Gambling FAQ (frequently asked questions)
Q Is it possible to win in a casino? Or are the games "fixed" so that most people lose?
A Casino games in regulated jurisdiction like Nevada and Atlantic City are most definitely NOT fixed. Gambling in these places is heavily regulated and scrupulously honest. Casinos DO have an advantage but itís usually a few slender percentage points above a playerís probability of winning. The "house edge" is the source of a casino's income.
Q So if the games are so honest and equitable, why do people lose so much money?
A Because most gamblers are very optimistic (bless their souls) but not very well informed. They play poorly. They think winning is about luck and hunches. But winning is REALLY about odds. There are good bets, not-so-good bets, and some bets that are for suckers only. Too many players make the sucker bets. They literally throw money away. They have no idea that they can improve the odds in almost any casino game.
EVERY contest has an optimal strategy. This includes slots, video poker, blackjack, craps, roulette, baccarat, keno, Caribbean Stud Poker, Let It Ride, hold 'em, seven-card stud, pai gow poker, and sports betting. The key to winning is learning the strategy and using it.
Q These strategies work?
A Absolutely! Weíre not talking pie-in-the-sky theories or optimistic betting systems. These are mathematically rock-solid methods of giving the player more opportunities to win. You donít need to be a math wizard to use optimal strategies, but any mathematician (or professional gambler) will tell you itís the only way to improve your chances. Of course, there is nothing that can guarantee you will win EVERY time, but that's not necessary. Even the casino doesn't win EVERY time, and they're turning a profit. Your goal is to win MORE than you're winning now and shrink (or eliminate) the casino's advantage.
Q OK. So where do I get these strategies?
A You can find them right here at SmarterBet.com. Many of them are available online, and many more are in the Unofficial Guide to Casino Gambling. Check it out in the SmarterBet.com online bookstore.
Q Iíve heard that blackjack is the only game you can win in a casino. Is that true?
A Not exactly. Most professional gamblers earn their money playing poker. Thatís the most consistently profitable form of gambling (other than owning a casino). Blackjack and sports betting are also profitable, but far fewer people earn a living at those contests. Video poker brings up the rear. In some circumstances VP is a positive expectation game, but itís hardly as lucrative as the first three. All the remaining casino games are negative expectation which means you canít earn money from them in the long run (consistently over months and years).
Of course it doesnít mean those games canít bring you money in the short run. For example, the house edge in craps and baccarat is pretty thin (if you bet the right way and donít buck the odds). Smarter gamblers have a reasonable chance of making a quick profit.
Q What is the minimum legal age for gambling in Nevada and New Jersey.
A Both states require gamblers to be at least 21. Youthful looking players who win substantial amounts are invariably asked to provide proof of age. Underage gamblers are promptly ejected (without their winnings).
Q Why should I gamble?
A To have fun. Gambling is a form of recreation. It's like going to a theme park or seeing a movie. Gambling is NOT a way to earn money UNLESS you're a professional and you do it for a living. People with financial problems should NOT gamble. If gambling is causing problems for you or someone you know then click here to visit Gamblers Anonymous.
Q Iím visiting Las Vegas for the first time. Where should I stay?
A If you want to immerse yourself in the hyperactive neon side that is most popular in the media, then you'll want to stay on the Strip, anywhere south of Treasure Island and North of Luxor (3300 Las Vegas Boulevard to 3900). Hotels in this area CAN be expensive, but it's not an absolute rule. There ARE deals to be had.
Classic (Glitter Gulch style) Las Vegas can be found on Fremont Street downtown. Hotels in this area are generally cheaper than Strip properties. For more information about where to stay, check out the Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas (our travel publication) in the SmarterBet.com online bookstore.
Q Is it my imagination or are comps tougher to get in Las Vegas these days?
A Itís not your imagination. Comps (complimentary rewards given by casinos to their customers) are going to players with larger bankrolls than in previous years. Itís all due to millennium demographics. Baby boomers (45 to 55) are getting older and wealthier. The 90ís economy gave them a tremendous amount of disposable income. Newer casino properties are positioned towards the boomers and their well-to-do twentysomething offspring.
Families (parents in their early 30's with children) generally have smaller bankrolls than boomers. So, these middle-income players are getting fewer comps than they did in the early 90ís.
Q But I still want comps. How do I get them?
A A casino host will consider many variables when negotiating comps. This includes the games you play, the exact comp, the day of the week, the season, and your overall betting and spending patterns. With that said, here is a GENERAL guideline that works for table games at most mid-level properties.
You must play four hours and risk at least $50 per hand to get a full room comp. Upper-end properties (like Mirage and Bellagio) require more.
$75 per hand will get you room and limited food/beverage. $100 per hand and up will get you full RFB. The quality of the comps will increase substantially when your wagers go over $100 per hand.
Remember, you'll get more on a Tuesday in July than you will on a Saturday in April. And the Bellagio is tougher than the Holiday Inn. Also remember that the comp spigot will open more quickly if you deposit $5,000.00+ in the cage and simultaneously request a line of credit.
Does that sound expensive? Here's some good news. Single meals, show tickets, and discount rooms are much easier to get. And we haven't even mentioned comps for slots and video poker.
Thereís a lot more to know. The Unofficial Guide to Casino Gambling has an entire chapter about comps and how to get them.
The average visitor to Las Vegas stays three days and spends about $500 exclusively on gambling ($150 to $175 per day). Of course that's an average. Some people lose a lot more, and some finish with a net win. Players who avoid bad bets and use mathematically sound strategies are statistically more likely win.
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