Casino games are designed to slowly grind away your bankroll. However, your obvious hope is to get luck on your side and win big.
You’ll need a lot more luck, though, if you fall for the many tricks found in casinos. Las Vegas casinos are especially notorious for the various ploys they use to win your money.
You don’t have to be a genius to avoid these traps. Instead, you simply need to spot Vegas trickery ahead of time.
With that said, here are 17 gimmicks to look for next time you visit Sin City or any other gambling destination.
1 – Using Chips in Place of Money
Chips are basically the gambling industry’s way of introducing Monopoly money to the floor. The only problem, though, is that this Monopoly money is backed by real dollars—your dollars.
You’re less likely to think about your chips in terms of real money. Rolling circular pieces of clay around your hands doesn’t immediately conjure thoughts of monetary value.
But you should do your best to associate these chips with dollars. After all, you can cash them in after the session for real money.
2 – Fake High Roller Treatment
Odds are, you’re probably not a high roller. You’re probably in the low- to mid-roller class that occupies most casino seats.
Nevertheless, some casinos will treat you like a VIP no matter what. But their offers are nothing more than a mirage.
You might gamble for several hours and be offered bottle service. The host will explain how you’ll get a free limo ride to the casino and have a nightclub table reserved for you.
You may feel important upon having the cover charge waved and walking past the long line waiting to enter. However, you’ll need to buy a standard bottle of liquor for $300 to make it happen.
Another ruse involves a casino inviting you into their high-limit slots area. This invitation seems like an honor until your bankroll quickly evaporates on a $5 slot machine.
3 – Resort Fees
Vegas Strip casinos are notorious for charging “entertainment,” “resort,” and “service” fees. These words are just fancy ways of tacking on additional costs to what are already expensive services.
Unfortunately, most Strip venues and even non-Strip casinos are adding these unnecessary charges. They’re back-ending you with fees that you don’t initially prepare for.
Restaurants are also getting into the act. Some tack on a “franchise” or “concession” fee worth at least 5% of the bill.
Why do you have to pay for the restaurant buying into a franchise? Likewise, why must you pay a 10% service charge when you’ve already paid $300 for a room and tipped the luggage guy?
4 – The Long Walk to the Cashier’s Cage
Dealers are always willing to exchange your cash for chips. But when it’s time to withdraw, you need to hit the cashier’s cage.
Oftentimes, this cage is located in an inconvenient spot that forces you to walk by rows of table games and slot machines.
Do you like real money gambling? If so, then you’ll find it difficult to resist the urge to play again on your way to withdraw.
5 – Stupid Side Bets
If you’re a prudent gambler, you stick to the best baccarat, blackjack, craps, and roulette bets. But who the hell wants to be prudent when a 1,000 to 1 Lucky Ladies side payout is staring you in the face?
Vegas casinos bank on you and other gamblers fixating on the payouts. A harmless dollar side bet doesn’t seem so bad when chasing large prizes.
However, the catch is that these wagers have awful house edges. You’ll be facing over a 20% house advantage with some side bets.
6 – Keeping Free Alcohol Flowing
You’re probably aware that Vegas casinos don’t just give out free drinks because they’re generous. Instead, they want to get you inebriated enough to make terrible strategic decisions.
Even a few drinks can cause you to make poor choices on the slot machines and tables. With any hope, you’ll be able to limit your alcohol consumption to the equivalent of one beer per hour.
7 – Comps
One of the worst and, unfortunately, most-used lines in the casino is, “I’m going to keep gambling to get more comps!”
The thought of playing fun games and earning a free steak dinner seems great in theory. However, you’ll need to rack up around $500 in theoretical losses to earn that $45 steak.
Casinos aren’t run by idiots. Gambling establishments know that the comped room or show tickets they give you aren’t worth one-tenth of what they stand to win from you.
8 – No Windows
Casinos don’t exactly create a bright and airy feeling. Instead, they feature an odd combination of darkness, bright lights, and strange décor.
The darkness comes from the fact that most casinos don’t feature windows. They don’t want you to be distracted by the outside world and see day turn to night or vice versa.
9 – Party Pit Blackjack
The classic version of blackjack suits most gamblers just fine. However, party pit blackjack can be even more alluring.
These games feature interesting traits versus standard tables:
Entertainers dancing on poles
Dealers wearing revealing outfits
Completely awful rules
Don’t let the dancing girls and attractive dealers distract you from what’s really going on here. Party pit tables offer some of the worst blackjack odds known to man.
10 – Friendly Casino Host
Picture yourself having a hot night on the tables. Suddenly, a tuxedo-clad gentleman approaches and wants to shower you with comps.
Casino hosts are paid to take care of your needs and ensure that you have a good time. They’ll pay special attention to you if you’re a high roller and/or have won lots of money.
Regarding the latter, casinos want a chance to earn back any big losses they suffer. The host makes it their mission to provide enticing offers that keep you coming back and gambling.
11 – Airport Slot Machines
You might scoff at airport slots after touching down at McCarran Airport. After all, a city full of slot machines awaits.
But these machines are sometimes your last chance to salvage a bad weekend while waiting on the flight back home.
Do you play and try to win everything back? Definitely not! Airport slots feature the worst payout percentages in Vegas.
12 – Parlays at Sportsbooks
Parlays are like the table-game side bets of sports betting. They can offer large payouts, especially when they include several teams.
You may be interested in parlays due to both the payouts and extra action.
Who doesn’t like picking multiple winners under one bet?
But if you’ve spent any measurable amount of time with sports betting, you know that stringing together two to three wins is hard enough. Try winning this many bets or more just to take down a single wager.
Besides the long odds of winning, parlays feature incredibly high juice. You’ll especially face higher juice on four-team parlays and above.
13 – Casino-Friendly Blackjack Rules
Blackjack is supposed to represent one of your better chances of winning money. However, these games can feature rules that make them tougher to beat, especially on the Vegas Strip.
The number of decks is important. The house edge increases by 0.59% as you move from single-deck to eight-deck games.
The natural blackjack (21 on first two cards) payout is even more crucial. The house’s advantage rises by 1.39% when going from 3 to 2 then 6 to 5 natural payouts.
You definitely want to learn how rules affect the house edge before sitting down to a table. You might even consult guides on where the best Vegas blackjack games are.
14 – Ugly Carpet
No, the casino’s interior decorator didn’t go on strike. They use ugly carpeting to keep you looking at casino games as you walk around.
You’re highly unlikely to stare at the mixture of orange, light pink, black, and royal blue lining the floor. Instead, you’ll look anywhere else you can.
15 – Penny Slot Machines
Penny slot machines have been fooling frugal gamblers for decades. So, you shouldn’t feel bad when you’re confused about $20 vanishing in five minutes on these games.
The word “penny” only refers to how much each payline costs to play. Assuming you’re on a machine with 300 lines, then you’ll be spending $3 per spin.
Now, you might think that 300 lines give you many chances to win. The reality, though, is that each line is programmed with extremely low odds.
16 – ATMs All Over the Casino
Gambling venues are helpful as ever when it comes to making sure you have plenty of ways to get quick cash. You’ll find ATMs all over casinos.
However, these machines pose more problems than solutions. If you’ve quickly lost your gambling funds, the last thing you want to do is double down by getting even more money out.
Assuming you have a problem with this, you might consider leaving your credit cards in the hotel room. That way, you’ll have to travel back to your room and think twice about gambling before visiting the ATM.
17 – VIP Program
You should definitely join the rewards program before you begin gambling. But just like with comps, don’t overinflate the value of comp points.
Most casinos only offer you a 0.1% comp rate when you play slots or video poker. Table games feature an even lower rate. If you’re on a slot with a 7% house edge, for example, then those precious loyalty points will only be worth one-seventieth the value of your theoretical losses (7 divided by 0.1).
You should collect these meager rewards if you’re gambling anyway. Just don’t go chasing pennies on the dollar so that you can get a free BLT at the café later.
Vegas casinos aren’t the vampires that they’re made out to be. They don’t change slots payout percentages when you’re winning or use sleight-of-hand tricks to bleed you dry.
Instead, gambling venues want you to have a good time so that you’re more likely to return. On the other hand, they also want a good portion of your money.
Assuming they just offered bland games with no hot waitresses, free drinks, or other gimmicks, then they wouldn’t make as much. Casinos dress up their operations to keep you entertained and spending money.
You don’t have to feel ashamed or guilty about getting caught up in the casino fantasyland and spending money. However, you should at least be aware of all potential tricks to protect your bankroll.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...
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