It is often said that gambling is a mug’s game because the casino always wins. Those in the know are well familiar with the fact that pretty much all casino games are set up in such a way to bring the money in regardless of what players do. So, if you look at it like that, there isn’t much point in gambling in the first place.
However, at any one time, anything can happen, and that’s what motivates people to still play the games they know aren’t favorable to them. Every time you sit to play slots or roulette, you might walk away a winner. Plus, it is a lot of fun, so in a way, you’re also paying for the entertainment.
With all this being said, there are still ways to beat the casino at their own game. Perhaps you won’t bring the house down using the advice in this article, and the tips might not make you super-rich. But these 7 tips and tricks will help you win more, take advantage of everything a casino has to offer, and limit your losses – all of which can be considered a win.
Set Your Spending Budget and Stick to It
Although many won’t see this as a way to actually “beat” the casino, it is, in fact, one of the most effective strategies you can use. A bulk of casino profits comes from people going over their gambling budgets and chasing their losses.
For example, if you walk into a casino with $100 that you’re willing to spend for entertainment, that’s fine. But once that $100 is gone and you start putting in more money to recover your losses, it can quickly become a slippery slope.
Oftentimes, you’ll say, “Just another $50, and I’m gone.” But after that $50 goes up in flames and you don’t even get a single bonus feature or a decent win, it is easy to start thinking you’re “due” to hit something. Once this happens, there is no telling where you’ll end up.
So, one of the first things you should focus on is setting your spending budget and sticking to it. If you’re playing in a brick-and-mortar casino, just bring whatever cash you’re willing to lose. Leave the rest at home, alongside your credit cards. For online casinos, set your deposit limits so that you can’t spend more than you intended.
Take Full Advantage of Casino Amenities
Brick-and-mortar casinos usually give away free stuff for their players. Often, however, to take advantage of these, you’ll need a player’s card. Many players disregard these casino cards, and some even believe using them could bring them bad luck.
First things first, using a player’s card won’t adversely influence your odds at slots. The fact that you’re using a card has nothing to do with the software, so there is nothing to be afraid of in that regard. Of course, this applies if you’re playing in a properly regulated casino operating by the law.
Now, to the more important bit. Using a player’s card will mean you generate loyalty points that can be used for all sorts of amenities: free drinks, food, and vouchers for different promos and games. Although these things aren’t cash by themselves, they have actual value, so you’re basically offsetting your losses. If you’d pay $15 for a dinner, and you get it for “free,” that’s $15 saved, plain and simple.
Furthermore, gathered points can often be exchanged for cash vouchers. Although this may seem like a good idea, it usually isn’t because you’ll actually get the lowest value when you do this. You’re better off using your points for other amenities.
Finally, if you have a player’s card, you’ll be eligible to receive promo tickets and participate in different games organized by the casino. All of this can translate into a certain amount of money, so you’re effectively cutting into the house edge. It may seem small and irrelevant, but keep in mind that casinos operate with margins of a few percentage points, so anything extra you can take advantage of counts.
Play Games with Lower House Edges
This one may be a bit tricky because we often go to a casino to play the slots we love or to try our luck at roulette. But if you’re interested in profits and lowering the house edge, you should stick to the games where this edge is already very low.
For example, video poker machines, at least classic ones like Jacks or Better, have a very high return to player (RTP) of around 99%. So, you’re only losing one cent for every $1 played. To achieve this, you’ll need to learn a few things about the best video poker strategy, but the upside is quite significant. And occasionally, you might even find a machine with a positive expectation for the player if the jackpot is high enough.
Those who enjoy table games should stick to blackjack. Like with video poker, you’ll need to learn the basic strategy, but once you do, you’ll be able to significantly cut into the house edge. The casino will still be ahead, but not nearly by as much.
If you stick to games such as these and also take advantage of all other perks, your bottom line could actually be on the positive side. This will depend a lot on how good the loyalty program is, for example, but there are opportunities to be had.
Granted, this may not be as entertaining and might limit your game selection, but it will certainly improve your cash flow.
Look for Jackpots About to Hit
Although this isn’t applicable to every casino out there, in certain places, there are jackpot machines that have to award a jackpot by a certain amount or a certain time. If either of these is closing in, you’ll be increasing your chances of winning by playing on one of these slots.
While jackpots are random, if they have to be awarded when they reach a certain amount or before a particular time, you’re simply improving your odds by playing when they are close to hitting. It won’t always be easy to find these, and other players will probably have similar ideas, of course, but it is well worth your time.
You’re probably most likely to find these games in bigger casinos. If there are a couple hundred slot machines and video pokers, some will likely have a decent jackpot about to drop, and you might be able to find some free ones as well.
Control Your Alcohol Intake
I’ve mentioned in one of the previous points that casinos will give you free stuff. This includes “adult” beverages, and that’s one thing that they can be very generous about. If they notice you’ve been playing for a bit, they’ll be all too happy to offer you drinks free of charge. But for the most part, they aren’t doing it because they want you to feel good.
Or, to paraphrase it, they want you to feel good in a way that makes you reckless. It is no secret that alcohol lowers our inhibitions. So, after a few drinks, your ability to make good and rational decisions might be clouded. When this happens, you might start playing above your usual level and spending more than you intended.
So, while it is perfectly fine to have some fun while playing and have a few drinks, make sure to know your limits. Most of us already know how we react to alcohol, so if you’re someone who starts becoming reckless after five beers, stop at three or four. Just because they are nominally free, it doesn’t mean they really are, because they might end up costing you a lot.
Once again, it is about beating the casinos at their own game. They want players to lose their inhibitions. You, as a player, need to be aware of this and act and behave accordingly.
Don’t Overstay Your Welcome
The simple truth about casinos is that the longer you stay inside (online or in the real world), the bigger the chances you’ll end up losing. Going hand in hand with staying rational with your money is controlling the time you spend gambling.
It is hard to plan exactly how long you’ll stay, especially if you’re going to a brick-and-mortar casino. After all, you might be feeling good and wanting to play more. If things are going right for you, why would you even want to leave? After all, if you’re up, you’re just playing with their money, right?
The problem is, on most occasions, you’ll start losing at some point. When that happens, it will be very hard to stop, and you might end up giving back everything you won. Apart from not taking home any profits (and usually losing some of your own money), you’ll also end up feeling pretty bad for not walking away when you had a chance.
To beat the house, you need to be able to walk away. You had some fun, you won some money, but you need to be able to say “enough.” Take your winnings, treat yourself with something nice, and keep in mind that there is always another chance. Don’t fool yourself by thinking this might be the luckiest night of your life and you’ll be missing out. It probably isn’t, and you’ll just give up on a nice profit.
Learn Advanced Techniques Like Card Counting
Although there isn’t much a player can do to change the outcome of most casino games, some of them can actually be beaten using your skills. Blackjack is a great example, where card counting techniques can help players turn the odds into their favor. Of course, learning to count cards correctly and efficiently isn’t something you can do overnight. It takes time and effort.
At the same time, keep in mind that times have changed, and card counting isn’t nearly as efficient as it used to be a couple of decades ago. These days, casinos use automatic shufflers, cut the shoe regularly, and are quite capable of recognizing card counters.
While the technique isn’t illegal in most parts of the world, casinos are within their right to ask you to leave or to not play blackjack anymore if they flag you as a card counter.
However, if you can find a casino that hasn’t really caught up yet and where your skills can be put to good use, by all means, do it. Card counting is one of very few actually working methods where you can remove the house edge and actually make the game favorable for you as a player. It won’t make you rich quickly, but if done right, you could make a fair bit of money by counting cards at a blackjack table.