Bill Zender is the ultimate insider of the game. The former professional of card counters, resellers and casino funds shares his secrets and explains why the best means of payment is always the ATM.
1. Identify the most clumsy resellers.
Zender estimates that there are fewer than 100 professional blackjack card counters in the world. If you are one of them, you could get a 1.5% advantage. So, save your energy, advises Zender; keep an eye on the blackjack dealer who will accidentally flush the card face down. Zender once made a living exploiting this machine by keeping a notebook of 35 weak dealers from 16 different casinos. This strategy is called “card punching” and can give you a 6 to 9% advantage over the house. (It’s like standing in front of an ATM that spits twenty years!) The best part? “It’s totally legal,” says Zender. “They can throw me out of the casino, but they will not stop me.”
2. Keep your eyes on the price.
Lately, casinos have sexed their table games with bikini dealers and resident pole dancers. These places are called Party Pits and, on the surface, they look like Vegas: Vegas, alcohol, sin, skin. But look closer. Although all these spinning legs distract you, you will probably not notice that the casino has reduced payments on these tables from 3/2 to 6/5. This means that a $ 100 bet only earns $ 120, compared to the traditional $ 150. This essentially doubles the edge of the house.
3. Know when to say when.
The house still enjoys a 5% advantage in roulette. You have a decent chance to win this first round. And the second. And the third. But if you played roulette forever, the house would take away all your chips. Each casino has calculated the point at which victory is guaranteed and that magic number is 30,000 hands. (That’s why they attract us with lobster and luxury suites.) So, if you win, stop.
4. Exploit the laws of nature.
The roulette wheel is a mechanical instrument. Over time, the wheel may become unbalanced or the frets separating the numbers may wear out and tear. The more a wheel is used, the more it wears out and the more it can favor certain numbers. In 1873, Joseph Jagger found a tasteless wheel in Monte Carlo and bet on biased figures. He walked away with $ 400,000, or $ 7.8 million of today’s pulp!
5. Go big or go bankrupt.
“The average slot machine is probably two to three times more expensive for players than table games,” says Zender. Avoid them. If you insist on throwing a handful, focus on slot machines costing $ 5 or more and play the maximum bet. On slot machines, odds of winning are increased by 15 to 20%. You might as well throw these coins into a fountain. Do not forget to make a wish.
6. Do not play Keno.
Really, no. Your chances are terrible. In some casinos, the house has a 35% advantage. No player has ever equaled the 20 numbers of a 20-point ticket. The probabilities that this will occur are 1 in 3,535,316,122,212,174,336. (It’s 3.5 billion!)
7. Practice makes perfect.
If there is one exception to the saying that the house always wins is video poker. Generally, the house only has a 0.46% advantage (while some versions favor the players). The payment table is displayed directly on the machine and the payout is high. The catch? To withdraw money, you must play at an expert level. Casinos make a profit on video poker because most players are just not skilled enough. So study.
8. Stay away from the light.
“Ninety percent of people who enter a casino have no idea of the odds ahead,” says Zender. But if you know what you’re looking for, it’s easy to see where the odds are the worst. Casinos make games with the most mediocre ratings the most attractive by amplifying them with flashing lights and bright colors. In craps, for example, the wildest bets – “The Field”, “Any 7” – are the most colorful. So as a general rule, to improve your chances, stay on the dull side of the room.
9. Invest in a beautiful watch.
There is a reason you probably will not see a clock or window on the floor of the house. The casinos want to make you waste time to play as long as possible. Some casinos prohibit resellers from wearing watches for this reason. Once you are a little up, this may be the right time to leave the ground and go offer yourself a new timepiece.
10. Buy your own drinks.
The truth is that nothing is free – and that includes free drinks. Each casino has something it calls a “player reinvestment” fund. It predicts the amount of money you will lose, and then returns a share in the form of comps, which means, for the casual visitor, watery cocktails. The lower your chances of success, the better your chances of getting a free drink. Cheers!