The Best Way to Become a Casino Dealer in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Strip at Night, Casino Roulette Dealer, Las Vegas Text
What if I told you a lucrative career in the casino gambling industry can be secured for less than $1,000 and only a month’s worth of study and training? No, I’m not talking about some fraudulent craps system promising to teach you the secrets of dice control to become a millionaire overnight.

Instead, I’m referring to the thriving casino dealer industry, which continues to offer a growing slate of steady jobs for anybody willing to learn the ropes. Casino dealers are the backbone of the gambling industry.

Tourists who convene in Las Vegas every year wouldn’t be able to enjoy their favorite table games without an army of highly-trained dealers to supervise the proceedings.

If you’ve ever played table games or poker in the Sin City casino setting, you know just how valuable dealers are to the entire proceedings. They gently guide inexperienced gamblers and make it all seem so effortless and easy.

You likely have plenty of experience dealing with casino dealers from the player’s perspective, but have you ever thought about flipping that script and working from behind the table? If so, this page was written with you in mind.

Below, you’ll learn everything an aspiring casino dealer needs to know about attending training courses in the gambling mecca of Las Vegas. I’ll cover the best schools, pricing plans, and curriculums for your casino dealer education.

Becoming a Casino Dealer Is a Great Idea in Any Economy

Dealers are the lifeblood of the casino industry, which in turn serves as the lifeblood of Las Vegas’ economy through thick and thin.re

According to the popular job search website Recruiter.com, demand for professional casino dealers has remained on a positive upswing for 15 consecutive years. Vacancies within the profession have increased by 3.48% since 2004, averaging 0.58% annual growth to create nearly 23,000 new openings last year alone.

Those statistics have a nationwide scope, mind you, but seeing as how Sin City is the undisputed capital of America’s gambling industry, you can imagine how many jobs await here.

The Strip alone has 28 casino resorts operating around the clock, and the wider Las Vegas metropolitan area has a whopping 104 gambling halls of all shapes and sizes.

Because every casino requires dozens, or even hundreds, of dealers on the staff to keep the gambling floor humming, it doesn’t take long to find a multitude of open positions.

And those open positions, even at the entry-level tier, aren’t anything to sneeze at either. Based on data from salary aggregator Indeed.com, the average casino dealer in Las Vegas earns nearly $38,000 in annual base salary.

But when you factor in the $138 in average daily tips dealers haul in, their compensation climbs to more than $72,000 ($138 x 261 working days yearly = $34,191).

Casino Dealer Training Courses Can Be Completed in Just a Few Weeks

Students at Casino Dealer School, Green Casino Chip
To become qualified for an audition at your favorite casino, the best way to begin is by attending dealer school.

Fortunately, Las Vegas is home to no shortage of reputable and accredited casino dealer schools, including the city’s top three contenders—Casino Education Group (CEG), Personalized Casino Instruction (PCI), and Crescent School of Gaming and Bartending.

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Each of these schools offers their own distinct coursework, schedules, and pricing plans, so I encourage readers to visit their websites to see which one works best.

To get an idea of how thorough and in-depth these casino courses really are, take a look below to see what the blackjack class at CEG Dealer School entails.

Casino Education Group (CEG) Dealer School’s Blackjack Curriculum

  • 2 Decks of Cards
  • Course Manual
  • Blackjack Class Orientation
  • Game Mechanics
  • Cheque Cutting & Sizing
  • Bank Management
  • Game Protection
  • Shuffles
  • Pitching
  • The Shoe
  • Making Change & Color
  • The Hole Card / Insurance
  • Fills, Markers & Credits
  • Payoffs & Color
  • Side Bets
  • Practice, Rinse and Repeat
  • Peer Review x 3
  • In-House Blackjack Audition

And that’s just one game. You’ll also need to learn the other staple games like baccarat, craps, and casino roulette games, along with a few of the specialty games that have become so popular in recent years.

That list might appear to lead to a full semester of study, practice, and testing, but you’d be surprised at how soon casino dealers can graduate. The schools listed earlier tend to pass students in one month or less, even while attending part-time and working a day job.

You Don’t Need to Take on Loan Debt to Attend a Top-Tier Dealer School

Casino Throwing Casino Dice on Table Game, Hands Grabbing Casino Chips
Don’t worry though, because casino dealer schools in Las Vegas make sure to offer “bundled” pricing plans that cover all of the bases at an affordable cost.

As you can see in the tables below, the PCI Dealer School specializes in linking two or three games together in a coursework bundle, along with single-game courses for folks who need to round out their education.

Personalized Casino Instruction (PCI) Dealer School Course Pricing

Multiple Game Bundle Courses

Blackjack + Roulette = $399.00

Blackjack + Baccarat = $399.00

Blackjack + Pai Gow Poker = $399.00

Blackjack + Dice (Craps) + $449.00

Poker (excluded from 3-game special) = $599.00

Dice (Craps) + Roulette = $699.00

Blackjack + Dice (Craps) + Pai Gow Poker = $699.00

Blackjack + Dice (Craps) + Roulette = $799.00

Single Game Courses

Carnival Games = $149.00

Blackjack = $299.00

Baccarat = $299.00

Pai Gow Poker = $299.00

Dice (Craps) = $399.00

Roulette = $399.00

In most cases, total newcomers to the casino world can enroll in a comprehensive course that touches on all of the necessary table games for under $1,000. That might seem like a steep price to pay, but remember, you’ll earn that tuition expense back (and then some) with only a week’s worth of tips during your first days on the job.

And don’t worry about pounding the pavement and filling out job applications either. Las Vegas casinos work closely with the city’s top dealer schools, scouting talent directly and taking advantage of job placement programs to fill open positions on the fly.

Students Attain Successful Careers After Graduating From Casino Dealer School

Tables Games on Casino Floor, Poker Cards Spread, Graduation Cap and Diploma
I’ve never worked as a casino dealer myself, so don’t take my word for it when it comes to the satisfaction dealer school students feel upon graduation.

Instead, hear from graduates who successfully completed the courses.

Personalized Casino Instruction (PCI) Dealer School
Roulette Wheel Icon“This is the place where everything started in Vegas for me. Five years ago, I was new in town and knew nobody. Luckily, I found PCI Dealer School and spent two weeks here – and got a job soon after. I have been in the gaming industry ever since then, from dealer to floor supervisor, and Operations Manager.”
-Angel S. from California

Casino Education Group (CEG) Dealer School
Two Red Dice“Going to CEG is the best money I ever spent. If you are looking for an affordable, flexible, realistic way to get training for a job that you can get, I highly recommend CEG Dealer School. I just got my first paycheck from my first casino dealing job and it covered my cost. I got more out of CEG than I ever expected and will forever be grateful.”
-Joseph B. from Texas

Crescent School of Gaming and Bartending
Four Poker Cards Spread Out“With no prior poker experience and with the help of my instructor Tony, I am on my way to the WSOP audition. The mornings and evening classes allow for great flexibility. The team of instructors are very patient and friendly. The atmosphere is not intimidating at all for a newbie like myself. I highly recommended this school over the others as it is the only accredited gaming and bartending school in Vegas.”
-Rissa S. from Nevada

As you can see, these students realized their dreams and ambitions immediately after attaining their certification from a top Las Vegas dealer school. Today, they’re working steady, well-paying jobs in the industry they love, and in many cases, climbing their casino’s corporate ladder to pursue management positions.

Conclusion

Becoming a casino dealer might seem like a lark at first, a fleeting dream to occupy yourself with while grinding out another day at a job you hate. But upon closer inspection, enrolling in a casino dealing school and completing your table game education is an investment in your future. More money, job security, opportunity for advancement, and a fun-filled workplace environment make dealing at a Las Vegas casino a dream career.

7 Weird Las Vegas Attractions Worth Seeing

Neon-Museum-Mob-Museum-Welcome-Las-Vegas-Sign

There’s a lot more to Las Vegas than casinos and buffets. It’s a town filled with museums, dwarfs, gangsters, and showgirls. You can find some of the greatest karaoke singers in the world in Sin City, too.

If you’re visiting Las Vegas for the first time, I encourage you to venture out and see some of the more unusual attractions. You could easily spend all your time in various Las Vegas casinos on the Strip, but those have become so plastic and standardized now, why would you want to?

Even if you’ve been to Vegas before, you owe it to yourself to check out some of the more obscure attractions there.

In this post, I offer you seven weird Las Vegas attractions worth seeing.

1 – The Neon Boneyard

You should definitely visit the Neon Boneyard.

Neon-Museum-Sign

For a quarter of a century, the Neon Museum has curated and displayed neon signs from the ghosts of Las Vegas past. The visitor’s center is located inside of what used to be the La Concha Motel.

Every night, when the sun goes down, the curators light over 200 original neon signs. You can choose to take a guided tour or do one of the self-guided tours. The Neon Museum is open every day, although the hours vary throughout the year.

Some of the neon signs here date back to the 1930s.

You might remember some of these signs from the movie Vegas Vacation, which you should see if you’re planning to visit Las Vegas.

2 – The National Atomic Testing Museum

The National Atomic Testing Museum might sound too high-brow for you. It’s not, so check it out.

NATM is both a science AND a history museum focused on the weapons testing that went on at the Nevada Test Site.

It’s also one of the only private museums in the country. Where else can you see a nuclear reactor? That’s just one of the items on display in the 8000+ square feet of museum.

They even display a couple of pieces of the World Trade Center, which is only loosely related to nuclear weapons. The idea is that terrorists might use nuclear weapons, and first responders are trained for that possibility.

They also display a piece of the Berlin Wall, complete with graffiti from the day the Wall fell.

The best part is the simulation of a test and what it was like to be at Ground Zero.

3 – Atomic Liquors

The oldest freestanding bar in Las Vegas is Atomic Liquors.

Atomic-Liquors

The bar has been in business since 1952 and has served meals and cocktails to some of the most famous entertainers to ever visit Sin City, including:

  • Frank Sinatra
  • Dean Martin
  • Sammy Davis Jr.
  • Barbara Streisand
  • Clint Eastwood

The bar was family-owned until the married couple who founded it passed in 2010.

An investment group bought the bar from the owners’ son and remodeled it to look like it had originally.

If you visit, you’ll notice that the men’s room is labeled “Joe’s,” while the ladies’ room is labeled “Stella’s.” Those were the names of the original owners.

They have a number of craft beers on tap. They also serve dinner and cocktails.

4 – The Mob Museum

The Mob Museum has a longer and more formal name, too—The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement.

Like the Neon Museum, the Mob Museum is a nonprofit. Their goal is to help people understand how organized crime has helped shape American society and culture.

Of course, the Mob is well-known as being crucial to the early history of Las Vegas. You probably already know that Bugsy Siegel owned the Flamingo.

And if you’ve seen the movie Casino, you understand how important organized crime is to the way casinos used to be managed and operated.

The Mob Museum is inside the old courthouse and post office near Glitter Gulch.

The exhibits are separated into 4 levels:

  1. The Underground
  2. 1st Floor
  3. 2nd Floor
  4. 3rd Floor

Each level has a theme. The underground, for example, is themed around the speakeasy and the distillery. During prohibition, alcohol was a major profit center for organized crime.

The coolest (and possibly weirdest exhibit) is the piece of the wall from the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, which has bullet holes. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre also drives the plot in Some Like It Hot.

5 – Criss Angel’s Mindfreak Live!

Criss Angel’s Mindfreak Live! Is the only show I’ve included on this list. I just don’t think you can create a list of weird things to see and do in Las Vegas without including this show.

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You’ll find the show at Luxor Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Mindfreak Live! is the successor to Angel’s previous show, BeLIEve, which was the top-selling magic show in the city for almost a decade.

Of course, you might have seen Criss Angel’s television show of the same name, which was also hugely popular (and really weird). That should give you some idea of what you’re in for with this show.

It’s not just a magic show, though, the special effects artists in Las Vegas are incomparable, and their work is on full display during Angel’s show.

The show is also still relatively new, having launched in June 2016. The stage is dark on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesdays. This is one you’ll tell your grandkids about, believe me.

6 – Denny’s

I know what you’re thinking. What’s weird about Denny’s?

Dennys-Fremont-Street

Well, the Denny’s in Las Vegas on Fremont Street offers weddings.

It’s probably the most affordable wedding package in the country, too—just $199 for the entire package, which includes all kinds of neat stuff.

There’s a chapel at the restaurant you can use, as well as a photo booth. You’ll get a real silk boutonniere to wear. You’ll also get a wedding cake made of pancake puppies and a champagne toast.

Best of all, you get two t-shirts and two Grand Slam breakfasts, which you have to use on your NEXT visit, not on your wedding day.

Sadly, Denny’s wedding packages don’t include Elvis.

7 – Zak Bagans’ Haunted Museum

The Haunted Museum, like most of the best attractions in Las Vegas, is located Downtown near Fremont Street.

You might have seen The Haunted Museum featured on the Travel Channel during an episode of Ghost Adventures. If you like ghost stories, you’ll hear plenty of them.

But the best part is seeing all the haunted items on display in the museum.

Supposedly, the museum itself is haunted. It was originally built in 1938, and the businessman who owned the property originally is said to wander around the property still.

The museum features over 30 different rooms. One of those rooms displays the Dybbuk Box, the “world’s most haunted object.”

The marketing director for the museum and the owner (Zak Bagans) claim to have seen ghostly figures trying to get to a haunted wine cabinet on display there, too.

I don’t believe in the supernatural, but I love horror stories. If you do, too, then this is probably something cool to see and do in Las Vegas.

Conclusion

I’ve barely scratched the surface of the weird and wacky things you can do when you visit Las Vegas. I’m sure if you’re a regular visitor to Sin City, you have recommendations, too.

Leave details about your favorite strange Las Vegas attractions in the comments.

The Blueprint for Winning an Entry in the WSOP

Poker Table with Casino Chips, Poker Cards Spread, WSOP Poker Logo
Are you good at poker? Do you think you have what it takes to make it to the final table and walk away with millions of dollars in poker winnings?

If so, maybe it’s time you started thinking about playing in the World Series of Poker. Sure, for some of you, that’s a huge jump.

It’s one thing to dominate your local poker room, the nearest casino, or multiple tables online. It’s another to walk into a gathering of the best poker professionals in the world and test your poker gaming knowledge against theirs.

While we can’t promise that you’ll make the final table at the World Series of Poker, we do promise we have a blueprint to get you qualified to play. It’s going to take some time and effort, but you can do it if you try. And, hopefully, it will cost you far less than the standard $10,000 entry fee.

Sound interesting? Ready to play poker? Good, let’s get you that entry!

1 – Play Poker. A Lot.

At some level, this part of the blueprint should be a no-brainer. When you make it to the World Series of Poker, you’re going to want to do well. To do well, you need to have excellent poker skills. The best way to get excellent poker skills is to play.

However, there’s more to this piece of advice than just getting you ready for the big tournament. Unless you can get that $10,000 entry amount, you’re going to have to qualify to enter.

Qualifying to enter means paying a much smaller entry fee then winning a tournament. To win a tournament, you’re going to have to play a lot and play well.

Therefore, before you even think about winning at WSOP, make sure you are playing regularly and you are winning. No offense to your friends and the locals you play with, but they are likely less skilled at poker than the competition you will have to beat to earn a WSOP entry.

Fortunately, if you’re trying to get a WSOP entry, you love poker, so this step shouldn’t be too tough.

2 – Ramp up Your Competition

Once you’re in a steady rhythm of playing poker, you have to step up your competition. Unless you are regularly playing with guys who made top eight at a WSOP event, you could stand to find tougher opponents.

Two Poker Players at Table Grabbing Chips, Red Versus Banner

Again, I don’t say this as any kind of slight against you or the people against whom you play. However, you are doing two things simultaneously. One, you are trying to compete on poker’s biggest and most prestigious stage and two, you are going to challenge other players for the right to play in the game.

The competition that you meet along the way will be tough and you need to be ready. Therefore, seek out the toughest casinos in your area. Play the highest stakes tournaments online. If you can, visit the City of Las Vegas and play the fanciest rooms. That experience will prove invaluable.

3 – Don’t Forget Sweepstakes

Every other piece step in this journey will be focused on entry into the WSOP via satellite tournament win. Fortunately, you also have a plan B that might get you there as well. You actually have a better chance of winning a tournament, but there are several sites that give away WSOP entries as part of a sweepstakes.

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Caesar’s Palace is particularly famous for giving away entries every year in a sweepstakes.

You would do well to enter as many of these sweepstakes as you can because it’s far cheaper than paying a lot of satellite tournament entry fees and, should you win, you can really focus in on just preparing for the WSOP.

4 – Find a Lesser Attended Satellite

As we said above, your best bet to make it into the WSOP without paying an arm and a leg is win via satellite tournament. Founded in the 1980s, satellite tournaments are smaller (though not necessarily small) events that offer one or more tournament entries as part of the prize.

These satellite tournaments are held all over the country in casinos that are geographically located so that most people can drive to one without being in the car too long. Also, fortunately, each one of these casinos will have a mini season (usually covering two weekends).

The tournament schedule for these satellites starts the day after the WSOP ends, so visit the World Series of Poker’s website to find an event near you. However, once you do find a satellite session near you, it’s time to be strategic.

Crowd at Poker Tournament, Pile of Cash

First, these satellite tournaments are not cheap. The minimum buy-in is at least $250 for the chance to play. Secondly, the number of tournament entries is determined by the number of people who play. Some would argue that it makes sense to find a bigger tournament with more entries, but if you can find a satellite tournament at an odd time, a smaller tournament might be your best friend.

Determining when the attendance is likely to be at its lowest will take some recon. If you can, attend several events at various times and days to see if this has an impact on that particular casino. If you’re not close, calling the casino and asking might be your best bet. Either way, try to have enough of a bankroll that you can enter at least two tournament odds to increase your chance of winning.

5 – Play Online Satellites

Fortunately, online poker houses will also have satellite tournaments. The particular sites and what they take to enter will vary, but hopefully you are already playing online poker and can determine which sites will be doing satellite tournaments from their marketing.

Just like showing up and playing poker in person can be somewhat costly, usually entry into online satellite tournaments will you cost a fairly significant amount of virtual currency.

Fortunately, though, that virtual currency is easier to replace (and less harmful if you lose it) than real money.

Still, be prepared to shell out a lot of virtual coins for multiple plays in qualifying tournaments.

With that said, playing online is a great way to qualify. Every year, the WSOP coverage highlights one or more players that were entered into the tournament via an online satellite. Many of these players advance past the first day. With that said, there are fewer online qualifiers than those who qualify in a real world tournament.

6 – Book a Ticket to Vegas

If you’ve already gotten your entry, then it’s time to make your reservations. However, if you are still trying to get your WSOP entry, Las Vegas is still where you want to be.

There are a number of places in Vegas who are continually hosting qualifying tournaments throughout the year. Some of these satellite tournaments are standard events like those you will find around the country.

Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Book Now Orange Sticker

However, the times vary every year, but the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino has partnered with WSOP to host a number of back-to-back satellite tournaments. Therefore, if you can make it to Las Vegas, you open yourself up to the largest number of onsite qualifiers as possible.

Again, though, the WSOP website can help you here by giving a list of all the real-world qualifiers going on in Vegas. Then, you can plan accordingly.

Conclusion

Like we said, following the blueprint to an entry into the World Series of Poker won’t be a walk in the park. There’s no magic formula that guarantees you will gain an entry just like there’s no magic formula to winning every tournament you play.

Still, the good news is that, with the exception of filling out a few entry forms, the path to getting your entry and not paying $10,000 doesn’t take much more than playing a lot of poker. That’s why, wherever you are and whatever time of year it is, if your dream is to play in the WSOP, start playing more now.

As you get comfortable with playing more often, seek out the best and the brightest poker players you can and play against them. Learn from them and from your inevitable mistakes. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to find a local satellite tournament and test your mettle there.

If you don’t win the first time, take heart. You got to play poker and maybe take a little trip. That’s not a bad day all in all.

Still, whatever you do, keep at it. If you dream is to play in WSOP, then you will get your chance. Just keep playing.

7 Ways to Improve Your Gambling Skills

Hand Reaching Over Casino Chips on Craps Table, Play and Win Text
Gamblers tend to fall into one of two categories. Some gamblers are constantly looking for ways to improve their results, and others just seem to go with the flow and never try to improve. Which type of gambler are you?

It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past, you can start taking action to improve your gambling skills starting right now. I’ve put together a quick overview of seven ways you can learn more about gambling and improve your results.

1 – Read Books and Articles

Gamblers generally fall into one of two categories. Some gamblers love to interact with other people and enjoy spending time around people in general. The other category is filled with gamblers who’d rather spend time alone than talking to other people.

Gamblers from both groups can learn a great deal for reading books and articles, but people in the second group tend to lean toward solitary learning. You can find books and articles covering just about anything you want to know, including how to be a winning gambler.

The main problem is that reading can only take you so far. Eventually, you need to take what you learn and put it into action.

It’s easier than ever to gamble while limiting your social interaction, but the problem is that most advantage gambling techniques have to be used in live settings.

You can bet on sports and play poker online, but the best casino games offered online require further skill to beat. I’m a strong believer in book learning, because almost every possible advantage method is covered in print. Even the most secret ones are hinted at in some literature, and you can use books and articles to learn how to beat blackjack and poker.

2 – Watch Instructional Videos and Feeds

Illustration of Video Poker Machine, Table Game with Casino Chips and Cards, Youtube Play Button
Instructional videos and live feeds of gamblers are great learning tools. You can find more videos and feeds now than ever before, and the number just keeps going up. You can also see how things work in the gambling world by watching videos.

Poker players can watch thousands and thousands of actual hands to analyze what works and why. This is one of the most overlooked tools available to poker players. But you can also find videos covering other gambling activities as well.

The next best thing to experience is watching someone else play. While you can learn a great deal from the action on videos, make sure you watch for other things on them. When I watch poker videos, I always watch the players who aren’t involved in the hand, too.

Just make sure you don’t fall into the trap of thinking the hands you see in videos and on television are the type of hands that happen on every deal. Most hands in poker are boring and simple, so they don’t get shown on television or online often.

3 – Trial and Error

Learning how to improve your gambling skills by trial and error is the slowest and most costly way to do it. But it doesn’t mean it lacks value. Some things can only be learned by trying them. You can learn a great deal about gambling and improve your skills by reading about it and watching videos, but once you reach a certain point in your education, you have to try your hand in a real game.

I don’t suggest starting your learning with trial and error. You can find all kinds of good information before you start gambling, so you can skip a great deal of pain by spending some time with print and video before you start playing for real money.

4 – Experience

Guy on His Computer Displaying Live Table Game
No matter how much you learn from books, articles, videos, and television, there are some things you can only learn with experience. This is true for most forms of gambling, but the place it’s been the truest for me is at the poker table.

I play poker online sometimes, but I still prefer to play live. When you can watch your opponents, you can pick up things that help you improve your results. This can add a great deal of profit to your game over time.

Even if you don’t play poker, you can still learn a great deal by getting experience playing your favorite games.

5 – Free Online Casino Games

One of the best learning tools created in the last half century is free online casino games. You can get a free account at hundreds of different online casinos and poker rooms and play just about any game you want for free.

This is a great way to learn the rules of specific games and gain experience without risking anything.

While many gamblers feel the need to eventually play for real money, if you can get the same thrill from free games, you can play as much as you want without hurting your bank account.

Casino games are designed to take your money, so most gamblers lose in the long run. While you can play certain games in particular ways that give you a chance to be a long term winner, free online games are a great way to play without putting your money at risk.

6 – Do the Math

I know that many people are scared of math. The reason I can say this is because I spent several years teaching math, and most of my students were afraid of it when they started my course. Most people who’re scared of math do everything they can to avoid learning more about it. But you can quickly improve your gambling skills by learning everything you can about the math that runs casino and gambling games.

You can’t learn everything you need to know in one section of an article, but here is a list of things you need to learn more about to get you started on the right path.

  • Casino house edge
  • Odds
  • Expected value
  • How strategy can be used to change the house edge in some games

7 – Find a Mentor

Group of People Playing Casino Table Game, Chat Bubble with Person Icon
How much do you think you could learn if you found a wise older advantage player who took you under his or her wing and showed you all of the ways they’ve learned to beat the casinos? Do you think this would be faster and more profitable than learning everything through books, videos, and experience?

I don’t think there’s any doubt that finding a mentor is the best way to learn how to become a winning gambler. I think it’s also the fastest way to start winning money while gambling. But it’s difficult to find advantage gamblers.

Advantage gamblers don’t advertise because they don’t want the casinos to know who they are. And most of them aren’t looking for someone to teach their skills to. After all, there are only a limited number of advantage opportunities, and every new advantage player makes it harder for other advantage players.

One of the important things you need to learn about gambling and life in general is that everyone is out for themselves.

No matter how anyone acts, at the core, everyone is interested in what’s in it for them.

The question you need to ask is what do you have to offer an advantage player in return for their knowledge and help? It’s easy to say you don’t have anything to offer, but this attitude won’t get you anywhere.

One way advantage players get started is by working with a card counting team. You can learn how to count cards and act as a counter for a team that uses big players. You always bet the minimum and use basic strategy while counting and signal a big player when the count is favorable.

If you can afford it and want to focus on playing poker, hire a poker coach. Sports betting is challenging, but you might be able to start running bets for an experienced bettor as a way to get close to them. This is illegal in some areas, so make sure you understand the laws before using this tactic.

Winning gamblers also need help in areas that don’t involve gambling. Many of them need an accountant or lawyer, while others hire people to take care of other things in their lives like take care of the shopping and dry cleaning. This could offer an opportunity to trade services for their help.

It’s challenging to find a gambling mentor, so you need to keep your eyes and ears open and meet as many people as possible. When an opportunity presents itself, you need to be ready to act.

Conclusion

This list of seven ways to improve your gambling skills isn’t in any particular order. You can start at the top and work down, or you can pick one or two tips and start using them. The important thing is to get started, because if you never start improving, you’re going to continue losing more than you should.

Will Keno Games Ever Die?

Keno Game Screen with Numbers, Keno Logo Inside Red Blue Box
Every gambling guide and tutorial in history tells you to stay away from keno. But interest in the game seems to be higher than ever.

Why won’t the game of keno die? Who is playing this game? Do these people know something the seasoned baccarat, blackjack, and poker players of the world have missed?

I don’t think the answer is obvious. This is one of those “it depends” questions. Keno is a game with many faces and a lot of history.

People will probably be playing some version of keno 100 years from now. Maybe, someday, someone will come up with a keno game that has really good odds.

A Short History of the Game of Keno

Keno is a lottery game. Its notoriety among lottery games is well deserved, because there are so many different versions of keno that it’s hard to know what you’re playing.

There are two big differences between traditional keno and the popular government-run lotteries around the world.

  1. Keno drawings use more numbers
  2. Keno prizes are fixed amounts
Not only is it harder to win a big prize in keno, the prizes don’t increase in value over time the way the state-sanctioned lotteries work.

If there’s no PowerBall jackpot winner over 20 drawings, the jackpots roll over.

In traditional keno, each drawing has one fixed jackpot, and it never increases in value. I say “traditional keno” but, as I said, there are many variations on game rules. Some keno games do roll over the jackpots.

The origin of keno is not certain. According to Etymology Online, the word was first used in American English in 1814. Etymologists believe the word was derived from the French word quine, meaning “five winning numbers in a lottery.”

This suggests a lottery game like traditional keno was introduced to America by French colonists, probably from New Orleans.

No one knows where keno was invented, but legend says it began in China about 4,000 years ago. Historical records only show that the Portuguese first granted a license for a modern lottery game in Macau in 1847.

The casting or drawing of lots is an ancient practice found around the world. Chinese historians disagree on who invented lottery games but they say the practice ended during the Ming dynasty (1368 – 1644). Although historians aren’t sure of how modern keno developed Europeans most likely developed the basic rules used today.

Why Is Keno so Popular?

Group of Women Cheering, Casino Keno Numbers on White Ball
One explanation for the popularity of lottery games is that they are supposedly “more democratic” in nature. Unlike a table game (such as roulette) or a card game (like poker), everyone has an equal chance in a lottery.

Casinos only run the best casino games that make them profits. The idea that a lottery is democratic is misleading. Who keeps the un-won prize money?

Lotteries don’t have to be played for money. They have been used for thousands of years to choose people for special purposes. The Acts of the Apostles explains how Judas Iscariot was replaced by drawing lots.

The Chinese Examination system was so popular as a path to social and political influence that applicants were eventually chosen by a lottery system known as Weising. But historians say these lotteries were corrupted and flawed by bribery scandals.

Although players may believe they have fair chances in lottery games, these games can be and have been rigged throughout history. Government oversight only works as long as everyone is doing their job.

One of the most famous sweepstakes scandals in modern history is the “McDonald’s Sweepstakes Scandal”, where an insider distributed winning tickets to friends and acquaintances for years. Millions of people played the game thinking it was fair and democratic, but it was rigged by one rogue insider.

Keno and other lottery games appeal to people who don’t want to spend a lot of time learning how to play a complicated game. Although there are millions of poker players around the world, only a small percentage are professionals.

Far more people play lotteries than play poker. But another modern twist to keno helps sustain the game’s popularity, its drawings happen more frequently than other lottery games.

If keno has a clear advantage over PowerBall, EuroMillions, and other sanctioned lotteries, it is that players usually only need to wait a few minutes for the next drawing.

Keno Isn’t Just Keno

White Numbers Floating Around Background, Casino Keno Ticket
Once state-run lottery authorities began offering their own versions of keno, millions of players took an interest in the game. Government-run games must be completely fair, and scandals are few and far between.

But unlike MegaMillions or PowerBall, it’s impractical for keno drawings to rely on air-blown ping pong ball drawings. The numbers are generated by closely-guarded computers, and drawings are broadcast live throughout the day.

Players have enjoyed these kinds of keno games in casinos for years. But it makes a difference who manages the drawings and sets the prizes. Every operator sets their own prizes and rollover rules.

To understand it better, there is no single keno authority running all the games. There are many keno authorities and they decide wager amounts, prizes, odds, and drawing frequencies.

The odds of winning and payout percentages vary from game operator to game operator.  Although you’ll find variations in table game rules for blackjack, poker, and roulette, they’re minor compared to what you find in the universe of keno games.

And scratch card players now have multiple keno games to choose from. Unlike true lottery drawings, these games are keno in name only. The scratch games must produce guaranteed winners for some combination of prize amounts.

Knowledge Is the Greatest Threat to Keno’s Future

The odds of winning and payouts in keno are much worse than in standard lottery games. Players may not care so much if they can keep playing, but competition is changing the landscape.

As more variations become available to players, they can choose which version of the game to play. Going from the worst odds to really bad odds is a better choice than sticking with the version you know.

Sooner or later, each operator will have to adjust game rules to remain competitive. Although the best keno advice may be to not play the game, people love to gamble. They love beating the odds no matter what the game.

As new variations on keno enter the market, the basic game will become less popular. Keno should evolve over time.

Keno operators will weigh their decisions against their costs and profits. The frequent drawings offset the competitive nature to some degree. But players can buy a long roll of keno scratch offs and play the game at their leisure.

As more players become aware of the choices available to them, things will gradually change.

Keno Is Vulnerable to a More Efficient Game, Too

Video Keno Screen, Money Stack Flying in Corner of Screen
Instead of trying to make keno better, game designers may simply create an alternative to keno. There have been experiments along the way, from wheel-based games to other types of drawings; they come and go.

Video keno has grown in popularity alongside casino video poker, video blackjack, and similar games. As long as the casinos have the best odds, they can experiment with different video keno platforms.

But do they need to? To upset keno’s popularity, a breakout game needs to satisfy players’ demands.

  1. A game that feels fair and democratic
  2. Frequent play (easily done via video platform)
  3. Big prizes

It’s fair to say that gamblers already have slots and scratch offs to meet these requirements. But it’s also fair to say that people get bored with the same old games. Gaming companies know this, and that’s why they are constantly experimenting with new ideas.

Maybe augmented reality games will introduce a new kind of lottery game.

Conclusion

The future of keno looks golden. Because there are so many different types of keno, it’s unlikely any one version of the game will dominate others. It’s too easy to put the name “keno” on a gambling game.

Only 30 years ago, keno was different and much simpler from the games played today. Players have good reason to expect more changes in the keno landscape.

The original keno game has already been laid to rest by its descendants. And players are most likely better off for the change. As bad as keno is today, the early versions of the game were surely less fair and democratic.

The 4 Levels of Casino Gambling

Professional-Gamblers

Enough people are critical of casino gambling that I don’t feel I need to discourage you from playing blackjack, craps, or slot machines.

If you enjoy casino games, you should play them. The trick is to become a better casino gambler over time.

I’ve read dozens (if not hundreds) of books about casino games and gambling. And the best thing you can do with any endeavor is become an expert at it as soon as possible.

Why? You enjoy what you’re good at, and you’re good at what you enjoy.

With casino gambling, it’s easier to become educated about how the games work by not putting any money into action. For most people, this means reading about the games or playing the free versions of the games.

That’s the starting point. In this post, I list the four stages of being a casino gambler along with advice about how to progress to a higher level.

1 – The Complete Newbie to Gambling

First of all, don’t make the mistake of thinking that by labeling casino gamblers I’m somehow judging the content of their character. What makes someone a complete newbie to gambling is simply inexperience.

In fact, everyone starts as a complete newbie to casino gambling. To progress beyond that, you should start by reading a couple of books about casino games and gambling. I can recommend any of the following books on the subject:

  1. Casino Gambling for Dummies by Kevin Blackwood
  2. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Gambling Like a Pro by Stanford Wong
  3. Winning Ways: The American Mensa Guide to Casino Gambling by Andrew Brisman

Any of these are good enough to get you started. My suggestion is to pick one game that sounds fun, read the chapter on that game, then try it in its free version at an online casino.

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Once you’re comfortable with the gameplay, try the real money version at a live casino or on your computer. Branch out into other games one at a time until you’ve decided which casino games you like and which ones you don’t.

If you’re like me, you’ll lean toward the games with the lowest house edge. I play a lot of blackjack and video poker, and I avoid games with a high house edge. You’ll rarely see me playing keno or sic bo, for example.

Once you’ve decided which games you enjoy, it’s time to move on to the next level.

2 – The Well-Informed Casino Gambler

A well-informed casino gambler has read a book or two about casino gambling in general and knows which games she likes to play. She also has a ballpark understanding of which games offer better odds than others.

A well-informed casino gambler can sit down at most casino games and play without having to ask a lot of questions. They might not make the correct strategy decisions all the time, but they don’t have to ask what insurance is in blackjack either.

A well-informed gambler also has a separate bankroll set aside for gambling, and that consists only of money she can afford to lose. She doesn’t have to worry about losing the rent money playing craps, for example.

Most well-informed gamblers are members of the players club at the casino, but they don’t pay too much attention to the details of the players club. They just enjoy the perks when they happen.

A casino gambler at this level is also smart enough to know that the house has an edge at all these games, and the probability of beating that edge is small. They also know that beating the house edge is mostly a matter of luck.

But with skill, some games can be beaten. The next level of gambler, the intermediate, is one who starts to get the hang of beating the casinos.

3 – The Intermediate Casino Gambler

An intermediate casino gambler has specific goals for gambling activities. She probably doesn’t make a living as a gambler, but she might make enough profit from the comps of the players’ club to afford a lot of free vacations.

An example of an intermediate casino gambler is an excellent video poker player. Not only can such a player identify the best pay tables, but she can play with close to optimal strategy. This minimizes the mathematical edge for the house.

When she combines that with the rewards from her slots club membership, she’s at least break-even. She might even be profitable, although not profitable enough to make a living playing video poker.

Another example is the so-called “comp wizard.” This is a gambler who uses perfect basic strategy in blackjack combined with some special techniques to maximize the amount of comps she gets from her play.

You can find blackjack games in Vegas with a house edge of 0.3%. The casino, though, awards comps based on the idea that you’re an average gambler. The average gambler doesn’t use basic strategy and faces a house edge of closer to 2.5%.

Since your casino comps are based on the casino’s estimate of your expected loss, it’s easy to see how you might come out ahead on such a deal.

You can also give the casino the impression that you’re playing more hands than you’re actually playing by taking frequent breaks or by sitting out some hands because of some pretend superstition.

You can give the casino the impression that you’re betting more than you actually are by betting big at first and scaling back over time.

They’ll estimate your comp rate based on an average number of hands per hour at an average bet per hand. Your job is to maximize what the casino thinks those numbers are while minimizing what those numbers are in actuality.

Intermediate gamblers usually avoid sucker bets and carnival games. A carnival game is any casino game with a huge house edge that would be better avoided.

4 – The Professional Casino Gambler

A professional casino gambler is the top tier of casino gambling expertise, and the vast majority of casino gamblers won’t achieve this. Even if you’re good enough to get an edge in the casino, the chances of making a living at it are slim to none.

A professional casino gambler makes his living playing casino games. This usually limits the casino games available to blackjack, which has the most opportunity for advantage play.

Some casino gamblers move on to sports betting or poker, both of which are different types of betting from casino games. They’re easier to get a long-term edge at, though.

Most professional casino gamblers use advantage play techniques in blackjack like card counting, shuffle tracking, and edge sorting. They also often work on a team which provides them with a bigger bankroll.

Some people might think that video poker is also an option for professional gambling, but you’d need higher stakes machines with a bigger edge to make a living playing such games. Sure, if you’re able to live on less than minimum wage, you might be able to become a professional video poker player.

But if you’re smart enough to pull that off, you’re also smart enough to realize you could do much better playing other games and making more money.

Conclusion

Casino gambling is more fun when you know what type of player you are. You can set goals for becoming a better player that way.

Even if you don’t want to climb the ranks, it’s a good idea to get past the complete newbie stage as soon as possible.

What level of casino gambler are you? Leave me a message in the comments and let me know.

7 Best Places to Play Blackjack When You Visit the Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas Strip View at Night, Blackjack Cards and Text
Las Vegas attracted an astounding 42 million visitors in 2018, and when these gamblers got into town, they overwhelmingly hit The Strip.

This iconic stretch of 30 casino properties lining Las Vegas Boulevard – starting with Mandalay Bay on the southern end and stretching 4.6 miles northbound to the Stratosphere tower – has become synonymous with Sin City. In fact, for millions of gamblers worldwide, the idea of playing blackjack games or slots anywhere else in Las Vegas is a nonstarter to say the least.

It wasn’t always this way of course. Up until the 1990s, the beating heart of Las Vegas could be found a few miles north of The Strip in the Downtown district. The historic old gambling halls clustered along Fremont Street were famously frequented by Frank Sinatra and the “Rat Pack” pals, while Elvis Presley’s legendary film “Viva Las Vegas” (1964) featured plenty of scenes filmed on the old Fremont drag.

Eventually though, Las Vegas Boulevard’s seemingly endless space for new construction prompted casino operators to build their modern mega-resorts there. Over the last 30 years or so, glittering monuments to all things gambling like the Bellagio, Caesars Palace, and Wynn emerged from the Mojave Desert sands like flowers after a summer shower.

Las Vegas’ History with Blackjack

The Strip’s appeal for tourists is its ability to combine slots, table games, poker, and all the other casino staples with an endless supply of non-gambling entertainment. From the glory days of “Mr. Las Vegas” himself Wayne Newton – to more recent permanent residencies by luminaries like Celine Dion, Britney Spears, and Aerosmith – visitors to The Strip can have fun for weeks on end without ever stepping foot on the gaming floor.

That’s all well and good of course, but if you found your way here, you’re looking to learn more about the Las Vegas Strip’s blackjack selection.

Old Las Vegas Casinos Photo, Pair of Casino Dice

Unfortunately for blackjack players who enjoy The Strip, corporate casino ownership has muddied the waters, so to speak. Companies like MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment have come to dominate the market – these two industry titans collectively control 17 casinos on The Strip – and consolidation is never good for consumers.

To wit, today’s blackjack scene on The Strip is largely defined by diluted 6 to 5 payouts on blackjack rather than the old standard of 3 to 2. Knowing most casual gamblers and tourists looking for a good time won’t know the difference, the casino operators who lord over The Strip have mostly replaced their 3 to 2 tables with the inferior 6 to 5 setup.

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Changing your payout on a $5 bet from $7.50 (3 to 2) to $6 (6 to 5) might not seem like a big deal at first glance, and that’s where the casinos win without ever dealing a hand.

In reality, this subtle adjustment balloons the house edge incurred by basic strategy players, swelling the house’s advantage from 0.40 percent to over 2 percent (depending on various house rules).

As a result, many advanced blackjack players who have been around the proverbial block have sworn The Strip off altogether. These thinking players have studied the numbers, and they know that many of the best places to play blackjack in Las Vegas can be found in Off-Strip casinos.

That’s a shame though, because The Strip didn’t become an oasis of glitz, glamour, and gambling for no reason. Even if you’ve already experienced the sights and sounds of The Strip for yourself, and your sole focus is finding the best blackjack odds and house advantage, Las Vegas Boulevard still has a few diamonds in the rough waiting to be discovered.

With that in mind, check out the list below for a full rundown of the best places to play blackjack when you’re on The Strip.

1 – Treasure Island

While not as popular as many of The Strip’s more well-known casinos, Treasure Island is home to the very best blackjack game in the area – both in terms of house edge and price point.

You’ll learn about a few other venues where blackjack’s house edge can be reduced to 0.19 percent – one of the lowest rates in all of casino gambling – but only Treasure Island lets you enjoy those odds for just $25 per hand.

That’s the minimum bet limit found on three of the 28 tables at Treasure Island which award 3 to 2 payouts on blackjack. This trio of 3 to 2 tables uses the double-deck system too, so players concerned with the count only have 104 cards to sort through instead of 312 (six-deck shoe) or 416 (eight-deck shoe).

Outside the Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas

To finish things off, the three best blackjack tables on The Strip require the dealer to stand on soft 17, rather than take a mandatory hit. This rule tweak shaves a full 0.20 percent off any game’s house edge rate, creating the razor-thin 0.19 percent advantage held by Treasure Island on its 3 to 2 double-deck games.

Other venues might be able to match that house edge, but they require minimum wagers of $100 or more, while Treasure Island lets low-rollers live a little thanks to that $25 limit.

And if you want to bet smaller at the standard $5 minimum stakes, Treasure Island has 16 six-deck tables which use the 3 to 2 payout for a house edge of only 0.46 percent.

2 – ARIA Resort & Casino

Sticking with the lowest house edge on The Strip of 0.19 percent, blackjack players with good blackjack bankroll management will enjoy the swanky ARIA Resort & Casino.

Only 10 years old, the ARIA is one of the newest casinos on The Strip and it shows. Everything here is sleek and modern, the service is impeccable, and the amenities are extravagant to say the least.

And of the 18 blackjack tables at the ARIA which offer 3 to 2 payouts, you’ll find three using the same double-deck, dealer stands dynamic described above. Those rules combine to create the elusive 0.19 percent house edge rate, but the minimum bet of $100 represents a 4x premium on the price paid by Treasure Island players.

3 – Bellagio Hotel & Casino (Honorable Mention to Mirage and MGM Grand)

If the ARIA is the epitome of modern luxury, the Bellagio is an homage to the utterly unique beauty of antiquity.

Centered around its Old World Italy theme, the Bellagio is famously home to dancing water fountains outside, and art galleries, designer shopping, and even a one-of-a-kind Dale Chiluly handblown glass exhibit.

Those amenities provide the Bellagio’s backdrop, but 14 blackjack tables – four of which offer 3 to 2 payouts and the same 0.19 percent house edge setup for $100 minimum bets – are this casino’s centerpiece.

And if you’re looking to save a few bucks on the room rate, check out MGM Resorts sister properties Mirage (2) and MGM Grand (3) to find a few of the exact same tables.

4 – Tropicana

Entrance to Tropicana Casino in Las Vegas, Blackjack Table with Cards and Casino Chips
You’ll find dozens of tables on The Strip which use a six-deck shoe, have dealers stand on soft 17, and pay 3 to 2 on blackjacks.

This structure produces a house edge of 0.26 percent, but while everywhere else asks for minimum wagers of $100, the Tropicana halves that limit to $50 on four tables.

The “Trop” also has four double-deck 3 to 2 tables with a 0.35 percent house edge at $25 minimum bets.

5 – Circus Circus Hotel & Resort

This joint has seen better days, but if you can abide the abundance of children running around the periphery, Circus Circus spreads one of the most affordable 3 to 2 blackjack games on The Strip.

Two tables here come in double-deck format with dealer hits on soft 17 to bring the house edge to 0.40 percent, all for the low price of $15 per hand.

6 – Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino

If variety is the name of your game, Caesars Palace has 21 different 3 to 2 blackjack tables on hand.

The most affordable version costs $10 per hand and you’ll face a house edge of 0.54 percent.

On the other end of the spectrum, seven tables with a 0.26 percent house can be found at $100 stakes.

7 – Wynn Las Vegas

Street View of Wynn Las Vegas Casino, Ace of Spades and Jack Card
Closing out the list is the Wynn Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, which houses 19 tables using the 3 to 2 payout system. The lowest house edge here is 0.26 percent on seven $100 tables, while 12 other $50 tables offer 0.40 percent hill to climb.

Conclusion

In exchange for betting a bit higher, blackjack sharps can still enjoy all the amenities and attractions found on The Strip – without sacrificing any equity in terms of the house edge along the way. It’d be great if all blackjack tables on Las Vegas Boulevard offered 3 to 2 payouts and liberal house rules, but alas, that ship has sailed.

The Strip will always be a money pit designed to separate suckers from their dollars and cents, but you don’t have to be one of them. Armed with this list of top-rated places to play blackjack on The Strip, you can have your cake and eat it too.

3 Three Card Poker Rules and Strategies Most Players Don’t Know About

Three-Card-Poker-Table-Cash

I came up through the ranks as a casino player learning the classics, receiving my education in blackjack and video poker through practice, repetition, and patience.

And while I had a few pals to show me the ropes as a rookie, my tutelage was largely spent studying at the school of hard knocks. Rough runs, and truly unbelievable swings in short-term – although those slumps never do fee short, now do they? – helped me to refine my strategic approach until I became capable of beating the house consistently.

Nowadays, I’ve transitioned from student to teacher. Gambling has grown by leaps and bounds since my youth, with millions of people whose parents wouldn’t be caught dead on the casino floor happily enjoying table games, slots, poker, bingo, keno, and more.

With a massive influx of new players taking to the casino – both the brick and mortar and online / mobile variety – the house enjoys more of advantage than ever before. That’s especially true with the advent of newer table games like Three Card Poker, which combines the random results inherent to a game of chance with one pivotal element of skill to create the perfect casino gamble.

If you just got your start playing Three Card Poker, or you’ve never even taken a hand in your life, here’s the game in a nutshell.

Players place an Ante bet to start – along with an optional side bet called the Pair Plus that you’ll learn more about later in the page – before taking three face up cards at random. The dealer also gets three cards dealt face down. After assessing the relative strength of your three-card poker hand – you won’t be taking additional cards through the draw, or doing anything to change your initial holding – the game’s sole decision point asks you to “Play” or “Fold.”

To play means putting up a second wager equal to the first, while folding obviously means forfeiting the hand right then and there.

If you decide to make the Play bet, the dealer then exposes their own hand and you’ll compare them to see which one ranks higher. These are three-card poker hands, mind you, so something like 7-8-9 is good for a straight, and the Q-K-A of the same suit is known as the Mini Royal Flush.

Because the game doesn’t ask very much of its players, Three Card Poker has taken on a reputation as a “carnival game” of sorts among the sharp gambling crowd. Simply put, without crucial decisions to improve your hand, Three Card Poker plays out much more like a game of chance than a skill-based card game.

Nonetheless, you’ll inevitably see the same Three Card Poker regulars stacking up newfound chips, while the same lifelong losers (in the casino setting only of course, I’m sure they’re great people in real life) bleed chips and walk away emptyhanded.

That’s because, despite its deceptively simple appearance, Three Card Poker is actually subject to an essential skill element. If you’re interested in becoming a better Three Card Poker player, read on to discover three rules and strategies about the game that most players don’t know about.

1 – You Only Need to Remember One Rule to Play Three Card Poker Perfectly

If you’ve ever studied blackjack before, those detailed color-coded charts advising you how to make every possible decision perfectly might just give you nightmares.

After all, with 190 unique inflection points to consider – your A-5 against the dealer’s 6, whether to split 9-9, etc. – memorizing and mastering basic strategy for blackjack is quite the mental exercise. Some players might call it a “chore” too, what with all the razor thin margins between the correct play and all the other options that seem to be right.

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Well, if you’re looking to give your brain a break, Three Card Poker basic strategy should be right up your alley.

As it turns out, the static deal – meaning, players can’t change their starting cards – combined with a sole decision point makes Three Card Poker strategy a breeze.

All you need to remember in order to play this game to perfection is one simple cutoff point – Q-4-6.

With any hand ranked at Q-6-4 or higher, you should always make the Play bet and go toe to toe with the dealer. And with any hand ranked Q-6-3 or worse, you should always fold and live to fight another day.

Don’t take my word for it though, just listen to what longtime casino game analyst and mathematician Michael Shackleford has to say on the subject:

“I have no doubt that Q/6/4 is the optimal strategy for three card poker.

Stanley Ko independently came up with the same advice. This strategy is based on a computer program which analyzes all 22,100 possible combinations of the player’s three cards, and for each one the remaining 18,424 possible combinations of the dealer’s three cards.

If you follow the dealer’s strategy, then you will be folding on some hands which have an expected return of more than -1 (the return by folding).”

To save you the advanced math, game theorists have run every conceivable combination of three cards through a supercomputer. By examining every single hand’s unique expected return, and dividing all hands into positive and negative plays, Q-6-4 represents the exact cutoff point where Three Card Poker hands become profitable over the long run.

By using the Q-6-4 strategy, sharp players shave their house edge on the Ante and Plus bets down to 3.37 percent – which is better than close table game cousins Let It Ride (3.51 percent) and Caribbean Stud Poker (5.22 percent)

2 – Hunting for Quality Pair Plus Pay Tables Can Save You Tons in the Long Run

Three-Card-Poker-Poker Table-Chips

The big bugaboo for bad Three Card Poker players is the Pair Plus side bet.

At first glance, paying a few bucks to give yourself a shot at premium payouts climbing to 40 to 1 seems like a steal. And indeed, when you score a topline Pair Plus payout, it can be tough to envision every playing this game without the side bet working.

But one look at the table below should show you why the Pair Plus bet is almost always a sucker play:

Three Card Poker Pair Plus Side Bet Pay Tables (No Mini Royal Flush)

HAND #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10
Straight Flush 40 35 40 35 50 40 40 40 40 42
Three/Kind 30 33 25 25 30 30 25 30 32 38
Straight 6 6 6 6 6 5 5 6 6 6
Flush 4 4 4 4 3 4 4 3 4 4
Pair 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Nothing -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1
House Edge 2.32% 2.70% 3.49% 4.58% 5.10% 5.57% 6.75% 7.28% 1.85% 0.00

The game originally used pay table #1, with a 40-30-6-4-1 alignment creating a house edge of 2.32 percent. But these days, the casinos largely use pay table #8, because that slightly adjusted 40-30-6-3-1 structure balloons the house edge to 7.28 percent.

You’ll find the same discrepancy on Pair Plus pay tables that incorporate the Mini Royal Flush:

Three Card Poker Pair Plus Side Bet Pay Tables (With Mini Royal Flush)

Hand #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6
Mini Royal 50 100 200 50 50 80
Straight Flush 40 50 40 40 40 40
Three/Kind 30 30 30 30 30 25
Straight 6 6 6 5 6 6
Flush 4 3 3 4 3 3
Pair 1 1 1 1 1 1
Nothing -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1
House Edge 2.14% 4.20% 4.38% 5.39% 7.10% 7.73%

Whenever you see house edge rates climb over 5.00 percent and approach 10 percent, you should consider the wagers to be nonstarters.

You might hit a few here and there, but when you realize those straight flush payouts only arrive 0.2 percent of the time, the Pair Plus side bet quickly loses its appeal.

3 – Successfully Hole Carding the Dealer Can Actually Produce a Healthy Player Edge

On a final note, the “flow” of live casino gambling is never set in stone, so the best players are always on the lookout for any extra edge they can find.

And at the Three Card Poker table, extra edges arrive whenever the dealer is lazy with their hole cards. A tired or bored dealer will occasionally flash their own cards during the deal. And whenever you can get a glimpse of their cards, even just one or two, this additional information makes your Play / Fold decision much easier.

If you’re able to “hole card” the dealer – this isn’t cheating, by the way, so don’t worry about taking advantage when it happens – the house edge of 3.37 percent becomes a player edge of 3.48 percent.

Conclusion

Three Card Poker strategy might sound simple when you first hear about the Q-6-4 rule, but that’s only the beginning. Understanding how the various Pair Plus and Ante Bonus pay tables really compare, crunching your house edge numbers to determine whether a particular pay table is worth playing, and avoiding the temptation to make sucker side bets are all essential skills. You’ve come this far, which means you’re fully prepared and ready to tackle the Three Card Poker tables by playing the game perfectly on every deal.

3 Best Off-Strip Places to Play Video Poker in Las Vegas

Casino Video Poker Screen, View of City of Las Vegas, Las Vegas Logo
For the life of me, I just don’t understand how so many gamblers can lower themselves to play against inferior video poker pay tables.

And that’s exactly what they’re doing too. That’s because every coin you wager on a game of video poker and every hand you play must contend with the exact probabilities and payouts offered by the machine’s particular pay table.

In other words, even if you play a perfect basic strategy that follows all of the optimal discard / draw decisions to a tee, a bad pay table instantly and irrevocably reduces your overall odds of success.

If you’re just starting out on your personal video poker journey, and don’t know much about how pay tables work, take a moment to acquaint yourself with the basics of the game first. Once you’ve learned the ropes, return here for an advanced course on putting that pay table knowledge to work for you going forward.

In a nutshell, the pay table – or the escalating ladder of payouts awarded for each hand based on their difficulty to make – holds every video poker enthusiast’s destiny in its proverbial hands.

A Look Into Video Poker Pay Tables

When you play on a 9/6 full pay Jacks or Better machine, for example, the 9-coin reward for a full house and 6-coin reward for a flush combine with the other payouts to create a 99.54 percent payback percentage. Switch over to an inferior 9/5 pay table, however, and the exact same Jacks or Better gameplay suddenly offers a much lower 98.45 percent payback rate.

That may not seem like too big of a deal, but consider this… for every $100 you bet over your lifetime as a Jacks or Better player, the full pay game will return $99.54 – sending just $0.46 to the house on average. Meanwhile, those suckers on the 9/5 machines will watch $1.55 of every $100 wagered be scooped up by the house.

And that’s not even the worst of it either. Substandard pay tables commonly offered by modern casinos on their Jacks or Better machines can slice your payback percentage down to double-zero roulette status:

Jacks or Better Pay Table Comparison

TABLE PAYBACK
9/6 99.54 percent
9/5 98.45 percent
8/6 98.39 percent
8/5 97.30 percent
7/5 96.15 percent
6/5 95.00 percent

And this larceny of your bottom line isn’t limited to Jacks or Better by any means. As you can see in the various tables below, all of the popular video poker variants begin with a full pay table up top, followed by a series of progressively worse options:

Deuces Wild Pay Table Comparison

TABLE PAYBACK
25/15/9/5/3/2 100.76 percent
25/15/11/4/4/3 99.96 percent
25/16/10/4/4/3 99.73 percent
25/15/9/4/4/3 98.91 percent
20/12/10/4/4/3 97.58 percent
20/12/9/4/4/3 97.06 percent
25/16/13/4/3/2 96.77 percent
20/10/8/4/4/3 95.96 percent
25/15/10/4/3/2 94.82 percent

Double Bonus Poker Pay Table Comparison

TABLE PAYBACK
10/7 100.17 percent
9/7/5 99.11 percent
9/6/5 97.81 percent
9/6/4 96.38 percent
8/5 94.19 percent
7/5 93.11 percent

Double Double Bonus Poker Pay Table Comparison

TABLE PAYBACK
10/6 100.07 percent
9/6/4 98.98 percent
9/5 97.87 percent
8/5 96.79 percent
7/5 95.71 percent
6/5 94.66 percent

And naturally, the casinos don’t advertise their video poker pay table selection in any noticeable way. In fact, they count on uninformed players – whether they’re simply unaware of the concept, don’t care about long-term probabilities, or too drunk to even notice – to transform video poker from a player-friendly gambler into a money-making powerhouse for the casino house edge.

Consider this for a moment… whenever a 9/6 full pay Jacks or Better player decides to bet anything other than the maximum of 5 coins, their payback rate drops all the way down to 98.30 percent. Failing to bet the max represents the cardinal sin for video poker enthusiasts, as it precludes players from triggering the juiced up Royal Flush jackpot of 4,000 coins.

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But even if you do bet the max to follow proper strategy, bringing your bankroll to a 9/5, 8/6, or 8/5 pay table puts your payback rate right there at 98.30 percent – or even worse.

Unfortunately for the more than 42 million tourists who visited Sin City last year – the bulk of whom stayed on the “fabulous” (read: overhyped) Las Vegas Strip – those modern mega-resort casinos almost exclusively offer inferior pay tables. The owners of the 30 casinos lining Las Vegas Boulevard know that most tourists will never leave the area, confining the sum of their gambling action to The Strip as a captive audience of sorts.

Welcome to Las Vegas Sign, Video Poker Casino Machines
Thus, casinos on The Strip spread non-full pay video poker machines without remorse, relentlessly skinning their unsuspecting players for every nickel and dime they can get.

Meanwhile, when you venture away from The Strip to explore Las Vegas’ competing casino regions, the dark clouds of crappy pay tables suddenly disappear. Video poker players in the know never play on The Strip, choosing instead to put their money behind full pay tables only.

If you want to join them by backing the best video poker games possible, look no further than the list below. Here you’ll find three of the most player-friendly “Off-Strip” video poker providers in all of the city of Las Vegas – complete with a full listing of each venue’s full pay variants, coin denominations, and more.

1 – Boulder Station Hotel Casino on the Boulder Highway

Bar none, without a shadow of a doubt, the best place to grind video poker in Sin City – off the Strip or otherwise – is Boulder Station.

Known as the ultimate “local’s casino,” Boulder Station offers all of the amenities (maybe not nude pool parties or exotic animals, but you get my point) that casinos on The Strip have on hand.

But one thing that this place has that can’t be matched is five different variants offering a positive payback percentage (AKA, a player edge).

Just check out the list below to see how Boulder Station’s unparalleled selection of topline video poker pay tables stacks up:

Boulder Station’s Best Video Poker Options

VARIANT FULL PAYBACK COIN DENOMINATION(S)
Full Pay Deuces Wild 100.76 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
1-Pair Jokers Wild 100.65 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
Double Bonus 100.17 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1
Loose Deuces Wild 100.15 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
Double Double Bonus 100.07 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1
Triple Deuces Wild 99.92 percent
Not So Ugly Ducks (Deuces Wild) 99.73 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
Super Double Bonus 99.69 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
Jacks or Better 99.54 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1

2 – Fiesta Henderson Hotel and Casino in Henderson

Casino Video Poker Screen, Fiesta Casino Henderson Nevada Marquee
Another branch on the Station Casinos family tree, Fiesta Henderson is one of the first gambling halls you’ll see when driving in through the Hoover Dam / Lake Mead area.

And while many players pass it right up in their quest to reach The Strip, video poker sharps know better.

Fiesta Henderson’s Best Video Poker Options

VARIANT FULL PAYBACK COIN DENOMINATION(S)
Full Pay Deuces Wild 100.76 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
1-Pair Jokers Wild 100.65 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
Double Bonus 100.17 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1
Loose Deuces Wild 100.15 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
Double Double Bonus 100.07 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1
Triple Deuces Wild 99.92 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
Not So Ugly Ducks (Deuces Wild) 99.73 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
Super Double Bonus 99.69 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
Jacks or Better 99.54 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1

3 – Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa in Summerlin

If you want to experience all of the glitz and glam of Strip casino, without paying an arm and a leg at every turn, Red Rock Resort in the suburb of Summerlin is the ticket.

This place is straight out of The Strip in terms of modern luxuries like high-end shopping, top-rated restaurants, and in-house entertainment

But unlike those hucksters in the world’s most popular tourist hotspot, Red Rock Casino Resort doesn’t need to spread inferior video poker pay tables.

Red Rock Resort’s Best Video Poker Options

VARIANT FULL PAYBACK COIN DENOMINATION(S)
Full Pay Deuces Wild 100.76 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
Double Bonus 100.17 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1
Loose Deuces Wild 100.15 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢
Super Bonus Deuces Wild 100.13 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
Double Double Bonus 100.07 percent 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1
Triple Deuces Wild 99.92 percent
Not So Ugly Ducks (Deuces Wild) 99.73 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
Super Double Bonus 99.69 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1
Jacks or Better 99.54 percent 25¢, 50¢, $1

Conclusion

Playing video poker well can offer sharp gamblers the thrill of a lifetime. Knowing that every bet you make comes as close to a null house edge as possible – and in the case of full pay Deuces Wild, an actual player edge – makes video poker the preferred vehicle for skill-oriented players who prefer strategy over guess-based gambling.

Nonetheless, when you don’t know where to find the full pay machines, a video poker parlor can become nothing short of a money pit – even for talented basic strategy players. Nobody wants to be the sucker casinos count on to line their pockets, so make sure to check out these trio of Off-Strip casinos to find the best video poker games Las Vegas has to offer.

4 Things the Self-Help Industry Can Teach You About Gambling

People Gambling in Casino Slots, Hands Holding Speech Bubbles Self Help
I read a lot of self-help books, and I have for many years. My family makes jokes about it, but they never actually read one to see if it can help them. In my mind, they’re missing the point. If you want to improve in some area, you have to do something to try to change.

I study gambling because I like to gamble, and I spend quite a bit of time writing about it. While most people won’t see an immediate link between the self-help industry and gambling, I’ve learned many similarities over the years.

The self-help industry does help many people, but it also fails to help some others. The entire industry has somewhat of a bad name because it seems like they’re always trying to sell you something you don’t have.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret before I show you some things the self-help industry can teach you about gambling. The secret is that there is no secret.

If you want to make a meaningful change in your life, it’s going to take some work. If you want to improve your gambling results, it’s also going to take some work.

I personally believe this is a good thing. If work is all it takes to improve my gambling results or another area of my life, then I know I can do it if I’m willing to do the work.

Keep this in mind as you read the four things the self-help industry can teach you about gambling below.

1 – You Need a Plan

One of the themes that run through most self-help products is the idea of a plan. Sometimes, they call it something different, but the bottom line is, you need to have a plan if you want to improve.

As a gambler, if you’re looking to improve your results, you also need a plan. You can’t keep doing things the same way you’re doing them now if you want a different outcome. The plan might include reading a new article about your favorite casino games every week or watching a video about strategy every day.

The way to develop a plan is to determine exactly what you want to accomplish. Once you know what you want to accomplish, make small steps to reach your goal. Then, follow the steps.

Years ago, I decided I wanted to figure out how to be a winning poker player. I wanted to read as much as I could about playing winning poker then practice. It took several years, but I stuck with it. Now, I’m a winning poker player, because I made a plan and followed through.

I made a new plan to learn how to beat blackjack. I followed the same formula and spent a few years studying and practicing. You can do the same thing. But having a plan isn’t quite enough. You need one more thing, which I’ll cover in the next section.

2 – You Need Dedication

Row of Casino Slot Machines, Lets Do This Text on Sticker
In addition to having a good plan, you need to dedicate yourself to following through. It’s easy to make New Year’s resolutions, but most people give up on them sometime in the middle of January. The best plan isn’t going to work unless you follow through by taking consistent action.

This is one area where the self-help industry is lacking. You can find all kinds of books and programs about goals and developing good plans, but it’s hard to find information about how you stay motivated and follow through.

The best way I’ve found to stay motivated is making sure I understand what I really want and focusing on it every day. I was really motivated to learn how to be a winning poker player. It wasn’t because I planned to make a ton of money playing, it was a matter of pride. I knew the game was beatable, and I wanted to prove to myself that I was smart enough to do it.

On the other side of the coin, I weigh a bit too much and have needed to lose weight for several years. I’ve went through times when I lost some weight, but I’ve never backed up the thought of losing weight with enough dedication to work it off and keep it off.

The reason I mention my struggles with weight loss is to point out that, even though this sounds simple, accomplishing anything of value is hard work. As I mentioned earlier, there is no secret. It’s all hard work, and some people do better than others. But when it comes to gambling, the next section is important. You can become a winning gambler if it’s important to you.

3 – You Can Win

Almost every self-help book and course available deals in some way with convincing you that you can improve. The good news is that this is based on facts, but the problem is that most people don’t really improve much. When they don’t improve as much as they want, they often buy another self-help book or program and look for the next big secret.

In gambling, the truth is that you can win. If you want to be a winning gambler, you have to pick a beatable game and find out how to beat it.

You can learn how to win, but you have to work hard at doing it. You can buy a book or watch some videos that teach you how to beat blackjack.

You can study books and videos about poker and learn how to win more than you lose at the tables. You can even learn how to handicap sporting events in a way that lets you win money. But all of these things require a great deal of work and time. Most people simply aren’t willing to put in the effort and time.

4 – Being a Guru Is More Profitable Than Gambling

Virtual Casino Game Wallpaper, Silhouette of Person Sitting, Money Spread
One of the big dirty secrets of the self-help industry is that the top gurus make most of their money from peddling self-help books and programs, not from doing what they teach. The same thing is true in the gambling industry.

In both the self-help industry and the gambling industry, there are a few people who make good money in business of some kind and gambling. But the majority of people who write books and sell improvement programs make more selling their stuff than they do in other businesses or gambling.

Does this mean you should stop gambling?

The fact is, there are ways you can make real money while gambling. Some poker players and sports bettors make great money. Other advantage players make a great deal of money by playing blackjack.

All of the information you need is available; you just have to put in the work. There’s also decent money to be made in writing about gambling and teaching others how to gamble.

Overall, being a gambling guru is still more profitable than gambling on average. Unless you’re one of the top advantage gamblers making hundreds of thousands or more every year, you have a better chance to make more money becoming a gambling guru.

Conclusion

Should you run out and buy a self-help book or gambling course? Only you can decide if that’s the best option for you. But you can develop a plan, dedicate yourself to following through, and figure out a way to be a winning gambler. This is the same formula you find in most self-help books and courses, so you can get started without spending a cent.

The 4 Best Poker Rooms in Las Vegas for Omaha Poker Players

Omaha Poker Logo with Poker Cards, Las Vegas Strip at Night
As one generation of poker players gives way to the next, the game seems to move in cyclical fashion, as new variants are embraced over others.

The original poker road warriors like Doyle Brunson and the late Chip Reese made their rounds playing the classic game of Seven-Card Stud back in the 1970s.

The wheel keeps on turning, however, and during the last few years, a younger crop of poker enthusiasts expanded on the variant of Texas holdem. By adding two more hole cards to the equation, giving players four hole cards to work with during the hand, the exhilarating variant known as Omaha was born.

Omaha poker has been around just as long as Seven-Card Stud and Texas holdem, but up until the last decade, it largely played third fiddle to poker’s most popular games.

But after the online “wizards” cracked the code behind optimal Texas holdem theory, they needed a new nut to crack. Thus, the four-card game of Omaha became the wizards’ latest challenge.

These days, Texas holdem tables still make up the majority of the average Las Vegas poker room’s action, but Omaha games are hot their heels.

How to Play Omaha Poker

In its standard format, Omaha poker is played using a pot-limit betting structure that straddles the line between limit and no limit wagering.

That is to say, at a Pot Limit Omaha table, the maximum bet a player can make at any one time is exactly equal to the size of the current pot. This might seem like a restriction that would put no limit Texas holdem fans off of Omaha. But in reality, it only takes a few bets, raises, and re-raises to get entire chip stacks all in.

Aside from that caveat, Omaha is best thought of as simply Texas holdem played with two more hole cards in a player’s starting hand.

After the small and big blinds put up their forced bets, the dealer doles out four cards face down to every player. From there, the game plays out identically to Texas holdem, with players placing preflop bets before taking the flop, or three community cards.

With the flop dealt out, players can use any two of the four hole cards to create their best possible five-card poker hand.

For example, if you held the Ah-As-Kd-2c, you’d be starting the hand with pocket aces, which is the strongest starting hand in Texas holdem. But on a flop of K-5-2, you’d now be using your king and 2 to form two pair.

Players can use any two hole cards from their hand in conjunction with the board. If the turn card came with an ace, you’d now use your pocket aces to form three of a kind. And had the turn brought a 5 instead of an ace, counterfeiting your kings and deuces two pair, you’d now use your pocket aces to form two pair (aces and 5s).

Four Poker Cards, Casino Chips and Coins

Holding four hole cards also makes Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) much more complex in terms of counting outs on drawing hands. Most drawing hands like the straight and flush draws offer eight and nine outs, respectively, in Texas holdem, “wrap” draws in Omaha games can create up to 20 outs.

Let’s say you have a starting hand like J-10-7-6 and the flop brings the 9-8-2 onboard. In this case, you’re essentially playing two open-ended straight draws at the same time.

Your J-10 combines with the 9-8 to give you seven outs to the 7 (3) and Q (4). And with 6-7 combined with 8-9, you can hit any 5 (4) or 10 (3) for seven more outs. Add in the six remaining jacks (3) and 10s (3), and you have the most powerful wrap draw in Omaha.

You’ll face betting rounds preflop, on the flop, on the turn, and on the river, just like in Texas holdem. By the showdown, whomever tables the highest-ranking five-card poker hand takes the pot.

Additionally, players can adjust Omaha gameplay to form other variants a la Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo Eight or Better. In the game of Omaha Hi-Lo Eight or Better, players can also shoot for the lowest qualifying hand (any five cards ranked at 8 or worse) to claim half of the pot. Of course, the goal for an Omaha Hi-Lo Eight or Better is typically to “scoop” the pot, or hold the best possible high AND low hands at showdown.

Why the New Crop of Poker Fans Love the Great Game of Omaha

Pot Limit Omaha poker has taken on a new reputation as “The Great Game” thanks to pro player and podcaster extraordinaire Joey Ingram.

Better known as “Chicago Joey” to his peers, Ingram has been evangelizing about The Great Game of Pot Limit Omaha for the last five years or so, motivating his social media followers to give it a try during their next trip to the casino.

To hear Ingram tell the tale, Pot Limit Omaha specifically challenges Texas holdem for poker supremacy for two simple reasons—complexity and action.

As the Texas holdem tables become increasingly dominated by game theory optimal (GTO) strategies, and online “solvers” that instantly tell you the best play given the circumstances, thinking players are seeking out new challenges.

And as the wrap draw example from earlier makes clear, anytime two or more players bring four hole cards apiece to a five-card community board, it can be incredibly tough to narrow down your opponent’s ranges.

Omaha games tend to produce more action than Texas holdem. In the old two-card game, you’ll miss the flop roughly two-thirds of the time. Throw in dozens of starting hands that aren’t even worth playing, and Texas holdem tables can often go entire orbits without a meaningful pot developing.

In an Omaha game, on the other hand, those extra hole cards make connecting with the board much more likely. And because nobody can shove all-in preflop to end the proceedings right then and there, you’ll be playing many more multi-way pots that inevitably produce raising wars and “cooler” situations.

With that in mind, the list below highlights the four best poker rooms in Sin City for Omaha players.

1 – Aria Resort and Casino

Aria Las Vegas Poker Room, Aria Las Vegas Casino Logo
Known for offering some of the swankiest digs and best customer service of any poker room on the Strip, the Aria Resort and Casino has become the place to play for pros and “recs” alike.

You’ll find 24 tables in the Aria’s top-notch poker room, including a roped off private area where high-rolling pros like Antonio Esfandiari, Jean Robert-Bellande, and Dan Cates regularly hold court in ultra-high-stakes mixed games.

As for the Omaha selection, other casinos nearby might have more tables running than the Aria, but this place takes top spot on my list because its perfect for folks who are trying the game for the first time.

The standard Pot Limit Omaha high-hand game at the Aria uses $1/$2 blinds, so you won’t face any bankroll-related barriers to entry. With a minimum buy-in of $200 and a maximum of $500, everybody starts on a level playing field, which is great for Omaha rookies testing the waters.

The house rake here is 10% of the pot, up to $5, but that is offset by a generous $2 per hour comp rate.

If you like to play a little higher, check out the $2/$5 Pot Limit Omaha high-hand table that runs occasionally on busier evenings. This game uses a $400 to $1,500 buy-in limit spread, a rake capped at $5 per hand, and $2 per hour in comp rewards.

All things considered, Omaha enthusiasts just learning the ropes should call the Aria home on their next trip to the City of Las Vegas.

2 – Bellagio Hotel and Casino

For players who have moved past the rookie stage and view themselves as Omaha veterans, the Bellagio Hotel and Casino is your ticket on the Strip.

What the Aria is today, the Bellagio has been for decades. Combining decadent décor, world-class service from dealers and other staff, and a high-stakes area known as “Bobby’s Room,” the Bellagio poker room is widely viewed as the best in town.

Among the 37 tables onsite, you’ll find a $2/$5 game of Pot Limit Omaha high-hand that uses a $200 to $1,000 buy-in spread. And just like the Aria, the rake at Bellagio’s $2/$5 Pot Limit Omaha high-hand game is capped at $5, with players receiving $2 in comps every hour.

The real draw for hardcore Omaha fans visiting the Bellagio, however, is the room’s big games.

I’m talking big too, as in a $20/$40 Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Eight or Better game where some of Las Vegas’ most talented pros convene nightly. You’ll find a $200 minimum buy-in here, with no maximum, and a $6 rake with $2 in hourly comps.

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Remember, this is a pure limit table, so the betting always goes $20 on the early streets and $40 on the latter.

If the sound of big bet Omaha Hi-Lo Eight or Better at Bellagio is to your liking, you’re in luck. Along with the $20/$40 tables, you can up the ante to $30/$60 and even $40/$80.

Predictably, the minimum buy-in point rises to $500 and $800, respectively, so be prepared to bring a few bullets from your bankroll when playing big bet Omaha here.

3 – The Orleans Hotel and Casino

The Orleans Casino in Las Vegas, Hand Holding Poker Cards
Circling back to the low- and medium-stakes tables for Omaha players still learning the ropes, venturing away from Las Vegas Boulevard westbound on Tropicana Avenue brings you to the Orleans Hotel and Casino.

A member of the Boyd Gaming casino family, the Orleans is your classic local’s joint, providing all of the gaming and amenities of a resort on the Strip for half the price. The 35-table Orleans poker room is also legendary among old-school grinders, as the place has been running regular tournament series for several decades and counting.

Omaha players visiting the Orleans will find a few $4/$8 Limit Omaha high-hand tables running around the clock.

These fun-filled games use a $40 minimum buy-in, no maximum, and a 10% rake up to $4. Fortunately, the Orleans’ commitment to value has led to a “no flop, no drop” policy, so the extra $1 in rake collected from each hand to fund the bad beat jackpot pool is only deducted when players take a flop.

The Orleans also spreads a regular $4/$8 Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Eight or Better game which uses the exact same buy-in and rake structure. Both games offer players $1.25 per hour in comps too, so be sure to bring your B-Connected player’s club card to the table.

If the Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Eight or Better games are up your alley, look for $8/$16 and $15/$30 tables as well. These bigger games use an $80 and $150 minimum buy-in, respectively, with no maximum, and the rake/comp rewards are the same as the smaller games.

4 – Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino

Last, but certainly not least, the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino offers the lowest-stakes Omaha action anywhere in town.

The most popular Omaha game at the Flamingo’s 11-table poker room is an $1/$1 PLO affair. Expect a buy-in spread of $200 minimum and $500 maximum, along with a 10% rake up to $5, and $1 per hour in comp rewards.

You’ll also find a fun $3/$6 Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Eight or Better table running semi-regularly. The minimum buy-in here is only $30, with no maximum, along with the same rake/comp system described above.

The Flamingo poker room is known for catering to private games too, so if you and a few Omaha-crazed pals want to set up your own personal table, feel free to ask (and tip) a member of the floor staff.

Conclusion

Poker’s evolution is fascinating to behold, as players pick and choose between the dozens of different variants to find the latest and greatest game of choice. I’m partial to Seven-Card Stud myself, and I can certainly see how Texas holdem turned into a household name during the boom.

But I’ve increasingly become enamored with Pot Limit Omaha. Whether you prefer the big bet PLO tables, or the more leisurely split-pot gameplay of Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Eight or Better, use this guide to get yourself into the best Omaha games Las Vegas has to offer.

The 7 Best Adventure-Themed Slot Machines Online

Slot Machine Reels, Adventure Slots Text Above Gold Ribbon
Slot gaming has come a long way since the old one-armed bandit days. Modern slot machine games are designed to be visually pleasing or stimulating. In recent years, many games have added high-quality audio features, too.

Games based on TV shows or celebrity entertainers use popular songs and sound effects to create a life-like experience. One of the most entertaining slot machine games I’ve seen in recent years is the Britney Spears game.

If you’re a fan of her music, you’ll want to check out the kiosk-like game when you visit a casino that offers it. Of course, it’s not a full concert experience by any stretch of the imagination. But you’re combining two forms of entertainment into one.

What Makes a Good Adventure-Themed Slot Game?

Adventure-themed slots offer similar blending of visual and audio effects. I’ve found adventure-themed games fall into two groups.

First, there is the older style five-reel video slot. The tiles may come to life occasionally, but the bonus games are barely worth playing for. When these games first appeared, they were a nice alternative to the “classic” video slots.

Second, there are more active games. I consider a game more active if it does interesting things either during normal play or in the bonus features.

Online Adventure Slots Have Caught up With the Physical Games

If you’ve played in a land-based casino, you’ve probably found some great adventure games like Jurassic Park, Aliens, a few quest games I’ve played, and others. Online slot games have to compete with that total adventure experience at some level.

In recent years, IGT and Aristocrat have brought some of their classic games online. It’s easier to find free versions of their older, less interesting games.

Some online 3D slot games have characters who move around the screen while you’re spinning reels. They make the game far more entertaining. The better 3D games’ characters unleash special features.

If there’s continuity of any kind in the game, then it plays more like a real adventure. I chose the following games for this article because I was able to play them, they offered at least some adventure-like options, and they had some animation.

7 – The Epic Journey by Quickspin

The Epic Journey by Quickspin, Gold Coins
This game offers a lot of promise. It just doesn’t quite live up to that promise.

The game board consists of three palettes using stacked reels. I don’t like stacked reel games because they rarely line up very well. What makes The Epic Journey’s stacked reels acceptable are the liberal wild symbols and the volcano bonus.

If one or more volcano tiles appear at the same time, at least one of them is likely to blow up, spitting lava balls across the screen. Wherever lava hits a tile, that tile turns into a wild. You could score a big win!

If three earthships appear, you trigger a full bonus game. You pick a game at random, which could result in free spins, the Mushroom Forest pick game, a three-spin fossil hunt, or a big cash prize.

The game is inspired by Jules Verne adventures and steampunk movies. The music is right out of the classic steampunk/Vernian repertoire.

6 – A Switch in Time by Rival Powered

This is a time travel adventure game. I’ve read good things about it but couldn’t get the bonus game to trigger. Rival Powered games use artwork inspired by graphic novels and anime or manga.

They also have nice soundtracks. The electronic theme for A Switch in Time is cool and layered. The bottom track plays continuously but when you spin the reels they add their own track.

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The wild symbol has a 2x multiplier in normal play and a 3x multiplier in free spins games. The wild also expands during the free spins game.

Free spins games are triggered by three or more lady symbols. You can win up to 78 free spins, which is definitely always a good thing no matter the amount you have in your casino gaming bankroll. The time travel bonus is triggered by three time machine symbols.

The background screen activates when you hit a clock prize. The clock at the top of the screen activates when the stopwatch pays a prize.

5 – The Elf Wars by RealTime Gaming

Elf Wars Slots Game by RealTime Gaming
This is a borderline “adventure” but the premise of the game is that Rudolph has run amok and is destroying Santa’s workshop. The elf workers are in a panic and hiding. What makes this game special is the guaranteed feature.

The basic game uses a simple Christmas card art motif. There are two wilds are Rudolph and Santa. Rudolph may expand.

When the bonus game is triggered, you’re taken to Santa’s workshop. There, you must rescue as many of Santa’s elves as you can. It’s a pick game, and the more elves you find, the more free spins you get in the next phase.

The free spins games vary. You may be awarded prize multipliers and extra wilds. If this sounds like just another slot game, it is. But the guaranteed feature heightens the interest factor.

As you spin the reels, your chances of winning a bonus round increase. A widget in the upper right corner counts down the spins until you’re guaranteed a bonus game.

If you become impatient, for a little extra money, you can spin a wheel for a chance to trigger the bonus game. Wait until your chances are above 50% before trying.

4 – Gonzo’s Quest by NetEnt

This is one of those games using tumbling blocks in place of spinning reels. Gonzo is a 3D character who stands beside the game board. He occasionally moves and makes noise. He may consult the map he stole to help you find the treasure of El Dorado.

When the tumbling blocks form a prize-winning pattern, they explode. New blocks fall into place and a multiplier is added to the game. The maximum is a 5x multiplier.

The bonus game is triggered when three free fall symbols line up in the first three reels. A wild symbol may substitute for one of the free fall symbols.

Gonzo then leads you through the jungle to the lost temple. There, a free spins game begins. The prizes include more free spins and Gonzo becomes more excited as the prizes stack up.

3 – Jack and the Beanstalk by NetEnt

Slot Game Jack and the Beanstalk, Different Coins as Wallpaper
While not the most exciting game one can play, the 3D graphics include occasional glimpses of Jack or bids flying across the screen.

The free spins feature is triggered by sliding wild symbol. It moves left at the start of each free spin. When the symbol slides off the game board, the free spins are done. More than one wild symbol may appear and the free spins can go on for a while.

The scatter symbol is a treasure chest. It triggers a bonus game where Jack comes out of his house and climbs up the beanstalk. The game awards 10 free spins.

The bonus game accumulates golden keys. After the third key appears, a stacked wild is added to the game. Two more stacked wilds appear after six and nine keys are found. The thid wild symbol is an expanding golden harp.

It is possible, though unlikely, for five golden harps to appear during the bonus game.

2 – Greedy Goblins by Betsoft

This is another 3D slot game. The goblin stands to the side of the board while the reels spin. He is more active and interesting than Gonzo.

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An expanding wild symbol triggers free spins. Extra goblins may come out and steal coins from the board during the free spins.

When two Book of Secrets scatters appear, the bonus game begins. Two goblins sneak into the elf’s workshop and steal ideas until “Collect” appears. Although this is a basic pick game, the prizes and animations can be interesting.

1 – Mr. Vegas by Betsoft

Las Vegas Strip at Night, Mobile Phone Displaying Mr. Vegas Slot Game
If visiting a casino counts as an adventure, this is the adventure slot to end all adventure slots. If you haven’t played Mr. Vegas yet, find it and play it.

Mr. Vegas is the stereotypical sleek operator. The theme song sounds like a class Las Vegas-style song done in the style of Sinatra and the Rat Pack. I would bet some people play the intro over just to hear the song again.

The game uses animated tiles, but what makes it special is that every bonus game is based on a real casino activity that you’d see at the most popular Las Vegas casinos. You might throw some dice, bet on roulette, or pull the arm on a slot machine.

The basic game is boring, but the bonus games are well worth the wait if you haven’t played them before. Mr. Vegas is more like a virtual casino experience than the rest of the online casino.

Conclusion

I played a lot of games looking for good adventure-themed slots. Unfortunately, some of the developers take themselves out of the running, either by only offering free versions of older games (like Aristocrat and IGT) or by blocking US players (like Microgaming).

In years past, I’ve played games that should be on this list. But since I can’t play them anymore, I can’t recommend them. All things considered, true adventure-themed games are still hard to find. Maybe developers will bring out new adventures that everyone can play.

Why Do Casinos Want You to Use Your Players Card?

Las Vegas Strip Casinos at Night, Three Casino Loyalty Cards Stacked
I personally wouldn’t play in a casino that doesn’t have a members reward system. Those plastic cards have become ubiquitous and pretty much every reputable casino has them.

The benefit to players is obvious—we earn perks as we play more credited games. But what’s in it for the casino? Why do they want us to use their member reward programs, which cost them money?

Some of the rewards can be substantial. Just to illustrate my point, the Caesars Total Rewards program promises room discounts, waived resort and parking fees, and “special access.” They’re sacrificing potential income to get you to sign up.

Since these companies are in it for the money, how do they expect to profit from giving away free stuff?

The obvious answer is that they expect you to lose your money gambling. But not everyone who benefits from rewards programs loses money on the games.

1 – Branded Rewards Programs Build Customer Loyalty

Being a “member” makes you feel exclusive. Having a rewards account you can check online and a card to use at the brand’s facilities enhances that feeling of exclusivity.

If you don’t live in a city with major casinos, the chances are very good that your neighbors and friends don’t join many rewards programs.

For any company that wants to build a long-term relationship with its customers, this feeling of exclusivity creates goodwill. That’s treated like money in the bank.

Customer loyalty programs are managed and analyzed just like everything else in business. Companies predict future costs and earnings based on reward program memberships.

Loyal customers are more likely to recommend the companies they do business with. People ask for and recommend good casinos all the time. The rewards club experience plays into those recommendations.

2 – The Casino Analyzes How You Use Your Rewards

Caesars Palace Las Vegas Casino Room, 50% off Discount
This helps them identify who is most likely to take advantage of special offers. In every industry offering a rewards program, members are flooded with special discounts and offers all the time.

Knowing which offers lead to the most sales, a company adjusts their pricing and discounts to remain profitable.

If a company normally makes $1 on a chicken sandwich, but can sell another 10 million chicken sandwiches per year by offering a 50-cent discount to reward members, they’ll make a huge profit. Those are sales that wouldn’t happen otherwise.

It works the same way with casinos. By offering discounts on rooms and services, they entice people into spending money they otherwise wouldn’t have spent. As long as the sales are profitable, or lead to other activity where profits are generated, it’s all good.

The risk for any company managing a rewards program is that it may mistakenly offer discounts that harm profits. According to some financial news sources, these losses are usually identified by analysts during or after corporate earnings calls.

3 – The Rewards Program Tracks Your Gameplay

By now, everyone who studies gambling industry practices knows that these rewards systems track every play you make in every game. Even online poker players can see their history reports.

Every game choice, bet amount, and playing decision is recorded and analyzed. The casinos decide what games are available for play, where to place them, and how to promote them based on the data they collect.

This falls into the “creepy corporate behavior” class of things privacy advocates hate. But players love free stuff and they habitually sign up for rewards programs at restaurants, stores, and other businesses.

Everyone is tracking what we spend money on.

4 – They Know Who Isn’t Collecting Rewards

One of the less obvious benefits to any rewards program is that the business can see how many members act on every offer. Very few people do take advantage of every benefit.

The ratio of users to non-users affects how discounts and promotions are determined.

Many of these discounts and special offers could be made to non-members but the businesses won’t have any data on what percentage of the public ignores them.

Companies may decide to enhance their offers and discounts if they conclude too few people are taking advantage of them. This might happen if they see a strong correlation between new members and growth in sales (or gameplay).

5 – It’s Easier to Use a Rewards Program Than Offer Verbal Comps

Guy Talking to Front Desk Clerk, Casino Comp Voucher
Conventional wisdom says that if you spend enough time and money at a casino, you should ask for casino comps. Some players still do this, but the best comps are reserved for “whales,” the high rollers expected to lose a lot of money.

Since not every whale loses every time they come into a casino, comps can be expensive propositions for the house. And the typical player isn’t going to lose enough money to make it worth the casino’s while to offer a lot of free high-value comps.

The rewards program allows the casino to offer discounts and free room nights on a clear, transparent basis. This is more equitable for players, too, since the rewards points are earned from gameplay not losses.

For the casino, the comps are more manageable. They are less likely to lose money on the comps. The typical member rewards program brings the casino and patron as close to an “everyone wins” scenario as possible.

A digital rewards program prevents people from cheating the system. Whether it’s lying to a floor manager or desk clerk, or counterfeiting stamped cards, someone is always trying to steal comps. Digital loyalty programs stop that practice cold.

6 – Loyalty Programs Are Cheap to Come By

The cost of developing a custom loyalty program is considerable and beyond the means of most companies. The demand for these programs among businesses in the entertainment, food and beverage, lifestyle, retail, and travel-related industries supports an industry of program managers.

The hard work has been done by someone else. Casinos can pick and choose between different platforms.

But once a company makes the investment in rewards program technology, they need to justify the expense. And to get the most benefit from everything the rewards program offers, the business needs to sign up as many customers as possible.

Smaller casinos and businesses can offer similar perks to the largest competitors in their fields. This increases competition between casinos but contributes to their growth.

7 – Some Rewards Programs Offer Something to Sell

Casino Slot Machines, Loyalty Program Cards, Level of Tiers, Buy Now Stick
It makes sense when you think about your own personal experiences. Many rewards programs allow customers to “buy up” to a higher tier of rewards. By handing money over to the business just for more points, the customers contribute to the bottom line.

For a casino, the cost-risk equation is simple. Take a risk of paying a handsome jackpot to a member who only earns points, or collect a fee from someone who wants to “buy up” to the next tier.

When people are willing to hand over their money without any chance of winning more money, the casino wins. The discounts that the rewards program offers will pay for themselves in other ways.

Customers should only buy up on rewards programs when they intend to use the points soon. I’ve done this with a couple of hotel rewards. I saved money by buying up but only because I had already earned some points toward the next level.

Conclusion

Customer loyalty programs have made life easier for companies in many fields, including casinos. Both land-based and online casinos benefit from offering loyalty programs.

Despite a few scandals where some loyalty programs were cheating people out of money, the technology is now stable and well-trusted. Consumers earn good benefits and feel empowered to choose between brands.

The net gain favors the business side of the relationship. Casinos and other businesses wouldn’t offer member rewards programs if they were really money losers. The markets are not so competitive that businesses must take losses in order to protect revenue.

By all projections, the gaming industry is still in a strong growth trend and will be for years to come. They’re competing for as large a piece of a growing pie as they can get. As long as that remains, customers should reap good benefits from digital comp programs.

And as long as the players are happy and the casinos are making profits, everyone feels like a winner.

 

The 5 Best Off-Strip Places to Play Roulette in Las Vegas

Casino Roulette Wheel, Welcome to Downtown Las Vegas Sign
All it takes is one lucky spin for recreational gamblers to fall in love with roulette.

When you use your spouse’s birthday, your child’s age, or any other talisman to choose a number between 1 and 36 – or even the “0” and “00” spaces if you’re feeling froggy – and the little silver ball skips its way to the perfect resting place, there’s nothing quite like that unmistakable thrill.

And of course, the croupier sliding you a castle of chips equal to 35 to 1 on your wager doesn’t hurt either.

Offering one of the juiciest one-time payouts found in the table game pit, casino roulette games have been a gambling fan favorite for four centuries and counting.

The game’s evolved over time though, and today’s players might not know that roulette tables come in various formats that offer vastly different gameplay experiences.

I covered the differences between French, European, and American wheels in another post listing the best places to play roulette on the Vegas Strip.

But in a nutshell, French wheels only have one green “0” space for even money (Red or Black, Odd or Even, Low or High) bettors to dodge. And even if the ball does land on green, those bets get a 50 percent rebate paid back straight to the player. This setup, known as “La Partage” (French for “The Divide”) creates a sweet house edge of only 1.35 percent.

Next up are the European wheels, which are nothing more than single-zero games without the La Partage rule in effect. Full losses on a “0” for even money bettors equates to a 2.70 percent house edge.

And finally, the modern American roulette wheel has two green spaces (“0” and “00”) working on behalf of the house. As such, the house edge nearly doubles to 5.26 percent on these tables.

Unfortunately, the topline French wheels that sharp roulette players covet can only be found on The Strip these days. That flips the script, so to speak, from other games like video poker and craps, where the best games are found in “Off-Strip” casinos that cater to Las Vegas locals and gamblers who know the odds.

If you’re looking to play for higher minimum bets ($25 to $100) with the benefit of La Partage rules, head for Las Vegas Boulevard.

On the other hand, if you simply want to splash around a few low denomination chips – and don’t mind tangling with the double-zero American wheels – heading to the Off-Strip gambling halls scattered throughout Sin City is your best bet.

With that in mind, use the list below to find your way to the five best Off-Strip places to play roulette in all of Las Vegas during your next gambling adventure.

1 – Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino on Fremont Street in the Downtown District

Outside Downtown Las Vegas Golden Nugget Casino, Roulette Wheel
A fixture on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas since 1946, the Golden Nugget has seen it all.

Frank Sinatra and the “Rat Pack” played to adoring crowds here during Downtown’s heyday, and gamblers today still consider the old gal to be a true Las Vegas landmark.

As for the roulette tables, the Golden Nugget is home to more of them than any other Off-Strip casino, with eight wheels spinning at all hours of the day and night. Minimum bets for these double-zero wheels stand at $10 per spin, but you can up the ante to $200 per if you’re feeling lucky.

2 – South Point Hotel Casino & Spa on Las Vegas Boulevard (7 Miles from The Strip)

If you head to the Mandalay Bay, the southernmost point on The Strip, then keep going south for seven more miles, you’ll find the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa.

A classic local’s casino, the South Point combines all of the luxuries of The Strip – like swimming pools, spas, concert halls, and even an arena where rodeos and other special events are held – into a massive mega-resort property.

But unlike its counterparts on The Strip, the South Point lets roulette players enjoy their favorite game for the low limit of $1 per spin.

You’ll find five of these $1 double-zero wheels at the South Point too, so there won’t be any waiting to score a table.

3 – Golden Gate Casino Hotel on Fremont Street in the Downtown District

Outside the Golden Gate Downtown Las Vegas Casino, Roulette Wheel and Table
Back in October of 2010, the Golden Gate Casino in Downtown set the stage for a momentous moment in Sin City history.

When the cast of MTV’s reality show “The Buried Life” wanted to scratch winning $1 million off their collective bucket list, they headed to Las Vegas looking for a casino willing to take six-figure action on roulette.

As their reasoning went, after starting with a $125,000 opening wager, it would only take three successful even money spins to collect a $1 million payday.

At first, none of the major casino corporations were willing to book the enormous bet, but Golden Gate owner – and avid gambler himself  -Derek Stevens was happy to oblige.

Here’s what Stevens had to say about the gambit in a post published by the Golden Gate’s blog:

“I was surprised because I thought that one of the MGM properties or the Palms or Hard Rock would have done it. Because we’re a small place, no one thought we’d be interested but I jumped at the opportunity!

I figured we have the oldest [venue] in all of Las Vegas and this would be a great opportunity to publicize our total renovation.

We put the MTV crew up for a few days and eventually we got to the ‘Big Spin.’ The boys were obligated to bet $125,000 on an even money roulette bet and parlay it three times. The Golden Gate was obligated to take the bets as they kept winning.”

Thus, the twenty-somethings on “The Buried Life” huddled around a Golden Gate roulette table and slid a tower of chips worth $125,000 on Red.

You won’t be betting six-figures, but Golden Gate’s two roulette tables offer a perfectly reasonable $5 – $200 limit on double-zero action.

4 – Boulder Station Casino on the Boulder Highway

If you’re looking to play roulette for the lowest possible stakes, look no further than Boulder Station.

Roulette players here need only plunk down a shiny quarter to get in the game, making Boulder Station by far the most affordable roulette option in all of Las Vegas – and perhaps even the world.

Of course, you can always increase the stakes as you see fit, up to Boulder Station’s maximum bet of $2,000 per spin.

5 – Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino on Flamingo Rd. West of the Strip

The roulette offerings found at the Rio aren’t really anything special, what with double-zero action at $10 through $1,000 per spin limits.

But as the home of the annual World Series of Poker (WSOP), visitors who hit the Rio between late May and mid-July can rub elbows with poker superstars like Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, and Phil Hellmuth.

Those two will likely confine their action to the tournament area, but don’t be surprised to see six-time WSOP gold bracelet winner – and notorious table game pit player – T.J. Cloutier trying his luck at the low-limit roulette tables.

Conclusion

Success in roulette is largely determined by random variance, and that holds especially true when you’re playing American style double-zero wheels. It’s a shame to see the French and Roulette wheels become exclusive domain of The Strip, but roulette enthusiasts can still have a blast taking on the wheel in any of the five Off-Strip venues listed above.

What Is Due Column Betting? Can You Win With It?

Guy Reaching Over to Casino Chip, Dealer Pointing to Blackjack Card
The gambling world is filled with plenty of different casino betting systems. The D’Alembert, Labouchere, and Martingale are some of the most famous wagering strategies.

Due column betting is yet another system that’s been used by a large number of gamblers. However, it’s not nearly as famous as the other strategies that were mentioned.

If you’ve never heard of due column betting, don’t feel bad. You can learn more about this system, along with if it can make you a winner, by reading everything below.

How Does Due Column Betting Work?

Due column gambling is a fixed-profit strategy. It calls on you to increase your bet size after every loss.

This setup sounds a lot like the Martingale, which requires you to double bets after every loss. However, due column differs by calling on you to set a target profit amount before betting.

You write down your wager sizes and “due” amount in columns (discussed later). You then increase the bet size at a specific amount that’ll earn back your losses and nab the predetermined profit.

The premise behind due column betting is that you’ll leave with your desired profit most of the time.

Assuming you have a large bankroll, then you can use this system with a higher degree of confidence.

After all, your large bankroll will help you better absorb losses. Provided you win at least one bet, then you can quit as a winner for the day.

Technically, due column wagering can be used in any type of gambling. However, it’s not typically suggested for all casino games due to the relatively low max betting limits.

This strategy was born in the horse racing industry. But it can also apply to sports betting as well.

Due Column Gambling in Action

Person Putting Chips on Roulette Table, Hundred Dollar Bill, Green Thumbs Up
One nice thing about due column betting is that it presents a lot of options regarding your predetermined target. But for simplicity’s sake, you may just want to shoot for $100 in each gambling outing.

Again, you only need to win once to reach your target. This goal is very possible over a long sequence of bets.

Here’s an example to explain:

  • You want to earn a $100 profit.
  • You’re a 33% handicapper in horse racing.
  • The chances of you losing 10 straight times are just 1.8% (0.67 multiplied by itself 10 times).

Most of the time, you won’t lose 10 straight wagers. In fact, you’ll only lose this many consecutive bets less than 2% of the time.

The downside is that you’ll experience massive losses for the times when you can’t win. But you may be able to absorb these losses with good casino bankroll management.

You can see the merit of due column betting, given that you’ll almost always leave the track or sportsbook a winner. But how exactly do you put this system into action?

Here’s an example:

  • You want a $100 profit.
  • You make every wager at 3 to 1 odds (for simplification purposes).
  • Here’s your column (everything rounded to nearest dollar):
BET NO. DUE BET SIZE
1 150 50
2 200 66
3 267 88
4 355 117
5 472 156
6 628 207
7 835 276
8 1,111 367
9 1,478 488
10 1,966 649

Here are the formulas for how I arrived at each of these numbers:

  • Due + bet size = next due amount
  • Example: 355 + 117 = 472 (due no. 5)
  • Next due amount x odds (3 to 1 odds, or 0.33%) = next bet
  • Example: 472 x 0.33 = 156 (bet no. 5)

You can see from the above column that the bets grow quite large towards the end of the sequence. You’ll need a big bankroll in these cases to stomach the losses.

Furthermore, you’re assuming a lot of risk for a mere $100 profit. The hope, of course, is that you win well before you start sweating it out on bet no. 9 or 10.

Advantages of Due Column Betting

One good thing about due column wagering is that it’s a fairly simple strategy. Sure, it’s not as easy as doubling your bet every time.

But you can quickly pick up on how to use it from my example and math above. You should be using due column wagering like a pro after just a few times.

Another advantage is that this strategy is less risky than certain other systems. You only bet to win back your cumulative losses plus a predetermined profit.

The Martingale, for example, is much scarier. The fact that you’re doubling bets following every loss can quickly lead to an enormous wager.

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Due column can also result in fairly consistent daily profits. You’ll hit your goal on most days, especially if it’s a reasonable amount.

Finally, this strategy is fun to use if you’re looking for something different than flat betting or common systems. Assuming you’ve never tried due column gambling before, you might consider it for entertainment purposes.

The Drawbacks of This Betting System

Guy with Head Down Upset Playing Casino Table Game, Red Thumbs Down
The biggest drawback to due column wagering is the same one that plagues other systems—it doesn’t overcome negative expectations.

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If you’re not a winning horse or sports bettor before due column, then you’re not guaranteed profits afterward either.

Many systems create the illusion of winning by manipulating profits. Odds are, you’ll feel like a winner almost every time that you use this system.

The problem comes in, though, when you finally experience the big losing streak that wipes out everything. The chances of this happening increase if you’re an unsuccessful bettor to begin with.

Another problem is that your losses can mount quickly. In the previous example, you’d have to bet $1,966 on wager no. 10 just to recoup losses and earn a $100 profit.

You might tell yourself beforehand that you’re willing to pull the trigger on a $1,966 bet. But in the moment, you may consider eating your losses and stopping for the day.

One more drawback is the type of bankroll you need to successfully pull of due column gambling.

You’ll likely want at least $5,000 if you’re going for a $100 daily profit. Even this bankroll doesn’t promise anything if you hit a really bad losing streak.

Conclusion

Should you try due column betting? Due column wagering isn’t the worst system in the world, especially if you’re a good gambler to begin with.

It revolves around trying to earn your predetermined profit. If you don’t win it, you only have to wager enough to recover your losses and gain the profit.

You have a stronger chance of winning with due column betting if you’re already skilled to begin with. If you’re a 36% horse handicapper or a sports bettor who wins 53% of your bets (-110 odds), then you should have some success.

On the other hand, you want to be extra careful if you’re not a successful gambler. Due column betting may help you for a while, but it really stings during losing streaks.

The riskiness of this system only increases when you aim for bigger profits (e.g. $500). You’ll need a huge bankroll in these cases to survive downswings.

Even a more modest profit goal, such as $50 or $100, comes with a large degree of risk. You’ll eventually be risking four figures as your losses mount.

Of course, you don’t have to let these warnings scare you off from trying due column betting. You can put it to work under low-risk circumstances, such as setting a $10 or $20 profit goal.

These amounts may not get you excited about due column betting. However, you might have fun with just trying a new gambling system.

That said, I recommend that you give due column a chance at least once. Along with this recommendation, I suggest that you only use it for low stakes. Due column betting alone won’t transform you into a winner, it just makes gambling a little more fun.

What You Must Know About Slot Machine Bonus Rounds

Slot-Machine-Bonus Star-Chips

If you’ve read any of my blog posts about slot machines before this one, you already have an idea of how a slot machine game works.

A computer program called a random number generator (RNG) cycles through numbers constantly and stops when you hit the spin button on the machine. Since there’s no way to know which number it will land on, the results are random.

Each number on the RNG corresponds to a combination of reel symbols. And each combination of reel symbols has a payout attached to it.

Most of the money you put into a slot machine is returned in the form of a payout, but it’s on an X for Y basis. In the long run, the relatively small percentage of money that doesn’t get returned as a payout adds up into huge losses for the players and huge wins for the casino.

Let’s take an extremely generous slot machine that pays back 97% of the money put into it. How much money does that machine make?

Assume an average bet of $3 per spin, and an average play rate of 600 spins per hour. That means you’re putting $1800 per hour into action.

The machine pays back an average of 97% of that, or $1746, which means you’ve lost $54 that hour of play.

Of course, that’s a statistical average. Some hours, you’ll win some money, and others, you’ll lose more than that amount. But that’s how a slot machine works.

What Happens to a Slot Machine When You Add in Bonus Rounds?

The most important thing to a casino is to get people to spend a lot of time playing on a slot machine. They do this by making sure that the ratio of wins to losses is optimal to keep you motivated. They also want to make sure that the sights and sounds associated with the game are exciting enough to get you playing.

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Several years ago, IGT came up with one of the most attractive sights and sounds in slot machine history. They rolled out a slot machine game based on Wheel of Fortune, the TV game show.

The game features a bonus round where you get to spin the wheel, just like you would if you were on the show. This bonus round is so popular that I’ve read stories about players who have won progressive jackpots who were disappointed they didn’t get to spin the wheel.

Other games with popular licensed bonus rounds rolled out soon afterward. Some were based on game shows, but others were based on board games like Monopoly.

The Illusion of a Bonus

On most slot machine games, the bonus round feature doesn’t really give you anything extra. It’s just the illusion of a bonus. Sure, it’s fun watching the wheel spin, but you pay for that bonus round in the form of a reduced payback percentage on the game itself (this is also true of progressive jackpots, but that’s a topic for another post).

Ask yourself this—where does the money paid out in the bonus round come from? It has to come from the base game or the slot machine as a whole couldn’t stay profitable.

I know I used 97% as an example payback percentage earlier, but a more realistic payback percentage might be 92%. That 92% includes payouts from the bonus rounds. This means that during the regular gameplay on the machine, you have less money for payouts.

If 20% of the payouts from the regular game are “diverted” to the bonus rounds, most of the time, you’ll be seeing lower payouts during the regular game.

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And since bonus round payouts need to be higher to compensate for this, it means that you’re going to see much smaller and less frequent wins during the base game.

Multiple Payline Games With Bonuses

Slot-Machine-Paylines

If you’ve never played a slot machine game, you might think that you just put in the wager amount and hit spin. Then, you’d see if you got three winning symbols in a row across the middle of the machine.

That’s not exactly how modern slot machines work, though.

First of all, most modern slot machines allow you to choose how many coins you want to wager on each spin. You can wager up to 100 coins or more. These limits are determined by the slot machine game’s programming.

On top of that, there are more ways to form a winning combination than just a horizontal line across the middle. On most slot machines, you can see the row of symbols above and below the main payline.

The paylines are like patterns on a bingo card. The problem is, to activate these additional paylines, you must bet money on each of them. And some modern slot machines might have as many as 40 paylines.

This is why penny slots can be so profitable for the casino. If you bet five coins each on 40 paylines on a penny machine, you’re betting $2 per spin.

And the same games that have multiple paylines are usually the ones with the bonus rounds.

The casinos and the slot machine manufacturers are being somewhat disingenuous by making you think you’re getting something for nothing with these bonus rounds.

At the end of the day, though, these little perks just wind up costing you more money.

Conclusion

Slot machines with bonus rounds are almost ubiquitous now, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best slot machine games in the casino to play.

Do you play bonus slots? What’s your experience with them been like? Let me know in the comments.

7 Perfect Jobs for Former Poker Pros

Pro Poker Players at Table with Poker Chips, Two Guys Looking at Stock Trade Market
Many people dream of becoming professional poker players. Those who do become pros dedicate countless hours to studying strategy and working on their games.

But what happens when one decides to quit playing poker professionally? Where do they go in terms of employment?

This is the big question for ex-poker pros, because the game of poker itself doesn’t work well as a resume builder. In fact, most employers don’t see a poker background as a positive aspect.

Former poker pros may feel like they have nowhere good to turn for jobs. However, the following professions do make for nice transitions into the regular workforce.

1 – Stock Trader

Poker and the stock market have some definite similarities. They both involve tremendous risk in an uncertain environment.

Poker and stock trading are zero-sum games as well. If somebody is gaining money, then another person is losing it.

Additionally, trading and poker also require extensive skills to succeed.

The best stock traders and rounders are willing to dedicate time to learning and applying strategies.

Unsurprisingly, certain poker players have found a home in the stock market. Some have even been hired by top-tier trading firms.

Of course, one doesn’t necessarily have to be hired by a firm just to begin trading. They can instead work as an independent and build their skills and experience.

2 – Trading Cryptocurrencies

Buying and selling cryptocurrencies is much like working in the stock market. However, one key difference is that the crypto world is more volatile than stocks.

It’s not uncommon for Bitcoin cryptocurrency, the most famous and popular cryptocurrency, to gain or lose 10% of its value in a single day. This is an impressive feat when considering that the Bitcoin market cap is currently worth $186 billion at the time of this writing.

Man in Suit with Tablet, Cryptocurrency Bitcoin Gold Coins

Poker pros are used to experiencing downswings due to the luck associated with the game. Therefore, they’re well-conditioned for the wild swings involved with crypto.

This market offers several ways to make money, including day trading, swing trading, and “hodling.” The latter refers to buying and holding cryptocurrencies and waiting for them to gain significant value.

But the problem with hodling is that people can’t rely on it for a steady income. One needs a large amount of money to survive on, because there’s no telling when their investments will pay off.

Day trading is quite risky in the stock market, let alone in crypto. It involves trying to flip quick profits on highly volatile assets.

Swing trading is a bit less risky, because it takes place over the course of several days or even weeks. The best opportunities to swing trade are just before big announcements (e.g. major partnerships), when rumors are swirling. One can purchase an asset admist trustworthy rumors and sell it following an announcement.

Poker pros such as Doug Polk and Dan Bilzerian have gotten heavily involved in the crypto market. That said, others who are up to the risk might consider joining them.

3 – Gambling Industry Worker

Perhaps the most obvious line of work for ex-poker pros is the gambling industry. They should have little trouble landing a job as a poker dealer, especially if they have a relatively clean criminal record.

Casinos are always looking for quality and trustworthy dealers. They especially like people who already know how poker and other casino games work.

Of course, a dealer isn’t the most sought-after position in the gambling world. But a poker player can move their way up the ladder by doing good work.

One example of moving up involves becoming a poker tournament director. This job requires running tournaments for a casino, hiring and training dealers for events, and settling any potential player disputes.

Dealers can also work their way up to being a floor supervisor or even a pit boss. The floor supervisor is in charge of several tables, while the pit boss oversees the entire gambling floor during their shift.

4 – Sales

Sales Employee Talking to Couple, Money Bills Flying
Sales isn’t the ideal position for many people. After all, this profession carries the stigma of using seedy tactics to convince people to buy things they don’t need.

However, this stereotype doesn’t apply in all cases. Plenty of companies offer good products and simply need skilled people to do the selling.

Any poker player should find sales to be a natural transition. This job involves psychology, knowing people, and understanding when to and not to be aggressive.

Another parallel between sales and poker is the income structure. While salesmen and women do receive a base salary, earnings come through commissions.

They never know how much money they’ll make from one week to the next. This situation sounds very familiar to poker.

One bonus to this job involves the ability to move up the ladder towards a bigger payday. The top salesman in a given company can make six or even seven figures, depending upon the industry.

5 – Accounting

The best professional accounting firms aren’t looking to hire former poker players. But one can always become an independent accountant based on their poker skills.

Some of these skills that translate well to accounting include a strong command of math, making frequent calculations, and casino bankroll management.

Obviously, accounting isn’t the most glamorous profession. But it can offer a steady income for dedicated individuals.

If a former poker pro is looking to get hired into a firm, they can always go for a degree. Again, they can also simply become an independent in the industry as well.

6 – Lawyer

Outside Courthouse, Court Gavel
Like with accounting, ex-poker pros don’t usually walk into law firms and immediately land a job. But they may still have the necessary requirements to become a successful lawyer.

Lawyers need an excellent ability to read people, be aggressive in the courtroom, and piece together incomplete information. They might also deal with unsavory people, which are common in poker as well.

Of course, one needs to attend law school before they can begin practicing. This aspect requires quite a few years’ worth of dedication. Nevertheless, the salaries that lawyers can demand make the intense schooling worth the effort.

7 – Entrepreneur

All poker players are entrepreneurs to some degree. They have their own business and need to properly manage their money.

So, why not go from the felt to running a business? Entrepreneurship is yet another field where poker pros can excel.

What’s nice about being an entrepreneur is that it doesn’t have hardline barriers, such as a diploma requirement and/or workplace connections.

Instead, anybody can start and run their own business with enough capital and drive.

One of the top entrepreneurial skills involves staying motivated and putting the hours in. Former poker pros should have no problem with this, given that the game demands discipline.

Being comfortable with risk is another aspect that translates well to entrepreneurship. The better one is able to deal with uncertainty, the more likely they are to succeed.

Conclusion

Workplaces don’t put out ads that call for poker players. Nevertheless, an ex-rounder can still find quality employment opportunities that relate to their former profession.

Stock and cryptocurrency trading are both natural fits. Each involves using skills and knowledge to make profitable trades that can net long-term profits.

The gambling industry offers the most opportunities for former poker pros. It especially offers a lot of dealer positions, which can turn into something more lucrative under the right circumstances.

Sales is another realistic patch for poker players. Most sales jobs don’t require degrees, and they involve skills that are similar to pro gambling.

Accountants and lawyers both need schooling in most cases. But they’re good fits for former rounders who are interested in high-paying regular jobs.

Entrepreneurship is one more path that poker players can take. Starting one’s own venture features few barriers and involves standard poker skills, such as bankroll management and risk assessment.

Going from the felt to the workplace isn’t easy. But it’s nice to know that there are at least a few jobs that fit a poker background.

Why Table Games Are SO Much Better Than Gambling Machines

Table-Games Yes-Slot-Machines No

In the United States, slot machines and other gambling machines dominate the casino’s gaming space. When I started writing about the casino gambling industry, the prevailing wisdom was that 65% to 70% of a casino’s revenue came from slot machines.

That number is now nearing 80%, so slot machine play is clearly on the rise.

The casinos know how profitable slot machines are per square foot, and if you pay attention to their advertising materials, you’ll notice how much of their advertising focuses on gambling machines.

Table games, on the other hand, are shrinking as a percentage of casino market share. Less floor space is dedicated to table games like blackjack, craps, and roulette than ever before.

Some of this is because slot machines afford the casino the opportunity to offer higher jackpots than would ever be possible at a table game. Of course, the odds of winning one of those huge jackpots can be infinitesimal, along the same lines as winning the lottery in some cases.

I think this is a trend that would be good to change, but I’d need an army of committed table game players to join me in making this a reality. Are you up for this mission?

Skill vs. Chance in Table Games and Gambling Machines

For the most part, skill doesn’t play a big role in table games OR gambling machines. You’ll find exceptions in both kinds of gambling, though.

Row of Slot Machines at Casino

When you talk about gambling machines, the two biggest categories of games are:

  1. Slots
  2. Video poker
Slots have no skill element. Some of the newer games might, but the effect on your outcome, mathematically, is still minimal.

Video poker, on the other hand, requires distinct amounts of skill. The house still has an edge in most video poker games, but if you play skillfully enough, you can shave that edge to practically nothing.

You still have to choose the right video poker games with the right pay tables, though.

When you’re talking about table games, you have quite a few more categories:

  1. Baccarat
  2. Blackjack
  3. Craps
  4. Poker-based games
  5. Roulette

Of those, blackjack and poker-based games are the only ones that have a skill element. Baccarat, craps, and roulette are entirely games of chance.

When you play correctly in blackjack, you can reduce the house edge to less than 0.5% in some games under some conditions. If you can count cards on top of that, you can actually play with an edge against the house.

The poker-based games are the newest table games in most casinos, and sometimes, they include a skill element. Other times, they don’t.

You can’t get an edge at these kinds of games most of the time, but you can have some fun playing them. Examples of these games include Caribbean Stud, Three-Card Poker, and Ultimate Texas Hold’em.

How the House Measures Its Mathematical Advantage

Casino-Dealer

With table games, the house measures its edge mathematically using a metric called “the house edge.” That’s the statistically predicted amount of each bet that the average player will lose on average over a long period of time.

For example, when I say that roulette has a house edge of 5.26%, it means that the casino will win an average of $5.26 every time I bet $100 on the game.

That’s just a long-term statistical average, though. When I bet $100 at the roulette table, I either lose $100 or win some multiple of $100.

With gambling machines, the casino measures its edge mathematically using a metric called “payback percentage.” You’ll also see this called the “return to player” or the “expected return.” This is the statistically predicted amount of each bet that the game will pay back to the player in winnings on average in the long run.

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For example, when a slot machine has a 92% return to player, it means the casino expects to pay out 92 cents in winnings every time you buy a spin for a dollar. This is, again, a long-term average.

It doesn’t take the brightest bulb in the batch to figure out that the return to player and the house edge are flip sides of the same coin, so why do they use a different metric for the games?

The main reason lies within how the payouts are structured.

In a table game, most bets are paid off at X to Y odds. For example, in blackjack, if you bet $100 and win, you win $100 to the $100 you risked. You show a $100 profit because you only lose your $100 bet if you lose the hand.

But in a gambling machine, like a video poker game or a slot machine, the winnings are paid off at X for Y odds.

The same even money payout on a gambling machine results in no profit or loss for the player. The casino takes your wager when you bet, and anything you get back is on top of the amount already deducted from your balance.

So, if you bet $100 on a hand of video poker, you’d show no profit at all on a payout of $100. You already lost the $100 when you placed the bet.

Why This Makes a Difference

One of the things to keep in mind when playing any casino game is how much you’re mathematically expected to lose during an hour of play. That number is easily calculated by multiplying the size of your bets by the number of bets you’re making per hour and multiplying that by the house edge.

Slot machine and video poker players tend to make 600 bets per hour. Just for the sake of example, I’m going to assume you’re betting $5 per round, or $3000 per hour.

An average slot machine game probably has a house edge of 8%, which means your expected loss on that game is $240/hour.

An average video poker machine might have a house edge of 4%, which makes your expected loss $120/hour. (You can also find video poker machines with a really low house edge if you play well. You just need to be able to recognize the pay tables for the best games.)

Now, let’s compare those average loss numbers with what you might lose at a table game. Blackjack is a good example. At a fast table with only a single dealer, you might see 250 hands per hour. If you’re betting $5 per hand, that’s $1250/hour you’re putting into action.

Let’s assume you’re lousy at basic strategy, so the casino has a mathematical edge of 2.5% against you. This means your expected hourly loss at the blackjack table for a lousy player is only $31.25. If you take the time to learn the correct basic strategy, that number drops to about $6 per hour.

The main reason you see such a huge difference in earnings when you contrast gambling machines with table games is the speed at which you play.

No table game that I know of can get you more than 200 bets per hour in action. In fact, most games offer you far fewer bets per hour than that.

You could easily double the amount of money you’re betting per round and still lose less money on average per hour than you will at the gambling machines.

Conclusion

Slot machines are more entertaining and complicated than ever before. They’re so much fun that they’ve widely been described as addictive, including by people who are addiction experts.

And there’s nothing wrong with having some fun playing the slots either. You just need to temper your tendency to get addicted to gambling machines. I think the best way to do that, while staying in action, is to play some of the table games in the casino.

You should especially focus on the table games which have the lowest house edge.

Playing table games alone, though, isn’t enough to minimize your losses. Even though the house has only a tiny 0.5% edge on most blackjack games, they actually win closer to 2.5% to 4.5% of each bet on average. That’s because many players are unsophisticated and don’t use appropriate strategy when playing.

In fact, the harder a game is to play well, the lower the house edge is when you DO play well. For this reason alone, it might make sense to stick with games you have to learn how to play.

Also, have some fun getting to know some other gamblers at the casino tables. Most of them are as social and friendly as they can be.

7 Things You Must See on Your First Visit to the Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas Strip, Welcome to Vegas Sign
Over 40 million visitors flock to Las Vegas, Nevada, each and every year, and most spend every second of their stay on the Strip.

The world-famous four-mile stretch along Las Vegas Boulevard is home to 28 casino resorts, each of them boasting their own unique theme, amenities, and attractions. The spectrum of offerings on the Strip ranges from old-school classics like Circus Circus, gilded behemoths like Caesars Palace and Venetian, and blasts from the past like the newly revitalized Sahara.

Gamblers have no shortage of table games, slot machines, sportsbooks, and poker rooms to choose from. But while the business of Las Vegas Boulevard will always be gambling, the beauty is how it’s set up in such a way that tourists who have no interest in placing a bet can still spend days exploring and discovering new wonders.

Whether you’re planning your first trip to Vegas, or you’ve been dozens of times and want to scratch the essentials off your bucket list, this page is for you. Below, you’ll find a guide to the seven sights you must see on your first visit to the fabulous Las Vegas Strip.

1 – The Iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” Sign

For millions of people who drive into town, the first sign that they’ve reached the Strip is one of the most famous signs ever constructed.

Designed in 1959 by Betty Willis, the 25-foot tall roadside sign reading “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada” is legendary. Everything about the old-school lettering and neon lights just screams Sin City, and there’s simply no better place to begin your visit.

And I do mean “begin” literally, as the instantly recognizable sign is located just south of the Mandalay Bay, the southernmost casino resort on Las Vegas Boulevard.

Day or night, you’ll find dozens of tourists lined up to get their photo taken with that picturesque red, white, and blue sign. Thankfully though, the sign itself isn’t managed as a tourist attraction, so you don’t have to pay or wait in line to snap a pic.

The line is supervised by “volunteers” (enterprising locals looking to make a quick buck by soliciting tips) who provide quirky history lessons and get you situated at the perfect angle.

This is all part of the hustle and bustle that defines the Las Vegas lifestyle, so feel free to hop in line and take part in one of the city’s most unique and cherished rituals.

But if you don’t want to tip $5 for a photo you can take for free, by all means, stand a little ways away from the line and whip out your smartphone to snap a few keepers.

2 – Bellagio’s Famous (and Free) Water Fountain Show

Once you’ve filled your phone’s gallery with cool photos of the welcome sign, head up Las Vegas Boulevard to the Bellagio.

You can’t miss it either, as the golden hued exterior looms large even amidst the mega-casino resorts nearby. But what really separates the Bellagio from similarly designed buildings surrounding it is the gorgeous eight-acre waterway that greets visitors out front.

The Bellagio Fountain Show in Las Vegas, Wow in Red

There’s something about seeing its blue water, all while you’re standing in 110-degree heat of the Mojave Desert, that stirs the soul.

Stick around though, because soon enough, a musical cue signals the start of one Las Vegas’ most enduring attractions of all-time, the Fountains of Bellagio.

Starting every 30 minutes during the afternoons, and every 15 minutes between 8:00 PM and midnight, the Bellagio’s waterway lights up and comes alive. In a highly-choreographed display, “dancing” fountains shoot skyward, their sprays timed perfectly to the music in an aquatic concert like no other.

I’m talking a “hair standing on end” and “full goosebumps” moment when you see the Fountains of Bellagio for the first time, and the second, third, or fourth time, for that matter.

Among the popular song selections used to direct the dancing fountains are “Time to Say Goodbye” by Andrea Bocelli, “Luck Be a Lady” by Frank Sinatra, and of course, “Viva Las Vegas” by Elvis Presley.

The Fountains of Bellagio are the perfect place to begin a romantic date, give the kiddos a treat they won’t soon forget, or to simply sit in silence while enjoying a solitary moment of splendor.

And the best part about this must-see Las Vegas attraction is the price, as anyone can soak in the sights and sounds of the Fountains of Bellagio free of charge.

3 – Observation Deck and Adrenaline Rush Rides on Top of the Stratosphere (STRAT) Tower

This one may not be free but, for between $20 and $40, you can take to the very top of the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower.

Recently rebranded as The STRAT, the old Stratosphere tower lives up to its astronomical reputation as the highest point in all of Las Vegas. When you reach the rooftop observation deck, you’ll be standing 1,149 feet above the Strip, ensuring unobstructed 360-degree views of the entire city and surrounding valley.

The Stratosphere observation deck offers several ways to see Sin City from up high, including the aforementioned outdoor area complete with telescopes to zoom in on your favorite attractions down below.

For folks who might be afraid of heights, you can stay inside and gaze downward via tilted windows that offer the illusion of “hanging” over the ledge.

And speaking of the ledge, thrill-seekers can take the plunge by bungee jumping straight from the Stratosphere’s roof.

Another hair-raising way to experience Las Vegas’ highest point is to strap in and ride the Big Shot, Insanity, or X-Scream. Each ride offers its own distinct theme, but in each case, you’ll be flung into space and hung out over the edge to feel gravity and vertigo at their finest.

4 – The Cuisine and View at Eiffel Tower Restaurant at Paris

Outside and Dinner View of Eiffel Tower Restaurant in Las Vegas
For a more refined affair, but one which still offers spectacular views of the Strip’s skyline, head to the Paris casino’s Eiffel Tower replica.

An elevator ride 46 stories up takes you to the Eiffel Tower viewing deck and, at night, you can’t ask for a better view.

Before you take in the atmosphere up top, be sure to book a reservation at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant on the 11th floor, which ranks as one of the most sought-after eateries in town. Don’t forget to request a window facing the Strip either, because you’ll get to see the Fountains of Bellagio from one of the more beautiful vantage points I’ve yet encountered.

The cuisine here is absolutely exquisite, fine dining at its finest complete with world-class customer service. If you’re looking for a recommendation, my personal favorite meal starts with the warm Maine lobster, corn and tomato succotash, double-smoked bacon ($28) as an appetizer, Rossini-style filet mignon, foie gras, truffle sauce ($79) for a main course, and the soufflé ($26) for dessert.

5 – Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage

Devoted to the legacy of Siegfried and Roy, the famed tiger trainers who used to host the most beloved show in Las Vegas history, the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage is a fitting tribute.

The duo themselves may have retired, following Roy Horn’s tragic and nearly fatal mauling in 2003, but their influence on this attraction remains alive and well. To begin, you’ll enter a Sea World-esque water exhibit where trained dolphins frolic and fly through the air.

I’ll admit, I was a bit skeptical about aquatic animals in captivity after watching the “Blackfish” documentary, but this place has nothing in common with other dolphin-centric water parks. The facilities are clean and well-maintained, and the staff trainers are highly professional people who exude love and compassion for their partners.

Depending on the ticket you purchase, you can even get up close and personal with the special stars of the show.

These dolphins can paint pictures for the little ones, swim up to a shallow deck to accept a fish treat, or even take you on a ride through water courtesy of their dorsal fin.

I know all about anthropomorphizing animals, and dolphins definitely have a face that seems to be smiling all the time, so take this with a grain of salt. But I swear, these amazing underwater mammals seem to be genuinely pleased to provide people with such a unique and unforgettable experience.

Once you’re done dancing with the dolphins, the Secret Garden aspect of this attraction is devoted to the tigers, lions, and other big cats that Siegfried and Roy worked with for so many years. These are the very same animals that once stalked the stage nightly at the Mirage, so they’re admittedly a little long in the tooth.

Typically sleeping and sunning themselves by day, the big cats might not be as interactive as their dolphin counterparts. Nonetheless, watching a massive white tiger stroll by just a few feet away inspires a sense of awe that few other Las Vegas attractions can match.

6 – The High Roller Ferris Wheel at the LINQ

People Inside High Roller Capsule at the Linq Las Vegas
One of the newer Vegas attractions is the High Roller, located at the Strip’s LINQ Casino. The High Roller is billed as the biggest and tallest Ferris wheel in all the world.

At its peak, you’ll be sitting 550 feet above Las Vegas Boulevard, making for amazing 360-degree views of the entire city. And depending on the ticket you purchase, you can even take the edge off a bit with an open bar offering happy hour on demand, right inside of your personal “bubble” compartment.

7 – The Free Outdoor Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo

The perfect place to end a long day of exploring the Strip, the outdoor wildlife habitat within the Flamingo casino complex offers an oasis of calm amidst the hubbub.

Without paying a penny, visitors can feel free to stroll through palm tree-lined pathways, all while pink flamingos strut their stuff just a few feet away. A babbling brook has been built in to give the colorful aquatic birds their preferred habitat, so stay on the lookout for turtles and koi fish to complete the ambience.

Benches and gazebos make a great place to take a load off, so after you’ve had your fill of neon lights, heights, and the Strip’s endless sightseeing opportunities, make your way to the Flamingo’s outdoor wildlife exhibit to relax in style.

Conclusion

Simply put, there’s no place on the planet quite like the Las Vegas Strip. An adult wonderland, Disneyland for gamblers, and utterly unique attractions all in one, the Strip literally has something for everybody.

First-timers and veteran visitors alike will always find new wonders awaiting discovery, so on your trip, don’t forget to check out these seven must-see sights!

Do Casinos Control Who Wins on Slots?

Slot Machine Reels, Row of Casino Slot Machines
The first time I saw people use member cards for slot games, I didn’t know what they were. I asked the man sitting next to me and he explained a few details about the rewards club. But he wasn’t using a card himself.

When I asked him why, he said he once had a card but stopped winning when he played with the card. He thought the casino was monitoring his playing and adjusting the slot game results.

This rumor has circulated both online and offline for many years. It’s normal for people to hear something repeatedly and wonder if there is truth to it. But I’ve never found any proof that casinos can change the way slot games play by flipping a switch.

What makes it difficult to combat this idea and other rumors about slot machines is the many different markets where you find them. Slot machine games are regulated by each country. Complying with different regulations may mean that a slot maker must change how its games work.

The clearest example I can give is how slot games are decided in the United States. Class II slot games decide the outcome on the basis of one random number then configure the display to match that result. Class III games use several random numbers to control the reels.

How Modern Slot Machine Games Work

There aren’t many physical slot games left. They’re all electronic now, and the electronic machines use random number generator chips to decide results.

But there is more involved than just generating a random number. The “slots” in the slot games are spaces on reels. The computers now simulate these reels.

When you push “Spin” and the reels go round and round, it’s just a computer showing you pictures based on the numbers it generated. It’s a lot like an astrophysicist running a simulation of the stars moving around the galaxy.

Former and current slot machine manufacturing employees answer questions about game design on several websites including Quora. This answer was posted in September 2014, and it explains how the simulated reels are managed by software.

The programs to simulate the reels and assign the random numbers are etched into ROMs, Read-Only Memory chips. These ROMs must be physically changed by a technician to change how the game payout percentages work.

Legitimate Online Casino Operators Lease Games From Service Providers

There are over 2,000 online casinos. It’s impossible to be sure about how they all manage their slot games. But what is known about the most popular casinos is that they don’t run their slot games from their own servers.

Laptop Computer Displaying Online Slot Game, Digital Data Background

Instead the online casinos lease game services from secure data centers. These gaming platforms are run by companies like Blue Ocean and EveryMatrix. Some of the game design companies also run their own servers, leasing resources to online casinos.

Although it would be simple for online gaming companies to switch things up, they would risk losing independent certifications if they allowed the games to be rigged.

There’s no need for casinos to adjust the percentages. They can order the percentage breakouts for house edge and return to player that they want to offer. This way, they maintain competitiveness and support long-term profitability.

Many Games Publish the Theoretical Return to Player

Some slot games include the theoretical return to player in their help screens.

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These reported percentages must change when the games are reprogrammed or the casino risks being charged with fraud.

If the players see that RTP has been adjusted downward, they can play elsewhere. If players only suspect that the RTP has been adjusted without proper notification, they might still leave.

Casinos need players. The best strategy to grow their customer base is to keep game rewards high enough to make the risk worthwhile.

Some Governments Regulate Return to Player Percentages

Licensed gaming casinos must comply with local laws governing their businesses. Some countries provide more regulation than others.

In the United States, commercial land-based casinos are regulated by their states. However, Native American casinos are mostly regulated by the tribal governments that own them. Each jurisdiction has the authority to set minimal RTP percentages to ensure the casinos don’t make too much money.

Outside the Spokane Tribe Casino, Two People Walking Into Casino, RTP 92%

The 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act creates the legal framework used by tribes to protect their traditional gaming activities from state regulatory laws. The act also defines the three classes of gaming and how they are to be regulated.

Class II games are regulated by the tribes but only in states that allow any kind of gaming. Only Class III games are subject solely to state regulation.

True slot machine games are Class III games. Native American casinos offer Class II bingo games that are made to look like slot games. The game cabinets must display the casino bingo games that are used to determine wins.

Class II slot machines may have reels and bonus games but they’re not really slot machine games as defined by federal law.

How Do You Determine the Odds That a Slot Game Pays?

Casinos may or may not be required to declare the return to player for their slot games. Some casinos place a plate or sticker on their slot games with a notice. Other casinos leave it to the game help screens (thus, the manufacturers) to inform players.

The games’ odds may be reported as a theoretical RTP percentage, but they could also be reported as a ratio, similar to the way lottery games declare chances of winning a prize. Either way, these games don’t have to tell you how often to expect to win a prize of any amount.

Some players merely judge the looseness of slot games by how much money they win or how often they win as they play the games.

Some players judge the looseness of slot games by how popular they appear to be. This observational strategy assumes that the crowd knows more than the individual.

Local patrons who play regularly often settle upon favored games they believe are lucky. In other words, you have no way of knowing for sure how loose a slot game is.

One of my friends tells me he only plays slot games with low jackpots. His reasoning is that players need to lose less money for someone to win $10,000 than for someone to win $20,000.

Slot Machines May Have Programmed Payout Limits

In another post on Quora from 2016, someone claimed to have industry experience in the Caribbean.

In his post, he said that a machine won’t pay more than it has accumulated after the first month of operation. That first month establishes the limit based on the profit the machine made.

The system is designed to be random within a range of percentages. The software decides when and how much to pay but won’t go over the monthly limit.

It should be obvious that this limit could be reset.

The Games Are Designed to Be as Random as Possible

Slot Machine Reels Spinning, Question Marks Over Slot Reels
People who design and repair slot machine games express much trust in the random number generator chips these games use. The RNGs, as they are called, use the latest available algorithms at the time they are manufactured.

Math has not yet progressed to the point where truly random numbers can be generated. Mechanical devices require input from an outside source to be truly random.

The way slot game designers handle this limitation is they design the chips to generate thousands of random numbers every second. The random numbers each take a turn at being available for use by the game.

When a human player presses the “Spin” button, or sets a game on “Autoplay,” their action is the final ingredient in the algorithm. That is what makes these games random.

Because of the percentage payouts and internal limits they use, slot machine games don’t have to be reprogrammed to improve casino profits. Everything is designed to run with as little intervention as possible.

And that is better for the casino because the more they can intervene in a game’s function, the more likely they’ll face regulation over that intervention.

Casino game techs often say that replacing chips in slot machines must follow a special procedure (in the United States). They are closely monitored and every part must be accounted for. So, it’s less expensive for casinos if they don’t tweak the games.

Conclusion

An honest casino doesn’t need to control who wins at a slot game. They already control who can play a slot game. They can ask anyone to leave for any reason.

Naturally, casinos don’t do that. Instead. they purchase gaming systems that are designed to create an entertaining experience for patrons while legally retaining a profitable percentage of wagers.

No matter how much one’s frustration tempts a player into wondering about Big Brother Casino tweaking the game, it’s more profitable for the casino to let nature take its course.

5 Things to Do on Your First Visit to Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas

Las Vegas attracts over 40 million annual visitors, and the vast majority head straight for the Strip, all set to soak in the sights and sounds of the world’s undisputed gambling capital.

Welcome to Downtown Las Vegas Sign, People Zip Lining Through SlotZilla

But while the ultra-modern designs and cutting-edge casinos that define Las Vegas are certainly nice, many visitors leave town feeling a vague sense of dissatisfaction thinking the best casinos are only located on the Strip. They come expecting gritty gambling adventures and good old-fashioned drunken debauchery, only to find sterile gaming floors bitten by the corporate bug.

Those dreaded “resort fees” that double your advertised room rate would’ve never made it past the desk of true casino industry originals like Benny Binion and Bugsy Seigel. Nor would 6 to 5 payouts on blackjack, double-zero roulette wheels, watered down drinks, parking fees, and all the other money traps that define the Strip today.

When casino owners like them held court in Downtown Las Vegas, the Fremont Street area provided an early template for the Strip—glittering gambling halls with neon lights, free drinks, and all the action a high-roller would ever want.

The old casinos on Fremont Street took pride in accepting wagers without limit, and they made sure to fill your cocktail to the brim.

Throw in entertainers like Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and his “Rat Pack,” and Wayne Newton wowing audiences on a nightly basis, and Fremont Street in its glory days was a breathtaking sight to behold.

If you haven’t ventured away from the Strip to see what Fremont Street is all about, you’re doing your Las Vegas visits a disservice. Exploring the five things everybody must do when they get to Downtown Las Vegas.

1 – Zoom Through the Fremont Street Experience on the SlotZilla Zip Line

Imagine flying through Fremont Street in a flash, catching every attraction and casino within a minute’s time while onlookers down below gasp at your high-flying tour.

Well, you don’t have to imagine any longer, just buy yourself a ticket to the SlotZilla Zip Line attraction as soon as you arrive on Fremont Street!

Beginner zip liners should get their feet wet with the basic seated ride, which takes you the length of two city blocks in a standard sitting up position.

The introductory ride costs between $20 and $25, but after your heart starts pumping and the neon lights whiz by, the price of admission is more than worth your while.

For experienced zip line enthusiasts, you can double the ticket price to try the “Superman” harness. This enhanced version lets you zoom by in the classic arms forward, horizontal position made famous by everybody’s favorite alien superhero. Even better, you’ll fly the length of five city blocks while going even higher at 11 stories above Fremont Street.

2 – Learn Why They Call It “Sin City” by Taking a Tour of the Mob Museum

The Mob Museum in Las Vegas, Mobster with Gun
Seigel wasn’t the only infamous criminal to see Las Vegas’ legal gambling and lack of regulation in the early days as the goldmine for mobsters.

His partner in crime, Meyer Lansky, helped Seigel finance construction of the Flamingo, the first casino built on the Strip. Fellow member of the Genovese crime family, Moe Sedway, has had hands in the till at the El Cortez, which still stands and serves gamblers on Fremont Street today.

I don’t know all of this because I’m obsessed with Mafia culture and history. It’s all thanks to the fine folks at the Mob Museum: National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement.

Located a short walk from the Fremont Street Experience on Stewart Avenue, the Mob Museum is one of those signature Sin City attractions that you simply have to see to believe.

It’s designed in every way to replicate an art or natural history museum. Complete with dioramas, interactive exhibits, and highly informed tour guides, the Mob Museum is devoted to the dark underbelly of Las Vegas’ founding fathers.

The organizers of the Mob Museum have expressed their mission statement as follows:

“The Mob Museum offers a bold and authentic view of organized crime from vintage Las Vegas to the back alleys of American cities and – increasingly – across the borders and networks of the entire world.

Explore the real stories and actual events of Mob history through interactive exhibits and one-of-a-kind Mob and law enforcement artifacts found inside our restored 1933 former courthouse and post office building located just minutes from Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas.”

The Mob Museum was envisioned and funded by former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, who had ties to the underworld himself as a former lawyer for reputed mobsters.

3 – Gamble at the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino

Earlier on, I mentioned that the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino is the oldest in Las Vegas, having been operated continuously for 113 years and counting.

Outside the Golden Gate Casino in Las Vegas, Money Stacks

When it originally opened as the Hotel Nevada in 1906, an in-house casino offered no-frills card games, craps, and roulette. The casino closed in 1909 when Nevada banned gambling, but reopened in 1931 when lawmakers wisely reversed course.

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Today, the decidedly vintage venue sports 122 rooms and a full-scale casino designed to evoke nostalgic reveries at every turn.

You can spin some of the oldest original three-reel mechanical slot machines in Sin City or wolf down the world-famous $0.99 shrimp cocktail ($3.99 today thanks to inflation).

Back in 2012, new owner Derek Stevens invested $12 million in a massive renovation project, updating the décor for the first time in more than 50 years. Those enhancements surely show, as the modern Golden Gate is actually quite luxurious in an antique sort of way.

But as previous owner Mark Brandenburg told the Las Vegas Review-Journal after selling the Golden Gate to Stevens, who also owns The D Casino in Las Vegas and the under construction Circa, this old gal’s charms lie in its deeply rooted history:

“I have a fondess for the Golden Gate because it is so unique. It’s an authentic, original Las Vegas property. In terms of the building, we’ve preserved a lot of its history even as it’s grown over the years.”

Some of my best trips anywhere in Las Vegas, both in terms of experience and bottom line, as the Golden Gate offers the loosest slots around, have taken place under the Golden Gate’s roof. If you find yourself on Fremont Street at any point down the road, be sure to stop in and see the city’s most venerable casino venue firsthand.

4 – Swim With the Sharks at Golden Nugget’s World-Class Swimming Pool

The Tank Pool Inside the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas
The Strip is famous for its massive, multi-acre swimming pools where hundreds of patrons enjoy tanning and Tanqueray from sunup to sundown.

But one of Las Vegas’ most renowned pools can be found on Fremont Street inside the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino.

Dubbed “The Tank,” the Golden Nugget’s dual indoor/outdoor swimming pool is surrounded by three stories of decking and cabana space. The real treat is a 200,000-gallon shark tank aquarium that has somehow been intertwined with the pool itself.

You can slide down a specially-designed clear glass tube, coming nose to nose with tiger sharks that look eerily like the Great White from “Jaws.” If swimming with the sharks gets your blood pumping, relax by floating over to the H20 Bar for a cold refreshment to cool off.

5 – Wander Through the Neon Museum’s Famous Sign Boneyard at Night

Another amazing institution that celebrates Las Vegas history in style is the Neon Museum, which is dedicated to preserving those vintage signs that once lined Fremont Street and the Strip.

Here’s what the Neon Museum is all about, straight from the horse’s mouth:

“Founded in 1996, the Neon Museum is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment.

The Neon Museum campus includes the outdoor exhibition space known as the Neon Boneyard.”

That Neon Boneyard is the real draw in my opinion, as it lights up at night to provide a surreal, one of a kind trip back through time.

You’ll find everything in this outdoor area from Aladdin’s lamp from the old Aladdin, the twinkling Stardust sign, and the original Sahara sign with its pair of camels strutting underneath.

Do yourself a favor and pay for the guided tour, too, because the staff here have a way of bringing these antique aspects of Las Vegas lore to life.

Conclusion

You can’t go wrong visiting any of the five experiences on this list. If you have time, try to enjoy as many of them as possible. You won’t be sorry if you do.

5 Poker Rooms Where You Can Still Play Seven-Card Stud in Las Vegas

Seven-Card Stud Hand and Las Vegas Sign

If you came up during the “Poker Boom” era, sparked in 2003 by (one of the most successful gamblers in history) Chris Moneymaker’s momentous victory at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, you probably haven’t had much exposure to Seven-Card Stud.

The wall-to-wall coverage of WSOP and World Poker Tour (WPT) back in the boom days meant that millions of poker fans worldwide learned no limit Texas holdem first. For many poker enthusiasts, in fact, Texas holdem is the only game they’ve ever played in the casino setting.

But it wasn’t always this way…

Before the boom, most poker players considered Seven-Card Stud to be their game of choice. The antique game, and its various offshoots like the split-pot variant Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo Eight or Better, was the de facto poker product in casinos and card rooms from coast to coast through the late 1990s.

Just in case you’re unfamiliar with the basic gameplay and structure of Seven-Card Stud, here’s a quick tutorial to get you brought up to speed.

How to Play Seven-Card Stud

There will be two to eight players at the table, with everyone paying a nominal ante amount based on the game’s table stakes. Each player is dealt three cards to begin the hand.

Two of those cards are dealt face down, while the third is face up for the table to see. From there, whomever shows the lowest ranking card must place a forced bet known as the “bring-in.”

The antes and the bring-in bet serve the same purpose as the blinds in a game like Texas holdem, putting chips in the pot and giving players something to fight for. After the bring-in bet is made, the next player to the left acts by folding, calling the bring-in amount, or raising it up.

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Seven-Card Stud is a limit betting game, so this raise can only bring the current wager to the “small bet” size.

In a cash game using $5/$10 limits and a $2 bring-in, for example, a raiser could increase the bet to the $5 small bet amount.

Once the table has acted around on “third street,” named for the amount of cards held at this point, the dealer will deliver all remaining players a fourth card face up. Betting on fourth street sticks with the small bet unit, but all subsequent streets increase the stakes by using the “big bet” sizing.

Players alternate taking face up cards and betting on fifth and sixth street, before taking their seventh and final card face down. After one last round of betting, the remaining players turn over their three hole cards. Whoever has the highest-ranked (in standard high-hand Seven-Card Stud) five-card poker hand takes the pot.

As you might imagine, removing shared community cards from the equation makes Seven-Card Stud a test of memorization. As a hand plays out, you’ll instantly get to see one card from each of your opponents’ hand.

Even if they wind up folding out, this knowledge can be used later to help deduce remaining opponents’ holdings or calculate your current drawing odds based on card elimination.

Seven-Card Stud in Las Vegas

Hand Holding Three Poker Cards, Welcome to Las Vegas Sign
Back in the 1990s, Sin City card rooms spread Seven-Card Stud by default, as interest in other variants like Texas holdem or Pot Limit Omaha was sparse to say the least. That script has definitely been flipped over the last two decades, leading to Seven-Card Stud’s current status as a niche game largely ignored by the recreational poker-playing masses.

The biggest cash games in town all use a mix or a rotation of variants, which typically runs between eight and 12 games. The mixed game economy has ensured that Seven-Card Stud remains alive and well. But, believe it or not, you can still visit the city of Las Vegas and enjoy straight up Seven-Card Stud like the good old days.

Below, you’ll find a full tour of five poker rooms in Las Vegas where you can still play Seven-Card Stud in style.

1 – Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa

Kicking off the list is Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa, a gorgeous venue located in the upscale suburb of Summerlin. To reach Red Rock Resort, you’ll need to drive about 25 minutes northwest of the Strip, but the wait will definitely be worth it for Seven-Card Stud fans.

As this handy guide from the PokerAtlas poker room database shows, Red Rock Resort is home to the lowest-stakes Seven-Card Stud games in all of Sin City with $4/$8 and $2/$10 games running a few times per week.

These tables play the Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo Eight or Better offshoot though, so be sure to familiarize yourself with that game’s key twist. As the name suggests, the Hi-Lo Eight or Better version of Seven-Card Stud uses a split pot system in which a qualifying low hand can earn half of the pot. You’ll need to hold a string of five cards that are all ranked at eight or lower, something like 2-3-5-6-7 or 3-5-6-7-8, to form a qualifying low hand.

The goal in an Eight or Better hand is usually to “scoop” the pot, or win both the high and the low portions at the same time. Picture yourself holding the A-2-3-4-5 “wheel” straight to claim the high portion, with the same five card combo forming the best low hand at 5-high to get an idea of how scooping works in this extremely interesting Seven-Card Stud variant.

Red Rock Resort’s poker room isn’t the biggest in Las Vegas, but does boast 20 tables. And, on busy days, two of them should have Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo Eight or Better running at extremely reasonable stakes.

The $4/$8 table uses a $40 minimum buy-in with no maximum limit, while the $2/$10 tables opts for a $100 minimum and no maximum. In the $4/$8 game, the ante stands at just $0.25 and the bring-in is for $1. As for the $2/$10 game, expect to ante $1 and bring-in for $2.

These stakes are perfect for recreational players looking to test the proverbial waters before moving up the ladder.

2 – Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall

Another “off-Strip” casino located far from the wilds of Las Vegas Boulevard, the Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall is a beloved casino for locals who appreciate value.

Sam's Town Hotel and Gambling Hall in Las Vegas

You’ll hit the Boulder Highway to get here, and when you do, the cozy 11-table poker room at Sam’s Town will have a sweet $2/$10 game featuring traditional high-hand Seven-Card Stud.

The minimum buy-in here is $50, but given the $10 big bet sizing and no maximum on buy-ins, most Seven-Card Stud players at Sam’s Town Casino roll with a $100 buy-in that gives them 10 big bets to work with.

Both the ante bet and the bring-in for this game are just $1 too, making even a minimum $50 buy-in plenty to get your feet wet.

3 – Bellagio Hotel and Casino

While the poker industry’s heaviest hitters like Doyle Brunson, Daniel Cates, and Jean-Robert Bellande duke it out in “Bobby’s Room” in the Bellagio, home to the largest stakes mixed cash games in Las Vegas at $2,000/$4,000 blinds, you can attempt to live vicariously through them.

Bellagio’s world-class poker room, as a regular host of the prestigious WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic with 37 tables, offers the most diverse array of Seven-Card Stud tables anywhere in Las Vegas.

The “smallest” stakes game here is $20/$40, however, so you’ll need to bring a bigger bankroll than would suffice at Red Rock Resort or Sam’s Town. Even so, the minimum entry point is a $200 buy-in (with no maximum), so these stakes certainly don’t box out recreational players by any means.

In the $20/$40 high-hand Seven-Card Stud game at the Bellagio, players ante for $3 and pay a $5 bring-in. These tables also charge a $5 house rake every 30 minutes.

On busy weekend nights, the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas also spreads a $30/$60 game of Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo Eight or Better. Here, the minimum buy-in is $500 with no maximum, antes cost $5 apiece, and the bring-in runs $10. The house rake on the $30/$60 Eight or Better table is $7.

And to cap things off, you’ll also find a $50/$100 high-hand game that runs occasionally at any point in the week. At these higher stakes, the players prefer to add blind bets a la Texas holdem, so look for $5 and $15 small and big blinds, respectively. The ante and bring-in follow the same $5/$15 structure, putting plenty of chips in play right off the bat.

4 – Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino

For six weeks every summer, the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino becomes a smorgasbord of Seven-Card Stud tournaments and cash games thanks to the annual WSOP.

Plan your trip for between late May and mid-July to get in on the WSOP fun, which featured no less than 11 gold bracelet events based around Seven-Card Stud and its related variants a few months back.

The lowest entry point in terms of buy-in are the $1,500 high-hand Seven-Card Stud tournament, and its $1,500 Hi-Lo Eight or Better counterpart. As you might expect, elite pros dominate the smaller fields in these niche events, with veteran Eli Elezra winning the $1,500 high-hand tournament this summer for a $93,766 score.

You’ll also find a few $1,500 buy-in tournaments which feature Seven-Card Stud as one component of a mix. The eight-game mix is exactly what it sounds like, while the popular Dealer’s Choice event allows the dealer to call the game ahead of every new hand.

And of course, the centerpiece of the WSOP’s Seven-Card Stud schedule is the $10,000 buy-in World Championship which Hennigan claimed this year. That’s a hefty buy-in for most players, but you can try to parlay $500 or $1,000 into a seat through the satellite tournament qualification system.

5 – WSOP.com Online Poker Room

Although not technically a poker room in the traditional sense, WSOP.com offers online play on a fully regulated and legal platform.

You can play from anywhere in Las Vegas, or Nevada for that matter, provided you’re of age and have a steady internet connection.

Seven-Card Stud cash games on WSOP.com, in both high-hand and Hi-Lo Eight or Better versions, begin with $0.05/$0.10 limits and run up to $10/$20.

You’ll also find the occasional tournament running, including online satellites that feed into the live WSOP every summer.

Why Seven-Card Stud Remains Beloved by Poker Pros

Unfortunately for fans of Seven-Card Stud, the game’s lack of community cards and limit betting structure doesn’t make it a great fit for televised coverage.

With an entire generation caught up in the two-card tango of Texas holdem, defined by bold “all-in” bluffs and bad beats when the community cards come up just right, Seven-Card Stud has waned in popularity over the last decade or so.

It’s a shame, because Seven-Card Stud is among the most complex and challenging forms of poker ever devised.

The lack of community cards turns Seven-Card Stud into a contest of wills, one based on memorization skills, logical reasoning, the ability to back up a solid read with a well-timed bluff.

For this reason, well-rounded poker players who pride themselves on knowing all of the variants in a good eight-game mix down cold consider Seven-Card Stud to be the proving ground which separates elite pros.

Veteran pro Johnny “World” Hennigan captured his sixth career WSOP gold bracelet in the prestigious $10,000 Seven-Card Stud World Championship event. He told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that excelling in every old-school poker player’s favorite game made the win a little more special.

“I’ve won tournaments for much bigger prize money, but winning this tournament in particular had a lot of value to me. I grew up playing stud, and a lot of people say I’m the best at that game, and I’ve always been really good at that game. It’s kind of a feather in my cap.”

Conclusion

Clearly, Seven-Card Stud is a beautiful poker game that has withstood the test of time. It might not provide those memorable all-in moments and “Aces cracked” bad beats generated by Texas holdem, but true poker aficionados appreciate Seven-Card Stud for the skillful play required to excel.

Luck doesn’t play as large of a role in a game lacking community cards, and the limit betting structure actually produces much more action on any given hand. If you haven’t experienced Seven-Card Stud in the live arena, make sure to visit one of the poker rooms listed here during your next trip to Las Vegas.

What You Should Have Learned Watching Poker on Television (8 Lessons)

Person Watching Poker on Television in the Living Room

One day, a poker professional will stand before his vanquished enemies, holding his belt, bracelet, or wad of cash. And he will say that he learned to play the game not by playing online or in poker rooms, but watching poker on TV.

For most people, their first taste of poker is playing for spare change (or candy or cookies) with friends and family. However, their first taste of what it could be like to play poker professionally comes by watching the greats duel it out on the television screen.

To that end, I learned a lot of how to play poker just by watching it on TV. After giving it some thought, here are eight of the lessons I learned about poker from seeing it on TV that didn’t cost my hard earned bankroll to find out on my own.

1 – Even the Pros Fold

As a novice poker player, the idea of folding as a defensive strategy feels like quitter talk. The idea of playing poker is to win, and there’s no way to win if you are sitting around watching other people play their hands.

That’s why too many novices hold on to terrible hands that have no shot of coming out on top and continue to toss money into the pot until the very bitter end. After a while, a novice might get the idea that they fold 2-3 unsuited or even jack-7, but there’s no way a novice mucks any hand where there’s an ace or a king or any of those good cards.

That’s where watching the pros was so instructive. A pro will clearly fold a terrible hand, but they will also fold hands with aces in them if the other card is two. They might even fold a pocket pair if it’s not high enough.

Seeing the pros do that was enough for me to start to wonder why they were giving up hands that seemed strong. This, in turn, opened my eyes to the fact that while the idea of poker is to win, you also need to have enough chips to stay in.

Therefore, you fold out of a bad hand and live to fight another day. You might also give up a decent hand if you don’t have position or if everyone else is betting aggressively.

2 – Even the Pros Lose

This is a tough pill to swallow, because every poker player wants to believe they are invincible. The problem is that even the greatest poker players lose, and even the poker greats may only win a major tournament once.

Poker is a fickle game. To be great, you are going to lose a lot. Seeing the pros on television get close only to find their chip stacks disappear is a hard lesson, but it’s encouraging for those of us who don’t play for a living.

It allows us to accept losing a game or two and still keep going.

3 – Calculating Odds Is Important

While watching poker on TV, the screen will show you the odds to win for each hand. This is based on the television program’s perfect knowledge of each card that has been dealt and what cards remain.

It’s cool to see it as a teaching tool so that the viewer can understand the relative strength of each hand. Still, for years, I thought that the only way to calculate those odds were to know everything about the game.

Poker Odds Calculations

As it turns out, poker players are constantly plotting the odds of the strength of their hand against the risk of staying in. And once everyone goes all in, they are good at calculating odds in their head that rival the odds shown on the television screen.

All of this means, at the end of the day, I had to do a lot of research to better understand how those odds are computed. Now, I employ similar math when I play.

4 – Poker Lingo

Like a lot of games, poker has its terminology for almost everything. For reasons I can’t fully fathom, there seem to be a lot more poker terms than in other pastimes and those terms get used an awful lot.

It’s important for players of all skill levels to be able to use these words when talking about poker and when studying it, especially because many articles on strategy and tips use these terms. In the end, if you don’t talk the talk, figuring out how to walk the walk is almost impossible.

Enter poker television. The poker players and announcers often use poker-specific terminology when talking about the game. However, in most cases, they will back up and explain what something means to the audience.

It’s a good way to get familiar with the language without having to read a glossary.

5 – The Pros Have Tells

Every poker pro will tell you that winning in-person poker games involves eliminating tells, which is good advice. A tell gives away information to the your opponents.

Also, in many ways, professional pokers excel at removing their tells to the point they sit at a table like a statue. Still, professional poker players do have tells. You just have to look a little harder to find them.

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If you don’t believe me, watch the same player for a few hands and pay attention to their mannerisms when they have a good hand and when they have a poor hand. Then, hold your hand over the screen so you can’t see their cards.

Pretty soon, you will find you can judge if they are happy with their cards or not.

Once you get comfortable with this, you can then go to other real-life poker games and start to find other players’ tells. You’ve already seen what to look for by watching poker (body position, posture, breathing, rate of speech), just find similar patterns at people in your table and you are one step closer to poker mastery.

6 – The Talkers Are Tilting

The cameras love poker players who talk a lot. They make for a better viewing experience. But they are almost always on their way out.

Full Tilt Poker Tournament - Poker Player Self-Doubting

Sure, the cameras will fix on a player that is constantly jawing at everyone around them, but fairly quickly, the announcers will start to notice that the player is making erratic bets, staying in instead of folding, and succumbing to some seriously bad bluffs.

All of this is to say that poker television teaches how to spot someone tilting (and ripe to plunder). This is why you should never stay in when you start to tilt.

7 – How to Bet Before the Flop

Before watching poker television, I often wouldn’t bet preflop because I didn’t always feel confident in winning without seeing what the first three community cards were. However, after watching a lot of Texas Hold‘em on television, I quickly grew to realize there are numerous reasons why one bets prior to the flop.

While there are several reasons to do so, I found that I really liked two of them.

  • The first is what you call a “bully bet.” I’ve seen it in a number of cases. When the table is calling the big blind or only betting a small amount, one larger bet can cause a lot of opponents around the table to fold. This should only be done by a player in position, but it’s a great way to win a hand without trying.
  • The other reason to bet before the hand is to do a value bet. A small bet is enough to show the table you have some confidence in your hand. But it also gets everyone else betting so that, in the end, you hopefully take their money.

I’ve seen all of this play out well on poker television.

8 – What a Bad Bluff Looks Like

I’ve seen a lot of people try to bluff in poker and have it go horribly wrong. In the end, watching other people bluff has shown me the changes in the bluffer’s body language. They almost always go stiff and get quiet.

In fact, poker television has taught me to avoid bluffing since it rarely works.

Conclusion

Watching poker television is like going to poker school every night. I have learned so much about the game just by watching other professionals do their thing at the poker table.

Fortunately, you can learn all of these lessons just by reading this post, but I challenge you to turn on the television and watch a game or two. See if you come to the same conclusions I did, then you can decide if you want to change your game accordingly.

5 Rules of Etiquette at the Craps Table

Casino Craps Table, Dice Rolling Fading
Gambling has been around for hundreds of years and has a lot of tradition built up around it. While you don’t necessarily need to follow all of the rules and traditions of the games you’re playing, it can certainly make it easier for you to fit in, make friends, and keep from unintentionally upsetting other players who expect you to act a certain way.

If you’re not sure what the rules of etiquette are for your particular choice of casino games, don’t worry. Most are informal and, if you’re about to break one of the rules, someone around you will usually give you a gentle nudge before you commit a major faux pas.

Still, it’s not a bad idea to brush up on your gambler’s etiquette before walking into a casino or public place to play. That’s why I have listed five of the most important rules of craps etiquette. These five simple rules are easy to follow and will keep you from acting like this is your first time at a casino (even if it is).

But why craps? Of all the games at a casino, craps seems to have more of its own little traditions than many other games. Therefore, it seemed like a good place to start a discussion on gambling etiquette.

1 – Never Mention Seven at the Table

Right up there with never wish an actor “good luck” or yelling “fire!” in a crowded theatre is the rule that you never say the word “seven” at a craps table.

In case you’re not familiar with the rules in playing a game craps, once the point is set, rolling a seven is an automatic loss for the shooter. It tends to involve the house taking in a whole lot of money.

Because gamblers are a superstitious lot, the going belief is that if someone says seven, then the next roll is likely to be a seven.

You also shouldn’t hand the dice to a player with a seven showing.

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The dealer and pit bosses won’t cheer for a seven and, to be safe, don’t order a Seagram’s Seven or even a 7-Up. Seriously, gamblers are a superstitious lot.

Fortunately, this rule of craps etiquette is fairly easy to follow. Just refrain from saying one single word and you will be welcome at any craps table. Break the rule and see how long everyone else wants to keep you around.

2 – Don’t Put Money Down When the Player Has Dice

This rule is really more about preventing from potentially interfering with the dice than actually being polite. To follow it, simply do not put chips down on the craps table when the shooter has been handed the dice. It’s really that simple.

To do otherwise is to invite possible interference. Imagine your embarrassment (and the rest of the crowd’s irritation) if the shooter, unaware of your bet, tossed the dice and hit your hand or a stack of chips that weren’t there when they started their shooting motion.

Group of People Playing Craps, Guy Throw Craps Dice, Hand Holding Casino Chips, Banned Logo

Such actions could cause the toss of the dice to be thrown out all together, people could lose money and, more than likely, the dealer won’t honor your bet until the next toss anyway. This leads to angry gamblers with no gain for yourself.

Ultimately, to follow this rule, just listen for the dealer. The dealer will indicate when it’s okay to place bets and when you should not. Therefore, if you’re not sure if it’s okay to bet, don’t and wait for the dealer’s okay. Do this and you will be fine.

3 – Don’t Dally When Shooting the Dice

This bit of craps etiquette is a must-follow because it helps your fellow gamblers and the house. Also, it’s fairly easy to follow.

When the dice are passed to you and the dealer signals it’s time to throw, just shoot the dice. If you have a lucky routine, go through it quickly. Only ask one bystander to blow on your dice for luck if you must imitate what you see in the movies, then toss.

Gamblers get a thrill from craps by seeing where the dice lands and if they made money. It’s more fun to earn money than it is to watch some stranger go through a 21-point routine before each roll of the dice. If this seems strange to you, perhaps baseball betting is your thing?

Another reason you want to keep the dice rolling is because the house wants to you toss the dice. In craps, there are winners and losers.

Because the house only makes money when someone loses the game, they want rolls. More rolls, more chances for them to earn money.

Therefore, when the time comes for you to shoot, be a gambler of action. Grab the dice. Give them a quick shake, and roll. Everyone will be happy that way… Unless you roll a seven. Everyone will be happy but you!

4 – Don’t Use Stacks When a Chip Will Do

This is one of those rules that you might not think about when you first start playing craps, but it makes more sense the more you shoot the dice. While individual chips aren’t that thick, they do start to stack and can make high towers.

Guy Wearing Sunglasses with Casino Chips Stacked, No Logo

Those high towers can become an obstacle that the shooter has to roll over to make a legal roll. If the stacks are too high, the shooter’s throwing motion can change, which may well make her feel out of control or cheated.

Again, gamblers are superstitious and something as major as a change in the way they roll the dice can actually affect the outcome of a roll. While there’s no way to be sure that the change in motion was any better or any worse for the shooter, the appearance of something going amiss is enough to get in many gamblers’ heads.

The way to avoid this completely is to not stack your chips if you don’t have to. Use as many smaller chips as possible and if you have the chips to place a large bet, try to keep them out of the shooter’s direct line of site. In this way, you keep the shooter calm and the table happy.

5 – Tip the Dealers and Waitstaff

This rule of etiquette applies not just to craps but to anytime you decide to play poker games, too. Always tip your dealer when you leave the table, even if you lost money. Also, tip the waitstaff a buck or two for every drink.

There are a number of reasons to tip. If you’re superstitious, think of it as earning karma for the next time someone says seven.

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If you feel like the pit bosses and dealers are watching you with additional scrutiny, a nice tip is a good way to get on the dealer’s good side.

Still, there’s probably no better reason to tip than the fact that tipping your dealer or server is just the right thing to do. Most of the folks who work in the casino are doing it for the tips, not the salary. A reasonable tip doesn’t cost you much, but it can mean the world to the person who receives the tip.

Casino Craps Pit Boss, Handing Tip To Pit Boss, Red X

With that said, never tip the pit boss. In most casinos, the pit boss will think that’s a bribe, not a tip, and you really don’t want that.

Conclusion

If you think these rules of craps etiquette are a lot to follow, that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. There are lots of other things you should not do at a craps table, but mostly, they boil down to not being a jerk. Don’t yell. Don’t swing your arms around wildly, and you will be fine.

With that said, the next time you hit a craps table, keep in mind the rules above. Avoid saying the word seven so that the shooter doesn’t think you cursed them. Avoid making a bet at the craps table when the shooter has the dice to avoid distracting the shooter or interfering with their role.

When it’s your turn to the shoot the dice, it’s okay to have a ritual, but don’t have a long shooting ritual. Avoid big chip stacks so that you don’t make obstacles for the shooter to overcome. Finally, tip your cocktail waitress and the dealer because it’s the right thing to do.

Most importantly, don’t be nervous. If you make it to the craps table and forget all of these rules, you won’t be thrown out of the casino for breaking them (at least not the first time).

Others around you will remind you of these rules, which you probably won’t break more than once. Then, you can relax, get your hasty dice toss ritual ready, and worry about nothing else than if that pesky seven is going to show up.

4 Times You Might Fold Pocket Queens in No Limit Texas Holdem

Casino Table with Poker Cards and Casino Chips, Two Queen Poker Cards
I know that some of you reading this think I’m crazy to suggest folding pocket queens in no limit Texas holdem. Queens are either the third or fourth best starting hand you can have, so why would you ever consider folding them before the flop?

The truth is that you usually don’t fold a hand this strong before the flop. In most games of poker, it’s a profitable play even from under the gun. But I’ve folded pocket queens a few times and still believe that it was the right play every time.

Pocket queens are strong, but they don’t make a perfect hand. In the first section below, I cover all the potential problems with having pocket queens as a starting hand. Then, I cover four situations where folding pocket queens might be the best play.

The Problem With Pocket Queens

Pocket queens are no doubt one of the top four starting hands in Texas holdem. Only two hands, pocket aces and kings, dominate it. Only ace king has a roughly equal shot at taking it down. But what you need to understand is this is only in a head-to-head contest.

Against two players, one with an ace and a small card and one with a king and a small card, you’re basically in a coin flip situation. This is why it’s so important to enter the pot with a raise with a hand like pocket queens.

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Any flop that has an ace or king on it can be dangerous.

Also, in most no limit games, players play with almost any pair in hopes of hitting a set on the flop. The only way you can feel confident getting all in on the flop is when you flop a set.

In this way, pocket queens aren’t much better than pocket jacks or tens. The only difference is that you should always enter the pot with a raise with pocket queens, and sometimes, you should limp with pocket jacks and tens.

When the flop has all three cards ranked jack or lower, what do you do when you bet and get raised? You probably call most of the time, but how do you know you’re not against a set?

Ace and King Poker Cards, Yellow Caution Logo

What do you do when the flop has an ace or a king? If you raised before the flop, you almost have to make a continuation bet, but what do you do on the turn after getting called on the flop? If the flop has a king and not an ace, you’re a little bit safer, because some players play weak aces but not kings. Even so, it’s still a complicated situation.

Are you willing to risk your entire stack in either situation described above?

In some games, the answer is yes. This is because you see opponents risking their stack with top pair or two pair hands at the low and some middle levels. But as you move up to better competition, the only players sticking with you after the flop have a decent hand or strong draw.

The fact is that you should play pocket queens almost all of the time, and you should almost always raise with them before the flop. But there are a few situations where you need to carefully consider how you play them.

1 – On the Bubble

Here’s a situation where an argument can be made to fold any hand, including pocket queens. You’re in a satellite tournament and have the chip lead. The top 10 finishers earn an entry into the next tournament and there are 11 players left. You look at your hole cards and have pocket queens. What do you do?

With 11 players left and the chip lead, you can fold your way into the next tournament. The difference between finishing first and 10th is zero, so why would you risk a large portion of your stack with very little upside?

In this situation, I fold the queens and any other hand 100% of the time.

But what about if you’re 10th  in stack size in the same situation? In this case, if the pot hasn’t been raised, I’m probably going to move all in.

Guy Playing Poker Upset, Two Queen Poker Cards

What about if you’re in the same situation on the bubble of a normal tournament? In this situation, the most money is for finishing in first place. You need to continue making smart plays trying to accumulate more chips. This means that I play pocket queens just like any other situation here.

If you’re low on chips, you have to decide if you can fold your way into the money. I like being aggressive when I’m low on chips and close to the bubble. Oftentimes, a big stack will call with a slightly lesser hand and it’s a good opportunity to double up. If I run into someone with pocket aces or kings, there’s nothing I can do about that. Just be careful and keep in mind how important managing your casino bankroll is for any game.

2 – At the Top Levels

Most poker players reading this are never going to be playing at the top levels. This isn’t a criticism, it’s simply a fact that most players don’t reach these levels.

At the top level, you’re playing against the best in the world. They know all of the tricks and all of the numbers. Most hands are played heads up because limpers get punished in most cases. At these levels, it’s hard to get anyone all in with an inferior hand. This is especially true when you don’t flop a set with your queens.

Top level poker players can get away from marginal hands, so you need to push a hand like pocket queens hard before the flop.

Your opponents can also sense weakness and are more likely to play back at you after the flop to see how strong your hand is.

Yes, you still need to play pocket queens, but they’re much stronger from late position than early position. At these levels, you can’t play many hands the same way every time. With queens, you have to mix things up sometimes. But most of the time, you need to enter with a raise then play more conservatively after the flop (unless you improve).

You still need to make a continuation bet on most flops, but once you get called, you need to slow down and evaluate your situation.

The truth is that, once you reach the top levels of poker, you play position and players almost as much as you play your hand. This is a foreign concept to most poker players at the lower and middle levels, but it’s something you need to learn if you ever hope to play at the elite levels.

3 – Facing a Raise and Re-Raise

When you’re in late position or the blinds with a pair of pocket queens, and the pot already has a raise and re-raise, you need to tread carefully. The problem is that you’re not ending the action. If you call, you might face yet another raise to stay in the hand. And if there’s another raise behind you in this situation, at least one of your opponents probably has aces or kings.
Guy Reaching for Casino Chips, Raise Text
If you face this situation in the blinds, you need to fold 100% of the time, unless you’re playing at low limits. From late position, you can consider sticking in the hand. But it helps to know a great deal about the other players in the hand. I don’t have exact numbers, but from late position, this is (at best) a breakeven situation if you stay on the hand.

4 – Limp Re-Raise All In

What do you think when an early position player limps, faces a raise, then moves all in? This screams a huge hand. While I’ve seen a few poor players do this with ace king, this play almost always means pocket aces or pocket kings.

When you limp from early position in a no limit game, it needs to be with a hand that can flop a huge hand or one that’s strong enough to stand up to more than one caller after your limp.

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With a hand that can flop a big hand, like pocket jacks or tens, it’s not a smart play to push all in after limping and being raised.

The smart play is to call the raise if your opponent has a deep stack and try to stack him when you flop a set.

This only leaves hands like pocket aces and kings when a limper pushes after a raise. Unless you have strong evidence that your opponent is a maniac, when an early limper pushes all in after you raise with queens, you need to fold.

If the push doesn’t cost much more, you need to call. But if it’s a large amount, the call isn’t worth it in the long run.

Conclusion

You might never find yourself in a position where folding pocket queens is the right play. But as you learned in this article, sometimes, it’s the right thing to do. Poker isn’t about winning the most hands, it’s about winning the most money. The only hand you probably should never fold before the flop is pocket aces, and I can make at least one good argument for folding them. But that’s an argument for another time.

8 Tips to Improve Your Game by Watching Poker

Crowded Casino Poker Table, Cash Bills Flying, Hand Holding Magnifying Glass
This is a golden age of poker on television. If you have cable, chances are, you can turn on your television right now and watch a group of highly-skilled professionals play poker. Even better, if you miss any of that action, most of the major poker television shows stream highlights and bonus footage on their websites. You can watch poker any time of the day!

Of course, if that fails, there’s always sites like YouTube which are rich with poker hands recorded straight from the TV, often with additional commentary added.

If you like watching poker on TV, then you are one of literally millions who take part in watching it. On the other hand, if you are only watching poker for the entertainment value, you are missing out on a critical opportunity to learn more about the game. Here are eight tips to keep in mind each time you watch someone play a game of poker and how to use it to improve your game.

1 – Pretend You’re in the Game

The most important thing to do when you’re watching poker television is to forget you’re watching poker television. Stop thinking of yourself as a spectator and try to make it as real as you can.

You will end up learning so much more if you try to imagine what you would do in every situation then see if you guessed right or wrong.

If you guessed wrong, learn from your mistakes. If you guessed right, make sure you know why that was the best move.

Part of doing this, however, is blocking the lower left-hand screen. When you are playing poker against other people, you don’t get to see their hands or make decisions with the odds calculated for you.

So, as strange as it sounds, put your hand up so you can’t see anyone’s cards but “yours” and try to bet like the pros bet. You will find this to be initially frustrating but ultimately helpful in the long run.

2 – Watch How Many Hands Aren’t Played

Group of People Playing Casino Poker, Poker Player with Sunglasses and Poker Chips
There will always be a tendency in poker to play a hand since, as you may know, you don’t win any money unless you play the hand. However, watch how often the pros fold and when, then learn to do this yourself. Learning when to properly fold is the mark of a true professional (and, conversely, sticking with a bad hand is the sign of an easy mark) so watch the poker pros and fold when they fold.

In fact, just learning that it’s okay to fold is an important enough lesson from watching the poker pros, that if you take nothing else from poker television, your game is already better.

3 – Look for How the Pros Conceal Their Tells

The sign of a true poker professional is that they can sit in an auditorium with cheering fans, glaring lights, and hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line and their face never changes. They just play their game with the same expression whether they win or lose.

This is because they are doing everything in their power to avoid giving away a tell. From watching these pros play on television, you can learn strategies for hiding your own tells.

Find a poker pro that has a demeanor you like and try to emulate it. Over time, playing this way will become natural and you will deny your opponents critical information when you do not have as many tells.

4 – The Tells Are There Anyway

We said that if you study the pros and emulate their style, you won’t have “as many tells.” But remember that you will always have a tell and so do the pros. You’re only human.

It takes a while to notice the pros’ tells, though. To figure them out, try to watch as many matches as you can featuring one or a small number of poker professionals. Scrutinize their behavior in the few seconds before, during, and after the winning hand is announced.

After a while, you will notice a certain slump to the shoulders, a rocking back motion, or a flexing of the hands.

This is neat, but it’s not the end goal in and of itself. When you play poker, you are going to find someone who looks cold as ice, like a pro. The good news is that you’ve trained yourself to find their tells and you can use this talent for your own poker success.

5 – Watch How the Pros Bluff

Woman Wearing Sunglasses Playing Poker, Text Displaying Liar Liar
Bluffing is an art form, and it’s a topic about which a lot has been written. It’s also really popular to watch poker pros when they bluff on television. There’s a certain thrill when one player pulls the wool over another player’s eyes that just drives ratings.

The problem is that poker television emphasizes when players bluff and seems to show they’re a viable option a lot more than they really are.

So, don’t learn when to bluff from poker TV, but do watch how the pros set up their opponents with various bets, what cards were dealt in the flop, turn, and river, etc. If you can decipher how a given pro got away with a bluff, your chances of pulling one off are much higher.

6 – Seek out Specific Game Scenarios

A game of poker has several different phases and scenarios that you are likely to see over and over again (things like check-raises after the flop or someone going all in before the river). It may be that you are not happy with how you respond to these various game scenarios.

The good news is that the internet records, collects, and displays thousands of hours of poker television for your consumption. Let’s say you really want to focus in on your betting after the flop. All you need to do is go to your favorite video site, search for that situation, and start watching film.

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As you watch this film, remember to pretend you’re in the game, see who folds, who has a tell, etc. Eventually, after you have seen several responses to these scenarios, you will see your poker game improve.

7 – Watch the Pros Eat Humble Pie

If you’re like most people, you lose a lot of hands of poker. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with us. The good news, though, is that the pros also lose a lot. And when they lose, they are in danger of not making rent or eating that month. Fortunately, that’s not a situation that most of us face.

Still, the most important thing to learn from watching a pro lose is that it’s okay to lose. It will happen in a game of poker. Don’t get upset when it happens to you.

Go back and watch why a poker player lost. You will learn more from unraveling the cause of a player’s defeat than reveling in their victory.

8 – Remember the Boring Matches Were Cut for Time

This last one is important if you play a lot of tournaments. It is imperative that you remember that poker television is enjoyable, informative, and a good thing to consume if you like the game of poker. What it is not (and what it only barely claims to be) is real life.

Group Playing in Poker Tournament, Time Clock Icon

When you watch a poker broadcast, things get edited for time. Whole hands will be cut whenever everyone folds and the big blind ends up with the pot. If you’re talking about the final table, hours can potentially be cut out of replays when nothing happens.

Why is this important? Because you cannot base your expectations of the flow of play on what you see from a poker broadcast.

Real poker tournaments can slow. Lots of people fold. You will not always be driving the poker action and winning big pots. Just keep that in mind so that you don’t get bored or decide that you are playing the game wrong. That way, you won’t bet the wrong hand just because you think you’re supposed to be more active or more like what you see on TV.

Conclusion

Watching poker on television is one of the easiest ways you can improve your game and one of the most effective outside of just playing a lot. Poker television shows will expose you to many different play styles and a number of different situations, all within a short time frame.

That’s why when you watch poker television, you shouldn’t be a passive spectator. Slow down the broadcast and put yourself in the game. Figure out how you would act in a given situation then see if you are right. Try to figure out if someone is bluffing and watch the rest of the episode to see if you were right.

In the end, your poker game will only improve because of it.

Changing the Size of Your Slots Wagers

Slot Machines - Max Bet Buttons - $100 Bills

I recently read an article where someone asked for advice on changing your bet size while playing slots. The idea was, when you get ahead, you raise your bets to try to hit a bigger win.

Over the years, I’ve also seen questions about betting more when you’re losing to try to make up for past losses when you hit a win.

These look like two different questions, but they’re actually the same question. And the answer should be the same to both questions.

In the article I just read, the answer was decent, but it didn’t cover the real reasons in enough depth. Anyone asking either of these questions doesn’t understand how slot machines work. They also don’t really understand how expected value and long term expectation works.

I’m going to explain why changing the size of your bet while playing slots doesn’t matter. The fact is that the more you bet, the more you lose. These two things might not seem to go together, but after you learn how slots work, you’re going to see why both statements are true.

Slots and Expected Value

Every slot machine in existence, whether located in a casino or online, has a built in house edge. The house edge is how the casinos make money, and it’s impossible to legally overcome the house edge on a slot machine in total. What I mean by “in total” is that slot machines make money collectively.

A few players win more than they lose in the short term, and a few lucky players win a big enough progressive jackpot to come out ahead. But overall, the slot machine industry is wildly profitable.

Expected value is a term often used in gambling that is a way to express the value of a betting decision. It’s used most often in poker to determine the best way to play a hand in a certain situation. You can also use it in games like blackjack to determine the best way to play a hand.

In games like poker and blackjack, you can make strategy decisions based on expected value. Bets on slot machines also have an expected value, but they’re all negative. A negative expected value means that, on average, you’re going to lose money.

Here’s an example of expected value on a slot machine.

If a slot machine has a house edge of 5% and you bet $1 on every spin, the expected value is -.05 per spin. On an individual spin, you might lose your entire $1 or win something, but the expected value is the amount you expect to lose on average over thousands of spins.

Expanding this example, if you make 500 bets in an hour, you’re expected value is -$25. In other words, you can expect to lose $25 an hour playing this slot machine. Once again, this is an average, so in any single hour, you can lose more or win.

The expected value is tied directly to the house edge. If you bet more than $1 per spin, it doesn’t change the house edge. You’re still going to have an expected value of -5% on every dollar you bet.

The house edge is the same whether you bet $1 or $100 per spin. It’s also the same if you lost the last three spins or won the last three spins. The house edge doesn’t change, so changing your bet sizes doesn’t help you win more often.

Slots Long Term Expectation

This is going to sound similar to what you learned in the last section because it’s closely related. The mistake many slots players make, like the ones asking the two questions in the opening section, is thinking past results in some way change future results.

But, if nothing you can do changes the house edge, how can you believe that you should raise your bets after a losing streak or after a winning streak?

The belief is that because the long term results must come very close to equaling the expected results that there must be a correction one way or another after a winning or losing streak. But the problem with this is that the house edge and expectation are based on a large number of outcomes.

Instead of it being based on 10 or 100 spins like many players act, it’s based on hundreds of thousands or millions of spins. Even if you win 10 spins in a row, it doesn’t change the odds of what’s going to happen on the next spin because the machines are based on such a large number of spins.

Row of Slot Machines at Casino

I’m trying to show you why without getting into complicated mathematical principles, but you can run the math on the effect of short streaks in large pools of results to prove what I’m saying is true.

The belief many players have about short term streaks is made worse when they guess correctly about the next result after a streak. This reinforces what they want to believe, even though the math shows it isn’t true.

If you win 10 spins in a row, what do you think is most likely to happen on the next spin? Some players say a loss, because the machine is due for a loss. Other players say a win, because the machine is hot. How can both opinions be true?

The fact is that neither opinion is true based on why they think they’re correct. The true chance of a win or loss is 100% based on how often the machine is programmed to produce a winning spin.

Is It Ever Correct to Alter Your Slots’ Bet Size?

When I play slots, I operate in what I call the “jackpot or bust” mode. I set aside a bankroll to chase a jackpot and keep playing until I either hit a jackpot or run out of money. Most of the time, I run out of money, but every once in a while, I get lucky and hit a small jackpot.

I know that, in the long run, I’m going to lose unless I hit a big slots jackpot. I’m okay with this, just like I’m okay with buying a lottery ticket chasing a big prize. The odds of winning are low, but I’m willing to risk a set amount for the chase.

I always bet the minimum amount on my chosen slot machine that allows me to qualify for a jackpot. I tend to look for machines that have a low bet threshold to unlock the jackpot, because I want to take as many spins as possible.

If you buy a lottery ticket, do you ever spend more money than the ticket costs? Do you give the store clerk $5 for a $3 ticket and not expect to get your $2 in change?

This is how I feel about betting more than I need to while playing slots. This is why I never bet more than the minimum to qualify for a jackpot while playing slots.

The question of changing your bet size while playing slots has two answers. The first answer is if you’re betting more than the minimum, then you should bet less. The second answer is that it doesn’t matter if you change the size of your bet for any other reason. As long as you understand that the more you bet the more you lose, you can do whatever you want. It’s your money, and you can play any way you like.

But if you want to know the best way to play, it’s simply to bet the smallest amount you can while still having a chance to win a jackpot.

Conclusion

Slot Machines-Casino Floor

You’re welcome to change the size of your bet while playing slots any time you like. It doesn’t matter if you’re winning or losing, changing the size of your bet isn’t going to alter your chances to win. The only thing that matters is the house edge you’re working against and the average bet size of your wagers.

When you bet more after a win, you’re just going to lose more in the long run. When you bet more when you lose, you’re just going to lose more in the long run. The only way to lose less money playing slots in the long run is to bet less.

The best way to lose less playing slots is to stop playing. But that’s not much fun, and you’re never going to hit a jackpot if you don’t play. I don’t recommend that you stop playing. But use smart money management so your bankroll lasts as long as possible and you have the best chance to hit a jackpot before you run out of money.

The only way you can possibly come out ahead in the long run playing slots is to win a jackpot big enough to cover all of your previous losses. This doesn’t happen often. The best chance to do this is to make the minimum bet that unlocks the chance at the jackpot and hope for the best. Changing your bet size isn’t going to help in the long run.

10 Unbelievable Things You Didn’t Know About Progressive Slot Machines

Progressive Slot Machines at a Casino - Man Showing an Impress Expression

Progressive slots (and video poker games) offer jackpots that increase every time someone makes a bet up until someone wins. At that point, the progressive jackpot resets to its starting value and starts accumulating again.

The amount that the jackpot rises is based on a tiny percentage of your action on the machine. Most progressive slot machines are now pooled with other machines so that the jackpot goes up fast, although some games are still standalone progressives.

The best way to think about progressive slots is that they’re the slot machine equivalent of a lottery game. The odds of winning are long, but the prizes are huge. In most lotteries, the size of the prize increases from drawing to drawing until someone wins the lottery.

You’ll know you’re playing a progressive jackpot game because it will feature a prominent jackpot meter showing the size of the jackpot. This is also sometimes called a “jackpot ticker,” because it ticks upward as players on the network lose bets into the machines on that network.

This post features 10 of the most interesting facts I could find about progressive slot machines.

1 – Megabucks Is the Biggest Slot Machine Jackpot

Megabucks is IGT’s most famous progressive slot machine. It’s a state-wide game run in Nevada, and it’s the main reason the state doesn’t have an actual lottery. Who needs a lottery when you can just play the Megabucks slot machine?

Megabucks isn’t new either, the games have been available now for a couple of decades. Several people have won millions of dollars over the history of the game.

To play Megabucks, you must wager $3. It’s a dollar machine with a three-coin maximum bet. If you don’t place the maximum bet, you’re not eligible for the jackpot.

In Nevada, at least 750 different slot machines in over 125 different casinos pool those tiny contributions to grow that $10 million jackpot faster than you’d think is possible.

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Keep in mind that Megabucks is a state-specific game and you can only play Megabucks in Nevada.

The odds of winning Megabucks is similar to that of winning the lottery, 50 million to 1. And like the lottery, winners get paid in the form of an annuity that pays annual installments over the next 25 years.

If you go with the cash option, you can settle for 60% of the prize amount as just plain cash. It’s hard to deny that Megabucks is the most interesting progressive jackpot game in the United States.

2 – Megabucks Has a Curse Associated With It

Some gamblers believe that if you win Megabucks, you have a greater than usual probability of dying young.

This legend of the “Megabucks curse” stems from the death of Cynthia Jay-Brennan, a cocktail waitress who won $35 million Megabucks only to be paralyzed in a car wreck. Jay-Brennan’s sister died in the wreck, which was caused by a drunk driver.

Cynthia Jay-Brennan Holding the Check From the Megabucks Jackpot

Most of the other tales of woe related to Megabucks are nothing more than urban legends, though.

It’s the opinion of this blogger that the wreck was just “one of those things,” and Cynthia Jay-Brennan has my sympathy.

3 – Progressive Jackpots Can Put the Odds in the Players’ Favor

Any game with a progressive jackpot can offer a player a positive expectation bet if the jackpot is large enough.

The trouble with slot machines is that no one knows exactly what the payback percentage for the game is, so it’s impossible to determine what the size of the jackpot would have to be.

But in other games with progressive jackpots, like video poker, you can compute the break-even point for the game and only play after the jackpot has exceeded that point.

The optimal strategy for playing such a game changes based on the size of that jackpot, too.

4 – Some Progressive Games Get Attached by Advantage Player Teams

An advantage player is a gambler who only gambles when he has an edge over the casino. The classic example of an advantage gambler is a card counter in blackjack.

But we already discussed how a gambler could have an advantage at a progressive slot machine game.

When this happens, most casinos see a team of advantage players swoop in and occupy all the games with that progressive jackpot.

They play as a team until someone on the team wins the progressive jackpot, and the team then splits the profits. Some casinos don’t mind this type of advantage play much, because even though the players have an edge, the jackpot comes mostly from players’ contributions to the game over time.

Other casinos have policies forbidding team play and will back off or bar such players.

5 – Slot Machines With Progressive Jackpots Have Worse Odds

You measure the casino’s advantage with a slot machine by looking at the payback percentage, or return to player percentage, for the game. This is the flip side of the house edge.

The payback percentage estimates an average amount that will be returned to the player in winnings over the long run based on the odds of winning and the prize amounts. The house edge estimates how much the player will lose on each bet.

The higher the payback percentage is, the better the game is for the player. For example, a slot machine game with a 98% payback percentage is better than a slot machine game with an 88% payback percentage.

Generally, there are two factors that ensure the progressive jackpot games have a lower payback percentage.

  • The first is simple to understand. A percentage of each bet is diverted toward increasing the size of the jackpot. That amount comes directly from the payback percentage of the game.
  • The second is only slightly harder to understand. A large percentage of the game’s payback percentage is based on the payout from the jackpot. If a game has a 95% payback percentage, 5% of that might be made up of the jackpot.

But with a game where you only have a 1 in 50 million or even 1 in 10 million chance of seeing that jackpot, the payback percentage before that jackpot gets hit will necessarily be lower than that 95%.

The more economical choice for slot players is always the flat-top slot machine, not the progressive slot machine.

6 – Mega Moolah Is Probably the Best Progressive Jackpot Online

Mega Moolah is an online-only progressive slot machine game with five reels and 25 paylines. The game’s symbols and sound effects have an African theme, with elephants and zebras.

Mega Moolah Progressive Slot Machine Screenshot

In the decade since Microgaming launched Mega Moolah, no other online slot machine game has produced as many millionaires.

The prizes for Mega Moolah have ranged from $5 million to $13 million. That $13 million was the biggest online jackpot win in history, too.

7 – You Usually Can’t Win the Progressive Jackpot Unless You Play Max Coins

Most slot machines have a denomination and a maximum number of coins you can wager. Most of the time, you can bet less than the minimum without any kind of adverse effects.

But progressive slots, like video poker games, are an exception.

If you don’t bet the maximum number of coins, you’re usually ineligible to win the progressive jackpot.

This doesn’t make much of a practical difference, since the probability of winning a progressive jackpot is practically zero anyway. Once the probability of an event gets small enough, it might as well be zero.

8 – Some Online Casinos ONLY Offer Progressive Jackpots

One online casino, Slotland, offers a minimal number of games, but they all share the same progressive jackpot. You can’t play there from the United States, but it’s probably just as well. The casino has some misleading practices, especially in terms of how their video poker and blackjack games work.

When a casino offers a video blackjack or video poker game, they’re implying that those games follow the same probabilities you’d see if they were using a deck of playing cards.

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With Slotland, their video poker and blackjack games are just slot machine games that LOOK like card games.

If you’re okay with that, it might be okay to play there, but the most interesting thing about that casino is that all the games tie into the one big jackpot.

9 – A Standalone Progressive Offers Better Odds

You’ll find three different kinds of progressive slot machines:

  1. Standalone progressives
  2. Local area progressives
  3. Wide area progressives

A standalone progressive slot machine is one where the jackpot can only be won on that machine. But playing on that machine counts toward raising the jackpot. The size of the jackpot on a standalone game is almost always smaller than the jackpot on other kinds of machines.

A local area progressive network is a network of machines in the same casino, usually all within a short distance of each other. These jackpots are bigger than what you’d see on a standalone progressive, but not as big as you’ll see with a wide area progressive jackpot.

A wide area progressive jackpot is similar to what you see with Megabucks. Multiple machines in multiple locations feed the jackpot. This game has the biggest prizes.

The best odds for the player can be found at the standalone progressive slots, because the jackpot is smaller. In fact, the lower the jackpot, the better the odds are in general with a slot machine game.

10 – You Can Win the Progressive Even With Your Slots Club Card Inserted

There’s a popular myth/urban legend that you can’t win the top jackpot on a slot machine if you’re playing with the slots club card inserted. This isn’t true.

The random number generator running these machines isn’t aware of whether you’re playing with your slots club card inserted or not. It’s impossible for it to have such an effect on your gaming experience.

Conclusion

Progressive slot machines can be a lot of fun as long as you know what you’re getting yourself into. Generally, I recommend avoiding them for games with lower jackpots, but certain players prefer to play for big, life-changing prizes.

If that’s your cup of tea, be my guest. What kinds of facts about progressive slots do you know that I haven’t covered here? Leave a comment and let me know.

7 All or Nothing Gambling Strategies

Casino Table-Chips-Man Thinking

Most gamblers know that the longer they play, the more they lose. The best chance for a big win is often to make a single bet for a large amount. When you do this, you have close to a 50% chance of doubling your money. Of course, you have a slightly higher than 50% chance to lose all of your money as well.

You don’t have to risk everything on one decision to go for all or nothing. You can risk everything on chasing a progressive jackpot or on lottery tickets.

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It’s not the best idea to risk a large amount of money on an “all or nothing” proposition. You should never risk money you can’t afford to lose this way, because the odds are always against you.

Here are seven all or nothing gambling strategies for your consideration. You can risk any amount you want, but if your bet is too big, you might have a difficult time finding a casino willing to take it. You should call and talk to someone in management about your plans before you go to the casino if you’re planning to bet more than $5,000.

1 – Risk It All on Craps

This has been done by a few big bettors over the years. You can take a big bag of cash to the casino, once you find one that’s willing to take your bet, and bet it all on the pass line or don’t pass line. The don’t pass line has a slightly lower house edge, so it’s your best bet if you want to risk it all at the craps table.

Craps Table-Casino

Make sure you understand all about craps strategy before you try to make a big bet. Learn about come out rolls and points, so you know exactly what has to happen for you to win.

2 – Even Money Roulette Bets

Roulette bets have the same issue as craps bets; you have to find a casino willing to take a large wager. But, once you do, an even money bet at the roulette wheel is a great all or nothing wager.

Your best bet is to find a roulette wheel with only 37 spaces, which means it doesn’t have a double zero space. Then, bet it all on red or black or even or odd and pray for dumb luck. On a wheel with 37 spaces, you’re going to win 18 out of 37 times, which is a 48.65% chance.

If you want to take a slightly longer shot at tripling your money, you can make one of the bets that pay 2 to 1, like one of the columns or one of the dozens. You have a slightly less than 33% chance to win one of these bets, but if you do win, you triple your original stake.

3 – Progressive Slot Machines

Slot Machines

Progressive slot machines offer a different approach to an all or nothing strategy. Instead of risking your entire bankroll on one outcome, you take spins until you either hit the progressive jackpot or run out of money. Depending on how big your bankroll is, you might have to play for hours until you run out of money or get lucky.

If you’re going to chase a slots progressive jackpot, you might as well find the machine with the highest possible payout. The odds of hitting any progressive jackpot are insanely high, so why not try for the biggest one you can find?

4 – Baccarat Riches

Getting back to the all or nothing on a single bet, baccarat is easy to play and offers a decent opportunity like craps and roulette. The good news about baccarat is that many big casinos are used to taking huge bets at the baccarat table. It should be easier to find a casino willing to take your wager.

The best bet at the table is the banker bet, but you have to pay a commission, which is usually 5% on winning bets. If you bet $100,000 on the banker and win, you only get back $195,000. This still isn’t a bad return, but if you want to truly double your money, baccarat isn’t your best choice.

5 – Sports Betting Let It Ride

You can use sports betting to try two different types of all or nothing systems. You can bet your entire bankroll on one game, or you can split your bankroll into smaller parts and let your wins ride until you build a big winning streak or lose a game.

When you split your bankroll up into segments and let your wins ride, you give yourself many chances to hit a hot streak. The odds of winning several games in a row are small, but they’re not any worse than winning the lottery or hitting a progressive jackpot.

6 – WSOP Main Event

The entry fee for the main event at the World Series of Poker is $10,000. If you reach the final table, you’re probably going to win over $1 million. The bad news is, you’re going to have to wade through thousands of entrants to get to the final table.

World Series of Poker

The big problem with a poker tournament with thousands of entrants is that it’s not good enough to be a great player. You also need a little bit of luck along the way. You have to play for days to reach the final table, and even if you get all in as a favorite to win every time you go all in, the odds are against you. Even a large edge of 80% quickly goes below 50% after a few times.

Here’s what I mean. Your chance to win one hand with an 80% chance to win is 80%. The chance to win two in a row drops to 64%. Three in a row drops to 51.2%, and four in a row drops to 40.96%.

The WSOP main event does have a few other things going for it. You don’t have to make it to the final table to make money. All you have to do is crack the money bubble, which at least doubles your entry fee in most years.

If you get lucky enough to win the tournament, your name will go down in history, and you can probably pick up some poker sponsorships for future play.

7 – Lottery Tickets

Buying lottery tickets is probably the longest shot you can take at hitting it big. But the top prizes can run into the hundreds of millions, so at least you’re taking a shot at huge money. You can buy all the lottery tickets you can afford for one drawing, or you can split up your all or nothing bankroll over several drawings. Your odds of winning won’t change either way.

It seems like more people buy lottery tickets when the jackpots climb over $100 million, but do you really need to win that much to change your life?

For everyone I know, a lottery win of $10 million makes a huge difference. Shoot, a win of $1 million is enough to buy everything you need. So, there’s no reason to wait for a big lottery. Buy a ticket, or a dozen tickets, for the next lottery drawing and hope for good luck.

Conclusion

The thought of doubling your money or hitting a big win on one bet can be intoxicating. But don’t let it lead you to taking a risk you can’t afford. You don’t have to risk a large amount to use any of the strategies on this page. You can use $50 or $100 and take a shot!

How to Stretch Your Bankroll in Las Vegas With Coupons

Las Vegas City Night Time - Coupons Icons

You don’t hear about it much anymore, but using coupons in Las Vegas can be a great way to stretch your bankroll. The variety of coupons available in the city is diverse, and there are plenty of places where you can get coupons for free. If you’re willing to spend even a small amount of money, you can really rock and roll with some coupons in Vegas.

This post offers multiple real-life examples of coupons you can use to stretch your casino bankroll in Las Vegas, and it offers some tips for how to get the most out of your couponing.

The Las Vegas Advisor

One of my favorite sites on the Internet is the Las Vegas Advisor, which actually (I think) predates the internet itself. The Las Vegas Advisor sells a membership that entitles you to multiple discounts and deals.

Besides the coupons and discounts that come with your membership, their newsletter and website will point you to the best values in Sin City.

Here are some examples of the deals available to members there today.

  • You get 2-for-1 pricing at El Cortez, which is already affordable at $45 per night. But who wouldn’t want to save another $45?
  • There’s a whole list of buffets with 2-for-1 coupons, including the Medley Buffet at Aliante, Charlie’s Market Buffet at Arizona Charlie’s, the Feast Buffet at Boulder Station, the Cannery Row Buffet at Cannery, and the House of Blues Gospel Brunch at Mandalay Bay. These deals are worth about $20 on average, but on the high end, they’re worth $50 or more.
  • There’s also a whole list of restaurants which aren’t buffets with 2-for-1 deals, including Siegel’s 1941 at El Cortez, Barbecue and Brew at Ellis Island, and the Fuego Steakhouse at Fiesta Henderson. These are all worth $20 to $50 or more, too.
  • You can get three free rounds of drinks at Ellis Island Casino, a value of $30, and a free margarita at Sunset Station.
  • You can get 2-for-1 or otherwise discounted tickets to shows big and small, including the hypnotist show at Binion’s, the Righteous Brothers show at Harrah’s, and Carrot Top at the Luxor. Some of these entertainment coupons are worth over $150.
  • The number of free slot machine coupons is staggering. Usually, they’re in the amounts of $10 in free play or match play, but the number of casinos they have coupons for is staggering: El Cortez, Ellis Island, the Four Queens, and the Orleans all have deals available.
  • You can even get discounts of between 25% and 65% on rides and attractions, like tours of the Grand Canyon or rides in the Tower at the Stratosphere.

I also need to point out that those lists are all organized by category, but I only listed a few highlights for each type of offer. For every restaurant deal I listed, there are probably six or more that I didn’t include.

I don’t generally like to plug other people’s products here, but a membership to the Las Vegas Advisor pays for itself in just minutes.

And a membership only costs $37.

Is Couponing Worth the Time If You’re a Real Gambler?

You might think that all this time running from casino to casino and taking advantage of one coupon after another is a waste of time. Maybe you think you’re a real gambler who would be best served by spending more time at the blackjack or craps table. You might even think your casino host will make sure you get more than your money’s worth in comps.

I would respectfully submit that this attitude isn’t frugal or realistic. And maybe you’re not frugal, but you probably should be.

For one thing, the more time you spend in one place playing one game, the more you’re going to lose over time. That’s a near certainty. The way the casino makes its money is by applying the house edge to you repeatedly. The more hands you play and the more rolls of the dice you bet on, the more likely you are to see the expected losses.

Coupons - Las Vegas Buffet - Slot Machines at a Casino

Also, if you’re reading this page to begin with, you have at least some passing interest in being smart with your money. Las Vegas casinos generally reward their players by paying back their expected losses at 10% to 20% of what they think you’re going to lose.

This means that for every dollar you earn in comps at the tables, you’re losing $9 or $10. That’s not a good ratio, especially not when you compare it to the kinds of savings you could get if you just broke down and picked up a fun book and used it.

It Pays to Be a Nice Guy (or Gal)

Some people forget that casino employees are people, too. I try to go out of my way to be kind to anyone in the service industry, especially in Vegas. Part of this is because I like being able to look in the mirror and know that I’m a nice guy.

Part of it, though, is because I know nice guys get treated better sometimes.

Here’s a specific example. I have a stack of expired coupons for various things, but being the frugal gambler that I am, I’ve held onto them. When I go to the casino, I’ll ask the employee there if I can still use the coupon even though it’s expired.

You’d be surprised at how some employees can actually make this kind of decision. If I’m nice to them, they’re more likely to help me out than if I walked in and simply demanded a deal.

Just keep in mind that they don’t owe you anything just for being nice. You should be nice anyway. Getting something extra out of it is just a bonus.

Conclusion

You can get all kinds of cool stuff in Las Vegas for half the price or less! All you need is access to some of best the coupon books.

I think the Las Vegas Advisor is a great value at just $37, but I know they’re also not the only one in town.

What kind of success have you had earning comps and using coupons? Let me know what you think in the comments.

7 Facts About the History of Playing Cards

Playing Cards-Bicycle

Card games have been a part of common lifestyles for so long people may be surprised to learn that only 700 years ago almost no one in the west played them. Although printers have mass produced playing cards for centuries, the most sought-after cards in early Europe were hand-painted.

What may be most interesting about card gaming is that the basic concepts of suits and trick-taking were well-established by the time Europeans began playing cards in the 14th century. People today still play by some of the same rules that were used in the earliest card games.

The longevity of rules and design standards may explain why it’s so hard to trace the history of card games to their precise origins.

1 – No One Really Knows When Playing Cards Were Invented

You may have read before that the earliest known use of playing cards was in China during the 9th century. Chinese historians refer to a “game of leaves” that was played during the early Tang Dynasty. For years scholars have believed this was an early form of playing cards.

Now the experts are not so sure. Recent scholarly discussions of the game argue that it was probably something else.

If the traditional interpretation of this barely known game is wrong then the earliest reference to playing cards is found in the 1200s.

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In either scenario, the origin of playing cards is still placed in China. The Chinese are credited with inventing games that use paper, another Chinese invention developed in the 100s (2nd century).

Some historians believe the earliest documented use of paper for a game is a form of dominoes, in which all the possible combinations of a pair of 6-sided dice are depicted on paper.

According to Playing Card Divination for Beginners: Fortune Telling with Ordinary Cards by Richard Webster, two 19th century scholars and travelers (Sir William Wilkinson and Dr. Stewart Cullin) proposed that playing cards originated in Korea from a form of divination.

Webster cites A History of Playing Cards by Roger Tillley as a source. Tilley argues that there is insufficient evidence to show that Europeans really learned about playing cards from the orient.

In 1816 Samuel Weller Singer published Researches into the history of playing cards, a collection of papers published by distinguished gentlemen. The introductory chapter claims that German towns first mentioned card games in their ordinances around the year 1300 and the earliest French reference to card games dates to a 1341 manuscript titled “Renard le Contrefait.”

Renart le contrefait-Assassinat

Some scholars speculate that playing cards passed through India and Persia before reaching Europe. Tilley argues that Europeans may have invented playing cards on their own.

History is filled with precedents of things invented around the world independently, so Tilley’s theory is possible.

2 – The Egyptian Mamluks Probably Invented Modern 4-Suit Decks

The Mamluks were non-Muslim slaves used as soldiers by Muslim rulers. The earliest Mamluks were the Ghaznavids of Greater Khorasan. Khorasan was a kingdom in central Asia in the 10th century.

Mamluks are most well-known to westerners as slave-soldiers used in medieval Egypt, where they eventually established their own Sultanate in the 1250s.

A nearly intact deck of Mamluk playing cards from the 1400s was discovered in 1939. A paper published in 1971 argued that the cards were the earliest known type of 4-suited deck familiar to European game historians.

The Mamluk cards were called Mulûk Wa-Nawwâb. They were probably used to play a game called nayb.

Charles VI of France (ruled from 1380 to 1422) acquired 3 decks of hand-painted cards believed to be Mamluk cards in 1392. Charles Poupart, the Royal Treasurer, recorded in that year that 56 sols Parisis were paid to Jacquemin Grigonneur for the 3 decks.

Such hand-painted decks of cards were still rare at the time, and The Chronicles of Viterbo claims the game of nayb was introduced to Italy “by a Saracen” in 1379. However, ordinances regulating or forbidding the use of playing cards were passed in cities in France, Italy, and Switzerland in 1377.

3 – Playing Cards and Tarot Cards May Have Had a Common Origin

Tarot cards are used for divination and they are attested in Europe at about the same time as the Mamluk playing cards. Card game and tarot historians seem to agree that divination cards were adopted by Europeans after the Crusades.

There are references in Islamic literature to cards being used for divination.

Martiano da Tortona wrote about the use of tarot cards in games sometime before 1425. The games were known as “tarot”, “tarock”, “tarocco”, and other spellings for many years.

The earliest tarot card games may have introduced the idea of trumping to modern playing card games. The earliest known references to trump cards are found in texts describing tarot games.

4 – Edmund Hoyle Wrote the First Treatise on Card Game Probabilities

Edmund Hoyle was born in 1672 and died in 1769. His earliest publication was titled A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist. Hoyle devoted much of his life to documenting the rules of games.

Among the other games Hoyle wrote about was brag, a derivative of primero and one of the forerunners of poker.

Hoyle’s original whist pamphlet included a section on the probabilities associated with the various hands and winning the game. He also shared strategies for new whist players.

In 1754 Hoyle published “An essay towards making the doctrine of chances easy to those who understand vulgar arithmetick only; to which is added, some useful tables on annuities for lives.”

Hoyle’s work in documenting games — especially card games — and probabilities was so profound that people often referred to his books as the authorities on how to play games. Of course the Hoyle name is still in use today by The United States Card Playing Company.

Edmund Hoyle did not fully retain control of his own intellectual properties. He sold the copyright to his original pamphlet. This was common practice in the 1700s even though intellectual property rights were already protected under English law.

5 – Poker May Be Older Than Most People Believe

Wikipedia’s History of Poker article says the game was developed in the 19th century in the United States, while Pai Gow Poker (based on the traditional Chinese Pai Gow game) goes back over a thousand years. Various other sources on the history of poker say that it was probably derived from a French game called poque that was brought to America at the beginning of the 1800s.

Poker Chips-World Series

And poque itself is thought to have derived from a “Spanish” game called primero. As mentioned above, poker is also believed to have developed from brag, which was also known as bluff.

Samuel Weller Singer’s Researches book describes the game of primero but does not mention poque. Primero was played in England since the time of Queen Mary and is thought to have been introduced from the Spanish court.

Singer’s book says that no one knew exactly where primero originated, but card game historians of his day thought it was either Spain or Italy. The game gave rise to many variations but the basic rules that were shared with poker were well established before the English began colonizing North America.

One of the earliest descriptions of poker by that name is in an 1843 book titled An Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling by J.H. Green. Green describes how the game was played on riverboats by gangs of card-players who swindled wealthy businessmen with rigged card games. The poker Green describes was played with 20 cards.

Green laments the fact that no edition of Hoyle’s Games to 1843 yet mentioned poker. The game was added to the 1845 edition. The 1845 Hoyle description of poker is much more like the modern 5-card game than the game Green described.

6 – Blackjack Was Known in America Before Poker

Assuming that the game called poker evolved from a previously known game like primero, it must have been distinguished by significant differences in rules from its predecessor. Like primero before it, poker gave rise to many variations throughout the 1800s.

Interestingly, the author of the classic novel Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes first described the game of blackjack in his lesser known novel Rinconete y Cortadillo written in 1613. Blackjack historians are confident the old French game of Vingt-un is the source for the game played today. Samuel Weller Singer’s Researches devotes an entire section to Vingt-un.

The 1807 edition of Hoyle also describes rules for Twenty-One or Vingt-un.

7 – The United States Playing Card Company Is One of the Oldest Gaming Companies in Business Today

Newell Brands, Inc. owns the trademarks of the United States Playing Card Company. US Playing Cards traced its history back to the 1867 printing company Russell Morgan & Co. The company began printing playing cards soon after.

Russell Morgan & Co. Introduced the Bicycle brand in 1885. The company underwent at least two name changes and reorganized as the United States Playing Card Company in 1894. They merged with rival business Andrew Dougherty Company in 1907.

The company was acquired by Diamond International in 1969, followed by several others. Returning to self-ownership in 1994, the company was finally bought by Jarden which was then acquired by Newell Brands.

The company purchased Hoyle Products in 2001.

Conclusion

The history of card gaming is a fascinating topic. It has influenced everything from kings to fiction, from politics to religion. There is almost no area of western life that hasn’t been influenced by or exerted influence upon card gaming.

Some of the most famous crimes in modern history were associated with card games. By the same token, card gaming colonized the New World along with gunpowder and industrialization.

It’s hard to imagine a world without card games. People have used them to occupy their time on long journeys and cold winter nights ever since they were carried across Asia to Europe.

The 10 Best Tips for Keno Beginners

Casino Keno Lounge, Keno Game Card, Three Keno Numbered Balls
Among casino gaming enthusiasts, keno has a poor reputation. People quickly point out that the house edge in keno is larger than in just about any other gambling game.

But if you put a novice blackjack player at the table, the house edge is higher than all the experts say. The house has two edges, the obvious edge based on players making perfect choices and the hidden edge where their mistakes pay the house.

If keno has one thing going for it, it’s that there isn’t much room for making mistakes. You can make poor choices in the game, but actual mistakes are hard to come by.

The rules of keno are simple enough that computers check them quickly. Your most likely mistake will be to pick numbers other than what you wanted.

If you’ve never played keno and you want to know how it differs from a major lottery game like Powerball, Euromillions, or Mega Millions, it comes down to the numbers.

Keno drawings are based on 80 numbers players can wager on. The goal is to match one to 10 numbers. There’s also a special case in many keno games that I’ll explain below.

Powerball and its government-sanctioned siblings use fewer numbers than keno. Here’s the rule of thumb, the more numbers a drawing game uses, the less likely anyone will win the jackpot.

1 – Study the Rules of the Game You’re Playing

Guy with Headphones On Looking at Laptop Screen, Keno Game Card, Yellow Questions Marks
Keno rules vary across the board. Don’t start playing a game in one type of venue on the assumption it’s using the exact same rules of another keno game you played previously.

Rule variations may cover anything from the frequency of drawings to how many spots you can play to how much you can or must wager. It doesn’t take long to verify the rules you’ll be playing by your next drawing.

2 – Learn What the “Hot” and “Cold” Numbers Mean

The “hot” numbers were chosen in the last few drawings. The “cold” numbers were not chosen in recent drawings. Some keno games publish hot and cold numbers. Some third-party services track them for certain keno games.

The whole “hot” and “cold” system appeals more to gamblers’ superstitions than anything else.

The drawings are random, meaning the results in one game are not dependent on results from previous games.

There is a “pop” theory that many small factors may work together to reduce some of the randomness. Wait until you know the game better before using any “hot” or “cold”-based strategies.

3 – Set a Budget

Keno is easy to play. It works just like any other lottery drawing game. You pick up to 10 numbers from 1 to 80 and hope to match as many numbers as you can.

It’s easy for new players to get carried away, especially when they win secondary prizes. It helps to set aside a fixed amount of money from each paycheck and only gamble from that. If you lose it all, then you wait until you get paid again.

To be good at any gambling game requires discipline and self-control.

4 – Ignore the Jackpots

Yes, you could win millions of dollars if you match all 10 numbers for the largest prize category in keno. But you will have better luck playing Powerball or Mega Millions.

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Like other lottery drawing games, keno is designed to pay many lesser secondary prizes for partial matches.

If you play the 10-spot game, don’t be disappointed if you don’t match any numbers in your drawing. In many variations on keno, that is the only “spot” game in keno that pays a prize for missing all the drawn numbers.

Remember rule no. 1: Know the rules of the keno game you are playing.

5 – Limit the Number of Concurrent Games You Play

You can play up to 20 games on the same ticket. Keno can become expensive quickly. Stop and think about how little you know about the game and be patient.

Play no more than one or two games per ticket when you learn keno.

6 – Study the Payoff Charts

Each keno game publishes a chart that explains what prizes you can win in each of the various “spot” games. In a “10-spot” game, you pick 10 numbers. You will win prizes for many partial match combinations.

Example of a 10 Spot Game Payoff ChartIt may surprise you to learn that the best odds are offered on games with fewer spots. Most keno games have a “sweet spot” somewhere in the four-spot, five-spot, and six-spot games. You’ll get the best payout odds somewhere in these games.

It’s better to play games with lower payout odds because you have better chances of winning prizes. You don’t want to play too few spots as you’ll lose some chances to win prizes.

7 – Play Smaller Bets to Begin

You’re new to the game, which means you are learning. Don’t let early wins go to your head. You get the same odds if you bet $1 on a game as if you bet $20. The prizes are proportionately larger because you’re risking more money.

There’s a certain logic to playing larger bets. Since you win larger prizes, you should replenish your bankroll over time.  But if you only have $20 to wager, you’ll be able to make 20 one-dollar bets instead of one $20 bet.

You have the same chance of winning 20 times in a row. It doesn’t guarantee you will win. It’s just that a single $20 bet is to a $20 bankroll as a $1 bet is to a $1 bankroll.

Make an informed decision before betting your entire bankroll.

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You’re not improving the chances of winning by raising your bet. You’re only improving the payout if you win.

8 – Slow It Down

Many keno games have drawings throughout the day. If you’re just starting to play keno, teach yourself the good habit of limiting the number of games you play.

For most people, gambling should be light entertainment. It really makes no difference if you drop a couple hundred dollars on a date, a dinner with friends, or a gambling game, as long as you can afford it.

The more special you make the experience, the longer you’ll enjoy playing the game. As a cautionary tale, watch someone who stands by a scratch ticket vending machine and keeps putting money back in. Buy, scratch, claim prize, repeat.

Maybe that person just wants to know what it’s like to do that. Maybe they do it every day. Just ask yourself if that is really how you want to gamble.

9 – Play Offline Keno Before Playing Online Keno

Split Image of Keno Lounge Inside Casino and Man Sitting with Laptop Displaying Online Keno Logo
It’s really more fun if you get together with a group of friends and go out for “a keno lunch.” You can watch the drawing together, talk about your picks and strategies, and share each other’s excitement in winning.

Once you learn how to play keno online, it becomes too easy and too convenient. For me, that makes it less fun.

Keno doesn’t require much practice. While it makes sense to play blackjack for free online, you don’t need to practice playing keno very much. After your first few games, you’ll know how to do everything you need to do.

10 – Don’t Put Too Much Faith in Keno Strategies

Yes, there are strategies for every kind of gambling game. People sometimes use “strategy” too liberally. They may only advise you on basic money management practice.

Basic keno strategy is simple. You evaluate the available options and choose the risk/reward combination you’re interested in.

It does help to understand how probability distribution works. But even without the math, most people realize that 1 in 400 is a better chance of winning than 1 in e.

The more complicated a strategy sounds, the less likely you should try to use it.

You’re new to the game. Enjoy it. Leave the complicated strategies for people who want to explore possibilities while keeping their feet on the ground.

Remember, keno requires very little skill. Keno drawings are random.

If you find a keno drawing that isn’t random, call the police.

Conclusion

Millions of people play keno every day. Keno may be the most widely played gambling game in the world. That’s an amazing statistic for a game that draws sneers and dismissive comments from gambling experts.

Lottery games don’t pay very well in the long run when you compare them to table games. But if you’re just playing for fun, that shouldn’t matter. Keno allows you to be flexible. For most people, that seems to be good enough!

Why Hit Frequency Is Important to the Average Slots Player

Group of Friends Playing Slots at a Casino - Red Hot Jackpot Slot Machine

Slot machines don’t involve much strategy. Instead, you’re mainly relying on luck to win. However, slots do feature some small measure of strategy. One of the most important concepts in this regard is hit frequency (a.k.a. win frequency).

If you’re puzzled on hit frequency, then you’ll definitely want to learn more about it. After all, it’s a critical factor in terms of helping you sustain your slots bankroll.

What Is Hit Frequency?

Hit frequency refers to how often you can expect to win a prize on each spin. If a certain game offers you a payout on one out of every five spins, then it has a 15% win frequency.

However, this is just a simple explanation of the concept. You also want to factor paylines into the equation.

For example, 15% hit frequency on a 100-line slot is different than it would be on a 50-line slot. The latter only lets you win with the same frequency while only playing half as many lines.

Therefore, you want to consider the number of paylines involved when it comes to hit frequency. After all, you might be paying more to earn the same quantity of wins as with another slot that has fewer lines.

What Do Slots Players Value the Most?

Most slots players don’t think about hit frequency or even know what it means. Instead, they only consider return to player (RTP).

RTP refers to how much money a slot machine pays back on average. For example, a game with 95% RTP will offer $0.95 back for every dollar wagered.

RTP is definitely important, because it determines the house edge for a given game. In the example above, you’re facing a 5% house advantage, which is about average for an online slot.

Why Is Hit Frequency More Important than RTP?

Win frequency doesn’t have a bearing on the house edge. Meanwhile, RTP more directly relates to your long-term chances of winning.

Therefore, payback seems like the more important concept here. However, you should definitely consider hit frequency if you’re concerned about your short-term chances of winning.

Win frequency relates more to the present. The more times you can win per round, the more money you’ll have coming back to your bankroll in the short run.

Magic Portals Slots Screenshot

Again, hit frequency doesn’t determine the house edge or your long-term odds. Instead, it only covers how often you can expect to win right now.

But you should also realize that payback is based on hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of spins. The chances of you producing results anywhere near the stated RTP for a given session, or even ten sessions, are extremely low.

Hit frequency will be felt much sooner than payback. That said, you definitely want to think about this concept before playing an online slot machine.

Different Ways to Judge Hit Frequency

I’ve established that win frequency is definitely important. The problem, though, is that most slot machines don’t offer a concrete indication on their hit frequency.

Going into the matter blind, you won’t know if you’re playing a game with high or low win frequency until you’re spinning the reels thousands of times. That said, you should definitely consider the following factors to help determine how often you can expect to win.

Jackpot Size

A big jackpot indicates a game that has low hit frequency. The developers have to seed a large jackpot with lots of money, which means they program a game to pay less often to make up for this.

You should pay attention to how much a jackpot is seeded with, not the current value, to determine hit frequency. After all, this is the money the developers need to get back through lowered payout frequency.

See the example below.

  • You’re playing a game with a $1.5 million progressive jackpot.
  • You read the “help” screen.
  • The info section notes that the top prize is seeded at $250k.
  • $250k is quite high for an initial jackpot.

Generally speaking, a slot with a jackpot seeded at $100,000 or more will offer fewer payouts on average. Of course, you may play these games while dreaming of getting rich. But you can’t expect to earn many short-term winnings with such slots.

Number of Large Payouts vs. Small Payouts

The jackpot isn’t the only payout that has an impact on hit frequency. You also need to consider how the other prizes look in relation to the average game.

Are you dealing with a slot that offers multiple non-jackpot payouts worth between 1,000 coins and 10,000 coins? If so, then the slot machine likely has low win frequency.

On the other hand, a game with a top non-jackpot payout of 1,000 coins or less will probably have a high hit frequency. You may not get rich with this slot, but you can at least expect more payouts.

Number of Bonuses

Bonuses may seem like harmless features that ramp up the entertainment value of a slot machine. But they also play a role in how often a game pays.

For example, a slot with free spins, a pick’em round, second-screen bonus, and scatter payouts could very well have low win frequency. This is especially true if one or more of these bonuses has the potential to award big payouts.

Meanwhile, a slot that only has free spins and a smaller jackpot will probably pay quite often. After all, you don’t have many extra options to hit large prizes in such a game.

Volatility Rating

Under the best circumstances, you’ll be playing a slot that actually provides a volatility rating. This is essentially interchangeable with hit frequency, because it refers to the volatility of payouts.

A really volatile game will reward bigger prizes, but also pay less frequently. Meanwhile, a game with little volatility has smaller payouts and fewer bonuses, but also awards prizes more often.

Most developers don’t offer these ratings. However, Pragmatic Play is one slots provider I know of that does this.

Always Keep Bankroll Management in Mind

Understanding hit frequency is only one piece of the puzzle when managing your slots bankroll. You also want to keep simple concepts in mind that’ll help you stick to a budget when spinning the reels.

First of all, you need to understand that slot machines are among the most volatile forms of gambling in any space. You may lose anywhere from 200-300 bets per hour on average.

You can also make up these losses at any point by hitting a large prize. However, you want to go into every session with the mindset that you’ll continue losing just to be safe.

Here’s an example on setting up your bankroll under this manner:

  • You have a $1,000 bankroll and bet $0.25 per spin.
  • 1,000 / 0.25 = 4,000 betting units
  • 250 lost bets per hour.
  • 4,000 / 250 = 16
  • Your bankroll should theoretically last for 16 hours.

You can come up with your own method for slots bankroll management. But the key is that you put some thought into the matter.

With a good bankroll management plan, you’ll be less likely to risk money you can’t afford to lose. Furthermore, you’ll have a good idea on how long you reasonably last when playing slot machines.

You may also want to set a stop-loss limit. These limits refer to a predefined point where you’ll quit playing after racking up a certain amount of losses.

For instance, you could set a stop loss of $300. Assuming you have a bankroll worth $1,200, then you’d be able to stretch your funds for at least four sessions.

Conclusion

Win frequency is one of the most overlooked topics in the slots world. Instead, RTP takes center stage, because it relates more directly to long-term odds of winning.

But hit frequency is just as, if not more, important than RTP. It determines how often you can expect to win in the short run.

You’re probably dealing with a slot that has low hit frequency if you just can’t seem to win anything. Meanwhile, you can look forward to all sorts of prizes on a game with high win frequency.

The main aspects to consider when judging hit frequency include:

  • Jackpot size
  • Number of small payouts
  • Number of large payouts
  • Bonus features
  • Volatility rating

The latter is perfect, because it provides a clear indication of a game’s win frequency. Unfortunately, most slot machines don’t feature a volatility rating.

Therefore, you need to consider the other aspects to make this determination. As a general rule of thumb, any slot that can deliver huge prizes won’t pay very often.

You may still like the idea of playing such slot machines. After all, you can hit a big prize through the jackpot or bonus.

But if you’re looking to win as much as possible, then slot machines with high hit frequency are the answer!

The 3 Biggest Mistakes You Could Make at the Roulette Table

People Gambling at Roulette Table

Roulette is a simple game, even though you have many different betting options. You decide what to bet on, place your chips in the correct spot, and the casino employee spins the wheel and drops the ball. When the ball lands, you either lose your bet or get paid based on the odds when you win.

All of the wagers have the same house edge in the long run, so it doesn’t matter what you decide to bet on. Popular bets are the even money bets, most commonly made on black, red, odd, or even. These bets pay 1 to 1, and you win close to half the time.

When playing roulette the bets that have the highest pay outs are the single number bets. They pay 35 to 1, but you don’t win them very often. You can also make bets on many other options that have pay outs between even money bets and single number bets, with the odds of winning the bet going down as the pay outs go up.

Here are three mistakes that roulette players make, and how to avoid them. Don’t worry, these are simple to fix, and your results are going to improve as soon as you fix these mistakes.

1 – You Play on American Roulette Wheels

Did you know that there are at least four different types of roulette wheels and tables? Most roulette players aren’t aware of the different types of wheels and tables and don’t know how each one changes their chances of winning.

The four types of roulette wheels and tables I know of are:

  • French roulette
  • European roulette
  • American roulette
  • Triple zero roulette

The most common roulette wheels and tables are either American or European. But the casinos rarely call them by these names. However, it’s easy to tell the difference as soon as you walk up to the wheel between American and European roulette.

An American roulette wheel has a zero space and a double zero space. A European roulette wheel only has a single zero space; not a double zero space. A French roulette wheel looks exactly the same as a European roulette wheel, but there are a couple of rules that make it a slightly better game.

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I mentioned triple zero roulette, but you don’t need to know much about it, because it’s by far the worst roulette game I‘ve ever seen. Never play on a triple zero roulette wheel or table. The house edge is far too high, and I don’t know why the game was ever invented.

On an American roulette wheel the addition of the extra space makes the house edge higher. It’s easy to see why the house edge is higher. When you make an even money bet on a wheel with a double zero space you win on 18 out of 38 spins, and on a single zero wheel you win on 18 out of 37 spins.

The house edge on a double zero, or American, roulette wheel is 5.26%. The house edge on a single zero, or European, roulette wheel is 2.7%. This is why you should stop making the mistake of playing on an American roulette wheel.

You should always play on a single zero roulette wheel. If one isn’t available, there are other casino games that offer a lower house edge and you should play one of them. If you can find a roulette wheel and table offering French rules, the house edge on even money bets goes down to between 1.3% and 1.4%. These wheels and tables are rare, but a few of them exist.

The main rule difference between European and French roulette is when you make an even money bet on a French wheel and the ball lands on the zero space you get back half your bet. Some tables use the in prison rule, which means that instead of getting half your bet returned, the bet is held until the next spin.

When your bet is in prison, if you win on the next spin you get your in prison wager back without any winnings on it.

2 – You Use a Roulette System

I just ran a search on Bing for the term roulette systems and it came up with 7,720,000 results. You can buy books that supposedly teach you how to beat roulette, buy home study courses, and watch videos that are supposed to have some secret system that guarantees wins.

Obviously, many people are peddling information about roulette systems. Please allow me to help you save a great deal of time and money. A roulette system that beats the game, in the long run, doesn’t exist. You can’t use a system to beat roulette; no matter how good the sales pitch sounds.

I’ve seen all different kinds of roulette systems that sound good, but none of them hold up to long term play. A common one involves betting on even money bets and doubling your wagers after every loss. This can work for a short time, but eventually, you lose too many spins in a row and get wiped out.

The only way to beat roulette, in the long run, is to find a biased wheel and/or use clocking technology. Clocking roulette wheels is illegal in most areas, and biased wheels are quite rare. It’s faster and easier to make money gambling by learning how to count cards playing blackjack or learn how to beat poker.

Roulette Wheel Stop in Black - Roulette Dealer

If you’re using a roulette system now, you need to forget about it before the huge loss comes. If you see an advertisement for a roulette system, you need to ignore it. The only people making money with roulette systems are the people selling the systems. If someone had a system that actually beat roulette they would be winning at the table instead of selling it.

The mathematical way that roulette is designed, you can’t design a system that can overcome the house edge. If you want to play roulette with the best chance to win you need to make even money wagers on a French wheel and collect as many comps as possible. You still won’t win in the long run, but this is the least costly way to play.

3 – You Don’t Get a Bonus for Online Play

One of the things that most gamblers don’t consider is how much money they risk every hour. When you play roulette in a land based casino it’s a fairly slow game. But when you play online casino you can get in many more spins every hour.

The more money you risk every hour, the more money you lose every hour. On average, you can multiply the total amount you risk in an hour times the house edge to find out how much you lose. Your results will vary from hour to hour, but in the long run you’re going to lose the house edge times the amount you risk.

Because you can play hundreds of spins every hour when you play roulette online, you can put much more at risk. In a land based casino you might only play 50 spins per hour, but you can easily play 300 or more online in the same time frame.

The only upside to playing roulette online is some casinos give you a deposit bonus. A deposit bonus gives you extra money to play with. Many deposit bonuses double your deposit amount, and some offer a higher multiple.

In the long run you’re still going to lose, even with a bonus. But if you’re going to play roulette online you should never play without a bonus. Read the terms and conditions of every bonus offer to verify that you can play roulette with the bonus.

The terms and conditions also explain what you need to do to clear the bonus and cash out anything you’re lucky enough to win.

Conclusion

You can quickly improve your roulette results by eliminating the mistakes I showed you above. Find a roulette wheel with French rules and stick to even money bets and you can play with the lowest house edge available. French rules roulette tables are challenging to find.

If you can’t find a French rules table, you can play on a European table and wheel. By simply switching from an American roulette wheel to a European roulette wheel, you cut the house edge almost in half.

The next thing that can help you immediately is forget about roulette systems. None of them work, and you waste time and money on them.

Finally, don’t play roulette online unless you get a bonus to increase your bankroll. The bonus isn’t going to help you win in the long run, but it lets you play longer for the same investment. Also, remember that you can play many more spins every hour when you play online than when you play in a regular casino. Of course, you don’t have to spin as fast as you can online. The best option is to slow down when you play online, so you can play longer.

The True Secrets of Blackjack Revealed

Blackjack Table with Ace of Spades and Wild Bill Picture
The most mysterious thing about blackjack is why anyone would bother splitting 10s. Reams of advice, both good and bad, have been written on the topic. The most experienced gambler will solemnly tell new players not to do this but gladly talk about the time they did it and won.

Everyone learns from experience. Experience is a hard mistress to please, because she walks you through every rookie mistake you can find. The best blackjack secret is to learn from others’ mistakes.

It wouldn’t be gambling if you never took a risk. When you play enough blackjack, you become confident in your ability. It’s a game requiring skill as well as luck.

Although gambling writers love to talk about the house edge, that doesn’t always save the house. It’s the occasional story about someone who cleans out a casino that gives everyone hope of beating the odds.

Players and casinos have a love-hate relationship. That’s especially true in blackjack, where advantage players have forced changes in house rules around the world.

And with all their computers and experts and centuries of experience, the casinos should have a tight grip on the odds in blackjack.

That’s not always the case. The cards are cruel to both sides of the table. It’s up to the player to leverage that cruelty at the right time.

Is There Such a Thing as “Perfect Blackjack?”

Before you start counting cards, you need to play a lot of blackjack. You need to understand the rules of the game so thoroughly you don’t need to stop and think about what to do next.

People count cards because they want an advantage over the house. The house rules make winning a difficult challenge in the long run. When you’re dealt an ace and king, you have a good hand. When you’re dealt two 10s, you must make a good decision.

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The truth about splitting 10s is that sometimes you do want to split them. The difference between recognizing an opportunity and making a mistake comes down to experience.

One of my favorite stories about blackjack is how Don Johnson broke the bank at three casinos. You can read the full story in this April 2012 article from The Atlantic.

One line from the article sticks in my mind every time I read it, “Tony Rodio, who succeeded [Mark] Giannantonio as the Trop’s CEO, says, ‘He plays perfect cards.’”

If you’re not familiar with Johnson’s story, you should read it. The article says the casinos tried to catch him counting cards. He wasn’t.

Johnson doesn’t need to count cards because he knows the game inside out. He also knew the casinos would take extraordinary risks to court a whale.

Johnson’s exploits in Atlantic City are legendary, but they prove that the need to count cards is a myth. That should give everyone hope because the casinos do whatever they legally can to ruin card counters’ advantage.

One of the Most Famous Blackjack Hands Came From Poker

Do you know what a “dead man’s hand” is? The dead man’s hand is a pair of aces and a pair of 8s. Some casinos offer a dead man’s hand style of blackjack. The rules might change a little from venue to venue, but they follow the same pattern.

The player makes two wagers, the regular bet on his hand and the dead man’s wager. To win the dead man’s wager, the player must be dealt a pair of aces or 8s as their first two cards. They lose if that doesn’t happen. But if the player gets a pair, the wager is still live.

To win the bonus bet, the player needs a dead man’s hand. The wager pays extra if the dealer ends with a blackjack. If the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack, the player has the option of splitting one pair to win extra.

The funny thing about the dead man’s hand is that it came from poker. Wild Bill Hickok was a famous lawman, gun fighter, and gambler in the Old West.

Wild Bill Hickok

One of Wild Bill’s rules in life was to “never sit with your back to the door.” He was usually very strict about that. He had a favorite seat at every poker table, one where he could see everything in the room.

In 1876, Hickok found himself in a mining camp called Deadwood in South Dakota. He spent some of his time playing poker at Nuttal and Mann’s #10 Saloon. On the night of August 1st, 1876 Hickok played against a man named John McCall.

Stories about the incident say McCall was so drunk he lost his money quickly. Hickok was generous enough to give McCall enough money to pay for a meal. McCall was insulted but took the money.

The next night, Hickok returned to the saloon to play poker again. This time, his favorite seat was occupied. After hesitating for a short time, Hickok reluctantly took the only seat left, with his back to the door.

McCall was nearby, quite drunk and nursing a grudge. He walked up to Bill and shot him in the back of the head. Hickok fell dead to the floor. He had been holding a pair of aces and a pair of 8s in his hand.

And that is how the two pair came to be known as a “dead man’s hand.” If the name can cross from poker to blackjack, it can cross over to any other game, too. Go fish!

Is Free Online Blackjack a Reliable Way to Learn Card Counting?

It’s become standard advice for gambling sites to advise their readers to practice playing games at online casinos before entering land-based operations.

That’s a reasonable suggestion for anyone who wants to play a casino-style game. It’s also beneficial for the online casinos because they can try to entice the players to sign up and play for real money.

Online Blackjack Screenshot

But how much can an online player learn about counting cards? Good card counting demands three conditions be met.

  1. The player must know the rules of the game thoroughly
  2. The player must know how to count cards quickly
  3. Counting starts over every time the shoe is changed or reshuffled

If you play enough blackjack, you should learn the rules. But as someone who has played online blackjack, I found myself paying less attention to studying the nuances of the game. It helps to have a strategy card or book open beside the computer.

Online games are okay for practicing the count, but the game uses random numbers to draw the cards. That means you’re not really playing from a shoe. You’re going through the motions of counting the cards.

It’s good to practice how to count, but your count won’t mean anything in an online game unless the game tells you it’s using a virtual shoe and deck.

In other words, playing free online blackjack will only take you so far in learning to count cards. Sooner or later, you’ll have to practice in a live casino. But a live dealer online casino might be good enough.

Conclusion

The player’s advantage in every game begins with knowing the nuances of the game. In blackjack, those nuances become most apparent when an edge hand, like a pair, is dealt.

Like the old song says, you need to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em. That’s a poker reference that works just as well in other games, including blackjack.

I’m not sure everyone can become the next Don Johnson by merely practicing the game. I think the man’s brain is hardwired to play perfect blackjack. He may not have been born that way, but he played blackjack most of his life.

Guys like Bill Hickok might not have thought much of fancy modern casinos. He probably would have stayed with poker. But I imagine him smiling in a bittersweet pride every time a dead man’s hand is dealt.

He’ll never be forgotten because of his exploits in life, but he’ll always be remembered for how he died with a pair of aces and a pair of 8s in hand. You could definitely do a lot worse than that in blackjack!

Should You Try to Become a Professional Slots Player?

Man in Suit and Casino Slot Machines

Most routes to becoming a pro gambler are well known. Daily fantasy sports (DFS), card counting, poker, and sports betting are all common forms of professional gambling.

Slot machines, on the other hand, seem like the last type of gaming that would offer an opportunity to become a professional. Aren’t these the games that people mindlessly play for hours and lose lots of money? Yes, to a degree.

However, slot machines can offer a chance to win profits under the right circumstances. That said, I’ll discuss different ways to win with slots and if this career choice is ultimately worth the effort.

What Are the Different Ways to Beat Slots?

You might think the only way to beat a slot machine is by praying to the heavens. If so, you’ll be surprised to find there are actually three different ways to win with slots.

Banking Slot Machines

A banking (a.k.a. accumulator) slot machine features a bonus meter that gradually fills as one collects special symbols. A bonus feature will be triggered once the meter reaches the top.

The premise behind these games is that they entice gamblers to play longer in order to unlock bonuses. But some players don’t manage to trigger the bonus, because they either run out of time or money.

Assuming they leave, you can swoop in and take advantage. You can theoretically gain an edge with accumulator slot machines when the meter is nearly full.

The problem, though, is that these opportunities don’t come around often. Instead, you have to watch these games like a hawk and be the first to jump in when a player leaves.

What’s more is that many gamblers continue playing so that they can earn the bonus. In these cases, you may need to build up the nerve to persuade a gambler off their slot machine beforehand.

Those who engage in this practice are often referred to as slots “vultures.” They hang around games and do anything possible to get a seat when the bonus is set to come.

Therefore, you not only need the time to find nearly full meters, but also need the nerve to talk somebody off a slot.

Mystery Jackpots

A mystery slot machine offers a progressive jackpot that pays out at a specific point. For example, a game may deliver its top prize at exactly $250.

Much like with accumulator slots, some gamblers leave a mystery jackpot slot machine before it’s set to pay out. This creates another opportunity where you can gain an edge by stepping in at the right moment.

Front of a Slot Machine at Casino

The biggest challenge in getting this advantage is knowing when to play a mystery jackpot slot. Here’s a formula via Michael “The Wizard of Odds” Shackleford for calculating a mystery game’s most-profitable point.

  • Formula: t = m × (h + r) / (h + 2r)
  • t = Target point
  • m = Max jackpot
  • r = Rise of meter (percentage of each bet that goes into the jackpot; e.g. 2%)
  • h = House edge (including average value of progressive jackpot)

This formula isn’t perfect. After all, you may not know the house edge and/or jackpot contribution for the game you’re playing.

But you can at least guess these variables and come up with a reasonable target point. For example, most games see around 2% of every bet go towards funding the progressive jackpot.

Here’s an example for using these variables to determine when you’ll have an edge:

  • Formula: $250 jackpot x (0.05 + 0.02 rise in meter) / (0.05 + 0.02×2) = $194.44
  • You should begin playing when the jackpot reaches $194.44.

Progressive Jackpots

Progressive jackpots play a huge role in the popularity of slot machines. After all, some of these prizes can be worth seven or even eight figures.

For example, somebody won a jackpot of $21 million through Microgaming’s Mega Moolah in 2019. This prize is an exception to the norm, but it shows just how large slots jackpots can get.

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Interestingly enough, the Mega Moolah jackpot is “only” seeded at $1 million. Its base return to player (RTP) is 88%.

You definitely can’t expect to win profits on a game with 88% payback. This RTP is as bad as it gets in the slots world.

However, Mega Moolah’s payback grows along with the jackpot. At a certain point, this slot, or any other progressive game, can feature such a large jackpot that the game itself offers over 100% payback.

Assuming you play progressive slot machines at this point, you’re theoretically earning profits. But this is a huge “theoretical,” because you’d have to actually win the jackpot at some point to eventually be profitable.

The odds of winning the biggest slots jackpots can be 1 in 10 million, or even greater. You certainly don’t have any guarantees with these games.

Why You Should Chase Slots Profits

You can see from the above description that slots winnings aren’t easy to come by. However, you may still find this pursuit worth the effort for a few different reasons.

Make Money With Entertaining Games

Millions of people around the globe play slot machines on a daily basis for the entertainment value alone. Now, just imagine if you could also make a living while enjoying these games.

Row of Slot Machines

Professional slots play gives you this opportunity. You can hang out in casinos and play different slots for hours while earning a living.

Pick up Comps on the Side

The profits that you accumulate from slot machines aren’t the only benefits to this profession. You can also earn rewards on the side of your play.

You simply need to sign up for a slots club card at any casino where you gamble. From here, your bets will be comped based on each casino’s formula.

Generally speaking, you often receive 0.01% of your total bets as rewards. Remember, this money is on top of the profits that you’re already making.

Make Your Own Hours

Many people dream of working a job where they can make their own hours. Professional slots play offers this very chance.

You decide when to visit the casino and how long you want to play. You can also choose which holidays to work and which ones to enjoy.

Of course, you may have to play at the busiest hours to truly capitalize on these opportunities. But you always have the choice of when to gamble.

Visit Different Casinos

If you want to be a professional slots player, chances are that you’ll have to move to Las Vegas to do it. After all, Sin City offers the most accumulator slot machines, mystery jackpots, and progressive jackpots in the world.

Assuming you enjoy visiting different casinos anyway, then you’ll love this aspect of being a slots pro. Vegas, for example, offers well over 100 different casinos.

Not all these gaming establishments offer great opportunities to make profits. But you may include over a dozen different casinos in your rotation.

Why You Shouldn’t Try to Be a Slots Pro

Professional slots players aren’t very common. One reason why is because there are a number of downsides to this job, including the following.

Inconsistent Income

Even if you have an advantage with slot machines, you’re never guaranteed profits on a given day. You’ll have a very small edge in any game and must rely on the luck of the draw in some cases.

If you’re playing an accumulator slot with a nearly full meter, for example, you still need to collect the one to two required symbols to trigger the bonus. Sometimes, you’ll get the required symbols very quickly. Other times, you’ll have to wait and lose money in the process.

Assuming you keep playing slot machines with an advantage, then you’re going to make profits. But you never know how much you’ll earn during each day or even week.

Limited Opportunities

Accumulator slot machines used to be more common over a decade ago. However, many casinos found out that these slots caused major problems.

As covered before, vultures try to persuade gamblers off of machines with nearly full meters. Fistfights sometimes break out when vultures are too persistent or even downright rude.

Casinos realized this problem and got rid of most of their accumulator slot machines. You can still find these games in Vegas, but not in the same frequency as before.

Mystery jackpot games aren’t heavily prevalent in casinos either. They’re just not as popular as standard progressive jackpot slots.

Deal With Slots Vultures

Slot machine vultures are one of the ugliest parts of the trade. If you pursue accumulator bonuses, or even mystery jackpots, then you’ll be competing with these very same players.

They may harass you for infringing on their turf. Furthermore, they’ll try beating you to the punch when a favorable opportunity exists.

You may have no problem with this competition. But more competitors mean you’ll have a tougher time making profits.

You May Become a Vulture Yourself

In the end, you might discover that the only way to earn consistent profits is to become a vulture. Are you prepared to try and trick gamblers off of slot machines just so you can profit?

If the allure of being a professional slots player is that great, then you may answer “yes” to this question. On the other hand, you might hate the idea of bothering other players just to get their seat.

Conclusion

Slot machines aren’t my favorite route for trying to win gambling profits. Nevertheless, they can be beaten under the right conditions.

Banking slots, mystery jackpot machines, and progressive jackpot games can all offer an advantage. You just need to go about playing them in the correct manner.

Accumulator slot machines have meters that trigger a bonus when filled. If you continually play these games right before the meter fills, then you’ll have a long-term advantage.

Mystery jackpot games pay their top prizes at a specific point. When you play these slot machines near the payout point, then you can boost your chances of winning.

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Standard progressive slots can provide you with 100% payback when the jackpot grows large enough. However, your chances of winning the jackpot and realizing your advantage are slim.

That said, accumulator slot machines and mystery progressive jackpots are the most feasible paths to winning. But they also have their downsides.

Both types of games are available in limited supply. With banking slots, you also have to worry about vultures swooping in to steal profitable opportunities.

In summary, becoming a slots pro is far from easy. But you may still consider this path if you really love slot machines and want to profit from them full time.

10 Simple Ways to Win More Money at Poker

3 Poker Cards and Poker Chips
Nothing beats the thrill of victory in the game of poker. The sheer joy from pushing in a big stack of chips, knowing that you have the best hand, and seeing the look of defeat on your opponents is indescribable. For some, the feeling produces a high that rivals any drug.

And there’s nothing better than getting to cash in all those chips, knowing you won with all your hard work and skill. The problem is that while you’re going to feel the thrill of winning a hand or two at least a few times, the feeling of cashing out is rather more elusive.

Most of the players in poker aren’t going to cash out, but you don’t have to be one of those players. If you’re in the game of poker to win, here are ten simple ways to win more money at poker. These tips help ensure that you earn more money than you’ve lost at the end of the night.

Play More Often

If you want to make money playing poker, you’re going to have to play more poker. Seems obvious, right? Unfortunately, Hollywood has conditioned us to believe that making money in poker comes down to that one big game and that one big payoff. This is an exaggeration and these scenarios tend to be a little unrealistic.

In the real world, making money at poker boils down to playing the game you love and playing it more often.

Why does this work? By playing more poker, you’re tilting the odds in your favor.

You increase the chances of losing money (we address that below), but if you play more, you also increase the chance you’re going to cash out and start hitting your revenue goals.

Don’t Ignore Online Poker

Online poker can do a lot for your game. So much, in fact, that the next two tips will focus solely on how to use online poker to make more money. And yes, you can play poker using real money. With that being said, our first piece of advice is, if you want to make money playing poker, play online poker.

Games are always available.

Online poker sites also allow you to meet players with diverse backgrounds, playing styles, and experience.

Online Poker Screenshot

You should come away from a few online sessions of poker a far better player because you’ve been exposed to more scenarios and seen how to handle them.

Finally, playing online poker is going to expose you to more inexperienced players. As cold as it sounds, finding a less skilled player who makes basic mistakes is a great way you for to earn more money playing the game.

Get Your Online Degree in Analytics

Beyond just the sheer volume of players you can meet, online poker is great for collecting data. Do you know how often you check/raise the flop? Fold on the river? If you do, good for you. If not, your online poker houses of choice do. They are constantly collecting data about how you play. This is not to invade your privacy, but for auditing and fraud prevention.

In turn, this data is made available to you so you can find your tendencies, see how you play, and use that data to improve your play.

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There is a lot you can do with this data, but one of the first things to do is check your tendencies and note them.

While your online opponents may not have enough data to spot your tendencies, live players will. You need to know whether you play poker a certain way so you can either play up to it or use it to bluff.

Play With Smaller Buy-Ins

Yes, you read that right. You’ll want to play with smaller buy-ins to win more money at poker. At first, this advice may feel counterintuitive. This is because a smaller buy-in usually means a smaller total pot, which means less money.

At some level this is fair, but again, we’re not going to gamble on you making more money via one huge pot. We’re going to play a numbers game.

A smaller buy-in means it’ll take less money for you to start playing. Although spending less money up front means it’ll take fewer winnings to start making a profit, smaller buy-ins also mean you would be losing less money.

Play Poker With Antes

A lot of games, especially tournament games, will charge a small ante.  While it stings to toss some fraction of a big blind into the pot even before you’re dealt a card, it can bring in more money because the pots are always going to be larger.

Without an ante, the pot starts at zero. In some poker games, only players with hands good enough to compete end up tossing in chips. With an ante, everyone at the table has to pay just to play. At a large enough table, there could be a full blind or more in the pot before the cards are dealt, which gives you a better chance of making money.

Treat Your Chips Like They’re Real Money

This tip might as easily have been labeled “play smart.” Part of making money in poker means not losing money while playing poker. One of the best ways to do that is to think of those chips are real dollars because at the end of the day, they are.

If you think of your stack as real money, you are a lot less likely to take a foolish risk, ride a poor hand, or do something else you wouldn’t do with your real money. We’re not advising that you play tight or never take risks, but remember the idea is that you want to make money. And to do that, you’re going to have to keep the money you win.

Change How and When You Raise

Dan Marinescu Going All in at Poker

If you want to make more money, evaluate when you raise and don’t be afraid to do it more often. Raising more often will increase the size of pots, which will help you make money. It can all be part of an effective bluffing strategy, and generally, it will help you show a smart level of aggression.

Find the Right Opposition

This can be difficult to execute consistently online because your opposition will frequently change. But in real life, certain poker rooms and gatherings will have reputations for having more or fewer sharks, pros, and hustlers. Try to find casual rooms when you want to make money, as they will attract a less difficult crowd. Yes, this isn’t very nice, but the goal is to make money as it is in all types of casino games.

Network in Person

No poker pro goes it alone. The best in the world are constantly learning from each other, talking about their game and relying on friends to get better. You should do the same.

While you don’t want to play there often, find where the pros and the sharks play, test your game against them, and ask for their advice.

They will see areas for improvement in your game that you otherwise wouldn’t have known, and you can always contact them after a game or tournament to gain their perspective.

Network Online

For online games of poker, it’s a lot harder to make lasting friendships with an avatar on the screen. Plus, you’re not nearly as likely to run into the same people online as you are in person. However, you should keep a list of the best and worst players you meet online along with their tendencies.

This can be as simple as a notebook by your computer where you right down a screen name and a few quick notes about their tendencies. That way, when you meet them again, you will have an advantage over them, and you can take their money accordingly.

Conclusion

Making money in poker requires a good offensive and defensive strategy. On the offensive side, you want to get out there and make the numbers work to your advantage by playing more games of poker. More games means more chance of making money.

However, it’s not enough to just play more games of poker. Making more money with poker also means doing things to increase your profit (through lower entry games) and playing smart when you get to the table. Look for ante games, don’t take huge risks, and start networking with other players so that you always continue to get better. We hope you enjoyed this list of ten ways to win more money at poker!

3 Dumbest Bets in Roulette History

Dumb and Dumber Movie Screenshot and Roulette Wheel
Roulette players who bet and win big are often considered heroes. Those with the biggest wins have etched themselves in the game’s history.

But placing big wagers isn’t always a wise decision. In fact, some roulette legends have become famous for making downright stupid choices.

I’m going to discuss a few notable players who made dumb wagers. I’ll also cover better strategies to use in place of these bad ones.

1 – Ashley Revell

Few great ideas surface after a long night of drinking. Britain’s Ashley Revell is a perfect example of this fact.

Revell and his buddies were talking about roulette at the pub one night. They discussed how crazy it would be to bet everything they owned on a single roulette spin.

Most people forget these types of thoughts when they sober up the next day. But Revell somehow still thought that betting his life savings on roulette was a great idea.

He proposed this plan to his friends and family in 2004. The latter tried convincing him to drop this insane notion but to no avail.

Revell proceeded to sell all of his notable possessions, including a home, car, Rolex, and more. When the fire sale was finished, he’d accumulated $135,300.

He was able to recoup some of the money after signing a sponsorship deal with the English bookmaker Blue Square. He changed his legal name to Ashley “Blue Square” Revell as part of the deal.

Even still, the young Brit was risking a lot of money on a random outcome. Revell never wavered, though, and set off to Las Vegas’ Plaza Hotel to make his bet.

Adding to the drama, Sky One made his story into a mini-series called Double or Nothing. E! also added him to a special called THS Investigates: Vegas Winners & Losers.

With the stage set, Revell was now ready to make his wager. Interestingly enough, he still didn’t know which bet he wanted to place.

Ashley Revell Winning a Roulette Spin

Revell finally put $135k worth of chips on red in the red/black wager. The ball came to a rest on red 7, thus giving him a $270k payout.

I needn’t go too far into the specifics of why this was such a dumb bet. First off, he was putting his life savings into a negative-expectation wager.

The casino holds a 5.26% house edge on an American roulette wheel. Revell got very lucky and overcame the odds to win.

Secondly, he concocted this idea with his drinking buddies. The fact that he went through with it afterward is even worse.

Revell at least tried to do something productive with his winnings. He started an online poker room called Poker UTD and website called iGaming Recruitment. Unfortunately for him, neither venture proved a long-term success.

2 – Jake Cody

Jake Cody is a professional poker player from the UK. He’s had a lot of success on the felt, beginning with when he won the 2010 EPT Deauville Main Event along with €857,000.

He’s since gone on to win over $4.5 million in live tournaments. These results are impressive when considering that his poker career began with a meager $10 online deposit.

Cody has become successful by playing up to 12 hours per day, studying strategy, and discussing hands with fellow pros. Therefore, he’s a pretty smart player.

But Cody wasn’t so smart after a victory in the 2018 partypoker UK Championships £2,200 High Roller. 

Jake Cody Winning Roulette Spin at Casino

He earned a $60,000 payout for his win. But rather than adding the money to his bankroll, Cody made the crazy decision to bet the entire amount on a single roulette spin. Déjà vu?

This wager is the same type of all-or-nothing bet that Revell made. However, I’ll cut Cody some slack because at least he didn’t put his entire net worth on the table.

The idea came from one of his friends. Word got around the Nottingham’s Dusk Till Dawn casino, where Cody was relishing his poker victory.

He didn’t truly consider putting his tournament prize into play at first. However, he relented after several people asking him about the bet.

The buzz surrounding the wager grew so loud in the room that the casino’s owner, Rob Yong, decided to spin the wheel himself.

Cody bet on black and watched intently as Yong spun the wheel. The ball quickly landed on a black space and doubled Cody’s money.

The entire event was caught on a number of smartphones. It later became a big news story.

Of course, nobody was talking about how dumb it is to bet an entire $60k poker prize on a lone roulette wager. Instead, news outlets celebrated him like a hero.

Hopefully, no one took this event too seriously. Even for a wealthy poker player, betting this much on a roulette spin is nuts.

The good news is that Cody realized it. He said that he normally gambles with an edge, but got caught up in the moment. He also noted that this was a one-off event that won’t happen again.

3 – Charlie Wells

Portrait of Charlie WellsUnlike the other gamblers on this list, Charlie Wells didn’t risk an exorbitant amount of money on one spin. Instead, he made a series of stupid decisions that not only left him broke but also imprisoned.

Wells’ story began in the latter part of the nineteenth century. He was a British conman who used various means to bilk people out of money.

One of his most-notable schemes involved cobbling together £4,000 in investments for a musical jump rope. But rather than work on the proposed invention, he took the money to Monte Carlo for a gambling excursion.

Wells could’ve easily lost the entire amount when considering the house edge. Instead, he went on what may be the luckiest gambling run of all time.

Wells “broke the bank” at several roulette tables. Breaking the bank refers to winning every chip available at a certain table.

By the end of his trip, Wells had accumulated over 1 million francs. He returned to Britain as a very wealthy man.

However, he wasn’t quite satisfied yet. Wells decided to return to Monte Carlo and try his luck again.

The hot streak continued as he netted another 1 million francs. Upon going back to England this time, he was a celebrity.

Wells became the subject of high-profile interviews. He boasted about his infallible roulette strategy and refused to reveal his “secret.”

In reality, there was no secret. Wells was just trying different betting strategies and getting lucky each time.

He proved so by doing the unthinkable and visiting Monte Carlo yet again. This third time would prove fateful as he lost everything that he’d previously won.

Besides losing his fortune, Wells had conned more people with another invention idea before leaving. He was promptly thrown in prison for years upon returning home. Wells proved that it’s best not to push your luck too many times.

What Are More Appropriate Roulette Strategies?

All-or-nothing bets and pushing your luck obviously aren’t great roulette strategies. You’ll instead want to consider the following advice in order to boost your odds.

Flat Betting

You don’t really need a fancy strategy to win in roulette. In fact, you’re better off avoiding all of the gambling systems that create a false sense of reality.

Flat betting is just as good as any specific wagering strategy. It involves placing the same-sized bets in every round. For example, you may place $10 on even-money wagers for each spin.

This strategy helps you stay more disciplined. It also offers a stronger chance of getting more entertainment out of your bankroll.

Rather than putting everything you have into a single bet, like Cody or Revell, you spread your gambling out over the night.

The downside of flat betting is that it’s not as exciting as using a gambling system. You merely place the same wagers every time and let fate do the rest.

Contrast this to the Labouchere, where your bets are governed by a string of numbers. This system adds more depth to the roulette experience.

Weighing the pros and cons, flat gambling is still the way to go if you want more enjoyment out of your funds. It’s not as wild of a strategy as some others use in this game.

Hunt for the Best Roulette Games

Roulette doesn’t allow for much maneuvering regarding strategy. The only thing you can do to lower the house edge is to choose the right games.

Again, the American wheel features a 5.26% house advantage. This is the worst that it gets outside of obscure roulette variations.

The European wheel has a 2.70% house edge. It only has one house-friendly pocket (zero), instead of two like American roulette (zero and double zero).

French roulette is played on a European wheel with the la partage rule. The latter refers to getting half back on even-money bets that lose when the ball lands on zero.

The French version has a 1.35% house edge, which is the best in roulette. However, you’ll have extreme difficulties finding it in land-based casinos.

You may have to head to an online casino to find this game. Realtime Gaming (RTG) casinos are examples of gaming sites where you can enjoy French roulette.

Play Online Roulette and Take Advantage of Bonuses

Almost every online casino features European wheels. As mentioned above, some even offer French roulette.

Internet casinos are great for finding the best roulette games. You won’t have to struggle to enjoy either a 1.35% or 2.70% house edge.

The online version is also great because of the low stakes. You can wager as little as $1 in most cases. Compare this to land-based casinos, which usually require $5 or $10 minimum bets.

Internet casinos are also nice because they don’t require any travel. Instead, you just pick up your smartphone or sit down to the PC and begin playing.

Finally, online roulette offers deposit bonuses that are, in many cases, better than land-based casino comps. Some of these bonuses are worth hundreds of dollars. You just need to keep an eye on casino promotions to take advantage of these deals.

Conclusion

As you can see, I don’t personally recommend complicated strategies when playing roulette. Your best chance to win is to simply find good games and cash in on bonuses and VIP rewards.

You might vary your strategy every once in a while for something different. But whatever you do, don’t follow the paths of the gamblers covered above.

Revell is the most-idiotic roulette player of all time. He pawned off everything he owned just for a chance at gambling glory.

The worst aspect is that he risked absolutely everything for a bet that has a 47.37% chance of doubling his money. Thankfully for Revell, the roulette gods shined upon him that day.

Jake Cody pulled the same stunt after winning a poker tournament. Pressured by friends and other casino patrons, Cody caved and placed his entire $60k on black.

At least in this case, he was dealing with the more-favorable European wheel. But he still needed to get somewhat lucky to win.

Charles Wells was a moron in a number of ways. Most glaringly, he thought that he could just continue having seven-figure roulette runs in Monte Carlo.

Not satisfied with his first two wins of 1 million francs, Wells went back one more time and lost everything. His illegal schemes unraveled around the same time, and he spent most of his remaining years in prison.

All three of these gamblers pulled off extraordinary feats. However, they should be chastised for their decisions — not celebrated.

4 Changes Gamblers Need to Make Now

Two Men Playing Cards
Some things in the world of gambling are fine. It seems like there are more options for land-based and online gamblers, and more areas are legalizing and regulating gambling all of the time. You can find more information about how to gamble and how to win than ever before. These are all good things.

But there are also some things that need to change. Some of them involve individual players like you and me changing our habits and taking advantage of things the casinos offer. Other things that need to change involve trends the casinos are creating that aren’t good for gamblers. You and I also have a part to play in some of these things.

Here’s a list of four things gamblers need to change now. The first two things involve something you and I and everyone we know who gambles need to act on immediately. It’s important to pressure casinos to change things that are bad for players. The last two changes are things you can do to improve your results starting right now.

1 – Stop Playing 6 to 5 Blackjack

For decades all of the blackjack tables available in Las Vegas and elsewhere around the world paid 3 to 2 for a natural blackjack. While the payout for a blackjack is just one of the many rules that alter the house edge, it’s one of the most important ones. It makes such a difference that it makes the game basically unplayable if it gets switched to 6 to 5 for any player who knows anything about the house edge.

Now you find more blackjack tables paying 6 to 5 for naturals, yet players still seem to be playing at these tables. The casinos make more profit from a 6 to 5 game than they do from a 3 to 2 game as long as players are willing to play for a 6 to 5 payout. So why would the casinos stop offering the more profitable table?

Blackjack 6 to 5 Table

The answer is that there’s no way the casinos stop trending toward more 6 to 5 tables unless players refuse to play the games. Almost everything casinos do is designed to increase their bottom line profit. This is bad because we end up with more 6 to 5 blackjack games.

But it’s also good, because if players stop playing 6 to 5 games the casinos will quit offering them. The danger is they might decide to replace the 6 to 5 blackjack games with something other than 3 to 2 blackjack tables. I’m willing to take this risk, because I won’t play 6 to 5 blackjack. The worst thing that can happen is they replace it with another game I won’t play.

The only way to eliminate 6 to 5 blackjack tables is if enough players refuse to play on them. Sadly, I don’t see this happening. Too many blackjack players have no idea what the house edge is and how the payout for a natural changes it. Most blackjack players don’t even use proper basic strategy, and many of them regularly take insurance.

If you want to see 6 to 5 blackjack tables go away, there are two things you can do. The first thing is the same thing I do; refuse to play on them. The second thing you can do is tell every blackjack player you know how bad 6 to 5 tables are, and urge them to not play on them. Only when enough gamblers speak with their feet, by not playing the worst tables, will the casinos stop offering them.

2 – Stop Playing Video Poker with Bad Pay Tables

This falls into the same category as playing on 6 to 5 blackjack tables. Video poker games are available with different pay tables, and each pay table produces a different house edge. Most video poker players don’t know the house edge for the pay tables they play and don’t know the best pay tables that are available.

Casinos have no reason to offer video poker machines with better pay tables if players keep playing on machines with poor pay tables. While some video poker machines with good pay tables offer a low house edge, the same machine with a worse pay table can have a house edge much higher.

Here’s an example using Jacks or Better:

Video Poker Screen

A Jacks or Better video poker game with a pay table that pays nine for a full house and six for a flush, called a 9/6 machines, has a house edge of .46% when you play using the best strategy.

A Jacks or Better machine using a 9/5 pay table has a house edge of 1.6%. The 8/6 pay table has a house edge of 1.2%. A machine with an 8/5 pay table has a house edge of 2.7%, and a 7/5 machine has a house edge of 3.9%. I’ve even seen a few machines that only offer a 6/5 pay table, which has a house edge of 5%.

The only Jacks or Better game that anyone should play is a 9/6 machine. I can understand playing an 8/6 machine is there are no better options, but any other machine is simply a waste of money. And casinos will continue replacing machines with good pay tables with ones that have bad pay tables as long as players continue playing.

The first thing you need to do is educate yourself on the best pay tables for the video poker games you play, and then stop playing on any machines that don’t offer a good pay table. Share this information with every video poker player you know and ask them to stop playing on bad machines.

If enough gamblers stop playing on video poker machines with poor pay tables, the casinos will stop putting them on the casino floor.

3 – Get a Rewards Card

Every single player in every casino around the world should immediately sign up for a player reward’s card. It might be called something else, like the slot’s club or player’s club, but there are not many good reasons to miss out on any kind of reward or comp that casinos give players.

Some gamblers simply don’t know that casinos offer reward’s programs, and some don’t think it’s worth it if they only play a few times a year. But there’s no downside to signing up. Even if you don’t play much, many programs still send special offers to members of their club.

Anything you get for being a club member is more than you’re getting now. Even if you only earn a single free buffet coupon in a year, it still saves you $10 to $20 worth of free food. If you gamble at land-based casinos, sign up for the rewards program before you place another wager. Not every online casino has a rewards program, but you should always ask if one is available.

I mentioned that there aren’t many good reasons to avoid signing up for the comp program everywhere you gamble. One of the legitimate reasons not to is if you’re an advantage player and don’t want the casino to have additional information about you. Some card counters don’t sign up for comps because of this.

It’s up to you whether or not to sign up for comps if you’re an advantage player, but casinos have so many different ways to identify and track players today that I believe in most cases you might as well earn some comps. If they think you’re counting they’re going to ban you anyway, whether you have a member card or not.

4 – Don’t Play Online Without a Bonus

You literally have over 100 choices when it comes to picking an online casino. And just about every single one of them offers some kind of sign up bonus. Many of them offer so many bonuses that you never have to make a deposit where you don’t get a bonus.

While there are other factors to consider when looking for an online casino, like deposit and withdrawal methods, and safety, there’s never a reason to play without receiving a bonus.

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You need to make sure you always understand the terms and conditions attached to a bonus before you play, but the good news is if you don’t like the terms at one online casino you can check out a dozen more in a short amount of time.

Online casino bonuses offer free money so you can play more on the same size bankroll. Many bonuses offer 100% or more on your deposit, so if you deposit $500 you start with a bankroll of $1,000 or more. This is helpful no matter what games you want to play, but it’s especially good when you’re chasing a big progressive jackpot

Conclusion

If you want casinos to stop offering bad tables and pay tables, the main thing you can do is stop playing. The other thing you can do is educate as many gamblers as possible, so they stop playing at bad blackjack tables and on bad video poker machines.

You should always sign up for the player’s or reward’s club when you gamble. Even if you’re a low roller, you can still earn free things and receive special promotions. Finally, you never have to gamble online without receiving a bonus. With a bonus you can play longer and increase your odds of hitting a big win.

7 Ways to Avoid Losing at Keno

Woman in Casino Playing Keno, Keno Booth with Screens Displaying Numbers, Keno Logo with Keno Numbered Balls
Whenever you’re gambling, no matter the game, you’ll eventually lose a wager. But avoiding loss isn’t actually about winning or losing. It’s about not spending your entire bankroll on a proposition.

Keno critics are quick to say the game isn’t worth playing, yet thousands of people sign up for poker tournaments. 85% of poker tournament players win nothing in any given tournament.

All criticisms and rebuttals aside, if you’re not playing in a tournament to the bitter end, you always have the option of not placing another bet in any game.

Common sense tells us to manage our budgets and keep losses to a minimum. When players are totally dependent upon random luck, like in the game of keno, the time to stop playing is when it stops being fun.

If you lose $1000 at keno but you have a great time and won’t miss the money, did you really lose or did you have $1000 worth of fun?

I won’t include any psychological or motivational talking points in the seven ways to avoid losing keno below, but the way you look at gambling is important. If you’re only paying for entertainment and you always have a good time, you walk out a winner every time.

Keep in mind, keno payouts do range across the board. If I talk about doubling your money below, that’s based on a specific pay table. I also refer to the worst payouts so, hopefully, the games you play will pay better. Keno pays whatever the game runner decides.

1 – Never Bet the Bank

Betting theory is not my thing. I’m sure someone has studied all the angles. A friend once said to me,

“your chances of winning are the same whether you bet all your money or only bet a little.”

I’ve never seen him make a bet that big. The point is well taken. In a fair game, you have the same chance to win regardless of how much you wager.

Woman Looking Up at Empty Waller, Questions Marks Above Her HeadSome older slot machines changed your chances of winning if you played fewer paylines. The advertised payouts were based on maximum payline betting. Hence, eliminating some of the paylines to save on your bets was a negative proposition. Each bet cost you more in the long run because it was less likely to pay off.

All things considered, I’d rather not spend my last $20 on a keno bet. I wouldn’t put my last $20 on any one bet. If there’s a smaller bet than your casino bankroll that has the same chance of winning, play the smaller bet and live to gamble another day.

2 – Play the Spreads

This is a controversial idea. It probably comes from people who belittle keno players. “Spreads” are the patterns players use to pick their keno numbers.

Spreads are not unique to keno. Sports betting fans are familiar with point spreads. Lottery game spreads work differently but come from the same idea.

The bettor believes that the game’s outcome will fall into a certain region of the number line. Keno players who use spreads hedge their wagers by betting on multiple spreads.

It’s pretty simple to do this. Since the game is drawing 20 numbers out of 80, you think about which numbers you’d like to see come up.

Some players use the “hot” and “cold” numbers as bases for their spreads. Since the drawings are random, there’s no guarantee that any one number will come up in the next game. But “hot” and “cold” numbers are real statistical patterns.

3 – Play the Middle Picks

There’s no simple way to define the “middle” picks in keno. Every casino and lottery gaming authority has its own keno rules.

If the game allows 10 picks, the best odds are usually found for the four-spot, five-spot, and six-spot picks. Some players say the seven-spot picks are also good. If the game allows 15 to 20 picks, the odds may converge on a different set of “middle” picks.

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The smart player wants enough numbers in the pick to win on partial matches but not so many numbers that the big prize is impossible to win.

A five-spot game is comparable to playing most major lotteries. A seven-spot game goes beyond the major lotteries in number of main spots.

4 – Only Make Minimum Bets

Keno Gaming Area Inside Casino, Hand Holding Out Coins
This strategy is not quite the same as “never bet the bank.” If you never bet the bank, there’s nothing to stop you from betting half the bank.

It’s easy to overthink your wagering strategy. If you only bet half the bank, should you bet the second half if you lose the first bet or divide it in half again?

These trick questions are clever ways to confuse people who lack experience. When you’re down to the last dollar you can bet, you either finish paying for your entertainment or you walk away.

When you only make minimum bets, you buy more chances to win. The prizes may be smaller, but the idea is to win more prizes (if you can).

I’ve had nights where my bankroll bobbed up and down by 10% to 20%. I thought those were good nights. I didn’t lose much and I won a little.

Minimum wagering is less fun than maximum wagering. It’s a survival strategy. Some people only want to make minimum bets so they can spend more time in the casino.

5 – Play the Small Picks

If you’re only making minimum bets, then play the small picks. Remember that every keno game has its own rules. These examples are only for illustrative purposes. Check the odds and payouts in each game you play.

Players can double their money or better if they win a one-spot game. The chances of any number being drawn are 1 in 80. Because 20 numbers are drawn, the player’s chances of picking any of the 20 numbers are 1 in 4.

That’s the best probability you’ll ever get in keno. Other picks that may pay double include catches on:

  1. Five numbers in a 10-spot game
  2. Four numbers in an eight-spot or nine-spot game
  3. Three numbers in a five-spot game
  4. Two numbers in a three-spot game

The math is simple. If you only want to double your money (not a bad payoff but not great), then your best bet (literally) is to play one-spot games.

Your bankroll lasts longer if you only make minimum wagers, but that’s not a requirement for this strategy.

6 – Play the Maximum Minimum Payoff Games

This is almost the opposite of the previous strategy. On the assumption that you’re going to lose more often than win, the idea is to get the most bang for your buck.

In this strategy, you play the two-spot game. You must catch two numbers to win but the odds are about 1 in 17. That’s not bad for keno.

Many odds tables claim better odds for winning on higher spot games. Don’t fall for that trick. Those odds are for winning ANY of the prizes on the ticket.

A four-spot game has better than 1 in 4 odds but there are three prizes. To match or beat the payoff on a two-spot game you need to catch all four numbers. That’s about a 1 in 36 chance.

You’ll never get a payout that matches the odds in keno. I’ve never seen such a game. But the odds for the best payouts arguably get worse as you play more spots.

7 – Back Other Players

Keno Numbers Layout in Background, Hand Out with Another Hand Holding Money
Instead of playing your own keno game, pay others to play it for you. As long as they’re not choosing the same numbers, you are spreading your risk.

For this strategy to have any chance to pay off, you can’t provide the entire bankroll for the other player.

Agree to a percentage in advance and get it in writing. If they have a bankroll of $500 and you add $250, you get 33% of whatever they leave with.

Staking a keno player is not like playing poker. You’re not betting on someone else’s skill. You’re betting on a wider spread of choices.

Three players could cover 60 numbers for you. The only drawback is that you don’t get to combine the numbers from their tickets for maximum prizes.

Conclusion

Because you’re betting on purely random events, keno bets are prop bets. It’s surely easier to guess who the next President of the United States once the field of candidates narrows. In lottery games, the field never narrows.

One reason why people play keno is they have more time to think about their betting strategies. Some keno players will never hit the roulette tables even though they get better odds there.

If you’re curious about keno, it’s worth an experimental dip into the numbers, but you’ll have better odds and payouts betting on single numbers in roulette.

3 Tactics for Overcoming Slot Zombie Syndrome

Slot Machine Reel Up Close in Background, Green Zombie with Arms Out
Coin goes in. Arm goes down. Coin goes in. Lights go off. Clink, clink, clang. Coins go in the cup. Coin goes in. Arm goes down… Such is the life of a slot zombie. Walk into a casino and you’ll see them everywhere, gamblers who are oblivious to everything other than the hungry machine into which they’re feeding their precious change.

On the face of things, there’s nothing wrong with being a slot zombie if that’s your thing. Slot machines are zombifying for a reason. They’re fun, easy, and are getting more and more diverse every year. On the other hand, even the most complex machine with tons of options and images can lull one into a trance.

If that’s you, and you want to be in a trance no longer, the good news is that there is hope. There are tactics you can employ to shake the slot zombie syndrome, revive yourself, and find new ways to gamble on slot games excitedly again.

Get Up and Move Around

Moving about is invaluable advice when you want to avoid the dreaded slot zombie syndrome. The problem with being a slot zombie is that you’re just doing the same thing over and over again until your brain drifts. Getting up and moving around is a great way to make the brain come back to its senses and start cogitating.

Casino Slot Machine Row, Guy Walking Away from Slots

This is important for two reasons. First, as much fun as slot machines are, no one really wants to be oblivious to the world. There’s a lot to see and hear and do at a casino. Sitting there mindlessly means paying money to do nothing and miss out on the excitement.

Secondly, a lot of slot machines have an element of user interaction that almost borders on you, the slot player, affecting the outcome of game. While this isn’t true of older machines, the new slot machines are more like video games and present a lot of choices.

It sure would be nice to have a functional mind to process all of those choices and see if there’s one that’s more advantageous than the others.

Get up and move around just so your brain has something to do. Even better, change machines and force your brain to play new games like zombie slots! We hear that’s fun. Stimulation will keep your brain working and keep you out of the slot-zombie zone.

Video Poker

Up Close Slot Machine Screen, Video Poker Screen Up Close, Orange Arrow Point To Video Poker
Video poker may sound like a bit of a cop out, but it’s every bit of fun as a slot machine, it’s far more interactive, and you have a decent chance of cashing out some money if you play it smart. Plus, we’re assuming that if you like slot machines enough to enter into the zombie state, then there’s something about gambling through a computer interface that you like.

Again, that’s not a problem. We want to make suggestions based on what you enjoy so you get the most out of your gambling experience. If you’ve not played video poker before, or not done so in a casino, the good news is that video poker machines are everywhere.

This includes the casino bar which would not want you, the humble gambler, to miss out on the chance to lose money while sipping overpriced cocktails.

Therefore, a nice video game terminal is built into many bars. You can insert a bunch of cash and start pressing buttons to your heart’s content.

If you go the video poker route, you’re already avoiding slot zombie syndrome, because poker is a far more intensive game to play than slots. You have a lot of decisions to make about which cards to keep, which cards to toss, whether to stay or whether to fold. Really, playing video poker can be as thrilling as playing a real hand of poker except that you can do it in the privacy of your own area of the bar.

With video poker, you don’t have to worry about tells or tendencies, reading your opponents, or whether the person that just sat down next to you is a card shark waiting to take your cash. Instead, you just have to press the buttons and play until you decide to take your winnings home.

After a while, the thrill of video poker can subside. When that happens, it’s perfectly fine.

Cash out your money, turn it into change and head back to the slot machines with a renewed vigor and a stimulated mind that’s protected against slot zombie syndrome for a while.

Do be careful when you play video poker, though. There are a lot of machines in a casino that look like they’re video poker machines without actually giving you the chance to play poker. These machines are basically just slots with a prettier skin on them. There’s nothing wrong with them, like any good slot machine, but if you’re trying to avoid being a slot zombie, it’s hard to do that while you still continue to play slots.

Trying Another Game Entirely

Split Image of Casino Sportsbook on Left, Roulette Wheel with Ball on Right
We danced around the issue of playing a game completely different than slots, but if you’re trying to avoid slot zombie syndrome, we had to at least suggest that you give a different game a try. A casino is a cornucopia of different ways to wager and win money that are so much more than just the slot machines.

Again, we’re assuming that because slot machines are your thing, you’re going to be less drawn to something like a poker room. With the game of poker, you’re forced to play against others and the ways to lose money are numerous and dynamic. That’s perfectly fine, because the casino has other games it can offer to you.

For instance, consider betting on races.

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At this moment, there is a racing event somewhere in the world. As long as the window is open, you can place a bet on it.

The bets don’t have to be large, so you can place a good number of them on a few different races and see if the thrill of watching your racer cross the finish line doesn’t make you feel just a little bit giddy.

Plus, with a little bit of research, you will have far more control over your money-making opportunities than you ever did playing slot machines. As an added bonus, the sports betting area of a casino is usually home to a few people who are willing to chat with you. Social interaction is a fine way to ensure you don’t become a TV zombie instead of a slot zombie.

If sports betting is not your preferred way to gamble, you can also try other casino games like craps and roulette. Both of these games offer you, the player, as much interaction as you want, from placing bets on a number to actually slinging some dice at the craps table.

This means you have more control over whether you take home money than if you were pressing buttons on a slot machine.

Also, both of these games can be social, and that interaction with other people is more than enough to make even the most hardened slot zombie back into a wide awake, fully functional gambling human. Then, you can go back to slot machines if that’s still your thing!

Conclusion

We cannot stress enough that we believe there is nothing wrong with playing slot machines and enjoying them. The mere thrill of hitting that button and watching a cup full of coins drop out of the machine is enough to get our hearts racing.

Where playing slots becomes a problem is when someone becomes a slot zombie, good for little else than dropping in coins and doing the same thing over and over again. That is what we want to avoid.

The time you spend at the slot machine is supposed to be an enjoyed experience, not a mind-numbing ordeal.

To that end, we recommend three tactics to revive a slot zombie from their state. The first is getting up and changing the scenery. Make the brain work to move the body, or learn a new game. This is usually enough to shake of the zombie effects of too many slots.

After that, we recommend trying a game similar to slots (video poker) but different enough to provide a wholly different mental challenge to the would-be slot zombie. Finally, when that fails, we recommend trying a whole new game all together. The casino is full of all kinds of experiences, any of which should be good enough to prevent another case of slot zombie syndrome.

12 Tips for Gambling With a Small Bankroll

Friends Cheering Playing Casino Slots, Hands Opening Empty Wallet with Dollar Bill Falling Out
Everyone dreams of gambling with a huge stack of chips. It’s nice knowing you can take a chance on an iffy blackjack hand because you have the money to play another game. The same goes with any of the games at the casino. It’s just fun to play with a lot of money.

But what happens when you don’t have a lot of money and you’re practicing better casino bankroll management? Don’t worry, you can still have fun gambling. It’s just as satisfying when you go from the short stack to the table leader as there is starting from the top and continuing to win.

In fact, starting with a small stack can be your test of skill as a gambler if that’s what gets your poker juices flowing. More importantly, though, playing the game with a small bankroll can be every bit as rewarding as playing with a big stack, you just need a few tips on how best to pull it off.

Go Online

Computer Laptop Displaying Slot Online Casino Game on ScreenThe best and easiest way to gamble without a lot of money is to avoid any semblance of a casino. Instead, sit down with a cold drink, maybe turn on some music, and open your laptop. The internet is full of online casinos that will allow you to gamble without paying a single penny, offering free games to play.

Some online gambling sites offer virtual currency for you to start playing on their site. As long as you don’t lose your head and take advantage of the online site’s giveaways, you’ll likely never run out of “money” to play. Once you’ve gotten your fill, you can always find online sites that will take money in exchange for higher stakes, just know the laws in your area.

Avoid Luxury Hotels

It pains us to say this, but if you have a small bankroll, you might be better off staying away from the nicer, newer hotels. Yes, I know they’re beautiful, have great themes, good food, delicious cocktails, and more. However, they’re not free. In fact, they’re not even cheap.

Most of the things you do at a luxury hotel carry a surcharge.

This is because they’re the place to be seen, gambling pros and sharks often congregate at newer venues.

If you want, go to the luxury hotels to see the sights and mess around, but when it gets serious, take your smaller bankroll to a less fancy place. Your money will go farther if you do.

Pick the Right Table

Split Image, on the Right Group of People Playing Casino Craps, Left Photo of People Playing Roulette
Part of picking the right table includes staying away from luxury hotels. Like we said, the sharks, the hustlers, and the pros all congregate there. If you have a small bankroll, you’ll want to stay away from them until you’ve built up a reserve.

Instead, find a casino that has steady traffic with people who are looking for a game, not a victim. When you find that casino, survey the players at each of the tables. If you see someone who is ultracompetitive or just a jerk, they could just be after your money. Instead, find a table that’s at least half full with people that appear calm and friendly. The fact that they aren’t cutthroat should give you a better chance to win some money.

Let the Casino Meet Your Needs

It’s not a guarantee that your food and drink needs will be taken care of by a casino. But some are loose with offering you free cocktails, food comps, and other perks. At the very least, you should be able to swell the size of your bankroll with the money you otherwise would have spent on cocktails and snacks.

But this advice really only works if you’re loyal to one casino. You will need to lose some of that bankroll before you begin receiving casino comps. If you only lose a little here and a little there, you may not get a simple comp at all. So, it’s important that you establish yourself as a regular.

Play the Pass Line

Craps Table Layout with Yellow Arrow Pointing Towards Pass Line
Craps is one of the most economical ways to gamble if you’re looking to play at a casino.

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It’s a social environment where you can make some fairly low risk bets that often payout by playing the pass line.

When you’re playing the game of craps, the pass line means you are betting that the shooter will hit a seven or an 11 before they hit a two, three, or a 12. Playing the pass line doesn’t pay out very much (you may only double your bet), but seven is the most common number on two dice, so you have a good chance of winning.

Slots for the Win

All protests about slot machines aside, if you have a small bankroll, slot machines are a great way to stretch it. You can always find cheap slot machines, especially in older casinos, which require very little money for a pull on the lever (or the press of a button).

At the very least, even a small purse can provide hours of entertainment in the casino while a few lucky players will find a significant return on investment at the slot machines.

Make Friends With the Bookie

People Sitting at Casino Sportsbook, Three Dollar Bills Spread Out
Okay, you probably won’t make friends with the people running your local sportsbook, but you can certainly use it to your advantage if you don’t have a lot of money. Sports betting can be incredibly lucrative if you’re willing to bet on some underdogs.

Additionally,there are always events you can bet on.

Consider splashing a little cash at the sportsbook in your chosen casino, then sit back to enjoy the game.

Bet a Small Number of Games

If you do choose to go the sportsbook route, don’t overdo the sports betting. Pick two or three games that you know and bet on those. That will limit your losses while stretching your bankroll over the course of each game.

Blackjack Before Hold’em

Ace of Spades Card, Jack Blackjack Card, Three Stacks of Casino ChipsHold’em can be an expensive undertaking, especially in games with antes and large big blinds. If poker is your game of choice, consider looking for cheaper but fun blackjack games. Some are as low as one dollar. These games will pack all of the skill and competition of a much more expensive game of poker. But the hit to your bankroll with each hand will be far, far lower.

Find Tournaments

If Hold’em is your game, look for tournaments instead of cash games. In a tournament, you pay a set amount of a number of chips. You then get to play for the life of the tournament off that one single payment. If you’re good enough or lucky enough, a single payment can stretch out into an evening of gambling.

Find Limited Rebuy Tournaments

If you find tournaments are your thing, that’s great. We also recommend that you avoid tournaments with lots of rebuys.

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A rebuy means a player can pay a certain amount of money to re-enter the tournament even when they’re out of money.

It’s very hard to knock out a player who can keep buying in, which means it’s hard to cash out and make money at the tournament.

Set Loss Limits

Group of People Playing Slot Machines in Casino, Yellow Sign Warning Reached Bankroll Limit
When you have a smaller bankroll, you need a good defense. That’s where loss limits come into play. Simply put, a “loss limit” is a set amount of money that once you lose, you’re done playing for the night. Set your loss limit and stick to it like a drowning person to a lifesaver.

If you don’t, your entire casino trip might be over before it’s done. In fact, if you can, don’t bring more money than your loss limit to avoid the temptation of going over budget.

Conclusion

While gambling with a small bankroll doesn’t sound as glamorous as gambling on a big budget, it can still be a great time. All you need is a smart strategy, the right place to play, a strong loss limit, and the right game. With the tips we mentioned in this guide, you’re guaranteed to have plenty of fun!

Who’s Who at the Craps Table

Craps Table Layout in Background, Casino Staff Group Up Close, Pair of White Casino Dice
A craps table in a casino is always run by several employees. Unlike other table games, which usually have a single dealer who runs every aspect of the game, craps has multiple employees at each table.

And each of those employees has a different function.

One of the nice things about craps is that most of the employees running the craps game are rooting for you to win. After all, they rely on tips for a high percentage of their income. Also, most craps players make tips in the form of bets for the staff, which means they have a vested interest in each roll of the dice.

This doesn’t mean they do anything to change the odds in your favor. It’s just good for morale, so to speak.

If you’re wanting to play a game of craps, you should know who’s who at the craps table. Once you’ve read this post, you’ll know just that.

The Craps Dealers

Three Craps Dealer at Craps Table, Yellow Numbers Marking Three Dealers
Every craps dealer in the casino has four dealers, but you’ll never see more than three of them at the table at a time. One of them is always on break. These dealers move around the table and take on different positions based on what’s going on.

One of the craps dealers will be “on the stick,” and the other two dealers will be standing on opposite sides of the craps table. These two craps dealers are said to be “on base.”

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The dealers at the table should be easy to spot because casinos require them to wear a uniform. Usually, this uniform consists of black and white pants and a white shirt.

The rest of this post looks at what each dealer does during the game, starting with the “stickman.”

The Stickman

This is the craps dealer that’s “on the stick.” You’ll know which one he is because he’s literally holding a stick. He uses that stick to gather the dice after someone shoots.

The stickman is in charge of the proposition bets at the table.

I’ll get into some details about the prop bets soon, but for now, just know that any bet the stickman wants you to make has lousy odds. You should stay away from it.

So, what do I mean when I say he’s “in charge” of this?

It means that he takes the losing proposition bets off the table.

Stacks of Casino Chips, Pair of Red Dice, Craps StickHe also instructs the standing dealers about paying you off when, and if, you win a proposition bet.

The ceremonies surrounding the dice are important, too, and the stickman plays an important role here.

Usually, there’s a tray with six or eight dice in it. The stickman’s in charge of this tray. When it’s time for a shooter to roll the dice, the stickman shoves the tray toward the shooter so he can pick his dice. Once the dice are chosen, the stickman uses his stick to pull the tray back to him.

Finally, it’s the stickman’s job to announce the results.

He’s usually quite the colorful salesman, too, sounding more like a carnival barker than a casino employee.

At any reputable land based casino, the stickman does a good job of stimulating the action with his ongoing patter.

The Standing Dealers

Craps Table Game at Casino with Two Yellow Arrows Pointing to Standing Craps Dealers
The other two dealers are called “the standing dealers.” They handle the players by exchanging chips for the players’ cash. The boxman is involved in this process, too. He’s the only seated casino employee at the craps table.

The boxman always counts the money and gives the chips to the standing dealers to give to the players.

Casino chips usually come in the following denominations at the craps table:

  • $1
  • $5
  • $25
  • $100
  • $500

If you want to make a bet for less than a dollar, or if your payout includes an amount lower than a dollar, the casino just uses a normal coin or multiple coins for that amount.

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You can change the denomination of your chips during the game by asking the standing dealers to change colors. Different chips are of different colors.

You will NEVER put anything in a dealer’s hand, and the dealer will NEVER put anything in your hand. This is a measure that’s meant to prevent collusion between the dealers and the players. (I almost hate using that word; thanks politics.)

You’ll put your cash on the table. When you get chips, they’re put on the table, too.

Betting and Getting Paid Off

Casino Craps Game Being Played, Dealer Reaching to Place Bet, Stacks of Colored Casino Chips
The most important thing going on at the table, besides the shooting of the dice, is the placing and paying off of the bets. The dealers have a lot to do with both aspects of the game. In some cases, you can just place your own bets, but some craps bets must be placed for you by one of the dealers.

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If it’s a bet that the dealer needs to place for you, you put your chips on the table and tell the dealer which bet you’re placing. If it’s a self-service bet, you put the chips in the appropriate location on the table.

When a resolution of a dice roll happens, the payouts are made by the dealer – just as the dealer picks up any losing bets. Losing bets are normally picked up before winning bets get paid off, as a matter of procedure.

The two standing dealers are on opposite ends of the table for a simple reason: One handles the players at one end of the table, and the other handles the players at the other end of the table.

You’ll usually see between a dozen to 20 players at a craps table, which means each dealer is handling between six to 12 players at a time.

Pay attention to what’s going on, though, because even experienced craps dealers are human and sometimes make mistakes. These mistakes aren’t always in your favor, either.

Don’t be shy about correcting their errors if they’re not in your favor.

Different people have different opinions about correcting the dealer if he makes a mistake in your favor. I agree with Frank Scoblete on this point, even though I disagree with him on many other points.

If the casino makes a mistake in your favor, it’s better to let it slide and keep the money. You’re not obligated to look out for the casino. Your job is to look out for yourself.

The Buck

Craps Table Layout in Background, Casino Craps Marker Disk, On on White Icon, Off on Black Icon
The dealer is also supposed to place the buck in the appropriate spot.

What’s the buck?

It’s a round disk with two distinct sides of two different colors.

One side of the buck indicates that the point hasn’t been set yet. The casino turns it over once it has. They turn it back over once the shooter makes the point or sevens out.

The Boxman and the Floorman

The boxman isn’t really a craps dealer. He’s more like the banker in Monopoly. He doesn’t even wear the same uniform. He keeps an eye on the chips belonging to the casino, and he oversees the dealers’ payouts to make sure they’re correct. His role is to stay quiet and keep an eye on business.

The floorman is the supervisor for the entire craps pit.

A craps pit is made up of four craps tables, and the area inside those four tables is called the pit.

Depending on how busy the craps tables are, there might be more floormen than just one.

The floorman reports to the pit boss, who’s another supervisor working in the pit.

The Proposition Bets and the Mouthy Stickman

Silhouette of Man Shouting, Craps Stick in BackgroundThe stickman is basically in charge of the rhythm of the game, and his main job is to get players to consider the prop bets on the table.

The problem with all these prop bets is that they heavily favor the casino.

It might be that these bets are cheap to make. You might only need to bet $1.

But when the casino house edge is so high on such a bet, it becomes easy to lose a lot of money fast.

The difference between the odds of winning a bet and the payout odds is where the house gets its edge.

For Example:
If you have a bet with 35 to 1 odds of winning, but it only pays off at 30 to 1, the casino has a huge edge.

Your best move at the craps table is to stick with the most basic of bets – pass, don’t pass, come, don’t come, and the free odds bets.

Conclusion

That’s basically everything you need to know about who’s who at the craps table.

This post assumes that you already know a few things about the game, but if you don’t, check out some of the other posts about craps on our site.

4 Craps Facts You Probably Don’t Know About

Craps Table, Craps Facts Red Text, Hand Holding Magnifying Glass Over Text, Pair of Red Dice

Walk through any major casino resort, and the center of attention will usually be the craps table.

The classic dice game is played with more enthusiasm and excitement than any other game on the floor because it’s one of the only casino gambles to bring the entire table together.

Most gamblers playing craps end up going for the same bet, which means the whole table wins or loses together.

This communal spirit of cooperative gambling is unique to craps and forms the basis for the game’s greatest appeal — camaraderie. When the shooter is on their game and point numbers are being punched out left and right, everybody ringing the craps table enjoys the experience together.

Colored Casino Chips Stacked and ScatteredIt’s no wonder craps remains one of the most frequented table games among tourists and gambling experts alike. Additionally, the game’s base structure actually forms one of the most reasonable gambles in the casino.

By exercising discipline and sound strategy, players can stretch a basic $100 buy-in over hours of play while enjoying the potential for huge profits to boot.

Indeed, craps is a casino staple for many reasons. But craps still has plenty of facts waiting to be discovered by curious players.

Don’t take my word for it, though. Read on to learn about four amazing craps facts that nobody tells you about.

1 – Craps Offers Some of the Best – and Worst – Bets in Any Table Game

If you ask around with a diverse group of gamblers, you’ll probably hear two prevailing opinions on the merits of craps:

“Only tourists and suckers roll dice. Craps is a money pit defined by longshot bets and losses that pile up in a hurry.”

“I love craps because it’s such a sensible game. I only need three basic bets, and my average house edge falls under 1%… It’s a beautiful thing.”

The biggest secret about craps is that both of these players are technically correct. This game is all about perspective.

Check out the table below to see how many of the most common craps bets stack up, both in terms of payout and casino house edge.

Payouts and House Edge Rates for Common Craps Bets
BET/RULES PAYOUT HOUSE EDGE
Odds -4, 10 2 to 1 0.00%
Odds -5, 9 3 to 2 0.00%
Odds -6, 8 6 to 5 0.00%
Don’t Pass/Don’t Come 1 to 1 1.36%
Pass/Come 1 to 1 1.41%
Place 6, 8 7 to 6 1.52%
Field (3:1 on 12) 1 to 1 2.78%
Place 5, 9 7 to 5 4.00%

BET/RULES PAYOUT HOUSE EDGE
Place (2:1 on 12) 1 to 1 5.56%
Place 4, 10 9 to 5 6.67%
Big 6, 8 1 to 1 9.09%
Hard 6, 8 9 to 1 9.09%
Any Craps 7 to 1 11.11%
Hard 4, 10 7 to 1 11.11%
Hi-Lo (2 or 12) 15 to 1 11.11%
3; Yo-leven (11); Easy Hops 15 to 1 11.11%
2; 12; Hard Hops 30 to 1 13.89%
Any Seven 4 to 1 16.67%

As you can see, craps bets fall into two distinct camps, which I’ve highlighted using an underline above.

In the first camp, you’ll find the game’s two even-money base bets — the Pass Line (1.41% house edge) and the Don’t Pass Line (1.36%). You also have the Odds bet, a follow-up wager that can only be placed after you take one of the base bets and a point number is established by the shooter.

The Odds is so named because it pays off at true odds — or the exact odds that match each number’s probability of landing.

Whenever true odds are paid, the house holds a null house edge of 0.00%, putting the Odds bets in craps among the very best any casino player can face.

House Icon Representing Casino House Edge, Speech Bubble with Percent Symbol InsidePlayers looking to have a little fun on the post-point rolls can also opt for a Place bet on 6 and/or 8 for 1.52% house edge. And even the Field (3 to 1 payout on 12) bet is decent at 2.78%, while the Place on 5 and/or 9 is reasonable at 4.00%.

On the other hand, all of the more well-known craps wagers — the Hard 8s, Yo-levens, and other exotics — are terrible in terms of the odds. You might have a chance to win 15 to 1 on your money backing the Hi-Lo (2 or 12) bet, but the 11.11% house edge makes it worse than most penny slot machines.

Knowing the best bets in craps is an essential skill, and that’s a task made much easier when you learn the secrets found in the table above.

2 – There’s an Easy Way to Score More Than the Maximum Odds

Because the Odds bet offers the house no edge at all, casinos tend to cap these wagers with a limit of 5x your original bet.

A few casinos in Vegas — the Cromwell and Casino Royale — still use the old 100x odds, but the standard today is a 5x limit.

But in a certain scenario known as “breakage,” you can bet more than those 5x odds on the 6 or 8.

Here’s how it works.

Craps Table Layout, Green and Yellow 25 Casino Chip, Green and Yellow 5 Casino Chip

With a $5 Pass Line bet and $25 on the Odds for a point number of 5 or 9, the casino has to pay you 3 to 2 true odds when the point is hit again. However, in this case, 3 to 2 odds on a $25 wager comes to a $37.50 payout.

Craps tables don’t bother with quarters or half-dollars, though, so the house would be forced to round up or down. Neither option is attractive. The house never likes paying more than it needs to, while paying less violates gaming regulations, so many casinos use the breakage rule, allowing players to bet $30 on the Odds to create an even $45 payout.

3 – An Atlantic City Gambler Set the World Record for Longest Roll

Patricia Demauro prefers to play the slots, but in May of 2009, the New Jersey native took $100 to a craps table in Atlantic City’s Borgata casino.

What happened next made gambling history.

Guinness World Record LogoDemauro started her roll at 8:13 p.m. local time and set a point number of 8. Over the next 4 hours and 18 minutes, Demauro could do no wrong, hitting 25 point numbers in all before she finally sevened out.

Her continuous craps session lasted for 154 consecutive rolls without a seven out, smashing the old Guinness Book of Records mark of 3 hours and 6 minutes set by Stanley Fujitake in 1989.

4 – Fujitake and His Fellow Golden Arms Meet Every Year to Test Their Rolling Skills

After establishing the first documented craps world record with 118 consecutive rolls, Fujitake was minted as Las Vegas royalty.

The California casino in Downtown Las Vegas parlayed the feat into a running promotion by crowning Fujitake as a “Golden Arm.” That honor was reserved for any player who rolled for one hour straight without sevening out, and eventually, the club grew to include a few dozen so-called “dice controllers” who still meet up every year at the California.

Whether players like Fujitake, Richard Favela, and their fellow Golden Arms can successfully use dice control is a matter of debate.

If you’re in Downtown Vegas looking to play craps in April, head to the California to check in with the most prestigious private club in all of craps.

Conclusion

Craps is such a complex and layered gambling game that it’s no surprise to see it holds many facts that most players don’t know about. From the mathematical underpinnings that offer players a double-edged sword to world-record rolls that beat 1 in a trillion odds to a close-knit club of craps legends convening every year in Sin City, this casino classic definitely deserves the title.

6 Amazing Blackjack Secrets No One Tells You About

Blackjack Table Faded Into Background, Blackjack Cards Spread Out Behind Icon with Woman Whispering to Man, Blackjack Secrets Text
Out of all the casino games ever invented, blackjack might just offer the deepest well of instructional material from which players can study.

Basic strategy charts can be bought for a few bucks in any casino gift shop, and tons of experts have written books covering multiple aspects of blackjack strategy.

With such a wealth of knowledge already available to the gambling public, what secrets could blackjack possibly still hold?

Well, if you’re like the vast majority of recreational casino game players out there, blackjack has plenty of secrets up its proverbial sleeve. While most players can recite rules of the road like “always split aces and 8s” or “double down on every 11,” blackjack’s configurable rules and evolution throughout history combine to create one of the most complex casino games ever devised.

Don’t take my word for it, though; just take a look at the list of six amazing blackjack secrets nobody tells you about to see for yourself.

1 – Card Counting Isn’t Really a Crime

Ever since Edward Thorp’s seminal studies were published within “Beat the Dealer,” sharp gamblers have known that tracking exposed cards throughout a blackjack session lends the player a distinct advantage.

Thorp’s method of “counting” the cards was codified in the Ten Count system, and over five decades since, dozens of different alternatives have been devised. Of course, casinos aren’t known for spreading action that allows the player to enjoy any sort of edge, so they soon responded with countermeasures designed to eradicate counters.

Those responses included a ban on mid-deck entry and multiple-deck shoes, which force counters to wade through hundreds of cards rather than the standard 52-card arrangement.

But even as these wrinkles in the rules worked wonders in discouraging recreational players from counting, a few experts still used their memory and math skills to terrorize the tables.

One of those experts was Ken Uston, a legendary advantage play gambler who fought valiantly to preserve the rights of card counters everywhere during the 1980s.

Illustration of Three Supreme Court Judges on Stand, Middle Judge Holding Gavel, Casino Spade Icons

After suffering massive losses to Uston and his team of card counters, Atlantic City casinos owned by Resorts International elected to nip the problem in the bud by banning the advantage players altogether. Uston appealed his ban to the New Jersey Casino Control Commission (NJCCC), and the subsequent case — Uston v. Resorts International Hotel Inc., 445 A.2d 370 (N.J. 1982) — wound up reaching the New Jersey Supreme Court.

After examining the Garden State’s gambling regulations, along with Uston’s conduct, the Court issued a decisive 5-0 ruling defending his right to count cards. The following is a direct quote from the court proceeding:

“In sum, absent a valid Commission regulation excluding card counters, respondent Uston will be free to employ his card-counting strategy at Resorts’ blackjack tables.

There is currently no Commission rule banning Uston, and Resorts has no authority to exclude him for card counting. However, it is not clear whether the Commission would have adopted regulations involving card counters had it known that Resorts could not exclude Uston.

The Court therefore continues the temporary order banning Uston from Resorts’ blackjack tables for 90 days from the date of this opinion. After that time, respondent is free to play blackjack at Resorts’ casino absent a valid Commission rule excluding him.”

Uston wasn’t surprised, though, as he had previously told People magazine that advantage play was a Constitutionally protected right.

“Barring me for winning is like the major leagues saying they won’t play ball with anyone but minor league players.

Somebody has got to show these guys that it’s not unconstitutional to win.”

The precedent established by Uston’s quest remains in place today, so while casinos can “frown” on counting cards, they can’t ban players or withhold winnings.

2 – Single-Deck Blackjack Isn’t Extinct

Welcome to Las Vegas Sign, Two Blackjack Cards, Green Background
If you prefer to play blackjack the old-fashioned way, using a single deck of 52 cards shuffled after every three or four hands, modern progress hasn’t been your friend.

Corporate casinos with no shame about tilting the blackjack odds and house advantage even further in their favor largely rely on six- and eight-deck shoes to discourage would-be card counters. As a result, most blackjack tables in Las Vegas — or any casino industry in the country, for that matter — will use multiple-deck shoes.

But that doesn’t mean single-deck games, which offer a much lower house edge of only 0.17% for basic strategy players, have disappeared entirely.

The list below highlights Las Vegas casinos where single-deck blackjack can still be found, along with the number of tables at each venue.


Las Vegas Casinos with Single-Deck Blackjack Tables
CASINO NUMBER OF TABLES
Aliante 2
Arizona Charlie’s  1
Binion’s 1
Boulder Station 1
California 2
Casino Royale 1
El Cortez 7
Encore 3
Fiesta Rancho 1
Fremont 2
Gold Coast 2
Golden Nugget 4
Harrah’s 4
Main Street Station 2
Monte Carlo 1
Orleans 3
Palace Station 1
Red Rock 2
Sam’s Town 1
Santa Fe Station 2
Silverton 1
SLS Las Vegas 4
Treasure Island 2
Westgate 3
Wynn 2

3 – Online Blackjack Doesn’t Have to Be Digitized

By now, everybody knows you can hop on the internet and risk real money gambling via online casinos, poker rooms, and sportsbooks.

But while the bulk of these online venues transform your favorite table games into pixels and animated graphics, a few go the extra mile.

Live dealer online blackjack is an innovation pioneered by software designer Evolution Gaming.

Using a dedicated casino studio, live dealer blackjack connects players on their laptop or smartphone straight to human dealers working with genuine tables and cards.

It’s not quite the same as experiencing the sights and sounds of Sin City, but live dealer blackjack definitely beats the sterile digital alternative.

4 – Blackjack Can Be Played in Tournament Form Just Like Poker

The poker boom may have petered out a decade ago, but tournaments still captivate the average gambler’s imagination.

Believe it or not, blackjack tournaments are an increasingly popular niche that appeals to a certain subset of players.

You can see how blackjack tournaments work in the clip below from the now-defunct World Series of Blackjack (WSOP):

Once you learn the ropes, inquire with your favorite casino operator to find out if their properties run weekly or monthly blackjack tournaments.

5 – Casinos Will Gladly Teach Gamblers How to Play

If you’re not quite comfortable playing for real money just yet, don’t hesitate to take the casinos up on their offer to teach you blackjack free of charge.

The following Las Vegas casinos offer daily blackjack lessons that don’t cost a penny:

  • Circus Circus: 10:30 a.m. – Daily
  • Excalibur: 11:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. – Daily
  • Golden Nugget: 12:00 p.m. – Daily
  • Luxor: 12:00 p.m. – Daily
  • Palazzo Venetian: 11:30 a.m. – Monday through Friday

6 – Surrendering Doesn’t Have to Be a Sucker Play

Every so often, you’ll see a fellow player get the dealer’s attention, slide their cards forward, and take back half their bet.

This curious maneuver is known as the “Surrender” blackjack play, and it’s a much-maligned move amongst self-styled blackjack experts.

Here’s how it works.

Circle Icon with Red Diamond Blackjack Card and one Ace of Spades Blacjack Card Inside, Icon of Man on His Knees with Surrendering FlagWhen the dealer shows a 10-value or an ace as their up card, they’ll scan their down card to see if they have blackjack. When they don’t make a natural 21, players can let the dealer know they’d like to surrender, or forfeit the hand right then and there in exchange for exactly half of their bet being returned.

Betting $10 only to send $5 of it directly to the house without a fight puts many players off, so plenty of people have sworn surrendering off altogether.

But as you can see in the table below, which outlines win and loss probabilities when you hold a hard 15 against a 10, surrendering is actually the best option available.


Win & Loss Probabilities When Holding 15 Against 10
ACTION WIN RATE LOSS RATE AVG. LOSS (PER $100 BET)
Stand 22.80% 77.20% $54.40
Hit 23.40% 76.60% $53.20
Surrender 50% of bet 50% of bet $50.00

Sitting on a hard 15 against a 10 is one of the worst situations in blackjack, as hitting and standing both leave little room for success. Thus, taking the path of least resistance and surrendering leads to the lowest expected loss rate.

Along with hard 15 vs. 10, you should also surrender with a hard 16* vs. 9, 10, or ace.

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*Naturally, you should still split your 8-8 hard 16, as the “always split aces and 8s” rule supersedes the surrender option

Conclusion

Blackjack holds its best secrets close to the vest, as this list of obscure revelations makes clear. Nonetheless, once you’ve gained access to these invaluable insights, you can take your 21 game to the next level.

Loopholes in the rules, seldom used strategies, and wider knowledge of blackjack law are all essential skills wielded by experts.

6 Fun Facts About Craps

Craps Casino Table, Banner with Craps Text Logo, Group of Red Casino Dice in Background
Craps ranks as one of the most exhilarating and entertaining casino table games you’ll ever play.

Although technically defined as a game of chance because bettors can’t influence the outcome, craps can nonetheless be played strategically thanks to the diverse assortment of available bets.

But as beautifully constructed as craps is on a technical gameplay level, gamblers everywhere consider it a casino favorite based on one simple reason — it’s just so much fun.

As the shooter handles the dice and gets ready to send them tumbling, the assembled bettors wait in quiet anticipation. Everybody has different bets working, but if they’re betting on the Pass Line the way most people do, they all have one thing in common — they don’t want to see a 7 show up.

Any other number produces payouts for a few players, and everybody scores a juiced-up return on the Odds bet if the point number lands for a second time.

The dice get tossed skyward and reveal their result, sparking a round of applause and cheering around the table. Everyone’s in this thing together, winning and losing as one, creating a unique sense of camaraderie that can only be found at a crowded craps table.

Fun is definitely the name of the game for dice players, so check out the list below to learn six fun facts that can make playing the game of craps even more enjoyable going forward.

1 – Rolling a Pair of Six-Sided Dice Creates 36 Possible Combinations

Two White Casino DieCraps is played with a pair of six-sided dice, and those sides show the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

With two dice rolled and their individual totals combined, 11 final totals are possible — 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12.

At first glance, these figures lead many craps rookies to believe that each roll thus has 11 possible combinations that can appear.

But while there are indeed 11 possible outcomes in terms of the total, a pair of six-sided dice can use 36 possible combinations to get there.

TOTAL POSSIBLE COMBINATIONS
2 1-1
3 1-2, 2-1
4 1-3, 2-2, 3-1
5 1-4, 2-3, 3-2, 4-1
6 1-5, 2-4, 3-3, 4-2, 5-1
7 1-6, 2-5, 3-4, 4-3, 5-2, 6-1
8 2-6, 3-5, 4-4, 5-3, 6-2
9 3-6, 4-5, 5-4, 6-3
10 4-6, 5-5, 6-4
11 5-6, 6-5
12 6-6

That’s because both dice represent separate entities, with Die A and Die B coming together to create final totals. When Die A shows 3 and Die B shows 4 for a 7, this is a different combination than Die A showing 4 and Die B showing 3.

2 – Seven Is the Most Likely Total; 2 and 12 Are the Most Unlikely

Probability Wheel with Arrow, Different Colored SectionsThat neatly constructed pyramid directly above makes this fact clear as day, so we’ll keep this entry short and sweet.

On any given roll, the most likely total to show up is 7, with six unique combos creating a 16.67% chance of appearing.

Conversely, only one unique combo apiece makes 2 and 12 the most unlikely totals in craps, showing up only 2.78% of the time.

To see where the other numbers stand up in terms of probability, check out the table below.

TOTAL PROBABILITY
2 2.78%
3 5.56%
4 8.33%
5 11.11%
6 13.89%
7 16.67%
8 13.89%
9 11.11%
10 8.33%
11 5.56%
12 2.78%

3 – Craps Players Call the 11 “Yo-Leven” or “Yo” for Short

Craps is perhaps the most verbal casino game of them all, what with a dozen players shouting out bet commands to the team of casino staff on hand supervising the game.

The dealer and stickman also need to use their voices to announce the point number and subsequent rolls, creating a steady din that defines a good craps game.

Because the rhyming words “seven” and “eleven” sound so similar, players who want to place a bet on the shooter rolling an 11 opt for the slang term “Yo-leven” instead.

None of the other numbers rhyme with “yo,” giving this phrase a distinctive quality that rises above the background noise.

You’ll also hear bettors shorten this to “Yo” when announcing their bets, as you can hear in the clip below when an unseen player asks for a “three dollar yo”.

4 – The Yo Bet Is One of the Worst in All of Craps

With a total of 36 possible dice combos in craps, only two (5-6 and 6-5) can combine to create an 11 total.

Those 36 to 2 odds can be expressed as 18 to 1 on the yo-leven landing, but craps only offers a 15 to 1 payout on the bold bet. That gulf between the true odds and payout odds ensures the yo-leven is among craps’ worst wagers with a house edge of 11.11%.

Even the widely scoffed at Hard 8 bet is better at 9.09%, and the only wagers worse than yo-leven are the “Horn” (2, 3, 11, or 12) at 12.50%, the 2 or 12 at 13.89%, and the Any 7 at 16.67%

5 – The Best Bet on the Board Is on the Odds

It’s not every day that casino gamblers can fire off a bet which faces no house edge whatsoever.

Card counters might get there on occasion, and a few rare video poker variants approach null house edge, but craps players get to enjoy the rare opportunity on almost every roll.

Well, technically speaking, of course.

After taking the Pass Line or Don’t Pass Line, and once a point number is set, players can place an additional wager on the Odds. When “taking the Odds,” which requires an additional bet of up to 5x your original wager in most houses, a Pass Line bettor hopes to see the point number land a second time before the 7 shows up.

If they do, their Odds bet is paid out according to the true odds probability (2 to 1 for point numbers 4 and 10; 3 to 2 for points 5 and 9; and 6 to 5 for points 6 and 8).

These true odds payouts create a null house edge of 0.00%, making the Odds one of the best bets on any casino floor.

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Remember, though, you can’t bet on the Odds without first making a Pass Line or Don’t Pass Line wager, and those carry house edge rates of 1.41% and 1.36% respectively.

6 – The Longest Continuous Craps Roll Ever Recorded Took Over Four Hours

Hand Rolling Dice on Craps Table, 4 Hours Later Text, Time Clock in Background
When hardcore craps players lay their head down to sleep, their dreams tend to go a little something like this.

Armed with a pair of dice that just don’t miss, they start rolling and never stop. Point numbers are nailed like clockwork, the dreaded 7 disappears, and with dozens of rolls going down on every other number, huge payouts are generated for any player backing Place bets and lucrative exotics.

The concept of an endless craps roll might seem like nothing more than a pipe dream, but not if you ask Patricia Demauro.

A native of Denville, New Jersey, and a slot player by preference, Demauro found herself growing bored with the machines at Borgata Casino in Atlantic City. With her pal playing craps nearby, Demauro decided to give dice a try for only the second time in her life.

Here’s how Demauro described her fateful “fish out of water” experience as a craps novice while speaking to Time magazine:

“There are all these terms I didn’t know.

People were yelling out ‘Yo.’

I said to John, ‘What’s a ‘Yo?’ I think that’s an 11.”

At 8:13 p.m. local time, Demauro cradled the dice and let them fly, setting a point number of 8 for the table.

She wouldn’t stop rolling until well after midnight.

Only after 4 hours and 18 minutes had passed, with 154 consecutive rolls without a 7 showing up in between, did Demauro’s dream finally end at 12:31 a.m.

Sources on the scene say Demauro hit the 8 to produce an astounding 25 winners on the Pass Line, likely creating a couple of new millionaires at the table in the process.

The odds of a 154-roll run without sevening out have been calculated at 1 in 1.56 trillion – that’s right, trillion with a “T.”

Demauro’s run put her name in the Guinness Book of Records for longest continuous craps roll ever recorded. She shattered the old mark of 3 hours and 6 minutes set by Honolulu native Stanley Fujitake in May of 1989 at the California casino in Downtown Las Vegas.

Conclusion

The very essence of craps is wagering on the whims of fate. So unlike playing a game of blackjack, which is a more mechanically strategic table game, rolling dice always manages to remain fun.

You might hit a cold run here and there, but watching the red cubes crash and tumble to reveal their random results always inspires anticipation that other forms of action just can’t match.

And as one of the most fun ways to spend a session in the casino, it’s no surprise to discover so many fun facts about the game of craps.

How to Increase Your Earn Rate for Casino Comps in Las Vegas

Downtown Las Vegas Casinos at Night, Different Vegas Casino Players Cards, Welcome to Las Vegas Sign
Casino comps have become almost mythical. So many gambling experts write about casino comps that players grumble the casinos are giving out fewer comps than before.

That is most likely true; as more people flock to casinos, the properties don’t need to create expensive incentive programs.

My dad remembers when a Las Vegas casino offered free hotel rooms for anyone who would visit Vegas in the 1980s. He doesn’t remember which casino that was, but my guess is that it was Steve Wynn’s The Mirage. At the time, it was the most expensive casino in Vegas.

The Mirage was built on a seven-year financing deal, and it paid off the loans in less than two years. People were stunned. Corporate gaming had finally arrived as a big business.

Casinos make their money on the games. They only build hotels so that players have someplace to sleep and clean up in-between gambling sessions. They only build restaurants so that hungry players get back to gaming as soon as possible.

It makes sense that players should be awarded discounts on as many non-gambling activities as possible. That creates a more valuable experience for the visitors and their families.

Comps exist, and they will never go away. But you’re not likely to be handed a free hotel room in the near future. The casinos reserve the biggest freebies for whales.

So how can everyone else get more free stuff if the casinos are cutting back?

Here are the latest ways to improve your earn rate on comps.

1 – Take Advantage of Players Club Special Offers

The basic comp program for every land-based casino is their member rewards program. The player cards are a 2-edged sword. They not only award us points for playing time, but they track our activities.

Black and Gold Loyalty Card with Crown IconCasinos plan their gaming and future rewards around our activities. One year my wife and I counted no less than six casino member rewards cards for each of us. We were playing that often at the casinos.

That was when I began to look at reward programs differently. I asked myself why it took so long for us to earn anything more than a sandwich.

The answer was right in front of us.

We were dividing our time between too many casinos. And, honestly, a couple of those rewards cards were for out-of-state casinos. We just signed up automatically.

The casinos win by not having to pay you any comps at all. That’s not a reason to not join a member’s program. It’s a reason to play at fewer casinos.

To get to the better rewards, players must spend their time at as few casinos as possible. Variety is not only the spice of life. In towns where three or more casinos compete directly against each other, the casinos are paying off fewer rewards per capita.

When deciding which will be your favorite casino, weigh the differences in rewards programs along with other factors like game choices, parking, distance, and prices for their amenities.

Reward programs may differentiate between “status credits” and “rewards points.” Players need to earn status credits to advance to higher tiers. They redeem rewards points for discounts or freebies.

2 – Visit Casinos When They Offer Great Promotional Discounts

Caesars Palace Hotel Room, Bacchanal Buffet at the Caesars Palace Casino in Las Vegas, Special Discount Offer
Here’s a simple example:

In August 2019, Caesars Palace in Las Vegas offered two complimentary breakfast buffets at the Bacchanal. At the same time, they ran a semi-annual sale, discounting hotel rooms by 25%.

Looking beyond the semi-annual sale, their benefits program page has a chart laying out what the four status levels give you. Just scanning reviews on TripAdvisor, I found people raving about the discounts and freebies they got for having achieved Diamond Status.

3 – Ask Friends to Transfer Credits They Won’t Use

Some rewards programs, like Caesar’s Rewards, allow players to gift credits to other program members. The rules may vary, but people who only visit casinos on rare occasions may have friends who visit more often.

It doesn’t hurt to ask someone you know well to transfer their rewards points to your account.

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By the same token, parents can gift their children rewards points. A single donation can bump a player up from Gold tier status to Silver-tier status. Silver-tier program members get a 15% discount at Caesar’s shops.

Study the rewards program rules carefully. Understand what you’re asking for before you do anything. The last thing anyone wants to do is inadvertently violate the rules.

The casino’s rewards program staff will explain what is allowed and what is not. If transfers are available, they should be mentioned in the rules.

4 – Limit Play to High Reward Games

Blackjack Table Icon, Icon Displaying Different Bonus Points Tiers
This should be obvious to anyone who understands how rewards points are scored. The more money you wager, the more points you earn.

In most casinos, the earn rate for points is the same across a majority of games. I’ve noticed that table games may set special limits. Players earn points at a lower rate on certain types of wagers.

The other side of that coin is to watch your gambling budget. Playing games with a lower house edge like blackjack and baccarat helps you accumulate more points because your money lasts longer.

Players who only want to play slots should find machines with the highest theoretical return to player.

Video poker and video blackjack games may offer multiple points for multi-hand games.

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Check the rules on display before assuming that is the case.

It may also pay to do some basic math. One gambler realized that the Seminole Hard Rock casinos in Florida were awarding points at different rates on different slot machines. That’s an interesting story but not very useful if only a few casinos are doing this.

Without taking away from the fun experience, choosing the game that takes the least money or awards the most points and credits is an easy way to earn more comps.

If you’re not sure which games award better points, assume they are equal and play the games that have the best RTP.

5- Make Larger or Riskier Wagers

Players who only bet the minimum may be cheating themselves out of rewards points and credits.

While it makes sense to be conservative when playing with a small bankroll, raising the bet after a nice win is a way to increase the comps earn rate.

Some games may award points at a higher rate for larger bets. As always, check the rules before assuming that is so.

And when feeling lucky players can try wagering on high house edge games. The points may be awarded on the basis of the house edge. That was probably how the Seminole Hard Rock casinos in Florida adjusted their rewards points per game.

Some players feel that busy table games may cheat them of points. The pit boss may not always enter the right numbers into the system for players with cards. In a busy casino, the slot games you can play and video card games are more reliable.

By trading a little bit of player advantage for a high house edge, the comps come in faster. And a player needs a little variety to keep the experience fun and exciting.

6- Gambling Is Not Always Required

Couple in Buffet Talking to Chef, Circle Icon with 5 Times Points Earning
When traveling for business, staying at a casino hotel may earn points and status credits. If it fits the business budget, players can rack up points for use at a later time by staying at their favorite casinos.

Local residents often eat at the restaurants inside the casinos. Anyone who lives and works in Vegas can earn points throughout the year by signing up for a rewards program and eating lunch at the buffet or sandwich shop.

Resisting the urge to play a game or two on lunch break takes a little discipline. But the reward becomes sweeter as the unused points grow larger.

Conclusion

One tip circulating on the Internet is to trick pit bosses into recording higher average bets than you normally play. Say you sit down at a blackjack table. The minimum is $25, so you bet $100 until the pit boss enters your average bet into the system. Then you drop to the minimum.

This is a cheap, cheesy way to earn points. And there are other tricks, too.

I don’t endorse any attempt to game the rewards system. Maybe some casinos let it slide, but there is no reason to be greedy with comps. They are still freely offered and available everywhere.

Comps are a natural competitive business practice. The comps may evolve over time, but players should look forward to enhancing their gaming experiences with as many discounts and free offers as possible.

Even if you only qualify for free valet parking, accept it. That makes the time spent in a casino a little more fun.

5 Ways to Be a Better Roulette Player

Casino Roulette Wheel, Roulette Ball Going Into Wheel, Golden Win Icon
Ever since the first gambler put their money on the line wagering on games of chance and skill, bettors have strived to get better.

Indeed, neutralizing the house’s inherent edge has always been the holy grail for gambling enthusiasts.

Blackjack specialists with advanced degrees in mathematics devised basic strategy to make optimal decisions on their hand every time they act. From there, eagle-eyed players with memories like an elephant realized that tracking exposed cards offered insight into how future hands would play out — a process known as counting cards.

Poker pros have long used their uncanny ability to read opponents for tells to gain the upper hand. And in the modern age of video poker, a cold assessment of the first five cards dealt allows experts to decide exactly which hold/draw decision offers the most expected value (EV).

But while these skill-based games are subject to strategic thinking, pure games of chance like roulette have been relegated to random luck — at least to those who don’t know any better.

While it is true that the ball’s final resting place is reliant on random chance for any individual spin, roulette results over the long-term can be shaped by sharp players.

By practicing sound game selection, exploiting casino comp programs to subsidize losses, and avoiding common myths and misconceptions concerning strategy, any roulette player can gain some degree of control over their roulette outcomes.

On that note, keep reading to learn about five simple ways every gambling enthusiast can become better at playing the game of roulette.

1 – Play the Lowest House Edge Wheels You Can Find

For millions of tourists who flock to Las Vegas each and every year, all roulette wheels look alike.

Corporate casinos know this too, so at some point in the gambling industry’s murky past, some clever table game manager decided to go for the jugular.

By adding a second green space to the standard single-zero European wheel, the American double-zero wheel was born. And with it, players saw their odds of winning roulette slide drastically in the wrong direction.

Double-zero roulette wheels — which feature both the “0” and “00” green spaces along with alternating red and black spaces numbered 1 through 36 — have actually been around since roulette’s invention back in the 17th century.

But over time, gamblers and casinos alike agreed that two house spaces to dodge was a bridge too far, so the single-zero European wheels came into fashion.

Green House Icon, Confetti Flying, 2.70 Percent

When playing with just one green “0” space on the wheel, players betting on both sides of any even-money proposition — red or black, odd or even, low (1-18) or high (19-36) — have a 1 in 37 chance of disaster. By doing the quick math, you can see that 1/37 = 2.70%, which just so happens to be the house edge on every possible bet found in single-zero European roulette.

Conversely, adding that second “00” green space to the American wheel’s equation doubles the danger for even-money bettors.

Now staring at a 2 out of 37 chance of disaster, the house edge climbs to 5.26% (2/37 = 5.26%).

Naturally, the corporatized casino scene found along the Strip ensures gamblers there almost always find American double-zero wheels awaiting their action. As the casino owners’ reasoning goes, if 9 out 10 players don’t even know about the alternative, the house has no good reason to offer single-zero wheels and their significantly lower house edge rate.

Thankfully, a few venues still spread single-zero European tables — but only for the right price. In order to enjoy the reduced 2.70% house edge, players must bet quite a bit higher than the regular double-zero tables crowding every casino floor.

The following casinos have single-zero roulette games ready to go.

CASINO TABLE(S) MINIMUM< MAXIMUM
Aria 1 $50 $1,000
Bellagio 2 $50 $1,000
Encore 1 $100 $5,000
Mandalay Bay 2 $50 $500
MGM Grand 2 $25 $1,000
Mirage 2 $100 $1,000
Palazzo 1 $100 $500
Venetian 1 $100 $500
Wynn 1 $100 $5,000

If you’ll notice, the majority of double-zero wheels in Vegas require you to wager at least $100 per spin across whichever roulette bets you prefer. The Aria, Bellagio, and Mandalay Bay each drop the minimum bet to $50, and over at the MGM Grand, you’ll find the cheapest double-zero roulette in town at $25 per spin.

2 – Up the Stakes to Secure the Lowest Possible House Edge

If you liked the house edge falling from 5.26% to 2.70%, wait ‘til you get a load of this.

Under a special set of roulette rules known as “La Partage,” which is French for “the divide,” a few casinos offer an extremely player-friendly rebate. Under the La Partage rules — which are only offered on single-zero wheels known as French roulette — any player betting on an even-money proposition will have exactly half of their wager returned should the ball find the green “0” space.

French Roulette Wheel and Table Board

That still sends $5 on a $10 bet into the casino’s coffers, but you’ll get to keep that other $5 you would’ve lost. Because of this generous rebate, roulette wheels with La Partage in effect — which is the norm throughout Europe — cut the house edge on even-money bets precisely in half, from 2.70% down to 1.35%.

Casinos in Las Vegas offering La Partage roulette are even fewer, but the list below showcases the seven venues where you’ll find the best roulette odds of them all.

CASINO TABLE(S) MINIMUM MAXIMUM
Aria 1 $50 $1,000
Bellagio 2 $50 $1,000
Encore 1 $100 $5,000
Mandalay Bay 2 $50 $500
MGM Grand 2 $25 $1,000
Mirage 2 $100 $1,000
Wynn 1 $100 $5,000

3 – Use Your Player’s Club Card at All Times to Offset Losses

Let’s face facts. Roulette, like every other casino game under the sun, is a negative expectation gamble.

That’s not to say the game isn’t highly entertaining and potentially lucrative when Lady Luck is guiding the wheel along, but however you slice it, players are always at a disadvantage against the house.

Those house edge rates of 5.26%, 2.70%, and 1.35% may be flexible depending on your game selection, but even the best La Partage wheels cause players to lose $1.35 of every $100 wagered on average.

That’s a simple statistical fact, and no amount of wishful thinking — more on this in a moment — can make it go away.

Casino Players Club Card, Gold Dollar Signs Around CardKnowing this, roulette players should strive to squeeze every penny they can out of Player’s Club promotions and other casino rewards programs.

As the table below shows, double-zero roulette is by far the most productive game in terms of earning Player’s Club comp points.

Comps Earned per Hour by Game ($20 Bets)
Roulette (double-zero) $34
Roulette (single-zero) $18.2
Baccarat $15.6
Craps $15
Blackjack $10.4

Knowing these numbers, you should never bet a buck on roulette without first displaying your Player’s Club card to the croupier and/or pit boss.

From there, sticking to a sensible betting strategy based on even-money propositions should pump your comp points account up in a hurry, thereby subsidizing any reasonable losses you might incur.

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Please note that casino comps are never enough to overcome the house edge.

You’ll still be losing money in the long run, and the comps won’t change that fact. Never bet more money or play longer than you would have otherwise just to earn more money in comps.

4 – Stay Disciplined and Don’t Drink

This one’s tough because roulette can be extremely infectious when everybody’s having a good time, but hear me out here.

Cocktail Drink Icon Inside Blocked Not Allowed Icon, Complimentary cocktails can be tempting, but drinking too much at the roulette table is a recipe for disaster. All it takes is one ill-timed lightbulb to go off over a drunken spinner’s head for their entire stack of chips to get splashed across the betting board.

After that, the ball finding one of the few holes in your defenses will wreak havoc on your bankroll while you’re stuck wondering what just happened.

5 – Set Win and Loss Limits, Then Stick to Them

On a final note, roulette’s very nature as a random game of chance makes it extremely volatile.

Streaks, both of wins and losses, are inevitable over the short-term. But over the long-term, the odds lie squarely in the house’s favor.

Knowing this, a strict policy of limiting your wins and losses is a great way to manage your roulette bankroll the right way. For $20 bettors, walking away after a win or loss of $500 seems reasonable, but you should apply your own personal bankroll needs and risk tolerance to decide on the right limits for you.

Conclusion

Roulette became one of the most popular gambling games of all time for one simple reason —anybody can win when the wheel cooperates. Whereas more complex games of chance like craps require a fair amount of knowledge to play well, roulette offers the rank and file recreational players the easiest of decisions.

Red or black, odd or even, low (1-18) or high (19-36), or pick any number(s) on the board.

This simplicity is what makes roulette so much fun, but don’t let the ease of entry fool you — roulette can still be played well by folks who know the score.

And now you do, so get out there and play roulette as proficiently as you possibly can.

How Much Does a Casino Cost?

Building of Las Vegas Casino The Venetian, Red Big Sale Price Tag
If you’re entertaining dreams of owning your own casino one day, you’ll need anywhere from a few thousand dollars to a few billion.

The casino business is so lucrative that every time a new casino opens as “the most expensive casino ever built,” investors pop champagne bottles and raise a toast. It wasn’t always that way. Only a few decades ago, casino operators built on slim budgets.

Steve Wynn gambled big in the late ‘80s when he opened The Mirage in Las Vegas. Wynn and his backers invested an unheard-of $630 million in the new casino. At the time, industry analysts calculated the casino would have to turn an average daily profit of at least $1 million to meet its financial obligations.

The Mirage was supposed to pay for itself over seven years. Wynn paid off the debt in less than two years. That works out to more than $4 million profit per day.

In 2019 dollars, that isn’t so bad. If a casino has only 1,000 gaming machines, it can turn a $5 million daily profit just by retaining an average $1000 per machine.

According to a 2015 Las Vegas Sun article, about 40 million people visited Las Vegas on an annual basis at that time. That works out to nearly 110,000 visitors to Las Vegas daily. There are just over 100 casinos in Las Vegas.

In 2017, it was then reported that annual visitors had climbed to more than 42 million.

If each visitor loses only an average of $100 per day, Las Vegas is raking in $11 million in casino earnings every day. The reality is much more startling.

In 2013, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas published a study on the daily revenues of the 23 big casinos on the Strip. To be included in the study, a casino had to produce gaming revenue at least $72 million a year. The average for each of the big 23 turned out to be over $230 million per year.

That’s a far cry since The Mirage opened in 1989, but competition has changed the city’s gaming industry. Here is a deeper look at what it costs to build a casino.

Location, Location, Location

If you want to build a casino for as little as possible, buy cheap land. Where that wicket becomes sticky is in finding the right land. Not only do you need favorable laws allowing gambling and zoning for casinos, but you also need at least a good nearby highway.

Casino Silhouette Icon, Orange Construction Cones and Yellow Under Construction Sign HangingLas Vegas is a hub for three Interstate highways and several US highways. The city is also home to McCarran International Airport. About 40 million passengers pass through the airport every year.

Considering AmTrak carries passengers to the city as well, tourists visit the city by car, bus, train, and plane.

If you decide to build your own casino, lacking the transportation channels that Las Vegas boasts means your location will attract fewer annual visitors. This probably explains why few cities dominate the casino industry. The casinos need both good zoning and access to transportation to attract visitors.

Hence, you should expect to pay a lot of money for the land.

Size Counts In Every Way

The Mirage currently boasts about 2,000 slot machine games. While that sounds like a lot, the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, OK has about six times the floor space as The Mirage. The WinStar opened in 2003, making it 14 years younger than The Mirage.

According to their website in 2019, the WinStar holds about 8400 slot machines. They also have a 55-table poker room, all squeezed into 400,000 feet of floor space. If you want to compete with the WinStar, you’ll need a lot of floor space and thousands of more games.

Amazingly, Thackerville only has one Intestate highway passing through it. The nearest international airport is in Dallas, TX. WinStar is competing on size and landscape.

The casino is owned and operated by the Chickasaw Nation, who had plenty of available land for development. That’s an advantage over the average commercial developer. By owning the land as part of their reservation, they were able to invest more in creating a high-quality resort.

You Need a Hotel and Restaurant

Guests Talking to Hotel Clerk, Checking Into Hotel
One reason why good casinos cost so much to build is the bigger casinos contain or are paired with big hotels. By providing their visitors with safe, comfortable accommodations, they ensure those visitors spend more time in their gaming areas.

On-site entertainment and dining venues enhance the hotel and casino experience. The farther away from Vegas and Atlantic City one gets in the United States, the less extravagant the casinos tend to become.

Only a handful of states and cities allow commercial casinos to congregate in their jurisdictions. The demand for suitable land limits the competition.

Biloxi, MS is North America’s third big commercial casino hub.

In Biloxi, venues like Beau Rivage, Treasure Bay, and Hard Rock offer attractive accommodations and gaming areas.

The Beau Rivage may be the best known of the Biloxi casinos. They only offer about 1800 slot games. Owned by MGM Resorts, Beau Rivage promotes its hotel, entertainment, dining, and nightlife venues equally with the casino.

These are not afterthoughts. They are part and parcel major pieces of the whole package.

According to Fixr.com, the average cost of a hotel in the United States is just over $22 million. A hotel comparable to the resorts at WinStar or Beau Rivage will easily set you back in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Factor in the Cost of Games

Three Casino Slot Machines in a Row, Four Green Dollar Signs Surrounding Slot MachinesAssuming the hypothetical new casino brings in a lot of slot machines, how much do they cost?

The website HowMuchIsIt.org rounds up a list of price ranges for popular slot machines. Expect to pay at least several thousand dollars per basic game. The enhanced games may run $30,000 or more for the consoles.

Assuming you pay $20,000 for a brand new game and begin with a small investment of 500 machines, expect to finance about $10 million just for the slot machines.

If you can bring enough people in, the games should pay for themselves in only a few months. That’s not so bad.

However, the games will need to be maintained. A new casino must include the cost of hiring qualified staff or for paying authorized service contracts.

Plant Operations Are Expensive

Whether you’re building a roadside casino with 100 machines or planning a massive resort with more than a handful of casino games, the buildings will need electricity, water, heating and air systems, sewage, and maintenance areas.

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A large resort has a plant facility with workshops, storage rooms, receiving areas, and more. Even a small casino needs a place to service machines and receive products and services.

Assuming a modest 200-room hotel is built on the property, it will have its own plant facility. Ditto for a small restaurant.

This new casino will need tools and equipment no one thinks about when pushing buttons and counting cards. There are lighting systems, sound systems, security systems, communication systems, and staff offices.

Employees will need dressing rooms and lockers, or at least their own break room.

Administration will need at least one office, maybe two if there is a dedicated full-time security team.

The cashiers will need a counting room and vault.

All these facilities must be built out, equipped, and brought online. This is all before you hire your first employee.

Conclusion

If the idea of building a new casino seems crazy, it is. This is an industry for billionaires and rich investment fund managers to play in. It’s not for the faint-hearted or small business person.

It’s true there are hundreds of small casinos that do just fine. With only a few dozen to a few hundred games, they cater to local customers. They don’t need big highways, trains, and airports.

Even so, the cost of setting up a small commercial will run into the millions of dollars. Most communities won’t accept commercial casinos. Most states don’t license them. The Native American tribes may contract with casino management companies but only the big ones.

In short, it costs a lot of money to open a casino. Buying one is out of the question for most people. Donald Trump is believed to have lost about $1 billion in investors’ money by trying to buy his way into Atlantic City.

Short of inheriting a small fortune or casino, this kind of development is one game well beyond the reach of typical investors and small business owners.

Aggressive vs Conservative Craps Strategies

Dice and Craps Neon Sign, Colored Casino Chips Along Border
When you’re playing poker, it’s better to be an aggressive player rather than a passive player. This actually influences your edge over the other players.

In casino games like craps, however, being aggressive versus being passive doesn’t have the same effect. The house edge for the bets remains the same regardless of how much you bet.

But aggression can help you achieve bigger wins if you like. The cost you face when choosing such a strategy is that you’re accepting the risk of greater potential losses.

Different Craps Strategies and Different Craps Bets

Casino Craps TableMany people who are new to the game of craps are often bewildered by the variety of bets available. They should be, too, because not all the bets are the same. Some of them provide the casino with a much higher edge.

I recommend avoiding any craps bet with an edge of greater than 2%. Aggressive players might be willing to accept a greater house edge in exchange for the opportunity to get bigger wins part of the time. Even then, I think it’s a good idea to avoid bets with a house edge much higher than 5% or so.

Don’t take any bet with a house edge in the 10% range.

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What’s the house edge, exactly?
It’s just the statistical average of how much you can expect to lose if you place a nearly infinite number of those bets in a row.

For example, if you bet $100 at a time and make 50 bets, you’ve put $5000 into action.

If the house edge on those bets is 1.41%, your expected loss is 1.41% of $5000, or $70.50.

Of course, that’s a long-term expectation. In the short run, you can win or lose far more than that. The closer you get to an infinite number of bets, the closer to that average you’ll get.

Which Bets Are More Passive and Less Aggressive?

To keep things simple, let’s just agree that the bets with the lowest payout odds are the least aggressive.

This means that the bets that pay out even money are less aggressive.

They also happen to be the bets with the lowest house edge.

We’re talking about the pass line and don’t pass bets, which pay out at even money.

In other words, if you bet $100 on the pass line and win, you get $100 in winnings. And you get to keep your original bet.

The house edge on the pass line bet is 1.41%, and the house edge on the don’t pass bet is 1.36%. Those are some of the best numbers in the casino, by the way.

The problem is that some people are interested in winning more than even money.

For them, the trick is to bet more aggressively.

The Best Aggressive Bet in Craps

Pair of Red Casino Die Inside Fire Flame BurningWhen the shooter makes a point, you have the option of placing a bet called the “free odds” bet.

This is a bet that the shooter will make the point again before rolling a 7.

This bet is unique – not just among craps bets, but among casino game bets – because it has no house edge. It pays off at true odds.

All casino games have payoff odds that are slightly lower than your odds of winning. That’s how the casino makes its money.

But when the shooter tries to make a point and succeeds, the odds bet pays off at the actual odds of winning.

This means that it’s the only bet in the casino with no house edge.

The payoffs, therefore, are better than even money and carry no house edge.

If the point is 4 or 10, the bet pays off at 2 to 1 odds.
If the point is 5 or 9, the bet pays off at 3 to 2 odds.
If the point is 6 or 8, the bet pays off at 6 to 5 odds.

Plus, you can bet more than you bet on the original pass line bet when you’re placing the free odds bet. All casinos have a maximum amount they’ll let you bet on odds, but it’s usually at least twice the size of your pass line bet. In some casinos, you can even bet 100x what you bet on the pass line.

Here’s an example:

You bet $10 on the pass line, and the shooter rolls a 4. The casino allows you to bet 100x the size of your pass line bet, so you bet $1000 on the free odds bet.

The shooter makes the 4 before rolling a 7, so you get a $2010 payout. That’s $2000 on the odds bet and $10 on the pass line bet.

When you start with a $10 bet and follow it up with a $2000 bet, you’re being aggressive.

But you’re also being smart because you’re placing a bet that has no house edge. Over a long enough number of trials, you’ll break even. Neither you nor the casino will show a profit on this action, long-term.

Other Reasonable, Conservative Bets

People Playing Craps Game in Casino, White Icon of Dice with Flame Motion
The come and don’t come bets are basically the same as the pass and don’t pass bets, and they have the same low house edge. You can also make odds bets with those options. There’s nothing too aggressive about either of these strategies, although it’s more aggressive to place that odds bet.

Place bets are more aggressive but come with worse odds. I don’t recommend making most place bets, but if you’re just dying to get enough money on the table, it can be worth it to make them.

Think of a place bet as being just like an odds bet, only you get to choose which number is the equivalent of the point.

For example, if you bet place 4, you win that bet if the shooter rolls a 4 before rolling a 7, and you lose if the shooter rolls a 7 before rolling a 4.

The odds of winning a place 4 bet are 2 to 1, just like they would be if you were taking an odds bet when the point was 4.

The big difference is that the payout for the place bet is 9 to 5 instead of 2 to 1.

This gives the house an edge.

The place 4 and place 10 bets pay off at 9 to 5 but have 2 to 1 odds of winning.
The place 5 and place 9 bets pay off at 7 to 5 but have 3 to 2 odds of winning.
The place 6 and place 8 bets pay off at 7 to 6 odds but have 6 to 5 odds of winning.

The house edge for these bets follows:

  1. Place 4 or 10 – 6.7%
  2. Place 5 or 9 – 4%
  3. Place 6 or 8 – 1.5%

You’ll notice that place 6 and place 8 have a house edge almost as low as the house edge on the pass line bet, but with a better payout.

Which Bets Are Most Aggressive?

The most aggressive bets, though, consist largely of the proposition bets. These aren’t even listed on the table, and to place these bets, you deal with the stickman. He won’t be hard to find because his job is to encourage players to make these bets.

These bets are aggressive because they have the biggest payouts in the game.

Two White Casino Die, Snake Eyes Dice Combo, Snake on Top of DiceThe most aggressive bet on the table is the snake eyes bet, which pays off at 30 to 1. The boxcars bet has the same odds and payouts.

The former is a bet that the next roll will come up with a total of 2, and the latter is a bet that the next roll will come up with a total of 12.

The odds of winning either of those bets are 35 to 1, so with a 30 to 1 payout, it’s easy to see why the house loves for you to place that bet. The house edge on either of those bets is 13.889%.

The hardway bets are also notoriously aggressive. A hardway bet is a wager that the dice will land on a pair of 2s, 3s, 4s, or 5s. The total is the hard number. For example, a hard 10 is a pair of 5s on the dice. A hard 8 is a pair of 4s.

These bets lose if the shooter rolls a 7 OR rolls the easy total – the total without the pair.

The payout is 9 to 1 for a hard 6 or hard 8 bet, and the house edge is 9.09%.
The payout is 7 to 1 for a hard 4 or hard 10 bet, and the house edge is 11.11%.

How to Be Aggressive Without Giving up So Much of an Edge to the House

The best way to bet craps aggressively is to get a lot of money on the low house edge bets on the table at one time. You can bet the pass line, then bet the come, and then bet the come again. And you can take odds on all three of those bets.

Now you have three numbers working at the same time.

If you don’t want to wait for the shooter to roll a point number, you can also combine your pass line bet with a place 6 or place 8 bet (or both). This puts lots of money into action, and if the shooter gets hot, your winnings skyrocket.

Conclusion

You can be an aggressive or a conservative craps bettor, but the smart way to be aggressive is to get several bets working at once and make sure those bets all have a low house edge.

What’s your experience at the craps table like?

Do you ever get aggressive and try to hit a big win with a long-odds bet?

5 Resources Every Bingo Player Should Know About

Bingo Cards in Background, Win Icon, Single Bingo Card with Bingo Chips
The United States is home to more than 50,000 bingo halls, ranging from quaint community club lodges like the Elks and Kiwanis to massive casino resorts such as Foxwoods in Connecticut.

All in all, over 60 million Americans play bingo as a hobby, making the centuries-old lottery-style gambling game one of the most popular pastimes in the country.

And despite its simple structure — or perhaps, because of it — bingo is widely appreciated across all cross-sections of society.

Schoolchildren are introduced to bingo in the classroom, as teachers use the basic 5×5 grid and draw/call dynamic to drill students on their multiplication tables and vocabulary lessons. Twenty-somethings looking to mingle have no shortage of free cocktail-fueled “Bingo Party” nights and similar promotions running at their nearest casino. And for the senior citizen set, bingo provides a welcome respite where like-minded souls can gather to gossip and gamble.

Bingo is also used as a valuable vehicle through which many local causes can be funded by the community at large. Churches, social clubs, senior living centers, athletic organizations, and first responders like firefighters and police are all likely candidates to host “Bingo Night” fundraisers to generate charitable contributions.

All things considered, bingo is woven deeply within the fabric of America as we know it today.

Whether you’re a veteran bingo fanatic who never misses their weekly game or a rookie just learning the ropes, this page provides five resources every bingo player should know about.

Read on to brush up on your bingo knowledge and learn more about this beloved game of chance.

1 – National Bingo Hall Locators

First things first… you can’t get in a good bingo game unless you know where to go.

Mobile Phone Displaying Bingo Locator DatabaseOn that note, make sure to bookmark the extremely useful Bingo Locator tool ASAP. When you pull up the Bingo Locator database, you’ll see a clickable map of America featuring all 50 states. Just choose your state and click through to find a full list of every bingo hall — conveniently broken down by city and town — in the entire area.

These listings even come complete with a physical address and phone number, so you can easily get in touch to confirm times, dates, and other essential information straight from the horse’s mouth.

As you might suspect, the bulk of these bingo listings are comprised of community games hosted by clubs like the Elks, Kiwanis, Rotary, Knights of Columbus, and American Legion.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be enrolled with an organization to enjoy its bingo action, as most clubs open their doors to the public.

This is done for two reasons — inviting prospective members into the fold and boosting the prize pool on offer.

Canucks are in luck, too, as the Bingo Locator database also comes in a Canadian version, devoted to Canada’s thriving bingo scene.

Along with club bingo, you’ll also find Bingo Locator listings for local tribal and commercial casinos where the game can be found.

Speaking of casinos, the next time you visit Sin City, be sure to consult Vegas.com for a comprehensive directory of every casino bingo hall in the world’s undisputed gambling capital.

Las Vegas is best known for table games like blackjack and roulette, along with the city’s ubiquitous slot machines, but bingo fans will find more than two dozen casinos offering daily bingo action.

2 – Glossary of Bingo Terminology and Slang

Two Bingo Cards, Three Bingo Numbered Balls, Speech Bubbles with Bingo Game Slang
When you step foot inside of a bingo hall for the first time, you can expect to enter a whole new world unto itself.

The bingo subculture is certainly unique, with a rigid set of rituals and customs governing the game every step of the way. But while norms and points of etiquette can be learned relatively easily by simply paying attention, the utterly unique slang associated with bingo can be far more inscrutable for the uninitiated.

Don’t dare to call the device used in marking a bingo card off your pen or marker — it’s actually a “dauber” (also known as a “dabber”). As for those bingo cards themselves, when they’re made of thin paper instead of hard cardboard stock, call them “flimsies” instead.

And when the final game of a session finally arrives — giving losers on the night one last shot to make a little money — you’ve reached the “wrap-up.”

Every gambling game has its own specialized set of slang that regular players utilize, but aside from craps, none can rival the sheer variety found in bingo halls.

When regional variations are factored into the mix, entering the bingo hall is akin to touching down in another country without learning the mother tongue.

Fortunately for all of the bingo newbies out there, you can find several handy glossaries out there to help bridge the language barrier.

One of my personal favorites is the Ultimate Bingo Dictionary compiled by WinkBingo.com because this glossary combines entries for both brick and mortar and online play. Here you’ll find dozens of bingo slang terms spelled out, covering every aspect of the game including financials, rules and regulations, etiquette, and gameplay variations.

Another great bingo glossary can be found by visiting the NationwideBingo.com platform. This listing covers all of the basics, along with acronyms like L.O.O.M. / L.O.T.M — or Loyal Order of the Moose — to help you navigate America’s sprawling local community bingo scene.

3 – Affordable Bingo Supplies

Bingo Card, Bingo Daubers, Bingo Numbered Balls
One of the coolest parts about the bingo subculture is how players can customize their gameplay experience.

When you sit down to play blackjack or baccarat, the entire experience is standardized across the board. The playing cards, the chips, and the green baize lining the table are all designed to ensure one blackjack game looks and feels exactly like the next.

Not so in the bingo world, where players are free to outfit themselves with equipment and attire of their own choosing.

It all starts with the dauber, of course, as bingo veterans pride themselves on imbuing their trusty card-stamping tool with flashes of their own personality. Just get a load of these personalized bingo daubers down below to get a glimpse of the personal tastes applied to the game’s primary tool of the trade.

Bingo Personalized Daubers

As you can see, players love to bring brightly colored neon daubers to the hall or emblazon their favorite dauber with photos of friends and family.

Bingo players are also quite partial to seat cushions, handbags, and other accoutrements that help make a long day of grinding a bit more comfortable.

And that’s where the WholesaleBingoSupplies.com website and its wares come in handy.

Upon visiting this one-stop shop for all things bingo, you’ll find hundreds of products grouped into six basic categories:

  • Daubers
  • Paper and Cards
  • Cages and Equipment
  • Bags, Cushions, and More
  • Chips, Wands, Balls
  • Party Supplies

As this product lineup suggests, Wholesale Bingo Supplies is perfect for both players and bingo game organizers.

Let’s say you’re looking to launch a new weekly bingo night event at your local community center, but you lack the basic equipment to get started. Using the Wholesale Bingo Supplies inventory, you can purchase the Medium Bingo Cage Set for $29.99, a package of 3,000 bingo cards for $11.49, and a 48-pack of mini-daubers for $22.95.

Paying less than $75 for the privilege of hosting an exciting evening of bingo 52 times per year is the very definition of a bargain.

4 – Free Online Bingo Platforms

Guy on Laptop Playing Online Bingo Game
At its core, bingo is a game best played with a little skin in the game.

That’s why most bingo games played in person — even those found at churches and community clubs — still offer prizes and rewards to the lucky winners.

Even so, many players who might not be able to make it out of the house with regularity pass the time playing bingo for free online.

Sites like the Game Show Network’s GSN.com and GamePoint.com make it possible to connect with other players over a nice game of bingo via social networking.

5 – Step-by-Step Instruction for Bingo Rookies

Laptop Displaying How To Play Bingo GameIt can be easy to take bingo knowledge for granted if you’ve been playing for a while, but many folks out there have had no formal introduction to the game.

If that describes you, check out this 13-step tutorial to playing bingo designed by WikiHow.com.

Conclusion

The appeal of bingo is undeniable. Using nothing more than a 5×5 playing card, a hopper to turn the numbered balls, and a roomful of friends and foes hoping for a little help from Lady Luck, a bingo game can be so many things at once.

Community gathering place. Charitable fundraiser. Casino nightclub. Bingo has the ability to become all of these and more when players come together to enjoy their favorite game of chance.

If you’re interested in taking up the ancient chase for five in a row or enhancing your long-held enthusiasm for the game, take advantage of the five resources found above to bring your bingo play to the next level.

7 Ways to Make Playing Slots More Interesting

Rows of Slot Machines in Casino, Group of Friends Cheering, Confetti Coming Down
Some people can play the same slot game for 12 hours, but I can’t. After a while, my mind numbs out, and I need a challenge.

That’s usually when I go back to the tables to look for some blackjack.

At least I have to think about the cards.

Gambling is supposed to be fun, and there are times that it’s a lot of fun. Especially, when I’m winning.

Although I wouldn’t consider myself a slot game fanatic, I’ve tried a lot of different games. I’ve played cartoon themes, East Asian themes, Middle Eastern themes, space themes, etc. There is usually something for everyone.

Green Slot Machine IconI sometimes wonder what playing slot games were like before they had bonus games. I don’t mean the reels go wild and spin around. I mean real changes in the game experience.

The most fun I’ve had in a bonus game was shooting monsters. If only we could trigger the bonus game whenever we wanted to play it.

A few years back, I visited Vegas with a couple of friends for the weekend. We were in a talkative mood, so we started playing slots together. One of my friends suggested we make a prop bet on who would get to the bonus game first.

That was a crazy weekend. We drank more beer than I remember. At one point I think we were propping on which casino server would come by next.

The way we gamified the slot games that weekend always fascinated me. I’ve tried it again a few times since then, and it’s been a lot of fun.

Here are several ways my friends and I have figured out how to make playing slots more interesting.

1 – Bet 1 Credit per Machine for an Hour

I don’t know what inspired my friend to suggest this. We played a lot of machines. It’s an old idea.

Someone once told me he used to go from machine to machine. He’d put a coin in and play it until the machine stopped paying. That was his idea of a serious gambling tip.

My buddy suggested we see how many machines we could play in an hour. The three of us each bet 1 credit. If the game paid anything, we kept playing.

One Hour Later Text, Guy Thinking Hand on Chin, Two Slot Machines with Money on the Side

It didn’t take long for us to get separated. We met back up about 90 minutes later. I played around 30 machines. My other friend played about 40 or 50.

My buddy came in with the fewest machines. He hit a couple of bonus games. If there is a science to this method of gambling, we didn’t figure it out. But it was fun, nonetheless.

2 – Set a Time Limit

This is a bit like a prisoner thumbing his nose at the prison. My wife and I were playing slots one night, and I mentioned I was bored. She wanted to keep playing.

Hand Holding a Timer Icon“Just one more hour,” she implored.

So I set a timer for an hour. I couldn’t help but tease her. Every 15 minutes, I came by and told her how much time she had left.

You’d be amazed at how intense those last 15 minutes felt. At one point she completely tuned out everything. It was all about playing the next game.

When we left the casino, she said she wasn’t trying to get a fix. To her, it felt more like trying to race to the finish line. We’ve tried the time limit thing a few times.

What’s good about this is you take back control of your time. The casinos do everything they can to keep you playing.

The more control you have over your own actions, the better.

3 – Make a Prop Bet With a Friend

That wild Vegas weekend happened long ago, but my friends and I still make prop bets if we play slots together. It adds a little more excitement to the game.

Here is how we do it, but there are a million possible variations.

  1. Two players sit side-by-side on identical games
  2. Both players start with the same budget like $50
  3. Both players bet another $50 on the prop

The first time we did this the, prop was on who would get a bonus game first. But over time we’ve changed it up.

The variation I like best is when the prop goes to whoever loses their bankroll first. This way even if you lose you win. The guy whose money lasts longest doesn’t always lose it.

The worst prop bet we made was on two old-style games. We made a bet on who would get three red 7s first. After an hour we gave up.

4 – Hold an Impromptu Tournament With Friends

My wife and I played in a slot tournament once. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision. After we signed up, we started to have second thoughts.

It was an interesting experience. Ten identical games were roped off and reset to pay ungodly sums of prizes.

The players were given 1000 credits. When the game host said “go” we started beating on the buttons furiously, playing as many games as possible. Whoever won the most credits won the tournament.

Although my wife and I didn’t win that tournament, it did give us an idea for hosting a “slots party” one year. We took about a dozen people to a nearby casino and sat six people at a row of machines.

Group of Friends Playing Casino Slot Machines, Slot Party Banner

Everyone put some money into the prize pool. We had a grand prize for whoever won the most money in a 15-minute time period. We had a second prize for whoever had the second-highest balance.

If anyone lost their bankroll in the 15 minutes, the rest of the group bought their dinner.

One of the guys called out the action. We attracted some interested onlookers from the other players in the casino. I don’t think the casino staff had any complaints, but a few of them looked our way.

This was a smaller casino, so I guess they were happy to have such a large group playing slot games.

5 – Switch After Every Bonus Game

When you’re playing by yourself, those bonus games liven things up. One night I had a run of really bad luck. After losing $100 on a game, I put another $50 in.

As I sat there spinning down my balance, I silently asked myself why I was throwing my money away.

And then I hit a bonus game.

After the game finished, I had about $125 on the machine. I was still down, but it wasn’t that bad. I stared at the screen for about a minute and got up.

Arrows in Wave Motion Going Opposite DirectionsFor the rest of the night, I played each machine until I hit a bonus game. After the bonus, I withdrew my money and found another machine. This kept me moving and helped shake that numb feeling of bad luck.

I’ve used this strategy many times since then. I do it to break up the monotony of the evening.

Why not just hit the tables? I guess I’m not a hard-core card player.

6 – Earn the Game You Want to Play

One weekend we drove to a casino in Oklahoma. On the way there, my wife and I talked about which games we wanted to play. We both had our favorites for this casino.

When we got there, the place was packed. It was a holiday weekend, so getting to our favorite games was a challenge.

I must have waited three hours to get on the game I wanted to play. By that time, I had tried several other games. None of them were as satisfying as the one I wanted to play.

I remember having that feeling in some other casinos. Somewhere out west, there was a game called Double Dragons. The bonus game asks you to choose your dragon.

Everyone played that game. Working my way toward it was half the fun of finally getting to play it.

Those two experiences led me to set a goal. I have to earn my way to a specific game.

7 – Go on a Treasure Hunting Adventure

Guy Looking Through Binoculars at a Row of Casino Slot Machines
The last variation on the earned game strategy is to turn it into a treasure hunt. Instead of having a specific game in mind, I want a minimum win.

In this activity, I change machines every 15 minutes until a game pays me a certain prize. I look for $100-500 depending on the game.

I refined the activity by limiting it to games of a certain type. I called it “treasure hunting” one night because I was only playing fantasy-themed games. It’s a good way to give yourself a goal each time you hit the floor.

Conclusion

An uncle of mine once said something to the effect of, “The only thing you can predict about slots is they will take your money.” I only ever saw him play poker games at the casino.

The first time I played slots I had no luck at the tables. I had a few dollars left and went to the quarter machines. I burned a few hours “rolling it up” over in the corner.

After a few years of using slots to break up the monotony of gaming at tables, I realized I was using slots to break up the monotony of gaming on slots.

What’s important is to have fun. But sometimes you can become so familiar with your favorite games that they stop being fun. By adding an element of risk or adventure to your usual slots, you can put the fun and excitement back into the game.

The Sic Bo Single Betting System

Sic Bo Board, Sic Bo Game Icon, Three Die Stacked, Woman Hands Up Suprised
I’ve always been interested in gambling systems, but the problem is that when they fail you, they fail so bad that they wipe out all of your past profit. But some of them do work more often than when they fail.

Over the years, I’ve investigated and developed many different gambling systems. Some of them are fun, while others are simply terrible. Most of them have at least something to do with the Martingale system.

The exciting thing about the Martingale system is that you win more often than you lose. You still lose more payout than you win, but if you want to have the best chance to walk out of the casino as a winner on any individual casino trip, the Martingale is something to consider.

Because of this, I’m always looking for bets that work well with the system. Sic Bo isn’t a popular game in most western countries, but it has a unique bet that works well with the Martingale. Keep reading to learn more about the Martingale system and how you can use it with a particular Sic Bo betting option.

Martingale Gambling Systems

The Martingale system is simple. You start with a base bet amount and usually make a bet on an even money proposition. Continue, and when you win, you get your bet back and win an equal amount. The odd/even or black/red bets on the roulette wheel are common bets used with the system.

Roulette Wheel IconEvery time you lose a bet, you double your next bet. You keep doing this until you win. Once you win a bet, you drop back to your original bet amount and start over. Every time you win, you cover all of your previous losses and end up with a profit equal to your original wager amount.

This sounds like a great system, and it works a lot of the time. But it eventually breaks down when you hit a run of losses that wipes out your bankroll or reaches the table limits.

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Please understand that the Martingale system is a losing system in the long run. You can’t completely beat the casinos using this system.

You can win most of the time you go to the casino. However, when you lose, it’s going to cost you a large amount.

Sic Bo and Martingale

Three Dice in a RowSic Bo is a game that uses three dice and has a board with many different available wagers. It’s most popular in Asian countries, but it’s available in various casinos around the world.

The bet that I suggest using with the Martingale system is a single bet, also called a single dice bet or a single number bet. At the bottom of the betting table there are six options. You can place a wager on any of the six possible numbers on a dice, one through six. The payout is listed below the six betting spots.

The most common payout list is 1 to 1 when your number lands on one die, 2 to 1 when your number is on two dice and 3 to 1 when your number lands on all three dice.

This payout has an overall house edge of 7.9%, which can be pretty damaging.

You can find different payout amounts in both online and land-based casinos. A pay table that pays 1 to 1 for one die, 2 to 1 for two dice, and 12 to 1 for three dice has a house edge of 3.7%.

The probability of your chosen number landing on any single three dice rolls is 34.7% on one die, 6.94% on two dice, and .46% on all three dice. This is a total probability of 42.1% of your number landing on at least one of the dice.

The 42.1% chance of landing at least one number is not great, but it’s not terrible either. The chance to win more than even money when you do win is what I like about the single bet.

When you use the Martingale with an even money bet playing roulette, you only win even money every time you win.

The percentage chance of winning an even money bet on a single zero roulette wheel is 48.65%, and it’s 47.37% on a double zero wheel.

Now that you understand how the Martingale system works and know how to combine it with the single bet in Sic Bo, let’s look at using it in action.

The Sic Bo Single Bet System in Action

It’s best if you can find a game that uses the 1 – 2 – 12 payouts; but playing at a 1 – 2 – 3 table works almost as well. Three of the same number matching the number you bet on only happens 1 out of every 216 rolls on average, but when it does the extra you win from 12 to 1 over 3 to 1 can be significant, especially if you’ve doubled your bet a few times after some losses.

While you don’t have to add this extra step, I like to watch the results until a number hasn’t shown up two times in a row. If the last two results are 1 – 3 – 4 and 2 – 4 – 6, I’ll start my betting sequence on the 5.

I start with a base bet. In this case, I’m using $10 because it’s an easy number to work with.

Remember that the probability on any single roll is only 42.1%, so you’re more likely to lose a single bet than win.

If I lose the bet my next bet is $20. The sequence of bets continues after losses at $40, $80, $160, $320, etc.

Any time my number lands on at least one of the dice, I collect my winnings and reset my wager to the original $10. When my number lands on one die, my profit from the bet covers all of my past losses and leaves a profit of $10.

Sic Bo Table, Hand Throwing Three Die

But what’s really nice is when you win 2 to 1, 3 to 1, or even 12 to 1. Here are a couple of examples after you lose a few bets in a row. As you will see, the profit increases when this happens.

You bet $10 and lose and make a $20 wager. You lose the $20 bet and bet $40 and then your number lands on two dice. You receive your $40 bet back, and a win of $80. The $40 you get back covers your $40 bet and the $80 cover your original $10 bet and your second $20 bet. This leaves a profit of $30 instead of $10.

In the next series, you bet $10, $20, $40, and $80, and then your number lands on all three dice. You get back your $80 wager and a win of $240 if the table pays 3 to 1. The return of your $80 bet covers the current wager, and you deduct $70 for your previous bets, leaving a profit of $170.

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But what if the table pays 12 to 1?

This means you win $960. The return of your $80 bet covers the last bet, and the previous three best cost $70. This leaves a profit of $890.

By this time you should understand why I like the Sic Bo single number wager with the Martingale system.

How to Use the System Without Going Bankrupt

Here’s how I use the Sic Bo single bet system for fun.

I set a total bankroll for the system and never go over it. I usually use $630 as my total bankroll. This covers bets of $10, $20, $40, $80, $160, and $320. If I lose five rolls in a row, I quit.

Money Bag with Bankroll Across the Bag with a Money Sign SymbolIt’s rare to lose five rolls in a row, but it’s possible. If you play long enough, it will happen. By setting a total bankroll, I protect myself from chasing a losing streak only to lose more than I’m prepared to lose.

The truth is that unless you lose your first five rolls, even using my bankroll numbers, you’re going to walk away from the table with all of the profit from your winning sequences even if you eventually lose five rolls in a row.

It’s also not a bad idea to set a win limit.

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A win limit is an amount where you stop playing when you hit it.

With a $630 starting bankroll, a sensible win limit is to double your money. In other words, if you get to a total bankroll of $1,260, you quit playing.

Every time you’re able to double your bankroll this way it gives you two separate bankrolls for future play. The other thing you can do, if you double your bankroll, is to take your original stake off the table and continue playing with house money.

The casinos frown on this, so you might need to leave the table for a short time and then buy back in later.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a way to win most of the time, consider the Sic Bo single bet system. Sadly, if you’re looking for a way to make long-term profits, this system isn’t going to work any better than other systems. But if you start with a set bankroll that you can afford to lose, and stick with your limits, this system is a fun way to gamble.

Why Casinos Are Being Forced to Make Skill-Based Slots

Monopoly Slot Machine in Casino, Group of People Excited
Slot machines have been entirely based on luck for decades. Unlike blackjack or poker, they don’t offer any control over the results.

However, a new breed of skill-based slots has begun to enter casinos. These games do provide the chance to control results to a degree.

Casinos aren’t necessarily offering skill-based slot machines willingly. Instead, they see a new trend on the horizon that could leave them obsolete if slots aren’t modified.

I’m going to discuss this new trend along why it’s forcing casinos to offer new types of slot machines. But first, I’ll cover more on how skill-based and traditional slots differ.

What Do Skill-Based Slot Machines Offer that Regular Slots Don’t?

A regular slot machine works as follows:

  • You make a bet
  • You spin the reels
  • The random number generator (RNG) comes up with a combination
  • Your results are displayed on the reels

You can see that the RNG decides the spin’s fate.

Your only control is deciding how much to bet and when to start and stop playing.

Some gamblers appreciate the complete randomness of slots. They don’t like overthinking every decision and would rather take a pure gamble.

Skill-based slot machines offer something different than this traditional setup. They feature bonus rounds that involve a high degree of skill.

Space Invaders Character IconScientific Game’s Space Invaders is a perfect example of these games. This slot is based on a 1978 arcade machine that was later adapted to the Atari system.

Here’s how this slot machine’s bonus round works:

  • You trigger the bonus with three or more scatter symbols
  • You can choose between free spins and a skill-based round
  • The latter brings up a second screen that’s filled with alien invaders
  • You control a small spacecraft at the bottom and shoot at the advancing aliens

The base game still plays like any normal slot. You spin the reels and await a random result.

However, the key difference is in how the bonus works. You improve your chances of winning money by becoming more skilled at the bonus round.

Millennials Aren’t Playing Regular Slot Machines

The main reason why casinos are trialing skill-based slots is that millennials aren’t playing the traditional machines.

This generation, which was born between 1981 and 1996, visits casino resorts for the bars, nightclubs, and amenities. They’ve even shown some affinity for table games like blackjack and mini-baccarat.

However, millennials just don’t play slot machines like previous generations. They’re not impressed by the fancy graphics and features of the average modern slot.

Simpsons Slot Machine Game, Group of Friends Excited

This group has grown up during a technology boom that’s seen online gaming and smartphone use spread like wildfire. Millennials can simply pull out their phone and play a wide variety of games ⁠— gambling or otherwise.

In contrast to Baby Boomers and Generation X, they didn’t grow up visiting casinos just to gamble. Therefore, millennials don’t experience the same nostalgia that older gamblers do on slot machines.

The average millennial sees slots in land-based casinos as more relics than anything. But casinos are hoping to change this trend by injecting skill into the equation.

Gambling venues in both Las Vegas and Atlantic City have rolled out this new class of slots. They hope that the combination of skill-based bonuses, cool features, and good graphics is enough to attract young players.

Getting Skill-Based Casino Games Right Is Difficult

Row of Skill Based Slot Games in Casino, Woman Hands Up Confused
Skill-based gaming is still in its early stages. But so far, the results have been marginal at best.

The gaming world has been offering these slots since 2015. Neither millennials nor older gamblers are flocking to these machines.

One problem is a lack of awareness. Most players don’t realize that certain slots in Vegas and AC casinos feature skill.

Another potential problem is that developers just haven’t found the right combination to draw more gamblers.

Developing a skill-based game involves a fine line between including enough skill without hurting the casino’s profit margin.

Bonuses only account for around 3-5% of total return to player (RTP). This might not be a large enough degree of control for millennials, who are used to playing skill-based video and mobile games.

One more challenge for developers is figuring out the right type of bonuses. They’re going with old arcade games for now, which is a step in the right direction.

The idea is to use simple skill-based games that don’t turn off casual gamblers. After all, a 70-year-old grandma doesn’t want to play a slot where the bonus is patterned after Call of Duty.

But herein lies another dilemma: if the goal is to attract millennials, then why focus on arcade games from the 70s and 80s?

Uncertain Future with Skill-Based Slots

Skill Based Slot Machines in Casino, Question Mark Icon
Aside from all the challenges I just highlighted above, casinos and developers must also deal with a high degree of uncertainty.

In the end, they could just be wasting their time by testing out skill-based slot machines. Nothing guarantees that these games will draw young adults.

Skill-based gaming sounds like a great idea in theory. Giving players the ability to decide their own fortunes is appealing.

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The reality, though, is that skill alone doesn’t always translate into success.

Tournament.com, for example, found out the hard way that there are problems associated with such gaming.

They introduced an online betting platform for Half Life and Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) in 2007. Players could gamble on their team’s success on Tournament.com.

This idea sounds amazing in theory. Competitive gamers could win money by playing the games they love.

However, successful gamers would purposely play badly to lower their rating. They could then compete against lower-rated players and guarantee themselves more winnings.

Tournament.com was also having trouble in covering the expensive server costs needed to maintain their operation. Although an interesting idea, the platform didn’t last very long.

Casinos don’t face the exact same set of trials as a video game betting site. But they too must worry about if the gambling world is ready for a new concept.

What Will the Future of Slot Machines Look Like?

The same skill-based slots that we see today may or may not ultimately win players over. In this case, what will the future of slot machines be?

Woman Thinking, Skill Based Slot Machine ScreenObviously, I can only speculate on the matter. But future slots will likely be closer to both social gaming and console/computer games.

Social games like Angry Birds, Candy Crush, and Plants vs. Zombies have become highly popular over the years. These games walk the fine line between being both entertaining and easy enough for the average person.

Casinos are already on to this theme by incorporating simple arcade-style bonuses into slots. However, they may need to modernize the concept by using social gaming bonuses.

Many millennials would appreciate a more-hardcore gaming experience in casinos. After all, a good CS:GO player won’t get much stimulation from shooting Atari aliens that move at a snail’s pace.

Therefore, complex video games could make their way onto casino floors. Players would gamble on their abilities in games similar to CS:GO, Call of Duty, and Halo.

GameCo is already experimenting in this category with Danger Arena. This first-person shooter involves betting on your ability to blast armored soldiers.

Conclusion

The slots world is always evolving. Once three-reel games played on mechanical drums, these machines have transformed to reflect modern gaming better.

Nevertheless, they still aren’t catching on with younger gamblers. Millennials would rather visit a casino nightclub or spa than sit on a slot machine.

The good news is that these same visitors are still spending money. The bad news is that they’re not playing the casinos’ cash cows.

The industry fully realizes that they’ll be in trouble if they don’t find something that appeals to millennials. Skill-based slot machines are the first step in figuring out what young adults want.

The jury is out on whether these games are a success. They’ve only been available in casinos for a few years and haven’t been major hits thus far.

Developers may need to tweak the subject matter for the bonuses. Their early efforts include arcade adaptations that mainly appeal to older gamblers.

Both social and complex video gaming would very likely be popular among millennials. The fact is that gambling on games like Candy Crush and Halo hits closer to home with young players.

Again, these efforts are still in the early stages. But it’ll be interesting to see the end product of what finally does attract millennial gamblers.

How the House Edge Works in the Lottery

Three Lottery Ticket Games, House Icon, Arrow Going Up, Arrow Doing Down
Gambling experts love to tell everyone about the house edge. Some gambling tip articles sound like Cliff Clavin on the TV show Cheers: always explaining things no one cares about.

Most of a casino’s customers love to play slots. All the expert advice in the world won’t persuade them to switch to blackjack or poker. Slot games demand little thought, so one can chat away with their neighbors or ignore the rest of the world completely.

Some people enjoy calculating the casino’s statistical advantage in its game. I know poker players who rarely play other games because the house’s income is limited to rakes or table fees.

A 10% rake could be more profitable on a per-player basis than a slot game with a 96% theoretical RTP. But the house makes most of its money on the slots.

In games where player choices matter, the house’s theoretical edge may differ from its actual edge. The theoretical edge is the difference between what the house expects to retain from wagers and what players win back. A player making poor choices intangibly improves the house’s advantage.

Do Lottery Games Work the Same Way?

Yes and no.

All legal lottery games are designed to generate revenue for the people running the games. That means some percentage of the players’ wagers are not paid back.

Hand Holding Scratch Off Lottery Game, Money Bills Flying

To that extent, there is a house edge on lottery games, but it’s not computed the same way as for table and slot games.

Craps and roulette are similar to lottery games in some ways, but the actual house edge tends to vary in those games.

Lottery games are based on different principles.

There are three main types of lottery games:

  1. Pick and draw games, where players choose numbers
  2. Scratch games
  3. Sweepstakes and second-chance drawings, where players don’t pay to play

I recall someone once asked if bingo is more like a lottery game or a game of skill. It’s a little bit of both.

  • The players pay a flat fee per game (like a lottery)
  • The numbers are pulled randomly (like a lottery)
  • Players can use the same card or change cards (like a table game strategy)
  • Good players are skilled at scanning their cards for called numbers
There is a poker-like house edge in bingo. But it’s a more random-seeming edge than poker rakes.

The house edge in lottery games is not random at all. The house is always guaranteed a minimum percentage of wagers in lottery games.

A lottery’s profits depend more on how many people play the game than on the percent of wagers retained. That’s because lottery games have much higher fixed costs than casino games.

Who Gets the Money in a Government-Run Lottery?

Lottery Numbers Background, Government Building, American Flag, Money Bills
When the government runs the game, everyone expects clear and transparent accounting. And yet anyone who has dealt with government bureaucracy knows it’s never that clear-cut. It can take weeks or months for the accountants to tally everything up.

Still, the costs of running lottery games run at millions of dollars per game.

Professional journalists paid to explain the lottery games should be able to agree on how they work. That’s not the case.

According to an article from Fortune posted in 2016, a pie chart showed that 50% of lottery revenue is paid to “jackpot winners.”

The Fortune article breaks out the other 50% according to a formula used by the Powerball system.

But then in 2017, a CNN article claimed that about 63% of lottery revenues are paid back to players.

Are both articles correct? Quite likely.

The CNN article provides less detail about game finances, but it talks about all lottery games combined, not just the Powerball drawing.

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The important thing to know is that players can expect about one half to two-thirds of their money to be paid back to other players.

The remaining 33% to 50% is the lottery house edge. Although the percentage varies by game design, in practice, only unclaimed prizes change the house edge.

Lottery Jackpots Are Progressive, but Other Progressive Games Are Not Lotteries

Anyone who plays a progressive slot machine game knows the bonus prize, or the progressive jackpot, keeps growing with every play until someone wins it.

A progressive prize is only awarded based on random chance.

Lottery drawings are all about random chance. But unlike slots and card games, the lottery players don’t do anything other than making a wager. They can pick their own numbers, but they don’t have to.

In a lottery drawing the game is all about the jackpot. In a casino game, the progressive jackpot merely sweetens the deal if the player wins in a certain way.

Does the Lottery House Edge Affect Prize Awards?

Lottery Winner Walking, People Celebrating, Confetti, Lottery Numbers
The rules in a game of standard blackjack are clear. If a player draws an ace and face card and the dealer doesn’t, the player is paid 3:2 odds. For every $10 the player bet, the house pays $15.

That’s not bad, but who expects to get rich playing blackjack?

Very few people are that good.

It’s a small bettor’s game.

It doesn’t matter how many players sit at the same table. If everyone draws an ace and 10 and the dealer doesn’t, everyone is paid 3:2 odds.

Things work differently in lottery games. Each game has a prize budget.

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The budget is determined either by how many people buy tickets for a drawing or how many scratch tickets are printed for the game.

All prizes come from the game budget. Players who win scratch ticket prizes don’t share their winnings with anyone. In a drawing, more than one player may pick the same numbers and so they have to share the prize.

A Notable Exception: Keno

Keno Number Balls
Keno is often compared to state-run lottery games, but keno has one difference. The house sets a maximum payout in keno. It doesn’t matter how many people play or how many numbers a player matches: the maximum payout keeps the house in business.

In a state-run lottery, there is no maximum payout.

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Unwon prizes from each drawing roll over into the next game, increasing the pool of payouts for that game.

Unclaimed prizes sweeten the deal for the state but are not predictable.

The probabilities of winning don’t change in a true lottery drawing. Players have the same options every week.

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But the jackpot keeps growing until at least one person claims it.

Meanwhile, the lottery system takes its cut as a fixed percentage of the ticket sales. It doesn’t matter how many tickets are sold. The percentage stays the same.

There is no direct correlation between the lottery house edge and the size of the jackpot.

The House Edge in the Lottery Is Inflexible

Savvy scratch game players check official game websites to see how many unclaimed prizes remain in a game. They favor the games with the most unclaimed prizes. But some percentage of unclaimed prizes could already have been purchased.

Back of Lottery Card Displaying Odds of WinningLottery games group all chances of winning together. Look at the back of the next scratch card you buy, and you’ll see something like “chances of winning are 1 in 4.” Casinos may attach stickers to their slot games with similar projections.

These aggregate estimates are marginally helpful to players.

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People are more likely to lose 10 games in a row in a 1-in-6 win ratio than in a 1-in-4 ratio.

But what really matters is how many prizes are left to be won.

Scratch game players may choose to buy more tickets even after the top prize is claimed. They know they won’t win the big money, but they still hope to win something. In slot games, every player has the same chance of winning a maximum prize every time they play.

Conclusion

The more people who buy lottery tickets, the more profitable each drawing or scratch game becomes.

In a casino game, the house edge needs far fewer players to make a big profit. Many casinos rely on losses from high rollers – the whales – to cover their losses in the small games.

Lottery games are cheap and easy to play. They’re also available in far more communities than legal casino games. The appeal of the big lottery win makes it a highly profitable game for the house.

The lottery house edge is more predictable and steady than a casino game’s house edge. You may not be able to leverage that into a profit, but now you have another reason to prefer cards and roulette to lottery games.

How to Deal a Home Poker Game

Group of People Playing Poker at Home, Poker Chips on Table, Poker Cards Icon
If you’ve never dealt in a home poker game before, there are certain rules of etiquette that you should know about beforehand.

The first thing is that, unless you’re using plastic cards (like the expensive Kem cards I recommend buying), you should break out a new deck of cards to deal with. If you’re hosting, that’s up to you. If you’re not, you’re probably not going to deal first.

But either way, the first thing you do with that deck of cards is shuffle it. You need to shuffle it seven times to get it fully randomized.

I like to recommend having two decks of cards at a time. That way, you don’t have to pause between hands to wait for someone to shuffle the cards.

There’s always a shuffled deck ready. Use one red deck and one blue deck so the cards never get mixed up.

Once you’ve shuffled that first deck of cards, you deal each player a card.

Just one at a time until the dealer is chosen.

This is to determine who gets to be the dealer first.

You get to decide what determines the dealer – you might decide that the first player to get an ace is the dealer. It could be the jack or any other card you like. Just make sure you announce it as you’re dealing the cards one by one, face-up.

Dealing continues from here as the game starts. The rest of this post will go into detail on how to be the dealer in your home poker game.

Dealer’s Choice

It used to be common to have dealer’s choice as the presiding rule at a home poker game. This just means that the dealer gets to decide which game is going to be played.

Icon Guy Wearing Tie and Suite, Poker Dealer, Two Poker Cards Behind HimIt’s more common now to host a Texas holdem game or an Omaha game, but I still like to host a home game with dealer’s choice.

If you’re the dealer, don’t spend a lot of time agonizing over choosing the game you think will give you an edge over the other players. Just announce something basic and get on with it. The worst thing you can do at a home poker game is to slow down the game for any reason.

You’re in Charge

Friends Playing Poker at Home, Guy with Name Tag, In Charge
In most dealer’s choice games, the dealer’s in charge. In fact, for the most part, the dealer’s in charge of most games and makes most of the judgment calls about various things. Recently, I was dealing a game, and someone else decided to step in to tell another player something.

I corrected him plenty quick, by the way.

“I got this,” I told him.

You do need to pay attention to how many players are at the table before announcing the game.

If you have eight players at the table, you can’t play 7-card stud. You don’t have enough cards for that. You’d need 56 cards, and you only have 52.

If you have any special rules, you need to announce and explain those, too. You might have been playing baseball (a variant of 7-card stud) since you were ten years old, but you can’t assume the other players know how to play that game.

It’s your job to explain it if they don’t.

That’s one of the reasons I suggest sticking with the basic games. Poker’s plenty of fun without coming up with a dozen variant rules for everyone to keep up with.

When you deal a poker game, you should always offer to let the player to your right (or your left, under some house rules) the opportunity to cut the cards. He should cut the deck toward you, although he can choose not to cut the deck if he wants to.

In the event of a misdeal, the dealer gets to make the judgment call, but you can expect input from the players. A lot of home poker games have specific rules in place for misdeals, too.

Dealing With Style

Poker Dealer at Table Throwing Poker Cards, Guy Gasping
I suggest keeping it simple and just doing the basics – deal the cards one at a time to each player. Don’t turn them face-up unless they’re supposed to be face-up. Take your time to avoid a misdeal.

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The cards go around the table to your left, like the hands of a clock. This is true for almost everything else at the poker table besides the cut.

Some poker dealers love to spout off patter as they deal, and they have nicknames for all the face-up cards. Other dealers just blandly announce the cards as they’re dealt – ace of spades, queen of hearts, etc. Still, other dealers just keep their mouths shut.

It’s also customary to announce possible hands when you see face-up cards. “Possible flush” might be something you’d announce when dealing.

They’re also supposed to make sure that the players betting put their money in the pot, and they administer side pots when they come up. You also need to make sure that the discards get handled correctly. Remember, they go in the muck.

You can even learn sleight-of-hand tricks to deal with even more style. I know a card player who only uses one hand to deal. He uses the same hand he’s holding the deck with to distribute the cards.

That takes some practice.

The Final Deal

Hand Holding Megaphone, Speech Bubble Displaying Final Game
Eventually, someone – usually the host – will announce that you’re only going to play a certain number of more hands before calling it a night.

If you’re dealing the last hand, you should think about dealing a game that’s cool enough to make for a memorable final hand.

Often, this involves coming up with a game where you can get a lot of money into action. You might announce that the ante for the final hand is double, and bet sizes are double, too.

Or you might announce a game that just builds large pots by its very nature.

The Cards Talk

Thought Bubble, Displaying Flush Poker Cards“Cards speak” is the standard rule in any home poker game. This just means that the cards are what determines who has the best hand, NOT what the player announces.

If a player has a straight flush, but he just announces a straight, his straight flush still plays.

It’s your job as the dealer to recognize the hands and point out who the actual winner is if someone is confused about the strength of his hand.

Some Hosting Advice

Group of People Playing Poker at Home, Hand Out with Dollar Bill
Being the host isn’t the same thing as being the dealer, but here are some tips for the host nonetheless:

  • You’re responsible for inviting enough people to the game
  • You’re looking for five to seven players usually, and you should tell them in advance when the game starts, where you’re playing, and what the stakes are.

  • You should have some kinds of refreshments available
  • Traditionally, at my home game, I serve frozen pizza and little smokies sausages in barbecue sauce. I usually have some cheese cubes and crackers available, too. I’ve played in other games where beer was served and hot sandwiches in a crockpot, like meatballs or barbecue.

  • Don’t be shy about asking people to chip in on the snacks
  • I usually tell people to buy in for at least $50 and bring an extra $5 to apply toward snacks. With seven players on hand, that’s $35 to budget for snacks. Heck, with that kind of money, you can even buy soda pop.

  • Another option is potluck
  • There’s no shame in asking people to bring a dish to share, either.

    When Should Your Game Be?

    The best night to host a home poker game is Thursday night. Here’s why:

    On Monday, you’re recovering from both the first day of the workweek AND from the weekend. So are the other players.

    If you play on Tuesday, you don’t have anything to look forward to later in the week.

    Wednesday are reserved for church for some poker players – believe it or not.

    Calendar, Displaying Thursday

    Thursday is the best day. It’s late enough in the week for people to be ready to do something fun. Also, most people get paid on Friday. So, even if they lose money, they’ll get more money the next day.

    Friday is okay, but a lot of people go out on dates on Friday night. This limits the number of players who will show up.

    You should host your game at a regular time and a place every week if you want it to become successful.

    Conclusion

    Dealing and hosting a home poker game is more involved than some people think. I’ve covered what I think are the most important basics above.

    But I also know that a lot of people do it differently.

    What changes would you make to this guide to dealing a home poker game based on how you do it in your home game?

    Let me know in the comments.

    Why Women Are Better Gamblers Than Men

    Blackjack Table with Poker Cards, Poker Chips, Man and Woman Silhouette, Grasping Hands
    Before jumping into the main part of the article, I want to take a second to explain a couple things. This page isn’t about women being better than men, or about men being better than women. But it does deal with a few facts that might be uncomfortable for some readers.

    I suggest putting aside any notions you have about the superiority of women or men while you read this page so that you can benefit from the information. I’m going to tell you why I titled this page the way I did, and give you specific examples of why it’s true.

    Most of the advantages that women have while they gamble are based on old fashioned beliefs that have been passed down from previous generations that men are in some way smarter and better than women. I stress that this isn’t my belief, but women can take advantage of this while they gamble.

    Pink Female Symbol

    Even though it’s not right, the fact is that women gamblers are treated different in many situations than men are treated. Sometimes it’s clear that the men involved think they’re better than women, bit often it’s hard to see unless you watch the actions.

    This attitude doesn’t just come from your gambling opponents; it also runs throughout land-based casinos and their personnel. Once you read the examples and situations below you can see what I mean. But more importantly, once you understand what’s happening, you can use it to your advantage.

    1- Blackjack Advantages

    The casino industry seems to be afraid of blackjack card counters. They watch their games for any sign that someone is counting, and once they identify a counter they throw them out.

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    Most card counters are men, and the casinos pay more attention to male blackjack players than female when trying to find card counters.

    Though it’s not true that men are smarter than women, the fact is that most casinos act like they are. How else can you explain the focus on men and basically ignoring women when looking for card counters?

    I’m not saying that the casino will never figure out that you’re card counting, but it will take much longer than the casino takes to identify a male counter.

    Aerial View of Group of People Playing Blackjack, Woman Thinking, Hand on Chin

    Beauty is a subjective topic, and it can be somewhat controversial. But if I didn’t include a small section about it here, I would be leaving you without all the information you need to take advantage of being a female gambler.

    Especially when you’re dealing with male dealers, the prettier you are, the easier it is to get away with counting cards and wildly increasing and decreasing your bets. One of the best assets a card counting team can have is a beautiful woman to keep the dealer’s mind on something other than catching a counter.

    I’m not telling you what to do, because you need to decide how to get as much of an advantage as possible. So this isn’t a suggestion, just a fact. The more revealing or sexy your outfit is, the more advantage you have when counting cards. Never underestimate your ability to distract the male species.

    Many men have a difficult time accepting that a beautiful woman can be smart. You can use this to your advantage in many different ways.

    I cover this in a later section, but if you’re a woman and are able to get your act perfected, you can play down your intelligence and get away with doing all kinds of crazy things at the blackjack table.

    You can make plays that look odd, vary your bet sizes, and even get the dealers to let you do things that no man can get away with.

    You might even find that some dealers try to help you. Pay attention when the dealer is checking for a blackjack before he asks if you want insurance. The most common way a dealer helps in this situation is when he has a blackjack he might hesitate longer when he asks you if you want insurance. When he doesn’t have a blackjack he might ask and pass by you quickly.

    2- Poker Advantages

    Dealer Reaching for Poker Cards, Poker Chips, Poker Table, Woman with Poker Cards to Her Face
    Walk into any poker room, or look at the entrants in any poker tournament, and you find that the majority of the players are men. For some reason, men dominate the poker scene. Even when the best female poker players do well, it’s often treated as something special, instead of simply recognizing their abilities.

    Poker is a complicated game, and in order to do well you have to be good in many areas of the game. In some of these areas, you need to be able to judge your opponent’s abilities and you need to judge whether they’re bluffing or not.

    As a woman poker player, both of these areas offer opportunities to take advantage of male players who refuse to recognize your abilities.

    When you have a big hand and are in the pot with men who think they’re smarter than you, you can often bet more aggressively and get called because the men don’t give you enough credit.

    You should also bluff less because they don’t believe that you have a good hand.

    While not being able to bluff much can hurt you sometimes, the fact that you get called more often when you do have a winning hand more than makes up for it.

    The key is to recognize the biases and take advantage of them. It doesn’t help you make more money to complain about bias, but when you start taking advantage of it you can quickly turn bias in your favor.

    3- Playing Dumb

    Though I’m a man, I talk slower than most people and look rather plain. This has opened some opportunities where I’ve been able to take advantage of situations where someone thinks I’m dumb. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to profit from someone because they think I’m dumb, so I often encourage their belief when it’s profitable.

    Group of Men Playing Casino Table Game, Woman Shrugging You can use the fact that many of your opponents and the casino don’t think that you’re as smart as they are. It might sound upsetting to play dumb, but if you know how to do it you can simply use it as an act that increases your profits. One of the best ways to get revenge against someone who thinks they’re superior to you is to beat them at the tables and take their money.

    And some of your opponents are going to be so convinced of their superiority that you can continue taking advantage of them for a long time. When you make a masterful play and beat them, act embarrassed about how lucky you were to beat them.

    They want to believe that the reason you beat them was luck, because they can’t accept the fact that you’re better and smarter than them. You can use this to your advantage over and over.

    One of the best examples of this is the actress Jennifer Tilly. I don’t know her personally, but she’s able to make people believe that she’s dumb. I suspect that she’s very intelligent, because she’s a good poker player and you can’t be a good poker player if you’re dumb.

    4- What to Do About It If You’re a Man

    Woman Throwing Poker Cards on Table, Man Smiling, Signaling OK
    On the other side of the coin, if you’re a male reading this you can learn a few things also. The first thing is that you need to take a close and realistic look at your beliefs and the way you act with woman gamblers. Even if you don’t want to be biased, the truth is that most men are at least a little biased against women.

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    You need to either learn how to change your bias or learn how to overcome it. If you can’t do one of these things, smart women are going to take advantage of you when you gamble.

    When I play poker against females, I view them exactly the same as all of the males at the table. I watch how they play and try to determine how good they are based on facts. I’m also careful about communicating with them more or less than I communicate with the other players. This isn’t a big problem for me, because I don’t communicate much with anyone at the poker table, but it’s something you should be aware of.

    I also make it a point to ignore what they’re wearing and what they look like. Anything that distracts me from my goal of winning as much as possible must be eliminated. If I don’t care what the guy across from me is wearing, then it doesn’t matter what the woman beside him is wearing.

    Conclusion

    You’re either a woman or a man. If you’re a woman, use the information above to improve your gambling results. Use the sad fact that many men look down at you to your advantage, and take their money.

    If you’re a man, make sure you don’t have the wrong attitude and avoid letting any bias you have cost you money. In a perfect world each person would be judged on their actions, not on their gender. But we don’t live in a perfect world, so be aware of the biases in the world and either use them to your advantage, or make sure that you don’t let your biases cost you money.

    Is Gambling Money Management Important?

    Hand Putting Money Into Casino Slot Machine, Clock Reading Budget Time, Pile of Money
    If you’re like me and do a lot of research on how to improve your gambling results, you’ve seen countless articles about money management. Sometimes it seems like money management is the best answer to all your gambling issues.

    But is gambling money management really that important?

    In some cases, money management is as important as many authors make it seem. But in other cases, it isn’t of much significance. I cover both sides of the money management argument below.

    Why Gambling Money Management Is Important

    It doesn’t matter who you are or how much money you have. The fact is that you have a limited amount of money you can gamble with. Usually, the money you’re willing to gamble with is decided after you take care of your bills and prior obligations. You can choose to use your money in any way you wish.

    You create a casino gambling bankroll, whether you set aside an actual amount to gamble with or if you simply gamble with extra money in your pocket. No matter the case, you need to figure out how to maximize your playing time with your bankroll.

    Hand Writing, Clip Board, Calculator, Casino Chips

    People gamble for many different reasons, but most of them boil down to entertainment. You might enjoy gambling to take your mind off the outside world for a bit or enjoy the rush of placing a bet with the hopes of hitting a big win. Either way, the longer you can make your bankroll last, the better.

    When your goal is to make sure your bankroll lasts long enough so you can play as much as you want, effective money management is quite important.

    Let’s look at an example:

    You work a full-time job with a great deal of stress. You enjoy gambling one night a week and on the weekends to wind down and relieve stress. You’re willing to spend $400 a week gambling and want to be able to gamble at least 10 hours every week.

    Meaning, you need to make sure you don’t lose more than $40 an hour gambling.

    The good news is that you have several options. However, if you don’t exercise good money management, you’re going to run out of money sometimes.

    Slot Machine Clip Art, Triple SevensWith the goal of losing no more than $40 an hour, you can play just about any game you want if you make small bets and use proper strategy. Playing a quarter slot machine as fast as you can will average less loss per hour than if you’re only betting 25 cents per spin. And slot machines are some of the worst games you can play in the casino.

    You can make $10 bets on most table games and average less than $40 an hour in losses. But the key is learning which games offer the best return. If you don’t understand how the games work and how the casinos make money, you can play a game that takes your money too fast.

    Spend some time learning about the house edge of each game you like to play. Learn if there are strategies you can use to make your money last longer.

    Craps Table Clip Art, Two Dice on TableSome games, like slot machines and roulette, don’t offer much by means of strategy. But games like video poker, blackjack, craps, and baccarat have simple strategies that lower the house edge.

    Every time you lower the house edge, it makes your money last longer. When you combine a low house edge game with small wagers, you can often double or triple the time you can play. This is one of the most powerful money management techniques you can use.

    Why Gambling Money Management Isn’t Important

    The problem with money management is that many people believe that by using a money management system, you can beat the casinos. This simply isn’t true.

    You can’t use any type of money management system or trick to become a winning gambler.

    In other words, unless you do something different than most gamblers, you’re going to lose no matter how well you manage your money. If you’re going to lose anyway, what’s the point in focusing on managing your money?

    Group of Women Playing Slots in Casino, Pile of Money

    Here are some tactics that are more vital than money management if you want to stop losing money. If you’re not willing to do one of these things, then you’re going to keep losing money. Regardless of your money management approach, it’s all going to disappear eventually.

    Stop Gambling

    This might seem extreme, but the easiest way to stop losing money when gambling is to stop gambling. Most gamblers lose, and if you don’t believe me, you can quickly find studies that show it’s true.

    It’s also a sign that you don’t have a full understanding of how most gambling games work if you don’t understand that most gamblers lose.

    When people come to me for help to improve their gambling results, I make it imperative that they must start doing things differently. They cannot do the same thing as average gamblers if they want to keep their money.

    The most extreme way to stop being an average gambler is to stop gambling. But what if you’re not interested in stopping and still want to stop losing? The next section will be of interest to you.

    Learn Real Winning Strategies

    As I’ve mentioned before, it doesn’t matter how you manage your money if you’re losing. But if you can figure out how to start winning consistently, you can eliminate the most common issues with money management.

    I’ve talked to many gamblers who claim that they’re trying to win. But once I start asking them questions, the truth comes out. Most gamblers hope to win, but they aren’t doing what they need to do to have a real chance to win.

    Before you continue, ask yourself if you’re simply hoping to win or if you’re doing things that help you win? If you’re in the hope camp, it’s time to take a big step past the average gambler to become a winner.

    If you’re not willing to do what it takes to start winning, you can try to use whatever money management strategy sounds best. But if you’re ready to change, here’s what you need to do.

    The first step is to start playing a game that you can realistically win. This limits your options, but there are a few casino games where you can get an edge. The most popular ones are poker, sports betting, and blackjack. These aren’t the only ones, but they’re the most popular because they offer the best opportunities.

    Casino Game Icons, Slot Machine, Lottery Ticket, Casino Coins, Keno Numbers

    The list of gambling activities that don’t offer a realistic chance to win is long. But if you’re playing any of these games, you should stop right now. Here’s a partial list of games you can’t beat in the long run:

    • Slots
    • Baccarat
    • Craps
    • Roulette
    • Bingo
    • Keno
    • Lottery

    Now that you know what you can’t play and what you can, the next step is to pick a game to try and master. Winning gamblers have to constantly try to master their chosen game. You can pick poker, blackjack, or sports betting because they all give you a better chance to profit.

    But once you pick a gambling activity, you must dedicate your efforts to becoming a master.

    Nothing short of this is going to get you where you need to be. You’ll need to learn as much about your chosen activity as possible and constantly learn more and try to improve.

    It is a lot of work, but in the long run, it’s worth it. Even if it takes years to get close to mastering a game, the long-term profit potential makes the journey worthwhile.

    Now, let’s bring all this back to money management. Once you learn some real winning gambling strategies, you can use money management to help give you the best chance to win. Keep practicing to maximize the amount you can win. Proper management and solid gambling strategies will keep you from going broke.

    Conclusion

    The answer to the question of the importance of gambling money management is that it depends on your goals. If your goal is to make sure you can play a set amount of time before you run out of money, it’s imperative to use proper money management.

    But if your goal is to become a winning gambler, money management is secondary to doing the right things to become a winning player.

    Of course, money management is still important for winning players. But if you never learn how to win, no money management scheme is going to do what you need it to do in the long run.

    7 Poker Bad Beat Stories that Would Scare Anyone

    Poker Table, Hand Throwing Poker Card, Angry Man Yelling Making Fist
    There may not be one true definition of what is or isn’t a bad beat, but one thing’s for sure: you never want to fall victim to one. Imagine yourself with a bunch of chips on the line and a much better hand only to lose at the last instant when your opponent just happens to get a lucky draw on the last card. It’s never fun to lose, but it’s even worse to fall from grace when by all poker logic, you should have had the winning hand.

    Still, in the world of poker, there are bad beats and then there are bad beats: the ones that keep even the steeliest poker pro up at night. Not sure what that means? Well, here are seven poker bad beat stories that will strike fear in anybody.

    1- Dealing to an Inside Straight

    Is this a bad beat? It’s kind of a debatable and the poker purists are likely to say no. However, let’s say you get any decent starting hand (even say pocket kings) and your opponent has queen/king off-suit. Already, you are in the driver’s seat with a great starting hand while your opponent does not have anything until the flop comes when they pick up a nine and a ten. Again, your opponent cannot beat your kings (or even a pair of twos for that matter) without some help so you keep bidding aggressively.

    That is, until the last card when that jack hits the table and suddenly the opponent who was sitting idle is now bidding like he has something.

    When the chips are down and the other player reveals his straight, you can’t say you don’t feel hit by a bad blind. There wasn’t a lot of skill that went into that win. Mostly, it was just dumb luck that slotted the right card into their straight at the very last second. It never feels good when it happens to you and, in fact, always feels like a poker bad beat.

    2- Three-of-a-kind Jacks Should Win…A Full House Should Win More, Right?

    The Poker Wire’s Twitter feed has 2016 video of Romanian Cosmin Petrica playing Australia Ben Richardson. When the video starts, both men have already gone all-in preflop.

    Petrica had to be feeling pretty good that his pair of jacks were going to win the day against Richard’s pocket nines.

    In fact, you can see from the video that Patrica is favored more than four-to-one before the flop.

    But then the flop, well, flops (at least for Patrica.)  Out comes a single jack and two nines. In most cases, Petrica would be cruising down easy street with a full house, jacks over nines. There’s only one problem: those two nines mean Richardson has quads and Petrica has a front row seat to watching a very strong hand get taken out by a freak occurrence. Hats off to Richardson for keeping the unlikely winning hand during the first round of betting and for calling the all-in. He must have thought Petrica was bluffing and could only sit and hope for a nine or two to show up. Also, kudos to Petrica who handles the fact his full house is a loser with more diplomacy than most could have managed!

    3- Four-of-a-kind Doesn’t Win?

    Poker News recounts the tale of R.J. Bergman at Casino Del Sol, a non-pro who found himself staring at a large pile of chips … only to lose them to a straight flush.  As the small blind, Bergman had a pair of nines. A good starting hand that only got better after the flop revealed a second pair of nines and a ten: he had four-of-a-kind, one of the best hands in the game!

    Poker Cards, Flush SetThe next two cards were a ten of diamonds and then the jack of diamonds. The betting turned aggressive with Bergman sure he was going to win on the strength of his quad fours… right until one of his opponents flipped the king and queen of diamonds. With the nine, ten and jack already on the table, Bergman found his quads losing to a straight flush. Of course, if that wasn’t bad enough the other player who had stayed in had pocket tens, meaning that, unbelievably a four-of-a-kind with nines was the weakest hand of the three at the table. A bad beat poker indeed.

    4- Trip Aces Makes You Feel Invincible

    So it’s day 1B at the World Series of Poker. You’ve been playing for a while and all the sudden, a little bit of magic drops in your lap. The dealer sends you two cards, you surreptitiously take a peek and at each one and lo and behold… you have pocket aces. There is literally no stronger hand you can start with in the game. So, what do you? Of course, you raise. You might as well get some cash out of a hand like that, right? Right! Except sometimes even though you start strong, your opponent somehow manages to make good on pocket sevens!

    In this case, Vanessa Selbst was dealt pocket aces and even flopped a third ace. Unfortunately, Gaella Baumann would flop a set of sevens and hang around until the river. Which also was a seven. At the end, Selbst, who should have been in control the whole hand called a huge raise (all the time knowing that she shouldn’t have) and lost to quad sevens. Her run at the World Series ended right after…even though she had one of the stronger hands you’re likely to see.

    5- Pocket Aces Gets Flushed

    Again with pocket aces! In one of the strangest hands of poker you’ll ever see, Connor Drinian and Cary Katz both started their initial betting with the best of feelings in poker: pocket aces. Neither knew the other player was holding a pair of aces and each bet accordingly.

    It was only a twist of fate that let Katz secure the win, over ten million in chips, and ensure that Drinian did not cash in the World Series of Poker that year. Katz held the ace of spades and hearts, while Drinian held the ace of diamonds and clubs. Normally, that would almost always guarantee a split pot except that the flop revealed a pair of hearts (king and five) and the next two cards were also hearts. At the end of the day, Katz took the pot valued at ten million, fifty thousand chips and Drinian took his exit and, more than likely, a whole lot of antacid.

    6- Second Place is the First Loser

    This bad beat comes from the world of 2-7 Triple Draw, a fast game where the goal is to make the worst hand possible without creating a straight or a flush (which is 7-5-4-3-2) which is followed by (7-6-4-3-2). Starting the hand with less than a million chips, Bryce Yockey’s initial hand is that nearly-magical 7-6-4-3-2 combo. On the other hand, Josh Arieh starts with a hand you might bet post-flop in Texas Hold ‘Em. Then something magical happens. Over the course of three draws, Arieh’s hand continues to improve and improve until, on the last card he gets that magical 7-5-4-3-2 combo.

    You have to watch the video to hear the awe in announcer Nick Schulman’s voice who, at first, states that Arieh could draw into the winning hand and then repeatedly has to tell the audience he was just joking and never thought he’d see Arieh put it out. By the end of it, Yockey has been eliminated from the World Series of Poker $50,000 Poker Players Championship in what Schulman refers to as one of the worst poker bad beats in televised poker history.

    NOTE: Do be careful.  The language in the video gets a little NSFW.

    7- Over Thirty-One Million Reasons to Love a Bad Beat

    Maybe you were thinking you should always keep pocket nines. They seem to star in a lot of bad beat poker videos.

    Not always.

    In this 2010, Matt Jarvis and Michael Mizrachi battle over a thirty-one million dollar pot with a Main Event win on the line. In a bold move, Jarvis bets a little under thirteen million chips on his pocket nines. After a few moments’ hesitation, Mizrachi calls and shows ace/queen suited.

    Jarvis has to feel like he’s made the mistake of his life when the flop produces two queens and immediately makes Mizrachi a nine-to-one favorite to win the hand. Unfortunately, for Mizrachi, there were the river and the run. The dealer puts down the turn and it’s a nine! Jarvis immediately jumps back in the lead with a full house of nines and queens.  His corner goes wild as he becomes a four-to-one favorite to take the hand.

    But Mizrachi had the last laugh. Needing a little luck, the dealer drops an ace, giving him a better full house (aces and queens) than Jarvis. Jarvis goes home in eighth place and the announcers just cannot believe it.

    Conclusion

    What can be learned from these poker bad beats? Maybe it is that you should always keep pocket nines? Probably not.

    Hopefully this didn’t scare you away from playing poker, either way, be sure to check out some other casino games we offer and give them your best shot!

    Maybe the lesson is that bad beats happen to every poker player of every skill level in every game. If one happens to you, just roll with it and appreciate the fact you have a good story that someone’s going to write out about one day!

    How to Become a Professional Poker Player

    Poker Player Smiling at Poker Game, Poker Chips on Table, Poker Cards, Stacks of Money
    If you want to know how to become a professional poker player, you’ve probably just got started with the game and think it will be something fun to learn. If you’ve spent a little time at the tables, you already know how fun it can be to win money. As Fast Eddie Felson once said, “Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.”

    You’ll find plenty of pages about playing Texas Holdem and other games as a pro that offer lame advice like, “practice, practice.”

    I hope to offer you 7 steps to becoming a professional that will take you from talented amateur to professional poker player without too much nonsense.

    Here are the 7 steps I suggest you start with, in order:

    1- Read The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky

    David Slanksy's Book, Theory of PokerYou can (and should) read multiple books about poker if you want to be a pro.

    But the first and most important book on poker you should read is The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky.

    The Theory of Poker is so important because you need to understand the concepts and theories behind every version of the game, and Sklansky’s book is the most readable and comprehensive guide to those ideas you’ll find.

    The Fundamental Theorem of Poker, for example, is one of the critical concepts that every professional player must know to win consistently. Here it is, in brief:

    “Every time you play a hand differently from the way you would have played it if you could see all your opponents’ cards, they gain; and every time you play your hand the same way you would have played it if you could see all their cards, they lose. Conversely, every time opponents play their hands differently from the way they would have if they could see all your cards, you gain; and every time they play their hands the same way they would have played if they could see all your cards, you lose.”

    But just reading that isn’t enough, you also need the analysis provided in this book.

    Deception is another big topic, of which bluffing and semi-bluffing are only subtopics. For example, bluffing is necessary, but semi-bluffing is better. It’s also a concept I’ve never seen covered this well anywhere else.

    You also need to understand the concepts of position, free cards, and pot odds. All of these are important topics if you want to profit consistently.

    The Theory of Poker is so good that if you’re smart and dedicated, you can read no other poker book and probably become a pro player on the strength of these ideas alone.

    2- Build Your Bankroll

    Trying to be a professional poker player without a sufficient bankroll is like being a soldier trying to go to war without enough bullets for their gun.

    No matter how good you are, you’re not good enough to overcome the vagaries of luck in the short run. Short term variance has broken many a skilled poker player.

    How much of a bankroll do you need?

    That depends, in large part, to how good you are at the game.

    For example, if you’re a losing player, you need an infinite bankroll to stay in the game. Also, you’ll lose consistently, which means you’ll never achieve your goal of being a professional poker player. (Pros win.)

    If you’re a winning player, you should have 20X the size of your buy-in for any game you play in. If you’re new to the game and less confident, you might even double that amount.

    This means that if you’re playing in games where the minimum buy-in is $100, you need a bankroll of $2000 to play. If you’re cautious, try to start with a bankroll of $4000.

    When your bankroll gets bigger, you can play in bigger games.

    But keep up with your records, because if you start losing in the higher stakes games, you might need to go back down in stakes and face weaker opponents before trying again at the higher stakes.

    Poker Cards, Poker Chips on Poker Table, Hand Opening Wallet with Money

    How you build that bankroll is up to you, but it’s important that it be money you don’t need for any other purposes. If you’re gambling with money you need for rent or a car payment, you’ll make less-than-optimal decisions.

    You can’t be a professional poker player unless you’re going to make optimal decisions almost 100% of the time.

    You can, of course, start with a much smaller bankroll and “take a shot.”

    In other words, it’s okay to play in a $100 buy-in tournament if you can afford it, even if your bankroll isn’t big enough to support that buy-in.

    You just need to stay with your day job until your bankroll is big enough to play professionally.

    You’ll find some great stories on the internet about Chris (Jesus) Ferguson starting with absolutely nothing and working his bankroll up to $10,000.

    He started out by playing in freerolls, then gradually moved up in stakes over the course of several months. This means a lot of time spent playing penny poker.

    There’s nothing wrong with that if you have the time and are patient.

    Another option to get into bigger games is to sell some of your action. I have a buddy who was selling part of his World Series of Poker action at $125 for 1%.

    The buy-in was $10,000, so he made his expectation more valuable just by what he was charging to get a piece of his action.

    You can do the same thing. You can even find sites where poker players regularly sell pieces of their action.

    3- You Need a Mission

    Daniel NegreanuDaniel Negreanu is one of the best poker pros I know, and he suggests that one of the first steps a pro poker player should take is to treat his poker career like a small business.

    And every small business needs a mission statement or a vision statement.

    In other words, you need a clear, overarching goal for what you want to create with your poker career.

    Your goals are subtopics, if you will, of your mission statement.

    For example, your vision statement might be to retire with $2 million in the bank at the age of 50.

    You can set goals for how much you need to earn each year, each month, each week, each day, and each hour based on that overarching vision.

    I had a boss who insisted that you can’t hit a target you cannot see.

    I loved that.

    Imagine being a marksman or an archer who had to shoot blindfolded.

    Don’t intentionally blindfold yourself by not setting goals.

    4- Start Tracking Your Results

    Can you imagine trying to run a business without doing any kind of accounting work?

    Bookkeeping might not be your favorite activity, but it’s impossible to run a business without it.

    How you track your results is up to you. I’m not a professional poker player – not even close – but I keep up with my results in an Excel spreadsheet. I used to track my results in a spiral notebook.

    Poker Table with Cards and Chips, Guy Writing Notes

    Not only must you keep track of what you’re playing, for how long, and how much you’ve won and/or lost, you need lots of data.

    You can’t assume that after 10 hours of winning poker that you’re good enough to be a professional.

    After all, poker’s a game of luck, and in the short run, anything can happen.

    In fact, even after 100 hours, you can’t be at all sure how well you’re doing. You could just be on a random winning or losing streak.

    It takes at least 1000 hours of recorded results to get a feel for your long-term expectation. The closer you get to an infinite number of hands, the closer you get to the actual mathematical expectation of your play.

    I think, before going pro, you should make sure you have enough data that you can be confident that you’re a winning player.

    5- Scout Some Games

    You not only need to get really good at poker, set goals, track your results, and build a bankroll.

    You also need to find a place where you can play and win consistently.

    Just because you’re able to consistently beat the $1/$2 games at the Winstar doesn’t mean you can beat the same game at Choctaw.

    Maybe you can, but maybe you can’t.

    The level of competition varies based on where you play.

    This includes online, too. Some cardrooms have tougher competition than others.

    The only way to figure this out is to be savvy enough to recognize the sharks (and the guppies) and stay away from the former while seeking out the latter.

    My best place to find weak competition?

    Home poker games.

    And the great thing about most home games is that they don’t require you to pay a rake.

    6- Start Getting Involved in the Big Poker Tournaments

    As soon as you’re good enough (and can afford it), start taking some shots at the bigger poker tournaments – like the World Series of Poker. In these tournaments, you can change your life and possibly even retire after a single win.

    This year, if you made the final table at the WSOP, you won $1 million.

    People at Poker Tournament, World Series of Poker Logo

    The competition is stiff, and the field is large, so be sure you have the bankroll to tolerate this.

    You’ll also find out how good you really are.

    7- Practice

    Green Arrows Cycling in Circle, Poker Cards in CenterYou thought I was serious when I said I wasn’t going to offer lame advice like, “Practice, practice, practice.”

    But let’s face it.

    You can’t seriously expect to become a professional poker player without practicing.

    And not everyone has the skill to make it as a pro poker player. It requires talent, too.

    But I don’t care how much talent you have, without practice, you won’t make it.

    Think about being a professional poker player the way you would think about becoming a pro at any other sport.

    Let’s say you’re a pretty good hitter in your college intermural baseball game.

    How well do you think you’ll do against even the worst professional hitter in the big league?

    If you think you stand a chance, you’re delusional.

    If you want to win the World Series of Poker, you’ve got to be good enough.

    And there’s no way to become good enough that doesn’t involve practice and lots of it.

    Conclusion

    There’s my 7-step process for becoming a professional poker player.

    If you’re already a pro and reading this, I’d enjoy hearing your feedback in the comments.

    If you’re an aspiring pro, are you going to do anything different based on these suggestions?

    The 5 Best Casino Games You Can Play (And Why They’re Awesome)

    Group of People Playing Table Game in a Casino, Hand Holding a Wad of Cash Bills
    Not all casino games are created equal.

    You probably already know that the casino has a mathematical edge over the player on every game.

    You might even already know that this house edge varies from game to game. Heck, it even varies from bet to bet in some games.

    That’s one critical factor to look at when ranking casino games into a list of which ones are better for the smart gambler than the others.

    Other factors include how many bets per hour you’ll make on average and how much fun the game is for the gambler. That’s the only subjective part of the analysis.

    This post offers recommendations for the five best casino games you can play.

    1- Blackjack

    Two Poker Cards IconBlackjack is well-known for offering the best odds to the player of any game in the casino.

    But you need to keep in mind a couple of facts about those great odds.

    The first of those is that the odds are contingent upon you making the correct decisions. The correct decision in every situation in blackjack is called basic strategy, and most people memorize it using a table or chart. You can buy one in the gift shop, but it’s a good idea to memorize it.

    Hand Showing Cards Playing Blackjack, Casino Chips, Group of People Cheering

    The second thing to remember is that even though the house’s edge is small, it’s still the house’s edge, not yours.

    i
    In other words, if you play blackjack long enough, you’ll lose all your money – even if you make all the correct basic strategy decisions.

    You can get around this by putting some kind of advantage play strategy into place. This means learning how to count cards or spot dealer tells. Honestly, though, the effort required to get an edge over the casino is too much for most casual gamblers.

    The house edge for blackjack is also dependent on the game conditions. A really good blackjack game might only have the edge over the player of 0.28% — this means that if you make all the correct decisions all the time, the casino expects to win 28 cents out of every $100 you bet.

    In terms of fun, well…

    You can’t beat blackjack.

    2- Baccarat

    Baccarat Table IconBaccarat is an intimidating game, especially if you try to read the Wikipedia article that explains how to play.

    The truth is, though, that baccarat has no skill element at all other than choosing the bet which has the better house edge.

    You only have three bets to choose from:

    1. Player
    2. Banker
    3. Tie

    The banker bet has the lowest house edge, and it’s only 1.06%. That sounds high compared to blackjack, but since you don’t have any meaningful decisions to make, it’s a fair trade.

    The player bet is only slightly worse than that. It’s only 1.24%. It’s still not worth making, though, as the better bet is the banker bet. Variety isn’t worth 0.18% in expectation, which is the difference between the two bets.

    The tie bet, though, offers a much higher house edge. The 8 to 1 payout isn’t worth it, because you’ll lose so many more times than 8 out of 9. The house edge for this bet is 14.36%, making it one of the biggest sucker bets in the casino.

    Baccarat is usually played in a special area of the casino where everyone is dressed up. It has a reputation as a high roller game, which it is. Being a high roller – or even pretending to be – can have its charms.

    People don’t play baccarat as much as they used to, but aficionados of the game love it.

    3- Craps

    Red Dice IconDid I say baccarat is intimidating?

    Let’s talk about craps.

    Craps has an entire language all its own, with nicknames for every possible total on the dice and for every possible bet you can make – of which there is a bewildering number.

    But at its heart, the basics of craps is simple enough:

    Someone shoots dice and tries to roll a 7 on his first roll. If he does, then the shooter wins. If he rolls a 2, 3, or 12, he loses.

    Craps Table, Pair of Dice Rolling on Craps Table

    Any other number becomes a point. If that happens, the shooter keeps rolling until he rolls the point again or a 7, whichever comes first.

    If the rolls the point first, he wins. If he rolls a 7 first, he loses.

    If you’re betting on the shooter to win, you’re placing a pass line bet. The house edge on that bet is only 1.41%.

    i
    You can bet on subsequent rolls as if they were new come-out rolls. That’s called a come bet and works the same way and has the same 1.41% edge. You can also place a bet when the shooter has made a point called “the free odds bet.” This is the only bet in the casino which has no house edge.

    The amount you can bet on this is a multiple of the amount you bet on pass or come. Sometimes it’s 1x, 3x, 4x, 5x, 10x, or even 100x – the maximum varies by casino.

    Mathematically, the best strategy is to bet the pass line and take odds as much as you can.

    You can bet the other way – for the shooter to lose – by placing a don’t pass or don’t come bet. You can lay odds on this option, too.

    The house edge is only slightly better when doing this – 1.36% instead of 1.41%.

    To me, it’s not worth it to root against most everyone else at the table to get 0.05% in return.

    Your mileage may vary, but you should learn to play craps.

    4- Roulette

    Roulette Wheel IconRoulette has the virtue of being a leisurely game, which helps to defray the 5.26% house edge.

    You might see 120 rolls of the dice at the craps table per hour – or 120 hands of blackjack per hour – but it’s rare to see more than 40 or 50 spins of the wheel per hour at the roulette table.

    This means you’ll often lose less money per hour playing roulette than you would at those other games.

    Of course, in the long run, roulette is a lousy game compared to the other four games on this list.

    But it does offer one advantage over those other games:

    It’s peculiarly suited for use of the Martingale System, which is a way to double your bets after each loss and make up for your previous losses.

    The Martingale doesn’t work in the long run, but in the short run, it often does.

    Try it the next time you’re playing roulette and see what you think.

    5- Video Poker

    Video Poker Screen Icon with Poker Card Symbols on ScreenVideo poker pay tables vary from game to game, but if you can find the right pay table, you can face a house edge that’s just as low as you’d find in blackjack.

    There are a bewildering number of video poker games available, though, and you need to make the right decisions on every hand to achieve these low house edge numbers.

    Video Poker Machines in Casino, Two Guys Cheering and Giving High Five

    But if you can do it, you can play a game that LOOKS like a slot machine but has the house edge of blackjack.

    Conclusion

    Those are my five picks for the best casino games to play.

    Do you agree or disagree with my choices?

    Let me know in the comments which games you’d add and which games you’d remove from the list.