Why Do High Roller Casino Tables Exist?

Suitcase Full of Money With a Casino High Limit Room Background

Many land-based casinos offer high roller tables, or even completely separate rooms, for VIPs. These tables/sections allow high-stakes gamblers to place wagers among other elite company.

High roller tables often feature $50 or $100 minimum bets. In more-lavish casinos, gamblers may even need to wager over $100 per round to take a seat.

Of course, you don’t have to sit at a VIP table to risk big stakes. Instead, you can bet lots of money at any regular gambling table.

Most regular games let you risk up to $500 per hand/round. Considering this fact, you might wonder what the point is behind high roller tables.

Actually, several reasons exist behind why casinos supply these exclusive games. You can read more on the reasons below along with if high stakes gambling is ultimately worth the effort.

The Average High Roller Knows the Games Better

Most people who play table games understand the rules and etiquette behind whatever they’re playing. Those who aren’t in the know usually stay away to avoid looking stupid.

After all, who wants to sit at a blackjack table and continually touch the cards when the dealer warns them not to, or ask what splitting a hand means!?

Surprisingly, though, many people will take a seat even when they have no idea what’s going on. They’re usually goaded by friends or a significant other into playing.

Orleans Las Vegas High Limit Area

Everybody deserves a chance to enjoy table games. Preferably, they’ll learn the ropes before they start playing.

This idea doesn’t always quite work out, though. Here’s a common scenario that happens in casinos:

  • A roulette player walks up to the table with their significant other.
  • They fully understand the rules and have no trouble playing.
  • However, their partner is completely new to the matter.
  • The newbie continually bumps into other people when trying to put their chips on the table.
  • Out of ignorance, they also try placing chips on the table after the dealer yells “No more bets.”
  • The experienced player does their best to help their befuddled significant other, but the couple still keeps disrupting the game.

Most gamblers are understanding in these situations. However, those who just want to concentrate on playing the game without disruptions aren’t always understanding.

The average high roller appreciates the opportunity to gamble with other experienced players. VIP tables usually only include others who are well-versed in the games.

Gamble Away From the Average Joes

Wealthy people have always enjoyed separating themselves from the pack in different ways. They buy Ferraris, designer watches, mansions, and more to show their elite status.

The same crowd also likes gambling away from the commoners. They appreciate special tables and, especially, separate gaming rooms.

Of course, anybody can visit a VIP table as long as they’re dressed decently and have the appropriate bankroll. You don’t need to be Elon Musk just to enter the high roller area.

Largely speaking, though, only richer players choose such tables. Most average Joes realize that they shouldn’t risk their $300 bankroll when the minimum stakes are $100.

Sometimes, players must be invited to special tables by the casino. If they’ve shown a tendency to play for high stakes in the past, they might draw the attention of a VIP casino host.

The latter works to tailor comps to a gambler’s liking. They can also invite the player to a private area to make them feel more valued.

More Space to Gamble

Tables get quite crowded at peak gambling hours. For example, many blackjack and mini baccarat tables see all seven seats filled during weekend evenings.

You can still concentrate on the game in these situations. After all, it isn’t like casinos seat baccarat players elbow to elbow.

Nevertheless, not everybody likes fellow gamblers on each side of them. They may especially feel crowded at a busy craps or roulette table—where there are no seats and things get quite hectic.

VIPs don’t expect to be put into these situations. They want casinos to place them on tables where there’s more breathing room.

Caesars Palace High Limit Table Games

This is the big reason why high roller tables are often located in roped-off areas. However, this scenario isn’t always the case.

Some smaller casinos don’t have special tables or areas for important gamblers. In this situation, they just reserve multiple seats, or more space on a standing table (e.g. roulette), for a VIP.

I’ve been in casinos where the latter happens. For example, I played in a craps game where half the table area was reserved for a local high-stakes player.

Certain gamblers may complain when this happens. However, casinos are gladly willing to give a high roller more room when their bets warrant doing so.

Private Rooms

Some casinos don’t just save special tables for their VIPs. They provide entire private areas for high rollers!

You’ll usually find these on Macau’s Cotai Strip or in Las Vegas high limit rooms. They draw the kind of clientele that makes it worth their while to offer a VIP room.

Decorating and offering a fancy room is nothing when some high-stakes players bet $50,000 or even $100,000 per hand. Here’s an example on how much a casino figures to make off of such bettors:

  • A high roller plays blackjack for $50,000 per hand.
  • They’re facing a 0.5% house edge based on the rules on their skill level.
  • Their table sees 80 hands per hour.
  • 50,000 x 80 x 0.005 = $20,000
  • The gambler will theoretically lose $20,000 each hour.

Of course, casinos usually offer as such players lavish comps that help reduce the theoretical losses. Even in these cases, though, they figure to make serious bank of the biggest gamblers.

Again, the cost of a high-stakes room is nothing when concerning this type of money. Popular casinos make much more than what it costs to develop and provide VIP areas.

More Casino Comps

High roller comps are the stuff of legend. Many gamblers are fascinated when they hear about the biggest players receiving penthouse suites, limousine transportation, and comped liquor.

Casinos are even willing to send corporate jets for the absolute biggest players. These jets ferry primetime VIPs from wherever they live directly to the casino and back.

Of course, the house always knows the math behind what they’re offering big players. They don’t feed a gambler caviar and drive them all over town in a limousine for free.

Instead, casinos calculate how much they can afford to give a VIP while still bringing in a healthy profit. Here’s an example using the previously discussed blackjack player who loses $20,000 per hour:

  • The casino offers this gambler a 0.25% comp rate.
  • The comp rate includes the sum of all perks (e.g. food, dining, etc.) that the player receives.
  • 50,000 x 80 x 0.0025 = $10,000 in hourly comps
  • 20,000 – 10,000 = $10,000

The casino will still make $10,000 off this player every hour. That said, they’re willing to shower the VIP with far more casino comps than they are the average player.

Of course, attracting high rollers is a very competitive industry. Another casino might even be willing to offer a 0.3% or 0.35% rate to steal the gambler from a competitor.

Negotiate for Better Rules

Not every gambler wants caviar and a Jaguar to drive around town. Instead, they simply want the best-possible chance to win.

In these situations, the house is willing to negotiate with the player to a certain degree. They may provide a gambler with special rules that they wouldn’t otherwise offer.

The most-famous case of this happening is when blackjack player and casino whale Don Johnson negotiated with Atlantic City casinos. He knew that Atlantic City was desperate for high rollers in the early 2010s.

Therefore, he came up with a special set of rules that lowered the house edge to around 0.2%. Normally, this edge would still allow the casino to win profits.

Casino High Limit Bar

But Johnson also asked for a special 20% loss rebate that kicked in when his losses reached $500,000. The stipulation meant that he only had to eat $400k of $500k in losses before quitting.

Meanwhile, the casino was always on the hook for their full losses no matter what. Johnson was essentially able to trick Atlantic City establishments and win a collective $15 million in profits.

Of course, an occurrence where a high roller gains an advantage through rule negotiation is extremely rare. But Johnson’s story shows what kind of exceptions casinos will make when dealing with a big bettor.

Is Being a High Roller Worth It in the End?

Whether or not being a VIP gambler is worthwhile all depends upon your bankroll and net worth. You never want to bet such high stakes that you jeopardize your livelihood.

You wouldn’t want to risk $1,000 per hand if you only have $5,000 saved in your bank account. One bad run of cards could wipe out your entire savings.

If you’re worth a few million dollars and don’t have much debt, on the other hand, then you’ll be perfectly fine with wagering four figures per round. You just need to know when to quit a session if things are going rough.

As you can see throughout this post, the rewards for risking high stakes are many. Here’s a recap of what to expect:

  • More knowledgeable players at the tables
  • Few/no average Joes at the tables
  • More space to play and/or private rooms
  • Lavish comps and/or better rules

Depending upon personal preferences, you may appreciate some of these benefits more than others. I personally would love to negotiate for better rules and/or have knowledgeable players around.

Again, everything just depends upon what you value most. You also need to consider if it’s worth risking the kind of money that’s required to earn such rewards.

Conclusion

You might be able to gamble for large stakes at virtually any table. However, only VIP tables ensure that you get most/all of the perks covered above.

The average high roller simply wants to be away from the crowd. They also desire the notoriety that comes with playing in exclusive games and/or private rooms.

These gamblers seek the special comps and perks that come with being a high-stakes player too. They often get comped at a better rate (e.g. 0.3% vs 0.1%) due to their status.

In summary, high roller tables exist for a reason—or rather multiple reasons. Assuming you have the bankroll to do so, you might consider playing in one of these games.

6 Things Nobody Tells You About Sports Gambling

Man Scratching Head and a Handful of Cash

Relaxed gambling laws and increased accessibility to online sportsbooks has led to a massive increase in legal gambling) across the US.

Ask a handful of people at your local watering hole and there are sure to be at least a few “expert” bettors who are more than willing to give you their advice, which is almost always based off of a “feel” or instinct. Unfortunately, more often than not, listening to these individuals is going to cost you money.

With all the misinformation out there, this list goes into the six things nobody tells you about sports betting when you first start getting into it.

1 – Only a Small Percentage of People Make Money

The data is pretty hard to definitively track, but one of the general facts about sports betting is that very few people actually make money. Now, to be clear, that statement does mean that there are some gamblers who do turn a profit, they’re just few and far between.

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Why is it so difficult to win? It’s hard to pin down one or two reasons exactly, but there are a few that come to mind. First, oddsmakers are literally professionals, most bettors are amateurs.

Those who set the lines for sportsbooks have a range of statistical models available to them that the general public simply cannot access. Also, the way the lines fluctuate based on public action means that the scales are always going to be tipped in the house’s favor, as they look to get even money on each side of a play and collect the juice as profit.

It’s possible to be on the winning side, but only a few stay there very long. This means that it’s absolutely critical to track your money closely in order to avoid falling into a financially difficult situation.

2 – Parlays Are Good for the House

You’ve probably witnessed it amongst your buddies. They choose a three-leg parlay on the evening’s round of games and just miss hitting it. It’s a story as old as time.

What you might not know is that, behind those complex odds, the house actually has a built-in advantage with parlay sports betting. It might seem like the attractive payouts are based on purely statistical models, but the reality is that until you get up to four or five bets in a parlay, the house has a slight advantage. Meaning, even if you do win, which is obviously very difficult, you’re still not getting paid out at the rate you should.

NCAA Football Players Celebrating

So, what does that mean for you? My advice is to stay away from parlays with one exception—a multi-leg parlay (four or more) in which you only wager a small amount of money. It’s not always the worst idea to take a flyer and hope you can hit it big. Just don’t risk ruining your bankroll in the process.

3 – No Reliable Winning Models Exist

People like to compare investing in the stock market to betting on sports. While the concept of betting on something and hoping to predict the outcome might be somewhat similar, there are some pretty important differences. Namely, the fact that there are no real models that exist for sports betting.

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If you’ve ever done a deep dive into trying to find a good system for gambling, you’ve probably come across plenty of articles or books by “experts” claiming to have found a foolproof way to beat the house. I hope you didn’t pay for this insider content, because nearly all of it is bogus information that won’t actually help.

Sports are wildly unpredictable, and even those who have used a specific strategy to win over the course of one, or even five, seasons can’t necessarily be trusted to work going forward. No matter how good your plan might be, the odds are that sportsbooks are going to be one step ahead.

Winning consistently in sports betting, similar to betting at a casino on table games, requires a combination of strategy, skill, and yes, a decent amount of luck.

4 – Your Bankroll Is the Key to Success

Like I said above, there is no betting strategy that’s going to guarantee success, but there is one that can help you avoid falling into a seriously tough financial situation—an effectively managed sports betting bankroll.

Your bankroll acts as a safety net that keeps you from throwing money away until it becomes a real problem in areas of your life other than sports betting. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, the good news is that it’s easy to learn. The bad news is that it takes a lot of discipline and conscientious effort to keep it functioning properly.

Here’s how you set it up: First, set aside an amount of money that you are only planning to use for the purpose of sports betting. This should be an amount of money that you feel completely okay with losing. Obviously, you don’t want to lose it all, but that’s the way it must be treated. In fact, I like to think of it as a purchase, where once the money is spent, the value lies in the product itself.

NHL Stars and Avalanche Players

After you’ve set aside your amount of money, determine a range or percentage for the size of your wagers. In fact, the gambling gurus usually suggest wagering from 2% to 4% of your bankroll on any single play. If your bankroll is $1,000 that would mean you would bet no less than $20 but no more than $50 on a wager.

It might sound tedious or annoying to place such small bets, but if you’re serious about becoming a sustainably profitable gambler, this is the way to do it.

Once you have your bankroll number and betting parameters in place, the next step is to figure out how you’re going to track your cash flow. It can be as complex as a spreadsheet with pre-programmed functions, or as simple as a pen and paper. The bottom line is, you just need to know where you stand.

5 – You Need to Step Back Sometimes

Betting on sports is supposed to be fun. It’s a way to add extra excitement to games that sports fans wouldn’t otherwise have any interest in watching.

In the best-case scenario, sports betting can be a lucrative side hustle, albeit one that’s noticeably unreliable. At its worst, the consequences can be serious and put you in real financial jeopardy.

Although it can be tough to take a step back, sometimes it can be the best thing for you. When your bankroll starts dwindling, the goal should be to make it last longer rather than to reload it.

6 – Streaks Are Part of the Game

As someone who has gambled on countless games throughout my lifetime, there’s one thing I can say with absolute certainty: No matter how smart you are, you’re going to go through losing streaks. The good news? You’re also going to enjoy some winning stretches.

The nature of betting, like all forms of gambling, means that long hot or cold stretches are just part of the fun. This is yet another reason why your bankroll is so important. It lets you know where you’re at overall.

NBA Player Jason Tatum on the Court

Recognize that, in order to be successful, you need to maximize your winning streaks. My suggestion would be that if you are having a good week, don’t get greedy. The more you win, the less money you should be wagering on the games.

A long-term approach is a smart sports betting strategy. Don’t jeopardize your success by trying to push your luck; whether it’s at the sportsbook or the roulette table, the consequences just aren’t worth it.

Conclusion

Betting can take your love of sports to the next level, but it’s necessary to keep it in perspective. Don’t go mortgaging your house or the kids’ college fund on a Monday night football game.

When done responsibly, sports gambling is a blast. When done responsibly and intelligently, it can give you a few extra bucks at the end of the month. Now that you’re up to speed, start creating your bankroll, put together a tracking system, and find a sportsbook that works for you!

Edward Thorp: The Blackjack Genius Who’s Worth $800 Million

Edward Thorp With a Blackjack and Roulette Background

Many gambling legends make their mark in casino gaming and fade away. While these legends may get rich from their exploits, they never attain fame in any other niche.

Edward Thorp is an exception to the norm. The “Father of Modern Card Counting” is not only a blackjack icon but also an investment guru.

With an $800 million net worth, Thorp is something of a mini Warren Buffet. In fact, he gained much of his fortune by betting on Buffet’s company, Berkshire Hathaway.

You can read more about Thorp and his stellar blackjack and investing accomplishments below. You’ll also see if it’s possible to emulate Thorp’s rise to success today.

Why Is Edward Thorp a Blackjack Genius?

Born in 1932, Edward O. Thorp’s early live revolved around schooling. He graduated from the University of California with a Ph.D. in math.

After graduating, he moved across the country and began working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – which, coincidentally, spawned the MIT Blackjack Team.

Thorp earned his first professor job at New Mexico State University. He taught mathematics here from 1961 until 1965.

During his time at New Mexico State, Thorp listened to colleagues discuss how the house can’t be beaten in gambling. He decided to put this theory to the test.

Using an IBM 704 computer, Thorp began studying the probabilities of blackjack. Drawing inspiration from the Kelly criterion, he eventually developed card counting and betting schemes that could beat the game.

Man and Woman Operating an IBM 704 Computer

Blackjack card counting wasn’t new at the time. A group of former Army veterans named “The Four Horsemen” devised a rudimentary counting system. However, their strategy could only lower the house advantage—not beat it.

He developed the “Thorp Count,” which is capable of giving players a notable edge in single-deck blackjack games. At the time, single-deck blackjack was widely available in Nevada.

So, he traveled to Nevada with Manny Kimmel, a professional gambler and former bookmaker. They first visited casinos in Lake Tahoe and Reno, winning $11,000 in profits over one weekend.

He and Kimmel also hit Las Vegas casinos during the trip. They continued their winning ways and used disguises to hide their identities.

In 1962, Thorp decided to put his blackjack knowledge into writing. He released Beat the Dealer, which taught amateurs how they could profit from blackjack. Beat the Dealer immediately became a New York Times bestseller after selling 700,000 copies.

Success in Other Gambling Ventures

Thorp didn’t set out to beat blackjack for the money. Instead, he did so as an academic exercise to prove that the house can be toppled.

After showing that card counting works, he set out on other gambling related pursuits. While a professor of mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he became the first gambler to use a roulette computer.

Thorp, an MIT colleague, and his wife, Betty, visited Las Vegas to play roulette. They wore a mini computer to calculate the wheel and ball velocity. They’d use this information to predict the ball’s resting spot and place bets accordingly.

Of course, roulette computers are illegal in every gambling jurisdiction today. But Thorp used one before any jurisdictions outlawed them.

Hotel Rivera Vintage Las Vegas Postcard

His gambling successes didn’t come without their downsides. Casinos caught onto his exploits and tried every trick in the book—and even some not in the book—to stop him.

Casinos regularly served him alcohol in hopes that he’d take the bait and start losing. Thorp even noticed that the accelerator linkage on his car had been altered while driving home from Vegas.

He didn’t directly accuse any of the casinos of trying to cause him harm. However, he did note that readers could draw conclusions on who tampered with his vehicle.

Move Into the Investment World

Edward Thorp conquered the gambling world when he didn’t even care about the winnings. Already one of the top professional gamblers without trying, he decided to move onto another pursuit.

In 1967, he wrote the book Beat the Market. This work discusses Thorp’s use of quantitative analysis to make money on the stock market. It also details how he found undervalued stocks and invested in them.

Of course, looking for undervalued stocks has never been a closely guarded strategy. But Beat the Market discusses doing so in an in-depth manner.

Encouraged by another successful book, Thorp launched his own hedge fund called Princeton Newport Partners. For 20 years, Princeton Newport became one of the most-successful hedge funds in the game before disbanding.

It netted an average annual return of 19.1% during this span. It was also the first fund to successfully employ quantitative analysis in the stock market.

Big Success With Berkshire Hathaway

Founded in 1969, Princeton Newport Partners had plenty of general success. However, no move by Thorp nor this hedge fund was as big as buying Berkshire Hathaway stock.

Thorp met Berkshire’s owner, Warren Buffet, in 1968. He didn’t actually invest in the company, though, until 1982, when its stock was $982.50 per share.

Waiting to buy didn’t hurt Thorp too badly. Each Berkshire Hathaway share is worth over $297,000 today.

During an interview with Barron’s, Thorp describes his meeting with Buffet and how he ultimately decided to buy their stock years later:

“One good stroke of good fortune was meeting Warren Buffett in 1968. It led me to realize that I needed to invest in Berkshire Hathaway, although I didn’t do it until 1982. It’s my single investment in the stock market. […] I also have some hedge funds, but I consider them not as good as Berkshire, so I use them to spend and finance other things I do.”

Where Is Ed Thorp at Today?

Even at 87 years old, Edward Thorp is still active in the trading world. After 30+ years of successful trading, he’s currently worth $800 billion.

Thorp has long left the gambling world behind. And while he may be more famous for his card counting feats, Thorp has carved out a stellar investing career too.

The Beat the Market and Beat the Dealer author continues to reap profits from his Berkshire Hathaway shares. Thorp hasn’t divulged exactly how many shares he owns.

However, he did note that Berkshire Hathaway is the only stock in his portfolio. Considering that Berkshire is one of the best-performing companies over the past few decades, this is definitely a good thing.

Can One Still Go From a Casino Pro to a 9-Figure Investor?

Edward Thorp didn’t just start playing real money blackjack at a time when the game was vulnerable. He invented the original method for beating it!

He and Kimmel made $11,000 during their first weekend of using the Thorp Count. When adjusted for inflation, this amount is worth over $95,000 today.

Assuming you knew Thorp’s secrets in 1961, you could’ve made seven figures by hitting different casinos. You’d have earned eight figures when accounting for inflation.

From here, you could’ve taken the money and invested it to eventually make yourself worth $100 million or more (nine figures). Of course, this scenario amounts to nothing more than hindsight.

Thorp quickly blew the cover off his secrets with Beat the Dealer. Kimmel wasn’t happy about this either, because he planned on making a long and lucrative career out of card counting.

Edward Thorp's Book Beat the Dealer

Thorp’s revelation kicked off a game of cat-and-mouse between players and casinos. The latter have been aware of and looking for card counters ever since.

They’ve also added decks to the shoe and instated unfavorable rules (e.g. 6-to-5 natural blackjack payouts) to thwart advantage players.

Of course, gamblers have used various means to improve the card counting practice. They use systems that account for multiple decks (e.g. Hi-Lo) and training programs to improve their skills.

In the end, you need to be a much better counter to make serious profits today. Even at that, you won’t be regularly raking in the kind of money that Thorp did.

You might be able to earn six figures and parlay some of that money into successful investments. But you shouldn’t expect to mimic Thorp’s career through counting cards and investing alone.

Conclusion

Edward Thorp is one of the exclusive members of the Blackjack Hall of Fame. Perhaps nobody is more deserving of this honor than Thorp given that he invented modern counting.

But the former mathematics professor has proven that his skills go beyond the art of gambling. He also successfully ran a hedge fund for two decades that provided nearly 20% returns annually.

Thorp is worth $800 million today, meaning he doesn’t exactly need to worry about money for the rest of his life. His net worth should only continue increasing given the long-term success of his one-and-only holding, Berkshire Hathaway.

How COVID-19 Has Affected Casino Gambling in the United States

World Globe With a COVID-19 and Casino Background

The coronavirus pandemic began in December, 2019. The economic effect has been felt all throughout the world.

And the United States is now the center of the pandemic.

How does all this affect the future of casino gambling in the United States?

That might seem like a trivial question, but the economics of the situation clearly explain why that question is anything but trivial.

What Have USA Brick and Mortar Casinos Been Doing?

Many brick and mortar casinos throughout the USA have had to close their doors. The idea is that social distancing will slow down the spread of the virus, enabling our hospital system to keep up with the demand for services.

Online casinos, as a result, are seeing a significant uptick in business for two reasons:

  1. You can’t play at some land-based casinos right now.
  2. You probably have more free time than usual because of the state of semi-quarantine throughout the country.

Many brick and mortar casinos in the United States have an online business, too, but even more of them don’t have such an online presence.

The question becomes this:

Will the revenue from online gambling compensate for the revenue lost by shuttering the casinos’ doors?

And how long can the casinos without an online presence stay open before going broke?

How Much Money Is the Online Casino Industry in the United States Losing?

According to the American Gaming Association, if all the casinos in the United States stay closed for two months, this results in $21 million decrease in consumer spending.

How many casinos are closed in the United States?

Although many are gradually beginning to re-open – the original number was close to 94%.

And those casinos employ over 500,000 workers, many of whom are now unemployed – at least temporarily.

Vegas Strip at Sunrise

The American Gaming Association is, of course, lobbying the US government for bailout money, just like representatives of other businesses are doing.

What does that represent in annual wages?

If these employees don’t go back to work, we’re looking at losing $60 billion a year in wages. That’s going to have a big domino effect on the nation’s economy.

That’s also lost tax revenue.

What’s Happening to the Casinos in Las Vegas?

No city in the United States is more representative of the gambling industry than Las Vegas.

So, what’s happening there?

Although many have now since re-opened, the entire state of Nevada closed all casino doors – including those in Vegas – in the middle of March.

No other state economy depends on tourism as much as Nevada’s does. Over 42 million people visit the Las Vegas Strip every year.

The $2 trillion in relief that Congress has earmarked for businesses in the country doesn’t all go to the casinos in Nevada, but a lot of it will — $454 billion.

The question remains – is it enough to help these companies stay in business?

And what other effects will we see on the Nevada economy?

What About Casinos in Ohio?

Ohio casino gambling is an interesting case, too, as it’s one of the most recent states to legalize and regulate casino gambling. They opened four casinos in 2012 and 2013, in the following cities:

  • Cincinnati
  • Cleveland
  • Columbus
  • Toledo

The difference between Ohio casinos and most other casinos in most other states is that the casinos haven’t been doing well. In fact, their revenues have been dropping.

Hollywood Casino in Columbus Ohio

Some of this slowing has been attributed to the rise of online gambling, which offers perks that aren’t available to land-based casino gamblers in Ohio. New loyalty programs at brick and mortar casinos are supposed to help with this.

But those loyalty programs will have little effect during a pandemic. All these Ohio casinos are temporarily closed by order of the governor, too – who made the order about the same time as the governor of Nevada did in his state.

There’s More to Casinos Than Just Cocktail Servers and Dealers

Most casinos also operate hotels and/or resorts alongside their gaming facilities. These employees’ wages are also at risk. According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, almost 4 million hospitality jobs have now gone up in smoke.

70% of employees in the hospitality industry have been affected at some point, many of whom were working at a casino hotel or resort. That represents $2.4 billion in lost wages every week.

And that’s on top of the money the casinos are losing for the employees in the gaming portion of the business.

Also, revenues from vacant rooms are massive — $500 million per day and $3.5 million per week.

Atlantic City was one of the last cities that still accepted hotel stays early in the pandemic, but for a time they had to stop taking new bookings. Even the properties that were still accepting guests were dealing with massive cancellation rates.

Won’t Government Bailout Money Save the Casino Industry?

Maybe.

Maybe not.

The effects of the coronavirus are having a massive effect on the world economy. That’s not just the casinos, but all kinds of other businesses, too.

These industries include airlines, bars, casinos, concerts, conferences, hotels, restaurants, and sports.

Many people with money don’t have anywhere to spend it, and all the industries on that list will want a piece of the bailout pie.

Who’s going to get that bailout money? Who SHOULD get that bailout money?

The first group that should get bailout money from the federal government is the workers of the United States. That’s what the $1200 stimulus check was all about anyway.

Across all industries, 20% of the workers in the United States have lost hours (if not their entire job) because of the pandemic. And these layoffs are just beginning. Most workers have little or no savings, too.

Sky View of Atlantic City Coast

Since the United States lags other developed countries in the providing of social insurance – things like child care, health care, and unemployment – it seems obvious that most of our bailout efforts should go directly to the workers who’ve built this country.

Workers aren’t the only entities needing bailing out, and here’s a group you might not have thought about:

Cities and states.

City and state governments are facing enormous economic pressures related to this event, and they’re going to look to the Federal government for bailout money, too.

States are running hospitals and providing Medicare, but they’re unable to print their own money. And their revenues are collapsing because of the collapse of their local economies, too.

It’s hard to argue that casinos are more deserving of bailout money than workers, cities, or states.

Businesses Will Receive Bailout Money, Too

If you agree that the business of the United States is business, you’re not alone. There’s no doubt that businesses will also see their share of bailout money.

But how much of that bailout money will go to the casino gambling industry?

Some people feel like casino gambling isn’t adding anything useful to society – that the casino industry just takes money out of the economy. This is simply not true. As I’ve already pointed out, casinos employ an enormous amount of people.

Will the casino industry end as we know it?

Probably not.

But it, like most other industries in the United States, will likely be forever changed by this health crisis.

Conclusion

It’s hard to overstate the effect of COVID-19 on the United States casino economy. This is an industry which has been growing rapidly now for decades. That growth has fallen off a cliff as a result of this situation.

Will casino gambling rise from the ashes like a phoenix?

It’s too early to tell.

Some businesses will probably survive, but others will probably fail.

Time will tell.

Are Sports Betting Prediction Sites Worth It?

NFL Player Zack Moss With a Crystal Ball Money Background

Are sports betting prediction sites worth it?

The correct answer can vary greatly depending on what angle you’re standing at when you ask the question.

Sports betting sites are popular with hopeful sports bettors.

Let’s see if all those dollars spent on picks translate to dollars back in clients’ accounts.

How Sports Betting Prediction Site Work

Pick services have been around for decades. They seem to prey on the down on his luck sports bettor.

Sports betting prediction sites often claim to use computer models to make predictions on popular sporting events’ outcomes. However, others go solely on the projections of one person.

As they’re often called, these “tout” services are usually formed by a professional sports bettor or a company with interests in the industry. Not always, though — nothing is stopping you from getting a website and starting your own sports betting prediction site.

In fact, if you’re losing at sports betting, you’d be more profitable if you start your own tout service and let the suckers pay you.

Prediction sites work on a subscription basis. Subscriptions may be a series of games, a month, or an entire season. By getting the money upfront, the tout service ensures a steady stream of income.

Sports bettors are forced to ride it out, good or bad. Prediction sites claim to help gamblers new to sports betting or punters that don’t have the time to do their own research make a profit.

That could be why they are always claiming such inflated winning percentages. You likely need to win close to 60% of your bets to make a dime when you’re paying for your picks.

Proceed with Caution

Sports bettors considering a move toward a tout service should proceed with caution. The internet is littered with prediction sites that couldn’t pick the sky’s color with any marked success.

However, they’ll claim to have a winning percentage that would impress the likes of Anthony Bloom.

Let me be clear about this:

Suppose anyone can win games like Anthony Bloom. In that case, they’d need to be put in a hospital for not dedicating 100% of their resources to placing their own bets.

Bloom has amassed billions of dollars in sports betting.

Why would anybody with that sort of success waste money and time selling picks to Craig from Minneapolis? They wouldn’t. Which raises a significant red flag.

Many of the sites are claiming to have a winning formula so valuable they could own their own sports franchises.

Sports Bettor Anthony Bloom

Yet, they want to sell you that information for the low price of $29.99. Or maybe they’ll spoil you with their free pick of the week.

Here’s my free pick of the week:

Flip a coin.

You can follow me here for more money-saving and money-making tips.

These free picks are solely to attract new customers and nothing more. They’ve got a 50/50 shot at getting it right, and if they do, fantastic. Potential customers think they’re onto a sure thing. When it loses, oh well. What do you expect for a free pick?

Then there are the sites’ “guaranteed locks.” The companies will highlight these selections as “can’t lose” and charge a premium for the information.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a sure thing in sports betting. Even the heaviest underdog carries about a 15% probability of coming out ahead.

Have you been counting the red flags?

The Dirty Truth Behind Prediction Sites’ Business Model

The fact is the sports betting prediction sites are much better at marketing themselves than handicapping sports.

I cringe even to say it, but they prey on the weak and the naive. Any abstract look at why the businesses even exist in the first place will reveal that information.

Consider the following:

Company X opens a tout service and has 100 customers. Customer acquisition and retention is the name of the game for these services.

On week one, they send 50 customers one set of picks and the other 50 opposite picks. You suddenly have 50 loyal customers and 50 that have simply had a bad week.

On week two, you do the same 50/50 split, assuming none of the losers have jumped ship. You suddenly have 25 incredibly happy clients, 50 customers that have at least broke even, and only 25 that can’t seem to catch a break.

MLB Yankees Player at Bat

It’s at this point that you may need to put out some fires. Typically, this is done by offering the customer a full credit on the picks they’ve paid for to date.

Umm, no, thank you? It’s pretty insulting and a shady practice at best.

I’m not saying all prediction sites use this method of playing the numbers with their clients, but it absolutely exists.

For the record, these guaranteed locks are guaranteed on the money you paid for the pick, not the hundreds or thousands you spent at the sportsbook.

When you lose, don’t go looking for a refund from the tout service. They’ll tell you it’s not their problem, and they’re correct.

Instead, they’ll keep you on the line by offering another pick that’s just too good to lose.

Are you willing to take that bet?

Alternative Methods for Making Selections

You are probably feeling a bit discouraged at this point.

After all, I just had to break the news that your latest get rich quick scheme is only making the prediction sites rich.

Don’t fret. There’s still hope for you. If you ask Billy Walters if he used tout services to make his fortune, he’d probably laugh or punch you in the face.

Either could be argued as an appropriate response. Walters built his wealth by creating a system and tweaking it to a profitable formula. He never called 1-900 numbers to get a line on a game.

He didn’t need to, and neither do you. Sports betting has its own community and cultures like any other pastime or interest.

Get involved in the online community. There are forums on dozens of online sites where veteran sports bettors come together to discuss strategy and their formulas for success.

I used to visit a forum regarding bass fishing regularly, and the old-timers couldn’t wait to share their secrets with the “kids.” You could get all the information on what they were biting on down to the color of their eyes.

Sports Bettor Billy Walters on a Computer

You probably wouldn’t get their secret spot, but I knew where the fish were — in the water, obviously.

If you play your cards right and aren’t afraid to ask questions, you may even find a mentor or a team of mentors to coach you along.

Sports bettors love making money.

Why else would we do it?

I’ve found that a vast majority of us are more than willing to spread the wealth. If for nothing more than the satisfaction of feeling like you’re sticking it to the casinos.

When Are Sports Betting Prediction Sites Worth It?

Sports betting prediction sites are possibly worth it if you’re an owner or an operator of the service.

It’s relatively easy to start your own tout service. Have a website built, set up an e-mail, and get a credit card processing account. You’re off to the races.

Whether or not it’s worth it depends on what type of business you aim to build and your character to a more considerable degree.

Suppose you’re a well-positioned sports bettor that wants to spread the wealth and eliminate some of your personal risks. A tout service may be a good fit. You’ll be bringing in a steady revenue stream regardless of how well your picks are doing, and you’ll hopefully be able to sleep at night knowing that you’re giving your best effort to each customer.

On the flip side, you may have the mentality that there’s a sucker born every minute. Unfortunately, sports betting prediction sites may be a perfect fit for you.

Sure, you’ll give each of your picks some thought. You certainly can’t accept any responsibilities if your clients are losing money, though.

Either of the above scenarios will undoubtedly be a profitable endeavor if you can effectively market yourself.

Which brings me to my point, sports betting prediction sites are only worth it for the operators of such sites.

Conclusion

I understand the frustrations that come from sports betting as well as anyone. I remember driving home from a baseball game and hearing these sports betting prediction services advertised on the radio.

It was in the middle of a losing streak, and the allure of guaranteed picks sounded too good to be true. It’s the closest I’ve ever been to calling and paying for selections.

You may be in the middle of a nasty streak, or possibly you don’t have the confidence to make your picks. I’m here to tell you that you’ll have a much better shot at making money sports betting than by paying someone else for your selections if you put in the time.

How John Huxley Destroyed Roulette Advantage Play

Images of Gears With a Roulette Background

Roulette isn’t the first game that people envision when they think of beating the casino. Instead, blackjack (card counting), video poker (skill), and poker (also skill) come to mind.

Nevertheless, gamblers used to beat roulette through a technique called wheel bias. The latter enables gamblers to more-accurately predict where the ball lands and bet accordingly.

Wheel bias was once a valid way to beat the house. However, it’s no longer practical thanks to the work of John Huxley.

Who is John Huxley and how did he render advantage play useless? I’ll discuss more on wheel bias, how it works, and why Huxley’s invention has made it all but obsolete.

What Did Roulette Advantage Play Used to Be Like?

Roulette games used to run on basic wooden wheels. Manufacturers did their best to make these wheels looked polished and elegant.

However, they didn’t take many precautions to make the wheels last. As a result, the wheels experienced wear and tear fairly quickly.

The frets—dividers in between the pockets—were often the first parts to break down. They’d gradually become looser and allow the ball to drop into the corresponding pockets more easily.

The wheel shaft was another part that could become worn down. When a shaft is loose, it causes the wheel to tilt and favor certain pockets.

Vintage Wooden Roulette Wheel

Usually, these imperfections are impossible to spot with the naked eye. But one can detect wheel bias by observing and recording results.

The vast majority of gamblers back then didn’t realize that roulette games could show bias. However, a few wise players figured this out over time.

Joseph Jager gets credit for being the first gambler to uncover wheel bias. The English engineer travelled to Monte Carlo and made what amounts to several million dollars by finding defective wheels.

Ever since Jagger, several other players have become rich and famous by beating roulette. They all benefited from certain conditions that allowed them to win serious profits.

Roulette Players Who Crushed Casinos With Wheel Bias

Even when armed with knowledge of wheel bias, people need to put lots of work into beating the game. Here are a few individuals who put this work in and won fortunes as a result.

Richard Jarecki

Born in Germany in 1931, Richard Jarecki spent the early part of his life running from Nazis. His Jewish family moved from Germany to the United States to escape persecution.

Jarecki attended Duke University, got married, and moved back to Germany. Here, he continued studying in the medical field en route to becoming a doctor.

While pursuing a medical degree, Jarecki also found time to gamble at European casinos. Throughout the 1960s, Jarecki and his wife began recording results on roulette wheels.

After recording tens of thousands of spins and analyzing the results, Richard Jareckis and his wife discovered some biased wheels. They then proceeded to earn big profits from casinos.

They particularly targeted Sanremo Casino in Italy. Sanremo management would eventually ban Jarecki and describe him as a “menace” to casinos.

They networked with other European casinos to get the word out on Richard Jarecki. But by this time, he had already won $1.2 million, which amounts to $9 million when adjusted for inflation.

Billy Walters

Bill Walters is known first and foremost as a great professional sports bettor. Before he became a betting legend, though, he was a wheel bias master.

Walters worked with other gamblers who were collectively known as the “Computer Team.” In 1986, they started recording roulette results in Atlantic City.

Billy Walters and his team discovered a biased wheel at the Atlantic Club Casino. They put down a $2 million deposit and began playing for high stakes on that specific wheel.

Based on previous research, they knew that the wheel favored 7, 10, 20, 27, and 36. The Computer Team spent the next 38 hours betting on these numbers and winning $3.8 million.

By this point, the Atlantic Club decided to ban the gamblers. However, Walters had already earned enough money to increase his sports gambling bankroll and later become a betting guru.

Gonzalo Garcia Pelayo

Gonzalo Garcia Pelayo is a Spanish music producer. While he’s attained some fame through his music career, Pelayo is more notable for what he’s done in gambling.

The Spaniard gambled quite a bit in the 1990s as a hobby. He especially liked playing roulette for real money at Casino Gran Madrid.

Gonzalo Garcia Pelayo

While playing at Casino Gran Madrid, he began speculating that some wheels weren’t completely impartial. So, he recruited his family members to help him record spins.

The family proceeded to win a fortune from Casino Gran Madrid before being banned. Afterward, they took their act on the road and hit other casinos throughout Europe.

All of these casinos gradually identified and banned the Pelayos from their properties. However, Gonzalo and family won €1.5 million before being essentially blacklisted from European casinos.

Who Is John Huxley?

Not much information is available on John Huxley’s life. What is known, though, is that he started a gaming supply company in 1979.

Located in Stoke-on-Trent, TSC Huxley started by supplying card tables, card shufflers, and more to local casinos.

Huxley was the brains behind this operation when it opened. Apparently, he lives a rather private life due to the lack of available info on him.

But his company continues to be one of the most-notable in terms of gaming supply. They not only serve UK casinos, but also many other gambling establishments worldwide.

What Did Huxley Do to Destroy Advantage Gamblers?

In the 1980s, British casinos realized that they were getting decimated by certain roulette players. They looked into the matter and learned that gamblers were using wheel bias against them.

Many of the same casinos would move wheels around at night and/or ban suspected advantage gamblers. These moves proved mildly successful.

However, wheel bias experts still continued to make money. They often identified small marks or other imperfections in a wheel so they could recognize it later.

This way, they didn’t need to worry if wheels switched places at night.

Casinos began to realize that they needed a more-permanent method of dealing with their problem. Some gambling establishments went to TSC Huxley in search of sturdier roulette wheels. The company granted their wishes by releasing the Starburst wheel.

Unlike the common all-wooden wheels at the time, Starburst wheels feature metal frets and pockets. These two changes reduce wear and tear on wheels and minimized bias.

TSC Huxley’s designs have only gotten better since then. This company continues upgrading roulette wheels to make them last longer and be more resistant to bias.

Has Anybody Beaten Roulette Since Pelayo?

Gonzalo Garcia Pelayo is the last person to become famous by beating roulette. If anybody has successfully used wheel bias since Pelayo did in the 1990s, then they’ve done so discreetly.

Huxley’s Starburst wheel marked the beginning of the end for roulette advantage players. Wheels are now much less likely to wear down thanks to the metal pockets and frets.

I’m sure that somebody, somewhere effectively used wheel bias since Pelayo. If they did, though, then they either weren’t as successful or kept a low profile when doing so.

Can You Still Effectively Use Wheel Bias?

If you had a time machine, you could easily go back and beat roulette. Up until the 1980s and 90s, wheels were much more susceptible to bias.

However, this situation began changing when British casinos commissioned TCS John Huxley to design better roulette wheels.

The company came up with the Starburst wheel, which doesn’t break down as easily as wooden wheels. Starburst and other variations are now common at many roulette tables worldwide.

John Huxley Roulette Wheel

Given the prevalence of Starburst wheels, you’re unlikely to beat roulette today. Your only chance to win involves finding the rare casinos that still offer all-wooden wheels.

Of course, you could also try using a roulette computer. These wearable devices help you determine where the ball will land based on the ball’s and wheel’s velocity.

The big problem, though, is that roulette computers are outlawed in every gaming jurisdiction and you could get busted by the casinos for cheating.

Conclusion

Realistically, roulette is no longer beatable by legal means. The number of wheels that are susceptible to bias have been reduced drastically.

You could always wear a mini computer under your clothes to clock the wheel’s and ball’s velocity. Some companies even sell these computers online.

However, every jurisdiction has outlawed such devices. This means that you need to break the law to win with a computer.

Your only legal route for winning long-term roulette profits is to find an old wooden wheel. Unfortunately, such wheels are extremely rare these days.

You still have a decent chance to win with European roulette (2.70% house edge) or French roulette (1.35%). All you need is a little luck on your side. But the days of you being able to win millions of dollars with wheel bias appear to be gone.

The Real Cost of a Las Vegas Casino Trip

Price Tag With a Las Vegas Image

I was in high school when Clark Griswold, a great pioneer of family vacations, trekked across the country to Las Vegas. It may have been my first inclination that I needed to make the same trip myself.

Many of you may be itching to experience your Sin City excursion, but are unsure where to begin. I’m going to breakdown the real cost of a Las Vegas casino trip to give you exactly that.

Why Las Vegas Should Be on Your Vacation Bucket List

Las Vegas offers something for everyone. They don’t call Vegas “The Entertainment Capital of the World” for its bookstores.

Of course, if book stores are your thing, you’ll find unique bookstores in Las Vegas. Including Bauman Rare Books, where you can snag your copy of a first edition Hemingway.

If you’re in the market, you should add between $700-$2,000 to your trip’s final cost.

Vegas has it all. From amazing headliner music acts to beautifully manicured golf courses, Vegas is truly an adult playground. You can even catch Carrot Top’s latest stunt. Assuming he takes a break from the gym.

Don’t forget the casinos. Let’s be real; the casinos are what drive the tourism industry in Las Vegas. And the tourism industry is what drives Las Vegas.

Bali Hai Golf Course in Las Vegas

When you step off the plane at McCarran Airport, you enter the world of VIP status. You’ll receive the celebrity treatment by 95% of the daily workers in Las Vegas.

It’s a fantastic feeling and makes the entire trip feel special.

For this article, we’ll be basing our Las Vegas casino trip out of Dallas, TX. Dallas boasts two of the busiest airports in the country and is centrally located.

I’ll cover everything from airfare to souvenirs. Face it, there will be some sad friends and family that miss out, and nothing says, “wish you were there” like a mirrored shot glass.

Casino Accommodations

You can typically find a decent hotel room in Las Vegas for around $100 a night. The price of the room will vary greatly depending on if you stay off the strip or not.

You can book a room at the excellent Aria hotel and casino for $120. Assuming you have two people per room, that’s only $60 per person.

This means your hotel costs for a 4 day/3 night stay will set you back only $180 per person for one of the most excellent spots in Las Vegas.

When booking your casino trip, keep in mind that where you stay may significantly impact how much time and money you spend getting to the places you want to be.

For example, you may save $40 a night by staying in downtown hotels. However, if you want to soak up all the action on The Strip, you could easily blow your savings on Uber rides from your hotel and back.

Shop around. Travel booking sites are continually competing for your business. You can save a considerable amount by playing the field.

To recap, you can get a room at the Aria with a King bed for only $60 a head. You are thus making the total for the trip $180.

Air Travel

You could drive to Las Vegas, but once you factor in fuel, meals, and hotels, you’ve far exceeded an airline ticket’s cost.

Besides, the last thing you want after a weekend of living the high life in Las Vegas is an 18-hour drive to get home.

Let the pros handle the interstate travel and enjoy some free pretzels.

I found round trip airfare on a leading airline out of DFW for under $100. Did I mention that’s a non-stop flight?

You can fly one of the best airlines around on a non-stop flight to and from Las Vegas for under $100 per person. I should note that the rooms and flights I’m selecting are over three months into the future.

So, the notion that these are last-minute deals should be quelled.

Thus far, we have secured a luxurious room at one of my favorite Las Vegas casinos and round trip airfare on a top-tier airline for a total of $280 per person.

Is the thought of your own Las Vegas casino trip beginning to look more like a reality than a dream?

You’re Going to Get Hungry

As much excitement as there is in Las Vegas, you’ll still need to break from the action and eat.

You can quickly grab some fast food or enjoy a couple of buffets for about $30 per day. I can’t say this loud enough, “I am not a buffet person.” My wife has spoiled me with the most refined home cooking you could imagine, and I’ve grown accustomed to her culinary prowess.

However, some of the buffets in Las Vegas are just what the doctor ordered after gambling into the morning’s wee hours and attempting to function on only a few hours of sleep.

Wicked Spoon Buffet Spread

Las Vegas isn’t all crowded buffets, though. Some of the finest dining experiences in the country are found in the Nevada desert.

It would be best if you didn’t skip the chance to enjoy the full Las Vegas offering. World-renowned chefs like Gordon Ramsay, Wolfgang Puck, and Giada de Laurentis all have excellent restaurants on The Strip.

Build-in $50 per person to enjoy one of these delicious meals, and your four day total stands at $170 on food.

Add that $170 to the previous $280, and you are well fed and sleeping it off in luxury for a mere $450.

Live Shows

If you are going to spend your time planning a Las Vegas casino trip, you’ll want to build in an entertainment budget.

Las Vegas boasts some of the world’s biggest stars as having regular live shows in the town. Catching a show is a part of the Las Vegas experience as it is the New York experience.

Please don’t drop the ball here, you’ll regret it. I would budget $50 per person to catch a decent show.

You may be able to work with the player’s club at the casino where you’re staying and score casino comped tickets, but you shouldn’t count on it.

Take the $450 from above and add $50 for a show. You’re having a pretty nice time in Las Vegas for only $500.

That’s almost as cheap as staying home and going to a Dallas Cowboys’ home game.

Roll the Dice

Or whatever game you choose to play when you’re in the casino.

How much you set aside for gambling depends significantly on how much time you intend to spend at the tables, slot machines, or Vegas sportsbooks.

I’ve read several places that $100 per day is average. If you are playing wisely and within your budget, $100 sounds about right.

You should be able to spend hours a day gambling and still have time to explore all that Las Vegas has to offer when you’re not on the casino floor.

Aria Las Vegas Casino Floor

A $100 a day budget puts you at $400 for a 4-day trip. You’re Las Vegas casino trip has cost you $900 so far.

Bonus Tip: Pick your daily gambling budget before you ever get to the airport. Once you’ve arrived in Las Vegas, please stick to your daily allowance like your life depends on it. No trips to the ATM.

Not a single trip back to the room to grab an extra $50 either. Your budget is your budget. If you blow through it, find something else to do.

Shopping

Las Vegas offers some of the coolest shopping in the world. You may not have an extra $200k lying around for a new Richard Millie watch, but that doesn’t mean you have to come home empty-handed.

You can enjoy all the window shopping you desire for nothing at all. Of course, you’ll want to bring something home for yourself to commemorate a great vacation.

I recommend you don’t forget mom and the petsitter. If there are two people on the planet that you never cross, it’s the mom and the petsitter. That fact is bonus tip #2.

You should be able to cover the essential people in your life for $150. You are bringing your grand total to a very manageable $1,050.

Conclusion

I bet that you never imagined you could visit Las Vegas for the cost of $1,000. Now may be the perfect time to book your trip.

Try slipping the check-in personnel a $20 at check-in and ask if they have any free upgrades. The real cost of your Las Vegas casino trip may go up by $20, but you’ll still be under $1,100.

Totally worth it if you can get a suite.

Staying in the Lap of Luxury in Macau: The Venetian

Exterior of The Venetian Macau

Macau has become one of the finest destinations of choice for players and casino lovers around the world. But 10 years ago, Macau wasn’t a topic of conversation for people in the same way it is today. Macau is not only one of the elite gambling meccas in the world, it is also one of the wealthiest regions, having the second-largest economy.

This region has over 400 years of history that make it a melting pot for Eastern as well as European traditions. Macau features one of the first restaurants to offer fusion cuisine, which is essentially a merging of two or more cultural influences to create a truly unique style of spices and cooking.

Macau is the birthplace of the world famous Macanese tradition of cuisine. Macanese is a blend of Portuguese and Chinese, and you’ll find tons of Macanese options being offered at restaurants across the region of Macau.

As a world leader in terms of massive, luxurious resort casinos, Macau has some of the most luxurious hotels and casinos that can easily give those in Las Vegas a run for their money.

The resort that will take center stage in this short post is the one and only Venetian in Macau, a place that I absolutely recommend if you are interested in staying in the lap of luxury during your time visiting this region.

If you are looking to make Macau your next vacation of choice and want to hear about one of the nicest choices available, then look no further! Let’s take a look at one of the best luxury resorts in Macau—The Venetian.

The First, Biggest, and Most Luxurious Resort Casino in Macau

The Venetian Macau’s main hotel tower was finished in July of 2007, and it opened only a month later on August 28th. When the hotel opened, it featured 3,000 suites, over 1,600,000 square feet of retail and outlet spaces, 1,200,000 square feet of convention space, and 550,000 square feet of casino floor space.

The casino itself offers 3,400 slot machines, 800 tables for the most commonly played table games, as well as a 15,000-seat entertainment arena.

The Venetian Macau is one of the largest casinos in the world, next to the WinStar World in Oklahome, that is. When Macau started down the road to becoming a world leader in the entertainment industry in 2002, it had been over 400 years since the city led the world in anything besides pork buns and pawn shops.

In the 1600s, Macau was a major player in Portugal’s East Asia trade routes and hoped to use the influence it had to be able to spread Christianity into more Asian territories.

Since the 1600s, Macau blended in with the rest of the Eastern world and really hasn’t had anything that would make it stand out.

Venetian Macau Atrium

That all changed dramatically after the final stages of The Venetian Macau were complete. The Venetian is usually one of the first places on visitors’ lists when embarking on the journey to visit “The Las Vegas of the East.”

The resort was constructed and designed to include literally everything a person could want to do. Theoretically, you can plan a trip to stay at The Venetian Macau and literally not have to see the rest of Macau yet still have a packed schedule every day.

From shopping to gambling, from accommodations to entertainment, the resort was built to meet all the desires of its lucky resort guests. Although the main function of the resort is a casino, The Venetian has been home to many other events and activities.

The resort served as the home of the Cirque du Soleil for a couple of years between 2008 and 2012. Many people that have stayed at The Venetian Macau have not even traveled there to gamble. There is just that much to do, which is exactly what the owners were hoping for when planning its construction.

Literally Lying in the Lap of Luxury

If you’re ready for a resort that is packed full of magnificence and magic, then look no further! Staying at The Venetian Macau allows its guests to discover new and fun sights, world-class shopping and dining, and a whole slew of entertainment options that can accommodate the entire family.

That’s right, The Venetian Macau is absolutely kid- and family-friendly! So, even though you’ll be staying in one of the most luxurious casinos in Macau, you can still bring the kiddos around and have a fantastic time.

Venetian Macau Suite

Staying at The Venetian Macau will give you over 3,000 luxury suites to choose from. There isn’t a room featured at The Venetian Macau that isn’t a suite! So, whether you’re looking for a getaway or wanting to go somewhere to celebrate something special, The Venetian Macau is sure to make your trip magical.

One of the more basic options available at The Venetian is the Royale Deluxe Suite. The warm and bright colored suites feature every possible amenity that you could possibly look for.

With their elegant grays or calm blues, creamy whites, gold accents, and marble baths, you’re sure to have an amazing night’s sleep in the king-sized bed and its luxurious bedding.

The Bella Deluxe Suites can comfortably sleep four people with its two queen-sized beds that are included in the package. “Bella” means beautiful in Italian, and one could say that beautiful is an understatement when stepping into the luxurious space that is offered inside the Bella Deluxe Suites.

The room includes more elegant gray and calm blue, dark woods, and elegant brocade wood paneling.  Every amenity that your heart could seek will be included with any suite package that you choose from. There’s free Wi-Fi, minibars, coffee, elegant bathrooms and bathtubs, and much more.

The Premio Royale Suite as well as the Premio Bella Suite are the upgrade from their predecessors that I have mentioned. The Venetian claims that a stay inside of their Premio suites is like stepping into the cultural beauty of Venice, Italy.

The iconic finishings are gondola-inspired and are crafted with rich dark woods, lush creams and ivories, and delicate fabrics. Both packages include either a single king or double queen bed size options.

Family Room at Venetian Macau

For the family that is looking into making their stay in Macau at The Venetian, the Famiglia Suite is going to be their best choice. Macau is a wonderful destination for families. With the Famiglia Suite, parents can have their own king-sized bed and marble bathroom, while kids can stay in a separate room with their own TV and bunk beds.

High-End Casino

Walking into the casino at The Venetian in Macau, you’ll feel like you are gambling in the heart of Sicily, Italy. This casino will blow your mind and make for an amazing evening. It measures 546,000 square feet and is divided into four themed and gaming areas.

The four popular gambling zones inside the casino include Golden Fish, Imperial House, Red Dragon, and the Phoenix. You’ll absolutely feel like you’re visiting the Far East while you’re gambling here.

The casino has miles of real money slots for the players that enjoy the popular casino game. There are over 6,000 slot machines inside the casino. It also features all of your favorite table casino games. From blackjack, Texas Hold’em, and high card flush, the casino at The Venetian will have tables fit for every  skill level.

Venetian Macau Casino Floor

The hotel portion of the resort offers something that only premium guests will be able to get their hands on. The Paiza Club is set aside for high rollers and has its own entrance, lobby, reception, and guests lifts that will transport guests back to their rooms.

The gaming area of the Paiza Club is divided between individual and private gaming rooms. Each room is named after major Asian cities and regions such as Yunnan, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur. The guests of the club can enjoy gaming in their own private casino inside the Venetian Macau.

The guests of the club have exclusive access to the club’s very own dining outlet, known as the Paiza Club Dining and Lounge. The guests of Paiza Club can visit the dining outlet 24 hours a day.

Have You Visited The Venetian Macau Before?

I am certain that books can be written on each different topic of this post. The Venetian alone is a big enough place that it could take a week just for a person to be able to experience everything that one of the largest casino resorts on the face of the globe has to offer.

Have you been to the Venetian Macau? Do you have an experience that you want to share? Or maybe there’s something I forgot to mention here that you’d like to provide some insight on. Either way, you can feel free to drop a note in the comments section down below!

10 Crazy Confessions From Casino Dealers and Other Staff

Man in Suit Telling Secret With a Casino Background

It’s good to have someone on the inside. At the very least, it can make for some interesting stories.

Casinos are a place unlike any other. Dreams come to life, and die, on a near-hourly basis and the employees of “the house” have a front row seat to it all. When they open up about their experiences, it’s always worth a listen.

Unsurprisingly, the behind-the-scenes perspective is fascinating. Casinos aren’t necessarily shrouded in secrecy, but most gamblers know there’s things they don’t know about the operation.

In this article, I’ll lay out 10 things casino workers have said about their unique jobs.

1 – Casinos Are Dirty

They might look clean and shiny, but most casino floors are covered in germs, grime, and…much worse than that.

One of the worst situations, although not uncommon, is the mess left on some of the slot machine chairs. I’ll let your mind assume what I mean by that.

Players who are having success don’t want to get up and relieve themselves in the restroom, and the casino’s furniture is often the victim in these scenarios. One casino worker for the Mohegan Sun even said that the casino had to assemble an environmental services team to handle the chairs and make sure they got deep cleaned.

2 – Dealing Cards Can Be Dangerous

When people are playing around with life-changing money, emotions are understandably running high. That can make dealing a much more perilous job than it should be.

One casino worker said that he witnessed an angry gambler, who upon losing, took the dealer’s comments as an insult and stormed off. Upon his return, he threw a water bottle filled with gas onto the dealer and the table and threatened to light the whole thing on fire.

While this might not be typical, it certainly isn’t unheard of in the industry.

3 – You Never Know What to Expect

On the list of things that humans commonly fear, my guess is that snakes would make the top 10 (maybe top five…top three?). One casino dealer got up close and personal with a serpent when he least expected.

While working as a dealer at a Las Vegas Casino, he observed a man at the blackjack table slowly removing his jacket. While others at the table might have been thinking, “Oh, here we go again,” there was another surprise in store.

Closeup of a Snake

Out from under his jacket slithered a three foot snake, complete with a flickering forked tongue.

Needless to say the man and his “pet” were removed from the premises immediately by casino security. However, he did provide several people with a great story to tell during the next friendly poker night.

4 – The Consequences of Losing Can Be Serious

For the majority of gamblers, a bad day on the casino floor can be cured by a few drinks and a good meal. That is, if you bet responsibly.

The unfortunate reality is that some people suffer from a compulsion that makes gambling a life or death proposition. It’s sad, but not uncommon for dealers to witness some pretty harrowing reactions to significant losses.

One anonymous casino worker in Vegas witnessed an off-duty police officer promptly take his life…at the table…after losing his life’s savings in a high-limit poker game. This reaction is an all-too-common thing that is a reminder of the internal battles some people are fighting.

5 – Casinos Aren’t in the Caring Business

I wouldn’t go as far as to say casino owners or managers aren’t good, caring people, but during their time at work they aren’t looking to help anyone out. Regardless of how much money you’ve lost, the general attitude is that as long as you bet your money willingly, it’s on you to deal with consequences.

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One casino worker was tasked with talking to a Korean man who was frantic after losing everything he had. Due to having no more money, he was looking for a place to stay. The casino worker empathetically asked his manager if there was anything the casino could do – can you guess what he said?

If you guessed, “Not our problem,” you are right. The casino worker ended up finding the number for the Korean embassy and put the losing gambler in contact with that office, but that was all he could do given the circumstances.

6 – The Range of People is Fascinating

Going to the casino for an afternoon guarantees an unparalleled people-watching experience. If there’s one thing that people from all walks of life can agree on, it’s that gambling is fun no matter what your financial or social status.

Jay-Z Opening a Bottle of Champagne

A particular Vegas dealer explained how his nightly clientele always ensured there was never a dull moment. He describes his experiences as dealing with a Saudi prince during one hour, Jay-Z the next, and then dealing to a semi-homeless guy later on in the evening.

It’s hard to picture any other place in the world where these three types of people could all be enjoying the same thing. For that reason, casinos will always hold a special place in the hearts of thrill-seekers and those who simply want to observe the human experience.

7 – High-Rollers Get It All

To regular folks, it might feel like the rich can do anything they want without facing real consequences. Nowhere is this more accurate than at the casino.

A dealer at a popular Vegas casino explained that the “whales” have free reign to act as childish as they want. For example, he noted that there were hands when, upon losing, high-rollers would pick up a fistful of chips and throw them in disgust after a loss.

While this behavior might get most people kicked out, it simply goes unpunished when the casino has a vested interest in keeping someone happy. Rather than being escorted out, they’re offered free rooms, meals, and just about any other casino comp necessary to keep them gambling.

8 – Yes, the Workers are Judging You

One dealer who spent several years working at a top London casino explained that there is plenty to be learned from watching people lose. Most notably, their change in demeanor.

He explained that it was often the people who were the nicest when they sat down who would turn into the most moody, withdrawn, and quite frankly, dark people when they began to lose.

His takeaway? It’s important to be the same person regardless of your own personal success. Changing your personality based on your circumstances shows a selfishness that is best avoided.

9 – Not All the Winners are Gamblers

Women, booze, and gambling go together like fireworks, booze, and apple pie on July 4th – meaning it’s a fun, but often has serious pitfalls. For many male gamblers, this can mean being taken advantage of.

Man and Women's Legs by a Car

One casino worker, again in Vegas, noted that it was fairly common for “working girls” to seek out players who had a successful day on the floor. After identifying these individuals, they would get them very drunk at the bar to celebrate their success. Next, they would escort them back to their rooms where they would…often pass out.

When the men would pass out, the women would make off with thousands of dollars that their man had won that day. I guess when you really think about it, is it still stealing if the money wasn’t really earned?

10 – At the End of the Day, They’re Babysitters

Dealers have a lot to keep in mind while they’re on the job. They must be able to spot cheaters, keep players’ emotions under control, and still execute the job they’re getting paid to do.

One casino worker explained that it’s like babysitting. Just like at your local daycare, players at the same table get into verbal fights, try to control everything, and talk out of turn.

While some of the things on this list might have been surprising, the things dealers hate is probably the least surprising of all.

Conclusion

Casinos are treasures of humanity. Nothing brings out someone’s true colors like losing (or winning) thousands of dollars from playing a game.

At the end of the day, it’s fair to say casino workers don’t get nearly enough credit, or compensation, to justify the duties they’re asked to perform on a nightly basis.

The next time you go to gamble, say thanks to your casino’s staff – or better yet, throw a few extra dollars their way.

Making the Switch From Slot Machines to Video Poker

Crossing Arrows With a Video Poker and Slots Background

Every time I write an advice or tips post aimed at casino gamblers, I always suggest switching from slot machines to video poker.

I have several reasons for thinking that video poker is always a better choice than slot machines, but here are the biggest two reasons:

  1. Slot machines keep their payback percentage secret.
  2. Slot machines invariably have a much lower payback percentage.

In this post, I go into some detail about why that is and explain what you need to know to switch from slot machines to video poker.

Understanding the Casino Term “Payback Percentage”

When you’re talking about casino games, you usually refer to the “house edge” for table games and the “payback percentage” when talking about gambling machines.

What do those terms mean, practically?

The house edge is the statistically predicted amount you’ll lose on average for every bet you place. It’s expressed as a percentage. For example, if I say that the house edge for a game is 6%, that means that on average – over hundreds and thousands of bets – you’ll lose $6 for every $100 you wager.

The payback percentage is just the predicted amount of each bet that you’ll get back. A game with a 6% house edge has a payback percentage of 94%. If you’re playing a slot machine game with a 94% payback percentage, you’re trading a dollar bill for 94 cents on every spin.

It doesn’t seem like that, though, because in the short run, you’ll sometimes win a multiple of your bet, while other times, you’ll lose your entire bet.

These numbers are long-term averages.

The Payback Percentage on a Slot Machine Is a Cipher

The payback percentage is based on the amount you get paid off for a winning combination combined with the probability of getting that combination. Add all those together, and you get the overall payback percentage for the gambling machine.

For example, if you had a weird slot machine game that had 100 possible combinations of symbols, and only one of those symbols resulted in a win, you could calculate the payback percentage for that game easily. You just need to know the amount the machine pays out for the winning combination.

Let’s say that it pays off at 90 for 1.

The payback percentage on that slot machine game would be 90%.

Now let’s take a slightly more complicated (but still weird) slot machine. It has two winning combinations. One of those winning combinations pays off at 50 for 1, and the other pays off at 40 for 1.

Row of Casino Slot Machines

The payback percentage is still 90% — assuming each of those winning combinations has an equaly probability of coming up.

Here’s the problem with slot machines, though:

You have no idea what the probability is of getting a specific symbol is, much less what the probability of getting a combination of symbols is.

You have the payouts for the various combinations. They’re in the pay table.

But without the probabilities, it’s hard to find the highest paying slots.

And you can’t just assume that each symbol has the same probability of coming up as every other symbol. That’s just not how the game works.

Slot machines give their symbols “weightings.”

For example, a cherry might be weighted to come up once every 10 spins, but a plum might be weighted to only come up once every 20 spins.

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The only way to estimate how often a specific symbol comes up on a slot machine would be to keep records and make an estimate based on your results over hundreds of spins.

Who wants to do that?

And – even if you do that – what have you accomplished?

A game with a 12% house edge is a sucker bet, but so is a game with a 6% house edge. One bet is worse than the other, but they’re still both sucker bets.

Video Poker Machines Aren’t Ciphers; They’re Math Problems

The symbols on real money video poker machines are all based on a deck of cards, though, and we know the probabilities of getting cards from a deck of cards. A specific card has a 1/52 probability of showing up. A card of a specific rank has a 1/13 probability of coming up. And a card of a specific suit has a probability of 1/4 of coming up.

With that data, you can calculate the probabilities of getting specific combinations, too. You know that getting a pair is more likely than getting two pairs, which, in turn, is more likely than getting three of a kind.

Once you know the probabilities of winding up with specific combinations, you can multiply those probabilities by the payouts for those combinations and get the overall payback percentage for the game.

The preceding sentence made it sound like that’s an easy calculation anyone could make with a pencil and a piece of paper, but it’s actually far more complex. One of the reasons for this complexity is that video poker is a draw poker game.

Let’s talk about how that works.

How to Play Video Poker

Video poker plays much like a slot machine, but the differences are significant. You start by inserting money in the machine. That money is converted into credits based on the denomination of the machine.

Let’s say you’re sitting down at a quarter machine – this means that a credit on that video poker machine game is worth 25 cents. Insert $100, and you’ll have 400 credits to play with.

Your first move is to decide how many credits to risk on each hand. On most video poker games, you can choose any number between one and five credits.

But you should always bet five credits. Always bet the maximum amount on a video poker game.

Online Bonus Poker Game

Why?

The top jackpot for all video poker games is the royal flush. It pays off at a higher multiple if you’re playing for five credits per hand.

And the difference is significant.

The royal flush pays off at 200 for 1 or 250 for 1 (depending on the machine), UNLESS you’re playing for five credits per hand. In that case, the royal flush pays off at 800 for 1.

This adds 2% (give or take) to your overall payback percentage).

Your next move is to hit the “DEAL” button. This is the equivalent of pulling the lever or pressing the “SPIN” button on a slot machine.

When you press the “DEAL” button, the machine debits your credit counter, and it gives you a 5-card poker hand on your computer monitor. At this point, you can keep all five cards, discard all five cards, or keep and discard any number of cards in between.

You use the button corresponding to each card to signify that you want to hold that card. It’s a toggle system, too, so if you accidentally hit hold, you can change your mind – just so long as you haven’t hit the “DEAL” button again before then.

Once you hit the “DEAL” button, the game replaces the cards you chose to discard, and you get paid off based on the poker ranking of your final hand.

This decision-making aspect of the game is what makes the calculation of the payback percentage such a chore.

Luckily, we have computers to do those calculations, and we have experts to program those computers and give us the results.

More About the Video Poker Pay Table

You have multiple varieties of video poker with various names – these might include Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, Double Double Bonus Poker, etc.

The differences in these games is based on the presence of wild cards and the different payouts for various hands.

The most basic form of video poker is called Jacks or Better, and, as you might guess, it gets its name from the lowest-paying hand – a pair of jacks or higher. (This includes jacks, queens, kings, or aces.)

There are no wild cards in Jacks or Better, either.

Video Poker Game Selection Screen

The lowest-paying hand, a pair of jacks or better, pays off at 1 for 1, which is basically a wash. You’ll get this hand about one out of every five hands, but, since you’re going to have nothing slightly more than half the time, is pretty good.

The next paying hand is two pairs, which pays off at 2 for 1. It comes up about once every 13 hands or so.

You can compare the payout with the probability of getting the hand for each of the possible combinations and add them all together to get the overall payback percentage for the game.

Depending on the specific pay table, this might be as high as 99.54%, or it might be as low as 95%.

Even at its worst, Jacks or Better video poker usually offers a better payback percentage than a slot machine, though.

Conclusion

That’s basically what you need to know if you want to switch from slot machine to video poker. You’re trading a game with a usually-high and unknowable house edge for a game with a usually-low and knowable house edge game.

You also get to make some meaningful decisions in video poker. Knowing which cards to keep and which cards to discard during play is what makes video poker so much fun. It has a big effect on your actual payback percentage, too.

Should you switch from slot machines to video poker?

Almost certainly.

6 Things to Avoid in Las Vegas

Man Holding Hands Up and the Las Vegas Sign

Las Vegas is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States and is incredibly popular in the gambling community. Some may thumb their noses at the idea of traveling to Vegas for a gambling trip.

Rest assured, Sin City can still bring the heat. The city is home to more casinos than any other city in the nation.

Even if you’re not a huge gambling fan or are traveling with people who don’t necessarily enjoy spending countless hours gambling at the tables of one of Vegas’ numerous casinos, the city still has plenty to offer.

Like most well-known tourist destinations, there is a booming industry ready to take advantage of first-time travelers. To make sure you can have the best trip you can hope for, here are six things to avoid in Vegas.

1 ‒ Don’t Fall for a Scam

Where there is one tourist, there are dozens of con artists ready and waiting to take advantage of them. While it should be obvious that certain parts of Las Vegas are designed to appeal to certain degenerative personality type.

The city is mostly family-friendly. However, there are some darker influences in the town; it’s easier than you would expect to fall for a scam.

Walking up and down the Las Vegas Strip, you’ll encounter several street vendors, photographers, and salespeople trying to get your business. Even something as simple as taking a picture in front of the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign will result in your party being hounded by supposed professional photographers.

Men Handing Out Cards on the Vegas Strip

Most of these people are trying to make a living and are harmless, but there are also a variety of scum bags trying to take advantage of you. The worst types are club promoters, offering tourists worthless VIP passes for club crawls that tourists could make on their own.

While some of these salespeople are legitimate, the amount of money you would have to spend on these passes is better spent elsewhere around the city.

2 ‒ Blowing Your Budget on a Hotel

It’s perfectly understandable to think that you have to stay at one of the premier hotels or casinos on the Strip to get the full Vegas experience. However, this is not the case. While the rooms’ quality at the luxury resorts is undeniably high, the price point might not be worth it.

As I said earlier, Vegas is full of resorts, hotels, and other room and board types, which can appeal to tourists from all economic situations.

Vegas is a year-round destination but still has its peak seasons, so it’s easy to find great value when booking your hotel if you choose the right time.

There’s a popular misconception that Las Vegas is incredibly expensive, and trust me, it can be if you don’t plan your trip intelligently.

To save some money for the entertainment on your vacation, consider staying at one of the resorts regarded as a “middle tier” option. I can assure you that you’ll still have a pleasant experience and will most likely be surprised by the quality of whichever resort or hotel you decide to pick.

If it’s your first or second time visiting Vegas, there’s too much to do to waste time in your hotel room anyway.

3 ‒ Trying to Visit Every Casino

Whereas the previous few points are geared towards any type of tourist, this one is for the group’s avid gamblers. If you’re planning to visit Las Vegas for the first time, then there’s a good chance you have it in your head that you have to hit up every single casino in the city.

This is a mistake that you should undoubtedly avoid at all costs.

If you’re going to Vegas to experience as much as possible, bouncing from casino to casino isn’t the world’s worst idea. But if you plan on spending all of your free time gambling, and you have aspirations of having a successful gambling trip, it’s imperative that you find a casino that works for you.

People Walking on the Vegas Strip

Vegas has too many casinos to see, mainly because there are several casinos off the Strip in Downtown Vegas. Depending on how many days you’re staying in Vegas, I recommend having a loose plan of attack and narrowing down your potential casinos to an attainable number.

If you spend too much time traveling between casinos, you’ll likely never find one where you can get comfortable and start winning money.

4 ‒ Overpaying for Entertainment

With the overwhelming number of options, and even on the outskirts of town, there’s virtually no reason to overspend when it comes to entertainment. Most tourist destinations feature intense competition among all the different venues and entertainment companies, making it a perfect opportunity to work the price down on your choice in activities.

No matter what type of entertainment you’re looking for, there’s almost always a cheaper option.

Some tourists are conditioned to think they have to shell out a good deal of money for high quality entertainment in Vegas.

While most entertainment is most likely worth the admission price, if you’re trying to keep your budget low there are other options out there that won’t cost an arm and a leg. The best way to locate the cheapest entertainment is by doing some research before your trip.

But even if you’re feeling spontaneous, you’ll most likely run into some good alternatives by simply walking down the Strip.

5 ‒ Blackjack Tables

Like my earlier point, this one is for you who are traveling to Vegas for the sole purpose of parking yourself at a table. Scouting out the best blackjack tables in Vegas can be a chore, especially if you’re looking for cheaper tables. While $5 tables do exist, they are few and far between, especially on the Strip.

If you’re planning on going to Vegas during a busier part of the year or on the weekends, finding a seat at an affordable table is going to be tough. After wandering around the Strip, you might finally locate a somewhat inexpensive table with several open seats.

You might feel inclined to sit down, right up until the moment you realize the table only pays out 6:5.

For inexperienced gamblers, a 6:5 table means that you will get paid out $6 for every $5 bet if you get blackjack. Most tables should be 3:2, meaning you’ll get paid out $3 for every $2 you bet, but Vegas is known to have several 6:5 tables.

I highly recommend avoiding these tables, simply because there are tables with better payouts elsewhere around the city.

6 ‒ Don’t Walk Everywhere

When you first get to the Strip, you might think to yourself that every casino is within walking distance. The skyline on the Strip is deceptive, and you’ll be surprised to see how far certain casinos are away from each other.

I’ve made the mistake of walking from the Mandalay Bay, which is on the Strip’s south side, to the Bellagio, thinking it was only less than 10 minutes away.

Aerial View of the Vegas Strip

Walking around Vegas, you can delude yourself into thinking that everything is within walking distance. Trust me when I say it’s not. If you’re traveling to Vegas during the summer, keep in mind that Las Vegas is a desert, and the Nevada summers are brutally hot and dry.

Unless you plan to take the tram between neighboring casinos, which is an excellent transportation mode, consider taking an Uber or Lyft.

There’s no reason to try to walk across the city when there’s all that entertainment. If you’re hellbent on walking along the Strip, make sure comfortable shoes are on your list of things to bring to Vegas.

Conclusion

Las Vegas is a top vacation destination for people who enjoy a good time. If you’re a big fan of betting or the gambling industry and have yet to make the trip, now is a great time to do so.

Most casinos are offering deep discounts on their hotel rates, and travel is also relatively inexpensive. Like any good vacation, a trip to Vegas requires some preparation and research.

Due to the city’s nature, there are plenty of opportunities to fall into common tourist traps. One of the more blatant and unfortunate of these is the countless scam and con artists in the city.

This is no reason to avoid booking a trip to Vegas, but always be aware of the potential to fall for a smooth talker’s phony sales pitch while you’re walking down the Strip.

When booking your trip, make sure you’re getting a good deal on your hotels. I always recommend first-time Vegas-goers avoid staying at a luxury resort. Don’t try to gamble at every casino and shop around for the best entertainment option if you plan to do something other than gambling.

Finally, even though the Strip looks compact, and every casino appears like it’s just a quick walk away, avoid walking everywhere, especially during the day.

7 Things I’ve Told Gamblers More Than Once

Man Yelling Through Megaphone With a Casino Background

If you’ve read many of my columns, you probably know that some of the advice I offer is important enough to bear repeating.

In this post, I thought I’d put together the seven best pieces of advice I have. They’re all things I’ve told gamblers, both in person and online, more than once.

1 – Manage Your Casino Bankroll

The first and most important step in managing your casino bankroll is to make sure that any money you gamble with is money separate from your other funds and that isn’t needed for anything else.

Spend some time with a CPA and a financial planner before deciding what you can and can’t afford. Treat gambling as part of your entertainment budget.

Any good CPA or financial planner is going to advise you to do some things with your money before gambling with it:

  • Have savings for an emergency. Most financial professionals recommend having between three months’ and six months’ worth of living expenses set aside for this. Here’s my take – if you don’t have 6 months’ worth of living expenses saved, you shouldn’t spend any money gambling. Put that money toward your emergency fund instead.
  • Have savings for retirement and other long-term goals. Other long-term goals might include saving for a down payment for a house or for your kids’ college tuition. The old rule used to be to save 10% of everything you earn, but if you’re not young anymore (and who is), you should probably increase that to 20% of your earnings. If you’re unable to afford to save that aggressively, you don’t have extra money to gamble with.
  • Be mostly debt-free and caught up on your bills. You shouldn’t be gambling if you’re deep in debt. The only acceptable debts are a car payment and a house payment. And I’m not so sure about the car payment. (I pay cash for my cars.) Also, if you’re paying late fees, or if you’re behind on your child support, you don’t have a gambling bankroll.
  • Have appropriate amounts of insurance. Everyone should at least try to have health insurance. If you can’t afford health insurance even through Obamacare, you need to be saving as much cash as you can for the next medical emergency. You also need car insurance if you drive, and you need homeowners’ insurance if you own a home. If you’re a renter, you should have renters’ insurance. Finally, you should have life insurance. It’s cheap, and it will do a lot to help out your family.

That’s just the beginning of bankroll management, though. Once you’ve determined that you can afford to set aside money for gambling, you need to treat it like any other item on your overall budget. You should portion it out according to your goals.

Stack of Various Coins

If you can afford $200 a year to gamble with, you probably shouldn’t bet it all on red at the roulette table – at least, not unless you feel like you’re going to get $200 worth of fun out a bet that’s going to lose more than half the time.

And if you’re an advantage gambler, you must spend even more time deciding what size bets are appropriate because you want to reduce your risk of ruin as aggressively as possible.

2 – Learn Some Math

No one should be gambling if they don’t understand how the casino makes its money. And that requires some basic math skills.

Don’t worry, though – you don’t need advanced algebra for this – just some probability math.

If you can add, subtract, multiply, and divide, you can learn enough probability to understand what’s really happening when you gamble in a casino.

3 – Play Games With a Low House Edge

The house edge is a statistical prediction of how much each bet costs you in a casino.

For example, if I tell you that the pass bet in craps has a house edge of 1.41%, that means that every time you put $100 into action at the craps table, the casino expects you to lose an average of $1.41.

This is a long-term, over hundreds and thousands of bets phenomenon. Of course, on any given pass bet at the craps table, you’re going to lose $100 or win $100.

I suggest sticking with games where the house edge is 1.5% or lower. A house edge higher than that tells me a game isn’t worth my time or effort.

4 – Learn to Play Poker

The house edge doesn’t apply to real money poker. And by real poker, I mean a poker game where you’re competing with other poker players at a table. Games like Ultimate Texas Holdem, which is bankrolled by the house, don’t count. Games like that have poker trappings but are just casino games like blackjack. You’re playing against the casino, not the other players.

Why should you learn to play poker?

For one thing, it’s probably your best chance of getting a mathematical edge when playing a traditional gambling game.

It’s hard to get an edge at any kind of casino game. It’s even harder to beat the sportsbook (although it can be done.)

Poker Hand Pocket Aces

But in poker, all you need to do is be better at poker than the other players.

If you’re playing in casinos, the house takes 5% of every pot, though, so you must be so much better than the other players that you can afford that 5%.

On the other hand, if you’re playing in home games, you don’t have to worry about the rake at all – not usually, anyway.

Most poker players still lose money. You can be in the top 5%, though – it just requires know-how and discipline. Go read The Theory of Poker, find a low stakes game, and get started.

5 – Don’t Play Slot Machines

Slot machines are some of the worst bets in the casino.

And worse, you don’t even know how expensive they are. They don’t tell you what the house edge is on these games.

But even in the best case scenario, the house edge on a slot machine game is 6% or higher, making it a worse bet than ANY of the table games (assuming you’re not making sucker bets at the craps table or something.)

The worst thing is that slot machines almost guarantee that you’ll put a huge amount of money into action every hour. The average slots player makes 500 or 600 spins per hour at the machine. Let’s say you’re betting $3 per spin. This means you’re putting $1500 to $1800 per hour into action.

In the best slot machine game with the 6% house edge, your expected loss per hour is between $90 and $108.

Now assume you’re playing blackjack at 100 hands per hour and for $10 per hand. You’re betting 3 times as much per bet, but you’re still only putting $1000 per hour into action.

And, if you stick with games with good rules and use basic strategy, the house edge is less than 1%. We’ll call it 1% just to keep the math simple.

Your expected hourly loss on that the blackjack game is only $10 per hour.

How can you justify playing slots instead of blackjack given the cost?

And – keep this in mind – MOST slot machines have a higher house edge than 6%. That was just for illustrative purposes. You might be facing a house edge of 8% to 25% (or more).

6 – Play Video Poker Instead

If you absolutely hate playing table games in the casino, consider playing video poker as an alternative to slots.

Video Poker Machine Royal Flush

If you play the right games with the right pay tables, you can get the house well below 1.5%. In some cases, if you combine optimal play with the right pay tables and the rewards from the slots club, you can play with effectively an edge over the casino.

There’s a whole world of information about video poker out there. You can find a lot of it on our site.

7 – Get Help If You Need It

Gambling addiction is every bit as big a problem as any kind of substance abuse. Scientific studies have clearly demonstrated that gambling’s effects on the brain are every bit as serious as that of chemicals. Why would people take it less seriously than a drinking or drug problem?

What are the symptoms that a problem gambler demonstrates?

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You stop getting any enjoyment out of the activity, but you can’t seem to stop. Basically, those chemical pathways in your brain that were getting a thrill out of your gambling have gotten burnt out. You need more gambling to stimulate those centers of your brain again.

For most problem gamblers, this means gambling way beyond their bankrolls, which brings eventual financial ruin.

And, take it from me, if you destroy your family’s financial health, you soon won’t have a family. I’ve seen it happen multiple times.

The good news is that there’s plenty of help out there if you’re willing to seek it out. Treatment centers can help, and there’s also good old-fashioned Gamblers Anonymous.

Conclusion

Some gambling advice is so good that it bears repeating. In this post, I’ve shared the best of what I’ve got.

Mostly it’s aimed at beginners, but even a lot of gamblers who’ve been at it for years could use a lot of this advice.

I have a friend who wastes a fortune on an annual basis playing slot machines, for example. He calls me now and then to let me know how much he’s won at the casino.

He never calls to brag about how much he’s lost, though.

The Sports Betting Hall of Fame

SBC Media Members With an Event Background

I was recently discussing an upcoming vacation with my wife, and she joked that we should stop into the Sports Betting Hall of Fame.

It caused me to pause for a minute because I realized that I didn’t know a single thing about the Sports Betting Hall of Fame. I wasn’t even sure if one existed.

The Sports Betting Hall of Fame is real (sort of), and I’m here to tell you everything you need to know.

What About Sports Betting?

Baseball has Cooperstown, NY. Professional football has Canton, OH. Even bowling has Arlington, TX. Sports Betting has SBC.

SBC is short for Sports Betting Community, a company dedicated to promoting and furthering the betting and gaming industry’s agenda.

SBC functions primarily as a news, media, and events company. Many of their events draw industry leaders and pundits from all over the world.

In 2016, SBC established the Sports Betting Hall of Fame. The Sports Betting Hall of Fame is more of a Hall of Fame in spirit.

Suppose you’re looking to load up the SUV with the family and a cooler full of snacks to make a cross country trek to visit the hall and soak in the history of the discipline. You’re going to need to use your imagination.

SBC Hall of Fame Busts

Fortunately, you don’t necessarily need to move from your seat to enjoy the majesty and history within the halls. There is no physical hall of fame for fans and enthusiasts to flock to as they do in Cooperstown.

You may be confused, I know I was. I spent hours learning all I could about the hall of fame. My brain understood that it didn’t physically exist, but I couldn’t grasp that it wasn’t an actual place.

Surely, there had to be a wall or something. As my wife pointed out, that would be a wall of fame.

What Is the Function of the Sports Betting Hall of Fame?

The hall of fame serves to recognize those people in the sports betting industry that have given mightily to the industry throughout their careers. And to reward them with a legacy that will last long beyond their years in sports betting.

The Sports Betting Hall of Fame also aims to honor and preserve the beautiful accomplishments of individuals who have made significant accomplishments in the field.

I consider the Sports Betting Hall of Fame more of a history of sports betting. It reminds me of the famous Hollywood stars, without any form of physical monument.

Nevertheless, it’s nice to see the industry get to the point of legitimacy where a hall of fame is warranted.

How Does Someone Gain Entry?

There are several ways in which one may contribute to sports betting and end up in the Hall of Fame. Some of the things considered by the selection committee are the following:

  • Promote the general public’s knowledge of sports betting as a respected member of the business world.
  • Provide changes in process that dramatically improves sports betting methods or the products offered to gamblers.
  • Introducing cutting-edge marketing practices or consumables.
  • Having had a vital position in furthering the public’s awareness of the critical role sports betting plays in the economy.
  • Having a long and distinguished career in the sports betting industry.

The committee formed by SBC then considers all applicants meeting these criteria to create their induction class. However, you won’t see some of the names you’d expect.

Who Makes the Cut?

Another Hall of Fames seems to primarily focus on the players. Leaving those on the sidelines or in the luxury boxes to play ancillary roles.

This fact is not the case for the Sports Betting Hall of Fame. In fact, the only inductee primarily for their efforts as a sports bettor is a gentleman by the name of Jukka Honkavaara.

If Jukka sounded like a familiar name, it’s because he placed the first online sports bet back in 1996. His $50 wager on Tottenham Hotspur to beat Hereford United propelled Jukka Honkavaara into the hall of fame.

He sits quietly in the corner as the sole inductee based on his actual sports betting.

Scour the list of his fellow hall of farmers, and you’re going to see titles like CEO, Chairman, and even governor. That’s right, former New Jersey governor and presidential hopeful Chris Christie was once inducted into the 2019 class hall.

It seems the industry business leaders are far more sought after for the hall of fame than the sports bettors themselves. Let’s take a look at the inductees.

2016 Class

The inaugural class of the Sports Betting Hall of Fame was a small affair. It featured only three inductees, but these three have no doubt left their mark on sports betting.
Carsten Koerl: Koerl entered as the Founder and CEO of Sports Radar AG. Sports Radar AG holds a special place in the industry, combining its efforts in the media, sports, and sports betting facts. The company quickly rose to a position as a worldwide leader in providing sports data.
Mark Blandford: The Founder of Sportingbet got into the bookmaking business nearly 40 years ago and built not 1 but 2 successful betting shop chains. Sportingbet was Blandford’s answer to the boom of online sports betting and was wildly successful in its own right.
Howard Chisholm: Howard Chisolm is among the founders of the Bookmakers Technology Consortium. Serving as Director for BTC, he helped provide IT support to small independent bookmakers in the UK. Chisholm’s resume also includes Managing Director of Chisholm Bookmakers, a small family business operating over 40 betting shops in England.

2017 Class

The 2017 class of the Sports Betting Hall of Fame saw three more individuals recognized for their efforts.
Paris Smith: As the CEO of Pinnacle, an offshore betting company, Smith shifted focus away from North America and found vast growth opportunities in Asia and Europe.
Vigen Badalyan: Vigen is Founder and CEO of BetConstruct. The company based in London offers services in over a dozen countries. The company has a full range of sports betting solutions ranging from betting shops to comprehensive sportsbooks, both online and land-based, and even a real money casino.
Fred Done: The founder of Betfred has over 50 years in the sports betting industry under his belt. Betfred has grown from a small family business to a juggernaut in the sports betting industry. Betfred now operates more than 1,700 betting shops.

2018 Class

The 2018 inductees to the hall of fame are as follows:

  • Fabio Schiavolin – CEO at Snaitech S.P.A.
  • Pontus Lindwall – CEO Betsson AB
  • Warwick Bartlett – CEO Global Betting and Gaming Consultants
  • Norbert Teufelberger – Co-Founder Bwin
  • Constantinos Antonopoulos – Vice-Chairman Intralot

As you can see from the first three HOF classes, there seems to be a common theme. You’ll see more CEOs than sports bettors.

2019 Class

2019 saw more people go into the Sports Betting HOF than ever before. Here are the individuals that made the cut for 2019:

SBC Class of 2019

  • John Anderson – Former CEO 888 Holdings plc
  • Armin Sageder – Founder BGT and PaySafeCard
  • John Boyle – Founder and Chairman BoyleSports
  • Richard Flint – Former CEO Sky Betting and Gaming
  • Jukka Honkavaara – Placed 1st Online Sports Bet
  • Dennis Drazin – Attorney and CEO Monmouth Park
  • Denise Coates – Founder and CEO bet365
  • Art Manteris – VP Race and Sportsbook Operations Station Casinos LLC
  • Chris Christie – Former Governor New Jersey

Initially, I was surprised to see Governor Chris Christie as an inductee. However, Christie was instrumental in challenging the federal ban on sports betting. In fact, if it hadn’t been for Christie’s seven year battle for the matter of state’s rights, we may not have any legal sports betting in the United States.

2020 Class

The 2020 Class will see 5 more members inducted into the HOF. Here are the lucky 5 for this year:

  • Victor Salerno – President US Bookmaking
  • Raymond Lesniak – Former Senator New Jersey
  • Sara Slane – Former American Gaming Association Sr VP
  • Jay Rood – COO Bet.Works
  • Roxy Roxborough – Famous Las Vegas Oddsmaker

It’s refreshing to see the HOF diversify and mix in a COO among the Founders and CEOs. I kid, but the induction of the legendary Roxy Roxborough should definitely lend some credibility to the Sports Betting Hall of Fame in the hearts and minds of sports bettors.

Conclusion

When I began my quest to learn more about the Sports Betting Hall of Fame, I expected to see names like Billy Walters, Anthony Bloom, and perhaps even Benjamin Patz a.k.a. Parlay Patz.

That doesn’t seem to be the way the hall is headed, and with the legal troubles of Walters and Patz, they may never see the Sports Betting Hall of Fame. For the ones that have been recognized, it’s undoubtedly a distinguished honor.

Maybe one day we’ll be able to load up the family and head to Atlantic City or Las Vegas to stroll the halls ourselves.

Why Craps and Roulette Got the Axe During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Hand Axe and Craps and Roulette Background

COVID-19 has turned the gambling world upside down in many respects. First, it convinced many regulatory bodies to shut down land-based casinos for a while.

Now, the coronavirus has caused the same regulators to impose social distancing standards on casinos. The latter must use various measures to minimize the chances of gamblers contracting COVID-19.

These measures include:

  • Requiring gamblers to wear masks inside of gaming establishments.
  • Forcing players to maintain social distancing (approximately six feet apart).
  • Limiting the number of gamblers allowed in a casino.
  • Requiring that employees clean slot machines and seats whenever players leave games.

Land-based casino gambling definitely isn’t the same as it was before the coronavirus. However, most games are still running.

Two of the only exceptions, though, include craps and roulette. Casinos in many jurisdictions aren’t allowed to run either of these games.

Why have roulette and craps got the axe during the pandemic? You can find out below as I cover the basic nature of these games along with why they’re not perfectly suited for the COVID-19 era.

Basic Characteristics of a Craps Game

Playing craps for real money is one of the most exciting activities in the casino. Players typically like betting on the shooter winning, which means that they all wager in a similar fashion.

In turn, these gamblers cheer together when the shooter is successful. This scenario creates a team-like atmosphere.

Some gamblers even high five each other during a hot streak. They’re so excited about their good fortunes that they’re willing to fist bumps strangers.

Gambler Betting on a Craps Table

Another noteworthy aspect of craps is the dice. Each gambler gets an opportunity to act as the shooter.

Most players accept their turn as the shooter. After all, who doesn’t want to roll the dice in an effort to help everybody win!?

Of course, different gamblers touching the dice isn’t desirable during the pandemic. Neither is touching hands when celebrating wins.

Basic Characteristics of a Roulette Game

A roulette round starts with gamblers placing chips on the desired betting spaces. If somebody wants to wager on the number 15, for example, they’ll lay their chips on the 15 spot.

The roulette table is only so big. Therefore, players sometimes lean over each other in order to make wagers. Gamblers have limited time to place their bets too. Once the dealer yells “no more bets,” no one is allowed place any more chips down.

This urgency, combined with a relatively small betting board, means that players tend to come into contact with each other.

Once the betting round is over, gamblers watch the spinning wheel in anticipation. They normally don’t high five strangers like in craps, but they might do so with any friends at the table.

Reasons Why Craps & Roulette Aren’t Pandemic Friendly

You may already have an impression on why roulette and craps aren’t great options with the coronavirus floating around. But I’d still like to provide more in-depth analysis on why these games are shut down below.

Crowded Tables

Craps and roulette are two of the most-popular gambling games. Depending upon the specific night, they may entertain over a dozen gamblers at once.

These crowds definitely amp up the excitement when you’re playing. However, they also increase the likelihood of germs being spread.

Of course, casinos could institute a social distancing policy for these tables. It would be much tougher for gambling establishments to enforce these policies, though, with craps and roulette.

These games aren’t like slot machines, where players are stationary the entire time. Instead, they call on players to stand and move around at different points.

Players Touching Each Other

Both of these games see gamblers touch each other in different manners. For craps, players mingle when celebrating a shooter’s hot streak.

In roulette, people come in contact when placing their chips on the table. They sometimes wait until the wheel begins spinning and put chips down in a hurried manner.

Casino Chips Placed on a Roulette Table

Most casino games don’t require players to touch each other at all. For example, you’re unlikely to see baccarat or blackjack players first bump each other after wins. Therefore, the majority of games are considered acceptable during the pandemic.

Social Nature

Craps is easily one of the most-social casino games. It sees gamblers cheer together and place the same type of bets.

Roulette may not be as vibrant as the craps table. Nevertheless, it still features plenty of conversation between gamblers due to the close proximity.

As the term social distancing suggest, though, social games aren’t entirely desirable right now. They have a greater tendency to spread the coronavirus.

Craps Players Touching the Same Dice

Craps games only use one set of dice. Therefore, gamblers pass the dice down the table whenever it’s a new shooter’s turn.

Unless they’re germaphobes, most people don’t pay a second thought to handing dice around. However, passing the cubes carries much more significance these days.

Of course, casinos could easily have their employees clean dice off after every turn. But this would require workers to clean yet one another thing in the casino.

When Will Roulette & Craps Be Back?

Casinos aren’t thrilled that they must cut out two of their most-popular games. That said, the gaming industry is wondering when they’ll get to offer craps and roulette again.

As of now, nobody really knows when these games are fully coming back. Gaming regulatory bodies are largely left to make this decision.

They could hurry and rush roulette and craps back. This move would allow casinos to begin capitalizing on these games as soon as possible.

The downside for gamblers, though, is that the odds of getting COVID-19 increase if the gaming world re-introduces these games. Then, any regulatory body that approved craps and roulette would take serious negative press.

Casinos probably won’t be allowed to offer these games until the coronavirus is a much smaller threat. Until then, they’ll remain sidelined for the foreseeable future.

How Can You Enjoy These Games in the Meantime?

Chances are, you aren’t able to play roulette or craps in your local casino. Luckily, though, you do have the following options for enjoying these games.

Online Casinos

Internet casinos have been COVID-resistant. They offer all of their games in cyberspace and don’t require players to physically visit.

Of course, online roulette and craps don’t quite compare to the real deals in terms of atmosphere. Land-based casinos offer a more-exciting environment.

Nevertheless, gaming sites at least present a valid way to play online craps and roulette. They offer high-quality games that can be played for stakes as low as $1.

Live Dealer Casinos

Not everybody is a fan of playing online craps and roulette. They’d rather enjoy something closer to the real experience rather than virtual versions.

Here’s where live dealer casinos come into the fold. A live gaming site features a real dealer and table. The only difference is that you’re viewing this authentic experience through your smartphone or computer.

Live Dealer Online Roulette Game

If you don’t want to risk catching COVID-19, yet still desire the land-based casino feeling, then live casinos are the answer. Almost every live gaming site offers roulette.

Unfortunately, no live dealer outfits feature craps at this time. Assuming you’re mostly in the mood for roulette, though, then this aspect won’t bother you.

Casino Destinations With Light Restrictions

Most brick-and-mortar casinos have reopened across the world. As discussed before, though, many are operating at limited capacity and with several restrictions in place.

If you don’t want to be forced to wear a mask and sit six feet apart from everybody, you might consider visiting a destination with lighter restrictions.

The majority of countries are quite strict about wearing mask and keeping your distance. But you’ll find more-lax casinos in certain nations (e.g. Sweden).

I’m not suggesting to increase your risk of getting the coronavirus. However, casinos that ignore safeguards make it feel like you’re gambling in the pre-COVID days.

Conclusion

Casinos didn’t suddenly fall out of love with craps and roulette. Instead, they’ve been forced to shelve these games due to their social natures.

Both roulette and craps see players touch each other when placing bets and/or celebrating wins. Gamblers don’t normally mind bumping into other players, but they’re not particularly fond of doing so now.

Rather than make a monumental effort to separate craps and roulette players, casinos have simply shut these games down. In some cases, they’ve been required to do so by local gambling jurisdictions.

If you’re somebody who loves roulette and/or craps, you can still enjoy these games online. You may need to get used to playing online until casino jurisdictions finally roll out the craps and roulette tables again.

The $100 Bankroll – Reinvent the Way You Gamble

Hundred Dollar Casino Chip With a Hundred Dollar Bill Background

Sometimes I like to write posts that are more like thought experiments based on a cool title I’ve come up with.

This is one of those posts.

What I’d like you to imagine is this:

You have a $100 gambling bankroll, and it MUST last you the rest of your life.

You’re allowed to put money that you’ve won into your bankroll, but you CANNOT ever again put money from a paycheck into your bankroll.

What do you do?

You Could Just Gamble Like You Normally Do

You have lots of options in this situation. One of those is to keep gambling the way you gamble now. If you’re like a lot of my readers, you’re probably a recreational casino gambler.

How does recreational casino gambling work in the long run?

Since every casino game has a mathematical house edge, if you play any of these games long enough, you’ll lose all your money.

You might be up some of the time, down some of the time, and look like you’re breaking even some of the time.

Closeup of a Poker Player Holding Their Cards

But the overall graph will eventually trend toward 0.

That’s just how casino games work.

Unless you’re playing the smallest of microstakes casino games, your $100 bankroll just won’t last long.

And then, per the rules of this thought experiment, you must stop gambling for the rest of your life.

That wouldn’t be the worst outcome in the world, but you have other options, too.

You Could Become an Advantage Gambler

Not all gamblers take the worst of it on every bet. Some gamblers only gamble when they have the best of it. These special souls are called “advantage players” or “advantage gamblers.” In sports betting, they’re often called “sharps.”

How do you get a mathematical edge when you gamble?

With some games, you can’t.

If you’re a slot machine player, for example, you’ll almost never have a mathematical edge – unless you find a progressive jackpot that’s large enough to make a spin of the reels a positive expectation bet.

The problem with that is this:

Even though you might have a positive expectation on a progressive jackpot, your probability of hitting that jackpot is so close to 0% that it might as well be a negative expectation game.

I’ll assume that almost all gambling activities have a negative expectation that you can’t alter, but here are some games where you can get an edge:

  • Blackjack
  • Poker
  • Sports betting
  • Video poker

You could find other examples, but those are the prominent ones that I want to discuss in this post.

Now Let’s Consider a Concept Called “Risk of Ruin”

Even when you have a mathematical edge over the casino, the other player, or the sportsbook, you can still go broke.

Here’s an example:

In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump was a huge underdog. Hilary Clinton seemed like a sure thing, but she was only a 70/30 favorite.

If you’d bet your entire bankroll on Clinton to win, you’d be broke and wouldn’t be able to gamble anymore. Ever.

The risk of ruin in that bet was simple – you had a 30% probability of losing your entire bankroll.

Overhead View of Blackjack Hands

If you’d bet a smaller amount of your bankroll, you’d have a lower risk of ruin, because you’d have to lose more than that one bet to go broke. It would take longer, too, because you’re going to win some of your bets some of the time.

That’s just how it works.

It works in reverse, too. If you bet too large a percentage of your bankroll on a wager where you have a mathematical edge, you still risk going broke.

Here’s an example:

You’re a Texas holdem player, and you sit down at a no limit table where the buy-in is $100. Since you might need to bet your entire stack at any time, your risk of ruin is high. You could mitigate this somewhat by refusing to go all-in unless you have the stone cold nuts, but you can’t get a mathematical edge if you’re not willing to make the mathematically correct plays on every hand.

And sometimes the mathematically correct play is to go all in.

Balance the Size of Your Bet Versus the Size of Your Bankroll

Casino bankroll requirements vary based on what gambling activity you’re engaging in, but they always have one thing in common:

You must bet a small percentage of your bankroll to avoid the risk of ruin.

Since gambling is random, you could have a losing streak. Your mathematical expectation is a long-term phenomenon, but you can’t get into the long run unless you stay in the game and avoid going broke.

If you’re a card counter, your risk of ruin is 40% if you only have 200 betting units in your bankroll. It drops to 20% if you have 400 betting units, and it drops to 1 if you have 1000 betting units.

If you have a $100 bankroll to start with, this means you divide your $100 into that number of betting units.

If you’re okay with having a 40% probability of going broke and never gambling again, you can play for 50 cents per hand.

If you’re okay with having a 20% probability of going broke and never gambling again, you can play for 25 cents per hand.

And, if you want to minimize your risk of ruin to 1%, you can play for 10 cents per hand.

Of course, you can’t find a casino – not a brick and mortar casino, anyway – that offers blackjack for such low stakes.

And you can’t count cards at online casinos, even if you could find one with such low betting limits.

So, blackjack might not be the game for someone with a $100 bankroll who wants to stay in the game for the rest of his life.

What About Poker? Can’t You Play Poker for Really Low Stakes?

A few years ago, Chris Ferguson set out on a challenge to win $10,000 with a starting bankroll of $0. If Chris Ferguson can turn nothing into $10,000, surely you can stay in the game with your $100 bankroll.

What does that take, though?

Poker also has a risk of ruin, so you must keep the size of your buy-ins and the sizes of your bets low in comparison to your bankroll.

This means playing in low stakes – even microstakes games – until you’ve won enough money to move up in stakes.

Ferguson is a world-class real money poker player, and here’s how he managed his poker bankroll during this challenge:

Pro Poker Player Chris Ferguson

To start with, he only played in freerolls. These are poker tournaments with no buy-in, but they still offer cash prizes. You could theoretically make your $100 bankroll last forever if you stuck with freerolls, by the way.

He was aggressive once he built up a bankroll, though – he would allow himself to spend up to 5% of his bankroll to buy into cash games or sit and go (single table) tournaments.

With your $100 bankroll, you could sit down at a table where the buy-in is just $5. You could also play in a sit-n-go tournament with a $5 buy-in.

Ferguson’s rule for bankroll management was to never spend more than 2% of his bankroll on a multi-table tournament. If you’re starting with $100, this means you could buy into a multi-table tournament for $2.

You can’t games at such low stakes in brick and mortar casinos. In fact, you won’t find games with stakes this low in most home games, either.

You’ll need to find a poker site that offers microstakes games.

But when you do, if you play a disciplined, positive expectation game of poker, you can watch your bankroll grow over time.

And it will snowball, too. It might take you 6 months to turn $100 into $1000, but you might be able to turn that $1000 into $10,000 in another 3 months.

This Only Works If You Have the Edge

All this analysis is meaningless if you don’t have a mathematical edge, though. If you’re lousy at blackjack card counting, you’ll go broke no matter what if you play long enough. That’s true in poker, too – if you’re not an elite player (top 5%), you’ll go broke.

And if you play other negative expectation games – craps, roulette, slot machines, etc. – the entire discussion is moot.

Conclusion

So, here’s the $100 bankroll challenge:

If you want to be a responsible gambler for the rest of your life, set aside $100 today for your gambling bankroll.

Resolve to never again make another bet unless you have a mathematical edge.

Then never bet a large amount of your bankroll at one time. Limit yourself to betting between 1% and 5% of your bankroll, no matter what gambling activity you decide to specialize in.

If you go broke, never gamble again.

After all, there ARE better ways to spend your money.

7 Things Casino Dealers Hate

Female Blackjack Dealer With a Happy and Sad Mask Graphic

Whether it’s a second job for some extra income or a career, dealing cards at a casino can be an excellent job for many. Dealers are some of the most influential people in a casino.

They’re typically regarded as the face of casinos because of their level of interaction with casino patrons. Dealers are generally deft at not only dealing cards but handling a variety of factors daily.

In my years of gambling, I’ve engaged every dealer I’ve had in a conversation. I’ve even developed some great friendships along the way.

Like most jobs, dealing cards have their positives and negatives that dealers are forced to handle. For the most part, dealers can sort of blend into the background of a casino and become an afterthought.

However, any self-respecting gambler should make sure they’re courteous and kind to dealers, regardless of your gambling trip outcome. If you think you’ve rubbed a dealer the wrong way in the past, here’s one way to find out.

These are the seven things casino dealers can’t stand about their jobs.

1 ‒ Obnoxious Gamblers

Gambling is an exciting and emotionally-charged activity. Dealers understand that most of the games they deal are competitive and can result in a rapid emotional swing between hands.

However, gamblers who are perpetually loud and braggadocious are some of the least popular kinds of gamblers.

Imagine you’re at your day job, and one of your customers comes into your workplace and starts screaming intermittently. Doesn’t sound so fun, does it?

Man Screaming at a Casino Table

Once again, most dealers don’t mind gamblers getting excited. In fact, most enjoy it when their clients are in pleasant moods and are winning money. More money means more tips.

The gamblers who immediately sit down at the table and become the loudest person in the casino are challenging to deal with. If you gamble consistently, you’ve definitely sat next to this type of gambler.

If not, you’ve least witnessed them in action. You have the opportunity to change tables, whereas dealers are stuck there until their break.

2 ‒ Players Who Don’t Follow Casino Etiquette

There’s a difference between new gamblers who are eager to learn and new gamblers who refuse to follow the most basic directions. As one dealer I know puts it, dealing cards to players who don’t follow basic casino etiquette is like herding cats.

Look, table etiquette is something most gamblers learn over time, and there’s no fault in committing a few harmless errors.

When errors turn into more egregious blunders, it can slow down the play or even lead to other gamblers being adversely affected. The reason dealers can’t stand dealing with players who demonstrate improper etiquette is because it isn’t their job to babysit gamblers.

Additionally, when the play’s pace slows down, there are fewer hands, which can mean fewer dealers’ tips.

Most dealers are willing to offer advice and help guide new players through their first few casino experiences. But, consistent mistakes are frustrating for other gamblers and, in turn, a headache for dealers.

3 ‒ Handling Drunk Gamblers

When it comes to the most challenging type of gambler to deal with, drunk gamblers are near the top of the list. For some gamblers, playing cards and drinking go hand in hand.

But, at some point, the drinks can lead to a downward spiral for individual gamblers. This is especially true when free alcohol is involved.

Most dealers will tell you that they like it when their table is winning. Contrary to popular belief, the dealer has no skin in the game.

When gamblers get drunk, it makes it harder for them to make sound decisions. Drunken gamblers tend to be sloppy when it comes to following casino etiquette and even abiding by basic common courtesies.

Glass of Alcohol on a Casino Table

Unfortunately, I’ve spent more time than I’d like next to drunk gamblers. Watching them slowly descend into a drunken stupor is a lot like watching a trainwreck.

It’s hard to watch, but you can’t seem to turn away. This is especially true for dealers who have to make sure these dealers avoid making catastrophic mistakes. Spilled drinks are expected, which results in a table being shut for cleaning.

Additionally, most dealers say it’s painfully apparent that some gamblers don’t want to engage with drunk gamblers who want to be buddies with everyone.

Although casinos would prefer not to lose business whenever possible, gamblers can get kicked out of casinos if they take things too far.

4 ‒ Players Who Don’t Tip

Dealers make most of their money off of tips. It should be common knowledge.

You wouldn’t know that based on some gambler’s refusal to tip. Most dealers are perfect professionals who deserve to be rewarded for the skills they use on the job.

Nothing is more tragic than seeing a gambler win a giant hand and not tip the dealer. Most of the time, you expect them to tip at the end of the night. But, when they color up their chips to head home, they leave the dealer high and dry.

It’s part of the job. Dealers, like other members of the service industry, have all been stiffed on tips.

But that reality doesn’t make it any easier when gamblers forget or refuse to tip. If you’re new to casinos, always remember to tip.

5 ‒ Gamblers Who Smoke

It’s always a good rule of thumb to ask your dealer and fellow tablemates if they mind you smoking at the tables, whether cigarettes, cigars, or even just a vape.

If dealers get a job at a casino, they’ll be interacting with gamblers who prefer to smoke while they play cards.

But that doesn’t mean it’s pleasant to breathe in second-hand smoke during an entire shift. Dealers really appreciate the gamblers who ask first.

Man Smoking a Cigar With Heavy Smoke

If you’re told it’s not a problem, blow their smoke away from the dealer’s face. Be kind.

Some dealers I’ve spoken to say it seems like some gamblers make a game out of seeing how much cigar smoke they can blow into their faces. Once again, they understand it comes with the territory. It’s always a nice gesture to make dealers feel comfortable in their work environment.

6 ‒ Players Who Blame Everyone but Themselves

For whatever reason, some gamblers tend to think that dealers’ job is to steal their money. If you’re the type of gambler who is argumentative and combative towards gamblers, please re-examine how you treat casino employees.

Dealers know that when there’s a lot of money on the table, emotions can be high. As I said, no one likes watching someone lose a lot of money.

However, when gamblers decide to take out their anger on the dealer or other players at the table, things can go south quickly. Like the overly obnoxious gambler I discussed earlier, there’s a good chance you’ve interacted with someone like this.

When I ask dealers about their least favorite part of the job 9 times out of 10, they say it’s being berated for the cards they deal. It creates a sense of helplessness for the dealers who have zero control over the house edge at casinos.

Once again, gamblers always have the opportunity to distance themselves from these types of people, but dealers are stuck with them.

7 ‒ Watching Gambling Addicts Lose Money

The most soul-crushing part of a dealer’s job is watching gambling addicts come through the casino on payday to spend their hard-earned money. Several dealers say they come to know these gamblers over the years, and it’s troubling to watch their lives spiral out of control.

One dealer I know told me about one gentleman who got help for his gambling addiction, and she didn’t see him for close to a year. However, he could not overcome his demons.

He reverted to the same habits of losing his entire check in one sitting. It’s one of the negative aspects of the job that many dealers have had to face, and it doesn’t get any easier to deal with.

Conclusion

For the most part, dealers enjoy their jobs. It’s a good source of income in a typically fun-filled and exciting work environment. But, since dealers have to interact with so many different types of gamblers, there’s bound to be some bad days and unruly customers.

For gamblers who think they have acted as some of the people I’ve discussed in this post, remember that dealers are just ordinary people trying to make a living. Most dealers are great people and are instrumental in the day-to-day life inside a casino.

Next time you’re in the casino, consider striking up a conversation if they’re in the mood so you can pick their brain about the business. Finally, always remember to tip your dealers.

7 Ways Casinos Take Advantage of Inexperienced Gamblers

Man With a Turned Out Pocket and a Casino Floor Background

Casinos are something to behold, especially if it’s your first time walking through the front doors: the sights, the sounds. The buzz of activity that is commonplace in casinos makes the environment somewhat hypnotic.

The feelings you get when walking through a casino are the product of the work casinos do to make sure their patrons are entertained enough to stay around.

First-time gamblers might feel slightly overwhelmed, but over time walking through a casino will feel familiar. However, in those the first few trips, you might notice you’re focusing on anything but the cards in front of you.

Once again, this is a deliberate move by the casino to keep you transfixed enough to continue to gamble and spend your money. Here are seven ways casinos take advantage of inexperienced gamblers.

1 ‒ Casinos Overstimulate Gamblers

The combination of the elements in a casino is purposefully mesmerizing. Land based casinos are genuinely like a theme park, mostly the larger casinos in gambling hubs like Las Vegas. Don’t believe me?

Some casinos even have roller coasters inside casinos. While the presence of carnival rides isn’t common in the casino business, the overall feel matches the sensation of walking through fairgrounds.

Casinos typically feature loud, repetitive music designed to lull you into a sort of rhythmic gambling. Additionally, flashing lights and over-the-top decorum are also mainstays at most casinos.

Bright Casino Lights

Even if you somehow overcome the temptation of these potential distractions, most casinos will have television screens situated in your line of sight within a few feet of most tables.

This is all to say that casinos do anything and everything to artificially conjure up happiness feelings in gamblers. The happier you feel and the more entertained you are, the longer you’ll stay at the casino.

New bettors must realize this before they stay too long and lose excessive amounts of money. There’s no fault in having a good time at the casinos, but make sure not to be tricked into gambling away money you didn’t intend to.

2 ‒ Offer Free Alcohol

Of all the tactics casinos engage in to increase their advantage over gamblers, the most obvious and popular one is offering them free alcohol while they gamble. You might think this is a generous offering by the casino as they’re demonstrating hospitality and quality customer service. You would be wrong.

It’s no secret that alcohol is a chemical that dulls the senses and takes you out of your normal state of mind.

Most casino games require solid gambling strategy and making and a diligent approach to frugality. When your drunkness increases, your ability to stick to a solid game plan decreases.

Depending on where you’re gambling, drink runners will go from table to table to take gamblers’ drink orders. They usually return in a matter of minutes with a fresh drink.

A new gambler is blissfully unaware of what’s taking place. You could easily find yourself getting belligerently drunk. Once again, it’s okay to take advantage of a few free beverages, but don’t fall into the house’s hands and overdo it.

3 ‒ They Create an Oasis Where Time Doesn’t Exist

Before I started gambling, several of my friends and family members warned me about the phenomenon that occurs in casinos. I was told repeatedly that time doesn’t exist in a casino. You can easily spend hours gambling without realizing how long you’ve been there.

The lack of clocks and windows is not a secret to gamblers. It’s very easy to fall into the blackhole casinos aspire to create.

I always recommend new gamblers wear a watch to a casino. This might seem old school since everyone has a smartphone nowadays. However, casinos make a point to limit cell phone use at tables and require gamblers to step away from the table to check their phones.

It’s shocking to find how quickly time seems to pass at casinos because of all of these reasons. The fast-paced gambling action, combined with the lack of natural light, makes it easy to get caught up in the experience.

I make a point to stand up from the table every 30 minutes or so. I do this to get my bearings straight and make sure I’m not staying past my intended departure time.

4 ‒ There Are ATMs at Every Turn

Say you walk into a casino with $200 to gamble. You tell yourself that’s all the money you will spend today, regardless of how you fare at the tables.

Unfortunately, if you happen to lose that money, you might stick to your initial plan and head for the exit. As you depart, you’ll most likely walk past several ATMs on the way to the doors.

The convenience of withdrawing more money from ATMs all around the casino makes it challenging to leave when your money is gone. However, casinos ATMs typically charge a very steep ATM fee.

I’ve seen countless gamblers blow through the bankroll only to sprint over to the nearest ATM to grab some more money to continue playing.

Leaving casinos is more challenging than you would expect. It can seem like a good idea to get just a little bit more money out to play for a few more minutes.

I’ll admit that I’ve fallen victim to the casino ATMs a few times. I’ve regretted it every time. It’s better to ignore the temptations and save your money for the next trip.

5 ‒ Slot Machines Dominate the Floor Space

Real money slots are the most popular (and highest grossing) games at the casinos. The second you enter, you’ll face rows and rows of casinos with inviting graphics and fun sound effects to lure you in.

I loathe slot machines because I find them to be boring and antisocial. (That’s just my personal preference) I also think that new gamblers shouldn’t spend all their time at the casino in front of a slot machine.

Large Digital Slot Machines

Once you sit down at a machine, it’s hard to leave. You’ll most likely find that most machines use visual and auditory stimulation to keep you playing for as long as possible.

Based on specific graphic sequences, you might think you’ve hit the jackpot. Unfortunately, in all actuality, most machines oversell your successes.

Even if you break away from the machines, you still have to walk through the casino that is lined with the machines. Casinos situate slot machines around each entrance and exit, hoping to either immediately draw you in upon arrival or keep you around the casino as you try to depart.

6 ‒ Casinos Are Built Like Playgrounds for Adults

I mentioned this earlier, but it needs repeating: casinos are just playgrounds for grown-ups. Most are filled with restaurants, bars, live entertainment, TVs, and other attractions.

It’s really no wonder that inexperienced gamblers find casinos to be so breathtaking. I’ll be the first to admit that I love to gamble, and I enjoy almost every trip I take to the casinos. What’s not to like?

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When you’re first starting to gamble, always remember that the casino is a business. Their sole purpose is to make money.

Every single game in the casino has a house edge. You’ll most likely be leaving the casino with less money than you arrived with.

This might take some of the shine off the experience. It’s crucial to be aware of this, so you don’t lose too much money while gambling.

7 ‒ It’s Always Easier to Keep Playing

Casinos are all fun and games until you’re out of money. When you run out of money, it’d time to go. Avid gamblers like myself should know how hard it is to pull yourself away from the table and head home.

Even as an experienced gambler, I still struggle with knowing when it’s the right time to pull the plug, especially if I’m winning money.

Elevated View of a Casino Floor

New gamblers who are winning should always set an amount they’re comfortable with losing and winning. This means if you’re out of cash or if you’re fortunate enough to hit your winning amount, it’s time to go home.

As I said earlier, the enormous quantity of games and entertainment options always seems more enticing than the proposition of heading to the hotel or getting into your car to drive home.

Trust me, though; you’ll appreciate when you spend the right amount at the casino. There are few things worse than overstaying your welcome.

Conclusion

Casinos, at their core, are a business hoping to achieve higher levels of profit. They’re also a ton of fun and a great source of entertainment.

These two facts aren’t mutually exclusive. Inexperienced gamblers should always enjoy themselves responsibly and avoid falling into some of the traps casinos routinely attempt to set.

The spectacle of casinos involves a combination of visual and auditory stimulants designed to produce feelings of joy in their customers. The sights and sounds, combined with a constant alcohol flow, make casinos feel like a theme park for adults.

Remember to be on the lookout for these features, and when you think it’s an excellent time to head home, stick to it and don’t get sucked back in.

Mathematical Facts about Video Poker You Need to Know

Math Symbol Stickers and Video Poker Cards and Paytable

Most poker-based games are heavily influenced by mathematics, and video poker is no exception. While people who don’t like math might think this is a bad thing, the truth is that the math can help you improve your chances of winning.

You can use the five mathematical facts about video poker on this page to help you get started. You’re going to learn the secrets to the math behind every popular video poker game and how to use them to your advantage at the casinos or when playing real money video poker online.

Card Pool and Casino House Edge

Video poker machines use a set of cards, usually 52 or 53 from a standard deck of playing cards. The ones that use 53 cards use a standard 52 cards and a joker. Video poker machines also have pay tables, and the pay tables can be different, even if the base game is the same.

These two things are important to remember for many different reasons. The first important reason is because you will know the cards that are being used. When you know which cards are being used, it helps you determine the best play for every starting hand you can possibly receive.

The other important reason is that the pay table can be compared to the set of cards being used to formulate an exact house edge. You’re going to learn more about this in the section about strategy cards below.

Jacks or Better Video Poker Machine

You can find a wide variety of online video poker games, but I’m going to use the popular Jacks or Better game for examples on this page. It happens to be one of the best machines for amateur video poker players because there are still plenty of machines with good pay tables, it’s easy to play, and the strategy is pretty simple.

Jacks or Better uses the same deck of cards you’re familiar with, with 52 cards in four suits. Each game is played with a single deck, and you start with five cards. You decide which of the five cards to keep and which to discard, and the discards are replaced with new cards from the same deck.

This creates your final hand. And if you have a hand that’s listed on the pay table, you win.

Odds of Improving

In the last section, you learned why a specific set of playing cards was important. Now, you’re going to learn more about how you can use this information when you’re playing video poker.

If you get a king of hearts in your first five cards, you know that you can’t get another king of hearts because each deck only has one king of hearts. I know this sounds like common sense, but this is valuable information.

Here’s how this knowledge can help using a couple different examples.

You start with the two of clubs, three of clubs, eight of clubs, jack of clubs, and king of hearts. This isn’t a paying hand according to the pay table, so you need to determine which cards to keep. You have four cards to a flush, so one possibility is to keep them and discard the king.

If you discard the king, one of the remaining clubs in the deck can give you a flush, and any of the other three jacks gives you a pair of jacks. This is a total of 12 cards that give you a paying hand.

The other possibility is to keep the king or the jack and king. If you just keep the king, there are three other kings in the deck. But you have four chances to get one of them. If you keep the jack and king, there are six cards that can pair either one, and you have three chances to get one of them. You also have a small chance to complete a straight, but the odds are small.

Triple Play Video Poker Machines

Do you know the best way to play this hand?

The key is to understand how much you get paid for each possible hand in combination with the odds of completing each hand. If you’re wagering five coins, a pair of jacks or kings pays five coins. But a flush pays 30 coins. Even if you have a slightly better chance to pair a king or jack, it’s far more profitable to draw to the flush.

What is the best play if you have a pair of threes, a queen, a six, and a seven? The deck only has two more threes, and it has three more queens. This might lead you to believe that keeping the queen is better than the pair of threes. But look at the pay amount for three of a kind compared to a high pair. A pair of queens only pays five coins, while the three of a kind pays 15 coins. It’s more profitable to keep the pair of threes than the queen.

Five-Coins Bets

One of the best strategies for casino games is to bet the smallest amount possible. But most video poker games have pay tables that are designed so that you’re actually better off wagering five coins instead of four or fewer.

Look at a Jacks or Better pay table, and check out the payout amount for a royal flush. The pay when you bet one coin is 250; it’s 500 for a two-coin bet, 750 for three coins, and 1,000 for four coins. If the progression held true, the pay amount for five coins would be 1,250 coins. But it pays a whopping 4,000 coins.

Every other line on the pay table holds true for a five-coin wager, but the extra profit you get when you hit a royal flush is enough to make the best choice to always wager five coins.

If you don’t have enough money to wager five coins, you should either avoid playing or find a machine with a smaller coin size. You can find machines with good pay tables online that offer a coin size of a nickel, making a five-coin wager cost only 25 cents.

How Strategy Charts Are Developed

In a previous section, you learned how you can use your knowledge of the cards in the deck to determine the odds of improving your hand and how you can use the pay table to determine the proper play. The problem with this is that it requires a lot of math to figure everything out. This is where video poker strategy comes into play.

Video Poker Digital Screenshot

You don’t have to do the math to figure out the best play, because someone else has already put all of the information into a computer that ran all of the numbers. The people who did this created a strategy card that has all of the proper plays listed, no matter what cards you start with.

All of the popular variations of video poker have strategy cards. You should find a strategy card for every variation before you play. Start with a Jacks or Better strategy card.

Begin from the top of the card and read down until you find a hand that matches yours. Keep the cards listed and discard everything else. Ignore all of the hands listed on the card below yours. This is all you have to do when you play video poker.

Progressive Video Poker Math

Even when you know all of the odds and use a strategy card, almost every video poker game still has a house edge. What this means is that if you play long enough, you’re going to lose. While there have been a few video poker games you could beat over the years, the fact is that these opportunities don’t really exist anymore.

One exception to this rule is when you find a video poker machine with a progressive jackpot. These machines aren’t common, but there are a few available.

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It’s possible for a progressive jackpot to grow high enough that it creates a positive expectation edge for you to play.

When you find a video poker machine with a progressive jackpot, do some research to find the best strategy and the house edge based on where the jackpot currently stands. Once you find out how high the jackpot needs to climb to turn the odds in your favor, all you have to do is watch the jackpot to see when you should start playing.

Conclusion

If you know how to find the best pay tables and use a strategy card, video poker machines offer some of the best odds in the casino. The information contained in the five video poker facts listed on this page is going to get you started on the right foot.

Now that you understand the method behind strategy cards, you can skip most of the difficult math and simply use a strategy card. Your bankroll will be happy that you did!

Mathematical Facts About Gambling You Need to Know

Royal Flush of Hearts With a Math Equation Background

Casinos and other gambling establishments use math against you every time you gamble. But smart gamblers know how to turn the tables and use other mathematical principles to help them win. If you want to start doing so to become a better gambler, here are five things you need to know.

The first two sections are the most important, because once you understand the information, it’s going to change everything you know about gambling.

From there, you can use math to lower your losses. And if you become a true student, you might even be able to start winning instead of losing.

What Expected Value Means

You’ve probably heard of the house edge in gambling. If you haven’t, the house edge is the percentage advantage that the casino or other gambling establishment has over you when you place wagers.

While the house edge is important, it’s just a piece of what’s really important when you gamble. The most important thing you need to understand is expected value. Expected value is a mathematical concept that tells you exactly how much you can expect to lose on any wager you place.

It’s fairly simple to determine the expected value of a wager if you know the house edge. But many gamblers struggle with understanding exactly what it means and how it works.

When you make most wagers, you either win or lose your entire wager. As you make more wagers, you usually lose a few more than you win. This is where the house edge and expected value comes in. The more wagers you make, the closer your actual results come to equaling your expected results.

Multiple Hands of Casino Blackjack

It’s not important to understand exactly why this happens, but you do need to accept that it’s a mathematical fact. The way you determine the expected value of any wager is to multiply the amount you’re wagering with the house edge. Here are a few examples of determining the expected value.

If you’re betting $100 a hand on a blackjack game with a 1% house edge, your expected value is -1. The reason why it’s negative is because the house edge is against you.

You’re wagering $40 a hand on the player bet at a baccarat table. This wager has a 1.24% house edge. $40 times 1.24% is an expected value of -0.496, which can rounded up to -50 cents. The only way to have a positive expected value is to place wagers where you have an edge over the house.

Positive and Negative Expectation Options

In the first section, you learned why most gamblers lose money. They make negative expectation wagers, and the long-term math comes into play, creating a long-term loss. You can create a few opportunities to place wagers with a positive expectation.

Even if you’re not able to make positive expectation bets all of the time, you still need to try to do it as often as possible to offset your losses.

You can find a few positive expectation plays beyond the ones I list here, but they’re rare and/or extremely difficult. Here are the three main areas where you have a chance to gamble with positive expectation.

The first opportunity is playing blackjack. You have to learn how to count cards, but many players are able to do it.

The second opportunity is poker. You can practice your strategy and skills enough to learn how to play with an edge.

The third opportunity is gambling on sporting events. You have to learn how to handicap games and find profitable betting lines.

Bet Sizing Considerations

Now that you know what expected value is, and what negative and positive expected value means, you should understand that gamblers are expected to lose money. You might get lucky and win for a short period of time, but eventually, the edge is going to catch up with you.

This information is important because it allows you to use math to determine the best bet size every time you gamble.

If you’re gambling in a negative expectation situation, the best bet size is 0. In other words, if you’re playing against an edge, you should not place a wager.

Sportsbook Betting Window

The next best bet size in this situation is the smallest bet you can make. This can involve the table minimum bet in a land-based casino or choosing to play at the lowest stakes poker table. You can also make the minimum bet on a sporting event or place bets at an online gambling establishment that offers lower minimum bets.

On the other hand, if you’re making bets in positive expectation situations, you want to bet as much as you can afford without risking going broke.

The first step is determining if you’re making a positive or negative expectation wager. Once this is determined, the next step is either betting the lowest possible amount or determining the maximum you can bet while keeping enough money in reserve to continue making more positive expectation wagers.

Bankroll or Budget?

Do you know the difference between a gambling bankroll and a gambling budget? I’ve read dozens of articles and books that claim every gambler needs to have a gambling bankroll. But the truth is that most gamblers don’t need a bankroll, they just need a budget.

A gambling budget is a set amount of money for a particular trip to a casino or other gambling establishment, or a set amount of money for a set amount of time. You could have a $600 budget for your Saturday casino outing, or a $1,200 budget for gambling in March.

A casino bankroll is an account or separate pool of money that you only use for gambling. When you lose, the money comes out of your bankroll, and when you win, the money goes back into your bankroll. A gambling bankroll is meant to stay in place forever, while a budget is a short-term thing.

If you’re serious about gambling and are working toward playing as an advantage gambler, you need to start using a bankroll. It’s not only a good way to keep your gambling funds separate from the rest of your money, but it’s also a good tool to help you track your profits and losses.

However, if you’re not an advantage gambler, there’s no need to have a bankroll. If you don’t know how to be a profitable gambler, your bankroll is going to continually go down and you’re going to have to add money to it or stop gambling.

In this case, you’re better off with a budget. Set aside money you can afford to lose and use this money for your gambling budget. You can set a new gambling budget for every gambling outing.

Entertainment or Advantage Play?

In the last two sections, you learned that if you aren’t an advantage gambler, you should always make the smallest wager possible and you don’t need to have a bankroll. This is where most gamblers spend their entire gambling careers. They never learn how to gamble with an advantage.

If you just want to gamble for entertainment, this is your choice. Sometimes, you’re going to win, but most of the time, you’re going to lose. When you gamble for entertainment, the main thing you need to focus on is not losing too much money.

Closeup of a Poker Hand and Chips

But you have another option. You can concentrate on finding gambling opportunities that offer positive expectation. Learn how to count cards or handicap sporting events or play poker for real money. If you can learn to play with an advantage, everything changes.

Instead of budgeting how much money you can afford to lose, you figure out how to maximize your return. This should be the goal of every gambler, and you can do it if you know how.

Start looking at the advantage gambling options to identify one that you want to try. Then, learn as much as you can., and start practicing. Keep learning and practicing until you’re an advantage gambler.

Conclusion

Expected value and expectation are the most important mathematical concepts that every gambler needs to learn. Once you understand how these things work it helps you in every area.

If you can figure out how to make more wagers with positive expectation you can limit your losses or possibly win more than you lose. Even if you can’t find enough positive expectation situations, you can use this information to determine how much you should wager.

It also helps you determine if you need to use a gambling bankroll or a gambling budget. Negative expectation gamblers need a budget, and advantage gamblers need a bankroll.

How Mini Baccarat Changed the Baccarat Scene Forever

Live Dealer Baccarat and a Casino Chip Stack

Baccarat is one of the most-popular casino games in the world. In locations like Macau, it’s easily THE most-popular game.

Just a few decades ago, though, baccarat was lightly played. Only high rollers who were willing to bet $100 or more per hands could enjoy it.

Fast-forward to today and baccarat has changed greatly. It’s now widely available across casino floors and gives everybody a chance to play.

What’s different? Below, I’m going to discuss why mini baccarat is the key catalyst behind this game’s modern-day success.

What Was Baccarat Like in the Past?

Baccarat began appearing in American casinos in the mid-20th century. It became a hit among high rollers due to its large minimum bets and exclusive settings.

Regarding the latter, tables were featured in roped-off VIP areas. Players needed to meet the dress code, which consisted of tuxedos for men and evening gowns for ladies.

Every baccarat table during this time required a hefty $50 minimum wager. This amount is worth around $500 today when accounting for inflation.

Man and Woman Dressed in Casino Attire

Tables also included between 12 and 14 seats along with three different dealers. Still around in limited capacity today, this version is known as big baccarat.

High-stakes gamblers appreciated, and still do enjoy, big baccarat. However, this variation kept normal gamblers from enjoying baccarat for years.

Basics of Mini Baccarat

Mini baccarat bears many similarities to the big version. It features the same bet types and scoring rules.

Therefore, you shouldn’t experience much trouble transitioning from one variation to the other. But mini baccarat features unique characteristics that set it apart.

First off, it offers much lower stakes than big tables. You can play mini baccarat in land-based casinos for as little as $5 per hand.

Secondly, it presents a smaller table than big baccarat does. A mini table only seats a maximum of seven players.

Mini baccarat is also much more prevalent than the VIP-preferred big version. In some casinos, it’s even more prevalent than blackjack and roulette.

Finally, the dealer handles all of the action in the mini game. Contrast this to big baccarat, where players can choose to act as the banker and dealer.

5 Ways that Mini Baccarat Is Different From the Big Version

Mini and big baccarat revolve around the same game. As you’ll see below, though, the mini version is decidedly different in several ways.

1 – Smaller Table & Faster Play

Again, mini tables only seat seven players. Given the quantity of mini baccarat throughout casinos, you’ll find plenty of tables where only 2-3 people are playing.

Considering that the dealer handles everything, the smaller tables lead to lightning-fast play. In a game with 0-2 other gamblers, you might see up to 200 hands per hour.

This rate may not be as fast as slot machines and video poker. However, it’s much quicker than any table game. Assuming you like action-packed gambling sessions, you should appreciate these fast play rates.

2 – Low Stakes

You don’t have to risk a fortune to enjoy mini baccarat. Instead, you can play for just a few dollars per hand.

$5 minimum bets are common in this game. $10 is the most that’s needed to play mini baccarat hands at brick-and-mortar venues.

By comparison, the big version is much more expensive. It normally features minimum wagers worth $100.

3 – Available on the Regular Gambling Floor

Mini baccarat doesn’t require you to dress up and gain access to a special VIP area. It’s available on regular gambling floors right next to other table game classics, such as blackjack, craps, and roulette.

If you’re somebody who likes dressing casually when visiting the casino, then you’ll really appreciate this aspect. You can also bring friends to the table with you and have a fun evening.

4 – Available at Online Casinos

Online baccarat is modeled after the mini variation. It offers low stakes and sees you play a one-on-one game with the dealer. You only need to wager $1 per hand to enjoy this virtual game.

El Royale Online Casino Baccarat

Live dealer baccarat is also relatively cheap, with minimum bets ranging from $1 to $5. Live gaming streams baccarat action directly from a land-based casino studio to your smartphone.

5 – No Dress Code

As mentioned before, big baccarat features a dress code. You’re not getting into the roped-off area wearing basketball shorts and a tank top.

Assuming you like the extravagance of high-roller gambling, you might enjoy the dress code aspect. But chances are higher that you just want to play in comfort.

The mini game doesn’t force you to dress like James Bond. Instead, the only dress code you must meet is the one that’s required to get into a casino.

Why Do People Love Mini Baccarat So Much?

Mini baccarat has several things going for it when compared to the big variation:

  • Low stakes
  • Laidback atmosphere
  • No dress code
  • Widespread availability

Most gamblers are high and mid-rollers. They don’t want to bet $100 per hand or throw on a tuxedo every time they head to a casino.

Instead, many players simply want to enjoy a fun game amid the bustling casino atmosphere. Mini baccarat satisfies the common gambler’s needs.

Mini Baccarat doesn’t demand high bets or the credentials/attire to enter a VIP area. Instead, it’s readily available for cheap stakes.

The mini version is also popular thanks to its fast play and simple strategy. Gamblers will never experience a dull moment when seeing 150 to 200 hands each hour.

Do Gamblers Even Care About Big Baccarat Anymore?

Big baccarat deserves some credit for introducing this game to gamblers. It acclimated players to the rules and bet types years ago.

However, many gamblers don’t even know what big baccarat is today. They think that mini baccarat is the only variation available. That said, it’s worth wondering if most players even care about the big version any longer.

In truthfulness, most gamblers don’t pay it a second thought. They have enough fun betting low stakes and seeing lots of action on mini tables.

Busy Casino Baccarat Table Game

The average player isn’t a high roller who’s willing to risk thousands of dollars every hour.  They’d rather play for low stakes and rely on hot streaks to win big.

Of course, a small subset of gamblers still appreciates big baccarat. They have the money to place large wagers and revel in the elegant atmosphere.

But this is just a tiny part of the overall gaming crowd. Most players only look to mini tables when they’re in the mood for baccarat.

Conclusion

Big baccarat has both humble and elegant beginnings. The humble aspect refers to how few gamblers it attracted after being introduced in the 1950s. The lavish part refers to how it’s always been a high-roller game.

The average person isn’t a high-stakes gambler who shows up to the casino in formal wear. Instead, they’re an average Joe who wants to blow off steam and hopefully leave with a profit.

Mini baccarat satisfies the regular gambler’s needs much better than the big variation does. It offers low stakes and doesn’t discriminate against players based on what they’re wearing.

If you’re just getting started with baccarat, then you’ll want to choose the mini version. The latter provides an easy and non-intimidating introduction to one of the most-entertaining casino games.

4 Reasons to Lay off Betting on a Game

Man holding hand up in front of sports backgroundWhen evaluating which play to make for a sports bet, there are three options: bet one way, bet the other way, or lay off.

Nobody likes the idea of sitting one out, but as the legendary Kenny Rogers sings, you’ve got to “know when to fold ‘em.” In fact, the song was even called “The Gambler.”

All late-1970s music references aside, knowing when to hold off on making a bet is just as important to your bankroll as choosing winners on a regular basis. In this article, I’ll explain four reasons why it might be best to lay off betting for a while.

1 – It’s Your Favorite Team’s Game

Emotion is the enemy of reason. Few things make people quite as emotional as their favorite sports teams. This is a bad combination for the people who are trying to win money by making smart plays.

While there’s nothing wrong with betting on your favorite team per se, there’s one striking issue that makes it clear why it’s not a good idea—conflict of interest. Would you feel comfortable betting against them? The answer is most likely not.

Odds Board

If you’re evaluating a game, and you know that there’s no information you could have that would make you bet on the other side, it’s clear that there’s a conflict of interest.

Sure, you might actually think that your team is the best choice for a particular bet in an objective way, but when so much emotion is involved, it’s hard to truly be objective in your analysis. Your judgment is always going to be clouded because you’re hoping for an outcome, regardless of whether or not you have money on it.

With all this being said, I’m not suggesting that you should never, under any circumstances, bet on your favorite team’s game. You should, however, keep the amount of action relatively low when compared to your other bets.

Most people bet on sports to make the games more entertaining. If you’re watching your favorite team, you’ve already got the entertainment box checked.  If you do decide to bet on your team, at the very least, you should admit to yourself that it’s a “heart-bet.” And you’re accepting that it’s a roll of the dice more than a sound decision made after thorough analysis.

The bottom line is that just about all sports fans who are sports bettors are going to put money on their own team being successful. Just remember that if you lay off, losses won’t hurt twice as bad.

2 – You Don’t Have Time to Do Your Research

I can’t speak for every friend group, but I know that when I’m at the bar or my buddy’s house watching (and betting on) sports, I’ll frequently observe people going through the day’s next round of games and making their betting decisions in minutes.

To some degree, I totally get it. You’re watching the game, so you might as well have some skin in the game. The problem is, these uninformed picks mean that you’re just giving money away when you lose.

Many bettors that I know believe that wagering on a game via the spread makes it such that the odds are just about 50/50. Not only is this wrong, it’s a good way to lose money in a hurry.

Closeup of Hand Writing With Sportsbook Background

Sports betting lines and spreads aren’t necessarily set based on what the sportsbook thinks is going to happen. For example, the book’s initial spread might start out at New England -4 against the Jets, but as money comes in on the Patriots, that could shift to -5 (or less) as the sportsbook looks to even out the money.

What this really means is that the spread is no longer an indication of what the experts (the house) thinks is actually going to happen. However, if you’re just checking in to view the line, you won’t be privy to this information.

Placing a bet means doing research on everything from team-specific information, such as injuries, prior matchups, the schedule, and more. But it also means being aware of line movement. Line movement is known as a main indicator that sharps look for to help them make the right decision.

If you’re simply logging in and making a bet without doing your due diligence, you’re probably not going to have much success in the long-term. You might have a good night or two during the football season, but it’s simply an unsustainable strategy.

3 – You’ve Had a Bad Sports Betting Day Already

Sports betting is all about taking a long-term approach. If you focus on winning money on a day-to-day basis, you’re missing the bigger picture.

Sometimes, the best move you can make is to stop the bleeding if you’ve been suffering a tough stretch of losses. In fact, one of the biggest mistakes any gambler can make is trying to win back their money by placing bigger and bigger bets. This almost always inevitably leads to major losses.

To bring this scenario to life, I’ll lay out an example that millions of football bettors have undoubtedly experienced at one point or another.

Let’s say you’ve struggled all day Sunday, and find yourself down a significant amount of money… But then, the Sunday night game approaches, and the opportunities it presents seem irresistible. Do you go for the big win and try to get back to, or close to, even?

Stop Sign With a Hand in Front of a Wide Angle Sportsbook Photo

If you’re like most, the answer to the question above is a resounding yes. Unfortunately, because of all the action that’s been taking place throughout the day, you probably haven’t taken the time to properly analyze the late game.

I’ve found myself in this situation countless times, and I’ve learned one thing: It’s better to take your losses on Sunday, do a thorough analysis of the Monday night game, then end out the week strong.

Not to mention, if you’ve struggled mightily already, you’re probably not going to be in the best mindset to make a rational decision. Sleep on it, and try again tomorrow.

4 – You Just Don’t Like the Odds

As a bettor, the number one word you should be concerned with is value, and sometimes, it’s simply not there.

For those who like betting on the moneylines, there are plenty of games where the risk just doesn’t seem worth it. It’s better to pick your spots than to try to bet every game and hope that things turn out in your favor.

If you’ve done your research and analysis and come to the conclusion that you don’t feel great about either choice, nothing is lost by sitting it out and waiting until a game that you like more comes along. To reiterate an earlier point, not losing—as obvious as it sounds—is a crucial part of keeping your bankroll in good standing.

True betting enthusiasts know that it’s not necessary to bet on every game. One thing is for certain: There will always be another game.

Perhaps, there are some question marks due to injuries, weather conditions, or just a general lack of knowledge of the two teams competing. In these cases, making a bet can feel like rolling the dice more than making an educated pick. While gambling does involve luck, sports betting doesn’t necessarily need to be left up to chance as it might be in roulette or another comparable casino game.

Conclusion

Sitting one out isn’t fun, but sometimes, it’s necessary in order to preserve your bankroll. As I mentioned earlier, there will always be more games to bet on. Feeling an obligation to bet on an event when you don’t feel confident in either choice is a quick way to find yourself in a financial hole.

If you find yourself in any of the four situations laid out above, remind yourself that the smart move is to lay off and start researching your next pick.

5 Mathematical Facts About Craps You Need to Know

Person Solving Math Equations and a Craps Table and Dice

I like the simplicity of craps. This might sound strange, because craps looks awfully complicated. But everything that happens at the craps table is based on rolling or throwing two dice.

With only six possible results on one die, the math can be pretty easy once you get the hang of it. It’s a little more advanced with two dice, but it’s still rather simple.

When you know the way a die works, you can use the math behind it to help you play better craps. Here are five mathematics-related facts about craps that you need to know.

1 – How Dice Work

The dice used in craps are the most common ones, each one with six sides. The game uses two of these, and this creates the mathematical base for craps.

When the two dice are rolled, each of them lands on a number from one to six. The two are added together for a final result. This means the lowest possible total is two, when both dice land on one, and the highest possible total is 12, when both dice land on six.

You probably already know all of these things, but do you understand how these things influence how you win and lose playing real money craps?

The odds of rolling a seven are much higher than rolling a two or a 12. Do you know why? To roll a two, this can only happen if both the first and second die land on one. But to roll a seven there are many combinations the dice can land on.

In total, there are 36 possible combinations when you use two dice. Since there are six combinations or ways to roll a seven, you can determine the percentage chance of a seven on any single roll by dividing six by 36. The chance of rolling a seven is 16.67%.

Rolling a total of two only has one combination, so the chance of that is 2.78%. Here are the number of combinations for each total and the percentage chance for each.

Dice Total Combinations % Chance
2 1 2.78%
3 2 5.56%
4 3 8.33%
5 4 11.11%
6 5 13.89%
7 6 16.67%
8 5 13.89%
9 4 11.11%
10 3 8.33%
11 2 5.56%
12 1 2.78%

2 – Odds Bet Facts

The odds wagers in craps are unique for a couple of different reasons. The first thing is because these betting options aren’t shown on most craps tables. In other words, there’s not a spot on the table that shows where you can place an odds wager.

The other unique thing about odds wagers is that they offer a true even house edge. In other words, there’s no house edge on any of the odds wagers.

If you understand how casinos work, you know that they don’t often offer wagers that don’t have a house edge. So, the question is, how do the casinos make money by offering a wagering opportunity that doesn’t have a house edge?

Busy Casino Craps Table

The answer is that you can’t place an odds wager unless you place a come-out roll wager first. The casino makes a profit on the come-out wagers, so they can afford to offer the odds wagers.

The odds wagers pay out based on the point. Once a point is set, you can place an odds wager, and if the point is rolled before a seven, you win. This is if you originally made a wager on the pass line.

If you originally bet on the don’t pass line, you win your odds wager if a seven is rolled before the point.

Here are the payouts for pass line odds:

On 10 and 4 2 to 1
On 9 and 5 3 to 2
On 8 and 6 6 to 5

Here are the payouts on don’t pass line odds:

On 10 and 4 1 to 2
On 9 and 5 3 to 3
On 8 and 6 5 to 6

3 – Pass Line Math

When you make a pass line wager, you win on the come out roll with an 11 or seven. This means that you win on eight of the 36 possible combinations, or 22.22% of the time. You lose on a roll of 12, three, or two. This is four out of the 36 combinations, or 11.11% of the time.

Other roll totals don’t immediately win or lose. Instead, they set the point. When you roll the point again before rolling a seven, you win. If you roll a seven before the point, you lose.

The math is somewhat complicated. But the important thing to know is that, when you make a pass line wager, the casino has an edge of 1.41%.

The pass line is the most common wager made by craps players on come-out rolls, but it’s not the best option when you’re trying to play with a low house edge. The best option for the house edge for craps players is to not play at all.

Craps has a built-in house edge, so no matter what you do, you’re going to lose if you play. The second-best option is a wager on the don’t pass line. More information about the don’t pass line is included in the following section.

4 – Don’t Pass Line Math

The don’t pass line wager is the opposite of the pass line wager in many ways. But it has a house edge of only 1.36%.

The truth is that the difference between 1.36% and 1.41% isn’t much, so if you’re more comfortable making the pass line wager, it doesn’t cost much money. In fact, it only costs you an average of 50 cents for every $1,000 that you wager to bet on the pass line instead of the don’t pass line.

Craps Dice Resting at the Edge of the Table

You win on a roll of three or two, and lose on a roll of 11 or seven.  This means you have a 22.22% chance of losing on the come-out roll. But if you survive the come-out roll, you have the best chance to win. A roll of seven, before the point is rolled again, wins this wager.

The only reason why anyone makes the pass line wager instead of the don’t pass line wager is because they don’t know any better or because of public pressure. A don’t pass line wager is often frowned on by superstitious gamblers because it’s viewed as betting against the shooter.

But the way you decide to play craps doesn’t have anything to do with anyone else at the craps table. You’re gambling with your money, so you can bet on anything you want.

5 – Every Other Wagering Option

You learned about the two main wagers at craps and the odds wagers. You can make many other wagers while playing craps, but none of them are as good as the three wagers you already know about. In fact, most of the other wagers have much higher house edges and should be avoided at all times.

The next closest house edge is the place 6/8 bet, with a house edge of 1.52%. Many of the other craps wager options have a house edge over 10%. You’re better off playing slots than making wagers with a 10% or higher house edge.

I’ve read about many different craps strategies and betting systems that involve other wagers. But none of them actually increase your chances to win or decrease the house edge. No matter what you read or see, the only way to play craps with the lowest possible house edge is to stick with one of the two come-out roll wagers and place an odds wager.

Conclusion

Now that you know exactly how the gambling math behind craps works, you can use it to help you win as often as possible. The math shows that there are only three craps wagers that you should ever make, so you can safely ignore all of the other wagering options.

If you’re still not 100% confident in your knowledge of how dice or how the odds work, spend some more time going over the first section on this page. Understanding the odds and percentages is the key to winning more while playing craps.

Foxwoods Resort Casino—One of the Largest Resort Casinos in North America

Foxwoods Casino Resort Logo and Exterior of Casino

As one of the largest resort casino in North America, Foxwoods Resort Casino offers its guests an all-in-one getaway.

With several different rooms types to choose from, you can have high expectations for the luxury and sweet amenities of this fine Connecticut resort casino.

About the Casino

At Foxwoods Resort Casino, you don’t have to spend the day gambling if you’re looking for a break. Outside of the resort, you can play 18 rounds on the Lake of Isles championship golf course designed by Rees Jones.

Take a history break at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum, which preserves the culture of the area’s first inhabitants.

Shop at Tanger Outlets with more than 70 premium retailers all under one roof.

Relax and pamper yourself at the Norwich Spa, or spoil yourself with a Native American-inspired maize-and-mountain-laurel scrub at the G-Spa.

Are you placing your bets playing real money blackjack, baccarat, or bingo?

With three casinos to choose from, 3,400 slot machines and more than 250 table games, newcomers can start slow at the Money Wheel and work their way toward games that require greater skill and critical thinking.

If you’re looking to put your skill to the test while getting an adrenaline boost, buy in for a seat at the Sit & Go tournament in the East Coast’s largest poker room.

The History of Foxwoods

The story of how the casino came into existence started when The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe gained legal control of their reservation and finally received federal recognition by an act of Congress in 1983, which overrode a veto by President Ronald Reagan.

The tribe would start getting the ball rolling for the starting development stages, and by 1986, Foxwoods would be founded as a high-stakes bingo hall on the reservation.

The tribe partnered with Lim Goh Tong, a Chinese Malaysian man who founded the only legal casino in Malaysia, for financing the necessary cost that would finally turn Foxwoods into a full casino.

In 1992, changes were coming. A bingo hall would no longer be the only thing that the casino had in its name. In 1997, the associated deluxe Grand Pequot Tower was opened for business.

The tribe added casino table games, followed by even more additional slot machines in 1993. Also in 1993, G. Michael Brown became the chairman of Foxwood Resort Casino.

After an agreement between the tribe and the state of Connecticut, the tribe would agree to give 25% of all of their revenue from the slot machines to the state.

Aerial View of Foxwoods Casino Resort

As of 2007, that total sum amounts to be around $200 million per year. By the end of June 2008, the 6,300 slots at Foxwoods had generated more than $9.1 billion.

In 1995, Foxwoods added a poker room as well as a high-limit 30 table game area. Because of the casino being located on sacred and sovereign Mashantucket Pequot land, it is not required to comply with the rest of the state’s laws regarding smoking.

From the date of its arrival in Connecticut, Foxwoods has never been a smoke-free resort casino.

As feelings around smoking have evolved drastically through the early 21st century, Foxwoods eventually began to receive complaints about all of the indoor smoking areas, such as hallways, walkways, hotel lobbies, retail stores, and most restaurants.

Since then, the hotel has moved the most of the smoking areas to where the guests can breathe fresh air in most of the places that were previously smoke friendly.

There many very large casinos in the United States, and Foxwoods Resort Casino holds the honor of being on that list. So if you’re really interested in seeing very large casinos that just have tons and tons of floor space, this is the place to go.

Fun Facts About Foxwoods

From the date of its conception to now, Foxwoods Resort Casino has some pretty interesting stories and facts about the resort that are absolutely worth mentioning.

When its doors opened for the first time, Foxwoods was meant to close at 2:00 AM for routine cleaning. Due to the player response being so overwhelming, they chose to just go ahead and keep the front doors open.

Many locals say on good authority that legend says that Foxwoods, from their first day onward, have never truly closed their doors, meaning that for 25 years their doors have stayed open.

When Hurricane Irene hit Connecticut in 2011, the casino chose to leave its doors open even then—hey, that’s not what I would have done, but I guess it worked out for them! The casino was not damaged by the hurricane in the least and still has its doors open to this day.

Star Struck

If you’re a citizen of the United States or simply just live on this planet then you should know who Frank Sinatra is.

When the casino opened the Fox Theater and Grand Pequot Tower hotel in 1993, Frank Sinatra sang and performed for five different sold out shows.

He left the audience with classics like “I’ve Got the World on a String,” ”The Best Is Yet To Come My Way,” and “My Way.”

Before his performance, he requested the essentials: cherry Lifesavers and Jack Daniel’s whiskey. I’ve never sang on a stage before, but I guess that’s the magic potion that he needs to thrive.

Older Frank Sinatra Performing

Sinatra hasn’t been the only world renowned musician of performer to have graced the stage at Foxwoods. Luciano Pavarotti, one of the best known Italian opera tenors of all time, performed at Foxwoods’ High Stakes Bingo Hall in 1994 for about 4,000 people.

It obviously isn’t a small Bingo Hall.

After his performance, Pavarotti was graced with three separate encores, bringing his audience back into the show for a final number. Some of Foxwoods’ exclusive commemorative gaming chips were passed around after his performance in honor of Pavarotti and all of his grand talent.

You can probably find some of the commemorative coins from the performance on eBay if you’re a serious collector!

The star power hasn’t let up at Foxwoods Resort Casino.

Another amazing day for the casino was when they opened their Grand Theater in 2008. They couldn’t have gotten a lineup that was more elite than this one: Josh Groban, Alicia Keys, and John Mayer all performed at the Grand Opening.

Plenty of other celebrities frequent the hotel. Some of the popular faces include Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas, Tricia Arnold, Nick Cannon, Quincy Jones, as well as several different contestants from America’s Next Top Model.

Inside the Casino

The facts definitely do a good job of showing how popular this casino really is. Foxwoods’ Valet attendants have parked over 23 million cars since the casino’s opening.

As compared to other casinos in the US, 23 million is a very high number, especially when you take into account the length of time the casino has been open and operating.

As one of the largest resort casinos in North America, Foxwoods has been considered by many to be a gaming paradise. With 3,500 real money slots on four different casino floors to choose from, it has the most comprehensive and diverse array of games in the region.

Walkway Inside Foxwoods Casino Resort

The Price is Right® Showcase Showdown, Wild Lepricoins, and Jurassic Park are all waiting for you to play until you’re ready to move onto something else. Becoming a valued member of the Foxwoods family when joining the Foxwoods Rewards loyalty program will give you extra access, bonuses, and benefits.

Inside Foxwoods’ Play Arena, it can be said that most people have never played casino table games the way you can here at Foxwoods.

The Play Arena gives players the ability to be able to play three live table games simultaneously. Whether you prefer baccarat, blackjack, or roulette, let Foxwoods Dealertainers spin the wheel and turn the cards that will name the winner while you watch all of the action from your personal play station.

Did I Leave Something Out?

This resort casino is a big one, and with its large size and densely crafted atmosphere for entertainment, there are going to be so many fine details that I’m just not going to be able to address in this short article.

If you’ve been to Foxwoods Resort Casino and know something cool about it that I didn’t mention, please feel free to share in the comment section down below!

Are the Drinks Free in Las Vegas Casinos?

Bartender Working on Fancy Drinks and the Las Vegas Sign

Are the drinks really free in Las Vegas casinos?

At the time of this writing, yes, they are.

You get free booze (if you want it) when you gamble in a casino. It doesn’t even matter what stakes you’re gambling for, either. You can enjoy top-shelf liquor playing penny slots or hanging out at the $ blackjack tables.

You should always tip your cocktail server, though – a dollar is customary, but if you want the drinks to keep coming quickly, tip a little extra on the first drink. If you drink like I used to, tipping $5 or $10 for the first drink averages out nicely after you’ve had a few more.

In the rest of this post, I’ll look at why the drinks are free in Las Vegas casinos. I also have some ideas about other free things you can get from Las Vegas casinos.

Why Do Las Vegas Casinos Offer Free Drinks to Gamblers?

Not long ago, I helped my daughter study for the written portion of her drivers license test. One of the questions involved what alcohol affected the most when it comes to your driving. I don’t remember all the choices on the multiple choice test, but I do remember that one of the answers was “judgment.” Another was “reflexes.”

The correct answer, of course, was judgment.

Do you have trouble seeing why a casino might be interested in convincing you to take a drug that impairs your judgment?

Shots of Tequila on a Bar Top Slot Machine

Am I being too subtle?

Okay, let me explain:

Casinos are in the business of getting you to make bad decisions with your money. If your judgment is impaired, you’ll gamble longer than you would have and lose more money to the casino.

This is one of the ways casinos make money off of gamblers.

And those profits are more than enough to cover the cost of those “free” drinks.

What Other Kinds of Free Stuff Can You Get From a Casino?

The more you gamble, the bigger the freebies get. Someone who gambles a lot of money is called a high roller or a “whale.”

What do whales get that other gamblers don’t get?

The free stuff is known as casino comps. The most common comps include beverages, food, and lodging. Anyone can get a free drink by just sitting in front of a slot machine and getting the attention of a waitress.

If you want more than that, you’ll need to demonstrate to the casino how much you’re gambling. For almost everyone, this means joining the slots club and playing with the slots club card inserted into the slot machine. It also means presenting your players club card at the table when you’re playing a table game.

One thing to keep in mind is that casinos don’t track action at table games as closely as they do at slot machines. So, vary the size of your bets. Ask the dealer and/or pit boss what action you’ve been rated for, and convince them that you’ve been gambling more than that.

You could also consider taking out a big marker, even if you don’t plan to gamble that much. The casino will assume you’re a high roller right away, and they might give you a free meal or something immediately.

You’re not limited to just those perks, either. Entertainment tickets are also common, and if you really are a high roller, you can also get travel benefits to and from the casino.

Will Drinks Always Be Free in Las Vegas Casinos?

I’ve seen rumors that the Strip casinos are planning to gradually phase out the free drinks. That doesn’t make sense to me, but their accountants probably know what’s up better than I do.

It makes sense, though – other amenities that used to be free in Las Vegas casinos now cost money. Parking used to be free everywhere, but parking rates are going up all the time.

If you think about the cost involved in building the next bigger and more luxurious resort, that makes a certain amount of sense.

Some casinos have instituted new strategies for deciding who to give free drinks to. They have drink monitoring software that looks at how much someone is gambling when they’re at a slot machine, and they activate a light to notify the bartender that the person at that machine deserves a free drink.

How to Get Your Share of Cheap and/or Free Drinks

Even if the casinos do stop offering free drinks to the slots players, drinks will probably still be comped if you’re playing table games. They don’t want to do anything to slow down the action at a table game, and figuring out what a customer owes for drinks doesn’t make the action faster.

Nine Fine Irishmen in Las Vegas

If you’re playing slots or video poker, just ask a cocktail server or the bartender if the drinks are free. They’ll let you know.

The most important thing, as I’ve already pointed out, is to tip well in Vegas.

Even casinos that do charge for drinks, and there are some in the country, if not Vegas, don’t charge as much as you’d pay in a bar or club. Look for happy hour specials if you want cheap drinks in Las Vegas, and don’t settle for expensive drinks just because a place is posh or trendy.

The Best Ways to Save Money in Las Vegas

I think the best way to save money in Las Vegas is to gamble less. Drinking is antithetical to that tactic. If you drink, you will gamble more. That’s just how your brain works. Accept it.

But if you’re going to drink and gamble in defiance of my advice, do this:

Stick with the games which have the lowest house edge.

This means avoiding the slot machines altogether. Those games have the worst odds you’ll find. You’ll lose more money at a slot machine in an hour than you ever thought possible.

Your best bet is to learn how to play the table games. Blackjack or craps, either one, offers a much better game. If you don’t like gambling with other people, learn video poker and try to find casinos which offer good pay tables.

If you play blackjack, master basic strategy so that you don’t mess up and give back a couple of percentage points to the casino. The house edge on blackjack is between 0.5% and 1%, and there’s no point to make it 1.5% or 2% instead.

If you play craps, stick with the pass, don’t pass, come, and don’t come bets. Take or lay odds when you can. The house edge on all those bets is 1.41% or lower.

If you know which pay tables to play on, you can get the house edge at video poker to well beneath 1%, too.

But you must know how to play with the appropriate strategy, too.

Where Can You Get Cheap Booze in Vegas if You’re Not Gambling?

One of the amazing things about Vegas is the availability of hard liquor at drug stores and grocery stores. I’m from Texas, and around here, if you want to buy booze, you mostly need to buy it at the liquor store.

So, since you can buy whatever you want almost anywhere you want, one of the easiest ways to get cheap drinks is to just buy a can of beer or one of those fancy premixed drinks that have become so popular. You can walk out of the drugstore and drink it while you walk around the Strip or Downtown.

Stage Door Casino in a Vegas Strip Mall

The Flamingo Hotel and Casino is also a great place for cheap drinks – especially the beers during happy hour. You can also get some cocktails for much less than the other strip casinos.

Stage Door Casino is also a great choice for someone on a budget, because not only can you get a beer for $2, you can get a hot dog to go with it for just another buck. That’s a meal, baby.

The Pros and Cons of the Slots Club Membership

Back to the freebie hunting in Vegas. You only get the freebies if you join the casino’s loyalty program. There are good arguments for and against joining.

The free stuff is probably the best argument for joining.

But the best argument against joining is that you’ll get advertising for the casino. Eventually, this will lead you to spend more money.

If that weren’t the case, the casino wouldn’t have a players club.

They’re in business to make money.

Conclusion

Are the drinks free in Las Vegas?

The answer, for now, is yes – IF you’re gambling.

You can get all kinds of other freebies and lots of cheap stuff in Vegas if you know where to look.

What Are the Best Casino Gambling Tricks?

Bag With Tricks Text With a Casino Background

What are casino gambling tricks, anyway?

I’ve seen the word “trick” defined as a cunning feat of skill.

What kinds of cunning feats of skill can anyone perform in a casino?

Here are 7 casino gambling tricks that you can pull off regardless of your skill level.

Enjoy the Free Drinks

I usually tell new gamblers to avoid the free drinks, but if you’re comfortable with your levels of self-control, enjoying free drinks can be a profitable trick to use in the casino.

The trick is to gamble as little as possible in exchange for the free drinks.

Casinos make their money based on how much money you risk per hour. That’s an easy calculation to make – you just multiply the number of bets you average per hour by the average size of each of your best.

For example, if you’re an average real money slots player, you might risk $3 per spin and make 500 spins per hour. This means you’re putting $1500 per hour into action.

Depending on the casino’s mathematical edge, they might predict that you’ll lose $75/hour on that kind of action – on average in the long run.

If you’re losing $75/hour on average in the casino, they can easily afford to bring you a couple of drinks every hour and not charge you for them.

Here’s where the trick comes in:

You should stick with games that have a low house edge, and you should also do everything you can to make fewer bets per hour – everything short of slowing down the game for the other gamblers. Spending a lot of time laboring over a decision on a blackjack hand is just going to upset the other gamblers at the table, and you don’t want to do that.

Play Low Limit Table Games

One of the best ways to minimize the amount of money you lose at the casino is to stick with the low limit table games with the lowest house edge. This usually means finding a casino that offers $5 per hand blackjack with reasonable rules.

If you’re at a $5 blackjack table with several other players, you might get 50 hands per hour. At $5 per hand, that’s $250 per hour you’re putting into action.

Closeup of a Blackjack Dealer Paying Out a Hand

If you master basic blackjack strategy – the mathematically optimal way of playing every blackjack hand – your house edge is only 1% or less. (This assumes you avoid the 6/5 blackjack tables, of course.)

1% of $250 is only $2.50.

Would you rather be the gambler losing $75/hour mindlessly spinning the reels on a slot machine, or the blackjack player losing $2.50/hour playing a game where your decisions matter?

The choice seems clear enough to me, but your idea of fun might differ from mine.

Get More Comps for Your Action Than Other Gamblers

If you get a chance to, read a book called Comp City by Max Rubin. It’s dated in some ways, but the principles behind his trickery still apply today.

The idea is that you can become something called a “comp wizard” – a gambler who gets more than his fair share of casino comps through various techniques that he explains in the book.

One of those techniques is as simple as being bold enough to ask for and negotiate for free stuff from the casino.

Some of the other techniques are more involved than that, but here’s a hint:

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If you master basic blackjack strategy, you’ll lose a lot less money over time than the average blackjack player. Most blackjack players – because of their poor playing decisions – face an effective house edge of 4% or so.

If you master basic strategy, though, you can get that number down to between 0.25% and 1%.

If the casino calculates your comps based on their projects of 4%, you’re going to see more in comps than you’ve “earned.”

And that’s a trick worth learning.

Take Advantage of Online Casino Bonuses

I have a good friend who once bought himself a jukebox by aggressively taking advantage of the biggest online casino bonuses he could get his hands on. This, of course, was 15 years ago – before the casinos started tightening up the terms and conditions surrounding their bonus offers.

He would make the deposit, claim the bonus, gamble just enough to clear the wagering requirements, and cash out with his profits.

In those days, you could do this and see a positive mathematical expectation.

Now, though, online casinos have raised their wagering requirements and limited the number of games that count toward their wagering requirements that it’s become next to impossible to show a profit after claiming a casino bonus.

Mermaid Queen Online Slots Game

That’s okay, though, because sometimes you’ll still get lucky.

After all, if you deposit $200 at a casino and get a $400 bonus, you get that many more opportunities to hit some kind of slot machine jackpot.

And the variance is high enough in slot machines that this can be a significant amount of money.

If nothing else, you get 3 times as much action for your money, which isn’t a bad deal, either.

The Maximum Boldness Gambling Technique

My favorite show-off technique is to go into the casino with a big wad of cash – maybe $500 – and bet it all on a single bet that has a close to 50% probability of paying off. Roulette is the best game for a maximum boldness strategy.

When you bet on black at the roulette table, you have a 47.37% probability of winning. That’s not bad – IF you only place one bet.

You have a 47.37% probability of doubling your money. If you’re with a date and want to impress her, this could be one way to do it. She’ll admire your chutzpah if you lose, and she’ll be impressed if you win.

I took my dad to Reno 20 years ago and used this technique to impress him. I was up about $50 at the video poker games, and I told my dad, “Watch this.”

We walked over to the roulette table, and I put $50 on black. Dad shook his head, but I won $50 and walked out of the casino with $100 in winnings for the night.

This trick only has one problem:

Most of the time it doesn’t work.

But most of the time, in this case, is only barely most of the time – 52.63%

Go With the Low Volatility Bets

Even money bets when playing roulette is a good example of a low volatility bet. If you look at a graph of your wins and losses at the roulette table, the curve will be gently downward over time – at least if you stick with the outside bets, especially the even money bets.

You’ll see wins almost half the time, and you’ll see losses a little more than half the time. Your bankroll will increase by one or decrease by one with each win or loss.

These are examples of low volatility bets.

If you place single number bets at the roulette table, your volatility increases dramatically. You’ll lose almost every bet, but when you do win, that little graph will take a sharp upward tick. Even so, you’ll still lose money in the long run.

The house edge doesn’t necessarily change just because you switch from a high volatility bet to a low volatility bet.

It’s just a gentler way to gamble.

Hit the Craps Table Hard

Okay, so learning how to play craps isn’t much of a trick. Give me 5 or 10 minutes in person, and I can teach you to play craps better than almost any gambler in the casino.

The trick is realizing that the best bets in craps are the easiest bets to make.

The trick to playing craps like a gambler who knows what he’s doing is to stick with the following five bets:

  • Pass
  • Don’t Pass
  • Come
  • Don’t Come
  • Free Odds

The pass bet and the come bet are essentially the same bet, as are the don’t pass and don’t come bets. These are just bets on whether the shooter is going to “succeed” or not.

Harrah's Purple Craps Table

The free odds bet is a bet you can only place after the shooter sets a point, but the brilliant thing about the odds bet is that it has no house edge at all.

It pays off at the same odds you have of winning, so it’s a break-even proposition in the long run.

It’s one of the only bets in the casino where the casino doesn’t have a mathematical edge, so every penny you can put down on the odds bet is a penny well-spent.

(The only other bet in the casino with no house edge is the double up bet in some video poker games, where you get to double your winnings if you guess right about whether the next card will be red or black. Not all casinos have this option on their video poker games.)

Conclusion

I don’t have any magical tricks to offer you that will eliminate the casino’s mathematical edge. The tricks I’ve offered in this post just allow you to have more fun at the casino for your money.

That’s a worthwhile trick in itself.

The 7 Types of Hold’em Players You’ll See at Casinos

7 Holdem Players Text With a Pair of Kings and Poker Chips

Every Texas Hold ’em table is a unique microcosm of the gambling world. No two tables are created equal. Types of personalities present at each table may vary from day-to-day.

However, over consistent playing time, you will probably begin to notice similarities between players, regardless of your game’s location or price point.

While several playing styles and personality types are commonly discussed in the gambling community, I am going to deviate from the norm. The well-known classifications include loose-passive, loose-aggressive, tight-passive, and tight-aggressive players.

In this post, I’m going to break down personality types that even novice Hold ’em players will be able to recognize. Here are the 7 types of Texas Hold ’em players you’ll run into at the tables.

1 ‒ The Beginner

If you’re a novice poker player, then you’ll most likely fall into this category. Beginners are quick to inform you about their inexperience, making them easy targets for more advanced players.

Gamblers who are new to Hold ’em routinely commit rookie mistakes. They’re unaware of table etiquette and play rule.

Pair of Aces on Poker Chip Stacks

Beginner poker players should never admit their naivete, especially if there is money on the line. Whereas it’s okay, to be honest, to table mates in table games like blackjack, it’s preferable to keep it to yourself. In other table games, gamblers are playing against the casino, but you’re competing against the players sitting next to you in Hold ’em.

To spot a beginner, focus on their tendencies around the table. Most new players have blatant tells when gambling. They’ll waver in their decision making.

Some will even go as far as playing out of turn or fumbling with their moves. For more advanced players, spotting them is a piece of cake, and they provide a perfect opportunity to cash in on some easy hands.

2 ‒ The Bluffer

Picking out the habitual bluffer is slightly more complicated, but not much as time will weed out the players who continuously bluff on hands. In the early stages of a game, you may notice someone playing multiple hands in a row. They are typically overly aggressive in the early stages as they try to secure a few pots without having the cards to back it up.

Proving someone to be a bluffer can be risky and expensive if you guess wrong. But, if you are confident in your hand, it might be worth it to call a bluffer’s raise to get a feel for the cards they are holding.

Typically someone who bluffs isn’t a high caliber player, and once you have them on the ropes, they will most likely begin to make mistakes and reveal their true playing style.

Once you’ve figured out someone’s ploy, it’s easy to progress through the game as you could also read their poker tells on subsequent hands. Players who bluff more than a handful of times during a Hold ’em game don’t typically last too long, so if you can pick them apart, their chips are as good as yours.

3 ‒ The Consistent Old-School Player

Older players are typically more calm, cool, and collected and might play a bit more conservatively than other players. These people have been playing Hold ’em for decades and have seen nearly every single scenario unfold.

Poker Player Doyle Brunson

Old-school players can often be found chewing on a cigar while sipping scotch while they gamble. They’re friendly enough but mostly keep to themselves. When it comes to the quality of play, they’re among the better players. They’ll typically place in the top three, which is okay with them.

Most of their moves are carefully calculated, and mistakes are few and far between. It’s impossible to read them, and they can sniff out a bluffer from a mile away. Newer players should take some notes from this type of player.

4 ‒ The Trash Talker

These players are more commonly found around tables at casual poker nights with friends. Occasionally one makes themselves known in the casinos.

Trash talkers are typically more aggressive players who can usually be found with a drink by their side. Instead of relying on their inherent skills, they attempt to get into their fellow players’ minds to throw off their games.

These players love talking at the poker table, are easy to spot, and can be a pain to play against. Over time, you’ll ignore their banter until they are no more than a minor nuisance. Most trash talk is relatively harmless, although once a player like this starts to lose, the comments can become toxic.

Gamblers who engage in continuous trash-talking are to be avoided if at all possible. They make their money ruining the atmosphere of the table and bringing down the mood of other players.

Once they can see they’re getting to you, they won’t stop until one of you exits the table. Whatever you do, don’t give them the time of day and try your best to ignore them.

5 ‒ The Loose Cannon

More often than not, you’ll play against what’s known in the poker community as a maniac. Maniacs are one of the most challenging types of players to compete against due to their unpredictability. Spotting them is simple, but outlasting them is another story entirely.

Most loose cannons bet far more frequently than everyone else. They typically run the pot’s price up through raises and re-raises. They might not have the best cards at the table, but they carry themselves as if they’re always sitting on a straight flush.

To take down a loose cannon, someone at the table has to match their bets and beat them. Once again, this ploy is risky and can be expensive, but it’s a necessary evil.

If you have the misfortune of facing a player like this, do not bluff against them and try to hang around long enough to see them be sent home. Don’t let their tactics fool you; at the end of the day, they’re not great poker players.

6 ‒ The Savant

This type of Hold ’em player, otherwise known as a perfect player, incorporates all the best aspects of Texas Hold ’em strategy into one. From the moment you start playing, it will seem as though they know exactly what you have every hand. They’re able to read the room and determine what type of player you are even before you start playing.

Poker Player Phil Ivey Smiling

They lack a consistent playing style because they alter it based on the other gamblers who stay in any given hand. Every move is calculated, and they have absolutely no tell.

The savant rarely, if ever, makes mistakes, and even if you think you have them figured out, you probably don’t.

At the end of the game, this type of player will most likely be walking away with the prize money, and there’s nothing you can do about it. As a newer gambler stuck playing against someone like this, make it a learning opportunity and realize there’s always room to grow as a player and improve your game.

7 ‒ The Ultra-Conservative Gambler

Otherwise known as a “nit,” the ultra-conservative Hold ’em player rarely plays hands. At some point during the game, you might feel inclined to ask them why they showed up in the first place.

Nits fold almost every single hand, even if it doesn’t make sense based on position.

When they decide to play a hand, you can rest assured that they were dealt some good cards. If you’re playing against this type of gambler, consider folding your hands when the nit puts down a serious bet.

Over time their stack of chips will slowly recede to nothingness, and this type of player is typically one of the first to get bounced from the table.

Conclusion

Real money Texas Hold ’em is one of the best games in the casino to get to know various gamblers. During any given game, you can come across a different type of gambler.

While there are always some outliers in the gambling world, there is some consistency with Hold ’em players’ classifications.

The easiest types to spot are newbies and bluffers. Both of these types pose no real threat to serious players, and the more seasoned gamblers should be able to pick them apart in a matter of minutes.

Other types, like the loose cannons and trash talkers, are a bit harder to deal with. Hope and pray that you don’t get stuck playing against either type.

While both the trash talker and loose cannon are a challenge to deal with, they are relatively harmless to your wallet compared to the Hold ’em savant.

As I said, if you’re new to the game and find yourself playing against someone who seemingly makes no wrong plays, take some notes and implement some of their moves into your game.

Memorable Things to Do While Gambling in Japan

Japanese Flag With a Pachinko and Samurai Background
Everyone knows that Japan is one of the coolest places to visit in the world. Featuring ancient art techniques, fascinating architecture, traditional music, and amazing food, Japan continues to be a hotspot for tourists from all over the globe.

One thing you may not associate Japan with is gambling. That’s because there are currently no casinos in Japan, however, it looks like there will be in the very near future. Even without casinos, there are some interesting things to gamble on.

Let’s take a look at some places you can visit in Japan where you can gamble as well as take in the beautiful culture this country has to offer.

Here are three memorable places to visit while gambling in Japan.

Play Pachinko in Shinjuku and Dress Up Like Samurai

Pachinko is a unique Asian gambling game and is most well-known in Japan. It’s a form of pseudo-gambling that the vast majority of the Japanese population engage in.

There are Pachinko parlors spread all over Japan and if there is one place visitors should go it’s the Maruhan Shinjuku Toho Building where tourists can easily learn to play Pachinko.

There are over 1,000 gaming machines at the Maruhan Shinjuku Toho Building, consisting of pachinko and pachi-slots. You can get a membership card and rack up points from multiple visits and exchange them for prizes.

Rows of Pachinko Machines at the Maruhan Shinjuku Toho Building

You can possibly exchange your points for cash, but the parlor isn’t officially associated with businesses that will give you money for your points. Your best bet would be to ask another player at the parlor how and where to do this.

The staff at the Maruhan Shinjuku Toho Building speak Spanish, Turkish, Korean, Chinese, and English, and they are more than willing to help you while you are there. Shinjuku has some awesome historic sights to see such as the Shinjuku Samurai Museum. You can get a group tour in Chinese, Korean, English, or Japanese.

Once the tour ends, you can dress up as a samurai, or if you prefer you can wear a kimono instead. Sword fighting performances can also be viewed at the museum. If you want to learn some samurai moves, you can do that as well with the assistance of a choreographer.

You can easily travel from the past into the future by walking down the street from the Shinjuku Samurai Museum to the Robot Restaurant. This place is quite the spectacle, and while you are waiting for a table, you will be entertained by a robot band.

The name Robot Restaurant can be somewhat misleading, as there are only some light snacks available on the menu. The Robot Restaurant’s main focus is the show you will enjoy once inside.

Shinjuku is located in Tokyo, and I’m sure most people don’t think of beautiful green parks when they think of Tokyo but Shinjuku has just that.

At the Shinjuku Gyoen National Park, you will enjoy what used to be the Emperor’s private garden. Springtime is the quintessential time to visit as that is cherry blossom season. However, this park is still beautiful all year long.

Horse Racing at the Kyoto Racecourse

Horse racing is extremely popular in Japan, and there are over 20,000 races held every year. Betting on horse racing attracts the most serious gamblers from Japan and around the world. If you want to have the real horse racing experience, you must go to the Kyoto Racecourse in Kyoto.

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The Kyoto Racecourse was built in 1999 and can hold 120,000 people. This venue consists of a jump course, a dirt course, and two turf courses. Races are held year-round at the Kyoto Racecourse. Betting on horseracing in Japan can be quite lucrative, so you might just walk away as a big winner.

One of the best things about the Kyoto Racecourse is that it is in Kyoto. Surrounded by beautiful cherry trees on top of a magnificent hill, you will find the Kiyomizu-dera Temple. There, you will find the Jishu Shrine that was built for the god of love.

If you are a fan of beautiful scenery and monkeys, then you will want to visit Monkey Park Iwatayama. Now, consider yourself warned, there are monkeys everywhere, swinging from trees and always looking for an opportunity to steal some food from you.

Make sure that if you have any bags or a backpack with you that you keep them zipped up. These monkeys have no problem going through all of your belongings in search of some food or a free souvenir.

Geisha Women at the Minamiza Theatre Japan

If you are looking for entertainment in Kyoto, the Gion district is just for you. There, you will find geishas, theatres, and some very talented artists.

Make sure to catch a kabuki show at the Minamiza Theatre. A kabuki show is a type of theatre that includes bright colors, elaborate makeup, and ancient dance techniques.

If you are superstitious, make sure you make your way down to the Yasui Konpira-gu Shrine’s magical stone. There, you can write down your dreams and offer it to a magical stone.

While in the Gion district, you can also enjoy great food as there are a huge number of cafes there. A short 20 kilometers away from Kyoto is the town of Kurama. While there you can travel to the top of Mt. Kurama where you will find an amazing Buddhist temple by the name of Kurama-dera. You will also find a beautiful hiking trail located just past the temple.

You will see birds, deer, and monkeys as you travel the trail.

Bet on Bicycle Racing in Omiya-ku

Japan is very famous for its unique style of bicycle racing known as Keirin. Keirin emerged after World War II and is one of the most popular sports to bet on in all of Japan. It consists of nine cyclists doing laps around a velodrome.

Initially, this sport was developed for the sole purpose of being gambled on, but today, it is also appreciated as one of Japan’s finest sports. The Omiya Velodrome is a perfect place to get in on the action of betting on Keirin. Located in Omiya-ku, Saitama, the Omiya Velodrome has an oval whose circumference is 500 meters.

Omiya-ku is usually just thought of as a hub that connects Tokyo to the northern parts of Japan. However, it is an excellent tourist spot as well. Omiya actually means great shrine. There, you will find the Hikawa Shrine that dates back to 473 BCE. Surrounding this shrine are bridges, ponds, and other smaller shrines.

To learn more about Omiya-ku’s history, you can visit the Omiya Railway Museum. Omiya has always been a transportation hub in modern times and plays an important role in the Shinkansen bullet train network.

Among the cool things you will see at this museum is an Imperial carriage that was used by Japanese royalty as well as steam locomotives and model trains from Japanese history.

If you are an even bigger history buff, you will want to make sure to pay a visit to the Saitama Prefectural Museum of History and Folklore. Here, you will find ancient pieces of fine art from 1000 BCE, as well as more modern works from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Visitors can also make folk crafts at some of the workshops that are held regularly. Omiya-ku also has a park that is well-known for its cherry blossoms as well as its apricot and red pine trees.

A visit to Japan wouldn’t be complete without seeing some bonsai masterpieces. At the Omiya Bonsai Village, you will see not only bonsai masterpieces but bonsai related artifacts as well. This village is also home to the Great Bonsai Festival which is held every May.

The Omiya Bonsai Village is only a short walk from Omiya Koen Station which is located on the Tobu Urban Park Line.

Conclusion

Japan is unlike any other country you will ever visit. The beauty of its culture and nature is unparalleled. Couple this with some unique gambling opportunities and you have a potential trip that will change your life forever.

Again, it is anticipated that land-based casinos will soon be in operation in Japan within the next couple of years. So, now is the best time to be thinking about planning a gambling trip to Japan.

Did you enjoy reading about these places to visit while gambling in Japan? If so, let me know in the comments.

Las Vegas Resort Fees Are Only Getting Higher

Thumbs Down Graphic With a Las Vegas and Wooden Blocks Background

Las Vegas hotel rooms have always come with a few potential extra charges. If you get room service or take an item out of the mini fridge, then you’ll need to pay more.

Of course, you fully realize that additional charges are coming in these instances. Resort fees, however, continue to astound Sin City visitors.

Most Vegas casinos now add these fees onto your bill for the entirety of your stay. The worst part is that resort fees are increasing, too!

I’m going to discuss more on what these extra charges are along with evidence that they’re increasing across the city.

What Are Las Vegas Resort Fees?

In the past, Las Vegas resorts included every room charge upfront. The only exceptions included were when you wanted additional services (e.g. room service).

Unfortunately, the price that you see listed for hotel rooms isn’t what you pay these days. Your room may seemingly cost $200 on the surface, but it will actually run you $230 to $250 with resort fees.

Such costs are typically mandatory. The size of resort fees vary depending upon where you stay. They can range anywhere from 20% to 100% of your room costs.

If you stay in a $150 room, for example, you might end up paying $225 (50% fee). Of course, these fees aren’t unique to Las Vegas.

The hospitality industry has been tacking on resort charges across the world. However, such fees are larger and sting worse in popular tourism destinations like Sin City.

Why Do Casino Resorts Charge These Fees?

You may see these additional charges as a cheap way for gambling resorts to bilk you for extra money. If so, you aren’t alone in this line of thinking.

Many Vegas visitors on a budget are fed up with having to pay more than their initial booking cost. Some even vow never to return to Sin City.

The casinos, on the other hand, feel like resort fees are completely justified. They see the booking charges covering the rooms and fees covering amenities.

Las Vegas casinos have been in an arms race with each other to see who can offer the biggest complexes and most memorable experiences. They’ve been upping their game with regard to amenities.

View of Vdara Las Vegas Pool Area

Free airport shuttles, cable, in-room coffee, and Wi-Fi were once impressive. However, these services are quite commonplace today and even expected. So, casinos offer additional amenities that range from business centers and gyms to lavish swimming pools and free valet parking.

I use the word free sparingly here. Nothing is truly free in Sin City these days, including basic amenities like Wi-Fi and laundry room access. Gaming resorts don’t charge you for every little service separately. Instead, they bundle these fees into a single cost.

Casinos actually view their bundle prices as a discount. But you may not see resort fees as a great deal, especially when you don’t use everything being offered.

Why Do Vegas Visitors Hate Resort Fees so Badly?

Resort fees force Sin City visitors to pay more for their stays. Many casino hotels already charge enough for their rooms. Nobody wants to pay an extra $50 to $100 on top of everything.

Additionally, hotel customers don’t like surprises on their bills. They’re very unhappy when they expect to pay $200 for a room and find out that it ultimately costs $275.

Anybody who’s been to Las Vegas within the past few years is quite used to covering such fees. But if you haven’t been to Vegas in a while, then you’ll hate seeing resort charges tacked onto the final bill.

As mentioned before, you probably don’t use every amenity that goes into a resort fee. For example, you might not go swimming or work out during your trip.

Casinos will still add these luxuries into the resort charge, though. You end up paying extra for services you don’t use as a result.

Current Trends Show That These Fees Are Increasing

You can see that casino resort fees are an unpleasant part of any gambling trip. Unfortunately, Las Vegas isn’t lightening up on such charges.

In fact, some casinos are even increasing resort fees. Caesars Entertainment, in particularly, has raised such charges fairly recently.

They increased resort costs at Bally’s, Flamingo, Harrah’s, and the LINQ from $35 to $37. Including tax, the total fees are now $42. This increase is slight. However, it represents an undesirable trend that will continue propelling resort fees higher and higher.

View of Caesars Palace Pool Area

Caesars argues that they needed to increase these extra costs to stay “in line with relevant competitors.” Perhaps they have a point when looking across Las Vegas.

In the summer of 2019, MGM Resorts increased their fees by $6 at the ARIA, Bellagio, and Vdara. The price hike brings each property’s resort charges to $45 per night.

MGM likely made this move in response to Wynn Resorts. The latter increased resort fees at the Wynn Las Vegas and Encore from $39 to $45 in the spring of 2019.

Now, these fees are at their highest level in history. They show no signs of slowing at any point in the near future.

What Can You Do to Avoid Paying Higher Vegas Resort Fees?

You obviously want to pay the lowest resort costs possible. That said, you should consider using one or more of the following tips to get these fees reduced or even waived.

Look for Vegas Casinos That Don’t Charge Resort Fees

Resort charges are seemingly prevalent everywhere you look in Las Vegas. However, some of the less-heralded casinos have resisted this trend.

Four Queens, La Quinta Inn and Suites, Red Roof Inn, and Royal Resort don’t force you to cover resort costs. Each hotel also charges less than average for rooms, too.

Pick Casinos With Lower Resort Fees

The average resort fee on the Vegas Strip ranges from $40 to $50 with tax included. But hotels located downtown, on the Boulder Strip, and in Henderson typically have lower extra charges.

Arizona Charlie’s Boulder, Cannery, Desert Paradise, El Cortez, Gold Coast, and Main Street Station currently have $20 resort fees or less.

Unfortunately, they all expect you to still cover these charges. But you won’t be paying an extra $45 or more per night.

Ask If the Resort Will Waive the Fees Before Booking

Some casinos are willing to negotiate the fees ahead of time. Of course, the majority of Las Vegas resorts still want you to pay the full cost.

In these cases, you can still try negotiating with them for lower fees. You can point out which amenities you won’t use in hopes of getting $5 to $15 knocked off the final cost.

Some of the possible amenities that you might not need include:

  • Airport shuttle
  • Concierge service
  • Fitness center
  • In-room coffee
  • Swimming pool

Talk About the Fees During Checkout

Casinos will inform you about the resort fees upon check in but they don’t officially take resort fees until you check out. The latter represents a good point to haggle over the resort charges.

Fitness Room in Vdara Las Vegas

You could flat-out refuse to pay them by saying that you didn’t use any of those amenities or didn’t know about the fees. The casino is unlikely to budge here, but the clerk may be willing to negotiate (if authorized).

They’ll ask you if there were any problems or even if you didn’t use certain amenities. You might not get the entire fee waived, but you could potentially get it reduced.

Here are some issues that you may run into when staying at a Vegas resort:

  • Poorly cleaned room
  • Problems with heater or cooler
  • One or more lamps not working
  • Room service is poor
  • Staff members are rude

Book Your Stay With Loyalty Points

Las Vegas casinos offer loyalty programs that see you accumulate points. You rack up points by dining, gambling, shopping, or staying on one or more of a company’s (e.g. Boyd Gaming) properties.

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As an added loyalty perk, certain casinos waive fees when you book your room with rewards points. The Wyndham (all Vegas properties) and Hyatt Place are two examples of resorts that do so.

They classify these bookings under “award stays” and don’t tack on resort fees to keep your stay completely free.

Attain a Higher VIP Status

Casinos reserve their best perks for high-level VIPs. If you hold a high loyalty status, then you may be able to get resort fees waived.

Caesars may impose $45 in resort charges per night. However, they’re willing to waive these big fees for both Seven Stars and Diamond VIP members.

The smaller resort companies don’t even require you to reach a lofty VIP status. They’ll remove resort charges as long as you move up a couple rungs on the loyalty latter.

Always Check the Terms and Conditions

Many casinos go over their terms and conditions with a fine-tooth comb to ensure that they include every possible resort charge. But this doesn’t mean that they’re always perfect in the matter.

You can go over a resort’s terms and conditions to see if any relevant fees or legal language are missing. If so, you have grounds to get your resort costs reduced or even waived.

Even when these efforts don’t produce any fruit, you’ll at least have full understanding of what you’re being charged for.

Conclusion

Nobody enjoys paying resort fees on top of rooms that are usually already expensive. Unfortunately, these additional charges have become all too common in Sin City.

Casinos want to get paid more for the amenities that they provide. So, they tack on these extra charges onto your bill when you arrive.

Some might consider this to be an unscrupulous business practice, but casinos normally cover themselves through the terms and conditions.

Luckily, you can take steps to reduce or lower these fees. Always remember to check the fine print. You just might consider doing so now that Vegas resort fees are only going up.

3 Poker Sites Where Superuser Accounts Were Found

X-Ray Glasses and a Poker Pair of Aces

When you log onto an online poker site, you’re doing so with the intention of playing fair games. However, you may occasionally worry that you’re getting scammed.

Perhaps the worst feared scam of all involves playing a rigged game. Nothing in online poker is more rigged than a game where somebody else can see your hole cards.

Unsavory individuals have used special software to see opponent’s cards. Dubbed “superusers,” these players use their position at a poker site to cheat customers.

I’m going to cover three online poker rooms that have featured insider-cheating scandals. I’ll also cover more on superusers if you’re new to this concept.

What Is a Superuser?

Contrary to what some poker players may believe, the term superuser isn’t exclusive to real money online poker. Instead, it denotes an administrator who has access to a computer system’s root account.

The root account grants complete access to a system. It allows superusers to write files on a system, act as any user, install/remove software, and upgrade the operating system.

Any company, from Amazon to BMW, needs to completely trust the administrators. An online poker room must confide in superusers to not play on the site.

Unfortunately, companies won’t catch administrators abusing their privileges immediately. The poker world is no exception. Players have actually been the ones rooting out superusers in the past. They notice highly improbable occurrences from the same player repeatedly and network to catch perpetrators.

For example, account that has a 90% VPIP and wins 30bb per hour is almost assuredly superusing. Nobody profitably sees this many flops or wins 30bb each hour.

Players don’t need to rely on ridiculous stats in every instance. They can also check out a suspected cheater’s hand histories (if accessible). A player who rarely or never calls with a worse hand presents another superuser case.

What Online Poker Sites Have Had Superuser Scandals?

Luckily, the internet poker world hasn’t featured many superuser cases. No such instance has been discovered within over a decade.

But certain individuals have been superusers on three poker sites in the past. Below, you can see the famous and not-so-famous culprits.

1 – UltimateBet Poker

UltimateBet Poker was the hot spot before the fall of high-stakes online poker. Famed pros like Patrik Antonius, Brad Booth, Prahlad Friedman, and Mike Matusow played the UB nosebleeds daily.

However, the site’s reputation began unraveling in 2008. Multiple players reported suspicious behavior from an account called “NioNio.”

UltimateBet initially tried keeping the incident under wraps and claimed that nothing was awry. They became exposed, though, when an anonymous company insider emailed NioNio’s hand histories to one of the victims.

The poker community now had proof of the fraud. UltimateBet released a follow-up statement claiming that cheating occurred from January 2005 to December 2007.

UltimateBet Online Poker Screenshot

Their licensing authority, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC), conducted another investigation. They discovered that the cheating actually spanned from May 2004 to January 2008.

The KGC also found that Russ Hamilton was primarily responsible for the cheating. He used the NioNio account, among others, to bilk high-stakes players out of millions.

A KGC report estimates that Hamilton won a combined $22.1 million with a superuser account. However, the actual figure could even be higher. The licensing body fined UltimateBet $1.5 million and required them to repay the affected victims.

Via leaked audiotapes, evidence reveals that Hamilton was the main perpetrator. But Greg Pierson, a key figurehead behind the site, was also outed on the tapes.

Pierson discussed scenarios for how they could undergo damage control and refund as few players as possible. That said, UltimateBet was crooked from the top down.

2 – Absolute Poker

Scott Tom, via an investment from his father, Phil, launched Absolute Poker in 2003. He and his University of Montana fraternity brothers ran the site.

Absolute made big profits during the poker boom. However, they became the first official superuser case in 2007.

Players on poker forums began sharing hand histories with each other and claiming that they’d been cheated. Everything led back to an account called “POTRIPPER.” This account won at an astronomically high rate. Much like NioNio, it also made the right decision in every instance.

Absolute Poker Online Screenshot

Faced with insurmountable evidence, Absolute Poker admitted that a “trusted consultant” cheated via a superuser account. They repaid $1.6 million to affected players along with a $500,000 fine to the KGC.

Interestingly enough, Absolute Poker would purchase UltimateBet (later “UB) and form the Cereus Network. Cereus closed shortly after Black Friday (April 15, 2011) while owing players an estimated $45 million.

Poker news outlets suggested that Tom could’ve been behind the POTRIPPER account. However, nothing concrete linked him to the cheating.

3 – Pitbull Poker

Pitbull Poker never attained the same prominence as Absolute or UB Poker. As a result, their superuser scandal is less notable.

However, Pitbull may have been even more corrupt than either site. Running from 2004 to 2009, this operation featured poor site security, bad customer service, and even stole players’ money.

Not surprisingly, they also feature a superuser incident. A forum user named “Chesterboy” complained that Pitbull Poker cheated him. He felt that the site’s games were rigged and asked for his hand histories. Pitbull Poker only released 1,000 hand histories and banned Chesterboy when he demanded more.

Other players came forth with accusations to help initiate a community wide investigation. They collectively outed three suspected superuser account and found instances of “pot shaving” and “stack shaving.”

Pitbull Online Poker Screenshot

The former refers to when a small portion of the pot disappears along with rake collected from hands. Stack shaving is when part of a player’s chip stack disappears between hands.

Accusers claimed that anywhere from $0.02 to $0.25 would disappear from a pot or their chip stack. These amounts are small, but not small enough to where they totally evaded players’ watchful eyes.

Pitbull Poker admitted that “errors” had occurred with regard to stack shaving. They promised that affected players would be reimbursed.

However, the site refused to admit that superusing occurred on their site. Just like with the UltimateBet and Absolute controversies, players produced hand histories that indicated superuser activity.

One forum user even claimed that they could see one hole card from another player. They alleged that Pitbull was running faulty software. Meanwhile, Pitbull Poker merely fielded complaints and did little to rectify the situation. In September 2009, they shut down without repaying players.

Suspicious workers went to the site’s Costa Rican office at night. They discovered the owners loading up computer equipment then vanishing into the night.

Do You Still Need to Worry About Superusers?

The three known superuser incidents covered above all occurred in 2008 or before. These scandals happened in unregulated markets at a time when online poker was still in its earlier stages.

Today, poker sites are more diligent about obtaining third-party auditing. They hire testing labs to review their software and ensure that it’s up to code. In turn, testing labs offer certification that the poker sites are indeed running fair-and-random games.

Of course, some poker rooms don’t seek third-party certification. They may not even obtain licensing either.

You should be leery of unregulated online casinos. Nobody is checking to ensure that they’re running fair games beyond their own management. Even in these cases, though, you’re unlikely to run into superusers. Sites are fully aware of what such a scandal would do to their reputation in the modern-day gambling world.

Absolute, Pitbull, and UltimateBet never truly recovered from their scandals. Pitbull, which already had low traffic to begin with, lost their remaining player pool after the superuser allegations.

Of course, a corrupt administrator could still super use. However, no such occurrences have happened within recent years.

Conclusion

Every company with a computer system feature superusers. These administrators are entrusted with sensitive information and abilities.

Unfortunately, some online poker administrators have abused their privileges. They’ve used their access to see opponents’ hole cards and make a killing.

Russ Hamilton is the only known person to get caught superusing. The KGC found Hamilton to be the primary culprit behind cheating UB players out of $22 million.

Speculation suggests that Scott Tom was behind the Absolute Poker superuser debacle. However, the former Absolute owner has never been undeniably linked to the cheating.

No names have ever been mentioned in connection with Pitbull Poker’s superusing. The site itself failed to confirm anything on the matter either.

Hopefully, all such superuser incidents are behind us. Poker sites and licensing jurisdictions are more diligent about third-party testing than ever before.

Of course, nothing rules out the possibility that a rogue insider could cheat again. But the chances of another superuser occurrence are lower than before.

5 Reasons the Los Angeles Chargers Will Charge Through Their 7.5 Over/Under in 2020

Los Angeles Chargers Logo With 2020 Text

For a team who finished 5-11 in 2019, the Los Angeles Chargers own a team who finished in the top 10 in both total offense and total defense. They also kept games close, but an unfortunate event or two occurred, and the team suffered double-digit losses.

Their roster is beyond star-studded, perhaps one of the most in the NFL. And their first eight games of the season look favorable, which can set a positive tone for 2020. They also know how to keep drives alive, given their high third-down conversion percentage.

So, despite the poor finish and new quarterbacks here, there are reasons to believe the Chargers will own their 7.5 over/under projection. Here are five reasons explained in greater depth to better help your NFL betting in 2020.

1 – Living in the Top 10

As mentioned in the intro, the Chargers ranked in the top 10 in both offense and defense. They were 10th overall in total offense and sixth overall in total defense. They also owned the sixth-ranked passing attack in the league.

Sure, quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor and Justin Herbert are no Philip Rivers, who is now with the Colts in Indianapolis. But they keep the same core players from last season with Mike Williams, Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler, and Hunter Henry.

Each of them are dynamic players who will help their new quarterbacks while also creating opportunities for the back end players like Virgil Green, Andre Patton, Joe Reed, and K.J. Hill to shine.

On defense, the Chargers have among the league’s best pass rush in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. They combined for 18 of the team’s 30 sacks, but expect the low overall sack total to improve with Jerry Tillery embarking on his second campaign.

The Chargers ranked fifth in passing defense, where Bosa and Ingram forced them to throw before they were ready, meaning they had to contend with a strong defensive backfield. And that defensive backfield grew stronger.

While the Chargers have two new quarterbacks lining up under center in Tinseltown, their overall units will still repeat their efficacy in 2020. They have 17 starters returning and added a blue-chip starter at corner, while a dynamic back takes over the starting role on offense. This team seems destined to succeed.

2 – Star-Studded Offense Lighting Up LA

Talk about rolling out the red carpet during the team’s first season in SoFi Stadium. As mentioned, quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor and Justin Herbert are nothing special and if they played for teams with lesser talent, you can expect struggles.

But hey, who cares that the team doesn’t have a big-name quarterback in 2020? Let’s look at each star individually, starting with running back, Austin Ekeler.

Ekeler emerged as one of the best dual-threat running backs in football. Perhaps he’s a poor man’s Christian McCaffrey. The formerly undrafted free agent from some school called Western State started his career with LA as a role player in 2017.

He’s since become a fair running back and a dynamic pass catcher, amassing 92 receptions for 993 yards on his way to scoring 8 receiving touchdowns. This helps the new quarterbacks out with a legitimate check down receiver.

Everyone’s saying Keenan Allen will suffer without Rivers. Okay, so maybe he’ll regress as Taylor and Herbert favor the safer options. But in 2019, he had 104 receptions for 1,199 yards. He’s a terrific possession receiver and route runner.

NFL Chargers Player Austin Ekeler

Allen will remain a tremendous help to Taylor and Herbert, given his ability to get open and make plays. Mike Williams is a perfect complement to Allen, and his 20.2 yards per receptions shows he will make a good fit for Herbert, whose six-foot-six frame possesses a laser arm. While he’s not the most accurate quarterback, expect Herbert to hook up often with Williams, even in Year 1.

Hunter Henry is in a fantastic role for Tyrod Taylor. Taylor loves throwing to the tight end, and Henry is emerging as a solid target.

So, while Taylor and Herbert have their limitations, they also have players who will help them and the team regardless of who’s taking snaps under center. Often, timeshares don’t work in the NFL or any level of football.

But given the offense laden with stars, expect Taylor and Herbert to perform better than advertised, regardless of who starts at the game’s most important position. Given the fact that they won’t throw for as many yards as their predecessor, neither are turnover nor sack-prone. This cost the Chargers games in 2019.

3 – The Front Eight

The Chargers play in six winnable games from Week 1, when they travel to Cincinnati to play the Bengals, all the way to Week 9, when they host the Las Vegas Raiders.

You only need to worry about Weeks 2, 4, and 5 when they play the Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and New Orleans Saints. Expect three losses there, but the Chargers can certainly win the other six.

Other than the fact they should beat the Bengals in Week 1 given the latter’s youth, they play the Carolina Panthers in Week 3, the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, and Jacksonville Jaguars for three weeks running right before closing with the Raiders on November 8th.

Pro NFL bettors know you can’t beat this schedule next to the hard luck games against the Chiefs, Bucs, and Saints.

While it’s premature to believe the Chargers will win each of these contests, you can bet they should pull out at least three, if not five, of them.

Cincy is more than beatable, as are the Panthers, Dolphins, Jets, and Jags. Even if the Chargers play the rookie over the veteran in Tyrod Taylor at quarterback, they still smash each of the mentioned teams from a talent standpoint.

The Chargers could find themselves somewhere between 4-5 and 5-4 at the bye, giving them a chance to charge through their over/under. The two games on the back end of the schedule against the Denver Broncos will help, and you can expect a split if not a sweep.

That leaves them with games against Buffalo, New England, Atlanta, and another date with both Vegas and Kansas City.

4 – Converting the Rock

In 2019, the Chargers were one of the best at converting the rock on third downs. Don’t expect it to change in 2020.

For one, they now have mobility in Tyrod Taylor and Justin Herbert rather than the traditional pocket passer in Philip Rivers. That alone will allow the Chargers to convert via the quarterbacks’ legs rather than taking a shot downfield or trusting the arm, as Rivers loved to do during his 16 seasons with the team.

NFL Chargers Player Keenan Allen

As mentioned, they have a fantastic check down option in Ekeler, who excels on flares, circles, screens, and flat patterns, allowing them to convert on third and short. Ekeler can also run the ball between and outside the tackles, averaging 4.2 yards per carry in 2019.

Then, there’s Allen, one of the league’s most reliable possession targets. He will make life easy for Taylor and Herbert, given their limitations. Look for Allen to be the go-to wideout on third and medium.

Not that the Chargers will improve on their 44% third-down conversion percentage, good enough for sixth in the league. It may even drop. But they have the tools to keep drives alive during the game, play ball control, and eke out wins in 2020 in games they would’ve lost in 2019.

5 – That Last Push

The Chargers struggled in 2019 at winning games within one possession, but they proved they can keep them close with the league’s best teams. As mentioned often in this article, don’t expect a drop-off because Philip Rivers is no longer with the team.

The guy was sack-prone and interception-prone, and it cost the Chargers often. While you will see a learning curve from Justin Herbert and possibly Tyrod Taylor, their mobility will allow them to stretch the play and give their receivers a better chance to get open.

It also didn’t help that the team lost the turnover battle, ranking 31st out of 32 teams. So, don’t discard the Chargers because they finished 3-9 in games where a single possession decided most games. Instead, realize the team has a better shot to win in 2020, even with lesser experienced quarterbacks given their trendy attributes.

NFL Chargers Quarterback Tyrod Taylor

Sure, you will see Herbert force some passes early on. But hey, the schedule is also at its easiest during the first nine weeks of the season. So, with his learning curve comes plenty of winnable games. And the ball-hawking Derwin James returns, while corner Chris Harris also signed with the team. You can expect more takeaways from LA in 2020.

On the other side, Taylor won’t take shots downfield as he plays a more conservative game. But he’s fantastic at managing the game and keeping the ball in his team’s hands. He loves the quick passes, so players like Henry, Ekeler, and Allen fit his style.

If Taylor’s playing most of the games this season, don’t expect the 20-interception outing you saw from Rivers in 2019. It will also cause the Chargers to gain ground in the turnover battle and that will convert to wins.

Ironic, but evaluating new quarterbacks with better attributes that are better fits for today’s game show that they will help the Chargers better than the Hall of Famer who left for Indiana this past off-season. Expect the Chargers to finish at least .500 in one possession games in 2020, and expect a lot of them, just like in 2019.

Conclusion

In 2019, the Chargers were a good team who finished the season with a poor record. Okay, so they had a quarterback who loved taking risks, was prone to sacks, and interceptions. This season, he’s gone and the new blood takes over.

It’s fantastic, as the team has kept its star-studded core on both offense and defense while letting the senior in Rivers walk. The pass rush and passing defense is also as good as ever. Look for the defense to once again finish in the top 10 while the offense has a chance to complete that feat.

Since Taylor and Herbert are more mobile than Rivers, they will stretch the play and give their receivers better chances to get open. It’s something Rivers couldn’t do, and it cost the Chargers a lot of one-possession games in 2019.

What are your thoughts on the Chargers? Let us know in the comments.

The Best 3 Patios for Dining in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Sign and a Restaurant Patio Seating Background

You can find countless reviews of the top 3, 10, 150 – you pick a number — restaurants in Vegas. I want to get a little more detailed and review the best three patios to dine at in Las Vegas.

Here’s my list of the best patios that Vegas dining has to offer, in no order.

1 – Sinatra – Encore Hotel by Wynn Casino and Resort

Sinatra is not a scoot in on a whim when you need a break from the casino floor. Nothing at this flagship property of the Wynn Resorts is touristy Vegas.

Encore by Wynn spared no detail in the time and effort to take its diners back to what it was like to dine in Vegas during Sinatra’s golden age of Vegas. The restaurant whisks diner back to what it must have been like in the heyday of 60’s Vegas.

The menu features something for every diner, even vegan and vegetarian options. Be ready to spend some money, though. The entrées start at around $40.00.

But I promise you the cost is worth it.

What I want to talk about is the patio. The patio at Sinatra is breathtaking. I love this patio dining experience because I can imagine Ol’ Blue Eyes, the man himself, being a table or two over and raising a glass to me and winking.

Interior of Sinatra at Encore Las Vegas

The tables are in their own private nooks with fireplaces. The grotto ambiance gives the diner the privacy that is hard to come by in this crowded town, especially on the Strip.

The chairs are an ornate coral design, paired with the restaurant’s spin on classic linens, and outstanding service will leave you wanting another martini and thinking you are on the set of the movie Casino.

The Las Vegas Strip views are invigorating but still secluded enough that you don’t feel like you’re on display for all the people walking by. This is what I like most about the patio dining experience at Sinatra. You get a break from the loud, go-go atmosphere of Vegas.

This patio and the dining opportunity make the trip expense worth it. This is a one of a kind, authentic Sinatra experience.

You won’t regret it.

Your credit card might, though.

2 – PRIME Steakhouse – Bellagio

The Bellagio Hotel and Casino has been my dream casino since I first saw the 1st installment of the Ocean’s 11 series. I want to be live in that world.

I want to play a high roller table. I want to be in the closest thing to a James Bond-esque casino America has to offer. I wish only to smell the floral scent that casino is famous for pumping into its ventilation system.

When I go to Vegas, it feels like I missed out if I don’t enjoy at least one steak dinner.

Where I get a little exhausted is eating in the same dark and heavy steakhouse setting. Dark wood, low lighting, big corner booths — this is not what I want. It feels overdone and stuffy, and it’s a little exhausting, to be honest.

I need some fresh air and some lightness in the décor.

This is where PRIME Steakhouse by Jean-Georges Vongerichten comes into play. Jean-Goerges is an award-winning restaurateur and chef. He is the holder of two Michelin Stars and has over 40 restaurants worldwide.

Dining Room of Prime Steakhouse in Bellagio Las Vegas

PRIME is noticeably lighter than your grandparent’s steakhouse. The inside décor is comprised of rich chocolate and Tiffany blues. The high ceilings and modern furnishings levitate the atmosphere even further,

The menu is not budget-friendly; this is a steakhouse in Vegas.

Do you want to go to the Bellagio and get an early-bird priced steak that’s been sitting on a buffet for three hours?

Me neither.

I want the dry-aged bone-in rib eye that weighs 18 oz.  I want the creamed spinach. I want to eat until I must be carted out and dumped on my bed.

You know why?

Because I want this to be an experience my wallet and waistline can only afford to do once a year, if I’m lucky.

Where PRIME takes dining to the next level is their garden patio. The patio at PRIME is not an afterthought for overflow dinners like most steakhouses. It’s a cohesive part of the restaurant that feels like it belongs.

The small dining area overlooks the Bellagio’s famous fountains. The patio is probably the best way to enjoy a Vegas attraction while having one of the best meals of your life.

PRIME is and will always be on my bucket list for as long as I can eat my weight in steak. Make sure you make a reservation because the tables in the garden patio are limited.

3 – Chayo Mexican Kitchen + Tequila Bar – The LINQ Promenade

I am taking a detour from the high end; break the bank dining establishments I have talked about so far. I want to even leave the bougie Vegas behind for a second. We are going to LINQ Promenade.

The LINQ is a newcomer to the Vegas Strip. It’s geared towards a younger crowd that doesn’t eat $75.00 A5 Wagyu steaks every night. It’s a more realistic but not a cheesy tourist spot in Vegas.

The LINQ Promenade offers some killer people watching. It’s reasonably packed and offers some great dining options with patio seating.

My go-to when at the LINQ is CHAYO. It’s affordable, comfortable, and youthful.

The menu offers something for every eater and budget. The breakfast entrees don’t cost more than $20.00, and dinner entrees are never above $28.00.

The atmosphere is where this restaurant excels past other options on the Strip. You can feel the fun, LA Mexican vibe the second you walk into the restaurant.

Patio Seating at Chayo Mexican Kitchen at The LINQ Las Vegas

It’s welcoming but cooler than you expected. If you’ve ever been to the Silverlake neighborhood of LA, then you know what I’m talking about.

If I’m there for breakfast (most likely after 11:00), I always partake in the bottomless mimosas and the carne asada skillet. Dinner, I go for something different almost every time. I have yet to be disappointed.

I usually steer clear of fajitas because it feels silly to overpay for tacos that I can make at home with my kids. I’m not looking for kid’s food when I’m on vacation.

Speaking of drinks, tequila bar is in CHAYO’s name, so let’s talk about that for a second. They have an extensive tequila list, as one would assume.

You can even add a scorpion to any shot of tequila for $5.00. I have not had the pleasure because I grew up around scorpions, and I’m terrified of them.

The margarita list is what one would expect and then some. Their margaritas don’t use syrupy fillers, all the margaritas feature fresh lime juice and other fresh fruits in the recipes. CHAYO also offers a Blanco (unaged white tequila) and a reposado (aged darker tequila) house margarita.

Suppose you want something spicy — go for the pineapple habanero margarita. That will wake you right up.

What put this restaurant on my list of best patios in Vegas is, well… the patio. It’s spacious. It’s vibrant.

The people-watching is to die for.

Vegas is fabulous for people watching. It brings visitors from all over the world. I don’t gawk, but I love seeing different cultures and how they interact with each other in the make-believe atmosphere of Las Vegas.

CHAYO is an excellent detour for some day drinking, some people watching, and an option that is a little bit gentler on your credit card. We all need a break from what can be a bit serious when eating in Vegas, including your credit card.

Conclusion

I hope you have some new patio aspirations the next time you’re making reservations for dinner (or brunch) in Vegas. There are so many more options than these three restaurants.

I love eating al fresco. Some of these best al fresco experiences are in Vegas, so it makes sense that Sin City would have outstanding patio dining options.

Stanley Ho: 7 Surprising Facts About “The King of Gambling”

Stanley Ho With a Grand Lisboa Macau Background

Stanley Ho was a real inspiration to many businessmen and gamblers alike. “The King of Gambling” built a casino empire in Macau and other locations around the world.

Ho passed away in March at the impressive age of 98 and left an incredible legacy behind. Here are seven surprising facts about The King of Gambling.

1 – Bruce Lee and Ho Were Cousins

Stanley Ho’s grandfather was the adopted uncle of Grace Ho Oi-yu. The name may mean nothing to you, but Grace Ho Oi-yu was Bruce Lee’s mother.

It’s unclear if Stanley Ho spent much time with his famous cousin. However, I imagine the “Enter the Dragon” star and “The King of Gambling” would’ve made quite the duo at the kid’s table for family gatherings.

Bruce Lee Performing a Jump Kick

While the two may not have been close, it indeed serves as a testament to the Ho family’s pedigree. You’ll be hard-pressed to find any more prominent names in their respective fields.

2 – Stanley Ho Spent World War II as a Smuggler

Much like the great Art Vandelay, Ho got his start as an importer/exporter. Of course, Art Vandelay was the imaginary persona of George Costanza, a fictional character from the great show Seinfeld.

Stanley Ho was a very real smuggler. In fact, Ho earned the nest egg he would later use to build his empire smuggling between Macau and China during the Second World War.

Macau was a Portuguese colony at the time and maintained neutrality with China, Japan, and Hong Kong. A majority of what Ho was involved in smuggling were luxury goods for the Chinese elites. However, Ho was willing to smuggle anything for the right price.

Ho is rumored to have made a pretty penny smuggling food across the border as well. By the young age of 24, Stanley Ho had amassed a fortune for his efforts.

3 – Stanley Ho Had a Love for the Art of Dance

From ballroom to ballet, Stanley Ho was a dance enthusiast. Not only did Ho enjoy spending nights dancing the hours away with one of his wives.

Ho had a particular affinity for the waltz and ballroom dancing. He was also known to cut a rug to the tango.

i
Mr. Ho made substantial contributions to the Hong Kong ballet community and often attended performances by the talented group.

Stanley Ho was legendary for being light-footed and enjoyed the discipline of dance well into his golden years. Not only as a patron to the arts but as an agile older man spinning and dipping to the music.

4 – Ho Opened a Casino in North Korea

Ho became a part of gambling history when he opened his first Macau casino in 1970. Ho brought a futuristic and unique styling to the market with Casino Lisboa.

This hotel-casino made a big splash with gamblers and encouraged the region’s development into the casino gambling mecca it has become known as.

The grand reception of Casino Lisboa also served to propel Stanley Ho into the role of casino tycoon. Ho owned over 20 casinos when he passed away.

Exterior of Casino Lisboa in Macau

These included possibly the most secluded casino on earth, the infamous Casino Pyongyang. Yes, that Pyongyang.

The Casino Pyongyang sits in the North Korean capital as the sole casino in the city. In fact, there exists only one other casino in the country.

You may be surprised to learn there’s a casino in North Korea or that the impoverished nation has many gamblers. Well, gambling by citizens is strictly forbidden.

North Koreans aren’t only forbidden from gambling in the casino. They aren’t even allowed inside the casino.

This includes all staff, which is comprised 100% of foreigners. The casino is relatively small in comparison to most casinos in the United States. So, the small team has little trouble handling the few small tables and sparse clientele.

The casino’s number one clients are from China. It’s impossible to determine what percentage of visitors to the casino are Chinese, but it’s safe to assume it’s over 95%.

I don’t recommend you travel to North Korea. If you’re ever in the country, it may be a unique casino to visit and brag to your friends.

Please, just be extra cautious and follow any casino rules or staff requests to a “T.”

5 – “HK 1” Registration Plates

Stanley Ho owned many luxury automobiles. You probably aren’t surprised by a billionaire with a fleet of cars worth millions.

I don’t blame you for not gawking at a $400,000 price tag on one of the many Rolls Royce parked on his estate. It’s a drop in the bucket of his wealth and a fine specimen of a luxury automobile.

However, his stable of opulent cars is dwarfed compared to one thing that many people may overlook. That’s the subtle yet incredibly expensive registration he owns for his ride.

Stanley Ho owned the rights to the Hong Kong “HK 1” registration plates, and they’re valued at over $12,000,000. That’s U.S. dollars, the number jumps to a smooth HK$100 million if you prefer enormous figures.

I can’t fathom spending $12 million on what amounts to a vanity plate. In fact, if I had $12 million, you may never hear from me again.

6 – Stanley Ho Had Four Wives

Stanley Ho lived a life of extravagant excess, and that abundance didn’t stop when it came to his personal life.

Ho had four wives. Now, I understand that having four wives isn’t nearly as uncommon as it was before divorce became so rampant. But Stanley Ho had four wives simultaneously, which is pretty rare in mainstream culture.

Ho’s first marriage was to Clementina Leitao in 1942, and the couple had four children together.

In 1973, Clementina was in a horrific car crash that left her in a wheelchair and requiring special care 24 hours a day. The two remained married until Clementina passed away in 2004.

Stanley Ho and His Family With His First Wife

Lucina Laam became Mrs. Stanley Ho II in 1957. Qing Dynasty law permitted polygamy in Hong Kong until 1971.

The couple had five children together, including Lawrence, who took over the family business.

Lucina was often seen on Stanley’s arm at social events, and the pair became known as the “Dancing King and Queen.”

Ina Chan came into Ho’s life as a full-time nurse for Clementina. In fact, Clementina reportedly set the stage for Ina and Stanley to explore a romantic relationship.

Maybe Clementina felt a need to provide Lucina a lesson on turnabout being fair play. Chan and Ho were “married” in 1985, and the couple added three more children to the Ho clan.

Only a year after his third wife joined the family, Stanley met Angela Leoung. The dance instructor caught the tycoon’s eye at a ball held in his honor, and the two struck a friendship.

Within four years, the pair were living together and had the first of their four children, Sabrina. Stanley Ho didn’t confirm their relationship publicly until 1998.

Though the two were never married, Ho remarked that all of his children’s mothers were his wives. The couple had four children together.

Stanley Ho clearly had a large family with four wives and 16 children. I guess you can afford 16 college tuition on a billionaire’s salary.

7 – “Casino Tycoon”

Stanley Ho was such an inspiration and a larger than life figure that he inspired a movie. Casino Tycoon is a 1992 film starring Andy Lau.

The film did so well in the Asian markets that they even made a sequel, dynamically dubbed Casino Tycoon 2.

The movie didn’t receive any Oscars. Nor are you likely to find it on any lists of the best casino movies of all time.

However, if you have a couple of hours to kill and a Netflix account check it out. It’s decidedly better than anything Rob Schneider has ever done.

Conclusion

Stanley Ho lived life to the fullest. He built a casino empire from nothing using his lucrative and exciting life as a smuggler.

To say he had a large family may be an understatement. He had a full-on clan of intelligent and very motivated children.

He loved to dance the Macau nights away with one of his wives by his side. Even well into his later years, Ho enjoyed the arts.

I’m not sure when my time will be up, but 98 sound like a pretty good number — especially if I’m able to continue doing the things I love the most until the end.

The 7 Best Casinos in Oklahoma

Oklahoma State Seal With an Oklahoma Casinos Background

While not quite on the same level as Las Vegas, Oklahoma has become quite the gaming destination since casinos were legalized in 2004.

With no fewer than 134 casinos to choose from, including the largest casino in the United States, Oklahoma comes in second only to Nevada when it comes to choices of venue.

Located exclusively on Native American tribal lands across the state, you’ll find plenty of quality entertainment to choose from, including:

  • Slot machines
  • Blackjack
  • Poker
  • Live entertainment

Dice and roulette wheels have only recently been legalized and regulated, so they’re still hard to find.

Ready to test your skills and discover if fortune awaits? Here’s my list of the seven best casinos for gambling in Oklahoma.

1 – The Winstar World Casino

Sleepy Thackerville, Oklahoma is home to the largest casino in the U.S.—the WinStar World Casino. In operation since gaming was legalized by the State in 2004, Winstar offers more than 500,000 square feet dedicated to the largest collection of electronic games in the world.

The poker room is spacious and has become famous over the years for providing solid gaming action any time of the day or night, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Casino Floor of Winstar World Casino in Oklahoma

If you’re bringing your family along or are looking for more of a true vacation experience, you can take advantage of their 1,500 rooms located in 3 tower hotels and the many other attractions, including:

  • 36 holes of golf
  • Live entertainment
  • Spa and fitness center
  • Pool and cabanas
  • Shopping areas
  • Restaurants and bars

If you’re passing through on a roadtrip across the Southwest, an RV park containing 160 spaces might be more your style.

If you’re looking for a single, one-off Oklahoma casino experience, I recommend the Winstar World Casino as your obvious destination.

2 – Choctaw Casinos & Resorts—Durant

Choctaw Casino & Resort—Durant is one of seven properties that are owned and operated by the Choctaw Nation.

The second-largest casino in the state behind only the Winstar World Casino, Choctaw Casino & Resorts—Durant hosts a vibrant gaming scene, no matter what your game of choice may be.

4,300 slot machines are ready for you to test your fortune, including your classic favorites as well as the latest in electronic gaming developments. Progressive, high-stakes, and penny slots are all made available for your gaming enjoyment.

Pool Area of Choctaw Casino Durant in Oklahoma

The dedicated poker room has 26 tables that range from low-stakes friendly games to high-stakes for serious poker players looking to test their skills. I recommend this particular venue for poker aficionados because it’s located on a separate floor from the main casino and is well-suited to concentration. Their excellent service staff works hard to make sure you have an exciting experience.

A racebook (horse racing wagers for 18 seperate tracks located across the country) and a wide range of table games complete the outstanding gaming experience.

As a resort, the Choctaw Casinos & Resorts—Durant offers 8 restaurants, approximately 775 hotel rooms, an RV park with 75 spaces, as well as excellent amenities and entertainment in addition to gaming that make it a great place for a vacation or conference, including:

  • Live entertainment
  • Shopping
  • Video game arcade
  • Bowling
  • Spa and pool facilities
  • Gymnasium and batting cages

Its location in southwest Oklahoma makes it a convenient choice for gaming enthusiasts from Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

3 – Riverwind Casino

Riverwind Casino, located in Norman, OK, is the largest casino in close proximity to the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.

The 219,000-square-foot casino, which is owned by the Chickasaw Nation, opened in 2004. It hosts more than 2,800 electronic games and a wide variety of table games, including blackjack, roulette, and craps.

The Riverwind offers a High Stakes venue that makes it a favorite among those looking for more serious wagers and bigger payouts.

If Texas Hold ’Em or Pot Limit Omaha are your games of choice, the poker room at Riverwind Casino has 17 tables and 153 seats. They also host daily tournaments and promotions designed to increase the excitement of your poker experience, and the payoffs attract players ranging from the casually interested to the most serious around.

Exterior of Riverwind Casino in Oklahoma

The poker room has limited hours, though more than adequate for most players. The poker room is open 9 AM to 3:30 AM Sunday through Thursday, and 9 AM to 4:30 AM Friday and Saturday.

The 100-room Riverwind Hotel offers a comfortable, restful stay in well-appointed rooms just minutes from the gaming action.

I recommend Riverwind also for its impressive country music entertainment and comedy line-ups as well.

If you find yourself in the Oklahoma City area, Riverwind is worth the 30-minute drive south down I-35 to Norman.

4 – Newcastle Casino

A sister property of Riverwind Casino, the 112,000-square-foot Newcastle Casino is owned and operated by the Chickasaw Nation.

The town of Newcastle is within an hour’s drive of downtown Oklahoma City—it’s an excellent smaller venue for those more focused on the games and stakes, as opposed to the hustle and bustle of the larger resorts like the Winstar World Casino and the Choctaw Casinos & Resorts—Durant.

Slot Machines Inside Newcastle Casino in Oklahoma

The 83,000-square-foot gaming floor is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing more than 3,000 electronic games for your wagering entertainment.

Its wide variety of table games include:

  • Baccarat
  • Roulette
  • Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em

As advertised, the Newcastle provides skilled dealers and offers an authentic, no-frills poker and gaming experience in a relaxed and comfortable environment, catering to amateur and professional players alike.

Although the casino has no hotel offering rooms for extended stays on site, it offers a full-service bar and an 82-seat restaurant that serves a wide variety of Southern-style dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The restaurant is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

5 – The Cherokee Casino Roland

Owned and operated by Cherokee Nation Entertainment, a division of Cherokee Nation Businesses, the 170,000-square-foot Cherokee Casino Roland is located near the Oklahoma-Arkansas state line, a 10-minute drive from Ft. Smith, AR on US Interstate 40.

Cherokee Casino Roland is home to an exciting slot selection of over 900 of the latest reel, video reel, and video poker games that offer impressive jackpots and progressive payouts.

Exterior of Cherokee Casino Roland in Oklahoma

Table games include:

  • Ultimate Texas Hold’em Progressive
  • Blackjack
  • Three Card Poker Progressive
  • 21 Plus 3

One of the main draws for people who visit the Cherokee Casino Roland is the atmosphere. The establishment has a comfortable and enjoyable feel. The experienced dealers and staff that you’ll meet on the casino floor receive great reviews from visitors as well.

If you’re hoping to stay for a few days, the Cherokee Casino Roland has 120 comfortable, non-smoking rooms with a variety of amenities, and there are also 12 suites offering a higher level of luxury.

6 – Indigo Sky Casino

Opened in 2012, Indigo Sky Casino in Wyandotte, OK, is one of the newer casinos making a splash on the Oklahoma casino scene.

The hotel has 244 rooms, and the casino area hosts more than 1200 electronic games and 12 table games, including No-Limit Hold ‘Em, Omaha, Crazy Pineapple, and variations on classic favorites like Double Deck Pitch Blackjack, Six Deck Shoe Blackjack, WPT Heads Up Hold’em, Four Card Frenzy, and Three Card Prime progressives.

Main Entrance of Indigo Sky Casino in Oklahoma

The eight-table poker room is somewhat small, but you’ll find that it’s always active and the atmosphere is enjoyable.

The Indigo Sky Casino also has a 520-seat bingo hall, which provides a sense of nostalgia for the days when bingo was the only form of gambling allowed in the state.

two restaurant-bars, a food court, and 244 comfortably-appointed rooms round out this excellent casino experience.

7 – River Spirit Casino Resort

Located in Tulsa,OK, the River Spirit Casino became home to Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Casino and Restaurant in 2016.

Approximately 200,000 square feet of gaming space makes River Spirit Casino Resort one of the largest casinos in the state. Their wide selection of electronic games includes more than 3,100 of the most popular, state-of-the-art electronic games, ranging from progressives to electronic poker.

Exterior of River Spirit Casino in Oklahoma

They have a large table game selection that includes:

  • Blackjack
  • Roulette
  • Craps
  • Ultimate Texas Hold’em
  • 21+3
  • Free Bet Blackjack
  • Bad Beat Mini-Baccarat

The poker room has 15 tables and a full-service, professional staff that is attentive and adds to the comfortable-yet-exciting atmosphere.

The hotel has 483 guest rooms in a 27-story tower with a host of modern amenities. The resort also encompasses Paradise Cove Theater, a venue for live entertainment and sporting events.

A variety of bars and restaurants are available to meet your needs, including the popular tropic-themed Margaritaville Restaurant.

Conclusion

Whatever your preferences may be, you’ll be able to find great casinos all over Oklahoma, each one providing its own unique blend of gaming, entertainment, and amenities.

Limiting this list to just seven of my favorites, I’ve no doubt left out places that provide excellent experiences. Feel free to let me know what I’m missing in the comment section.

How to Stop Worrying and Start Gambling

Woman With a Worried Look Using Her Laptop and a Man Playing Roulette

Are you avoiding a potentially entertaining hobby because you worry too much?

In this post, I look at the main reasons would-be gamblers worry and what they should do about it.

If you want to start gambling, that’s okay, but you need to make good decisions. In this post, I explain how making good decisions can help you stop worrying and start a carefree gambling hobby.

You Might Worry About Having Enough Money to Gamble

I don’t want to be the guy to tell you how big your income needs to be before you can launch into a gambling hobby. I have friends who gamble even though they qualify for food stamps. They spend $2 a week playing the lottery, and that’s it for them.

This doesn’t mean that gambling when you’re in poverty is a good idea.

In fact, if you’re not making $75,000 a year or more, it’s probably a good idea to forego the gambling hobby until you’ve figured out how to increase your income. This might require asking for a raise, getting a better education, and/or finding another career.

$75,000, though, seems to be the break-even point when it comes to balancing income and happiness. Every dollar you earn over $75,000 creates a much smaller net effect on your overall happiness level than every dollar up to that point.

Rows of Slots on a Casino Floor

How you get to a point where you’re earning $75,000 a year is beyond the scope of this article.

But I can tell you this:

If you’ve arranged your life in a way that all your bills are paid, you have all the appropriate levels of insurance, and you’re saving a specific percentage of your income every payday, you might be able to afford to set aside 1% of your income for your gambling hobby.

I don’t think, under any circumstances, you should be willing to gamble more than 1% of your income. That’s how people go broke.

You Might Worry That Gambling Is a Sin

I’m not an expert on any specific religion, and I know that opinions vary from one faith to another about whether gambling constitutes sinning.

I have my own opinion, though, and here it is:

If you’re not hurting anyone else, you should feel comfortable doing what you enjoy.

If your morality insists that you should be doing sometime more worthwhile with your money than gambling, so be it. Carry on.

But I’m going to suggest that gambling responsibly is a legitimate form of entertainment comparable to going to the movies or watching television. So long as you’re not cheating anyone out of money that should be theirs, I don’t think you’re going anything wrong.

You Might Worry That You Don’t Know How to Play

I don’t recommend going into a casino without a basic understanding of how to play the casino games, but here’s the good news:

Most casino games can be learned in less than five minutes.

You can find tutorials for how to play every casino game you can imagine right here on this site, but you can also play free demo versions on your computer by visiting any of the real money online casinos we recommend here.

You don’t even have to risk your own money.

El Royale Online Casino Blackjack

With most casino games, the house has a mathematical edge that you can do nothing about. Other games, like blackjack and video poker, require some knowledge on the part of the player.

But this knowledge is easy to get and understand. Just spend some time surfing the web, reading, and then playing some games for free on your computer.

You Might Worry That the Casinos Cheat

My dad was always convinced that the casinos cheated. They sort of cheat, but not in the way he thought. They just pay out bets at odds that are lower than the odds of winning. In the long run, statistics and math make it impossible for the casino to lose and impossible for the player to win.

But you’re not interesting in the long run, anyway.

Casino gamblers can and do win money in the short run. It happens every day. I’ve seen estimates that suggest that 20% of a casino’s daily visitors go home having won some money that day.

This would almost have to be the case, in fact, or no one with any sense at all would continue to gamble in casinos.

But casinos don’t control the outcomes of specific games. The dice are random, the roulette wheel offers you a 1/38 probability of hitting a specific number, and slot machines are entirely random, too. The blackjack dealer isn’t a card mechanic, either.

The casino doesn’t have to cheat to win. The math behind the games ensures that they’ll win.

You Might Worry That It’s Impossible to Win

As I mentioned in my last point, it is impossible to win in the long run at almost every casino game there is. The casino pays out less in winnings than the odds of winning warrant, so they’re going to win money in the long run no matter what. If you play a negative expectation game long enough, you’ll certainly go broke.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have winning sessions at the casino or even entire winning trips to the casino. In the short run, people win all the time. That’s what keeps them returning to the casino to gamble again.

There are techniques that can work in the long run for helping you get the edge when gambling. For example, you can learn to count cards in blackjack and gain an edge over the casino. You can also get an edge playing poker by being better than the average poker player.

You can even win money sports betting if you get savvy enough.

So don’t avoid gambling just because you think it’s impossible to win. That’s simply not true. It’s entirely possible to win.

You Might Worry About Impulse Control

I know a lot of recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. I’ve been to the casino with some of them. Many of them shouldn’t be gambling because they just don’t have the impulse control that other people have been blessed with.

Alcoholics and drug addicts have this in common:

They’ve changed their brain chemistry by abusing substances for so long that they’re more eager to change their dopamine levels than the average person.

And if there’s one thing we know about gambling, it’s this:

It has a distinct, measurable affect on brain chemistry – especially as it relates to dopamine.

i
It’s possible that if you’re worried about gambling addiction, you’re probably better off avoiding casinos altogether.

I respect that decision. I’ve seen friends of mine blow entire paychecks at the casino and been unable to pay their rent afterward.

You don’t want to be that guy, for sure.

Also, I don’t know of any programs that teach people how to gamble moderately. I’ve seen programs for people who want to learn how to drink moderately, but I have no personal experience with how well they work.

If you want to start a support group for people who want to learn how to gamble moderately, you have my blessing.

But I still think absolute abstinence might be your best option if you think your impulse control problems might interfere with your ability to gamble responsible.

You Might Worry About Unhealthy Behaviors

One thing about casinos to remember:

They’re not there to encourage you to be healthy.

In fact, almost everything about casinos encourages you to engage in unhealthy behaviors. I don’t drink anymore, but I can see how spending time at a casino might encourage that behavior. After all, the drinks are free if you’re gambling.

Beer and a Cigarette in an Ashtray

I like to think that having been sober for 6+ years might help me avoid that drink, but that could be wishful thinking.

But even if I avoid the drinks, I’m a sucker for a good buffet.

Basically, casino destinations like Vegas encourage you to revel in “sinning” behaviors. I don’t judge these behaviors from a moral perspective, but I encourage you to consider the health consequences of such behaviors.

Conclusion

How do you stop worrying and start gambling?

The first step is to make sure you can afford to gamble. The next step is to educate yourself about the gambling options you have available to you.

You should also engage in various forms of risk analysis to decide if gambling is something you should be doing at all. For many people, it’s best abstained from altogether.

7 Mathematical Facts About Blackjack You Need to Know

Math Equations and a Casino Blackjack Hand

Math isn’t something that most gamblers want to think about when they’re gambling, but it can help in so many ways. Blackjack is a casino game that shows exactly how much knowing a little bit of math can improve results.

In fact, if you embrace the arithmetic behind the game, you can actually win more than you lose when you play blackjack.

Here are seven mathematical facts that every blackjack player needs to know.

1 – Odds Based on a Specific Set of Cards

The best thing about playing blackjack for real money is that everything that happens when you play is controlled by a specific set of cards. Most blackjack players don’t think about the game this way, but there are only 52 cards in a deck.

Even if the game is using six or eight decks of cards, there are still only 52 possible cards. And the base game of blackjack really only uses 13 sets of cards. This is because the jack of diamonds and jack of spades are the same. And because there are 13 ranks of cards, there are only 13 sets of cards that matter, no matter how many decks are being used.

This might not seem like it matters much, but once you understand why this is important and how you can use it, it helps you make smart decisions at the blackjack table.

If you have a hard 16 and the dealer is showing a six, do you know what the correct play is? You’re going to learn more about strategy cards in a different section. But if you don’t have a strategy card, you can get a good idea of the correct play using the fact that there are only 13 possible card ranks in the deck.

Blackjack Table Playing Maximum Hands

If you hit and get any card of six through king, you bust. If you bust, it doesn’t matter what happens to the dealer hand. This means that eight cards will make you bust, and only five help your hand.

You also know that the dealer has one of the 13 cards as his or her face down card. If the dealer has a 10 through king, they have a hard 16 and have the same chance to bust as you. You also know that if they have a six through nine, they have to hit and have a decent chance to bust. This means that eight out of 13 cards are bad for the dealer.

If these are the only things you know, it’s clear that the best play is to stand. This is why a specific set of cards is valuable to you when you play blackjack. You can use this information every time you play.

2 – Splitting Eights

Now, you can see some specific ways to use the information you learned about in the first section. Consider your hand if you start with a pair of eights.

If you had to play a pair of eights as a hard hand, you would start with a hard 16. A hard 16 is the worst hand you can have, but luckily in this case, you have the opportunity to split the pair.

You have to place another wager, but it’s worth it to avoid starting with a hard 16. You receive another card on each of your eights.

Here’s a list of cards that help you a great deal on an eight. A two, three, nine, 10, jack, queen, king, and ace all put you in a good spot. This is eight out of 13 cards. Even a four through seven is better than a hard 16. This means that, by splitting, you can’t possibly be in a worse spot than playing it as a hard hand.

If you get another eight, you can split again.

3 – Splitting Aces

When you start with a pair of aces, you have either two or 12. Neither of these is a good starting total. But when you split aces, you have an opportunity to improve by a large amount.

Any of the cards 10 through king give you a total of 21. A six through nine all give you a soft 17 or better. The only cards that don’t help you much are two through five, and you still have a soft hand with each of these. You still have a chance to win. This is another situation where eight out of the 13 possibilities improve your hand quite a bit.

You can see how the mathematics of blackjack help you improve your chances to win by the examples in these first three sections.

4 – Doubling Down

The usefulness of mathematics in blackjack doesn’t stop with the examples above. It’s also useful in situations where you need to determine how to get more money in play when you have a good chance to win.

When you have a hard 11, 10, or nine, it’s often more profitable to double down than to hit. When you double down, you get twice as much money in play on the hand, and you receive one more card to complete your hand.

Red Casino Blackjack Table

With an 11, you should double down every time except when the dealer has an ace showing. With a hard 10, doubling down is the most profitable play except when the dealer has an ace or 10 point card showing. And with a nine, you should double down when the dealer shows a three through six.

A few soft hands also are more profitable to double down with, and you can learn more about these hands by using a strategy card. You can learn more about strategy cards in the next section.

5 – Casino Strategy Cards

Now that you see how valuable it is to use math when gambling, you might be wondering if you need to do all of the math yourself. I’m going to put your mind at ease. Someone else has already done all the blackjack math for you and put it in an easy-to-use strategy card.

You can get a strategy card and use it every time you play blackjack. The card has all of the best possible plays, so you simply follow the card on every hand. It covers hard hands, pairs, and soft hands.

6 – Counting Cards

Even if you use a strategy card, you still are fighting a house edge. This means that you’re losing money playing blackjack, even though you’re playing with a small house edge.

But you can use math to help you turn this around and get a small edge against the casino. The way to do this is to use card counting.

Card counting may seem complicated at first, but it’s just a way to use math to play with an edge. You keep track of high and low cards that are played, then make larger wagers when you have an edge.

If you play blackjack, you should learn more about counting cards. It’s not as hard as you probably think, and once you learn how to use proper card counting systems, you can benefit every time you play.

7 – Sizing Your Bets

Math is also helpful when it comes to figuring out how much you need to bet when you play blackjack. And it’s actually pretty simple to figure this out.

When you play blackjack and the casino has an edge, you need to bet the lowest amount possible. This means that every time you play blackjack and aren’t counting cards, you need to make the table’s minimum wager.

Even when you’re using a strategy card, the casino has an edge. It isn’t a big edge, but it’s still an edge. This means that the bigger your bets are, the more you lose.

When you learn about card counting, you learn when you have an edge. When you have an edge, you bet more. This is the only time that you should ever bet more than the table minimum.

Depending on the size of your bankroll, you should bet as much as possible when you have an edge. In real life, it’s hard to always bet the least and the most possible depending on the situation. But you’re going to learn how to do this as you learn more about counting cards.

Conclusion

The power of blackjack math starts with the 13 ranks of cards in the deck. Once you understand how you can use this knowledge, your results are going to improve right away.

Use the math behind a blackjack strategy card to get started, then learn how to count cards. If you practice long enough, you can learn how to get an edge every time you play.

6 Things to Consider Before Booking a Casino Trip

Check List With a Red Marker and Dice and Casino Chips

It might be a gambling trip by name, but in reality, a trip to the casino (and hopefully accompanying resort) is so much more than just time spent on the gaming floor.

For those who have never planned a gambling trip, there are is definitely a learning curve. Just like anything else, everyone gets better from experience. With that being said, if it’s your first time, don’t worry, you can still make the most of it.

In this article, I’ll explain the top five things you need to consider before booking a casino and resort trip.

1 – Pick the Right Casino

Because most US land based casinos do have resorts attached, I’ll assume that’s what you’ll be dealing with.

Though many of these establishments have similar amenities like buffets, live shows, golf courses, and more, it’s important to make sure you recognize they also have some very significant differences.

First, casino resorts can be located in vastly different places. I don’t mean different cities, but rather some are smack in the middle of downtown, and some are miles away from anything resembling a city.

Exterior of Foxwoods Resort and Casino

If you’re going to be staying on the resort throughout the duration of your trip, I would recommend checking out some options that help you feel like you’re getting away from it all. If you’re looking to shop or explore the city, double check to make sure that there’s one nearby.

Aside from all the entertainment that happens on a daily basis, look and see if there are any special events going on during the time you’ll be visiting. If your search comes down to two places, this could be the deciding factor on which one is best for you.

With such a vast array of locations to choose from, there’s undoubtedly a resort that can fulfill all your needs. Just be sure you’re doing adequate research beforehand so there are no unexpected surprises when you show up.

2 – Budget Accordingly

Managing a casino bankroll is difficult enough when you’re just going for a day trip. When you’re trying to budget for several days’ worth of gambling, it gets taken to the next level.

What makes budgeting for a weekend at a resort so complicated is the fact that there are going to be several expenses that have nothing to do with gambling. The solution? Keep it separate.

As many people have figured out the hard way, when you mix your gambling money with your regular finances, it can get messy. And by messy I mean you’ll usually end up with significantly less money than you thought you had.

Before you place your first bet on that hand of blackjack, make sure you have allocated a certain percentage of your funds only for gambling. I hate to say it, but if (or when) it runs out, don’t keep pouring money into the slot machine.

Plan on having some additional costs associated with the resort. For example, you might want to budget for a massage or spa day. As with the making of any budget, err on the side of setting aside more money than you think you’ll need. If you don’t end up using it, that’s great! More for the roulette table.

3 – Check Out Casino Promotions

Resorts are always offering some type of incentive to get visitors in the door. It’s worth your time to explore which places have the best deals and factor that into your decision of where to go.

To state the unfortunate, yet obvious truth, a trip to the resort simply isn’t going to be a cheap affair if you go anywhere that’s halfway decent. By finding a great deal, you’ll give yourself a little extra money to work with for either gambling, meals, or other amenities that might be offered.

Make no mistake about it – there’s no shame in taking a “cheap” approach to a resort vacation. Free nights, rounds of golf, or even gambling credit can make for an attractive offer.

I would not recommend choosing your destination based solely on deals, but if you’re able to narrow your choices down to a few places, you should factor it into the equation.

At the end of the day just about everyone likes saving money. The people who actually do save the extra cash are the ones that put a little effort into seeking out the deals. Be one of these people and you’ll give yourself a little extra cushion to use elsewhere.

4 – Look at User Photos and Reviews

I know, I know, this seems obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people think “this isn’t what I signed up for” when they arrive at the resort.

One reason that people get this unwelcome surprise is because they only looked at photos that were taken by professional photographers that make the resort look as nice as it possibly can. While I can’t fault the casino for this tactic, it can be rather misleading.

Hotel Suite in Casino Del Sol Arizona

Users will post photos of their experience, and you can get a much more unfiltered look at what the place is really like. Just like any other product or experience, user reviews are worth their weight in gold and can help you make a better-informed decision.

Most resorts will have hundreds, if not thousands, of user reviews from people just like you. Take advantage of the resources you have in order to avoid anything unexpected when you settle in for your stay.

5 – Choose Gambling Locations Wisely

I don’t mean choose the resort – but rather choose how far you want to travel for your little getaway. No matter where you are in the US there’s most likely great places to gamble within driving distance, but some people prefer to get a bit more exotic with their trip.

Remember that although traveling to an exciting tropical location is hard to beat, there are also some very real advantages to keeping things a little closer to home. For example, you can save big time on travel costs and put that money toward gambling or other features of the resort.

If you live in the Midwest and are looking for a major change in scenery, it’s understandable why you’d choose a beach casino resort. However, if you’re in the Midwest and choose to fly to, for example, a landlocked casino in the northeast, you might be better off avoid the hassle when the destination isn’t all that different from what you’re working with a couple hours away.

6 – Make an Itinerary

With so many exciting things to do, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to hit every single thing the resort has to offer. For this reason it’s a good idea to create a plan that allows you to fit as much fun into your visit as possible without feeling overwhelmed.

Exterior of Winstar Casino and Resort

The last thing you want is to show up and have so many activities at your disposal that you don’t know where to start. Look over the events that are taking place during your stay and start putting together an itinerary…just like dad taught you!

At the end of the day, I know it sounds lame, but when you have a limited amount of time and an abundance of potential options, it’s important to have a plan. Not to mention, if you don’t have one, you could end up spending much more than you anticipated on casino games.

Conclusion

Casino resort weekend getaways are one of the most underrated forms of entertainment. Having everything you need to have a blast all in one place is something that you won’t find on many vacations.

Before you book it, just be sure that you’ve done your research. With so many options out there, you should have no problem at all finding something that fits all your entertainment needs.

7 Reasons New Gamblers Lose Money Playing Hold’em

Man Scratching His Head With a Money and Poker Background

If you’re a fan of playing Texas Hold’em, there’s a good chance that you’ve had a nightmare scenario like the following unfold a few times. My first time playing Hold’em for real money, I was in college and was invited to a friend’s house for his weekly poker night. I’ve played Hold’em for as long as I can remember and figured I’d play for a few hours and win some money.

An hour after I arrived at the game, I was in my car heading back to my apartment, broke and speechless. I couldn’t figure out what went wrong. I knew how to play the game, I had been somewhat successful in the past during casual games, but when it came time to play for serious money, I collapsed under the pressure.

Real money Texas Hold’em is one of the most popular types of poker and is a game any serious gambler should learn to play well. If you’re anything like I was during my early college days, and you’re experiencing consistent losses, you’re not alone. Here are seven reasons why new gamblers lose money playing Texas Hold’em. Learn to understand where you’re going wrong.

1 ‒ Lack of Information and Preparation

This reason should go without saying, but you’d be surprised to find out how many inexperienced gamblers tend to overstate their preparation. As I said, I fell victim to this during my first big cash game and continued to struggle with this for several months after I first started gambling. A few casual games of poker don’t equate to success during legitimate games and tournaments.

To adequately prepare to hold your own at the table, you need to understand everything there is to know about the game of Hold’em. That means you must know which hands beat other hands and other basic rules and game mechanisms.

Texas Holdem Player With a Royal Flush Hand

Even if you feel as though you’re prepared to compete against older and more experienced gamblers, you most likely still have some room for growth. Playing Hold’em successfully involves having the rules down pat while also being able to pick up subtle idiosyncrasies about other players, otherwise known as tells. You must be well-versed at the game because you’ll be completely taken aback by the game’s complexity your first time playing for real money.

2 ‒ Overconfidence in Your Abilities

This point plays off of the previous topic. New gamblers can sometimes be braggadocious and overconfident due to immaturity and naivete. Just because you routinely beat your family members during casual poker games doesn’t mean you’re going to waltz into a room full of bonafide poker players and succeed.

While you might feel confident in your talent, there are always ways to improve. Being successful at the tables requires an ability to roll with the punches and always be adapting to your surroundings.

Sure, you know the rule book front to back and understand the game on paper, but in all likelihood, all your preparation will fly out the window at the first signs of adversity.

Most gamblers aren’t good at gambling, but a bad gambler who has a ton of experience will routinely beat a new gambler prone to making rookie mistakes. It’s essential to maintain your humility and don’t be too cocky, or your play will suffer.

3 ‒ Being Too Aggressive

Depending on who you ask, you should only play about a third of your hands during a game of Hold’em max. If you try to play every hand, you’re going to be bounced from the table and heading home early. Newer players typically value the wrong types of card combinations or fail to understand when they should fold.

This frequently occurs during hands where you already have money on the table and think that you already have too much invested into a particular hand. Here’s some unsolicited advice: Don’t be too proud to fold a bad hand even if you’ve already bet a decent amount of chips.

There’s going to come a time during your game when you bet aggressively, and another player who most likely has a better hand is not only matching your bets, but raising you. As someone who wants to hold their own, it’s crucial to know when to cut your losses and fold. Just because you fold doesn’t mean you’re a weaker player, and frequently, the best players are those who don’t press their luck.

4 ‒ Not Being Aggressive Enough

While this point directly contradicts my previous point, it’s still pertinent and, unfortunately, accurate. Speaking from experience, a portion of new gamblers will limp through a game or slowplay strong hands trying to increase the pot. Both of these practices should be avoided.

Large Stack of Poker Chips

You cannot win playing Hold’em if you bet small and bow out of high-stake hands. If you continuously bet pre-flop only to fold if you’re unhappy with the cards, you’re going to bleed chips. Other, better players will notice this tendency and systematically take advantage of the mistakes you’re making.

Understanding which hands you should pursue and bet aggressively on will come with practice and a deeper appreciation of the strategy that goes into Hold’em. While this comes with time, it’s essential not to try to just hang around the table waiting for other gamblers to fall off the table. You may outlast them, but their chips are being redistributed around the table and only serve to increase other player’s chip stacks and strengthen their chances.

5 ‒ Bluffing Ineffectively

Nothing says, “I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing at this table,” like bluffing on almost every hand. Bluffing is an essential part of the game, but it is an easy way to lose all your money when done repeatedly. This practice should be done sparingly, so it takes your opponents off guard, rather than habitually.

I understand wanting to gain an edge wherever you can, especially if you’re facing the disadvantage of inexperience. But a significant part of Hold’em is reading the room and picking up on tendencies of your fellow players. If you’re continually bluffing with bad cards, better players will eventually pick up on your habits.

Unfortunately for many new gamblers, they can find themselves lucking into a few early pots because other players are still trying to get a feel for the table. If you want to employ a strategy of bluffing early to win a few hands, go right ahead. But be aware that this smart little trick will run its course, and your deception will most likely be uncovered.

6 ‒ Being Easy to Read

As I have mentioned several times throughout this post, Hold’em is a game that requires complete emotional competence. What I mean by this is that you can’t reveal too much during the course of the game or other gamblers will catch on. This goes for masking your excitement when you happen to catch a pair of aces, or your disappointment when you are dealt a 2 and a 7.

Being in control of your physical mannerisms and mastering your poker face equates to success at a Hold’em table. When you can contain your emotions, you’ll learn to play with the knowledge you have stored rather than relying on any emotional factors that could influence your decision making.

Closeup of a Pocket Pair of Aces

When I first started playing poker, I struggled with this more than any other part of the game. It’s challenging to hide your feelings while gambling, especially when money is on the line. But if you aspire to win money, you need to be calm and collected throughout the game’s entirety.

7 ‒ Not Understanding Table Positions

Where you are situated during any given hand can be the difference between big wins and severe losses. Understanding table positions is relatively easy, and like most things in Hold’em, it will come with time. While you will eventually be able to understand positioning, it can be complex to master in the early stages of your time playing Hold’em.

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For the sake of simplicity, the two things to focus on are your relative and absolute positions. Your absolute position at the table is basically your position in relation to the button. Relative position refers to your proximity to the most aggressive gambler.

It’s preferable to be seated to the right of the most aggressive bettor, otherwise known as a “pre-flop raiser,” because you’ll have an opportunity to see how other players react to a raise.

Conclusion

Learning how to play Texas Hold’em is easy; creating your own playing style is a different story. For those of you brand new to the game, don’t be put off by a few early losses, as it’s to be expected. Hold’em is one of the most exciting varieties of poker and is worth your time if you’re a fan of the game.

To get ahead of the curve, make sure to have the rules down pat before you decide to play a cash game for serious money. Even if you feel completely prepared, you’ll most likely forget some rules the first time you sit down at the table. New gamblers often struggle to balance between being too aggressive and too passive, and both mistakes can lead to an early exit.

Some of the most common ways new Hold’em players lose money is by bluffing too often and being easy to read. Make sure to mask your emotions and keep the bluffing to a minimum.

Classic Slot Machines: From the Toast of Vegas to the Auction Block

Bally's Money Honey Slot Machine With a Fruit Reels Background

Classic slot machines once dominated the casino landscape. They were so popular, in fact, that they still form the modern stereotype for slots.

The general population often envisions three spinning reels and fruit symbols when thinking of slot machines. Of course, slots technology has changed greatly from these days.

Modern slots feature 3D graphics, entertaining features, and exciting animations. Classic slot machines, meanwhile, are more common in auction houses than casinos these days.

What happened? I’m going to discuss more on the basics of classic slots along with how they went from being the most-popular casino games to irrelevance.

What Is a Classic Slot Machine?

No standard definition exists for a classic slot. But at its very core, a classic game features three reels, one payline, and fruit symbols.

The classic slots definition has expanded over the years, though. Some people consider any machine that’s void of features and high-quality graphics to be classic in nature.

For example, a game may offer five reels and 10 paylines. But it falls into the traditional class if it doesn’t offer any features or high-tech visuals.

Up until the 1970s, all slot machines were mechanical and ran on reels. All of these slots easily fit under the classic umbrella.

Video slot machines came about in the mid-1970s. Although they introduced video technology to gaming floors, many early video slot machines were also classic.

The Rise of Classic Slots

Charles Fey developed the first slot machine in San Francisco California in 1895. His Liberty Bell machine featured three reels and five symbols, including a diamond, horseshoe, heart, spade, and Liberty Bell.

Up until this point, gambling machines were unable to make automatic payouts. Fey made a breakthrough, though, when he created an automatic payout system that delivered up to $0.50 for three Liberty Bells in a line.

Fey’s invention served as a precursor for what was to come. Slot machines began spreading throughout bars and other establishments in the US.

Row of Vintage Slot Machines

Entrepreneurs quickly took notice of slots’ popularity and began producing upgraded versions of the Liberty Bell. Eventually, developers produced a larger cabinet that operated through mechanical reels and made big payouts.

The slot machine’s popularity began to grow right along with the prizes. Gamblers started flocking to machines that offered jackpots worth up to 100 coins.

Of course, 100 credits is nothing special by modern gaming standards. However, this prize was quite significant to low rollers back in the day.

In 1963, Bally furthered the popularity of classic slots by introducing an electromechanical machine. Their Money Honey game became the first to offer payouts worth up to 500 coins and a bottomless hopper.

Classic Slot Machines Hit Their Peak in the 1970s

Bally’s Money Honey machine introduced new revolutionary slots features that included bigger payouts and more-unique themes. Soon, games were offering inventive concepts and prizes worth thousands of coins.

Players were previously impressed by hundreds of coins. So, they were enamored when jackpots grew even larger.

Gamblers appreciated themes that went beyond just fruits and bells. They could now look forward to slots based on adventure, animals, holidays, and more.

In many ways, the time period between the early 1960s and mid-1970s was the golden era of classic slots. Electromechanical machines and bigger payouts made these games more popular than ever.

Video Slots Change the Casino Industry

Things never stand still in the gaming industry for long. Just as classic slot machines were hitting their peak, video slots were being introduced to gaming floors.

Fortune Coin Co. produced the very first video slot machine in 1976. Their invention featured a 19-inch TV monitor that served as a display, and logic boards that controlled all of the betting actions.

The first video slot certainly wasn’t pretty, but it did usher in a new era for slots. This initial game served as the launching point for great things to come.

Vintage Video Slot Machine

Slowly but surely, developers started taking advantage of the new technology available to them. Video slots gave game providers the ability to produce graphics, animations, and, eventually, features.

By the 1990s, multi-line video slots were hitting casinos. These games became quick hits because they offer players more chances to win in a single round.

In 1996, Reel Em’ In would become the first slot to offer a second-screen bonus. The latter is notable because it paved the way for some of the outstanding features of today.

Online Slots Revolutionize the Casino Industry

Video slot machines already put a major dent in classic land-based slot machines. Real money online slots would give gamblers yet another option when they launched in the mid-1990s.

Internet slots essentially use the same type of programming that video slot machines do. Only, they’re available online rather than in brick-and-mortar casinos.

Gamblers don’t have to leave the house to play these games. Instead, they simply need an internet-capable device, such as a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Aztec Gold Online Slot

Online slots certainly haven’t replaced the brick-and-mortar gaming industry. But again, they do provide an alternative for those who don’t feel like traveling to casinos.

Going further, they’ve shown even more of what’s possible with slots. Online games have often started slots trends, such as cascading reels, expanding wilds, and Megaways.

Internet slots may not have been in direct competition with classic machines when they came out in the mid-1990s. But they helped show just how dated classic slots had become.

Classic Slots Are Collected Today – Not Played

The old classic slot machines, which feature three reels, fruit symbols, and no bonuses, aren’t found on many casino floors today. If they are, they’re merely some type of antique that the casino offers to a limited number of nostalgic players.

By and large, though, classic slots aren’t available on gambling floors. Everybody plays video slots these days, which makes classic games useless by the casino standards.

A classic slot wouldn’t bring in revenue for casinos. Only rare breeds want to play games with three reels and a single payline. These machines are more collectible items than anything today. They’re sold at live auctions and through eBay.

States have laws against owning unlicensed slot machines. However, they do make exceptions for classic slots.

Lawmakers don’t see classic machines as antiques rather than viable sources of illegal gaming revenue. That said, you can legally purchase a classic slot from an auction and store it at your house.

Classic Games Are Still Around in Some Form

The few truly classic slot machines that exist in casinos today are rarities. However, the concept of classic slots still exists in some form.

As mentioned before, a broader definition has emerged for classic games. A Slot machine can still be considered classic even if it has five reels and multiple paylines.

The defining element is that it can’t offer high-quality graphics, animations, and features. Instead, it just has to be a basic game to exist in the classic category.

Some online gaming developers today still make what could be considered classic slots. For example, WGS has produced a few three-reel, five-reel games.

Conclusion

Classic slot machines enjoyed a nice run from the late 1800s into the 1970s. However, their limited technology ensured that they eventually got passed by video slots.

A video slot simply offers developers more capabilities when producing games. Developers can add more paylines, features, and animations thanks to technology.

Meanwhile, classic slots disappeared from casinos floors due to their simple nature. Few people want to spin three reels and one line today.

Classic games are right where they belong today—at auctions and in people’s basements. Although an important part of gaming history, they hold little relevance in the modern gaming industry.

5 Reasons Why the Lottery Gets a Pass for Its Terrible RTP

Purple Lottery Balls and a Fan of Hundred Dollar Bills

The lottery is famous for offering the biggest jackpots in gambling. Mega Millions and Powerball have both delivered payouts worth over $1.5 billion. Meanwhile, plenty of other lotteries throughout the world also offer impressive prizes.

But the lottery has a badly kept secret that should give gamblers pause: it features terrible return to player!

The RTP for many lotteries throughout the world ranges between 50% and 60%. No other form of gambling gets a pass for such bad RTP.

Why then do people overlook how badly the lottery pays? Five reasons exist behind this phenomenon, which you can read about below.

1 – Lotteries Offer the Biggest Jackpots

In the back of their minds, everybody knows that playing the lottery isn’t a sound investment strategy. Many players receive little to nothing back for the money they spend.

However, most of the same gamblers are unnerved when their tickets turn up empty. After all, their eyes are on the biggest prizes.

Certain lotteries offer payouts that are unheard of anywhere else in the gambling industry. Prizes worth hundreds of millions of dollars are available through Powerball and Mega Millions.

Meanwhile, other national and even some state lotteries feature top prizes worth tens of millions of dollars. Many players have a win-all-or-nothing attitude when it comes to buying tickets.

New York Mega Millions Lottery Ticket

They’ll gladly take common prizes worth $10 or less. However, they mostly just dream of winning a life-changing jackpot someday.

Of course, lottery jackpots must grow before they’re worth unbelievable amounts. Every prize needs to start somewhere—even the Mega Millions and Powerball jackpot.

Speaking of which, their top payouts are both seeded at $20 million. As mentioned before, though, they’ve each paid out record prizes worth just over $1.5 billion in their histories.

Of course, the odds of winning the lottery astronomical. But gamblers don’t let the long odds stop them from playing.

2 – Most People Only Buy a Few Lottery Tickets

The average person doesn’t go online or into a convenience store and purchase hundreds of tickets. Instead, they only buy a few in hopes of getting extremely lucky.

$2 is the average price for a big drawing. Assuming somebody buys 3-5 tickets per week, they’re only spending $6 to $10 over the span of several days.

The average person would be better off in the long run if they invested the same amount every week. But they can also write these potential losses off to entertainment.

Long story short, lottery gamblers don’t normally spend lots of money on their hobby. Therefore, they don’t fixate on payout percentages.

Many other forms of gambling, meanwhile, encourage people to spend much more in one sitting. Everything from slot machines to sports betting tempts one to bet hundreds of dollars.

Here are a couple of examples to show how much slots players and sports bettors spend:

Slot Machines

  • A gambler starts playing an online slot through their smartphone.
  • They bets $0.25 on average per spin.
  • They log 600 spins in one hour.
  • 600 x 0.25 = $150 wagered per hour

Sports Gambling

  • A sports bettor places a $25 moneyline bet.
  • They also make a $25 prop wager.
  • While watching the game, they place two live bets worth $25 apiece.
  • The sports gambler has risked $100 in all.

As I’ll get into later, these types of gambles pay back much more on a per-dollar basis than the lottery. But lotteries don’t usually inspire people to risk as much money at once.

3 – Many Don’t Know About the Awful RTP

Some people would stop buying so many lottery tickets if they knew how bad the payout percentages were. After all, nobody wants to take gambles when they lose 50% of their money on average.

The problem, though, is that the average lottery player doesn’t know about the atrocious payback. Again, they’re fixated on jackpots and little else.

Here’s a look at the worst RTP on different state lotteries:

  • South Dakota = 20.32% RTP
  • Oregon = 25.05%
  • Delaware = 27.20%
  • Rhode Island = 29.81%
  • Oklahoma = 50.37%

As you can see, the long-term prospects of winning aren’t great. However, many players remain in the dark regarding the payout percentages.

They might think more about other types of gambling if they knew the reality. Speaking of which, almost every other game outside of the scam known as three-card monte gives people a better chance of winning money.

Florida Powerball Lottery Ticket

Here are examples of games that feature much better payback than the lottery:

  • Baccarat offers 98.94% RTP as long as you bet on the banker every time.
  • Blackjack can offer up to 99.65% RTP if you find a game with good rules and use proper strategy.
  • Craps features 98.64% RTP on the don’t pass line wager (even better with odds bets).
  • European roulette offers 97.30% payback.
  • French roulette features 98.65% RTP on even-money bets.
  • The average sports better wins back around 95% of the money they wager.

Unless you’re an advantage gambler, every bet features negative expectation. The reason why is because the house always takes its cut.

But the degree of negative expectation all depends upon the specific gamble. The games covered above give you a decent chance to win in the long run. You just need a little luck to earn profits.

The lottery, on the other hand, offers much lower expected value. Therefore, you need plenty of good fortune to win money.

4 – The Lottery Provides More For Good Causes

Lotteries may be stingy with payout percentages. However, they do give lots of money to worthwhile causes.

In fact, many lotteries are set up with the sole intention of funding certain state or national government programs. These programs typically pay for school and/or senior center resources.

People aren’t in favor of big tax hikes—even if they go to important matters. However, the same crowd may be willing to pay for such causes if doing so gives them a shot at getting rich.

One of the most-obvious reasons why the lottery gets away with awful RTP is because it does good things with the money.

Of course, gambling revenue of all sorts flows towards different state or national programs. Politicians don’t like approving new types of gambling if the government isn’t getting a cut.

However, casinos, poker rooms, and sportsbooks don’t give as much of the profits towards social programs. Instead, they may pay anywhere from an 8% to 25% tax rate on their revenue.

This type of tax money still does a lot of good. However, it’s not quite the same as a lottery operator giving away 30% to 40% of its overall revenue.

5 – Lotteries Aren’t Typically Viewed as Gambling

If you look at the process of purchasing a lottery ticket, you can obviously see that it amounts to gambling:

  • You walk into a convenience store or go online.
  • You spend money to buy one or more tickets.
  • The operator draws random numbers, or prints them on scratch cards.
  • Your results depend upon if your numbers match the random ones on the card.

Simply put, you’re risking money to win money. Nevertheless, many people don’t really associate the lottery with gambling.

Row of Casino Slot Machines

Instead, they simply see it as something that many people do for fun and thrills. As a result, average player isn’t overly concerned about payback.

Meanwhile, casino games, poker, and sports betting are definitely viewed as gambling. People want to know their chances of winning, or at least the house’s cut, with these bets.

Great emphasis is placed on the RTP of casino games. Gamblers especially want to know how much they can win back with slot machines.

Poker players want to know how much rake the operators take from each pot. Likewise, sports bettors look for bookmakers that have lower margins on bets.

Conclusion

The lottery definitely doesn’t pay well in the long run when compared to virtually any other type of gambling. Some lotteries even pay back less than 30% of what they take in through ticket sales.

Compare this dismal payback to blackjack (99% RTP) or French roulette (98.65%), for example. In short, you’re getting a raw deal when playing the lottery.

However, various reasons exist for why lotteries get away with bad payout percentages. They offer huge jackpots, give money to social causes, and don’t encourage players to spend lots of funds.

None of these reasons erase the awful payback associated with the lottery. But they at least show why people are still willing to regularly buy tickets.

Is France Too Expensive? Try Paris Casino in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Sign and the Paris Las Vegas Casino Hotel

Located on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France, the Eiffel Tower is one of the most recognizable monuments in the world. Originally created for the Exposition Universelle of 1889, the Eiffel Tower helped the event draw 32 million visitors and contributed to the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Storming of the Bastille.

The monument attracts more paid visitors per year than any other monument in the world, drawing 6.91 million people in 2015. Standing 1,063 feet tall, the Eiffel Tower held the title of tallest building in the world, passing the Washington Monument upon its construction in 1930.

The tower would hold that distinction for 40 years, before being overtaken by the Chrysler Building in New York City. The Eiffel Tower is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, but many find traveling overseas to be a big hassle, and not worth the effort of obtaining a passport and buying international plane tickets. Luckily, there’s an alternative.

Monument Replicas

If you’re in America and willing to visit Las Vegas, you can experience the thrill of visiting the Eiffel Tower for cheaper and far less trouble. The hotel and casino, Paris Las Vegas, features a half-size Eiffel Tower replica. The Parisian theme goes beyond the Eiffel Tower.

Paris Las Vegas features a two-thirds size Arc de Triomphe, a sign in the shape of the Montgolfier balloon, a replica of La Fontaine des Mers, and a 1,200-seat theatre called Le Théâtre des Arts.

While the casino will always be a different experience from visiting historical France and taking in the culture and art of the European country, it’s a great way to experience French culture, enjoy a terrific casino, and have access to all of Las Vegas’ other popular attractions.

Table Games

In addition to the main floor of the Paris casino, there’s also a high roller area called Salon des Tables, located right off the main floor.

The casino features a vast variety of table games, and there are enough different games to suit everyone’s style.

Blackjack

Known as 21, blackjack has had a long history. It was invented in Europe and made its way to America by the 1800s. The game has gone through many name changes, also being known as 21. And there are also lots of variations of the game.

Paris Las Vegas Blackjack Tables

The most popular variant in America, blackjack, involves players trying to get a hand that’s as close to 21 as possible, without going over. Players can choose to “hit” or “stand,” based on the first two cards they’re dealt and the card they see in the dealer’s hand.

Craps

Craps is another popular table game offered at the Paris casino . Based on the original English dice game, known as hasard, craps simplified the rules of the original English game and became popular in America.

Players will bet on the outcome of a roll of dice or a series of rolls.

Whoever is rolling the dice is known as the shooter. Players will place bets by placing chips on marked sections of the layout. Craps is an exciting game that’s approachable to both newcomers and experienced bettors.

Baccarat

Popular among French nobility since the 19th century, baccarat was originally played in French private gaming rooms. Baccarat Banque was the earliest form of baccarat and allows three players to participate in the game at once.

If you’re spending time at a casino based on French gambling history, baccarat is a must considering the game’s origins.

Two hands will be dealt, and whichever hand comes closest to nine will be the winner.

Roulette

Like baccarat, roulette was also devised in France.

The term roulette is named after the French word for “little wheel.” The game was originally devised in the 17th century on accident. The inventor of the game was attempting to develop a perpetual motion machine.

Numbers on the roulette wheel will be marked with the numbers 1-36, in addition to 0, 00, and 000, depending on the variant.

You can bet on numbers, evens, odds, reds, or blacks when playing roulette. Different bets will have different odds lending the game an exciting variability.

Other games featured at the Paris Las Vegas casino include:

  • Pai Gow Poker
  • Three Card Poker, Six Card Bonus
  • Pai Gow Tiles
  • Let It Ride

Slot Machines

Real money slots are known ams fruit machines in England. Before appearing in England, a precursor to the slot machine was developed in New York in 1891.

The predecessor contained five drums holding a total of 50 face cards and was based on poker. Like slot machines, players would insert a nickel, then spin a lever. The game would pay out depending on how well the machine’s slots matched a poker hand.

The game proved extremely popular, even though it had no direct payout mechanism as it does today. Instead of coins spilling out of the machine like many modern slot machines, players would receive a beer from the bar or a cigar depending on the poker hand displayed by the machine.

Slot Machines at Paris Las Vegas

While it may be a nice idea to receive beer or cigars from modern-day slot machines, the machines at Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino have so many styles of play and bonuses that you’ll never want to go back to the olden days of slot machines.

Over 1,700 slot machines mingle with Parisian streetscapes, fountains, and statues in the Paris casino.   High-limit Champagne Slots, multimillion-dollar statewide progressive Megabucks games, and the newest slot machines are all available.

Sportsbook

Featuring both a racebook and a sportsbook, the Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino offers plenty of sports betting action during your stay.

The Paris Las Vegas Race Book has staffers that can teach you the ins and outs of horse racing, so if you’re a newcomer you’ll get the chance to learn all about horse racing.

Horse racing can be a deceptively complex sport to bet on. It has a long, rich history; the enduring, worldwide popularity of the sport has resulted in many types of bets being available on it.

Parlay bets can be mind-boggling to understand, so having a staffer explain them to you can help you feel comfortable betting on the sport of kings.

Paris Las Vegas Sportsbook

If you’re not interested in equine sports, the Paris Las Vegas Sportsbook may be more up your alley. A fully stocked bar and numerous high-def, big-screen televisions are located in the sportsbook to provide the best possible sports betting experience.

Betting on which team is going to win is known as a moneyline bet, and it’s one of the many bets offered at the sportsbook. Point spread bets are also available, where the bettor will be given a point difference that a team must win by in order for the bet to payout.

There are many more bets available, from simple over/unders to complex 10-team parlays, for you to sink your teeth into while savoring your time at the Paris Las Vegas Sportsbook.

Conclusion

Have you visited or played at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel? What’d you think? Let us know in the comments section!

7 Things to Look for at a Casino

Man Looking Through Binoculars With an Arizona Casino Background

Casinos are a mecca of gambling, sports betting, luxurious hotels, food, and fun; depending on the casino you decide to gamble at, that is. Not all casinos are created equal.

t’s crucial that new gamblers do some groundwork before their visit to make sure they’re selecting the best gambling destination.

When you’re picking out a casino to visit, there are a few things you should pay attention to in order to make your trip as enjoyable as possible. If you’ve been gambling for a while, you might have a few cringe-worthy casino memories that could’ve been avoided with a few internet searches. For everyone else, here are 7 things to take notice of when scouting out casinos.

1 ‒ Variety of Games

At the time, roulette was the game I looked forward to playing the most. I was incredibly sad to find that the casino didn’t offer it.

Driving all the way to the casino to realize that it doesn’t have your favorite table game is incredibly disappointing, but avoidable. Before you go to the casino, do a quick internet search for the games each one offers. Most casinos will have a list of casino games they offer on their website, and if not, read up on some reviews of the casino.

Roulette Table With Multiple Bets

Additionally, keep in mind that depending on the time of day, certain parts of the casino can be closed, and there may be a limited number of tables for games like blackjack and craps. During busier times, like on weekends, casinos will have more tables open with a wide variety of table minimums and maximums.

2 ‒ Closer Doesn’t Mean Better

Convenience is always an essential part of planning trips to the casino. On more casual gambling trips, you might feel inclined to select the closest casino for the ease of access.

Even though it might save you a few hours on the commute, depending on where you live, it’s not always best to settle for the casino down the road.

During the early stages of gambling, my friends and I opted to visit the same casino repeatedly. We thought we were being smart and economical.

It never occurred to us to venture out of our comfort zone. A year into gambling, a fellow gambler at a random craps table told us about a casino 45 minutes away, claiming it was worth visiting.

When we finally made the trip, I realized I had wasted a tremendous amount of time going to the same casino simply because it was the most convenient. Since then, I always make the extra drive because the more distant casino benefits outweigh the drawback of the extra driving time.

3 ‒ Look for the Free Drinks

Depending on the state you gamble in or the particular casino you’re gambling at, there’s a chance it offers free drinks to gamblers as long as they are gambling. A classic rookie mistake, which I fell victim to.

I wasted so much money on drinks only to learn that I could drink for free. Younger, more inexperienced gamblers, or people with lower bankrolls should save all the money they can for the tables.

Most casinos have cocktail service and take your drink orders to the bar. Even if the casino doesn’t offer free drinks, it’s better to avoid jumping up from the table to run to the bar every time you need a drink. Whether the drinks are free or not, remember to tip your server.

Every casino I go to in Las Vegas offers drinks to its patrons. However, the casino I gamble at regularly doesn’t.

Coincidentally I fare a little better at my local casino because I’m mindful of how much I’m spending on alcohol, which helps me moderate my drinking and play better. Free drinks at a casino are certainly a nice perk, but they can be a double-edged sword if you’re not careful.

4 ‒ Quality Dealers

The best casinos have the best dealers, plain and simple. If you gamble at a lower-tier casino, the quality of the dealer’s personability and professionalism can be hit or miss.

It’s crucial for younger gamblers to play at a table with dealers who know what they’re doing because they can offer assistance if you need it.

If a dealer is preoccupied with making sure they’re doing just enough to keep their jobs, they will be less likely to create a comfortable, inviting environment at your table. Most dealers I interact with, specifically at blackjack and poker tables, are top-notch, and I’ve seldom had issues with dealers.

Closeup of a Dealer Shuffling Cards

On one occasion, a dealer was so standoffish, and frankly bad at their job, I found a different table to gamble at. However, this took place at one of the lesser casinos in Vegas, which shouldn’t have surprised me. As I said, better casinos mean better dealers.

If you ever find yourself having an unpleasant experience with a dealer, I recommend doing as I did and finding another table. There’s legitimately no point in ruining your time by making a scene.

5 ‒ Friendly Clientele

The one thing you’ll immediately be able to gather about your casino is the type of clients it serves. Every casino seems to have a stereotypical client base they cater to.

While this may not always be true, and there are still outliers, you’ll be surprised to see some consistency among gamblers at a casino.

For new gamblers, it’s a must to gamble at a casino where you feel comfortable and welcome. In bigger gambling cities, it’s relatively easy to find casinos that cater to younger, less experienced gamblers.

However, in standalone casinos, sometimes locals and regulars can be unwelcoming to new faces.

This isn’t necessarily a reason to avoid going to casinos altogether. You should be on the lookout for the casino’s feel and energy.

If you have a negative interaction with a fellow gambler, there should be dozens of other tables available around the casino, depending on the size. In my experience, it’s not too terribly challenging to find a good table at any casino, but it might take more work at certain casinos.

6 ‒ Make Sure Tables Have Good Odds and Payouts

It may come as a surprise to you, but some casinos offer different payouts than others. Payouts on table games vary depending on the game you’re playing and should be marked somewhere on the table. In my opinion, this is most prescient with blackjack.

Typically blackjack payout is 3 to 2, but many casinos will pay out 6 to 5. If possible, make sure the casino you intend to visit offers a payout of 3 to 2 if you want to play real money blackjack. Another thing to be on the lookout for is if casinos charge an ante, or price to play per hand, or not.

7 ‒ Player’s Club Has Good Benefits

Almost every casino will have a player’s club card, and avid gamblers should take advantage of them. Even if you intend to visit a casino once, it’s worth signing up for the potential perks and benefits you can receive.

Casino Hotel Suite

These benefits vary between casinos, but typically perks involve casino comps such as free or discounted nights at the casino’s hotel or resort, free plays at the casino, discounted green fees, and meal vouchers.

Benefits will accumulate over time, depending on how much money you spend gambling at the casino. If you routinely gamble at your local spot and haven’t signed up for the player’s club, I advise signing up during your next trip.

Conclusion

Casinos can be hit or miss, and odds are you’re going to have an unpleasant gambling experience at a rundown casino at some point if you haven’t already. Consider it a rite of passage for gamblers young and old.

However, with even a few cursory glances around the web, you can make sure you’re not stuck at a casino that will stick with you for all the wrong reasons.

When scouting out casinos, make sure they offer your favorite table games with favorable odds and payouts. Read around about the casino’s client base and quality of the dealers, and regardless of the casino you select, make sure to sign up for the player’s club.

Some of these variables need to be experienced firsthand, however by doing a bit of research before your trip, you can make sure you’re not committing an egregious error and getting stuck gambling at a terrible casino.

The Power of Positive Expectation Gambling

Hand Flipping a Quarter With a Money Background

You’ve heard of compound interest, right?

And you’ve heard that Einstein said that compound interest was the most powerful force in the universe?

Well, the expectation in gambling is like compound interest on steroids.

In this post, I explain the differences between negative expectation and positive expectation gambling and what that means for your finances in the long run.

Every Bet Has an Expected Value, Even If That Value Is Zero

If I bet you a quarter that you’d flip a coin and it would land on heads, you’d have a 50% probability of winning. So would I.

In the short run – on that single bet – one of us would win, and the other one would lose.

If we made that bet twice in a row, one of the following would happen:

  1. I’d win twice.
  2. You’d win twice.
  3. You’d win the first toss, and I’d win the second.
  4. I’d win the first toss, and you’d win the second.

But, in the long, over the course of hundreds or thousands of coin tosses, if you and I were betting even money, we’d both break even.

That’s a bet with a zero expected value.

Even money just means that each of us wins or loses the same amount.

But if we change that equation to where I win 50 cents when I win, but you only win a quarter when you win, I have a positive expected value, and you have a negative expected value.

This is how almost all gambling works, by the way. Someone almost always has a mathematical advantage over someone else. This is how casinos and sports books stay in business, in fact.

But how big a deal is this mathematical expectation?

The Concept of the House Edge

The house edge is a statistical way to measure how much, on average, over the long run, how much you expect to lose per average on a bet against the casino.

In the coin tossing example earlier, it’s easy to calculate.

Let’s assume that you’re risking $200 to win $100, and you have statistically perfect expected results over the two coin tosses. You win $100, but you lose $200, for a net loss of $100. Over two coin tosses, that’s an average of $50 lost per bet. Since $50 is 50% of $100, we’d say that this bet has a 50% house edge.

You’d be a fool to make this bet, obviously, but this is the mathematical principle that applies to all bets in the casino.

What If You Have an Edge Over the Casino?

In most cases, you’ll never have a mathematical edge over the casino. Most games just don’t have an opportunity to use any kind of strategy to get such a mathematical edge.

But if you did find a game where you could get an edge, you could apply the rule of 72 to your edge to figure out how long it would take you to double your bankroll if you reinvest all your winnings over time.

After all, the edge you have over the casino is just return on investment, and the rule of 72 applies to return on investment.

Only, instead of looking at your return on investment on an annual basis, you’re looking at your return on investment on a per bet basis.

The rule of 72 suggests that if you divide your annual return on investment into 72, you’ll get the number of years it will take to double your money. For example, if you’re earning a 12% return on your money annually, you’ll double your money every six years.

That’s compound interest in action, folks.

Let’s say that you find a situation in a casino where you can get a 1% edge over the casino. Applying the rule of 72 to this, you’d think it would take 72 years to double your money.

But since you’re seeing that 1% return on average on every bet, it only takes 72 bets for you to double your money.

Where Can You Get a 1% Edge Over the Casino?

The surest ways I know of to get a 1% edge when gambling are to count cards in blackjack, play poker at an expert level, and to handicap sports better than the sportsbook.

If you want to figure out how to maximize your return on investment, you want to start thinking about how many bets you can get in per hour.

Person at a Poker Table With a Large Stack of Chips

If you play blackjack, you can get in more bets per hour than you can in poker or sports betting. The number of hands per hour you’ll get in blackjack varies based on how many players are at the table. If you’re heads-up with the dealer, you’ll obviously get more hands per hour than you would if you’re at a full table with six other blackjack players.

I’ve seen various estimates. I’ve seen some writers contend that you can play 350 hands per hour heads-up with the dealer, but I’ve seen other writers use a number of 200 hands per hour. I think the difference lies with how many hands you play.

If you’re the only player at the table, you can play two hands at a time. If you’re doing that, the 350 hands per hour figure makes sense.

On the other hand, if you’re at a table with six other players, you’re looking at closer to 50 or 60 hands per hour.

Does This Mean I Can Get Rich Counting Cards?

Sort of, yeah.

Let’s say you start by making $5 per hand bets with a 1% edge. If things go well, you should be able to double your casino bankroll within an hour or two.

At that point, you can double the size of your bet to $10 per hand.

It doesn’t take long when you’re doubling your average bet size to have a huge bankroll.

Gambling isn’t a sure thing. You’re not investing in bonds here. You could hit a string of bad luck. In that respect, gambling with a positive expectation resembles investing in the stock market. No stock is a sure thing.

You can even go broke with a positive expectation if you hit a long enough unlucky streak.

The trick is having a big enough bankroll to withstand the vagaries of luck. You want to minimize your risk of ruin.

Most card counters think in terms of having a certain number of betting units. With $2000 or so, you can play for $5 per hand in blackjack with a minimal risk of going broke.

How Does One Get This Edge in Blackjack?

Counting cards isn’t as hard as you think. It works because the deck of cards has a memory of sorts – once a card has been dealt, it can’t be dealt again until the deck is reshuffled. This changes the probabilities of almost everything to do with the game.

And since the cards are arranged randomly, sometimes the deck will be relatively rich in cards which are advantageous to the player, while other times, the deck will be relatively rich in cards which are advantageous to the casino.

Which cards are these?

Since a natural – a 2-card hand totaling 21 – pays off at 3 to 2, it’s advantageous to have a better probability of getting a natural.

And since the only cards that can form such a hand are the tens and aces, a deck with a relatively high number of tens and aces in it is advantageous to the player.

Closeup of Multiple Hands of Blackjack

When you can identify such a situation, you raise the size of your bets. This is how you get your edge in blackjack when counting cards.

The better the count, the more you bet.

It’s as simple as subtracting 1 from the running count every time you see a 10 or an ace and adding 1 to the running count every time you see a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6.

When the count is zero or negative, bet the minimum.

As the count gets higher, raise the size of your bets in proportion to the count.

It’s a little more involved than this, but not by much.

If All This Is True, Why Doesn’t Everyone Get Rich Gambling?

Not everyone wants to make their living playing casino games. Some people – believe it or not – don’t enjoy playing blackjack. And some people who enjoy blackjack don’t enjoy the rigor of counting cards.

Other people want to earn their livings by contributing to society. You can’t blame them for that.

Also, not everyone has the determination, discipline, and focus required to pull off counting cards in a casino.

Don’t forget. The casinos frown on card counting, and if they catch you, they’ll stop you. It’s not illegal to count cards, but casinos can ban you from their blackjack tables. In fact, they can ban you from the premises entirely if they decide that’s what’s needed.

Conclusion

The power of positive expectation gambling should be obvious. Casinos make positive expectation bets almost 100% of the time, and look how much money they have.

If you can learn how to make positive expectation bets, you can double your money multiple times and get rich, too.

And counting cards is just one example of how to do it.

7 Things NOT to Do in Las Vegas

Welcome to Las Vegas Sign Graphic With a Minibar and ATM Background

It’s your first trip to Vegas. How exciting! I’m sure you’ve read up on all the places to see, things to do, and where to eat.

I hope you’ve also read up on how to get the most out of your first trip. But something a lot of people don’t talk about is what NOT to do in Vegas.

Personally, I always like to know what’s considered a faux pas wherever I visit. That way, I don’t look like a total jerk the first time I’m in a new place. That’s where this page comes in!

Below, I’m sharing a list of seven things you shouldn’t do on a trip to Las Vegas. I’ve made these mistakes, please don’t make them, too. And you’re welcome!

1 – Don’t Use the Minibar

There’s nothing fancier than getting to open one of the tiny bottles of wine or liquor from the prized minibar in your room. But if you pop open that bottle, it’s only about a drink or maybe more than just a half.

Sure, it’s fun to pregame in your room before heading out for your night in Vegas casinos and clubs. What’s not fun is getting your final bill from the hotel when you’ve helped yourself to the minibar.

The prices for the minibar items are always astronomical, too. A simple bottle of water can be upwards of $10. That bottle of water probably wasn’t even a luxury brand like Voss.

The peanut packet that seemed life-changing at 4 AM? $15. It gets even more outrageously expensive when you start looking at the booze.

Practically everything you can find in the minibar is also available at the convenience store down the street from the casino hotel you’re staying at.

And if you’re gambling on the casino floor, drinks are completely free! Why bother with the stuff you have to pay for when you can have a well-made drink for the cost of tipping the cocktail servers?

What to Do Instead:

If you want to drink in your hotel room, just bring in your own minibar. Trust me, your wallet will thank you. Vegas is already an expensive trip as it is. Don’t add to it by eating and drinking your way through the tiny minibar.

2 – Don’t Try to Save Money by Staying Off the Strip

A big first-timer mistake is thinking you’re going to save money by staying off the famed Las Vegas Strip. If you’re inexperienced, you’re likely going to spend more money on other things, and you won’t get the full experience.

When you book at a casino or hotel (or even a combo of the two) that’s not on the Strip, you may just get a subpar experience. The hotel rooms are cheaper, but this is a specific example of the famed expression, “You get what you pay for.”

If this is your first time to Sin City, you want to have the best experience possible. And you’re going to have the ideal first impression of Vegas by staying in or close to the Strip.

View of Las Vegas Strip and Palazzo

Another thing that tends to happen when you don’t stay at a properties on the Strip is that you will end up spending that money on transportation to get there. If you’re driving, you’ll have to pay to park and get gas. If not, you’ll have fork over your credit card to a rideshare company for every day that you travel to the Strip. See what I’m getting at?

If you know you’re most likely going to be on the Strip, why not just stay at the hotels there? The most significant benefit is that you can probably find packages for a discount on your room at a casino property.

What to Do Instead:

You’re probably not going to save that much money by staying at a hotel that isn’t on or close to the Strip. You’re coming for the Vegas experience, why not be in the thick of it? Stay at one of the more affordable establishments on the Strip.

3 – Don’t Buy Things From Street Vendors on the Strip

There’s a ton of street vendors in Las Vegas. They seem to congregate on the Strip because that’s where the tourists are. In most cities, buying things from the vendors is part of the experience.

This does not hold true in Las Vegas. It’s okay to be reluctant about the bottled water. Think twice before buying the tickets to the shows because they could be counterfeit. 80% of things being sold by street vendors in Las Vegas are not what you expect.

Vegas is a place that can be predatory for innocent visitors.

What to Do Instead:

Almost anything you’re needing on the short walk between attractions or casinos is sold at your next destination. Most establishments have a convenience store, restaurant, or kiosk.

4 – Don’t Jaywalk

This should be common sense, but it’s illegal to jaywalk in almost any American city. It’s also incredibly dangerous to jaywalk. The chances of your ending up in the hospital (or even worse) increase by 58% when you cross the street without a crosswalk in Las Vegas.

People Walking Across a Crosswalk

If the possibility of death isn’t enough to deter you for crossing against the light or using a crosswalk know that the Las Vegas PD is on the lookout. This is a big pet peeve of theirs. If you’re caught jaywalking, be ready to face a $350 fine.

What to Do Instead:

It’s simple, don’t jaywalk!

5 – Don’t Wear Heels

I know, I know. Heels are made for when you go out and get dressed up. That’s all fine and good until you realize how much walking you’re going to do.

The average Vegas Strip visitor walks five to six miles per day. It’s not the ideal place for heels.

Unless you want spend the next few hours in your hotel room or using an entire pack of band-aids for your blisters, comfortable walking shoes should be on your list of things to bring to Vegas.

On top of the miles, you’ll be walking think about alcohol consumption. The more you drink, the wobblier you’re going to become. Heels are going to increase the wobble factor. Just keeping an eye for you.

What to Do Instead:

I’m not telling you to not pack dress shoes or heels, but think about saving them for dinner or a show. Get dressed up and show off! I do too, just not when I’m going to be casino hopping on the Strip and walking the 4.2-mile stretch.

Wear sneakers or walking shoes whenever possible.

6 – Don’t Use the Casino ATMs

I’ve talked about this before, and I’ll keep talking about it, even after you tell me to zip it. Don’t use the casino ATMs.

They give you a false sense of hope when you’re on a losing streak, and you’ve blown your budget. Casinos want you to spend as much money as possible, this is one of the ways they do it.

Not only do they trick you into thinking you’ll turn things around, but they’re also stinking expensive. Some casinos charge up to $8 per transaction.

i
Vegas is a real city with much cheaper ATMs. They will probably even have an ATM at the Vegas branch of your bank. If you can’t find your bank in Vegas, use the closest grocery store or CVS and get cashback.

What to Do Instead:

Whether it’s to take more cash out to gamble with after you’ve lost all yours or to withdraw money for tips, don’t use a casino ATM. The fees aren’t worth it, and there’s probably a better way to do it.

7 – Don’t Miss Your Flight

Many new Vegas visitors underestimate McCarran Airport. You land from your departing city and are surprised at how close it is to all the Vegas attractions.

But most people don’t realize that the airport in Las Vegas is one of the busiest in the country. It’s the ninth busiest in the country and millions of visitors arrive there every year.

I have missed a flight from this airport, and it’s not fun. McCarran airport is a different place when you have to wait. So, now, I give myself at least two hours of time, depending on the time of day. Mornings are slower for outgoing flights, and afternoons and evenings are generally very busy.

View of McCarran Airport and the Las Vegas Strip

So, I suggest building in the extra time for your trip. Is your flight at 10 AM? Get to the airport no later than 8 AM.

If your flight is at 5 PM, get to the airport no later than 2:30 PM, even 2 PM. There are a ton of sites that will tell you the best time to arrive at McCarran. Don’t forget to check for traffic on the way there!

What to Do Instead:

Building in extra time at the airport in Las Vegas will save you some heartache in the long run. It’s way more fun to have an overpriced airport drink with your traveling companion when you know have a seat on your flight.

Conclusion

I hope you have some pointers for your next trip to Vegas. If it’s your first time, you’re sure to have so much fun. With these tips, I hope you enjoy Vegas as much as I do!

Why You Can Beat Blackjack

Blackjack Hand With a Broken Glass Background

Most people who have been reading about casino gambling for any length of time already know that blackjack is one of the only opportunities you have to get a mathematical edge over the casino.

Not everyone understand exactly why this is, though, so the purpose of this post is to explain why you can beat blackjack – even though most casino games are unbeatable.

Understand that All Casino Games Have a House Edge

Casinos stay in business because they offer games to the gambling public where they have a mathematical advantage. Every casino game has this advantage, and, in the parlance of our times, this advantage is called “the house edge.”

How does the house edge work?

It’s just the difference between the odds of winning and the payout odds for the bet.

The easiest example to understand is in roulette.

If you place a single-number bet in roulette, your odds of winning are 37 to 1. You have 37 ways to lose that bet and only one way to win that bet.

When you do win, the payout on that bet is 35 to 1. The payout is lower than the odds of winning, so that difference – the difference between 37 to 1 and 35 to 1 is the house edge.

When you convert that to a percentage, it’s 5.26%, which is the average amount of each bet the casino expects to win from you in the long run.

If you’re betting $1 on single-number bets repeatedly at the roulette table, the casino averages a little over a nickel per bet in winnings over the long run. Nothing you can do changes that amount.

With all casino games, the casino has a single subtle rule that creates this edge. In roulette, that rule is the one that puts a green 0 and a green 00 on the roulette wheel.

In real money blackjack, the house gets its edge by making you play your hand before the dealer finishes her hand.

It’s that simple. If you bust before the dealer plays her hand, you lose your bet immediately. The dealer is as likely to bust as you are, by the way.

But if the dealer busts, too, it’s not a tie.

You lost that bet when you busted, regardless of what happens later in the hand.

You can still beat blackjack, though.

Blackjack Isn’t Really a Game of Independent Events

When you play roulette, the odds are the same every time you place a bet. No matter what, the same 38 numbers are on the wheel, and you have the same 1/38 probability of a ball landing on a specific number.

But let’s consider a hypothetical:

What if the number got eliminated from the roulette wheel after it had been hit?NNN

Do you see how this would change every probability in the game?

Here’s an example:

Suppose you bet on the number 5, and it hits. You win your bet, which is cool, but that ball stays in that spot for now – which changes the probability of hitting a 5 on the next spin. What was a 1/38 probability has changed to a 0 probability.

But all the other probabilities have changed, too – now you only have 37 numbers on the roulette wheel, so the probability of winning a single number bet now has changed from 1/38 to 1/37.

Closeup of a Dealer Dealing Blackjack

Now suppose five numbers in a row have hit, and they’ve all been filled in.

Now you have a 1/33 probability of winning a single number bet.

If that bet continues to pay off at 35 to 1, you have a clear mathematical advantage over the casino.

Of course, that’s never going to happen, because the casino doesn’t eliminate numbers from the wheel as you play. That’s why I said to think about this hypothetically.

But guess what happens when you play blackjack?

In most blackjack games, the casino doesn’t shuffle the deck after every hand. Any cards that have been dealt are eliminated from the deck, which changes the probability of getting certain outcomes.

That’s a big part of why blackjack is a beatable game.

Taking Advantage of a Gambling Game that Has a Memory

The house advantage in blackjack is notoriously low to begin with if you know how to play correctly. And playing correctly is as easy as memorizing a basic strategy table. I’ve written about basic strategy in multiple previous posts, but to make my point here, you need to understand this:

The house edge for a blackjack game when played with basic strategy is usually only 0.5% or so.

That’s dramatically different from the 5.26% advantage that the casino has when you play roulette.

And you saw how easy it was to turn the casino’s advantage to a player’s advantage in a roulette game just by removing some numbers from the wheel after they hit.

Now, think about the implications in a blackjack game.

The first thing to understand is that blackjack has a bonus payout any time you’re dealt a “natural.” That’s also called a “blackjack.” It’s just a two-card hand consisting of an ace and a 10, which adds up to 21, the best possible total in the game.

Most blackjack wins pay off at even money, but when you get a natural, you get 3 to 2 on your bet.

And, of course, the only way to get a blackjack is with a 10 and an ace.

If you’re playing in a single-deck game where all the aces have already been dealt, your probability of getting a blackjack have dropped to 0. It’s impossible to get a blackjack without aces in the deck.

And every 10 that gets dealt also decreases your probability of getting a natural.

But the good news is this – every time a lower value card gets dealt, your probability of getting a blackjack increases.

Since the cards have been randomized, sometimes the deck will have proportionally more high cards (aces and 10s). Other times, it will have the proportion of high cards to low cards you’d expect. Still other times, the deck will have a higher proportion of low cards to high cards.

If you could raise the size of your bets when you’re likelier to get a natural and lower the size of your bets when you’re less likely to get a blackjack, you could get a mathematical edge over the casino.

And that’s why blackjack is beatable.

I’ll explain the how of it soon, but first, let’s talk about how big an edge you can get and what that means for your wallet.

How Much Money Can a Card Counter Realistically Make in the Long Run?

The best estimates I’ve seen for the kind of edge you can get by counting cards in blackjack is about 1% over the house.

What does this mean in dollars and cents?

Let’s assume you’re able to get in 75 hands per hour and average $10 per bet. That’s $750/hour in action, and if you win 1% of that in the long run, you’re looking at earning $7.50 per hour for your efforts.

That’s right.

If you’re a low stakes card counter, you could probably make more money by getting a job at a fast food restaurant.

Closeup of a Jack and Ace of Spades

But there’s a solution:

Increase your average bet size. If you’re averaging $100 per hand, your hourly “wage” increases to $75 per hour.

That’s more like it.

Just keep this in mind – to avoid going broke, you need a big enough bankroll that you won’t be hurt during your inevitable losing streaks. If you have $500 and are betting $100 per hand, you won’t last long as a card counter.

On the other hand, if you have a bankroll of $100,000, you’re unlikely to go broke betting $100 per hand. It could happen, but the probability drops dramatically. In fact, if you’re comfortable with a higher risk of going broke, you can get by with a bankroll of $40,000 or $50,000.

Isn’t Counting Cards Illegal, Though?

Counting cards is entirely legal. You’re just thinking about the game you’re playing. They can’t outlaw that.

Casinos can restrict you from playing blackjack, though, and they can even trespass you from their property altogether.

How to Learn Card Counting

Learning to count cards is easier than you think. Basically, you’re going to assign a value (usually +1 or -1) to the low cards and the high cards. Your running count then estimates the ratio of high cards to low cards in the deck.

When the count is positive, the deck is relatively rich in aces and 10s, and you should raise the size of your bets. When the count is zero or negative, you should bet the minimum until the ratio changes to where the count is positive.

The most important thing about learning how to count cards is to practice at home until you’re so proficient at it that you can do it effortlessly. You must be able to count cards without moving your lips or even looking like you’re concentrating at all.

You don’t want the casinos to know what you’re up to.

Conclusion

Are you up for the challenge of learning how to beat blackjack?

Frankly, most people aren’t.

I know how to count cards, and I’ve won some money doing so.

But it’s not a regular activity for me.

Don’t feel like that just because the game can be beaten you must be the one to beat it. It’s all right to be a recreational blackjack player who loses less money than the average player.

What’s not all right with me – and I don’t think it should be okay with you, either – is to ignore basic strategy while you play. I don’t see any reason to give the casino more of a mathematical edge than they already have.

Who Bets on Sports?

Human Silhouettes With a Sportsbook Board and Money Background

Sports bettors come from every walk of life imaginable. Every possible demographic is represented among sports bettors.

That’s what makes sports betting so beautiful, and anybody can do it. Sure, it may be more enjoyable if you are a sports fan.

But that’s certainly not required.

Let’s take a more in-depth look and break down who bets on sports?

Golden Age of Sports Betting

Sports gambling has never been more widely accessible to beginner sports bettors. Nor have the stakes ever been so high.

In the United States alone, billions of dollars are wagered every year. And that’s just the money laid with legal sportsbooks. Untold sums of cash are bet in office pools, backyard barbecues, and local bars.

Many estimates put the amount of money illegally wagered north of $150 billion. That figure is over 10 times the amount placed with legal sportsbooks.

In 2018, the United States Supreme Court decided to favor the issue of legal sports betting falling under states’ rights, effectively ending a lengthy federal ban.

The decision made by the nation’s highest court was followed swiftly by bills allowing sports betting in individual states. Today, 22 states have legalized some manner of sports betting with an additional three expected to be added to that list this year.

2021 is a much-anticipated year for the sports betting industry. 15 states are expected to join the 50% of the country that should have readily available and, most importantly, legalized sports betting.

All this progress will surely bring troves of undercover sports bettors into the mainstream. An estimated 60% of Americans are avid sports fans, and many aren’t sports bettors yet.

Don’t Believe Everything You See on T.V.

Sports bettors are often portrayed as down on their luck degenerates. They’re shown selling off their possessions or “borrowing” money from family or friends to place the bet that’ll get them back in the black.

This couldn’t be much further from the norm. Yes, there are sports bettors that, unfortunately, have a gambling addiction that may take them down a dark path.

However, it’s a low percentage of gamblers. Hollywood wouldn’t do themselves any favors by portraying a regular guy working a tedious sales job that gambles from the small bankroll that is specifically dedicated for gambling.

MLB Royals Players Celebrating

So, we regularly get a downtrodden person that is barely making ends meet. Usually, there’s a failing marriage, distant children, and weary relatives. This is not the norm.

Fewer than 3% of Americans report any signs of problem gambling, and far fewer are anything like I described above.

I don’t say this to diminish those who have trouble with gambling addiction — far from it, actually.

My point is that most gamblers and, more specifically, sports bettors are everyday people without much drama or ongoing strife.

Everyone Plays

When I was younger, I played a lot of baseball. I remember having particular disdain for one rule in particular.

Everyone played. That did not sit well with my pragmatic sensibilities, even as an 8-year-old. I was cursed with an insatiable competitive streak, one that I continue to battle to this day.

After all, I spent hours in the dirt to be my best. Having my 6’3” father, a former college football player, zing balls at me going what must’ve been just under Mach speed.

Why should Aaron — who can’t make the throw from second to first — be allowed on the field?

I wish I could sit here today and tell you I was wrong.

Fortunately, for sports betting, this rule applies well.

Anybody can bet on sports. You don’t need to have banks of computers running the latest data and producing up to the minute analytics. You also don’t have to have a multi-million dollar bankroll to draw from as you lounge in your VIP Suite in Vegas.

You could spend $1 or $100 betting on the NFL with your next-door neighbor on any given Saturday or Sunday during the football season. Personally, I enjoy a $20 bet on an important game as much as placing a large wager on an event that I have zero interest in because I see good value.

The betting on the contest doesn’t replace the event for me. It merely serves to enhance my enjoyment of the game. There’s no disputing that having a little skin in the game will increase the excitement of watching.

As painful as it is when I lose a $20 bet to a friend, there is a small twinge of pleasure that comes pulling that Jackson out of my wallet. I’ve been bested. Good for them.

You don’t need to know anything about sports to get in on the fun. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had someone bet me on a game because they are from the same city as one of the teams or because the Broncos are playing and they love horses.

Fantasy World, Real Money

Fantasy sports are incredibly popular. The NFL rules the roost in fantasy sports much as it does in the traditional gambling.

From mid to late August, I seem to have at least five friends a week missing a meeting or rescheduling plans because of their fantasy football draft.

I have a close friend that plays in three fantasy baseball leagues. That seems exhausting, but many sports fans play fantasy sports ranging from hockey to golf.

Millions of Americans wager billions annually on fantasy sports. As with any other type of sports betting, the cross-section of the population is as diverse as a bag of jelly beans.

NFL Patriots at the Line of Scrimmage

Obviously, fantasy sports are geared more towards sports fans. It’s not always the guy that spends hours scouring the waiver wire that has the most success.

I dated a girl that joined our league one season. She drafted her entire team based on an ESPN Top 100 list I printed off for her, didn’t make a single trade or free agent move all season, and paid no attention to bye weeks.

She won the league and walked away with a slick $500. To say she was not an avid sports fan is an understatement. Yet, despite having no knowledge of the league or even how points accrued. She didn’t even keep it very close in the championship game.

The advent of daily fantasy sports betting through companies like FanDuel has opened the floodgates for sports fans and gamblers alike to embrace and enjoy the discipline.

It seems that there must be something on the line for many fantasy sports bettors to make the games worth following.

The Professionals

Next, we have the top level of sports bettors. Professional sports bettors make their living from laying action on the games.

Spending your day betting on games may seem like a dream to many avid sports bettors. However, maintaining a level of excellence needed just to break even takes an immense amount of hard work and total dedication.

To make a profit betting on sports, you must win at least 52.4% of your bets. Anything lower than that and you’re losing money.

So, how do the best sports bettors in the world stay at such a high level?

Pro sports bettors are incredibly intelligent and maybe a little bit fearless. They are always on the hunt for even the slightest advantage in a match up offered by the sportsbook.

Many of the pros employ the latest analytics and computer models to calculate where there may be value on the line and strike while the iron is hot.

Billy Walters is perhaps the most well known and most successful sports bettor of all time. He boasts a winning percentage of 57%.

I remember hearing that figure and thinking sheesh that’s terrible. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Walters built an empire, including every gambler’s dream of owning not one, but two casinos.

Conclusion

As you can see, the answer to the question of “Who bets on sports?” is anybody.

You need only three things to begin betting on sports:

  1. Something to bet on. A game, fantasy sports, or a future contest will do the trick.
  2. Something to wager. You don’t necessarily have to bet with cash. You could bet a meal or even who mows the lawn.
  3. Someone to take the bet. Often this will be a sportsbook or bookie, but as the data shows, it’s far more likely to be a friend or colleague taking the action.

Being a sports fan is definitely beneficial to your success as a sports bettor, but it’s not required. You may have more fun if you aren’t a big sports fan. I can’t think of a better way to get involved in a game than having some money on it.

The People You’ll Meet Playing Blackjack

Silhouette of a Police Lineup With a Blackjack Background

One of the beautiful things about the game of blackjack is the sheer variety of gamblers you can encounter anytime you play. No two tables are the same.

The vibe of a table can change at the drop of a hat. Blackjack is one of the most appealing games at the casinos due to its simplicity, good comparative odds, and the fact that players can display all aspects of their personality.

Most blackjack players are just your average joe, looking to get away from reality for a few hours to do some gambling. However, there’s always that handful of players who will stick with you for the rest of your gambling days. Here are the 7 types of people you’ll encounter while playing blackjack.

1 ‒ The First-Timer

We’ve all been the new guy at a blackjack table, and if you’re anything like me, you were probably a nervous wreck the first time you played. The first-timer is typically in their early 20s and has no idea what they are doing. They think that playing a few hands on a mobile application is enough preparation to win some money at the tables.

Typically, the new blackjack player has a pretty small bankroll. They might only have enough money to play a few hands before bowing out.

Sometimes the first-timers get some serious beginner’s luck and go on a hot streak only to lose all their money when they get too overconfident. Most first-timers are either too scared or too cocky to ask for advice, so they commit error after error.

First-timers will blow through their bankroll in a matter of minutes and might scurry off to the ATM or park themselves at a slot machine for the rest of the time they’re at the casino. They tell themselves that they’ll definitely prepare more the next go around so they can win back some money and pride. But, in reality, they’ll probably repeat the same common blackjack mistakes a few more times before getting serious or deciding the game’s not right for them.

2 ‒ The Perfect Strategy Player

Despite a clear-cut set of rules, smart players should abide by the average blackjack player commonly commits several mistakes while playing. However, that’s not the case for a perfect strategy player.

This gambler studies blackjack strategy day and night to make sure they can minimize the house edge as much as possible.

This type of gambler can commonly be found consulting a cheat sheet in the early stages of their career to make sure they’re always playing the right way. That is until they’ve committed it to memory, at which point they’ll scoff at any player who has the audacity to bring a chart to the table.

Overhead View of a Casino Blackjack Game

Anytime someone at the table plays against the book, Mr. or Mrs. Perfect Strategy will be the first to let them know about their mistakes. This gambler will sit at the table for five hours without taking a bathroom break while drinking the same cup of luke-warm casino coffee.

When they finally get up from the table, their stack of chips hasn’t increased or decreased, which they consider a huge win.

3 ‒ The Flat Bettor

Similar to the previous type of gambler, the flat bettor is all about consistency. They might play slightly more liberally, but you’ll never see them bet more than the table minimum.

Even if they’ve won 15 hands in a row, they will continue to slide their $5 chip across the table, because flat betting is the only way to win money.

Anytime someone starts chasing losses, the flat bettor will cast a dismissive glance their way or even hit them with a passive-aggressive eye roll. They’ll never say anything, but you can feel their judgmental glances from across the table.

Like the player who uses perfect strategy, their stack of chips won’t move much, but that doesn’t bother them. In their mind, they just played blackjack for a few hours without losing any money.

Free entertainment, right? The flat bettor might have one or two drinks, but will never allow themselves to get too sloppy. Heaven forbid they loosen up their personality or their bankroll.

4 ‒ The Gambling Movie Fan

Either one of the most endearing or obnoxious types of blackjack players, depending on your interpretation, is the gambler who just finished watching their favorite gambling movie for the hundredth time. Whether it’s The Hangover, Rounders, or 21, this person will quote their movie of choice ad nauseum.

Typically this blackjack player is in their early to mid-20s and isn’t what you would consider to be a student of the game. That makes no difference to them; in their mind, their favorite characters have prepared them for the blackjack tables.

When they first arrive, they might seem ecstatic, but when they play for several minutes and still haven’t hit their first blackjack, a perplexed look will appear on their face.

This type of gambler is relatively harmless. You’ll watch as their stack of chip dwindles, and their dreams are crushed. If the night goes too poorly, there’s a good chance they’ll limp back to their house and toss their favorite DVD straight into the garbage.

5 ‒ The Belligerent Drunk

Whereas all the previous gamblers are somewhat amicable and unproblematic, the belligerent drunk by far has the worst casino etiquette. This gambler typically knows what they’re doing, but is past the point of making well-thought-out decisions.

They’ve most likely been at the table for hours. They might have shown up to the casino right after pounding a few drinks in their room or at the bar across the street.

At first, this type of gambler can be enjoyable for their tablemates, but once the losses start to pile up, the wheels can quickly come off. The belligerent drunk will keep drinking as they continue to make the same brain-dead mistakes.

Hands Moving Across a Blackjack Table

This attitude only makes matters worse. Instead of recognizing that they’re contributing to the problem, they’ll blame a variety of factors for their poor play.

Most commonly, they will point to the dealer as the source of their issues and fault them for dealing bad cards. If the dealer doesn’t react or shakes off the criticism, this gambler might start picking fights with other, less experienced players.

Gamblers like this can ruin everyone’s good time, so if you find yourself gambling next to someone like this, go find a different game to play.

6 ‒ The Yeller

While usually, the gamblers who enjoy raucous tables stick to playing craps, occasionally, one will wander over to play blackjack. This gambler is at the casino to have a great time, and despite the amount of money they win or lose, they want everyone to be as excited as they are.

The yeller will loudly offer advice nobody asks for, and if by some miracle they hit a blackjack, you’ll hear the shouts of jubilation from the parking lot.

If everyone at the table wins, they’ll insist on starting a round of high fives and loudly exclaim, “Table win!”

Unlike the belligerent drunk, this person’s intentions are good, and while they can be annoying, they’re mostly kind-hearted. They might only stick around for a few hands before realizing that everyone at their table is more interested in making money than engaging in a spectacle.

So, they’ll color up their chips and head back to the craps table. Don’t worry, though; you’ll be sure to hear from them for the rest of the night.

7 ‒ Mr. Moneybags

The last gambler you’ll encounter is one of the more polarizing personalities in the casinos: Mr. Moneybags. This type of gambler will drop a fat stack of bills on the table and start betting higher amounts than the rest of the table combined.

You might have felt content about the size of your stack of chips, but once they show up, you can’t help but feel envious.

Typically, this type of gambler can afford to lose a few big hands and doesn’t let the results affect his mood or style of play. At some point, you’ll probably question if they even want to win at all.

When their bankroll finally dries up, there’s a good chance they’ll make a run to the ATM, only to return with an even bigger stack of money they’ll inevitably lose.

Conclusion

Playing blackjack for real money is one of the most entertaining activities at the casinos. Adding to the entertainment value is the various types of people you’ll interact with while gambling. Unlike games like slots, blackjack features a communal aspect that enables gamblers to show you who they truly are.

Most personality types you’ll come across, like the shy newbie, or the perfect player, are innocuous, while others are rather entertaining. However, certain types of gamblers, like the belligerent drunk, should be avoided at all costs.

There’s something to learn from every type of gambler. If you can manage to play your game without being too distracted, next time you’re playing, pay attention to the people sitting around the table. You never know who you’ll come across.

Slots Actually Offer Some of the Best Odds in Vegas

Las Vegas Sign Graphic With a Slot Machine Background

Slot machines are usually considered as the worst-paying games in the casino. They’ve earned this reputation to some degree.

After all, may penny slot machines only deliver between 88% and 90% RTP. This payback is really poor compared to most casino games, such as video poker and baccarat.

However, slot machines aren’t always so bad. In fact, numbers from Las Vegas reveal that slots are actually among the fairest games.

Is everything that you’ve been told about slots all along a lie? I’ll answer this question by covering more on slots’ reputation along with why they pay better than many other games in Las Vegas.

Slot Machines Normally Carry a Terrible Reputation

You need only look at the fact that real money slots are nicknamed one-armed bandits to realize these games don’t have a great reputation.

The term one-armed bandit comes from two aspects:

  1. Slot machines used to feature pull levers.
  2. Many gamblers lose a significant amount of money on these games.

You can tell from the first point that one-armed bandits is an antiquated phrase. But the part about the heavy losses is still valid today.

The reason why gamblers lose so much through these games isn’t because slot machines don’t pay much back. Slots are actually competitive with many other casino games in terms of RTP.

For example, American roulette and Caribbean stud feature 94.74% and 94.78% RTP, respectively. You even need to use perfect strategy in Caribbean stud to achieve 94.78% payback.

The average slot machine in a land-based casino delivers between 94% and 96% payback. The typical online slot offers between 95% and 97% RTP.

Row of Wheel of Fortune Slot Machines

Few gamblers sit around and blast Caribbean stud for its below-average payback. Why do they do so with slot machines, though?

Many gamblers don’t even realize that the primary reason why they lose so much with slots is due to the play rate—not the payout percentages.

Slow machines play at a faster rate than any other casino game. The only game that matches the speed of slots is video poker.

Here’s a comparison between land-based slots and American roulette to show how play rates affect losses:

American Roulette

  • House edge is 5.26%.
  • You play for one hour.
  • You make one $5 bet each round.
  • The table sees 50 spins during this hour.
  • 50 x 5 x 0.0526 = $13.15 in theoretical hourly losses

Slot Machine

  • House edge is 5.26%.
  • You play for one hour.
  • You make one $1 bet per spin.
  • You perform 600 spins in this hour.
  • 600 x 1 x 0.0526 = $31.56 in theoretical hourly losses

You’re risking 5x more with each roulette bet. However, you’re still suffering greater theoretical losses with the slot due to the faster speed.

Simply put, slots expose you more to the house edge. You’re playing more rounds per hour, which increases the chances that you’ll lose money.

Vegas Slots Aren’t Actually That Bad

As covered above, play rate is the biggest culprit for why gamblers lose major money through slots. However, the house edge really isn’t that bad when compared to the rest of gaming.

Statistics from the UNLV Center for Gaming Research show that Las Vegas slots feature competitive payback.

UNLV, which regularly studies the Las Vegas gambling market, found that the average casino’s win percentage from slots is 6.90%. In other words, the typical player is winning back $93.10 for every $100 they wager.

This win rate isn’t at the top of the gaming world. However, it’s also not terrible in the grand scheme of things.

You Could Do a Lot Worse With Other Casino Games

Theoretically, slot machines should be among the lower-paying games in the casino. 93.1% payback isn’t amazing by any standards.

You can actually achieve much higher RTP in plenty of other games. Here are some of the top-paying options in the casino:

  • Baccarat = 98.94% house edge (w/ banker bet)
  • Blackjack = 98% to 99.5% (w/ proper strategy)
  • Craps = 98.64% (w/ don’t pass line bet)
  • European roulette = 97.3%
  • French = 98.65% (w/ even-money bets)
  • Three-card poker = 97.68% (w/ proper strategy)
  • Video poker = 99.54% (on Jacks or Better)

These games all give you a favorable chance to win…at least in theory. However, UNLV’s numbers show that many gamblers don’t take advantage of these favorable payout percentages.

Instead, they use bad strategies and make poor bets. In the end, they lose much more than they would on slot machines.

Here are 2019 statistics on table game win rates in Las Vegas casinos:

  • Baccarat = 12.93% win rate (or house edge)
  • Blackjack = 14.12%
  • Craps = 16.03%

These numbers definitely contrast what’s possible with each of the games presented above. You can do much better if you know proper strategy.

The average person doesn’t take the time to learn, though. That said, the typical Vegas gambler is better off playing slot machines, which don’t require extensive strategy.

Keys to Winning More With Vegas Slot Machines

Slots are impossible to beat on a consistent basis. After all, they feature lots of volatility, which puts you through plenty of cold streaks.

Luckily, though, you can boost your odds of winning by following a few simple tips. Here’s what you must do to win money when playing the slot machines in Vegas.

Avoid Penny Slots

Many gamblers flock to penny slots. The reason why is because they think that these games are cheap to play.

The word “penny” in this case simply means that you’re risking $0.01 on each line. It doesn’t mean that you get to play for a penny per round. A 100-line game will require you to bet a minimum of $1 per spin.

Of course, you may have no trouble playing for these stakes. But the downside to penny slot machines is that they have lower RTP than high-coin denomination games.

In many cases, you’re only looking at between 88% and 91% RTP. Contrast this with quarter machines, which typically deliver between 93% and 95% payback.

Bet Within Your Means

Las Vegas offers the widest range of slot stakes anywhere. You can play games that only require a $0.25 bet to those featuring $1,000 bets.

I doubt that you’ll be wagering anywhere near the latter range. However, you can still get carried away in Sin City even if you’re not risking $1k per round.

Row of Digital Slot Machines

You should strongly consider spending time on bankroll management before jetting off to Vegas. You could map out a decent plan in just a few minutes.

Here’s an example on how to perform slots bankroll management:

  • You have $500 to spare on slots during a Las Vegas trip.
  • You normally bet $0.50 per spin.
  • You spin the reels an estimated 600 times per hour.
  • The average Vegas slots house edge is 6.90%.
  • 600 x 0.5 x 0.069 = $20.70 in hourly losses
  • 500 / 20.7 = 24.16
  • Your bankroll will theoretically last for 24.16 hours.

Sign Up for the VIP Program

You definitely don’t want to miss out on loyalty rewards when playing slot machines. Otherwise, you’ll put yourself at a disadvantage when compared to other gamblers.

Most current programs give you 0.1% cash back, or the equivalent in rewards. This amounts to $1 back for every $1,000 wagered. You won’t be swimming in money at this rate. However, 0.1% cashback can really add up if you play slots quite often.

You need to sign up for the player’s club to take advantage of VIP perks in Las Vegas casinos. You can either complete the registration form at the player’s desk or online.

Once you finish joining the program, you’ll receive a player’s club card. You insert this card into the machine to track your play and earn rewards.

Don’t Play Just for Comps

Loyalty rewards are important when playing slot machines—but they’re not that important! The problem with some gamblers is that they overemphasize the value of comps.

They may extend sessions even when they don’t feel like playing just to get more rewards. Upon looking at the math, though, this decision looks extremely silly.

Here’s an example to show why you shouldn’t be a slave to VIP benefits:

  • You bet $1,000 on a slot.
  • The RTP if 95% (5% house edge).
  • 1,000 x 0.05 = $50 in theoretical losses
  • The comp rate is 0.1%.
  • 1,000 x 0.001 = $1 cashback
  • 50 / 1 = 50
  • The theoretical losses are 50x greater than the rewards.

If you’re going to play slot machines at land-based and online casinos, you should definitely take advantage of a loyalty program. On the other hand, you never want to make casino comps your sole purpose for playing.

Conclusion

This post isn’t single-handedly going to shred the one-armed-bandit perception that slots have carried for decades. However, I hope that it shines light on the reality of slot machines.

On a per-dollar basis, the average gambler has as good of a chance of winning with slots as they do with most other casino games. They don’t realize this, though, due to the quick play rate and high volatility.

Of course, gamblers would have a better opportunity of winning with table games like baccarat or blackjack. But they don’t make the right bets or use good strategy and, thus, lose even more money with them.

Long story short, you don’t need to fear slot machines in comparison to other casino games. The only things you have to worry about include your play rate and being smart with your bankroll.

The Gambler’s Guide to Ergonomics: 7 Ways to Improve Your Online Gambling Posture

Happy Man Eating an Apple and a Laptop With an Online Gambling Key

Online gambling requires concentration to keep up with all the action happening across one or multiple tables. Discomfort from a setup that isn’t ergonomic can be a source of distraction that limits your potential for success.

The total time spent at the computer has inevitably gone up for most of us over the past few years. An uncomfortable desk setup may have been forgettable in the past, but as time spent sitting gets longer, so do the potential aches and pains.

There are a few areas on your body that are commonly affected by prolonged sitting at a computer, including the lower back, shoulders, neck, wrist, and eyes.

When performing the same task for prolonged periods, repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome can develop and interfere with daily life in all sorts of ways.

The goal of this article is to help you choose a computer setup that minimizes the chances you will develop issues while you gamble online.

Here are seven tips to help you put together your ideal computer setup for online gambling.

1 – Desk or Table

Whether you find yourself sitting at a desk or table when gambling at online casinos, the same principles apply.

Desks and tables are preferable over other seating options like couches or lounge chairs.

  • Chairs and couches do not provide proper support to the lower back or the hips when trying to maintain good posture.
  • Slouching on the couch or using a surface that requires you to hunch over are going to put a strain on the lower back, neck, and shoulders.

Also, your legs should have proper clearance below the desk. Your legs should fit comfortably under the desk while seated in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and allow for just enough room to cross your legs. An excellent general desk height to look for is between 28 and 30 inches.

Comfortable Computer Desk Setup

If your existing desk is too low, it can cause you to hunch over, putting strain on your back and shoulders. Consider adding blocks or boards under the legs if the desk height is not adjustable.

And if your existing desk is too high, it can put a strain on your forearms and shoulders. Try an adjustable chair with or without a footrest to help you reach a comfortable position.

It could also be helpful to add a wrist rest or pad to the edge of desks. Some desks or tables have a hard edge that can put direct pressure on your wrists. Ideally, you will be able to adjust your chair and keyboard to avoid this issue, but adding a little extra support may be helpful.

2 – Chair

Choose a chair that supports good posture rather than one that works against you.

Proper posture is sitting with your back straight, thighs parallel to the floor, and calves perpendicular to the floor at a height that allows your feet to rest flat on the floor.

Picking a good chair depends a lot on your desk and vice versa. The ability to make adjustments may be essential if you need to offset other less than ideal elements you already own.

Remember: chairs are meant to support spinal curves. Chairs that recline and tilt with tension control will allow you to adjust the position to relieve pressure points and stress on your back. The shape of the backrest should mimic your natural spinal curvature. Adding a support pillow can improve support if your chair is lacking an adequate curve.

You also have to remember to choose the proper depth for your size and body type. There should be about a fist-sized distance between the edge of the chair and the back of your knees. For non-adjustable seats, the average depth should be about 16 to 17 inches. Adjustable seats will typically range from 14 to 18.5 inches.

Ergonomic Computer Chair

Chairs that have a curved or soft edge may put less pressure on the back of your legs than those with a hard edge. It’s also important to choose a comfortable armrest height or chair with the ability to make adjustments. Armrests should be adjusted to allow arms to rest gently with relaxed shoulders. The ability to swivel the arm is also a beneficial option to account for the angle forearms tend to take when using the keyboard.

Pick a chair height that matches your height and desk size. Your feet should comfortably rest flat on the floor when seated in your chair while giving you proper clearance between your knees and the desk.

Depending on which you buy first, you may have to adjust the height of the other to match. Try to do some measurements before you buy the corresponding piece. If the height of your desk ends up too high for your chair, consider getting a footrest.

Materials vary and depend on your preference. Pick one that is generally supportive, comfortable without pressure points, breathable, and on budget.

3 – Monitor

Screen placement is critical to limit neck, shoulder, and eye strain. Screen size and resolution depend on the task and placement. The ideal screen size depends on your personal habits, but about 24 to 27 inches is the recommended computer monitor size to minimize strain.

The resolution mainly should be high enough to read the information easily without squinting or craning your neck. Most current monitors will easily meet this benchmark. Make sure to place your screen in a position that supports good posture. Your screen should be directly in front of you at eye level or slightly lower.

To estimate the best position, close your eyes for a moment, then open them. Where your eye line naturally falls should be about at the address bar on the screen. If you require corrective bifocal lenses, placing the monitor level a little lower will make reading and viewing more comfortable.

The proper distance from the screen is about 20 to 40 inches or an arm’s length away. When seated at your desk chair, the monitor should be right at the tip of your middle finger. Place the screen directly behind the keyboard.

If you are using two monitors, place them side by side without a gap. Also, place your primary monitor directly in front and the secondary monitor off-center. If you use them equally, center them both, keeping both at the same arm’s length distance.

Minimizing screen glare is also necessary. Tilt the screen down to avoid glare, depending on your room lighting. An angle of about 10 to 20 degrees is an excellent place to start. Lamps or other bright light sources should be placed to the side of the monitor out of direct eye line.

Lastly, rest your eyes regularly. Give your eyes a break by stepping away from the screen periodically to take a break from the desk. Adjust the contrast and brightness to account for the environment and time of day. Look away from the screen intermittently and focus on faraway objects periodically.

4 – Keyboard and Mouse

Placement of the keyboard and mouse depends on your style of use. Here are some general tips to help you know where to start.

Your elbows should be able to rest comfortably at the sides. Minimize having to lean or reach forward. Adjust the height to a comfortable position that does not force your shoulders to hold to a position that is too high or slouch for one too low.

Make sure your forearms are about parallel to the floor and rest gently on chair armrests. Choose a keyboard that does not force your wrists into uncomfortable angles or resting positions, and center the keyboard based on the letters, not the full keyboard size.

The placement should be directly in front of you at about the same level as your elbows, allowing for enough space between your lap and wrists to maintain the ergonomic posture position. Ideally, keyboards should be at a negative tilt down and away from your seated position.

Person Using an Ergonomic Mouse

Do not use the kickstands, which put the keyboard in the exact opposite of the desired position. A desk with a keyboard tray is going to be the easiest way to achieve the most ergonomically correct position overall.

Next, place the mouse directly beside the keyboard at the same height and on the same surface. Keep wrists straight with upper arms close to your body, and hands at or slightly below the level of your elbows. Use a high sensitivity setting so that it only requires a light touch and minimal movement to operate. Consider alternating hands by moving the mouse to the other side of the keyboard periodically if you struggle with carpal tunnel.

5 – What About Laptops?

Using a laptop for online casino games presents a set of different challenges.

Adjusting the screen height means the keyboard and trackpad move along with it, so you’ll often have to find some compromise. You may need to invest in accessories that help you with more ergonomic positioning.

  • Bed tray or laptop stands can help improve the typing angle.
  • Stands can elevate the laptop to utilize an external keyboard, allowing for a more optimal typing angle and screen distance.
  • An external mouse can also be useful and is an excellent way to change up your hand position to avoid wrist and elbow stress.

Take advantage of laptop portability by changing up your seating often.

6 – Where to Place Your Setup

Choosing the right environment to set up your desk can be essential when attempting to optimize your ability to focus while playing.

  • Choose a quiet room with lighting that is adequate but not so bright that it causes screen glare.
  • Set up someplace where there are minimal distractions from noise or busy areas in your home.

The placement of items on your desk or table can add to stress. Keep critical items closer to your body, and place items you use less often further away on the desk.

6 – Take Regular Breaks

Regular breaks will give your muscles and joints a break, reduce your health risks, and improve your gambling performance.

Take short walks around the house or outside. Even if you have a great setup, you will inevitably develop stiffness and soreness if you don’t move around enough. Moving regularly will reduce your risk of health issues like swelling and blood clots. A short walk can boost your mood and ability to maintain concentration and focus.

Woman Stretching at Her Computer Desk

If you have enough room, take time to do some basic stretches. Maintaining flexibility will also help reduce muscle soreness and joint stiffness. Don’t forget to stretch your hands and wrists along with your neck, shoulders, legs, and back.

Lastly, mix up tasks and reposition regularly. Simple things like removing your hands from the keyboard when not typing can be beneficial. Periodically change your desk from sitting to standing if it is adjustable.

Conclusion

Online gambling comes with its own challenges apart from unhealthy land-based casino habits. Maintaining good posture, holding stressful upper body positions, and repetitive movements at the hands and wrists are the key points to pay attention to.

By taking some steps to put together a comfortable computer setup, you can minimize potential distractions and discomforts while you gamble, allowing you to better focus and maximize your potential.

The 10 Most Common Sports Betting Mistakes

Upset Man Slapping His Forehead With a Sports and Money Background

As a rookie sports bettor, I made a ton of bad choices. However, I quickly learned from these mistakes and was able to make fewer and fewer. It still took some time before I really got comfortable.

Sadly, I still make mistakes when sports betting to this day. Fortunately, I make them far less often than when I first began.

Here are 10 of the most common sports betting mistakes you can make.

1 – NFL Underdogs on the Road

It’s hard making NFL bets when the teams are on the road. That’s why the road team finds themselves as an underdog more frequently than a favorite. Typically, in NFL games where the visiting team is an underdog, the only value to be seen is with the home team.

Obviously, there’s not always value in the home team either. You shouldn’t just haphazardly throw money at the home team.

When you don’t see value on either side, the best option is to look at the total and the moneyline bets. You can often find value on the road underdog with a moneyline bet.

You’ll have to use cost-benefit analysis to see if it makes sense. However, when it is a good fit, you can do quite well making the moneyline wager.

2 – Betting on an NBA Team for Back-to-Back Games

Trying to predict how an NBA team will do on the second night of back-to-back games is one of the most challenging sports betting tasks. It’s like trying to wrangle a yeti, an elusive beast.

For years, I avoided games altogether if one of the teams played the previous night. I couldn’t seem to handicap them with any accuracy. Hence, I couldn’t sniff a profit on these games.

NBA Player Jayson Tatum Taking a Jump Shot

Some NBA coaches seem to have a knack for preparing their team for the second game back to back. Other teams tend to fall flat without a day off. The problem I ran into is that most teams will play out of their minds sometimes and look like a poorly disciplined junior team other times.

If you are looking for profitable lines, you must be able to predict the games with some degree of accuracy. When one team is on the back half of two consecutive games, betting on basketball that way is just not profitable long-term.

3 – MLB Home Team Trailing a Series

You may already know that MLB teams rarely get swept in a home series. This probably comes down to nothing more than a home-field advantage.

Baseball uses a 3-4 game series. This creates some unique opportunities. When you evaluate MLB games where it appears, there’s a value available on the visitors for the final game of a series. Tread lightly.

In baseball, value almost always lies with the home team. Regardless of the two teams’ records, I never bet against a home team in the final game of a series.

If anything, I’ll bet on the home team. When the value is just leaning too much in the other direction, I will skip the game entirely.

You should always look for the value when a home team is working to avoid the sweep. These wagers can be extremely profitable, even if the value doesn’t appear to be there.

4 – Trusting Your Gut

You know you’ve done it. I’ve done it, too. We’re only human, after all. There may not be a gambler on the planet that hasn’t made a bet off their “gut feeling.”

I really shouldn’t need to explain how bad this is, but I witness this cardinal gambling sin almost daily. What makes it worse is that gamblers seem to get these hunches right practically 50% of the time.

Man Placing a Sports Bet at a Window

We’re gamblers, and our brains are somehow wired to remember only the times our gut was right. We completely block out how more than half the time our gut costs us money.

Basing your bets on a gut feeling is akin to a coin flip. This means you can win about half the time. You have to win 52.4% of your bets to cover the juice when you lose if you want to be a profitable sports bettor.

Do yourself a favor and spend the necessary time learning to properly handicap. This will dramatically increase your chances of winning over the long-term. Remember, sports betting is a marathon and not a sprint.

5 – Blindly Betting on Your Favorite Team

I see way too many sports bettors that bet on their favorite team no matter what. They feel that if they don’t have skin in the game, they are somehow not real fans.

This is a guaranteed way to empty your bankroll over the long haul. In fact, it likely won’t take very long at all.

Suppose you are one of the many gamblers that can’t evaluate your team’s games without bias. In that case, you need to stop betting on your team, at least until you can figure out how to find lines with real value for your favorite team.

6 – Betting on Popular Teams

Sportsbooks know the amount of action they are going to see bet on most teams and matchups for the MLB regular season. Sportsbooks set the lines based on the amount of activity they anticipate on each side of a game.

The public tends to bet more heavily on popular teams like the Yankees or the Dodgers. Because of this, you’ll rarely find much value on either one of these teams.

For that reason, I highly suggest steering clear of betting on popular teams. The same can be said for the NFL and NBA favorites.

7 – Ignoring Statistics for Evaluations

We receive a mountain of data regarding sports. Thanks to the internet, these advanced statistics that cover every measurable metric are only a click away.

Pro sports bettors understand how to leverage these statistics to spot an advantage. The practice has become so common that I doubt you are winning if you haven’t employed them.

Suppose you have been studying the stat lines to get an edge and just can’t seem to win. You probably aren’t using them as much as you should.

Maybe you just don’t know which stats to key in on. Keep at it! Eventually, you will find the winning combination and begin to turn a profit.

This isn’t going to happen overnight, but the rewards will be amazing when you figure it out.

8 – Moneyline Missteps

Moneyline bets are pretty straightforward. You just pick the winning team for the game, and you win the bet. Except, you also have to pay a premium for the privilege of choosing the favorite. That’s where things begin to get complicated.

Wide View of a Casino Sportsbook

Many sports bettors see a considerable favorite on a moneyline bet and figure it’s a sure thing. They may bet $1,500 to win $75. Keep in mind, though, you’ll have to be right 90% to 95% of the time just to break even.

Instead of trying to take these small wins while risking big, look for money line bets that offer a better value in the long term.

9 – The Coin Toss Approach

An overwhelming majority of sports bettors would see similar results if they simply flipped a coin to pick games. In fact, some could probably see an improvement.

Remember, to make a profit, you have to win almost 53% of the time. This means you must learn how to properly handicap sports games.

I see many gamblers simply check a team’s record against their opponent’s and look at a few additional stats to make their decision.

They make their picks without ever uncovering any kind of actual value. If you don’t have a tried and true system to make your selections, you’re essentially flipping a coin.

10 – Paying for Picks

Depending on your source, buying picks can be a huge waste of money. Honestly, this is a subject that gets my blood pumping sometimes.

For starters, if the tout service were half as excellent as they claim to be, they’d be making tens of millions a year. They’d probably make more than that. Selling picks would be a waste of their time and resources.

You won’t have trouble finding these services to take your money. Still, you are not going to become a profitable sports bettor by using them.

That’s a fact. There’s no secret formula they’ve found for picking games.

Conclusion

I share these 10 most common sports betting mistakes because I’ve made the same errors myself. I want to help you avoid the pitfalls that have snagged me along the way.

If you can learn from these sports betting mistakes, you’ll shorten your learning curve substantially. Every mistake you can eliminate will serve to improve your odds of winning in the long term.

What Is Gambling in Monte Carlo Like?

Exterior and Interior Images of Casino Monte Carlo in Monaco

Long before Las Vegas or Macau rose to prominence, Monte Carlo was the world’s premier gambling destination. It became a big deal in the mid-1800s and has continued its run as a casino hotspot ever since.

Of course, Monte Carlo doesn’t draw diehard gamblers as much as Vegas or Macau. Instead, it’s more of a lavish casino destination that attracts wealthy people and others looking for an experience as much as the games.

It makes for a truly unique trip that offers the type of extravagance and waterfront views that few places can match. You can read more about what a Monte Carlo gambling trip is like below.

Where Is Monte Carlo?

Monte Carlo is located in Monaco. The latter is an independent principality that’s wedged between the Italian Riviera and the French Riviera.

It’s an extremely small place that only has 30,000 residents. Part of this population doesn’t even live in Monaco full time. They merely maintain an address here and stay part of the year so that they can avoid paying income taxes.

As for Monte Carlo, it’s only one of five districts in Monaco. The other four districts include La Condamine, Fontvieille, Monaco-Ville, and Moneghetti.

How Do You Get to Monte Carlo?

Part of Monte Carlo’s exclusivity is attributed to how difficult it is to reach. It’s not anything like Las Vegas, which is easily accessible through international flights and major highways.

Monte Carlo’s rugged landscape and seaside location make it the complete opposite of Vegas. However, you can still get here through multiple ways.

The Nice-Côte d’Azur Airport is the closest spot for international flights. You can land here and hitch a taxi or Uber ride down the coast to Monte Carlo. The drive from the airport is only 25 minutes. However, you’ll end up paying €80 on average for the ride.

Elevated View of Monte Carlo in Monaco

You can also take a helicopter from the airport. This option will run you €150, but it provides unforgettable views along the way. Buses provide a cheaper route over taxis, Ubers, and helicopters. There are bus passes for anywhere from €20 to €30.

If you’re up for a French vacation, you can also fly into Paris and find transportation from there. This route is great if you’ve never been to the City of Love. You’ll also find far more flights that touch down in Paris versus Nice.

The downside, though, is that Paris is almost 600 miles away from Monaco. You’ll need to spend more time and money on transportation when starting from Paris.

What Casinos Are Available in Monte Carlo?

Many people know of Monte Carlo as a gambling destination. Therefore, they may envision it having many casino options.

The reality, though, is that Monte Carlo doesn’t really offer many options at all. It only features the following four casinos:

  • Casino de Monte Carlo
  • Casino Le Café de Paris
  • Monte Carlo Bay Casino
  • Sun Casino
Casino de Monte Carlo is easily the most popular of this bunch. Opened in 1863, it graces many photos involving Monte Carlo and is historically a favorite for fictional spy James Bond.

This casino offers the most real money slots and table games in the district. It also features the type of opulence you’d expect during your time here.

Café de Paris serves as both an outdoor café and slots parlor. You’ll find nearly 500 video poker and slot machines in this establishment.

The Bay Casino offers another slots parlor with no table games. Meanwhile, Sun Casino—located inside the Fairmont Hotel—has both table games and slots.

What Casino Games Can You Play in Monte Carlo?

Monte Carlo does a good job of spreading many types of gambling across its four casinos. You’ll find a good variety of table games and slot machines throughout the area.

Here are some of the table games that are available in Monte Carlo:

  • Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • European Roulette
  • Stud Poker
  • Texas Hold’em

The roulette action is particularly good here. You’ll find a number of European Roulette wheels with the la partage rule in effect.

The European wheel features 37 numbers and a 2.70% house edge. This compares much more favorably to the American Roulette version, which has 38 numbers and a 5.26% house advantage.

You’ll also enjoy the la partage rule, which pays half back on losing even-money bets when the ball lands on zero. This rule cuts the house edge down to 1.35%.

Roulette Wheel in a Monte Carlo Casino

The blackjack games in Monte Carlo are largely favorable too regarding rules. However, you won’t be able to count cards on anything less than a €100 table.

Most of the tables throughout the district use a continuous shuffling machine (CSM), which spoils any card counting dreams. The video poker action isn’t very good in Monte Carlo. You can find 9/6 Jacks or Better (99.54% RTP) if you’re willing to bet €1 per coin (€5 for the full five coins).

However, some American casinos only require to wager $0.25 per coin to play 9/6 Jacks or Better. Assuming you play the quarter games in Monte Carlo, then you’ll be facing 98.45% RTP or worse.

Keep in mind that you must exchange other currencies (e.g. USD, GBP) for euros before gambling. You can use an online currency converter if you’re struggling with knowing how much your bets are worth.

How Much Do You Have to Pay to Stay at the Casinos?

Monte Carlo is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and it charges you for this fact too. You’ll pay hundreds of euros to stay at a three-star hotel or better.

Assuming you find any good deals, your booking cost is typically non-refundable. Furthermore, you’ll likely need to call in advance, because others will be fixating on the same great offers.

Of course, you could always opt for the budget hotels located here as well. But even these are more expensive than the average motel found throughout Atlantic City or Vegas.

Do You Need Formal Wear to Enter Casinos?

One common stereotype about Monte Carlo is that you need to wear a tuxedo or evening gown to enter the gambling floor. While this may be true of high-roller rooms, it’s not true across the board.

Most of the people throughout the casinos will be dressed casually. Therefore, you don’t need to pack a Gucci suit just to gamble in Monte Carlo.

You will, however, need to have formalwear if you visit one of the private gambling rooms. You’ll also need to bring a large bankroll to afford the €100 minimum bets.

How Are Monte Carlo Casinos Different From Others?

Most casinos use various tricks to keep your mind on the games at hand. They don’t have windows, clocks, or anything else that would clue you in on amount of time spent on the gambling floor.

Monte Carlo takes a very different approach to the matter. They not only have clocks on the wall but also feature large windows that provide a view to the outdoors.

Another difference is the makeup of the gambling floors. Monte Carlo casinos don’t have as many slot machines as most gaming destinations.

Rows of Slot Machines in a Monte Carlo Casino

They feature more table games on average, because they earn the majority of their revenue in this area. Contrast this scenario to Las Vegas casinos, which fill their gambling floors with slot and video poker machines.

The Monte Carlo gambling floors are also decorated much better than those found elsewhere. They go for a classic and elegant look that includes candelabras, chandeliers, and marble floors.

Likewise, dealers are all clad in formal wear. This touch completes an atmosphere that makes you feel like you’ve stepped back into a wealthy 1800s gambling house.

Finally, Monte Carlo casinos aren’t as noisy as those in Vegas, Atlantic City, Macau, and other gambling hotspots. The less-noisy atmosphere is due to fewer slot machines and a quieter table games crowd.

Conclusion

Monte Carlo definitely isn’t your standard gambling trip. Instead, it’s one of the most lavish gambling destinations in the world.

Movie stars, royalty, and billionaires all vacation in this famed district of Monaco. Much of the same crowd also likes to gamble in the legendary private rooms found in Casino de Monte Carlo.

Fortunately, you don’t need to be a prince or movie star just to enjoy Monte Carlo. But you will need to have a larger-than-average budget before heading here.

Monte Carlo hotels are pricier on average than any other casino destination. You’ll also have to spend more actually getting here. But once you do commit to this trip, you won’t be disappointed with the results.

The Two Best Casinos for Locals in Las Vegas and Why

Las Vegas Text With a Green Valley Ranch and Red Rock Casino Background

Believe it or not, Las Vegas isn’t just a place for tourists to spend their vacation time gambling the night away. There are actually people that live in Las Vegas! Surprising, I know… As you can probably imagine, a lot of locals living in Vegas avoid the Strip like the plague.

That being said, there are events on the Las Vegas Strip that can bring in the locals from time to time. For one thing, it’s home to some pretty amazing places to eat. Whether you’re a tourist or have lived in Sin City for most of your life, a lot of the restaurants are difficult to pass up, especially if you’re feeling like living next to Vegas has taken away some of the magic. What better way to remember why Vegas is actually pretty awesome than to indulge at a celebrity chef’s famed restaurant?

There are some pretty popular shopping destinations that locals visit from time to time too, such as the Fashion Show Mall. But for most locals, you will hear that there is nothing more boring than walking up and down the Las Vegas Strip, going from casino to casino on foot like they haven’t seen it all before.

People travel to Vegas to gamble, and just because a person might live in Las Vegas doesn’t mean that they frown at the thought of gambling. Where locals choose to do their gambling is a different story.

Las Vegas residents know which casinos are total tourist traps and should be avoided at all costs, and they know which casinos are actually paying out well and treat people right.

Residents here also know which casinos are famous for being too crowded or for having long lines. So, the question is, which casinos do the locals enjoy most?

Here are the two best casinos for locals in Las Vegas..

1 – Green Valley Ranch

Here is an amazing gambling destination for Las Vegas locals that you don’t often hear about—Green Valley Ranch. Green Valley Ranch is a hotel, casino, and spa located in the affluent, high-class Green Valley community in Henderson, Nevada. Owned and operated by Station Casinos, Green Valley Ranch features a casino that is exactly 143,891 square feet.

Not only do locals enjoy the casino that gets them away from the touristy Las Vegas Strip, they also like to eat at one of the eight different restaurants that are offered inside the casino resort. Although the property was designed in a high-class, upscale kind of way, drawing in out-of-town visitors, Green Valley Ranch is still very much a locals casino. Not to mention, Green Valley Ranch has been voted Best Players Club for 13 years in a row!

Pool Area at Green Valley Ranch Las Vegas

Bingo is a popular game all across the globe, especially among older generations. I mean, it’s true. Any time I have visited an older relative at their retirement home, there is always a lot of bingo on the schedule for everyone living there because it’s a classic activity.

There are a lot of people who move out to Las Vegas after retiring, because it’s affordable and fun. For many of these retirees, Green Valley Ranch gives them an opportunity to play bingo while getting to stay away from the tourist-heavy parts of Las Vegas. Why do I mention bingo first above all other games? Because Green Valley Ranch features the newest, high-class bingo room in all of Henderson, Nevada. You can play sessions every day from as early as 9 AM until as late as 11 PM.

The poker room featured at Green Valley Ranch provides playing opportunities for every skill level. You will find all of your popular poker games, from Omaha to Texas Hold’em. These poker games can be played inside of the Green Valley Ranch poker room 24 hours a day, and there are also poker tournaments offered daily.

For the locals that want to take a break from casino games and just lounge, there are several options for them to choose from. If they are looking for some tasty beverages, they can dip into the Lobby Bar featured at Green Valley Ranch. The Lobby Bar is actually one of the best hotspots for drinks in Las Vegas when it comes to their local residents.

For the people who want to leave the house, maybe play some games, and catch the football game, then the Sports Bar in Green Valley Ranch will be the most ideal destination.

2 – Red Rock Casino Resort

Another popular resort casino of choice for the locals living in Las Vegas is the Red Rock Casino Resort. At first glance, you can tell that a lot of thought was put into the overall design of the resort. With the inspiring surrounding views of the mountains in this part of the Las Vegas Valley, the elegance of the casino resort accents the beauty of its desert surroundings.

Red Rock Casino Resort pays tribute to the elegant mid-century architecture that made Las Vegas famous. While being elegant, there is still a reinvented design that makes the casino resort cool and stylish for the 21st century.

Red Rock Las Vegas Casino Floor

Locals that like to gamble typically prefer to do so outside of the Las Vegas Strip, making the casino at Red Rock Casino Resort one that is preferred among the locals. The resort casino has been the recipient of the AAA Four Diamond Award since the doors of this place very first opened, which actually says a lot about why people love going there so much.

One thing that you will hear time and time again that makes a casino a good one amongst the locals is one that has high levels of customer service. This is an area where Red Rock Casino Resort doesn’t fall short in the slightest.

The architecture of the casino as well as the rest of the property is truly remarkable. The location of the casino resort is located on top of 70 acres of land, making it the gateway into Red Rock Canyon. The secluded nature of this off-strip casino resort is another reason why it’s such a popular destination for the locals in Las Vegas. Red Rock Casino Resort is 10 miles away from the busy and often crowded Vegas Strip.

Red Rock Casino Resort holds one of the most sought-after poker rooms in all of Las Vegas. For the people who love to spend time at the casino, the poker room is definitely without a doubt one of the biggest draws out of anything else at the casino. This isn’t to minimize what else is available inside the casino. Red Rock just happens to have a popular poker room.

The Poker Room is a hotspot for locals and features a variety of poker games. From Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and more, the gambling at the poker table isn’t exclusive for the high rollers. The Poker Room caters to all skill levels, and games can be played 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Just a few of the reasons that make The Poker Room at Red Rock Casino Resort so popular among locals and a sought-after casino for poker players across the globe.

Do you know of more casinos in Las Vegas that are regular hotspots for the locals living there? Let me know in the comments!

Thinking of Gambling at Night? Here Are 5 Reasons to Think Again

Man Thinking With a Roulette and Las Vegas Background

Gambling can be difficult even in the best of times. While it’s very common to visit casinos at night, and that’s often the most popular idea of gambling you’ll come across, that doesn’t mean it’s a great idea.

There are several reasons why. Let’s dig into them here, and see why you might be better served by gambling during the day.

1 – Your Reactions Are Dampened

Gambling at night isn’t a good idea for a straightforward reason—your reaction times just aren’t going to be where they need to be.

Think about it. After a long day at work, you go home, take a shower, change clothes, then get in the car and start driving. You’re already pretty tired, but you get to the casino and have a few drinks.

Now, you must feel like you’re ready to play. But do you really think you’re going to be at the top of your game at this point? It’s probably unlikely. Your thoughts are going to be cloudy. Your reaction time is going to be slow. You’re just going to struggle to do a great job.

Man Gambling at a Craps Table

Professional gamblers don’t think like this. First of all, they don’t spend 10 hours a day working and commuting, so they’re not running into the problem of being exhausted by the time they start gambling.

Second, they generally know not to drink at all (or not to drink very much) if their goal is to make money at the tables.

Even for the average gambler who just wants to have a little fun, gambling after a long day at work can be a great way to quickly blow a lot of money and not exactly enjoy the experience.

2 – You’ll Probably Have Too Many Drinks

As you can see from the situation above, one of the biggest problems with gambling in the evening is that you’re likely going to find yourself having a few drinks (or more than a few).

That’s just how drinking goes. People don’t usually drink in the morning and go gamble (hopefully). Most folks drink in the evening as part of the casino experience.

If your goal is to not lose all your money the second you walk in the door, it’s probably better for you to gamble during the day instead.

Now, I’ve got nothing against drinking. And while it’s probably not true that alcohol will improve your gambling skills (for most people), some gamblers who tend to feel nervous might benefit from having a few drinks just to loosen up.

Variety of Colorful Cocktails in a Casino

With that being said, for the vast majority of people, a handful of drinks isn’t what’s happening at a casino. Even if it is, having too many drinks will have a significant impact on that person’s ability to play and is one the biggest mistakes that gamblers make.

Sure, you might have it in your head that rolling some dice or picking a random number can’t be too hard, and roulette might be one of those games where you can’t really mess it up no matter how much you drink. But for most casino games, you’re going to need to be paying attention to do well.

If you’re playing something like craps, for example, you need be aware of changes in the game that happen as the game moves on. Having too much to drink will be a recipe for disaster.

Gambling in the evening when you’re tired is already a bad idea, but when you add that you’ve had a few drinks, you’re going to struggle not to lose all your money.

3 – You’re Going to Stay up Too Late

As an adult, you don’t have anyone dictating your bedtime, but staying up later than you usually do means that you’re going to become more and more tired as the evening progresses.

This is so common because most people are going to the casino on a Friday or Saturday evening. The pressure’s on, so your routine schedule of hitting the sack at 10 PM goes right out the window.

Throughout the evening, even if you’re not drinking, your mind is likely getting slower and slower. You’ll find yourself yawning and pretending that your mind is working just fine, but in reality, you’ve got significantly impaired cognitive abilities.

Staying up too late is something your mother told you never to do and for good reason. This can also dovetail with the issue of drinking to cause additional disaster. The later you’re up, the more drinks you’re probably going to have.

Even if you’re pacing yourself, you’re no scientist—you’re probably not going to take your drinks at the precise times you need to if you’re trying to make sure you don’t get too drunk.

Your inability to play the best gambling strategies because you’re too tired is going to have a big impact on your bank account in the morning because you might make a few bad plays early in the evening then end up pulling money out of the ATM to keep playing.

When gambling is hitting your bank account hard enough to be a problem, the next issue only makes things worse.

4 – You’ll Be Tempted to Pay for a Room

Unless you’re spending big bucks at the casino, you’re probably not going to get your room comped, so let’s get that out of the way now.

Many people seem to think that they’re going to get casino comps because they’ve been playing $20 hands all evening, and that’s just not always the case.

With that being said, if it’s late in the evening, you’ve driven a long way to get to the casino, you’ve had a few drinks, you’ve made the decision to stay up later than you usually would, and now it’s getting a lot later. Plus, you’re probably sticking around a lot longer than you planned. And you’re more likely to want a room if you live far away.

Now, if you’ve got a ton of money lying around and you don’t mind spending it on a room, that’s great. Go ahead and get a room. But for the rest of us, being tempted into paying for a room is a pretty bad idea.

Rooms at casinos are great, so they’re usually not cheap. But if you’ve been up too late and had a few too many drinks, you may not have a choice.

At a certain point, when you’ve been up too long, you’re probably so tired that you might as well be drunk in terms of how well you’re going to drive a car. Add to that the fact that you might actually be drunk because you’ve been drinking in the casino all evening, and you will hopefully make the wise decision to get a room.

Making that decision requires more money. You might end up gambling in the morning and losing even more money when you wake up.

This isn’t a great idea if your goal is to just play a few slots and have fun. Gambling during the day is a much better bet.

5 – You’ll Eat More in the Evening

If your goal when you enter a casino is to not spend too much money, then brother, you better stay away from the food.

The food in a casino is always overpriced, even if it’s delicious. This is simple economics. They have a captive audience who has demonstrated a willingness to spend money, so they might as well offer some expensive meal options for gamblers who don’t really plan on leaving the tables for long.

Spread of Asian Dishes

If this is you, then your bank account might be in for an even harder hit than when you were just sitting in front of the slot machines for a few hours.

And let’s not forget that all that food piled on top of drinks is going to have a potent effect on your waistline the next day.

Conclusion

While it’s most common for gamblers to gamble at night across the world, it’s probably not the best time to gamble in terms of clarity and strategy.

If you’re an avid morning gambler, I’d love to hear from you. Let me know in the comments why you prefer gambling in the morning.

The 4 Best Places to Eat in Macau

Macau Restaurant Style Dish With a Macau City Background

Next to Las Vegas, Macau is one of the global leaders when it comes to the gambling meccas of the world. With an economy that is centered around entertainment, it isn’t surprising to learn that Macau also has some of the world’s best places to eat.

This is something that you’ll pretty much find anywhere in the world where gambling and entertainment combine to form a worldwide tourist destination. No one wants to travel halfway across the world just to eat a bunch of low-quality food.

Because Macau is such a huge center of money and entertainment (it’s many times more successful and  profitable than Las Vegas), you’ll find some of the best chefs in the world right here in Macau working on their craft. They deliver some of the most amazing and cutting-edge dining experiences you’ll find anywhere on Earth.

Maybe you’ve heard of some of these places, while others might be new to you. Regardless of whether you’ve heard of these restaurant hot spots or not, we hope that after reading this post you’ll feel up to date with the best places to eat in Macau, especially those of you who are planning a trip to this wonderful casino destination.

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You’re not just going to find Chinese or Portuguese dishes when you visit. You’re going to find cuisine that’s a combination of different influences. Macau has every major offering that you’ll find across the world.

No matter your tastes or where you come from, you’ll find something that reminds you of home and something that makes you feel like you’ve truly entered a new and exotic era of food.

Here are some of the best places to eat in Macau. These places are in no particular ranking order, so I highly recommend that you give all of them a try, especially if you have the budget for it!

1 – Ou Mun Cafe

One of the most popular restaurants in Macau for both tourists and locals is a cafe called Ou Mun.

Ou Mun Cafe is a just a short walking distance from Macau’s iconic Senado Square and Ruins of Saint Paul. These are two popular tourist destinations in Macau that you absolutely must visit, even if you plan on spending most of your time in the casinos.

The colonial history of Macau is unfortunate, but much of the remaining infrastructure is beautiful and worth a look.

Over the years, Ou Mun Cafe has earned a reputation as one of the first iconic Portuguese cafes and restaurants in Macau. If you’ve never had Portuguese food before and are unfamiliar with Portugal, you’ll definitely want to give this cafe a shot to experience something new and different.

Entrance to Ou Mun Cafe in Macau

Every review that I have found on their website and various travel sites where customers can leave honest feedback has not had a single negative thing to say about this place. The food is the closest thing that you can get to authentic Portuguese food. The chefs at Ou Mun have selected particular recipes that make everything on the menu something worth trying.

A lot of people enjoy having this particular style of authentic Portuguese food at the very beginning of the day. If you’ve never had Portuguese food for breakfast, then know that you’re missing out.

Some of the entrees that tourists and locals enjoy include the seafood rice, the shrimp omelette, chorizo, beef steak, and many other dishes that are very difficult to pronounce. The service at Ou Mun Cafe is just as excellent as the dishes, so feel free to bring the family along when you visit and be prepared for a wonderful experience and a delectable meal!

2 – Canton

Canton is another popular restaurant that’s located in The Venetian Macau, one of the biggest casinos in the world. It features Asian cuisine that will make your mouth water and keep you coming back for the rest of your stay while at Macau. Canton was rated the number one place to eat in Macau in the year 2019, so even though it hasn’t gotten the chance to compete in 2020, I still recommend you check it out!

Canton serves your standard Chinese cuisine, but what makes this place special and unique from your typical Chinese food restaurant is the traditional style of Cantonese food that is featured here. And not only is there traditional Cantonese food, Canton also has dishes that are a blend of tastes that you can find in different cities all across Mainland China.

Entrance to Canton Restaurant in Macau

For appetizers, many people like to order off of their a la carte menu. Some choices that are recommended include crispy roasted suckling pig, Ningbo-style marinated long beans, marinated jelly fish, double-boiled chicken soup with fish maw and bamboo, steamed giant grouper, pan-fried pork, and deep-fried bean curd.

I know that for me, personally, hearing some of these types of foods are definitely not what you’d typically find at a Chinese food place here in the United States.

Don’t let that deter you. Most of the customers whose reviews I’ve read are from tourists that are local to the United States. And although the food might sound intimidating, there is a reason why Canton received the award for best restaurant in Macau in 2019.

For dinner, there are several options that are recommended that you try if you’re planning a casino trip to Macau soon. Or maybe after reading this post you will be influenced to make Macau the destination of choice for your next family vacation.

For dinner, popular options include marinated cowpeas, barbeque pork, roast pork belly, marinated Alaskan crab, marinated cucumber, deep fried bean curd, smoked crispy fish filet, as well as fried beef tenderloin.

I can say firsthand that some of the fried meat entrees featured on this dinner menu are making my mouth water, and I just had breakfast. I had never heard of fried tenderloin, and people’s reviews are consistent with how amazing that sounds, so you should absolutely give it a shot (as long as it fits into your diet plan!).

3 – Golden Peacock

The eateries that have been mentioned so far have been relatively affordable places to eat considering that they are featured in one of the largest entertainment industries on the planet.

The Golden Peacock, also located in The Venetian Macau, is going to be a little bit more on the pricey side compared to what has been mentioned so far. At the Golden Peacock, you are definitely going to be getting what you paid for.

We always hear about people trying out new and fancy restaurants, and after paying over $100 for an entree, they leave the place completely dissatisfied. The portions are small, and the three bites of steak just wasn’t worth the asking price on the menu.

Entrance to Golden Peacock Restaurant in Macau

I can assure you that at the Golden Peacock, this sort of experience isn’t possible. As far as fine dining is concerned, the Golden Peacock in Macau is one of the best options that your money can buy for delicious and elegant dining. There are many popular places to eat in Macau that feature some tasty Chinese food. Golden Peacock is a step away from the typical ordinary Asian entrees and steps into the realm of Indian cuisine.

Since its doors opened in 2013, the Golden Peacock has won a multitude of awards and has been a constant hit among food critics around the world. Of all of the restaurants in Asia, the Golden Peacock is the only Indian food restaurant that has received one Michelin star.

I know that one star sounds like a not-so-good thing, but one Michelin star is better than five normal stars, so just try to think of it as a six-star restaurant.

4 – Lotus Palace

The final place that I will recommend due to its extremely high level of popularity is another restaurant that is going to be on the fine dining side of the food spectrum. Lotus Palace, located in The Parisian Macau, is a Chinese food restaurant that specializes in Asian seafood. The dining spot gives you the taste of traditional Chinese while making you feel like you are sitting inside somewhere in Paris, France.

Spread of Dishes From Lotus Palace Restaurant in Macau

Lotus Palace features a variety of fresh seafood, spicy hot pot, signature dim sum, provincial Chinese dishes, as well as pan-Asian and Cantonese favorites in a spacious and modern environment. If you are traveling to Macau with your significant other or treating someone special on the date of a lifetime, then Lotus Palace definitely needs to be on your list for places to eat.

The food is amazing and worth the asking price, but the environment reaches a level of elegance that will make for a very romantic evening.

Conclusion

Do you have other popular places to eat in Macau that I left out? If so, please feel free to let me know in the comments section below!

If You Visit Las Vegas, This Is the Hotel You Need to Stay At

View of the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas Next to the Vegas Welcome Sign

You don’t have to be a person that’s into gambling to have heard of Las Vegas. The so-called “City of Sin” is home to one of the biggest concentrations of casinos in the world. You probably know that Las Vegas features some of the most elite casino resorts of any other gambling mecca on the planet. With Las Vegas’ abundance of resorts, it can be difficult to choose the one that’ll be best for you and whoever else might tag along for the ride.

Most of the resort casinos in Las Vegas are going to be luxurious, have amazing architecture, and have a world of amenities that really separates them from your typical local hotel (or even your typical big-venue hotel in a big city).

With all of the large resorts that scream out their presence on the Strip and appear in all the movies and TV shows, it can be easy to overlook other options that might be just as nice but maybe more affordable.

Most people think of Las Vegas and picture its famous Strip, but there is actually an entire city and downtown area separate from the Strip. Downtown Las Vegas includes the very first hotels and casinos to ever make their way into Las Vegas. One downtown hotel that is often overlooked and very underrated is the Plaza Hotel and Casino.

When people look to plan a trip to visit Las Vegas, Downtown LV is a choice that some people don’t know even exists. Let’s briefly go into details about the Plaza Hotel and Casino in the hopes that it might be your resort of choice during your next planned trip to Las Vegas.

How the Plaza Hotel and Casino Came to Be

Before the Plaza was built, its original property was the site for the first train station in Las Vegas history that was built in 1906, more than 100 years ago. In 1940, it was replaced with a Streamline Moderne train station. This station was demolished in 1970 and replaced by the Union Plaza Hotel, which included a waiting room to be used as a station for Amtrak trains.

Sam Boyd, Frank Scott, Howard Cannon, and Jackie Gaughan were four local Las Vegas businessman who became the first owners of the Plaza hotel and would be responsible for its open doors on July 2nd, 1971. Its original name was Union Plaza, in reference to the original railroad station that stood where the hotel can be found.

Vintage Photo of Union Plaza in Las Vegas

Before the Desert Wind train route was discontinued, Amtrak made its Nevada station near the Plaza Hotel. The station and ticket windows were directly connected to the hotel, making it the only train station to be located inside of a casino in the United States. It was certainly a sight to behold and worth the trip, especially if you could take the train in then stay at the hotel!

The Barrick Gaming Corporation took over ownership of the Plaza in 2005. Around this time, the mayor, Oscar Goodman, would petition to have the hotel replaced with a scene entrance to Union Park.

That obviously didn’t happen, as we have the same Plaza Hotel standing where it has always sat. Renovations for the hotel started in 2010, and its doors would open to the public again on August 24th, 2011. Since then, the hotel has undergone several other renovations and is now an incredible place to stay and enjoy a vacation.

Amenities and Experiences

Like every hotel, there are several options available for you in terms of booking a room at the Plaza. There are the Junior Suites, Luxe Rooms, and Deluxe Rooms for you to choose between.

The Junior Suites are going to be perfect for couples wanting a great hotel choice while staying in Las Vegas without the huge cost associated with some of the more expensive rooms. They include a king-sized bed with premium bedding, a partially opened bathroom, shower, free toiletries, and a hair dryer.

For early risers and folks that need a pick-me-up, free coffee is available in any room, including the Junior Suites. They also come with a safe, a desk, and rollaway bed options upon request. There is a 32-inch TV and free Wi-Fi for people needing to check emails while on their trip in Vegas (or even for folks who want to play games on their iPad or console of choice).

Suite Hotel Room in Plaza Las Vegas

Experience the unmatched combination of comfort and luxury in the hotel’s brand-new Luxe rooms. Each non-smoking room comes with one king or two queen beds with pillow top mattresses, luxury bedding, fresh, crisp triple sheeting, and plush hypoallergenic queen-sized pillows, providing a relaxing experience no matter what you’re sleeping on at home and what you’re used to.

The Luxe room is USB-friendly and includes a voice-activated Amazon Echo as your personal concierge. The Luxe room is 325 square feet, includes a 49-inch flat screen TV with premium cable channels, in-room safe, iron/ironing board, hairdryer, mini refrigerator, and a coffee maker. All the rooms in the hotel are equipped with walk-in showers and premium bath amenities.

The Casino Experience at the Plaza Hotel and Casino

One of the most exciting parts about visiting Las Vegas is hearing the sound of slot machines when you first walk into a casino. The Plaza is going to spark excitement with over 700 different slot machines throughout the casino.

The Plaza also brags about having the best video poker pay tables in Downtown Las Vegas, having over 100% payback. The wide variety of real money slots will ensure that you and other guests will find their favorites games to enjoy at any time of the day or night, while also opening doors into new and different slot games that you may not have even heard of.

If you’re looking for a variety of table games to bring added excitement to your adventure in Las Vegas, you will love the options available at the Plaza. If you’re looking to play against the best players in Las Vegas or are a beginner wanting to try their luck at the craps table, I’m sure you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for at the Plaza.

Table games at the Plaza Hotel and Casino include blackjack, craps, roulette, double deck blackjack, Three-Card Poker, Let It Ride, Texas Hold’em, and High Card Flush. There are many more that we don’t have time to go into. Just know that the Plaza is sure to meet your gaming needs.

The Plaza also holds the title for having the best bingo room in Las Vegas, and the only bingo room you’ll even find when staying Downtown. Not everyone loves bingo, but if you’re one of the many fans of this fun game, this is pretty much the craziest bingo game you’ll ever play. The Plaza’s 280-seat bingo room gives you the opportunity to play and hopeful leave for home with big winnings in your pocket!

Live Comedy, a Massive Pool, and an Outdoor Equestrian Center

Alongside the hundreds of different games that you can entertain yourself with, there are plenty of other amenities and options for your entertainment pleasure featured at the Plaza.

The pool at the Plaza is making some big waves in Downtown Las Vegas, with its 70,000-square-foot pool deck. There is plenty of room for you to stretch out and relax, with plenty of space between you and other hotel guests

Plaza Las Vegas Pool Deck

The Comedy Works at the Plaza features a comedy hall with live stand-up comedy every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. Every week brings a completely different line-up of world-class performers who have been on Netflix, The Tonight Show, and even Comedy Central.

The CORE Arena is the very first (and only) outdoor equestrian attractions in Downtown Las Vegas. If you’ve never heard of an equestrian arena, then picture a venue that would host rodeo finals. The new locations of the CORE Arena features two outdoor arenas for roping practice and exercise during the rodeo.

There are plenty of other amenities at the Plaza Hotel and Casino that will make for an amazing stay. There are over four different restaurants to choose from, as well as a coffee bar! Grab a steak at Oscar’s Steakhouse, or swing in early to grab breakfast at Brightside Breakfast and Burgers.

Did I Leave Something Out?

I know that picking the right hotel for you or for your family can be a very difficult and overwhelming decision. With as many options as are available in Las Vegas, I hope that this short blog post will influence you to stray from the typical hotel choices that so many people flock to.

The Plaza Hotel and Casino will make for a truly unforgettable time, immersing you into the historical and classic vibes of Las Vegas that you’ll miss out on when staying on the Strip.

Have you already stayed at the Plaza and have feedback that I might have left out? Please feel free to let me know your feedback in the comment section below!

7 More Things NOT to Do in Vegas

Angry Man With a Las Vegas Casino Background

You’re getting ready for that first trip to Vegas.

There are 1000s of blog posts about what to do in Vegas.

Not a lot of people want to talk about what not to do in Vegas. I’m here to help. I wish someone had taken me under their wing and shared with me the Vegas insider secrets

I’m sharing what not to do in Vegas. It will take make your first foray to Sin City that much better.

The idea is to have tons of fun, a blast even, right?

Follow these tips (and the ones from my previous post (LINK TO 7 THINGS NOT TO DO IN VEGAS), and I can almost promise you’ll have a blast. You’ll be booking trip #2 as soon as you unpack your suitcase.

1- Don’t Pay Face Value for Show Tickets

We all know about the big Vegas casino shows. Many celebrity musicians, artists, performance groups, and comedians have standing shows at the Vegas Strip Casinos.

Here’s the catch:

Don’t pay full price for tickets to these shows.

You simply don’t have to.

Here’s what you do to get discounted casino show tickets (I can’t guarantee this will work for every show):

  • Book your tickets ahead of time. Maybe at the same time as your booking your room and flight.
  • Go to the venue a couple of hours before the show of your choice and see if there are any unsold seats. These tickets are usually discounted. Pick out a few shows ahead of time to give yourself some options.
  • Groupon and other sites have tons of discounts on Vegas shows.
  • If you’re staying at a hotel on the same property as a casino (which you should be doing), you will most likely get some sort of discount at that property’s in house shows.
  • Vegas.com usually has offers for multiple show offers. This is a great deal for large parties or groups who will not be going to the same shows at the same time,

2- Don’t Think You Can Walk Everywhere

First-time gamblers to Vegas’s Strip make the mistake of thinking they can walk everywhere.

Most newcomers to the Strip don’t realize that the Strip is 4.2 miles long. That’s just one way.

4.2 miles around 7,000 steps. Your Fitbit or phone’s fitness app wants you to walk 10,000 steps (6 miles) in one day

You can go ahead and do yourself a favor and take advantage of the transportation options when you think you’re going to walk farther than a mile and a half. That’s the rule I follow when I’m hoping from casino to casino in Vegas.

Vegas has multiple transportation options. There’s pedicabs, rideshare companies, traditional taxis, and even a monorail.

Crowded Taxis in Las Vegas

If I’m going just across the street or somewhere close, I walk. The casino resorts are so massive that it can be a task in itself, walking through one property.

When you try to get a taxi, make sure that you go to either the bellhop stationed outside the hotels or a cab stand. The taxi drivers in Las Vegas are used to being shuttling visitors from one casino to another.

Make sure you keep your phone charged so that you can easily pull up Google Maps or your Uber or Lyft app. It would be the worst for your phone to die while you’re waiting for your Lyft driver.

Oh, tip. Please, please, please tip. I’ll talk more about that in a bit.

3- Don’t Take Photos on the Casino Floor

Vegas’s official slogan is “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas.” It is especially true of the casino floor.

The casinos are strict about people taking pictures on the casino floor.

They do this for a couple of reasons:

  • Some people use it as research to try to attempt to cheat during a future visit.
  • To protect the identity of guests that might be in your photos by accident.

Most casinos will ask you to leave if they catch you snapping pictures on the casino floor. I know it’s tempting, but don’t.

4- Don’t Go to Vegas without a Budget for Gambling

This is a colossal mistake new gamblers make in Vegas. Set a realistic budget for how much you’re comfortable spending (daily or for the whole trip).

I set my budget two weeks out from my trip and adjust if I have any expenses that arise — like if my car needs expensive repair work, my budget will probably be adjusted down to counteract that expense.

Closeup of Roulette Numbers

I usually withdraw my gambling budget in cash and carry with me to my hotel. I store the cash in my hotel room’s safe for security reasons.

This all sounds like a lot of extra work, but it will benefit you and your bank account in the long run. I promise you.

Here’s where this benefits you:

  • You take that day’s budgeted amount out of your safe. This is all you have to gamble with for that. Once it’s spent, you’re done gambling. You’re not done having fun. You’re just done with gambling.
  • When you reach your gambling cash limit, you’re allowed to take a break. Many gamblers fall for the gambler’s fallacy.

The gambler’s fallacy is when you’re on a losing streak, and you have (probably) spent all of your money. You think you’re due for a big win.

The likelihood of you making a big comeback is slim, if not all. It’s just not going to happen. Walk away.

5- Don’t Be Rude

First off, I want to say that the societal rules that apply in your everyday life are amplified in Vegas. Don’t be rude to the staff, the other visitors and gamblers, and the dealers.

If you’re rude, you can get yourself kicked out of the casino or the entire property. Vegas is a city that people let their hair down, indulge, even get a little wild. You can do all of these things without being a jerk.

Here are a few pointers in case you’re wondering what I mean:

  • Vegas is a place where if you’re wondering if you should, tip.
  • Don’t raise your voice when you don’t like the outcome of a situation.
  • Know and follow casino etiquette. You can read more about the unsaid rules of gambling in a casino here. (link to blog)
  • Check the dress code at a venue or restaurant before going. Some places will turn you away if you’re not appropriately dressed.
  • If you’re wondering if something is socially appropriate, what would you’re grandparents do? Because that is probably the right move.
  • Always be polite. Rudeness isn’t going to improve anyone’s experience.

6- Don’t Go Overboard with Free Drinks

Vegas is probably just as famous for the free casino drinks as they are for their gambling.

Who doesn’t like a free drink? I certainly do. I appreciate them.

In case you haven’t heard of this casino bonus, most (if not all) casino on the Strip offer gamblers free drinks as long as they’re on the casino floor as long you’re gambling.

That’s great, right?

Free drinks are a great bonus when you’re gambling until you’ve had too many. Gambling and heavy drinking do not mix.

Group of Mixed Drinks

Gambling is a financial transaction. I like to use the following comparison:

You wouldn’t get smashed at happy hour and then go buy a car or house, right? Why would you get drunk on free drinks while gambling? It’s not a good idea.

When you’re under the influence of heavy alcohol consumption, you lose your ability to make the right decisions. Your analytical skills are just as impaired your ability to drive.

The casinos know that drunk people will freely spend more money at the tables and slot than sober gamblers. Just be aware of this. Vegas does everything with one precise goal… Make money.

Save your heavy drinking for a night out or at one of the night clubs. Heavy drinking isn’t for gambling.

7- Don’t Forget to Have Fun

This is the most important rule to follow out of this two-part series. If you’re reading this because you’re about to go one your first trip to Vegas.

Guess what?

The best thing to do in Vegas is to not forget to have fun. I’m trying to encourage you to not take yourself so seriously.

You’re not a professional gambler. You’re not likely to become one. You’re a hobby gambler. Hobby gamblers have fun.

Don’t get wrapped up in the impossible dream of winning your retirement plan on your 1st visit to Vegas. The probability of this happening is about as likely as you winning the next lottery drawing.

Enjoy yourself. Swim, eat, gamble, and tip. Have fun.

Conclusion

I hope this list of things not to do in Vegas gives you some ideas and confidence for your upcoming trip. Be kind, have fun and tip.

If you’re looking for tips, please look at our other post on things to do, see, and play in Sin City.

5 Big Reasons Why US Esports Betting Isn’t Taking Off

American Flag With an Esports Logo

Approximately 2.2 billion people worldwide play video games on a daily basis. Therefore, it’s only natural that some of these same gaming enthusiasts like watching and gambling on the pros.

Esports betting has taken off in recent years. In fact, it’s now a multibillion-dollar industry, and it only figures to get more popular in the coming years.

Some states in the US have capitalized on this popularity by including esports in their legalized betting markets. Even still, esports gambling just doesn’t seem to be taking off in America now.

What gives? Below, you can see five reasons why the industry has been slow to materialize.

1 – Sports Betting Is the Primary Agenda

Offshore sportsbooks have been offering these bets for professional gamblers for over a quarter century. Now, however, marks the first point where states can choose to offer legal betting.

The Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in May 2018. PASPA previously banned sports betting on a federal level.

Over a dozen states have already taken advantage of their right to offer regulated sports wagering. More than a dozen others are either mulling over doing the same or have legislation in the pipelines.

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Sports betting is already a multibillion-dollar industry in the US. It will keep getting bigger as more states legalize it and the market begins maturing.

Therefore, state politicians are focused on what traditional sports gambling can do for them, not what the video gaming side has to offer.

Very few politicians even realize what a hit esports are in other parts of the globe. They simply want to ensure that proper regulations are in place for betting on standard sports.

Gaming may have its time in the sun one day. However, that day could be years off when considering the youth of US sports betting.

2 – Underage Players Could Sink Esports in Some States

Esports feature a strange dynamic where young people can compete with seasoned professionals. Video games don’t require one to be muscular, fast, or physically mature.

Instead, anybody with fast reflexes and dedication can take a shot at becoming a good gamer. It doesn’t matter if they’re 14 and weigh 98 pounds either.

The professional gaming world features various pros under the age of 18. These underage professionals are nothing new to esports.

However, US lawmakers aren’t so familiar with the concept. Every state with legal sports gambling so far bans wagering on high school and middle school athletes.

Esports presents a murkier situation. One on hand, most pro gaming organizations fully recognize young players. This differs from sports leagues, such as the NBA, NFL, and NHL, which impose age requirements.

Young Esports Player in a Match

Certain states have approved esports betting regardless, including Nevada, New Jersey, and Tennessee. Indiana, however, explicitly bans wagering on competitive gaming.

Arkansas, Delaware, New York, and Mississippi offer vague legal language on the subject. No bookmakers in these states are offering esports lines until a decision is made one way or the other.

Beyond the age factor, politicians are struggling to define the exact nature of video gaming. Is it a sport? A skill-based contest? Pure entertainment with prize money on the line?

Many involved with the industry believe that gaming is a sport. However, those that make the laws carry the biggest weight here.

3 – Potential for Match Fixing

Match fixing is the main reason why sports wagering was banned in American in the first place. Prominent leagues feared that legal betting had the potential to corrupt participants.

Of course, fears of match fixing still exist to some degree. These worries especially persist regarding esports.

According to a 2018 piece by The Guardian, match fixing is “incredibly widespread” in esports. Ian Smith, a UK-based lawyer who serves as the integrity commissioner at Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC), spoke with the Guardian about this subject.

“If you’re looking at sporting integrity, in esports, you’ve really got to look at betting fraud and match-fixing as the biggest threats, […] It’s incredibly widespread. The epicenters of eSports are Southeast Asia, so China and South Korea in particular, and the US — the two biggest illegal gambling places in the world. And all the evidence I get through from suspicious bet alerts indicates that fixing in China is rife.”

The biggest scandal to rock esports came in 2016. StarCraft player Lee “Life” Seung-Hyun fixed matches despite already being a high-paid professional.

He received an 18-month prison sentence in a South Korean courtroom. Blizzard Entertainment also stripped Lee of his WCS Championship.

Esports Gamer Lee Seung-Hyun

Lee’s incident isn’t the only reason for the match-fixing worries, though. Underage players theoretically appear susceptible to potential bribes, especially if they don’t earn a high salary.

Tennis has the same problem due to its young players and rampant corruption concerns. However, it’s also a more established sport that’s been around since the 1800s.

4 – Most American Gamblers Are Interested in Traditional Sports

Esports popularity continues picking up steam in the US. Research from Syracuse University’s business school suggests that esports will draw more viewers than every American professional sport, except the NFL, by 2021.

However, the average sports fan still seems interested in gambling on traditional sports at this time. The MLB, NBA, and NFL drive American betting. Boxing, golf, the NHL, MLS, and tennis also draw plenty of gambling action.

Esports have already found a niche in this sports wagering market too. As mentioned before, offshore bookmakers feature plenty of esports lines.

Major events such as the League of Legends (LoL) “World Championships” and Dota 2’s “The International” especially attract lots of bets.

However, esports lines aren’t as consistently available as what’s seen with traditionally popular American sports. This situation isn’t going to change with regulated sportsbooks.

5 – Regulation Has Slowed for Now

Sports betting regulation has been exciting for gambling enthusiasts so far. They finally have legal and licensed sportsbooks to bet with.

Some states rushed to serve these bettors after PASPA fell. However, the number of states legalizing sports gambling ever since has slowed considerably.

Of course, many legislatures are going to approve the matter eventually. But the enthusiasm has waned with many states taking a while to legalize betting.

Luxor Esports Arena

Esports gambling goes as sports wagering does. It can only become legal if it’s attached to a larger bill involving traditional sports.

Bills in many states have failed. Arizona, California, Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, and Texas are examples of states that chose not to push sports wagering through.

It’s unclear when, if ever, these places will come back around. Maine, Massachusetts, and Ohio, meanwhile, have active legislation but no decision on if they’ll allow sports betting.

Will US Esports Betting Boom Soon?

Esports betting has already boomed to some degree. Once a completely niche offering, it has attained more prominence at offshore sportsbooks.

Whether this same success translates to the regulated American market remains a mystery. After all, competitive gaming has some hurdles that it must overcome to gain widespread acceptance.

Perhaps the biggest roadblock is that esports aren’t a top priority among politicians. Sports gambling is still fairly new and draws the most attention.

Even states that have legalized sports wagering are getting their markets settled. Those that haven’t done so may be waiting for years before they approve sports betting.

The good news for esports enthusiasts is that several states are already offering lines. New Jersey, which boasts the most successful betting market in the early going, features plenty of esports betting.

Of course, more states will need to follow in New Jersey’s footsteps for esports wagering to be a huge success. New York and their newly minted market could go a long way toward giving competitive gaming a boost.

Michigan and Pennsylvania are other key players that might make or break esports gambling in the early stages.

Conclusion

The good news is that you can gamble on esports in the US. The bad news is that the regulated market is off to a lukewarm start.

You can still count on offshore sportsbooks to provide lines on competitive gaming. If you live in a regulated state, though, then you may be waiting for serious action.

New Jersey has their act together regarding esports betting, as well as sports gambling in general. Other states will likely improve at or near their level as the market continues maturing.

Until then, you can continue wagering at offshore esportsbooks or at legal and licensed bookmakers in regulated states.

The Two Best Family-Friendly Off-Strip Hotels in Las Vegas

Silhouette of a Family With a Las Vegas Hotel Background

When you think of Las Vegas, you pobably think of it as a place for gamblers and partiers. However, more and more families are making Las Vegas their family vacation destination than ever before.

In fact, if you’re thinking of planning a family vacation this year and have it in your head that Las Vegas isn’t family-friendly, I want to let you know that you’re dead wrong. Vegas has done a lot over the last few years to make itself a lot more family-friendly, and there are several hotels in Las Vegas that are off the Strip that make for a perfect vacation spot for your entire household.

Below, we’ve listed our favorite family-friendly hotels in Las Vegas that are located off of the Strip.

Why Should You Bring Your Family to Las Vegas?

The Las Vegas Strip and Fremont Street both continue to add new tourist destinations each year that cater to a more inclusive audience. There are more attractions for all ages, like the Adventuredome Theme Park, the famous Gondola Ride at the Venetian, the Mirage Hotel Volcano, Aquarium, and Atrium, just to name a few things that are bringing in more families.

Not to mention some of the mainstays of Las Vegas that kids have been enjoying for decades, like exploring the medieval castle themed Excalibur or the incredible pools that you can find inside the Luxor. There’s always something happening that’s perfect for enjoying Las Vegas with kids. If nothing else, spending the day at the many gigantic pools that you’ll find in just about every hotel in Vegas can be a fantastic time for the kiddos.

Circus Circus Adventuredome Roller Coaster

If you’re worried about missing out on the fun, don’t worry. Most of the Las Vegas hotels that are off of the Strip offer transportation to and from the Strip until usually pretty late. It makes it a lot more convenient for people, especially for families that are having to keep up with their kids. It gives them one less thing to have to worry about. We all know that getting your kids to and from the destination of choice while on vacation can be a handful to say the least, so having that option available makes things that much easier.

Whether you’re looking for a place that is more affordable or are a light sleeper and are seeking a more quiet place to crash after a long day, these are some of the best family-friendly hotels off of the Strip in Las Vegas.

1 – Golden Nugget Las Vegas

Over the last few years, Downtown Las Vegas has had a huge resurgence, with the Golden Nugget being an active participant in the makeover that’s happened downtown. Originally built in 1946, The Golden Nugget is one of the oldest casinos in Las Vegas. The resort just recently received $170 million in renovations and offers 37,000 square feet of meeting space, while having a theater-style capacity that can comfortably fit 1,300 people.

The Golden Nugget Las Vegas features more than 2,400 rooms and suites that you will find across four different towers. Inside of each tower (and the rooms inside of them) a guest will find a vast variety of thoughtful amenities that are perfect for families or just for mom and dad.

Golden Nugget Las Vegas Aquarium

The Spa Tower is one of the four towers inside the Golden Nugget, featuring rooms that are all only suites. This makes this tower the most luxurious option for guests at the Golden Nugget. Most of the suites in the Spa Tower are two-story suites that include large areas for entertainment as well as large living areas in each suite.

The Gold Tower is the most centrally-located tower at the casino resort, giving it the best access for guests who are wanting immediate access to the casino as well as the other hotel amenities. The Gold Tower has received renovations as recently as 2015.

The Rush Tower is the newest tower at Golden Nugget, opening in 2009. The Rush Tower offers suite options for guests as well as luxurious hotel room options. You will find that each room or suite offers layouts that are extremely spacious and furnishings that are super contemporary.

For people wanting the most affordable option of the four towers, the Carson Tower is going to be what you are looking for. You will find rooms that have a more residential feel while having furnishings and a style that blends in with the surrounding desert vibe. The Carson Tower has received renovations as recently as 2018.

There are so many things that make the Golden Nugget an amazing place to stay if you are planning a trip to Las Vegas for the family. The pool has a waterfall feature and a water slide that goes straight through an aquarium.

And yes, the Las Vegas Strip is popular, but there is another street that can be just as fun and is often times overlooked—Fremont Street. It’s where you will find the Golden Nugget as well as many other sought-after Las Vegas attractions.

On Fremont Street, a popular tourist destination is antique shopping at the Main Street casino. This can be a popular idea for couples who are looking for a more laid-back day. Many people make it a point to visit Main Street each trip they take to Las Vegas and are always surprised to find that there is constantly new inventory flowing in and out of the antique shop portion of the casino.

Fremont Street Viva Vision Show

If you have the whole family with you, another fun part about staying at the Golden Nugget is getting to enjoy the light shows that happen on Fremont Street each night. Known as Viva Vision, these light shows are one of the most popular free forms of entertainment that tourists will find in Las Vegas and happen every single evening on Fremont Street.

If you have kids with you, then another cool thing that you will have direct access to on Fremont Street if you stay at the Golden Nugget is Toy Shack. Featured inside of the Neonopolis shopping plaza on Fremont Street, Toy Shack is a world-renowned toy store in Las Vegas, made famous by the popular reality TV show Pawn Stars.

2 – JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort and Spa

Here is another popular place to stay off of the Las Vegas Strip, especially for meetings for large business leaders around the globe. JW Marriott Las Vegas gives its guests an isolated oasis that can be necessary for some people after a long day on the Las Vegas Strip.

JW Marriott is a luxurious non-gaming resort that features a meeting space that is more than 76,000 square feet, while its large event facility can seat 1,280 people.

The JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort and Spa is home to one of the best swimming pools in the entire Las Vegas valley.

Everybody loves swimming, but this can make it a lot more fun if you brought your kids with you. Tell them that we are heading to a hotel with the best pool in all of Las Vegas!

JW Marriott is definitely one of the off-strip resorts that is a perfect option for people who are wanting to have a truly luxurious experience during their stay in Las Vegas. Its luxury-driven atmosphere is what makes the JW Marriot such a popular place for businesses and their leaders.

JW Marriott Las Vegas Pool Area

There are plenty of other people who want to spend their downtime in a spa-resort atmosphere, making the JW Marriott one of the most perfect off-the-Strip fits. There are a good number of outdoor pools, a golf course, and even a fire pit where you and the family can roast some marshmallows after a long day.

The hotel features 469 rooms for its guests as well as 79 suites. The rooms in the hotel start at 560 square feet. The spa, one of the most popular amenities at the JW Marriott, sits at 40,000 square feet and has everything you would be hoping for from a luxury spa.

For the guests who want to spend the day on the Las Vegas Strip, the JW Marriott has a shuttle that will take its guests to and from the Strip, with it being just a short ride from the resort.

Conclusion

Do you have more resort hotels that are off the Strip that we haven’t mentioned? Let us know in the comment section below!

You Must Visit These 3 Detroit Casinos

Detroit State Seal With a Casino Background

To understand how casinos came to be in Detroit, you have to learn about one of its three casinos, Greektown Casino-Hotel.

In the 20th century, Greek immigrants moved into vacant German housing, establishing their own businesses, and forming what is now known as Greektown.

While Detroit is continually declining in population nowadays, decreasing from over 1 million inhabitants to 672,000 in 2017, Detroit was booming in the early 20th century. From 1880 to 1920, Detroit’s population exploded from 116,000 to 994,000.

Much like the German community, the Greek population eventually moved into newer residential areas. But their coffeehouses, stores, and restaurants remained. New municipal buildings and parks were once again developed in the 1960s, threatening Greektown’s existence, as Detroit continued the slow inevitable churn of change that defines any American city.

Greektown Comes Together

Leaders in the Greek community banded together to petition the mayor’s office in 1976, resulting in a Greek festival coinciding with 4th of July celebrations.

The festival was a success. It was held every year after, and Greektown embedded itself in the culture of Detroit, resulting in Greektown being named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Greektown Casino, in addition to three remaining Greek restaurants, continues to make Greektown a part of the history of immigrants in Detroit, as well as the city of Detroit itself.

Greektown Casino is not the only casino in the city of Detroit, but it’s one of the most popular destination in the city because of its history. It’s also joined by MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino Hotel. And all three of these casinos are worthy of your time if you’re visiting the Motor City.

1 – Greektown Casino Hotel

Even though it’s located in Greektown, the Greektown Casino Hotel opened as the only casino in Detroit operated by a Native American tribe, the Chippewa Indians. The Great Recession of 2008 led to the tribe filing for bankruptcy. And since then, the casino has been owned by Vici Properties.

The poker room is open 24/7 and offers both Omaha Poker and Texas Hold‘em. Promotions like Mini Beat Money and High Hand are available in the poker room, giving players the chance to win more money than normal at select times.

Tournaments are also on hand if you prefer more competitive action, and seniors have a time slot at 2 PM on Wednesday solely dedicated to them. No Limit Texas Hold‘em is available on both Saturday and Sunday at 11:30 AM, giving players the chance to raise the stakes as high as they want to and go all in for the ultimate poker prize.

In addition to getting extra time for poker, the casino also offers 50% off dining to players 55 years of age and up. All eligible patrons have to do is pay with casino comps at any Greektown property restaurant to get a great deal. If you have any questions, please see player services.

Street View of Greektown Casino in Detroit

If you feel like you have a chance at the jackpot, try out the slots and video poker machines. The casino has nearly 3,000 of them so there’s plenty of chances for you to get lucky.

There are plenty of table games for you to try out as well, with some variations on traditional table games that can keep the excitement alive. The classics like poker, baccarat, craps, and blackjack are all available but the Super Pit table games area also has some spin-off table games to hopefully pique your interest.

Blackjack variations such as Perfect Pairs Blackjack has a side bet where if you receive a pair of any kind after placing a perfect pairs wager, you automatically win. How much you win will depend on the rank of the pair you received, and you’ll lose the bet if you don’t receive a pair in the first hand.

There are three types of pairs: Mixed pairs consisting of a black suit and red suit, colored pairs consisting of either two black suits or two red suits, and perfect pairs containing two identical cards that also share the same suit, with different payouts depending on the type of pairs.

All of your favorite sports like football, baseball, boxing, basketball, hockey, UFC, and more are available to bet on at the casino’s sportsbook. The variety ensures you don’t have to compromise and bet on a sport you don’t enjoy watching or feel comfortable betting on.

The sportsbook features four windows accepting live wagers and 40 kiosks located throughout the building. Straight bets, parlays, matchups, futures, prop bets are some examples of bets that are accepted here, and the sportsbook is located on the upper level.

While the real allure of a sportsbook is having a social setting where you can watch sports on live screens, place wagers, and enjoy some excellent food and drink, the sportsbook also offers an option to let you place bets from your phone.

Bet Builder will allow you to view odds, enter bets, and see possible payouts from anywhere on your mobile device. Once you enter a bet, you can show a QR code to the teller and secure a live ticket.

Time is money, and even if you plan on placing multiple bets throughout your sportsbook time, why not have your first bet ready to go before you arrive?

2 – MGM Grand Detroit

The elegant Ashanti, the terrific Kid Rock, and a colorful fireworks display were all present to greet MGM Grand Detroit customers when it opened its doors. The opening of MGM Grand Detroit was significant, as it was the first luxury casino resort hotel opened in a major metropolis outside of Las Vegas in 1999.

While the casino was the first of its kind outside of Sin City, it still offers all the elegance and luxury you’ve come to expect from Detroit’s other fine casino resort hotels.

Street View of MGM Grand Detroit

The first thing you should do upon arrival is sign up for M life Rewards. Doing so will ensure that you earn points for staying at the hotel or playing casino games and will give you access to Express Comps.

Express Comps present a speedy way to comp yourself as you play slots, video poker, or table games. Earning the points is an economical way to save money on hotel accommodations, dining, entertainment, M life Moments, and more at any M life Rewards Destination.

Slot machines, table games, and more are available in this luxurious casino located in the middle of downtown. The first non-smoking table gaming has come to Detroit in the form of the Crystal Clear Smoke-Free Gaming Salon.

The clean salon offers baccarat, Single Zero Roulette, blackjack, and 30 new slot machines for any casino players to enjoy. The room is located next to Wolfgang Puck Steak.

The casino’s sportsbook, BetMGM Sports Lounge is open seven days a week from 9:00 AM to 1:30 AM and offers six betting windows and 14 self-serve betting kiosks. Video poker is also available in the sportsbook for multitasking players who enjoy poker as well as sports betting.

3 – MotorCity Casino Hotel

Named for Detroit’s historic impact on the American automobile industry, MotorCity Casino Hotel is one of the other three casinos located in the city of Detroit.

The building, which formerly housed the Wagner Baking Company, known as the bakers of Wonder Bread, is now home to wagers instead of Wagners. It features a 100,000-square-foot casino and almost 3,000 slot machines. The rewards club, Club Metro, is designed to incentivize customers to keep returning for more action at the casino.

In addition to earning comps from casino or table games, you’ll also earn 3% comp back on most cash or credit purchases made at the casino or hotel. The comps can be used for dining, shopping, spa treatments, and other casino or hotel services.

MotorCity Casion in Detroit at Night

These comps never expire and are a great way to lengthen your dollar at the casino, so you have more money to spend enjoying Detroit’s many other attractions. Both slots and table games await you at the casino, and there’s plenty to choose from.

Blackjack, craps, and roulette are available in addition to spin-off games like Buster Blackjack or Craps with Fire Bet to give you a novel experience, whether you’re new to table games or a seasoned veteran.

The two-story sportsbook gives you a great chance to have a blast betting on your favorite sports. Six betting windows are available, as well as 54 self-service kiosks. The sportsbook is located in the rooms formerly occupied by Chromatics Lounge and Spectators.

Conclusion

What Detroit casino have you enjoyed? The Motor City offers a rich history, and its casinos are worth visiting at least once in your life. In the comments below, let us know what you think about these three destination casinos in Detroit.

What Is Proprietary Online Casino Software?

Laptop and Casino Graphics With Online Gambling Company Logos

The online gaming world is filled with different software providers. These many developers produce and supply games to online casinos.

This relationship accomplishes goals for both sides. The casino benefits by not having to produce their own games. In turn, they can focus on marketing, finances, and staffing.

Meanwhile, developers have outlets to share their games. They simply make their games, supply these products to casinos, and benefit from the licensing revenue.

However, not all gaming sites go down this path. Instead, some produce proprietary software. I’m going to discuss more on what the latter means along with if proprietary casino games are worth playing.

Basics of Proprietary Software

Most real money online casinos simply license games from established developers. But a small portion of operators create their own games. Such gaming sites produce what’s known as proprietary software.

Going the proprietary route is definitely not easy. Casinos need to pour lots of money into a development studio and marketing their games.

Even after all of this, a gaming site may not reap the rewards of their products. This is especially the case if they fail to produce any hits.

The upside, though, is that they can run their own games without having to pay a developer. The casino takes full gaming profits in this situation.

A site can also produce unique games that nobody else has. In doing so, they differentiate themselves from the pack and potentially draw more gamblers.

Proprietary vs. Mainstream Online Casino Software

The gaming industry’s status quo involves casinos paying established developers to provide them with games. They can call on any number of game providers to serve them.

Here’s a list of some of the most notable developers in the industry:

  • Big Time Gaming
  • Blueprint Gaming
  • ELK Studios
  • Evolution Gaming
  • Red Tiger Gaming
  • Rival Gaming
  • Yggdrasil

Keep in mind that this is only a small portion of all the available providers. Simply put, casinos have no shortage of options when looking for developers.

Gaming sites reap plenty of benefits when they use established companies. Namely, they don’t have to sell players on their games. Instead, a developer’s reputation and game library will do all of the selling.

Proprietary software doesn’t offer the same advantages. It forces operators to both make games and market them afterward.

Nightmare on Elm Street Online Slot

Of course, a casino can also use these original games as a selling point. They can tout how players won’t find their slots anywhere else.

888 Casino is one of the best-known examples of an online casino that features their own software. They’ve managed to produce a few hits slots, including A Nightmare on Elm Street, Irish Riches, Millionaire Genie, and Oktoberfest Spins.

Pros of Proprietary Software

Proprietary games offer casinos perks over simply licensing software from a third-party. Otherwise, no gaming site would brave the development world.

The biggest advantage that casino stand to gain is originality. They can make and offer games at their site that nobody else features. For example, a gambler can’t enjoy Millionaire Genie outside of 888. Instead, they can only play this game and chase its large progressive jackpot through the 888 network.

The proprietary path also has the potential to save a casino money in the long run. If a gaming site continually makes solid games and draws players, then they’ll save a fortune on paying developers.

Of course, the casino doesn’t need to choose one or the other when they have proprietary software. Instead, they can mix things up by featuring their own games alongside products from popular developers.

888 has gone down this route in recent years. In addition to featuring their games, they now offer software from Big Time Gaming, Microgaming, Play’n GO, Yggdrasil, and more.

Cons of Proprietary Software

Developing and offering online casino games isn’t easy. If it were, then every online casino would simply make a bunch of hits and cut game providers out of the equation.

The first problem with proprietary software involves the development costs. A casino needs to pour money into a design studio, which can be very expensive.

Long-time game providers already have the infrastructure in place. Therefore, they can make games at cheaper prices than novice studios.

This leads me to another point in that casinos may actually spend more money than they save by creating their own games. They might sink a fortune into launching a development studio and ironing out the kinks in the production process.

Nothing guarantees that a casino’s proprietary games will be hits. They might go through all the hassle of developing a game and wind up with mediocre results.

At least with an established studio, a gaming sites knows what they’re getting. They don’t have to worry about going through painstaking details to create games, only to have them flop.

Should You Bother Playing Proprietary Games?

Proprietary software doesn’t always work out the way it’s supposed to. In fact, some gaming companies have been ruined by trying to make their own games—most notably in the industry’s early days.

Therefore, you may be tempted to stick with what you know. You can find plenty of great games from notable studios like Betsoft, Play’n GO, RTG, and Thunderkick.

Of course, you may eventually grow bored of playing games from the same developers over and over. Proprietary options give you something fresh to try.

After all, a proprietary studio doesn’t license its games out to every casino that’s willing to ante up fees. Instead, it only offers games at a single site or network of casinos.

Millionaire Genie Online Slot

That said, playing proprietary games can be worthwhile in terms of enjoying a new experience. You can look forward to a different style of design and graphics with proprietary software.

In some cases, you can even play for really large jackpots. Millionaire Genie, for example, offers a jackpot that’s currently worth over $831,000.

If you’re like most players, you’re probably just going to play at casinos that offer well-known games. Assuming you’re up for some adventure, though, then you might check out a casino or two that offers proprietary products.

Conclusion

The vast majority of gaming sites continue to tab outside developers to provide their game selection. However, a brave few operators have chosen the proprietary route.

The latter is risky when considering everything that could go wrong. A casino must make a significant investment in proprietary software and take the chance that their games won’t ultimately be popular.

Nevertheless, some operators have tried and succeeded with proprietary games. Again, 888 provides a shining example of a casino that’s experienced success with their own software.

By and large, though, most online casinos like going the safe route. They’re more comfortable paying experienced third-party companies to supply their games.

5 Reasons the Pittsburgh Steelers Will Exceed 9.5 Over/Under Win Projection

Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburg Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers fought to an 8-8 record in 2019 and even stood at 8-5 before the Ben Roethlisberger-less ship sank.

With Ben returning, the over/under win-loss projection stands at 9.5. This a favorable number, considering the Steelers success in 2019 without Ben Roethlisberger. Hey, when Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges are your quarterbacks, 8-8 is a successful season.

Well, the offense was a bust, as the Steelers dropped to an embarrassing 30th ranking in total offense in 2019 while their top-five defense kept games close and even allowed the team to overachieve with the XFL-caliber Rudolph and Hodges.

Now, with Ben back in the saddle, it is realistic to bet the Steelers will eclipse their 9.5 over/under win projection. Heck, if Ben didn’t get hurt in 2019, this team was at least a wildcard contender. They’re beating Baltimore in their first meeting, and they beat San Francisco rather than suffering a narrow loss.

They’ll probably sweep Cleveland. It shows you that Ben plus the new “Steel Curtain” equals one of the NFL’s most dangerous teams. Here are five reasons for pro sports bettors to believe in the Steelers.

1 – The Return of Big Ben

Ben Roethlisberger returns to the Steelers in 2020 after missing 14 games with an elbow injury. Before the injury, Ben came off a season where he passed for over 5,000 yards. It was as if Pittsburgh’s aging future Hall of Famer continued to improve his game.

While the Steelers faltered down the stretch in 2018, Ben’s play continued to impress.

In 2019, while Rudolph and Hodges led the Steelers to a combined 8-6 record, the defense often kept opposing offenses from scoring.

It allowed Pittsburgh’s 30th-ranked offense to come up with just enough points to eke out close wins. This happened in six of the team’s eight wins, where the Steelers won by a touchdown or less. Even in games they lost, five of their eight losses also came from a touchdown or less.

In those 11 games, they finished 6-5. Ben wins all but two of those games, as his history shows, and gets the Steelers into the playoffs.

Even without a viable quarterback, it showed how well the Steelers match up with any team in the NFL, even without a future Hall of Fame quarterback under center. As for the teams they barely beat, they would blow out with Ben starting at quarterback.

Now that Ben is back in the equation for 2020, look for the Steelers to dominate once again on offense. If the defense continues its domineering effort from 2019, they will do more than overcome the 9.5-win threshold oddsmakers set for them.

They win some of those close games they lost. Perhaps even all of them, given Ben’s heroics in the fourth quarter.

At worst, the team finishes 10-6 in 2019 with Ben. With a manageable schedule in 2020, their floor appears 11-5 or higher. Assuming Ben is back to full strength and remains so. He says he is, so we will take his word for it.

2 – The Return of the Steel Curtain

The 2019 Steelers defense resembled that seen in the 1970s and even the early to mid-2000s. The result of that was seven Super Bowl appearances (they made one other appearance, a 1995 loss to the Cowboys) and six wins.

The 2020 version may not be of championship-caliber considering the team hasn’t won a playoff game since the divisional playoffs following the 2016 season. But given that they’re a top-five, sack-happy defense loaded with stars, championship-caliber isn’t too farfetched either.

Minkah Fitzpatrick looks like Mel Blount. You got a Jack Lambert in Devin Bush, a Joe Greene in T.J. Watt, etc. The comparisons don’t end. The issue in 2019 stems back to the lethargic losers, Rudolph and Hodges.

NFL Pittsburgh Steelers Defense Making a Tackle

As for the defense, they ranked first in the NFL in sacks with 54. They held a +8 turnover differential, which tied for seventh in the league. They allowed 18.9 points per game, which tied for fifth in the league, and they finished second in the NFL with 20 interceptions.

If the defense had one flaw, it resided in the 14th-ranked rush defense, where they allowed 109.6 rushing yards per game. Run-heavy teams may torch the Steelers. But then again, we ought to look for linebacker Devin Bush to make a leap forward to change that.

With another year of experience under their belts, look for the Steelers’ defense to soar to even greater heights in 2020. Defense wins games, and defense wins championships. No one knows this better than the Steelers. Insert Ben back into the equation and watch the team return to the class of the league.

3 – Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh

The Steelers have owned their Ohio-based division rivals so much that even on the rare occasion where they lose to say, the Cleveland Browns, the Browns still “lose,” as in November 2019, courtesy of Myles Garrett’s infamous move.

But all jokes aside, the Browns have looked like an often-bullied little brother next to the Steelers since 1999 and the Bengals, not too far behind. Given the Steelers, and to be more specific Ben Roethlisberger’s, dominance over the Ohio teams, it often equates to four guaranteed wins per season.

And don’t expect it to change in 2020. While the Browns technically beat the Steelers in November, the Devlin Hodges-led Steelers still earned a victory against the heavily favored Browns during Round 2 at Heinz Field.

And don’t expect it to change in 2020 for the Bengals, as the team is rebuilding with the new quarterback, Joe Burrow. While the Bengals have one of the best backs in football and an under-the-radar receiving unit, the Steelers defense will be too much for the Bengals to handle.

NFL Steelers Running the Ball Against the Browns

While the Steelers struggled against their biggest rival—the Baltimore Ravens—since 2018, the old saying still goes, “A great defense beats a great offense.” The Steelers have a great defense. The Ravens have a great offense.

In comparison to Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges, Ben Roethlisberger is the difference-maker. With that said, look for the Steelers and Ravens to engage in their usual heavyweight fights as they battle for AFC North supremacy. The Steelers may finish 2-0, 1-1, or 0-2 against their heated rival.

One thing is almost inevitable, however, is they will beat the Browns and Bengals twice apiece.

The Browns have a new coaching staff and a new system in place, while the Bengals underwent a roster makeover. Each must scramble to get their new systems or players up to par without the luxury of a full preseason.

4 – Traveling Fan Base

This one may or may not play into the 2020 season. Some teams like the New York Giants, New York Jets, and Las Vegas Raiders announced fans won’t attend their games this season.

But assuming fans will at least somewhat fill stadiums, even if it is half or quarter capacity, the Steelers have one of the more well-traveled fan bases in the NFL, given their old age as a franchise and past dynasty teams.

The Steelers are the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Yankees, and Montreal Canadiens of the NFL. They win consistently. Their lean seasons are few and far between. And like the teams mentioned above, they have existed for decades.

The City of Pittsburgh has seen a decline in population since the 1950s, and their fans took their black and yellow color scheme far and wide—both domestic and international. You can’t walk 10 minutes down the street without running into a Steeler fan in Anytown, USA.

For the Steelers, this means their fans show up for all 16 games, even when their team plays on the West Coast. Road games aren’t just road games for one of the most storied fan bases in all of sports.

Some might point out that the Steelers never play a true road game, considering the sea of black and gold you see in the eight games played outside of Heinz Field.

A Steelers road game doesn’t bode home-field advantage for the other team. If you are betting on the NFL this season, and considering if the Steelers will trump their 9.5-win threshold, you don’t have to worry about who they are playing on the road.

While the Steelers haven’t made the playoffs for two straight seasons, they still finished at and above the .500 mark in 2018 and 2019, the latter season with fringe quarterbacks. That says a lot about the culture in Pittsburgh and where Steeler fans are found.

Again, this factor is subject to change. But considering the NFL’s mandates regarding fans, this factor may still play into their hands.

5 – Coaching (and System) Longevity

Since 1969, three men have stalked the Steelers sideline with the title of head coach. Chuck Noll from 1969 to 1991. Bill Cowher from 1992 to 2006. And Mike Tomlin from 2007 until the present day.

While Tomlin’s biggest claim to fame was winning a Super Bowl with Bill Cowher’s team, don’t be a sucker to the criticism he has taken in recent seasons. In his 13 seasons as head coach, he never finished under .500.

Of your longest-tenured coaches in the NFL, neither Andy Reid (1999 to present), Bill Belichick (2000 to present), Sean Payton (2006 to present), or John Harbaugh (2008 to present) can say the same. And those are some big names mentioned.

Another common denominator is that all four of the coaches listed above made the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. All have won Super Bowls, with Bill Belichick and Andy Reid winning the last two.

NFL Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin

If you like the Steelers in 2020, this is a good omen. Given the fact two of the AFC North’s teams either have a new coach or a revamped roster with live games beginning in Week 1 with the absence of preseason.

And while Tomlin is the only coach listed above that didn’t make a playoff appearance since 2017, he still performed well from a coaching standpoint with his own teams. He made a Super Bowl appearance in 2010, won several division titles, and played in a few AFC Championship Games.

In the NFL, you either win or you’re out the door. Tomlin has won even in seasons where his teams missed the playoffs. That says a lot about the system he has in Pittsburgh and how he handled last season given the loss of his quarterback.

Coaching longevity is relevant in the NFL, given the success of teams who possess the longest-tenured coaches. In 2020, it’s even more relevant. Knowing their system, the Steelers are one of those teams who can go out there in Week 1 already meshed.

Other teams, including their division rivals the Browns and Bengals, aren’t so lucky.

Conclusion

The Steelers are a team that reloads rather than rebuilds. Or rather, when one side of the ball rebuilds, the other side picks up the slack. Over the latter part of the 2000s, the team gained an offensive identity.

In 2019, when the offense sputtered, the Steel Curtain returned, likely for a long time, given the fact many are still in their 20s. The Steelers are in prime position to overcome their 9.5-win threshold if Ben Roethlisberger stays healthy. He will take the Steelers farther than Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges took them. And with a top defense, it makes the team even more dangerous.

So, what are your thoughts? Are the Steelers poised to throttle their 9.5 over/under projection, or is Father Time catching up to Ben?

Tips for Carrying Yourself Like a Pro at a Casino Table

Tips Word Bubble With a Casino Gambler Background

There’s a common problem that exists amongst gamblers who are new to the casino scene. They either lack confidence, which can jeopardize their first time gambling, or they can be overconfident and make a fool out of themselves. Both of these realities regularly manifest themselves. But with some guidance, it can be avoided altogether.

It’s intimidating to gamble for the first time, regardless of the environment you choose to gamble in. Whether it’s your first time at a friend’s weekly poker night or the tables in Las Vegas, for some reason, it’s an incredibly vulnerable experience.

If you’re reading this and feel some anxiety about the proposition of starting your gambling career, don’t fret. Every single gambler has been in your position, even professionals. To make sure you can put that anxiety to rest, here are seven tips to help you feel like a pro sitting down at the casino tables for the first time.

1 ‒  Be Prepared to Play

Speaking from experience, there are few things worse than playing a table game with someone who has no clue what they’re doing. There’s no problem with inexperience, but refusal to read up on the rules of the games you’re playing is discourteous and inadvisable.

Most games in casinos aren’t complicated and can be learned in a matter of minutes. If you don’t consider yourself a gambling whiz, make sure you read up on the rules of the most popular games, especially if you’re playing during peak hours. If you spend even a couple of minutes reading about the rules, you’re going to save yourself some money and prevent exposing yourself to scrutiny.

Closeup of Man With Hand Over Casino Chips

While most games aren’t complicated, they do have rules and strategies to follow. Casinos are home to sects of gamblers who believe that other players impact the results of each hand. If you play poorly, they will certainly let you know. Help out your future self and research the games or download an application on your phone to get a feel for the game.

2 ‒ Dress to Impress

You can only make a first impression once, and new gamblers must appear as though they belong at a casino. Younger gamblers struggle with adhering to an unspoken dress code.

While no one is going to bar you from gambling if you decide to wear athletic shorts and a ratty shirt, you will immediately draw attention to yourself if you choose to do so.

Look, I’m not the best-dressed guy around, and I feel my best when I’m wearing a pair of basketball shorts and a t-shirt. I also know that some of the people I gamble with are older and come from different generations. You should want people to take you seriously at the tables, especially if you’re playing against other gamblers in games like poker.

Whether it’s fair or not, people judge you based on your appearance. So, take care when deciding what to wear to a casino. Dressing like you just woke up will put you at an immediate disadvantage.

3 ‒ Set Limits

The best gamblers walk into a casino with a plan in place. They know how much money is in their bankroll; they know how much they’re comfortable losing and understand when to walk away from the tables. As someone aspiring to act like a pro, you should also set these limits for yourself.

Bankroll management is undoubtedly one of the essential aspects of effective and profitable gambling. When you gamble with money you’re not comfortable losing, you can put yourself in a position to gamble out of fear and desperation.

Decisions made out of desperation are rarely good ones, so don’t gamble with money you can’t afford to part with.

If you’re having a good day of gambling, it’s always a good idea to set a goal amount. Once you reach it, consider calling it a day and heading home. If you play with too much confidence, you can squander your profitable play and will most likely regret not stepping away when you had the chance.

4 ‒ Gamble With Minimal Emotions

If you’ve ever watched a poker tournament before, you’ve probably noticed how even-keeled most professional poker players are. Whether they’re winning big or losing a big stack of chips, the best players rarely let their emotions get the best of them. Newer gamblers might find it challenging to abide by this rule, but it’s important to keep your emotions in check for several reasons.

If you’re playing poker for real money, a steely demeanor is critical if you want to survive at a table. Reacting one way or another will allow your opponents to gain information about your tells. A static emotional approach will keep fellow players from reading you and inferring what card you have.

Outside of the poker tables, this rule still applies, especially at table games like blackjack. While it’s not nearly as inadvisable to bet with your heart on your sleeve when you’re playing against the house, gambling with your heart can get you into trouble. When you allow yourself to get too emotionally invested, you can quickly start to chase losses or bet too much after a big win.

5 ‒ Treat Everyone With Respect

The worst types of gamblers are the ones who talk down to other players or antagonize dealers. Unfortunately, you’ll encounter a number of these gamblers during your gambling career. And if you haven’t up to this point, consider yourself lucky. Gamblers who are abrasive and rude can easily ruin a table with their terrible demeanor.

Closeup of a Casino Roulette Wheel

Always remember that dealers have no control over the outcome of the game. So, if you are on a losing streak at the tables, consider changing games or waiting out the storm instead of complaining about the dealer. The worst thing you can do is start berating dealers or being condescending to other bettors who are winning.

Good casino etiquette goes a long way in the gambling world. If you are courteous to everyone at the table, that courtesy should extend back to you. However, if you have the misfortune of encountering a disrespectful player, don’t fall into their negativity. Color up your chips and find a different table.

6 ‒ Tip Generously

It might sound superstitious, but I am of the mindset that generosity breeds generosity, and success should be shared. One thing to keep in mind while gambling is that casino employees, and most importantly, dealers, live off of tips. If you gamble frequently, you probably notice some gamblers sliding chips back to the dealer after big wins.

The practice of tipping should be a norm for gamblers trying to appear as though they belong at the tables. The manner in which you tip depends on what you feel comfortable with, but my rule of thumb is to tip around 15-25% of my winnings while playing, depending on how I’m faring.

As long as you’re helping out the dealer in some way, the amount is inconsequential. Dealers can be an excellent resource for you, and you must establish a connection with your dealer. Not only can you ask them for advice while playing, developing camaraderie at the table will make gambling more enjoyable. Dealing cards can be challenging, and dealers always appreciate tips, so you should reward them when appropriate.

7 ‒ Gamble at Your Best

Gambling is an activity best done when you’re at your full mental capacity, free from emotional duress, and in a good state of mind. If you’re struggling with your finances or your emotional state is in peril, I advise against going to the casino. Odds are, you’re going to lose money, so don’t exacerbate the problems you’re trying to deal with.

View of a Casino Floor With Table Games and Slots

Like I mentioned earlier, when you gamble with your heart and not your head, results may vary. You need to be at your best to win money at the tables. To put yourself in the best position, avoid gambling under the influence. There’s nothing wrong with having a couple of drinks while gambling. But if you’re gambling in a foul mood, turning to alcohol to loosen you up might sound appealing.

Conclusion

Gambling at a casino can have a steep learning curve. If you feel uncomfortable with your approach to gambling, you can put some of those worries to rest by following the tips above.

First impressions are everything, so make sure to dress well enough to avoid scrutiny from other players. Be respectful of casino employees and other players, and walk into the casino with a plan of attack. Research the games to avoid making simple mistakes at the tables and always be mindful of your bankroll.

Before you go gamble, make sure you’re in the right frame of mind to make logical decisions that are strategic and well-thought-out. By following these basic tips, you’ll feel more comfortable and start gambling like a veteran in no time.

6 Unhealthy Habits to Watch Out for When Gambling at the Casino

Closeup of a Hand of Playing Cards With a Beer and Cigarette Background

Casino-based gambling is a huge industry worldwide, with upwards of 50 million visits on an average year. Of those visitors, many will be making multiple trips per year.

Casinos are designed to be centers for all things fun, including many unhealthy habits we all indulge in on occasion. Gambling itself also adds to the excitement, causing anxiety and stress that may trigger readily-available behaviors like smoking, drinking, or overeating.

If you’re trying to watch your health or are a frequent casino gambler, what you do during a visit can add up, leaving you with more than monetary winnings or losses to deal with once you get home.

Here are six common unhealthy habits you may encounter when gambling in casinos and ways you can avoid them.

1 – Indulging in Quick Bites and Buffets

Casinos are known for their wide variety of restaurants or buffets to choose from at any time of the day or night.

Of course, you should plan to enjoy yourself. The food options are part of the appeal of going to the casino in the first place, and it provides dining experiences you can’t get at home.

The key to having fun without completely blowing your healthy diet is planning ahead.

Planning ahead means you won’t have to stress over food choices during your stay or take time away from gambling to debate over your options. Without preparation, you will probably go with the most convenient option, which is often also the most unhealthy.

Research what options are going to be available. Some casinos may offer online restaurant menus to preview before your visit. Previewing menus can also be helpful if you have specific dietary requirements, such as vegetarian, vegan, diabetic, or gluten-free.

Large Bowl of Healthy Food

Buffets can be particularly difficult to navigate in a healthy way because of both the wide range of food options and unlimited portion sizes.

Here are a few strategies to keep your buffet meal on track.

  • Keep it to one trip.
    • If you divide the meal into courses, make one trip per course and use the appropriate plate size for each.
  • Don’t overfill your plate.
    • Take a moment to prioritize what you would like to try, and if there are too many appealing options, remember you can plan to hit up the buffet again another day.
  • Choose a plate that is an average size.
    • The CDC bases their recommendations on a nine-inch plate size.
    • Filling a smaller plate is perceived similar to filling a larger one.
      • Your body’s interpretation of satisfying amounts is based more on proportion rather than absolute amounts.
      • So, essentially, less food may actually look like more depending on your plate size.
    • Try to stick to healthy options and limit greasy, salty, and overly sweet foods.
      • Stick to the “plate method” for a balanced meal, as outlined by the CDC. Half of your plate should be made up of non-starchy vegetables like greens, broccoli, or carrots. One quarter can be lean protein like chicken, eggs, or tofu. The other quarter can be grains or starches, like potatoes, rice, or pasta.

Another major temptation while gambling at casinos is snacking.

Most casinos will have a variety of ways to buy snacks or have them available while you gamble. Many of these options are likely to be high in carbohydrates, sugar, or salt. Try to choose healthier options like nuts. Snacks that contain protein are on average a bit more well-balanced than offerings like chips or pretzels.

Alternatively, you can bring along a healthy snack with you, like a protein bar, a single-serving of roasted almonds, etc. Just try to keep to a schedule and whatever you do, don’t skip meals! You will feel better throughout the day with food in your stomach, and you’ll maintain better concentration as you play.

2 – Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol is present throughout the casino experience. Like food, it has the potential to both enhance the fun and undermine your wellness plan.

As with food, plan to enjoy yourself. The goal is to have fun, not additional stress. A constant flow of drinks is often available while you play. One of the mistakes that gamblers make is allowing alcohol to sneak up them inadvertently.

If you also tend to over indulge, you will likely benefit from some simple planning ahead just as you would with food. Check out the tips below to help you out.

  • First, keep track of your drink intake. You will be distracted, so taking a simple conscious step will likely be helpful. Order according to the time, and keep a tally of how many drinks you’vehad. Establish whatever works and allows you to easily keep track.
  • Choose lower-calorie options. Avoiding drinks that are high in sugar will help prevent dehydration and reduce blood sugar spikes that can lead to headaches and hangovers.
  • Order water along with your drink or alternate. Alternating your alcohol beverage with water or another non-alcoholic drink will keep your pace slower and help keep you hydrated.
  • Make sure to eat while you drink to avoid hangovers or an upset stomach that can also easily derail a trip.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol while gambling or limit it to meal time. It is difficult to keep up with the time while you play, and if your server is attentive, drinks can be just as hard to keep up with throughout the day.

3 – Sleep-Deprivation

Casinos are designed to make money off of gamblers 24 hours a day. Creating some kind of schedule that includes breaks and time to sleep is up to you.

As with most vacations, you probably don’t expect to keep to your normal schedule, but that doesn’t mean you should throw all your routines out of the window. Making time for rest will help you feel better overall during your trip and optimize your performance.

It’s crucial to try to get as close to the recommended amount of sleep as possible. The recommended amount is generally around seven to nine hours. Consider planning a break for a nap if you anticipate cutting your rest short.

A short 10- to 20-minute power nap or a 90-minute REM sleep nap are ideal lengths to avoid post-nap grogginess. Don’t forget that your concentration, memory, mood, and energy level can all be impacted by sleep deprivation.

Man Wearing Suit Taking a Nap

If you’re looking for peak performance and to minimize impulsive decisions that might impact your game, getting enough rest can give you a huge leg up.

Another key factor to getting enough rest is your sleep pattern, also known as your circadian rhythm. Light exposure and level of sensory input are important elements for the regulation of this pattern.

Casinos tend to keep a constant level of light, which is most often flashing, and you’re often surrounded by a plethora of noises. So, give your system a break. Plan for some quiet time at least a couple of hours before bed to give your body a chance to shut down for sleep properly.

Or get outside and take a walk. Clearing up the ambient noise and upping your circulation for a bit will improve your ability to get tired and have a more restful sleep. Avoiding large meals, caffeine, and alcohol close to bedtime is also a great idea, as these factors can lead to insomnia and restless nights.

 

4 – Prolonged Sitting or Standing

Time can pass faster than you realize while you are playing many of the games in a casino environment. Long periods of sitting or standing, particularly if you are on a winning streak, are common.

Depending on your underlying health conditions, prolonged sitting or standing can put you at risk for blood clots, swelling, or stiffness. There are a few easy things you can do to help minimize this risk.

Try setting a phone reminder to signal yourself to take a break. The reminder can be set for you to get up, change position, and/or walk around. A walk not only reduces your risk of developing adverse effects but also helps boost your concentration and energy.

If you can, go outside. It will give your senses a break and help you feel refreshed and reset for another round. You can also try using supportive socks or stockings. Compression socks can help prevent swelling, reduce the risk of blood clots, and lessen the pain of the strain on the feet and legs from prolonged standing.

5 – Stress Overload

Stress can be both positive and negative. Playing games of risk are exciting and fun, but can also be just as anxiety-provoking when you hit a streak of bad luck.

As with food, making the effort to plan ahead can pay off when it comes to stress management.

For example, you should take time to budget for your trip. This includes food, lodging, and betting money. Break it down by day or location, so you can enjoy a variety of activities the entire trip rather than blowing it all in one sitting. If you struggle to stay within the budget, take a buddy or choose a strategy like using cash only.

Two Women on a Walkway by Paris Las Vegas

It’s also crucial to take frequent breaks. Even short walks outside of the casino can be beneficial to you. Consider checking out some other activities offered or choose a quiet place to have a meal to de-stress periodically throughout the day.

Lastly, take time for self-care if you need it. Self-care looks different for everyone, so the most important element is to learn what works for you. Maybe it’s taking a trip to the spa or getting a facial. Perhaps you need to bring along some essential oils to help you de-stress. Or you could keep up some of your exercise routine from home to keep yourself grounded.

6 – Smoking

As with other coping mechanisms, smoking tends to increase in times of stress. If you are sensitive to smoke or want to avoid temptation, you may want to search for a casino that does not allow smoking or has a significant division between smoking and non-smoking areas.

If you can’t avoid exposure and have a sensitivity, be sure to take regular breaks for fresh air and consider taking along a saline sinus flush or allergy medication to cut down on your symptoms.

Keep in mind, some habits go together. If you are planning to avoid one behavior, you may have to forgo or limit another, like alcohol or certain types of gameplay depending on your personal associations.

Remember to remain conscious of your usage. As with drinking, inadvertently smoking more than you intend is easy in a casino environment, so taking steps to maintain awareness of your usage may be important.

Try associating use with breaks or a walk. Keep a tally, or don’t plan to buy more. Consider using alternatives like vapes or nicotine substitutes. If you enjoy smoking while you gamble, vaping may be a good option for you. If you are trying to abstain, some kind of substitute like gum or patches could go a long way toward curbing your cravings.

 

Conclusion

Trips to land based casinos can be a lot of fun and don’t have to negatively impact your health if you take some simple steps to keep bad habits in check and avoid unnecessary stressors.

Whether you go regularly or don’t want to splurge too much on your vacation weekend, planning ahead and setting reasonable expectations are key to sticking to healthy practices and minimizing stress.

The goal is to take advantage of the casino experiences that are important to you while balancing them with things that are detrimental to your heath, mood, and ability to be present.

Hopefully, this article will help you become more aware of some common things you may want to limit or avoid while gambling in casinos and give you a few useful alternatives.

7 Reasons the Las Vegas Strip Is the Best Choice for Gamblers

Crosshair and Fans of Money With a Las Vegas Strip Background

The world has two kinds of people—those who’ve been to the Las Vegas Strip and those who haven’t. Those of you who’ve been lucky enough to visit the Strip know what everyone else is missing. While the busy strip in Las Vegas isn’t for everyone, it does have something for almost anyone.

If you’ve never been lucky enough to visit the Strip in Las Vegas, here are seven reasons why you should consider it for your next vacation. Even if you aren’t a gambler, the Las Vegas Strip offers some of the world’s best entertainment and dining experiences.

1 – Slot Machine Selection

Las Vegas is home to so many slot machines that even people who don’t like the slots are tempted to take a few spins. From old-fashioned three-reel slot machines to the newest releases and biggest progressive jackpots, you can find any and every type of slot machine imaginable.

Here are a couple of quick tips if you’re a first-time slots player. Always sign up for the players club at the casino before you start playing slots. It’s free to get a membership and you can earn free meals and other rewards for your slots play.

When you sign up for your free membership, ask if the same club card is good at any other casinos in the area. This can save you time when you play slots at another casino that uses the same card.

Penny Slot Machine Sign

The other tip isn’t going to be big news for experienced slot machine players. If you’re a first-time player, it’s something that can save you quite a bit of time and money. Most of the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip advertise penny slot machines.

Penny slot machines make it sound like you can play a slot machine for a penny a spin, but this isn’t true. Slot machines are designed with more than one payline, and each payline must be activated. Many slot machines also are designed so you can bet more than one coin on every line, and some require a bet of multiple coins per pay line to unlock the top jackpots.

Penny slots actually require a bet much larger than a penny per spin. If you’re looking for a slot machine with a small bet amount, you can find machines with a quarter bet size in most casinos. Nickel slots are usually the same as penny slots, requiring bets that are much larger than they seem.

Las Vegas is also the best place to find slot machine tournaments. When you enter a slots tournament, you pay a fee and compete against other entrants to try to win more than your opponents in a set time period and win a prize. If you don’t see a slot machine tournament schedule, ask a slot attendant or one of the people at the players club desk about upcoming tournaments.

2 – World Class Poker

Some of the biggest poker games in the world are played on the Las Vegas Strip. But you don’t have to be a high roller to find a poker game. You can find plenty of tables offering low stakes for new poker players and experienced players on a budget.

Every poker room on the Strip spreads Texas holdem, but you can also find Omaha, Seven-Card Stud, and many other variations in some of the poker rooms. You can also find plenty of ring gameplay and a full spread of Las Vegas poker tournament options. Most poker rooms on the Strip run multiple tournaments every day.

3 – Table Games Selection

The most popular table game is blackjack, and the Las Vegas Strip is home to many good blackjack games. But the casinos here also have every other popular casino table game, as well as games you won’t find anywhere else.

Las Vegas is the number one spot to test new table games. If a new game can’t survive in this gambling-friendly city, it likely won’t make it anywhere else in the world. This gives you the opportunity to find new games every time you visit the Las Vegas Strip. Ask the pit boss or dealers if they have any new table games in every casino you visit.

If you’re a fan of real money blackjack, spend some time learning about the best rules before you make your visit. You can find just about every combination of blackjack rules in Las Vegas, so if you know what you’re looking for, you can find games with a low house edge.

A few things to look for when searching for a blackjack game are always find a game that pays 3 to 2 for a natural blackjack, being allowed to double down in as many situations as possible, being allowed to split pairs as many times as possible, and tables where the dealer stands on a soft 17.

You should also pick up a blackjack strategy card or print out a strategy chart so you can always make the best play possible. A blackjack table with good rules and a strategy card can lower the house edge to less than a half percent, which makes it one of the best games in the casino.

Other popular table games that you can find in most casinos on the Las Vegas Strip include:

  • Baccarat
  • Roulette
  • Craps
  • Three-Card Poker
  • Mississippi Stud
  • Let It Ride

4 – Sportsbooks

In the past few years, sports betting has been legalized in more states. But the main sportsbooks are still in Las Vegas. For most of the history of legalized gambling in the United States, Nevada was the only state where you could legally place sports bets.

Most of the casinos on the Strip have a sportsbook, so it’s easy to find somewhere to place sports bets in Vegas. Because all of the sportsbooks on the Strip are relatively close, it also makes it easier to shop for the best lines on the games you want to bet on.

Of course, lines on games can move, but most sports bettors can take the time to visit several sportsbooks to find a good line. Spend some time handicapping the games you’re interested in, then visit as many books as you can to find the lines on the games.

Las Vegas also has many different sports betting contests that you can enter. Many of them focus on the NFL season because it’s the most popular sport, but you can find contests for other leagues and sports as well. Ask one of the employees at each sportsbook about any upcoming contests. Just make sure you read all of the rules before entering a sports betting contest to make sure you actually understand everything you need to know.

5 – Entertainment

Las Vegas used to be all about gambling. Most of the country had laws that made it hard to gamble unless you traveled to Nevada. But now, there are plenty of casinos in the United States, so most of the US population doesn’t have to travel to Las Vegas to find a casino.

This has forced Las Vegas to shift some of the focus away from gambling and toward entertainment as a whole. Many people still travel to Las Vegas to gamble, but almost as many travel to enjoy the entertainment.

The list of entertainment options on the Las Vegas Strip is almost endless. All of the larger casinos will have many shopping options, and some have entire malls full of shops just steps from their slot machines.

Wax Statues at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas

On top of that, some of the most popular shows in the world perform on the Strip, with singing, magicians, comedians, and circus acts running every day of the year. One of the popular forms of entertainment involves imitations of famous people like Elvis and Sinatra. You can also enjoy many different museums, including wax museums, art museums, history museums, and Egyptian museums.

Most of the popular shows on the Las Vegas Strip sell out, so you should order your tickets before your trip. You should also visit the concierge desk where you’re staying to see what entertainment they recommend and have tickets for.

6 – Fine Dining and Cheap Buffets

Everyone needs to eat, and the Las Vegas Strip has everything from cheap buffet meals to high end restaurants run by some of the most popular chefs in the world. Many of the higher end restaurants require a reservation, so we recommend you plan ahead before your trip so you don’t get shut out of the places you really want to go.

I like to eat, but I’m far from an expert when it comes to fine dining. Most of the larger buffets on the Strip are the same to me, so I tend to eat wherever the buffet is the least expensive or where I earn free meals from my play and the players club. This is why it’s so important to sign up for comps everywhere you gamble.

You can find reviews and recommendations for fine dining in many places, and I’ve visited many of them on my trips to the infamous Sin City.

One that stands out for me is the Top of the World restaurant at the Stratosphere. It’s not cheap, but it’s an experience that you will never forget.

One last feat that Las Vegas offers its visitors is a wide range of bars and night clubs. They really aren’t my scene, but if you’re into it, you can find just about anything you’re looking for.

7 – Video Poker

Video poker machines are being replaced in many casinos because they aren’t as popular as they once were. Casinos closely track how much each square foot of floor space produces, and when a machine or table game isn’t pulling its weight, the casino tries a different machine or table game. This has reduced the number of video poker machines available over the years.

The Las Vegas Strip is the best place in the world to find a wide selection of video poker machines. If you can’t find the video poker machine you’re looking for, then it probably doesn’t exist in land-based form. You’re still going to need to keep a sharp eye out to find the video poker machines with the best pay tables, because even in the casinos with the highest number of VP machines, all of the pay tables aren’t going to be good.

Royal Flush on a Video Poker Machine

Take your time visiting each casino on the Strip. Take a look around for the best pay tables. Of course, you also need to spend some time before your trip learning what the best pay tables are for the video poker variations you want to play.

I prefer the classic Jacks or Better video poker game because it has a simple strategy, and it’s easy to recognize a machine with a good pay table. If the machine pays nine coins for a full house and pays six coins for a flush, it’s a good machine. Any other Jacks or Better pay table should be avoided. If you prefer a different video poker version, take a few minutes right now to learn about the pay tables and the best video poker strategy.

Conclusion

The Las Vegas Strip has everything you could possibly want, and that’s true whether you’re a gambler or someone just looking for a new experience. You can find every gambling activity in the world, numerous entertainment and dining options, and hotel options ranging from budget rooms to extravagant suites. If you’ve never been to the Las Vegas Strip, you don’t know what you’re missing. It might just be time to start planning your next vacation!

5 of The Most Affordable Resorts in Macau

Wallet Full of Money With a Macau Skyline Background

Macau is a region on the South Coast of China across from the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong. Being a Portuguese colony until 1999, Macau reflects a mixture of different cultural influences.

The giant casinos and malls that run along the Cotai Strip, a region that joins the islands of Taipa and Coloane, have given Macau the earnest nickname “The Las Vegas of Asia.”

With all of the amazing things to do in Macau, it’s possible that a lot of these activities can start to rack up some serious bills and even destroy your checkbook.

For the people looking to get the most bang for their buck while staying in the Las Vegas of Asia, we’ve included some of the most affordable hotel resorts in Macau.

A Brief History on Macau’s Tourism Industry

Originally a sparsely populated collection of coastal islands, the territory of Macau is a major resort city and world-renowned destination of choice for casino-goers and gamblers across all cultures. As of 2019, Macau is the 9th highest recipient of tourism revenue. The gambling industry of Macau is actually seven times larger than that of its popular competition, Las Vegas, Nevada.

The combination of Chinese and Portuguese cultures and the variety of religious traditions for more than four centuries has allowed Macau to host a large and diverse array of holidays, festivals, and events.

Besides its year-round tourism drive from a booming entertainment industry, something that brings people to Macau from around the world each year is the Macau Grand Prix. This particular event besides the gambling industry is the largest driver for tourism.

The main streets of Macau are converted to a racetrack and makes for an amazing time for locals and tourists. Other common tourism drivers besides gambling are the Macau Arts Festival, the International Fireworks Display Contest, the International Music Festival, and the Macau International Marathon.

Many people celebrate the A-Ma festival, and its worshipers can come to Macau’s own A-Ma temple during the time of celebration. There are so many reasons to visit Macau besides what most people typically think of!

It is common to see large dragons in the street during the Feast of Drunken Dragons as well as twinkling-clean Buddhas at the Feast of the Bathing Lord Buddha.

Macau has preserved many historical parts of its history, and tourists can bear witness to all of its amazing history upon visiting.

If you’re planning to visit for any of these amazing events, you’ll want to book your accommodations at highly recommended resorts in the city. Below, you’ll find our suggestions for five top-rated affordable resorts in Macau.

1 – Broadway Hotel

A very affordable option for your stay in Macau is the Broadway Hotel. This five-star hotel provides the comfort and hospitality that you are looking for without draining your checking account.

The hotel isn’t too large, which gives its guests a cozy experience. The small size gives the hotel staff an opportunity to provide a tailored set of services that are unique to each hotel guest.

Exterior of Broadway Hotel in Macau

Being connected to Galaxy Macau by a bridge, Broadway Hotel features 320 rooms and suites, valet parking, and contemporary decor throughout the hotel. The hotel provides beautiful, panoramic views of the neighboring Hengqin Island. This is an absolute must visit for the tourist who is trying to enjoy the beauty and nature of Macau while still sticking to a budget.

2 – Grand Dragon Hotel

Another affordable option for your stay in Macau is the Grand Dragon Hotel. The Grand Dragon makes for a perfect stay in Macau for any traveling tourists. It offers all of the amenities needed to make for a truly unforgettable experience in this fascinating Asian entertainment spectacle, all while managing your budget and keeping spending in check.

The rooms are comfortable and offer free Wi-Fi so that you won’t have to worry about staying connected to work while in Macau if it’s necessary for you to do so. Many people who travel and need to keep an eye on budget aren’t always able to stop working just to travel, so having this option is fantastic for the working person who is on the go.

Grand Dragon Hotel Macau Lobby

The hotel provides room service, a relaxing pool, as well as an on-site restaurant. For the visitors who are planning to have jam-packed days, you won’t have to worry about cooking your own meals every day. And the cost isn’t going to destroy you.

For the guests looking to visit as many of the landmarks Macau offers as possible, Grand Dragon Hotel is only a couple miles away from AJ Hackett Macau Tower and Macau Tower Convention and Entertainment Center. It’s the perfect spot for someone who wants to stay near attractions in Macau while still keeping some money in the bank and sticking to a budget.

3 – Hotel Riviera

The third affordable option that we will recommend in Macau for an affordable stay is Hotel Riviera. Hotel Riviera is located on Penha Hill, which is just a 10-minute walk from Macau Center. Overlooking the Praia Grande Bay, Hotel Riviera includes two dining options, a 24-hour front desk, as well as free parking.

Interior of Hotel Rivera Macau

The nice, clean rooms offered at Hotel Riviera have large windows that provide views of the harbor and the ocean, something that you’re going to just love. Each room comes complete with free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV, as well as a mini bar.

Hotel Riviera in Macau is 950 feet away from the Moorish Barracks and two short miles away from Sun Yat Sen Park. The Macau International Airport is only four miles away from the hotel.

4 – Hotel Sintra

The fourth hotel I am going to recommend for those looking to save as much money as possible for the sake of getting the most out of their stay in Macau is Hotel Sintra.

With rooms starting as low as $60 a night, which is an incredible price for this beautiful and luxurious city, Hotel Sintra is just a 10-minute walk away from Macau’s Senado Square, keeping you a short walking distance away from a lot of Macau’s action.

Hotel Sintra is one of the many luxurious hotels in Macau that offers free Wi-Fi, which is super important for anyone who has to work while on vacation. For the budget-conscious visitors who don’t want to waste any time cooking meals while staying in Macau, Hotel Sintra offers an affordable in-house restaurant with amazing entree options.

Interior of Hotel Sintra Macau

A free shuttle bus runs to and from the hotel, taking its guests to Macau Maritime Ferry Terminal whenever it’s necessary. The traditionally decorated rooms include carpeted floors and wood furnishings. The rooms also include a flat-screen TV, a living area, a private bathroom, as well as a refrigerator. That’s not too bad for being super affordable if I do say so myself!

Sintra Restaurant serves all kinds of international dishes as well as the popular Chinese dim sum, a delicious experience that you absolutely have to try. Guests can also choose from a variety of wines that are local to Macau only.

Hotel Sintra is 950 feet away from the Holy House of Mercy and Leal Senado Building. Macau International Airport is a 20-minute drive away from the hotel, so you won’t have to worry so much about getting to and from the airport when it’s time to go.

5 – Regency Art Hotel

The final affordable hotel option for your trip to Macau is the Regency Art Hotel. Regency Art Hotel has rooms that start at just under $100 a night, making this hotel one of the most affordable options in Macau. The hotel features an outdoor swimming pool and tennis courts and is just a 10-minute drive away from the Macau City Center.

The air-conditioned rooms feature Mediterranean color schemes. Each room comes equipped with a TV, fridge, and private bathroom, which is more than enough for the average person to enjoy themselves while visiting Macau.

Front Entrance of Regency Art Hotel in Macau

As a guest at the Regency Art Hotel, you can enjoy laying out by the swimming pool or enjoy the hotel’s swimming pool and tennis courts.

Regency Art Hotel also includes in-house dining options. Regency Noodles and the Congee restaurant both serve authentic Chinese dishes. You can also enjoy your favorites, as well as Asian-inspired coffee beverages at the coffee shop, A Pousada Cafe.

The Regency Art Hotel is a 15-minute drive away from Macau International Airport as well as a 20-minute drive away from Macau Ferry Terminal.

Conclusion

I hope that after reading this you will have a better feel for some of the most affordable hotel options for your planned trip to Macau.

If you have stayed at an affordable hotel there that I forgot to mention, please let me know the name of the hotel with a brief review of your experience in the comments!

How to Take Advantage of Casino Comps and Freebies in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Sign and a Man Gambling at at a Roulette Table

Las Vegas is known for offering the best rewards in the gambling industry. You can enjoy some of the finest restaurants, penthouse suites, and nightclubs in Sin City for free.

Of course, you must earn these rewards through your gambling and spending at Las Vegas casinos. You’ll find this process to be long and painstaking in many cases.

However, comp hustling provides a way for you to accumulate Vegas rewards quicker. You can keep reading about this art along with how it results in more benefits over time.

How Does Comp Hustling Work?

In a typical scenario, you simply play casino games and collect whatever casino comps are given. Each casino features a specific comp rate that they use to determine your rewards.

Here’s an example:

  • You gamble $1,000 on slot machines.
  • A Vegas casino features a 0.1% comp rate.
  • 1,000 x 0.001 = $1 in comps

A comp hustler doesn’t settle for whatever is given to them. Their only loyalty is to the casino that rewards them best (hence the “hustler” part).

Advanced comp hustling goes beyond just getting the best rewards. It also incorporates playing casino games that offer high return to player (RTP). Baccarat, blackjack, and video poker are among the highest-paying games. However, casinos may offer a different comp rate for these games.

As an expert comp hustler, you must strike a balance between finding the top rewards and best-paying games. This combination gives you the best opportunity to profit from your efforts.

How to Get More Comps

You don’t need to settle for the status quo when it comes to rewards. Instead, you can boost your VIP benefits with the following techniques.

Research Casinos With the Best VIP Programs

Many Las Vegas casinos run together in terms of their rewards. Nevertheless, you can find some separation in this department by researching the best loyalty programs.

Downtown Vegas casinos are particularly well-known for being generous with gambling comp points. They also offer tremendous value on rooms and meals.

If you’re looking for something more upscale, The Palms—located just one block from the Vegas Strip—features one of the city’s best loyalty plans.

Play Video Poker Instead of Slot Machines

Many Vegas gamblers flock to slot machines. However, these same players lose far more money than the average person.

Slots carry between a 5% and 10% house edge on average. They also feature the same comp rate as video poker in most cases.

The latter can feature less than a 0.5% house advantage. Meanwhile, you still get the same type of rewards through these games.

Here’s a comparison to illustrate the difference:

  • You play a slot machine with an 8% house edge.
  • You gamble $2,000.
  • 2,000 x 0.08 = $160 in theoretical losses on the slot machine
  • You play a video poker machine with a 0.5% house edge.
  • You gamble $2,000.
  • 2,000 x 0.005 = $10 in theoretical losses on the video poker machine
  • Both games offer a 2% comp rate.
  • 2,000 x 0.02 = $40 in rewards with each game

You receive the same amount of comps with both types of games. However, your losses are much greater with the slot.

Use Trick on Table Games

The pit boss has a difficult time in rating every qualifying table-game player for comps. You can exploit this situation by raising your bets when the pit boss is looking.

Shortly after you tell the dealer that you wish to be rated, the pit boss will come over and track some of your wagers. They can’t stay long, though, because they have many other players to rate.

This scenario presents an opportunity for you to increase bets when they’re watching. If you’re normally a $25 player, for example, you can bet $100 (or higher) when they’re nearby.

Harrah's Casino Table Games and Slots

Once the pit boss leaves, you can drop down to your standard wager size. Hopefully, they’ll rate you as a $100 player rather than a $25 one. Such a rating ensures that you get more comps for your play.

Palming chips offers another way to capitalize on table games. It involves discretely putting chips in your pocket when the pit boss and dealer aren’t looking.

The idea is to slowly take chips off the table and make it appear is if you’re losing. You’ll eventually look like you’ve lost everything.

Casinos sometimes offer you more rewards in these situations to soften the blow. A kind gesture, such as greater rewards, makes them look better in your eyes.

Take Advantage of Promotions

Every Vegas gambling venue runs promotions to get more people in the door. These promos often consist of giving more loyalty points than normal.

For example, you might earn double VIP points for playing video poker and slot machines. The casino is effectively doubling your comp rate at this point.

You can find promotions by visiting casino websites, social media channels, and newsletters. The more channels you subscribe to, the more offers you’ll have to choose from.

Play in Tournaments

Casinos often give out free tournament entries as a VIP perk. These tourneys give you the opportunity to win free money.

Assuming 50 players enter a free $1,000 slots tournament, then your expected value from this event is $20 (1,000 / 50 = 20).

Of course, nothing guarantees that you’ll win $20. But you’ll eventually profit from such events if you keep playing.

Ask for Extra Freebies

I don’t completely believe in the phrase, “It never hurts to ask.” You can look downright tacky in some instances when asking for too much.

When you’re dealing with multibillion-dollar casino resorts, though, this saying holds plenty of weight. You should consider asking if you can get extra comps under reasonable circumstances.

If you book a hotel room for three nights, you might inquire about getting a fourth night for free. Additionally, you may speak with a casino host about receiving more overall rewards if you’re a high-volume player.

The Importance of Comp Hustling

You aren’t going to get rich through comp hustling. Most of the time, the only value you receive are free services and items.

Nevertheless, you may enjoy your Las Vegas stay more when it comes with extra free items. Hunting for rewards can help you get more value out of a trip.

Daytime View of Downtown Las Vegas

Maybe you’ll save $30 on a meal just because you took the effort. Or you might get $20 in comps while losing far less money on video poker machines (vs. slots).

You may even enjoy the process altogether. Comp hustling feels like a game within a game and is rewarding when done right.

What Do You Get Through Comps?

Collectively, Las Vegas offers more types of comps than any gambling destination on the planet. Here are some of the rewards that you can look forward to:

  • Cashback
  • Fine dining
  • Free drinks
  • Free play
  • Hotel room
  • Limousine transportation
  • Nightclub bottle service
  • Shopping funds
  • Show tickets
  • Spa treatment
  • Uber transportation

Best Vegas Casinos for Comp Hustling

Las Vegas features more than 130 casinos. Therefore, you have more options for comp hustling here than anywhere else.

Again, research offers the best path towards getting the best-available rewards in Sin City. But if you’re looking for some quick recommendations of casinos with great VIP programs, here are a few:

  • Aria
  • El Cortez
  • Palms
  • Palazzo
  • Sam’s Town

Sam’s Town has the added bonus of featuring full-pay Deuces Wild. This video poker machine offers 100.76% RTP, which is the best payback that you’ll find in town. Assuming you combine this with rewards, then you can earn some decent profits.

Is Comp Hustling in Vegas Worth Your Time?

Unlike hole carding or card counting, comp hustling doesn’t promise any riches. You’ll be lucky to get a buffet coupon, or, at best, a free night’s stay.

Only you can decide the value of hunting for comps. If the idea of getting things for free in Las Vegas excites you, then you’ll love the process.

Palms Las Vegas Penthouse Suite

Assuming you’re expecting three free nights in a penthouse suite and VIP hosts feeding you grapes, though, then comp hustling isn’t your thing.

This technique is merely a way to extract a bit more value during your stay. You won’t get the finest that Sin City has to offer through a combination of $10 baccarat hands and comp hustling.

Conclusion

Las Vegas rewards aren’t quite what they used to be. However, you can reawaken the good ole’ days with a little comp hunting.

You don’t even need to become a highly skilled gambler to benefit from comp hustling. Instead, you just need to follow the simple tips covered here.

With some effort, you can turn a free lunch into a five-course meal. Or you can earn an extra $50 to $100 in cashback.

Again, comp hustling isn’t the key to exuberant wealth. It can, however, be fun and result in additional rewards.

How I Decided to Become a Gambling Expert

Man Wearing Shades and Holding Cards Next to a Certified Expert Sticker

When people ask me what I do for a living, I always reply, “I’m a writer.”

I always expect them to ask, “What do you write? Letters and such?”

But no, they always ask, “What do you write?”

When I tell them that I’m a casino and poker blogger and a gambling expert, they always ask how I got into that.

So, I thought it would make for an exciting blog post.

I Played a Lot of Games as a Kid

When I was growing up, I played a lot of board games and card games. I had a brother and sister, and we would play Monopoly.

But I also played a lot of games with my mom. She LOVED games. We whiled away hour after hour playing two-handed spades, blackjack, Scrabble, and Boggle. (She loved word games.)

I didn’t even know that blackjack was a gambling game at first, though. I didn’t have any money at that age, and all her money was tied up in the family funds.

When I got older, I played a lot of fantasy roleplaying games, like Dungeons and Dragons and Runequest. I learned a lot about probability – especially when it’s expressed as a percentage – by playing such games.

Sure, I was a nerd, but a lot of the expert gamblers I know were nerds.

In fact, most of us still are.

I Learned to Play Poker as a Teenager

When I got old enough, a buddy of mine and I thought it would be oh-so-grownup to start hosting a penny-ante poker game at his house on Friday nights. It was dealer’s choice, and we’d never heard of Texas holdem. (This was the 1980s in a small town.)

Closeup of Chips and Cards on a Poker Table

We listened to Eric Clapton and Robert Cray and brought all our spare change. We teased each other mercilessly as we played, too. The poker variations were usually based on seven card stud and included games with such politically incorrect names as “Mexican Sweat,” although I always preferred the stud variant baseball.

Here’s how that’s played:

It’s seven card stud, but threes and nines are wild. If you’re dealt a four, you get an extra card.

It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to understand the significance of those numbers. Three strikes and you’re out. A baseball game has nine innings. And four balls is a walk.

You need six or fewer players in baseball. You could run out of cards because of the four extra cards that might be dealt.

If everyone stays in the hand, with six players, you have 42 cards. If all the fours come out, you have four more cards, for a total of 46 cards.

If you tried to play with seven players, you’d have 49 cards, and, with the four extra cards, you’d have 53 cards total – which is more cards than you have in the deck.

At any rate, I knew nothing about appropriate poker strategy, but we sure had a lot of fun.

In My 20s, I Hosted Another Home Poker Game

At some point during the mid-1990s, I started hosting a home poker game with another buddy. We still didn’t play Texas holdem, though. This time we played for real money, although we were always looking at antes of less than a dollar.

The guys who played in this game were mostly referrals, and they actually knew how to play poker. I wound up poorer at the end of every one of these games.

Eventually, I grew tired of getting beat up by the sharks and bought a book to learn how to play poker, it was called Poker Nation by Andy Bellin.

I learned about the concepts of tight, aggressive play from this book, which is a memoir and travelogue about poker. It also contains some essential strategy advice and some insights into how to play the games.

I Visited My First Casino in the 1990s

When I was 26, I started my 2nd-longest career when I went to work for one of the first (and still largest) hotel consolidators. I worked as a sales agent there to begin, but I eventually worked my way into the internet marketing department. That last detail is essential.

But, as of 1996, I still had never been to a real casino or even done so much as played a slot machine.

I took my first casino trip when I started dating the woman who was in charge of the Las Vegas hotel reservations.

We went to the Sands and stayed there the last weekend they were open. It was such an experience. Since it was the last weekend they were ever going to be open, many of the gamblers who had been regulars there since the 1960s had decided to take one last trip to the casino where they used to see the Rat Pack performing regularly.

Vintage Photo of a Woman in Front of the Sands Las Vegas Sign

There was much crying, lamenting, and wailing in the hallways.

I didn’t know how to play any of the casino games but blackjack, but I quickly figured out how to play roulette and video poker. Even then, as a fresh gambling novice, I saw no point in playing slot machines.

Baccarat and craps remained beyond me. I learned how to play those games much later in my gambling career.

It was an excellent introduction to the world of Las Vegas casinos and gambling, though.

My Interest in Internet Marketing Grew at the Same Time as My Interest in Serious Poker

Eventually, I went to work in the internet marketing department of the travel company.

And it didn’t take me long to realize that the affiliates marketing our product on the web were making a lot more money than I was making as their account manager.

At the same time, I started getting invited to participate in some real private poker games where we played Texas holdem for real money. These were no-limit games with $1 and $2 blinds.

When I eventually got married and had twins on the way, I decided that to support my family, I needed a bigger income than I could achieve working for a corporation. So, I decided to start my own business on the internet. I taught myself search engine marketing and did consulting for online casino and gambling companies.

Online Poker Table Screenshot

One of the ways you make money as an internet marketer is to publish your own content on your own websites, so I learned as much as I could about gambling so that I’d have something to write about on my sites.

I learned a lot from the examples set by people like Michael Bluejay and Michael Shackleford, who are just two of the gambling writers online who published the kind of content I aspired to write.

I Get Even More Serious About Poker

As I started to get to know other people in the business, I started getting invited to join some of my peers in private online poker games. This is where I really learned how to play Texas holdem.

I eventually started focusing almost all my attention on playing poker well, although I did learn how to count cards in blackjack, too. I’m also a reasonably good video poker player.

But most of my time spent gambling was spent at the tables of private Texas holdem games. In those days, most of the poker action in the Dallas/Fort Worth area was happening in private rooms there. These private rooms eventually started getting busted, and it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure that out, either.

The WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Oklahoma offered poker, and they didn’t want competition from a bunch of shady competitors who didn’t have a license. I still suspect that the Dallas vice squad only got serious about busting poker rooms when they got “encouragement” from Oklahomans.

Lots of Reading and Writing

How did I acquire expertise?

As it turns out, gambling is like any other human endeavor you want to learn about. You can read books on the subject.

Not every book about gambling is worth reading. I’ve read a few stinkers from authors like John Patrick and Frank Scoblete. But I’ve also read great books about various gambling concepts from writers like David Sklansky and Andrew Brisman.

Combine that knowledge with some practice at the tables and in the casinos, and I’m confident that I can bill myself as a gambling expert.

You could read the same books I’ve read, but to really acquire expertise, I suggest writing about what you’ve read.

Nothing clarifies your thinking on a subject in the same way that writing about it does.

Conclusion

So, that’s how I decided to become a gambling expert.

And those are some of the details about how I acquired the knowledge and skills that qualify me as a gambling expert.

You can follow a similar path. Start playing games and thinking about the probabilities involved. Read some books. Write about what you’ve read.

That’s the path to expertise in gambling.

The Las Vegas Tunnels and Its Residents

Hand Holding a Lantern and an Upside Down Las Vegas Skyline

Mention Las Vegas to most people, and they think about entertainment, gambling, and luxury. It wouldn’t be a surprise to say that Las Vegas is the biggest playground for adults in the United States (and maybe in the world).

But there’s more to Vegas than casinos, gambling, and luxury casinos. The reality is that Las Vegas is also home to thousands of homeless people, many of whom live in the tunnels underneath the Las Vegas Strip. They take refuge in the storm drainage systems, away from the glitz and the glamour the Sin City is known for.

Who are the residents of the Las Vegas tunnels? Where did these tunnels come from? And how do people wind up there?

The Tunnels Beneath Las Vegas

Most people don’t know this, but underneath the neon lights of the Las Vegas Strip are 200 miles of flood tunnels. It’s a modern-day maze missing only a minotaur at its center.

And over 1,000 people live in these tunnels along with the spiders and other underground denizens.

There have been tunnels underneath Vegas for storm drainage purposes since 1977, but they weren’t enough. Before 1977, flash flooding would get so bad that it was common for cars to disappear until they washed up in various culverts throughout town.

The Hyrdo Conduit Corporation built more tunnels in the 1990s to drain water from storms to prevent flash flooding on the Strip and elsewhere in the city. The tunnels aren’t patrolled by law enforcement, making it an ideal place for the homeless to live, although they run the risk of losing all their belongings when storms cause water to go rushing through the tunnels.

The original plan was to have 1,000 miles of tunnels by now, but they weren’t finished according to the master plan. Still, there are 450 miles of drainage in Vegas, and 300 miles of those are underground tunnels.

Las Vegas Tunnel Graffiti

The tunnels stay dry most of the time because of the lack of rain. It is Vegas, after all, which is in the middle of a desert. When it does rain, the water can get pretty high pretty fast in the tunnels, making them a less-than-ideal spot to be in during such an event.

And even when it’s 110 degrees on the Las Vegas Strip, life in the tunnels is cool, damp, and dark.

The Tunnels Are a Fascinating Mess

If you were to visit the tunnels beneath Vegas, you might have trouble keeping your feet dry. Keep this in mind if you’re planning to check it out, and dress accordingly. (Galoshes, I’m thinking.)

The tunnels aren’t just home to the homeless in Vegas. They’re also home to graffiti artists. It doesn’t matter where you look in these tunnels, you’ll see graffiti.

Depending on which article you read, between 300 and 1,000 people live here in various states of comfort. This isn’t really housing; a more accurate description of it would be to call these homes “encampments.”

Everyone in town, except for the occasional journalist or writer, ignores the tunnels and the people living there. This includes the casinos, the cops, and the local politicians.

The Tale of Timmy “TJ” Weber

The Vegas tunnels first achieved a degree of infamy in 2002. That’s the year that Timmy “TJ” Weber killed his girlfriend and her son, then hid in the tunnels to escape the police.

On April 4th, 2002, Timmy Weber killed both his girlfriend and one of her teenage sons. The police found his girlfriend’s body upside down, stuffed into a storage container in the bedroom closet. Her head was covered with a plastic bag and duct tape.

The police found her son facedown on a mattress. Weber had taped the teen’s arms behind his back. He then stuffed a t-shirt into his mouth, and the teen died of asphyxiation.

Like many criminals, Weber left town but returned. He attacked the surviving son and another adult friend when they returned to their family home near Downtown Las Vegas to collect memorabilia for the funerals.

Weber then escaped on foot, climbing a barbwire fence before escaping into a storm drain. He spent over three weeks on the lam. He claims that running through the storm sewers beneath for five hours made him feel like he was in The Fugitive.

Weber was convicted and sentenced to death in 2003. For the purposes of this post, he’s the reason that people know anything at all about the tunnels underneath Vegas.

Most of the Tunnel Residents Aren’t Like TJ

I read one account of a resident of the tunnels named John. He moved to Vegas after leaving his wife and kids. He wanted to enjoy the famous Vegas lifestyle.

He didn’t meet with much success, though, and he did some manual labor at the Mandalay Bay. He was only able to find part-time work doing odd jobs, and he wasn’t making enough money to maintain what most people would consider a normal residence.

People in a Las Vegas Drainage Tunnel

From the account I read, he was used to the occasional flash floods which would wash away his and the other residents’ belongings. You can prevent that by keeping your belongings at the end of the tunnel, but you must be ready to act fast to move your stuff before it gets washed away.

Many people who are homeless and living in the tunnels beneath Las Vegas suffer from mental illness, and where there’s mental illness, there’s almost always substance abuse, too. But anyone can turn adverse circumstances into a home.

A lot of the people living in the tunnels have camping stoves, furniture, and even decorations. Some put down rugs or carpeting to make the concrete floors more bearable.

You can read stories about the generosity that some of these people show complete strangers. Sharing food with others isn’t unusual in this situation.

I’m always amazed that people who have so little are sometimes the most eager to give what they have to help others.

They Have Access to HELP

I’ve read stories about some addicts and alcoholics getting interventions on shows like Dr. Phil, but the average person living in the tunnels beneath Vegas doesn’t have this opportunity.

This doesn’t mean help is unavailable. One organization that offers assistance to the people in the direst straits here is called HELP. The organization can help people who want housing and free counseling for their addiction and other health issues.

HELP has assisted people and helped them leave their lives in the tunnels behind. If you met them working at a retail establishment, you might never guess that at some point in their past that they were living in drainage tunnels.

Las Vegas Tunnels Home Setup

And don’t make the mistake of thinking there’s some kind of permanent underclass that fosters this “lifestyle.” I read an account of one underground dweller who had been a Marine and a police officer, but when he got divorced and lost his job at the same time, he wound up homeless.

This person had trouble finding work because of the long gap in his work history, but HELP was able to help him get counseling and eventually find work.

Don’t Think It’s Safe Down There

I’m not recommending our readers to try checking out these tunnels when visiting Las Vegas. Since they’re not patrolled by the police, they’re ridden with crime.

I read an interview with one woman who’d lived in the tunnels for over five years who said that it was the “third most dangerous place in the country.” She claims to have heard about murders and to have actually witnessed someone getting their fingers cut off.

And even though the people living here try to make it as comfortable as possible, there’s still no access to toilets or showers. Also, it’s so dark that the only light comes from flashlights.

Some of the tunnel dwellers don’t even know if it’s morning or evening because of the constant darkness down here. In that respect, the tunnels resemble the casinos above, where the gamblers lose track of time, too.

Conclusion

When I saw a headline talking about tunnels beneath Las Vegas where people lived, I thought it was a conspiracy theory or an urban legend. The tunnels beneath Las Vegas are real, though, and so are the people living there.

3 of the Best Casino Cruise Ships in the World

Casino Text Graphic With a Cruise Ship Background

If you’ve never heard of a cruise ship, then I’m not sure what rock you’ve been sleeping under. But I’ll give a brief explanation of what a “cruise ship” is before we go into a few of the best casino cruise ships out there.

A cruise ship is essentially a floating resort. While on board, you can enjoy the relaxation and luxury that comes along with staying at a five-star hotel. Most cruise ships have so many activities to offer that it can be almost impossible to check them all out.

On board, you’ll find restaurants, bars, casinos, swimming pools, spas, gyms, shops, theaters, and cinema. There’s plenty of space on modern cruise ships, even while being packed full of so many amenities, so you never have to worry about not being able to find a place to stretch out and relax.

Your cruise ship is also going to include staff that have high levels of customer service and will be there to take care of you and meet any of your needs. Cruise ships can take you just about anywhere in the world, with two of the most popular destinations being the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.

Luxury Cruise Liner in the Caribbean Sea

More ships have expanded to other territories, including Alaska, Asia, the Middle East, and Northern Europe. The beautiful thing is that while you will get taken to a new place sometimes every day, your hotel will come along with you, so you’ll only have to pack once!

Again, cruise ships have many different activities to keep you occupied. Some not mentioned yet include high class culinary opportunities and top entertainment from world-renowned performers. You can always count on there being something for everyone while on your cruise, so you don’t need to worry about your kids getting bored.

Drawbacks of Casino Cruises

All that being said, there can be a number of drawbacks to going on a cruise. One of the first (and most obvious to some people) is that seasickness is a very real phenomenon. With that being said, cruise ships are so incredibly massive that most people don’t experience motion while on the ship, but it’s possible for you to experience this not-so-fun phenomenon during bad weather.

A potential drawback for a lot of people is the size of your cabin. Cruise ships are massive, but they still have cabins that can be unreasonably tiny, especially if you live in a big house and are used to having a lot of space to move around in.

Sure, smaller saves you money, but not everyone can handle being stuck in a tiny room day after day.

This leads me to another drawback—claustrophobia. Not everyone suffers from this, but even people who aren’t normally claustrophobic can run into this problem. In fact, there’s a form of claustrophobia that you’re probably familiar with often referred to as “cabin fever.”

You can absolutely experience this (and the related form, island fever) when stuck in a small area with no real horizon. Not everyone knows if they’re going to have this problem or not until they get on the boat though, so if you’re prone to claustrophobia, you might want to think twice before going on a casino cruise ship.

Finally, there’s the recent rash of cruise ship crashes and problems that you’ve probably heard about. More than a few cruises have ended up as nightmares, with literal crashes in some cases, and others where the facilities on the boat stopped working. Now I’ll be the first to say that these are pretty rare, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Casinos on Boats

When it comes to casinos and boats as one entity, there’s actually a long and storied history, especially in America. Some of the first casino boats were on paddle steamers that used to journey up the Mississippi River.

The paddle steamers were used as entertainment venues and casinos, offering slots as well as table games. Paddle steamers are still used today as popular river boat casinos, but the concept of gambling at seas has evolved to a place much bigger than paddle steamers.

Now, we have gargantuan cruise liners with casinos inside that take their passengers on journeys all around the world.

These cruise ships include some of the finest and most elegant casino floors that you’ll find anywhere, land or sea. They can come in all shapes in sizes, from intimate casinos to some that rival the size of what you would find at any Las Vegas casino.


Here are three of the best casino cruise ships in the entire world.

1 – The Sunborn Superyacht Hotel and Casino

It’s hard to find a hotel and casino experience as elegant as what you’ll find here at the Sunborn Superyacht Hotel and Casino. It’s docked in the Ocean Village Marina in Gibraltar and includes some of the most breathtaking views across the strait toward Morocco.

The casino can be found through a separate entrance at the back of the boat. It includes 58 state-of-the-art slot machines, three American Roulette tables, three live poker tables, and four card tables where you can play blackjack for real money.

The Sunborn Superyacht Docked at a Port

There’s also a private poker room available that holds tournaments. Inside the casino at the Sunborn Superyacht, you’ll find a world-class bar serving beer, spirits, champagnes, wines, and a huge selection of cocktails.

There’s also a table-side service that will take care of you in case you don’t want to step away from the poker table. There’s a variety of bedroom suites available once you’re on board, including a penthouse with a sundeck.

This ship is a dream come true for someone wanting a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There’s a lot to be said about cruises in general and how much fun they can be. But for the gambling aficionado, there’s something particularly compelling about combining that passion with a luxury cruise.

2 – The Norwegian Escape

The second casino cruise ship on the list is known as The Norwegian Escape, based in Miami, Florida.

The ship can hold 4,266 guests and takes them on adventures throughout the Bahamas and the Caribbean. For some people, water that’s crystal clear and sand as white as snow may not be enough to keep them entertained. And with that being said, The Norwegian Escape is packed with plenty of entertainment options on board.

Norwegian Escape Cruise Ship Deck Swimming Pool

Amid the rest of the options for fun on board, the ship includes a state-of-the-art casino. The casino comes with 28 gaming tables that offer roulette, pai gow, baccarat, poker, Let It Ride, craps, and blackjack, and 318 real money slots.

For the real high-roller casino goers, the ship has an exclusive VIP room. It includes three tables that can be used to meet any guest preferences. Limits can be requested that are much higher than the $5,000 maximum that’s on the casino floor for guests wanting to go big or go home.

There are over 15 restaurants on the ship that provide a great opportunity to spend your winnings, as well as clubs or a massage at a spa.

3 – Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas

The Allure of the Seas could be the Granddaddy of all cruise ships. It’s the second largest cruise ship in the world, sitting at 362 meters long and weighing over 225,000 tones. The ship carries up to 5,400 passengers. A whopping $1.2 billion was used in the construction of the Allure of the Seas.

My favorite part of this large vessel is its world-renowned casino, Casino Royale. Casino Royale is probably one of the greatest poker movies of all times, not to mention one of the best James Bond films of all time.

The Casino Royale has everything you could dream about gambling on a cruise ship. The gaming floor is 18,000 square feet and it includes 500 slot machines, including Wheel of Fortune and a game called Triple Diamond. There are 27 game tables that include roulette, poker, blackjack, craps, and Caribbean Stud.

Allure of the Seas Casino Royale Casino Floor

The guests of this ship receive an experience that I would compare to a weekend in Las Vegas, but maybe even better. From the beautiful decor to the customer service, you’ll never need to worry about spinning a wheel without a drink . All of the service is tableside, so if you’re on a winning streak, you don’t have to leave the game for the sake of getting a refill.

The Vegas experience on Allure of the Seas doesn’t just stop with the casino. The ship hosts some famous Broadway shows, including Mamma Mia!, Cats, and We Will Rock You. It also has an Aqua Theater. The Aqua Theater merges water with drama, similar to what you would see at a Cirque Du Soleil performance.

Conclusion

Are there any great casino cruise ships that I left out? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

High Stakes and Low Stakes Online Jackpot Slots – Do You Know the Trade-Off?

Excited Man Holding Money With an Online Slots Background

Progressive online slots are among the most popular games in the internet gambling world. Some of these slots offer the chance to win six or seven figures.

However, the cost to play can vary quite a bit from one game to the next. You may only have to bet a quarter on one slot and $5 on another. Both wagers can give you the opportunity to win life-changing money. Depending on your bankroll, though, you may not be interested in risking several dollars per spin.

Therefore, you may automatically want to play the cheapest online jackpot slots available. But you should also know that there’s a trade-off when doing so.

I’m going to cover in-depth aspects of both low-stakes and high-stakes jackpot games. You can use this information to decide which type of slot best suits your needs.

Some of the Biggest Online Jackpot Slots Are Quite Cheap to Play

Most real money online slots don’t cost much to play. These games give you the opportunity to win big without a huge bankroll.

The great thing about online progressive slots is that anybody can take a shot at getting rich. For anywhere between a quarter and a dollar, you could hit a windfall worth millions of dollars.

You’ll be interested to know that several of the biggest jackpot games don’t require a hefty minimum bet. Below, you can check out examples of slots that offer low minimum wagers and big prizes.

Mega Moolah

This Microgaming slot sets the standard for online gaming jackpots. It has paid a record prize worth €18,915,872 and continues to offer serious prize money. Currently, Mega Moolah’s top payout is worth €11,807,734 (approx. $14 million).

Mega Moolah is a five-reel, 25-line slot that only requires a €0.25 minimum wager. You have a better chance of winning a jackpot when betting more, but you still qualify in any case when wagering just a quarter.

This game offers four different progressive jackpots in the bonus round, including a Mini, Minor, Major, and Mega payout. The latter delivers the biggest windfall.

The bonus triggers randomly and has nothing to do with the symbols on the reels. You spin a wheel to decide what prize you’ll receive in the bonus round.

Hall of Gods

This NetEnt slot features five reels and 20 paylines. You only need to put a penny on each line, making the minimum bet worth just €0.20.

Each wager qualifies you for the Mini, Midi, and Mega progressive jackpots. You must unlock the bonus round with three scatters symbols to play for these prizes.

The bonus sees you smash mirrors with Thor’s hammer to reveal prize symbols. With any luck, you’ll get three Mega jackpot symbols and win the big one. The Hall of Gods Mega payout is worth €2,890,432 at the time of this post.

Cleopatra’s Gold Jackpot

Produced by RealTime Gaming (RTG), Jackpot Cleopatra’s Gold is one of the most popular jackpot slots in the US-facing market. It’s the jackpot version of another RTG slot by the same name.

This game has five reels and 20 paylines. You simply need to place a $1 bet to cover all 20 lines and qualify for the progressive prize.

As of now, the Cleopatra’s Gold jackpot is worth $407,483. You can win this prize when landing five Cleopatra symbols in a payline.

Cheap Games With Big Jackpots Feature Astronomical Odds

The allure of cheap online jackpot slots is that you can deposit $20 or so and take a crack at life-changing money. If you lose, then you’re only out the cost of a large pizza.

That said, many gamblers think that cheap games are automatically better than expensive ones. But there’s a catch involved with playing low-stakes slots.

Aztec's Millions Online Slot Screenshot

Jackpots don’t grow to massive proportions through small bets and great odds of winning. Developers have to focus one or the other (or both) to make their progressive prizes grow.

Regarding inexpensive jackpot slots, they often turn the odds up to incredibly high proportions. For example, you might only have a 1 in 50 million or 1 in 100 million chance of winning a huge progressive prize.

Of course, you probably don’t expect to collect a six- or seven-figure payout the first time. But you could spend an eternity and a fortune chasing such prizes.

As mentioned before, the benefit to inexpensive jackpot games is that virtually anybody can play. The downside, though, is that virtually nobody has a realistic chance at winning.

High Stakes Online Slots Give You Better Odds of Winning

No one is thrilled with the prospect of wagering $5 or more per spin. This is especially the case when considering the rapid pace that slot machines play at.

Assuming you perform 500 spins an hour at $5 apiece, you’ll be risking $2,500. You might not even win half of this back during a lengthy session.

The benefit to high stakes online slots is that they offer better jackpot odds. Given that you’re wagering lots of money per round, developers offer you a better chance at winning serious money.

If you’re interested in this prospect, then you can check out examples of high-stakes jackpot slots below.

Shopping Spree

Shopping Spree is five-reel, nine-payline game from Real Time Gaming. The Bovada Casino version offers a jackpot that’s worth $5,385,347 at the time of this writing.

This prize is currently the largest in the US-facing online gambling market. It’s also one of the biggest overall, too.

If you want to play for this payout, though, you’ll need to put $1.25 on each of the nine lines. This works out to an overall wager worth $11.25.

Aztec’s Millions

Also developed by RTG, Aztec’s Millions is a five-reel, 25-line slot that boasts a $3,902,568 jackpot. You can win this payout by landing five game logos in a payline.

Aztec’s Millions features a fixed $5 bet with no leeway to change this amount. You’re facing plenty of risk when playing this online slot.

Aladdin’s Lamp €5

Aladdin’s Lamp doesn’t seem like it would be an expensive game to play. After all, it offers a classic setup with three reels and three lines.

However, this GTECH slot requires you to put €5 on each line to qualify for the jackpot. This €15 wager makes Aladdin’s Lamp a true high-roller slot.

You can currently win up to €3,802,284 through this slot. With that said, you might feel like the risk is worth the reward.

Jackpot Piñatas

A five-reel, 20-line game, Jackpot Piñatas is yet another RTG slot to make this list. As with Aztec’s Millions, it offers a $5 fixed wager.

The jackpot is seeded at $250,000 and often reaches the seven-figure mark. It’s currently sitting at $1,822,938.

You Could Spend a Fortune on High Stakes Games

The obvious downside to expensive slots is that you assume more risk. Wagering between $5 and $15 per spin definitely require some faith.

Of course, the upside is that you have a better chance of winning a jackpot with these large bets. But you still stand long odds of hitting the top prize.

You really must be mindful of your bankroll when playing for high stakes. You could end up spending too much money before even noticing.

The dream is that your big bets will pay off in the form of a huge jackpot. However, you also have to be realistic about the fact that you could very well lose plenty of money.

Which Type of Jackpot Slot Are You Ultimately Better Off Playing?

You can see that high- and low-stakes online progressive jackpot slots each have their good and bad points. No option is clearly better than the other. That said, the decision to play expensive or cheap slots all comes down to your individual situation.

You must look at your bankroll and how comfortable you are with risk before playing. Furthermore, you must consider what kind of odds you want to face.

Assuming you have a large bankroll and don’t mind betting big, then you should consider high-stakes jackpot slots. These games give you a better opportunity of winning a huge payout.

Megasaur Online Slot Screenshot

Of course, you certainly don’t want to play for high stakes if you’re dealing with a small bankroll. Low-stakes games provide a nice alternative if you want to chase life-changing money without spending a fortune.

I personally mix my play in between both types of slots. But I lean more towards the low-stakes side, which gives me more bang for my buck.

However, I also like to change things up and play a $5 slot like Jackpot Piñatas or Aztec’s Millions once in a while. I still may never win a massive prize through these games, but I like the better odds anyway.

Conclusion

Your first inclination may be to always play big jackpot slots with low bets. After all, you don’t have to risk as much in these cases.

But you may never win a progressive jackpot when going this route. The odds of hitting a massive jackpot on cheap games are astronomically high.

High-stakes online jackpot slots offer another alternative. You must bet a lot more to play these games, but you’ll also enjoy lower odds on the top prize.

Again, I personally like to mix up my play between high and low-stakes games. Of course, you can always blaze your own trail.

5 Gamblers Who Miraculously Won in Las Vegas Casinos

Las Vegas Sign Graphic With Two Male Gamblers

Collectively, gamblers aren’t viewed as the most responsible people. Some are willing to bet money they don’t have in hopes of a miracle.

These miracles rarely come in the way that gamblers hope for. That said, I highly recommend you stick with solid bankroll management and avoid risking money that’s meant for bills.

Nevertheless, some struggling people do get lucky from time to time and save their bacon during Las Vegas trips. These five people used Vegas casino games to climb out of trouble and, in some cases, even find riches and happiness, even if it was only temporary.

1 – Archie Karas: From $50 to $40,000,000

Archie Karas has always been a gambler at heart. Growing up as a teenager in Greece, he’d shoot marbles with friends to earn money for food.

Eventually, Karas left Greece and found himself in LA. There, he built a $2 million bankroll by playing poker and hustling pool halls in the early 1990s.

As would happen many times in his life, though, Karas eventually lost all of this money. Actually, he did have $50 remaining that he used to travel to Las Vegas. Of course, $50 has never gotten you far in Sin City.

Archie begged a poker friend there to loan him $10,000, which he used to start an improbable run. Karas quickly became the hottest gambler in town and dominated both pool and poker games. His $10,000 stake turned into $17 million by 1994.

Binion's Horseshoe Las Vegas Sign

The problem with winning this much, though, is that nobody wants to play you eventually. The Greek-born gambler had to turn to house-based games just to continue getting action.

His incredible streak continued as he won another $23 million playing craps in downtown Las Vegas at Binion’s Gambling Hall. A reasonable person would’ve banked some of the $40 million that Karas earned.

But he didn’t. He unfortunately continued playing house-banked games and lost all of his money. He even tried going back to poker only to lose on the felt, too.

2 – Shoeless Joe: Goes on Amazing Blackjack Run With Just $400

Shoeless Joe was one of the nastiest gamblers to walk into the Treasure Island casino, both from a looks and attitude perspective.

The 80-year-old had bad teeth, a crooked chin, and walked with a cane. He also cursed dealers out anytime he lost in blackjack.

Luckily for the dealers, Shoeless Joe didn’t lose often.

Starting with just a $400 bankroll via his social security check, Shoeless Joe proceeded to win hand after hand. After just five days of play, he was $1.6 million richer.

He even signed a $10,000 deal with Steve Wynn, Treasure Island’s owner, for the movie rights to his story.

There would be no movie, though. Fueled by the lavish casino comps that Treasure Island offered, Joe continued gambling until he had nothing left.

Rumors suggest that he went back on social security due to losing everything. Some locals even claimed that he spent his remaining years as a vagrant.

3 – Fred Smith: Wins Just Enough to Keep FedEx Planes Fueled

Today, Fred Smith is a multibillionaire in charge of the shipping giant FedEx. But several decades ago, he was a frantic business owner willing to do anything possible to stay afloat.

Case in point, he took the company’s last $5,000 to Las Vegas in hopes of saving FedEx in 1973. The company couldn’t even afford to fuel its planes at the time.

Vintage Fedex Plane and Van

Smith knew that desperate times called for desperate measures, even if those measures involved playing a house-banked game where the odds are against you.

He defied the house edge, though, and won $27,000. Smith used this money to fuel the planes just long enough for the company to obtain more investments.

FedEx has since become a highly successful company that serves multiple countries worldwide. It currently holds a value of $42 billion.

4 – Suitcase Man: Mysterious Gambler Bets Life on Craps Roll

In September 1980, visitors at Binion’s Gambling Hall witnessed a strange spectacle. A man walked in with two suitcases and sat them near the craps tables.

One suitcase contained $777,000. The other was completely empty and meant to take home winnings. The man, William Bergstrom, became known as the “Suitcase Man” from then on.

Bergstrom etched his name into gambling lore by betting all $777,000 on a single craps bet. He wagered on the don’t pass line and won when the shooter rolled a seven during a point toss.

Bergstrom left Binion’s immediately afterward and didn’t return until March 1984. The Suitcase Man proceeded to wager $538,000 on a single roll and won yet again. This time, he stuck around and placed a few more bets that brought another $117,000 in winnings.

He came back once more in November 1984 to place what would be his final craps bet. Bergstrom wagered and lost $1 million.

The Suitcase Man talked to the casino owner, Benny Binion, afterward. Bergstrom explained how he’d planned to commit suicide if he lost the first night on Sept. 1980. In a way, craps kept him going a few more years and allowed him to travel the world with his winnings.

Unfortunately, William Bergstrom took his life in early 1985. But his name still lives on in the gambling world.

5 – Ashley Revell: Sells All Possessions for One Shot at Roulette Glory

Ashley Revell didn’t really need saving. He lived a comfortable life in Maidstone, Kent, and had a car, home, and fancy Rolex watch.

However, he abruptly sold these possessions and embarked on a plan to bet everything on one roulette spin. The idea surfaced during a drunken night out with his friends.

Rather than let drunken thoughts be, Revell took his plan seriously and sold everything he owned. The fire sale accumulated $135,300.

Ashley took this small fortune to the Plaza Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. He put the entire amount on red (red/black bet). Revell watched in anticipation as a Sky One film crew captured the moment. He erupted into celebration after the ball landed on red seven and delivered him $270,600.

An Active Roulette Table in Las Vegas

In the aftermath, Revell started a real money online poker site and iGaming job board. The Brit was also able to buy back many of the possessions that he sold off to build his roulette bankroll.

Revell’s internet poker room didn’t last very long. The iGaming job recruiting site also appears to have gone offline.

The world doesn’t really know what he’s up to these days. What is known, though, is that Ashley Revell is still one of the biggest legends to ever play roulette.

Conclusion

I certainly don’t recommend taking any of the drastic actions that these gamblers did to save themselves. But you can see that gaming can provide the occasional miracle.

Assuming you’re ever lucky enough to experience one of these miracles, then you should take heed of Karas and Shoeless Joe. They provide the biggest cautionary tales on what not to do when you’re up big.

Fred Smith is no doubt the biggest success from this post. As it turns out, he only needed one big stroke of luck to reach long-term fame and fortune.

Revell was a moderate success after his crazy roulette spin. However, it doesn’t appear that he’s still involved in the online gaming business 20 years later.

Faro: The Big Reason Why Gamblers Still Think the Casino Cheats

Well Dressed Man Gesturing to a Faro Game

Faro is a game that lives in the chronicles of gambling history. It was once the most popular form of gambling in the United States and parts of Europe.

Now, however, faro isn’t available at any casino. It has long since disappeared due to rampant cheating. Most notably, gambling houses cheated players through rigged dealing boxes. This unscrupulous behavior not only soured gamblers’ minds on faro, but it also created the fear that casinos everywhere could be cheating.

I’m going to cover more on exactly how the house used to deceive faro players. I’ll also discuss how these scams give gamblers doubts about casinos even today.

Losing Gamblers Become Paranoid Quickly

Results of casino games are attributed to simple mathematics. The game rules and odds behind each bet or decision dictate how frequently or how little you win.

Of course, luck also plays a role in your results. Assuming you go on a hot streak, you could win a lot of money.

However, the house usually wins in the end because the odds are in its favor. Outside of a few video poker variations, they hold the advantage in every game and bet.

Some gamblers, however, refuse to accept this fact. When they win, they think that it’s all attributed to their good fortunes. If they lose, they become paranoid and think that a conspiracy is afoot. Specifically, losing gamblers begin feeling like they’re being cheated by the casino.

As I’ll cover later, though, casinos stand to lose far than they gain by cheating. But thanks to faro, the thought that the house constantly rips off players has been passed down through generations.

What Is Faro?

A faro game features the following main elements:

  • 13 cards of the same suit (e.g. 2 through ace of spades) that represent the board
  • A 52-card deck that the dealer draws from
  • Chips that players use to lay/bet on cards
The objective of faro is to bet on the winning card value. If you place a chip on 10, for example, then you’re hoping that a 10 will be drawn on the player’s side. You can bet on one or more cards in each round.

The dealer puts the 52-card deck into a “dealing box.” The latter is meant to properly shuffle the cards to ensure a fair game—although, as covered later, this wasn’t always the case.

After pulling the deck out of the box, the dealer burns the first card (i.e. “soda” card). They draw two more cards, with the first representing the banker and the second representing the player.

All bets laid on the banker card automatically lose. If the banker card is 8, for instance, then all chips placed on 8 will be taken by the dealer/house.

All wagers laid on the player hand automatically win a 1:1 payout. Assuming the player card is 5, for instance, then anybody who lays chips here will receive an even-money payout.

You also have the option of betting on the high card, too. In this case, the player needs a higher card than the banker for you to win.

Any wager that lies outside of these scenarios is a push. In such cases, you can let your bet ride on the next hand, switch your chip(s) to another card, or simply remove the chips from the table.

Faro Experienced an Incredible Rise in the Mid-1800s

Faro is an offshoot of a French gambling game called “pharaoh.” The latter first became popular in the late 1600s, when the French government banned another card game called basset.

Pharaoh’s popularity quickly spread to England, where it would be known as “pharo.” This game eventually made its way to the United States by the early 1800s.

Vintage Photo of Old West Settlers Playing Faro

Faro, as it was now known by Americans, would become an instant hit everywhere from the Old West to Washington DC The latter actually featured this game in more than 150 gambling houses at one point.

By the mid-1800s, faro easily became a part of US gambling history. It brought in more money than all other forms of gambling combined at the time.

Rampant House Cheating Ended the Faro Boom

Casinos’ certainly enjoyed the traffic and revenue that faro brought in. However, they didn’t like how they were dealing with a really small edge with this game.

Therefore, gambling houses started rigging games to increase their advantage. They would cheat players through one or more of the following means:

  • Rigged dealing boxes – These boxes typically included a small mirror that dealers could use to see the next card to be dealt from the box. If a card favored players, the croupier could pull two cards simultaneously and conceal a card that would favor gamblers underneath.
  • Removing chips – In conjunction with a rigged dealing box, a dealer could figure out the next winning card and discreetly slide a player’s chips onto another card. This was a risky move, though, considering that gamblers could catch the croupier in the act.
  • Stacking the deck – A dealer could essentially keep the same card order between rounds while giving off the illusion that they properly shuffled the deck. This technique was common after a round where the house beat a large number of players.

These scams only lasted so long before many gamblers started catching on and complaining. Even equipment manufacturers were onto the scam and would develop rigged dealing boxes for casinos.

Card manufacturer Hoyle issued warnings to players regarding Faro. They noted how it was hard to find an honest game anywhere in the country.

Faro Dies a Slow Death

Many gamblers began to realize that the faro odds were stacked against them. Most stopped playing the game altogether upon revelations of how easy it was for the house to cheat.

The numerous faro tables throughout the US began thinning out in the second half of the 19th century. It was clearly no longer the game of choice among players. One lasting impact that faro had, though, was creating the impression that the house was always looking for ways to cheat. Gamblers passed these thoughts down through the generations.

Although faro is one of the less common gambling games nowadays, its cheating nature impacted gamblers’ mindsets for years to come. Thanks to this game, many players held onto the belief that the casino might be rigging more games.

Reasons Why Gamblers Should Let Go of Casino Cheating Conspiracies

Gamblers had every right to be suspicious of casinos after playing faro. After all, many gambling venues were cheating through this game in the mid-1800s.

However, times have changed greatly regarding casino cheating. The following three reasons explain why you rarely, if ever, need to worry about such scenarios today.

Casinos Are Heavily Regulated

State and national governments don’t approve casinos half-heartedly. Instead, lawmakers ensure that various regulations are set forth before legalizing gaming.

Part of these regulations includes a central governing body. For example, New Jersey features the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE).

A Faro Gambling Game Setup

The DGE heavily vets gaming applicants to ensure that they meet New Jersey standards. They also monitor casinos to ensure that they uphold their licensing requirements.

Casinos don’t just get to do whatever they want in gaming markets. Instead, they would have higher authorities to deal with if they ever tried cheating anybody.

The Cost of Getting Caught Is Too High

Gambling establishments already have an advantage over players in every game, so casinos don’t need to cheat. They can sit back and let the odds work in their favor.

Of course, if casinos were willing to cheat, much like gambling houses did with faro in the mid-nineteenth century, they could boost their profits. Assuming they cheated enough, they’d gain a massive edge.

The problem, though, is that the downsides far outweigh the benefits. If a casino gets caught rigging games today, they’ll lose their license and risk legal action.

News Travels Fast

Even if a casino somehow survives a cheating scandal financially, their reputation will be permanently ruined. In the age of social media and the internet, where news travels instantly, no gambling venue would recover from such a scandal.

The only option for success would involve the parent company selling the casino. With luck, new management might be able to turn around the brand’s reputation.

In short, though, the current owner would be ruined if their casino were caught cheating. They’d lose everything in terms of player trust just for a slightly larger advantage.

Conclusion

Faro isn’t the first game that the house has cheated players through. However, it’s arguably the most famous example of a rigged game.

Casinos used a few different means to increase their odds in faro. They felt justified in doing so when considering their small edge.

The players, meanwhile, didn’t agree. Gamblers quickly vacated faro tables for good after finding out just how badly they were being taken advantage of.

Even if modern-day players don’t realize it, faro is one of the biggest reasons why gamblers continue to mistrust the house. Luckily, though, far more regulations are in place regarding gaming nowadays.

The 3 Most Luxurious Resorts in Macau

Champagne Being Poured Into Glasses With a Macau

2020 has arrived, and as we progress through the new year, we can see the world around us changing at a rate that can be difficult to keep up with. Economies are collapsing, while others are reaching heights that are soaring high.

One of the economies that has reached extremely new heights is that of the famous gambling mecca, Macau, a place of opulence and luxury that takes customer service to heights most people have never even dreamed of.

On this page, we’ll be talking about Macau as a high-end gambling destination and recommending three of the most luxurious resorts in Macau.

Gambling at Macau’s Luxury Resorts

For a while, Las Vegas was the only real go-to for people that wanted to stay in a city that was almost entirely dedicated to the casino industry. In the United States, we also have Atlantic City. But it doesn’t have nearly the same level of popularity as Las Vegas has, not to mention the fact that Atlantic City just doesn’t have the luxury, glitz, or glam that you’ll find in Las Vegas.

10 years ago, Macau wasn’t a place that many people knew of, much less be something you would think of when you heard the phrase, “gambling meccas of the world.” Today, not only does Macau hold the rank as one of the world’s elite gambling meccas, it also holds the rank for one of the largest economies of any other place worldwide.

With a booming economy comes wealth and luxury. If you’ve visited Macau, then you know that it has a lot of both. If you’re planning a trip to Macau and are hoping to stay at one of their most luxurious resorts, then we hope this post shines some light on a few of the available options that are present in Macau in 2020.

Although just about every resort in Macau is opulent in the extreme and is going to blow most of the resorts around the world out of the water, there are three resorts that impress the residents of Macau. Despite the fact that their residents are used to seeing all kinds of hotels that scream money and luxury, our recommendations amaze every visitor.

If comfort and luxury is your thing on vacation (who doesn’t love being taken care of and feeling like royalty while on vacation?), then Macau is the place to go. Here are some of the most luxurious resorts in Macau in 2020.

1 – The Ritz-Carlton Macau

The first resort that holds the rank as one of the most luxurious resorts in Macau is The Ritz-Carlton Macau. Even the name alone, “Ritz-Carlton,” sounds luxurious. Anyone who knows anything about the Ritz-Carlton brand knows that they offer some of the most beautiful high-end resort options in the entire world.

The Ritz-Carlton in Macau is a suite-only resort that brings a high elevation of luxury to the lucky person that gets to stay there. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company is an American multinational company that operates luxury hotel chains across the globe, and they’re well-known for catering to the richest and most successful people in the world.

Main Entrance of The Ritz Carlton Macau

The company owns 101 luxury hotels and resorts in 30 countries and territories, featuring over 27,500 rooms. The company was founded in 1983 and is a subsidiary of Marriott International.

The Ritz-Carlton in Macau goes way beyond the offerings of your typical hotel. It goes way beyond the offerings of even most luxury hotels. And that’s before we even take into consideration that it sits in Macau, a city with golden skyscrapers and high rollers from all over the world.

On top of that, the Ritz-Carlton sits inside of the Galaxy Macau complex, a place that simply screams opulence. The hotel features all-suite accommodations with amazing city views and elegant decor.

The resort includes four dining venues, one of them being the famous Michelin-starred Lai Heen, an absolute must-visit if you’re in Macau for any length of time and want to experience some of the best dining in the world. The hotel has access to luxury shopping, a 10-screen movie theater, and family-friendly attractions such as a water park.

Sitting high above the Cotai Strip in China, the Ritz-Carlton offers an experience that’s perfect for a person wanting to experience a honeymoon that is truly unforgettable. Being a world away from your home while sitting in a five-star luxury resort makes for quite an unforgettable experience, especially when you factor in the incredible staff who are going to cater to your every need and make you feel like royalty.

There are plentiful amenities that will make you want to stay forever. Besides the fine dining options, there are several bars, a full-service spa, and easy access to the rest of the entertainment opportunities that can be found while in Macau. You can’t go wrong with the Ritz!

2 – Nuwa Macau

The next luxurious resort opportunity for your next visit to Macau is one that holds the winning seat for the Forbes Five Star award. Nuwa Macau is arguably the most luxurious and best option for you when trying to decide on the best resort to stay at while in Macau.

Nuwa sits inside what is called The City of Dreams and features 33 luxurious villas. Along with its 33 villas come 290 different guest rooms that all offer an exclusive experience for those that seek the most elite forms of luxury. The Cotai Strip features plentiful things to do in Macau while being the home for Macau’s City of Dreams. Nuwa provides accommodations that are stylish and is home to The Art of the City collection, highlighting Asia’s vibrant and contemporary art scene.

The Cotai Strip is a popular part of Macau and features a large holiday complex with a casino and shopping arcade. The strip features Nuwa Macau, which has an incredible spa, an outdoor pool, free Wi-Fi, and every other amenity that you could expect from a resort that is leading the world in luxury.

Exterior of Nuwa Hotel in City of Dreams Macau

For a resort that won the Forbes Five Star award, you can expect that it won’t fall short in the amenity arena. The warm colors inside of the resort provide an inviting feel for the guests in their rooms. Each room comes with a 42-inch TV. The windows in each room stretch from the floor all the way up to the ceiling, providing an amazing view of Cotai, Macau, and all of its wondrous beauty.

The bathrooms in the suites feature a spa-style bathtub for soaking that comfortably fits more than one person, which is definitely something to take into consideration for couples trying to find the perfect resort to stay at while in Macau.

Nuwa is within walking distance to attractions in Macau such as the Taipa Houses Museum and Cunha Street. It is a 10-minute drive from Macau International Airport and a 20-minute drive from Macau Maritime Ferry Terminal.

3 – Banyan Tree Macau

The last resort on my list is called Banyan Tree Macau. It is a true luxury hotel that is designed to tap into and pamper all of your senses. Banyan Tree is the very first high rise resort to be built in Macau.

Another resort that is a part of Galaxy Macau in Cotai City, Banyan Tree Macau features your very own private pool in whatever suite you choose to stay in. The resort has full-sized resort villas that all feature a unique style of Chinese architecture and design elements.

The interior of the resort, as well as its rooms, feature a warm red color and red accents. If you are looking for a resort that will heighten the potential for a romantic time in Macau, then look no further.

Pool Area of Banyan Tree Macau

Each room includes a flat-screen TV, a well-stocked mini bar, as well as free Wi-Fi throughout the entire resort. Banyan tree is also a convenient 10-minute drive to Macau International Airport as well as a 10-minute drive to Taipa Ferry Terminal. Free parking is available at the resort.

If you decide to make this luxurious and artistic resort your accommodation of choice during a vacation in Macau, then you can look forward to relaxing in private cabanas that surround the outdoor pool.

When you’re not relaxing at your private cabana, feel free to burn off the extra calories gained from all the amazing places to eat by way of the fitness center available for any guest at Banyan Tree Macau.

There are a couple of amazing food options for those staying at Banyan Tree. Saffron offers authentic Thai cuisine, while Belon specializes in seafood and grill options.

Conclusion

I hope that after reading that you will have some more confidence when trying to pick the most luxurious resort option for your visit to Macau.

Have you visited Macau and stayed at a luxurious resort that I left out? Let us know what resort you stayed at and leave me a brief review of it in the comments!

5 Fun Things to Do in Detroit

Detroit State Seal With a Detroit Attractions Background

While Chicago may get all the credit for being the largest metropolitan area in the Midwest, Detroit is right behind them in population. It has three fantastic casinos you can find while you’re on vacation, and its other destinations deserve just as much attention.

Metro Detroit is home to 4.3 million people and has many cultural, musical, and technological traditions. A 1996 ordinance specified that only three casinos could be built in the city and so businesses had a chance to send in casino plans to the mayor’s office for approval.

The three Detroit casinos—MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino Hotel, and Greektown Casino-Hotel—all offer tremendous experiences for gambling in Michigan.

MGM Grand Detroit is fully loaded and has all the gambling excitement you’ve come to expect, like slots, poker, and table games.

On this page, we’ll be telling you about five exhilarating things to do in Detroit

A Brief History on Detroit

Whether you’re planning to gamble for five days of a week-long trip, or you want to spend three days in Detroit and just spend half a day at a casino, the city has enough gambling and more than enough history to give you the experience of a lifetime.

Music is a huge part of Detroit’s history, and two major American musical traditions—Motown and techno—both hail from Detroit. In addition, the music styles of jazz, hip-hop, punk, and rock have all been shaped in some part by the iconic cultural influences of the Motor City.

The city is also chock-full of unique architectural monuments thanks to the rapid boom its economy experienced in the early part of the 20th century. The architectural movements in Detroit have lent the city one of the most recognizable skylines in the world.

Ford, one of the most influential industrial companies in American history, still has its headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The company, founded by Henry Ford in 1903, sells cars under the Ford and Lincoln brands and is not only a part of Detroit’s history but also a significant part of American history as well.

Ford helped pioneer the modernization of assembly lines. Their methods were so revolutionary that by 1914, their process was known as “Fordism.” Fordism is a manufacturing system that synergizes unskilled labor with advanced technology to allow the laborers to buy the very same products they create. An essential tenet of Fordism is that workers must be paid high enough wages to buy what they create, helping Detroit become what it is today.

However, music, innovative architecture, and revolutionary economic systems just scratch the surface of all Detroit has to offer. While the city has suffered economically in recent years as more manufacturing jobs move overseas, it’s still full of attractions that can supplement your gambling trip to Detroit.

1 – Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

If you drive a car for work, school, or if your whole trip was planned around driving the family on a long road trip, you owe it to yourself to check out the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation.

American cars wouldn’t be where they are today without the contributions from Henry Ford to both the design of vehicles and the manufacturing system required to make them.

The museum has a huge collection of artifacts that show off the American ingenuity that made Ford one of the most successful car companies ever. The McCoy Lubricator is on display and was invented to serve as an automatic lubricator for steam engines and ships.

Steam Locomotive in the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit

In fact, the phrase “The Real McCoy,” meaning “the real thing” has been incorrectly attributed to the lubricator’s inventor, Elijah McCoy.

The museum also has a presidential exhibit of former US president’s cars, featuring SS-100-X, the US Secret Service name for the presidential limousine originally used by John F. Kennedy, which he was in when tragically assassinated with his wife by his side as they were driven through Dallas, Texas.

The first vehicle ever developed by Henry Ford, the Ford Quadricycle, is also on display here. The vehicle was simple enough. It was pretty much just a frame with four bicycle wheels and a mounted gas engine, but it helped Ford get his start inventing vehicles and becoming one of the world’s richest men.

2 – Motown Museum (Home of Hitsville U.S.A.)

Two of Detroit’s most popular nicknames, “Motown” and “Motor City,” show the influence music has had on the great city. Motor City had long been the nickname of Detroit when Motown was coined as a portmanteau of “motor” and “town.”

In the same way that Motown was the result of two words being fused together, it was also the result of racial divides being crossed in America. Motown was a Black-owned record label that achieved crossover success when it was rare to do so.

Exterior of Motown Museum in Detroit

The Motown record label was so successful and unique that it led to its own sound, aptly named the Motown Sound. The Motown Sound was a successful combination of soul music with pop music that had mainstream appeal.

The success of the label, as well as its long and storied history, can all be seen at the Motown Museum. Motown Records’ first headquarters, also known as Hitsville U.S.A., is the birthplace of Motown sound and needs to be the #1 stop on your list if you’re planning a casino trip to Detroit.

3 – Detroit Institute of Arts

Featuring one of the largest and most significant art collections in the United States, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) should be a definite part of your Detroit trip.

The art collection here is valued at $8.1 billion. The collection is regarded as one of the top six of its kind in all of the United States and represents a sightseeing opportunity you will not want to miss.

Detroit Institute of Arts Entrance

If walking through one of the most important art collections isn’t enough for you, the Detroit Film Theater located inside the DIA shows some great historical pieces of cinema.

Rembrandt is currently on display as well. This featured exhibition contains 70 different pieces of his work on paper, as well as examples from various 16th century Flemish and Dutch artists.

4 – Detroit Historical Museum

Located in Detroit’s cultural center on Woodward Avenue, the Detroit Historical Museum is a great follow-up to the Detroit Institute of Arts visit. You can soak in all the culture you can take in one day by planning a trip to both in between your time gambling at the casinos.

Signature exhibitions draw from the rich history of Detroit itself. If you’re in Detroit, you’d do well to take in these unique exhibits that you won’t have access to anywhere else.

Interior of Detroit Historical Museum

Since it’s called Motor City, and one of its claims to fame is its impact on the automobile industry, Detroit is obviously chock-full of exhibits showing off antique cars.

Presented by Warner Norcross + Judd, the Automotive Showplace is essential if you’re a car collector or just interested in vintage cars.

5 – Belle Isle Park

If you’re feeling like you want to take a break from all the car and manufacturing-related exhibits, you can get some fresh air at Belle Isle Park.

Located at the Detroit River, the 1.5-square mile park has moved from city park status to state park and rests on the third largest island in the Detroit River. In addition to hiking, the park also features a greenhouse and botanical garden known as the Belle Isle Conservatory.

Aerial View of Belle Isle Park

The oldest conservatory in the United States was designed and built along with the rest of the park by the noted architectural firm of Mason and Kahn between 1902 and 1904. It’s modeled after the Crystal Palace, a building once located in Hyde Park, London, that tragically burned down in 1936.

In addition to the outdoor beauty you’ll be greeted with, you can also find some solace in the Belle Isle Aquarium, which combines aquatic life from all over the world with the renowned Albert Kahn architecture featured throughout Belle Isle Park.

The aquarium was the oldest operating aquarium in America when it closed in 2005, but luckily, the fish habitat has since reopened in 2012, so you can check out one of America’s best marine venues.

The 10,000-square-foot building features an arched ceiling covered with green glass to evoke the feeling of being in an aquarium. The aquarium is currently being run by volunteers and doesn’t have the splendor it once did. But the architecture alone makes it a worthwhile trip if you’re already visiting Belle Isle Park.

Conclusion

Are there other great things to see in Detroit? What’s your favorite activity in Detroit? Let us know in the comments.

Comp Hustling in Atlantic City

Atlantic City Casino Entrance With a Roulette Table Background

VIP rewards are a big part of the Atlantic City experience. You can accumulate loyalty rewards for every dollar you spend in this city.

But did you also know that you can earn theoretical profits by combining the best rewards with the highest-paying casino games?

“Comp hustling” gives you the opportunity to make serious money in Atlantic City. Here’s a guide on comp hustling in this famed East Coast gambling destination.

What Is Comp Hustling?

Most Atlantic City gamblers merely play casino games and let the rewards come to them naturally. Comp hustler, in contrast, maximize the value of their rewards and get as many freebies as possible.

They scour websites for coupons, sign up to AC casino newsletters, and even contact casinos themselves. No measure is too small for these people when it comes to earning loyalty benefits.

The “Queen of Comps” Jean Scott, who wrote The Frugal Gambler, discussed how she’s willing to dumpster dive for coupons. Although this particular advice is tacky, Scott shows the measures that comp hustler are willing to take.

This mindset goes even better when combined with casino games that offer the highest return to player (RTP). With enough work, you may earn theoretical profits through high RTP and the best rewards.

Comp Hustling Tips

Hustling for casino comps involves different components in order to get the most from your efforts. Here are some various ways to scoop lots of rewards and earn serious money.

Choose Your Favorite Spots

Atlantic City currently offers nine land-based casinos. Therefore, you have some options when it comes to VIP programs.

You should pick one or two casinos that’ll be your comp-hunting grounds. After all, you don’t want to run around Atlantic City without a plan.

Sky View of Atlantic City Casinos

A solid plan helps you maximize your time and rewards. You can spend your hours in a couple of casinos and get the finest that AC has to offer.

The “hustle” part goes out the window in this scenario. However, you can easily switch to another gambling establishment when the rewards go downhill at your primary sport.

Play Games With the Highest RTP

You receive the most comps on slot machines and other low RTP wagers (e.g. craps prop bets). Casinos reward you more for playing such games/bets, because they stand to earn more money off you.

The problem, though, is that you’ll lose far more playing a slot machine with a 10% house edge (90% RTP) than you’ll ever get back in comps.

You’re much better off getting solid rewards and playing games with the best RTP. Video poker generally offers you the best deal.

Some Atlantic City casinos offer video poker machines boasting 99.91% RTP with perfect strategy. Assuming you find a program with a comp rate at 0.1% (on total bets) or higher, then you can make theoretical profits.

Here are the highest-paying video poker machines in Atlantic City:

  • Two Pair Joker Wild (99.92% RTP) at Ocean Casino Resort
  • Double Joker Wild (99.91%) at Caesars and Hard Rock
  • Super Double Bonus (99.69%) at the Borgata

Play on Double and Triple Point Days

AC casinos commonly offer promotions where they offer you double or triple comp points. You can exchange the latter for cashback and/or other rewards in a casino’s VIP program.

Double and triple points effectively raise the comp rate that you’re getting. If a casino normally features a 0.1% rate, then you’ll be privy to a 0.2% (double points) or 0.3% rate.

This increase may now sound like much. However, it can definitely make a difference in your earnings when everything is added up.

Here’s an example:

  • You play Two Pair Joker Wild (99.92% RTP)
  • The normal comp rate is 0.1%
  • Ocean Casino is offering double points (0.2% rate)
  • 92 + 0.2 = 100.12% RTP
  • You bet $10,000 over the course of a stay
  • 0012 (edge) x 10,000 = 12
  • You’ll theoretically earn a $12 profit

Fool the Pit Boss

You don’t necessarily have to be confined to video poker when comp hustling. Instead, you can use certain measures in table games to get comped more.

These techniques revolve around fooling the pit boss into rating you as a bigger player. After all, the pit boss is the one that rates your play after you hand your player’s club card over to the dealer.

Of course, the pit boss doesn’t have all day to monitor your play. They simply watch you go through a couple of hands and get an idea on how much you’re betting per round.

Here’s an example:

  • You’re playing blackjack.
  • The pit boss sees you placing $10 bets.
  • The table sees around 70 hands per hour.
  • 70 x 10 = $700 in hourly wagers
  • House edge is 1%.
  • 700 x 0.01 = $7 in hourly losses

You’re not going to receive many comps on $7 in theoretical losses each hour. But what if you could fool the casino into believing that you’re wagering much more?

This strategy revolves around making the pit boss believe that you’re betting far more each hour than you really are.

If you place $100 bets when they’re watching, for example, then they might use $100 wagers as the measuring stick. You can then drop your bets lower once they leave.

Palm Chips

Casinos generally offer more comps after you’ve had a really rough night at the table games. They don’t want you leaving angry and vowing never to come back.

However, you don’t necessarily need to lose big just to trick them. You can instead “palm chips” and make it appear as if you’re losing a lot.

Atlantic City Empty Casino Table Games

Palming refers to the art of slipping chips into your pocket without the dealer or pit boss seeing. When done right, they’ll merely think that you lost the money.

If the pit boss comes back around and sees you with barely any chips left, they might take pity and offer more rewards. You can act angry to further sell your perceived losses.

Know What to Spend Rewards On

Most casinos provide you with plenty of options for how to spend your comps. If you want the most value, then you might want to forgo limousine transportation and think about what you really want.

Meals are never a bad choice, especially in a reasonably priced casino restaurant. You’ll likely have rewards points left over too.

You can spend these points on items in the casino store, ranging from bottled water to hygiene products. These are the same type of items that you might spend money on anyways, so they’re giving you true value.

What Comps Will You Get?

Each Atlantic City casino differs on the exact rewards they offer. Generally speaking, though, you can look forward to the following:

  • Better rules in VIP games (e.g. highstakes blackjack)
  • Cashback
  • Free drinks
  • Free play
  • Free Uber transportation
  • Hotel stay
  • Items in the casino store
  • Limousine transportation
  • Meals
  • Nightclub bottle service
  • Shopping credit
  • Spa treatment

Best Atlantic City Casinos for Comp Hustling

Ocean Casino Resort

Ocean Casino holds the crown for best VIP benefits in Atlantic City. Its Ocean Wow Rewards Club provides more value than anything seen in the city’s other eight establishments.

The Rewards Club offers five tiers. You move up the ladder and on to better rewards by gambling or spending more at Ocean.

Examples of rewards here include free play, negotiable comps, free parking, VIP lounge access, and even a free lease on a Mercedes-Benz.

You also receive comp dollars that can be used on slot machines, dining, shopping, hotel stays, and dining.

Tropicana Atlantic City

Tropicana offers another top-tier VIP program called the Trop Advantage Players Club. This program has remained one of the best in Atlantic City for years.

Tropicana Atlantic City Pool Area

Trop Advantage is notable for offering one of the highest comp rates on casino play. It also provides plenty of options for how to use comp points.

This program features five tiers just like the one at Ocean Casino. It gives you an opportunity to earn free play, fine dining, shopping credits, and more.

Resorts Casino Hotel

The Rewards Casino offers a Star Card that lets you accumulate VIP benefits throughout the casino. You earn comp dollars for your play/spending that can be spent at any Resorts property, including Mohegan Sun Pocono (Pennsylvania), and Mohegan Sun (Connecticut).

Some of the available rewards in this program include cashback, comp dollars, hotel stay discounts, meals, and show tickets.

The comp dollars are especially useful as a gambler. You can use these funds to play real money slots and video poker machines.

Conclusion

You aren’t going to get rich through comp hustling. Assuming your goal is to win big, then you’re better offer mastering an advantage play method like card counting, hole carding, or shuffle tracking.

However, you can at least earn small theoretical profits under perfect circumstances. These circumstances include finding games with high payback and great rewards.

Many gamblers overlook the RTP of the games they’re playing. As a result, they miss out on potential benefits.

Chances are, you’ll only come close to earning theoretical profits through comp hustling. For example, you might earn 99.7% RTP with rewards included. But you’ll still have fun trying to maximize your comps and winnings.

The 3 Best Kid-Friendly Resorts in Macau

Silhouette of a Man, Woman, and Two Children With a Macau Fireworks Background

When most Americans hear the phrase “gambling mecca,” they typically default to thinking about Las Vegas. In fact, we don’t usually think about other gambling meccas outside of the US. But with how popular gambling is worldwide, it shouldn’t be a surprise to know that Las Vegas isn’t the only mecca for gambling.

There are many places that have legalized gambling, and with the legalization of gambling comes casinos, and with casinos, come gambling meccas.

Macau is one of the largest gambling capitals in the world next to Las Vegas, Nevada. And in many respects, Macau blows Las Vegas right out of the water. Macau is actually especially kid-friendly, and the city has spent a lot of time and money trying to become more kid-friendly over the years to attract families and adults who wouldn’t go otherwise.

On this page, we will share the best kid-friendly resorts in Macau. And we guarantee that these are great accommodations for the whole family. Continue reading below to learn more.

Macau Tourism

Macau has one of the largest economies in the world, and their booming economy is mostly pushed by their entertainment industry alone. If you are someone who is an avid poker player or loves to spend nights on end playing slots, then you probably take interest in Macau, which is far and away one of the gambling wonders of the world.

If you don’t have any kids, planning a trip to a gambling destination really isn’t very difficult when you can afford it. You buy your ticket, book your hotel, and the rest takes care of itself. But for the casino lovers and gambling enthusiasts that do have kids, the planning process for going on vacation is not as easy for a variety of reasons.

A huge concern for parents that plan any vacation with kids is making sure that while they are on vacation, the kids are entertained and having as good of a time—if not better—than the parents are having. Otherwise, as every parent knows, most of your time will be spent trying to keep your children busy and making sure they aren’t bored.

Thankfully, Macau is filled to the brim with opportunities for children to have fun and be entertained long enough for the adults in the family to make their way to the tables and the slot machines.

Better yet, you can stay there long enough to get a good break from your crazy kids!

Planning any vacation with an entire family to keep in mind is challenging, but planning a vacation with kids to what’s known as a gambling hotspot can bring its own unique set of challenges.

With how popular Macau has become, there are plenty of events and entertainment venues available there for adults and children alike. If you are planning a trip to Macau for its gambling scene and have kids that are coming along for the journey, then I hope that this post brings to light some options that will make your kids’ stay (and your stay!) in Macau one for the record books.

Here are some of the best kid-friendly hotels in Macau.

1 – Four Seasons Hotel Macau

With the growing popularity of non-gambing hotels, it makes sense that many of them are popping up throughout Macau. There are plenty of reasons why staying at a hotel that is separate from a casino is a great choice for families.

Hotels with casinos are typically very loud, reek of cigarette smoke, and just radiate an energy that might not be the best for your children. This is especially true if your children appreciate getting to sleep before a certain time. Of all of the places that you could stay in Macau, Four Seasons in Macau is not only a non-gaming hotel, but it’s also one of the higher end options compared to other hotels in Macau.

When visiting Las Vegas, if you have your kids, it is typically okay to walk through a casino and have them at your side. In Macau, kids are not allowed to walk through a casino, much less step inside of one. So, if you are planning a trip to Macau with your kids, staying at a non-gaming hotel is going to be a must.

Four Seasons Macau Pool Area

The Four Seasons is going to be a much more relaxed, down to earth, family-friendly option for you while staying in Macau. One family recently stayed at The Four Seasons, and the hotel staff put a pink tent with a number of amazing amenities inside of their room just for the six-year-old that was along for the trip.

You read about a lot of things like that happening for the kids of adults that have chosen The Four Seasons for their place to sleep while in Macau. The staff is amazing and will go out of their way to make sure that your kids are happy!

Not only is the staff always being creative in helping make sure your kids have a special time, there are also five different swimming pools for family members of all ages to choose from.

One of the pools has a huge waterfall that will make any kid happy and that’s something most adults will enjoy, too.

2 – The Gondolas at The Venetian Macau

There are plenty of casinos across the globe that are on the larger end of the spectrum when it comes to just how many people can be crammed into one giant gaming space. Of all of the large resort casinos out there, you’d be surprised to hear that the largest of them all isn’t actually in Las Vegas. I know that is probably what you’d assume.

Gondola Canals at The Venetian Macau

Meet The Venetian Macau, one of the largest casinos on the planet! It absolutely massive, to say the least. As far as overall floor space, The Venetian Macau is also the largest building in the world. If this is where you choose to do your gambling during your stay in Macau, then please make sure you have a map. Otherwise you’re going to be lost in no time. Compared to the one canal at the location in Las Vegas, The Venetian Macau has three canals.

One of the most fun things to do in Macau is taking your kids to The Venetian for them to ride on the gondola.

3 – The House of Dancing Water at City of Dreams Macau

Here is one of the unique and incredible attractions in Macau that I know your kids will thoroughly enjoy.

In many reviews about people’s experience while vacationing in Macau, even comparing their experience to Broadway, many people will say The House of Dancing Water at the City of Dreams is the single most amazing show that they have ever seen.

And that’s coming from adult audiences. If adults love it, and it’s catered to a younger audience, then it’s a guarantee that children are going to be completely mesmerized.

This particular show is unique to Macau, and $250 million went into making this experience one that is truly unforgettable. The stage holds 3.7 million gallons of water and can transform from a pool deep enough to land in off a high diving board to a completely dry floor in seconds.

House of Dancing Water Show in Macau

The show includes acrobatics, motorcycle stunts, water jet displays, and so much more. If you and your kids are staying at The Four Seasons Macau, then you will be able to look forward to The House of Dancing Water conveniently right across the street.

It is so important to be able to maximize our experiences. I remember all of the fun places my parents took us to when we were young kids, and I cherish those experiences very close to my heart.

I can assure you that taking your kids to Macau, and giving them the experience that The House of Dancing Water will provide, is one that they will hold dear to their hearts for the rest of their lives.

They will probably pass the torch down to their kids when it comes time to planning their family vacation.

Conclusion

Do you have more places for kids in Macau that we might have forgotten? We are sure that there are plenty of other recommendations that kids will love while staying in Macau.

I would love to hear about your kids’ personal favorites. Please leave me a comment in the section below.

5 Ways Blackjack Is Played Differently in Atlantic City vs. Las Vegas

Las Vegas and Atlantic City Seals With a Casino Background

For casual blackjack enthusiasts and bona fide experts alike, making the transition from Las Vegas to Atlantic City can be jarring to say the least. While the classic casino card game’s fundamental rules and structure remain the same in both regions, Atlantic City’s blackjack scene has evolved differently over the last four decades.

From the payouts awarded to players who land a natural blackjack, to the number of decks in the shoe, and even the various “21” themed variants to emerge in the modern era, Garden State gamblers play the game a little differently than their brethren in Sin City.

1 – The Optimal 3:2 Payout for Making Blackjack Is the Norm in Atlantic City

Ask any real money blackjack grinder based in Las Vegas about their biggest lament, and you’ll undoubtedly hear horror stories about the shift from 3:2 to 6:5 payouts.

Those numbers refer to the payout ratio used when you land a natural blackjack or any 21 total on the deal using an ace and a 10-value card. Back in Las Vegas’ glory days, the standard 3:2 payout was in place to reward blackjack fans for their patience.

But since the turn of the 21st century, casino industry consolidation has led to corporate owners prioritizing profits over players by shifting to an inferior 6:5 payout.

Closeup of Multiple Hands on a Blackjack Table

Knowing most tourists and recreational players will never notice, the biggest Las Vegas casinos rolled out new betting rules as a way of padding their own bottom line.

As a result, that $20 bet you placed in Sin City before spiking blackjack won’t pay back $30 like it did in the good old days. Instead, the 6 to 5 ratio brings your haul down to $24, all while sending $6 straight into the casino’s coffers for no good reason. These days, the majority of 3:2 blackjack tables in Vegas require players to put up a hefty minimum bet of $25 or more.

Fortunately for folks who remember the golden era of blackjack, Atlantic City’s casinos have the common sense to stick with tradition. Around the Boardwalk district and beyond, blackjack games here opt for the 3:2 payout rate by default.

That’s a great thing for local players too, because that seemingly minor downgrade in the payout can wreak havoc on a blackjack player’s bankroll. While the application of a sound basic strategy at the 3:2 tables can shave your house edge down to 0.50%, playing the exact same way in a 6:5 game boosts the house’s advantage to over 2%.

2 – You Won’t Find a Double-Deck Table Running Anywhere in AC

On the flip side of that coin, blackjack players accustomed to the limited deck shoes found in Las Vegas are largely out of luck when visiting Atlantic City.

Thanks to Uston vs. Resorts International Hotel, a landmark decision rendered by the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1982 which held that casinos cannot ban card counters, local card rooms decided to fight back. Stripped of the ability to give suspected card counters the boot, Atlantic City casinos simply stacked the proverbial deck to ensure “advantage play” techniques became all but obsolete.

The easiest way to deter card counting involves adding more and more decks to the equation.

With a single standard 52-card deck in play, a card counter only needs to track the 20 high-value cards—10s, jacks, queens, kings, and aces—in order to gauge their betting strategy going forward. Make it two decks in the shoe, as was the custom in Las Vegas for many years, and counters suddenly have 40 high cards to sort through on the fly.

Atlantic City casinos took this to the next level by unveiling the eight-deck blackjack shoe, thereby challenging counters to track 160 high cards. Because of this sea of change in the world of blackjack, the classic double-deck games of old are nowhere to be found from the Boardwalk to the Borgata.

3 – AC Casinos Don’t Allow Players to Use “Early Surrender” in Bad Spots

Another way blackjack tables in Atlantic City tilt the odds in favor of the house is by removing the player’s “early surrender” option.

When the dealer’s up card shows an ace or 10-value, the early surrender rule allows the player to forfeit half of their bet straightaway in exchange for keeping the other half.

In other words, if you wager $10 and see the dealer brandishing an ace or 10-value, making a dealer blackjack eminently possible, you can simply surrender now and keep $5 while the casino claims the other $5. From there, the dealer will scan their down card to check for blackjack. But when they have it, you’ll only lose one-half of your original bet.

Blackjack Dealer Fanning Out Cards on the Table

Unfortunately for Atlantic City blackjack grinders, the early surrender rule has been scrapped altogether. Instead, players up against a dangerous dealer card like ace or 10-value can only surrender after the dealer has scanned for blackjack. This alternative is aptly referred to as “late surrender,” and as you might imagine, it significantly devalues the surrender option offered to players.

To wit, the early surrender rule reduces the house edge by 0.63%, offering tremendous value to players over the long run. Conversely, the inferior late surrender option only carves that house edge down by 0.10%.

4 – They Don’t Let You “Re-Split” a Pair of Aces Either

Let’s say you look down to find a pair of aces in the hole to start the hand. At the Texas Hold’em poker tables, these “pocket aces” would be a monster holding, but in blackjack, all you have at the moment is a lowly 2 or 12 total.

Fortunately, blackjack rules allow you to split up a paired starting hand by placing a second bet equal to your first. At this point, you’d essentially be playing two hands at once, both of which have an ace to begin with. The dealer then delivers a second card to each ace, giving you a pair of two-card starting hands to work with against the dealer. But what happens when you land another A-A combo on the second deal?

Well, in Las Vegas, most casinos allow players to exercise the “re-split” option, placing a third bet to break up those pesky aces for a second time. Doing so lends a great advantage to the player, as they now have three different opportunities to land a blackjack by catching any 10-value card.

In Atlantic City blackjack games, re-splitting aces is a privilege that players don’t get to enjoy.

Once again, in the wake of card counters winning that landmark court case, the casinos are looking to protect their own edge at every turn. That means stripping players of the right to re-split aces and forcing them to do battle with the dealer holding a weak 2 or 12.

5 – The Borgata Is Home to a 24/7 Table Offering 3:2 Payouts With Only a $5 Minimum

Located in the Marina district a short drive from the Boardwalk, the Borgata Hotel, Casino, and Spa has become the crown jewel of Atlantic City’s gambling scene since opening in 2003.

The place is widely known as an East Coast poker hotspot, attracting annual World Poker Tour (WPT) tournaments and paying out seven-figure prizes. But blackjack at the Borgata is nothing to sneeze at either. Here, you’ll find the “Holy Grail” of blackjack for budget-minded players, a continually running table offering 3:2 payouts at the $5 minimum betting level.

These days, finding a blackjack game with 3:2 payouts for just a $5 bet is practically unheard of, either here or in Las Vegas. You’ll either find 3:2 games with a higher limit or $5 games that pay out 6:5 on blackjack. But you’ll never find both at the same time.

The Borgata’s blackjack pit is the exception to that rule, with a prime 3:2/$5 game running around the clock and drawing rave reviews. As you might expect, this table is typically jam-packed with happy players enjoying one of the best blackjack spreads anywhere in America, so you’ll want to arrive early to get your seat.

Conclusion

Blackjack has held its status as casino gambling’s iconic card game for decades running, and for good reason. The perfect blend of skill-based strategy and random chance appeals to both recreational players and advantage play specialists alike.

But like every casino game ever devised, blackjack has evolved differently across the various regions and cultures over the years, a process laid bare when you examine the differences between Las Vegas and Atlantic City rules. For players making the leap from Nevada to New Jersey, understanding how this evolution can affect basic rules and gameplay is crucial to enjoying a successful transition.

17 Things to Take on Your Next Las Vegas Gambling Trip

Over Packed Luggage Bag With a Las Vegas Strip Background

A trip to Las Vegas is fun and exciting. The city offers gambling, fine dining, great buffets, fun activities, and mega-resorts. But if you forget to take some of these important essentials with you, it can ruin the trip or cost you quite a bit of money to replace what you forgot.

Use this checklist to help you remember to pack these 17 things that are essential for your trip to Las Vegas.

1 – Cash

Almost everywhere you go, you can use a credit card or debit card, and many people have quit carrying cash. But Las Vegas is one of the places where you still need some cash.

While you can wire money to the cage in the casino where you plan to play, most gamblers still exchange cash for chips. You also need cash for tips in some places, and it’s safer to pay for taxi trips with cash so you don’t have to use your credit card number multiple times.

In some places in Las Vegas, you can get upgrades and better seats to shows if you slip the host a few bucks, and cash is the only way to do this. My wife and I saw a show a few years back with a friend and his wife, and my friend slipped the host $20 and we got a great table close to the stage.

2 – Sun Protection

The Las Vegas sun can be vicious during the day. Even if you just spend a few minutes walking down the Strip, you can get sunburn. Many tourists enjoy the attractions on the Strip and walk on foot for most of it while taking in the sights.

I’ve walked the Strip a few times and after the first time, I make sure to never forget the sunscreen. You should also make sure you have a bottle or two of water with you any time you walk anywhere outside in Las Vegas. You can buy water in many places, but the cheapest way is to buy a case of water when you get to town and keep it in your hotel room.

3 – Chargers

One of the most costly things you can do is forget to bring chargers for your phone and other electronic devices. You can buy chargers in Las Vegas for most phones, but you’re going to pay a premium. I’ve seen chargers for sale at $25 and higher that you can buy for $10 in other parts of the country.

People are depending on their phones for just about everything now, and if you forget your charger, it can put a damper on your trip. I usually pack an extra charger for my phone, with one in my checked bag and one in my carry on. So, if one gets lost or stops working, I can still keep my phone charged.

4 – Comfortable Shoes

You’re going to be doing a lot of walking. Even if you don’t plan to go hiking or walking on the Las Vegas Strip, you’re still going to walk more than most people usually do. Many of the casinos are huge and just walking around to find a place to eat or shop can take a long time.

View of Paris Las Vegas From a Strip Sidewalk

I always take an extra pair of shoes when I go to Las Vegas as well. On one trip, my shoes got soaked and I spent a few hours walking around in soggy shoes and socks. This wasn’t a pleasant experience and could have been avoided if I had packed an extra pair of running shoes.

5 – Strategy Cards

I’m big on planning my trips ahead of time, so I usually know exactly what I’m planning to play when I arrive. I always brush up on my strategy for the games I plan to play, but every once in a while, I enjoy a short break and try something new.

Many games have strategy cards and they don’t take up much room. Strategy cards are usually the size of a credit card, and if you have them with you, it makes it easy to use the best strategy. I know the best strategies for casino games like craps and baccarat, but I carry a strategy card for blackjack, Jacks or Better video poker, and Deuces Wild video poker.

6 – Written Contact List

How many phone numbers do you know without looking them up on the contact list on your phone? If you’re like most of us, the answer is not many. If you lose your phone or it dies on your trip, you need to have a way to find important contact numbers.

You should write down any number and address that you might need on your trip to Las Vegas and keep it in your pocket.

It’s an even better idea to keep a copy in your pocket and an extra copy somewhere else, like in your luggage.

7 – Tickets

If you’re planning to see any of the popular shows on your visit to Las Vegas you need tickets. Many shows sell out weeks or months before the show, so you need to plan ahead and get your tickets early.

Make sure you have your tickets when you pack, because it can be a big hassle to get lost tickets replaced. I always take a picture of my tickets with my phone to have a record if I do lose or forget them.

8 – Sleep Aids

It can be hard to get enough sleep when you’re traveling, and this is especially true in Las Vegas. If you use a CPAP machine, make sure you have everything you need packed, including distilled water.

Some people use a white noise machine to help them sleep, and others use pills to help them sleep. I take Nyquil with me when I travel because it can help with colds and it helps me sleep. Just make sure that any liquid you take is small enough to pass through TSA security if you aren’t checking it in.

9 – Credit Cards

It’s almost impossible to travel without a credit card today. You can’t buy a plane ticket or rent a car without one, and most hotels require one when you get a room. But even if you can get to Las Vegas without using a credit card, it’s a good idea to have one because you might find something you want to do that only takes cards.

Las Vegas Hotel Room With a Strip View

Las Vegas is as cash-friendly as anywhere else in the US, and in some cases, it’s more cash friendly than other places. But there’s no reason to take the chance of missing something you want to do because you don’t have a credit card handy.

10 – Passport and/or License

When you fly to Las Vegas you have to have a passport or other form of identification to get on the plane. But if you arrive a different way, you need to make sure you have proper government-issued identification.

Almost everything in Las Vegas has an age restriction, even if most places don’t card people often. But there’s no reason to take the chance of being turned away from something you want to do because you forgot your identification.

You also need identification if you get lucky and hit a big jackpot. You should also make sure you have your insurance card in case you have to go to the emergency room on your trip.

11 – Coat or Jacket

Most people think of Las Vegas as being extremely hot and sunny. This is true most of the time during the day, but it can get extremely cold at night because the city is in the desert. If you go anywhere outside a casino after the sun sets in Las Vegas, you should take a coat or jacket.

12 – Swimwear

Las Vegas has some of the best pools in the world. The warm weather and sun make it a great place to enjoy the pool. And even if you don’t plan to go swimming, you might want to spend some time in the hot tub at night, so it’s best to be prepared.

13 – Map

My dad is well-known in the family for having maps for everything. He has a smart phone, but when he plans a trip, he drags out the paper maps and makes sure he knows where he’s going. Some of the younger people in the family make fun of this because they always use the map on their phone, but what are they going to do if they lose their phone? Or what if it runs out of battery?

Las Vegas is filled with things to do, but if you’re not careful, you can get lost. While the main tourist areas are fairly safe, if you wander off the main path, you can find yourself in a rough neighborhood.

Take a map with you so you have a backup plan in case you lose your phone or it stops working.

14 – A Plan

Because Las Vegas has so many attractions and things to do, it’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to do everything. You don’t have to plan every minute of your trip before you go, but you should make a plan for everything that’s important.

When I travel to Las Vegas with my wife, we always plan out where we’re going to eat dinner each day together as well as the shows she wants to see. This way, we make sure we hit all of the important things on our list, then we fill up the free time with whatever else we find that we may want to do once we get there. During most of our free time, I’m at the tables and she’s either at the spa or shopping.

15 – Hat and Sunglasses

Everything in Las Vegas outside of the casinos is bright. The sun reflects off of everything and can be rather harsh. Most of us aren’t used to as much intense sunlight as you’ll find in Las Vegas, so a hat and sunglasses can help you a great deal.

Early Morning View of the Las Vegas Strip

One of the best things about Las Vegas is that no one cares what you look like. If you don’t usually wear a hat and don’t like the way it looks, you don’t have to worry about it in Las Vegas. No one is paying attention, and even if they are, the odds are good that you’re not the weirdest looking person on the street.

16 – Phone

I’ve mentioned a few things you need to take on your trip to Las Vegas in case you lose your phone or it stops working. But if you want to have a good trip, the first thing you need to do is take your phone. Most phones today have a map function and a way to search for local businesses.

You should also keep your phone in a safe place when you’re traveling. If you have a pocket that buttons or zips closed, you can keep it there in case of people who might try to scam you or pickpocket. Or you can keep it in your purse; just make sure you keep your purse closed and within reach.

17 – Vitamin C

I’m not a doctor, but the common belief is that Vitamin C helps your immune system and helps you avoid getting a cold. When you travel to Las Vegas, you spend a great deal of time close to other people, and you need to do everything you can to avoid getting sick.

I start ramping up my Vitamin C intake before any trip and continue taking it throughout the trip and after I get home for a week.

Conclusion

Don’t take any chances of ruining your trip to Las Vegas by forgetting to pack something important. Use this handy checklist of the 17 most important things you shouldn’t forget to pack before your next trip. This checklist will help you have a good time and save you money.

How to Make Smarter Sports Bet

Student Giving an Okay Hand Gesture With a Sportsbook Background

Whether you’re gambling on football, baseball, UFC, or any other sport, every sports bettor should follow a set of basic rules to bet smart and win money. Even if you are new to sports betting, establishing a consistent system early could lead to success in the outset of your gambling career.

Gambling can be a rewarding and profitable challenge if you know how to approach the industry. But, If you find yourself losing more than you’re winning, consider following the tips below.

For those new to gambling, or even veterans who are reevaluating your approach to betting, here are seven tips to help you make smarter sports bets.

1 – Stick to One Sport

If you find yourself on a losing streak or feel exhausted while scouting and placing bets, you might be overextending yourself. High volume betting is an excellent method for experienced gamblers who have an established system that works for them. If you’re somewhat new to betting or consistently lose, I recommend finding one sport to bet on and stick to it.

The only way to win consistently is to find a system that works. By sticking to one sport for a stretch, not only will you begin to understand the subtle peculiarities of the sport, but you’ll also develop a more disciplined approach to betting.

Whichever sport you pick is up to you; it truly makes no difference as long as you devote the time and energy to understand better how to win money on the sport. In the sports gambling world, being a jack of all trades and master of none might sound more enjoyable in theory, but stretching your sports acumen too thin can lead to consistent losses and a depleted bankroll.

2 ‒ Use Flat Betting

When I first started gambling on sports years ago, I made every textbook mistake out there. My biggest mistake was habitually developing tunnel vision on one particular bet and unloading several units, convincing myself it was a winner. Rarely do those large bets go my way.

Gamblers are prone to find a line that is too tantalizing to pass on and delude themselves into thinking they can outsmart the book. When this happens, you can sustain significant losses and take yourself out of action more often than not. Instead of making a few large bets, you should be mindful of your bankroll and make several bets of equal value with a smaller amount on the line.

This practice, known as flat betting, is a practice that eliminates the potential of suffering significant losses and forces you to maintain a consistent approach to gambling. Even if some of these smaller bets don’t win, you can bounce back and turn to some of the other bets you place to recoup losses.

3 ‒ Make Small Bets to Start

On the same line of thinking, placing smaller wagers is a great way to familiarize yourself with a particular sport. The only way to learn how to beat the book and win money is to find a successful strategy. This strategy can only be developed if you are consistently betting.

NCAAF WMU Player Running the Ball

Smaller bets aren’t as appealing as one big bet that could potentially double your bankroll. But if a large bet loses and you blow past your bankroll, you take yourself out of the game and stunt any progress until you can reload your roll.

The amount you decide on depends on personal preference, but in my experience, betting 1% to 2% of your bankroll per bet works for me. So, if your bankroll is $750, each bet should be somewhere between $7.50 to $15. Once again, the amount is up to you, but never bet an amount you’re not comfortable losing.

4 ‒ Take It Seriously

At the beginning of any sports gambler’s career, the question of purpose needs to be asked. You need to figure out whether this is a side hobby to blow off steam, or if you’re sports betting to make money. If you fall into the latter category, you need to think of yourself as a small business.

Profitable gambling results from discipline, money management, and the development of a useful strategy. This strategy isn’t something you will happen upon by chance. Instead, it will come after hours of research and analysis about the ins and outs of whichever sport you decide to gamble on.

The most important factor of a small business is profit, and you won’t achieve profits if your books aren’t consistent. Make sure to utilize a bankroll: a daily, weekly, or monthly budget, so you don’t jeopardize your financial security. This point cannot be overvalued. Virtually every successful gambler sets a limit and doesn’t exceed that amount.

5 ‒ Don’t Bet Like a Sports Fan

When you’re deciding which sport or which team to bet on, remind yourself why you’re gambling in the first place. If you engage in sports betting to add some excitement and entertainment value to the games you watch, that’s perfectly fine. But if you’re betting to win money, you need to approach lines like a sports gambler, not a sports fan.

This concept manifests itself in many forms, most prevalently in the form of the hometown bias bettor. Betting on your favorite teams and favorite players might make sense to you. I mean, who knows your team better than you, right? When you bet like a sports fan, you open yourself up to potentially making emotionally charged decisions, rather than adequately vetted.

I rarely, if ever, bet for or against my favorite team. Not only do I recognize that I’m incapable of removing bias from the situation, betting on my team can ruin the experience of watching games. Don’t let yourself believe that your diehard fanhood will translate to gambling wins.

6 ‒ Shop for the Best Line

Unless you have the luxury of knowing a bookie, most sites and sportsbooks have built-in “vigs” or advantages in the lines they set. The house always wins, even if they lose, they’re taking a small percentage of your winnings as a standard fee. Because of this, sports gamblers are still at a disadvantage.

To try to lessen this advantage, you should make sure you’re getting the best value on your bets. Lines can vary between sportsbooks and websites, so you have the opportunity to find the best line and maximize profitability. Shopping for lines can be tedious, and you might think a small difference between lines makes no difference.

NCAAB Aggies Player Driving the Ball

However, if a book is giving you an extra point on a particular bet, that could be the difference between a win and a loss. Several well-reviewed sports websites all around the internet offer the potential of added value. Before you place a wager, make sure you’re finding the best line and best odds.

7 ‒ Research and Bet Sober

There are few things better than taking in a football game on Sunday with a cold drink in your hand: sports and drinking are a classic combination. Once again, gambling on sports and watching sports are two separate activities, and they should be approached as such. The best sports handicappers will tell you that a bet made under the influence can be a dangerous thing.

All the research and analysis you engage in should be conducted with a clear mind to make sure your decisions aren’t impaired. Sports gambling, like any other form of gambling, is challenging enough as it is. There’s no need to make it more complicated.

If you’ve placed your final bets for the day and want to reward yourself with a drink, make sure you don’t go down the rabbit hole of drunkenly chasing potential losses. This is where inexperienced gamblers routinely find trouble. To win serious money, you need to think of gambling as a second job. You don’t drink at your day job, so consider setting that standard for your sports gambling career.

Conclusion

Sports gambling is a serious business, and as a part of the betting world, you should take yourself seriously. Even if you consider gambling a hobby, it’s always more fun to win than it is to lose. New gamblers need to make sure to start on the right foot and themselves to a high standard.

Profit may be hard to come by in the early stages, but if you follow these tips, you will put yourself in a position to succeed. Make sure to start with smaller wagers on one sport, remove emotional attachments to particular teams and players, manage your money, and treat gambling like a small business. Following these tips will give you a strong base to learn about the industry and figure out the best strategy for you.

How Do You Know When to Quit Gambling?

Man Holding Hand Palm Out and a Casino Background

I was asked to write a post answering the following question:

How do you know when to quit gambling?

This could mean one of two things, really.

It could mean how do you know when to end a specific gambling session.

Or, it could mean that you think you might have a gambling problem and need to quit for good.

I’ll try to answer both questions in this post.

Money Management Techniques

One of the most popular ways to try to beat the house edge in casino games is by setting win goals and stop-loss limits. These kinds of strategies are called “money management techniques.”

John Patrick is a gambling writer who’s a big proponent of money management techniques. Frank Scoblete mentions them repeatedly, too.

Here’s how these money management techniques work:

First, you need to establish “bankrolls.” The simplest definition of a casino bankroll is the amount of money you’ve set aside to gamble with.

Some money management gamblers like to divide their bankrolls into smaller bankrolls, but doing so has no effect on the math behind winning.

Here’s an example of how that might work:

You’re planning a trip to the casino that’s going to last for five days, and you’ve saved $1000 to take with you to gamble with.

A money management guy would tell you to divide that $1000 bankroll into five single-day bankrolls of $200 each.

And if you wanted to play twice a day, maybe once in the morning and once in the evening, you’d divided those bankrolls into two separate piles of money with $100 in each.

These are called “session bankrolls.”

They’re really just entirely arbitrary ways of budgeting your money, and they do nothing to improve your odds against the casino.

But there’s more to money management than just budgeting your gambling bankroll.

Win Goals and Stop Loss Limits Explained

A win goal is an amount of money that you’re hoping to win in a gambling session. When you’ve achieved your win goal, you end that session. It’s an arbitrary amount that you get to choose. Most money management guys like to set a win goal using a percentage of your session bankroll.

Here’s an example:

You have a $100 bankroll for a blackjack session, and you set a win goal of $40 – 40% of your bankroll.

You play for $5 per hand.

At any point, when that stack of chips in front of you hits $140, you quit and go find something else to do with your time.

Stacks of Red Casino Chips

Now that you understand bankrolls and win goals, you have 2/3 of the money management equation.

The last piece of the puzzle is the stop-loss limit.

This is the opposite of the win goal. It’s an amount that, once you’ve lost it, signals that it’s time to quit.

If you use $40 again with your $100 session bankroll, you will quit when your stack gets down to $60.

You’ll play until you’ve either won $40 total or lost $40 total, then you’ll quit.

How to Set Appropriately Sized Win Goals and Stop Loss Limits

You’ll need to do some self-analysis and use some judgment when setting up your win goals and loss limits. Mostly it depends on what sounds like fun to you. I’ll explain my approach to various games below, although they’re not, strictly speaking, what most money management “experts” suggest.

When I play roulette, I like to get big wins rather than small wins. (I used to do the opposite.)

My goal is to play for 38 spins – no more and no less.

And, on every spin, my plan is to bet on a single number. If I win one of those bets, I get 35 to 1 on my money.

Sometimes I’ll hit a single number multiple times during a 38 spin session.

Let’s say you’re playing at the WinStar Casino in Oklahoma. The minimum bet on the roulette table is $5, but I also have to pay a 50 cent fee on every bet. They call it an ante, but you can’t win it, so it’s not really a bet. It’s just a fee.

I know precisely what bankroll I need, now – 38 spins at $5.50 per spin, or $209.

I take two approaches to this strategy.

Sometimes I’ll quit as soon as I hit a win. If they spin the wheel 10 times before I hit my win, then I’ve lost $55, but I’ve won $175 on my winning spin, for a profit of $120.

Other times my goal is to hit a single number win twice during the session. This happens less often, but when it does, I see a bigger profit. Let’s say I hit twice after 20 spins. I’ve lost $110, but I’ve won $350, so I have a $240 profit.

With either of these approaches, the most I can possibly lose is $209 – that’s the amount I’ve set aside to play roulette with.

Another Example of Money Management in Action

Even though I advise people all the time to avoid the slot machines, I do play slots sometimes myself. I have to. After all, I write about them, so I need personal experience to share.

The fun of slots is playing for a big jackpot. My win goal at a slot machine is simply to win the jackpot during the session. Once I’ve hit the jackpot, I quit – I don’t care how big or how small my profit is at that point.

The average jackpot on a slot machine game is usually about 1000 coins.

Here’s my approach to playing such a game:

I set aside enough money to play 1000 spins on that game. Then I play until I hit the jackpot or lose all my money.

If I’m playing on a quarter machine where I’m expected to bet three coins per spin, I’m looking at a session bankroll of $750.

I play until I hit the jackpot or until the $750 is gone.

The Thing to Remember About Money Management Techniques

The most important thing to remember about money management techniques is that they don’t give you any kind of mathematical edge. They’re just ways of budgeting your money. You still shouldn’t gamble with money you can’t afford to lose.

The other important thing to remember about money management techniques is that all your decisions are entirely arbitrary. There’s no mathematical advantage to gambling until you’ve won or lost 40% of your bankroll compared to 20% of your bankroll.

You get to decide, and whichever choice you make should be informed by how much fun it sounds like it will be.

What About When You Should Quit as an Advantage Gambler

What if, though, you’re gambling with a mathematical edge?

How do you know when to quit then?

There’s no magical win or loss number to signal that it’s time to quit. In fact, if you’re gambling with an edge, the longer you play, the more money you make.

Your earnings as an advantage gambler come from the amount you’re wagering versus the edge you have. If you’re playing blackjack for $5 per hand and getting 150 hands per hour, that’s $750 per hour in action. If your edge is 1%, you’ll eventually average $7.50 per hour in winnings.

Man Playing on a Slot Machine

The longer you play, the more money you’ll earn.

So, when do you quit?

Obviously, you’ll quit playing the instant you think the casino might be watching you. Getting backed off is no fun, even though it is a badge of honor for many blackjack players.

You’ll also quit playing when you get tired. If you’re tired, you’ll start making mistakes. The more mistakes you make, the less likely it is that you’ll profit.

Also, if the game conditions change so that they’re no longer favorable to you, it’s time to move on. I was counting cards in a casino once where they started shuffling the deck after every hand. There was no point in continuing to play at that point, so I called it a day.

When You Should Quit Gambling if You Think You Have a Gambling Problem

The short answer to this question is “immediately.”

If you think you have a gambling problem, you probably have a gambling addiction.

Some people think that because you’re not ingesting a substance, you can’t really become addicted to gambling.

Such people should read some of the literature on the subject. You get the same dopamine response from gambling that you get from drinking alcohol or taking drugs.

You can ruin your life by gambling compulsively just as quickly as you can by drinking too much or taking too many drugs.

You have multiple options when it comes to getting support in your efforts to quit. Gamblers Anonymous is easy to find, but it’s not your only option. Fire up your search engine and get help if you think you have a gambling problem.

Conclusion

How do you know when to quit gambling?

It’s mostly an arbitrary choice. You can’t beat the odds by quitting at specific points, but you can use money management techniques to better handle your gambling budget.

Just try to be sensible about it.

And if you think you have a compulsive gambling problem, quit immediately.

Good and Bad Strategies for Winning at Roulette

Roulette Wheel and Excited Woman Grabbing Chips From a Roulette Table

Roulette, like most other casino games, isn’t a game where you can realistically expect to get a mathematical edge over the house.

In a sense, this means that all roulette strategies are equally worthless.

But, I’m writing a series of blog posts about good and bad strategies for various casino games, and roulette is a mainstay, so I can’t leave it out.

Most of what I’m going to look at in this post involves analyzing how to avoid the worst bets at the roulette table so that you’re at least dealing with a respectably low house edge.

Understanding the House Edge in Roulette

Playing roulette for real money is easy. You have a wheel with 38 numbers on it. 18 of them are black, 18 of them are red, and two of them are green. The two green numbers are 0 and 00, so they don’t count as high/low or even/odd, either.

If you guessed that the green 0 and the 00 are the reason the casino has a mathematical edge over the player, you’re in the front of the class.

All the bets in roulette would be break-even propositions If you remove the two green numbers from the wheel.

Here’s why:

Suppose you bet on every single number on the roulette wheel. You’d be guaranteed a win because you’ve covered all the numbers.

But you’d lose money.

The payout for a single number bet in roulette is 35 to 1, so you’d win 35 units on the bet you won.

But you’d lose 37 units on the 37 losing numbers, for a net loss of two units.

More About the House Edge in Roulette

It wouldn’t matter if you chose a different combination of bets, either. You could bet on red, bet on black, and place a single bet on each of the green numbers. You’d still see a net loss no matter where the ball landed.

If you bet on black and win, you lose the bets you had on red and the bets you had on each of the green numbers.

If you bet on red and win, you lose the bets you have on black and the bets you had on each of the green numbers.

If you bet on green and win, you still lose the bets you had on black and red and on the other green 0.

Repeat this often enough, and eventually, you’ll lose all your money.

The variation of roulette that I’ve been using for this example is called “American roulette.”

But it’s not the only variation of roulette in the world.

Finding and Playing on Single Zero Roulette Wheels Is a Good Roulette Strategy

The American roulette wheel has two green numbers, but European roulette only has a single green number. This lowers the house edge.

That number, by the way, is always expressed as a percentage, and it’s an estimate of how much you’re going to lose on each bet.

In American roulette – the wheel has two green numbers. Those, in a sense, represent the house edge, which is 5.26%.

Closeup of a Casino Roulette Wheel

Every time you bet $100 on a roulette spin, the house expects to win an average of $5.26.

That’s an average over time, though. You obviously can’t lose $5.26 on a single bet, but when you average out all the wins and losses, that’s the number you’ll wind up with if you get a huge number of bets.

In the short run, anything can happen, but in the long term, the Law of Large Numbers will ensure that your results start to resemble the mathematical expectation.

So, if you can find a roulette game that only has a single zero on it, the house edge is only 2.70% instead of 5.26%.

That cuts the amount you expect to lose almost in half, so you can have twice as much fun for the same money.

Also, with a lower house edge, you have a better likelihood of going home a winner.

Using Betting Systems Is a Bad Roulette Strategy

A roulette betting system is a set of rules for raising and lowering the size of your bets during a game in an attempt to overcome the odds. These betting systems usually rely on predicting what’s going to happen on the next spin based on what happened on the most recent spin.

For example, the Martingale System assumes that after a loss (or multiple losses), your probability of losing again goes down.

This seems to make sense at first. After all, it’s more unlikely that you’ll lose eight times in a row than it is that you’ll twice in a row.

The problem is that the roulette wheel has no memory. Every spin of the wheel is an independent event.

And you’re not placing a bet on whether the ball is going to land on a losing spot eight times in a row. You’re betting that the ball is going to land on a losing spot on your next spin.

A Specific Example of a Bad Roulette Betting System

The classic example of a roulette betting system is the Martingale System. It’s not the worst gambling strategy in the world. One of the pros of the system is that it’s dead easy to figure out and use. All you have to do is double the size of your next bet when you’ve lost the previous bet.

For example, if you bet $10 on black and lose, you bet $20 on the next spin. If that spin wins, you win back the $10 you lost on the previous spin along with a $10 profit.

If you lose twice in a row, you double your bets twice in a row, too. Now you bet $10, $20, and $40.

Again, if you win the next bet in the sequence, you win back your previous losses along with a profit equal to the amount of your initial wager.

This strategy seems foolproof, and it would be if you had an infinite bankroll and no betting limits.

But you don’t have an infinite bankroll. You have a finite amount of money you can risk at the roulette table.

Also, casinos have betting limits. The most common betting limits I see for roulette tables are a minimum bet of $5 and a maximum bet of $500.

Since you’re doubling the size of the bet repeatedly, it doesn’t take long before the next bet in the progression is too big for you to place.

Here’s an example progression:

  1. $5
  2. $10
  3. $20
  4. $40
  5. $80
  6. $160
  7. $320
  8. $640

At most casinos, you won’t be able to place the 8th bet.

Of course, you probably think a losing streak of seven bets in a row is almost impossible with an even money bet at the roulette table.

But it happens more often than you think. At an average casino, you’ll see at least one losing streak like this at least once a day.

The other drawback to this system is that it guarantees a lot of small wins. After each progression, no matter how much you wager, the most you can expect to profit is the amount of your initial bet.

Vegas Casino Online Roulette Table Game

The amount you risk, though, goes up to staggering amounts rapidly.

Much of the time, the Martingale System will work. If you limit your playing session to about an hour, you have a close to 80% probability of walking away from the table with a winning session.

But it will be a small profit.

The other 20% of the time, you’ll have a large enough losing session to wipe out all the previous profits from the small winning sessions.

Clocking Roulette Wheels and Looking for Biases

The house edge in roulette assumes that you’re dealing with a random game. It assumes that every number comes up 1/38 of the time.

If you found a roulette table where some of the numbers come up more often than that, you could theoretically find yourself in a profitable situation.

If you found a wheel that was imperfect and had a bias toward a set of numbers that came up 1/34 of the time, you’d have the edge over the casino. Those numbers would still have a 35 to 1 payout, so you’d profit regularly just by betting those numbers.

How would you discover a roulette wheel with such a bias?

You will just clock the actual results at that wheel for a few hundred spins to see if any of the numbers come up more often than they statistically should.

The trick to clocking a roulette wheel is getting enough data. Remember, in the short run, anything can happen with one of these random casino games. It’s only when you get into the long term that you can make any assumptions with any kind of statistical validity.

Imagine this scenario, though:

You clock a roulette wheel for hours.

And it turns out that the wheel has no bias.

Now you start over with another wheel, and after several hours of clocking results, you discover a bias.

You go home to get some rest before doing some serious gambling on that wheel.

But while you’re sleeping, the casino replaces the wheel you were clocking yesterday with a new wheel.

Clocking a roulette wheel and looking for a bias is a legitimate advantage strategy for roulette, but it’s not practical. Most people don’t have the time to invest in clocking a roulette wheel.

And even if they do, they’re not guaranteed to find a biased wheel. Modern casinos use modern, state-of-the-art equipment, and it’s usually pretty random.

Conclusion

Let’s be honest. There are no really good strategies for playing roulette.

Betting systems don’t work.

Finding a biased roulette wheel is a longshot at best. It’s impractical, too.

Your best bet is to find a roulette wheel with a single zero and play it instead of the wheel with the two zeros.

But all that does is let you lose your money more slowly.

If you want a real winning strategy for roulette, here’s my best idea:

Learn how to play blackjack or poker instead.

How Do Casinos Bust Cheaters?

Man Showing an Ace Card Up His Sleeve and a Casino Surveillance Room

Some gamblers refuse to accept that the casino has an advantage. Instead, they use different means to circumvent the house edge and bring in profits.

Here are the two main routes for making this happen:

  • Advantage gambling
  • Cheating

Advantage play is perfectly legal. You won’t get sent to jail for card counting, but you will get kicked out of the casino if caught.

Cheating is entirely illegal. Gambling establishments will detain you and contact law enforcement. The courtroom will late decide your fate.

Of course, some cheaters are very clever at avoiding detection. But as you’ll see below, casinos have plenty of ways to catch these swindlers.

Staff Members Monitor the Games

The pit boss, the dealers, and the floor supervisors all work in conjunction to catch cheaters. Upon seeing anything suspicious, they can alert security.

Dealers are on the front lines in the casino when it comes to catching scammers. They’re closest to the action and, as a result, can spot fishy play.

Floor supervisors and pit bosses walk around to monitor the action. During the rounds, they may notice something irregular and uncover cheating.

A Busy Pit on a Casino Floor

Of course, most casino cheats get away with their scams for a short while. Therefore, no employees may be quick enough to catch them in the act.

However, pit bosses and dealers stand a decent chance at spotting blatant cheating, such as one pulling cards out of a sleeve or stealing chips off the table.

Casinos Run the Numbers

If a casino cheater is any good at their craft, they’ll evade casino detection for a while. In fact, a gambling establishment may not have any idea about they’re being ripped off.

However, casinos have the advantage of reviewing their numbers and figuring out where are they’re taking heavy losses.

The house gets beat by certain gamblers every day. They don’t mind either, because the hope of winning brings people through the doors in the first place. But the casino also realizes that they have a long-term advantage. They don’t get beat by the average gambler again and again on a consistent basis.

If management reviews the numbers and finds that they’re getting beaten badly in a specific game, they know that something is up. Here’s an example on how they might figure out that the casino is losing serious money:

  • A casino wins 10% of all money gambled at a craps table on average.
  • They review the numbers and find that they’ve lost 5% in craps over an entire month.
  • Management theorizes that one or more players are sliding the dice.

The numbers alone won’t tell a casino who, if anybody, is cheating. They can at least use the data, though, to start on the right path towards catching potential cheaters or advantage players.

As I’ll cover later, greed often gets the better of a cheater. They take advantage of casinos again and again before finally getting caught.

Surveillance Provides Help From Above

Casinos surveillance has cameras in nearly every corner of their gambling floors. They especially focus on areas where cheating might occur.

Table games are hotspots for where cheaters operate. The latter can use a variety of illicit means to bilk games like roulette and blackjack.

As mentioned before, employees may not always catch this cheating. However, surveillance gives security an opportunity to go back and review the footage.

Black Dome Encased Ceiling Camera

With hours’ worth of footage, a casino can take as long as they need to determine where they’re being scammed. They have the ability to watch and rewind the tape countless times if need be.

Not even surveillance footage catches everything. It does, however, give casinos the benefit of hindsight when identifying potential grifters.

RFID Chips Help Casinos Follow the Money

In recent years, casinos have been employing radio-frequency identification (RFID). Gambling establishments use this technology in chips.

RFID chips allow casinos to track chip movements. The house uses these chips for the following purposes:

  • Track gamblers’ betting habits and specialize their VIP rewards
  • Improve marketing efforts
  • Track robbers and stolen chips
  • Catch advantage gamblers
  • Catch cheaters

The last point is key to this discussion. Through the use of RFID chips, casinos can track customer win patterns. Upon noticing somebody winning at an unbelievable rate, they can pay closer attention to the situation.

Bellagio Las Vegas 25,000 Dollar Chip

Hot streaks happen, and some lucky gamblers haul in massive amounts of money. However, these same win streaks eventually come to an end.

The casino holds the edge in every game and fully realizes that nobody will beat them night after night—at least not legitimately anyways. They can easily separate an anomaly from the average hot streak.

In the latter case, a gambler’s luck eventually runs out if they keep showing up. Meanwhile, a cheat will keep winning thousands of dollars each time that they play.

Casinos don’t catch such anomalies with normal chips. RFID chips, on the other hand, give them an additional weapon in spotting weird win patterns.

The House Takes Advantage of Cheaters’ Greed

Most cheaters aren’t experts in this discipline. Otherwise, they’d use their smarts and skills to become legitimate professional gamblers, rather ripping off the casino.

Cheaters may start out with the intentions of scamming the casino a few times before quitting and banking their profits. But once the money starts rolling in, few crooks can resist the temptation to stay out of the casino.

I’ve seen plenty of dealer-player collusion scandals where the cheating team simply didn’t know when to say when. They were successful the first few times and continued using their advantage to make more and more money.

Again, casinos frequently look at their numbers to see if anything strange sticks out. Assuming they see a certain roulette table taking heavy losses, for example, they might start reviewing the footage for signs of magnets or past-posting.

If every cheater were smart, they’d quit while they were ahead before casinos become wiser. Most aren’t, though, which is why they continue their crooked ways until getting busted.

Casinos Help Each Other out With Databases

Gambling establishments have been networking with each other ever since the 1980s, when the MIT blackjack team terrorized the industry. Of course, the MIT blackjack team was counting cards, which is a legal advantage gambling method.

However, casinos don’t just network with one another to catch advantage gamblers. They also do so when it comes to identifying cheaters.

Many casinos are connected to databases that allow them to share information on cheats and advantage players. They can simply refer to a given database to identify suspects.

Of course, cheating teams are often good at wearing disguises. If they’re smart, they’ll also avoid signing up for VIP programs or doing anything else to surrender their identification.

In some cases, though, gambling establishments will catch a cheater through database information alone. Aside from helping casinos identify scammers, databases also serve as a deterrent from a cheater ever walking into a casino again.

Conclusion

Cheaters can gain the upper hand on casinos initially. They may even get away with a caper if they’re smart and quit early enough.

However, casinos have plenty of tools at their disposal for nabbing cheaters. Their employees, surveillance, numbers, and RFID chips all help expose cheating scandals.

Even with these tools, though, gambling venues aren’t guaranteed to spot swindlers. But they have an excellent chance of doing so if the same cheaters get greedy and keep showing up.

Are Baccarat Side Bets Worthless?

Baccarat Text in Gold Letters With Hands Holding Large Coins Sideways

Baccarat is one of the simplest games to play in the casino. You only have three basic choices when making a bet, including the player side, banker side, or both hands tying.

Many gamblers are satisfied with this simplistic setup. However, other baccarat fans crave more betting options.

The same gamblers appreciate when baccarat games feature side bets. The latter offers a chance to win bigger prizes than standard wagers.

The downside, though, is that side bets also carry higher house edges. Therefore, you may wonder if it’s worth wasting your time with baccarat side bets.

This guide discusses many of the side wagers that are available in this game. It also covers whether or not you should ultimately consider these bets.

What Are Some of the Baccarat Side Bets?

Baccarat offers well over a dozen wagers. I won’t get into every exotic bet that’s available in this game, but you can see some common ones that are found in land-based and real money online casinos below.

All Black or All Red: House Edge = 6.53% (All Black) or 14% (All Red)

You bet on whether the player hand will contain all black cards (clubs and spades) or all red cards (diamonds and hearts). The all black wager typically offers a 24:1 payout, while the all red bet normally delivers a 22:1 payout.

Bellagio Match: House Edge = 5.27% (Player) and 8.57% (Banker)

You wager on if the banker or player will get a three of a kind (e.g. three jacks). This bet pays 68:1 if the banker has a three of a kind and 75:1 when the player holds this hand.

Dragon Bonus: House Edge = 2.65% (Player) and 9.37% (Banker)

You’re betting that the player or banker will win with an 8 or 9 (a.k.a. natural) by a certain point margin. The banker or player must win by the given point total for your wager to be successful.

You stand to win more money when betting on higher margins of victory. Here are the available wagers and typical payouts with the Dragon Bonus (same for player & banker):

  • 9 points (margin of victory) = 30:1 payout
  • 8 points = 10:1
  • 7 points = 6:1
  • 6 points = 4:1
  • 5 points = 2:1
  • 4 points = 1:1
  • 3 points or less = Loss

Dragon 7: House Edge = 7.61%

This wager revolves around the banker winning with a three-card hand that equals 7 points (e.g. 2 + 3 + 2 = 7). You’ll win 40:1 on your original bet when successful with Dragon 7.

Lucky Bonus: House Edge = 2.34%

Lucky Bonus (a.k.a. Super 6) is a wager on the banker winning with a hand that’s worth 6 points. This bet normally pays 18:1, but it could pay 12:1 when offered as Super 6.

Matching Dragon: House Edge = 16.99%

You bet on how many cards of a specific rank (e.g. 9) will be dealt to the banker and player. The required number of cards and normal payouts include:

  • 6 cards = 100:1 payout
  • 5 cards = 60:1
  • 4 cards = 40:1
  • 3 cards = 20:1
  • 2 cards = 3:1
  • 1 card = 1:1
  • No cards of the specific rank = Loss

Panda 8: House Edge = 10.18%

Panda 8 revolves around whether the player can win with a three-card hand that’s worth 8 points (e.g. 4 + 10 + 4 = 8).  This wager pays 25:1 when the player side completes the necessary requirements.

Benefits of Baccarat Side Bets

There’s a reason why side bets are available in many land-based and online baccarat games—they’re popular!

Baccarat is an exciting game that has achieved widespread popularity throughout the globe. However, it can get stale due to its limited betting variety.

Side bets spice up the action by providing more options. You can add Dragon Bonus or Panda 8 to your standard banker bet and take a shot at winning big money.

The standard tie bet also provides the opportunity to win big, but it carries a horrendous 14.36% house edge (with payouts at 8 to 1). Few people care about an 8-to-1 payout when they’re giving away nearly a 15% advantage to casinos.

Side wagers may not be the friendliest propositions on your bankroll either. But most of them don’t feature anything close to a 14.36% house edge.

Cons of Baccarat Side Bets

Baccarat offers a unique combination of a low house edge and simple strategy. You can reduce the house advantage to just 1.06% by making the banker bet every time.

Again, side wagers add variety into the equation. But they also feature a larger house edge than 1.06%. In some cases, you can face even worse odds.

Take Panda 8, for example. It may offer an interesting set of rules, but it also carries an atrocious 10.18% house advantage.

Closeup of an Active Baccarat Table

This brings me to another point in that side wagers force you into using bad strategy. Rather than taking the easy route towards more winnings with the banker bet, you’re purposely placing wagers that feature large house edges.

Finally, you also need to worry about the volatility with these bets. The odds of winning most of these wagers are quite high.

You might be looking past these low odds towards the 25:1 payout. But on average, you’ll be waiting quite a while before winning this bet.

That said, you need a larger bankroll to deal with the high volatility of side bets. Assuming you don’t have a big bankroll, you’ll be relying on lots of luck and a quick win to stay in the game.

Are Side Wagers Worth Your Time?

You can see that placing side bets definitely isn’t the best long-term plan. Many of these wagers feature a much higher house edge than the banker or player bet (1.24%).

Then again, any type of gambling forces you into a negative-expectation situation. You should be focusing on the entertainment side of gaming rather than expecting to win big profits.

Side bets liven things up and make your baccarat sessions more entertaining. They feature different rules and larger payouts than the average bet.

I certainly don’t suggest that you choose side wagers that feature the highest house address. You could lose serious money by going this route.

On the other hand, though, you should consider side bets if they make the experience more fun. You might even get lucky and win a big payout this way.

Just remember that you don’t have to place side bets in every round either. You could bet on the banker in each round and throw in a side wager every now and then.

What’s the Best Baccarat Strategy Overall?

You don’t need to strain your brain to figure out the best strategy to play baccarat. All you have to do is wager on the banker hand winning in every round.

Again, this strategy reduces the house edge to just 1.06%. And this is even after the casino takes out a 5% commission on banker wins.

El Royale Online Casino Baccarat

Some gamblers will tell you that it’s best to follow a pattern-based strategy. When following patterns, you either raise or lower bets, or even change wagers, based on which side is winning more.

Here’s an example:

  • The player hand wins three times in a row.
  • You normally bet $10 per round on the banker.
  • However, you think that they’re extremely likely to win in the next round.
  • You wager $30 on the banker because they’re supposedly due for a win.

It makes sense, in theory that if one side is winning a lot, then the other side is bound to win next. But this logic falls into the gambler’s fallacy.

The gambler’s fallacy is the idea that past outcomes somehow dictate future results. However, this thinking doesn’t apply to fixed-odds games like baccarat.

The banker hand has a 51.6% chance of winning in every round. These chances don’t change just because the banker has won three times in a row.

In summary, you don’t have to do anything fancy to win more in baccarat. You just need to pick the banker side every time.

You can also throw in a side bet every now and then for fun. Just know, though, that side wagers actually give you a lower chance of winning money than the banker or player hands.

Conclusion

Baccarat side bets aren’t the evil to end all evils. They add entertainment and, in some cases, offer fair house edges.

For example, the Lucky Bonus (2.34% house edge) and Dragon Bonus player bet (2.65%) both give you a decent chance to win.

However, you shouldn’t blindly jump at the first side wager you see. Some of these bets feature really high house advantages.

In summary, you stand the best chance of winning by betting on the banker every time. But a side bet here or there won’t destroy your bankroll, especially if the house edge is low.

Native Tribe Gambling in the United States

Native American Man Wearing a Headdress Next to a Casino

I live in North Texas, and I like to gamble. I live less than hour drive from Thackerville, Oklahoma, which is home to the WinStar.

Gambling wasn’t always this convenient for me. I would usually have to go through the tiresome motions of planning a trip to Vegas and then go on said trip.

And this is how it was for most of America for decades.

But we now have Native Tribe owned gambling businesses across the United States.

Native Tribe gambling has swept America by storm in the last 32 years.

I’m fascinated by the movement, the history, and how this trend is affecting the Native people in America.

This post offers a broad overview of the Native American gaming scene.

Native Americans and Gambling Overview

Native Tribe casinos and other gaming related businesses now make more profit than the casinos of Las Vegas and Atlantic City combined. The United States Native gambling industry is worth close to $100 billion.

These kinds of economic improvements are usually seen as a plus for this histo