Gambling can be a wonderful form of entertainment for just about anyone. However, you must first understand what exactly you’re getting into when you step through the casino doors.
If you decide you want to give gambling a go, take some advice from an expert first. That’s the biggest mistake most new gamblers make. They don’t know anything about what they’re up against before placing that first bet.
Another common mistake among new gamblers is getting terrible advice from good people. These well-intentioned friends, neighbors, co-workers and even complete strangers can seriously handicap you with poor information.
Here’s a quick gambling tip that will save you a fortune; listen to the experts. You can find plenty of great tips from experts in books. Look for authors with names like David Sklansky, Stanford Wong, or John Grochowski, just to name a few.
Your own gambling preferences will guide who you go to for tips, too. This post focuses on more general gambling tips from my favorite expert, me.
Welcome to the Club
Joining the slots club, or the players club, at the casino is an easy way of getting the most entertainment for your gambling dollar.
Casinos use the slots club to entice gamblers to play more and spend more time at the casino. They do this by tracking how much money you put into action. It makes no difference how much money you win or lose.
You can win, big or small, during a casino trip and still earn casino incentives based on your play. The casino will give you a plastic card to insert into the slot machines while you’re playing. If you’re a table game player, you just present this card to the dealer when you sit down.
As you gamble, you’ll acquire points based on how much money you put into play. These points can then be converted into free stuff like:
If you’re going to be gambling anyway, you should be receiving all the related available benefits.
I’ve seen the argument that some gamblers value their privacy too much to join the slots club. Or they don’t want to receive advertisements from the casino in the mail. I actually completely understand, if those issues are important to you, feel free to ignore this tip. I’ll remind you that you likely have a small device in your hand or within arms reach that hears everything you say 24/7.
Know Before You Go
It would be reckless to place a wager at the craps table if you didn’t know how the game worked. It would be even crazier to do this in the poker room. How do you know what the odds are or even if you’re winning or not?
Any gambling website worth its salt will include sections which explain the rules and game-play for the most common casino games. Typically you’ll also find guidance about which bets have the best and worst mathematical edge for the casino.
The odds can be vastly different from one bet to another at a casino game. Some of the bets at the craps table, for example, have a house edge of around 1%. Other bets at the same game have a house edge of well over 10%.
Generally, the games with the lowest house edge are the best games to play, but you should consider other factors, too. The size of the minimum bet and the number of bets per hour you can expect at the game also affect how much you should anticipate losing per hour.
Also, don’t hesitate to try free versions of these games before giving them a go in a casino. Almost every casino game has a free version you can play online without losing any real money. Those are great avenues for learning how to play the games before risking money on them in a real casino.
Take It Easy on the Slot Machines
Easily the most popular games in the casinos are the slot machines, but they’re also the toughest on your bankroll. The reason slot machines are so hard on your bankroll is because of the high speed of play.
An average slot machine player makes 600 bets per hour. Even if you’re only betting $1.25 per spin, you’re putting $750 into action every 60 minutes. Slots usually have a high house edge too at 6% or more.
Even at a generous casino where the house edge for the slots is only 6%, the predicted hourly loss rate for a slot machine is $45.
Compare that with the predicted hourly loss in a game like blackjack. You’re making maybe 80 bets per hour at $5 per bet. That’s only $400 per hour in action, which is half what you’d risk on slot machines, even though your average bet size is quadrupled.
If you play blackjack with perfect basic strategy, you’re looking at a house edge of 1% at the most, it might even be lower. That’s an expected hourly loss of only $4, which is a lot better than an expected loss of $45 per hour. And you get to play a game where you are making choices that have an impact.
If you’re an introvert and don’t enjoy playing casino games with other people at the table, consider trying video poker instead of slot machines. If you find the right pay tables and play skillfully, you can enjoy a game much like slots but with a house edge of less than 1%.
Learn Hole Carding Strategies in Blackjack
Most lists of gambling tips point out the importance of basic strategy. They will often mention counting cards as a means of getting an edge over the casino.
However, few pages mention hole carding as a legitimate advantage gambling strategy. I believe they are missing the boat.
Counting cards will usually get you an edge of around 1% or 2% against the house. But finding a dealer with sloppy technique can be far more profitable.
When you find such dealers, you look for dealers who accidentally show their hole cards. This is called “hole carding.”
When you know what the dealer has in the hole, you can make very good (informed) decisions about hitting and standing. In fact, the edge you can get from hole carding can be between 5% and 10%.
It’s legal, too, as long as you’re not paying the dealer to show you her hole card on purpose. You’re also from using any kind of device, but as long as you’re seated normally at the table, anything you see is fair game.
I should point out that hole carding isn’t limited to blackjack. It’s a technique that could also be used in several other casino table games, including Caribbean Stud, Let It Ride, and Ultimate Texas Hold’em.
Avoid Games Like Keno and the Lottery
I understand the appeal of playing a game where you might win a jackpot that could change your life. The problem is that this particular “might” has such small odds that it might as well not be a possibility at all.
Everyone now knows what the lottery is and more or less how it works. But do you know how high the house edge is on the lottery?
It averages 50%. In other words, on average, every time you spend $1 on a lottery ticket, you’ll lose 50 cents.
Start with a million dollars and spend it all on lottery tickets. Then reinvest your winnings every day. You’ll be broke in less than 30 days.
Keno is just a lottery game run by a casino. The house edge for keno isn’t as bad as the house edge for most state-run lottery games, but it’s still ridiculously high, like 35% or so.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t understand the attraction of trading a dollar bill for 65 cents on a loop. If you play keno or the lottery long enough, that’s exactly what you’ll be doing.
Commit Yourself to Learning
It doesn’t matter whether you play casino games, bet on sports, or play poker, you owe it to yourself to learn as much about the activity as you possibly can.
Even if you’re a recreational gambler with the understanding that you’re going to lose money in the long run, you should try to get the best from your gambling dollars. In order to do that, you have to understand what it is you’re trying to do, why you’re doing it, and how to do it better.
An even better strategy is to become an advantage gambler. Only make bets with a positive expectation. Learn to play poker at an expert level. Count cards and use hole carding techniques in blackjack. Learn to identify profitable opportunities in sports betting. Gambling is more fun when you play to win. And playing to win is easier when you understand what’s going on.
The best gambling tip I can provide is this:
Put in the time to gamble like an expert. Don’t gamble unless you plan to become an expert yourself.
That requires that you begin reading books and websites. It means talking to other more experienced gamblers. Most of all it requires you to make a commitment to your chosen craft.
If you only aspire to be a run of the mill slots slinger, that’s more than fine, but I think you can do much better. Gamble on.
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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