Saving Money in the Casino
How to keep the edge on your next gaming session
by Frank Scoblete
We don’t usually think of casinos as institutions where you can save money. So true.
The casino is a place where we spend money on games where the casino has an edge over us and on food, rooms, drinks, shows, sporting events—a litany of enjoyable (hopefully) treats that we pay for in some way or other.
Yes, many of us get upset when we see that casinos have increased the prices of their games or offer us new games or new versions of old games that are not as good as the games of the past.
You can take Triple Zero Roulette and 6/5 Blackjack as two such games that are no joy for the players to play. They are often not as good as traditional games and, obviously, they cost the player more to play over time. Worse still, with even a slight increase in casino minimum bets, new games can be extremely hard on a low-rolling player’s bankroll.
The edges on those two games go way above the edges for the normal versions of roulette and blackjack. You will find many such situations in the casinos. Take mini-baccarat. Regular baccarat was a leisurely game usually played in the high-roller rooms where the players could actually deal the cards.
But mini-baccarat has jettisoned that and the game is the exact opposite of leisurely. It is the superhero Flash of table games; fast as fast can be. The house edges have not changed but the faster the game, the better for the casinos. We all know this (or we should know this), that speed is a negative for the player and a positive for the casino. Yes, mini-baccarat has lower minimum bets easily made up and surpassed by the intense speed of the game.
If you are a low roller—and most players are indeed low rollers—you have to figure out a way to play but not take the kind of pounding on your bankroll that the new versions of games will ultimately demand. Most of us are in such a bind in the post-Covid world. How do you do that?
The answer can be at times annoying and also hard to do for some players. Okay, strap on because here we go. I’ll do a brief look at some of the more popular games and offer my advice on how to keep the edge you are facing at a more reasonable level.
6/5 Blackjack: Don’t play it. If it is the only game in the house or cruise ship and an invisible force is catapulting you to the tables, then the table should be one full of players where the number of hands that you play is reduced considerably. In this case more players is good for an individual player since that player will spend much less money playing the game.
All Blackjack Games: Know basic strategy and play at full tables. If the table minimums are a little too high for you then sit out a percentage of the hands to make the total you wager in a session add up to what you would have wagered at a lower minimum game. Take your bathroom breaks when the game is in full swing and not when the dealer is shuffling. You should save money this way.
Craps: Do not make any of the new or fairly new bets or proposition wagers. Stick to the tried-and-true bets of the pass and come with odds, the don’t pass and don’t come with odds, and the placing of the six or eight. Use the Captain’s 5-Count on all shooters.
Do not (I repeat do not) bet any of those proposition bets that seem so interesting because they pay back a lot of money. They pay back such money because they have such huge edges. Some of those edges are higher than slot machine edges! Be wise and avoid them.
Roulette: Do not play the Triple Zero Roulette game or, if it is the only one in the casino, you must sit out spins and make the total you wager the equal of the total that you would have wagered on regular roulette. Again, play at full or semi-full tables so the dealers spend more time paying off and taking all the players’ bets. The game is still happening but you are saving money this way.
Slot Machines: This advice might sound insane (and maybe it is) but why play maximum coin in a slot machine? Skip those progressive machines where you must play maximum coin in order to win a life-changing jackpot. Play machines with lower wins and—here it comes—only play one coin in them. You like to play two hours? Play two hours, but your risk will be reduced considerably by going the one-coin route.
Casino playing is fun but it has to be undertaken in a way that doesn’t deprive the player of his money and dignity.
All the best in and out of the casinos!
Frank Scoblete’s website is www.FrankScoblete.com. His books are available from Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, e-books, libraries and bookstores.