You might consider yourself a high-roller when you set foot on the casino floor, but you should know that the odds are stacked against you. From the start regardless of how practice you are at your favorite game the only reason that game is in the casino is that the house has a statistical advantage over the player.
That’s not to say you’ll never win but you should know how to optimize your chances start by knowing the difference between probability and odds.
Probability is the likelihood that something will happen usually as a percentage odds are ratios of the chance something won’t happen to the chance that it will the probability that you will roll Snake Eyes on two dice is 136 or 2.7 percent but the odds are 36 to one against you.
Here are 10 strategies and ways you can try to beat the house and reduce the cost of your evenings:
Number 10 – avoid flashing lights casinos use your primitive brain against you through distraction and fakery the games with the worst odds and lowest payouts often have the most glitz as our attention is naturally drawn to visual and audio cues like flashing lights bright light colors and sudden bell sounds slot machines are notorious attention grabbers and statistically there is no way to beat them in today’s casinos all those spinning tumblers are complete fiction the final result is predetermined by a random number generator on a computer chip before that colorful graphical display even begins to roll even craps or dice betting tables spice up the worst bets like the field or any seven with the most colorful graphics so look for the dullest quietest place in the casino the blackjack table to maximize your returns.
Number 9 – own your skills at poker. Poker is a game with nearly even odds for experts seasoned players could keep the house advantage down to less than 1/2 of a percent to achieve this you’ll need to practice the game learning which hands are likely to be held by your opponent and what the chances you’ll complete your hand start by learning the nuts the name given to the strongest possible hand in a given situation memorize the ranking of hands from Royal Flush ten through ace in the same suit down to a two pair be disciplined wait patiently for a good hand before betting but know that aggressive players always have the advantage because they have two ways to win by raising their opponent out of the pot or by having the best hand whereas passive players can only win one way with the best hand so make sure you keep an eye on the cards for your streak on the 4th Street bet or you will end up out on the street with empty pockets.
Number 8 – diversify your investment and run a combo. Just like playing the popular casino games you’ll do better at the tables if you split your bankroll into smaller bets or say 24 games that have independent outcomes like slots the odds of winning start to add up consider a flip of the coin if you have a 50% chance of winning one coin toss you have a 75% chance of getting at least one win out of two tosses and eighty-seven point five percent for winning one out of three of course you’re still on the losing side of the equation but splitting your Patna three small bets gives you higher chances of recouping than one big bet so as much as the odds are always against you if you do the math you can optimize your losses at the roulette table the probabilities work out that you’re better off running a combination bet this is simple statistics take a close look at how they lay out the betting field notice that the red and black numbers are evenly distributed in each of the blocks of 12 but they are not balanced if you look at the columns on the betting field you’ll see the third column has 8 red and 4 black so if you bet red and column 3 for the same spin and you win the column bet chances are much higher that you’ll also win the color bet and even if you lose the column bet you still have a 47% chance of breaking.
Number 7 – knowing the odds at keno a winning strategy. At keno is the simplest gameplan don’t play the odds of winning at keno are one in three point five trillion or a quintillion in America that’s a number with 18 zeros after it that’s big that’s more than the stars in the universe big that’s longer than the time left in the life of the universe law so just don’t play simple okay
Number 6 – be the schoolmaster. Beating the casinos at their own game is mostly a losing battle the casino owners control the environment with scientific precision you know going in that the house has the edge so statistically in the long run you will always lose but every sign you see is trying to convince you that’s not true there’s a decent chance you could win betting either black or red on the roulette wheel at 47.4% and you could even set off the bells on a slot machine. The first time you pull that on but even if you win early if you keep playing inevitably the house will win all that back so to sign on your limits before you start and stop when you’re ahead without windows or clocks they’re counting on you to lose track of time and how much you’ve bet so set a schedule with notifications in your smartphone or wristwatch to keep track of what you’re spending and when you need a break stay away from the free drinks and stick to non-alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated and sharp they’ll try to distract you from your game plan but if you hold with discipline you can minimize their power
Number 5 – know the odds at slots. There is no skill in pulling the arm on a slot machine but you can arm yourself by knowing the odds it sounds like coins are pouring out of these one-armed bandits all around you but all slot machines are not created equal there are arcade games with payout settings as low as 75% and the house can choose the setting for each machine the house typically sets their penny slot machines to have the lowest payback percentage at eighty eight percent or a twelve percent house advantage which means they will empty your pockets even though you will get more time standing at the machine but higher stake machines have better odds with one dollar payback typically set to 95 percent and remember that more time at the machine means more entertainment for you but that gives the house more time to reinforce that habit through the psychological strategy of positive reinforcement so you’re better off planning a shorter stint at the higher value slots and getting away with more of your steak while you’ve narrowly escaped turning into a zombie
Number 4 – take advantage of seniors. No not that kind of senior old equipment that is mechanical devices like wheels become less random as they wear down no machine is perfectly random and tiny differences in the number of times a ball rolls around the corner into a slightly statistical preferred slot on a roulette wheel will wear that corner a tiny bit rounder making it just a hair more likely that it will capture the ball again multiply that imperceptible change over thousands of turns of the wheel and eventually the wheel becomes weighted toward that slot the tilt of the floor can also affect the workings of mechanisms worn floorboards or a sagging joist might be just enough to tilt the outcome if the casino isn’t meticulous in leveling their tables so if you see an old-timer in the back of the casino spend some time getting to know it sit back with your soda water and snacks and watch for repeated numbers eventually you might catch it fumbling the ball into one of those preferred slots then you can try to pick its pocket interestingly though older slot machines are also vulnerable this is due to innate difficulties in random number generators applied by the machines which aren’t really random basically they rely on a string of calculations which can be reverse engineered to find out when a payout is due one such machine is the aristocrat mark six model which in 2014 was exploited by Russian hackers that used an app which told them when a large payout was due and when to place larger bets the Russian gang won thousands through this scheme and while the machines still exist in casinos this is illegal.
Number 3 – lean on even odds. Sometimes the odds depend on the local rules of the game not all versions are created equal the first thing to know about roulette is that you have better odds going in with the European table than the American table simply because the ladder with its double wheel holds a 5 percent house advantage vs. 2.8 percent to the house on the European table you should know that the worst odds to bet on the roulette wheel are 0 1 2 or 3 and double-o on the American wheel while your best odds are 47% on black or red odd or even and low or high so keep your chips on the even odds to maximize your chances.
Number 2 – have a system with games of chance. You have the best odds if you work a system your odds at Roulette could be nearly even if you master something like the martingale betting system start with the lowest table limit bet and park your chip on one of the even odd squares keep playing the same bet on the same square but double it every time you lose the probabilities will work out that you will finish up one chip ahead on your next win this is simple math say you win on the second turn you put down three but win four what if it’s the third turn you put down one plus two plus four or seven chips and you get eight after every win just start back at your minimum bet and run the system again over and over every time you will end up a chip ahead it’s simple repetitive and boring but you’ll come away with a modest payout.
Number 1 – counting cards. This is a proven strategy developed by Ed Thorpe a mathematics professor who computed a winning blackjack strategy using sophisticated programmable equations you can run his system if you can keep track of two numbers and divide in your head he found out that certain cards are more valuable than others low cards 2 to 6 are assigned a value of +1 high cards 10 through ace are minus 1 the rest are 0 you also need to know how many decks are being played at a time and how many cars are left start counting when the dealer puts a new shoe of cards on the table keep the running count by adding the assigned value as each card is dealt and count down the cards remaining divided the running count by the number of decks left to be played to get the true count you’re calculating the concentration of high cards remaining the higher the total count the more the advantage shifts to the player when it’s your turn to make a decision to hit or stay double down if the advantage is in your favor start over when the dealer shuffles or puts a new shoe on the table experts have developed tables to run the system so memorize and practice if you hit the casino attempting this the house has eyes everywhere though so you won’t be able to hide your winning streak for long. In the end this method will win you money but it’s guaranteed to get you barred you know of any other ways to beat the house.