Is Video Poker Really a Beatable Game?

Video Poker Graphic Text With a Video Poker Machine Background

Not many casino games give you an opportunity to win profits. Poker games like Texas Hold’em, blackjack (card counting), and certain progressive slots (jackpots that offer +EV) are among the select few games that provide a long-term advantage.

Video poker also carries the reputation for being a beatable game. It offers over 100% return to player (RTP) on certain variations.

Of course, these variations are hard to find and not accessible to most gamblers. So, is video poker actually beatable?

This guide discusses how you can beat video poker over the long run. It also covers if the methods covered below are actually realistic.

Video Poker Is Beatable in Some Cases

Most real money video poker variations are favorable when compared to the average casino game. For example, the common 9/6 Jacks or Better variation offers 99.54% RTP with perfect strategy.

The “9/6” refers to how this Jacks or Better game pays nine coins for a full house and six for a flush. 8/6 Jacks or Better, by comparison, only offers 98.39% payback.

When looking for the highest paying video poker game machines, you need to take both the game and pay table into account. The 9/6 pay table described above may offer the most among Jacks or Better variations, but you can find games that pay even better than this.

Here are the highest paying video poker game machines that exist today:

  • Full-pay Deuces Wild = 100.76% Return To Player
  • Full-pay Joker Wild = 100.65%
  • 10/7 Double Bonus = 100.17%
  • 10/6 Double Double Bonus = 100.07%

The house rarely gives you an opportunity to win long-term profits. Therefore, the games listed above are quite unique.

You’re not going to get rich by playing these machines. This is especially true when you consider that the coin sizes are only worth a quarter ($1.25 per five-coin hand).

However, you can win decent money on full-pay Deuces Wild. Here’s an example on how much you can look forward to winning under ideal circumstances:

  • You bet $1.25 per hand and use perfect strategy
  • You play 800 hands per hour
  • 25 x 800 x 0.76 = $7.60 in hourly profits
  • The casino offers a 0.1% comp rate
  • 800 x 0.001 = $0.80 in hourly rewards
  • 6 + 0.8 = $8.40 in total hourly winnings

Most jobs today pay well over $8 an hour. But if you want to make guaranteed money from your gambling hobby, then Deuces Wild offers this chance.

Games With +EV Are Rare

You can see that multiple types of video poker offer positive expected value (+EV). But you’ll have trouble finding these machines anywhere outside of Las Vegas.

Sin City is home to the large majority of beatable video poker games. Assuming you try playing anywhere else, such as Atlantic City or Macau, you’re not going to find +EV machines.

Row of Game King Video Poker Machines

Even when you visit Vegas, though, you’ll mostly be dealing with 10/7 Double Bonus and 10/6 Double Double Bonus games. As covered before, these variations only pay 100.17% and 100.07% RTP, respectively.

Sam’s Town is the only Las Vegas casino that currently offers full-pay Deuces Wild. As you can imagine, its Deuces Wild machines are crowded with gamblers who want to make profits. Therefore, you may not even find an open seat for the best games.

Profits Are Theoretical

Video poker isn’t like blackjack, where it offers a fairly even payout distribution. Instead, it features a wide range of payouts.

Therefore, video poker can be volatile over the short term. You may not earn a straight flush or royal flush until after playing tens of thousands of hands.

In fact, you’ll only get a royal flush on around 1 out of every 40,000 hands on average. Theoretically, you need to play at least 40k hands before receiving a royal.

Maybe you’ll find an open full-pay Deuces Wild machine and play a large amount of hands. Even so, you might need to play for many hours before actually realizing the 100.76% RTP and making profits.

What You Must Do to Win Profits

You can see that the road towards video poker winnings is difficult. But if you’re still interested in the matter, you can follow the tips below.

Travel to Las Vegas

Some +EV video poker machines are sprinkled around Nevada. If you truly want a real chance at winning, though, then you should take a trip to Las Vegas.

Sin City is the only place in the world with full-pay Deuces Wild and Joker Wild. It also offers a fair number of Double Bonus and Double Double Bonus games.

You can also look forward to some of the best rewards programs in Vegas. These VIP benefits will add to your bottom line.

Look for the Limited +EV Machines

Once in Las Vegas, you need to start searching for the small percentage of beatable video poker games. After all, you can’t just sit down to any machine and expect to win.

Most of these games are located in downtown casinos or on the Boulder Strip. Meanwhile, you won’t find any of these machines on the Vegas Strip.

Aerial View of the North Las Vegas Strip

Keep in mind that open seats for the most desirable games aren’t always available. You may have better luck hitting up casinos during non-peak hours, such as the morning and late evening.

Play Countless Hands to Overcome Volatility

A royal flush only makes up around 2% of the total payback for any video poker game. Considering this fact, many gamblers put too much emphasis on getting a royal.

Nevertheless, you still need to get the best hand at some point to earn over 100% payback. You’ll likely have to log countless hands to make it happen.

On average, you’ll need 40,000 hands to get a royal. You should consider yourself blessed if you’re able to land one within the first 10,000 or 20,000 hands.

Target Days With Double Rewards

Las Vegas casinos commonly feature promotions involving double or even triple points through their loyalty programs. Assuming you visit the casino on these days, you can look forward to a lot more rewards.

These extra rewards won’t line your pockets with riches. But they’re definitely worth taking advantage of when available.

The Average Player Isn’t Going to Beat Video Poker

Unless you live in Las Vegas or can afford to frequently visit, you’re not going to win guaranteed profits. You instead need to rely on some luck to be most games.

Anything can happen with video poker. It does, after all, offer some of the best payout percentages in the casino. Realistically speaking, though, you have a low chance to beat this game. Everything relies upon the machines you play.

You should treat beating video poker as more of a hobby than a legitimate way to profit from gambling. If you’re already going to be visiting Las Vegas, you might as well take advantage of the +EV machines.

But you won’t make a career out of beating video poker. The travel costs and hotel bookings will eat up your profits. Even if you live in Las Vegas, you won’t be able to make any more than $8 to $10 an hour with perfect and rapid play.

Should You Still Consider Playing Video Poker?

Video poker may not be beatable from a realistic standpoint. But that doesn’t mean you should completely avoid it.

It’s still a fine game that has lots of entertainment value to offer. You can play for big payouts while still enjoying some of the best payback in the casino.

Honestly, you have a better shot at winning with video poker than almost any of the other casino games. You can stick with the aforementioned tips to boost your odds.

9/6 Jacks or Better is never a bad game to play in terms of odds. Its 99.54% RTP is right in line with the world’s most-favorable blackjack games.

You can even opt for 8/5 Bonus Poker if 9/6 Jacks or Better isn’t available. It gives you a solid chance to win with its 99.17% RTP.

Conclusion

Theoretically, video poker is a beatable game. Full-pay Deuces Wild, Joker Wild, Double Bonus, and Double Double Bonus all exist in Las Vegas. You can find Double Bonus and Double Double Bonus machines in other parts of Nevada too.

However, the days where you could bet $1 coins ($5 hand with five coins) on full-pay Deuces Wild are long gone. The latter is only available in one Vegas casino through quarter machines.

You can still win profits from video poker if you’re willing to visit Sin City. But you aren’t going to make a living from doing so.

Like many casino games, video poker is most entertaining when you treat it as a hobby. Assuming you get a little luck on your side, you could land a royal flush and earn a large profit.

Best Casino Resorts in the World (Part 3): Palazzo/Venetian Las Vegas

Venetian Las Vegas Logo

I’m bringing it back stateside for this installment of my series on the best casino resorts in the world. I’m taking us to Las Vegas, NV.

I love Vegas. It’s the first place I ever gambled in a casino. It was, for a long time, the gold standard for casino gambling.

This is my gambling hometown. And when I’m in my gambling hometown, I stay and play at the Palazzo and Venetian complex.

History of the Palazzo/Venetian Property

I keep talking about both the Palazzo and the Venetian together because, as far as I’m concerned, they are one and the same. The Palazzo wouldn’t have shopping without the Venetian. The Venetian wouldn’t have the exclusive posh hotel suites without its little sister, The Palazzo.

The Venetian was the brainchild of Sheldon Adelson, the CEO of the Sands Corporation. He said he was going to build the largest casino resort in the world, and it would be situated on the former Sands Casino property on the Vegas Strip.

This would be the beginning of the end for Old Vegas. The Venetian would be built in the image of Venice, Italy, mirroring the architecture and famous visuals.

The Venetian opened a year after the Bellagio, on May 3rd, 1999 — a spectacular presentation involving serenading gondoliers, white doves, and trumpets. It was a lot, but that’s what I like about this property.

The Venetian had bigger plans in its future, a more exclusive, even more over the top tower of suites called the Palazzo.

The Palazzo Hotel and Casino opened (officially) on January 17, 2008. It was located just West of the Venetian on 11.4 acres of highly sought-after land.

The Palazzo was now the largest building in the United States. The property is 6,948,980 square feet, pushing the Pentagon out of the top spot. The Pentagon was the former largest building in the US.

The two stunning properties are connected by a beautiful walkway featuring common décor guests expect from this group.

Mr. Adelson had achieved his dream, the ultimate posh casino and resort right on the iconic Las Vegas Strip.

Venetian and Palazzo Casinos

The sister resorts each have their own casino floors. Each has the usual slots and games Americans expect in their gambling in Vegas. This is where the property takes it to the next level.

The Venetian has a casino floor comprised of 120,000 square feet. There are over 1,250 slot machines and 139 table games and a high roller salon. The poker room is host to world poker championships.

The CG Sportsbook at the Venetian hosts 138 private gaming stations. The impressive 100 x 10 screen can show over 40 sporting events at one time.

That’s not all.

View of Venetian Canal Las Vegas

Let’s talk about Palazzo’s casino.

The Palazzo’s casino floor is even more impressive than the Venetian. Clocking in at 100,000 square feet, the Palazzo casino floor might be the most luxurious on the Strip.

The Palazzo is home to over 800 real money slot machines that range from a penny up to $5,000.00.

The high limit poker room should be renamed the no limit poker room. The casino doesn’t have an official limit. It merely a conversation with the management to see how high you can go that day.

Venetian Hotel

I am going to diverge from combining the 2 properties when talking about their amenities. They deserve their own descriptions.

The Venetian has over 4,000 rooms and 3,000 suites. The total room count is around 7,000. The unique thing about the hotel rooms in the Venetian is that the basic rooms are really suites. They have a living area, a dining area, and a full-size bathroom. On top of that, they also have a standard king bed in every room.

The base room (really suite) is 650 square feet. That is bigger than the apartment my husband and I lived in when we had our first child.

The first time I stayed here, I had to ask myself why I hadn’t done it sooner. The rooms are impeccable, and most have stunning views of the property or the Strip. I felt like I was in a movie. You will too.

The bathrooms even have TVs in the water closet.

Every girl’s dream come true, right?

Palazzo Hotel

Much like its older sister, the Palazzo only has king suites for their base room. The hotel tower has almost 4,000 rooms and 350 concierge-level suites.

The base king suite is almost two times the average Las Vegas hotel room at 750 square feet. Much like the Venetian, there are expansive living areas, elegant bathrooms with natural stone finishes, and killer views.

The concierge-level suites start at 1,856 square feet. To put that in comparison, the average American family of 4 lives in 1,700 square feet.

All the Food

The Venetian/ Palazzo casino resort offers 18 sit down restaurants, five bars and lounges, and 8 fast causal options for their guests.

The Venetian is home to Delmonico’s Steakhouse, an Emeril Lagasse establishment that is, in my mind, the symbol of high roller excellence.

Who doesn’t want to eat and start with a $130.00 seafood tower and end with a Waygu dry-aged rib eye, all prepared by a restaurant staff that reports to American culinary royalty?

This is just one example of the decadence that is available at these two sister casinos.

The Palazzo offers a spin on the traditional American steakhouse with Majordōmo Meat & Fish. This culinary gem is brought to you by David Chang. He’s done a couple of things, like a hit show on Netflix, Ugly Delicious.

David Chang on His Show Ugly Delicious

He mixes Asian influences with American seafood and meat offerings. I had the grilled striped bass that tasted like it was caught that day and prepared by Mr. Chang’s Korean grandmother.

The two properties play off each other’s culinary offerings in a way that keeps every guest’s palate more than satisfied.

I could go on for another 300 paragraphs, but there is so much more than just food to this mega-complex.

Pro-tip: leave a massive food budget when visiting the Venetian/ Palazzo properties. It’s not cheap, but I would hate for you to miss out on what could possibly be a meal of your lifetime. You’re welcome.

Entertainment Options

The entertainment options include almost endless nightlife and entertainment between the two properties. The Grand Canal Shoppes are featuring high-end retailers and even a rare bookstore.

The Venetian and Palazzo have six event arenas that usually have famous musical and comedy acts coming through on their national and international tours.

If you are looking for a night out, you can always reserve table service at Tao in the Venetian. Tao is the most famous nightclub in all of Vegas.

There are plenty of things to keep everyone entertained because that’s what these two properties do best, entertain humans. And they do it well,

Conclusion

I didn’t even get to talk about the pools. The pools are outstanding.

Include them as your home base on your next vacation to Vegas. They are bucket list accommodations for any serious Vegas fan.

Check out the first two casinos on our list of the best casino resorts in the world:

The Black Sox Scandal

Baseball on Fire With a Vintage Baseball Stadium Background

The Black Sox scandal is one of the most prominent blemishes in baseball’s checkered past. The rigging of the 1919 World Series is also one of the biggest scandals in the history of sports betting.

Because the events took place over a century ago, you may not know as much about the scandal as you think.

Today, you’ll learn the truths behind the tale, as I separate the fiction from the facts about this historical gaffe.

Setting the Record Straight

You are likely most familiar with the Black Sox scandal because of the movie Eight Men Out. The baseball classic starring Charlie Sheen and John Cusack is a film adaptation of the book of the same name by Eliot Asinof.

While Asinof did a fantastic job painting a picture of the Black Sox scandal from before the 1919 World Series to the aftermath and fallout, there were some clear embellishments and glaring historical errors.

Main Characters From the Movie Eight Men Out

I want to shed light on some of the misconceptions about the MLB betting scandal and the men involved.

The Ball Players Were the Real Masterminds

Many people mistakenly believe it was the gamblers that had to sell the fix to the players.

The idea that savvy hustlers manipulated the naive athletes into following their diabolical scheme is flat-out wrong. It sounds much better to the baseball romantic that they were somehow duped.

But the facts point at the players approaching the gamblers to pitch the scheme.

Records of the events indicate that it was White Sox player Chuck Gandil that initiated the plan to fix the 1919 World Series. Gandil apparently also served as the go-between for players and gamblers.

Gandil’s role as facilitator also included being the money man. Gandil would get the money from the gamblers and then distribute the cash among the other players.

Unsurprisingly, Gandil pocketed the lion’s share for himself. While Gandil took home a smooth $35,000 for his efforts (or lack thereof), no other player got more than $10,000.

There’s no honor among thieves.

By the way, that measly $35k would be $500k in today’s dollars.

Now consider that there were only about 10,000 millionaires in the country in 1919. Not too shabby, but it was hardly worth the cost.

Lefty’s Life Wasn’t on the Line

Despite how many times you might have heard this and how intriguing it might sound, it’s not true. Hitmen were not intimidating White Sox pitcher Lefty Williams.

Asinof later admitted to this embellishment in an interview. Asinof noted that he sprinkled in some pure fiction to his book. He figured that way others would be clearly exposed if he wasn’t properly credited as a source.

White Sox Pitcher Lefty Williams

However, this obscure interview wasn’t nearly as widely received as was the book itself. Hence, it’s mostly accepted as fact and not the simple bit of storytelling that it was.

You’ll notice that most of the misconceptions about the players aim to paint them in a better light. The hitman fallacy is no different.

You really couldn’t fault Lefty for intentionally losing games if well-heeled gangsters were lurking in the shadows.

But no evidence supports this claim at all.

By Asinof’s own account, it’s fiction

This Was Not a Silent Protest

The White Sox didn’t throw the World Series as some form of upheaval against an oppressive owner.

It’s a myth that’s been around since the scandal occurred, and it was first brought about by defense attorneys and later propagated by Asinof in his book.

Sure, the idea of a group of players banding together against the wealthy owner that refuses to pay a fair wage is romantic. Depending on which side of history you’re on, it certainly sounds a lot better than the truth.

The fact is that in 1919 the White Sox had the largest payroll in major league baseball — nearly $100,000, all thanks to owner Charles Comiskey.

You could probably make an argument that all players of the time were underpaid, but the White Sox were definitely better off than most.

Then there’s the notion that Comiskey had wronged pitcher Eddie Cicotte on a performance bonus. Cicotte was set to receive an additional $10k for a 30-win season. That’s a good chunk of money even for today — maybe not by MLB standards, but for the time, it was huge.

In fact, Cicotte had his opportunity to win his 30th game when the White Sox clinched the pennant. So, the notion that the 2nd highest-paid pitcher in baseball was somehow being snowed by the owner is implausible.

Of course, if you’re a defense attorney worth your salt, you spin a tale of the wealthy owner who is taking advantage of the player.

After all, what juror wouldn’t want to root for their baseball idol?

Even if they are clearly guilty as sin.

Disappearing Confessions

Much has been made of the missing or stolen confessions.

Actually, the missing confessions were a complete nonfactor at the trials.

Shoeless Joe Jackson, Cicotte, and Lefty Williams never gave signed confessions as you see on TV. The trio did testify in front of a grand jury, and the transcripts of those testimonies did come up missing.

Yet, missing transcripts were no more than an inconvenience for prosecutors. The courtroom stenographer simply referred back to their shorthand notes of the testimony and produced a fresh set of the transcripts. Those re-created transcripts were used for the trial.

Defense attorneys for the disgraced players were so familiar with the process of the time that they never questioned the accuracy of the transcripts.

The missing documents were absolutely no problem at all. Even the court stenographer wasn’t too inconvenienced. After all, they had the luxury of being paid to do the same work twice.

The Fix Didn’t Come Out of Left Field

The 1919 Black Sox Scandal was not the shock that those who ran baseball liked to make it seem. The evidence indeed suggests that White Sox owner Comiskey knew something, and those in control of baseball simply prayed that the fix would never be exposed.

Fixed games in baseball happened in the game for decades. Going back to the 1860s and through the early twentieth century, the fix was on in baseball. Shoeless Joe and his fellow conspirators were hardly outliers or trendsetters.

Any suggestion that the Black Sox scandal was an isolated occurrence is complete nonsense.

Cicotte has said that he and his teammates were jealous of the massive amount of money the crosstown Cubs players allegedly got as payment for throwing the 1918 World Series. That year the Red Sox anchored by the one, and only Babe Ruth took the title in 6 games.

The White Sox weren’t even the only team to be accused of fixing games in 1919. Future Hall of Famers Tris Speaker and Ty Cobb (one of the greatest players ever) caught heat for allegedly fixing a game days before the World Series began.

Vintage Photo of the 1919 Black Sox MLB Team

The grand jury that held the Black Sox proceedings was actively looking into a regular-season game involving the Cubs and Phillies when it dealt with the World Series scandal.

Here’s my point:

The Black Sox scandal wasn’t a rare occurrence spurred on by a handful of greedy players. Instead, it was the culmination of a legacy of corruption in professional baseball that spanned more than three decades.

After the Black Sox scandal was uncovered, it was in the best interest of the owners and baseball itself to treat it as blasphemy. Otherwise, they’d be forced to own up to the corruption and legacy of cheats that had tainted the game’s purity.

There was too much money on the line for everyone, and owners had to protect their precious cash cow — not unlike the troves of baseball fans that sought to demonize the owners or unsavory gamblers to preserve the image of their idols.

The fact of the matter is that baseball had become infected by this type of cheating. After the seedy facts surfaced, Shoeless Joe and his co-conspirators paid the price of being banned from the great game. This was a final effort by the commissioner to sweep the actual depth of depravity under the rug.

Conclusion

Baseball quickly recovered from one of the biggest sports betting scandals of all time and remained one of the most popular professional sports around.

Shoeless Joe Jackson is perhaps the most well-known of the Black Sox players, and despite there being no evidence that he took any actions to help throw games, he was permanently banned.

I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about the events surrounding the 1919 World Series and how the White Sox became the Black Sox.

At the end of the day, it didn’t come down to boogeymen lurking in the shadows to harm players or big city gamblers tricking players into losing. It all came down to greed, and for that, I have no sympathy.

Like my dad used to tell me, “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.”

 

The Best Places to Gamble in the United States

United States Map Filled in With the US Flag and a Casino Background

Gambling in the United States is serious business, and as the country continues to reopen, you may feel the urge to book a trip to a famous gambling city. There’s only so much gambling you can do behind your computer screen before you start to go a little stir crazy. Lucky for you, many options around the country are ready to take your business.

While you’ve heard of the spots that have been popularized over the years, several relatively unknown locations are certainly worth vacationing to. Everyone knows about Vegas and Atlantic City but consider broadening your horizons and branching out to a different gambling hub.

Here are 6 of the top spots where you should book your next vacation.

1 ‒ Las Vegas, Nevada

While all these destinations are in no particular order, was there any doubt that Vegas would be number 1?

Las Vegas is the most well-known and mainstream gambling destination in the United States for a reason. The city is home to more than 100 casinos and two significant hubs in the Strip and Downtown Las Vegas form.

Each casino offers patrons a different environment to gamble in, making it easy to find a gambling destination that works for you. The variety Las Vegas offers is second to none in the United States, making it the most popular gambling city in the country. Outside of gambling, the city has an endless source of entertainment for people of all ages.

Sky View of Las Vegas During the Day

The city radiates an intangible energy that is present nearly 24 hours a day. While COVID-19 has had its adverse effect on the town, as the country continues to reopen, for the time being, the city is returning to form.

If you’re trying to decide on a vacation spot and you’ve never been to Vegas, it’s definitely time to consider it.

2 ‒ Atlantic City, New Jersey

Atlantic City is one of the most popular gambling cities on the East Coast and is an excellent option for northeasterners who don’t want to travel too far. While the city offers only a fraction of the gambling options compared to Las Vegas, it has a variety of casinos that appeal to different demographics.

The gambling district in Atlantic City sits near the water, and several casinos overlook beaches and oceans, offering a nice change of pace from the arid desert of Las Vegas.

Even though Atlantic City only has nine casinos, each has its own unique attractions. If you’re new to gambling, the Hard Rock Casino offers a new energy for a younger clientele who like gambling to the sounds of live music.

Elsewhere around the city, mainstays like the Tropicana, Borgata, and Caesars beckon gamblers hoping to make some serious money.

Regardless of whether you’re the type of gambler who’s there to have fun or the kind who’s a bit more serious, Atlantic City has something for you.

3 ‒ Reno, Nevada

If you share a state with the biggest gambling city in the country, odds are you might be overlooked. While this may be the case for Reno, the city is a fantastic option for any type of gambler. Reno was once known as the go-to gambling destination before the Vegas boom. Today, Reno is known as the “Biggest Little City” and a prime location to get everything you need out of a gambling location.

Featuring 20 casinos, the city, like some other locations on this list, provides a wide variety of games for fans of all sorts of gambling. The casinos in Reno are home to thousands of gambling options. Whether it’s table games like blackjack and roulette, slots, or poker, even the most serious gamblers can get their fix in Reno.

The Reno Arch and Harrah's Casino

If you find Las Vegas to be too overwhelming, consider giving Reno a chance. The city is located near the Nevada-California border, making it a prime spot for gamblers who live on the West Coast. Like Las Vegas, the city has a ton of entertainment options, with bustling nightlife activities, shows, and concerts. It may not compare to Vegas in numbers alone, but Reno can hold its own against any other location on this list.

4 ‒ New Orleans, Louisiana

The state of Louisiana has many gambling options that have their own merits, like Lake Charles and Bossier City. However, I chose to list New Orleans because of the city itself. The Big Easy is one of the best vacation destinations in the United States, even if you have no intention to gamble. However, if you’re tired of walking up and down Bourbon Street or seen enough of the French Quarter, a number of casinos are just a short walk away.

The city is home to several local casinos, including the ever-popular Harrah’s, Crescent City, and Carnival Club. For gamblers who don’t mind traveling a bit, Treasure Chest and Boomtown are located just a few minutes away.

While the number of casinos in Louisiana doesn’t compare to other cities on this list, each casino offers its patrons a variety of table games, slots, and sports gambling options.

New Orleans was one of the first cities I traveled to gamble, and I was pleasantly surprised with my experience gambling. Before you visit the Big Easy, make sure you’ve done your homework on which casino you think is right for you, because several of the better options are somewhat off the beaten path.

5 ‒ Biloxi, Mississippi

When thinking of potential gambling vacation spots, rarely, if ever, does Biloxi come to mind, but this hidden gem is simply one of the best gambling destinations in the United States. The city houses several well-known casinos, and the city’s location makes it a must-visit for any sort of gambler.

Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi Mississippi

Biloxi features 10 casinos, providing gamblers ample opportunity to find one that suits them. However, the reason Biloxi makes this list is the fact that the city offers different forms of entertainment for travelers. If you’re reading this, you’re most likely interested in the gambling aspect, but you have to eat and take a break from the tables at some point. Biloxi is home to a number of delectable dining spots and a variety of entertainment options.

In terms of gambling, the most popular casinos in the city are Beau Rivage and New Palace. Mainstays like the Golden Nugget and the Hard Rock also cater to a more inexperienced or younger crowd. Regardless of your skill level or the type of gambling, you aspire to do, try to plan a trip to Mississippi in the near future.

6 ‒ Your Local Casino

Some of my best gambling experiences take place at the casino closest to my home. In college, my friends and I were never hard-pressed to make an excuse to go gamble, and the convenience of living close to a casino led to many spur-of-the-moment gambling trips. Not every trip needs to be a big ordeal, and you’d be surprised how much fun you will have gambling at the local spot.

As it stands, 18 states are home to casinos, so you might be surprised to find that you live closer to one than you expect. The stigma around gambling is slowly disappearing as restrictions continue to be lessened around the nation. It stands to reason that more options will begin to pop up as time goes on, providing you with a potential opportunity to do some more gambling.

Conclusion

If you’re feeling cooped up after months of quarantine and isolation, it might be time to book a trip to do some gambling. Whether it’s at one of the well-known cities around the country like Vegas or Atlantic City or even a weekend trip to the casino down the road, you can’t go wrong. All the locations listed above have attractions that set them apart from the rest, and I recommend visiting each of them at some point.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with going to Vegas for the umpteenth time, but if you’re looking for a different experience, consider one of the destinations that aren’t as mainstream. There’s fun to take in across the country, and I know from experience that some of my best times at the casinos came after minimal preparation. You’ll never know how much fun a city can be until you give it a shot.

Should a Sports Bettor Flat Bet or Vary Bet Sizes?

Hundred Dollar Bill With a Sportsbook and NFL Background

Whether to flat bet or vary bet sizes is, without a doubt, one of the most hotly debated topics regarding bankroll management.

Many sports bettors are at a considerable disadvantage because they don’t understand how to manage their bankroll.

They refuse to follow a process and are unpredictable with their wagers.

Let’s start by taking an in-depth look at the two methods.

The Flat Bet

This is straightforward. Flat betting is wagering the same amount of money on every bet. Notice I said on every bet and not on most bets.

The standard is 2% of your bankroll total for each bet. For example, if you have a $10,000 bankroll, you would be betting $200 on each game, every time and without exception.

However, as you begin growing your bankroll, you’ll want to start to proportionally increase your bet size. Assume that you have gone on a run of wins, and your bankroll now sits at $12,000. You still want to bet 2% of your bankroll.

Because you now have a bigger bankroll, that 2% bet is now $240. Conversely, if you had lost a few bets and your bankroll was now at $8,000, the same 2% results in a $160 wager.

The flat betting approach is efficient for those that understand the importance of managing their bankroll. After the vig — the amount the bookmaker takes on losing bets — you have to win 52.38% of your bets just to break even.

NCAA Football Players During a Rushing Play

The elite sharp sports bettors and top pros hit between 55% and 60%. That may not sound like an impressive total, but it’s an incredible feat.

Over the long haul winning at these percentages is going to net you a fortune.

Billy Walters built an empire winning in these ranges. By consistently wagering the same amount, you will guard yourself against going bankrupt when you inevitably hit a losing streak.

While all the excellent information encourages flat betting, it is rarely practiced.

Unfortunately, many novice sports bettors lack the discipline to strictly adhere to flat betting.

They need to have a fundamental shift in thinking. They need to look at sports betting as an investment rather than a hobby. You should do the same.

Many sports bettors consider it entertainment and expect to lose a few hundred dollars every year.  If you are fine with merely handing the sportsbooks hard-earned cash repeatedly until you have to take a break and replenish your bankroll, that is your prerogative.

Varied Bets

The varied bet is exactly what its name would imply. The bettor increases or decreases their wager almost on a whim.

Varied bets can be a hazardous approach, but it’s the avenue I see most novice sports bettors travel down. It is a slippery slope and can land gamblers in an abysmal situation.

Imagine the following scenario:

You are new to the sports betting game, and let’s say you’ve saved up $5,000 to start your bankroll. You are either unaware or not interested in flat betting.

So, you have learned from your limited research that a 2% bet should be a decent starting point. You place your first wager at $110. (The extra $10 is the vig or juice.)

However, it doesn’t go your way, and you’re out $110. Okay, you can recover. Except you lose five more games the first week, and suddenly you’re down almost $700.

You likely aren’t panicked at this point, but you may very well become impatient.

You decide to up the ante.

After all, you’re due for a nice win.

Right?

No, there’s no such thing as being due. Those in the know refer to this as the Gambler’s Fallacy.

Anyhow, you place 1 $700 bet to get back to even. Perhaps you decide to hedge your bets and make 2 $350 wagers.

Surely you can’t lose both.

You lose both.

Lady Luck is a cruel mistress.

Now you are two weeks into your sports betting career, and you’ve lost almost 1/3 of your bankroll. You double down again—$ 1400 in play over a few games. You lose more than you win and go deeper in the hole.

I think you can see where this is headed. You continue making wildly differing wagers until, eventually, you have nothing left. I see it happen in casinos far more often than I’d like.

The allure of the varied bet size is the ability to quickly win a large amount of money. Some gamblers just get these “hunches” and follow them all the way to an empty bank account.

Which One Has the Advantage?

It’s clear to see there are significant benefits to each method. I’ll break down some of the critical differences to better help you make an informed decision.

Limiting Your Potential

Varied betting jumps out to most gamblers because it seemingly allows you to win a more significant sum of money quickly. In some ways, it does give you a chance to quickly increase your bankroll. Of course, it may just as promptly dwindle to nothing.

Flat betting may not give you the considerable gains in a super short time as varied betting could. What flat betting will do is keep you in the game long enough to start seeing some serious returns long term.

So, while it would appear that you are limiting your potential by using a flat betting approach, you are actually maximizing your potential winnings by placing increasingly larger bets as your bankroll grows.

Furthermore, you are mitigating your losses by only betting a small percentage of your bankroll.

Advantage: Flat Betting

Recouping Losses

Too many gamblers fall into this trap of chasing their losses. They may start out with a flat betting approach and hit a losing streak. They quickly become impatient and begin to press.

Remember, with a flat betting approach, your bet sizes should be shrinking with your bankroll if losses occur.

Now they have significantly less bankroll but have inexplicably increased bet sizes to make it back to even. This is called chasing losses, and the first rule of gambling is to not throw good money after bad.

If they simply stayed the course and continued to wager their 2-3% on each game, they might quickly recoup those losses and even begin to show a profit.

The percentage of players that go broke hunting for that huge payday to get it all back is just too high for me to endorse.

Advantage: Flat Betting

We’re Having Fun Here

Okay, this may be the most important one for you. After all, gambling is meant to be fun.

Most gamblers will have a much more enjoyable experience over the long haul by using flat betting.

Does that really translate to fun, though?

It depends on how you’re wired. I have golf buddies that fire every shot with almost reckless abandon. Sure, they are usually well over par at the end of the round.

But when they have that fantastic shot or drain an impossible putt, the entire card erupts. It’s a ton of fun to watch.

I’m of the more conservative approach. I like hitting fairways and greens. I may not have that 1 memorable shot every round. I typically have a couple of bogeys and a couple of birdies. Mix in a lot of boring pars, and you have my round.

Wide View of a NCAA Basketball Play

So, the two approaches are very different. You have my friends that go for broke and are usually well over par but give each shot a full send.

Then there is me and a few others that play “boring golf” and are always close to par.

Eventually, we can get hot and go well under, but we are never or rarely way over.

Does one group have more fun than another?

It’s hard to say. I’d quit playing if I was regularly shooting their scores. The game just would cease to be enjoyable. Conversely, those guys mock me mercilessly for being too conservative and regularly jab me for taking “easy pars.”

It depends on your personality type and what your personal goals are — slow and steady or go for broke.

Advantage: Varied Bets

What Should Most Sports Bettors Use?

The best results for a vast percentage of sports bettors will come from a flat betting approach. This method is undoubtedly the safest option you have.

Flat betting is also the most straightforward sports betting strategy for managing your bankroll. It keeps you consistent and doesn’t open you up to being betrayed by your confidence. You aren’t going to see Hollywood producers rushing out to make movies about the gambler that embraces flat betting.

You will, however, be in the best possible position to stay in action for the long haul if you adopt it as a discipline.

Conclusion

If you are taking the time to learn the differences between flat betting and varied bets, you are way ahead of most sports bettors. Which method you use really comes down to your personal preference.

If you’re a sports bettor that takes the approach of a long-term investor, then flat betting will place you in a much more advantageous position to achieve your goals.

If you have a small bankroll or just appreciate living life on the edge, you may understand the risk v. reward approach of varying your bets.

Understanding 5 Different Forms of Blackjack

Collage of Different Style Blackjack Games

It could be argued that blackjack is the quintessential casino game. Its impact on popular culture has been profound, and millions of people have recognized a specific significance in the number “21.”

While countless Americans partake in the game at casinos across the country, many are unfamiliar with the other variations of the game. Like so many other familiar games, there are other versions that exist which give players better odds for their money.

In this article, I’ll dive into some alternative versions of blackjack, and explain the specific rules and advantages that set them apart from the game most people know and love.

1 – Classic Blackjack

Whether in a physical or an online real money casino, classic blackjack remains the most popular form of the game – not just in the U.S., but in most parts of the world.

Make no mistake about it, this version is a gambler-favorite for good reason. The house edge is low, the rules are relatively easy to pick up on quickly, and it’s more social than poker.

As I mentioned, the house edge is low. With that being said, it’s important to recognize that just because you see that very appealing 0.5% edge number, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re taking advantage of it in its entirety.

The famous 0.5% that is constantly tossed around when looking at games with the lowest house edges assumes that you’re making all the right moves. The good news is that it isn’t particularly difficult to learn what the right moves should be, but it does take a little bit of practice.

El Royale Online Casino Blackjack

If you’re stumbling upon this article without any prior blackjack experience and want to compare the rules of each version, I’ll provide a brief description (although I would assume most readers know the rules of classic blackjack):

Players go against the dealer attempting to reach 21, or be the closest to 21, without getting more than 21. Players each receive two cards and have the option to “hit” (get another card) or “stay” (keep their current cards only). If anyone, player or dealer gets cards that equal more than 21, they “bust” and lose the hand.

In the end, if you choose classic blackjack as the standard version, you’re going to give yourself a good chance to win some money.

2 – European Blackjack

Similar to roulette, there is a European version of blackjack. Also like roulette, European blackjack offers slightly better odds to players than its American (or generally standard) counterpart.

First, European blackjack is typically played with two decks of cards. This means the cards are more predictable than other versions of blackjack that incorporate a half-dozen or more decks into one game.

Another component of European blackjack that makes it more favorable to players is the dealer stands on soft 17.

One downside is that the dealer does not check for blackjack after dealing the cards. This means that you could be continuing to make bets while you technically have no chance of winning as the dealer already is holding the winning hand.

A few more qualities that set European blackjack apart are: dealer blackjack vs. player blackjack results in a tie or push. Players can only double down when their cards are showing 9, 10, or 11. And finally, blackjacks pay 3:2.

When you do the math (I’ll spare you the equations), the result shows that the house edge in European blackjack comes in at 0.39%. In other words, it’s about 20% lower than classic blackjack.

If you’re an experienced blackjack player and are looking to try something new, I would recommend checking out this version of the game during your next casino visit.

3 – Face Up 21

Face up 21 puts a great deal of power in players’ hands, while removing some of the advantages of the house.

In this version of the game, both of the dealer’s cards are dealt and shown face up. It goes without saying that being able to see two cards instead of just one gives gamblers tremendous insight into how they should be betting during the hand.

Unfortunately, it isn’t all good news for gamblers when it comes to this game. For example, a dealer hits on soft 17, and dealer blackjack beats a player blackjack, and blackjack only pays even money.

Similar to European blackjack, in Face Up 21 players can only double down on 9, 10, and 11.

The house edge on this version of the game comes in at 0.69%, which makes it the worst on the list up to this point. While the overall house edge might be lower, if you adjust your betting strategy in accordance to the rules that require the dealer to show both cards after dealing, it still might be a better option than classic blackjack.

4 – Perfect Pairs Blackjack

For those players who think that a great betting strategy is more important than a great playing strategy, Perfect Pairs blackjack offers a unique opportunity to win big.

Perfect Pairs Blackjack has the same rules as classic blackjack, with a betting twist. At the beginning of each hand, players can make an extra side bet. This side bet is a gamble on whether or not the first two cards you’re dealt will be the same number.

You might be wondering, “Betting on two cards being the same seems like a longshot, what’s the payout if I take the risk?” I’m glad you asked.

Closeup of a Blackjack Player Holding Their Chips

If your pair is any two cards of the same value (meaning just the number or the same face card), you get paid out at 5:1. If the two cards are the same value, same color, but a different suit, you get paid at 10:1. The big jackpot win comes if the two cards are the same rank and same suit (keep in mind multiple decks are used, so this is possible). If you hit a “Perfect Pair,” you get paid at 30:1.

The reason I’m so fond of Perfect Pairs blackjack is because it’s just regular blackjack with the opportunity to take a little risk on the side. Anyone who is familiar with classic blackjack won’t have to undergo any learning curve, as the rules here are as simple as it gets.

5 – Spanish 21

Arguably the most popular alternative of classic blackjack is Spanish 21.

In Spanish 21, all the ‘10’ cards are taken out. You might think this would be a huge boost to the house edge, but the rules are tilted in the players’ favor, so it more than evens out in the end. Spanish 21 is known to be one of the most player-friendly games you’ll find anywhere in the casino…even more so than classic blackjack.

Keep in mind that the rules vary from casino to casino, but most follow a standard procedure.

In Spanish 21 the dealer stands on soft 17, and unlike Face Up 21, player blackjacks always beat dealer blackjacks.

Now let’s get into the more complex rules that give players the advantage.

Resplitting is permitted, including aces, which gives gamblers a great opportunity to maximize winnings. Furthermore, players can double down on any point total after any amount of cards dealt. They can even double after splitting.

The next area of Spanish 21 that makes it so popular is the unique payout structure. Keep in mind that these are not the same at every casino, but I’ll lay out the most common.

  • A five-card 21 pays out at 3:2.
  • Six-card 21 pays 2:1
  • A seven-card 21 pays out at 3:1.
  • A 678 and 777 of mixed suit pays 3:2. If they’re the same suit it pays 2:1.

There is one big exciting payout component to Spanish 21. If a player has 777 of the same suit and the dealer is holding a 7 in any suit, there is a $1,000 bonus paid to the player. If the player has bet more than $25 at the start of the hand, this climbs all the way to $5,000.

Depending on how you play, Spanish 21’s house edge comes in somewhere around 0.38%, making it the lowest on the list. The downside is that depending on some house rules, it can be around 0.78%, which would make it not quite as appealing as some of the other games on the list.

My advice? Try out Spanish 21 if you’re a fan of real money blackjack. Its unique payout structure always makes for an interesting game and the chance to hit the jackpot provides an extra layer of excitement.

Conclusion

Blackjack might be as standard as it gets when it comes to casino games, but these variations of the game ensure that it won’t ever get old.

If you’re looking to spice things up during your next trip to your local gaming establishment, ask a casino staff member about the blackjack versions they offer. Try your hand at a few and see if you can experience some of that ‘beginner’s luck’ everyone keeps talking about.

7 Tips for Doing Vegas on a Budget

Hand Putting a Coin in a Piggy Bank With a Las Vegas Background

My friends and I love to gamble. We went to college 30 minutes away from a casino, and some of my best memories from school took place at one of its tables. After most of us graduated, we tossed around the idea of flying to Las Vegas to do some serious gambling at the casinos we grew up dreaming about. The only thing stopping us? We were broke kids fresh out of school.

The Vegas you see in the movies is ritzy and expensive, so for years, we convinced ourselves we weren’t in the appropriate tax bracket. Finally, after months of saving, we ripped off the bandaid and booked our plane tickets and hotel. During our time in Vegas, we found that if you know your way around the city, Vegas doesn’t have to break the bank. So if you’re like my friends and me, here are 7 tips to going to Vegas on a budget.

1. Book Flights in Advance

One of the significant expenses while traveling is airfare. To make sure you’re saving money, try to remember a few things before booking a flight. Flexibility is the key to saving on travel, which means you have to be open to flying on different airlines, flying into different airports, and being flexible about arrival and departure times.

I monitored prices for three weeks before booking a flight and found that flights are cheapest during the week. Additionally, we flew coach on an airline that wasn’t necessarily the highest-rated. You need to remind yourself that the airplane is simply a means to an end, and the quality won’t make the trip of the flight.

Delta Airlines Plane Taking Off From McCaran Airport

The standard rules for saving money on air travel apply here. Try to fit all of your belongings into one carry on bag and avoid the temptation to fly first class. Finally, be open to scheduling a trip during the week rather than a weekend, which we will get into later.

2. Don’t Break the Bank on Hotels

One of the biggest draws of Las Vegas is the hotels made famous by popular movies over the years. While it’s understandable why you would want to stay at these iconic locations, it’s more cost-effective to stay at one of the more affordable, low-profile spots.

Together with flights, lodging can be one of the more expensive aspects of any vacation, and individual hotels in Vegas can eat into your budget. While planning your vacation, keep in mind that you can always visit the most expensive spots in Vegas without having to stay there. At the end of the day, avid gamblers aren’t going to be spending a lot of time in their rooms anyway.

3. Stock Up on Basic Necessities

Like most tourist destinations, individual establishments in Vegas charge a premium on goods like food, water, and alcohol. Buying something as simple as a bottle of water at stores and casinos on the Strip can cost you as much as a 24 pack back at home. Immediately upon arrival, consider heading to a supermarket or even the well-known CVS in the middle of the Strip.

CVS Pharmacy on the Las Vegas Strip

By stocking up on water and your alcohol of choice, you’re immediately saving yourself money down the road. Considering that Vegas is brutally hot in the summers, it’s always smart to carry a bottle of water with you, and you don’t want to shell out $8 for a single bottle. Alcohol can be expensive at the casino bars and restaurants, but drinks are free if you’re gambling, as if you needed an excuse to gamble.

4. Find a $5 Table

One of the reasons most of you want to travel to Vegas is to gamble at one of the many casinos. If you’re like me, the image of a high roller throwing down a stack of bills at one of the fancier casinos has been seared into your brain. I didn’t expect to find affordable gambling in Vegas but was pleasantly surprised to find out I was dead wrong.

Several casinos on the Strip, like New York, New York, and Hooters, offer $5 table games like Blackjack and Craps. These tables are hard to come by, and even if you find one, it can be tough to grab a seat.

If you’re game to head downtown, several casinos offer affordable gambling all week long. The Golden Nugget, Fremont, El Cortez, and Binion’s, to name a few, offer several $5 tables so you can make the most of your gambling budget.

Don’t be concerned if your party gets split up. Some might not want to wait around for a seat at a table on the Strip or travel downtown. Some of my best experiences in Vegas came when I was gambling with strangers.

5. Attend a Free Show

Besides gambling, Vegas boasts a thriving performance arts industry, including comedy acts, music acts, and magic shows. Some shows are relatively inexpensive, but if you are looking for free entertainment, the city has several sites to see.

Arguably the most iconic must-see is the Bellagio Water Show. Every 30 minutes from 3-7 p.m. and every 15 minutes from 8 p.m. to midnight, the fountains and lights outside the Bellagio go off in rhythm and music. Our second night in Vegas, we walked down the Strip to see what all the hype was about and caught two shows back-to-back.

Volcano Show at the Mirage Las Vegas

Other free attractions in Las Vegas include the volcano show at the Mirage, a circus show at Circus Circus, and the Fall of Atlantis at Caesars Palace. All of these attractions make for a good time, but merely walking up and down the Strip with your beverage of choice while taking in the Vegas skyline is entertaining in itself.

6. Hit the Buffet

Sin City is full of world-class restaurants worth dining at, and if you want to spend some money on a good meal, opportunities abound. But, if you’re trying to allocate most of your budget to gambling and entertainment, buffets provide an incredible value. A variety of buffets are scattered around the city at different price points, offering different styles of cuisine.

My group stayed at Mandalay Bay and went to the Bayside Buffet every day for brunch. The breakfast buffet was affordably priced at $20 and allowed us to gorge on a wide range of foods before heading to the tables. We chose the Bayside Buffet for its convenience, but most casinos offer a buffet of their own, up and down the Strip and downtown.

Once again, it’s up to you how much money you want to spend, and the idea of spending a fair amount of money on one meal is a bit polarizing. The morning buffet provides an opportunity to discuss plans for the day and revisit the debauchery from the night before while hitting your daily calorie count in one sitting.

7. Go During the Week

This might be the most important tip if you’re trying to save money on your trip. Virtually everything is cheaper in Las Vegas during the week. Lower stakes table games are easier to come by, flights are less expensive, and even hotels are more reasonable. My group landed in Vegas on a Tuesday morning and departed on Friday. Not only did we avoid the higher prices, but the city itself was also less busy.

Initially, I had reservations about booking a weekday trip because I thought I wouldn’t get the full “Vegas experience.” However, the city itself is always bustling with activity at all hours of the day. The Strip was electric at night, and even though we were there during the middle of the week, every day felt like a Saturday.

An underrated aspect of this is that you’ll be able to recover from your vacation if you fly home on Friday or even Saturday morning. Sleep is hard to come by in Vegas, so give yourself plenty of time to rest before returning to your regular routine.

Conclusion

If the price of vacationing to Vegas has forced you to put a hold on plans, reconsider your decision. It’s perfectly understandable why potential first-time Vegas-goers are cautious about pulling the trigger on a trip, but the city is affordable if you plan effectively.

Affordable gambling is located all around the city, providing you with an opportunity to spend the most time possible playing your game of choice. Even if you lose your bankroll, the town itself is full of cheap activities to entertain people from all walks of life. If you follow the tips above, you won’t have to dip into your 401k to afford a trip to Sin City.

7 Reasons to Stop Gambling at Casinos

Man Holding Up a Stop Sign and a Man Pushing a Pile of Casino Chips

Don’t let the title of this article mislead you. I’m not trying to get you to stop gambling in casinos. I enjoy casino gambling, and there’s nothing wrong with playing casino games as long as you can afford to do it.

But I also believe that you should know why you’re losing and what you can do about it. The odds are high that you’re losing more than you win, because this is how casinos are set up.

As you read the 7 reasons to stop gambling at casinos, see what you can learn to help you improve your odds of winning.

1 – The Numbers Are Against You

Every single game offered in the casino is built to make a profit for the casino. And for the most part the games work exactly how they’re supposed to work.

Gamblers place bets and win sometimes and lose sometimes, but in the long run the games keep more money than they give back. This is why casinos are so profitable if they’re run the right way.

The question is if there’s anything you can do about the numbers?

As a matter of fact, yes there are some things that you can do about the numbers in the casino. Some of them are easier than others, but there are things to be done. You’re going to learn more about some of the things you can do to alter the numbers on this page.

The best plan to get started is to learn what the numbers are. Each casino game has a house edge, or range of house edges. Identify the games with the lowest house edge and you’re off to a good start.

2 – You Don’t Know How to Win

I know you just finished reading how every game offered in the casino is designed to make you a losing player, but there are some players that know how to win. These players know which games give them a realistic chance to win and know how to use certain strategies to give them the best chance to win.

Strategy is important for every casino games player, and you’re going to learn more about it in another section. In this section you’re going to get a quick overview of casino games that you should consider playing and ones that you should avoid.

Here’s a list of casino games to consider playing:

  • Blackjack
  • Video poker
  • Baccarat
  • Traditional poker games like Texas holdem and Omaha
  • Craps

Here’s a list of casino games you should avoid:

  • Slot machines
  • Roulette
  • Most table games
  • Keno
  • Bingo

Not all of the casino games on the first list can be beat, but they can all be played with a reduced house edge. The games on the second list have a higher house edge and can’t be beat no matter what you do.

3 – You’re Spending Too Much Money

This is always a sign that you need to stop gambling. It doesn’t mean that you can never gamble again, but when you realize that you’re spending too much money, you have to stop gambling immediately.

Take a little time off to learn if you have a problem with gambling or if you simply need to set a budget and stick with it.

Overhead View of a Busy Craps Table

Many casino gamblers don’t keep track of how much money they start gambling with or how much they lose while they’re gambling. Only when they finish and start counting their money do they realize that they lost too much money.

This has a simple fix. Just set a budget every time you gamble, and only use the money in your budget. Separate this money from your other money, and if you run out you stop playing. Never use your other money in the casino.

If you find that you have a problem stopping, it’s time to get help right away.

4 – You’re Not Having Fun

Gambling is a form of entertainment, and it’s supposed to be fun. Of course, no one has much fun when they’re losing, but overall if you’re not having fun when you’re gambling it might be time to take a break.

I recommend learning how to play with no house edge or as an advantage player. If you learn how to do these things and are successful, you can gamble as much as you want. It’s always more fun to win when you’re in the casino than lose.

Learn more about real money blackjack and poker, as they both offer the chance to gamble while winning on a consistent basis. It’s going to take quite a bit of work, but it’s going to be worth it when you start being a winning casino gambler.

5 – You’re a Slot Machine Addict

First of all, if you’re addicted to any type of gambling you need to get professional help. When I say a slot machine addict I mean that the slots are all you play.

I know the slots are fun and you can get lucky and hit a big win, but slot machines should be avoided. They have a higher house edge than most other games and you can’t use any type of strategy. You can also easily run hundreds of dollars through a machine in an hour.

If you like to play on a machine, try video poker to see if you like it as well. Some video poker machines have a house edge 10 times, or more, lower than slot machines. If you’re willing to try a table game, blackjack or baccarat are both good options.

The other option if you’re stuck on playing slot machines is to try the free online slots offered by casinos. You won’t be able to win any money, but you’re not going to lose any money either.

If all you’re going to play is slot machines, you need to seriously consider quitting gambling in casinos.

6 – You’re Not a Strategy Player

Some casino games have strategy components, and some don’t. If a casino game doesn’t allow the use of strategy to alter the edge, you should never play it.

Once you learn which casino games have strategies, the next step is to learn how to use the best strategy every time you play. This is fairly simple, as many books and web sites have strategy information for casino games.

El Royale Online Video Poker Game

I always recommend playing online video poker and blackjack. Both of these games have easy strategies and are available with a low house edge. Once you learn more about the strategy for these two games you can learn about the strategy for other casino games.

While poker isn’t available in every casino, it’s a good strategy game where it’s available. The strategy isn’t as easy as the ones for blackjack and video poker, but you can make money playing poker if you use good strategy.

7 – You’re Not Getting Enough Comps

Casino comps alone are never going to be enough to make a casino game profitable. But they can be a big part of offsetting your losses and the house edge.

Look at it this way: Every dollar you earn in comps is basically the same as one less dollar you lose gambling. Even if the comp is a cheap meal, it still saves you the money you would need to spend to get the meal.

If you follow the advice in the other sections on this page you’re playing a game with a low house edge and using the proper strategy. These 2 things keep your losses as low as you can get them. When you also receive comps for your play it lowers your losses more.

This is just about everything you can do when you gamble in a casino. Make sure you’re getting the maximum amount of comps every time you gamble in a casino. If you’re not getting enough comps, take your gambling business elsewhere.

Conclusion

Once you understand the numbers and challenges you face as a casino gambler, you have an opportunity to change your results. The numbers are against you in almost every casino game, but you can influence the numbers on many games.

If you can learn which games are the best to play and learn how to use the proper strategies you can eliminate most of your losses. It’s even possible to start wining more than you lose.

At the end of the day, most casino gamblers would be better off by quitting, but most won’t stop. This is ok, but at least learn how to lower your losses so you can afford to play more.

Why Are Gambler So Superstitious?

Image of a Black Cat and an Upset Man at a Roulette Table

Here is the dictionary.com definition of superstition:

Superstition: [ soo-per-stish-uh n ], a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, occurrence, proceeding, or the like.

We all have our superstitious beliefs, like don’t cross the path of a black cat, don’t walk under a ladder, or make a wish when the clock reads 11:11.

When we were little girls, my sister and I thought if we held our breath when we passed a cemetery until we saw a church, the ghosts of the dead wouldn’t get our souls.

What happens if there is no church for like five miles?

You pass out, Beth. That’s what.

I know because it happened to me.

You know who a very superstitious bunch is?

Gamblers, that’s who.

Is this because this is really a hobby of luck and chance?

Is it because we are human and want to control things that are not humanly possible to control?

This post looks at the popular superstitious beliefs in gambling and why humans (gamblers specifically) are superstitious.

Top 7 Gambling Superstitions

There are a lot of superstitions within the gambling community. Here is a list of the top seven gambling superstitions:

1- $50.00 Bills Are Unlucky

Many gamblers will not accept their payouts in American $50.00 bills. This superstition has Mafia ties. In the heyday of the American Mafia, when a mob member would kill someone, they would leave a $50.00 bill in the victim’s pocket when they buried the body.

2- Wear Red When Gambling

This superstition is tied to Asian cultures, specifically Chinese culture. The Chinese believe that red represents wealth and luck.

If you look closely, many casinos will have red in their décor. A lot of gamblers will wear red shirts or even red socks when they are gambling at a casino.

3- Don’t Enter Through the Main Casino Door(s)

I couldn’t find any history of the explanation of this one. Many gamblers believe that using a side entrance will increase their chances of winning.

Old MGM Grand Las Vegas Lion Sculpture

When the MGM Grand opened in 1996, the casino’s main entrance was through a large lion. This was lousy juju for many visitors.

Not only were they wary of using the main entrance, entering through the beast’s mouth was even more bad luck to some Chinese gamblers.

The MGM eventually changed the entrance to more traditional doors. They replaced the original lion with a 100,000-pound bronze statue of a lion above the entrance.

4- Don’t Count Your Money at the Table

“You never count your money when you’re sitting at the table, there’ll be time enough for counting when the dealing’s done.” ~ “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers.

It is believed by many gamblers that it’s bad luck to count your money while still at the table. Some casinos take this superstition so seriously that they advise their visitors not to count their money while at their tables.

5- Don’t Cross Your Legs When Gambling

This superstition most likely has ties that go back to a much more polite time. It is said that if you cross your legs while gambling that you will cross out your luck.

I have a theory on this one, and I couldn’t find any history to back the origins of this superstition. So here it is:

Ladies were discouraged from gambling. They’re still are a tiny minority in real money poker tournaments. Women crossed their legs when they sat as per societal rules.

So, if you’re expected to sit when you gamble at a table, you’re (women) expected to cross your legs. If women were discouraged from gambling, a men’s game, then it would make sense it would become a superstition to cross their legs while gambling.

Just my two cents. Do with it what you will.

6- Unlucky Numbers/ Colors

The number 13 has been bad luck as long as I can remember. It even signifies death in some cultures. This superstition goes deeper than gambling.

Have you ever noticed that hotels don’t have a 13th floor?

It’s because of this long-held belief that this is an unlucky number.

Hotels usually do have a 13th floor. It is just not listed on the directory or elevators. This dreaded floor is traditionally used for housekeeping and maintenance needs.

Many gamblers believe that black is an unlucky color. It’s the color equivalent of the number 13.

This superstition is unfortunate for roulette and card game players because black is a significant color. Roulette only has two color choices, red and black.

Could you imagine never betting on black when playing roulette?

You’re cutting your chances in half.

7- No Whistling or Singing at the Table

Whistling or singing at a table is said to anger the gambling gods. To be honest, it’s kind of just plain annoying.

We are all at this table for the same goal — to win some money. Winning money while gambling takes concentration. If someone is singing or whistling at the table, that is distracting. Come on, man.

So besides possibly angering the gambling gods by whistling or singing during a game of Texas hold ’em, you are probably annoying your table mates. Don’t be that guy.

This is not all the superstitions that gamblers have, by any means.

Do any of these works?

Maybe.

But gambling is a combination of skill and chance.

Who knows if they do work?

Humans like to believe they’re in control, and by believing in these superstitious practices, you might just convince yourself you have a leg up.

Why Do Humans (and Gamblers) Believe in Superstitions?

Humans are weird. Let’s just get that on the table. We are the only species that won’t step on a crack in the sidewalk because it could bring us bad luck.

Maybe it’s our highly developed brains that give us the ability to convince ourselves if we do this one thing, this other thing (that has nothing directly to do with the other) won’t happen.

I did some research. I was reading on the basics behind humans’ propensity for superstitious beliefs. I found some interesting stuff.

Besides the fact that we really like to get ourselves worked up into a frenzy of our own making, superstitious beliefs seem to be linked to when we were new to this planet.

If a human, let’s call him Peter, is out hunting and gathering, and he hears grass blowing in the wind, he might run. Last week, Peter heard the same sound, but it was a lion stalking him for dinner.

It doesn’t matter what caused the grass to make noise, Peter knows it could be a threat to his life. Run or be killed. It is better to run, and it’s just the wind than not running and it being an actual lion.

This is a fight or flight response. Peter goes on to teach his family (possibly the tribe) that you should run if the grass makes any noise. Better safe than sorry.

This newfound tactic against the lions has proven to work. Only two people have been killed by the lions this month. So now humans run if the grass makes noise.

As humans evolve, grass making noise in the wind might become a sign of bad luck because of our ancestors’ need to not be eaten alive.

See where this is going?

Humans do what they must to survive. When we first got here, there were a lot of things and animals that could’ve ended us. Because we have such an advanced problem-solving brain, we can make choices that save our lives.

So that grass blowing in the wind could be why now it’s bad luck to whistle at the table.

I don’t know the historical evolution behind whistling, but it makes sense in my head, right?

Chinese New Year Red Paper Lantern Shrine

It’s just like red being a lucky color. Somewhere in the Chinese culture, it gave someone a leg up over someone else. Their luck continues, and now they only wear red when they need good luck.

Red now equals luck in Chinese culture. These beliefs bleed over into other cultures as time goes on. Now red is a universal sign of luck.

The takeaway is that superstitious beliefs evolved out of the need for survival. The grass blowing in the wind was so ingrained in the early human society that when the threat of being a lion’s lunch disappeared, the fear stayed.

That fear evolved with whatever the new or next threat represented. So, Peter’s running from the grass is now not applicable, but it’s part of our evolution. Just like red, 13 is an unlucky number. You get the gist.

When it comes to gambling, we’re looking for the easiest way to increase your luck. Skill will only get you so far. SO that arcane thing that you think helped you win that one time is now a belief. Gamblers are a superstitious crowd and for a good reason.

Conclusion

There are a ton more superstition that I didn’t include. There are some crazy ones out there. Like did you know in Malta, if your right hand itches you’re about to give away a bunch of money?

I’d hate it if it were true.

Mistakes to Avoid on Your First Trip to Las Vegas

Shocked Man With Hand on Forehead Next to a Las Vegas Map

My first trip to Las Vegas is something I’ll never forget. Once I saw the Strip during the flight in, I knew that finally traveling to Vegas was the right decision. If you plan your first trip, you could be on your way to the best vacation of your life.

The city is breathtaking and can be somewhat overwhelming for first-time visitors. For these reasons, it’s important to note a few things about Las Vegas and potential rookie mistakes you might make. Here are seven common mistakes to avoid on your first trip to Las Vegas.

1 ‒ Breaking the Bank on a Room

Las Vegas features a variety of iconic casinos and resorts worth exploring. Like most gambling hubs, there are a variety of casinos and hotels that cater to people from different financial backgrounds. You might feel inclined to book a room at one of the luxury casinos to get the full “Vegas experience,” but it’s unnecessary on your first trip.

You probably won’t spend much time in your room during your trip, especially if you’re an avid gambler. I’ve mentioned this before, but of the 72 hours I spent in Vegas, I was in my room for less than 15 hours. To save money for gambling and entertainment, consider taking a cheaper approach to your stay.

Several casinos and hotels around the city offer rooms for as little as $80 a night. Some of these options, like Treasure Island, Luxor, and Excalibur, are conveniently located on the Strip. Don’t worry about missing out on staying at one of the high-end casinos, you can always visit and gamble with the money you save.

2 ‒ Skipping Shows

It’s important to ask yourself why you should go to Vegas in the first place. It’s a fabulous vacation destination with an abundance of entertainment opportunities for a wide variety of people. There’s nothing wrong with going to Vegas to camp out at a real money blackjack table for most of your trip. But at some point, you should hop up from the tables and explore the city.

Cirque du Soleil Female Ring Performer

My biggest mistake in Vegas was refusing to do anything but gamble. If you’re on a heater and winning money, it’s next to impossible to stop gambling.

But Vegas offers tourists more than just gaming, and you should definitely explore those opportunities.

Las Vegas offers different types of shows ranging from comedic performances, live music, and impressive spectacles like Cirque du Soleil. Like most things in the city, the shows vary in price and don’t have to be overly expensive. If you want to save your money for gambling, several free shows are happening at all times.

3 ‒ Staying on the Strip

When I told my dad about plans to travel to Vegas, the only advice he offered was to visit the casinos in Downtown Vegas. Old Vegas holds some of the best parts of the city and offers tourists a reprieve from the Strip. The most well-known casinos and spectacles are on the Strip, but Old Vegas is somewhat of a hidden gem that’s still close by.

Gamblers may have dreams of hitting it big at one of the tables in the famous casinos, but Old Vegas features mainstays like the Golden Nugget and El Cortez. Gambling in Downtown Vegas can also be cheaper, which means new gamblers with lower bankrolls can play at the tables longer.

Staying on the Strip for an entire trip is a common mistake for first-time travelers due to the intoxicating energy and nonstop action. There’s nothing quite like walking down the Strip at night for the first time, so it’s perfectly understandable if you choose to stay there the entire time. If you’re looking to get off the beaten path, book a ride, and check out other parts of the city.

4 ‒ Blowing Past Your Budget

Despite popular belief, Vegas doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. If you’re smart about booking rooms and flights, the city itself is affordable if you know how to approach it. One of the most common mistakes for new gamblers, in general, is a refusal to set a budget, especially when it comes to gambling.

Veteran gamblers refer to their gambling budget as a bankroll, and the best ones stop gambling after their bankroll is gone. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the pomp and circumstance of Vegas. That reason, combined with the tendency for novice gamblers to chase losses, leads to some blowing through their budget.

I recommend setting a weekly allowance for gambling to ensure you aren’t getting eaten alive by the casinos. To stick to this, get cash out before you head to the casinos and leave your credit card in the room. Everyone wants to win money in Vegas, but sometimes it’s not in the cards. If you can’t catch a winning hand, don’t ruin your trip by putting your finances in jeopardy.

5 ‒ Buying Drinks at Casinos

One of my favorite stories from my first trip to Vegas came within the first five minutes of walking into a casino. My buddies and I grew up gambling at a casino in Oklahoma that makes you pay for your drinks, so we were pre-conditioned to spend money on alcohol while gambling.

Before we sit down to play blackjack at our first casino in Vegas, one of my friends offers to buy a round of drinks. We wait in line at the bar, he buys a round, and we separate to explore the casino and find some tables. Two of my friends find a $10 table and start gambling while I continue to walk around and find a table I like.

Within minutes, I get a call from my friend who is incredulous. “We can drink for free if we’re gambling.” The point of this story is, don’t spend money on alcohol if you plan to gamble. Casinos in Vegas will pay for your drinks as long as you are gambling. Providing you and your friends with free booze might just

6 ‒ Sticking to a Strict Schedule

There’s nothing wrong with making a tentative schedule for your trip to make sure you can take in as much of the city as possible. First and foremost, a trip to Vegas is a vacation and should be a time to relax and decompress. If you make a point of sticking to a strict schedule, you can potentially deprive yourself of the opportunity to enjoy the trip.

I suggest making a soft agenda daily over breakfast but being open to change given the day’s events. You never know when a member of your party will start winning big at the tables, or maybe someone wants to deviate from the plan.

Wide View of Fremont East in Las Vegas

Be open to a change of plans, and remember that you’re in Vegas to enjoy yourself. By making a minute-to-minute schedule, you can force yourself into some uncomfortable situations that aren’t necessary. You aren’t going to be able to pack everything into your first trip, so don’t spread yourself too thin.

7 ‒ Setting Unrealistic Expectations

You’re not going to come back from Vegas as a millionaire. Expecting to win big is understandable due to the anticipation of gambling in one of the world’s greatest gambling cities. Don’t let the grandeur fool you, gambling in Vegas is just like gambling at your local casino.

Your strategy and play should not change based on where you’re gambling. If you’re the type of gambler to bet conservatively and get small wins where you can, don’t deviate from the norm. The previous point of sticking to your bankroll is also relevant and is crucial to your success.

Conclusion

Your first trip to Las Vegas should be an experience you never forget. I still think about the trip all the time and remember it fondly. Heightened expectations are reasonable, and it’s perfectly understandable to be excited. There isn’t a perfect plan to properly vacation in Vegas, but if you avoid the mistakes listed above, your trip will be all the more enjoyable.

If you’re gambling, remember to stick to a regular routine and strategy if you hope to win some money. But, if the wins aren’t coming, step away from the tables and explore the city. There’s so much more to Vegas than gambling. Enjoy your trip, and don’t try to pack everything in during your time in the city. Hopefully, you’ll have plenty of opportunity for more exploration on trips to come.

7 Reasons Why Online Casino Table Games Are Better Than Land-Based Games

Person Holding a Cell Phone With a Roulette Wheel Image In Front of a Casino Background

Land-based casinos have been offering table games for centuries. Baccarat, blackjack, craps, roulette, and Three-Card Poker are among the most popular table games today.

You used to have to visit a brick and mortar casino to enjoy these games. Nowadays, though, you can play them in online casinos as well.

Of course, land-based casinos hold a decided advantage in the atmosphere department. They give you the chance to visit a gambling establishment and socialize with your friends and other players.

However, online casinos also boast notable advantages when it comes to table games. Below, you can see seven reasons why online table games are superior to their land-based counterparts.

1 – Better Rules

Some casino games, such as baccarat, feature uniform rules that don’t change from one casino to the next. Therefore, you don’t gain any advantage by switching casinos.

Other games, however, feature varying rules depending upon where you play. Blackjack and roulette are perfect examples of this.

Real money blackjack rules differ wildly from casino to casino. One establishment may only pay 6:5 on natural blackjacks, while another delivers 3:2 payouts (lowers house edge by 1.39%).

Roulette, meanwhile, comes in different variations that have an impact on the house edge. You stand a far better chance of winning with European Roulette (2.70% house edge) versus the American version (5.26%).

Both brick and mortar and online casinos can offer favorable blackjack and roulette rules. But you’re more likely to find player-friendly rules at gaming sites.

European Roulette is the standard in online casinos. At land-based establishments, you never know whether you’ll find a European or American wheel.

3:2 natural payouts and other desirable rules are the norm in online blackjack. Many brick and mortar venues, in contrast, slip in 6:5 natural payouts and other rules that benefit themselves.

You should always look at the info screen when playing an internet table game just to ensure that the rules are favorable. But on average, you’ll benefit from better rules online.

2 – High RTP

Return to player (RTP) refers to how much money you can expect to win back from casino games on average. If a game offers 99% RTP, for instance, then you’ll win back $99 for every $100 wagered.

Better rules help raise the RTP for any game. Blackjack payback, for example, can range from 98% to 99.5% (or better) with the best rules in place.

Meanwhile, you can look forward to 97.3% RTP with European Roulette. Contrast this to the much-less desirable 94.74% payback with American Roulette.

Again, nothing prevents brick and mortar casinos from offering the top blackjack rules and more favorable roulette variations. But you’re more likely to find the best variants and highest RTP online.

3 – Low Minimum Bets

You used to be able to find $5 gambling tables throughout Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and other major casino destinations. Nowadays, casinos act like they’re offering a huge deal when they do provide $5 tables.

Common minimum bets range between $10 and $25 per hand/round. Sure, you win back a lot of your wagers through games like baccarat and blackjack. But you could be hurting if you go on a cold streak with $25 wagers.

Closeup of a Pair of Eights on a Baccarat Table

I don’t blame land-based casinos for requiring larger minimum bets. They have more overhead costs than gaming sites due to the dealers, utility bills, and necessary equipment.

The fact of the matter is, though, that you can play at internet casinos for much cheaper. Most table games only require a $1 minimum bet.

You can sit at cyber blackjack or baccarat tables for hours with a relatively small bankroll. Here’s an example to illustrate this point:

  • You have a $50 bankroll
  • You bet $1 per hand
  • The blackjack game you’re playing features a 0.5% house edge
  • You play 400 hands per hour
  • 400 x 1 x 0.005 = $2 in hourly losses
  • 50 / 2 = 25
  • Your bankroll will theoretically last for 25 hours

Of course, you may feel like betting more so that you can potentially win more. But you also have the option to play for cheap as well.

4 – Play Online Table Games Anywhere You Go

You may see the social environment of a brick and mortar casino as one of the main benefits of playing live. On the other hand, you do need to travel to enjoy this advantage.

This aspect might not be such a big barrier if you live down the road from the casino. But if you have to drive or fly to the nearest gambling destination, then you’ll be facing a major inconvenience.

Internet casinos are the complete opposite in this regard. You can play table games online virtually anywhere via your smartphone or tablet.

The only things that you need are a working internet connection and a device. Provided you have these, you’ll be able to play baccarat, craps, Caribbean Stud, or virtually anything else on the go.

Mobile gaming is perfect for when you want to log a quick gambling session on the couch or out and about. You don’t have to fly, drive, or worry about parking garages when playing on your smartphone.

5 – Take All the Time You Need

Table games present an intimidating environment for new gamblers. They feature specific rules and, in some cases, etiquette.

You definitely don’t want to start out with something like craps if you’re new to gambling. After all, craps features many different bets and superstitions.

For example, you’re not supposed to say “seven” at the table. You also don’t want to touch a hot shooter unless your goal is to anger other players at the table.

A more general piece of etiquette is to act in a timely manner no matter what game you’re playing. The dealer and other gamblers will become annoyed if you take a minute on every decision.

European Roulette Online Table Game

Luckily, you don’t have to worry about time constraints, etiquette, or complex rules with online table games. You can take all the time you need to master everything at internet casinos.

Assume, for example, that you’re new to blackjack and want to learn the proper strategy. You can use a strategy chart and refer to it as long as you want to for every decision.

You could theoretically review your chart every time in a land-based casino. Again, though, the dealer and fellow players will become annoyed if you do so.

6 – Cash in on Big Bonuses

Real money online casinos offer large deposit bonuses as a means of encouraging you to join. These deals are based on a match percentage of your deposit amount.

Slots bonuses are the most common at gaming sites. However, you can also find table game bonuses in many cases as well.

Here’s an example of one of these offers:

  • A casino offers a 100% match bonus worth up to $500.
  • This deal is for blackjack and other tables games only.
  • You deposit $250.
  • You now qualify for a $250 bonus.

Of course, you don’t get to cash out the $250 right away. You need to satisfy terms and conditions before doing so.

Playthrough (a.k.a. rollover) is one of the most important terms. It refers to a multiple of the bonus amount that you must wager before withdrawing the money.

Here’s an example:

  • You qualify for a $250 bonus
  • Playthrough is 80x the bonus
  • 250 x 80 = $20,000 must be wagered

You can see that many wagers are required before you’re able to earn a table game bonus. But the key is that you at least have a chance to earn serious bonus funds.

Land-based casinos don’t offer any such thing as a deposit bonus. Instead, they only give you loyalty rewards.

7 – Get VIP Rewards Right Away

Many casinos give you free drinks when you gamble long enough. But they stop the comps here until you actually join the player’s club.

Many new gamblers don’t realize that they need to sign up for the player’s club before getting serious rewards. They miss out on extra benefits as a result.

Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about this at online casinos. The average gaming site automatically enrolls you in their VIP program after you complete registration. Therefore, you immediately begin earning loyalty rewards on real-money bets.

Most casinos feature a website page dedicated to loyalty program information. You could refer to these pages to figure out how many points you’ll get for each table game.

In any case, you’re going to collect rewards right away. You can exchange these points for cashback, free slots spins, and more.

Conclusion

You may opt to play table games in brick and mortar casinos for the social element. Land-based establishments give you the opportunity to gamble amongst friends and others.

However, online table games feature several big advantages. They offer better rules, higher RTP, lower minimum bets, convenience, and big bonuses.

You don’t have to leave the house to enjoy online table games and their many benefits. Instead, you can enjoy all of their perks through your smartphone.

The one thing that internet table games are missing is the social aspect. But if you’re just in the mood to gamble alone, then you can’t do any better than an online casino.

7 Reasons Why You’ll Get Busted When Cheating the Casino

Graphic Image of a Thief in a Casino

Casino cheats have existed ever since gambling houses opened centuries ago. Cheating the house can be a lucrative venture when you’re successful.

Of course, it’s also an extremely dangerous venture when considering the legal repercussions. You’ll likely get caught and end up in jail for trying to cheat the house.

You may have no intentions of trying to pull one over on casinos and risking jail time, but you might also be curious about how the casino is so effective at busting cheaters. Here are seven reasons why the house almost always catches crooked gamblers.

1 – Employees Are Trained to Watch for Cheaters

Dealers, floor supervisors, and pit bosses are the first line of defense when it comes to casino cheaters. They’re trained to watch for any suspicious activity and call for security upon noticing anything.

Some cheating methods are easier to pick up on than others. Stealing chips and past-posting are among the easiest scams to spot.

Others, however, can be a little more difficult to catch. Card sharps, for example, sometimes mark cards with invisible ink that can only be seen with special contacts or certain lighting.

Roulette computers are another invention that helps criminals mask their cheating efforts. These devices, which measure the velocity of the roulette wheel and ball, are difficult to detect.

Employees may not be able to root out every type of cheating with the naked eye. However, they’re effective enough on their own to catch a great deal of scammers.

2 – Surveillance Is Everywhere

Modern-day casinos no longer have to rely on dealers and floor supervisors alone to spot cheats. They have the “eye in the sky” to help them out.

Casino surveillance cameras help casinos monitor every spot of gambling floors. If there are doubts about whether someone is cheating, staff members can always review the tapes.

Surveillance personnel themselves can also point out suspicious behavior. For example, they may catch a sneaky gambler past-posting when nobody at the table realizes it.

Las Vegas Casino Floor

Video footage also serves useful for when a casino keeps getting hit by mysterious cheaters. Management may notice that they’re losing a significant amount of money at the craps tables.

They could review tapes over the last few weeks or even months to try and spot patterns. They might ultimately determine that somebody is dice sliding and getting away with it.

Finally, surveillance helps identify cheaters for future purposes. A casino may not catch the perpetrator immediately, but they know whom to watch for in the future.

3 – The Math Reveals All

Even with dealers, pit bosses, floor supervisors, and surveillance all watching, casinos don’t always spot cheating initially. In these cases, they can rely on math.

Outside of a few video poker variations, the casino holds the advantage in every situation. Even if someone beats them in the beginning, they typically win their money back at some point.

Cheaters, meanwhile, may go into a gambling venue and win thousands of dollars every night. They might keep beating a blackjack or roulette game on a consistent basis.

Casinos fully know that they can lose big to one or more gamblers on a specific day. However, they know that it’s extremely unlikely they’ll keep losing day after day.

Casinos investigate anomalies to determine if there’s a root cause for the losses. Sometimes, the gambler is extremely lucky and wins big.

For example, Patricia DeMauro once set a craps record by rolling the dice 154 straight times before sevening out. But there’s a reason why DeMauro’s run is a record rather than the norm.

Most of the time, these occurrences are due to cheating rather than extremely good luck. When the extremes happen, you can bet that casinos will try to figure out if something is amiss.

4 – Cheaters Usually Don’t Stop Until Caught

They say that criminals always return to the scene of the crime. This old saying is especially true when returning to the crime scene results in more illegitimate profits.

Cheaters are greedy, hence why they set out to rip off casinos in the first place. They may initially aim to win a set amount of money and quit before being caught.

Greed eventually gets the best of them, though. They’ll keep returning to the same casino in hopes of winning thousands of dollars in each session.

Every return trip increases the chances that the gambler will be caught. However, they may keep convincing themselves that they’ll quit at any moment.

The math and surveillance gives the gambling industry long-term weapons in its battle against cheating. They can always go back and review the statistics and footage to solve who’s hurting their bottom line.

5 – Catch One Cheater, Catch Them All

Cheaters are often most effective in groups. They can pull their bankrolls together and place larger bets to capitalize on their ill-gotten advantage.

In some cases, they even work with a dealer to beat the house. Dealer-player collusion is one of the most effective means of cheating.

Casinos have to trust their dealers to some extent. They’re allowing croupiers to handle chips when paying wins and collecting losses.

However, some employees eventually use their positions to take advantage of the situation. They can tip off colluders to hole card values, add more chips to winning bets, and use other methods to aid their partners.

Usually, though, a collusion ring is eventually busted. At this point, law enforcement gets involved and begins interviewing the suspects.

The police will start offering deals to the suspects for information. One or more will likely crack and rat out the other(s) so that they get a more favorable legal deal.

6 – Databases Document Known Cheaters

Casinos use databases to identify and catch suspected cheaters, like the black book of Vegas. If they catch somebody hiding cards in their sleeve, for instance, they can enter the gambler’s information into a database before having them arrested.

These programs allow casinos to network with each other when stamping out cheating. Gambling venues are more than happy to collaborate in this regard.

Las Vegas Casino Floor

The last thing they want is for a known cheat to hit them and any other nearby casinos. With that said, any useful information on perpetrators helps the industry abroad.

Of course, databases are also useful for tracking advantage players. Card counters, for example, are only using their skill to win and aren’t breaking the law. Even still, casinos have the right to throw out APs since they’re private businesses.

7 – When in Doubt, Use the Back Room

Pit bosses and security don’t immediately have to accuse somebody of cheating. Instead, they can simply invite a suspect to the back room and have a discussion.

Back rooming carries a negative reputation, harkening back to old Vegas. Mob-run casinos would often beat up cheaters and advantage gamblers to send a message.

These days, 99.99% of back rooming ends without physical violence. Staff members instead use these situations to detain a suspect until law enforcement arrives, if necessary.

If somebody cheats, law enforcement is going to be called eventually. In some cases, though, the casino might not be able to prove anything and just want to speak with the big winner.

Conclusion

Catching cheaters isn’t just something that the dealer or pit boss does. Instead, it’s a casino-wide effort and even network-wide effort in some cases.

Everybody from the pit bosses to the people manning cameras are on the lookout for potential cheating. If they don’t pick anything up, the numbers can indicate that something is wrong.

After all, a casino doesn’t typically lose to the same player over and over. They know to pay special attention to situations where a gambler keeps winning thousands of dollars.

Savvy scammers may still get away with cheating, at least for a while, anyway. But they’re very likely to be caught if they continue cheating.

Sports Gambling Mistakes You Should Avoid

Distressed Man With Sports Betting Board Foreground

Major sports in the United States are slowly returning, and with them, the potential to get back into sports betting. While it’s been nice to bet on marble racing and cornhole, let’s take a moment to appreciate that you have some real action to bet on.

If you are trying to break into the sports betting world to add to the excitement of the return of sports, there are a few things you should know. Betting is challenging, and the opportunity to make simple mistakes is endless, but don’t let potential errors dissuade you from betting. To make sure you get out to a fast start, here are 7 possible sports gambling mistakes to avoid.

1 ‒ Betting on Too Many Games

Sports betting combines two of the most entertaining parts of life: sports and gambling. When you take a potential degenerate gambler and toss in the potential for action on games, you get one of the more addicting types of gambling. If you’re new to sports gambling, you might find yourself hooked after one bet, especially if you consider yourself a big sports fan.

There’s nothing wrong with putting money down on sports, but it’s easy for new gamblers to overextend themselves and decimate their bankroll. Bets should be well thought out and adequately shopped to ensure you’re getting the best possible line. When you place too many wagers to chase a gambling high, you can open yourself up to put money on bad bets.

Unless you have a great deal of experience betting on games, you should stick to a few bets. This will allow you to find the best lines and correctly research potential wagers.

2 ‒ Chasing Losses

With dozens of different online sportsbooks and gambling sites in the internet age, placing a bet has never been more accessible. While the ease of access is convenient, it can also be troublesome for sports gamblers. After a tough loss, my first impulse is to try to get back on a winning streak. With just a few clicks of the mouse, I can put down more money to do just that.

NCAAB Players Celebrating

When you are gambling out of desperation, your bets will reflect it. Losses are part of gambling and shouldn’t inspire brain-dead bets that aren’t properly thought out. The dynamic of chasing losses exists in every type of gambling, whether it’s table games, horse racing, or sports betting. It should also be avoided at all costs.

One loss is manageable, heck even a few losses in a row are; losing streaks will happen. Don’t deviate from your plan and make bad bets for the sake of ending a cold streak.

3 ‒ Placing Bets With One Book

As I said in the previous point, this is the most convenient it has ever been for sports gamblers to place bets due to the sheer number of online sportsbooks. One common problem among inexperienced sports gamblers is a refusal to shop the line. Players might have a good history with one book and choose to do most of their business with that book.

By only looking at the line your book of choice has to offer, you are hamstringing yourself and not getting the best line possible.

Say you want to put money on the Texans over the Titans. In this hypothetical situation, sportsbook A has the Texans as underdogs at +1.5. However, sportsbook B has the Texans at +2.5. Sportsbook B is giving you an entire point more than sportsbook A.

Gamblers can become creatures of habit. When you find a casino that works for you, you stick with it. The same goes for sportsbooks. I understand comfort is critical, but if you become complacent, you are taking away the opportunity to place the smartest bet possible.

4 ‒ Betting on One Sport

Most sports fans have a sport they prefer to watch above everything else. For me, baseball betting is king, and I enjoy betting on America’s Pastime more than the other major sports leagues. As an avid baseball fan, I figure I know more about the game than most people and could use that knowledge to my advantage.

Betting on baseball is one of the most challenging things to do due to the game’s inconsistency. Unfortunately, it took several months and bad beats to come to this realization. If you prefer one sport over another and think your decades of watching games and accumulating knowledge will lead to wins, think again.

Choosing to bet on one sport deprives you of exploring other, potentially better options to win money. Being a fan of a game doesn’t mean you will be successful, and it’s important to distance your fan hood from your gambling decisions.

5 ‒ Betting on the Home Team

If you’re like me, then you’re a sports fan above all else. I’m from Houston and grew up watching the Astros and Rockets and still remember when football finally came back to the city in 2002. I started betting on sports in college and always remember the first bet I ever made.

It was the day after Opening Day in 2013, and the Astros were fresh off of a massive win over the Rangers. I went to school near Dallas, and all of my friends are Rangers fans, so I wanted to twist the knife and put some money on my hometown team to win back-to-back games over the interstate rival. Well, what I failed to consider is that Yu Darvish was on the mound, and the Astros were historically bad in 2012. They ended up losing the game 7-0, and I lost my first ever sports bet.

Betting on home teams rarely ends well because sports gambling shouldn’t be emotionally charged. When you gamble with your heart over your head, you remove logic and research from the equation. I’m not saying to never bet on your home team. If you’re getting good odds, go ahead and pull the trigger, but make sure to do your due diligence.

6 ‒ Listening to One Talking Head

The internet and TV are full of sports betting information from a variety of sources. Following the poker boom in the early 2000s, gambling became mainstream, while sports gambling and daily fantasy continue to gain popularity. Most major networks have taken notice and devote resources to provide gambling-related content.

If you’re a serious sports gambler, you’re probably familiar with some prominent industry experts, bettors, and gambling sources. These pundits are paid to research lines and figure out the best bets for their audience. Some are quite good at their jobs and are worth listening to.

MLB Astros Player at Bat

New gamblers or inept sports bettors can quickly become myopic in their approach to selecting lines by sticking to one source. Like I mentioned in the previous point, bettors are creatures of habit. If you hit on a few bets in a row you found from a source, you might feel inclined to continue to bet off their suggestions. By doing this, you are once again backing yourself into a corner and not exploring other, potentially better lines and gambling opportunities.

7 ‒ Drinking and Betting

Like other forms of gambling, you should be on sports while entirely focused and informed. Emotionally-charged bets are often made under less than favorable circumstances, as are bets picked and made while drunk. There’s ample opportunity to make mistakes when betting on sports, and drinking makes the process even more challenging.

Drinking and sports go hand in hand, and there’s no problem having a few cold ones while you watch the games you bet on. If you get in a hole and try to dig yourself out while drunk, you’ll most likely dig a deeper hole.

The best gamblers don’t drink and gamble because they know they aren’t at their sharpest after drinking. If you’re new to gambling or have been struggling recently, make the savvy veteran move and hold off on drinks until you place your bets.

Conclusion

When done correctly, sports betting is one of the most exhilarating experiences for gamblers. Mistakes are common at the beginning of a gambler’s career and should be limited where they can be.

Make sure to research your bets, so you are entirely prepared to make the best decision possible. The way to gain an edge on the book is to put in work, shop the lines, and don’t overextend yourself. If you avoid common mistakes and follow these tips, you will be ahead of the curve approaching future bets. Finally, have fun with it and enjoy the return of sports.

5 Ways That Fruit Machines Differ From Slot Machines

Closeup of Slots Reels

Fruit machines and are often considered synonymous. After all, these games work in a relatively similar manner.

However, fruit machines have some notable differences from the average slot. Both types of games may look alike, but fruities are unique in many ways. Below, I’m going to discuss five ways that fruit machines stand out from other slots.

1 – Extremely Simple Gameplay

Both and fruities have gained popularity due to their simplistic gameplay. Virtually anybody can hop on either type of game and quickly learn the playing process.

The basics for enjoying either style of game work as follows:

  • You insert money into the machine.
  • You select a bet size.
  • You spin the reels and wait for the results.

As you can see, the process for playing either type of game is quite similar. However, fruities are typically even simpler than slot machines.

They don’t offer as many betting and gameplay options on average. In some cases, you can only make a uniform bet ($0.25) in each round.

Modern slots often come with a wide betting range, autoplay, and/or turbo spin. You don’t have to be a genius to master these extra options, but you’ll find slots to be more involved than the average fruity.

2 – Basic Symbols

Classic slot machines dominated land-based casinos up until the mid-1970s, when video slots first came about. They’re characterized by mechanical reels, simple betting options, and basic symbols.

The latter include sevens, bells, and various fruits. You won’t have trouble identifying a classic slot when you see cherries, bananas, and oranges turning up in the reels.

Fruit machines are an offshoot of these classic slots. Only, they feature fruit symbols rather than sevens and bells.

Fruities harken back to a simpler era, when gamblers sat at machines with buckets of quarters. Back then, players didn’t expect amazing graphics or inventive themes. They just wanted to gamble for large prizes.

Of course, modern slots have revolutionized what players expect today. These games offer exciting animations, detailed themes, and 3D graphics.

Fruit machines sometimes look lame by comparison. But they’re also great for anybody who wants to jump right into a game without trying to figure out a complicated pay table.

3 – Specific Features

The gaming world has been in an arms race in recent years to roll out inventive features. Nowadays, slot machines offer expanding wilds, Megaways, second-screen bonuses, win multipliers, and even Infinity Reels.

Thanks to advances in gaming technology, most gamblers are no longer satisfied with just spinning three reels. They want to enjoy the latest and most unique bonuses.

Fruit machines aren’t totally void of features. However, they don’t offer the same quantity of bonuses as slot machines.

Image of Fruit Style Machine

Instead, fruities have two specific features in hold and nudge. You can see how both of these options work below:

  • Hold – You can hold one or more reels in place while spinning the rest.
  • Nudge – You nudge a reel so that it moves up or down one position.

Hold and nudge aren’t entirely exclusive to fruit machines. Some slots have also adopted these features as well.

But you’re more likely to see nudge and hold associated with a fruity. The reason why has to do with the history of fruit machines.

UK Game developers found a loophole in their country’s gambling laws in the 1960s. They took advantage of a stipulation that allows skill-based betting. Almost every type of slot machine features no skill whatsoever. You simply spin the reels and hope for the best.

Hold and nudge at least bring some degree of skill into the equation. You can strategically hold certain reels and nudge others to boost your chances of winning.

The house still maintains an edge when these features are present. But nudge and hold add enough skill into the equation to where fruities aren’t pure gambling.

4 – Found in Specific Locations

The UK is always ahead of the curve when it comes to gambling. It was one of the first countries to roll out legal sports betting and also became one of the earliest to adopt nationally regulated online gaming.

Fruit machines are yet another gambling invention to arise within the UK. As mentioned before, fruities came about due to a loophole in the country’s laws.

Not surprisingly, the UK is still home to the vast majority of fruit machines. You can find many of these games throughout pubs and restaurants in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

Assuming you’re in one of these countries or UK territories and don’t feel like visiting the casino, then fruities make a night nice alternative. You can simply hit up the local pub and gamble on these machines.

5 – Smaller Top Prizes on Average

Real money slots have become famous for their ability to deliver massive prizes. Some games in both land-based and online casinos offer.

Of course, these payouts are exceptions to the norm. But you can find plenty of slots that provide a chance at winning five-, six-, or even seven-figure prizes.

Fruit machines, by comparison, don’t typically offer as much win potential. You can win some nice prizes through these games, but you’re not going to retire early.

Row of Slot Machines

The average fruit machine features a top payout worth between 2,000x and 10,000x your stake. The latter range is respectable for any slot or fruity. Again, though, it’s not going to change your life.

You normally need to go on a major hot streak to win big with fruit machines. You’ll have to rack up several big prizes to make a fortune.

Assuming you dream of winning a single life-changing payout, then you should stick with slots. But if you’re fine with going for lots of medium-sized wins, fruit machines are worth your time.

Conclusion

Fruities aren’t really much different from slot machines with regard to gameplay. In fact, they spawned from classic slots in the 1960s.

However, fruit machines also have their differences from slots. They’re characterized by really basic game play and fruit symbols.

These games offer specific features in hold and nudge. Although slots can also offer these features, they normally don’t.

The 7 Most Important Sports Betting Tips for Beginners

Odds Board and Money
When it comes to sports, it’s hard to tail is wagging which dog. Is sports driving the money, or is money driving the sports?

Think about how much it costs to advertise during the Super Bowl?

Do you think people would spend that kind of money for that kind of audience if no one had any money riding on these games?

I don’t either.

But if you’re just getting started in your sports betting hobby, there are some tips you might need to hear.

1. You Should Learn the Basic Bets First

The most basic bets in sports betting are these:

  1. Point spread bets
  2. Totals bets
  3. Moneyline bets

A point spread bet is one where you get a (more-or-less) even money payout on a bet, but the book accounts for the point spread between the teams when determining a winner.

For example, if team A is a 6-point favorite, they have to win by 7 points or more for a bet on them to pay off. And a bet on team B will win if they get within 6 points.

A totals bet is a bet on whether the total score for the contest is over or under a specific number set by the sportsbook.

For example, if the over/under for a game is 20, and team A scores 14 points, and team B scores 7 points, a bet on the over would win because the total score for the game was 21. A bet on the under would lose.

Finally, a money line bet is a bet that doesn’t account for a point spread, but the amount you win varies based on whether you’re betting on the favorite or the underdog. For example, if you’re betting on the favorite, you might have to risk $165 to win $100. Or, if you’re betting on the underdog, you might only have to risk $100 to win $140.

Understanding those bets will get you started, regardless of which sport you’re betting on.

2. You Need to Understand the House Edge in Sports Betting

The house edge is a statistical measure of how much you’re expected to lose (on average) on each bet that you place. On a standard point spread bet, the house edge is 4.5%.

Where does that edge come from?

It’s called the “vig” or “vigorish.”

Odds Board

Remember when I said that you’re risking “more or less” even money on a bet?

The truth is that you’re risking $110 to win $100.

And when the point spread is accounted for, you have a roughly 50% probability of winning that bet.

When you lose $110 half the time and win $100 half the time, it’s easy to see how the house has an edge.

3. To Profit, You Need to win 52.4% of Your Bets

Assuming the standard ratio of risking $110 to win $100, you need to win 52.38% of your bets just break even. Any number above that will show a profit, and the higher your win ratio is, the better your return on investment will be.

The best sports bettors in the world probably don’t win more than 55% to 57% of their bets.

But if you can see such a big return on your investment in such a short time, you can make a fortune in no time at all.

Think about it. Most of us are thrilled to see an annual return of 10% on our money.

What if you could do that in a matter of weeks?

With a win ratio of 56%, you can do that.

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How do you achieve such a win ratio?

Entire books have been written on that subject. The truth is that it’s harder than you think. The sports books do a really good job of setting a number for the point spread that gives them a 50% chance of winning.

Your job is to find situations where the odds of winning are in your favor.

You don’t have to bet on every game.

4. You Have a Lot of Work to Do

A serious handicapper can get the edge that we’re talking about when betting on sports, but it isn’t easy. You basically need to become addicted to sports news and statistics. You’re probably watching sports analysis on TV constantly.

And when you’re not, you’re reading analysis or discussing sports with someone.

Chances are you’ll need to focus on a single sport to achieve any kind of success as a serious sports handicapper.

5. Never Pay for Sports Picks

You’ll find plenty of individuals and companies who would love to have you as a customer buying their sports picks. The problem with these companies is that they are no better at picking winners than you are. They used to sell their sports picks via 1-900 numbers, which ought to tell you everything you need to know – at least if you’re a certain age.

Companies that sell these picks are called “tout services,” and I know at least one person who worked for one of the biggest tout services in the country. He explained to me that they would sell picks on both sides of a game to make sure that half their customers were happy.

The customers who lost got free picks on a future game – picks which, again, had a 50% probability of winning anyway.

The problem with buying these sports picks is that they add to the cost of the bet, and you’re out that money regardless of whether you win the bet or not.

Handing Out Money

For example, you have to risk $110 to win $100 on a football game.

But you pay $10 for a pick for that game.

Now you’re going to lose $10 regardless of whether that pick wins or not.

You already needed to win 52.4% of the time to show a tiny profit.

Now that percentage needs to go up even further.

Also, think about this:

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If a tout were really that good at picking winners, they could make so much money betting on sports themselves that they would never need to sell picks at all. They’d be rich already.

Besides, half the fun of sports betting is picking the winners yourself.

6. Sports Betting Can Be a Lot of Fun

Few things make a sporting event more fun than having a little action on the line. I was at a buddy’s house for a poker tournament not long ago, and I busted out early.

Luckily, there was a boxing match on television. I knew nothing about either boxer, but I asked someone if he wanted to bet $100 on the outcome of the match.

I don’t remember what criteria I used to decide which fighter to bet on. I think I just picked the one with the name that I liked better.

That boxing match became the most interesting thing in the world to watch on television that night.

I enjoyed the $100 I won, too.

7. Sports Betting Is a Hard Business to Run

Becoming a professional sports bettor sounds oh-so-cool, but I promise you it’s harder than you think. You’d probably be better off becoming a bookmaker, but that’s illegal. I have a relative who had some buddies who ran a sportsbook in college, though, and he said they made a fortune doing it. They shut it down when the parties at their apartment started getting too wild.

My biggest concern with trying to bet on sports professionally is the danger of addiction. Find an open meeting of Gamblers Anonymous and visit sometime to hear some of the horror stories from addicted gamblers who have lost everything.

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Try to keep an open mind, too.

Some people think that just because it doesn’t involve a mood-altering substance, it’s not really an addiction.

Modern science has demonstrated that process addictions like gambling addictions can be even harder on people than chemical dependencies.

Unless you’re sure of yourself, avoid getting too bogged down in sports betting. Watch a movie like The Gambler again to see how ugly that lifestyle can get.

Conclusion

Betting on sports makes being a sports fan much more fun than it otherwise would be. Putting money on a game is a traditional way of making that game more interesting.

Taking it to the next level, though, and trying to be a consistent winner – now there’s a real challenge.

You not only have to understand that basic bets well, you also need to understand the mathematical implications of the vig and what it means for both your win percentage and your return on investment.

Winning sports betting is worth the effort, though.

7 Subtle Ways Casinos Try to Get Money Out of You

Hand Removing a 20 Dollar Bill From a Wallet With a Casino Background

In the battle between casino and gambler, the house has a way of getting the most out of everyone who walks through the door. Throughout history, one of the many things casinos have learned is that the more people bet, the more they’re going to lose.

With that in mind, a number of tactics have been put in place to “encourage” patrons to keep gambling, regardless of what his or her bankroll looks like.

In this article, I’ll lay out the top seven ways that casinos try to get more betting money out of you.

1 – Making You Use Chips

Before I get into this one, I want to make it clear that there are several reasons to use chips other than the fact that it will get you to spend more. Transferring cash into chips simply makes the gambling process much easier for everyone.

However, the concept of casinos using something else besides real money to gamble has always been a focus. For example, many casinos today offer “gaming cards” that allow players to load money before they start playing. This puts yet another degree of separation between gamblers and their actual cash, and makes the games feel like they don’t have actual financial consequences.

Stacks of Chips From Different Casinos

You might be a bit more hesitant to double down on your semi-decent blackjack hand if you were putting actual $50 bills on the table and not just a small stack of chips.

Because of the obvious reasons that chips (instead of real money) make the entire operation run smoother, I can’t criticize the casino for doing it. The real message is to just be aware that those little pieces of clay have actual value and need to be treated as such, which often is not the case.

2 – This One’s on the House

You know that person who seems to make more rational decisions when they’re under the influence of alcohol? I didn’t think so.

Casinos know that players who have a “cautious” approach to gambling can be loosened up with a little bit of liquid courage. And I would be remiss if I failed to mention that players are usually more than willing to be loosened up. The casino is a place where good times should be had, after all.

Now, I don’t want to make it sound like casinos are pouring drinks down gamblers’ throats (although they probably would if they could), but there is an undeniable push toward having a few drinks while playing.

Obviously the best way to combat playing while intoxicated would be to simply abstain from alcohol. A more realistic approach is simply to take it slow.

The easiest way I’ve fought the urge to take up the casino on their offer for free drinks is to keep a drink in my hand at all times, but not drink it. Chances are, if you have a full cup, waitstaff will leave you alone for the most part.

3 – A Lack of Clocks

Nothing brings you back to reality like checking the time and noticing you’ve been at the same blackjack table for two and half hours. Because of this, casinos make you do all the work when it comes to checking the time.

Perhaps this one predates modern society as nearly everyone has a phone and access to watch, something that wasn’t always the case a hundred or more years ago. With that being said, the noticeable lack of clocks on the casino floor can make it easy to forget how much time you’ve spent gambling.

When you enter a casino, always take note of what time you start playing. It’s critical to take breaks on a regular basis. A break every half-hour is best, but every hour is okay, too. Remember to step away from the table, slot machine, roulette wheel, etc.

Most people are aware of the clock-less nature of casinos, so wear a watch or set a timer on your phone to remind you that breaks are necessary. Just be sure that you put the alarm on vibrate as you don’t want to disturb others who might be playing around you.

4 – Game Location

You may have heard that grocery stores place products in a thoughtful way so that you have to pass aisles and aisles of product before reaching the essentials you came for. Casinos share this same philosophy when laying out the floor.

When it comes to designing a functioning gaming floor, the goal has always been to create a labyrinth-like setup so that you’re forced to walk by as many potential playing options as possible. The concept of a “path” to anywhere can seldom be found in a casino.

If you’re walking to the bathroom, looking to get food, or even just to play another game, the house wants you to be exposed to more potential playing options. As you walk by, you might even think you hear that slot machine saying, “Come on, just put in a couple bucks and see what happens.”

5 – Celebration!

If you’ve ever been in a casino when someone hits a big win playing real money slots, you’ll likely recall the raucous celebration that takes place in the moments shortly thereafter.

These celebrations are not just for fun, in fact, there is something else at play when it comes to the lights and sounds that accompany hitting the jackpot.

Closeup of a Three Reel Slot Machine

The fanfare that happens following a slot machine win acts as an advertisement to everyone on the floor. It’s a subtle, or not-so-subtle, reminder that the machines do occasionally help some players hit it big. This can give people who were on the fence a nudge in the direction of throwing a few coins into the machine.

Don’t get me wrong, people do win jackpots regularly at casinos, but rarely do you hear anything about the 95% of people who walk away without any winnings.

Other celebrations, such as at table games with higher stakes, serve the same purpose. Sometimes, all it takes to get people to gamble more is seeing that it is indeed possible to walk away with a huge win.

6 – Loyalty Programs

Nearly every casino out there has some type of rewards program that gives players kickbacks for their frequent patronage. Many of these casinos actually require that you sign up in order to play.

It could probably go without saying, but there’s a reason casinos have implemented these programs, and it’s not out of the kindness of their heart. Gaming establishments know that if you earn points for playing, it’s only going to encourage you to play more.

Despite the fact that the loyalty cards are ultimately self-serving to the house, I would still recommend taking advantage of casino comps. Just do it with the knowledge that if you lose $500 and are rewarded with a free dinner, you’re still paying for that dinner one way or another.

Always make sure you read over the specifics of any loyalty program before signing up. Not that they’re necessarily deceiving, but you should know what you’re getting when you join.

7 – High ATM Fees

Anyone who has used an ATM at a casino knows that there are often higher withdrawal fees than just about anywhere else. Are they really that desperate that they need your extra $5?

The answer to why fees are so high is actually something a little more psychological. The reasoning behind it is that if you’re going to pay a higher fee, you might as well withdraw more money at one time.

ATM Bill Breaker in a Casino

For example, if you originally wanted to withdraw $50 but have a $5 fee attached, you might recognize that you’re paying an extra 10%. If you instead withdrawal $100, now you’re only paying 5%, and so on.

The bottom line is that you want to avoid ATM fees, so be extra sure to withdraw all the money you’ll need for your gambling bankroll that day so you don’t have to go back and pay the fee again. This can lead to players taking out slightly more than they had originally anticipated in order to avoid repeating the process.

If you’re one of those players who is planning on betting all the cash that you have, recognize that paying $10 for two ATM trips isn’t the end of the world if it saves you from withdrawing a huge amount.

Conclusion

Despite the fact that it might seem like casinos are using sneaky tactics to get every last dollar out of you, I choose to look at it as all part of the game.

As long as you’re aware of what’s going on, you can make the best decision for your individual situation. Just like you, casinos are there to make money and will do whatever they can to maximize profits.

5 Reasons Why the Blackjack Dealer Kicks Your Butt

Man With Hands Covering Face With a Blackjack and Fire Background

Blackjack is supposed to be one of the easiest casino games to beat. After all, it features a low house edge in comparison to most games.

However, you still may find yourself struggling to book winning sessions on a consistent basis. Even when you are winning, your profits can drain out as you continue playing.

In these cases, it really helps to know why you have such a tough time beating blackjack. Below, I’ll discuss 5 reasons why the dealer keeps kicking your butt along with how you can change things around.

1 – The Dealer Acts Second

Some gamblers have adopted an extreme strategy that involves mimicking the dealer. Their thought process is that if the dealer wins most of the time, then they can at least match the croupier by playing by the same rules (I.e. hitting until a hard or soft 17).

The same gamblers are dead wrong on this strategy! Mimicking the dealer results in a massive 7% house edge. But why?

The croupier doesn’t win just because they play by a strict set of rules. In fact, being forced to hit until a soft/hard 17 actually lowers their chances of winning.

Instead, the dealer’s biggest advantage comes from acting after you. They deal the cards and wait for you to play your hand before doing anything else.

Overhead View of a Busy Blackjack Table

If you bust out, then you automatically lose. Meanwhile, the dealer beats you without ever having to make a decision.

The casino tries to soften the blow by giving you extra actions that the dealer doesn’t enjoy. You can split pairs and double down when rules permit.

These special privileges help when you’re trying to reduce the house edge. But they still don’t allow you to totally overcome the dealer’s advantage.

2 – Not Everybody Bothers With Blackjack Strategy

One of the most-entertaining parts about blackjack is that it features in-depth strategy. You can improve your chances of winning by knowing how to act in each situation.

Here’s an example of a tricky blackjack scenario:

  • You hold a pair of 9s.
  • The dealer’s upcard is 7.
  • You split these 9s in most situations.
  • However, basic strategy calls on you to stand in this specific instance.

There’s one right way to play the above situation and multiple wrong ways. You’ll run into these types of decisions again and again in blackjack.

You won’t automatically know how to deal with tricky situations. That said, a basic blackjack strategy chart can do wonders for your results.

These charts, which are extremely easy to find by the way, show the correct move for every situation. As long as you can read a color-coded chart, you can play perfect blackjack.

Nevertheless, many gamblers still don’t bother to take the two minutes it requires to find one of these charts online. They instead think that they’ve already mastered the game through experience alone.

Most gamblers can play reasonably well as long as they don’t try mimicking the dealer. But they’ll still surrender anywhere from 2% to 4% edge by ignoring strategy.

3 – Blackjack Games Move Fast

It seems like the casino already benefits quite a bit from the dealer acting second. But as I’ll discuss later, you can still lower the house edge to 0.5%–or even less in certain cases.

The problem, though, is that casinos can still beat you badly even if they only have a tiny advantage. Blackjack games are built to move fast so that the house can capitalize.

Depending upon the dealer’s speed and number of players involved, a blackjack table can see up to 100-150 hands per hour. You may even play 300+ hands an hour through online blackjack.

More action creates more entertainment when you’re gambling. However, it also leads to bigger losses over time.

You might still not feel like taking breaks and slowing the game down after reading this. After all, the point of blackjack is to have fun rather than trying to minimize your losses. But the fact remains that the casino wins more money, on average, when you’re exposed to more hands.

4 – The Rules Are in the Casino’s Favor

As I covered before, casinos give you special options that the dealer doesn’t have access to. Doubling down and splitting in the right situations give you a better chance at beating the dealer.

Even still, any competent casino will still ensure that they skew the rules in their favor. They tweak each rule to ensure that they at least hold a small advantage.

Of course, you can counteract this to some degree by looking for tables with the best rules. Even then, though, you’re not going to find any games that give you the edge.

Closeup of a Blackjack Dealer Dealing Cards

Some casinos use tricky moves to fool you into thinking that your chances of winning are better. For example, they’ll offer single-deck tables with 6:5 natural blackjack payouts.

A single deck reduces the house edge by 0.59% when compared to the common 8-deck games. However, the 6:5 natural payouts boost the house advantage by 1.39% compared to 3:2 payoffs.

You know to look for this rule and avoid it in the future. But you’re still going to face other rules that increase the house edge.

5 – Casinos Boot Card Counters

Card counting is the most-popular way to gain an edge over the casino in any circumstance. In fact, blockbuster movies have been made about the subject.

However, casinos don’t just let you walk into their establishments and make easy money. They’re private businesses and they have the right to stop you if they think you’re counting.

You might feel that this is unfair when considering that the casino can take your money but is afraid to lose. But every gambling jurisdiction, except for Atlantic City, allows the house to boot counters.

It’s still possible for you to evade casino detection and make money. But you’ll find camouflaging your play to be much more difficult than simply learning card counting.

What Can You Do to Beat the Dealer in Blackjack?

You can see that you’re up against a lot when trying to win blackjack profits. Luckily, you can boost your chances of success by following the tips presented below.

Look for Games With Favorable Rules

Casinos have slowly added more and more rules that favor themselves. The house edge now pushes 2% in some gambling establishments—even when you use perfect playing strategy.

Fortunately, you don’t have to settle for these terrible games. You can still find fair real money blackjack tables both online and in land-based casinos.

The main thing you want to look at before placing a bet is the table felt. Specifically, you need to ensure that natural blackjacks pay 3:2 instead of 6:5. This is lone rule improves your chances of winning by 1.39%.

You can also look for one or more of the following rules that reduce the house edge:

  • Single-deck 8-deck blackjack – Lowers house edge by 0.59%
  • Double down on any total vs. doubling on 9 through 11 – Lowers house advantage by 0.25%.
  • Dealer stands on soft 17 vs. hitting – Lowers house edge 0.2%.
  • Double down after splitting (DAS) – Lower the house edge or advantage by 0.17%.
  • Re-splitting aces – This reduces the house advantage by 0.08%.
  • Late surrender – This lowers house advantage by 0.07%.

Learn Blackjack Strategy

It never ceases to amaze me how many blackjack players refuse to learn strategy. The same gamblers are basically throwing money away by not putting their pride aside.

You merely need to find a strategy chart through Google to get started. You can probably complete the search within 15 seconds.

Assuming you’re playing online blackjack, you can easily refer to a strategy chart on every hand. Eventually, you’ll memorize the moves and not have to look at this resource as much.

Land-based casinos don’t want you slowing down the action by referring to your chart on every single hand. But if you’ve already practiced online first, you won’t have to look at the chart so often.

Try Card Counting

Earlier, I discussed how the main challenge associated with card counting is getting away with it. Casinos almost everywhere have the legal right to throw you out for counting.

But you should still consider this advantage gambling method if you’re truly serious about blackjack. You can use card counting to gain an edge over the house ranging from 0.5% to 1.5%.

You might be surprised to know that learning how to count cards isn’t that difficult.

Conclusion

The dealer’s biggest advantage is that they get to act second. Assuming you bust out, then they automatically win before even flipping over their hole card.

The croupier also benefits from the lack of common blackjack strategy knowledge and rules skewed in the house’s favor. If they deal at a fast speed on top of this, then you’ll really have some trouble winning.

Nevertheless, you can still improve your odds by learning strategy and seeking favorable rules. You might even try your hand at card counting to see if this helps too.

7 Nightmares of Every College Football Gambler

Man Sweating With Eyes Closed and a College Football Stadium Background

I like college football for betting because there are dozens of games every week of the season and you can find weak lines for many games in middle and small sized conferences. But it doesn’t matter if you’re betting on small conference games or big conference games; there are some things that you can’t predict.

If you bet on many NCAA football games, the odds are good that you’ve had to deal with a few nightmare scenarios. Here are seven college football nightmares that many gamblers have to deal with.

I’ve also included some details about how you can deal with some of these nightmares, but the truth is that most of them are out of your control.

1 – Big Rivalry Matchup’s

One of the most unpredictable situations you have to deal with when gambling on college football games is rivalry games. Each NCAA football team has a rival, and when the two teams meet it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen.

It doesn’t matter if one team has had a terrible year and the other is on fire, when it comes to NCAA football rivalry games, each team usually comes prepared with their best shot.

I quit betting on rivalry games in college football several season back, because these games are simply too unpredictable. I can find plenty of other games on the schedule that offer value so I don’t feel pressured to force bets on rivalry games.

This is what I suggest you do as well, so you can avoid the nightmares of the underdog playing above their head or the favorite getting a lead and pouring on the points to crush their hated rival. Either of these situations is realistic, and if you’re on the wrong side it’s going to give you nightmares, and cost you money.

2 – Lopsided Game Issues

If you’re wagering on the moneyline in college football, lopsided games aren’t a big concern. As long as you’re on the winning side, it doesn’t matter how lopsided the game gets.

But if you’re betting point spreads or totals, a lopsided game can give you nightmares. And the problem is that these games can go both ways, so you can lose because of it no matter which side you’re on.

NCAAF Quarterback Surrounded by Defenders

If you bet the favorite and gave the points, the favorite might get out to a big lead and back off and let the underdog cover. And if you took the points, the favorite might keep running the score up so you don’t cover.

The same issues come up on the totals. When you’re on the over, one team can get a big lead and then play prevent, running out the clock while staying under. And if you’re on the under, one team might keep scoring to secure a win while the losing team scores a lot trying to keep up.

It can be dangerous to make too many wagers on games with big spreads because of these issues, so be careful when you’re evaluating these types of game.

3 – Kids Being Kids

NCAA football is such a big and profitable sport that it’s easy to forget that the players are kids and young adults. They make mistakes and sometimes poor judgment leads to unintended consequences.

What happens when you evaluate a game, place a bet, and then two or three start players get suspended for the game? Or even worse, a few star players were out all night before the game and put in a terrible performance that you had no way of predicting?

The only thing you can do when you evaluate NCAA football games and lines is use all of the information you have. The fact is that no one has all of the information, so you just have to make your best guess. But never forget that you’re betting on a sport played by kids and young adults.

You can’t control them, and you can’t accurately predict what’s going to happen every time in the best of circumstances.

4 – Kickers Costing You a Game

I don’t know many football gamblers that have a fondness for kickers. Every football gambler has a story about at least one no good kicker that cost them a game.

College kickers are extremely unpredictable. This makes sense if you think about the kickers in the NFL. The truth is that there aren’t even 30 good kickers to fill NFL rosters, so why would anyone think there are over 100 decent kickers to fill the college football ranks?

This might seem harsh, but there are less than 10 good kickers in the NCAA in any season, and less than five that are truly great. All of this leads to this main point: You can’t rely on college football kickers to perform with anything close to consistency.

I find it easier to evaluate teams that don’t rely on their kicker at all, because I don’t even consider the kicker when predicting the game. Any points the kicker scores is a bonus, because if the game is on the line and he has to hit a tough field goal the team is in trouble.

5 – Important Turnovers

Nothing can swing the outcome of a game, and a bet, than a turnover. A turnover in a college football game can swing a game by as much as 14 points. And it can also alter the entire course of a game.

The team with momentum can be driving for a decisive score, turn the ball over and then never recover. This can happen to the best teams and the worst teams.

You need to evaluate each team for their turnover tendencies as best as you can, but it’s impossible to predict turnovers in upcoming games. This is why college football gamblers have nightmares about turnovers in important situations.

I form a loose list of college football teams ever season based on how well they protect the football and how good they are at forcing turnovers. This isn’t a perfect solution, but it does help me win bets on NCAA football games.

6 – Recruits Struggling

Evaluating college football games requires an understanding of recruiting rankings now more than ever. The best recruiting teams rule the NCAA football world, so you need to know which teams have the best recruits.

But this is challenging, because not every recruit lives up to his ranking. In fact, the problem is that recruiting rankings are set by humans, and as you know, humans make a lot of mistakes.

College Football Player Running the Ball

Just because one player is a 3-star recruit and another is a 5-star recruit, it doesn’t guarantee that the 3-star is going to be outperformed by the 5-star.

The recruiting rankings are usually fairly accurate, but be aware of big time recruits struggling. When you put too much faith in recruiting rankings, it can cost you money over the course of a season.

7 – Coaches Going against You

If you read many of my articles about betting on sports, you might be familiar with my dislike for coaches in every sport. It’s not that I don’t personally like coaches; it’s just that I hate that their goals aren’t the same as mine.

I want a coach to play with the point spread in mind. Of course, this is probably a bad idea in college football, but it might help me win more money.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking college football coaches are your friends, as they most assuredly don’t have the same goals as you do as a gambler. In fact, if you personally know a college football coach and he finds out that you’re a gambler the odds are high that he’s going to stop talking to you.

NCAA football coaches keep their jobs by winning games, whether by one point or 20. In fact, college football coaches can get away with almost anything as long as they win. As a college sports gambler, you have different goals than the coaches.

The only way to completely rid yourself f the college football coach nightmare is to only bet on the moneyline.

Conclusion

The list of possible nightmares you might face as a college football gambler is long. And the main reason why they’re nightmares is because they’re out of your control. But this doesn’t mean that you’re completely helpless.

Once you know what the main NCAA football nightmares are, you can work to avoid some of them and learn how to live with the rest of them. You shouldn’t waste time worrying about things you can’t control, even if these things can be painful.

Use these seven nightmares as a starting point to help you improve your college football gambling results.

No, You Don’t Have to Show Your ID to Casinos

Strikeout Over a Man's ID and a Casino Background

A casino employee asking for your ID seems like a harmless request. Maybe they just think you look young for your age and want to confirm that you’re old enough to gamble.

If you’re an advantage player (AP), though, such requests aren’t so harmless. Assuming the casino wants identification, they likely feel that you may be cheating or are an AP.

As an advantage gambler, you don’t want casinos knowing your identity. After all, they can restrict you from their property and enter you into a database.

But do you want to know what’s great? You aren’t legally obligated to produce identification for the casino.

This fact is strange when considering that casinos can’t serve underage players and seemingly need access to IDs. But it’s true.

I’m going to discuss more on why gambling venues ask for identification along with the only time that you really need to produce it.

Reasons Why Casinos Want to See Your ID

Most reasons why casino employees want to see identification revolve around suspecting advantage play. Casinos don’t have to serve APs in most states, and they won’t whenever possible.

However, they may have other reasons for requesting ID as well. Below, you can see the main scenarios when you’ll be asked for identification.

The Casino Wants You to Join the VIP Program

The one time where ID requests are harmless is when a casino simply wants you to join their loyalty program.

This situation arises naturally when a pit boss or floor supervisors sees you betting big and/or playing for hours. In this case, they’ll want to retain your loyalty by bringing you into the VIP program.

Of course, loyalty rewards don’t quite make up for the profits you make as an AP. Therefore, you should politely decline the invitation if you’re a successful gambler.

They’re Trying to See If You’re a Known Advantage Player

Pit bosses are trained to spot signs of advantage gambling. Assuming they see one or more of these signs, they may introduce themselves and ask for your ID.

An Active Blackjack Table

If you’re an AP, you definitely don’t want to give them your identification. As soon as they figure out who you are, they can take one or more of the following actions:

  • Further investigate you to find out if you’re an advantage gambler.
  • Ban you from their casino for good.
  • Enter you into a nationwide or even international database of known APs.

None of these scenarios are good if you’re a profitable player. That said, you should simply tell them that you don’t have an ID on you.

The Casino Wants to Ban You

After watching you play, a pit boss may be extremely certain that you’re a professional gambler. They might follow their intuition and skip straight to banning you from the casino.

Banning refers to when the casino restricts you from their establishments and threatens legal action if you return.

Aside from the rare (and highly illegal) chance that you’ll be beaten up by security, this is the worst thing that can happen an advantage player. You’ll not only be banned from the current casino but also any properties that they own around the world.

They Want to Ensure You’re Not a Known Cheater

I sincerely hope that you’re not a casino cheater. After all, you risk serious legal consequences if caught.

Of course, casinos may explore all possibilities if they see you winning lots of money. Assuming they get a hold of your ID, employees can search databases to check if you are a convicted cheater.

Casinos Only Need to See Your ID When You Win a Jackpot

The one time where you do want to give a casino your identification is if you win a large jackpot. Gambling establishments are required to obtain your ID and fill out paperwork for tax purposes if you win $1,200 or more.

You can still refuse to show identification. However, the casino can’t pay you the jackpot until seeing your ID.

Valid forms of identification that you can produce in this situation include a driver’s license, passport, and military ID. Any identification you show must have your photo on it.

Assuming you truly forget a photo ID, then the casino will photograph you and hold your money at the cashier’s cage. You can return at any time with identification to claim your payout.

But what if you’re an AP who doesn’t want to give up an ID? In this case, you should consider the following thoughts before deciding if claiming the jackpot is worth it:

  • Does the casino have reason to suspect that you’re an advantage gambler?
  • Should you forgo a smaller jackpot (e.g. just over $1.2k) to conceal your identity?
  • Is the jackpot so big (e.g. $100k or more) that it’s worth blowing your cover?
  • Should you quit progressive blackjack tables in the future?

Why Does Everybody Think Casinos Have a Right to See IDs?

If you’re a normal casino patron, then you’ll have no problem giving a casino employee your identification. Again, though, you’re making a mistake by showing ID as an AP.

Nevertheless, you may feel like you’re obligated to reveal identification to gambling establishments. You shouldn’t feel stupid in this case, because you’re merely one of many gamblers who believe this is a legal obligation.

The thought that you must show casino identification when asked stems from minimum gambling ages. Gaming venues must enforce the minimum gambling age (e.g. 21 and up) in their specific state or country.

That said, you might believe that giving up your identification is necessary to help casinos follow local laws. The reality, though, is that you don’t have to help them in this matter at all. They can just kick you out if they’re at all concerned that you’re an underage player.

Gaming Laws Don’t Give Casinos Legal Rights to Your Identification

Many states have “stop and identify” laws that require you to produce ID when an officer of the law requests it. If you refuse to show identification, then the officer(s) can arrest you.

Casino employees are not law enforcement and can’t legally make you produce identification. They’re lying if they tell you otherwise.

You don’t even have to show your ID after winning a jackpot. This decision is completely voluntary depending upon if you want to claim the jackpot that day or later (if at all).

Gambling establishments can detain you and call police if they have a valid reason to do so. In this case, the arresting officer(s) will identify you either at the casino or at the station.

A casino could also call police if without detaining you. In this scenario, the officer can stop you anywhere on or off the property and ask for identification.

Long story short, law enforcement has a right to see your ID. Casino employees, on the other hand, don’t possess this authority.

Casinos Will Try Coercing You

Pit bosses and other employees don’t read off your legal rights when requesting identification. Instead, they’ll simply say something like, “Can I see your ID?”

Many rookie advantage gamblers quickly crumble and produce identification. You, however, don’t want to fall into this trap.

Your first line of defense should be to tell them that you’re not currently carrying an ID. They’ll likely press you again on the matter.

Closeup of Two Slot Machines

At this point, you can tell them that you forgot to grab your identification on the way out the door. The employee will tell you that they need to see ID before allowing you to keep playing.

You can continue refusing their requests. Eventually, they’ll probably kick you out of the casino.

The bad news is that you have to halt your advantage play at that point. The good news, though, is that you can always return to the same casino with a different look (e.g. long beard) and play again. After all, they won’t have your information on file and in a database.

Conclusion

The thought that you must show casinos your ID when requested is a myth. Gambling venues can’t legally force you to reveal identification unless backed by an officer of the law.

Of course, this small matter doesn’t stop casinos from asking for your ID. They often want identification if they suspect that you’re a cheater or AP.

Casinos don’t like serving advantage players, because they have a higher chance of losing money. In most states, gambling establishments can legally refuse service to anybody.

Assuming you’re a professional player, the last thing you want to do is comply with their ID request. Doing so will put you into a database that allows other casinos to identify you as an AP.

You can continue refusing the casino’s request for identification all day. The worst they can do is throw you out and warn you not to come back.

But if they don’t have an ID on file, they’ll have to visually remember you. If you change up your appearance, then you might be able to keep playing at the same casino later on.

The only situations where you should show an ID is if you’re either joining the VIP program or claiming a jackpot. In all other scenarios, you should deny their request and let them kick you out (temporarily).

7 Reasons to Stop Gambling on Sports

Strike Out Symbol Over Various Sports Balls and a Sportsbook Background

I enjoy sports in many different ways. I like to watch them, I used to play many different sports, and I like to bet on them. I’m not alone in these things, especially when it comes to gambling on sporting events.

The sad fact is that most people who gamble on sports should quit. This is because most sports gamblers aren’t doing what they need to do to win money over time.

Here’s a list of seven reasons why you should stop gambling on sports. And there’s also some information about what you can do to improve your odds of winning if you’re not ready to quit.

1 – You Can’t Beat the Vig

I want to share a secret about gambling on sports with you. Using the point spreads published by the big sportsbooks, you could break even in the long run by flipping a coin to pick winners if you didn’t have to pay vig.

When you make a bet using a point spread, there are only three possible outcomes. You can win or lose or tie. When you win, you receive your original bet back plus the amount you won.

When you lose, you don’t get anything back, resulting in a loss of your original bet amount. When you tie, in most cases you get your bet back.

NCAAF Quarterback Throwing the Ball

If you’re able to bet $100 to win $100, all you have to do is win 50% of the time to break even. And you can win 50% of the time blindly picking sides of the point spread to bet on.

The main problem is you can’t bet with the sportsbooks on an even basis. You have to be more than you can win. This is generally 10%, so you have to bet $110 to win $100.

Most sports gamblers can’t beat the extra charge, called a vig. If you’re not beating the vig, you should stop gambling on sports.

2 – You Don’t Spend Enough Time Handicapping Games

The main reason why most sports gamblers can’t beat the vig is because they don’t spend enough time handicapping events. The problem is that just putting in more time isn’t always enough. Handicapping sports games is a challenging skill to develop.

Here’s what most sports gamblers do: They look at the lines at the sportsbook and either bet on their favorite team, quickly guess which team to bet on, or spend a couple minutes looking at the standings and a few stats, and then they make a wager.

All of these tactics are basically the same as flipping a coin or throwing darts to pick a team to bet on.

You have two options when it comes to betting on sporting events. You can either dedicate enough time and effort to each game to give yourself a realistic chance to profit, or you should simply bet on the team you want and not worry about anything else.

The reason why I say you have two choices is because if you’re not handicapping games correctly, there’s no reason to even try to get an edge. You’re not going to get an edge any way except thorough evaluation and handicapping.

3 – You Bet on Everything

While it’s true that some of the top sports gamblers in the world place wagers on a wide range of sporting events, the truth is that you’re not good enough to do this. You can’t make profitable wagers on every sport offered by the sportsbooks.

You have to pick one sport and/or area to focus on if you want to have any realistic chance at profit. You can’t bet on everything if you want to win.

Many sports gamblers are what I call action junkies. They feel like they have to have action on games every day, so they basically bet on everything.

You can’t afford to be an action junkie. If getting action is more important than winning, you should simply give up on the idea of being a winning sports gambler.

4 – You Rely on Luck or Hope

I mentioned in a previous section that you can either properly evaluate sporting events or forget everything and just pick whatever team you want. It’s a complete waste of time to do anything in between the two extremes.

NCAAB Minnesota Players Celebrating

Hope and luck are two of the most dangerous words a sports gambler can use. Anytime you hope something happens or rely on luck, it’s a sure sign that you either need to quit betting on sports or you need to invest more time evaluating the games you want to place bets on.

Every sports gambler hopes that they get lucky. But almost all of them lose. Forget about hope or luck. The best sports gamblers never have to rely on hope or luck, because they develop sports betting systems that help them secure long term profits.

5 – You Refuse to Use a Bankroll

If you aren’t using a dedicated bankroll for all of your sports gambling activities you either need to start using one immediately or stop gambling on sports.

This might sound like a harsh or extreme statement, but professional sports gamblers use a bankroll. Amateur sports gamblers don’t use a bankroll. Some professional sports gamblers make a profit, and very few amateur gamblers make a profit.

Using a dedicated bankroll won’t make you a profitable sports gambler, but it’s one of the things you need to do if you’re serious about winning.

Your bankroll is a tool that helps you win. A dedicated sport gambling bankroll helps you track your profits and losses and helps you determine proper bet sizing.

6 – Poker Strategy Is More Straightforward

Advantage gamblers have found ways to make a profit. Gambling on sports is one of the ways that some professional advantage players make a profit. But it’s not necessarily the easiest way. In this section and the next section you’re going to learn about two options that might be better than gambling on sports.

Three of the main areas where advantage gamblers can get a profit are gambling on sports, playing poker, and playing blackjack. None of these are easy, but with the proper amount of work and strategy you can make money in each of the three.

Poker strategy is more straightforward than sports gambling strategy. Poker strategy is still complicated, and most players never learn enough to be profitable. But it’s easier for many gamblers to learn how to beta poker games than it is to learn how to beat sportsbooks.

The truth is that if you’re willing to do the work and put in the time you can use any of the 3 gambling areas to make a profit. But you have to pick one and stick with it. If gambling on sports isn’t working out for you, consider focusing on poker.

7 – Blackjack Is Easier

If sports gambling and poker aren’t working out for you, blackjack might be the answer. In fact, if you can learn a few advanced blackjack strategies and how to get away with them, it’s a good reason to stop gambling on sports.

Closeup of a Blackjack Player Placing a Bet

Real money blackjack is easier than handicapping sporting events and learning poker strategy. It’s still not easy, but if you’re willing to put in enough time and practice you can learn how to win as a blackjack player.

You just need to learn 3 things to be a winning blackjack gambler.

  • Learn the rules
  • Learn basic strategy
  • Learn how to count cards

The rules and strategy are simple. You can even get a card that lists all of the best strategy plays and use it when you play. But it doesn’t take long to memorize blackjack strategy. This leaves learning how to count cards.

You can find articles about counting cards on this site or by reading a good book or two. Once you know how it works, all you have to do is practice.

Conclusion

Should you stop gambling on sports? In the end this is a decision that you’re going to need to make. If you’re not profitably gambling on sports yet, are you willing to do what you need to do to change your results?

If you’re not willing to make changes, you should probably stop gambling on sports and find something else to do. Poker and blackjack are both options that some gamblers use to make profits.

If you still want to gamble on sporting events after reading the 7 reasons why you should stop, then it’s time to get busy. Learn more about handicapping sporting events and start putting in more time and effort. This is the only way to start making money gambling on sporting events.

How to Place Sports Bets

Two Hands Exchanging Money With a Sportsbook and Stadium Background

Have you ever thought about placing a sports bet but didn’t know how?

I hope this can clear up some of the confusion and allow you to comfortably enjoy placing a sports bet. I will try to help you figure out how to participate in the “action” without anxiety and walk away confident in your wager.

There are a couple of ways to place sports bets. One of them is using online sportsbooks, and the other is in the sports room at the casino. Both are easy and fun but require a little bit more than just handing over money to a guy behind a cage. If you don’t know the process, decisions can be made that can negatively affect your pocketbook and the joy typically derived from gambling.

We will dig more into the various sports actions in a later post, but as in all things, we have to learn to crawl before walking. As far as the atmospheres, I like the face to face atmosphere of the sports room more based on its excitement and crowd participation, but with the new age, my friends and I can find another kind of fun sharing ideas and challenges online.

Decide on What Bet I Am Placing

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Or does it?

The first time I bet in Vegas with my friends, I was in line chatting and got to the window suddenly in mass confusion. The line behind me became restless, and I became more anxious. It was like being in a restaurant being pressured by the waiter, and I end up ordering crap salad versus filet mignon. My friends still heckle me about the great wagers I placed that day.

Be prepared when going up to the window. Know what you are going to wager based on the assigned betting number.  It will be the number on the left of the team or event you want to place your bet. Know this number when going up to the window. It will represent the team you are placing the bet.

Have Your Money Ready at the Window

Have your money prepared.

Ever heard of an 11 to 10 concept?

It’s by far one of the most common bets. It means I will need to bet $110 to win 100. So, have your money ready and not require the clerk to make crazy change or bet $100 to get $91. With this knowledge, I am prepared to make specific bets, especially in football spreads.

College Football Player Running the Ball

When I get my ticket, I take a picture of it in case I lose it. I can often get paid with proof even after too much fun and losing my ticket. A photo and explanation will allow me to still collect after they vet that the ticket has not been cashed. It may take around 30 days, so it’s best not to lose it.

But late money is better than no money.

Betting Online

There are many safe and reliable online sportsbooks, but I need to pick a site that has the games which interest me. Many of these are reviewed by experts, and I need to do some research for the one that provides good ratings in the following:

  • Customer service
  • User interface
  • Speed in betting and payments
  • Options for financial transactions
  • Do they work well with all my devices
  • Variety of betting options

The one I select needs to have good ratings in all of these categories so I can bet wherever I am and view changing odds in real-time. If you want to use PayPal, you will be out of luck unless you live in New Jersey, and that’s another topic entirely.

All of them use electronic checking and credit cards with several now using bitcoins. It depends on the privacy and security you need. I have not used bitcoins, but the way bitcoins fluctuate, it would be like gambling using my stocks. I have bitcoins, and their value can change daily.

But bets are paid in real-time value.

Bitcoins

To use bitcoins, you will need a bitcoins account (wallet). Once you have a wallet, you will be able to transfer monies to and from your online site. You will also be able to just keep cash in that wallet each time without having to convert to and from bitcoins.

Due to banking regulations (ugh) for cash transfers and deposits, you will need a camera either on your phone or laptop because you all have to show proof (driver’s license) in making bank deposits.  If this sounds like a hassle, find one that uses a credit card.

Let’s Talk Betting Football

Football betting has a simple structure, and most bets fall along with the 11:10 method for the leading sportsbooks. The originating sportsbook will have total game points listed, and you can pick over or under the total, so you pick the game number pay $110 to win 100.

What about the spread or the estimated win margin?

The spread will typically be listed for the favored team where you pick the team and its associated game number. You will use the game number for the team you choose, and the spread will apply for wither the underdog or against the favorite. Again, it’s the same 11:10 betting structure.

A key to picking the winners is watching the lines change for the various sportsbooks, and if the originator line begins to change, say from 3.5 to 4, I want to place the bet on a sportsbook that is still 3.5.

Eventually, the lines catch up, but my bet will be held at 3.5, whether it goes up or down later.

You should also know that home teams are always listed below the away team.

The Next Game to Review Is Baseball

When you first look at baseball betting lines, you will see the Game #, team, opener (two numbers), and each sportsbook line. The betting line will be listed across the game favorite, and you will see numbers like -118/-102, which is the money to bet to win $100 for both the favorite and the underdog. These numbers have nothing to do with the score other than being on the bets on the game favorite line.

MLB Player Ronald Acuna Junior Running the Bases

On the row beneath the favorite line, there is another number that indicates the over/under. Next to the over/under number will be an “o” or “u,” followed by another larger number indicating what you have to bet to win $100.

The pitchers are the most crucial factor for these game lines, and the bet will no longer be good if the pitcher changes. However, you can say “I want action,” and you have the bet regardless of who starts for the new betting line that’s established for the new pitcher. If either of the pitchers does not start, there is no action on the total over/under. If you do not want “action,” it is always a good idea that you specify “listed pitchers.”

Proposition Bets and Future Bets

Proposition bets are derivative bets that you can make during the game and center around specific players or events that occur in specific game situations. They can range from points scored by a player or number of specific statistical events like field goals or 3-pointers. These bets will also be given a bet line for the player or event but generally follow the 11:10 format.

These bets will have a game number, but you will need to specify the over or under portion with your bet. These lines also change more frequently, so when you are betting, don’t be surprised if the line changed when you go to bet.

Future bets can be for the full season or for various tournaments like tennis. These bets give better odds, and the odds indicate how much you win betting $1.

Here’s an example:

If the line says Miami to win World Series 200/1, a $100 bet will earn you $20,000. These can be incredibly fun and keep you in the middle of the sport for the whole season. Most professionals don’t mess with these, but I like the entertainment and pick a couple each year.

Conclusion

I covered numerous items in this blog from avenues of betting, currencies, betting lines, how to interpret the lines, and how to say the right things so you get the optimal bet. Remember the game number, the amount you bet to win $100, reviewing the bet lines to catch them before they adjust to the originator, proposition bets, and the entertainment of future bets.

I have to know what I am doing to have a chance at winning, and that is the goal of each bet placed. Never leave it up to someone else to misinterpret what I want when betting, so be specific. In later blogs, I will discuss long term strategies based on my experience and experience passed down from the pros.

Find a reliable place to place the bet, get comfortable with the location, and set up the appropriate currency if you are betting online.

Why Do Certain Table Games Always Stay Popular?

Blackjack and Roulette Graphics With a Casino Table Games Background

When you think of casino table games, you probably don’t immediately envision Let It Ride or Caribbean Stud. Instead, you most likely think of the classics, such as baccarat, blackjack, and roulette.

These games have remained popular for centuries. That said, casinos like sticking with a proven formula and offering them in abundance.

But why exactly are the same casino games popular year after year? I’ll answer this question by discussing the exact factors that make these classics stay on top.

What Are the Most Popular Table Games?

The most popular table games can differ based on the region. For example, Macau and Singapore feature plenty of traditional Asian gambling games, such as mahjong and sic bo. Generally speaking, though, the tried-and-true table games include baccarat, blackjack, and roulette.

You could also include craps in this list. However, much like mahjong and sic bo, craps is more of a North American favorite than anything.

Real money blackjack is widely featured in European and North American casinos. It offers a strategic element and low house edge that many gamblers love.

Baccarat has become more and more popular within the last two decades. The mini version, which features seven seats and fairly low stakes, has made this game more accessible to the average gambler.

Roulette is a classy casino game that’s found in gambling establishments worldwide. It comes in multiple variations, including American, European, and French roulette.

Lengthy History

The big reason why the casino games discussed above have remained popular for centuries is due to their history. These games boast lengthy histories that have contributed to their successes. They’ve each been around for centuries and don’t appear to be going anywhere.

Baccarat traces its roots back to Etruscan religious ceremonies. Communities would toss a nine-sided dice to determine if a virgin was worthy of becoming a priestess.

She would earn this honor if an eight or nine was rolled. She’d be banished from the community if a six or seven came up. The virgin would have to drown herself at sea if the result where a one through five.

Roulette got its start when Roman soldiers wagered on sections of spinning wagon wheels. It first graced casinos in 1796, when Paris started offering roulette wheels.

Blackjack’s earliest form goes back to the 15th century, when a game called Trentuno (Italian for 31) was born. The latter eventually turned into what we know now as blackjack.

These Games Evolved to Their Current Forms

None of the classic casino table games got to where they are today by staying the same. After all, no modern gambler would bet on spinning wagon wheels or dice made out of sheep knuckles.

The latter refers to the Etruscan’s baccarat-style ceremony that determined the fate of a virgin priestess. Now, it has a complex scoring system and is a favorite among high rollers.

Vintage Las Vegas Craps Photo

Blackjack was a rudimentary card game when it first started in Italian gambling houses. Today, it features some of the most in-depth strategy in the casino.

Roulette was far from having its polished wheel and felted tabletop in Ancient Roman times. It didn’t come close to its current form until entering Parisian casinos in the late 18th century.

As you can see, the most popular table games have had a long time to evolve. They didn’t just suddenly start with the perfect blend of entertaining gameplay and fair rules.

Success Breeds More Success

Gamblers walk into casinos expecting to see plenty of baccarat, blackjack, and roulette tables. They may even seek variations of these games, such as how blackjack offers variants such as Switch, Spanish 21, Super Fun 21, and more.

Casinos are in the business of meeting the demands of their customers. They make sure to supply the most desirable games in abundance. As a result, casinos are filled with roulette wheels, blackjack tables, and baccarat tables. Success only breeds more success for these games.

Of course, there are always going to be gamblers who enjoy alternatives to the classics. Three-Card Poker, Let It Ride, and video poker are all relatively modern inventions that offer a breather from the norm.

But casinos can only supply these alternatives to a certain degree. They have the most success with time-honored games, which is why they feature so much roulette, baccarat, and blackjack action.

Again, certain table games also enjoy lots of regional popularity. If you visit Macau, for example, you’re going to see plenty of sic bo and mahjong tables.

Craps tables are abundant in US and Canadian casinos. Therefore, you’ll find this game in greater supply when in North America.

Why Do New Table Games Struggle?

Sometimes, it feels like casinos only care about slot machines, roulette, and a few other table games. But this isn’t actually the case.

The casino gambling market actively seeks new games that can become hits. They want to ensure that players have the opportunity to enjoy a variety of fun games.

Some of the new inventions are clear-cut winners. Caribbean Stud, Let It Ride, and Three-Card Poker all came about in the 1990s and have since become successes.

But for every Three-Card Poker, there are dozens or even hundreds of failures. Unproven games must first go through market testing before going mainstream.

Three Card Poker Table Game

A casino can’t just roll out dozens of tables for something that’s yet to catch on. They instead need to experiment and decide if they’ll purchase the rights to a game from the inventor.

It’s hard drawing players away from the baccarat and blackjack tables. Gamblers usually overlook anything new and stick to what they’re familiar with.

The inventors themselves also take considerable risk when developing a new game. They have to pay for lawyers and patent fees before ever getting a chance to introduce the games.

An inventor could easily sink six figures into the endeavor. Even after such a significant investment, their game could fail to catch on at casinos.

This brings me to another point in that gambling establishments don’t have to pay licensing fees for baccarat, blackjack, and roulette. They do, however, need to pay those who develop new games. This is yet another reason why they prefer sticking with the classics.

Conclusion

You might think that casino games that have been around for hundreds of years would become stale after a while. But the fixtures only seem to be gaining popularity.

Specifically, baccarat, blackjack, and roulette just keep on rolling. They’ve been refined to a point where they offer a great mixture of intriguing gameplay and player-friendly odds.

Of course, Three-Card Poker, Let It Ride, and Caribbean Stud show that newer entries can also become popular. Each has earned its space on gambling floors and serves as a fun alternative.

However, roulette, blackjack, and baccarat don’t look to fade away anytime soon. They collectively rule the table games scene and look to continue doing so into the foreseeable future.

11 Reasons Not to Go to Las Vegas to Gamble

Strike Out Sign With a Las Vegas Background

Las Vegas is a great place to gamble, but it’s not for everyone. The city as it’s known today was built on gambling and has expanded to include top entertainment and food options, as well as a thriving nightclub scene. It still offers a great experience and more gambling options in one place than anywhere else in the world.

Here’s a list of 11 things to consider if you’re thinking about taking a trip to Las Vegas to gamble. You might just find that there are better options, depending on what you’re looking for.

Just to be clear, I’m not trying to convince you not to go to Las Vegas. I’ve been there many times and always enjoy the trip. But these are a few reasons you ought to consider before planning your Vegas gambling trip.

1 – It’s Hot

I know you’re thinking that you’re going to be spending all of your time inside a casino with great air conditioning, but if you go anywhere outside during your trip, the desert heat can be extreme in the summertime.

Taking a short walk from one casino to another on the Strip is enough to wear anyone out, especially those who are not used to the heat.

If you do decide to take a walk outside in Las Vegas, plan it for the evening when the sun is already down. Of course, it can also get cold at night during certain times of the year, so you might want to take a light jacket for your walk.

2 – Too Many People

Every time I visit Las Vegas, there are tons of people. Casinos always seem to be filled to the brim. And even walking along the Strip, it seems like there are hundreds of tourists you have to encounter just to get through.

Some people don’t mind spending time in crowds. But if they bother you, then Las Vegas might not be your best option. You can find many other gambling destinations that aren’t completely swamped with people. If you still want to go somewhere in Nevada to gamble but you want smaller crowds, Reno might be a good option.

3 – Flight Cost

Anytime you have to get on an airplane, it’s a pain. Not to mention, flight costs just keep going up. The bottom line is, it’s expensive to fly to Las Vegas. Instead of spending the extra money on a plane ticket, you could use the money to gamble with if you go to a casino you can drive to.

Mountain View of Flying Into Las Vegas

If you do end up going to Las Vegas, you can usually save a good amount of money on your flight if you start looking for deals several months before your trip. I start looking at flights around four to six months before I go in order to get the best deal.

You can also save money if you’re flexible about when you fly. Sometimes, the price difference between flying on a Tuesday versus a Friday can be quite a bit.

4 – Easier to Gamble Online

Instead of going through an airport, getting a cab, and fighting the crowds in the casino, why not log onto your favorite online casino or poker room? It’s a lot less expensive, and you can start gambling in just a minute or two.

Of course, the gambling experience isn’t the same as playing in a real casino in Las Vegas, but you can play the same games, and usually for a much lower table minimum. If one online casino doesn’t have the games you want to play, try another one.

Most real money online casinos have all of the popular casino games, and some of them have less popular games you can try as well.

5 – More Variety Online

Las Vegas offers a lot of variety, but the casinos can only fit so many slot machines and table games on the floor. Online casinos don’t have to worry about floor space, so they can offer a wider variety without adding much cost.

One area where this really stands out is slot machines. You can find a lot of different slot machines in the casinos in Las Vegas, but there are thousands of slot machines to choose from online. Different software platforms are used by different online casinos, and each software company has their own slot machines.

If you sign up at online casinos using different software developers, you can quickly access hundreds of different slots games.

6 – Hotel Germs

No one wants to think too much about it, but hotel rooms are full of germs. The hotels do what they can to keep the rooms clean, but the fact is that many different people stay in each room every year, and they each can bring germs that you probably don’t want.

Messy Hotel Bed With In Room Dining Tray

And Las Vegas attracts all kinds of people from all over the world. When you gamble someplace where you can drive home every night, you skip the chance of picking up germs from Las Vegas hotel rooms. This might be enough of a reason to skip a trip to Las Vegas for those who are concerned about cleanliness.

7 – Constant Advertising and Scams

If you’ve never walked on the Strip in Las Vegas, you’re missing out on quite an experience. But it’s not a completely good experience.

The sights and casinos are amazing, but you also get bombarded by advertising, flyers, and people trying to hand you stuff.

Most of the advertising is legitimate, but if you’re not careful, you can fall for a scam. Be careful when people approach you, and the best thing to do is not take anything from anyone. I simply ignore anyone who approaches me on the strip and refuse to accept anything. But this can still be a hassle.

8 – Easy to Spend Too Much Money

One thing that Las Vegas is really good at is getting people to spend money. You can find so many interesting things to do and places to eat that it seems never-ending. And even if you’re using a strict budget, it’s easy to see something that you feel like you have to do and spend more money.

I fell into this trap a little on my first trip to Las Vegas, but after that initial trip, I now plan every single thing I’m going to do before I go. If it’s not on the list, I don’t do it. If it’s something I really want to do, I add it to the list for the next trip.

9 – Same Games Closer to Home

Unless you play a rare or unpopular casino game, the odds are good that you can find your game much closer to home than Las Vegas. Popular games like blackjack, roulette, craps, video poker, and slots are offered in most land-based casinos. And many of them have other games you can try as well.

And if you do enjoy a game that you can only play in Las Vegas, learn how to play similar games that are more popular. The bad news is that if a game isn’t popular anywhere else, the casinos in Las Vegas are probably going to replace it soon anyway. So, you might take a trip and find that your favorite game is gone.

10 – Too Much Walking

Even if you spend most of your time in a casino, you might have to walk a long way. The popular casinos in Las Vegas are huge. Depending on where your room is located and where the games you want to play are located, you can easily walk a mile a day or more just gambling.

People Walking Along the Vegas Strip

On a map, the casinos look like they’re close together, but when you’re walking from one end to another, you quickly realize how big they are, and how far apart they are. If you don’t like walking, Las Vegas is probably not your best choice.

11 – May Be Too Far From Home

My mom and dad took a cruise several years ago when my grandparents were still alive. They almost didn’t take the cruise because there wasn’t a fast way to get home if they needed to come back to help one of my grandparents.

They decided to take the cruise and had a great time, and everything was good at home. But this is something to consider when you’re thinking about going to Las Vegas. It’s a long way from home for most people.

While there are flights out of Las Vegas every day, you need to consider how easy it’s going to be if you need to get home fast.

Conclusion

Taking a gambling trip to Las Vegas can be fun, but it’s not always the best choice. Unless you’re looking for a rare casino game or special slot machine, you can probably find what you’re looking for closer to home or online.

In addition to being one of the hottest places you can find a casino, Las Vegas is always filled with people. If you’re looking for a more laidback experience, Las Vegas might not be for you. Consider the 11 reasons not to go to Las Vegas listed on this page to see if it’s your best choice or not.

4 Crazy Ways People Have Tried to Cheat Casinos

Roulette Wheel and a Man in a Suit Reaching Into His Sleeve

Before getting into the article, I think it’s important to make one thing clear – the vast majority of people who cheat the casino get caught. Please don’t let this be your inspiration for a crazy idea that’s going to land you in jail.

Moving on. Since the first casino opened there have always been gamblers using creative, ingenious, and sometimes downright strange methods to get an advantage. Regardless of whether you’re talking about blackjack, slots, or something in between, some players just can’t accept the natural house edge.

In this article, I’ll go some of the most peculiar ways people have tried to cheat casinos over the years.

1 – Working Remote

Sometimes people who cheat are really just lazy and unintelligent. Other times, they’re hyper-motivated and extremely intelligent. This case falls in the latter category.

What sounds like something out of a James Bond movie actually took place in real life. To pull of the scam, three individuals were involved.

The most important of the three was the roulette croupier (the inside man). The other two were his brother in-law (playing the role of the actual gambler) and his sister, who would play at the next table down the line.

The roulette croupier had a unique set of skills aside from just running a roulette table. He was a radio enthusiast who had taken up making ham radios as a hobby. Using the knowledge he had gained throughout his time tinkering with radios, he devised a plan to build a small receiver that could be placed inside a special roulette ball.

If this plan sounds both relatively easy to execute, and also easy to be caught, keep in mind that it was 1973, and this type of technology was not found in many places.

Here’s how the plan worked: The croupier would go about his business like normal, and the brother in-law would place bets at the table. Next, the croupier would subtly swap out the normal ball for the robot ball. After that, his sister playing at the next table would activate the ball via a remote which was discreetly hidden in a pack of cigarettes.

But, how did the actual system work to their advantage once the ball was inserted into the game? I’m glad you asked.

The ball was designed to perform a controlled entry into the wheel that would have it always end up within a group of six numbers, nine times out of ten.

The system worked to perfection, and the trio was able to win five million Francs in just a week. Unfortunately, as usually happens with these plans, it all came crashing down not long after the initial winning.

Casino security understandably launched their investigation to see how the brother in-law was able to have so much success. Throughout their time watching the videos, they began to notice his sister always at a table close by – clutching what appeared to be the luckiest pack of cigarettes ever made.

They eventually asked to see her pack of cigarettes, which ended up revealing the secret.

This particular cheating system seems like one where both parties, the cheaters who won the money and the house that put an end to it, deserve credit for their efforts.

2 – The Hacker

In terms of mastermind hackers, Dennis Nikrasch was a rather unassuming. With more of a blue collar aesthetic than that of a computer genius, he shocked the world with his skills in manipulating real money slots.

It all started with an idea, and then a purchase. Nikrasch thought the best way to learn how to break the code was to practice in the comfort of his own home. He bought a slot machine for himself and began to learn.

Slots Cheat Dennis Nikrasch

He discovered that you could purchase the computer chips that were used in slot machines to regulate them, and bought some of his own. Next, he learned how to edit those particular chips in such a way that would set off a win whenever he wanted.

At this point, he could win on his home slot machine on command. The next step was to see if his discoveries could translate into winning someone else’s quarters.

While he didn’t possess the key that was necessary to get into the machines at the casino, he was able to procure one through black market channels. After that, he put a team together in order to form a human blocker that would shield him from surveillance cameras. All it would take was a minute or two for him to open up the machine, swap out the chip, and start playing.

To avoid any suspicion, another member of the team would play, and win, the machine that Nikrasch had rigged. Everyone wins, right?

Unfortunately the team he had assembled let him down. The first problem was that the person he hired was an employee of a Nevada gaming regulation organization and couldn’t collect winnings from the slot machines. This employee, Ronald Harris, utilized another player, Reid McNeal to do the winning.

McNeal won $100,000. That’s where the problems started. Not only did he act suspicious and forget to bring the necessary ID, but he went back to a bugged room filled with blueprints of how to manipulate keno machines. In short, it was the easiest bust ever.

It’s impossible to say whether or not the initial mastermind Nikrasch would have got away with it if he had better help, but it seems like he couldn’t have done any worse with a different team.

3 – World’s Smallest Camera

It’s been said that if you can see the other player’s cards, then playing cards really isn’t much fun. That might be true if you’re just playing for fun. When huge sums of money are involved, however, things become a little bit different.

When playing baccarat, it’s custom to have someone at the table cut the deck following the dealer shuffling. To be honest, there isn’t a real reason behind it – it’s just the way things are done. This story is a reminder that when players are allowed to touch the dealer’s cards, things can happen.

The “cutters” group (the name was inspired by the deck-cutting ritual described above) decided to take advantage of an opportunity to see which cards were coming up next. Their method? A tiny camera placed inside a player’s cufflink.

Camera Themed Cufflinks

You might be thinking that the information gained by the camera isn’t of much value without someone to watch the video. Enter step two of the plan. The player with the camera would go to the bathroom and the photos were given to an analyst who would compile a cheat sheet – quickly.

The player who had the camera would then ditch the camera and take the cheat sheet back to the table. In the end, the group was able to win more than $1 million from the Cosmopolitan Casino in Las Vegas.

This story ends a bit differently as the group escaped punishment, even though their scheme was exposed by regulators not long after the winning had concluded.

4 – Quick Hand

Richard Marcus believed the sleight-of-hand skill that so many card magicians employ could be useful when applied to poker chips. He took this thought to a real money roulette wheel and put on a show.

He would wander up to the table, acting a bit intoxicated, and put his chips down. He placed a modest $5 chip at the top, but was careful to hide the one underneath which was worth much more.

Casino Cheater Richard Marcus at a Seminar

If he lost the hand, he would slip the high-dollar chip back into his pile, undetected by the croupier. If he won, he would make a scene and reveal that he had, unbeknownst to the dealer, much more on the table than the $5 chips that were visible at the start.

Unlike all of the previous stories above, Marcus was never found out. In fact, the only reason anyone knows about the scheme today is because he wrote about it years later. Congrats Marcus, you did it.

Conclusion

It’s a near-certainty that as long as there are casinos, there will be people out there who think they can get an edge through some nefarious means. Again it’s important to reiterate, the success rate of these individuals, or groups, is very low.

The data would suggest your best bet for hitting it big is still the old fashioned way. In the end, the risk just isn’t worth it.

9 Tips for Dealing With Vegas Resort Fees

Fees Text With Money and a Las Vegas Sign Image

Most casinos throughout Las Vegas charge resort fees. These fees usually appear on your bill at the end of a stay.

Your booking cost may be $150 per night, but you could end up paying $200 per night when fees are added. You obviously won’t appreciate the extra $50 charge.

Unfortunately, resort fees have become a fact of life in Vegas. You can either blindly accept your fate or use the following tips to deal with them.

1 – Consider Amenities That You Don’t Use and Negotiate

Casinos don’t see themselves as gouging you with resort fees. Instead, they feel that they’re merely charging you for extra services.

Here are some common items and services that resorts provide during your stay:

  • Breakfast (possibly free)
  • Cable
  • Fitness center
  • Free parking
  • In-room coffee
  • Meeting rooms
  • Mini fridge (items not free)
  • Pet rooms (separate cost)
  • Swimming pool
  • Toiletries
  • Wi-Fi

You’re probably not going to use everything that’s bundled into resort fees. However, casinos may include all amenities regardless.

You can use this situation to lodge a complaint and get your resort fee reduced. Explain to the hotel clerk what you didn’t use or, if they can’t do anything, speak to a manager.

2 – Look for Services That Aren’t Working Properly

Las Vegas casinos see themselves as giving you a deal through resort fees. They bundle all of their amenities into one amount rather than charging you for each service separately.

Some of the services that they’re bundling may not work or be out of commission. The casino should take responsibility for this and reduce your fees as a result.

Here are problems that you may run into with amenities during your stay:

  • Breakfast closes early
  • Cable TV is out
  • All free parking spaces are taken
  • Swimming pool is closed during open hours
  • Wi-Fi doesn’t work very well

Nothing guarantees that the casino will seriously negotiate with you. However, these problems represent your best chance to get resort fees reduced or even eliminated.

During your stay, you should document any problems you experience along the way. You’ll then be able to quickly recall any non- or poorly-working amenities and possibly pay less as a result.

3 – Stay at Casino Resorts With Cheaper or Nonexistent Fees

The price that you pay for resort fees varies depending upon the casino hotel. The Bellagio is going to charge more than the Super 8, because they provide a more grand experience.

But you might not need access to a top-tier spa, the hottest nightclubs, or somebody handing you towels in the bathroom. Instead, you may simply be looking for a place to rest your head before heading to the casino.

Exterior View of the Aliante Hotel and Casino

In such cases, you should look for resorts or hotels that have cheaper fees. Most Las Vegas casinos charge some level of resort fee.

However, they each differ on how much they require in this department. Here are examples of resort charges at Vegas casinos and hotels at the time of writing:

  • Aliante Casino and Hotel – $28
  • ARIA Resort and Casino – $44
  • Arizona Charlie’s Boulder – $17
  • Bellagio – $44
  • Caesars Palace – $44
  • Cannery Hotel and Casino – $10
  • Circus Circus – $36
  • Desert Paradise Resort – $17
  • El Cortez – $17
  • Encore at Wynn – $39
  • Fortune Hotel and Suites – $10
  • Green Valley Ranch Resort and Casino – $44
  • Luxor Hotel and Casino – $40
  • Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino – $42
  • Oasis at Gold Spike – $23
  • Plaza Hotel and Casino – $22
  • Santa Fe Station Hotel and Casino – $23
  • Super 8 by Wyndham – $11

Ideally, you’ll even find a place to stay that doesn’t require resort fees at all. If you don’t see a hotel you prefer in this category, though, you can at least enjoy cheaper fees ranging from $1 to $5.

4 – Book Your Room With Rewards Points

You should always join the loyalty program at whatever casino you choose. The players club not only provides you access to exclusive promotions but also rewards points.

These points give you an opportunity to book your room without paying resort fees. As long as you have enough loyalty points to cover the booking cost, then you don’t need to worry about paying an extra 20% or more in fees.

Las Vegas casinos and hotels treat stays as loyalty rewards. They don’t want you to pay an extra dime because they’re rewarding you.

Therefore, hotels waive resort fees to ensure that you enjoy your room cost-free. The only things you need to worry about paying for include additional services and items that aren’t covered under resort charges, such as room service or spa treatment.

5 – Ask the Vegas Resort About Fees Ahead of Time

Casinos and hotels get your credit card information at booking time. This process allows them to charge you resort fees regardless of whether you’re okay with the idea or not.

That said, you shouldn’t always rely on being able to get the fees waived or reduced afterward. You want to take action beforehand.

Las Vegas Rooftop Pool

A simple call to the casino hotel itself will reveal what type of fees you’re facing. At the very least, you’ll know how much you need to cover on top of the booking charge.

You may be used to reserving hotel rooms over third-party websites without needing to speak with anybody. But when you stay at a Vegas hotel for the first time, you should consider calling ahead to see the kind of resort fees you’re facing.

6 – Do Some Online Research

Assuming you don’t like the idea of calling and speaking with a hotel rep, you can always perform online research. The latter gives a strong indication of what kind of fees the resort requires.

Resort fees vary depending upon the area of Vegas where you’re staying. The Vegas Strip is typically the worst about extra fees.

You’ll pay between $35 and $45 when booking rooms on the Strip. Meanwhile, you’ll probably pay $25 or less in resort fees when staying downtown.

Of course, this situation is always subject to change. Just 10 to 20 minutes’ worth of research can make all the difference when finding the best deals.

7 – Look for Dishonest Ads

Las Vegas is a very competitive hospitality market. Casinos often try luring you in with advertisements for free Wi-Fi, free fitness center access, and/or more.

The word “free” indicates that you pay nothing extra for these services. However, some Vegas casinos may include the same amenities in the resort fee.

You shouldn’t be surprised at this when considering that very few things are free in Vegas. On the other hand, you also don’t need to let hotels get away with this dishonesty.

You can point out the very ad you saw where a certain service was labeled as free. In turn, they may deduct a few dollars or more from your final bill.

8 – Call Your Credit Card Company

Assuming you have a legitimate gripe with a Vegas Casino charging resort fees, you could always contact your credit card company. They can remove the resort fee so that you don’t have to pay for it.

The credit card company may ask for additional details. Assuming you experience anything like what’s mentioned in Tip #7, you have strong grounds to get the resort fee blocked.

Rio Las Vegas Workout Room

When you don’t have anything concrete, though, there’s no guarantee that the credit card provider will block the charge.

Remember, casinos are often diligent about including resort fees in their terms and conditions, even if they’re not upfront about the matter. The fine print could damn you if you don’t have a real reason for not paying the additional costs.

9 – Always Budget for Resort Fees Just in Case

The sole reason why casinos don’t just include resort fees in the booking cost is because they want to make rooms appear cheaper. Their intentions are just as bad as they seem.

But they get your credit card information upfront and plan on charging you the full price for fees. You won’t always be able to get out of the full charges when checking out.

First off, the hotel clerk might not have the clearance to change the fees. You may not feel like waiting around for the manager when this is the case.

Hopefully, you can get these charges reduced. If you can’t, though, then be sure to budget for another 20% to 50% on top of the nightly booking cost.

Conclusion

The history of Vegas resort fees certainly didn’t come from a good place. Casinos fully realize that they’re disguising extra costs on top of booking fees.

Therefore, you shouldn’t feel bad about doing your best to get out of paying them. What’s more, you may have some very good reasons for not covering the full amount.

You can use one or more of the tips discussed here to boost your chances of avoiding resort fees. Even if you don’t get the entire amount waived, you could at least pay less than the sticker price.

7 Table Tips for First-Time Blackjack Players

Blackjack Hand With a Blue Blackjack Table Background

Gambling at a casino for the first time can seem daunting, so it’s important to know what you should expect. No matter how many times you watch your gambling movie of choice, nothing adequately prepares you for the moment you sit down at your first table. The opportunities for action are seemingly endless, and it’s feasible to find yourself sitting down to play any number of table games.

If blackjack is your game of choice, you’ve chosen one of the world’s most popular table games. The chances of finding an empty table, especially during peak hours, are small, so you’ll most likely be sitting down with gamblers who have been around the block a few times. To make sure you’re up to the challenge: here are 7 tips for first-time blackjack players.

1. Know the Basic Rules

It’s important to note the distinction between strategy and rules of real money blackjack. While each gambler has their strategy they use while playing, blackjack’s rules apply to everyone at the table. Gamblers curate strategy over years of playing, and that strategy can vary significantly from gambler to gambler. If it’s your first time playing, don’t worry about the strategy behind your moves too much.

Before you sit down at a table, you must research the game, especially if you’ve never played it casually. The rules are relatively straightforward and can be understood in minutes, but if you sit down completely unprepared, you could set yourself up for disaster.

There are few things worse than playing next to someone clueless and unprepared. It interferes with the game’s flow and can completely shift the table’s vibe and fortunes. Don’t be the one who messes up the energy at the table. Look up the rules to have a basic understanding before you start gambling away your money.

2. Admit You’re New

There is no shame in telling the dealer and your tablemates that you are a beginner at blackjack. Don’t know what to do? You are within your right to ask the dealer what “the book” dictates for the situation. Most dealers I’ve interacted with love to see the gamblers at their table win because it leads to more tips.

A bonus of admitting your naivete is that it can lead to productive conversations with some of the other players. Sure, you might encounter the grouch who is a mainstay at the casino and doesn’t have time to sit through a new gambler’s introduction to blackjack.  However, In my experience, most players are eager to help you win. So, when you first sit down and slide your money across the table, be honest, it will help in the long run.

3. Sit in the Middle

This tip is more complicated for new players, but trust me when I tell you to try to get a seat in the middle of the table. In blackjack, arguably, the most crucial table position is known as third base or the person who plays last. Certain gamblers are under the assumption that the person playing third can determine the entire hand’s outcome for the rest of the table. The specifics of this are convoluted and add unnecessary stress to newer players.

Overhead View of a Red Blackjack Table

While third base’s importance is always up for debate, some gamblers will be unfairly critical of decisions made by the last person to play. For example, if the dealer is showing a 2, you have to assume he or she has a ten underneath and will draw another 10 to bust. If the person playing third has a soft 17 and hits, as basic strategy dictates, some gamblers will judge that to be unnecessary and can take away a dealer’s bust card.

Third base comes with some added pressure that new gamblers don’t need. Let a more seasoned gambler man third and deal with the flak. Even if you’re confident in basic strategy and play by the book, some people will take exception to your style of play, and you can open yourself up to heightened scrutiny.

4. Don’t Drink Too Much

The appeal of drinking a few beers or mixed drinks while playing cards is undeniable, especially if you’re a younger player who just turned 21. My first time at a casino was in The Bahamas for my 18th birthday, where the drinking is 18. I still remember walking up to a table with a drink in my hand, throwing down my money like a hotshot, and getting my teeth kicked in. My inexperience, combined with the constant allure of table service, did not bode well for this gambler.

If you’re reading this and you’re unfamiliar with casinos, go easy on the drinking. Casinos are a business and want to take your money. One way they can shift the odds to their favor is to make sure gamblers are slightly off their game by supplying them with alcohol. Serious players need to stay sharp at all times, and continuous action, counting, and strategizing can be taxing.

Alcohol policies vary from state-to-state and casino-to-casino. Whereas Las Vegas typically provides free alcohol as long as you’re sitting down and gambling, other casinos charge money for drinks, which can be a blessing in disguise.

If you’re gambling for the first time at a casino that provides free beverages, try to rise above the temptation and get into a good rhythm before partaking in a drink.

5. Take Care of Your Dealer

Dealers rely on tips for their income. With meager hourly wages, most live off of the generosity of the people sitting at their table. One of the unwritten rules of blackjack that has nothing to do with the way the game’s played is to make sure you’re helping the dealer out. This is especially true for new players who rely on the dealer for advice and instruction.

After a win, it’s courteous to throw your dealer a few chips. Tip a dealer 20-25% of the winnings: if I win $25, I’ll slide a $5 chip to the dealer, but this is all up to you. Superstitions abound in these table games, and I’m off the mindset that if you take care of your dealer, they will take care of you.

A fun twist on tipping is to make a bet for the dealer. To do this, place your bet in the normal position and put another chip at the front edge of the designated betting area. If your hand wins, the dealer also wins, doubling their tip.

6. Act Like You’ve Been There Before

Blackjack tables are full of gamblers who fit different stereotypes. You have guys who are loud and braggadocious, players who are aggressive and quick to blame dealers, and even some who will hardly say anything. No one likes the first two types listed, and sometimes it’s hard to get into a good groove with gamblers who are introverts by nature.

Closeup of a Man's Hand on a Blackjack Table

Emotion is part of the game. Big wins are exciting, and severe losses can be soul-crushing. Regardless of the outcome of each hand, it’s vital to keep your cool and remain even-keeled. As a new gambler, you’ll already have extra eyeballs on you, waiting for you to make a mistake or commit an error. Don’t give your fellow players cause to judge your style of play. Certain younger players tend to get too emotionally invested, so it’s important to remind yourself that you’re playing a game.

7. Don’t Overthink It

Blackjack popular for a reason. It’s easy to understand and gives gamblers the best odds of any table game at their casino of choice. If you come prepared and stick to a basic strategy, you can walk away from the table as a winner.

Even if your first time results in a net loss, don’t sweat it: it’s part of the cyclical nature of the game. Keep your bets conservative, and don’t put yourself in a position to lose big. If things don’t go wrong, take a break,  walk around to see all the casino has to offer.

Conclusion

Don’t let the thought of gambling for the first time scare you. Casinos are a great time if you come with a plan, know the rules of the game, and stick to a basic strategy. The sight and sounds that come with walking through the doors for the first time may seem overwhelming, but you’ll find the novelty wears off quick.

Get comfortable and relax because everyone at your table has gone through the same thing as you. Trust your instincts and preparation, take care of your dealer, and have fun. Before you know it, you’ll feel right at home.

The 5 Worst Casinos in the United States

Do Not Enter Sign With a Casino Hotel Background

The United States is home to some of the world’s most sought after casinos. From Las Vegas to Oklahoma, people love casinos and spend a lot of money and time there.

The free drinks, poker tables, slot machines, high energy, winning, and so many other things draw people into the casino world every month of every year.

There are a lot of high class Casinos in the regions in the United States where it is legal, but there are also a lot of casinos in the US that tourists have not been too fond of.

Surprisingly enough, a lot of the casinos that have gotten pretty bad reviews are in Las Vegas, enough to take up the whole list, so I’ll venture outside of Las Vegas and tell you about some of the other casinos that people have not planned on returning to.

Most, if not all, of these places you should avoid at all costs, especially if you want to make a trip to Las Vegas something that’s worth remembering.

1 – Siegel Slots

Let us start with the review that came up first on Trip Advisor:

“Why do you people keep staying here? We had the misfortune of having to stay here for a while and witnessed things I don’t want to see again. Drugs, violence, suicide, bed bugs, mistreatment by the staff. Please, STAY AWAY.”

Yeah, that sounds like a place I definitely would prefer to avoid!

This hotel is probably what belongs in the dictionary next to budget hotels. This casino-hotel makes a motel off of some old dirt road look like a 5-star hotel.

The reviews on every travel website I have checked average about 2.5 stars. Tourists have left not very happy reviews, complaining about the food, service, accommodations, and location.

Exterior of Siegel Slots Las Vegas

Based on the reviews I continued to scroll through, which I found to be rather entertaining, the food looks like it’s served to clients after it’s been left out for a week. The services offered are sub par. The area that the casino-hotel is in seems like it’s not a very safe area either.

It has made the list on several other websites for worst casinos in Las Vegas. The reviews are so bad for this hotel that most customers do not even bother visiting the hotel.

2 – Stratosphere Hotel and Casino “The Strat”

Starting off again with another review off of trip advisor:

“This hotel is in need of refreshment. Just gut it and start over. Definitely has an interesting and unique look from outside, but that ends as soon as you step through the door. The casino as well is dark, dank, and smells as if you bathed in ashtray butts. Would most definitely not return.”

The Stratosphere Hotel and Casino, now known as The Strat, is one of the most well-known hotels in Las Vegas. If you think of what the Empire State Building is to New York, that would do a good job of explaining the relationship the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino has with Las Vegas.

For being such a well-known casino, you would think that the reviews it receives would be complimentary, but that is not the case. I was surprised at the amount of negative feedback that the casino has actually received.

Complaints have included poor management skills, disgusting bathrooms that seem as though they never get cleaned, and rooms not being clean when guests check into them. Some reviews about the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino have gone as far as to say that the experience that was had completely ruined families or couples or just individual guests entire vacations in Las Vegas.

Far View of Stratosphere Las Vegas

The prices as this particular iconic casino resort are not cheap. You would expect a resort not only with the reputation, but also with these prices, would be a resort that would follow through for people.

So that opens a rabbit hole of the hundreds of reviews that are complaining about how, for the money, the casino resort experience had by customers was far from worth it.

Some say that with the prices they paid, you would expect elite-level customer service. Most customers leaving with a bad taste in their mouths most of the time I’m sure.

The casino has received such a bad rap that when you pull up Google and type in “the worst casino in Las Vegas,” you’re immediately shown the Stratosphere.

3 – Tropicana Atlantic City

Tropicana Atlantic City is a 24-hour gaming destination located on the beach and boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Featuring 2,047 rooms and suites and home of The Quarter, a 200,000 square foot entertainment complex, Tropicana is the premier resort in Atlantic City.

Here’s another premier resort with some of the worst reviews from its past clients.

These reviews have been so bad that Trip Advisor ranks Tropicana Atlantic City the worst casino in Atlantic City. Here’s a pretty sad review:

“The pillow had live bedbugs crawling on it. Told the manager on duty at the front desk & she was rude & didn’t believe us even with the picture/video of it crawling on the pillow. She sent security up to the room where we were told to meet him, where he ‘would look for the bedbugs & determine if there were any.’ We’ve stayed several times in the past & have NEVER experienced this. We had just made a 5-hour trip there & turned around & drove back another 5+ hrs to PA after being treated rudely.”

Yikes.

I found a lot of negative comments too about the housekeeping having dirty stuff out in the hallways every day, to the point where just walking to the elevator from your room is an obstacle course. That’s definitely not the type of place you want to be staying at, especially when you’re paying for a premier hotel and casino at a huge gambling region in the United States.

Exterior of Tropicana Atlantic City

One couple commented that the hallways outside of the hotel rooms were so messy that a husband was unable to push his wife, who is in a wheelchair, through the hallway.

Shifting from the hotel piece to the casino floor itself, it sounds like the Tropicana can struggle with their drink service. Another area in which you definitely don’t want to drop the ball.

Another complaint about the drinks is that apparently, while playing a game, you have to spend a certain amount of money just to be able to order a drink, and the servers are really slow.

For a casino that’s supposed to be an elite staples, it’s just not living up to its name.

4 – Resorts Casino Hotel Atlantic City

So this one is a lot more understandable when it comes to why the reviews are not so hot for Resorts Casino in Atlantic City.

It’s the oldest casino in Atlantic City, so it’s not exactly a surprise that it’s not offering the highest level of service.

Over the last few years, Atlantic City has experienced a pretty huge economic decline. The struggles that the industry are facing are unfortunately a lot more apparent at the Resorts Casino Hotel than other places due to its age alone.

Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City

It kind of gives you the feeling that you are at a Motel 6 is a common review I’ve read from previous tourists. I guess you get what you pay for, and Resorts Casino is definitely on the less expensive side.

Everything about the experience at Resorts just feels old and crusty. The outdated casino is in serious need of an overhaul.

5 – Tropicana Las Vegas

Being Doubletree by Hilton, it’s surprising to me again that a place of this caliber would be a place getting poor reviews, but you never know in this business. Just like in the restaurant business, it doesn’t take much to disappoint people, and usually when a place is disappointing, it’s a systemic issue that isn’t going to be fixed any time soon.

Here’s one review for Tropicana Las Vegas:

“Poor service in a tired and old building—need I say more? Save your money—wasteful! Reeks of cigarette smoke and stale booze throughout casino. I literally have nothing good to say about this experience.”

That seems to be a pretty common thing with a lot of these older casinos that I have stumbled across. They smell like cigarettes and alcohol everywhere you go. I know I personally would not be fond of that and could easily have an experience ruined over cigarette smells everywhere.

Entrance of Tropicana Las Vegas

You may be offered a free drink here, but that doesn’t excuse the lousy service that’s provided. The Tropicana Las Vegas is the last of the worst casino-hotels in Las Vegas. Complaints from visitors include getting the wrong keys, bad smells, hallway messes from custodians, slow customer service, no Wi-Fi, having to wait a long time to be seated to eat, and more.

From most of the reviews I have found online, this is without a doubt supposedly one of the worst places to stay in the Las Vegas Strip.

Conclusion

There are so many great casinos out in the world that it just doesn’t make sense to go to a bad one. Is there one I left off my list? Let me know in the comments.

Does India Love Baccarat as Much as China?

Baccarat Text Graphic Next to Indian and Chinese Flag Symbols

Gamblers in China love baccarat. Their local gambling capital, Macau, features mini baccarat tables all over casino floors.

China also has a massive population (1.4 billion) that’s passionate about the game and boosts baccarat popularity everywhere from Macau to Las Vegas.

India shares some similarities with China, namely that it also boasts a huge population (1.3 billion) and is located in Asia. Does India also have the same passion for baccarat?

You can find out as I explore this country’s like and dislike of the game and what other casino games they play.

Baccarat Is One of the Top Casino Games in India

I’ll cut to the chase. India, like China, also thoroughly enjoys playing baccarat. Many Indian gamblers find baccarat to be one of the most compelling forms of gambling.

Baccarat is heavily prevalent throughout the country’s underground (and illegal) gambling houses. It’s also a popular choice at online casinos that serve this nation.

What do Indians like so much about baccarat? I’ve never seen any interviews on the subject, so I’ll just assume that they love what China does about this game.

  • It has a low house edge.
  • The strategy is simple.
  • The gameplay is simple.

Baccarat only features three bets. These wagers include the player hand winning, the banker hand winning, or both hands tying.

The banker hand is the best proposition, because it only features a 1.06% house edge. This bet wins so often (50.7% of the time) that casinos take a 5% commission out of wins just to maintain their advantage.

The player bet isn’t too shabby either with its 1.24% house edge. Nevertheless, optimal baccarat strategy calls on one to place the banker bet every time.

As for the gameplay, gamblers merely need to place one of the aforementioned three wagers. This is literally the only decision one must make to play baccarat.

Where Does Baccarat Rank in India’s Casino Hierarchy?

Assessing baccarat’s popularity in India isn’t quite so easy as it is in China. But based on the information I’ve gathered, baccarat is the second most popular casino game in the country.

Again, baccarat is one of the most frequently featured games in underground dens. It’s also prominent on India-facing online casinos.

El Royale Online Casino Baccarat

Roulette is the only game I’ve noticed to be more popular than baccarat. It’s a staple at illegal casinos throughout the country and comes in multiple variations at India-focused online casinos.

What Other Casino Games Do Indians Love?

Like other countries, India enjoys playing a variety of casino games. Here are some of their favorites beyond baccarat.

Roulette

As mentioned before, real money roulette is arguably the top casino game in this country. It’s available in American, European, and French formats at India’s online casinos.

Here are the differences between these games:

  • American Roulette – Wheel features 38 pockets, including 1-36, zero, and double zero
  • European Roulette – Wheel features 37 pockets, including 1-36 and zero
  • French Roulette – Same as European roulette, except with the la partage rule added
French roulette is the most favorable of these games. It features a 1.35% house edge on even-money bets. The la partage rule pays half back on even-money wagers when the ball lands on zero.

European roulette is the next best game. It offers a 2.70% house advantage. The only thing that it’s missing is la partage.

American roulette is decidedly the worst game of the bunch. Knowledgeable Indian gamblers stay away from it and its 5.26% house edge.

Andar Bahar

Aside from baccarat, Andar Bahar (a.k.a. Katti) is the next most popular card game. It’s quite specific to India and isn’t found at many casinos outside of the country.

This game features two or more players. Each gambler bets on if they think the “Andar” or “Behar” side will win.

The dealer lays one card face-up in the middle of the table. They then deal a single card to the Andar and Behar sides.

Players get another chance to place an extra bet. Following this betting round, the dealer continues dealing one card at a time to both sides.

This sequence continues until one side draws a card that matches the value in the middle (suit doesn’t matter).

Poker

Almost two decades ago, poker experienced a huge boom in the United States. India is experiencing its own poker boom of sorts right now.

Many Indians are rushing to offshore real money online poker sites to enjoy this game. They’re also frequenting underground land-based poker rooms.

Not surprisingly, Texas holdem is currently the game of choice among Indians. Omaha Hi-Lo and pot-limit Omaha also prove to be popular in this country.

Many gamblers wait the day when either the federal government or more states legalize the game. Until then, Indians will continue playing at unregulated poker sites.

People in India Normally Play Online Baccarat

Going back to baccarat, India’s laws don’t allow for much gambling. The nation’s residents can’t just walk down to the local casino and enjoy this popular game.

Instead, they must seek out alternative means of playing it. The only two baccarat options throughout much of the country include online casinos and the aforementioned underground dens.

Closeup of a Baccarat Table Game

The latter are dangerous places. After all, robbers like to target illegal casinos, because the victims have little-to-no recourse.

Unregulated online casinos can occasionally be untrustworthy. These gaming sites don’t operate according to India’s laws.

Nevertheless, offshore casinos represent the most convenient and safest option for Indian baccarat players. This is especially true when dealing with an established and successful operator.

What to Expect From India’s Baccarat Scene in the Future

The Indian gambling market has grown rapidly in recent years. Estimates peg its value at $60 billion per year.

Of course, the government isn’t seeing a cut of this immense action. The federal government and most states haven’t capitalized on the situation.

That said, we should see some big changes regarding baccarat and gambling as a whole in India. Here are some key points to look for in the future.

More Forms of Legal Gambling

India doesn’t take a hardline stance against casino gaming. Their Public Gambling Act of 1867 does state that any type of “gambling house” is considered illegal.

Those caught betting at or running gambling establishments are subject to a fine worth 200 rupees and/or up to three months in prison. Nobody has ever been charged with violating the Public Gambling Act, but it still serves as a deterrent from most types of gaming.

Only horse racing and lotteries are legal. However, this should change as India and its states seek to earn tax revenue from baccarat and other forms of gambling.

Skill Based Games Will Be Better Defined

The Public Gambling Act does exclude “games of mere skill.” The country’s Supreme Court ruled that horse racing betting is predominantly a skill-based activity.

Rummy also received an exemption based on its skill. Meanwhile, poker has received no such ruling.

I suspect that the Supreme Court will put poker in the same category as rummy and horse racing when the time comes.

Baccarat, unfortunately, won’t receive an exclusion in this category. However, more legal card games could end up softening attitudes towards baccarat and other types of casino gaming.

More States Will Legalize Gambling

Goa and Sikkim are the only two Indian states thus far to legalize other forms of gambling beyond lotteries and horse racing.

Goa features both land-based and water-based casinos. Sikkim offers brick and mortar casinos and its own online gaming market.

I fully expect more states to legalize online and/or land-based gambling in the future. Other states will be especially motivated to do so if Sikkim and Goa feature highly successful markets. Legal baccarat could then spread to more places throughout the country.

More Offshore Gambling in the Foreseeable Future

Gaming regulation is moving slowly in India. No states have followed Sikkim and Goa’s lead. The federal government doesn’t appear remotely close to approving casinos on a national level.

That said, offshore online gambling will remain the status quo into the foreseeable future. Unregulated gaming sites at least give Indians some way to enjoy one of the most popular games.

Conclusion

India may not be as heavily into baccarat as China. However, they’re definitely one of the most passionate countries when it comes to the game.

Baccarat is already highly popular at India’s underground casinos and offshore gaming sites. It could be even more popular if it became legal across the country.

Of course, the latter scenario seems to be a long ways off. Until then, Indian gamblers will continue enjoying baccarat through whatever options are available to them—legal or not.

7 Casinos in Arizona for Gambling and Entertainment

Arizona State Seal With a Casino Hotel Background

Most people don’t think of Arizona when they think of gambling. Arizona is one of the more prohibitive states in the country when it comes to gambling. Arizona law generally bans all gambling, with exceptions for things like the lottery, horse racing, and reservation casinos.  All of Arizona’s 23 casinos are operated by tribal organizations.

Social gambling between friends is legal, but organized gambling where a casino takes a cut of the money is not. Horse racetracks allows visitors to bet on races, which is the only type of sports gambling currently legal in Arizona. With this in mind here are 7 casinos in Arizona that make great destinations for gambling and entertainment.

1 – Casino Arizona

Casino Arizona is a 20 acres resort located on the Salt-River Pima Maricopa Indian Reservation in Scottsdale, Arizona. This 100,000 square foot casino opened in 1998 as a temporary structure. It replaced this structure in September 2000 with a permanent building. Casino Arizona opened a second location which was later sold and became the Talking Stick Resort.

The casino has 5 dining options. Eagles Buffet at Casino Arizona serves international cuisine buffet-style. Cholla Steakhouse & Lounge is fine dining regional cuisine and recipient of TripAdvisor’s prestigious “Certificate of Excellence” two years in a row. Visit CAZ Sports Bar to enjoy a 48-ounce burger at their rustic whiskey-barrel bar. Casual dining options include The Willows Restaurant and the diner-style Salt River Café.

Exterior of Casino Arizona

The Showroom at Casino Arizona in Scottsdale is a 250-seat cabaret-style music and entertainment venue. Catch your favorite tribute band or make it over to the sport’s bar for trivia contests with up to a $1000 prizes.

The casino has over 900 slot machines. There are over 50 tables of blackjack, 3 Card Poker, Let It Ride, Pai Gow Poker and Casino War. Join one of the weekly blackjack tournaments or play High Card Stud with a progressive that can reach over $800,000. Player Rewards Club perks transfer to both Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort.

Casino Arizona touts itself as the premier bingo location in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area. The property houses a 1,000 seat bingo hall with keno and video poker available on handheld devices.

 2 – Casino del Sol & Casino of the Sun

The Pascua Yaqui Tribe is a federally recognized tribe of Yaqui Native Americans in southern Arizona. The tribe operates the Casino of the Sun and Casino del Sol. Casino of the Sun opened in 1982 as the Bingo Club and Casino del Sol opened as a resort destination in 2011.

Casino del Sol has 8 restaurants including multiple Forbes Four-Star and Wine Spectator winner PY Steakhouse. Other restaurants at Casino del Sol are the Festa International Buffet, Tequila Factory, Ume Asian fusion, Moby’s beach-style diner, Abuelitas classic Mexican food, and StreetScape Pizza & Deli. Top yourself off with pastries and gelato from SweetScape Desserts. If your gaming at Casino of the Sun take a break from the games and refresh yourself at Sunflower Café.

Casino Del Sol in Arizona

Attend a concert at the AVA Amphitheater with a 1,700 seat ring stage and ascending grand lawn that can accommodate over 2,700 more attendees. Casino Del Sol also has an event center with seating up to 2,000.

If golf’s your game visit Sewailo Golf Club. The course offers a Sonoran Desert landscape with picturesque lakes and streams. The course boasts over 7,400 yards of championship tees and five different tee boxes on each hole. The club is home to the University of Arizona Men’s & Women’s golf teams.

Casino del Sol has over 1,300 state-of-the-art slot and video poker machines. Table games include Pai Gow, 3 Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’Em. Try the blackjack side bet games and variations such as Spanish 21 and Free Bet. Casino del Sol’s bingo hall seats up to 600 players.

Casino of the Sun offers more than 300 slot machines, including electronic blackjack, and $3 Blackjack tables.

3 – Desert Diamond Casinos

The Tohono Oʼodham Nation owns and operates the Desert Diamond Casino line. The Tohono Oʼodham reservation and properties in the second largest Native American landholding in the United States. Like most Native American casinos the revenue and jobs created by the locations are a source of job creation and support for the tribe.

The 3 locations include Tucson, Sahuarita, and West Valley. Tuscon is the largest of the two open locations. West Valley is a 75,000 square foot $400 million complex expected to open in late 2019.

Desert Diamond Casino in Arizona

Restaurants at Desert Diamonds Tuscon include the Ko:Sin Ki: Buffet, the Diamond Café, and Diamond Grill & Classico Pizza. Visit Monsoon Nightclub for live Latin music and DJs. If you’re at the Sahuarita location you’ll find Agave Restaurant, offering American-Mexican cuisine.

Desert Diamond Tuscan features slots with progressive games and monthly jackpots. Table games include poker variations, blackjack variations, and Pai Gow Poker. The casino also houses a 300 seat bingo hall with keno.

The Sahuarita location has over 600 machines with progressive jackpots. Blackjack tables offer Spanish 21 variation. Play your lucky keno numbers and watch the payouts and jackpots roll in.

4 – Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino

Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino is located in Maricopa, 39 miles south of Phoenix, Arizona. It is owned by the Ak-Chin Indian Community and operated by Caesars Entertainment Corporation. It opened in December 1994 and has the only World Series of Poker room in Arizona.

A 2018 addition saw the building of a 12-story tower and the addition of 40,000 square feet. The resort now has over 500 luxurious guestrooms starting at $70.

Exterior of Harrah's Ak-Chin Casino

Harrah’s Ak-Chin has 4 restaurants. The Copper Cactus Grill is casual dining offering Phoenix favorites. The Buffet at Harrah’s Ak-Chin has numerous interactive stations and a changing menu. Oak & Fork offers a high-quality wine selection and small plate menu with optional outdoor seating. Chop, Block & Brew is fine dining at its best with steaks, seafood, and hand-crafted cocktails.

The casino has 1,135 slots and video poker machines in denominations ranging from pennies to high-limit $25 machines with progressives. Tables games include blackjack, 3 Card Poker, Pai Gow Poker, Mississippi Stud poker, and Ultimate Texas Hold’Em. The casino also offers weekly poker tournaments and a $100,000 keno jackpot.

Remember to take your Caesars Rewards program points with you. Casino perks will transfers to other Caesar properties.

5 – Paradise Casino

The Paradise Casino is located in Yuma, Arizona. The property is owned by the Quechan Indian Tribe (or Yuma), who live on the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation. The reservation spans two states and rests on the lower Colorado River just north of the Mexican border. Yuma County and Yuma, Arizona both receive their name from the tribe.

Paradise Casino in Arizona

The Paradise has 2 restaurants and 1 bar. The Cove features family-style cooking with American favorites at a great value. The Reef has a smaller menu containing some of The Cove’s most popular dishes. Visit Sharky’s Lounge or the bingo hall for live entertainment, DJs, or to catch the latest game.

The casino has over 500 new and classic real money slots. The bingo hall buy-ins are as low as $5 and as high as $70. Paradise casino has no table games; this means no poker, no blackjack, roulette, or craps.

6- Talking Stick Resort

The Talking Stick Resort is a luxury hotel and casino located on the Salt-River Pima Maricopa Indian Reservation. The 15-story resort near Scottsdale, Arizona is owned and operated by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Opened in April of 2010, the 55.6 acres property has 496 guest rooms, 15 luxury suites, and 30 executive king suites.

Although now discontinued, the Talking Stick Resort was the first gaming facility to produce its own sports show titled, “We’ve Got Your Game.” The show featured such sports figures as Kyle Petty, Mike Tyson, Troy Aikman, and Mike Ditka.

The Cultural Center in the hotel lobby features Native American artwork and photography reflecting the Pima and Maricopa Indian traditions.

Talking Stick Golf Club has 36 holes of championship golf designed by architects Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore. The O’odham golf course features links designed with grasslands and unique bunkering, while the Piipaash course offers a more traditional layout with tree-lined fairways and water features.

Salt River Fields at Talking Sticks is the Spring training facility of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies. Catch a game before the season begins. Topgolf at Riverwalk offers different types of points-scoring golf games that you can enjoy from a private bay. Enjoy the 13-acre Octane Raceway with 45+ MPH kart racing; featuring an indoor/outdoor 1/3 mile track.

Talking Stick Resort in Arizona

OdySea Aquarium and Butterfly Wonderland is an aquarium, butterfly conservatory, and indoor rainforest. If that’s too relaxing try iFLY indoor sky diving or Velocity VR, an immersive virtual reality experience. If you have a dinosaur lover in the group visit Pangaea Land of the Dinosaurs and walk among 50 life-sized, animatronic dinosaurs.

The casino has 850 slot machines. Talking Stick Resort has tables of 3-Card Poker, blackjack, Pai Gow Poker, Let it Ride or Casino War. In the Arena Poker Room, you’ll find 49 poker tables of Texas Hold ’em, 7-Card Stud, and Omaha. Talking Stick hosts the annual Arizona State Poker Championship and Arizona State Ladies Poker Championship.

7 – Gila River Hotels & Casinos

The 3 properties of the Gila River Casinos are owned and operated by the Gila River Indian Community; an alliance of two tribes, the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and the Pee Posh (Maricopa). The Vee Quiva Casino is located in Laveen Village, Arizona. Wild Horse Pass and Lone Butte Casino are both in Chandler, Arizona not far from each other.

The entertainment complex in Chandler is approximately 15 miles from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and is situated in the Gila River Indian Community. Along with two casinos the complex houses the Phoenix Premium Outlet shops; over 90 stores, including Polo Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade New York, Coach, and Michael Kors.

Gila River Casino in Arizona

For fine dining at Wild Horse Pass visit Shula’s Steakhouse for great steak and seafood. George Lopez’s Chingon Kitchen at the Vee Quiva Casino has great tortas, tacos, and a variety of aguas frescas.

You’ll find 2,900 of the latest slot games across all three locations with each casino offering a $25,000 progressive giveaway. If slots are your thing visit the Wild Horse Pass with over 1000 machines. Between the properties, you’ll find 80 table games including real money blackjack, Pai Gow Poker, 3 Card Poker, Spanish 21, and Ultimate Texas Hold’em. Jackpots are progressive and winning hands can pay out over $100,000.

Conclusion

Arizona isn’t just deserts and lizards. The dry climate in apparently good for gambling. You won’t find any cardrooms, riverboats, or sports betting. What you will find are Vegas-style resorts and great deals.

Take a gander at the entertainment options you’ll find at some of the casinos on the list and you’ll be surprised to find acts you might see elsewhere. Drink lots of water, you’ll need to stay hydrated to keep your brain sharp and the games coming.

2 Casino Destinations Where You Can Never Count Cards

Continuous Shuffling Machine With a Casino Background

Card counting remains one of the best ways to make profits in the casino. It allows you to gain an edge over the house in blackjack and, over time, win guaranteed money.

However, you can’t simply walk into any casino and count cards. Some gambling establishments use continuous shuffling machines (CSMs).

A CSM stamps out any chance of you winning profits through counting. Unfortunately, certain casino destinations use these machines at all of their tables.

Two prominent gambling destinations in particular heavily rely on CSMs. I’m going to discuss these casino hotspots along with more on continuous shuffling machines.

What Is a Continuous Shuffling Machine?

Dealers commonly hand deal blackjack games. They must stop the action at some point to shuffle the deck or shoe (two or more decks).

Most casinos like their dealers to shuffle after between 60% and 75% of the shoe has been dealt. This range keeps croupiers from needing to stop the action too much while also preventing serious deck penetration.

The latter term refers to how much of the shoe the dealer goes through before shuffling. More deck penetration helps card counters by improving the accuracy of their counts.

A continuous shuffling machine seriously reduces the amount of penetration. Dealers can place clumps of cards into the CSM at any point.

In turn, this machine randomly shoots cards into its numerous internal slots. When the CSM has finished putting every available card into its slots, it pushes the shuffled card clump towards an opening at the top.

The dealer grabs the clump and continues dealing cards with little time wasted. The end result is that dealers don’t need to go through 75% of the shoe to keep the action running. They simply put cards into the CSM and pull them out after they’re shuffled.

Macau and Monte Carlo Both Feature CSMs All Over

Monte Carlo and Macau are two of the world’s most popular gambling spots. The latter draws more gambling revenue than any other casino city or territory in the world at $35.6 billion annually.

This amount dwarfs what Las Vegas casinos earned through gaming ($6.6 billion) last year. Monte Carlo in Monaco is the world’s most classic casino destination. It offers the luxurious Casino de Monte-Carlo, amazing views of the Mediterranean Sea, and a gambling history dating back to 1863.

Both of these spots are great to visit as a recreational blackjack player. However, you should never go to either place if you’re a serious card counter.

Macau Casinos at Night

Macao and Monte Carlo feature continuous shuffling machines throughout their casinos. They don’t need to worry about card counters, because their CSMs eliminate this type of advantage play.

You’ll rarely find any tables without these machines in stakes ranging from $10 to $100. Only on the high-stakes tables do Monte Carlo and Macau casinos finally start hand-shuffling shoes.

The problem here, though, is that your minimum bet will be so high that you’ll have trouble keeping up with the variance. Assuming you want to use a 1-10 spread on a $100 table, you’d risk up to $1,000 per hands during a positive count.

You might go with a 1-2 or 1-3 spread if you’re playing high-stakes blackjack for fun. However, you won’t make consistent profits and you’ll still be risking $200 to $300 at the top range.

Why Doesn’t Every Casino Destination Just Use CSMs?

You can see how effective continuous shuffling machines are at thwarting card counting. These machines provide other advantages to casinos as well.

A CSM speeds up the action and boosts operator profits. Continuous shuffling machines generally increase the amount of hands dealt per hour by 20%. Casinos hold an edge over every recreational gambler. Therefore, they can look forward to 20% more profits with a CSM in use.

You might wonder why every casino doesn’t just employ these shuffling machines. They’ll make more profits and stop card counters in the process. But casinos also need to worry about turning off their primary clientele. Most people don’t like playing at tables with CSMs.

They enjoy blackjack for the classic feeling. A machine-dealt game, on the other hand, ruins this sentiment and makes everything feel more automated.

Other reasons why gamblers don’t like CSM blackjack is due to misconceptions. Some people mistakenly believe that these machines increase the house edge.

The reality is that a continuous shuffling machine decreases the house advantage by 0.014%. But again, it also speeds up the games. Players lose more money as a result and feel that CSMs increase the house edge.

Paranoid gamblers also feel that casinos use CSMs to rig games. They don’t see any other reason why a gambling establishment would need a machine to deal blackjack.

Any casino that actually used a continuous shuffling machine to rig games would be completely foolish. They risk losing their license just to gain a bigger edge.

Where Can You Count Cards Instead?

You should definitely take Monte Carlo and Macau off your travel schedule if you’re a card counter. Here are some much better spots to hit when you’re looking for profits.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas is the best card counting destination bar none. It offers over 130 casinos and a number of hand-shuffled games at all stakes.

You shouldn’t just expect to walk into any casino and find perfect card counting conditions. But you’ll find enough establishments that offer worthy games.

On the other side of the coin, Vegas pit bosses are extremely experienced in dealing with card counters. You’ll definitely want to work on your camouflaging skills (e.g. blending in with normal players) before heading to Sin City.

Reno

Reno isn’t nearly as popular as Las Vegas. But this mountainous Nevada city, which is seven hours away from Vegas, offers some of the best blackjack rules anywhere.

You can still find blackjack tables in Reno with a single deck and 3:2 natural blackjack payouts. This combination is becoming increasingly rare in the gambling world.

Reno Downtown at Dusk

The favorable rules give you the ability to make profits without spreading your bets as high. But they also put pit bosses more on alert.

Reno pit bosses are more willing to back you off, because they don’t want you counting with such favorable rules. Herein lies another situation where you really need to work on camouflaging.

Atlantic City

Atlantic City is the only gambling mecca where casinos can’t legally throw out advantage gamblers. By law, they must treat all players equally regardless of skill.

Therefore, you can count cards all you want and not need to worry about being booted. But the blackjack rules in Atlantic City are worse on average than what’s available in Vegas.

On the good tables that do exist, a pit boss can tell the dealer to shuffle earlier if they suspect that you’re counting. Even with the drawbacks, though, Atlantic City does have some quality blackjack games.

Tips for Counting Cards

You certainly don’t want to get hyped up after watching the movie 21 and immediately feel like you can win card counting profits. Instead, you should keep the following advice in mind before using this advantage gambling technique.

Thoroughly Learn a System

An overwhelming amount of cards counting systems exist. However, you really only need to master one of them to win.

The Hi-Lo is universally the best system to use when starting out. It gives you a solid edge over the casino and is also easy to learn.

Here’s a primer on the finer points of the Hi-Lo. You shouldn’t need much more than 10 to 15 minutes to thoroughly learn this system.

Hone Your Skills

The general public mistakenly believes that card counting is something relegated to math geniuses. The truth, though, is that learning is the easy part.

You mostly need to practice your counting system so much that it becomes second nature. After all, you’ll be trying to keep an accurate count amid various distractions.

I suggest starting out by either using a free online card counting trainer and/or dealing cards to yourself. From there, you should visit a land-based casino and either count off to the side of a game or play for low stakes.

These practice methods will give you a feel for what it’s like to count in a live casino and also keep up with the dealer’s speed.

Build up Your Bankroll

Card counting is far from a guaranteed way to make profits. At best, you’ll only gain a 1.5% advantage over the house.

This is roughly the same edge that casinos hold other the average player. Plenty of real money blackjack players go home winners on a nightly basis.

You need a large enough bankroll to deal with the ups and downs of card counting. As a solo counter, you should have $10,000 to $12,000. When playing as a team, you want up to $20,000 to $25,000.

Conclusion

Not every gambling hotspot offers beatable blackjack games. Macau and Monte Carlo are the most famous gambling havens that don’t give you any chance to win through card counting.

Each of these districts feature continuous shuffling machines on all of their blackjack tables. You simply can’t win profits on tables with CSMs.

Luckily, numerous other gambling destinations exist throughout the world. Many of the same spots don’t spread CSMs across their tables.

Atlantic City, Las Vegas, and Reno are three of the best destinations where you can count cards and not worry about these machines.

Are Reno Casinos More Generous With Comps Than Vegas?

Question Mark Graphic With a Reno and Las Vegas Background

Las Vegas gets all of the attention as far as Nevada gambling destinations go. It easily overshadows its cross-state rival, Reno.

The latter doesn’t offer the glitz and glamour that Sin City does. Therefore, Reno must use other means to draw visitors.

It offers more favorable game rules and cheaper hotels to lure budget-conscious players. The World’s Biggest Little City also carries a reputation for being generous with comps.

But is Reno more generous than Vegas when it comes to VIP rewards? I’ll answer this question below while also discussing more on this city from an overall perspective.

How Reno Typically Comps Gamblers

I’ll just cut right to the chase! The average Reno venue gives casino comps to visitors much more than the typical Las Vegas venue.

Reno doesn’t have luxurious penthouses, endless entertainment options, and the mystique of Las Vegas. Instead, it’s a mountainous town with colder weather and much less prestige.

This city values its visitors and wants to keep people coming back. That said, most Reno casinos are quite generous with rewards compared to other locations, especially Vegas.

Reno doesn’t use tacky measures like drink-monitoring systems. Likewise, its pit bosses don’t heavily scrutinize gamblers to determine if they’re deserving of a free sandwich or not. Instead, the casinos here let free drinks flow. They’re also quicker to offer a free meal or even hotel room to deserving players.

You’ll also find it easier to get hosted in Reno. The casino hosts here don’t have as high of standards as Vegas when it comes to working with potential VIPs.

You may draw the attention of a host just by playing $25 blackjack at certain casinos. Contrast this to Las Vegas, where you normally must play $50 or $100 blackjack to have a shot at getting hosted.

Reno Treats Gamblers Like Yesteryear

The gambling industry as a whole has tightened up on VIP rewards. Casinos are much more selective about whom they comp.

Of course, no gambling establishment wants to reward the penny slots player who sits idly by for 30 minutes while hoping for a free drink. But some casinos take this obsession too far and snub deserving players.

Atlantis Casino Hotel in Reno

Reno, on the other hand, treats rewards like they’re stuck in a time warp. Its casinos offer comps as if they’re living in the 1980s, when gaming venues were much freer with rewards.

The Grand Sierra Resort especially carries a reputation for delivering lots of comps. This popular Reno casino commonly gives out free drinks, meals, and more.

The Atlantis, Nugget, and Peppermill also offer solid rewards. A little gameplay at these casinos can lead to plenty of rewards.

Vegas Is Stingier With Comps

Vegas is on the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to VIP benefits. Sin City is definitely willing to comp high rollers to keep them coming back.

However, Vegas has forsaken smaller gamblers. Its rewards programs require lots of play to generate any meaningful benefits.

Of course, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t join player’s clubs at Vegas casinos. But you won’t get nearly as much through these programs as you would in Reno.

Las Vegas was more giving with rewards when they focused on gambling above all. However, the town’s focus switched after the Great American Recession.

Now, Sin City casinos push their dining, nightclubs, shows, and shopping just as much as gaming. They don’t see the need to shower players with comps like they once did.

You can still get decent rewards at casinos downtown and on the Boulder Strip. By and large, though, you just don’t receive as much back from your play in Las Vegas needs days.

Downsides to Chasing Reno Rewards

Reno certainly wins out against Sin City when it comes to VIP benefits. However, you should also consider the downsides to this city before booking a trip here.

Less Opulence

Las Vegas draws 40 million tourists every year. It remains one of the world’s most-popular tourism destinations for a reason.

Actually, multiple reasons exist behind why Sin City is so popular. It offers megaresorts, lavish penthouse suites, five-star restaurants, and hot nightclubs.

Reno has its perks too from a luxury standpoint. For example, the Peppermill Resort & Casino can compete with many Vegas casinos in terms of size, quality rooms, and amenities.

On average, though, Reno doesn’t have anywhere near the opulence as Las Vegas. Nowhere here will you find anything comparable to the Bellagio or Venetian in terms of resorts.

This town also can’t match the awe-inspiring Vegas Strip. by comparison, Reno feels run down and like its best days are decades behind it.

Fewer Surrounding Entertainment Options

Some of the most popular things to do in Reno aside from gambling include mountain climbing, concerts, and even free activities.

Woman Hiking Near Reno Nevada

Its offerings are no doubt better than what the average town in America offers. But it still pales comparison to what’s available in Sin City.

The latter boasts countless entertaining opportunities around every corner. You can get instantly married in Vegas, visit a world-renowned restaurant, hit up the classiest strip clubs, or play any casino game you desire.

Reno Is Harder to Reach

Reno isn’t exactly a remote Pacific island. You can reach it by driving down I-80 (east/west) or I-395 (north/south).

Nevertheless, Reno is much less accessible than Las Vegas. It no longer has an international airport, and the Sierra Nevada mountain range makes the drive more taxing.

Even still, you probably won’t have much trouble getting to this city. But the travel routes aren’t as polished as those heading to Sin City.

Limited Advantage Play Opportunities

As mentioned before, Reno offers favorable rules for its casino games. Reno’s blackjack tables, for example, typically feature between a 0.5% and 1% house edge.

Compare this to the average Las Vegas blackjack game, where the house advantage runs between 1.5% and 2%.

Considering that they’re more generous with the rules, Reno casinos don’t want professional gamblers taking advantage of them.

Pit bosses monitor table games more closely to root out any potential advantage gamblers. If you’re a card counter, for example, you’ll be backed off quicker here than just about anywhere else.

Are the Better Reno Comps Worth the Trip?

Reno is far from the ideal gambling hotspot. It doesn’t offer the same glamour and entertainment opportunities as Las Vegas.

However, you may not be the type of person who’s looking for these things. You might, instead, just be hoping to get away on an affordable gambling trip.

In this case, Reno is definitely worth the effort. It offers some of the best rewards out of any gaming destination.

Exterior of Peppermill Casino Resort in Reno

Casinos here try to win your prolonged patronage through rewards. Free drinks are the norm, while meals and comped hotel rooms are definite possibilities.

Of course, even Reno casinos won’t give you posh suites and free room service just for playing $5 blackjack. You still need to offer them legitimate play to get the best rewards.

On average, though, this town is much better with VIP perks than Vegas or almost everywhere else. If you’re the type of person who extends your gaming sessions to get a free meal or hotel stay, then you’ll really appreciate gambling in Reno.

Conclusion

This Western Nevada city bucks the trend of skimping on loyalty rewards. Instead, Reno acts like casinos of yesteryear by offering you lots of comps.

Assuming you’re a legitimate gambler, you won’t have much trouble getting rewarded here. You may even draw the attention of a host.

But before you hit the slot machines or tables, you want to join the player’s club at any new casino you visit. Your membership ensures that you’ll be in line for favorable Reno comps.

You should also look into various casinos ahead of time to see who offers the most generous VIP programs. Even if you skip this research, though, you can still look forward to some nice benefits.

Hole Carding in Different Casino Games

Man With Magnifying Glass Held to His Eye With a Casino Background

Hole carding is one of the more popular ways to beat the casino. It involves trying to see the dealers face-down cards to gain an advantage.

Many hole carders head straight for the blackjack tables. After all, blackjack is a popular target among advantage players.

However, you can also use this technique in a variety of other casino games. I’ll cover more on hole carding, which games it applies to, and what edges it provides in each game.

How Does Hole Carding Work?

Several table games see the dealer receive hole cards. These face-down cards are supposed to be secrets until the dealer flips them over.

Therefore, you always have incomplete information with table games in the casino. Hole carding seeks to expose this info and give you a leg up on the house.

This technique calls on you to first find a dealer who routinely flashes their hole cards (a.k.a. “flasher”). Flashers are somewhat rare, but they do exist in the gaming world.

You’ll probably need to go through 200 dealers, on average, before finding a flasher. This process is painstaking and requires many hours. But when you do spot an experienced and/or poorly train dealer, the profits make your efforts worthwhile.

The next step involves figuring out where you should sit to see the dealer’s hole cards. Based on the game, certain seats give you a better vantage point of the face-down cards.

Blackjack Dealer Dealing on a Red Table

Here’s an example involving blackjack:

  • You should sit in the first seat to the dealer’s left (first base) if they’re right-handed.
  • They’ll peel the card up towards first base when peeking for a blackjack.
  • You should sit in the first seat to the dealer’s right (third base) if they’re a lefty.
  • They’ll peel the card up towards third base when checking for a blackjack.

Next, you need to sit in a manner that allows you to see cards without giving up your intentions. For instance, you might sit in a slouching manner that looks natural.

This posture doesn’t make it obvious that you’re trying to see the hole cards. Yet, it puts you more level with the table and offers a better opportunity to spot the values.

You can use any information gained to make better decisions. Assuming you’re able to see enough face-down cards, then you can earn consistent profits over time.

What Games Can You Beat Through Hole Carding?

One great thing about hole carding is that it can be applied to several games. Here are the various games that you can beat when using this strategy.

Blackjack

The dealer starts with one up-card and one face-down card when playing blackjack. Your mission is to figure out the value of the lone hole card.

You can do this either when the croupier pulls a card out of the shoe or when they check for a blackjack. The latter scenario is more feasible when considering that most dealers at least keep their cards down when drawing from the shoe.

In the best-case scenario, you can gain a 13% edge with blackjack hole carding. This is much better than the average advantage gained through card counting.

Caribbean Stud Poker

The dealer receives one up-card and four face-down cards in Caribbean Stud Poker. That said, you have up to four potential cards in each hand to monitor.

Unlike with blackjack, Caribbean Stud dealers don’t need to peek at their hole cards. However, inexperienced croupiers may be bad at keeping their cards down when pulling from the shoe.

You stand to gain up to an 11% advantage in the perfect situation. Of course, you can still win plenty of money even with a lower edge.

Let It Ride

The dealer doesn’t receive any cards in Let It Ride. However, they do put two face-down community cards on the table after dealing you three hole cards.

This game presents another situation where you must spot the face-down card values as they come out of the shoe. Assuming you do this consistently enough with the first community card, you can gain up to an 8% advantage.

If you’re only able to see the second face-down card, you can enjoy as much as a 24% advantage. When you see both community cards, you’ll gain a whopping 40% edge!

Mississippi Stud Poker

Mississippi Stud Poker is the best potential game with regard to hole carding. You can hold up to a 50% advantage just by seeing the first face-down card alone.

Assuming you’re able to see the third hole card, then you can enjoy a 100% advantage over the casino. If you’re going to target a casino game with hole carding, then you should strongly consider checking out Mississippi Stud.

Three Card Poker

Three-Card Poker is the least advantageous game from a hole carding perspective. You only stand to get around a 3% edge when executing perfect strategy.

Of course, this advantage is still twice what you can expect from card counting. But it doesn’t quite match the amount of work that hole carding requires.

Ultimate Texas Hold’em

Ultimate Texas Hold’em works much like the version that you see on TV and livestreams. The key difference, though, is that you’re playing against the house rather than other players.

Each round starts with you and the dealer receiving two hole cards. The croupier also deals five community cards as the round progresses.

Therefore, you have plenty of chances to see face-down cards when playing this game. You can grab anywhere from a 20% to 35% advantage when doing so.

Which Game Should You Target?

You can see that hole carding can work well in many table games. Therefore, you can’t go wrong by fully mastering this technique and putting it into play anywhere.

The common tendency among players is to target the blackjack tables. They may feel comfortable with this game if they start out with card counting and have moved on to more-advanced strategies.

One problem, however, is that blackjack is the most heavily-watched game in the casino. Surveillance and pit bosses are always looking for card counters at these tables and may nab a hole carder or two in the process.

Therefore, you’re better off playing games that aren’t usual targets for advantage play. Let It Ride, Mississippi Stud, Three-Card Poker, and Ultimate Texas Hold’em fall into this category.

Wannabe professional gamblers don’t usually sit down to these tables when hoping to make money. Instead, they choose blackjack and, to a lesser extent, Caribbean stud.

I’m not saying that the casinos don’t watch all of the tables to some degree. However, they’re mainly focused on the most popular and beatable games.

Advantages of Hole Carding

The best thing about hole carding is that it can provide a huge advantage. You can gain anywhere between a 3% to 100% edge based on the game.

Many advantage players spend their time toiling away with card counting. But they only hold a 1% edge on average with this technique.

Spanish 21 Dealer

Hole carding truly rewards you for your time and effort. You can earn serious profits when finding a vulnerable dealer.

Another benefit to hole carding is that it’s harder to detect than counting cards. You don’t need to wait until the end of the shoe to raise bets like with card counting.

Instead, you merely rely on the information gained from errant hole cards. You can then make more profitable decisions afterward.

Drawbacks of Hole Carding

As the saying goes, if hole carding was easy, then everybody would be doing it. But they’re not!

This strategy isn’t something that you just casually walk into the casino and pull off. It requires scouting tables for countless hours until finding a bad dealer.

Only then do you get an opportunity to profit from your skills. The rest of the time, you’ll just be placing minimum bets and waiting for an opportunity.

Another dilemma involves finding the perfect posture when looking at face-down cards. Sitting in a manner that puts you lower to the table without looking awkward is easier said than done.

You have to be on point with your posture throughout an entire session. Otherwise, surveillance can scrutinize your play for a long range of hands and eventually figure out what you’re doing.

Like any advantage gambling technique, hole carding can also lead to you getting kicked out of the casino. You could even be blacklisted from every property that a certain corporation owns.

Conclusion

Hole carding is the most rewarding advantage play method in existence. It can provide you with huge edges when done properly.

Of course, nothing worthwhile is easy. Hole carding falls in line when considering that it requires extensive scouting to find a bad dealer.

You’ll spend most of your time moving from game to game looking for a flasher. Once you find one, though, you can make considerable profits.

It helps if you’re adept at spotting hole cards in a variety of games. This way, you have many more options when trying to find flashers.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Native American Casinos

Picture of a Man Thinking and a Native American Casino

Millions of people enjoy Native American casinos every year. This industry isn’t some deeply buried secret awaiting an influx of tourists and players.

But some people spend months budgeting for and planning elaborate vacations to Las Vegas. Having been to Vegas, I definitely understand the appeal. But I definitely wonder how many are missing out simply because they’re overlooking other casino resorts.

One thing about living in large, diverse nations like the United States and Europe is that there are so many places to visit. And the local populations offer so much variety in culture and experience.

Las Vegas may be the gambling capital of America but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve visited some pretty amazing casinos that you’ve never heard of. And I’ve read about great casinos I’d love to visit someday.

The Native American gaming experience has a lot to offer both casual and regular players. Listed below are several reasons why you should think about visiting local Native American casinos.

Many of the Casinos Are More Authentic

It’s cool to visit Las Vegas. The fountain displays on the Strip are amazing. The variety in architectural styles is awesome, and there are restaurants and shopping centers galore.

But the few hundred tribes that invested in their local architecture have some fun to offer you, too. Native American casinos aren’t made up of attractions that are replicas of the real thing (New York-New York hotel, the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Las Vegas, the pyramid at the Luxor).

Their casinos come in many sizes and are authentic to their culture.  The larger ones like the WinStar World Casino and Resort in Oklahoma and Foxwoods Resort are world-class entertainment venues.

Snoqualmie Casino in Washington State

The Snoqualmie Casino in Washington State offers incredible views of mountains and forests. It’s located less than an hour’s drive east of Seattle in the mountains. The drive from the city alone is worth the trip.

Although each casino has its strengths and weaknesses, they all strive to represent their communities well. I really enjoy visiting these locations when I have the chance.

You Have More Choices Than in Las Vegas

They say you can’t do Vegas in a day, and that’s true. But you can’t do all 500 Native American casinos in a day either. And you certainly can’t visit them all within a year.

Even if you only limit your casino bucket list to the top First Nations venues in the US, it will take you years to visit and thoroughly enjoy all of them.

I personally wouldn’t want to rush through a tour of these casinos, spending only a few hours at each one.

When it comes to the games casinos offer, you’re also not just looking for variety. There’s more to a gambling experience than just the games available. People, even gamblers, enjoy learning about the histories of the tribes and their cultures. And there’s usually a nice museum or gift shop close to casinos on tribal lands.

If Las Vegas isn’t in your budget, you can still find a great casino resort close to where you live and that falls within your vacation budget. And because of the great number of Native American casinos, you have far more choices than what’s located on the four-mile Las Vegas Strip.

Support a Community Rather Than a Corporation

It’s not as cut and dry as it may seem. Many tribes hire experienced casino management corporations to come in and develop their properties and run the venues. But the casinos are owned by the tribes, who are sovereign nations.

If you’re curious about how the members of tribes benefit from casinos, read this article from Indian Country Today. It busts a lot of popular myths that outsiders form about the Native American gaming industry, which (contrary to widely held belief) is regulated.

Native American casino profits must directly benefit their communities. Although commercial casinos in Nevada, along the Gulf Coast, and in the northeast pay taxes and employ thousands of local workers, their profits are channeled to wealthy investors.

Who would you prefer to help with your vacation, a billionaire or a few thousand Native Americans? Sure enough, it’s okay if you want to spend your money in Vegas. In the end, it’s your vacation. But that’s not what this article is about.

I personally look at every trip to a Native American casino as a way to enrich my life and a few other people who aren’t billionaires. I don’t dislike those who are wealthy, but they definitely aren’t in need of my money.

Not Every Movie and TV Show Is Filmed in Vegas

Even if the resort you visit wasn’t used in a movie or TV show, a lot of these places are located close to famous landmarks.

Waterfall by Snoqualmie

The Snoqualmie casino I mentioned is close to North Bend. The cult-classic TV show Twin Peaks was filmed mostly in the towns of Snoqualmie and North Bend. Yes, there really are twin mountain peaks there, and many of the businesses in the show really exist.

Many famous western movies were filmed on or close to the reservations that own casinos. It’s hard to drive through casino country and not find movie landmark locations, too.

And some of these casinos host conventions and festivals. One particular festival of note for film and TV buffs is California’s American Indian and Indigenous Film Festival. The festival is hosted at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, CA.

Native American Casinos Offer Different Slot Games

Although classic real money slot games can be found everywhere, Native American casinos have long hosted Class II games, which are bingo games that work like slot games.

Players who want to see reels spin and win bonus rounds on gaming machines won’t be disappointed. The games’ results are determined by live call bingo games.

Slot and Bingo Machine

In recent years, slot gaming has transitioned close to the Vegas-style of Class III slots, probably because Aristocrat Games bought VGT. But you’ll still find some unique gaming experiences in Native American casinos.

In addition to different slot games, I’ve heard about unusual variations on video poker and video keno. Anyone who wants to experience different styles of gameplay should appreciate at least one visit to their nearest tribal casino.

Conclusion

Gambling should not be the only reason why you visit a large casino. There are enough casino resorts spread across the United States so everyone who wants to enjoy the casino experience at least once can do so. You don’t have to gamble to see what’s going on.

The resorts offer a lot of things to do and most are located close to other attractions. The largest resorts offer some world-class entertainment, and some of them host television shows and specials. You may just be able to appear in an audience shot if you time it right.

While I think everyone should visit Las Vegas at least once, your casino travel experience won’t be complete until you have visited at least a few Native American venues. Judge the experience for yourself.

5 Best Resorts in Colorado

Colorado State Seal With a Casino Hotel Background

Colorado is home to the Rocky Mountains, one of the largest mountain ranges in the country. It’s a great state to go to for skiing, casinos, and many other fun attractions. We’ll narrow down the five best casinos in Colorado and tell you the kind of great features they offer.

The beautiful splendor of the Rocky Mountains and its snowy peaks enhance the natural beauty of the state’s landscape.

You can find lots of skiing and fun things to do all throughout the great resorts in Colorado, but you’ll also be able to relax at its lodges which present a great amount of luxury and convenience for gaming enthusiasts when they’re not on the casino floor.

There are many types of resorts across Colorado that offer lots of different and exciting adventures like hitting the hiking trails, fishing in the streams, or enjoying a glass of wine amongst the stars and mountain peaks.

Types of Resorts

The different resorts in Colorado all offer a little bit of something different. Some resorts focus on skiing and have lots of ski lifts and pro shops to help you enjoy your time at the slopes.

Other resorts focus on restaurants that offer a wide variety of different cuisines. Ameristar Casino Resort features four delicious restaurants as well as a casino floor.

Some casinos will have different features like playground areas, mini-golf courses, or swimming pools. Obviously, you won’t want to spend a lot of time in the pool if you’ve planned a skiing vacation in the winter. But some of the resorts have indoor, heated swimming pools.

Oftentimes, resorts will create an interior atmosphere that is based on a particular theme. Some theme-based resorts will spotlight their history as old mining towns. Colorado was full of mining towns during the Gold Rush, so lots of casinos use this to enhance the vacation experience.

Things to Look For in a Colorado Resort

There are many features you’ll want to look for when choosing which resort you want to stay at.

For example, skiing is a big deal in Colorado and attracts tons of tourists every year. Vail Marriott Mountain Resort is one such great location. It offers access to a vast amount of ski slopes and outdoor adventures your whole family can enjoy. With so many amenities and concierge services, this luxury getaway will make you feel most taken care of.

Since Colorado legalized gambling, many resorts feature a casino as one of their primary attractions. So, if you’re into gambling, you’ll find plenty of opportunity to do so. One such location is McGills Hotel Casino in Cripple Creek, where you will also find other casinos and resorts.

The Broadmoor is a resort that offers a spa experience where you can relax with massages and other luxuries. If you’re looking for a resort that offers premium luxury, the Broadmoor is a great option.

Typical Resort Features

Different resorts in Colorado offer different services and amenities. It’s important to know what kind of features the resort you’re staying at will have based on your interests. That way, you can find the resort that will fit your needs the best.

A big calling card of all resorts in Colorado is skiing but not all resorts offer it, so you need to make sure the resort you want to book offers skiing before you plan a big trip.

Man Cross Country Skiing in Colorado

Some resorts offer more features like hiking and outdoor activities as well. Colorado is more than just skiing. There’s a lot of hiking and other adventures to experience during your stay in Colorado.

Mount Princeton Hot Springs offers great access to a hot springs pool conveniently located on their property. You can walk down to hot springs from the room you stay in and also enjoy great dining options which include fine dining at the Princeton Club Restaurant.

Travel Agencies

Many travel agencies can help you plan a casino trip to Colorado as well. They’re a great resource and can guide you to find a resort to stay at.

Travel agents can help you organize your whole trip, from home to airport to resort and back, so you don’t have to worry about all the details.

Package Deals

Travel agencies can also help you set up a package deal for your trip to Colorado. You’ll be able to set up package deals, which include transportation and hotel fare.

In addition, packages offer the convenience of making reservations to participate in a wide variety of attractions like white water rafting, doing ziplines through certain valleys, or going on underground tours of caves and abandoned mines.

Casinos and sportsbooks are another great feature that many resorts in Colorado have. Resorts offer casinos that have table games and slots where you can enjoy betting and drinking in a fun environment.

Sportsbooks are also available in some Colorado resorts. Sportsbooks are areas where you can place bets on sports and watch them with big-screen TVs. Many sportsbooks also contain bars and restaurants so you can unwind in between bets as you watch the action take place.

In addition to helping you tailor your vacation to whatever interests you most, package deals also let you save money through bundling several parts of the expenses into one price.

The 5 Best Resorts You Should Visit Colorado

Finally, here are are some of the five best resorts in Colorado we’ve found. We suggest these resorts based on the factors listed above including comfort, things to do, and restaurant options.

1 – Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs

Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs is one of the best resorts in Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs itself offers a lot of resorts and Cheyenne Mountain Resort features spacious guest rooms and 200 acres of landscape to explore.

Exterior of Cheyenne Mountain Resort

The resort also features lots of great dining spots you can indulge in as you take breaks from golfing on the 18-hole golf course. This is a four-diamond Colorado resort location, so it’s a great option if you want to explore the Colorado Springs area.

2 – The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs

The Broadmoor is another resort out of Colorado Springs that is a great option if you want to enjoy some zip-lining adventures. Zip-lining is a great activity in which you hang suspended in the air traveling down a rope line. In addition, The Broadmoor offers horse riding expeditions through some magnificent mountain passes.

Another great feature of the Broadmoor resort is that it is available to pets. There are also many wilderness experiences offered by the resort, including The Ranch at Emerald Valley and Cloud Camp. You can enjoy many of the restaurants offered in this luxurious resort as well.

3 – The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa

The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa is located at Beaver Creek. It’s yet another luxurious resort that offers a year-round mountain experience where skiing is a great option. This resort is also dog-friendly, so it’s a great option if you hate the thought of leaving your pooch at home.

Exterior of Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

Beaver Creek Resort also offers access to golfing, many incredible dining opportunities, and elegantly designed swimming pools in addition to its in/out skiing service. There are also couples suites available at the Allegria Spa, so you and your partner can have a private romantic getaway while completely relaxed.

4 – Ameristar Casino Resort Spa in Black Hawk

Ameristar Casino Resort Spa Black Hawk features a casino where you can gamble, a full spa with treatments, and a mountain view to top off your stay. Four restaurants are available if you want to grab a bite in between using the casino or while enjoying some great mountain views.

The resort also has a rooftop pool where you can swim, enjoy the view, or enjoy the hot tub. The casino has video poker, tables games, and slots available for you. If a casino is an important part of your resort experience, Ameristar is a great option.

5 – Sky Ute Casino Resort in Ignacio

Sky Ute Casino Resort in Ignacio is located in Southwestern Colorado. It brings Native American traditions to your gambling experience. The casino has a huge gaming floor where you can try your luck as well as four restaurants you can enjoy when you take a break from gambling.

Exterior of Sky Ute Casino Resort

A 24-lane bowling alley is one amenity that’s unique to Sky Ute Casino Resort. If you’re a big bowling fan, then this is a great place where you can enjoy the best of both worlds—bowling and gambling. Their bowling lanes offer an extra amount of excitement to your casino experience.

Conclusion

What is your favorite activity to do in Colorado? Which resort is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.

Best Casinos for Senior Citizens in Las Vegas

Senior Woman and Man Gambling on Slots With a Las Vegas Background

Believe it or not, when it comes to senior citizens and gambling, the older generations seem to have caught the gambling bug more so than the rest of society. It’s probably not that surprising, considering how popular bingo is among older folks, with bingo being played at casinos nationwide.

Plus, you have retired citizens who really just looking to get the most out of their later years. Taking a trip to the Las Vegas Strip or staying on Fremont Street and playing poker at the Golden Nugget is a perfect way to spend your time while on retirement if you ask me!

A lot of casinos actually have better promotions for senior citizens (people who are 65 or older) compared to what is available for residents of other demographics, especially in Las Vegas. And a lot of casinos boast about how friendly they are for older people. Below, you’ll find more information about the best casinos for older demographics in Las Vegas.

Visiting a Casino in Las Vegas as a Senior Citizen

If you’re a senior citizen, rest assured that Las Vegas casinos understand how valuable your business is. They know that you’re more likely to keep coming back and become a regular customer if your needs are met. And they also understand that you’re a discerning group of customers, that you generally have a lot of disposable income, and really care about being treated well by the establishments you choose to visit.

I will say that casinos have always understood this, so any high-quality casino is probably going to be a good place for older folks.

Senior citizens don’t necessarily need to look for a specific property that will cater to their needs because of how important they are as a demographic to the success of casinos.

You’ll find senior citizens enjoying casinos in just about every area of the country that has gambling. Atlantic City has its popular boardwalk, where you will frequently see seniors strolling up and down while enjoying the nostalgic environment and coastal views.

Having easy access to slot machines for those that might be using a scooter or something similar is another major selling factor for attracting seniors. Blackjack and poker tables that are easily accessible are also important. Casinos that have tight spaces and that are more difficult to get around in are not going to be the most ideal.

Suncoast Las Vegas Casino Floor

Casinos often feature large and festive buffets and hand out free lunch coupons, making it a convenient place for a retired couple to spend lunch and the rest of the afternoon. Casinos go as far as sending buses to and from their casino to retirement homes so that seniors don’t even have to stress about transportation.

They can play, eat, drink, and have a good time, and not need to worry about driving. Las Vegas and Atlantic City also feature artists from the golden era, such as Tony Bennett or Neil Diamond. Going all the way back to the ‘50s and ‘60s, both of these gambling meccas here in the United States have always featured artists from that generation, such as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, or Wayne Newton.

I know that most of the younger generations aren’t really going to go out of their way to see Tony Bennet. However, that isn’t the case with a lot of people who are 65 or older. So again, casinos are a hot spot amongst senior citizens for lots of reasons. Here are some of the best casinos in the United States for senior citizens.

Station Casinos

Station Casinos is an American hotel and casino gaming company based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. Founded by Frank Fertitta Jr., Station has long been at the top when it comes to the local casino market in Las Vegas.

Station Casinos also owns and operates 4,000 reasonably priced hotel rooms in its 10 different hotel and casino properties. Stations is great because it provides an option for every single budget type, especially seniors.

For guests who are over the age of 50 years old, Station Casinos offers some pretty sweet deals in an ongoing promotion deal called “MyGeneration.”

MyGeneration Perks and Benefits

There are a lot of different Las Vegas casino deals that are offered not just to senior citizens, but to active older folks in general. Every Wednesday of the month at Station Casinos, an announcement is made that will reveal a new food and beverage deal for the older guests.

For instance, this month in every Station Casinos, there was a special at the cafes in Fiesta Steakhouses (also part of Station Casinos) for MyGeneration guests, featuring chicken fajitas for $9.99, a free cup of Starbucks coffee at any Starbucks location inside of Station Casinos, as well all different types of discounts on cocktails at the bar.

There are all kinds of different perks that MyGeneration guests have access to when gambling at Station Casinos. Several nights out of the week, the winning amounts for all slots will increase by six to 10 times for MyGeneration players. There is no question at all that Station Casinos is giving a huge incentive for older guests that play in their casinos.

Another popular deal that MyGeneration guests will receive is $4 matinees at Station Casinos movie theaters every day of the month. People love pizza, so why not have 15% of every pizza for every guest 50 or over for the whole month of December?

Palace Station Hotel and Casino

There are a lot of exceptional hotels from Station Casinos all over Las Vegas. One of the favorite hotels among Las Vegas locals is the Palace Station Hotel and Casino. Being a Station Casinos casino and hotel, it provides just the perfect amount of comfort and luxury while still being pretty affordable.

Its reasonable price and level of comfort and luxury makes it a perfect place for retired couples and older locals wanting to go have a low-cost lunch and play slots. It has some of the best food and entertainment that you could find in the whole Las Vegas strip, so you won’t have to worry about missing out on the Las Vegas experience.

Palace Station Las Vegas Pool Area

Technically, Palace Station is a few miles off of Las Vegas Boulevard, making it even better for the people not wanting to deal with the crowded Vegas Strip. If your goal is to have a relaxing time off the strip at a casino without the huge lines and flocks of tourists all hours of the day and night (and all times of the year), then this is the place to go.

Suncoast Hotel and Casino

The Suncoast Hotel and Casino is ranked in the top 10 for best hotels and casinos for seniors in Las Vegas. The Hotel includes 388 newly remodeled deluxe guests rooms at 550 square feet each, as well as 39 guest suites that have also been remodeled and range from 1,100 square feet all the way up to 2,300 square feet.

Every room in the hotel is non-smoking, which is usually a perk for the older folks who stay in the beautiful hotel. Attitudes and practices in smoking have changed so much over the years that most senior citizens no longer smoke and prefer to stay in places that are smoke-free, which unfortunately not all casinos offer.

The view you have at the Suncoast Hotel is breathtaking and really a sight to behold. You have amazing views of the Las Vegas valley as well as the not too distant Spring Mountains. The windows in the hotel bedrooms are full length, providing opportunities for gorgeous views inside the hotel bedrooms. A popular golf course in Las Vegas surrounds the hotel, another of the many reasons that it’s such a hot destination for retired people.

Exterior of Suncoast Casino

The Suncoast Hotel and Casino offers amenities ranging from a large free-style swimming pool and hot tub to a fitness club that is available to guests 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are some great offers for seniors at the Suncoast. Showcased by Boyd Gaming, Young at Heart Senior Days makes Suncoast one of the most popular casinos for senior citizens in Las Vegas.

Seniors can enjoy a free buffet lunch or dinner for 300 points on their gaming card. Suncoast also offers $4 matinee movies on Tuesdays, and seniors can play in the Hit Parade Variety show for no cost. If all that’s not worth the visit, I don’t know what is!

Conclusion

Las Vegas will always be a popular mecca for retired people all across the world, and especially for those living here in the United States. Every year that goes by, more and more retired couples and people are moving out to Las Vegas and living it up in all that Las Vegas has to offer. There are plenty of other casinos that are popular for seniors. If there are some that I missed, feel free to let me know in the comments!

How to Pick a Casino

Man Standing on Branching Paths and a Casino Sign

Perhaps the most critical choice a gambler can make is which casino to play at. Most people overlook the significance of this decision. The fact of the matter is that picking the right casino not only affects your entertainment level, but it can also have a severe impact on your bank account.

You might be wondering what the secret formula is for how to pick a casino. There are a ton of options available for casino gamblers. Obviously, you want to choose the casino that fills all your gaming needs.

How do you assure you are getting the best bonuses, best games, and everything that makes a casino amazing while avoiding the numerous pitfalls that some online casinos present?

I’m going to answer that question today. After reading this post, you’ll be the leading authority on how to pick a casino among your circle of friends. Or at least be able to select a casino with confidence, and feel secure in the fact that you’ve made the right choice.

What Do You Want From a Casino?

Casinos can be as unique as snowflakes. There are so many small subtleties between casinos; it may be akin to choosing a bottle of wine. You are going to have a different experience with a bottle of Chateau Montelena than you will with a bottle of Boone’s Farm.

Sure, they’ll both get you drunk. The ride will be different, though. It depends on what you are looking for as to which experience you’ll choose.

This comparison applies to casinos as well. To accurately answer the question of how to pick a casino, you must consider a few things.

What games are you interested in? Do you prefer endless choices of slots over table games? Do you crave blackjack variations with anything less than a dozen options unacceptable? What about online casino bonuses?

Vegas Themed Online Slot

Are you seeking a cash back bonus with minimal requirements? Maybe you are only interested in a no-deposit style bonus? The bonus is of paramount importance because it can save you or cost you some significant cash.

What’s your gambling style? Do you only play occasionally when the itch strikes? Or are you a regular player that can’t wait for Friday night to get here for a marathon session to start the weekend?

If you are an avid player who spends several hours a week playing, the casino loyalty program may likely be of more interest to you.

After answering these questions, you may not have a clear choice. That’s totally acceptable as you should at least have a solid start. Knowing what the dealbreakers are at this stage will ensure you don’t get into any precarious spots with your bankroll.

Look, you have thousands of choices when selecting what casino you’ll be playing at. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice anything that is a must-have feature at the casino you choose. I promise you there will be a casino that fills every one of your needs and wants.

Do Some Research Into Various Casinos

First, you must honestly evaluate your own skill level. I’m not referring to your ability to count cards or knowing how to play any starting hand in Texas Hold’em. I’m talking about your familiarity with casino gambling.

Regardless of whether you’ve been playing casino games for years or looking to dip your first toe into the waters of casino gambling, reliable reviews by industry experts can help for picking the right casino.

If you were out to dinner for a special occasion, would you ask the bathroom porter for wine recommendations? No, you’d ask the sommelier.

So, I encourage you to exercise the same discretion in choosing your casino.

Do Some Window Shopping

Once you have poured catalogs of reviews and found the one you’re interested in, it’s time for a test drive. This is of particular importance when picking an online casino. After all, I can spend all day extolling the greatness of Topo Chico, but you’ll have to pop a bottle for yourself to see if you love it as much as I do.

The first thing you’ll want to do is browse, much as you’d do at a department store. Does the site run smoothly? Does it continue to lag or fail to load?

These are possible design flaws that could severely impact your overall gaming experience. You certainly don’t want to spend 15 minutes waiting for the game to load when you finally get the chance to play.

Take this opportunity to give the games a spin. Most of the premier casinos will let you play most of the games online for free. You’ll quickly gain a great insight into the actual games you’ll be playing for hours at a time. You probably agree that games are the most crucial factor in your overall casino experience.

You shouldn’t have to search very long before you come across the promotions tab for the casino. Here you will find all available promotions, including the welcome bonus you’ll receive. Make sure the bonuses fit your needs and carefully read all terms and conditions.

I cannot stress enough the importance of actually reading these. If you fail to do so, and something comes up later that you’re not happy about, you will have nobody to blame but yourself.

I encourage you to ask questions. You should not hesitate to try out the customer service department. You can get a decent idea about the casino’s customer service by reading consumer reviews, but I believe it’s better to ask questions yourself. Some casinos only offer customer service to registered accounts. If that’s the case, no problem. Assuming everything else checks out, go ahead and sign up, you’ll have plenty of time before you commit large sums of cash.

Shoot for a No-Deposit Bonus

Obviously, the best way to pick a casino is by trying one out without any risk at all.

If you have made it to this stage and taken the proper steps. Then, you are likely interested in a fair casino at the minimum, and you’ve probably landed on a solid choice.

Now, these excellent incentives aren’t available everywhere, nor are they always available at the casinos where they’re offered. When you come across them, you should jump on them.

Can you think of a better way to play casino games without any risk to your bankroll? You might even get a few breaks and end up winning something. You should note that these no-deposit bonuses typically have requirements associated with them. So, you can’t take your $100 bonus and turn it into $1k in the first hour. Then, just cash out and walk away.

El Royale Online Casino Face Up 21 Game

This is important. Do not. I repeat, do not attempt to cash out your bonus. This will not only void the bonus, but it will also negate your winnings. Make sure to honor all wagering requirements before cashing out. If you are unsure for any reason, you should contact customer service.

Don’t be afraid to mix it up. You’re playing with house money after all. Spread the wealth. Enjoy a selection of slots, try your luck on the roulette wheel, get in a little blackjack, and even try the live games.

This will be hugely beneficial to you in the long run. Playing the real thing without assuming any risk will give you all the information you need and more to make a decision on the right casino for you.

Register at More Than One Casino

Just because you take Casino A for a test spin doesn’t mean you can’t simultaneously try Casino B. I wouldn’t suggest you stick to the first casino you try out. That’s not to say you can’t circle back to it after trying others out.

I know some casino gamblers with over 20 accounts. Now, this may be overkill, but that’s not for me to decide. The fact of the matter is there is no better way of optimizing the vast array of available bonuses and game selection.

I encourage you to follow this same strategy. I’m not recommending you immediately dive headfirst into casino gambling with a dozen accounts. I’d say three is a good starting point. If you decide you want more variety, you can always add more accounts. Conversely, if you are already feeling overwhelmed, it’ll be far easier to choose your favorite and delete the others.

Conclusion

I understand that this can be a lot of information to process and that this may be a big decision. Remember that it’s a process, and you are on nobody’s timeline but your own.

I encourage you to be confident when you pick a real money casino online or otherwise. You have all of the tolls on how to choose a casino.

The key here is to avoid all scam sites or poor casinos while finding your favorite reputable casino. There’s no better authority on knowing what you like than you. So, you’re already halfway home.

Reading reviews and minimal research on your part will take care of the rest. Happy hunting. I hope you enjoy the process of finding a casino.

9 Tips for Getting a Vegas Casino Host

Casino Host With a Player's Club Desk and Casino Background

Las Vegas is well known for rolling out the red carpet for special VIPs. Casinos hosts are integral to this red-carpet treatment.

A host can either work for a specific casino or independently. In either case, their goal is to generate money for casinos and keep gamblers happy.

Regarding the latter, they enable you to customize comps. If you want a steak dinner, for example, then you can speak to your host about it.

Being hosted signifies that you’re an important gambler. But how do you earn this honor? Below, you can see nine tips for grabbing a casino host’s attention.

1 – Join the Players Club

The easiest way to start on the path towards being hosted is to join the casino’s loyalty program. These VIP programs ensure that your bets are tracked and eligible for rewards.

You merely need to insert your players club card into a slot or video poker machine to begin generating points. Assuming you offer enough play, a host will eventually speak to you about the array of comps they can offer.

Table games work differently, because they don’t have software to track your play. Instead, you must hand your card to the dealer and tell them that you wish to be rated.

The dealer will then give your card to the pit boss. The latter will stop by your table every now and then to record your bet sizes.

As you can see, both slot machines and table games offer rewards. You just need to go about qualifying for comps through different means with each type of gaming.

2 – Know That Your VIP Level Doesn’t Mean Much

Casino loyalty programs feature different tiers. For example, a VIP plan might offer bronze, silver, gold, and platinum levels.

You’ll feel more special when moving up the tiers. However, casinos hosts couldn’t care less about your status.

M Life Tier Cards

These levels merely indicate that, at some point, you gambled enough to move into a different class. They don’t, however, ultimately determine whether you’ll be hosted or not.

3 – Understand How Rewards Are Calculated

If your VIP status isn’t the deciding characteristic to getting hosted, then what is? Casinos look at your theoretical loss (THEO) to determine how valuable you are to them.

Assuming you make big bets and play games with high house edges, then you’re going to be more worthy of a host’s time.

Here’s an example:

  • You play Caribbean Stud Poker (5.23% house edge)
  • You bet $50 per hand
  • The table sees 60 hands per hour
  • 50 x 60 x 0.0523 = $156.90 in hourly theoretical losses

On the other hand, casino hosts won’t see you as a very big player if you’re betting $5 per hand in baccarat.

Here’s an example of your theoretical losses in this situation:

  • You play mini baccarat (1.06% house edge on banker bet)
  • You bet $10 per hand
  • The table sees 120 hands per hour
  • 10 x 120 x 0.016 = $19.20 in hourly theoretical losses

I’m not suggesting that you place large bets with poor odds just to get the casino host’s attention. However, gambling establishments mainly care about your theoretical losses above all when it comes to rewards.

4 – Gamble Locally

Hosts are willing to work with any gambler who wagers and theoretically loses enough. However, they especially like locals.

A local player may visit the casino two to three times per week. Assuming they average five hours per visit, they’ll spend 10 to 15 hours gambling throughout the week. Stretched over the course of the year, they may play for between 520 and 780 hours.

Contrast this to the average tourist. Out of towners may gamble for 20 to 30 hours during a weeklong stay.

Assuming that they visit the casino twice per year, they’ll be playing for between 40 and 60 hours. However, this gambling volume is nowhere near what the typical local offers.

5 – Visit Less Prominent Casinos

Mega-resorts on the Las Vegas strip see countless gamblers come through their doors on a regular basis. Here, hosts are less likely to spot your play, especially if you’re not a high roller.

El Cortez in Downtown Las Vegas

Casinos located in less-heralded areas, such as Downtown Las Vegas, pay closer attention to each gambler. You have a higher chance of being treated like a VIP at these establishments.

Of course, you still must bet enough to draw a host’s attention. But wagering $25 per blackjack hand at downtown Vegas’ El Cortez will net you more comps than at the MGM Grand.

6 – Lose More Money (Not on Purpose)

You should never consider increasing your theoretical losses just to get rewards. After all, the comps you earn won’t equal or exceed what you theoretically stand to lose.

However, suffering a bad day at the tables or slot machines can gain you more sympathy from the pit boss. They sometimes give you more rewards than you deserve after a rough session.

Hosts are given bonuses for bringing more and more money into the casino. Therefore, they typically just base rewards on your THEO.

On the other hand, they don’t want you losing badly and never coming back. Therefore, they might give you more comps to lighten your losses.

7 – Bet More per Hand/Spin

If you’re only making spins worth $0.25 on slot machines or placing $5 roulette wagers, you’re not going to draw much attention. The casino host will assuredly overlook you in these situations.

At most gambling establishments, you need to wager at least $1 per spin or $25 per hand to potentially get hosted. You may even have to up your table game bets to $50 or more.

Again, everything goes back to THEO. But you won’t attain higher THEO without making large-enough wagers.

8 – Bet Big in Front of the Pit Boss

Your play rating on table games can be another factor that draws a host. As mentioned above, though, your THEO will also rise as you make bigger bets.

However, you can fool the pit boss into rating you higher without taking on additional losses. You simply need to raise your bets when you see them coming around.

Here’s an example:

  • You’re normally a $10 blackjack player
  • You increase your bets to $100 when the pit boss nears
  • They rate you as a $100 player
  • You’re now eligible for 10x the comps as a typical $10 gambler

Pit bosses are experienced casino employees who are fully aware of this ruse. Therefore, you might not be able to trick them into giving you a higher rating.

But if you’re experienced with table games, then you should still consider placing perfectly timed big bets. A host will take more interest if they see that you’re rated as a $100 or $200 gambler.

9 – Ask the Player’s Club Rep

One more way to learn about getting hosted is to simply ask. When you sign up for the player’s club, you can inquire about hosting with the front desk.

Player's Club Desk at Encore Las Vegas

You can also visit a casino’s website and send them an email on the matter. This option is perfect for when you’re not sure about gambling at a certain venue and want to know about hosting beforehand.

In some cases, you won’t get much information on the subject. However, it never hurts to ask or email. The latter measure is especially nice, because it saves you the time of visiting a casino.

Conclusion

You can go about getting hosted in a variety of ways. But everything starts with joining the player’s club either online or in person.

Using your card on slot machines and at tables ensures that your play is always rated. In turn, you always have a chance to interest a host. Of course, being rated alone doesn’t guarantee you rewards. You must pay attention to your bet sizes and theoretical losses.

You don’t have to wager $100 per hand just to draw hosting. However, you’ll likely have to bet at least $25 on table games or $1 on slots.

Playing games with higher house edges will help you attract a casino host. I certainly don’t suggest that you play slot machines just to woo a host. But if you’re already going to spin the reels, then these cash-eating games will help.

You may consider gambling at local casinos too. Hosts see you as a valuable player when you’re closer and can gamble with them more often. You’ll gain more attention if you play at lowkey gambling establishments. Hosts at less-heralded casinos may offer you more comp value on your betting action.

Gambling big around the pit boss is yet another avenue towards getting the VIP treatment. Pit bosses will rate you higher if they see you betting $200 per hand versus $20.

If all else fails, you can simply ask the player’s club rep about hosting. They’ll likely give you the necessary details or even put you in contact with a host.

7 Ways People Gamble in Bars and Taverns

Hand Holding Money With a Sports Bar Background

When I thought about gambling outside of my standard atmosphere, personal digital device, and casino, a list began to form of other ways wagering occurs at bars and taverns.

The first thing I noticed was that many of them are designed to create a more social environment. Some may seem crazy, but here’s one thing I’ve learned:

People love excitement.

Let’s look at a few of these perhaps crazy but exciting games plus some of the more standard avenues of gambling.

1 – Bar Olympics (Uber Highly Suggested)

One of my local pubs would have an annual bar Olympics where participants accumulate points throughout the event. The one with the highest points wins the prestigious Bar Olympic Championship trophy and claim to fame (or infamy). The game awarded points for winning numerous bar games and allowed bonus points for — you guessed it — the size of your bar tab.

Bar Olympics are specifically designed to be coed, where couples compete against other couples in each of the games designated within the bar.

The games played at this specific location are pool, shuffleboard, darts, ping pong, and bags (cornhole).

This is by no means a comprehensive list of bar games available, and each location should choose what the locals play.

But ensuring a physical aspect to be part of the Olympics is to be more in line with this theme.

Closeup of a Dartboard With Three Darts

Each team played other teams from a blind draw per event, and wins were tallied after each match. The bartender keeps a tally of drinks taken by each team member, and these can be used as bonus points added to a team’s total.

Choose your partner wisely.

I have to say that as crazy as this may sound, it was a blast. You will find the annual Bar Olympics discussed by all players and spectators alike throughout the year. Plus, you get a trophy and a nameplate on the permanent bar trophy for all to see your victory.

Entry fees and payouts are easily associated with this event.

2 – Fantasy Sports

Pick your fantasy sport, and the bar creates the perfect environment to have the draft and weekly specials that entice customers back for high drama displayed by grown men and women.

For some reason, my fantasy drafts and games are much better at the pub versus being at home in front of my computer, It must have something to do with hearing some of the hilariously ridiculous statements by others at my local tavern.

I participate in both baseball and football leagues, but that’s because that’s the primary focus for my region. Other games are equally exciting, and local taverns will gear specific days to cater to fantasy outlets. “Sunday Funday” has been especially useful with football side bets occurring throughout the day.

Here’s one crucial “not to do”:

We used to have a person buy a round of shots for all if they picked a player already selected during the draft. Ugh, that is not only tough on the pocketbook, but it seemed to happen more frequently throughout the draft as the shots accumulated.

Our wives were not happy with our final physical condition.

3 – Yahtzee

Yahtzee is a pot-based dice game played at numerous local pubs, and the winner takes all. The game uses five dice.

If you haven’t played Yahtzee, it works by trying to get the same number on all five of the dice.

A player gets three rolls and may roll all of the dice on any of the rolls.

At my local bars, I walk up to the bar and only have to say one question to the bartender, “Yahtzee?”.

Boom, a box appears ready to roll.

Five Dice on a Wooden Table Showing Ones

Contributions vary, but most of the time, it’s a dollar to pay into the accumulated pot. As you might imagine, these pots can get sizeable.

The probability of getting all five dice with the same number is only 4.6%.

This game is a unique short experience, but I have noticed that after one person plays, it seems to be contagious. Usually, several others that watched want to give it a try, and the banter begins with each new participant.

4 – Poker Tournaments

Poker tournaments at local pubs can be found in every reasonably sized city. The great thing about these is that most are free. The pub will usually have a sign-up sheet, and, once signed up, you scan the environment to find a seat that suits you best.

Prizes can be cash or bar coupon credits to be used for products within the bar, but some local laws do not allow them to be used on alcohol. That might seem strange, but everywhere is a little different. I need to look at these tournaments as fun and not miss the entertainment received from watching the players at the table.

Since many of the patrons do not associate any money with their chips, bets are frequent, and calls are even more frequent. So, reading players can be challenging until later in the rounds.

When I make it through the crazy “all-ins” to reach the final table, my skills as a player become more visible — the best somehow seem to make it there as well.

Most bar poker is Texas Hold’em, which allows more players at a table. It’s also a simple game — especially compared to Omaha poker.

Blinds increase quickly, and the whole tournament is usually over in two hours.

These poker tournaments are fun and a great way to participate in gambling with a minimal investment. One caution, though — watch where you’re sitting because there will be the occasional intoxicated person. Beer spillage can be close at hand.

5 – Taco Beer Fun Run

The name of this title sounds crazy, but this has probably been one of my favorite annual bar events. This game does not require anything like the encouraged drinking related to Bar Olympics, but you are required to drink three beers.

There’s a small entry fee (around $10), and the game is open to all players of the legal drinking age. The object is to be able to drink three beers, eat two tacos, and run a reasonable oval-shaped distance. Each player starts in front of the pub and is required to drink a 12 oz beer. Then the player begins running, walking, or jogging, depending on his or her level of commitment. The course need not be too long and oval-shaped to avoid collisions — and cheating.

Pint of Beer and Two Tacos

Once at the halfway point of the course, each player must drink another 12 oz beer before continuing along the route. When the player reaches the end of the course, they must drink another 12 oz beer and eat two tacos before ringing the bell.

Sound simple?

I thought so until I tried quickly drinking my beer at the halfway point. A person is monitoring the beer-drinking because some of the people basically throw the beer at their mouth versus drinking it.

The winner gets the yearlong acknowledgment and is immortalized on the Taco Beer Fun Run trophy.  The turnout for this event was amazingly strong, and many of the people simply walked while enjoying the overall atmosphere and friendships.

6 – Random Weekly Tournaments

There are weekly tournaments associated with many of the previously discussed Bar Olympics games like pool, shuffleboard, ping pong, darts, and video games (like golf or bowling). Most of these tournaments have a $10 entry fee, and the pub usually contributes to the pot, which significantly helps the ROI.

These tournaments have payouts ranging from first place to third place, with first getting the highest percentage of the pot and third getting a little more than the entry fee. I have found these to be highly competitive, primarily when they are geared around darts or pool.

7 – Trivia

Trivia is probably the most unrecognized form of gambling in bars. I can get a machine for free and play. The exciting thing about trivia to me is that I’m playing against people in other bars.

Smart bar owners, especially in a localized area, can pool their resources together and have weekly tournaments where it’s more of a battle of the bars with prizes for the winners.

Prizes can range from individual payouts to overall drink specials associated with the top bar in town.

These types of structures are more challenging to find but tend to be more prevalent in college towns where the owners have closer relationships with one another. It can often lead to group “bar hopping” to tout my team’s victory over the other competitors.

Conclusion

There are many other pub gambling games, and while reading this, I’m sure you thought of a few personal ones that you like best. I tried to mix it up with a few of my favorites and the traditionally known forms of gambling.

You’ll see that, in most of these, the goal is not about financial security but more about building relationships and bragging rights. Some of the ones I mentioned involve drinking, and you should be wise before entering these contests.

My all-time favorite is the Bar Olympics, and even though I do not live in that town any longer, when I visit, I always stop by to see my name immortalized on the trophy.

As we get older, I think we call it those glory days?

Top 5 Best Casino Resorts in the World (Part 1) – Aria Resort and Casino

Casino Graphic With an Aria Las Vegas Background

Gone are the days of hokey western-themed, brightly lit, cheesy casinos. What the casino industry is shifting towards is opulent high-end resort-style casinos.

I adore this move. I love to gamble on the casino floor.

But it’s also nice to also leave the casino floor and be transported to a high-end exclusive resort.

This trend looks like it’s in for the long haul too.

I am going to take you on a whirlwind tour of the best casino resorts the world has to offer. We are going to visit some American names you’ve heard of, maybe even visited, and some that is what gambling girl’s dreams are made of.

In this series, I am going to share with you my experiences at these luxury resort casinos. I wish I could spend the rest of the years traveling the world to tell you about these stunning properties.

Please note that these properties are in no particular order. I will let you make your own decision on your favorite(s).

Aria Resort and Casino – What’s That?

The Aria Resort and Casino is a newcomer to this list. An MGM property, this resort casino is marketed towards the younger gambler.

Much like most of the world, the property has shifted its focus to the new population of higher-earning visitors to today’s casinos. There are technological touches throughout the property to reflect the visitor’s personal needs and wants.

If you look at their website, you get a millennial vibe, as if they were cast on Mad Men. I like the juxtaposition of 60’s cool with a modern touch for the new high roller.

City Center on the Vegas Strip

The Aria is located in the Strip’s City Center. This new 76-acre mixed-use complex is made up of casinos, resorts/ hotels, dining, and shopping. This type of urban development is popping up as a tribute to Brooklyn’s ability to offer it all in but in an urban setting.

This new addition to the Strip is what is keeping Vegas current for new generations. They are looking for all-inclusive without the clunkiness of old Vegas.

Other attractions include the Aria Express, a tram that connects the City Center properties to both sides of the famed Bellagio. Visitors can also indulge in high-end retail shopping and restaurants.

The Casino Floor

The casino floor of the Aria is comprised of 150,000 square feet of modern gambling options. The casino floor offers slots, table games, a high roller club room, and a sportsbook.

The casino floor takes a turn from the tradition of Vegas by having windows on the corners of the floor. This is out of character for most casinos as they don’t include windows to life outside.

The high roller room offers skylights to carry the clean design and move from stuffy old Vegas.

The casino security system is run from a 3,000 square foot home base operation. This gives the management an eagle-eye view of the entire floor as well as the newest security in technology.

For those put off by smoking on the casino floor, Aria boasts a clean air system to almost filter out the presence of smoking on the floor.

First Impressions

Maya Lin, the designer of the Vietnam War Veteran’s Memorial in Washington, D.C., was brought into to design the hanging Colorado River sculpture that is comprised of 87 feet of repurposed silver. The stunning sculpture is fittingly named Silver River.

Silver River Sculpture by Maya Lin

The lobby also displays a water feature with light displays that are choreographed to music. Much like the fountains at the Bellagio (a sister property of the Aria), the “Lumia” is a draw in itself. The Lumia was designed and constructed by WET.

The Aria is also the only hotel of its size that is to receive LEED Gold certification. This also speaks to the younger visitor’s environmental values.

Sleep in Opulence

The Aria’s hotel is comprised of over 4,000 rooms on four million square feet. Within this expansive hotel, the property has 568 suites, and the VIP tower is aptly named the Sky Suites.

The Sky Suites are an AAA-5 Diamond rated Star hotel separate from the rest of the accommodations. The Sky Suites include private access and VIP transport between the Las Vegas Airport. The entire fleet of limos is run on compressed natural gas. This continues the care for the environment that is so important to the hotel’s clientele.

Aria Sky Suites Living Room

I can live my tech dreams vicariously through a stay in any of the rooms offered at this luxury resort and casino

The rooms in Aria are entirely automated through a touchscreen command center.

Can you imagine my delight when my love of automation was fulfilled when I found out I could control all the HVAC, lights, and electronics just by touching a screen?

The rooms in the main hotel range from 520 square feet up to 2,060 square feet. The top two floors are home to the Sky Villas. I imagine this where all my daughter’s favorite music celebrities and son’s athletic heroes stay.

The Sky Villas and Skye Suites are also a Forbes Five Star Hotel. All standard rooms are nonsmoking. This can be a hard find in smoker-friendly Las Vegas.

Are You Hungry?

The Aria is a foodie’s dream come true. I love eating on vacation, and I’m not unusual.

Luckily, Aria offers 17 eating establishments.

They have 13 traditional sit-down restaurants and four fast-casual options. They also have a Starbucks.

While we were staying at the Aria last time, we ate as many meals as possible.

Here were my top two experiences.

Lemongrass – Thai

I’ve loved Thai food since I was 10 when my dad took me to a hole in the wall Thai restaurant in South Philadelphia. I was in love. I have been waiting for a casino to open an excellent Thai restaurant, and the Aria did it with Lemongrass.

We started with the spicy cucumber salad and fried tofu. That would’ve been enough, but because I am on a constant mission to eat my 140 pounds of weight in Thai, it wasn’t.

We shared the lobster Tom Kha coconut soup. This soup is my favorite when going for Thai.

Spread of Thai Food and Desserts

It’s always a good litmus test for a good Thai restaurant. Just like a BBQ place can be judged solely on its smoked sausage. I’m from Texas, I know BBQ.

I love spicy. I’m not talking about a seeded jalapeno or the run of the mill spicy of jalapeno ranch. I am talking spicy. Lemongrass satisfied my need for the burn when we ordered my favorite Thai curry, yellow.

The potatoes were tender, the onion crunch just right, and they hit it out of the park with the juicy beef and spice level.

Bardot Brasserie – French

I knew that I wanted to save this French establishment for our last meal. I wanted everything on the menu.

French can be off-putting — scary even. A brasserie is a French bistro. Bistro means bar in French. When I found that out, it took a lot of the high society fanciness out of French food for me in my 20s.

Don’t get me wrong. The French version of bar food involves much classier ingredients than frozen fried snacks and wings.

We walked into Bardot for our 7:30 reservation. We were stunned by the beauty of the space. I was transported back in time to the beatnik vibes of 1960s Paris.

Golden light delicately played from the chandeliers on to the finished concrete floors. It was welcoming and elegant at once.

The wine list is every oenophile’s dreams come true. We started with a bottle of the Sancerre, a French dry white made from the sauvignon blanc grape. We ordered foie gras parfait and the pop tart flambé.

I am a huge fan of offal and pork. I was not disappointed. The Sancerre was a perfect match. Thank you, friendly waitperson.

As is my usual MO, I wanted more. We moved on the ‘fruits de mar’ (seafood). I can’t for the life of me pass up raw oysters. We ordered a dozen of their West Coast oysters. The minuet sauce was to die for.

Bar at Bardot Brasserie in the Aria Hotel

Still hungry, we moved on to our main course. I don’t have time for salad at meals like these. I do want to go back and try the king crab and endive Caesar. Yum out.

Our 3rd course arrived. I ordered the steak frites choice of flatiron steak, no sauce. The steak was 10 oz, Mishima, 5-star American wagyu. A cut like that doesn’t need to be disrespected with a heavy sauce. I want to taste the beef, not black peppercorn.

My husband ordered the poulete roti, a ½ roasted chicken that his boss has raved about incessantly since he ate at this restaurant. My husband is a company man. He said the chicken was the most tender, delicious roasted chicken he had ever eaten.

We had a Sonoma pinot noir with dinner by Kistler. This really was another fabulous suggestion by our server as its incredibly hard to nail a red with a steak and poultry.

You can order shareable sides, and we indulged. I have it stuck in my food-driven brain that it’s not a real main course if you don’t have a protein, green vegetable, and a carb. My trainer hates me.

We split the pommes puree (the airiest and light mashed potatoes), and the Brussel sprouts and bacon. Weird food rules followed.

This was one meal for the books. I was too stuffed for dessert at this point.

Please don’t be scared of the name of this eatery. This was one of my favorite restaurants in Vegas, ever.

Conclusion

I love gambling, technology, and food.

The Aria has so much more to offer than I could fit in this post. I can’t wait to go back.

How to Plan a Las Vegas Itinerary

Man Holding a Long List With a Vegas Strip Background

Las Vegas is the greatest resort destination in the world. No matter how many different cities I visit, Las Vegas remains my favorite. Sin City has so much to see and do that you’ll never cover all the possibilities there, not even if you move there.

Most people are lucky to get to Vegas once a year, and they’re the die-hard fans.

If it’s your first time or your 10th time, you should plan a Las Vegas Itinerary that includes fun stuff to do without destroying your budget.

In this post, I’ll explain how to plan the perfect Las Vegas itinerary.

The Most Important Stuff to Do in Las Vegas

The first thing you should do in Vegas if visiting on the weekend is to start the day off right and check out some of the amazing brunch options.

Life’s too short for bad breakfast buffets.

After that, you should spend time visiting various casinos along the Strip. You can’t go wrong here, just pick either end of the Strip or start in the middle and work your way north or south. You won’t be able to visit all of them, but take in a few of them and do some daytime gambling while you’re at it.

Specific Things You Should See and Do on the Strip

The High Roller is one of those can’t-miss Vegas attractions that doesn’t cost a lot of money. It’s the largest observation wheel in the world. Almost 1,200 people at a time can experience The High Roller.

First of all, the High Roller is the world’s largest observation wheel. You’ll get the best view because it’s located at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. You can see that it has 28 transparent pods, and each pod holds about 40 passengers. You’ll find The High Roller at the LINQ Promenade, and you should buy tickets. They’re about $20 to $30 per person, give or take.

High Roller Observation Wheel in Las Vegas

But you’ll get to see some of the best views of Sin City ever. They also have a zip line (FLYLINQ) about 12 stories above the Promenade. The tickets for this attraction are slightly more expensive.

You should definitely go take your picture in front of the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign while you’re in town. And that doesn’t have to cost you anything.

What Should You Do for Lunch in Las Vegas?

I once read a Las Vegas guide that suggested you go to In-N-Out Burger for lunch. I live in Texas, so I can go to In-N-Out anytime I want. If you’re from somewhere else in the country, you might give In-N-Out a try if you’re on a budget and love burgers.

But I suggest trying something more iconic and more “Vegas.”

Try Secret Pizza at the Cosmopolitan. It’s not listed on the hotel’s official site, but it’s on the third floor down the hallway with the album covers. You can buy traditional New York-style pizza here by the slice for $5.

It’s not fancy, but it’s cheap, fun, and screams “Vegas.”

An Afternoon at the Wax Museum and Shopping

After lunch, go to the Venetian and visit Madame Tussauds, the wax museum. You can take pictures with the many different wax versions of the celebrities there. Tickets range from $20 to $40 depending on the timing of your visit and the options you choose.

On their website, Madame Tussauds’ marketing people point out that they’re not running a wax museum, they’re running a wax ATTRACTION.

What’s the difference? Everything at Madame Tussaud’s is meant to be immersive and fun. They claim that it’s more of a 4D experience. The music and sets make it more than most people would expect.

I know you’re skeptical. But you should go anyway. You’ll love it; it doesn’t matter who you are or what you’re into.

Wax Model of Mike Tyson

While you’re at the Venetian, you should also spend some time shopping in the Grand Canal Shoppes. It feels like Venice, but it also feels like a luxury shopping mall. You’ll find over 160 different luxury stores to choose from at the Grand Canal Shoppes.

They always have something new and interesting going on there, too, based on the time of year that you’re visiting. If you catch them at the right time, you can experience Chinese New Year here.

The Waterfall Atrium shouldn’t be missed either. It’s located right at the entrance to the mall. You’ll never see anything so colorful in your life at the flowers decorating this area. They’ve spent at least two years designing the latest version of the Atrium.

I’m a fan of any topiary, and you’ll find plenty of that to gaze with wonder here. If you’re not tired enough to need a nap, go to the Bellagio next. You need to check out the flower arrangements in the Bellagio Conservatory. Even if you’ve been before, you should go again, because they’re updating the flowers there constantly based on what’s going at the time. It depends on the time of year.

The best thing about the Bellagio Conservatory? It’s free.

Dinnertime and What to Do in the Evening in Las Vegas

For dinner, I recommend trying Mon Ami Gabi at Paris Las Vegas. It’s probably the most highly-recommended restaurant in the city and with good reason. It’s the best spot in town to have dinner before your evening show of choice.

Mon Ami Gabi is best defined as a classic French bistro. If you like red meat, I suggest the steak frites for dinner with the chocolate mousse for dessert.

Mon Ami Gabi Restaurant in Las Vegas

You should also check out the Bellagio Fountains at some time during the evening. It’s a free show that happens every 15 minutes starting at 8 PM and not ending until midnight. The fountains shoot up to 480 feet into the air and feature more exciting lights and music than you could possibly expect.

You have no shortage of shows to choose from, but the one I recommend most is Absinthe. It’s like Cirque du Soleil, but not really. The humor is more raucous and adult. I’ve never seen anyone give Absinthe a bad review.

You should spend the rest of your evening gambling and checking out some of the nightlife in Sin City. You’ll find no shortage of interesting bars and nightclubs to visit, no matter what your age is or what kind of drinking establishment you prefer to frequent.

The Best Gambling in Las Vegas

If you’re looking for the best odds, you should avoid gambling in the casinos on the Strip. Instead, you should seek out some of the action in Downtown Las Vegas or on the Boulder Strip. The slot machines and video poker games there have higher payback percentages. You’ll also find better versions of blackjack and roulette in such casinos.

If you’re looking for Las Vegas blackjack action, try to find a casino which offers a hand-dealt game from a single deck. This will provide you with the best probability of winning.

If you’re looking to play craps, find a casino that offers you a big multiple on the odds bet. The more money you can put into action on the odds bet, the better off you’ll be. Always take the max odds bet if you can afford it.

And if you don’t know how to place the odds bet in craps, study up on it before you play. If you’re looking for roulette, try to find a casino that offers a wheel that only has a single zero. Be prepared to play for higher stakes on such a wheel, but the house edge is dramatically lower on such a wheel.

As far as slots go, you’ll face better odds on Boulder Highway, but I’d still try to steer you away from slot machines. They’re a money sink in a way that table games aren’t.

If you MUST play on a gambling machine, try video poker instead. You’ll face far better odds, and you’ll have the opportunity to put your brain to work making meaningful decisions while you gamble.

Some Examples of Cool Bars in Las Vegas to Consider

It’s hard to imagine going to Vegas and not spending some time in some of the cool bars there.

If you only visit one bar in Las Vegas, you should go to Atomic Liquors. It’s the oldest freestanding bar in the city. The family-owned bar was opened in 1952, when the US government was still conducting A-bomb tests in the deserts of Nevada. Some of the most notable characters in Las Vegas history have hung out at Atomic Liquors, including Frank Sinatra and Barbara Streisand.

Street View of Atomic Liquors Las Vegas

Saddle N Spurs Saloon is another cool bar to check out in Las Vegas. It’s open 24 hours a day. And as you might expect, they play a lot of country music on the sound system. They even have country karaoke night. Bring cash; they don’t take credit cards.

Conclusion

That’s just one example of how to play a Las Vegas itinerary. You might hate buffets and pick a different restaurant. You might not want to go to any kind of variety show, preferring a sporting event. You might just want to play poker 24/7.

It’s all okay, because Las Vegas has something for everyone. We hope that planning your itinerary is easier with the information we’ve provided above. Enjoy your visit to Sin City!

Has Reno Hopped Aboard the Casino Resort Fees Trend?

Front Desk Clerk Handing Over a Bill With a Reno Background

Many casino destinations charge resort fees in an effort to increase their revenue. This practice is quite common in major gambling hubs, such as Atlantic City, Las Vegas, and Monte Carlo.

But what about the mid-sized casino hotspots, such as Reno? Is the world’s Biggest Little City also tacking resort fees onto your bill?

You can find the answer by continuing to read about resort fees, how they’re spreading, and if Reno is also charging them.

How Do Resort Fees Work?

When booking a hotel room, you typically do so under the assumption that you’re paying the listed price. If you get a room at Peppermill Reno Resort & Casino for $150, for example, you expect to pay $150.

Resort fees have thrown logic out of whack, though. Casinos add these fees to your bill when you check out—not beforehand.

Assuming you haven’t stayed in a casino resort in a while, you may be shocked to see an extra $20 or $30 added to your bill.

Pool Area of Peppermill Reno

You may immediately feel like the casino is ripping you off and even stealing your money. Gambling resorts, however, see the matter differently.

They don’t feel like they’re adding these charges to gouge you. Instead, they treat resort fees as an additional charge for the amenities they provide.

Here are some extras that casinos feature besides the hotel room:

  • Cable TV
  • Concierge
  • Conference rooms
  • Heating/cooling
  • Fitness center
  • Swimming pool
  • Shuttle buses
  • Toiletries
  • Wi-Fi

You may think that these aspects should already be included in the bill. Again, though, casinos feel that amenities go beyond just the simple cost of your hotel stay.

Many Gambling Hotspots Have Adopted Resort Fees

Resort fees are nothing new in the hospitality world. In fact, hotels have been adding these additional charges since 1997.

They began tacking resort fees onto final bills as a means of disguising the true costs of rooms. Therefore, these fees are just as underhanded as you’d think.

Unfortunately, prime gambling hubs have adopted this practice to the fullest extent. You can’t find a casino on the Vegas Strip that doesn’t demand resort charges.

Everywhere from Macau to Atlantic City has jumped aboard this trend as well. They all try increasing bookings while still getting the most revenue out of their rooms through amenity fees.

Are Reno Casinos Charging Resort Fees?

As covered above, many well-travelled casino jurisdictions use resort fees to pump up their profits. Then again, such internationally known gambling spots draw people regardless of adding another 20% to 50% to the final bill.

While the city certainly brings in its fair share of visitors each year, but Reno is hardly as well known as Vegas or Macau. It attracts five million tourists annually, which is 8x less than what Sin City draws.

Furthermore, it doesn’t present the same glitz and glamour as Las Vegas. Reno is charming for the fact that it’s not as bustling as Sin City.

Here’s why the question exists on if the Biggest Little City charges resort fees. It doesn’t have the same pizazz as Vegas, so it shouldn’t level the same outrageous hotel fees. Ideally, this would be true. The reality, though, is that most Reno casinos require these extra charges.

Reno may not be as flashy or glamorous as Vegas, Macau, or Monte Carlo. However, it does have some posh hotels with quality amenities.

The western Nevada city doesn’t sell itself short by foregoing the opportunity to collect resort fees. Instead, many of the resorts here have joined the trend by requiring these charges.

Does Reno Charge As High of Fees As Las Vegas?

You won’t catch a break in Reno when it comes to paying resort fees. The good news, though, is that you at least don’t need to pay as much in this department when compared to Vegas casinos.

The latter’s fees vary depending upon which part of the city you stay in. Assuming you stay on the world-famous Vegas Strip, you’ll shell out $40 in resort costs on average.

Rooms in Downtown Vegas, on the Boulder Strip, and in Henderson typically charge $20 to $25 in resort fees. Some casinos in these same parts of town don’t even require additional costs.

Reno is more along the lines of these areas of Vegas in terms of resort fees. The average Reno casino requires between $15 and $25 on top of the booking cost.

Here are examples of Reno resort fees when looking across the city:

  • Atlantis – $27 resort fee
  • Boomtown – $12
  • Grand Sierra – $30
  • Circus Circus – $17
  • Eldorado – $23
  • Harrah’s $14
  • Nugget – $23
  • Peppermill – $25
  • Sands – $10
  • Silver Legacy – $23

What Can You Do to Lower Reno Resort Fees?

You don’t always have to settle for whatever resort fees Reno casinos throw at you. Here are some tips for getting these costs reduced on your final bill.

Stay at a Reno Casino That Features Lower Fees

The easiest way to limit these charges is by choosing casinos that have the lowest fees. This way, the additional costs barely affect your bank balance.

As covered above, Boomtown, Harrah’s, and Sands also feature relatively low resort fees. You’ll only pay between $10 and $14 in addition to the booking amount.

Street View of Boomtown Casino in Reno

I’m not aware of any Reno casinos that don’t charge a resort fee. However, you might get lucky and find one by doing online research or calling hotels directly.

Negotiate for Lower Fees

Generally, casinos expect you to pay the full room and resort costs. But you may be able to get the resort fees reduced by speaking with a clerk or even manager beforehand.

You should start off such negotiations by explaining that you won’t use certain amenities. Assuming you don’t swim or work out much, then you want to begin the discussion here.

The casino isn’t going to waive all of the fees. They might, however, reduce the fees that you do pay (e.g. $25 lowered to $15).

Complain About Amenities After the Fact

I don’t recommend that you make up lies about your stay just to avoid resort fees. If there’s something you don’t like, though, you should definitely speak up.

Here are some sample problems that you could run into:

  • The fitness room barely has any equipment.
  • Breakfast shuts down half an hour early.
  • The heat in your room doesn’t work.
  • The swimming pool is closed when it’s supposed to be open.
  • Wi-Fi keeps cutting in and out.
  • No TV stations come in.
  • The shower doesn’t have any soap.

You may experience a different set of problems. The point, though, is that you can get vocal about your disappointments and possibly enjoy reduced fees as a result.

Call Your Credit Card Company and Dispute the Charges

Many resorts bill you for the room and amenities separately. That said, you can call your credit card company and dispute the resort fees following the stay.

Your credit card provider might ask for evidence that you’ve been duped. You can look for small loopholes, such as showing the hotel’s ad for free swimming next to the swimming pool being included in resort fees.

I’m ethically opposed to lying just to get out of paying these costs. But if you have a legitimate gripe, then you should contact your card company.

Use Loyalty Points When Booking Next Time

You may be furious after seeing resort fees on your bill for the first time. However, you don’t have to forsake the Reno casino in question.

Assuming you like the resort and casino, then you should join their loyalty program. After all, you can use casino comps to book a room and avoid fees.

Casinos in Reno—as well as elsewhere—classify such stays as rewards. They typically drop resort fees to ensure that the room is completely free.

Conclusion

Resort fees are an unpleasant addition to any gambling trip. Unfortunately, you won’t avoid these costs in Reno either.

Casinos here tack on resort charges ranging from $10 to $30. They see these fees as payment for all the amenities that they provide.

The truth, though, is that they should just add such charges to the bill rather than masking the final cost. As a result, you shouldn’t feel bad about negotiating or disputing resort fees.

If you don’t like something about the amenities and/or don’t use them, then speak up and try getting your final bill lowered. You may not ultimately be successful, but you can at least try in a polite manner.

7 Nightmares of Every NFL Bettor

Man Screaming With a Money and NFL Background

When you bet on NFL games you need to know that just about anything can happen. A favorite can play poorly and get upset, a sure thing can quickly turn against you because of a big turnover, or a key player can go down with an injury and change the game.

Here’s a list of 7 nightmares that NFL gamblers have that can keep them up at night. You can’t do much about some of these, but once you understand them you can at least learn how to deal with them.

1 – Your Quarterback Is a Late Scratch

The worst thing that can happen as an NFL gambler I to place a bet on a team based on a quarterback starting and then have that quarterback miss the game. When you evaluate NFL games you have to do a good job of predicting how the quarterbacks are going to influence the game.

The quarterback is easily the most important player on the field. He’s involved in every play the offense runs, and a single mistake can lose a bet for you. When you spend time evaluating a quarterback and find a value wager to make based on your research, you should have a good chance to win.

But when the quarterback you evaluated doesn’t play, it reduces your chance to win a great deal.

One thing that some gamblers do when this happens is place a bet on the opposite side to try to hedge, but this is dangerous because the line usually moves when a quarterback goes down. You might lose both sides of the bet, which makes the nightmare worse.

2 – Turnovers

Fumbles and interceptions can change the course of an NFL game, and change a winning wager into a losing one. And turnovers are difficult to predict.

You can look at turnover tendencies when you evaluate NFL games, but it’s impossible to predict what’s actually going to happen in upcoming games. NFL players are human, and they make mistakes. Even the best players turn the ball over.

Dallas Cowboys on a Running Play

At the end of the day there isn’t anything you can do about turnovers other than looking at past results. You can also look at the expected weather for each game, because sever rain or snow usually leads to more turnovers. But even this isn’t an exact science.

This is why turnovers can lead to nightmares for NFL gamblers. They’re completely out of your control, but they can win or lose a bet for you in a second.

The thing to remember is that over the long run, the unexpected turnovers are going to even out. Sometimes you’re going to lose a bet because of a turnover, and sometimes you’re going to win a bet because of a turnover. The best solution is to expect them to happen, and just move on to the next game and keep handicapping NFL games to the best of your ability.

3 – The Late Score in a Decided Game Point Spread

It’s late in the game and the team you bet on has a 14 point lead. You gave 10 points, so all you need for the win is for the time to run out on the clock.

The problem is that the other team has the ball and your team is playing a prevent defense to burn clock time. Your team isn’t worried about your point spread, because a single score won’t cost them the game. Of course, a touchdown is going to cost you the game.

The clock is running down, and your team gives up a touchdown with 32 second left on the clock. The other team tries an onside kick but doesn’t recover. Your team runs out the clock and is happy with a victory. You lose a bet.

This is one of the most frustrating things that you’re going to deal with betting on NFL game, but there’s not much you can do about it. Just remember, every time this happens to you, a bettor on the other side of the game just had a loss turned into a win. This might be you in the next game.

4 – Tackle Injury

Offensive tackles aren’t usually considered more important than most other positions, but take a look at what happens when an important offensive tackle goes down with an injury.

One of the most damaging situations is when a left tackle goes down against a team with a great pass rusher. This can completely change the course of a game.

The fact is that there are only a handful of good tackles in the NFL. The second tier of offensive tackles is decent, and can usually hold their own against a strong pass rush, while giving up an occasional sack.

But here’s the problem. All of the guys in the top and second tier are starting. None of these guys are sitting on the bench backing up the starter. So when a starter goes down, you’re looking at a third or fourth tier tackle entering the game.

When this happens, it almost always changes the course of a game. Either the team gives up more sacks and pressures, or they have to change their entire blocking scheme.

5 – Head Coaching Decisions

I kind of touched on this in a previous section, but one of your worst mistakes as an NFL gambler is ignoring head coaches. They usually have completely different goals. The only thing head coaches care about is winning the game. They don’t care about how many points they win by or any of the betting lines offered by the sportsbooks.

These guys are doing everything they can to win games. Winning games is how they stay employed, get raises, and make money. If a head coach wins 12 games but only covers the spread in 2 of them, he’s considered a great coach. If a head coach wins 4 games but covers the spread in 12 games, you might love him as a sports bettor, but his employer is thinking about firing him.

NFL Colts Quarterback and Offensive Lineman

The good news is that there are ways you can try to predict what head coaches are going to do when it matters to you. Track what every head coach does in certain situations to get a feel for what they’re going to do in the future.

This information can help you when evaluating games in the future. Like many other things, in the long run coaching decisions will probably even out, so don’t stress too much about it.

6 – Early and Late Line Changes

When you’re an NFL gambler, you should be making most of your wagers either early in the week or right before game time.

Betting early in the week can give you an edge by getting your bets in before the lines start to move. Betting right before the game starts lets you gather all of the available information and make bets based on the information.

The issue with making bets early in the week is the lines might move later in the week in an unfavorable way. But sometimes they move in a way that lets you increase your odds of winning.

I prefer to analyze as much information as possible, so most of my bets are made just before the games start. But some NFL gamblers can find big value on the early lines too. So it’s up to you to decide what works best for you.

7 – Trash Time Totals

When NFL games are decided but there’s time left on the clock, many different things can happen.

The leading team is always interested in running out the clock as much as possible, and the trailing team is usually taking big chances and trying to score.

This can lead to the situation I described in an earlier section, where the trailing team scores and makes you lose a wager. But the trailing team can also make a big mistake and let the leading team get a quick score.

Everything that happens in trash time can push the score over on the total. This is why you need to be careful betting the under in a game that might end up with one team dominating the other. The under is usually safer in closely battled games.

Conclusion

When it comes to NFL gambling nightmares, one thing that can help you deal with them is understanding that in the long run most of the bad things that happen even out with the good things that happen.

This might not keep the nightmares away, but it might make you feel a little better. Just remember that NFL teams don’t share your goals, so don’t expect them to do what you think they should.

Gambling in Louisiana – Southern Style

Louisiana State Seal With a Casino and Historic Background

I have an affinity for the state of Louisiana. I’m from Texas, so there’s bound to be some cross over in culture. I have Cajun family members, I love JazzFest, and I adore New Orleans.

What I didn’t realize is how much I love gambling in this state full of Southern charm and history.

Did you know that Louisiana was the 4th state to legalize casino gambling?

The History of Casinos and Gambling in Louisiana

Louisiana is a state that has changed hands many times. The French and Spanish fought over it for years after they essentially took it from the native tribes living there.

New Orleans, Louisiana’s most notable city, built cabarets and billiard halls before the first church was completed. When St. Louis Church, formerly St. Louis Cathedral, was finished in 1727, the citizens chose to gamble rather attend mass.

Here’s a side note:

Because of the colonialism in the area, Catholicism is prevalent. Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday are state holidays in the state. It’s serious business.

Louisiana was part of the Louisiana Purchase made by the United States on April 30th, 1803. You’ve probably heard of the massive land purchase by the Jefferson government from the French.

Real money gambling in Louisiana coincides with its rich history. The first legal gambling in the then territory was a government-run lottery in 1753.

That’s 26 years before the United States Constitution was ratified by Congress.

By the turn of the 19th century, the territory had more casinos than any other part of the United States, but the government was fed up with the viral corruption and gambling. In 1813, casinos were outlawed in the territory by the government. All casinos closed with exception of those located in New Orleans.

Casino gambling in New Orleans remained legal and flourished in the Crescent City. In 1866, the now State of Louisiana finally banned all casino gambling, including NOLA.

The first state lottery was held in 1866. This coincides with the state outlawing all other forms of gambling.

The state lottery was a big hit with the Louisianans. A private company ran the operations of the early version of the Louisiana lottery, paying the state $40,000 in proceeds.

The LA lottery allowed ticket purchases from out of state residents via mail. This gave the State of Louisiana an almost monopoly on lotteries in the United States.

This was considered legal until the US Congress deemed it illegal in 1890. The Louisiana Lottery became so toxic that the state disbanded the entire program in 1893.

Horse racing has legalized in 1923, making the state a destination for live horse racing. The first betting horse track in the state was at the New Orleans Fairgrounds. This was the only regulated form of gambling in the entire state at the time.

In 1993, Louisiana reintroduced a state lottery that was riddled with glitches and corruption. I’ll write about this Louisiana Lottery scandal in detail another time.

Louisiana Riverboat Casino

In the same year, 1993, casinos became legal again in the state. 15 casino licenses were issued for offshore (riverboat) casinos.

The attempt to confine casinos to riverboats was to limit the influence casinos would have if on land. The idea was to also limit the player’s time to length of a cruise. A riverboat cruise is usually around two hours.

two of the 15 casino licenses could be on land. One was in downtown New Orleans and a Harrah’s location.

Harrah’s land-based casino was given a state requirement to employ 2,400 workers form the local economy. They have run into other issues as well.

Originally, they were not permitted to have a hotel because the legislature felt this would have an unsavory influence on tis surrounding community.

This is hilarious; Louisiana is home to Mardi Gras. Talk about debauchery.

And they were concerned about a hotel for the casino guests?

Louisiana is now home to almost 60 riverboat and land-based casinos. As part of the Indian Regulatory Act, 4 native tribes have opened 6 casinos. New Orleans has the highest per capita for casinos at 5.

My Two Favorite Casinos in Louisiana

Louisiana is not a big state — especially when compared to my home state of Texas. Louisiana is just 52,378 square miles. Texas is 268,507 for comparison.

You know how many casinos we have in Texas?

Two.

That’s it.

For its size, Louisiana is stacked with casinos. I wanted to give you my two favorite casinos so that you have a place to start.

1 – Coushatta Casino Resort

Located in Kinder, LA, Coushatta Casino Resort is the largest casino in the state. It boasts over 100,000 square feet of gaming space.

Coushatta is on native lands of the Coushatta Tribe. This is one of the six native owned casinos in Louisiana. The casino and resort employ 2,600 people from the surrounding area.

The profits from the casino and resort are redistributed to the community and native tribe programs.

The casinos floor is host to 1000s of slot machines and over 65 gaming tables. You can play slot machines, blackjack, roulette, and poker. Their bingo hall is 12,000 square feet. You can even get in on the off-track betting in their sportsbook.

Coushatta Casino Resort Pool Area

The casino and resort have two hotels with spacious rooms that will fit any budget.

The resort has many family-oriented activities. The Dream Pool & Lazy River are a great way to relax and unwind while you’re on the property.

The Kid’s Quest is a family favorite and keeps the little ones entertained for hours. You can play their world class golf course or walk your dog at the dog friendly park

Dining options are abundant. The property is home to nine eateries and a Starbucks. The casino and resort have local Cajun fare and even a raw bar.

And let’s be real.

When is it bad to have a Starbucks when you’re at a destination casino and resort?

2- Golden Nugget Lake Charles Hotel & Casino

Located in Lake Charles, LA, Golden Nugget Lake Charles Hotel & Casino offers all the amenities and more of a Vegas casino resort.

The hotel and casino reflect the glitz and glamour of an Atlantic City or Vegas experience. When you walk in, the entrance is glittery with soft lighting and elaborate chandeliers.

The casino floor is monstrous. It has a 6-table poker room, high limit gambling, over 1,600 slots, and over 55 tables for gambling. One could get lost in all it has to offer.

The hotel is comprised of 1,100 guest rooms and suites overlooking a bend in the Lake Charles river and on a bay of the Gulf of Mexico. The hotel staff pride themselves on the classic southern hospitality that is known in the region.

The dining options are more than I could see during my stay. There are 11 eateries, the Blue Martini Bar, and a Starbucks. The restaurant options cover almost everything regionally to global choices.

Golden Nugget Lake Charles Water-side Area

There are quite a few nightlife options. There are multiple bars and night clubs. The onsite venue can host up to up to 1,500 guests for a concert of other entertainment acts.

The casino and resort are home to an 18-hole, par 72 scenic gold course designed by California golf course designers Todd Eckenrode and Origins Golf Designs.

The H20 Pool and Bar is a beautiful pool and swim up bar to meet your friends. If you want a gulf coast experience, make sure to visit the beach front. You can even rent scooters to get there.

What would a casino and resort be without a spa and shopping?

They’ve got both, and they’re the perfect option for a girl’s day of pampering that I always look forward to doing with my two daughters. That was a life saver when they were in high school.

The Golden Nugget Lake Charles is so much more than a regurgitated version of Vegas. It stays true to the roots of the Louisiana Bayou experience; it has something for everyone from the gambler to the littles. I recommend including this hidden gem in your next destination casino trip.

Conclusion

Louisiana has a rich casino landscape and history of gambling.

I didn’t cover any of the casinos in NOLA because I personally go to the Crescent City for enough other vices.

I don’t need gambling to get in the way.

I wanted to highlight the culture and native tribal offerings this state has to contribute to the destination casinos in the United States. I hope you are motivated to include Louisiana in your next casino vacation.

I love Vegas, but I love an inclusive vacation for my family, all while gambling, more.

I would love to hear your feedback. Please feel free to leave a question or comment below.

American Casinos and Unions

Las Vegas Union Workers at a Gathering and O'Sheas Casino

Worker’s unions and American casinos have a long and complicated history. You would think with the famous involvement between East Coast crime mobs and Vegas casinos that this wouldn’t be the case. You’re going to be surprised on how the 2 entities work (and not so well) together.

This post covers the history of worker’s unions and the American casinos. It also analyzes today’s union and casino climate.

Finally, I offer a look at how the 2 are trying to work together to make the workplace environments better for their common interest — the casino worker.

What is a Worker’s Union?

Let’s start with the basics.

A worker’s (labor) union is defined by Dictionary.com as an organized group of workers who unite to make decisions about conditions affecting their work.

The United States has a long a history of unions. The first labor union was formed in 1794. They were called the Federal Society of Journeyman Cordwainers. This union was made up of shoemakers in Philadelphia, PA.

American workers have been fighting for worker’s rights ever since. This fight was met with government support under Franklin Roosevelt. He signed the New Deal, giving workers’ the rights they fought for since before the founding of this country.

Worker’s received 8-hour workdays, worker’s compensation, child labor laws, and one of my favorite holidays — Labor Day. Most importantly, they won the right to unionize.

All types of industries have labor unions. They vary by state and industry. Casinos are homes to multiple industries including service workers, food workers, casino floor dealers, and security workers.

Unions Within the Casinos

There are a variety of employee types within a single casino.

You might be a cocktail waitress on the casino floor.

You might be a blackjack dealer.

You might work in maintenance or housekeeping.

You could be an accountant in the office structure of the casino

Do they all have unions?

No.

The service and food workers have unionized. The housekeepers are trying to unionize with a lot of pushback from the casino parent companies.

This is where things get sticky. The dealers and other staff have not unionized as of the writing of this post; there’s been extensive push back and intimidation tactics from the casino owners and parent companies.

I want to talk about that for a second. We’ve all seen Casino. Vegas was a playland for the East Coast mob families from its conception.

The organized crime families in America have always been heavily involved and supportive of labor unions. This is because of the blue-collar beginnings of the mob bosses. They also saw an opportunity to make money via intimidation and blackmail tactics.

I must ask why modern Vegas and Atlantic City are so anti-labor unions within their organizations?

Screenshot From the Movie Casino

The answer is simple.

Vegas and its sister cities have become corporate entities. They have tried their best to shed their criminal past (or the Hollywood movie portrayal).

Vegas sold out.

We have seen Vegas (in particular) become a consumer based happy place.

It has lost its roots of a pull yourself (and your employees) up by your bootstraps place.

Gambling has never been a main street past time. I don’t think the casinos should be either. Especially at the expense of the employees who clean up after us, serve us, deal to us, or check us into our room.

In the 1990s, Vegas tried and failed to become more family friendly.

You know who does family good times?

Disney.

Six Flags.

Busch Gardens.

These establishments are more interested in the portrayal of a “perfect” time than Jim’s pension or Jane’s HMO plan.

History of American Mobs and Unions

The Mob, or American Mafia, indoctrinated itself with the labor unions in New York City. They did this because their end goal is to make money — a lot of money.

By controlling labor unions, they were able to be involved in huge construction projects, under the table payouts to hire their “guys”, and control the money flowing in and out of said unions.

Some historians believe that the New York Mob was involved in the majority of all big construction projects the took place in the city from the 20s to very recent history.

Thar’s big.

See The Sopranos.

The Mafia would gain control of the union giving them full control of that industry. You can see how this would be a problem with such a highly regulated industry like gambling and casinos.

If the mob could get its people in on the ground floor, they could essentially control the higher ups (looking at you casino owners) by halting work and construction and even extorting money from the casinos.

When the casinos began cleanup of their notorious past of corruption, they pushed out the mob-controlled labor unions.  The “clean up” of Vegas resulted in leaving the casino industry staff with no one to advocate for their needs and demands.

You can see the conundrum that this has caused for the casino employees and the corporations that now own Vegas and Atlantic City.

The Mafia has been pushed out of most American labor unions as they realized that this is not the way to do business or stay on the up and up with the employers their members work for.

Lesson learned.

Mind who you get in bed with, as they say.

Current Casino Labor Unions and the Mega Casinos

I’ve already expressed my disappointment in the Vegas whitewashing of gambling.

You can’t even walk on to a casino floor if you’re not at least 18 years old.

Why are we trying to attract families?

Casinos are for adults.

Bars are for adults.

Let’s keep gambling where it belongs.

When mega casinos became multi-national corporations, they lost touch with their employees’ needs.

Let’s talk about the changes Jim and Jane have seen as employees at corporate casinos.

Las Vegas casino workers for some of the largest gaming employers in the world have been battling the recognition of their union. Workers that have been involved in union activities have been let go for no reason other than Nevada is a hire at will state (hire at will means you can be let go from your position for no other reason than your services are no longer needed).

Other challenges stem from union rules not being recognized by the casino. Other workers have experienced labor laws being violated once the casino management is aware that said worker is a union member.

This put casino workers in a bind.

Do they join a union and fight for their rights?

Do they become a cog in the corporate wheel that runs Vegas and Atlantic City?

It’s unfortunate that casino workers can’t join a labor union without the fear of being ostracized or even fired. The New Deal ushered in an era of workers being treated and paid fairly by the employers.

Unions are like a elected office position. They are there for their constituents to make sure their best interest is seen to.

Somewhere in modern American casinos have pushed labor unions for casino workers to the side.

What’s even more interesting is that other unions have great relationships with the casino owners.

The Teamsters, the labor union that represents the employees that transport and move products around our country, have stayed in good standing with the casinos.

It’s most likely because of their size and pollical power. You don’t want to mess this bunch. They are strong and will not be ignored.

What About Casinos on Native Lands?

America’s largest casino, and the world’s, is WinStar. It is in Thackerville, OK.

They have a storied past with labor unions as well.

If you Google “WinStar and Labor Unions” you will find hundreds of results about the past disputes between this huge casino and its unions.

Casino Floor of the Winstar World Casino

The most current article is from 2016.

You do the math.

Native lands casinos have traditionally been more willing to work with and recognize labor unions at their casinos. Casinos owned and operated by native tribes in California have seen great success in working with the labor unions instead of fighting with them.

I don’t know if this is because, unfortunately, native people in this country have been marginalized and understand the feeling.

Or, maybe it’s just easier than fighting the labor unions. Fighting labor unions brings up contract disputes, walk outs, or strikes.

Conclusion

Labor unions and casinos will always be a continuous issue for the gambling industry. This is a money driven environment. Employees want livable pay, and the casino has to report earnings to its board.

I would love to hear your comments and questions. Please feel free to leave a comment below.

17 Reasons Why Vegas Is Unlike Anywhere on Earth

Welcome to Las Vegas Graphic With a Vegas Strip Background

In the early 1900s, Las Vegas was nothing more than a random patch of Nevadan desert. Fast-forward to today and it’s now the world’s biggest entertainment capital.

You can do it all here, from driving racecars to getting married by a rent-a-preacher on the spot. You also have access to the finest luxuries, amenities, and resorts anywhere.

Here’s a closer look at some of the individual aspects that make Sin City different than any place on the planet.

1 – Vegas Strip

Las Vegas Boulevard is by far the most-popular area of the town. This is for good reason too when considering that the Vegas Strip is home to many world-famous resorts, such as the ARIA, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Luxor, and Mandalay Bay.

The Strip is alive 24/7 and offers many entertainment opportunities beyond the resorts. Also, you can legally carry alcohol anywhere on Las Vegas Boulevard. Try doing this anywhere else without getting an open-container charge!

2 – Unique Performers on the Strip

One downside to the Strip is all the solicitors that try handing you different flyers (no thanks, I’m not interested in the Shady Lady Ranch 30 miles out of town).

Las Vegas Showgirls Walking Downtown

But if you can get past these annoyances, then you’ll find plenty of unique characters on the Strip. Artists, break dancers, musicians, pirates, samba dancers, and more await as you walk up and down the street.

3 – Entertainment 24/7

They say that New York is the city that never sleeps. But the same billing applies to Las Vegas as well.

Assuming you have insomnia, you’ll find plenty of casinos, nightclubs, and restaurants that stay open all night. You can even see shows at Absinthe in Caesars Palace in the wee hours of the morning.

4 – Crazy Heat

Nevada isn’t technically the hottest place on earth (Dallol, Ethiopia is). However, you won’t know the difference if you’re caught in one of the city’s 110-degree summer days.
fexci
Usually, you’d stay inside with the AC cranked to full blast under the circumstances. But 100-plus-degree days may motivate you to try one of Vegas’ many lavish and giant pools.

Assuming you can’t stand the heat, then you’ll find the temperatures to be much more bearable throughout the winter months.

5 – The Boneyard (A.K.A. Neon Museum)

Las Vegas has been a premier gambling and entertainment hotspot since the 1930s. In the earlier days, casinos relied on gaudy neon signs to lure drivers.

The city has changed greatly over the years, with resorts going to much more-extreme measures to attract patrons (e.g. New York replica, pyramid shape). Therefore, many of the old neon signs were tossed years ago.

Luckily, this bit of history has been preserved in the Neon Museum (a.k.a. “Boneyard”). You can enjoy guided tours and see the many signs from Vegas’ past

6 – Best Shows Hands Down

The great thing about Las Vegas is that it has something for everyone. Assuming you’re not into getting slaughtered on the slot machines or stumbling from bar to bar, then you’ll surely find a show you like.

Cirque du Soleil, Lady Gaga, Penn and Teller, and the Blue Man Group are just some of the famed acts here. If you spend enough money in your favorite casino resort, then you might just be comped with free show tickets.

7 – Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam isn’t exactly in the heart of the city, but it’s still an important part of Las Vegas history. In fact, it’s located around 40 minutes away from the Strip. But many Vegas visitors still make the trip to see this 726-foot-tall structure.

Aerial View of the Hoover Dam

It’s the world’s third-largest dam (following Oroville in California & Jingping-I in China) and walls off the United States’ largest reservoir.

Even if you could care less about this massive concrete wall, you may enjoy taking in the scenery of the Colorado River’s Black Canyon.

8 – Best Place to Hold a Party

With countless bars and nightclubs, Las Vegas was meant for parties. You can set up bachelor, holiday, or birthday parties at numerous locations throughout the city.

What’s nice is that you don’t even need to hit the club scene to celebrate. Instead, you can just invite a bunch of people to a resort and enjoy the amenities there.

9 – Great Service

Many Vegas resorts have been in business for decades. They haven’t lasted this long by spitting in your food and slamming doors in your face.

Instead, the city is largely known for good hospitality. The doormen, drivers, and bellhops are almost always courteous, because they know their tips are on the line.

You’ll enjoy especially good service at places like the ARIA and Bellagio, which have earned top-tier ratings for customer service.

10 – Fremont Street Experience

You don’t have visit to the Strip to have a good time. Instead, you can head downtown and enjoy many exciting activities on Fremont Street for half the price.

In particular, a two-mile stretch of Fremont Street boasts some of the town’s greatest attractions, including SlotZilla (world’s biggest slot machine) and ziplining.

You can also gamble cheaper and with better odds than on the Strip. El Cortez is especially known for giving you great odds.

11 – Centrally Located

The Hoover Dam draws the most attention as a surrounding attraction to Vegas. But you’ll find plenty of other worthwhile locations nearby as well.

Sin City is just two hours away from the Grand Canyon (Arizona) and Death Valley National Park (California & Nevada). It’s a three-hour drive from Zion National Park (Utah) and Big Bear (California).

12 – Budding Art Scene

Las Vegas doesn’t typically belong with London, New York, and Paris in terms of public art. But its art scene has definitely grown within the past decade.

Arts District in Las Vegas

Case in point: the Arts District is an entire neighborhood dedicated to galleries and abstract works. You can also enjoy plenty of cafes, restaurants, and stores in this area.

Assuming you decide to hit up the Arts District, then you should check out “First Friday.” This event gives artists and entertainers a platform to showcase their crafts.

13 – Mountain & Desert Scenery

If you’ve ever wanted to experience both a desert, greenery, and mountains in the same place, then Las Vegas is your place.

Red Rock Canyon is located just a short drive outside of the city. This rocky red area is home to many scenic hiking trails.

You can even find green space in the desert by traveling up north to Mount Charleston. This hiking/skiing destination gives you excellent views and a chance to enjoy natural grass around Vegas.

14 – Countless Bars

You’re always within a stone’s throw of a Sin City bar. This town offers everything from watering holes with three-story chandeliers (The Chandelier Bar) to venues with amazing views of the city (e.g. 107 Sky Lounge).

Of course, you don’t have to visit famous places with $11 drinks just to kick a few back. Many off-Strip locations also feature cool themes while serving drinks that are half the cost.

15 – Interesting Past

Vegas doesn’t have quite the same history as Rome or London. However, it certainly has an interesting past that’s worth revisiting.

It began as a simple mining town and eventually became a mob-run gambling destination. It’s also featured numerous famed performers, including the legendary Elvis.

16 – Major Conventions

Sin City has done a great job of transforming itself into a premier convention spot. It now boasts some of the biggest conventions in a variety of industries.

Front of the Las Vegas Convention Center

Some of the most-notable annual events that happen here include the Consumer Electronics Show, MAGIC (clothing), and Mr. Olympia (bodybuilding convention/competition).

17 – Adult Entertainment

Whether you like it or not, Vegas is home to numerous strip clubs. In fact, casino hosts will offer to send you to hotspots like the Spearmint Rhino as a comp. You can even order private shows in your hotel room.

Prostitution isn’t technically legal in Clark County (where Vegas is). But police aren’t exactly patrolling the streets to stop the many hookers looking for their next John.

Assuming you want to pay for romance the legal way, then you can head to one of the eight counties in Nevada where prostitution is legal.

Conclusion

Plenty of big cities throughout the world feature attractions and landmarks that make them unique. But none combine all of the different elements that Las Vegas does.

You need to look no further than the Strip to see what separates this city from others. Las Vegas Boulevard features mega resorts, exciting entertainment, street performers, and liberal open-container rules. Assuming you’re ever bored at night, you can look to the Strip or other downtown areas to keep yourself busy. Certain bars, restaurants, and even show venues are open 24/7.

Speaking of the shows, you can take in some of the world’s most-famous acts. You’ll enjoy this aspect even more if you earn free tickets.

As if its massive casinos and countless entertainment options aren’t enough, Vegas also serves as a prime location for visiting other interesting places. The Hoover Dam, Big Bear, and Death Valley are just some of the nearby locations.

If you’re up for something more risqué, then you can find lots of strip clubs in the city and legal brothels in other Nevada counties.

Long story short, you should definitely consider visiting Las Vegas at least once. You’re guaranteed to be in for a truly unique experience.

Why Did Craps Attract a Bogus Strategy in Controlled Shooting?

Hand Holding Dice at a Craps Table Next to a Question Mark

Craps gives you one of the best chances to beat the casino. It offers multiple bets with low house edges along with “odds,” which don’t carry a house advantage (covered later).

That said, you don’t need a lot of hocus-pocus to have a strong chance at winning with craps. Nevertheless, some con artists decided that this game needs an advantage play method too.

Certain authors swear by a technique called controlled shooting (a.k.a. dice control). They purport that this method can lead to big profits.

However, controlled shooting is nothing but a bunch of lies. I’ll discuss more on this supposed advantage gambling method along with how craps managed to attract such a worthless strategy.

What Is Controlled Shooting?

Real money craps is designed to be a completely random game. It calls on you to toss two plastic cubes down the table.

Casinos prefer that you hit the pyramid-patterned wall on the other side of the table. However, they’re normally fine as long as you make a reasonable effort to hit the wall.

Controlled shooting suggests that you can exercise some degree of control over your tosses. By both holding and tossing the dice in a precise manner, you can allegedly control some of your results.

When gripping the dice, you want to hold them in a way that exposes the desired number combinations while hiding the undesirable ones. For example, you may hold the cubes in a way that hides any combination that produces a seven while exposing the combos you want.

Closeup of Craps Dice on a Craps Table

Learning one or more dice setting grips is the easy part. The most-difficult and time-consuming aspect involves practicing your toss.

The so-called experts advise rigging up a craps table at home if you’re on a budget. Assuming you have the money, though, you can buy a regulation table instead.

From here, you want to practice your toss in a smooth and controlled manner over and over. Ideally, you’ll kiss the dice off the wall so that they barely break apart.

The idea is to reduce the randomness involved with tosses. Assuming you reduce the randomness enough, you’ll be able to throw one or more of the exposed/desired combinations more often.

Why Is This Strategy a Complete Fraud?

The main proponents of dice control are Frank Scoblete and Dominic LoRiggio (a.k.a. The Dominator). These two noted gambling authors have been pushing the idea of controlled shooting for years.

They talk a good game and make dice control seem like it can really work. They compare this technique to a professional basketball player improving their free-throw shooting or a baseball player working on their swing.

This all sounds nice in theory, but it’s complete crap. Scoblete and LoRiggio have never been able to prove beyond a doubt that controlled shooting actually works.

They’re too busy making serious money off the dice control seminars that they hold. Why come out with the truth when you’re earning $1,000 off each seminar participant!?

A fishy aspect about this technique is that there’s too much debate surrounding it. Scoblete and LoRiggio have gone back and forth with gambling experts over the years on dice control.

I can’t offer undeniable proof that this strategy doesn’t work. On the other hand, though, proponents have never shown undeniable proof that it does work.

Perhaps the most-damning piece of evidence against dice control is that the casinos don’t care about it. These are the same casinos that stalk card counters and other legitimate advantage gamblers.

The house doesn’t like to lose. Therefore, casinos have put considerable effort into identifying which advantage play techniques work and ensuring that they stop skilled professionals.

Oddly, though, the house will let supposed craps professionals set and throw dice in any manner. The only time that the dealer or pit boss intervenes is when a player takes too long to set the dice and holds up the game.

Of course, Scoblete has written plenty of stories about how pit bosses have been all over his back. But I’ve yet to see or hear of anybody getting kicked out of the casino because they’re too skilled at tossing dice.

Why Does Craps Lend Itself to a Scammy Strategy?

You can form your own opinion on dice control. But I’ve made up my mind: it’s a completely fake strategy that provides no more advantage than throwing the cubes behind your back and onto the table.

Why, though, does craps, of all games, attract such charlatans? The answer lies in the very nature of this game.

Every other table game is based on decisions. You don’t physically have to do anything other than put your chips in the appropriate betting circle/section with real money blackjack, baccarat, roulette, or Caribbean stud.

Craps stuffers in this regard, though. You’re not only putting your chips on the table, but you also get a chance to roll the dice at some point.

The rolling aspect brings a physical element to gambling that’s not present elsewhere. LoRiggio and Scoblete wisely target craps for this very reason.

Angled View of a Craps Table Top

Again, I can’t show 100% proof that it’s impossible to manipulate dice tosses. I can only offer commonsense explanations on why dice control is a total myth.

Meanwhile, a math whiz can prove that baccarat can’t be truly beaten with any common advantage gambling technique. The best you can do is earn a few pennies per hour with baccarat card counting.

You can’t fake a method for beating other table games. The math will quickly show that you’re lying.

You can, however, fake that craps can be beaten with endless hours of practice. After all, most gamblers who start out with this pursuit will never put in the recommended hours to supposedly master this art.

Even those that do log the hours could have a faulty tossing mechanic or some other made-up crap that proponents used to claim their technique still works.

Real Ways to Improve Your Chances of Winning

I stake my claim that you can’t win long-term profits through controlled shooting. Luckily, though, you can boost your odds of winning through other means.

Make Don’t Pass Line Bets

Craps offers several quality regular bets:

  • Pass line: 1.41% house edge
  • Come: 1.41%
  • Don’t pass line: 1.36%
  • Don’t come: 1.36%

All of these wagers are relatively equal in terms of the roulette house edge. Most players in land-based casinos make pass line and/or come bets.

Both of these wagers rely on the shooter to win. Therefore, the majority of the table likes to back the shooter and feel like a team.

But if you want the absolute best odds of winning, then you should go against the grain with don’t pass line and don’t come bets. They give you a slight edge when compared to pass line gamblers.

Of course, you can still make a pass line or come wager if you want to join the team-like camaraderie. You just won’t have as good of long-term chances.

Back Bets With Odds

Many casinos give you an opportunity to back pass line and don’t pass line bets with odds. The latter refers to a separate wager that doesn’t carry a house edge.

You must start out by placing a regular pass line or don’t pass line bet. Once you do so, you can slide more chips behind the original wager to back them with odds.

Here’s a look at how much the house edge drops based on the size of odds you take:

  • 1x odds: 0.85% for pass line; 0.68% for don’t pass line
  • 2x odds: 0.61% for pass line; 0.46% for don’t pass line
  • 5x odds: 0.33% for pass line; 0.23% for don’t pass line
  • 10x odds: 0.18% for pass line; 0.12% for don’t pass line

Of course, the downside with bigger odds is that you must risk more money. If you back a $5 don’t pass line bet with 10x odds, for example, you’ll need to risk $55 total. But if you have the bankroll and want the action, then your best route for winning involves taking higher odds.

Avoid Prop Bets

Craps is filled with terrible proposition bets. Some of these wagers carry a house edge as high as 16.67%.

You can easily avoid any landmines by simply sticking with pass line, come, don’t pass line, and don’t come bets. These boxes are all clearly marked near the outer portions of the table.

Assuming you want to make a prop bet, then you should consider Place 6 or Place 8. Both of these wagers only carry a 1.52% house edge.

Other than these examples, though, most prop bets are a bigger waste of money than a two-day Frank Scoblete dice-control seminar.

Collect VIP Rewards

Both online and land-based casino gamblers can earn loyalty rewards through VIP programs. You can also look forward to collecting rewards based on your craps play too.

The amount of perks that you receive varies based on the casino, your chosen bets (high house edge = big rewards), and how much you’re betting. Regardless, you should always take advantage of comps when playing craps.

Most online casinos automatically enroll you in their loyalty program when you complete registration. Brick-and-mortar casinos, meanwhile, require that you sign up for a player’s club card. Afterward, you can give your card to the dealer in be rated for rewards.

Conclusion

Don’t waste your time with dice control—it’s completely phony! This technique was invented for the pure sake of enriching the founders.

You can’t beat craps by manipulating dice tosses. The pyramid-shaped wall and long table that you must throw down guarantee it.

However, you can improve your chances of winning by making the right bets, backing these wagers with odds, and cashing in on loyalty rewards. You’ll still face a slight house edge, but at least you won’t waste your time fiddling with dice sets.

Tommy Hyland – Manager of the Longest Running Blackjack Team in History

Silhouettes of Five People Standing and a Blackjack Hand

Blackjack has produced many legendary professional gamblers. From Ken Uston to Jeff Ma (MIT Blackjack Team), a number of blackjack players have won serious profits through the game.

However, few of these advantage gamblers have lasted as long as Tommy Hyland. In fact, Hyland presides over what is currently known as the longest-running blackjack team in history.

Who is Hyland and what are his secrets? You can find out below by reading more on this legendary gambler, how he got started, and what keeps him going.

Who Is Tommy Hyland?

Tommy Hyland has been interested in games of chance since childhood. Once he became of age, he started visiting Atlantic City and Las Vegas casinos.

Professional Blackjack Player Tommy Hyland

He didn’t initially set out to become an advantage player. However, Hyland later took up this pursuit in the late 1970s and hasn’t looked back since.

He started an advantage gambling team around the same time. He’s somehow managed to keep his unit going for over four decades.

Hyland is widely regarded as one of the first—if not first—players to use ace sequencing to beat blackjack. Ace sequencing involves tracking aces throughout play and predicting when they come out of the shoe.

His longtime success and contributions to the game earned him a spot in the Blackjack Hall of Fame in 2003.

What Inspired Hyland to Begin Counting Cards?

Again, Hyland didn’t initially set out to be a professional gambler. He played real money blackjack for fun and learned strategy along the way.

In 1979, though, he changed his focus after reading Lawrence Revere’s book Playing Blackjack as a Business. Afterward, Hyland recruited a blackjack team with four members.

Each player put $4,000 towards funding the team’s bankroll ($16k total). They also chose Atlantic City as the initial stomping grounds for their efforts.

Hyland’s team specifically targeted Atlantic City casinos after they began offering early surrender. This rule lets you surrender a hand before the dealer checks for a natural blackjack.

It lowers the house edge by 0.63% when compared to no surrender option. Early surrender has an even bigger effect on the house advantage than the number of decks (+0.59% when going for 8 decks to 1 deck).

Team Hyland used its blackjack knowledge combined with the friendliest rules at the time to become a fast success. They quickly booked a $50,000 profit after just weeks of playing in Atlantic City.

How Has Hyland Lasted So Long As an Advantage Gambler?

Most blackjack teams have trouble sticking together for a month—let alone 40+ years. They quickly run into a number of unforeseen problems before having a real chance to bond.

First off, advantage teams need a large enough bankroll to survive variance. They should start with at least $20,000, although Team Hyland began with slightly less than this.

Second, teams need a completely skilled unit. Most groups usually have 1-2 members who aren’t quite on par with the others.

Finally, they need to play a consistent schedule as agreed upon by all members. Given that most beginning blackjack teams have fulltime jobs, they often dissolve due to an inability to regularly play together.

Problems can spring up when teams do become successful. Even the best teams can fall apart when members argue over a cut of the action.

Tommy Hyland and his squad have somehow overcome the typical problems that have dissolved other teams. His success isn’t just the result of tracking aces or card counting.

Closeup of a Hand of Blackjack

Hyland also has a unique ability to rally his team to the cause. Everybody trusts one another and continues working towards the same goal of beating casinos.

Of course, this isn’t to say that Team Hyland hasn’t dealt with its share of struggles too. His original group became disillusioned when Atlantic City instated worse rules to combat card counters.

They travelled to Asian gambling destinations in hopes of finding softer games. Hyland could’ve easily given up at this point.

Instead, he formed a new team with some friends that he played golf with. Hyland has continued the tradition of replacing old members with new to constantly keep the team going.

Additionally, he’s also mastered other forms of advantage play beyond just card counting, such as ace sequencing and shuffle tracking. These techniques give him a leg up on the average pro player, who only relies on card counting.

The latter usually makes it easier for casinos to spot advantage gamblers. A pit boss often looks for players who raise bets later in the shoe as they gain more deck penetration.

Shuffle tracking and ace sequencing, meanwhile, create more difficulties in catching professionals. They allow gamblers to find favorable situations at any point in a shoe—not just towards the end.

Legal Troubles for Team Tommy Hyland in Windsor

Tommy Hyland and his team became notorious for a 1994 incident involving Casino Windsor (Windsor, Canada). The casino caught three members of the team counting and wanted to prosecute them.

Card counting isn’t illegal anywhere in the world, including Windsor. Therefore, the casino officials tried coming up with another way to go after the team.

They found that two of the female “spotters” were using pop-off bead bracelets to keep track of aces. They’d pop off a bead for each ace that came out of the deck.

Casino Windsor attempted to say that this method amounted to using an illegal cheating device. Gamblers aren’t supposed to use devices that manipulates the game flow to win.

However, the casino was unable to prove that the beaded bracelets were truly a cheating device. Famed player Arnold Snyder also provided testimony that using ace sequencing and bracelets does not constitute cheating.

The judge ruled in Team Hyland’s favor. They got to keep over $100,000 in winnings and avoid any kind of legal repercussions after the ruling.

Has Any Other Team Lasted As Long As Hyland’s Team?

Certain blackjack squads have rivaled the longevity of Team Hyland. The latter, however, is typically known as the longest-running blackjack team in history.

Most advantage gamblers don’t even last for five years before flaming out—let alone run a team that long. Hyland has managed to both play professional blackjack and keep his team going for the same amount of time.

Of course, members come and go much like with rock ’n’ roll bands. But Hyland always finds replacements for those who leave.

His greatest challenge was perhaps replacing everybody else after the initial Atlantic City run in the late 1970s and early 80s. He recruited and trained his golfing buddies to do the job.

No evidence exists that any other team has enjoyed quite the same longevity as Hyland’s unit. The MIT Blackjack Team had a lengthy stint that lasted from the late 1970s into the early 2000s. But they eventually called it quits when casinos identified almost every member.

Snyder has also put together some good teams. However, no sources mention him as currently running the longest-lasting blackjack squad.

Can You Emulate Tommy Hyland’s Longevity as a Blackjack Player?

Tommy Hyland began playing blackjack at a time when advantage play methods were still being mastered. He’s one of the pioneers of such techniques as shuffle tracking and ace sequencing.

Today’s gambling world still offers plenty of potential profits. However, the winnings were better when Hyland’s team was terrorizing casinos.

For starters, ace sequencing and shuffle tracking were quite revolutionary when Hyland began using them. Casinos had little recourse for catching such players.

Bets on a Blackjack Table

Of course, pit bosses still have trouble spotting those who use these advanced methods today. But they’ve become better at it.

Therefore, you’re unlikely to find as much success if you became an advantage player today and tried lasting 40+ years.

Another problem is the sheer act of keeping such a team together. Again, many blackjack teams don’t even make it months before drifting apart.

Through a combination of trust and highly skilled play, Hyland has kept his team running for over four decades. He’s a total anomaly in the modern gambling world.

You can still have plenty of success if you develop your skills and find good teammates. But you’re unlikely to last anywhere near as long as Team Hyland.

Conclusion

Tommy Hyland is one of the most-experienced advantage gamblers in the casino world today. His skills have enabled him to make a living through gambling since the late seventies.

But as good as Hyland is at blackjack, he’s even more adept at team management. The legend has avoided all the pitfalls that sideline other blackjack teams to keep his unit going for more than 40 years.

Will Team Hyland be able to make it another decade or two? I imagine that Hyland and his team will eventually retire at some point before this. But whenever he does quit, Hyland will remain a gambling legend for all time.

Texas, Why Do You Hate Gambling?

Angry Man With a Casino Background

Oh, Lone Star State. I have a bone to pick with you. This is a touchy subject, too, as I’m a proud citizen of the great state of Texas.

I love your food; I love your diverse cultures and climates. I love that you can be country and hipster all at the same time.

But.

I want to know why you hate gambling.

This is a heart breaker for this gambling Texan girl.

Why are almost all forms of gambling illegal in my home state?

Why do you want me to take my hard-earned dollars out of state to spend on my favorite hobby?

I don’t want to give that taxable revenue to Louisiana, Oklahoma, or Nevada. I want to go to the Gulf Coast and let my family enjoy our warm waters.

Then I want to gamble.

Why are you keeping this from me?

Did I do something wrong?

Why are you so mad at gambling?

So many questions.

Let’s see if I can answer some of them.

The History of Gambling in The Lone Star State

Texas, much like its neighbors to the east and west, has changed hands many times of the course of its history. It was once even its own sovereign nation. Texans often refer to the Republic of Texas.

Texas was originally part of multiple native tribes, but we know how this goes. It changed hands between the Spanish (Tejas is the Spanish spelling), American, Mexico, and even the French.

Texas has the strictest real money gambling laws in the United States.

I would’ve guessed our Mormon friends in Utah would be a no go on gambling, but no.

It’s Texas.

Texas outlawed almost all forms of gambling during Prohibition in the 1920s when vice laws became prevalent in Texas. This move towards outlawing vices like alcohol, prostitution, gambling, and narcotics became prevalent in this once wild country.

This was huge swing from the Wild West attitude of the 1800s. Texas is the home of many outlaws like Billy the Kid and Jesse James. Let’s not forget that Bonnie and Clyde were Texas residents, too.

This is not a neat or prim and proper state. We like to be left alone, not told what to do, and keep to ourselves.

The Prohibition Era ushered in a clamping down of the above vices to almost do a 180 from the torrid, wild past of the state.

So, when did the State of Texas make gambling illegal?

It’s a long drawn out answer. I wish it were easier. I wish it were something simple like 1920.

But no, it was a slow suffocation of the hobby.

The state would see local governments outlaw vices in their regions starting in the Reconstruction Era of the post war South. The nail in the coffin was the passage of the 18th amendment to the United States Constitution. This made alcohol and gambling illegal throughout the country.

Once this amendment was overturned, many states started to reopen racetracks and saloon or bars. Texas dug its heels in the ground on the topic of gambling.

Texas Casino Naskila Entertainment

The legality of gambling has wavered throughout the state over the years, but one thing has stayed true.

Texas doesn’t condone most forms of gambling.

Texas has 2 casinos. We are number 2 in size and population in America. We are last in gambling.

And it doesn’t look like the legislature is going to budge anytime soon.

There are some obscure loopholes in our gambling laws, and the lottery is a big government business.

What Type of Gambling Are Legal in Texas?

There are a few types of gambling that are legal in Texas.

Most of these are weird – except for the lottery.

The Texas State Lottery

The State of Texas legalized a state lottery in July of 1991. That was a big win. I remember when my parents got together with their friends to go in a ton of tickets. My siblings and I started seeing scratch off tickets in birthday and holiday cards from our grandparents.

Playing the lottery in Texas is a big deal. An estimated 68% of Texan play some form of the lottery. With almost 40 million residents, that is a lot of money.

I am from Austin, the capitol of the state. Downtown they used to live film the drawings and we would watch through the window on our way to the bar when I was in college at University of Texas at Austin.

I don’t know anyone who hasn’t played the lottery. When my husband and I were young and broke we would buy scratch off in hopes to win enough to cover our bills

The Texas lottery is as common as a rodeo or going 2 stepping after a meal of Mexican food or BBQ.

The state makes billions off the proceeds. This money is allocated to schools and wildlife and land protections. Texans are big hunters which makes them conservationists by default.

Horse and Dog Racing

Under the pari-mutuel racing rules, Texans can participate in dog and horse betting. There are 3 class 1 racetracks in the entire state.

This type of gambling was legalized in Texas in 1978. Texas was about 30 years behind the rest of the country.

I didn’t grow up with adults going to the races because of the old hold over of prohibition and the Progressive Movement.

Native Tribe Casinos

Under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the 3 recognized native tribes of Texas were granted the right to open gaming establishment.

The Kickapoo Tribe has the Lucky Eagle Casino. It’s found in Eagle Pass, in far West Texas on the Mexican border. It’s a long hot drive from almost anyone in the state except Laredo.

Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino Exterior

The Tigua Tribe owns and operates the Speaking Rock Entertainment Center.

You’ll find it in El Paso on their native lands. El Paso is the 5th most populated city in the state, but it’s still a 9+ hour drive from the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex.

Are you seeing a trend?

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe offers gambling, too – at Naskila Gaming.

That’s located in Livingston, just north of Beaumont, Texas. It’s only a 3-hour drive, but there’s not a lot to see once you get there

The Naskila Gaming and Speaking Rock Entertainment have been wrapped up in red tape and legal disputes for years and may not be able to survive. This is against trend for other native casinos in other states.

You’ve heard of WinStar?

The largest casino in the world?

It is a native owned casino and has its own economy. It’s literally an hour drive from my house over the Oklahoma border.

What gives?

What Are 8-Liners and How Do They Work?

If you’re not from here, you’ve probably not seen these shady little machines. They’re the video poker looking machines in gas stations and dive bars.

They are gaming machines that offer noncash prizes of less than a $5.00 value. I have played these at a now closed bar (probably because they didn’t ID people).

Nowadays I see them mostly in underserved communities. It’s always a slimy gas station. The state legislature has been trying to outlaw them since the 80’s.

Row of Texas 8-Liner Machines

They argue that they qualify as in-person gambling and don’t follow that state guidelines of approved gambling.

That’s not the type of hobby gambling I’m look for in my home state, are you?

Casino Cruises

This one is tricky. I’m impressed to be honest. These one day “cruises” take people to a cruise to essentially nowhere.

They stop in international waters so that there is no jurisdiction to say, “Quit it!”. It is pretty genius but expensive.

The cost has caused many startups to fail or rebrand with more failure. They leave out of a Texas port with mostly Texas passengers.

The problem is most of the Texas ports are a short drive to Louisiana, our eastern neighbor. Louisiana is very pro gambling.

See the problem?

Why would I get on a day cruise and risk sea sickness when I can take my entire family to the Golden Nugget Lake Charles Casino and Resort for an all-inclusive resort vacation?

Conclusion

It’s not good. Texas has even made friendly wagering illegal in the state. If I host a poker night with real money, I could serve some prison time.

When will Texas catch up and join the 21st, heck even the 20th, century?

I don’t know.

Every year it’s on the state legislature’s docket.

Every session it fails.

Maybe other states have made it too easy for Texans to come visit.

I see it as a missed opportunity for tax revenue for the state. And tourist dollars. Texas is so big that driving from Dallas to the coast is considered being out of state in other parts of this country.

Austin has 100s of 1000s descend on it every March for the SXSW festival.

Why not also make some tax venue off them with gambling?

It just doesn’t make sense.

But this state likes to do things the hard way because that’s how it’s always been. For a long time.

I would love to hear your thoughts and questions. Please leave a comment below.

Can You Dispute Casino Resort Fees?

Hotel Front Desk Clerk With a Money Background

Resort fees are quite common throughout the hospitality industry. Assuming you stay at a casino resort in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, or elsewhere, you’ll almost assuredly deal with these fees.

Resort fees can be worth as much as 50% of your booking cost. You no doubt hate the thought of paying this much on top of the original bill.

You may even wonder if it’s possible to successfully dispute a resort charge. I’m going to cover more on resort fees and if you can avoid paying them or at least reduce the cost.

Why Do Casinos Charge Resort Fees in the First Place?

The main reason why casinos require resort fees is because the rest of the hospitality industry does so. This trend started in the late 1990s and has only gotten worse in present times.

All hotels offer amenities to some degree—no matter how impressive or unimpressive these extra services may be. An amenity can be as basic as the soaps in the shower to the grand spas featured in Atlantic City and Las Vegas hotels.

Casinos don’t offer these extras for free, though. They expect you to pay for anything you have access to.

Sky View of the Las Vegas Strip

If resorts were upfront, they’d simply include these charges in the booking cost. But they use a more-nefarious method of tacking these additional charges on after the fact.

You may initially reserve your casino hotel room for $150. However, your final bill could be worth $200 or more when the resort fee is added.

Simply put, casinos want to make the booking amount look more attractive. Once they hook you, they add a resort fee on afterward.

You can easily figure out what the average resort charge is at any casino with a little internet research. But many gamblers don’t do this and are shocked upon seeing their final bill.

Are Resort Fees Illegal?

Casino resorts aren’t being entirely honest when they mask the cost of their amenities. However, they aren’t breaking the law when doing so either.

Casinos are perfectly entitled to require resort fees as long as they disclose them in the terms and conditions. I highly advise that you read the terms and conditions before officially reserving any room.

When booking a hotel room on a third-party site (e.g. Travelocity), you might see something like “does not include Resort fees” in the terms and conditions.

This one snippet is enough for casinos to rely on from a legal perspective. Of course, not every resort is so careful with their T&Cs or when advertising free services.

By and large, though, casinos are very good at disclosing their resort fees—no matter how small the fine print may be.

Grounds to Dispute These Charges

Land based gambling resorts expect you to cover any additional costs. However, you may be able to get out of resort fees, or at least pay less, under the following circumstances.

Some Amenities Don’t Work

Hospitality is all about making sure guests enjoy their stay. But casino resorts are by no means perfect.

One or more of their services may not work during your trip. For example, your room Wi-Fi could keep cutting in and out.

You don’t have to simply face the fact that you have a crappy internet connection. Instead, you should complain to the front desk when checking out.

Certain Services Aren’t Available

Another issue that can arise is when certain amenities aren’t available. For example, a hotel may close their swimming pool early, because they don’t have a lifeguard available.

You, on the other hand, might have been expecting to go for a swim. If you see the swimming pool listed under a resort fee, you definitely want to speak up.

JW Marriott Las Vegas Pool

Casinos do something like shut down their swimming pool early under the hope that most guests don’t complain. If you vocalize your displeasure, though, you’ll likely get accommodated in some way or another.

You Don’t Use One or More Amenities

A resort fee covers a bundle of potential services that casinos provide, from their airport shuttle bus to a fax machine. Chances are high that you won’t use every single one of these amenities—especially a fax machine.

You should ask a prospective casino ahead of time about what services they charge for. After going through these amenities with a fine-tooth comb, you can figure out what you will and won’t use.

The next step is to speak with a hotel representative beforehand about the services that you won’t be using. Assuming you’re dealing with a reputable casino, they should knock down the price for you.

False Advertising

A casino shouldn’t claim that they offer “free Wi-Fi” and include this very service in the resort fee. Such instances constitute false advertising.

Law enforcement isn’t going to shut the resort down for such practices. However, you should at least hold casinos accountable.

You can take pictures of anything that a casino advertises as being free. Next, you should look through everything included in the resort charge to see if you’ve been billed for the supposedly free service.

What Can You Do If the Casino Ignores Your Complaints?

As mentioned earlier, gambling resorts are in this business to get repeat guests. But not every staff member will work with you on problems that arise during your stay.

Assuming your complaints about resort fees fall on deaf ears, you can take one or more of the following actions.

Take Your Business Elsewhere

The simplest way to resolve this matter is to choose another hotel during your next stay. Bigger casino destinations, such as Vegas, Atlantic City, and Reno, offer numerous options.

Sky View of Atlantic City Casino Resorts

Nothing forces you to pick the same casino that ripped you off again. Instead, you can make them pay by picking their local competitor the next time.

Plenty of gambling resorts have fallen by the wayside due to consistently bad service. Many others will suffer the same fate in the future when they’re unwilling to work with guests.

Email the Corporate Office

Casino resort employees may not have the authorization to reduce your amenity charges. Or, a manager could simply make their own determination that you should pay full price.

You might want to consider taking your complaint to a higher power. An email to the office of MGM Resorts, for example, could result in a more-satisfactory solution.

The corporate rep won’t give you a free penthouse suite. However, they could compensate you in another way if your gripe is legit.

Launch an Online Complaint

Certain websites (e.g. Better Business Bureau) exist solely to hold businesses accountable for bad practices. You can visit these sites and bash casinos after unfavorable situations dealing with resort fees.

Such websites allow you to type out a detailed explanation of exactly what happened and why you were cheated.

Your complaint alone won’t be enough to torpedo the casino. But a collection of criticisms just like yours will eventually cause others to avoid that particular resort.

Take the Casino to Small Claims Court

The most-extreme action you can take against a resort involves suing them in small claims court. This route gives you a chance to recoup your resort charge, legal fees, and any emotional damages suffered.

You’re not going to win a five- or six-figure lawsuit from the matter. But you can at least get your money back and cause the resort some headaches.

I advise you to strongly consider settling this matter in another way, though. After all, you could be out a lot of money with lawyer expenses involved if you lose the case.

Conclusion

Many people have been conditioned to accept resort fees as a part of their casino trip. They may even blindly pay these charges without question.

Assuming you’re loaded and don’t want to bother haggling with casinos, you’re perfectly within the right to accept these fees. But you also have the right to complain if one or more things go wrong.

Casinos shouldn’t expect you to cover the full cost of a stay if they have poor-working or non-available amenities.

You may be able to get your resort fee reduced or even waved entirely by complaining. Perhaps you won’t always be successful, but you’ll get some money back in many cases.

Why Do Sportsbooks Make Early Payouts on Bets Sometimes?

Man Handing Out Money With a Sportsbook Background

The typical process for how sportsbooks pay winning bets is as follows:

  1. The bookmaker offers multiple outcomes on a single sporting event.
  2. Each gambler wagers on an outcome.
  3. The match takes place and decides the outcome.
  4. The sportsbook pays the winning side.

In almost no situation does a bookmaker pay bettors before a contest is over. After all, miracles can happen and a team/player that’s losing badly can come back.

Interestingly enough, though, sportsbooks do occasionally make early payouts. I’ll explain why they do this along with how it has backfired on them in certain cases.

What Constitutes an Early Payout by Bookmakers?

An early payout simply refers to when a sportsbook pays the winning side before the outcome is decided. They don’t just offer a partial pay out either—they pay the full amount.

Here’s an example:

  • You bet on the Chicago Bulls at +145.
  • You place a $100 wager and stand to win $145.
  • Chicago gets extremely hot and is winning by 25 points in the fourth quarter.
  • The bookmaker decides to prematurely pay you $145 before the final buzzer sounds.

Chicago’s opponent has almost no chance of coming back from a 25-point deficit at any point in the fourth quarter. Nevertheless, the game isn’t over and a miraculous comeback could potentially happen.

The bookmaker doesn’t care in this example, though. They’re willing to pay you regardless due to the Bulls’ impending victory.

Early Payout vs Cashout Option

An early payout could be potentially be confused with the Cash Out feature that some online sportsbooks offer. Cash Out refers to when bookmakers provide an option to take profits before a wager is decided.

Here’s an example:

  • You bet on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at -115.
  • You place a $115 bet and stand to win $100
  • Tampa Bay is winning by two touchdowns in the third quarter.
  • A Cash Out option for a guaranteed $90 win is now available.
  • You accept this guaranteed $90 payout; a bettor on the losing side must accept your proposal.

The key difference here is that the sportsbook isn’t offering you the payout on your bet. Instead, they’re merely providing option to take less money in return for a guaranteed win.

Additionally, a gambler on the other side must accept your proposal. You can’t just automatically use Cash Out whenever you feel like it.

With an early payout, you don’t need to worry about anything other than collecting your winnings. The bookmaker has already decided to make a full payment.

Examples of Early Payouts That Backfired

A sportsbook assumes an obvious risk when paying gamblers before a contest is decided. They could make the payout and suddenly lose big on both sides if the other team/player comes back.

This very scenario has actually happened in the past. Here are a couple of high-profile incidents where bookies got burned.

Paddy Power Pays Hillary Clinton Bettors Before Trump Wins

Hillary Clinton was a big favorite to win the 2016 Presidential Election. She led Donald Trump in the polls by a wide margin throughout much of the year.

She was also favored in the betting odds, which are often more reliable than the polls. With just one month until the election was decided, Clinton seemed a shoo-in to become the next US president over rival Donald Trump.

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power apparently saw the writing on the wall. In October 2016—a full month ahead of the actual voting day—Paddy Power paid a cumulative $1.1 million to those who wagered on Clinton. The bookmaker noted at the time:

“The recent flood of revelations have halted his [Trump] momentum and his chances now look as patchy as his tan”

Paddy Power had Clinton pegged at an 85.7% chance of winning at the time. Meanwhile, Trump faced a dismal 18.2% chance of becoming president (percentages exceeded 100% due to bookmaker’s juice).

Exterior of the White House

One bettor really made out on the early gift from Paddy Power after risking £50,000 ($61,485) on Clinton. Over 6,000 other gamblers from the UK and Ireland received payouts too. Spokesman Lewis Davey said:

“If Trump wins we’ll be facing a double payout and left with some seriously expensive egg on our faces”

The scenario that Davey alluded to did indeed happen. Trump mounted a comeback with just days left in the election and earned a surprise victory. Paddy Power, which already paid $1.1 million to Clinton bettors, had to cover the Trump side as well.

FanDuel Pays Alabama Bettors Too Early

The Alabama Crimson Tide were undoubtedly the college football team of the 2010s. They won four titles last decade and routinely competed for the national title.

Their dominance was on full display prior to the 2019 NCAA Football National Championship. Facing the Clemson Tigers, they were a favorite to win their fifth title within the decade and an 18th overall.

Those who placed futures bets on Alabama winning the championship prior to the season looked good at this point. FanDuel agreed and paid a collective $400,000 to those who wagered on the Crimson Tide before the game was even played. In fact, they didn’t even wait until Alabama won their first College Football Playoff (CFP) game before delivering the early payout. A spokesperson noted:

“It has been a dominant season for the Crimson Tide and our traders have seen enough. It’s a way to reward our customers for betting on Alabama when the odds were really hard to make any money doing it”

The Tide won their first CFP game to make it to the championship. However, they got crushed by Clemson to the tune of 44-16.

FanDuel, which was acquired by Paddy Power Betfair in 2018, was forced to make double payouts. They covered winnings for Clemson bettors following the upset. The company stated afterward:

“We made history in November when we paid out customers early on Alabama winning the National Championship. Congratulations to Clemson and to our customers who got paid out early. You’re the real winners today”

What’s the Advantage of Early Payouts?

Sportsbooks stand to lose serious money when they pay too early. You can see that Paddy Power and FanDuel both lost big money when they paid ahead of schedule.

Therefore, you might think any bookmaker that offers early payouts is crazy. The reality though, is that they do stand to benefit in one major way: publicity.

FanDuel and Paddy Power didn’t make these payouts because they were resigned to defeat. Instead, they announced the early payouts and gained press in the process.

Yes, sportsbooks are taking a risk when they give gamblers winnings ahead of time. But the free press is sometimes worth the risk.

Furthermore, they don’t always lose when making these decisions. Bookmakers only deliver early winnings when they’re fairly certain on the bets.

Women's World Cup 2019 USA Winning Team

Not all early payouts backfire. For example, FanDuel paid $400,000 to those who wagered on the USA women winning the 2019 World Cup. As expected, the American women prevailed and won the title game against the Netherlands 2-0.

The blunders that I’ve discussed only represent a small portion of early payouts. Bookmakers sometimes offer early winnings before the conclusion of a high-profile event so that they can generate publicity.

Can You Spot Early Payout Opportunities Ahead of Time?

You’ll definitely benefit by spotting an early payout opportunity before the fact. After all, you receive a guaranteed profit on the full value of your odds.

Such scenarios are better than Cash Outs, which only allow deliver a portion of your potential winnings. Therefore, you’d do well to spot potential scenarios where bookmakers pay prematurely.

This process isn’t exactly a common advantage gambling technique that will bring you countless profits. But it’s still worth discussing just in case you want to chase an early win.

First off, you must wager on a game/event where there’s a heavy favorite. You stand even better odds of winning early if you make a futures bet well in advance of the outcome.

Whether it’s betting on politics or choosing the eventual college football champion, bookmakers like to pay early on futures bets.

Next, you want to choose an operator that craves publicity. From everything I’ve seen, the Paddy Power/Betfair/FanDuel group is the one to choose.

Paddy Power has a long history of engaging in publicity seeking events. This tradition continues even after their merger with Betfair and acquisition of FanDuel.

Even if you follow these steps, you’re unlikely to benefit from an early payout. You should still be making good bets with the outside hope of winning early.

But as can be seen, your chances of collecting a premature profit improve when you:

  • Bet on heavy favorites in advance.
  • Choose bookmakers that are the most likely to pay out early.

Conclusion

Early payouts aren’t common in the betting industry. Almost every bookmaker waits on the results before paying the winning side.

However, some sportsbooks pay those who wager on a heavy favorite early. FanDuel and Paddy Power are notable examples of this rare occurrence.

The downside to making these premature payouts is that a bookmaker can get burned. Both Paddy Power and FanDuel had to pay big money after making the wrong choice.

Then again, each sportsbook gained major publicity for the early gifts to customers. Therefore, you can expect to see these types of payouts in the future.

5 Betting Losses That Will Make You Feel Better

Pile of Money on Fire With a Sportsbook Background

If you’ve ever gambled, it’s a near certainty that you’ve suffered plenty of crushing losses. A dramatic last second layup that leaves you one-point shy of covering, that garbage time touchdown that pushes it from the under to the over, the dealer somehow getting a blackjack on your biggest hand…the list goes on.

If you feel like you’ve been a victim of bad betting karma, you aren’t alone. In this article, I’ll lay out 5 examples of betting losses that will help you feel better about your own.

1 – The GOAT Goes Down

Michael Jordan is undoubtedly (sorry, LeBron people) the greatest basketball player of all-time. His relentless competitiveness was an invaluable asset for his game throughout his career. Unfortunately, this same competitive spirit didn’t always help outside the lines.

A golf-lover and gambler, Michael Jordan was known to wager huge amounts of money on the course despite not being the most talented player. His betting buddy Richard Esquinas recounted one time he’ll remember more than any other.

Esquinas said that Jordan went on a 10-day “golf betting binge” in September 1991. When all was said and done, His Airness found himself down nearly $1.2 million. The good news? He was apparently able to get some back on the course, and eventually talked down his debt to $300,000.

How did he get down that much in the first place? By placing historically-high bets on each hole, of course. It’s been said that it was no big deal for him to throw down $100,000 on a single hole.

While MJ never backed down to anyone, perhaps golf was not his best game. As it stands today he’s worth more than a billion dollars, so I’d say he can lose a few more $100,000 holes and still come out okay.

2 – Rap Battle

Long-time producer, music executive, and rapper Birdman is an avid sports bettor. Unfortunately for him, betting on the Super Bowl has been somewhat of a challenge.

As a New England Patriots fan, he certainly had good reason to be feeling confident about his chances going into Super Bowl XLVI. He was so confident, in fact, that he was prepared to put down $5 million on the game. One sportsbook challenged him to do it but he backed down.

Profile of Rapper Birdman

Instead, he placed a $1 million wager on the game. This time he didn’t place it with a sportsbook, but rather went head to head with fellow rapper 50 Cent.

The game ended with a New York Giants victory and 50 Cent took the million from Birdman. And his bad luck did not stop there.

In Super Bowl LII, which featured the Patriots and the Eagles, Birdman challenged another rapper to raise the stakes. He bet AR-Ab $100,000 that the Pats would take down the Eagles.

Of the many comeback drives Brady put together over the years, this would not be one of them. Birdman lost the $100k, and presumably has stopped betting other rappers.

3 – The Whale of Whales

Over the years I’ve read about plenty of high-rollers who have suffered big losses. These people are the ones who keep casinos in business, and the ones who act as a warning to others that gambling can end very badly.

One such man was Terrance Watanabe. An American businessman who had developed quite the fortune, in the hundreds of millions, also had a penchant for taking risks in Las Vegas. Unfortunately for Terrance, he wasn’t a very good gambler.

Most casino whales prefer to play games where some skill is involved, such as blackjack or baccarat. Not Terrance Watanabe. He actually preferred to wager his money on games that were purely based on chance.

Gambler Terrance Watanabe in Court

Casino management, who were probably his biggest fans, referred to him as a “house player.” This means that he actually liked playing the games that had a higher house edge. Meaning he was betting on games that he knew were tipped in the casino’s favor.

Now before I get into the exact dollar figures Mr. Watanabe burned through, it’s important to get some context on his mindset during all of this. Today, he claims that he is a compulsive gambler, and that casinos like Caesars Palace knowingly took advantage of him and his condition.

Additionally, he has alleged that casinos provided him with drugs and alcohol in order to keep him gambling, and losing, as long as possible. Somewhat surprisingly, the gambling regulators actually took his side and fined Caesars Palace $225,000 for their misconduct.

That fine might seem significant, but when you consider the amount of money Terrance Watanabe lost, it’s a drop in the ocean. The final total of his losses added up to nearly $112 million per the Wall Street Journal.

4 – Vegas Dave

With a nickname like Vegas Dave, one has to assume that big losses are just going to be part of the experience. This sports bettor, whose actual name was Dave Oancea, was known for being showy with his gambling on social media.

Unfortunately for Vegas Dave, he was about to get a big dose of harsh reality in 2016. He took a $1 million bet on female MMA fighter Miesha Tate at UFC 200. As Tate squared off against Amanda Nunes, things went south quickly for both Tate and Dave.

Profile of Vegas Dave

It only took a little more than three minutes for Tate to fall to Nunes, costing Dave a cool million dollars. Following the defeat, his social media posts seemed to focus more on his concern for the health of Tate, who had broken her nose during the fight.

I’m sure that playing off a million dollar loss as the second thing on your worry list sounds good, but my guess is that the loss hurt more than any broken nose.

5 – The Daredevil

The betting losses described above are significant, but ultimately nothing that really surprises anyone. To find something a bit more unique, let me take you back to the good old days of 1883.

Daredevil, and self-professed compulsive gambler Matthew Webb had built a name for himself after becoming the first man ever to swim across the English Channel.

Webb was unique in that he was able to make enough money to support himself by betting against the public on swimming challenges that he would perform. For example, he once won a bunch of money by swimming for 74 hours straight.

Photo of Daredevil Matthew Webb

Although he was British, he spent quite a bit of time in America as well. In 1881, he took up residence in America and won a few challenges that paid him fairly well, but it wasn’t quite enough to fully support himself at that time. So, he did what any reasonable gambler would do – he put his life on the line and bet on himself.

This time, he decided to take bets on whether or not he could swim through the whirlpool found at Niagara Falls. The dollar figure he would receive if able to complete the challenge was $10,000. Keep in mind this was pre-1900, and that amount of money was enough to last him awhile. It would be roughly worth $400,000 today.

On July 24th, 1883, Webb dove in to attempt the challenge. He was never seen again.

Conclusion

As long as gambling is available, you can bet there will be individuals who are willing to risk it all in hopes of a huge payout. In Matthew Webb’s case, he paid the debt with his life.

These examples of extreme gamblers should make everyone else aware just how quickly things can turn for the worst if you aren’t careful. My guess is that these people weren’t exactly keeping a close eye on their bankroll.

Although you probably won’t ever have $100 million to lose, let these people be a cautionary tale to always bet within your means.

5 Steps to NCAA Football Gambling Success

NCAAF Player Running the Ball With a Sportsbook Screen Background

If you like to bet on football games, the NCAA offers far more profitable betting opportunities than the NFL. The NFL is more popular for sports gamblers, but smart football gamblers take advantage of NCAA games and betting lines to make more money.

Here are five steps you can start using today to improve your NCAA football gambling success. Start using each of these steps, and you’re going to start seeing immediate improvement on your betting results. But more importantly, you can keep building on these tactics once you learn how effective these five steps are.

1 – Betting the Haves and Have-Nots

Do you know why the same teams seem to land in the top 20 every season in NCAA football? Of course, there is some bias in the rankings, both from the people responsible for the rankings and the memory of recent powerhouse programs.

Clemson wasn’t always a national powerhouse, and Michigan used to be one. Programs do rise and fall, and once-dominant programs sometimes fall out of contention, while other schools put together a few good seasons and see their fortunes rise.

When you look at any individual NCAA football season, you can divide the teams into categories. The two broadest categories are the haves and the have-nots. The teams competing for the national championship are the haves, and everyone else would be considered the have-nots.

The problem with this is that there are no more than 10 teams with a realistic shot at winning the national title in any individual season. And most years, there’s really only four or five teams with a real shot.

But you need to break things down into smaller groups than this. The minimum you need to do is break the teams into the top, top half, bottom half, and bottom.

When you do this, you can see that teams from the big conferences make up most of the top half. A few teams from smaller conferences land in the top half, and a few teams from the big conferences land in the bottom half.

Now, take a look at the recruiting ranking boards for every team over the past four to five seasons and see how it relates to where teams land on the first list. You can see a strong correlation. This tells you that recruiting is one of the most important things you need to track as an NCAA football gambler.

NCAA Football Players on the Field

But you need to take this a step further to find good profits. You now know how important recruiting is on an overall level, so the next step is to look at the recruiting rankings for each team in each conference.

It’s easier to find games and lines with value in smaller conferences. And if you know how the recruiting rankings compare inside each of the smaller conferences, it helps you win more of your wagers.

This isn’t a sexy college football betting system, but it’s one you can start using immediately to improve your gambling results.

2 – Why You Shouldn’t Bet on Point Spreads

Point spreads are the most common way to bet on NCAA football games. One team is favored and gives points, and one team is the underdog and gets points.

When you bet on the favorite, you only win when your team wins by more than the number of points you give. This is called covering the spread. When you get points by betting on the underdog, you win when your team wins the game or loses by less than the spread. This is also called covering.

But point spread betting isn’t the only type of wager you can make on NCAA football games. You can place a wide range of wagers. The other two main bets are totals (also called over/under bets) and moneyline bets.

On a moneyline wager, you just pick which team is going to win. A totals bet is a bet on the total number of points scored by both teams, and you can bet over the amount listed by the sportsbook or under the number listed.

All three of the main wager types are tricky to beat consistently, but point spreads are the most challenging. It’s extremely difficult to predict how much a team is going to win by, and there are many things that happen during a game that change the final score.

A single turnover can swing a score by as much as 14 points, which is likely to change a win to a loss or a loss to a win, depending on which side of the game you bet on.

When you focus on betting totals, many things in the game can influence them, but it’s not as bad as point spread bets. One quick tip about betting totals in NCAA football is the under is usually the best bet when two teams that score a lot face off, and the over is usually a good bet when two teams that don’t score as much face off.

My favorite bet type in college football is the moneyline. It’s easier to pick the straight winner of each game than picking the point spread winner. You pay a higher price when you pick a big favorite, but you also get a good price when you identify an underdog with a good chance to win.

3 – Early Season Statistics Are Misleading

One of the mistakes that NCAA football bettors make is relying on early season statistics to evaluate middle and late season games. You have to use statistics to evaluate games, but you have to be careful when using some early season games.

In the early season, many big conference teams schedule small conference teams. This can create unrealistic statistics for both teams.

The big conference team usually has better statistics than they’re going to have once they get into conference play, and the small conference team usually has worse statistics than they’re going to have once they get into conference play.

In games like these, try to identify where each team ranks overall. When a top 20 team is playing a team outside the top 100, the statistics don’t mean much. But when two teams between 40 and 60 play each other, the statistics are much more relevant.

4 – Be Careful of Rivalry Games

I stopped betting on rivalry games several seasons ago. I found them to be too unpredictable for consistent profits.

In a rivalry game, the underdog has a better chance to play better than normal against their hated opponent, so upsets seem to happen often. But when the favorite gets on top, they have a tendency to bury the other team.

If you develop a good evaluation system that can predict rivalry games for a profit, you can continue betting on them. But my recommendation is to find other games on the schedule to make wagers on. In the long run, I predict you’re going to be more profitable when you skip the rivalry games in college football.

5 – You Don’t Have to Bet With the Sportsbooks

If you want a fast and guaranteed way to improve your NCAA football results, all you have to do is stop making wagers with the sportsbooks. When you bet on football with the sportsbooks, you pay vig on your losses.

The vig usually runs around 10% on your losses, and close to 5% overall including wins and losses. This means you can improve your results by close to 5% by making bets that don’t include the vig.

NCAA Football Player Getting Tackled

You can find many different ways to make bets without vig, with the best one being building a network of people who you can bet with. You can still use the lines posted by the sportsbooks, but neither of you have to pay vig on losing wagers.

Other vig-free opportunities exist. Use your imagination and keep your eye open for these opportunities. Every bet you make on an NCAA football game without paying vig improves your short and long term results.

Conclusion

While most NCAA football gamblers lose more than they win, it’s not impossible to learn how to be different. You just have to identify what most losing gamblers do, and do things that they don’t.

This is what the five steps listed on this page are designed to help you do. Learn how to evaluate the college football teams with the best recruits and the ones working with lesser-known recruits. Learn about other betting options than point spreads and the danger of early season stats.

You also need to avoid betting on rivalry games, and you can cut your betting cost considerably by finding ways to bet outside of the sportsbooks.

Do European Casinos Offer Good Comps?

European Union Symbol With a Casino Background

Comps are one of the most rewarding parts of gambling. You can pick up free drinks, cashback, free play, hotel stays, and more through gambling.

Casinos in America, Asia, and Australia especially like giving out these rewards. They see comps as small investments that encourage players to keep coming back.

But what about European casinos? After all, Europe isn’t well known for handing out lavish comps to gamblers.

I’ll discuss more on the situation regarding European casino rewards and if you can still get decent comps in the Old Continent.

How Do Many Gambling Destinations Treat Comps?

High-profile gaming destinations are well known for delivering extravagance rewards. Macau, Las Vegas, and Singapore are especially notable for the extravagant comps they offer.

Casinos on the Vegas Strip, for example, routinely provide limousine transportation, steak dinners, and top-shelf liquor to high-valued players. They want high rollers to feel like royalty and come back frequently.

Of course, you don’t necessarily have to bet four or five figures per hand to get rewarded. You can also gamble at moderate stakes and still look forward to these perks.

Almost every player who gambles between $10 and $25 per hand can expect drinks. The same goes towards penny slots gamblers who play for hours.

Of course, everything starts with signing up for a player’s club card. Rewards cards see you earn points that can be cashed in for perks, ranging from meals to spa visits.

Many gamblers mistakenly feel like they’re being given everything for free. The reality, though, is that casinos do the math ahead of time and realize they’ll come out on top in the end.

Here’s an example involving a real money blackjack player:

  • The house edge is 1% when accounting for rules and the player’s skill level.
  • The gambler bets $25 per hand.
  • The table sees 70 hands per hour.
  • 70 x 25 x 0.01 = $17.5 in theoretical hourly losses
  • The comp rate is 0.05%.
  • 70 x 25 x 0.0005 = $0.88 in hourly comps
  • 5 – 0.88 = $16.62 casino profits per hour

The house still makes their money when everything is said and done. However, the player also feels like they’ve gotten something extra after a long session.

Of course, gamblers can overcome the house edge and win profits. Otherwise, nobody would set foot in the casino.

But gaming establishments have an advantage over the average player and will win profits over time. That said, they can afford to give out rewards and still be fine.

What Is Europe’s Take on Comps?

All of the major casino destinations mentioned before feature huge resorts that include extravagant hotels, fine dining, expansive gaming floors, and/or luxurious spas. Most casinos in these places are meant to be all-in-one entertainment options that serve as a total experience, rather than just gambling alone.

European casinos, on the other hand, take a different approach. They’re not worried about housing and feeding players along with giving them an unforgettable nightclub experience. Instead, they’re strictly about the gaming.

In fact, some of these casinos charge membership fees or entrance fees. They know that those who really want to gamble will ante up the cover charge.

The majority of European gambling venues aren’t very big in comparison to those found throughout American, Macau, and Australia. They may only offer 100-200 slot machines and 6-12 table games.

Interior of the Hippodrome Casino in London

Contrast this to the average Macau casino, where gamblers will find hundreds, if not thousands, of slot machines along with hundreds of table games. Macau is especially noted for its countless baccarat tables.

In any case, casinos in Europe are smaller and focus on the gambling. Therefore, they don’t feel as obligated to shower players with rewards.

This isn’t to say that you can’t still earn comps in Europe. However, you probably won’t get a free lobster dinner after playing $25 blackjack for a few hours.

Casino comps are more hit and miss across Europe. The perks you get will vary widely from one city or country to another.

Venues with memberships and/or entrance fees may not offer any rewards at all. That said, you should investigate each European casino beforehand to ensure that you can collect rewards.

Can You Still Get Decent Comps in Europe?

The quality of gambling perks you get in Europe depends upon where you’re at. For example, London offers plenty of casinos that are generous with rewards.

The Hippodrome is one instance of a London casino that lets the comps flow. This non-membership location offers an extensive VIP program that covers drinks, free play, food, and entertainment.

The Sportsman is another London-based establishment that delivers rewards. Part of Caesars Entertainment, it features the same rewards as other Caesars properties around the globe.

Of course, you can also find comps outside of London too. Germany’s Spielbank Berlin, for example, offers a player’s club that delivers typical rewards, like meals, lodging, and free play.

How to Ensure You Get the Most From European Casino Comps

Rewards aren’t always available in European gambling venues, but they can be found in certain casinos. If you find a casino(s) that does offer them, you should use the following tips to take advantage.

Sign Up for a Rewards Card

European casinos that offer rewards feature VIP programs that are quite similar to anywhere else. Their loyalty plans are tied to a card system.

You must sign up for a player’s club card to take advantage of rewards programs. You can either sign up online or in person.

I suggest joining online for the convenience factor. If you plan on joining in person, though, you should easily be able to locate the player’s desk.

Assuming you can’t find the signup area, then you can always ask an employee. They can direct you to the right place to join the comps program

Know Which Games Offer the Most Comps

Stakes obviously have a major impact on your rewards. You’re going to earn more comps for betting $100 per blackjack hand versus $25.

However, bet sizes aren’t the only factor that casinos take into account when determining rewards. They also consider the game in question and its house edge.

Simply put, you’ll earn more rewards when playing riskier games. Casino stand to make more money off you with a higher house edge and are more generous as a result.

Baccarat may give you a stronger chance to win. However, it’s not going to deliver as many rewards as Caribbean stud, for example.

Try to Get Hosted

Casino hosts add a personal touch to gamblers’ experiences. They work with VIPs to ensure they get comps that are specifically tailored to their liking.

For example, you may prefer multiple meals over a free two-night stay. Your host can speak with the casino to make sure that this happens.

Of course, gambling venues only have so many hosts working for them. You won’t draw a host’s attention when you’re grinding at the $5 blackjack tables.

Entrance of The Sportsman Casino in London

The minimum bet needed to draw their attention varies based on the casino’s prestige. Generally, though, you must wager at least $25 per hand or play dollar slot machines (or higher) to interest them.

The reward can definitely be worth the effort. By working with a host, you’ll be sure to always get the rewards you value most (within reason).

Play Frequently at the Same Casino

Europe offers many fine casinos. Therefore, you may be tempted to spread your play around to multiple gambling establishments.

You might also be able to get rewards at each casino. However, you’re better off dedicating your play to 1-2 venues.

Concentrating your play allows you to do you reach a higher VIP status at one establishment. This higher loyalty status motivates the casino, or associated host, to offer you bigger and better rewards.

Take Advantage of Promotions

Like anywhere else, European gambling venues realize the importance of running promotions. They want to keep their loyal customers coming back and draw new players.

Assuming you’ve signed up for the player’s club, you can look forward to bonuses such as free play, free blackjack bets, and increased loyalty points.

Extra loyalty points are especially worthwhile, because they can deliver 2-3 times the normal number of rewards. These extra points translate into bigger rewards, whether you’re looking to get cashback or stay a couple of free hotel nights.

Conclusion

Europe may not be as comp-heavy as Las Vegas or Macau across the board. But this continent does offer solid rewards depending upon where you look.

Larger cities, like London, Rome, Vienna, and Barcelona, are more likely to feature casinos with rewards programs. Going further, you can expect more extravagant comps in larger gaming destinations.

You may not win a free penthouse on the 50th story when gambling in Europe. However, you can still collect nice comps in the right places.

An Introduction to Sports Gambling (Mistakes to Avoid)

Handful of Money With a Sportsbook Background

The first mistake sports bettors make when they start wagering is not learning basic strategies. This introduction to sports betting will give you the knowledge to make profitable bets.

Many experienced bettors cringe when they reminisce on their first foray into sports gambling. In fact, most of us were among the “armchair QBs” that the sportsbooks make a killing from.

It’s breaking that mold that will allow you to profit and even prosper.

Today, the internet and the advancement of analytics have allow us to study sports betting like no other time in history.

Thanks to the advent of online betting sites, you may even become a professional sports bettor from anywhere in the world, without ever leaving your sofa.

Sports Gambling Is Not for Everywhere

Realistically, all you need to bet on sports is something to wager and someone to take the bet. It could be any event and for any amount.

If you wish to legally bet on sports, you have to be at least 21 years old and live in a region that has legal sports betting. It’s a growing movement in the United States, while other parts of the world have already legalized regulated sports betting.

If you live in the states of Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia or Pennsylvania, you may already bet to your heart’s content. You may even bet from the comfort of your own home.

The states of Mississippi and Rhode Island insist that you only gamble at the sportsbook. While New Mexico can be liberal — provided you aren’t betting on college games.

Beyond legal restrictions, anybody can enjoy sports gambling. In fact, sports betting has become so popular because it provides an avenue to engage in an event that you may otherwise not be equipped to participate.

You may not have the time required to play in a soccer league.

And perhaps your body just isn’t up for a weekly football game.

Spectators have been an integral part of sports since our ancestors wrestled for sport thousands of years ago. Few things can notch up the excitement level as when you have some skin in the game.

Stick to sports that you enjoy already. You’ll have the best results betting on sports that you know well.

If you’re a hardcore baseball lover, bet on MLB games. You’ll have much less trouble making educated gambling decisions when you are familiar with the game and the teams involved.

Brick and Mortar Betting Shop or Online Bookmaker

Before the early 90s, if you wanted to place a sports bet, you had to find one of the several bookmakers that operated solely through a small number of betting shops.

That all changed with the creation of the internet.

Suddenly a tremendous new revenue stream emerged for bookmakers.

Today, nearly all the largest bookmakers are online.

In fact, most of the classic brick and mortar bookmakers focus solely on horse betting or greyhound racing.

You may even do your sports gambling via telephone if you prefer, but most such transactions are reserved for extremely high stakes action.

Flexibility, profitability, and convenience have ensured the meteoric rise in popularity of the online bookmakers.

Horses and Jockeys Racing on a Track

In online sports betting, you can be anywhere in the world with an internet connection to place your wager. Whether you’re at work, on your couch, or even at a wedding, the bookmakers are there to take your action.

If that isn’t convenient enough for you, you can also place your bets 24/7. You won’t have to run off on your lunch break to the betting shop. Simply pick and click whenever it fits your schedule.

You can also find a wealth of information at the online bookmakers. From advanced statistics and opinions to game predictions and trends, it’s all at the touch of a finger for your enjoyment. Many bookmakers even offer all this in the form of an app for your mobile device.

Live betting is what separates the online sportsbooks from the brick and mortar. This allows you to place wagers on different outcomes while the contest is being played.

It likely isn’t hard for you to see the tremendous appeal of this feature and it is nearly exclusively available through the online sites.

Picking an Online Sportsbook

Possibly the most crucial decision is finding a bookmaker and picking the one that bests suits you.

The key factors that are worth careful consideration when choosing an online sportsbook include their reliability and swiftness of pay-outs.

Other important criteria are the bonuses and odds offered, as well as the variety of bets and events, customer service experience, and whether the website is easily accessible and user friendly.

How Odds Work in Sports Gambling

You’re now on your way to placing that first bet.

You need to know a few things about how odds work.

For starters, most bets around the globe are placed using a fixed-odds system. Gamblers like this because the bookmaker will set the odds ahead of the event.

What is the benefit here?

It allows the bettor to know exactly how much they stand to win off the initial wager.

Handicap betting is another phrase you will want to familiarize yourself with. For this type of bet, you need to correctly predict whether a team will cover the spread or handicap laid out by the bookmaker.

This spread is an advantage the bookmaker gives to the team that has a slimmer chance of winning the game. These spreads are often instrumental in how the bets payoff.

Many flippant half effort field goals have crushed bettors hopes and dreams in the flash of a leg.

Some Important Rules for New Sports Bettors

Sports betting comes with many of the same rules of thumb common to any other type of gambling. However, sports betting also comes with a unique bunch of rules that can vary by sport and bookmaker you decide to use.

More specifically, an individual sport comes with its own betting structure, as well as specific regulations for when and how to bet.

The websites will set forth their own rulebook on how you must bet and what constitutes a win.

So, carefully read all terms and conditions before you decide to place any bets.

Even if it’s a bookmaker you’ve used in the past, they may have different betting requirements for baseball and hockey than they do for the sports you bet on previously.

For participating in sports bets, the common rules of acceptable gambling apply. Those common rules require the following three things:

  1. No Cheating
  2. Don’t Influence the Outcome
  3. Pay Your Dues

Really, it comes down to this:

Use common sense.

And if you aren’t 100% clear on a bet, either ask and gain clarification or move on.

Never Pay for Picks No Matter How Good the Sales Pitch Is

Don’t be a sucker. Don’t sign up for any sports gambling subscription service offering daily or weekly picks.

Here’s a 100% free pick:

Those guys who claim they hit 72% of the bets they lay down don’t know anything more than you do.  They’re simply taking advantage of all the desperate gamblers out there.

Many of them might get better advice in a 12-step meeting.

NCAAF Running Play

Think about it though.

If you’re hitting 55%, that’s basically a license to print money.

At 72%, you’d have so much money that it would literally cost you just to make the effort to sell your picks.

You should strive to be able to handicap for yourself. Once you become familiar and more comfortable with sports gambling, you should be able to easily judge the value of a spread.

Ideally, at that point, you can strike and exploit any bad lines you recognize.

The people running those pick services are nothing more than snake oil salesmen.

Besides, where’s the fun in playing someone else’s picks?

How Much Should You Bet?

In the end, it’s your sole discretion how much to risk on a game.

But risk only what you can afford to lose. Sports gambling is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be ups and downs.

If you’re a beginner, try the flat-betting approach.

This means you are betting the same amount for every game and only putting  1% to 5% of your bankroll per wager. So, if you’re starting off with a bankroll of $100, you should risk no more than $5 per game.

Implementing a flat-betting approach helps hedge against losing your entire bankroll during a bad stretch.

It also sets you up for a huge return on investment when you’re on fire.

Conclusion

Much of what strategy you use will depend upon how much time you have and how serious you are about the matter.

As a beginning sports bettor, this introduction to sports betting will be a great start

4 Things That Can Get You Kicked Out of a Casino

Large Shoe Kicking a Man With a Casino Background

Casinos are a place to unwind, have fun, and try to walk away with a few extra dollars in your pocket. Despite their reputation for being a party destination, there are more than a few rules that patrons must abide by, or they’ll risk getting kicked out.

For those visiting a casino for the first time, knowing all the regulations might be a challenge. In this article, I’ll lay out the behaviors that can get you thrown out by casino staff, and only a couple have anything to do with the games themselves.

1 – Being Underage

Since the dawn of time, 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds have been using a wide range of tricks to get into bars and clubs where the required age is 21 and older. This has become somewhat of a rite of passage into adulthood, and most individuals will withhold judgement (hey, most of us have been there, too).

Unfortunately, land based casinos are one of the places where these deceitful tactics are frowned upon to the highest degree. Regardless of whether you’re using a fake ID, someone else’s ID, or any other form of false identification, getting kicked out is going to be the least of your worries.

If you are caught using any fake documents to get into a casino, you can expect the authorities to get involved. You probably won’t be spending the weekend in jail, but it can result in a costly fine and banishment from the establishment in which you were caught.

With all the technology that casinos utilize to ensure nothing slips past their radar, it’s at the top of the list in terms of the worst places to use a fake ID. My advice? Stick to the local bars in your town. If you get caught there, nine times out of ten, they’ll just ask you to leave.

Risk is always inherent when you enter the casino walls, but taking this risk will never be worth it.

2 – Using Your Phone at a Table Game (And Sometimes at Slots)

This one might seem obvious, but there are plenty of folks out there who just don’t think twice about reaching for their smartphone, no matter the surroundings. In a casino, this is a major no-no and can result in you getting tossed out.

The issue of cheating in casinos comes to mind when you think of why a phone wouldn’t be allowed. Taking a picture or doing research on the moves you should be making can all be done from your mobile device, and it would be considered illegal at any casino. However, there is another, less obvious reason why you need to leave your phone in your pocket: It can be used to check the time.

Casinos famously don’t display clocks, at least in any clearly visible location. The philosophy is that when you realize how much time you’ve spent gambling, you’re more likely to walk away, which is not what the casino wants. If you want to know the time, it’s on you to wear a watch.

Side View Closeup of a Cell Phone

Another interesting reason that any phone use is frowned upon is that they can be used to manipulate slot machines. Some casino swindlers figured out a way to turn their mobile phone into a bill validator device. The device was able to make slots recognize any bill, even $1, as a $100 bill. Don’t believe it’s possible? Scammers in France used it to take $88,000 from a casino.

In today’s world, most people have their phone attached to their hand seemingly at all times. The next time you visit the casino, try to keep it in your pocket. Casino staff do use common sense and won’t punish you for checking scores or taking a phone call. But if you’re actively playing a game, don’t put them in a position where they have to be suspicious of your activity.

3 – Card Counting If You Get Caught

Few tricks have gained traction in popular casino culture like card counting. If you aren’t familiar with the term, card counting involves a number system that allows players to get a better feel for what the next cards will be in games like blackjack.

If you have heard the term before, it may have been from a number of popular movies who show “geniuses” mastering the trick and winning boatloads of money. What you might not know is that it really isn’t all that complicated to learn. Even more surprisingly, it isn’t illegal either.

Mastering card counting does take quite a bit of practice, both in your home and during actual games. Because it all takes place in your head, it’s difficult for casino staff to know when you’re using the technique, but they have been known to figure it out if you give it away.

Blackjack Hands With Many Cards

For example, when you go against basic, common-knowledge strategies, it can tip off pit bosses that something might be up. If a casino employee notices a pattern of this type of play, he or she may come up and talk with you in a friendly way in order to judge your reaction when your concentration is broken.

The real question is, if card counting isn’t illegal, why will it get you thrown out? The answer is simply that casinos reserve the right to remove you for any conduct they deem to be inappropriate. At the end of the day, “house rules” are a real thing.

If you want to learn how to card count, I would encourage you to try. It’s a good mental exercise and can be beneficial to your gambling strategy. Just know that you won’t be tipping the scales heavily in your favor. Even the best card counters can only expect to raise their winning percentages by 1% or 2% in the long run.

4 – Poker Collusion

Real money poker players are always looking for ways to manipulate the game. Because the competition is between other players and not against the house like in most other games, there is room for new tactics that won’t work anywhere else.

One of the main ways that poker players cheat is through collusion. This means that two or more players work together in order to get the rest of the table out, then split up the winnings. Because there is so much going on at a poker table, it can be difficult to spot when this is taking place.

So, how do dealers or other casino staff members know when two “strangers” might actually be in cahoots? There are a few known giveaways that inexperienced colluders might display.

Poker Hand Closeup With Chips in Background

First, if the same two players at the table seem to be winning every single big pot, it might be a sign that something is off. Of course it could just be due to chance, but over the course of a couple hours, it becomes more obvious when the winnings are always ending up with the same duo.

Second, this form of cheating might be recognized if two players are raising and re-raising each other, hoping to catch some unfortunate players in the middle of the action. Finally, one more giveaway might be when a player doesn’t bet when it would be normal to do so. This would be an indication that the player knows he isn’t going to win, because the other player has good cards and will win the hand.

If you’re caught in the act, or even after the fact, the house will come down on you pretty hard. My advice? It’s not worth the risk and doesn’t guarantee you’ll win.

Conclusion

I could go on for much longer and include a dozen more behaviors that will get you booted from just about any casino, but these are just a few casino etiquette tips to remember.

Casinos want you to have a good time, and they don’t want to throw you out. However, if they recognize you’re manipulating the games, to them, it’s a form of stealing. No matter how tricky or discreet you think you can be, just play honestly and let the chips fall where they may.

10 Shocking Sports Gambling Scandals

Broken Window With Different Sports Reflected in Each Shard

In 2018, the Supreme Court effectively ended a long-standing federal ban regarding sports betting. This presumably opened the doors for most, if not all, 50 states to allow legal sports betting — although it is taking longer than many anxious gamblers would prefer.

The point is, it’s coming. Many states have already opened legal sports betting to the masses. What we are going to see more of is scrutiny.

Everything will be watched more closely than ever before.

How Will This Affect the Future of Sports Betting

The players will suddenly endure being forced even further under the microscope.

So will the officials.

In fact, everything down to the spreads will have a careful eye on them. You can rest assured that from the individual leagues to law enforcement, the phrase du jour will be “above reproach.”

The leagues can’t afford to have their brand tarnished. Law enforcement will likely make a clear and extreme example of anybody involved in cheating. The sportsbooks do not want to lose their cash cow over any shenanigans.

That’s going to be a tall order.

From the inception of sports leagues, professional gamblers have bet on games. More importantly, gamblers have jockeyed for new and creative ways to push the odds in their favor.

Today, I’m going to share 10 shocking sports gambling scandals. You may be familiar with some, but I’ve added some particular nuggets you probably have never heard of.

1 – Broadway Joe: Night Club Owner?

This first one is just obscure enough to probably have flown under your radar until today. Following his win in Super Bowl III, Joe Namath was the hottest commodity in the sports world.

He also had a reputation as a bit of a player off the field.

Namath, not being one to skip seizing on a golden opportunity, decided to open his own nightclub. The problem here was in part due to the image created by the NFL’s biggest star owning a swinging night joint. However, it was the clientele that likely led the NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle to sit Namath down.

NFL Player Joe Namath

This group of questionable characters included several bookies and made men. Joe surprised not only Rozelle but the world. Instead of merely selling his share in the club at the commissioner’s request. Broadway Joe abruptly retired from the NFL.

This was a short-lived decision, and roughly 1 month later, Namath was back at the helm as quarterback for the Jets.

2 – Technical Foul on Donaghy

It’s hard to believe this was 13 years ago already. I remember this being major news for a few weeks and then subtly falling into the shadows.

NBA referee Tim Donaghy not only bet on NBA games, but there was evidence he had bet on games he had officiated. Furthermore, the FBI’s investigation uncovered that after falling deeply into debt, Donaghy had given insider information to other gamblers.

This scandal was a here today gone tomorrow story.

Yet, it left a blemish squarely on the face of the NBA.

3 – Northwestern Hoops

The Northwestern basketball team fell under the microscope in 1995. 2 players even received prison time for their role in putting the fix on games.

The previous season the team had gone just 5-13 in conference play. So, why anybody felt the need to pay players to lose remains a mystery.

4 – Alex Karras and Paul Hornung

Paul Hornung is a celebrated league MVP and held the NFL scoring record for over 45 years. Alex Karras attained status as an All-Pro defensive tackle.

The famous duo of Karras and Hornung regularly wagered hundreds of dollars betting on NFL games. You may think of $500 and scoff. You should remember this is in the 1960s, and by today’s dollar, that’s around $4k on a single game.

Commissioner Rozelle levied an indefinite suspension on the pair. He was, however, emphatic that neither player bet for or against their own team.

Both players were allowed to return to action after one season watching the games on TV. Hornung picked up where he left off and rode his talent to the Hall of Fame. Karras had an exceptional NFL career spanning 12 years in the league and ultimately became an actor. He even starred in Webster, one of my childhood favorites.

5 – Boston College Goodfellas

If you love the movie Goodfellas as much as I do, you’re going to enjoy this.

Jimmy Burke (portrayed by Robert DeNiro) was sent to prison solely from an off-handed almost “in passing” comment from Henry Hill (played by Ray Liotta in the hit film).

Hill was being interviewed by law enforcement following a drug arrest. During his interview, he inexplicably mentioned a point-shaving scheme involving Boston College. This immediately caught the attention of the Feds.

Hill had no qualms taking immunity and swiftly turned on his friends. As they say, no honor among thieves.

Apparently, the crime syndicate would bet on BC to win games but lose versus the spread. This was quite profitable for the crime family before it all came crashing down.

6 – John Williams AKA “Hot Rod”

John Williams had an excellent NBA career spanning 13 seasons. So, you may not remember how he nearly went to federal prison over point shaving. The scandal rocked the Tulane program in 1985.

NBA Players John Williams and Larry Bird

The NCAA ended up halting the Tulane basketball team for 4 seasons after 5 players were implicated in the scheme. Hot Rod endured 2 trials in federal court. The first was declared a mistrial. On the second attempt at prosecution Williams was acquitted on all 5 counts.

7 – A Top Draft Pick to Inmate

Art Schlichter was the fourth overall selection in the draft when he was selected in 1982.

By the end of his first NFL season, he had managed to rack up almost $1 million in gambling debts.

Art served a suspension and rejoined the league in 1984. However, his NFL career was over by 1985.

Unfortunately, Art spent the ensuing 35 years having various run-ins with the law. The former highly touted NFL quarterback is presently serving a 10-year prison sentence for fraud.

8 – A Pal to the Great One

Former All-Star Rick Tocchet has hoisted the Stanley Cup. This is the pinnacle of hockey for everyone who’s ever laced up their skates and taken the ice.

Skating the ice with Lord Stanley’s Cup is a stark contrast to the trouble Rick found himself in. Tocchet pleaded guilty for his part in a $2M gambling enterprise. This ring served as a sportsbook of sorts for the rich and famous.

The plot thickened when investigators came across a familiar name, Janet.

It probably wasn’t Janet that caught their attention, thouhh.

I’m sure shortly they got to the Gretzky that directly followed, and their jaws dropped.

9 – The Black Sox

Following the 9-1 drumming the Chicago White Sox endured in Game 1 of the World Series in 1919, many were left scratching their heads. Of course, no one could have imagined that 8 players had thrown the game.

The 8 players had agreed to throw the entire Series for gamblers. “Shoeless Joe” Jackson received a lifetime ban as did 7 of his participating teammates.

The Black Sox scandal is possibly the most shocking sports gambling scandal of all time. It was also not the clandestine mission many had hoped it would be.

Before the series even began, the word was out that the fix was in. However, baseball’s governing body chose to ignore all the commotion. It was largely swept under the rug until a similar instance in 1920.

None of the players involved were prosecuted for their crimes. Yet, as I mentioned, all received a lifetime ban. The raucous scandal has been portrayed over and again in Hollywood. Perhaps the most famous iteration being the 1988 film Eight Men Out, which featured an All-Star cast of its own.

10 – Pete Rose

“Charlie Hustle” is considered by some to be the best all-around player of all time. Owning the crown as the all-time hits leader certainly helps his case.

Speaking of the all-time hits leader, he was banned from baseball in 1989 for placing wagers on games. Rose vehemently denied all such claims for over 15 years. Eventually, Rose caved and confessed to betting on games while a manager.

MLB Player Pete Rose

Still, Rose clung to the assertion that he never bet on the game as a player. Until undeniable proof confirmed that Rose was placing about a bet a day while playing.

Pete Rose not only bet on baseball but bet on his own team. He proclaims he never bet against his Reds, and that seems to be 100% true. Regardless, the hit king continues to lobby to get back into baseball. He simply wants to be eligible for Hall of Fame induction.

I hope Pete gets his shot. Peter Edward Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Conclusion

These sports gambling scandals rocked 2 worlds simultaneously, if only for a brief moment.

On the one hand, you had the sports world — one where honor and the love of the game are coveted above all else — a realm where the sanctity of pure competition shines through now slightly blemished.

On the other, you have the sports betting world — a world where a mired reputation and unsavory characters are far more common — a fight that those in the gambling community know all too well:

The battle to remain completely legitimate.

These scandals aren’t going to go away for a simple reason.

Some people are greedy.

There is a lot of money to be won or lost in sports gambling. Putting in a fix or having an inside tip is too much for some to ignore.

Gambling on the Roulette Lucky Ball Side Bet in Las Vegas

Lucky Ball Roulette Logo With a Las Vegas Background

The introduction of table game side bets in the 1990s revolutionized the casino gambling industry in more ways than one.

From the player’s perspective, a fun side bet on blackjack offers a completely different dimension to the classic card game. For the better part of a century, blackjack had been played largely the same way, with flat even money payouts on basic winners and a premium 3:2 payout for landing a natural 21.

But with the rise of side bets like Lucky Ladies, along with other wagers like 21+3, Lucky Lucky, Perfect Pairs, and Match the Dealer, the strategic elements and small relative stakes of traditional blackjack were blended perfectly with pure gambling and jackpot possibilities.

Roulette isn’t as well known for side bets like other table games, but you’ll still find a few out in the wilds of Las Vegas. One of the more interesting options I’ve encountered on the roulette tables of Sin City is known as “Lucky Ball Roulette,” which takes a clever approach to the number and/or color foundation established by traditional roulette.

Introduction to the Lucky Ball Roulette Side Bet

The UK-based global casino game designer TCS John Huxley introduced its Lucky Ball Roulette side bet in 2017.

You’ll learn more about the gameplay dynamics of the Lucky Ball Roulette side bet in the next section below. But for now, just know that this exciting optional wager creates a side game based on four new colors on every spin, one which offers the possibility of base payouts ranging from 6 to 1 to 25 to 1.

Additionally, a randomly generated bonus payout can up the ante to between 60 to 1 and 120 to 1, along with a special jackpot payout of 1,000 to 1. In an interview with TotallyGaming, TCS John Huxley managing director Jonas Delin described how the company came to discover and adapt Lucky Ball Roulette:

“We found out about Lucky Ball Roulette whilst visiting various land-based properties across the world. Seeing first-hand how popular it was with players, we reached out to GES to sublicense the game. They provided details of the mechanics and mathematics of the game, along with the provision of branding elements.”

How to Land a Winner on the Lucky Ball Roulette Side Bet

Lucky Ball Roulette adds four colored side betting squares to the table’s basic layout. These colors are red, green, blue, and yellow. But for Lucky Ball Roulette side bet purposes, the red square isn’t associated with the normal red numbered spaces.

Instead, players can wager on any number of Lucky Ball Roulette alternative colors, meaning you can back just one color, two colors, three colors, or all four colors.

Lucky Ball Logo With Colored Number Boxes

From there, a special display screen placed over the table will light up with four colored regions, each one bearing a randomly generated number between 1 and 36. At that point, the random number becomes associated with its particular color for Lucky Ball Roulette side betting purposes.

Lucky Ball Roulette also uses a random number generator (RNG) to assign each color with a particular payout, based on the following pay table.

Lucky Ball Roulette Side Bet Base Game Payouts:

Color Payout
Yellow 25 to 1
Blue 20 to 1
Green 12 to 1
Red 6 to 1

Three of the four Lucky Ball Roulette colors will stick with their respective base game payouts. But before each spin, one color will randomly be designated with a bonus payout using the following pay table.

Lucky Ball Roulette Side Bet Bonus Payouts:

Color Payout
Yellow 60 to 1
Blue 75 to 1
Green 100 to 1
Red 120 to 1

And finally, a random jackpot payout of 1,000 to 1 can be assigned to any Lucky Ball Roulette color, but these premium rewards are obviously a major statistical longshot.

Once the ball spins and tumbles to its final resting place, if it lands in a numbered space that corresponds with one of the four Lucky Ball Roulette colors, players who wagered on that color receive the applicable payout.

At any one time, a bet on Red can pay either 6 to 1, 120 to 1, or even 1,000 to 1, which shows just how unpredictable Lucky Ball Roulette action can be.

Probabilities and House Edge Rates for the Lucky Ball Roulette Side Bet

By this point, you’re probably wondering just how closely Lucky Ball Roulette’s odds and probabilities compare with the classic format.

As most gamblers know, real money roulette is one of the more volatile pure games of chance spread on any casino floor. When you’re betting on single numbers, you’ll be up against odds of either 1 in 37 (on a single-zero European wheel) or in 1 in 38 on a double-zero American wheel) in hopes of earning a sweet 35 to 1 payout.

Those odds create house edge rates of 2.70% and 5.26%, respectively, so roulette is known for creating peaks in valleys in terms of “luck.” And even when you stick with the more conservative even money bets like red or black, odd or even, and low or high, the payouts relative to your probability of winning still hew identically to the house edge rates listed above.

As for the Lucky Ball Roulette side bet, let’s break down the various probabilities and expected return rates for the wager’s various incarnations.

To start, the table below showcases pertinent data about the Lucky Ball Roulette side bet when played on a single-zero European table.

Lucky Ball Roulette (Single-Zero Wheel) Red Side Bet:

Red Bet Probability Expected Return
Hit on Red Base (6 to 1) 2.00% 0.1220
Hit on Red Bonus Bet (120 to 1) 0.70% 0.8110
Miss on Red Bet 97.30% -0.9730
Total 1.00 -0.0405
House Edge 4.05%

Lucky Ball Roulette (Single-Zero Wheel) Green Side Bet:

Green Bet Probability Expected Return
Hit on Green Base (12 to 1) 2.00% 0.2430
Hit on Green Bonus Bet (100 to 1) 0.70% 0.6760
Miss on Green Bet 97.30% -0.9730
Total 1.00 -0.0541
House Edge 5.41%

Lucky Ball Roulette (Single-Zero Wheel) Blue Side Bet:

Blue Bet Probability Expected Return
Hit on Blue Base (20 to 1) 2.00% 0.4050
Hit on Blue Bonus Bet (75 to 1) 0.70% 0.5070
Miss on Blue Bet 97.30% -0.9730
Total 1.00 -0.0608
House Edge 6.08%

Lucky Ball Roulette (Single-Zero Wheel) Yellow Side Bet:

Yellow Bet Probability Expected Return
Hit on Yellow Base (25 to 1) 2.00% 0.5070
Hit on Yellow Bonus Bet (60 to 1) 0.70% 0.4050
Miss on Yellow Bet 97.30% -0.9730
Total 1.00 -0.0608
House Edge 6.08%

As you can see, the win probabilities for each color remain identical across the board. Single-zero wheel players can expect to lose their Lucky Ball Roulette side bet on 97.30% of spins, while winning the base bet payout 2.00% of the time, and pocketing the higher bonus payout only 0.70% of spins.

But even though those probabilities are the same for all four colors, the house edge rates tell a different story. When playing a single-zero wheel, the best Lucky Ball Roulette color to bet on is red with its 4.05% house edge. Next up is blue at 5.41%, while green and yellow are the worst options available at 6.08%.

Closeup of a Roulette Wheel and Ball Landed on 17

Interestingly enough, red is the only color which offers a house edge lower than the 5.26% rate incurred by double-zero wheels.

Speaking of the American style double-zero wheel, the tables below show off the same probability and expected return data for that Las Vegas-centric form of roulette:

Lucky Ball Roulette (Double-Zero Wheel) Red Side Bet:

Red Bet Probability Expected Return
Hit on Red Base (6 to 1) 2.00% 0.1180
Hit on Red Bonus Bet (120 to 1) 0.70% 0.7890
Miss on Red Bet 97.30% -0.9730
Total 1.00 -0.0658
House Edge 6.58%

Lucky Ball Roulette (Double-Zero Wheel) Green Side Bet:

Green Bet Probability Expected Return
Hit on Green Base (12 to 1) 2.00% 0.2370
Hit on Green Bonus Bet (100 to 1) 0.70% 0.6580
Miss on Green Bet 97.30% -0.9730
Total 1.00 -0.0789
House Edge 7.89%

Lucky Ball Roulette (Double-Zero Wheel) Blue Side Bet:

Blue Bet Probability Expected Return
Hit on Blue Base (20 to 1) 2.00% 0.3950
Hit on Blue Bonus Bet (75 to 1) 0.70% 0.4930
Miss on Blue Bet 97.30% -0.9730
Total 1.00 -0.0855
House Edge 8.55%

Lucky Ball Roulette (Double-Zero Wheel) Yellow Side Bet:

Yellow Bet Probability Expected Return
Hit on Yellow Base (25 to 1) 2.00% 0.4930
Hit on Yellow Bonus Bet (60 to 1) 0.70% 0.3950
Miss on Yellow Bet 97.30% -0.9730
Total 1.00 -0.0855
House Edge 8.55%

Once again, the probabilities on Lucky Ball Roulette don’t change based on the color, so you’ll win the base bet 2.00% of the time, win the bonus bet 0.70% of spins, and lose on 97.30% of plays.

And like always, moving to a double-zero wheel inflates the house edge against you every step of the way. In this case, the red bet is still the best option, but its house edge of 6.58% on double-zero wheels is worse than the worst option on a single-zero wheel.

Mistakes to Avoid When Playing the Lucky Ball Roulette Side Bet

The most obvious way casinos can snooker unsuspecting Lucky Ball Roulette players is the shift from single-zero to double-zero wheels.

As the numbers in the preceding section make clear, hopping from a single-zero wheel to a double-zero game immediately increases the house edge against you by several percentage points.

Another trick to watch out for involves that elusive 1,000 to 1 jackpot payout. This is an optional bet for the casino to offer, so you won’t always see it advertised, but when you do just know that the house edge increases in kind.

For example, a red bet on double-zero roulette wheels goes up from 6.58% to 8.26%, largely because that 1,000 to 1 jackpot is such an extreme long shot.

Conclusion

Lucky Ball might not be as popular as those aforementioned blackjack side bets, but this four-color RNG-powered wager is still a fun roulette side bet.

Of course, with relatively high house edge rates and a low win probability, you shouldn’t make Lucky Ball Roulette side betting a staple of your casino gambling strategy. But when you have a few extra chips to burn, playing this fun roulette side bet as a lark doesn’t dent your overall expected return too badly.

15 Free Things You Can Do in Vegas

Free Sticker With a Las Vegas Background

Las Vegas isn’t as generous with freebies as it was in the past. The days when casinos handed you free drinks just for standing on the gambling floor or gave buffet passes away like candy are long past.

However, Sin City still offers plenty of free things for you to do and see. Below, you can read about 15 cost-free sources of Vegas entertainment.

1 – See Flamingos at the Wildlife Habitat

The Flamingo Hotel & Casino appropriately features a wildlife habitat that houses Chilean flamingos. You’ll also find exotic fish, pelicans, turtles, and more here.

The habitat itself is quite impressive too. It features a waterfall, rocky ledges, plenty of green space (rare for Vegas), and a small island.

2 – See the Venetian’s Canals

St. Mark’s Square, which is found at The Grand Canal Shoppes inside The Venetian, is modeled after historic Venice. This area features authentic canals that are found both inside and outside of the property.

Venetian Las Vegas Canals and Gondolas

You can walk by these waterways to get a small taste of southern Europe. Or, you can even pay for a gondola and enjoy a song from the gondolier.

3 – Watch the Bellagio’s Dancing Fountains

The Dancing Fountains in front of the Bellagio represent one of Vegas’ most-recognizable images. You’ve probably seen them in movies or TV shows about Sin City.

The fountains feature 1,200 nozzles that fire water into the Las Vegas sky. This water marvel also includes over 4,500 lights.

You can even watch shows at the Dancing Fountains every 30 minutes in the daytime or 15 minutes at night.

4 – Check Out the Mirage’s Volcano

The Mirage boasts an artificial volcano that explodes at 8pm and 9pm every night. During explosions, fire and water are sent soaring to give the impression that the volcano is really erupting.

Luckily, this is one volcanic eruption that you can survive. But it looks and sounds so real that you may still find yourself unnerved.

5 – See Wynn’s Lake of Dreams

Unlike the Bellagio, the Wynn doesn’t get much attention for their fountains. But they do have fairly impressive waterworks, nonetheless.

Lake of Dreams at the Wynn Las Vegas

You’ll find the Lake of Dreams at the corner of Sands Avenue and the Vegas Strip. The fountains run nonstop throughout the day and night.

6 – Spot Mermaids at Silverton

The Silverton casino features a Mermaid Lounge bar and accompanying aquarium. Holding 117,000 gallons of water, this tanks features sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, and other aquatic life.

Women dressed as mermaids also swim in the shark-free portions of the tank. They perform dancing shows at various points of the day too.

7 – Walk Around and Go Sightseeing

You don’t necessarily have to plan anything specific to have fun in Las Vegas. Instead, you can just start walking and enjoy the sights.

The Strip is definitely the best place to walk around in terms of visual stimulation. It boasts massive resorts that are fashioned into everything from a pyramid (Luxor) to the Eiffel Tower (Paris).

You can head to other areas too, such as nearby Henderson and downtown Vegas. However, you should get acquainted with Las Vegas Boulevard before anything else.

8 – Drink Free Wine

Sin City is well known for expensive drinks. But did you know that you can actually drink for free here without playing casino games?

Multiple places throughout the city offer taste testing. Esther’s Kitchen in the Downtown Arts District is one such place.

You can request to try anything for free at Esther’s. Of course, they’d appreciate you eventually buying something before finding the bottom of a bottle.

9 – Hike in Red Rock Canyon

Located to the west of Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon offers plenty of recreational opportunities. It’s the perfect spot for getting a morning hike in before the Nevada heat picks up.

Hiking Trail at Red Rock Canyon

If you’re not used to the desert, you should love the rocky scenery. You might also come across coyotes and other wildlife during your hike.

10 – Listen to Elvis Perform for Free

Elvis is long gone, but his memory lives on in Sin City. This memory is especially kept alive through Big Elvis’ performances at Harrah’s Piano Bar.

This hefty impersonator of “The King” puts on shows every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Big Elvis represents a great opportunity to see a Vegas performer for free.

11 – Watch the World’s Largest LED Screen TV on Freemont Street

Located downtown, Freemont Street offers plenty of attractions. Viva Vision is definitely one of its most-notable features.

This 1,400-foot-long canopy drapes over the Freemont Street Experience and offers the world’s biggest LED screen. You can enjoy segments on this massive TV as you’re walking down the street.

12 – Enjoy Free Concerts on Freemont Street

Free rock concerts are another aspect to like about the Fremont Street Experience. The area offers three stages that can feature rock bands at any time of day.

You’ll especially want to look for these concerts during the summer when the bigger acts play. Bret Michaels and Melissa Etheridge are a couple of the big names that have performed here.

13 – Enjoy the Bellagio’s Botanical Garden

Bellagio’s Conservatory and Botanical Gardens gives you a chance to see countless flowers spread across a 14,000-square-foot area.

Bellagio Conservatory Display

This spot is extremely popular for taking pictures. It’s also conveniently located in the heart of the Vegas Strip.

14 – Instagram Yourself by the Fabulous Las Vegas Sign

Found on the south end of the Strip, the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign is well recognized throughout the world. You can get a selfie next to this sign and post it on Instagram for your friends and family to see.

Costumed performers (e.g. Elvis) often hang out around this sign and are willing to pose for pictures with you. But they’ll expect a tip for a pic.

15 – See the Fall of Atlantis at Caesars

Located at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, the “Fall of Atlantis” is yet another free show that you can catch in Sin City. There’s a good reason why it’s free: the Fall of Atlantis isn’t the best production in town.

Nevertheless, this production does offer some nice theatrics in the form of flames and roaring dragons. All in all, the Fall of Atlantis is worth at least one watch.

Conclusion

Contrary to what you’ve heard, Las Vegas trips don’t have to cost a small fortune. You can enjoy Sin City for as little as the price of a hotel, airfare, and (cheap) food.

You could organize an entire trip around the 15 suggestions covered above and not have to spend a dime. Well, you may at least want to pay for transportation every now and then – but that’s it.

Another option involves mixing in free entertainment options along with those you’ll be paying for.

You might want to go ziplining on Freemont Street and drive racecars. However, you can also visit the Flamingo’s wildlife habitat and Bellagio’s botanical gardens during your downtime.

In summary, you can enjoy much of Vegas on a budget. Sure, you may not be able to dine at steakhouses every night and stay in the penthouse, but you’ll at least enjoy much of what Sin City has to offer.

Evolution of Horse Racing in the United States

Horse Racing Text and Logo With a Horse Racing Background

Horse races are fun. I hadn’t been to one until I was a sophomore at my Midwestern college. A couple guy friends of mine from the South asked me if I wanted to go with them to a horse race at the local track. I said sure, and it was love at first sight.

I take my kids now; they’re adults so it’s okay.

I even got my reluctant husband to go to a horse race on our second date.

He grew up in a household that “didn’t participate in the vices of the devil”.

As you can tell, horse racing is something I enjoy. I want others to love the sport as much as I do.

It’s a fun, fast, and infectious sport that you should consider if you like gambling and watching beautiful animals run.

Besides my love of the actual races, what I really love is the early history of horse racing in the United States. I’m fascinated with how this sport has evolved in this country. I also love the historical tracks, the cultural impressions on the sport (and the gambling), and most of all the American passion for horses and their races.

Early History of Horse Racing in the US

Horse racing and America have a long history.

Horse racing (and betting) has been part of the American culture since before the Declaration of Independence was signed into law. I am going to start with the infancy of horse racing in the United States.

  • 1750 – The Jockey Club is founded as the first horse racing oversite organization for American horse racing in New York. The club still sets many of the guidelines for thoroughbred horse breeds and is the gold standard for horse racing.
  • 1778 – Diomed (an English Thoroughbred sire) is imported into the US for the future of racing ponies in this country. He was not successful in his home country and was brought state side. He is considered the grandfather of the American racing breeds.
  • 1798 – The first American horse race rivalry appears in our culture. Thoroughbreds Sir Henry and American contender meet up for 3 4-mile races. This would be the first of a long line of North vs. South horse races. Eclipse wins. His wins kick off the continuous competition until the Civil war.
  • Early 1800s – with the Western expansion of the US, settlers bring the sport with them across what will become the Western United States. The Gold Rush gives California gold chaser the funds to usher in the beginning of California’s rich history of competitive horse racing.
  • 1861 – Civil War forces Southern breeders (that aren’t destroyed) to shift to supplying their prized horses to the Southern war efforts. This puts horse racing on hold across the US.
  • August 3rd, 1863 – Saratoga Racetrack opens making Saratoga Springs, NY the premier racetrack in the United States.
  • June, 1867 – Jerome Park is host to the first annual Belmont Stakes. The race will later become the 3rd leg of the annual Triple Crown.
  • May 27th, 1873 – The 1st Preakness Stakes is hosted at Pimlico Course in the Mid-Atlantic. This race will go on to become the 2nd race of the Triple Crown.
  • May 27th, 1875 – The Louisville Race Course hosts the 1st annual Kentucky Derby. The Kentucky Derby will evolve into the most famous horse race event in the States. The Kentucky Derby will become the 1st race in the Triple Crown. The Derby will also make the mint julep a Southern staple.
  • 1894 – The Jockey Club becomes the first organized professional horse racing club. They also set the soft rules for horse race betting. This will become the birth of placing bets on horse races in United States. It will be a hot topic of debate in American culture.

Group of Racing Horses

Victorians, Seabiscuit, and Puddles on the Track

  • Early 1900s – The conservative Victorian era ushers in a more reserved American culture (see my family-in-law) that looks down upon horse racing and horse betting. This new movement towards a more reserved culture is a bit of a detour for the sport as Americans can visit any 1 of the over 300 tracks found across the US.
  • 1903 – The future owner of Seabiscuit (Charles Howard) arrives in San Francisco with just the American dream and a few dollars in his pocket. The early part of the 20th century will be all about Seabiscuit.
  • 1905 – Charles Howard is living in San Francisco and has improved his wealth. He opens a Buick dealership with only 3 cars. This dealership will boom giving him the financial gains to fall in love with horse racing and betting on the races.
  • April 18th, 1906 – Charles Howard uses his vehicles from his dealership for rescues instead of horses during the devastating 7.9 magnitude earthquake. Horses are notorious of their fear of fire and commotion. This move will usher in the use of fire trucks.
  • February 5th, 1909 – The states of California and New York ban horse race betting because of rampant corruption and back alley deals. This will be the first time that state laws are created specifically banning gambling at racetracks. This trend will spread across many of the other American states as they look to curb corruption within the sport.
  • 1919 – WW1 ends and sees a resurgence in the boom of horse racing. The rationing put on the American economy is lifted making room for horse racing in the United States culture. During this time racetracks see the introduction of pari-mutel system for betting.
     
    This new betting form elevates some of the past corruption in specialty horse racing bets. America is starting to see states make horse racing bets legal again. This year is also the year that the first horse, Sir Barton, will win what is later known as the Triple Crown.
  • March 13th, 1933 – California legalizes racetrack betting again. 21 states will follow suit over the next several years. All levels of government are looking for new revenue sources during the crippling economy brought on by the Great Depression.

Seabiscuit Has the Reins (and Snacks)

  • May 23rd, 1934 – Seabiscuit is born. Seabiscuit will go on to become one the most famous American thoroughbred racehorse. You’ve seen the movie. He’s kind of a big deal.
  • 1935 – Seabiscuit is losing race after race. On August 3rd, Charles Howard, a now wealthy horse racing enthusiast, will buy Seabiscuit. Seabiscuit will start to win his first races and make a name within the horse racing world.
  • 1937 – Seabiscuit will go on to win several races and become a household name. At one race he brings a record sold out crowd of 45,000. His most famous race against War Admiral will garner 40 million radio listeners and secure his place in American History. He wins the race by 7 lengths against the current title holder of the fastest horse in American horse racing.
  • February 1st, 1938 – Police in California are notified of a grim plan to hurt Seabiscuit. The would-be criminals plan to place a sponge in Seabiscuit’s airway to impede his ability to breathe. At this point Seabiscuit is a national treasure. The American public is horrified as they read of the foiled plan on the front page of national newspapers.
  • Spring 1938 – Seabiscuit goes on to win multiple handicap races and set track records. One race, the Continental Handicap in New York, Seabiscuit’s winnings rack up $152,780.00 USD. In modern times that would be worth 2.8 million USD.
  • Fall/ Winter 1938 – Seabiscuit races are hit or miss. Many spectators believe his best days are behind him. He will go on to prove them wrong and win his place back as an American prize. The top horses achieve celebrity status with photo ops and national tours.
  • March 2nd, 1940 – Seabiscuit draws a record-breaking spectator crowd of 75,000 at the Santa Ana Handicap, worth a prize of $100,000. He will end up coming from behind in 3rd place to win the race and set the track record and the 2nd fastest record in the country
  • April 10th, 1940 – Seabiscuit retires as the most famous horse on record. He lives out the rest of his life at Charles Howard’s Ridgewood Ranch in Willits, California.
Bonus Fact – Seabiscuit’s trainer, Red Pollard, finds that the prized thoroughbred prefers the couch potato life to being in top racing shape. He gains quite a few pounds in his off seasons and becomes lazy and lethargic. But don’t we all prefer snacks and naps?

Horse Racing After Seabiscuit

Horse racing will take a back seat to multiple events in American history. The sport takes a less popular tone due to presidential deaths, WW2, civil unrest with the country, and the sport becoming a hobby of the ultra-rich.

The sport sees some great losses of legends and some new turns in the sport. The sport evolves to a sport for the elite class in American culture.

Photo of Racing Horse Seabiscuit

At the turn of the 21st century, the sport is reinvigorated. I remember my daughter was in college, about the same age I fell in love with horse racing, and she hosted her first Kentucky Derby party.

She asked for her grandmother’s fried chicken recipe and her father’s mint julep recipe. The sport has become a wonderful way to enjoy a sport older than our country and my favorite way to bet. It has shed its lurid past of back alley deals and is now part of American heritage.

Conclusion

As you can see, there is a rich history, some old timey scandal, and deep love for horse racing in the American landscape.

The sport has grown and evolved as our country has grown.

I hope to see the sport relive the glory days of its founding. I would be sad to see horse betting become illegal but, thankfully, those are times passed.

I would love to hear your questions or comments. Please feel free to leave a comment below.

5 Factors to Watch for in Baseball Moneyline Bets

MLB Player at Bat With a Sportsbook and Stadium Background

You never know what’s going to happen in a baseball game and it ain’t over til it’s over. The games last however many innings it takes to break the tie— some games go on as long as 5 hours and the variability helps entice gamblers to join in on the action of this kind of unpredictably.

Baseball’s lack of any kind of clock sets it apart from the other major American sports. Instead, the innings keep on going until the home team is behind after their last set of at-bats.

Baseball’s most common bet is the moneyline bet. Other baseball bets include run line betting and totals betting.

Moneyline bets are one of the simplest forms of bets because there is only one thing to predict—which team will win. They’re easy to understand and great if you’re a baseball fan who wants to bet on your favorite team.

How Moneyline Bets Work

If you’re a fan of the Yankees and just want to bet on them winning without worrying about how many runs they’ll score, then moneyline betting is a great option for you.

For example, if the Rangers are playing the Astros, you can make a moneyline bet on the Rangers to win. It doesn’t matter how many runs the Rangers score or how many innings are required, as long as the Rangers win you the bet payouts.

While it’s simple to explain, moneyline bets are just as hard to win as any other type of bet. Oddsmakers still give odds on moneyline bets, so you won’t win as much if you bet on a favorite as you will betting on an underdog.

Oddsmakers try to balance the odds on both teams to entice bettors to bet on either side of a moneyline bet. This is known as sweetening the pot and helps oddsmakers stay in business. If oddsmakers gave even odds on every game, everyone would bet on the favorites, and oddsmakers would soon go out of business.

Moneyline bets get more convoluted when oddsmakers give different odds for teams based on which team is the favorite.

How to Read Baseball Betting Odds

Oddsmakers use odds to sweeten the pot of the bet on either side. Odds balance the bets so that there’s comparable risk to voting on both the favorite or the long shot.

Today, we’ll be discussing moneyline odds—also known as American odds.

Here’s an example of some typical baseball odds:

  • Texas Rangers (-140)
  • Houston Astros (+130)

These odds project the Rangers to win. One confusing thing about odds is that the team with the negative number is the team that’s expected to win.

The best way to understand this type of odds is to use $100 to show how much risk is involved in betting on either side.

To win $100 betting on the Texas Rangers, you’d have to bet $140.

The Astros are the underdog so you could win more money by betting less on them.

To win $130 on the Astros, you’d only have to bet $100.

As you can see, you can win more money betting on the underdog in a moneyline bet so markets provide better value on underdogs than favorites.

Factors Affecting Baseball Moneyline Bets

There are lots of factors you can look at when you’re trying to make a winning baseball bet. Looking at tiny details is the best way to get an edge on moneyline bets and baseball is full of them. The game’s nuances can seem impossible to predict but there are some methods that can help you.

1- Projections

Projection systems are a surprisingly great tool for moneyline bets. There are many projection systems available for free on the internet that predict how many wins teams will have at the end of the season.

Sites like FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference both project the performance of individual players, in addition to team wins.

While these sites don’t predict the winners of individual games well, their systems do predict how many wins teams will have at the end of the season. Season win totals are a great indication of how good a team actually is and you can use this information to your advantage in moneyline bets.

MLB Players Making a Play on Base

For example, your favorite sportsbook may favor the Yankees at -140 to beat the Rays.

However, the Baseball-Reference projection system might expect the Rays to win 100 games that season and the Yankees to win 90. That system is suggesting the Rays are probably a better team than the Yankees.

While this isn’t foolproof and there’s still other factors in play other than projections, the projection system can give you a good reason to feel confident about betting on the Rays. The system thinks the Rays are an overall better team than Yankees, so they probably have a decent chance to beat the Yankees, even though the individual game odds favor the Yankees.

On the other hand, if the Yankees were to have -140 odds instead in the same situation above, you may not want to bet on them. The projection systems still think the Rays are a much better team as they project to have 10 more wins over a season so a Yankees bet may not be the sure thing you think.

2- Home Field Advantage

Home field advantage is another big component of baseball betting and the cheers and jeers of the crowd can make an underdog into a favorite in the blink of an eye.

Batting last is a huge advantage for the home team because they can leverage their relievers by using them in critical situations. No matter how many runs a team is down by, the home team always gets one more chance to try to score some runs before the game is over.

Field conditions are also important. Rogers Centre in Toronto is notorious for its artificial turf. Many players struggle to adjust to the turf as it increases the height a ground ball bounces and feels different to run and slide on.

The difference in the field gives the home team at Rogers Centre, the Blue Jays, a big advantage. Their players are used to playing on the turf and have less trouble adjusting to the path a ball might take.

3- Pitching Matchups

Pitching staff can make a huge difference in a baseball game. Having a Cy Young caliber pitcher on any team can give them a big boost in the regular season as well as the playoffs.

Teams like the New York Mets, who have a Cy Young caliber pitcher in Jacob deGrom, get a big boost anytime he takes the mound and which presents a good opportunity to make a moneyline wager.

Even if the Mets don’t have as great a team overall as the Nationals do, Jacob deGrom can make a huge difference in any game. As a gambler, knowing when pitchers like deGrom are pitching can give you an ace up your sleeve when you decide to take a risk on a longshot.

4. Lineup Advantages

Some teams are composed of all right-handed hitters and struggle mightily against a good right-handed pitcher. Other teams have the opposite problem and an ace pitcher like Cole Hamels can leave half their lineup slain without breaking a sweat.

Good managers will balance the lineups so that not too many left-handed hitters are hitting in a row but some teams don’t have the balance to do that.

MLB Player Jose Berrios Giving a Thumbs Up

Teams like the Texas Rangers are one such example and have so many left-handed hitters that they regularly struggle against left-handed pitchers no matter how well the manager alternates hitters in the lineup.

The advantages of batting lineups are related to pitching matchups. If you know that a great right-handed pitcher like deGrom is about to face off against a team full of right-handed hitters like the Astros, you may be able to make a smart bet on the Mets winning.

Check out lineups and starting pitchers before the game on a site like Baseball-Reference so you can place a smart bet on a longshot team.

5- Hitting

Lastly, hitting is another critical component to look at when deciding which team to place a bet on.

Baseball players are notorious for going into slumps, or cold streaks, where they struggle for weeks at a time. It seems like every time they come up to the plate they either strike out or hit a weak infield pop fly.

Don’t be deceived by slumps. Some baseball bettors will make a mistake by looking at statistics in the short term and see that a player has gone 0 for his last 15 and think, “There’s no way I’m betting on this team. This guy’s got nothing in the tank.”

While it’s intuitive to expect a player to continue his cold streak, it’s important to remember that slumps and cold streaks aren’t as important as you think. It’s usually safer to just bet on the team with the better players by stats like OPS+ than worrying about which teams are hiding a slumping player in their lineup.

Conclusion

What helps you predict who’s going to win a baseball game? Do you think slumps are overrated? Let us know in the comments.

5 Steps to NBA Gambling Success

NBA Player Ian Mahinmi With a Sportsbook Board Background

The NBA has changed a great deal over the last 20 to 30 years, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the fact that smart gamblers find profitable gambling opportunities on the schedule all of the time. And once the regular season is completed, the playoffs seem to last almost as long as the regular season.

Here are 5 steps to help you have more NBA gambling success. This means winning more of your NBA wagers and increasing your overall profits. Once you learn how to use these 5 NBA tactics, keep improving your handicapping skills to become even more successful.

1 – The Best Players Still Need a Good System

It’s not hard to identify the top players in the NBA. And when 2 or 3 of them team up on a team, the team usually competes for a title. The trend in the NBA is for the top players to form super teams.

But it’s not enough for a team to get 2 or 3 of the top players. The team also has to learn how to use these players together in their system in order to perform as well as they can.

The 2019 – 2020 Philadelphia 76er’s had two of the best players in the league and a good supporting cast before the season was disrupted. They had a winning record, but they were having a difficult time coming together as a team.

It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact reason why the team was not coming together, but it wasn’t a lack of talent. It might have been the fit of the roster and floor spacing issues, but it might have been the system as much as anything.

NBA Player Stephen Curry and Two Defenders

This is just one example of a team filled with talent not living up to expectations, possibly because of a poor system.

The main point you need to take from this is to not put too much faith in a team just because they have great players. Make sure that they’re using the right system and the team is fitting together well.

The Philadelphia team in the example dominated at home, but was terrible on the road. And no one seemed to be able to figure out why this happened. It’s not really your job to determine why these things happen. Your job is to recognize them when they do happen and use the information to become a more successful NBA gambler.

2 – Every Important Statistic Must Be Split

This might be one of the biggest mistakes that NBA gamblers make. They evaluate games and use the overall statistics for the teams and players instead of their splits.

Why would you look at a team’s or players overall numbers when you evaluate a game instead of their home and road splits? It simply doesn’t make any sense, yet this is what most NBA gamblers do.

When a team is playing on the road, the only numbers I care about are the ones that they put up on the road. The same is true when they play at home.

If you were gambling on games in the 2019 – 2020 season involving Philadelphia and making your betting decisions based on their overall stats, you were in danger of losing too much. This is especially true if you were betting on them on the road.

You need to start looking at splits and ignoring overall stats. Until you do this, you’re going to have a difficult time making a profit betting on NBA games.

3 – Positions Are a Thing of the Past

This is a challenging thing to explain, and it can be challenging to use this information as an NBA gambler. But you need to understand this if you want to have success as an NBA gambler.

The days of the traditional player positions are gone. While some teams have a true point guard and/or a true center, the fact is that in the modern NBA teams use their best 5 players to start and their best 7 to 9 players in their rotation, no matter what position they might traditionally play.

You see guys close to 7 foot bringing the ball up the floor and you see 7 foot centers taking 3 point shots. Wings can be anywhere from 6 foot to 7 foot.

The challenge is figuring out how to use this information to help you make more profitable NBA wagers. It’s important to look at the match ups created when teams play each other. While defense is often ignored by NBA gamblers, some teams are better at matching up on defense than others.

Look for teams that have a hard time matching up on defense with the other team’s best players. This can help you evaluate games and possibilities better than most gamblers.

4 – Does NBA Coaching Matter or Not?

The common belief is that the only thing that matters in the NBA is the star players. This leads many NBA gamblers to believe that coaching doesn’t matter. This is a mistake that can cost you a great deal of money.

Overall, the head coaches in the NBA fall into 1 of 3 categories. The worst coaches belong in 1 category, and they probably aren’t going to be coaching for long. The best coaches belong in another category, and they seem to win everywhere they go and have long careers.

The other category has all of the rest of the coaches. These coaches are competent, and do well when they have a strong team, but struggle when their team isn’t filled with stars.

NBA Detroit and Minnesota Players in the Post

The coaches in the top category seem to always be able to get more out of their players and teams than most other coaches can. This might be a combination of the system they use and their ability to control and help their players, or something else. But their results prove that they’re better than other coaches.

The best teams still need to have the best players, but a great coach is going to have better results with the best players than other coaches. And a great coach with a weak roster is probably going to compete, but he’s not going to win a title with them.

The coaches in the NBA do matter and you need to start using this information when you’re evaluating NBA games for gambling purposes.

5 – Regular Season and the Playoffs

The NBA is split into 2 different seasons. The regular season is one season, and the playoffs are completely different.

In the regular NBA season, teams play to make it to the playoffs, but they also want to be as healthy as possible once the playoffs start. This means that they don’t always play at 100% in the regular season.

But once the playoffs start, all of the NBA teams that made the playoffs are trying to win 100% of the time.

This doesn’t always mean it’s easier to win when you bet on playoff games than when you bet on regular season games, but you have to know the difference.

You can profit from NBA betting tips like this in the regular season. When you know a team is resting one of their best players, it can help you make more profitable wagers. And rest isn’t always missing an entire game. Track what the coaches are doing with their star players and their minutes.

Some players get more rest than others, and sometimes teams trade a few wins for additional rest for their bets players. What’s the difference between winning 55 and 58 games? It might be a difference of a seed or two, but it’s not going to make a big difference.

And as a coach, your ob is to win titles. The way to win a title is to get into the playoffs at full strength and health if possible, and then to try to win every series.

Conclusion

When you combine the regular season and the playoffs, there are thousands of NBA betting opportunities. Every game on the schedule isn’t going to provide value, but plenty of the games do.

Focus on the star players working in a system that utilizes their skill sets the most. Understand which coaches are able to get the maximum production from their players.

Don’t forget to look only at the splits when you evaluate games, and not the overall stats. These 5 steps are going to help you achieve more success quickly.

Sports vs Politics Betting

United States Capitol Building With a Sportsbook Background

People have been gambling on sports for thousands of years. The Ancient Greeks and Romans wagered on athletic contests ranging from foot races to wrestling.

Comparatively, political betting hasn’t been around quite as long. Therefore, you might not be as familiar with how wagering on politics works.

This guide discusses the main differences between political and sports betting. It also covers similarities between the two.

Key Differences Between Sports & Political Betting

You won’t experience much difficulty gambling on politics if you’re already well-versed in sports wagering. Nevertheless, you should keep the following differences in mind when moving from sports to politics betting and vice versa.

Sports Betting Offers Far More Markets

Variety is one of the biggest keys to sports gambling’s popularity. Most bookmakers cover dozens of markets ranging from the NFL to women’s field hockey.

Whether it’s spring, summer, fall, or winter, you’ll never be at a loss when looking for sports bets. The same can’t always be said about political betting.

Sportsbooks must offer markets that their gamblers truly care about. They can’t roll out odds on the next mayor of Bucktown USA and expect to attract countless bettors.

Instead, they need to feature political odds that draw numerous gamblers. They’re relegated to providing lines on presidential/prime minister races, high-profile governor races, and winning political parties.

Here are some examples:

  • Next President of the US
  • Next Prime Minister of the UK
  • Majority party in US Senate
  • Majority party in US House
  • Next Mayor of London
  • Next Governor of New York

You at least have some different options to choose from regarding these examples. However, the politics betting markets are still nowhere close to sports in terms of quantity.

Political Bets Only Offer 2-4 Realistic Options

Many politics markets can be similar to baseball “futures” bets for example. Like futures, they can offer odds on several candidates either months or years in advance of an election.

Here’s an example regarding the 2020 US Presidential Election:

  • Joe Biden -160
  • Donald Trump +130
  • Mike Pence +4000
  • Hillary Clinton +5000
  • Kanye West +10000

Early odds typically give you a wide variety of candidates to choose from. After all, one party must still select which politician they want to run against the incumbent.

However, most of the options aren’t serious threats to win. The list above shows that only Trump and Biden have realistic shots of winning.

Vice President Mike Pence (R), for example, has no chance of winning the race if President Trump (R) runs. After all, parties don’t encourage challengers to their incumbent candidate.

Orleans Las Vegas Sportsbook

A sports betting future, in contrast, generally offers more than 2-4 realistic options. Here’s an example using current odds on the 2021 Super Bowl winner:

  • Kansas City Chiefs +300
  • Baltimore Ravens +550
  • San Francisco 49ers +700
  • New Orleans Saints +1000
  • Dallas Cowboys +1250
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers +1400
  • Philadelphia Eagles +1650
  • Seattle Seahawks +2000

The NFL is a league of parity. That said, any of these teams could win the Super Bowl, so look at these names when Super Bowl betting in 2021.

Sports Gambling Is Legal in More Countries & States

Many state and federal governments used to look at sports betting with a jaundiced eye. They saw legal gambling as having the potential to corrupt sports.

However, countries have gradually eased their view on the matter. They’d rather risk a scandal or two than lose potential tax revenue to offshore bookmakers.

Politics gambling hasn’t gained the same clout among lawmakers. Many governments fear election manipulation much more than they do sports corruption.

After all, democracies elect the public officials who’ll lead them. People would quickly lose faith in such a system if it could be corrupted by gambling.

Of course, these fears may not be entirely warranted. UK bookmakers, for example, have successfully run a political betting market since the early 1960s.

Most other countries, on the other hand, are still leery about legalizing this type of wagering. Their citizens often place election bets via unregulated offshore bookmakers.

Political Odds Can Swing Wildly

The majority of elections aren’t clear-cut paths to victory. You don’t see many blowouts in high-profile races, where a candidate wins over 70% of the popular vote.

Instead, the average political race is a roller-coaster affair. It can be affected by many factors, including campaign ads, current events, debates, and scandals.

Many remember when Hillary Clinton was practically a shoo-in to win the 2016 US Presidential Election. Less than two weeks from the election, she enjoyed a comfortable six-point lead in most polls.

However, this point marked when FBI Director James Comey began looking into Hillary’s emails. She also failed to campaign in Wisconsin and saw less African-American support at the pools than Barack Obama enjoyed.

Woman Signing in to Vote

Donald Trump suddenly gained ground and saw his betting odds improve too. Those who wagered on Trump early on, or even two weeks out, would’ve earned a nice sum of money after he captured the presidency.

Long story short, politics typically give gamblers far less information than the average sporting contest. Bettors only get a complete picture at a few weeks, or even few days, before the election is decided.

How Are Politics and Sports Betting the Same?

Political and sports gambling may be quite different in a few areas. However, you shouldn’t have much trouble adjusting to either due to the following reasons.

Same Type of Odds

If you know how to read sports betting odds, then you’ll have no trouble getting started with election wagers. Just like sports, politics either come packaged with American (e.g. +200), decimal (e.g. 3.0), or fractional odds (e.g. 2/1).

The type of odds that are available differ based on the sportsbook’s primary audience. American odds are most commonly used by operators that serve North America.

The decimal variety is typically used by European-facing bookmakers. Fractional odds are specific to the UK.

Some sportsbooks offer an option that lets you toggle between the three sets of odds. You can also use an online tool to convert one style of odds to another.

Same Bets

You’ll also see the same value bets offered in both sports and politics. Moneylines, totals, prop bets, and futures are common with both types of gambling.

Moneylines are by far the most-common bet offered in association with political races. They see you win a different amount of money based on which candidate you bet on.

Here’s an example:

Next UK Prime Minister

  • Keir Starmer -110; Betting $110 to win $100
  • Rishi Sunak +160; Betting $100 to win $160
  • Michael Gove +700; Betting $100 to win $700
  • Dominic Rab +1000; Betting $100 to win $1,000

Totals (a.k.a. over/under) provide a line that you must bet over or under. These wagers deal with anything from how many times a politician will tweet to the number of votes they’ll win by.

Here’s an example:

How many times will Joe Biden say “c’mon man” during the first debate?

  • Over 3.5 (-110) – You need Biden to say c’mon man 4 or more times.
  • Under 3.5 (-110) – You need Biden to say c’mon man less than 3 times.
  • You’re betting $110 to win $100 in both cases.

Prop bets deal with outcomes that aren’t necessarily tied to who wins an election. The example involving tweets mentioned above is one example of a prop bet.

Finally, futures are similar to standard moneylines. But they typically include more available outcomes/candidates and are offered well in advance of a race.

Available at Online & Land Based Bookmakers

Many betting sites offer politics gambling—especially during presidential and prime minister election years. Online sportsbooks draw lots of action from high-profile races.

Most countries have yet to legalize online political betting. But offshore bookmakers commonly serve these nations.

Land-based operators in certain countries also offer politics lines. The UK features more regulated political betting than any nation.

Of course, sports betting is widely available through online and land-based sportsbooks. More countries/states legalize this form of gambling every year.

Both Are Highly Popular

Sports wagering is extremely popular throughout the globe. Betting is expected to be a 6.5 billion dollar industry in the US alone by 2025, according to Statista.

Graph Showing Sports Wagering Stats in the US

Sports offer opportunities to place wagers year round. The fall, when major sports like soccer and tennis run, is an especially popular time to bet.

Wagering on politics isn’t quite as prominent from a sheer numbers perspective. However, it is quite popular when considering the relatively small selection of odds.

Bookmakers have gotten bolder with the number of politics lines they offer. Based on trends, this type of wagering will continue growing.

Conclusion

Political gambling presents a different side of the betting world. It gives you an opportunity to wager on election results and other outcomes (e.g. prop bets).

If you’re looking for something new and interesting to bet on, then you’ll definitely find politics intriguing. On the same token, you won’t have much trouble adjusting if you’re already used to sports gambling.

Politics betting features the same odds and bet types. You just need to use a slightly different approach when looking for the most-valuable outcomes.

You’ll notice many political lines at online sportsbooks as elections draw nearer. That said, you shouldn’t experience any difficulty finding politics wagers.

If You Make the Mistake of Playing the Lottery, Then Play These Lotteries

Silhouette of Man With Hands on Head With a Lottery and Cash Background

Lotteries serve as the world’s most-popular form of gambling. They routinely draw tens of millions of gamblers across the globe on a weekly basis.

Most people buy scratch-offs and drawing tickets because they want a chance to win big. However, these same players often don’t realize just how bad their chances are of winning.

Lotteries offer lower return to player (RTP) than any other type of gambling. In some cases, you’ll be facing just 20% RTP. In other words, you’ll win back just $0.20 for every dollar wagered!

I’ll cover more on lotteries and their low payback. I’ll also discuss which lotteries you should choose if you’re going to play anyways.

How Much Do Lotteries Normally Pay Back?

Lottery payout percentages vary wildly from state to state. They also differ quite a bit when going from regular state drawings to multi-state lotteries.

Speaking of the latter, Mega Millions and Powerball are among the worst offenders regarding low RTP. These multi-state lotteries especially feature pitiful payback when their jackpots are first seeded.

Mega Millions seeds its jackpot at a hefty $40 million. With drawings happening twice a week, the top prize grows by a minimum of $5 million when it goes unclaimed.

You only have 1 in 302,575,350 odds of winning the jackpot. Of course, these long odds are expected when the Mega Millions jackpot often reaches nine figures.

What you may not expect, though, is the 20% RTP when the prize is first seeded. Mega Millions RTP only reaches 60% when the jackpot grows to $250.

Powerball isn’t any better in terms of payback. Its top prize begins at $20 million and experiences a minimum rollover of $2 million between drawings.

Mega Millions Lottery Ticket

The Powerball RTP begins at 23% when the prize is seeded. Payback grows to just 55% once the jackpot reaches $250 million.

The good news is that almost every state lottery offers higher payout percentages than Mega Millions and Powerball. But these payback figures also don’t quite equal other forms of gambling, like casino games and bingo.

State lottery RTP ranges from 20% to 80% across America. I’ll get more into which states offer the highest and lowest payback later.

The point, though, is that most state lotteries still don’t contend with the average casino game in terms of the house edge. Even slot machines, which are regarded as one-armed bandits, pay back around 92-93% on average.

Why Are Lotteries So Stingy?

States don’t offer low payout percentages because they’re money grubbers that want to cheat players. Instead, they use revenue to pay lottery commission staff members and cover beneficial programs.

The California Lottery, for example, distributes its money as follows:

  • 50% in payouts to players.
  • 34% to the California Department of Education (kindergarten to graduate school).
  • 16% in administration costs.

Players might only win back half of their wagers. However, most are satisfied with over one-third of ticket sales going to education.

You might still not appreciate the fact that you’re buying into one of the worst gambles known to man. At least your money is going to a good cause, though.

States Vary on How Much They Pay Back to Players

Every state has the same lottery goal: to raise money for important causes. However, each also has the ability to choose which programs the money goes to and how much gets awarded to players.

One state may fund education with their lottery proceeds. Another might use the money to fund senior centers and infrastructure.

Most important to your case, lotteries vary on how much they put into prize pools. As much as a 60% gap exists between the highest and lowest lottery payout percentages.

Ultimately, you may only care about chasing big jackpots and helping good causes. But if you care about winning, then you’ll want to pay special attention to the information below.

Which State Lotteries Offer the Highest RTP?

The average state lottery features 64% payback. However, you can do much better than this if you choose the right states.

Idaho is a lottery player’s paradise regarding payout percentages. It delivers over 80% of prize money back to gamblers.

The big catch is that the Gem State doesn’t feature the country’s biggest jackpots. But they do pay the most prize money per dollar wagered.

Massachusetts ranks second among US lotteries with 73.41% RTP. Although noticeably lower than Idaho’s RTP, this payout percentage is quite respectable in the grand scheme of things.

Arkansas (71.87% RTP), Maine (70.57%), and South Carolina (70.40%) round out the top five. You can see a complete list of the 10 highest-paying US lotteries below.

  • Idaho: 80.02%
  • Massachusetts: 73.41%
  • Arkansas: 71.87%
  • Maine: 70.57%
  • South Carolina: 70.40%
  • Missouri: 68.78%
  • Vermont: 68.78%
  • Arizona: 68.67%
  • Indiana: 68.58%
  • Minnesota: 68.41%

Which State Lotteries Offer the Lowest RTP?

Some states aren’t very generous with prize money. Fortunately, you know that these funds are going to a good place. On the downside, you won’t win much on average when playing these games.

South Dakota ranks dead last in lottery payback. The Mount Rushmore State only gives players back 20.32% of ticket sales.

Oregon turns up second to last regarding RTP. The Beaver State may offer more RTP than South Dakota at 25.05%, but it still lags well behind the rest of America.

Delaware (27.20% RTP) and Rhode Island (29.81%) are two more states that don’t even eclipse 30% payback.

Here are the bottom 10 states when it comes to lottery RTP:

  • New York: 55.48%
  • New Mexico: 54.91%
  • North Dakota: 54.02%
  • Montana: 52.76%
  • West Virginia: 51.82%
  • Oklahoma: 50.37%
  • Rhode Island: 29.81%
  • Delaware: 27.20%
  • Oregon: 25.05%
  • South Dakota: 20.32%

Should You Worry About Lottery RTP?

You likely don’t look at the lottery as an investment. After all, getting $0.65 back on average for every dollar wagered is a terrible investment.

But you may care about your chances of winning some money back. If so, you’ll want to play the highest-paying lotteries in your area.

Ideally, you’ll live near the border of Idaho, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Maine, or any other state in the top 10 RTP list. Assuming you don’t, then you can at least boost your odds by staying away from the bottom 10 states.

Jackpots present another important element. Most gamblers don’t really care about the RTP so long as they get to pursue huge prizes.

Powerball Loterry Ticket

The New York Lottery may offer one of the lowest payout percentages at 55.48%. However, it does sell more lottery tickets ($10.3 billion annually) and offer bigger prizes than any other state.

Even if you’re not hung up on jackpots, you might care a great deal about where the money is going. After all, nobody wants to be tricked by a lottery that hoards most of the money for itself.

South Dakota is by far the lowest-paying lottery in the US. However, they do put a large portion of their revenue towards valid causes.

They use ticket sales to fund primary and secondary schools, improve highways, and provide for the Water & Environment Fund and Ethanol Fuel Fund.

Conclusion

The odds of winning the lottery will never be in your favor. Even in the best-case scenario, you can only expect 80% RTP (Idaho).

Most other states pay somewhere between 60% and 70% of ticket sales back. Therefore, you definitely don’t want to buy tickets for the payout percentages alone.

However, you can improve your chances of winning by playing the highest-paying lotteries. Beyond Idaho, Massachusetts (73.41% RTP), Arkansas (71.87%), Maine (70.57%), South Carolina (70.40%), and Missouri (68.78%) offer solid payback.

Of course, you may ultimately decide that either jackpot size or social causes trump payout percentages. But you should still at least try to play better-paying lotteries in your area.

How Francois Blanc Used Roulette to Dominate the Casino World

Francois Blanc With a Roulette Background

Roulette is one of the world’s most-popular casino games. However, it’s not THE most-popular casino game today.

Instead, slot machines rule the gaming industry nowadays. Once upon a time, though, roulette was the preferred option among gamblers.

In fact, Francois Blanc used it to dominate Europe’s gambling industry throughout the eighteenth century. You can learn more about Blanc below along with why roulette was so important to his gaming empire.

Who Was Francois Blanc?

Francois Blanc was an entrepreneur who lived from 1806 to 1877. He became known as both the “Wizard of Homburg” and “Magician of Monte Carlo” for his gambling prowess.

Francois and his brother, Louis, grew up in a small town in southeastern France. Their favorite time of year was when the circus rolled into town.

The brothers were so fascinated by the circus that they joined one. Their new jobs took them across France as they learned various tricks of the industry.

However, they didn’t make their fortune in circus entertainment. Instead, they laid roots in Marseilles and began working for a casino.

Louis and Francois had always dreamed of getting rich. They used their earnings from the gaming industry to start a bank in Bordeaux.

The duo started speculating with real estate and pensions through the bank. Francois and Louis used questionable practices, which would later be outlawed, to make a fortune.

French police arrested the Blancs and forced them to pay a fine for bribing local officials. The brothers served no jail time, but they did decide to leave Bordeaux for Paris afterward.

How Francois Developed Homburg Into a Popular Tourism Destination

Once in Paris, Francois and Louis Blanc went back to the gaming world. They began offering betting opportunities that floated anti-gambling laws in France.

However, King Louis Philippe outlawed gambling throughout the country and forced the Blancs to go on the move again. They opened a casino in Bad Homburg, Germany and experienced their greatest success yet.

Bad Homburg was struggling financially at the time. Francois arranged a lucrative contract with the local monarch that not only included gambling but other forms of entertainment too.

Soon, Homburg became one of the most-popular European tourism destinations thanks to its casinos, spa, theaters, and lavish hotels. However, Francois still felt that it was missing something in the gaming department.

The Invention of European Roulette

While Bad Homburg was certainly popular among gamblers, it still lagged behind Paris’ casinos. Paris, which is located approximately 600 kilometers (372 miles) to the west, offered more surrounding attractions and bigger gambling houses.

Francois needed a way to set Homburg apart from Paris and the rest of the world. In 1843, he introduced a roulette wheel with a single zero.

Other roulette variants at the time featured a single-zero and double-zero pocket. This setup, which is known as the American wheel today, gives the house a 5.26% edge.

You arrive at this house advantage by dividing the two house-friendly pockets by the total number of pockets (2/38).

Gamblers in the mid-1800s were quite experienced with this wheel. The single and double zero were standard at the time.

Closeup of a European Roulette Wheel

Francois decided to differentiate himself and Homburg from the gambling world. He introduced a new wheel that didn’t include the double zero.

Now referred to as European roulette, this game only features a 2.70% house edge. You arrive at this figure by dividing the lone house-friendly pocket by the total number of pockets (1/37).

News quickly spread of a new roulette variation that gave players a much stronger chance to win. Even more gamblers flocked to Homburg while looking to boost their chances of winning.

Legends claimed that Francois made a deal with the devil to obtain the “secrets of roulette.” Proponents pointed out how the sum of all numbers on the roulette wheel (0 through 36) add up to 666 (Number of the Beast).

But nothing satanic was really in play. The Blanc brothers just did simple math and nearly halved the roulette house advantage.

Francois Moves His Empire to Monaco

Frankfurt outlawed gambling in the early 1860s, which affected Bad Homburg and other towns in the region. The German city felt that they no longer needed casinos to draw tourists.

This decision left the Wizard of Homburg quickly searching for a way to continue his lucrative gambling operation. He found a willing partner in the Monaco royal family.

Monaco is a principality wedged in between the French Riviera and the Mediterranean Sea. It drew some tourists at the time due to its natural beauty alone—especially during the summer.

Francois felt that the small nation could be a bigger draw. He was also encouraged by how the Prince of Monaco, Charles III, had recently legalized gambling. Charles III correctly surmised that Francois could bring a successful casino enterprise to Monaco. So, the prince designated Monte Carlo as the country’s gambling zone.

But there was just one problem: Monaco was a relatively isolated area. Few highways and no railways led to the principality.

The Blancs Make a Huge Investment

The Blanc brothers’ fortune took a hit after they were suddenly forced to abandon their casinos in Homburg. However, they did have almost 2.3 million francs left.

They used this money to set up a new establishment for gambling in Monaco. Besides building a casino, Francois and Louis improved surrounding roads and built a railway leading to the country.

Monaco’s royal family had been struggling financially before the Blancs arrived. Charles III gave Francois plenty of freedoms regarding gambling in an effort to turn things around.

The Blancs made a huge bet on Monaco by pouring all of their money into this out-of-the-way destination. They were rewarded as over 30,000 people visited the principality within its first year after the investment.

European Roulette Again Proves a Big Success

Francois was able to transform Bad Homburg into a premier gambling destination in large part to European roulette. Not surprisingly, he rolled out the single-zero wheel in Monte Carlo as well.

Gamblers came to Monaco for the ocean and mountain views, luxurious feel, and the European wheel. The latter proved the biggest attraction to Casino de Monte Carlo.

Many gambling houses were still offering the double-zero wheel in the 1860s. Therefore, Francois found great success by rolling out the single-zero version in Monaco.

The Blanc brothers had struggled to gain a foothold everywhere they had previously gone. Francois and Louis thought they’d found a long-term home in Homburg.

However, Frankfurt dashed these dreams by outlawing gaming. The brothers didn’t have to worry about such problems in Monaco.

The royal family held up their end of the bargain and continued allowing gambling freedoms throughout Monte Carlo. Francois’ heavy investment paid off as he and Louis made millions of francs through gaming and tourism.

The Legacy of Francois Blanc and European Roulette

European roulette didn’t stay confined to Monte Carlo forever. More and more European casinos eventually adopted this game and began offering it.

They too enjoyed a popularity increase by featuring one of the most-favorable casino games for players. Casinos in Belgium, France, Germany, and elsewhere adopted the single-zero wheel.

Eventually, though, gambling houses had difficulty separating themselves from the competition with a single zero alone. French casinos solved this problem by introducing the “la partage” rule.

European Roulette Online Casino Game

La partage delivers half of your losing wager back when the ball lands on zero. However, you must place an even-money bet to qualify.

Here’s an example of how la partage works:

  • You bet $10 on red/black.
  • The ball lands on the zero pocket.
  • You receive $5 back.

The European wheel already offers a fair house edge at 2.70%. But French roulette lowers the house advantage even more to 1.35%.

Not as many countries offer the French version. However, you can find this game in certain casinos based in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and Poland.

Therefore, Francois’ European wheel started the trend of reducing the roulette house edge. The French game is the finished product of what Francois began.

Conclusion

Bad Homburg wasn’t exactly a casino hub before the Blancs arrived. The latter, however, transformed this German town into a major gambling destination.

They used a combination of key attractions (e.g. spa, fancy hotels) and European roulette to bring more people to Bad Homburg.

When Frankfurt banned gaming in the area, Francois and Louis packed up and headed to Monte Carlo. The European wheel proved a hit once again in a new location.

Today, you have more access to European roulette than ever before thanks to land-based and real money online casinos. Perhaps this wouldn’t be the case, though, if Francois hadn’t come up with the idea nearly 180 years ago.

6 Secrets the Casinos Don’t Want You to Know

Woman With Finger Over Lips Mixed With Casino Image

It’s long been known, and accepted, that casinos use a range of psychological tactics to keep gamblers playing longer. For the most part, these can be negated by self-awareness, but encouraging you to play more isn’t the only way casinos increase their profits.

Plenty “tricks of the trade” exist among casino owners and staffers that the general public isn’t aware of. In fact, even frequent gamblers might not know everything the house is doing to ensure they keep making money.

In this article, I’ll lay out the top 6 secrets that casinos everywhere don’t want you to know.

1 – The Off Shoot Games Are Designed to Have a Higher House Edge

Nearly all gamblers are familiar with the classics like blackjack, craps, baccarat, and roulette, but some prefer raising the stakes. Games that can be considered off-shoots of the traditional games, meaning games like Three-Card Poker, Let it Ride, Caribbean Stud, etc., all present the chance to win more money.

While the higher payouts are attractive to some gamblers, the house edge makes these games even more enjoyable for the house. Of course, there will be a few big winners throughout the course of the day, but there will be many more people who lose in the process.

Let It Ride Casino Table Game

Just like everything else in life, if you’re looking to make a lot of money quickly, you’re going to have to take on a great deal of risk. Also similar to life, the majority of people are going to fail trying to go big.

The bottom line is that you can take home some nice wins in these games which are variations of more traditional games. However, keep in mind that the casino offers these games because they’re more profitable for the house. The odds are simply not in your favor, and if you’re more risk averse it’s a good idea to look elsewhere.

2 – Some Games Are Built for Strategic Players

Interestingly enough, there are some games in the casino that experienced and educated players can gain a real advantage. By advantage I don’t mean fully eliminate the house edge, but you can come pretty close.

One example of such a game is video poker. It’s well-known within the casino community that this seemingly obscure game offering provides a great opportunity for advanced players to be successful and win substantial amounts of money.

The reason is that there are strategies you can study which help you reduce the house edge to an extremely low percentage.

It’s important to remember that the benefits of this game are only achievable if you’ve done a good deal of research and learned some of the specifics. Don’t expect to talk into a casino today and have the same success that a long-time video poker player will have.

3 – They Want to Keep You Playing

If you’ve spent any time at casinos in the past, this one might not necessarily come as a secret. Regardless it’s worth mentioning because it can be easy to forget the things that casinos do to keep their patrons gambling.

To start, let’s point out the obvious, casinos have no windows, and it’s just about impossible to find a clock. Casino designers know that even the smallest indicator that notifies players of time and space are going to make them more apt to get on with their day away from the casino.

Aside from just the lack of clocks and windows, casinos have been known to use more convincing methods to keep you in your seat.

For example, some casinos might offer players free food and drinks in order to keep them from going to the restaurant down the street. Some casinos (mostly in Las Vegas) take things to the next level and try not only to keep you in the casino, but keep you in your seat.

I won’t name any specific establishments, but a few have been known to have thoughtfully-placed stripper poles near the area where high-stakes gambling takes place. Not only does this keep players in their seat longer, but it forces them to play a little…distracted.

I don’t want to make it sound like casinos are always trying to trick you. What I am saying is if the casino staff seems to treat you like the most important person in the world, it’s probably because they want your money.

4 – Security Is Intense

When massive amounts of money are at stake, you can bet (pun intended) that the security is going to be serious. But really, how thorough is it? The answer is: you can’t really beat it.

From the moment you get out of your car until the time you leave the property, there’s a camera that has you in view. If you really want to attract attention, start winning big.

In an interview with a casino security consultant, he mentioned that any time someone hits a big jackpot or starts going on a hot streak, security is following along closely making sure nothing illegal is taking place. It isn’t so much that they don’t trust players, but simply that the risk is too great not to take it seriously.

Casino Surveillance Room

If you think that nobody would be dumb enough to try to cheat a casino, you’d be way off. Most casinos have a shared database of players who have pulled certain scams in the past. Often times, these are small teams of people who work together.

If all this sounds a little intimidating, just remember that as long as you aren’t breaking the rules you have absolutely nothing to worry about. Winning big isn’t a crime, and as long as you don’t cheat you aren’t going to have any problems with security.

5 – There Are a Number of Cheating Tells

Okay, this might not exactly fall under the category of things casinos don’t want you to know, but it is interesting information nonetheless.

It’s likely that you’ve seen some movie about a casino heist or scam in which the casino’s security finally recognizes that they’re being duped. Here are a few of the behaviors that casino security looks for when trying to prevent cheating:

Friends Sitting Close Together

This one doesn’t always guarantee cheating, but it might put you on the radar. When two men (this one usually isn’t seen with women) sit close together at a blackjack table, it’s possible that they’re switching their cards and trying to create one strong hand.

If the table is mostly open and two people still sit right next to one another, it can be a tip-off that something is happening.

Weird Money Management

Most bettors are going to stay in the same general range for each of their bets. It makes sense – you wouldn’t expect someone to go from betting $80 on three straight hands to betting $8,000 on the fourth. But why would this indicate cheating?

Casino security looks for these betting inconsistencies because it could indicate that a player is receiving tips from somewhere. For example, they might be given information that makes their next hand a sure win. If they raise their bet substantially out of nowhere, it’s going to alert the security team

The Rubber Neck

Casino security refers to rubber-necking as when players at slot machines aren’t really looking at the game, but rather looking around.

If a slots player already knows which moves their making (because they’ve set up a scam), they don’t really need to keep their attention focused on the game. Instead, they’ll look around to make sure nobody’s watching. This is a sure tell and most security staff members recognize this pretty quickly.

6 – Dealers Want You to Bet Their Tips

Obviously, you should be tipping your dealers. What they won’t tell you, however, is that they’d rather you wager their tips instead of just handing them over.

That’s right! They want in on the action too. Dealers don’t make that much money and will take a chance if it means increasing their take-home for the night. Unfortunately, dealers aren’t really supposed to tell players that they prefer this option to the regular tip.

The next time you’re getting ready to leave a table, let the dealer know you’re betting their tip. If you win, they’ll love you. If you lose, it’s still appropriate to give them a tip, even if it’s a smaller amount.

Conclusion

Real money casinos are fascinating because they are still very much enigmatic to those on the outside. Although I’ve explained a few of the secrets, many more exist.

If you want to see these secrets for yourself in real life, find the nearest casino to you and start exploring!

Best Sushi in Atlantic City

Closeup of Sushi Rolls With a Sushi Restaurant Background

Despite the name “Atlantic” being in the name of Atlantic City, the ocean isn’t always what comes to mind when people think about this popular gambling destination. Just like the desert isn’t the first think you think about when you hear “Las Vegas,” Atlantic City brings to mind thoughts of bright lights, big shows, and fun-filled casinos.

Still, Atlantic City does sit right there on the coast, which means it has access to a fair amount of the bounty of the ocean. There are a number of great raw bars and seafood places dotted all across the city, but sometimes, you might want your seafood served with a Japanese flair.

It’s time to hit the sushi bar! Fortunately, just like Atlantic City can satisfy your cravings for real money slots, poker action, and casino buffets, there are a number of places where you can get a great platter of sushi in Atlantic City.

I found over a dozen restaurants that are known for the sushi. Still, I narrowed down that list to these 10 eateries you have to try.

10 – Yama Fusion Japanese Restaurant

Yama has been a staple for sushi in Atlantic City for a while now, earning long-time fans who flock back to this mid-sized eatery as often as they can. More than just a sushi bar, Yama (like other entries on the list) features a number of delicious Japanese menu items, most of which are cooked on the hibachi.

Still, this is a list made for sushi lovers. So ,when you go to Yama, check out the Hot Lover roll, the Spicy Blue Crab roll, or just enjoy a platter of fresh sashimi.

Even better, Yama is located near the coast so you can play in the sand all day, then stop in for some really good sushi.

9 – Megu Sushi Modern Japanese Cuisine

The brainchild of a husband and wife duo, Megu has a reputation for serving the freshest sushi in and around Atlantic City. Like Yama, Megu’s menu runs the gamut of various Japanese dishes. This is good for those who want variety or “don’t like raw fish.”

Fine Dining Shrimp Tempura Roll

For the rest of us, Megu offers the Megu Roll (you know it’s good when the restaurant puts their name on it), the Sweetheart roll (crab and shrimp on the inside with shrimp, smoked salmon, and avocado on the outside), and the no rice Naruto Roll (sadly, there’s no anime involved).

Also, while it’s not technically sushi, I’ll give it a nod and say you should also order the tuna dumpling, which is slices of raw tuna stuffed with crabmeat salad.

8 – Tomatoes

To be clear, the name of this list is the best sushi in Atlantic City, not the best sushi restaurants, which is why we’re happy to put Tomatoes in Margate on our list. However, Tomatoes is a little hard to pin down in terms of exactly what kind of cuisine it features.

When you enter this very modern, almost bistro-like eatery, you can order from their wide selection of wines and champagnes. You can enjoy sushi appetizers, plates, maki, specialty rolls, etc. Or you can order veal parm or lobster marguerite… Because that makes sense to them, I guess?

Regardless, as seemingly unfocused as the menu at Tomatoes may be, the sushi is amazing and that’s all we care about.

For starters, their nigiri selection is large and reasonably priced. I suggest the flying fish roe yellowtail and peppercorn salmon. I also suggest the American Dream maki (crab, shrimp, lobster, and peppered salmon in one maki) and the Jason (a roll featuring spicy lobster).

Really, any of the rolls are great, though, so feel free to experiment and see what you like. Perhaps pair it with a side of spaghetti and meatballs?

7 – Waterfront Buffet at Harrah’s

You can’t talk about Atlantic City dining without at least mentioning a casino buffet at some point. And when it comes to buffet sushi, my pick is the sushi station at the Waterfront Buffet.

Not only is the Waterfront Buffet a must-try for the best buffets in Atlantic City in general, but they have all-you-can-eat sushi. The selections may not be the most exciting in the world, but there’s a lot of it and it’s well-made! This buffet at Harrah’s is the perfect way to get your sushi fix in Atlantic City while trying everything else the buffet has to offer.

6 – Kuro at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino

When it comes to Kuro, there’s only one word you need to know—omakase.

If you don’t speak sushi restaurant, omakase is Japanese for shut up and put delicious sushi in my mouth… Well, actually it translates to “I’ll leave it up to you,” according to Wikipedia. Regardless, what omakase means at Kuro is that you’re agreeing to pay one of three set prices for 16 pieces of whatever the chef feels is best.

Sushi Served on a Wooden Plate

If you have a good sushi chef (and trust me, they’re good at the ultra-chic Kuro), you are going to be treated to the sushi meal of your lifetime.

On the other hand, if you’re not ready to put your sushi fate in someone else’s skilled hands, Kuro has a menu broken up by five flavors, and it features a mix of local and authentic Japanese ingredients. Their sashimi menu is about on par with some other entries on the list.

They do have some maki, including the spicy tuna and salmon avocado. But they really seem to want to serve nigiri and sashimi. Given their commitment to local food, that’s A-okay by me!

5 – Okatshe by Jose Garces

Iron Chef Jose Garces loves Atlantic City, and that’s great because I’m a fan of his cooking.

His sushi masterpiece, Okatshe, has a larger selection of gourmet, even luxury, Japanese menu items than sushi. With that said, they do have some lovely sashimi and nigiri selections (perhaps king yellowtail or wasabi tobiko?) and a good selection of rolls.

When you come here, try the crab and shrimp tempura and the creole roll (tuna tartare and shrimp tempura with remoulade). It’s no surprise that this restaurant comes highly rated!

4 – Lillie’s Asian Cuisine

Nestled in Atlantic City’s Golden Nugget, Lillie’s Asian Cuisine is a pan-Asian experience that serves everything from sushi to hot pot (seriously, they have a hot pot menu). Unfortunately, hot pot menus will have to wait for another day because I’m talking sushi.

Sushi Roll With Red Lighting

At Lillie’s Asian Cuisine, the specialty rolls are the star of the show. For my money, it has to be the hand grenade roll (a handroll with scallops, shrimp, and mango) or the sex on the beach roll (a California roll kicked up with jalapenos and spicy sauce).

3 – Oshi Modern Asian Kitchen

Oshi (once called Oshi Sushi and Sake) is a small, unassuming sushi place in Harrah’s with a small, but delicious set of sushi offerings.

It’s also a pan-Asian restaurant that can take you to many different parts of the continent with a menu not much bigger than a door hanger. With that said, go to Oshi when you’re around Harrah’s because they do some beautiful things with sushi.

Their sashimi menu isn’t huge, but the Hamachi (or Hamachi ponzu) are both fresh and delicious as is the unagi and maguro tuna. For specialty rolls, you have a small selection, but each one is a work of art.

This includes the Sunfire roll (spicy salmon and torched white tuna with avocado) and the Crispy Hamachi Yellowtail Roll. It’s not very upscale, but that doesn’t mean it’s not delicious.

2 – Izakaya in the Borgata Hotel

Modeled after authentic Japanese pubs, Izakaya has a very distinguished and long Japanese cuisine menu. It features everything from Japanese BBQ to fish to meat dishes. Again, I want to stay focused on that sushi selection, though.

Izakaya has a good selection of sushi rolls from which you can pick. Upon even a first glance at the menu, both the toro scallion and the crispy Maine lobster rolls are both winners as are the spicy Japanese scallops.

1 – Souzai Sushi and Sake

I don’t have a problem with any sushi place serving a wide variety of Japanese or pan-Asian dishes. I do love the fact that Souzai has its own sushi and sashimi menu, though.

Platter of Sushi With a Beach View

The types of rolls at Souzai are all over the map, from a humble California roll to more adventurous selections. With that said, I found the sweet potato and spicy crispy shrimp rolls to both be excellent choices.

I also found their happy hour prices to be an awesome find, as I can eat a lot of sushi and happy hour makes that whole experience possible.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are a number of restaurants in Atlantic City where you can go to enjoy a wide variety of Japanese dishes, including some great sushi rolls, nigiri, and sashimi.

Even better, most of the places are so near the ocean that you can smell the sea breeze while you eat the seafood.

How Do I Increase My Chances of Winning at Blackjack?

Blackjack Hand With a Red Colored Casino Background

Most people have already heard that blackjack is the best game in the casino, odds-wise. You might even believe that if you follow the right strategy, you can get a mathematical edge over the house. This isn’t true, but you CAN get the house edge at blackjack low enough that it might seem that way.

In this post, I explain – in detail – how to increase your chances of winning at blackjack.

Learn the Rules Before Sitting Down to Play

All the basic blackjack strategy and card counting skill in the world won’t increase your chances of winning unless you already understand how to play.

Here’s the thing:

If you make mistakes, some of them will cost you money.

When I first learned to play blackjack, I ignored things like doubling down and splitting because I didn’t understand the rules for those. By leaving those out of my game, I lowered my chances of winning dramatically.

Luckily, you don’t have many options to understand.

When you’re playing blackjack, here are the only actions you can take:

  • Hit
  • Stand
  • Double down
  • Split
  • Surrender

Everyone knows that to hit is to take another card.

Everyone also knows that to stand is to refrain from taking any more cards.

Doubling down is like hitting, but you double the size of your bet. You also agree to take one more card and then stand – that’s part and parcel of doubling down.

Splitting might be the most complicated move you can make, and it’s not the easiest thing to describe in text. It’s easier to understand once you’ve already done it in a real game.

Nonetheless, I’ll explain splitting.

When you get 2 cards of the same rank – a pair of 8s, for example, or a pair of jacks, you have the option to play 2 hands instead of just one. To do this, you must place a second bet, and both hands play out independently.

Each of the 2 cards in your original hand becomes the first card in each of your 2 new hands.

That’s about all there is to splitting.

Finally, surrendering is like folding in a poker game. Only in blackjack, you only give up half your bet. Surrender is rarely the correct move.

Master Basic Strategy

Unlike some games, blackjack has been “solved.” We know the correct play to make in every possible situation. It’s just basic math.

You have no room for hunches or guesses in a game of blackjack.

The correct move is always the move that has the best expected value for the player.

You have 2 pieces of information in every blackjack hand:

  • You know one of the dealer’s cards – it’s face-up.
  • You know which 2 cards you have and what their total is.

There’s a mathematically optimal way to play every total versus every dealer face-up card.

Basic strategy encapsulates all those possible moves into a simple chart where your total is listed on one side and the dealer’s up-card is listed along the top. Cross-reference the 2 pieces of data, and the table tells you what the best move is.

You shouldn’t rely on a basic strategy table forever, though – you should memorize the right play in every situation.

But you could play with a basic strategy chart every time, if you wanted to. The casinos don’t mind.

After all, even with basic strategy, you’re at a mathematical disadvantage.

Find the Games With the Best Odds of Winning

Different casinos have different blackjack variants with different rules in place. The biggest rules change to look for is the payout for a blackjack.

A “blackjack” is a 2-card hand totaling 21 – it’s always a hand made up of an ace and a card worth 10 points.

In most casinos, a blackjack pays off at 3 to 2 odds.

This means if you bet $100 and get a blackjack, you get $150 in winnings.

But in some casinos – at some tables – blackjack only pays off at 6 to 5 odds.

This means if you bet $100 and get a blackjack, you get $120 in winnings.

Some casinos even take advantage of the mathematically illiterate by acting like they’re doing you a favor with the 6 to 5 payout.

Since 6 is a bigger number than 3, it sounds like a 6 to 5 payout is better than a 3 to 2 payout.

Of course, this ignores the fact that this is a ratio.

Avoid Side Bets at All Costs

All blackjack games feature a side bet called insurance. You should never take insurance unless you’re counting cards and know that it’s the mathematically optimal move at that point in the game.

How does insurance work?

When the dealer has an ace as her face-up card, you can place a side bet the size of half your original bet. This side bet wins 2 to 1 if the dealer has a 10 in the hole.

Of course, if the dealer has a 10 in the hole, you lose your main bet, so the insurance bet acts as a hedge against losing in this situation.

Closeup of an Ace and King Card on a Blackjack Table

The problem with the insurance bet is that it’s a hugely negative expectation proposition.

Sure, there are more 10s in the deck than anything else, but the other cards still outnumber the 10s by a statistically significant margin.

If you’re counting cards, you might know when the deck has gotten lopsided enough for insurance to make sense mathematically.

But otherwise, just skip insurance.

You can also safely skip any other unusual side bet that the casino is offering. The house edge on those side bets is always high – especially compared to the house edge for the blackjack game itself.

Learn How to Count Cards

So far, all the advice I’ve offered will reduce the house’s edge to its lowest possible number.

That still won’t give you a mathematical edge over the casino.

To do that, you’ll need at least one advantage gambling technique.

Counting cards is the traditional advantage gambling technique used in blackjack. It involves keeping rough track of the ratio of high cards to low cards in the deck.

Since a blackjack is made up of high cards – 10s and aces – if the deck has more 10s and aces in it than lower value cards, you have a higher probability of getting that blackjack.

If you bet more when the odds are in your favor and bet less the rest of the time, you’ll have an overall mathematical edge over the casino.

This can be as simple as mentally subtracting 1 from the count every time you see an ace or a 10 and adding 1 to the count every time you see a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6.

You raise the size of your bet to correspond with how positive the count is.

You also adjust the count based on how many decks are being used.

Keep in mind, though, that casinos consider card counting cheating. It’s not illegal, but casinos sometimes back players off the blackjack table or even ban card counters from the casino altogether.

And always start the count over when the deck gets reshuffled.

If you’re playing in a blackjack game with a continuous shuffling machine, you can’t get an edge by counting cards anyway, so don’t even try.

Practice Playing at Home

If you’re serious about playing blackjack in a casino, you should practice at home – ESPECIALLY if you’re planning to count cards.

How you practice is up to you but be deliberate about it.

You can find plenty of blackjack software tools that will help you practice basic strategy and card counting techniques.

Online Blackjack Screenshot

You can also enlist the aid of a friend and play practice hands with a real deck of cards at the kitchen table.

And most online casinos offer free, play-money, blackjack games where you can play for free and test your skills. Most of the time, at least when dealing with a reputable online casino, you face the same odds and probabilities you’d see at a casino with a real deck of cards.

Try Online Blackjack Games

I’m not a lawyer, so I’ll refrain from offering legal advice about playing blackjack for real money online. Suffice it to say that I trust you to analyze legalities and risk levels when gambling online for yourself and making an appropriate decision.

If you decide you’re comfortable with the risk or that it’s legal where you live to do so, give online blackjack a try. You can get in twice as many hands per hour as you’d see playing in a brick and mortar casino.

And sometimes online casinos offer better games with better odds than traditional brick and mortar casinos – especially if you’re playing for low stakes.

Conclusion

How do you increase your chances of winning at blackjack?

Start by learning the rules and follow that up with learning basic strategy. Don’t settle for games with rules that aren’t acceptable, like 6/5 blackjack games.

Finally, if you want to take it to the next level, learn how to count cards.

Increasing your chances of winning at blackjack is easy, but it does take some work.

5 Steps to NCAA Basketball Gambling Success

NCAAB Player Passing Under Pressure With a Sportsbook Background

The best way to learn how to win consistently as a sports gambler is to specialize in one area. If you decide to focus on NCAA basketball, there are some simple steps to help you get started.

The five steps on this page help you form a solid foundation for NCAA basketball gambling success. They aren’t everything you need to know, but you can’t become a consistent winner without this solid foundation.

Start using these five steps to NCAA basketball gambling success today, and continue building on your foundation as you learn more.

1 – Home Court Rules and Tendencies

The title of this section includes home court rules. This doesn’t mean the rules of the home curt. Instead, it means that the home court is a large advantage for every NCAA basketball team. If you follow the tendencies for every basketball team in the NCAA you can see that they perform better at home than on the road.

This shouldn’t come as a big surprise, because this is true in almost every sport and league. But you need to use these facts to help you make better college basketball bets.

The home court tendency is so important that I recommend not betting on any road teams, no matter what, until you build a consistent track record of making profit betting on home teams.

I know that some road teams do have value, but it’s simply too hard for most NCAA basketball gamblers to recognize value enough to make a profit from it. Be very careful on any game where the road team looks like it offers the best value.

NCAAB Player Driving the Ball

You also need to continue looking for trends and tendencies just like the home court one. Track as much as you can to see if you can find other tendencies that help you make more profitable college basketball wagers.

The more tendencies you can find the more you can make. But make sure that the tendencies are real ones. You need a large sample size before you place your money on teams based on short term tendencies.

The good news is that you can look at past game data to test the tendencies and see how far back they’re true. This is an important step that you can’t afford to skip if you want to make money gambling on NCAA basketball.

2 – NCAA Basketball Is Nothing like the NBA

Many NBA gamblers think that they can start betting on NCAA basketball games without making any changes. While some things are similar between the two; the fact is that for the most part college basketball is a different animal than the NBA.

Some college basketball gamblers stick with one bet type and others use 2 or 3. In the long run you need to make any bet types that offer value.

In the NBA, the teams with the most stars, and biggest stars, tend to dominate the games. While talent is important in the NCAA, there are more teams, which mean the talent is spread out more.

And some of the most talented players in college basketball don’t have enough experience to perform at the top of their ability range.

The offensive and defensive schemes used in college basketball also differ from what you see in the NBA. This can make the transition as a gambler from the NBA to the NCAA challenging.

When you have something that works when you bet on NBA games you can test it for the college game. Just don’t make the mistake of assuming it’s always going to work.

3 – Forget About the Big Conferences if You Want to Win

A mistake many NCAA basketball gamblers make is to place bets on the teams that are always on television and who belong to the big basketball conference. And they ignore all of the teams playing in the other conferences. This is a big mistake.

The fastest way to start making profit betting on college basketball is to become a true expert on the teams in a smaller conference. It’s easy to get information about these teams, and with enough work you can quickly become an expert.

When you become an expert on a smaller basketball conference, you can find more lines that offer value. The challenge is usually getting enough action, or money, down on these games.

The sportsbooks focus on the games that are going to get the most action, so sometimes their lines on smaller games are sloppy. You can take advantage of this and quickly learn how to make a consistent profit.

A trick that I use is ranking all of the teams in a middle sized or small conference based on the recruiting rankings of the players on the team. This can give you a quick way to identify the best teams in the league.

4 – Totals, Point Spreads, or Moneylines?

The 3 main ways to bet on NCAA basketball games are listed in the title of this section. Most sportsbooks offer each of these 3 options, so they’re easy bets to make.

Some college basketball gamblers stick with one bet type and others use 2 or 3. In the long run you need to make any bet types that offer value.

And if you build your skills in evaluating games enough you’re going to use all 3 types of wagers.

But you should pick 1 of the 3 bet types and stick with it until you’re making a consistent profit on college basketball. You need to learn how to identify value to the best of your ability, and the easiest way to do this is to focus on one thing.

You can start with any of the 3, but I recommend starting with moneyline wagers. This doesn’t mean that the moneyline is easier to make a profit on than the point spread or the total. But it is easier to pick the winner than guess the point spread or the total.

Of course, you have to make sure that you win enough moneyline wagers to show a profit, because when you bet on the favorite and lose you lose more than when you bet on the point spread. On the other side of this, if you bet the moneyline on an underdog and win, you win more than when you bet on the point spread.

5 – Evaluating Talent and Experience Effectively

College basketball is unique in the basketball world because players only play for 1 to 4 seasons. The top players tend to only play 1 or 2 seasons before going to the NBA.

This makes sense, because they risk injury if they stay in college longer than they need to. But this also hurts them from a gambler’s point of view, because they never get enough experience to fully impact games in their third or fourth seasons.

You have to learn how to evaluate talent and experience in NCAA basketball to become a consistent winner. This can be much more difficult than it sounds.

Some players, even with 4 years experience, are never going to be as good as some of the players that leave after 1 or 2 seasons. But experience plays a big role when you’re evaluating college basketball games.

NCAAB Duke Player Speaking to His Coach

You can’t find a formula to adjust based on talent and experience, so you have to use your best judgment. The best way to improve your judgment is to watch the college players as often as possible.

The top first and second year players in college might be better than the top experienced players, but by how much? And where do you draw the line? Is the 10th best freshman more valuable or less valuable than the top third and fourth year players?

This is something that most college basketball gamblers struggle with their entire career. You’re never going to get this perfect, but you have to do the best you can.

I’ve found that experience plays a big role at tournament time. The best talent usually does well, but the teams with the most experience often do better than expected against slightly better talent. Keep this in mind every time you bet on an NCAA basketball game.

Conclusion

When you’re betting on NCAA basketball games, always remember that the home court rules. Betting on road teams is almost always a long term losing strategy. And you also need to understand all of the differences between handicapping NBA games and NCAA games.

Smart NCAA basketball gamblers make profits where most gamblers don’t, like the middle sized and small conferences. They also use the best betting options and lines consistently. The final step is learning how to separate talent and experience and how each influences results.

Use these 5 steps so you can bet on NCAA basketball just like winning gamblers do.

Why Is the Slots Buy Bonus Option Banned in Some Jurisdictions?

Finger Pointing to Large Buy Button With a Slots Background

Online gaming jurisdictions must strike a balance between running successful markets and protecting players. They have to ensure that operators can run profitable businesses without taking advantage of gamblers.

Jurisdictions need to act when they think that problem gamblers may be in danger. The slots “buy feature” (a.k.a. buy bonus), for example, recently forced one jurisdiction to ban it.

Assuming you’re unfamiliar with buy bonus, you can read more about it below. I’ll also discuss why it has been banned in certain markets.

What Is Buy Bonus in Slots?

Normally, you must rely on sheer luck to trigger a slots bonus round. You typically need to land at least three scatter symbols anywhere on the reels to unlock the bonus.

Buy feature lets you skip the random chance element. Instead of waiting on scatter symbols, you can just risk a certain multiple of your stake to trigger the bonus.

Here’s an example:

  • A buy feature requires you to risk 100x your stake.
  • You’re betting $0.20 per spin.
  • You pay $20 to unlock free spins.
  • Three scatters land immediately within the next round.
  • All payouts will be based on your $0.20 standard bet.

You can use buy bonus at any point when it’s available. Therefore, you can enjoy the feature over and over as long as you have the funds.

Assuming you feel like the cost is high, you could always lower your stake to the minimum amount too. Using the example above, you might be able to reduce your bet to $0.10 and pay $10 for the bonus round.

Why Do Players Use Buy Bonus?

Gamblers use this option for one or more reasons. Here are the three main reasons why players buy the bonus.

Unlock the Bonus Immediately

Sometimes, you might be playing a slot just to trigger the bonus. In these cases, you have three main options to quickly play the feature:

  • Spin the reels manually and wait.
  • Use autoplay and either watch the game or take a break.
  • Skip straight to the bonus with buy feature.

The first option suffices when you’re playing a brand new slot and want to take everything in. However, you might eventually get bored with the base game and simply want the feature.

Online Slot Buy Feature Screen

Autoplay is an upgrade over manually spinning to trigger the bonus. The issue here, though, is that you still must wait—you just don’t need to spin the reels when doing so.

Buy bonus lets you quickly move past all of the spins that it takes to randomly trigger free spins, or whatever other feature is available.

Take a Chance at the Biggest Prizes

Outside of progressive jackpot slots, most games offer the largest prize in the bonus round. A slots bonus usually consists of free spins with one or more modifiers, like win multipliers and/or expanding wilds.

Assuming the multiplier keeps increasing throughout the bonus, you can look forward to big prizes. Some slots pay anywhere from 10,000x to 50,000x your stake through the feature.

Here’s an example on how much you could win in this scenario:

  • Your minimum bet is $10.
  • The top prize is 25,000x your stake.
  • 25,000 x 10 = $250,000 maximum win

You might only be able to win up to 1,000x your stake in the base game. Bonuses become much more attractive in these instances.

Raise RTP

Many slots offer enhanced return to player (RTP) through the bonus. The extra modifiers are the key to this increased payout percentage.

For example, online slots may normally offer 96.2% RTP. However, you can boost this amount up to 97.5% payback with the feature in play.

You’re still facing a 2.5% house edge in this instance. But you also get to enjoy another added benefit when buying the bonus.

Some Jurisdictions Outlaw This Feature

In 2019, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) made headlines when they banned the buy bonus option. They noted that this function has the ability to push certain players into losing far more money.

Back then, software developers that offered buy feature in UK casinos underwent an expensive and lengthy process to remove it. Developers today often create a different version for the UK (w/o buy bonus) and other markets.

The Gambling Commission began reviewing the matter two years ago as part of an effort to reduce problem gaming. After all, the UK has a problem with gambling addiction.

During their research, the Gambling Commission noticed that gamblers were spending more than normal when buy feature was available. Oftentimes, they had to risk 100x their stake or higher to trigger the bonus.

Of course, gamblers can always avoid using this option. But some players simply don’t have the ability to make themselves stop once they start.

Responsible Gambling Is the Key Theme Here

Banning the buy feature isn’t the only bold move that the UKGC has made recently. This gaming body has also banned credit-card payments at casinos and reduced maximum stakes for fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) to just £2.

The latter decision figures to have the biggest impact on the country’s gambling market. Previous FOBT stakes used to reach £100.

However, the buy-feature ban should have an impact as well. Gamblers’ habits can get out of hand when they purchase the bonus multiple times.

Here’s an example:

  • A British slot offers maximum bets worth up to £100.
  • You begin placing the largest wager.
  • The buy feature option costs 80x your stake.
  • 100 x 80 = £800.

You’re now risking £800 ($1,000) per spin, which is a serious amount of money. The upside is that you could score a huge payout that’s worth thousands of times more than your stake.

The downside, though, is that you could also walk away with a prize worth much less than what you spend. Winning just £100 or £200 is really going to sting in this case.

Again, the UKGC simply didn’t feel comfortable allowing players to take these risks. They decided to completely rid their internet gaming market of buy bonus as a result.

Other regulated gaming jurisdictions will likely consider doing the same in the future. After all, the UKGC is currently the most-respected online gaming authority in the industry.

Will Buy Bonus Make You Addicted to Gambling?

You can still find the buy feature in many real money slots throughout the world. Therefore, you might see this option and fear using it.

Much of your decision to purchase the feature will depend upon your individual circumstances. You should ask yourself the following questions regarding this matter:

  • How large is my bankroll?
  • Do I have addictive tendencies when it comes to slots?
  • Will I keep using buy bonus over and over if I don’t win big the first time(s)?
  • Is the maximum prize and RTP increase (if applicable) worth the extra money?
  • Do I already have enough fun playing the base game?
  • Do I value playing time just as much as bonuses and pursuing big payouts?

The first question is one of the most important in this scenario. If you only have a $20 bankroll, then you’ll likely have to risk most or all of it on one feature. In contrast, you could buy the feature quite a bit with $1,000 or more.

Gambling addition has the most-grave consequences in this instance. Assuming you’re a problem gambler, then you want to avoid slots with buy bonus in general.

You might already have enough fun as it is just playing the base game. In this case, you should simply enjoy yourself and let the features come naturally.

Online Slots Bonus Buy Screen

Regarding the last question, you might not be comfortable risking a large portion of your bankroll for bonus glory. Instead, you may appreciate the thrill, and low cost, of each spin.

Many factors go into deciding if this option is worth your while. You should definitely consider the questions posed above before making your decision.

Conclusion

The buy bonus option is banned over fears regarding problem gambling. It requires players to increase their stake by a massive amount.

Of course, buying the feature can result in a huge payout. You could win up to 20,000x your stake or more, depending upon the game.

The risk, though, is that you win far less than you spent. Betting 100x your stake can quickly backfire if you fail to win anywhere near this amount.

You don’t necessarily have to fear using buy feature when it is available, though. Instead, you can use it a few times per session as long as you have the bankroll and don’t suffer from gambling addiction.

Applying the Book Profit First to Gambling

Business Book Profit First With a Casino Background

Since being released in 2014, Profit First has become one of the most-popular books among business owners. As the full title states, it teaches how you to “transform your business from a cash eating monster to a money making machine.”

This book has shown many business people crucial financial management techniques that they may be lacking. You might be surprised to know that it can also help you become a better gambler.

How can a business book help you win more money through casino games, poker, and sports betting? I’ll discuss more on this book below along with how its advice can specifically be applied to gambling.

What Is Profit First About?

Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash Eating Monster to a Money Making Machine is a book by Mike Michalowicz. It discusses why many business owners mismanage their revenue and how to better handle profits.

The average businessperson reinvests whatever they make back into the company. They believe this heavy reinvestment model will pay off in the form of bigger profits down the road.

The tendency when putting money back into a business, though, involves spending some/most of it wastefully. One may not think carefully enough about where they’re spending money, because they have a surplus.

Here’s an example:

  • A dress shop owner makes $10,000 in revenue.
  • They pay their bills and have $2,000 left over.
  • The shop owner could bank some of this money.
  • However, they instead spend all $2k taking a chance on a risky dress line.

They probably wouldn’t have taken this chance if they really needed the money. But since the dress shop owner has an extra $2k, they feel comfortable doing so.

The problem here, though, comes when they need the cash later down the road. Unless the business owner is well-funded from the start, they could run into financial troubles at some point.

Michalowicz teaches people to essentially create a rainy day fund with their profits. Rather than reinvesting everything into the business, they should put some profits into a separate bank account—even if it’s as little as 1%—to have reserve funds.

What Should Business Owners Do With Saved Profits?

The idea behind banking profits is to have money for emergencies, expanding the business, and taking responsible risks.

Most businessmen and women don’t have this additional money. They spend everything extra when it comes available and scrape by afterward.

Man at a Table With Laptop and Notebook

The best route is to first pay bills, sales tax, salaries, and any other expenses. Rather than spending everything that’s left over, one should put this additional money into a separate bank account.

These funds need to be separate from the operating and tax accounts. Owners should only dip into this money when they absolutely need it or want to pay themselves a salary.

Who Is Profit First Aimed Towards?

You’ve probably realized by this point that Profit First is specifically for business owners. However, it’s not just for anybody who owns a business.

Jeff Bezos or Warren Buffet won’t benefit much from reading this book. Both have teams of accountants working for them and are quite adept financially on their own.

Instead, this work is for business owners who struggle to manage the profits they bring in. You’ve likely heard that most businesses fail within the first few years.

Money mismanagement is one of the primary reasons why they fail so quickly. Michalowicz seeks to help remedy this problem by teaching struggling businesses how to better deal with their cash flow problem.

How Can a Business Book Help You With Gambling?

You can see how Profit First can be beneficial to business people. Now, I’ll cover the different ways in which it can be applied to gambling.

Taking Profits From Winnings

Most forms of gambling are negative expectation (-EV) games. You might experience hot streaks here and there, but you’re ultimately facing a house edge.

For example, blackjack gives you a great opportunity to beat the house. With the right rules and strategy, it can feature under a 1% house edge.

You aren’t necessarily going to earn “profits” from -EV games on a regular basis. But you can still take money out of your winnings in these cases.

Where Profit First benefits gamblers the most, though, is with positive expectation (+EV) games. Poker, sports betting, card counting (blackjack), and shuffle tracking (also blackjack) can bring guaranteed profits over time.

Of course, you need the skills to beat these games and win money. Assuming you are good enough, though, then you’ll want to put some profits into the bank.

Here’s an example:

  • You’re a professional poker player.
  • You earn $5,000 in profits per month on average.
  • You have $1,000 remaining after paying bills and taxes.
  • You could put all of this into your bankroll.
  • Instead, you decide to put $800 into your roll and the remaining $200 in the bank.

Any successful gambler reinvests a portion of their winnings to building their bankroll. They can use these increased funds to eventually play/bet bigger stakes and, thus, profit more.

But like business owners, gamblers will also benefit by putting some of their profits into a special bank account. They can use this money in case they ever run into a jam.

Bankroll Management

Profit First is mainly about teaching the importance of not over-investing revenue back into a business. Thus, gamblers will get the most benefit out of simply holding some of their winnings back.

However, this book also helps with bankroll management from an overall perspective. It covers how to separate one’s revenue into various categories.

For the businessperson, this aspect means setting aside money for advertising, merchandise, overhead, employee salaries, and taxes. A gambler needs to tweak this model, though, to fit their personal situation.

Here’s an example:

  • A professional sports bettor earns $6,000 per month on average.
  • They must put $4,000 of this amount towards rent, food, utilities, and entertainment.
  • They reinvest $1,000 into their bankroll.
  • The bettor puts the remaining $1,000 into a separate bank account for profits.

Succeeding Where Others Have Failed

The world of pro gambling is filled with early success stories who later blew all of their money. Poor bankroll management is often the root cause of a success story gone wrong.

Pro gamblers have the talent to win serious money over the long run. However, many spend above their means and/or make unnecessarily big bets.

These money management problems are the main reasons why many pros fail. But the same winners could give themselves a second or even third chance by socking away money all along.

Money Clip With Cash and Credit Cards

Again, Michalowicz teaches that business owners need a rainy day fund. Gamblers should also have one in case they make poor bankroll decisions and/or suffer a terrible downswing.

Motivation

I find that reading just about any self-help book provides motivation. This thought is especially true when the book is entertaining and well-written.

Profit First definitely falls into the well-written and entertaining category. It dashes in Michalowicz’s intriguing personal stories with sound advice.

You may become more motivated by reading a work specifically about gambling. However, Profit First offers a nice breather if you’re tired of poker, sports betting, or casino gaming books.

At the very least, it’ll give you another perspective on managing your funds. Depositing some of your profits and forgetting about them for the time being can certainly be helpful.

Will Profit First Ultimately Make You a Better Gambler?

If you’re not a great gambler, then you should definitely seek out resources that’ll help you understand how gambling works. Once you get the success aspect down, though, you might consider non-gambling books and guides that still relate.

I’m a firm believer that Profit First can help you be better at handling winnings. This work provides a different perspective beyond normal bankroll management guides.

You may have already read about methods for managing your gambling funds. However, I’ve never personally seen any bankroll guides that talk so specifically on what to do with profits.

Perhaps you have business aspirations that go beyond just beating the bookies, poker opponents, or casinos. Profit First offers its biggest benefits to aspiring and current business owners.

Conclusion

One of the mistakes gamblers make is underestimating the importance of bankroll management. These same people, even when successful, often struggle to maintain their bankroll.

Profit First encourages you to overcome these pitfalls by depositing some of your profits into a special bank account. You essentially maintain this account as a rainy day fund in case you run into any problems.

Mike Michalowicz’s advice helps you avoid the dilemma of wastefully spending profits on yourself or by taking unnecessary risks.

This book is already beneficial from a gambling perspective. It gains even more value if you plan on opening a traditional business one day too.

List of All 28 Casino Hotels on the Strip

Title Text and Las Vegas Skyline Background

If you’re visiting Las Vegas for the first time or for the umpteenth time, you’ll probably want to stay on the Strip.

There are some exceptions, of course, and Downtown Vegas has its charms, but this post aims to explain your options on the Strip for you.

Here’s a complete but concise guide to the 28 hotels on the Las Vegas Strip:

1- Bally’s

Managed by Caesars Entertainment, Bally’s is on a site that was once occupied by the Three Coins Motel. This iconic hotel (sister property to Paris Las Vegas) has been a staple of the strip for decades and boasts thousands of rooms.

2- Bellagio

The Bellagio—known for its amazing fountains that put on one heck of a show just about every night—is owned by MGM Resorts and occupies the site that once housed the iconic Dunes hotel and casino. This italian-inspired hotel is all about opulence—they hold nothing back and offer one of the most elegant experiences on the strip.

3- Best Western Plus Casino Royale

While we’ll be the first to admit that it’s not the greatest name in the world for a casino, the Best Western Plus Casino Royale still pretty much goes by its old name, “The Casino Royale.”

Though the property used to be a neighbor to the venerable Sands Hotel Casino, the Casino Royale has long been known for offering 100 times odds on craps (though now you mostly have to wait for the weekend to get this benefit).

4- Caesars Palace

All hail Caesar! Caesars Palace sits between the Bellagio and the Mirage and is often thought of as one of Vegas’ greatest landmarks.

Exterior of Caesars Palace Las Vegas

Based on the iconography and designs of the Holy Roman Empire, this august edifice is filled with columns, statues, and all things roman. Known as one of Sinatra’s homes away from home (he signed a 3-year contract here), Caesars is always worth a visit.

5- Circus Circus

Vegas is a Circus, and nothing says it more than Circus Circus. This silly and fun hotel and casino has free circus acts going on throughout the day and is always a source of fun.

6- CityCenter

CityCenter is actually a massive urban complex (it’s the largest privately funded construction project in U.S. history) that houses a number of hotels, including Aria, Waldorf Astoria, and Vdara.

7- The Cromwell

Located on the site of the Empey’s Desert Villa, this hotel was renovated (at a cost of close to $200 million) back in 2013.

8- Cosmopolitan

One of the newer resorts on the strip, the Cosmopolitan (often just called The Cosmo) was rated “The Best Hotel in the World” back in 2013 and regularly receives commendations for being one of the best hotels ever.

9- Encore

Part of the Wynn complex, Encore Las Vegas has won the AAA Five Diamond Award year after year after year and is consistently rated one of the best hotels in the world. It also happens to be the world’s seventh largest hotel.

10- Excalibur

Draw swords! The Excalibur is easy to spot by every newcomer to Vegas (it’s hard to miss, what with having a medieval castle in the middle). The inside is exactly what you’d expect—you’ll feel transported back to the time of King Arthur, and you can even watch a jousting tournament while eating from traditional pewter plates (no silverware allowed!).

11- Flamingo

The fabulous Flamingo is one of the cornerstones of the strip. Though owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment, this massive casino was the first of the so-called “luxury hotels” on the strip. Built in the 1940s (purportedly with some notorious gangsters of the era involved in the funding), the Flamingo has changed hands numerous times throughout the years, but the feel of luxury and opulence has stayed true to the original vision.

12- Harrah’s

Harrah’s is one of the more well-known brands in Vegas, boasting a huge number of slot machines (over 1200) and 2 rooms for each slot machine. Originally the Holiday Casino with a riverboat theme, the casino has a much more elegant feel these days.

13- The LINQ

Formerly the Flamingo Capri, this massive 2,000+ room hotel was originally located right next to the iconic Flamingo hotel. A $200+ million renovation in 2014 has returned The LINQ to its former glory.

14- Luxor

It’s not egypt, but it’s the next best thing! The Luxor is easy to spot (not a lot of giant black pyramids in Vegas) and has the well-known Luxor Sky Beam, a light so bright it can be seen hundreds of miles away.

15- Mandalay Bay

Actually made up of two different casinos (Delano and Four Seasons), Mandalay Bay is well known for its Mandalay Beach, which includes numerous heated pools, waterfalls, a wave pool, and a lazy river.

16- The Mirage

The Mirage is best known for its incredible volcano, a free attraction out front that erupts nightly at 8, 9, and 10pm. This 3000+ room hotel has a distinctive Polynesian theme and a beautiful atrium where you can find a wide variety of water attractions and gorgeous plants from around the world.

17- MGM Grand

Blowing everyone else on the strip out of the water, the MGM Grand lives up to its name, with a whopping 6,852 rooms!

Exterior of MGM Grand Las Vegas

The distinctive lion at the entrance is well known from its appearance in art and entertainment for years. As you might expect, the MGM Grand has the largest gaming floor in all of Las Vegas.

18- New York-New York

If you’ve always wanted to see New York in a day, this is about as close as you’re going to get. New York-New York has an actual recreation of the Brooklyn Bridge and does its best to recreate the skyline of 1940s New York. You’ll even find a replica of the Statue of Liberty!

19- The Palazzo

The Palazzo, part of the Venetian, is the tallest building in Nevada and mimics the Venetian in its italian ambiance and theme. This $1.8 billion hotel and casino is filled to the brim with class and elegance, and is actually the largest LEED certified building in the United States.

20- Paris

It’s hard to miss Paris when you fly into Vegas—it’s the only hotel with a replica of the Eiffel Tower (it’s only half the size of the original). Paris boasts Vegas’ first rooftop bar and grill, and it is a doozy—over 10,000 square feet of deck overlooking the rest of the strip.

21- Park MGM

Formerly the well-known Monte Carlo Resort and Casino, Park MGM isn’t quite the MGM Grand, but it still managed to snag Britney Spears for her residency.

22- Planet Hollywood

In what used to be the Aladdin hotel and casino, Planet Hollywood features an incredible concert hall in Zappos Theatre, was home to another of Britney Spears’ residency shows, and boasts 2,000+ rooms.

23- Sahara

One of the few original icons left on the strip from the 1950s (though the building has been renovated extensively since then), Sahara has an incredible, storied, and sometimes-shifty history that has brought it all the way through to the modern day. From Tony Bennett and Johnny Carson to George Carlin and Dean Martin, this place has seen them all.

24- Stratosphere

They call it Stratosphere for a reason—Stratosphere Tower is the tallest freestanding observation tower in the country. The hotel itself boasts over 2,000 rooms and can be found at the end of the strip.

25- Treasure Island

Tired of knights and modern cities? They take a trip down to Treasure Island matey! In addition to all the nautical themed sights and sounds, you’ll also find the only Cirque du Soleil show that’s not affiliated with MGM.

26- Tropicana

The Tropicana is another staple of Las Vegas history and was built in 1955. Today you’ll find entertainment and amenities galore, including the world-famous Laugh Factory comedy club.

27- The Venetian

As the name suggests, The Venetian is based on Venice, Italy and is right next to The Palazzo. Inside, you’ll find architecture and design reminiscent of Renaissance Italy.

28- Wynn

Wynn is a $2.7 billion behemoth is named after the famous developer Steve Wynn and is considered one of the finest hotels in the entire world.

Exterior of the Wynn Las Vegas

Inside you’ll find plenty of award-winning shows and incredible attractions, including a 3-acre lake.

Conclusion

That’s all of them! The strip is well-known as the place to go in Vegas, but the name doesn’t indicate just how many options you really have. The reality is that you can probably find a resort on the strip to suit just about any fancy you can dream up.

Have you stayed at more than a few of these iconic hotels and casinos? Tell us which one is your favorite and why in the comments!

Limit Hold’em vs. No Limit Hold’em

Pair of Kings With a Poker Chip Background

If you play Limit Hold’em the same way you play No Limit Hold’em (or vice versa), you’ll lose money. The gameplay is the same in both versions of the game. You still get two hole cards, there’s still a three-card flop, a turn, and a river.

But other than gameplay details, they’re almost like two totally different games. In fact, you can be a great no limit player and a lousy limit player at the same time, and vice versa.

In this post, I look at some of the differences between Limit Hold’em and No Limit Hold’em.

1 – You Shouldn’t Limp in Limit, But It’s a Good Move in No Limit Games

If no one else has gotten involved in a pot in a Limit Hold’em game, it’s almost never correct to limp.  But some of the best no limit players in the world often limp.

If you want to be good at No Limit Hold’em, you must change speeds and be unpredictable. Limping when you’re the first one in the pot in a no limit game is a good way to keep your opponents guessing.

Some of the best no limit players in the world sometimes limp with premium hands like pocket aces but also limp with suited connectors like 8/9 suited.

Also, in limit, if you limp and someone else raises, the most aggressive move you can make is to re-raise. This only serves to increase the size of the pot. And for the rest of the hand, you’re out of position.

In no limit, though, you can limp in, get raised, and re-raise any amount you like up to the total number of chips in front of you. You can use this tactic to trap your opponents when you have a huge pair like aces.

In the poker book Super/System, Doyle Brunson suggests limping with pocket aces from early position in the hope that someone will raise you. When they do, you can re-raise all-in.

Finally, if you do some research into the concept of implied odds, it will become obvious why limping can make more sense in a no limit game. The potential of doubling through in no limit is much bigger than it is in a limit game.

2 – Drawing Hands Are Played Differently in No Limit Hold’em

In a limit game, you might get into the flop cheap with a big ace and a suited smaller card. Let’s say you have five opponents in the pot with you. On the flop, you get two more cards of the same suit, so you have four cards to a flush.

And in a limit game, if everyone checks, it would be the right move to bet this hand. If everyone folds, you win the pot. If not, you get more money in the pot with a good probability of hitting a big hand.

Pocket Aces Holdem Hand

But in a no limit game, a lot of deceptive players might check-raise in this situation, which makes a bet from you unprofitable. Making a bet or a raise with a flush draw can turn into a bad calling situation in a heartbeat.

Your goal is to force your opponents to make hard decisions. Don’t put yourself in a situation where YOU have to make a hard decision.

3 – The Size of Your Chip Stack Makes More of a Difference in a No Limit Game

In the example above, you might be okay with committing to a hand like this with a short stack. You can go all in or make a small bet on the flop when everyone checks to you.

Either way, you have a good probably of doubling up here. If you get multiple callers, you might even triple the size of your stack.

I experienced this phenomenon just last night. I’d lost 80% of my initial stack in my first hour of play, but I went all in with a short stack and hit my flush on the river. Since I had two callers, I got paid off.

And I still had some money in my overall bankroll to try a different table if I lost my entire bankroll.

In fact, one of my opponents went all in with me three different times and lost every time before I left the table. Since he’d taken most of my chips earlier in the session, I felt great about this.

4 – It’s Harder to Protect Your Hand in a Limit Hold’em Game

If you get a big hand preflop in no limit, you can make bigger bets and raises to protect your hand. You can make these bets and raises both preflop and on the flop. And you should protect your hand.

Don’t let your opponents draw out on you unless they’re willing to pay for it. You protect your hand with a simple move, too. You just place big bets and make big raises.

Trapping opponents can be fun and satisfying, but protecting your hand in No Limit Hold’em should be an integral part of your strategy at the No Limit Hold’em table.

5 – Implied Odds Are More Important in No Limit Hold’em

I mentioned implied odds earlier, but here’s a more detailed explanation.

Implied odds look at the ratio of what you can win accounting for the chips you can on later betting rounds in addition to the chips in the pot right now.

Since players can make bigger bets and raises at any point in a no limit Hold’em game, the implied odds are always better in No Limit Hold’em than they are in Limit Hold’em, where the sizes of the bets and raises are limited.

This applies to tournaments, too. Many players are super tight in the early rounds of a no limit tournament, but keep in mind that you can see a lot of cheap flops with the intention of doubling your stack when you hit.

6 – Math Is Arguably More Important in Limit Hold’em Than in No Limit Hold’em

If you can’t calculate implied odds and pot odds accurately in limit Hold’em, you’re in trouble. On the other hand, that math is still important in no limit, but it’s arguably less important than reading other players and mixing up your play.

For example, in a no limit game, it’s probably a good idea to fold even an open straight draw in a no limit game. If you do play a drawing hand like that in no limit, it’s a good idea to try to steal the pot early with it by semi-bluffing.

On the other hand, because of the limited amount of exposure you have to your bankroll in a limit game, it makes sense to call down to the river with an open straight draw, but only if you have multiple other players in the hand.

The main thing to remember in Limit Hold’em is that you’ll fold less often. This is because raises increase the cost to you to play linearly in Limit Hold’em.

In No Limit Hold’em, the risk increases exponentially because of the much larger bets and raises you’ll face in a no limit game.

7 – Lower Value Starting Hands Increase in Value in a Limit Game

In a No Limit game, preflop, the big pairs are important because of the potential to get so much money in the pot with the best of it. Most pots in a no limit game are fought out between two or three players.

In limit Hold’em, though, it’s cheaper to get into the flop and easier to get out of the hand, so you’ll see more players per pot.

Closeup of a Poker Table Holdem Game

This means that it makes sense to play drawing hands more often. It’s cheap to get in, and since you have multiple opponents putting money into the pot, you’ll be more likely to get paid off when your hand hits.

Suited connectors are a better deal for you in Limit Hold’em than they are in No Limit Hold’em, unless you can get into the pot dirt cheap before the flop with them. And that’s unusual in no limit.

Conclusion

When it comes to playing real money Texas holdem, limit and no limit are two entirely different games, even though the mechanics of play are basically the same.

The strategic adjustments you need to make to succeed at one over the other are dramatic and shouldn’t be underestimated.

You can find books that cover Limit Hold’em as a separate subject from No Limit Hold’em.

You should read such books and put into practice what you’ve learned from them.

Will You Be Arrested for Gambling With a VPN?

Laptop With VPN Software With an Online Casino Background

Many countries have legalized online gambling in recent years. They seek to capitalize on online casino, poker, and sports betting revenue, rather than having this money go to offshore sites.

Legal internet gambling lets you play within the comforts of a regulated market that’s backed by the law. The downside, though, is that countries typically require you to be within their borders to enjoy their betting and gaming sites.

Some players get around this issue by using a virtual private network (VPN). The latter makes it appear as if you’re located in the relevant gambling market—even when you’re actually in another state/country.

For example, you could play at a UK-facing online casino when you’re in Canada. Yet, the VPN would make it appear that you’re in the UK.

You’re technically breaking the law in this situation. I’ll discuss whether you risk getting arrested when gambling with a VPN later on in this post.

What Is a Virtual Private Network?

The term virtual private network may conjure up images of somebody using the dark net or scamming others while remaining anonymous.

The truth, though, is that a VPN isn’t nefarious by nature. Instead, it offers practical uses to those who fear being cybercrime victims or just want more privacy.

Cybercrimes can consist of anything from identity theft to stolen banking details. Such instances are costly and/or highly inconvenient to remedy.

You can reduce the chances of being a victim of cybercrime through:

  • Creating long and detailed passwords.
  • Updating security settings on various sites (e.g. Facebook).
  • Avoiding giving out information to sketchy websites or apps.
  • Using a VPN.

None of these methods guarantee that you’ll avoid being victimized by hackers and cyber criminals. However, each extra option you use boosts the chances of staying safe on the internet.

A VPN is arguably the best way to ensure that you can safely browse the net and use online services. It encrypts your data and adds an extra layer of protection to your identity.

Closeup of Computer Text That Reads 'Security'

Normally, you access the internet directly through your PC or smartphone. This connection is fast, but it’s also not very secure and can easily be traced back to you.

With a VPN, you’re accessing the internet through a server in a different city and/or country. The VPN connection is like having a special barrier built around your connection to keep hackers away.

The remote server accesses the internet on your behalf. Therefore, your data stays secure and you appear to be located wherever the server is housed.

Why Do Gamblers Use VPNs?

Corporations became the first adopters of virtual private networks. They used VPNs to protect sensitive information that they sent over public and private networks.

However, virtual private networks eventually became much more popular and drew public interest too. Nowadays, many people rely on VPNs for personal use—including gamblers.

Your reasons for VPN gambling may vary. Perhaps you just want to keep your data secure no matter if you’re using an online sportsbook or shopping through Amazon.

But most gamblers look to VPNs when they want to play on a site that they can’t normally access. For example, you may want to play Mega Moolah slots but can’t this famed progressive online slot in your country.

Normally, you’d have no chance to play Mega Moolah under such circumstances. A VPN, though, lets you appear as if you’re in a country that can enjoy Mega Moolah.

Online poker players are big proponents of VPNs. Some gamblers can’t access major sites like PokerStars and GGPoker and play in the largest online tournaments.

For instance, Americans are barred from playing at PokerStars (except for New Jersey). They either need to travel to Canada or Mexico, or use a VPN to play at Stars.

But with a VPN, they don’t need to travel anywhere. Instead, they can still play at Stars by masking their location.

Is a VPN Legal?

Most governments allow you to legally use a virtual private network. However, this situation varies from country to country.

Certain nations flat-out ban residents and visitors from using a VPN. Belarus, China, North Korea, Oman, and Russia are among the countries on this list.

Other places merely have censorship laws that affect internet usage. While these laws don’t explicitly outlaw VPNs, they make using one a dicey prospect.

Penalties for illegally using a virtual private network also differ. One country might only fine a perpetrator, while another will jail the person for 30 days or longer.

You might think that the idea of punishing people for using VPNs is akin to Nazi Germany. However, most states and nations implement these laws to reduce criminal and terrorist activity—not to harass a few online gamblers.

Certain countries, such as the US, allow citizens to legally use a virtual private network. However, they can arrest those who use VPNs to commit acts that wouldn’t be possible with basic internet usage.

Examples of the latter include:

  • Cyberstalking
  • Downloading and selling copyrighted material
  • Gambling online where doing so is illegal
  • Hacking into private networks

You might think that it’s possible to commit such criminal acts without consequences. However, some VPN providers note that they’re obligated to report suspected illegal behavior to the authorities.

They probably won’t report you just for playing at a real money online casino or poker site illegally. But the possibility does at least exist.

Is It Possible to Legally Gamble with a VPN?

You aren’t necessarily breaking the law just by accessing a gambling site through a virtual private network. Remember, VPNs have general uses too.

Maybe you want to play at sites that are legally available to you—just with the added protection of a VPN. You’re certainly entitled to use a virtual private network in such cases.

The key lies in what manner you use VPNs. You must check the laws in your respective state/country along with those in the online jurisdiction where you wish to play.

France, for example, features a nationally regulated internet gambling market. You can’t legally access French internet casinos if you’re in Brazil.

Likewise, you aren’t allowed to use a VPN for any purpose when located in Russia. This country bans virtual private networks no matter what you’re doing.

What Happens If a Gambling Site Catches You Illegally Using a VPN?

Now, on to the main question of this post: will you be arrested if you’re caught illegally gambling with a virtual private network?

The answer is almost assuredly no. You technically risk arrest when:

  1. Using such services are illegal.
  2. You’re gambling remotely in a market that’s restricted to you.

If you break the law, anything is possible based on whatever jurisdiction you’re in. North Korea, for example, is more likely to take serious action against VPN violators than the UK.

Generally speaking, though, you stand little chance of being arrested for illegal VPN gambling. Most law enforcement agencies have better things to do than charge people who are violating online poker laws.

The main thing you need to worry about is the sites themselves. Gambling sites usually mention in their terms and conditions that they have the right to confiscate winnings and even your bankroll under special circumstances.

Assuming you use a VPN to circumvent their blockers on certain countries, you’ll undoubtedly violate their T&Cs. Furthermore, you stand a high chance of losing your winnings as a result.

Is It Worth Gambling with a Virtual Private Network?

Ideally, you’ll be able to play at the best online casinos you want to without needing to mask your location. But this scenario isn’t always possible.

That said, you must weigh the pros and cons before choosing to gamble illegally with a virtual private network.

The main benefit is that you can enjoy the world’s best gambling sites regardless of where you’re located. This aspect is comforting when you live in a country like the US, which doesn’t have access to many premier internet gaming markets.

Closeup of Hand on a Computer Mouse Next to Keyboard and Coffee

Another advantage involves the general perks to VPNs. You can enjoy more privacy and a securer connection through these services.

Luckily, you don’t normally need to worry about being arrested even when gambling illegally with a VPN. Few states or countries bother themselves with such matters.

The biggest downside, though, is that you could lose your winnings and entire bankroll. Every gambling site features T&Cs that give them the right to confiscate your money under specific circumstances.

Illegal VPN betting definitely falls under this definition. You may get lucky and never get caught. However, illegal VPN usage is easier to spot if you win a real money slots jackpot, sports bet, or poker tournament.

Conclusion

The good news is that you’ll almost certainly avoid legal repercussions when using a VPN to place illegal bets. However, you could lose all of your money on the relevant site if caught.

The ideal scenario is to stick with online sportsbooks, poker rooms, and casinos that are legal in your country. This way, you don’t need to mask your location just to gamble.

Of course, you can still brave the waters and use a virtual private network to play in other markets. You just need to be comfortable with the risk in case a gambling site does somehow discover that you’re gambling illegally.

How to Bet on Sports Like Billy Walters

Billy Walters With a Sports Betting Background

Billy Walters is a Las Vegas sports betting icon whose name alone strikes fear in bookmakers. Over the course of 4 decades in professional gambling, he did not have a single year of loss and claimed to be a lifelong 57% winner on his sports bet.

It was more hard work and a successful system that contributed to his success rather than luck.

Of course, he did have his down days before he turned into a professional gambler. It was at the age of 35, ever typical pathological gambler and having gone broke 15 times, before he decided to focus on professional gambling.

The turning point of his career was when he joined the Computer Group. Formed in 1980, they strive to beat bookmakers with the use of computers. The Computer Group calculated the proper spread of the game and when the line differed from that offered by the bookmakers, an opportunity arose.

Then the Computer Group would launch on all cylinders and win big.

This is basically an application of the expected return, with the system looking for lines that are above the fair odds. It is also a form of value betting that is in play today by countless professional sports bettors.

He left the group a few years later and started gambling on his own, with the help of consultants, mathematicians, weather experts and even injury specialists and has achieved huge successes.

System

A 40-year winning streak is almost unheard of in the gambling industry, but this amazing feat helped Billy Walters become a Las Vegas legend.

Walters’ hundreds of millions of winnings have enabled him to build an empire that includes multiple mansions, golf courses, hotels, property development, car dealerships, a $20 million private jet and various other business holdings.

He is currently serving a prison term for securities fraud, but that shouldn’t detract from his remarkable success in the betting world. In fact, Walters has been described as the Michael Jordan of the sports betting world. More than one Las Vegas sportsbook oddsmaker has dubbed Walters; “the most dangerous sports bettor in history.”

How’d he go from flat broke to such opulence?

Let’s take a look at 3 principles to his system for making millions. I’ll follow that up with his 10 best practices.

Information Is King

Many sports betting gamblers place their bets without sufficient information on the teams they are betting on. For myself, I could hardly name any players of the team that I wagered on.

As a result, there were times when I missed out on crucial information that will change my judgment on the bet, e.g. team line-up, motivation to win, etc.

Even with a good mathematical system, Walters takes into consideration qualitative factors when making his decisions to bet.

The Importance of Odds

It is not enough to feel that one team will be the winning team.

Another question to ask is if the odds are high enough to reflect the probability of winning?

View of a Busy Sportsbook

For a gambler who is relatively good at predicting the winning team (around 51-53 winning percentage), betting at unfavorable odds will still result in overall loss in the long run.

It Is Possible to Win in Gambling

It is impossible for anyone to win for 30 years consecutively based on luck itself. Billy Walters has proved that there are systems that can beat the house and his 7 properties and private jet are probably the best evidence of it.

1 – No Ramen Recipe

Billy Walters didn’t succeed right from day one, in fact he went broke many times. As a younger man he described himself as a gambling addict and compulsive loser.

The hard lessons from losing are a very common experience amongst gamblers who ultimately become very successful.

“I know what every sucker thinks, because I used to be one. I can assure you that every successful gambler I know has been through some monumental failures on his way to getting there.” – Billy Walters

2 – Intel Beats the House Edge

Walters has surrounded himself with sharp minds and employs an array of experts in the roles of consultants, statisticians, mathematicians and computer programmers to help him compile, analyze and ultimately profit from huge troves of information.

Many years ago Walters even employed people to coordinate with the Las Vegas airport cleaning crew to gather used newspapers from all the incoming flights.

A team of readers would then analyze all of this information that most of the linemakers and general public were not aware of. Or they just chose to flat out ignore the valuable information.

3 – Value Is Everything

My absolute favorite Billy Walters quote is this, “If you value something at ten, then you’re a buyer at 8 and a seller at 12.”

But this concept of value is very different to how most bettors operate. They are more likely to bet on their favorite team and will do so without giving enough thought to whether they’re actually getting good value.

‘Bet odds not teams’ is a well-known but under-appreciated betting maxim.

4 – The Bigger the Value the Bigger the Bet

The Walters team produces their own lines and only bet when they are different to the market. Returns are enhanced by their wagering approach since the bigger the discrepancy (ie. the Expected Value or Positive Expectation), the bigger the bet.

This strategy is in line with a money management approach known as the Kelly Criterion.

Walters has incredible confidence in his own numbers and looks to exploit his advantage the most when that estimated edge is the biggest. But success isn’t about making one big bet.

Walters never lets it all ride on one game, instead he spreads out his bankroll across many games where he has a positive expectation

5 – We’re Not Talking Huge Margins

Simply tossing a coin will get you a 50% record betting against the spread. But to be profitable at the standard odds of -110 you need to be hitting at a 52.4% winning percentage.

Wide View of a Las Vegas Sportsbook

For all of his work and success, Billy Walters winning strike-rate is a measly 57%, but that’s enough of a margin to create a giant edge on the sportsbooks.

The sheer volume of his bets and the ability to optimize his bankroll management has enabled him to amass hundreds of millions in profits.

6 – There Will Be Drawdown

Billy Walters may win every year but he has plenty of losing days, weeks and even losing months along the way. He understands and allows for variance.

Every successful gambler I have come across knows you must take the good with the bad. Billy Walters is no exception to the rule.

7 – Change Is Inevitable, Look for the Constants

The edge that came from reading all the local small-town newspapers died when the internet arrived. That is just one small example of how almost everything evolves.

“I probably had to reinvent myself 25 times in the last 20 years. If I hadn’t re-invented myself, I would have been out of business. That goes for anyone in any business. There’s going to be constant change of any industry you’re in and if you don’t change with it and you don’t change ahead of it, you become like a dinosaur; you become extinct.” – Billy Walters

So Billy Walters evolves his approach to stay ahead of the game, but he still believes that the fundamentals of gambling success remain the same.

“The game of handicapping sports is really the same game as it was 40 or 50 years ago. It’s much more competitive now, and the numbers are much better than they were in the 80s, but it’s still the same game. It still comes down to evaluating information.” – Billy Walters

8 – Don’t Use Technology as a Crutch

A feel for the market is also exceptionally important.

“The computer whiz kids who are involved in sports today don’t have a clue, I mean a clue, about how to bet their money. They don’t have a feel at all for which way the line is going to move. There is a big difference in knowing how to bet and when to bet your money in sports. It is almost as important as handicapping is.” – Billy Walters

9 – Rose Colored Glasses

“A lot of people have a difficult time stepping back and doing a re-valuation and deciding ‘I was wrong’. A lot of people want to continue on in denial until they’re completely broke.” – Billy Walters

10 – Long-Term Winners do Exist

Billy Walters’ success shows that it is actually possible to succeed in the betting world. It’s not easy, but he is living proof that it is definitely possible.

Conclusion

Billy Walters has certainly made his unique mark on not only Las Vegas, but on the gambling world as a whole.

You may never own a casino or even have your own private jet to whisk you away to exotic tropical getaways. However, you are almost certain to increase your wins and be able to take home more than you brought by following Mr. Walters’ philosophy on sports betting. Gamble on.

Why You Should Play The Las Vegas Favorite Omaha Poker at Your Next Home Poker Game

Omaha Poker Home Card Game Mixed Image

Ever since I discovered the great game of No Limit Texas holdem as a college kid, my passion for poker has grown and evolved over the years.

But today, hosting a home poker game has become a point of pride in more ways than one. And out of all the enjoyment I’ve derived as a home game host, perhaps my greatest achievement has been introducing a roomful of recreational poker players to games other than NL Texas holdem.

The de facto game of choice for millions of casual card-playing enthusiasts all over the world, No Limit Texas holdem was dubbed the “Cadillac of Poker” by legendary pro Doyle Brunson for a reason.

The hole card/community card dynamic challenges players to read their opponents and deduce their possible holdings based on wide variety of factors, including chip stack size, previous actions, board texture, and physical mannerisms.

With that said, the poker family tree has so much more to offer than a single variation on the game. No Limit Texas holdem may be the fan favorite these days, but our grandparents came up playing Seven-Card Stud and draw-based variants like Lowball and 2-7 Triple Draw. Over time, Limit Texas holdem with its capped betting structure largely replaced Stud and Draw games before being replaced by the more action-packed No Limit alternative.

These days, serious poker players test their skills in the “mixed game” format, which covers a long lineup of poker variants, each which can vary wildly in terms of gameplay and strategic considerations.

Over the years, I’ve had a ton of fun teaching my home game guests how to play non-holdem forms of poker, and something tells me you will, too.

On that note, check out the list below to learn about the form of poker known as “Omaha.” It has become extremely popular in Las Vegas of late, which is perfect for your next home game.

Pot Limit Omaha (PLO)

The perfect starting point from which to expand your home poker game’s horizons is Pot Limit Omaha.

This game is nothing more than Texas holdem with two deceptively simple twists.

First of all, you get four hole cards to form your starting hand before the flop, turn, and river community cards are dealt out. At any point in the hand, you can use any two of those four hole cards to form five-card poker hands in conjunction with the board.

And secondly, the Pot Limit betting structure caps your next bet at the current size of the pot. Thus, when the pot holds $25 and you feel like firing out a continuation bet on the flop, you can wager anywhere between the table minimum and $25. From there, somebody who wants to raise could “pot it” up to $75 ($25 in the pot + $25 bet + $25 assumed call).

The best part about Pot Limit Omaha is how it builds off the foundation established by Texas holdem. If your players know how to do the two-card tango, branching out to play four hole cards during the hand doesn’t take a ton of heavy mental lifting.

Let’s run through an example hand so you get the idea. On this hand, you’ve been dealt the As-Ks-6h-6c as your starting hand. This is an easy one to grasp for holdem players because you essentially have two different powerful starting hands from that game: A-K (also known as “big slick”) and a pocket pair of sixes.

After the flop comes 10-J-Q, your A-K can be used to form the “nut” hand on this flop, a Boradway straight from 10-J-Q-K-A. But should the turn deliver a six, and the river pair the board with another 10, you’d now play the pocket sixes to form an even better hand—a full house with sixes over 10s.

Closeup of a Omaha Poker Hand

Part of the fun involved in Pot Limit Omaha is derived from this ability to swap different pieces of your four-card starting hand in and out as the board evolves. Putting an opponent on a certain hand in Texas holdem isn’t really all that difficult in many situations, but the task becomes incredibly challenging when four cards are added to the equation.

On a final note, Pot Limit Omaha is known for generating tons of action and huge pots for just that reason. You’ll usually have something to work with after the flop, whether it be a made hand or a strong drawing possibility. And thanks to the Pot Limit betting system, most players will see a flop because the price of poker only goes up on later streets.

Omaha Hi-Lo Eight or Better (O-E)

Once you’ve mastered how to play Pot Limit Omaha in its standard format, the next logical step is to learn its close cousin Omaha Hi-Lo Eight or Better.

This game uses the same four hole card structure as Pot Limit Omaha, but caps the betting using a standard Limit format ($1/$2; $5/$10; etc.).

The main draw of Omaha Hi-Lo Eight or Better, however, is a split-pot system in which the final showdown can produce two different winners. Essentially, every deal creates the possibility of a high hand being made, but some deals also generate the potential for low hands.

In split-pot poker games, a low hand is exactly what it sounds like—a bad, unconnected string of cards that don’t make any poker hand rankings like a pair, straight, or flush.

Aces are considered low cards for the purpose of low hands, so some of the best low hands you can make are A-2-3-4-6, A-3-4-6-8, etc. As the game’s title suggests, a qualifying low hand must be made up of five cards that all rank 8 or lower. In other words, a hand like A-2-3-4-9 wouldn’t meet the cutoff point, while A-2-3-4-5-8 would.

Closeup of Red White and Blue Poker Chips

And you don’t necessarily need an ace to win the low half of the hand either, as combos like 2-3-4-5-8 or 3-4-5-6-8 work just fine.

The coolest part about Omaha Hi-Lo Eight or Better is how you can use your four hole cards differently to win both halves of the pot. You might connect two high cards to make a flush for the high half, while sliding a lowly 2-3 into the board’s A-2-6 combo for a sweet low hand. This is known as “scooping” the pot, and for poker players in the know, nothing beats a well-timed scoop after several players have capped the betting action.

Head here to

Big O

A relatively new addition to the Omaha world, Big O is simply Pot Limit Omaha with five hole cards instead of four.

Predictably, the action and uncertainty is revved up in a Big O poker game. The best five-card hand wins.

Conclusion

Omaha poker represents the natural evolution from Texas holdem, taking the classic game’s foundation and expanding upon it in more ways than one. If your home game has grown a bit stale over the years, and you’d like to inject a little new blood by playing a new non-holdem variant, you really can’t go wrong with Pot Limit Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo Eight or Better, or Big O.

Is Las Vegas or California Better for Young Poker Players? Part II – Pros and Cons of California

Man at Poker Table With Las Vegas and California Backgrounds

A little while back, this blog broached a touchy subject for young poker players aspiring to go pro in 2019 and beyond—where to set up shop.

Las Vegas is obviously a prime destination for the professional poker community, but increasingly, California provides plenty of viable alternatives. In the first entry in this two-part series, I explored the pros and cons of living in Las Vegas home as a poker pro.

You should definitely start there if you haven’t read the piece already. You’ll learn about elements of the Las Vegas poker scene, such as the diverse collection casino poker rooms, the variants and stakes offered, and the intense level of competition in both the cash game and tournament format.

As you might expect, Las Vegas has long had plenty to offer up-and-coming poker pros, but California holds its own among the modern card player community. Competition is coming from all avenues in the Golden State, with cities like Los Angeles and San Jose emerging as regional poker hotbeds.

Below, you’ll find a full rundown of the pros and cons associated with calling California home when playing poker professionally is your goal.

Pros of Playing in California

This may sound counterintuitive at first, but the best part about playing poker in California is that you’re not in Las Vegas.

Most of us love a good weekend excursion to Sin City, where the cocktails flow freely and every night (and day) is a new party. Visiting the fabulous Las Vegas Strip is a time-honored tradition among gambling enthusiasts, but the key word in there is “visiting.”

As anybody who has ever experienced an extended stay in Las Vegas can attest, actually living there full time wouldn’t be nearly as much fun as a short-term stay.

Between the oppressive heat of the summer months, a dilapidated infrastructure system outside of the tourism hotspots, and premium pricing on everything from parking spots to a slice of pizza, living in Las Vegas isn’t for everyone.

California, by comparison, is nothing short of paradise… Temperate weather, beaches galore, and affordable living outside of the major cities makes the perfect place for aspiring poker pros to launch their career.

Commerce Casino Exterior

To do so, you’ll likely establish your base camp at either the Commerce Casino or Live at the Bike. This pair of iconic venues is head and shoulders above the local California competition in every respect and compared to many Las Vegas card rooms as well.

Consider this, the largest poker rooms in Sin City are the Bellagio and the Venetian, each sporting 37 tables to choose from.

But at the Commerce, poker fans have an astounding 210 tables on hand, creating the largest poker room on the planet. And with that staggering capacity, Commerce is able to offer one of the most diverse collection of cash game stakes and variants you’ll ever see.

Don’t take my word for it though, just check out the immense Commerce poker room board:

Cash Games Offered at the Commerce Casino Poker Room

$1/$2 No limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $40 to $40
  • Runs: Always

$2/$3 No limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $100 to $100
  • Runs: Always

$5/$5 No limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $300 to $500
  • Runs: Always

$3/$5 No limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $200 to $200
  • Runs: Always

$5/$10 No limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $500 to $1,500
  • Runs: Always

$10/$20 No limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $600 to No Max
  • Runs: Always

$20/$40 No limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $2,000 to No Max
  • Runs: Usually one table

$1/$2 Pot Limit Omaha Hi

  • Buy-in: $100 to $400
  • Runs: Usually one table

$5/$5 Pot Limit Omaha Hi

  • Buy-in: $500 to $1,500
  • Runs: Always

$10/$20 Pot Limit Omaha Hi

  • Buy-in: $1,000 to No Max
  • Runs: Usually one table

$25/$50 Pot Limit Omaha Hi

  • Buy-in: $4,000 to No Max
  • Runs: Occasionally

$2/$4 Limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $20 to No Max
  • Runs: Always
$3/$6 Limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $30 to No Max
  • Runs: Always

$4/$8 Stud

  • Buy-in: $40 to No Max
  • Runs: Always

$4/$8 Limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $40 to No Max
  • Runs: Always

$4/$8 Limit Big O – 5 Card Omaha

  • Buy-in: $40 to No Max
  • Runs: One or two tables

$8/$16 Limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $80 to No Max
  • Runs: Always

$20/$40 Stud

  • Buy-in: $200 to No Max
  • Runs: Usually one table

$20/$40 Limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $200 to No Max
  • Runs: Always

$40/$80 Limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $400 to No Max
  • Runs: One or two tables

$60/$120 Limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $600 to No Max
  • Runs: Usually one table

$100/$200 Limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $1,000 to No Max
  • Runs: Occasionally

$200/$400 Mixed

  • Buy-in: $2,000 to No Max
  • Runs: Occasionally

$400/$800 Mixed

  • Buy-in: $4,000 to No Max
  • Runs: Occasionally



With literally hundreds of tables on hand, Commerce players never lack for real money poker options or suffer long waits for an open seat.

The Bike is no slouch either, what with 185 tables on the premises spreading the following cash game lineup.

Cash Games Offered at the Bicycle Casino Poker Room

$1/$2 No limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $40 to $60
  • Runs: Always

$2/$3 No limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $100 to $300
  • Runs: Always

$1/$3 No limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $80 to $120
  • Runs: Always

$5/$5 No limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $300 to $1,000
  • Runs: One or two tables

$5/$10 No limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $1,000 to No Max
  • Runs: One or two tables

$5/$5 Pot Limit Omaha Hi

  • Buy-in: $500 to No Max
  • Runs: 2 times per week

$1/$2 Stud 8/b

  • Buy-in: $10 to No Max
  • Runs: Every morning

$2/$4 Limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $20 to No Max
  • Runs: Always

$2/$4 Stud

  • Buy-in: $20 to No Max
  • Runs: Occasionally
$4/$8 Limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $40 to No Max
  • Runs: Always

$4/$8 Limit Omaha 8/b

  • Buy-in: $40 to No Max
  • Runs: One or two tables

$6/$12 Limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $60 to No Max
  • Runs: Always

$8/$16 Limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $80 to No Max
  • Runs: Always

$12/$24 Limit holdem/Omaha

  • Buy-in: $120 to No Max
  • Runs: Always

$20/$40 Limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $200 to No Max
  • Runs: Always

$20/$40 Mixed

  • Buy-in: $200 to No Max
  • Runs: Occasionally

$40/$80 Limit holdem

  • Buy-in: $400 to No Max
  • Runs: One or two tables



As you can see, cash game players aren’t limited in any way by making the move from Las Vegas to CA. In fact, with such an abundance of non-Texas holdem tables, players who prefer variants like Seven Card Stud, Pot Limit Omaha, or the Hi-Lo Eight or Better versions are much better served by camping out in California card rooms.

On another note, this section focused primarily on the LA poker scene, but California is home to hundreds of casinos and card rooms from San Diego to Sacramento. These include both commercial and tribal venues, so no matter where you decide to settle in America’s largest state, you’ll always be a stone’s throw away from a casino.

Cons of Playing in California

If you’re not a fan of traffic jams and smog, living in LA might not be up your alley, so let’s just get that out of the way right here and now.

Tinsel Town is a rare breed of urban sprawl, one which puts the hustle and bustle of the Strip to shame. Thus, many players who hail from small towns find that they prefer the suburbs of Las Vegas to the LA cityscape.

On a more poker-centric note, playing as a pro in California means you’ll be paying state income taxes, while Nevada has no state income tax whatsoever. Even worse, a local lawmaker is looking to eliminate tax deductions on gambling losses in the Golden State, which would only add to the financial burden faced by poker pros there.

Los Angeles Downtown Skyline

Another drawback to playing poker in California is the heightened competition bred by the condensed nature of the local industry. With the biggest and best games held at just two casinos in LA, the brightest poker minds in the state all call the same tables home.

In Las Vegas, meanwhile, a young pro building his bankroll can head to off-Strip casinos to grind against tourists. Similarly, the best local pros in Las Vegas are more spread out, thanks to so many top-notch poker rooms like the Venetian, the Bellagio, the Aria, Caesars Palace, the Orleans, and many more.

Conclusion

Deciding to embark on the adventure of a lifetime by committing to professional poker is already a tough enough decision, and choosing between Las Vegas and California only makes it tougher.

Hopefully, this two-part guide to making that choice helps you consider both regions from an objective vantage point. But whether you choose Sin City or the sunny climes of California, give this gamble your very best effort, and I hope to see you succeed in your new career as a poker pro!

4 Ways Weather Can Affect YOUR Baseball Bet

Baseball With a Lightning Strike Behind It

Historically, baseball is a game associated with time spent outside, and baseball handicappers have long tried to adjust for the weather’s impact on a game, whether it’s rain, wind, or temperature variations.

While many games are played indoors, baseball was played outdoors for most of its history.

Baseball was played on real grass, with dirt and sunny skies overhead, for the 19th and most of the 20th century. The sport is known for outfielders squinting in the sun as a fly ball approaches, glove shielding their eyes, and feet planted firmly in the grass.

Scenes like players kicking dirt around the batter’s box as they adjust to their new home for the next at-bat, pitchers digging into the mound just in front of the pitching rubber, and player’s pounding their fists into their gloves as they prepare for the next batter in the outfield have defined baseball for generations.

And for the most part that’s still true.

Outdoors, Domed, or Retractable Roof?

Youth league, high school, and college baseball are still predominantly played outside. From youngsters to aspiring professional baseball players at the highest level, youth and amateur baseball are played outside the same way they’ve always been, with the wind knocking fly balls down and sunny skies overhead.

Even minor league stadiums, including AAA, AA, High A, Low A, Rookie League, and other leagues, are still outdoors for the most part. Players are still blinded by the sun and rely on their sunglasses, eye black, and gloves to track fly balls coming their way.

The Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) has only one domed stadium, the Gocheok Sky Dome. Opening in 2015, the stadium offers a unique version of baseball in South Korea where players are protected from the elements and weather can’t affect the spin or flight of the baseball.

MLB Nationals Stadium Weather Warning Screen

Five of the 12 stadiums in Japan’s professional league are domed. Located in Tokorozawa, Saitama, the MetLife Dome is unique compared to other domed stadiums. It lacks external walls and only has a roof. The stadium is covered overhead but still permits air to circulate from outside the stadium.

The stadium doesn’t suffer from rainouts, but the wind can still play a role at MetLife. When voting on Seibu Lions games, bettors must be aware of this dome’s unique features.

Lastly, MLB has the most retractable roof or dome stadiums out of any professional league. Eight MLB stadiums have either retractable roofs or a dome, preventing rainouts. However, games in the seven retractable roof stadiums can still be affected by wind, humidity, or other weather factors when the roof is open.

1 – Wind Matters

Wind can play a huge role in the outcome of an MLB game. Wind can knock down fly balls, turning a homer into a fly out, or give a fly ball just enough hang time to turn into a cheap homer down the right-field line.

While wind plays a factor in every game, baseball games are not played on wide-open fields, so the wind doesn’t always affect games the way you’d expect.

Major League fields are surrounded by all sorts of features that can affect the course of the wind. In addition to constants like bleachers, seating, and concourses, every stadium has unique aspects of its architecture that can redirect the wind, creating jet streams.

Former Rangers ballpark, Globe Life Park, is one example. The stadium was famous for its jetstream, which combined with the hot, dry Texas air, turned the ballpark into a launching pad for hitters.

The park was the most hitter-friendly park out of all 30 stadiums twice from 2001 to 2012, according to ESPN. How hitter-friendly a park is can be determined by comparing the average number of runs scored by all teams at one park to another, and the Rangers home park consistently graded as a great place to hit.

The jet stream was formed by Texas wind blowing in from the south into right field, swirling around home plate, and blowing back out towards right-center. The wind gave fly balls an extra boost at Globe Life Park for years, turning the park into a hitter’s paradise.

If you’re looking to make a baseball bet, research the wind conditions of the park you’re betting at. If the wind is coming from the right direction strongly enough, you may be able to make a value bet on the over.

2 – Fly Ball Pitchers’ Success Varies

While the wind can affect any hitter, it also has an effect on pitchers, too. While some pitchers throw what’s known as a sinker or two-seamer to induce ground balls, other pitchers—known as fly ball pitchers—live and die by the way the wind is blowing when they take the mound.

Examples of fly ball pitchers include Chris Young and Marco Estrada.

Chris Young has had an up and down career to be sure. Drafted by the Pirates in the third round of the 2000 MLB draft, Young found good success once traded to the Rangers. Through the first four years of his career, playing two for the Rangers and two for the Padres, Young recorded a 3.68 ERA.

Unfortunately, his career had a dip. From 2008 to 2014, he was below replacement-level. He also missed the 2013 season entirely.

Luckily, the fly ball pitcher had a late-career resurgence. He pitched to the tune of a 3.06 ERA for the 2015 Kansas City Royals and helped the team win the World Series that year. He’s been a fly ball pitcher throughout his career and the park he pitches in can play a huge role.

Marco Estrada is another fly ball pitcher. Despite having lower than average strikeout numbers, he was able to carve out a good career by inducing fly balls. Estrada carried a 4.29 career ERA through his 283 starts.

Parks like the Ranger’s Globe Life Park, the Red Sox Fenway Park, and the Rockies Coors Field are all dangerous for fly ball pitchers.

If you see a fly ball pitcher starting in Coors Field, beware. Fly balls turn into home runs at a high rate there, and the park’s conditions can spell disaster for fly ball pitchers.

3 – Weather Affects Over/Under Bets More

Compared to moneyline, run line, and some parlay bets, over/under bets can be very dependent on the weather.

Since both teams are both affected by the weather, moneyline or run line bets won’t have their outcome changed by strong winds or humid conditions. The wind will affect both team’s fly balls the same and decrease or increase runs totals, but won’t necessarily give one team an advantage.

But there are exceptions. If Marco Estrada, a fly ball pitcher, is pitching against a ground ball pitcher like Luis Perdomo, and the wind is blowing out, Perdomo can be a great bet to win in a moneyline or run line bet.

Padres Pitcher Luis Perdomo

Despite this, over/under bets and some prop bets will generally be more affected by weather than moneyline or run line bets will.

Strong winds, dry weather, or hot temperatures can all lead to both teams scoring more runs, giving an over bet a good chance to payout on the right day. If you research the conditions of the field before you bet, you can get an edge on an over/under bet.

Certain prop bets also payout for home runs hit. Again, if the field conditions are right and fly balls are likely to leave the park at a higher rate, prop bets like, “Will Stanton hit a home run by the 5th inning?” can be good value bets.

4 – Humidity and Temperature Changes Ball Paths

Humidity and temperature, like the wind, can both affect the ball’s flight and how the baseball acts in a game. While humidity can change the flight due to the air being thinner or heavier, humidity actually has a stronger effect on the ball itself.

In humid conditions, the baseball is softer and not as bouncy. If you think of a bouncy ball, it has to have a firm but flexible surface to actually bounce. Soft objects, like pillows, don’t bounce at all. Baseballs work the same way. The more humid it is, the softer the baseball is. The softer the baseball is, the less distance it will go.

Chase Field, in Arizona, is so dry that the team has to store baseballs in a humidor to level the playing field and prevent too many fly balls from turning into home runs. The humidity level of the local weather can have a big impact on how far fly balls will fly that day.

In 2011, Dr. Alan Nathan, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, discovered that for every 15 percentage-point change in humidity, the average home run distance changed by 13.2 feet.

Like the wind, humidity can play a big role in over/under bets. As the weather becomes less humid, fly balls travel further, so consider the under when it’s humid and the over on a drier day.

Conclusion

We hope this information helps you consider a few more factors when you place bets on baseball. How much do you consider the weather when placing baseball bets? Do you have any other useful tips? Let us know in the comments.

7 Mistakes Atlantic City Travelers Make Every Day

Mixed Image of Atlantic City and Casino Interior

Millions of gamblers visit Atlantic City every year to see the sights on the boardwalk and take their chances in the casinos. More places in the United States have casinos than ever before, but Atlantic City is still one of the most popular gambling destinations.

If you’re planning a trip to Atlantic City, you need to plan a few things before you leave. Here are seven mistakes that Atlantic City gamblers make all of the time and how to avoid them.

1 – Drink Too Much

This advice is good for all gamblers, but many casinos in Atlantic City still offer free drinks so it’s especially important to take note here. Casinos want gamblers to drink as much as possible, because when people drink, they have poorer judgment and tend to lose more.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t drink at all when you gamble, but you need to be aware that when you drink too much, the odds that you’re going to lose more money than you intended are much higher.

I don’t drink, so this isn’t something that I have to keep track of, but I see other gamblers drinking too much every time I go to the casino, and I see how much this costs most of them.

Wavy Image of Alcohol Bottles

I play a great deal of poker, and when many of my opponents are drinking heavily, it makes it easier to win. Keep this in mind when you travel to Atlantic City. You don’t want to make the mistake of drinking too much and losing more than you can afford.

2 – Spending All Their Time in the Casinos

Honestly, the only reason why I get on a plane or a bus to travel to Atlantic City is to gamble. If I’m not going to gamble, I don’t bother with the hassle of traveling. I can find plenty of good entertainment options closer to home.

But I also don’t spend all of my time gambling when I go to Atlantic City. You can find many different entertainment options and plenty of good places to eat. The boardwalk is filled with interesting attractions and sights, and even if you’re main plan is to hit the casinos, you should still take a walk to check out a few things.

You can plan your trip by reading about things that might interest you before you go to Atlantic City or simply plan some free time when you can look around. Don’t spend every minute in Atlantic City playing at the casino. You don’t know what you might be missing if you do.

3 – The Slot Machine Trance

I enjoy walking through casinos to see the people gambling. Some of them are laughing and cheering around the craps table, but some of them fall into what I call the “slot machine trance.” They’re sitting in front of a slot machine with a blank stare, and they keep hitting the same button to spin the reels again.

Atlantic City is the same as most gambling destinations. Every casino is filled to the brim with slot machines. That’s because slots are big money makers for casinos, and they want their machines to be occupied by people in the slot machine trance as much as possible. This is how they make the most money.

Women Playing Slot Machines

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with playing the slots. You can definitely find games that have a lower house edge throughout the casino, but a lot of gamblers love the slots and don’t really want to play anything else. And that’s fine, as long as you don’t allow yourself to fall into the slot machine trance.

Set a timer on your phone, and walk around every 30 minutes or so. This is good for your physical health and helps you avoid becoming mesmerized by the spinning reels. When you fall into the slot machine trance, you can play for hours without realizing how much money you’re losing.

4 – Not Staying Hydrated

People tend to think of dehydration in terms of someone going without water for so long that they die or end up in the hospital. While both of these things can happen, you can also suffer from other levels of dehydration that aren’t quite as serious but still have negative effects.

The casino environment is one of the worst places you can be. In Atlantic City, you’re so close to the ocean and all of the saltwater, and most people who don’t live on the ocean aren’t used to the atmosphere.

Glass of Water With a City Background

It’s easy to have another beer or mixed drink or grab an iced tea while you’re in the casino, but none of these things help you stay hydrated. Drinks like soda have other ingredients in them, and the water content isn’t the same as drinking straight H20. Most sodas have so much sugar and salt in them that it nearly negates the water content.

Make sure you’re drinking enough water on every day on your trip. Even if you have to make a schedule to drink water, it’s worth your time.

5 – Ignoring Comps Programs

I’m a big believer in getting every perk and casino comp that I can. Casinos are set up to take as much money from me as possible, so I want to get as much back as possible. It doesn’t matter if I’m only going to play at a casino one time, I want comps.

The only way to earn comps at a casino is to sign up for the player’s club, or whatever they call it in the particular casino where you are. Even if you only plan to be in Atlantic City for a few days, you should sign up for comps everywhere you play.

Always check with the player’s desk when you’re done playing to see what you’ve earned. If you haven’t earned enough for a free meal or something similar, tell them you’re leaving and ask if they can give you something anyway. The worst they can do is say “no.”

6 – Playing at 6:5 Blackjack Tables

Atlantic City is a good place to play real money blackjack, and many gamblers go for just this reason. But Atlantic City is just like other gambling destinations in that they’re trying to sneak more tables in that only pay 6:5 on a blackjack. Traditionally, blackjack tables pay 3:2.

It might not seem like a big deal, because 6:5 sounds like it’s not too far below 3:2. But once you consider the numbers, you can see why you should never play at a blackjack table that only pays 6:5.

If you bet $20 and get a blackjack at a table that pays 3:2, you get your $20 bet back and win $30. The same bet on a 6:5 table only pays $24. A $6 difference on a $20 wager is huge. And this difference adds up quickly. If you hit 10 natural blackjacks in a playing session, betting only $20 per hand, you miss out on $60 in profits.

When you’re betting higher amounts, the missed profits are even bigger. Refuse to play blackjack on 6:5 tables in Atlantic City and everywhere else.

7 – Wander off the Boardwalk

If you look up tourist information for Atlantic City, everything looks nice and safe. And the truth is that, as long as you stay on the boardwalk and in the casinos, the city is as safe as most other places. But what you don’t see is what you can get into just a block or two away.

While there are other parts of Atlantic City and the surrounding areas that are fine to visit, I don’t recommend wandering too far from the boardwalk during your visit. You can get into trouble and find yourself in a bad situation if you’re not familiar with your surroundings.

Atlantic City Boardwalk

If you want to see some of the other sights, go with an experienced traveler who’s been to Atlantic City before and knows where to go and where not to go. The good news is there’s plenty enough to do in the casinos in Atlantic City and on the boardwalk. You don’t have to venture far to have a great time.

Conclusion

Atlantic City is still a great place to visit for gamblers. You can choose from several nice casinos, and the boardwalk has some cool places to eat and find entertainment. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, you run the risk of making a mistake that can ruin your entire trip.

The seven mistakes that Atlantic City travelers make every day listed on this page is a good place to learn what you need to avoid. Take these tips into consideration before your next trip and you’re going to avoid things that can ruin your fun.

7 Texas Holdem Concepts That Will Make You a Winner

Image of a Poker Game Mixed With Road and Arrows Graphic

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:

  1. Caro’s Book of Poker Tells by Mike Caro
  2. 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.

Pocket Aces in a Holdem Game

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.

4- Mindfulness

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
  • Selectivity

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.

Closeup of a Poker Players Hands and Chips

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.

Conclusion

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:

  • Tells
  • Bluffs
  • Tilt
  • Mindfulness
  • Categorization
  • Game selection
  • Bankroll management

Other poker writers might have a different set of priorities, but those are mine.

What Online Table Game Jackpots Are Available?

Laptop Playing Let It Ride Poker With Money Background

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.

Caribbean Stud

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

Caribbean Stud Online Screenshot

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

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.

Roulette Royale Screenshot

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.

Conclusion

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.

Top 8 Pizza Places in Atlantic City

Pepperoni Pizza Slice With Atlantic City Background

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.

Pizza From Tony's Baltimore Grill in Atlantic City

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.

Pizza From Famous Famiglia Pizza

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.

Pizza From Pin-Up Pizza in Atlantic City

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.

Sandwich From Chico and Sons in Atlantic City

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.

Conclusion

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.

Why Are Lotteries More Popular Than Casino Games?

Lottery Picker Ticket With a Slots Background

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.

Low Cost

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.

Lottery Scratch Off

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.

Mainstream Acceptance

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.

Lottery Ball Rolling in a Cage

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.

Conclusion

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.

10 Things to Avoid on Your Next Visit to a Casino

Casino Sign and Frustrated Man at a Slot Machine

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?

Winnie the Pooh Character Eeyore

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

Just stop.

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.

Man Taking Money Out of an ATM Machine

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.

Hand Grabbing Dart From a Dart Board

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.

Conclusion

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.

Are Megaclusters Slots the Next Big Thing in Gaming?

Megacluster Online Slot Image

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.

Cluster Pays

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.

Star Clusters Screenshot

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.

Star Clusters Slot Screenshot

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.

Conclusion

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.

Demystifying Full Cover Bets

Closeup of Hand Filling Out a Sports Betting Sheet

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