The best strategies combined with money management can extend your play time
By Frank Scoblete
There is a written acknowledgement concerning casino games (you can listen to it in the beginning of the movie Casino) and it is this: The longer you play the better chance you will be losing. The reason this has been endlessly written is simple, the math of the games favors the casinos. On this or that session or day or week, the normal fluctuations in a random game might mean you are ahead. Give the games more time and you will be almost invariably behind.
The casinos have stacked the decks against the players. This is no secret. They either win more decisions or they take a “tax” out of the players’ wins. A number in roulette that has a one in 38 chance of happening should pay 37 to one should it hit. Instead, the win only pays 35 to one. The casino shares the win with the player. Yes, in such a case you lose when you lose and you lose when you win.
I am guessing there is not a player reading this magazine who is unaware of the reality of casino games. Players are looking towards “luck” but the casinos rely on math and, you guessed it, the math wins. The entire casino industry is built on the foundation of math.
With the exception of slot players who have hit 50 million to one shots at progressive machines such as Megabucks, you will not find many long-term winners hopping and skipping through the houses of Lady Luck. Is that awful? Is that a grave sin? Are most players miserable patrons? No, there is quite a lot of fun in playing the games and the bottom line for the players has to be the fun aspect of the games. Yes, fantasy might let them dream of wins, but reality informs us this is just that—fantasy.
Players enjoy playing and many players enjoy playing for extended periods of time when they visit the casinos. That is the danger. The games can be so intriguing that the time flies by and the house edge has that time to whittle or hammer away at the player’s bankroll.
But there are steps players can take to limit their exposure to the house edge and still get in all the time they want. These steps are a coupling: Best strategies and careful money management. Let’s take a look at the major table games and select the best strategy for playing them.
Only make outside bets, especially at casinos where surrender is employed. Surrender means that if you are betting the red/black, odd/even, high/low propositions if either of the green numbers (0 or 00) show, the player gets back half his bet. That reduces the house edge on the double-zero game from 5.26 percent to 2.63 percent.
Now you can reduce those outside losses even more by playing a “trend betting” system. Trend betting is not a way to beat any casino game but it can reduce the hit of the house edge because you are lowering the number of decisions you are facing. So allow the same color, or the same high or low bet, or the same odd or even to show and only then bet with them or against them. You will be reducing the amount you are spending by quite a lot. If the proposition you are betting keeps appearing then keep betting it if you are betting a positive trend.
The above works for games with or without surrender.
You must play the computer derived “basic strategy” against every dealer up-card. There is no other way to make strategy decisions at the game. If you are unsure of the correct strategy just buy a plastic “basic strategy card” and refer to that as you play.
If you are not a card counter then you want to play at full tables where the casino cuts out of play a large percentage of the cards. Next you want to play in games where a blackjack pays 3-to-2; where you can double down on any first two cards; where you can split pairs and double down on those splits. I do recommend reading a good blackjack and I (of course) recommend my Beat Blackjack Now: The Easiest Way to Get the Edge.
Ignore all the Crazy Crapper bets in the center of the table. Ignore multiple number bets such as the Horn, the Whirl and C&E. Also forget the Field, the Fire Bet and the hop bets.
Only play the Pass Line and/or Come Bets with the most you can afford in odds. Only make one or two of these bets. You might also want to employ the Captain’s 5-Count, a method that will reduce your betting on random rollers by 57 percent.
Do not bet the Tie. Use the same method as described in roulette. When a “Player” or “Bank” shows then bet for or against that proposition next.
There you have it. If you use the above strategies you will cut down on the number of decisions you face. You will also be playing relatively low house bets.
Frank Scoblete’s recent books are I Am a Dice Controller, Confessions of a Wayward Catholic and I Am a Card Counter. Available from Amazon.com, Kindle, Barnes and Noble and at your local bookstore. Frank will happily send you a free, autographed copy of his book The Virgin Kiss. Just send him your address (firstname.lastname@example.org).