Texas holdem is the Cadillac of poker games today, and if you’re playing poker seriously, you need to know how to play.
In this post, I offer explanations of 7 crucial Texas holdem concepts that will take your game to the next level.
I know the headline promises that these will make you a winner, but keep in mind that in the short run, poker is a game of chance.
No one can guarantee that you’ll be a winner.
But you can increase your odds of being a winner by mastering these concepts:
1- Spotting Tells and Using Them to Inform Your Play
If you pay attention to your opponents’ body language, you can find clues as to what cards they’re holding.
These physical clues are called “tells.”
Many poker players exhibit some of the same physical actions repeatedly. If you can identify these tells, you can save and/or win more money over time against these opponents.
Entire books have been written about poker tells. A couple of good ones include:
- Caro’s Book of Poker Tells by Mike Caro
- Phil Hellmuth Presents Read ‘Em and Reap: A Career FBI Agent’s Guide to Decoding Poker Tells by Joe Navarro and Phil Hellmuth
One easy tell to spot is someone who often folds when it’s not his turn. Not everyone is as obvious about it, but if you pay attention, you can tell which players aren’t planning to play this hand. When they do this out of turn, you gain information.
Why is this important?
Because it effectively changes your position, which is one of the most critical aspects of your poker strategy.
The opposite of this is the opponent who makes it clear he’s going to play his hand. He often does this by placing chips or some other marker on his cards before it’s his turn to act. This, again, gives you more information. This often means the player has a strong hand.
Another common tell is shaky hands.
You might think this is characteristic of a player with a weak hand who’s bluffing or scared.
But, usually, it’s just the opposite.
A player with a strong hand who’s excited about his cards sometimes releases excitement involuntarily with shaking hands.
Also, keep an eye out for “performers.”
Anyone who’s trying to act like they have a strong hand probably has a weak hand, and vice versa.
Most poker players are lousy actors, anyway.
2- Bluffing and Semi-Bluffing
I have a buddy – he’s a lousy poker player – who insists that bluffing is a “critical” part of the game.
Speaking from experience, I’ve won a lot more money in the games where I didn’t bluff.
To be fair, though, I generally play in low stakes, fishy games. In bigger games with more experienced players, the occasional bluff IS essential.
Here are a couple of tips about bluffing and semi-bluffing:
You should never bluff against more than 2 players. It’s easier to get a single player or 2 players to fold than it is to get a whole table full of players to fold.
Look at it from a probability perspective. If a bluff is profitable when it succeeds 25% of the time, how likely does a fold need to be to make it worthwhile?
If you have one opponent with a 25% probability of folding, it’s a profitable move.
If you have 2 opponents, each of whom has a 50% probability of folding, bluffing is still a profitable move.
But even if all 3 players have a 60% probability of folding, getting all 3 of them to fold is still too unlikely to make this a profitable play.
60% X 60% X 60% = 21.6%
Semi-bluffing, on the other hand, is often the more profitable play.
When you semi-bluff, you have a hand which is almost certainly behind but has a chance of catching up.
You win if the other players fold, but you also win when you draw out on them.
Here’s an example:
You have 4 cards to a flush on the flop in Texas holdem.
You have a 33% probability of making your flush.
If you’re heads-up against one player, and you think he has a 20% probability of folding in the face of your aggression, you win money 53% of the time in this situation.
That’s a semi-bluff.
3- Avoiding Tilt
Tilt is probably your biggest, baddest opponent at the poker table, and it’s when you (or any player) has some bad luck at the table and starts making bad decisions on subsequent hands.
If you can avoid going on tilt, you’ll increase your winnings dramatically – especially if you’re playing against an opponent who does fall prey to it.
There are different types of tilt.
Some players go on tilt after a single bad beat.
Other players go on tilt after multiple bad beats in a row.
Every player has a different trigger, and you should learn where your trigger lies so you can work toward avoiding it.
This is where self-awareness and humility becomes important.
I’ve heard it said that David Sklansky never tilts.
That might be so, but he might not have ever played with a player as obnoxious as I am, either.
At any rate, learn how likely you are to tilt and start working on avoiding that tendency.
When you find other players on tilt, sit back and wait until you get cards, then call them down and enjoy your winnings.
Mindfulness sounds like some New Age nonsense you might learn from a yoga teacher or a meditation guru.
But really, it just means paying attention, which is a skill you must learn if you want to take your poker game to the next level.
In The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win, Maria Konnikova (the author) explains that Erik Seidel, arguably the GOAT of poker, offers the words “pay attention” as his best poker advice.
Many players pay no attention at all to the game they’re involved in unless they’re competing for the pot. In other words, if they fold (or are planning to fold), they tune out and stop paying attention. A lot o times, they’re listening to music on their earbuds or watching television. Some are just making idle chit chat.
But you should follow what’s happening in every hand closely. To keep yourself involved, think about what hole cards your opponents might have and see how close you were to getting it right if there’s a showdown.
If winning at Texas holdem required nothing more than the patience to wait for premium hands, anyone could become a pro.
The truth is that there’s a lot more to playing real money Texas holdem, and mindfulness is one example.
You can improve your ability to be mindful by spending less time on social media and other technology apps that systematically destroy your attention span. Spend some time meditating and get some alone time. Go for a walk now and then.
Most importantly, though, think about what’s going on in every poker hand at the table, regardless of whether you’re involved in the pot or not.
5- Organize Your Opponents into Categories
When you pay attention to your opponents’ playing tendencies, you can make better decisions. The easiest way to categorize opponents into categories is to look at 2 tendencies:
Aggression is just an opponent’s tendency to bet and raise. Players who bet and raise often, as opposed to just checking or calling, are aggressive.
Selectivity is just an opponent’s tendency to participate in a hand. Players who fold a lot are tight, while players who get involved in a lot of hands are loose.
When you combine these 2 tendencies, you wind up with a grid of 4 types of players:
- Aggressive and tight
- Aggressive and loose
- Passive and tight
- Passive and loose
An aggressive, tight player is one you need to fear, although if they’re tight enough, they’re easily thwarted. These kinds of players wait until they get good cards and then bet them aggressively. A lot of times, though, they’ll fold in the face of retaliatory aggression.
In other words, with many tight aggressive opponents, the only thing you need to do to beat them is to reraise them.
Aggressive and loose players play in a lot of hands and play them aggressively. By betting and raising a lot, they put pressure on their opponents to fold. If they have a lot of weak opponents, they can win enough small pots when their opponents fold that they can afford to play speculative hands as a freeroll of sorts with the winnings they got from everyone folding.
One way to defeat aggressive, loose players is to tighten up even further and play aggressively when you finally do get a good hand. Don’t be afraid to put all your chips in before the flop with such a player, especially when you have a big pocket pair like aces, kings, or queens.
Passive and tight players are a drag. They don’t play many pots, and when they do, they don’t give a lot of action. These players are called rocks. They’re not much of a threat, but it’s hard to make big profits from them. They just fold a lot.
Passive and loose players are the kinds of players you should prefer to play with. They play a lot of hands, and when they do, they tend to check and call a lot rather than bet and raise a lot. The best way to defeat such opponents is to wait until you have good cards and bet aggressively with those cards.
6- Game Selection Is Important
Choosing the right game affects your profits or potential profits dramatically. For example, if you’re at a table full of aggressive, tight players, you should probably find another table. My rule of thumb is to play for a little while and classify my opponents. If I’m at a full table, I leave if I identify 3 of my opponents (or more) as tight aggressive. If I’m at a short-handed table, I’ll leave if one or 2 of my opponents are tight aggressive.
When you can, find games where most of the players are loose and passive. This increases the range of hands you can play profitable, which means you’ll win more big pots. These are the most profitable Texas holdem games you can find. If you can share this kind of table with just one or 2 other expert players, you can make a lot of money.
7- Bankroll Requirements
Your bankroll is a good indication of which limits you should be playing for. Generally, it’s better to stick with tables where you can buy in for less than 5% of your bankroll. If it costs more than that to buy in, you’re probably in over your head.
There are 2 reasons for this:
The first is that you’re more likely to go broke at a table where you don’t have a big enough bankroll.
The 2nd is that if you don’t have a big enough bankroll, it’s probably because you haven’t learned how to beat the lower stakes games.
Generally, the players improve as the stakes go up – although you’ll find fish at all betting limits.
Some players have even stricter bankroll requirements than I mentioned above.
For example, if you’re specializing in large tournaments, you’ll have more variance, so you should have an even bigger bankroll compared to the buy-ins.
Texas holdem is probably the most fun you can have gambling.
It’s also an opportunity to make big profits.
But before you can profit, you need to understand some of the basic concepts of the game.
The 7 concepts I suggest you master first include:
- Game selection
- Bankroll management
Other poker writers might have a different set of priorities, but those are mine.
The online gaming world features plenty of multimillion-dollar slots jackpots. Therefore, gamblers usually look towards slots first when they want to win big.
However, certain internet table games also provide the chance to win big. You can win six figures with certain games.
These jackpots may not quite compare to the record $21 million online slots jackpot won through Mega Moolah. However, the following games still give you an excellent chance to win serious money.
You can find a big online Caribbean Stud jackpot at almost any given point. At the time of this writing, Realtime Gaming, NetEnt, and PartyGaming all offer a six-figure progressive prize.
You don’t have to think hard when playing for these massive payouts. You simply place a $1 side wager in the appropriate betting circle.
If you’ve never played Caribbean Stud, though, you may need some help when navigating the rules. Here are the basics:
- Place a $1 ante bet (or higher) and optional $1 jackpot bet.
- You receive five cards and must beat the dealer’s five-card hand to win.
- You can either raise (2x the ante) or fold (forfeits ante and jackpot wager).
- If you raise, then you and the dealer will compare cards.
- The dealer needs an A-K-4-3-2 or better to qualify.
- If the dealer doesn’t qualify, you earn even money on the ante and push on the raise.
- Assuming the croupier qualifies and wins, they take your ante and raise.
- If the croupier qualifies and you beat them, you earn even money on the ante.
- Your raise payout depends upon the casino’s pay table.
Casinos can differ slightly on their pay tables regarding a raise. Generally speaking, though, you should expect to win the following:
- Royal flush: 100 to 1
- Straight flush: 50 to 1
- Four of a kind: 20 to 1
- Full house: 7 to 1
- Flush: 5 to 1
- Straight: 4 to 1
- Three of a kind: 3 to 1
- Two pair: 2 to 1
- Anything else: 1 to 1
The jackpot bet doesn’t hinge on whether you beat the dealer. Instead, it revolves around a separate pay table:
- Royal flush: 100% of progressive jackpot
- Straight flush: 10% of progressive jackpot
- Four of a kind: $100
- Full house: $75
- Flush: $50
You only have 1 in 649,740 odds of being dealt a royal flush. This means that you’ll typically need to play many hands before you can look forward to collecting a progressive jackpot. But with some payouts eclipsing $250,000, the wait is worth it.
Let It Ride
The size of online Let It Ride jackpots can vary greatly from one provider to the next. The legal New Jersey market, for example, paid a $1.52 million prize through Betfair casino.
Realtime Gaming currently offers an $83,000 Let It Ride jackpot. While this is much smaller than the record New Jersey win, it’s still a large prize in any case.
Like Caribbean Stud, Let It Ride is another poker variation. However, it differs quite a bit from the former regarding rules.
Here are the basic Let It Ride rules:
- You place a standard bet along with an optional $1 jackpot wager.
- The standard bet must be placed in three equal proportions (e.g. $1, $1, $1).
- After betting, you receive three face-down cards.
- You have the option to withdraw one-third of your bet after seeing these cards.
- A community card is dealt.
- You have another chance to withdraw one-third of your wager at this time.
- A second community card is dealt.
- The software/dealer evaluates your five-card hand (three hole + two community cards) to see if you win.
Most casinos require you to hold at least a pair of 10s to win. In such cases, you lose with a pair or nines or anything worse.
Here are standard payouts in Let It Ride (based on what money you’ve kept on the table):
- Royal flush: 1,000 to 1
- Straight flush: 200 to 1
- Four of a kind: 50 to 1
- Full house: 11 to 1
- Flush: 8 to 1
- Straight: 5 to 1
- Three of a kind: 3 to 1
- Two pair: 2 to 1
- Pair of 10s or better: 1 to 1
- You lose with anything else
The main characteristic of Let It Ride is that it lets you take away portions of your bet. Assuming you leave all three portions on the table, you’re “letting it ride.”
The $1 optional side wager allows you to play for the following prizes:
- Royal flush: 100% of progressive jackpot
- Straight flush: 10% of progressive jackpot
- Four of a kind: $500
- Full house: $100
- Flush: $75
Pai Gow Poker
This card game, which is based on Chinese dominoes, features a 53-card deck. The deck includes 52 standard cards along with a semi-wild joker, which can complete straights, flushes, straight flushes, and royal flushes.
Like Let It Ride, Pai Gow poker is quite unique from other poker variations. It calls on you to form two separate hands, including a “low” and “high” hand.
Online Pai Gow jackpots don’t typically grow to the sizes of Caribbean stud or Let It Ride payouts. But they can still be worth playing for.
If you’re interested in playing, here are the Pai Gow poker rules:
- You place a standard bet and $1 optional jackpot wager (if available).
- You receive seven cards.
- Your seven cards must be separated into a five-card high hand and two-card low hand.
- The five-card hand needs to be stronger than the two-card hand.
- The dealer also separates their seven cards into two hands using the structured “house way.”
- You and the dealer compare high and low hands to see who wins.
- You beat the dealer by winning two hands; push by winning one and losing one; and lose when losing both hands.
All ties on the low or high hand go to the dealer. This aspect gives the house an advantage in Pai Gow poker.
The jackpot bet can be based on multiple variations. Fortune Pai Gow poker, which is a common variant, bases the progressive jackpot on your seven-card hand.
Here’s a standard Fortune Pai Gow poker jackpot pay table:
- Seven-card straight flush: 100% of jackpot (with or without joker)
- Five aces: 10% of jackpot
- Royal flush (5 cards): $500
- Five-card straight flush: $100
- Four of a kind: $75
- Full house = $5
Roulette Royale is the one non-poker game to make this list. Developed by Microgaming, it features a European roulette wheel and progressive jackpot on the side.
This game has paid out as much as $440,353, thus making it an attractive proposition if you want to win big through roulette.
Again, though, the Roulette Royale jackpot has never exceeded $440,353. Until that happens, you can’t even begin to think about the break-even point.
Assuming you’ve played European roulette before, then you shouldn’t have any trouble getting used to this game. You can make the following standard wagers:
- A bet on 1 number
- A bet on 2 numbers
- A bet on 3 numbers – street
- A bet on 3 numbers – trio
- A bet on 4 numbers
- A bet on 6 numbers
- A bet on 12 numbers
- A bet on a column
- A bet on red or black
- A bet on odd or even
- A bet on high numbers or low numbers
To play, you must place at least a $1 standard bet. You also have the option of making a $1 jackpot wager as well.
The latter qualifies you for each of the four prizes listed below:
- 15x your bet ($1 bet can win $15).
- 200x your bet ($1 bet can win $200).
- 3,000x your bet ($1 bet can win $3,000).
- The ultimate jackpot progressive (seeded with $60,000).
You need the ball to land on an identical number two to five times in a row to win any of these four prizes. These are the needed qualifications behind each jackpot:
- 15x = Same number for 2 spins in a row
- 200x = Same number for 3 spins in a row
- 3,000x = Same number for 4 spins in a row
- Jackpot progressive = Same number for 5 spins in a row
The odds of the same pocket coming up five times in a row are only 1 in 69,343,957. Therefore, you have little chance to win the jackpot. However, you can benefit from the other payouts until you do (hopefully) get lucky enough to win big.
Real money slots aren’t the only games in the online gambling world that provide an opportunity to earn serious profits. Several table games also give you a chance to win a large jackpot.
Online Caribbean Stud is, on average, the best option if you’re looking for the biggest non-slots jackpots. Let It Ride and Roulette Royale can also offer major money.
Pai Gow Poker doesn’t typically reach the same heights as the other games. But it can still feature some worthwhile payouts.
In summary, you don’t have to spin the reels just to try for a large prize. You can also look towards some of the table games mentioned here.
I’ve gone in search of a lot of different types of cuisine in Atlantic City: steak, tacos, burgers, late night eats, seafood, fried food, etc. And at no time have I ever felt as confident of finding a great place to eat as I do on my current quest—finding the best pizza place in Atlantic City.
The food scene in AC gets beaten up a little bit by a flood of New Jersey jokes and a stark recognition that this gambling destination ain’t what she used to be. In fact, the idea that “true” gambling has gone west to Las Vegas has stuck with Atlantic City a lot longer than it should have.
Today’s Atlantic City has some really great original restaurants and some transplants fortunate enough to call this city home. Still, even when AC was down, the one thing you never needed to worry about was the quality of its Italian food.
The tradition of killer Italian cuisine has continued now that the greater Atlantic City area is experiencing a rebirth and, unsurprisingly, the quality of food has permeated into the pizza scene.
Therefore, if you’re in the Atlantic City area and a slice sounds nice, I have eight places you have to try.
8 – Tony Boloney’s
Featuring “badass” grub in “Atlantic City style,” Tony Boloney’s features nine different types of red and vodka pizzas, 17 types of white pizza, and five flavors of vegan pizza. They also have wings, fries, mozzarella sticks, soups, and more.
Still, as the title of this list would indicate, when headed to Tony Boloney’s, pizza is on my mind. Sure, I might grab some wings, but if I’m in the mood for a red (or reddish) sauce, I’m ordering a Jersey fist pump (fennel sausage, green pepper, onion, and smoked mozzarella on a pink vodka sauce).
On the other hand, if white pizza is on my mind, I am heading to ducktown, which evidently has no duck whatsoever. But it does have garlic bread spread, fresh mutz (or as us non-Jersey residents call it “mozzarella”), garlic, herbs, and ribeye steak. How great does that sound? Garlic and ribeye. Pizza doesn’t get much better than that!
7 – Tony’s Baltimore Grill
I am a big fan of Tony’s Baltimore Grill because it’s open 24 hours a day and for that, it deserves to be on a whole bunch of lists. Also, the fact that it has been around since 1927 is another reason to give it high marks.
Of course, the real reason to go is for the pizza.
I could start with a meatball or chicken tender platter, but again, this is a list for pizza. Therefore, I am going to choose from one of their nine specialty pies or make my own. While I like to do my own thing, in this case, I am definitely going to nab the clams casino pizza (clam sauce, bacon, onion, green pepper, and garlic) or the spaghetti pizza with spaghetti sauce, spaghetti, and my choice of meatballs, sausage, or anchovies.
6 – 3 Brothers From Italy
If you want good, down-home, honest pizza, then you have to give 3 Brothers From Italy a try. The premises aren’t exactly the most exclusive , but in the grand scheme of things, does that really matter?
This is about pizza, not fine dining! And a place with no frills can actually be a good thing, especially when the pies are huge.
There is a lot to love about the big, thin pieces they serve here at 3 Brothers. They have plenty of the classic toppings, including bacon, anchovies, and even ham and pineapple for those really particular pizza-eaters. They can also do a plain cheese, pepperoni, or sausage.
Trust me, they’re all good, so it really doesn’t matter.
What I really love about 3 Brothers From Italy, though, is their epic food challenge. I haven’t tried it yet, but I definitely think I can do a whole pizza in just a little over 11 minutes so that I, too, can win 250 pies.
Think you can do it? Me, too! Mission accepted.
5 – Famous Famiglia Pizzeria
Famous Famigila Pizzeria is another great New York City transplant into the heart of Atlantic City. In this case, Famous Famiglia lives in Resorts Casino and Hotel in Atlantic City and serves up quick bites to the passersby.
Of course, this means that what you get won’t be quite up to the same quality as what you would get in The City That Never Sleeps, but Famous Famiglia in AC still has plenty to show for it. For the most part, this pizzeria serves pizza by the slice.
The highest marks are given to some of the more basic slices (like the pepperoni), but anything you order here will be good. Also, you should definitely try the garlic knots! They’re not pizza, but they are really, really good.
4 – Walt’s Original Primo Pizza
I have to say that one of the things I love about Walt’s is the location. Being right there near the ocean does something great for a slice of pizza. I don’t know if it’s the ocean breeze or what, but it’s a nice way to enjoy a slice.
With that said, the menu at Walt’s Original Primo Pizza isn’t huge. They offer six specialty pizzas (including the Hawaiian and primo BBQ chicken pizza) as well as the option to make your own on their Sicilian crust.
Still, despite the limited selection, the pies are amazing and you are pretty much guaranteed to get a good slice whenever you go.
3 – Gino’s Pizza
Gino’s is another Atlantic City establishment that will serve you a bunch of items that you expect from a pizza place that caters to different tastes: hot subs, cold subs, garlic knots, appetizers, quesadillas, etc. Still, this is a list about pizza, so let me tell you about the pies at Gino’s Pizza.
They have 1 red pizzas and seven white pizzas, as well as pizzas you can order up the way you like it. My personal recommendations are the eggplant supreme on red sauce with eggplant, spinach, and fresh tomato or the chicken and broccoli on white crust.
Still, it’s hard to imagine ordering anything wrong at Gino’s.
2 – Pin-Up Pizza
Pin-Up Pizza is another great casino-based restaurant, this one to be found in the quick bites offerings of Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City.
First, the great thing about Pin-Up is that they offer absolutely huge pizza slices that they sell by the slice. Their menu includes seven types of pizza (including plain, vegetarian, white, and BBQ chicken). Further, you can get the slices in either plain cheese style or Sicilian and add the toppings of your choice.
For my money though, I’m pretty happy just to walk up and order a slice of whatever they have. Even plain cheese can be just the bite I need to keep me going.
They also have garlic knots, salads, and stromboli, too. But again, if I am going to Pin-Up, I just want a slice so I can get back to the action.
1 – Chico & Sons
Chico is a newish pizza offering opened by the sons (Richard and Michael) and named after the dad (Chico) who has been in the pizza and sub business since he was a teen. With two locations in New Jersey, the restaurant really is “40 years in the making.”
You can tell, too, in the attention that Chico & Sons gives their product. Like a lot of other places on this list, Chico & Sons has a full range of hot and cold subs for you to offer. You can also try one of their chicken cutlets, with as many different flavorings as you will find pizza varieties.
At Chico & Sons, I am really interested in the cutlet cacciatore (chicken cutlet with mushrooms, green pepper, fried onions, provolone and sauce) and the Chico’s cutlet with broccoli rabe. Still, this is a pizza list, so let’s talk pies.
Chico & Son’s does both plain white and red pies. They also offer five different standard pies (vegetarian, buffalo, BBQ, Hawaiian, and meat lover’s). They also offer seven different specialty pies including the cutlet parm, which is a white pie with chicken, marinara sauce, and parmesan cheese.
If that weren’t enough, you can always do your own thing, but with a menu like that, it seems plenty.
As you can see, Atlantic City can spin out a delicious pie with its rich Italian cuisine. Whether you are looking for something quick like Pin-Up so you can get back to the gambling, something on the board walk like Primo Pizza or 3 Brothers From Italy, or something a little extra like Chico & Sons, Atlantic City has you covered.
With that all the said, the hardest part about pizza in AC isn’t finding a slice, it’s deciding which one to choose.
Casino games are definitely popular across the globe. They encompass many different games that vary based on rules, equipment (e.g. cards), and jackpots (or lack thereof).
But despite their popularity, casino games still lag behind lotteries. First conceived in Italy in the 1400s, lotteries have remained the world’s most played form of gambling for centuries.
Why does the lottery continue fascinating so many gamblers throughout the world? I’m going to discuss the various reasons why lotteries remain more popular than casino games.
You don’t need to pay much to participate in a lottery. In fact, most state and multi-state lotteries let you play for $1 or $2. Assuming you only buy a few tickets every week, you won’t even be risking $10. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about losing a significant amount of money.
Casino games differ in this regard. They feature a faster play rate that leaves you risking more money per gambling session.
Here’s an example to illustrate this point:
- You’re playing blackjack.
- The minimum bet is $10 per hand.
- You’re dealing with a 1% house edge.
- The table sees 70 hands per hour.
- 10 x 70 x 0.01 = $7 in theoretical losses per hour
- You play for five hours.
- 7 x 5 = $35 in overall losses
The blackjack house advantage is significantly lower than what any lottery offers. Assuming you’re an adept player, you’ll only face around a 1% house edge or less.
Lotteries, on the other hand, typically carry between a 30% and 50% house advantage. Nevertheless, their extremely slow play rate ensures that you risk for less money under normal circumstances. For more on lottery odds, check out our page on the odds of winning the lottery.
Huge Lottery Jackpots
The primary driver behind lotteries is their huge jackpots. The biggest lotteries allow you to play for prizes worth nine figures.
Mega Millions and Powerball have become famous for their massive jackpots. Both have paid out max prizes worth over $1.5 billion.
Even when Powerball and Mega Millions aren’t offering record-breaking amounts, they still deliver plenty of nine figure prizes.
International lotteries, such as Euro Millions and Super Enalotto, also offer life-changing money. They’ve paid records of €190 million and €209 million, respectively.
You don’t even need to play big multi-state and international lotteries to make serious money. You can also find prizes at the state level worth eight figures.
Some casino games also offer serious money. For example, the Megabucks jackpot network once delivered a prize worth $37.9 million. Microgaming’s Mega Moolah has paid the biggest online slots jackpot ever at $21 million.
As you can see, casino games can also make gamblers millionaires. But their biggest prizes are more around what the larger state lotteries offer.
Available Online and at Land Based Retailers
Internet gambling has been around for over a quarter century. The first online gambling sites were launched in the mid-1990s.
Therefore, real money online gambling is certainly nothing new. The fact that lotteries sell tickets through the internet also isn’t anything special.
But online lotteries have only picked up steam within the past decade. They used to not command much of an internet presence at all.
Instead, almost everybody purchased their tickets inside of convenience stores. Many players, though, have found that they can just as quickly buy tickets through their smartphone.
The fact that you can now get tickets online has only accelerated the lottery’s popularity. You can also play instant games that look and feel similar to internet slots.
Perfect for “Get Rich Quick” Dreams
Again, casino gaming offers plenty of chances to make a fortune. Besides slot machines, Caribbean Stud, Let It Ride, and blackjack and also offer big progressive jackpots.
However, you need to play the right game at the right casino to chase life-changing prizes. Not just every game and casino offers million-dollar payouts.
The lottery differs, though, by featuring these opportunities all over the place. It represents the best game for anybody who wants to get rich quick.
Mega Millions and Powerball offer the most money on a consistent basis. But you’ll also find lots of other huge jackpot in the lottery world.
Casino gaming is frequently vilified for its addictive qualities. Opponents of casinos point to how slot machines can hook gamblers and cause them to lose hundreds or even thousands of dollars in a single session.
You could argue that these attacks are unfair when considering that any form of gambling can be addictive. Nevertheless, casinos caries one of the worst reputations in this regard.
The lottery doesn’t typically invite as much criticism. It’s generally accepted in many parts of the world. The casual play element is one reason why lotteries don’t draw as much heat.
Again, the average person only buys a few tickets per week.
Most of the revenue also goes to good causes as well. States and governments commonly use lottery revenue to fund school programs and/or senior centers.
Easy to Play
You may find the strategy involved with blackjack or poker intriguing. But you could just as easily be turned off by these games’ complexities in the beginning.
Some casino games are difficult to learn and master. This is a big reason why many gamblers head straight for the slot machines upon entering the casino. The lottery is much simpler than games like craps, blackjack, or roulette. Just about any beginner can quickly pick up how to play.
You simply need to select enough numbers to fill out a ticket. Once finished, the convenient store clerk will print off a ticket and hand it to you.
“Quick Picks” offer an even easier route towards playing. You merely choose the Quick Pick option and let the machine select numbers for you.
Online scratchers offer yet another simple and convenient route towards playing. They let you quickly purchase tickets or enjoy instant games through an app.
Simply put, nothing is easier than selecting a few numbers or scratching off opaque. Contrast this process to blackjack or roulette, which involve more intricate rules.
Players Form Lottery Pools
No casino game offers a team-based approach. Craps is the closest to being a team-style game, because many players bet with the shooter (a.k.a. pass line).
However, you and the other gamblers at the table still aren’t really on a team. You’re just making the same bets and hoping to win.
The lottery presents a unique situation where you can team up with others. You and a group of players can form a lottery pool. Each person in the pool selects their own numbers like normal. However, they vow to share winnings with each other.
This team-based approach gives everybody a better shot at winning the jackpot. In fact, more and more jackpot winners come from pools today.
Major Media Coverage
Lotteries have long enjoyed a good relationship with media outlets. Growing jackpots commonly draw serious news coverage leading up to the big win.
Once somebody wins a huge jackpot, the media is sure to pick up on the story. You can expect plenty of details on such stories, especially if the winners feel like opening up.
Casino games also draw some media attention, most notably for big land-based or online jackpots. But they just don’t seem to get quite the same coverage.
Perhaps mainstream acceptance is one reason why lotteries gain so much attention. Whatever the case may be, the lottery doesn’t have to go looking for media coverage.
Lotteries aren’t inherently any better than casino games. Some gamblers may prefer the latter when they’re looking for more in-depth gaming and/or a greater variety.
Nevertheless, lotteries still dominate the gambling world. They draw countless players throughout the world every week.
Many people are initially attracted to the lottery due to the massive jackpots. However, they might also appreciate the simplistic play and/or being able to form a pool.
Whether lotteries always stay on top remains to be seen. For now, though, they still look to be the predominant type of gambling for the foreseeable future.
If ads for casinos were true, each one would be a glittering palace where the drinks flowed freely, the blackjacks never ended, and chips rained down from the sky. But it’s not quite that wonderful in reality.
Having spent an embarrassing amount of my life in land based casinos, I’ve made some poor choices, and witnessed countless others. Don’t be like me.
I have made this list of 10 things to avoid on your next visit to a casino in hopes that you’ll learn from my mistakes.
Personally, I don’t walk into a casino every time expecting to win a fortune. But I have a hopeful attitude.
I admit that I’m comfortable in casinos, I’ve visited more than 75 over the last 15 years. While it’s true that most new or occasional gamblers don’t win a lot of money, you can walk away with some of it still in your wallet. Breaking even is okay.
1 – Don’t Walk in and Immediately Start Throwing Money Around
Some people get a burst of adrenaline when they enter a casino. I’ve been guilty of it myself. The lights, the sounds and the people on the casino floor are all very exciting.
Walk around a bit and get acclimated before you wager. Start small and get into a rhythm.
You’ll have plenty of time to place bigger frivolous bets if you’re still in the mood after a couple of hours.
2 – Losing Control
Gambling can be an insane amount of fun. I mean, who doesn’t love it? There’s nothing in this world that gives you the adrenaline rush of chasing a huge pot or even better, hitting it. But like they say, time flies when you’re having fun, and it’s easy to go overboard.
That’s why developing self-control is so crucial to your health and happiness. In fact, self-control is probably the most important of all good gambling habits.
Avoid going too wild and burning through your bankroll. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a blast, sometimes throwing caution to the wind for one big spin can be quite the thrill. But focus on keeping it light and fun.
You should always know how long you’ve been playing. You must also keep an eye on your bankroll. Remember that you’re buying this fun, so make a decision on how much you want to spend before you get started.
Avoid letting the slots or the tables fool you into feeding them more than you want to.
3 – Don’t be an Eeyore
I’ve always believed that the happiest gamblers treat playing at a casino like going out for a night on the town. It’s a form of being entertained and perhaps you leave with a reward.
So make sure you’re being positive. You wouldn’t force yourself to be miserable out with friends, so why not apply that same logic to casinos, too?
If you start to become frustrated or notice you aren’t enjoying yourself at a game, taking a break is the wisest thing you can do.
Every couple of hours, stop and ask yourself, “If I won a big hand or pot right now, how would I feel?”.
If the answer is happy, you’re on the right track.
Conversely, if your first reaction were to think “about time” or “lil late now” it’s likely time to move on.
4 – Delusions of Grandeur
Not everyone can win a fortune. Vegas wasn’t built by winners, as they say, and the same can be said for online casinos.
The best gamblers know this.
Gaming should be about getting as much excitement as you can from your money. Play what you enjoy and learn how to play that game as best as you can. Expect to lose, but use strategy and goal setting to give yourself a good chance of coming out ahead of the casino.
Keep in mind that it won’t always go your way. More often than not the casino will win and if you are realistic, you’ll live to see another day.
Disabuse yourself of this notion immediately. Nobody’s opening up Blockbuster franchises anymore for a reason, there’s no money in it.
Casinos, on the other hand, pop up on a regular basis. There are roughly 1,500 in the US alone, and it’s because they’re proven moneymakers.
Sure, you can win money, but if you play long enough, you won’t.
On a very serious note: if you find yourself gambling too much with the goal of “earning” extra cash, stop now. I’d advise you to search Google for some tips about preventing a gambling problem as well. If your gambling starts negatively interfering with your life, seek help.
5 – Throwing Good Money After Bad
Chasing losses never ends well. Period. At all costs you must always avoid going on tilt.
Be patient and take the wins as they come. You can’t control when the games will start paying out or you get the right cards.
If you lose your entire gambling budget way faster than you imagined, you must quit. Reconsider how you bet and think about playing more conservatively in the future. Or just chalk it up to a really unlucky day. It happens to all of us.
If you don’t avoid the urge to chase spent money it won’t be fun. There are only two possible outcomes:
- You lose way more than you planned for.
- You win the money back and get in the habit of chasing losses instead of having fun.
So, for your own sake, don’t put yourself in that position. If you find yourself chasing losses, take a break from gambling.
6 – Going Back to the ATM
Know exactly how much money you’re willing to drop in a given period of time. Bring that to the table with you, and if you lose it, take a break and go to the bar.
When I first became a casino gambler my uncle would often say to me, “Live to fight another day.” He is right as usual. I’ve seen him lose sums of money that would send me into a deep depression, go play a round of golf, and win back triple what he lost the next day.
You’re not gonna win your money back. I once saw a guy on a fixed income lose $10,000 in the span of three hours, and he kept saying, “My pacemaker can’t take this.” That’s how you get a pacemaker in the first place.
7 – Being Too Rigid
No matter what your game of choice is, adaptability is key. You have to avoid staying in your comfort zone.
It’s obvious if you’re a poker player: you have to keep an eye on the other players to really gauge your likelihood of winning. But being vigilant and making changes where needed is important even if you just play slots and table games.
For instance, games are known to change. Some casinos might adjust the rules or add new variations of existing games at any time. Take the time to look these up and learn them.
You might find that, with proper strategy, these new games are an even better opportunity.
Think about what games and strategies will give you the best chance of winning, especially when it comes to races and contests. Planning out your play and making changes along the way can really make all the difference.
8 – Not Having a Goal
One of the most effective ways to keep gambling fun is to decide what you’re hoping for. Obviously, everyone wants to win big gambling, but keep it realistic.
Do you want to double your stack? Triple it? Quadruple it, or maybe even more? Just keep in mind the higher your goal, the less likely you’ll be able to reach it.
Once you hit your win goal, stop playing immediately. It’s easy to keep playing until suddenly you’re below your goal again, and things can only go downhill from there.
Avoid mindlessly making bet after bet without any thought about where you’re at or how you’re doing. The casino isn’t going to go anywhere, so enjoy your wins poolside or on the golf course and play again another day.
9 – Borrowing Money from a Friend
It’s like going back to the ATM, except you’re not sharing a room with the ATM.
The ATM also won’t email you next week, asking where its money is.
If you decide to loan a friend money at the casino, I suggest you consider it a gift. You’ll be much happier if you do.
I’ve unfortunately seen more than one friendship meet its end because of this. I’m thankful that my strict no cash loans policy has merely hurt feelings and not ruined relationships.
10 – Spilling Your Drink
This bad decision is not casino-specific.
You instantly become “persona non grata” when you spill a drink. With just the flick of the wrist, you’ve single-handedly forced your table to close and everyone sitting at it to relocate to a new lucky table.
And if you’ve ever been in a casino, you’d know that crusty and friendly types alike do not enjoy giving up the warm chair they’ve occupied for hours. Use the cupholder.
Keeping these guidelines in mind is sure to improve your real money gambling experience and for those around you.
These 10 things to avoid on your next visit to a casino are meant only to improve your overall experience.
The ultimate goal should be to have fun, enjoy the camaraderie of your fellow gamblers, and make some memories.
Good luck out there. Gamble on.
Introduced by Big Time Gaming (BTG), Megaclusters are a fairly new concept in gaming. They give you the chance to expand the number of available symbols by racking up wins.
Megaclusters have the potential to revolutionize gaming. At the very least, this mechanism should spawn similar slots.
Of course, the chance always exists that Megaclusters won’t have much of an impact and fade away quickly. I’m going to discuss more on this mechanism along with if it’ll become a hit or quickly disappear.
How Do Megaclusters Slots Work?
Most real money slots offer a set amount of positions or symbols. A five-reel, three-row (5×3 grid) slot, for example, offers 15 positions no matter what.
However, Megaclusters work differently from the average slot and do offer more positions. You can read about their finer points below.
If you’ve played a cluster pays slot before, then you shouldn’t have much trouble figuring out Megaclusters. A clusters game doesn’t offer traditional paylines.
Instead, it features a square grid. For example, BTG’s Star Clusters Megaclusters starts with a 4×4 grid.
You score payouts by landing clusters of matching icons going vertically or horizontally. Each cluster must include five or more symbols.
Everything Begins With the Avalanche Win
The avalanche feature is the best place to win with a Megaclusters game. Avalanche refers to when symbols from wins vanish or explode.
Once this happens, new icons fall from above to fill out the vacant spaces. The game re-evaluates the reels to determine if any new payouts are possible.
Avalanche gives you an opportunity to score more winning combinations in a round. As you’ll see below, it also unlocks additional positions.
This process continues until no more payouts can form. Afterward, the grid reverts back to its original size.
One Position Becomes Four
Under normal circumstances, avalanche would cause new icons to drop from the top of the reels to fill empty spaces. However, a Megaclusters slot works slightly differently in this regard.
Symbols from winning combos still vanish. The key difference, though, is that four new icons appear to take their places.
Here’s an example of this phenomenon:
- You land 10 clusters in a winning combination.
- Each symbol involved vanishes.
- 10 x 4 = 40
- You now have 40 positions in place of the previous 10 that vanished.
The Grid Keeps Expanding
As mentioned before, Stars Clusters Megaclusters begins with a 4×4 grid (64 positions). However, this area expands as more avalanche wins form.
The base game allows the grid to grow as large as 8×8 (64 positions). You can grow it even further in the bonus round (covered next).
Bonus Offers Even More Opportunities
Star Clusters awards two free spins every time that you net five consecutive avalanche wins. The default grid expands to 8×8 during the bonus.
Megaclusters, of course, are still active during free spins. You can increase the grid up to 16×16 (256 positions).
What Is the Potential Behind Megaclusters?
You can see that these slots are quite unique. But what do they offer besides simply being interesting? Here are the biggest benefits to Megaclusters slots.
More Ways to Win
A 4×4 slot is pretty boring for the most part. Therefore, you may not be thrilled upon first opening up Star Clusters.
However, you’ll eventually grow the number of positions and have more opportunities to win. At 8×8, you’ll have lots of area to score matching clusters of five symbols or more.
The bonus round is even more exciting. Not only does the grid begin at 8×8, but it has the potential to reach 16×16.
A 16×16 grid is unheard of in the gaming world. I’ve never seen a grid slot go beyond 8×8 up until this point.
Potential for Big Payouts
The average slot offers a top payout worth around 5,000x your stake. BTG’s Star Clusters Megaclusters blows the doors off this standard max win.
You can earn up to 23,000x your stake when accounting for features, avalanche wins, and Megaclusters. Assuming you’re betting $1 per spin/round, you can win up to $23,000.
Star Clusters offers a max stake worth $20. That said, you can earn up to $460,000 when using the top bet size.
Exciting Side Features
BTG is one of the best when it comes to revolutionary slots features. They haven’t sold players short with Megaclusters either.
As mentioned before, you can trigger free spins with five straight avalanche wins. You’ll receive another free spin for each avalanche win past five.
This game also boasts a gold multiplier wild. The multiplier can increase wins up to 10x, at which point, you’ll receive more free spins for additional avalanches.
Reasons Why Megaclusters Could Be Forgotten
The Megaclusters engine has a lot going for it. However, the following reasons could prevent this mechanism from gaining widespread popularity.
Small Sample Size
BTG has only released Star Clusters Megaclusters at the time of this writing. And while Star Clusters is popular already, it’s just one game.
More slots are needed before Megaclusters slots have truly made it. Only time will tell if this mechanism becomes as popular as BTG’s famous Megaways engine.
Megaways Are Still Hot
Dragon Born introduced gamblers to Megaways slots in 2016. Ever since, Megaways have been the hottest thing in online gaming.
Gamblers have flocked to play these slots. In turn, other developers now pay BTG to license the Megaways format.
Nothing is to say that Megaclusters can’t thrive at the same time. However, the widespread number of Megaways makes for a more crowded gaming industry.
Symbols Are Hard to See
If you’re like many other gamblers, you like playing slots on your smartphone. You’ll find that Megaclusters are hard to see on a 5.5-inch phone screen.
I’ve played Star Clusters on my PC and had trouble making out the details in the smaller symbols. This matter only becomes more of a struggle when dealing with a smartphone.
You’ll barely be able to see anything once the grid grows beyond 8×8. Assuming you’re somebody who values the little details, you may hate this aspect.
Will Megaclusters Ultimately Be Successful?
Megaclusters aren’t perfect when considering the downsides covered above. However, they still offer loads of potential.
Megaways, which see reels hold varying numbers of symbols, prove that players love changing grid sizes. Megaclusters also introduce this grid-changing aspect.
The base game begins with a rather simple 4×4 setup. But the latter quickly grows any time that you score a payout.
Even a five-symbol cluster turns into 20 positions. You can look forward to many more positions after getting 10+ symbol clusters.
BTG has also added extras that spice up the action. For starters, avalanche wins gives you the chance to keep earning payouts in a given round.
Gold multipliers not only substitute for other symbols but also multiply your wins. You can get a multiplier worth as much as 10x. Free spins become available when you net five consecutive avalanche payouts too. The default grid grows to 8×8 during this bonus.
Overall, Megaclusters slots seem to have all the ingredients to be very successful among players. But a larger sample size is needed before we truly know whether or not this is the case.
The past decade has seen plenty of revolutionary slots developments, including avalanche, Megaways, and expanding wilds. Megaclusters could very well be added to this list in the future.
These games see cluster wins vanish and make way for 4x the amount of symbols in their places. The end result is that you have more available positions and chances to win.
Megaclusters slots also offer added features, like win multipliers and free spins. Simply put, they boast lots of action, frequent wins, and the chance to score huge payouts.
The ultimate success of Megaclusters will hinge on future games. However, the first slot, Star Clusters, is already proving quite popular.
Many newcomers to gambling are intimidated by full cover bet terms like “Trixie” and “Accumulator” and “run for the hills.”
While full cover bets can be confusing to understand, they also offer a chance for big payouts. Unfortunately, many gamblers hear about their intricacies and never get the chance to reap the benefits of a good full cover bet.
Parlay bets can be thought of as the risky cousin to full cover bets. However, parlay bets also have a bigger payout so it’s important to know how both of the bets work.
They both operate similarly, so it’s difficult to talk about full cover bets without talking about parlay bets first. If you don’t fully understand what parlay bets are, you won’t have a chance of understanding full cover bets.
So that we can make the topic of full cover bets as simple as possible, we’ll be using small numbers as examples.
Before we get into the details of how both full cover bets and parlay bets work, we’ll briefly discuss what full cover bets are and th