Sunday, December 23, 2012

E-41: Casino Design Myths & Truths

There are many interesting and often unfounded casino design myths spouted by players, here we discuss some of the main ones:

Lack of Clocks & Natural Light: This is obviously so people lose track of time and keep playing
This may have once been a small reason for this design, but nowadays it isn't fooling anyone. Most people have either a watch or cellular phone.

Oxygenated Air Supply: The idea being that oxygen will keep players awake and they therefore will keep playing.
This is not true. It is against the law to tamper with the air supply, however properties do sometimes scent the air.

Maze Like Design: Casinos are deliberately built to be confusing, so that players are more likely to keep playing.
Often the cages and bathrooms are on the opposite end from the exits

Curvature of Pathways: Many of the walkways are positioned on a gentle arc, this way when a player enters thee floor they are unable to see the entire floor, so you are therefore encouraged to explore.

Slot Banks: Slot machines are generally clumped closely together. This is twofold; to ensure maximum number of machines are used per square foot and studies have shown that players prefer intimate spaces to play in.

Lighting: Is set at a level where it is not too bright and thus would create a stark environment. Yellow bulbs are generally used to give a soft, even warm light. Many casinos utilise a moth lighting design, whereby the lighting is brighter towards the middle of the gaming floor. Here the principle is that people will more toward the light.

Sound: Slot machine bells and music are generally tuned to a certain key and rhythm, so that it isn't just a mass of noise but all plays together creating a unified sound that is pleasing to listen to.

If you wish to learn more elements of casino design, check out the book
"Designing Casinos to Dominate the Competition."

Saturday, December 15, 2012

E-40: Table Game Myths Part 2

To follow on from the last blog post. You should never listen to casino myths and base your decisions solely on basic math. Most games can be quickly deciphered with some logical thinking.

Myth 6: Counting cards and dice control are illegal.

This is not true. If this was the case, a player would not be given the dice to throw and all blackjack games would be dealt from a shuffle machine. No player is expected that they purposely try and lose. If they believe they can control the outcome of the dice, they should be allowed to do so.
Casinos fall under an out dated law called "The Inn Keeper Law" This states that a man's inn/casino is his domain and he can serve or not serve whoever he pleases.
It is not illegal, it is just discouraged by casinos.

Myth 7: The pit boss always ignores me

This is usually not the case. A bit boss has a lot to do,watching the dealers. checking comp ratings and watching all the players in their pit. If you really are being ignored, it is likely you are drunk and being obnoxious. The best way to get a pit boss's attention is to ask your dealer.

Myth 8: Dealers make a high wage

This is dependant on what casino they work for and the tip sharing policy the casino adopts. Most dealers are only on minimal wage and rely on their tips to boost their pay. The majority of casinos require that all tips be shared.

Myth 9: If a craps table is running hot, get in on the action.

This is ridiculous. Past events do not affect the future. Someone who has rolled well is just having a streak of lung and has no guarantee of continuing.

Myth 10: Professional blackjack dealers make millions of dollars.

This is only possible if you start with millions of dollars to bankroll it. To make a normal living, most professionals work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week and still only grind out a small profit.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

E-39: Table Game Myths Part 1

Due to the large amounts of money wagered a vast number of stupid myths and unfounded superstitions have evolved over the years. Somme of these myths continue to cloud thee judgement of even the most seasoned gambler.

Myth 1: In blackjack the dealer probably has a hole card/face down card with a 10 value.

This is less less likely than you probably first think. There are only 16 cards in the deck with a value of 10 and 36 cards that are valued as 9 or lower. The key is to never worry about the hole card as there is no way of predicting it and just to focus on the up card and base your playing decision solely on that.

Myth 2: The casino always wins

This is true in a sense, but you should never go to the casino with the thinking that you will lose. That's a losing attitude and will only enforce bad gambling decisions. The casino does always win in the long run, but if you get up while ahead, then you won for that session.

Myth 3: All casino games are luck

This is not true. Games such as blackjack, video poker and some may argue dice control are all games of skill. Of course luck plays it's part, but your knowledge, or lack there of will be the deciding factor in how much money you win or lose.

Myth 4: You have to be a genius to count cards

This common myth has been reinforced by Hollywood and even many reputable books and websites. In order to count count cards all you have to know is how to add and subtract. Counting cards is simple but is just a fast process.

Myth 5: New games are introduced to give players more options

This is partly true, but obviously it's mainly to increase the casino's bottom line. All new table games that are released have a higher house edge than the traditional games.
The best bets are still the classics; blackjack, baccarat and the pass line at craps.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

E-38: Slot Machine Étiquette

Slot playing is generally a solitary activity and in most cases doesn't require interacting with other players. Even so, there are some tips that will make the casino experience more enjoyable for you and other players.
  • Coin Cups on Hanles or Seats: This usually means the machine is being held by another player. With regards to ticket in/out machines, players will leave a personal item on the chair or screen. Always find another machine and if you are the one holding it, do your best to return as soon as possible.
  • Playing Multiple Machines: During busy periods, this should be avoided and if another player wishes to sit down on one of your machines, you should let them.
  • Players Card Left in Machine: If you do find this, it is customary to place the card on top of the machine. This makes it easy to find. Never detroy or throw a card in the trash.
  • Smoking: Be sure that you ash tray is positioned so that the smoke isnt blowing toward another player and always ensure that your cigarette is extinguished properly.
  • Tipping: If you hit a jackpot on a machine that reqiires a hand pay, then you should tip. Half to one percent is considered the average. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

E-37: Having a Winning Attitude

Truly believing you will win will have a positive effect on your results.

Winners want to win
Losers expect to lose

Winners accept small wins
Losers chase the big wins

Winners set limits on how much they are winning to lose
Losers keep chasing it, figuring their luck will turn around

Winners are alert and on their game
Losers rush into any game without ever checking the odds or conditions

Winners believe in having a good time, while still being careful with their bankroll
Losers revel too deeply in the party atmosphere and consider their bankroll as money to blow.

Self Confidence: is an essential part of a winning attitude. If you know the game, thee odds and have a reasonable bankroll limit, you'll approach each session with a great deal more self confidence. You'll be much less likely to lose control under the bright lights of the casino.

Knowledge: By knowing the game and the best bets to place, you wont succumb to the tempting thought that your luck is due to change. Many losing players believe that their luck and superstitions give them an element of control. Remember knowledge is the key.

Practice & Observe: All this takes time and you should ease into any game slowly so that you don't get rattled by the gaming experience. There is a huge difference between reading about craps and actually playing it. Take your time to watch the flow of a game before you place a bet for the first time.
Once you have done your research and have watched the game under casino conditions, play confidently. Don't let some old lady tell you how to play. Play the numbers and set realistic goals.

Knowledge is power and power breeds confidence and success.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

E-36: How to Play Three Card Poker

This game only takes a few minutes to learn and is a fun introduction to table games. There is little strategy involved so it is a good way to get use to the table environment.

  1. There are 2 types of bets you can make. The Ante and Pair Plus. You can bet one or both. The Ante bet is a wager you make against the dealer and thee Pair Plus has nothing to do with the dealer and is simply betting whether your hand will have a pair or higher.
  2. You then receive three cards. If you made the Ante bet, you must decide now whether you will bet again that your hand is better than the dealer, or fold. If you fold, you lose your Ante bet. If you decide to play, you must place a bet equal to your Ante in the Play spot on the table.
  3. After all bets are placed, the dealer turns up his cards. The dealer must have at least a queen high to qualify. If not, the dealer simply pays you your Ante bet at 1:1 and you take back your play bet.
  4. If the dealer does qualify, he will compare his hand against each player to determine the winner.
The hand rankings are different from that of standard poker as the odds of hitting a hand are quiet different.

Hand Rankings                                    Hand Payouts
Straight Flush                                        Straight Flush 40:1
Three of a Kind                                     Three of a Kind 30:1
Straight                                                  Straight 6:1
Flush                                                      Flush 4:1
Pair                                                        Pair 1:1
High Card                                              High Card 1:1

The basic strategy is very simple. Always play any hand with Queen high or better and
fold the rest.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

E-35: Setting Your Limits

In the stock market, investors regularly issue stop loss orders. These are standing orders to sell stock when the price dips below a predetermined limit. If they were to buy stoock at $100, they may issue a stop loss order for when the stock drops below $50. This doesn't protect all of their investment but it means they are not completely at risk either. This is somethinng that you should do when gambling.

Most players walk into a casino thinking "Ive got $500 to blow" And they often don't leave until every dollar is gone. A smart gambler thinks "I've got $500 in my bankroll for the weekend and I want at least $250 for tomorrow"
The smart gambler has set a stop loss limt for that day and will leave the gaming floor as soon as they reach that level.
There are several ways to set stop loss limits;
  • Time loss limits: Where you stop playing after a predetermined amount of time
  • Winning limits: Set a reasonable profit goal. 50% of your initail buy in is sound
  • Winning loss limits: Set a limit of how much of your winnings you are willing to lose back, again 50% is safe.
  • Breaks: Stopping for meals is a safe way to protect your bankroll

Saturday, October 20, 2012

E-34: Video Reels vs Mechanical

In order to gain the most play from your bankroll it is important to know the differences between video and mechanical reels.

Manufacturers have added many more paylines and the number of coins you can bet per line to video reels. The reason for this simple, time. Video slots take a little longer between spins, due to bonus rounds.By adding more paylines and increasing the max bet, the casino is able to recoup some of the expected hourly loss.

Most new video slots have a minimum of nine lines and you can often play from 1 to 10 coins per line. The standard however is 5 coins per line, so on a nine line machine the max bet would be 45 coins. That translates to $2.25 per spin for a nickel and $11.25 for a quarter machine.

Another major thing to consider is the return on a single winning spin. On a mechanical reel you, when you do have a hit you get at least your money back.
This is often not the case with video reels. You might have one line that is a winner and pays three coins, but lose on the other eight lines. It cost you nine coins for the spin and you only won three, so you are still down six coins.

The last thing to consider is the jackpots. You are only ever applicable for the jackpot if you are playing max bet. On a reel machine, that may only cost you 3 or 4 coins, but on a video slot its more likely to cost 45 coins.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

E-33: How To Read a Slot Machine

Not all slot machines are the same. You should learn to read the information given to you before you sit down and play.
The first thing that you should check is the denomination of the machine. Don't just sit down and start playing and then realise you are playing too high for your bankroll. If you do find yourself in this situation, then you should move to another machine. Don't be embarrassed.

There are several machines to choose from:
Bonus Multiplier
Multiple Payline
Buy a Pay
Progressive Slots

Multipliers: This machine has a payout for a certain symbol and the number of coins played multiplies it.
Eg; if the machine pays out 5 coins for 3 lemons when you play one coin, it would pay 10 for the second coin and 15 for 3 coins.
This machine does not penalize you for not playing max coin. If you plan to play one coin at a time, then this is the machine for you.

Bonus Multiplier: This machine works on the same principle as the multiplier but offers a bonus when you play max coins and hit the jackpot.
Eg; three lemons would pay 1000 for one coin, 2000 for two coins, but 10,000 for max coin.
Its up to you to decide if you want to risk more of your bankroll to win the bonus payout.

Multiple Payline: These machines have more than one line of play. Each coin activates a particular line. If you hit a winner on a line that is not activated, you will receive nothing. Older machines use to have just three lines, but the new machines have many more.

Buy a Pays: Each coin activates a different symbol and payout. You need to bet the max coins to receive the largest jackpot.
Eg; the popular Sizzling 7's machine pays on cherries, bars and 7's. If you play one coin, you can collect only on the cherries. If you play two coins you can collect on cherries and bars. But you must play three coins to collect on the 7's.
If you hit the jackpot while playing one coin you will win absolutely nothing.

Progressive Slots: These take a small percentage of every coin played and add it to the pool for the jackpot. You should only ever play these if you are willing to play max bet.

All of this information can be found on thee machine, either on a sticker, or displayed on the menu. Take your time to read it carefully. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

E-32: Gambling Superstitions

Gamblers are probably the most superstitious people in the world and will do anything to improve their chance of winning.

If a player has won, he looks at what transpired during the winning session. This is where a player may decide that something was responsible for their good fortune. Likewise if a player loses, he will look to see what may have caused it.

Many gamblers form what is referred to as "Selective Gambling Amnesia." We only remember those events that correspond to our own personal beliefs. This is a very common form of delusion, where people only remember what reinforces what they wish to be true.

Common gambling superstitions:
  1. Many gamblers feel that is unlucky to enter a casino through the main entrance.
  2. Many gamblers believe that $50 bills are unlucky and they will not accept being paid with them. The origin of this is debated, but one reason is that people could confuse a $5 bill for a $50.
  3. Counting your money while playing is said to tempt fate and you should always wait till you have finished.
  4. Never whistle while gambling. This comes from the fact that whistling in a graveyard is considered poor taste and has carried over to gambling. In a sense you are trying to remain cheerful in a difficult situation.
  5. Never wear red while gambling is a common Asian superstition.
Superstitions are generally harmless and are developed by the average player to enhance the experience, but if you do hold these to be the reason for your gambling luck, then you should seek help.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

E-31: Gambling Addiction

The following 20 questions are from Gamblers Anonymous. Answer them honestly to establish if you need to seek help.

  1. Did you ever lose time from work due to gambling?
  2. Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
  3. Did gambling ever affect your reputation?
  4. Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
  5. Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?
  6. Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
  7. After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?
  8. After a win, did you have a strong urge to return and win more?
  9. Do you often gamble until your last dollar is gone?
  10. Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
  11. Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?
  12. Were you reluctant to use "gambling money" for normal expenditures?
  13. Does gambling make you careless of the welfare or yourself or family?
  14. Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned?
  15. Have you ever gambled to escape worry or trouble?
  16. Have you ever committed, or considered committing and illegal act to finance gambling?
  17. Did gambling cause you difficulty in sleeping?
  18. Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?
  19. Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling?
  20. Have you ever considered self destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling?
If you answered yes to 7 or more of those questions you are considered a gambling addict by Gamblers Anonymous and should seek help.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

E-30: Pathological Gambling

Understanding your own mind and what drives you to gamble will help protect you from yourself.

Pathological Gambling is characterised by the following 5 factors:
  1. Preoccupation with gambling
  2. Difficulty controlling gambling and unsuccessful attempts to stop
  3. Negative consequences in life, such as family, job disruption and lying about the extent of your gambling
  4. Financial problems due to gambling
  5. Chasing your losses

Pathological gamblers often distort the truth in their own minds to further support their problem. Gambling addicts can suffer from some, if not all of the following:
  • Attribution- believing your winnings occur as a result of your efforts and not randomly
  • Magical Thinking- believing that thinking or hoping in a certain way will bring about a win or that random outcomes can be predicted. Also believing that because of previous results you are due a win from the gambling gods.
  • Superstitions- lucky charms, articles of clothing, ways of throwing the dice or cutting the cards may cause a win.
  • Systems- believing that you have worked out a betting system that will overcome the house edge.
  • Selective Memory- remembering your wins, but failing to remember your losses or altering the truth of the result.
  • Personification of gambling- attaching human characteristics to a machine or deck of cards etc. Thinking that the deck is punishing or rewarding you.
  • Near miss beliefs- reducing the number of losing experiences in your mind by thinking you almost won.
  • Chasing losses- believing the money isn't lost, it can be won back by gambling further to win it back.
Always keep your gambling controlled and keep a sound mathematical mind. Always use logic and keep emotions at the door when you enter the casino. Don't be a robot, but stay in control. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

E-29: Blackjack House Edge Misconceptions

There are many parts of casino odds that people don't quite understand.

* How do the casinos have an edge in blackjack when they are forced to play a set of rules, such as always hitting on 16 and no option to surrender etc?

Casinos gain the edge by always playing their hand last. By going last, the advantage is solely theirs. The player may have already bust and the dealer has collected their chips, even before they have hit their hand.
The dealer may also win by simply beating the remaining players. The casino gets two bites of the cherry.

*Do automatic continuous shuffle machines increase the house edge?

No. A shuffle machine doesn't change the odds at all, it just means you play more hands per hour and therefore expose more of your bankroll to the existing house edge.
A shuffle machine is completely random and can not be rigged to advantage the house.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

E-28: Slot Machine Differences

There are 3 types of progressive slot machines:
Stand Alone
Loacal Area
& Wide Area Progressives.

Stand Alone Progressives: are not linked to any other slot. The machine takes a small percentage of every coin played and adds that to the winning jackpot. The payback percentage is generally small, so you should find a machine with a high jackpot, in case you hit it.

Local Area Progressives: are a group of machines that are linked together and are owned and operated by the casino. They can be found in a connected slot bank, or linked over a group of casinos (if they are owned by the same company)
Because they have a smaller jackpot pool than the wide area machines, they generally will hit more often

Wide Area Progressives: are the machines with the life changing jackpots.These are owned by an independant operator and the casino shares in the machines takings. Wide areas are linked over several different properties and because of this, the administration costs are high.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

E-27: Tips for Gaining Comps

Casinos want return business. If you plan on wagering a certain amount of money in a day, you are much better off playing through your bank roll in one property. This will indicate to a property that you enjoyed your experience there and are more likely to recieve comps.

Tip 1: Always use your players card

Tip 2: When playing table games, place your tip on top of your wager. It will then be counted as part of your bet. (some properties do not allow this)

Tip 3: Increase your bet size when the pitboss is at your table

Tip 4: Put up a show bet when thee dealer is shuffling and take it down once the game resumes.

Tip 5: Try and sit out on some hands when the pit boss isnt paying attention,  therefor lowering your amount of bets per hour.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

E-26: How Comps are Rated

Table games are rated using the following 5 factors:
  1. What game is being played and what is the house edge
  2. How many bets are placed per hour
  3. How long do you play for
  4. Average bet size
  5. You theoretical loss per hour
Rating Roulette:
The casino simply average your total bet per spin against the average spins per hour (40-45) against the 5.26% house edge.

A casino will generally comp a player at 50% of their theoretical loss.
Eg: A $25 per spin player will play an average of 40 spins per hour = $1000 wagered.
With a house edge of 5.26% the theoretical loss will be $52.60, so you will be comped at a rate of $26 per hour.

Rating Blackjack:
A player will play an average of 80 hands per hour. Placing an average bet of $10, would equal $800 an hour wagered. With a house edge of 2%, which equates to a loss of $20 per hour and therefor $10 in comp credit.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

E-25: Comp Psychology

Casinos design their player programs to make their patrons feel important. Player programs are usually set up in a teir system and the higher you are in the club, the more comps and benefits you are entitled to.

Everybody likes to feel important and the tiering system is a great way to encourage players to gamble more.

In the industry this is known as comp envy. You see what a $25 bettor gets in comps and he sees what a $100 bettor recieves and up the ladder it goes. Always tempting you to gamble more.

You are always paying for comps at the tables and most times it would be cheaper to gamble less and just pay for your dinner or show tickets etc from your own pocket.

Comps are a great addition to your gambling, but shouldnt be your reason for doing so. Always play the games at the level you feel comfortable with.

The player with the highest comps is typically the player with the biggest losses

Sunday, July 8, 2012

E-24: Comp Basics

Definition: The word comp means complimentary and is the term used for the rewards that casinos give to players for gambling in their property.

Comps are a reward for your average daily theoretical loss (A.D.T)
Comps are one of the most misunderstood aspects of Las Vegas. Most players believe that comps are only for high rollers, who spend thousands of dollars each day. But this is not true.
There are different levels of comp, depending on how much play you give the casino. Most players can usually get something for their play if they have played in the same casino for a decent amount of time.
Players Programs & Slot Clubs: To be eligible for comps, the first thing you need to do is sign up to the casino players club. This is always free to join and you often will be rewarded with free slot play or meal vouchers just for signing up.
Ensure you use your player's card whenever you play slots or video poker. When playing table games, hand your card to the dealer
Getting Comps: The easiest way to obtain comps is to just ask. If playing slots, ask a slot an attendant to call a casino host and if playing table games, the pit boss will call one for you.
When the casino host comes over simply ask them politely if your play qualifies for food, show tickets or a reduced room rate.


A low level player will never be approached by a host, but you may be surprised what you can get just by asking.

Before you checkout, always call the front desk or ask to be connected to a host and ask whether you are eligible for a reduced room rate. Several properties will now do this for you when you are at the checkout desk, but it is still best to call ahead.
So, be bold and ask for a comp, but be polite about it. Las Vegas has enough douche bags. Remember to tip the host if they help you out. Its a relationship that is worth building on, as they will help you in the future.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

E-23: Intermittent Reward

Understanding what encourages you to gamble is one of the most important aspects of gambling knowledge. If you know how your mind works and the tricks casino use to take your money, you are much less likely to fall victim to the traps.

The human mind generally works by positive reinforcement. When we do something and achieve a positive result, we feel good and want the feeling again. But, this is not the most effective way to condition the mind to gambling.

If I was to pay you a $1 for every time you jumped on the spot, you would keep doing it for quite a long time. But if I was to suddenly stop paying you that $1, you would quickly stop jumping as you would realise there is no reward for you to continue.

Intermittent reward is the concept of rewarding someone’s actions randomly.
Now I ask you to jump and pay you the dollars randomly, maybe 3 in a row and then a break and then another 2 and so on. You would jump for hours, as you never know when the money is coming and would want to achieve as much as you can.

Many forms of casino games are designed this way, in particular slot machines.
You don’t win on every spin on a slot, it is always random. This makes them highly addictive as you are always hoping for another win. If you were to win 5 spins in a row and then lose 5 spins in a row, you would quickly lose interest.

But when you are winning randomly it can be very hard to stand up from the machine, as you think another payout is coming. You are constantly thinking about the win you got earlier and because it’s random, think it may be on the next spin.

Be aware of how you are conditioned by a casino and understand that being rewarded for an action does not mean that you will be again.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

E-22: Group Gambling

This may not be favoured by everyone but this tip is: 

Splitting your Bankroll with a Gambling Partner and Playing Together.

If you are going to Vegas with a close friend we recommend gambling and sharing your equal bankroll. Always buy in for the same amount and share the wins or lose evenly, regardless of what is lost or one by whom.

If you play the games mathematically and don’t rely on luck and superstition, then you will never have  a disagreement on what one of you did during a game.

Poker: Even in a game like poker, which does not necessarily have a set way to play, you still wont disagree with each other because you can always see the other persons reasoning for doing something.

Roulette/Money Wheel: Which are completely random, it makes no difference what one of you bet on. There is no skill involved and it’s just the size of the bet you need to agree on.

Blackjack/Video Poker: Which have a proper strategy to follow, you know the other person will make the right decision and trust each other, because you have learnt the correct method.

The 2 reasons to do this, is to have a decent bankroll to play against the house with. Secondly and more importantly, it means you both experience Vegas in the same way. It will really enhance your gambling experience.

It is no fun to lose your cash and then watch your friend win while you just standing there pissed off. You are angry you lost and then your friend feels guilty that he won and you didn’t.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

E-21: Video Poker Myths

Myth 1: A video poker machine is due to hit its royal flush if it hasn’t for a while.

Fact: Again like slots, this is not the case. Video poker machines also use a random number generator to create the poker hands. Past hands do not affect the future.
Think of it like the hand is dealt, the cards are collecting, shuffled and re dealt again. It is completely random.

Myth 2: You should always play max coin when playing video poker machines.

Fact: This is actually true, but maybe not in the sense you are thinking. Playing max coin doesn’t actually increase your odds of being dealt a better hand, but makes you applicable for the royal flush bonus, which is proportionately higher than the other payouts.

Myth 3: Playing the different variations of video poker, such as Double Bonus, Double Double Bonus and Deuces Wild is better than the standard Jacks or Better.

Fact: It is true that these games are better for the player, but only if those games are using the full pay table. So ensure you check the pay table first

Myth 4: Machines are programmed to display close hits, such as 4 to a royal flush.

Fact: This is just a matter of player perception. Because of the random number generator the cards are completely random. It’s just that you are much more likely to remember a hand that you only just missed on rather than the hundreds of hands you had nothing.

Myth 5: Machines are looser on weekdays and are tightened up by the casino on weekends and holidays.

Fact: This one is untrue. Casinos simply do not have the man power to change the pay tables of machines every week. It’s just not cost effective. Plus it must be witnessed by an outside regulator when they do change them.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

E-20: How to Play Caribbean Stud Poker

Caribbean Poker is a very simple game to learn and can be a good starting point if you want to start playing table games


You must first place a bet in the Ante box and an optional $1 bet in the progressive jackpot spot.

Five cards are then dealt to each player and to the dealer, with one of the dealers cards exposed to the players.

You then look at your cards, but must not show your cards to another player.

You now decide if you want to keep going or forfeit your ante and jackpot wager.

If you decide you want to play on, you must place a wager that is double your ante bet.

You then place your cards face down on the table and wait for the dealer to take the folded hands and bets.

The dealer will then expose his 4 other cards.

For the dealer to qualify and pay all bets, he must have an ace and a king or higher. (pair, 3 of a kind etc)

If he does not qualify, the dealer will pay even money on the ante bet and the bet/raise wager will be considered a tie or push.

Obviously if the dealer does qualify and his hand is ranked higher than yours, then he will take both your ante and raise wagers.

If he qualifies however, and your hand is higher, then you will be paid both your ante and raise bet based on the pay table displayed.

This is the standard pay table for most Vegas casinos.
For a pair and lower you are paid at 1:1
Two pair 2:1
Three of a kind 3:1
Straight 4:1
Flush 5:1
Full House 7:1
Four of a kind 20:1
Straight Flush 50:1
Royal Flush 100:1

The side bet will be paid depending on the casinos house rules and jackpot pay table.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

E-19: Emotional Bankroll

Determine your emotional bankroll. It is just as important to think about your comfort level than it is to plan your actual gambling

First figure out what sort of gambler you are. Most people fall into 1 of 3 categories.

The Conservative Player
The Serious player
Or The Extreme Player

The Conservative Player is usually more concerned with the price of entertainment than the game itself. They will have a small bankroll and will control it carefully each day. These players will usually stick to slots or $5 table games. They are often just gambling because that’s what they feel they should be doing in Vegas.

The Serious Player is aware of the odds of the games he is playing and knows the best and worst bets in the house. They will usually have a larger bankroll than the conservative player and be placing larger bets.

The Extreme Player is often only concerned about the actual gamble, rather than the result. They are chasing the action and enjoy the thrills of large wins and large losses.

You should play at a level that gives you a thrill, but you don’t want to be stressed out on every bet.

It’s always best to start gambling at the level you feel comfortable with and then if in time you find it no longer is enjoyable, move up a level.
If moving up a level is too stressful, do not hesitate to move back down.

Everyone has different comfort levels and you should never be embarrassed by how much you gamble

Sunday, May 13, 2012

E-18: General Slot Tips

3 more important slot machine tips to help you save time and money.

Read the Paytable/Payback Percentage: All slot machines are required by state law to display the payback percentage somewhere on the machine. These are often displayed as a sticker and are not always easy to spot at first glance. Obviously. the higher the percentage, the higher the payback.

Play the Right Machine: There are 2 major types of slots, progressive jackpot machines and standard.
You are only eligible for the progressive jackpot if you are playing the max coin, so if you are not playing the max bet you should stick to the standard machines.

The reason for this is that if you are not playing for the jackpot, then you are actually playing below the payout percentage. When you are playing the progressive machine, a percentage of every coin you play is being pooled in the jackpot and you are not eligible to win it back unless playing max bet.

Check the Candles: A way to save you some time when you are looking for the denomination you want to play is to look for the lights on top of the machines.
These are often called candles in the casino business. The bottom light on the candle represents the denomination. In most casinos, blue represents a dollar, yellow is for quarters and red is for nickels.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

E 17: Staying Against a 6 or Lower

This is one of the most important Basic Strategy Blackjack tips:

You should always stay on 12 or higher when the dealer is showing a 6 or lower.
(It is the rule that can actually give you an edge during a hand)

A common misconception is that you need to get as clost to 21 as possible. This is not correct. You actually only have to beat the dealer and sometimes that just means not busting yourself before the dealer hits their hand.

The dealer must hit up to 17 no matter what the player has. This gives you a huge advantage when the dealers up card is 6 or lower, because you know they will have to pull at least 2 cards and therefore greatly increase their chances of busting.

Your aim when the dealer is showing a 6 or lower, is to stay in the game and hope they bust.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

E-16: Ignore the Bad Players

Always ignore the bad players at the table

At a blackjack table, you see some moron doing stuff like hitting on 17 and staying on 15. It can really piss you off. Especially when they are sitting in the last spot, before the dealer. You find yourself watching them closely and thinking they are affecting the flow of the cards

Or you are playing craps and you get annoyed at the guy who craps out, or the guy who bets on the don’t pass line.

Or in a game of poker, you get go on tilt from the guy who beat you in a pot with 7,2

These people make no difference to the outcome of your bet.

Blackjack: it is you against the dealer. In actuality it doesn’t matter what the guy next to you hits and stays on. You fail to notice the time he stayed on 12 and you won because of it.

Craps:  There is no such thing as a good or bad shooter. Lucky shooters don’t actually exist and there is very little proof of controlled dice shooting under casino conditions.
And don’t worry about the guy who bets on the don’t pass line. Mathematically he is actually making the smarter bet, but it’s only very marginal.

Poker: You want these people at your taable. You may lose a small pot or two, but in general they will pay you off in the big pots

You only ever remember when another players incorrect play loses you money.
You rarely notice when their mistakes cause you to win.

Play your game and let the bad players play theirs.
9 out of 10 times it doesn’t affect your results, so why let it bother you.

Take solace in the fact that in the long run you will win more than them.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

E-15: Daily Bankroll Organization

Las Vegas is a 24 hour town and it never sleeps  There is plenty to see and do and you really shouldn’t blow your bankroll by lunchtime.
Take your time and try to experience the other things that Vegas has to offer before you go running into the casino.

To maximise your daily bankroll you need to plan your gambling:
  1. Start by working out what games you like to play
  2. Put them in order from cheapest to dearest
  3. Break up your gambling with other activities
Small sports bets, low limit poker, low coin video poker and slots are all great ways to keep your gambling spend small during the day. 
MGM and Mirage spread some good small poker games that are always well attended, and provide good easy viewing of several TV's to follow your sports bets.
You can buy into a $2-$4 limit game for as little as $50 to $100.
If you play solid cards and relax you can easily float and hopefully make a nice profit. On top of that, it’s a really cheap way to score some drinks. The waiters are always very attentive in poker rooms.

Play table games at the end of the day. These games are generally more expensive and require a large amount of money.

This method works well. You don’t blow your cash early and spend the rest of the day angry and itching to buy back in and play more. You get to enjoy a variety of games and if you do lose it has probably stretched a good portion of the day.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

E-14: Slot Myths

5 common slot machine myths that have no truth

Myth 1: A casino can flip a switch somewhere and tighten a bank of slot machines up. Or when an attendant comes over to fix a problem, they can quickly tighten it up while the machine is open. 

Truth: The payback percentage is pre-determined. To alter the payout a technician needs to change the EPROM chip. To do this, the technician must be accompanied by a 3rd party regulator and is supervised very closely.

Myth 2: They always put the machines that pay off the most, right in the front

Truth: Machine paybacks are dictated by the denomination you are playing. The higher the denomination the higher the payback, not traffic flow.

Myth 3: If a machine has paid off a jackpot it is less likely to do so for a while.

Truth: Because of the Random Number Generator, a slot machine is completely random. Past events and payouts have absolutely no effect on the future.

Myth 4: Bonus rounds are all pre-determined and the amount I can win has already been decided before I enter into it.

Truth: The RNG is again used to ensure the bonus rounds are random. The machine is never programmed to only let you pick one or 2 amounts before you end the round, or win a predetermined amount. Your picks do matter.

Myth 5: Using my player’s card effects how much I may win or lose depending on how much of a good customer I am.

Truth: Always use your player’s card. It doesn’t change the payout of the machine at all. In fact using you player’s card actually increases your chances, as you will be comped higher.

Ignore the myths out there. There is no mathematical basis for any of them. If you choose to play slots, just play the games you like at the denomination you feel comfortable with.