Entering the Casino: What You’re Up Against
The first secret to gambling success is to understand the inner workings of the casino world before the flash and dazzle seduce you. Casinos are sophisticated and highly successful enterprises — and they don’t get that way by giving away money. Your best bet, then, is to be aware of basic casino operations so you can manipulate the experience to your advantage.
Marketing their way to your wallet
They see you coming from miles away. They know exactly who you are, how much money you make, what you like and dislike, and whether you’re married, single, or divorced. Who are these omniscient watchers who track your secrets? The IRS? CIA? Al-Qaeda? None of the above. I’m talking about the marketing gurus at modern casinos. They’re constantly studying reams of data on millions of gamblers to develop profiles of guests who most willingly spend their discretionary income on a couple of hours of distraction.
Accepting the odds: The house rules
The casino’s first commandment is “The house shall always win.” Of course, a couple of games permit sharp players to break even or eke out a slight edge occasionally. But casinos are in business to make money, so winning is a losing proposition for most players.
Identifying the colors of the rainbow
Knowledge is power and is your only ally against the formidable forces that threaten to separate you from your hard-earned cash. One piece of knowledge you need, particularly if you’re wading into the shark-infested waters of table games, is the varying colors and matching denominations of standard casino chips. The casinos make this bit easy for you because the chips also have a denomination printed on them so that you know the red chip, for instance, is worth $5 and the green chip is worth $25. The following is a comprehensive list of standard casino-chip colors, as well as their corresponding values:
Playing the Games: What’s Your Poison?
Casino games are as diverse as the people who play them — and that’s part of the fun. You may think of craps as a rough-and-tumble game, played by hustlers and wise guys, but step into a casino, and you’re just as likely to spot an angelic-looking nurse rolling dice next to a cursing cowboy from Texas. And, because no game has a detailed player profile, don’t restrict yourself to the few games you think suit you. Give each one a try and see where it takes you.
Although the majority of casino visitors prefer slot machines, chances are, if you’re reading this book, you’re willing to try new ways to gamble. So, after you read this book and know which games have the best odds, I suggest you take a quick walk around the casino floor to see where you want to start and give several of them a try.
Touring the table games
The tables come in all shapes and sizes in a casino, from the oval shape of poker tables to the half-round crescent of blackjack to the long rectangle of craps. And the table is just about all they have in common. As a result, unspoken rules seem to govern the table games. Most casino guests have discovered from experience to avoid the taboos:
- Holding your cards with two hands.
- Touching chips in the betting circle after the cards are dealt.
- Throwing the dice so wildly that they fly over the rail and end up in somebody’s drink.
You can discover general casinos and more game-specific rules in most chapters. However, before you worry about acting correctly, this section includes a brief overview of the main table games that you may encounter in a casino.
Turning to machine games
For some folks, the intimidation factor of table games is too much to bear. So excuse me while I dab the tears from my eyes; I’m touched when I realize that nearly all casino operators — through the goodness of their hearts — thoughtfully accommodate shy gamblers by supplying acres of go-solo gaming machines.
Even the timidest gambler can enjoy a satisfying time at these machines — no bluffing by other players, no angry gamblers if you hit or stand at the wrong time, and no embarrassment about table rules. Instead, the lone gambler squares off against a machine.
Gambling and cyberspace seem to be made for each other. Through the conduit of the Internet, casinos and gaming companies can invite themselves directly into the homes of gamblers. Now people can play anonymously and comfortably, without ever leaving the house. Considered the last frontier for gaming, cyberspace has now been settled — if not entirely tamed. Online gaming represents a multibillion-dollar industry worldwide that grows exponentially every year. However, despite its convenience and fun, online gambling has some serious drawbacks.