MoRick Monthly

When eating at a casino restaurant, always ask if there is a “house” or “gamblers” special that is not shown on the menu. Sometimes the answer is no, but it will be a great deal when the answer is yes. How does a great sirloin steak, veggies, baked potato, salad & dinner rolls, along with a house micro-brew for $6.95 sound? Or an amazing steak & 3 grilled shrimp, veggies, and mashed potatoes for $7.77. These are two of my favorite places to eat in Vegas - Ellis Island and The Hard Rock - but you will never know unless you ask.


FREE ADVICE - When you are in Vegas, do not wait until your last day in town to head over to one of the many gun shops to shoot one of the fancy machine guns. 30 rounds fired leaves enough residue on your hands (and luggage handle!) to get all the attention from the TSA that you will ever want. Your trip to sin city should be memorable, but not because of the strip search at McCarren.

Sometimes the 7 wins, and sometimes the 7 loses. That’s because in Craps there are actually two separate games played – the Come Out portion that starts a new game, where the 7 & 11 win with the 2, 3, & 12 losing (you have a 2 to 1 advantage over the casino on this part of the game!) and then when a point is established, the Point cycle, where the point wins and the 7 now loses. People often say that they don’t play Craps because it is too confusing and all of the different bets are intimidating. There are over 40 different bets that can be made (but shouldn’t) along with all of the yelling and strange terms. But really there are only about 5 good bets you should consider: the Pass or Don’t Pass, the Come or Don’t Come, and placing the 6 and/or 8.  Keep these bets in mind, and you will see that Craps is really one of the simplest games to learn and play, and offers some of the very best bets against the casino with a very low house advantage working against your bankroll. All of the strange terms and phrases are for the players making the higher house advantage bets in the middle of the table (that you should stay away from). When you hear all of the cheers and yelling, walk up to a Craps table and watch, and then ask one of the dealers to explain the two portions of the game. Watch for a bit, and then ask how to make a small bet to get involved. You will soon see why this is the most exciting game in the casino. Everyone is welcome at the Craps table, which can usually accommodate between 12-14 players at a time, and that is where you will always find me.



One thing to be aware of when playing slots is “churn”, which means to play your wins back through the machine in hopes of winning even more instead of setting the wins aside. With coins it is easy to place the wins into a coin bucket and, thus, keep the amount won separate from the buy-in; but with credits and the TITO (ticket in/ticket out), wins simply add to your credits, and continuing to play becomes very easy.
If you keep churning your wins, the casino will get 100% of your money, but only about 10% at a time. This is the expected outcome with continued play, while in the short term you may in fact win from time to time.


Happy New Year to everyone. I hope 2015 was a great year in the casinos for everyone, and let’s make 2016 an even better year with more winning sessions and fewer losing ones. My resolution is to play smarter this year, and to develop an even larger advantage over the casinos. A good resolution would be to become an expert player on the game you like in order to develop a winning edge over the casino - because winning is the most fun!



Merry Christmas to all. The holiday season is upon us and I wish everyone the best. When I think of gifts, I think of casino comps as some of the best gifts of all. With comps, the casino is thanking you for your patronage with free stuff you can use, such as meals or free nights in the hotel. Take anything they give you, and maybe even ask for more, but never alter your play just to get more in comps. Remember the basic rule for comps; never play for comps – always play to win. As I have said before, winning is the most fun, and comps are just icing on the cake.


Pai Gow Poker is a fun game to play while you sit with your friends and socialize. It is played very slowly, so you do not expose your bankroll to the casino at an overly fast pace, and the House Advantage (HA) is one of the lowest, at 2.54% when you are the player and even less when you are the banker. In addition to the slow play and the low HA, more than 40% of all hands usually end as a push (neither the player nor the banker wins), so no money changes hands, making this game even better to play. Remember that a copy (banker and player having equal hands) is different than a push, and results in a win to the dealer. Because close to half of the outcomes result in a push with no money changing hands, actual wins and losses occur much less frequently here than in other table games. Sometimes you can play for hours with very little overall monetary change to your bankroll, while still earning comps. Mathematically, both the player and the banker have the same probability of drawing winning cards, with the advantage swinging to the banker because of copies. If your bankroll will allow it, you should always be the bank whenever the opportunity is made available, but remember that as the banker, you will need to be able to cover as many as six other bets. With the advantage to the banker, the recommendation is to bet larger when you are the banker and less when you are the player, but again, only if your bankroll will allow it. I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving, and a big Happy Birthday goes out to my lovely wife, Debbie.


Did you ever “almost win” on a slot, and decided to keep playing because you were “so close” that time to winning? A near miss is a technique the slot designers build into the machines to keep you playing. In your mind you are almost winning, so you keep on playing – maybe longer than you should. But in reality, you either have a winning spin or you don’t. Each spin is an independent event, and has no relation to the spins that come before or after.


You will have numerous small wins and near misses as you play, and it will seem as if you are very close to the big win or jackpot. Those small wins and near misses will cause you to want to continue to play, or churn, your money through the machine, resulting in the long-term expectation of your bankroll disappearing into the hands of the casino.


Never play 6 to 5 Blackjack! Yes I am saying never, as in never ever. Traditional BJ pays 3:2 for a blackjack, which means you win $15 for a $10 bet, while 6:5 only pays $12 on the same $10 bet. The casino now keeps the other $3! How can this be so popular is the common question. The answer is 6:5 looks bigger (thus better) than 3:2. But when we make the denominator (the bottom number of a fraction) the same, then 6:5 becomes 12:10 and 3:2 becomes 15:10, showing that 3:2 is bigger (15 is bigger than 12 and pays better as well!) than 6:5.


Always recheck on the cost of your reserved room before you travel. If the price has come down since you made the reservation, most places will honor the new, lower price for you. This may save you anywhere for a few dollars a day to much, much more - depending on how nice your place will be. While you should make the reservation as soon as you know your travel dates, always remember to recheck the rates as the travel time nears to see if you can get a better deal or offer. And you will almost always get a better rate if you are a member of that hotels member program, so always sign up. There are usually other perks as well, such as money off gym usage or internet rates and often food, show or other discounts.

The Gambler’s Fallacy says that "since all numbers will eventually appear, those that have not come up yet are 'due', and thus more likely to come up soon." This logic is only correct if applied to a system where numbers that come up are removed from the system, such as when playing cards are drawn and not returned to the deck. If the card is returned, and the deck reshuffled, then it is just as likely to draw that card as any other card. The same applies in any other process where objects are selected independently, and none are removed after each event, such as the roll of a die or a coin toss. Truly random processes such as these do not have memory, making it impossible for past outcomes to affect future outcomes.

In blackjack, the house advantage (HA) runs from less than 0.5% with good, player-friendly rules, to a high of just over 2% with the more casino-friendly rules. But the reality is that poor play alone often results in a self-imposed HA of 15-20% or more! The casinos don’t beat you; you are beating yourself and handing over your money without a fight. Blackjack can be one of the very best games in the casino if you play it correctly, and one of the worst if you don’t. The best advice for blackjack is to learn the correct basic strategy and then stick to it.

When playing Blackjack and a card is placed sideways, it is a visual signal to show the dealer (and the Eye in the Sky) that you get no more cards. It might be after a double down or a hit on split aces, but now you know that there is a reason for it being placed like that.


At the casino hotel check-in, the receptionist has a great deal of latitude in the type of the room you receive. A $20 tip here may go a long way toward improving the quality of your stay. Be sure to mention if this is your first stay or your first trip to the city or if it is your honeymoon or anniversary. That information may get you a room upgrade for free and is certainly worth mentioning, but only if it is true.

Using the correct size bet in relation to your available bankroll is critical to your success. To large of bets will increase your risk of ruin (losing everything) as you will not be able to sustain the swings (variance) of lady luck. Read more about bankroll amounts and correct bet sizing to help you win.

Understanding how the casinos earn their money (by taking your money) is fundamental to understanding the relationship between your bankroll and the casinos’ goals. If you can look at your wins and losses in the same way the casinos do, then you are on your way to knowing what games to play and how to play them in order to allow your money to last as long as possible.


On occasion some people will win at the casinos based on pure luck and chance, which is gambling. Others will win (and win more often) based on playing the best games in the best possible way, thereby dramatically tilting the odds into their favor, which is the beginning of advantage play.


When gambling becomes a problem on a slot machine, the bond between the gambler and the machine becomes personal, with no one to interfere with their gambling and no one to compete against. The player feels a fondness for a particular machine and some players even get irritated if they see someone else playing their machine. If the slot player is playing longer than he planned, spending more money than he can afford, and telling lies about how much he wins or loses, perhaps he has a problem. Especially telling is when jealously is displayed to another person playing “your” machine.

The casino will advertise and display the bets that have the largest House Advantage built in for them, but which are usually the worst bets for the player. When you hear a dealer offering you a bet or reminding you to make a bet someplace, look to see if it is a high HA bet; it probably is. They will advertise the bad bets often and loudly, and they are remarkably quiet about the good bets. In order to give yourself the greatest chance of coming home a winner, you should only make the bets that have a low HA against you.

While there are many ways the casino helps you gladly part with your money, the main way is just through poor playing. People go into a casino without a plan of attack and with a poor understanding of how the games are played. You do not really need to know all of the finer details on a particular game, but you should at least know the basics of how you lose and what it takes to win at the games you like.

One way to win money playing craps is by attempting to throw the same numbers over and over many times, all while avoiding the dreaded “seven out”. Certain dice sets help avoid the seven by reducing the probability of it showing. Those dice sets, along with a soft, repeatable toss will help you have some “monster” rolls way more often than probability would suggest.

If the house advantage is only 3-9% on most games, why do I lose my entire bankroll? Am I a bad gambler? The answer is that you're a regular player, and the casino has played you with their system. At the end of the day, the money the casino actually retains is called the hold, and they have many, many ways to increase this amount - some you may know about, and some that are very, very sneaky.

Odds are an expression of how many times something will not happen in relation to how many times it will happen. Probability is the way of expressing a belief that a particular event will happen in relation to the number of ways it can happen. The probability that today is Friday is 1 in 7 because there is one chance that today is Friday out of seven total possibilities. (Today is probably not Friday - the odds are even against it!) See, Odds and Probabilities are not so hard after all.

“Never tell me the odds!” said Harrison Ford as Hans Solo in Star Wars. “What are the odds?” is an expression everyone has heard and probably even used. The odds express how many times something will not happen in relation to how many times it will happen. So what are the odds that today is Friday? The odds of today being Friday are 6 to 1 because there are six chances that today is not Friday, and one chance that today is Friday. (So is today Friday as you are reading this? The odds are against it.) That wasn't so hard after all.

People ask me if I like to gamble, and I always say no, I hate to gamble, but I love to go to the casinos and play! Then I try to explain the difference between being a “gambler” and being an “advantage” player, usually into blank stares. To me, gambling is the same as losing, and I don’t like losing. An advantage player is someone who is very knowledgeable about the different casino games and the different bets and only plays those where there is a good chance of winning. The casino has to win your money from you; it is not just mindlessly handed over to them.

With comps, again don’t forget the basic rule, which is never play just for comps. Paying the $100 tab with cash in the steakhouse is almost always better than trying to win or earn a comp for the same meal. You probably won’t want to tell anyone that the $45 meal in the casino restaurant cost you $460, so please never play for comps. If you do receive a comp to the restaurant based on your play, then by all means take it, but never alter or increase your play for the free comp.

Sometimes criminals look like criminals and you can tell the moment you see them that something is not right. Other times they may look like your sweet little grandma from Kansas or the kid next door. When money is involved, it seems you can never be sure. The best advice is to stay alert and always try to be aware of your surroundings. Do not get so absorbed in your playing that you forget about simple safety precautions. 

In craps, when I have a pass line bet, I place a smaller denomination chip on top of my bet as a dealer bet for a tip, so when I win my bet I also get paid for the dealer bet on top. I then push the dealer’s part of the win into the crew and leave the original chip on top of my next bet. I can win many bets and dealer bets this way, and I have only provided the original chip. So I may have pushed in to the dealer 2-10 chips or more as tips, but I provided only that first chip. Of course, when you lose that bet, the dealer chip goes away as well.

The main advantage that the casino has over the player in the Blackjack game is the simple fact that the dealer gets to play last. If you draw and bust, you lose, even if the dealer then busts as well. You play first, and when you bust, the dealer picks up your cards and your bet, and you are done for the hand before the dealer even plays. It is not a tie when you both bust, because you bust and lose first. Always remember the game is to beat the dealer, not to get as close to 21 as possible.

I thought the house advantage on the game I played was less than 5%, so then why did I lose 100% of my money? This is not a question about the house advantage on a particular game, but instead is about the “hold”, which is the amount of money the casino actually retains or wins from you. While the HA may be low on many games, the hold is often expected to be 15-20% or more and may approach 100%. Many people, hoping for a big win, will continuously replay, or churn, their money through those low HA bets until they are broke. 

While there are many ways the casino helps you gladly part with your money, the main way it happens is just through poor playing. People go into a casino without a plan of attack and with a poor understanding of how the games are played. You do not really need to know all of the finer details on a particular game, but you should at least know the basics of how you lose and what it takes to win. With the books and computers available today, there is no reason for anyone to go to a casino unprepared to win; both a little study and a little practice are needed before you go in order to win. Always remember, winning is the most fun.


When the line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred, it is time to stop. You may dream of winning every trip and being a high roller receiving all of the comps and accolades, but the reality is that the casino is in a business to separate you from your money. While there may actually be a free lunch at the casino from time to time, at the end of the day, someone has to pay the bills. Remember that there are always going to be more losers than there are winners. Maybe you don’t cash out as a winner every time, but hopefully you are still cashing in on the fun of playing. Gambling is supposed to be fun, but please stop playing when it begins to cause problems or is no longer enjoyable.

If you like a quiet, dignified game for high stakes (table minimums are usually $25-100 or more) where you dress up in nice clothes to play, then Baccarat could be your game – and it is usually found in the exclusive high limit areas. It is played very slowly, and I would rather watch paint dry. Mini Baccarat is the same basic game with lower betting limits played on a smaller table, and is usually in the main casino area. It is a much faster game in decisions per hour, and you may actually wind up exposing a larger amount of your bankroll to the casino in this format. The sucker bets here are any side bets and the tie when the payout is at 8:1.

The best advice for blackjack is to learn the correct basic strategy and then stick to it. You should never deviate for hunches, or because the last time you made a certain play you lost. The basic strategy is the best way to play any particular hand, and it is not a matter of opinion. It shows the correct way to win the most and/or lose the least on any given hand.

Do you think way to win at Blackjack is to get as close to 21 as possible? Nope. How about by beating the dealer? Close, but still not completely right. You really win by extracting the most amount of money as possible from the casino when you beat the dealer.

Always have a stop loss in mind when you play. I use 50%, but it can be any predetermined amount of your bankroll. The rule is, “Stop your losses, but let your winners run.” So when things aren’t going your way, stop playing and cut your losses, and live to play another day.

Did you win money on your sports bets? Or did you lose? Just remember that all income is reportable at tax time, and gambling loses can offset income if you itemize. The type of gambling loss does not come into play, and you do not have to use a particular type of loss to offset a particular type of a win. Just keep track of all the wins and losses in a log so you can get the full benefit of your losses when you complete your tax returns.

When playing video poker, always check the pay tables on all the machines in the area to make sure you are playing the best machine. When the casino advertises a particular payback %, it usually means that only one machine is at that level, and the rest may not payback quite as well. Always play on the best machines, and always play to win.

When available, always use the valet to park your car. It’s only a few dollars in the beginning and five or so in the end, but it puts you in the winner’s state of mind and improves your safety by keeping you out of the isolated areas of the parking garage. Plus (if you care about these things) it forces you to keep the inside of your car clean!

One of the purposely confusing tactics of the casino is to have seemingly countless different House Advantage percentages on a multitude of different wagers. Some games are good and offer a reasonable chance of winning, and some games are so bad that you should just stay home and mail a check to the casino. At least you will have saved the gas money.

The House Advantage (HA) is not a bad thing; you just have to know that it varies significantly from game to game, and even from bet to bet within a game. By arming yourself with the knowledge that certain bets have a very high HA, while others have a relativity small HA, you can (and should) “shop around” while you play, looking for and playing the lowest HA games and bets. This “shopping around” will give you the greatest chance of winning or at least a better chance of lasting longer and losing slower.

Happy New Year to everyone. I hope 2013 was a great year in the casinos for everyone, and let’s make 2014 an even better year with more winning sessions and fewer losing ones. My resolution is to play smarter this year, and to develop an even larger advantage over the casinos. A good resolution would be to become an expert player on the game you like in order to develop a winning edge over the casino - because winning is the most fun!


Winning at gambling is all about making the bets that are the most likely to win, and avoiding the bets that give the house too much of an advantage. Therefore, in order to give yourself the greatest chance of winning, or at least not losing as much or as fast, you need to play the games with the best odds (and with the lowest house advantage working against you.) Let’s get started with a few definitions – such as “odds.” “What are the odds?” is an expression everyone has heard and probably even used. The odds express how many times something will not happen in relation to how many times it will happen. So what are the odds that today is Friday? The odds of today being Friday are 6 to 1 against, because there are six chances that today is not Friday, and one chance that today is Friday. (So is today Friday as you are reading this? The odds are against it.) Now let’s talk probabilities, as in what is the probability that today is Friday? Probability is the way of expressing a belief that a particular event will happen in relation to the number of ways it can happen. The probability that today is Friday is 1 in 7 because there is one chance that today is Friday out of seven total possibilities. See, that wasn’t so hard after all.  

One thing to be aware of when playing slots is “churn”, which means to play your wins back through the machine in hopes of winning even more instead of setting the wins aside. With coins it is easy to place the wins into a coin bucket and, thus, keep the amount won separate from the buy-in; but with credits and the TITO (ticket in/ticket out), wins simply add to your credits, and continuing to play becomes very easy. For example, if you start with $20, and play all the way through it, you will have about $18 left because of the small wins you will have. Then, when you play through that amount, you have about $16.20 left, again with the casino retaining about 10% on each churn of your money. After 15 to 20 rounds, or churns, you find that your $20 is completely gone. The casino has won 100% of your money, but only about 10% at a time. This is the expected outcome with continued play, while in the short term you may in fact win from time to time.

Casino play is fun and enjoyable, but it should not be mindless entertainment when your money is on the line. There are many, many ways the casino will help you part with your money to increase the “hold”, which is the money they retain after your visit. There is a great deal of psychological warfare that the casino utilizes which you may not even be aware of while you are in the casino enjoying yourself. The free drinks are not given because the casino likes you, but because they know it will help lower your inhibitions, and then maybe cause you to make poor or poorer decisions with your play and your money. The house advantage is already stacked high enough against you when you are making good decisions, so why help the casino out anymore by drinking? Winning is the most fun, and it is hard enough to do even when you are playing well, but winning money from the casino becomes almost impossible when you make poor decisions – especially when over indulging in the provided free alcohol. When it is your hard earned money on the line, you should do everything you can to avoid losing it to the casino, because once again, winning is the most fun.

Happy Veterans Day to everyone who has served or are serving now, and special thanks to all out there who have supported those who serve. With the upcoming holidays over the next few months, please be alert to problem gambling issues. Gaming is fun, and winning is the most fun, but it becomes an issue when you are playing with money you cannot afford to lose – you can never win when playing with scared money. Only play with specifically set aside funds that are earmarked for your gambling bankroll, and never with money out of the family budget. When you have to hide what you are doing in the casino, it is no longer fun, and may be leading to bigger gambling problem. All casinos have handouts at the cage that discuss problem gambling, and have information in them about resources available to help. Please take one, read it, and reach out for help if you think you may be developing a problem with your gambling habits.

Roulette is a very popular game in the casinos, and while the House Advantage is high at 5.26%, the game itself is played relatively slowly (with fewer decisions per hour in relation to other games), so it is not that bad to play. The only advantage to this game is that it exposes your bankroll to the casino much more slowly than other games. The sucker bet on the regular American wheel is the “first 5” bet on the 0 & 00, and 1, 2 & 3. This bet has a HA of 7.89%, and it should be avoided. There is no betting strategy, system, money management, or method of play (on an unbiased wheel) that will allow you to beat roulette, no matter what others may tell you. The HA of 5.26% is constant and will eat away at your bankroll. So if you decide to play, remember that roulette chips are only for use on the roulette table. Do not carry them away with you and attempt to use them anyplace else. They do not have value denominations printed on them, and each player gets his or her own color to use at the table. The value is determined by the amount you buy-in with, and the roulette dealer will cash them back out for you in the same manner as you bought in.

When you are playing Blackjack, on average the dealer will win 48 out of every 100 hands, the player will win 44 hands, with the remaining 8 hands becoming pushes. So, in order to come out ahead when you actually lose more hands overall than you win, you need to capitalize on these 44 hands by winning as much money as possible on them. This is where following the basic strategy becomes of utmost importance; showing you exactly when to put extra money into play with correct splitting and/or doubling down plays. Time spent learning the correct strategy for hitting, splitting and doubling will pay tremendous dividends in your ability to win more from the casino, and winning is the most fun.

The main advantage that the casino has over the player in the Blackjack game is the simple fact that the dealer gets to play last. If you draw and bust, you lose, even if the dealer then busts as well. You play first, and when you bust, the dealer picks up your cards and your bet, and you are done for the hand before the dealer even plays. It is not a tie when you both bust, because you bust and lose first. Always remember the game is to beat the dealer, not to get as close to 21 as possible. The advantage to the player is that you are allowed many choices as to how to play your hand, including options to put extra money into play on good hands by doubling and splitting. You also win more money on natural blackjacks, while the dealer wins even money. The player can also decide to take extra cards in an attempt to beat the dealer’s hand when needed, while the dealer is bound by fixed rules on drawing, even when he can plainly see that he is beaten.


You should not play any casino game that you do not understand;
not knowing what you are doing in the casino is deadly to your bankroll. You should never play at a game when you don’t know the impact of the HA on your bankroll, or when you don’t know the most player-friendly bets to make, or when you do not know what it takes to win. Also, if you are playing in tournaments, you should know that the game strategies and betting patterns to win may be much different than for normal casino play. Make sure you understand the differences before you enter the tournament, especially if you have your money on the line.

On occasion some people will win at the casinos based on pure luck and chance, which is gambling. Others will win (and win more often) based on playing the best games in the best possible way, thereby dramatically tilting the odds into their favor, which is the beginning of advantage play. An advantage player is someone who is very knowledgeable about the different casino games and the different bets and only plays those where there is a good chance of winning. An advantage player also knows the good bets and the sucker bets and only makes the very best of the good bets. The casino has to win your money from you; it is not just mindlessly handed over to them.

It never hurts to ask what dollar level of play or for how long you need to play, in order to earn a certain comp. The comp system is multi-tiered and complicated. If you are expecting a certain comp, then you should know what the casino is expecting of your play in order to give you that comp. The host will tell you that the comp you are asking for will require X hours of play at X dollar amount. Instead of asking a yes or no question of a host, such as “Can I have a comp to the steakhouse?” try an open ended question, such as, “How long will I need to play at this level for a comp to the steak house?” Or something like, “Would you evaluate my play and let me know what I could expect in the way of a food comp?” Try to give the host some options, and the host will try to make you happy. Just remember the basic comp rule – Never play for comps, always pay to win.

Ladies, if you are carrying a purse, never set it on the floor, drape it over your chair back, or sit it in the space between the slot machines. Put the strap over your opposite shoulder, then put on a jacket or sweater on top of that, or hold your purse tightly in your lap.  If you routinely carry a purse, consider purchasing one with a steel cable in the strap to prevent it from being sliced with a knife or blade. And in the restroom, be aware of stall doors which have the coat hook very close to the top of the door. Your purse can easily be grabbed from over the top of the door, and all you will be able to do is sit there and watch it disappear. Many places now put that hook on the side wall or lower on the door, and this new location is something you should be aware of to help protect your valuables.


Video poker slots are extremely popular today (and they can be very addictive!) and with correct basic strategy play, they can be beaten on a regular basis. These games are more predictable than regular slots because the random number generator (RNG) strictly simulates the probabilities of dealing from a freshly shuffled deck of cards. Each different game has its own strategy which is not intuitive, and playing like you would in a poker game at home is not it. Find and buy a computer tutorial that simulates the games you like, and then play for free at home until you are proficient in the basic strategy moves. Bob Dancer and Linda Boyd each have excellent products to help you learn the required play in order to become more of a winner – because winning is the most fun.

As a general rule when playing slots, you will be better off playing the maximum number of coins on a game you can afford than playing fewer coins on a higher denomination machine. It is usually better to play 5 nickels on a nickel slot game than 1 quarter on a quarter slot game. It is the same 25 cents, but you gain the max coin advantage on the nickel machine this way, which may increase the payback on certain wins. Often there is an increased payback on the final coin, but make sure your bankroll can support this play at that increased level. Hope everyone has a great Labor day.

When playing table games, it is good form to tip the dealers when you are winning. And when you do provide a tip, the dealers usually prefer you to make it in the form of a bet for them – then if the bet wins, the dealers gets a larger tip. Make this bet on top of one your good bets (more likely to win!) and the extra tip amount will be counted as an increased wager for comp purposes for you, thus benefiting both you and the dealers. Tipping is reserved for good service, and when the dealers are making the game more enjoyable for you, you can increase your comps by adding a dealer tip to your bet.  Ask the dealer if you do not know how to do this – they will be very glad to show you.

Casinos will advertise that slots pay back 99%! What that means is that one or more of the machines in that bank of machines being advertised will pay back 99% over the long term, but it does not mean that all of them will. One machine may be very loose (and have a high payback percentage) while all of the others may be very tight. Over time, you may notice that you tend to win more often on one machine more than others near it, and this might be why. Good luck finding that one machine, and when you do, don’t tell anyone about it – just enjoy it while it lasts.

If you are going to be playing for more than one session – say a weekend trip – then you should divide your total bankroll in smaller session bankrolls. If you take $3000 for a weekend with six planned playing sessions, then you should only play with $500 in each session. This will allow you to last longer and have more fun, without worrying if a single session will wipe you out. If you lose the money from one session, do not break into the other session’s money until that session begins. And when you win, lock that money up, and still only use the planned $500 for each of the remaining sessions.

Be careful when taking advice from dealers on how to play different table games. They may be experts on dealing procedures from the casino point of view, but most will not know the correct basic playing strategy for the game in order to win, or they may be prohibited from telling you. They will usually tell you the wagers and plays that have the highest house advantage against you – good for the casino but bad for your bankroll. And many times, other players are just as bad with their advice, which is usually unsolicited. Chapter 7 in my book – Your Money & The Casino – tells the best bets to make, along with showing you the sucker bets to avoid at all cost.

When playing Blackjack, never double down for less than the full amount. You lose a few more hands on the DD play, but you make up for it by winning more on those remaining hands. You maximize your gains by maximizing the amount of your DD bet, and you leave money on the table when you double for less. When the casino allows you to DD for less, they are looking out for their best interests – not yours.

Do you like coupons? Both Southern Gaming and Destinations (for $29) and The Las Vegas Ad-visor (for $49) have coupon books available that are great deals. Each has match play coupons (free money!) and many restaurant deals, such as 2 for 1 buffets, as well as discounts on hotel rooms and shows. Any of these coupons will add value to your trip, and maybe even force you to try some new places.

Play slow so there are fewer decisions per hour for the casino (unless you have a proven edge over a particular game), and your money will last longer. Don’t try to play 800 hands per hour on a slot machine if you can be just as happy playing 360 hands per hour (once spin every 10 seconds) – slow down and enjoy yourself, and allow your bankroll to last a little longer. Try not to play head-to-head against a dealer on a table game but instead play at a full table with other players. Your will have more fun, and your money will be happier with fewer decisions per hour.

Slots machines are great fun, but the only control you have is how fast you play. To make your money last longer, pause for a few moments each time you hit the play button. You will lose slower and make your money last longer. Remember slots are the “junk food” of the casino and, like real junk food, are best enjoyed slowly and in moderation!

Debbie and I just got back from seven days of 116 degree weather in Vegas. I saw a lot more blackjack games with a 6 to 5 payout instead of the traditional 3 to 2 payout. Blackjack with 6 to 5 payout is a terrible game to play; you should never sit down to play at a 6 to 5 table. For a $5 bet, a natural blackjack win would only pay $6 instead of the normal $7.50. The casino now keeps the extra $1.50 for itself, creating an even larger House Advantage against you!

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

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