of the great ways to tell that someone is completely, thoroughly, and hopelessly
insane is to see if he or she doggedly does the same thing over and over the same
way time and time again ? even if it doesn?t work, hasn?t worked,
and will never work. Based on that definition many casino gamblers might be considered
insane, since they continue to play their games of choice utilizing strategies
that have cost them dearly in their playing careers and will continue to cost
them dearly in the future.
Of course, labeling a casino gambler as insane is merely an effort to shock our
readers into paying attention because, after all, even the best games utilizing
the best strategies are still overwhelmingly favoring the house.
But now that we have your attention, let?s take a look at some of the crazy
things gamblers do that might merit the above label, if only facetiously, and
what the should do to increase their chances of winning or, at the very least,
increase their chances of losing less!
Slot machine players know that they are facing edges of from 2 percent to 17 percent.
Sane players would like to keep the house edge at or as close to the 2 percent
range as they possibly can. How can they do this? Know what to look for in a slot
machine and know what to avoid!
Look for machines that are certified at 97 or 98 percent return. The casino will
have a big sign that says every machine in this bank is programmed to return 97
or 98 percent. Play those. Be aware that some casinos might have signs that say,
?The machines in this area return up to of 98 percent.? All the means
is that a minimum of one machine has to be programmed at that high return level;
the rest can be dogs.
If you can?t find machines that are ?certified? at 97 or 98
percent; the next best thing is to look for machines that are stand-alone models,
that is, machines that aren?t linked up with other machines for joint jackpots.
Avoid machines that have multi-casino progressive jackpots in the hundreds of
thousands or millions of dollars. Why? Because these machines, to generate that
jackpot, and to pay for the licensing agreements between the casinos and the manufacturers,
must keep about 15 percent of all the money played in them. That means for every
$100 a player puts through the machine in the long run, the player can expect
to lose $15. That?s a big hit, especially if you don?t hit it big
on these machines.
Video poker is a great game to learn, especially when you can play machines where
the house measures its edge in the tenths of a percent, instead of in whole percents.
The classic Jacks-or-Better 9/6 machines have only an approximately one-half percent
house edge. That means for every $100 you play through this machine in the long
run, you?ll lose a mere 50 cents. That?s a far cry from the progressive
There are books that can help you learn which machines to play and which to avoid.
My Break the One-Armed Bandits!, and Victory at Video Poker, and also John Robison?s
The Slot Expert?s Guide to Playing Slots.
Of course, once you have selected your machine to play, how you play it is also
a key factor in whether you will be able to go home some nights (or none nights)
with some of the casino?s money jingle-jangling in your coin cup or pocket.
In video poker, the ?how? of playing is simply to play the best possible
strategy that you can handle for the game you have selected. Select the right
games, play the right strategies for those games, should be the mantra for all
video poker players. Video poker is a game of skill and chance, but in the long
run your skill is the determining factor in your success.
Slot players have no control of the machine?s decisions whatsoever. Slots
are pure chance. Thus, how you manage your money at the slots is the only variable
in playing strategy. Do you play one coin, two or three or more? Do you set a
win goal or a loss limit?
Savvy slot players know that in the long run the casino?s edge will win
out, so the key to their playing strategy is to s-t-r-e-t-c-h that long run to
make it as long as possible. They look for machines that have equal distribution,
meaning that each extra coin merely increases the payout by that percentage (i.e.,
one coin = 100-coin payout; two coins = 200-coin payout; three coins = 300-coin
payout). There is no added value or benefit to playing more than one coin in such
machines. You are merely putting through two or three times as much money for
the house edge to work against. Play one coin and you can stretch your ability
to last at the machines of this nature.
Now that you can stretch your money, what do you do if you win some money? How
do you know when it?s time to quit? This isn?t easy to answer. If
you were to hit a nice jackpot on your very first spin but you had planned an
evening in the casino, would you have gotten your full entertainment value by
heading for the door? Probably not.
In cases where you hit it big early, the best money-management advice is to take
part of your win and all of the money you brought with you to play and lock all
of it away. You don?t have to literally lock it away, but it should be put
aside and not used for the rest of the night. Instead, play with the rest of the
win and see if you can increase it. If you do, great. You get to go home a big
winner. If you don?t, you?ve gotten your entertainment value and you?ve
managed to bring home some money to boot.
While no amount of money-management or machine-selection advice can turn a negative
into a positive (the casino is going to have its edge), the tighter and tougher
you play, the better will be your long term results. And that?s a sane way
to approach the machines!
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