Casino Chip Facts to Remember the Next Time You Visit Las Vegas

Las Vegas Casino Chip With a City Skyline Background

Hunters have their ammunition, carpenters wield their hammers, and casino gamblers handle chips. These are the tools of the trade and without them, the blackjack, roulette, craps, and poker tables that define Sin City would be eerily empty. Gamblers handle hundreds or even thousands of different chips on any given trip to the casino, and countless millions can be found scattered throughout Las Vegas and its surrounding suburbs.

You might even have a few from your favorite gambling hall sitting on your desk. But despite their essential nature within the industry, chips are often taken for granted by the gambling masses. To change that, here are five facts about the casino’s replacement for cash that every gambler should know.

Gamblers Used Everything From Gold Nuggets to Guns as Chips

The first documented use of what modern gamblers know as the casino chip occurred in France back in the mid-18th century. At that time, French gamblers enjoyed a complex trick-based card game using a modified 40-card deck known as quadrille.

The game itself has long since passed into obscurity, but it made a meaningful contribution to casino gambling history that lasts to this day in the form of a three-piece chip set. To play quadrille, players ponied up their stake to purchase a basket containing an assortment of three unique chips.

In his 1752 book “Quadrille Elucidated,” author and quadrille expert Q. Quanti described the game’s chip basket in detail. According to Quanti, quadrille players handled a basket holding 10 jettons (French for “tokens”), 19 fiches (French for “files”), and 5 contrats (French for “contracts”).

French Card Game Set of Quadrille

One fiche was worth 10 jettons, while one contrat was worth 10 fiches to create an escalating scale of chip denominations.

The various chips were exchanged amongst four players as each maneuvered through their randomly dealt hands during a series of 40 tricks. Quadrille chips didn’t hold any monetary value themselves, but they acted as a scoring system through which the players assessed their financial gains and losses at the end of the game.

By the late 19th century, poker games held in saloons in the Old West and on riverboats down south were forced to improvise in the way of chips. Back then, prospectors turned poker players might ante up with small gold nuggets or even glass vials containing gold dust. Silver dollars also played, along with any coins accepted as payment by the local merchant class.

And in long running games where hard currency wasn’t readily available, players were even known to wager with bullets, guns, knives, and other items carried on their person.

Eventually, to avoid disputes over stolen goods and counterfeit coins, enterprising gambling hall operators began using standardized chip sets. Players paid the house to receive a commensurate amount of chips, then cashed them in when the winning was done.

You’ll Find Many Different Colors and Denominations

The typical casino cashier’s cage doles out $1 chips that are usually white or blue, $5 chips known as “redbirds” for their crimson color, green $25 chips, and black $100s.

Using these four color / denomination combos, gamblers who play low- or mid-stakes can navigate the table game pit perfectly fine.

But along with the primary four colors and values, casinos use a laundry list of lesser known chips to keep the money train chugging along.

Aria and Bellagio Poker Chips

You’ll find special pink $2.50 chips reserved for the blackjack table, so dealers can quickly pay out a $7.50 winner on a $5 blackjack bet at 3-to-2 odds. Poker rooms utilize brown $10 chips to ensure efficient betting at stakes like $5/$10 and $10/$20.

And the casino high-rollers splash around using $500 chips that are almost always purple, $5,000 red, white, and blue striped chips known as “flags,” and even violet $25,000 chips lovingly referred to as “cranberries.”

Those Little Lines, Squares, and Other Insignia on the Edge

Colors may catch the eye, but for casino security systems that largely rely on black-and-white screens, chips need to be distinguishable in another way.

And that’s where Regulation 12.030(d) of the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) comes into play…

According to that rule governing casino chips in the Silver State, operators must design their various chip denominations with a special touch:

“Each chip must be designed so that when stacked with chips and tokens of other denominations and viewed on closed-circuit, black-and-white television, the denomination of the chip can be distinguished from that of the other chips and tokens in the stack.”

Pull up a Google search for “casino chip stacks” and ignore the usual suspects like the logo and the dollar amount. Instead, check the outer edges of the chips and look for small “splotches” in the form of lines, squares, triangles, and other shapes. These insignia are added to all casino chips to comply with Regulation 12.030(d).

Essentially, even without the ability to see colors, security staff watching on the closed-circuit TVs can quickly scan a chip stack and determine its total value. In addition, when a player mixes various chip values together in one stack (known as a “dirty” stack in poker parlance), security can sort through the different stripes to tell which ones are which.

Most players never even notice these small design enhancements, but once you do, you’ll can’t forget how they work.

Pocketing a Chip From the Ground Is Actually a Criminal Offense

I’ll never understand this one, but in most jurisdictions where casino gambling is legal, finding a stray chip on the ground and putting it in your pocket is considered a crime.

Colorado casinos, for example, uses Colorado Statute 12-47.1-823(1)(c) to penalize players for “theft of property” when they pocket a lost chip. As their legal reasoning goes, the chip itself was paid for and maintained by the house, so unless you paid to use it, you can’t simply grab it for free.

Fortunately for fans of the “finder’s keepers” rule, the NGCB sees things differently, so gamblers in Sin City aren’t considered sinful when they score a free chip – from the floor that is.

Try to take a chip from another player or dealer at the table, and you can bet your bottom dollar that security will be having a stern word with you sometime soon.

The Average Casino Chip Carries More Bacteria Than a Toilet Seat

Anybody who handles casino chips on a regular basis has likely noticed the little brown “stains” that never seem to go away.

This layer of dirt and grime accumulates day after day, year after year as chips are passed back and forth from hand to hand. For the most part, well-run modern casinos tend to this problem by regularly removing and replacing chips caked with crud. On the other hand, smaller, more rundown casinos don’t have the same dedication to cleansing their inventory.

Variety of Las Vegas Casino Chips

In any event, casino chips are obviously not the cleanest surface on the casino floor.

But you’d be surprised to learn just how filthy these little guys really are…

In a 2007 study conducted by the University of Las Vegas-Nevada (UNLV), a research team collected and analyzed several chips from prominent casinos on The Strip. Using the “swab and incubate” method, Professor Brian Hedlund sought to see exactly which microorganisms could be found growing on casino chips.

As it turns out, a random casino chip in Las Vegas likely has more than 3,000 microorganisms crawling along its two sides. And these microorganisms are serious stuff too, including staphylococcus and bacillus cereus, the sources of staph infections and food poisoning, respectively.

Some chips were even found to hold methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as the antibiotic-resistant strain of staph infection MRSA.

In an age when sanitization and dodging germs has never been so important, take heed of the warning UNLV pandemic expert Dennis Pirages offered to the Las Vegas Sun in a recent interview:

“It only takes 24 hours for a disease to spread from Southern Europe to Las Vegas.

I hate to think of a poker chip as a wonderful way to pass a virus, but…”

Fortunately for you, Hedlund and Pirages want to make one thing clear about the unseen world of microbes and other germs. Just one of your hands, right now at this very moment, is home to over 100 billion bacterial, fungal, and viral microbes. The human body is positively covered from head to toe with these microbes 24/7, simply because they’ve evolved to use us as hosts.

Evolution is a powerful thing though, which means your body’s immune system has millennia worth of fine tuning programmed directly into your DNA. The microbes are there, they’re just almost entirely benign unless you have an immunocompromised system leaving you especially vulnerable.

Nonetheless, when in doubt, it’s always better to be safe than sorry while handling chips. Wash your hands before and after, don’t eat finger foods or smoke cigarettes while you play, and avoid touching the grossest chips that cross your path.

Conclusion

When you spend as much time gambling as I have over the years, the chips that casinos use instead of money, and the way they connect players to the game in a tangible fashion inevitably become a source of fascination. From their construction and coloration, the various denominations and values, and sorry to say, the microscopic environments they cultivate, are all interesting in their own right.

Perhaps you view chips as merely a means to an end, or maybe you’re a collector who covets a memento from every casino you can find. In any case, I hope this primer on what makes the humble casino chip so special opens your eyes on your next gambling adventure.

A Look Into Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs in Columbus, Ohio

Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs Entrance and Horseracing Image

Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs, formerly known as Scioto Downs, is open 24/7, 365 to provide you the ultimate casino gaming experience whenever you’re up for it. And if horseracing is your thing, then you definitely want to check this venue out as it is a racino.

Couple the racino along with some of the greatest live entertainment and dining options in Columbus, then you have a complete, one-stop-shop for a night out in Ohio’s largest city.

This article provides you a solid outline of what to expect at the racino, including a sample of promotions offered, accommodations, and a little of what the great city of Columbus offers Ohio gambling. Let’s start with a brief history, then we’ll get into all the action

The History of Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs

Like most of your racinos in Ohio, Scioto Downs precedes Eldorado by a few decades. The racetrack first opened in 1959 and it continues to feature some of the best standardbred harness racing in the state on its 5/8-mile oval.

But horseracing wasn’t the only thing to get excited about at Scioto Downs, as the venue also hosted the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) state cross-country championships from 1985 to 2010.

However, when the State of Ohio legalized video lottery terminals (VLTs), OHSAA, long opposed to gambling of any sort, relocated the championships from Scioto to the National Trail Raceway.

Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs Exterior

As for the casino itself, it opened its doors on June 1st, 2012 when MTR Gaming Group operated the track. In 2014, MTR merged with Eldorado Resorts and in 2020, the name changed to Caesars Entertainment. That said, Caesars continues to own and operate the racino today.

Not too much history regarding the casino. Yet, anyway. But maybe you can change that with a jackpot or a gutsy bet on the races. Hey, you never know until you try, right? Speaking of the gaming and racing, let’s cover it in the next section.

The Casino, Promotions, and Racing at Eldorado Gaming

Alright, let’s get into the good stuff.

You can find here the newest and hottest casino games at Eldorado Casino. And as the casino continues to expand, so do the gaming options. The casino recently expanded its Open Air Gaming Terrace to include 250 new games, in addition to the popular traditional outlets the venue boasts.

Some of the latest games include Golden Wins, Lady of the Tower, Wonder 4 Tower, Treasure Ball, Wheel of Prosperity Phoenix, Olympus Strikes, and more. With so many options, there’s never a shortage at a venue voted as one of the top “Best Places to Gamble.”

Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs Casino

And if you want to get the most out of your gaming experience, join the One Club. One Club is the loyalty program at Eldorado that gives you endless benefits and rewards for playing at the casino.

The more you play, the more you win. And best yet, you can play, earn, and redeem at any Caesars Rewards property, so this isn’t solely exclusive to Eldorado.

You can redeem reward points earned for Free Play, Dining, Gift Shop, Tier-Based Promos, etc. The more points you earn, the more you level up. And the higher your level, the greater the rewards and benefits. For example, you can redeem points for discounts at a partner hotel at the Silver level.

If you reach gold, you’ll earn the Celebrity Cruises Benefit, and so on.

Racing at Scioto Downs provides some of the hottest entertainment in the area. You can kick back and watch live or if you can’t make it to the venue, the simulcast has you covered.

You can check out the link above for the most up-to-date information regarding track conditions, the upcoming schedule, entries, results, promos, events, horsemen info, general information, and more.

Eldorado Gaming’s Dining Scene

Dining at Eldorado Gaming features three fantastic options whether you’re in the mood for the buffet, a sit-down lunch or dinner, or a quick bite in the gaming area, this venue has you covered.

The Brew Brothers is perhaps the best place for the old-fashioned burger and brew, as the name states. Order a burger or try one of their wood-fired pizzas, pair with a specialty-crafted beer of your choice, and enjoy a break from the casino floor.

Brew Brothers Beer Selection

If you’re up for an all-you-can-eat option, then Grove Buffet has what you’re looking for. Dig into some of the best international food choices out there and finish it off with a top-end dessert. You’ll find your fill at Grove Buffet.

Looking for a quick grab and go before you trot back to the gaming floor? Well, Dash Cafe is your option. Grab a quick bite to eat or a quick drink, then head back to the gaming floor. This venue is conveniently located in the middle of the casino floor for fast entry and exit.

Entertainment and Accommodations

Live it up with some of the best local and world-class entertainment Columbus, Ohio offers. The Veil Bar features the latest and greatest acts in comedy, music, and overall entertainment while you can rock out to some good old acoustic action at Brew Brothers.

Looking for an extended stay? No worries, as Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs has partnered with the best local hotels in the area that offer you both the best deals and a convenient location. Many of which are within walking distance or a short drive from the venue.

Your top hotels within a six-minute drive include the Hampton Inn (attached to the casino), Red Roof Inn, Holiday Inn, and the Hilton Garden Inn.

The Hampton Inn is your best bet here since it’s not just attached to the casino; you’ll also get some outstanding views of the racetrack, so you’ll never miss a beat of the horse betting action.

And the best part about each of these nearby hotels is that you’re only a short drive away from Downtown Columbus. Where if you’re looking to take a break from all the casino gaming, then a trip downtown is definitely for you.

Let’s talk about nearby attractions.

Nearby Area Attractions

Columbus is always rocking and rolling regardless of the time of year. If you’re looking for some of the hottest table gaming action around, then definitely check out Hollywood Casino Columbus to get in on the action.

Columbus also has one of the most vibrant sports scenes, so if you’re a college football fan, you’re in luck with the Ohio State Buckeyes playing in the fall. If basketball is your thing, then watch both men’s and women’s college basketball either on-site or at one of the bars in the area.

Up for Major League Soccer action? Then the Columbus Crew is always putting on a show, as is the National Hockey League’s Columbus Blue Jackets. And for some hot minor league baseball, check out the Columbus Clippers, the Triple-A affiliate to the MLB’s Cleveland Indians.

There are also many shopping malls in the area, such as the Polaris Fashion Place and the Easton Town Center.

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Polar Bear

Other awesome attractions in the city include the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the Zoombezi Bay Water and Amusement, Park, the Scioto Audubon Metro Park, the Columbus Park of Roses, and the Chadwick Arboretum, among other popular places.

Each park has its own unique theme. Scioto Audubon Park is known for its birdwatching, while the Columbus Park of Roses is known for its rose gardens. And for a diverse collection of plants, Chadwick Arboretum has you covered.

And if you’re in the area for fairs and festivals, then you are in for the experience of a lifetime. Whether it’s the Ohio State Fair, Rock on the Range, the Greek Festival, Juneteenth Ohio Festival, the Jazz Rib Fest, or Asian Festival, something is being held here on virtually every weekend.

Always pick up a few flyers at the Hampton Inn and interact with the helpful staff to get in the loop to what’s coming to the city during your stay at the casino. There may very well be something going on that piques your interest enough to venture into Columbus.

Above is just a tiny sliver of things to do in Columbus, but there are far too many to name here. City-wide attractions are definitely worth a post of its own, as we didn’t even cover trails and other outdoor activities, nor historic and cultural sites in this brief section.

It goes to show you just how much there really is to do in this city, and it just keeps growing.

Conclusion

As you can see, Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs is much more than a racino. It’s located in an area where there’s something to do at every corner. And best yet, with its continued expansion, you can bet that this racino will just keep on growing.

Since the Ohio gambling scene is still in its formative stages, there’s a lot to be excited about what the future holds. And with a known brand like Caesars owning and operating the venue, you can also bet that they will remain top-of-the-line in any innovation and expansion.

Couple this with activities and attractions in the City of Columbus and there’s more than enough to book a weeklong stay in the area.

Have you been to Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs? If so, share your experience with our readers. We look forward to hearing from you.

How to Avoid Embarrassing Yourself While Playing Poker

Embarrassed Man With a Poker Background

Poker is a popular game available in casinos around the world, and it’s played in private settings as much as any gambling game. It can be played for free or small stakes like pennies, or it can be played for thousands of dollars a hand or more.

A bad poker player can get lucky and win sometimes, while a good player is capable of sustaining their bankroll for the long run. But even good poker players make mistakes sometimes.

Here are five ways you can limit the number of mistakes you make at the poker table and avoid embarrassing yourself. You’re never going to eliminate every mistake, because you’re human. But when you follow these steps, your mistakes won’t be as bad as they could be when playing poker for real money.

Spend 100 Hours Reading and Watching Poker

If you want to learn how to win at poker and how to avoid most embarrassing situations, it’s simple. Sure, it’s extremely hard and it takes a lot of work, but it’s simple.

The secret to learning how to win at poker is to study at least 100 hours before you start playing. Most poker players start playing before they even think about studying the game. And most players never study the game to try to learn more. They just keep playing and losing.

Find a list of the best poker books, and start reading! I recommend reading at least 10 good poker books before you start playing at your local tables. You also need to read good articles about poker and poker strategy. I challenge you to find 100 good articles about poker to study.

You can also learn a lot about poker by watching good players. Just be careful about watching poker games that have been edited for television. These shows don’t show most hands, so you don’t get a true picture of winning play. Track your time studying and learning about poker.

Man Reading a Book

When you have at least 100 hours in, you’re ready to try your hand at a small stakes game. Even with over 100 hours of study, you still have a lot to learn. And some of what you need to learn is only going to come when you get some money on the felt.

If you’re like most poker players and are too lazy to study the game, you have little hope of winning in the long run. You might get lucky from time to time, but overall, you’re going to be a losing poker player.

When in Doubt, Fold

I’m going to let you in on a secret that helped me a great deal early in my poker career. I learned that the best thing to do when you’re doubting a poker hand is to fold. This includes deciding whether or not to enter the pot, when to stay in the pot on the flop, and how to play the river.

When I started folding questionable hands, I reduced my losses by a large amount. As I learned more and studied more, I experienced fewer situations where I had doubts about a hand.

You must learn which hands can be played for profit from each position at the table, and how to avoid questionable situations before jumping into them. This takes time and study and work, but it’s the only way to learn how to make money playing poker.

You can improve your poker results right now just by folding more often.

If you’re playing more than 20% of the pots in a full table game, the odds are good that you’re playing too many hands. Start folding weak or mediocre hands, and only play your best hands.

When you get in a pot and don’t see a flop that helps you, check and fold. Stop chasing hands and wasting money. Keep your money to use when you have a strong hand.

Don’t Bluff

Possibly the most embarrassing thing you can do as a poker player is bluff and lose a big pot when your opponent calls. Bluffing does have a place in a winning poker player’s tool kit, but it’s extremely dangerous for beginning poker players.

And the truth is that you don’t have to bluff to play winning poker. You can make more long-term profits if you learn how and when to bluff.

The problem is, if you bluff too often, it costs you money. And this is where beginning poker players get in trouble. Most amateurs bluff too often.

Poker Player Kunal Patni

This is the main reason why I never recommend bluffing to new poker players. Learn how to win without bluffing first. Once you start winning on a consistent basis, then you can start bluffing a small amount in important situations.

You need to learn the difference between a straight bluff and a using a semi-bluff. When you start bluffing, only use a semi-bluff. As you learn more, you can start making a few straight bluffs.

I recommend using only one straight bluff during each playing session. If you’re bluffing more than once every playing session, you’re doing it too much.

Play for Small Stakes After Free Play

Even if you’ve invested over 100 hours studying and learning about poker, you’re still not ready to play for high stakes. If you have any questions about how the game mechanics work, find a free online poker table to play at for a short time.

The strategy and level of play at a free online poker table is hideous, so you’re not going to learn much about winning at these tables. As soon as you’re comfortable playing, move up to the low limit poker tables.

Low limit tables can sometimes be played for a few cents or a few dollars. Start at the lowest limits that are available and keep playing them until you’re making a profit. Then, move up to the next limit level and play until you’re again making a profit.

Keep following this pattern as you move up to higher limit play. You also need to build your gambling bankroll so you can afford to play at higher stakes.

If you move up a level and struggle to win, move back down a level. Get back into the books and articles to see if you can determine why you’re struggling. The odds are that you’re playing too many hands and/or playing hands out of position.

I’ve mentioned position a couple times, and if you don’t understand the importance of position when you play poker, you’re not ready to play for real money. How position works and how you use it is possibly the most important poker lesson you’re ever going to learn.

Start With a Single Table Poker Tournament

Another option when you decide to start playing poker for real money is to enter a single-table poker tournament. Single-table tournaments usually have six, nine, or 10 players and the top 2 or 3 finishers share the prize pool.

A single table poker tournament is a good way to control exactly how much you risk while building your skills. If you have $200 to play poker with, enter 10 to 20 single table tournaments in the $5 to $10 range.

Holdem Player Holding a Royal Flush

You’re going to get to play a lot of poker, and even if you’re not a great player yet, you have a good chance to finish in the money at least a few times.

I focus mainly on cash games now, but I used to play a lot of single-table tournaments when I was building my skills. I found that my skills are better used in cash games, but many players have learned how to make consistent profits playing single-table tournaments.

You can also play in larger poker tournaments. But I don’t recommend entering a larger tournament with a high entry fee until you have a lot of experience. If you want to try a larger poker tournament, enter one with a low entry fee and move up a level if you win.

Conclusion

I know that you don’t want to hear this, but the best way to make sure you don’t embarrass yourself while playing poker is to study the game for at least 100 hours before you start playing. It’s more fun to just start playing rather than studying, but studying is by far the best way to avoid getting embarrassed.

The next two steps are simple. Don’t bluff until you learn how to win consistently without bluffing, and if you have any doubt about a situation, the best course of action is to fold.

Start with a simple controllable situation like a single-table tournament, or play for free or for small stakes before diving into the deep end of the pool.

Popular Strategies to Win Your Weekly Fantasy Football Snake Draft

NFL Quarterback With a Football Stats Background

Weekly fantasy football options just keep on keeping on, don’t they? Today, we’re talking about a familiar presence yet something different simultaneously. The good old snake draft, which we often use in our traditional, year-long fantasy football leagues.

The catch, of course, is that this version of the snake draft lasts for just one weekend, from the Thursday games to the Monday games.

There are a variety of ways to win your snake draft and this article outlines seven popular strategies for you to win your snake draft and before it, a brief overview of how the snake draft works in weekly fantasy.

Let’s get started.

How Does the Snake Draft Work?

Since thousands of sports gamblers play this new game each week, the snake draft comprises a traditional fantasy football draft. The first pick picks first in the odd-numbered rounds, and last in the even-numbered rounds.

Simple, right?

Players can only be drafted by one team, so unlike Classic or Tier-based weekly fantasy, this works just like a traditional fantasy league. You can compete head to head or in a variety of contests.

Drafts begin once each league fills and following the draft, there are no trades, adds, drops, or waivers. Your team is set.

Ready to set the strategies?

Let’s go.

Know the Statistics

The great thing with the weekly snake draft game is that you already know how players are producing for the given season.

Unlike our preseason fantasy drafts for traditional fantasy football which are based on last season’s totals and projections for the upcoming season, you already got a sample size. The later in the season, the greater the sample size.

NFL Quarterback Patrick Mahomes

So, even if a player looked like a good pickup in the preseason, they may not be so hot now because of injuries or lack of production. Some may have even been supplanted on the depth chart.

Key in on Positions Where Production Drop Offs Exist

Just like when you are betting on football, you want to key on positions that feature the highest drop offs in production. The only outlier is tight end, since only five of the league’s 32-plus starting tight ends feature monster numbers.

However, after the first 15 or so running backs and receivers go, you will see a blatant drop off in production. That said, go after the backs and receivers before other positions, as you would in a traditional draft.

i
A great strategy if you’re picking first or early is to pick the best player on the board and be done with it. Then, take a different position in the second round. So if you take the best back in football first, take the best receiver that falls to you second.

When you pick in the middle rounds, take the best back or receiver that falls to you. In round two, do the same with the opposite position. So if you take the back first, take the receiver next.

When picking late, find two players you really like and pick the player you think most likely won’t be available when you pick again. Once the pick swings back around to you, go ahead and get the next player if they’re still available. If not, get the next best player at that position.

Do the same if you’re picking last then snatch them up back to back.

Don’t Overestimate Quarterbacks

Yeah, Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and Kyler Murray will almost always have good matchups regardless and post monster numbers. But when evaluating quarterbacks, you should know there is a plethora of high-production quarterbacks aren’t too far behind our Big Three.

NFL Quarterback Josh Allen

Guys like Josh Allen, Dak Prescott, and even Joe Burrow are good options. And don’t forget about quarterbacks like Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson. Both quarterbacks can still put up outstanding fantasy football numbers.

Just because you don’t land a marquee fantasy option in the early rounds, don’t sweat it. Especially in those weekly 12-team leagues where you’re sure to find a high-producer somewhere in the middle rounds.

Pick a Kicker on a Good Offense

Kickers are at the mercy of their offenses and yes, every now and again you’ll see a kicker catch a case of the yips for a week, as Stephen Gostkowski did during the first week of the 2020 NFL Season.

Under most circumstances, your highest-producing fantasy football kickers are in sync with the league’s best offenses. Look at the 12 highest-scoring offenses and pick the best kicker available when the time is right to pick one – in the mid-to-late rounds.

Another advantage in the weekly fantasy realm is that you know who the best offenses are plus their weekly matchups. That said, it shouldn’t be too hard to have a premonition as to which kickers are the best options for a given week.

Just follow the criteria that they must play for a high-profile offense and the offense must have a favorable matchup.

Fantasy Defenses Win Championships

It’s true. Fantasy football defenses win championships in general, but it’s even more so in weekly fantasy football.

In your traditional league, have you ever faced an opponent whose defense spoiled your win? I’m sure of it. And I can tell you it’s a more common occurrence at the weekly level because you know which defenses are facing weak offenses.

For example, if the league’s best defense or one of the league’s best defenses is playing the worst or one of the worst offenses, you know they’re a hot pick for the weekly game.

Like the kickers, look for defenses to go during the mid-to-late rounds and make sure you grab one with a favorable matchup that also puts up decent numbers in yards allowed, takeaways, and points allowed.

So a little more criteria here.

Don’t Flip if You Don’t Grab a Marquee Tight End

Before 2020 you had four top tight ends and as the season evolved, at least one if not a second tight end joined this crew. One of them was a teammate of one of the top four—Dallas Goedert. Of course, Zach Ertz was one of the top four.

Early in 2020 it was Goedert, and not Ertz, whose fantasy production warranted that worthy of a TE1. This shows that just because one was a projected marquee tight end before the season doesn’t mean it’s set in stone.

It’s the big advantage you have in weekly snake drafts. All of us would’ve taken Ertz in our traditional draft unless we were looking for a decent TE2, then we’d have taken Goedert because Ertz was long gone.

Most of your competition would still likely have taken Ertz in this situation, even if Goedert has posted better numbers, thinking Ertz will break out sometime during the season if the Eagles have a favorable matchup.

However, just because Ertz and the other Big Five tight ends are gone doesn’t mean the highest producing tight ends are. Goedert can obviously outplay Ertz in any given week, as he showed during the first two weeks of 2020.

The same goes for tight ends like T.J. Hockenson, Tyler Higbee, and other forgotten names who are also solid producers at the position.

Double Those Points

This is a riskier strategy that can definitely reap the rewards when done properly. It involves taking a pass catcher along with a quarterback. Now, these players don’t need to have off-the-charts numbers.

They just need to have good chemistry. In all, the pass-catcher is a favorite target of the quarterback and the dynamic duo here hooks up for what could double your fantasy output.

NFL Wide Receiver DK Metcalf

Again, we need someone spectacular. Something like a Russell Wilson-DK Metcalf is a perfect example, or Derek Carr-Darren Waller, and a budding example could be the duo of Dwayne Haskins-Terry McLaurin.

Only Wilson has been a true fantasy stud through and through in the examples provided. Again, there’s risk involved given the possibility of a bad fantasy day from either player, or if the quarterback has a hot target elsewhere.

But if you like to take some risks in your fantasy game, you may want to give this sports betting strategy a whirl.

Conclusion

As you can see from the examples above, there are some stark differences between your traditional and weekly snake drafts. The main difference being that you already have a feel for how a player is performing during the season in the weekly realm.

But, each position has its own strategy. Load up on your backs and receivers first because those positions have the highest drop off rates in production the longer you wait. Don’t fret if you miss out on a high-profile tight end or quarterback.

Stick to the mid-to-late rounds for kickers and defenses. And remember, kickers are at the mercy of their offense.

What strategies do you employ during your weekly snake drafts?

Let us know in the comments.

5 Ways to Avoid Embarrassing Yourself While Playing Roulette

Nervous Man With a Roulette Background

I like playing roulette from time to time because it’s a simple game to play, and it’s fun to try out new systems. While you can’t necessarily beat roulette using a system, it’s still fun to try your luck sometimes.

If you’ve never played roulette, you might be worried about making some mistakes and getting embarrassed at the table. But you don’t have anything to worry about.

Just follow this simple five-step guide and you’re going to know everything you need so you never get embarrassed playing roulette.

1 – How Casino Roulette Works

The most important thing you need to understand is how playing roulette for real money works. Once you understand how the game works, you really don’t have to worry about doing anything that might be embarrassing. I’m going to explain exactly how roulette works in this section then share a few other things you need to know on the rest of the page.

Roulette uses a wheel sitting on a table. The table has betting spaces on it, and an ivory ball is spun around the wheel to identify the winning and losing wagers. A roulette wheel has either 37 or 38 spaces.

Each space also has one of three colors. You can place a wager based on the number or color. Or you can place more than one wager on different possible outcomes. For example, you can bet on an odd number, a black number, and a number in the first row all at the same time.

Caesars Palace Roulette Chips

All of these wagering options and more are available on the felt covered table. Before you start playing, watch other players place a few wagers to see what they bet on. Watch the ball spin around the wheel and land, then see which wagers get paid and which wagers lose.

You can also play free roulette online to learn more about how it works. Place a free bet on odd or even or black or red and see if you get lucky.

2 – An Easy Strategy Lesson

I mentioned that roulette variants either have 37 or 38 spaces. This is an important distinction because the numbers of spaces on the wheel dictate the odds you face when you play. I’m not going to dig into the math too much, but the odds of winning are much better on a wheel with 37 spaces than a wheel with 38 spaces.

Consider the spaces on each type of wheel. Each wheel has 18 black spaces, 18 red spaces, and the numbers 0-to-36. These are all of the spaces on a 37 space wheel. A wheel with 38 spaces has a 00 space as well.

When you place a wager on red on a 37 space wheel, you win 18 out of 37 times on average. The same wager on a 38 space wheel only wins 18 out of 38 times on average.

This doesn’t seem like a big difference, but over time, the extra number costs you a great deal of money.

The important thing that all of this means is that the simple strategy you need to use is to always play on a wheel with 37 spaces. This is the only strategy you can use in roulette that works.

3 – Picking Your Wager

In the last section you learned that the only strategy that you can use when you play roulette is to use a wheel with only 37 spaces. What you didn’t learn is that every wager you make on a wheel with 37 spaces has the same casino house edge.

This means that no matter what wager you choose to use, as long as you’re using a 37-space wheel, you’re going to lose the same amount of money in the long run.

At first, this doesn’t make sense. It’s much easier to hit an odd or even number, or a black or red number, than win on a single number wager. But a single number wager pays 35-to-1 and an even, odd, red, or black wager pays 1-to-1.

Ornamental Roulette Wheel

The combination of how hard it is to win a wager and how much the wager pays creates a consistent edge for the casino. This is why it doesn’t matter what wager you pick.

The main thing you need to understand is that you should make small wagers when you play roulette because the casino always wins in the long run. If you risk $200 per spin of the wheel, you’re going to lose a lot more than when you risk $10 or $20 per spin.

Sometimes, you’re going to win when you play roulette. But you’re going to lose more often than you win, so don’t risk too much when you play.

When you start playing, use one of the even money wagers. These are simple to place and simple to track. You know as soon as the wheel stops spinning whether you win or lose. The even money wagers include:

  • Red
  • Black
  • Even
  • Odd
  • 1 – 18
  • 19 – 36

4 – Placing Your Wager

Once you decide on a wager, find the space on the table for the bet. The even money wagers have a space to place your bet when you’re ready. Just place your wager directly in the space before the next spin of the wheel.

Different casinos have different ways keeping track of which player bets on each space. A common way is to exchange cash or regular casino chips at the roulette table for a colored stack of chips. Each player has their own color.

The main thing you need to know about placing your roulette wagers is you must place them after the last spin has been resolved and before the next spin. This is easy to do, and the worst casino etiquette mistakes you can make is placing a wager too late. You can easily avoid this by placing your wagers well before the wheel starts to spin.

Once you place your wagers, all you have to do is watch for the ball to win and collect your winnings if you get lucky.

5 – Don’t Touch Anything

If you follow the advice you’ve just learned in this article, you’re not going to do anything to embarrass yourself at the roulette table. The only other thing you need to know just happens to be the most important thing.

Once you place your wager or wagers, don’t touch anything in the paying area until the spin is finished and the casino person shoves your win toward you. Don’t reach in the betting area while the wheel is spinning.

If you reach into the betting area on the roulette table while the wheel is spinning, at best, you’re going to get told not to do it. But some people try to cheat by moving ships after the wheel starts spinning. If the casino thinks you’re trying to cheat, they’re either going to throw you out or have you arrested.

Online Roulette Casino Game

This isn’t anything you have to worry about if you simply don’t touch anything after you place your wager. But if you’re still worried about this, you can play online roulette. The odds and edge are the same whether you play in a land-based casino or online, so you’re not missing out on anything by playing on your phone or online.

And the software that runs the game on your phone or computer doesn’t start spinning the wheel until you place your wager and hit the spin button. That way, you don’t have to worry about making a mistake because you can’t make a mistake. The software won’t even let you.

Conclusion

Now that you understand how roulette works, you know that there’s nothing to worry about. Find a wheel with 37 spaces, either in a land-based casino or online, and make whatever wager you want. Every wager offers the same basic odds, so you can take a shot at a 35-to-1 pay off or a 1-to-1.

To keep from doing anything embarrassing while playing live roulette, place your wager in time and do not touch anything until the payouts are shoved your way. It really is this simple to play roulette!

5 Remarkable Ways to Take Advantage of NFL Player Prop Betting

NFL Player Lamar Jackson With a Sportsbook Background

Player props are growing in popularity and with the advent of mobile betting, it’s only going to get bigger. So what is player props betting?

It’s sort of like fantasy football, in a way. However, rather than betting on overall performance, you’re looking at betting on a specific performance.

For example, you can bet a line for total rushing yards by a specific player, rather than their overall offensive performance. Or in the case of quarterbacks, passing yards, or passing touchdowns.

Player props differs from traditional sports prop bets, and come specific strategies to utilize to project the best possible outcome for your bet. This article outlines five strategies.

1 – Consider a Player’s Averages

Before you place a single player prop bet, consider a player’s averages for a specific prop. For example, if you’re thinking about betting on Lamar Jackson’s rush total, check out his line then look at his average rushing yards per game.

If his line looks favorable to his average, then he’s definitely a solid bet for that one prop.

However, there are other strategies to be aware of as well when it comes to betting on player props. For this article, we’ll use Jackson’s rushing props as an example.

One reason I decided to go with Jackson in this scenario is that he’s always a hot prop bet regardless of who he’s playing or the situation he and his Baltimore Ravens find themselves in.

NFL Ravens Offensive Line

Throughout this article, we’ll discover whether he was a good bet for the week with his hypothetical projected line at 45.5 rushing yards. At the end of the article, I’ll tell you my decision but ultimately, you must make your own decision whether Jackson was worth the bet.

So, what do we know about Jackson’s rushing average for this week’s dummy line at 45.5? Up to week three, he averaged 49 rushing yards. Even if his average doesn’t sit much higher than his prop line at this point in the season.

But, did that favorable bet continue?

Let’s find out.

2 – Opposing Defense’s Strengths

Alright, so in week three, Jackson faced the Chiefs’ defense, which ranks 27th in rushing defense.

Obviously in this scenario, the Chiefs’ defense didn’t match up well with Jackson and his rushing average. Nor do they match well with his hypothetical line. Bear in mind this is just an example and NOT Jackson’s true line for the game. We’re just outlining a hypothetical situation.

Despite Kansas City’s weakness against the run, Baltimore’s true strength is with the run and they have four different players who can contribute to the running game. Jackson is just part of the puzzle.

i
You can’t forget about Gus Edwards, Mark Ingram, nor J.K. Dobbins. All of whom contribute just as much if not more to the Raven’s running game.

Despite this, Jackson still looked like a solid bet, and you’ll see why in later subheadings.

Let’s continue.

3 – Past Performances Against the Opposing Defense

Alright, so our next outlook is how our targeted player performed previously against opposing defenses. And Jackson has faced the Chiefs as the starting quarterback previously. Just once as the starting quarterback.

Now, sometimes you won’t find your targeted player has played the opposing defense at all. Other times, you’ll find this variable to be even more relevant if this is an intra-divisional game, as you’ll have a greater sample size from which to work.

This variable becomes a more important one to consider the more relevant it is. In other words the greater the sample size. Just because a defense is weak against a targeted player’s strong attribute doesn’t mean our targeted player plays well against that specific defense.

NFL Chiefs Defense

So let’s see if Jackson played well in 2019 against the Chiefs.

What were Jackson’s numbers?

46 rushing yards on eight attempts. Significantly below his average of 80 rushing yards per game in 2019, but still higher than his projected line, albeit barely. And three yards lower at this point in the season.

So, while Jackson’s numbers looked good in Subheading one and Subheading two, they’re rather iffy in Subheading three. However, they’re not so low that you should consider running away from the bet.

Instead, let’s utilize two more strategies before making a final decision on Jackson’s rushing prop.

4 – Know the Offensive System

Sometimes, players are excellent products of the system. And if you’ve been handicapping NFL games since week one of 2019, you can see that the Ravens run the ball more than any other team in football.

Jackson is also one of those quarterbacks who runs the ball often, tucking and running an average of 11.5 times in 2020. At the point in this article, anyway. In week two, the week before this article, he tucked and ran the ball 16 times. Quite a total.

The Ravens run often and you know Jackson tucks the ball and runs often. Seemingly gaining steam as the season progresses. Sure, sometimes you’ll see the team toss a knuckleball and utilize the opposite of their normal game plan.

They’ll throw, rather than run. However, in a game against another AFC powerhouse, you can expect the Ravens to play to their strengths.
Knowing this, we can definitely chalk up a win in Subheading four.

5 – Consider Recent Performances

And we’ll look at recent performances from Jackson, who rushed for 45 and 54 yards, respectively. Given our dummy prop of 45.5, Jackson cleared it once and failed to clear it once.

However, he missed out by just a half a yard when he failed to clear the total in week one. And part of the reason here is because he and his Ravens jumped ahead of the Cleveland Browns early and tore up their weak passing defense.

That said, Jackson ran the ball a meager seven times during the contest. Instead, handing the ball to younger teammates like J.K. Dobbins as the Ravens cruised to a victory.

NFL Player Lamar Jackson Running the Ball

They also cruised in week two against the Houston Texans, but the latter gave them a much better game than Cleveland. Which explains Jackson’s inflated number of rushing attempts.

Now, in this scenario, since it’s so early in the season, you can also consider last season’s performances to garner a greater sample size. However, once you get to the end of the first month of the season, it’s best to use the current season for a sample size here.

From this information, we know that with a tougher overall defense and team the Chiefs possess, coupled with their weaker run defense, you can expect Jackson to run the ball more.

Which takes us to one final subheading: The Verdict.

The Verdict

In this scenario, I would find it safe enough to place a bet on Jackson. However, you must make the ultimate call as to whether you’re willing to place the ultimate bet.

Jackson hasn’t exactly lit up the league with his legs through the beginning of the season as he did just one year ago. However, at this point, there’s still time in the season for Jackson to get going with his legs.

While I like using strategies based on history, some of you may find it better to use strategies based on future matchups, which is a popular fantasy football strategy. And it can also pertain to player props.

Conclusion

As you can see, these five strategies, as with any sports betting strategy, a few minutes of homework is definitely involved here.

But if you’re a serious bettor on player props, you want to use every strategy offered in the book. Even if you’re a high-stakes bettor and like to bet on a dozen player props per week, it’s always best to do some homework and make a verdict rather than just bet blindly.

It won’t always pay off, but it’ll heighten your chances.

What are your strategies for player props?

Let us know in the comments.

7 Ways to Avoid Embarrassing Yourself Playing Blackjack

Silhouette of Man Falling With Blackjack Cards

Every gambler makes mistakes, and some of them are more embarrassing than others. Blackjack players are no exception. But all you need to know are a few simple things and you can avoid making embarrassing mistakes at the blackjack table.

Here are seven ways to avoid making embarrassing mistakes when you’re playing blackjack. And some of these simple steps are also going to help you increase your odds of winning.

And if you do make a mistake, simply learn from it so you don’t make the same mistake again. It’s also a good idea to explain to the dealer that it’s your first time playing blackjack for real money. The dealer can help you avoid making a big mistake.

1 – Know How to Stand

When you don’t want to be dealt any more cards you want to stand. You can stand after receiving your first two cards at the blackjack table, or after receiving any number of other cards.

You can signal to the dealer that you want to stand a couple different ways. The most important thing to do is say out loud the word stand.

You can also place the flat of your hand over your cards and move it from side to side. This is a signal that you want to stand. Another way to stand is to slide your cards under your wager. But make sure this is used in the casino where you’re playing, because not every casino uses this hand signal.

Live Blackjack Game

The most important thing you need to do when you’re playing a blackjack hand is to always say what you intend. You can use hand signals as well, but I never recommend only using hand signals. When you say what you’re doing and use hand signals, the dealer can hear what you want to do and the dealer and the cameras recording the game action both can see your hand signal.

This is true when you stand and when you make any of the other common playing decisions explained on this page.

2 – Know How to Hit

When you hit it means getting another card from the dealer. When you want another card, say hit and point to your cards. Some players tap their cards, but the proper signal is to point.

When you point at your cards and say hit, there’s no room for error. The dealer will clearly understand what you want to do.

Here’s an example using the first two things you’ve learned about. You get your first two cards and have a total of seven. You point to your hand and say hit. You receive a king, for a total of 17. You wave your hand, palm down, over your three cards and stay stand.

The dealer then moves to the next player in the hand and you sit back and wait for the dealer hand to be revealed.

You used the proper hand signals while also speaking what you intended to do. This is how you can guarantee you’re not making mistakes playing blackjack.

3 – Know How to Double Down

When you have a total of 9 to 11 against certain dealer cards you want to double down. You can learn more about knowing when this is the best play in the final section on this page.

Doubling down means that you double your original wager amount and you receive exactly one more card and then stand. Here’s how to properly double down.

Slide an extra wager, the same amount as your original wager, out to where you placed your original bet and say double or double down. The dealer then gives you one card and moves to the next player at the table.

Ace and Queen of Hearts Blackjack

The ability to double down on key hands is one of the ways that you can keep the casino edge low and improves your chance to win. You won’t double down often, but when you do it in the right situation it can be profitable.

Make sure that you understand how to double down properly so the dealer doesn’t make a mistake.

4 – Know How to Split Pairs

Sometimes when you’re playing blackjack you get two cards of the same rank. When you have a pair of the same cards you have the option of splitting the two cards into two hands, and playing each hand separately. Here’s how to split a pair into two hands.

Turn both cards face up on the table, and then place them side by side so they’re not touching each other. Then slide a wager the same size as your original wager forward behind the card to the right and say split.

When splitting, the dealer gives you a single card on each of the cards, forming two new two card hands. You then play the hand to the right first just like any other two card hand. Once you finish playing the hand to the right, you then play the hand to the left.

Some pairs you always split and some pairs you never split. And some pairs you split sometimes and don’t split other time.

For example, you always split aces when you have a pair and also when you have a pair of 8’s. And you never split a pair of 5’s. You can learn more about when to split and not split in the last section on this page.

5 – Understand Insurance

Blackjack insurance is a special side wager the dealer offers the players when the dealer has an ace showing. You have the opportunity to place a second wager of half your original wager. When you take insurance and the dealer has a blackjack you lose your first wager and win 2 to 1 on your insurance wager. When this happens you break even on the hand.

But when the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack you lose the insurance wager and play your first wager and hand as normal. This looks like a decent wager to many blackjack players, but it’s not a good risk.

If you want to take insurance you say yes when the dealer asks and slide a wager forward half the size of your first wager. But the best play is to always say no when the dealer asks if you want insurance.

6 – Understand the Casino’s Rules

Blackjack dealers follow a simple set of rules. The dealer rules are always posted on the table and the dealer either hits or stands on a soft 17. A soft 17 is a hand that totals 17 including an ace that counts as 11.

Another standard blackjack rule is the dealer always hits on a total of 16 or less, and always stands on a total of 18 or more. A hard hand total 17, which is a hand that doesn’t have an ace or a hand that has an ace that counts as one and totals 17, always is a dealer stand.

The dealer follows these rules and you don’t have to do anything, but it’s good to know what the dealer has to do. If you have a hard 16 and the dealer is showing a six, you know you should probably stand and hope the dealer busts.

If the dealer has a high down card he or she has a high chance of busting. But if you hit your 16 you have a high chance to bust, and if you bust before the dealer busts you lose.

7 – Use Blackjack Strategy

In the example in the last section about standing on a 16 against a dealer 6, it probably makes sense to play this way. But other situations make it harder to figure out the best play. But if you want t have the best chance to win you need to use the best blackjack strategy on all of your hands.

Online Blackjack Game

You don’t have to figure out the best strategy on your own. You can use a blackjack card or chart that includes all of the best strategy plays.

Don’t play any more blackjack without a strategy card or chart. You can use them at the table when you play, and it won’t take long before you know most of the correct plays.

Conclusion

Now you know all of the common plays you have to make when you play blackjack and the hand signals that some players use. Remember to state what you want to do loud enough for the dealer to hear it, even if you use hand signals. This way there’s no chance of your action being misinterpreted.

It helps you make proper playing decisions at the blackjack table when you understand how the dealer rules work. You should never follow the rules the dealer uses, because it’s going to cost you money.

Instead, use proper blackjack strategy every time you play. This gives you the best chance to win.

Has Zeljko Ranogajec Really Won $1 Billion Through Gambling?

Zeljko Ranogajec With a Question Mark and Money Image

Many gamblers dream of winning $1 million or more. Of course, only a small percentage actually accomplish this goal due to the difficulties that gambling presents.

Therefore, you might think that any notion of a gambler winning $1 billion is a tall tale. Less than 3,000 billionaires exist in the world, and they don’t put “professional gambler” on their business cards.

However, sources suggest that Zeljko Ranogajec has accomplished the seemingly impossible feat of betting his way to $1 billion in profits.

Is this really possible? I’ll discuss more on Ranogajec and his accomplishments along with if it’s really possible for him to have won 10 figures through gambling.

Who Is Zeljko Ranogajec?

Zeljko Ranogajec is an Australian professional gambler. He was born in Hobart, Australia, to Croatian immigrants.

Ranogajec was a solid student and eventually went on to attend the University of Tasmania, where he studied banking, finance, and tax laws. It’s during this time that he found his true passion at a local casino.

Zeljko began playing blackjack for real money at Wrest Point Casino. He eventually became a card counter and started making serious money. Ranogajec spent so much time in Wrest Point that he even met his future wife, Shelley Wilson, at the casino.

View of Wrest Point Casino in Australia

He and Wilson eventually moved to New South Wales so that he could continue studying at the University of NSW (Sydney). However, Zeljko later dropped out due to his highly successful gambling career.

Ranogajec’s Gambling Successes

Zeljko Ranogajec is easily one of the most successful gamblers of all time, if not THE most successful. Here’s a look at the various routes that he took to become a big winner.

Horse Racing

Betting on horse racing is Ranogajec’s bread and butter. He employs a solid strategy that has enabled him to make massive profits from horse betting over the years.

His approach involves:

  • Focusing on bets with high liquidity (i.e. betting pools that contain lots of wagers from the general public)
  • Using a sophisticated betting system to identify potential winners
  • Working out loss rebates with bookmakers

Regarding the latter point, Ranogajec bets so much money that he can negotiate rebate deals with bookmaking companies. For example, he has a significant rebate with Australia’s Tabcorp.

Ranogajec bets so much annually that he accounts for between 6% and 8% of Tabcorp’s $10 billion in annual earnings. He also wagers so much with Betfair that he reportedly makes up 33% of their Australian-facing revenue.

The bulk of Ranogajec’s winnings come from horse racing. Therefore, he’s created a large business out of the matter.

He’s developed a network of analysts, bettors, and administrators to provide information. Although Ranogajec doesn’t technically employ anybody directly, he unofficially employs over 300 Australians in his pursuit for racing info.

Blackjack

While Zeljko may be best known for his horse betting prowess, he was also an outstanding blackjack player years ago.

He no longer needs to play advantage blackjack these days. But early in his career, he developed a reputation for being one of the game’s best.

Ranogajec started with a relatively small bankroll worth a few hundred dollars. He turned this miniscule amount into millions of dollars by counting cards and using other advantage play methods.

Zeljko was too skilled at blackjack for his own good. Wrest Point Casino banned him, which weighed into his decision to move from Tasmania to New South Wales.

Eventually, he got banned from Jupiters Casino and other Gold Coast-area gambling establishments. Ranogajec moved to the United States and played blackjack there until he was kicked out of Atlantic City and Vegas casinos as well. He started dedicating more time to horse racing after the bans began adding up.

Despite having not played for a while, Ranogajec is still a blackjack legend. He entered the Blackjack Hall of Fame in 2011.

Keno Jackpot

Ranogajec used to play keno quite a bit in New South Wales. In 1994, he won a massive jackpot worth $7.5 million at North Ryde RSL Club.

He didn’t have any special advantage in keno. Instead, Zeljko simply kept betting until he eventually won the giant payout.

Ranogajec Is Responsible for the Downfall of a State-Owned Gambling Company

As mentioned before, Ranogajec works out deals with various bookmakers to get lucrative rebates. He has an especially good mutual relationship with Tabcorp.

However, not all of Ranogajec’s deals end up so great for the operator. Case in point, Tote Tasmania closed down in 2011 due to the big rebates that they gave Ranogajec.

In a court case involving an ex-associate, Ranogajec explained the strategy to the courtroom. Zeljko said he’d bet so much that even when losing, he’d still rake in a profit.

Horse Racing in Melbourne Australia

With a 10% rebate, for example, he could only earn $95 on every $100 wagered and still come out ahead by $5.

Such favorable deals allowed Ranogajec to earn around $52 million over three-and-a-half years betting on US horse races alone. Only around 15% of this amount came from actual winnings, while the other 85% was due to rebates.

Tote Tasmania had backed themselves into a corner based on the rebate they’d agreed to with Ranogajec. The Treasurer of Tasmania eventually sold the state-owned company off to Tabcorp to salvage something from Tote.

Taxes Reveal Nothing

One look into Zeljko Ranogajec’s taxes could potentially clear up how much he makes each year. The only problem, though, is that gambling winnings aren’t taxable under Australian law.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has repeatedly looked into Ranogajec’s betting to determine if he does need to pay any taxes.

They wondered if his activities should be taxed to some degree because he was making a living from gambling. Initially, the ATO failed to prove that Zeljko was running any type of business under the umbrella of gambling.

They reopened the probe again, though, in 2008. After spending years on the case, they got Ranogajec and his longtime business partner, David Walsh, to agree to a settlement in 2012.

The deal is completely confidential and only covers the years between 2004 and 2011. Therefore, no information regarding Ranogajec and his earnings were released after the settlement.

Do the Numbers Add Up to $1 Billion?

The only real sources on Zeljko’s net worth are the Australian Rich List and Daily Telegraph. According to the Rich List, Ranogajec is the 164th richest person in the Land Down Under with a $600 million AUD net worth.

Assuming this list is fairly accurate, then Ranogajec isn’t worth $1 billion. However, he could’ve easily won this amount and more over the course of his career.

The Daily Telegraph spoke to an unnamed relative of Ranogajec. The relative heard that “he’s a multi-billionaire.”  Of course, this hearsay doesn’t constitute actual evidence that Zeljko is worth billions. However, it’s something that helps confirm he’s worth a massive fortune.

What Is Zeljko Ranogajec Doing Today?

Ranogajec has moved from Australia to London. He works as a consultant for Newfield Limited, which is a sports event and international racing company.

He’s no doubt still gambling on racing as well. After all, Zeljko is one of the world’s best horse bettors and will likely continue to be for the rest of his life.

Aside from his betting and business activities, though, little is know about Ranogajec. He’s a very private person who doesn’t give interviews and speak to the media much.

Luxury Private Jet Interior

He did break his silence, though, when asked about his potential multibillion-dollar net worth. Ranogajec simply stated that such figures are “just a big exaggeration.”

A 2018 feature by the Daily Mail claims that Zeljko enjoys a lavish lifestyle. This article discusses how the 59-year-old lives a jet-setting lifestyle with his family, including Shelly and their teenage daughter.

It also reiterates that Ranogajec enjoys living as privately as possible. Therefore, he’s unlikely to ever spill the details on his true gambling winnings or net worth.

Conclusion

Back to the original question, has Zeljko actually won $1 billion in profits? Yes and no. The word “won” must be used quite liberally here. Ranogajec didn’t actually win everything that he’s made through betting.

Instead, the bulk of his profits came from favorable rebate deals with racebook operators. He may have enjoyed as high as a 10% rebate with the now-defunct Tote Tasmania (now part of Tabcorp).

Technically speaking, though, Zeljko has probably won $1 billion through wagering when counting rebates. He’s worth anywhere between $600 million and billions, even when accounting for his lavish, but private, lifestyle.

Ranogajec shows the pinnacle of what’s possible with betting. He’s earned the type of wealth through gambling that’s normally reserved for the world’s most elite hedge fund managers and business owners.

West Virginia Casinos: Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack, and Resort

Mountaineer Casino in West Virginia

We often don’t think of West Virginia as a mini Las Vegas but little do many of us know at its northern tip in the town of New Cumberland lies the famous Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack, and Resort. And yes, the casino is often buzzing day and night, making it the ultimate destination if you’re passing through.

So, where is this somewhat secluded casino? Right on the Ohio-West Virginia border and about 40 miles northwest of good old Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. So, if you’re traveling through the Upper Ohio Valley and casino gaming is your thing, be sure to check out West Virginia gambling at Mountaineer.

You’ll be glad you did.

History of Mountaineer Casino

The property has contributed its own part of US gambling history. Planning for a racetrack up in Chester can be traced all the way back to 1937 and was to be called Waterford Downs. While the public offering was approved in 1939, but because of several unfortunate events (including World War II), it was delayed until 1948.

Opening day for the racetrack known as Waterford Park wouldn’t occur until 1951.

James F. Edwards bought the track in the mid-1950s and in 1969, Ogden Corporation bought Edwards’ holdings.

In 1987, Bill Blair purchased the track and renamed it Mountaineer Park before selling to Excalibur Holding in 1992. In 1994, the track incorporated its first slot machines. Table gaming was added in 2007.

In 2019, the casino was sold to Century Casinos and Vici Properties, with Century taking the operating business and Vici taking the land and buildings while entering a leasing agreement with Century.

Now that you know a little background on the casino, let’s look at what this jewel in New Cumberland has to offer.

Casino Games Offered

Mountaineer Casino offers approximately 1,000 slot machines among 78,000 square feet of gaming space. The casino also offers smoking and non-smoking sections, so you don’t have to worry about giving up your seat if you are a smoker.

The casino also offers high-stakes slot areas that feature bets of $10, $25, and up to $100.

Mountaineer also offers the standard table games like Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Let it Ride, Three Card Poker, Four Card Poker, the works. You name it, Mountaineer is sure to have it. Also offered is Texas Holdem for real money, so if you’re into some live poker action, Mountaineer will provide.

Mountaineer Casino Floor

And like many casinos these days, Mountaineer also operates the William Hill Sportsbook where you can bet on your favorite sporting events. Bets offered include futures, parlays, straight bets, round robins, teasers, etc.

The most popular sports featured include football, baseball, basketball, hockey, MMA, NASCAR, and more. The sportsbook’s hours of operation are Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m., and from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Dining Options

Within the casino’s walls are three outstanding restaurants and one sports bar. So whether you’re in the mood for fine dining or if you’re just looking to chill and watch the latest sporting event, Mountaineer Casino’s dining options have you covered.

If you’re looking for something more laid back and quick, then try Big Al’s, located right near the gaming floor. Big Al’s offers deli-style sandwiches and whole pies of pizza plus homemade ice cream and fresh-baked dessert. You can eat in or if you choose, order to go.

They’re open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.

The most upscale dining option Mountaineer offers is LBV Steak & Pasta, which offers top-of-the-line service and cuisine along with world-class alcoholic beverage options. Their motto is “The Good Life,” so you know you’re up for a terrific night out here. Just be sure to dress at least casually, as there is a code.

The hours of operation are from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday through Sunday.

Mountaineer LBV Restaurant Dish

Looking for something formal yet relaxed? Then Gatsby Restaurant & Buffet is your best option.

Especially if you’re looking for homemade-style comfort foods. Gatsby is open 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., with breakfast served from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Do you want a background perhaps to bet on sports and watch a game or to enjoy some pub-style classics? Well, the Mahogany Sports Bar is exactly what you’re looking for. They also serve some of the best local craft beers in the Ohio Valley with favorites on tap.

The bar is open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with the menu options open until 9 p.m.

Hotel Accommodations

For a place located out in the middle of nowhere other than the nearby towns of Weirton, West Virginia, and Steubenville, Ohio, Mountaineer literally has it all. Let’s take a look at the rooming options at the Mountaineer resort hotel.

First off, your lodging options are off the charts here, with rooms like the Tower Suite, Tower King, Tower Queen, or the Lodge King.

If you’re looking for something of grandeur, the 760 square foot Tower Suite is your option, complete with a living room and refrigerators, you’d think you just walked into a high-end apartment.

Mountaineer Casino Hotel Room

The Tower King and Tower Queen offer a similar layout to the Tower Suite without the living room. The real difference here is that the Tower Queen offers two beds and 390 square feet whereas the Tower King offers just one and 264 square feet.

The Lodge King and Double Lodge Queen are located in the original section of the hotel and each is just a short walk to the casino. If you’re looking for convenience, these are solid options.

Popular amenities at the resort include the Woodview Golf Course, a Spa located within the hotel, a gift shop, and a fitness center, among others. Shuttle services are also provided as well as free and convenient parking.

Entertainment

Mountaineer isn’t just a racetrack and casino; it’s also the one-stop-shop for entertainment in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia and perhaps the surrounding area.

If you’re looking for the biggest and best entertainment acts at Mountaineer, the Harv has you covered. Year-round, it offers a strong variety of acts, so regardless of what your musical preference is, it has you covered.

Planning your next wedding or convention? Then check out the Ballroom, which offers 13,000 square feet of real estate. You can find entertainment here as well with live tribute bands and similar acts.

Other great options include Lucky’s Lounge, LBV Entertainment, and Mahogany Entertainment. At the time of this writing, events at the latter three are suspended but be sure to check the website regularly as sure enough, entertainment shall return.

Horse Racing

Of course, Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack, and Resort started off as a racetrack and you probably discovered from the title that it continues to hold true to its roots. So, let’s talk about horse racing.

Live Thoroughbred racing occurs every Sunday through Wednesday and the first post time begins at 7 p.m. If you can’t make it to the track, don’t sweat, as you can tune in on the action with a live simulcast, available on the website.

You can also bet on or off-track, so if you’re not up close and in on the action, don’t worry. You can

watch the races on the big screens in the casino while placing your bets in the designated off-track betting areas.

Nearby Attractions

So, if you’re looking to take a day off from casino gaming and are in the area for a few days, what’s there to do?

Well, if you’re a hiker, I have good news for you, as Tomlinson Run State Park is just around the corner as is the Panhandle Trail, with the latter located just off the Harmon Creek exit in nearby Weirton.

Come catch some breathtaking scenery of the Ohio Valley and explore the same region as our nation’s forefathers while of course, getting in some much-needed exercise.

If you’re into traveling, then the city of Pittsburgh is always worth the visit. From the majestic way the city’s historic skyline pops into few while exiting the Fort Pitt Tunnels, you know the Steel City has much to offer where the Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela Valleys meet.

Tomlinson Run State Park

From sporting events to historic museums, science centers, cultural sectors, and more, one of America’s fastest-growing and revitalizing cities is just around the corner from Mountaineer.

And don’t forget to check out other local land based casinos such as Rivers (downtown Pittsburgh, located on the North Shore) to the Meadows (Washington County).

Local lore suggests the Ohio Valley and its surrounding area is nothing but a wasteland that evaporated when the steel industry left. Don’t believe it for a second. Instead, the closing doors of the local steel mills opened the doors to a new, more prosperous era.

And the attractions surrounding Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack, and Resort prove that point tenfold.

Conclusion

Yeah, it’s far out given the fact a tiny town like New Cumberland boasts such a hot location like Mountaineer. But hey, Everytown, USA has its crown jewel, and New Cumberland’s is the Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack, and Resort.

So, if you’re traveling by either to Pittsburgh, north to Cleveland, or west toward Columbus, be sure to make a stop at Mountaineer if you’re looking for a good time to hold you over until the next leg of your trip.

And if you’re local, come make the trip to the tip of West Virginia’s northern panhandle. Mountaineer is definitely rocking and you can make the bet that its best days, and the Upper Ohio Valley’s best days, are ahead.

Have you been to Mountaineer or explored some of the local attractions? If so, how did you like the area? Let us know in the comments.

The Most Difficult Parts of Being a Professional Sports Bettor

Frustrated Man With a Money and Sportsbook Background

Making a living through sports gambling seems like a dream come true. Unfortunately, for just about everyone who has ever placed a bet on a sporting event, it’s most likely going to stay that way.

With that being said, despite the difficulties, there are a few among us who have been able to turn their weekend hobby into full-time work. But make no mistake about it, it wasn’t easy.

In this article, I’ll get into the honest accounts that pro sports bettors have given to amateurs throughout when it comes to their profession.

Sports Betting Is Wildly Inconsistent

Imagine if your paycheck was significantly different every week. Now imagine if you actually owed money to your company on a regular basis. That is the financial situation of a professional gambler.

The first step that must be taken before you quit your day job is disqualifying for millions of people who would take up the job of “sports bettor” tomorrow if they could. You must have a very stable financial standing – meaning you’d need to still be able to live and support your family if you didn’t make any money in the first year of your new job.

In all likelihood, there are going to be years where you just don’t win very much money. The hope is that these years will be offset by very lucrative years winning money from sports betting, but that isn’t always the case. The reality is that you just never know how your income is going to look until it hits your bank account.

Ohio Sportsbook

This lack of regularity in terms of payment, and the overall risk of not knowing when (or if) they’ll get a paycheck isn’t for everyone. If you can’t afford to live on no income for a significant amount of time, it’s probably best that you stick to the weekend slate of NFL games and don’t try to bet on sports for a living.

Sports Betting Is More Work Than You’d Think

The majority of amateur sports gamblers make their analysis and picks a few hours before the game. It’s usually the first time they took a deeper look at the numbers, and they rely on some luck in order to grow their sports betting bankroll.

i
Professional sports bettors put in a grueling number of hours and consume all the information possible in order to make the right choice…hopefully around 56% of the time. For some gamblers, the sheer amount of time that betting professionally requires is too much. In many cases, it’s actually more time than you’d put in with a regular nine-to-five gig.

Aside from the amount of time it requires, the systems used to help pro bettors make picks are often extremely complex. It’s for this reason that a high percentage of sharps (professional handicapper) have backgrounds in professions like law, advanced mathematics, and other fields that require a high degree of intelligence.

I’m not saying that you aren’t smart enough to become a professional gambler. I’m simply stating the reality, which is most sharps who have been in the game for a while are probably smarter than you.

Luck Is Still Involved

One thing that I’ve always found interesting is that most gamblers associate casino games more with luck than skill, and when it comes to sports betting, it’s thought of as more skill than luck. I would contend that it should be the exact opposite.

If you’re at a casino, each event has a reliable probability assigned to it. Simply put, casino games are all numbers, and you can calculate what the likelihood of an event happening is and make your bet accordingly. Although there are some numbers involved with sports betting, it’s certainly not as reliable.

Roulette Wheel Closeup

Sports, on the other hand, are much less reliable. In some ways this can be an advantage. For example, you might have an instinct on a certain game that turns out to be correct, despite evidence that would suggest otherwise.

It sounds cliché, but it’s necessary to mention that sports betting revolves around a game that has a significant human element to it. Whereas the roulette ball does not care about where it lands, the athletes competing in sporting events have put their entire lives into winning, and this can’t be overlooked.

All of this rambling is to say that there will never be a “right” or “wrong” play from a statistical standpoint. This presents sports bettors with a unique challenge that casino gamblers, for example, don’t have to deal with – taking human nature into the equation.

Because it’s impossible to know exactly how each team and player is feeling, there is a degree of luck involved. The old adage of “they just wanted it more” still has an impact on sporting events, although it will rarely show up on paper. Sports bettors must try to predict the human element – their paychecks depend on it.

It’s a Long-Term Game

I’ll let you in on a secret – the difference between your betting strategy and the betting strategy of professionals is that you’re looking to win the weekend, they’re looking to win long-term.

Sportsbooks know that the vast majority of gamblers aren’t going to have the stomach to take risks because it will put them in a hole. What sharps realize is that over the course of several years (and thousands of bets), risk-tolerance is rewarded.

Betting for value is something that gets overlooked all the time by amateurs. Instead of looking at the money column, they simply want to win the bet. The trick to being profitable in the end is to recognize that your wins should cover your losses, and then some, even if you lose more than you win.

To get a little more specific, this philosophy means taking more moneyline underdogs, hardly ever taking heavy favorites, and spotting those bets that the public seems to under-value. You need to accept that you’ll likely lose more times than you’ll win, but that doesn’t matter if you’re able to hit on a handful of games with longer odds.

Most people aren’t looking to take a long-term approach to sports gambling – and that’s okay. But just know that those who do it for a living couldn’t sustain success any other way.

It’s Extremely Stressful

If you think your job is hard, imagine watching a rookie kicker line up for a 50-yard field goal knowing that whether or not you’ll make any money this week depends on the result.

It sounds fun in theory, but when it’s your actual life circumstance, it’s more stressful than anything else.

When you rely on the performance of other people for your income, anxious feelings can be overwhelming. Whereas in a typical day job you’re the one who determines your success, in sports betting, you can only do so much.

NFL Panthers Kicker

If you look at famous sports bettors, it’s likely they’ve suffered some type of hardship associated with the means by which they made a living. It’s a rollercoaster ride that few can manage for more than a couple years at a time.

A comparison that might help illustrate the point can be seen if you look at the life of someone who makes money investing [read: betting on] in the stock market. The highs and lows, and general unpredictability, leads to high degrees of stress throughout the industry.

With all of that said, there is an undoubtedly addicting nature to the excitement that most people can only imagine.

Conclusion

Quitting your day job in hopes of becoming a professional sports bettor is not something many people can realistically do. Perhaps that’s a good thing.

Instead, sticking to the Saturday and Sunday slate of football games is more than enough excitement. It might not be as high stake, but the mortgage payment isn’t going to get missed if there’s an injury to a key player in the middle of the game.

Simple Ways to Stay Clean, Healthy, and Safe Whenever You Gamble at a Casino

Hand Sanitizer and Casino Poker Image

Even in the best of times, spending an extended period of time in any casino exposes one to bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other germs spread by close contact. From the felt underneath your fingertips to the chips in the palm of your hand, surfaces inside a crowded casino tend to accumulate all sorts of muck and grime.

Thankfully, casino operators are taking additional steps toward sanitization, but you can still do your part to protect yourself. Whether you’re worried about the arrival of flu season, or you simply want to stay clean and safe while playing, here are six simple methods to make it happen.

Use Hand Sanitizer to Clean Your Hands After Touching Chips

Back in 2007, when every gambler and their mother could be found playing real money poker, Bluff magazine commissioned a unique study on germs in the casino.

Specifically, the Bluff team wanted to know what sort of harmful microorganisms could be found on the average poker chip. The magazine connected with microbiologist Brian Hedlund from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV), who then secured several chips from various poker rooms around Sin City.

After swabbing the samples and letting the life forms found incubate for a few days, Hedlund reported startling results. According to his analysis, the average chip you use to place bets contains 3,000 unique microorganisms, while one particularly disgusting chip maxed out at over 5,000.

Poker Chips From Montreal

These germs ranged from the relatively harmless to dangerous microorganisms like staphylococcus and bacillus cereus, which cause staph infections and food poisoning, respectively. Hedlund’s team even identified the pathogen responsible for antibiotic resistant staph infections known as MRSA.

Before you give up on casino gambling forever, Hedlund did advise hesitant players to remember that these germs are already everywhere. As he put it in the Bluff report, your hands naturally hold hundreds of millions of microorganisms which are naturally occurring and largely harmless.

Nonetheless, adding certain germs to your hands’ existing petri dish isn’t exactly a great idea nowadays…

i
The smart play is to stock up on alcohol-based hand sanitizer before you head out to play table games or poker. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should check the label to confirm your sanitizer has either 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol.

These percentages, combined with regular use and a 30-second scrub, ensure any germs you absorb from casino chips are dead on arrival.

The key with chip transmission prevention is to stay vigilant and avoid complacency. Sanitize your hands after initially buying chips, then do it again every 15 minutes or so as you enjoy the game. To wrap things up, use hot water and antibacterial soap for a final handwash once you’re back home or in the hotel room.

Clip Your Fingernails and Keep Them Short Throughout the Trip

Spend enough time playing casino table games and you’ll inevitably notice that the ends of your fingernails have changed color from clear to black.

This happens when you pick up chips, cards, or dice from a felted table over and over again. As you do, your fingernails scrape along the surface of the felt and drag all sorts of gunk along with them. For the most part, this debris contains tiny pieces of lint that the felt leaves behind after wear and tear.

Based on what we know about the cleanliness of casino chips, you can bet stuff like dead skin particles, food crumbs, cigarette ashes, and plain old dirt are embedded in casino tables, too.

I hate having to clean my fingernails after a long session on the tables, so I take the preventative step by clipping them nice and short before I play my first hand. The shorter, the better in my book!

Lately, I’ve been in the habit of clipping my nails before and after a table game session. That way, whatever dirt does manage to accumulate promptly ends up in the waste bin.

Use Sanitizing Wipes for Slot and Video Poker Machines

If chips are the dirtiest surface you can find at a casino, the screens and buttons found on gaming machines are the clear runner-up.

On any given day, hundreds of people will sit down at a machine to try their luck. And every last one of these people uses their fingertips to tap the screen or press buttons while they play.

Player View of Video Poker Bar Game

The casinos are supposed to be sanitizing machine surfaces with regularity these days, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. When you have a few packs of alcohol-based sanitizing wipes in your bag, you can easily take a few moments to scrub your machine down.

Make sure to hit the screen, the buttons, the pull lever, and the slot where bills or players club cards are deposited. Let the sanitizer do its work and dry up for a minute or so, then feel free to sit back and enjoy your favorite machine free from worry.

Always Use a Straw for Drinks

Enjoying a nice beverage while you gamble it up is a time-honored tradition on the casino floor.

You might be sipping on a latte from Starbucks, a cold beer from the sports bar, or a Jack and Coke delivered by the cocktail waitress. But drinking and playing go hand in hand. Rather than press your lips to the cup or glass, however, it’s best to use a straw to form a buffer zone of sorts.

After all, you don’t know how well that glass was washed or if somebody else has had their mouth on it recently. Knowing this, a straw offers a surefire way of avoiding any secondhand contact that can spread germs.

Fortunately, cocktail servers in any land based casino worth its salt will have their trays stocked up with straws. Even better, I recommend bringing your own personal metal straw along to cut out the middleman.

Steer Clear of Smoke

I’ve always adopted this tactic when I walk around the casino because I hate the smell of cigarette and cigar smoke.

But in light of what we’ve learned about the flu and other airborne transmission, avoiding any lingering smoke is simply common sense. Secondhand smoke is dangerous in its own right, so when exhaled germs are factored in, areas with heavy smoke can become one of the dirtiest places in any casino.

Wear a Cloth Mask Whenever You’re Close to Other People

Back in the day, wearing a mask within the casino was considered a definite no-no. Gaming regulations prevented gamblers from covering their faces, as doing so essentially erased the impact of that ever present “eye in the sky.”

People Playing Roulette Wearing Masks

Those days are over though, and the next time you enter a casino, you’ll likely be asked to wear a simple cloth mask just to cover your nose and mouth. Listen, I get it… Masks can be uncomfortable and unwieldy while you’re playing, especially during the stifling summer months in Las Vegas.

Even so, they’re one of the easiest ways to avoid catching the flu and other infectious diseases. If staying clean and safe is a priority for you, adding a mask to your gambling gear is a no-brainer.

Conclusion

Staying healthy when gambling has never been more important, but that doesn’t mean you have to abandon your favorite casino altogether. Between the additional steps taken by operators to protect guests, and the helpful tips found above, anybody can navigate the casino floor without worrying about catching the flu or some other illness.

Washing your hands after handling chips and scrubbing down slot machines may seem like a burden at first, but you’ll adjust to the habit in no time flat. And when everybody adds these preventative measures to their casino routine, the whole place becomes cleaner and safer as a result.

7 Steps to Developing a Good Strategy as a New Poker Player

Strategy Spelled With Blocks With a Poker Background

Learning how to play poker is a breeze. But learning how to play quality poker and win money is another story entirely. The process of becoming a competent poker player requires a few things from gamblers. The most important of those elements is a sound, effective strategy.

Unlike other casino games like blackjack, poker strategy can vary between players. As you continue to advance and improve as a player, you’ll most likely come across various strategic approaches to the game. Some people argue that one type of strategy is superior to others. I tend to disagree. As long as a strategy works for you, it can be as effective as any other type.

Strategy will come through time and continuous play. To help find one that works for you, here are six steps to develop a sound strategy as a real money poker player.

1 ‒ Understand the Rules of the Game

The first thing any aspiring poker player needs to do is learn how to play the game in question. There are several varieties of poker available to gamblers, and it’s on you to decide which one to play. There’s no right answer when it comes to selecting a style of poker. But it’s worth mentioning that Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and Seven-Card Stud are the most popular.

As I said in the introduction, learning to play poker isn’t complicated. Most games are somewhat similar to each other, and the rules will begin to make sense over time. The intricacies of the game can be more complex. For example, table position is something that intermediate poker players can still struggle with.

Poker Dealer Dealing Cards

Once you have a solid base of information to rely on, your development should be rapid. The learning process never stops, so don’t become complacent once you learn the rules. You should always strive to improve your poker game if you want to eventually become a winning player.

2 ‒ Figure Out Your Personality Type

When you first start playing, more experienced players will be able to detect your inexperience. That’s why it’s crucial to play according to your strengths. When developing a strategy, it’s important to model it off of your personality. If you’re more passive, then you should consider developing a passive style of play.

If you consider yourself more extroverted or aggressive, you can also be more aggressive at the tables. Having said that, it’s important to toe the line between being too passive and too aggressive at the tables.

Unless you are capable of masking your poker tells, playing according to your personality will help you in the long run. Savvy veterans will most likely be able to detect your style of play at some point. If you’re fluctuating in and out of your artificial in-game personality, other players might be able to eat you alive. You need to be relaxed and comfortable during a game of poker. So, do whatever you can to make that a reality.

3 ‒ Find Out If You Can Bluff

I hate when beginners try to implement bluffing into their game. Most new players are terrible at bluffing or don’t know when it’s appropriate to try to bluff. But when done correctly, bluffing can be a great tool to possess.

The easiest way to find out if you can bluff well is to ask if you’re a good liar. If you can lie effectively, you’ll most likely be a good bluffer. If you can’t keep a straight face, you’re going to struggle. For those of you who don’t think it’s a realistic possibility, don’t worry. There are other ways to win at poker than bluffing.

California Poker Game Table

A skill that’s even more important than bluffing is being able to spot someone who is bluffing. This is a skill that will translate to major wins at some point during your poker career. As you continue to develop, you should train yourself to spot other players’ tells. If you’re playing with other beginners, that shouldn’t be too hard. Like I said, beginners are typically horrible at bluffing.

4 ‒ Try Different In-Game Tactics

There are several different styles of play available for use. Each style has a variety of methods and in-game tactics that comprise a base strategy. One of the best ways to find a useful technique is to model it after a proven style of play.

When you’re deciding how you should approach a particular game of poker, there are a few things you should consider. Most importantly, that’s whether you should be passive or aggressive. Most players fall into four different categories: loose-passive, tight-passive, loose-aggressive, or tight-aggressive.

Each basic style has its benefits and pitfalls. When you’re first starting to play, consider adopting a style that is most comparable to tight-aggressive. This means you’ll only play around 20% of your hands, but you’ll play them aggressively.

5 ‒ Be Patient

It seems commonplace that gamblers will breeze through the learning process before becoming dejected. That’s because they often plateau after figuring out how to play the game. Wins will come eventually, but poker is incredibly challenging.

A problem that arises with new gamblers is that they are unable to keep their expectations grounded. New poker players who have experience gambling think they have a good shot of winning money playing poker. This ideology comes from spending time playing table games like blackjack and craps.

The difference between casino table games and poker is that you’re playing against other gamblers instead of the house. While the average poker player isn’t necessarily worthy of a spot in the World Series of Poker, experience usually prevails. This is especially true when they’re playing against beginners.

If you find yourself getting frustrated early on, make sure to stay the course and be patient. As I said earlier, the learning process never stops and the only way to fight through plateaus is to press on.

6 ‒ Practice Makes Perfect

You can do all the reading in the world to help you get better at poker. But the best way to see rapid growth and development is to practice playing poker. Earlier, I mentioned the most common varieties of poker. It’s essential to select a popular game, so you have people to play.

If you select a less popular form of poker, you’ll be relegated to playing online exclusively. I see no issue with trying to hone your skills online. That might be the best way to figure out how the game is played. But in-person poker is the best version for a variety of reasons.

WSOP.Com Online Poker Game

First of all, sitting in front of a computer screen takes away half the fun of poker. In-person poker forces you to react to other players’ bets, tactics, and peculiarities in real-time. There’s no way of knowing if someone is bluffing online. But, in person, you might be able to detect a tick or a tell.

An additional benefit of playing in person is that you’ll come into your own as a player. Before you even think of playing for real money, it’s crucial to play several low-stakes games. As I said earlier, more experienced players will pick up on your lack of play and tear you to shreds. Whatever method you choose, practicing might be the most important and effective way to develop a good poker strategy.

Conclusion

If you’re thinking about getting serious about poker, you’ve made a great decision. Poker is one of the most exciting and popular types of games amongst gamblers. Unlike other games at the casino, though, you’re going to be competing against other bettors. This has its pros and cons.

While winning a poker tournament can be incredibly profitable, putting yourself in a position to win is an uphill battle. To do this, new players must develop a strategy that works for them. Before you go any further, make sure you know the rules inside and out. You must understand the basic rules, the flow of the game, and table position.

As you try to settle into an effective strategy, consider playing according to your personality type. It will make your development as a player more streamlined and improve your chances of winning. Decide if you’re capable of bluffing, but don’t use that as a crutch as you continue to play. Better and more experienced gamblers will most likely be able to spot your bluff from a mile away.

Try to be patient as you grow as a player. Gambling is hard, and there’s no reason to get discouraged too early. Finally, the best way to excel with your new strategy is to practice as much as possible. Before you sit down to play for serious money, make sure to play in a casual setting so you’ll feel more comfortable with your style of play.

The California Casino Scene

California State Image With a Casino Background

When I think of states with a lot of casinos or a lot of gambling, California isn’t the first one to come to mind. In my mind, people from California who want to gamble usually go to Nevada to visit Las Vegas.

But, as it turns out, the California casino scene is poppin’. You can find over 60 different casinos throughout the state.

In this post, I provide an overview of what the California gambling scene is really like.

An Overview of the California Casino Scene

When it comes to overall number of casinos in the state, California is #2 – right after Nevada. It’s not really close, though. California has somewhere north of 60 casinos in operation, while Nevada has around 350 different casinos.

Still, 60+ casinos is an impressive number.

Poker is a big deal in California, and there are as many (or more) cardrooms in the state as casinos.

The two biggest casinos in California are:

You can gamble at the age of 18 in the state of California, although some casinos have policies to only allow 21+ year old gamblers. That’s not a state law, though – that seems to just be a corporate policy for some casinos.

California doesn’t just have casinos and cardrooms, though – the state also has at least 10 parimutuel racetracks, too.

Most of the casinos and gambling in California are tribal in nature.

Types of Gambling Allowed in California

If you want to run a casino in California, you need to be involved in a Native American tribe. No one else is allowed to run casinos in the state. Native American tribes are considered more-or-less independent nations within the United States, and they have specific agreements with state governments (called “compacts” which govern their affairs.

In many states, these compacts include the right to operate casinos as long as the money goes toward the welfare of the tribe. I guess the United States figures it’s the least they can do, considering.

In California, these casinos have a limited amount of freedom in terms of what they can offer. Electronic gaming machines – like slots and video poker — are allowed. Blackjack and other card games are also permitted.

California High Limit Slots

Games which use dice and spinning wheels, like craps and roulette, are not legal in the state. As you’ll read later in this post, California has workarounds for these restrictions.

In many states where Indian tribes are allowed to offer slot machines, state law requires them to release their payback statistics. This is NOT the case with California casinos. Your guess as to the slots payback percentages for these casinos is as good as anyone else’s.

Many of the casinos in California are smaller operates, especially in Southern California.

But the state has its share of large casinos, too.

Cardrooms are almost ubiquitous in the state, too, and they often operate independently of any casino. Some cardrooms even offer player-banked versions of blackjack. There are almost 100 cardrooms throughout the state.

California Craps and California Roulette

Since it’s illegal to use dice or spinning wheels to determine outcomes of gambling games in California, the casinos there have come up with workarounds to get outcomes for games that mirror craps and roulette. These “California craps” and “California roulette” games use a deck of cards to duplicate the odds of traditional craps and roulette.

(Oklahoma used to do the same thing until they changed the laws recently.)

Here’s how that works, although the actual mechanisms sometimes vary by casino:

In some casinos, they will take cards numbered ace through six from two different suits and draw a card of each suit to get a craps total. The odds this way are exactly the same as they would be if you rolled two dice. You still have the same 36 possible outcomes with the same odds of achieving each of them.

California Craps Game

Another way some casinos determine these results is to use a deck of cards with 36 cards in it. Each of those cards is coded to correspond to one of the possible outcomes of a pair of dice.

Some people might be confused about this. After all, if you roll two dice, you only have 11 possible totals.

But some of those totals are more common than others because you have multiple ways to get those totals.

For example, a total of seven is the easiest total to get in craps because you can roll any of the following combinations to get that total:

  • 1, 6
  • 2, 5
  • 3, 4
  • 4, 3
  • 5, 2
  • 6, 1

And yes, the order does matter.

California roulette is easier to understand. In a standard roulette game, you have 38 possible outcomes – one for each number on the wheel.

When you’re playing roulette in California, those 38 outcomes are determined by drawing a card from a deck consisting of – you guessed it – 38 cards. These California roulette games use automatic continuous shuffling machines.

Without the rolling of the dice or the spinning of the wheel, craps and roulette lose some of their appeal. They’re still offered by California casinos, but they’re not exactly popular. Most gamblers enjoy playing blackjack for real money, and since that’s perfectly legal the way it was intended to be played, that’s where the casino devotes most of its table gaming space in California.

Can You Gamble Online in California?

Even though traditional brick-and-mortar cardrooms and casinos are common enough throughout the state, there is no official, regulated online gambling scene in the state. There are no online casinos or online cardrooms operating within California’s borders.

You can, theoretically, play at any number of offshore casinos and poker rooms from California.

I try to restrain my opinions about the legality of that from a player perspective. It’s clear that it’s a grey area for these offshore casinos to offer casino games, poker, and sports betting for California gamblers.

It’s not clear what is the legality for California gamblers to play at these sites, though. In fact, I know of exactly zero instances of an online gambler getting in any kind of trouble for placing real money wagers of any kind on the internet.

What Is San Manuel Casino Like?

San Manuel Casino is in Highland, California and requires its patrons to be 21 years old or older to enter. It’s the largest casino in the state and easily one of the most popular. They’re open 24/7.

Highland is a little over an hour outside of Los Angeles. They offer slot machines and traditional table card games. They just renovated their non-smoking area in the casino, too.

San Manuel Casino in California

Like many casinos, San Manuel organizes their gaming into various areas. The Rockin’ Casino, for example, has over 800 new slot machines and 16 table games. It’s designed to have a rock and roll feel. The high limit room, on the other hand, offers a newly-renovated casino experience at the upper betting limits – both slots and card games.

San Manuel has a lucrative arrangement with Konami and boasts of having more Konami games than any other casino in the world. They also offer over 130 different tables of casino games – mostly blackjack.

Finally, the Lotus Palace is an Asian-themed casino gambling area with baccarat and Asian-inspired slots.

What Is Thunder Valley Casino Resort Like?

Thunder Valley Casino Resort is located in Lincoln, California, and they’re open 24/7. The casino offers 3000 different gambling machines, including some big name slots like the following:

  • Farmville
  • Lightning Link
  • Lock It Link Superlock
  • Quick Hits
  • Triple Diamond
  • Wizard of Oz Munchkinland

They offer slot machine gambling at all betting limits, too, from penny slots to $100 per spin.

All the slot machines in the casino tie into their Thunder Strike Jackpot, which has a payout of between $50k and $100k.

They also offer a robust selection of casino games, including:

  • Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Blackjack Switch
  • Chase the Flush
  • Criss Cross
  • DJ Wild
  • Face Up Pai Gow Poker
  • Fortune Pai Gow Progressive
  • Four Card Poker
  • Free Bet Blackjack
  • Mystery Card Roulette
  • Spanish 21
  • Three Card Poker
  • Thunder Valley Craps
  • Ultimate Texas Hold’em
  • Zappit Blackjack

Their “Thunder Valley Craps” is another example of California Craps. In this version, the craps table has a red box and a blue box. You toss the cubes on the table, and the number of dots on the cube corresponds to a card. That card determines the craps total.

“Mystery Card Roulette” works just like any other California roulette game – you draw a card from a deck of 38 cards, and it determines which roulette number was the winner.

Conclusion

California is a big state for gamblers – especially casino gamblers and poker players. You can’t find any place to bet on sports here, yet, and online gambling is more-or-less off-limits.

But there are enough casinos in the state that you can easily scratch that itch.

The state laws allow you to gamble even if you’re only 18, but many of the casinos require you to be 21 to gamble as a policy.

The Most Important Days in Las Vegas History – Part I: From Settlement to The Strip

Welcome to Las Vegas Sign With a Vintage Vegas Background

The city of Las Vegas was officially founded 115 years ago, and since that historic day, the Silver State has never been the same. Over the span of more than a century, Las Vegas has been transformed many times over.

The original dusty outpost scratched out of the Mojave Desert sands eventually gave way to a boom town fueled by construction on the nearby Hoover Dam. Workers with a gambling itch to scratch soon gave enterprising entrepreneurs every reason to open barebones casinos. And the rest, as they say, is history. Keep reading to learn about seven of the most important days in the illustrious history of Las Vegas.

May 3rd, 1844 – Explorer John C. Fremont “Discovers” Las Vegas

More than 60 years before the city was founded, an intrepid outdoorsman by the name of John C. Fremont led a band of 40 fellow explorers westward from Missouri to the shores of the Pacific.

Fremont and his party – which included fellow Nevada landmark namesake to be Kit Carson –eventually, reached their objective before circling southbound to see what they might find. That return journey led Fremont and Co. through what is known today as the Las Vegas Valley.

Portrait of John C. Fremont

In his diary – titled “Map of an Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains in the Year 1842 and to Oregon & North California in the Years 1843-44” – Fremont described the relatively moist meadows he laid eyes on for the first time:

“After a day’s journey of 18 miles in a direction we encamped in the midst of another very basin at a camping ground called Las Vegas, a term the Spaniards use to signify fertile or marshy plains in contradistinction to llanos which they apply to dry plains.”

Antiquated language aside, Fremont’s documentation of “The Meadows” (which translates to “Las Vegas” in Spanish) formed the foundation for the area’s eventual settlement by American pioneers.

Fremont went on to live an adventurous and ambitious life that ended in 1890 at the ripe old age of 77, but not before writing descriptions of Las Vegas which beckoned settlers to stake their claim.

And that they did, as a flood of Americans seeking their fortune arrived to establish the camps which would eventually become incorporated in 1911.

Fremont’s legacy is a proud one among the locals today, and his name adorns the Downtown district hotspot Fremont Street where Sin City’s gambling history truly began.

January 13, 1906 – Hotel Nevada Opens as Las Vegas’ First Casino

The rough and tumble settlers who scratched out a living in Las Vegas’ early days certainly gambled in their spare time, playing stud poker and shooting dice in an informal manner.

But until John F. Miller constructed the Hotel Nevada at 1 Fremont Street on this momentous date, Las Vegas lacked a proper brick and mortar casino as we know them today. Unfortunately for Miller, just three years would pass before the the Nevada Legislature voted 27-20 to ban gambling as an illegal activity throughout the state.

Vintage Hotel Nevada Photo

At that time, Secretary Hooper of the Reno Anti-Gambling League told the Reno Evening Gazette that only house-banked games of chance were in the group’s crosshairs:

“We do not intend to try and prohibit horse racing in Nevada or the selling of pools, neither do we intend to try and prohibit friendly bridge games, whist games, poker games and games of hearts played in the homes.

But we do intend to try and have the Nevada legislature pass a law that will prohibit all percentage games in this state.”

Miller took the bad beat in stride, focusing on his thriving hotel operation while the gaming tables collected dust in storage.

Thankfully for him, and the rest of us for that matter, the state Legislature had a change of heart 22 years down the road.

March 19, 1931 – Legal Gambling Returns to Las Vegas

By this time, gambling was far from gone along Fremont Street and the rest of Las Vegas.

No, the card sharps and craps enthusiasts simply did what most Americans did during periods of prohibition – they kept enjoying their vices while ducking the long arm of the law. Gambling halls and saloon-style “bank clubs” still drew plenty of patronage while the industry was still illegal in the state.

The only thing is, Nevada didn’t collect a dime in taxes on this illicit, yet utterly ongoing, exchange of cash and coins.

To remedy the lack of enforcement and taxation, a band of legislative leaders came up with a bold plan to bring Nevada back into the fold – legalize “wide open” gambling once more. The votes came down 24 to 11 in favor and the deal was sealed, an accomplishment commemorated by J.G. Scrugham in his Nevada State Journal:

“By vote of the legislature and with the support of the state administration, Nevada is embarking upon an era of what may be termed ‘legalized liberality.’”

Spotting a golden opportunity to get back in the gambling game, Miller changed the Hotel Nevada’s name to “Sal Sagev,” or Las Vegas spelled backward.

By 1941, the oddly named Sal Sagev casino was joined by El Cortez, which holds the honor of being Las Vegas’ longest continuously operated casino. The Golden Nugget joined the Fremont Street family five years later, and the name was certainly appropriate given the casino gold rush to come.

Vintage Golden Gate Casino and Hotel

Speaking of gold, the Sal Sagev was later renamed Golden Gate Hotel & Casino. This iconic link to Las Vegas history is still open for business today, making it the oldest casino building in the entire state.

In an honorable mention of sorts, President Herbert Hoover ordered construction to begin on a massive hydroelectric dam on the Nevada / Arizona border this very same month. You may have heard of it too, as the Hoover Dam wound up providing the electrical power needed to fuel Las Vegas’ explosive growth in the coming years.

December 26, 1946 – The First Major Casino on The Strip “The Fabulous Flamingo”

Technically speaking, the first gambling hall erected on Las Vegas Boulevard a few miles south of Downtown was the El Rancho Vegas.

But that tiny venue, which opened on April 3rd, 1941, was nothing more than a one-story cabin with a few dozen hotel rooms. Sure, the El Rancho Vegas did have a few modern amenities such as a swimming pool and a showroom, but the casino only held four table games in total.

For that reason, the casino first dubbed The Fabulous Flamingo takes this spot in the list.

Known today as Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, the bright pink casino resort put its competitors to shame when it opened five years after El Rancho Vegas. And for good reason too.

Benefiting from a multimillion-dollar investment made by a syndicate of New York mob bosses, the 105-room Flamingo was billed as “The West’s Greatest Resort Hotel.” Under the stewardship of Big Apple born gangster turned casino operator Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, the Flamingo spared no expense.

That is to say, Siegel’s financial backers behind the Italian-Jewish National Crime Syndicate spared no expense…

Las Vegas Flamingo in the 1950s

Having strongarmed the ownership rights to the Flamingo away from its helpless operator, Siegel – a notorious mob hitman who spearheaded “Murder Inc.” alongside Meyer Lansky – wanted his casino to be the best in town. But after going wildly over budget, and making a fatal blunder by opening the casino before his hotel was complete, Siegel drew the mob’s ire.

When his promises of steady profits and a tremendous return on their investment failed to materialize, Siegel was rubbed out by a machine gun wielding assassin just one year later.

The Flamingo survived though, establishing the template for luxurious full-scale casino resorts that now defines The Strip the world over.

Conclusion

That does it for the first 100 years or so of Las Vegas’ history as the world’s casino gambling capital. And as you can see, the trail blazed by Sin City’s original settlers had as many twists and turns as the Colorado River which turns the Hoover Dam’s enormous turbines.

Casino gambling went from a grey market to explicitly banned, and back to a thriving legal industry, in the span of just 22 years. To find out when the rest of Las Vegas’ most important historical milestones took place, check out part two here.

5 Steps to Winning Your First MLB Wager

MLB Dodgers and Braves Players With a Money Background

It’s not the end of the world if you don’t win your first Major League Baseball wager, but it’s always good to get started with a win. And it’s not too hard to use a few simple strategies to improve your odds of winning your first MLB bet.

To become a long term winning MLB gambler you need to use every strategy that you can, and the five steps on this page are going to help you win your first wager and you can continue using them in the future.

Here are five simple steps to win your first MLB wager.

1 – Home Teams

The number one thing you can do to help you win your first MLB wager is bet on a team playing at home. Look at the home and road records for each team in the league and you can quickly see that teams play better at home than they do on the road.

The top teams in the league are more dominant at home than the worst teams, but even the teams in at the bottom of the standings play better at home than on the road.

But right now you’re just trying to win your first MLB wager, so look at all of the top 15 teams in the Majors to see which teams are playing at home. This is your first step.

Now that you’ve identified these teams, look at each of their home records. Now look at the road records for each team playing against these home teams.

Now you have a good idea of which home teams with a winning record are playing the worst teams on the road. This gives you a good place to start. When you use the other steps on this page, one or two wagering opportunities are going to stand out as better than the rest for your first bet.

2 – Starting Pitchers

The next step is to look at the pitching staff for each team in the games you identified using the first step. Look at how each starting pitcher has performed overall for the current season as well as how they pitched in the previous two or three starts.

When you look at the previous starts, look at how many pitches they threw, how many innings they pitched, and how well they were able to perform in the late innings compared to the early innings.

Winning home teams with a strong starting pitcher facing weak teams with a weak starting pitcher are prime opportunities for a winning wager.

MLB Tampa Bay Rays

You want to stack as many things in your favor as possible to win your first MLB wager. When you find a strong home team with a good pitcher facing a losing road team with a weak pitcher, you’re stacking almost everything you can in your favor.

Of course, when things line up like this the sportsbooks know it too. When the sportsbooks see games like this, they set their lines accordingly. But at this point you’re just trying to find a good betting opportunity, so don’t worry about the lines. You’re going to learn more about the best lines to place a wager on in the next section.

At this point you should have at least one good wagering opportunity. Hopefully you have two or three good possibilities. Use the rest of the steps listed below to narrow your choice down to a single great opportunity.

3 – Moneyline or Run Line

The sportsbooks set many different types of lines for MLB games, but when you’re focused on winning your first wager you only need to consider two lines. You need to look at the moneyline and the run line.

The moneyline is simple, and it’s the line that you’re most likely to use to win your first wager. When you place a moneyline wager all you have to have happen to win your bet is for the team you placed a wager on to win.

i
When you pick a team that’s likely to win using the moneyline you have to pay a price. You might end up betting on a moneyline of – 210 or – 250 or something like that. A moneyline with a negative number means that you have to wager that much to win $100.

Using the two examples above, you need to wager $210 to win $100, or $250 to win $100. Depending on how much money you have to place wagers, this might seem like a lot to risk. But you don’t have to bet that much.

You can wager $21 to win $10 or $25 to win $10. Basically you can wager any amount you feel comfortable with, and the sportsbook calculates how much you can win based on their lines.

The run line usually has one team getting 1 ½ runs and the other team giving 1 ½ runs. The run line also has a positive or negative number. For your first wager, stick with the moneyline. The only reason I introduced run lines is because eventually you’re going to use them to find value MLB wagering opportunities.

4 – Use the Splits

One of the worst MLB betting mistakes is ignoring split statistics. Each team and player performs different at home and away and against right hand and left hand competition. The overall stats are what most people look at, but they’re not of much value when you’re trying to win a wager.

In the first section you looked for games with strong home teams facing weak road teams. In the second section you started looking at the starting pitchers for each of these games. Now take this a step more and look at the splits for each team and each starting pitcher.

Look at the position players that are most likely to start and see what their splits look like for the pitcher they’re going to face.

MLB Houston Astros Celebrating

If the home starting pitcher is right handed, look at how each of the position players on the opposing team hits against right handed pitching. Look at basting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage.

You can look at more stats than these, and even use newer stats like wins above replacement, but using the three base statistics is the best place to start.

At this point you should have a clear picture of the best game and team to place a wager on. Place a small moneyline wager on the home team with the best chance to win. You have a very good chance to win your wager if you’ve followed the first four steps.

5 – Home Series Strategy

The first four steps are all you need to win your first MLB wager. But I’m going to give you an MLB betting trick that gives you an even bigger edge.

The best teams in MLB don’t get swept at home. In fact, it’s rare for these teams to lose two games in a row at home.

This means that if you go back to the first step and add one more thing to your selection criteria that your chance of winning goes up.

When you’re looking at the home teams that are the best in the league playing a weak team, look at the home teams that lost their last home game.

You’re not going to find this perfect situation every day on the schedule, so you might have to wait a few days before you place your first wager. But when you find a strong team playing at home that lost their last home game facing a weak road team and the home pitcher is better than the road pitcher, you have as close to a sure thing as you’re ever going to find.

Of course, there are no sure things in MLB gambling, but this gives you the absolute best chance to win your first MLB wager.

Conclusion

Don’t panic if you don’t win your first MLB wager. Even if you don’t win your first two or three wagers, there’s no need to panic. Even the best MLB gamblers have losing streaks of three or more games from time to time.

The main thing to focus on is finding value and making as many wagers with value as you can. As long as you make more value wagers than non value wagers, the wins and losses will take care of themselves and eventually turn out on your side.

However, if you use the five steps on this page you have a good chance to win your first MLB wager. And if you hit a sport of bad luck and lose your first bet, the odds are even better you’re going to win your second bet using these steps.

Pros and Cons of Decentralized Sports Betting

Person Holding Cash With Thumbs Up and Down Graphics

Internet sportsbooks have traditionally run the online betting industry. They set odds, collect wagers from gamblers, and pay winners.

Online bookmakers continue to dominate the betting world. Given the industry’s success, the status quo should continue into the foreseeable future.

However, decentralized betting brings a new challenger into the ring. It presents sports gambling in a new light that doesn’t involve traditional bookmakers. Instead, bettors essentially control the industry.

This new betting industry model sounds great in theory. After all, what gambler wouldn’t mind cutting out the bookmakers and their high vig!?

However, there are both pros and cons to consider with decentralized betting. The following guide discusses both sides of the matter.

What Is Decentralized Betting?

Decentralized betting features open-source code and operates on blockchain technology. The open-source code allows any developer to work on and improve the platform.

Blockchain is key to the decentralized aspect. It allows a sports gambling platform to run without the need for central operators (e.g. sportsbook management).

Three types of decentralized betting platforms exist:

  • Those that offer sports and esports betting
  • Platforms that are specifically made for developers to build on
  • Those that feature prediction markets, where gamblers can bet on virtually anything (e.g. Oscars, the weather)

All of these types of platforms have one thing in common: they offer betting without the need for a third party.

Gamblers create their own markets, much like a betting exchange. Other gamblers can then place wagers on the available odds, or even create new markets if they don’t like what’s available.

Advantages of Decentralized Betting

Decentralized sports wagering has come about for a reason or rather, several reasons. Here are the main benefits to this type of gambling.

No Centralized Authority

Anybody can place bets with their friends without the need for a third party. For example, you could make a $25 wager with your friend on the Super Bowl winner.

Ideally, this is how all sports gambling would be conducted. It would involve people placing bets amongst each other with no vig (a.k.a. juice) taken out.

Liquidity is the key problem here, though. Either you or your friends will eventually get tired of placing bets. Or somebody amongst your party will want either higher or lower stakes.

Digital Image of Earth Connections

The available betting pool is low when you gamble with buddies. Online sportsbooks serve a purpose by connecting gamblers across a larger region.

Of course, the problem here is that betting sites also have a great deal of control over the industry. They collectively determine the odds and take vig out of each wager.

You may not like the odds and/or the markets offered in your region. Nevertheless, you simply have to take what the available bookmakers provide.

Decentralized betting differs in this manner. Again, you and other sports gamblers determine the odds and markets covered.

Low Fees (Vig)

Most bookmakers do their best to avoid gouging gamblers on the juice. After all, they have competition that could easily steal customers by offering lower vig.

Nevertheless, sportsbooks collect around 5% juice (10% from the losing side) on average from the sum of wagers. This extra 5% cuts into a bettor’s profit margin.

Gamblers would prefer to reduce the bookie’s 5% commission. However, it’s rather standard for sportsbooks to earn around a nickel on every dollar wagered.

Decentralized gambling platforms, on the other hand, take out much smaller fees. They generally only collect around 1% or less from the sum of all bets.

This 1% doesn’t go towards lining the founders’ pockets. Instead, it serves as a network fee that covers the developers’ work and any potential master nodes.

No Restricted Countries

Due to laws in the jurisdictions where they operate, betting sites must restrict certain countries and territories. For example, a bookmaker that only operates with a license from the UK Gambling Commission must ban everybody outside of the UK.

It’s perfectly reasonable for internet sportsbooks to follow laws in their place of operation. Regardless, you probably don’t enjoy being barred from many markets.

Decentralized platforms don’t come with the same restrictions. Given that they don’t have central operators, they also avoid banning any countries.

Transparent Bets

The online bookmaking industry is largely trustworthy. After all, word quickly spreads around the internet about any rogue operators.

Nevertheless, not every gambler has complete faith in a betting site located hundreds or even thousands of miles away. They may be suspicious that a bookmaker won’t honor a big win.

The same fear doesn’t come about with decentralized gambling. The latter even gives you the means to verify the authenticity of wagers using blockchain technology.

Deposits Go Through With 100% Success

Some countries have restrictive betting laws that make it hard to place deposits. When making online deposits in the US, for example, some banks even reject debit and credit card deposits in perfectly legal online gambling markets.

i
Decentralized betting sites don’t rely on traditional banking methods, such as credit cards, e-wallets, and bank transfers. Instead, they accept cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, Litecoin, and Monero.

These cryptocurrencies are all decentralized as well. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about a bank rejecting your Bitcoin deposit since they have no control over it.

You Won’t Get Banned

Bookmakers have a reputation for banning winning bettors. The general thinking is that they ban people just for making profits.

This thought isn’t entirely true. Online sportsbooks usually only prohibit gamblers who win via controversial methods like steam moves and arbitrage betting.

But you still may not like the fact that they ban winners under any circumstances. If so, you’ll find decentralized wagering to your liking.

The decentralized industry doesn’t exercise any control over platforms. That said, you can use any strategy necessary to book profits.

Drawbacks of Decentralized Betting

Decentralized sports wagering has been around for a few years and has yet to take the industry by storm. Here are the key aspects that are holding it back.

Learning Curve

For all their flaws, betting sites are a rather easy to use. You just need to sign up for an account and deposit to get started.

Even if you’re brand new to sports gambling, you shouldn’t have much trouble with this process. Signing up is self-explanatory, and banking isn’t much harder either.

Decentralized wagering, on the other hand, is much more involved. The sites that house these platforms may look like Greek at first glance, even if you’re an experienced gambler.

Various Cryptocurrency Coins

Depositing is an even bigger issue when you’re new to the cryptocurrency world. Depending upon a platform’s popularity, or lack thereof, you may need to go through a convoluted route when buying certain coins.

For example, Tron—one of the more popular cryptocurrencies—isn’t currently available to US residents through a regulated exchange (e.g. Coinbase, Binance US). Instead, you need to use an unlicensed exchange, such as KuCoin, to purchase it.

You should be able to figure this process out without too much trouble. Even still, you’ll yearn for the simplicity of regular betting sites.

Must Buy Tokens to Use Platforms

Many decentralized betting entities feature their own tokens. You must buy these tokens before placing wagers.

The fact that you can’t always just use a mainstream coin, like Bitcoin or Ethereum, is annoying enough. But you might also run into the aforementioned problem of having to use an obscure exchange to get the token.

Again, these problems don’t arise at traditional sports gambling sites. They simply make it harder to place decentralized wagers.

Platform Could Get Hacked

Not all blockchains are resistant to hackers. Various projects have suffered hacks or 51% attacks that compromise network security. Assuming you use a decentralized betting site with poor security, then you could end up losing your tokens.

Of course, you can remedy this problem by using the platform’s wallet (if applicable) to store your coins. This way, you maintain sole ownership over the tokens.

Once again, though, this brings us back to the point of decentralized betting being tough to use. The average gambler doesn’t want to learn how to use a no-name digital wallet just to store coins.

Low Liquidity

An online sportsbook has obvious incentive to draw as many customers as possible. They make more profits as they collect more juice from gamblers.

The bookmakers’ efforts to recruit more gamblers improves liquidity. With more liquidity, you’ll have a larger selection of markets and bet types to choose from. Decentralized wagering platforms are currently suffering in the liquidity apartment. No single project has drawn a significant amount of gamblers as of yet.

Those who develop these platforms make most/all of their money from Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Assuming their project is a hit, the token value goes up and they can sell their coins at a higher profit.

Of course, the founders have less incentive to market their platforms after the fact. It’s then up to volunteer developers and community members to push the project.

Not Much Public Faith in Blockchain

Blockchain’s image is slowly improving as more large companies adopt this technology. However, it still draws a negative reputation due to its association with cryptocurrencies.

Luckily, Bitcoin has gained acceptance among the general population. People no longer solely view it as a digital currency used by criminals and scammers.

However, there are others scam throughout the crypto industry. Some of the founders behind coins will exit scam and abandon projects after making enough money.

Nothing is to say that the same won’t happen with certain decentralized betting projects. For now, the general population is still skeptical of anything related to blockchain and crypto.

A Look at the Sports Betting Market Today

The sports wagering industry is at its highest peak ever. According to research, the worldwide betting market is already worth well over $104 billion. This amount is expected to eclipse $155 billion by 2024.

Online betting accounts for the largest portion of this market. By 2024, sports gambling is projected to earn internet bookmakers $88 billion worldwide. Based on the numbers alone, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything to fix with betting today. As the revenue shows, most bettors seem happy with the way things are going.

Of course, bookmakers still exercise a great degree of control over the industry. But they also need to be fair with customers or lose out to the competition.

Can Decentralized Betting Ultimately Overtake Traditional Betting?

Decentralized projects involving casinos, finance, real estate, and more are all relatively new. Most of these projects have existed for less than two years.

With that said, the jury is out on whether decentralized betting, or any decentralized industry for that matter, can go mainstream.

This type of sports gambling does offer plenty of promise. It cuts out the middleman and allows bettors to connect with each other. The blockchain aspect also offers absolute transparency. You can check wagers at any points to ensure that they’re valid.

Sports Betting Windows

You also don’t need to worry about banks blocking deposits nor long waits on payouts. Instead, you’ll be using decentralized currency to both deposit and withdraw money.

The big question, though, is if these benefits are enough to actually interest people in blockchain betting. After all, gamblers aren’t exactly turning out in big numbers to wager.

Decentralized betting must solve its liquidity problem first. Then, just maybe then, it might have a chance of succeeding.

Conclusion

The future of decentralized betting remains quite uncertain. While this type of gambling offers promise, it hasn’t drawn many gamblers to the virtual table yet.

Of course, more time is needed to determine if decentralized sports gambling can be a success. Most projects have only been around for two years or less.

Decentralized wagering theoretically solves problems like high vig, country restrictions, lack of transparency, and deposit rejections. However, it also requires bettors to master a learning curve when buying tokens.

The general public may not be ready to embrace decentralized sports betting just yet. Maybe they will, though, in another five to 10 years.

West Virginia Casinos: Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races

Hollywood Casino in Charles Town Exterior and Interior

The Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races is more than just a racetrack. And while it only started off as such, the location has since expanded its services to include an array of gaming options like slots, table gaming, poker, a sportsbook, and more.

Owned by Penn National Gaming (which also owns and operates The Meadows Racetrack and Casino), the casino also features live entertainment, a 150-room luxury hotel, fine dining, and promotional events.

Are you ready to discover why it’s more than worth the trip to venture all the way to the West Virginia-Maryland border and into Charles Town for a few nights of epic casino gaming?

Well, just read on and this post will tell you all you need to know.

About the Casino

Founded in 1933 as the Shenandoah Jockey Club, the racetrack has since evolved into a fully-fledged casino, with much of the upgrades coming after Penn National Gaming purchased the property in 1997,

While Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races resembles more of a traditional casino these days, its heart and soul remain in its horse racing history with nationally-known events taking place year-round. Starting with the Sprint Festival, founded in 2008.

Other historic events taking place at the track are the West Virginia Breeders’ Classics founded in 1987 by NFL Hall of Famer and former New York Giant Sam Huff. The largest winner’s purse of the event includes $500,000.

Charles Town Racetrack in West Virginia

Another historic event is the Charles Town Classic, with the winner’s purses ranging from $500,000 to $1,000,000.

When the purse increased to $1,500,000 in 2013, the Classic became known for offering one of the richest purses in America next to the Kentucky Derby and Breeders Cup as far as Thoroughbred Contests are concerned.

The winner’s purse has since been reduced to $1,200,000.

And as mentioned earlier, the racetrack now offers far more than just the traditional horse races, including 2,500 slot machines, 74 table games, plus a poker room, serving the needs of many who are venturing in from the Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington D.C. areas.

Let’s take a deeper look at the games in the next section.

Games Offered

Alright, so if you’re looking for reels, video poker, or just something new, the casino’s 2,500-plus slots have you covered. Whether you’re looking for high-stakes, low-stakes, dollar games, single, or multi-coin, Charles Town’s Hollywood Casino’s gaming floor has it.

Offered daily onto the casino floor are a plethora of complimentary beverages, including beer, wine, and other types of cocktails.

If you’re not into the poker tables or just want to avoid pressure from opposing players, then video poker is definitely your game. If you’re just learning the game or would just like some practice before stepping up into the live poker room, this is one fantastic option for you.

Hollywood Casino Charles Town Gaming Floor

The 16-table poker room offers a variety of games that include Limit and Unlimited Texas Hold ‘em, Limit and Pot-Limit Omaha 8 or Better, plus Pot-Limit Omaha. Each game is offered based on table demand and player availability.

If you’re looking for casino table games, then you’re covered at Hollywood. The 74 tables feature Blackjack, Four Card Poker, Three Card Poker, Texas Hold ‘em, High Card Flush, High Card Hold ‘em, Let it Ride, and many more. Whatever your game is, you will find it here.

If you’re the sportier type, then you’ll love the Sportsbook which offers bets on everything from odds to point spreads to over-unders.

You can bet on any sport imaginable along with types of bets that include parlays, futures, match-ups, props, etc.

Check back to the website often for the latest and greatest new casino games offered at Hollywood Casino. They update their gaming room often and you definitely want to stay informed.

Dining Options

Hollywood Casino at Charleston has multiple dining options, each with its own themes and unique layouts, so there’s something for everybody. Whether you’re in the mood for

Perhaps you’re in the mood for something more traditional. If so, the Final Cut Steakhouse offers the highest-quality beef, chicken, and seafood options around. Combine your meal with a glass of wine and freshly baked rolls, and you’ll find yourself more than satisfied.

Surf and Turf From Final Cut Steakhouse

Want to catch up on sports betting with the nearby Baltimore Ravens or Washington Football Team?

Well, check out the Skybox Sports Bar, located just above the casino game floor. They offer a variety of beers and sports-related appetizers, allowing you to feel as if you’re at the game.

Except with their numerous HD TVs scattered about, you got the best seat in the house on game day.

Looking to catch in on the action going on down at the racetrack? The Skyline Terrace has you covered.

Enjoy the races, epic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and of course, the numerous entrees. What else can you ask for?

Promotions and Entertainment

Each month, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town offers the latest and greatest promos. If you participate in the always-winning mychoice, you can win cash prizes, casino comps, and other awesome rewards.

The casino is always offering you more ways to win, including an entry into the $20,000 sportsbook drawing with every $10 wagered at the sportsbook window or kiosk. Or you can swipe your mychoice card at any kiosk and activate the Multiplier, giving you a chance to multiply cash when you play the slots with your mychoice card.

Looking for some of the best free, live entertainment options Charles Town has to offer? The H Lounge offers such entertainment every Friday and Saturday from local tribute bands to the hottest trending local acts.

If you’re looking for national headlining entertainment including the latest artists, comedians, and stage shows, the Event Center has you covered.

Hotel Accommodations

You won’t be able to get over the scenery the luxurious Inn at Charles Town has to offer, with a scenic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. If nature’s your thing, then if nothing else, spending a few nights here will definitely rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul.

Let’s take a further look at what kind of luxury awaits.

The Inn at Charles Town is a 150-room luxury hotel where you are guaranteed a stay in comfort. The hotel features award-winning service, courtesy of TripAdvisor’s 2018 Certificate of Excellence due to top-end feedback from guests nationwide.

18 of its suites offers you a fantastic view of the racetrack so if you’d rather stay in for the night, you won’t miss a second of the action going on at the racetrack. And when you’re looking to visit the track or the casino, take advantage of the free shuttle services offered.

The hotel also offers a wide range of rooms, from the VIP Suite to the Standard King to the Junior Suite, fitting any and all budgets.

Nearby Attractions

If you’re looking for a day off from the adrenaline-pumping gaming, then perhaps you’d like to take a day out in the Valley. And yes, there is something for everyone out in Charles Town and the surrounding areas.

Whether you’re a history buff or into the arts, you’ll love what nearby attractions have to offer.

Main Street in Charles Town West Virginia

A handful of local attractions include the Zion Episcopal Church Cemetery, the Old Opera House Theatre Company, the Jefferson County Museum, Jefferson County Memorial Park, the Charles Town Farmers Market, the Beall Air Manor, and the Cool Spring Preserve.

And you definitely want to take a trip to the Jefferson County Visitors Bureau, because I’m sure the adventurous side of you would love to take a hike into the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Conclusion

As you can definitely see, the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races is more than bustling. It’s an outright gem of West Virginia gambling, located on the eastern tip of the state right before you cross into either Maryland or D.C.

So, if you’re traveling to and from those major metropolitan areas and are into casino gaming or perhaps just taking in the majestic beauty the Blue Ridge Mountains offer, then this casino slash racetrack is worth the visit.

It’s one of the better casinos on this side of Atlantic City and it will only continue to grow as time passes and the casino gaming industry grows.

Have you visited the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and if so, what was your experience like? Let us know in the comments.

Mardi Gras Casino and Resort in Nitro, West Virginia

Mardi Gras Hotel and Casino in West Virginia

So, if you’re looking for a casino night in Nitro, West Virginia, the Mardi Gras Casino and Resort has just what you’re looking for. Located just 14 minutes from the state capital of Charleston and 36 miles east of Huntington, West Virginia’s largest metropolitans, residents and travelers flock to this casino daily.

And yes, if you’re wondering, the casino is famous for its Mardi Gras theme, reflecting its 2010 name change from Tri-State Racetrack and Gaming Center to the Mardi Gras Casino and Resort.

So, are you ready to read about what West Virginia gambling has to offer?

Let’s get started.

1 – Casino Overview

Mardi Gras Casino and Resort has seen a positive reputation that continues to grow in the Charleston, West Virginia area and will do so for years to come as the gambling scene continues to erupt.

The casino and resort offers a 150-room luxury hotel, 900 real money slots, 20-plus table games, live music and entertainment, a sportsbook, greyhound racing,  meeting, and banquet services.

Mardi Gras Casino Slots

If you’re looking for state-of-the-art recreation, the location also contains a heated pool, fine dining options, a fitness center, and a gift shop.

In 2018, Delaware North acquired the casino; the same parent company that owns Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack a couple of hours northwest.

2 – Casino Games Offered

With 90,000 square feet of real estate, you can bet that there is no shortage of space. The Mardi Gras Casino game floor offers some of your favorite games and the stakes options are literally endless.

As mentioned in the overview, the casino features 900 slot machines, ranging from Bourbon Street style games to the High Rollers Room.

Games offered include penny, nickel, quarter, fifty-cent, one, two, five, ten, and twenty-five dollar machines featuring both video and reel slots. Ticket In, Ticket Out (TITO) grants you an easy way to cash out and move onto the next game without all the hassle.

Whether you’re into playing Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, or more, you’ll definitely find your favorites at Mardi Gras. The casino also features a poker room and regular updates regarding tournaments and other poker-related events at Mardi Gras Casino and Resort.

The Betly Sportsbook at Mardi Gras allows you to engage in fun, quick, and easy sports betting. You can place your wager either with on-hand staff at a location known as the Cage or for self-service, just walk up to one of the five conveniently located kiosks.

Greyhound Dogs Racing

Just name the sport, choose the event, and place your wager. It’s that easy to get involved in the action of all your favorite sports. And if you can’t make it into the casino for whatever reason, you can also bet on the action anytime with Betly’s online sportsbook.

And just like wagering on the casino floor, you can also earn rewards points for sports betting with each wager via the Lucky North Club, allowing you instant cashback, food discounts, and more.

And like the casino’s current cousin up in Wheeling, Greyhound racing is a huge staple of gaming at this casino. The live races begin at 7 p.m. from Wednesday to Sunday and are featured around a full calendar year.

3 – Dining

Mardi Gras West Virginia offers three distinct dining options, with each offering its own unique theme.

If you’re looking for an upscale night out, The French Quarter has you covered. It is the staple of fine dining in the region and if you want a taste of the good life, look no further.

If you’re interested in watching the local sporting events, then the Sports Bar serves as your best option. Located near the game room, the Sports Bar features some of the best sporting events on its strategically placed flat-screen televisions.

If you’re in a hurry, you can also order grab and go and even place online orders as well. Two types of menus are offered here. The Regular Menu is offered from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. while on Thursday and Friday, the Hot Food Menu is offered from 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

The latter is also offered on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 11 p.m.

Finally, The Grill at First Turn serves as your casual option, serving some of your classic, flame-grilled favorites.

4 – Promotions and Entertainment

Mardi Gras is always offering something going on, such as the big game on its flatscreen TVs to the next big poker tournament. Or if you’re into live entertainment, Louie’s Lounge almost always has something going on.

The casino also features incredible daily and monthly promotions like the Great Coin Caper, where you can trade your collected change in for dollars. Or if you’re into mystery, you can check out gaming promotions like Wealthy Wednesday where you can win your mystery prize.

Another hot promo at Mardi Gras is the Lucky North Club, where you can earn points for casino comps, food discounts, and much more.

Here’s a brief overview of how the points system works: For every 100 points you earn, you receive $1 cashback. For every $5 bet at the slots, $10 bet at the tables, or $1 bet at the racetrack, you receive 1 point in return.

The more you play, the more points you earn that as mentioned can go toward a variety of rewards like cash-back and food discounts, but also concert tickets, hotel rooms, merchandise, and more.

Best yet, membership to the Lucky North Club is free, easy, and regardless of how you perform in the game room, you will win.

5 – Accommodations

The Luxury Hotel offers a variety of rooms and suites so if you’re traveling through the Charleston or Huntington area and want in on the action, you most definitely want to check this place out. Especially if casino gaming is your thing.

From suites that resemble small apartments to the simple room for one, this hotel will fulfill your demand.

Mardi Gras Casino Hotel Room

Also offered at the hotel is a heated pool, hot tub, and fitness facility. So if you’re the recreational type, there’s definitely more to do when taking a break from all the casino and gaming-based action.

But, if you’d like to take a day or two off from all the hard gaming, check out the next section for a brief overview of what lies beyond the casino.

6 – Nearby Attractions

Looking to explore the area?

Don’t worry, because there’s plenty to do if you decide to venture off casino property. Even in a small town like Nitro or an obscure state capital like Charleston. However, nearby Charleston has you covered in everything from culture to sports to outdoor attractions.

Venture over and you can experience a variety of museums, including the West Virginia State Museum, Avampato Discovery Museum, the St. George Orthodox Cathedral, The Capitol Theater, and more.

If you’re up for some sports, then Appalachian Power Park, home of the West Virginia Power, is a great destination. As is the University of Charleston Stadium at Laidley Field, or Cato Park if outdoor picnics, swimming, and golfing is your thing.

West Virginia Natural State Park

Are you up for hiking? Well, then the Daniel Boone Park, Danner Meadow Park, Kanawha State Forest, and Magic Island are your top destinations.

Local sports include the Class-A South Atlantic League’s West Virginia Power (affiliated with the MLB’s Seattle Mariners), West Virginia Alliance of the USL League Two, and the Women’s Spring Football League’s West Virginia Wildfire.

And if you’re looking to spend some casino winnings on shopping, look no further than the Charleston Town Center, which includes the 130-store shopping mall on 3 stories of real estate. The mall features four anchors, six major restaurants, and 12 fast-food locations.

Conclusion

Mardi Gras Casino and Resort has something for everyone who enjoys land based casinos, whether you play the slots, table games, poker, or even to bet on greyhound races.

The casino also contains a luxury hotel complete with a pool, hot tub, and fitness center, among other major amenities, and with it comes dining options that range from fine dining to your high-end sports bar.

The casino runs promotions on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis and their biggest promotion is the free-to-join Lucky North Club, where you can earn points for every dollar amount you wager for instant cash-back, concert tickets, etc.

Finally, if you’re looking to take a break from gaming or if you are curious to see all of what downstate West Virginia has to offer, feel free to explore Nitro and its nearby metropolitan, Charleston.

Have you been to the Mardi Gras Casino and Resort and if so, what was your experience?

The 7 Types of Sports Gamblers You Will Encounter

Smug Looking Man and an Angry Man

For whatever reason, the sports gambling industry seems to attract strong personalities. It makes sense if you think about it. Most sports gamblers started out as sports fans. Sports bring out the best and worst in people, and adding money into the equation only accentuates people’s character traits.

Most of you are aware of common stereotypes that exist in the world of sports fandom. New sports gamblers won’t be surprised to learn that sports gamblers are eerily similar to sports fans. They can be loud and exuberant after wins, but petulant and demeaning after losses. Similarly, there are several types of stereotypical sports gamblers. Here are seven common sports bettors you might encounter throughout your gambling journey.

1 ‒ The Guy Who “Knows” a Bookie

Before the age of online sportsbooks, sports gamblers used bookies if they wanted in on the action. Now, bookies are somewhat of a rarity, especially for younger gamblers who are competent with computers. But bookies are still out there, and some old-school gamblers prefer to do their betting traditionally.

Coming up as a gambler, the odds are that you’ll run into someone who prefers to use a bookie. Most of the time, these gamblers are of superior quality. To maintain a good relationship with a bookie, you have to be half-decent anyway. But, if you’re below 25, you’re going to come across someone who claims to use a bookie. More than likely, they’re telling you a bald-faced lie.

Sports Paper On a Computer Keyboard

Most younger gamblers think that it’s cooler and less mainstream to bet with a bookie instead of through a gambling site. They’re quick to degrade you for using a site and brag about the bookie you use. I’d wager that if you asked them to connect you to their bookie, they’ll make some excuse. Whether it’s that they prefer to stay off the grid or aren’t accepting new clients at this time, I’ve heard some doozies over the years.

2 ‒ The King of Parlays

Everyone enjoys putting a few bucks on a good parlay bet every now and then. If you’re lucky enough to hit on a parlay, you’re ecstatic. If not: no harm done. Most smart gamblers never put a sizable portion of their bankroll on a parlay due to the long odds. But every once in a while, maniacs will unload a few units on a parlay.

This type of bettor most likely won a parlay several years ago and is convinced betting on parlays can be profitable. They’ll tell you that you only have to occasionally win a parlay to finish in the black. They freely offer unsolicited advice to anyone who will pay them any mind.

I also commonly refer to this type of gambler as “Big ‘If’ Bettors.” They will consistently lose parlays but make excuses that typically begin with if. For example, “If the Patriots had covered, I would have won.” Or, “If only the Bears hit that field goal, I’d be swimming in money.” The King of Parlays always has an excuse for losses, but that won’t stop them from betting heavily on parlays.

3 ‒ Obscure Sports Fan

Most new gamblers prefer to stick to traditional sports betting, like basketball and football. Sometimes, they’ll even read up on horse racing or combat sports, to increase their gambling acumen. But once in a blue moon, you’ll interact with a gambler who makes a killing betting on obscure things.

These types of gamblers are more eccentric than others, and you might feel inclined to take each of their words with a grain of salt. But, inexplicably, they are some of the most profitable bettors you’ll come to know. When you’re sleeping, they’re up watching a cricket match.

Cricket Player at Bat

The obscure sports fan is always trying to convince other people to hop on the bandwagon. More than anything, they just want to be able to talk about their bets with someone. Much to their dismay, the average sports gambler would prefer to talk football over a sport they’ve never watched before.

4 ‒ The Echo Chamber

Arguably the most annoying type of sports gambler is the echo chamber. This type of person is usually the most well-read gambler in the group. They spend their free time researching lines and waiting for injury reports to come out. Instead of listening to true crime podcasts, they have the top gambling podcasts on repeat.

The problem with this type of gambler is the fact that they try to pass other professional’s takes and advice as their own. At some point, you’ll notice that all of their picks are eerily similar to one of your favorite media personalities. While they are the most informed member of their gambling circle, that doesn’t mean they’re the most successful.

Instead of vetting the information they hear, they are prone to blindly following the experts they worship. They might be incredibly challenging to put up with, but everything evens out when their bets just don’t win.

5 ‒ The Bankroll Buster

The Bankroll Buster is the most aggressive type of gambler you know. They commonly go on and on about a line they are optimistic about. Instead of betting it somewhat conservatively, they unload a majority of their bankroll on it. You’ll watch in terror as they lose big bets and spend their entire week or month chasing losses.

More often than not, these types of gamblers have a decent job and are a little too obsessed with gambling. You might not classify them as a gambling addict, but they’re dangerously close to crossing the line. From an outsider’s perspective, you can’t tell why they continue to make these overly-aggressive wagers. Either they are trying to win some quick money or love chasing the high of a big win.

Either way, the Bankroll Buster loses far more than they win. If they would have asked a single person for advice, they might have been dissuaded from placing the bet in the first place. No matter, though. Once they deposit more money into their account, they’ll move on to their next dangerous wager.

6 ‒ The Insider

This type of gambler is actually a two for one. In sports gambling, information is the key to success. Sharp sports bettors know this, and consistently outsmarting oddsmakers and making savvy decisions is the only way to win. The best in the business seem to locate information or spot trends before anyone else.

Sports Writer Interviewing a Manager

At some point, you’ll meet someone who claims to have a channel to inside information. Either that person is lying in a desperate attempt to gain validation, or they’re being honest. Insiders typically got their start in some form of media. They might still know beat writers or agents in the business. More often than not, though, anyone claiming to have insider sports betting sources is just blowing smoke.

7 ‒ The Silent Assassin

The Silent Assassin is the most enigmatic and perplexing type of sports gambler. They say very little, but they are some of the most profitable bettors. You might not even know they are big-time sports gamblers in the first place. While you and your buddies are talking about sports and recent wagers, they quietly sit in the corner.

i
If you happen to learn of their success, you might attempt to pick their brain. But their success comes from being secretive. They refuse to part ways with their betting system or even throw you a single pick.

They’ll continue to rack up wins while you desperately attempt to understand their methods. Bide your time, though. At some point, they might let some information slip through the cracks.

Conclusion

As you continue your journey as a sports gambler, you will come across a wide variety of people. Sports gamblers, like die-hard sports fans, can fulfill a number of stereotypes. While most sports gamblers are just sports fans who want to add some action into the mix, others are more dynamic and complex.

For younger sports fans, don’t be shocked if you often run into someone who claims to know a bookie. Don’t get your hopes up though, most of these young guns are just trying to impress their posse.

Like most things, certain people are destined to be more successful than others. For example, gamblers who can’t quit betting on parlays, or dropping their entire bankroll on a single bet might not be the sharpest bettors. However, the silent but deadly types will always leave you questioning their rate of success.

Why You Should Visit Mohegan Sun Pocono in Pennsylvania

Mohegan Sun Pocono Logo With a Casino Background

If you’re looking for some hot casino action in the Pocono Mountains, the Mohegan Sun Pocono Racino is where you want to be.

With a casino that offers 2,300 slot machines, live table gaming, a sportsbook, and a single-kilometer track for harness horse racing, this racino has just about everything you’re looking for.

Interested?

Great. Because this article will give you an overview of the racino’s history, an in-depth look at the games offered, dining, promos, events, entertainment, accommodations, and nearby attractions.

So, expect a good, fun, and interesting read here. Let’s get started.

Casino History

Once owned by the popular Penn National Gaming and known as Pocono Downs, Mohegan Sun purchased the casino in 2005 for $280 million. They then renamed the casino and racetrack Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and a major expansion project soon followed.

In 2006, the first slot machines were added, and the casino was among the first to receive approval for casino table games shortly after they were legalized in Pennsylvania in 2010. In November 2013, a hotel connecting to the casino opened for the first time.

The expansion became complete in 2019 when Mohegan Sun signed a partnership with the Kindred Group to break into the sports betting atmosphere and on May 15th, 2019, the sports betting license was approved.

The has been known as The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono since 2015.

Games Offered

A world of gaming awaits you at the Mohegan Sun Pocono including slots, table gaming, and poker. And with the variety of games offered, you’re bound to find something to fit your needs.

Let’s begin with the real money slots, where you have over 2,000 options to choose from. And the options are limitless, with denominations ranging from a penny to $100 at the high-stakes slots. Featured games like Wheel of Fortune and Monopoly are among the most popular slot games at the casino.

The casino also offers video poker, so if you’re not quite ready for the live-action at the tables or if you want to practice your poker playing skills, you have an outlet.

Mohegan Sun Pocono Casino Bar

Mohegan Sun offers 11 different table games at the time of this writing, featuring some of the most popular like Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, and Mini-Baccarat. Also offered are Pai Grow, Mississippi Stud, Pai Grow Poker, Let it Ride, Three Card Poker, Spanish 21, and a variety of Poker games.

The poker room is non-smoking and it features flat-screen TVs, a bar, and a half-dozen poker games.

Poker games offered include Texas Hold ‘em, Omaha, 7-Card Stud, 7 Card Stud Hi-Low Split, No-Limit

Hold ‘em, and Eight or Better.

The Unibet Sportsbook allows you to get in on the action for a variety of sports, including the NFL, NCAA football, the MLB, NHL, and NBA. You can also wager a bet on golf, tennis, NASCAR, the MLS, CFL, a variety of soccer leagues, MMA, and much more.

Fixed odds, money lines, parlays, spreads, over-unders, prop bets, in-play betting and so much more are offered at the Mohegan Sun. And if you can’t make it to the casino to get in on the action you can always try your hand with the online option to experience the excitement on the go.

Dining Options

Dining at Mohegan Sun Pocono provides casino guests with a plethora of options.

So, whatever you’re looking for, the Mohegan Sun definitely has it for you. Whether you’re in the mood for sports bars, eateries, bistros, or wineries, this is your one-stop-shop.

If you’re in the mood to catch the big game or the nightclub scene, you have six solid options here with Bar Louie, the Bean and Vine Cafe and Wine Bar, Breakers, Unibet, the Starting Gate Bar, and the Sunburst Bar. Each bar has its own unique theme whether it’s sports, high-end, or tropical.

Rustic Kitchen Bisto and Bar Food

Your casual options include niche or ethnic-based restaurants along with locations that serve your favorite classics. They include Johnny Rockets, Molly O’Sheas, Pacer’s Clubhouse, Pearl Sushi Bar, Tony Luke’s, and Sliced.

You can also filter via ethnic cuisine, so say you want Italian, then Sliced pops up along with Rustic Kitchen Bistro & Bar. In the mood for Asian cuisine? Then the sushi bar pops up. Classic American? Bar Louie, Seasons, Pacers, and Winner’s Circle appears. You get the gist.

And with 17 dining options here, many of which give you an outstanding view of the Poconos, you’ll savor everything from each bite to the scenery.

Casino Promotions

Current promotions at Mohegan Sun Pocono are always available. At the time of this writing, such promos are highly limited with the promise of more monthly promos returning soon enough.

Even with that said, Mohegan Sun still has a lot going on. Some of their October 2020 promos included $50k Rake it In Giveaways which are drawings worth $50,000 in prizes.

They’re always offering casino comps and promotions such as Free Slot Giveaways, Mystery Free Slot Plays, and more.

The Momentum Hot Seat promo is perhaps their most popular, involving players to wager using their Momentum Rewards Card to be eligible for drawings that take place every 30 minutes from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. for up to $1,000 in Free Slot Play.

You can enter promos like Momentum by joining the Momentum Rewards Program. It’s free to join and the more you play, you’ll be rewarded with Momentum dollars which you can then redeem for rewards, exclusive offers, bonuses, etc.

Always be sure to refer to the website to keep up on the latest offerings for all promotions going on at Mohegan Sun. As the world continues its climb back to normal, you will see such promotions skyrocket and you definitely want to be part of the action.

Entertainment and Events

The schedule of events at Mohegan Sun Pocono will keep you up to date on everything in the entertainment sector. From the latest promotions at the casino to the harness racing events and the next live acts.

Mohegan Sun Pocono features live acts at the Keystone Grand Ballroom from top performers and tribute artists while the Wise Crackers Comedy Club is well known throughout the region for its nonstop comedy.

Or, if you’re in the mood for something casual, Breakers has what you’re looking for in terms of local bands or if you’re into them, sporting events.

Whatever entertainment you desire, you will find it at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Hotel Accommodations

If you’re looking for an overnight stay, check out the Mohegan Sun Pocono’s hotel and spa. This luxurious hotel and casino guarantees you first-class, celebrity-style treatment in its high-end guest rooms.

Hotel Room at Mohegan Sun Pocono

It’s the perfect place to find relaxation and comfort after a day of gaming at the casino or perhaps following an intense NFL Sunday on the sports betting scene. With plush bedding and free WiFi among other amenities, you’ll never want to leave the room.

Visit Spa Sapphire to complete your VIP experience. The very best technicians and stylists in the area are at your service, so take a walk to the first floor of the hotel and get lost in the area’s most sophisticated services.

Whether you’re looking for facials, manicures, hair and makeup services, a few minutes in the sauna, or even a couple’s suite, Spa Sapphire will accommodate.

Nearby Attractions

Some of the most notable nearby attractions include the Knoebels Amusement Resort, Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club, and the Claws n’ Paws Wild Animal Park.

Other excellent attractions include the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza where some of the world’s greatest acts in the entertainment industry perform. During the hockey season, the arena is also the home of the Pittsburgh Penguins AHL affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Nascar at Pocono Raceway

And of course, Pocono Raceway isn’t far from the location as well. Located in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, the superspeedway also known as the Tricky Triangle hosts a number of NASCAR and Indy sponsored racing events annually.

Conclusion

The Mohegan Sun Pocono has grown ever since Mohegan Sun purchased the racetrack from Penn National Gaming. While still considered a Racino by many, the location is no longer just a racetrack, but a fully-fledged casino offering everything from slots to table gaming to sports betting.

Its dining options are literally limitless. As are the promotional opportunities during normal times. But even in troubling times, the Mohegan Sun Pocono is still offering its promotions and services to its greatest capacity.

The hotel continues to offer some of the best services in Pennsylvania and a trip to the Sapphire Spa is worth it. Especially when you’re taking a break from the live, casino action, races, or sporting events.

Have you been to Mohegan Sun Pocono and if so, tell us about your experience.

Gambling Luck and Casino Superstitions

Four Leaf Clover With Casino Cards and Money

I thought it would be fun to look at the subject of luck in gambling and what kinds of casino superstitions various gamblers believe in.

I’m a tough-minded, hard-nosed realist, so I’m not superstitious at all.

In fact, I’m a little bit of an intellectual snob when it comes to things like magical thinking.

But it is fun to think about how things like luck work in a casino.

Luck in Gambling Is Just Statistical Deviation

Any time you deal with an uncertain event, you measure the likelihood of that event happening with a unit called probability. It’s just like measuring time with units like minutes or distance with units like miles.

And probability is just as exact.

The difference is that random events are, well… random. You can make predictions, but you can’t be sure.

Ask anyone who placed a bet on Hilary Clinton to win the election in 2016.

The experts had her as a huge favorite, but even when someone has a 70% probability of winning something, that isn’t a sure thing. In fact, a 30% probability of winning is still huge. Ask anyone who lost with a pair against an opponent’s flush draw at the Texas holdem table.

Unique Roulette Wheel

You’ll expect someone to win or lose when gambling at a certain specific rate based on probability, but with random events, you can’t predict what’s going to happen in the short run.

The ultimate example of the short run is a single event.

For example, when looking at roulette odds for betting on black, you have a 47.37% probability of winning and the casino has a 52.63% probability of winning.

But you’ll either win or lose.

You won’t get 47.37% of your money back. It’s one or the other.

And in the event of two random events in a row, well, you might win once and lose once, or you might win twice, or you might lose twice. They’re not equally likely, but that happens all the time.

What Kinds of Things Don’t Affect Probability?

Suppose you wear your lucky hat to the casino. Does the probability of winning a bet on black at the roulette table change?

Superstitious gamblers believe that the probability does change based on that hat. They think they’re more likely to get lucky.

Realists, on the other hand, understand that probability has a formula, and it only accounts for two things:

The number of ways an event can happen compared to the total number of possible events.

On a roulette wheel, you have 38 total numbers, 18 of them are black. If you bet on black, you have 18 possible winning events versus 38 total possible events. That’s the same thing as 18/38, or 47.37%.

That probability isn’t affected by your lucky hat or shirt. It’s not affected by someone giving you a quick kiss for luck, either. (Sorry, Luke Skywalker.)

Carrying around any kind of good luck charm doesn’t matter, either. Why would it?

If it did matter, wouldn’t you be able to guarantee getting rich at the casino?

After all, the house edge is generally a small number. You wouldn’t have to sway it much to change from a loser to a winner.

Why Are Gamblers Superstitious?

The human brain is programmed to look for patterns and make sense of them. It’s a survival instinct that stood them in good stead when the cavemen were trying to evade saber toothed tigers.

But that doesn’t mean that all the patterns the human mind detects are accurate predictors of the future.

The brain can’t help but notice the patterns and add significance to them.

Humans also experience something called confirmation bias. I know countless people who visit the casino a couple of times per month or more. They always talk about their winning sessions, but I rarely hear them say anything about their losing sessions. Most of them are convinced they win as much money as they lose. They’re convinced they’re breaking even.

But I don’t know any of them who are keeping records and can actually demonstrate on paper that they’re breaking even.

What About Psychic Powers?

I have a friend who’s a psychic. He’s never asked me if I believed in his psychic powers or not, and I never felt the need to tell him what I thought. I suspect he really believes in his own psychic powers, though.

He once wrote a blog post about how to use your innate psychic powers to win more often at poker. I never played poker with him, but I’d sure like to.

We went to a restaurant once, and the waitress had an accent. He was flirting with her, and he asked her what country she was from. She said she was from Belarus (or something like that), and he replied, “In a million years, I never would have guessed that.”

Okay, so you’re psychic, AND you have a big clue – you can HEAR or accent.

And you still can’t guess where she’s from?

After all, there are only 200 or so countries in the world that are possibilities. You can eliminate a lot of them just by the process of elimination. She was obviously not from Canada or Mexico, for example.

Magician James Randi

No one has ever demonstrated proof of psychic powers, though. The James Randi Educational Foundation used to offer a million dollars to anyone who could demonstrate any kind of paranormal abilities under rigorous testing conditions.

No one ever won the million dollars – not even famous psychics like Sylvia Browne.

This isn’t a challenge that was only available one year, either. The challenge was offered consistently from 1964 until they ended it in 2015.

In 50 years, they never had anyone demonstrate believable proof of psychic abilities.

Maybe those psychics were too busy predicting lottery numbers and winning poker games?

Yeah, I doubt it, too.

What About the Gamblers Fallacy, Is That a Superstition, Too?

I write about the Gamblers Fallacy a lot here, too. It’s the mistaken belief that past events have an influence over the probabilities of future events. For example, if you’re playing roulette, and red has come up 6 times in a row, you might think red is less likely to come up on the next spin.

This doesn’t mean you’re superstitious except in the most literal and generic sense.

It just means you don’t quite grasp some of the subtleties of probability as a mathematical concept.

An important fact behind most gambling games is that you’re betting on an independent event. What happened on the previous independent event has no effect on the next one.

That’s why they’re called “independent” events.

Blackjack is a notable exception, by the way. As the cards get dealt in blackjack, the composition of the deck changes. This DOES have an effect on the probabilities while you play.

Here’s an example:

Suppose you’re playing blackjack from a single deck, and the four aces have already been dealt. Unless the dealer shuffles the deck before dealing the next hand, your probability of getting a “natural” or “blackjack” on the next hand has dropped to 0%.

You can’t have a blackjack without an ace, and there aren’t any more aces left in the deck.

If There’s No Such Thing as Luck, How Can I Win at Gambling?

For most people, winning at gambling on any kind of consistent basis is an unrealistic goal. Most people just don’t want to put in the effort to change the odds. And, with a lot of games – most of them in fact – nothing you do can change the odds anyway.

Blackjack is an exception because you can learn how to count cards.

Sports betting is another exception because you can look for inequities in the odds offered by the sportsbook to get a mathematical edge.

Playing poker for real money is another exception because you can use a variety of skills to play better than your opponents, giving you a mathematical edge.

Playing Cards Dice and Casino Chips

But none of that has anything to do with any kind of psychic powers or good luck charms.

Yes, you can get lucky and win at gambling.

But unless you’re the exception to the rule – an advantage gambler – you have no control over that happening. You just pay your money and take your chances.

Your best bet is to assume that your gambling activities are a form of entertainment. In the long run, you’ll lose money gambling, but that’s okay as long as you’ve enjoyed the ups and downs on the road to going broke.

Of course, if you maintain a realistic budget for your gambling, you won’t have to worry about going broke, either.

Conclusion

How does luck work in gambling?

It’s just a matter of deviation in the short run. In the long run, every poker player gets the same cards over and over again.

Be realistic. Treat gambling as entertainment. Budget for it and have fun knowing that your expectations for the experience are realistic.

How to Manage Your Slot Machine Bankroll

Casino Slot Machine With a Money Calculator Pen Background

Bankroll management is one of the most critical aspects of any successful gamblers game. If you can’t effectively protect your money, you’ll quickly find yourself on the outside looking in.

Today, I’ll cover some of the keys of how to manage your slot machine bankroll. By the end of this article, you will have the tools to confidently step into the casino and know that you’ll live to fight another day.

What Is Casino Bankroll Management?

Most of you should know what a casino bankroll is. Your bankroll is money that you have set aside solely for the purpose of gambling.

Your bankroll shouldn’t be money that’s just sitting in your bank account until rent is due, or you need to pay a bill. My advice would be to set the gambling bankroll aside in a PayPal or separate checking account.

I see many gamblers who have $500 set aside for the car payment or other bills. They treat this money like a bankroll, even though it isn’t. That type of gambling can lead to undue stress at best and not being able to come up with the funds to pay your bills in the worst-case scenario.

Casino Ceiling Art and Slot Machines

So, if you have $100 in your dedicated bankroll, you can see the importance of growing your bankroll. Slowly developing a sustainable bankroll is a process. It takes determination and discipline to successfully maintain.

Bankroll management boils down to protecting your nest egg. The longer you can keep it in the black, the longer you’ll be able to play slots for real money.

You may even be able to grow it to such large proportions that you find yourself taking money from the bankroll to fund other interests or needs.

Sign up for the Players’ Card

Any casino you step into is going to offer some type of rewards program. VIP Clubs or Players’ Cards are a no-brainer for slots enthusiasts.

You simply insert the card into the slot machine, which tracks how much money you’re gambling per hour. It doesn’t account for how much you may win or lose.

The only consideration of your rewards is how much money you are putting into play. In turn, the casino provides you with comps or rebates based on a small percentage of the total.

A common misconception among gamblers is that machines will pay out slower when a players’ card is inserted. This couldn’t be farther from reality. The casino wants players on their machines.

Casino Player's Club Desk

Despite what most people believe, it really doesn’t matter to the casino if you win or lose. In fact, on a personal level, they may be genuinely happy when a player wins.

The casino understands that winners are good for business. They get excited, and fellow gamblers can’t help but follow in their excitement.

Casinos know that for every person that walks out the door a winner, countless others head home with empty pockets. Pay attention to special events and promotions put on by the casino also. At certain times during the week or month, casinos will offer double or even triple rewards.

Earning even a small rebate adds up over time and can do wonders for extending your bankroll.

Bet Size

The size of your individual bets will prove critical to maintaining your slot machine bankroll. Ideally, you should never wager with more than 2% to 3% of your total bankroll. This makes it incredibly difficult if you have $100 in your bankroll.

However, you have room to wiggle here. Most recreational gamblers will head to the casino and slap a $100 or a $20 in a slot machine.

They give little consideration to the size of their bankroll. This can lead to a poor casino experience if you don’t get extremely lucky.

If you travel to the casino with a $150 for two days of gambling and put it all in a slot machine. You may very well spend day two wandering the vast property in search of something to pass the time, while your more frugal friends are living it up on the floor.

If I take $100 to the casino, I plan to make it last as long as possible. Typically, my approach is to play nickel slots. If a game has 10 paylines, I’m betting at 0.5% of my allotted bankroll per spin. Incremental wins will largely offset any losses, and I’m able to enjoy my favorite games for hours without reaching $0.

Of course, the size of your bankroll will have the biggest impact on what denomination you can play slots. Indeed, the casinos often have the highest return to player or RTP on the larger denomination slots.

Walk Away

One of the biggest mistakes gamblers make is not knowing when to call it a day. They may get hours of play out of their daily bankroll but decide that they must be only a few more pulls away from hitting the jackpot. Before they know it, they are standing in line at the ATM.

Have you ever noticed the line at casino ATMs? Surely that many people can’t be heading to the casino with no cash on them.

You should set strict limits regarding your bankroll and the amount of time you’ll spend on the slot machines. It’s up to you to stick to them.

At the end of the day, you’re responsible for the health of your bankroll. Take charge and have the discipline to walk away when you’ve reached your limits.

And please, stay away from the ATM. If you didn’t bring the cash with you, you likely shouldn’t be spending it on slot machines.

Use Big Wins to Grow Your Bankroll, Not Extend Your Session

Winning a big pot is why people play slots—Gamblers dream of hitting a huge jackpot and cashing in for thousands or even millions. You may never hit a million-dollar jackpot. You don’t need to win millions to have a flush bankroll, though.

Almost every slot player I know has tales of a big win. It’s what you do with these wins that can impact your bankroll the most.

Some gamblers will spend months saving money for their casino trip. They work diligently to build a decent bankroll before they ever leave home.

Imagine you save up $500 that you plan to spend on gambling. That’s a decent bankroll, and you should be able to gamble for days on your favorite slot machine.

Row of Tall Slot Machines

You settle in for a relaxing session and boom. You quickly win $1,000 on a huge win. You now have a critical decision to make. I see most players roll the dice with their winnings and flush it all away.

I’m not saying this is wrong. You went to gamble. So, I’m all for gambling. But this isn’t the best bankroll management. A sensible plan would be to set aside at least half of the win for your bankroll. The fastest way to grow your gambling bankroll is by winning.

If you take 50% of substantial ($250) wins and put it towards your bankroll, you’ll be able to enjoy half of your winnings right there on the casino floor.

Better yet, you’ll be growing your gambling bankroll for the future. Keep in mind that you won’t have to gamble the other half at all. You can buy yourself a new toy that you’ve had your eye on.

The important thing is that you’re not allowing your bankroll to become stagnate. Using your wins to replenish your bankroll will go a long way to your long-term success as a gambler.

Slow Down

This seems obvious, but it’s easier said than done. The more feverishly you spin the reels, the quicker the house edge will become apparent.

Instead of hitting the spin button as vigorously as you can, try slowing down. Playing at a slower pace is the most sure-fire way to extend your slot machine bankroll.

Take a break after a winning spin. Spend a few minutes chatting up the cocktail server. Get up and explore the casino for 15 minutes. Anything you can do to slow the money from draining will suffice. I bet that the more time you can spend in the casino, the more you’re going to enjoy the overall experience.

You don’t need to repeatedly smash “spin” as soon as the reels come to a stop.

Conclusion

These principles are some of my favorite methods on how to manage your slot machine bankroll, but they aren’t the only tactics.

Gamblers are extremely unique. No two of us are the same, and neither is our style of play.

Whether you pick just one of these useful tips or completely overhaul your strategy, it will take patience and discipline on your part to see results.

How to Get Rich From Casino Gambling

Wealthy Looking Man With a Casino Background

Most everyone would love to get rich from casino gambling. Who wouldn’t want to win a huge jackpot from a 50-cent spin or win prize money at a blackjack tournament?

But the reality is that most people can’t or won’t get rich from casino gambling alone. Only a small percentage of gamblers are that lucky.

In this post, I take a serious look at what it would take to get rich from casino gambling. When you learn what’s required, you might decide there are other, much easier ways to get rich.

Decide How You Would Define “Rich”

The definition of rich varies from person to person. I have family members living in mobile home parks who think I’m rich because I can afford to rent a four-bedroom house in the suburbs. I also have in-laws who think I’m poor because I don’t own my own home and drive a 15-year-old pickup truck.

It reminds me of the song “Where Have All the Average People Gone?” by Roger Miller. But we need a target to aim for if we’re going to set a goal, come up with an action plan, then execute it.

I decided to search for “how much money do you need to be rich” into Google, and I got a quick answer: $2.3 million. Truthfully, I don’t care to debate whether that’s high or low. It’s a good enough number to use as an example.

So, what would it take to win $2.3 million from casino gambling?

Play a Progressive Jackpot Game

Playing progressive slot machines like Megabucks is one way to win $2.3 million from the casino. In fact, the starting size of the jackpot for that game is $10 million, so you have a lot of wiggle room. Here’s what it takes to pull that off…

First, you need enough money to wager $3 per spin on Megabucks. If you win on your first spin, you’re all set. You can call it a day, then go home and enjoy your winnings.

The odds of winning Megabucks, though, is lower than 100%. We don’t know the exact odds, but estimates say that the actual odds of hitting that jackpot are between 1 in 17 million and 1 in 50 million.

If you make 17 million spins on Megabucks at $3 per spin, you’re looking at $51 million in wagers. If you make 50 million spins, you’re looking at $150 million in wagers.

Megabucks Slot Machine

Of course, not all those wagers are going to be losing spins either. If you play long enough, you’re bound to hit, and the average jackpot combined with how soon you hit the jackpot will determine whether you’re rich (having $2.3 million in profit left) after the end of your gambling career.

In this scenario, I am assuming that once you’ve won your $2.3 million, you will quit gambling and retire.

Based on a cursory look at the list of winning jackpots on LVOL, I’d say that the average amount won is between $10 million and $15 million. Sometimes, the jackpot gets as high as $30 or $40 million, but it hits a winner before $20 million more often than not.

I don’t think a 1 in 50 million shot at a $15 million jackpot is a good way to gamble your money away trying to earn $2.3 million, but you could try it.

You should also consider how many spins of the reels on average it would take to win. Assuming you make 500 spins per hour, you’re looking at 100,000 hours of play before winning the jackpot.

If you play 40 hours a week, you’re looking at spending 2,500 weeks playing. If you take a two-week vacation every year, you’re still looking at playing the game for 50 years before hitting the jackpot. And that’s an average. It may well take longer than that. Standard deviation might force you to play for 100 years before hitting the jackpot.

But who wants to be 70 by the time they hit the jackpot? Oh, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll even see a profitable result when you do hit.

Progressive jackpots are a lousy way to get rich with casino gambling.

You Could Count Cards in Blackjack and Gamble With an Edge Over the Casino

I’ll admit it, I was being a little facetious when I suggested trying to get rich with casino gambling by playing Megabucks slots. A better strategy might be to count cards in blackjack.

Let’s assume that you’re a good enough card counter to get an edge over the casino. An average profitable card counter might have an edge of 1%.

Now, let’s assume that you have a big enough bankroll to bet an average of $50 per hand. If you’re playing an average of 100 hands per hour, you’re able to get $5,000 worth of hourly action.

Multiple Blackjack Hands

With a 1% edge, you’re looking at making $50/hour playing blackjack. If you can play 40 hours a week, you can earn $2,000 a week counting cards, which is the equivalent of $100,000 a year.

This means it would take 23 years to earn $2.3 million playing blackjack. You could shorten that time period, though.

As your bankroll grows, you can increase how much you’re able to bet per hand. This will increase your hourly earnings. Realistically, though, it’s going to take years to get rich from being a card counter in blackjack unless you’re part of a team.

Parlay Your Winnings at Negative Expectation Games

Here’s the idea: You start with a small bet on a close-to-even-money proposition, and you bet your winnings along with your additional stake. As you double up, your profits get big faster than you might think.

Let’s suppose you’re going to try to get rich by doubling up after each bet playing roulette. How many bets in a row would you need to win to get rich?

Let’s say you start with a $5 bet and you just keep betting your winnings along with your original stake. The progression would look like this:

  • $5
  • $10
  • $20
  • $40
  • $80
  • $160
  • $320
  • $640
  • $1280
  • $2560
  • $5120
  • $10,240
  • $20,480
  • $40,960
  • $81.920
  • $163,840
  • $327,680
  • $655,360
  • $1,310,720
  • $2,621,440

As you can see, you only need to win 20 bets in a row to win $2.6 million at roulette. This sounds like there might be a better way to go about it than trying to win at Megabucks.

Here’s the problem, though: Casinos limit the size of your bets at these games. The maximum bet at the roulette table is usually $5,000, although it can vary from casino to casino and from table to table.

Also, the odds of winning at roulette 20 times in a row aren’t good at all. They’re better than the odds of winning at Megabucks slots, but they’re still terrible. Back to the drawing board!

Maybe You Could Become a Poker Pro?

Playing poker for real money, strictly speaking, isn’t really casino gambling. You’re playing against the other players, not the house. By definition, if you’re playing a casino game, the house is banking the action. This is good and bad.

It’s good because when you’re dealing with other players, you can get an edge by playing more skillfully than they do. It’s bad because you’re taking money from other people instead of from a large, soulless corporation.

Winning consistently at poker isn’t the easiest thing in the world to pull off either. I’ve read from multiple reliable sources that only 5% to 10% of all poker players show a profit in the long run. The rest are breakeven or losing players.

Even if you can break into the top 5%, the number of players who actually get rich instead of just grinding out small amounts is even smaller.

Poker Dealer Dealing Cards

If you’re a low stakes player, you might be able to win $500 a month playing online no limit Hold’em games. If you’re getting good and have the bankroll to pull it off, you might be able to go up in stakes and make $2,000 a month.

At $2,000 a month, you’re looking at $24,000 a year. It would take less than 10 years to get rich doing that, AND you get to play poker while you’re at it. That sounds like a winner to me, Bob!

If you can go up in stakes and really beat the elite players, you might even be able to make a quick score at the World Series of Poker. That worked for Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer, and multiple other surprise wins at the WSOP.

Betting on Sports Is Another Way to Get Rich With Casino Gambling

Strictly speaking, betting on sports isn’t exactly the same things as playing casino games. The sportsbook model is different. But like casino games, sports bets are designed with an edge for the sportsbook (casino) in mind.

They usually set up point spreads on football games in such a way that a bet has a 50/50 probability of winning.

There’s nothing wrong with a 50/50 bet, but they want you to risk $110 to win $100. That’s the ratio. You’re not required to wager $110. You could wager $11 to win $10, or $66 to win $60. The ratio is always the same, though.

This means that just to break even in the long run at sports betting, you must win 52.4% of your bets. To make any kind of profit, you need to do better than that. And the best handicappers and sports bettors in the world max out at about 60%.

You’ll probably never see a winning record that good, but luckily, you can still make plenty of money just being right 55% or 56% of the time.

Conclusion

If you think the ways to get rich from casino gambling sound impossible, well, you’re mostly right.

Casinos wouldn’t stay in business or generate the kinds of profits they do if they made it easy to get rich from them. Businesses don’t exist to lose money. They exist to generate profits.

Sadly, for gamblers, that means they need you to lose. You CAN get rich gambling at casinos, but it’s hard. Only the most elite gamblers can pull it off.

But wouldn’t it be worth it to try? After all, the hardest goals are always the most satisfying goals to achieve.

Roulette Pros – Do They Exist?

Man Dressed in Tuxedo Suit With a Roulette Background

Roulette is definitely one of the most popular casino games. It entices players who enjoy the unique aspect of betting on a spinning wheel.

Plenty of people win big through roulette throughout every day. Of course, the same gamblers are relying on luck to win.

Unlike blackjack or poker, for example, roulette isn’t a game that attracts many advantage players. With that said, you may wonder if roulette pros even exist.

The following guide discusses what method can be used to beat this game. It also covers the reality of becoming a professional real money roulette player.

How Can Roulette Be Beaten?

Roulette doesn’t offer multiple ways to beat the casino. In fact, it only features one advantage play method called wheel bias. You can learn more about the latter below along with implementing it in casinos.

Step 1: Learn How Wheel Bias Works

Wheel bias refers to when roulette wheels start breaking down and favoring specific pockets. Their wear and tear causes the ball to land on certain numbers more than others.

One major way that wheel bias can occur is when the frets (dividers between the pockets) begin wearing down. With less of a barrier between these pockets, the ball is more likely to drop into them.

The shaft, which supports the wheel, can also become loose or damaged. At this point, the wheel begins to slightly lean to one side.

A wheel can contain other imperfections as well. Any defect—whether major or slight—can lead to bias. Assuming you know which pockets or sections a wheel favors, then you stand a strong chance of making big profits.

Step 2: Record Spins

You normally can’t spot an imperfect wheel with your eyes alone. Instead, you need to record spins and determine if the ball is going in a certain pocket(s) more than others.

Unfortunately, this process is painstaking work. You’ll need to observe and record spins for hundreds or even thousands of rounds. The idea is to get enough data to where you can undeniably detect bias.

Casino Gran Madrid Roulette Table

If you’re looking for section bias, you may be able to find it within as few as 400 to 500 rounds. Section bias refers to when the wheel favors a group of numbers that are clustered together.

Assuming you’re looking for pocket bias, you’ll need to clock around 5,000 spins for any degree of accuracy. Pocket bias is when the wheel favors one or more specific numbers.

The latter is more profitable. As you can see, though, pocket bias also requires you to work longer hours to find an edge.

Step 3: Take Advantage of a Defective Wheel

Once you know of a biased wheel, the next step is to take advantage of it. You simply need to bet on the relevant pockets or sections over and over.

How much you wager all depends upon your specific situation. But your goal should be to bet as much as your bankroll comfortably allows.

“Comfortably” is the key word here. Even when you know which pocket/section the ball lands in more often, you can still experience losing streaks. Therefore, you must ration your bankroll out over the long run so that you eventually win guaranteed profits.

Challenges to Beating Roulette

Roulette wheel bias definitely isn’t an easy advantage play method to pull off. Otherwise, you’d hear about a lot more roulette pros. You can see the biggest obstacles to winning profits below.

You’ll Look Weird Recording Spins

Casinos don’t have any specific rules against standing around and watching a game. In fact, they encourage this behavior to some degree so that you can check out the action and become interested.

However, you may eventually start feeling like a weird lurker. After all, watching every round for hours is odd behavior.

Casino staff members may eventually ask what you’re doing. You’ll have trouble coming up with an answer for why you’ve been staring at a roulette game and writing down results for the past three hours.

A different way to observe the wheel involves playing for low stakes. You can also jump off the table from time to time to save your bankroll. Of course, the problem with this method is that you’ll still face a house edge whenever you do bet.

Starburst Wheels Make Wheel Bias Impossible

Back in the 1980s, British casinos noticed that they were losing a considerable amount of money through roulette. So, they went to a gaming equipment manufacturer named John Huxley and asked if he could make the game tougher to beat.

John Huxley came up with the Starburst wheel, which features shallow pockets and metal frets. These two aspects make it less likely that wheels will break down and favor of certain numbers.

Starburst Roulette Wheel

The company TCS John Huxley is still around today, which doesn’t bode well for advantage gamblers. This manufacturer has only further improved the Starburst wheel over the years.

No Other Legal Ways to Beat Roulette

You can see that the Starburst wheel has made beating roulette virtually impossible wherever it’s employed. If you don’t live near a casino with old-school wooden wheels, then you probably shouldn’t mess with wheel bias.

The latter isn’t the only way to beat this game, though. You can also use a roulette computer to determine where the ball will land on the wheel.

Roulette computers aren’t accurate 100% of the time. However, they measure of the ball and wheel velocity well enough to help you predict winning spins to a high degree.

Assuming you could use these computers freely in casinos, then you’d make thousands of dollars per night. Unfortunately, you can’t legally use a roulette computer.

Every gambling jurisdiction has outlawed these devices, and by using one you’re cheating the casino. If you’re caught using one, then you’ll be arrested, face a steep fine, and possibly spend time in jail.

What Kind of Gambling Profits Are Possible?

As covered so far, the prospects of beating roulette long term are grim. Even if you’re willing to put the work in, you’ll have a very difficult time finding biased wheels due to the Starburst brand.

But what if you do find a biased wheel somewhere? What kind of profits could you make in this situation? No perfect model exists for wheel bias profits. After all, each situation can differ based on exactly how many numbers a wheel favors.

Instead, the best way to view the matter is by discussing somebody who’s conquered the game in this manner. Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo is the last-known player to get rich and famous through wheel bias.

Exterior of Casino Gran Madrid

Pelayo found a faulty wheel while playing at Casino Gran Madrid in the 1990s. After recruiting his family to play at the same table, Gonzalo and family won a fortune before finally being banned.

They then started hitting other European gambling establishments and winning big. These casinos also banned them, but not before the Pelayos collectively won €1.5 million.

The exact figures on how much the family won at each stop are unclear. But it seems that they won at least €500,000 to €1 million before getting kicked out of Casino Gran Madrid. They probably won an additional €500k to €1 million in other European locations.

Taking this example into account, you could likely earn at least half a million dollars through wheel bias if you’re discreet about the matter.

Do Any Pro Casino Gamblers Make a Living With Roulette?

If any professional gamblers play roulette today, then I definitely haven’t heard about them. Pelayo is the last-known gambler to benefit from this technique.

It’s been well over two decades since the Spaniard terrorized casinos across Europe. With that said, it’s unlikely that many roulette pros—if any—exist today.

Assuming players are making profits with roulette, then they’re doing it underground. And they probably aren’t making nearly as much money before getting banned.

Most casinos are fully aware of wheel bias and how it works. They’ve had plenty of time to switch their old wooden wheels over to the Starburst variety.

The latter essentially makes beating roulette impossible. As long as a Starburst wheel is present, then players won’t be making any guaranteed profits.

Conclusion

The thought of making six or seven figures on the roulette wheel sounds exciting. Unfortunately, it’s more of a fantasy than reality today.

Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo may have been the last player to truly take advantage of wheel bias before casinos changed everything. Now, the sturdier Starburst wheels render wheel bias ineffective.

Perhaps you might find older wooden wheels somewhere in the world. In this case, you could possibly discover a biased wheel and win serious money.

Realistically, though, you probably aren’t going to find a rare faulty wheel. Your best shot to win includes playing European Roulette (2.70% house edge) or French Roulette (1.35%) and hoping for some luck.

Comparing and Contrasting Gambling Laws Between West Virginia and Pennsylvania

West Virginia and Pennsylvania State Seals on the Scales of Justice

If you find yourself at one of the casinos in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia, chances are you’ll probably venture off into Western Pennsylvania to see what they have to offer.

However, there are some slight differences in gambling laws between the States of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. So, if you’re unsure of these laws, this article will help you sort through the gray areas and provide some understanding as to why specific gaming can or can’t be done across state lines.

You can also use this post as a reference if you’re passing through West Virginia’s Northern Panhandle.  Or if you are just going on a good old casino tour that may involve casinos like Mountaineer and Wheeling Island (West Virginia) before you take on Rivers and The Meadows (Pennsylvania).

Read on to discover more.

Understanding the Geographic Locations

One major reason I decided to write an article comparing and contrasting casino gambling laws between these states is that you can literally pass from northern West Virginia and into Pennsylvania without even realizing it.

West Virginia’s Northern Panhandle (plus Jefferson County, Ohio) is all technically considered the Greater Pittsburgh Area. An area that bears identical ties in everything whether it’s landscape, local dialects, etc.

That said, it’s easy to assume that the gambling laws are exactly the same and for that, you are onto something. There are a lot of similarities between the gambling laws in Pennsylvania to the laws in West Virginia, which we’ll cover later in the article.

For now, let’s look at some key points regarding gambling laws in each state. Then, we’ll do a brief comparison between the laws before finally contrasting them.

West Virginia Gambling Laws

West Virginia laws prohibit residents of West Virginia from engaging in real money gambling from any unlicensed source or games.

In 2019, the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act was passed, which introduced online casino and poker gaming to state residents courtesy of land-based casinos. However, this bill does not legalize off-shore sites, which include unauthorized games played via the internet.

Its licensing is also relatively cheap, with a one-time $250,000 application fee plus a $100,000 renewal fee every five years.

Mardi Gras Casino in West Virginia

Therefore, it is an offense to gamble online in West Virginia if the gaming source does not come from a land-based casino and you can be subject to a fine up to $100. However, this law does not include high-quality offshore gambling sites such as the Bovada online casino.

The above paragraph only refers to unlicensed intra-state gambling sites that may stake claim to be licensed. That said, anything high-quality like Bovada, BetOnline, etc., is perfectly legal among West Virginia residents.

Video Lottery Terminals, or VLTs, along with classic table games may also be offered. Up to five can be offered in bars and up to ten can be offered in fraternities organizations, with between 85-90% return-to-player games.

In May 2018, sports betting became legal in West Virginia and online sportsbooks followed not long after. All West Virginia residents are also free to wager on-track or off-track on horse races and they may also place online bets as well.

Daily Fantasy Sports, or DFS, such as DraftKings, have always been legal in West Virginia since it was decided such games demanded a specific skill or knowledge level from its players and therefore did not meet West Virginia’s threshold for gambling.

In short, West Virginia is one of the most gambling-friendly states in America with both land-based and online options, so long as the latter is attached in one way, shape, or form to a land-based casino.

Pennsylvania Gambling Laws

Online gambling is legal under current Pennsylvania laws, beginning with a bill passed in October 2017 that allowed land-based casinos to offer online gambling to residents of Pennsylvania.

Sports betting shortly followed, as the state capitalized on the Supreme Court’s overturning of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. The biggest roadblock concerning Pennsylvania, however, are its high taxes and barriers to entry into the market.

For example, you will pay 34% in taxes for your online winnings. Ditto for winnings at land-based casinos.

Pennsylvania Race Track and Casino

As for the barriers to entry, locally-operating casinos claimed 32 of the 39 licenses offered by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. And with each license set at $4 million, it’s a steep price to pay when entering the casino market.

In regards to Pennsylvania gambling, current laws have yet to penalize those who gamble in illegal gaming and per Pennsylvania law, it’s still murky as to what is and isn’t unlawful when it comes to playing on offshore gambling sites.

As for sports betting in Pennsylvania, the cost of entry is high, with a $10 million license certificate plus a 36 percent tax rate on overall revenues.

How Are They Similar?

As you can see, West Virginia and Pennsylvania each comprise similar gambling laws. Per the sources linked above, each has recently introduced all sorts of online gambling options, with Pennsylvania preceding West Virginia.

Online gaming is up and running in Pennsylvania and soon enough, you will see the same throughout West Virginia. But the point of similarity here is that both states do have relatively similar laws when it comes to online gambling.

Daily Fantasy Sports is also a thing in both states, as is online sports betting as well as off-track betting on horse races. Off-track betting has been a thing for years in both states while sports betting and casino gaming is still new to the playing field.

You should expect to see the online gaming sector in both states broaden significantly in due time.

And if you live in the ticky-tacky Northern Panhandle of West Virginia that is basically a bridge between Ohio and Pennsylvania, you can rest assured that the gambling laws aren’t incredibly different between the two states.

That said, you don’t have to pull out the rulebooks pertaining to a plethora of different gambling laws as you make the (literal) five-minute drive from downtown Weirton, West Virginia, and into Washington County, Pennsylvania.

Neither state sees DFS as true gambling and therefore each practically has thrown it into a category of its own considering the skill involved with DFS regarding player knowledge, production, etc. They definitely have a solid point here.

How Are They Different?

From the above summaries, perhaps the biggest difference that resides in West Virginia gambling is that the law tends to crack down harder on illegal operations than Pennsylvania. However, West Virginia’s consequences for first offenses are relatively minor in terms of fines.

Either that or the black market in Pennsylvania is rather subtle about keeping such illegal operations hushed up. But that, of course, goes far beyond the scope of this article.

Hollywood Casino in Pennsylvania

Another major difference is the tax rate based on winnings and barriers to entry. Per the summaries in this article, the barriers to entry are far lower in West Virginia than in Pennsylvania in terms of cost. The high tax rate for winnings in both online and sports betting in PA is also off the charts.

In West Virginia, they’re a little more feasible in both sectors.

Future of Gambling Laws in WV and PA

So, what does the future of gambling look like in Wild and Wonderful and the Keystone State? Given the revenues, you see from the gambling scene nationwide and in PA since the legalization of online gambling and sports betting, expect the laws to grow more liberal, barring anything unforeseen.

i
You may want to keep your eye on taxation via winnings if you’re a West Virginia resident. Given the state’s proximity to Pennsylvania and many in that northern panhandle (two of the five casinos are located there) flocking to PA, don’t be surprised if tax hikes on winnings come in the future.

As for Pennsylvania, expect a crackdown at some point on unregulated markets. Especially as online gambling and sports betting becomes more of a thing within the states.

You can also expect them to treat DFS as more of a skilled game that simply happens to have monetary stakes as a by-product rather than gambling. That said, you daily fantasy sports and DraftKings enthusiasts, you guys are good to go.

Conclusion

Okay, so I hope I summarized these laws in Layman’s terms and if you’d like further information on gambling laws in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, feel free to click through on the links provided in the sections which will give you a more formal overview rather than the summaries provided.

The good news here is that while the laws vary slightly in each state, they’re very similar. Especially since West Virginia has expanded its own legalization of online gambling over the past couple of years even if it is still well in its infancy and Pennsylvania is further along.

You can also expect more liberal laws in both states in the future, especially as they continue to bring in the revenue for their respective states.

What do the gambling laws look like in your state and do you live near any state border where the laws vary? Let us know.

The Alabama Casino Scene

Alabama State Seal With a Casino Background

Alabama might not be the first state you think of when you think of gambling and casinos. You probably do know that it’s the “Heart of Dixie,” though.

As it turns out, Alabama does have a casino scene, and in this post, I’m going to reveal some of the secrets about the Alabama casino scene you might not know about.

An Overview of the Alabama Casino and Gambling Scene

Alabama’s probably never going to compete with Nevada or even Oklahoma in terms of casinos, but the state does boast three Native American casinos and a racino with parimutuel betting. The only kind of gambling you can do at these casinos, though, is via Class II gambling machines.

You must be at least 21 years old to gamble in the casinos in Alabama. That’s the minimum age to play poker for real money, too. You must be 18 to play bingo or to participate in parimutuel wagers.

And, Alabama is one of the only six states in the Union without a state lottery.

It’s illegal for an individual to own a Class III slot machine, but individual collectors are allowed to legally own Class II slot machines.

Go figure.

Class II Slot Machines in Alabama and How They Work

What’s a Class II gambling machine?

A traditional slot machine has a random number generator that creates the outcomes on the screen in front of you. (If it’s an old-fashioned machine, the RNG generates the reel symbols on the reels.) Actual mechanical slot machines no longer operate in casinos anywhere in the United States that I know of.

Each slot machine has its own RNG. It’s just a computer program that thinks of thousands of numbers per second. When you hit the spin button or pull the lever, that program stops on whatever number it’s thinking of at that instant.

And each of those numbers corresponds to a combination of reel symbols. The payouts are based on how likely a specific set of reel symbols is to occur on a payline. The payout is always less than the probability of getting that result.

Class II Slot Machine

Here’s an example:

If you have a 1 in 5 probability of getting a specific combination, it’s probably going to pay off at even money or 2 for 1 instead of the 5 to 1 that would make it a break-even bet.

Those kinds of slot machines are called Class III slot machines. That’s a legal distinction because different states have different laws about what kinds of gambling are allowed and which aren’t.

Class II slot machines duplicate the visible action of a traditional slot machine but does so within the letter of the law. Class II gaming, basically, just refers to bingo games – whether they’re electronic or not.

When these laws were first passed, this led to a rise in how common bingo halls were in states where Indian gaming had become popular. Then someone realized that if you used a bingo algorithm to power the results on a game that looked like a slot machine, you could stay legal and make more money.

You can only tell the difference between a Class III slot machine and a Class II slot machine by the small LED bingo card on the front of the machine you’re playing. It lights up with a bingo pattern after every spin, but most people ignore it and focus on the reel symbols instead.

But what’s happening behind-the-scenes is that you’re playing an electronic bingo with at least one other player in a centralized computer system. The outcome of this electronic bingo game determines your payout on the “slot machine.”

Class II slot machine games offer basically the same odds as Class III slot machines, they just use a different mechanism to determine the outcomes. One of the best analogies is that Class II bingo resembles playing a scratch-and-win lottery ticket.

One thing to beware of, though – Class II “video poker” games aren’t really video poker at all. They don’t mimic the odds you’d find in a deck of cards, and the decisions you make during play are essentially meaningless.

And, since making meaningful decisions is the whole point to real money video poker, you can’t really justify playing Class II video poker games.

Victoryland Is the Largest Casino in Alabama

VictoryLand is more than just a casino. It also offers a race betting and a hotel. It’s located in Shorter, Alabama. The casino has an interesting history.

In 2010, they were forced to close their casino, restaurant, and hotel. A federal probe into “gambling improprieties” prompted the arrest of Victoryland’s owner, Milton McGregor, and 10 state senators and lobbyists. Charges included bribery, conspiracy, and honest services fraud.

Victoryland Casino in Alabama

In 2012, McGregor was acquitted of all charges, but Alabama’s Attorney General, Luther Strange, insisted that the electronic bingo machines on the site were illegal.

In 2013, the state seized over a quarter million dollars in cash and over 1500 gambling machines.

But in 2015, the courts found that it was unusual and inappropriate that the state’s Attorney General was only taking action against Victoryland and not the other Alabama land based casinos which were operating in the same manner.

The casino reopened (again) in 2016 with over 500 gambling machines.

Victoryland now has over 1000 gambling machines on its gaming floor, and the casino is open 24/7.

The Wind Creek Casinos Are the Other Casinos in Alabama

Besides Victoryland, you’ll find casino-style gambling at three other casinos in Alabama, all of which are named “Wind Creek Casino.” These include:

  • Wind Creek Casino & Hotel Atmore
  • Wind Creek Casino & Hotel Montgomery
  • Wind Creek Casinos & Hotel Wetumpka

The biggest of these is Wind Creek Casino & Hotel Wetumpka, which offers 2500+ gambling machines. They claim to offer the highest payouts in the Southeast on their website, but that sounds like marketing-speak to me. (The state of Alabama doesn’t require any of the casinos there to publish return-to-player percentages.)

Like most Vegas-style casinos, Wind Creek Casinos & Hotel Wetumpka has a robust set of promotions where they award players with rebates, free spins, cars, and travel.

Wind Creek Casino in Alabama

Their rewards program is called Wind Creek Rewards. It’s not much different from any other slots club – you can earn “free” food, hotel stays, and concert tickets based on how much time and money you spend gambling there.

They also claim on their website that this is the “most generous” rewards program in the Southeast – more marketing-speak.

They also have a full-service hotel and a Starbucks on site as well as a spa.

Will Alabama Have a Lottery Soon, Too?

In March, 2020, one of Alabama’s legislator’s put forth a lottery bill. This new law would create a paper-based lottery. The plan is for the funds to go toward Alabama’s pre-kindergarten program and toward a college scholarship program. A tiny percentage of the funds would also be allocated toward problem gambling programs.

?
Why doesn’t Alabama have a lottery yet? You can blame the Poarch Band of Creek Indians who operate the casinos and racinos in the state. They don’t want competition for their gambling machines. There’s also constant legal wrangling about what is and isn’t legal as it relates to tribal gaming in the state.

The lottery bill will need 63 votes to pass, but it has at least 70 co-sponsors. It looks likely to pass if it ever comes up for a vote, but there’s no telling when that might be. At one time, they were anticipating a vote by the end of 2020, but that’s uncertain.

Conclusion

Alabama gambling is not exactly on the same level as a state like Nevada or even Oklahoma.

But if you want to gamble there, you can find gambling machines in a few locations operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. Or you can gamble at Victoryland.

You’re limited to Class II gambling machines at these locations, though – you can’t participate in any kind of table games at any of the gambling halls in Alabama.

But you can bet on dog races and horse races at the racino there.

What the impending lottery will do to the business model of these casinos is a question yet to be answered, but since 44 states – including many that have a lottery – offer both the lottery and casinos, I don’t think Alabama needs to worry about their casinos going bankrupt because of the lottery.

How to Get Good Enough at Poker to Profit Consistently

Poker Player and a Royal Flush of Clubs

You know it, I know it, and the American people know it: One way to win at gambling that almost anyone can pull off is to get good enough at poker that you have a positive ROI (return on investment).

But if you’re new to poker, how do you get from point A to point B?  You already know that you need to have a certain amount of skill to pull this off.

This post answers the question of how to get that skill and how you can get better at poker to start earning money more consistently.

1. Read a Book About the Basics on How to Play Poker

Before you can proceed to the strategy stuff, you need to learn the basics of how to play poker. The best way to do that is to read one of the many good books on getting started at poker. Poker for Dummies by Lou Krieger is as good a place to start as any.

You could also find tutorials on websites like ours that cover the basics. You probably know better than I which method of reading and studying works better for you. If you’re younger, reading how to play poker on the internet might be more comfortable. Older guys like me often prefer reading books on playing poker.

2. Start Playing for Play Money on the Internet

The next step in learning how to be good enough at poker to profit is to start playing in some of the free-to-play games on the internet. Every legitimate poker cardroom online that I know of offers games for play money. They’re the equivalent of points or bragging rights. They have no monetary value.

You don’t have to make a deposit or anything to get this play money. These sites usually award you with a specific number of chips to start with. They all have various methodologies for reloading your play money accounts.

You won’t get much experience that translates to what you should do strategy-wise at real money poker tables. Because there’s nothing of real value at stake at a play money table, strategies change, sometimes dramatically.

WSOP.com Online Poker Game

Here’s an example: You have a reasonably good but not great hand that you want to bet and raise with. You figure that between your odds of drawing to a better hand and the odds that your opponent will fold, it’s the right play.

But in a play money game, where the chips don’t have any value, you’re more likely to get called than you would if real money were on the line.

The goal for participating in the play money games is to learn how the action and order of betting works. Mistakes you make with the basics of the game can cost you big money in actual play. So, you should become familiar enough with the fundamentals that they’re no longer a problem.

3. Read a Good Book About Poker Strategy

While it’s true that specific poker games have specific strategies, some strategy applies to all kinds of poker games. That’s why I suggest you start with David Sklansky’s The Theory of Poker. He uses specific examples from multiple poker variations to illustrate general strategic principles that apply to all poker games.

The most important thing Sklansky shares in The Theory of Poker is his Fundamental Theorem of Poker. He states it more eloquently than I do, but here’s what it means in a nutshell:

Every time you act the way you would (bet, check, raise, etc.) if you could see your opponents’ face-down cards, you gain. Every time your opponent acts other than the way he would if he could see your cards, you gain again.

You need to read more than The Theory of Poker, though. I also suggest reading a good book on playing Texas holdem, since that’s the game most people play these days. Small Stakes Holdem: Winning Big with Expert Play by Ed Miller is as good a source for this as any I can think of.

4. Start With Tight Aggressive Play

Playing style has a lot to do with how well you perform at the table. Most experts agree that a tight aggressive approach is correct, especially if you’re just starting out.

You can categorize poker players along two different scales. The first has to do with how passive or aggressive that player is. This is a player’s aggression level.

A player who checks and calls a lot is considered passive. He lets the other players lead the action. A player who bets and raises a lot is considered aggressive. He’s always leading the action.

Person Handling a Large Poker Chip Stack

Aggressive players tend to make more money at the poker table. They’re getting more money into the pot when they have the best of it. They’re also forcing the other players at the table to make hard decisions (and potentially make mistakes).

Poker players can also be categorized by how selective they are about which hands they’re willing to play. Players who play a lot of hands are called loose, while players who only play a limited selection of hands are called tight players.

Your goal is to be tight aggressive, except in a few specific scenarios. But that’s not all.

5. Pay Attention to the Other Players and Categorize Them

Knowing what you do about the categories of poker players, you should also put your opponents into categories based on their behavior at the table. Knowing how they play will affect your decisions later in the game.

Four Types of Poker Players

You’re going to run into four broad categories of players:

  • Tight aggressive players only play good cards, or they fold. When they do get cards, they bet and raise with those cards. They’re not that hard to play against, though. You can either fold, or you can re-raise them. Since they’re tight, they’ll often fold at some point if the hand doesn’t go exactly the way they were hoping.
  • Tight passive players are also called “rocks.” They won’t play many hands, and when they do, they’ll just check and call. The trick with these players is to bet and raise into them when you have strong cards. Force them to make hard decisions. The way most hands develop, scare cards come up during every round. Unless the rock has an amazing hand, you can get them to fold.
  • Loose aggressive players can be the most fun opponents at the table, but they can also be a nightmare. You’ll be tempted to loosen up your calling range as they run over the players at the table. In my experience, though, you should tighten up and let them get themselves into trouble. Don’t get frustrated when they draw out on you or put a bad beat on you. That just means you got your money into the pot when you had the best of it.
  • Loose passive players are the most profitable players at your table. They play a lot of hands, but they’re never aggressive with them. As long as you’re playing strong hands, they’ll call you often when they have the worst of it. You’ll make a lot of money with a loose passive player at the table. So, be nice to such players so they don’t leave the table. Win their money, but make sure they’re having fun while you’re doing it.

Bonus Tip: Bluffing Is Overrated

A lot of poker beginners think that bluffing is what the game is all about. And yes, bluffing has a role to play in poker. But you need to realize that bluffing only works when you have an opponent who can and will fold sometimes. If you’re playing with someone who’s never going to fold, you can’t bluff successfully.

Most beginners bluff too often. You need to bluff often enough that it’s hard to put you on a hand, but not so often that you’ll lose money.

If you take my advice earlier in this post and read The Theory of Poker, you’ll learn about a move called a “semi-bluff.” This is when you bet or raise with a hand that probably isn’t the best hand at the table but has a reasonably good chance of improving before the showdown.

Poker Player Timothy Adams

For example, you might have an open-ended straight draw—four cards to a straight where a card on either end of that straight will fill your straight. This gives you eight “outs.”

Your opponent might have a big pair. He will win more often than not. But if you bet and raise with your straight draw, you have two opportunities to win. He might fold because he thinks you have three of a kind. Or you might hit your straight, which will happen almost a third of the time if you’re on the flop in Texas holdem and have two cards to go.

When you’re playing in really low stakes games, bluffing is even harder. The other players are probably just playing for giggles, anyway, and since there’s no real money on the line, they have no incentive to fold.

After all, it doesn’t hit them in the pocketbook. The same holds true for freerolls.

Finally, keep in mind that it’s hard to bluff several players at once. With three or more players against you, someone’s bound to have a hand they really like and are willing to fight you for the pot. For this reason, you should limit your bluffing to when you’re in the pot with just one or two other players.

Conclusion

Getting good enough at poker to profit consistently means getting yourself into the top 5% or 10% of players. This might sound impossible to the average beginner, but it’s not as hard as you think. Most people can make a dramatic improvement to their game by doing nothing more than starting to keep records of their results.

It’s worth doing, though, because poker is a great hobby and a good way to win money.

Why do anything if you’re not going to be good at it?

Is It Possible to Win at Online Casinos Without Using Bonuses?

Bonus Graphic and Person Using Laptop

I saw a post in an online gambling forum ask the following question: “Is it possible to win at online casinos without using the bonuses?”

I’d contend that it’s not only possible to win at online casinos without using the bonuses than it is to win at them with using the bonuses. And in this post, I’ll explain why.

Having More Money Doesn’t Make You More Likely to Win

It sounds counterintuitive. After all, if you have more money to gamble with, wouldn’t you almost assuredly have a better chance of being a winner? And don’t the online casino bonuses put more money into your bankroll?

Here’s what you need to understand about casino games: They’re almost always made up of negative expectation bets. The longer you play a negative expectation game, the likelier you are to lose money. That’s how the difference between the short term and the long works.

Your ONLY hope of winning money at the casino is to buck the odds, and that’s only likely and/or possible if you get lucky in the short run.

And yes, online casino bonuses do put more money into your bankroll. But they come with strings. And those strings are called “wagering requirements.”

In other words, you’re required to place a certain amount of wagers before being allowed to cash out. That’s the biggest and most important of the terms and conditions attached to these bonuses.

How Do Wagering Requirements Work at Online Casinos?

Let’s look at a hypothetical online casino bonus offer. You get a 200% signup bonus on your first deposit, and the maximum bonus is $2,000.

This means if you sign up for a real money account and deposit $1,000, you get an additional $2,000 in bonus money added to your account. You now have $3,000 you can play with.

A smart guy might try to bet $300 or even $100 a few times then cash out. But the online casinos are smarter than that. They know you’d take them to the cleaners right away if they allowed that.

Another tactic you might try is to stick to games with a low house advantage like blackjack. The casinos are on to that trick, too. They either don’t count wagers on blackjack toward your wagering requirements, or they count those wagers at a discounted rate.

Also, they require you to place a specific number of wagers before you’re allowed to cash out. This might be as much as 35x your deposit plus bonus (or more). This means you must make wagers in the amount of $105,000 before you’re able to cash out. And usually, you’re required to make these wagers on a slot machine.

Online Blackjack Asking for Insurance

Let’s assume you’re playing a slot machine for $3 a spin. This means you’d need to make 35,000 spins before being allowed to cash out any money you have left.

If you assume an average playing speed of 500 spins per hour, that’s 70 hours of play. For people with jobs, it’s going to take a little time to clear that bonus.

How much money will you have left after making 35,000 slot machine spins?

Let’s assume that the game you play has a house edge of 5%. That wouldn’t be unusual for a slot machine game at an online casino. Your expected losses on $105,000 in action are $5,250.

Since you started with $3,000, chances are, you’ll lose your entire stake before clearing your wagering requirements. You’re not guaranteed to lose that money. You could always buck the odds. But the longer you play, the closer your results will usually get to the predicted results.

What Can I Do About These Bonuses?

Here’s the thing about casino bonuses—you don’t have to claim them. You can just deposit money and ignore any bonuses. This gives you the flexibility to wager as little as you want and cash out. This means that if you get lucky early, you can just cash out.

Here’s an example: You deposit $1,000, and on your first slot machine spin, you win $1,000. You’re up $997. You put $3 in when you spun the reels. You could immediately cash out your $997 and still have $1,000 in your account to play with. Depending on how reputable the online casino is, you might even get your money.

Keep in mind, this is a longshot, but it’s certainly possible.

Is It Possible to Win at Online Casinos? Aren’t Their Games Rigged?

I write mostly for an American audience because I’m an American gambler. And in most states, if you want to gamble at an online casino, you must do business with some kind of offshore casino. Many of these offshore casinos operate online only.

Legitimate online casinos adhere to strict regulatory requirements just like traditional land-based casinos do. These licensing authorities are located in a completely different legal jurisdiction, like Antigua, Barbuda, for example.

The amount of oversight these bodies provide is questionable. The regulatory bodies that exercise the most oversight don’t allow their licensees to offer real money gambling to United States players.

Aladdin's Wishes Online Slots Game

Also, if you live in one of the states which has legal, regulated casinos, you have little to worry about. These casinos are run by large corporations that have strict government oversight from within our own borders. They have no incentive to offer “rigged” games. They’d go out of business and risk prosecution.

For the most part, you don’t have to worry about the casinos offering you games that cheat. They generally offer fair games with the same odds you’d find in a traditional Vegas casino.

What you do need to worry about, especially if you’re dealing with offshore online gambling, is the possibility that your withdrawal won’t get processed or won’t get processed in a timely manner.

Spend some time on some online gambling forums and look for the complaints there about online casinos. You’ll find that they’re almost always complaints about having trouble cashing their money out of the casino.

How do you avoid this kind of problem?

How to Avoid Problems When Withdrawing Money From an Online Casino

You can avoid a lot of problems withdrawing money from a casino if you spend a little time investigating reputations before depositing money there. Try to find some reputable, honest reviews that seem like they were written by real people.

Here’s an expert hint, too: Most online casino “reviews” aren’t real reviews. They’re just thinly-disguised sales letters written by webmasters hoping to earn a commission by referring players to the casino.

These should be easy to spot. They’re overwhelmingly positive. And even if they’re well-written, they don’t seem like something a real person would write.

You can also take a hint from the nature of the reviews on the site. If a website has 10 online casino reviews, and every one of those reviews is overwhelmingly positive, there’s a good chance that the site is just shilling for the casino.

Even sites with lengthy online casino blacklists might be just shills for online casinos. When the blacklists consist of no more than a bunch of no-name casinos that aren’t even live on the internet anymore, you know that you’re not dealing with a real “watchdog” at all.

Here’s another way to avoid withdrawal problems: Read the terms and conditions for the casino, especially the terms and conditions for any bonus you might claim. If you violate a term or condition you don’t know about, any problems you incur are on you and not the casino.

This means paying attention to which games count toward your wagering requirements.

Also, don’t behave in the manner of someone who’s looking to just make a quick buck from the online casino. What does that look like?

That might be someone who fulfills their wagering requirement to the penny. Use a little camouflage if you don’t want to look like a dope. Make some more wagers than just the minimum required.

How Can You Maximize Your Odds of Walking Away a Winner?

One way to improve your odds of winning is to stick with online casino games that have a low house edge. And since the games with a low house edge don’t count toward your wagering requirements, this will mean passing up on the signup bonus.

I suggest mastering basic strategy in blackjack. With perfect basic strategy—which is easy to learn, by the way—you can reduce the house edge to less than 1%. That’s as low a house edge as you’ll see at almost any casino, really, which will provide you with your best chance to walk away a winner.

Online Casino Keno Game

Also, if you want to maximize your odds of winning, avoid the games with the highest house edge. Keno is a sucker bet with a house edge of at least 35%, and sometimes, the house edge is as high as 50% in keno.

Slot machines are a bad bet, too, unfortunately. And to add insult to injury, slots don’t even tell you what their house edge is. You don’t even have the information you need to calculate the house edge. My guess is that most online slot machines have a house edge of at least 5%, but many probably have a house edge of 10% or more.

Another option for a low house edge game to play is video poker but watch the pay tables. The low house edge is for the games with the most favorable pay tables. You also must play with close to optimal strategy to enjoy that low house edge, too. Video poker’s not for the faint of heart.

Conclusion

Sure, it’s possible to win at online casinos without using the bonuses. In fact, it’s usually more likely. But the casino always has the odds in its favor.

Just because it’s possible doesn’t mean it’s likely.

A Gambler’s Guide to Talking Stick Resort in Arizona

Review Score Graphic With a Talking Stick Casino Background

As an avid casino gambling enthusiast, I’ve made more than my fair share of sprints across the desert to soak in Sin City. But there’s also no shortage of casino options to choose from in the Copper State.

Thanks to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988, the 22 federally recognized Native American tribes residing in Arizona have set up 25 casinos from Flagstaff to Tucson, and all points in between.

In this guide, I’ll be talking about the Talking Stick Resort in Arizona. As someone who is local to the state, I’ll give you the rundown on what it’s all about.

Talking Stick Resort Rises From the Sands

For folks who are planning a trip to the warm and sunny climes of Arizona, it is my distinct pleasure to serve as your guide to my state’s casino gambling scene.

To begin this series covering the best and worst casinos in Arizona, the natural starting point is Talking Stick Resort, a glittering full-scale resort located just outside of Scottsdale. If you’re familiar with the area at all, taking a nighttime drive on the 101 North from Tempe and gazing to the east will leave you with no doubt about where to find Talking Stick Resort.

Talking Stick Resort in Arizona

After all, you can’t miss the place, not with its neon hued 15-story hotel tower soaring above the saguaro and sand below. This place opened its doors in 2010, making it one of the newest casinos in the state, and every penny invested by the Salt River Indian Community Pima-Maricopa shines through at first sight.

Simply put, outside of the best casinos on the Vegas Strip, you just won’t find a top-tier gambling and entertainment destination like this anywhere in the Southwest.

Gambling Options at Talking Stick Resort

To begin with, the gaming floor alone at Talking Stick Resort encompasses more than 98,000 square feet, right on par with Sin City’s big boys like the Bellagio. That gaming floor contains over 850 slot and video poker machines, along with 54 table games featuring blackjack, Let It Ride, Three-Card Poker, and even Casino War.

Even better, unlike most casinos in Arizona —where non-card table games like roulette and craps aren’t permitted—Talking Stick Resort has all of your favorite gambling games. By using large “bubble craps” machines and virtual roulette wheels, the casino’s operators found a clever way to cater to their customers while still adhering to Arizona tribal gaming compacts.

You’ll definitely enjoy yourself here, thanks in part to the aforementioned allotment of 850+ machines featuring all of the latest titles and technology. If you’ve enjoyed a particular slot like Wheel of Fortune, Sex and the City, or Buffalo that have become staples in Vegas, you can bet your bottom dollar Talking Stick Resort has them in abundance.

Talking Stick Casino Floor

Over in the table game pit, which is designed to blend seamlessly with the surrounding slots and video poker machines, there are eager-to-please dealers working the tables 24/7. My status as a regular might have something to do with it, but the folks in the box at Talking Stick Resort always seem to have a smile and some small talk at the ready.

That should be par for the course in a quality casino, but you’d be surprised at just how many dealers in other Arizona venues just don’t bother with the customer service aspect of their profession.

My favorite part about Talking Stick Resort’s casino is how clean and modern every nook and cranny feels. From the keno parlor to the pit, the sports bar and the buffet, and even the bathroom facilities, this casino looks the part of a Las Vegas-style resort. That extends to every aspect of Talking Stick Resort, too.

Resort Amenities and Restaurants

Locals and visitors alike love the outdoor swimming area that doubles as a pool party. This section is complete with an in-house DJ and cocktails on demand during certain hours of the day.

If your gambling escapades have you working up an appetite, you’ll have no shortage of selections either, what with multiple eateries on-site—Black Fig Bistro, Ocean Trail, and Blue Coyote Café.

As someone who is very familiar with Arizona casinos, I can sincerely say that the dining at Talking Sticks compares to Vegas when it comes to variety and quality. King crab legs, prime rib, and champagne brunches are all on the menu. You just won’t find anything else like it here.

The amenities are truly off the charts at Talking Stick Resort. Did I mention there’s a golf club? The adjoining Talking Stick Golf Club is home to not one but two professionally designed 18-hole links. The O’odham Course (18 holes – 7,133 Yards, Par 70) and the Piipaash Course (18 holes – 6,833 Yards, Par 71) each offer their own distinct challenges, but both are nestled perfectly amidst the serenity and splendor of the surrounding Sonoran Desert.

The ARENA Room Is Every Poker Player’s Dream Come True

Back to the gambling bonanza that is Talking Stick Resort, the property is known far and wide in Arizona as the home of the ARENA Poker Room.

This facility was modeled after the biggest and best poker rooms in Vegas, and that shines through as soon as you step foot inside. A collection of 49 tables can be found inside the ARENA Poker Room, and on busy days, every last one of them will be ringed with gamblers playing poker for real money.

Unlike your typical Arizona poker room, the ARENA lives up to its billing by spreading much more than basic $1/$2 No Limit Texas Hold’em. You’ll find No Limit games running as high as $10/$20 blinds, along with variants like Pot Limit Omaha, Seven Card Stud, and even H.O.R.S.E.

ARENA Poker Room in Talking Stick Casino

If tournaments are more your thing, the ARENA poker room hosts daily and nightly tournaments ranging from the $100 to $300 buy-in level. These are augmented by several seasonal tournaments with even larger prize pools, plus the annual Arizona State Poker Championship which is regularly attended by top touring pros.

And once again, the staff working the poker room are all consummate professionals. From the tournament directors to the dealers to the chip runners, employees at the ARENA strive to make every step of the process seamless and pain-free.

Poker may not be in the gambling spotlight like it once was, but if you’re in Arizona and want to feel like you’re playing the game like Las Vegas pros do, Talking Stick Resort is the ticket.

From a Dusty Tent in the Desert to Arizona’s Diamond in the Rough

In the title, I admit that my reviews are slightly subjective, so let me tell you a little story about why I love Talking Stick Resort so much.

As a college kid, I spent my days studying textbooks and casino gambling manuals. I was fascinated with the blackjack card counters of old, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) on ESPN, and even the “backend” as I briefly explored a side job as a dealer. Sufficed to say, I went searching for the closest casino the day I turned 21.

At that time, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community operated a small venue called Casino Arizona* off the 101 and Indian Bend. But calling it a casino was generous to say the least, as this joint was essentially just an oversized tent. I’m talking a nondescript beige canopy stretched out to cover 20,000 square feet at most.

*The tribe also operates a second Casino Arizona facility a few miles south along the 101 where slots and bingo are the primary draw

Inside the tent gamblers were greeted with a handful of blackjack tables with faded felt, a single restaurant and bar, and a collection of old slot machines that had seen better days. It wasn’t much for the local gambling community, but Casino Arizona was the place we called home.

To see just how far the tribe has come with its casino development since then is nothing short of astounding. Through hard work and patience, the people at the old Casino Arizona—many of whom are still plying their trade at Talking Stick Resort—managed to make a major investment in their own future.

I’m sure glad they did, and after you experience Talking Stick Resort for the first time, you will be too.

Conclusion

Talking Stick Resort stands alone as Arizona’s premier casino gambling destination for many reasons. Top-notch service, an elite collection of amenities, courteous, highly trained employees, and a certain sense of style usually reserved for Sin City—you name it, and Talking Stick Resort has it in spades.

By day, the place is packed with regulars who come for the cards and camaraderie. By night, the college kids and young at heart come to dance, drink, and party until sunrise. Picture the platonic ideal of a casino resort in your head, then visit Talking Stick Resort to see your vision realized.

Slots vs. Lottery – Which Has Better Odds?

Slots and Lottery Combined Image

Most gamblers focus on games that provide them the most entertainment value for their money. Others look for games with better odds.

Slot machines and the lottery are two of the most popular types of gambling games in the United States and worldwide. So, which game offers better odds, slot machines, or the lottery?

On this page, I’ll discuss the lottery vs. the slots in terms of odds and winnings. Continue reading to learn more below.

Winning Jackpots

Before I get into the details of the real factors like the house edge and return to player, let’s look at why people are so drawn to the lottery and progressive slots.

Winning the lottery offers players the potential to instantly begin a seemingly new life. People are drawn in by the potential to go to bed with a few hundred dollars in the bank and wake up a multimillionaire.

I’m referring to the lottery games with huge payouts like the Powerball and MegaMillions games. I have never met a single person that chatted me up about how they really wish they’d hit four numbers on Power Ball and cash in that $100 ticket.

It would seem that every ticket is bought to match all five numbers plus the Powerball. I mean, $100 is far from terrible for a $2 investment, but it won’t cover the electric bill. No, players spend hours dreaming of how they’ll spend their immense fortune after they hit the jackpot.

Person Holding Powerball and MegaMillions Lottery Tickets

I’ll admit, shopping for a new Ferrari sounds like more fun than paying the internet bill. Unfortunately, only a handful of lottery players will ever get that opportunity. The largest Powerball jackpot in history was pushing $1.6 billion. That’s the kind of money many people can’t even fathom.

Progressive slots also provide instant entry into the lifestyle of the rich and famous. The most famous and lucrative of the progressive slots is Nevada’s Megabucks.

Megabucks gives players the chance to turn $3 into over $10,000,000. You may choose to play for $1, but you’ll be playing for a much smaller top prize.

If you’re one of the lucky few that see three jackpot reels line up on a $3 spin, you’ll be handsomely rewarded.

Odds of Hitting a Massive Payday

Huge multi-state lotteries like Powerball typically pay out around 50%. Most of the winners on a gigantic lottery game are small prizes.

For example, in the Powerball game, you have a 1 in 38 chance of hitting the Powerball and doubling your $2 investment.

As the prize amounts increase, your odds decrease dramatically. Remember that $100 prize I mentioned earlier? Your odds of winning it are a sobering 1 in 36,525. Indeed a tremendous gap for a relatively short jump in money.

Most people would consider a $50,000 win worthy of a celebration. After taxes, you could pay off some or all of your debt and have enough left for a modest used car. Unfortunately, the odds of matching four numbers and getting the Powerball are 1 in 913,129. It’s not quite 1 in a million, but close enough to paint a picture.

If you are like most lottery players, these numbers mean nothing to you. You came to dance, and nothing short of hitting the jackpot will fulfill your dreams. Well, you probably know the odds aren’t in your favor. So, I’ll cut to the chase…

Your odds of hitting the Powerball jackpot are an astronomical 1 in 292,201,338.

What about the Megabucks slots? Megabucks actually gives you much better odds at hitting the jackpot. Of course, the jackpots rarely reach the massive numbers of the lottery.

However, the average jackpot size is around $10 million. I don’t run in circles where not one of us could use an extra $10 million. You may even hit the jackpot when it climbs close to $40 million as one anonymous gambler did back in 2003.

Wherever the jackpot happens to sit at any given time, your odds are roughly 1 in 50,000,000. It’s still not great, but that’s considerably better than the Powerball lottery.

Scratch-Offs

Scratch-off lottery tickets can be purchased at just about any convenience store or gas station in many US states. These instant win games can be purchased for as little as $1.

I am of the variety that rarely carries cash anymore. But I’ll sometimes see a couple of singles in my wallet leftover from my tipping fund or maybe some golf winnings. I enjoy dropping $2 to $5 on a ticket and seeing if I can’t surprise my wife with flowers or whatever she happens to have on her wish list.

Scratch Off Indiana Lottery Tickets

Rarely have I won any significant cash, but for as little as I play, I’m definitely in the black. Scratch-offs may start at $1, but the games in some areas can go all the way up to $50.

The amount of the top prize will depend significantly on the price of the ticket. Purchasing a $1 ticket may net you a top prize between $500 and $5,000. The big scratch-off prizes are reserved for the high dollar tickets. For example, the state of Texas offers a $50 game named “$200 Million Ca$h” with four top prizes of $5 million.

Your odds of hitting the top prize will vary depending on how many tickets pay the maximum amount. It will undoubtedly be an extremely slim chance of striking gold.

Casino Slots

Real money slots come in as many varieties as scratch-off tickets. Walk into any Las Vegas casino, and you’ll be greeted by a sea of slot machines.

Casino slots can range from the standard spinning reel models to the latest video slots with over 20 pay lines and high definition graphics. Just like their vastly different appearances and levels of immersion, the money can be very different.

As a whole, casino games generally pay based on how much you wager. Imagine you place $10 on an even money roulette bet. If you win, you get $20. That’s your original wager plus a $10 profit. Slots are slightly different and yet the same.

For instance, a slot machine may have a $1 bet as the standard bet. Yet, you may have the option to increase that up to say $5 to activate multipliers for your winning. Additionally, you can choose how many lines to play. It can get tricky here because, obviously, betting max lines will increase your investment.

A standard rule for slots is to play at a denomination where you can comfortably play for hours while keeping your bankroll from reaching zero. Return to player on slots is typically a minimum of 83%. However, you’ll rarely find such low odds in Vegas or any other central casino hub.

Most significant casinos will payout at between 90% to 95%. Some places may be smaller, usually the penny slots or low denomination machines.

Looking at that number, one fact becomes crystal clear—slots pay out at a much higher percentage than the lottery. If your main goal is to enjoy small incremental wins, you’ll probably have a much better time playing slots than the lottery.

After all, even the smallest wins on a slot machine can be incredibly exciting for most players. You’re bombarded by ringing bells, flashing lights, and even the sound virtual coins plinking into your bank.

Slots or Lottery

Lottery jackpots are the go-to get-rich-quick scheme in the United States. Millions of tickets are sold every week for the Powerball and Megamillions drawings.

People spend countless hours fantasizing about winning a massive jackpot even though they have an exponentially better chance of being struck by lightning not once, but twice in their lifetime.

Double Diamond Megabucks Slot

Lottery scratch offs could net you some smaller wins along the way, but the top prizes are still unlikely. Slots are your best bet if you’re strictly looking at your odds of winning. Even the vast Megabucks progressive gives you a much better chance at an early retirement than the lottery.

The payouts are so much higher on slots than the lottery that it’s really not a competition. To put it in perspective, the theoretical difference boils down to this. If you put $100,000 into a slot machine for an hour, you could leave with $95,000.

Put the same $100,000 into lottery tickets, and at best, you’re walking away with $50,000. Despite being one of the highest house advantages in any casino, slots still has much better odds than the lottery.

Conclusion

I’m not here to tell you to steer clear of the lottery, especially if that’s your favorite game or an essential hobby to you.

However, you should understand that your odds of winning are minuscule. It’s almost a certainty that you are never going to hit a lottery jackpot.

Of course, someone’s going to win. So, it might as well be you.

If you’re concerned about getting the most from your entertainment dollar or enjoy winning, stick to the slots.

The Fundamental Theorem of Poker

Royal Flush Poker Hand and Math Equations

My friend Larry called me the other day to ask me some questions about switching from online poker to live poker. He knows I’m a poker player, and he also knows that I write about poker extensively for work. The first thing I asked him was if he was familiar with the Fundamental Theorem of Poker.

David Sklansky coined the phrase “The Fundamental Theorem of Poker.” The idea was to sum up the nature of the game clearly and quickly.

Here’s how Sklansky expressed the Theorem:

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.

I suggested to Larry that he thoroughly study Sklansky’s book The Theory of Poker. I suggest that if you’re serious about poker, you should do the same thing.

Until you can get your copy of that book and start reading it, here are some of my own observations about The Fundamental Theorem of Poker.

The Fundamental Theorem of Poker Is Essentially Mathematical in Nature

Even though the Theorem is clearly written without numbers, the idea behind it is based on logic, math, and probability. It also clarifies the nature of the game – poker is essentially about making positive expectation gambling decisions in situations where you have incomplete information.

This, after all, is the difference between poker and games of pure skill like chess. In a game like chess, you have a lot of variables, but you know everything there is to know. The pieces can only move in specific patterns, and they’re located wherever they’re located on the board.

It’s possible for an inferior poker player to win a hand against an expert. It’s even possible for an inferior poker player to have winning sessions against experts. That’s because of the random nature of the game. You can make incorrect decisions in poker and still win.

Poker Cards With a Chess Backing

This isn’t the case in a game like chess.

When you make a decision in poker, you should be thinking about the mathematical expectation of that decision. The decision with the largest expected value is always the correct decision because the goal of poker is to win money.

If you were playing with all your opponents’ cards face-up, you’d know exactly which decision would have the highest expected return. Even if you didn’t know what to do intuitively, you’d be able to eventually figure it out with some minor calculations.

Here’s another way to look at it:

Suppose your opponent is playing with his cards face-up, but you’re playing with your cards face-down.

Do you see how you’d have a mathematical advantage over your opponent?

An Example of the Fundamental Theorem of Poker in Action

Let’s say my buddy Larry is playing Texas holdem. He gets a pair of sevens preflop. He calls the big blind, and everyone else folds. The big blind checks.

On the flop, an ace, a king, and a jack are showing.

Larry has to decide what to do next. He should probably fold because of how unfavorable the flop is to him. The big blind is likely to have any of those three cards – an ace, king, or jack – which means that the big blind has Larry beat.

Also, I didn’t mention this, but two of the flop cards were of the same suit, so the big blind might also have a flush draw. The possibility that the big blind might have a draw to a straight shouldn’t be ignored, either. The big blind might even have a queen and a 10, which means he might already have hit a straight.

Poker Player David Sklansky

Even if a seven shows up on the turn or the river, Larry might lose this hand – his three of a kind might not be good enough to beat the potential flush or straight. And there are only two sevens left in the deck, which means he’s a lot less likely to hit his hand than the big blind is.

But what about this?

Suppose the big blind is playing with his cards face-up, and he has a suited six and seven. Larry now knows that the big blind has a flush draw. The correct decision for the big blind now is to raise.

If Larry folds in this situation, he’s making a mistake because he’s playing his hand differently than he would if he knew what the big blind was holding.

Your goal in poker is to avoid mistakes, but your goal is also to encourage your opponents to make mistakes.

This is also a classic example of a semi-bluff. The big blind wins in this situation if Larry folds, but he also wins if he hits one of his nine outs.

So, Should I Always Play My Hand Deceptively?

A beginner poker player might read about The Fundamental Theorem of Poker and assume that he should always play his hand differently from what its strength might warrant.

He might think that he should check his pair of aces in the hopes that one of his opponents will be or raise against him.

He might think that he should bet and raise every time he gets 27 offsuit.

This is NOT the correct application of the Fundamental Theorem of Poker, though.

For one thing, the Fundamental Theorem of Poker applies directly to heads-up poker, but in multi-way pots, its utility decreases because of what happens when the other players make decisions.

Stack of Chips and Cash on a Poker Table

For example, if you have a strong hand, but several other players have drawing hands, you can be an underdog just because you have so many opponents. This is one of the reasons you should bet and raise with strong preflop hands – you want to thin the field to make winning more likely and to simplify your decision making in later rounds of the game.

On the other hand, if you ARE heads-up with an opponent and have a weak hand, it CAN make sense to bet and raise with it. In fact, it’s essential if you want to avoid being predictable. Face it. If you always play your hands perfectly according to the hands’ strength, you might as well be playing with your cards face-up anyway.

Having an idea of your opponents’ tendencies help with these decisions, too. I’ve played with all types of poker players, and there are those who consider themselves “sheriffs.” Even with the weakest of hands, they’ll call you down to the river just to make sure you’re not putting one over on them.

Trying to bluff a “sheriff” is an exercise in futility regardless of what cards you’re holding. They rarely fold.

On the other hand, if you know they’ll fold unless they’re holding premium cards, if you can get heads-up with them and have position on them, it makes sense to bluff and semi-bluff as often as possible.

Another Way to Explain This Concept

Suppose you’re playing Texas holdem for real money, and you can see all your opponents’ hole cards.

But they can’t see yours.

Since you know how strong or weak your opponents’ cards are, you can decide with a lot of precision whether to bet, call, check, fold, or raise.

For the most part, this means that if you have the strongest hand, you’d bet and/or raise.

If you have the weakest hand, you would call or fold, depending on how strong your draw is and how many other players are in the pot.

Mathematically, you’d be making the decision with the highest expected value in every situation.

Since you don’t have perfect information on every poker hand, your goal is to get good enough at reading your opponents that you’re able to make decisions as close to perfectly as possible. This requires a good understanding of the math behind the game.

But, just as important, it requires a lot of attention on your part. You can’t ascertain your opponents’ tendencies unless you’re paying attention to their play on every hand – even the ones you’re not involved.

I see players like Larry watching television or engaging in a lot of idle chit-chat at the table when they’re not involved in a hand. They’re not playing optimal poker. They’re missing out on a lot of information they should be paying attention to.

Your goal is to play as closely as possible to the way you’d play if you could see your opponents’ cards.

Your other goal is to get your opponents to deviate from how they’d play if they could see your cards.

That sums up in a nutshell how to play profitable poker.

Conclusion

The Fundamental Theorem of Poker is something that seems simple but is actually more complex than you might think. Putting the Theorem into action presupposes that you understand pot odds and outs well enough to play correctly if you have perfect information.

Without those fundamentals, you can’t apply the Fundamental Theorem of Poker at all.

Common Mistakes That Cost New Blackjack Players Money

Serious Looking Gambler Playing Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the best casino games for people who have never gambled before. The game is entertaining, exciting, and fosters a sense of togetherness with other players at the table. It’s a perfect introduction to the world of gambling, and one of the optimal ways for aspiring gamblers to learn the ropes at the casino.

If you play the game correctly, blackjack has some of the best odds in the casino. That means you can play longer and gain more valuable experience betting, as long as you abide by the book. Some may argue that the game is more complicated than some others around the casino. This may be true, but you can learn how to play the game and maybe even win money with a little effort.

Like any other type of table game, mistakes are bound to happen. If you’re new to gambling and want to avoid losing money early, here are the seven most common mistakes that cost blackjack players money.

Playing Against the Book

One of the factors that makes real money blackjack enticing for beginners is the simplicity of the game’s strategy. If you follow specific rules and play with perfect strategy, you should win almost half of your hands over time. The manner you approach each hand of blackjack changes based on the cards you have and the card the dealer is showing.

Blackjack strategy is somewhat easy to learn, but it will require some time. However, in the interim, I recommend consulting a strategy card as you’re learning. Brand new players usually lose their money because they don’t understand basic strategy. If you’re ever confused about the correct move, it’s okay to ask your fellow players (if they’re competent players) or the dealer.

Closeup of a Spade Natural Blackjack

For some inexplicable reason, individual players think they can outsmart the game. I’ve seen newer gamblers ignore basic strategy, adamant that their style of play can beat the casino. There’s no way to outsmart the casino: the house always has an edge. The only way to beat the house is to learn to count cards.

Habitually Splitting Anything Besides Aces and Eights

The same types of players who ignore blackjack tips and strategies are the ones who split cards that should never be split. One of the easiest ways to frustrate other players and kill a hand is to split anything besides aces and eights consistently. A hard and fast rule in blackjack is to always split eights because 16 is a weak hand. Additionally, splitting aces gives you a chance to hit blackjack, and you can improve on a 12.

There are other cases you should split your hand based on the dealer’s up card. However, one of the most egregious errors at the blackjack table is to split 10s. You might think that splitting 10s gives you two chances to hit blackjack. The difference between splitting aces and 10s is that there are many more 10s in decks than aces.

By splitting 10s, gamblers are taking one of the best hands in blackjack and throwing it away. A 20 is going to beat the dealer a majority of the time. In my experience, gamblers who split 10s got lucky and hit a double blackjack several years ago. Now, they play foolishly in an attempt to recapture their past glory.

Checking Phones Between Hands

This might be controversial and polarizing, especially if you’re a fan of your smartphone. It’s a good idea to never look at your phone at a casino table. Dealers will ask you to put your phone away, and if you continue to check it, you may be asked to leave the table. A standard practice amongst gamblers is to step away from the table between hands to glance at their phones.

Person Checking Phone at a Casino Table

Checking your phone every so often isn’t going to cost you money. However, continually sliding back from the table to fire off texts and check Twitter takes your head out of the game. Blackjack isn’t complicated, but it rewards engaged gamblers. Not only is it bad casino etiquette, but I’ve found that gamblers who are frequently on their phone get distracted and are more prone to committing careless mistakes.

Playing Beyond Their Means

Always gamble at the table with the smallest minimum when you’re new to gambling. Unless money isn’t an issue for you, it’s a waste to play at a table with high rollers if you don’t know how to play. Every table at a casino designates the minimum and maximum somewhere on the table’s top.

Even if you question your skill level, it’s possible to spend hours at a table by betting the minimum and playing according to basic strategy. Inexperienced gamblers who insist on playing at tables with higher minimums typically do so for the wrong reasons. Either they convince themselves they can make money faster, or that their skills will speak for themselves.

If your bankroll is $100, you can lose every single hand and still play 20 hands of blackjack. If you take your bankroll to a $25 table, you can lose everything in four hands. The best way to hone your skills is to play. Sticking to tables with smaller minimums will give you more opportunities to improve at blackjack.

Chasing Casino Losses

Of all the mistakes that gamblers make, chasing losses is among the worst. The impulse is perfectly understandable: you lose a few hands and want to make your money back right away. To do so, you have to increase your bet. If you’re lucky enough to win, you’re out of the hole. But if you lose, the hole is suddenly much deeper.

Even gamblers with a lot of experience succumb to the temptation of chasing losses. But it’s unnecessary in a game like blackjack. I would argue that it’s inadvisable in almost every circumstance. As I said earlier, if you play with perfect strategy, you can lower the house edge to less than 1%. That means losses are to be expected, but over time, you should come close to breaking even.

Closeup of a Blackjack Hand on a Casino Table

When new gamblers chase losses, they expose themselves to the possibility of losing their entire bankroll. Sometimes, tables get cold, and you can go on a long losing streak. If you keep stacking losses and increasing your bet after each loss, you could be getting bounced from the table early. Never stack losses, especially for those of you who aren’t familiar with blackjack and gambling.

Failing to Stand up From the Table

The way to win money playing blackjack is to learn to count cards and slowly increase your stack of chips over long sessions. Gamblers who want to win money need to stay completely focused and block out distractions. Blackjack is somewhat fast-moving and calls for gamblers to flow from hand to hand. Casinos are full of distractions, and it can be challenging to lock in on the game at hand.

Some new gamblers take to the game quickly and can find themselves securing early wins. It’s next to impossible to take a break if you’re winning, but it’s crucial to sustained success. I suggest taking a hand off every 20 to 30 minutes to stretch your brain and give your mind a break.

Playing blackjack can be more mentally taxing than you’d anticipate. Regardless of how well you’re faring at the table, you need to stay as sharp as possible. New gamblers will hit a wall at some point, and their quality of play will rapidly decrease.

Playing With the Wrong Crowd

Most gamblers can recall who they were with their first time inside a casino. The person who brought you along or suggested a night out at the casino often becomes a gambling guide. If this person in question is a quality gambler, you’re in luck. But if the person is terrible at gambling, you could find yourself in trouble.

Anytime you’re new to an activity, it’s perfectly natural to accumulate as much knowledge as possible. New gamblers are impressionable and will take any advice thrown at them. One thing to know right off the bat is that the average player is not good at gambling. If you blindly follow the advice of someone who frequently loses money at the casino, you’ll develop bad habits.

Make sure to verify all information before you start spending money. New gamblers who ignore basic blackjack strategy do so because of bad advice. Always consider expanding your gambling circle to make sure you’re surrounding yourself with quality players.

Conclusion

Blackjack is one of the most popular table games at the casino and a good starting point for beginners. You might have heard that the game requires more skill than other types of games. That may be true, but it shouldn’t dissuade you from giving it a shot.

By avoiding the common mistakes listed above, you’ll put yourself in a position to start winning early. As long as you don’t deviate from basic strategy, you’ll have nearly a 50% chance of winning each hand. Mistakes will happen while gambling, so don’t beat yourself up if they cost you a few hands. Consider it a rite of passage into the world of blackjack.

5 Ways to Become a Millionaire through Online Gambling

Laptop With Jackpot Graphic With a Money Background

There are plenty of ways to become a millionaire beyond online gambling. For example, investors, lawyers, and doctors can all become rich at some point with the right approach.

However, few paths towards becoming a millionaire are as exciting or quick as internet gambling. The latter features huge jackpots and skill games that can make you wealthy rather fast.

Of course, not every type of internet gambling gives you this opportunity. You must be selective when pursuing the path towards big money. This guide discusses five of the best ways to win $1 million or more through online gambling.

1 – Slots

Real money online slots are among the toughest games to beat at internet casinos. They typically carry a house edge of around 4% and don’t involve much skill. Factor in the quick play rate, and you could lose a fair amount of money with these games.

Slots present a dichotomy, though, because they’re also quite possibly the best casino games for winning millions. Some slots feature multimillion-dollar progressive jackpots that can make you rich in an instant.

Here are the biggest online slots jackpots at the time of this post:

  • Jackpot Giant – $5,432,492
  • Jackpot King (Betfair Paddy Power version) – $5,024,294
  • Aladdin’s Lamp (Casino Club version) – $4,458,284
  • Hall of Gods (Mega Jackpot) – $3,758,294
  • Mega Moolah – $3,284,204

You can see that the opportunity to make serious money is definitely there with internet slot machines. The downside, though, is that the odds are against you.

Mega Moolah Online Slots

Developers aren’t transparent with the exact odds for online slots jackpots. But the games featured above most likely carry odds in the millions or even tens of millions.

For example, the odds of winning the Mega Moolah jackpot are approximately 1 in 50 million. Theoretically, you’ll need to play for 50 million spins before winning the top prize.

The upside, though, is that you don’t have to spend much to play for these jackpots. Instead, you can often play for anywhere between $0.25 and $1 per spin.

2 – Sports Betting

Unlike slots, sports gambling gives you a larger degree of control over winnings. Your handicapping skills and picks determine your success rate.

Of course, betting profits aren’t easy to come by. The vast majority of sports gamblers lose money rather than win.

The biggest obstacle towards betting success is bookmakers’ innate ability to set tight lines. Oddsmakers are quite good at their jobs and don’t offer much of an advantage on one side or another of a line.

Of course, this isn’t to say that sportsbooks are unbeatable. Billy Walters, Haralabos Voulgaris, and other big sports betting winners have all made millions by wagering on sports.

The key to sports gambling success involves developing an edge over bookmakers. I don’t say this lightly, though, because such edges are hard to come by.

Walters, for example, lost lots of money until finally becoming a profitable bettor. Few other success stories start out winning right away.

The initial goal is simply to win more money than you lose in the beginning. To do this, you should start with learning handicapping and tracking your results.

You also want to focus on specific sports and develop true mastery of them. I recommend only betting on one sport per season to avoid spreading your attention too thin.

You should track every bet result too. Tracking results is the only way that you’ll know if you’re winning in the long term.

Once you do start winning and are ready to take betting really seriously, you want to focus on two main aspects:

  1. Bankroll management
  2. Increasing your bet sizes

You need to develop a bankroll plan that minimizes your short-term risk. One common plan is to divide your bankroll into 100 units and only risk 1-2 units on each match.

Larger bet/unit sizes allow you to capitalize more on your edge. Therefore, you should save up money and gradually increase the size of your units over time.

Even if you do everything right, sports wagering is far from easy. But it does give you an opportunity to use skills to win seven figures.

3 – Online Lottery

Lotteries are the most-popular ways to get rich through gambling. Many people purchase lottery tickets at convenience stores on a daily basis.

Interestingly enough, though, some of the same gamblers don’t realize that they can also purchase tickets through their phones. Therefore, the lottery represents another form of online gambling that can pay millions.

Of course, winning the lottery is a completely luck-based affair that involves no skill at all. You simply purchase tickets, pick your numbers, and wait for drawings to occur.

With scratch cards, you buy a ticket (or virtual card), reveal the symbols, and check to see if you qualify for a payout.

Lottery Scratch Off Card

No lottery game is overly difficult to learn. This simplicity makes the lottery perfect for the general population.

After all, most people don’t like learning a complicated set of rules before playing games. They just want to gamble and pray for wins.

Most state and national lottery retailers offer tickets over the internet. Even online casinos now feature scratch cards that are similar to what you’ll find in land-based convenient stores.

Assuming you play the lottery, then you could look forward to chasing seven-, eight-, and even nine-figure prizes.

4 – Online Poker

Online poker may not be the same moneymaking opportunity that it was 10 or 15 years ago. Black Friday and the changing legal landscape have diminished the high stakes poker scene to a large degree.

Poker offers a legitimate path towards serious profits. Like sports betting, it also provides an opportunity to use skill to win.

Speaking of skills, you need to improve your poker abilities and work your way up the ladder. Plenty of ways exist for increasing your skill level.

Here are some different routes that you can take towards becoming a stronger player:

  • Read strategy articles
  • Read poker strategy books
  • Join a training site
  • Watch pros stream their online sessions on Twitch
  • Hire a coach
  • Use training software
  • Study your sessions after the fact
  • Find a backer who’ll also provide coaching on the side

Online poker success all depends upon conquering the given stakes you’re at and moving up. The more time that you spend on the strategy methods covered above, the quicker you’ll become a better player.

You should refrain from moving up the stakes too quickly, though. After all, you don’t want to increase the risk that you’ll lose your bankroll.

Here are safe bankroll guidelines for cash games and tournaments:

  • 25 to 30 buy-ins for the given cash game stakes.
  • 100 to 150 tournament buy-ins for the average stakes you play.

Going from a low stakes poker player to the high stakes—where you stand and make the most money—takes years. That said, you shouldn’t expect poker millions to happen anytime soon.

5 – Esports Betting

Esports gambling has become very hot within the past few years. It’s now available at many online sportsbooks.

Esports betting is essentially the same as traditional sports wagering. The main difference is that you’re gambling on competitive video-game contests rather than athletic sports.

Other than this difference, the same skills that help you become a winning sports gambler also transition to esports. You must be good at handicapping the odds, bankroll management, and knowing the players/games that you’re betting on.

The latter is the big change from sports to esports wagering. If you don’t know anything about esports players and teams, then you have some work to do.

Esports Players During a Match

Once you do learn the ropes, though, you can slowly improve your abilities and start making money. You might consider larger bet sizes after some success.

Of course, esports gambling doesn’t have the same high liquidity level of regular sports wagering. Therefore, you should focus on the most-popular esports (e.g. Dota 2, League of Legends) if you want any hope of making millions.

As with sports betting, you also want to come up with a solid bankroll management plan. The same basic plan, where you split your bankroll into 100 units, will do for esports gambling as well.

Considerations for Trying to Get Rich With Online Gambling

You can start on the path towards chasing millions through online gambling with just a few dollars. Of course, you’ll want a more-disciplined approach to the matter in order to boost your chances of making $1 million. That said, here are considerations to keep in mind before getting started.

Learn Everything You Can About a Game

Each form of online gambling has strategy. The degree of strategy that you need to win, though, varies based on the specific game.

Slots and lotteries, for example, don’t feature much depth at all. They merely call on you to look for games with the highest RTP to increase your chances of winning.

Sports betting, esports wagering, and poker, on the other hand, all require extensive strategy. By improving your skills in these disciplines, you can stand out from the competition and make more money.

Regardless of which type of gambling you go with, you want to learn everything about it. More knowledge boosts your odds of eventually earning $1 million.

Set Up Your Bankroll

As covered earlier, bankroll management takes center stage with esports betting, sports gambling, and online poker. However, it can also be used for slots, lotteries, or any other type of gamble.

Luckily, defining a bankroll plan doesn’t take long. Here are some simple steps to getting started with bankroll management:

  • Decide how much money you can comfortably risk.
  • Break your bankroll down into units.
  • Set a stop-loss limit for each day.

The latter point is key because it encourages you not to lose your cool and blow too much money in a single day. If you have a bankroll worth 150 units, for example, you can set a daily stop-loss limit of 5 units.

Don’t Count on Winning Big Any Time Soon

The key theme of this post is to win $1 million through internet gambling. However, you shouldn’t go into the matter lightly.

The vast majority of gamblers end up losing money. With that said, you’re really going up against the grain by trying to win seven figures, but it can be done.

Maybe you will be that rare person who wins $1 million or more through gambling. But you definitely shouldn’t count anything as a given until it actually happens.

Conclusion

The path that you choose towards winning $1 million with online gambling will vary based on your preferences. If you’re hoping to win big with little effort involved, then slots and/or lotteries are the right picks.

Both of these games don’t require any in-depth strategy. They also offer multimillion-dollar jackpots that you can win with a single bet.

Assuming you want more control over your destiny, then online sports betting, esports gambling, and poker are good choices. You can win long-term profits with each of these options.

Again, you shouldn’t completely expect to win $1 million through internet gambling. At the very least, though, several routes exist for making it happen.

The Pros and Cons of Various Casino Games

Pros and Cons Text With Various Casino Games

All casino games stack the odds in favor of the casino. That’s obvious. The casinos wouldn’t stay in business if they didn’t.

But people play casino games anyway.

Why?

They find them entertaining.

But what one casino gambler finds entertaining varies from what another casino gambler might find entertaining.

This post looks at what pros and cons each of the various casino games offer players.

The Pros and Cons of Blackjack

The biggest pro that blackjack offers is that it offers some of the best odds in the house. The house edge for blackjack, when played with perfect basic strategy, is less than 1%.

The house edge is the statistically predicted amount you’ll lose on each bet. The lower the house edge is, the better your chances are (generally speaking) of walking away from the game a winner.

The biggest pro in blackjack is that you have a certain amount of agency when playing the game. “Agency” refers to your ability to affect the outcomes with your decisions. In most casino games, you have no agency at all. You make your bet and hope for the best.

But in blackjack, you get to make decisions that either improve your odds or make them worse.

This is also the biggest con of the game. Some gamblers don’t want to play a game where they have any decisions to make. It’s too much pressure.

The other big con to blackjack is that it’s impossible to win any kind of big prize at the blackjack table. If you bet $10, you’ll win $10 or $15 if you get a blackjack. Some people prefer bigger payouts even if it means they get paid off less often.

The Pros and Cons of Slot Machines

The biggest pro for playing real money slots is that you can win a large enough amount of money on a single bet to really make a difference in your life. Even the lower ranges of flat-top machines average a top prizes of 1000 coins. I don’t know many people playing dollar slots who wouldn’t get excited about a $1000 win.

Of course, this ignores the progressive jackpots that are available, too. These are games where you can literally win a life-changing amount of money. Megabucks has a starting jackpot of $10 million and gets bigger every time someone in Nevada spins the wheel.

Also, slot machines don’t involve any skill at all. For some gamblers, this is a great perk. They’d rather not have the pressure of making decisions. Other gamblers, though, might find the lack of agency disturbing or boring.

Lightning Link Slot Machines

The biggest con for playing slot machines is that they’re a huge drain on your bankroll over time. You calculate your expected hourly loss by multiplying the house edge by your hourly action. Most people make 500+ spins per hour at a slot machine, which drives their hourly action through the roof.

Think about it this way:

If you’re risking $3 per spin on a slot machine, you’re probably putting at least $1500 per hour into action.

If the house edge on the slot machine is only 6% — which would make it one of the best-paying slot machines out there – you hourly expected loss on that machine is $90.

Compare that to a game like blackjack, where the best you can hope for is 200 hands per hour (and that’s if you’re heads-up with the dealer). If you’re betting $5 per hand, you’re only putting $1000 per hour into action. Since the house edge for blackjack is around 1% or as bad as 2% if you play poorly, your hourly loss is likely to be in the $10 to $20 range.

The biggest drawback to slots is that you never know what the house edge is for the game. With all other casino games, you can calculate the house edge for the game by looking at the difference between the odds of winning and the payout odds for a win. Slots odds is important information not made available to gamblers.

I prefer my gambling games to be transparent about the odds they’re offering, and that’s just not the case with slot machines. You could play 2 identical slot machines sitting right next to each other on the casino floor, and one might have a house edge of 6%, while the other might have a house edge of 12%.

The Pros and Cons of Craps

The biggest pro of craps is that it’s more fun than any other game in the casino. It’s an adrenaline rush, and it’s a streaky game. You can start off with very little money on the table and find yourself up several times that in minutes.

You can also see all those winnings washed away with a single throw of the dice that goes badly.

The other pro of craps is that it offers some of the best odds in the casino – if you stick with the right bets. I always suggest sticking with games where the house edge is 1.5% or less. Craps makes the cut if you stick with the pass or come bets. You can also play don’t pass and don’t come bets. Taking or laying odds has a house edge of 0%.

An Active Casino Craps Game

You should skip all the other bets at the craps table. This is one of the cons of the game – a huge number of bets with a high house edge that the casino staff is going to pressure you to make every time the dice are thrown.

Being a reader of my blog, though, you’ll be immune to the casinos’ sales techniques.

The other con is that the game seems complicated to newcomers, and it can be intimidating to learn how craps betting works. Don’t worry about it, though. It’s less complicated than you think, and most craps players are more welcoming to newcomers than you might think.

The Pros and Cons of Roulette

The biggest pro for roulette is that it’s easy to understand. I was able to pick up how to play in a couple of bets, and most gamblers are smart enough to do the same. You don’t have to stress out about learning a lot of jargon or looking foolish at the roulette table.

The other big pro for roulette is that you have some flexibility with how volatile you want your bets to be. If you want to experience lots of small wins, you can place even money bets which win half the time. If you prefer to see larger wins that happen less often, you can place bets on single numbers and see a payoff of 35 to 1 when you win.

You can place bets with payouts in between, too.

The biggest pro for roulette is that it’s a relaxed, slow-paced game where you don’t have to put much money into action per hour. This reduces your average hourly loss. The biggest cons for roulette are the high house edge and the lack of a skill element.

In American roulette, the default house edge is 5.26%, which is far outside of my usual recommendation. If you can find a European roulette game, though – one with a single zero instead of a 0 and a 00, you can get a lower house edge of 2.70%.

In most Vegas casinos, the European roulette games have a higher minimum bet than the standard American roulette tables.

Some people fall for some terrible casino betting systems related to roulette, like the Martingale. If you’re a sucker for those kinds of things, roulette might be a game you’d be better off avoiding.

The Pros and Cons of Video Poker

If you like having some influence over the outcome of your gambling games, video poker might be ideal for you – especially if you’re an introvert. I usually recommend blackjack to casino players who want to make decisions that matter.

But introverts often dislike blackjack because of the necessity of sitting with other players at the table.

Another pro to video poker is the low house edge. You can find video poker games with a house edge of between 0.3% and 0.5%. You must be able to use close-to-optimal video poker strategy to see those numbers, though.

Online Casino Video Poker

Video poker doesn’t lack cons, though. It’s as fast-paced a game as slot machines, so you’ll be putting a lot of money into action per hour when you play video poker. Just like slots, you’ll probably make 500 bets per hour when playing video poker games.

It’s also more volatile than some of the games with a low house edge. Even though the house edge is low, part of why it’s low is because of the payout for a royal flush, which only comes up once every 40,000 hands. That means you’ll only see a royal flush on average once every 80 hours or so.

The other con to video poker is that the house edge varies based on the pay table. If you’re not familiar with how the various pay tables work, you might easily find yourself at a video poker game where the house edge is 6% or 7% instead of the 0.3% to 0.5% I was touting earlier.

Conclusion

All gambling games in a casino have their pros and cons. Much of the decision about what you should and shouldn’t bet on in the casino boils down to your personal preferences.

There are no right or wrong answers, although I think you should stick with games where the house edge is lower than 1.5%.

Professional Video Poker Players – Do They Exist?

Man Wearing Blue Shades With a Video Poker Background

Video poker is well known for providing one of the best opportunities to win among casino games. It features plenty of variation that delivers over 99% return to player (RTP).

Some variations even offer a chance to win long-term profits. Therefore, video poker seems like a legitimate route towards becoming a professional gambler.

Many people dream of making a living through gambling. But does video poker provide a realistic path towards this dream?

The following guide discusses everything that goes into beating this game. It also covers whether professional video poker players actually exist.

How Can Video Poker Be Beaten?

You can’t just start playing video poker for real money and expect to win profits. Instead, you have to learn the right variations.

Additionally, you must develop the skills to win on a consistent basis. You can read more on everything that goes into winning below.

Learn Which Games Offer +EV

Many video poker variations pay more than the average casino game. For example, 9/6 Jacks or Better delivers 99.54% RTP.

This 99.54% payback is outstanding when compared to the gaming world. However, it still doesn’t offer quite enough RTP to bring theoretical profits.

You absolutely must play games that offer positive-expected value (EV) if you want to earn guaranteed profits over time. That said, the first step involves figuring out which games deliver over 100% payback.

Here are some available variations that offer +EV:

  • Full-pay Deuces Wild = 100.76% RTP
  • 10/7 Double Bonus = 100.17%
  • 10/6 Double Double Bonus = 100.07%

Study Strategy for the Best Video Poker Games

Video poker is one of the toughest games in the casino. It requires you to know extensive strategy to achieve the top RTP on any given machine.

However, you can’t apply strategy from one game to another. Deuces Wild, for example, features different hands and payouts than Double Bonus.

Once you identify the +EV games, you must learn how to play them like an expert. Preferably, you’ll have access to a full-pay Deuces Wild machine and study this strategy exclusively. After all, it offers the highest payback.

Video Poker Royal Flush

A quick way to learn optimal play involves using a strategy chart. You can find these charts for certain games on the internet.

Video poker trainers also provide a nice way to work on your skills. They point out when you make mistakes while playing so that you can gradually illuminate any incorrect strategy decisions.

Find the +EV Machines

Unfortunately, video poker games that offer over 100% RTP aren’t available in every casino. In fact, they’re very rarely available.

You must do some research and find out where beatable games are. The best place to start this research is with Las Vegas casinos. Sin City easily offers the largest selection of video poker machines out of any gaming destination.

Obstacles to Beating Video Poker

Video poker offers lots of promise due to its +EV machines. No other casino game gives you a chance to win profits without having to be an advantage gambler or beat human opponents.

Nevertheless, you’ll face some major challenges when trying to make profits. Here are the biggest obstacles that you must overcome to win.

No Dollar Denomination Machines Available

When you have an advantage in any form of gambling, it pays to make the biggest bets that you’re comfortable with. This is why poker pros play higher stakes and sports gamblers place four- or five-figure wagers.

The same thought holds true for video poker.

You could earn more theoretical profits by playing higher coin denominations. The problem, though, is that no +EV video poker machine offers dollar coins. Instead, they all feature nickel or quarter denominations.

You can still make money on these games as long as you hold an advantage. You’re just not going to be as profitable due to the smaller wagers.

The most that you can bet is $1.25 per hand (five coins). In contrast, players in the past used to be able to wager $5 a hand.

Few +EV Games Left

The absolute biggest hit to video poker profitability these days is the lack of +EV machines. In fact, your only chances of finding a 100% RTP video poker machine is in Nevada. Of these, the majority of +EV games are in Vegas.

Compounding the problem is that hardly any casinos offer full-pay Deuces Wild. Instead, they just provide 10/7 Double bonus and 10/6 Double Double Bonus.

While these are fine games that deliver profits, they don’t quite offer the payout percentage that Deuces Wild does. Therefore, you may only be playing for spare change in the end.

Fast Play Rate & Sound Strategy Required

Video poker strategy is somewhat different than what’s needed to succeed in sports betting, poker, or card counting. Once you master the strategy, you don’t need to think much to make the correct decisions.

Nevertheless, video poker strategy is quite intense in the beginning. You must master countless situations regarding which cards to keep in the draw round.

Of course, this involved strategy might not be so bothersome if you had all day to think through choices. But every second that you’re not playing hands is costing you money with +EV games.

You need to play at a fast rate to maximize your advantage. However, playing 800 to 1,000 hands per hour gets tiring after a while.

What Kind of Profits Are Possible With Video Poker?

I’ve covered both the good and bad about playing video poker for profits. Now, it’s time to discuss what kind of money you can make with this game.

The first thing to think about before looking over some examples is which game you’re playing. 100.76% RTP makes a big difference over the course of a few hours versus 100.07% payback.

Secondly, you also need to consider how quickly you can play without making mistakes. The best video poker players log around 1,000 hands per hour without many blunders.

Finally, you won’t play every single round perfectly. You’ll make mistakes every now and then that could cost you money.

Now, here are some examples of what kind of profits you can expect for each type of +EV machine:

(Full-pay Deuces Wild)

  • You play 1,000 hands an hour.
  • You bet $1.25 per hand.
  • You hold a 0.76% advantage.
  • 1,000 x 1.25 x 0.0076 = $9.50
  • Comp rate is 0.1%
  • 1,000 x 1.25 x 0.001 = $1.25
  • 5 + 1.25 = 10.25
  • You’ll earn $10.25 per hour.

(10/7 Double Bonus)

  • You play 1,000 hands an hour.
  • You bet $1.25 per hand.
  • You hold a 0.17% advantage.
  • 1,000 x 1.25 x 0.0017 = $2.13
  • Comp rate is 0.1%
  • 1,000 x 1.25 x 0.001 = $1.25
  • 13 + 1.25 = 3.38
  • You’ll earn $3.38 per hour.

(10/6 Double Double Bonus)

  • You play 1,000 hands an hour.
  • You bet $1.25 per hand.
  • You hold a 0.07% advantage.
  • 1,000 x 1.25 x 0.0007 = $0.88
  • Comp rate is 0.1%
  • 1,000 x 1.25 x 0.001 = $1.25
  • 88 + 1.25 = 2.13
  • You’ll earn $2.13 per hour.

Is Anybody Really Making a Living Through This Game?

Video poker was once one of the best casino games for making profits. Up until the late 1990s, it offered two main factors that made it a very enticing game:

  • Dollar coin denominations
  • Draw Till U Win

As mentioned before, $1 coins let you further maximize your edge. When combining a dollar coin with full-pay Deuces Wild, you can earn serious money.

Here’s a look at how much you stand in to win in this situation:

  • You play 1,000 hands an hour.
  • You bet $5 per hand.
  • You hold a 0.76% advantage.
  • 1,000 x 5 x 0.0076 = $38
  • Comp rate is 0.1%
  • 1,000 x 1.25 x 0.001 = $1.25
  • 38 + 1.25 = 39.25
  • You’ll earn $39.25 per hour.

Draw Till U Win never offered quarter denominations. However, you didn’t really need a dollar coin to capitalize with the 103.2% RTP.

Here are the kind of profits that you could expect from this game when it was available:

  • You play 1,000 hands an hour.
  • You bet $1.25 per hand.
  • You hold a 3.2% advantage.
  • 1,000 x 1.25 x 0.032 = $40
  • Comp rate is 0.1%
  • 1,000 x 1.25 x 0.001 = $1.25
  • 40 + 1.25 = 41.25
  • You’ll earn $41.25 per hour.

The big problem is that Draw Till U Win and dollar Deuces Wild are long since gone. Casinos got rid of these games when advantage players started hitting them too hard.

The best opportunity available in video poker today is quarter Deuces Wild. But even a good player will only earn around $10 an hour with this game.

Vintage Video Poker Machine

If video poker pros exist in the gaming world today, they’re just scraping by. They’d be living 10-15 blocks away from the Vegas Strip and being as frugal as possible on $10 an hour.

Realistically speaking, no video poker pros exist today. Anybody who goes through all the work to become an expert will only enjoy a low-paying job at best.

Conclusion

Once upon a time, video poker could offer a professional gambler up to $40 an hour or even more. Unfortunately, those days have long since passed.

This game no longer offers the same profitability that it once did. But that’s not to say you can’t still enjoy video poker.

You don’t have to chase long-term profits just to win. You could hit a royal flush early on and walk out of the casino with 4,000 credits.

If you’re going to play casino games—most of which are negative expectation—then you can’t do much better than video poker. It gives you one of the best chances to win, regardless of if you’re dealing with positive- or negative-expectation situations.

7 Quick Strategies for Winning Baccarat Play

Baccarat Text With a Baccarat Table Closeup

Baccarat is the easiest game to play in the casino, and it offers much better chance of winning than slot machines. In fact, baccarat offers a better chance to win than almost every other game in the casino.

You just need to know which wager offers the best chance to win and use a few other simple strategies that help offset the edge the casino has.

Here are the seven best strategies you can use when you play baccarat. They’re all easy to use and you can quickly start using. In fact, you can start using these seven strategies in less time than it takes to read this page.

1 – Bet the Banker

The base game of baccarat only has three options for wagers. Some baccarat games have a side wager option in addition to the three main wagers. The only thing you need to know about baccarat side wagers is that you should never make one. The casino house edge is higher on baccarat side wagers than the banker or player wagers, so they’re all bad.

One of the three wagering options on the baccarat table is the banker. This happens to be the best wager, and it has a casino edge of 1.06%. This makes it better than almost every wager in the casino. The only gambling options that are better from a casino edge standpoint are some blackjack games and a few video poker games.

El Royale Online Casino Baccarat Game

When you place and win a baccarat banker wager the casino collects a commission from your winnings. Don’t worry about how this works, because the casino takes care of it. The important thing to remember is that the casino edge already takes this commission into account.

If you play baccarat, the only wager you should make is the banker wager.

2 – Bet the Player

The second wagering option on the baccarat table is the player wager. This isn’t a bad risk, and if it weren’t for the low risk on the banker wager the player wager would be one of the best in the casino.

The casino edge for the player hand is 1.24%. This is only .18% worse than the banker wager, so there isn’t much difference. To put this difference in perspective, for every $1,000 you wager playing baccarat, you’re going to lose $1.80 more if you use the player hand instead of the banker hand.

The choice is yours, and if you don’t like how the commission works with the banker wager you can use the player wager and it doesn’t change much. I don’t want to give the casino a penny more than I have to, so I always use the banker wager.

3 – The Tie Wager

The third available wager at the baccarat table is called a tie. It doesn’t look like a bad wager at first, but it turns out that the casino edge is over 14%. This is more than 10 times the edge of ether of the other two wagering options.

I really don’t have much more to say about the baccarat tie wager except that it’s a gambling sucker bet and you should never wager on it.

4 – Play Baccarat Online

Baccarat is played the same online, on mobile, and in live casinos. So why do I recommend playing online as a strategy?

The way that every gambling activity that has a casino edge works is that your losses are directly related to your total amount wagered. This means that one way to control your losses is to risk less. And there are only a few ways to do this.

Possibly the best way to limit your risk is to place fewer wagers every hour. Another way to limit your risk is to place smaller wagers. When you play online or mobile baccarat both of these strategies come into play.

Live Dealer Baccarat Game

When you play baccarat with a live dealer you have to deal with higher minimum bet amounts than online and mobile play and you have to play the number of hands that the pace of play dictates.

But when you play on your mobile device or online you can place much smaller wagers and you can play at your own pace. Of course, if you’re not careful you can play many more hands every hour online than you can play in a live casino.

However, you can also play as slow as you like. Nobody is going to complain if you read a book or watch television while you play and only play 10 or 15 hands every hour.

5 – Play for Casino Comps

Baccarat has a low casino edge. In fact, there are only a few gambling games that offer a lower edge, and none of them are as easy and simple to play as baccarat. But the problem is that no matter how low the casino edge is, there’s still an edge.

This means that you can’t beat the game of baccarat in the long run. You simply can’t overcome the edge unless you figure out a way to cheat. Just to be clear, I don’t recommend cheating, as it could put you in jail.

The good news is that there are a few things you can do to offset your baccarat losses. The main strategy to offset your losses when you play baccarat is to sign up for the rewards or players club at every casino where you play.

Once you sign up for the club, then all you have to do is make sure that your baccarat play is being tracked for casino comps every time you play. Every dollar you get back in comps is the same as winning an extra dollar playing baccarat.

6 – Get Online Casino Bonuses

I mentioned in an earlier section that you should consider playing mobile or online baccarat. What I didn’t mention is that when you play online or mobile baccarat you can usually get one or more online casino bonus offers.

Online and mobile bonuses for baccarat are common, with most casinos offering them. You need to either ask the support for the casino or closely read the terms to make sure you can play baccarat with each bonus.

Busy Casino Baccarat Table

Baccarat is going to have a casino edge no matter how you play, so a bonus isn’t really going to help you win. But a baccarat bonus does make your bankroll bigger. This means you can gamble longer.

Earlier I covered how you can risk a lower amount per hand when you play baccarat online. I also covered how you can play fewer baccarat hands. When you do these two things and you use baccarat bonuses you are able to play much longer than you can gamble in a live casino on the same budget.

7 – Be the Bank

Most of the strategies listed on this page work whether you’re playing traditional or big table baccarat or one of the mini versions. But this strategy only works in some casinos at the big table baccarat game.

The main difference between big table and mini baccarat is that a casino dealer works the mini tables much like a blackjack dealer. But big table baccarat usually allows the players to deal in turns.

And some of these casinos have a special rule that allows the player dealing the cards to bank the game. If you have the opportunity to bank the game and have a large enough bankroll to do it, you should always accept the offer to bank the game.

This isn’t a huge benefit and it can create large fluctuations in your bankroll, but in the long run it helps you enough to take advantage of it. This isn’t common, but when you do find a game like this you should frequent it.

Conclusion

Just because a casino game is easy doesn’t mean that it has to be hard to win. This is how slot machines work, because they’re almost impossible to beat but are easy to play. Baccarat is easy to play and if you use the correct strategies you have a chance to win every time you play.

Start with the best wager and then decide if you want to play online or in a land based casino. When you play baccarat online do not play unless you get a bonus. If you play baccarat in a live casino sign up for comps and bank the game at every opportunity.

Common Blackjack Mistakes Made by New Players

Nervous Looking Man With a Blackjack Background

When it comes to winning money at the casino, having experience on your side is a major benefit. Unfortunately, everyone was a beginner at one time or another, so it’s important to minimize losses (or even win a few bucks) while you’re still learning the ropes.

Blackjack presents opportunities to even the most green of gamblers. Whether it’s the easy rules to learn, relatively good odds, or just the general fascination of the game itself, blackjack seems to be the go-to choice.

In this article, I’ll lay out the most common mistakes newer blackjack players make that hurt their chances of winning.

1 – Making the Wrong Choices Hitting and Standing

This is the most basic component of blackjack strategy as it involves a decision you have to make on just about every hand. Of course, I’m talking about the choice of whether to “hit” or “stand.”

It sounds simple enough to get a grasp on, but making the right choice when it comes to asking for an additional card or not can be responsible for huge wins or devastating losses. Some people believe that there is no right or wrong time to hit or stand and rely on instinct, suffice it so say that the casino is a big fan of these individuals.

While there are plenty of nuanced things to consider when it’s your turn to decide, there are a few hard and fast rules that should be adhered to at all times.

Blackjack Player Pointing to Their Cards

First, if your hand is 12 or less, you should always hit. Even though there’s a small chance you could still bust if you get a face card, this risk is more than worth it. You aren’t going to have a chance if you stay holding a 12.

Things get more complicated with rule number two.

It’s generally believed that in the same way you should always hit when holding a 12, you should always stay when you have 17 or more. The rule regarding the 12 isn’t really negotiable, but when evaluating what to do on 17, there’s a little more to the story.

Most experts recommend always hitting on a “soft 17.” This means a hand where you’re holding an ace and a six. The reason it’s important to distinguish the soft 17 is because the ace can be played as a one if the situation calls for it.

When you look at all the possible outcomes, there is just a single situation where it’s absolutely necessary to stand. If your first two cards make 17 or higher, it just isn’t going to be in your best interest to try to get any closer to 21. The risk of going over is simply too great.

2 – Not Knowing When to Split or Double Down

Whereas the first section (hitting or standing) focuses on winning the hand itself, knowing when to split your cards and double down is crucial to your betting strategy. It can be the difference between a modest win, and one that really boosts your bankroll. If you don’t know how to do it properly, it can hurt your bottom line significantly.

If you’re unfamiliar with how the process works, “splitting” refers to a situation where you’re initially dealt two of the same card number. If this occurs, you have the option to “split” them, meaning you can play two hands at once.

Unfortunately, there’s no rule that always applies to whether or not splitting is the right move, but there are times when it’s more advisable than others.

Blackjack Dealer Waiting on a Player

For example, if you’re dealt two 10s (or even two nines in some cases), it’s probably best to just stick with the hand you have. You’re already in a good position, and taking the risk of playing your cards as two hands isn’t worth it.

In other cases where you’re dealt more pedestrian cards, see what the dealer has before making your decision. If you feel as if you can win the hand without splitting based on the dealer’s hand, consider sitting on what you’ve already been dealt.

When it comes to doubling down, you’ll be able to get one additional card and double your payout if you win. The process is straightforward. Your original bet is doubled, you get one card, then you must stand.

Again, the decision of whether or not to double down should be made after evaluating the dealer’s hand. If the dealer is showing a card between two and nine, it’s a good idea to take the risk as you’re in good position to win the hand.

The one time when you should double without a second thought is when you’re dealt an ace. The option to play the card as an 11 or a one means that you have some flexibility that can help you avoid busting. On the flip side, if the dealer has an ace in his or her hand, avoid doubling down.

3 – Playing at the Wrong Table

Think all blackjack tables are the same? While the rules of the game itself might not change much, there’s still a number of blackjack variants involved that can have a huge impact on the outcome of your playing session.

The first thing you want to take note of when finding the right table for your strategy is the minimum bet. If your bankroll is on the lower end, it’s crucial to find tables that have lower minimums. Most casinos have options for around $10, but some can go even lower. On the other end of the spectrum, tables can have up to $100 minimum bet which means they’re largely meant for high rollers.

If you’re a newer player, avoid the tables with high minimums. These can drain your bankroll in just a few quick hands.

An important thing you should be looking for is the payout odds. Some tables will payout 6:5 while others will payout 3:2. It might not seem like a huge difference, but if you’re playing dozens of hands, it can add up quicker than you would think.

Another aspect of selecting a table that players, especially inexperienced players, should consider is the option to use a virtual game instead of a live dealer. The reason is that when you use a virtual dealer, you’re typically going at your own pace and won’t have the anxiety of having to make quick decisions due to other people waiting on you.

The most important thing to know is that not all tables are the same. Usually if you look hard enough, you can find one that fits what you’re trying to do.

4 – Not Playing Online

Simply put, real money online blackjack offers tremendous opportunities to learn the game and win some money in the process.

Due to relaxed gambling laws that are slowly spreading to every corner of the country, online casinos are competing to earn new business. In order to attract new players, these online platforms provide significant perks when you sign up.

For example, some casinos will match your initial deposit with a credit that can be used towards the games you play. These “bonuses” should be taken advantage of and can lead to massive wins if you utilize them.

Online Blackjack Casino Game

In addition to the money aspect, online blackjack is the perfect way to hone your skills in a low-stakes environment. While most casinos won’t have tables that go below a $10 minimum, you can find blackjack games online that have a $1 minimum, or even less if that’s what you prefer.

Don’t miss out on all the benefits to be gained in online casinos. Once you become comfortable with the rules and game strategy, then you’ll be confident stepping up to higher-minimum tables when you visit the physical casino.

Conclusion

Blackjack is a timeless casino game that has remained popular because of low house edge and relatively easy-to-learn strategy. If you’re someone who enjoys casinos, growing your knowledge of this game is a necessity.

Taking the time to master the most basic blackjack strategy guidelines can help you out tremendously over the course of your gambling life.

5 Reasons You Keep Losing Money at the Casino

Woman Looking at Empty Wallet With a Casino Background

You win some, you lose some. Unfortunately, for the majority of bettors, a casino trip ends in the latter.

The thrill of having a chance at hitting it big is worth the price of admission, but it would certainly be nice if consistent winning could be part of the plan – even if it’s just a small amount. You may not have stopped going back, but losing money at the casino isn’t a sustainable financial strategy.

In the following article, I’m going to lay out the most common reasons gamblers keep losing money at the casino, and then explain what you can do about it.

1 – You Don’t Have a Bankroll

It’s not the most fun part of gambling, but it’s undoubtedly the most important. Having a defined casino bankroll is the first step to avoiding big losses and managing your money effectively.

If you aren’t familiar with the term, your bankroll is the pool of money that you’ve set aside explicitly for gambling. You can create one just for a single day, or keep one going if you’re a frequent gambler.

The first thing to consider when setting up your bankroll is that it should only include an amount of money or cash that you’re willing to lose. Essentially, you should think of it like a purchase or an investment where you may or may not ever see that money again.

Man Flipping Through Money

The reason it’s so important to have a bankroll when you enter the casino is because it’s a not-so-subtle reminder that you shouldn’t keep gambling once you’ve reached a certain loss amount. It prevents a bad day at the casino from seriously hurting you financially.

When you set aside your money, the very next step of creating a bankroll is determining a percentage or range between which you can place bets.

For example, if you have a $500 bankroll you might say that you’ll only bet between 2% and 5% of your total amount on any one bet. That means nothing less than $10, and nothing more than $25. This is important to note because it will help you realize which minimums you can afford. That $50 minimum blackjack table just wouldn’t be a prudent decision with this amount.

Keep track of your bankroll number as much as possible, and calculate where you’re at every time you take a break. Again, a bankroll isn’t the most exciting thing, but it is the most important.

2 – You Never Take Breaks

I’ll let you in on a secret – every single game in the casino (with the exception of poker) is slightly tilted in the house’s favor. That means, statistically speaking, the more you bet or play, the more likely it is that you’ll lose money.

Regardless of whether or not you’re winning, it’s crucial to step away every so often in order to recalibrate. If you’re on a hot streak this can be especially difficult, but walking away before your luck turns in the other direction might just be the best thing you can do.

When you’re on a losing streak, walking away from the table is arguably more beneficial than winning a few hands. The reason is that when you start losing, you start getting anxious which both clouds your judgement, and in many cases, causes you to bet more because you’re desperate to get back to even.

It’s completely understandable that in the heat of a real money roulette or blackjack game that you’ll get sucked into the action. To combat this inevitability, try setting a 30-minute timer on your cell phone that will alert you to take a lap around the casino, use the restroom, or do any other activity besides gambling.

Even the best gamblers have a hard time thinking clearly when they’re in the middle of a streak. Don’t fall victim to this by utilizing the timer trick

3 – You’re Picking the Wrong Games

One thing that you simply can’t afford to overlook when trying to come out of the casino ahead is the games you’re playing. Yes, there are several different ones that all give you roughly the same odds, but others need to be avoided entirely.

Unfortunately, slot machines rank near the top of the list of games that should not be played by gamblers hoping to maximize their bankroll. Although they’re fun, easy, addicting, and can occasionally result in a big jackpot, the risk doesn’t match the potential reward.

Besides simply looking at the odds involved with slots, it’s important to take another factor into account – the number of turns you can run through in a short amount of time.

As I mentioned previously, all games are slightly tilted in the house’s favor. The more you bet or play, the more it’s likely that you are eventually going to have the numbers regress to the mean, which results in you losing.

Row of Slot Machines

With slots, you can do hundreds of spins in an hour, meaning that it’s more likely than not the statistical probabilities will come through, and that’s bad news for gamblers.

I won’t say that slot machines should never be played, but they should never be played for long periods of time. If you’re able to win money, quit before things start going the other way.

Another mistake players often make that costs them is choosing 6/5 blackjack. The majority of blackjack games pay 3/2 meaning you’ll get a higher payout if you hit blackjack.

The tricky thing about this one is that you often won’t notice the difference if you don’t actively look for it. Before playing any blackjack game, make sure it’s 3/2 and not 6/5. It’s a near guarantee that there’s one somewhere in the casino.

4 – You’re a Victim of the Gambler’s Fallacy

I see this one happening on roulette more than any other game, but it can be applied to just about everything in the casino.

i
The Gambler’s Fallacy, if you haven’t heard of the phenomenon before, is the idea that something is “due” to happen.

For example, if in roulette the ball has landed on red 4 times in a row, it’s “due” to be black in the next couple of spins. This is an example of one of the worst casino gambling strategies.

The reality is that each spin is its own thing. The fact that it was red on the last spin, or the last 100 spins, has absolutely no impact on what the next spin will be.

It’s hard to wrap your mind around the concept, and many people would probably argue that it’s human nature to think in terms of this fallacy. However, now that you know about it, you can potentially avoid it.

5 – You Drink Too Much

You can go to the casino to have a good time, you can go to the casino to win money, but accomplishing both at the same time is difficult.

I’m not against having a few drinks while still maintaining your original gambling strategy, but if you’re drinking to the point where you start making poor decisions, your finances are not going to be in good shape.

Person With Mixed Drink on a Casino Table

Simply put, alcohol exacerbates the personality traits that lead to losing money at a casino. Unnecessary risk taking, thoughtless decisions, and irrational wishful thinking are exactly what the casino wants – and it’s exactly what alcohol accomplishes.

Like I said, have fun and let loose if you want – but factor that in and consider the effect it will likely have on both your bankroll and bank account.

If you are going out with friends, regardless of it’s in Las Vegas or your hometown, consider lowering your bankroll for that trip. If it’s more about the good times than the money, prioritize accordingly.

Conclusion

Few people can consistently win money at casinos. Perhaps the reason is that most people violate one of, if not all of, the five things described in this article.

The good news? It’s never too late to change. Watch your alcohol intake, have a bankroll, choose the right games, and you’ll be on your way to being successful.

5 Things I Never Knew I’d Miss About Las Vegas Casinos Until They Closed

Man Wearing Facemask With a Casino Background

For the first time in the city’s long history, Las Vegas saw its iconic casino industry shuttered on March 17 of 2020. On that day, with the coronavirus pandemic gripping America and the world, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak issued an executive order to close all non-essential businesses across the Silver State. Although many of Vegas’ casinos have since re-opened, there were months of eerie silence where no casinos were available to the public.

Those unprecedented measures were made to preserve public safety, but during the months that all casinos were closed, gamblers realized just how much they missed the little things. Below you’ll find five seemingly mundane aspects of the casino gambling experience I never knew I missed – until they went missing in action.

1 – The Din of Chips Shuffling in Every Corner of the Room

As a fairly serious poker player, and an occasional table game fan, the droning hum of chips being shuffled and splashed around used to be the soundtrack to my casino experience.

The sound reminded me of many things back in the good old days, from a muscle car’s engine slowly revving up to a cat purring in contentment. But whatever the sound meant to you, I think we can all agree hearing chips shuffled and riffled was warm and familiar for casino gamblers.

Unfortunately, that pleasant sound had been silenced for months due to the casino closures. And even with many Las Vegas casinos open again, it’s not quite the same – at least for the foreseeable future.

Hand Shuffling Casino Chips

Based on the science behind infectious virus transmission, touching surfaces that other people have touched can pose a serious threat for coronavirus spread. The virus has been documented to live on surfaces for several days without sanitization measures in place. And after you touch a germ-filled casino chip, touching your face can easily transfer the virus into your respiratory system through the mouth or nose.

When you add all that up, gamblers aren’tshuffling stacks of chips over and over like they once did. The risk is simply too high, and the reward practically nonexistent, for players to be touching chips unless they absolutely have to.

Thankfully, the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) has released a series of guidelines to govern how casinos can safely operate.

And as you can see, those guidelines include both strict social distancing measures and regular removal, disinfection, and sanitization of chips:

“Player limit per table should be limited to: three players per blackjack table, six players per craps table, four players per roulette table, and four players per poker table.

Plans should ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of, without limitation, table games, rails, chairs, dice, card shoes, shufflers, roulette wheels, Pai Gow tiles, pit podiums, blackjack discard holders, and toke boxes when a new player or employee comes into contact with any of the aforementioned gaming equipment.

Plans should also address how licensees will disinfect cards and chips.”

With that said, however, cutting down the number of players at the table has surely dampened the drone of chips being casually riffled together.

And that’s a shame, because that background noise has become embedded in the brain of most longtime gamblers.

2 – Celebrating Big Wins by High-Fiving Complete Strangers

One of my favorite parts about playing in a casino was the shared sense of camaraderie developed at the table games and machines.

Even when Lady Luck isn’t smiling your way on that day, watching somebody win big on a well-timed double down or go on a hot run in craps was always a thrill. You’d look over in acknowledgement, give a quick nod, and slap hands to congratulate somebody you’ve never even met.

As the hours went by, they’d reciprocate by celebrating your winners with a high-five or back slap. And if the payouts were big enough, or the odds beaten so extreme, you could easily find yourself hugging a perfect stranger right there on the casino floor.

Gamblers Giving Each Other a High Five

For Las Vegas sports betting enthusiasts, this spirit of solidarity was heightened to the extreme. When you’re holding a ticket backing a certain team, and somebody else cheers on that same team’s latest score, you instantly become fast friends. By halftime, you’re both huddling up to discuss the major highlights, and when the game resumes its high fives all around whenever your team makes a run.

Alas, that experience may not return to Las Vegas for a long while, what with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advising Americans to maintain six feet of social distancing between one another.

Indeed, the NGC reopening guidelines follow a similar strategy by advising casino staff to prevent players from gathering together in groups:

“Casino supervisors and managers must ensure that patrons do not congregate in groups around gaming tables.

Additionally, licensees should assign employees to focus on ensuring guests do not congregate in groups near machines.

Plans must ensure that patrons do not congregate in groups and practice proper distancing in these areas (sportsbooks, keno parlors, and bingo halls).”

While fully recognizing the importance of social distancing during these trying times, I’m still mournful for the lost interaction gamblers once took for granted.

3 – The Smell of Cigarette Smoke Wafting Through the Air

This one’s a little unusual, especially for a non-smoker like myself, but there’s a certain sense of nostalgia associated with that smoky atmosphere that permeated old-school casinos.

To this day, whenever I walk the casino floor and get a whiff of a Camel Light or a quality cigar, I’m instantly transported back to my more youthful days gambling Downtown in the ‘80s.

Obviously, our societal knowledge about the harmful effects of second-hand smoke have limited where cigarettes and cigars can be enjoyed in a casino. That shift occurred well before the coronavirus outbreak, with casinos offering “smoke free” table game pits and slot machine banks to cater to the modern masses.

But in an age when breathing on other people is seen as an outright attack, and folks with respiratory illnesses are succumbing to coronavirus at disproportionate rates, expect to see entire casinos go smoke-free in the future.

Just ask Kanie Kastroll, a 15-year veteran dealer at the Wynn Las Vegas and a union leader for her colleagues throughout the city. In an interview with FOX-5 Las Vegas, Kastroll explained why her and fellow union leaders have specifically requested smoking be banned until the coronavirus fears recede:

“The red flag for we, dealers, is that we cannot have second-hand smoke or smoking at any worksite anymore.

Smoking kills and now with COVID-19, it’s another example of how smoking kills.”

I empathize fully with Kastroll and her fellow dealers – who have essentially become frontline workers as casinos reopen – but I’m still saddened somewhat by this development.

For me, a classic Las Vegas gambling experience was always defined by the haze of smokers puffing away. And as understandable as smoking bans will be down the road, I’ll miss that unmistakable scent when it’s gone.

4 – Huddling Around a Craps Table to Sweat the High Rollers

As mentioned already, the NGC reopening guidelines stress the fact that people can’t gather in large groups any longer.

And if you’ve ever visited a Las Vegas craps table before, you know full well that the biggest crowds on the gaming floor crop up when the dice are hot.

I’m a low-stakes craps novice myself, but damned if I didn’t enjoy sidling up to a jam-packed craps table simply to watch the more experienced players do their thing with the dice. These guys and gals are betting more on every roll than I have in my pocket, and every time the dice cooperate, the whole table happily explodes in unison.

That includes onlookers like myself, who seem to find themselves absorbed into the action as actual players give a round of high fives all around. We might win anything, but just watching the ebbs and flows of a heated craps game provides all the thrill we need.

Sadly, I won’t be able to stand a few feet back from a craps game and sweat the action like I used to. And that’s a shame…

5 – Gorging on Culinary Delights After Scoring a Buffet Comp

For a certain subset of Las Vegas gambler, the next best thing to scoring a jackpot is earning a casino comped buffet ticket.

Sin City’s famous buffet scene has become the stuff of legend, with venues like Bacchanal at Caesars Palace regularly winning awards for serving up a smorgasbord of world-class cuisine.

Las Vegas Buffet Spread

But even before the casinos were closed down entirely, most operators in town shuttered their buffets voluntarily as a preventative measure. The risks are just too widespread in a typical buffet, which would normally pack hundreds of people into close confines, all while inviting them to queue up in a line to pack their plates.

At the time of this writing, some buffets in Vegas have started to re-open, such as the excellent Wicked Spoon buffet at the Cosmopolitan. The risk of food borne transmission is nonexistent with a respiratory virus like COVID-19, so it’s not the buffets themselves that pose a threat. Even so, many casinos that have reopened are hesitant to re-launch their buffets given the social distancing and sanitization measures required to make them safe.

Conclusion

Las Vegas has constantly evolved over the last century, transforming from a dusty desert outpost to the “Glitter Gulch” of Fremont Street, and finally to the adult Disneyland that is The Strip. For recreational players and tourists, gambling is a fundamentally social experience, one defined by coming together in a collective effort to beat the house.

With that in mind, the changes to come while casinos cope with the coronavirus will be jarring, but they’re nothing us gamblers can’t handle. Even so, I’ll still miss the aspects of pre-coronavirus casinos mentioned above something fierce – and for good reason.

Fact or Fiction: Casino Edition

Myths and Facts Text With a Casino Graphic

Whether you play on a daily basis or have only visited a few times in your life, casinos have an undeniable feeling of, “we’re seeing a lot, but we’re not seeing it all.”

The enigma of casinos has led to a certain air of mystery. In many cases, some of the most commonly believed notions about casinos are actually false, while the truth is most commonly known by those who have worked in the industry.

In this article, I’ll get into some of these notions that have made their way into the culture, then I’ll explain what’s true and what is not.

Fact: Casinos Want You to Lose Track of Time

Everyone has heard, at some point or another, that land based casinos don’t include any windows or clocks in their building. Not only that, but the reason is so you completely lose your sense of time altogether, leading you to gamble for long periods of time without taking breaks.

Casino Playing Card Clock

It turns out this one is true! And the fact that many casinogoers know about it does not stop it from still being a very effective form of manipulation.

Without the sun to indicate that the day is in fact moving, or clocks to remind you that your wife got home two hours ago, people can get quite lost in a gambling session. Now, obviously just about everyone has access to a timepiece right in their pocket via phone, but seeing numbers on a screen doesn’t quite have the same impact as seeing it go from light outside to dark.

Fiction: Casinos Pump in Oxygen

I can’t say how this one got started, but it’s one of the most widely-believed myths about casinos that just won’t seem to die. No, casinos do not circulate extra oxygen throughout the air inside the casino.

First of all, the reasons why casinos don’t use this tactic, which supposedly would make guests feel more alert, is because it would break every fire code imaginable. Fire thrives on oxygen, and adding more to the air would be akin to pouring gas on a flame.

Second, casinos have no way of knowing potential health problems that guests might have. Adding oxygen might actually help in some cases, but in others, it could cause unknown problems. The casino does not need that on their list of things to deal with.

The bottom line is that the risk of burning the casino down is simply not worth the benefit of a few extra dollars. The next time your friends try to drop this knowledge on you, make a bet that they’re wrong and you could start the day with a few extra dollars in your bankroll. You’re welcome.

Fact: Casinos Are Laid Out in a Specific Way

What does the local chain grocery store have in common with the casino downtown? They’re both laid out in a specific way that is designed to maximize profits.

Casinos use psychological tricks in a way that aims to make the bettor feel comfortable, meaning not having an eye on the door at all times. I won’t say they’re made to be a labyrinth of sorts, but that isn’t far from the truth. Casino builders want you to get swallowed up in the action and feel good doing it.

Another way casinos look to use the gaming floor design to their advantage is by making the games with the worst odds the most noticeable. For example, if you walk around you can’t help but notice the flashing lights seen on games like Big Six and other low-odds video slot machines.

Maze Made Out of Playing Cards

Obviously the responsibility falls on the gambler to make the right decisions about what games to play and how long to play them, but in a way, it’s a battle of wills between house and player that often goes unnoticed.

If you find yourself wandering around the casino looking for a game to play, keep in mind that the ones that stand out are noticeable for a reason. They’re probably going to take your money.

Fiction: Casino Machines Are Rigged

When you lose a hand in blackjack or watch as the roulette ball lands on black instead of red, you can accept that you just got unlucky. However, when the dealer in video blackjack seems to be hitting 21 at a high rate, it might feel like something else is at play.

It can be difficult to accept that losses in video based casino games, such as video poker, 21, roulette, or slot machines are legitimate. I mean, how easy would it be to program them in such a way that ensures they’ll always come out ahead?

The reality is that even though video based machines can be rigged, they almost never are because casinos have no need to cheat. If you search hard enough you can find instances of casinos getting in trouble for this behavior, but they’re few and far between.

The reasons are plenty when it comes to why a casino would not want to manipulate their games to have a better outcome for the house. The penalties for doing this are severe, and the hit to a casino’s reputation might be irreparable. Nobody is going to want to play at the casino that has knowingly cheated guests in the past.

Casinos have strict rules and regulations surrounding their video offerings, so the next time you lose, the only person you have to blame is the random number generator that seems to be extra lucky that day.

Fiction: You’ll Get Arrested for Card Counting

If you’ve ever watched the movie 21 or Rain Man, it’s likely that you’ve considered counting cards. At the same time, you’ve also probably wondered what the consequences of that would be if you were to get caught.

Somewhat surprisingly, card counting isn’t technically illegal. It certainly won’t get you thrown in jail or punished in a legal sense, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely free of consequence.

Screenshot From the Movie Rain Man

As you would expect, casinos don’t want their gamblers counting cards and getting an edge on the house, but they aren’t going to dedicate a ton of time and resources to preventing the practice (unless you’re really making a ton of money). However, people get caught all the time because it’s hard to keep a straight face while doing it.

The worst you can expect is probably a stern, but fair, talking to by the casino staff. They might kick you out for the day, suggest you don’t come back and play there again, or may just tell you not to do it anymore.

Each establishment differs when it comes to how they handle card-counters, but one thing is for sure—the vast majority of them go undetected.

Fact: You Can Ban Yourself

I can’t say how frequently this unique law is invoked, but the fact that it even exists is interesting enough in itself. Casinos will actually allow you to ban yourself, and can enforce it through legal means.

i
Gambling addicts are relatively common in casinos, just as much as alcoholics are in bars. Through the program, known as “Voluntary Exclusion,” addicts can force casinos to not let them come in and gamble.

While it’s hard to know if this has had a positive impact on the lives of those who gamble compulsively, in my opinion, it’s a good step. Let this be a reminder that gambling can become a problem, and if you see things heading that direction in your own life, use the gambling addiction resources at your disposal to help.

Conclusion

The inner workings of casinos will always remain somewhat enigmatic to those on the outside, but hopefully this article shed some light on separating myth from reality.

If you’re interested in learning more about the history of casinos and how they function today, there are a number of resources that hold these insights. I encourage everyone to learn about what makes casinos tick, because it’s certainly not a clock!

Common Questions First Time Roulette Players Ask

Question Marks With a Roulette Wheel Background

Roulette was the first game I ever played in a casino. I had no idea how high the house edge for the game was – in fact, I didn’t even know what the term “house edge” meant.

I don’t play roulette much anymore. It’s a little more slow-paced than I like. I prefer craps now.

But for beginners, roulette can be a perfect way to learn how to play casino games in general.

It’s also a great laboratory for demonstrating the limits of betting systems.

Here are the seven most important questions about roulette that you could ask, answered:

How Does the Game of Roulette Work?

Roulette is one of the oldest and most famous casino games in gambling history. It’s an example of a “spinning wheel” game. Imagine the wheel from Wheel of Fortune, but with numbers from 1 to 36 on them (plus a 0 and 00, for good measure.)

Now imagine half those numbers are black and half red.

Further imagine that there’s a pocket where a ball can land when it’s spun around the rim of the wheel.

Casino gamblers bet on where the ball’s going to land. You can bet on propositions like red/black, odd/even, or high/low. You can bet on single numbers, too. Or you can bet on combinations of numbers.

Roulette Bets on Black 20

Here’s the gimmick, though:

A bet on red wins if it lands on red, and there are 18 red numbers on the wheel. But there are also 18 black numbers.

That sounds fair, until you consider this:

The 0 and 00 are green, and they’re additional.

So, if you bet on red and the ball lands on black, you lose. And you also lose if the ball lands on green.

Those two green zeroes are what make the house its money in the long run playing roulette.

2 – What Is the Best Bet in Roulette?

If you measure the various bets in roulette by their house edge, you have a multi-way tie:

ANY bet that’s not the 5-number bet in American roulette is the best bet.

What’s the house edge?

That’s how you measure the casino’s statistical advantage.

The roulette house edge for all the bets at the table – assuming a standard American game – is 5.26%.

The 5-number bet is an exception. The house edge for that bet is 7.89%. Never make that bet.

If you want to know what the best bet is in terms of which one offers the biggest payout, it’s the single-number bet. That bet pays off 35 to 1. The house edge is still 5.26%, though.

If you want to know what the best bet is in terms of which one is most likely to win, it’s any of the even-money bets. Those bets win 47.37% of the time, but they only pay off even money. And the house edge is still 5.26%.

Defining which bet at the roulette table is the best one has as much to do with deciding what your goals are as anything else.

Closeup of a Casino Roulette Wheel

My goal at the roulette table these days is to hit two single-number wins during a session.

I also limit the number of bets I make at a roulette table to 40 bets. I might bet on the same number every time, but I might not – it doesn’t matter.

If I’m betting $5 per spin, I’m going to bring $200 with me.

If I win twice, I’ll win $175 each time, or $350.

Depending on when during the 40 spins I win that, I might make a large or a small profit.

I might also show a small loss.

But I’m limiting my exposure to only making 40 bets. That’s about an hour’s worth of play, which is plenty for me anyway.

3 – Can You Really Win at Roulette?

Sure, anyone can win at roulette. It’s a game of chance. People win at roulette every day.

You can’t realistically get a mathematical edge at the game. If you play roulette long enough, you’ll eventually lose all your money. That’s how negative expectation games work.

You can find all kinds of roulette betting systems and strategies. They’re all equally worthless, and I’ll explain why shortly.

How Do Roulette Payouts Work?

All the roulette payouts are designed to offer a break-even bet if the 0s weren’t on the wheel. No matter which bet you place, the payout is such that it would be a fair game – IF only the zeroes weren’t on the wheel.

This means that the payout for a single number bet is 35 to 1. (The odds of winning that bet are 37 to 1.)

The payout for a bet on two numbers is 17 to 1. The payout for a bet on three numbers is 11 to 1. And so on, until you get to the bets on 18 numbers at a time.

The lower the odds of winning, the higher the payouts.

But the house edge doesn’t change.

What Is the Best Roulette Strategy?

The best roulette strategy is to find another game to play. I’m only half-joking about this. I always suggest that gamblers stick with games where the house edge is lower than 1.5%. Roulette is way outside of that range.

All other roulette strategies are equally worthless, although they can be fun to try. The first thing you should do if you’re devising a roulette strategy is decide how much money you want to gamble with. That’s your gambling bankroll.

Then decide what percentage of your bankroll you want to win during your gambling session. Decide, too, on how much of it you’re willing to lose during that session, too.

Those are called win goals and loss limits.

Just having limits in place is an important strategy by itself. You can place any bets you like and just quit when you hit either your win goal or your loss limit.

Let’s say you have a $200 bankroll, and you decide you’d be satisfied winning $100 for the session, and you want to quit if you lose $100.

You could place single-number bets for $5. You’d have to lose 20 times in a row to lose your $100 loss limit, so you could play for quite a while.

If you hit a single number, though, you’ll win $175. Depending on how long it takes you to hit a win, you could easily hit your $100 win goal.

As long as you quit when you hit $300 or $100, you’re golden.

That’s called a money management technique. It won’t make you a winner in the long run, but it can ensure that you sometimes walk away a winner. A lot of gamblers stay at the roulette table until they’re broke.

Don’t be that guy. No one respects that guy.

How Do You Win Big Money at Online Roulette?

Real money online roulette offers the same house edge as traditional roulette in a brick and mortar casino. Winning big in the long run isn’t really an option. Of course, your definition of winning big money and mine might differ.

One piece of advice I can offer you about winning money at online roulette is this, though:

All the online casinos I’ve done business with had both American roulette and European roulette available. When that’s the case, ALWAYS play the European version of the game.

What’s the difference?

American roulette has two zeroes on the wheel, which makes the house edge 5.26%.

European roulette, though, only has a single green zero on the wheel, which lowers the house edge dramatically – to 2.70%.

Those still aren’t great odds, but if your hope is to win big money at online roulette, you need to play the game with the lowest edge.

Online Real Money Roulette Game

Also, if you want to win big money, you should probably go with the bets with the biggest payoffs. Those are the inside bets. They win less often, but when you do win, you get a bigger payout.

The best of these is the single number bet. It pays off at 35 to 1.

If you have the bankroll to stand it, bet $100 on a single number repeatedly until it hits.

You’ll get a $3500 win when you do.

You’ll sustain some losses before you hit, but this is still a better strategy than trying to grind out small wins on the outside bets with a betting system like the Martingale.

Another option is to bet the max on a single spin and walk away with your winnings when you’ve doubled your money.

This works less than half the time, by the way – around 47.37% of the time, in fact.

But it’s another potentially good strategy for winning big money at online roulette.

How Can You Win at Roulette on Every Spin?

You can’t win at roulette on every spin – that’s patently impossible.

The only person who would ask this question doesn’t understand how roulette works.

Having read this post (and some of my other posts about roulette), you already know how roulette works, so you won’t even worry about trying to win at roulette on every spin.

Conclusion

Inexperienced gamblers often have many questions about roulette, but it’s a slow-moving game that’s easy to understand. And if you stick with the outside bets, the volatility is low. You’ll win even money slightly less than half the time.

A lot of gamblers like that aspect of the game. It makes roulette an especially good target for betting system fans.

The bottom line is that if you understand the answers to these seven questions about roulette, you’re way ahead of the game when compared to other novice casino gamblers.

The Best Reasons to Visit Each of the 25 Tribal Casinos in Arizona – Part I (#1 – #5)

Arizona State Outline With a Tribal Casino Floor Background

The great state of Arizona has much in common with neighboring Nevada. Both states are perpetually sunny paradises where retirees spend their golden years. And while gold may get top billing, the Copper State and Silver State share a rich history built on mineral mining.

But for my money, the most important link between Arizona and Nevada is that both are home to thriving casino industries. Sin City and its iconic Strip will always draw the international interest, but for folks driving through the Southwest, discovering any of Arizona’s more than two dozen tribal casinos is like spotting an oasis in the desert.

1 – Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale

I was born and raised in Arizona, and I still call the scenic Red Rock wonderland of Sedona home to this day. And whenever I get the chance, I gas up the old gal and head down the hill to Scottsdale for a day trip to Arizona’s undisputed casino king – Talking Stick Resort.

For the rest of the casinos on this page, I’ll be sticking with one great reason to visit the property, but Talking Stick Resort simply has too much to offer for that format.

Built in 2010, the shimmering neon tower that greets Scottsdale’s upscale desert denizens every evening climbs 15 stories skyward. That makes it by far the tallest casino-adjacent hotel tower in the state, and one that rivals many of the high-rises in Downtown Phoenix.

Talking Stick Casino in Arizona

The wider property includes the 36-hole Talking Stick Golf Club, so feel free to bring a bag of clubs if you enjoy hitting the links. And when the 100-degree heat forces you to find cover, look no further than the sprawling outdoor swimming pool where revelers cool off in style.

Inside, you’ll find a modern casino setting straight out of Las Vegas. Concierge service, crowded bars and cafés, and beautiful décor abound, the combination of which always seems to remind me of the Aria in Vegas. Additional entertainment options include six concert lounges, five restaurants, a massive buffet, a 13,000 square foot spa, and four indoor pools.

As for the casino itself, this almost 100,000 square foot gaming floor has all the bells and whistles a gambler can ask for. With nearly 900 slot and video poker machines – and the latest makes and models at that – plus 55 tables in the pit spreading blackjack, Three Card Poker, and Let It Ride, Talking Stick Resort has card players covered.

Speaking of cards, don’t forget about the ARENA Poker Room, where hundreds of players pack the joint to play No Limit Texas Hold’em (cash games and tournaments) for low-, mid-, and high-stakes action.

Simply put, Talking Stick Resort is the crown jewel in Arizona’s tribal casino empire, so be sure to see it for yourself on your next trip to the Valley of the Sun.

2 – Twin Arrows Casino Resort in Flagstaff

Arizona is indeed known for its sunshine and summer heat, but many visitors are surprised to learn that the state contains multitudes on the climate front.

Located just two and half hours north from Scottsdale are the pine forests and ski slopes of Flagstaff. At 6,909 feet in elevation near the whitecapped San Francisco Peaks, the Flagstaff area is a snowbird’s dream come true.

And after you’ve toured historic Route 66 in the Downtown district, head eastbound along the icon roadway until you spot the Twin Arrows Casino Resort’s signature pair of shafts sticking out of the soil.

Twin Arrows Casino in Arizona

Twin Arrows opened its doors in 2013, so it’s one of the newest land based casinos in the state. The property is upscale and lavish to say the least, and you’ll find all of the amenities and gambling options that make a casino elite.

The real reason to visit Twin Arrows, however, lies in the surrounding area’s unique scenic appeal relative to the rest of Arizona.

As the northernmost casino in the state, Twin Arrows offers visitors an entirely different perspective on Arizona thanks to its proximity to Flagstaff’s Snow Bowl ski area. And if you hit the road for another 100 miles northward, you’ll end up on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon – only one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

3 – Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino in Laveen

One of three casinos operated under the Gila River brand – by the tribe of the same name – Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino is located in the small Phoenix suburb of Laveen.

If you’re into the “Old West” vibe Arizona evokes in the minds of most, Laveen’s old-school ruggedness might be reason enough to venture to Vee Quiva. In my case, however, I come for the long lineup of potentially lucrative contests.

After signing up for Gila River’s “The Card” – your standard Player’s Club promotion for internal player-tracking purposes – you can participate in any number of awesome contests. These revolve seasonally throughout the year, so check the Vee Quiva website’s “Happenings” page, but here’s a few that I find most fun.

Vee Quiva Casino in Arizona

The free to enter $100,000 “Pick the Pros” Football Handicapping Contest awards between $50 and $1,000 in free slot play based on your NFL picks. A hundred winners are crowned each week, and a season-long contest even awards a brand new F-150 pickup truck to the eventual champion.

The ULTIMATE Giveaway can be entered at any Gila River casino kiosk simply by swiping The Card. You’ll instantly find out if you’ve won cool prizes like ballcaps and T-shirts, Arizona Cardinals official gear, a free weekend stay, or even one of three 2020 Range Rover Evoque sportscars.

Vee Quiva casino seems to specialize in running fun promotions and contest like this year round, so its worth your while to stop in whenever you’re in the Phoenix area.

4 – Casino del Sol in Tucson

Make your way to the Southern edge of Arizona and you’ll ride into Tucson, which ASU alumni like myself know better as Phoenix’s “little brother.”

Casino del Sol bills itself as Tucson’s “premier luxury resort and casino,” and while it doesn’t have much competition in that regard, this place took its template from Talking Stick Resort. That means full-scale concert venues, lush green golf courses, culinary delights that span the spectrum, and several swimming pools indoors and out.

The gambling is also top-notch, offering a full complement of casino table games, slots, video poker, bingo, and a poker room.

Casino del Sol in Arizona

If you do take a trip here though, be sure to book an extra evening or two to spend catching a concert at the gorgeous Anselmo Valencia Tori Amphitheater. This 5,000-seat concert hall has played host to countless headliners over the years, and fans of every musical variety are in luck.

If you like country crooners, Brad Paisley, Travis Tritt and Toby Keith make regular appearances. Hip hop fans will find hitmakers like Pitbull, the Wu-Tang Clan, and Nicky Jam on the marquee. Pop singers, Latino bands, and hard rock acts from the Golden Age of hair metal round out the annual lineup, so be sure to buy your concert tickets in between sessions crushing the blackjack tables.

5 – BlueWater Resort and Casino in Parker

The big draw of BlueWater Resort and Casino can be found right there in its name.

Situated right on the banks of the mighty Colorado River in Parker, the Bluewater is like a scene straight of Kevin Costner’s notorious flop “Waterworld.” Seriously, find me another casino – especially one in Arizona – with a parking lot on one side and a full-scale boat dock on the other.

BlueWater owes its signature amenity to its picture-perfect location smack dab along Arizona’s border with California. And because that border consists of the Colorado River in all its glory, gamblers here can enjoy scenes that few others in Arizona’s largely arid environs ever do.

BlueWater Casino in Arizona

I mean, where else in the state will you find a place called “Wakeboarder Island” within walking distance of the casino floor? Wakeboarder Island, by the way, uses a pulley system to whisk riders through the water without needing any boats at all. You can jump ramps and take sharp turns through the professionally designed wakeboarding course.

And if you’re feeling up for a more casual aquatic adventure, renting a boat in Parker and cruising up the Colorado to Parker Dam – which forms the massive Lake Havasu reservoir – makes for a perfect day trip.

Conclusion

With so many choices for Arizona gambling, taking the full tour of tribal casinos might not be in the cards for you. But after learning a little about my home state’s diverse collection of gambling halls, I sincerely hope you have the opportunity to visit as many as you can during your travels.

Between the Las Vegas meets Scottsdale resort style ambience found at Talking Stick, the northern exposure found at Twin Arrows in Flagstaff, and a riverside playground in the BlueWater Resort, Arizona really does have a casino for gamblers from all walks of life.

If you enjoyed this list and would like to continue reading about tribal casinos in Arizona, check out part two here, and also part three here

10 Facts About Reno That You Probably Didn’t Know

Facts Text and Magnifying Glass With a Reno Background

Most gamblers dream of spending their vacation under the blazing Nevada sun. The vast outdoor recreational activities pair well with the opulent casino resorts.

Stressed vacationers can play a round of golf in the morning, gamble all day in the casino, enjoy a cuisine dinner overlooking the desert, and top it off with a world-class concert.

So, they head to Las Vegas. What about Reno?

Here are 10 facts you didn’t know about the other gambling town.

1 – Tallest Climbing Wall in the World

Head to downtown Reno, and you can’t miss the soaring climbing wall at BaseCamp.

Towering over the casinos below, the climbing wall measures an impressive 164 feet high. The climber’s dream doesn’t stop there.

BaseCamp Climbing Wall in Reno

BaseCamp offers several competitions throughout the year. Many of the events take place right on their expansive climbing wall for all below to enjoy.

However, the massive area dedicated to bouldering and the 50-foot high-speed wall is always at the ready.

If you enjoy climbing when you’re not playing poker pro, Reno may be an ideal gambling destination.

2 – National Bowling Stadium

Fans of the cult classic “Kingpin” will recognize this massive Reno landmark. The nearly 400,000 square foot bowling center was the backdrop for some of the movie’s iconic scenes.

The five story structure has almost 80 gorgeous lanes for you to play. If your game isn’t where you’d like it to be, the enormous complex has on-site teaching pros to tweak your form.

Looking for a little inspiration before you hit the lanes?

No problem, spend a little time in the museum dedicated to the sport.

For all things involving ten pins, don’t skip Reno’s impressive bowling attraction.

3 – Birthplace of Blue Jeans

All of the blue jeans enthusiasts owe a debt of gratitude to Reno. Jacob Davis, a Reno tailor, was approached and asked about a sturdier pant option.

Davis came up with the idea of adding copper rivets to his new pants to increase the durability. His pants became a hit locally, and Davis decided to expand his small operation.

He began searching for business partners and settled on a name you may have heard, Levi Strauss. The pair patent Davis’ design, and the rest is history.

Entrance to Red Rock Bar Reno

501s, boyfriend fit, acid wash, and even skinny jeans may not exist if it weren’t for Davis. Generations of style have been dominated by the little idea that grew into a cultural icon.

The next time you’re in Reno, “button fly” into the Red Rock Bar, where Davis’ shop originally stood and check out this piece of Americana.

4 – Seismic Activity

The biggest little city in the world has thousands of earthquakes annually. It doesn’t come as much surprise if you understand Reno’s geological situation.

Reno sits squarely atop a series of fault lines below the Nevada Desert. Fortunately, the seismic shifts are so minute that they can hardly be perceived by humans.

A couple hundred of these small earthquakes can be felt if you’re paying close attention. It remains unclear if these small tremors are ever responsible for shifting anyone’s luck in the casinos.

Imagine playing craps and having it all riding on one throw of the dice. You need another seven badly, and Lady Luck is on your side. Time slows as you see the die spinning to a heartbreaking five when unbeknownst to you, things are happening deep below the surface. These massive tectonic plates have a slight collision at just the right moment, and suddenly you’re a winner.

You may have noticed a slight tremor, but likely write it off to the excitement of your big win. I have no evidence that this has ever happened, and many of the earthquakes are possibly too small to have the slightest impact on any casino games.

However, it’s a lot of fun to imagine Mother Nature cutting you a break and getting one over on the casino.

5 – All You Can Eat and More

Each August, as the summer sun kisses the desert landscape, Reno transforms into the barbecue rib capitol of the world.

The Nugget Casino Resort hosts its famous annual rib cookoff, and over one hundred thousand attend. Bring your appetite because these pitmasters mean business.

Hundreds of culinary assassins prepare over 240,000 pounds of ribs each year. Hungry BBQ fans descend on Reno in masses to try their smoked offerings.

Nugget Casino Resort in Reno

The festival has something for everyone. Face painters set up, and bouncy castles are erected for the kids to enjoy.

Even vegetarians can find a delicious treat at a huge event. Of course, going to a rib festival for vegetarian cuisine is akin to going to NYC to get away from the big city. It doesn’t make much sense.

Nevertheless, Victoria Square is a beautiful piece of Reno history, and you’ll have a hard time finding anybody that’s not having a great time.

6 – Reno Residents Love to Drink

Reno’s citizens definitely enjoy their alcohol. Reno consistently ranks among the Top 10 lists of “drunkest cities.”

Nearly 20% of Reno residents are considered binge drinkers. This doesn’t mean that they are staying loaded 24/7.

Drinking 14.5 alcoholic beverages per month qualify you as a binge drinker. That could be any given weekend for some college students.

Reno has over 55 bars serving what appears to be a healthy helping of alcoholic drinks to tourists and locals alike. Perhaps it’s an unhealthy helping. Reno ranks among the highest in the country when it comes to liver disease.

If you visit Reno in the summer, you’re going to get thirsty quick. Maybe the heat is contributing to the high numbers of heavy drinkers.

While I suggest sticking with water to stave off the effects of dehydration. You can take comfort that if you’re in the mood for breakfast beers, you won’t be alone in Reno.

As much fun as Reno is, it may be easy to lose track of how much you’re drinking.

7 – Reno 911!

The popular and absolutely hysterical tv show Reno 911! paints the humble town as eccentric and a bit wacky.

You may be familiar with the show and its characters. My wife and I enjoy the light-hearted show, especially after a stressful day or watching something serious on the television.

The show is a spoof on COPS and follows the cast of fake sheriff’s deputies as they fight crime and each other for the Reno County Sheriff’s Department.

Reno 911! Lieutenant Dangle

The funny thing is that it’s all satire. A comedy in which not only do the characters not exist in real life, but neither does the sheriff’s department.

I mean this in the most literal sense. There is no Reno Sheriff’s Department.

Reno and its surrounding area actually fall under the jurisdiction of the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department.

If you are stopped by a Lieutenant Dangle with the Reno Sheriff’s Department, you probably want to call the legitimate law enforcement.

8 – Famous Farewell

The final completed film of two Hollywood icons, Marilyn Monroe & Clark Gable, was shot on Reno’s location.

The Misfits is a wonderful cinematic piece. Even Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 98%.

Most movies of today can’t crack 75%. Monroe and Gable are flawless.

If you’ve never seen The Misfits, I recommend giving it a watch. You’ll find it an easy way to spend just over two hours on a rainy day.

9 – Tasty Hydration

Reno Tahoe has been named the best tasting tap water in the United States.

i
The clear water that brings life to the area is so fresh that the EPA has given a special filtration designation to waterworks in the region.

In fact, Glenbrook, NV (Reno’s neighbor), was awarded a Gold Medal by the Great American Water Taste Test.

The Waterboy himself, Robert Boucher, Jr., would proudly serve up the crisp Alpine water to any player or coach on his team.

10 – Casino Party

Reno, NV is home to over 20 casinos. The first casinos began springing up in the 1930s.

For several years Reno actually stood out as the premier gambling destination in Nevada — a title that Reno would ultimately lose to Las Vegas.

Eldorado Casino Resort in Reno

Eldorado Resort Casino stands out as my go-to stop whenever I’m in town. The games have fantastic rules with friendly dealers.

Most importantly, my nanny, a.k.a. my mother-in-law, swears they have the best slots in Nevada. Possibly the world.

Conclusion

The next time one of your know-it-all friends starts spouting off about planning a Vegas trip. Remember my question, “What about Reno?”

Throw some of the 10 facts you didn’t know about the other gambling town. Maybe you can sway their vote to checking out the biggest little town in the world.

How Much Can You Win With Online Blackjack?

Money and Laptop With a Blackjack Image

Blackjack isn’t typically known for its win potential alone. Instead, it draws many players who want to use strategy to boost their odds of winning.

However, blackjack can deliver big wins under the right circumstances. Even if you don’t collect serious profits, you still have a better chance to beat blackjack than most other casino games.

The degree to which you win, though, all depends upon the approach you take. This guide covers the different routes that you can take when playing blackjack and the win potential associated with each.

Straight Betting

Straight betting is the most-common strategy used in any type of gambling. It involves placing the same size of wager in each round. If you risk $1 on each online blackjack hand, then you’re straight betting.

Anybody who plays real money blackjack for a significant amount of time usually varies their bets at some point. However, the average player sticks with a certain bet size until they either feel hot or cold.

The benefit to straight wagering is that you can better mitigate your risk. Assuming you always know your wager size ahead of time, then you can properly plan from a bankroll perspective.

Here’s an example on how easy bankroll management is with straight betting:

  • Your bankroll is worth $1,000.
  • You risk $10 on each blackjack hand.
  • 1,000 / 10 = 100 units
  • You set a stop-loss limit of 10 units for any given session.

Considering that you never raise bets by a significant amount with this strategy, you don’t have to worry about your bankroll wildly fluctuating.

The downside to straight betting, though, is that it doesn’t offer big scores relative to your bets. You’re instead relying on a major hot streak to truly cash in.

As long as you don’t expect to win serious money, though, then straight betting is a relaxing strategy. You still have an outside shot to collect big profits if you do catch a rare hot streak.

Blackjack Systems

Blackjack players have been using casino betting systems for centuries. They enjoy gambling systems for their big win potential.

Plenty of these betting strategies exist. They differ based on their complexity and whether they call on you to raise or lower bets during win streaks.

If a system requires you to raise bets after wins, then it’s known as a positive progression system. Assuming the strategy involves raising wagers after losses, then it’s a negative progression system.

El Royale Casino Online Blackjack

The latter are mainly designed to help you recoup potential losses rather than net big wins. Positive progression strategies, on the other hand, are all about capitalizing on hot runs.

The Paroli is an example of positive progression. It calls on you to flat bet until experiencing a win. At this point, you double your next wager.

Assuming you lose this bet, then you go back to the original starting wager. If you win, then you continue doubling bets. You only reset to the starting wager upon winning three consecutive rounds.

Here’s an example on how the Paroli can help you book big profits:

  • You bet $25 and win.
  • You bet $50 and win.
  • You bet $100 in win.
  • Return to the original $25 wager.
  • Total profits for this string = $175

The downside to the Paroli, or any other blackjack system, is that they don’t overcome the house edge. Instead, they just manipulate short-term winnings.

You can actually accelerate losses when using a system. But provided you’re okay with this and want to chase big winnings, then systems can still be worth trying.

High Roller Play

High rollers have always had an affinity for blackjack. They love that this game features such a low house edge and, as a result, a great chance to win profits.

Of course, online casinos don’t feature extremely high stakes. However, most gaming sites do let you wager up to $500 per hand.

$500 a hand is definitely high stakes. If you get hot with this amount of money on the line, then you’re looking at a big payday.

The first thing you want to do when preparing to play for high stakes is find the best blackjack odds. Most online blackjack games offer around a 0.5% house edge.

However, you can do even better than this if you look hard enough. Some online blackjack games feature as low as a 0.3% house advantage.

Unfortunately, the casino still holds the edge in such cases. But you’ll nearly be in a coinflip situation with them. If you get just a little luck on your side, then you can win big.

The main thing to worry about, though, is what happens when you experience a downswing. If you’re wagering anywhere from $100 to $500 per hand, then your losses will sting that much more.

I suggest that you have a really large bankroll if you’re going to risk $100 or more per round. You should have at least $5,000 to comfortably play these stakes.

Progressive Jackpots

Online slots draw all the attention when it comes to progressive jackpots. However, progressive online blackjack also exists.

You aren’t going to win millions of dollars when playing for blackjack jackpots. Nevertheless, you can look forward to some very large prizes.

Playtech’s progressive blackjack game currently offers a jackpot worth over $145,000. You need to place a $1 side bet to play for it.

Assuming you’re dealt four suited aces within the same hand, then you’ll collect the jackpot. The odds of this occurrence happening are just 1 in 6,454,650.

You can also win payouts for lesser hands, including the following:

  • 3 suited aces = 5,000x the side wager
  • 4 mixed aces = 2,500x
  • 3 mixed aces = 250x
  • 2 suited aces = 100x
  • 2 mixed aces = 50x
  • 1 ace = 5x

WGS Technology also features a progressive jackpot game with a $1 side bet. Its blackjack jackpot is currently worth almost $68,000 at the time of this post.

You win 100% of the progressive jackpot with four suited aces. You can win 10% of the jackpot by getting four aces of any suit.

Here are the other available payouts:

  • 3 suited aces = 2,500x the side wager
  • 3 mixed aces = 250x
  • 2 suited aces = 50x
  • 2 mixed aces = 25x

Online blackjack jackpots aren’t going to let you retire early. But they definitely offer some serious money through both the jackpots and other side payouts.

Chasing Casino Bonuses

Most gaming sites feature online bonuses. Such might be available when you initially deposit (i.e. welcome bonus) and/or when you place subsequent deposits (i.e. reload bonus).

The best thing about online bonuses is that they essentially constitute free money. If you’re going to be play internet blackjack anyways, then you might as well pick up extra cash in addition on your play.

The most-common online blackjack bonus is a deposit deal. These offers match a portion of your deposits up to a certain amount.

Here’s a specific example of how they work:

  • An online casino gives an offer of 100% bonus for blackjack worth up to $250.
  • Your deposit is in the amount of $100.
  • 100 x 1.0 = 100
  • You now are qualified for a bonus of $100

The bonus funds will be available immediately for real-money blackjack. You can’t cash out the funds, though, until you’ve met conditions and special terms.

You definitely want to know every term behind the deal. However, you should pay special attention to the rollover (a.k.a. playthrough).

Rollover determines how much you’ll need to wager before the money is actually yours. Low rollover is better because it doesn’t force you to risk as much.

What’s the Best Approach for Winning With Internet Blackjack?

Most gamblers prefer straight betting with slight variations based on their results. Many of the same players increase wagers when they’re really hot in order to capitalize.

Of course, you don’t necessarily need to do what most player gamblers are doing. After all, straight betting doesn’t offer big winnings when small stakes are involved.

Ace and King of Spades Blackjack Hand

Systems provide a nice way to capitalize on hot streaks—especially the positive progression variety. Just keep in mind that they won’t help you overcome the long-term house edge.

High-roller play is worthwhile when you have a large bankroll. It can deliver huge wins if you’re comfortably able to bet $100 per hand or more.

Progressive blackjack is the best way to turn a few dollars into massive payouts. The odds may be against you winning a jackpot, but you at least don’t need to bet much to play.

As you can see, no one route is perfect when trying to win online blackjack profits. You should choose the option that best suits your individual situation and goals.

Conclusion

Outside of card counting in land-based casinos, the house always holds an edge in blackjack. However, this edge is smaller than what’s seen in most other casino games.

That said, you have a solid chance to win in online blackjack with the right strategy and approach. Regarding the latter, you can go with any of the routes discussed above to achieve your desired winnings.

The betting strategies covered throughout this post don’t guarantee profits by any means. Depending upon your choice, though, the right strategy will help you win whatever amount you’re looking for during a hot streak.

How Has Betting on Esports Changed During COVID-19?

Esports Match and a Coronavirus Image

COVID-19 has changed just about every aspect of our daily lives. Even grabbing a bite to eat has become a challenge.

Since early in 2020 when major shutdowns began taking place, the sports climate in the United States has completely changed.

This has opened the door for betting on Esports to rise in popularity. Sports are scheduled to return in the coming weeks after exhaustive measures to protect the players and the public.

Today, I’ll look at how betting on Esports has changed during COVID-19.

A New Game in Town

Not long ago, the prospect of gambling on Esports was totally taboo.

However, the rapid growth of the industry, coupled with the shutdown of our traditional sports leagues, has swung the door wide open to gambling on Esports.

Esports is an industry worth more than $1 billion. That kind of revenue was sure to catch the eye of the sportsbooks sooner or later. They’re in a great position to capitalize and receive their piece of the pie.

The last three years have seen tremendous growth in Esports viewership, which has seen double-digit growth and a loyal fan base of over 450 million. The industry seems poised to take its opportunity to step out of the shadows and into the limelight.

Real money online gambling has suffered a downturn in profits over the last couple of years. Esports may be just the shot in the arm that the industry needs. The niche’s fanbase and the number of those participating are growing exponentially.

Trending Up

The year to year growth of Esports has had some variance over the past 5 years. Yet, the growth rate has remained at or above 14% the entire time.

By the start of this year, total viewership has soared from 380 million to 455 million. That’s an average growth of about 15% for that timeframe.

Esports Gamer in a Large Arena

You can rest assured that this trend of growth will hold for the next several years. As we continue to watch this meteoric rise, we can expect a substantial increase in the number of casual viewers.

Experts are predicting that by 2024 the worldwide Esports audience will be almost 650 million people. That’s nearly doubling its size in only six years.

COVID-19 Pushes the Gambling World to Esports

From simulated games of FIFA being streamed to deprived gamblers via the web to fantasy contests on professional Esports, Esports have become a favorite new toy for casinos in the age of COVID-19.

Gone are the days of Esports being kicked aside. The coronavirus pandemic has sent casinos on a frantic search for ways to recoup lost revenues. Esports have stepped in nicely, and the casinos are in a race to provide even more betting on Esports.

Overall, betting has dramatically decreased over the past four months, but sportsbooks have remained afloat by the old and undeniable truth that gamblers always find something to gamble on. In some cases, people were even betting on the weather of all things.

I don’t know about you but, I think Esports offer a much more exciting and intriguing wagering avenue than the high temp for Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The Age of Esports Has Arrived

The Esports industry has seen an insane market share in Europe. Since the beginning of March, Esports are responsible for roughly 50% of all betting. The result is that sportsbooks have seen a jump of 40x over that period.

Esports has become the number one revenue source for many of the top sportsbooks during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, every bookmaker worth their salt now offers Esports — especially those that did not before the pandemic wreaked its havoc on the global gambling industry.

Generally, Esports gambling revenues are expected to more than double in 2020. Sports gambling is beginning to grow in the United States, and states like Nevada, Colorado, and New Jersey are working diligently to be the leaders in the Esports market.

Luxor Las Vegas Esports Arena Banner

Nevada casinos have always set the bar for all things related to gambling. Nevada approved its first Esports bet back in 2016. The state followed up with two more tournaments in 2017. That was it. There was a three-year gap between those bets and March of this year.

Nevada has given the green light to more than 13 individual Esports events since March. When most professional sports leagues shut down, it left a huge hole that gamblers were hoping to fill.

And the sportsbooks want to fill that hole, too.

The tremendous growth of Esports has had a historical impact on the gambling industry — an effect that could not be ignored. This has led to soaring interest and investment money.

With potential sponsors lining up by the dozens with buckets of cash to get into the action, it’s easy to see that the Age of Esports is upon us.

Life After COVID-19

The market seems to be yearning for an infusion of fresh gambling blood, and the potential appears to be monumental.

But the ability of Esports to retain such a large market share remains uncertain.

For example, it seems that all the online sportsbooks consider Esports just another rising star in a continually changing landscape. They’re apparently overlooking the well-defined niche and its incredible fanbase — a fanbase full of potential new customers.

Sportsbooks are already working to assert themselves as entertainment venues. By combining these accessible betting opportunities with live Esports viewing, the bookmakers are creating a fully immersive experience.

This effort piggybacks off one of sports bettings’ fastest-growing trends, the in-play wagering. These in-play bets can add a tremendous amount of excitement to the contest and keep players engaged and betting throughout the event.

The casino industry understands that though the market share varies, there is a large opening to shape the future by simply adding in-game wagers to live viewing in one convenient location.

Start-Ups Leading the Way

The new kids on the block in the sports betting industry are embracing Esports on an impressive scale. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, these start-ups played a tremendous role in bringing Esports betting to the masses.

Combine the leading sportsbooks with the intricate range of gambling markets available for Esports betting and you get a recipe for massive success. This is achieved by allowing platforms to acquire a new audience affordably and effectively while providing Esports the place in the spotlight it has earned.

Some sportsbooks were left reeling as all college and professional sports leagues began to close 1 by 1. But the newbies and their already loyal fanbase were sitting comfortably in the assurance that they could weather the storm.

Bumps in the Road

That’s the bright side of Esports. You may have read to this point and thought all is sunshine and daisies in the Esports world.

But this isn’t necessarily the case.

Actually, Esports face some significant obstacles.

The potential for cheating has come up as a significant concern in the past. However, these fears seem to be completely baseless. The money involved with Esports has increased exponentially, and tsome people always want to have an inside edge.

Esports Gamer During a Match

This concern is outweighed by the prize amounts and endorsement earnings for the top players. A ruined reputation would be far more financially devastating than throwing a match or working an edge of any sort.

Another — and probably the biggest — challenge facing Esports gambling in the US is the legal issue. In the United States, only five states have passed legislation to specifically allow betting on Esports. An additional 11 states have passed laws allowing sports betting, but do not specifically identify Esports.

So, you can place bets legally in almost 1/3 of the United States. If you live in Europe, or more specifically the United Kingdom, betting on Esports is far more commonplace.

Moving Past Major Events

One colossal change you can expect to see in Esports betting after the pandemic is broader coverage. Before COVID-19 wreaked its havoc, only the top tier events garnered much attention from the bettors or the sportsbooks.

Esportsbooks are operations that dedicate 100% of their action to the Esports bettors. Many of these operations can be found in over 15 different markets.

However, most gamblers continue to use traditional sportsbooks.

Why does this matter?

i
With more of an emphasis being placed on Esports by the sportsbooks and a continually expanding fanbase, the availability of Esports betting is poised to take off like a rocket ship, and COVID-19 has been the catalyst for the rapid rise.

Esports will not only now be offered in all the major sportsbooks, but more events than ever will be available for the betting public.

Conclusion

COVID-19 has changed our daily lives in countless ways. From how we buy groceries to what our workday looks like, everything has changed.

Mostly, it’s awful. I miss my friends and family. I miss going out to watch a game and have some wings.

Fortunately, this isn’t the new normal. We’ll return to life as it was before the pandemic. And we’ll be filling stadiums on Sundays again.

But one thing will be different in the gambling world, and that’s the impact and popularity of Esports. Betting on Esports probably isn’t replacing the NFL for sports bettors, but it will definitely be a much bigger force than it has ever been.

Will a Lack of College Football Wreck Your Betting Profits?

NCAA Football Player With a Sportsbook Background

College football has been a big part of the bookmaking industry for decades. It routinely brings in tens of millions of dollars to sportsbooks every year. But bookmakers aren’t the only ones who can win big with college football. You can also earn serious money by wagering on this sport.

NCAA football offers unique opportunities that give you a stronger chance to win when compared to many other sports. Unfortunately, you won’t have as many opportunities to bet on college football this season.

Many schools have been forced to rework their schedules. Some teams have canceled their fall seasons entirely.

If you’re somebody who looks at college football as a profitable game, then you’ll definitely be affected by this situation. But will your entire fall be wrecked from a gambling perspective?

I’ll cover more on the current situation surrounding in NCAA football. I’ll also discuss if you’ll have enough opportunities to make serious money through this game.

NCAA Teams Are Canceling or Postponing Seasons

Athletes are constantly in close proximity to each other. Many games, like football and basketball, require athletes to come in direct contact with other players.

Therefore, football conferences and individual schools have made changes to their schedules. Teams are now divided on whether they’ll be continuing play.

Some schools have even canceled their seasons entirely, but plenty of teams still want to play in the fall. A number of schools and leagues are targeting the spring of 2021.

Bookmakers Will Undoubtedly Take a Hit

College football won’t be entirely gone this year. Some teams will still be taking the field when the leaves are falling. But this season definitely won’t be the same for sportsbooks. First off, not all 130 Division 1 FBS teams are playing this year or even next spring.

Therefore, the bookmaking industry won’t enjoy the same profits on college football as they have in the past. They may only earn a fraction of the revenue through the sport that they normally do.

NCAA Football Teams Lined Up

No exact estimates exist on betting revenue from college football. After all, Las Vegas sportsbooks combines both the NFL and NCAA football when releasing statistics.

However, the college game earns bookmakers at least eight figures annually. With that in mind, the bookies will be praying for NCAA football to return to normalcy at some point soon.

How the Lack of NCAA Football Could Affect You

You can see that the bookmaking industry will definitely suffer losses from the current situation. But what about you as a bettor? Much depends upon how much you actually risk on college football each year. Assuming you never wager on the sport, then you may not miss it.

If you only risk a small portion of your sports betting bankroll on the NCAA game, you probably still won’t lose any sleep over this upcoming season.

Assuming you’re somebody who loves college football betting, though, then you really need to make some adjustments. After all, this sport provides some of the best chances to beat the bookies.

You aren’t going to find much of an advantage when betting on high-profile matchups like Alabama vs. Auburn or Ohio State vs. Michigan. Bookmakers are extremely good at handicapping games like these. However, you can find large advantages in some of the many low-profile games throughout the season. Bookmakers don’t always produce tight lines for matchups like UNC Charlotte vs Old Dominion.

Herein lies your advantage with college football. You can find juicy lines each week due to the large schedule that bookmakers must deal with.

Unfortunately, you won’t enjoy as many of these scenarios this year. Bookmakers don’t have as many games to handicap and, as a result, can dedicate more time to each game.

What to Bet On Instead

The limited NCAA football schedule might be alright if you had lots of other options to choose from. However, many other sports are in the same boat.

The NFL is one of the few leagues that plans on running a normal schedule this year—albeit with fewer fans in the stadiums. If you’re a football fan, the NFL represents an obvious alternative towards betting on college football.

The only problem, though, is that NFL football betting is largely tougher to beat than the NCAA version. Every professional game draws considerable attention when compared to the average college matchup.

Major League Baseball will provide another alternative. If you’re not into betting on baseball, some major college football games and conferences will still be taking place.

NCAA Football Quarterback

The NBA playoffs begin this week, and it offers some pretty juicy lines just like college football’s Big Ten and soon, Pac-12. I don’t really see much downside with betting on the NBA if you’re focused on profits. The only catch is if you simply don’t like betting and or watching pro basketball.

As you can see, there are a few options that you can use to replace college football with. You might even consider going outside of the popular North American sports and looking towards something like Premier League football (soccer), which starts in early September and concludes in May.

Dealing With Unexpected Changes From a Betting Perspective

Use the following advice to help you continue having fun with sports betting regardless of any unexpected changes or events that may occur.

Concentrate on Online Sportsbooks

While the options for land-based sportsbooks could be limited depending on your area’s restrictions or availability, you still have other choices.

The good news is that you can still place bets at sportsbooks in many countries. But you may prefer to do your wagering without a mask on or deal with other restrictions.

If so, you can easily place bets through your phone at online sportsbooks. The latter don’t come with any restrictions and allow you to make wagers in the same way that a land-based venue would.

Pick Up a Betting Bonus

Online sportsbooks also offer another advantage in the form of bonuses. This isn’t something land-based bookies provide for new bettors.

These awesome deals can come through a deposit bonus or free bet. You simply need to place a deposit to take advantage of either offer.

A deposit bonus usually matches the size of your first deposit. For example, a bookmaker might offer a 100% bonus worth up to $200. There are plenty of lucrative bonuses that you can find at reputable sports betting sites.

Free bets allow you to earn back losses if your first wager is a loser. Some bookmakers let you place free bets worth $100 or more.

Get Into New Sports

Earlier, I outlined alternatives if this year’s version of college football doesn’t feel like enough. Betting on the NFL, NBA, and MLB all present popular alternatives.

As mentioned before, you might even try looking outside of these routes. Here are some of the various sports that will be running when NCAA football is supposed to be in full swing:

  • Cricket (international play)
  • Esports (certain leagues and competitions)
  • NBA (starts in November)
  • MLB (concludes in late October)
  • NFL
  • Premier League
  • Tennis

Prepare for College Football in the Spring

Many schools have exercised their rights to run a limited schedule or even switch their games to the spring. With that said, you’ll still have chances for betting on college football with a few conferences coming up ahead.

The timing is the main thing that will be different. And if you’ll be betting on NCAA games, then you should start your preparation.

In other cases, you can stick with the normal summer/fall preparation. After all, the majority of schools are still suiting up here in the fall.

Conclusion

NCAA football isn’t messing around. Many schools have canceled their fall schedules and are hoping they can resume operations come springtime.

If you’re somebody who looks forward to winning money through college football, you’ll find 2020 to be a trying year. Your betting opportunities will be split between the fall and spring 2021. Furthermore, most teams will be playing fewer games when they do take the field.

This means that you can still bet on the gridiron action over the next several months. But you’ll need to temper your expectations due to the varying schedules and limited opportunities.

7 Important Beginner Craps Questions Answered

Question Mark With Craps Casino Dice

Craps is my favorite casino game even though it’s entirely random has no skill element. I don’t know who came up with the details of this game, but I’m amazed at how much fun a game that’s entirely random can be.

But a lot of newcomers are intimidated by craps (even though they shouldn’t be).

In this post, I answer seven of the most important beginner craps questions so that you can get started playing the best game in the casino.

1 – What Are the Basic Rules of Craps?

Craps is a dice game played with two standard 6-side dice. It’s played in rounds, even though they don’t really talk about “craps rounds” while playing.

A round starts when the shooter rolls the dice the first time – this is the come-out roll. The basic bet is the pass line bet, which is a bet that the shooter will “succeed.”

This bet can be resolve immediately on the come-out roll, or it might require multiple rolls to resolve.

If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11 on the come-out roll, the pass bet wins immediately. It’s an even-money bet.

Online Casino Craps Game

If the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12 on the come-out roll, the pass bet loses immediately.

If the shooter rolls any other number (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10), a “point” is set. The shooter continues to roll until one of two things happens:

He either rolls the point number again (succeeding) or rolls a 7 (failing).

If he rolls the point number again before rolling a 7, the pass line bet wins even money.

If he rolls a 7 before rolling the point number, the pass line bet loses.

Once that round is resolved, a new round starts with a new come-out roll.

The rest of the game has to do with the various bets available.

But if you understand the basics of craps betting, you can ask the other gamblers and the dealers about a lot of other details and do fine.

2 – Can Craps Be Rigged?

Rigging a game of craps used to be a lot easier. Casinos use translucent dice now so that you can see that the dice aren’t weighted. Security keeps a close eye on things, too, to make sure you’re not swapping your own dice out for the casinos’ dice.

Casinos use dice that are machine-tooled. They’re uncannily perfect to start with. On top of that, casinos replace the dice regularly while the games are going on. This prevents the dice from developing imperfections through use that would interfere with them giving you an actually less than random result.

I wouldn’t worry about craps being rigged in any commercial casino. I might worry about it if I were participating in a streets craps game, but surely you’re not engaged in that kind of activity, are you?

3 – How Do You Easily Win at Craps?

The great thing about craps is that the house edge is already really low for the most basic bet – the pass line bet only has a house edge of 1.41%.

This means that the house will win in the long run, but you have a reasonably good chance of going on a winning streak while you’re at the craps table.

You can improve your odds even more with the addition of the free odds bet, which I’ll discuss below.

Craps Stick and Dice

One way to easily win at craps is to avoid the sucker bets and avoid casino betting systems. Those are both sure ways to lose.

The sucker bets in craps are the ones that have the highest payouts. They also have the worst odds for the gambler.

And betting systems never work in the long run. They might make for an interesting way to raise and lower your bets, but they’re a losing proposition in the long run.

4 – What Are the Payouts in Craps?

The payouts for the bets you should be making in craps are almost all even money. This means if you bet $100 and win, you get $100 in winnings.

This even-money payout is true of the following bets:

  • Pass
  • Don’t pass
  • Come
  • Don’t come

The only other bet you should be making is the odds bet, which I’ll explain in detail in its own section.

But here are the payouts for the odds bet:

  • If the point is 4 or 10, the odds bet pays off at 2 to 1.
  • If the point is 5 or 9, the odds bet pays off at 3 to 2.
  • If the point is 6 or 8, the odds bet pays off at 6 to 5.

I don’t recommend making any other bets at the craps table, because the house edge skyrockets – especially with the highest payout bets.

Here’s an example:

A bet on hard 8 wins if you get a pair of 4s on the dice. This bet pays off at 9 to 1, which sounds great.

But the odds of winning that bet are 10 to 1, and the house edge is a whopping 9.09%.

That’s not even the worst bet available, either. It’s just a great example because of the wonderful movie, Hard Eight, from PT Anderson – one of my favorite directors. One of the main characters, Sidney, always bets the hard 8 at the craps table.

5 – What Are the Best Odds in Craps?

The best odds when playing craps for real money are on the most basic bets – pass, don’t pass, come, and don’t come – and the free odds bet. I’ve already discussed the pass bet, so I will skip that here.

The don’t pass bet is just betting against the shooter – it pays off at even money if the shooter fails. This is called “wrong betting” or “dark side betting.” At some craps tables, it’s considered rude, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with it.

The come bet is just a bet on the next roll that treats it as a new come-out roll, even if that roll is a bet subsequent to a come-out roll that resulted in a point. The don’t come bet is the same thing as the don’t pass bet in the same situation.

The house edge for the pass line bet is 1.41%, but the house edge on the don’t pass bet is actually even a little better at 1.36%.

6 – What Is the Odds Bet in Craps?

The odds bet is a bet you can only place after you’ve made a pass line bet and the shooter sets a point. If the pass line bet is resolved immediately, you can’t make an odds bet.

The odds bet is special because it’s the only bet in the casino where the house doesn’t have an edge. The catch is that you can’t place the odds bet unless you’ve placed a pass line bet AND the shooter has set a point.

The house edge is 0% on the odds bet, which is resolved along with the pass line bet if the shooter makes the point.

Empty Casino Craps Table

Of course, if the shooter rolls a 7 before rolling the point number, you lose both the pass line bet AND the odds bet.

Since the size of 0% edge bet combined with your pass line effectively reduces the house edge, the casino usually limits the size of the odds bet you’re allowed to place. The minimum odds bet is the same size as your pass line bet.

In some casinos, you’re limited to 2X the pass bet, but in others, you might be allowed to bet 100X. In other words, if you bet $5 on the pass line, and the casino allows a 100X odds bet, you’re looking at being able to place a $500 odds bet.

I covered the payouts for the odds bet above.

You can also “lay odds,” which is when you place an odds bet after betting on the don’t pass line. It has the opposite payouts – 1 to 2, 2 to 3, or 5 to 6 instead of 2 to 1, 3 to 2, or 6 to 5.

Laying odds also has a house edge of 0%.

7 – What Are the Odds of Rolling a 7?

You have a better probability of rolling a 7 on a craps roll than you do of rolling any other specific total. That’s because you have more ways to roll a 7 than any other total.

You have 36 possible outcomes on a roll of the dice, and of those, 6 result in a total of 7.

This translates to 6/36, or 1/6.

The odds of rolling a 7, therefore, are 5 to 1.

Conclusion

Seriously, winning at craps is way easier to play than you probably think. It’s also more fun than you probably think. I encourage you to give it a try.

Given the nature of a blog post, I couldn’t go into more detail with the answers to each of these questions than this, but you can more detailed explanations of all these topics elsewhere on this site.

7 Ways the Coronavirus is Changing How People Travel

Traveling Luggage With an Airplane and Coronavirus Background

Economists and scientists will need to study data for years to understand just how devastating the 2020 novel coronavirus pandemic truly has been for the world. The short-term consequences are obvious.

More than 3 billion people have spent months in lockdown. Hundreds of thousands of people will have died by the end of the first wave. And the worldwide economy has come to a standstill.

Industry experts remain hopeful that land-based casinos and cruise ship companies will return to business but it’s reasonable to guess that some companies will go bankrupt.

And one should not expect life to return to complete pre-pandemic normalcy because no matter how many people survive the virus, it’s not yet known if any immunity people develop will be permanent.

Epidemiologists are predicting multiple waves of infection. The 1918 influenza pandemic hit the world in three waves over about two years. It’s possible the novel coronavirus will be a threat for another year or longer.

And that means how, how often, and where to people travel will change.

1 – Who Can Afford to Travel Any More?

Even the wealthiest people have been affected by the pandemic because financial markets around the world have lost trillions of dollars in accumulated value. Any investments millionaires and billionaires have made will have shed immense value.

While people like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos remain incredibly wealthy the lower end of the top 1% will have shrunk. Many people who were once comfortable with recreational travel expenses will think twice before embarking on their next trip.

Gondolas at Venetian Las Vegas

But millions of average workers who save up for vacation travel every year have been forced to cancel plans because travel in 2020 won’t be practical. The travel and tourism industries have probably lost a year’s worth of revenue as most of their customers burn through savings.

It will take time for people who still have jobs or go back to work quickly to save up for their next trips.

2 – How Have Health and Safety Regulations Changed?

The cruise ship industry often made headlines with norovirus outbreaks. While debilitating the norovirus isn’t anywhere near as deadly as the coronavirus. But cruise ships had to be disinfected after each outbreak.

With the novel coronavirus the cruise ship industry has been shut down. Until cruise line owners can adopt better health management processes not many people will want not be able to enjoy gambling on cruise ships.

One way to make ships safer is to book fewer passengers. But that means to remain profitable the ships will have to charge more for cruises.

Before allowing cruise lines to resume business as usual various governments may pass new laws or regulations mandating additional medical facilities and expertise on the ships. Those costs will be passed on to passengers.

No matter how you look at it, the era of the cheap cruise vacation may be over.

3 – Land-Based Casinos Have Changed Their Environments

Macau and Las Vegas are trying to revive their economies as quickly as possible. Both cities depend heavily on land-based casinos. And hundreds of Native American tribes have lost vital revenue from casino closures, too.

The demand to re-open casinos around the world is strong because hundreds of thousands of jobs depend on these industries. The jobs go well beyond casino employees. Whole supply chains and secondary industries rely on them.

To ensure the safety of players the casinos are adopting strategies for maintaining social distancing, enforcing personal hygiene, and disinfecting games.

It may be a long time before poker rooms become the crowded smoke-filled bastions of quiet social gaming they once were.

Smokers will have to be consigned to designated areas. Any casino that doesn’t change its smoking policies risks losing valuable customers who won’t want to risk damaging their lungs.

And the slot machine industry could tumble in the long run. You simply cannot play slot machine games without touching the machines.

4 – National Parks Should Recover Quickly

One good thing about many national parks is that they are large enough to accommodate crowds. Everyone understands social distancing so the tour groups may be smaller and more spread out.

People will be able to enjoy day trips to local parks and hiking trails.

Where national parks may be affected is in their hotel and restaurant facilities. Governments may require changes in how customers are handled and facilities are sanitized.

Man at Yosemite National Park

Any increased costs associated with maintaining public health and safety may result either in closure of facilities or increased fees.

The benefit of allowing people to spend time outdoors is clear. It’s good for our well-being and doctors say that viruses are more likely to be passed around during cold months because people stay indoors.

5 – Hotels Have Changed How They Operate

The good news for the hotelier industry is that many new technologies have already been tested. Even before the pandemic some high end hotels had upgraded their services to restrict staff interaction with guests.

These upgrades include using Internet-of-Things technologies so customers can change or request services without interacting with hotel staff.

Room service robots have also been tested in several markets. And China made extensive use of room service robots in the hotels they designated for quarantine areas.

The demand for IoT technologies and robots will increase and filter all the way down from the most luxurious hotels to less expensive hotels. Don’t expect the $50-per-night roadside hotel to add these conveniences but even the low-end side of the industry will have to change things.

If you read articles written by hotel workers you’ll know that many chains allow their housekeeping staff to make a judgment call on changing the sheets. As expensive as it is hotels will have to be honest about how they sanitize facilities and step up enforcement.

That could mean hiring more cleaning staff, which means room rates could go up.

To save on laundering costs hotels may turn to using disposable bed sheets. This industry is still in its nascency but if the technologies used to produce disposable sheets is practical it may become the wave of the future.

Although recycling is considered to be more environmentally friendly, hoteliers may have no choice but to turn to more disposable items to reduce their guests’ chances of getting the coronavirus.

Common breakfast areas in low-end hotels may be discontinued. Or customers may be required to take food back to their rooms. Take-out and fast food restaurants near many hotels may enjoy a boost in business as hotels cut back on their complimentary breakfast plans.

6 – Travelers May Demand More Information About Destinations

People already flock to travel Websites to read customer reviews about hotels, theme parks, casinos, and other destinations and services. Expect more people to do that and to see more detailed questions.

While not everyone will think to ask about what health precautions resorts and cruise lines implement, many people will and you should eventually find those questions on the Internet.

Smaller hotels with fewer customers and reviews may suffer from a lack of information about how they protect their guests from possible infection.

Woman With Hands Overhead in a Hotel Room

If the general public remains skeptical about traveling out of country then international travel may lose business to domestic travel. No one wants to be trapped in a hospital thousands of miles from their friends and family.

What no one can predict how people will be now when planning a casino trip. Some people may throw caution to the winds and scoop up every cheap vacation plan they can find. Some people may stop traveling completely for fear of becoming infected.

7 – Expect to See Special Offers and Discounts

Even if new regulations and the adoption of safer technologies means hoteliers, theme parks, travel services, and land based casinos must charge more, the competition for travel guests will be fierce.

There may be a period of intense competition, especially as businesses open up again, to lock in future revenue and encourage guests to restore trust in brands.

No matter how expensive travel and vacations may become as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, companies still need to compete for customers. Frugal travelers will take advantage of every deal they can.

If travel industry vendors change their pricing and services they will most likely exclude the more expensive services from their discount offers.

Conclusion

It’s too soon to know for sure how these industries will change. What is safe to say is that because they were already adopting new technologies they will continue along that path because many of those technologies would have made travel and vacation stays healthier anyway.

The pandemic may accelerate the evolution of business and vacation travel services and conveniences. In the end people may be much happier with how they are served on their trips even if it costs more money and they must travel less often.

What Happened When They Reopened Casinos in Macau?

Yes We're Open Sign With a Macau Background

If you want to know what the future looks like for major casino destinations, you can find precedents based on how things have been handled in Macau.

In fact, Macau has stolen the title of gambling capital of the world from Vegas, anyway. In this post, I look at what’s changed in the casinos since they closed because of COVID-19 and subsequently reopened.

My hope is that it will give you some insight into what to expect from casinos such as those in Atlantic City and Las Vegas.

Macau: Before, During, and After

Macau closed its casinos for two weeks to deter coronavirus infections. The casinos were closed from February 2nd and didn’t reopen until February 19th.

What did that do to business?

The average number of visitors to Macau dropped dramatically. In 2019, you saw an average of 750,000 visitors per week. After reopening, and even with new safety measures in place, Macau was only seeing 50,000 visitors a week. That’s a reduction of over 93%.

To increase social distancing, the casinos in Macau shut down half their tables.

You can’t get into a Macau casino without taking a mandatory test conducted by the health bureau. You’re required to make a personal declaration that you’re in good health. They also take your temperature and require you to wear a face mask while you’re on the gaming floor.

Casino Floor in Macau

Even if you’re just taking a bus or a cab, you’re required to wear a face mask. And if you’re a tourist from certain countries with high infection rates, you’re required to spend two weeks in quarantine before being allowed to enter a casino:

You’re also not allowed to gather in groups while standing in the casino.

Playing baccarat is the bread and butter for Macau casino gamblers, and they’ve made changes to that game, too. Instead of seating seven people per table, they’re only seating a maximum of four players at the tables.

The Effects of the Casino Closures on the Macau Economy

Most of the money in Macau comes from its thriving casino economy. The Macau locals, almost 600,000 of them, aren’t leaving their homes.

To try to encourage spending and stimulate the local economy, the Macau government has given pre-loaded debit cards with $327 each to spend at casinos and other local businesses.

Macau has 41 casinos, and many other businesses there depend on them for their revenue. With the restrictions on tourists, you can bet that this has had a major effect on the local economy.

Over 80% of the country’s economy comes directly from the casino gambling there.

What is the current situation costing the casinos? They’re saying it’s costing between $1.5 and $2 million every day just to keep up with their ongoing obligations and payroll expenses.

How Macau Casinos Have Managed Their Reopenings

Most of the casino resorts in Macau didn’t reopen all at once. They reopened in phases.

The government required the casinos to reopen fully over a 30-day period. It’s as much about demonstrating the stability of the country and its businesses as it is about revenues.

Business and traffic to the casinos will remain slow for some time, too. They’re expecting the casinos to see a drop in business of between 50% and 80%, which is expected to slowly improve week by week as casinos start attracting more gamblers.

They’ve seen no major spikes of coronavirus since the 4th of February, and Macau has seen only a small amount of cases of coronavirus total. This is dramatically different from what’s been happening on the mainland, where many more people have gotten sick and have died.

Front of Grand Lisboa Palace Macau

Casino gambling isn’t legal anywhere else in China, and Macau isn’t really in China, anyway, it’s a former Portuguese colony that has now become a “special administrative region.”

90% of Macau’s gamblers are tourists from China proper.

Some of the new casinos in the works in Macau will see delayed openings, too.

  • Galaxy’s Phase III
  • Sands’ Londoner
  • SJM’s Grand Lisboa Palace
They’re even quarantining construction workers from mainland China, which is causing delays, as well as many of Macau’s workers live on the mainland. That’s 60% of the workforce.

And even though they’ve reopened casinos, some other bars, clubs, restaurants, and attractions in Macau still remain closed for business.

Hotels are open, but occupancy rates are atrociously low compared to last year.

The government has agreed to spend $3.4 billion to help get the economy rolling again, but with so much of the economy relying on casino gambling and tourists, it might not be enough to have a big effect.

After all, most of the businesses in Macau rely on the casino gambling economy. For example, bus drivers and taxi drivers don’t make any money if they don’t have tourists to shuttle back and forth.

Many local business owners and managers think it will take at least three or four months to see anything like a real recovery in the local economy.

The Health Bureau Is Watching

The Health Bureau in Macau is monitoring the casinos’ compliance with the new guidelines. You can expect the corresponding organizations around the world to be doing the same thing.

Man Wearing Facemask in Front of Casino Lisboa Macau

How are the casinos in Macau doing with compliance?

The Health Bureau has found over two dozen violations, mostly having to do with the arrangement of the gaming tables and the distance between seats. Another common violation had to with requiring the dealers and gamblers to wear their masks.

Of the 41 casinos in Macau, at least 38 of them have reopened.

Conclusion

Knowing what happened when they reopened the casinos in Macau gives us some insight into what’s in store for the many other casinos around the world that have yet to reopen. You can expect much smaller crowds for one thing, as the businesses ramp back up.

You can also expect strict standards related to entry. In Macau, they’re taking temperatures and asking people to make declarations that they’re in good health. They’re also quarantining people from specific geographic locales.

You’ll almost certainly see similar measures being taken in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. In fact, people from hot spots like Louisiana and New York City might not be allowed to enter casinos until after a two-week quarantine period.

Social distancing like they’ve done in Macau is also almost certainly in the future for the major casino destinations in the United States.

Will we ever reach a point where casinos are back to the same strength as before COVID-19? That remains to be seen.

Things Casino Gamblers Should Never Do

Royal Flush Hand and Caution Symbols With a Casino Background

The first time I made a wager in a casino I played a table game that I’d never seen or heard about before. It was a great deal of fun, and I lost somewhere around $150 over four hours of play.

I really enjoyed the game, so I started researching it to see what I could learn. At the time, the internet wasn’t available yet, so I had to read books. I quickly learned that the game had a high house edge, and I’ve avoided playing it ever since.

This was one of my first lessons about learning what I needed to avoid as a casino gambler. Over the years I’ve learned about several more things to avoid.

Here’s a list of 5 things every casino gambler should never do.

Gamble Without a Budget

This is the most dangerous thing that gamblers do, and almost all of them do it. But it’s simple to avoid making the same mistakes that others are making.

Every time you visit a casino you need to have a gambling budget. This means that you need to set a limit for your losses, and never go over your limit. This helps you make sure that you never lose a penny more than you want.

Rolled Up US Currency

The easiest way to do this is to only take the amount you’re willing to lose when you gamble. If you reach your limit, you stop gambling right away.

You can set your limit at any amount you want, but never make the mistake of gambling without setting a limit before you start.

Fight the Casino House Edge

Every casino game and gambling option has a casino house edge, and it’s not in your favor. The edge is how casinos, sportsbooks, poker rooms, and race tracks make money.

If you know that every gambling activity has an edge against you, the logical question is why would you take the risk?

If you don’t find a way to get an edge, the answer is that you probably shouldn’t play. But millions of gamblers play every year anyway.

The good news is that you can get an edge if you know what you’re doing. Spend some time learning more about the following subjects to find out how to gamble with an edge.

  • Advantage play
  • Blackjack advantage methods
  • Sports betting
  • Poker
  • Horse racing

Consume Alcohol While Gambling

I’m not the moral or vice police, so I don’t care if you want to consume alcohol or not. But I’ve been gambling for around four decades and one thing I’ve learned is that gambling and alcohol should never mix.

You’re already fighting the house edge, and when you drink alcohol it gets in the way of making good decisions. The only chance you have of making good decisions is by keeping your head clear, and alcohol does the exact opposite.

If you want to gamble and you want to drink, spend some time gambling, and then when you’re done, start drinking.

Here’s a good option that you can consider. Spend some time handicapping sports games before you start drinking and place your bets. Then you can drink while you enjoy the game without needing to make any decisions.

Chase Anything

Have you heard of the Martingale betting system? It’s a casino betting system that some gamblers use. The basic idea of the system is you double your wager after you lose. You keep doubling until you win.

This seems like a system that can work, because when you win you make enough to show a small profit. The problem is that eventually you lose too many decisions in a row and end up with a huge loss you can’t cover.

New York New York Casino Floor

This is why you should never use the Martingale system. The system is based on chasing your losses. And even if you don’t use the exact system, if you’re like most gamblers you’ve chased your losses at least once.

Sometimes when you chase losses you get lucky and win, but sometimes you don’t get lucky and you lose even more.

It’s always dangerous to chase losses, and the smartest thing to do is to simply never do it. Stick with your budget, find games that give you a realistic chance to win, and never deviate from your plan.

The other thing that gamblers get in trouble with is chasing is casino comps. You should get comps if you’re gambling, but you should never gamble more than you want just to reach the next comp level.

Casinos offer comps because they make gamblers risk more money and play longer. In other words, comps help the casino make more money, not less. This is why you should never chase comps.

Play Any Game Where You Don’t Know the Numbers

Have you ever sat down to play real money slots or a table game that you didn’t know the house edge for? In truth, I don’t know a single casino player that hasn’t done this at least once.

The problem with this is that you have no idea how bad the edge is. If you’re not careful you’re going to play with an edge of 5% to 10%. This is especially bad because there are games available with an edge of 1% or less, even if you’re not an advantage player.

Look at a few numbers to see just how bad this is.

Closeup of Slot Machine Reels

If you risk $1,000 on a game or slot machine with a 10% house edge, you’re going to lose somewhere around $100. If you risk the same amount with a 5% edge, your expected loss is $50. But if you do it with a 1% edge, your expected loss is only $10.

Not only do you need to know the edge for every game you play, you also need to know every strategy you can use to lower the edge. The only way to do this is to study the games you want to play before you gamble. And never play any game or make any wager when you don’t know and understand all of the numbers.

Conclusion

If you always use a budget when you gamble in a casino, avoid consuming alcohol when you gamble, and learn all of the numbers, you’re doing better than most gamblers. If you learn enough, you can even learn how to gamble without losing money.

Start with the five things you should never do on this page and learn as much as you can about advantage play. With enough effort you can learn how to be one of the few casino gamblers who walks away with more money than you started with.

Arguments for Why Poker Is the Best Game to Gamble on at the Casino

Hands Shuffling Cards With Playing Card Suit Graphics

Of all the games that you can play in the casino, poker is far and away the best.

There’s a simple reason for this. Poker has much less to do with chance and much more to do with skill than just about any other game in the casino, except possibly blackjack.

Here’s why so many professional gamblers find themselves playing poker instead of blackjack.

Most People Have the Skill to Play

When it comes to poker, even people who are totally new to the game usually have the skill to play. The main thing you need to be able to do above all else is to psych people out.

Now, there are many ways of doing this, so let’s go through some examples of different types of poker players.

First, we have the “Chatty Kathy.” This person loves to talk. They are gregarious and friendly. They’re the type of person who has never met a stranger they didn’t like. They’re always trying to engage. But when it comes to poker, they have a nefarious motive—they’re trying to psych you out.

The goal for a person who does this is simple—distract while observing. When they’re talking to you, they use their natural skill in being talkative to distract you from what you’re doing. But it’s more than just that. They’re trying to be your friend or to get you to think that they’re your friend.

Pair of Aces and Poker Chips

And if you’re their friend, you’re going to go easy on them, right? You’re not going to play a hand the way you might against an enemy because you like them so much.

This is one method. Another method and type is the “Rude Dude.” This person’s goal is to make you angry. That’s it. That’s all they care about. They’re going to be sarcastic and insulting, and if you fall for it and go on tilt, they’re going to snicker and gloat because they know they’ve got you.

Another method is the “Stone Face.” The Stone Face is my favorite because they never engage. They are an excellent foil to the Chatty Kathy and the Rude Dude. There’s nothing you can say or do to throw them off. They’re like a mountain.

They’re tough to take down because, just like a mountain, they’re immovable. You’ll never find a tell in these people because everything is hidden. Their reactions to hands don’t exist. They can bluff their way through any hand, and people are scared of them because there’s no guessing when they’re bluffing.

That’s another excellent poker skill—bluffing. We’d call it lying in the rest of life, but here, it’s a powerful skill that can set your opponents entirely on edge. They’ll never know if they should mess with you or not.

One way to scare these people is to reveal your hand on a successful bluff and show them your power. This is the “Psych Doctor.” This person could be a combination of any of the above characters, but with the added aspect of being able to mess with people’s heads through actions instead of words.

They reveal cards when they win that will make you wonder what’s really going on. They’ll develop fake poker tells, then show you that the tell is fake. They don’t make you angry; they make you question yourself. They’re chameleons you can never pin down.

Many of us have these skills and can employ them. It’s not hard to learn the rest of the game if you have these innate skills.

The Odds Are Not as Important as Reading Your Opponents

While it’s true that there are many forms of poker, each of them uses basically the same hierarchy of hands (Three-Card Poker is a little different).

Because of this, and because of the fact that the other players will always have some portion of their hands hidden, it will always be easier to learn how the hands work and to focus on your hand than to focus on theirs.

You have to try to figure out what’s going on in their head because you’ll immediately know what your hand is and how it matches up, depending on the game, with any other visible cards.

For instance, in real money Texas hold’em, you’ll find that you just have to figure out how your hand, combined with the other cards on the table, compares with other potential hands that an opponent might have.

Stack of Different Color Poker Chips

With a little work, you can memorize the hands and figure out exactly what would mess up your hand if it was played and what wouldn’t.

This differs quite a bit from a game like blackjack. While blackjack is a more straightforward system, what’s not so simple is figuring out how to play every hand. You basically need to memorize an entire table that shows you how every single hand should be played.

Now, with poker, you can certainly learn the odds and see how each hand stacks up compared to other potential hands on the board (if you’re still playing Texas Hold’em). But with a game like Five-Card Draw where you don’t see anyone’s cards, all you can do is base it on what you think people are playing.

Another reason so many people love to play poker above other games is that it’s much more interesting than just about any other game.

Poker Is Much More Interesting

One of the biggest reasons that poker is played by so many people is that it is far more interesting than many other casino games. Playing blackjack is a great and all, but it can get monotonous after a while. No one really wants to sit in front of a dealer without talking much and playing hand after hand.

There’s no real interest there because the challenges are all number-oriented. If you just love the math side of things, then yes, blackjack might be for you. But most people prefer the challenge of trying to figure out what’s going on in other people’s heads.

Poker can also be a truly social game. Many people love the idea of sitting around a table with people they barely know and getting to know them. It adds spice to the game and is something that you just don’t experience very often in other areas of life.

How often do you get to compete with people you barely know for cold-hard cash? Card games are probably the most common places in society where this happens. You’re just not going to run into it very often.

Sure, there are other types of tournaments in the world, like video game tournaments. And yes, you can play against people in other kinds of card games, like trading card games, or even in physical sports. But how often are these games exciting in terms of the psychological aspect?

Poker is one of the few games in the world where it’s mind against mind trying to mess with each other to win. You see this in sports from time to time, but it’s just not the same.

Poker Is Fun to Practice With Friends

This is the part of poker that I think sets it apart from any other casino game—the ease with which you can play with friends and the joy that you can get out of this.

I don’t know many people who get together on a Saturday night to play blackjack, unless they’re part of a gambling syndicate and their goal is to make a lot of money by Sunday morning.

Overhead of a Home Poker Game

Poker is such a social game. It’s so much fun to get some friends together for a home poker game, grab a few beers and a few cigars, then give it a go.

You can easily stay up all night long just playing poker and having a blast. You can practice your poker face. But usually, you’re probably pretty relaxed and just there to have a good time. When it’s just you and the crew, you don’t have to worry about the stakes.

It’s also a low-cost way of having fun with friends. You just need a poker set and a few bucks to make the game friendly yet enjoyable. Then, you’re off to the races! …Or the tables, in this case.

Conclusion

Do you think poker is the best game in the casino, or is there something else you prefer more? Let me know in the comments.

Atlantic City Casino Gambling and the Coronavirus

Coronavirus Graphic and the Atlantic City Skyline

Everyone that’s interested in gambling is probably already aware that the coronavirus pandemic has affected casino revenue. Frankly, as I write this, many traditional and land-based casinos are still closed for business.

But I thought it would be interesting to specifically look at what’s happening in specific major casino destinations as a result of these surreal times.

And it seems like a post about Atlantic City casino gambling is as good a place to start as any.

Atlantic City Casino Gambling Was on the Rise

Before the pandemic, gambling revenue in Atlantic City casinos had shown consistent increases for 21 months in a row.

Compared to last year, casino gambling revenue is down over 42%. This makes sense, as Governor Phil Murphy ordered the closure of all the casinos for months.

If you look at the average daily revenue for gambling machines and table games, though, revenues for Atlantic City were showing the same year-over-year increase that you’d expect.

And if you look at year over year revenue, numbers are down only 3%. But that is expected to go up by the year’s end. Unless the casinos are able to return to previous numbers, which is doubtful, gambling revenue for Atlantic City will likely be down year over year by close to 100%.

Golden Nugget Atlantic City Casino

But New Jersey also offers online gambling, so the state won’t see a complete erasure of casino revenue. In March, online gambling revenue was up almost 66% over last year. And, while that’s not as much revenue as you’d see from the brick and mortar side of Atlantic City gambling, it’s still tens of millions of dollars.

Sports betting has also suffered, even though it’s still in its infancy in Atlantic City and New Jersey as a whole. That’s not because people have lost their interest in betting on sports, though, it’s simply because there are fewer sports to bet on.

$6 million might sound like a lot of money, but compared to what New Jersey expected last month, it’s pennies on the dollar.

Importance of Online Gambling for Atlantic City and New Jersey

With the difficulties that brick and mortar casinos and sportsbooks are facing, the online gambling side of the business has increased in importance.

The revenue generated from real money online casinos won’t keep the New Jersey gambling afloat by itself, at least not in its current form. But it’s an example of how important legal, regulated gambling could be to the industry in other states which have yet to launch legal, regulated online casinos.

And with the economy in such rough shape, the state is relying on taxes from the online gambling side of things more than ever, too.

In an average month before the pandemic, New Jersey would collect $20 million in taxes from casinos (or more). That number is now to closer to $6 million.

Atlantic City Casinos Reopenings

According to a small informal survey, conducted during the casino closures, by a journalist for the Atlantic City Weekly, only about 10% of the regular casino gamblers in Atlantic City had interest in coming back to the casinos.

After all, what could be more crowded (and potentially unsanitary) than an Atlantic City casino?

Here are some of the common things people were saying about returning to Atlantic City casinos.

  • “I’m going to go back to the casinos but only the ones offering great promotions.”
  • “I’ll go back to the casinos but only during off-hours when there are fewer gamblers there.”
  • “I’ll look for other forms of entertainment for at least the next few months.”
  • “I won’t go back to the casinos until I’m SURE it’s safe.”
  • “Playing cards and chips are likely to be handled by people sick with the virus.”
  • “I might go back if they practice social distancing at the slot machines.”
  • “I miss the other gamblers more than I miss the gambling itself.”
  • “What’s going to happen to my preferred player status with the players club?”

Of course, this is all just based on one journalist talking to 100 random gamblers.

More Safety Concerns Amid Coronavirus in the Casino Age

One of the most common safety concerns during all of this is the chances of getting the coronavirus on a casino trip. Is it even possible to maintain anything resembling social distancing in a casino?

Many gamblers don’t think so. Even with measures put in place, gamblers who are drinking are notoriously oblivious to personal boundaries and space issues.

Others worry that the economic conditions caused by all this will result in having less money to gamble with. Since life has slowed down for most people, the idea of speeding things back up with casino gambling might not be too appealing.

Man Cleaning a Slot Machine

One of the people interviewed in that previous Atlantic City Weekly article I referred to pointed out that risking your life to play a penny slot machine with an 85% payback percentage doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Some gamblers claim to have given up casino gambling altogether.

My guess is that land based casinos will see the same phenomenon as other aspects of the economy. It will rebound, but it won’t rebound quickly.

The economy, even the gambling economy, isn’t like a light switch you can turn on and off. It slows down gradually, and it speeds back up even more gradually.

More About Online Gambling in Atlantic City

One of the most popular things for gamblers in Atlantic City New Jersey online gambling, but it’s asking a lot of the internet gambling industry to save the entire casino gambling scene in Atlantic City.

February is a good example of how big a deal online gambling is in Atlantic City. The casinos took in $500 million in bets on the Super Bowl.

So, yes, online gambling is a big deal in New Jersey, but a big percentage of it just disappeared when the various sports leagues delayed their seasons.

What does that mean? Casino games and player versus player poker is driving the internet gambling revenue for the state of New Jersey.

That’s not great news for the industry, as online sports betting has been driving the increase in internet gambling in the state for the last two years. In fact, online poker is trending downward in the state.

Online gambling makes up less than 20% of the industry’s revenues.

What Did the Big Casino Corporations Do in Atlantic City?

MGM Resorts was one of the first casino companies to shut down all their casinos. I guess they could read the writing on the wall and decided to get ahead of the decision before it was forced on them by the government. They own the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City.

Other global companies were prepared for these shutdowns because they went through the same experience in Macau earlier this year. The problem is that Atlantic City casinos aren’t sitting on piles of cash as big as the Macau casinos.

And Atlantic City casinos and sportsbooks were relying heavily on gambling revenue from upcoming sporting events that have since been canceled.

Borgata Atlantic City During the Day

March Madness, for example, is a big revenue driver for sports betting, but not this year.

Some casinos are positioned differently in the online sector, too. Golden Nugget generates more revenue online than in their brick and mortar casino.

The Borgata, on the other hand, generates more than 85% of its revenue from its brick and mortar casino. Hard Rock and Tropicana also do the overwhelming majority of their business in their traditional venue, rather than online.

And some casinos in Atlantic City have no online presence at all, or they have such a small online presence they might as well not have one. Bally’s, Caesars, and Harrah’s have no online gambling available. And Ocean Resort only does 2% of their business online.

Conclusion

What does the future hold for Atlantic City casinos and gambling after the coronavirus pandemic situation dies down?

Some of that depends on how long this lasts. Some casinos in Atlantic City are well-positioned because of their online presence. For example, Golden Nugget will likely come out of this situation looking better than most.

The casinos with a weak online presence, on the other hand, might not be in business anymore when this ends. Some of that depends on the availability of government bailouts. Some of it also depends on the strength of the corporation behind the casino.

I’m as curious as anyone else as to what things will look like after the dust settles.

Ron Meyer: The Craps Whale Who Blew $100 Million in Casinos

Ron Meyer With a Craps Table and Dice Background

Gambling is definitely an exciting form of entertaining. It can even deliver big profits when you’re on a hot streak. But as fun as gambling is, though, it’s ultimately a negative-expectation endeavor for amateurs.

Entertainment executive Ron Meyer found this out the hard way. Once a wealthy elite, Meyer is dealing with the fallout from losing $100 million through craps.

How in the world did Meyer lose such a big fortune through craps!? I’ll discuss more on Meyer below along with how he gambled so much money away.

Who Is Ron Meyer?

Ronald Meyer was born in America in 1944. His parents were Jewish immigrants who fled from Nazi Germany to the United States in the 1930s.

Ron spent plenty of time watching Hollywood films with his family growing up. These movie nights shaped what would later become his future career.

Meyer dropped out of high school at age 15. By age 17, he joined the US Marine Corp and served for two years.

Ron got his start in showbusiness by working for the LA-based Paul Kohner Agency in 1964. He worked for Paul Kohner until 1970 and spent five years at the William Morris Agency afterward.

Creative Artists Agency Interior

One day in 1975, Ron and his friends decided to start their own talent agency. They founded the Creative Artists Agency in 1975 and began recruiting future Hollywood talent.

The agency’s beginnings were humble. Their office featured card tables and folding chairs as furniture. The men in charge also relied on their wives to fill in as secretaries.

Nevertheless, the Creative Artists Agency become a success. It helped Meyer move on to bigger and better things in the future.

In 1995, he became the President and COO of Universal Studios. He served in this role until 2013, when he was promoted to Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal (Universal Studios’ parent company).

Meyer had an affair with actress Charlotte Kirk in 2013. This affair recently came to light, which caused him to lose his lofty position with NBCUniversal.

How Ron Meyer Frittered Away $100 Million Tossing the Dice

Ron Meyer was known first and foremost for his prominent role with NBCUniversal. Here, he dealt with some of the biggest names in television and movies.

Beneath all of his professional success, though, was a major gambling problem. Meyer frequently visited Las Vegas and Atlantic City and risked large amounts at the craps tables.

According to the Daily Mail, he sometimes lost as much as $7 million in a single gambling excursion. Eventually, his losses ballooned to $100 million before Meyer’s habits became public knowledge.

The 75-year-old was making $25 million per year in his Vice Chairman role. Now, however, he’s currently seeking a golden parachute deal with NBCUniversal to save his future.

“One of the Biggest Craps Players Ever”

Information has come pouring in on Meyer’s gambling habits lately. One source told the Daily Mail that Ron would lose between “$5 million and $7 million at Caesars Palace” in single trips.

Caesars Atlantic City knew that Meyer would bet big. So, they sent a helicopter to pick him up from New York’s NBCUniversal and fly him to AC. One source explained:

He would stay at the penthouse suite at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York while on business. The vice president of marketing at Caesars Atlantic City would send a helicopter to take him to his casino. […] He’s one of the biggest craps players ever.

Why Is This Story Just Coming Out Now?

The media has been running with the recent story involving Meyer’s 2013 affair with Charlotte Kirk. He reached a $2 million settlement with her last year to keep the story hush-hush.

Meyer had been successful extorted by Kirk and her fiancé. However, the story came to light anyways when he stopped making payments to the couple.

Exterior Statues at Caesars Palace Atlantic City

When tabloids get ahold of a juicy story like this, they dig up more dirt on the individuals involved. It was only a matter of time before outlets like Daily Mail found out about Meyer’s gambling problem. A source recalled:

Once he exhausted his credit line [at Caesars Atlantic City], the VP would take him to Foxwoods and the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut where he would blow $3 to 5million as well at each place.

Unfortunately, Meyer had such a big gambling problem that he’d go to the casino executives and ask for multimillion-dollar loans.

He’d use this money to rack up even more losses at the craps tables. As an unnamed VIP host noted, the casinos shouldn’t have been granting him these extra gambling funds. The host explained:

It’s really not a nice thing to do, because the gambler is in heat and wants that money. But if you really care about your player, you send him home. But it shows you how reckless the gambler is and how the people in the industry don’t give a s***. Because they’re getting paid commissions on what you lose. So they want to take as much money as possible from you.

Casino High Roller Treatment

Casinos know how to get people coming back to the casino. They treat high rollers like kings and offer them plenty of casino comps.

Ron Meyer was no different in this regard. Casino executives personally got involved with recruiting Meyer because they knew a potential multimillion-dollar payday was awaiting. One of Meyer’s VIP hosts explained:

He was probably in the top three most sought-after whales in the gaming industry. Everybody tried to get him to come play at their casinos.

Some of the comps that Meyer received included 20% loss rebates and six figures worth of promotional chips. In addition to the free helicopter ride, he’d also get a penthouse suite, stretch limousine, and comped meals at the finest resort restaurants.

Double Life

Meyer was very guarded with his gambling addiction—even with his own family. His second wife, Kelly Chapman, didn’t even know he was such a big gambler until the two split from each other in 2018.

She told accountants to do a forensic sweep of Meyer’s finances when they were getting divorced. She thought that he was hiding money when he’d really blown it all in casinos.

When Ron exhausted his credit at casinos, he began privately seeking help to repay gambling loans. He asked Michael Ovitz, co-founder of Creative Artists Agency, for help with paying off a $6.5 million and $5 million casino loan.

He was even borrowing money from loan sharks in the 1990s. Meyer owed the loan sharks several million dollars and only saved himself after securing another loan from producer Ray Stark (The Goodbye Girl).

Financial Difficulties

Following decades of losing millions of dollars in casinos, Ron Meyer is in serious financial trouble. He’s especially hurting after losing his $25-million-a-year job.

Meyer no longer has the money to bet millions of dollars per night at the craps tables. In fact, he’s relying on the aforementioned golden parachute with NBCUniversal to stay afloat.

Whether he’ll get much of a deal remains to be seen. Meyer will definitely be hoping for some money given that he no longer has a cushy entertainment job.

How to Avoid Losing Big Like Ron Meyer

You almost assuredly don’t have $100 million to blow on gambling like Meyer did. Nevertheless, you should have a plan if you play craps or any other game.

Map Out a Bankroll Plan

The best place to start with your gambling funds is casino bankroll management. You want to figure out how much you can risk without affecting your normal finances.

This task involves going through your finances and determining what free money you have available. If you can comfortably afford to lose $500, for instance, then this should be your bankroll amount.

Overhead View of a Craps Game

Next, you should figure out a safe average bet size. Doing so helps you decide what bet sizes you can use while still making your bankroll last.

Here’s an example:

  • You have a $500 bankroll.
  • You’re playing craps.
  • You plan to place two $5 wagers every round ($10 total).
  • The average house edge on the bets is 1.46% (Place 6 + pass line).
  • 10 x 0.0146 = 0.146 ($0.146 lost per round)
  • 500 / 0.146 = 3,425
  • Your bankroll should theoretically last for 3,425 rounds.

If the table sees approximately 30 rounds per hour, then your bankroll will last for over 114 hours. Therefore, you should definitely get plenty of entertainment out of a $500 bankroll and $10 bets.

Stick With the Best Bets

No details are available on what type of wagers Meyer enjoys making. However, I highly doubt that he was placing the top wagers that craps has available.

Casinos offer plenty of sucker bets in games like craps, roulette, and baccarat. These prop bets promise exotic rules and large payouts.

But if you continually make these risky wagers, you’ll be surrendering more money to the house. Here are some of the worst craps bets for reference:

Bet House Edge
2 or 12 (Hi-Lo) 11.11%
2, 3, or 12 (Craps) 11.11%
Hard 4 or Hard 10 11.11%
Horn 12.5%
Whirl 13.33%
2 13.89%
12 13.89%
Any 7 16.67%

Control Your Emotions

Some gamblers get too swept up in emotions and risk more than they should. Ron Meyer probably got wrapped up in the emotional side of things when he suffered multimillion-dollar losses.

Players like Meyer fixate on losses and think that they can win everything back. However, chasing losses is never a good idea.

Craps—like other casino games—features negative-expectation bets. Even with pass line (1.41% house edge), you’re still facing a long-term losing proposition.

The best way to treat gambling is as entertainment. Assuming you get lucky and win, then great! Don’t be surprised when you fail to win, though, and try earning the losses back.

Conclusion

Ron Meyer has gone through a whirlwind of emotions over the past few years. He got divorced in 2018, recently had an affair exposed, and is now dealing with fallout from a $100 million gambling loss.

Most people never have to deal with anywhere near this amount of stress in their lifetimes—let alone all within the span of a few years.

At 75 and with his recent drama, Meyer has seen the best days of his career come and go. Therefore, he probably won’t be reloading his craps bankroll any time soon.

The most important thing for him now involves getting some settlement money from NBCUniversal and avoiding the craps tables.

Plexiglass & Self Cleaning Slots: Vegas’ Answers to Stopping COVID-19

Hand Spraying a Bottle With a Las Vegas Strip Background

The bright lights of Las Vegas had been shining for over eight decades. However, they were finally dimmed in March 2020 after the coronavirus (COVID-19) shut down the city.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak gave the shutdown order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This move closed the city for over two months.

The coronavirus threat hasn’t completely subsided. However, many Vegas casinos have reopened anyways.

They’ve also rolled out new measures in Plexiglas and self-cleaning slot machines to minimize COVID-19 dangers. I’ll cover more on Vegas’ answers to stopping the coronavirus below.

Plexiglass Will Keep Slots Players Divided

Slot machine players have sat next to each other for years with no barriers. However, COVID-19 now makes people leery of being within a few feet of each other.

Screaming Images, a Vegas-based company that works with the NHL’s Golden Knights and NFL’s Raiders, came up with a solution—Plexiglass.

Screaming Images normally focuses on design and installation work. For example, it created huge Golden Nights jerseys and draped them over New York-New York’s replica Statue of Liberty.

Statue of Liberty Wearing a Golden Knights Jersey

However, it has added acrylic dividers to its agenda in recent months. Specifically, the company has developed dividers that don’t fog up easily and can be quickly cleaned.

Furthermore, these Plexiglass pieces don’t features screws. Casinos can install and remove them without damaging slot machines.

El Cortez is one casino that’s utilizing Screaming Images’ dividers. The downtown Vegas hotel likes what they see so far.

Assuming everything goes well, this company might sell their acrylic dividers to other types of business. For example, Vegas restaurants could benefit from safeguarding customers with Plexiglass as well.

Slot Machine Dividers That Clean Themselves

SafePlay UV has the same general idea as Screaming Images when it comes to protecting gamblers. It too plans on introducing dividers to casinos and other Las Vegas businesses.

The key difference, though, is that their slots dividers will clean themselves. Darryl Rosenblatt and a team of engineers came up with this concept and started SafePlay UV.

They feel that dividers must go beyond just blocking germs from nearby parties. Instead, this team believes that the partitions should also clean up afterward too.

Rosenblatt stated:

We utilize ultraviolet light in a shrouded bar that cleanses the surface of the partition whenever a person gets up. So basically, they have a clean area to play in every time they get up from the machine. Absolutely no germs can grow on the surface of the partition and while it’s cleaning it’s actually generating ozone, which has sanitary effects as well.

Meanwhile, Rosenblatt doesn’t feel like Plexiglass by itself is effective enough. He calls the warm gaming terminals “petri dishes” for germs and notes that “an army” would be needed to clean the barriers.

Other Safety Measures in Vegas Casinos

Most casinos haven’t just stopped at Plexiglass or self-cleaning slots dividers. They’ve rolled out other measures to reduce customers’ chances of getting the coronavirus:

  • Only a half or one-third of slot machines are running.
  • Only every other table game is available.
  • Staff members take gamblers’ temperatures at the door.
  • Dealers and customers must wear masks.
  • Staff frequently wipes down slot machines, door handles, and elevator buttons.

Of course, all of these measures also cause issues for casinos. Jim Allen, President of Hard Rock casinos, notes that gambling establishments bear a major financial burden:

It’s important to focus on safety; it truly is, but I sincerely feel there are those who do not have a clue as to the economic challenge the coronavirus’ is creating.

Some casinos are enforcing a policy that requires guests to stand 10-15 feet apart. Additionally, guests and employees need to wear masks.

Difficulties With COVID-19 Safety Measures

Casinos have already taken a financial hit due to the coronavirus. However, money isn’t the only problem that they’ll face coming out of the shutdown.

Here are dilemmas that casinos face when trying to keep customers from getting COVID-19:

  • Identifying masked customers that may be on the self-exclusion list or banned from casinos.
  • Slots friends/couples who wish to sit together without Plexiglass separating them.
  • Keeping up with sanitizing chips, money, and slots/video poker buttons.
  • Dealing with the masses that don’t know or don’t abide by the mask-wearing rule.
  • Complying with all gaming jurisdiction demands.
  • Scanning customers for temperature (if implemented).
  • Covering the cost of guests’ “amenity bags,” which contain hand sanitizer, disinfectant, and button-touching pointers.
  • Operating at limited capacity with regard to table games and slot machines.
  • Paying additional staff to keep up with the cleaning efforts.

The sheer manpower needed to decontaminate everything is taxing on casinos. They have to diligently clean chips, elevator buttons, table rests, and many other things on properties.

Casinos must also ensure that they thoroughly follow every protocol set forth by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. If this means providing Plexiglass barriers, then casinos will need to set up every necessary divider.

Slot Machine Plexiglass Dividers

Gambling establishments are also running at limited capacity. Of course, they’ll struggle to make as much revenue when only operating half or one-third of their games.

Regarding amenity bags, many casinos are passing out items to help slow the virus spread. These bags, however, increase the heavy costs that gambling establishments have already endured.

The temperature checks will look for customers who are 100.4 degrees or higher. Anybody who hits this temperature will be turned away and advised to visit the hospital.

Do These Safety Measures Ultimately Work?

Gov. Sisolak didn’t close down the state’s biggest drive of tourism and tax dollars on a whim. He did so because crowds of people increase the chances of the coronavirus spreading.

Therefore, Las Vegas has a possibility for outbreaks here and there as it slowly creeps back to business as usual. After all, nearly 4 million people visit Sin City every month.

Plexiglass, self-cleaning dividers, masks, and are only safeguards that will slow the spread. They’re not going to completely stamp out any chance of COVID-19 infections.

Casinos fully realize this fact. They’re merely hoping that the outbreaks aren’t too bad, and they can claw back to normal over the coming months/years.

Casino Worker Wiping Down a Slot Machine

So far, large department/grocery stores like Wal-Mart, Meijer, and Target have escaped any major catastrophes. Of course, Las Vegas casinos operate differently from large chains.

The guests don’t go in and out every half hour. Many stay for days or even weeks and eat, sleep, and gamble on the properties.

That said, the casino gambling industry will experience some struggles in keeping those visiting Las Vegas safe. However, they may at least curb new coronavirus cases by being diligent with safety practices.

Conclusion

Sin City’s economy is entirely dependent on tourism revenue. Therefore, it has been hurt worse than any other major American city due to COVID-19.

Vegas resorts are desperate to get back to normalcy. They’ve rolled out a number of measures to keep guests safe while reopening.

Nobody knows for sure how well Las Vegas will do at stopping the coronavirus spread as casinos become operational again. One thing is for sure, though: resorts are willing to roll the dice and take their chances given the grim economic climate.

Why Do Some States Require Casinos to be on Boats?

Isle of Capri Riverboat Casino

Riverboat gaming in the United States has a long and storied history. Few images ignite American gamblers’ curiosity and romantic nature like that of our grizzled forefathers, drink in hand, pistol on their hip, and poker chips on the table.

But nowadays, most things have progressed tremendously. Why do some states require casinos to be on boats?

The Wild Midwest

Riverboat gambling was initially a byproduct of spare time and excess money meeting on long trips. Well, to do merchants would spend extended periods of time traveling the country searching for new business opportunities.

In the 1800s, much of this travel was done over the extensive waterways across the eastern seaboard to the midwest. Merchants with time on their hands and money in their pockets were eager to find some relief from their mounting boredom.

Gambling became the preferred method for passing the hours of passengers on the riverboats.

Vintage Riverboat Photo

It wasn’t long before professional gamblers began making a home in the riverboats. At the time, gambling was becoming illegal in nearly every new municipality that sprung up, and lynch mobs were known to handle any alleged cheats with extreme prejudice.

With the law on one side of the road and angry hordes of losing gamblers on the other, it makes sense to get out of the road. So, they did and hopped on the waterways.

Legendary card sharps could be found on many boats headed up and down the Mississippi river. The characters on these trips inspired music and literature of the time.

In fact, the lore surrounding these colorful men and women continue to inspire. You’ll not have to look too far to find them portrayed in film and on television.

Unfortunately, the expansion of the railroad and the Civil War saw riverboats become outdated for all involved. Rail is a much more viable method of transportation.

However, the 1980s began to see the riverboat gambler’s resurrection. States looked west and saw the revenue Nevada gambling was pouring into the coffers from taxes on gambling.

States on the Mississippi River began to pass laws allowing games of chance on their waterways and created the legal framework for taxing the casinos.

Modern Riverboat Casinos

The fact is that most riverboat casinos today are no more a boat than a wooden door. Perhaps the only thing they have in common with boats at all is that they’re on the water and seem to float. However, I wouldn’t test this.

When the first legal riverboat casinos came into existence, they were incredibly restrictive. Most had small $5 limits on bet size and would have restrictions on how much a guest could lose in 1 trip.

The 1990s saw these laws relax quite a bit and the revenue streams became wide open for not only the casino operators but also the states.

Today, you can find these riverboat casinos in six states. These six include Louisiana, Mississippi, Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, and Illinois.

Each of these states has unique guidelines for how and where their casinos may operate. For example, in Louisiana, casinos must replicate the look of old paddleboats, complete with a functioning means of propulsion.

I have had many opportunities to visit some of the more extensive riverboat casino operations in Louisiana and Mississippi. It’s a strange sensation to wake up in the morning and look down on the waters below your hotel room and see these massive “boats” perched on the water below.

The novelty has still not worn off for me. If you’ve ever had the chance to get out on the water to gamble for yourself, you likely haven’t lost that feeling of intrigue either.

Not all of the states with headwaters on the Mississippi have joined the party. These states include Kentucky, Arkansas, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

So, while it’s easy to see the tremendous benefits of offering gaming licenses, some states have opted to let history remain just that.

Perhaps they feel that the limited geographical impact is too much for the possible social ramifications. Or maybe the voters in these states aren’t impressed by the significant tax revenue.

Boosting Local Economies and State Budgets

Riverboat gambling has an incredible impact on the state and local budgets where they operate.

In Indiana, the casinos are levied with 20% in state and local taxes. A whopping 15% goes to the state, and 5% remains in the local community.

That translates to nearly $400 million in state taxes and another $80 million locally. This amount of money has a tremendous impact on social programs and civil projects.

Louisiana sees more tax money flow in from their riverboat gambling than any other industry.

Winstar World Casino at Night

It’s more than just tax money. These “floating” casinos create jobs. Any of the riverboat casinos are going to need to hire dealers, accountants, security, management, and a host of hospitality workers.

Many of these workers are pulled from their respective communities. This pumps millions of additional dollars into local economies.

WinStar World Casino is the largest casino in the world, and while it isn’t spread over the Red River, I do want to draw an example from it here.

WinStar is located in Thackerville, OK. Before WinStar came onto the scene, Thackerville was nothing more than your standard river basin. Miles of flat prairie with trees dotting the landscape with few inhabitants.

It was the type of place people couldn’t wait to graduate high school and get away from, few prospects. That changed drastically, thanks to the casino.

Suddenly, Thackerville, OK, was a destination. Not only does the casino draw tourists from surrounding states, but it put thousands of people to work.

I know people as far away as Dallas, TX (84 miles) that were thrilled to be hired as blackjack dealers or security at the casino.

The significant project also blessed the surrounding small towns. Suddenly, there became a wealth of new jobs for anyone willing to work.

The waterborne casinos along the Mississippi have had similar effects on the local economies where they operate.

My Favorite Riverboat Casinos

Sam’s Town – Shreveport, LA

Sam’s Town is probably familiar to Las Vegas casino gamblers. Sam’s Town has been a staple in the Nevada desert for decades.

Sam’s Town decided to roll the dice and open up shop on the muddy Mississippi. All of the luxurious amenities you’d expect to receive in Las Vegas have made the trip south.

Sam's Town Casino Riverboat

Are you feeling a little worn out from a late night at the progressive slots?

Head down to Spa Blu and let your troubles fade away while being pampered in luxury.

Speaking of progressive slots, every slot machine at Sam’s Town is part of a progressive jackpot. That means with every spin of the reels, and you could be hitting the jackpot worth over $80,000.

Casino Queen Marquette – Marquette, IA

If you are searching for a VIP experience on a working man’s wage, look no further. The Casino Queen is a relatively small operation on the Mississippi River.

The Casino Queen offers a humble eight table games that pale compared to even the smallest casinos on The Strip. However, slots are the name of the game here, and you’ll have over 1100 to choose from on the Casino Queen.

The Casino Queen places emphasis on its staff. Even the long time Vegas veterans will be impressed at the level of service you’ll receive from the moment you step aboard.

Casino Queen Marquette Riverboat

The Grand Victoria Casino – Elgin, IL

A short 40-mile drive west of Chicago sits the Grand Victoria Casino Elgin. The casino boasts over 36 table games and a bank of 1100 slots.

That’s not what the casino is most well known for, though. The casino is renowned in the state for the emphasis it puts on community outreach.

The highest-grossing casino in Illinois gives significantly to non-profits in the surrounding communities.

So, if you want to feel good about where your entertainment dollars are going, make the trip to Elgin. If you happen to win, don’t feel bad the Grand Victoria is doing just fine.

Conclusion

You may not find all of the luxury and opulence on a riverboat as you would at some of the fantastic Las Vegas casinos, but that’s part of the charm.

These nods to the past have a way of transforming you back to a simpler time when things moved at the river’s gentle pace. Today, much like the railroad locomotives that replaced the riverboats, life tends to go full speed ahead with no stops for miles.

If you’re looking for an entertaining experience in a welcoming atmosphere, check out one of these unique casinos on the water for yourself.

Are Online Slots Really That Risky?

Tightrope Walker With a Gem Themed Online Slots Background

Online slots carry a reputation for being extremely risky. They evoke visions of players risking house and clothes just to spin the virtual reels.

That said, some gamblers avoid these games like the plague. They don’t want to become the next person to lose everything through slots.

But are internet slot machines really this hazardous? Or is their risk blown completely out of proportion by the general population?

The following guide discusses the true risk factor behind online games. It also covers ways that you can play internet slots in a rather cheap fashion.

Why Online Casino Slots Get a Reputation for Being Risky

Real money online slots haven’t drawn their perilous reputation on thin air. Instead, these games feature certain elements that can make them quite risky. Here are the key aspects to watch out for when you play these games.

Volatility

Volatility alludes to how likely a casino game is to deliver short-term winnings. If a game presents low volatility, then it will see you win quite often. The drawback, though, is that it won’t offer as big of wins.

A game with high volatility, meanwhile, will pay less frequently. The upside is that it will deliver larger payouts and/or more features.

i
Online slot machines can differ regarding volatility. But in comparison to the average casino game, all slots are quite volatile.

Even when a game features hundreds or thousands of paylines/ways, it might not pay out for several spins in a row.

There’ll also be times where these games provide lots of tiny payouts that don’t even equal your bet size. In either case, you’re taking greater risk due to the high volatility.

Large Maximum Bets

Most internet slots feature of a wide betting range. The average online game presents a minimum bet worth $0.20 and a maximum wager worth $100.

Most gamblers like sticking with the lower end of this spectrum. They fully realize that slots games move fast and can quickly drain their bankroll during in a dry spell.

Mermaid Queen Online Slots Game

However, some bettors get carried away and jack up their wagers. They want to maximize their win potential in case they hit a jackpot.

The latter scenario isn’t so bad when a player has thousands of dollars to play slots with. However, it becomes a problem when one only has a few hundred spare dollars.

Fast Game Speed

Online slots move at a rapid pace compared to most other casino games. You can easily spin the reels 500 times or more in an hour.

By comparison, more-strategic games like blackjack will see you play at a slower rate. If you want the best chance to win in blackjack, then you need to think about each decision before making it.

Slots, meanwhile, don’t require much—if any—thought. You just need to select the appropriate betting options, and you’re good to go until you change your mind.

The quick play rate of slot machines makes for exciting action. However, it also pits you against the house edge more.

Here’s an example to show how more spins cause more theoretical losses:

  • You spin the reels 500 times per hour.
  • You bet $2 per spin.
  • The house edge is 4%.
  • 500 x 2 x 0.04 = $40 in theoretical losses

Normally, $2 wagers are nothing in the gambling world. You might only be facing a few dollars in theoretical losses with this bet size.

But the speed of slot machines can accelerate your theoretical losses. This situation becomes even more troublesome when you’re hypnotized by the reels (see later).

Buy Bonus Feature

Buy bonus is a betting option that’s come about within the past few years. It enables gamblers to immediately purchase a bonus round for a multiple of their stake.

Here’s an example:

  • You’re betting $1 per spin.
  • You’re getting tired of playing the base game.
  • You activate the buy bonus option.
  • Buy bonus costs 80x your stake in this particular slot.
  • You must wager $80 total to activate the feature.

Not every developer provides this option. However, some of the hottest slots producers are allowing players to immediately purchase bonuses.

This decision pays off when you experience a great bonus round. However, it hits your bankroll really hard when you don’t win much.

Hypnotizing Play

Online slots have a way of making you forget your surroundings. They feature quick play and exciting animations and sound effects when you win.

Developers make slots this way for a reason. They want you to think that you’re winning big no matter if the payouts are large or small.

You should pay attention to each prize to see if it’s actually worth more than your original bet. After all, you don’t want to fall for losses disguised as wins (LDWs).

The latter refer to wins that aren’t actually wins in terms or pure profit (e.g. $0.50 payout on $2 spin). However, you may have trouble separating LDWs from real wins based on the fast game speed.

Internet Slots Don’t Have to Be So Dicey

Based on everything covered above, you may think that the odds are heavily against you in online sites. The volatility, fast game speed, and large potential bets all increase the risk factor.

However, you don’t have to take on incredible risk when playing online slots. In fact, these games are actually set up to let you play relatively cheaply.

5 Wishes Online Slots Game

By using the tips covered in the next section, you can enjoy internet slots with a smaller bankroll. You just need the right know-how and some discipline.

Of course, the latter is hard to come by in some cases. You may be especially tempted to play more slots than you should when stuck in a losing streak.

Again, though, you can avoid such scenarios with the correct knowledge. When sticking with a plan, you’ll be less likely to lose serious money with online slots.

5 Ways You Can Reduce the Online Slots Risk Factor

Internet slots will never be anything close to risk-free. Nevertheless, you can still chase large prizes without betting the farm thanks to the following tips

1 – Play Less Volatile Games

The big attraction to volatile slots is that they offer more features and/or a larger maximum prize. For example, a highly volatile game might provide multiple bonuses and a top prize worth 40,000x your stake.

The downside to volatile slots is that your winnings will be more spread out. If you don’t hit a big bonus prize at some point, your bankroll will drain faster.

That said, you might consider less-volatile slot machines—especially when dealing with a smaller bankroll. Low-volatility games offer more-consistent payouts.

Some online slots provide a volatility rating. In the absence of this rating, you can judge the volatility by considering how many bonuses there are and what the maximum prize is worth.

2 – Find Slots With High RTP

Return to player (RTP) doesn’t have as much bearing on your short-term winnings as volatility does. Nevertheless, it plays a small role in how much you can immediately expect to win.

Simply put, games with higher RTP are more likely to pay you extra money. A slot with 97% payback, for example, is more generous than one with 95% RTP.

Most internet slots provide their payout percentages within the information/help screen. If you don’t find the RTP here, you might try googling this information for a specific slot.

3 – Make Sure You Never Bet Too Much Money

The biggest mistake that you can make with slots, or any type of gambling, involves betting more than you can afford. You should never risk money that’s meant for more-important areas of life.

Star Clusters Online Slots

That said, you really want to go through your finances before playing online slots and figure out how much you can afford to lose. If you can only afford a $50 bankroll, then you should stick with this amount.

Of course, you may be able to increase your bankroll by steadily saving money on the side. But in the beginning, you certainly want to stick with a predetermined budget.

4 – Don’t Use the Buy Bonus Feature

Buy bonus is tempting when you’re tired of playing the main game and simply want to skip to free spins, or whatever feature is available. These rounds offer the biggest payouts and most excitement.

However, you pay a hefty cost to purchase the bonus. You typically must spend anywhere between 60x and 100x your stake to activate a feature.

The problem with buy bonus is that it forces you to make a large single bet. You could very easily lose most of the amount you risk if the feature doesn’t produce much.

5 – Take Frequent Breaks

As covered earlier, slots can hypnotize you with their animations, exciting sound effects, and LDWs. Therefore, you may find it difficult to pull yourself away from the reels.

But it’s imperative that you take breaks every now and then. These breaks will slow down your play rate and provide time to think about whether continuing to play is a good idea.

The latter is especially important. Many gamblers lose too much on slots because they get sucked into the games and don’t think about potential losses.

Conclusion

Slots might seem like the riskiest games at internet casinos on the surface. However, they don’t have to be this way.

You can lower the risk factor just by taking a few precautions. Most notably, you should place bets that you can comfortably afford.

Don’t think about placing high wagers just to win bigger prizes. Instead, you want to focus on making bets that better align with your bankroll. Additionally, you should avoid buy bonus if you aren’t a wealthy slots player.

Online slots offer no guarantees. Therefore, you want to guard yourself with reasonable bets just in case the slots aren’t being generous on a particular day.

Here’s How Skill Based Slots Could Finally Be Popular

Triple Seven Slot Machine With a Vintage Monitor

Until recent times, slot machines never involved any skill. They simply call you to spin the reels and let a random number generator (RNG) determine the results.

The slots world hasn’t really changed much in this regard. The vast majority of games still don’t involve any true skill.

In the mid-2010’s, though, certain developers began producing skill-based slot machines. In contrast to traditional slots, these games give you more control over the results.

Skill-based machines seem like a great idea in theory. They combine the excitement of slots with video games. However, they have yet to gain any traction in the casino gambling world.

These games don’t have to remain unpopular forever, though. I’m going to discuss different ways that producers can finally bring skill-based slots into the limelight. First off, though, I’ll cover more on exactly what these games are and how they work.

How Do Skill Based Slot Machines Work?

A skill-based slot machine contains several elements that differ from a regular slot. Here are the key aspects behind these unique games.

Much Like Standard Slot Machines

A distinction exists between a skill-based and regular real money slots. As mentioned before, the former actually provides a degree of control over the game results.

Skill-based slot machines don’t differ much from the regular bunch in other ways. They still see you select betting options and spin the reels in each round.

Furthermore, they also feature a great degree of luck. An RNG determines spin results just like with any other slot machine. You won’t notice much of difference between skill-based games and traditional slots until the bonus round kicks in.

Bonus Contains Skill

The method in which bonus rounds are triggered is yet another element that skill slots share with regular games. You normally need to land three scatter symbols anywhere on the reels to trigger the bonus.

Once the feature starts, though, the separation between skill-based games and regular slot machines becomes evident.

Here’s an example on how a skill-based bonus round works:

  • Alien spacecrafts advance towards earth.
  • You need to maneuver a spaceship around and blast the aliens to earn credits.
  • The more accurate you are during the bonus, the more money you stand to win.

This is just one example of how a skill-based feature works. But you can get an idea on how your abilities influence bonus winnings.

Assuming you’re good at the particular game, you stand to earn more money from a slot. On the contrary, you’ll lose out on more funds if you aren’t good at the feature.

Variable Return to Player (RTP)

Many developers give casinos the ability to choose RTP settings for particular slots—especially in the land-based gaming industry.

Once a casino chooses the payback setting, though, the RTP remains stagnant. A slot with 95% RTP, for example, isn’t suddenly going to offer 98% payback just because you trigger the bonus round.

Skill-based machines differ in this regard. Again, your ability to play a given bonus round affects how much money you win.

A certain slot might offer 90% RTP at the base level. It will provide up to an additional 7% payback based on how well you do in the feature.

The House Still Has the Advantage

Some gamblers get the wrong impression on skill-based slots and think that they can swing the odds in their favor. They may believe that they’ll earn over 100% RTP with enough skill.

Unfortunately, these thoughts aren’t really true. You’ll still be facing a house edge even if you master the bonus round.

Of course, you can significantly improve your chances of winning by conquering the feature. But you still need some luck to circumvent the house advantage.

Skill Based Slots Once Showed Big Promise

Slot machines fill both land-based and online casinos. Therefore, they obviously appeal to the masses more than any other casino game.

But the gaming industry has noticed a trend where younger people don’t play slots much. They instead opt for skill-based games like blackjack and poker.

Not wanting to miss out on future generations of gamblers, developers devised a new strategy: they’ll still continue mass producing traditional slots, but they’ll also roll out skill-based machines to attract millennials and generation Z’ers.

Centipede Skill Based Slot Machines

The idea here involves appealing to gamblers who love modern video games. Given that millennials and gen Z’ers have grown up with both console and smartphone gaming, they definitely fall into this crowd.

Of course, slot machine still draw many boomers and generation X’ers. However, developers feel that they need something extra for younger gamblers.

The theory behind launching skill-based slot machines is solid. As you’ll read below, though, it hasn’t panned out too well.

Where Did Casino Slots Developers Go Wrong?

Slots producers were seemingly on the right track when they began working on skill-based machines. The latter provide something that traditional slots don’t.

For some strange reason, though, they rolled out machines that feature arcade themes. For example, IGT released Centipede and Scientific Games released Space Invaders.

Both Centipede and Space Invaders were hot at one time. However, that point was in the early 1980s, when people actually visited arcades.

We’re now three decades past that era. Most millennials and every generation Z’er didn’t grow up on arcade machines.

Slots developers intended to target young gamblers with their new style of gaming. However, they’ve produced themes that only interest older players. The reasons why they chose this route seems baffling. My guess is that producers wanted games that appeal to both younger and older crowds.

Young players would theoretically appreciate the skill aspect. Meanwhile, old gamblers would like playing games that they grew up with through the bonus rounds.

But herein lies another problem: developers and casinos have done a bad job of marketing skill-based slots. They often put these machines right next to traditional slots games.

Therefore, gamblers who walk by don’t notice any difference between Space Invaders and Sex and the City—other than the themes. They merely see what appears to be two regular slots.

How Can Developers Right the Ship?

Designing skill based games is challenging and game producers must take a two-pronged approach to skill-based machines if they ever want them to be popular:

  • Use themes that specifically interest young players.
  • Make 100% sure that everybody knows the relevant machines contain skill.

Maybe developers don’t yet feel comfortable putting Call of Duty, or another difficult first-person shooter, in the bonus round. But they should think along these lines if they want to capture younger gamblers’ attention.

After all, not many millennials are moved by Centipede or Pong. They want games that feature the type of skill and graphics they’re used to with consoles and smartphones.

Space Invaders Skill Based Slot Machine

Regarding the marketing part, casinos could dedicate a small portion of their gaming floors to skill-based gambling. If they labeled the section with a clearly visible sign, then more gamblers would realize that these games are different from regular slots.

Casinos could provide their skill-based games through traditional means too. They could put out a few social media posts on their new floor section.

Of course, promoting and creating a dedicated area for a new type of gaming is risky. Slot machines are proven moneymakers right now.

A casino could end up losing out on lots of revenue if skill-based slots don’t take off. But then again, these games have little chance to succeed if they’re not receiving any push.

Is It Too Late for Skill Based Slot Machines?

Slots with skill first hit casinos in the mid-2010’s. The industry was hoping that these games would take off among millennials and provide some hope.

However, these hopes haven’t come through. Again, most people don’t even realize that a skill-based slot machine is any different from the next game.

The first attempt at using these games to attract young players has mostly failed. Some casinos have completely scrapped the idea altogether.

Of course, land-based casinos need to do something if their slot machines aren’t drawing young people. Some variation of skill slots might be the answer.

Conclusion

The future doesn’t look bright for skill-based gaming right now. Then again, these types of slot machines are only around five years old.

Casinos rolled them out several years ago in an effort to draw younger players. These initial efforts have proved fruitless, but there’s still time.

Video poker, which is found in abundance alongside slots, didn’t really catch on when it was introduced in the mid-1970s. It took around 5-8 years to truly draw gamblers’ attention.

Developers might want to tweak some of their earlier work with skill-based slots. But they definitely shouldn’t give up on these games just yet.

7 Reasons Why Most Blackjack Players Lose

Blackjack Graphic With a Casino Background

Most casual gamblers head to the slot machines, where they don’t need to think too much when playing. Meanwhile, those who see themselves as strategists sit down to the blackjack tables.

Blackjack features some of the most complex strategy out of any casino game. Players’ chances of winning can rise or fall by around 5% based on their skills.

Unfortunately, some gamblers’ odds fall because they make too many mistakes.

Players make mistakes on the blackjack tables for a variety of reasons. Here are seven of the biggest reasons why people lose when playing blackjack.

1 – Relying on Luck to Win

Many casino games force you to rely on chance to win. Slot machines, baccarat, roulette, keno, and scratch cards all fall into this category.

You can’t do much to boost your odds of winning with these games other than looking for high RTP and making the right bets.

Real money blackjack, on the other hand, does give you an opportunity to improve your odds. You can make the right decisions and win more money in the long term.

Nevertheless, some players still rely solely on good fortune. These gamblers believe that they merely need to wear their lucky shirt or sit in a certain seat to win.

Superstitions like these are fun and can spice up a gambling experience. However, they have no mathematical bearing on the outcomes.

The same gamblers should head to the slot machines if they’re not going to bother with strategy. At least this way, they won’t give up RTP to the house over their unwillingness to improve.

2 – Ignoring Blackjack Strategy

The players described above may ignore blackjack strategy for the simple fact that they don’t know it exists, or at least that it plays such a large role in the game. However, a certain subset of players know of the strategy yet still choose to overlook it.

They might refuse to study up on the game for the following reasons:

  • A belief that strategy doesn’t help much
  • An overreliance on luck (as described in the first point)
  • Laziness
  • Bad results (luck) when using strategy in the past

Some of these reasons are understandable. For example, beginners may not realize just how much proper play can impact their winnings. Therefore, they simply start playing the game and hope for the best.

Those who ignore strategy out of laziness, though, should really reconsider. They must realize that mastering the game isn’t as hard as it seems.

Blackjack Table Behind Dealer's View

In fact, all one really needs is a blackjack strategy chart. Readily available all over the internet, these charts show every proper decision to make in each situation.

Here’s an example:

  • Joe is dealt 12.
  • He’s tempted to hit because 12 is such a low score.
  • However, the dealer’s upcard is only 6.
  • Joe refers to his chart and sees that he should stand.

Players can use strategy charts for both land-based and online blackjack play. However, they should know that land-based casinos aren’t thrilled when a player slows the game down by referring to their chart every two seconds.

A good way to quickly learn strategy is by playing the online version while referring to the chart. This method will help gamblers quickly master the game before heading off to casinos.

3 – Failure to Understand How Game Rules Impact the Odds

Strategy isn’t the only key aspect when trying to reduce the blackjack house edge. Game rules also play a large role in this mission.

The rules can vary from table to table and casino to casino. One establishment may pay 3:2 on natural blackjacks while another only pays 6:5 (raises house edge by 1.39%). The problem, though, is that too many novices think all blackjack games are the same. They indiscriminately choose a table without bothering to study the rule differences.

Of course, this mistake can be attributed to being new to the game. Most new players don’t realize that there are different rules in blackjack—let alone how these rules change the house edge.

But once somebody realizes this, they should pay special attention to the rules before taking a seat. Here are some key rules and how they alter the house advantage:

  • Number of decks – House edge lowers by 0.59% when moving from eight-deck to single-deck blackjack.
  • Doubling down – House advantage decreases by 0.25% when you can double down on any total versus just 10 and 11.
  • Dealer hits/stands on soft 17 – House edge falls by 0.21% when the dealer stands on a soft 17.
  • Double down after splitting – House advantage lowers by 0.17% when you can split after doubling down.

If you’re playing online blackjack, you can refer to the info screen to check out the various rules. When playing in land-based casinos, you’ll need to watch the games for a while.

In either case, you can quickly see two of the biggest rules printed on the table felt. Each table lists the natural blackjack payout and if the dealer hits or stands on a natural 17.

The goal behind knowing the rules is to simply find the best available deal. Therefore, you should only play at tables that offer favorable rules.

4 – Using Oddball Strategies

Unless you’re card counting, the best blackjack strategy is basic strategy. You can’t do any better than following the path blazed by gaming mathematicians over time.

Even still, some gamblers think that there’s a secret way to easily beat blackjack. They pull out ridiculous strategies in an attempt to overcome the house edge.

Mimicking the dealer is one of the worst and most common of these strategies. It calls on players to make the same type of moves that the dealer does based on the house rules.

First off, a dealer must hit to a hard or soft 17. The hard or soft factor varies based on the given casino. Secondly, these gamblers will avoid doubling down and splitting hands. The croupier can’t perform either of these actions, so the players in question don’t either.

Online European Blackjack Game

Mimic the dealer sounds like a smart idea at first. Given that the house has an advantage, players should theoretically pull even with them by copying the croupier.

However, this strategy is missing one crucial element—the dealer gets to act second. Considering that the house acts second, gamblers automatically lose when busting regardless of what happens to the croupier.

Furthermore, one misses out on the potential value from doubling down and splitting cards. In the end, they face a 7% house edge, which is about 4x to 5x worse than what the average player faces.

5 – Chasing Losses

Nobody likes suffering a losing session. Given that blackjack is a negative expectation game, though, losses do happen. But some players refuse to accept their losses. They continue playing under the guise that they’re due for a win.

Outside of advantage gamblers, nobody is ever due for a win in blackjack. Even the best amateur players still face around a 0.5% house edge.

Of course, only facing a 0.5% house advantage provides a strong chance to win in a given session. But one still needs a bit of luck to make money.

The idea that anybody is ever due for winnings is off-base. Chase losses under this mindset is one of the mistakes that gamblers make.

Here’s an example to explain:

  • A gambler loses $300 on the blackjack table.
  • The player resolves to win back their losses.
  • They’re an average player who doesn’t use perfect strategy.
  • They face a 2% house edge as a result.
  • The gambler bets another $10,000.
  • 10,000 x 0.02 = 200
  • The player ends up losing another $200 ($500 overall).

6 – Failing to Sign Up for the VIP Program

VIP rewards provide an opportunity to earn something back from one’s betting action. Land-based and online casinos commonly offer casino comps, which in some cases pays back a percentage of gamblers’ total bets.

i
For example, a player may be comped on 0.1% of their wagers. This rate may not seem very high, but it at least gives the gambler $1 back for every $1,000 wagered.

Unfortunately, many blackjack players miss out on these rewards because they don’t sign up for the VIP program. After all, land-based casinos require gamblers to join the players club before getting rewarded.

Here’s a look at how easy it is to sign up for the players club:

  • Visit a casino’s website or the players desk inside of the casino.
  • Fill out an application and wait for approval.
  • Once approved, take the players club card to a blackjack table.
  • Hand the card over to the dealer.
  • The dealer will give the card to the pit boss.
  • The pit boss rates the gambler and determines how many comps they deserve.

Online casinos don’t feature as complicated of a process to get loyalty rewards. Once a gambler signs up and deposits their money, they’ll immediately be eligible for VIP perks.

Again, though, those playing inside of land-based casinos want to ensure that they join the players club. Otherwise, they’ll miss out on earning extra money.

7 – Playing Blackjack Just to Get Rewards

As covered above, players definitely want to take advantage of loyalty perks whenever possible. If one is going to play blackjack anyways, they might as well collect rewards in the process.

Casino Player's Club Sign

However, the last thing that anybody should do is play blackjack longer for the VIP benefits alone. Rewards are never worth extending one session for.

Here’s an example to show how loyalty benefits compare to theoretical losses:

  • Terry bets $20,000 throughout the night.
  • He’s facing a 1% house edge.
  • 20,000 x 0.01 = $200 in theoretical losses
  • The casino offers a 0.1% comp rate on blackjack.
  • 20,000 x 0.001 = $20 in rewards
  • 200 / 20 = 10
  • The theoretical losses are 10x higher than the comps.

Even under the best circumstances, VIP perks won’t overshadow theoretical losses. That said, they should be treated as an extra benefit rather than the sole reason for playing.

Anybody who’s ready to quit a blackjack session should just leave the table. Upgrading from a free meal to a hotel room won’t be worth it in terms of dollars and cents.

Conclusion

Blackjack is far from the easiest game in the casino. Therefore, it’s hard to fault those who make mistakes with this game.

However, those who know better are just being plain irrational when they make the same blunders over and over. Relying on luck, failing to study strategy, and using crazy strategies are some of the mistakes that gamblers make.

Luckily, all of these mistakes can be fixed with a little effort. Blackjack players who take the time to improve will eventually benefit through more winnings.

Making the Switch From Casino Games to Poker

Hand Flicking a Light Switch With a Poker Background

I think most casino gamblers would be well served to at least add poker to their repertoire. In many cases, I think a casino gambler might be happier playing poker and leaving casino games behind.

In this post, I explain why I have that opinion. I look at the difference between poker games and casino games. And I also analyze what those differences might mean (in a practical way) for the average casino gambler.

How I Got Started Gambling

I started with poker as a teenager, but we just played silly games with pennies and nickels. It didn’t even count as real gambling. The stakes were too low for it to matter. These poker games were mostly an excuse to tease our buddies and listen to Eric Clapton cassettes.

My first real experience gambling was at the Sands Casino in Las Vegas. The first game I ever played was roulette. And I learned something important:

Roulette might be the easiest game in the world to learn how to play.

Anyone can figure out that a bet on red (or a bet on black) has a good probability of winning. And it’s hard to be confused about the action at the table when you’re making those outside bets.

Stack of Poker Chips and a Holdem Hand

I didn’t learn until much later that the house edge – the casino’s mathematical advantage – was higher at roulette than at most other games.

I spent a little time playing blackjack and video poker, too, and over the course of the next decade, I spent a little time (and money) playing casino games in various casinos.

Then I learned how to play Texas holdem.

Learning How to Play Texas Holdem.

I learned to play Texas holdem on the internet. Before that, the only serious poker I’d played was seven card stud. Admittedly, I was a pretty good stud player, too, but holdem just hadn’t interested me until a bunch of gambling webmaster buddies wanted me to play in a weekly game with them.

I started off on Party Poker, back when they still accepted real money players from the United States.

I still think – if you’re going to start playing poker – that starting online is a great way to learn the game. You can play for “play money chips” before ever risking any additional money.

One thing I learned about real money Texas holdem early on was that, in the long run, my success depended on how well I played. In the short run, Texas holdem (and all poker games) are games of chance, but in the long run, they’re games of skill.

The Advantages of a Game of Skill

Some casino games are arguably games of skill – blackjack might be the most notable example, although video poker counts, too.

Under normal circumstances, though, being skilled at these casino games only means you’re minimizing the house edge. You don’t really have a chance of putting the odds in your favor.

Sure, if you’re counting cards in blackjack, you can put the odds in your favor. But most people talking about skilled blackjack are just talking about playing your hands correctly in every situation. That’s called blackjack basic strategy, and you should certainly memorize basic strategy and use it.

An Empty Blackjack Table

Even basic strategy blackjack players are playing at a mathematical disadvantage compared to the house, though. They might reduce the edge from 2% to 4% to less than 1%, but given enough time at the table, they’ll still lose all their money.

Other casino games – most of them, in fact – offer no opportunity to use skill to improve your chances at all. For example, no matter what machines you choose or how you manage your bankroll, you can’t beat the slot machines in the long run. They’re entirely random, and your decisions just don’t matter.

Really, the only decisions you can make when playing slot machines is which games to play, how much to bet on them, and how long to keep playing. Changing any of those factors doesn’t amount to “skill,” though – unless you consider playing a flat-top game instead of a progressive game a “skill.” (I don’t.)

In poker, though, you can be the master of your destiny – at least, in the long run.

Understanding the Skill Element in Poker

In poker, you get to make a decision every round. And you have multiple decision to choose from:

  • You can check.
  • You can bet.
  • You can raise.
  • You can fold.
  • You can call.

Each of these decisions has a distinct mathematical effect on the game. Some of that effect relates to what cards you hold and the probability that they’ll win. Most of that effect, though, comes from the difference between the skill level your decisions demonstrate contrasted with your opponents’ skill levels.

Let’s look at an absurd example to illustrate:

Suppose you’re playing in a low stakes holdem game with a type of poker player who bets and raises preflop on every hand. At first, he might pick up a few blinds from timid players at the table who fold in the face of his aggression.

Eventually, though, the other players realize that he’s betting and raising with every hand, so most of the time, he’s bound to have an “average” hand.

Such a player is easily defeated. You just have to fold in the face of his aggression and call and/or raise when you have an above average hand. Usually, you’ll take all his money.

Sadly, not all poker situations are this simple.

Different Skills Levels and the Rake

Take eight players and put them at a poker table. Now, assume that all those players are of exactly the same skill level. After 12 hours of play, most of them will have the same number of chips in front of them as they had at the start.

Since this example assumes that the players’ skill levels are all the same, the determining factors for who’s going to win how much is pure chance.

Over the long run, everyone gets the same number of pocket aces and the same number of deuce-seven hands. And everyone gets the same number of flops that fit and flops that don’t.

Now, suppose you take the same game and add a 5% rake. That’s what casinos do when they have a cardroom – they collect 5% of every pot. If every player at the table is the exact same level of skill, they’ll all lose their money gradually as they play.

Winners at poker must be better than the other players at the table. They must pay more attention and make better decisions on a consistent basis.

And long-term winners in real cardrooms must be good enough that they not only beat the other players consistently, but they also beat them by enough to overcome the 5% “tax” on every pot.

Poker Is a Game of Never-Ending Complexity

Since poker has both a random element and a human element, the game is never-endingly complex. There are no perfect mathematical decisions in the game because it’s a game of incomplete information.

This and the random nature of the game are the two things that distinguish poker from a game like chess. The latter is a game of perfect information – you know everything there is to know about the status of the game at every decision point.

Chess King With Fallen Pieces

There is no more information at the chess board other than which pieces are in play and where they sit on the board.

But in poker, you don’t know what cards your opponents hold. This is where the biggest skill element comes in. To win consistently at poker, you must pay enough attention to your opponents’ tendencies that you can “put them on” a range of hands.

You make your decisions accordingly.

The Differences Between Real Poker and Casino Poker Games

A lot of novice gamblers incorrectly label poker a “casino game.” It’s not a casino game, even when played in a casino, because the house isn’t competing with the player. They just take a tax off the pot – the 5% rake we talked about.

What makes a real poker game distinct from a casino game is who’s bankrolling the action.

In a Texas holdem game, you’re competing with the other players at the table for their chips. This makes it a real poker game.

When you’re playing something like Ultimate Texas Holdem in a casino, you’re really playing a game that’s more akin to blackjack than real poker. That’s because you’re not competing with the other players at the table. Each of you is competing with the dealer directly.

There’s nothing you can do about the house edge in a casino game (for the most part).

But there’s SO much you can do about whether you have a mathematical edge at the poker table.

Conclusion

Real poker is so much more satisfying than a traditional game that it’s not even funny. In poker, at least some of the time – to an extent – you’re master of your own fate.

You get to make important decisions that affect the math behind your outcomes.

If you’re good enough, you can earn a long-term profit.

And you can even do so without angering the casino.

You can’t do that in casino games like blackjack – count cards in a blackjack game and watch what happens to the casino’s goodwill.

Sports Betting Hedge Funds

Hedge Fund Tracker Graphic and Sports Equipment

Sports betting hedge funds may be the investment tool of the future.

It was only a matter of time that the suits on Wall Street noticed the massive financial opportunities provided by sports betting.

In the last few years, sports betting has seen a meteoric jump in popularity and acceptance among mainstream society. Hedge funds have also been shown to be both incredibly volatile and extremely lucrative.

It makes total sense that the two worlds would meet and present investors with the chance to cash in.

Alternative Investments

Hedge funds are nothing new to those familiar with the investment game. These alternative investments use a pool of funds collected from investors to go after a high yield return.

These “hedge funds” don’t receive the same regulations and oversight as your typical mutual fund. If you are in the market for a safe, low yield investment option, hedge funds are not for you.

Slow and steady may win the race, but fast and loose may get you a considerable ROI. ROI or return on investment is old hat to most sports bettors and casino gamblers for that matter.

Using the pooled money and spreading investments around these high risk, high reward investments mitigate some associated risks.

Only accredited investors are allowed to operate hedge funds. This is where the two worlds collide.

NBA Owner Has a Bright Idea

Billionaire businessman Mark Cuban initially pitched the notion of sports betting hedge funds in the early 2000s. You can imagine the attention this garnered from the business world.

Cuban remains well respected in the business world and the sports world. The Dallas Mavericks team owner and star of the hit show Shark Tank would be the clear choice for launching a sports betting hedge fund.

Unfortunately, the NBA had other ideas. You see, Cuban’s role as a team owner excluded him from being allowed to follow his vision to execution because of the league’s bylaws prohibiting him from gambling.

Mark Cuban at a Mavericks Game

It’s too bad that he couldn’t follow through because the reasoning is sound. Cuban contended that sharp sports bettors are successful due to the fact that they have much more information about the teams involved.

Think about how much or little you know about the companies represented in your 401k or other mutual funds. I bet that you are far more familiar with your favorite NFL team.

There’s no shame in that. Far more people could name the Packers starting quarterback than the CEO of PepsiCo. Cuban understood this fact, and he knew that the potential return on sports betting is massive.

His contention that sports betting could see much more expected value with possibly less volatility didn’t fall on deaf ears. Although Cuban himself was forced to miss out, the idea was implemented within 5 years of introducing the notion.

Ideal Strategy for Today’s Climate

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that sports will find a way. Through economic turndown and political turmoil, sports will always thrive. Why do sports always succeed in the face of global pandemics or large scale financial disaster?

Because we demand it, and the money at the top of each league wields enough power to ensure the dollars continue pouring in.

COVID-19 shutdown the entire NBA on March 11, 2020. Much of the country followed. This mass closing included bars, restaurants, and theaters.

It also spurred the suspension of the NHL season and postponed MLB Opening Day. However, by July, NBA players were back in action.

The NHL followed and is currently deep into their Stanley Cup Playoffs. MLB is in full swing, having completed over half of the shortened 60+ game season.

The NFL is King Kong when it comes to revenue in the world of sports. That status translates to the NFL sports betting market as well.

The NFL was forced to cancel their preseason, but the league is scheduled to start in less than two weeks. The most blatant display of the power of professional sports is the following point.

NHL 2020 Playoffs Game

Texas Governor Greg Abbot, the same man that has hamstrung small business by shuttering thousands of small local bars throughout the state, has given Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys the green light to have fans in attendance when play begins.

In a world where many businesses are shut down completely, sports’ big business continues to fill the coffers.

The fact that sports exist in the face of a global pandemic shows what an excellent investment it can be. Airlines have struggled mightily, oil prices have dipped, and the S&P 500 has resembled an EKG reading.

Yet, there are plenty of games to bet on. Sports don’t care what the NASDAQ is doing. The show must go on. That’s enough for sports betting hedge funds to make tremendous earnings for its investors.

In short, sports betting hedge funds are mostly recession-proof.

Hedging Your Bets

Hedge funds are, by their nature, incredibly volatile. After all, the investors that shop hedge funds are looking for massive returns on their money.

That potential for huge gains comes with substantial risks. These risks are not altogether vanquished by choosing a sports betting hedge fund.

i
The key is proper management. Of course, whether you’re going with a “traditional” hedge fund or a traditional hedge fund, even with the best asset management, there may be losses.

In years like 2020, the hedge funds that focus on volatility should be theoretically shredding when it comes to profits. Yet many have been enduring catastrophic failures.

In fact, sports betting hedge funds should be able to generate significant gains without market leverage. This largely eliminates the great downsides associated with other alternative assets.

Sports betting hedge funds aren’t immune to this volatility, but they are less likely to endure the pitfall. That is contingent on the responsible management of the funds available.

Hits and Misses

Centaur Galileo provides a cautionary tale for both investors and possible clients. Initially, the company’s earnings were exceptional. Many felt that Cuban’s vision incarnate was bound for a bright future and many millions in returns annually.

However, there was a storm brewing on the horizon. The newly minted firm shot for rapid expansion, going so far as to open a dedicated training center for fresh analysts.

In a short three years, the company went from the peak of being on the leading edge of the innovative investing strategy to being completely dissolved. Investors were out over $2,500,000 when the doors closed on the eager project.

Don’t be frightened into a mindset that all of these sports betting investments are doomed to fail.

Dallas Cowboys 2020 Play

Priomha Capital Group came on the scene about one year after Centaur Galileo with far less fanfare. The Australian firm hasn’t blown anybody out of the water with insane claims of 30% ROIs. They have quietly impressed their clients and onlookers with a return of over 16%.

Most impressive is the fact that they’ve averaged that return for almost a decade. That’s the type of investment that just about anyone with funds to grow would jump on.

That’s more than doubling your money every five years. You won’t be getting that type of return on your typical IRA.

Priomha Capital Group has impacted sports betting hedge funds by playing smart and executing excellent bankroll management.

Are Sports Betting Hedge Funds Right for You?

Savvy investors have made some beautiful profits on sports betting hedge funds. They clearly understand the risks associated with this kind of alternative asset.

Let’s not get so swept up in all of the potential money flooding through the door. Some investors have lost huge sums on the risky investments.

You need to be confident in the type of investment you’re seeking. If you are in the market for a steady means to build wealth for retirement or to put the kids in a good financial position after college, you may be better off with traditional investments.

Suppose you are looking to make an investment where you can earn significant profits and are not opposed to the apparent risk. You may quickly see your account double in size.

Each of us is as unique in our investment strategies and styles as we are in our gambling. My advice is to speak to a professional wealth management consultant and make a plan that suits you as an individual.

Conclusion

Sports betting hedge funds combine the fiscally responsible aspect of investing and the fast-paced lucrative nature of sports betting. Gaining a somewhat shaky start as an NBA owner’s brainchild, these alternative investments have established themselves as viable investment portfolios.

I’m eager to see what the future holds for sports betting hedge funds. It’s far past time the rest of us enjoyed Billy Walters-like success in the sports betting game.

Common Gambling Tips and Betting Fallacies to Ignore

Man Falling With Casino Chips

When people’s hard-earned money is on the line, they will say almost anything to convince themselves that their methods are the best. That’s all well and good as long as they’re the only ones impacted by the malarkey they spew.

The problems arise when other people start to heed their “wisdom” and listen to their delusions.

Gamblers are prone to offer unsolicited advice about any type of table game or sports bet in existence. If there’s a game at a casino, most gamblers have a few theories they’re willing to share with you, even if those thoughts lack substance and validity.

If you’ve been to a casino before, you’ve probably heard some of these sage pieces of advice. And, if you’re like me, you’ve unfortunately taken some of it, and it’s cost you money.

While there are several reputable sources that gamblers should consult for thoroughly researched and vetted information, the internet, and the gambling world are full of ideas that should be avoided.

Here are six common gambling tips and fallacies that you should ignore.

You’re Going to Win Eventually

When I said that I’ve fallen for some bad advice in the past, I picked up the most devastating bit of wisdom when I first started gambling. While it stands to reason that most table games are random and the outcomes are mostly unexpected and unpredictable, there is no reason to think that you’re magically going to start winning.

Sure, eventually you’re going to break a bad losing streak and win a few hands if you play long enough. But, as a gambler, the idea that you are due for a win is preposterous and dangerous. The casino owes you nothing, and the gambling gods aren’t going to snap their fingers and hand-deliver you some profitable wins.

Roulette Wheel That Landed on 34 Red

Most gambling, especially at several popular casino table games, is entirely random and out of your control. If you’re playing roulette and keep throwing down money on your lucky number expecting to strike it rich, the odds are stacked against you.

If you’re losing money at an alarming rate and your bankroll is getting depleted, don’t just expect to snap out of your losing streak.

Bankrolls Are for Suckers

There’s a large sect of gamblers who got their start during their college years. Once you’re old enough to start gambling, sometimes the temptation to dive headfirst into the industry is too attractive of an offer to pass up.

I started gambling once I got to college and made friends with some kids in my dorm who would go to the local casino every week.

One thing I immediately noticed was the fact that most young adults under the age of 25 are terrible with money, especially gamblers. Because I ingratiated myself in a community of younger gamblers, I learned the ropes by listening to them.

Casino bankroll management is crucial to success and longevity when you first start to gamble. The idea that you shouldn’t budget your gambling money effectively is a toxic idea that can get you into trouble fast.

One of the common phrases I heard on a weekly basis was, “It’s just money, you can’t take it with you.” I adopted this mindset for the first few years of gambling, and it’s a mistake I wish I could take back.

Before you start gambling, make sure you have a good plan in place on how to handle your money, so you don’t put yourself into financial jeopardy.

Increase Your Bets After a Loss

If you’re like me, you’ve probably been at a blackjack table during the middle of a terrible cold streak. These streaks are common in table games, and it’s something that’s hard to rationalize as a younger gambler.

You might start to think that the deck is stacked against you, or that the casino is cheating. Both of these ideas are baseless and inaccurate.

Seminole Hard Rock Casino Chips

The worst thing you can do during one of these cold spells is to add fuel to the fire and start doubling or tripling your bet to win more money. If you allow yourself to take a second and analyze your strategic approach to a game, there’s a good chance you can pinpoint the issue and rectify it.

The only way out of a losing streak is through it. To properly weather the storm, you need to make sure your betting is consistent, and you have enough money in your bankroll to outlast the bad cards. Losing streaks will come to an end one way or another.

Either your fortunes will turn, or you’ll be standing up from the table broke because you doubled your bets when you shouldn’t have. The choice is yours.

Beginner’s Luck is Real

Once again, I must be the bearer of bad news and inform you that there’s no such thing as beginner’s luck. Your first trip to a casino might be profitable, and you might score some early wins, but it simply doesn’t exist. Most experts believe that this occurs because new gamblers have no pressure going into the games they’re playing, so they play carefree and loose.

That isn’t to say that every gambler should play without a care in the world, because even if you get off to a hot start, this too shall pass. New gamblers shouldn’t be dissuaded by this revelation, as every single table game at the casino has a house edge.

It should merely provide more motivation to learn how to play the games and become a better player.

But, if you find yourself at the casino for the first time and can’t seem to lose, ride that streak through the night. If some of the older, grouchier gamblers at the table trying to get into your ear, pay them no mind. They’re probably just jealous that you’re winning.

What Happens at the Casino, Stays at the Casino

I know the saying goes, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” but for this post, I feel like it’s necessary to include every casino. When you head to a casino to gamble, you’re typically hoping to blow off some steam and take a break from your day-to-day routine.

Every time I go to the casino, I try to treat it like a mini-vacation.

Las Vegas Strip at Night

When you’re in this mindset, sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the casino’s energy and allow yourself to forget about the world outset of the tables. While this isn’t such a terrible thing to do, it’s important to remember that your real-world problems aren’t going to disappear while you’re gambling. Your problems are still going to exist when you’re done gambling.

For this reason, it’s critical to gamble responsibly. You might consider taking it easy on the free alcohol and making sure you’re staying within your means.

I’m all for having a good time while gambling, but there’s no point in sacrificing tomorrow’s happiness by acting foolishly.

This Slot Machine Is Due for a Win

Perhaps the most common gambling fallacy in the world is that slot machines are due for a jackpot. If you’ve never been to a casino before, I highly recommend walking through the rows of slot machines and opening your ears. Some of the stuff you’ll hear will border on utter lunacy.

Slot machines appeal to new, inexperienced gamblers and old-school gamblers who never bothered to try their luck at the tables. They can be tedious, isolating, and monotonous.

As you mindlessly press buttons or pull the levers on the machine, you can begin to convince yourself that you’re due for a big win.

A common practice among some of the more seasoned slot players is to walk through the casino floor, waiting for someone to stand up from a machine that hasn’t hit in a while. Some gamblers think that machines reward those who stay long enough and time the machines just right.

This might happen once in a blue moon, but slots are completely random, so don’t assume they will suddenly start rewarding you with a jackpot.

Conclusion

Gamblers are big fans of repeating the same betting-related refrains to anyone who will listen to them. Whether it’s that you’re due for a win or beginners seem always to have the best luck, these baseless assumptions should be shrugged off.

It might be fun to buy into some of these claims, especially if it convinces you to partake in some mistakes that most savvy vets would determine to be inadvisable. Some of these tips are harmless in nature, but others can be detrimental to your financial and physical well being.

Before you go gamble, make sure your head is on straight and avoid falling for one of these fallacies. Always manage your bankroll responsibility and never assume you will win a hand because you’re due.

Making the Switch From Gambling Machines to Table Games

Man With Arms Out With a Casino Background

I recently wrote a post about switching from slot machines to video poker games, and if you’re insisting on playing gambling machines, I’m convinced that this is a switch you ought to make.

But, if I really had my druthers, I’d prefer that you switch from gambling machines to table games.

In this post, I explain why you SHOULD switch from gambling machines to table games, and I offer suggestions for how you can go about that in as painless a fashion as possible.

Gambling Is Entertainment and Has a Cost

I’ve written about this so much that you might be tired of reading it, but you need to consider casino gambling as an entertainment expense with a specific cost. That cost, in the long run, is determined by how much money you wager and how high the house edge is.

How much money you wager is determined by the size of your wagers and how many wagers you make.

For example, if you bet $10 on average every time you place a bet, and you place 100 bets, you’ve put $1000 into action.

If you’re playing a game with a house edge of 5%, you’re expected to lose an average of $50 on that kind of action.

Closeup of a Three Reeled Slot Machine

If you’re playing a game with a house edge of 1%, you’re expected to lose an average of $10 on that kind of action.

The conclusion here is obvious – with everything else being equal, gambling on games with a lower house edge costs you less money.

If you can get similar entertainment for less money, it usually makes sense to do so.

It’s like deciding to spend $10 a year on Showtime instead of paying $50 a year for HBO. It’s a no-brainer. The only difference is the programming.

When it comes to casino games, the programming is equivalent to the games you’re playing.

The Number of Bets You Make per Hour

Suppose you’re playing roulette for real money. How many bets per hour can you make at the roulette table?

At an average roulette table, you’re probably looking at about 45 spins per hour. If you’re playing for $5 per spin, you’re putting $225 into action per hour at the roulette table.

Most people already know that roulette has a house edge of 5.26%. This means your estimated loss for an hour of roulette play is $11.84.

The decision you need to make is whether roulette is $11.84 per hour worth of entertainment.

Let’s contrast this with an average slot machine game, though. Strike that. Let’s contrast it with a GOOD slot machine game.

Even the best slot machine games have a house edge of at least 6%, but the average slots player makes 500 to 600 spins per hour. For the sake of this example, let’s assume you’re a slower player making 500 spins per hour. If you’re playing for $3 per spin, you’re putting $1500 per hour into action, 6% of that action is $90.

You’re losing eight times as much at that slot machine per hour than you would be at the roulette table, even though the house edge is close to the same and the amount wagered per bet is similar.

The big difference is how many bets per hour you’re getting in.

Think about it.

You’re betting 60% of what you’re betting at the roulette table, but every hour, you’re losing eight times as much.

THAT is the effect of bets per hour.

There’s More to Account for Than Just That

I’ve suggested in previous posts that you should switch from slot machines to video poker machines. That’s simply based on the big difference in payback percentage. The best slot machines only have a payback percentage of 94%, while the worst video poker games have a payback percentage of 95% or higher.

Since you’ll play about as many hands of video poker per hour as you would spins of the slot machines, the difference in the cost to you is dramatic.

And you’ll find outliers, too, but the outliers in video poker tend toward having a super-low house edge. The outliers in slot machines tend to lie in the other direction.

Multiple Rows of Video Poker Machines

For example, without TOO much trouble, you can find video poker games where the house edge is less than 1%.

On the other hand, it’s easy to find slot machines with a house edge of 25%.

Even so, you should play table games.

This is because the rate of play on a video poker game is so high that it compensates for the low house edge.

For example, you might decide your game of choice is going to be blackjack. With perfect blackjack strategy and the right rules in place, you’re looking at a house edge of 0.5%.

i
You can get an approximately 0.5% house edge playing video poker, too, if you find a full-pay Jacks or Better game and play with optimal strategy.

You’ll probably need to place a minimum $5 bet at the blackjack, and, at the Jacks or Better game, you’ll probably need to bet $1.25 per hand.

But at the blackjack table, you’ll probably only play 75 hands per hour.

At the video poker game, you’ll probably play at least 600 hands per hour.

What does this do to your average hourly loss?

At the blackjack game, you’re looking at 75 hands/hour X $5/hand X 0.5%, or $1.88 in hourly losses.

At the video poker game, you’re looking at 600 hands/hour X $1.25/hand X 0.5%, or $3.75 in hourly losses.

You have a video poker game with the same house edge and a significantly lower wager per round, and you’re still losing twice as much per hour as you would at the blackjack table.

Blackjack for the win.

Don’t Just Play Any Casino Table Game

I always suggest that you try to limit your gambling to bets with a house edge of less than 1.5%.

You don’t have to always pick the game with the lowest house edge. Maybe you hate blackjack, for example, or maybe you don’t want to mess with basic strategy.

It’s okay to choose other table game bets with a low house edge.

One example of a great table game bet is the pass line bet in craps. The house edge is only 1.41%, and you don’t have to worry about making any decisions.

Also, when you place a pass bet in a craps game and the shooter sets a point, you get to place another bet – the free odds bet. This bet has a house edge of 0%.

Craps isn’t the only casino game besides blackjack with bets with a house edge of lower than 1%, though.

Red Rock Casino High Limit Tables

Baccarat is another example of a casino game with a low house edge that doesn’t require any decisions on your part. Just don’t ever place the tie bet.

The house edge on the banker bet in baccarat is 1.06%, making it one of the better bets in the casino. The only catch is that baccarat is normally played for higher stakes than most other table games.

It’s not that hard to find a blackjack game with a $5 minimum bet, but good luck finding a baccarat game with a minimum bet of less than $25

And that tie bet in baccarat?

It pays off at 8 to 1 odds, which is nice when you hit.

The problem is that it’s a sucker bet. The house edge on the tie bet is a whopping 14.36%.

Other Differences Between Table Games and Gambling Machines

The difference in the house edge and the relative estimated cost per hour isn’t the only consideration when deciding between table games and gambling machines.

When you’re playing table games, the level of human interaction goes up considerably. No matter what table game you choose, you’re at least going to have to interact with the dealer.

You’re usually going to have other players at the table, too, but the amount of interaction with those other players depends on how gregarious you’re feeling (and how gregarious they’re feeling.)

When you’re playing table games, you’ll need to buy in at the table and convert your cash into chips. When you’re finished, you must take the chips to the chip cage to swap those chips out for cash money.

With gambling machines, you usually just insert cash into the machine and get credits. When you’re done playing, you get a ticket back. You can use this ticket to play other gambling machines, but you can also cash it in at various spots in the casino.

But, really – switching from gambling machines to table games is easy to do and well worth the trouble.

Conclusion

Should you make the switch from gambling machines to table games?

Unless you’re incredibly introverted and shy, yes, you probably should make the switch. There aren’t a lot of perks to table games that will make a difference to the average player.

Things to Know About the History and Current Gambling Climate in Japan

Geisha Japanese Flag and Pachinko Machines

Japanese culture is fascinating and rich in every aspect. Its art, philosophies, and rules on how to conduct oneself in social settings are just a few things to consider. The Japanese also hold the values of hard work, perseverance, discipline, and respect in high regard.

When gambling emerged in Japan, it wasn’t long before it was rampant throughout the nation. There was no lack of creativity when it came to finding something to place a bet on.

The tale of the relationship that Japan has had and currently has with gambling is more than compelling, to say the least. From hardcore street betting to the outlawing of betting of any sort, Japan has seen it’s up and downs surrounding gambling.

Here are five things you might want to know about the history and current gambling climate of Japan.

Gambling in Japan Began With a Game Similar to Backgammon

According to a historical account from the 8th century, Emperor Tenmu enjoyed playing a game that involved dice that was reminiscent of backgammon. This game was called ban-sugoroku, which translates to “double six.” Empress Jito was the next to sit on the throne, and it was during her time that this game was banned.

Bakuto (professional gamblers) emerged from this period of rampant gambling in what is now present-day Kyoto. With the emergence of these professional gamblers came more and more violence surrounding gambling activities.

In the 13th century, Japanese officials created nine edicts that prohibited gambling. In the Edo Period, samurais were not to participate in gambling. However, the higher class of samurais were permitted to drink, gamble, and hang out with prostitutes.

Japanese Board Game Bansugoroku

If you were just a regular citizen, you could be sentenced to death for gambling during this period. But as is the case with most human civilizations and gambling, the authorities were unable to completely eradicate gambling as an institution.

In 1718, petty gambling was made legal and this meant that lotteries and bets under 50 “mon” were permitted. At this point, many gambling games became popular such as yoido, kitsune, shoso-shiroku, shishita, oome-kome, bin korogashi, and chobo-ichi.

Chobo-ichi was a dice game that really came to prominence at this time, and the Asakusa area was riddled with gambling sheds due to the popularity of chobo-ichi, which attracted a very rough crowd.

Although dice games were popular, card games also began to emerge at this point. Cards were introduced to Japanese culture by the Portuguese in the 16th century. Zanmai was one of the most popular card games and was very similar to blackjack. Instead of 21 being the winning number, it was 19.

Pachinko Was Invented During World War II

Pachinko is an extremely unique game where a small ball is thrown by a lever and is thus thrown onto the playing field.

When the ball slows down, it lands into an area that has brass receivers, pins, and nails that each represent a pocket where you can win different amounts of money or the jackpot. The point of the game is to collect as many balls as you possibly can. Then, you exchange the balls for your prize money.

The Corinth game was brought to Japan in the 1920s from game manufacturers from Chicago. This game was similar to Old English Bagatelle, only it was geared towards children. This game, known as Corinthian Bagatelle, was a hit in children’s stores where kids could play for fruits and sweets. Children nicknamed this game pachi-pachi.

In 1930, the game of pachinko started to evolve as the city of Nagoya hosted the first game room. This created a pachinko frenzy amongst the populace. Pachinko became so popular that pachinko machines had to be banned at the onset of World War II.

However, the game of pachinko was not done evolving yet and later merged as slot machines. These came to be known as pachi slots. Pachi slots are not like regular slot machines. When playing slots, you activate the reel and you hope that you win the big bucks. Pachi slots require skill to play them. The player must practice in order to improve their perception and reflexes.

Right now there are over 5 million pachi slots and pachinko machines in Japan. On average, there is one machine for every 25 people. There are also over 12,000 gaming rooms that contain these machines.

In Japan, the woman of the household is usually in charge of the finances. Therefore, they are the target audience for the advertising of pachi slots. Advertisements such as “women’s day” are used regularly to entice women to come and play at the game rooms.

In 2018, over 190 billion dollars was generated by the pachi slots and pachinko.

Mahjong Was Brought to Japan in 1924

A soldier by the name of Saburo Hirayama brought mahjong to Japan in 1924 where he started a mahjong school, parlor, and club in Tokyo. This led to a rapid increase in the popularity of mahjong in Japan. Japanese mahjong became a simplified version of Chinese mahjong.

Mahjong Game Setup

After this simplified version of mahjong came into existence, rules were added increasing the complexity of the game. There are over 8,000 mahjong parlors in Japan today and it is without a doubt the most popular table game in Japan.

There are also professional mahjong players that compete against each other in tournaments.

Casinos Are in the Forecast for Japan

Currently, there are no land based casinos in Japan. But over the past 20 years, there have been many valiant efforts to integrate casinos into Japanese gambling culture. These attempts had been unsuccessful until a bill passed in July of 2018 that made casinos legal in Japan. However, only three casino licenses will eventually be granted.

The first casinos will be integrated into resorts. Japan is serious about preserving morale, so there will be strict guidelines regarding playing at casinos that must be adhered to.

Japanese citizens will only be able to play at casinos up to three times per week and one cannot play more than 10 times per month. A 6,000-yen entrance fee will be required. This is a bit steep, but it’s meant to try to prevent problem gambling.

Osaka has gotten the ball rolling as far as getting a casino resort establishment off the ground. Five companies have applied for a casino resort license there. They are Genting Singapore, Melco Resorts, MGM Resorts, Wynn Resorts, and Las Vegas Sands.

MGM Resorts is the only company that has submitted a bid to open a casino in Osaka. Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, and Melco Resorts are trying to open casinos in Tokyo and Yokohama as well. So, perhaps we will see a casino in Osaka, a casino in Tokyo, and a casino in Yokohama.

Public Sports Betting and Lotteries Are Legal in Japan

In Japan, public sports betting is legal and regulated by local authorities. These public sports include asphalt speedway motorcycle racing, powerboat racing, bicycle racing, and horse racing.

Horse racing is extremely popular in Japan. There are more than 20,000 horse races held there each year. Yutaka Take is currently the top jockey in Japan and travels around the world competing in top-flite stakes races.

Japanese Horse Racing Stadium

Since pari-mutuel betting is legal in Japan, so are football pools under certain regulations. However, online sports betting is currently illegal in Japan. Playing the lottery is an extremely popular form of legal gambling in Japan today.

Throughout the entire year, lotteries are held by large cities. The three main types of lotteries that exist in Japan are scratch-off tickets, selected number lotteries, and unique number lotteries.

Top cash prizes can be around 100 million yen, and a cash prize for any lottery in Japan must be less than 50% of the total sales. The remainder of the money must go to the government.

Conclusion

Gambling in Japan has a rich history and is definitely an integral part of Japanese culture past and present.

Many films, stories of fiction, and even anime depict gambling activities that are unique to Japan.

It looks like there will be three casino resorts in Japan in the near future. Who knows? Maybe your next casino venture will be to Japan. Perhaps they will get on the online sports betting train as well, but only time will tell.

Did you enjoy reading about the history of gambling in Japan? If so, let me know in the comments.

5 Different Ways to Play Blackjack

Blackjack Text With a Man Playing Blackjack

Blackjack has been available in gambling houses since at least the 1700s. Known as Vingt-et-Un to the French back then, it quickly became one of the most popular casino games.

Fast forward to today, and you no longer have to visit land-based establishments to play. You now have other options thanks to the internet and various devices.

One method of playing blackjack even allows you to train to become a card counter! If you’re intrigued by playing blackjack in as many ways as possible, then you’ll definitely want to check out the five options presented below.

1 – Low Roller Tables in Land-Based Casinos

Blackjack got its start in brick and mortar casinos. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the game continues to be a hit in land-based casinos. Blackjack is especially popular among low rollers.

A low roller is somebody who wagers between $5 and $25 per blackjack hand. Not coincidentally, this range usually constitutes the minimum bets in most casinos.

Given that many players don’t like risking a fortune, low roller tables are particularly popular.

Of course, you can always raise your bets with these games. In many cases, you’ll be able to risk a maximum of $500 per hand.

But you can also drop your wager when you’re not feeling so lucky. Smaller bets give you a stronger chance of lasting throughout the night and extending your entertainment.

2 – High Roller Tables in Land-Based Casinos

High-roller blackjack is the stuff of movies. After all, nobody ever made a film about Joey Lunchpail sitting down at a $5 table. High-roller games are featured in private areas of the casino. Only gamblers who are willing to risk $50 or more per hand can sit at these tables.

Many wealthy businesspeople and celebrities enjoy high-stakes gambling. Paris Hilton, P. Diddy, and the late Kerry Packer are among the rich and famous who’ve bet big on this game.

High Limit Casino Room

Packer is an especially interesting story. Before his death in 2005, the Australian media mogul regularly wagered six figures per hand.

Luckily, you don’t need to bet anywhere close to $100,000 to play at a high-stakes table. Assuming you ante up the $50 or $100 minimum, you can rub elbows with the elite.

If this amount seems like too much, then you should consider that blackjack features a low house edge. Here’s a look at your theoretical losses when playing for high stakes:

  • You wager $100 per hand.
  • You’re facing a 1% edge from the house.
  • The table deals 70 hands every hour.
  • 7000 x 0.01 = $70 in expected losses every hour

3 – Online Blackjack (Virtual)

Blackjack is a staple at online casinos. In fact, many gaming sites offer variations of blackjack, such as double exposure, switch, surrender, and Spanish 21.

Of course, online real money blackjack doesn’t compete with the land-based version in terms of atmosphere. However, it does present other notable advantages.

First off, the internet version doesn’t require that you travel anywhere. Instead, you can simply pull up a game on your smartphone, tablet, or computer whenever.

Online blackjack features lower stakes than brick and mortar casinos. Most gaming sites only require you to wager $1 per hand. Micro limit blackjack allows you to play for just $0.10 per round.

You don’t even need to risk anything when playing online. Gaming sites allow you to sample their blackjack games after you’ve created an account.

The internet version also presents more favorable rules in many cases. Thanks to these favorable rules, you’ll typically only face around a 0.5% house edge in online blackjack. Compare this to the land-based game, where the house advantage commonly ranges from 1% to 2%.

4 – Live Dealer Blackjack

As mentioned above, traditional online blackjack doesn’t quite offer the same atmosphere as land-based establishments. But you can partially remedy this by playing at a live dealer casino.

A live game takes place in a brick and mortar studio with a human dealer and real table. The studio streams the action to your device.

Online Live Dealer Blackjack Game

Therefore, you get the best of both worlds: the convenience of internet blackjack and the social aspects of the land-based version.

Speaking of the latter, you can chat with the dealer through a chat box. This element makes live dealer blackjack feel like when you’re chatting with croupiers in brick and mortar casinos.

Of course, live blackjack isn’t completely like sitting in a chair surrounded by other players. However, it’s the next best thing that you can find when playing online.

5 – Card Counting Training Program

Not every method of playing blackjack is about you competing against the dealer. You can also play this game while training for something bigger.

You’ve certainly heard about card counters. A card counter uses their skills to make long-term profits in blackjack.

Blackjack card counting actually isn’t that hard to get started with. The difficult thing, though, is maintaining an accurate count while keeping up with the game speed.

Even if you’ve thoroughly studied counting ahead of time, you’re unlikely to keep up with the dealer’s speed the first time. Therefore, you shouldn’t head to the casino right away and start risking money.

A better route is to train for the task ahead. Card counting training programs let you hone your craft before placing bets.

The great thing about counting programs is that they don’t cost a thing. All you need to do is find them through a simple Google search and start playing.

These programs flash cards on the screen. It’s your job to accurately keep the count while the virtual cards are dealt.

How to Choose Where You Play

You can see that there are plenty of options for enjoying blackjack. But where do you start? The following tips will point you in the right direction.

Consider Your Stakes

The first thing that you want to consider before playing blackjack involves the stakes. After all, you don’t want to play above your means and risk too much money at once.

You should begin by looking at your bankroll size. From here, you can form an accurate picture on what stakes you’re best suited for.

Here’s an example on figuring out how much to play for:

  • You have a $1,000 bankroll.
  • You bet $5 per hand.
  • The house edge is 1%.
  • The table sees 75 hands per hour.
  • 75 x 5 x 0.01 = $3.75 theoretical hourly losses
  • 1,000 / 3.75 = 267 hours

Based on the fact that your bankroll will theoretically last for 267 hours, you’ll be perfectly fine playing $5 stakes. You might even consider increasing your bet size.

Decide If You Want to Travel

Brick and mortar casinos arguably offer the best blackjack experience. You can head to the casino with your buddies and have a memorable evening.

However, not everybody has a casino in their backyard. Many gamblers need to drive or possibly even fly to the nearest gambling establishment.

Progressive Blackjack Table

Even if you only have a half-hour drive ahead of you, this bit of travel time can be a nuisance. It’s especially annoying when considering that you also have to park and walk for a while until reaching the blackjack tables.

You might be perfectly fine with all of this when you’re really wanting to play in a live setting. If not, though, you should consider learning how to play online blackjack.

Think About the Exact Experience You Want

All of the routes for playing blackjack covered before offer a different experience. Here are the perks behind each method of playing:

  • Low roller tables (land-based) – Enjoy the casino atmosphere without needing to bet much.
  • High roller tables (land-based) – Play in a casino for high stakes and potentially win big.
  • Traditional online blackjack – Enjoy blackjack in the cheapest and most convenient way possible.
  • Live blackjack – Play online with elements of a land-based casino (e.g. human dealer).
  • Card counting training program – Train online to become a card counter without risking money.

Depending upon what mood you’re in, you may want to play a different type of blackjack each time out. You might seek a high-roller experience at a brick and mortar casino one day. The next, you may just want to lay on your couch and play the game online.

Conclusion

The blackjack world has changed greatly over the past few decades. Thanks to the internet, you now have several options for playing this popular casino game.

Online casinos, live casinos, and training programs are all available over the internet. Each provides distinct advantages that make them worth considering.

Of course, you can always opt for a classic gambling experience, too. Low-roller and high-roller tables are both available in land-based casinos.

You don’t need to commit to any one style of blackjack either. Instead, you can switch things up every time that you decide to play a session.

 

Gambling Addiction vs Problem Gambling – What’s the Difference?

Hands Gripping Jail Bars With a Casino Chip Background

Gambling addiction is known by multiple other names. People often refer to it as compulsive gambling or problem gambling.

The latter term, however, is actually slightly different from a gambling addiction. Problem gaming refers to a specific type of issue.

Odds are, you’re fortunate enough not to have to worry about either a gambling addiction or problem. But if you or somebody else you know struggles with gambling, then you’ll want to know the difference between the two terms.

Characteristics of Gambling Addiction

A gambling addict is somebody who bets compulsively. They don’t really think when they’re betting—they just do.

Oftentimes, an addict doesn’t feel strong emotions when they’re winning big or losing big. They just place a wagers simply to get action.

At the end of the evening, a gambling addict could go through their entire bankroll and not realize it until their last chip is gone.

Hand Holding Casino Chips

Gambling addiction is the result of a deep-seeded problem. For example, somebody who suffered through trauma or has lost their house may use betting as an escape mechanism.

They might start out playing casino games, for example, because they enjoy them. Eventually, though, they’ll begin placing wagers in a mindless state.

This dilemma is particularly worrisome because the addict doesn’t even think about the potential losses. They just keep making bets out of compulsion.

Characteristics of Problem Gambling

Unlike a gambling addict, a problem gambler is aware of what they’re doing. They don’t place wagers out of compulsion but rather a specific desire.

Many problem gamblers start out making harmless wagers. But they quickly spiral downward once the losses mount.

Losing gambling sessions lead to common scenarios where gamblers chase losses. This refers to when somebody gambles purely to win back previously lost bets.

Chasing losses might work if one has an advantage. For example, a skilled poker player or sports better could benefit by using their advantage to win back money.

But the vast majority of people don’t hold an edge when they gamble. Instead, they’re at the mercy of the casino house edge.

Here’s a common scenario that can happen when somebody pursues losses:

  • A blackjack player loses $200 early in the evening.
  • They figure that they’re “due” to win the money back because of the previous bad luck.
  • However, the house holds a 1% advantage over the player.
  • The gambler bets another $10,000 throughout the night.
  • 10,000 x 0.01 = 100
  • The player will theoretically lose another $100 trying to recoup the $200.

Aside from going after previous losses, problem gamblers also make every attempt to hide the situation. They lie to loved ones, steal money, and/or convince themselves that nothing is wrong.

As a result, those with gambling problems will fray or even lose relationships throughout their lives. They especially risk the latter when they continue violating the trust of loved ones through gambling.

What’s Worse – Gambling Addiction or Problem Gambling?

Neither a gambling problem nor addiction is desirable. Both conditions cause one to lose considerable money in the short and long run.is th

If it’s a contest between which one is worse, though, then gambling addiction wins (or loses). It causes people to gamble uncontrollably.

Somebody with a gambling addiction may have difficulty seeing their problem. They simply keep placing bets without a second thought.

Even those who aren’t addicts sometimes have trouble quitting a gambling session. An addiction makes it nearly impossible to leave the casino, stop buying lottery tickets, or stay away from the poker tables.

Ripped Up Lottery Ticket

Of course, problem gambling brings serious challenges as well. Those suffering from a gambling problem may have more control over their situation.

However, they also struggle to contain themselves. Anybody with a problem will make every attempt to win back losses—even when dealing with negative-expectation wagers.

Given that the vast majority of betting propositions are in the negative-expectation category, problem gamblers almost always end up losing more. They sink even further into the pits when lying about their addiction and/or stealing money to continue gambling.

Is There a Cure for a Gambling Problem or Addiction?

Unfortunately, no cure-all exist for either a gambling addiction or problem. The best that one can do is take a multi-step approach when they realize they are gambling too much.

The good news is that plenty of hotlines and programs exist for helping those who struggle with gambling. For example, Gamblers Anonymous has been helping those in need since 1957.

As covered in the next section, gamblers should pursue multiple steps to help themselves. Again, though, no pill or magical method exists for curing an addict.

Those who suffer from an addiction or problem may even need outside intervention. After all, they might not consider themselves to have a problem and get angry when confronted about it.

Steps to Recovery for Problem and Addicted Gamblers

Most people don’t immediately admit that they struggle with gambling and go about fixing the issue. Instead, they usually need to go through the following process.

Step 1: Admit to the Problem

Many gambling addicts fail to see that they place far too many bets. Instead, they may see their wagering as a healthy way to blow off steam.

Problem gamblers often realize that they bet too much. However, they don’t want to admit to anybody that something is wrong.

Man Opening an Empty Wallet

In either case, a gambler needs to recognize and accept that they have a problem. They won’t get any better if they continue betting the same as always.

Step 2: Seek Out Available Resources

Gambling addictions and problems aren’t as common as the general public may believe. In fact, only around 1.5% of those who gamble suffer from degeneracy.

But given that there are 7.7 billion people who gamble worldwide, 1.5% is a large number. A number of organizations have sprung up to treat these people.

Here’s a list of some hotlines and organizations that help people with gambling issues:

Step 3: Commit to the Process

Some gamblers start on the right path towards recovery. But somewhere along the way, they get sidetracked and stop the treatment.

Of course, the same people can always pick up where they left off. Ideally, though, one will commit to a group and/or professional help and stick with it.

Commitment is the only way that one can undertake all of the steps they need to kick a gambling problem or addiction.

Step 4: Realize the Long Journey Ahead

As mentioned above, many gamblers fall off the wagon at some point. They may visit a betting site on their phone under the guise that they’ll merely check out the Super Bowl odds. Next thing they know, they’re wagering on the game and also placing several prop bets.

Or, they could visit a casino resort for a friend‘s bachelor party. The addict might tell themselves that they’re merely at the casino for their friend. By the end of the night, though, they’re betting $50 per blackjack hand.

If avoiding gambling addiction pitfalls were easy, then it wouldn’t be such a hot topic. But it’s not an easy feat, which is why so many people struggle with this issue.

Conclusion

People will likely continue using the terms gambling addiction and problem gambling interchangeably forever. After all, these terms are relatively close in meaning.

As you can see, though, they do feature differences. Gambling addicts place bets out of compulsion and don’t have a second thought about what they’re doing.

Problem gamblers, meanwhile, are aware that they shouldn’t be betting so much. However, they continue gambling too much for one reason or another.

Neither issue is healthy. Anybody who thinks they have a gambling problem or addiction should seek outside help. Likewise, those who know a problem or compulsive gambler should try convincing them to get help.

6 Most Extravagant Casinos in the World

Sun City and Casino de Monte Carlo Images

Throughout history, casinos have taken on a number of different appearances. One thing is certain though – whether operating illegally in a dark basement or under the bright lights of Las Vegas, the appeal of possibly hitting it big has kept them in business for hundreds of years.

As gambling grew in popularity during the mid-1900s, the ultra-luxurious casinos we know today began popping up all over the globe. Today, they’re nothing short of a man-made paradise, with a few slot machines scattered about.

In this article, I’ll briefly describe the top six most opulent and extravagant casinos in the world.

1 – Marina Bay Sands (Singapore)

You’d likely recognize this iconic structure if you were to see a photo. To paint the picture, it looks like a boat suspended hundreds of feet above the ground supported by three massive towers. It truly is a sight to behold.

Aside from its striking appearance, the casino itself has a number of unique features that make it a destination for tourists across the globe. The most notable is probably the luxury hotel and rooftop infinity pool that provides breathtaking views of Singapore.

Far Away View of Marina Bay Sands

If you aren’t interested in taking a swim in the clouds, there are plenty of other amenities to keep you entertained during your stay. You can enjoy the usual attractions such as the huge casino with more than 2,300 real money slots and a mind-boggling 500 gambling tables. Or, if education is more your thing, the ArtScience museum is part of the resort as well.

If you’re looking for an international casino to put on the bucket list, Marina Bay Sands is truly one of the most amazing structures out there.

2 – Sun City (South Africa)

Most people don’t associate exotic animals with casinos, but Sun City in South Africa is changing all of that. Nestled in the beautiful landscape is an adult’s paradise that has everything you could ever ask for in a vacation.

The resort is located directly adjacent to Pilanesburg, a world-renowned national park where you can view animals normally seen only on National Geographic. However, if you prefer to keep your distance from the wild game you have plenty more activities at your disposal.

Some other notable attractions at Sun City include a massive wave pool and a world-class golf course. And if your bankroll needs a workout, head down to the casino which has hundreds of slot machines and dozens of table games so you’ll always be able to find your lucky game.

If “African Safari” and “International Gambling Trip” are both on your list – knock them out in one place with a visit to Sun City.

3 – Bellagio (Las Vegas)

Of course Vegas was going to show up on the list! When looking at the most luxurious locations Sin City has to offer, the Bellagio in Las Vegas does not disappoint.

The first thing most visitors will notice about the hotel casino is the massive 8-acre pond/lake structure that features dancing fountains and a dazzling light show. Each night, hundreds of tourists stop by and watch as the streams of water follow along with music in what can only be described as an all-water ballet.

Once you take a step inside, you’re transported into a truly luxurious establishment that has all the trappings of a legendary resort. Built for visitors with exquisite taste, the grounds feature conservatory and botanical gardens, and even a gallery of fine art (if you’re into that kind of thing).

Bellagio Las Vegas Exterior

On the gambling side of things, the Bellagio has a reputation for being the place to play when it comes to notable poker players. In fact, many of the world’s top players refer to the casino as “The Office” due to its high limits. It’s not uncommon for a pot to include more than $1 million.

If you don’t have those kind of deep pockets, not to worry – there are plenty of other gambling attractions that could help you find your way to the main table some day in the future.

The bottom line is that if you’re someone who takes pride in enjoying the finer things in life, this establishment should be exactly what you’re looking for in a casino hotel.

4 – Casino de Monte Carlo (Monaco)

The Bellagio might be known as a high-roller destination, but there is one place that takes things to a completely different level.

Casino de Monte Carlo, located in Monaco, is arguably the most exclusive casino in the entire world.

From Monaco’s elegant Mediterranean architecture to its streets filled with the latest and greatest supercars, you’ll feel as if you’ve transported into a new world where the planet’s richest fun-seekers spend their vacations.

You’ve probably seen this casino in a James Bond film, or perhaps “Ocean’s Twelve.” It’s incorporation into popular culture is easy to understand if you took a look inside the grounds. Lush gardens can be found throughout the property, marbled floors lined with massive pillars lead you in the main hall, and the gaming floor is nothing short of ornate.

Sure, you might have to save up for a decade to afford the trip, but if you can make it happen you’ll have something to brag to your gambling buddies about for the rest of your life.

5 – The Venetian (Macao)

The first thing that you’ll notice about the Venetian in Macao is its sheer size. The second largest casino in the entire world, it boasts 3,000 rooms and more than 550,000 square feet of gambling space.

If you’re an avid slot machine fan, you won’t find a better place anywhere on the globe. The most recent count has the number of machines up to 6,000. If table games are more your speed, pull up a chair at one of the more than 800 tables on the floor.

The Venetian Macao

If gambling isn’t getting your juices flowing, there’s a 15,000 seat arena that hosts entertainment and sporting events on a regular basis.

If you’re thinking that the name of this casino sounds familiar, you’d be correct! Its sister casino, also named the Venetian, can be found in Las Vegas. The two have some features in common such as the canals, complete with gondolas, that guests can ride on to get the true “Venice” experience.

6 – The Kurhaus of Baden-Baden (Germany)

If you’re taking the lady along on your gambling trip, consider reserving a room the Kurhaus of Baden-Baden. This German casino, resort, and spa was built 200 years ago and has remained one of the most extravagant destinations in the world ever since.

What sets it apart from the others on the list? Most notably, the casino hasn’t always been the main attraction. This location is known not just as a spa-casino, but rather an entire “spa-town.”

The Kurhaus of Baden-Baden Spa Casino

Baden-Baden, which literally means bathing, has a number of beautiful salt-water baths that can be found throughout the city. One might argue that this place could be considered the relaxation capital of the world.

If you’re looking for a little more excitement than relaxation, the town also offers world-class snow skiing in the winter, as well as a beautiful golf course nearby.

For those looking for a less-conventional casino resort experience, The Kurhaus has everything you could ever ask for in a getaway.

Conclusion

Beauty, opulence, and extravagance are words that can be used to the casinos described above, and they’re an amazing destination for anyone who can appreciate the intersection of architecture and entertainment.

They certainly don’t make for a cheap vacation, but a visit to any one of these six casinos is sure to be an unforgettable experience. The best part is that there’s always a chance your good luck on the gambling floor could help take a bite of the costs associated with a trip to any of these places.

With that being said, remember there’s a reason they were able to afford all the glitz and glamour.

Reasons Why Gambling and Marijuana Don’t Mix

Marijuana Leaf in a Cross Out Symbol With a Poker Background

After the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada, it was only a matter of time before Las Vegas saw an influx of vendors for the well-known psychoactive drug.

Now that Las Vegas is filled with cannabis stores, many gamblers have found themselves smoking or consuming marijuana or edibles before gambling. This is a practice that at best is foolish and, at worst, can cost you some serious cash.

Here are several reasons why consuming marijuana before gambling is a bad idea.

Marijuana Slows Reaction Time

One of the biggest reasons why it’s not a good idea to consume marijuana in any form before gambling is the effect it will have on your reaction time.

Marijuana is well-known to affect reaction time, but you might be asking yourself, why does my reaction time matter in a casino? It’s a good question, and it has a right answer. Gambling in many forms requires you to move quickly and make fast decisions for a simple reason. It’s because you’re often playing with other people.

Let’s look at an example. Imagine that you’re playing craps for real money . Everyone around you has had maybe a drink or two at best, which means they’re paying attention to every roll of the dice. When bets are being made, they’re usually being made quickly. It’s a fast-paced game. And because everyone is playing together, they’re all counting on you to make your bets at the same speed they’re making their own.

Closeup of a Craps Table Game

That means they expect you to not only know the game and its ins and outs, but they also expect you to make your bets quickly.

If you don’t, you’re going to be the most hated guy at the table (unless you’re making a lot of don’t pass bets at the same time, which will make you even more unpopular).

Now, imagine that you’re taking your sweet time deciding what to bet because you’ve consumed too much marijuana, and your reaction times are slowed. You’re struggling to understand what’s going on and what the outcomes of each roll are.

But you still want to make your bets. You always want to participate. Everyone else is drinking a little, so they’re in a jovial mood, but also a party mood. They want fast-paced fun, and they want it now. And yet, here you are slowing their roll. You can see how this would go poorly for you. You’re a buzzkill, and that might lead to you feeling uncomfortable, to say the least.

Annoying Other Gamblers

Let’s look at another example. Suppose you walk into the casino to make some money playing poker. You sit down at the table to play some Texas Hold’em, waiting for the button to pass to you.

When you get the first hand, it takes you a while to realize the value of what you’re holding and make a decision on what to bet. Everyone who’s having a beer or three is wondering what’s taking so long. They’re already annoyed at the new guy.

But you keep being slow. You keep taking your time on every bet. Everyone else already has their bets planned out the moment the cards hit the table. They’re ready to reevaluate when other bets are made.

You’re never ready. Everyone is always waiting for you. Resentment is rising, and suddenly, you find that everyone is basically playing against you and trying to push you out. It’s not all about the other people though. Slow reaction times in games by yourself can be problematic, too.

Let’s say you came to the casino to play some blackjack. You sit down at an empty table where it’s just you and the dealer. You’re trying to play quickly so that you can make some decent money per hour because you’ve practiced your betting strategy, your playing strategy, and card counting.

But because your reaction times are slowed, you’re finding that you have to really think for a while before you’re able to decide how you want to play or how you want to bet. You’re taking your time counting the cards. Maybe you’re confused and can’t quite count the cards the way you want to.

See the problem? No matter how you slice it, it’s not going to work out well to smoke or consume marijuana then try to gamble. You’re either self-sabotaging, or you’re outright annoying people.

The Cannabis and Gambling Industry Aren’t Exactly Friends

A continuous problem in the world of state-legalized recreational marijuana is the fact that it remains illegal at the federal level. Although many are advocating for the federal government to legalize marijuana at the federal level, it seems unlikely for the decriminalization of marijuana to occur in the near future.

You’re probably wondering why this matters. I can tell you that you only have to look at all the instances of federal raids on both medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries to understand that federal enforcement is still happening and is still a concern.

A consequence of the drug’s illegality at the federal level is that banks are hesitant to work with dispensaries because of the laws concerning money laundering and drugs. The banks are concerned that they could be considered to have laundered “drug money” if they work with these dispensaries, so they have consistently refused to work with cannabis businesses.

Las Vegas Dispensary Interior

You can probably see where this is going. The gambling industry isn’t happy about all the marijuana shops that have sprung around Las Vegas. Many of these shops are right on the street outside the big casinos on the Strip.

Casinos are wary, to say the least, of having marijuana anywhere on their premises. It’s possible they can lose their gaming license.

While there are marijuana-friendly hotels in Las Vegas, you can’t just smoke anywhere inside a casino. The laws concerning marijuana consumption require you to be on private property.

If your room reeks of marijuana, you may be kicked out of the premises or possibly arrested and fined. Vegas casinos take this very seriously.

Marijuana Clouds Your Judgment

Even if you’ve consumed marijuana outside of a casino then gone inside to gamble, you run into another problem that is probably far worse than slow reaction times—problems with your judgment.

Judgment is critical to making potentially successful bets at table games. While you can probably get away with consuming marijuana then tangling with the one-armed bandit (you only need to bet on all the lines after all), playing at the tables is very different.

You could probably get away with playing a game of pure chance like roulette. Still, any casino games that requires skill, like blackjack or poker, is going to be much more challenging to play successfully with marijuana in your system.

Games like blackjack require careful judgment and a good memory. Marijuana can affect short-term memory, which is a critical piece of memory if you’re going to count cards, but it also affects your ability to make good decisions.

The wrong decision could cost you at the blackjack or poker tables.

Marijuana Causes Confusion Even in Low Doses

Another problem is not just bad judgment but complete confusion. Even at low doses, marijuana can cause confusion, depending on the individual. Confusion, even in front of a slot machine, can be a severe problem.

Four Aces Poker Hand

For example, imagine that you’re at the blackjack table, and the dealer has an ace showing. Perhaps insurance is offered, but you become confused about your own hand because you have ace nine. You end up making the wrong decision and lose some serious money.

You can see the same thing happening at the poker table. You become confused about the ranking of your poker hand and make the wrong bet, only to find out that you actually should have folded.

Conclusion

The best way to avoid the problems of mixing gambling with marijuana is to not consume marijuana at all. And if you’re already taking advantage of the free drinks on the casino floor, then it may be best to think twice about smoking or consuming edibles.

Do you have experience consuming marijuana while gambling? Do you agree or disagree with this article? Let me know in the comments.

7 Reasons Why Esports Betting Isn’t Widely Available

Esports Gamer and a Large Stadium and Money Image

Esports betting and sports gambling have blended together in recent years. Traditional sports and esports lines are now featured at many of the same sites.

Esports viewership has also shot up tremendously within the past few years. Now, hundreds of millions of people worldwide watch competitive gaming.

Taking everything into account, esports gambling seems like it may catch up to sports betting someday. However, it may never truly catch up in terms of betting volume or popularity for the following reasons.

1 – Esports Betting Isn’t Popular Everywhere

The competitive gaming industry has seen accelerated growth within the last several years. This esports boom doesn’t show any signs of slowing down anytime soon either.

According to a Newzoo report, the annual growth rate of esports viewers is expected to increase by 14% until 2021. If this forecast comes to fruition, the audience will grow to 250 million regular viewers and 307 casual viewers (557 million total).

However, most of this viewership is based in Asia, most notably China. The majority of the world doesn’t watch competitive gaming on a regular or casual basis.

Esportsbooks will continue gaining popularity in Asia over the next few years. But the industry won’t ever reach the heights of traditional sports betting until the world embraces gaming.

2 – Some Bookmakers Only Offer Lines on Major Events

Betting sites routinely feature lines on the most popular sports to their primary customer base. North American-facing sportsbooks, for example, offer lots of NHL, MLB, NBA, and NFL betting on a daily basis (depending upon the season).

The average bookmaker doesn’t, however, run esports lines every day. Many sports gambling sites still only cover major events in competitive gaming.

Large Esports Stadium in Asia

The Fortnite Cup, The International (Dota 2), and the World Championship (League of Legends) are the biggest esports events. You can expect these tournaments to be covered at every major bookmaker.

But beyond the times when these events take place, esports gambling doesn’t get much attention. Sure, dedicated esportsbooks consistently feature odds on different leagues and tournaments.

However, standard online sportsbooks don’t offer enough odds on competitive gaming outside of the largest events.

3 – Younger Audience Without Much Disposable Income

Sports draw a wide range of gamblers who are both young and old. Esports, meanwhile, have a relatively young fanbase.

The average gaming fan’s age is 31, which might be older than you think. But it’s still not close to the average age of sports enthusiasts.

Here are the average ages for different types of sports fans according to 2016 data from the Sports Business Journal:

  • NBA = 42 years old
  • NHL = 49
  • NFL = 50
  • MLB = 57
  • Overall average = 53

Again, 31 may be older than you’d think for an esports fan. But it’s still over two decades younger than the typical sports enthusiast.

According to 2017 statistics, disposable household income by age group breaks down as follows:

  • Under 25 years old = $29,960
  • 25 to 34 years = $61,145
  • 35 to 44 years = $75,609
  • 45 to 54 years = $83,939
  • 55 to 64 years = $71,520
  • 65 to 74 years = $50,721
  • Older than 75 years = $34,684

The typical esports enthusiast is sitting on $61,145 in disposable income, while the average sports fan has $83,939. The latter has more money to wager on sports on average.

4 – Sizable Number of Fans under the Legal Gambling Age

As covered above, the typical esports fan is 31 years or older. They have no problem legally gambling on esports as a result.

10% of those who watch competitive gaming are younger than 18 years old. Outside of Papua New Guinea, which has no gambling age, every country, state, and territory requires sports bettors to be at least 18. That said, one-tenth of esports fans are too young to legally bet on the matter.

Another 26% lie in the range of 18 to 24 years old. Those living in certain countries can’t bet under the age of 21. So, this age range prevents another portion of fans from wagering legally.

Of course, some fans of regular sports are also under 18 and 21. But referring to the average age statistics again, it’s very likely that a smaller percentage of sports fans fall under the legal gambling ages.

5 – Viewers like PvP Betting

The term esports betting typically describes wagering at standard sportsbooks. At traditional betting sites, you gamble on odds regarding professional esports players.

However, competitive gaming differs from regular sports by offering player-vs-player (PvP) gambling. Certain platforms let anybody bet on their own performance in a video game.

Here’s an example:

  • You’re playing Dota 2.
  • You feel confident in your team’s chances of winning.
  • You wager on your team winning the match.

PvP betting lets you be the pro and wager on your own skills. It’s much different than anything offered through sports betting.

The latter can’t allow athletes to wager on themselves under normal circumstances. Many professional leagues, such as the NBA, NLF, and MLB, forbid athletes from betting on their respective sports.

Esports Team in a Large Stadium

Meanwhile, bookmakers can’t feasibly allow recreational basketball players to wager on themselves winning. This model wouldn’t be worthwhile or profitable for the sportsbook. Esportsbooks have a rare opportunity in the PvP area.

However, this type of gambling always takes away from regular esports betting. Fewer people will bet on the pros when their money is wrapped up on themselves winning matches.

6 – Still a Huge Revenue Gap

The competitive gaming market and betting side have grown hand in hand. In 2020, esports betting sites worldwide are expected to earn $1.81 billion in total vig, a massive increase from the $24 million in juice that bookmakers earned in 2015.

i
Sportsbooks worldwide collect an estimated $250 billion in vig. Esports wagering doesn’t even account for a one-hundredth of sports gambling revenue to date.

I suspect that this massive gap will close in the coming years. But esports betting will probably never come close to eclipsing wagering on traditional sports.

7 – Fewer Esports Betting Promotions and VIP Rewards

Sports betting has never offered a wealth of promotions in comparison to, say, online casinos and poker sites. But certain online sportsbooks do feature quality promos and VIP programs for sports bettors.

Esports betting, on the other hand, hasn’t quite caught up in this regard. The majority of esportsbooks do offer welcome bonuses, including free bets and/or deposit bonuses.

These deals give you a chance to earn free money right away (deposit bonus) or win back losses from your first wager (free bet). However, you’re not going to find many promotions at esports betting sites. You’re even less likely to pick up loyalty or VIP rewards.

This aspect doesn’t necessarily have to be a dealbreaker. However, it’s disheartening when you can’t look forward to rewards beyond the welcome bonuses.

Conclusion

The esports gambling industry definitely has plenty to look forward to. The leagues, tournaments, and betting aspect are all growing rapidly.

Their quick growth is causing some people to make ridiculous predictions about where the market is going. Certain people believe that esports betting can even surpass traditional sports gambling in revenue.

Many signs point to this not being the case. First off, the global revenue gap between the two types of gambling is $248 billion. Put another way, esports gambling ($1.81b) isn’t even expected to earn a one-hundredth of what sportsbooks ($250b) will collect in 2020.

The average age of esports fans presents more problems. A good portion of gaming enthusiasts are too young to bet. Others are in the younger age brackets that don’t have as much disposable income.

The popularity of esports could also stand to be more global. Right now, most fans are concentrated in China and a few other Asian countries.

Bookmakers themselves aren’t helping the matter by offering a lower selection of esports lines. Most betting sites only ramp up their gaming offerings when major events happen.

Player-vs-player betting brings forth yet another challenge. While amateurs betting on themselves helps specific platforms, it doesn’t necessarily deliver revenue to standard esports bookmakers.

One more dilemma is the lack of promotions and VIP rewards. Most esports betting sites only offer welcome bonuses and nothing else.

I firmly believe that esports gambling will overcome some of these problems and grow much larger. But this industry is very unlikely to ever rival sports betting.

Unusual Casinos in Strange Places That Are Actually Pretty Cool

Casino Chips and Underground Casino and Penguins

Throughout the course of history, casinos have existed in a number of different locations ranging from underground, discreet back rooms, to massive hotels and resorts.

Still some gaming establishments have been erected in even more unusual places that make them stand out from the rest. Whether it was due to a strange gambling law or just a reason to be different, these establishments have visitors in awe of their unique qualities.

In this article, I’ll list 10 of the most interesting casinos that were built in the strangest of places.

The Puddle (Rivers Casino – Des Plaines, Illinois)

To state the obvious, governments have been enacting somewhat, for lack of a better word, stupid, gambling laws since the beginning of time. As they look to find ways to receive the financial kickbacks that a casino can provide, sometimes the legal language makes little to no sense.

One such example of this can be seen in the ‘Casino Built on a Puddle’ in Illinois. Why a puddle, you ask? Well, at the time of its creation, the law in Illinois stated that only riverboat casinos were legal. To get around this law in a creative way, the owner constructed a small pit of water to build the casino on in order to “abide” by the legislation.

Exterior of Rivers Casino in Des Plaines Illinois

In my opinion, the best part of the whole situation is the name of the establishment: Rivers Casino.

Although I have to assume that the government leaders were not thrilled, visitors have to appreciate a good legal loophole when they see one.

Airport Casino (The Holland Casino – Amsterdam Schiphol Airport)

Airports do not have the reputation of being a place that most people would choose to hang out if given the choice. However, one Amsterdam airport is looking to change all that by giving folks a reason to stick around long after their flights have landed.

For those travelers who feel the need to hit the blackjack table before checking into their hotel, the Holland Casino at the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport affords them that opportunity.

While the casino might not have the full floor of games, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more entertaining place to be during a delayed flight. Come to think of it, it’s almost surprising that more airports haven’t cultivated this business opportunity.

On the Rails (X-Train Casino – LA to Las Vegas)

If you’re on the way to Las Vegas, there’s only one way to get in the mood during your travel. Start gambling en route to Sin City via the X-Train!

The luxury train, which began operating in 2011, allows travelers to get their gambling fix in during the roughly 5-hour trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. In addition to the games, the train cars also include a sports bar and restaurant.

Interior of the X-Train LA to Las Vegas

For anyone looking to recover their lost funds on the way home, we can only hope that things work out in your favor.

And in the Sky! (AirJet Airplanes)

Can’t wait until you get there? Just like the X-Train, the AirJet casino concept is giving gamblers the opportunity to grow their bankroll before checking in for the weekend.

Now, obviously fitting a full casino floor on a little tube in the sky isn’t exactly going to be practical, but there are more than enough games to keep you occupied until touch down. Not to mention, the luxury aircraft has plenty of other amenities that will help you enjoy your flight.

VR (Still in Development)

This one might not exist just yet, but it’s in development right now and is worth taking note of for the future.

Virtual Reality casinos are currently being constructed that will allow players from all over the world to simply pop on a headset and be transported right to the casino floor. The fact that everything is built digitally means that the opportunities are endless for upgrades along the way.

If you’re already a fan of using online casinos, this would simply be the next step up from what you’re used to. It goes beyond just the gaming experience and provides a true feeling of “being there” even when you’re not.

While they aren’t very common today, many industry experts think VR casinos are the future.

Spooky Casino (Bally’s – Las Vegas)

For all the folklore surrounding the industry, some casinos have to be haunted, right?

While there’s no way to technically prove that Bally’s Casino in Las Vegas is haunted, the stories are enough to get your heart rate going. Its reputation for being haunted stems from the fact that it was constructed upon the grounds of a casino that burned down in the 1980s.

Long Hallway at Bally's Las Vegas

The blaze resulted in the deaths of many patrons and some say that their souls never fully left. Although it’s a luxurious casino now, visitors have reported seeing ghosts, spirits, and other unexplainable phenomena during their stay.

If you’re looking to add a little fright to your Vegas visit, this is the place to go.

The Lower Level (The Basement Casino – North Cadbury Court)

Some casinos have a beautiful view of surrounding areas…and then there’s the Basement Casino in North Cadbury Court.

True to its name, this casino is located in the basement of a historic building in the English countryside. By historic, I’m talking a 16th century building. It has all the character and charm you’d expect from something this old.

Players enjoy high stakes, low ceilings, and even a separate poker room that gives you the feel of an underground (both literally and figuratively) gambling experience that you won’t soon forget.

Underground Casino (Desert Cave Hotel – Australia)

When you hear people refer to Australia as “down under,” this casino certainly lives up to the billing. The Desert Cave Hotel was built deep underground in the rocks of the outback’s desert, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more unique casino experience.

Interior of Desert Cave Hotel Australia

It has all the games you’d expect from a regular casino and one of the most notable interiors of any casino you’ll find anywhere.

Gaming Behind Bars (State Prison, Nevada)

Gambling is certainly not unheard of in prisons across the world. I mean, they do have quite a bit of time to kill.

In the mid-20th century, one prison in Nevada decided that it was time to make things a little more official. That’s right – they opened a casino inside a prison that was functional for nearly three decades.

How did that experiment work out? Surprisingly well actually! Prisoners were able to play games from blackjack to craps, and could even place a wager on sports events. It was thought the somewhat-regulated nature of the casino eliminated the need for the violence associated with underground gambling operations.

Ice Cold Casino (Base Esperanza – Antarctica)

Perhaps the most difficult casino on this list to enjoy, the gaming establishment set up at Base Esperanza in Antarctica provides entertainment for those who have made the trek to one of the most remote destinations on planet Earth.

Base Esperanza in Antarctica

Who is responsible for building such a thing? The answer would be the Argentinian research team, whom I imagine found the endless, freezing temperatures a bit of a drag.

If at any point you make the trip to the world’s least-inhabited content, I hope you pay this place a visit and test your luck.

Conclusion

There you have it – the list of some of the most unique gambling establishments in the entire world! Now that you’ve read about casinos located deep in the ground to high in the sky, it’s time to plan your next gambling trip and start checking off the list.

Regardless of where you go, if you choose any of the locations I’ve laid out here, you’re sure to have one of the most memorable gambling experiences of your lifetime.

How Does a Bingo No Deposit Bonus Work?

Bonus Sticker Bingo Balls and Cash

Online bingo has become quite popular for multiple reasons, including its convenience, large game variety, and bonuses. Regarding the latter, you can look forward to different types of bonuses.

Many sites offer a deposit bonus as soon as you fund your account. These deals match a percentage of your first deposit.

An even more-popular offer is a bingo no deposit bonus. The latter is notable because it gives you a chance to win free money.

Few things are free in the online bingo world. That said, you’ll definitely want to learn more about no deposit bonuses in this guide.

Basics of a No Deposit Bonus

Many online bingo bonuses require you to make a deposit. If they site’s minimum deposit is $10, then you’ll need to fund your account with at least $10 to qualify for an offer.

Of course, these deals are worthwhile if you’ll be playing internet bingo anyways. But they also force you to assume some risk.

A no deposit offer differs in this regard. It doesn’t require you to deposit anything to qualify. You simply need to complete registration to get a bonus.

Here’s an example:

  • You register for an account at a new bingo site.
  • This site gives you a $10 no deposit bonus.
  • You can use this bonus to generate more winnings and cash them out later.

Online bingo rooms don’t let you withdraw no deposit funds immediately. Otherwise, they’d see a slew of players registering just to get free money.

However, bingo sites do give you an opportunity to collect free money after meeting terms and conditions. I’ll cover more on the terms behind these deals later.

How Do You Get Bingo No Deposit Bonuses?

If you’re brand new to no deposit offers, you may need some help in this department. The following steps will help you get your bonus with no hassles.

Step 1: Find a Site With a No Deposit Offer

Unfortunately, most bingo sites don’t offer no deposit bonuses. This fact comes as a little surprise when considering that internet bingo rooms aren’t known for their generosity.

Online Bingo Game Screenshot

Nevertheless, you can still find no deposit deals by spending time looking for them. Many bingo no deposit bonuses range in value from $10 to $20.

Of course, just because a bingo site features a no deposit offer doesn’t mean that you should rush to play. Instead, you might consider reading reviews on different sites that offer these deals. This way, you’ll know if a bingo room is worth playing at beyond the bonus.

Step 2: Register for an Account

Online bingo rooms require you to sign up before playing. They feature signup prompts on their homepage to help you get started as quickly as possible.

The registration process asks for basic information, such as the following:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Home address
  • Country of residence
  • Age
  • Username
  • Password

When finished with registration, you need to agree to the bingo operator’s terms and conditions. You finish by submitting your account for approval, which should come instantly.

Step 3: Enter the Appropriate Bonus Code

Many bingo sites with no deposit bonuses require you to enter a bonus code during registration. This code informs the operator which deal you want to qualify for.

i
You can find such codes through bingo rooms and/or affiliate sites. For example, you might use code “NDB10” for a $10 offer.

The registration form should clearly indicate where you enter such codes. After inputting the code and signing up for account, you’ll qualify for the relevant no deposit bonus.

Meet Terms and Conditions Before Cashing Out

Again, bingo operators don’t let you take no deposit funds and run. They expect you to play for the money before making a withdrawal.

These sites require you to satisfy terms and conditions first. Here are common terms that you’ll come across in the bingo world:

  • Rollover – A multiple of the bonus (e.g. 4x) that you must wager.
  • Game restrictions – You might not be permitted to play specific bingo games when meeting rollover.
  • Rollover time limit – Bingo sites only give you so many days/months to satisfy rollover.
  • Restricted countries – Some nations don’t qualify for bingo deals at certain sites.
  • Maximum winnings – Operators limit how much you can win (e.g. $200 max) through one of these deals.

These are just general terms that you’ll come across in the bingo industry. You should always read bonus terms and conditions at the specific site you’re dealing with. Doing so ensures that you don’t miss any terms that could jeopardize your deal.

Pros & Cons of Bingo No Deposit Bonuses

Pros

You can get off to a great start at a new bingo room by taking advantage of casino bonuses. The latter provides a unique opportunity to earn money without spending anything.

You simply need to sign up for an account and use the proper bonus code to qualify. Afterward, you must meet rollover and other T&Cs before withdrawing the money.

Here’s an example on satisfying rollover:

  • An operator offers a $20 no deposit deal.
  • Rollover is 5x.
  • 20 x 5 = $100 must be wagered

No deposit bonuses provide a straightforward process. You should have little trouble completing registration and qualifying for available offers.

Perhaps the best part about a no deposit offer is that you assume no financial risk. Even if you fail to earn any money from a deal, you walk away having risked none of your own funds.

Cons

Some bingo players look at no deposit deals as free money. However, these offers aren’t technically free cash until terms and conditions have been met.

Bingo sites don’t make it easy to withdraw no deposit funds. They instate fairly difficult terms and conditions to ensure that the average player earns little to nothing from these offers.

Sometimes, you may satisfy rollover only to find that you don’t have enough funds for the minimum cashout. In this case, you need to deposit just to meet the minimum withdrawal and get your meager winnings.

This aspect leads to another downside in that your chances of winning big with no deposit bonuses are slim. Even if you do win big, your earnings are capped.

Is a Bingo No Deposit Bonus Worth the Trouble?

Not everything regarding bingo no deposit offers is perfect. You actually have to earn the money by satisfying each term.

Even when you do meet T&Cs, you probably won’t walk away with significant winnings. Therefore, you may wonder if it’s even worth pursuing these deals.

Your situation will dictate whether no deposit offers are ultimately worth the time. If you’re a low roller who’s looking for free cash, then you should definitely go for as many of these deals as possible.

Two Card Online Bingo

A no deposit bonus doesn’t require you to do anything other than register and play. If you manage to satisfy rollover and other terms, you’ll collect free funds.

On the other hand, you might be a mid or high roller who’s looking to play for serious prizes, right away. In this case, you might not bother with a tiny no deposit deal.

Assuming you’re like many other bingo players, then you play for low stakes and have a limited budget. That said, you should certainly consider no deposit offers.

What Other Types of Bingo Bonuses Are Available?

No deposit deals aren’t the only way to score free money through online bingo. In fact, the following offers are actually much more common.

Deposit Bonus

A bingo deposit bonus matches a percentage of your deposit up to a certain amount. Here’s an example:

  • A bingo site features a deposit bonus worth a 100% match worth up to $50.
  • You fund your account with $50.
  • You’ve qualified for the maximum $50 bonus.

The catch with deposit offers is that you need to fund your account and risk money when meeting T&Cs. The upside, though, is that you stand to earn more cash on average through these deals.

Reload Bonus

A reload bonus is simply a deposit bonus that’s available to existing customers. In contrast to a welcome deposit offer, which is only available to new players, it gives existing players an opportunity to earn extra money.

Reload bonuses are usually smaller than welcome offers. But they’re still worth taking advantage of when no other opportunities exist.

Cashback

Many bingo rooms feature VIP programs that see you accumulate loyalty points. You can exchange these points for cashback.

The latter allows you to recoup some of the money you spend playing different kinds of bingo games. You might even receive a higher cashback rate by moving up in a loyalty program.

Conclusion

Bingo no deposit bonuses are simple to understand. You can get started with them just by signing up for an account and using the relevant bonus code.

Afterward, you need to understand and satisfy the T&Cs. Anything you have left over from these bonuses is yours to keep or cash out (if it meets the minimum withdrawal).

You probably won’t win much, if anything, from a bingo no deposit bonus. Then again, you always stand the chance of netting a significant payout and boosting your bankroll.

Facts About the History and Current Gambling Climate in New Zealand

New Zealand Horse Racing and Country Seal

Not only is New Zealand one of the most beautiful places in the entire world, but it’s also home to a unique gambling culture.

The tale of gambling history and where New Zealand gambling culture is today is a compelling one, to say the least. It involves the influence of European settlers intermixed with the culture of indigenous New Zealanders.

Here are three significant facts about the history and current gambling climate in New Zealand.

Europeans Brought Horse Racing and Gambling to New Zealand

When European settlers landed in New Zealand, they brought with them their love for horse betting and playing cards.

In 1835, at Bay Islands, the first bets were made on a horse race in New Zealand. Early horse races in New Zealand were held at the military garrison in Auckland. Meetings were held by soldiers at Onehunga and Auckland where they used their own horses to race while officers played the role of officials at these events.

January 5th, 1841 marks the date of a meeting at Epsom that was held by citizens of Manukau and Auckland. Between 1842 and 1849, officers of the militia controlled the races at Auckland. Also, in January of 1841, the first anniversary of Wellington was celebrated and a hurdle race took place on day 3 of the anniversary celebration. Henry Petre won this race riding his own horse named Calmuc Tartar.

Vintage New Zealand Horse Racing

On October 20th of 1842, there was a meeting on Peyton Beach that ended with Calmuc Tartar losing to an imported horse named Figaro. This was a 10-guinea sweepstake run that was over a mile and a half.

At the first anniversary of the settlement of Nelson, there was a hurdle race that was significant in the establishment of horse racing in New Zealand. Four miles from Nelson, there was a horse racing course in Stoke where Thoroughbreds were imported for breeding and racing. The first race at this course took place on February 3rd, 1845.

Another significant event was a meeting in Wanganui that took place on December 28th, 1848, where militia officers organized a big horse race which was also significant to the introduction of horse racing in New Zealand.

Horse racing then went through a period of growth where different committees made their own rules for each race. Eventually, the need to have one body govern over horse racing as a whole in New Zealand became very apparent.

On July 12th, 1883, the Hawke’s Bay Jockey Club set up a subcommittee which consisted of Captain W.R. Russell (who became the very first president of the Racing Conference), C.B. Winter, and R.U. Burke.

The objective of the subcommittee was to establish the New Zealand Racing Association, which would put uniform rules in place. Turf registration, registration of colors, and the publishing of a race calendar were also suggestions made by this subcommittee.

The 1980s Were a Pivotal Time for the Gambling Industry in New Zealand

Economic reforms in the 1980s led to a period of liberalization of regulatory and marketing regimes.

During this period, restraints on gambling were lifted and thus, the stage was set for the beginnings of a booming gambling industry in New Zealand.

The first electronic gambling machines were introduced to New Zealand in 1991. These caught on rather quickly and were very popular at places with liquor licenses such as clubs and bars.

In that first year alone, these machines made up about 19% of the gambling spent in New Zealand. Although this all seems well and good, it led to gambling becoming a normalized part of modern life in New Zealand, which led to an uptick of problem gamblers among the populace.

New Zealand Electronic Casino Games

Up to this point, mainly older men made up the portion of the population that could be called problem gamblers. However, during this time of lifting restrictions, New Zealand began to see younger citizens and women start to develop patterns of problem gambling.

So, people were seeking help and treatment for their addiction and services that address problem gambling. Programs were funded through an organization known as the Problem Gambling Committee. They also track how many people use these services.

In this way, they are able to assess the severity of problem gambling in New Zealand. In recent years, it seems more older individuals are gambling away their life savings on the use of electronic gaming machines.

Also, in the 1980s, lotteries were introduced in New Zealand. And, in 1987, the New Zealand Lotteries Commission was established. Aside from the original lotto, New Zealand now has daily keno, a lotto variant by the name of Big Wednesday and Instant Kiwi scratch cards.

Starting in 2008, Lotto tickets could be bought via the internet. Lotto continues to be very popular and a part of daily life in modern New Zealand.

There Are Currently Six Land-Based Casinos in New Zealand

Just like many other places around the world, online gambling is on the rise in New Zealand.

Sure, online gambling is extremely convenient and allows you to play some fun casino games in the luxury of your own home on your personal computer or mobile device. But no matter how good the graphics are on a particular online casino, you are never going to get the experience a real live casino gives you.

Land-based casinos are pretty new in New Zealand, and there are currently only six of them; however, you can be assured that they are top-notch.

SKYCITY Entertainment Group owns most of these casinos and has been a major player in the gambling industry of New Zealand since 1996. They cater to Asian tourists, as they make up the majority of gamblers that come to New Zealand looking to try their luck inside a real casino.

The very first casino to open in New Zealand was Christchurch Casino in 1994. Close to Christchurch Airport, the Christchurch Casino is open 24 hours a day and is home to the New Zealand Poker Championships.

In the city of Dunedin is the Dunedin Casino. This is a pretty small casino but nonetheless provides top-notch service. There are close to 200 slot machines and great table games which include baccarat, Tai Sai, roulette, and a money wheel.

Dunedin Casino in New Zealand

Another 24-hour casino is SKYCITY Auckland which is located at the bottom of the SKYCITY Hotel in Auckland. With eight bars and nine restaurants, the SKYCITY Auckland also has two hotels that feature more than 300 rooms. Within this casino complex is also a swimming pool, a theatre, a health club, and a convention center.

On the gambling floor, there are over 1500 slot machine games and over 100 table games that include roulette, poker, blackjack, and baccarat. SKYCITY Auckland was actually the second casino built in New Zealand.

In Queenstown, you will find the Wharf Casino which holds over 70 slot machines. They also offer table games such as mini-baccarat, blackjack, and American Roulette. This casino resides within the Steamer Wharf Complex and has an amazing lakeside view.

SKYCITY Queenstown is open from noon to 4 AM daily. Along with 12 table games and over 80 slot machines, there is also a hotel and an excellent restaurant at SKYCITY Queenstown. This was the fourth casino to be opened in New Zealand.

In Hamilton, you will find the SKYCITY Hamilton that is open from Sunday to Wednesday, 9 AM to 3 AM. For extended gaming action, they’re open 9 AM to 5 AM from Thursday to Saturday. As far as games go, there is an 80-seat bingo hall, over 20 table games, and over 300 slot machines. SKYCITY Hamilton resides within Hamilton’s Riverside Entertainment Centre and also features a 10-lane bowling alley.

Conclusion

Whether you want to visit great casinos or just simply play real money slots (also known as “pokies”), New Zealand has no shortage of options when it comes to gambling.

New Zealanders love to gamble and as the world of online gambling gains popularity, New Zealand will have to find ways in which it can be successfully be regulated.

As of now, New Zealanders are gambling online via sites that are not based in the country.

Did you enjoy reading about the history and current gambling climate in New Zealand? If so, let me know in the comments below.

Will Wearing a Mask in Casinos Affect Your Gambling Results?

Man Wearing Mask and Casino CardsLike other businesses, casinos are enforcing various policies during the COVID-19 pandemic. For starters, they’re operating at limited capacity to help stop the virus from spreading.

Casinos also require gamblers to wear masks on the gambling floor. Facemasks are supposed to prevent people from spreading the coronavirus through the air.

But if you’ve ever had to wear a mask at work or elsewhere for prolonged time periods, you know how irritating they can be. You may even wonder if masks have health consequences.

After all, it’s harder to breathe through cloth than without it. You might also worry about the fact that you could be taking in recycled air as well.

Assuming there are health consequences, will they impact your gambling results and make you lose money? I’ll answer this question by looking at two sides of the equation along with if masks ultimately hurt your gambling.

Some Experts Claim That Wearing Masks Have No Consequences

A popular circulating opinion regarding masks is that they cause you to get less oxygen and breathe in extra carbon dioxide (CO2). This thought makes sense when considering that cloth restricts both inhaling and exhaling to some degree.

According to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), though, none of these beliefs are true. You’re not going to breathe dangerous levels of CO2 or pass out at the casino table from a lack of oxygen.

Man Wearing Mask and Hat

“Prolonged use of any face mask, including the N95 respirator, has not been shown to cause carbon dioxide toxicity or lack of adequate oxygen in healthy people,” the VUMC explains.

The only time that you truly need to worry during long gambling sessions with a mask is if you have a pre-existing condition.

“For some persons with severe chronic lung disease, wearing a mask may make breathing more difficult,” the website notes, “but not because of CO2 retention.

Remember, many nurses and doctors wear mask for long periods throughout the day. They wouldn’t do so if masks caused them to get lightheaded and potentially mess up during a surgery.

Based on this view, you don’t really need to worry about playing poorly in the casino just because you’re wearing a mask. Instead, some health experts suggest that you’ll be just fine.

Others Claim that Masks Can Cause Problems

I’ve presented one side of the story on playing at land-based casinos with a mask on. But not every medical professional agrees that you’ll be perfectly okay when wearing masks for prolonged time periods.

Antonio I. Lazzarion, an MD and Epidemiologist at the University College London, warns the public that a mask can eventually lead to infection.

“Wearing a face mask makes the exhaled air go into the eyes,” says Lazzarion. “This generates an uncomfortable feeling and an impulse to touch your eyes. If your hands are contaminated, you are infecting yourself.”

Of course, you can avoid this problem if you resist the urge to touch your face and other random objects at the casino. You’ll also reduce the chances of infection by frequently washing your hands after touching chips, cards, or anything else.

But one thing you may not be able to avoid is the breathing difficulties that face masks cause. This is especially true if you have a medical condition.

“For people with COPD (causes decreased airflow in people), face masks are in fact intolerable to wear as they worsen their breathlessness,” Lazzarion points out.

“Moreover, a fraction of carbon dioxide previously exhaled is inhaled at each respiratory cycle. Those two phenomena increase breathing frequency and deepness, and hence they increase the amount of inhaled and exhaled air.”

A person with COPD or any other breathing problem not only puts themselves at risk by wearing a mask. They also increase the risk that others will contract the virus through their increased inhaled and exhaled air.

Will a Mask Ultimately Affect Your Gambling Skills?

The first thing that you should ask yourself regarding gambling with a mask on is if you have a medical condition. If so, then you’re going to struggle at the slot machines and tables.

As indicated by both VUMC and Dr. Lazzarion, a mask makes breathing more difficult. Furthermore, it intensifies the ill effects of your condition. It can even cause you to infect more people if you have COVID-19.

Casino Floor of The Orleans Las Vegas

That said, you should definitely stay away from brick-and-mortar casinos for the time being. Otherwise, you’re going to suffer more breathing troubles and have difficulty focusing on the games at hand.

In contrast, you don’t need to worry about a mask if you’re perfectly healthy. You may find the cloth to be restrictive or even irritating, but you’ll still get enough oxygen to the brain.

Of course, even healthy individuals may hate the discomfort and thought of wearing a mask. In these cases, you could be impacted psychologically and do worse in the casino.

As long as this isn’t the case, though, you’ll be perfectly fine when gambling at brick-and-mortar establishment. Rumors that masks cause you to breathe in too much recycled CO2 are just that—rumors.

What to Do If You Hate Wearing a Mask or Have a Medical Condition

If you’re among the majority of gamblers who don’t suffer from a breathing problem, then you should have no trouble gambling at land-based casinos.

On the other hand, you want to seek out alternative options if you have a medical condition and/or simply hate breathing through cloth. Here are some other options available outside of brick-and-mortar venues.

Play Online Casino Games

Online casinos have served as a suitable alternative to land-based casinos for well over two decades. They give you the opportunity to play slots and virtual table games from basically anywhere.

Internet casinos are even more popular thanks to the rise of smartphones. Now, you can quickly pull your phone out of your pocket and play games.

The average online casino features hundreds of slots along with plenty of table games too. That said, you’ll have no shortage of options when playing at gaming sites.

As an added bonus, you don’t even need to risk money right away. Instead, you can register for an account and begin enjoying free online casino games.

This gives you an opportunity to try the game selection before actually making a deposit. After all, you don’t want to go through a lengthy deposit process, only to discover that you’re not a big fan of a particular site.

Play Live Dealer Casino Games

Perhaps regular internet casino games don’t satisfy your gaming urge. If so, you might want to visit the live dealer gaming section of an online casino.

A live casino offers the closest thing to social interaction that you’ll experience online. It streams action from a land-based gaming studio to your smartphone or computer.

Live Dealer Blackjack on Iphone

Therefore, you get to enjoy the sights and sounds of a casino atmosphere without leaving home. You can also look forward to chatting with the dealer and fellow gamblers through the chat box.

If you’re looking to test the live dealer gaming waters, you can often times pick up a free bet after depositing. A free bet gives you a chance to win back losses stemming from your first (losing) live wager.

Enjoy Cards with Friends Safely

One more option involves getting together with some buddies and playing cards. Assuming you have friends who enjoy poker and aren’t worried about social distancing, then you can gamble live from home.

Sure, sitting at your kitchen table may not inspire visions of the Bellagio. But you may have even more fun since your friends will be involved.

The best part is that no employees will be enforcing social distancing or mask policies. Instead, your friend group sets the rules—or lack thereof.

Conclusion

A mask won’t directly affect your gambling skills, because it doesn’t usually have any negative health consequences. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about losing more money due to masks.

The only times that you really have to worry is if you have a breathing problem (e.g. COPD) or are irritated by a mask. A breathing condition may cause a panic attack or even leave you requiring medical assistance.

The irritation can occur through exhaled air going into your eyes. A mask could also simply be uncomfortable and create a psychological barrier between gambling success.

In summary, you’ll probably do just fine when playing at land-based casinos during the pandemic. However, you should also consider alternatives if you’re affected by a mask in any way.

Rich Gambler, Poor Gambler

Silhouette of a Rich and Poor Man With a Slots Background

What’s the difference between rich gamblers and poor gamblers?

And what’s the difference between people who build wealth when they’re gambling and people who get poorer while gambling?

This post looks at that difference so you can decide which category you fall into.

It’s Hard to Get Rich Gambling

I used to own a bookstore, and I like to tell people the secret to winding up with a small fortune after owning a bookstore for five years:

Start with a larger fortune.

The same humor applies toward most gamblers and most gambling.

If you’re the average recreational gambler, you’re going to lose money over time. That’s just how it works, regardless of whether you’re a casino gambler, a poker player, a sports bettor, or all three.

But even if you’re that rarest of breeds – an advantage gambler – it’s easy to go broke as a gambler.

An advantage gambler is someone who only gambles when they have a mathematical edge. This doesn’t guarantee success, though – gambling is still random. Even if the odds are on your side, you’ll still lose sometimes.

The experts gave Donald Trump only a 30% probability of winning the 2016 presidential election, but if you bet on Hillary Clinton, you saw what a run of bad luck really means.

The same holds true for any sporting event you can think of. There’s an upset every Sunday.

If your bankroll is small, you stand the risk of going broke even if the odds are in your favor all the time. It just takes a short string of bad luck to lose all your money.

That’s why it’s easier for rich people to get ahead as advantage gamblers – they have enough money to avoid going broke before their long-term mathematical advantage kicks in.

Rich Gamblers Get Different Treatment From the Casinos

If you want an eye-opening account of what it’s like to be a rich gambler in a casino, check out a book called Whale Hunt in the Desert: The Secret Las Vegas Of Superhost Steve Cyr by Deke Castleman.

Aria Las Vegas High Limit Lounge

It’s the story of Steve Cyr, the most revered casino host in Las Vegas. As a casino host, he caters to the biggest whales – the richest gamblers. You’ll be amazed at the kind of treatment big gamblers get at the casino compared to the rank and file working class gamblers like you and I get.

Unlike many of the books I recommend, Whale Hunt in the Desert doesn’t offer you any kinds of tips to make you a better gambler who wins more often. It’s just a look into the side of the business that makes literally almost anything available to casino gamblers who are willing to bet life-changing sums of money on a single hand of blackjack or a single roll of the dice in craps.

It Is Possible to Get Rich Gambling

You can get rich gambling in different ways. The easiest but least likely way is to get really lucky and win the lottery or hit a progressive jackpot. The problem with that approach is that you’re more likely to get struck by lightning than you are to win the lottery or a progressive jackpot. Most people who play regularly their entire lives just lose the money they’re wagering on such games.

One way to get rich is to find a gambling activity where you can get an edge and then repeatedly leverage that edge to win money over the long run. This seems like a fun, romantic way to get rich, but it’s less exciting than you probably think.

Most professional gamblers might as well be actuaries or accountants for all the excitement they get out of their chosen profession.

And I have some friends I’m close with who are accountants. Lively, exciting people they are not.

How to Get Rich Counting Cards in Blackjack

One of the only casino games where you can get an edge over the casino is blackjack.

But it’s not enough to just play every hand correctly. That’s a good first step, but you need more than just the mathematically best way to play every hand in every situation.

That’s called being a “basic strategy” player, and it minimizes the house edge.

But it doesn’t eliminate the house edge or put the math in your favor.

To get a mathematical edge at blackjack, you need some kind of advantage play technique. The most common way to get an edge at blackjack is to learn how to count cards.

Even if you’re good at counting cards, you’re only looking at a 1% edge over the casino. That sounds small, but it applies to every hand you play – which is between 50 and 350 hands per hour.

That adds up.

The more you’re able to wager per hand, the faster you can make your fortune in blackjack by counting cards.

But you need a big enough bankroll that you can avoid going broke because of a streak of bad luck before your edge kicks in.

You can learn to count cards from any number of books on the subject. Look for something by Sanford Wong or Arnold Snyder. It’s easier than you think, and no, you don’t need to memorize an entire deck of cards. (Even that’s easier than most people think. It just requires some focus and attention.)

How to Get Rich by Becoming an Expert Poker Player

Most real money poker players wildly overestimate how good they are at playing. If you truly want to get rich playing poker, you need to start by keeping careful records of how much you’re winning and/or losing in the long run.

I read somewhere that you know you’re a serious poker player when you start keeping written records. That’s easy. Just by a spiral notebook, write down what you started with at the beginning of each session, how long you played, and how much you wound up with. You can subtract one from the other to find out how much you won or lost.

And you can divide the amount of time you spent at the table by your loss or your win and calculate your win or loss rate per hour.

Closeup of a Poker Player Handling Their Chips

In the short run, this won’t accurately reflect how good you are at poker.

But as you gain data, you’ll start to see a long-term pattern for how much you’re winning or losing per hour.

There’s more to playing winning poker than just keeping records, though.

That’s critical, but there’s a lot more to learn.

You should constantly be reading books about how to improve and watching videos. You might consider investing in some coaching or mentoring, too.

95% of the player at the table are losing money in the long run.

If you want to be profitable – if you want to be in the top 5% — you’re going to have to put in the effort.

How to Get Rich as a Sports Bettor

I suspect that the 95% to 5% ratio of losing sports bettors to winning sports bettors is also accurate. I’m not as sure about that number as I am the poker number, but I am convinced that most sports bettors are losing money in the long run.

How do you turn that around and become a winning sports bettor?

The first step is understanding how the vig works and how sports betting is just a marketplace for various bets with varying values. The brilliant thing about sports betting, though, is that you don’t have to take every bet.

If you have the discipline to only take those bets you think are mathematically in your favor, you’re well on your way to profitability already.

The other trick is to come up with some strategies and systems for choosing winners that will overcome the book’s vig. You need to win 52.4% of your bets just to break even because of the vig.

51% won’t cut it.

You’re still losing money at that rate.

Getting Into the Biz

Of course, the surest way to get rich as a gambler is to own the casino. You don’t have to worry much about the odds being in your favor when you own the casino because that’s how the games are designed.

Owning a big Las Vegas casino is beyond the means of most people, though. But even if you only own a gas station or a neighborhood bar, casino style gambling is something you can offer.

Just be wary of the gambling regulations where you live.

Gaming Machines in a Gas Station

I’m in Texas, and every bar and convenience store in the state has slot machines, but none of them are operating entirely legally. They seem to get away with it, but it will be a drag when that ends.

Other states are probably more draconian in their enforcement of gambling regulations.

This doesn’t mean you can’t get rich from the gambling business unless you own your own business.

You can also go to work in a casino in various capacities and get rich the old-fashioned way – keep your expenses below your income and save the difference.

After that, the power of compound interest will make you rich.

You just have to wait.

Conclusion

If you want to be a rich gambler, it helps to start off being wealthy in the first place.

If you want to make your fortune gambling, blackjack, poker, or sports betting is the way to go.

But 95% of the gamblers who play those games lose money.

Gambling isn’t an easy or sure route to riches, but it can be a lot of fun.

Awaken the Winner Within

Person Meditating With a Casino Chip Background

My goal with this post is to enable you to understand the psychology of gambling well enough that you can start taking control of your gambling hobby. The idea is to become a winner, and that starts in the mind. I’m convinced that almost everyone has a winner inside, and the trick is to find the code to unlock that winner.

And my hope is that this post will set you off down the road to awakening the winner within.

Winning at Gambling Is About Good Habits Versus Bad Habits

Consistency is everything.

I’ve written before about the differences between gambling with a positive expectation versus gambling with a negative expectation, but here’s the deal:

If you gamble with a positive expectation some of the time and a negative expectation some of the time, you might as well be gambling with a negative expectation all the time.

This means if you’re an expert poker player, and you need a change of pace, don’t go blowing your money at the roulette table. If you need a change of pace, learn to count cards and go win money at the blackjack table instead.

It does you no good to book five small winning sessions if you just blow it on your 6th gambling session.

Your State of Mind Has to Do With Your Behavior and Decisions

I’m not as big a believer in trying to manage your state of mind as some success gurus like Tony Robbins are. Robbins seems to think you should try to control your mental state all the time, learning to associate painful emotions with stuff you don’t want to do and feel-good emotions with stuff you do want to do.

I’ve also done a lot of work with a therapist who says there’s no such thing as a negative emotion. I know what she means, but I still don’t enjoy grief.

An Ornate Gambling Hall

Cognitive behavioral therapy works from the supposition that if you change your thoughts, your behaviors will change, too. After all, before you do anything, you have some kind of thought that leads you to that decision.

How does all this apply to gambling?

Mostly it just means you should pay attention to your state of mind when you’re embarking on a gambling session. If you’re feeling depressed or tired, maybe you shouldn’t be at the blackjack table. It’s easier to make a bad decision when you’re in a bad state of mind.

You might be able to psyche yourself up occasionally, but it might also be good to just feel your feelings and avoid gambling when you’re feeling bad.

Winners at Gambling Play by Their Own Rules

I don’t mean you get to make up the rules to blackjack as you go along.

Instead, I’m suggesting that you have your own rules for your behavior in gambling situations.

Here’s an example:

My friend Drunk Gary has a rule when he’s playing blackjack for real money. When he has a hunch, he listens to it. A lot of gamblers have that rule.

I have a different rule when I play blackjack. I ignore all my hunches and stick with basic strategy.

You might have a rule that you only play blackjack when a single-deck version is available, and you deviate from basic strategy whenever the count says that it’s appropriate. (I’m not talking about Count Dracula, here – I’m talking about people who count cards. The count is just a measure of how many high cards are left in the deck.)

Other people have rules they follow for how much money they’re willing to lose before calling it a day, while others have win goals that signal that it’s time to quit. I know some gamblers who stay in a game as long as the math is positive expectation for them. They only quit when they’re too tired to continue to win money.

Raise Your Standards Everywhere in Your Gambling Life

It’s easy to have low standards as a gambler. For example, you might think it’s no big deal to put $100 into a slot machine once in a while.

That’s not a winning decision, though.

Real gambling winners only make positive expectation bets, and you can’t get a positive expectation on a slot machine no matter what you’ve read on the internet.

That little $100 losing session is the kind of leak you need to plug if you’re really going to win at gambling consistently.

Overhead View of Multiple Blackjack Hands

You also want to raise your standards for what kinds of bets you’re willing to make. If you insists on only gambling when the odds are in your favor, you’ll eventually become a winner just because of the math behind the games.

Here’s an example:

Drunk Gary loves to play blackjack, and he visits a casino in Las Vegas that offers $5 blackjack. But this game has a 6/5 payout for a natural. Gary doesn’t care. He just wants to stay in action.

On the other hand, I refuse to play ANY blackjack game with a 6/5 payout. My standards are higher than that. I’d rather not play than play such an inferior game.

Changing that payout adds 1.5% to the house edge, which makes any edge you might get counting cards null and void.

Losing Is Painful, and Winning Is Pleasurable

Losers just like being in action. They don’t associate losing with pain or winning with pleasure.

That’s an important distinction to make. You’ll see “slot zombies” losing money hand over fist enjoying (if you can call it that) a day in front of the one-armed bandits.

But I have a more important distinction for you:

You should be so focused on making good decisions that winning and losing just aren’t as important anymore.

If you get all your chips in the middle of the table before the flop when you have pocket aces, you’ve done great – even if you lose the hand.

That’s because you’ve made a good decision that will result in long-term winnings.

You just have to stay in the game long enough.

Winning Consistently Requires a Big Commitment

Imagine never playing real money slots again.

Does that sound like a big commitment?

Now imagine spending 40 hours a month reading poker books for the next year.

That’s a big commitment, too, right?

Reeled and Video Slot Machines

These are the kinds of commitments winning gamblers make as a matter of course throughout the year.

You must become committed to learning how to make sensible decisions consistently.

Then you have to become so dedicated to doing so that you never make bad decisions when gambling.

That’s a commitment that makes marriage pale in comparison.

Winning at Gambling Isn’t About Luck

When casinos that are part of a publicly-traded company discuss earnings, they don’t have the option of explaining that they just had a run of bad luck during the last quarter. They must justify their earnings based on how they’ve managed the business.

Gambling is, at its core, an exercise in math and execution. Get the math wrong, and you’ll lose. Ignore the math and do something that isn’t mathematically optimal, and you’ll lose.

Casinos are consistently profitable for two reasons:

  1. They have a practically unlimited bankroll, so they can afford to stay in the game even when they do have an unlucky streak. Most recreational casino gamblers don’t have a bankroll large enough to withstand a run of bad luck.
  2. They tilt the odds in their favor on every game in the casino. If you play a negative expectation game long enough, you’re almost certain to lose all your money.

Being a winning gambler – at least doing so consistently – means finding a way to flip that mathematical edge in your favor.

Getting lucky just isn’t good enough unless you get lucky once early in your gambling career and quit forever.

Einstein said that compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe, but when it comes to gambling, expectation is the most powerful force in the universe.

The two are closely related, anyway.

If you can remember that luck happens but isn’t what makes you a winner, you stand a chance at winning in the casino.

Conclusion

How do you awaken the winner within?

You need to examine your belief systems about gambling and change them.

When those belief systems change, your behavior will change, too.

Winners take different actions from losers, and you want to learn how to take those actions and do so consistently.

5 Mathematical Facts About Baccarat You Need to Know

Mathematical Equations and Baccarat Table Graphics

If you’re looking for a combination of an easy gambling game and a low house edge, baccarat is exactly what you’re looking for. The house edge is lower than almost every other option in the casino, and you only need to know how to make a single wager.

Everything you need to know about baccarat is based on math, but you don’t have to figure out any of the logistics by yourself. Here are five things that you need to know about baccarat math. Once you learn these five things, you can quickly use them to help you win.

This page is about baccarat games available at smaller tables. This is called midi or mini baccarat, and the casino has a dealer that runs the game. The baccarat game at larger tables is basically the same, but players are more involved in dealing the game.

1 – The Banker Bet and the Commission

The thing about baccarat that can be a little bit confusing is the commission that the dealer takes out of winning banker wagers. This isn’t a big deal, but some players struggle with understanding the process and how it influences how much they win or lose.

Basically, any time you place a wager on the banker hand and win, the casino collects a 5% commission. This means that if you make a wager of $100 and win, you only get back $95. Or, if you bet $20, you only get back $19.

This seems simple enough, but where some baccarat players get confused is when they try to understand the house edge on the banker hand wager. The house edge on this wager is 1.06% after the casino collects the commission. This is really all you need to know.

Overhead View of a Baccarat Game

The problem is, if you don’t understand that this is the edge after the commission, it might lead you to think that the player hand wager is better. The banker hand wager is always the best bet when you play baccarat. You don’t have to compute the commission, so there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t make the banker hand wager every time.

It’s best to make wagers that are easy to compute the commission so you know that the dealer doesn’t make a mistake. If you usually wager $20 a hand, keep a stack of $1 chips. The dealer can pay you $20, and you can slide a $1 chip forward to pay the commission.

2 – Player Bet Math

The second wagering option at the baccarat table is the player wager. The player hand doesn’t charge a commission when you win. But even without the commission, it has a slightly higher house edge. The house edge on the player hand wager is 1.24%.

This is not the worst wager you can make, and in truth, it doesn’t cost you too much more to wager on the player hand than the banker. Here are some exact numbers to show you the long-term difference in losses.

Total Amount Wagered Banker Hand Expected Loss Player Hand Expected Loss
$100 $1.06 $1.24
$500 $5.30 $6.20
$1,000 $10.60 $12.40
$2,000 $21.12 $24.80
$5,000 $53.00 $62.00
$10,000 $106.00 $124.00
$100,000 $1,060.00 $1,240.00

As you can see, the expected loss difference, even at $10,000 total wagered, is only $18. This means that if you simply want to avoid the commission that comes with the banker hand wager, you can lose a small amount more in the long run and use the player hand option. The choice is yours.

I still recommend the banker option because the casino takes care of taking the commission. This way, you don’t have to do anything except make the wager.

3 – Tie Bet Math

I know that this page is about baccarat math, but there’s no need to dig very deep in the math behind the tie wager in baccarat. The main reason why is because the tie bet is so bad that you should never make it, no matter what.

The house edge at most baccarat tables for the tie wager is a huge 14.36%. Let me put this in perspective a couple of different ways.

The first way to put this in perspective is that almost every other wagering opportunity in the casino is better than this.

Even the worst slot machines usually have a lower house edge than the baccarat tie bet. And all of the popular games like real money blackjack, roulette, craps, and video poker have lower house edges.

Another way to put this in perspective is to do some quick math to show your expected loss on the tie wager. Every $100 you wager on the baccarat tie option costs you $14.36. Every $1,000 you risk on this wager costs you $143.60.

Skip the math behind it, and simply skip the tie wager option at the baccarat table.

4 – Bet Sizing Considerations

I’m going to give you the answer to the question first because it’s simple. The best wager size when you’re playing baccarat is the smallest wager you can make. When you’re playing baccarat in land-based casinos, this is the table minimum.

When you’re playing baccarat in an online casino, this is the smallest wager they accept.

The reason why you should always make the smallest baccarat wager that you can is because this is the best way to alleviate the house edge. You’re always going to be at a disadvantage in the long run when you play baccarat.

This is the answer to what size wager you should make when playing baccarat. This means that the best course of action is to not play at all, and the second-best course of action is to always make the banker wager with the lowest possible bet amount.

This advice is true for almost any casino game you play. You need to learn the best strategy, then play with the lowest possible bet amount. Any gambling option that has a house edge, and this is almost all of them, needs to be played with the lowest wager possible.

5 – Baccarat and Slot Machines

It might seem strange to find a section about baccarat and slot machines on a page about baccarat math, but there’s something important that every slot machine player needs to know.

People play slots for many different reasons, but one of the main reasons they play is because it’s easy. All they have to do is put some money in and press a button. The biggest problem with slot machines is that they have a higher house edge than most other gambling options in the casino.

You might think that this doesn’t make as much difference because you’re making smaller wagers, but this is offset by how many wagers you make in an hour.

If you’re wagering $2.50 on every spin and take 550 spins every hour, you’re risking $1,375 every hour. Compare this to wagering $20 on every hand at a baccarat table and playing 70 hands every hour. In this case, you’re risking $1,400 every hour.

Row of Digital Slot Machines

Now, consider how much you can expect to lose playing slots and baccarat. If the slot machine has a 5% house edge, you’re expected loss is $68.75 every hour. Your expected loss playing baccarat is only $14.84.

As you can clearly see, baccarat is much less costly to play than slot machines. And it’s just as easy to play online baccarat as it is to play online slot machines. All you have to do is place a bet on the dealer hand. Everything else is taken care of by the casino, just like when you bet on slot machines.

Many gamblers worry about the need to understand how baccarat is played and scored. You’re welcome to learn all about how to score baccarat hands, but you don’t need to know anything about the game to play.

The only reason why you might want to learn how to score baccarat hands is to make sure the dealer doesn’t cheat you out of a win. And this isn’t something you need to worry about in most modern casinos.

Conclusion

Baccarat is as simple as any game in the casino. All you have to do is place a wager and wait for the result. And baccarat offers a much lower house edge than slot machines and many other options in the casino.

The best strategy is to use the banker hand every time you play, even with the commission on winning wagers. With a house edge of just over 1%, your bankroll is going to last longer and you’re going to have a better chance to walk away from the table a winner than most games give you.

3 Interesting Facts About the History and Current Gambling Climate in South Africa

South African Seal With Bingo Balls and Sun City Casino Background

South Africa has a rich history that is full of ups and downs. As far as gambling is concerned, it has been mostly restricted or outlawed all together until recent years.

With the gambling world treading new ground because of the rising popularity of online gambling, South Africa is in on the action without missing a beat.

Here are three interesting facts about the history and current gambling climate in South Africa that you might want to know.

1 – Restrictions on Gambling in South Africa Since 1673

Since 1673, there have been serious restrictions on any sort of gambling in South Africa.

South Africa’s Gambling Act of 1965 completely eliminated all forms of gambling with the exception of making bets on horse racing.

However, in 1965, leaders of the Bophuthatswana, Ciskei, Transkei, and Venda tribes decided to permit casino gambling in their territories. Then, the leaders of the Bantustan signed the first casino-related contract in South Africa with Holiday Inn and Southern Sun.

In 1983, Sol Kerzner, an owner of the Southern Sun company, sold his shares and set up the casino enterprise of Sun International. Within the next seven years, Sol Kerzner gained control of all 18 homeland gambling licenses.

South African Casino Owner Sol Kerzner

How the Southern Sun company was going to be taxed became of paramount importance to local South African leaders. Once Sol Kerzner decided to accept the terms of a very steep tax, Sun International was recognized as the top gambling company in South Africa.

In fact, it was the only gambling company in South Africa, thus, creating a monopoly, as Sun International became the only legal gambling enterprise in South Africa. Sun International was highly criticized for bringing in many workers from Europe to man their casinos instead of hiring South Africans to do the job. They did however eventually employ more South Africans.

And in 1994, Democratic reforms were enacted and gambling as a whole was legalized. The National Gambling Act in 1996 forged a path for a national lottery and licensed casinos. In 2004, another Gambling Act came into existence that repealed the 1996 Gambling Act and in 2008, The National Gambling Amendment Act was introduced.

So, as you see, the development of gambling in South Africa is rather recent.

2 – The National South African Lottery Is Extremely Popular

On March 11th, 2000, South Africa introduced its National Lottery. On the first day tickets were available, more than 800,000 were sold. The National Lottery was operated by Uthingo.

In November of 2003, a supplementary weekly lottery was introduced in addition to the weekly draw that started in March of 2000. The Lotto Plus game was able to be purchased on a primary ticket for a fee of one South African Rand.

Starting in 2007, the Gidani consortium was chosen to be the operator of the National Lottery for seven years. After some legal back and forth, and after the Gidani consortium losing this status for a few months, they were again awarded it in September of 2007.

Ticket sales resumed in October of 2007 and within the first three hours, 200,000 tickets were sold. The traditional Lotto in South Africa is much like other places around the globe.

Powerball Plus Lottery Ticket

Playing the lottery involves choosing six numbers ranging from 1 to 52 and a “Quick Pick” option is available for players that don’t want to think about choosing numbers. Five of 52 numbered balls are chosen during the lottery and, in addition to these balls, a bonus ball is drawn. However, this bonus ball only affects the outcome of a player who has matched all of the previous five selected numbers.

Players that match at least three balls will win some money and if a player matches more than three, the amount of money that a player wins increases.

If multiple players match all six numbers, then they split the jackpot evenly. If all six numbers are not matched by any individual, then the jackpot amount is added to the jackpot of the next lottery drawing. Wednesdays and Saturdays are when the draws take place.

PowerBall and PowerBall PLUS are extremely popular. In the beginning, players would pick numbers between 1 and 45 in addition to a PowerBall number. Regular numbers that matched would win and if your PowerBall number matched, you received an even higher prize. If you match all five regular numbers in addition to the PowerBall number, you win the jackpot.

In recent years, the game has been changed so players can now pick main numbers between 1 and 50. Another recent change was that if players only matched the PowerBall, they would now win something. At the inception of the game, just having a PowerBall match awarded the player nothing.

On November 28th of 2015, PowerBall PLUS came into existence, which gives players an additional chance to win. EAZiWIN are digital scratch-off cards offered by the National Lottery, offering another way for players to try their luck at a lotto game.

3 – Casinos for Every Budget Are Available

Whether you are a high roller or not, South Africa has a casino for you. Let’s take a look at three casinos in South Africa; one for high rollers, one for the person on a medium-sized budget, and a low-budget option.

Within Pilanesberg National Park is the Cascades Casino Resort. Within the resort is the Sun City Casino, and it is open 24 hours a day. With more than 40 table games and around 1,000 slots, this 5,000-square-foot casino is one of the most beautiful casinos in the world.

Exterior of Sun City Casino South Africa

MVG is the loyalty club available at the Sun City Casino. Being a member of this club gets you access to a private poker room, various table games, and high roller slots in the VIP Lounge.

With 243 guest rooms, each guest can enjoy a whirlpool tub in their bathroom and also the convenience of a kitchenette. As a guest of the hotel, you will also get access to a gym, a pool complex, and a nightclub.

If you have more of a medium-sized budget, then the City Lodge Hotel GrandWest is a great choice. They have great rooms that overlook Cape Town, and you can usually get a room there for about $90 USD.

This casino has more table games than any other casino in all of Africa as well as one of the best poker rooms in existence, and it is open around the clock. Omaha and Texas Hold ‘em are the most common forms of poker played there.

You will want to book a room in advance as there are only around 170 of them available and they usually get booked months in advance.

Some of the great restaurant options include Jackson Hall, Hanover Street, Alibama Sports Bar, Food Court at GrandWest Casino, The Coffee Shop, Bella Gina, Bukhara, Silver Dollar Spur at GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World, and Quarterdeck Restaurant among others.

Emerald Resort and Casino in South Africa

The Emerald Resort and Casino is perfect for those on a low budget. Rooms go for about $70 USD a night, and even though this casino is not as expensive as the others, you will still have an excellent gaming experience.

Even though the casino floor is only 32,000 square feet, there are many gaming options available within this space. With 600 gaming machines, 21 casino table games, and a poker room, you will have no problem finding a game that tickles your fancy.

You can take a river cruise or go on a mini safari at the River Resort facility that is on-site. Houseboats can also be rented right next to this location on the beautiful Vaal River.

Conclusion

South Africa is a very interesting place, and their gambling culture has developed rather quickly and is actually considered a gambling hotspot by tourists from all over the world. South Africa is also filled with great food, culture, and nightlife that is truly unforgettable.

The gambling industry has helped the economy of South Africa and increased the quality of life of its citizens by providing workers a new stream of revenue within the dozens of casinos, sportsbooks, and lottery outposts that continue to spread across the country.

Did you enjoy reading about the history and current gambling climate in South Africa? If so, let me know in the comments.

5 Reasons Why States Are Reluctant About Esports Betting

State Council Hearing and a Row of Esports Gamers

Esports betting has definitely obtained worldwide popularity. It’s now featured at most online sportsbooks throughout the industry.

But esports gambling doesn’t seem to be drawing much love in the United States. As states rush to approve sports betting, they’re hesitant to adopt esports wagering as well.

Several factors seem to be holding politicians back from approving this form of betting. With that said, I’ll discuss five reasons why states have been slow to legalize esports gambling.

1 – Some of the Pros Are Younger Than 18

Esports is unique in that plenty of professional players are younger than 18 years old. In fact, certain esports pros are as young as 13.

Minors becoming professionals isn’t completely unheard of in the sports world. After all, notable athletes have turned pro well before their 18th birthday.

However, a larger percentage of professional video gamers are minors relative to other sports and competitions. This aspect creates an ethical debate among politicians who review esports betting.

The US is staunchly against people betting on high school sports. Neither the national government nor any states believe that athletes younger than 18 should be involved in betting either directly or indirectly.

View of Esports Players During a Match

It’s safe to say that lawmakers aren’t fans of how plenty of underage esports pros exist in the first place. The state of Indiana excludes esports gambling from its market for this very reason.

Others started to have legalized esports betting with some restrictions in place. For example, New Jersey only allows bets on gaming contests where participants are 18 or older.

The majority of states still aren’t sure what to do about esports wagering in general. They’re currently deciding whether this type of betting is even ethical.

2 – Esports Gambling Isn’t a Traditional Market

Many states were ecstatic when the Supreme Court lifted a national ban on sports gambling in May 2018. Removing this ban paved the way for state governments to capitalize on betting.

Of course, lawmakers and entrepreneurs weren’t thinking about esports when they got excited about legal wagering. Instead, they saw an opportunity to cash in on mainstream sports, such as baseball, basketball, hockey, and football.

Esports may be a global phenomenon, but they don’t quite eclipse traditional sports in terms of overall popularity.

They have the potential to become even more popular and surpass some primary sports in the future. For now, though, video gaming is still in the growth phase.

Most states don’t really care much about esports betting right now. They’re still either taking advantage of or envisioning the possibilities with mainstream sports.

3 – Bookmakers Aren’t Begging for Esports

Sportsbooks can push for permission to offer certain markets. For example, bookmakers have successfully gained the right to offer Oscars betting in some states.

Online sportsbooks can petition their respective gambling regulatory bodies to allow esports betting. By and large, though, operators haven’t been in a rush to do so.

The Nevada Gaming Commission reported very few sportsbooks requesting permission to offer esports betting. This situation changed in 2020.

Busy Sports Bar Showing Live Games

But the lack of previous demand highlights a serious problem with esports gambling. Most operators don’t see gaming competitions as essential to their businesses.

As a result, esports betting still feels like a niche market for in-person betting. It will probably continue feeling this way until the industry pushes for more rights to offer esports gambling.

4 – Some Esports Fans Aren’t Old Enough to Gamble

Most esports fans are in the age demographic of 18 to 34. According to marketing research, the average fan is 26 years old.

This age is well within the legal gambling requirement in any state or country that features a betting market. Even still, a large number of esports fans are younger than 21 or even 18.

States require bettors to be anywhere from 18 to 21 years old. Therefore, some of the biggest gaming fans get cut out of the betting pool.

Some traditional sports fans also aren’t old enough to place wagers either. But the key difference is that most sports enthusiasts are older than esports fans. For example, the average MLB and NFL fans are 53 and 47 years old, respectively.

Lawmakers are already on the fence about approving esports gambling for the reasons outlined before. They also don’t want to go through the trouble of examining this type of wagering if large numbers of fans can’t even bet.

Underage people who love esports today will grow older and eventually be able to bet. But for now, they are just too many hardcore fans who can’t legally wager.

5 – Politicians Are Slow to Adapt

Sports betting was originally banned on a federal level in 1992. Lawmakers passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which effectively outlawed sports gambling in all but four states (grandfathered in).

It wasn’t until 2018 that the Supreme Court finally overturned this law. Many states immediately took this opportunity to legalize sports gambling.

Others are in the process of getting legislation passed. However, a good portion of states still aren’t even close to legalizing betting over two years after the fact.

Politicians and gaming regulators are slow to pass new forms of gambling. Considering that esports betting is much newer than traditional sports wagering, it’s not getting much of a look from state legislators right now.

I’m not criticizing gaming regulators and politicians for taking their time. After all, these officials have a lot on their plates.

Instead, I’m merely pointing out that the slow legislation process is another obstacle standing between esports wagering and the public.

What Must Happen for More Esports Gambling Regulation?

Esports betting hasn’t quite taken off, but won’t remain on the backburner forever. In fact, it should become a viable part of the betting market if the following occurrences happen sooner rather than later.

Compromise on the Age Issue

Young esports players aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. While the average pro’s age may be 25, there are still plenty of talented players who are younger than 18. With that said, politicians must compromise on the age matter.

New Jersey found a nice way to balance this issue out. After initially rejecting esports as part as their betting market, the Garden State reversed their decision.

Esports Gamers During an Event

However, they did include a caveat in their regulation. Bookmakers can only take bets on competitions where most or all participants are 18 years old (there’s some leeway here).

Not every state will follow New Jersey’s model to a T. But the Garden State does show one way to work around the age issue.

More Demand Among Bookmakers

Will esports betting interest among sportsbooks continue after this year? Only time will answer this question.

But the organic demand must be higher in order for regulated bookmakers to highlight esports markets. This should happen naturally, though, within the next several years.

Esports Is Growing so Much That It Can’t Be Ignored

The growth of esports has been tremendous in recent years. Competitive gaming has grown from something that was only popular in a few countries to being a global phenomenon.

Of course, esports still don’t quite surpass soccer, basketball, nor baseball on a mainstream scale. But there are definitely signs that it could pass at least one or more of these sports soon.

Nobody truly knows the limit for esports popularity. All that’s known is that video gaming continues to see higher and higher viewership numbers. Eventually, every state with a betting market is going to notice these growing numbers.

Conclusion

Traditional sports continue to dominate American betting markets. Baseball, basketball, football, hockey, MMA, and soccer keep drawing politicians’ attention.

Esports, meanwhile, are considered an iffy, niche market by lawmakers. They feature too many underage pros and aren’t considered a top priority among most bookmakers right now either.

However, this situation should definitely change in the near future. With increasing viewership numbers and more sportsbooks inquiring about the matter, esports betting looks to be rising in regulated markets.

5 Reasons Why Blackjack Is the Only Game You Should Ever Gamble On

Blackjack Text With a Blackjack Hand Background

Of all of the different gambling options available, blackjack is unique. Many games have been developed that are similar to blackjack, but none of them offer the combination of things that make blackjack the best choice for every casino gambler.

Everyone can learn how to play blackjack. The rules are simple, and blackjack games are available almost everywhere that you can gamble. You can also quickly learn how to use good strategy, and if you’re willing to put in some effort, you can even learn how to gamble with an edge.

Here are five reasons why blackjack is the only gambling game you should ever play.

1 – Simple Strategy Anyone Can Use

Casino games take your money. They’re designed to fool you into thinking that you can win, and sometimes, you do win. But in the long run, they take your money.

This doesn’t mean that you should be happy about losing. In fact, you should do everything in your power to lose as little as possible when you play casino games.

The first thing to look at when you’re playing any casino game is if there’s a strategy or set of strategies that you can use to give yourself a better chance to win. This is one of the main reasons why blackjack is the only gambling game you should play at casinos. You’re going to learn another important reason why blackjack is the best game in one of the sections found below.

Blackjack Dealer Dealing a Game

Did you know that blackjack has a simple strategy that you can use to improve your chances of winning every time you play? This is usually called “basic strategy,” and it’s not the most simple strategy if you have to figure it out yourself.

But the reason why blackjack strategy is simple is because you don’t have to figure it out for yourself. All you have to do is use a strategy card. And these are readily available. You can just print one off the internet. Or you can also find apps on your phone that help you memorize basic blackjack strategy.

Once you have a strategy card, you simply check it every time you play a blackjack hand and do what it says. When you use the best strategy, you’re reducing the house edge as far as possible, which improves your chance to win. A strategy card alone isn’t enough to overcome the house edge, but it’s the best way to get started.

2 – Simple Rule Structure

Blackjack has simple rules and all of the possible rule variations are easy to understand. This makes it easy to learn for new gamblers, and it only takes a few minutes before you learn how to play like a pro.

The main rules to understand involve doubling down and splitting. Your strategy card tells you when you should double down and when you need to split, so you don’t have to worry about when to do them.

What is helpful to know is how blackjack rule variations change your chances to win. Each rule change either helps you win or helps the casino win.

You don’t have to worry too much about the rules until you learn how to get an edge. This is covered in the fifth section on this page.

The best rules for you include the dealer standing on soft 17, being able to double down, and being allowed to split pairs as many times as possible. If you can double down after splitting, that’s even better.

The one rule that you must always pay attention to is how much a blackjack pays. Only play at tables that pay 3 to 2 or better for a blackjack. Any other table is not worth playing, no matter what.

Learn what each of the available blackjack rules means and how they work, then learn more about how each rule changes the house edge. After that, all you have to do is find tables with a good mix of rules and focus on memorizing your strategy card.

3 – Game Availability

Other than slot machines, blackjack is the most popular game in the casino. This means that almost every casino in the world that offers table games will offer blackjack. In addition, you can log into any online casino and play real money blackjack right off the bat.

You’re never going to go to a regular casino and not have the option to play blackjack. At this point, it’s just impossible. But this doesn’t mean that you should always play blackjack. If you’re in a casino and they only offer blackjack tables that pay 6 to 5 for a blackjack, you should probably leave and find a better casino.

El Royale Online Casino Blackjack

As you gain experience playing the game, learn more about the rules, and play at more casinos, you can develop a list of the best places to play. The games offering the best rules are where you want to play most of the time.

You should also find an online casino or two that have good blackjack games so that you can play when you can’t go to a land-based casino. The only problem with playing blackjack online is you can’t get an edge. You can learn more about this before you finish reading this page.

4 – Almost Unlimited Resources

If you want to learn more about blackjack, there are unlimited resources available. You can find thousands and thousands of pages about blackjack online that are available for free. You can also buy many good books about blackjack at your local bookstore or online, at places like Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

i
There are blackjack apps available for your phone to help you learn blackjack strategy. You can also find apps and free blackjack games in most mobile markets.

Software programs are available for your computer, too. And these programs teach you how to play, how to use strategy, and how to count cards. You can learn as much as you want about blackjack. All it takes is time and effort.

I enjoy reading, so I have a large library of blackjack books and read many online articles about the game. But if you don’t enjoy reading, you can watch videos that teach you the same thing or get an app or two to help you learn what you need to know.

5 – Anyone Can Get an Edge If They Do the Work

This is the number one reason why blackjack is the only game you should play. The fact is that anyone can learn how to gamble with an edge playing blackjack. Most people are never going to do what it takes to reach this point, but you have an opportunity to make money instead of lose it when you gamble.

If you’ve never heard of card counting, it’s a strategy you can learn how to use when you play blackjack. When you learn how to do it well enough, you turn the tables on the casino. Instead of playing against a house edge, you start playing with an edge over the house.

If you have heard about counting cards and haven’t tried to do it, the good news is that it isn’t as hard as you think. Almost everyone who has tried to learn how to count cards and didn’t give up too soon has learned how to do it.

Person Holding a Natural Blackjack

The most common myth about counting cards is that you have to remember every card that’s been played. This is 100% false. All you have to do is keep a ratio of low and high cards as they’re played, and there are simple systems that help you do this.

It takes 20 or 30 hours of work to get good enough to count cards and win, then you improve even more the longer you work at it. Isn’t it worth spending 20 to 30 hours to learn how to win when you’re gambling?

The best way to get started is to read some online articles about card counting and/or pick up a few books about the subject. The only thing standing between you and gambling profits is a little bit of work. Don’t pass up the opportunity.

Conclusion

Blackjack is the only gambling game you ever need to play because it’s simple to play, easy to learn the best strategy, widely available, and if you’re willing to do the work, you can get an edge. I can’t think of another gambling option that offers all of these things.

I recommend learning as much as you can about counting cards. It’s not as easy as learning basic strategy, but you can learn how to do it. This is the only way to get an edge over the casino for most people. Why wouldn’t you give it a try if it meant you could stop losing when you gamble?

If you compare your chances to games like slot machines, where there’s no skill involved and you can’t change your luck, blackjack is easily the best casino game around.

Visiting the Historic Hotel Sacher Salzburg

Hotel Sacher Salzburg Logo and Images

Hotel Sacher Salzburg is one of the nicest and highest regarded hotels in Europe and is absolutely a place you need to visit if you plan on gambling in Europe.

The famous Hotel Sacher Salzburg was built between 1863 and 1866 by the master builder Carl Freiherr as an Austrian court hotel.

From the moment its doors opened in 1866, the hotel gained a high level of popularity among people with high positions, such as members of ruling houses, high clergymen, nobleman, and artists, all of whom became guests within the hotel’s first year of being open.

Let’s dive into Hotel Sacher Salzburg and see what all the hype is about.

What Salzburg Is Like

Salzburg is an Austrian city on the border of Germany with beautiful views of the Eastern Alps. The city is divided by the Salzach River, with medieval and baroque buildings of the residential and pedestrian Altstadt (Old City) on its left bank, while facing the 19th-century Neustadt (New City) on its right.

Salzburg is known for its stunning historical architecture as well as being the birthplace for the world renowned classical composer Mozart. Salzburg is also home to some of Europe’s best resort casinos, many of them sitting in some of Salzburg’s most historical landmarks.

Gambling in general is legal in Austria, while being more or less strictly regulated.

Austria is the home of thousands of sports betting cafes, online gaming clubs, and bars with slot machines that have developed significantly in the last 15 years in almost every major community in Austria.

With the casino industry in Salzburg comes some of the most luxurious hotels in Europe, of which Hotel Sacher Salzburg is one.

History

The famous Hotel Sacher Salzburg was built between 1863 and 1866 by the master builder Carl Freiherr as an Austrian court hotel.

The birth of the Salzburg Festival caused the “Austrian court” to become more or less the official social center of the festival.

Three major Austrian stars had a major part in the Salzburg Festival and hence became frequent clients for Hotel Sacher Salzburg. The three stars of the festival were Max Reinhardt, Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Richard Strauss. The artists would eventually live next door and act as heads of the European and overseas society.

Salzburg Festival in Austria

In 1988, Hotel Sacher Salzburg was purchased by the Gürtler family. The family would embark on a mission to refurbish the entire hotel, from the rooms to the restaurants.

All the rooms were decorated and equipped with rare artistic treasures—the hotel’s style was further developed from these decorations.

Today the hotel absolutely feels modern and refurbished and offers what is easily one of the most comfortable and enchanting experiences in all of Austria. There simply is no hotel quite like this one in the entire world.

Staying at Hotel Sacher Salzburg

Looking over the last 150 years, Hotel Sacher Salzburg has maintained a love for tradition but has also done an exceptional job keeping up with the times and ensuring that guests feel like they’re getting the absolute highest quality experience possible.

If you decide to make this historical hotel your hotel of choice while staying in Salzburg, you can expect all of the quality amenities that you would expect from a 5-star luxury hotel—and don’t worry, the staff all speak English.

The starter package for different room choices begins with the Deluxe Rooms.

The space takes up about 320 feet and is decked out with valuable pieces of artwork and antiques. The next room option available at Hotel Sacher Salzburg is the Junior Suite.

Hotel Room in Hotel Sacher Salzburg

In this historic hotel, you’ll find spacious and comfortable seating areas, amazing views, marble bathrooms, and heated floors—these are just some of the popular features that allow the Junior Suites to stand out.

The interior sits in a comfortable space of around 430 square feet, and the interiors are bright, elegant, and gorgeous. The views include the Salzach River that runs by the theater and the Salzburg theater itself, something you absolutely must visit while you’re there. The marble bathrooms in the Junior Suites come with separate bathrooms and showers.

If you’re looking for a superior form of luxury, then the Signature Suite is probably going to be a perfect choice for you during your vacation in Salzburg.

These 538 square ft rooms are perfect for a couple needing just one bedroom, while the two bedroom suites offer 969 square ft of space while coming with a seperate living area. If that’s not decadent, I don’t know what is!

The views from these lavish suites include the Salzburg Theater, Salzach River, and Makart Square. The rooms also come with expensive and precious oil paintings as well as rare antiques.

The Presidential Suite is the finest way to stay at Hotel Sacher Salzburg. The room includes a bedroom and living room area along with a seperate parlor. The bright marble bathrooms and elegant decor in the Presidential Suites will leave you feeling like royalty or a CEO.

Restaurants & Bars

You’re definitely not going to need to worry about going hungry or thirsty while staying in this fine Austrian luxury hotel. There are several different restaurants and bars to choose from that will have everything from the modern and elegant to the local and homey.

Restaurant Zirbelzimmer is a popular spot where gourmet dining meets authentic and rustic charm. The restaurant has been preserved and feels the same as it did when its doors opened in 1866.

Overlooking the Salzach river, the Sacher kitchen team warmly welcomes its guests with a culinary experience that delivers heavy on local flavors.

You can enjoy Austrian classics as well as seasonal and refined creations by Executive Chef Michael Gahleitner, which have been awarded a Gault Millau toque.

Hotel Sacher Salzburg Bar

If you want an even more traditional flavor, then I can promise that you’re gonna enjoy the Sacher Grill.

Executive Chef Michael Gahleitner blends traditional and beloved recipes with vision and creativity to delight and surprise his guests.

From the famous SalzBurger to the tasty Tafelspitz or the beloved Wiener Schnitzel, these wholesome dishes all come with a strong taste of Salzburg. Enjoy marvellous views of the Salzach River as you get comfortable sampling the savoury selections.

Walk into the Sacher Bar late at night to drink in the heart of Salzburg. Enjoy what they call a “pre-dinner apéritif” with elegant views of the Salzach River, all served with a twist of Sacher.

The venue adds well-designed and modern lighting with carefully selected furniture alongside some extremely classy cocktails for a setting that is both intimate and dramatic, making it perfect for a romantic evening or business gathering.

Café Sacher Salzburg

I share the same opinion with others that the Café Sacher Salzburg is the most romantic spot out of all  the food and beverage options at the hotel.

A trip to Salzberg isn’t complete without getting to spend the afternoon in an authentic Austrian coffee café. Come into the romantic coffee and treat café for breakfast to get your busy day started at the casinos in Salzburg.

Hotel Sacher Salzburg Cafe

You can also count on café Sacher serving lunch every day and enjoy some of the most delicious Sacher Torte for desert. If you’re not a desert fanatic, then let me fill you in.

Sacher Torte is a chocolate cake or torte of Austrian origin, invented by Franz Sacher in 1832 for the Prince Metternich in Vienna. It is one of the most famous Viennese culinary specialties.

It’s so delicious that it actually has its own National Holiday in the United States! December 5 is National Sacher Torte Day in the United States.

Hotel Amenities

The amenities of Hotel Sacher Salzberg are what you would expect when staying in one of the greatest hotels in all of Europe.

Aside from the typical amenities that come with each room, guests can relax and get their workout on in the Health Club inside the hotel.

Sacher Salzberg has its very own spa team that will make sure that you’re treated like European Royalty. The fitness center is open 24/7 and is free for all the guests of the hotel.

Conclusion

Staying at Hotel Sacher Salzberg is an amazing opportunity and one you should keep in mind the next time you are planning a casino trip.

Leave a comment in the section down below if you have thoughts about this or other hotels and casinos in Europe.

3 Fun Things to Do in New Orleans

New Orleans State Seal With City Attractions

If you’re betting on a good time, the odds are good that you’re gonna find it down in New Orleans. Not only does New Orleans bring to the table some of the most fun and most unique pieces of Louisiana culture, as well as America’s best French-Cajun cuisine, it is also a city where gambling has been popular for decades.

People have been gambling in New Orleans much longer than it’s actually been legal, which didn’t happen until the 1990s. Because of the state not ever allowing it (seriously, they didn’t allow any gambling of any sort for a long, long time—I guess that’s just how the dice rolls), it just got more and more popular within the underground gambling community of New Orleans.

There are plenty of awesome casino resorts in Louisiana, and you’ll find many in New Orleans. You can choose from destination such as Boomtown Casino and Harrah’s to the Fair Ground Race Course and Slots. I can assure you that alongside the casino life comes many other fun and amazing things to see and do while visiting New Orleans.

Here are some of the most fun things to do in New Orleans in 2020.

1 – Choose From Dozens of Private Tours

Maybe you want to explore the history or haunts of New Orleans. Yes, New Orleans is supposedly haunted, and I don’t just mean in a few places. The entire city is practically haunted in one way or another if you believe the tales. Or if you prefer shopping, swamps, food, or just want to have some fun, there’s a tour for you that even locals would recommend.

Build an intimate relationship and connection with the city by learning a little bit more about its history and culture. To outsiders, the French Quarter can resemble a gorgeous puzzle. It includes over 100 blocks of wrought iron balconies, pastel-colored walls, and secret gardens. It’s one of the oldest cities in the United States and is filled to the brim with stories and histories that go back hundreds of years.

Bourbon Street in New Orleans

The famous Vieux Carre is one you shouldn’t miss, and the tour has its own specialized guides. Each guide possesses expert knowledge of all sorts, such as Creole cuisine, spirited cocktails, and antebellum architecture, just to name a few. They can tell some pretty creepy stories of voodoo and vampires and help visitors understand the city’s colorful past.

Mardi Gras Mambo Tours (owned by MGMT) has captured the essence of what makes New Orleans truly enchanted. It explores mystic art, cuisine, and spirits (alcohol and ghost forms). Their goal is to bring visitors together to have a blast while learning about the city at the same time.

They specialize in hosting some of the most unique events New Orleans has to offer. The Mardi Gras Mambo Tour is an open bar cocktail tour that is kid-friendly and entertaining for the whole family. You’ll visit Mardi Gras World and the Seven Three Distilling Company during the tour, and you can take the shuttle during the tour.

New Orleans has over 300 years of Cajun-French History that has brought with it some spooky things that definitely aren’t for everybody. There are a whole lot of different ghost tours available for tourists and locals of New Orleans.

One of the most exciting ghost tours is A Ghost Hunting Adventure at The Haunted Mortuary, bringing something to the table that is very different from what you’re used to. During this experience, you’ll have to use the tools of professional ghost hunters in the ongoing investigations of one of the most haunted mansions in America.

2 – The National WWII Museum

The National WWII Museum is the top-rated tourist destination in New Orleans and sits at #2 in the US. Witness an unforgettable way to learn about World War II, from industrial efforts on the home front to the combat experience of American service members abroad.

Offering an incredible and exciting blend of the overarching stories of the war combined with the personal stories of the soldiers, the Museum features exhibits, multimedia experiences, and a collection of artifacts and oral histories.

Exterior of The National World War II Museum in New Orleans

As a visitor, you’ll learn more about how the war started and concluded, as each exhibit helps you experience the history of the war. There’s even an opportunity to tour and ride on a restored PT-boat. And there are tours behind the scenes to handle real artifacts from the war, as well as a collection of restored tanks, planes, and more!

Since the museum first opened over 20 years ago, millions of visitors have walked through the doors. What says even more about the quality of the museum is that 80% of its visitors have been from outside New Orleans.

30% of its visitors have indicated that the museum was the #1 reason why they even visited New Orleans!

3 – NOLA Tropical Winery (Beyond The Grape)

The NOLA Tropical Winery brings you a unique retail store and wine bar that offers non-traditional, award-winning wines. The original location in New Orleans is known as NOLA Tropical Winery and is absolutely worth the visit if you are a wine connoisseur.

Inspired by the fruit wines made in the Deep South, all of the tropical wines are award-winning, delectable drinks that don’t include grapes. The folks at Nola Tropical Winery are proud to bring back tradition to the capital of food and enchantment.

Wine Shelves at NOLA Tropical Winery

They have all of the wines you could possibly want and are unequaled in taste, clarity, and versatility. There are over 40 different varieties, ranging from white to red, and dry to sweet. The wines at Nola Tropical Winery are made of hand-picked berries and tropical fruits. They’ve been awarded multiple medals and international competitions.

For the wine lovers out there who love to gamble, but also want to get a taste of what Southern wines in New Orleans are all about, this is a place that you’re definitely going to want to make time for.

There’s Plenty More to See

You don’t need to worry about running out of things to do while gambling in Louisiana. There is such an abundant, rich culture with over 300 years of history to be found in New Orleans, providing the locals and visitors with plentiful sightseeing.

If you’ve visited New Orleans and have a few places that stood out to you that you’d like to mention, please drop a comment in the section below!

Is Casino Gambling Worth It?

Handful of Cash and an Admit One Ticket With a Casino Background

Here’s the thing about casino gambling for most people:

In the long run, it’s an expense.

It’s NOT a revenue stream.

Sure, some people get lucky and hit a progressive jackpot early in their casino gambling career. And some people learn how to count cards and get an edge over the casino

But, for the average casino gambler, playing casino games costs money.

The purpose of this post is to look at how much money casino gambling costs and whether it’s worth it.

The Concept of Negative Expectation

With almost no exceptions, every bet on every casino game is a negative expectation bet. This is a mathematical expression that refers to whether a bet is expected to win money or lose money. A bet that’s expected to win money is a positive expectation bet, and a bet that’s expected to lose money is a negative expectation bet.

And “expected” has a specific, mathematical meaning, too.

A bet’s expectation is based on how much you expect to win and the probability of winning. It’s also based on how much you expect to lose and the probability of losing.

Here’s an example:

If you have a 47.37% probability of winning a unit and a 52.63% probability of losing a unit, you’re facing a negative expectation bet. Over time, you’ll have some wins and losses, but in the long run, you’re going to lose money.

The House Edge Is How Casinos Measure That Expectation

The casino house edge is a statistical average of how much you’re expected to lose per bet. It’s expressed as a percentage.

For example, if I tell you that the house edge for a game is 5%, then I’m saying that in the long run, you’ll lose an average of 5% of every bet you make. If you’re betting $100 per bet on the game, you’re going to lose an average of $5 per bet.

But that’s an average.

On any individual bet, or even over a short number of bets, you will almost certainly see wild deviations from the expectation.

Long Rows of Slot Machines

The casino doesn’t care about this. That’s just luck. Mathematicians call it standard deviation.

The casino relies on a mathematical phenomenon called the Law of Large Numbers. That’s the idea that as you get more trials in, your actual results will start to look more like the mathematically expected results.

For most games in the casino, the house edge is a known factor.

You can look it up on any of multiple websites, and it’s also listed in better gambling books.

Smart Casino Gamblers Think in Terms of Entertainment Value

For me, the most important concept in casino gambling is the idea that gambling is fun and should be considered an entertainment expense. You should think of it that way. When you do, it becomes easier to decide whether it’s worth it.

On any given trip to the casino, you might have results that differ widely from the mathematical expectation. If you lost what you were expected to every time you visited the casino, you’d probably never go back and gamble there again.

That’s why 20% of the gamblers who go into the casino on any given day walk away with winnings in their pockets. The casino doesn’t mind this at all. After all, when 80% of the gamblers in your casino lose every day, you’re going to make plenty of profit.

But still, if you’re asking yourself whether a casino game is worth it, it’s nice to know the mathematically expected cost of playing that game.

It’s easy to calculate, too.

I cover that in this next section.

How to Calculate the Expected Cost of a Gambling Activity

The cost per hour for any casino game can be estimated if you know the following three pieces of information:

  1. The house edge
  2. The average bet size
  3. The average number of bets per hour

You just multiply those three factors together, and voila, you have the estimated cost per hour of playing that game.

Here’s an example:

You’re playing real money slots. You can assume that the house edge is 7%. You’re betting $3 per spin, and you’re making 500 spins per hour.

7% X $3 per spin X 500 spins per hour = $105/hour

Of course, you don’t know for certain what the house edge is on a slot machine game. It can vary widely from game to game and from casino to casino.

But it’s almost always at least 5%.

At the airport, it might be as high as 25%.

The question to ask yourself is whether you’re getting $105/hour worth of entertainment from playing that game. If the answer is no, walk away.

Stacks of Casino Chips

Let’s look at another example:

You’re playing blackjack (with perfect basic strategy). The house edge is 0.5%, and you’re betting $10 per hand. You’re playing 100 hands per hour.

0.5% X $10 per hand X 100 hands/hour = $5/hour

You’ll notice a couple of things.

One is that the house advantage in blackjack is dramatically lower than it is for slot machines. This is true even if you make some mistakes, but you might get closer to 2.5% if you play badly.

You’ll also notice that in this example, you’re betting over 3X as much per bet.

Finally, you’re making FAR fewer bets per hour at the blackjack table.

That all combines to make blackjack a game that only costs you $5 per hour to play.

You can ask yourself a couple of questions now:

  • Is playing blackjack entertaining enough for me to lose $5 per hour playing?
  • Is playing a slot machine $100/hour MORE entertaining than playing blackjack?

These aren’t the only factors in deciding whether casino gambling is worth it, but they are IMPORTANT factors.

What Kind of Gambling Do You Enjoy?

I think most of my readers will agree that casino gambling offers enough entertainment value that it’s worth it. If you’re one of the ones who decides it’s NOT worth it, you have my blessing.

For those of you who are planning to take up gambling as a hobby, I’d suggest doing the research into how much it costs to play the various casino games, and to also consider what kinds of gambling are fun for you.

Some gamblers like low volatility games. I have a buddy like that. He wants to win even money slightly less than half the time. He’s okay with losing even money slightly more than half the time. He spends a lot of time placing outside bets at the roulette table.

I have another buddy who prefers volatile slot machines. He’s only interested in winning jackpots. He’s willing to have plenty of losing sessions and lose slot machine pull after slot machine pull as long as he occasionally gets a big win of 100X or 1000X his wager.

Don’t Fall Into the Trap of Overvaluing Comps

The casinos will offer you all kinds of “free” stuff to keep you gambling. Trust me on this – they’ve done the math to make sure that you’re going to lose more money than the free stuff is worth. In most cases, it’s far more in losses than in freebies.

i
The casino comps you’re receiving is something they get at cost. For example, if you get a free $45 meal at a casino restaurant, the casino only has $15 tied up in food costs.

Also, they’ve set up their point awards in such a way that you’re almost certain to lose at least $100 or $150 before getting enough points to earn the $45 meal.

The trickiest thing they do is have tiers to their rewards program. I have a buddy who falls for this every time. He wants the upgraded room stay and the free rounds of golf, even though he could pay for both with less than he has to gamble to get to that third tier.

I like to think about the tiers in the VIP program as being similar to gaining levels in Dungeons and Dragons. And that’s one of the aspects of the game that make it so popular.

How Much of Your Budget Can You Use for Entertainment?

Earlier I suggested comparing casino games based on their projected hourly loss to decide which ones are worth playing and which aren’t.

But I also think you should compare the costs of other kinds of entertainment with casino gambling costs.

What does it cost to go to the movies per hour?

People on a Couch Playing Video Games

Could you buy a board game or video game system for the family and get more value per hour from it?

What about reading books? On a per hour basis, books might be the most affordable form of entertainment possible.

Finally, consider whether you’re meeting your financial responsibilities the way you want to. I’d suggest that if your bills are getting paid late, you might not be able to afford gambling at a casino.

Conclusion

Is casino gambling worth it?

That’s a decision you’ll need to make for yourself.

The best thing I can do for you is give you a new lens to think about that decision through. Educated decisions are better than making such decisions blindly.

Best Vegas Casinos for Roulette

Las Vegas Image and a Roulette Wheel and Casino Chips

Roulette is a classic table game that’s been popular for centuries. It’s available in abundance throughout Las Vegas.

The numerous Vegas roulette casinos give you plenty of variety to choose from. But what Las Vegas casinos are the best in terms of house edge and minimum bets?

This page covers the typical roulette scene in Sin City. It also discusses which casinos offer the best games.

The Standard Vegas Roulette Game

Las Vegas may boast hundreds of roulette tables. However, these tables mostly feature one game—American roulette.

The American wheel is characterized by 38 numbered pockets. The pockets break down as follows:

  • 1 through 36
  • Zero
  • Double zero

You’d be on equal footing with the casino if American roulette only featured numbers 1-36. However, the zero and double zero favor the house on all bets that don’t involve either pocket.

If you wager on red/black for example, 18 of the spaces will deliver a win. 20 of the spaces, meanwhile, result in a loss.

Large Amount of Bets on a Roulette Table

When divided by 38 total pockets, the two zero-based pockets result in a 5.26% house edge. This roulette house advantage is one of the worst among all casino games.

Unfortunately, Vegas and other gambling destinations are filled with American wheels. They like these wheels because:

  1. They win more money from players.
  2. People continue playing these games even with the high house edge.

You typically need to bet $5 or more to play Vegas roulette games. Stretched out over 50 spins per hour, you’d be wagering at least $250.

Multiplying this betting volume by the 5.26% house edge, you stand to lose $13.15 per hour. Although not a fortune, this amount is quite high when considering the low stakes and number of spins.

Which Roulette Games Do You Want?

The default American roulette game offered in Vegas isn’t ideal. Its high house advantage greatly reduces your chances of winning money.

Therefore, you should seek out alternative roulette games when possible. The following variations represent the best roulette that Sin City has to offer.

European Roulette

The European wheel features 37 numbered pockets. These pockets break down as follows:

  • 1-36
  • Zero

The noticeable difference here is the absence of double zero. By dividing this lone house-friendly pocket by 37 numbers, you arrive at a 2.70% house edge.

European roulette still doesn’t give you the best chance to win among all casinos games. However, its reasonable 2.70% house advantage places it in the upper half.

French Roulette

This game looks identical to the European game. After all, French roulette plays on a European wheel.

The key difference, though, is that French roulette features the “la partage” rule. This rule works as follows:

  • You place an even-money wager.
  • Your bet loses, because the ball lands on zero.
  • You only lose half of your wager instead of the full amount.
Basically, the “la partage” rule halves the normal European roulette house edge. You only face a 1.35% house advantage as a result.

Remember, though, that la partage only applies to even-money bets. Therefore, you must stick with high/low, odds/even, and red/black to take advantage of the low house edge.

American Roulette /w La Partage

Certain American roulette games feature the la partage rule too. On these tables, you only lose half of your money on even-money wagers when the ball lands on zero or double zero.

Here’s the math behind the house edge in this scenario:

  • American roulette features two house-friendly pockets (zero and double zero).
  • 2 / 38 = 5.26%
  • 26 / 2 (la partage) = 2.63% house edge

This 2.63% house advantage is actually better than what European roulette offers. Again, though, you need to place even-money bets to qualify.

Unfortunately, I don’t know of any Las Vegas casinos that offer this particular game. This American roulette variation likely exists in Sin City, but I don’t know exactly where.

Which Vegas Casinos Offer the Best Roulette Games?

You don’t gain any advantage by playing at a standard American roulette table. Instead, you must find European or French roulette tables to win more money.

Closeup of a Vegas Roulette Wheel

An American wheel with la partage in play will also work. Of course, you also need to worry about two other considerations:

  • Minimum bets
  • Number of tables

You may need to worry about the minimum wager for bankroll purposes. The number of tables is also important, because it determines how easily it’ll be for you to find an open game.

That said, the top Las Vegas casinos for each purpose—house edge, minimum bet, no. of tables—are all covered below.

Best for House Edge

European and French roulette games aren’t available in abundance. However, the following casinos do feature a limited number of such tables:

  • Aria – French roulette
  • Bellagio – French
  • Encore – French
  • Mandalay Bay – French
  • MGM Grand – French
  • Mirage – French
  • Wynn – French
  • Cromwell – European roulette
  • Palazzo – European
  • Venetian – European

Best Quantity of Tables

A low house edge is only good if you can take advantage of it. Below, you’ll find the number of quality roulette tables available in the above-mentioned casinos:

  • Aria – 1 table (French)
  • Bellagio – 2 tables (French)
  • Encore – 1 table (French)
  • Mandalay Bay – 2 tables (French)
  • MGM Grand – 2 tables (French)
  • Mirage – 2 tables (French)
  • Wynn – 1 table (French)
  • Cromwell – 1 table (European)
  • Palazzo – 1 table (European)
  • Venetian – 1 table (European)

Best for Low Minimum Bets

The toughest part about playing Vegas European or French roulette is that you must bet a lot. Here are the minimum wagers required at each casino.

  • Aria – $50 minimum bet
  • Bellagio – $50
  • Encore – $100
  • Mandalay Bay – $50
  • MGM Grand – $25
  • Mirage – $100
  • Wynn – $100
  • Cromwell – No listed minimum
  • Palazzo – $100
  • Venetian – $100

Is It Worth Hunting for European & French Roulette in Vegas?

Assuming you wager a fair amount on roulette, then you’ll gain value by looking for the top games in Sin City. You’ll enjoy a much better house edge with European (2.70%) or French (1.35%) roulette than you will with the American (5.26%) version.

You won’t benefit by playing these games if you’re a low-stakes gambler. In fact, you stand to lose more money due to the high minimum bets in most cases.

Here’s a comparison to explain:

  • You play American roulette for 50 spins.
  • You bet $5 per round.
  • 50 x 5 = $250 wagered
  • 250 x 0.0526 = $13.15 lost through American roulette
  • You play French roulette for 50 spins.
  • You bet $50 per round.
  • 50 x 50 = $2,500 wagered
  • 2,500 x 0.0526 = $33.75 lost through French roulette

Despite facing a low 1.35% house edge with the French game, you lose almost three times as much in this example. The higher minimum wager exposes you more to the house advantage.

Another issue involves finding open tables. Casinos that offer the best roulette variations only do so on 1-2 tables.

High-rollers who want the best chance to win will seek out these limited tables. Therefore, you must be willing to put in more work to join the few existing games.

Where Else Can You Find the Top Roulette Games?

Las Vegas represents your best chance of playing European and French roulette in America. But you can find these games in other settings too, including the following options.

Europe

European roulette draws its name from the continent where it was born. The Blanc brothers introduced this game to German casinos in the mid-1800s.

The European wheel is heavily prevalent throughout the continent today. Unlike with American and Canadian casinos, which are filled with American wheels, Europe boasts many European roulette games.

You can do even better by traveling to France, Germany, or Monte Carlo specifically. These countries boast a fair number of French roulette tables.

Online Casinos

If you can’t make it to Europe, then online casinos offer a more-convenient way to play roulette for real money.

Online Real Money Roulette Game

Almost every internet casinos features the European wheel. This means you can enjoy a 2.70% house edge whenever you log on.

Some casinos also offer American roulette with the la partage rule and the French variation. The latter is available at Microgaming and Realtime Gaming (RTG) casinos.

Aside from offering the top variations in a convenient manner, online roulette also boasts extremely low minimum bets. You can play for as little as $1 per spin in most cases.

Conclusion

Like other US gambling destinations, Las Vegas is known for American roulette first. However, you can still find French and European roulette too.

These games both give you a stronger chance to win than the American version. The catch, though, is that you must usually bet $50 or more to play these variants in Sin City.

Unless you’re already a high roller, you should consider playing European and French roulette elsewhere.

Both Europe and online casinos offer the best variations. Internet roulette is especially attractive thanks to its convenience and $1 stakes.

How to Win Casino Games and Influence Probabilities

Closeup of Hand on Slot Machine With a Roulette Table Background

Anyone can win a casino game. All you need to do to win is to play. The trick is making a profit.

After all, if you stick with the even money bets at the roulette table, you’ll win 47.37% of the time.

But with a winning percentage like that, you’re guaranteed to lose money over time.

In fact, if you play long enough, you’ll lose all your money just because of the math.

Here’s how to win casino games and influence probabilities like a champ.

You can’t influence anything you don’t understand. Well, you can, but you won’t know if you’ve influenced it in one direction or the other, and you won’t be able to tell by how much, either.

This is why a basic understanding of probability is essential for anyone who wants to win casino games and influence probabilities.

The first thing to understand about probability is that it’s how you measure how likely something is to happen. A probability is just a ratio comparing the number of ways something can happen versus the number of ways it can’t happen.

For example, the probability of getting heads when you flip a normal coin is 1/2. You have two total possibilities, both of which are equally likely, and only one of them is the “winning” possibility.

If you convert that fraction to odds format, you’re looking at one to one odds, or “even” odds.

This becomes important in gambling because you can compare payout odds to the odds of winning to determine how much of an edge the casino (or you) have.

Understanding the Concept of the Casino House Edge

The casino house edge is a statistical measurement of the difference between the odds of winning and the payout odds. Casinos always pay out at odds lower than the odds of winning, and that’s how they win in the long run. The bigger the difference is, the faster they win your money.

Roulette is my favorite illustration. Suppose you bet on red. What’s the probability of winning that bet?

You have 18 red numbers on a roulette wheel, 18 black numbers, and two green numbers.

So, you have 18 ways to win versus 20 ways to lose.

Closeup of a Single Zero Roulette Wheel

The bet pays off at even money, one to one odds, even though the odds of winning one to 0.9.

The difference is the casino house edge.

Suppose you bet $100 on 38 spins of the wheel, and you see statistically perfect results. You’ll win $1800 and lose $2000 for a net loss of $200.

Average that out over 38 spins, and you’ll get an average loss per spin of $5.26.

That’s 5.26% of the $100 you bet each time, which means the house edge is 5.26%.

You can think of the house edge as being like a tax that the casino charges you to play the game, but it’s a tax that’s applied randomly in such a manner that it only shows up over the long run.

Choose One Bet Over Another Based on the Casino House Edge

Generally, a bet with a higher house edge is worse than a bet with a lower house edge.

This seems obvious, but in case you’re missing the point, let’s compare the house edge of two games – blackjack and roulette.

If you play blackjack for real money with perfect strategy, the house edge is only 0.5%. (I’m assuming a reasonably good set of rules and playing conditions.)

This means that when you bet $100 on a hand of blackjack, your projected loss is only 50 cents.

But if you bet $100 on a spin of the roulette wheel, your projected loss is $5.26.

One game costs 10X as much as the other game – at least as measured on a per bet basis.

Other factors matter, too, like volatility and rate of play, but assuming those are the same, you should always go for the bet with the lowest house edge you can find.

Factors That Affect How Much You Can Expect to Win or Lose

Volatility just represents how big the swings are between losing and winning.

Some games have different volatilities depending on which bets you’re placing. For example, in roulette, even-money bets have low volatility. You’ll lose a little more than half the time, and you’ll win a little less than half the time, and you’ll always be going up or down a single betting unit.

But if you bet on a single number at roulette, you’re going to see more volatile results. You’ll lose most of the time, but when you do win, you’ll see a bigger win. A single number bet in roulette only wins once every 38 spins on average, but when it does, you win 35 to one on your money.

This same concept applies to other games, but it gets more complex. For example, a slot machine that pays off a 1000 for one jackpot once every 1500 spins is even more volatile, but it might be less volatile based on how many smaller wins you get along the way.

The other factor to think about is how much money you’re putting into action per hour.

Slot Machines at Harrah's Reno

When you’re playing blackjack at a table with three other people, you’re probably going to see 100 hands per hour. If you’re betting $5 per hand, you’re putting $500 per hour into action. This means you’re looking at an average projected loss per hour of $2.50.

If you’re playing roulette at a busy table, you might only see 30 spins of the wheel per hour. If you’re betting $5 per spin, you’re only putting $150 per hour into action. Even though you’re going to lose 5.26% of that, or $7.89, you’re not losing 10X what you’d lose per hour playing blackjack.

The difference is the rate of play.

This, by the way, is one of the reasons slot machines are so profitable for the casino and such an awful bet for the casino gambler. An average slot machine player spins the reels 500 to 600 times per hour.

Even if that slot machine gambler is only betting $1 per spin, she’s putting as much money into action per hour as the blackjack player in the previous example.

And she’s facing a house edge of at least 5% and maybe as much as 25%.

Flip the Odds in Your Favor

If casino games sound hopeless right now, I’ve done a good job explaining how they work. And you’ve done a good job of understanding how they work.

But fear not.

There’s hope.

You can find techniques and strategies that will get you an edge over the casino. These are called “advantage gambling techniques.”

The most famous advantage gambling technique is probably card counting in blackjack. It’s easier than you think, too.

Some people think you might have to memorize which cards have already been played and extrapolate what’s still in the deck to count cards, but the reality is far simpler.

When you’re counting cards in blackjack, you’re just tracking and estimating the ratio of high cards (aces and tens) to low cards in the deck. The high cards are advantageous to the player because they increase your probability of getting a “natural” or “blackjack,” which pays off at three to two odds.

Closeup of an Ace and King Blackjack

In other words, if you bet $100 and get a two-card hand worth 21 points, you win $150 instead of $100.

With proportionally more aces and tens in the deck, your probability of getting such a hand goes up.

If you raise your bets in proportion to how much your advantage has grown, you can get a small edge over the casino.

A good card counter might have an edge of 1% over the casino, which doesn’t sound like much, but if you’re betting enough over a long period, it adds up fast.

For example, if you’re betting $100 per hand on average, you’re looking at winning a dollar per hand.

If you’re at a table where you’re getting 100 hands per hour, you’re looking at averaging $100 an hour in winnings.

Of course, you need a bankroll large enough to withstand any possible losing streaks, but you can get an edge at blackjack.

Gaining an Edge Over Other Casino Games

Counting cards in blackjack is only one example of advantage gambling techniques. It’s beyond the scope of a single blog post to list all possible ways to win casino games and influence probabilities.

Some topics that might warrant further examination on your part, though, might include dice control in craps or edge sorting in baccarat or blackjack. Dealer tells is another way of getting an edge at blackjack. You might even still be able to find a biased roulette wheel.

Conclusion

For the most part, the average gambler will always lose in the long run.

But you should strive to be above average.

If you do the right things with the right mindset – which includes an understanding of the math – you can win casino games and influence probabilities.

6 Behind the Scenes Facts About Vegas Casinos

Hand Pulling Back Curtain With a Las Vegas Background

You know, it’s hard to know everything about the Vegas casinos. Some people claim to know everything. They might know a lot, but they don’t know everything.

I’m fascinated with Vegas facts and trivia. I’ve been researching some of the behind the scenes facts about Vegas casinos.

I’m sharing six facts about what goes on behind in the scenes at Vegas Casinos. You might not look at the casinos the same again. I promise you’ll start tipping better too.

1 – The Casino Staff Is Watched Closely

The casino staff is under immense pressure to provide gamblers an excellent experience during the visit. Be friendly to the grump. Cater to the outlandish room service request. It’s ok if a guest needs three cribs in their room.

You get the idea.

I can’t imagine the stress they carry on their shoulders. Can you?

On top of the customer service standards they’re held to, security scrutinizes their own staff than people gambling on the casino floor. The probable cause for this is mostly because the 2nd biggest casino heist in history was by an employee.

Closeup Up of a Casino Dealer Dealing Cards

Casino employees know the ins and the out of the casino operations. This gives them an advantage over the thief off the streets. They know when the banks are turned over. They know when shift changes are.

The casino staff is inspected when they arrive for their shift. They are watched by the security team during their shift. They are checked when leaving for the night.

It’s a secure system that has kept the casino employees from stealing from their place of work. There hasn’t been a report of a significant casino theft in almost 10 years.

2 – Hidden Casino Doors

Casinos are full of hidden and secret doors. There was an old wife’s tale going around the internet that these doors were in the bathrooms to help remove people that were down about how much money they’ve lost.

That’s adorable and kind of creepy, to be honest. I’m not sure how this rumor was started, but there are all kinds of laws surrounding bathroom privacy.

Sorry. No hidden doors in bathrooms, guys. The casinos don’t hide people that spent too much money gambling.

There are tons of hidden doors all throughout the building to help casino security get to an emergency as fast as possible. The doors also help other staff get to the bar, restaurant, cashier’s cage, sooner.

Casino Hotel Security Room

Could you imagine what the floor would look like if all the casino staff was scurrying all over the floor for the thousands of tasks and assignments they deal with daily?

This is a pretty common practice for businesses that are centered around the in-person experience. The hidden door method is used at malls, convention centers, amusement parks, music venues, and hotels. Don’t worry, hotels don’t have secret doors in the guest rooms.

3 – You Think Facebook Is Bad?

Have you ever been talking to your partner or kids about something, face to face, and ads for it start showing up on your Facebook feed or on a website?

Are they listening to you?

Probably.

But I’m getting off-topic.

The second you walk through a casino’s doors, you are on video and being watched. The only exceptions to surveillance are:

  • Bathrooms
  • Dressing rooms
  • Hotel rooms

The casino’s security staff is looking for cheaters and potential thieves all day, every day. The only time the cameras aren’t rolling (or listening) is when the casino is closed.

The surveillance technology used in casinos is some of the best in the world. They use facial recognition (see the Vegas Black Book), contact tracking, and much more than they care to share with the public.

Cameras are back on and watching. They’re not going to violate your privacy unless you steal from them. Seems fair.

4 – Vegas Doesn’t Like Drunk and Disorderly

You might think the number one reason people get arrested at casinos is cheating or stealing. Nope.

Casino staff will get the police involved if you’re behaving in a way that their trained staff can’t get under control. This isn’t amateur hour friends.

They also don’t look kindly upon hitting your family member or selling your “services.”

More people are arrested at casinos for being overly intoxicated, soliciting prostitution, and domestic violence instead of cheating or stealing from the casinos. So watch your casino etiquette.

So, the lesson here is the laws at home are also the laws in Vegas. Casino staff doesn’t want to call the cops. Don’t give them a reason to.

5 – That’s a Lot of Food

The Aria has over 90 trucksloads of food delivered every day. The casino resort has also had a dedicated room for lobsters. The room has four tanks for storing the crustaceans until they meet their end in a water bath.

The Aria is only one of the dozens of casinos in Las Vegas. Can you imagine how much is going on behind the scenes at all the other casinos?

The Bellagio has a pump room dedicated to pumping hard liquor to the over 50 bars throughout the property. Apparently, the Bellagio’s guests really like vodka. They also serve over 9000 bottles worth f beer via the pump room in one day—big eyes emoji.

Lobster Dish From Catch at Aria

The food service and catering staff in casinos work full time to provide their patrons with the best experience possible.

There’s a lot goes into to also being one the food and drinking capitals of the world. Vegas has more restaurants, just on the Strip’s 4.8 miles than any other city in the United States.

So next time you’re annoyed that it took five minutes longer to get your food delivered to your room or another patron is served before you think about the volumes they’re dealing with. Tip them because they’re busting their butts to keep everyone happy.

6 – Every Detail Counts

I’ve shared before that every detail at a casino is on purpose. It could be the ATMs sprinkled throughout the casino floor.

It might be the lack of windows or clocks. You (probably) have a cell phone on you, so the clock thing is a little passe.

Casino guests should understand that every placement of a thing, even the music, is on purpose. That purpose is to get you to stay. When you visit, you spend money.

The biggest goal of a casino is for gamblers (and their non-gambling travel companions) to stay on the property. 50 other casinos are competing for your attention.

The Vegas Strip is the most competitive place to own a casino. The 51 casinos are trying to get as many people in their doors and keep them there. The Strip casinos see almost 42 million visitors a year.

It sounds sinister, but let’s look at it differently. Where have you ever seen 51 grocery stores in a 4.8-mile radius of each other?

People go to Vegas to spend money. They’re there to gamble or enjoy the other entertainment options available.

Aerial View of CityCenter Las Vegas

If you’re traveling with a gambler, you’re probably wanting to stay at one of the mega-casinos that offers shopping, a killer pool, fantastic dining options, and outrageous shows.

Isn’t it interesting that the casinos can offer all of this in one experience? A ton of market research has gone into the Las Vegas experience. Nothing is by accident.

The casinos probably have the biggest marketing departments out of any other industry. They are tasked with every detail of their ads to the font used on the guest checks for room service.

There’s so much psychology behind gambling and destination vacations that every detail does count. I have worked in marketing for most of my adult life. I wouldn’t want that kind of responsibility.

Conclusion

There is so much more than these six behind the scene facts about Vegas Casinos. I will be writing a part two soon. Make sure to come back and read it.

I hope you have a better understanding of what goes into running a casino. I certainly do. Plus, you’re armed with even more Vegas and casino trivia.

5 Things to Know Before Playing Baccarat

Two Images of Baccarat Tables Combined

It’s been called the game for high rollers, and has long been associated with wealthy gamblers who have massive bankrolls. In reality, baccarat is a game that can be enjoyed by players of all levels, and has been for hundreds of years.

Despite its relatively good odds, a quick walk around the casino will reveal that many gamblers overlook the game. Whether it’s due to the game’s reputation or simply a lack of knowledge, baccarat remains somewhat enigmatic in terms of table games.

In this article, I’ll lay out a few things players should know before playing the game themselves.

1 – You Don’t Need to Be a High Roller

Yes, you might find the velvet-roped section of the casino a little intimidating. As millionaire gamblers flock to the baccarat table in an exclusive area of your preferred gaming establishment, it can seem as if you’ll never be able to join in the fun.

What you might not know is that the game is available for players of all levels – not just the high rollers.

Downtown Grand Baccarat Table

Although the history of baccarat is one of participation by the upper-class of society, it has nothing to do with the rules of the game itself. In fact many casinos make baccarat accessible via video sets that require as low as a $10 minimum…something everyone can afford.

2 – It’s Easy to Learn

I won’t get into all the minute specifics, but if you’ve never learned how to play baccarat you could be missing out on a profitable game to add to your betting portfolio. Here’s a basic rundown that you can use that should be serviceable enough to generate some wins, or at least make you feel more comfortable at the table.

Step 1: Place Initial Bets

In baccarat, you start by betting on one of two hands. One option is the Banker’s hand, and the other is the Player’s hand. You must make this decision before the cards are dealt.

Step 2: Understand the Dealing

After placing your bet, cards are dealt. Two cards are given out to both the Banker and the Player. The Player’s box receives a card face up. The first card of the Banker’s hand is then placed in the Banker’s Box. The second card is dealt in the same fashion.

Step 3: Know the Value of the Cards

Whereas in blackjack tens and face cards are worth 10, in baccarat these cards are worth 0. All other cards are worth their face value. If the number of the combined cards is more than 10, then the second digit is the value of the hand. For example, if you have an 8 and a 4, the total would make up a 2 point hand. The goal is to bet on the hand that is the closest to a total of 9.

Step 4: The Natural Win

Much like a “21” in blackjack, there is a natural win in baccarat. If the point total is 8 or 9 for the player or the banker, a natural win is called and the game is over.

Step 5: The Third Card Determination

Here’s where things get a little more complex, although it’s still very easy to understand.

The Player’s hand is always played out before the banker. If the Player has a total of 8 or 9, there are no additional cards dealt to the Player. If the total is 6 or 7, the Player must stand. If the total is between 0 and 5, then the Player draws a third card. However, if the Banker has 8 or 9 in their hand, the bank wins and there are no more cards drawn.

Step 6: The Banker’s Third Card

If the Player stands and the Banker has a point total of 0 to 5, the Banker must draw a third card. The Banker stands if the total ends up at 6 or 7, in which case all other hands would depend on what the third card is that the Player draws.

Step 7: Calculate the Winner

As previously stated, whichever hand, Player or Banker, is closest to 9, wins. If other players at the table bet on the Banker and the Banker wins, there are commissions that can be paid out accordingly.

While this may sound complicated, after just a few hands it’s fairly easy to get the hang of the rules. With that being said, it’s always advisable to read up on baccarat until you’re at a point where the game makes total sense.

3 – Online Baccarat Is a Viable Option

Table games like online poker or blackjack have been popular for quite some time now, but baccarat provides several opportunities to be successful as well. In fact, I would recommend that new players try their hand in the online space before heading into a casino.

El Royale Online Casino Baccarat Game

For starters, playing online will usually allow you to take advantage of online casino bonuses that you aren’t going to find in a physical casino. These bonuses can be a deposit match, which essentially gives you free money to gamble with – something that’s extremely valuable for newer players.

Another advantage to playing online is the fact that minimums are often much more affordable. In short, you can learn the game, and even win some money, without taking a huge risk. It will also allow you to learn the game without the inherent pressure that comes with playing with a bunch of strangers who likely have some prior experience.

4 – Mini Baccarat Is Great for Beginners

As with many other casino games, baccarat has several different variations that are great for gamblers who are new to the game. In this case, it’s mini baccarat that should be at the top of the list.

i
Mini baccarat isn’t just an option – it’s actually the most popular version of the game in the US, and has started to grow in popularity in other major gambling markets like Macau and Singapore.

The differences in the game itself aren’t all that significant from regular baccarat. For example, instead of the traditional 14 spots at a regular table, mini baccarat only has room for seven. Additionally, in mini baccarat players don’t deal their own cards, or even touch them throughout the course of the game.

Finally, the main reason why it’s so popular is because of the accessibility to the vast majority of players. It’s unpretentious, requires a much lower minimum bet, and isn’t roped off section of the casino reserved for high rollers.

5 – No Commission, No Thank You

In a situation where commission is only 4%, the house edge is lowered to around 0.6%. Sounds good, right?

Unfortunately, although it seems attractive, these no commission games actually provide worse odds than the regular setup. The reason why it’s less profitable is because if the banker is the winner at six points, you’ll only get paid out on your bet at a rate of 50%.

Now, you might be wondering how often that actually happens, which is a fair question. The data suggests that this scenario comes up a little more than 5% of the time, which means it will likely come into to play if you’re playing baccarat for any significant amount of time.

The bottom line is that although the concept of no commission sounds good, like many other casino games, it’s not what it seems. Stick to the regular commission rules and you’ll have a better chance to win money over time.

Conclusion

If you’re growing tired of the same old blackjack, craps, and roulette routine at your favorite casino, try giving baccarat a chance. Once you understand the basics of the game, there are even side bet options which can be very profitable if you know what you’re doing.

Because of the different variations, it’s best to study up and practice online – even if no real money is involved. Getting a feel for the game can put you in the best position to take advantage of that “beginner’s luck” you thought you lost a long time ago.

6 Psychological Tricks Casinos Use to Beat You

Swinging Pocket Watch With a Roulette Wheel Background

It might seem like it’s all about the numbers, but casinos use a number of psychological tricks to keep gamblers from gaining an edge. The good news? If you recognize them you can start to level the playing field.

Manipulation is fair game when it comes to gambling. Since the first casino opened way back in 1638, there has been a struggle between player and house – unsurprisingly, the house is generally the winner.

In this article, I’ll get into some of the mental games that often go unnoticed. This knowledge won’t guarantee a winning trip, but it certainly won’t hurt either.

1 – The Casino Layout

Most people don’t give a second thought to the way land based casinos are laid out. At first glance, nothing seems unusual about it. However, there is much more at play than you might recognize.

For starters, the place is typically laid out like a labyrinth. In order to find what you’re looking for you’re going to have to pass through a number of other games that are covered in bright colors and flashing lights that basically say, “Come take a chance on me.”

In addition, essential stops like the ATM, cash-out machine, and restrooms are usually not so easy to get to. This is intentional, as the longer you spend wandering around the more likely you are to explore new games.

Casino Floor of The Orleans Las Vegas

The next time you visit a casino, try to find one “landmark” feature that you can readily and easily recognize. Chances are it’s going to be harder than you think. Casino designers don’t necessarily try to make it feel like you’re always lost, but rather that anywhere you decide to play feels comfortable.

Garish slot machines are found in just about every corner of the establishment so that a quick game is never out of reach. Even the blackjack tables are laid out in such a way that the casino can gently nudge you in the direction of the games that you’re most likely to play, and also most likely to lose.

If you’re ever gambling at a new place and are constantly feeling like you’re lost, you certainly are not alone. Just remember that finding your way to the bathroom doesn’t need to be a reason to spend more money.

2 – The Time of Day

If you were dropped into a casino with no watch or phone, you’d never know what time it is – this is by design.

Casinos everywhere purposefully do everything in their power to make time stop. The goal is to get players in a “zone” where there are no reminders that time is indeed flying by why they’re sitting at the roulette wheel or slot machine.

Generally speaking, the more time people spend at the casino, the more money they’re going to lose. The absence of clocks or windows makes it so that the only measure of whether to stay or leave is the state of one’s bankroll.

Analog Clock With No Hands

If you aren’t careful you can easily fall into the trap of finding yourself in a trancelike state that won’t allow you to step away. To combat this phenomenon, try setting an alarm on your phone or watch and take frequent breaks.

Remember, if you’ve won money, that means it might be time to call it a day. Even a modest win is better than trying to hit it big and slowly draining your financial resources in the process.

3 – Cashless

Just like swiping a credit card, when you play at a casino it can be very easy to forget just how much money you’re using to gamble.

Casinos have always known that when your cash turns into chips or a number on a membership credit card, it can seem like you aren’t using real money – just numbers. Meaning you might not realize that $100 worth of chips in front of you might actually represent a week’s worth of groceries or some other essential purchase.

Unfortunately, there’s really no way to get around it. This is why it’s even more important that you go into the gaming establishment with a set amount of money that you’re going to use that day. My recommendation would be to physically go in with cash to be converted to digital currency or chips. That way you won’t be tempted to reload your casino bankroll while you’re playing.

4 – Comps

What’s wrong with free stuff?! In this case, the answer is that it’s not necessarily free if you’ve had to spend a whole bunch of money to get it. The kickbacks that casinos provide, known as “casino comps” or complimentary items, are often reserved for those who have already paid their fair share to the house.

If you’re a frequent player at a specific casino, it’s fine to work towards getting a free night in a hotel room at the resort or free food and drinks. With that being said, if you’re trying to get these rewards after a weekend, you’re probably going to end up betting far too much.

The goal of a casino visit is to leave with more money than you came in with. If you’re more concerned with earning that free luxury suite upgrade, it’s going to much less expensive to just pay for it upfront than to try to get it by spending enough for the comp.

5 – The Jackpot Effect

It might not be a technical term, but I think it’s time to put some title on what I’ll refer to as the “jackpot effect.”

What I’m referring to is those bright lights and jubilant sounds that emanate from a machine when someone hits a big jackpot. Nearly everyone in the casino hears it, and the obvious reaction is undoubtedly, “If they won it, so can I!”

Row of Casino Slot Machines

Yes, it is true that jackpots happen and some lucky gamblers have his or her day made in a matter of seconds. But it’s crucial to recognize that these shows of success aren’t typical, and the fanfare is meant to seduce you into chasing after the jackpot yourself.

Remember that when you witness a jackpot you’re only hearing the successful side of the machine. What is much less noticeable is the silence or groans that signify the disappointment of coming up empty after a half hour of button pushing.

6 – Near Wins

Whether it’s playing real money slots, video poker, or any other type of machine-oriented game, you’re likely to come close to hitting the jackpot many times. This isn’t random.

Gaming programmers are notorious for creating a system where you always feel like one more spin could have you rolling in cash. Unfortunately, getting 2 out of 3 or 4 out of 5 when it comes to hitting it big really doesn’t count for anything.

This one really does hit deep in players’ psychological, subconscious minds.

Think of playing a lottery ticket where you get 90% of the correct numbers. It inevitably leads to the desire to play another round. Now extrapolate that phenomenon to a keno machine, video poker, or slot machine and you can see how effective it really is.

The bottom line is that whether you get 99% of what you need for a jackpot or 1% of what you need, the overall result is the same. Just because you’re “almost there” doesn’t mean anything, and can lead to unrealistic expectations.

Conclusion

While this isn’t an exhaustive list of all the ways casinos make money off gamblers, it’s a good place to start.

The best way to avoid falling victim to these tricks I’ve laid out above is to simply recognize them and remind yourself that things aren’t always what they seem. Casinos play on your emotions, so staying even-keeled is crucial to being a good gambler.

As a basic guide for dealing with the casino’s psychological tactics, keep a close eye on your bankroll, take frequent breaks, and remind yourself that it’s okay to walk away.

4 Tips for Planning a Non-Vegas Gambling Trip

Airplane Taking Off With a Pink Casino Dice Background

Believe it or not, Las Vegas is not the only city in the US that can provide you and your friends with a memorable gambling trip. While other places may not have the same reputation, or quite frankly the temptation, of Sin City, they can be plenty of fun nonetheless.

If you aren’t an experienced gambler, knowing exactly where to go can be difficult. It doesn’t help that with today’s relaxed gambling laws, you have more options than ever before.

In this article, I’ll lay out what you (and your group) should consider before planning a non-Vegas gambling trip.

1 – Choose the Location Wisely

Okay, this first one is pretty obvious. Without a location in mind, there really isn’t much of a trip.

The first question you should be asking when you and your buddies try to make a decision should be whether your destination is international or in the United States.

From the Caribbean, to South Africa, Macau, and more, there are plenty of places to choose from, all offering their own special perks. These foreign destinations will undoubtedly offer some sort of cultural experience. But the costs are going to be significant, and the trip will have to be more than just a weekend.

If you’re serious about gambling, have a deep bankroll, and want to take the trip of a lifetime, international is going to be the way to go. However, for this article, I’m going to focus more on the gambling sites at home in the US.

When it comes to non-Vegas locations within the US, the cultural aspect of a trip to Singapore might be lost, but there are other things to take into account. For example, are you and your group going to want to do other activities besides gambling such as golf? Or are you simply going to stick around the casino for the majority of the time?

Aerial View of Atlantic City

When it comes to the question above, the good news is that most big casinos have golf courses (not all, though, so look before booking) attached, with means you won’t have to go far to spread the fun around. Additionally, not all courses are of the same quality, so if your trip is going to be equal parts gambling and golf, you might want to look at reviews on the quality of the golf courses there.

Some locations that have become extremely popular in the US over the past couple years are Harrah’s in Lake Tahoe, Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City
(of course Atlantic City was going to make the list), and Resort World Casino New York City in Queens.

All of the above offer unique experiences that are very different from each other, so do a little research before you decide which aspects of the trip you’ll value most. For example, some of the resorts are near major cities if you’re looking to hit the town, while others are out in their own territory, which could be perfect if you’re looking to get away.

2 – Itinerary

It’s not fun, and it may have annoyed you with your dad growing up, but the itinerary is a crucial part of the perfect gambling trip. It’s especially important when you aren’t going to Vegas, where the default plan is to bounce around as many casinos, clubs, and entertainment venues as possible.

As mentioned in the section above, the best US casino resorts are packed with activities. Aside from gambling, which will presumably take up a decent amount of your time, you’ll likely have access to golf, high-quality restaurants, entertaining shows, concerts, excursions off the resort, and much more.

Golf Course in Atlantic City

Take it from someone who has been on plenty of trips that lacked a plan, you just don’t have the time to put it together last minute. A little bit of game-planning may very well be the difference between experiencing a number of different things and simply losing all your money between the bar and the blackjack table.

So, what would an example of a resort itinerary look like? Here’s one you could use if you’re planning on getting the most out of all the resort’s offerings:

  • 8:00 am – Breakfast buffet (trust me on the breakfast buffet suggestions)
  • 9:30 am – 18 holes on the course
  • 1:30 pm – Lunch and relax
  • 2:30 pm – Head to the casino for blackjack
  • 4:30 pm – Drinks at the bar before dinner
  • 6:00 pm – Dinner at the best restaurant on the resort
  • 8:00 pm – Catch a show at the entertainment venue
  • 10:00 pm – Back to the casino to close out the night

Obviously, that’s a full day, but you might as well take advantage of everything that is right at your fingertips when visiting a world-class resort!

The bottom line is that you can decide for yourself which activities you want to include on the list. The most important thing is simply that you have some kind of plan. It’s fine to keep it flexible depending on your mood.

3 – Decide Which Games You’re Going to Play

This one isn’t necessarily specific to the concept of a “non-Vegas” trip, but it’s still important to consider on any gambling getaway.

Similar to the need to have a plan for the day as a whole, you need to do some light preparation for your trip to the casino in and of itself. It doesn’t have to be extensive, but determine which games you’re going to focus on, establish your bankroll, and decide how long you’re going to play.

Closeup of a Blackjack Hand and Chips

For many, real money blackjack is going to be the game of choice. For others, slots might take up most of the time on the casino floor. Either way, it’s important to do a little research beforehand to make sure you’re up-to-date on the latest tips to give yourself the best chance to win.

It should be noted that although slots are some of the most popular attractions on the floor, they typically have some of the worst odds you’ll find. Check out this list to view a selection of some more favorable games.

In the end, the games you choose will likely be personal preference. Just know that some games are more likely to make you money (or result in fewer losses) than others.

4 – Comps

If you’re going to spend one afternoon at your local casino, comps probably aren’t going to be a huge thing you need to be thinking about. However, if you’re going to be spending an entire weekend (and potential more in the future), you should definitely research which places are the most generous.

Casino comps, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, are “complimentary items” given out by casinos as a reward for your patronage, and as an incentive to return in the future.

At the lowest level, it might be a gaming card that gives you a free $20 credit when you sign up. At their most significant, comps might be awarded as free nights in a hotel room, discounts on dinner, and much more.

Each casino has its own specific criteria for what will help you qualify for certain comps. This means that if you’re after some of these coveted freebies, it can be beneficial to inquire on various websites, or even ask booking staff directly.

As you probably assume, the more you spend, the more likely you are to get rewarded. With that being said, there are plenty of things you can do to curry favor with the house and work toward getting comps without spending a fortune.

Conclusion

Just about every gambler is going to make the pilgrimage to Vegas at one time or another. Although it’s hard to beat, for those looking for a more laidback experience, there are plenty of options available that don’t come with the excess of Las Vegas.

No matter what you’re into, there’s likely to be a casino resort experience out there that can satisfy your idea of the perfect gambling trip.

7 Bucket List Casinos Every Gambler Needs to Visit

Drop in a Bucket With a Casino de Monte Carlo Background

Baseball fans have Fenway and Wrigley, basketball and boxing fans have Madison Square Garden, but when it comes to gambling, which places can definitely claim their spot on the bucket list?

You might be surprised to find out that the list of must-see casinos aren’t can’t simply be crossed off with one trip to Vegas. Plenty of locations around the world have legendary gaming establishments that all gamblers need to visit at least once in their lives.

In this article, I’ll outline some of the casinos that are more than worth the money for a weekend trip.

1 – Casino di Venezia

Sure, it’s going to cost you more than a few good hands of blackjack to get over there, but if you have the financial means, Casino di Venezia has to be at the top of the list.

This casino, which is the first ever on record, has stood in Venice, Italy for almost 400 years. The project was completed in 1638, when the world of gambling was still like the Wild West.  Unfortunately, the casino no longer has its original property and was moved to a nearby palace in 1950.

Exterior of Casino di Venezia in Venice, Italy

However, it still maintains its original mystique with a combination of historic beauty and modern trappings that you would expect from a functioning casino.

For lovers of history, European casinos, and of course, gambling, there’s no other place that should be more widely sought after than Casino di Venezia.

2 – Casino de Monte-Carlo

You’ve probably attended a “Monte Carlo” party once or twice throughout your life – but even that won’t get you ready for the real thing. Breathtaking in both its opulence and historical value, the Monte Carlo Casino is more than just a gaming establishment.

Whereas a regular casino might include one or two buildings, Monte Carlo is an entire gambling and entertainment complex that can be found in the country of Monaco. Interestingly enough, the citizens that inhabit Monaco aren’t actually allowed to visit the gaming rooms.

One other notable moment in Casino de Monte-Carlo’s history has to do with the concept of the Gambler’s Fallacy. During a round of roulette that took place in 1913, the ball landed on black an unprecedented (as far as I know) 26 straight times.

Who did this benefit? The house, of course! Each time the ball settled on black, throngs of gamblers rushed to place bets on red, which had to eventually come up. In the end, millions of dollars were lost and the casino enjoyed one of its best days ever.

A final interesting thing to note is that Casino de Monte-Carlo was the primary source of income for the Monaco economy until very recently.

3 – Hard Rock Casino

The Hard Rock Casino is one of the most notable brands in the hospitality industry in the history of the U.S. Its guitar logo, the reputation for good times, and the endless nights of entertainment have helped to grow it into somewhat mythological status.

Entrance of the Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City

Recently, the Atlantic City Hard Rock finished a major renovation that greatly expanded the gambling floor to a level that is seldom seen elsewhere…even in Las Vegas. It goes without saying that a trip to Atlantic City is hard to beat for hardcore gamblers, but even new players can appreciate all the additional entertainment offered by Hard Rock.

4 – The Venetian Macau

If extravagance is your thing, you need to add The Venetian Macau to your list of “must-see” casinos.

But first, a history lesson: Macau had been a Portuguese colony for more than 200 years before being transferred back to China in 1999. This doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the casino itself, but it is an interesting piece of context if you plan on visiting the site for yourself.

Known as the “Monte Carlo of the Orient,” the Venetian Macau is one of the largest casinos in the entire world. Not just that, but it’s also the sixth largest building in the world. At a cost of $2.4 billion, it was nearly guaranteed that it would be an unforgettable site, and it certainly lives up to the billing.

As for the specifics, the 550,000 square foot gambling area is second-to-none. In addition, the casino has the same Venice canal style replicas as its sister casino in Las Vegas. On the gambling side, there are more than 3,000 slots and 750 table games with a square footage of nearly 10.8 million.

If gambling isn’t your thing, there are endless other attractions and luxuries to keep you occupied. Restaurants feature cuisine from around the world, garden swimming pools help you stay cool, and world-class spas will have you feeling refreshed by the time you check out.

5 – Caesar’s Palace

Finally, Las Vegas makes the list!

Anyone who’s ever visited Sin City knows that Caesar’s Palace is a site to behold. Opened more than half-a-century ago, the casino remains one of the most visited on the strip…and for good reason.

Not only is Caesar’s Palace home to one of the best casinos you’ll find in Vegas, but the numerous other attractions make it a one-of-a-kind spot to see for yourself. First, you can’t help but notice the amazing water features that surround the building.

Exterior of the Caesars Palace Casino Complex

The fountain shows, which combine light and water routines, are unforgettable and take place on a nightly basis. In addition, Caesar’s Palace has a 50,000 sq. ft. baths and spa area, with luxury shopping also available in another area.

All in all, if you’re going to make the trip to Vegas, don’t leave until you’ve spent at least an hour exploring all the Caesar’s Palace has to offer its guests.

6 – Casino de Charlevoix

Don’t worry, checking into this classically-designed casino doesn’t require a spelling test, although if it did, many people would be in trouble.

Casino de Charlevoix, located in Quebec in the eastern part of Canada, opened in 1994. By the standards of today’s modern, and massive, buildings, this one is relatively modest…that’s exactly why I decided to include it on the list.

After you’ve visited a number of the most luxurious, most beautiful casinos in the world, you’ll start to come to the conclusion that they’re all kind of the same in the way they attract their guests. Casino de Charlevoix differentiates itself by focusing on the resort aspect of the property.

For one, its size is much smaller…or as they would like to call it, “intimate.” To be honest, the quaint setting against a lush green backdrop makes it hard to disagree with this label.

The attached hotel has just 405 rooms, and the casino has only 20 gaming tables. However, two outdoor pools that are hot all year long and a 27-hole golf course more than make up for its lack of size.

All in all, if you’re looking for a getaway that won’t be overwhelming, Casino de Charlevoix is a relaxing and enjoyable destination.

7 – Sun City Casino Resort

Looking for something a little more…exotic? Sun City Casino Resort in South Africa is the place to go!

While it might feel a little bit like a Vegas-style establishment, make no mistake about it, things are much wilder. The first thing that stands out its location. It’s quite literally located in the middle of the African wilderness.

Aerial View of Sun City Casino Resort in South Africa

Because of the apartheid policies of the 1970’s, when the casino opened in 1979 it was in a designated area for majority black populations where the laws were much more lax. This made it quickly grow into a place that attracted gamblers from tall over the world.

It has the usual amenities of a casino with a couple very notable exceptions. First, safaris are offered by the resort. Second, it even has its very own private game reserve.

This is truly one place on the list that can be enjoyed by both those who prefer luxury comforts and wild adventures.

Conclusion

Casinos always have their own unique environment that sets them apart from others in the industry. As this list shows, some take it further than others.

Even if you aren’t going to be able to check all of them off the list, there’s something in here that nearly everyone can enjoy, even if you aren’t a huge gambler.

7 Reasons to Play Blackjack in Person Instead of Online

Thumbs Up and Down Graphics With a Blackjack and Laptop Background

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games in the United States. The game is simple to understand, has some of the best odds of all table games, and is entertaining for gamblers who simply enjoy playing cards. In the age of the internet and the rise of online casinos, it has never been more comfortable and more convenient to play.

However, there exists a polarizing question that different sects of gamblers tend to disagree about: the differences between online and in-person blackjack. Newer gamblers may find their way onto an online casino, notice it features blackjack, and feel compelled to play a game.

It’s understandable to gravitate to games you feel comfortable playing. However, if you’re wavering between staying home to play blackjack or traveling to a casino to gamble, there are several factors you should consider. Here are seven reasons why blackjack at a brick and mortar casino trumps its online counterpart.

1 ‒ There’s Too Much Variance Online

All across the internet, you’ll find various real money online casinos. There’s almost too many to track at this point, making it challenging to distinguish one casino from another. Not only is there a plethora of options for aspiring gamblers, but there are also several different forms of the game on most of these websites.

Getting started at gambling is already a bit complicated, especially if you prefer to gamble online. The process of selecting a casino, creating a profile, verifying banking information, and depositing money can be somewhat overwhelming.

Then, gamblers must figure out which games they plan to play.

Certain online casinos have a list of various games to play, and it’s easy to pick the wrong form of blackjack. If you’re a seasoned gambler, the jargon is commonplace, but you might find yourself confused with the influx of information for those breaking onto the scene. If you choose a less reputable casino or a variety of blackjack you’re unfamiliar with, you could lose your bankroll at a rapid pace.

2 ‒ Online Blackjack Is Inconsistent

If you frequent popular message boards and internet forums, you probably read theories of online casinos being rigged to take money from gamblers. While there have been a few instances of casinos being caught cheating, most online casinos are reputable, licensed institutions.

The beauty of blackjack is its simplicity and a house edge that typically resides below 1%. However, the edge among online casinos can vary. That is primarily due to the inconsistent nature of blackjack and the change in rules between different online casinos.

El Royale Online Casino Blackjack Hand

These disparities exist in the payout amount, the number of decks your online casino of choice uses, and whether the casino allows you to split your hand or double. Another variable is whether or not the casino uses live dealers. While most online casinos are reputable and legitimate businesses, it’s always preferable to have a human element when it comes to dealing cards.

3 ‒ Community Is Key

In my opinion, one of the best facets of gambling is the communal aspect of the casinos. My favorite memories involving gambling come at tables, surrounded by fellow gamblers with the same goals in mind. The gambling experience just doesn’t feel the same if you’re sitting in front of a computer screen.

This point is somewhat subjective because some gamblers might find casinos to be overwhelming. Overstimulation is a common problem at casinos given that most are filled with television screens, bars, loud music, and of course, other gamblers. However, I feel like online blackjack is a watered-down version of blackjack that can be played at casinos.

If you find yourself easily distracted, online blackjack might be your best bet. But if you can tune out the world and focus on the game at hand, then there truly is no comparison between the two forms of blackjack. The sense of community and camaraderie around a blackjack table makes the experience much more enjoyable than sitting in your home office clicking a mouse.

4 ‒ You Learn Best by Playing With Others

The best way to learn the gambling ropes is to play with other gamblers who have been doing it for a while. I’m not saying every single bit of information you gather at a table is going to be worth remembering. But by taking every piece of advice with a grain of salt, and vetting out the occasional misinformation, you’ll be able to pick up the game quickly.

Busy Casino Floor

An added benefit of going to the casino for newer gamblers is a live, in-person dealer. Dealers are an excellent resource for you and should be used as such. Anytime you find yourself up a creek or unsure of subsequent moves, merely asking the dealer for advice can help you navigate your way around challenging situations.

5 ‒ Convenience Isn’t Always Best

A primary argument in support of gambling with online casinos is that it’s insanely convenient in comparison to traveling to a casino. Do you know what else is convenient? Grabbing a couple of burgers off the dollar menu at your local fast-food chain. But will those burgers offer as much satisfaction as a porterhouse from your favorite steakhouse? Absolutely not!

Just because it’s convenient to gamble online doesn’t mean that it’s the best option. Gambling in a casino is an experience that should be sought out, especially if you’ve never been to one.

I’m biased because blackjack is among my favorite table games at the casino, but there’s nothing like laying down your stack of money at the blackjack tables before spending hours playing cards.

I see no issue in playing online blackjack for little to no money if you’re looking for some quick, easy entertainment. But if you’re contemplating spending your bankroll on online blackjack, I’d recommend considering traveling to the closest casino instead.

6 ‒ Fast Pace Can Lead to Consecutive Losses

Newer gamblers often struggle with an inability to manage their bankroll properly. Money spends fast at the casino, especially if you’re not prepared for what to expect or how table games work. One of the saving graces of in-person blackjack is that its consistent pace and the human element of a dealer and other players allows you to gather yourself and catch your breath between hands.

Atlantic City Blackjack Table Game

Depending on the online casino in question, it’s incredibly easy to blow through money in the blink of an eye. I’ll admit that I’ve lost a fair amount of money in a matter of minutes playing online blackjack. For whatever reason, I find it easier to control your pace of play at a table compared to on the computer.

If the losses begin to pile up, it can also be tough to tear yourself away from the game. This is true for both types of blackjack. But if you can take a step back for a few minutes, it’s just as easy to log back into your computer and keep gambling. Conversely, once you leave the tables and depart the casino, your gambling night is over.

7 ‒ In-Person Blackjack Is More Entertaining

Some gamblers go to the casino to have fun, others go to win money, and in turn, have fun. At the heart of casinos, entertainment is key. If you’re not enjoying yourself in some capacity, then gambling might not be for you.

Gambling online, while convenient, just doesn’t compare to gambling at a casino.

The sights, the sounds, and the entire atmosphere of a land based casino are intoxicating and can be a source of pure delight. Whether you play blackjack to entertain yourself or to make some money, gambling at a casino is your best bet.

Newer gamblers who have never played blackjack at legitimate brick and mortar casinos should heed this advice. The combination of all the elements of a casino makes it a spectacle to behold.

Conclusion

There’s only one correct answer in the age-old debate of whether you should play blackjack online or in person. In all seriousness, if you prefer to gamble online after trying out both, then go right ahead. Gambling is a personal experience and should be enjoyed however you see fit, especially if you’re gambling profitability.

Having said that, if you’re on the fence about which form of blackjack you prefer and live somewhat close to a casino, then it’s time to give casino blackjack a try. Online blackjack can be inconsistent in the odds, rules, and varieties, especially given the sheer volume of online casinos.

New players should find themselves learning the ins and outs of the game quickly if they choose to gamble in person. You might think of it as a baptism by fire, but most players and dealers are quick to offer advice to newer gamblers attempting to hone their abilities. If you’re searching for a middle ground, perhaps live dealer casinos and live dealer blackjack would best suit you and your needs. Try it all out and see what works for you!

The Subtle Art of Casino Gambling

Craps Dice With a Roulette Wheel Background

Ed Thorp, the father of card counting, is a professor of mathematics who was the first to prove that the casino could be beaten in blackjack. Other blackjack players had used rudimentary techniques to take advantage of the 3 to 2 payout for a blackjack, but he was the first to make it into a rigorous strategy that works reliably.

He gambled in casinos throughout the country especially in Reno, Tahoe, and Vegas.

And he did all this in the mid-1960s.

But Thorp didn’t just beat blackjack – he also gambled (and won at) games like baccarat and roulette.

There’s much you can learn about the subtle art of casino gambling from such a man, and this post goes into detail about five of those lessons.

Beating Blackjack Might Be More Science Than Art

Even that might not be entirely accurate. After all, blackjack is just a math problem. Once you’ve solved the math problem, the rest is execution.

Of course, the execution is where beating blackjack becomes more of an art form.

Edward Thorp was one of the first casino gamblers to use various disguises because he didn’t want to get caught counting cards. That’s artful.

If you want to learn how to count cards, you can find plenty of good resources online, but I suggest starting with a good blackjack book like Blackbelt in Blackjack by Arnold Snyder. He compares counting cards to a martial art – which isn’t a bad comparison.

The art of being a successful card counter has several aspects. Counting cards is just one of them. Avoiding casino scrutiny is another big one. Building and maintaining a bankroll is another.

Making serious money at the blackjack tables is rarely an individual endeavor. For one thing, coming up with a bankroll big enough for serious card counting is beyond a lot of people. Investors are common.

Advanced techniques in card counting require dealing with a team, too. This means having confederates (not dealers) on the casino floor with you. Getting along with a team of advantage gamblers is an art all by itself.

Becoming a Comp Wizard Is Another Related Casino Art Form

One of the best books I ever read about casino gambling was Comp City by Max Rubin. In it, he explains how to become a “comp wizard.”

One of the interesting things about being a comp wizard is that part of the approach is radically different from being an advantage player. Card counters do their best to go unnoticed in the casino. If the casino figures out what card counters are up to, they’ll run them off their blackjack games. Sometimes they’ll even ban them from the casino altogether.

But comp wizards want the casino to notice their play. They also want the pit bosses to overestimate how much they’re gambling so that they will over-reward them with casino comps. Being loud and noticeable is part and parcel of being a comp wizard.

Ace and Jack Playing Cards With Casino Chips

The approach to this is simple enough:

You master basic strategy blackjack and are rigorous about game selection so that you’re only playing blackjack games where the house has almost no edge to speak of. This means finding games with favorable rules and playing PERFECT cards.

Casinos award comps based on their average hold at a blackjack game. Since most gambler don’t use basic strategy or misuse it, the casino often sees an actual edge of between 2% and 4%. They calculate comps based on this average.

But if you’re playing with perfect basic strategy at the right table, you might only face an edge of 0.3% or so.

The casino assumes that you’re going to play a certain number of hands per hour when projecting how much money you’ll lose at the table. Anything you can do to spend less time putting money into play at the table reduces the amount of actual action you’re seeing.

For example, if you leave the table for a few minutes to visit the restroom, the casino is still clocking you as if you were sitting there.

If you superstitiously decide to sit out a hand or two because of a gut feeling, you’re also reducing the number of hands you’re playing per hour.

These techniques combine with perfect basic strategy to minimize your average hourly losses while simultaneously convincing the casino that you’re putting more money into action than you really are.

This means the comps you get are worth more than you lost, making you a comp wizard.

But How Do You Beat Roulette?

I don’t think it’s practical to try to beat roulette today, but understanding the mathematical principles behind how men like Thorp beat roulette back in the day can make you a more artful gambler.

The first thing to understand is how the house makes money from roulette. The assumption is that every number has an equal probability of coming up on a spin. Since there are 38 numbers on a standard wheel, you’re looking at a probability for any specific number coming up of 1/38. That’s the same thing as 37 to 1 odds.

But the bet pays off at 35 to 1 odds, which means that over 38 spins, the casino will win 37 units compared to the 35 units you win.

What if the roulette wheel were somehow imperfect, though?

Closeup of Roulette Table Numbers

What if a specific set of numbers on the roulette wheel came up a little more often than 1/38 of the time, while other numbers come up a little less than 1/38 of the time?

The casino would still make the same profit unless a player noticed the difference.

For example, suppose one number comes up 1/34 of the time, while another number comes up 1/42 of the time.

If you bet on the 33 to 1 shot, over time, you’d see a profit. You’d collect 35 units in winnings for every 33 units you lost.

To find such a discrepancy, you’d need to spend some time “clocking” the roulette wheel’s results. The more results you record and analyze, the more confident you can be that you’ve found a biased wheel.

Unfortunately, most casinos use state of the art roulette wheels that have true odds. They change out these wheels before the machinery starts wearing out. And they also switch out wheels from table to table during slow periods to make clocking their wheels impossible.

Beating roulette sounds cool, but it’s practically impossible in today’s casino environment.

Gambling With Reckless Abandon Can Be Fun, Too

I’ve written before about the best way to double your money in the casino. It’s just a matter of making one big bet on a nearly 50/50 shot. It’s a foolish thing to do with your money, but if you’re a gambler, it sure does make your odds of doubling your money improve.

This is called a “maximum boldness” strategy. William Bergstrom went down in history for using this strategy when gambling in Las Vegas. I hesitate to call it “artful,” but it’s another example of how understanding a basic mathematical principle can be useful for a gambler.

Here’s the premise:

It’s easier to double your money by making a single large bet than it is to double your money by making two bets half that size – assuming you’re playing a negative expectation game. And all the casino games are negative expectation games.

Roulette is the classic example.

If you bet $100 on black, you have a 47.37% probability of doubling your money. You’ll either double your money or lose all your money.

But if you bet $50 on black twice, you must win twice to double your money.

You’ll win twice in a row only 47.37% X 47.37% of the time, or 22.42% of the time.

You’ll lose twice in a row 27.7% of the time.

The rest of the time, you’ll lose one bet and win one bet, which will cause you to break even.

Knowing What You’re Doing on the Casino Floor Can Seem Magical

One of my favorite things to do on a date is to take a woman who hasn’t spent a lot of time at the casino gambling and teach her how to play the table games. Most of the time, she won’t have any trouble figuring out how to play slot machines.

But knowing how to play the table games can seem like magic to someone with no experience.

Closeup of a Craps Table

Of course, most casino table games are intentionally designed to be easy for a newcomer to play. This doesn’t meant that such games are easy to play well.

And, of course, the game that’s most fun in the casino anyway is craps, and that’s not an easy game to pick up quickly if you’re completely new to casino gambling. It’s worth it to learn how to play craps, though.

Also, blackjack is an easy game to play, but playing the game well requires mastery of basic strategy. That’s something fun to show off and to teach, too.

Conclusion

There’s so much more to say about being able to gamble in a casino with finesse, but no one wants to read a 100,000 word blog post.

Those are the 5 best tips I can think of about how to become a more artful casino gambler, though.

The Rise of Electronic Casino Games during COVID-19

Electronic Roulette Table and Blackjack Hand With a Pixelated Overlay

The coronavirus has changed how land-based casinos operate in many ways. First off, gambling establishments now require players to wear a mask when they’re on the gaming floor.

Secondly, players must maintain proper distancing from each other. Guidelines suggest that gamblers sit with at least one slot machine or table game seat in between them.

But one of the lesser-known changes that’s taking place in casinos is the rise of electronic gaming. Electronic terminals have become much more popular in brick-and-mortar casinos ever since COVID-19 hit.

The increased popularity of real money online casinos during COVID-19 was entirely expected. After all, many gamblers feel like staying home so they have less chance to catch the virus.

However, the rising popularity of electronic games wasn’t as expected. I’ll discuss more on this phenomenon below along with reasons for why people are looking past live table games towards the machines.

More People Are Playing Electronic Table Games

Casinos provide electronic terminals as an alternative to regular table games. These games allow players to gamble in relative isolation just like with slot machines.

Electronic gaming had already earned its spot on casino floors. But more and more people are playing these machines than ever before today.

Electronic Casino Tables With Multiple Games

According to Vegas Inc, game developer Scientific Games has seen demand for their electronic table games triple since COVID-19 hit in March. Most of this demand is centered on dealer-assisted setups, which feature a single dealer who serves up to 250 terminals.

Station Casinos previously shunned the idea of widespread electronic gaming across its properties. The company has since changed its tune, though, with the coronavirus still persisting. They’ve now installed terminals at all of their Las Vegas properties.

Why Electronic Games Over Live Tables Games?

Under normal circumstances, many gamblers prefer live table games over the electronic versions. The primary reason why they visit land-based casinos in the first place is for a social experience.

Terminals don’t offer the same social atmosphere as tables. But during the COVID-19 era, they do a feature some very specific benefits, including those covered below.

Easier For Players to Social Distance

As mentioned before, many casinos require players to remain at least one seat apart. Even with this precautionary measure, though, gamblers may be close enough to spread the coronavirus.

Electronic terminals are even further apart. Therefore, gamblers don’t need to worry as much about catching the virus when they stay at their machine.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that one is completely COVID-proof when playing electronic games. But they can at least lower their chances of getting the virus when sticking to the machines.

Less Labor Needed

Casinos are stuck in a bad spot right now. On one front, they’re coming off of being shut down and trying to make a comeback financially.

Casinos now must employ more workers than ever before. The extra labor is needed to wipe down and sanitize machines after each gambler leaves.

The same process is necessary for electronic machines as well. Employees need to sanitize each game and ensure that it’s clean for the next player.

However, casinos don’t need to employ dealers to run these games. Instead, the players themselves operate the machines.

Of course, dealer-assisted electronic gaming does feature at least one croupier. But the same dealer can serve up to 250 machines at once.

Potential to Attract Millennial Gamblers

Millennials aren’t attracted to the same type of casino games as previous generations. Specifically, most millennials don’t spend much time playing slots.

However, young gamers do enjoy playing table games. They especially like skill-based games like blackjack, Caribbean stud, and three-card poker.

Electronic Roulette Casino Game

That said, electronic gaming already appeals to millennials due to the fact that it’s based on table games. It offers even more appeal when considering that it runs through machines.

An older gambler may be intimidated by a new type of gambling machine. Younger players, though, have spent much of a lives on devices like smartphones and tablets. They’re perfectly comfortable transitioning to new gaming terminals.

Casinos Can Be Profitable with Lower Stakes

Brick-and-mortar casinos typically feature minimum bets ranging from $10 to $25. Compare this to online casinos, which allow you to play baccarat, blackjack, and other games for just $1 per hand.

A land-based casino usually requires a larger minimum bet to cover higher operating costs. After all, it must pay dealers, floor supervisors, and pit bosses to work the floor.

Electronic terminals alleviate these costs to some degree. Again, only one dealer is needed to run the game for an entire bank of machines.

Therefore, operators don’t have to charge as much for minimum wagers. They can require players to risk a dollar or less and still make plenty of money.

The option is always available to bet more if you feel like doing so. But the key advantage is that you don’t have to risk as much as with regular land-based tables.

Has Electronic Gaming Truly Arrived?

Electronic terminals have been around for a while. Brick-and-mortar casinos feature both dealer-assisted and solo electronic gaming such as roulette and craps.

Again, this type of gambling serves as a nice alternative to regular table games. But it’s never come close to taking over the table sector.

However, the coronavirus is making this type of gaming more popular. Gamblers are choosing machines over tables for multiple reasons:

  • Easier to social distance.
  • Lower minimum bets.
  • Ability to gamble online when the mood strikes.
  • Can be less intimidating than live tables.

I wouldn’t say that the electronic gambling era has truly arrived. Instead, it’s merely been given more rise thanks to COVID-19.

Electronic Table Games at Venetian Las Vegas

It will still remain a viable part of the casino market—perhaps even more so—once the coronavirus wanes. But it’s not going to completely replace live table games. The latter offers special aspects that can’t be mimicked by anything else in the casino.

However, electronic terminals might gain a little more space on floors following the pandemic. More people will feel comfortable playing these machines, which will, in turn, make them slightly more popular long term.

How Can You Get Started with Electronic Table Games?

After reading this, you may be considering whether electronic table games are worth your time. You might be especially interested due to the current pandemic.

If you haven’t played electric terminals in land-based casinos before, then you may appreciate some tips on doing so. Here are the steps for getting started with these games.

Step 1: Insert Your Money

You begin by inserting your cash into a machine just like with a slot machine. Each terminal has a bill acceptor that’s similar to a slot. You’ll see the credits come up on your touchscreen.

Step 2: Selection Your Chip Denomination

Each terminal and casino can differ in terms of what chip denominations they offer. Generally speaking, though, you’ll be able to use chips worth $0.25, $1, $5, $10, $25, and/or $100.

Step 3: Use the Touchscreen to Place Bets

You’ll see a digital table game setup on your touchscreen. You push the different options on this screen to place bets and decide on actions (like in blackjack).

Step 4: Confirm Your Bets

The dealer only gives you to long to make decisions—just like with live gambling tables. Therefore, you need to place bets within a reasonable amount of time. Once satisfied with your selections, select the “Bet” button to confirm everything.

Step 5: Re-bet or Start Over

The dealer will play out the round to determine results. Your bet will be paid (if successful) electronically afterward. At this point, you can either re-bet with the previous choice(s) or start over and pick a new wager.

Conclusion

Electronic gaming didn’t arrive yesterday. It’s been available in land-based casinos for quite some time. However, it has picked up steam in recent months due to the coronavirus.

Some gamblers are apprehensive to sit in close proximity to other players due to COVID. Terminals make for suitable alternatives due to their distance from each other.

If you’re worried about catching the virus in land-based casinos, then you might consider electronic gaming. It may not be exactly like live table games, but it still provides an opportunity to enjoy exciting gambling action.

10 Bizarre Things to Bet On

Wife Carrying and Bog Snorkelling Sports Events

If you’ve hit a losing streak with your sports bets or your favorite sports just aren’t available yet, then it might be time to try something new.

But the suggestions I’ve made on this page aren’t just your average baseball or basketball bets. This list is made up of some of the most bizarre things you can bet on. If you’re sick and tired of your usual routine, then these might be worth a shot!

Below, you’ll find 10 strange events and “sports” you can and always have been able to bet on legally.

1 – Wife-Carrying

Wife-carrying. It sounds like a guy that can’t let go of his ex, maybe? But it’s an actual sport that started in Northern Europe.

The basics are simple. A person has to carry their partner (they don’t necessarily have to be married to the carrier). Either way, the two-person team must go through a challenging obstacle course. The team that finishes the course the fastest wins the game.

In Ireland, this is a professional sport that gamblers legitimately bet on. Paddy Power is the title sponsor of the All-Ireland Wife Carrying Championship. The Irish love to bet on this event.

Other countries like Estonia, Australia, and Finland are also big wife-carrying countries. Residents here also bet on the bizarre sport. Finland happens to be the home of the Wife Carrying World Championship.

2 – The Next Pope

Betting on the next Pope seems like playing with fire, especially because religion and gambling don’t usually mix. As a matter of fact, when gambling is made illegal in a specific jurisdiction, it’s usually because of the majority of the population’s religious beliefs.

Pope Francis Waving From a Podium

But that’s irrelevant to this bizarre bet. Apparently, it’s perfectly legal to bet on the next Pope. In case you’re not aware, the Pope is basically the “president” of Catholicism.

Most American sportsbooks are taking bets right now on who will become the new Pope. At the time of writing, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines is the current favorite.

No other betting event has more mystery and secrecy surrounding the outcome.

3 – Proof of Intelligent Life on Another Planet or in Space

Let’s keep the vibe going with topics that are bigger than us humans. You can bet on whether there is proof of intelligent life somewhere besides Earth. How would we even prove this?

We have our hands full with this planet already, as well as trying to get humans to the moon as a vacation destination.

You have to dig around, but some online sportsbooks take bets when a sitting president of the United States tells the American public that we have proof of intelligent life outside of our planet. The Pentagon currently has a UFO task force, but no top government official has outright and explicitly stated the existence of intelligent life on another planet.

So far, all sightings of UFOs have been alleged. But can you imagine the return on getting that bet right, especially during your lifetime?

4 – The Royal Family

You should be getting the idea that nothing is off the table when it comes to legal betting. Okay, this is not entirely true, but you can go ahead and lay down a bet on just about anything that has to do with the Royal Family.

Group Photo of the British Royal Family

Some bets we’ve come across in the past include the following:

  • Will Harry and Megan lose their titles?
  • Will Megan and Kate ever be friends?
  • How long will Queen Elizabeth’s reign last?

Just about any American sportsbook is taking bets on all things Royal Family. Look around, and find a quirky topic you like. Then, just go for it! Betting on one of the most prominent families in world makes betting feel a little bit more exciting.

5 – Celebrity Deaths

Like most of us, I’m not a fan of death, nor am I a celebrity follower. But betting on celebrity deaths has its own niche community.

While betting on the death of a human is illegal in the United States, you can bet for points on Doug Stanhope’s Celebrity Death Pool.  The site is obvious in their terms and conditions that they don’t support, nor is it legal to bet on, celebrities’ deaths. Please don’t think you can make money off this site.

But if you have a darker side or simply have a strange gut feeling about the next celebrity death, this would be a fantastic option. Maybe it’s a spooky event you can take part in for the Halloween season.

The betting teams are called funeral homes. And I’m sure some of you will love the dark playfulness to this site. We told you this list was full of bizarre bets!

 6 – Bog Snorkelling

The British love bizarre events to bet on, and that’s definitely evident here. Enter the Rude Health World Bog Snorkelling Championship.

i
Many UK sportsbooks are open for bets on something as far-out as bog snorkelling championships. It’s such a massive and weird event that Lonely Planet lists it as one of the 50 bucket list items in the world.

What’s bog snorkelling, you ask? It’s pretty much what you think it is. Contestants are simply racing through a bog via snorkelling.

It’s tougher than it seems. Bogs can be tricky, murky, and present the swimmers with some obstacles that are tough to navigate. If you’re planning to take part, keep in mind that the champion has been the favorite for a few years.

7 – Bingo With Animals

This one is a twofer. There’s cow patty bingo and ferret bingo. I couldn’t locate any American laws against the following sports. I also couldn’t locate any official web pages. So, bear with me.

Ferret Bingo – No, that isn’t a typo. People bring their pet ferrets and let them loose in cages that have tunnels. The adorably stinky rodents go through the tunnel mazes (they each have their own identical maze).

The ferret that gets out of the maze first wins. And you can bet on it for some extra excitement.

Ferret Crawling Through a Clear Tube

Cow Patty Bingo – This one has got to be popular all over the world. Gamblers bet on where the cow is going to do her business in a field.

It’s more like playing roulette than bingo, actually. I personally think it’s intriguing. It must be stinky, but it’s definitely fascinating.

Again, I could not find any legislation that outlaws this sport, so I guess the rules are wide open. But, as with most gambling, if it’s illegal to bet in general, you probably shouldn’t don’t do it in your jurisdiction.

Last but not least, make sure you don’t step into the winning patty!

8 – Kim Jong Un

Paddy Power is back at it again. The sports gambling giant takes bets on anything having to do with Kim Jong Un.

You want to place a bet on when he will stop leading the country? Done. You want to bet on whether his sister will take over? Done. You get the idea.

What’s weird and sketchy about betting on this elusive leader is the fact that the North Korean government is so tight-lipped about his life. They’re notorious for making up “stories” about his unwavering health and just not being truthful to the public in general.

The untrustworthiness of the private country makes this bet a volatile one at best. At worst, we don’t really know what’s going on most of the time.

Do we even really know if he’s still in power?

9 – Cheese Rolling

The UK is back at it again. In Gloucester (a southern region in England), they host the Cheese Rolling Competition every spring.

The sporting event is straightforward. Contestants roll oversized wheels of cheese on a hill. The first cheese roller to cross the finish line with their cheese in tow wins. Bets are legal on this simple sport, of course. What harm could a bet on a cheesy sprint bring to the public?

Gloucester Cheese Rolling Event

The winning cheese is usually the prize, but on a serious note, who wants a beat up 70-lb. wheel of cheese? I guess the winning bettor is the real prize winner here.

10 – The End of the World

Paddy Power is aware we will place a bet on just about anything, including when the end of the world will be.

I see a major problem with this bet. First of all, how will you know if you win the bet or not?

The world would be over, right? I wonder if you can bet on when the world will quit betting on silly things. The best odds were 500 to 1 that it would be before 2019. Here we are, more than halfway through the worst year on record, and it still hasn’t ended.

Talk about a volatile bet!

Conclusion

This list of 10 crazy bets is just the tip of the iceberg. I didn’t even look at the illegal bets that people out there are still actively betting on.

Have you bet on any of these events? And would you? Let us know your thoughts about our list in the comments below.

5 Reasons Why It’s Critical You Gamble in the Morning

Alarm Clock and a Las Vegas Sunrise

Gambling is almost exclusively done in the evening and is usually associated with fun, a little drinking, and a lot of laughter. It’s not something the vast majority of people take seriously, and it’s not something that would ever be done in the morning.

But unlike drinking, which when done in the morning would be heavily frowned upon, there are many professional gamblers who make a living at casinos.

For these serious gamblers, finding the right time to gamble is critical. Just like any job, a regular schedule of work is going to be important for success.

That’s why I recommend you do what the pros do and gamble in the morning instead of at night. Here’s why.

1 – You’re Going to Be Sharper Mentally

I think above everything else, I’m going to tell you in this article that this is the most crucial reason to gamble in the morning—you’re going to be sharper mentally.

This is huge. Playing something like real money blackjack, and trying to walk away with more than you walked in with by counting cards, is something that requires a great deal of focus and concentration.

For most people, the time of the day when they’re at their peak mentally is going to be a few hours after they wake up.

Now I’m not saying you need to wake up at the crack of dawn and start gambling, or that you need to gamble the moment you wake up—I’m just saying you need to avoid waiting until night time to start playing.

Casino Floor of the Wynn Las Vegas

Think about it like this—if this was your job, would you wait to go to work at 6 p.m. if you woke up at 7 a.m.? Of course, you wouldn’t. You’d be lucky if you made it past 10 p.m.

It makes far more sense to gamble during the day when you’re fresh, you’ve had your coffee and breakfast, and your mind is at its peak.

Remember, you’re not clocking in or out here, so if your goal is to gamble professionally, no one is saying you have to get up at 5 a.m. to achieve that goal. You can wait until the time is right for you—when you’d wake up normally.

There’s another excellent reason why you should always gamble in the morning.

2 – You’re Less Likely to Drink

Another good reason you want to gamble in the morning is that you’re going to be much less likely to drink.

If you want to treat this like a job and be serious about gambling, you need to treat it the same way you would a real job.

Would you drink on the job? Of course not.

Even the worst workers who might actually drink on the job are at least going to wait until the end of the day to do so, right? I hope so, anyway.

If you gamble at night, you’re going to be tempted to have a drink or three, and as the night goes on, you might make gambling mistakes by drinking far more than you intended to drink.

Silhouette of a Man Drinking a Beer

Now, of course, there’s always going to be someone out there who is going to tell you that they’re a better gambler after they’ve had a few drinks, but the reality is that this kind of thinking is nonsense for most people.

You wouldn’t tell your boss that a few drinks at 10 a.m. will make you better at combing through complex spreadsheets, so why would it be okay for gambling?

The problem is that drinking and gambling are closely associated in the mind of the public because of movies and TV and the general idea that gambling is something done to relax and take it easy.

For the pro gambler, this mindset has to go. Gambling is going to be best done in the morning when you’re going to be sober, steady, and ready to concentrate.

3 – You Won’t Be Up All Night and Become Tired the Next Day

For almost everyone, staying up all night isn’t natural. Your circadian rhythm is designed to wake you up in the morning and let you sleep through the night.

If you break that cycle, you break it at both ends. When you stay up late, your mental acuity goes down because your body is ready to sleep, even if you aren’t.

When you’re up late, your body is still going to try to wake you up around the same time as you’d typically wake up. That means you’re going to either sleep in some or more likely, you’re going to wake up when you usually would and just be tired.

If you gamble at night, let’s say you’re feeling good and that you’re on top of your game. You’re playing poker, for example. You’re reading your opponents right, and you’re getting some fantastic luck.

What happens? You develop an unhealthy casino habit of playing until 3 or 4 in the morning. When you wake up the next day, you’re exhausted, but because you’re trying to make this a full-time job, you need to get back to the tables and play some blackjack.

So you find yourself suddenly struggling. You’re so tired that you’re making bad bets and just aren’t paying attention.

Sure, it can be hard to find a poker tournament that is going on all morning, but they certainly exist. That being said, casinos are open all night generally. They have no problem with you coming through at 8 a.m. and spending money, especially if you’re tired and throwing your money away.

Be smart—Gamble in the morning.

4 – You’ll Beat the Casino Crowds

I think this might be a more critical reason to gamble in the morning than any others. I don’t know about you, but I can’t exactly concentrate well when I’m surrounded by people who are all drinking, laughing, and carrying on.

The crowds at casinos can become enormous, and with there being tons of slot machines around, there’s noise and lights that serve as constant distractions while you’re trying to make some money.

When I work, I need to be able to focus. I need to close out the outside world and work just on the task at hand.

Luxor Las Vegas at Sunrise

Now sure, there are plenty of jobs that inherently have a lot of distractions, but gambling doesn’t have to be one of them—if you gamble in the morning.

There’s going to be a sweet spot during the morning where everyone who is up late pa