When I’m in a casino, my main prerogative is to just have fun. Winning money is nice, too. Sometimes, people think that having fun and trying to max your chance at winning money are two mutually exclusive goals. They’re not. You can do both; you can have fun and maximize your chances of winning.
But some people insist that knowing basic strategy or knowing the proper amounts for place bets is too hard or requires too much discipline.
That’s fine. Sometimes, gambling is all about fun, and we just want to turn our brains off for a little bit, get away from our worries, and have a free cocktail.
So in that spirit, take these three easy tips to maximizing your chances at winning while still having fun, but yet require almost no effort or skill at all.
PLAY AT A 3-2 BLACKJACK TABLE, NEVER 6-5
TL;DR Avoid 6-5 Blackjack like the plague, unless you feel like donating an extra $1.50 to the house for every $5 blackjack.
For those who don’t know, 6-5 blackjack is a variant of blackjack where a winning blackjack hand pays $6 for every $5 bet, instead of the usual $7.50 for every $5 bet. That $1.50 per $5 goes straight into the casinos pocket.
If you don’t know which games are 6-5, then just ask the dealer before you play, ‘is this a 3 to 3 game?’ They’ll tell you if it’s a 3-2 or 6-5 game.
6-5 Blackjack is spreading to a lot of other gambling jurisdictions. I used to only see it in Vegas, but now I see it in places like Shreveport, various Native American casinos, Atlantic City, Oklahoma (where the rules are already bad enough), among other places.
Some casinos will spread a 6-5 game, and right next to the 6-5 game is a 3-2 game that’s sitting empty. It confounds me that people would sit down at the 6-5 game, when the two games have the exact same rules.
Even if you’re the worst blackjack player in the world, it takes no extra effort or skill to sit down at a blackjack game and avoid a 6-5 game. Keep that extra $1.50 per $5 and do what you want with it. Don’t let the casino have it.
PLAY THE GENERIC SLOTS, AND NEVER PLAY THE SLOTS FEATURING TV SHOWS, MOVIES, GAME SHOWS, OR FAMOUS PEOPLE
TL;DR stick to the generic slots for more money in the long run.
Anytime you play a slot featuring Britney, you’re going to be paying Britney an extra fee for the privilege of sitting at her machine.
Various casino writers and newspaper articles have pointed out that it is overall, more costly to play a slot machine that has a branded TV show, movie, game show, or famous person. There are several ways slot manufacturers pay for the licensing and royalties.
The common wisdom among slot aficionados was that such ‘famous’ slots pay for themselves by reducing payouts. The current trend, I am told by a credible source, is that slot manufacturers will change the betting increments to induce larger bets, this creating a larger loss per hour. The end result is the same: you are paying extra to spend time with that famous branded slot machine.
In cases where a manufacturer reduces the payout, it works like this. Let’s say that a casino has an average return percentage on their slots of 90%. That’s an average return. What this means is that for every dollar bet, you will on average get back 90 cents for every dollar bet, but the actual rate can be higher or lower. That’s how averages work.
On a branded machine that has a TV show, movie, game show, or famous person (or nowadays, even a famous brand, like Harley Davidson), the same 90% payout, may be reduced to 85%, as an example.
So when you’re picking a machine, you want a machine that is on the higher payback range, and most likely above the average.
So what’s the easiest and most mindless way to pick a machine that has a higher than average pay back percentage? Simple: play the generic slots that don’t feature a TV show, movie, game show, or famous person. Those slots have to pay a royalty, and that royalty comes right out of your pocket.
The royalty terms are confidential, but here is an article from the New York times which interviews IGT personnel regarding the costs and difficulties associated with these types of slots: https://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/28/business/i-dream-of-royalties.html
TL;DR version, it costed $10,000,000 just to license the Lucille Ball image, and that these branded slots are usually kept in a lease and revenue sharing agreement. That means means you are paying extra to spend time with Lucy.
So remember, when you play those slots featuring a famous TV show, movie, game show, or famous person, you’re going to be paying extra, one way or another.
So if you want to maximize your chances of winning, stick to something like Buffalo slots. There’s a reason why those slots are so popular.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE TABLE GAMES, ASK FOR FREE FOOD
TL;DR Don’t spend money on food, rather, ask the pit boss for food comps, so that you can have more money for your big comeback
It boggles my mind how many times I’ll be at a roulette, blackjack, or craps table and see people betting $25 a hand, talk about lunch or dinner, and then leave to go eat without asking for comps.
If it’s clear that they don’t know about comps, I’ve stopped a few people and told them to ask for the comps (I can be a chatty and personable guy at the tables).
Here is why this tip helps you win more money: money is your ammunition at the table. The more of it you have, the more chances you will eventually hit that hot streak. If you spent that money on a buffet or a casino dinner, then you have less ammunition to fight with. When that hot streak comes, you may not be there to ride it.
It’s a form of bankroll management. You need to keep your bankroll as healthy and as fat as possible.
Over the course of a gambling vacation, if you count up all the money you spent on food, it tends to be pretty significant, especially now that casinos no longer treat food and beverage as loss leaders, but rather as a profit center.
That’s why before you leave the table, always ask the supervisor for a comp. Let them pay for the food. The food in a casino is really overpriced to begin with, so oftentimes, they’ll freely write a comp.
If you don’t know the difference between discretionary and earned comps, read my guide on comps. Gambling jurisdictions outside of Vegas tend to be much looser with their comps. Take advantage.
It takes no effort or skill to say this to the dealer: ‘Can you tell the floor to comp me to ______ (buffet, dinner, restaurant, etc).’ When the floor writes you a discretionary comp, i.e., a comp that you haven’t earned, that’s absolutely no different from you winning the amount of money that you would have otherwise spent from your wallet because you needed to eat.
Hit me on that unlimited prime rib and roast beef! Hit me again!
Trust me on these tips. Follow them and watch your wallet get nice and thick.
I’m sure you get the point. Remember, if you gamble, just ask for food comps and save your money for the table.