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How to Beat the Casinos at Their Own Game

1 April 2011

By Henry Tamburin

It amazes me that most casino players believe their fate in the casino rests solely on luck. Their mantra goes something like this: The casino has the advantage and we are going to lose, so let's just have fun playing.

Their gloom-and-doom attitude might be fitting for most casino games, but not all of them. The fact-of-the-matter is that there are beatable games in a casino and you ought to know which ones they are.

Video Poker

This is a relatively easy game to beat, but you must have sufficient funds to weather the roller coaster ride your bankroll will take in the short run. To win at video poker you must know the pay schedules for full pay machines, find out where they are located, learn the correct playing strategies for them, and take advantage of the casino's cashback and comps.

Whoa now, that all sounds complicated, you might be thinking. In fact my late father-in-law Pete, at age 87, said the same thing. But he learned how to become an advantage player and quadrupled his playing bankroll (winnings plus cashback) in just four years. If he can win at video poker, so can you. Here's a list of resources to help.

Pay Schedules: For a complete listing of pay schedules and their expected value (how much the machines return in the long run) go to www.vpfree2.com. You'll also find which casinos offer the higher paying video poker machines on this site.

Training software: You can't go wrong with either Video Poker for Winners or Frugal Video Poker. This is the software my father-in-law used to learn the playing strategies in a relatively short period of time.

Strategy cards: You can purchase inexpensive video poker strategy cards and bring them with you when you play. If you have them handy you'll never make a playing mistake. (Go to my web store at smartgaming.com for information on these strategy cards.)

Blackjack

Just about everyone knows blackjack can be beaten with card counting. But most recreational players find traditional card counting too laborious and difficult to master. But that all changed when Dan Pronovost discovered Speed Count, a new and easy technique that average players can learn in less than an hour and after a few days of practice have the skills to beat the casino. You can read about Speed Count in Frank Scoblete's new book, Best Blackjack Now.

Craps

Pick up the dice and fling them down the table and you don't stand a prayer to beat the casino no matter what betting or playing system you use. The reason is that the outcome of your throw is completely random. However, if you learn to influence the results of your throw ever so slightly, then you can beat the casino at craps.

"Hogwash," you say, "because the dice have to hit the back wall."

If you still believe dice control is a fantasy, you need to read Frank Scoblete's and Dominator's new book, Casino Craps: Shoot to Win. The book tells you in words and pictures how dice control works and how to learn it. Is it easy to master? No, because you are learning a physical skill that requires lots of practice. But if you have the discipline you will be rewarded because good dice controllers often have a greater edge over the casino than good blackjack card counters.

Still skeptical about dice control? Read more about it on www.goldentouchcraps.com and how I managed to beat the all-time student record in their no-sevens contest with my new dice control skill. I rolled 45 consecutive times without a 7 showing. If I can do it, so can you.

Pai Gow Poker

You can get a tiny edge in this game and it's not all that difficult to do. The trick is to be the banker as often as possible and when you have to be a player, bet as small as possible (i.e., Bank Big, Play Small). But you'll need a sizeable bankroll to cover players' bets when you are the banker. The playing and betting strategies you need to beat Pai Gow Poker are readily available in Stanford Wong's book, Optimal Strategies for Pai Gow Poker and on the Pai Gow Poker page at wizardofodds.com.

Roulette

You can beat roulette but it's not easy and it's not cheap. Betting systems don't work, but what does work are roulette prediction techniques. The expert on all this is Laurance Scott, author of the book, Professional Roulette Prediction (Vol. 2). His book costs $499 and that includes great roulette analyzer software. Get all the details on the roulette page at www.advantageplayer.com.

What about playing the slots or Let it Ride or Three Card Poker or any number of other table games? Do you have any chance to beat the casino? I'm sorry to say NO. But here are some tips on other ways that you get the edge when you play.

  • Play in tournaments. You are not playing against the house but against your fellow players. If the host casino returns all the entry fees in prizes and throws in a free or discounted room, free meals and a free gift, you are ahead of the game from the get go.
  • Use gambling coupons when you play. You'll have the edge every time you use them.
  • Play poker, or bet on sport games or the ponies. It's possible to win more than you lose in all three, but it's not easy and you are going to have to do a lot of studying to get good at it.
  • Play basic strategy in blackjack and get rated for comps. Often the latter is enough to give you an overall monetary edge.
  • Play video poker games that return just under 100% (like 9/6 Jacks-or-Better or NSU Deuces Wild) then take advantage of the Players Club promotions so that your return from cashback, bounceback, and comps added to the return on the game will give you an overall positive expectation.

So, you see there is more than luck to winning. My friend and poker author Bill Burton says it best: Luck comes and goes … knowledge stays forever.

Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin is the author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course. For a free 3-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter with full membership privileges, visit www.bjinsider.com/free. For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 866/WIN-BJ21. For a free copy of his casino gambling catalog featuring over 50 products call 888/353-3234 or visit the Internet store at www.smartgaming.com.

Henry Tamburin Websites:

www.smartgaming.com

Books by Henry Tamburin:

Winning Baccarat Strategies

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