I have been going to mostly Atlantic City casinos for some 20 years. I have been to Vegas several times and other destinations but since AC is a quick 6-7 hour’s drive away I usually can “get my gambling fix” 3-6 times per year and be content. From a common sense standpoint going to a casino makes very little sense and surely NO sound financial sense, but I really like these almost TOTALLY FREE mini vacations. Still, I enjoy the get-a-way and the action & excitement of live casinos.
I say live since I would never (hope you don’t either) play at an unregulated “offshore” virtual casino where IMO rules are, well, what rules? Are they playing cards with 51 card decks? Have dice missing a number or two? Rigged slot machines? Who’s to say and if there is a problem who is watching over them to help you? My guess would be no one! These are for the most part totally unregulated. No thanks.
We all have heard of the no clocks, no windows, chips instead of cash, cash changed to tickets, a free buffet after losing $1,000 and any number of other ploys these pros have to separate you from your money. For me, I am not willing to “give” my hard earned money away to people who have no regard for me at all and will go out of their way to interrupt most winning streak(s). Learning a few basic things about casinos and what to avoid will hopefully give a more pleasurable experience instead of giving away your next several house payments to a casino.
For what I have seen over all these years, I have witnessed first-hand that 90% or more of players I see playing have “no idea” what they are doing. They are there for a few days and are content and plan to lose hundreds of dollars-calling it entertainment. I sure would never define cheerfully losing money as entertainment! For me, I don’t and have never gone to a casino with this type of defeatist attitude and goal. So what would be the point going? I ALWAYS go to win and always have & always will. Not every visit, but as an overall average I win. Actually, I am well “ahead” for all these years of going plus I have had some great times. ALWAYS go to a casino (with the right knowledge) and goal to WIN, NEVER to lose!
I am not anywhere near what it defines as “high roller”, but I do receive ALL of my food which is comped, rooms comped, some bonus cash, free gift cards, free drinks, free show tickets, free parking and almost an endless variety of free gifts just for me to show up. Ya see, for most (not me) the casinos have a big advantage, the longer they can keep you there-since, in the end, the house always wins! Casinos will give you all of these freebies to just about anyone who is a regular returning customer, again without being any definition of a big gambler/high roller. They just want returning steady customers.
If you are going to take advantage of all of the freebies you first need to get a free “players card” at the casino customer service desk. These cards by inserting into machines or handing them to dealers will track your play, this will determine the amount of these comps you will receive. Once your card is used, a few weeks later in your regular mailbox, you will open a floodgate of offers (for a short period of time if you don’t use them). For a more detailed explanation of the casino comp system there are a number of great books written by “The Queen of Comps” Jean Scott. Consider at least one of her books The Frugal Gambler or More Frugal Gambling. She is even one of my Facebook friends! In addition to your player card automatic comps, after you have been playing a while at a table, don’t be afraid to ask the dealer for a meal and/or show comp especially if you are tipping your dealer as you play. I always receive one when I ask, and I never see anyone ever asking. I think most people are either afraid to ask or they just don’t know you are able to easily do this!
The games with the highest house edge are, the worst bets and worst games to play;
- Live Keno-up to 31% house edge.
- Slot Machines-4% to 13% house edge. Penny slots-15%.
- Tie bet at Baccarat-14.4% house edge.
- The Bad “proposition” Bets at Craps-up to 16.67% house edge.
- Big 6 Wheel-up to 24% house edge.
- Baccarat Banker Bet-1.06% house edge.
- Video Poker-Some rare games pay back MORE than 100%-NO house or negative house edge. The game I play is 9/6 Jacks or better-pays back 99.54% or a .46 house edge. Actually, when one will factor in all of the players club comps, the payback for this machine is over 100%. A little confusing at first until you learn the game abbreviations, but vpfree2 lists and updates where nationwide where the best video poker games are found in each city/market. I use to be the monitor to make game updates at vpfree2 for the AC Showboat casino until it closed. More video poker tips. First, forget which cards to hold and discard as you normally would. If you don’t you’ll lose a lot of money quickly (casinos count on this). Video poker games are NOT like playing against other people explained by Michael “Wizard of Odds” Shackleford.
If you ever want the “premier” video poker tutorial training program get “Win Poker” by Bob Dancer-for about $50 you can learn to play like a professional. This is how both Ellen and I learned to “correctly” play. Buy it here at Amazon.
Short of having Win Poker you can buy Bob Dancers strategy cards to keep with you and refer to while playing. This is a set of 9 cards for 9 of the most popular video poker games to search for and to play. Most all other video poker games other than these 9 should be avoided due to the high house edge. I used these while learning VP and are both simple and easy to use and eventually memorize.
Years ago Bob (I meet and we now occasionally exchange email) described learning video poker this way. Learning to drive a car requires you to learn and memorize about 49 different things. Learning to play video poker requires you to learn and memorize just 43 different things, making playing video poker with the skills of a pro, as easier than driving a car!
- Craps Pass or Come1.41% Don’t Pass or Don’t Come 1.36% house edge, FREE “odds bet”-NO house edge, Place bets on 6 or 8-1.52% house edge-must bet in multiples of $6.
- Black Jack with basic strategy-6 deck games .50% house edge.
- The 2 different Black Jack Basic Strategy “cards” you may have with you while playing-Card #1- Dealer hits on a soft 17, Card #2, Dealer stands on a soft 17.
- Black Jack with card counting-With skill can be a negative house edge.
In addition to video poker, the only other game I play is craps and I make the same boring bet over and over again. A pass line bet with double odds and if I am ahead, a pass line bet with triple odds-both of these house advantages are less than .50%. When I am playing either the 99.54% video poker or Craps, I usually can’t win a lot of money, but the real key here is-I can’t lose a lot of money, but I am always earning my comps! A great craps book to learn a lot more than you actually need to know is “The Everything Craps Strategy Book”. It includes all of the basics along with every question you will ever have.
Always bring cash and NEVER use an ATM in a casino. The % charged can be excessive, OVER 1% for amounts under $1,000. Try to be disciplined and have a plan. I have a win limit, a loss limit or a time limit. Whatever I hit first I am done for the day.
Casinos have slowly been replacing Black Jack payouts from 3 to 2 and 6 to 5. The old 3 to 2 payout pays $15 for a $10 bet. The new 6 to 5 pays just $12 for a $10 bet for a Black Jack. It’s a really bad payback and should be avoided at all costs. Run away if you see the 6/5 payback table and/or game, including Black Jack machines.
There are 2 bets in most all casinos where the casino has absolutely NO house edge. They are the “odds” bet at Craps and on a lot of video poker machines you have a “double down” option. Choosing this option has no strategy and is basically just a coin toss.
The American casino guide is one great little book with loads of discounts and coupons. It’s mainly for Las Vegas as there are just a few coupons in the guide for Atlantic City or other markets. We used the guide several times in Vegas one trip and saved around $150-$200 of the $1,000 of coupons listed in the guide which costs around $15-$20. Money well spent.
With the Vegas.com promotions, we saved over $500 on shows, attractions, and dining when we were there for 10 days. Love getting their monthly email promos even though we are not going back anytime soon.
Vegas.com features more Las Vegas travel options and discounts than any other website, including hotels, vacation packages, shows, tours, attractions, dining, clubs, and more. If planning a Vegas trip, Vegas.com has probably the largest legit discounts you will find anywhere. We purchased 2 different discount show tickets before we went to Vegas and saved a ton compared to other online show ticket prices I compared.