Understanding Odds & Probability
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. There are some tips for winning at a casino, but regardless of how much you practice at your favorite game, the only reason that game is in the casino is because 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 fun.
Avoid Flashing Lights
Casinos use these tactics on your brain against you through distraction and trickery. 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 quietest place in the casino, the blackjack table, to maximize your returns.
Develop Your Poker Skills
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 are the chances you’ll complete your hand.
Start by learning the nuts, the name given to the strongest possible hand in any given situation. Memorize the ranking of hands from Royal Flush, ten through ace in the same suit, down to a pair. Be disciplined and wait patiently for a good hand before betting, but know that aggressive players always have the advantage. This is 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.
Diversify Your Investment
Just like playing the stock market 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 three small bets gives you higher chances of recouping a win, 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 then you’ll also win the color bet and even if you lose the column bet you still have a 47% chance of breaking even.
Understand The Odds In Keno
A winning strategy at keno is the simplest game plan, don’t play. The odds of winning at keno are one in three-point five trillion or a Quintilian in America that’s a number with 18 zeros after it. That’s huge, 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.
Master Game Selection To Improve Your Winning Chances
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 the reel, but even if you win early if you keep playing, inevitably the house will win all that back. So decide 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 on 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.
Understand The Odds For 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. They 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.
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. You’re better off planning a shorter stint at the higher value slots and getting away with more of your stake while you’ve narrowly escaped turning into a zombie.
Take Advantage Of Aged Machines & Equipment
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 weighed 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 and 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. 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, which was exploited by Russian hackers, that used an app that 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 very illegal.
Focus On Even Odds Payouts
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.
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.
Learn To Count 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 cards 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 decide 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, so you won’t be able to hide your winning streak for long.
So, in the end, this method will win you money but it’s guaranteed to get you barred. The most important rule for any casino is to always remain in control and never risk more than you can afford to lose.