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Avoiding Long Shots at the Tables

14 April 2012

We all know someone who won big in a casino. It does happen in casinos all around the country. However, when reading reports by various state gaming agencies, we find the casinos are consistently winning more than they lose and doing it by a substantial margin.

Casinos today offer a large variety of games all of which give them an advantage. But, the real fact is they are winning more than the odds say they should. The main reason casinos win so much is players generally beat themselves. They do it by playing the games incorrectly and in most cases they make too many wagers on long shots. For example, if you play blackjack and use basic strategy, which is the correct mathematically way to play, you should lose only 80 cents for every \$100 played. Saying it another way, if played correctly, casinos have less than a one percent advantage over the player. Again, when studying gaming commission reports, they show, on average, that players are losing \$12 per \$100 played. One example of why players lose so much at blackjack is that they take the Insurance bet. If a player makes a wager on Insurance, the house advantage, mathematically, moves from an almost even game to over six percent, making Insurance a long shot and poor bet for the player.

What about roulette? Bet on a single number, like a birthday or some other favored number and if it wins you get paid 35 times your wager. WOW! Isn't that great? However, the odds of that happening are 37 to 1, which is considered a long shot. Bet on 2 numbers and the odds drop to 17 to 1, which is still very high, and is also a long shot. Betting on other combinations, like 3, 4, 5 and 6 numbers the same thing happens. You can get a nice big payout, but the chances of them showing up as a winner are much smaller. On the other hand, wagers on the "outside bets," like Columns, and Dozens, pay out at 2 to 1 and the other outside spots like High-Low, Odd-Even and Red-Black pay 1 to 1. The payouts are smaller, but are much more likely to appear. All the "inside" bets should be considered long shots. Stick to the "outside" wagers, you will win smaller amounts but you will find yourself winning more often.

When it comes to playing craps, if played smartly you should lose 60 cents for every \$100 wagered. However, those state reports show casinos are making \$14 per \$100 played. Wagering on the Pass Line and putting double odds behind it makes that the best bet in the entire casino. Adding the 6 and 8 as Place Bets, you now have an excellent chance of ending up a winner. On the other hand, we know the shooter will "seven out" sometime, but to place a bet on "Any Seven" is a long shot of over 16.7% against the player. The same is true of the Field Bet, which is a popular bet for inexperienced players. The Field bet works out to a hefty 5.56% in favor of the house. The Field, along with the Big 6 and Big 8 and the center proposition bets, are all long shots that will show up once in a while, but should be considered poor bets for the player. Stick to simple Pass Line and number Place bets and you will have a much better chance of ending up a winner.

Another table game is Baccarat, which is considered a good game for the player because of the low house edge. You don't even have to know much about the game because the dealer issues the cards by a predetermined set of rules and there are only three bets a player can make: Player, Banker and Tie. The house advantage is only 1.06% for the Banker and 1.24% for the Player wagers. However, the Tie bet is a long shot at a whopping 14.36% in favor of the house. In the end, Tie bets should be avoided.

Today, you can find a great variety of table games offered in most casinos. By learning about each game and, most importantly, learning which bets are reasonable to win and which are long shots, your casino visit can be a much more profitable experience.

Bet You Didn't Know

• Take the free gaming lessons offered by most casinos. These short 30 to 60-minute classes will not make you an expert, but they will help expand your education about the games.
• If you toss a penny 10,000 times, it will not be heads 5,000 times, but more like 4,950. The heads picture weighs more, so it ends up on the bottom.
• Around 1377, playing cards overtakes dice as the favorite game in Germany.
• The Washington State Gambling Commission (WSGC) was created in 1973 and is the second oldest gambling regulatory agency in the nation.
• Las Vegas' elevation is 2,020 feet above sea level. It is Nevada's largest city with a 2011 Census population of 588,274. Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, has a population of 1,967,722.
• In the early days of Harolds Club in Reno, dealers were assigned to a specific table, sometimes for years at a time.
Recent Articles
Best of John Marchel
John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine.

Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

John Marchel Websites:

johnmarchelgambling.com

Books by John Marchel:

101 Casino Gambling Tips: Affordable Strategies & Techniques for Maximizing Profits & Reducing Loses
John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine.

Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

John Marchel Websites:

johnmarchelgambling.com

Books by John Marchel:

KISS Guide to Gambling