1-Be realistic, the casinos
have the rules in their favor. If you lose, expect it.
2-Don't rely on hunches. Always
make the mathematically best decision.
I have met numerous other
players who disagree with me on this one, and they are all wrong. On
the players side is the unlimited use of ESP and other psychic powers.
The casinos have the mathematical odds on their side. Who always wins
in the long run?
3-Although you will lose in the
long run your money will go up and down like a roller coaster in the
The rare exception to
this commandment is that very good blackjack card counters and video poker
players can gain a long term edge. Poker and sports betting may also be
beat but I do not consider them "casino" gambling because they are not
played against the casino but against other players.
4-In general the harder a game
is to understand the smaller the house edge is if you play it
Your best bets are the more
complicated games of blackjack, craps, baccarat, and video poker,
assuming you play them wisely. Your worst bets are the simple games of
pure chance like keno, roulette, and the wheel of fortune.
5-Don't bet money you can't
afford to lose. Set a limit on your losses for both a table sitting
and the duration of your trip.
In other words practice good
money management. I would suggest dividing your total stake by the
number of sittings you estimate to have over the course of your stay.
The result should be the maximum amount you are willing to lose at any
6-Don't hedge your bets.
Avoid the urge to insure against
events that will cause you to lose or push rather than win. The
insurance bet in blackjack is a classic example, with an average house
edge of 5.88% (1 deck) to 7.47% (8 decks). Another example is the any
craps bet with a house edge of 11.11%, which some craps plays use to
insure a pass line or come bet. I realize that in the real world
decision making is governed by both maximizing return and minimizing
risk, and I have no problem with that. However in most cases it makes
good business sense to not insure risks you can cope with yourself. In
the case of gambling the high cost of insurance starts adding up
quickly. To maximize long term return the best strategy is to take
your chances with the bets with the lowest house edge. The long term
cost of hedging your bets will be much more than the benefit they
provide. If you are still too risk averse to avoid hedging then I
would suggest taking your money to the change machine where you will
have no risk at all.
7-There is no system that can
beat a game of pure chance.
There are plenty of charlatans
promising systems that can beat games of luck like roulette, craps,
and even the lottery. Most systems trade a lot of small wins for a few
huge losses. In the long run it is impossible to beat the house at
games of chance only.
8-It pays to shop around for
the best possible playing conditions.
In many games, especially
blackjack and video poker rules can vary from one casino to another
and one state to another. Know what rules are favorable to the player
and to seek them out.
9-Avoid the side bets and
Good examples of side bets to
ignore are those in Caribbean stud poker and let it ride. Yes, I know
everyone else makes these bets but mathematically the house edge is
huge. I've seen a lot of different side bets in blackjack and most of
them have had a house edge, much higher than blackjack itself.
Gimmicks, like craps less craps and commission free baccarat, have a
higher house edge than normal rules in every example I have seen. When
the casinos offer a change in a rule to your advantage you can be sure
they changed another rule that is to their advantage, and that they
are taking more than they are giving up.
Don't forget that
gambling is supposed to be a recreational activity. Like many things,
what is enjoyable in moderation can be disastrous in excess. If you
lose the ability to walk away from the table or machine at will then
you shouldn't play at all.