to by names like snowmen, cowboys, bullets, or Big Slick. Doyle Brunson is such an icon that he’s even got a hand named for him.

The first time I heard another poker player refer to the “Doyle Brunson” hand, I mistakenly thought they were referring to cowboys.

After all, you’ll rarely see him without his trademark cowboy hat. So, it seemed logical.

Besides, he’s considered to be a king by many in the poker world. I was caught completely off guard when I learned that the Doyle Brunson hand is actually 10-2.

Pro Poker Player Doyle Brunson

Why such a mediocre hand for such a pioneer of the game?

That’s because Doyle turned 10-2 at the final table into a WSOP Main Event victory. Even that in itself may not be worthy of naming a hand for a player.

However, accomplish the feat in two consecutive years, and suddenly you’ve got a hand named for you. That’s exactly what Brunson accomplished in 1977 when he took down his second consecutive title with 10-2.

So, the next time you’re dealt 10-2, give the nod to Doyle and see what the flop has in store for you.

Jack Strauss – 1982

The 1982 event was the first World Series of Poker Main Event to draw over 100 entries.

Strauss wasn’t a WSOP rookie; he’d actually won a bracelet in the 1973 Deuce to Seven Draw event. In 1981, Strauss nearly took the title but was forced to settle for a fourth-place finish.

Things didn’t appear to be going his way in 1982, either. Strauss pushed his chips to the middle of the table and lost the hand. Strauss then stood to leave the table and found that there was a single $500 chip under a cocktail napkin. Because Strauss had never declared himself all-in, officials determined that he was still in the tournament.

Strauss took that single $500 chip and fought his way back to the top, earning $520,000 and coining the phrase “a chip and a chair.”

As far as I’m concerned, it’s the greatest underdog story of all time, and I have little doubt that it would make for a far more interesting 90 minutes than “Rudy.”

Phil Hellmuth – 1989

By 1989, Johnny Chan seemed unbeatable. Chan had won the Main Event in 1987 and 1988 and was poised for a third consecutive title.

The 1989 win would have further cemented him as the GOAT, making him only the second three time winner. Chan must’ve thought he had it in the bag as he headed to the final table.

Pro Poker Player Phil Hellmuth

That’s where up and coming poker professional Phil Hellmuth was waiting to challenge Chan. Hellmuth defeated the field, and Chan was resigned to a second-place finish.

Hellmuth became the youngest player ever to win the event at the time and has had a massively successful career as a professional poker player.

Stu Ungar – 1997

The 1997 running of the Main Event is a story of redemption. Stu Ungar had won back to back World Series of Poker titles in 1980 and 1981.

However, by 1997, Ungar had largely disappeared from public view as he struggled with addiction. Fortunately, poker pro Billy Baxter decided to give Ungar the financial backing to take another swing at glory.

Ungar battled through the ranks like the Stu Ungar of old and found himself with a final table spot. There was so much buzz around the event in Las Vegas that the venue had to be changed to the famous Fremont Street.

Ungar, who had dedicated his performance and his attempt at turning around his life to his daughter, played brilliantly.

Ungar went on to become only the second 3-time champion, and hope abounds. Ungar even made another run in 1998 but fell short.

A few months after his failed attempt in 1998, Ungar was found deceased in a Vegas motel room. Ungar died without a penny to his name.

It was a sad end to an amazing gambler, and one of the best poker stars of his generation.

Scotty Nguyen – 1998

The 1998 Main Event made history for having only five players make it to the final table. These five were whittled down from a player pool of 367 entrants.

This final table was down to only two remaining players, Scotty Nguyen and Kevin McBride. That’s when Scotty Nguyen delivered possibly the greatest line in poker history.

As Nguyen coolly smoked his cigarette and sipped his beer, he told McBride, “You call, it’s gonna be all over, baby.”

Pro Poker Player Scotty Nguyen

McBride foolishly called, and it was all over, baby. Scotty won a cool million for his troubles and, of course, another coveted World Series of Poker bracelet.

Scotty has five WSOP bracelets to his name, and in 2007 he was on the cusp of another huge payday. Unfortunately, his cocky style and big mouth backfired on him as he fell apart heads up versus Phillip Hilm.

Chris Moneymaker – 2003

If you’re heads up against a player named Moneymaker, do you just get up and leave?

Sam Farha is certainly not one to back down from a challenge. Moneymaker and Farhas battled it out at the final table, with Chris Moneymaker edging out the charismatic pro.

What’s most notable about the 2003 win is that Moneymaker became the first player to win the event after qualifying through an online poker site.

Moneymaker turned his $39 investment into a $2.5 million payday and earned the World Series of Poker Main Event title. More importantly, Moneymaker was the catalyst for the immense expansion of the online poker boom.

Online poker went from the fringes into mainstream poker culture. It legitimized the activity in a way that nobody could’ve imagined.

Joe Cada – 2009

Several times throughout the WSOP Main Event’s history, a young and shining star has risen to the occasion.

That’s exactly what happened in 2009 when Joe Cada became the youngest player to win the Main Event.

Cada found himself at the final table with juggernauts in the poker world like Phil Ivey and Jeff Shulman. Initially, Cada floundered and was down to only four big blinds left.

Pro Poker Player Joe Cada

Then he went on a tremendous run and ultimately found himself heads up against the chip leader at the beginning of the day, Darvin Moon.

Moon definitely had the crowd on his side, but Cada came out the champion after a lengthy game of cat and mouse.

He earned over $8.5 million while becoming the youngest winner in the event’s history.

Greg Merson – 2012

2012 was quite the year for an American player, Greg Merson.

More specifically, the 2012 World Series of Poker was extremely lucrative for the poker star. First, he won the No-Limit Texas Hold’Em Six-Handed event, which netted the young player his first WSOP bracelet and over $1.3 million.

He didn’t stop there, though. Merson locked horns with Jesse Sylvia and Jacob Balsiger at the final table of the Main Event.

Pro Poker Player Greg Merson

After 11 hours of 3-way play and about 250 hands, Merson emerged victoriously and earned his second bracelet. He also picked up another $8.5 million.

Making for a nearly $10,000,000 week and earning himself 2012 Player of the Year honors. Definitely an impressive accomplishment for a professional poker player, but the real story is the epic battle from that final table.

Conclusion

The best part about making a list of nine of the greatest WSOP victories of all time is the nostalgia of childhood favorites like Scotty Nguyen.

The worst part is deciding on only nine when the event is overflowing with wonderful champions and battles.

Best Ways to Enjoy Atlantic City Outside of the Casinos

Man Pointing With Thumb to Atlantic City Seal With a City Background

Atlantic City is a destination for 27 million people every year. Many of those tourists are gamblers making their way to one of Atlantic City’s fantastic casinos.

Even the most grizzled of casino gamblers occasionally need a break from the action, though. Fortunately, Atlantic City has plenty of fun to offer.

Here are the top seven ways to enjoy yourself outside of Atlantic City casinos.

Atlantic City Aquarium

The Atlantic City Aquarium is open seven days a week. So, you can get a break from the baccarat table nearly any day of the year.

Plus, admission won’t break your casino bankroll. Adults get in to see the fish for $10, and children (12 and under) are only $6. Little ones under the age of three are free.

The aquarium is definitely geared towards the younger demographic or at least the young at heart. You’ll find several interactive exhibits that will keep the kids engaged and excited.

While, technically, the aquarium isn’t the only place in Atlantic City where you can pet sharks. It’s highly recommended you stay away from the sharks that inhabit the Atlantic Ocean.

Atlantic City Aquarium

In fact, sharks aren’t the only hands-on exhibit at the aquarium. You can even touch living coral and pet stingrays as they glide over the sandy bottom of a shallow pool.

You won’t have to worry about paying for parking at the aquarium, and you’ll be in the middle of the hopping Gardner’s Basin.

Here you can find some great restaurants, shopping, and even ticket booths for water rides and boat tours of the harbor.

Don’t miss the Atlantic City Aquarium if you need a break from the casino or are traveling with kids.

Absecon Lighthouse

Reaching an impressive 171 feet into the air stands the historical Absecon Lighthouse. The lighthouse is the tallest in New Jersey and the third tallest in the United States.

The lighthouse has a beautiful museum inside, which gives a full history of the lighthouse and shipping in the area. This Atlantic City staple also hosts various events throughout the year.

These special events range from art exhibits to live shows. It’s best if you check ahead of time as they may impact the usual hours.

Most people come for the climb to the top of the lighthouse. The price to make the ascension for adults is $7, and for children is $4.

After climbing the 228 spiraled steps, you’ll be greeted by one of the finest 360-degree views in Atlantic City.

Absecon Lighthouse is a great way to get out of the casino and breathe some fresh ocean air high above the busy city street.

Lucy the Elephant

Don’t even visit Atlantic City if you aren’t going to go see Lucy the Elephant. This National Historic Landmark was erected in 1881 as a means of attracting homebuyers.

The 6-story Lucy weighs in at a cool 90 tons and has weathered everything the harsh North Atlantic has thrown at it. Although, as you can imagine, there have been numerous renovations over the years.

For over a century, guests have climbed Lucy to stand atop her and bask in all of her magnificence. Thanks to the recent push and designation as a National Landmark, visitors will be able to enjoy Lucy for decades to come.

Lucy the Elephant Atlantic City

Lucy will bring out the kid in even the grumpiest of visitors. It’s difficult to be mad when you’re standing face to face with a 6-story elephant.

Probably the coolest aspect of Lucy is the recent addition to the Airbnb portfolio. For only $138 per night, you can sleep in the belly of the massive beast.

You’ll have to get lucky to stay inside Lucy. The initial offering is minimal. However, the listing may see an extended offering in the future.

You won’t want to miss the opportunity to have a group photo taken at the Atlantic City attraction.

The Atlantic City Boardwalk

The Boardwalk is probably Atlantic City’s main attraction. The Boardwalk truly has something for everyone.

This 4-mile stretch of Americana has unique shops, lively bars, fresh seafood restaurants, and dozens of carnival-style games to play.

You may walk away from the Boardwalk with a giant bag full of saltwater taffy or a giant Teddy Bear for your special someone. Atlantic City is the largest producer of saltwater taffy in the world.

This massive entertainment venue is perched along the shoreline and has several piers that reach out into the ocean. Some of the piers are full of fisherman looking to get the freshest seafood available.

However, others are owned and operated by entertainment companies and offer an amusement park experience high above the crashing waves.

You may want to stick to the casinos after dark. The Boardwalk has some less desirable aspects late in the night when the bars begin to close.

Atlantic City Beach

The star attraction of Atlantic City is, without any question, the ocean. The Atlantic City Beach fills up during nice weather.

The water at the Atlantic City beach is perfect for body surfing. The small waves will also delight the kids as they jump into the pint-sized surf.

Adults may prefer to lounge under an umbrella in their favorite beach chair. The popular site offers some truly unique people watching.

Atlantic City Beach

The beach also provides the perfect setting for a relaxing stroll after hours on the casino floor. You can also rent kayaks nearby to paddle out and drop a line.

The piers are available to the beachgoers and make an excellent spot to grab a bite to eat or enjoy some cold beverages.

Best of all is that unlike many New Jersey beaches, the Atlantic City beach is completely free.

If you’re looking for activities that won’t dent your gambling budget, the beach is a great way to spend an afternoon. You can even spend your days at the beach and, after a shower, head down to the casino.

Storybook Land

Storybook Land is for the kids. However, it makes this list for the parents and grandparents.

If you’ve ever traveled with kids, you understand the importance of tiring them out. A day full of activities at this literary-inspired stop will have them in bed early.

When my wife and I travel with our siblings, we alternate nights of being on parenting duty. So, one couple will be in charge of the little ones for the night while the others are free to play.

Storybook Land is precisely the type of place my wife and I would choose on our day with the kids.

This 20-acre amusement park has small roller coasters and trains for the kids to ride. The entire park is based on favorite children’s books and fairy tales.

You can go to grandma’s house to avoid the big bad wolf or sit down for lunch at the Gingerbread House.

Admission for the park is $25, which’s an excellent bargain for the number of attractions. Be sure to check online for discounted tickets and specials.

The amusement park is 100% geared towards children, but the adults will appreciate the perfectly manicured gardens. At the very least, the smiles on the kid’s faces should be more than enough to make this stop a value.

Tanger Outlet Mall

Tanger Outlet Mall is located a few blocks from the Boardwalk and directly behind the Caesars and Bally casinos.

The shops are a great place to spend hours window shopping and browsing. The expansive shopping area has stores from retailers like Brooks Brothers and the Beef Jerky Outlet.

If you didn’t do well on the casino floor, there’s even a Dollar Tree outlet store. I’m not sure what’ll find at a dollar store outlet, but you can surely buy a lot of whatever they have.

Tanger Outlet Mall Atlantic City

While you’re here, you can do some Christmas shopping or spoil your loved ones with treats from Coach, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, and Polo.

In fact, the Atlantic City outlet mall has over 65 different retailers for you to browse. Indeed, you won’t have trouble finding the perfect gift for even the pickiest family members with so many choices.

The shops are obviously free to visit, but the shopping excursion will be much more fun with a pocket full of the casino’s money. So, take them for all you can.

Conclusion

The fabulous Atlantic City has plenty of things to do to keep gamblers entertained. However, it’s unhealthy to spend all of your time on the casino floor.

Give yourself a break and check out these top seven ways to enjoy Atlantic City outside the casino.

Casino Gambling Facts That Will Impress Your Friends

Casino Cards and Chips With Question Marks

Casino gambling has been surrounded by intrigue and excitement for centuries. One lucky night on the casino floor can quickly change a player’s life.

Before you head out the door on your next casino adventure, here are 10 casino gambling facts that will impress your friends.

The 14 Year Poker Game

Many of us have received the text message or seen the dreaded eight missed calls from our significant other while at a real money poker game.

Usually, this means it’s time to wrap it up and call it a night. Sometimes it requires a quick phone call and a delicately crafted response about why you won’t be home before 2 a.m.

Now imagine being part of the eight and a half year poker game. The game, which is rumored to have lasted eight years and five months, took place in Tombstone at the Bird Cage Theatre.

Dun Glen Hotel in West Virginia

The game ran day and night non-stop. I’m fairly certain the divorce attorney would have served me somewhere in year two.

That’s a tremendous poker game, but it’s not even the longest game ever. That distinction belongs to a game at Dun Glen Hotel in West Virginia.

Verified by the fact-checkers at Guinness, the game lasted for over 14 years.

Craps Players Would Eat the Dice to Slip the Cops

If there’s one thing that prohibition has accomplished, it’s to show us all that it doesn’t work.

Alcohol, drugs, and gambling have all endured a widespread prohibition at some point. Complete with the full cooperation of law enforcement.

However, alcohol had speakeasies and bootleggers. The drug trade has mules and vast networks of organized crime like the cartels.

Gambling in the first part of the 20th century had underground games. In fact, the games were fairly common. The police were constantly doing their best to shut down these gambling rings, and raids became commonplace.

The dice players quickly understood that the police would need evidence to convict anyone of wrongdoing and began to swallow the dice to eliminate the evidence.

This is how the phrase “no dice” got its start. I suppose swallowing dice beats going to prison.

Nevada State Prison and Casino

We all know how big casino gambling in Nevada is. Your friends will be shocked just how popular it is, though.

At one time, there was a fully functioning casino (minus the cocktail servers) inside the Nevada State Prison. No, this wasn’t some marketing ploy by Harrah’s to draw in a macabre casino crowd.

The casino was for the prisoners. Between 1932 and 1967, inmates could enjoy blackjack, poker, and craps at their temporary home.

Nevada State Prison Casino

The prison casino even offered a sportsbook for inmates to lay their wagers.

Prison officials touted the program as leading to far fewer incidents of disciplinary violations thanks to the program. Prisoners and guards seemed to get along pretty well while the casino was in operation.

In 1967, the new warden decided that the casino was detrimental to the prisoners and dissolved the program.

Doyle Brunson Back to Back WSOP Wins With the Same Hand

Not many poker stars have the honor of having a poker hand named for them. Of course, not many poker stars are on the level of Doyle Brunson.

Doyle won the 1976 World Series of Poker Main Event in dramatic fashion. His opponent led with A-J, and Brunson called with 10-2. The flop came A-J-10, giving Brunson a pair of tens. He went all-in, and his opponent quickly called with two pairs.

This could’ve been a cinderella story of Jesse Alto, a car salesman that won the WSOP. Instead, Brunson gained a two on the turn and another on the river for a full house.

Winning one hand, even for a WSOP Main Event bracelet, isn’t enough to name a hand for someone. Do it two years in a row, and you’re going to gain some attention.

That’s precisely what Brunson accomplished in 1977 when he again won the WSOP Main Event with 10-2.

Again, Brunson started behind and caught winning cards on the turn and river for a full house.

Vegas Used Atomic Testing to Draw Crowds

This may sound crazy at first but stay with me for a moment. Las Vegas actually became a tourist attraction in the 1950s for something vastly different than blackjack or slot machines and buffet dining.

The United States Department of Energy began testing nuclear bombs in the Nevada desert at a tremendous rate. Thousands of massive explosions transformed the desert into the surface of the sun.

Las Vegas Atomic Testing Site

Being Americans and all, we rushed to the desert to bask in all of our atomic glory, from a safe distance, of course.

Obviously, Las Vegas saw the opportunity and seized. Vegas casinos began offering atomic themed packages with views of the explosions and signature cocktails.

There was even a “Miss Atomic Energy” beauty pageant where contestants wore mushroom cloud inspired outfits.

How uniquely Las Vegas to capitalize on nuclear proliferation.

Smallest Casino in The World

You might have that friend that just can’t stop gushing about the quaint casino the recently visited. They’ll bill it as a hidden gem and speak of how it must be among the smallest casinos in the world.

However, you’ll be sure to remind them that it’s definitely not the smallest. In fact, it’s not really that close.

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Head across the pond to London, England, and you may run across one of Grosvenor Casino’s taxi cabs. Or is it a casino? These unusual casinos implore us to ask the question: What came first, the casino or the cab?

In any event, these tiny mobile casinos have everything a gambler on the go could want. Your dealer will warmly greet you at the casino table, where you have a vast selection of games.

If you’re in the mood for a drink, the casino has a fully stocked bar. There are even satellite television and a dedicated line for sports bettors to place their wagers.

Steve Job’s Dad Was a Casino Billionaire

Steve Jobs was definitely a charismatic and divisive leader. The Apple founder brought us tools that changed the way we work, communicate, and live.

From the iPod to the iPhone, Jobs was a visionary. At the very least, he had an eye for spotting the brightest forward thinkers around.

Boomtown Casino and Hotel in Reno

Many people don’t realize that Jobs was adopted. Even fewer people are aware that Jobs’ biological father was billionaire casino executive Abdulfattah John Jandali.

Jandali served as Vice Chairman for Boomtown Casino and Hotel in Reno, NV. Boomtown, as you may know, is best known for its all you can eat Lobster Buffet.

The Sandwich Was Born in a Casino

Enjoy eating slices of cured ham or salami as much as playing cards? Looking for a convenient way to enjoy both simultaneously without making a mess?

Well, John Montagu was in the same predicament. The fourth Earl of Sandwich loved his regular card games.

John Montagu would regularly skip meals and bathroom breaks to continue the gambling action. One day it struck him, he asked his servants to bring him meat between slices of bread. Just like that, the sandwich was born. The bread kept the Earl’s hands clean and allowed the game to continue without any pesky breaks.

I should note that people had been eating meat in bread for ages. Fortunately, none of them had a killer name like Sandwich to attach to the delicious concoction.

Welcome to Fabulous Paradise

We’ve all seen the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign. Many of us have visited the sign ourselves for that great photo op.

However, many people don’t realize (even those who have visited the sign) that the sign and much of The Strip itself are actually located in Paradise, NV.

I know, it’s like finding out Santa Claus isn’t really a cheerful guy that lives at the North Pole with his flying reindeer.

I wouldn’t particularly mind if they did change the sign to read Paradise. After all, it’s Las Vegas, and that’s close enough. Or is it Paradise?

The First Slot Machine Was in a Service Station

Charles Fey was a car mechanic from San Fransisco. He invented the slot machine as a means of keeping his customers entertained and out of his hair while he repaired their ailing automobile.

Liberty Bell Slot Machine

The Liberty Bell was a hugely popular success, and casinos began to take notice. They began purchasing the machines and installing them to keep gamblers distracted while the table games were full.

Within a few years, the casinos were full of the fun and easy to play games. The rest, as they say, is history.

Conclusion

Armed with these 10 casino gambling facts that will impress your friends, you’re ready to share your knowledge amongst them indiscriminately.

What are some of your favorite bits of casino trivia that aren’t on my list?

The great thing about casino gambling is that one amazing day or lucky pull, and you instantly become a nugget of Las Vegas lore that others will talk about for decades.

Attractions to Visit Near Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course

Hollywood Gaming Logo With Ohio Attractions Background

Most of us think Youngstown, Ohio, and the entire area up in Mahoning County is long past its prime. Maybe, maybe not. But when you venture to Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course, you’ll be shocked at the number of attractions the area boasts.

Nine of them made this list, but you can place a safe bet that you’ll find at least a dozen different places to visit if you look hard enough.

From top-end museums that give you some insight on what turned Youngstown into a power player back in the 20th century to outdoor parks and theaters, it seems like there is an attraction everywhere you turn in this area.

So, take a day off from gambling in Ohio, venture out into these places, and explore everything that continues to make the area stand out.

Youngstown Steel Heritage

The Youngstown Steel Heritage points to the backbone that built Youngstown, Ohio, into one of the most prominent steel cities in the world.

At one time, you could drive through the area and within seconds, you’d know the place was a thriving industrial sector complete with smokestacks that reached the heavens, the rumbling of steam whistles, overhead cranes, and other heavy industrial equipment. You were in for a light show when the sun went down just from flame openings lighting up the sky.

Youngstown Steel Heritage Ohio

Well, today, you’ll no longer experience it. But the Youngstown Steel Heritage serves as a perpetual reminder of Youngstown’s original identity. So, even if the steel mills are either gone or lay abandoned, its legacy remains at this location.

Come on in and experience what made Youngstown one of America’s most thriving metropolises of yesterday if you need a break from the real money slots and the races.

Youngstown Historical Center for Industry and Labor

Like Youngstown Steel Heritage, the Youngstown Historical Center for Industry and Labor will give you a glimpse of the manufacturing sector that served as the blueprint for Ohio’s thriving economy once upon a time.

Here, you’ll find hundreds of labor-related photographs that also represent the mass immigration and urban history regarding Youngstown, Ohio. There are also numerous artifacts, including tools, workers’ clothes, life-sized scenes that include a locker room, company-built houses, scenes straight out of the mill, and more.

If you’re an avid researcher, the museum even offers a library and archive room where you can find numerous resources including manuscripts from labor organizations, government records, and more.

For the historian in you, this is definitely a place to visit if you’re gaming in the area.

Stambaugh Auditorium

This non-profit public auditorium has served the Youngstown community for nearly 100 years, with its roots dating back to 1926.

Come over and enjoy the exterior architecture or interior design of the historic building. Some of its prominent features include an 8,800 square-foot ballroom, a recital room, and a formal garden you can rent out for a public or business function if you choose.

Stambaugh Auditorium Ohio

And if the live entertainment over at the casino isn’t cutting it, you’ll find a lot of it here at Stambaugh Auditorium. Some of what you’ll find here are the hottest national and international acts along with a plethora of regional entertainment and public acts.

A building full of history, Stambaugh Auditorium encroached the list of National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

Lanterman’s Mill

It’s arguably the area’s most historic landmark. The mill’s roots trace back to 1845 when German Lanterman and Samuel Kimberly built the structure.

Fast forward nearly 200 years into the future and the mill continues to attract visitors from all over the world.

If you’re a history buff, step into the past and get a live look at how our ancestors produced mill and flour from freshly ground grains. Plus, you’ll gain insight into how the ancestors ground those fresh grains. Oh, and if you want to taste the history, you can purchase stone-ground cornmeal, buckwheat, and whole wheat flour.

It’s a safe gamble that you’ll probably end up loving the stuff more than any store-bought grains. And rightfully so. It doesn’t get any fresher than this.

Fellows Riverside Gardens

Need some peace and quiet in your life after a few days of all the casino games and racing you’ll get in Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course?

This free public garden sits on 12 acres of real estate, and you’ll find it at the northern end of Mill Creek Park. One of the most popular attractions in the United States, Fellows Riverside Gardens attracts over 400,000 visitors per year from all over the world.

And if flora is your thing, you’ll love the diverse collection and classes of roses, flowering bulbs, perennials, seasonal displays, and the works.

Fellows Riverside Gardens Ohio

While this is a fine attraction to venture to regardless of the time of year, it provides an intense show in the spring when its 40,000 bulbs bloom and announce the arrival of the new season. It will be unlike anything you’ve ever seen if you visit the place in April/May.

But hey, you’re looking at more than just the State of Ohio’s finest collection of plants here. The friendly staff is more than happy to give you a tour of the gardens and there are often special events going on at and around the location.

So, if you’re in the mood for stress relief, or if the games didn’t go as well as you anticipated over at the casino, then take a trip to Fellows Riverside Gardens for relaxation and comfort.

Butler Institute of American Arts

If you’re looking for the most unique and finest collection of art in America, then you’ll find it all at the Butler Institute of American Arts. Discover the collection of artwork that has been preserved throughout American history from the pre-colonial period until today.

To take a walk through this art museum is akin to taking a journey through American history to places and times you may have only read about in history texts back in high school.

This museum is suited for more than just the art enthusiast in you. If you love American history, then the Butler Institute of American Arts is a must-visit and it’s wise to rank it number one on your itinerary if you’re looking to venture away from Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course.

Mill Creek Park

Discover your park and discover the great outdoors. Serving the residents of Youngstown and hundreds of thousands of tourists since 1891, Mill Creek Park sits on 4,500 acres of forested real estate that’s just waiting to be discovered.

So, come on over! Reserve a facility for the night during your favorite season, hike the trails, get fresh air, and don’t forget to see what types of upcoming events are in the park during your stay.

Mill Creek Park Ohio

This is another great place to unwind, workout, or even relax after a day’s worth of casino gaming and horse racing. If you need a breather from the slots, Mill Creek Park is the answer. And best yet, you don’t need to drive far to find the conveniently-located park.

Mr. Darby’s Antique and Collectible Emporium

Yep, if you’re into the oldies, then you’ll fall in love with the collection over at Mr. Darby’s Antique and Collectible Emporium.

In addition to the most diverse collection of antiques in the area, Mr. Darby’s is also the home to many local and regional events that you and the family can enjoy if you brought the crew along to this historic area.

And if you’re an antique collector, reviewers agree that you won’t find more reasonably priced collectible items anywhere else. It’s your one-stop-shop for anything antique-related. But if you’re just looking to take a break from the gaming action, it’s a wonderful place to come in and browse.

Biker Brewhouse

Yeah, you’ll find some of the finest local beers on tap and crafts over at Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course. But you’ll also find a wider selection of crafts over at Biker Brewhouse.

Come in and enjoy the atmosphere while you sample the best seasonal and local drafts around that include exotic flavors like Road Rash, Hot Blonde Habanero, Crossroads, Blue Balls, American Pie, School House Red Biker, and more.

Biker Brewhouse Ohio

If you’re one who can’t visit an area without trying the finest local crafts, then Biker Brewhouse will grace the top of your itinerary.

Head on in where heaven for the beer enthusiast in you awaits.

Conclusion

As mentioned, the attractions listed here are just a handful of everything Youngstown, Boardman, and the rest of the area offer.

So, if you’re growing weary of the endless, adrenaline-pumping gaming and racing over at Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course, you can turn your trip to the casino into a mini-vacation destination.

Check out those museums and get fresh air and relaxation at one of the parks or gardens. Once you’re rejuvenated, return to that gaming floor or the grandstand and have at it for another round.

Have you played at Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course? If so, did you explore the Youngstown area and visit any of the attractions listed above? Let us know in the comments and share your experience.

Tips for Betting NCAA Football Games by Quarter

NCAA Notre Dame Football Player With Scoreboard Background

College football is notoriously unpredictable. For that reason, many bettors choose to take a quarter-by-quarter approach to betting on the games.

Taking a quarter-by-quarter approach allows gamblers to break down the games into more manageable segments – not to mention it provides the opportunity to win back losses quickly.

While the basics are the same, there are some specific things to look for when betting by quarter instead of the whole game. I’ll cover those in this article and explain a few other tips for being successful using this method.

Bankroll Management First

One of the most common mistakes, and one of the most dangerous, is bad bankroll management when it comes to betting on a quarterly basis. Because you’re dealing with four bets instead of just one, it’s crucial that you don’t have one bad game that ruins your bankroll for the entire weekend.

The first thing you should do is determine the amount you would bet on the game if you were only playing it as a single game. Ideally you would divide this number by four and wager evenly on each quarter. However, if the game goes along and you feel like you might have a better read on a particular quarter, it is okay to raise your bet slightly.

NCAA Football Linemen

For example, some bettors feel like accurately predicting the first and fourth quarters are more difficult than the middle two. For this reason, they’ll divvy up their betting money in a way that looks like 20%, 30%, 30%, 20% — instead of just 25% all the way through.

The bottom line is whatever strategy you take in terms of money management, do not under any circumstances bet the amount you would wager on a full game four times when betting quarters. The potential for killing your bankroll is just too great.

Study the Sports Gambling Trends

You don’t have to necessarily know why a certain trend exits, you just have to know that it does. Throughout sports, whether you’re talking about betting on the NFL, NBA, and of course, college football, there are teams who perform significantly better in certain quarters, and worse in others.

If you know you’re going to be betting quarters on a game, go back over the data before making any decisions. Simply looking at team’s previous games broken down by quarter can be beneficial in getting a feel for when a team is going to be playing their best football.

Obviously this will change based on the matchup and the other circumstances, but historically speaking, teams who have the head coaching advantage tend to perform well in the third quarter. If a good team is losing going into the tunnel at halftime, strongly consider betting on them in the third.

On the flip side, there are teams who seem to have a knack for letting the game slip away in the fourth quarter, even if they have a lead. This can be valuable information, but be sure that it’s an actual trend and isn’t just something you observed once or twice throughout the course of the season.

Consider Field Position and Possession

Yes, the sportsbooks do take this into account, but it’s not as significant in determining a quarter’s point spread as you might think. Always make sure you’re taking note of where the ball is on the field and how the current drive is going.

For example, often times quarters will be a very small spread such as ½ or 1 ½. That means getting up a touchdown early in the quarter can have major implications.

NCAA Football Player Running the Ball

If a team is starting out the quarter deep in the opponent’s territory, factor this in when deciding which way to bet. If a team is backed up against their own goal line, this is equally significant as well.

The reality is that many people bet on quarters without knowing exactly what’s happening in the game at that moment. If you’re watching the game and can recognize things like field position and how that might impact the quarter as a whole, you’re already ahead of the game.

Don’t Be Afraid of Betting on the Moneyline

Full disclosure, I’m a huge fan of the moneyline. And by that, I mean a huge fan of betting on moneyline underdogs in particular.

I understand that it’s difficult to pick an upset straight up, but when you’re working with a single quarter instead of an entire game, it does become a little bit easier.

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If you do want to take the moneyline – specifically underdog moneyline – approach to betting on quarters, it all comes down to the odds. For example, if you’re only getting +110 to win the quarter but the spread is +1/2 at -110, it might be better to take the points in the event of a tie. However, if you’re looking at odds of +130 or better, this is probably worth the risk rather than taking the small number of points.

Any time you can put yourself in a position to win more money than you have to risk, it’s worth exploring. I know that it’s hard to get over the mental hurdle of betting on something that is undeniably less likely to happen, but sharps know this is the way to grow your bankroll over time.

Don’t get caught up in wins and losses. If you win 6 and lose 9 games over the course of a weekend you could still be profitable if you’re sticking to high value plays.

Consider Alternate Betting Lines

For the most part, the point spreads involved with quarterly bets are going to be relatively small (unless you’re betting on a game where the two teams have a significant discrepancy). If you want to get a little more risky and put yourself in a position to win big, alternate lines are the way to go.

If you’re unfamiliar, alternate lines are just like point spreads except for the odds attached to the spreads deviate from the standard -110 (ish). For example, if Alabama was playing against Georgia and the odds were Alabama -3 (-110), an alternate line might be something like Alabama -8 (+185).

NCAA Football Players Celebrating After a Game

If we extrapolate the example above and put it in the context of betting on quarters, it might look something like this: 1st quarter, Alabama -2 at -110. The alternate line could be Alabama -5, +155.

Keep in mind that utilizing alternate lines is going to make it more difficult to win your individual bets, but the tradeoff is that your wins count for much more. As someone who is always looking to increase the value of my plays, I’ve found this to be an effective strategy for squeezing a little more cash out of the sportsbooks when betting on college football.

Look at Different Sportsbook Options

It’s no secret that different sportsbooks have varying odds. Although at first glance the variance might seem insignificant, it’s important to remember that over the course of a season, even small differences in the odds can add up in a big way.

Looking around at different betting platforms before placing a wager should be standard practice regardless of if you’re betting by quarter, half, the whole game, or even futures. I’m only including it in this particular article as a subtle reminder that you should always be looking around for something better.

You wouldn’t pay $3.50 for gas if next door it was available for $3.25, why would you bet $50 at -115 if you could bet $50 at -105 elsewhere?

The margin between being a profitable gambler and one who loses money is razor thin. Give yourself the best chance by choosing the right sportsbook before making your plays.

Conclusion

Betting on individual quarters takes a bit more leg work, but the benefits make it worth the effort if you’re able to refine your skills. In fact, it might even become your new favorite way to gamble on college football.

Finally, it should be noted that none of what I’ve laid out above matters if you don’t actually watch the game. Follow along with the action and you’ll have an advantage over the public which means more money in your pocket.

Review of FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek, Michigan

Firekeepers Casino Logo and Hotel Images

Located in Battle Creek, Michigan, FireKeepers Casino Hotel comprises 107,000 square feet of gaming space and an additional 122,000 square feet of hotel space. So if you’re looking for a place to stay and game for a while, FireKeepers provides a fantastic option given its amenities.

Open to the public in 2009, this casino has been the premier destination for Michigan’s residents and tourists. So whether you’re coming in from a nearby area or if you’re venturing to Battle Creek, this post will tell you everything you need to know about FireKeepers before you cross the threshold into the gaming area.

We will overview a brief history of the place and then we will go into the casino to explore everything Battle Creek’s crown jewel offers.

Ready for a tour of what Michigan casinos have to offer?

Let’s begin.

FireKeepers Casino Hotel History

As mentioned in the intro, FireKeepers opened its doors in August 2009. But it wasn’t until 2012 did the hotel and the casino’s latest additions open.

Since its opening, FireKeepers Casino Hotel has expanded to offer table games, restaurants, a buffet, and a sports bar. All of which will be explained in the following sections.

But let’s talk a little history if you find that appealing.

FireKeepers Casino Interior Design

Gaming Entertainment Michigan (GEM) brought about the casino in a joint-venture comprising Full House Resorts and Robert Mathewson, a well-known real-estate developer. However, in May 2012 the Nottawaseppi Huron Band bought the casino and took over management.

In the same year, the Huron Band expanded the casino with a 243-room hotel. And since 2016, the casino sponsors the FireKeepers Casino 400, an annual NASCAR event held at Michigan International Speedway.

Now that we covered a brief history regarding FireKeepers, let’s move on to the good stuff.

FireKeepers Casino Hotel Gaming

Gaming at FireKeepers Casino Hotel includes over 2,900 slots, 70 table games, and a 26-table (non-smoking) poker room. Oh, and if you’re a sports enthusiast, the sportsbook at FireKeepers is rocking and rolling, so bet on your favorite team and hope for the best.

What games can you play at the slots here at FireKeepers?

You name it, the casino gaming floor has it, including Wheel of Fortune plus your favorite video poker terminals. And yes, they also have those high-stakes options. So if you’re more into high-stakes gaming, come on down because the action awaits.

FireKeepers Casino Floor

But if you ain’t into the slots, don’t sweat, because with 70-plus tables, you have a plethora of casino gaming options to choose from. The more popular games at the venue include Three Card Poker, Pai Gow, Baccarat, Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, Let it Ride, Crazy 4 Poker, and more.

If you have a favorite or preferred game, it is a safe bet that you will find what you are looking for in FireKeepers’ table gaming room. And if you’re ready for those poker tournaments, enter the 26-table poker room and test your skills against Battle Creek, Michigan’s best.

Check out the Dacy’s Sportsbook if you’re up for some sports betting. Voted the best overall sportsbook by Casino Player Magazine, step up to one of the self-service wagering kiosks and place your best bet.

What can you find at the sportsbook? Restaurant-style seating for 125 guests plus mezzanine seating for an additional 36. You also won’t go far to find the best food in the house, as your favorites are right at the venue to enjoy at your leisure while you root for your team on one of the several big-screen televisions scattered about the venue.

Oh, and best yet, you’re looking at a non-smoking environment so you won’t need to worry about the billows driving you away from the premises.

Now that you have a firm hand on what to expect from the gaming side of operations, let’s see where you can eat when you need a quick break from the casino floor.

FireKeepers Casino Hotel Dining

FireKeepers Casino Hotel’s restaurant options are plenty, with six stellar options including upscale dining, casual, plus grab and go. So whether you’re looking for a complete evening out or just something quick to get you back onto the gaming floor, you will find what you’re looking for at FireKeepers.

Nibi is the venue’s signature restaurant. It offers an upscale yet casual atmosphere and is conveniently located just off the casino floor. Expect your classic favorites entwined with a contemporary twist when you visit this restaurant.

Nibi is the perfect place to dine if you’re looking to remain in on the action, but need to fill up fast before another round of casino-related fun.

FireKeepers Casino Nibi Restaurant

Looking for an epic combo of craft beer, great food, and big-screen TVs? Dacey’s Taphouse has you covered. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a place to watch the big game while enjoying local and internationally recognized craft beer, you will find everything you need at Dacey’s.

Smoke ‘N Fire prides itself on serving the fines American cuisine in the area. Located just inside the hotel, you will fall head over heels for that tangy barbeque flavor. Head on in and if you’ve tried all the rest, you will now try the very best.

Craving a classic atmosphere that will make you feel as if you stepped back in time? Cafe 24/7 is where it’s at. All your classic fast-food favorites are served up in a timely manner to get you back onto the gaming floor for a few more rounds of your favorite casino-related contests.

If you need a pick-me-up either before or during your casino outing, Gapi Coffee & Sweets is the number one place in the venue. Grab your favorite brew, then head to the casino floor for a morning or afternoon of exciting table games.

We all love our desserts. And if you’re craving some thick, rich flavor, the Cake Shop has it. Whether it’s cake, pastries, treacle, you name it and the Cake Shop has it.

FireKeepers Casino Hotel Promos and Events

Join Red Hot Rewards at FireKeepers Casino and start collecting rewards points for all the time and effort you put into the casino gaming. This is a great option if you’re gaming often in the Battle Creek area.

So join up, start earning tier-points on your favorite casino-related games, and cash in those points for casino comps and benefits. Even if you’re not winning, it still pays to play and go long at FireKeepers Casino Hotel with the Red Hot Rewards program.

FireKeepers Casino Hotel’s promotions are some of the best around town. Promos included involve the $130,000 Cash Craving Giveaway, Moneykeepers, New Member Spin & Win, and more.

Also, you will find the latest and greatest live entertainment and events over at the Events Center featuring the biggest names in music and entertainment. So if you’re having a blast on the gaming floor, it’s just half the experience at this casino hotel.

Head over to the Events Center and see who is in town for the night. Acts like Randy Houser, Larry the Cable Guy, Dick Fox’s Golden Boys, and more are rocking and rolling at FireKeepers. And you can place a winning bet that those listed above are just a sliver of what you’ll find at FireKeepers.

FireKeepers Casino Hotel Accommodations

The FireKeepers Hotel is your number one place for accommodations if you’re looking for an extended stay in the region. Enjoy the most relaxing and comforting rooms and suites, whether you’re looking for something luxurious or economical.

FireKeepers Casino Hotel Room

Options include something as economical as the Classic Queen to the Presidential Suite.

Hotel amenities include in-room dining, a 24-hour business center, high-speed internet access, dry-cleaning, flat-screen TVs, and more. And of course, the more luxurious the room you’re booking, the more amenities you can expect at this stellar venue.

Attractions Near FireKeepers Casino Hotel

If you’re looking for a day off from the casino, can you find awesome things to do in Battle Creek?

The answer is a resounding yes. And there are tons of options to visit in the area, including the Kellogg House, Air Center of Battle Creek, Binder Park Zoo, the Battle Creek Sanitarium, Fort Custer Recreation Area, Historic Adventist Village, and Linear Park.

Fort Custer Recreation Area Michigan

You could turn a small trip to FireKeepers Casino Hotel into a full-blown vacation by visiting just a few of these notable points of interest. So if you’re looking to turn your trip to Battle Creek into the ultimate vacation destination, plenty of points of interest are cooking in this area.

Conclusion

FireKeepers Casino Hotel offers some of the most diverse slot machines and table gaming in the State of Michigan. It also includes a dynamic state-of-the-art sportsbook. So if you’re not into the slots or the tables, you need not look far for some fun, casino-based gaming in the area.

And it isn’t just FireKeepers that is cooking in the area. Battle Creek includes about a dozen notable nearby attractions to visit if you’re looking to take a break from the casino gaming or if you wish to make Battle Creek, Michigan, your next luxurious vacation destination.

Have you played at FireKeepers Casino Hotel? If so, share your gaming experience. We are always looking forward to hearing from you.

Noteworthy Gamblers With Horrible Luck

Portraits of Unlucky Casino Gamblers

Gambling, by its nature, creates two very distinct categories of gamblers, winners and losers. Hollywood, who loves a winner and loathes a loser in 99.9% of cases, almost celebrates losers when it comes to gambling.

So, why is it that we feed on the misfortune of the down on their luck punter?

Maybe it’s because most of us can relate far more to Clark Griswold than Rusty in Vegas Vacation. Here are five noteworthy gamblers with horrible luck.

Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley is a very public figure, and his gambling woes are well documented. Barkley had an illustrious NBA career over 16 seasons and is a double inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Despite all of his success on the court, Barkley never won an NBA Championship. He did everything in his power, including changing teams several times.

Unfortunately, Barkley had a huge roadblock on his path to a title, Michael Jordan, a.k.a. The Best to Ever Do It.

NBA Player Charles Barkley

Barkley didn’t have much luck off the court either. Sure, he had millions of dollars and a lifestyle many dream about, but I attribute that to hard work and talent.

I’m referring specifically to the casinos. Barkley has admitted to having gambling losses in excess of $10 million in the 1990s.

Charles noted a specific session at the blackjack table in which he went home $2.5 million lighter in the wallet. He was also spotted playing roulette for $50k per spin at Las Vegas casinos.

By 2008, the horrible luck had really caught up to Barkley. He now had accrued over $20 million in losses.

Things were so dire that Wynn Las Vegas filed a complaint against “Sir Charles” over an unpaid $400,000 gambling debt.

Barkley has been very public about his woes and faces them head-on. Today, Barkley claims to have his gambling under control, but his golf swing is still a disaster.

Harry Kakavas

Harry Kakavas might be the biggest casino loser of all-time. As you’ll find with many of the gamblers on this list, he was extremely successful, perhaps even a little lucky in life.

Kakavas made over a billion dollars selling luxury real estate on Australia’s posh Gold Coast.

Of course, you can’t lose massive amounts of money if you don’t have a ton of cash to burn in the first place.

Some poor schmo will probably spend his last $5 on a scratch-off today and lose everything he has. Still, we don’t necessarily consider that horrible luck. However, if you have billions and lose millions, it’s somehow horrible luck.

You’re probably wondering just how much Kakavas lost in casinos. Well, it’s estimated to be in the range of $1.5 billion.

Yes, billion with a “B”!

Pro Gambler Harry Kakavas

Kakavas is rumored to have once lost $164 million on a spectacularly poor trip to Las Vegas playing baccarat. Harry allowed his gambling to get so out of hand that he actually went to jail for defrauding a corporation out of $500k to fuel his gambling habit.

Kakavas took the step of adding himself to the self-exclusion list at the Crown Casino as a last-ditch effort to help curb his problem gambling.

By 2004, Kakavas was back at the tables. He was spotted in Las Vegas playing in the high limit rooms, and the Crown Casino wanted their VIP back. Their efforts to secure the casino whale were successful, and Kakavas ultimately lost over $11 million.

Kakavas later sued Crown Casino, among others, for exploiting his gambling problem for a profit, and while the judge agreed, Kakavas wasn’t returned any of the money he lost.

This is a cautionary tale of what can happen when a problem gambler doesn’t seek some form of help.

It doesn’t matter whether a player is wealthy or not. $ 10 million or $30k look the same when the counter reaches zero.

Arnold Rothstein

Arnold Rothstein is a legend in gambling circles. He’s lauded as a pioneer in bookmaking but was also a prolific poker player.

Rothstein amassed a fortune at the poker table. At one time, he was worth over $50 million, which was in the 1920s.

That’s over $750 million in today’s dollars, pretty impressive.

Rothstein was the Black Sox Scandal mastermind in which the Chicago White Sox through the 1919 World Series. The book “EightMen Out,” which was adapted to the big screen, focuses on the scandal and resulting legal case.

However, it wasn’t the Black Sox Scandal that led to his demise. He beat any charges against him in court. It wasn’t until later that he openly admitted his role.

Black Sox Scandal Vintage Photo

In the late 1920s, Rothstein went on a long losing streak and began to have financial hardships.

In the fall of 1928, Arnold lost over $300k in a poker game. Rothstein refused to pay the debt, contending that the game was fixed.

Less than a month later, Rothstein was invited to another poker game in town. No doubt hoping that his horrible luck would turn around, Rothstein jumped at the chance to play some cards.

Rothstein was fatally shot after arriving at the game, retribution for not paying his $320,000 debt. Rothstein stayed gangster to the bitter end and refused to rat on the subject that delivered the fatal shot.

Michael Vick

Michael Vick had a charmed life. He was the 1st overall draft pick by the Atlanta Falcons. He had all the money and accolades he could dream of and made a 13-year career for himself in the NFL.

Vick played in NFC Championship games, Pro Bowls and was considered for league MVP. However, Vick lost everything and not in the way you may think.

Vick was arrested for founding and funding a dog fighting operation. I won’t get into specifics because it’s explicitly barbaric, but suffice it to say the animals are treated in a reprehensible manner.

In fact, so egregious that the 10-year prison term Vick received seemed a little light at the time.

Ex NFL Player Michael Vick

Vick’s case shows that there’s much more than money to be lost when gambling goes wrong. I’m not saying that Vick was necessarily unlucky for the mess in which he found himself.

I’m just pointing out his brilliant fall from grace. You have to have some bad luck to go from NFL stadiums to federal prison. No?

Vick owned his mistakes and has made every effort to right the wrongs he’s done. For starters, the Atlanta Falcons sued to have a large portion of his signing bonus returned and won.

The courts sided with the team, and Vick was ordered to pay back nearly $20 million. Vick was forced to sell a huge chunk of his possessions to make good on the debt, but he got it paid off.

Michael Vick fundamentally reformed his stance on animal abuse and specifically dog fighting. Vick has become an advocate for animals’ ethical treatment and has even lobbied before the Pennsylvania State Senate on their behalf.

Vick made some horrible choices as a young adult, but Vick has shown a vast transformation through his prison sentence and return to the public spotlight.

His story shows what is possible when today’s cancel culture isn’t in full effect. People can make impressive strides to overcome their shortcomings and promote actual change in the world.

Jack McCall

Even if you’re not familiar with the name Jack McCall, you’ve almost certainly heard of him. McCall is the man responsible for bringing us the Dead Man’s Hand, Aces, and Eights.

That’s right; Jack McCall murdered Wild Bill Hickok over losing a real money poker game.

The trouble began when McCall drunkenly lost all of his money to Wild Bill in a Deadwood saloon. Hickok suggested that McCall stop playing poker altogether.

Hickok presumably felt bad for Jack, or perhaps he was feeling generous and offered to buy McCall a meal and some cash. McCall accepted but considered the gesture an overt insult.

Wild West Poker Player Jack McCall

The following day, McCall walked up behind Hickok and fired a single shot to the back of his head, killing him instantly.

McCall claimed the murder was retaliation for Wild Bill, killing his brother and was acquitted. Unfortunately for McCall, he couldn’t leave well enough alone and began bragging of the murder.

McCall was retried and found guilty. His punishment for the boastful tongue was hanging.

After losing all of his money to Wild Bill, McCall was hung seven months later.

McCall lost not only all of his money but his life for his gambling blunder. That’s some horrible luck.

Conclusion

Gambling is meant as a form of entertainment. These cautionary tales about gamblers who lost big show what can happen when horrible luck hits.

Keep these five noteworthy gamblers with horrible luck in mind the next time you get up from the table and head to the nearest ATM.

Attractions Near Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races

Hollywood Casino Logo With West Virginia Attractions

Sure, the slots, tables, and live racing in Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Downs provide a memorable experience within itself—a memorable gaming experience, that is. But we all need to take a break from the adrenaline-pumping casino gaming to clear our minds and explore the area, right?

Whether we’re venturing as a local or from in or out of town, there is plenty to get excited about when you’re roaming the area around Charles Town, West Virginia.

This article provides eight nearby must-see attractions if you’re in the area and had enough casino gaming for the day. Each attraction is unique in its own way, and they definitely make Charles Town worth exploring for more than just its world-renowned horse racing.

Ready to take a quick tour of Charles Town and the West Virginia gambling scene? Let’s go.

Zion Episcopal Church

Alright, so if you’re looking for a taste of history that dates back over 200 years, the Zion Episcopal Church has it.

And the best part is that you’re looking at a place that welcomes everyone from a plethora of backgrounds. So, if Christianity isn’t your thing, no worries. Just come in to soak up the history you’ll find at this grand location.

The church itself can trace its origins back to St. Georges Chapel, whose ruins are located west of Charles Town on State Route 51. Historians believe the old ruins can trace its own roots back to the 1770s, during the time of the Revolutionary War.

After the war, the Chapel fell into disrepair, and they built the original Zion Episcopal Church near the site in 1815. The church expanded in the 1840s before a fire swept through and destroyed the building.

Zion Episcopal Church West Virginia

At which point, the present building you’ll find near the land-based casino and racetrack was built all the way back in 1851. As you may have predicted, the church also served as a key venue for the Union Army during the Civil War. At the time, the army used it for both barracks and a military hospital.

The nearby cemetery is where the real history lurks, with between 80 and 90 Confederate soldiers buried, as well as two officers from the Revolutionary War. Many from the Washington family have also found their final resting place in the cemetery.

Among the Washingtons buried at the site are Colonel John A. Washington, the last owner of Mount Vernon, and Lucy Todd Washington, who was the sister of Dolly Madison and the wife of George Steptoe Washington.

In all, you’ll find at least 70 members of the prominent Washington family buried at the cemetery.

Old Opera House Theatre Company

Don’t worry. If the opera isn’t your cup of tea, you’ll still find a lot of cool stuff to do at the Old Opera House Theatre Company.

Lose yourself in the theatre’s six yearly stage productions, its summer family production, one-act play festival, and ballet, among other marketable events the Opera House hosts.

Located in the center of Charles Town, the Old Opera House Theatre company has been a staple in the region over the last 100 years, presenting entertainment acts like comedies while hosting auctions, drives, and benefits.

Old Opera House Theatre Company

If you’re looking for more sophisticated live entertainment than what they’re offering at the casino venue when you’re in town, the Old Opera House Theatre Company is more than worth checking out. Perhaps you can pitch in at the latest drive, win some treasure at an auction, or get behind the latest comedy act.

Jefferson County Museum

Want to learn a little about Charles Town’s and Jefferson County’s history?

Take a ride to the Jefferson County Museum, where you’ll discover prominent people, events, and milestones that have made Jefferson County, West Virginia what it is today. You’ll also find the building in Downtown Charles Town, where it shares its venue with the Charles Town Library.

If you’re looking to increase your understanding of West Virginia’s history or if you’re just a history buff looking to experience a great story, Jefferson County Museum is the best place in town.

And while it’s not a place to make a sports bet and perhaps eke out a profit, your mind and imagination will operate in the green. And that’s always rewarding!

Jefferson County Memorial Park

The exercise enthusiast in you will love what you’ll find at Jefferson County Memorial Park. Located just minutes from Charles Town Downs, it’s a fantastic place to get outside, stretch your legs, and to bust out a good workout after all that time you’ve spent on the casino floor.

The park is just one of five parks in the area, each with their own unique theme. Also within driving distance of Charles Town Downs is Charles Town Skate Park, Evitts Run Park, Happy Retreat/Craighill Estates, and William Knolls Park.

Jefferson County Memorial Park

But Jefferson Memorial offers a variety of activities unlike the other parks in the area. Here, you’ll have access to the community pool, three tennis courts, two basketball courts, a walk/run trail, two playground areas, and four pavilions.

If you’re planning a gambling trip and looking to spend a day at the park away from the casino, reserve your own pavilion and spend some time at the pool and the trails. The slots and tables will definitely be there when you return to the floor.

Charles Town Farmers Market

At the Farmers Market, you can immerse yourself in a variety of food-related events that include cooking demos, guided walks, live entertainment, music, food sampling, food prep and drinks, and activities for kids.

You’ll also treat yourself to some of the best locally grown and raised food around that features 28 vendors from local farms each year. And nothing beats farm-to-table dishes, so it’s definitely worth giving a shot if you’re looking for the best organic foods around.

Charles Town Farmers Market

And if you’re looking to get a leg up on your nutritional outlook, you’ll find exactly what the doctor ordered here at the Market. No, seriously, you can partake in the “Walk with a Doc” program. Take a walk with a WVU medical doctor and spend some time gaining advice on nutrition, lifestyle, and other health-related topics.

So, if you feel guilty from indulging in that burger and drinks over at Hollywood Casino’s Sports Bar, you have a new hope. Make a date at the Farmer’s Market, and you’ll gain some awesome new outlooks!

Beall-Air Manor

Alright, so if you want a history lesson I’ll tell you right now the Beall-Air Manor is a place you need to circle in red and drag the entire family to, like Clark Griswold used to in the National Lampoon’s Vacation Series.

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Also known as the Colonel Lewis William Washington House, the manor was home to the great-great nephew of George Washington. The younger Washington’s claim to fame came when he was held hostage during John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry.

Of course, if you’re interested in history and especially events pertaining to the Civil War, Beall-Air Manor is one of quite a few locations you’ll hope to visit when you make the trip to Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Downs if you’re into exploring the area.

Cool Spring Preserve

For those of you who crave the wild and wonderful great outdoors of West Virginia, rejoice as the Cool Spring Preserve offers 63 acres of epic scenery comprising forests, meadows, and marshes as far as the eye can see.

The Preserve has been dedicated as a “birding hotspot” and you can uncover a lot of history over at Bullskin Run, a major stream bordering the north side of the Preserve.

Cool Spring Preserve in West Virginia

Want to learm more? Well, if you’ve read the entire article to this point, you’d win a bet if you predicted the history here had anything to do with George Washington. Because the near-1,500 acres along Bullskin Run is where Washington made his first major land purchase in 1752.

Washington leased the land in 200-acre parcels to tenants if they agreed to enrich the land with crops, vineyards, and small farms while preserving the surrounding woodlots.

If you’re a lover of nature and conservation, the Cool Spring Preserve is a must-see to lose yourself in mystical scenery whose land tells a story dating back over 250 years.

Jefferson County Visitors Bureau

And for information on more attractions, you can visit the Jefferson County Visitors Bureau. Here, you can find brochures and general information pertaining to everything Jefferson County, West Virginia, offers.

The Bureau is an outstanding resource to gain further information on the attractions listed above, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Downs, local parks that I mentioned in passing, and other sources of valuable information.

It’s your one-stop shop for an information outlet, and it’s all in one convenient location.

Conclusion

So, as you can see, even in small towns like Charles Town, there is a lot to see and get excited about. If you need a whole day or just a couple of hours off from the casino, there is plenty to do here given the assortment of historical locations that make so many small towns in America stand out.

With that said, Charles Town is more than just a delightful spot to play the slots, tables, sportsbook, and watch the races; it’s an outstanding family vacation destination if you’re not looking to break the bank—especially if you’re one who relishes in learning experiences above all else.

Have you been to Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Downs? And if so, did you take the time to explore some of the nearby attractions listed above? Let us know in the comments and share your experiences.

Ways to Change Your Gambling Thought Process to Win

Man in Suit Thinking With a Casino Cards Background

This isn’t a well-known secret, but you can change your gambling results simply by changing the way you think. It isn’t always an easy process, but anyone can do it with a little work and dedication.

Instead of looking at the seven things listed on this page individually, look at them as steps. Learn step one first, then add step two, etc. By the end of the page, you’re going to be on your way to changing your gambling thought process. And best of all, you’re going to start seeing better results.

Here are seven ways to change your thought process as a gambler to win.

Admit You Have a Problem

The first step to correcting any problem is admitting you have a problem. You probably have an idea that you might have a problem related to gambling because you’re reading this article.

I’m not talking about a gambling problem in the traditional way. If you have a gambling problem like that, then you need to get professional assistance right away.

The problem I’m talking about is that you’re not getting the results you want when you’re gambling. This usually means that you’re losing more than you want or not winning as much as you want.

Even winning gamblers want to win more, but most gamblers fall into the other category. Most of the information in this article deals with helping you get better gambling results because you’re currently losing frequently.

Do you know how much you’re losing when you gamble? How much did you lose during your last gambling session? How much have you lost in the last month and year? You need to know the answers to these questions so you know where you are right now.

Poker Player Holding Cards and Chips

If you don’t know these answers, you need to start keeping track of all of your gambling wins and losses. You need to get serious about this.

I know it can be painful to accurately track your losses, but you need a way to track your progress accurately. Don’t worry if you haven’t been keeping close track of your results. Just make a commitment to track everything from this point forward.

Identify What Winning Casino Gamblers Do

Now that you admit that you have a problem losing too much money gambling, it’s time to take the first major step in correcting the problem. And this step is simple once you understand how people improve in any area of their life.

If you want to win more when you gamble, you need to figure out what other gamblers are doing to win. The problem is that most gamblers are in the same boat as you. They’re losing more than they win.

This means you have to be careful about who you learn from. You have to find some winning gamblers so you can learn what they’re doing.

The good news is that once you identify what winning gamblers do it gives you a map to follow. This map is the key to changing your results. This involves changing the way you think. If you’re a losing gambler now, you need to change the way you think if you want to start winning.

How do winning gamblers think that’s different than the way losing gamblers think?

The first thing is winning gamblers don’t think in terms of fun. They also don’t rely on luck. Instead of looking for fun, they look for ways to make a profit. Instead of hoping they get lucky, they put themselves in a good position to win.

This means that they only gamble when they have a chance to get the odds in their favor. This limits the gambling activities they can participate in.

You’re going to find that the complete list of gambling activities that winning gamblers use to get an advantage is small. Winning gamblers are usually playing real money blackjack, at the poker table, or handicapping sporting events.

Now that you know what gambling activities the winning gamblers are doing, it’s time to start focusing on the same things. This means you need to stop playing the slots and other games that you can’t beat.

Commit to Making Changes

At this point, you have a big choice to make. You can take the easy way out and continue gambling the way you’ve been gambling. But this guarantees that your results aren’t going to change.

On the other hand, you can make a commitment to change. Don’t take this lightly, because once you learn how to do the same things that winning gamblers do, it’s not as fun as it used to be.

Of course, winning can be better than fun, but you have to decide if you’re willing to change everything about the way you think about gambling and everything that you’re doing now. This is a big change and a big commitment.

I can’t make the commitment for you. But I can help you on the path to profits if you’re willing to make the commitment. It’s time to decide what you want as a gambler.

Develop a Solid Gambling Plan

Now you know a bit about how winning gamblers they think differently than you. It’s time to put what you’ve learned into a plan.

How did they become a winning gambler? What path did they follow? What are they doing now to stay on top of the game? Answer these questions and you have a solid plan. Set aside time every day to work on the things that make you a winning gambler.

Roulette Wheel and Table

Spend time reading about how to win. Pick one area where winning gamblers operate and attack it. Become a sponge and learn as much as you can.

If you like to play poker, read the books that winning players read, learn how to use strategy to make profitable decisions. Start practicing every strategy you learn until you master it. Set up your plan using small steps and attack the next step.

If you do the things that winning gamblers have done to start winning long enough, you’re going to start winning, too.

Get Started on Your Plan Immediately

The best time to start on your plan to become a winning gambler is right now. Procrastination is killing all of your dreams and goals. You can study winning gamblers and make plans as long as you want, but you’re not going to start seeing results until you put your plan in action.

This is your wake-up call. Take action on your winning gambling plan as soon as possible. You can’t afford to put this off.

If you decide to put it off and procrastinate, you might as well accept the fact that you’re never going to be a winning gambler. If this is your decision, it’s okay. But you’re wasting your time following the steps on this page if you don’t take immediate action.

Track to See If Your Plan Is Working

In the first section, I explained why it’s important to track your results. This is even more important when you start working on your improving your gambling plan.

As you track your results during each step of your plan, you’re going to start seeing improvements. These might not be noticeable at first, and you might not see major changes every day in your results, but you’re going to see improvements over a longer period of time.

Person With a Laptop, Notebook, and Cell Phone

Seeing improvement tells you that your plan is working. And if you’re not seeing improvement, you need to go back and evaluate your plan. Maybe you need to make a few adjustments in order for it to work.

Adjustments aren’t anything to be ashamed of. In fact, adjustments prove that you’re smart enough to recognize your gambling mistakes and do something about it. And this all starts with tracking your results so you can make smart adjustments.

Value and Casino Advantage

The main difference in the way winning gamblers think and how losing gamblers think involves how they think about value and advantage.

Gambling establishments usually have an advantage, but advantage gamblers seek ways to turn the edge in their favor. The main way they do this is to find value.

Value comes in many forms, and you only need to learn how to use a single form to start winning. Winning blackjack players find value by counting cards. Winning poker players find value in game selection and strategy. Winning sports gamblers find value when they handicap games and look at the lines.

Train yourself to think in terms of value and advantage. This is the key to becoming a winning gambler.

Conclusion

Now you know the seven steps you need to take to change your gambling thought process. It might not be easy. But if you want to start seeing better results when you’re gambling, you need to make some changes.

Identify the problem, figure out a solution to the problem, then take steps to correct the problem. This is the way to become a better gambler and start winning more.

Don’t procrastinate another minute. You know what you need to do. Now, get started. Good luck!

How to Enjoy Casino Food Without Falling Asleep

Sleepy Man With a Casino Buffet Background

It’s not fair. You anticipate having a great time at a high-end casino, and when you get there, you gorge on the buffet. And then you struggle to stay away as your body slows down.

If you’re only dropping by the local casino on your lunch hour, chances are you’ll grab a sandwich and drink before hitting the tables or slot machines for a few minutes.

If you’re there for the day or evening, you’ll stop by the buffet, diner, or one of the main restaurants. That’s where they get you: right in the stomach. It’s like being sucker-punched by a 4-star chef.

The Casino Experience

The house already has a mathematical edge in all the games. And contrary to intuitive thinking, the bright lights don’t help keep you awake so much as mesmerized. The same is true for all the ringing bells from slot machines.

From the time you drive up the long entrance road to the time you walk out the door past the smiling staff, the entire casino experience is designed to make you feel relaxed and forget your worries.

Honestly, that’s why most people love going to the casino. It’s a fun way to pass the time. If only you can keep track of the time.

Las Vegas Casino Floor

And so casino patrons should expect good food. The locals may be happy to visit the off-track gambling parlors where they can munch on tuna fish sandwiches and push slot machine buttons, but when you’re traveling, you want more from your gambling experience. You want to feel like they value your patronage.

Serving great food makes a casino more competitive, more appealing to customers from near and far. And it just so happens a lot of the rich food the higher-end casinos serve contribute to the total ambiance.

Why Does Food Make You Sleepy?

People obviously need food to survive. That’s the rule of life. Everyone eats to live, even tiny microbes.

But things get crazy when you start looking at the rules of good nutrition. You’re supposed to eat large meals in the morning and light meals in the evening. The body needs to be active to digest its food, regulate blood sugar, and burn energy efficiently.

And yet people love to eat large meals at night, especially when they spend the rest of the evening sitting down in front of a television, at a bar, or playing casino games.

The most common reason why people feel sleepy after eating is that they consume too much protein. Protein-rich foods contain tryptophan, an amino acid the body uses to make serotonin, the so-called sleep hormone. The more tryptophan you consume, the more serotonin your body wants to make.

But it’s not that simple. The body needs carbohydrates to absorb that tryptophan. Otherwise, it simply flushes out of your system. Eating a large meal rich in protein and carbohydrates makes everyone feel sleepier than they were before they ate.

Beyond these basic facts, there are many theories about how missing a meal, eating small breakfasts, eating too many carbs for breakfast, etc. affect your sleepiness throughout the day. Assuming that you walked into the casino fully alert and not yet hungry, your problem is most likely due to whatever you eat at the casino.

Other Things Make You Sleepy

It’s not always the food that does you in. Alcohol not only relaxes people, it eventually makes you sleepy.

Fatigue and boredom also contribute to sleepiness. If you’re bored, your mental alertness declines. The body may not relax, but you can still feel sleepy because, hey, it’s something to do. And you might have an interesting dream to enjoy.

Craft Las Vegas Food Spread

Health experts recommend being fully rested to ward against feeling sleepy during a long stay at the casino before you hit the tables or slots. But you should also get up and walk around for 5-10 minutes every hour.

The worst thing you can do for your mental alertness is head straight for the casino as soon as you get into town after a long road trip, gorge on a big meal, and sit in a chair for hours. If you drink alcohol, you’re contributing to the problem.

Caffeinated Beverages Help Us Stay Awake

Everyone knows caffeine wakes you up – but there are some catches. People who drink a lot of caffeine may develop a high tolerance for it. That means you need more and more caffeine to rouse yourself, especially if you’re genuinely tired.

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Consuming too much caffeine may also damage your esophagus and stomach. No one wants to think about how much their coffee or soda contributes to ulcers, but it’s a good idea to switch between caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages while gaming. Keep a bottle of water handy for when you feel genuinely thirsty.

There are health benefits to consuming caffeine, too. Moderate green tea and coffee consumption are associated with good health and long life in some studies. So asking for a diet soda or a cup of coffee at the casino is a good idea.

Eating a Good Breakfast Puts You on the Right Path

If you’re staying at the casino’s hotel and eat breakfast there, that’s when you should eat a big meal. Go heavy on the oatmeal and fruit. Fueling your body is essential to having a steady mind when gambling.

People with type two diabetes are taught to regulate their glucose through diet by eating their largest meal in the morning. Your body needs protein and fiber, and carbohydrates to keep going throughout the day. Breakfast is where you should consume the largest portions.

Large Spread of Breakfast Foods

Eggs are good morning food, too. Honestly, many people eat eggs at any time of the day.

Although many different fruits are considered good for breakfast, apples are a great choice. You won’t find many fresh apples sitting on the breakfast bar, but if you do, take one. Apples contain quercetin, which contributes to our wakefulness.

Oranges, tangerines, tangelos, and other citrus fruits are also great breakfast foods. They are rich in vitamin C, which helps the body fight infection and stay awake.

The best wakeful beverage for breakfast (besides your morning cup of coffee) is water. Many people outgrow their fondness for milk and cereal, but if you’re still drinking milk with your eggs and toast, try substituting water instead. Milk contributes to sleepiness; water doesn’t.

Make Good Choices at Lunch

If you’re not a salad person, you should consider developing a favorite salad recipe anyway. A well-stocked salad bar may have dozens of ingredients you can use, including several types of lettuce and alternative leafy greens like spinach and kale.

There is usually something everyone can eat at a salad bar. You’ll find several types of proteins, vegetables, and fruits.

The more balanced your salad is, the better. Include a little bit of everything and go easy on the dressing.

If you’re looking forward to enjoying the kitchen staff’s special skills, choose a plated meal over the buffet. The chefs design these meals to be satisfying but not over-filling. They’ll ensure you have a good mix of protein, fat, fiber, and carbs on your plate.

Skip the dessert. You don’t need dessert. But if you have one anyway, split the dessert with a friend, leave some on the plate, or eat something small.

If all you want is a sandwich, bigger is not necessarily better. Casino sandwich shops may serve food fast and at a great price, but they tend to give more value per plate than you need. If you get a burger and fries, substitute a small salad or eat fewer fries. Toss the bun and eat your burger with a fork.

If you love fish, you may go for the tuna salad. But fish makes you sleepy, too. Avoid bananas, as well.

Keep All Bets on the Tables at Dinner

If you’ve been waiting to go for broke at dinner time, you’re setting yourself up for a battle with the sandman.

You don’t need to eat a small meal. You need to eat a reasonable meal. Some people prefer to snack all evening long, and that’s even riskier because they’re probably eating chips and other high-carb foods.

If you choose a plated meal, you’ll probably be okay, unless you order double portions or take extra food from a friend’s plate. Don’t order dessert unless you plan on eating just a bite or two.

Man Carving a Roast Ham

Getting casino comps for the buffet is where you’ll meet your doom.

It’s hard not to go back for a 2nd or 3rd plate because there is so much good food on the buffet line. Nutritionists and health experts say if you can fill a plate up with food, that’s all you need.

This is why it’s best to start with a salad and water. Fill up on the leafy greens and water first. That way, when you go back to the bar for your proteins, you’ll feel a little less hungry.

If you eat a salad, you don’t need to pile on the corn, peas, and carrots. You’ve already gotten a good mix of fiber and carbs.

Conclusion

One way to make a meal feel more filling is to extend the eating process through conversation. In other words, don’t just sit there and eat, eat, eat. Talk to your companions. Text someone.

Distracting yourself while you eat helps your body feel full without eating too much food. The less you overeat, the easier it is to stay away.

Entertaining Hotspots Near Rivers Casino Pittsburgh

Rivers Casino Pittsburgh Logo With Zoo and Science Center Background

Headed to Rivers Casino Pittsburgh? Well, you’re in for a treat as this article covers six entertaining hotspots to enjoy if you’re looking to explore the area and perhaps take a day or two off the endless casino gaming the venue offers.

And since you’re in the Steel City, you’re in America’s Number One cultural, historical, and innovative town. From its humble beginnings as a manufacturing sector to becoming one of the most livable places in the world, you’ll get a thrill out of everything Pittsburgh offers outside the casino.

So take a day and visit the six hottest locations listed below. If you’re traveling with family, use this list to create the perfect vacation which Rivers Casino will be just a slice of the pie.

Ready for a quick tour of the Steel City?

You’ll find everything you need below to enjoy a day when taking a break from gambling in Pennsylvania.

Kennywood Amusement Park

Located in West Mifflin, yet so close to the city you can still see Pittsburgh’s historic skyline lies Kennywood, an 80-acre amusement park in an area known as the South Hills.

Open from May until December, this is the perfect summer and fall destination for you and the entire family if you’re looking for a day away from the gaming floor at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh.

Kennywood offers 45 attractions, eight roller coasters, and two water rides, among other amenities, so excitement awaits in every direction.

Enjoy seasonal events like Phantom Fright Nights if you’re in the area during October as well as Nationality Days that recognizes Greek, Irish, Serbian, Croatian, Polish, Slovak, Hungarian, and Italian Cultures.

Kennywood Amusement Park

Some fun facts about Kennywood include that it was the sight of the Battle of the Monongahela, one of the opening battles of the French & Indian War back in 1755.

George Washington participated in the battle as a colonel to British General Edward Braddock, who was mortally wounded in the British’s quest to capture Fort Duquesne. The land later became a popular picnic area during the Civil War when it became part of a farm owned by Anthony Kenny.

And in 1987, Kennywood became a National Historic Landmark just two years before its 90th birthday.

If you’re into adrenaline-pumping rides, roller coasters, and dark funhouses the park is known for, then Kennywood is the perfect place for thrills if need something other than real money slots or table games.

The Waterfront

The open hearth stacks recognize one of Pittsburgh’s greatest shopping destination’s former use as US Steel’s Homestead Works Steel Mill before the plant closed in 1986.

So, just how much real-estate are we talking about at the Waterfront? How do 700,000 square feet encompassing three boroughs (Homestead, West Homestead, and Munhall) sound?

Epic, right?

If you name the store, the Waterfront provides it. Just hop onto the Parkway East (I-376 East), cross Homestead Grays Bridge, and you’re there from Rivers Casino.

Or, if you want to take an alternate route, feel free to take Route 837 and loop around the city to avoid all that traffic along the parkway that Pittsburgh is infamous for. And I can tell you from experience, nothing is worse than sitting in bumper to bumper traffic for 90 minutes on the parkway.

The Waterfront Shopping District

But once you make it to the Waterfront, it’s smooth sailing. You’ll find places like Barnes & Noble, Loews Cineplex, Victoria’s Secret, and more. On the east end, you’ll find familiar big box outlets that resemble your typical strip mall.

Stores like Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Dicks Sporting Goods, Target, and other large chains reside in this area of the shopping center.

And you can’t forget about the dining options if you’ve been through the works at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh. The Waterfront offers options like Panera Bread, Longhorn Steakhouse, Uno Chicago Grill, P.F. Changs, and T.G.I. Fridays.

This is overall the perfect place for a shopping spree after a long day at the casino floor and with its number of dining options, you’ll never get bored.

Carnegie Science Center

The science enthusiast in you can rejoice when you go to the Carnegie Science Center. Located within walking distance from Rivers Casino Pittsburgh, you don’t need to go far to access one of America’s premier science centers and perhaps Pittsburgh’s premier destination.

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The Carnegie Science Center is located in the same neighborhood as Rivers so if you’re not up for risking a 90-minute traffic jam on the parkway going either east toward the Fort Pitt Tunnels or west toward the Squirrel Hill Tunnels, then a short walk to the science center should be on your list.

Carnegie Science Center holds the distinction as the most visited museum in Pittsburgh and its major attractions include SportsWorks, the USS Requin, the Robot Hall of Fame, and the Miniature Road and Village.

PNC Park

It is often referred to by baseball enthusiasts as the ‘Best Stadium in Baseball.’ And that includes legendary stadiums like Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, New Yankee Stadium, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and other historic venues.

You don’t need to be a pro baseball gambler to appreciate the architecture that PNC Park holds, as well as its absolutely breathtaking view of the Pittsburgh skyline.

Which I can assure you, many will buy a ticket to a Pittsburgh Pirates game just to appreciate the view they’re getting of Downtown Pittsburgh and its surrounding bridges.

Planning for the venue began as far back as 1991 when those on the city’s council wished for their city’s ballpark venues to replicate the architecture and aesthetics of classic ballparks, rather than functionality. As was the case with the multi-purpose Three Rivers Stadium, the park’s predecessor.

PNC Park Baseball Stadium

And to say the City of Pittsburgh hit a ringer is an understatement. Populous, then known as HOK Sport, designed the ballpark with characteristics resembling the likes of Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, and Forbes Field, which PNC Park’s predecessor, Three Rivers Stadium, replaced.

So if you’re hitting up Rivers Casino Pittsburgh between April and September – never in October – perhaps you should place a bet at the Sportsbook located in the casino and venture on over to PNC Park to catch the game live and in person.

And if you win or lose your bet, you’re guaranteed two things: A view of the Pittsburgh skyline you’ll never forget, and a few hours in arguably the best ballpark in Major League Baseball.

West-End Elliott Overlook Park

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has the greatest skyline of any city in America hands-down. I’ve been to many cities in my life, and there’s no comparison. There is nothing like driving eastbound through the Fort Pitt Tunnels to watch the city skyline emerge as you exit the tunnels.

Well, a day exploring the city’s surrounding hills and neighborhoods make for outstanding views as well. One such place is West End Overlook Park, often shortened to West End Overlook by locals.

West-End Elliott Overlook Park

It serves as perhaps the most scenic view you’ll find outside the city. And if you ever wondered where those popular images of the Pittsburgh skyline are taken by photographers, there’s your answer.

The park contains landscaped gardens plus a walkway under shaded trees. And you don’t need to worry about bringing anything to sit on, as the city has taken care of that with terraced stone banks.

If you’re a nature lover and breathtaking views of the city’s Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers flanking Downtown Pittsburgh rocks your boat, venture away from the casino floor, and catch this experience firsthand.

Yeah, it means leaving the casino table games for a few hours, but you’ll be glad you did.

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Sitting on 77 acres and offering over 475 species of animals and 20 endangered species is the 122-year-old Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium. This is one of just six zoo and aquarium combos in the nation, so you’re in for something special when you step foot in one of Pittsburgh’s most popular attractions.

Your most notable exhibits include the Forest Passage, African Savannah, PPG Aquarium, Tropical Forest, The Islands, Jungle Odyssey, Water’s Edge, and Kid’s Kingdom, with each offering its own unique brand of species among the 4,000 animals taking up residence in the zoo.

Pittsburgh Zoo Elephants

So, if you’re an animal lover, take advantage of this rare treat of which there are so few in the United States. It provides the perfect stress reliever if the day didn’t go well on the casino floor and if you’re in Pittsburgh with the family, your kids will love this more than anything else in the city.

Give yourself a break from the gaming floor and catch the best Pittsburgh offers in exotic wildlife. You’ll be glad you ventured away from the Rivers when you catch this experience of a lifetime.

Conclusion

Rivers Casino Pittsburgh is just a sliver of what makes the City of Pittsburgh one of the greatest vacation destinations in the United States. Sure, Rivers Casino provides enough gaming and entertainment to keep you busy for a week.

But it’s really worth venturing off the casino grounds to catch the culture, science, nature, and scenic aspects the city offers. From the shopper in you visiting the Waterfront to the nature lover in you taking a walk to West End Elliott Overlook Park to catch the best view of the city around.

This article contained just six hotspots that lurk near Rivers Casino Pittsburgh and there is definite room for more that the city and the Chateau Neighborhood in which the casino is located offers.

Have you been to any of the locations listed above or have you tried your hand at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh? Let us know in the comments.

Major Attractions Near Hollywood Casino Columbus

Hollywood Casino Logo With an Ohio Attractions Background

Columbus, Ohio, has become a major figure in the Midwest. So, if you’re spending time at Hollywood Casino Columbus, you have about 100 different things to do in Ohio’s largest and greatest city.

However, some points of interest and activities stand out far more than others, and this article will give you 10 major attractions near the casino.

This list will give you insight on the diversity of activities that Columbus offers besides Ohio casinos. And the city offers something for everyone of all ages and interests.

Ohio Stadium

Also known as The Horseshoe, Ohio Stadium is the premier destination for fans of college football betting. Whether you love or hate the Buckeyes, you’ll rejoice at this modern marvel that has entertained college football fans for over 100 years and will do so over the next century.

And it doesn’t matter if the Buckeyes are in town for a college game or not. Just making a trip to one of college football’s most legendary structures is a pilgrimage for all fans at the collegiate level.

Ohio Stadium in Columbus

So, if you’re looking to take a quick break from Hollywood Casino Columbus and are looking to stretch your legs near some of Columbus’s most legendary attractions, a great place to begin is Ohio Stadium.

And if you’re in town on a Saturday and are lucky enough to grab a ticket to the next Buckeyes game, take advantage of the opportunity because the sea of scarlet and gray and the overall atmosphere is an experience for the ages.

North Farmers Market

The 144-year-old North Farmers Market has guaranteed the City of Columbus local, fresh, and authentic homegrown food. And for a venue that has stood the test of time as long as this one, it’s a guaranteed bet that your taste buds will experience the best organic food in the city.

Even today, the market serves over 1,000,000 residents and tourists yearly, keeping up with its reputation and mission statement that originated all the way back in 1876. Hardly another attraction in the world has stood for so long as a trusted source of goods in its community.

Impressive is an understatement. This venue is outright legendary.

If you’re looking for the freshest food around and have exhausted all dining options at Hollywood Casino Columbus, what are you waiting for? You’ve tried the rest. Now, try the best.

German Village and Brewery District

It has arguably the greatest atmosphere in all the Midwest. German settlers ventured to the location in the mid-1800s, and the surrounding architecture provides the perfect blend of classic and modern. Yep, the architecture enthusiast in you is ready for a show if you walk this neighborhood.

German Village and Brewery District

So, what can you find in Columbus’s most historically significant neighborhoods? Seven restaurants, all of which serve authentic German-inspired cuisine. You’ll also enjoy several parks, coffee shops, and taverns that will make you feel as if you’ve been transported to the Central European country itself.

Whether you’re of German descent and wish to learn more about your heritage, or if you want to come over and experience the culture, the German Village and Brewery District is calling your name.

Columbus Museum of Art

This venue prides itself on being built for the community and by the community.

Here, you can learn a little more about the great city of Columbus and its culture where much of the art collection within the museum’s walls describes its way of life. The Columbus Museum of Art is a great place to begin your learning experience.

General admission to this legendary venue is a small $18 and if you brought the kids, students, or even the grandparents along, they’ll enjoy a 50% discount. Are you a military veteran? If so, entry is free.

The Columbus Museum of Art is a fantastic place to gain insight on what made Columbus, Ohio, the city it has become today. It doesn’t take all day to explore, so if you’re looking to vary your day from casino games to touring, this is a must-see venue to add to the itinerary.

Ohio Theatre

Live entertainment is always rocking over at Hollywood Casino Columbus. But it isn’t the only area in town where you can experience the greatest acts in the world.

Sophistication is perhaps the best way to describe what you’ll experience at the Ohio Theatre.

Ohio Theatre in Columbus

Shows that include classical music and dance are staples here at the Ohio Theatre. But they also put on many modern shows every year.

Oh, and that interior design alone may motivate you to walk through the doors of this premier venue. It boasts a 21-foot high chandelier in the main room and opulent, Spanish-Baroque architecture comprises the exterior.

Yeah, so if you’re up for a high-class night to remember, you know where you’re headed.

Center of Science and Industry

For nearly six decades, the Center of Science and Industry has inspired interest in science in children and adults alike. But the center’s outreach extends far beyond science; technology, engineering, and math are taught at this facility using a hands-on approach.

If you slept in math and science class back in middle and high school, you’ll finally discover what you were missing so dearly if you want to take a few hours away from the casino floor. Hey, I’ll raise a guilty hand and admit my habit of perpetually falling asleep in class.

But anyway, consider this one your second chance at learning in a way you probably never thought possible. And who knows? After you tour the Center of Science and Industry, you may have just found a new hobby to take home with you.

Otherworld

If there’s one place to venture off to on this list where you will find some thrills, it’s Otherworld. And you may spend all day here, so a day from the rough casino gaming is necessary at Otherworld.

Otherworld Attraction in Columbus

You’re looking at 32,000 square feet of real estate and 40 rooms of mysterious, interactive artwork that includes mixed reality playgrounds and secret passageways.

If you’re up for the most surreal experience of your life, you’ll discover it at Otherworld. And if you’re one who eats, sleeps, and breathes science fiction and fantasy, the images in your imaginative mind have just become a reality.

There is a lot to love here.

Scioto Mile

If you feel like you’ve been gambling too much and need some recreational time away from Hollywood Casino Columbus, treat yourself to some breathtaking views on the riverfront.

Well, the 145-acre Scioto Mile provides it. Come and experience overhead, scenic views of the city and enjoy the parkland, fountains, and other amenities that make the Scioto Mile the premier place in the city for outdoor rest and relaxation.

The Scioto Mile prides itself as one of many undertakings that contributed to the City of Columbus’s revitalization as the region transformed from manufacturing to diversity in its economic sector. It’s the perfect place to gather with new friends and a great place for the entire family to unwind after a long day.

Located in the heart of Downtown Columbus, the Scioto Mile is where urbanization and nature become one. Experience it for yourself.

Easton Town Center

The Easton Town Center is your hub for all things shopping, dining, and entertainment.

Sure, you’ll satisfy many cravings while you enjoy the nightlife at Hollywood Casino Columbus. But why not venture out and see what the rest of the city offers?

The Easton Town Center is one of those locations where you’ll find dozens of dining options along with a shopping center sure to provide a shopping spree you’ll never forget.

Easton Town Center Ohio

So, if you’re up for a shopping experience like none other that also features live entertainment from the greatest world-class and local acts, the Easton Town Center is perhaps the number one place outside of Hollywood Casino to come and enjoy a night out.

Take one night off from gaming, head over to Easton, and see what’s happening. The casino table games will be there when you get back.

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden

Let nature’s beauty shine as you stroll through the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden.

If flora is a passion of yours, then you’ll love everything about this attraction from the moment you step foot into the venue.

Come in and take advantage of the many exhibitions the conservatory offers along with classes fit for people of all ages. Their motto is “Life Happens Here,” and something new is happening every day at what is the largest collection of botany in the region, if not in the state of Ohio.

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden

And who knows? You may just walk away with a new passion after you take a walk through the cathedral of green and the organic beauty that goes along with it.

One thing is for certain, nature is the number one stress reliever out there. So, if things didn’t go your way in the casino today, a stroll through this peaceful setting is what the mind, body, and soul ordered.

Conclusion

Columbus is rocking and rolling with attractions every which way you turn. And best yet, it’s a city fit for you whether it’s sports, history, architecture, or something else that piques your interest.

If you’re in the area and gaming hard at Hollywood Casino Columbus, head out and explore the city for a bit. And if you have ventured to the casino and have visited one of the fine destinations listed above, tell us about them below in the comments and share your experiences with other readers. We love hearing from you.

Why the Esports Betting Boom Won’t Subside Anytime Soon

Pile of Money and an Esports Gaming Team

It’s no secret that esports has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade. Once an obscure niche, this industry has risen to become a global phenomenon.

Not surprisingly, esports betting has grown right along with competitive gaming. Many sportsbooks now prominently display an esports section on their site.

This type of betting has experienced accelerated growth for the past several years. Therefore, you might think that it’s ready to slow down sometime soon.

The reality, though, is that the esports betting boom only looks to grow even more in the near future. You can see the main reasons why this is the case below.

Esports Viewership Keeps Rising

Unlike traditional sports, esports draw the vast majority of their viewers through live streams. This trend seems to be working particularly well for the industry.

Esports events and leagues collectively draw more viewership than any traditional sport. For further reference, the League of Legends (LoL) “World Championship” attracts a bigger audience than the Super Bowl.

Of course, esports have an unfair advantage in that they’re categorized together. Even though LoL and Counterstrike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) aren’t the same, they’re both lumped under the esports category.

Nevertheless, it’s interesting that this once small industry now manages to attract more viewers than regular sports. Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that viewership levels are going up.

Research shows that almost 459 million (unique) people livestreamed an esports match in 2019. This number represents 15% growth when compared to 2018.

Esports Team During a Match

Of these viewers, 201 million fall into the “enthusiasts category.” The later refers to anybody who views esports more than once per month.

The remaining amount is listed among the “occasional viewers.” They watch competitive gaming once or less per month. In short, well over 40% of live streamers are watching leagues and tournaments on a regular basis.

Studies indicate that the number of enthusiasts and occasional fans will grow to 347 million and 297 million (645 million total), respectively, by 2022.

One more thing worth noting here is where the viewers are coming from. Most of the enthusiasts live in either Asia Pacific, Europe, or North America. However, other continents also draw a fair amount of fans too.

Esports have proven to be truly global. Each major traditional sport, however, is usually only popular in certain parts of the world.

Esports Publicity Is Increasing

Most of the general public is still in the dark regarding how esports work. They may have seen pictures or clips of the events, but they still don’t know much about the leagues, tournaments, or players.

This situation is changing quite a bit, though. Esports are generating more publicity with each passing day.

Esports are especially becoming notable for the sheer prize money offered in the biggest events. For example, Dota 2’s “International” delivered $34.3 million in prize money in 2019. The 2019 Fortnite “World Cup” also paid out serious prize money. It handed out over $30 million, including $3 million to the winner.

Of course, the average esports pro doesn’t earn millions of dollars. But those who do are definitely bringing more attention to gaming.

Meanwhile, bookmakers are reaping the benefits of this increased attention. Gamblers who see somebody winning $3 million in a single tournament will be more intrigued by esports betting.

Additionally, league and tourney organizers are landing more sponsorships and TV deals. Heavier advertising and more network coverage will only increase the popularity of esports and associated betting.

Fans Can Get Involved in the Betting Action

Many people enjoy watching and gambling on the NFL, MLB, and NBA. The same fans can live out their professional fantasies through recreational softball, basketball, and flag football.

However, they can’t wager on themselves while doing so. After all, no bookmaker offers lines on a beer league softball championship.

Esports differ greatly in this regard. Certain betting sites give players the chance to gamble on their own performance (i.e. player vs player betting).

Call of Duty 2020 Screenshot

PvP wagering is a fun way to let somebody win money based on their own skills. For example, a team of Call of Duty amateurs could gamble on their ability to beat another team.

A random Call of Duty match isn’t going to draw livestream viewers and TV audiences. But it does give one the opportunity to physically determine the outcome of their wager.

Those who appreciate PvP betting are also likely to enjoy wagering on the pros as well. When they’re done gambling on themselves, they can head over to an esportsbook and bet on the real deal.

The Online Bonuses Keep Coming

Esports betting sites have taken a cue from traditional online bookmakers by offering plenty of bonuses. They ensure that you have plenty of chances to earn free cash.

The two main types of esports betting bonuses include free bets and deposit bonuses. Here’s how each of these offers work:

Deposit Bonus:

  • Matches a percentage of your first deposit.
  • g. 100% match bonus worth up to $100.
  • You can withdraw the bonus amount upon meeting terms and conditions.

Free Bet:

  • You receive a free bet worth up to a certain amount (e.g. $25).
  • If you win the first bet, you collect the winnings and move on.
  • Assuming you lose, you can earn back the losses by satisfying terms and conditions.

Many betting sites don’t just stop at the welcome offer. They also feature other promotions and even VIP programs that give you an opportunity to continue picking up rewards.

World of Tanks Promotional Image

For example, you might be offered a free $25 bet for placing your first wager on World of Tanks. This deal helps the site by getting you to try a new market, and it provides you another chance to pick up free money.

I suggest browsing the promotions section at an esportsbook before depositing. Doing so ensures you know that the site offers plenty of promotions before spending time going through the deposit process.

Conclusion

With the rising availability of Esports gambling, it’s becoming one of the world’s most-popular types of wagering. It now competes with certain athletic sports in terms of betting popularity.

Based on esports’ quick rise, you might think that the gambling growth will level off soon. However, several factors suggest that the popularity increase could continue.

Rising viewership, the coronavirus, more publicity, bonuses, and PvP betting should combine to keep the party going. The increased viewership will especially be a boon and draw many more esports gamblers.

Bad Habits That Make Roulette Players Lose Money

Upset Gambler at a Roulette Table With Roulette Graphic Text

You can develop several bad habits when you play roulette. And every single bad roulette habit costs you money. But it’s easy to eliminate all of your bad roulette habits.

In fact, you can eliminate all of your bad roulette habits in the time it takes to read this article. And there’s nothing complicated about it. You just have to learn what the bad habits are, then follow the simple steps to break these bad habits.

Here’s a list of five bad habits that real money roulette gamblers fall into and how each habit costs them money.

Using Roulette Betting Systems

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past four decades gambling. And in that time, I think I’ve tried just about every casino system known to man. And the thing that I’ve found is that there isn’t a single real roulette system that can beat the game unless you cheat or find a biased wheel.

A biased wheel is the dream for roulette players worldwide, but the simple fact is that they really don’t exist. And if you do find one, the casino is going to figure it out quickly and replace the wheel. And cheating is a terrible idea because when you get caught, you’re likely going to jail.

Almost every roulette system promises huge wins. But they actually deliver huge losses. It doesn’t matter how good the sales pitch and the math looks; the fact is that if you use a roulette system, you’re going to lose money. And you’re probably going to eventually lose more than you’d lose if you simply played and made small wagers.

Closeup of Roulette Dealer Paying Out Bets

Please learn from my experience. Smart gamblers learn from the experience of others so they don’t have to suffer the same losses, proving that something doesn’t work. My experience shows that roulette systems simply don’t work.

You can save a lot of money by accepting this and moving on. If you simply have to prove it to yourself, test your system using free online roulette. And make sure you test it using a minimum of 100,000 spins.

And I’m going to let you in on a secret: Even if your system shows a profit on 100,000 spins, it’s still not going to be a long-term winning system. I know this because there’s math behind roulette and there isn’t a system that can overcome this math.

Placing More Than One Wager per Spin

You can place as many wagers on every roulette spin as you want. Many gamblers place two or more wagers per spin. And some roulette systems require multiple wagers per spin.

The problem with placing more than one wager on a roulette spin is that it increases the amount of money that you risk. And roulette is built in a way that increases the amount the casino makes when more money is risked.

Here are some simple numbers to show you this in action. You’re playing roulette and make a $30 wager on red. And over the course of a month, you make 1,000 bets. This means that you’re risking a total amount for the month of $30,000. Now, instead of making a $30 wager on red, you make this wager and make a $30 wager on odd. This means that you’re risking $60,000 over the course of the month.

I’m going to cover more about roulette odds and the house advantage in the next section. But for this example, you’re playing on a roulette wheel with a 2.7% casino edge. Your expected loss on $30,000 worth of roulette wagers is $810. Your expected loss on $60,000 worth of roulette wagers is $1,620.

It doesn’t matter that sometimes you win both wagers and that you win one or the other wager most of the time. The casino edge is based on all of the outcomes, including wins and losses. And the edge the casino has is going to come true in the long run.

The only thing you’re doing when you make two or more wagers on one roulette spin is losing more money.

Playing on the Wrong Roulette Wheel

All roulette wheels look about the same. They have some red numbers and some black numbers, and they have at least one green space. But not all roulette wheels are the same. And the variant of roulette you play on has a great deal to do with how much you win or lose.

The first thing you need to do is learn how many spaces each roulette wheel has. Bad roulette wheels have 38 spaces or more. A roulette wheel with 38 spaces has a casino edge of 5.26%. If the wheel has more than 38 spaces, the casino edge is even worse.

Las Atlantis Online Roulette Game

A roulette wheel that has 37 spaces has a casino edge of either 2.7% or 1.35%. These wheels look the same, but the casino edge is different based on the rules being used. In order to play on a roulette wheel with a 1.35% casino edge, you need to find a wheel using French rules.

French rules have the same casino edge as other 37 space wheels on most of the available wagers, but on the even-money wagers, the edge for the casino is only 1.35%.

The main takeaway from this section is that you should play French Roulette. Any other roulette wheel makes you lose faster and costs you more money in the long run.

Betting Anything But the Casino Table Minimum

Every roulette table has a minimum bet amount and a maximum wager amount. You already learned that the more you risk playing roulette, the more it means you lose.

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Why would you ever risk more than the bare minimum when you play roulette? I hope the answer from this point forward is that you’re never going to risk more than the minimum.

The best advice I can give is to play roulette online if you’re going to play at all. The online roulette tables usually have smaller bet limits, so you can play for $1 in many places. Even if you have to risk $5, it’s much less than when you play in a live casino.

You also might be able to secure a roulette bonus when you play online, and you control the speed of gameplay.

Chasing Gambling Losses

Almost every casino gambler falls for the trap of getting behind, making larger bets, and hoping that they win enough to make up for their losses. This is called chasing your losses, and this is one of the mistakes that gamblers should never make.

I hope you understand from what you’ve already learned on this page why chasing losses is a bad idea. But if you’re still not sure, don’t worry. I’m going to explain it again.

When you chase your roulette losses, you bet more. And what did you learn about betting more in the section about placing more than one wager on each roulette spin? You learned that it simply makes you lose more money.

Closeup of Woman Spinning a Roulette Wheel

The belief of most roulette players when they chase losses is that because they’ve been losing that they’re due for a win. This is a type of gambler’s fallacy, and it’s been proven time and time again to create more long-term losses.

It’s true that in the long run that red and black are going to come up a roughly equal number of times. But the long run covers millions of spins, and anything can happen over the course of five or 10 or even 100 spins that doesn’t have anything to do with long-term expectations.

Anything that you do, including chasing losses, that puts more money at risk when you play roulette is just costing you more money in the long run. This is why you should stop chasing your roulette losses.

Conclusion

Roulette systems do only one thing to roulette gamblers, and it isn’t good. Systems give you a false sense of hope, but in the long run they just cost you more money than you lose if you play using small wagers and a good wheel.

When you place more than one wager on a spin, you’re simply increasing how much you’re risking, which increases how much you’re going to lose. This is the same issue you have when you get in the habit of risking more than the table minimum amount at the roulette table.

Learn about the different types of roulette wheels so you can always play on the best wheel, and never chase your losses. This is how you avoid bad roulette habits.

5 Things Sports Gamblers Should Never Do

Hand Holding Money With a Cross Out Symbol and a Sportsbook Background

I’ve been gambling on sports for close to decades, and during that time, I’ve made just about every mistake you can make. Fortunately, I’ve learned from most of my mistakes, even if it took me a decade or longer to learn from some of them.

I’ve put together a list of five of the worst mistakes I’ve made as a sports gambler. No matter how long you’ve been gambling on sporting events, if you’re doing any of the things on this list, you need to stop immediately! Check them out below.

1 – Place Wagers Without Handicapping

Handicapping is a broad term that can mean many different things. Basically, when you “handicap,” it means evaluating teams and players in a way that gives you an idea of what to expect in an upcoming sporting event.

Once you handicap a contest, you look at the lines to see if there’s any value. Value is when your prediction is different than the available lines. When your handicapping prediction and the lines show a big enough gap, there’s value on the game.

When you find value, you place a wager. If you do a good job handicapping games and finding value, you make money from gambling on sports. You don’t win every wager you make, but you win enough of them to overcome your losses and show a profit.

NFL 49ers Versus Eagles

You don’t have to evaluate games the same as other gamblers. In fact, most winning sports gamblers develop their own handicapping systems. But you have to evaluate games and players before you can determine if there’s any value on the lines.

The main difference between most sports gamblers and professional sports gamblers is that the pros handicap games and everyone else doesn’t. The professional sports gamblers are the only ones that makes a profit, so you need to do what they do.

This means that you have to handicap every contest before you place a wager. If you’re not going to take the time to handicap games and learn effective handicapping methods, you might as well flip a coin for each game you want to place a wager on.

2 – Bet More Than 5% of Your Gambling Bankroll

Another thing that professional handicappers do is work with a sports betting bankroll and never over bet it. This means that you should never bet more than 5% of your total bankroll on any single sporting event.

The sports gamblers at the top of the game never even come close to wagering 5% of their total bankroll on one event. They work in the 1% to 2% range.

Here’s what the professional sports gamblers understand that most other don’t: You can’t win every contest you place a wager on. In fact, it’s almost impossible to win more than 60% of the wagers you place.

This means that you’re going to have losing streaks from time to time. And a long losing streak can destroy your bankroll if you’re wagering too much on any single contest.

If you’re wagering 5% per contest and lose seven games in a row, your bankroll is down 35%. If you’re wagering 1% per contest and lose seven in a row, your bankroll is only down 7%. This is a huge difference.

This is also why professional sports gamblers tend to work with a much bigger bankroll than other sports gamblers. You can be a professional sports gambler with a smaller bankroll, but anything short of $100,000 is going to make it extremely difficult to make decent money.

The top sports gambling pros operate with $1,000,000 or more. This way, they can make wagers large enough to make good money while protecting their bankroll at the same time.

3 – Bet on Anything You Don’t Completely Understand

I don’t know any sports gamblers who haven’t placed a wager on something that they didn’t completely understand. I’ve done this many times in the past. The reason why I did it is the same reason most other sports gamblers do it. I wanted to get some action on something and couldn’t find anything else to put money on.

The list of things I’ve bet on is quite long, and it took me several years to figure out that I needed to stick with a few things that I completely understood. I know how to play pool, but I don’t know enough about it to place wagers on professional pool players. But I’ve done it in the past anyway.

Professional Pool Match

If you want to become a profitable sports gambler, you need to develop a lot of discipline. When you place a wager on something that you don’t completely understand, it’s worse than placing a wager on something you do understand without handicapping.

The smart way to gamble on sports is to never bet on things you don’t understand. The smart thing to do is pick one sport and league, then focus all of your time and effort on it. After that, you can think about adding a second sport or league. Become an expert in a focused area first, only then should you expand your knowledge gradually.

4 – Force Value for Sports Betting Action

Another example of the mistakes that sports gamblers make is forcing value on a contest just so they can get action. Even if you handicap contests, you have to be careful that you don’t handicap them in a way that pushes your prediction one way or another just so you have an excuse to make a wager.

You have to evaluate and handicap every contest without any emotion or bias. I always handicap contests before even looking at the lines just to make sure that I’m not biased. You can find plenty of contests to evaluate and place wagers on. The main sport leagues have many games every day, or at least every week. You never have to force value.

And the fact is that even if you can’t find contests that offer value every day, there are still enough contests for you to make a good profit over the course of a season or year.

I mentioned the need for discipline earlier, and this is another place where discipline comes into play. Become disciplined enough to wait until you find a contest that has true value before you place a wager. The better you become at handicapping games, the more profit you can make. But you can never force value because it will cost you money every time you do it.

5 – Forget to Keep Detailed Records of Your Sports Gambling

How do you know how much you’re risking on every contest as a percentage of your bankroll? How do you know if you’re really making a profit? How do you know if you need to work on your handicapping skills?

Well, you won’t know any of these things if you’re not keeping good records as a sports bettor.

You need to record every wager you make, keep track of your bankroll, and track everything else you do as a sports gambler. You should even keep track of how many contests you handicap every week and how long it takes you to handicap each contest.

NCAA Basketball Kansas Player

The more data you keep, the more you can use that said data to improve your future results. The goal isn’t always to reduce the time you spend handicapping contests. It’s good to be able to handicap contests quickly, but it’s more important to handicap contests as long as it takes to make a profit.

If it takes you two hours to effectively handicap a contest, it doesn’t matter, as long as this time leads to profit. Of course, you want to do it in an hour or a half-hour, but don’t be in a hurry to save time at the expense of profits.

As you gain experience, your handicapping time will get better. But don’t rush the process.

Keep track of every single thing you do as a sports gambler. Eventually, you’re going to figure out the most important things to track. But until you’re turning a consistent profit, track everything. This is the only way to know how profitable you are and what you need to continue working on.

Conclusion

The number one reason why you need to avoid the five things on this page as a sports bettor is because each of these mistakes will cost you money. Even if you get lucky and win a few wagers, in the long run, doing these things is going to eat into your bankroll.

Every single wager you make must show value and be well-thought-out. Anytime you place a wager without handicapping the event, you’re doing the same thing every amateur sport gambler does. And we all know that average sports gamblers lose money overall.

Wealth Attraction Tips for Blackjack Players

Man Adjusting His Suit With a Casino Blackjack Background

Wealth attraction is about making money. And the goal of blackjack players is to make money. The question is, can you use wealth attraction techniques to help you make money playing blackjack?

The good news is that there are some things that cross over from wealth attraction to blackjack play. The key is figuring out which things cross over and how you can use them.

I’ve put together seven things about wealth attraction that you can use when you play real money blackjack. It’s going to take more than just thinking about playing profitable blackjack, but with the right actions, you can quickly change your results.

What Wealth Attraction Has to Do With Blackjack

What does wealth attraction have to do with blackjack? If you study wealth attraction you learn that you have to work on the way you think about things and then take specific actions that are different that what you’ve been doing.

It turns out that you can use these same things related to blackjack to become a better player. You need to think about blackjack in a different way than you’ve been thinking about it and you need to change the way you play.

Online Real Money Blackjack Game

And the truth is that it’s easier to improve as a blackjack player than it is to use wealth attraction to become a rich gambler. This is because there are specific steps blackjack players can take that are proven to work.

All you have to do is learn what these steps are and then follow them. It takes practice and work, but it’s a proven process that others have used. And you can use it, too.

Study Winning Casino Players

If you want to learn how to be a block layer, you study under a block layer. If you want to learn how to fix cars, you learn from other people who fix cars. So, if you want to learn how to win when you play blackjack, you need to learn what winning players are doing.

You don’t have to find a winning blackjack player to mentor you, but you do need to learn the same things that they know. You can learn the important things about winning blackjack using books, articles, and videos.

Winning blackjack players understand how rules change the casino edge, know how to use perfect blackjack strategy, and know how to use card counting to flip the casino edge.

These are the exact things you need to learn how to do. I cover each of these areas in more depth in the remaining sections in this article.

Rules for Blackjack Wealth Attraction

Winning blackjack players know the rules inside out. They don’t just know what the rules are, but they also know which rules help them and how much the rules help them and which rules hurt them and how bad these rules hurt them.

This is the level you need to be at in understanding blackjack rules. Every rule is either good for you or bad for you.

You need to know absolutely everything about the rules because you have to play at blackjack tables that give you the best chance to win. This means finding blackjack tables that have a low casino edge or high return to player percentage.

If you don’t find the right blackjack tables with good rules, nothing else you do is going to overcome the casino edge.

Wealth Attraction Starts With Gambling Strategy

Once you learn how to find the best blackjack games with the best rules, the next step is using the strategy that gives you the best chance to win. Winning blackjack players know the best strategy for every possible combination of cards they can receive and cards the dealer can have.

Every hand has a single way it needs to be played. If you play a hand wrong it costs you money. If you don’t know the best way to play a blackjack hand you need to get a strategy chart and start memorizing it immediately.

Active Casino Blackjack Hand

I found the best way to memorize blackjack strategy was to get a chart and use it playing free online blackjack games. I kept playing until I had every hand and the proper strategy memorized.

Using the proper strategy lowers the house edge at least 0.5% over the way most blackjack players play, and it can be over 1% depending on how bad your decisions were before you started using strategy.

Make a commitment to using the proper strategy right now or you’re never going to be a winning player. This is what winning gamblers do, so proper wealth attraction is doing the same thing.

Accurate Tracking of Your Blackjack Play

Another important way to set yourself up for blackjack success is to track your results. And this means taking things a step beyond guessing how much you won or lost. You need to know exactly how much you won and lost when you play.

Not only do you need to track your blackjack profits and losses, but also the table rules, where you played, how long you played, and roughly what your average wager amount was.

The more information you track, the better chance you have of using the information to improve your results. You need to use every tool available when you’re playing blackjack if you want to maximize your profits. This includes knowing where you make mistakes and where and how you can improve.

Card Counting for True Wealth Opportunities

If you learn how to find good tables and you use strategy, you can play with a low casino edge. But you’re still not going to win in the long run. However, winning players know an additional strategy that you can use to make a profit.

The best strategy is called card counting, and the good thing to know is that it’s easier to learn how to do than it sounds. You need to do some research about counting systems and pick the system you plan to use. You need to do this first so you practice the right way. All you do with most systems is track a ratio between low and high cards. This is done by subtracting and adding one to a number, so it’s not overly complicated.

Because of the way blackjack is played—and the relative value of some cards over others—if you make bigger wagers when the count is in your favor, you can eliminate the casino edge.

When you bet more with an edge than you do when the casino has an edge, this adds up over time and you make a profit. The edge you get is small, so this doesn’t guarantee that you win every time you play. But it does mean that if you do it right that you win more when you win than you lose when you lose.

Counting cards is what winning blackjack players do. When you learn to do it the same way you’re going to win too.

Advanced Blackjack Wealth Attraction

If you’ve mastered everything in the previous sections, you’re already using wealth attraction techniques to make a profit playing blackjack. But there’s another level that you can try to enter that increases your blackjack profits more.

Counting cards is an advanced blackjack technique, but there are a few other advantage plays you need to know about. I’m going to introduce them in this section, but they each require quite a bit of research and practice to use.

Blackjack Dealer Shuffling Cards

  • Blackjack shuffle tracking – Shuffle tracking is something you can use in blackjack games that are hand shuffled. By tracking where certain groups of cards go into the tray and then watching where these groups end up after the shuffle, you can get an idea of when good cards are getting ready to be dealt.
  • Blackjack ace sequencing – Ace sequencing tracks aces as they’re discarded. Then, using this information to predict when aces are coming after the shuffle.
  • Blackjack hole card playHole card play is when you take advantage of poor dealer technique and can see the value of some cards that are dealt facing down. If you can see the dealer’s face down card value every once in a while, you can get a big advantage.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to use wealth attraction strategies when you play blackjack, you can see that it’s not that hard. In fact, all it takes is the right knowledge backed by consistent action and wealth attraction can easily be used to improve your blackjack results.

Study winning blackjack players and learn what they know. And then, start using what you learned to pick the right games and play them in a particular way. Once you learn how to count cards effectively, you can explore more advanced blackjack techniques to win more often.

Attractions Close to Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack, and Resort

Mountaineer Casino Logo With West Virginia Attractions

Okay, so you’re looking to take a day off from Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack, and Resort but you feel the only way to maximize your time exploring the area means venturing 45 minutes east to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Two words for you: Think again. There is plenty to do if you travel a simple 20 minutes south of New Cumberland and hit up towns like Steubenville, Ohio, or Weirton, West Virginia. Or you can drive directly west and locate the Rogers Community Auction and Flea Market in nearby Rogers, Ohio.

If you’re gaming at Mountaineer in the spring, summer, and early fall months, you don’t have to go far for entertainment if Mountaineer’s acts aren’t up to your liking for the night.

And if you love oldies, check out the Peter Tarr Furnace Site, the Marshall House, and the Graham Building, among other interesting locations.

Here are the seven attractions to explore when taking a break from West Virginia casinos.

Fort Steuben Park

Located in Steubenville, Ohio, the home of Dean Martin and DiCarlo’s Pizza, rests a historic structure known as Fort Steuben. Erected in February 1787 to protect the surveyors of the seven ranges in the Northwest Territory, this landmark is a reconstruction of the original fort.

So, what does the fort’s purpose serve these days? Or better yet, the park in which the fort is located? It’s a historical site complete with a Veteran’s Memorial Fountain, the Berkman Amphitheater, and the Museum Shop and Steubenville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Fort Steuben Park in Ohio

Fort Steuben Park and Downtown Steubenville are also home to the world-famous Nutcracker Village, a Christmas-themed festival that kicked off in 2015. It features 150 nutcracker sculptures throughout the area and is open 24 hours a day from Thanksgiving until Epiphany Sunday.

Oh, and if you’re hanging out around Fort Steuben Park, don’t forget to venture downtown and check out those murals, including a life-sized portrait of Dean Martin and two that pay tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen.

In all, you’ll find 25 murals if you’re up to lurking around Downtown Steubenville. Walking tours are available, so definitely check those out if you venture to The Ville.

Panhandle Trail

Looking for some exciting and outstanding scenery and exercise? What about a hiking experience? Or perhaps you just want to take a selfie standing at the West Virginia-Pennsylvania state line?

Weirton’s Panhandle Trail is a perfect place to catch a break from the casino games. And it’s an outstanding place to catch some fresh air, get an awesome workout in, and interact with the city’s locals.

The fantastic thing about this trail is its multiple entrances. So, if you’re not one to venture far but would love to experience Northern West Virginia’s forested scenery in the summer, winter, and fall, then this is the place for you.

Panhandle Trail in West Virginia

Admission is free and as long as you’re venturing the old rail trail between dawn and dusk, you’re in business. Experience nature, some old, abandoned factories and mill plants from the past that still stand near the trail, and of course, catch breathtaking photos of the adjacent Harmon Creek.

Nothing compares to the wild and wonderful nature that defines the State of West Virginia and its many trails. And if you’re not up for venturing too far from Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack, and Resort, check out the closer Tomlinson Run State Park, which is the home to trails with varying levels of difficulty.

Oliver S. Marshall House

Also known as the McNeil House, this historic landmark is located right in Mountaineer’s backyard. Okay, maybe not literally the backyard, but it’s within walking distance or a short drive from the casino.

So, if you’re in the mood to quit gambling but would love to remain near the casino grounds, this is the tourist destination for you.

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But first, who was Oliver S. Marshall? His claim to fame included serving as the President of the West Virginia State Senate from 1899 to 1901, among other accomplishments. And clearly, he had a taste for architecture, given the layout of the house.

Today, the Marshall House operates as the Hancock County Museum. If you’re one who makes it a point to visit historic landmarks, this is definitely the place for you if you’re at the nearby casino.

Rogers Community Auction and Flea Market

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, right? Located just across the bridge to Ohio and about a 15-minute drive north lies the Rogers Community Auction and Flea Market, one of the State of Ohio’s largest open-air markets.

Having opened in 1955, this market sits on 250 acres and is open year-round. Its vendors include perishable items like produce to vendors that produce clothing, antiques, and other novelties.

Rogers Community Auction and Flea Market

With over 1,600 vendors’ spaces, no admission fee, and free parking, what’s there not to love if you’re looking to hopefully spend some of those winnings on hidden treasure right across the river, right?

Even if you’re not interested in taking home an assortment of mementos from your travels to Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack, and Resort, visiting the Rogers Flea Market is definitely an experience to remember.

Just a simple walkthrough will clear your mind before you hit up another few hours of gaming over in New Cumberland.

S & T Bank Music Park

The locals still refer to it as Star Lake. So, if you run into anyone at the casino and they’re talking about the big show happening at Star Lake, they’re referring to S & T Bank Music Park.

They may also refer to it as either the Post-Gazette, First Niagara, or KeyBank Pavilion. Now that you know that the amphitheater changes names about once every five years, you should also know it’s home to the world’s greatest acts in live entertainment.

S & T Bank Music Park has hosted acts like Metallica, Jimmy Buffet, Kings of Leon, Ozzfest, Tim McGraw, and more. The venue has also been featured on The Daily Show, and even concert videos from Phish and the Dave Matthews Band.

If you’re in the area from May to October and don’t mind traveling southeast to nearby Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, pay this venue a visit. Whether you’d rather sit in the grandstand or if you’re one for standing room, there ain’t a bad seat in the house at this venue.

Peter Tarr Furnace Site

Okay, so we covered the Oliver S. Marshall House and Fort Steuben. But if you’re a history buff, you must visit the Peter Tarr Furnace Site.

While the 230-year-old structure might just look like an old ruin to the naked eye, this site served as a predecessor to the modern steel mill under the entity Connel, Tarr, & Company. Using local timber as fuel, the site produced two-tons of steel daily during its years of operation.

Peter Tarr Furnace Site

During the War of 1812, the site manufactured cannonballs that were used by the US Navy during the famous Battle of Lake Erie.

The metal also produced items like cooking utensils, iron grates, and other home-based amenities. The structure sits on 1.5 acres of land and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Graham Building

New Cumberland is the home of not one but two buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. So, if you’re looking to appreciate some cool architecture near Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack, and Resort, stop by the Graham Building, also known as the First National Bank of New Cumberland.

Some of the most prominent features covering this 120-year-old building include its elevated basement, elevated recessed corner entry, and Doric order columns.

Built in 1903, the building has served many purposes over the years, including as the location of the First National Bank until 1927. It has also been a funeral home, a hardware store, and from 1921 to 1990, Graham’s Department Store, hence its name.

Graham Building in New Cumberland

The Graham Building is also sometimes referred to as the Ross Building, and it became part of the US National Register of Historic Places in 2000.

This is yet another location that is a must-see if you’re into classic architecture. Since it’s not far from the casino, it’s the perfect place to visit if you’re not interested in venturing too far from New Cumberland.

It’s also a great place to visit in conjunction with the Oliver S. Marshall House since each sits in proximity to the other in the tiny town of New Cumberland.

Conclusion

Variety is the best way to describe what you’ll find in and around Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack, and Resort. And the clear upside is that there is something to suit everyone’s needs if you need a day off from the casino gaming or the horse races.

Places like the Panhandle Trail are fantastic if you’re the outdoorsy kind of person while if live entertainment is your thing, then the S & T Bank Music Park should be on your list.

But if you’re into oldies, then this area is a prime hotspot, from Steubenville’s Fort Steuben Park to the Marshall House, Graham Building, and Peter Tarr Furnace Site. The history buff in you will enjoy this area around Mountaineer than anyone else.

Have you ventured to Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack, and Resort or have you visited any of the nearby attractions listed above? Let us know and tell us about your experience.

What’s Considered Low Playthrough for Online Casino Bonuses?

Happy Man Holding Money With a Bonus Graphic

Bonuses are one of the best parts of online gaming. In some cases, you can earn bonuses worth up to $500 or more!

Of course, gaming sites don’t gleefully hand you the money with no strings attached. They want you to earn bonus funds by meeting terms and conditions.

Playthrough is one of the most important aspects of satisfying terms and conditions. You want the lowest playthrough (a.k.a. rollover) possible when chasing bonuses.

But what exactly constitutes low playthrough? The following guide answers this question while also covering the intricacies of rollover.

What Is Playthrough?

While every term behind an online casino bonus deal is important, rollover takes center stage. It determines how much you’ll need to gamble before withdrawing a bonus.

Casinos express playthrough as a multiple of the bonus. In some cases, they also list it as a multiple of the bonus plus deposit.

Here are examples on how this concept works:

  • Example #1: Multiple of the bonus
    • Playthrough is 20x the bonus
    • You qualify for a $100 bonus
    • 100 x 20 = $2,000 must be wagered
  • Example #2: Multiple of the bonus plus deposit
    • Playthrough is 20x the bonus + deposit
    • You deposit $100 and qualify for a $100 bonus
    • ([100 + 100] x 20 = $4,000 must be wagered

You should definitely know which model is used before depositing. After all, you don’t want to fund your account and suddenly be surprised when rollover is double what you expected.

Example #1 applies to most casino offers. However, some gaming sites throw a curveball and base rollover on a multiple of the deposit and bonus.

Casino Bonuses That Feature Playthrough

Online casinos attach rollover to a wide variety of offers. Below, you can see the main bonuses at online casinos along with how playthrough applies.

No-Deposit Bonus

No-deposit bonuses are highly coveted among online gamblers. As the name implies, they don’t require you to place deposits.

Las Atlantis Online Craps Game

Instead, you simply register for an account and receive a bonus. The only cost to you is the time it takes to finish registration.

After you’ve registered and received a bonus, you need to satisfy rollover and other terms and conditions. You keep what’s left over from the bonus, and any winnings, after meeting playthrough.

  • You sign up at an online casino.
  • The casino gives you a $10 no-deposit bonus.
  • Playthrough is 30x.
  • 30 x 10 = $300 must be wagered.
  • You have $7 left over after completing rollover.

At most casinos, $7 isn’t enough to meet the minimum withdrawal. The point, though, is that the $7 is now yours to gamble with or cash out (if possible). Basically, you’ve earned free money.

Match Bonus

With a match bonus, casinos match your deposit by a certain percentage. In many cases, they offer you a 100% match on a deposit.

Gaming sites usually cap how much you earn from these casino bonus deals. For example, they might offer you a 100% match bonus worth up to $300.

After depositing, you must meet rollover and other terms just like with the other bonuses covered here. The difference, though, is that you get to cash out the bonus in a lump sum—not just winnings or what’s left over.

Here’s an example on how a match bonus works:

  • A gaming site offers a 100% match bonus worth up to $1,000.
  • You deposit $600 and qualify for a $600 bonus.
  • Playthrough is 30x.
  • 600 x 30 = $18,000 must be wagered.
  • You can withdraw the bonus after wagering $18k.

Free Spins

Casinos give out free spins through no-deposit bonuses or even as part of match bonuses. Free spins let you play real money slots without spending any of your own money.

You’ll accumulate winnings through these spins, which can be withdrawn after satisfying terms and conditions. You keep what’s left of the winnings afterward.

Here’s an example:

  • You receive 30 free spins.
  • You generate $35 through these free games.
  • Playthrough is 20x.
  • 35 x 20 = $700 must be wagered.

Cashback

Rather than offering match bonuses, some casinos reward your deposits with cashback. The latter refers to when gaming sites give back a percentage of your losses up to a certain amount.

For example, they might offer you 10% cashback over your first seven days of play. You still need to meet rollover, though, before receiving the cashback.

Here’s an example:

  • A casino offers you 10% cashback up to $100.
  • This deal lasts for the first three days after you deposit.
  • You lose $75 within the first three days.
  • Playthrough is 10x.
  • 75 x 10 = $750 must be wagered.
  • You’ll receive the $75 back after wagering another $750.

Free Live Blackjack Bet

In an effort to get you to try live dealer blackjack, some casinos will give you a free bet. For instance, you might receive a $25 free wager that’s restricted to live dealer blackjack.

Online Live Dealer Blackjack Table

These “free” bets provide an opportunity to earn back losses (if you lose). You need to meet terms and conditions before getting the money back.

Here’s an example:

  • A live-dealer casino offers you a $25 free wager.
  • You bet $25 and lose.
  • Playthrough is 20x.
  • 25 x 20 = $500 must be wagered.

Why Do Online Casinos Attach Rollover to Bonuses?

Gaming sites offer bonuses for two main reasons:

  1. Tempt you into making a first-time deposit.
  2. Retain your loyalty.

Of course, online casinos can’t just offer deals with no strings attached. Otherwise, you or anybody else could deposit, get the bonus, and withdraw everything immediately.

Casinos use playthrough and other terms to force you into actually earning the funds. They may end up losing big to you when the bonus and winnings are accounted for. But as long as they make you play for the bonus funds, then they aren’t merely handing you the money.

Rollover Differs Greatly Among Regulated and Offshore Casinos

An offshore online casino is one that doesn’t obtain licensing in the jurisdiction(s) where it operates. For example, many gaming sites that serve the US and Canada are the offshore variety.

These casinos aren’t necessarily shady or untrustworthy from a player’s perspective. They just haven’t taken the steps become licensed.

A regulated gaming site, meanwhile, does obtain licensing in most or all of the jurisdictions where it operates. For example, casinos that obtain licensing from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board are regulated.

In most cases, regulated sites offer lower rollover than offshore casinos. They typically provide bonuses with 1x to 20x playthrough. Meanwhile, offshore gaming sites usually offer bonuses with 30x to 50x rollover.

The main reason for the discrepancy is that regulated casinos are in newer markets. They provide more generous bonuses because they’re in the customer acquisition phase.

Offshore sites try to acquire new customers too. However, the offshore gaming industry has existed for a quarter century and, thus, no longer feels the need to wow players with overly generous deals.

What’s Considered Low Bonus Playthrough?

The lowest available playthrough is 1x. If you qualify for a $100 bonus with 1x rollover, for example, then you’ll only need to wager $100.

Before regulated markets launched in the US, I thought that these sorts of deals were unheard of. They now exist at certain regulated casinos.

Of course, any casino that offers bonuses with 1x playthrough is losing money to the average player. Therefore, most gaming sites require rollover that’s at least 5x to 10x the bonus.

List of Online Casino Games

You can still benefit greatly from deals with 5x to 10x playthrough. You especially stand a good chance of profiting by playing slots with high RTP.

When dealing with offshore casinos (e.g. those licensed in Costa Rica, Belize, Antigua, etc.), you’ll normally deal with rollover ranging from 30x to 50x.

Obviously, you’ll want to go for the bonuses in regulated markets if you can. Assuming this isn’t possible though, then 30x to 40x playthrough in an offshore market is your next best bet.

Other Bonus Terms and Conditions to Consider

Rollover isn’t the only aspect that you need to consider when going after bonuses. Here are some other important terms and conditions that must be met:

  • Claim bonus – You must visit your account and hit the claim button to activate the offer.
  • Playthrough timeframe – Casinos usually give you 30 to 90 days to satisfy rollover.
  • Bonus code – Some gaming sites require you to enter a specific bonus code to qualify.
  • Maximum bet – You can’t bet over a certain amount (e.g. $150) with an active bonus.
  • Game restrictions – Some games with high RTP are restricted, or feature higher playthrough.
  • Minimum withdrawal – Most casinos require you to withdraw at least $10 at a time.

These are just general terms and conditions that you’ll deal with. I suggest you visit the terms and conditions section of whatever casino you’re playing at to find the exact terms.

Conclusion

Low rollover provides an easier path towards bonus funds. The quicker you can meet playthrough, the faster you’ll be able to cash out.

For the time being, regulated online casinos provide the lowest rollover. You can find some deals with just 1x playthrough in these markets!

Of course, not everybody lives in or near a regulated state. In this case, you should look for offshore casino bonuses with 30x, 35x, or 40x rollover. Anything above this isn’t a good deal.

11 Quick Tips for Amateur Slots Players

Man Pointing to Quick Tips Text With a Slots Background

I don’t usually recommend slots for new gamblers, but I also know that many amateur gamblers love to play these one-armed bandits. Slot machines are usually some of the worst games for gamblers in the casino. And if you’re not careful, these fun distractions are going to take all of your money.

I’ve put together a list of 11 tips and tactics for new slots players. These 11 quick tips aren’t going to help you win in the long run, but they are going to help you have more fun when playing slots for real money.

1 – Avoid the Slot Machine Trance

The next time you’re in a live casino, take a walk around some of the slot machine areas. The odds are good that you’re going to see many slots players in what looks like a trance. They sit staring blankly at the screen and automatically hit the spin button every few seconds.

This is exactly how every casino wants slots players to act. When you fall into the slot machine trance, you just keep spinning the reels until you run out of money. And if you’re not careful, you’re just going to put more money in the machine and get right back into the trance.

The slot machine trance is costly, and amateur slots players need to be aware of it so they can avoid it. Take a break from the machines frequently so you don’t fall into this trap.

2 – Understand Return to Player

Every slot machine has a software program that runs the machine. This isn’t how old-fashioned slot machines worked, but it’s how all slot machines work today. And this is true whether you play live slots or on your computer or mobile device.

This software program has instructions that dictate how much the slot machine keeps and how much it gives back to gamblers. The amount the machine is programmed to give back is called return to player.

High Limit Slots Room

The easiest way to understand return to player is to consider it as a percentage. A slot machine with a 93% return to player pays out 93% of all the wagers it takes back to players.

Return to player is a long range or overall percentage, so in the short run, it goes up and down. But over thousands of spins, the return to player percentage is always realized. This is important to know as a slots player because if you bet $100 on a machine with a 93% return to player you’re only going to get back $93 on average.

It’s not easy to find return to player percentages for slot machines, but you should try to find it for as many machines as possible. And then you should only play on the machines with the highest returns.

3 – Understand How Casino Bonuses Work

One of the few good things about playing slots is that you can get some nice casino bonuses if you’re willing to play mobile or online slots. If you can double your bankroll, or triple it, you can play a lot longer before you run out of money.

You need to understand how casino bonuses work before you get too excited. You’re probably still going to want to use them, but you need to understand what you’re signing up for beforehand. The first thing to learn is how big the bonus is. It’s usually a percentage of your deposit amount. A 100% bonus matches your deposit. A 200% slots bonus basically triples your bankroll.

The next thing you need to know is what you have to do to meet the requirements of the bonus. This is usually a minimum amount you must risk based on the amount of your deposit and bonus. This is usually a multiple.

A 30x requirement on the deposit and bonus amount means you have to make wagers totaling at least 30 times the total amount of your deposit and bonus.

4 – Investigate the Casino Slots Club

Many casinos have a slots club available. It might be called something else, but they all work basically the same. You sign up for the club and earn some type of compensation when you play.

Destiny of Athena Online Slots Game

This is usually a small percentage of what you risk, but it’s better to get something back when you play slots than not getting anything.

Find out if the casino where you play has a VIP program and sign up.

5 – Coin Size Considerations

If you bet $3 on a spin playing slots you’re going to lose more than if you risk $1 on a spin. Remember how the return to player percentage works. The higher your coin or bet amount, the more you lose on average.

This means that one of the best ways to be able to play longer on your bankroll is to play on machines that let you risk less on every spin. Find a slot machine that has a small bet size and you can save money in the long run.

6 – Playing Speed Implications

Another thing that directly influences how much you lose playing slots is how many spins you play. If you play 600 spins every hour you’re going to lose more than when you take 300 or 400 spins every hour.

The nice thing about slot machines is you control how many spins you take every hour. You don’t get kicked off the machine for not taking enough spins. Train yourself to play slots slower to extend your playing time and limit your losses.

7 – Why Games Within Games Exist

Many newer slot machines have games inside of the main game or bonus rounds that you can unlock. These all seem like good things when you’re playing slot machines, but the truth is that these features are in the games to get you to play longer.

Megaways Online Slots Game

And anything that keeps you playing slots longer is good for the casino. Remember, the longer you play slots, the more you lose.

You can enjoy the games within the game and bonus rounds and story slots, but always remember that these things are there to make you play slots longer.

8 – The Difference Between a Jackpot and a Progressive

Some slot machines have jackpots. And some machines have progressive jackpots. These are both jackpots, but progressive jackpots are slightly different than regular jackpots.

A regular jackpot always stays the same amount. A progressive jackpot grows as more gamblers play the machine until a lucky gambler wins it. Then, the progressive jackpot resets to a lower amount and starts growing again.

9 – Limiting Your Slots Gambling Losses

You can use some of the strategies that I’ve already covered to limit your slots losses, but there’s another simple step you can take that works perfectly.

Decide exactly how much you’re willing to lose before you start playing and only use this amount to play. If you run out of money you have to stop playing.

10 – The Best Slot Machine to Play

This is just my opinion, but over the years, I’ve come to realize that the best slot machines for me to play have two things in common.

The best slot machines have a low cost per spin. I prefer machines that cost a quarter to play, but sometimes I have to play 50 cent or dollar machines. The second thing the machine must have is either a jackpot over $50,000 or a progressive jackpot.

I know I’m not going to win in the long run playing slots, so I want the chance to win a big jackpot while keeping my cost per spin as low as possible.

11 – There’s an Even Better Option

Instead of playing slot machines there’s a better option in most casinos. You can usually find real money video poker machines that have a much higher return to player than slot machines. And the return to player percentage is much easier to find for video poker machines.

Online Casino Video Poker Game

If you’re losing too much playing slots, take a look at video poker. You need to learn a little bit about pay tables and strategy, but this is easy to do.

Conclusion

If you’re still convinced you want to play slots after reading this article, make sure you use the information you just learned to limit your losses. You can even try out the free online slot machines to see if you can have the same level of fun without losing money.

The best slots option is usually a progressive machine with a low cost per spin, but an even better choice is a different type of machine. No matter what you do, make sure you know exactly how much you’re willing to lose playing slots, and never go over this amount.

Ways Discipline Leads to Better Casino Gambling Results

Discipline Road Sign With Casino Graphics

Winning gamblers use discipline to help them win. Losing gamblers rarely use discipline for anything when they gamble. If you don’t know how discipline can help improve your gambling results, I have good news for you.

Here’s a list of three ways that discipline leads to better gambling results. I’ve also included a section about how you can quickly improve your discipline.

Possibly the best thing about learning how to improve your discipline is that it’s not only going to help your real money gambling results, but it’s also going to help you in many other areas of your life.

Never Give In and Always Hold the Line

Discipline is important for many different reasons, but one of the most important reasons is because it helps you to hold the line. Holding the line means never giving in, no matter what. When you build this type of discipline it helps you become a better gambler.

The most important point about never giving in, that most people miss, is that you have to be smart when you draw your line to never cross. If you don’t know all of the important facts before you draw your line, then the outcome isn’t going to be what you expected.

Mohegan Sun Blackjack Table

For example, if you decide that you’re going to play a slot machine until you win a certain amount, you’re missing an important fact. You can’t beat the slot machine in the long run, so instead of reaching your profit goal, you’re just going to keep losing money until you run out of money. This isn’t a smart line to draw.

Instead, learn what you need to know, then set your line.

You can beat games like blackjack and poker if you know what to do. So, a smarter line might be that you’re going to study and practice blackjack or poker until you’re winning on a consistent basis. These things are realistic, where beating the slot machines isn’t realistic.

Once you know what you need to do to win, set your line and never cross it. Set a good goal backed by a winning plan and decide that you’re never going to give in or give up. This is going to help you become a winning gambler, and it can help you in other areas of your life.

Use Discipline to Prepare and Never Get Lazy

Casinos and other gambling establishments love lazy gamblers. Lazy gamblers take the easy way out, and the easy way out means more profit for the casino. But you don’t have to be lazy when you gamble.

The best way to eliminate the lazy gambling habit is to prepare before you start gambling. Winning gamblers put in preparation time to learn how to win. Then they practice what they learned so when they start gambling they have a realistic chance to win. And they know what they need to do to win.

Lazy gamblers never prepare before they start gambling, they don’ know what they need to do to win, they don’t have a plan, and they lose. What does preparation look like for winning gamblers?

Row of Casino Slot Machines

They study all of the gambling options to find the one or two best options. These options are the ones that give them the best chance to win. Once they find their best options, they learn as much as possible about how the games work, what strategies and techniques work, then make sure that they know how to use these strategies and techniques.

Even if it takes hour after hour of study and practice, winning gamblers do what it takes before they gamble so they have the best chance of winning when they start gambling.

The only thing standing between you and what winning gamblers do is laziness. I know this might not be what you want to hear, but all of the information you need to be a winning gambler is available. All you have to do is find it, learn it, and use it.

Decide right now if you’re going to be a lazy gambler, or if you’re willing to do whatever it takes to win.

Use Discipline to Stop Gambling When You Need To

Many times, losing gamblers get ahead early during their gambling session, keep gambling, and lose money. They not only lose the money they were up, but they start losing and chase trying to get back up and end up losing even more.

It’s easy to say that these gamblers should have quit while they were ahead, but this is misleading. The problem isn’t that they should have stopped when they were ahead, because they have no way of knowing when the tide is going to turn.

And this is the problem. They don’t know when they’re going to start losing because they didn’t prepare. They don’t even usually know if the game they’re playing can be beat. And even if it can be beat, they don’t know how to do it. So, they end up relying on luck.

The first thing you need to do is learn what you can beat and how to beat it. Then, the decision on when the best time to stop comes down to being able to maintain focus and your edge. You stop when you start losing your edge and/or your focus.

But even if you don’t know how to win in the long run, you can do a few things to limit your losses. You can use a budget, stop-win limits, and stop-loss limits. But even if you use these things, you still need to have the discipline to stop when you reach your limits.

When you use preparation like I covered in the previous section to find games that give you a realistic chance to win, and when you play them the right way, you still need to have the discipline to stop when you need to.

The biggest danger is usually when you get tired or fatigued, then you start making mistakes. Most gambling activities that give you a chance to win only give you a small edge. So a momentary lapse in focus can be costly. Learn your limits so you have the discipline to know when to stop gambling.

How to Improve Your Casino Discipline

Talking about the benefits of discipline is easy. But actually improving and building your discipline can be quite difficult. In this section, I’m going to help you start building your gambling discipline.

Discipline is a practice of control that you have to learn. Nobody is going to discipline you when you gamble except for yourself. You have to take control of that aspect of your mind in order to become a better gambler.

This starts by recognizing and admitting whether or not you have a discipline problem. Don’t be too proud to admit you have a discipline problem. I’ve been working on my gambling discipline for years, and I still have a trouble from time to time.

Casino Chips on a Roulette Table

I’m much more disciplined than I used to be, but I still need improvement. Now that you know you need to improve your discipline, the best way to get started is to simply think about it all of the time. The more you think about your discipline, the more you’re going to work on improving it.

Start using the discipline of preparing before you gamble. Start studying right now to become an expert gambler. Set aside time every day to learn and practice.

Create a plan for your next gambling session and stick with your plan. Even if you can only stay on track for 15 minutes, it’s a start. Work on extending this to 20 minutes, then 30 minutes, and build up to an hour.

The only way to build your discipline is to work on it constantly. Don’t give in when you start to waiver. Refocus your mind and make a commitment to being more disciplined. This is how you build discipline in gambling and in life.

Conclusion

If you want to accomplish anything important in your life, you need to develop strong discipline. Becoming a better gambler is no different. The stronger your discipline gets, the better you’re going to do when you’re gambling.

You need to build a gambling mindset of never giving in. When you give in, the casino wins the game. This means that you need the discipline to walk away if the casino isn’t offering what you’re looking for.

It’s easy to get lazy, but you can’t ever do it. Do everything you need to prepare before you gamble. And finally, you need discipline to stop gambling before your bankroll starts to look a little scarce.

Top 5 Christmas Casino Getaways

Multi-Color Christmas Tree With Las Vegas Sign and Beach Background

The holidays can be a stressful time for adults. You have parties to plan, guests staying in your home, and lots of cooking.

I recently asked my wife a simple question, “Why are we doing all of this?”

Her response, “Tradition.”

Well, here’s to new traditions. It’s time to let someone else worry about the party planning, the cooking, and then cleaning it all up.

Here are the top five Christmas casino getaways. May they inspire you to launch a new tradition.

1 – Las Vegas

Las Vegas is put itself on the map by being extravagant in every regard. Christmas in Sin City is no different.

A winter wonderland greets guests during the holidays in the desert. Casinos create lavish scenes to the delight of visitors young and old.

You should note that Christmas and New Year’s Day are among the busiest times for Las Vegas. So, you should expect to pay more for airfare and hotel accommodations.

If you have room comps that you’re planning to cash in for a holiday, be sure to verify any blackout dates with the hotel beforehand.

Once you’ve arrived, you’ll quickly agree it was worth it. To kick off the fun and really get into the Christmas spirit, head to the Bellagio.

Bellagio Conservatory Snow Globe

That’s right; you’re going to see the famous Bellagio Fountains. The casino sets the choreographed fountains to all of your favorite holiday tunes.

The children absolutely love this show, but even the most Grinch-like in the family will start to crack a smile for this display.

Since you’re already at the Bellagio, head inside to the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden for a Christmas treat like no other.

You’ll immediately be awestruck by the insane amounts of beautiful flowers and twinkling lights that adorn the 14,000 square foot space. Queen Bellissima rules this court, and you’ll be taken on an exciting tour of her majestic kingdom.

Both of the shows typically run seven days a week from the second week of December through January. Best of all, both attractions are completely free.

The ARIA Resort and Casino is one of the finest casinos in Las Vegas, and they do their part to spread holiday cheer. The giant Gingerbread House sits in the casino’s main lobby.

This 15 foot tall weighs over 700 pounds and contains over 63,000 peppermints. In fact, the entire house is made of edible goodies.

Get the family out of the holiday blues and into some fun in the sun by shaking up the conventional Christmas.

2 – Atlantis Resort

December can be quite frigid in much of the Northern Hemisphere and downright miserable in the rest. Why fight through the ice and sludge when you could be bikini-clad beachside?

You got it; I’m talking about the Bahamas. More specifically, the Bahamian resort with something for the entire clan, Atlantis Resort.

Adults can enjoy the massive gaming space and all of its casino games. The whole family can enjoy the beautiful beaches. The average daytime high is close to 80 degrees in December.

Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas

Atlantis really shows out for the kids at Christmas, though. After all, the holidays are about making memories that the kids will hold onto for a lifetime.

The days leading up to Christmas are centered around fun activities for the kids. Atlantis makes Santa the star attraction for these fun-filled photo ops.

The activities kick off with Breakfast with Santa. This event is reserved for kids ages 3 to 12, and reservations are strongly encouraged.

A popular attraction is Santa’s Workshop, where the kids pick out and stuff their own toys to the perfect amount of “snuggability.” It has a very “Build-A-Bear” vibe, and the children seem to love it. Battle of the Elves brings some fun competition to the holiday cheer. Kids search high and low while solving simple brain puzzles to acquire pieces needed to assemble the toy.

One of the most popular perks during Christmas at Atlantis is the Santa Tuck Ins. Grandparents seem to love the special moments as much or more than the young ones.

Santa comes to you for the tuck-in and reads a story to the young children before tucking them in for the night. Of course, with the kids in bed and the grandparents feeling nostalgic, it creates the perfect opportunity for the parents to sneak out for some adults-only fun.

The week of Christmas is full of adult-themed Christmas Parties with cold drinks and cool ocean breezes. Be a holiday hero this year and take the family to the Bahamas.

3 – Casino Aruba

Looking to have a White Christmas, but prefer shorts and a t-shirt to boots and a parka?

Head to one of the best gambling destinations in the Caribbean and experience the pristine white sand beaches of Aruba.

The Casino Aruba at Hilton is the perfect spot to base all of your celebratory operations. The casino is decorated with twinkling lights and decorated trees.

The Hilton even put on their famous Christmas Brunch. This is one resort event you shouldn’t miss. However, I encourage you to break away for some of the delicious local fares.

The Casino Aruba at Hilton

Pan de Jamon is a traditionally Venezuelan Christmas Bread that has made its way to the island. This tread is bread baked with ham, raisins, and olive right into it.

This amazing treat can be found at dozens of local bakeries during the holiday season. While we’re on the subject of Christmas dinner, let’s talk about Ham di Pasco.

This may look like your garden variety Christmas ham, but I assure you it’s not. The Arubans’ unique spices and cooking methods add a nice surprise of flavor to the Christmas favorite.

City streets and the local businesses get completely into the Christmas spirit. Shops and city streets are decorated with lights, trees, and decorations you’d expect to find in Anytown, U.S.A.

If you want to really impress the locals or just your in-laws, drop some of the local vernacular. The Papiamento word for “Merry Christmas” is Bon Pasco and Kerstboom is “Christmas Tree.”

4 – Niagra Falls

The Fallsview Casino is one of the best casinos in Canada. If you prefer a Winter Wonderland to get you in the Holiday Spirit, this is your spot.

To kick it off, you’ll have a front-row seat to Niagra Falls. Tired of waiting for your daughter’s boyfriend to pop the question, take him to Niagra Falls for Christmas.

Make sure to give him plenty of advanced warning to save for a ring.

The main attraction at the Fallsview during the holidays is the Christmas On Ice show. This fast-paced and exciting show is performed nightly from Thanksgiving through mid-December.

The Fallsview Casino Near Niagra Falls

The Avalon Theater at Fallsview is transformed into a winter spectacle to behold for the show. The talented skaters perform mesmerizing stunts during this graceful performance.

There’s much more to enjoy during Christmas at Niagra Falls, though.

Ontario’s Winter Festival of Lights is a Christmas tradition for tons of people. Nearly two million people attend the light show every season.

The five-mile trail of lights contains over three million sparkling bulbs. The great thing about the Festival of Lights is that it’s fun for all ages.

So, fill up on hot chocolate, throw a couple of blankets in the car, and get ready for a carpool caroling session.

5 – Take a Casino Cruise

Cruises are a relatively inexpensive way to get away for between three and seven days. As I’m sure you know, most cruise ships have casinos located right in the middle of the ship.

That’s great news for casino gamblers looking to get away from it all with the family. Plus, even a short trip to Progresso will get you out to blue waters and temperatures in the 80s.

The beautiful part of selecting a holiday cruise is that you have hundreds of destinations and departure points from which to choose.

Christmas Decorations on a Cruise Ship

Once you’re out on the open sea, you can mosey on down to the casino. At the same time, the family lounges poolside or plays miniature golf with Santa.

The major cruise lines like Carnival have some exciting deals for Christmas Cruises if you book early.

Making memories on the open sea is one of the best ways you can spend Christmas. Not only is it the family vacation that everyone will be talking about for years, but getting to spend the holiday with staff that’s far away from loved ones makes you hold your own a little tighter.

Conclusion

Christmas is the perfect time to get away with family and plan a casino trip. These top five Christmas casino getaways will give you plenty of pictures for the album.

The real prizes will be the smiles on the older generations’ faces as they watch the young ones delight in the adventure. After the kids are grown, and the older generation has moved on, it’s these same memories that will bring smiles to those familiar faces.

What Is Decentralized Sports Betting?

Confused Man With Multiple Pointing Arrows and a Sportsbook Board

The online sports betting industry has been the same for decades. Bookmakers offer odds, accept bets, and make payouts accordingly.

Many gamblers are still perfectly fine with this setup. In fact, online betting has never been more popular across the globe.

Nevertheless, decentralized sportsbooks seek to disrupt the current model by removing the middleman and making betting more transparent. The following guide covers more on decentralized betting, what advantages it holds, and what challenges it faces.

How the Current Sports Betting Market Looks

The current betting market is ruled by sportsbooks. The latter operate both online and in land-based establishments.

They carry out a variety of functions, including the following:

  • Set odds on matches in different markets
  • Take bets on matches
  • Pay winners
  • Offer customer support if any issues arise
  • Provide bonuses and other promotions

Bookmakers control all facets of the betting world today. They decide the markets, available bet types, and odds.

Of course, you don’t have to accept the lines that a sportsbook offers if you don’t like them. The industry is full of operators that are willing to provide fair odds.

This competition helps create a marketplace where people can find decent odds in many cases. The customer support is also welcomed by those who need help with one or more issues.

What Are the Criticisms of Traditional Betting?

The current bookmaking model seems to be working well for most gamblers. However, sportsbooks do present some downsides that should be taken into account.

Governed by a Central Authority

Sportsbooks provide a service that you can either accept or reject. If one operator offers unfair odds, then you’ll assuredly find another that’s more reasonable.

But no matter where you go, you never have real control over the market. Instead, you’re merely bouncing from one central authority to another.

World Globalization Image

Luckily, most bookmakers don’t abuse their power. They fully realize that their reputation and longevity rely on treating gamblers well.

However, the chance always exists that a bookmaker could cancel your bet, refuse to pay winnings, or revoke bonus opportunities. You’re essentially relying on them to do the right thing in every instance.

Restricted Countries

Online sports betting used to be a borderless and lawless affair. However, this situation has changed greatly in recent years.

Many states and countries have rolled out regulated markets. They fully expect operators to obtain licensing and pay the proper taxes before serving their respective jurisdiction.

Many sportsbooks are willing to go through the proper channels in one or more jurisdictions. But most don’t obtain seek licensing in every regulated market. With that said, they must reject or restrict bettors in markets where they don’t hold a license.

Winners Can Be Banned

One common misconception is that sportsbooks ban gamblers just for winning. It doesn’t happen all the time. But you can be banned from a sportsbook when winning too much and cutting into their bottom line. Bookmakers especially don’t like when you win via arbitrage betting and chasing steam.

Sportsbooks feel justified in banning arbitrage bettors and placing bet limits on sharp accounts. However, you might not share this sentiment if you’re a successful gambler.

You vs. the Bookmaker

Betting operators don’t run extensive websites and take action from numerous gamblers for fun. They expect to make profits through the juice (a.k.a. vig).

The vig refers to the cut that bookmakers take from the losing side of a wager. If odds are set at -110, then the sportsbook plans on taking $10 out of every $110 wagered from losers.

Assuming both sides face -110 odds, the operator stands to earn 4.77% juice if the betting action is equal on each side. 4.77% may not sound like much, but it definitely starts eating into your bankroll over time.

No Transparency

Sportsbooks don’t share the innerworkings of their operators with customers. Instead, they merely expect you to trust them.

Many people get over this lack of transparency as they become comfortable with online betting. However, this transparency problem is always lurking beneath the surface.

The Basics of Decentralized Betting

Decentralized bookmakers operate on blockchain gambling platforms that utilize open source code. The latter refers to how any developer can work on and improve a project.

A decentralized sportsbook doesn’t feature a central authority in place. Instead, it relies on smart contracts to determine winning bets and make payouts.

Decentralized sports gambling sites also allow anybody to act as a bookmaker (like betting exchanges). For example, an individual can set the odds and take action on the Chicago Bears playing the Detroit Lions.

Here’s a quick recap on the key elements behind decentralized betting:

  • Decentralization – No central authority controls the sportsbook. This aspect allows for lower juice and fairer odds for gamblers.
  • Exchange – Decentralized betting sites let users act as oddsmakers and take bets.
  • Open Source – Any developer can work on these projects and make improvements.
  • Public Wallets – Gamblers’ funds are kept in public wallets on the blockchain.
  • Smart Contracts – Bets and payouts are enforced by smart contracts.

Where Can You Find Decentralized Betting?

Well over a dozen blockchain projects currently offer decentralized sports betting. You can read about some of the more notable options below.

  • Augur – Launched in 2015, this platform features lots of prediction markets. Gamblers can use Augur to bet on sports, politics, prices of assets, and the Oscars.
  • Bethereum – This open-source platform provides lines on esports, sports, and more. It offers a native token called Bether, which is used to place wagers on the Bethereum blockchain.
  • BETR Betting – Launched in 2018 on the Ethereum network, this site features various betting markets. It calls on users to wager with a native token called BETR.
  • bet – This platform operates on the VeChain network and offers betting along with casino games. It acts as an exchange where anybody can create bets and markets.
  • Wagerr – Wagerr combines a high degree of privacy with decentralized betting. It also features a betting native token called WGR.

What Are the Benefits of Decentralizing Sports Gambling?

Decentralized betting attempts to right everything that’s wrong with the current industry. First off, it removes the middleman so that gamblers can bet with each other in a transparent environment.

As covered before, online sportsbooks control all aspects of the industry. A decentralized bookmaker, in contrast, hands over control to the bettors.

Removing the middleman reduces the juice from bets. In fact, decentralized operators only take fees to pay developers and those who help the blockchain run properly (e.g. master nodes).

Cryptocurrency Image Designs

Betting results are transparent as well. Gamblers can actually check the authenticity of their bets using the features of blockchain technology.

Bettors don’t need to worry about being rejected at these types of sportsbooks. Decentralized betting sites are merely platforms rather than full-fledged businesses that must always obtain licensing.

Finally, no third party controls the banking aspect. Gamblers use popular cryptocurrencies to make deposits. Given that banks and governments don’t control cryptocurrencies, bettors never have to fear their deposits being denied.

Challenges Facing Decentralized Betting

Decentralized gambling provides a number of key advantages. However, it’s also at an early and vulnerable stage.

First off, most people don’t want to take the time to learn about this type of betting. They’d rather get started quickly and painlessly than learn about each specific blockchain network and its native token.

The native tokens required to place bets are sometimes difficult to obtain. Bettors may even need to visit an obscure exchange just to buy wagering tokens. Most people would rather just make a quick credit card or e-wallet deposit using USD.

Not every blockchain project is entirely trustworthy either. Most project founders keep a fair percentage of ICO tokens for themselves.

Assuming lots of people buy into these projects, then the value of the token spikes. Unscrupulous founders will simply sell off their coins and abandon their networks. This downside might not be so daunting if decentralized betting sites were highly successful and proven entities. To date, though, none have attained a high degree of success.

Even if these projects do gain traction, traditional online bookmakers aren’t going anywhere for now. Thanks to more online bookmakers and regulated markets, sports gambling is hotter than ever before. The global betting market is currently worth $110 billion.

By 2024, the global betting market is predicted to be worth over $155 billion. The numbers say everything: Gamblers are pleased with the current market model.

Will Decentralized Betting Ultimately Succeed?

As of now, decentralized sports gambling isn’t doing very well. The exchanges and prediction markets aren’t drawing much interest outside of those who buy tokens and hold them as investments.

Decentralized betting currently suffers from a major liquidity problem. It doesn’t draw enough bettors to create serious action in a broad range of markets.

Of course, none of this is to say that decentralized wagering can’t ultimately become a success. It does provide certain advantages that fix the problems associated with regular sports betting.

People Lined Up to Bet at a Sportsbook

But the problems with how traditional sportsbooks make money don’t surface very often. Few bookmakers jack up the vig to extreme levels, steal people’s money, or blow off customers who have questions.

The big question here is whether decentralized betting is a solution to a legitimate problem, or a solution looking for a problem.

Making an educated guess, I think that decentralized sites will take a small piece of the betting market. They appeal to those who want privacy, decentralized banking, no middleman, and low juice.

However, it’s hard to envision decentralization completely taking over the sports gambling world. Bookmakers have a good hold on the market right now.

Conclusion

In theory, decentralized betting sounds like a dream, especially the low vig aspect. But it has a long way to go before becoming an institution.

As it stands, decentralized wagering is more of an idea than legit marketplace. It doesn’t offer enough liquidity to interest the average gambler.

This situation may change over time as more people become comfortable with blockchain tech. After all, decentralized betting sites do offer some impressive advantages.

These States Tax Your Gambling Winnings the Least

Tax Form W-2G With a Hand Gripping Money

Most states require you to pay taxes on gambling winnings. Of course, some states are friendlier than others when it comes to taxing your wins.

Certain places don’t charge any taxes when you win in gambling. You definitely want to consider betting in these states when you have the opportunity.

But what are the states that don’t tax gambling winnings? Of the states that do tax, which ones don’t charge you much?

This page discusses where you can gamble tax-free (minus federal taxes). It also covers what else you should know regarding taxes on real money gambling.

States That Don’t Tax Your Gambling Winnings

If you look at the gambling laws by state, nine states don’t collect taxes from your betting wins. That said, you’ll want to keep the following places in mind when planning your next gambling trip.

Alaska

The Last Frontier doesn’t offer many gambling opportunities on its frontier. Alaska only provides legal casino cruise ships, bingo, and pull tabs. At least you don’t need to pay state taxes when winning through any of these activities, though.

Delaware

With fewer than 974,000 residents, The First State isn’t overly large. Nevertheless, it does offer a thriving gaming industry that includes three racinos.

Florida

The Sunshine State boasts tribal casinos, poker rooms, and racetracks. Floridians also enjoy a 0% tax when winning at these gambling establishments.

Nevada

With over 440 casinos, Nevada’s gaming industry needs no introduction.

Aerial View of Las Vegas Strip

The Silver State won’t level state taxes on any of the big jackpots you win in Las Vegas, Reno, Laughlin, or elsewhere.

New Hampshire

The Granite State offers a few charity casinos and sportsbooks. You won’t need to pay taxes to New Hampshire when beating the bookies or casinos.

South Dakota

South Dakota may not have the largest population (885k). But it still offers 45 casinos and a bustling gaming destination in Deadwood.

Texas

The Lone Star State boasts one of the largest populations with 29 million residents. However, it doesn’t offer an abundance of gambling options compared to its big population. Texas features a few casinos (Class II only), horse tracks, and charity gaming venues.

Washington

The Evergreen State features a harsh stance on online gambling that includes felony charges. Nevertheless, it does offer some betting opportunities, including tribal casinos, poker rooms, and racetracks.

Wyoming

Wyoming is the smallest state in terms of population (579k). It still provides some gaming venues, though, including charity casinos, horse tracks, and poker rooms.

States With Low Tax Rates on Gambling Wins

Most states do tax you to some degree regarding winnings, and some states have a high gambling tax. However, the following ones don’t take much from you.

Arizona

The Grand Canyon State provides tribal casinos, horse tracks, and charity gaming. Arizona features a relatively low 4.54% tax rate on gambling wins.

Indiana

The Hoosier State features several casinos, multiple sportsbooks, and regulated online betting. Indiana taxes winnings at a 3.23% rate.

Michigan

Michigan offers 26 casinos, including three commercial venues in Detroit and 23 tribal establishments throughout the state.

Tribal Casino in Michigan

It also features sports wagering and legal online gambling sites. The Wolverine State only charges a 4.25% tax rate on winnings.

North Dakota

Out of the states that tax winnings, North Dakota does it to the smallest degree at 2.90%. The Roughrider State provides tribal casinos, charity casinos, and lotteries.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has become a mini-Las Vegas with 12 casinos along with poker rooms and sportsbooks. It only charges a 3.07% tax rate on gambling wins.

What If You Win in a State That Taxes Casino Winnings?

Only nine states let you off the hook regarding income tax on winnings. Odds are, you live in a state that taxes gambling profits.

Most places feature between a 5% and 6% rate. Therefore, you may not be overly concerned about what’ll happen when/if you win. Of course, you should plan beforehand just in case you’re successful. You want to give as few of your winnings away as possible.

That being said, take surrounding states and their taxes into consideration. Provided you live in/near a state with no, or low, gambling taxes, then you’re in good shape.

Federal Taxes Always Apply

Earlier, I covered nine states that don’t tax your wins in casinos, sportsbooks, poker rooms, etc. Even if you hail from one of these places, though, you still need to cover federal taxes.

Uncle Sam taxes your gambling winnings at 24%. This percentage is almost double the top rate in California (13.3%), which features the highest top-end gambling tax out of any state.

Man at a Las Vegas Sportsbook

The federal government doesn’t expect you to only report jackpots or highly profitable years. It wants you to report every penny earned through gambling.

Of course, the IRS almost assuredly won’t hound you over a $10 winning Super Bowl bet against your friend. They will, however, care when you’re hitting jackpots and making serious profits.

A State Can Withhold Federal Taxes From Your Casino Wins

States are supposed to withhold federal taxes from large gambling payouts. Their casinos and sportsbooks will also issue a W-2G form if the win is big enough.

You need to fill this form out and give it to the gambling establishment. They’ll turn around and send it to the IRS before releasing your winnings.

Here are the guidelines on when bookmakers/casinos/poker rooms hand you a W-2G:

  • $5,000+ payout in a poker tournament.
  • $1,500+ payout in keno.
  • $1,200+ payout through a slot or video poker machine.
  • $600+ payout for a winning horse or sports bet (if win is 300x your stake).

Gambling Losses Are Deductible

As covered before, the IRS and state governments want you to report every dollar earned through gambling. However, you can deduct losses from winnings.

Everything that you wager and lose en route to winning counts as itemized deductions. These deductions reduce the amount of taxable income you’ll owe.

Here’s an example:

  • You win $2,500 through a slot machine.
  • You must report $2,500 under “other income.”
  • You spend $1,700 to win this amount throughout the year (itemized deductions).
  • $2,500 – $1,700 = $800 in reportable income.

You should record all of your gambling sessions for tax purposes. If the IRS ever comes calling for an audit, you’ll want evidence of your wins and losses.

The IRS may not always take your word for everything. You should keep as much evidence of your gambling activities as possible. Some items that you’ll want to keep include bank statements, betting tickets, check copies, and W-2G forms if you have them.

The more information you possess, the better chance you stand of passing an audit with flying colors.

Can You Get Away Without Paying Gambling Taxes?

For the sake of avoiding any legal headaches, you should report gambling income and pay taxes on it. Of course, you may still wonder if it’s possible to get away without covering gaming related taxes.

Three potential reasons why you might wonder this include:

  1. You don’t want to mess with $50, or so, of gambling winnings.
  2. You don’t have records of losses and think that it’s unfair to cover taxes on wins.
  3. You win big and want to avoid paying taxes.

In the first two cases, you may feel justified in not covering taxes. Dealing with winnings can be a major headache in these situations.

In the third case, you likely know that failing to cover taxes on huge wins is wrong. But you may consider it anyways because you don’t feel like giving away a chunk of your payout.

Again, state governments and the IRS want you to report everything. They leave it up to you to follow the laws in your respective jurisdiction.

Crowded Las Vegas Casino Floor

I suggest that you keep records and go the honest route with gambling taxes. This way, you don’t need to sweat if you’re ever audited.

One situation when you definitely want to report wins is if you receive a W-2G form. Casinos and sportsbooks send W-2G’s to the IRS.

Therefore, the taxman will have documentation that you’ve earned a big prize. You don’t want to give them a reason to audit by not covering taxes on a large payout.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you live in or near a state that doesn’t require you to claim gambling winnings on your taxes. In this case, you can win big and only worry about paying the IRS.

Chances are, though, you live somewhere that imposes income tax on winnings. If so, you should consider if there are any nearby options that either don’t tax gambling wins or at least feature low rates.

Maybe this issue isn’t of the utmost importance to you—especially when you’re only playing for small stakes. But if you play for mid or higher stakes, then you can save yourself some money by playing where there’s no/little taxes taken from wins.

Points of Interest Near The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Pennsylvania

The Meadows Casino Logo Pennsylvania

If you’re enjoying the racing and gaming at The Meadows Racetrack and Casino yet wish to venture out into Washington County, Pennsylvania and county seat, Washington, Pennsylvania, then you’re in arguably Pennsylvania’s most historically significant county.

Yeah, so let your inner-history buff rejoice. What will you find? A bit of everything.

Washington County was the home of the Whiskey Rebellion, and it’s also home to the PONY League Baseball Headquarters, the F. Julius LeMoyne Home, Shorty’s Lunch, and the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum.

Breathe in and close your eyes because The Meadows doesn’t just offer the best gaming in Southwest Pennsylvania; it’s within driving distance to every single nearby attraction listed below.

Ready for the rundown?

Let’s get it started and I guarantee that even if you don’t win a profit when gambling in Pennsylvania, your mind sure will at these attractions.

F. Julius LeMoyne House

Let’s begin our tour in the F. Julius LeMoyne House, where if you’re an American Civil War buff, you’ll find this place quite interesting.

This historic museum located at 49 East Maiden Street served as the home of Dr. Francis Julius LeMoyne, a renowned abolitionist. He used his home as a stop on the Underground Railroad and, after the American Civil War, helped found the LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis, Tennessee.

The museum was added as a National Historic Landmark and the US National Register of Historic Places on September 25th, 1997.

F. Julius LeMoyne House in Pennsylvania

Built in 1812 using Greek Revival architecture, LeMoyne’s daughter gifted the house to the Washington Historical Society in the 1930s. The Society restored the home to resemble its features and furnishings from LeMoyne’s time in the mid-nineteenth century, and the location has served as a historic museum since.

They offer guided tours all year long. So whether you’re hitting up The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in the summer or winter months, you can explore a piece of history at the F. Julius LeMoyne House.

So come on in and get a taste of what life was like on the Underground Railroad in the 1830s and 1840s, Pennsylvania. Whether you’re a history lover or someone looking to gain insight, this guided tour is for you.

Lew Hays Field and PONY Baseball and Softball Headquarters

Perhaps you’ve heard or had even been part of the Protect Our Nation’s Youth (PONY) Baseball and Softball non-profit organization as a volunteer or as a player in the league, yourself?

Well, bring on the nostalgia because PONY Baseball and Softball’s headquarters is located right here in Washington, Pennsylvania.

Hosting teams from all over the world, the set location for the PONY World Series is also located in Washington at Lew Hays Pony Field.

PONY Baseball World Series Game

So, if the Series is going on, then you’re in luck. And while it isn’t necessarily a league The Meadows Sportsbook offers to place a wager, it’s still a treat to see the nation’s best PONY baseball and softball players in action. Because who knows? You’re probably watching the stars of tomorrow in the two sports.

But even if there’s no action going on at Lew Hays Field, you can always take a tour through the headquarters, noticeable from its Flag Plaza in the foreground and dedication plaque at the entrance.

If you’re at The Meadows as part of a family vacation, then the PONY headquarters and Lew Hays Park are a fantastic activity for you and the entire family to engage in. No age restrictions, no limits. Just a walk through memory lane for you while your kids envision their future selves on the pitcher’s mound.

David Bradford House

Alright, so if you can’t resist playing your favorite casino games without a cold cocktail or beer in hand, you’ll find yourself interested in the David Bradford House. The place’s significance? Well, it only housed David Bradford, the leader in the Whiskey Rebellion, which took place between 1791 and 1794.

They say lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place, but the David Bradford House proved otherwise. Bradford and his family fled the house after taking up residence in the place for just 6 years, leaving the place vacant for other families to frequent in the late-eighteenth century.

David Bradford House in Pennsylvania

Fast forward three decades, when 1831, world-renown author Rebecca Harding Davis was born in the house. If you’ve ever heard of or read the short story ‘Life in the Iron Mills,’ then chances are you’ve heard of Davis.

Davis also holds the significance of having the first historical marker dedicated to a woman in Washington, Pennsylvania.

In 1953, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission installed the historic marker on the property. And in 1959, as with the nearby F. Julius LeMoyne House, the Commission remodeled and refurnished the home to resemble furnishings and decor from Bradford’s time.

In 1973, the venue became listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a decade later in 1983, became a historic landmark.

From May to mid-December, the venue offers group tours and special events. So if you’re in the area and want to learn about not one but two significant stories that occurred at the David Bradford House, check out this location.

It offers a quick break from the casino gaming and horse racing, and the major upside here is that when you tour the David Bradford House, you’re guaranteed to win in the knowledge category.

Shorty’s Lunch

Okay, so The Meadows is full of solid dining options, but if you’re up for classic grub, head over to Washington, Pennsylvania and you’ll come across an old hot dog shop called Shorty’s Lunch.

In operation since 1932, Shorty’s Lunch provides a classic, old school feel you won’t find anywhere else. With its dining counter, wooden booths, and large storefront, you’ll think you walked into a wormhole and transported yourself about 80 years in the past.

Shorty's Lunch Restaurant in Pennsylvania

In fact, when you talk to nearby professors, filmmakers, and local media, they all have nothing but top-end things to say about the place given its brand recognition, attention to detail, customer service, and its retro atmosphere that brings people to experience from all over the nation.

Professors have claimed you can use Shorty’s to design an entire case-study around franchising. The Observer Report further claimed the restaurant’s brand recognition is one even top corporations cannot match.

The Post-Gazette has written several stories on the place, confirming it’s the one restaurant many former residents will go out of their way to visit when they’re back in town. We all have that one place we just need to grab a bite when we return to our hometown. Well, in Washington, Shorty’s is it.

They’ve also served a notable client base, including former Pittsburgh Steelers great Lynn Swann, when he made a stop at the shop when on the campaign trail back in 2006. Another big name who constantly frequented at Shorty’s was country music singer, Tex Ritter.

So if you’re looking for an off-venue dining option infused with history, longevity, and a reputation even America’s largest and most recognizable corporations can’t match, Shorty’s is your destination.

Pennsylvania Trolley Museum

While The Meadows can definitely give you a unique gambling experience like none other, the trolley enthusiast in you will go head over heels for what’s waiting in the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum.

Within its radius are preserved trolleys and streetcars from Pennsylvania’s past. However, they also boast a historic collection of trolleys from cities as close as Toledo, Ohio to as far away as New Orleans, Louisiana.

One of their exhibits has even been imported from Brazil, so you’re getting an international look here when you venture away from The Meadows for a day out in the classic town of Washington.

Best yet, they have restored many of these trolleys and streetcars to their original status, and many are fully operable. That said, if you’re lurking in Washington during the right time of the year, you’ll see them in action shuttling patrons from the parking lot to fairgrounds during the Washington County Fairgrounds.

Which is yet another attraction to attend if you’re in the area at the right time.

Pennsylvania Trolley Museum

Special events at the museum also occur on Christmas, Easter, and Halloween, with the museum offering exclusive rides through a Christmas or fall-themed setting.

And of course, when we hear the word ‘trolley,’ I’m sure Pittsburgh’s own Fred Rogers pops into our heads if we’re between the ages of 21 and 60.

So, a little fun fact about the museum is that it appeared in an episode of Mister Rodgers Neighborhood back in 1984, with Rogers himself operating one of the Philadelphia streetcars.

As with many of the activities listed, the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum is a definite hotspot if you brought the family along. And if you’re in town for the Holidays, it definitely provides top-notch and family-friendly entertainment.

Conclusion

The Meadows is one of the hottest land-based casinos in Southwest Pennsylvania. But for as obscure as the city and county of which it resides is, there is a lot of history at every turn.

So if you’re a history buff roaming the casino gaming floor or watching a good old horse race at The Meadows, know that there is so much more out there in Washington County than just the casino; there is an area just waiting to be explored and stories to be told.

And best yet, if you’re just passing through town on a family trip, every single location listed here is fit for the family. From the F. Julius LeMoyne Home all the way to the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum.

Have you been to The Meadows and the nearby attractions listed above? If so, let us know where you went and tell us your experience.

Ohio Attractions Near Jack Thistledown Racino

Jack Thistledown Logo With Zoo Elephant and Rock N Roll Hall of Fame

While Jack Thistledown Racino is in North Randall, Ohio, population 988 as of 2019. But its location in Northeast Ohio will give you plenty to look forward to if you venture off the casino grounds and into the surrounding area.

Since the racino dwells in the southeast portion of Cuyahoga County, it’s not unusual for those to travel both north into Cleveland, Ohio and south into the Akron/Canton area.

So, if you’re gaming on the slots and horse races at Jack Thistledown, you won’t drive far in either direction to come across the state’s hottest attractions.

From world-renowned two hall of fames to Ohio’s North Shore along with an extensive system of natural preserves along the area collectively known as Cleveland Metroparks.

So, are you ready for the grand tour?

Excellent, because once you get a taste of all the Cleveland/Northeast area offers besides Ohio gambling, you won’t want to leave.

Pro Football Hall of Fame

Located 30 to 40 minutes south in nearby Canton is where you’ll find the most magnificent structure in sports: The Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Football fan or not, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will offer you a true treat given the 101-plus year interactive story that you will experience live, and in person.

With its interactive exhibits where you can measure hand, arm, and leg sizes with some of the NFL’s best players. You’ll also listen to motivational speeches from holograms of legendary NFL coaches like George Halas. After hearing from Halas, you can bet you’ll leave this venue feeling like you can take on the world.

Pro Football Hall of Fame

But, if you’re an NFL fan, you’ll rejoice in exhibits that feature timelines of each decade in NFL history from its beginnings in the 1920s to today’s modern game in the 2020s. You’ll also find pleasure in a close-up of the Vince Lombardi Trophy and Super Bowl Rings from every Super Bowl Champion.

And don’t forget to go up top and find the busts featuring your favorite Hall of Fame players, coaches, and contributors to the professional football game.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is a must if you’re an NFL sports betting fan or a historian looking to gain further insight into one of the primary staples of American culture.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Like the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will attract a few distinct groups of people. Obviously if you’re a fan of the genre, you’ll fall head over heels for the venue the second you walk through the door.

But if you’re an architecture enthusiast, prepare to lose your breath as you view its triangular glass-exterior extending out into the waters of Lake Erie.

Within its walls you’ll find an interactive story regarding the evolution of the music genre itself. From its origins in the 1940s to its continued evolution through the 2020s, come and learn about the pioneers that transformed the genre into one of the most popular and recognizable in the world.

Once again, you don’t need to be a fan of rock and roll to gain something of value here. Whether the music genre, history in general, architecture, or curiosity piques your interest, you’ll want to take a few tours through this venue if you’re taking a break from the casino games at Jack Thistledown and exploring Cleveland.

Lake Erie

Lake Erie is the home to many beaches and water-related activities that you’ll find whether you’re on the city’s east, north, or west side. Regardless of the time of year you venture to Cleveland, Ohio, there is always something going on in Lake Erie.

Whether you’re in the mood for water-skiing, fishing, boating, or relaxing on one of its beaches, find your favorite activity and pass the time gazing into the sapphire waters or if you’re in the water, catch breathtaking views of the Cleveland skyline.

Looking for a perfect day at the lake?

Lighthouse at Lake Erie

Head over to Huntington Beach on the city’s west side and watch the sun rise over Downtown Cleveland to begin your day.

Then go out for a swim, get a solid cardio workout on the beach. Enjoy the seafood at one of the dozens of restaurants scattered about the North Coast And head over to the east side and watch the sunset to end your perfect day if you need one off from the slots and races over at Jack Thistledown.

Little do people know that Ohio’s North Shore holds every bit as much fun as if you were on the Atlantic or the Pacific Coast. And since the sea of blue extends beyond the horizon, you’ll think you’re in a tropical setting if you venture up this way in the spring, summer, or even early fall.

Progressive Field

Home of Cleveland’s Professional Baseball Team and several significant events, Progressive Field remains a staple in the Cleveland area since it opened in 1994.

Whether you’re a baseball fan going on a nationwide tour to view every MLB Stadium or if your favorite team is in town playing Cleveland, you’re in for a day to remember at the ballpark.

And if you ain’t a baseball fan, no problem. There is still plenty to get excited over when you head to Progressive Field. Especially if architecture is your thing.

?
Did you know Progressive Field holds the distinction as one of the first retro-style ballparks built in the late 20th and early 21st century after Oriole Park at Camden Yards?

Uh huh, you’re heading to one historically significant venue here.

As the baseball enthusiast in you should know, many MLB teams searching out new ballparks followed that of Cleveland and the Baltimore Orioles, opting for the retro, classic design that exemplified baseball stadiums back in the early to-mid-20th century.

Progressive Field MLB Stadium

So like the Pro Football and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the architecture enthusiast in you will rejoice when you admire Progressive Field’s structure and design. As it is easily one of the best in all of baseball.

But if you’re looking to set your eyes on more than just baseball, Lady Luck has you covered. Progressive Field also hosts non-baseball events like college hockey, concerts, and similar events year-round.

So if the night’s entertainment at Jack Thistledown Racino isn’t cutting it, you may find yourself with another option if you head over to Progressive Field to see what’s cooking.

Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

The Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse always has something going on. So even if you’re not interested in watching the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, the NCAA’s Cleveland State Vikings, or the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters, don’t worry. This venue is always hosting something worth experiencing.

In the past, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse has played host to the US Figure Skating Championships, Mixed Martial Arts Events, rallies, and concerts.

But there is so much more than its diversity of events that makes this venue special.

Rocket Mortage FieldHouse

Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse is a great place for you and your family if you have kids with hypersensitivity needs, such as those on the autism spectrum. The trained staff will equip you with sensory bags that include headphones, blankets, and similar items.

Also available at the facility is a sensory room. Plus, if the environment becomes too overwhelming, they are exempt from re-entry policies if the need arises to leave the facility for a short time. This goes for all events, including NBA, NCAA, AHL, concerts, trade shows, and rallies.

The Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse has become the first KultureCity certified sensory-inclusive venue in the NBA.

Cleveland Metroparks

Outside the City of Cleveland and near Jack Thistledown Racino resides a network of reservations that encircle the city. They are collectively known as Cleveland Metroparks, and if you’re looking for a place that includes free admission and unlimited access, the Metroparks are your prime destination.

This is especially true if you’re a nature-enthusiast. Here, you can take a day off from the casino to go biking, hiking, running, boating, fishing, and more.

Also in the area is the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. So if you or anyone in your group is an animal lover, they’ll get a kick out of the 3,000 different domestic and exotic animals along with the 600-plus animal species available.

The Cleveland Metroparks attracts an astounding 18.5 million visitors per year among its 18 reservations and zoo. So you can place a safe bet that you’re not the only one looking to turn your stay at Jack Thistledown Racino into a fully fledged vacation destination.

Heck, it may just be the other way around. Perhaps the Metroparks is your primary destination and you’re just looking to pass time at the nearby casino since there are so many outdoor activities available to get excited about.

One thing is for sure: Cleveland Metroparks has something for guests of all ages and interest levels. So find yourself at Cleveland Metroparks and gain a new insight on everything nature has to offer.

Conclusion

Cleveland and the entire Northeast Ohio region are on the rise and are such a far cry from the ailing situation they found themselves in during the mid-to-late 20th centuries.

Jack Thistledown Racino can definitely say that it took part in pitching in to transforming the Cleveland economy from its darkest days. But it doesn’t end with just the racino.

As you can guess, many attractions have turned Cleveland into a tourist hotspot.

From its water activities on the lake and nature activities at Cleveland Metroparks to its reputation as one of the hottest sports cities in America to the region being home to two prominent hall of fame venues, a new era has dawned on the city.

Have you taken a day off from the casino gaming at Jack Thistledown to explore any of the attractions listed above? If so, which ones?

Review of Rivers Casino in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia State Seal and Rivers Casino Exterior

Rivers Casino Philadelphia was one of five future Pennsylvania-based casino venues to be granted a license by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board in December 2006. Four years later, the casino opened, and over the last decade has evolved into one of the most recognizable locations in Philadelphia.

Located in the neighborhood of Fishtown along the Delaware River, the casino enjoys a prominent gaming atmosphere, dining options, and nearby attractions in a city that played a major role in the founding of America.

If innovative gaming plus an area rich in history are your things, then visit Rivers Casino Philadelphia. Even if you’re on your way to and from Atlantic City, New Jersey, the casino gaming capital on the East Coast.

Let’s look into what makes Rivers Casino Philadelphia a great addition to Pennsylvania’s gaming scene.

Rivers Casino Philadelphia History

As mentioned, Rivers was one of five future casinos in Pennsylvania to be granted a license in 2006. The venue opened in 2010 as SugarHouse Casino. The venue is on the former site of the Jack Frost Sugar Refinery, hence the casino’s original name. Cool, right?

Groundbreaking on the project began in October 2009, and in September 2010, the casino was finally open for business. The new casino featured 3,000 slots, table games, retail, and dining outlets.

Plans for a 500-room hotel were also laid out. The hotel would include a fitness center, health spa, event center, plus expanded dining and retail.

Expansion to the casino floor commenced in July 2014 to add amenities like a parking garage and even more dining options. Two years later, in May 2016, the expansion project was complete.

SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia

In December 2018, SugarHouse Casino launched its sportsbook. They hold the distinction as the first casino in the Philadelphia area to do so before the others slowly followed. It also became the first casino in Pennsylvania to offer online sports betting as well.

From December 2018 and through most of 2019, the casino operated through a temporary sportsbook before the BetRivers Sportsbook opened in October.

In 2019, SugarHouse Casino’s parent company, Rush Street Gaming, rebranded the casino as Rivers Casino Philadelphia to match the casino’s sister in Western Pennsylvania, Rivers Casino Pittsburgh.

Also in 2019, SugarHouse Casino launched online casino gaming featuring real money slots and table gaming. So even if you can’t make it into the casino yet you’re in the state yet you’re up for some good old casino gaming, Lady Luck is at your side.

Speaking of casino gaming, let’s see what Rivers Casino Philadelphia offers.

Rivers Casino Gaming

You’ll find everything you’re looking for on the gaming floor at Rivers Casino Philadelphia.

Featuring over 3,000 slot machines ranging from penny bets to high stakes, the perfect game is waiting for you at Rivers. Whether you’re up for the classics like Wheel of Fortune and Monopoly or are looking to try something new, the fun never ends here. And it doesn’t matter if you win big or not.

You’ll never get bored with the gaming options offered at Rivers. Featured games include Lightning Link, Wonder 4, Sahara Gold, 5 Dragons Gold, Timber Wolf, High Stakes, 88 Fortunes, and more. The options literally never run out here at Rivers.

Get in on the table gaming action at Rivers. And like the slots, you can never expect to get bored here with so many options including Blackjack, Baccarat, Craps, Roulette, Three Card Poker, and more.

Rivers Casino Roulette Table

And for some added fun, be sure to check out the electronic table gaming that is new at Rivers Philadelphia in the form of Stadium Gaming. Featuring your own gaming terminal, you can play your favorite table games without pressure from opponents at the live tables.

This is a great option if you’re just learning the game, wish to hone your strategy, or if you aren’t a fan of betting under strain.

Now if playing live poker is your thing, you’re in luck. Rivers Casino Philadelphia hosts poker events literally every month. So be sure to visit the link above often to get in on the latest poker gaming action featuring your favorites like Texas Hold ‘em and Omaha.

And keep the BetRivers Sportsbook in mind. Get the best seats in the house with stadium-style club seating at the state-of-the-art venue. Place your bets and cheer your favorite team to victory.

At the sportsbook, you can bet on every professional and college sport imaginable. Bet the spread, the over/under, player props, game props, you name it, the BetRivers Sportsbook has it.

Need a break? Head over to the Sportsbook Bar for a drink, electronic poker, and the best bar service in Philadelphia.

What are you waiting for? Start planning your big trip to the casino today and experience the hottest gaming action in the city.

Rivers Casino Dining

Five excellent dining options encompass Rivers Casino Philadelphia, each with its unique menu and atmosphere.

If you’re looking for classic American dishes, then Jack’s Bar and Grill is your answer.  The venue offers live entertainment on select dates, stunning views of the Delaware River, and the greatest dinner options. You’ll love this new twist on the best American food in the city.

In the mood for Asian cuisine? Look no further than Mian. Where you’ll immerse yourself in the most authentic Asian food in Philadelphia. Whatever you’re craving, Mian only delivers the freshest ingredients from farm to table. Combine it with an excellent atmosphere and enjoy the experience.

Jack's Bar and Grill at Rivers Casino

If you need a pick-me-up between casino games or before heading out onto the gaming floor, the Coffee Spot has what you need to keep you in business for the next few hours.

You’ll find the freshest flavors and entrees at The Marketplace. If you come to Rivers Philadelphia often, you’ll know that the restaurant’s menu is always changing to provide the unique combos and assortments of your favorite food in the city.

Up for some comfort foods? Lou’s Pizza provides. Hand-tossed and made with only the freshest ingredients, you won’t find better pizza in the area.

And don’t forget about Hugo’s Frog Bar and Chop House, featuring legendary steaks, drinks, and live, intimate entertainment from the greatest local and upcoming acts around.

Rivers Casino Promos and Entertainment

Promotions at Rivers Casino Philadelphia are ongoing, so get in on the action with promos like Casino4Fun, Cash for Coins, and more.

Join Rush Rewards, where you’ll get one free New Member Spin. If you’re lucky, you can win up to 100,000 rewards points.

Rush Rewards is the top promo offered at Rivers Philadelphia. So if you find yourself here or at any Rush Street Gaming location often, be sure to sign up because even if Lady Luck isn’t in your corner on the casino gaming floor, she is winning you rewards points.

Sign up for the VIP program for free, then use your new Rush Rewards card every time you play to earn casino comps. The more points you accumulate, the greater the benefits. Redeem your points for special offers, gifts, complimentary meals, and more. Just remember to swipe your card at the slots or the tables.

Catch a break from the gaming and Rush Rewards action with some live entertainment at Rivers Philadelphia from the greatest world-class acts in music and comedy in the world at the Events Center.

Looking for something more intimate? Hugo’s Frog Bar and Chop House is calling your name. Whether you’re looking for jazz or contemporary performances, Hugo’s has you covered.

Nearby Attractions and Accommodations

Philadelphia is the city where liberty was born, so definitely take the time to hit up Independence Hall, where the nation’s forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence and adopted the Constitution.

And don’t forget to pay a visit to the Liberty Bell. Two of your most classic landmarks around from yesterday, today, and in the far future.

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Want more history? How do the homes of Edgar Allan Poe and Thaddeus Kosciuszko sound? Fort Mifflin and the First and Second National Bank are just a few of the city’s 67 national landmarks. Which ranks third in the country.

Into science? Check out the Philadelphia Zoo and the Camden Aquarium, where you’ll find over 5,600 species of exotic wildlife imported from every corner of the globe. Explore the Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Museum of the American Revolution, and more.

Camden Aquarium Turtle Exhibit

You can literally make a vacation out of this.

Speaking of which, where are some of the best places to stay located?

Once again, Lady Luck is at your side because there are about a dozen hotels within one mile of the casino. Just a few area hotels include the Cambria Hotel, Westin Philadelphia, Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown, Sonesta Philadelphia Downtown, and more.

You can find reviews, pricing, and further amenities for each of the hotels listed above over at TripAdvisor. And also don’t forget to inquire about potential deals and partnerships these venues may have with Rivers. No guarantees, but it’s worth asking to save money on your hotel stay.

Conclusion

Rivers Casino Philadelphia has grown since its doors opened in 2010. With over 3,000 slot machines, dozens of table games, a sportsbook, and a venue that will continue to grow well into the 2020s, you can’t ask for much more when looking to maximize your casino gaming experience.

And if you need a break from the gaming action, the dining, entertainment, and nearby attractions will give your mind the perfect break. Especially in a historic and culturally rich city like Philadelphia, where ghosts of the American Revolution lurk the city streets.

Have you had the luxury of visiting Rivers Casino Philadelphia? If so, let us know in the comments and tell us about your experience.

Ways That Winning Gamblers Think Differently Than You

Happy Gambler Holding Cards and a Brain and Equations Image

How much time do you spend trying to develop a winning gambling strategy? Is this something you think about often, or are you like most gamblers and never think about more ways to win?

Everything you do starts with a thought process. And if you want to be a winning gambler, you’re probably going to need to change the way you think.

To help you get started, here are five ways that winning gamblers think that most gamblers don’t. You can quickly change your gambling results by changing the way you think about real money gambling.

The Never Ending Search for an Edge

The main thought process winning gamblers share, that losing gamblers don’t, is the search for an edge. Winning gamblers know that there are a few ways they can get an edge, and they’re constantly searching for situations where they can use their skills and new situations where they might be able to secure an edge.

Casinos don’t like to lose money, and they stack everything they can against gamblers. The casinos design games so that you can win a small amount from time to time. This keeps you gambling because you like the feeling you get when you win.

But these same games that give you a good feeling when you win sometimes also consistently chip away at your bankroll and take your money. Everything that most gamblers do in the casino gives the casino a small percentage called the edge.

Casino Floor Walkway

When you consider all of the gamblers in the casino, each giving the casino a small edge on every wager, you can see why a casino is so profitable.

But there are a small set of gamblers that refuse to gamble like everyone else. These gamblers know they can get an edge, and they exploit every edge they can find. They battle the casinos in a secret war that most gamblers never learn about.

The casinos do everything they can to catch these gamblers and refuse to offer them service. Sometimes the casinos ban them, and sometimes they don’t.

If you want to be a winning gambler, you need to start thinking like the casinos instead of a gambler. Casinos don’t gamble. The casinos know they don’t have to gamble, because all of the games are rigged in their favor. It’s just a matter of time until the games take their percentage and lock in a profit.

But what happens if you can find a small edge in your favor? Now, you’re acting like the casino and grinding out a small profit. This is how you need to start thinking. Find a small edge and grind out a profit, just like the casinos do.

The Refusal to Give In

Winning gamblers refuse to give in. They’re quite stubborn. They refuse to participate in a gambling activity where they can’t get an edge. This is why you don’t see winning gamblers playing roulette or slot machines.

When a winning gambler walks into a casino and doesn’t find an opportunity to gamble with an edge, they don’t play. They don’t give into the urge for action and risk their money on a game they know they can’t win.

This means that first, they need to know what opportunities exist, and second, they need to know how to take advantage of the opportunities that they find.

It’s one thing to know that some gamblers beat blackjack by counting cards, but it’s another thing to know how to count cards and get away with it.

You probably know that some poker players make money playing the game, but do you know how to play well enough to make money? Just knowing something is possible doesn’t mean you know how to do it.

Winning gamblers know it’s possible to win, and they never give up until they learn how to do it. I’m telling you that it’s a fact that you can learn how to be a winning gambler. Are you willing to walk away and not gamble when you can’t find a profitable situation? Are you willing to spend 76 hours studying strategy and practicing in order to play with a 0.5% edge?

You must build the mindset that you’re never going to give in. You’re never going to give the casino a single dollar that you don’t have to. If you don’t have this mindset, the odds of you becoming a winning gambler are almost nonexistent.

They Completely Understand Gambling Strategy

I’m going to share a secret with you that’s going to be valuable to you whether you learn how to become a winning gambler or not. Every gambling activity that doesn’t have any way to use strategy when you play is an activity that you should avoid.

When a gambling activity doesn’t have a strategy component, the casino edge is high and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Roped Off Tables in a Casino

Consider the worst gambling activities. The lottery, slot machines, keno, and bingo are all bad gambling activities. These games all have a high casino edge. And you can’t use strategy to alter the results on any of these games.

You need to identify the gambling activities that have a strategy component, then you need to learn how to use the best gambling strategies. Winning gamblers know which gambling activities have the lowest casino edge, which games have a strategy component, and they know how to use the best strategy for at least one of these games.

Instead of looking for a gambling activity that’s fun, start looking for an activity where you can use strategy to alter the results. Then, start learning everything you can about the correct strategy so you can use it every single time you gamble.

They Manage Their Casino Bankroll

This might come as a surprise in a discussion about how winning gamblers think, but one of the most important things they think about is their casino bankroll management. And the reason why they think about their bankroll is an important lesson if you want to become a winning gambler.

Winning gamblers know that they need to have enough money to take advantage of profitable opportunities when they find them. If you don’t have the money you need to exploit an edge, you can’t take advantage of it.

Consider a poker player who folds a decent but not great hand from middle position. He or she might win with the hand, but its’ going to cost resources to find out. These resources are chips. Instead of risking chips in a situation that doesn’t have a high profitability chance, they save their chips so they have more to risk when they have a higher chance of winning.

You need to use this same level of thinking with your money and bankroll. What opportunities are you going to need money for in the future, and how are those opportunities in comparison to what you’re risking your money on today?

Their Willingness to Create a Profitable Scenario

In addition to the things that you’ve already learned about how winning gamblers think, there’s one other thing many of them do that other gamblers don’t do. Winning gamblers are willing to create situations that are profitable instead of waiting around for a profitable situation to present itself.

This probably sounds strange to you because you haven’t trained yourself to think like a professional gambler yet.

Pro Poker Player Phil Ivy

Consider a poker player who makes a little bit of money playing in the poker room. He can’t do much to pick his opponents when he joins a table in the poker room. So, he starts his own private game and makes sure to only invite players he knows he can beat.

Also, consider a sports gambler that barely breaks even when he places bets with a sportsbook, but starts placing wagers with people he works with and knows. He doesn’t pay vig on private wagers, so his overall profit goes up.

Are you willing to look for ways to create a profitable gambling situation? It’s not that hard to do if you learn how to look at things the right way and consider doing things a little differently than you used to.

Conclusion

Are you willing to take a hard honest look at how you think about gambling? The only way most gamblers learn how to win is to challenge their current thinking and adjust it. The good news is that you can learn how other successful gamblers think and model your thoughts after them.

You just learned five ways that winning gamblers think to help you get started. If your thought process doesn’t match what you just learned, it’s time to start making some adjustments.

You can change your gambling results, and it all starts with the way you think!

What Is an Online Sweepstakes Casino?

Laptop With Gold Coins and a Sweepstakes Casino Background

Sweepstakes are far from a new concept. Publishers Clearing House, which launched in 1953, made sweepstakes famous by selling magazine subscriptions under the banner that you could also “Win $10 Million!”

Even McDonald’s Monopoly game operates through a similar model. It gives you a chance to win prizes whenever you purchase McDonald’s food.

Certain online casinos have adopted the sweepstakes setup too. Thanks to their model, these gaming sites have become completely legal almost everywhere in the country.

If you’re interested in sweepstakes casinos, you can read about how they work and what they offer in the following guide.

How Does Sweepstakes Gaming Work?

Sweepstakes casinos don’t see you bet money to win money like with traditional real money online casinos. Instead, they give you coins that can be used to pick up sweepstakes entries.

You typically receive some coins after completing registration (a.k.a. no-deposit bonus). After receiving coins, you can play online casino games like slots, baccarat, blackjack, roulette, and more.

In turn, these games give you an opportunity to win more coins. The latter have no value, which is why sweepstakes gaming sites aren’t considered “gambling.”

Online Slot Crusader's Gold

However, the coins can be exchanged for other credits. The credits are what allow you to cash out for real money or enter contests with valuable prizes.

Chumba Casino and LuckyLand Slots are two of the most-popular sweepstakes sites. They provide gold coins that can be converted to Sweeps Cash, which actually has monetary value.

Assuming you run out of gold coins, you can buy more. This is how sweepstakes gaming sites earn their money.

How to Play at a Sweepstakes Casino

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to play at sweepstakes online casinos:

  • Sign up at a sweepstakes gaming site.
  • You receive coins as a no-deposit bonus.
  • Play casino games in an effort to earn more coins.
  • [Optional] You can buy more coins if you run out.
  • Convert coins to cash.
  • [Optional] Withdraw the money.

Sweepstakes casinos feature a social-networking element too. They give you more coins and/or currency for taking part in social media-related contests.

They might ask you to answer a simple question. The casino will then choose five winners, for example, and give out coins or sweepstakes credits.

You’re able to earn coins through other methods too. For instance, you could mail a request to the relevant casino and ask for additional coins.

Assuming you run out of coins at any point and wish to purchase more, you can use one of the available banking options. Visa, Mastercard, and Skrill are common deposit methods at these sites.

The casino offers extra coins when you buy a larger package. If you spend $50 to get 100,000 coins, for example, you might receive another 20,000 coins.

Are Sweepstakes Casinos Legal?

The reason why certain online casinos use the sweepstakes model is so that they can bypass internet gambling laws. They tweak their process just enough to where they’re not offering traditional gaming.

A sweepstakes casino doesn’t see you play for cash—at least not directly anyways. Instead, it uses a convoluted system that involves betting and winning coins.

Given that the coins aren’t technically worth real money, they don’t count as gambling. Of course, they do hold value when considering that you can exchange them for sweepstakes currency.

Almost every state recognizes this gaming model as legal. Washington state and Washington D.C. are the only jurisdictions where these casinos are outlawed.

To circumvent most states’ laws, a casino needs to do the following:

  1. Give out free coins through no-deposit bonuses and mail-in contests (hence the “sweepstakes” aspect).
  2. Avoid letting players directly gamble money to win money.
  3. Use a system where players have the option to exchange play-money coins for valuable currency.

Much like McDonald’s and Publishers Clearing House, these gaming sites take advantage of sweepstakes laws. Yes, you’re technically gambling when using these sites.

However, states can’t prove that you’re gambling when considering that you aren’t directly risking money to win cash.

Sweepstakes Casinos vs. Regular Online Casinos

I’ve only described sweepstakes sites up to this point. Now, I’ll briefly cover traditional online casinos just to show the differences.

A standard internet casino shares similarities with a sweepstakes gaming casino. It can offer no-deposit bonuses and features play-money games.

Chumba Casino Online Roulette

Therefore, you don’t technically need to gamble anything when playing at a traditional gaming site. The key difference, though, is that you’re ultimately risking money to win money.

You don’t just use fake chips or mail into the casino asking for more play credits. Instead, you make a deposit, play online casino games, and hopefully win more money.

As you can see, there’s not a great difference between both models. However, online casinos aren’t legal in as many states as sweepstakes sites due to their slight differences.

Advantages of Sweepstakes Casinos

Sweepstakes gaming has become fairly popular across the US and other countries. Below, you can see what drives this popularity.

Legal in Most States

Again, the state of Washington and Washington D.C. are the only places where sweepstakes casinos are illegal. Every other state accepts, or at least tolerates, these casinos.

As explained before, sweepstakes gaming relies on an iffy model to circumvent laws. But they’re still legal nonetheless. Therefore, you don’t need to question if you’re breaking any laws by playing at sweepstakes sites.

No Deposit Bonus

All sweepstakes casinos offer a no-deposit bonus when you sign up. For example, you might get 10,000 coins after completing registration.

Of course, the casino provides such offers in hopes that you’ll eventually buy more coins. But they at least give you something free to start off with.

These sites offer other promotions too, including the following:

  • Free coins daily
  • Extra coins when you purchase certain coin packages
  • Refer-a-friend bonuses
  • Tournament entries
  • Mail-in offers
  • Social-media prizes
  • Leaderboard competitions

Fun Online Casino Games

Like any online casino, sweepstakes sites provide entertaining casino games to stay in business. They offer a variety of slots and table games.

These games typically feature a different look than what you may be used to seeing. Generally, they boast more-colorful and playful graphics.

Less Potential Risk Involved

Sweepstakes casinos ensure that you don’t need to pay anything to start playing. Again, they deliver a no-deposit bonus when you complete registration.

Of course, you may be tempted to buy coins at some point. But these coins tend to offer more play than what you’d get for the same price at a real-money online casino.

Downsides of Sweepstakes Casinos

Sweepstakes casinos have plenty of good qualities. However, they also carry some flaws that are worth discussing.

Convoluted Setup

Real-money casinos feature a straightforward process:

  • You make a deposit.
  • You play casino games to earn money.
  • You can cash out winnings.

You don’t need to worry about trading play credits for real currency, or vice versa. The average person has a much better chance of understanding this model.

Sweepstakes casinos, on the other hand, feature a more-complex setup. They use an odd system solely for the sake of avoiding the gambling distinction.

Fewer Games

Most sweepstakes casinos provide a solid variety of games. They feature dozens of slots and a few table games too.

Chumba Casino Online Slots Game

However, this selection pales in comparison to what you’ll find at the average real-money online casino. The latter typically spreads hundreds of online slots and dozens of table games across its site.

Still Requires Money

You can play online for free at sweepstakes gaming sites…at least in the beginning. However, the expectation is that you’ll eventually spend money to continue playing.

You can always leave a sweepstakes site and never return after blowing through your coins. But if you’re like some players, you might find something special in these sites and buy a coin package.

I mentioned earlier how these coin packages last for a while. You’re still spending money to play in any case, though.

Conclusion

Understanding sweepstakes casinos isn’t too difficult compared to standard gaming sites. The main difference is that they use a two-coin system to get around online gambling laws.

You start out with free coins that can be used to play games with. If you run out of these coins, you can purchase more with a credit card or e-wallet.

The payoff is that you could transfer these coins into real currency. The latter can be cashed out or possibly be used to enter contests.

Sweepstakes sites also give out coins through mail-in promotions and social media. These giveaways help sweepstakes casinos distance themselves from traditional gaming sites and stay legal.

The Best Christmas Celebrations in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Sign With Holiday Christmas Decorations

Las Vegas is an amazing place to spend your Christmas holiday. The entire family will find wonderful activities to keep entertained.

Vegas weather in December is hard to beat; the average high temp is 60 degrees. You may not be hitting the pool, but you won’t want to miss the seven best Christmas celebrations in Las Vegas.

The LINQ

The LINQ is made for extravagant holiday happenings. From the massive Ferris wheel to bold ziplines, The LINQ seems to revel in elevated attractions.

Lucky for us, they know what they have and flaunt it. The High Roller is a 550’ high Ferris wheel that will give the family an unbeatable view of Las Vegas and the surrounding desert.

The folks at The Linq dress the attraction up for Christmas with lights and bows, turning the huge wheel into one giant Christmas ornament.

Carollers walk the Promenade and encourage participation from cheerful guests. If you miss the carolers, don’t fret.

The Linq Las Vegas Christmas Tree

The LINQ puts on one of the finest holiday shows in Vegas. This wonderful show combines classic Christmas songs with the latest hip-hop tunes.

Dancers don costumes clad in LED lights and are joined by elves that mingle in the audience and high-flying acrobats that add another level of wow.

This show brings the Christmas spirit to all who attend 7-days a week, with shows starting at 6, 7, 8, and 9 pm.

The LINQ is one of the spots where it’s hard to soak up all the action in one night. So, don’t be surprised if the kids or Uncle Randy want to make a second trip on your stay.

The Palazzo at The Venetian Resort

The Palazzo is a beautiful Las Vegas property 365 days a year. However, the intricate eye for detail gets turned up to an 11 or 12 during Christmas.

The Palazzo Waterfall Atrium is magically transformed into a winter wonderland. Complete with thousands of sparkling lights and golden snowflakes that adorn the open space.

The Palazzo also brings in thousands of poinsettias and other seasonal flowers to ramp up the Christmas mood.

Of course, no holiday celebration would be complete without a Christmas tree. The Palazzo has dozens of holiday staples, and each has its own classic Palazzo twist.

Palazzo Las Vegas Christmas Setup

The Palazzo Atrium is open 24/7. The Christmas decorations are available to explore from the 1st week of December through early January.

Make sure to snap family pics in front of the famous Palazzo waterfall. They’ll make great Christmas cards.

The Palazzo often has special Christmas shows running during the holiday as well. Be sure to check with a casino host for any special ticket pricing when you arrive.

The fantastic entertainers that call the casino home fine-tune their performances for Christmas and often have some famous cameos join in the fun.

Aria Resort and Casino

The Aria Resort and Casino has burst onto the Las Vegas scene as an immediate frontrunner. The fabulous casino doesn’t skimp during the Christmas celebrations either.

The Shops at Crystals is a phenomenal retail space year-round. However, the beauty of the shops gets ramped up during December.

For starters, there may not be a better place to grab an exceptional, if not last minute, gift for a loved one. You’ll have some of the finest retail shopping in the world at your disposal here at Aria.

I don’t want to harp on all of the fantastic shopping in Las Vegas. Christmas is about family and those we love.

Aria Las Vegas Holiday Reindeer Display

One thing you’ll love at Aria is the incredible Christmas Tree. The tree is elegantly decorated and stands over 30 feet tall; it’s imposing.

The Gingerbread House that sits in the lobby at Aria is a tremendous draw for the casino.

The giant gingerbread house stands 15 feet tall and takes the talented team over three weeks to construct and assemble. Amazingly, the entire house is edible, but it would probably give you quite the tummy ache.

You can typically see the attraction between 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. in the main lobby from early December through Christmas.

Bellagio Hotel and Casino

Alright, I’m going to shoot straight with you. Aria is my favorite casino in the United States; I have a true affinity for the property and the staff.

However, during Christmas, the Bellagio hotel and casino gets my attention. The Bellagio not only embraces the Christmas celebration, but it also becomes a Christmas celebration.

Let’s start with the famous Fountains of Bellagio. The mega-resort sets the entire show to popular Christmas songs for a holiday.

Visitors young and old marvel at the intricate water display and often join in to sing along with the show. It’s a sight to behold and a memory that you won’t soon forget.

Bellagio Conservatory Christmas Display

Wildly, the Fountains aren’t even the star attraction during Christmas at Bellagio. Stroll into the beautiful Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, and the real “wow factor” will take your breath away.

The expansive space is decorated for the holidays over every square inch. The Bellagio brings thousands of flowers and lights to transform the desert oasis into a magical winter kingdom.

Queen Bellissima holds court over her land for all to gaze upon. Complete with her large steeds, Bellissima sits aboard her carriage, welcoming all visitors into her beautiful domain.

Bellagio hosts all of these incredible attractions at no cost to the visitors. So, you’ll have more money in your pockets for casino games or stocking stuffers.

Fremont Street Experience

Look, if you’re heading to Las Vegas as a tourist and don’t visit Fremont Street, you’re doing it wrong. Fremont Street completely embodies the spirit of Las Vegas.

The shops along the famous stretch decorate their windows to the delight of shoppers, and street performers cater their unique craft to capitalize on the Christmas theme.

The famous Viva Vision canopy embraces the Christmas celebration and adds specific themes to its massive display.

A Christmas Tree fit for Time Square sits in the middle of Fremont Street. The lighting ceremony is one of the best Christmas celebrations in Sin City.

Fremont Street Christmas Tree

Unfortunately, the ceremony happens in early December, and unless you plan on spending three weeks in Vegas, you’ll probably miss it.

Don’t let that discourage you from stopping by to see the lit tree. Fremont Street does its best to embrace all cultures, and the Grand Menorah joins the giant Christmas tree. Shalom!

If you want to snap pics with Santa or have kids with you, Fremont Street is the perfect spot to see the jolly man in red.

Fremont Street also hosts a variety of musical acts during the Christmas season. These concerts are free to attend and present some very talented musicians.

It’s counter-intuitive, but after being beaten down by Christmas music while retail shopping for hours on end. There’s something that flips when you have live performers spreading holiday cheer; you may even find yourself singing along.

Caesars Palace Las Vegas

You can visit Caesars Palace at any time of the year and be mesmerized by the wonderful surroundings. Make a trip to Caesars during Christmas, and you’re in for a holiday treat.

Start with the 40-foot tall tree that sits among The Forum Shops. The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace hire professional decorators to create the most elaborate window displays on the planet.

The Las Vegas stores take window shopping to an entirely different level. You don’t even have to walk through the stores to appreciate the displays in all their glory.

Caesars Palace Holiday Decorations

One of the coolest Christmas attractions in town is at Caesars Palace. The Christmas-themed Roman attraction puts guests in the middle of their own Roman-inspired Christmas selfie.

The technology is cutting edges and amazingly simple in its approach. AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, has a similar machine that allows fans to be in a picture with their favorite players.

Caesars Palace packs fun for everyone in the clan. Its delightful Christmas celebration is sure to put everyone in a giving mood for the holidays.

Ethel M Chocolate Factory

I am not a chocolate lover for about 50 weeks of the year. By no means am I a health nut, but I’m doing pretty good for my early 40s.

I don’t typically enjoy chocolate; I prefer a nice scoop of ice cream for my sugary treats. In fact, my wife has had Bolivian chocolate in our refrigerator for going on two years.

However, during Christmas, I buck the trend and will eat any chocolate I come across. Lundt truffles, M&Ms, leftover Halloween candy all become fair game.

Ethel M is some of the best chocolate I’ve ever had, and you can too. The Ethel M Chocolate Factory holds tours daily, and you can enjoy a private tasting.

Ethel M Las Vegas Holiday Lights

That’s enough of a Christmas celebration to get me through the doors, but Ethel M holds tours year-round.

The real Christmas celebration at Ethel M is the Cactus Garden Holiday Lights. The acres of cactus is covered in millions of Christmas lights and decorations.

It’s a remarkable desert twist on your traditional Christmas Celebration. Don’t miss the opportunity to make the stockings extra special with some boutique chocolates.

Conclusion

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and the seven best Christmas celebrations in Las Vegas will soon be in full effect.

Make sure to take lots of pictures, but don’t let the camera lens stand between you and the memories.

5 Steps to Winning Your First NCAA Basketball Wager

NCAA Kentucky and Texas Tech Basketball Players

It’s not easy to be a profitable NCAA basketball gambler, but it’s fairly easy to put yourself in good position to win your first college basketball wager. In fact, if you follow the steps outlined on this page you have a better than 90% chance of winning your first wager.

This might sound too good to be true, but once you learn these simple steps you’re going to see why it’s true.

Here are five simple steps to help you win your first NCAA basketball wager. You can also use these simple steps to help you keep winning in the future.

1 – Betting on the Big Home Favorites

It’s actually pretty easy to win your first NCAA basketball wager. You still need to use the information in the other steps on this page, but everything starts with what you’re getting ready to learn in this section.

The easiest way to win your first NCAA basketball wager is to look at the schedule and find the teams playing at home that are the biggest favorites. Pick one of these home favorites and place a moneyline wager on them.

NCAA Basketball Player Taking a Jumpshot

A big favorite usually wins. In fact, depending on how big of a favorite they are, they usually win 90% or more of the time. And when you use the moneyline all you’re betting on is if the team wins. It doesn’t matter by how much they win.

For your first college basketball wager, don’t risk too much. Place a $10 or $20 wager on the moneyline for a big home favorite, even if it’s just to win $5 or so. Keep looking for these opportunities while you build your bankroll and learn how to evaluate games better.

Use the rest of the steps on this page to refine your pick to make sure you have the best chance of winning your first NCAA basketball wager.

2 – Picking the Right NCAA Conference

One of the important facts about College basketball is that teams belong to one of many different conferences. Some conferences are stronger from top to bottom than others, and some of them are tighter from top to bottom. And the talent level between the top conferences in the NCAA and the bottom conferences is huge.

The best teams in a small conference usually couldn’t compete with the weakest teams in the large conferences. This is important information to understand when you’re looking for your first college basketball gambling win.

If you’re placing a wager on a game with a big conference team playing against a smaller conference team, the odds almost always favor the big conference team. This is simply because the large conference teams tend to get better recruits and they play against a better brand of opponent most of the time.

This doesn’t mean that a smaller conference team can’t beat a big conference team. This happens every season. The trick is to learn which of these games can be a trap and avoid betting on these games.

When I’m looking for a game like you’re looking for to win your first NCAA basketball wager, I’m looking for one of two things. I’m either looking for a top big conference team playing against a weak in conference opponent or weak out of conference opponent, or I’m looking for a smaller conference team that’s dominating their conference playing against a weak team in their conference.

These are the things you need to look for when you’re trying to win your first college basketball wager.

3 – Look at the Rebound Stats

Every basketball fan seems to focus on scoring. This alone isn’t why most college basketball gamblers lose, but it does hurt these gamblers when they forget to look at other important statistics. One of the other important stats is rebounds.

When a team controls the rebounding in a game they almost always win the game. This means that if you can find a big home favorite that wins the rebounding battle, it’s even safer to place a wager on them using the moneyline.

But you also have to make sure that you look at rebounds in many different ways. Most people who consider rebounding just look at the average rebounds for each team.

NCAA March Madness Wilson Basketball

You need to look at the home and road splits for everything including rebounds. You also need to look at the rebounding differential for each team in each game and on the season. Does one team win the rebounding battle every game they play, or just most of the time?

What happens to the rebounding numbers for each team when their best rebounder is out of the game?

Don’t make the mistakes that many basketball gamblers make and assume that a team that shoots better than most of their opponents doesn’t also need to control the boards. The best teams shoot better, play better defense, and win the rebounding war.

The main thing you need to understand in this section is that you must consider rebounding in as many ways as possible when you’re looking for a team to place a wager on for your first NCAA basketball win.

4 – Turnover Ratio Is Important

If there’s a secret that most college basketball gamblers are missing, it involves turnovers. Very few NCAA basketball gamblers ever consider turnovers when they’re evaluating games. But turnover ratio is one of the most important things you need to track.

i
Turnover ratio is a simple statistic created by comparing how many turnovers a team has and how many turnovers they create. A team that has turned the ball over 112 times and has created 122 turnovers has a turnover ratio of + 10.

A team that has turned the ball over 136 times and has created 123 turnovers has a turnover ratio of – 13. You should track turnover ratio for each team overall for the season, for each game, and when they play at home and on the road.

In the first section you learned how to take the easy path to find your first NCAA basketball gambling win. But you need to look at the turnover ratio for each team in the game before you place the wager.

Some teams are talented enough to overcome a negative turnover ratio, but these teams are always in danger of having it bite them and make them lose a game they should have won.

If the home team you’re considering placing a wager on doesn’t have a better turnover ratio than their opponent, you should find another game to place your first wager on.

5 – Do the Best College Basketball Players Always Win?

Professional sports leagues use a draft process with some sort of free agency to build their teams. Some leagues have a salary cap, and some have something that works like a cap that is called something else.

In college sports teams are built a different way. High school athletes that are good enough to play college sports, especially the best players, have a choice of where they go to play.

Many things go into these decisions, but ultimately the coaches of college teams have to convince players to play for them. You can find plenty of stories about corruption and payments, but these stories don’t really matter when you’re trying to win your first NCAA basketball wager.

NCAA Basketball Hoyas Player

What does matter is the quality of players college basketball teams are able to recruit. The best teams in the nation tend to attract the best recruits. This means that the best teams tend to have the best players.

This might lead you to simply track the college basketball teams who do the best job recruiting and place a wager on these teams. You should be tracking how all of the teams in NCAA basketball recruit, but it’s not the only thing that dictates which team wins a particular game.

It’s important to evaluate the talent for both teams when you’re handicapping a basketball game. But you also have to consider how much experience all of the players have, how well they’re currently playing, and how much production each coaching staff gets out of their players.

In other words, the best players or talent don’t always win. It’s a good indication and place to start, but you have to look deeper than talent if you want to be successful betting on NCAA basketball games.

Conclusion

Now you know how easy it is to win your first NCAA basketball wager. If you follow these five steps, you have a 90% or better chance to win your first wager.

The key is finding the easiest path and following it. Find a home team that’s a bug favorite who also wins the turnover battle and rebounding battle and make a small wager on the moneyline.

Winning in the long run takes a little more than this, but you can use this information to form a solid foundation for your continued success.

Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course Review

Hollywood Casino Penn National Race Course Logo With Casino and Horse Racing Background

Nestled in Grantville, Pennsylvania lies Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course. Like all race tracks slash casinos, you can log this one up as a racino. A racino whose racetrack precedes the casino itself by 36 years, so there’s history at this rather secluded venue.

However, if casino gaming is your thing rather than horse racing, Lady Luck is on your side because Hollywood Casino offers the widest selection of slot machines, table gaming, and sports betting in East-Central Pennsylvania.

And if by any chance you can’t get to the casino, don’t worry. This venue is one of a few but growing number of casinos in Pennsylvania to offer online gambling in the form of slots and table gaming, with online poker headed that way.

Not quite sold? Well, let’s look deeper into what makes this venue one of Pennsylvania’s best casinos.

Penn National Race Course History

As mentioned, Penn National Race Course precedes Hollywood Casino by 36 years, with the track opening in 1972. The one-mile track offers thoroughbred racing 52 weeks a year and is home to some of the most prestigious races in Pennsylvania.

The $200,000 Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup Handicap, along with the Penn Mile on Turf draws horse racing fans and bettors from across America.

Penn National Race Course Interior

Hollywood Casino opened in 2008. 2.5 years after its opening, the venue offered its first table games. Sports betting became a thing after the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved a sports betting license for the venue in October 2018.

And in 2019, the casino launched online betting.

Games Offered at Hollywood Casino

If you want it, Hollywood Casino at Penn National has it. Hollywood Casino’s games include over 2,300 slot machines, 60 table games, and a live poker room. As mentioned in the above section, sports betting has also been up and running since 2018.

That said, you can expect the casino to attract gamers of all interests. Whether real money slots, video poker, Blackjack, or Texas Hold ‘em are your things, you will find them at this venue.

They describe it as the greatest casino action in the Hershey and Harrisburg regions. Keep reading to see why.

Are you one for classic casino themes, or do you like the latest and greatest? Perhaps you’re a hybrid gamer and prefer both. Well, you’ll get it all at this venue. Enjoy games like Monopoly, Dancing Foo, Money Rain, Lightning Cash, Tarzan, and more.

Not ready to step into the table gaming or poker room? Don’t sweat, since you’ll find dozens of video poker games here. Practice and perfect your game that offers better odds of winning before you step in and play with the big timers.

What kind of table gaming can you expect at Hollywood Casino? With over 60 games available, you will find something that fits your liking. Enjoy the classics like Craps, Blackjack, Roulette, Three and Four Card Poker, Pai Gow, and more.

Up for some new table gaming options? Take advantage of the Table Games Hybrid Wagering Terminals, allowing you to place a $5 minimal bet in the sportsbook while playing Blackjack, Mini-Baccarat, and Roulette all while cheering on your favorite sports team.

Penn National Race Course Casino Floor

Take your seat in the poker room and win at your favorite games like Texas Hold ‘em, Omaha, and more. Enjoy special poker room promotions like the $200 High Hand every 30 minutes on Monday for more ways to win.

The Barstool Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino offers every way to win a sports bet that you can imagine. From over-unders to point spreads, to future, props, and parlays on every sporting event imaginable, you have never seen such a variety of sports betting options until you’ve stepped into Hollywood Casino.

More games. More ways to win. More fun. What about when you need a break from all the casino action? Check out what’s cooking at the venue to fuel up before returning to the gaming floor.

Dining Options

Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course features outstanding dining options. Whether you’re looking for upscale dining or just something casual, you will find it here at Hollywood Casino.

It starts with Final Cut Steakhouse, where you’ll find the finest cut steaks on this side of Philadelphia. But if steak isn’t your cup of tea, indulge in seafood, pork, and other specials. And don’t forget to complete your meal with vintage wine and mouthwatering desserts.

If you’re here for the horse races, then Mountainview Dining and Terrace Lounge is the spot for you. Catch the racing action trackside as you indulge in grilled steaks, seafood, sandwiches, appetizers, and entrees from arguably the most skilled staff in the area.

Celebrity Chef Fabio Viviani

If you’re looking to blend some culture with sophistication, then The Eatery by Fabio Viviani has you covered. Gorge yourself with the celebrity chef’s finest creations, including Italian cuisine, gourmet burgers, and more.

Looking for the sports scene? Skybox has you covered. Try all the classics bar food available like burgers, fries, wings, sandwiches, and more. Complement your meal with your favorite beer or cocktail while cheering on those Philadelphia Eagles.

Want some casual dining? Check out Hollywood and Grind. Get the best club sandwiches with a side of fries, coleslaw, or whatever it is your craving before returning to the casino gaming action.

Complete your meal with an order of dessert plus a craft beer in what is a one-of-a-kind fine dining experience. Hey, if Viviani’s name is on it, expect the best from Fabio.

Casino Promotions

Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course is always rocking with the greatest casino promotions in Harrisburg.

The greatest promotion to take advantage of is the mychoice program. Join mychoice and you can win instant Free Slot Play, cash, and additional prizes. So, how does it work?

When you sign up for mychoice, you will earn redeemable points every time you play at one of Penn National Gaming’s 35 locations nationwide. Sign up and earn $20 in casino comps. You can also earn an extra $10 in comps by providing your email address after you sign up.

So if you’re playing in Penn National Gaming locations often, this is a win-win-win situation for you. Play and redeem your points for Free Slot Play, cash back, bonuses, and discounts.

Other hot promotions at Hollywood Casino include monthly events like the $120,000 Fall Spectacular and the Pumpkin Patch Kiosk Games. Click the link above for the latest daily, monthly, and seasonal promotions. Because something is always going on in Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course.

Check the events page for the latest incoming acts heading into Harrisburg and catch the latest local and national acts at the H Lounge.

Nearby Attractions

Located just minutes from Harrisburg and Hershey, Pennsylvania, you’ll find about a dozen nearby attractions in the area. Whether you’re up for sports, golf, the outdoors, or wineries, you will find everything you need near Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course.

Hersheypark is perhaps the most popular area attraction. Founded in 1906 and located just 15 minutes east of Harrisburg, Hersheypark has entertained families for years with its roller coasters, observation tower, water park, and boardwalk. It’s definitely a place for fun if you’re looking to take a day off.

Hersheypark in Pennsylvania

Hershey is also home to the Hershey Bears, the AHL’s affiliate to the NHL’s Washington Capitals and ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays. If you’re looking to up your golf game, check out the Manada Golf Course.

Or if action sports are your thing, be sure to check out the Cocoa Kayak Rentals of Hershey and take a day in East Hanover Community Park.

You can’t think of Hershey, Pennsylvania, without the obvious invading your mind. That said, make sure you pay a visit to Hershey’s Chocolate World. Make a visit, and you’ll experience the world of chocolate for yourself.

Horse Racing at Penn National Race Course

What is a racino without betting on horse racing?

Well, there isn’t one. So I definitely have to close out the article by touching on the horse racing side of things at Penn National Race Course.

This course, as mentioned in the intro, has a rich history and it attracts some of the best jockeys and fastest horses in America. Better yet, with 52 weeks’ worth of action every year, you can definitely bet to find an event that will fit your wild and crazy schedule and lifestyle.

Penn National Race Course Horses

But if you can’t make it to the races, no worries. View the simulcast to remain in on the action to see if your horse took first place.

Sit trackside or catch all the action in the standard box seats or box suites for the best views in the house.

Conclusion

Whether you’re looking for the hottest slot, video poker, table gaming, or sports betting around, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course has what you’re looking for.

But it’s not just the gaming. With a stellar variety of dining options, entertainment, and promotions, there is always something to do in this venue.

But if you’re looking to take a day off from all the live casino gaming, the Harrisburg-Hershey area is always bustling with a variety of activities for you and the entire family.

Have you been to Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course? If so, tell us about your experience.

These States Tax Your Gambling Winnings the Most

Tax Text and Scissors With Casino Chip Background

When you gamble, you’re probably only focused on winning in the moment. You don’t think about what the government might take off the top of your wins.

Of course, the US federal government always wants a cut. It demands 24% of your winnings through federal taxes.

However, states vary on how they tax gambling income. Some are much worse than others due to their high rates.

Casino Gambling Taxes by State

The following guide covers seven states that want a big chunk of your winnings. It also discusses common questions and topics regarding gambling and taxes.

California:

The California casino scene is a thriving land-based gambling industry. It offers 62 tribal casinos, 88 card rooms, and over a dozen horse tracks.

That said, California is definitely a good vacation spot due to its weather and numerous gaming options. But you might take pause on visiting here when considering the extreme tax rate.

Pechanga Casino in California

California taxes gambling wins as normal income. It collects anywhere from 1% to 13.3% of your winnings. The 13.3% is the highest state tax rate in the US.

Iowa:

Iowa boasts casinos, poker rooms, and sports betting. It charges a 5% flat tax on winnings earned in the Hawkeye State.

Minnesota:

Minnesota offers a wide range of charity gambling establishments and a lottery. The Gopher State may not provide massive Vegas-style resorts, but it does give you some options.

It taxes gambling according to four income brackets (based on married people’s income):

  1. 35% ($0 to $39,410 annually)
  2. 05% ($39,410 to $156,570)
  3. 85% ($156,760 to $273,470)
  4. 85% ($273,470 and above)

You’ll likely fall into the 5.35% bracket if you do profit through gambling. But if you win really big, you’ll need to deal with the large 9.85% rate.

New York:

Gambling in New York has grown within the past decade. Its Expanded Gaming Act has added commercial casinos on top of the existing tribal establishments.

You can also enjoy lotteries and poker here too. Assuming you win, though, then you must ante up between 4% and 8.82% for state taxes.

Oregon:

The Beaver State offers lotteries, charity gaming, horse racing, and tribal casinos. It provides more than enough gambling options for its 4.22 million residents.

Southern Oregon Horse Racing

Oregon doesn’t worry about taxing wins worth less than $600. However, it does impose an 8% tax on winnings worth over $600.

Vermont:

Vermont features a unique tax structure that varies based on your winnings. You’ll pay a 6.72% rate on wins worth less than $5,000, and 6% on wins worth over $5,000.

Wisconsin:

Wisconsin features 22 tribal casinos and lotteries. The Cheese State requires up to 7.65% in taxes on gambling winnings.

Should You Avoid States With High Gambling Taxes?

You don’t necessarily need to avoid states with high gambling taxes—especially when you’re interested in a certain casino or sportsbook. However, you should keep this matter in the back of your mind.

If you live halfway between Reno and some California tribal casinos, for example, then you should consider choosing Reno. After all, Nevada won’t grab a percentage of your winnings afterward.

Of course, you also want to take other factors into account besides taxes. Here are aspects to think about when determining what state you’ll gamble in:

  • Convenience/distance – You don’t want to drive for hours just to avoid gambling taxes.
  • Quality of gambling venues – Playing at the best casinos/poker rooms/sportsbooks can make dealing with high stakes worthwhile.
  • Availability of regulated online gambling – You may be focused on using legal online casinos and betting sites above all.
  • Your preferred stakes – You probably don’t need to worry much about higher taxes if you’re just playing quarter slots or $5 blackjack.

What If You Don’t Live in the State Where You Win?

Gambling over state lines causes confusion on where to pay taxes. Do you pay your home state or the one where you win?

Typically, you cover taxes in the state where the winnings occur. Your home state, meanwhile, will give you a tax credit for whatever is paid to the other state.

Here’s an example:

  • You live in Oregon near the California border.
  • You cross the border and buy a lottery ticket at a CA gas station.
  • You win a $1 million prize.
  • As per California’s tax laws, the $1 million payout is subject to the highest 13.3% rate.
  • You pay $133,000 to the Golden State.
  • Oregon only features an 8% tax rate on large gambling wins.
  • Therefore, you owe nothing to the Beaver State.

Don’t Forget Federal Taxes

Some states don’t require you to pay any taxes on gambling winnings. These states include:

  • Alaska
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

You must pay federal taxes on wins no matter what—even if you live in a state with no gambling taxes. Again, Uncle Sam wants 24% of your winnings.

This percentage is already significant. It becomes even more noteworthy in a state like California, where you could pay up to a 37.3% total tax (24 + 13.3).

Closeup of Roulette Bets

You report gambling wins under the “other income” on Form 1040. The government expects you to report winnings even if you earn just $1.

Of course, you can almost assuredly get away without reporting a tiny payout. However, a gambling establishment requires you to fill out a W-2G form on big prizes.

Casinos, poker venues, and sportsbook issue W-2G’s under the following circumstances:

  • $600 and above for horse gambling and sports betting wins worth 300x your stake (e.g. $3,000 win / $10 bet = 300x).
  • $1,200 and above for slots and video poker wins.
  • $1,500 and above for keno wins.
  • $5,000 and above for poker-tournament wins.

Remember to Deduct Your Casino Losses

The IRS wants you to report all gambling winnings under any circumstance. State governments that tax gambling payouts expect the same.

However, you can deduct any losses incurred as well. You itemize deductions in a different section of your tax form than where the other income is reported.

Your deduction will be subtracted from whatever you win. Here’s an example:

  • You win $4,000 at a casino.
  • You lose $3,000 while winning this amount.
  • You must report the full $4,000 under “other income.”
  • The $3,000 goes under itemized deductions.
  • $4,000 – $3,000 = $1,000.
  • You’d pay the relevant tax rate on $1k.

More on Itemized Deductions

Itemized deductions constitute expenses that you spend to win money. They differ from a standard deduction, which is basically a lumpsum that’s subtracted from your income.

Standard deductions are easier to deal with. Unfortunately, you must use the itemized variety when concerning gambling.

States and the national government only let you deduct expenses up to the amount of your winnings. For example, you can’t claim $500,000 in itemized deductions on $1,000 in winnings.

If you’re an amateur gambler, meals, hotel stays, entertaining, and gas/plane tickets don’t count as deductions. You must be a professional gambler to deduct items like these. Instead, you can only count what you spend on gambling.

Keep Casino Gambling Records

You should keep track of your gambling winnings and casino bankroll as best you can. This way, you have evidence just in case the IRS audits you.

When keeping records, you want plenty of information. Here’s an example of five important things you can jot down in your records:

  1. Type of gambling/game
  2. Date of gambling session
  3. Location of the sportsbook/poker room/casino
  4. Bankroll at the start of the session
  5. Bankroll at the end of the session

In addition to tracking this info, you should also hold onto other documents that you receive. Bank statements, betting tickets, check copies, and W-2G forms are examples of documentation.

What If You Don’t Pay Taxes on Gambling Winnings?

You may be tempted to avoid reporting winnings from gambling—especially if the money is insignificant. You’ll likely get away with doing so provided you haven’t won big enough to receive a W-2G form.

Of course, I don’t advise failing to report gambling winnings. But you definitely don’t want to avoid reporting wins after receiving a W-2G.

Slot Machine With Triple Sevens

A gambling establishment sends a W-2G copy to the IRS. The latter can easily check this information with their software.

If the IRS catches you not reporting taxes, they’ll probably just send a letter and fine you. However, they can take further action if you refuse to cover the taxes.

Conclusion

Claiming gambling winnings on your taxes varies greatly from one state to the next. Some don’t charge you a dime while others level a large amount.

Of course, you may not really care about the state tax beforehand. If you do win, though, you’ll feel the sting in a state with a high tax rate.

You don’t necessarily need to drive hours away just to avoid high taxes on winnings. However, you might consider taxes if you live near the border of two or more states.

California, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, and Wisconsin are currently the five places with the highest rates. If possible, you should avoid these states when gambling for mid or high stakes.

The 5 Greatest Las Vegas Casino Shows of All-Time

Las Vegas Sign and The Colosseum at Caesars Palace

Nobody disputes that Las Vegas knows how to throw a party. Vegas also knows how to put on a show.

From Sinatra to Siegfried and Roy, here are the five greatest Las Vegas casino shows of all-time:

1 – Absinthe at Caesars Palace

Over the last nine years, Caesars Palace has had a giant tent pitched on its front lawn. More precisely, spiegeltent or “the mirror tent,” which was purchased and erected by Caesars after the show was shut down due to not meeting the fire code.

The Gazillionaire is the clever, crass, lovable, and borderline slimeball leader of the Absinthe pack. The quick-witted host and producer of the show, The “Gaz,” takes the audience on a rip-roaring ride through the absurd and the amazing.

Along with the help of his incredibly friendly and scantily clad assistants, The Gaz presents terrific acts from around the globe. This variety show has something for everyone, assuming everyone is adults.

Absinthe Performers in Las Vegas

Absinthe is part vaudeville and part burlesque with amazing bonuses. The show features impressive carnival-style sideshows paired with edgy feats of strength and sheer gusto.

Absinthe takes the best parts of aerial acts like Cirque du Soleil. It makes them better while also taking shots at the famous brand.

This 90-minute show all takes place in the 600 seat speigeltent. Audience members are instantly drawn into the action. Being crowded around the small stage in folding chairs brings the story right to you.

The show has been described as raunchy and entirely over the top. That’s a hard distinction to gain among the overindulgence and extravagance of Las Vegas.

Yet, Absinthe does not fail to deliver. Attend a performance of Absinthe, and when you aren’t cry-laughing, you’ll be in awe of the fantastic performances.

You may be in disbelief of what your brain is trying to convince you that you really just heard or saw what you think.

Absinthe is first on my list and first in the hearts of hundreds of thousands that have attended this new Vegas mainstay.

2 – Frank Sinatra

You can’t think of Las Vegas history without conjuring images of Frank Sinatra. Ol’ Blue Eyes, the Chairman of the Board, or any other moniker you prefer, Sinatra was “the Man” in Las Vegas for four decades.

Sinatra brought his smooth voice and even smoother style to Las Vegas in 1951. Over time he became synonymous with the city.

Actually, many attribute Las Vegas’ ultimate success to the crooner. Of course, Vegas did as much as Sinatra as he did for it.

I never got to see Sinatra in concert; I came along a little too late for that. However, growing up in an Italian family (on my mother’s side), Sinatra was a big part of my youth.

Frank Sinatra in Las Vegas

Let’s put it this way; take another Las Vegas icon like Wayne Newton. Indeed, a respectable entertainer and has drawn mega crowds at his own Las Vegas residency.

His star would be vastly outshined by the popularity Sinatra enjoyed in his day. Don’t forget he ruled the scene for over 40 years.

Once Sinatra and his pals teamed up to form the Rat Pack, they became entertainment royalty. Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop all teamed up with Sinatra to form the supergroup.

Sinatra ultimately went back to a solo career. Still, the Rat Pack continues to be one of the best groups ever to entertain a Las Vegas crowd.

Ol’ Blue Eyes played his last Las Vegas show in 1994. years years later, he would be gone, and the lights of The Strip went down in his honor.

3 – Elvis Presley

If anybody were to give Sinatra a run for the money when it comes to the crown of Mr. Las Vegas, it wouldn’t be Wayne Newton. It’d have to be the King of Rock’ n’ Roll, Elvis.

Elvis first hit the Las Vegas scene in 1969 to a sold-out crowd of over 2,000 fans. Over the next seven years, Elvis never performed a show that wasn’t a sellout.

That impressive streak from 1969 to 1976 saw Elvis rack up an incredible 837 straight sold-out shows.

The scene at an Elvis Presley live show was orchestrated chaos. Not that Elvis was wild or out of control, on-stage at least.

Adoring fans would lose their minds for the King. Elvis would be essentially mauled as he handed out his trademark silk scarves or touch hands with the crowd.

Elvis Presley in Las Vegas

However, Elvis made a far more lasting impression on the world and specifically Las Vegas. I’m sure you’ve seen the Elvis impersonators in their bedazzled jump-suits and adorned in gold.

These tribute artists fully embrace Elvis’ Vegas years and the run he had. In fact, many people every year travel to Las Vegas to be married by the King. Or the next best thing, I suppose.

Elvis rocked Las Vegas with hits like Blue Suede Shoes, Heartbreak Hotel, and All Shook Up during his incredible performances. He even incorporated covers of hits of other bands like Hey Jude and Yesterday from The Beatles.

Perhaps his most significant success as far as cover songs go was Suspicious Minds. Elvis made the song so famous that few people probably realize it’s actually a cover of the song by Mark James.

Elvis left the building in 1976 and never returned. Still, he lives on in fans’ hearts and the dedicated few that honor the King through imitation.

4 – Siegfried and Roy at The Mirage

Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn mesmerized crowds in Las Vegas spanning generations.

Their first performances amid the casinos and bright lights were back in 1967. However, it was in 1981 that the family-friendly big cat act really hit the big time.

This show had one goal in mind, entertain every person in the audience. The duo executed their craft to perfection.

One minute, you’re watching a woman being sawed in half, and the next, there’s an elephant on stage at their show. Of course, the team’s real stars were the lions and tigers that mesmerized the audience.

These trained big cats would perform on command for the pair. Then, poof, they’d disappear right before your eyes.

Siegfried and Roy With a White Tiger

Even Siegfried and Roy were in on the vanishing act. They laid the foundation for hundreds of Vegas magicians that have followed.

The thrilling show enjoyed a respectable 22-year run on The Strip. Unfortunately, tragedy struck in 2003 when the unimaginable happened.

Roy Horn was near fatally injured by one of the tigers during a live performance. The incident occurred on Horn’s birthday at The Mirage Las Vegas.

There are contradicting theories from the inner circle as to why the incident happened. For the rest of his life, Roy Horn maintained that Montecore, the tiger, was trying to help Horn after he had suffered a stroke during the performance.

One word can accurately describe Siegfried and Roy, showman. The two were brilliant showman and deservedly enjoyed the Las Vegas spotlight for too brief a time.

5 – Celine Dion at Caesars Palace

I wouldn’t dream of making a list of the greatest Las Vegas shows of all-time without mentioning the fabulous female performers. They have held concerts in the world’s entertainment capital.

Britney Spears, Cher, Mariah Carey, and Lady Gaga have all held down long-running Vegas shows. However, Celine Dion reigns supreme.

I don’t mean supreme in the sense of opposed to the other ladies I mentioned. I’m talking about all-time acts. Celine is an elite artist with a top five show in the town’s history.

The Canadian superstar opened her show in the Roman Colleseum, which was constructed only to accommodate Dion’s show in 2003. “A New Day…” indeed.

Celine Dion in Las Vegas

A New Day set a Las Vegas record after earning over $400 million before it closed in 2007.

Celine Dion made a triumphant return to the Las Vegas Strip in 2011 with her show titled “Celine.” Unfortunately, the residency was cut short due to her husband’s illness.

Celine made another return to the stage in 2016 following her husband’s death. As with all of Celine’s endeavors, her return to the stage a third time has been well received.

It seems the French-Canadian singer has found a new home in Las Vegas. In fact, Celine Dion is the most successful Vegas performer since the King himself.

However, the King is dead. Long live the Queen!

Conclusion

It’s nearly impossible to name all of the fabulous Las Vegas shows throughout history. The greatest Las Vegas casino shows of all-time capture the essence of the greatness that is Vegas and the outstanding performers that reside there.

While many of us missed most of these acts before they ended, there’s still time to catch shows like Celine Dion or Absinthe. Which one of your favorite Las Vegas performers got left out in the desert sun?

5 Ways Poker Makes You Smarter

Sharp Dressed Man and Poker Cards and Chips

Poker is a complicated game, especially if you want to play it well. You have to think on many different levels and make decisions based on incomplete information if you want to make a profit. This is why it’s hard to be a winning poker player if you’re not smart.

The good news is that if you study and work on learning from your mistakes, your poker intelligence can improve. And the same skills you learn at the poker table can be useful in many other situations in your life.

Here’s a list of five ways that playing real money poker can make you smarter. As you learn more about these five ways, try to think how they can help you in everyday life instead of just at the poker table.

1 – Thinking Ahead in Poker

The ability to think ahead is one of the most valuable skills you can have in life. Every decision you make can have more than one possible outcome. When you can see the possible outcomes it helps you make better decisions.

Poker works the same way. You have to make 100’s of decisions every poker session, and each decision has multiple possible outcomes. You have to think ahead a few moves if you want to be a profitable poker player.

The best poker players are thinking three or four or five or more steps ahead. They might make a particular play to set up a future hand. They also think about what they’re going to do depending on multiple outcomes of each decision.

Bellagio Poker Room Dividers

Profitable poker players recognize as many possible outcomes as possible and plan ahead for each of them. They know that every possible outcome will happen eventually if they play in the same situation enough times.

For example, if you have a flush draw on the river you know that if you’re in the exact same position 46 times that you’re going to complete your flush nine of them and not complete it 37 times. You need to have a plan for both possibilities before you see the river card.

It can take some time to learn how to think ahead, but you can practice this skill to improve faster. Every time you have to make a decision take a second to think of the possible outcomes. Make a quick mental plan for each of the possible outcomes so you’re prepared.

The more you practice thinking ahead the more natural and automatic it becomes. This is going to help you when you play poker as well as help you in the rest of your life.

2 – Online Gambling Odds and Probabilities

Odds and probabilities are usually considered only useful when dealing with math. But there are a lot of things in your life that have a mathematical component.

Poker is almost completely mathematical. You do need to develop people reading skills, but outside of that every decision you make needs to be based on mathematics when you play poker.

Odds and probabilities are pretty much the same thing. It just depends on how you look at situations and which way works best for you.

Poker odds and probabilities are fairly simple because you’re operating with a deck of playing cards, and you know what every card in the deck is. You don’t know when each card is going to be dealt from a shuffled deck, but you know there are only 52 possibilities.

As you see each card dealt, the pool of possible cards shrinks. For example, if you have the ace of hearts in your hand you know there isn’t going to be another ace of hearts dealt this hand.

Get a deck of playing cards and start dealing your favorite poker game. If you play Texas holdem, deal two cards to yourself and then deal the flop. Determine the odds of the turn improving your hand. Then deal the turn and do the same thing for the river. If you play Omaha, deal four cards to yourself and then deal the flop and follow the same steps.

You like to play Texas holdem and deal the jack or clubs and 10 of diamonds to yourself. The flop is the nine of spades, queen of hearts, and the two of clubs. This gives you an open end straight draw. Any of the four 8’s or kings completes your straight.

WSOP.com Online Poker Game

This means that eight cards complete your straight. You’ve seen your two cards and the three on the flop, so there are 47 cards left in the deck. This means that eight out of 47 times the turn is going to complete your straight. It also means that there’s a ratio of eight good cards to 39 bad cards.

You can use these numbers as they are, or you can turn them into a percentage. eight divided by 47 means that 17.02% of the time you’re going to hit your straight on the turn.

When you deal the turn, if you don’t complete your straight, determine the numbers for the river. The only number that changes in this example is there are now 46 cards left instead of 47.

3 – Cost Benefit Analysis

Gamblers use cost benefit analysis all of the time. They look at the cost of an action and compare it to the possible benefit.

As a simple example, a good poker player folds a poor starting hand so he saves chips to use when he or she has a better hand. They know they can win more money when they have a good hand if they have more chips.

Cost benefit analysis goes much deeper than this when you play poker. And it goes much deeper than this in real life.

If you have the option to do one of two things that each take one hour and you only have one hour so you can’t do them both, you must decide which option is more valuable to you. The cost is one hour and you’re not going to be able to do the thing you didn’t choose to do. The benefit is what you get out of the thing you decide to do.

Learn how to make good cost benefit analysis decisions at the poker table and you’re going to start making better decisions in the rest of your life based on the same principles.

4 – The Cost and Rewards of an Aggressive Poker Style

A saying that I’ve always liked about playing poker is fortune favors the bold. In poker, when you bet or fold you’re showing your poker playing style.

With aggression you can win when you have the best hand or when your opponent folds. When you just check and call you can only win one way, which is having the best hand. This is why most profitable poker players are aggressive.

In many situations in life it’s also better to be aggressive. Sometimes it’s better to speak up or take action than to sit back quietly and wait.

Of course, you have to also learn when it’s better or more profitable to not be aggressive. At the poker table the best choice is usually to be aggressive if you don’t know what to do. But profitable poker players also know when it’s more profitable to wait. Just like the most successful people in everyday life know when to be aggressive and when they should wait.

5 – Reading Other Poker Players

When you play poker you need to learn how to read other people. You need to try to decipher what they say and how they say it and you need to read what their face and body language says.

Poker is a game of deception. When you have a strong hand you want other players to think your hand is weak so you can win more money. And when you have a weak hand you want other players to think you have a strong hand so they fold.

Man Looking at His Poker Hand

The other players have the same goals, so when you can read what’s true you can make more money.

You have to deal with people in your life very day. The ability to read them just like reading people at the poker table is valuable. It helps keep you safe and helps you avoid being taken advantage of.

Conclusion

The best skill that good poker players learn that helps you in other areas of your life is how to think ahead. When you can see the possibilities that come from your current actions you can make better decisions.

Cost benefit analysis and the ability to work with probabilities are also valuable life skills. These skills are good in a wide variety of situations, not just in the obvious mathematical situations that first come to mind.

Being able to read and deal with other people is valuable in all walks of life. It’s particularly useful in business settings, but also can be useful when dealing with more common everyday situations.

Pennsylvania Casinos: Attractions Near the Mohegan Sun Pocono

Mohegan Sun Pocono Logo With a Golf Course and Hockey Arena Background

So, you’ve been playing endless casino games and watching the races over at Mohegan Sun Pocono Racino but you’re itching to explore the area. Well, you’ve come to the right place, as this article will give you six solid ideas on what to do if you need a break from the gaming and racing.

From a day at the amusement park to a round of golf, shopping, and recreation, you have plenty to get excited about when you venture off to the Pocono Mountains for a little casino gaming.

What are the best activities to immerse yourself in when you want to take a break from gambling in Pennsylvania? Keep reading and you’ll discover ways to keep yourself occupied for a week if you so choose to.

Let’s discover what the surrounding area offers.

1 – Knoebel Amusement Park

Looking for admission into the largest free-admission amusement park in the world? Well, you’ll find it in the Pocono Mountains as Knoebels Amusement Park is it.

Lose yourself in thrilling roller coaster rides, swimming, camping, golfing, you name it.

So what can you expect to find at the park?

Rides fit for the entire family. So if you brought the kids along, there is plenty for them to get excited about while you can turn to the thrilling rides the park offers.

Knoebel Amusement Park Roller Coaster

And there are plenty of excellent attractions at the park too, including photography booths, gift shops, a mini-golf course, museums, an XD theater, Lazer Command, and a Bald Eagle Habitat.

If you’re looking for a place to stay outside the casino hotel, you have a plethora of options to choose from here at the park. Whether you’re up for camping or a stay in one of the cottages or the Latorre House Bed & Breakfast, there are options galore to get excited about.

The park offers even more fun attractions in the spring and summer, including a full-sized pool, a kiddie pool, and endless water activities you can enjoy with the entire family or a group of friends.

2 – Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club

Unlock your inner-golf enthusiast at the Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club. Here, you can try your hand at one of Pennsylvania’s award-winning courses and see how you fare on a Championship-level course.

Immerse yourself in the breathtaking forested scenery of the Pocono Mountains, along with its rolling fairways fit to find their way onto a Christmas card in December.

Recently voted the #36th most popular course by Golfers Choice in 2019 along with taking the runner-up spot for the best public golf course in Pennsylvania, the Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club guarantees you’re in for the best golfing experience of your life.

You can play a round of golf on either the front nine, back nine, or if you’re up for it, all 18 holes. Enjoy special discounts at Twilight, on Mondays, or Thursdays (ladies only). And if you’re 60 or older, take advantage of the Senior Discount for either nine or 18 holes.

Ask for rates about group outings. And after you play your round, celebrate in The Emerald Room with a hearty lunch or dinner complete with your choice of cocktail.

3 – Claws N’ Paws Wild Animal Park

Open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until October, you’ll love the wooded trails the Claws N’ Paws Wild Animal Park offers.

So, what is this place, exactly?

Think of it as a petting zoo where you can interact with and feed the wildlife taking up residence in the Poconos. Except rather than local or domestic animals, prepare yourself to experience exotic wildlife from all corners of the globe.

Claws N' Paws Wild Animal Park White Tiger

You’ll find many animals and species here including giraffes, tigers, parrots, goats, tortoises, deer, and even dinosaurs. Okay, so the latter isn’t exactly alive, but it’s still a cool place to come and see the dino exhibits. And who knows? Perhaps Jurassic Park becomes a reality and we’ll have a live, dino exhibit one day.

This park is the perfect place for kids. So if gaming at Mohegan Sun Pocono is just a sliver of your family vacation, then you’ll get a thrill watching your kids interact with the wildlife at Claws N’ Paws. But hey, this place is fit for all animal enthusiasts.

4 – Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

While every modern-day casino out there features the latest and greatest acts in live entertainment, even the Mohegan Sun Pocono Racino can’t bring you top-quality AHL hockey.

But the venue it sold its naming rights to can, so when in season you can take a seat at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza and watch the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins face off with some of the most talented teams in the American Hockey League.

An affiliate of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, cheer on the Baby Penguins and future NHL stars as they take the ice and make their case to move up and play with the big boys over in Pittsburgh.

But even if the Baby Penguins aren’t playing or it’s the AHL off-season, there is always world-class live entertainment to look forward to at this venue and it’s happening on a year-round basis.

So if the music and comedy acts at the casino aren’t your type, rest assured you have another option to get excited about. And the best part is, you don’t have to drive far or break the bank to get in on the action.

So if you’re a hockey betting enthusiast or if you’re curious about what the arena’s offering during your stay at Mohegan Sun Pocono Racino, make the trip and see what’s happening.

5 – Seven Tubs Recreation Area

You can place the safe bet that Seven Tubs Recreation Area offers the most mystical scenery in the Poconos whether you’re hiking in the summer or winter.

What caused such great scenery?

Thank the Ice Age, where about 12,000 years ago when our ancestors found themselves stuck in perpetual winter. During that time, glacial meltwater carved a line of sandstone potholes, also known as tubs.

The 537 acres of nature and recreation is the perfect place to embark on a long hike after a few days of land based casino gaming over at Mohegan Sun. But it’s also flourishing with flora, fauna, and wildlife.

Seven Tubs Recreation Area

You’re looking at 60 types of wildflowers and varying trees that include bear oaks, chestnuts, birch, elms, sycamore, tulip, and maple trees, among others.

The site is an ideal spot for birdwatching, so if it’s a pastime of yours, this is the place to catch wildlife and nature at its finest. Common fauna includes whippoorwill, saw-whet owl, barred owl, eastern towhee, and other interesting species of birds.

Depending on how often you game at Mohegan Sun and take a subsequent hike will dictate what kind of fauna you’ll find in the area, as many of these birds are known to migrate.

Most of the animal life you come across includes deer, long-tailed weasel, red foxes, gray foxes, and the brown bat. Bear sightings occur and yes, they can get aggressive.

So wear that poker face and stay calm if you cross one. But you need not worry too much. Often, the black bear will engage in a mock charge if it hasn’t already looked to avoid confrontation.

6 – Woodlands Inn and Resort

The Woodlands Inn and Resort is yet another fantastic spot if you’re vacationing in the Poconos with the family, which of course means limited time on the casino floor at the Mohegan Sun Pocono Racino.

Here, you’ll find a venue that’s conveniently located to much of what the Pocono Mountains offer, including the Mohegan Sun Arena. That said, you’re also lodging near PNC Field, which houses the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, affiliates to the MLB’s New York Yankees.

And if you’re vacationing in the spring and summer, you’re also near to Montage Mountain Water Park. So if you’re a fan of water-related activities, you’re in luck.

Woodlands Inn and Resort

The Woodlands Inn Resort is also a great place to receive high-end spa treatments. So if you want to take care of yourself on your casino trip, rejuvenate your body with facials, massages, body treatments, and more.

Recreational activities at the resort include nightclubs, an outdoor and indoor pool, plus a fitness center.

Oh, and if you need a lift to the casino, take advantage of the complimentary casino shuttle and you’ll find yourself at Mohegan Sun Pocono Racino within minutes.

And when you get back, grab a bite to eat from one of the two dining establishments at the venue. And if you’re too exhausted to join the family for a hearty lunch or dinner, room service has you covered.

So, if you love a conveniently located hotel near one of the state’s most prominent casinos, take advantage of everything Woodlands Resort offers.

Conclusion

The Mohegan Sun Pocono offers just a sliver of activities in the Pocono Mountains. When you’re done gaming for the day or the week, you literally have at least a half-dozen activities to engage in that will keep you in the area for at least a few more days.

And whether you’re a nature lover, a sports enthusiast, or one who finds thrills at amusement parks, you’ll find it hidden deep within the Pocono Mountains.

So, whether you’re flying in solitary, here with a group, or vacationing with the family, prepare yourself for the trip of a lifetime. Sure, it’s great to get your casino gaming fix in, but remember it’s only one slice of an extra large pie.

Have you ventured to Mohegan Sun Pocono Racino? If so, did you visit any of the attractions listed here? Tell us about your experiences in the comments section.

Tips to Get Out of a Sports Betting Slump

Man With Head in Hands and a Sportsbook and Money on Fire Background

That all-star left fielder for your favorite team isn’t the only one who occasionally falls into a slump. As a sports bettor, in all likelihood you’ll suffer through plenty in your gambling career. The good news? You’re not alone.

The key isn’t about avoiding slumps – you’re already trying to do that every time you make a play. Instead, it’s about how you get out of that losing streak and return to profitability.

In this article, I’ll explain six tips to help you get out of a bad sports gambling slump.

Take a Day Off

This one is actually borrowed from the baseball analogy that I used at the beginning of this article. In the pros, when a player is struggling mightily, the coaches may decide that the best decision is to give that player a day off to breathe and recalibrate. This is good advice for bettors as well.

If you’re like many sports gamblers, you’re happy to bet on any of the major sports that are taking place that night. You probably don’t bet on each and every game, but anything from weeknight MLB action to NFL Sunday is in play on a daily basis.

NFL Vikings Versus Steelers Play

When you aren’t having any success, sometimes your best move is to simply take a night (or even better, a week) off of betting. You obviously aren’t going to be winning any of your money back by chasing losses, but here’s the important thing to remember: you aren’t going to be losing any money either.

In a time when it seems like every bet you make is ending up in the loss column, there might be something comforting in knowing that you’ll wake up tomorrow with your bankroll looking the same as it did the previous day.

Your losing streak will run out, and your luck will turn around. Just make sure your financial situation isn’t dire by the time that finally happens.

Bet less Money

The idea of betting less money when you aren’t winning any (or many) of your plays sounds fairly obvious, but you might be surprised at how many bettors do the exact opposite.

One of the biggest sports betting mistakes that anyone can make is betting more than usual in an effort to try to win back money that has been lost during a bad losing streak. This phenomenon, known as “chasing your losses,” is fairly common among amateur bettors.

In theory, it’s somewhat understandable why someone would get the urge to double down when the losing starts. Nobody likes living in the red, and if some bigger bets can get you back to profitability, why wouldn’t you take the risk? The answer is: you could find yourself in too big of a hole to ever come out of…even if things do turn around.

Instead of chasing losses and doubling down, when you’re on a losing streak, try betting less money than you normally would otherwise. A shrinking bankroll means your bets should be proportionately reduced in size.

For example, if your bankroll is $1,000 and you bet between the recommended 2% ($20) and 5% ($50), you’ll need to adjust when your bankroll get smaller. Keeping your same bet amounts as you used when things were going well is an unsustainable strategy.

Take More Underdogs

During a betting slump, the tendency most people have is to look for easy wins and take the heavy favorites. This is not a good strategy for a number of different reasons.

First, if you start relying on favorites and the moneyline to get your bankroll back to where it needs to be, you could find yourself in even deeper trouble than before. It is well-known that the “favorite moneyline” strategy isn’t a good way to bet because of the lower-value nature of the plays. This doesn’t change just because you’ve been losing.

Second, if you start betting heavy favorites you’re falling into exactly the trap that the sportsbooks are looking for from inexperienced bettors. As a general rule of thumb, any time you think a bet seems obvious, it’s usually the other way around.

NCAA Basketball West Virginia and Ohio State Players

It’s no secret that the public prefers taking favorites. Psychologically, it’s simply difficult to put your hard-earned money on a team that you feel is going to lose – even when there’s a substantial point spread involved.

I’m speaking personally, but it probably applies to most other bettors when I say: I know I should be taking more underdogs, but I for whatever reason I just can’t quit my bias toward favorites. Perhaps a losing streak is just the thing you need to switch your mindset around.

The old saying goes, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” That actually isn’t the definition of insanity (seriously, look it up – it’s a myth), but the message still applies. Start betting differently than you usually do, likely meaning bet on the underdogs, and you could be surprised by the results.

Stop Doing Parlays

Every sports gambler (especially amateurs) is a sucker for a parlay opportunity. Those high payouts for a relatively small bet are undoubtedly attractive, but they’re also probably hurting your overall bankroll in the end.

For each multi-leg parlay you hit, you’ve probably lost more money attempting them in the past. Not only that, but the odds aren’t nearly as good as you might think. In fact, in most cases you’re actually getting worse odds on your bets until you get to a four or five-leg parlay. Meaning if you’re doing a two or three leg parlay, which is probably most common, that high payout isn’t all that it seems.

When things are going well for you and you’ve had a successful week, I wouldn’t advise against taking a flyer on a parlay and seeing if you could get lucky. However, if you’re struggling to keep your head above water and decide that a crazy parlay win is what you need to get back on top, that’s simply not the answer.

Think of how hard it is to win one bet. Now think that you could win two out of three – which is a high success rate – and still come out with no money won. When you’re trying to right the ship, the last thing you should be doing is making it more difficult to win.

Do More Sports Betting Research

Luck is obviously a huge factor in gambling of any kind. With that being said, the most notable difference between sports gambling and say, blackjack, is that the research you do for sports gambling can have a major impact on your success.

Sometimes you win bets because of the leg-work you did in evaluating the matchup, and sometimes you win despite the lack of time and effort you put into it. One thing is certain though – the 5% win rate difference that separates amateur from sharps comes down to making smarter sports bets.

Pro Tennis Player Novak Djokovic

Putting in a little extra mental work before making your bets can only help. If you feel like you’re slipping, try to put more effort and research into your picks and see if things turn around. Remember, the margin that separates a profitable bettor from a losing bettor is very slim.

Stay the Course

If you’ve read through this article and feel like you’ve already tried all of these things, the only advice left is: stay the course.

No matter what type of gambling you’re talking about, the ups and downs are inherent to the situation. Sometimes the worst thing you can do is to get “too cute” and start making plays or financial decisions that you’d never make if you were winning.

As I’ve mentioned several times before – things will turn around. The key is to make sure you still have some money left in your sports betting bankroll when they do.

Conclusion

Nobody likes losing, but even the best sports gamblers occasionally fall into a rut. How you proceed when you find yourself in a slump will determine if you have a sustainable strategy or if you’re risking serious financial jeopardy.

The next time you’re on a losing streak, try out these tips and see if things start turning around.

Go Double or Nothing at the Majestic Star II Casino in Gary, Indiana

Majestic Star II Logo With Casino Background

The Majestic Star II is the second riverboat casino owned by The Majestic Star Casino LLC. The sister to the Majestic Star Casino, Majestic Star II, came about when The Majestic Star Casino LLC bought out the adjacent Trump Casino on the harbor.

Just like its older sister, the Majestic Star II is a floating casino on Lake Michigan. While the two casinos are very similar and are located right next to one another, they’re not twin sisters. For this reason, it’s appropriate to break the articles down into two separate ones, each with their unique content.

So, if you’re going to Gary, Indiana, then you have two choices right next to one another. Which riverboat will you play your best casino game on? Ultimately both, right?.

But for this article, we’ll explore the second of the two Indiana casinos.

What’s in Majestic Star II?

Okay, so what all can you find at Majestic Star II? How does 40,000 square feet worth of gaming space, four restaurants, and one bar sound?

Couple those features with 3,500 square feet of convention and meeting space, a gift shop at the Buffington Harbor Pavilion, a health club, Jacuzzi, an indoor swimming pool, and even tour groups.

Pretty sweet for a floating casino, huh?

Majestic Star Riverboat Casinos

Anyway, now that you know a little about what Majestic Star contains, let’s go into the casino and explore the gaming, dining, and accommodations. We’ll close the article with a quick tour around Gary and you will see why the city is still an outstanding tourist attraction, even if it’s long past its prime.

Casino Gaming at Majestic Star II

Majestic Star II has nearly 40,000 square feet of real estate, over 830 slot machines, and 35 table and poker games.

As with Majestic Star, you’ll find your favorite classic and latest casino games. And whether you’re a low-stakes or high-stakes gamer at the slots, you’ll find all of it at Majestic Star II.

At the time of this writing, the casino boasts the Anchor’s Wheel of Gold, comprising $5.00 to $15.00 bets over two machines. There are 420 dollar machines on the gaming floor, 28 five-dollar slots, 69 half-dollar slots, 241 nickel slots, 473 quarter slots, and 13 slots featuring $25 per pull.

And if you’re not yet up to the table gaming, then the casino also offers 200 video poker machines with bets ranging between 25 cents/$1/$5 minimum bets.

Majestic Star II Casino Floor

The venue features 35 total table games ranging from Three Card Poker to Blackjack.

Blackjack is by far the most popular game at the venue, with 18 tables worth of real estate. Other awesome games include two tables each of Three Card Poker, Caribbean Stud Poker, Mini-Baccarat, Pai Gow Poker, and Spanish 21.

You’ll also find three tables featuring real money roulette, three craps tables, and one table of Let it Ride.

If you’re a poker player, you can get in on the action of all of your favorite poker games, including Texas Hold ‘em, Omaha, and Stud. Other gaming options include 26 seats of keno.

So, whatever type of gaming you’re craving, you will get in on all the casino action at Majestic Star II.

Oh, and if you’re out of town for any reason, feel free to get in on all the action of online casino gaming, Play online from the comfort of your couch, so long as you are locally located in the State of Indiana. It’s a fantastic alternative to the real thing even if you’re not on site.

Dining Options at Majestic Star II

Majestic Star II is not short on its many dining options, where you’ll find three unique restaurants, one coffee house, and one bar. So whatever you’re in the mood for, Majestic Star II has you covered and it will save you a trip in town if you’re ready and raring to get back onto the casino gaming floor.

If something rather upscale is on your mind, check out Don B’s Steakhouse where you will find the finest cut steaks in Northwest Indiana. It makes a perfect dinner after a long day’s worth of gaming.

Perhaps you’re in the mood for global cuisine and if such is the case, then hop on over to Passports, where you will find a large scale buffet featuring foods from all over the globe. Get the all-you-can-eat option, fill up, and hit the gaming floor for another dose of casino action.

Majestic Star II Steakhouse Dish

Wings and Things is the perfect opportunity to capitalize on some fast food. So if you’re in a rush to return to the gaming floor, just grab and go at what might be Majestic Star II’s most convenient location on the boat.

If you’re looking for a quick dose of energy, then Jackpot Java has you covered. Whether it’s your classic dose of coffee or something stronger, count on Jackpot Java to get you through a day’s worth of casino gaming.

And if you’re in for a quick bite to eat or if you’re craving simple desserts, hit up the Top Deck Deli and you’ll find everything you’re looking for. Grab a quick bite and return to the gaming floor satisfied.

Majestic Star II Casino Promotions

As with Majestic Star, you can take advantage of all the monthly, daily, seasonal, and recurring promotions offered at this venue. Whether it’s the Wicked Winnings Hotseat, Play and Earn Giveaway or something extra special, you’ll find yourself blown away from all the promos offered here.

The best-known promotion in the venue resides in the Majestic Rewards loyalty program, where you can win more rewards than ever before. Just sign up for free, play your favorite slot or table games, and accumulate your casino comps.

The more you play, the more points you’ll accumulate for prizes like direct mail and email offers, free check cashing, express service lines, and if you play often enough, your own casino host.

It pays to get rewarded at Majestic Star.

Accommodations and Area Attractions

The Gary, Indiana area is thriving with excellent lodging opportunities. Whether you’re looking for something simple and affordable, like a Super 8 or a Motel 6, you’ll find them within a few miles of the Majestic Star casinos.

Or, if you’re looking for something more mainstream, the Holiday Inn, Hilton, and Hampton Inn are also outstanding options.

Per TripAdvisor, you’ll find options ranging from a lowly $50 a night to $140 a night at the upper end of the spectrum. It all depends on what you’re looking for to complete your stay. But you can bet on this: Gary, Indiana, definitely provides.

As for nearby attractions, if you’re a fan of the King of Pop, then Lady Luck has your back. Gary, Indiana, is the birthplace of Michael Jackson and the city is proud of the time it housed the King. Come see where the Jackson 5 got its start at Michael Jackson’s childhood home at 2300 Jackson Street.

And don’t forget to pay a visit to the US Steel Yard, which held Michael Jackson’s memorial service. The Steel Yard is also a baseball stadium that is used by independent, collegiate, and even little league baseball teams. So if you’re a baseball fan, check out all the action when in-season.

And if you’re a fan of old architecture, pay a visit to one of the nearly two-dozen historic landmarks within the city limits. From the Gary Public Schools Memorial Auditorium, the American Sheet and Tin Mill Apartment Building, to the Gary Land Company Building, history abounds in Gary, Indiana.

US Steel Gary Works Steel Mill

And for the ultimate taste of history, check out US Steel’s Gary Works Steel Mill. Once lauded as the largest steel mill in the world, Gary Works now employs just under 5,000 workers and as you can guess, much of the old mill is unused.

However, during its heyday, the mill employed over 30,000 workers and was by far the largest employer in Gary, Indiana.

So if you want a taste of what life used to look like in the old Rust Belt, this old mill is definitely worth venturing to. And who knows, maybe the gambling industry will help revitalize Gary?

They have built many historic gambling sites across America upon old manufacturing plants, and you can bet that Majestic Star will follow the five Indiana-based casinos from water to land. If that happens, then Gary may rise again.

Conclusion

As you can probably tell, Majestic Star II isn’t much different from its older sister. But it definitely holds its own uniqueness. That said, it’d be an awesome idea to perhaps spend a day at the Majestic Star Casino, then head over to Majestic II for more gaming action.

And don’t forget to take a day off from all the casino gaming to explore Gary, Indiana. While the city isn’t what it used to be, the history in the town is still alive and well. And it will show you that Gary was once one of the epicenters of the Midwest.

And who knows? Maybe the city’s best days are ahead?

Have you trekked to the Majestic Star Casino or Majestic Star II? If so, share your stories and tell us about your experience.

Pennsylvania Casinos: Live! Hotel and Casino Philadelphia Preview

Live! Hotel and Casino Logo and Exterior

With the number of casinos flocking into Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, it’ll soon have enough of the industry to rival Atlantic City. That bold prediction really isn’t so farfetched when you consider everything the future Live! Hotel and Casino Philadelphia will offer.

Once it opens, you can bet this property may evolve into the best casino in the area overnight with its gaming floor and luxury hotel attached to it.

That said, look for a 2021 opening date and while we’re all raring to get our hands on the new slot machines, table games, sportsbooks, etc., I can guarantee you that this casino is well worth the wait.

Just think about what you’ll be able to do on the 2,000 slot machines and 155 table games.

Let’s take a closer look at Pennsylvania gaming.

History of Live! Hotel and Casino Philadelphia

While there’s no real history at the casino for obvious reasons, let’s explore how the latest addition to the Philadelphia casino gaming scene will become a reality.

Believe it or not, this land based US casino can trace its roots all the way back to 2004, when the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board awarded two standalone casinos to be built in Philadelphia: SugarHouse Casino (now known as Rivers Casino Philadelphia), and Foxwoods Casino.

However, when Foxwoods failed to obtain construction financing, the Gaming Control Board revoked its license. Foxwoods appealed, albeit unsuccessfully. And in 2012, the Board opened up a new round of applications.

In November 2014, the Board awarded the license to Cordish/Greenwood. Afterward, three other applicants and SugarHouse appealed the decision. The appeals process lasted three years in court, which delayed groundbreaking until 2018 when the court issued the case moot in late 2017.

Live! Hotel and Casino Exterior

Cordish and Greenwood completed their purchase in January 2018 for $37 million, and in November 2018, Cordish bought out Greenwood’s interests in the casino, becoming the sole owner.

And as if fate couldn’t have delayed construction any longer, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed back the planned 2020 opening to either late in the year or, more likely, 2021. So, the good news is once the pandemic ends, there shouldn’t be any more roadblocks in place.

That means you can make history by perhaps winning the first jackpot at the casino, or perhaps that first poker tournament. What will this venue offer games wise? Let’s go into the casino.

Casino Gaming

Welcome to the latest and greatest casino gaming at Live! Hotel and Casino Philadelphia. With rows of 2,200 state-of-the-art slot machines, you will find the most up-to-date games infused with classic hits that you’ve grown to know and love.

This casino will offer your favorites like Wheel of Fortune, Double Diamond, Blazing 7’s, and other classics. Want some of the latest hits? Game of Thrones and Sphinx are just a couple of the dozens of new games you’ll find here.

Want in on the next generation of table gaming experience in Philadelphia?

With 150 tables at your disposal, there’s a game for you. Whether it’s real money blackjack, craps, baccarat, roulette, Big 6 Wheel, or poker, you can bet there are more ways to win at this incoming casino.

Live! Hotel & Casino Gaming Floor

And if you can’t make it into the venue soon, don’t worry. If you’re hanging out in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you can sign up to play your favorite casino games online.

And if the slots and table games aren’t your cup of tea, don’t worry. The FanDuel Sportsbook completes the gaming scene here. And best yet, the online FanDuel Sportsbook is already up and running, so you can start playing today and bet on your favorite teams so long as you’re locally located in Pennsylvania.

And if you’re having fun with the online gambling world, just wait until Live! goes Live. But we’re just getting started on this casino tour. Let’s check out the dining options so you know what’s coming into the next big thing in town.

Dining Options

Alright, so we got some stellar dining options headed your way here featuring some of the hottest restaurant chains in the nation, mind you. Yes, this casino’s opening with the biggest bang since the Big Bang, so you too can place a safe bet claiming that if you name it, the dining options have it.

Let’s begin with Guy Fieri’s Taco Joint. So if you’re looking for your traditional tacos with celebrity restauranteur Guy Fieri’s signature finishes, luck is on your side. So taco fanatics rejoice and try something unique at this incoming dining and drink option.

But hey, if Tacos ain’t enough, then Guy Fieri has something else headed your way at Live! Philadelphia. How does a burger joint sound? Yep, get Guy’s signature touches on the traditional American burger for a one-of-a-kind experience.

Guy Fieri Taco Dish

But if you’re in the mood for Italian-inspired comfort food, Lorenzo and Sons Pizza have you covered. Yes, the South Street staple for a half-century is making its way into Live! Philadelphia. Enjoy their variety of gourmet pizzas from their world-famous recipes.

Sang Kee Noodle House is sure to curb your Asian cuisine cravings. So, if you’re a noodle lover, this venue must be on your agenda to enjoy your next big get together after a day of casino gaming.

How about some good old dessert created the old-fashioned way? Well, since 1920 Termini Brothers Gold Medal Pastry has been at it. To top off your favorite dishes and dinners with some of the best desserts in the area.

Casino Promotions and Entertainment

Sign up for Live! Rewards, the top promotion at Live! Hotel and Casino Philadelphia. One of the top overall casino loyalty programs in the US, you will capitalize on some of the best benefits around, regardless of your number of tier points.

Become a classic cardholder, and you’re eligible for free slot play, coupons, and special rewards. Do you play often? Accumulate 1,000,000 rewards points and gain access to your own personal casino host along with VIP access, a VIP phone line, priority slot service, and promo bonus entries.

Once the casino opens its doors, you can safely bet you will find dozens of the greatest promotional benefits in the area. There is definitely much more brewing as Live! Philadelphia nears its open date.

You can bet that it will include the greatest world-class acts live and if you’re into sports, some of the best seats in the house.

Nearby event centers include Xfinity Live! Philadelphia and The Hall at Live! Maryland. The former is a 4.4-acre entertainment and retail district and the latter, a three-story, multi-use concert venue featuring 75,000 feet of real estate.

Hotel Accommodations

Live! Philadelphia will feature 5 Star accommodations with over 200 luxury rooms, over 30 suites, a grand event center, and upscale dining. You can’t ask for much more than such a stay in the heart and soul of Philadelphia.

Especially after a day’s worth of casino gaming and experiencing the nightlife.

Check out the Live! Philadelphia Hotel where you can view plans for each incoming option. From the Deluxe King, Deluxe Queen, Signature Suite, Studio Suite, Penthouse Suite, and Presidential Suite.

And judging from the graphics shown on the site, your bet is a shoo-in to win a grand look either at the Philadelphia Skyline, the Delaware River, or the sports stadiums. Imagine waking up to that view.

So even if you had a bad day on the casino gaming floor, there’s a lot to love about the view you’re getting of Philadelphia.

Nearby Attractions

Just about everything history-related that you can think of built this city. From Independence Hall to the Liberty Bell. Pay a visit to both and see where America’s forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence and adopted the Constitution.

The Philadelphia Zoo and the Adventure Aquarium in nearby Camden New Jersey offer the most diverse exotic wildlife in the region. And both are more than worth the visit.

Philadelphia Eagles Stadium

And if you’re a sports gambling buff, Philadelphia is rich in sports history and tradition. When in season, attend a Flyers, Eagles, Phillies, or 76ers game either at the venue or at one of the local bars in the area. That’s if you’re looking for a more exclusive atmosphere than the Sportsbook.

And don’t forget to check out the other casinos in the area like Valley Forge and Rivers Casino Philadelphia for even more variety.

Conclusion

It’s a safe bet to believe Live! Hotel Casino and Philadelphia will further shape the city’s future positively. And after all the delays this casino had to face since they granted it a gaming license, its open date and inaugural year in the City of Brotherly Love will be something special.

So if you’re in the area you have what is perhaps the most state-of-the-art option available, complete with arguably the largest casino gaming floor in the area. Couple the games with the city’s nightlife and legendary attractions, and you have a brewing experience of a lifetime.

Are you excited about this hotel and casino’s grand opening? If so, how often will you find yourself on the gaming floor? Let us know.

Gambling at the Rising Star Casino and Resort in Indiana

Rising Star Casino Logo and Casino Resort Background

If you’re the riverboat type, you’re in luck because casinos in the State of Indiana are laden with them. One of the most popular riverboat casinos out there is the Rising Star Casino Resort. A hotel slash casino is located in Rising Sun, Indiana, and owned and operated by Full House Resorts.

As the title suggests, a visit to this casino will take you on a scenic tour of the Ohio River.

This casino offers a good 40,000 square feet of real estate and is home to over 1,000 slots, dozens of table games, and a sportsbook. So there is a little something for everyone regardless of your preferred game.

Let’s look at a brief history then we’ll take a virtual tour on the river and explore everything that makes Rising Star Casino Resort one of the hottest casinos for gambling in Indiana.

History of Rising Star Casino Resort

Originally known as Grand Victoria Casino and Resort, this casino opened in October 1996 when the Indiana Gaming Commission granted a gaming license to Rising Sun, Indiana.

Nearly a year later in July 1997, the Grand Victoria opened a 200-room hotel and entertainment pavilion before its parent company Hyatt sold the property in 2006. Full House Resorts purchased Grand Victoria for $43 million in 2011 and renamed the property Rising Star.

Grand Victoria Casino in Indiana

In 2013, Full House Resorts invested another $8 million into the property and constructed the 104-room North Star Tower.

Now that we got the brief history lesson out of the way, let’s get into what’s going on at Rising Star with its selection of gaming, dining options, promos, and more.

Rising Star Casino

Casino Gaming at Rising Star Casino Resort offers the widest variety of slot machines, table gaming, and poker in Southeast Indiana and is the home to over 1,000 real money slots featuring 250 of your favorite games.

So, whether you’re in the mood for a classic like Wheel of Fortune, video poker, keno, or progressive games, you’ll find all of it on this riverboat.

The slots also come in a variety of denominations, ranging from penny bets to higher-stakes. It doesn’t matter if you bet recreationally or love to go all-out. Rising Star gives you a bit of everything.

Rising Star Casino Floor

Ready for some table gaming action?

Then step up to the plate and try your hand at Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Mississippi Stud, Let it Ride, Three Card Poker, and more.

But if you’re not into the traditional stuff, you can always head over to the Bet America Sportsbook. They run promos monthly such as one free $25 bet plus a matched deposit up to $100, so there are more ways to win betting on your big game at Rising Star.

It definitely pays to bet at the Bet America Sports, where luck happens around every corner. So bet on those Cincinnati Bengals or Indianapolis Colts, and maybe you’ll be the next big winner.

Dining at Rising Star Casino Resort

Rising Star Casino Resort features five delicious dining options, each with its own menu, theme, and atmosphere. But they have one thing in common: A stunning view of the Ohio River and the history that surrounds it.

Perhaps the most popular option on this riverboat casino is the River View Buffet, where there is no better view of the Ohio River at the location. But besides the scenic view, this top dining option serves the widest array of global cuisine on the boat. So whatever you’re craving, River View has it.

River View Buffet Dish

In the mood for upscale dining? Wellingtons is where it’s happening. Choose from the finest steaks, chops, and seafood around while you savor a taste of the good life.

If you’re dining in or in a rush, you’ll find the greatest culinary options at Ben’s Bistro. Whether it’s sandwiches or pizza you’re looking for, take advantage of the grab and go option and get back to the gaming floor.

The Coffee Bar presented by Starbucks is the one-shop-stop for your caffeinated needs. So if you need a small pick-me-up before returning to the gaming floor, the Coffee Bar has you covered.

Check out Jack’s Skyline Deli for something quick when you’re in the middle of all of your casino gaming action.

Rising Star Casino Promotions and Entertainment

Do you find yourself gaming at Full House Resorts locations often?

Then definitely sign up for the Rising Star VIP Club, one of the best loyalty programs in the region.

Just play your favorite slot or table games and earn excellent benefits that can earn you invitations to special events, concert tickets, discounted room rates, and casino comps. And the best part of it is, membership is free.

And as with all casinos in the region, the stellar promotions at Rising Star Casino Resort just keep on coming in on a daily, monthly, seasonal, and recurring basis.

Whether you’re 50 and over and wish to indulge yourself in the Forever Young Slot Tournaments or are looking to win up to $3,400 in free play at the Fall Frenzy, there is a casino-wide promotion out there for you. Play the game and you might just win some free play.

Want to see some of the biggest names in entertainment?

Well, Rising Star Casino Resort’s entertainment calendar will give you some of the hottest names in music and entertainment. Whether you’re looking for the greatest world class acts or if you’d like to check out the local scene, Rising Star is always offering something fresh.

Watch the best acts over at the Grand Theatre while jamming to your favorite local artists and bands in the Anchor Lounge.

If there’s one guarantee, it’s that you will experience an unforgettable evening regardless of your musical tastes.

Accommodations and Other Attractions

Looking for a hotel to book when planning your casino trip?

The Lodge at Rising Star Casino has everything you need to satisfy your stay. The 294-room venue guarantees breathtaking views of the Ohio River given its location right on the banks, and its comfortable rooms provide a perfect break from the long days on the Ferry.

Complete your experience with a trip to the fitness center, spa, sauna, or indoor pool. And don’t forget to take advantage of the free breakfast and if you’re in from out of town, the business center.

The Lodge at Rising Star Casino

The Lodge will suit your needs for your next extended stay at the casino.

Looking for a day off from the Ferry and all the casino gaming that comes with it?

Look no further than The Links at Rising Star Casino Resort. Southeast Indiana’s only true Scottish-inspired links-style golf course provides traditional fairways and greens in one of the more challenging courses out there.

Take in the panoramic view of the beautiful Ohio Valley while you get your golf game on and enjoy a relaxing afternoon away from the intense casino gaming in the great outdoors of America’s heartland.

And are you traveling in from out of town?

Then take advantage of the beautiful, full-service RV Park located within one hour from Cincinnati, Ohio and within two hours of Indianapolis, Columbus, Dayton, Louisville, and Lexington.

The RV Park is the perfect place to catch a break when you’re traveling through the Heartland, and with its proximity to so many of the Midwest’s metro areas you’re right in the thick of everything.

As with the casino itself and the hotel, you’ll once again find stunning views of the surrounding scenery. So if you’re the nature-loving type, you’re in for even more of a treat at the number one RV Park in Southeast Indiana and the Tri-State’s only Casino Hotel RV Park.

Rising Sun Historic District

And Rising Sun, Indiana isn’t without its own history. Despite its status as a village comprising about 2,500 residents. If you want to explore the tiny town, head over to the Clore-Plow Works – J.W. Whitlock and Company.

This is the site of two historic buildings that have earned U.S. National Register of Historic Places status.

And for a further history-based experience, check out the Rising Sun Historic District. Developed between 1810 and 1955, this national historic district boasts classic Italianate, Federal, and Classic Revival architecture.

It’s a must-see for any architecture enthusiast and it just goes to show regardless of which town you come across in the U.S., you’re bound to find its fair share attractions.

Conclusion

So, if the good old riverboat casinos are your thing, you’ll love Rising Star Casino Resort both for its widespread gaming options and the outstanding views of the Ohio River that you will be sure to come across.

But it’s more than just a gaming outlet featuring a tour of the Ohio River. With live entertainment, ongoing promotions, and stellar dining options, it makes the tiny town of Rising Sun, Indiana worth the visit.

So what are you waiting for?

If you’re in the area, visit Rising Star Casino Resort today. And if you’ve had experience at this Riverboat Casino, share it in the comments. We’re always looking for feedback on your experiences.

7 Ways to Play Roulette Better Without Using Strategy

Roulette Graphic With a Roulette Table Background

Roulette strategy is simple. The only thing you need to know about the correct strategy for playing roulette is to play on a wheel that has exactly 37 spaces. Nothing else you do as far as strategy is going to change your results.

But there are other things you can do when you play roulette that influence your results. And you need to do everything you can to become a better roulette player, because it’s a big profit center for the casinos.

Here’s a list of seven tactics you can use that don’t involve strategy to become a better at playing roulette for real money.

1 – Online and Mobile Casino Roulette Bonuses

If you have $800 to play roulette with, you can play for a long time—as you keep your bets to a low amount. But eventually, the casino is going to end up with all of your money, unless you stop playing right before you lose it all.

This is simply how most casino games work because of the house edge, and roulette isn’t an exception.

What happens if you have $1,600 to play with instead of $800? If everything else stays the same, the odds are that you can play twice as long. It doesn’t change the fact that the casino is likely to end up with all of it, but it does make your entertainment last longer.

Online Casino Roulette Screenshot

This is basically how online casino bonuses work. You start with whatever amount you have in your bankroll and the casino gives you more. It’s not always double, but this is a common bonus amount.

Look at the casinos listed on this site to see which ones offer a bonus for roulette players. Not all bonuses are for roulette, so make sure you read the fine print before you make a deposit.

2 –Only Make One Wager on Every Spin

The casino house edge is the same for every wager you make when you play roulette. This means you’re going to lose the same amount in the long run whether you bet on red or the number 12.

The only way to lose more in the long run is to risk more in the long run. This is why you should only place one wager on every spin of the roulette wheel.

If you place one wager for $20 on a roulette wheel, your total risk is $20. But if you place two wagers of $20 each on the same spin, even if you place the second wager on a different bet option, your total risk is $40.

The amount the casino keeps is a percentage of the total amount you risk. This means that in the long run, you lose twice as much money placing $40 worth of wagers as you lose placing $20 worth of wagers.

You’re probably starting to think about other ways to reduce your losses based on this information. This is good, and I cover more about this in the next section.

3 – The Smaller the Better

Another way to risk less when you play roulette is to make smaller bets. Instead of betting $20 on a spin, what happens if you bet $10? You lose half as much in the long run.

What about if you can place a wager for $1 or $2? This reduces your losses considerably more.

Considering everything that you’ve learned so far, if you have $800 and get a bonus that doubles your bankroll, you can play twice as long. If you make a single wager on each spin, and you make the smallest wager possible, you can enjoy gambling for a long time.

Small wagers reduce your losses and limit your risk. You still need to understand that if you play long enough, the casino is going to end up with all of your money. All of these tactics are designed to help you play roulette longer. You’re not going to find any way to legally beat roulette in the long run.

4 – Never Use a Roulette System

If you’re not careful, you might fall in the trap of believing that a casino betting system can beat roulette. You’ll find that there are many systems that claim to beat roulette which are available for sale, and most of them have half truth math and false claims that supposedly show you how they win.

But the truth is that a system can’t beat roulette. No system can legally beat roulette. The only way you can beat roulette in the long run is to cheat. And cheating is a good way to wind up in prison.

Roulette Wheel With Chips on Top

The reason you can’t beat roulette in the long run is because the odds of any single number coming up are dictated by the math of how many possible numbers there are. And the payouts for each wager option are set so the casino keeps a small percentage of every bet in the long run.

It doesn’t matter what system you use, because nothing can change the odds of each number coming up and the amount the casino pays when you win.

The smart thing to do is stick with what you’ve learned in this article. It’s not going to beat roulette, but it’s going to limit your losses and let you play as long as possible.

5 – Set a Win Goal and Stop When You Hit It

I mentioned that if you play roulette long enough that the casino is going to wipe out your roulette bankroll. Nothing can change this, and this is what lifelong roulette players have to deal with.

But there’s some benefit in walking away from the roulette table from time to time with a win. And this can happen. It doesn’t change the fact that you’re probably going to lose the next time you play roulette, but an occasional win is a good thing.

Set a win goal every time you play roulette. It can be any amount you like, but have a goal before you start playing. When you reach your win goal, stop playing roulette and put your win in your pocket.

It depends on how much you’re risking on each spin, but set a win goal that gives you a good win. Just make sure it’s one that isn’t so high that you’ll realistically never hit it.

Another option is to make the same bet over and over, then quit when you win. For example, you could bet on 12 every spin and quit as soon as you hit it. You might hit it right away, or you might have to play 40 or 50 spins or more before you get lucky.

6 – Control Your Losses

Many of the tactics that I’ve covered so far are designed to control or limit your losses. It’s always good to limit your losses no matter what type of gambling you’re participating in.

Another way to limit or control your losses when you play roulette is to use the opposite of a win goal. You need to set a limit on how much you’re willing to lose, and you need to set this limit before you make your first wager.

Roulette Table With Stacks of Bets

Set your loss limit for roulette at any amount you’re comfortable with. Then, only buy this amount of chips. When you run out of chips, you have to stop playing. If you just buy more chips, it defeats the purpose of setting a loss limit.

7 – Slow Down the Game

I mentioned the benefits of playing mobile roulette and playing online. Another benefit of playing roulette online is you can control how many spins you play.

In a live casino, the number of spins is controlled by the casino. Of course, you don’t have to play every spin, but most gamblers do.

You can choose how many spins you play online and on your mobile device. Simply take more time between each spin when you play.

This reduces how much you risk and limits your losses. When you combine fewer roulette spins with a lower wager amount, you slow down your losses considerably.

Conclusion

Online or mobile roulette is better in almost every way than playing the game in a regular casino. But you can use many of the same tactics to play better whether you’re playing online or live roulette.

Only make one bet on every spin, and make the smallest wager possible. Set limits to how much you lose in a single session, and consider locking in a win from time to time using a win limit.

When you choose to play roulette on a mobile device or online, you can get a bonus to help your bankroll, make lower bets, and you have more control over the speed of the game.

Pennsylvania Casinos: Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack Review

Harrah's Philadelphia Casino Logo and Exterior

Harrah’s Philadelphia is more than worth the journey on your way to and from Atlantic City. Sitting on the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border in Chester, Pennsylvania, Harrah’s offers an Atlantic City type of gaming experience, so if you’re local, lady luck is already on your side.

Or, if the largest gambling scenes in the world aren’t your thing but you still want in on the action, Harrah’s Philadelphia is more than the place to be. Let’s look closer at what makes this casino gaming experience unlike any other in the State of Pennsylvania.

From endless casino games to the finest dining options around, here is why Harrah’s Philadelphia is worth the trip to check out Pennsylvania gambling.

Harrah’s Philadelphia History

Built on the site of the Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Harrah’s Chester opened its doors in January 2007. The site ran its first horse race four months beforehand on September 10th, 2006. Just two weeks later, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board granted the casino its slot license.

And in December 2006, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved the casino’s application for permanent slot machine gaming.

Harrah's Philadelphia Racetrack

In 2010, the casino offered its first table games. And in 2012, Harrah’s Chester changed its name to Harrah’s Philadelphia, which it remains known as to this day. The casino’s intention to appeal to a broader market motivated the name change.

And in January 2019, the casino started offering sports betting. The testing period lasted from January 22nd to January 23rd, 2019, and the formal opening commenced on the 24th.

As you can see, Harrah’s Philadelphia has literally evolved since its opening as a racetrack in 2006 from slot games, to table games, and finally, to sports betting.

Speaking of games, let’s dive into what you can expect to find at this casino.

Games Offered at Harrah’s Philadelphia

Casino games offered at Harrah’s Philadelphia include over 2,000 slot machines, the largest selection of table gaming in the Philadelphia area, a sportsbook, and harness horse racing. You can literally name the game and you will find it here at Harrah’s.

In the 100,000 square foot slot room, you’ll discover your favorite classic and latest games. Wheel of Fortune, Jackpot Party, and more. If you’re one to raise the stakes, check out the high-limit area where you’ll find another 90 games featuring denominations up to $100.

You will find your favorite table games here at Harrah’s. Whether you’re in the mood for real money Blackjack, Craps, Fortune Asia Poker, Roulette, Ultimate Texas Hold ‘em, Four Card Poker, and more, Harrah’s has a game for you.

Harrah's Philadelphia Casino Floor

As mentioned earlier, you won’t find a greater selection of table games anywhere, and Harrah’s can rival any casino based in Atlantic City with their number of table gaming options. Games you won’t find at this venue’s competition, and it says a lot about what you can experience here.

The poker games offered deserve special recognition. While most casinos offer the staples like Texas Hold ‘em, varieties of Omaha, and Stud. Harrah’s broadens the options with games like 2-7 lowball, Badugi, A-5 lowball, and more.

If you’re into sports betting, then you’re in luck. Harrah’s Philadelphia sportsbook, known as The Book, offers you the opportunity to bet on any professional and college sport imaginable. Stop in, place your bet, and enjoy The Book’s stadium-style atmosphere.

Just a few awesome amenities offered here include high-top tables, lounge seats, custom bar seating, and over 45 large screen TVs. You won’t find a better atmosphere anywhere in the Philadelphia area.

Dining Options at Harrah’s Philadelphia

Harrah’s Philadelphia’s dining options come in many varieties including upscale dining, casual dining, quick bites, and buffets.

Your best upscale option in the area rests within the casino in The Italian Takeover at Cove’s Steakhouse. This fine-dining option offers the greatest steaks out there featuring an Italian flare. If you’re up for something both upscale and innovative, Cove’s Steakhouse has it.

If casual dining is your thing, yet you love big name venues, then Guy Fieri’s Philly Kitchen + Bar has what you need. The celebrity chef’s signature eats are on full display here, and best yet, Fieri’s venue is a one-stop-shop for late-night dining.

Whether you’re in the mood for burgers, wings, tacos, or appetizers, Fieri’s Philly Kitchen has you covered.

Guy Fieri's Philly Kitchen Burger

Is Asian cuisine on the menu tonight? Look no further than Mien Noodles. They offer the best and widest selection of Asian cuisine you won’t want to miss out on.

Looking for cheap grab and go options? Then The Market is up your alley. Whether you’re looking for lunch, dinner, or late-night eats featuring the area’s greatest pizza, hoagies, and sandwich options, the market provides.

The Philly Steak Shack is laden with your favorite comfort foods native to the Philadelphia region. Cheesesteaks, hoagies, and beef hotdogs are just a sliver of what you’ll find at this venue. You can be sure to satisfy your cravings for a friendly price.

The Laurel Lounge offers the area’s widest brunch buffet in the area. Open to the public and located just above the casino floor, you can enjoy an all-you-can-eat outing before heading back to the main floor to play another round of slots or casino table games.

Entertainment at Harrah’s Philadelphia

Enjoy the venue’s nightlife with cocktails and the best local and beer on tap drafts at The Copper Mug, C-Bar, and Beer Garden on the Patio.

Looking for a quick drink amidst the casino action? Then C-Bar has you covered, located in the center of Harrah’s casino floor.

If you’re craving a fun and relaxed atmosphere after a day of hard gaming, Beer Garden on the Patio is calling your name. Enjoy the area’s best signature cocktails, craft beers, and fun patio games to pass the time. Or if you’d rather stay inside, enjoy a wide selection of beer at The Copper Mug.

Promotions at Harrah’s Philadelphia

Harrah’s Philadelphia promotions are always ongoing. Come in and take advantage of the daily, monthly, and seasonal promos at Harrah’s and enjoy the chance to win big in games like the $5 Million Rewards Credit Giveaway, Earn $20 in food credit with an hour at the table games, and more.

If you’re in Caesars casinos often, definitely take advantage of Caesar’s Rewards. Just by signing up, you can receive instant Free Play and food and drink credit. Over 50 casinos nationwide are part of the program, and that doesn’t even include Caesar’s partners.

You can earn casino comps with this awesome promotion in the form of gaming, dining, entertainment, spa offers, and shopping. Sign up today and begin collecting points the next time you step into a Caesars-owned casino.

Nearby Attractions

Looking for a day away from the casino? Well, the Philadelphia area is nothing short on attraction. Whether you’re looking for sports, science, culture, or history, the area is rich with all the above.

Experience the nearly 4,000 species of marine life at the Camden Aquarium. With 760,000 gallons of real estate for the aquatic animals, you can only imagine what’s in store for you.

Philadelphia Zoo Giraffe

If you love your land creatures, the area also has an answer to that. The Philadelphia Zoo contains over 1,600 species of exotic wildlife. There’s also a lot of history in what is America’s oldest zoo.

We know Philadelphia for its rich place in Colonial America. Come in and tour Independence Hall and walk the same halls as America’s forefathers. And if that isn’t enough, the timeless Liberty Bell lurks nearby.

For more free and live entertainment, venture over to Penn’s Landing, where you’ll find the greatest local acts in music, comedy, and live-action.

Horse Racing at Harrah’s

Harrah’s Philadelphia Racetrack features live harness horse racing on one of North America’s fastest 5/8th-mile tracks. Here, you’ll find a state-of-the-art wagering area with both seating and simulcast options for all standard and thoroughbred races seven days a week.

Horse Racing at Harrah's Philadelphia

You can’t ask for much more than that.

Whether you can make it to the show and watch live and in person or if you’re out of town and must settle for the simulcast, you can bathe in all the action going on at the racetrack. So place your wager and hope for the best.

Conclusion

It doesn’t get much better than this. Harrah’s Philadelphia offers the greatest selection of slots and table gaming in Philadelphia, and you can bet with the growth of the casino industry, the games will keep on growing along with them.

And you don’t have to venture far for some of the best dining and bar options. Looking to bet on sports? Well, you’ll even find food and drink over at The Book so you don’t have to miss a second of the action.

This is one of the best casinos on the east coast and if you’re a history or science buff, you have more than a few reasons to venture out on the town after a day’s worth of gaming.

Have you been to Harrah’s Philadelphia and if so, tell us about your experience.

How Kirk Kerkorian Transformed Las Vegas Casinos

Kirk Kerkorian and Las Vegas Sign Graphic

These days, monolithic corporations like Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts, and Boyd Gaming own and operate most of the casinos in Las Vegas. As such, a revolving door of company presidents and chief executive officers remains largely in charge of how your favorite casino resorts operate. But it wasn’t always this way, as Sin City’s glory days were built by enterprising entrepreneurs who applied their own personality to the venues they controlled.

There’s Bugsy Siegel, Howard Hughes, Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, and plenty more. And this page covers Kirk Kerkorian, a true Las Vegas legend who brought the world’s largest hotel resort to town not once, not twice, but three times.

Below, you’ll learn all about how Kirk Kerkorian transformed the Las Vegas scene.

Brief Background and Biography

Born as Kerkor Kerkorian to Armenian immigrant parents in 1917, the boy who would later Americanize his first name to “Kirk” was lucky right out of the gate.

His mother Lily, a few years past her traditional childrearing years by that time, reluctantly went through with the pregnancy. Asked about his status as an “accident” years later, Kerkorian offered a typically tongue-in-cheek response:

“They finally convinced her, now that you’re going to have it, it might be your lucky thing. He’ll take you to Hawaii.”

Whether he wound up taking Lily to see the island paradise isn’t clear, some three decades later, Kerkorian used Hawaii as his springboard to becoming a billionaire businessman. The eighth-grade dropout took flying lessons as a teenager, before using his skills to assist the British Royal Air Force in ferrying planes from North America to Scotland during World War II.

Kirk Kerkorian Flying a Plane

Those adventures instilled a deep love for aviation, so when Kerkorian returned home to America he immediately headed for Hawaii. There sat hundreds of decommissioned war planes that were being sold off by the U.S. Army Air Forces (AAF) at dirt cheap prices. The catch was, because these planes were designed to soar through the Pacific theatre, they lacked the fuel capacity needed to reach California.

Kerkorian, by now an avid gambler at heart, decided to take the risk and refit the fuel engines on his first twin engine Cessna. Even so, Kerkorian nearly crashed into the ocean as his plane reached its limits, before ditching every piece of unnecessary equipment to save fuel.

The eighth-grade dropout took flying lessons as a teenager, before using his skills to assist the British Royal Air Force in ferrying planes from North America to Scotland during World War II.

Kerkorian’s fateful crash led to a launch a charter flight operation, one which specialized in ferrying high-rollers from Los Angeles to Las Vegas for their regular gambling excursions.

One of those high-rollers was none other than Bugsy Siegel, the notorious mob hitman out of New York turned flashy operator of the Flamingo casino resort. In fact, Kerkorian himself flew Siegel home to Beverly Hills just two days before the “Murder Inc.” gangster was gunned down in a mob sanctioned hit.

Mugshot of Busgy Siegal

During his time in between flights, Kerkorian became a regular at many Sin City haunts. While he never won all that much on the tables, he nonetheless made a great impression thanks to his unruffled attitude and calm demeanor.

As his friend and tennis doubles partner Irving Converse later recalled in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Kerkorian simply liked mixing it up and sweating the action regardless of the result:

“Some old guys get pretty upset about losing. Kirk’s not like that. He enjoys the game, win or lose. Of course, the more he wins, the better.”

He may not have been a sore loser, but soon enough, Kerkorian would become the biggest winner in all of Las Vegas…

Casino Land Swaps and Lease Agreements

Having successfully built his charter operation into Trans International Airlines, Kerkorian cashed in by selling the company to Transamerica Corporation in 1968.

The price tag of $104 million equates to over $775 million in today’s terms, a deal which made Kerkorian one of the wealthiest men in America.

Recalling his rise from the streets of Fresno to one of the nation’s entrepreneurial titans, Kerkorian told the Los Angeles Times that he never planned on amassing such a massive fortune. Never one to rest on his laurels, however, Kerkorian set his sights on his adopted hometown of Las Vegas.

Six years before that, in 1962, Kerkorian had paid nearly $1 million to obtain 80 acres of land near The Strip. At the time, these empty parcels of desert sand were essentially blocked off from Las Vegas Boulevard because smaller parcels stood in the way. Undeterred, Kerkorian swapped and bought the obstructing parcels until he controlled a clear path from his land to the adjacent Strip.

Having increased the value of his land by an order of magnitude, Kerkorian “flipped” the parcel by leasing it to Atlanta real estate mogul Jay Sarno. Planning to build the world’s largest and most lavish mega-resort casino, Sarno set to work constructing Caesars Palace on land leased from Kerkorian.

Caesars Palace opened its gilded doors in 1966 and Kerkorian immediately began enjoying his 15% slice of the high-roller heaven’s enormous profits. Two years later, Kerkorian sold his share of Caesars Palace to Sarno for a cool $9 million profit.

Vintage 1960s Caesars Palace Las Vegas

Realizing the potential held by Las Vegas’ signature casino resorts, Kerkorian paid $5 million for another 80-acre plot on Paradise Road. Although this parcel was set apart from the Strip proper, Kerkorian gambled that guests would still flock to his International Hotel.

Built at an expense of $50 million, an extravagant sum for the casino industry at that time, Kerkorian based his International Hotel around a 30-story tower holding over 1,500 rooms. A full-scale casino resort surrounded the tower on the ground floor, complete with swimming pools, a golf course, and luxury suites.

The International Hotel, which eventually became the Las Vegas Hilton and is known today as the Westgate Las Vegas, cemented its status as the largest hotel in all the world when it opened in 1969.

That same year, Kerkorian purchased the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) film studio, setting the stage for yet another expansion that would alter The Strip’s landscape forever after.

The Las Vegas Strip Goes Hollywood

By 1973, Kerkorian had doubled down by opening the original MGM Grand Hotel and Casino (known today as Bally’s Las Vegas).

This enormous casino resort cost over $100 million to construct, and with 2,084 rooms spread out over 2.5 million square feet, it once again gave Kerkorian bragging rights as the owner of the world’s largest hotel.

Las Vegas MGM Hotel Fire

Unfortunately, a devastating fire which killed 87 people marred the first MGM Grand’s image in the public eye. The hotel reopened only eight months later, but Kerkorian eventually sold his interest in the hotel for $550 million to Bally Manufacturing, which changed the venue’s name to Bally’s for a fresh start.

During the ‘80s, Kerkorian rebounded by purchasing Hughes’ distressed casino assets, including the Sands (eventually demolished to build the Venetian) and the Desert Inn (demolished to build the Wynn and Encore).

By 1993, having regained the rights to use the MGM brand, Kerkorian outdid himself by building the MGM Grand as you know it today. By virtue of a $1 billion investment, the spectacular green-clad resort modeled after the Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz boasted 5,005 rooms and a full-scale boxing arena dubbed “Madison Square Garden West.”

For the third time in his life, Kerkorian held the deed to the largest hotel on the planet, cementing his legacy as a legitimate Las Vegas icon in the process.

Over the years, the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino stood as the centerpiece of the Strip, hosting world championship bouts and dazzling visitors with its world-class gambling and amenities. For years, tourists lined up by the hundreds to take their photo in front of the MGM Grand’s signature “Golden Lion’s Mouth” entrance.

MGM Grand Las Vegas Exterior

The lion’s mouth was eventually shuttered in 1998, due to Asian gamblers avoiding the entrance as an omen of bad luck. But anybody who strolled through those doors likely has fond memories of this Las Vegas landmark.

In 2000, at just 83 years young, Kerkorian outmaneuvered fellow billionaire casino mogul Steve Wynn to force a merger between MGM Grand and Mirage Resorts. As a result, the eventual MGM Resorts International now controls many of the Strip’s most popular casinos, including the Mirage, the Bellagio, Treasure Island, Aria, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, New York-New York, and Park MGM.

Conclusion

Las Vegas history is full of stories about entrepreneurs that helped build the city from nothing in a relatively short time. They just don’t make casino moguls like they used to, and Las Vegas will certainly be lucky to see a force of nature like Kirk Kerkorian again. A self-made billionaire who hobnobbed with the likes of Howard Hughes, the Armenian-American deal maker transformed the Strip on several occasions.

Kerkorian’s bold dream of turning Sin City into a full-fledged destination resort—one that welcomes families from all walks of life—formed the foundation of Las Vegas as you know and love it today. The next time you place a bet at the world-famous Westgate SuperBook, or walk into the lion’s den at MGM Grand, be sure to say a silent “thanks Kirk” to the late visionary who put those iconic places on the map.

Review of Jack Thistledown Racino in North Randall, Ohio

Jack Thistledown Racino Logo With Horse Racing Background

Jack Thistledown Racino is the thoroughbred horse racing sister of Jack Cleveland Casino and located just a short drive away in North Randall, Ohio. Like Jack Cleveland, this casino is located in the Cleveland area but on the city’s outskirts, yet still within the boundaries of good old Cuyahoga County.

That said, if thoroughbred racing is your thing, then you have to try your hand at this racino. Owned by the same company called Jack Entertainment, you won’t find a shortage of casino thrills here. Instead, you’ll find a different type of gaming environment.

Even if you like to vary your gaming experience, then this racino is worth the trip if you’re traveling through the Cleveland area and looking for something fun and exciting when gambling in Ohio.

Let’s look at some history and everything this casino has to offer.

The Jack Thistledown Racino History

Like most racinos in Ohio, you can trace the racetrack’s roots long before the first slot machine entered the premises. Founded in 1931 under the Ohio Racing Commission, it wasn’t until 2013 did the venue officially open its casino sector.

The history of the racetrack itself is beyond rich, being the site of the Ohio Derby, which can trace its roots all the way back to 1876.

The track is also part of the 7/7 program, meaning Jack Thistledown and Belterra Park race seven races simultaneously.

Jack Thistledown Racing Old Building Front

In 2007, Manga Entertainment, the track’s parent company, started shopping the track after suffering heavy losses from 2004 to 2006. Finally, in 2010, Harrah’s Entertainment, known today as Caesar’s Entertainment, purchased the track and in the Summer of 2012, entered a joint-venture with Rock Gaming.

In 2012, they announced that an $88 million dollar project was underway to turn the racetrack into a racino following a memorandum in June that allowed racetracks in the State of Ohio to offer video lottery terminals.

Rock Gaming bought the remaining stakes from Caesars in 2015, and in 2016, the company announced it was rebranding into Jack Entertainment. The racino closed for a day in March 2016 to rebrand along with its sister casino up in Cleveland.

And in 2020, Jack Entertainment sold the property to Vici Properties and in a leaseback, they continued to rent the properties from Vici while remaining the operating license holder.

Now that you got a bit of an idea on the racino’s history, let’s look at its gaming options.

The Jack Thistledown Racino Gaming Scene

Now, unfortunately this racino does not offer table games, but nearby  Jack Cleveland Casino does so if that’s your thing, definitely check it out. However, if you like real money slots, then you’re in luck.

Jack Thistledown Racino offers 1,400 of your favorite casino games and the latest, greatest, and hottest games at that. Come in and enjoy titles like River Dragons, Dancing Drums, Dragon Line, and more.

Whether you’re here for simple penny bets, or if you’d like to explore the gaming offered in the VIP area, this racino has what you’re looking for.

Jack Thistledown Dining

This racino offers anything and everything that you’re looking for with six restaurants and bars located on-site. So if you’re looking to take a quick lunch or dinner break from the endless gaming, you’ll love Jack Thistledown Racino’s dining options.

Here’s the rundown:

If locally grown cuisine made from scratch is among your personal preferences, you’ll love Millcreek Grille. It’s the racino’s latest restaurant, and they make each dish from complete scratch. You’re looking at fresh from the farm ingredients every time you step into Millcreek Grille.

Nonna Pazza is the racino’s premier pasta outlet. And if you like seeing the best chefs in the area, prepare food right in front of you, you’re in luck. Like Millcreek Grille, they make every dish from scratch with fresh from the farm ingredients. Your food can’t get any cleaner.

Jack Thistledown American Burger Bar

Looking for some good old American food? Well, the American Burger Bar is your answer. Build your own burger, order a side of fries and a milkshake, and you have a classic American meal right in front of you. Sit back and enjoy the best burgers around.

Perhaps classic Philly steak is on your mind. Steaks and Rings has you covered. You’re looking at the best and most filling steak hoagies in town. Ones that will hold you over as you return to the gaming floor and hopefully secure that winning bet.

Cleo’s Hometown Bar brings you a neighborhood bar atmosphere. Think Cheers. The TV show Cheers, that is, and you’ll get a general idea of what you’re getting at Cleo’s. Whether beer, wine, or cocktails are on your mind, you will find them at Cleo’s.

Centerbar is the premier location to enjoy the big game or the big race with its 9 big-screen TVs featuring top audio.

Jack Thistledown Promotions and Entertainment

Promotions at Jack Thistledown include more ways for you to win every time you step into the casino. Whether there’s a $5,000 jackpot party going on, a VLT Tournament, a $5,000 Top Players party, or a themed promo, it’s all happening at Jack Thistledown.

You can also visit ClubJACK for exclusive opportunities to earn reward points. Whether it’s 24/7 Free Play, best-in-class comps, or trips to Vegas or the Caribbean, the benefits are endless. If you’re in the area often, sign up and start earning your rewards.

Entertainment at Jack Thistledown includes some of the hottest local acts in the area. Whether you’re looking for DJs, comedy, or music, you will find it at Jack Thistledown. Be sure to check the event schedule often by clicking the link above to discover which local acts are on their way.

Nearby Area Attractions

The Cleveland area possesses its fair share of attractions, so go ahead and schedule a bus tour to downtown Cleveland where you can get a glimpse of everything the city and the surrounding area has to offer.

Or, you can always venture into the city yourself and if you do so, this section is for you. You can always hit up Lake Erie’s many beaches for sunbathing, swimming, fishing, and more. Especially in the summer.

If you’re into the sporting scene, then this area is a hotbed. If you’re looking to venture 40 minutes south, you can take a tour of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in nearby Canton, Ohio. Or, if you’re into football, basketball, baseball, or hockey, Cleveland will provide.

Lake Erie Beach

Catch the Browns at a local Browns bar or tailgate before a game in Muni Lot. You’ll always find good seats for the MLB’s Cleveland Indians or the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers when in season.

Or if professional minor league hockey interests you, the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters will provide a glimpse of future hockey stars for their NHL affiliate, the Columbus Blue Jackets.

If there’s one thing you’ll never find a shortage of in Cleveland, it’s the local sports scene. And those fans are some of the most loyal around.

Most of you probably know Cleveland for its Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and I can tell you firsthand that a tour of the Rock Hall is more than worth it. Come and appreciate the rich history of the music genre’s pioneers of yesterday that paved the way for today’s acts.

And of course, head over to the sister property Jack Casino Cleveland for more slot games and a plethora of table gaming.

The Racing Scene at Jack Thistledown

And we can’t close out the article unless we mention the primary attraction at Jack Thistledown. Live Thoroughbred Racing.

Horse Racing occurs at the track Monday through Thursday with the first race beginning at 12:50 pm.

For more information, check out the Jack Thistledown Racing page and you will receive up-to-date information on everything horse racing-related.

Jack Thistledown Race Horses

Info ranges from news to upcoming events, and more, including scratches/changes, the current condition book, entries, results, and overviews of race details and information. With the information given at your disposal, you have everything you need to place a solid bet.

And if for any reason you can’t make the live horse racing events, don’t worry. You can always view the live simulcast for every race run at Jack Thistledown.

Check the event calendar often, pick an event or two to attend, wager on your favorite horse, enjoy the eight-race card, perhaps you’ll leave the racetrack with some deeper pockets.

Conclusion

For all of you horse racing fans, Jack Thistledown Racino is your place to be. And while it doesn’t offer table games, it offers a live racing atmosphere featuring some of the best events in the State of Ohio.

And if you’re looking to take a break from the events, there’s always the newest casino game to be played or fantastic dining options to take advantage of.

If you’re vacationing or even passing through town, then take a day or two and explore the City of Cleveland. Whether you’re into the sports scene, the outdoors, or into touring the nearby hall of fame museums, the nearby attractions in Cleveland have you covered.

Have you been to Jack Thistledown? If so, share your experience in the comments.

5 College Sports Betting Scandals You Need to Know

NCAA Logo With Person Using a Tablet for News

The world of sports betting is exciting, fast-paced, and at times, a little shady.

In today’s interconnected world it’s much more difficult to cheat the system, but before the days of email and camera phones it was a bit more like the Wild West. Rogue actors, including some notorious gangsters, found that manipulating sports betting outcomes was a good way to make a few (or more than a few) extra dollars.

In this article, I’ll lay out five of the most interesting betting scandals I could find from the last 100 years.

1 – CCNY Point Shaving

You have to go back quite a few decades for this one. In fact, you need to go back far enough where a team won the NCAA Tournament AND the NIT in the same season. That year was the 1950.

The City College of New York, who despite having no relevance today was a very good program in those days, was involved in a point-shaving scandal that ultimately ruined the program forever.

City College of New York

In 1951, news began to surface when players who attended Manhattan College, along with a few others, were hit with charges involving both bribery and conspiracy. These charges were associated with college basketball betting during the 1949-50 season.

Later on as the NYPD conducted a more thorough investigation, and three CCNY players were arrested on charges of bribery in 1951. That was just the beginning.

In the end, New York’s District Attorney ending up finding 32 players worthy of being arrested across different college basketball programs in the New York City area and a couple further south. In addition, several outsiders who were accused of playing a role in the fixing scandal were arrested as well.

The ramifications from this particular mess were long-lasting and harsh. Kentucky was forced to cancel the 1952-53 campaign, CCNY relegated basketball to a Division 3 sport (as it is today) and Long Island decided to stop all athletics for years, not returning to Division 1 until the 80s.

This scandal serves as an example that college kids really will do anything for a dollar.

2 – Holy Toledo

When you think big time college sports, you don’t normally think of the Toledo Rockets. However, in the early 2000s, they rose to the forefront of the conversation surrounding college football gambling and its impact on college athletics.

Three football players were allegedly involved in a scheme around 2003 in which key players were told to make mistakes intentionally to help bettors cash in. The Rockets running back at the time, Quinton Broussard, raked in around $2,000 from a Detroit gambler in exchange for fumbling a ball. Two other football players admitted altering their performance in certain games as well.

Toledo College Football Players 1985

In addition to the football program, the Toledo basketball program found itself in hot water. Four former basketball players plead guilty to charges involving point shaving a game fixing.

In the end, the athletes were all given probation by the court, while the man who set the whole thing up, Garry Manni, was sentenced to six years behind bars.

3 – Northwestern Bribes

When you think of prestigious Midwestern colleges, Northwestern is certainly one to throw in the conversation. Unfortunately, when you talk about the most notable college basketball betting scandals, it also makes the cut.

During the 1994-95 season, two Northwestern basketball players – both seniors and starters – took money from a sports gambler in exchange for fixing some conference games early in 1995. The bribe required the players to do everything in their power to ensure that the team would lose by more than the point spread in each of three games determined by the bettor.

Northwestern College Campus

The basketball scandal would be the star of the show, but the illegal gambling scheme extended beyond the court to the football field as well. The US Attorney’s office brought down charges on two separate illegal gambling cases which involved five people. To make matters worse, one of those people accused of facilitating the illegal gambling ring was a former football player at the university.

The scandal had a ripple effect throughout the school’s athletic department and would lead to a number of self-imposed sanctions, including firings and suspensions, for years to come.

4 – Boston College Basketball

If you had to choose which college sports betting scandal was the worst of all time, it’s likely that Boston College’s infamous point-shaving scandal of 1978-79 would be the one.

This scandal had everything you could possibly ask for in a juicy headline story: the mob, a rat, and of course, the young and naïve players all in on the act. To this day some of the situation is still shrouded in mystery and it’s likely the full truth will never come to light.

During the 1978 basketball season, three Golden Eagles players were contacted by Henry Hill who was involved with organized crime at the time. The first game of the fix was supposed to be a close win against Providence (the Eagles were a five-point favorite) but Boston College ending up winning big. This cost Hill serious money – and things were just getting started.

In the following days, Hill and his associates in the illegal gambling ring contacted other players on the team leading up to a matchup with Harvard. They bet on Harvard +12, and the Boston College players delivered with a three-point win – leaving plenty of room to cover the spread.

Boston College 1978 Basketball Players

Their game-fixing plan continued on for six more games, but ultimately the results were nowhere near as reliable as the gamblers needed them to be in order to keep the operation running. The point-shaving game was up, but that was just the beginning for everyone involved.

Hill was arrested in New York for drug trafficking, and upon a thorough investigation it was discovered he had made several trips to Boston in recent years. He eventually copped to fixing (or attempting to fix) games and gave the names of the players involved.

In the end, several players, as well as those in the organized crime ring, were sentenced to various amounts of prison time ranging from 10 years to 28 months. The story still serves as a cautionary tale for anyone thinking about getting into the point-shaving business today.

5 – The Green Wave

If there’s a consistent theme throughout all of these historic sports scandals, it’s that they often happen where they’d be least expected. The trend continues with Tulane’s basketball team during the 1985 season.

Sitting at 10-8 for the season, the team was enjoying a mediocre, if not decent, season by their standards. However, some of the players’ friends on campus had an idea to turn things up a notch via the sportsbook. Student Gary Kranz contacted Tulane’s forward Clyde Eads and told him that he needed the team to win by fewer than 10 ½ points in their upcoming game against Southern Mississippi.

Tulane College Campus

Thinking that it was no big deal (hey, they were still going to win the game), Eads obliged. Actually – he did more than just take it upon himself to complete the task. He enlisted the help of several other players. Things worked out – they won, allowed Southern Miss to cover the spread, and each pocketed several hundred dollars.

The next attempt at a fix came two weeks later at Virginia Tech, but they were not able to pull it off. In the next attempt, against Memphis State, some unusual plays were made including a foul that seemed intentional even though basic strategy would have suggested it was an ill-advised play – this set the wheels in motion that something might amiss.

Eventually, rumors began to run throughout the student body, administration, and eventually led to a media investigation that resulted in several players being implicated in the scandal. In the immediate aftermath, it was the first gambling scandal that resulted in shutting down a Division 1 program.

Conclusion

Sports gambling scandals are proof that any time there is money at stake – someone will try to cheat to get it. Unfortunately, some (supposedly) innocent student-athletes got caught up in the mess.

Perhaps this will someday lead to a larger discussion about compensation for college athletes. With that said, I wouldn’t bet on it.

The Top 5 Casino Road Trips

Casino Road Trip Text With a Casino Background

Road trips are a great way to break the monotony of everyday life. The open-air on your face, music blaring through car speakers, and the sights along the road are all part of the American institution.

Luckily, the United States is full of these wonderful vacations with casinos as a welcoming destination. These are the top five casino road trips in the U.S.

1 – Winstar World Casino

Head north on I-35 from Austin or Dallas, and you’ll eventually run into the largest casino in the world. Winstar World Casino & Resort is located a few miles north of the Red River in Thackerville, Oklahoma.

If you’re traveling from the state capital of Austin, deep in the heart of the lone star state, you’ve got an easily manageable 265 miles to navigate. The trip can easily be made in under four hours if you’re pressed on time or can’t wait to get to the blackjack table.

I highly recommend making a stop in West, TX, for some killer kolaches from The Czech Stop. The carb load will give you enough fuel to gamble into the wee hours of the morning. Plus, they’re absolutely delicious.

Winstar World Casino Interior

The road from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex trip is much shorter, making Winstar a go-to weekend trip for locals.

Even in the constant I-35 construction, you can make it to Thackerville in less than 90 minutes. That includes a stop for refreshments or a snack.

If you’re leaving Dallas after work on Friday, you’ll be able to enjoy beautiful sunset views as you drive across Lake Lewisville.

Let’s face it; there’s not much to see between either starting point and your destination. However, the final destination is a welcome reward.

The actual road trip will be what you make of it, but the memories you make and fun you have in one of the world’s biggest casinos will leave a lasting impression.

You can even catch a show while you’re there. Some of the biggest names in entertainment find their way to Thackerville, OK.

You’ll be able to enjoy a vast array of slot machines on your trip as Winstar has over 8,500 of the one-arm bandits.

Blackjack, roulette, and craps are all waiting for you on the 370,000 square feet of the casino floor. If you fancy yourself a poker shark, the immaculate Poker Room at the Winstar will be a delight.

Every year, the hordes of gamblers making the trip across the Red River find everything they’re looking for at Winstar World Casino.

2 – L.A. to Las Vegas

There’s something special about traveling to Las Vegas by car. The drive through the Nevada desert is a legendary journey put on the big screen in films like The Hangover and the cult classic Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

In fact, Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo’s psychedelic scene flying through the sand and the swarms of bats are among the most iconic in American film history.

The drive from L.A. to Las Vegas should be made in about four hours, taking the I-15N route. This can vary quite a bit depending on traffic, though.

Fridays through Sundays, the number of travelers trading the bright lights and busy streets of L.A. for the brighter lights and busy Vegas streets increases dramatically.

Busy Las Vegas Strip at Night

You’ll face a far more pleasant drive early in the week before the crowds hit. I’ve seen the 4-hour drive turn into five hours because of traffic.

For travelers looking to experience everything the open road has to offer, there’s an alternate route.

Hop on I-10E, and you’ll go on a journey through some wild and untamed country on your path. The drive along I-10 will take you a while longer.

In fact, given smooth sailing, you’re looking at approximately five and a half hours to reach your destination.

i
The Calico Ghost Town is a great spot to stop and stretch your legs along the way. This abandoned mining town was once the center of over 500 silver mines.

Today, the small town operates as an authentic old west ghost town. Making Calico the perfect tourist attraction for this casino road trip.

Of course, at the end of your journey, you’ll be greeted by the wonders of Las Vegas. Macau has made significant strides in claiming the Gambling Mecca title, but it’s always been Vegas.

3 – Boston to Mohegan Sun

The Mohegan Sun Casino & Resort is 364,000 square feet of gambling bliss situated in Uncasville, CT. The casino’s location makes it a prime location for gamblers in Boston looking to make a quick road trip to the casino.

Gamblers looking for a short escape from the city can make the trip to Mohegan Sun via I-395S in just under two hours. Trading in the city’s hustle and bustle for some relaxing views and peaceful nights in the country is a wonderful getaway.

Mohegan Sun was the largest casino in the world until Winstar completed its massive expansion. While the crown has been sent to the south, Mohegan Sun hasn’t faded into the twilight.

Mohegan Sun Casino Interior

You’ll find two contrasting main casino floors at the Mohegan Sun. Keeping in the tradition of the casino’s Native American culture, you’ll be introduced to Casino of the Earth and Casino of the Sky.

Casino of the Earth provides amazing free shows every week. You’ll also be able to enjoy over 250 slot machines in a beautiful smoke-free area.

Casino of the Sky is exactly that. Upon entering the lavish casino floor, you’ll stare up in amazement at the world’s largest indoor planetarium dome.

You can also enjoy a massive 55-foot indoor waterfall while you gamble.

To jump off your casino fun, the Mohegan Sun has nearly 5000 slot machines at your disposal. The massive array of innovative slots will keep even the most discerning slots player entertained for hours on end.

Players that prefer cards and dice will enjoy a buffet of table games. The expansive casino has over 700 table games from which to choose.

Foxwoods Resort Casino is a short 20-minute drive from Mohegan Sun. So, if variety is what you’re after. This trip has a little…rather a lot of everything.

4 – Phoenix to Las Vegas

Perhaps it seems biased that Las Vegas makes this list twice. However, it’s Las Vegas, the gambling hub of the United States and beyond.

Phoenix’s drive is a shade longer than the Los Angeles journey, but still manageable in a day. The uninitiated traveler may see the four and a half hour adventure through the southwestern desert as little more than an empty desert.

However, there are some true treasures along the 300 miles of sand and low red clay mesas.

U.S. Highway 93 is the most popular and direct route to Sin City. You’re a road tripper, though.

View of the Grand Canyon

You have the iTunes on shuffle, and the car karaoke is in full effect. What’re another six hours?

If you share the adventurous spirit of our ancestors, take the alternative trip up I-17 N. This path will put you directly at the red rocks of Sedona and the awe-inspiring views of the Grand Canyon.

You undoubtedly know all about the wealth of entertainment that is waiting for you at the end of your journey. I’ll share a few treasures along the way that you’ve likely never heard of before.

Santa Claus, Arizona, is a charming stop combining The North Pole with an Old West ghost town.

The Hoover Dam lookout gives you a front-row seat to one of the largest engineering marvels in the world. The Hoover Dam contains enough concrete to build a two-lane highway from one end of the continental U.S. to the other.

5 – New York City to Mount Airy Casino Resort

New York City is an amazing place full of culture and rich with history. It can also be a lot to handle constantly.

The City That Never Sleeps can place even the most hardened New Yorker in need of a break. Luckily, there’s a perfect place within a two-hour drive of the city.

Mount Airy Casino Resort is a luxury retreat in Mt. Pocono, Pennsylvania. The beautiful property is less than two hours from NYC via I-80 W.

Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by a warm and relaxed environment. There’s just enough activity and excitement to keep you engaged without being annoyed.

Mount Airy Casino Interior

You’ll notice immediately that nobody seems to be in a rush to get anywhere. Even the valets seem to glide effortlessly around the property.

Inside, you’re going to find all of the casino action you could hope to encounter. Mount Airy Casino has it all, from the sleek and modern sportsbook to the cool and cozy poker room.

Real money slots players have a selection of over 1800 of the latest and most popular machines to play on to their heart’s content.

The casino has over 15 different table games to make a run at the money. Whether you stick with a classic like roulette or try a new spin on an old favorite like Spanish 21, you’re sure to have a blast.

Conclusion

These top five casino road trips will definitely give you a departure from the daily routine. Which drive will you be making?

Ways to Become a Better Poker Player That Don’t Involve Poker Strategy

Poker Text With Green Checkmark and a Happy Poker Player

Entire books have been written about using proper poker strategy, and you should read as many as possible to learn everything you possibly can about strategy. But using strategy is only going to take you so far. You also need to use several things that aren’t covered under the strategic umbrella in order to win as much as possible.

I’ve put together the top seven tactics you need to use as a poker player in addition to strategy. Combining good strategy with these seven tactics is going to put you in the top ranks of the poker talent wherever you play. These things can be the difference between winning and losing play.

Study Your Poker Opponents

When you’re playing poker for real money you should always study your opponents. Watch how they play and what they do in different situations. What are they doing when they enter the pot, when they raise, and when they fold?

The more you can learn about each opponent, the more opportunities you’re going to have to make profitable plays against them later.

I play in a semi regular game against a guy who plays the same way on every hand he plays. He always calls when he’s chasing, and he always bets and raises when he has a made hand. This is more a playing tendency than anything else, which I cover in the next section. But if you don’t watch how he plays then you’re never going to learn this about him.

Some players give signals about the strength if their hand. These are usually called tells. As you study your opponents, see how they look and act when they’re involved in a hand. Do they act differently when they have a big hand or when they’re bluffing?

Sometimes, a single tell can be the difference between a winning and losing poker session.

Recognize Patterns

I mentioned the guy a play against in the first section and his poker tendencies. Imagine how profitable it is for me knowing exactly how he plays. He almost never bluffs, so it’s easy to play against him.

When you’re watching other players, look for tendencies that they have. Some players tend to bluff too much. Other players only raise when they have a big starting hand. And others always limp and try to trap.

World Poker Tour Tournament Players

The hardest poker players to compete against are the ones that don’t have any real tendencies. They usually play straightforward poker, but they mix things up enough to make sure you can’t put them on a hand for sure.

Of course, if you mix things up too much you start making too many unprofitable plays, so you have to be careful.

Spend all of your free time at the table studying your opponents and identifying what types of poker players they are. The more tendencies you can recognize, the more ammunition you have to make profitable decisions in the future.

Master Your Emotions

The poker table is no place for emotions. You can’t afford to get too excited when you’re doing well or to get upset when things aren’t going your way. When you let emotions come to the surface when you’re playing poker it leads to mistakes.

Every time you make a mistake while playing poker, it can cost you money. Anytime you feel emotions at the poker table, recognize them and put them away. If you can’t deal with your emotions, you need to stop playing until you have your emotions under control.

The most dangerous emotions can make you go on tilt, and this almost always costs you money. Never make a poker decision if you’re angry or frustrated. It might work out a few times, but in the long run, it’s going to create too many losses.

Learn How to Win Without Bluffing First

Bluffing is a costly thing that most losing poker players do too much. They get a thrill from winning a pot without the best hand. They might even show other players when they win a big hand on a bluff.

But when you bluff too often, you start losing money. Smart players who pay attention quickly learn that you bluff too much and start calling you more often.

Most losing poker players can improve their results if they simply stop bluffing until they start winning more money. The guy I mentioned earlier doesn’t really do bad overall, because he bets when he has a good hand and he gets paid off most of the time.

Rio World Series of Poker Chips

But the fact that he doesn’t bluff is something that I use against him sometimes. He’s learned how to do pretty well without bluffing, and if he added an occasional bluff, it would likely improve his game a little bit.

Learn how to win without bluffing first. Once you learn how to do this, you can then start bluffing a very small amount of the time. Don’t be tempted to bluff too much, because it’s more costly than never bluffing.

Become a Position Master

Position is one of the most misunderstood poker concepts gamblers should know. Few players understand that position has anything to do with winning, and even fewer actually use position correctly when they play.

It took me over 10 years of playing poker before I really understood position. But once I started using position the right way, it instantly improved my results.

The odds of completely understanding position after reading this short section are low, but I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to learn more about it.

You need to understand your position in relation to where the dealer button is. The later your position is at the table, the more power you have when you play a poker hand. In other words, you can play more hands profitably when you’re in late position than when you’re in early or middle position.

The reason having position is important is because you get more information before you have to make a decision on the hand. Other players have to check, bet, or raise before you have to decide what to do. This is valuable information that can help you make more profit.

Play With the Worst Poker Players You Can Find

This isn’t used by many poker players, but the ones that do use it are all making a profit. Let that sentence sink in for a minute. If everyone that uses this tactic is making a profit, don’t you think that you should be using it, too?

The premise is simple; when you play poker against players who are worse than you, you’re going to make a profit. When you play poker against players that are better than you, you’re going to lose money.

Online Poker Game Screenshot

This means that if you want to make more money playing poker, you need to start finding bad poker players to compete against.

Most poker players try to improve their game so they can be better than their current opponents. This is a good idea, but they never think about replacing their current opponents with bad players.

Avoid Questionable Situations

Some of the most profitable poker games I’ve ever played have been private games. These games are held in private homes or private clubs. I’ve also done ok playing poker in regular poker rooms and playing online, but in my experience, it’s easier to find bad poker players in home poker games rather than in a casino.

The problem is that when you play in private environments the chance of being cheated or robbed goes up. You need to be very careful of putting yourself in bad situations.

I have a few tips to help you in this area. The first thing you need to do is find out as much as you can about where you’re playing and who you’re playing against. If you don’t have a good feeling or a safe feeling, don’t play.

The next tip is to only take the minimum amount of cash you need to play and never take anything else of value. This way if the worst comes to worst, hopefully, all you lose is your money.

Conclusion

If you want to be a profitable poker player, you have to learn how to use strategy. And you have to learn how to use strategy better than most other players. But you also have to use some tactics that don’t have anything to do with strategy.

You can use strategy or these tactics separately, but it’s going to be difficult to win money this way. It’s much smarter and more profitable to incorporate both into your gameplay.

Neither strategy nor the tactics listed on this page are easy to master, but all of these things are worth mastering. It’s the only way to maximize your profits playing poker.

Review of Tropicana Evansville Casino in Indiana

Tropicana Evansville Logo With a Casino Background

Owned by Gaming and Leisure Properties and operated by the popular Caesars Entertainment, Tropicana Evansville has grown substantially since its founding in 1995.

The 45,000 square-foot casino hotel comprises a 250-room hotel, 1,600-car parking garage, retail, restaurants, lounges, and more. On the site is also a 100-room boutique hotel, so if you’re into upscale accommodations, the latter is definitely something to look into.

Now for the good part: Tropicana Evansville is loaded with just about every casino gaming option imaginable. From classic slots to adrenaline-pumping table games to a poker room to even full-service sports betting, you’re bound to find what you’re looking for here.

Let’s look at a brief history then we’ll go into the casino and take a close look at everything the Trop offers.

Ready for a look into Indiana gambling? Let’s go.

Tropicana Evansville History

Opened back in 1995 by the Aztar Corporation and originally known as Casino Aztar, Tropicana holds the distinction as the State of Indiana’s first casino. But it wasn’t until 2017 did the casino become the state’s first land-based casino.

Casino Aztar Riverboat

That’s right. The Trop was initially a Riverboat Casino which came about after legislation swept through the state congress in 1993. In fact, at the time of this writing, most of your Indiana-based casinos remain in Riverboat Status, with the Trop being one of just four land-based casinos in the state.

That said, you can definitely count on the Trop to lead the casino and gaming industry in Indiana.

Ready to see what the casino gaming floor holds?

Keep reading.

Tropicana Evansville Casino Gaming

Tropicana Evansville’s game floor is loaded with your favorite classics and modern marvels. Come play real money slots and enjoy heart-pounding action with games like Wheel of Fortune, Blazing 7’s, Double Gold, Quick Hit Pro, Seven Seas, Timberwolf, and more.

You literally have hundreds of games and variations of those games to choose from. So even if you’re looking for a classic game with a modern spin, you can bet the Trop has something for you.

Tropicana Evansville Casino Floor

If table gaming is your thing, the Trop offers over 30 action-packed tables. Whether your game is Roulette, Craps, or Blackjack, you’ll find dozens of your favorites. And yes, you can bet that more action is on the way as Indiana’s first land-based casino continues to expand.

Ready for the poker room? Try your hand against Southwest Indiana’s best in Texas Hold ‘em and Omaha. Whether your game is limit, pot-limit, or no-limit, you’ll find what you’re looking for.

If traditional gaming on the casino floor isn’t for you, there’s still a fantastic reason to be part of all the action at the William Hill Sports Book. Bet like a pro in all the major professional and college sports at one of the conveniently located kiosks located throughout the area.

Whether you’re into spreads, parlays, over-unders, game props, or player props, wager your money and watch the action unfold at one of the 65-inch viewing monitors. And cross those fingers in hopes your team will prevail.

Tropicana Evansville Dining Options

Dining options at Tropicana Evansville include four excellent options, each with its unique theme, menu, and atmosphere.

If you’re looking to hit the home run on a steak Cavanaugh’s on the River presents flawless steaks, seafood, and breathtaking views of the good old Ohio River.

Want something fast and convenient? Brew Brothers Tap House is located steps away from the casino floor. Grab something fast and get back to gaming.

Cavanaugh's on the River Restaurant Dish

If you’re up for a little bit of everything, the Kitchen Buffet has it. Enjoy global cuisine at an affordable all-you-can-eat price. As you probably guessed, the Kitchen Buffet provides the widest range of options in the venue. There is a little something for everyone at this venue.

And finally, if you’re looking for an authentic, New York type of flare in America’s heartland, The Deli is it. Enjoy the bright, modern atmosphere and stock up on your favorite comfort foods. Whether you’re looking for pizza, desserts, or a quick grab and go, The Deli has it.

Tropicana Evansville Entertainment and Promotions

Entertainment at Tropicana Evansville is found in the Piano Bar at Cavanaugh’s on the River. Take advantage of the upscale atmosphere while you rock out to the best local entertainment in Southwest Indiana and the surrounding areas.

And don’t forget to take in some of the most breathtaking views of the Ohio during the nightlife. You’re certainly in for a real treat in the lower portions of the Ohio Valley.

Promotions are always rocking at The Trop, including the weekly Facebook drawing called 500 Bonus Slot Giveaway. What do you win? Two lucky winners receive 2,000 bonus slot dollars and one lucky winner receives 100.

Just like the Facebook page, like the drawing post, and comment on the drawing post and your name will be entered into the weekly drawing.

A common promotion you’ll see during football season is the NFL Pick ‘em, hosted by Caesars Entertainment. You could win over $1 million in prizes just by picking who wins each week. Just register for Caesars Rewards and make your weekly picks.

Oh, and speaking of Caesars Rewards, what is it all about?

If you find yourself on the gaming floor of various Caesars locations, this is the greatest promotion out there. With over 55 destinations to choose from, joining the rewards program will let you build rewards while playing the games you love.

Just sign up to play, and get rewarded with benefits including special offers from Caesars Rewards casinos, free or discounted hotel stays, or a free night in Vegas or Atlantic City for every 5,000 rewards points earned.

Start as a Gold member, and rack up those tier points for even more rewards. The more you play, the more benefits you earn, and you’ll be the talk of the casino with VIP treatment and more.

Accommodations at Tropicana Evansville

If you love conveniently located choices, then the Trop just earned a few more brownie points. You can go for more economical hotel stay at the Tropicana or if you’re up for it, the Grand Suite at the smaller Le Merigot boutique hotel.

Choose from the Standard Queen or Standard King at the Tropicana Hotel for utmost comfort and convenience at a price you can afford. Oh, and if you’re up for views of the Ohio River and a light show that is Downtown Evansville, then this hotel will suit your needs.

Tropicana Evansville Le Merigot Hotel Room

Now, if you’re looking for a taste of luxury at a decent price, book a room in the single-bed King Suite. It has a small apartment feel with full furnishings, and even a small dining area.

And best yet, you’re just steps away from the casino gaming floor.

Now if modern luxury is your thing, you’ll find it at Le Merigot.

You’ll pay extra for the luxurious experience. But the comfort this hotel brings along with its convenient location, it’s worth forking up a little more dough over. When you step into any of Le Merigot’s hotel rooms, you’ll realize this venue goes above and beyond average.

But when you walk into the Grand Suite, you’ll understand within seconds that your stay will reach legendary status. From plush robes and slippers to a large living and dining area and your own personal refrigerator, a vacation of luxury awaits.

Whether you’re the weary traveler or weary gamer who just put in a day at the casino. Le Merigot is sure to rejuvenate you.

Nearby Attractions

Evansville has two distinct minor league sports teams; the Evansville Otters of the Frontier League and the Southern Professional Hockey League’s Evansville Thunderbolts. So, if you’re a sports fan you have a couple of excellent options here at the minor league level to see live and in person.

If you’re into exotic wildlife, the Mesker Park Zoo will be your happy place. It boasts itself as one of the oldest and largest zoos in Indiana, having been in operation for nearly 100 years. Here, you’ll find 200 species and more than 700 animals.

Evansville Museum of Arts History and Science

If you’re into culture, history, and science, then hit up the Evansville Museum of Arts, History, and Science. Other cool finds in the city include the Angel Mounds Historic Site, the Children’s Museum of Evansville, and the Art Deco building.

Annual festivals include the West Side Nut Club Fall Festival. It draws an additional 100,000 people to Evansville every October, so if you’re in the area it’s worth checking out. And you also have the Germania Männerchor Volksfest, which celebrates and recognizes those of German heritage.

If the latter is you, it’s a most definite shoo-in to attend if you’re in town during the last weekend in August.

Conclusion

There you have it. If you’re looking for some intense casino gaming fun complete with the greatest promotions and live entertainment in the area, the Tropicana Evansville has you covered.

Evansville, Indiana is also an area rich in culture and tradition, so definitely take advantage of venturing off the casino gaming floor and into the city. You’ll be glad you took a day or two off to explore Evansville.

Have you been to the Trop since it became land-based or were you there during its days as a riverboat casino? Let us know in the comments and tell us about your experiences. We’re always glad to hear from you.

More Intricacies Related to Counting Cards in Blackjack

Blackjack Hand With a Numbers Background

In my previous post in this series, “How Hard Is It to Count Cards in Blackjack?”, I covered some of the basic concepts that underly card counting in blackjack. I explained a little about the history of this advantage play technique and discussed a couple of different card counting systems anyone could use.

The conclusion I arrived at in that post is that card counting is easier than a lot of people think, but it’s still relatively hard compared to most endeavors.

In this post, I’m going to get into some of the other intricacies involved in counting cards. You could probably make some money by reading no more than that first post, but you can do even better if you get more comfortable with some of the complexities involved.

How to Practice Counting Cards

I’m going to suggest that you stick with the hi-lo card counting system I described in my last post. These are the cards and values for that system:

  • Any 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 counts as +1.
  • Any ace or card worth 10 counts as -1.

You have a total of 6 cards worth +1 each, and you have a total of 6 cards worth -1 each. If you count through a deck of cards using this system, you’ll start with 0, but since the count is balanced, you’ll also end with 0.

The first step in learning how to count cards is to practice at home by counting through a single deck of cards. You’ll have a reasonably good idea of how well you’re doing by whether you end up with 0. If you have another count at the end of the deck, you’ve made a mistake.

Playing Cards on a Wooden Table

Just go through the deck one card at a time keeping up with the running count. Once you get to where you can wind up with 0 at the end of every count, you can start trying to speed things up with a stopwatch of some kind.

Another trick is to start dealing the cards out 2 at a time, then 4 at a time, and so on. You’ll start to recognize cards which cancel themselves out in these pairings. This will make you even faster.

You should be able to count through an entire deck of cards in less than a minute and wind up with 0 at the end of it.

Once you can do that, start adding distractions. Turn the radio up. Put the TV on. Encourage the kids to play in the same room as you count cards.

When you’re counting cards in a casino, you’ll need to be able to do so without being distracted by the sensory overload there. Keep in mind you need to be able to keep up with the count without giving it away that you’re counting. You can’t be moving your lips, look like you’re concentrating hard, or anything else of that nature.

Practicing at home in a quiet room won’t prepare you for a casino environment.

Deviating From Basic Strategy Based on the Count

I know I’ve mentioned that the main way you get an edge playing blackjack for real money is by changing the size of your bets based on the count.

But you can (and should) also deviate from basic strategy when warranted.

Here’s an example:

Suppose you have a hard total of 16, and the basic strategy suggests that you should hit in this situation.

Blackjack Dealing Handing Out a Card

But you know the deck is proportionately rich in 10s because the count is so positive.

If you’re guessing that you should stand instead, you’re right.

The deviations from basic strategy based on the count are called “indexes.”

You can come up with a nearly infinite number of situations where you’d deviate from basic strategy based on the count, but a lot of them come up so rarely it isn’t worth it to know what to do.

For example, how often are you going to be playing in a game where the count is +9?

The main situations where you need to deviate are called “the illustrious 18” and “the fabulous 4.”

The Illustrious 18 and the Fabulous 4

The fabulous 4 are the situations in which you should take late surrender as an option. Since not all casinos offer late surrender, these situations might be moot.

But when they’re in play, they make a big difference.

Here are the fabulous 4:

  1. You’re holding a 15 versus a dealer 9. Surrender if the count is +3 or higher.
  2. You’re holding a 15 versus a dealer 10. Surrender if the count is 0 or higher.
  3. You’re holding a 15 versus a dealer ace. Surrender if the count is +2 or higher.
  4. You’re holding a 14 versus a dealer 10. Surrender if the count is +4 or higher.

Those aren’t hard to memorize, because they’re such a limited number of situations.

The illustrious 18 are the other 18 biggest situations where you’ll deviate from basic strategy. They’re the ones that come up most often and matter more to your bottom line.

Here are the illustrious 18:

  1. Any time the count is +3 or higher, insurance becomes a profitable bet.
  2. You’re holding a 16 versus a dealer 9. Stand if the count is +5 or higher.
  3. You’re holding a 16 versus a dealer 10. Stand if the count is 0 or higher.
  4. You’re holding a 15 versus a dealer 10. Stand if the count is +4 or higher.
  5. You’re holding a 13 versus a dealer 2. Stand if the count is -1 or higher.
  6. You’re holding a 13 versus a dealer 3. Stand if the count is -2 or higher.
  7. You’re holding a 12 versus a dealer 2. Stand if the count is +4 or higher.
  8. You’re holding a 12 versus a dealer 3. Stand if the count is +2 or higher.
  9. You’re holding a 12 versus a dealer 4. Stand if the count is 0 or higher.
  10. You’re holding a 12 versus a dealer 5. Stand if the count is -1 or higher.
  11. You’re holding a 12 versus a dealer 6. Stand if the count is -3 or higher.
  12. You’re holding an 11 versus a dealer ace. Double down if the count is -1 or higher.
  13. You’re holding a 10 versus a dealer 10. Double down if the count is +4 or higher.
  14. You’re holding a 10 versus a dealer ace. Double down if the count is +3 or higher.
  15. You’re holding a 9 versus a dealer 2. Double down if the count is +1 or higher.
  16. You’re holding a 9 versus a dealer 7. Double down if the count is +4 or higher.
  17. You’re holding a pair of 10s versus a dealer 5. Split if the count is +5 or higher.
  18. You’re holding a pair of 10s versus a dealer 6. Split if the count is +5 or higher.

I should mention that these deviations are based on a single deck game. If you’re playing in a game with multiple decks, you’ll want to convert the running count into a true count. I explained how to do that in my previous post in this series.

Accounting for Variations in Casino Rules and Conditions

You’ll find plenty of blackjack articles that mention that the house edge is 0.5%. You’ll see some that use the number 1%, instead. The truth, though, is that the edge is based on the rules and game conditions in place where you’re gambling.

Multiple Hands on a Blackjack Table

If you’re new to blackjack or counting cards, you might think that the difference in game conditions isn’t that important. You’d be wrong, though – every tenth of a percentage point in expectation counts.

Assume that the standard blackjack game is one with 8 decks, where the dealer hits a soft 17, and you’re allowed to double after split. The house edge for this game, if you use perfect blackjack strategy, is about 0.64%. When you adjust the following rules, the house edge changes by the amount listed:

  • A single deck game has a house edge of about 0.48% better. If all the other rules were the same, the house edge for this game would drop to 0.16%, which is about as close to a break-even game as you’ll find in a casino. Even a double deck game has a significant effect on the house edge – 0.19%.
  • If you’re allowed to take early surrender against a 10, you get 0.24% back. (The default rules above assume that surrender isn’t an option.)
  • If you can double down on any number of cards (instead of just being able to double down on your initial 2 cards), you get 0.23%.
  • If the dealer has to stand on a soft 17, you get 0.22% from that, too.
  • Being allowed to resplit aces gives you 0.08%.
  • Being allowed to take late surrender is also worth 0.08%.

Those are rules conditions you’d like to find. Other rules changes can make the house edge higher, as follows:

  • If blackjack only pays even money, the house edge increases 2.27% in favor of the house. This isn’t common.
  • A 6/5 blackjack game, though, IS common, and it still has a devastating effect on your odds. It adds 1.39% to the house edge.
  • If you’re only allowed to double down on 10 or 11, you lose 0.18% to the house.
  • If you’re not allowed to double after splitting, you lose 0.14%.
  • If you’re only allowed to split once (no re-splitting), you lose another 0.10%.

Keep in mind that conditions don’t just vary from casino to casino. They often vary from table to table, especially when you’re playing at tables with different limits.

Conclusion

Entire books have been about advantage gambling with card counting, and you can only go into so much depth in a single blog post.

This post has delved into some of the stuff beyond the basics outlined in the first post of this series.

Stay tuned for more posts that will cover even more details that matter to card counters.

Pennsylvania Casinos: Parx Casino and Racing Review

Parx Casino and Racing Exterior and Interior

The historic Parx Casino and Racing first opened in November 1974. But it wasn’t until December 2006 (December 2009 for the standalone casino) did the old venue known as Philadelphia Park at the time start offering casino gaming.

Throughout the 2010s, the casino located in the Philadelphia suburb of Bensalem, Pennsylvania has since evolved to become the largest complex in the state. And with the popularity and economic boost the gambling scene has brought, you can tack on further growth throughout the 2020s.

But there’s enough at this casino to keep you busy for a week. Add in the excellent dining and entertainment options, and you need not go anywhere else. But if you’re looking to explore the area, there are also plenty of local attractions at your disposal.

Ready to take a tour of Pennsylvania’s best gambling? Let’s get started.

Parx Casino History

As mentioned in the intro the racetrack was founded in 1974 and opened up Keystone Racetrack,  built to replace Liberty Bell Park Racetrack in Northeast Philadelphia. ITB purchased the track in 1984 and hence, a name change was in order.

The newly named Philadelphia Park continued Keystone’s and Liberty Bell’s tradition of offering Thoroughbred racing. But upon ITB’s purchase, the company laid out new turf and brought along Phonebet. The most technologically advanced way to wager on horse racing at the time.

Greenwood Racing Inc. bought the track in 1990 and added full-card simulcasting.

Parx Racetrack and Stables

In September 2006, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board granted the track a conditional slot license which paved the way to transform the racetrack into a racino. Final approval came three months later in December 2006.

And Philadelphia Park Racetrack and Casino opened its doors on the first and third floors of the racetrack. This, however, stood as the temporary casino. Exactly three years later, on December 18th, 2009, the standalone Parx Casino opened.

Parx now contains over 3,300 real money slots. Electronic gaming like video poker, Blackjack, and Roulette was also made available upon opening, but in 2010, 199 tables of live gaming arrived. In 2018, the venue added a 48-table poker room.

And in October 2018, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved Parx’s application for a sports betting license.

So, like many casinos in Pennsylvania, Parx offers everything from horse racing to poker if you’re an avid casino gamer. And as the largest casino and racing complex in Pennsylvania, it offers a lot of it.

Let’s look closer at which games you can expect in the electronic gaming, table, and poker rooms.

Gaming at Parx Casino

Parx Casino gaming includes your favorite traditional and most recent additions in their slot room that comprises over 3,300 machines.

Whether you’re looking for a classic like Monopoly or something fun and interesting like Christmas Vacation (yes, that Christmas Vacation), you will find it in what is 150,000 square feet of real estate.

So, what are you looking to play first? Wheel of Fortune? Wonka? Lightning Link? Come in and try your hand at the games.

Also featured are over 60 electronic table games like Blackjack and Roulette, along with video poker. So if you’re not ready to get in on the table gaming action, no worries. Parx has you covered.

Parx Casino Floor

Are you in the mood for table gaming action? You need not look any further. As mentioned in the intro, we’re looking at 199 table games featuring the best action north of Philadelphia. What are you looking to get in on? Craps? Roulette? Blackjack? Why not all three?

Up for some poker? Parx has your game. Whether you’re in for no-limit Texas Hold ‘em, Omaha, or Stud, you can test your skill against some of the best poker players Eastern Pennsylvania offers.

And Pennsylvania is one of the first states in the nation to bring sports betting into their casinos. So, what are you looking to bet on? Pro football? Baseball? Both? It’s all here at Parx.

You don’t even need to be in the casino to place your bets if you download the Parx Sports Betting app. So long as you remain within state borders, place your bets against the spread, over-unders, parlays, and more.

Parx Casino Dining

What’s a great casino experience without the best dining around? You don’t have one. Luckily, you’ll have an outstanding experience at Parx because not only do you have top-notch dining options; you can also choose between upscale dining, casual dining, or the quick in and out.

Here’s a rundown of Parx Casino’s dining options:

The award-winning, upscale food and atmosphere is found at Parxgrill. They feature the area’s unique menu options, along with seasonal specialties inspired by the restaurant’s top-notch chefs.

Farm to fork is how the Liberty Bell Gastropub describes its casual dining option. And comfort foods are their specialty. Whether you’re in the mood for the best gourmet burgers around. Made from local ingredients, premium pork, or free-range chicken, you’ll find all of it here.

The Liberty Bell Gastropub Dish

Whether craft beers, fine wine, or specialty cocktails are on your mind, The Liberty Bell Beer Garden has you covered. How do chef-inspired dishes along with an all-season firepit sound to spice up the atmosphere? Hey, you can count me in.

Chef Joe Zhou personally designed the Bambu Noodle House’s menu. So whether you’re in the mood for appetizers, soups, Peking Duck, or steamed lotus, rest assured you’re getting the highest quality Asian-inspired cuisine in the area.

Add a high-end food menu plus the area’s largest craft beer and superior cocktail selection. You get Xlounge. The highest-quality lounge slash bar on Philadelphia’s North Side. Take a seat in those luxury couches and you will experience paradise on Earth.

Are you the grab and go type? The Lucky Cheese is your place. Featuring grilled cheeses, panini, soups, salad entrees, and more, this is your one-stop-shop for the best grab and go food in the area.

Voted the #1 Sports Bar in America, Chickie’s & Pete’s is rocking with fresh seafood, beer towers, interactive gaming, and the big Philadelphia Eagles games. If you’re the sporty type, you know where to go.

Only the top foodies in the area will love what Foodies offers. So if you’re a foodie, hop into this laid back atmosphere and take advantage of the venue’s freshest area ingredients. Served right on the go.

And don’t forget to check out Jax, Parx’s premier sports bar. Experience adrenaline-pumping video poker at one of the 20 machines scattered about the venue while watching your Eagles, Flyers, Phillies, and Sixers bring home another W.

Parx Casino Promotions and Entertainment

Promos and entertainment are always a thing here at Parks. The primary promotion includes the Parx Casino Xclub. And yes, the Xclub involves instant rewards, such as free slot play, sweepstakes entries, points, casino comps, and more.

Sign up, play, and earn points. The more you play, the higher your status at Xclub becomes over the next six months. So, if you play often and earn 7,500-plus credits, you’ll find yourself at Elite Status. And earning benefits like priority gift pickup, next car up valet service, priority food reservations, and more.

The catch? You need to accumulate the number of points every six months. But once you’re at a specific status, you’ll keep those points for six months while accumulating rewards points for the next six months. Play often and never lose that status.

Entertainment at Parx Casino is always rocking and rolling. The party is going on all night long with live entertainment at the Xcite Center, the casino’s premier live entertainment venue. If you’re looking for the greatest local acts in the area, Xlounge and Chickie’s & Pete’s have you covered.

Come in, get entertained, enjoy a cocktail or two, and have a night to remember after a day of gaming at the casino.

Parx Casino Accommodations and Nearby Attractions

There are six awesome venues to choose from when planning your casino trip.

Let’s begin with the Marriott in Bensalem, where you’ll experience perhaps the most luxurious stay of the bunch. Prices begin at $129 plus tax.

Casual options include the Holiday Inn, Radisson Hotel, Wyndham Philadelphia, Best Western Plus, and Extended Stay Philadelphia. The prices are subject to change, but they price the options listed here between $82 and $99, plus tax.

Liberty Bell Exhibit in Pennsylvania

Looking to take time off from the casino and explore the area? Good idea, as you’re near the epicenter of American history, science, and sports.

Obviously, there are plenty of bars and venues in the surrounding area to watch your favorite Philadelphia area sports teams. And if you’re lucky enough to get into the show, more power to you. Especially those Eagles games.

If you’re into history, you’ll love the attractions abound in this area, including the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. You can also visit the Philadelphia Zoo and Camden Aquarium to find the best exotic wildlife in the world in some of America’s largest and oldest attractions.

Parx Casino Racing

And as with all racinos, we always need to dedicate time to racing. Parx Casino is one of the few casinos to have an additional website to its casino site dedicated completely to horse racing.

So for the complete rundown including the event schedule, Phonebet, race results, horsemen, and wagering information, visit the Parx Racing website.

Now for the brief rundown. What can you expect at Parx Racing?

Parx Racing Track Lineup

You’re looking at live racing from the best thoroughbred horses in the nation. Horses, jockeys, and trainers come here from all over the US to face off. And if you can’t make it to the casino to get in on the action and place your bet, pick up all the action on the simulcast.

So, whether you’re live at the track or if you’re on crunch time and can’t make it to the big events, never sweat. Place your bet online, watch the simulcast, cheer on your horse, and hopefully, they’ll win you some dough.

Now, as they say at Parx: Let’s Go Racing.

Conclusion

As you can see, Parx Casino and Racing is by far the largest casino and racetrack complex the State of Pennsylvania offers. With thousands of slot games and nearly 200 table games, you’ll never get bored.

If sports betting and horse racing are your thing, then you can spend all day watching the games and races 52 weeks a year.

What’s not to get excited about?

And if you venture off the casino grounds, there’s a large city just south of Bensalem waiting to be explored. One that is rich in history and tradition.

So what are you waiting for?

Plan your trip to Parx Casino and Racing today.

And have you been here? Let us know in the comments and tell us about your experience.

10 Question Gambling Quiz – Only Winners Can Ace This Quiz

Happy Man Holding Money With  a Hand Writing on Paper

You can find plenty of quizzes online about anything that you can imagine. And most of them are fairly easy. But if you use quizzes with the right mindset you can learn a great deal about the subject each quiz covers.

I’ve put together the most challenging quiz about gambling that I could come up with. This isn’t meant to embarrass you about your lack of knowledge. It’s designed to help you learn how to become a better gambler.

After you take this quiz you’re going to know more about how to win when you gamble for real money.

Gambling Questions

This section includes the 10 gambling questions. Don’t skip ahead to the answer section until you answer all 10 questions. Then see if your gambling knowledge is as good as consistent winners.

  1. What casino game has the lowest edge?
  2. What casino game has the highest edge?
  3. Do online bonuses help you win?
  4. What’s the difference between online gambling and mobile gambling?
  5. What’s the best wager available in most casinos?
  6. Does bankroll management help you win?
  7. How do sportsbooks make money?
  8. Are there any downsides to rewards programs?
  9. What is pari-mutuel gambling?
  10. Is blackjack or poker better for advantage gamblers?

The Answers

Here are the answers to the 10 gambling questions. Don’t worry if you don’t get them all correct, because almost nobody can ace this quiz. Learn from the questions that you get incorrect and your casino gambling results are bound to improve.

  1. What casino game has the lowest edge? – This question is challenging because it depends on a few things. Blackjack games with great rules when you use good strategy are the lowest house edge in some casinos. Certain video poker games with the right pay tables and strategy are the lowest in other casinos. If you’re a good poker player, the poker tables have the lowest edge in the casinos that offer poker. If you answered this question with any of these answers, and you know why the answer is correct, you can claim a correct answer for this question.
  2. What casino game has the highest edge? – The game with the worst casino edge is keno, but most casinos don’t offer it anymore. In most casinos some of the slot machines have the worst casino edge. But you usually don’t know exactly what the edge is for each slot machine. The edge on some of the inside wagers at the craps table are over 10%, and the tie wager at the baccarat table is also over 10%. All of these are terrible casino wagers. So if you answered any of these bets or games you can claim a correct answer.
  3. Online Keno Game Screenshot

  4. Do online bonuses help you win? – This is kind of a trick question because in most cases online casino bonuses don’t help you win. But the truth is that every once in a while you can find an online bonus that helps you win. I’ll explain both sides of online bonuses. Bonuses have play through requirements. This means that you have to play a certain amount of wagers before the bonus is cleared. Most of the time the requirements are so high that you lose the entire bonus and most or all of your deposit before you meet the requirements. However, sometimes you can find a bonus that doesn’t have an outrageous wager amount to clear that you can use when you play a game with a low casino edge. Games like blackjack and some video poker games are the most common to look for. These bonuses are rare, but you need to look for them because they can help you make a small profit in the right situation.
  5. What’s the difference between online gambling and mobile gambling? – The obvious difference between online and mobile gambling is that you do one thing online and the other on a phone or tablet type device. But the truth is that the two things are basically the same. Many online casinos can be played on a phone or tablet. And some mobile casinos can be played on a computer. Most mobile casinos are designed as apps to be played on mobile devices, but you can get a special program that lets you use many phone apps on your computer. As far as the game play, it’s the same whether you play on a computer or on a mobile device.
  6. What’s the best wager available in most casinos? – One of the best bets available in casinos is the odds wager on the craps table. The odds wager is the only wager in the casino that doesn’t have a casino edge. This means that in the long run you’re going to break even on your odds wagers. So why doesn’t everyone just make the odds wager? The first thing is that most gamblers don’t even know this wager option exists. And the second reason is that you aren’t allowed to make a odds wager until after you place a come out roll wager. The come out roll wager has a casino edge, so the casino has an edge overall even when you can place an odds wager. If you’re a craps player, you should always use the odds wager after placing a wager on the come out roll.

    Overhead View of a Craps Game

  7. Does bankroll management help you win?Casino bankroll management doesn’t help you win. However, bankroll management is important. If you don’t use good bankroll management you run out of money before you want to stop gambling. And if you run out of money and find a good betting opportunity, you won’t be able to take advantage of the good opportunity. You should use a bankroll for all of your gambling activities, and you should be using your bankroll to help you decide the best bet size to make. You can also use a bankroll to track how well you’re doing when you gamble.
  8. How do sportsbooks make money? – Many gamblers think that how sportsbooks make money is by gamblers losing their wagers. This is somewhat true, but it’s not from the money from the main wager that they make money. The profits come from the vig charged on losing wagers. When you lose a sportsbook wager you lose the amount you risked, including the vig. The vig is the extra $10 when you risk $110 on a bet that only pays back $100.
  9. Are there any downsides to rewards programs? – Many casinos offer a rewards program for gamblers. These programs are called many different names, and what you earn is usually called casino comps. The main way these programs work is they track how much you gamble and give you back a small percentage of the total amount you risk based on the game you play. For the most part rewards programs are great for gamblers. You get back some of what you lose, though this is usually in the form of services or products instead of cash. But there’s at least one possible drawback to rewards programs. Rewards programs usually have levels or tiers, and some gamblers gamble more than they originally planned just so they can reach the next tier or rewards level. This is never a good idea, because you almost always lose more than you gain at the next tier or level.

    Casino Players Club Desk

  10. What is pari-mutuel gambling? – Pari-mutuel gambling is most often used I the horse racing industry. The only reason you need to know about how it works is if you’re betting on horse races. But if you do bet on the horses, you need to understand how pari-mutuel pools work. All of the wagers placed on a horse race are placed in a pool. The horse track takes a percentage of the total pool to keep as profit. The amount the track keeps varies, but is usually between 15 and 20%. The remaining money is paid out to winning gamblers. All of the odds for the race are based on the amount of money wagered on each possible outcome. This means that the favorite in a race has nothing to do with how likely they are to win, but on how much the betting public thinks they’re likely to win.
  11. Is blackjack or poker better for advantage gamblers? – Blackjack is easier to learn than poker if you want to play at a winning level. But poker is better in at least one way. Casinos throw advantage gamblers out and don’t bother winning poker players. This means the answer depends on if you’re looking for the safest or easiest way to be an advantage gambler.

Conclusion

How many questions did you get right? If you got 10 out of 10 you need to stop reading articles online and start making money gambling. But don’t worry if you didn’t get all 10 questions correct.

Use the answers from the questions you missed to become a better gambler. Winning gamblers have learned how to use their knowledge to find ways to beat the casinos, poker rooms, and sportsbooks.

Knowledge is profitable for gamblers, and now you know more than you did when you started this quiz. Take things to the next level by using what you learned to make more money.

How Hard Is It to Count Cards in Blackjack?

Blackjack Hand With a Numbers and Suits Background

Don’t ever mention the phrase “card counting” in a casino – unless, of course, you have no intention of counting cards. Casinos want you think counting cards is illegal (it isn’t), and they’ll call you a cheater and run you out of there on the vaguest suspicion that you’re involved in card counting.

This is the first in a series of blog posts I’m writing about counting cards in blackjack, and the focus of this first post is to discuss how hard it is to count cards in blackjack.

I’m not going to lie, either – counting cards in blackjack isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do – although it isn’t as hard as you might think, either.

Understanding Advantage Play and Blackjack

Blackjack card counting is simple in theory, but putting into practice and combining it with a specific mindset is harder.

That mindset is called “advantage play.”

In gambling, advantage play is when you place bets where you’re getting the best of it mathematically. In all casino games, the house has a mathematical edge. In some games and situations, you can change the way you play to tilt that math in your favor.

Blackjack Dealing Dealing Cards

That mindset usually includes being unwilling to ever make a wager where you don’t have an advantage. Recreational gamblers, by definition, aren’t playing with a mathematical edge against the house. I do know some card counters who are still willing to put money down at the craps table or the roulette table.

Such card counters don’t qualify as advantage players even though they sometimes use an advantage play technique during a specific game.

And, of course, the most famous advantage play technique in the casino is counting cards.

The Importance of Basic Strategy

One of the common misconceptions among casino gamblers and real money blackjack players is that you can get an edge over the casino just by playing each hand correctly. The correct play for every possible situation is called “basic strategy,” and you must master basic strategy before counting cards.

But basic strategy alone won’t give you an edge.

It just brings the house edge down to the lowest possible number.

You might play in a blackjack game where the house edge for the game is 0.5%, but if you’re making several basic strategy mistakes, you might bring the house edge up to 2% or 3%. You’re giving money to the casino if you do so.

Basic strategy is based on your two cards and the dealer’s up-card. You can choose to double, hit, split, stand, or surrender. One of those choices is always mathematically better than all the others.

Basic strategy has been computed and tested repeatedly with computer simulations. The game conditions affect a small percentage of situations, but any basic strategy chart is usually almost completely accurate.

Is mastering basic strategy hard?

It depends on how good at memorization you are.

But even someone who’s bad at memorization can eventually master basic strategy.

You MUST master basic strategy before even considering counting cards.

The History of Casino Card Counting

Dr. Edward Thorp is considered the father of card counting. He read an article called “The Optimum Strategy in Blackjack” while he was still a professor at UCLA. This article was written by Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel, and James McDermott. (They subsequently became known as “The Four Horsemen.”

In that article, the authors created and explained both basic strategy and card counting. Dr. Thorp took the basic theories in that article and refined them with computer simulations. The idea was simple enough – what effect does removing a specific card from a deck of cards do to your odds?

If you don’t intuitively understand why removing a card from a deck would matter, consider this – what if all the aces from a deck have already been dealt?

What happens to your probability of getting a blackjack?

Ace and Jack of Spades

If you’re playing in a single deck blackjack game, your probability of getting a blackjack drops to 0%. It’s impossible to get such a hand without an ace.

And, since a blackjack pays off at 3-to-2 instead of even money, the house edge increases in this situation.

The next leap in logic isn’t huge. The fewer 10s you have in the deck, the lower the probability of getting a blackjack becomes. After all, you need a 10 and an ace to get a blackjack. There’s no other way.

Removing those 10s has other effects, too. It means that doubling down and splitting become less profitable, too.

Thorp used this line of thinking to develop the first formal card counting system – “the tens count.”

How to Use the Ten Count System That Edward Thorp Used

I should point out that the ten count is not the optimal card counting system to use. But, since it was the first, it might be illustrative to talk about how to use it.

The first step to using this card counting system is to memorize blackjack basic strategy and commit to make every playing decision based on basic strategy. You then keep a running count that reflects the ratio of high cards to low cards in the deck. Each card has a value that you add or subtract from the running count.

Every time a low card gets dealt, your edge increases. Every time a high card gets dealt, your edge decreases.

In the ten count system, the 10s, jacks, queens, and kings are the high cards. You count them as -9 each.

All the other cards in the deck – including the ace – count as +4.

You start with 0 and move the count up or down based on the +4s and -9s.

When your count is 0 or lower, you should bet as little as possible. When the count is +1 or higher, you should bet more. The higher the count is, the more you should bet.

This system, by the way, is only useful when you’re playing in a single deck game. It doesn’t work well at all in games with two or more decks.

Does the ten count seem like a hard counting system to use?

If so, that’s because it is.

The Hi-Lo System for Counting Cards

A better system for counting cards, in terms of usefulness, is the hi-lo system. Unlike Thorp’s 10 count system, the only values you need to use when counting are +1 and -1, which makes the system exponentially easier to use.

In the hi-lo system, the low cards are 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Those cards all count as +1.

The 7, 8, and 9 are considered middle cards and count as 0.

The aces and 10s (including the face cards) count as -1.

Overhead View of a Blackjack Dealer

As with the 10 count, you start your count at 0 and move up or down by 1 depending on which cards are dealt. If you’re playing in a single deck game, you just use the running count to determine how much you bet.

If you’re playing in a game with multiple decks, you must convert the running count into the “true count.” You do this by dividing the running count by how many decks you estimate are still in the shoe.

This is a step that a lot of beginning card counters hate, but it’s not as hard as they think. A rough estimate is good enough to get an advantage over the casino house edge.

What Is a Betting Spread, and How Do You Bet?

Most card counting books offer specific strategies for raising and lowering the sizes of your bets based on the true count. The problem is that casino staff are familiar with the same books. If you count cards and raise the size of your bets “by the book,” you’ll get noticed right away.

The biggest tipoff to the casino that you’re counting cards is the size of your betting spread – that’s just a ratio of your lowest bet compared to your highest bet. For example, if you’re betting between $5 and $25, your betting spread is 5-to-1.

The bigger that difference is, the more likely you are to get heat from the casino. At the same time, though, the bigger your betting spread is, the more of an edge you gain over the house.

There are techniques you can use to camouflage that you’re counting. Keeping the betting spread small is one of them. Another is to only increase the size of your bet after winning a hand. Lots of players do this when they’re feeling lucky.

It’s also common for players to lower the size of their bets after losing hands, so you can do the same thing. The problem with those camouflage techniques is that they all cut into your edge over the casino.

Conclusion

Does counting cards seem hard based on what I’ve presented so far?

It’s not the easiest thing in the world to do, but it’s far from impossible.

In the other posts in this series, I’ll go into more detail about the intricacies of counting cards.

5 Numbers Every Gambler Needs to Know

Thinking Man With a Math Equation Blackboard Background

I’m guessing that you don’t love math. This is safe to say because the majority of adults don’t care much for math. But if you refuse to learn a few fairly simple mathematical facts, your odds of becoming a winning gambler are small.

Well, I’ve got good news for you. The mathematical facts you need to learn really aren’t that difficult. And they won’t take too much of your time either.

Here are six numbers that every gambler needs to know. Spend a little bit of time learning these facts now and you’re going to benefit for the rest of your life.

1 – Casino Edge Numbers

Gambling games have a house edge that creates the profit for the casino. Some gambling activities have a high casino edge and others have a lower edge. But one thing you can be sure of is that every gambling activity you participate in is designed with an edge that works against you.

Most gamblers know at some level that the odds are stacked against them, but they keep gambling because they get lucky every once in a while and win. But they don’t know exactly how much the casino edge is.

You need to learn what the casino edge is for the games you play before you do any more gambling.

When you know what the casino edge is, it not only helps you find the best gambling activities to participate in, but it also helps you determine exactly how much you can expect to lose. Learn how this works in the next section.

2 – Long-Term Expected Results

You can use a simple formula to figure out exactly how much you can expect to lose doing any gambling activity when you know the casino edge. All you need to know is what the edge is and how much you risk in total.

You can figure out how much you can expect to lose every hour, every week, every month, every year, or for any other amount of time, as long as you know how much you’re going to risk in total.

The simple formula to determine your expected loss is the casino edge times the total amount wagered. This is easy to understand when you see an example.

Orange Baccarat Table Game

You’re playing baccarat and are betting on the player hand. The casino edge is 1.24%. Your average bet amount is $40. You play 60 hands every hour, and you play 10 hours every week.

To determine your expected loss per hour, multiply 1.24% times $40 times 60. You play 60 hands every hour at $40 per hand. This formula tells you that your expected loss every hour is $29.76.

If you want to know your expected loss every week, multiply this total times the 10 hours you play every week. This is a total of $297.60. This makes it clear to see that even with a relatively small casino edge, your expected losses can stack up quickly.

You also need to understand that this means you need to find gambling activities with a lower casino edge. Or even better, find a few gambling activities that allow you to eliminate the casino edge or turn the edge in your favor.

3 – How to Determine Card Odds

Many casino games use cards, and even some machine games are card-based, like video poker. When a game uses cards you can use some simple probability to help you figure out the odds of certain cards being dealt next.

This starts with the knowledge of the cards in a deck. Most gamblers are familiar with a deck of cards, but if you’re not, pick up a deck and study the cards.

If you’re playing real money blackjack and the dealer has an ace, how likely is it that their face down card is worth 10 Points? A deck of cards has 16 cards that are worth 10 points in blackjack and 36 cards that aren’t worth 10 points. This means that 16 out of 52 cards are worth 10 points, or the ratio of 10 point cards verses non 10 point cards is 16 to 36.

Blackjack Split Aces Hand

Here’s another example. You’re playing video poker and have four hearts. You exchange your fifth card for another. What are the odds of drawing a fifth heart? You know the deck has 13 hearts and you have four of them. This leaves nine hearts in the deck. You know the value of five cards, so there are 47 unseen cards. This means that nine out of the 47 possible cards are hearts.

When you’re playing any casino game involving cards, you can use this type of information to help you make better playing decisions. Every time you use card odds to make a better decision, it gives you a better chance to win.

4 – Percentage of Bankroll to Risk

When you’re gambling, you obviously need money to keep playing. When you have a losing streak and it takes all of your money, you have to stop gambling until you can get more.

You should be setting aside a certain amount of money that you can use for gambling. This is called your casino bankroll. By setting aside a separate amount for a bankroll, it’s easier to track your wins and losses, and it helps you make sure that you’re not gambling with money for the rent or electric bill.

You can use the information you learned in the first two sections to get an idea of how big your bankroll needs to be for a gambling session or trip. Here’s an example of how to determine how much you need.

Let’s say you’re going on a three-day trip to Atlantic City, and you’re planning to play blackjack. You’ve played there before and know where some blackjack tables are that have a casino edge of 0.5%. Your average wager is $25, and you usually average around 50 hands every hour. You plan to play blackjack for 20 hours over the three days.

You can use this information to determine how much you can expect to lose. And you can use this number to figure out a safe bankroll amount to make sure you don’t run out of money.

0.5% casino edge times $25 per hand time 50 hands per hour times 20 hours of play gives you the expected loss. This is an expected loss of $125. This isn’t a big loss for 20 hours of gambling, but you need to take more than that in case you hit a losing streak.

I recommend taking at least four times your expected loss, and 10 times is even better.

5 – Bankroll Amount

In the first section, you learned about the casino edge. As a gambler, as long as you’re participating in gambling activities that give the casino the edge, you’re going to lose money. That’s just what casinos need to do in order to run their business.

This means that no matter how big your bankroll is, it’s never big enough if you give the casino an edge. You’re eventually going to deplete your bankroll, or you’re going to need to continuously add funds to your bankroll.

Row of Slot Machines

This is what most gamblers do. They gamble and hope to get lucky. Occasionally, they win, but eventually, the numbers catch up with them and they lose all of their money. When they get paid or sell something, they add money to their bankroll and hope to get lucky again.

If you’re gambling against a casino edge, you don’t need to worry about the size of your bankroll. It’s never going to be big enough.

You can gamble whenever you have money, but worrying about your bankroll is a waste of time.

On the other hand, if you’re playing with advantage gambling, your bankroll is important. With an edge, the main goal you need to have with your bankroll is to make sure it’s big enough to survive until the edge you’re playing with works by building your bankroll.

When you have an edge is when the information you learned in the last section comes into play.

Conclusion

Now that you know these five gambling numbers, you can look at every wagering opportunity in a new light. Find the casino edge so you can accurately determine the long term expectation. This is going to save you money for the rest of your life.

You can also use odds to make decisions in many casino games. You need every advantage you can find to overcome the casino and the edge. The odds are stacked against you, but you can use these numbers to improve the odds and improve your chances of winning every time you gamble.

Ohio Casinos: Miami Valley Gaming Raceway and Casino Review

Miami Valley Gaming Exterior and Casino Floor

Just north of Cincinnati, Ohio sits Miami Valley Gaming Racino in the tiny township of Turtle Creek. But just because the area’s small doesn’t mean it’s short of live casino gaming and racing entertainment.

Far from it.

Instead, this racino completes a decent trifecta of casinos in the Cincinnati region that also includes Belterra Park and Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati.

If you’re into the gaming scene, then you definitely want to make the trip north of Cincinnati and experience everything great this casino offers.

From outstanding gaming to dining to entertainment options, this big casino in a small town gives you a look into the Ohio gambling scene. Let’s take a closer look, starting with a brief history.

Miami Valley Gaming History

Opening its doors in 2013, the raceway replaces the old Lebanon Raceway. A joint venture involving Churchill Downs Inc. and Delaware North Companies agreed to purchase the track for $60 million back in 2012 and relocate it to coincide with the opening of a new racino.

Miami Valley Casino Racetrack

In 2017, the racino underwent an expansion project to add a patio and high-limit areas. And you can bet that as the gambling scene continues to become an even greater influence in the State of Ohio that further expansion will take place at Miami Valley.

As far as the casino itself is concerned, there’s not much history. That means you could make history at the location with that next jackpot or perhaps placing the winning bet on the big race. The only way to know is to come and see what this casino offers. Let’s get started.

Casino Gaming and Promotions

Miami Valley Gaming’s casino room includes 777 of the hottest video lottery terminals (VLTs) in the region, including all of your favorites. You can find games like Triple Big Wheel, Diamond Burst, Wolf Ridge, Devil’s Pitchforks, and more among others.

You can also engage in daily, seasonal, and monthly promotions like the $25,000 Spooktacular, Clue Rewards, Super Player – Super Prizes, and more.

Join the MVG Club and you will receive several benefits and casino comps just by playing. New members automatically earn $10 in Free Play and enjoy other benefits like food comp, bonuses, and the more you play, the more Free Play you will win.

For each dollar coin you play, you’ll earn a point and once you earn 1,000 points, exchange them in for one dollar worth of free play or food comp. The more you play, the more you redeem.

Miami Valley Gaming Dining Options

There are four dining options at Miami Valley Gaming, each with its own unique features and themes.

It starts with one of the best burger joints around, the Trifecta Eatery. Come and indulge in some of the juiciest burgers, flatbread pizza, pulled pork, all your favorites in one convenient location. They guarantee to serve your food hot, fast, and fresh.

If you’re out late and need a bite, then MV Perks is the place to be. Whether you’re looking for all-day breakfast options, seasonal salads, desserts, or some high-end energy drinks to rejuvenate you for the gaming floor, MV Perks has what you’re looking for.

Dining Room in Miami Valley Casino

Cin City is definitely your option if casual elegance is on your mind. Providing some of the best dinner options in the area, sit down, and enjoy a small taste of the high-life. Cin City uses only the freshest ingredients, so you know you’re getting high quality every time you step in to eat.

If you’re looking for a bit of everything, then Acres Buffet is where it’s at. Fill up with savory all-you-can-eat options, including the finest global cuisine in the area.

Entertainment and Expansion

Come to the Center Bar where you’ll find world-class and local acts in music, comedy, and entertainment. Center Bar is thriving every Friday and Saturday, and Miami Valley is always happy to bring in the hottest up and coming local artists in the area.

Miami Valley is a smaller casino and is definitely more known for its racing than anything else. But expect that to change soon with its expansion plan.However, you can follow the casino’s expansion on the Miami Valley Gaming website and stay up-to-date on information along with graphics what’s coming. Let’s just say that if you need hotel and room accommodations, they’re well on the way to Miami Valley.

And once the world is our normal world once more, expect some major expansion to begin. This will be huge for the State of Ohio and definitely Southwest Ohio as the gaming scene continues to grow in the Cincinnati area.

Nearby Area Attractions

We already discussed a couple of the other land based casinos in the area at Belterra Park and Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati. If you’re looking for serious table gaming, then Hard Rock Cincy is more than worth the visit.

However, Southwest Ohio also has more than its fair share of nearby attractions, including its rabid sports scene featuring the Cincinnati Bengals, Reds, Bearcats, FC Cincinnati, and Xavier Musketeers. For the avid sports fan, Cincy is a must-see for some of the most top-level sports scenes in the area.

And for in-season professional hockey action, you can always check out the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones, an affiliate of the AHL’s Rochester Americans and the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres.

Kings Island Amusement Park at Night

But, if you’re not into sports, no worries, as Cincinnati is also world renown for its theater and music scene. And there is no shortage of excellent options in the area.

Music-related events are also a big thing in the city, such as the Cincinnati May Festival, Bunbury Music Festival, Cincinnati Bell/WEBN Riverfest, and more. So if you’re in town during any of these events, they’re most definitely worth checking out.

Oh, and if you’re looking for the ideal stress-free day, then definitely hit up the Kings Island amusement park in nearby Mason, Ohio. And make sure you get a photo with their iconic entrance that features a replica of the Eiffel Tower.

But if amusement parks aren’t your thing, you can always hit up the LaComedia Dinner Theater, the Cincinnati Zoo, or my personal preference, the Little Miami Scenic Bike Trail. That last one is a guaranteed workout that offers the greatest scenery in the Miami Valley.

The Racing Scene at Miami Valley Gaming

The most well-known attraction to Miami Valley Gaming is its racing scene. At the time of this writing, live racing at the Miami Valley Raceway will return in January 2021, so with the new year comes the rebirth of some of the biggest and best horse racing events in Ohio.

There’s definitely a lot to look forward to as this tumultuous start of the decade fades into a new year at the Miami Valley Gaming Raceway and they are looking forward to seeing you there.

The Accommodations at Miami Valley Gaming

There are several great hotel options within a respectable distance from Miami Valley Gaming.

Whether you’re looking for something higher-end or more economical, you will find what you’re looking for in the area.

Some more basic options include the Hampton Inn, Fairfield Inn, Holiday Inn, and Residence Inn.

You’ll find some of the best, low-cost packages around, including some special seasonal rates. So if you’re looking to get the best bang for your buck, the Hampton and Holiday Inn will accommodate. Just ask for the special rates.

Hampton Inn in Fairfield

If you want more sophistication, then you’ll love every bit of what the Kirkwood Inn. Kirkwood provides arguably the most classic atmosphere around combined with just the right amount of luxury, which includes Jacuzzi-style tubs and hot breakfasts in the morning.

And don’t forget to take a trip to the Kirkwood House, which is also on the site.

The Great Wolf Lodge is another jumper if you’re looking for something more than an economical Hampton Inn. If you lodge here, make sure you enjoy the indoor water park and activities after a long day of casino gaming and horserace wagering.

At the lodge, you can also take your pick between standard, themed, and premium suites, finding something that is sure to fit your needs when planning your casino trip.

Conclusion

The wonderful thing about Miami Valley Gaming is that it’s a small racino sure to evolve into a kingpin in Ohio’s casino industry throughout the next decade. Especially when their expansion project kicks off.

But they still have an excellent selection of casino games, an outstanding card of harness horseracing, and a vibrant area that just keeps on growing.

Along with some of the finest entertainment and dining options, Miami Valley Gaming is becoming its own one-stop-shop. The future looks beyond bright for this racino, so if you’re traveling through Southwest Ohio, be sure to stop here and witness the evolution for yourself.

But with so much to do in the area, plan a full-scale vacation before you travel here.

Have you stopped at Maimi Valley Gaming and the Cincy area and if so, how was your experience? Tell us in the comments.

The 7 Best Casinos in Florida

Florida Flag With a Casino Background

The Sunshine State has an endless supply of ways to keep you occupied. Gambling is among the up and coming forerunners.

If you’re over the Disney resorts and have had your fill of sand getting in all the wrong places, check out these seven best casinos for gambling in Florida.

1 – Seminole Hard Rock Casino

The Hard Rock brand was launched in the 1970s. It was the 90s when the brand hit its peak level of popularity.

While the brand isn’t the juggernaut it once was, it still holds enough weight to draw in the crowds.

Visitors to Tampa can enjoy a unique partnership between the Hard Rock brand and the Seminole Tribe. The result of the collaboration is the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

The luxurious hotel-casino offers guests well-appointed rooms to recharge after a long day and night of gambling fun. Of course, there are several bars and restaurants to choose from aligning with the brand’s principle area of operations.

Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Florida

The casino at the Hard Rock is a true standout. The impressive gaming floor has nearly 50 tables for gamblers to enjoy games like Mississippi Stud, baccarat, and Texas Hold’Em.

If you’re not into card games, you’ll be happy to hear about the casino’s slot machines. The casino recently expanded the casino to make room for over 100 new machines.

You can enjoy the latest popular titles like Shark Week or Buffalo Gold. You can even take a deep breath and relax at your favorite game in the casino’s non-smoking section. Best of all, the slots are available for play 24/7. So, you needn’t concern yourself with pesky things like sleep at the Seminole Hard Rock.

However, I encourage you to take advantage of brilliant rooms after a long night. The Rock Spa offers a full-service experience for visitors.

You can receive services ranging from a complete barbershop to the latest in spa therapy treatments.

If you’re in the Tampa area and looking to party like a rockstar, the Hard Rock definitely fits the bill.

2 – Dania Jai-Alai

Jai-Alai is not at the forefront of most casino gamblers in the U.S. I imagine it’s not top of mind for many Americans at all.

Despite that, the sport is alive and thriving in South Florida. The Miami establishment offers jai-alai matches every day of the week.

Bettors crowd the facility to place their wagers on the forgotten sport. Weekends are especially busy at Dania, with multiple matches taking place.

Visitors are also able to place simulcast bets on harness racing, thoroughbreds, and jai-alai.

The gambling no longer stops there, though. The Dania has added a traditional casino to its repertoire, and the games have made an immediate impression.

Dania Jai-Alai Casino in Florida

The casino has over 900 slot machines for gaming enthusiasts to pick from. Gamblers also have their choice of the most popular table games.

The standards like blackjack, craps, and roulette all sit at the ready. If you’re a poker aficionado, you’ll be right at home on any of the two dozen poker tables.

Poker is the Dania casino star, and you can choose from Texas Hold’Em, Omaha, and 7-Card Stud.

If you’re expecting a Las Vegas experience at Dania Jai-Alai, you’ll be disappointed. However, it’s proving to be a great place for locals and tourists to get their gambling fix in Florida.

3 – Seminole Casino, Brighton

The Seminole Casino Brighton is an entertainment mecca in the heart of Florida. The casino draws large crowds from both Tampa and Orlando year after year.

Gamblers at the Seminole Casino can enjoy over 400 different slot machines during their visit. From classic games to the latest video slots, Seminole has it all.

If you’re not having fun on one game, take a stroll around the 28,000 square feet of real money slots, and you’re sure to find a game you like.

Brighton Seminole Casino in Florida

From penny slots to $5 per spin, the Seminole can keep you gambling all night regardless of your bankroll.

If you’re in the mood for table games, you’re in luck. Table games are where the Seminole truly shines. Players gather around the blackjack and poker tables well into the morning hours.

The blackjack tables offer a “match the dealer” side bet where you can win 20x your wager. 3-card poker is another major hit at the casino, and the fast-paced games have some of the most lively crowds in the casino.

Be sure to sign up for the Seminole’s Wild Card. The Wild Card is a tier-based rewards program and is accepted at several different Floridian casinos.

You can earn player bonuses and comp dollars to spend on food, hotel rooms, and even merchandise in the gift shop.

4 – Magic City Casino

Magic City Casino is on the cutting edge of casino gambling. Magic City transitioned from a Greyhound racing complex to Jai-Alai back in 2018.

So, if you’re traveling to Florida in search of the elusive jai-alai, you can find matches Wednesday-Sunday. Of course, jai-alai doesn’t really qualify as cutting edge casino play.

However, electronic table games are some of the latest in casino technology. In fact, all 40 of the casino’s table games are electronic.

That means virtual dealers for games like blackjack and a virtual wheel for roulette. When you enter the gaming area at Magic City, it’s easy to mistake the electronic games for slot machines.

Electronic Roulette Table Game

The entire floor resembles a massive arcade, and players gather around the machines to play and out of general curiosity.

The slot machine selection at Magic City is large enough to impress almost any critic. The casino has over 800 slot machines to choose from and plenty of variety to boot.

Poker is king at Magic City. The poker room has 18 tables with action going into the wee hours of the morning seven nights a week.

The poker room has daily promotions for rewards members to earn bonuses. There are massive poker jackpots that can instantly turn a player’s luck around.

The Big Mouth Buffet is worth mentioning. I’m not a buffet connoisseur by any means, but if you’ve drained the battery and in need of a recharge, this buffet has you covered and smothered.

5 – Victory Casino Cruises

Victory Casino Cruises makes a list for many reasons, but I’ll be real. Ingenuity is at the top of the list.

While it’s illegal to gamble in many parts of Florida, Victory has found a massive loophole and exploited it.

You see, by taking the casino 12 miles out to sea, the vessel is no longer bound to federal or state laws. Maritime law becomes the authority aboard the vessel, and gambling is fair play.

Victory Casino Cruise in Florida

Victory Casino Cruises take passengers on their open water adventures twice a day, seven days a week. The length of the excursions varies between five and six hours, and you’ll have your pick of the time.

The casinos on the massive ships are spread over four decks and have close to 700 slot machines at your disposal. You’ll also find 27 table games onboard. Players have their choice of roulette, blackjack, poker, and even craps.

Sports bettors often crowd the ships on their trips to the sea. Sports bettors are able to find competitive lines on everything from MMA to golf.

Victory Casino Cruises definitely gets the win for ingenuity, but they also boast an impressive table gaming experience.

6 – Seminole Coconut Creek Casino

Seminole Coconut Creek is one of the biggest casinos in the state of Florida, and it has plenty of casino games.

For starters, the poker room at Coconut Creek has 15 Poler tables. This means reduced wait times when looking for a table. Still, it also means the Seminole Coconut Creek can host some of the state’s largest poker tournaments.

Coconut Creek Casino in Florida

Also, Coconut Creek offers an impressive 70 table games. Including a dozen electronic roulette tables.

Rounding it all out are the 1500 slot machines for players to spin the hours away on.

So, by the numbers, the Coconut Creek has nearly 1600 available games to be played at any given time. This amount of action makes Seminole Coconut Creek one of the most action-packed casinos in Florida.

7 – The Big Easy

The Big Easy took the place of the Mardi Gras Casino after storms damaged it, this is Florida.

You won’t find any table games at the Big Easy, but the casino does offer over 30 poker tables.

Slot machines are a popular attraction at the Big Easy, and players have hundreds to choose from, 1300 to be exact. You can even enjoy slots on the casino’s designated outdoor smoking patio.

The Big Easy Casino in Florida

The Big Easy’s claim to fame is the video poker machines. The casino claims to have more of these games than any casino in Florida.

If playing video poker is your favorite casino activity, load up the family and take a trip to The Big Easy, Florida.

Conclusion

You don’t have to battle the traffic or cold weather in Atlantic City for your casino getaway on the east coast. Nor do you need to make a Clark Griswold-Esque pilgrimage through middle America to Las Vegas.

You can find all the casino fun you’re looking for and perhaps even learn a thing about jai-alai in the sunshine state. The seven best casinos in Florida may not have all of the bells and whistles of the Strip, but you’re sure to have a great story to tell.

Pennsylvania Casinos: Presque Isle Downs and Casino Review

Presque Islw Downs & Casino

Located in Summit Township, Pennsylvania, and owned and operated by Churchill Downs, the Presque Isle Downs & Casino is your number one racino destination in Northwest Pennsylvania.

Best yet, this racino is right on the shores of Lake Erie, so you’re getting far more than just a day at the races and the casino gaming floor. If aquatic life is your thing, then you can make a vacation out of this hotspot because we got waterparks. And a lake just waiting to be explored.

However, if you remain within casino grounds, you still have a solid vacation destination. With its fair share of thoroughbred racing, sports betting, and traditional gaming, you’re never short of activities at Presque.

Let’s explore everything this racino has to offer the Pennsylvania gambling scene, from its history to its nearby attractions.

Presque Isle Downs History

Alright, so MTR Gaming Group acted as the casino’s original developer, and in October 2005, they broke ground for the new facility that would open a little over a year later in February 2007. MTR also owned Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack, and Resort and Columbus, Ohio’s Scioto Downs Racino.

In September 2014, Eldorado Resorts took control of the casino after a merger between them and MTR. And in 2019, Eldorado sold to the casino’s current owner, Churchill Downs.

Aerial View of Presque Isle Downs

As for the gaming, the one-mile oval thoroughbred track opened on September 2nd, 2007. Slot machines soon became a thing at the track which today houses 1,600 of them, and in the early 2010s, the venue started offering table gaming.

Finally, in 2019, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board granted a sports betting license to the location, and the BetAmerica Sportsbook commenced operations in August 2019. And on December 19th, 2019, the sportsbook went online.

But, enough about the gaming overview; let’s have a more in-depth discussion regarding all the gaming options at Presque Isle.

Gaming at Presque Casino

Presque Isle Casino’s gaming floor offers over 1,500 slot machines, 32 table games, 7 poker tables, and 50 BetAmerica sports betting kiosks. That said, you can see just how many ways there are to win at Presque Isle Casino, regardless of what your favorite game is.

And you’ll have a blast playing your favorites.

You won’t be able to get enough of the real money slots, where you’ll find denominations ranging from a single penny to $100 in the high-limit room. Take your pick at the denomination, find your favorite traditional or new game, and get playing.

Presque Isle Casino Floor

Are you a table gamer? You won’t be disappointed here at Presque, where you’ll find 32 of the hottest table games around, including Blackjack, Craps, High Card Flush, Pai Gow, Let it Ride, Roulette, Mississippi Stud, Three Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold ‘em, and more.

Ready to step into the poker room? Find your game and enter either the multi-table or single table Sit & Go Tournaments. Try your hand against some of the area’s best that are flocking in from both Cleveland, Ohio, and Buffalo, New York. Who knows? Maybe you’re the next big winner.

If the table games and the slots don’t apply to you, then check out the BetAmerica Sportsbook. Here, you can bet on all of your favorite NFL, college football, MLB, NBA, NHL, or MLS games. If you’re into boxing or MMA, you’ll find options for them, too.

Dining at Presque Casino

Presque Isle Casino dining options include five pristine eateries boasting their unique theme, recipes, menus, and style. Whether you’re into upscale dining or if you just want something quick and easy, you’re bound to find what you’re looking for at Presque.

Let’s look at each of the options individually.

You’ll find the fastest service at the INCafe, open 24/7. It’s the number one grab and go shop in the venue so you can find what you’re looking for before making your way back to the casino action.

For an affordable price, get all you can eat at the Backstretch Buffet. Featuring food options from around the world, this venue is for you if you’re in the mood for a potluck.

Presque Isle Downs LBV Steakhouse

Up for some casual dining? Churchill’s Bourbon and Brew is calling for you. Catch scenic views of the surrounding area while dining out to some of the area’s finest casual dining options. Not too cheap. Not too fancy. Just casual.

Now, if you’re looking for the greatest upscale dining option in the area, look no further than the LBV Steakhouse. Brewing with the finest-cut steaks and desserts, this option grants you a taste of the good life you won’t soon forget.

And if you’d like a break from the action, check out the bars and lounges spaced throughout the venue. Whether you’re up for the Hub, the Trackside Bar, or Bar 90, come in for a drink, catch the big game, and try your hand at the bars’ machines and play video poker if you’re up for a little more gaming.

Presque Casino Promotions and Entertainment

Promotions at Presque Isle Downs range from your everyday rewards and loyalty program to promos like 10x Points Bonus Day where you can earn 10x bonus points at a time during the day and Mystery Point Multipliers, where you can gain up to 50x points when you use your rewards card.

So, what is this reward-based promotion?

When you sign up for the Presque Isle Downs & Casino Players Club loyalty program, you can immediately earn up to $500 in free slot play on the new member spin and win. Just sign up, head to the Kiosk, and spin to receive your free slot play reward.

Then stop back the following week and win another round of free slot play. It definitely pays to be part of the Players Club at Presque, so if you’re in the area often, it’s an easy decision to sign in for the program.

Start playing the slots and your favorite table games to collect points and redeem them for casino comps. Tier I members receive perks like free slot play and direct mailing offers while Tier IV members receive priority parking and a casino host. The more you play, the more points you can redeem.

Live entertainment at Presque Isle Downs is a huge part of Presque Isle Downs, so check out the event schedule for the greatest world class and local acts in the area.

Presque Isle Accommodations and Attractions

Need a place to stay while taking time off the casino gaming and racing? Presque Isle has teamed up with 16 hotels of varying degrees. Whether you’re looking for luxury or the next great deal, you will find it with so many options.

Hotels range from economical steals like Super 8 and Days Inn. But if you’re looking for something more sophisticated, check out the Courtyard Marriott, Country Inn and Suites, or the Hilton Garden Inn. Flash your Players Club Card at the Courtyard or Sheraton and receive a special discount.

And if you need a complete day off from the casino scene, Erie is one of the hottest places to be in all of Northwest Pennsylvania. Perhaps one of the coldest in the winter, but you may be the wintry type. So if that’s the case, you’re in business.

Anyway, if you’re looking to have some fun, check out attractions like the Splash Lagoon, one of the top ten water parks in the country. Or, if you’re into sports and concerts, Erie Insurance Arena is where the action’s happening.

Waldameer Water World

Want more water park action? Hit up Waldameer Water World and enjoy the attractions. Entry is free, and the park is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

If you’re into sports, then the Whispering Woods Golf Course may be up your alley. However, if you’re more into adrenaline-pumping sports, then visit Lake Erie Speedway and watch some stock car racing featuring street stock, super stock, late models, and 4 cylinders.

The above is just a sliver of what you can do around Presque Isle Downs. But as mentioned at the beginning of the article, you can definitely see why you can make a vacation out of your trip to Presque.

Presque Isle Downs Racing

Alright, let’s talk horse racing at Presque Isle Downs before we close the article. Enjoy live thoroughbred racing every Monday through Thursday with the first post kicking off at 4:45. Catch the races from the grandstands or if you can’t make it to the venue, take advantage of the live simulcast.

Presque Isle Downs Horse Racing

You can wager each race at the Mutuels location or if you can’t make it to the races, they also accept bets online.

Get on the track to winning by placing your wager. Then sit back and enjoy the show.

Conclusion

Alright, so you can see why Presque Isle Downs is the premier track and casino in the Erie, Pennsylvania area. And if you’re bringing the family, why Erie makes for an outstanding vacation destination.

From its slew of gaming options to some of the most exciting thoroughbred racing around to those outstanding water parks and sports venues, Presque Isle Downs is at the center of it all. If you name it, the area has it. Either on the casino floor or throughout the area.

And I’ll tell you first hand; there is nothing like spending those summer days on America’s North Shore with the wind blowing off the lake. So Presque offers so much more than just a solid casino gaming experience.

Have you made the trip to Presque Isle and if so, tell us about your experience in the comments.

4 Tips to Have a Long-Term Sports Betting Mindset

Road Going Into Horizon With a Money and Sportsbook Background

Most bettors are trying to win the weekend. Actually, in many cases, they’re trying to win back what they lost last weekend.

Regardless, very few have the mindset that leads to long-term profitability. But that begs the question, what does a long-term profitability strategy even look like?

The good news is that there are some fairly concrete answers to that proposition. The bad news is, it’s going to take a much higher risk tolerance than a win-now strategy.

In this article, I’ll lay out a few of the ways that sports bettors can demonstrate a sustainable betting plan.

1 – You Don’t Want to Reload Your Bankroll

First of all, you’d better have a sports betting bankroll. Having a well-planned, trackable bankroll is without question the first step to any profitable betting game plan.

If you’re not familiar with the concept, your bankroll is a pool of money you’ve set aside which you use for betting only. This should be an amount of money that you can afford to lose, and one that won’t put you in financial jeopardy no matter what happens.

Once you’ve created your bankroll, your goal should be to reload it as few times as possible. In fact, you should aim to never have to add more of your money. Here are some ways that you can make it last.

Make Smaller Bets

Most experts recommend betting between 2% and 5% of your total bankroll on any one play. That means if you have $2,000 set aside, you wouldn’t bet more than $100 (5%) on a single bet. This simply prevents you from major losses that set you back in a matter of hours.

Don’t Take Moneyline Favorites

The moneyline favorite is arguably the most “amateur” bet offered by most sportsbooks. The reason why is because it seems like the easiest win. The reality is that the value is rarely there when taking a moneyline favorite.

Instead of telling you to choose carefully, I’ll just say that 99% of the time, anything lower than -120 is better off avoided.

Do Take Moneyline Underdogs

If moneyline favorites are the worst, moneyline underdogs are (or at least can be) the best.

The key to picking out the right moneyline underdogs is going to simply come down to doing the research. If you look hard enough, there are always opportunities for an upset where the public is way off.

Finally, any time you can win more than you have to risk, it bodes well for your long-term goals.

2 – Don’t Chase Losses

The quickest way to lose all the money in your bankroll is to turn one bad loss into two bad losses. Unfortunately, that’s what often happens when you try to chase your losses.

My personal rule is that if I lose multiple bets, I’ll never—under any circumstances—double up on a third bet and try to win back the money I lost on the other two.

It’s completely understandable that nobody wants to end the day down in the money column, but it really shouldn’t be the end of the world. If you’re a weekend gambler who calculates their wins and losses on a weekly basis, it becomes much more difficult to see the big picture.

MLB Rays vs Dodgers Play

One way I’ve found to combat this myopic way of looking at betting is through setting up a bet-tracking document. I include each and every bet I make, denote whether I won or lost, and then calculate what that means for my bankroll overall.

It takes a few minutes of work, but it has undoubtedly saved me from many bad plays for one simple reason: I’m able to recognize that the most important number isn’t what I’m “up” or “down” on that current day, but rather the running bankroll total.

It’s a lot easier to hold back on making a crazy bet when you consider the impact it could have on your overall bankroll. Plus, you’ll start to notice that although winning the day is nice, it’s more important to try to grow your bankroll over time and you must avoid unnecessary risks (like the huge bet on Sunday Night Football after a bad betting day).

3 – Know It’s Okay to Lay Off

Some of the best bets are the ones you don’t make. I know that sounds cliché, but when betting with a long-term mindset, it must be mentioned time and time again.

When evaluating a game, there are always going to be times when you don’t feel any degree of confidence one way or the other. When this occurs, you’re faced with a difficult choice: roll the dice and see what happens, or simply pass it up and wait until something better comes along? The correct answer is the latter.

You’re never going to run out of games to bet on. Each time you pass up on betting a game you don’t feel confident about, you’re saving money to put toward a game you do have a good read on. Recognize that the more selective you are, the better your results are going to be.

It’s not the most exciting play in the world to pass on a game, but rest assured knowing that it’s a guarantee your bankroll will not be any lower after its conclusion.

4 – Throw in Some Futures Bets

One of the areas where bettors can find the most value is futures bets. If you aren’t familiar with the term, futures bets refer to gambling on things that may happen days, weeks, months, or in some cases, even years in the future.

Some examples that are popular amongst a high percentage of gamblers are things like who will win the Super Bowl, which team will have the best regular season record in the Western Conference of the NBA, which team will win the NL Pennant, and endless others.

NFL Giants vs Eagles Quarterback Sack

With all of these bets, as the name “futures” might suggest, the idea is that you would make your wager long before it’s clear who will even be in the running. You might be thinking that’s making an uninformed decision, but it’s important to consider the odds and recognize why it justifies the risk.

For starters, when it comes to futures bets you’re almost always going to be able to find plus-money options, even for the favorite. However, it might be a good idea to find your value a little further from the top.

The reason I love futures bets is because you can package together several different options and still win a good amount of money if one of your choices hits. For example, if you bet on who will win the NFL MVP, you can split up $100 over three different choices. As long as the odds on one of them is 5 to 1 (which is not even much of a long shot), you’ll win back your money and then some.

Another aspect to futures betting involves taking a few heavy underdogs (those towards the bottom of the list of offered plays), and placing a small amount of money on a potential miracle. Yes, it’s not likely that they’ll hit, but if you can turn $10 into $1,000 on a 100 to 1 odds bet, isn’t it worth taking a flyer?

Conclusion

If there’s one truth that has stood the test of time, it’s that the difference between bettors who slowly win money over time and those who go through wild ups and downs is the long-term mindset.

If you’re truly a gambling enthusiast, there is no beginning or end to your hobby and it shouldn’t be treated as a week-to-week endeavor, but rather a project that is constantly needing to be refined.

If you follow these tips, you’ll start to notice that the more time you put in and the most risk you can tolerate, the better your results will be.

4 Casino Games Every Gambler Needs to Know How to Play

Split Image of Four Casino Games

Most people enjoy having an abundance of choices. When you have plenty to choose from, it helps you feel like you have more control. But sometimes, too many choices can be a bad thing.

When you walk into a casino, you’re surrounded by choices. Casinos try to offer a wide variety of gambling options so that every gambler has at least one or two things that they like to play.

These choices include some games that have decent odds and plenty of gambling options that have poor odds. The casino makes more money when you play games with poor odds.

Here are four gambling choices with good odds that every gambler needs to know how to play.

1 – Jacks or Better Video Poker

Jacks or Better video poker might be a little confusing at first because there are so many different pay tables. When playing real money video poker, you also need to learn how to use strategy. But the truth is that in comparison to other variants, you only need to know a few things in order to play Jacks or Better like a pro.

Here’s all you need to know to play Jacks or Better video poker like a pro:

  • The best pay table
  • The best strategy
  • Wager five coins

Once you understand these three things, you’re in good shape! I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about these three factors to Jacks or Better video poker. But before I get to that, I’m going to explain why every gambler needs to know how to play the game.

Video Poker Machine Hitting a Royal Flush

The main reason why you need to know how to play Jacks or Better is because in the right situation is has a casino edge of less than .5%. This is 1 of the lowest casino edges available in the casino. This is over 10 times lower than most slot machines, and lower than almost every other casino game.

Most casinos offer Jacks or Better machines. And once you learn the three things I’m getting ready to explain, you’re going to know everything you need to know about the game.

Many different pay tables exist for Jacks or Better, but you only need to know about one. The pay table that you’re going to play has a payout of 45 coins for a full house and 30 coins for a flush. It also pays 4,000 coins for a royal flush. You can ignore any machine that has a different pay table.

The next step is to play with the correct video poker strategy. It’s difficult to determine the best strategy on your own, but you can use a strategy chart. Using a strategy chart is how you can play with a low casino edge.

The last thing you need to know is that you always use the five-coin wager option. This unlocks a higher payment when you get a royal flush, which reduces the overall casino edge.

2 – Blackjack

Blackjack is considered a staple game in the casino industry. It’s the first game casinos offer beyond slot machines.

What this means is that every casino that offers more than slot machines is going to have blackjack. While there are some small casinos that don’t offer table games, the casinos that do have table games start with blackjack.

That’s the first reason why you need to know how to play blackjack for real money. The second reason is because it has a lower casino edge than almost every other casino game if you know the right way to play. You also need to find games with a decent set of rules.

You need to learn a little bit about the rules and how they influence the casino edge. The most important blackjack rule is to play on a table that pays 3 to 2 for a blackjack. If it doesn’t pay 3 to 2, find a different table.

Multiple Live Hands of Blackjack

All of the other rules also influence the casino edge, but none of them are as important as the rule I just covered.

When you find a table with the right rule, the next important thing is to play using the correct strategy. Just like Jacks or Better, you can use a strategy chart when you play blackjack.

Once you learn how to play blackjack the right way, you’re always going to be able to find a casino game that gives you a good chance to win. After you learn about the rules and strategy, the next step is to learn about counting cards. Card counting can eliminate the casino edge completely.

3 – Baccarat

This section is shorter than the other three game sections because baccarat is the easiest game on the list to play correctly.

The reason why baccarat is a game that every casino gambler needs to know how to play is because it’s a common game available in casinos, and it offers a wager option with a casino edge of just over 1%. The actual casino edge on the wager I’m going to cover is 1.06%.

Closeup of a Baccarat Table

This isn’t as good as Jacks or Better with a good pay table or blackjack with good strategy, but it’s easier to play than either of these games.

The best wager at the baccarat table is on the banker hand. The other wager options are worse, and the tie option is one of the worst wagering options in the casino.

That explains the entire strategy to play baccarat effectively. This means that all you have to do to play with a casino edge close to 1% is get a seat at the baccarat table and always wager on the banker hand.

4 – Texas Hold’em Poker

Texas Hold’em poker is the most complicated game on this list, but it’s also the game that gives you a real opportunity to make money in a casino instead of losing money.

The main problem is time. It takes a long time to get good enough at real money Texas Hold’em to win on a regular basis. This isn’t a game you can learn good strategy for in a few hours. Good players usually spend hundreds of hours just to learn how to win consistently.

But it’s worth the time to be able to gamble with an edge. It’s up to you to decide if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to become a great poker player.

Stack of Poker Chips

I’ve spent decades working on ways to at least break even gambling. I personally love to gamble, but I don’t want to lose money when I do it. This is why most of my time gambling is spent playing poker or blackjack or gambling on sports. These are the three areas I’ve focused on and I’ve spent enough time to learn how to gamble on each of them without losing money overall.

The reason why I’m telling you this is because I made a decision many years ago and put in the long hours to get where I am today as a gambler.

It’s time for you to make the same decision. If you’re willing to make a long-term commitment to become a winning gambler, you can do the same things I’ve done. But if you want an easy way out, you might wany to stick to the other three games on this list.

You’re probably not going to win much, or break even, if you ignore poker—unless you master card counting in blackjack. I just want you to go into it understanding what’s at stake.

If you decide to tackle Texas Hold’em, pick up a few good books and start learning. Being a good poker player takes years of dedication and real-life learning experience. I can tell you that it’s a lot of fun, but it’s also a long road that seems to never end. The choice is yours!

Conclusion

Every game on this list offers good odds and a low casino edge. None of these games is perfect, and you’re still going to lose money sometimes. But these choices give you the best chance to win in the casino.

Baccarat and Jacks or Better video poker are easy to play and have a low casino edge. But you’re not going to win in the long run. Texas Hold’em and blackjack both offer a small chance to show a long-term profit. But you have to learn the correct strategies and play as well as the top players in the world.

Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway in Dayton, Ohio Review

Hollywood at Dayton Raceway Exterior and Interior

Owned by Gaming and Leisure Properties and operated by Penn National Gaming, Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway is your very best racino in the Dayton, Ohio area.

Like most of your racinos, this casino is known for both its horse racing and its casino. The latter of which was opened in 2014.

Like most Ohio-based casinos, the casino gaming room is a new breed that will surely grow in time as the gambling scene continues to do so and work wonders for the Ohio economy.

This article will give you a rundown of the racino’s history, games offered, dining options, entertainment, promos, and its impact on the Ohio gambling scene.

Let’s get started.

The History of Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway

This racino opened its doors in 1959 as Raceway Park in Toledo, Ohio. And for years it operated as a track for thoroughbred racing and car racing. Rather a unique thing for racetracks at the time as many of which were fixated mainly on horse racing.

When video lottery terminals (VLTs) were legalized at seven of Ohio’s racetracks, Penn National Gaming acquired state approval to relocate the track to Dayton to avoid competition with Hollywood Casino Toledo, which Penn National also owns.

Three years later in 2014, the move was completed and the racino officially opened in August of that year.

Hollywood Gaming Casino

So, if you’re ready to try for that jackpot, step into Hollywood Casino’s game room where you have 1,100 real money slots at your disposal.

Play new and traditional games that include favorites like Wheel of Fortune, Dragon Link, Fire Link, Dollar Storm, Lightning Link, Treasure Ball, 88 Fortunes, Dancing Drums, and more. Whether the latest and greatest or the traditional game is your thing, you will find it at Hollywood Dayton.

Hollywood Gaming Dayton Slot Machines

If you’re a smoker, you’re welcome to take advantage of the casino’s smoking patios, where you can enjoy over 150 slot games on over 5,000 square feet of real estate without needing to leave to take a cigarette break.

Other game room features include high ceilings, climate control, oversized fans, and more. You’ll definitely find the modern touch at this casino and if it’s your preferred style, you’re already in luck.

And if you’d like to try your hand at capturing even bigger jackpots, head over to the high-stakes room and go for it. In the private high-stakes room, you’ll find an ATM, Ticket Redemption, Bill Breaker and Promo Kiosks, and more.

Hollywood Gaming Dining Options

Dining options at Hollywood Dayton Raceway give you three excellent restaurants and bars complete with their own themes so you don’t have to venture too far off-site to enjoy the finest eats in the area.

Whether you’re looking for something relaxed, sporty, or even something in between, you will find what you’re looking for at Hollywood Dayton.

Here’s the rundown of options:

If you’re looking to catch that big Cincinnati Bengals, Dayton Flyers, or Ohio State Buckeyes game, then the Skybox Sports Bar is your premier destination. Enjoy premium entrees like their signature-cut steaks or burgers. Or, if you’re in the mood for appetizers, a bucket of wings is surely up your alley.

Hollywood Gaming Dayton Steak and Shrimp

Cheer on those Bengals, Buckeyes, or Flyers and enjoy the greatest sports bar scene in Dayton, Ohio.

If you’re in the mood for something fast like sandwiches or burgers, then Take 2 Grill has your back. Grab and go from the finest fast entrees in the area or as with the Skybox, dive into that next bucket of wings.

Looking for the premier place to be to enjoy the nightlife? Well, head over to H Lounge where the party is always hopping. Here, you’ll find the best cocktails the city has to offer plus live entertainment from both world-class and local acts. It’s a fantastic way to end a perfect day of casino gaming.

Hollywood Gaming Promos

Hollywood Dayton Raceway’s promotions are in high-gear all year long, so check the promos page often to discover what’s going on this week or even for the entire month.

What are some ways to take advantage of the mychoice promo at Hollywood Dayton?

Join mychoice and enjoy new member promotions and you can earn casino comps, Free Play, prizes, and more.

When you join mychoice you can swipe the new mychoice card at any kiosk to claim a Prize Wheel reward featuring between $10 and $1,000 in Free Play. Tell your friends about mychoice and you can win even more for bonus Free Play between $10 and $500.

Another awesome way to win Free Play worth between $5 and $500 is to simply associate your email address with your mychoice account. Easy, right? Just add an email, swipe your card at a mychoice kiosk, and win your Free Play.

What are some other promotions that you can find at Hollywood Raceway Dayton? You’ll find a list on the promos page, but at the time of this writing, promos like Halloween Haunts, Live it Up Club, $100,000 Big 6, and others are garnering some serious attention.

Again, every month you’ll find something new so there’s always something to be excited about.

The Entertainment Scene

Whether you’re looking for the best in the world, weekly entertainment, local entertainment, or live shows, you’ll find hot entertainment at Hollywood Raceway Dayton. Find live acts from local artists every Friday and Saturday in the H Lounge and take in the area’s best talent.

Hollywood Gaming Dayton H Lounge

The party continues well into the evening at Hollywood Raceway, so don’t forget to enjoy some of the greatest beers on tap, cocktails, and premium food from the menu in H Lounge. End the perfect day at the casino with the perfect night full of entertainment, dancing, and the best food and drinks around.

The event schedule is always popping with the most dazzling names in the local entertainment scene so click the above link often for the monthly schedule and see who’s rocking in Hollywood.

Accommodations and Nearby Attractions

There are plenty of hotel options in the area, many of which are located just a few minutes from the raceway so you’re always within walking distance from all the action.

From economic to luxury options, take your pick and you can find yourself just moments away from the best gaming experience in the Dayton, Ohio area.

Or, if you’re looking to take a day off from the gaming and racing, be sure to check out some of the hottest local attractions.

If you’re into history, culture, and automobiles, then Dayton is the place for you. Obviously, the city is proud to be known as the birthplace of aviation and there is no shortage of it in Dayton. If you’re in the same boat, you’ll love what the city has to offer.

National Museum of the US Air Force  WWI Exhibit

From the National Museum of the US Air Force to the Dayton Aviation Heritage Park, you’ll definitely gain an appreciation for the rich aviating heritage in the city.

But there is something for everyone in the great city of Dayton, from the 2nd Street Market, Warped Winged Brewery, America’s Packard Museum, Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, the Dayton Art Institute, and more, you’ll definitely love the diversity and culture in Dayton.

If you’re a sports betting fan, the Dayton Flyers and Wright State University always have games going on all year long in a variety of different collegiate-level sports.

You can also get close to the action in baseball with the Dayton Dragons, a Class A team of the Midwest League who have been affiliated with Major League Baseball’s Cincinnati Reds since 1999.

Catch roller derby action with Gem City Roller Derby at the Dayton Convention Center, USL League Two’s Dayton Dutch Dragons, the Dayton Dynamo of the National Premier Soccer League, or if rugby’s your thing, then the Dayton Area Rugby Club has you covered.

As you can definitely see, there is absolutely no shortage of things to do outside the casino in Dayton and the city has something for everyone’s interest. Take a look around and you too will fall in love with Dayton, Ohio.

The Racing Scene

Live horse racing at Hollywood Raceway offers some of the most entertainment thoroughbred harness racing in the state of Ohio. Come to the track and get the best seats in the grandstand trackside and visit the concessions area for a quick round of food and drink.

Hollywood Gaming Dayton Harness Racing

The Skybox Sports Bar is also nearby and offers stunning views of the track and the surrounding area so you’ll never miss a moment of the action at the raceway.

If you can’t make it, don’t worry, as Hollywood Raceway is always simulcasting races from noon to midnight.

Conclusion

So, as you can see Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway is so much more than simply a casino. It boasts a rather unique history of a racetrack that was recently moved halfway down the state and features some of the best harness racing in the state if not in the nation.

With awesome promos, gaming, and entertainment options offered each month, why wouldn’t you want to take a trip to Dayton? And if that isn’t enough, their nearby attractions are so plentiful you could seriously take a week to explore everything the city offers.

It shows that even Ohio’s lesser-known major cities definitely have more than their fair share of luxuries both on and off the casino gaming floor. It’s a definite vacation destination for you and your entire family.

Have you been to Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway and if so, how was your experience? Let us know.

5 Ways to Avoid Embarrassing Yourself While Playing Slot Machines

Man With Hand Over Face With a Casino Slots Background

When you play slot machines, there’s not much you can do to change the results. You can’t use strategy, and finding a machine with a high return to player percentage is usually a matter of luck.

But this doesn’t mean that you can’t take a few steps to improve your results and enhance your gaming experience. These same steps can help you avoid making too many embarrassing mistakes when you play slots, too.

Here are five ways to avoid making embarrassing mistakes when you play slot machines. And if you read all the way to the end of the article, you’re going to finally learn the hidden truth about slot machine play.

1 – Play for Free

I know that there are as many gamblers that love to play slots more than all of the other games in the casino combined. In every casino I’ve been in, there are at least as many slot machine players as other gamblers sitting around and losing their hard-earned money.

The reason I mention this is because most of the people reading this article are going to ignore the advice in this first section. They aren’t interested in doing anything except feeling the rush of a winning spin and having high hopes of winning a jackpot.

Destiny of Athena Online Slots

But the smartest thing to do if you want to avoid embarrassing yourself while playing slot machines is to play free slots before you play real money slots. I understand that free slots aren’t as exciting as real money slots and that you can’t win playing for free. But the other side of this is that you can’t lose when you play free slot machines either.

Even if you ignore the fact that you can’t lose when you play slot machines for free, there’s another important reason why you should play for free before playing for real money.

When you try a slot machine out for free, you have time to learn how the machine works, what the pay table is, and what to look for when you play. You also have the opportunity to learn if you need to do anything special. Some slot machines require a certain wager amount to unlock the top paylines and other bonus features or special game screens.

You can’t play slots for free in your local casino, so you’re going to have to sign up at a mobile or online slots casino for free play.

2 – Walk Before You Run

Slot machines come in all types of variations. If you want a simple machine, you can still find three-reel machines that are easy to understand. And if you want to see slots with revolutionary features, you can find all kinds of flashy video slot machines with bonus rounds, special mini games, and just about anything else you can think of.

While many newer slot machines are fun to play and have all sorts of extra things going on, the truth is that these machines can be confusing. When I talk to someone that’s just getting started playing slot machines, I give them a piece of simple advice.

I tell them to find a simple three-reel slot machine that has a clear pay table. If you plan to adhere to this advice, make sure you understand the pay table, and take things slow. Put a few dollars in the machine and hit the spin button or pull the lever. Look at where the reels stop and see if you won anything.

Keep playing on a simple slot machine until you’re comfortable. Then, if you want to try your luck with a fancy newer slot machine, you can. It’s almost impossible to follow all of the lines and reels and symbols on a new machine with a pay table that takes up two or more screens.

Of course, you don’t really have to know all of the pay tables, because the machine takes care of all of the losses and wins. But I like to know what’s going on, so I prefer simpler machines over the newer flashy machines.

3 – Play in Isolation

The best way to avoid doing anything embarrassing while you play slots is to play by yourself. The good news is that slots are perfect for this.

You can play slots at an online or mobile casino in private. Even if you play slot machines in a live casino, you can usually find a machine where no one is playing beside you. Of course, some gamblers play slot machines because they can find people to interact with when they play.

Row of Casino Slot Machines

The point is that no matter what your goal is when you play slot machines, you can find a situation that works for you. I prefer to play slots without being bothered, so I play them at home most of the time.

I only play particular types of slot machines, and it’s easy to find what I want when I play at an online casino. I only play slot machines with a top jackpot amount of at least $100,000 and a wager amount of $1 or less per spin. It’s not always easy to find these machines when I gamble in a live casino.

4 – Bonuses Cover Many Mistakes

When you look at online and mobile casinos, you see all kinds of bonus offers. Some of these bonuses are $10,000 and higher. And almost every bonus you see is designed for slot machine players.

This is good news because you need a big bankroll if you’re going to play slots. Many slots players wager over $1,000 every hour, so you need as much money as you can get when you’re chasing a big jackpot.

The truth is that there are not many mistakes you can make when you play slots. You put your money in, spin the reels, and wait for the result. This really doesn’t leave many possibilities for mistakes.

The biggest mistake you could make is probably choosing to play slot machines in the first place. I cover this in the next section, but for now, you need to get as much money as you can when you play slots. A big slot machine bonus is the best way to make your bankroll bigger.

Something that most gamblers don’t know is that all of these big slots bonus offers come with some conditions. Most of them have conditions that make it almost impossible to come out ahead, no matter how big the bonus is.

Read the terms until you completely understand the bonus situation. The odds are that you’re going to keep playing slots until you run out of money anyway, but you still need to understand what you’re getting into before you get a slot machine bonus.

5 – The Truth About Slot Machines

The truth about slot machines is something that most slots players don’t want to hear. The truth is that you should simply stop playing slot machines. They’re some of the worst games in the casino, and they take your money faster than almost any other game in the casino.

You can risk more money playing slots every hour than most other casino games even if you’re just betting $1 or $2 on every spin. And the casino edge is huge compared to many other games like blackjack, baccarat, and video poker.

88 Fortunes Megaways Online Slot

I admit that slot machines do offer some things that most other casino games offer. You can win a large jackpot on a small wager. But the odds of hitting a slots jackpot are small. In fact, most slots players never win a jackpot over $5,000 in their entire life.

If you’re stuck on playing slots, and aren’t willing to learn how to play any of the gambling options with better odds, the main thing you need to do is learn how to limit your slots losses.

The only way to do this is to risk less when you play slot machines. This means you need to find slot machines with lower wager limits and play fewer spins than most players. Of course, many slots players find fewer spins boring, but they also lose more money over time than slower players.

Conclusion

Don’t jump into playing for real money before you try playing slots for free. You can’t play free slots in a land-based casino, but you can easily find free slots games on your phone or computer.

Start with simple slot machines before you play the machines with bonus games and special features. The more advanced games can be confusing to beginning slots players.

To avoid embarrassing situations, play slots by yourself. When you get a big bonus to play real money slots, the bonus helps overcome many mistakes. And finally, don’t forget what you learned about the truth of slots play!

5 Reasons to Start Live Betting More Often

Man Pointing With Thumb With a Live Sports Betting Laptop Image

If you’re serious about making money and consider yourself a true sports expert, live betting might be the perfect wagering option for you.

The reasons live betting has become so popular over the years are clear. It’s fun and interactive, more accessible than ever due to an abundance of online gambling platforms, and it allows you to find high-value plays in nearly every game.

Even those who don’t live bet regularly should consider giving it a try. In this article, I’ll lay out five reasons why you’re missing out if you aren’t live betting at top-rated sports betting sites.

1 – It’s Just More Fun

Some people gamble on sports as a way to make serious money. They put in hours and hours of research and develop complex strategies with advanced statistical models that most normal people wouldn’t understand. And then, there are the normal sports bettors.

It’s not so much that your everyday gamblers aren’t interested in making money from sports betting—they are—it’s just that there are other things at play. For most, that just means increased enjoyment of watching or following sports. In short, betting on games for fun is more likely to be the case than anything else.

If you fall into this category of bettors, live betting takes the entertainment factor to a new level because you’re betting right along with the action.

Live betting, if you’re not familiar, is making bets during the game. What’s happening on the field dictates the odds, and the only that that is certain is that they can change significantly after one big play or momentum shift.

Making money with live betting brings your knowledge of the games into a much higher focus. Those who are able to understand the flow of a game can better predict where it’s headed. Truly avid sports fans, who consider themselves students of the games, can use this to make a significant amount of money.

2 – You Have Better Data

Before betting on any game, you should be doing research and gathering data that helps you come to a decision. In a way, live betting is no different with one notable exception: The data you use to help you make your plays comes from what you’ve just watched.

It can be hard to look at two teams on paper and attempt to predict how a game will play out. If you had the luxury of watching them compete in a quarter of live action, things might become a little bit clearer. With live betting, this luxury is inherent.

Now, all of this is not to say that just because you’ve seen how the teams are competing against each other that you’ll easily be able to predict the outcome. If it was that easy, the sportsbooks wouldn’t offer live betting. You just have more, and better, information at your disposal to help you make decisions.

MLB Dodger at Bat

Keep in mind that it’s important to recognize that games go through momentum swings and change course all the time. If you’re immediately thinking about backing the team who scores first or looks like they’re going to dominate, be wary of inflated odds. Online sportsbooks know that bettors are guilty of recency bias and are likely to put too much stock in what happens in the early going.

To summarize, it’s important to look not just at the numbers or scoreboard but go deeper and see where each team has an advantage of disadvantage. It’s necessary to be watching a game you’re live betting so you can stay ahead of the betting public who isn’t tuned in and is susceptible to making uninformed decisions.

3 – The Value Can Be Significant

If there’s one word that crosses over between all areas of business and eventually makes its way to sports gambling, it’s “value.”

To look at it in terms of its application regarding sports gambling, making value bets is the idea of risking less money than you stand to gain. For example, betting on a moneyline at +185 would be considered a good value play because you could win $185 with a $100 bet.

An example of a low-value bet, and one which people fall victim to all the time, is the moneyline favorite. It sounds like a sure thing to put your money on a team at -280, but when you’re risking $280 to win $100, the price is simply too high. Upsets happen much more frequently than most people think, and losing bets like this can take a while to recover from.

Live betting provides excellent value if you can spot comebacks (or blowouts) before it becomes obvious that they’ll happen. For example, if a team is down 21-7 at halftime but the winning team has scored two touchdowns and the losing team has two turnovers in the red zone, the score might be misleading.

If you’ve been watching the game and make this observation, you could probably get some very favorable odds if you decide to bet on a comeback win.

The caveat that must be noted when looking for value with live betting is that you absolutely have to be paying attention to the game. Sportsbooks make a great deal of money on situations like the scenario I laid out in the previous paragraph.

Bettors who haven’t watched, or at least not watched closely, might be more apt to think a blowout is coming and bet on the team that’s winning. On the flip side, those who were watching the game recognize that the score is very misleading.

If you want to do live betting the right way, simply tuning in and paying attention to the game will set you ahead of the public.

4 – You Can Bet as You Go

Let’s say you’ve set aside $100 to bet on an NFL game. The most common bet would be to place your money on one of the teams prior to the game and see how it plays out. I would suggest that the play that will allow you get the most for your money would be to live bet each quarter along the way.

NFL Redskins Quarterback

While there’s nothing wrong with betting on a game before the action starts, if you spread out your money by quarter, you’ll never have that sinking feeling of knowing you’re going to lose in the first hour, and spending the rest of the game feeling disappointed.

It can take some time to get used to the format, but betting on games a quarter at a time is a great way to maximize the excitement of betting as well as give yourself more opportunities to win. If you’ve never given it a shot, select one game on a football Saturday or Sunday and try betting it quarter by quarter.

5 – It Makes You a Better Sports Bettor

If you bet on a game before it starts, whether or not you watch it play out isn’t going to have any impact on if you win or not. When you live bet, if you’re doing it correctly, you’re paying close attention to the action and how it impacts the numbers on the gambling side.

You’ll have certain revelations when live betting that you might not have noticed otherwise. For example, you’ll realize that sportsbooks rely on people making emotional decisions. Most notably, these decisions are based on recency bias. If there was ever a time to fade the public, it’s in live betting.

Once you’re making less mistakes live betting, you’ll have a much better understanding of how games progress and you can use this information to make decisions on games that you aren’t live betting. If you take it seriously enough, it can be a very helpful tool in growing as a sports gambler.

Conclusion

Live betting provides excitement and opportunities like few other types of sports bets. If you’ve never really committed to doing it the right way, I would suggest picking one football game each weekend to live bet. Watch each second of the game, make bets on each quarter, and see if you’ve discovered your new favorite type of sports betting.

If you’re ready to take the leap, feel free to check out our page on the best sports betting sites that offer great odds for live betting. Our site also offers betting guides and different pages that provide information on becoming a profitable sports bettor.

Good luck with your wagers!

Why Doesn’t Texas Have Casinos?

Texas State Graphic With a Race Track and Casino Background

I remember in the late 1990s and early to mid-2000s, I used to play poker at a lot of the underground poker rooms in Dallas. Many of them had been in business for years. At some point, though, they started getting raided by the cops.

This continued until all the places I knew about had been closed. I vaguely understood that there were underground casinos in Dallas, too, but I didn’t play at any of them. I know that many bars and gas stations had the equivalent of slot machines – in Texas, they’re called 8-liners.

At one time, most of the mid-sized cities had even opened up so-called “game rooms” featuring these 8-liners. Most of them are now closed, too. The only one I ever played in with any regularity was in Farmersville.

It was fun, but you couldn’t win real cash there. You could only cash in points for merchandise, most of which looked like it had been bought on sale at Dollar General. I remember gardening tools and a 6-pack of canned corn.

And it made me wonder why the Texas gambling scene doesn’t have real casinos.

In this post, I’m going to delve into that subject a little more.

Texas Has Strict Gambling Laws

The main reason Texas doesn’t have casinos is because casino gambling – all types of casino gambling – are illegal in the state of Texas. In fact, Texas has some of the strictest gambling laws in the country.

The strict gambling laws are a strange phenomenon for the state which lends its name to the most popular form of poker in the country – Texas holdem.

This all stems from Penal Code 47.01, which is the statute making gambling illegal throughout the state.

The only exceptions are bets on dog and horse racing.

Not only that, but the law specifically enumerates which gambling activities are illegal in the state.

Which Types of Gambling Are Illegal in Texas?

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you already know that gambling has any number of subcategories. The state of Texas agrees. After all, they’ve enumerated and listed the specific types of gambling which are illegal throughout the state.

The first kind of gambling that’s illegal in Texas is the casino game. Any kind of game played in a casino is illegal in Texas, and this includes real money blackjack, craps, roulette, slots, and video poker. This also applies to online gambling, although I’ve never heard of anyone getting in trouble for playing online casino games.

The only exception is if you’re on Native American land. I’ll have more to say about this later in the post. Stay tuned.

Lucky Eagle Casino in Texas

Sports betting is also illegal, with the exceptions of betting at the dog track or the horse track. Betting on sports is punishable by a $500 misdemeanor fine. It applies to online as well as in-person or over-the-phone betting.

This didn’t seem to slow down any of the bettors at my local bar who placed wagers with their local bookie.

Texas also has laws related to so-called social gambling. This is how Texas categorizes bingo games or charitable raffles.

These activities are legal when operated for the benefit of charities in the state. Otherwise, they’re illegal.

Strictly speaking, it’s even illegal to play in a friendly home poker game.

What About the Lucky Eagle Casino?

If you’ve heard of a Texas casino called the Lucky Eagle Casino, then you’ve found one of the rare exceptions to the statement that there are no casinos in Texas.

The Lucky Eagle Casino is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., and they stay open until 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday night.

They have over 1200 slot machine games, but they also offer table games including blackjack, craps, roulette, and even keno. They have over 55,000 square feet of casino space with both smoking and non-smoking sections.

Besides the standard casino table games, Lucky Eagle offers progressive table games like Ultimate Texas Holdem and Emperors Challenge (a pai gow poker variant). They also offer Mississippi Stud, which is one of my favorite new table games. In addition they have a surprisingly robust number of blackjack games available, including both 2-deck and 6-0deck games. They even offer 21 + 3 and Spanish 21 games.

I saw no mention of baccarat on their site, but I suspect baccarat isn’t a big draw in Texas.

Lucky Eagle also hosts bingo games in their event center except on Friday and Saturday night.

The keno lounge offers multiple keno games, including speed keno and 50 cent keno.

Why is the Lucky Eagle Casino allowed to operate in Texas?

They’re a Native American casino, owned by the Chehalis Tribe, which has a compact with the state government allowing them to operate.

What About Naskila Gaming?

Naskila Gaming is another notable exception to the “no casinos in Texas” generality. It’s another example of a Native American casino. They’re owned by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe.

They’re located on the Indian reservation near Livingston, Texas, and they’re open 24/7.

They only offer Class II slot machines, and they have about 800 games to choose from.

Naskila Gaming also has multiple restaurants onsite, including a Nathan’s Hot Dogs and a Mexican café. They even have a grill serving traditional American fare.

Naskila Gaming Casino in Texas

There’s some controversy related to whether they’ll be able to continue operating in Texas. If you visit their website, you’ll see notices asking their patrons to support HR 759 to keep them open.

HR 759 intends to clarify that Naskila Gaming IS acting legally because they’re on tribal land.

Texas has three Native American tribes that are legally recognize by the federal government. The Kickapoo Tribe is the only one currently allowed to offer Class II gaming.

HR 759 aims to correct that inequity. And, just to be clear, it doesn’t make it legal for Naskila Gaming to offer blackjack, craps, or roulette. They must stick with the electronic bingo gambling machines.

The legislation also authorizes the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Tribe to offer gaming on their reservation.

What About Casino Cruises?

One way casino companies circumvent casino gambling laws is to offer casino gambling on cruise ships. These ships generally go out far enough in the water to get outside the jurisdiction of the state where they’re docked. Several casino cruises are available from Texas ports.

These include Carnival Valor Casino, Carnival Breeze Casino, Carnival Freedom Casino, and Jacks or Better Casino.

Most of cruise ships have a couple hundred slot machines and a dozen or so table games. They usually offer poker games, too.

The last time I went on a casino cruise, I played Texas holdem the entire time.

It’s common knowledge among those in the know that the slot machine payback percentages on casino cruises are lousy.

Where Else Can You Gamble in Texas?

You’re legally allowed to bet on dog racing and horse racing in Texas. You must do so from the site itself, though. You have the following tracks to choose from:

  • Gulf Greyhound Park
  • Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie
  • Sam Houston Race Park
  • Valley Race Park

Of these, the only one I’ve visited was Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie. They have no casino facilities, but there’s enough horse betting action here to keep even the most avid action junkie entertained for hours (or days).

Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie

Admission to Lone Star Park is only $5, and the gates open at 5 p.m. The first race is run at 6:05 p.m.

They offer stakes races where they’ll either add money to the prize pool or they’ll have a minimum guaranteed prize pool.

Like a casino, Lone Star Park has a rewards program. It’s comparable to a slot machine players’ club at a casino.

Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie in Texas

You earn a point for every dollar you wager, but you also get additional points by placing wagers with the self-serve facilities. You also get two bonus points per dollar by betting on Lone Star Park and Remington Park races.

When you spend money at the concessions stand or in the gift shop, you get a point for every dollar you spend. You can redeem these points later.

They have a variety of rewards available, but you can get an idea of what the points are worth by looking at the vouchers and food and beverage credits.

You can cash in 10,000 points to get a $10 food and beverage credit.

You can also cash in 20,000 points to get a $20 mutuel voucher. The ratio is the same for $50 and $100 vouchers, which would require 50,000 points and 100,000 points each.

You can also get greater casino comps by achieving VIP status, and they offer double points on everything on Tuesdays.

I should point out that only a handful of gambling activities — including blackjack, poker, and sports betting — offer the opportunity to get a mathematical edge. Betting on horses – if you’re good at it – also offers that opportunity.

Conclusion

I’m not sure who said there are no casinos in Texas. There are at least two, and more depending on whether you count the racetracks and cruises.

You also have any number of businesses offering the equivalent of slot machine games called 8-liners.

I think the state government should go ahead and legalize and regulate gambling throughout the state. Right now, they’re just leaving all that revenue on the table.

Gambling on the Bayou (Louisiana Gambling Laws)

Louisiana State Flag With a Casino Background

For as far back as the vast cypress swamps that provide the backdrop to Zydeco music, gambling on the bayou has been a way of life for generations of Louisiana residents.

Louisiana has some of the most exciting gambling laws in the entire United States. You may be planning your bayou vacation, but you need to know the laws for Louisiana gambling before you go.

History of Louisiana Gambling Laws

Louisiana offers one of the wealthiest and most vibrant histories of any state. To begin setting the stage for you, Louisiana had casinos being built before the first churches ever started appearing.

In my experience, Louisianans love to party. So, it won’t come as any surprise that the state has a long run in the gambling game. Both legal and otherwise.

Playing the lottery was incredibly popular in the early to mid-1800s, and Louisiana was no exception. Unfortunately, the lotteries were often subject to nefarious dealings and less than desirable characters.

This often led to good people being cheated out of their hard-earned money — money that was no doubt needed to provide food for the family.

Vintage Louisiana Horse Racing

So, in the late 1800s, the state followed suit with many other states and banned the lotteries altogether. It wasn’t until over a century later when the lotteries you and I are familiar with began to gain traction that the state lifted the curtain on lottery games.

Of course, the state-run games are much more on the up and up than earlier editions. Most of the incidents consisted of someone from out of town collecting the locals’ money and drawing for the big prize.

Some fellow out of towner would be the lucky winner and claim the prize more often than not. Must have been some coincidence, wink.

Horse racing has been another popular form of gambling in Louisiana for over 100 years. The practice began back in 1920 and remained the only form of legalized gambling for several decades.

Much like everything else, the laws surrounding horse racing have evolved into a more progressive style. They now stand opposed to the early days where the only form of legal bet you could make on the sport was parlayed.

Louisiana Lottos and Horse Racing Today

The lottery scene in Louisiana today is enormous. In addition to the state-run lottery with drawings multiple times a week, the state also participates in the significant multi-state games.

Powerball and Megamillions each offer Louisiana gamblers the chance to become multi-millionaires overnight.

The Louisiana Lottery also offers scratch-off tickets for real money. These games enable players to become instant winners if luck is on their side.

Louisiana currently has over 40 different scratch-off games in circulation. These games range from a simple $1 ticket all the way up to $10.

Depending on what state you’re in, a $10 ceiling may seem pretty low for a scratch-off ticket. However, your state likely doesn’t have casino gambling.

Harrah's Casino in Louisiana

You must be at least 21 years old to purchase lottery tickets in Louisiana. The state government decided to bump the age from 18 to 21 in 1998.

This change aligned the lottery’s ages to sync with all other forms of gambling in the state. So, to be clear, you must be at least 21 years old to gamble in Louisiana.

Live racing is also alive and thriving in Louisiana. Louisiana Downs is the premier horse racing venue in Louisiana.

Located in Bossier City, near Shreveport’s riverboat casinos, Louisiana Downs provides aggressive and electric on-track action from May thru September.

Suppose you are a big fan of horse racing. In that case, Louisiana Downs is a must-see during the spring when the weather is comfortable. The young horses are itching to get out of the gate on all cylinders.

Online Gambling

Real money online gambling has broken from the pack as one of the top methods for gamblers to get in on the action.

After all, the convenience factor alone is stunning. You can literally play any game you may find in the casino from the comfort of your warm bed.

Imagine yourself laying all of the sports bets you could possibly play without so much as putting on your slippers.

Online casinos have made gambling on sports or casino games easier than checking the mail—what a time to be alive.

Or, as my friend would say, “The future is now.”

That is unless you live in Louisiana.

Megaways Online Slots Game

While many states view online gambling as somewhat of a gray area, Louisiana strictly and definitively prohibits online gambling of any sort.

Gamblers, in many states, use online casinos as an alternative to flying to Las Vegas.

Usually, the law enforcement in their area is more concerned with stopping the casinos from operating than the gamblers from playing.

However, this is far from the case in Louisiana. The first offense can cost up to $500 in fines and another six months in jail.

A second offense bumps the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony. The fines double, and you could face nine months in prison.

Of course, just the threat of a felony charge is more than adequate to keep many would-be internet gambling moguls heading to brick and mortar casinos in the state.

Now that I’ve scared you straight, I want to point out another equally important bit of information.

Not a single person has ever seen prosecution for participating in online gambling in the state of Louisiana. Maybe the fine people of Louisiana are just such pillars of the community that they follow the letter of the law to a “T.”

Social Gambling

I’m a huge proponent of social gambling for one straightforward reason. That reason is that I don’t believe it’sit’s the role of the government or anybody else to tell you what to do in your own home.

Louisiana gets this right.

Gambling in your home or other private property is covered under the law in Louisiana. Whether you’re hosting a poker night with your buddies or simply have several wagers happening surrounding a Saints game, you’re free to do so.

Mostly. The laws do put a few stipulations on the ancillary “hows,” but for the most part, you are okay to do so.

It may become a problem if the host is charging any kind of cover charge, is making a profit from the event itself, sells food to the guests, or begins handling money.

Avoid these no-nos, and you’re free and clear. Of course, if you are busted for stepping out of line, the chances are that you won’t be prosecuted.

Casino Gambling

Did you know that Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. where casino gambling is legal statewide?

That’s right. Even the juggernaut of the east, Atlantic City, is an outlier for much of New Jersey.

The riverboat casinos of Louisiana are by far the largest and most recognizable of the state’s casino industry.

These holdovers from a slower time when people in business would travel up and down the Muddy Mississippi operate under strict parameters.

Sam's Town Casino in Shreveport

Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino in Shreveport are among the largest of these riverboat casinos. The busy gambling hub is more of a barge than a boat.

However, the laws dictate that any riverboat casino in operation must have a functioning means of propulsion. So, the paddle wheel’s added feature on the backs of these monstrosities is of absolutely no use whatsoever.

They are, in fact, very serviceable, though.

Lake Charles is another area in the state with a large casino presence. A short three hour drive south of Shreveport, the Lake Charles casinos make it far more convenient for gamblers to cross state lines from Texas.

Shreveport draws enormous numbers from the DFW Metroplex. Lake Charles is doing the same for hungry casino sharps from Austin and Houston.

In fact, from Houston, gamblers can leave work at 5 p.m. and be in the casino by 7 p.m. That’s driving the speed limit, lead foots could be there even sooner.

Conclusion

Where the Louisiana gambling laws will go in the future is hard to say. The state has basically given the people a free rein when it comes to gambling on the bayou.

Possibly the most significant opportunities for advancement would be in the area of online gambling. But, if you’re playing blackjack on your sofa, it’s not really gambling on the bayou.

Factors Affecting Your Card Counting Strategy

Hand Counting Device With a Blackjack and Cards Background

I’ve done a lot of writing in the past regarding card counting in blackjack. I’ve looked at the basics of how to count cards and discussed how hard it actually is or isn’t, as well as covering some of the intricacies involved in actually counting cards.

In this particular post, I’m looking at some of the strategy (rather than sheerly tactical) factors involved in a card counting. In other words, what factors affect your overall approach to counting cards in blackjack successfully?

The Long Run Versus the Short Term

The most important thing for every real money blackjack player to understand is that the math behind card counting is a long-term phenomenon.

You’re not going to learn how to count cards this week and come home rich next week. In fact, most card counters don’t ever get rich.

In the short run, anything can happen. Even the worst blackjack player can have a big winning streak, and even the best blackjack player can have a losing streak. And these streaks often last longer than you’d ever expect.

The best way to keep a long-term perspective is to keep records. You should track how many hours you’re spending at the blackjack tables along with how much you’ve won or lost during each session. Your average hourly win or loss rate will be easy to calculate if you’re tracking those numbers.

Player View of a Blackjack Game

Another thing to keep in mind is that even when you’re counting cards, you’re still going to lose more than half the time. In fact, if you want a better probability of winning a single bet, you can find it at the roulette table.

A bet on black in roulette wins 47% of the time. A bet on a hand of blackjack only wins 43% of the time.

The reason the house edge in blackjack is lower relates to the payouts in various situations – especially when you get the occasional “natural” or “blackjack.”

You also have opportunities to double down and split when it’s a good idea to do so.

Even when the count is positive, you won’t win more often. You WILL see naturals more often, which means you’ll see that sweet 3-to-2 payout more often. That’s why you bet more – not because you’re hoping to win more often because the count is high.

Most importantly, you need to be able to psychologically handle losing streaks. The mathematical term for these streaks is “variance,” and it’s just something you deal with when you’re playing a game with a random outcome.

And I don’t mean that a losing streak might go on for an hour or two. Losing streaks can last for days, weeks, and sometimes even months.

Some people get discouraged when learning how to count cards, but if you’re doing it right, it will work.

But you’re still not a huge favorite over the house. The average card counter gets a 1% edge over the house, and someone who’s really good maxes out with an edge of 2% over the casino.

Until you’ve gotten about 10 hours at the table under your belt, you’re still very much in the short run. If you’re playing at full tables – where you’re seeing fewer hands per hour – you’ll need more like 20 hours at the table under your belt.

Casino Bankroll Management for Card Counters

This focus on the long term versus the short run has some implications regarding your casino bankroll management. If you can have a losing streak that lasts for days or weeks on end, it’s possible to go broke even if you have a mathematical edge over the casino.

You need to have enough money in your bankroll to prevent that from happening. You need to avoid going broke before you reach the “large numbers” in the “Law of Large Numbers.” (The Law of Large Numbers suggests that the closer you get to an infinite number of trials, the closer your results are going to get to the mathematically expected results.)

When you’re deciding what limits to play, you need to decide on your betting spread and the amount of money you can afford to sink into your blackjack hobby. Let’s assume you want to play lower stakes with a 1-to-4 betting spread. You’ve found a casino with a minimum bet of $5.

Red Casino Blackjack Table

This means that the biggest bet you’ll be placing is four units, or $20.

You should have at least 100 times that amount in your bankroll.

In this case, you need a bankroll of $2000 to play at this level to avoid a high probability of going broke because of variance.

The more money you have in your bankroll, the bigger stakes you can afford to play without stressing out about going broke.

The lower your biggest bet is compared to your overall bankroll, though, the likelier you are to survive into the long run and see your mathematical edge realized.

Most card counters base the size of their bet on the count. If the count is zero or lower, they bet the minimum. In the example we’ve been using, they’ll bet $5.

Then when the count hits +1, they’ll add a unit – betting $10.

If the count hits +2, they raise their bet to $15.

If the count gets to +3 or higher, they raise the size of their bet to $20.

Also, the bigger your bet spread is, the higher your edge over the house becomes. With a count of +1, your edge over the casino is only 0.4%. With a count of +3, your edge is at 1.6%.

But if you get to a count of +6, your edge over the casino is 3.3%. The more money you can get into action with an edge of 3.3%, the better off you’ll be.

Penetration and Number of Decks

I wrote a lot about rules changes and game conditions in my previous post, and I addressed the number of decks in that post. Put simply, the fewer decks in play, the better off you are.

You’ll do better in a game with a single deck or two decks than you will in a game with eight decks.

But you should also consider penetration.

That’s just a word that describes how far into the deck the dealer plays before shuffling the cards. At some tables, the cards are shuffled continuously. This gives such a table a penetration of 0%. It also makes a game effectively unbeatable.

Casino Card Shoe

The deeper into the deck the game goes, the more opportunities you have to get a big variance in the composition of the deck. That variance is where you make your money.

Your goal should be to find a game with a penetration of 75%, and this is almost more important than any of the blackjack variations or game conditions I mentioned in my previous post.

Any game with a penetration of less than 50% is probably best avoided. You’ll wind up finding few situations where the count is positive enough to raise your bets, and even when you do, that advantage won’t last long at all.

Camouflage and Heat

I haven’t gone into a lot of detail about the practicalities of this, but I’ve mentioned that casinos will back you off if they realize you’re counting cards. When you attract this kind of attention, you’re getting “heat.”

One of the biggest factors the casino is going to look at is the size of your betting spread. At lower stakes, the casinos might tolerate a large bet spread.

But at high stakes, the casinos stand to lose a lot more money, so they’re less tolerant of a big betting spread.

Casino Security Monitoring Room

I discussed camouflaging your play by only increasing the size of your bet after a winning hand and only reducing the size of your bet after a losing hand. This cuts into your advantage, but it’ a good way to camouflage that your counting cards.

The practical limit for a betting spread is to have a large bet of eight units.

Also, some casinos are so paranoid about card counters that they’ll back you off just for getting on a winning streak even if you’re not counting.

I suggest limiting the amount of time you spend at a specific casino where you’re counting cards. You should also avoid playing at the same table every time you visit. Some card counters don’t even visit during the same shift.

I think wearing a disguise is overkill for most counters, but if you’re serious and big time, it might be necessary.

Conclusion

Those are some of the biggest issues to account for when planning your card counting strategy in blackjack.

You can execute all of this perfectly and still have some big losses in your future.

Card counting’s not for everyone, and it’s less than impossible but harder than it seems.

The Most Important Days in Las Vegas Casino History – Part II

Las Vegas Sign Graphic With Vintage Caesars Palace Background

In the first installment of this two-part series, it was my pleasure to guide readers through the long and winding history of Las Vegas and its signature casino gambling industry. To catch up on the exploits of consummate gamblers like John C. Fremont and Bugsy Siegel, head here to check out Part I.

As for Part II, this page is devoted to three more crucial dates – spanning the 1960s through the dawn of the 21st century and into the present day – that defined the rise of Sin City.

August 5, 1966 – Caesars Palace Reigns Supreme

Following the Flamingo’s arrival in 1946, the then empty drag known as Las Vegas Boulevard began to fill out into The Strip as it’s known today.

Sahara sprung up from the sands in 1952, Tropicana rose over the horizon five years later, and Tally-Ho (now called Planet Hollywood) hit The Strip in 1963.

But these four casinos combined couldn’t match the awe-inspiring splendors awaiting guests when Caesars Palace opened its doors on this day.

After an avid gambler and motelier by the name of Jay Sarno obtained a loan for $10 million – over $90 million today when inflation is factored in – he set to work designing the world’s premier casino resort destination. Sarno envisioned a setting fit for royalty, a stage suitable for divinity, a true palace where every gambler in the house felt like a Roman Emperor.

And out of that distinctive vision, Caesars Palace was born…

Writing about the lavishly appointed casino resort’s highly anticipated “inauguration day,” renowned architectural critic Alan Hess penned this glowing review:

“Caesars Palace needed only a sumptuous array of Classical statuary and a host of marble-white columns to establish its theme.

The visitor’s imagination, in league with well-placed publicity, filled in the opulence.”

Not to be outdone, local historians Myrick and Barbara Land celebrated Caesars Palace in reverential tones in “A Short History of Las Vegas” (2004):

“The gaudiest, weirdest, most elaborate, and most talked about resort Vegas had ever seen.

[Its] emblem was a chesty female dipping grapes into the waiting mouth of a recumbent Roman, fitted out in toga, laurel wreath, and phallic dagger.”

Even poetic prose like that doesn’t do Caesars Palace justice though, not now, and definitely not on opening day 54 years ago. When local gamblers and tourists alike first laid eyes on the marble columns, vaulted ceilings adorned with frescos, and gilded décor from wall to wall, many swore they’d been transported to ancient Rome in all its glory.

Caesars Palace Main Driveway

Caesars Palace became Sin City’s hotspot almost immediately, thanks in large part to the arrival of Frank Sinatra. The beloved crooner had been given the boot by Desert Inn owner Howard Hughes, but the eccentric billionaire’s loss was a definitive gain for Caesars Palace.

As the first casino in town to create a unified theme – a fantasyland for visitors to immerse themselves in even when they weren’t playing – Caesars Palace became an instant industry leader. Competitors would eventually crop up to try similar angles, with Circus Circus (1968) opting for a midway ambience and Holiday Casino (1973) echoing Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Over time, Las Vegas casinos became largely defined in the public consciousness by their central themes and styles. Rather than exclusively court the casino enthusiast community, casinos on The Strip began drawing bachelors and family men alike who didn’t know blackjack from baccarat.

Thanks to the success of Caesars Palace, the Las Vegas economy became a little less reliant on gambling alone. Headline entertainers appearing nightly, stage spectacles straight out of the Coliseum, and sprawling buffets fit for a king are all byproducts of Sarno’s innovative Caesars Palace.

And if you’re wondering why Sarno chose to leave the possessive apostrophe out of his resort’s name, here’s a hint. Rather than elevate one person above all others a la the Romans, he wanted every guest who entered Caesars Palace to feel like a God walking the Earth.

November 22, 1989 – Steve Wynn Stakes His Claim

In light of Steve Wynn’s sexual harassment scandal, which forced him to resign in disgrace in 2018, this section will be shorter than it might have been.

With that said, Wynn’s design and construction of The Mirage Resort & Casino set the Las Vegas Strip on a new trajectory that history can’t simply ignore. The Mirage doubled down on Caesars Palace’s commitment to fantasy immersion, surrounding players with a living, breathing jungle on the inside and a bubbling volcano out front.

Steve Wynn With Siegfried and Roy

Suddenly, a trip to The Strip was akin to visiting Disneyland for adults, with eye-popping attractions around every corner to supplement the casino scene.

Wynn eventually lured Siegfried and Roy to become The Mirage’s signature stage show, while Cirque du Soleil got its start there before becoming a fixture at Wynn’s neighboring Treasure Island.

Wynn parlayed the success of The Mirage into a casino empire like no other, one which included the Bellagio, Wynn, and Encore casinos during its peak.

May 23rd, 2003 – Chris Moneymaker Sparks the “Poker Boom”

Before he arrived at Binion’s Horseshoe casino in Downtown Las Vegas in the summer of 2003, poker was considered the black sheep of casino gambling.

Most venues in town had a real money poker room mind you, and the Mirage played host to legendary high-stakes games, but the game didn’t exactly move the needle with recreational gamblers.

And why would it anyway? After all, back then casual poker players had a snowball’s chance on The Strip to walk away a winner after sitting down with a table full of professional card sharps.

Well, over an inch of snow fell in Las Vegas in 2003, so anything’s possible…

WSOP Winner Chris Moneymaker

Moneymaker proved that much in fine style, parlaying a $39 satellite entry earned on the online site PokerStars into a $10,000 entry to the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event. A No Limit Texas Holdem single-elimination tournament, the Main Event at Binion’s had crowned poker’s World Champion for 32 years up to that point. And aside from one or two outliers over the years, every one of those champs counted themselves as career poker pros.

Even so – despite the ESPN broadcast filming every flop and fold dubbing Moneymaker “dead money” – the mild-mannered accountant stormed through the stacked field to win it all. With the world watching at home courtesy of ESPN’s innovative “hole card” camera technology, Moneymaker showed poker novices that anything was possible – including a life-changing $2.5 million haul at the WSOP.

Almost overnight, poker tournaments became all the rage in college dorm rooms from coast to coast. Home games that used to be played for peanuts were suddenly de facto satellites, sending their local champs onward to the WSOP in hopes of becoming the next Moneymaker.

Harrah’s quickly snapped up the rights to the WSOP and moved poker’s premier tournament series to the Rio in 2005. That move was necessitated by the “boom” Moneymaker’s momentous win created, as Binion’s had simply been outgrown by that point.

To wit, when Moneymaker won the Main Event he defeated a field of 839 players. That number more than tripled to 2,576 entries one year later, and by 2006, the field peaked with a staggering 8,773 players ponying up $10,000 apiece to chase their poker dreams.

The poker boom may have been focused on Texas Holdem, but with tens of thousands of players descending on the city for a summerlong series, every casino in Las Vegas reaped the benefits. Hotels were booked to capacity months in advance, high-rollers set up shop in the suites, and Sin City became a buzzword all over the world like it was back in those bygone glory days.

Conclusion

Las Vegas history can’t be summed up by just seven days alone, but I hope this two-part list gives you a greater appreciation of what makes Sin City so special. An oasis in the desert, this town is no mirage, it’s a lasting testament to the power of people to create something out of mere sand and pure grit.

Las Vegas has evolved by leaps and bounds since its early frontier days, there’s no denying that. But as anybody who has ever strolled The Strip on a summer evening can attest to, the city’s spirit of freedom and independence lives on 115 years after the area’s first settlers bet on themselves.

The Best Reasons to Give Baccarat a Try

Baccarat Text With a Casino Background

If you’re like most casino gambling enthusiasts, even though you’ve probably heard of the card game called baccarat, you never actually tried it for yourself. Baccarat has a mysterious reputation among the recreational gambling community, thanks in large part to how casinos set up and stage the game. Most casinos in Las Vegas relegate their true baccarat tables to secluded “high-limit” sections.

There, a smoky haze shrouds serious players who spent the night placing big-time wagers, bending the cards, and even tearing them up in disgust. This unusual scene can be off-putting for many casual players, but I’m here to tell you about seven big reasons why every gambler should give baccarat a try.

It Only Takes a Minute to Learn Baccarat

Before we dive into the many merits of playing baccarat, let’s run through a quick crash course on the game’s basic rules and betting options.

Depending on the version (more on this to come), baccarat is played using either a six- or an eight-deck shoe à la blackjack. As for the cards in that shoe, here’s how baccarat card values break down:

  • 10s, Jacks, Queens, and Kings = 0 points
  • Aces = 1 point
  • 2s = 2 points
  • 3s = 3 points
  • 4s = 4 points
  • 5s = 5 points
  • 6s = 6 points
  • 7s = 7 points
  • 8s = 8 points
  • 9s = 9 points

To begin a hand of baccarat, you’ll choose between three betting options – the Player hand, the Banker hand, and the Tie.

Don’t worry too much about the original meaning behind these hand names, as they’re simply holdovers from the old-school version which had gamblers alternate between acting as the player and acting as the bank. For all intents and purposes, you’re just guessing which one of the two hands will wind up winning (or whether or not they’ll end up in a tie).

Live Dealer Online Baccarat

The objective of baccarat is exceedingly simple – guess which hand will wind up reaching a total of nine, or closest to it, after getting dealt two or three cards.

Once you’ve placed a wager, the dealer does nothing more than distribute two cards (one at a time) to each hand. An individual hand’s total can never exceed nine, so whenever it goes into double digits, you simply lop the left-hand digit off to arrive at the real total.

That’s a mouthful, I know, so here’s a visual example below to help illustrate how a baccarat hand works:

  • Player Hand = Ace and 7 for an 8 total
  • Banker Hand = 6 and 9 for a 5 total

As you can see, even though the Banker hand’s six and nine should equal 15, we remove the left-hand digit to leave a total of five.

OK, so the Player hand just beat the Banker hand then, right? Well, not so fast…

What makes baccarat exciting is the addition of a third card based on the relationship between each hand’s initial two-card total. Don’t worry about this too much either, because the dealer consults a system known as the baccarat “tableau” to determine when a third card is warranted. From the player’s perspective, this all plays out in a matter of seconds, and you don’t have to make any decisions or apply any strategy.

Sometimes just one hand will draw a third card, and in other cases both hands get to draw. In any event, the third card completes a hand’s total, and whichever hand winds up closest to nine is the winner.

When you win on the Player hand, you’ll collect an even money payout from the house. A winning Banker hand, meanwhile is paid at nearly even money, less a five percent commission. This commission is necessary because the Banker hand, due to its ability to “draw” last, holds a slight statistical advantage over the Player hand.

Again, that minutia might seem confusing at first glance, but it doesn’t matter much once the cards are in the air.

And if you happen to bet on the Tie option and both hands wind up level, you’ll earn a premium payout of 8-to-1.

Now then, you’ve just learned how to play baccarat, so let’s explore the many reasons why you should try this classic casino card game.

Baccarat Isn’t Only Played in an Intimidating Atmosphere Anymore

When you walk through any major land-based casino, you’ll eventually come across a seemingly private room protected by a velvet rope. Inside, gamblers dressed to the nines crowd around a huge table in a scene reminiscent of craps – but this is no humble dice game, it’s Big Table Baccarat.

Also known as “punto banco,” this version of baccarat is best known as the setting for James Bond’s infamous showdown with eventual on again, off again girlfriend Sylvia Trench. You know the scene from “Dr. No” (1962), when the suave secret agent coolly beats the beautiful Trench out of her entire bankroll while playing cards in a fancy casino.

Baccarat Casino Tables

In the traditional form of Big Table Baccarat still played, players take turns acting as the bank while passing an ornate shoe holding several decks of cards round and around. And sure enough, with minimum bets typically set at $500, the clientele in a Big Table Baccarat game in Sin City will be typically be dressed like “007” himself.

Between the huge bets and the haughty atmosphere, plenty of recreational players watch a few hands out of curiosity before moving on to more humble environs.

And I don’t blame them one bit, which is why the next reason to try baccarat is so important…

Modern Casinos Have Added More Approachable Options

If the idea of betting hundreds of dollars per hand surrounded by a bunch of snobby high-rollers doesn’t do it for you, I certainly get it.

And that’s why casinos adapted by rolling out a more casual, low-stakes option called “Mini Baccarat.” Also known as “Midi Baccarat,” this game takes place in the normal table game pit and uses basic minimum bets like $5 or $10. The giant table is exchanged for a standard one that looks, feels, and fits like your basic blackjack or Three Card Poker game.

Instead of players alternating as the bank and handling the shoe, a dealer takes care of all that too.

The result is an approachable form of baccarat that invites recreational players on a budget to join the fun.

You’ll Wind up Winning Roughly Half the Time

Another reason I encourage beginners to check out baccarat is the game’s binary nature. Leaving aside the Tie bet, you only have two options to choose from – Player or Banker.

With the Banker bet winning at a 45.9 percent clip, followed by the Player bet at 44.6 percent, you’ll enjoy a winner on every other hand on average.

Notice how I said “roughly” in the heading though, because the Tie bet will win after 9.5 percent of all deals.

The Tie Bet Is a Great Way to Pad Your Bankroll in a Hurry

Speaking of the Tie bet, this high-risk / high-reward gamble pays off handsomely at 8-to-1.

When you hit a natural blackjack, your $10 bet brings back $15 in profit at 3-to-2 odds, or $12.50 at the inferior 6-to-5 rate.

But that same $10 wager transforms into $80 in profit when the longshot Tie cashes in. That’s enough to please any casual player, which is why you’ll see players splash around on the Tie more than the long odds might suggest.

The Low Casino House Edge on Banker and Player Bets

Unless you’re a basic strategy master, the casino house edge on blackjack comes to 1.5 percent. Hop on the roulette table and you’re up against a 2.70 percent (single-zero wheels) or 5.26 percent (double-zero wheels).

Online Baccarat Screenshot

And some of the more popular bets on craps like the “Yo” (11) create a house edge of 11.11 percent – which is unbeatable over the long run.

Take your bankroll to the baccarat table, however, and you’ll face relatively friendly house edge rates of 1.06 percent on Banker and 1.24 percent on Player.

Of course, those are offset by the obscene 14.36 percent house edge on the Tie bet, so take your shots at that long shot sparingly.

It’s the Only Game Where You’re Allowed to Bend Cards

This one’s reserved for Big Table Baccarat, but one of the more enjoyable traditions in casino gambling is slowly bending that third and final card to reveal your hand’s fate.

You’ll see superstitious gamblers maximize their “sweat” by bending the card’s corner just so, calling out “Monkey!” or “Paint!” in hopes of seeing a face card. In fact, many high-limit baccarat tables even let you rip a bad card up in frustration (it’s already bent anyway, so no harm, no foul).

This raucous, old-school style of gambling can’t be found anywhere else in the corporate controlled casinos, so it’s worth spending a little more for the unique experience if you can afford it.

Conclusion

Baccarat may not be for everyone, but once you take a seat and place those fateful first bets, I’m willing to wager you’ll have a good time – win or lose. And fortunately, given the game’s nearly binary “coin flip” nature, you’ll wind up winning nearly half the hands you play on average.

While it may get a bad rap based on its antiquated status as an enclave for exclusive high-rollers, today’s baccarat has been modernized to offer widespread appeal. If you’ve never had the pleasure of backing the Banker or the Player, hopefully these nine reasons give you ample motivation to try baccarat on your next trip to the casino.

Worst Types of Casinos for Beginners

Silhouette of Man With Hands on Head With a Casino Background

Selecting the right casino to travel to is one of the most important choices for new gamblers. Most casinos are perfectly fine, but there are some kinds that you should definitely avoid. When picking out a casino to gamble at, make sure you aren’t wasting your time or setting yourself up for failure. Here are the seven worst types of casinos for beginners.

High-Stakes Luxury Casinos

Sitting down at a table in a casino you can’t afford to be at is a terrible situation. A few times in my life, I’ve been there and thinking about those experiences still fills me with dread. Unless you aren’t concerned with the amount of money you spend gambling, there are going to be casinos you shouldn’t gamble at.

These types are especially prevalent in significant gambling cities. For example, Las Vegas is home to some of the nicest casinos in the United States. The Bellagio, Cosmo, and the Wynn are regarded as some of the world’s nicest casinos. There’s no reason for beginners even to attempt to gamble at casinos as luxurious as these.

Palazzo and the Vegas Strip

Several problems come with gambling at expensive casinos. First off, you most likely won’t be able to gamble for extended periods. Secondly, you most likely are underprepared, and your inexperience will show. Lastly, you always want to make sure you’re comfortable when gambling. If you’re like me, you’ll most likely feel like a fish out of water at a high-end casino.

Run-Down Dumpster Fires

On the opposite end of the spectrum of casinos, you have grungy, trashy, and run-down casinos. While they should be infinitely cheaper than the previous type, they are somehow worse for beginners. When it comes to casinos, you truly don’t have to gamble to have a pleasant experience. At luxury casinos, there are sights to see, and new gamblers can still have a pleasant time.

When it comes to the worst casinos, there really is little to be gained from your experience. The gambling might be inexpensive, but there’s a good chance you’ll regret even going in the first place.

Gamblers who lack any type of experience gambling should be on the lookout for a few things. A dead giveaway you’re at a less reputable casino is the presence of slot machines that are out of order. Another is a multitude of unoccupied tables during peak hours. Never feel bad about calling an audible if you figure out you want to change plans.

Noisy Pits of Distractions

As I mentioned in an earlier point, new gamblers should always feel comfortable inside a casino. If you’re ever feeling uncomfortable or distracted, you won’t be able to settle in and start making money. To thrive at a casino, your first few trips are crucial to your success. During those trips, you’ll learn the ropes and lay a good foundation for future success.

Casinos exist to make a profit off of gamblers; that’s no secret to anyone. If you can walk away from a casino with money, you’re doing better than the average gambler. Having acknowledged that, a casino will use various tactics to get you out of your element.

Planet Hollywood Pleasure Pit

One casino that will be forever seared into my mind is Planet Hollywood because it was one of the first casinos I visited in Vegas. To that point, I had grown accustomed to my run-of-the-mill casino back home. You can imagine my surprise when I walked into Planet Hollywood and was met with blasting music and go-go dancers behind several blackjack tables. I found I couldn’t focus on the cards being dealt to me and ended up leaving after 10 minutes.

Ones With Free Booze

Drinking and gambling is a wonderful combination. That is if you’re a skilled gambler who can handle their liquor.

New gamblers should do everything in their power to avoid drinking excessively when they’re learning to gamble. The problem is, a variety of casinos provide a steady stream of alcohol to their patrons.

If you have the self-restraint to continually turn down cocktail waitresses who offer you free drinks, more power to you. For those of you who doubt they can resist, then casinos with free drinks might be nightmarish. The best gamblers will either sip on the same drink for an extended period of time or avoid alcohol altogether. When you drink, you’re limiting yourself and impacting your abilities.

Casinos With Obnoxious Regulars

These types of casinos are among the worst kinds. Luckily, they are also few and far between. Most casinos have a sort of energy and culture they either attempt to curate or one that arises naturally over time. Whether it’s the casino theme, its location, or due to other factors, certain casinos attract certain types of gamblers.

Most gamblers are reasonable, ordinary people. However, there are groups of gamblers at particular casinos that seem to exist to ruin your time. New gamblers can be frustrating to deal with. They slow down the game and can occasionally make a stupid decision that is hard to watch. Most gamblers are capable of overcoming adversity. Obnoxious gamblers at casinos, however, are not.

Man Lighting a Cigar

If you have years of gambling experience under your belt, you probably know the type. Usually, it’s someone over the age of 50, chewing on a cigar and sipping on a glass of scotch. They’ve been gambling at the casino in question for decades and know every single dealer. For some reason, they feel superior to every other gambler at the table and are quick to make judgemental statements about beginners.

If you find yourself at a table with this type of person, don’t get discouraged. As I said, most gamblers are quality people who will be eager to guide you in the right direction.

Untrustworthy Online Casinos

Online casinos might seem unconventional on this list. But the online gambling business continues to increase in popularity, so they should be considered.

Like brick-and-mortar casinos, a majority of online casinos are reputable and deserving of your business. However, others aren’t worth your time.

Over the years, blacklisted online casinos have been outed for essentially stealing money from gamblers. Others have been accused of decreasing odds and making it even more challenging for gamblers to win money. It’s never been easier to figure out which online casinos are worth depositing with. Always be on the lookout for negative customer reviews.

Casinos With Disinterested Dealers and Employees

Dealers can often be a new gambler’s best friend. When you’re learning how to play casino games, an attentive dealer can make all the difference. Hopefully, as you develop your skills, you’ll come across dealers who want to help you learn to play. Most of the time, dealers are perfectly pleasant and helpful. But, occasionally, you will catch a dealer on a bad day.

Man Dealing a Blackjack Game

A lousy dealer can come in many shapes and forms. Either they are careless and mess up the deal, or their attitude leaves something to be desired. In my experience, it’s best to bide your time and wait for the next dealer to take over. But, on the rare occasion that you encounter two terrible dealers in a row, that might indicate you’re in a bad casino.

If you happen to have a bad experience with a dealer or a casino employee, don’t let it ruin your gambling experience. Instead, consider finding a different casino if the problem seems systemic. There are too many casinos in the United States, so don’t get stuck at a bad one.

Conclusion

As you continue to gamble, you’ll come to find that there is a large variance in the quality of casinos. Gamblers should be on the lookout for certain elements when analyzing the quality of a gambling destination.

One of the worst places a new gambler can be stuck at is a casino they can’t afford. While I recommend avoiding gambling at luxury casinos, you can always walk through the floors to get a taste of the action. On the flip side, don’t get stuck at a casino that’s a run-down dump. Life is too short to gamble at trashy casinos.

Make sure to avoid casinos that are way too distracting or offer an endless supply of alcohol. It’s important to be at the top of your game when you’re learning how to gamble. If you’re planning to do your gambling online, avoid any disreputable establishments. Finally, try to find a casino with solid dealers, as they’re a great resource for younger, inexperienced gamblers.

Why Do Banks Reject My Online Casino Deposits?

Bank Teller Interaction With a Casino Cross Out Graphic

Depositing is a key element behind playing online casino games. If you can’t deposit, then you can’t play for real money.

Unfortunately, not everybody is able to fund their account with ease. Some gamblers see their bank transfers and credit card casino deposits rejected.

A common misconception with the latter is that the credit card brand (e.g. Visa) blocks the deposit. In reality, the bank that issues the card is stopping the transaction.

In situations like these, you may wonder why banks are so apt to block gaming deposits, especially if you live in a completely legal jurisdiction.

This guide discusses more on the process that leads to financial institutions rejecting online gaming transactions. It also covers alternatives for getting around this issue.

What Happens When Your Casino Deposit Is Rejected?

Every banking institution has their own policy on internet gambling. Some are liberal with the matter, while others are staunchly against serving online casino players.

You’re more likely to see a credit card or transfer deposit rejected in the latter case. Such banks have stronger policies against allowing casino-related transactions.

Software is their first line of defense when catching online casino deposits. A software program can monitor transactions and reject anything suspicious.

Pile of Credit Cards

Banks may also employ individuals to manually go through transactions and look for anything that goes against their institution’s policies.

Of course, not every casino deposit gets rejected in these cases. But a bank that’s against internet gambling may block over 50% of them.

Offshore Casino Deposits Are Especially Susceptible

Some banking institutions don’t like online casinos in any form. However, they’re especially against offshore online gambling.

The latter refers to gaming sites that operate outside of the countries they’re serving. They also typically don’t obtain licensing (if applicable) in markets where they operate.

Offshore casinos aren’t illegal in every state or country that they serve. After all, some jurisdictions don’t have strong anti-online gaming laws in place. Nevertheless, these operators aren’t necessarily legal either.

Most banks don’t take chances with such matters. They solve this issue by simply prohibiting any transaction they catch related to internet casinos.

Banks Even Turn Away Legal Online Casino Deposits

Many states and countries have legalized internet gaming. Therefore, the licensed casinos that operate in these jurisdictions are completely accepted.

You might think that every financial institution would allow bank transfers and credit card transactions to casinos in such cases. Strangely enough, though, certain institutions will still block deposits in legal markets.

The reasoning usually comes down to the situation:

  • The bank operates in a state/country that previously banned online gaming, or at least had restrictive laws surrounding the matter
  • The jurisdiction in question legalizes internet casinos
  • The laws could be changed or challenged at some point
  • The bank decides to continue rejecting gaming deposits until everything is settled

This situation is most common in the US, where individual states have the ability to regulate online casinos. However, the federal government has never legalized the matter.

With that said, certain banks aren’t entirely comfortable with allowing deposits in this case. They want firmer laws before they’re willing to serve internet gamblers.

In reality, these banks wouldn’t run into any trouble if they do serve such a legal market. But they’d still rather not take unnecessary risks just to be involved with online betting.

Why Are Banks Against Online Gambling?

A bank’s reasons for instituting an anti-internet gaming policy can vary from one company to the next. In the US, though, many financial institutions are still leery of online gambling due to certain laws and legal events. Here are the primary laws that scare banks away from this industry.

UIGEA

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) came into effect in 2006. It prohibits gambling businesses from serving states that have outlawed gambling.

Contrary to popular belief, the UIGEA doesn’t completely ban online gaming. It just prevents them from taking payments from states where internet gambling is illegal.

Despite its narrow focus, this law has had a lasting impact. It has scared off many banks and payment processors from facilitating US-based online casino transactions.

Black Friday

Black Friday marks the day when the federal Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York took action against several unregulated online poker sites.

With help from the US Department of Justice (DoJ), the attorney’s office successfully indicted key figureheads from these sites for money laundering and bank fraud.

John Campos, a part owner and Vice President of SunTrust Bank (Utah) at the time, was arrested for miscoding poker deposits so that they passed through bank channels.

SunTrust Bank Building

Campos processed transactions for PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker in exchange for separate $10 million investments in SunTrust Bank. He pleaded guilty to a single illegal gambling charge and served three months in prison.

Of course, all bank executives likely steer clear of helping gambling sites in the same manner that Campos did. But the latter shows what can happen if a financial exec steps outside the lines to help gaming sites.

Wire Act

The Federal Wire Act of 1961 bans the offering of gambling across state lines. The Wire Act was enacted over three decades before the consumer internet became available.

Nevertheless, its legal language loosely applies to online casinos, depending upon who’s making the interpretation.

The US DoJ was asked to give interpretations on this law in 2011 and 2019. They initially stated that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting. But the DoJ offered a different opinion in 2019, saying that the Wire Act applies to all forms of internet gambling.

New Hampshire successfully sued the DoJ to prevent their opinion from changing any laws. After all, the Granite State already had a thriving online lottery and didn’t want the new interpretation affecting their business.

Even still, the DoJ’s amended opinion shows that legal agencies may try to rework existing gambling laws. If the latter efforts succeeded, then banks would suddenly need to change everything around and start rejecting deposits in once-legal jurisdictions.

Alternative Online Casino Payment Methods

If your gaming deposits keep getting rejected, then you should definitely pursue an alternative payment option. Here are some other banking methods you can use at online casinos.

Not all of these options may not be available in regulated markets. However, they are widely available to grey states that must use offshore gaming sites.

Bitcoin

This famed cryptocurrency is gaining more and more mainstream attention. Most people are interested in Bitcoin for its investment potential.

However, BTC does have utility as a payment method too. It’s especially popular at offshore gambling sites, which rely on Bitcoin to get around the UIGEA.

Using Bitcoin for online gambling is relatively easy to use once you get the hang of it. You can set up an account at exchanges like Coinbase and Gemini and quickly purchase BTC.

From here, you obtain a wallet address from the casino (recipient address). Next, you head back to your exchange account and send Bitcoin to the relevant casino address. Your funds should arrive after a short while.

Other Cryptocurrencies

BTC isn’t the only game in town anymore when it comes to cryptocurrency casino banking. Other coins, such as Ethereum, XRP (Ripple), Bitcoin Cash, and Monero are gaining acceptance at casino sites.

You’ll experience little to no adjustment regarding the deposit process when moving from Bitcoin to any other crypto. You can also find most mainstream coins at the aforementioned exchanges.

Prepaid Cards

Prepaid cards allow you to fund a casino account with no hassle. You simply purchase them at convenience stores or online and load funds on to them.

Shelf of Pre-Paid Bank Cards

From here, you visit a gaming site that accepts the relevant prepaid card. You place a deposit by using the special PIN number that’s unique to the card.

Neteller and Skrill

Neteller and Skrill do have some rules in place regarding internet gambling. These e-wallets try to avoid letting you do anything that would break laws in your jurisdiction.

Largely speaking, though, Skrill and Neteller are solid alternatives when your credit card deposits aren’t going through. You can even use either of these e-wallets to find an offshore casino account. The only catch is that most US citizens don’t have access to Neteller and Skrill, and also you may not qualify for casino bonuses.

Should You Try Depositing With Rejected Credit Cards Again?

Depending upon where you live, you may only have a 30% to 50% chance of making a successful credit card casino deposit. On the times when you’re rejected, you may wonder if it’s worth trying to fund your account again.

You’ll have success in some cases when retrying the deposit. In other situations, though, you might get rejected again and draw the issuing bank’s attention. The latter may even review your accounts if they notice suspicious activity and close it. That said, you assume risk when trying to deposit over and over again.

Provided you have a bank transfer or credit card deposit that’s rejected, you might want to review the specific bank’s policies on gambling.

Some institutions, such as Bank of America, have a strict anti-gaming stance. In this case, you should avoid trying to redeposit since you’re unlikely to have any success.

Conclusion

Your chances of depositing with credit cards and bank transfers depend upon multiple factors. The bank in question and your location carry heavy importance here.

Sometimes, deposits don’t go through even when you live in legal online gaming jurisdictions. You may become extremely frustrated at this point.

Luckily, though, alternative casino banking means exist. You can try cryptocurrencies, prepaid cards, Neteller, or Skrill.

As long as you’re not breaking any laws in your jurisdiction, then you don’t have to feel badly about using other means to complete deposits.

The Arizona Casino Scene

Arizona State Flag and an Arizona Casino

Arizona has a more robust casino gambling scene than many other states, but less of a presence than others. It’s no Nevada, for sure.

You’ll find a couple dozen Native American casinos throughout the state offer gambling machines that include slots, video blackjack, video keno, and video poker. Many casinos in Arizona also offer table games like blackjack and casino war.

Unless you’re playing bingo or pull-tab games, the gambling age in Arizona is 21. You can play bingo and pull-tabs as young as 18, though.

Fantasy sports, betting on sports, and online casinos are all illegal in Arizona.

An Alphabetical List of Casinos in Arizona

Here’s an alphabetical list of all of the Arizona gambling options:

  • Apache Gold Casino Resort
  • Apache Sky Casino
  • BlueWater Resort and Casino
  • Bucky’s Casino
  • Casino Arizona
  • Casino del Sol
  • Casino of the Sun
  • Cliff Castle Casino
  • Cocopah Resort Casino
  • Desert Diamond Casino
  • Desert Diamond Casino, Sahuarita
  • Desert Diamond Casino, West Valley
  • Desert Diamond Hotel & Casino
  • Fort McDowell Casino
  • Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino
  • Hon-Dah Resort Casino
  • Lone Butte Casino
  • Mazatzal Casino
  • Paradise Casino
  • Spirit Mountain Casino
  • Talking Stick Resort
  • Twin Arrows Casino Resort
  • Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino
  • Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino
  • Yavapi Casino

As you can probably tell from the names of the casinos, Arizona casinos are all tribal casinos. And they often lean into Native American stereotypes and actual tribe names for their casino names.

What Are the Biggest Casinos in Arizona?

You have multiple ways of measuring the size of the biggest US casinos. One common measurement is to look at how much square footage of gaming space the casino has. Another is to measure the number of gambling machines in the establishment.

For purposes of this post, I’m going to loosely categorize the biggest casinos in Arizona by how many slot machines and other gambling machines they offer.

Desert Diamond Casino – West Valley is probably the biggest casino in Arizona. They offer over 1100 different slot machines. That’s about the same as the #2 on this list, but they also offer a relatively huge number of blackjack (48) and poker tables (36).

Desert Diamond Casino West Valley in Arizona

It’s a 75,000 square foot facility with a steakhouse and an Italian bistro on site. They also have a bar and a smaller café.

Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino also have over 1100 slot machines, but they only have 17 blackjack tables and 17 poker tables. They have a buffet restaurant on site as well as a golf course nearby. The hotel has 300 rooms.

Desert Diamond Casino – Tucson is on par with Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, with 1100 slot machines, 18 blackjack tables, and 14 poker tables. They also have many of the same amenities as the Harrah’s Ak-Chin, although the restaurants are different.

Some Historical Context Related to Arizona Casinos and Gambling

20+ Indian tribes lie in Arizona, and it’s impossible to consider the casino gambling scene in the state without thinking about the Native American tribes there. That’s because in 1988, the United States passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).

This law enabled Native American tribes to operate casinos legally. It wasn’t smooth sailing, initially, though as the states and tribes must negotiate individual agreements with the state (per IGRA). With so many tribes, it required a lot of consensus-building and took half a decade to get anywhere.

Of course, now, almost all 20 tribes are involved in operate casinos throughout the state of Arizona.

Harrah's Ak-Chin Casino Floor

Legally, you can only gamble at tribal casinos in the state – or on horse racing or the state lottery. It doesn’t matter which type of legal gambling activity you participate in, it falls under the purview of the Arizona Tribal-State Gaming Compacts. These are agreements between the state of Arizona and the tribes operating gambling businesses there. The Arizona Gaming Commission oversees the implementation of these compacts.

25% of the land in the state of Arizona belongs to Native American tribes, so they have plenty of space on which to operate casinos. The casinos are required to use the funds from these businesses for charity for the tribes’ benefit.

What Are the Blackjack Rules and Conditions Like in Arizona Casinos?

Real money blackjack conditions and rules vary from casino to casino. Sometimes they even vary from table to table. In some states, they even charge you a fee on every hand you play.

Here are some examples of the kinds of blackjack conditions you might find in Arizona casinos. They might be different depending on which casino you’re visiting. Also, casinos change their rules periodically, so this is meant to be illustrative rather than definitive.

I’ve read reports of at least one casino offering a blackjack game from two decks of cards. The dealer has to stand on a hard 17+ but hits a soft 17 , and you’re allowed to double on any first two cards. You’ve even allowed to double after splitting. The minimum bet at a table like this would be $10 or more per hand. The maximum bet was $500 per hand.

Desert Diamond Casino Blackjack Table  Game

You might be able to find better blackjack situations than this if you scout around. A lot of advantage players and card counters avoid sharing where the best games are in any state. That’s one of the main reasons these games disappear, so they avoid publicizing them.

Some Arizona casinos use continuous shuffling machines. If that’s the case, forget about counting cards at those tables. It won’t work.

The Poker Rooms in Arizona Casinos

It’s impossible to stay completely up to date on the poker conditions in all Arizona cardrooms, as their practices change whenever the cardroom managers decide to change them. But here are some examples of what was available when I researched this post.

At the Desert Diamond Casino, West Valley, they use automatic shuffling machines and happily cash checks for their poker players. They offer bad beat jackpots, and you’re able to order food from the table.

They also have non-smoking poker tables available, and you can earn casino comps and apply your poker play toward the casino’s rewards program. They have a bank of televisions to watch and wifi service. Cell phone reception from the cardroom is good.

That list of amenities is pretty standard for most Arizona casinos with cardrooms, although some of the perks can vary from one casino to another. For example, the Desert Diamond Tucson also offers poker players half-price food when they’re playing at the tables.

Will Sports Betting Be Legalized in Arizona?

As I write this post, it’s still illegal to bet on sports in Arizona. The legal situation related to sports betting is always apt to change, though – especially in the last couple of years.

In 2019, someone put forth a bill to legalize and regulate sports betting in Arizona, but it died with little fanfare.

In 2020, two more bills – one of which is identical to the 2019 bill – offered hope to sports bettors who want to bet legally in the state. HB 2813 was one of those bills. It would have legalized sports betting and horse racing tracks throughout the state. Tribal casinos would only be allowed to open sportsbooks in their casinos with approval from the state. Since the tribes feel like they should be allowed to offer sports betting no matter what, they were opposed to this bill.

SB 1525 was the duplicate of the 2019 bill trying to legalize sports betting in Arizona. It would have made it legal for every tribal casino in the state to offer sports betting, although mobile and online sports betting would still be illegal.

Both bills were put on the back burner when the legislative session ended on April 25. They might see renewed interest and action in 2021, though.

Conclusion

The Arizona gambling scene is more robust than many states, although you still can’t bet on sports legally yet. Unlike many states with tribal casinos, Arizona does offer real (Class III) slot machines. They also offer a great selection of table games – especially blackjack.

Whether Arizona will eventually add sports betting to the menu is anyone’s guess. It looks like it will happen eventually, but with the large number of Indian tribes who have differing opinions on how that should be handled, it might take a while for everyone to find consensus.

Great Reasons to Stay on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas Instead of The Strip

East and West Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas

If you’ve visited Las Vegas before, I’m willing to bet you spent the bulk of your trip staying on Sin City’s iconic Strip. The dazzling array of mega-resort casinos lining Las Vegas Boulevard is certainly this town’s main draw, but it wasn’t always that way. Up until the ‘60s – when a building boom saw sites like Caesars Palace and Circus Circus spring up on The Strip – the beating heart of Las Vegas could be found Downtown.

There, on a short stretch of Fremont Street, entertainers like Frank Sinatra and his “Rat Pack” called casinos like the Golden Nugget, California, and Four Queens home. If you’re planning to visit Las Vegas, here’s four great reasons to ditch The Strip for Downtown.

The Fremont Street Experience Completed a Stunning $32 Million Renovation Project

One of the main reasons visitors shy away from the Downtown district and Fremont Street is the area’s age.

At one point in the ‘80s, with The Strip booming thanks to corporate expansion, Downtown Las Vegas was struggling mightily. The casinos were smaller, the hotel rooms were cramped, and the overall ambience was decidedly “old-school” in all the worst ways.

That all changed in 1994, when civic leaders completed an ambitious renovation project known as the Fremont Street Experience. By blocking off thru traffic along Fremont, and enclosing the five city blocks with a brightly lit “Viva Vision” canopy, the Fremont Street Experience sought to emulate the bright lights, glitz, and glamour of The Strip.

Vintage Fremont Street Photo

The gamble worked too, and Downtown experienced a renaissance during the 90s which injected new blood into the ailing district.

Fast forward to 2019, however, and Downtown was faced with a similar dilemma. The allure of the original Fremont Street Experience had worn off by then, and Downtown was largely defined by its eclectic mix of local street-side entertainers and buskers.

Fortunately, chief executive officer Patrick Hughes had a bold vision for second revitalization project.

By investing $32 million to revamp and refurbish the Viva Vision canopy, the Fremont Street Experience of today is like nothing else you’ve ever seen before. Nearly 50 million LED lights displaying over 16 million pixels combine with a 600,000-watt concert style speaker system to create a guest experience that is unique the world over.

Here’s how Hughes described his plans for the new and improved Viva Vision canopy:

“Sixty-seven percent of our visitors come downtown because of the canopy. It needed a floor-to-ceiling renovation.

The display is seven times brighter, with the resolution quadrupled from what it once was.

The brightness allows us to have the shows run during the day.”

Day and night, visitors are treated to sensory wonders unlike any other in Las Vegas. The canopy’s screens swirl with neon hues, light shows with themes that match the holiday season, and music to suit all tastes.

Open-air pedestrian walkways, easy access to several beautiful casinos, and attractions like the SlotZilla zipline combine to make the revived Fremont Street Experience a must-see event.

Modern Marvels Meet Historical Landmarks

Whenever I’m gambling Downtown, I find myself struck by the dichotomy between Fremont Street’s technological marvels and its deeply rooted history.

Golden Gate Hotel & Casino first opened its doors way back in 1906, and after surviving both Prohibition and Nevada’s brief experiment with gambling criminalization, the old gal still stands to this day. The place isn’t some dusty old museum though, it’s a thriving casino and hotel that still welcomes guests to gamble, drink, and have a blast.

Golden Gate in Downtown Las Vegas

A multimillion-dollar renovation project in 2017 doubled the Golden Gate’s gaming floor, and five years before that, new owner Derek Stevens added a five-story hotel tower. These renovations were carefully designed to update the facility, without sacrificing the Golden Gate’s signature antique look and feel.

Here’s what Stevens told the Las Vegas Review-Journal after the most recent renovation:

“As the Golden Gate opens, this old-meets-new design creates a thrilling nostalgic feel evoking the spirit of the Rat Pack era with the excitement of our modern world.”

To get a sense of the Golden Gate’s longstanding status as the oldest gambling hall in Las Vegas, get this. When work crews knocked down a wall near the old bar, they discovered old whisky bottles bundled up and hidden from the prying eyes of Prohibition-era police.

Golden Gate might be Downtown’s grandfather, but the entire district is brimming with historical attractions. El Cortez opened up back in 1941 during the height of World War II, while the Golden Nugget staked its claim along Fremont Street just five years later.

If you share my appreciation for gambling history, touring the most venerable casinos in America is a great way to spend your next weekend in Sin City.

Stevens’ New Circa Casino Brings a Slice of The Strip to Fremont Street

Speaking of Stevens, the emerging casino impresario has certainly put his stamp on the Downtown district.

Along with his renovation of Golden Gate, Stevens and his brother Greg turned the old Fitzgerald’s casino into The D Casino & Hotel – a hip and happening hotspot that brings in the 20-something crowd.

But the crown jewel of Stevens’ casino empire is the Circa Resort & Casino, a brand new venue in downtown Las Vegas.

Circa Resort and Casino in Las Vegas

Circa boasts a 777-room hotel tower that climbs high above the Downtown skyline, not to mention all the modern amenities Las Vegas visitors have come to expect. Circa is home to the world’s largest sportsbook facility, supplanting the Westgate SuperBook, along with a massive six-tiered swimming pool that puts The Strip’s aquatic attractions to shame.

An avid sports bettor in his own right – he’s known to place $1 million wagers on his hometown Detroit teams from time to time – Stevens designed the Circa Sportsbook to be the world’s best. In a press release hyping Las Vegas’ latest cutting-edge bet shop, Stevens promised fellow sports fans a world-class experience on every level (and I do mean that literally):

“It’ll be the first three-story sportsbook – it’ll have the largest video screens. It will have a television studio for VSiN and audio studios for radio remotes and podcasters and it’ll have the most amount of seating of any sportsbook ever.

It will accommodate around a thousand people with the standing room element. I expect on a great night with – say a World Series game or an NFL Sunday – the roar of the crowd in the sportsbook is going to be unparalleled. It should be a lot of fun for everybody.”

If you want to have it both ways, savoring Downtown’s history while staying in an elite modern casino resort, Circa will be right up your alley.

The Bargains and Value Found Downtown Simply Can’t Be Beat

Before the Fremont Street Experience and Circa brought Downtown into the 21st century, gamblers in the know flocked to Fremont Street for one simple reason – value.

You’ll still find 3-to-2 blackjack tables in all of the Downtown table game pits, the video poker machines here use the premium pay tables, and the penny slots actually spin when you slide an Abe Lincoln down the chute.

Golden Gate Shrimp Cocktail

The savings extend to the dining options as well, as my father and Las Vegas native can attest to. He used to love nothing more than heading down to the Golden Gate to sample the casino’s world famous 99-cent shrimp cocktail.

Paying less than a buck for a glass of prawns might seem like a real gamble, but trust me, this Las Vegas staple is well worth it. The 99-cent shrimp cocktail was phased out for a while, but it recently returned to rave reviews from locals and tourists alike.

If you’re visiting Las Vegas on a budget and the sticker shock of The Strip gets you down, head Downtown to see how it treats its valued guests.

Conclusion

I’m a sucker for nostalgia and the “way things used to be,” so perhaps my love for Fremont Street isn’t for everyone. With that said, if you’ve never been to Downtown Las Vegas before, what are you waiting for?

After all, The Strip will always be waiting a few miles south, so you’re not risking anything by giving Fremont Street a fair shake. Bring a few good buddies, or even the kids – they’ll love Golden Nugget’s “Swim With the Sharks” waterslide attraction – and hit the town like Sinatra and the boys used to. And hey, if you don’t enjoy yourself, send me an email and your next 99-cent shrimp cocktail is on me.

Insider Tactics for Breakeven Gambling

Tactics Text With a Casino Table Game Background

You might be thinking that you don’t want to break even when you gamble. We get it, you want to win. But take a closer look at your gambling results up to this point. The odds are high that you’re probably losing far more than you win, if you’re being completely honest.

The majority of gamblers would actually be much better off if they learned how to break even. You’re welcome to try to learn how to make money gambling. But first, you really need to learn how to break even. Once you learn how to become a breakeven gambler, you can continue your education and learn how to make a profit.

Here are seven secrets that breakeven gamblers use. You can use one or more of these secrets to start gambling at a breakeven pace.

Basic Blackjack Strategy, Bonuses, Comps, and Coupons

In order to break even, if you don’t use advantage gambling, you have to use a combination of tactics. I cover some advantage play tactics in other sections on this page, but you need to get the hang of the basics first.

Using basic blackjack strategy in blackjack games with good rules, you can gamble with a casino edge of between 0.25% and 0.5%. This is a good range for a casino edge, although it still isn’t going to help you break even in the long run.

Live Dealer Online Blackjack Game

But when you combine this low casino edge with other things that lower or offset the casino edge, you can get closer to break even. Things that help lower or offset the casino edge include online bonuses, comps earned through the players club, as well as coupons and special offers from casinos.

The truth is that it’s extremely hard to reach true breakeven gambling while playing blackjack, even when you use all of these tactics. You usually have to add at least one advantage tactic to truly reach the breakeven point.

Video Poker Strategy, Comps, Coupons, and Bonuses

Video poker breakeven play is similar to blackjack breakeven play. You have to use strategy and the right rules to start with a low house edge. The good news is that information about using the correct video poker strategy and finding the right machines is readily available.

The bad news is that you still have to use bonuses, promotions, coupons, and casino comps to have any chance of reaching a true break even rate of play.

There are a few video poker machines that offer breakeven play using just perfect strategy. But these machines are extremely rare, so you might never find one of them. You’d have to make the effort to hunt it down.

Side View of Video Poker Machine

It’s more likely that you’ll find a Deuces Wild machine with a pay table that has a house edge around 0.25%. You might also be able to find a Jacks or Better machine with a progressive jackpot that has a low casino edge to exploit.

Start by researching the video poker games and pay tables with the lowest casino edge. Then, try to locate where some of these machines are and if there’s one near you. Most importantly, learn how to use perfect strategy when you play.

Then, get all of the coupons, comps, promotions, and bonuses that you can find. This can help you break even while playing video poker. Like blackjack, you’re probably still not going to quite reach a true breakeven point, but you might.

Advantage Poker Play

This is where you start to have a realistic shot at breakeven play, or even make a profit. The thing you need to understand is that most poker players lose, just like most blackjack and video poker players lose.

This tells you that breaking even playing poker isn’t easy. But it’s something that you can learn how to do if you set your mind to it and invest enough time and energy into it.

I can’t teach you everything that you need to know to be an advantage gambler in one section, but I can point you in the right direction.

Here’s a list of things you need to master to play advantage poker:

  • Position
  • Game selection
  • Odds
  • Pot Odds
  • Expected value
  • Bankroll management
  • Starting hand selection
  • Player tendencies

Act as the House (Check the Legality in Your Jurisdiction First)

This isn’t strictly gambling, because casinos aren’t involved in gambling. Sure, casinos offer gambling games. But when a casino is run the right way, they’re not really gambling in any way. The casino has a built-in house edge that they use to make profits and continue their operations.

Notice that I mentioned in the title of this section that this may be illegal where you live. I’m not suggesting that you do anything that will land you in hot water, but if you want to break even or make a profit in the gambling industry, the best place to be is on the side of the operator.

Red Casino Craps Table

Is there a way you can legally offer wagers in your jurisdiction? And if there is, can you do it with the same long-term edge that casinos have? Do you have a big enough bankroll to roll through ups and downs? Consider a few of these factors before you start running your own underground casino.

Handicapping Sports

Sportsbooks are like poker rooms and casinos in some ways. The main way is the fact that they’re set up to make profits. But the way sportsbooks operate also leaves an opportunity for the best sports gamblers to break even or make some money.

They do so because of all of the other gamblers are losing money. But did you know that you can learn how to break even or win?

The skill you need to develop for sports betting is called “handicapping.” Sports handicapping is the process of evaluating games and lines to find profitable wagering opportunities. This isn’t an easy skill to develop, but with the right instruction and enough experience, you can learn enough to break even in the long run.

So, how long does it take to develop winning handicapping skills? The time varies, depending on how much you already know and how quickly you learn. But it can take hundreds of hours or more. So, this isn’t for the lazy bettor or the faint of heart.

Horse Racing Handicapping

Horse racing handicapping is somewhat similar to sporting event handicapping. But instead of evaluating sports teams, you’re evaluating horses and jockeys.

The betting system is also different in horse racing in comparison to the system used by sportsbooks, but it still leaves room for a smart handicapper to make money.

Jockey and His Race Horse

If you’re not a fan of horse racing, you should probably skip this tactic. But if you do enjoy horse racing, you should start learning more about how to handicap horse races.

Start by learning how pari-mutuel racing and gambling works. Then, start looking at past results and try to understand how they can predict future results. This isn’t a perfect science, but you can learn how to pick enough horses to finish in the money to make some long-term profits, or at least break even.

Blackjack Advantage Play

In the first section, you learned about how to play close to breakeven using blackjack. And you should continue using everything you learned in that section. But now, you’re going to learn about advantage plays that can take you beyond breaking even and straight into making profits.

The easiest blackjack advantage play is known as card counting. You can use a simple counting system to break even, and you can use a slightly more advanced counting system to make a profit. I highly recommend that every blackjack player learn more about counting cards.

Another form of advantage play is learning how to spot the value of cards when the blackjack dealer is dealing. Often called “hole carding,” this is an advanced technique that’s quite hard to do. But the advantage of knowing the value of a face down card is quite profitable.

The last two blackjack advantage techniques you need to be aware of are shuffle tracking and ace sequencing. These are also advanced techniques that are hard to do. But if you know how to count cards, you can see about adding these tools to your arsenal.

Conclusion

Breaking even when you gamble doesn’t seem like a great goal, but when you realize how much most gamblers lose, then breaking even starts to sound a whole lot better. When you learn the secrets on this page and start gambling at a breakeven pace, you can start investigating the many different ways to start making a profit while gambling.

As you learned in this article, you have to concentrate on a narrow set of activities. You can’t afford to play games that don’t have any realistic chance of breaking even.

Pick one of the tactics on this page and master it. Then, add a second tactic. Keep learning until you can break even while gambling using a wide range of activities and strategies.

7 Reasons Gambling Online is Better than Gambling In Person

Laptop and Coffee With an Online Slots Background

Online betting continues to see a rise in legalization and subsequent popularity. While states seem primed to continue legalizing online gambling, you might think to yourself: which type of gambling is superior?

Brick and mortar casinos are known to be the more traditional type of gambling. Online gambling detractors claim that betting on a computer shouldn’t even be in the same conversation as gambling at a casino. But, fans of online casinos tend to disagree wholeheartedly.

Each type of gambling has its benefits and drawbacks. But, as we continue to advance through the age of the internet, online gambling continues to innovate and improve. Here are seven reasons that make online gambling a better option than gambling in person.

1 ‒ It’s More Accessible

Let me preface this point by saying that gambling should always be done in moderation. That’s especially true if you have experienced issues with bankroll management or gambling addiction in the past. If you’re a responsible gambler, then there’s really no contest between online and brick and mortar when it comes to ease of access.

If you’re not lucky enough to live within driving distance of a casino, then gambling at a casino isn’t practical. Even if you can’t get the full casino experience when you’re gambling online, something is better than nothing. As I said earlier, online casinos continue to improve and have made the gambling experience much more enjoyable.

Gambling online is much easier than gambling in person. Say it’s a Friday night and you’re in the mood to gamble. You just finished a long week of work and live two hours away from the nearest casino. What sounds better, driving four hours round-trip to gamble, or opening up your laptop? When it comes to accessibility, online casinos prevail without a doubt.

2 ‒ There’s a Better Variety of Games

Most real money online casinos offer a wide variety of the most popular casino table games. However, the same cannot be said for in-person casinos. If you’ve gambled for an extended period there’s a good chance you’ve gone to a casino only to be unable to locate a table. That problem doesn’t exist in online casinos.

Online Table Game Selection

It can be nearly impossible to find a seat at a blackjack table or a spot at the craps tables during peak times. But, online, there are seemingly endless options to satisfy any type of gambler. Additionally, if you’re a fan of a particular style of game, there’s a chance brick and mortar casinos won’t offer it.

3 ‒ There are Several Casinos to Choose From

The disappointment of travelling to a casino only to find out it’s not worth your time is soul crushing. Most gamblers don’t have the luxury of bouncing from casino to casino to find one that works for them. But, online, gamblers can do just that.

When it comes to selecting an online casino, gamblers have the luxury of being able to take a virtual tour to make sure it’s worth depositing. The same can’t necessarily be said for traditional casinos. Even if you swing and miss on an online casino, you can simply withdraw your money and try another one.

As it stands, there are a number of reputable, quality online casinos that are well reviewed. There are only a handful of gambling cities in the United States that provide gamblers the luxury of being picky when selecting a casino.

4 ‒ You Can Gamble From Home

One of my favorite things to do on a weekend morning is to roll out of bed, make some coffee, and start betting. If I wanted to do some in-person gambling. I would have to get in my car and drive for four hours. I’m sure other gamblers are in similar positions.

I’ll admit that the gambling experience at home is not the same as gambling in a casino. There’s nothing quite like walking through the floors of a casino and getting lost in all the bustling activity. But, at some point, you have to weigh the potential benefits of going to a traditional casino compared to staying home.

Live Dealer Roulette Game

Gambling from home is more convenient, and some gamblers will most likely feel more comfortable gambling from home. For newer gamblers, that feeling of comfort can make the difference between winning and losing money. You don’t need to feel self-conscious gambling from home, and the promise of anonymity is something that appeals to more introverted gamblers.

5 ‒ Bet Sizes Are More Fluid

Something that certain gamblers can’t stand about traditional casinos is the rigid table minimums and maximums. New gamblers who simply want to play the games without spending an arm and a leg might be forced to stick to slot machines. To some, $5-$10 a hand might not seem like a lot of money. But for inexperienced gamblers who are relatively clueless, that could make for an expensive trip.

Casinos are expensive to operate, hence the table minimums. Casinos must pay dealers, security, waitresses, custodians, and a slew of other employees. But, online casinos can be much cheaper to operate. Because of this, it can be much cheaper to gamble online.

Regardless of your financial situation, there are plenty of options when gambling online. That means gamblers don’t need to feel stressed about betting outside of their comfort levels. Sometimes it can be challenging to find an affordable table at a casino, but the same isn’t true online.

6 ‒ You Don’t Have to Deal With Other Gamblers

Most gamblers are good people who I thoroughly enjoy gambling alongside. But, when I first started gambling, I didn’t feel the same way. Some bettors might feel self-conscious for a number of reasons. But, it’s much less stressful to bet on a computer screen with other anonymous gamblers.

Occasionally, you might run into another gambler who gets under your skin. Whether this person is too drunk, loud, obnoxious, or just plain rude, there are gamblers out there who are pests. While they aren’t common, necessarily, interacting with them can quickly ruin a trip to the casino.

Megaways Online Slots Game

These types of interactions are seemingly nonexistent