The house may always win in the long run, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a mint on any given Sunday.
But the thing to remember about playing at the casino is that everything is designed to take your money and leave you glad for the privilege of handing it over.
So if you are lucky enough to win, then you need to know how to keep from handing all back to the previous owner as quickly as you won it.
Here are a few of the key habits that are biting into your bankroll, killing your wins and making your losses worse than they need to be.
5. Not Knowing the Vig
The reason the house wins in the end is twofold.
1) They have a functionally infinite bankroll and so can remain in the game until their luck turns.
2) Every game in the house is designed mathematically to pay out a little less than it takes in. This advantage is measured as a percentage and is known as the vigorish or vig.
Different games have different vigs. Slots tend to have the worst odds in any game with payouts on average around 95% – but can be lower, and can be higher.
While a perfect blackjack strategy at a table with favourable rules can result in a vig as low as half-a-percent.
The vig on most table games is easy enough to find and in the UK, by law, slot machines have to declare their payouts (usually in small print somewhere on the slot information or, in a physical casino, on the side of the machine.).
You’re buying entertainment when you gamble and the vigorish is the price. You want to make sure your getting a bargain. Look it up beforehand.
4. Betting “Systems”
The first thing to note is that there is no betting system that can beat the house.
Eventually you will hit a streak of losses that eliminates your profit.
In the long run, these systems should do you no more harm than betting the same amount at a constant rate, but since most of them involve varying the size of your bet massively it does mean you can wipe out your roll much more quickly.
Your sixth spin on a Martingale system costs 32 times what your first roll did.
Which means your doing away 32 units in one hand where you could have got 32 hand worth of enjoyment by not varying your bet.
3. Not Setting Limits
You should set yourself limits both in terms of how much you can lose in a session before quitting, and how long you will play for a given session.
Without them you can chase losses until you’re broke or hot streaks until they fizzle out along with your bankroll.
If you can’t handle setting limits like this to protect your bankroll, then you may have a gambling problem.
That’s the time to start seeking advice, and ideally from one of the many gambling charities or advice services around now.
2. Playing on the Way Out
You’ve set your limits and your session is now over.
The casino is built to stop you from doing that.
In online casinos, it is simply about clicking the withdrawal button – which is easier, thankfully.
But in a land-based casino you will have to walk past tables and machines aplenty. Don’t be tempted into a little flutter on the way out. Like secret eating, it doesn’t feel like you’re really gambling more, but you are.
Many a pile of winnings has vanished on the way to the exit. Don’t let them get you like that.
Having rules about when you stop, how much of a win you’re gonna rat-hole against a change of luck, or about ignoring the siren call of the video roulette on the way to the cage, it all means nothing if you don’t stick to the rules.
Losing hurts, it can get your ire up, or can make you feel sad enough that losing a bit more won’t make any difference to the pain. Common reactions are raising the stakes to try and win a loss back or hitting the ATM for money you didn’t intend to spend that evening. Emotions like these can result in even the best informed and intelligent gambler violating common sense.
Of all the bad habits, letting yourself get emotional is the one that will kill your wins the fastest. Because if you let it, it opens the doors for all the other bad habits.
After a big loss take some time off, enjoy a complimentary drink and go watch the high-rollers for a bit. Whatever it takes to keep it from tilting you off your regular game.
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