High stakes gambling is full of lavish comps and glamour. Those who bet big enjoy being treated like royalty by the casino staff.
The downside to huge bets, though, is that they can accelerate your losses. The house advantage doesn’t disappear just because you’re risking more.
That said, you may wonder what’s the point to high stakes casino games. I’m going to cover more on high rolling along with the advantages and disadvantages to it.
What Exactly Are High Stakes Casino Games?
No exact definition exists for high stakes casino gaming. To the stingiest players, betting $10 per hand feels like serious stakes.
Generally speaking, though, high stakes include bets ranging from $50 to $200. The difference depends upon where you’re playing.
$50 is a big bet at Hollywood Gaming in Dayton, Ohio. But it’s not so big at the Wynn Las Vegas.
Gamblers themselves can influence the definition of high stakes gambling. One player may be impressed by their own $200 bets, while another doesn’t play anything less than $1,000 stakes.
Late Australian billionaire Kerry Packer used to bet up to $200,000 per hand. Of course, few gamblers can wager $1k per hand—let along six figures.
Again, the $50 to $200 betting range typically defines high stakes. The main difference involves what part of the country/world you’re playing.
Pros of High Stakes Gambling
Besides making you feel like a movie star, high stakes betting offers several other benefits. You can read more on the main advantages below.
Play in VIP Areas
Casinos reserve their poshest settings for high rollers. They want to ensure that somebody who’s willing to bet hundreds or thousands of dollars feels special.
A VIP gambling area features spaced-out tables, dealers in formal wear, leather chairs, and chandeliers. High roller rooms may also offer other luxurious aspects, including artwork, bottomless champagne and ornate ceilings/walls.
You also get to gamble with the wealthy and elite in these settings. Hang around these areas long enough and you’ll see bankers, businessmen, and well-known professional gamblers.
Chance for Big Winnings
Casinos offer a variety of paths towards winning serious money. You can bet as little as $0.25 on a progressive slot and potentially win seven figures.
Of course, the odds of you hitting a big slots jackpot are extremely low. You stand a better chance of earning serious money when playing baccarat, blackjack, craps, or roulette for high stakes.
These games provide higher odds of winning each hand/round. Assuming you’re betting big and on a hot streak, you can look forward to collecting a fortune by the end of the night.
You likely aren’t excited by the prospect of betting one cent. Nothing of serious value is at stake here.
However, you’ll be much more into a bet when you’ve got $1,000 on the line. This amount can deliver a very nice reward if you win.
High rollers don’t derive any pleasure from wagering $5 or $10. They want serious action so that they can feel like something is actually at risk.
Bigger stakes provide this risk element and make players feel more alive. They can also lead to a significant win.
Earn More Comps and Special Treatment
All of the reasons covered so far play a big role in why people love high stakes games. However, the comps and special treatment are definitely the main reason why gamblers indulge in this world.
You can enjoy lots of rewards as a big player. Free hotel stays, meals, drinks, parking, and concierge service are just the beginning.
Casinos are willing to shower you with perks depending upon the action you give. They’ll drive or even fly you to the casino, give you a VIP suite, deliver top-shelf liquor to your room, and provide room service at any point.
Of course, the best rewards depend upon what kind of action you’re offering. But you can definitely be treated like a king/queen if you bet big enough.
Cons of High Stakes Gambling
The high rolling lifestyle may appear to be the pinnacle of gambling. As you’ll see below, though, huge wagers also carry significant risk.
Higher Average Losses
As mentioned before, big bets give you an opportunity to win serious money. However, they can just as easily see you suffer major losses.
Here’s an example involving a comparison between two types of gamblers:
A low roller bets $10 per hand in blackjack.
They play 80 hands per hour.
They’re facing a 1% house edge.
10 x 80 x 0.01 = $8 in theoretical losses per hour
A high roller bets $100 per hand in blackjack.
They play 80 hands per hour.
They’re facing a 1% house edge.
100 x 80 x 0.01 = $80 in theoretical losses per hour
The big gambler stands to lose 10x the amount of money simply because they’re gambling so much more.
Of course, one could use their leverage as a high stakes player to negotiate for more-lenient rules. Even in these cases, though, they’ll likely lose much more per hour than the average player.
More Comps Don’t Cover Losses
It might seem like casinos give everything away for free to high rollers. However, they’re not actually giving anything for “free.”
Every comp has already been factored into the equation. Managers run the math before they offer a gambler top-shelf liquor or a VIP suite.
A $50 player isn’t going to receive the latter perks. However, a $500-per-hand gambler has a stronger chance of getting the best benefits.
But even these lavish perks don’t cover the accelerated losses from high stakes gambling.
Here’s an example to explain:
A high roller bets $500 per hand in blackjack.
They play 100 hands per hour.
They face a 1% house edge.
500 x 100 x 0.01 = $500 in hourly theoretical losses
The gambler plays for 30 hours during their stay.
500 x 30 = $15,000 in total theoretical losses
The manager decides to give the player $3,000 worth of comps.
$3k sounds like an incredible amount of rewards. It could consist of a free hotel room, comped meals, and endless liquor all week long.
However, the casino has factored all of these perks into the equation. They’re still set to walk away with a $12,000 theoretical profit before the player leaves.
High stakes gambling is aptly named, because it indicates the larger risk factor that players are facing. Some people have ruined their lives by playing for big stakes.
Terrance Watanabe is the poster child for how huge bets and a fast lifestyle can leave one in ruin. The former CEO of Oriental Trading, he sold his stake in the company for an estimated $200 million.
Rather than putting his money to good use in other areas, he basically lived in various Las Vegas casinos for years.
Watanabe received royal treatment during these stays. Of course, this preferential treatment ended when he could no longer cover his markers.
Even with $200 million in the bank, he couldn’t overcome his high rolling lifestyle. You’ll find it even more difficult to avoid Watanabe’s fate with far less money.
Casinos Will Bug You More
Gambling establishments stand to make a significant amount of money off every high roller they bring through the door. That said, they and their affiliated casino hosts are quite competitive when it comes to attracting and retaining whales.
Assuming you’re a $50 or $100 player, you’re bound to start receiving lots of emails and even phone calls from casinos. They want you to keep them in mind and gamble exclusively with them.
These emails and calls never cease either. Casinos essentially act as salesmen whenever they feel that they can make a serious profit off you.
Should You Bet Big in the Casino?
The main reasons why you might consider playing high stakes include:
Play in posh VIP rooms
Chance to win serious money
Receive more comps and preferential treatment
A thrilling experience—win or lose
You may be motivated to play for high stakes based on any or all of these reasons. Of course, you also need to consider the downsides as well.
Big bets lead to higher average losses and put you at more risk. You aren’t going to recoup these losses through comps alone.
Much of the allure of high stakes gaming comes from the treatment and lifestyle. You may love the royal treatment just as much as the action.
Only you can decide if high roller play is right for you. I highly suggest taking an honest look at your bankroll and thinking about what could go wrong before you commit to larger bets.
High rolling is the stuff of Hollywood movies and TV shows. Many gamblers envision themselves gambling in exclusive rooms and enjoying the best perks casinos have to offer.
That said, it’s no surprise that some wealthy people get into high stakes play. But you also need to consider the risks associated with placing bigger bets.
The house still has an edge even after all the comps they give you. They’re also experts at offering the right rewards to get you back into the casino.
Of course, none of this is to say that you can’t play for high stakes and still remain responsible. You just need to be more careful when doing so.
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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